Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on Reconversion Planning.

August 26, 1944

My dear Mr. Smith:

The recent favorable development of the military situation on the world's battlefronts has emphasized the need to speed up preparations for the eventual reconversion of the Nation's productive energies to peaceful pursuits. This will be a huge and intricate task, requiring careful preparations. In addition to legislative action already under consideration it will call for a great deal of accurate and comprehensive information concerning industrial production, the status of industry, and the well-being of the Nation's workers. Such information should be currently maintained as we move from war to peace.

In particular I believe that the statistical record should include an account of our industrial system while it is geared up for maximum production during 1944. This may well be the peak year of production for many years to come. An intimate knowledge of the main characteristics of the economy during this war year will be important not only as a guide to our steps toward reconversion but as a part of the record which is essential for military preparedness in the future. I should think it would be possible, if production data were obtained for 1944, to avoid the necessity of appropriations for the regular biennial census of manufactures pertaining to 1945.

Again, it is important that we should have a running account of the status of employment, unemployment, and wages in the Nation as a whole and in the principal industrial areas. With this we should know more about the effects of the war on the incomes, expenditures, and savings of the great masses of our people whose work in the factories and mines, in transportation and on the farms, has equipped our armies in the field.

I believe that the costs of obtaining such information for the use of business, large and small, labor, agriculture, the general public, and governmental agencies themselves may properly be regarded as an essential part of the costs of the war emergency. 'In conjunction with the agencies concerned will you please undertake the preparation of plans for providing these types of information, and report to me at your early convenience upon the ways and means by which these plans can most appropriately be effectuated.

Honorable Harold D. Smith,

Director, Bureau of the Budget,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Reconversion Planning. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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