Franklin D. Roosevelt

Executive Order 9412—Possession and Operation of Railroads

December 27, 1943

Whereas the continuous operation of transportation service in the Nation is necessary for the movement of troops, materials of war, necessary passenger traffic, and supplies and food for the armed forces and the civilian population, and is otherwise essential to the successful prosecution of the war; and

Whereas the continuous operation of some transportation systems is threatened by strikes called to commence on December 30, 1943;

Now, Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including the Act of August 29, 1916, 39 Stat. 645, and as President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby order:

1. Possession and control of all common carriers by railroad, express companies, terminal companies and associations, sleeping, parlor, and railroad-owned or controlled private car companies (all hereinafter referred to as carriers) located in the continental United States, together with any and all appurtenances and facilities used in connection therewith, are hereby taken and assumed, through the Secretary of War, as of seven o'clock P.M., on the twenty-seventh day of December, 1943. Carriers taken over under this Order shall not include, because not now deemed necessary, street electric passenger railways, including railways commonly called interurbans, or local public transit systems whether or not the same be owned or controlled by any of the systems of transportation taken hereunder; but if and when the Secretary finds it necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this Order, he may, by subsequent order, take and assume possession, control, and operation of all or any part of any transportation system, including subways and tunnels, and any transportation system so taken shall be deemed a carrier for the purposes of this Order.

2. The Secretary of War is directed to manage and operate' or arrange for the management and operation of the carriers taken under this Order in such manner as he deems necessary to assure to the fullest possible extent continuous and uninterrupted transportation service.

3. In carrying out this Order the Secretary may act through or with the aid of such public or private instrumentalities or persons as he may designate, and may delegate such of his authority as he may deem necessary or desirable, with power of successive redelegation. The Secretary may issue such general anti special orders, rules, and regulations as may be necessary or appropriate for carrying out the purposes of this Order. All Federal agencies shall comply with the directives of the Secretary hereunder and shall cooperate to the fullest extent of their authority with the Secretary in carrying out the purposes of this Order.

4. The Secretary shall permit the management of carriers taken under this Order to continue their respective managerial functions to the. maximum degree possible consistent with the purposes of this Order. Except so far as the Secretary shall from time to time otherwise provide by appropriate order or regulation, the boards of directors, trustees, receivers, officers, and employees of such carriers shall continue the operation of the carriers, including the collection and disbursement of funds thereof, in the usual and ordinary course of the business of the carriers, in the names of their respective companies, and by means of any agencies, associations, or other instrumentalities now utilized by the carriers.

5. Except so far as the Secretary shall from time to time otherwise determine and provide by appropriate orders or regulations, existing contracts and agreements to which carriers taken hereunder are parties shall remain in full force and effect. Nothing in this Order shall have the effect of _suspending or releasing any obligation owed to any carrier affected hereby, and all payments shall be made by the persons obligated to the carrier to which they are or may become due. Except as the Secretary may otherwise direct, dividends on stock and sinking fund, principal, interest and other distributions upon bonds, debentures, and other obligations may be paid in due course, and expenditures for other ordinary corporate purposes may be made.

6. The Secretary shall provide protection for all persons employed or seeking employment. The Secretary is authorized to prescribe the compensation to be received by such employees subject to any approval which may be required by applicable statutes, Executive Orders, and regulations relating to economic stabilization. To the extent deemed practical by him, he may maintain the working conditions which are specified in existing contracts between the carriers and their employees. He shall recognize the right of the workers to continue their membership in labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing with the representatives of the owners of the carriers, subject to the provisions of applicable statutes and Executive Orders, as to matters pertaining to wages to be paid or conditions to prevail after termination of possession, control, and operation under this Order; and to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of such collective bargaining or for other mutual aid or protection, provided that in his opinion such concerted activities do not interfere with the operation of the carriers.

7. Except as this Order otherwise provides and except as the Secretary otherwise directs, the operation of carriers hereunder shall be in conformity with the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, the Railway Labor Act, the Safety Appliance Acts, the Employers' Liability Acts, and other applicable Federal and State laws, Executive Orders, local ordinances, and rules and regulations issued pursuant to such laws, Executive Orders, and ordinances.

8. Except with the prior written consent of the Secretary, no receivership, reorganization, or similar proceeding affecting any carrier taken hereunder shall be instituted, and no attachment by mesne process, garnishment, execution, or otherwise shall be levied on or against any of the real or personal property or other assets of any such carrier, provided that nothing herein shall prevent or require approval by the Secretary of any action authorized or required by any interlocutory or final decree of any United States court in reorganization proceedings now pending under the Bankruptcy Act or in any equity receivership cases now pending.

9. From and after seven o'clock P.M. on the said twenty seventh day of December, 1943, all properties taken under this Order shall be conclusively deemed to be within the possession and control of the United States without further act or notice.

10. Possession, control, and operation of any carrier or carriers, or parts thereof, taken under this Order shall be terminated by the Secretary as soon as he determines that such possession, control, and operation are no longer required to prevent interruption of transportation service.

Signature of Franklin D. Roosevelt

The White House,
December 27, 1943.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Order 9412—Possession and Operation of Railroads Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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