Government War Plants

October 22, 1943

Report Outline
Problems Posed by Government-Owned War Plants
Disposal of War Plants After World War I
War Plants and the National Economy
Orderly Disposal of War Plants
Special Focus

Problems Posed by Government-Owned War Plants

Calls for Early Declaration of Postwar Policy

The future of government-financed war plants, brought into being or largely expanded since 1940 to supply the needs of the fighting forces of the United States and its allies in the present war, is emerging as a leading postwar problem. The government investment in industrial facilities for war purposes is estimated to represent one-fifth of the entire productive capital of the nation. Present government holdings range from more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the machine tool industry to more than 90 per cent of the productive facilities of the aircraft, shipbuilding, and explosives industries. The uses to be made of these vast properties after the war—whether they areto be operated by the government or by private enterprise, whether they are to be held in a standby condition or to be junked—will have important bearings upon the future of private business in many lines and upon the menacing problem of postwar unemployment.

The importance of coming to grips with son of the problems presented by the government's acquisitions of industrial properties during the war has received increased emphasis from business leaders during recent months. Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., chairman of the board of the General Motors Corporation, said in an address, October 11, before the Economic Club of Detroit that the government now has an investment of more than $15 billion in wartime industrial plants and equipment.

What could be more helpful [he continued] than a declaration of policy that, aside from such plants as might he needed as a standby for the future, the balance would be made available to private enterprise? And what could be more constructive than to establish the essential procedure outlining how that is to be done? Industry could then, where possible, integrate such plants into its postwar planning thus placing them in productive use in the shortest possible space of time and expanding the number of job opportunities … We should establish the rules now, whatever they must be.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World War II Demobilization
Nov. 18, 1950  Conservation of War Materials
Jan. 04, 1946  Future of Light Metals
Jul. 21, 1945  Aid to Displaced War Workers
Dec. 06, 1944  War Veterans and Employment
Nov. 11, 1944  Reconversion of Agriculture
Jul. 28, 1944  Priorities in Demobilization
May 16, 1944  Termination of War Contracts
Jan. 17, 1944  Lend-Lease Settlements
Nov. 30, 1943  Disposal of Surplus War Materials
Nov. 11, 1943  Military Government of Occupied Territory
Oct. 22, 1943  Government War Plants
Sep. 27, 1943  Termination of War Controls
Aug. 21, 1943  Demobilization
Defense Industry
Privatization of Government Functions