August 11, 1943

Move Considered for Rationing
CHICAGO, Ill.—The Office of Price Administration (OPA) is considering the use of glass or plastic tokens in place of printed stamps for small-denomination ration stamps. Speaking Monday at the National Association of Retail Meat Dealers meeting, the head of the OPA meat rationing division ,Walter H. Balsom, said stamps require too much printing and clerical work. “Tokens will maximize the use of war ration books…since they will only contain stamps of larger denominations,” he stated. He went on to acknowledge a disadvantage of the proposed plan, which is the tokens would not expire. This could lead to hoarding or the sharing of tokens with others. The OPA is not committed to the plan, however, Balsom stressed.

August 4, 1943

6.5M Could Be Reclassified Eligible
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Paul V. McNutt, head of the War Manpower Commission (WMC), on Monday issued authorization to local draft boards to begin reclassifying fathers of children born before September 15, 1942, as eligible for selective service. This move will affect 6,599,000 men currently classified as III-A. These men will be available for the draft beginning October 1 of this year. It is estimated around 300,000 men will be needed from this pool to fulfill the military’s needs in October, November, and December of this year. There is opposition in Congress to the reclassification. Two bills are currently under review that would address the issue, but Congress is not in session and would only have sixteen days after the recess to act before the drafting commences.

July 23, 1943

Corn-on-Cob Season Periled!
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Office of Price Administration (OPA) yesterday announced the ration-point value of butter will increase from eight to ten effective August 1. The news comes as the nation enters prime corn-on-the-cob season. The OPA stated demand for butter has been approximately five per cent higher than the allotment for civilian use. The increase in points is necessary to curb demand before supply reaches an “…uncomfortably low…” level. At the same time, the OPA is reducing the point value for shortening, lard, and oils by one point each to increase demand for those items. The point value for margarine remains unchanged. The current supply of lard and oils exceeds the allotment by the War Food Administration (WFA).

July 21, 1943

Admiral’s Statement Shocks the Nation
WASHINGTON, D.C—The Navy is planning for the Pacific war to last into 1949, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Vice Admiral Frederic Horne said today, informing that the Navy has plans to wage war until then. His statement shocked the country. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox reinforced the vice chief by warning against " almost criminally careless belief that the war has already been won...", but stressed "...we can win before that time." When asked about the admiral’s statement, Director of War Mobilization James F. Byrnes did not contradict the admiral, but said, "If anyone else is planning on that basis, I do not know that they are."

July 14, 1943

Black Market in Eggs a Problem
WASHINGTON, D.C—The War Food Administration (WFA) announced today the allocations for civilian use of canned foodstuff. Of the supply of canned vegetables and soups, seventy per cent will be designated for civilians. Of the supply of canned fruits and juices, fifty-three per cent will be for civilians. These allocations, which will be for the next twelve months, are slightly less than current. Meanwhile, The Producers’ Price Current publication from the New York Mercantile Exchange is reporting egg purchases “…continue to fall off steadily…more rapidly than production is dropping.” It went on to say the logical conclusion is the development of a black market for eggs. This comes only three days after the Office of Price Administration (OPA) set the price ceiling for eggs on the Eastern Seaboard.

June 30, 1943

Name Change to WAC Part of Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The White House yesterday received a bill from the Senate to place all members of the WAACs into the regular army for the duration of the war plus six months. The move would place its members under standard army regulations and make them eligible for pensions and other benefits entitled to regular army members. Included in the bill is a name change from Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) to Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Also included is a raise in the maximum age from 45 to 50. Prior to the Senate passing the bill, it had been stalled due to a difference with the House bill related to benefits and the total number of members. The House bill had set a limit of 150,000 on the strength. However, at the insistence of the Senate, the final bill has no ceiling and the Secretary of War has the discretion to determine the strength needed.

June 23, 1943

State Governors United in Criticism
COLUMBUS, O.—At the annual Governor’s Conference here today, formal condemnation was declared on “…any group in America…” engaging in a strike that affects “…essential war industries…” The resolution was adopted by unanimous vote of the states’ governors at the thirty-fifth annual conference. The efforts by labor and business to resolve disputes through arbitration to avoid strikes was praised. The governors urged state and federal agencies involved in resolving these disputes to “…act promptly and fairly…” in concluding the issues. Also discussed at the conference was the need to begin planning now for post-war labor and economic issues.

June 16, 1943

FDR Supports Food Subsidies
WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Franklin D. Roosevelt rejected a Senate proposal on Monday and then a House proposal yesterday to create a “food czar” to oversee matters related to production and distribution of food. Instead, the president stated his support for a subsidy program to keep food prices low. Prentiss M. Brown, chief of the Office of Price Administration (OPA), yesterday stated that it would be impossible to maintain affordable food without subsidies. The suggested cost for subsidies is from $1,500,000 to $2,000,000, but those are merely estimates at this point. Indications are Congress is sharply divided on the issue, with some members supporting a “food czar” and some supporting subsidies.

