17. Statement by the President Commending the Office of Price|
May 1, 1945 |
I WANT TO SAY a word of deserved commendation for an organization which has been
subjected to much criticism in recent weeks. I refer to the OPA. Probably no other government
agency comes into such intimate contact with every citizen during wartime.
Our price control and rationing machinery enters into every home and affects directly the daily
life of the housewife and her family. Naturally, things must be done which displease many
people. No businessman, no farmer, no merchant likes to be told how much he can charge for
his wares. No housewife likes to be told that she may have only a limited supply of meat, or
sugar, or canned goods with which to feed her family.
As the war proceeds toward a victorious climax, shortages become more acute. The
requirements of our military and naval forces are great. We must supplement the economic
resources of our fighting allies, such as Britain, Russia, China and France, who have suffered
great devastation in this war. We must do our part in helping to prevent anarchy, riot and
pestilence in the areas liberated from Axis domination. These requirements place a greater and
greater strain on our resources.
I suppose that OPA, like the rest of us, has made a few mistakes. But when we look at the
whole record, I think that our price control and stabilization program has been one of the most
remarkable achievements of this war. Had it not been for OPA and the stabilization program we
should have had run-away inflation. In other countries, run-away inflation has sown the seeds of
tyranny and disorder. In this country, we have kept inflation under control. OPA has helped to
make it possible for our fighting men to come home to a stable and prosperous economy.
Our price control and stabilization program could not have been successful without a good law
and good administration. Congress has given us a good law and I hope Congress will extend
that law for at least another year.
OPA has been well administered by Mr. Chester Bowles. Its thousands of employees and
hundreds of thousands of volunteer workers in local price and rationing boards have worked
faithfully for long hours doing difficult jobs. Many able men from business and other walks of life
have patriotically contributed their services to OPA, often at distinct financial sacrifice.
Irresponsible criticism should not be permitted to break down the confidence of the people in an
essential wartime program and a hardworking wartime agency.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.