Forrestal, James, 1892-1949; Hannegan, Robert E. (Robert Emmet), 1903-1949; Wyatt, Wilson W. (Wilson Watkins), 1905-; Anderson, Clinton Presba, 1895-1975; Porter, Paul Aldermandt, 1904-1975; Bowles, Chester, 1901-; Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; McKellar, K
Cabinet meetings; Price regulation
Cabinet Meeting Minutes, March 1, 1946. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.
CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 1946
Took exception to the action of the Appropriation Committee in the Senate
cutting appropriation for the OPA.
Explained his position. He thought that the House amount was satisfactory
and that he remained in agreement with that amount. He felt, however, that
the OPA request was too high and believed the matter should go to
Said there was no sense in continuing price control unless funds are made
available to administer it.
Stated that he found that in Nebraska, for example, OPA agents would go to
a man in the sugar business and find a shortage. The OPA would thereupon
inform this businessman that he was in violation and would be subject to
injunction. Either that or a fine would be imposed and the OPA agent would
go to court and get a consent decree. McKellar said that this practice was
not confined to Nebraska and that our courts should not be run on that
basis. He considers this a highly improper procedure. It is making
criminals out of honest men.
Stated that this resulted from amendment put through the Senate by Senator
John Donaher in 1944 to get away from prosecution of OPA violators.
This practice is now being reviewed by the OPA with a view to correction.
Black market in meat must be reduced. Majority volume of meat is not going
to big companies. Small companies do not pay any attention to
stabilization. Bigger packers do. Therefore, smaller companies are
dealing in black market. Small companies pay no attention to federal
inspection of meat. Secretary Anderson feels that this is extremely
dangerous to the national health and welfare.
Said that in his opinion the Civilian Production Administration is also in
critical shape. Personnel is demoralized as they do not know when their
activities are to be curbed. He believes this is contributing considerably
to delay in accomplishing the housing program.
There a strong feeling in the Senate that the OPA is trying to perpetuate
This is entirely erroneous.
Strike in packing industry brought black market operators into picture
again. Last summer OPA had the black market under control. However, the
situation now is that the big packers have idle employees with no meat to
process. He stated that the OPA does not have nearly enough personnel to
enforce the act.
When rationing went out a strong enforcement arm was lost as we do not now
have this additional check on the flow of meat.
POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN
Number of businessmen have been very vocal in trying to get rid of price
control but he is convinced that the rank and file of American people want
price control continued.
We are faced with alternative of doing the job or giving it up completely.
Stated that administration is in trouble in the House on housing program.
Progress being made there is very unsatisfactory.
There is a feeling that the housing authority is taking all controls from
OPA and centering it under Wyatt.
Stated that the opposite was true.
Stated that there was no one more in favor of Wyatt's program than Bowles.
He believes that that should answer the objection raised by Sec. Anderson.
Unless some clarification on premium amendment in the House is made it will
be defeated. Requested that the President urge passage.
Deplores overlapping in federal agencies. He believes there should be one
over-all housing agency. Says each agency is asking for money on the basis
of essential housing construction.
Drew comparison between WPB during the war and Wyatt's position now. WPB
was coordinating agency. 50% of its work was done by the War and Navy
Departments. If it was handled in any other way the job would be unwieldy
and would bring about unnecessary duplication in work.
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