June 9, 1943

Clashes with Sailors in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The Skidrow section of Los Angeles was the site of fighting yesterday between navy personnel and toughs known as zoot-suiters. Seaman Donald Jackson was stabbed and three others received severe beatings. Last night’s rioting marked the third day of clashes between military personnel and the fancifully clad hoodlums. The gangs are mostly composed of Mexicans, and are easily identified by their wide-brimmed hats; long coats; and high-waisted, ankle-hugging pants. The primary gangs involved include the Thirty-eighth Street Gang, the Mateo Bombers, the Main Street Zooters, and the Black Legion. Military authorities have declared the area where the rioting has occurred off-limits to soldiers, sailors, and marines. This area lies east of Main Street to the city limits of Montebello and from North Street north to the Los Angeles River.

June 2, 1943

Black Market Also Targeted
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Office of Price Administration (OPA) yesterday announced a sharp cut in the value of gasoline coupons in the area of shortage on the eastern seaboard. The cuts, which are effective as of today, involve B and C coupons. The value of these coupons drops from three gallons to two and one-half gallons. Price administrator Prentiss M. Brown stated, “These measures…represent a severe tightening of the gasoline program in the critical shortage area.” In addition to these cuts, T coupons will be reissued to combat black marketeers who buy up these stamps from taxi and truck operators who have a surplus at the end of a quarter and resell them to the public. The reissue will render all existing T coupons invalid, including those already in the hands of black marketeers.

May 26, 1943

New Technology To Be on Liberty Ships
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The War Department yesterday announced successful testing of a helicopter’s ability to take off from and land on the deck of a merchant ship. Helicopters are a new aircraft technology that allow vertical take-offs and landings, thus eliminating the need for an airstrip. This technology will soon be equipped on Liberty ships to provide an anti-submarine weapon to vital to convoys. Rear Admiral Howard L. Vickery indicated a small deck will be installed on Liberty ships to “…permit helicopters to be used at sea, thus giving ships added protection from submarines.” Vickery is vice chairman of the Maritime Commission and deputy war administrator. The announcement by the War Department contradicts recent statements by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox indicating the range and load capacity of helicopters is too limiting to be useful as an anti-submarine weapon.

May 19, 1943

Underground Has Plan for Invasion
LONDON, England—Resistance continues in France against Nazi conscription of Frenchmen for labor. Deportation has been almost completely halted by the actions of wives and daughters of those conscripted, claims Fernand Grenier in a statement issued yesterday. The women are laying across the tracks ahead of trains carrying the conscripted. Grenier cites reports from the Vichy government that state “…between 50 and 80 per cent of the workers conscripted for German factories fail to go. He also claims the French underground has organized a seven-point plan for actions to be taken once the Allied invasion of Europe begins. This includes centralizing command of all resistance groups, labor strikes at all economic and industrial locations, seizing all public buildings, and preventing Vichy military and police from interfering with Allied activities.

May 12, 1943

U.S. Out-Producing World in Planes
WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Franklin D. Roosevelt yesterday claimed the production of airplanes by the United States is greater than the output of the rest of the world. Mr. Roosevelt’s claim was supported with “by weight” figures, not total units of production. He said that one heavy bomber is equivalent to several light planes, so by weight is a better measure of true output than unit numbers. The War Production Board (WPB) today stated “…the United States at last has the machine tools and capital equipment it needs to build production to beat the Axis…” and ordered a cutback in war plant construction and manufacture of machine tools. The WPB acknowledged this will result in some temporary shutdowns and unemployment.

May 5, 1943

Dead, Injured After Blast and Fire
ELKTON, Md.—The Triumph Explosives, Inc., munitions complex here was rocked yesterday by an explosion and following fire that left at least thirteen and perhaps as many as twenty-five people dead. Dozens were injured as well. Estimates on the number of injured range from sixty to as high as one hundred and twenty-five. The blast occurred at about 3 p.m. Eastern War Time (EWT). Emergency responders, Red Cross members, and civil defense workers rushed to the scene from as far away as Pennsylvania and Delaware. The president of Triumph, Benjamin F. Pepper, stated the army, navy, and Federal Bureau of Investigation have begun an investigation of the incident. Pepper indicated “…more than one building was involved…” at the complex, and reports are at least six buildings were damaged.

April 28, 1943

Fills Shots for Black Market Fight
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Office of Price Administration (OPA) yesterday announced plans to curb what it calls a black market in diminishing supplies of spirits for consumption. The move comes on the heels of accusations last week by Andrew Jackson May, democratic representative from Kentucky, claiming four large distilleries in his state are engaged in violations of price ceilings. May claims these “big four” distilleries are buying up the smaller distilleries in the state and using their outputs to net illegal profits. This is done by discontinuing lines of low-priced whiskeys and substituting higher-priced lines made by blending bourbon blended with neutral spirits. Deputy price administrator J.K. Galbraith sent a letter to Representative May outlining the OPA’s plans for setting profit margins for wholesale and retail whiskey and establishing flat prices for new blends of the spirit. Galbraith confirmed that one of the distilleries against which May levied accusations is “…now under investigation for its sale of ‘cut whiskies’ at higher prices…”.