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Letter to the President of the Senate on the Continued Need for Effective Price, Wage, and Production Controls.

July 04, 1951

[Released July 4, 1951. Dated July 3, 1951.]

My dear Mr. Vice President:

I am forwarding to you for your information copies of the second Quarterly Report to the President by the Director of Defense Mobilization. This report is being distributed to the press today for release to the morning papers of Thursday, July 5, 1951.

This report is a stimulating document. Mr. Wilson has reported our progress to date on our mobilization program. He has underscored the successes that have been achieved, but he has not overlooked the delays and difficulties which have beset some parts of the program.

Above all, his report makes it crystal clear that in these last three months we have still been in the early stages of our defense effort-still tooling up, still getting organized. The heaviest burdens, the hardest part of the job lie ahead. The full impact of our program will begin to be felt in the next year. The efforts we have made so far will only begin to pay off in big-scale military production and expanded productive capacity during the coming year. The great production job that lies ahead of us will remain to be done whether or not we are able to stop the fighting in Korea.

Everything that Mr. Wilson says in this report emphasizes the tremendous importance of obtaining good, strong control legislation to see us through this crucial period, while we are building our defensive strength. We need strong production controls, price and wage controls, credit controls and rent controls--we need them all and we must be prepared to use them all, if we are to keep our economy on an even keel, protect our living standards, and meet the defense goals which this report describes.

The Congress has now extended until July 31 the Defense Production Act and our present rent control law. Both these laws would otherwise have expired June 30, with nothing on the statute books to keep our program going. The Senate has passed a new bill, to take the place of these present laws and the House of Representatives is scheduled to debate this new measure shortly. It is a matter of great urgency that the Congress complete action on this new bill well before July 31. And it is absolutely vital that the new bill be a strong one, which will give this Government the powers it must have to do the job Mr. Wilson has outlined in his report.

It is my earnest hope that in the days ahead, the Congress will review with care the consequences of enacting a weak measure and will come forward with the strong legislation we need so badly. Otherwise, the consumers in this country may be plundered by renewed inflation and our whole mobilization program threatened with disaster.

Very sincerely yours,


[Honorable Alben W. Barkley, Vice President of the United States, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The White House release states that "a similar letter" was sent to the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The second quarterly report to the President by the Director of Defense Mobilization, entitled "Meeting Defense Goals: A Must for Everyone," was published by the Government Printing Office (1951, 48 pp.).
See also Items 176 and 199.

Harry S Truman, Letter to the President of the Senate on the Continued Need for Effective Price, Wage, and Production Controls. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230278

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