Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Anderson, Clinton Presba, 1895-1975; Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
Cabinet meetings; Food industry and trade; Food aid; Food relief

Cabinet Meeting Minutes, February 5, 1946. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.


(Special Cabinet meeting was called)


1. Food shortages.


Read cable dated February 4th to the Prime Minister of England with respect to the wheat and grain shortages as well as shortages in fats, rice and other food items such meat, bacon and eggs throughout the British Empire.


Stated he was finding considerable difficulties in taking steps necessary to bring about desirable results. Believed that if price changes could be made it might be desirable but statements have been issued by the OPA that this cannot be done. Secretary believed that we would have to make a choice of allowing price changes or facing starvation in other parts of the world. We must break our word either on prices or on commitments to provide relief for other countries. He believed that a raise in the price of corn would result in heavier hogs. Stated that the milling industry was bitterly opposed to change in the extraction rate. The rate is now 72% and that it should go to 80%. This would bring 25 million bushels additional to millers. It would, of course, take away from food supplies. It will be most unpopular, particularly among poultry people who refuse to cut down on flocks. Present prices for corn and wheat are 42.30 per ton and 59.67 per ton. There is a black market in corn which is now rampant. Black market prices provides for a $100 to $200 cash payment above ceiling prices per car. This corn is billed at the ceiling and the $100 or $200 is transferred in cash without record. The Secretary also believed that beer and alcohol should be cut to production rate of five days per month. Stated that the brewers desire six days but will settle for five. Pointed out that brewers use two times amount of grain that distillers use. Feels very strongly that we should not subsidize cost of living in foreign countries and this is now being done.


Directed the Agriculture, State and Commerce Departments to draw up release to the public on the recommendations of the report. President agreed that the report should be released from the White House.


Raised the question as to what the reaction of the Cabinet was on increased corn prices.


Suggested that he should take the matter up directly with OPA.


We have hundreds of plugged corn elevators because of lack of cars. He estimated that it would take 30,000 cars to move the corn and for each car it would take 50 motor trucks.

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