Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement on Signing the Surplus Property Act of 1944.

October 03, 1944

ON FEBRUARY 19, 1944, I signed an Executive Order No. 9425 setting up the Surplus War Property Administration to direct and expedite the orderly disposition of surplus war property so far as possible under existing law, pending action by the Congress.

H. R. 5125, the Surplus Property Disposal Act of 1944, which is before me for signature, places the general disposition of surplus war property under a Board of three and provides in considerable detail the methods to be pursued by the Board.

It is with considerable reluctance that I have decided to sign this bill. While I am in full accord with the declared objectives of the bill which are to aid reconversion from a war to a peace economy and to facilitate the orderly disposal of surplus property, I have considerable doubt whether many provisions of the bill will not make extremely difficult the accomplishment of its objectives. There is danger that the confused methods of disposition and the elaborate restrictions imposed by the bill will in many instances delay rather than expedite reconversion and reemployment. Our surplus property should speedily be placed into channels of disposition which should provide the most jobs and the greatest good for the greatest number.

But we must be in a position to get on with the organization of our plans for the disposition of surplus war property. I have, therefore, concluded that it would be best to let the bill become law in the hope that after the Surplus Property Board provided for in the bill has had some experience in operating under it, the Congress will give careful consideration to needed changes which may be suggested by the Board.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Signing the Surplus Property Act of 1944. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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