Silver in the War Effort

October 17, 1942

Report Outline
Silver as a Strategic War Material
Treasury Stockpile of Silver
New Industrial Uses of Silver
Special Focus

Silver as a Strategic War Material

Treasury Stocks and the Demand for Silver

Silver has been elevated to the rank of a strategic war material by shortages of tin and aluminum and other metals for -which it serves as a substitute-and notably by a developing shortage of copper, which may prove a more serious obstruction to the war effort than the existing shortage of rubber.

With the emergence of important war uses for silver, the supply in the market has fallen far short of meeting industrial requirements. The obvious recourse is to the Treasury's large stockpile of silver bullion, but government-held stocks of silver cannot be brought into full use without additional legislation by Congress.

Last spring, at the request of the War Production Board, the Treasury agreed to “lend-lease” any or all of its “free “silver to the Defense Plants Corporation for war purposes. Free silver-that is, silver not pledged as security for outstanding silver certificates-constitutes about half the stocks of the metal stored at West Point and in other Treasury vaults. Under the lend-lease arrangement, however, this silver may be used only for purposes in which the metal itself is not consumed, thus making it possible to return it to the Treasury when the war emergency has passed. For the more important war uses, in which the metal would not be recoverable, the Treasury can release none of its stocks under present legislation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World WarII Raw Materials
Oct. 17, 1942  Silver in the War Effort
Oct. 03, 1942  European Food Resources
Sep. 14, 1942  Concentration of Production
Aug. 01, 1942  Rubber Supplies and Replacements
Jun. 05, 1942  Access to Raw Materials
Oct. 30, 1941  Enforcement of World Peace
Sep. 04, 1940  Problems of Tin and Rubber Supply
Feb. 08, 1940  Economic Weapons in the European War
U.S. at War: World War II
War and Conflict
World War II