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Statement by the President Concerning Government Operation of Petroleum Refineries Closed by Strikes.

October 04, 1945

I REGRET that it has become necessary for the Government to take over the plants of twenty-six oil producing and refining companies which have been shut down by strikes. It has become necessary to take this action in order to maintain adequate oil reserves for the needs of our armed forces.

During the past two weeks some fifty petroleum refineries, together with a number of related transportation and distribution facilities, have been shut down due to work stoppages. The shut down daily capacity amounts to 1,675,000 barrels, representing about one-third of the total refinery capacity of the Nation.

The plants remaining in operation are insufficient to produce enough petroleum to supply both the direct military requirements and the minimum essential war supporting activities on the home front. So critical has the supply situation become that essential military operations are already jeopardized. Throughout the Nation, serious shortages are developing which would, if not corrected immediately, impair essential industrial and agricultural production, and all forms of transportation.

Oil is so vital to the continuing military operation, and so essential to production for the armed services and national security at home, that we must move without further delay to protect our petroleum supply positions. The public interest, in an emergency of this character, transcends the interests of any group.

There is no other way, except by the action taken today, to prevent our armed forces from suffering through lack of necessary oil.

Nothing will be permitted to stand in the way of the adequate supplies of any kind for our armed forces and for their proper redeployment and demobilization.

Note: The text of Executive Order 9639 "Authorizing the Secretary of the Navy To Take Possession of and Operate Certain Plants and Facilities Used in the Transportation, Refining and Processing of Petroleum and Petroleum Products" (3 CFR, 1943-1948 Comp., p. 440) was released with the President's statement.

Harry S Truman, Statement by the President Concerning Government Operation of Petroleum Refineries Closed by Strikes. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230839

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