International Control of Essential Materials

March 21, 1951

Report Outline
Row Material in the Defense Emergency
World Distribution of Essential Materials
International Sharing of Raw Materials
Special Focus

Row Material in the Defense Emergency

Activity on Problem of Row-Material Shortages

Means of bringing about, through international action, increased production and fair distribution of raw materials essential to defense of the free world are now under intensive consideration in Washington. Actual or threatened shortages of numerous strategic materials, induced primarily by the vastly expanded rearmament programs of the United States and other nations, have made it urgently necessary to allocate available supplies to the points of greatest need while searching for methods of stimulating production of scarce commodities.

To examine all phases of the problem and devise measures for meeting it, the United States, Great Britain, and France jointly have been organizing an International Materials Conference, composed of a central group or steering committee and a series of commodity committees representing the principal producing and consuming countries. Since the end of February, five of the initial six commodity committees, on one or another of which a total of 22 countries are represented, have held their first meetings in Washington. With this spadework getting under way, the question is due to come up shortly in another international forum. Production and distribution of materials in short supply is one of the subjects to be discussed by the foreign ministers of the American republics when they convene in Washington Mar. 26 to consult on hemisphere cooperation in the present emergency.

While plans are being laid for comprehensive, if belated, international action to deal with the gap between supply and demand of raw materials, the National Production Authority has been taking steps on the domestic front to limit non-military use of certain commodities. And other government agencies have moved to encourage exploration for new deposits of strategic and critical minerals in this country and to step up production of synthetic or substitute materials. In general, however, such action has been slow in materializing. The Preparedness subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, appointed last July to exercise “continuous watchfulness” over national defense matters, has issued several reports in which it has sharply criticized the action, or lack of action, of various executive agencies and called for more aggressive policies with respect to the supply of particular raw materials.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Natural Resources
May 11, 2018  Water Crisis in the West
Dec. 20, 2011  The Resource Curse
Dec. 09, 2011  Water Crisis in the West
Jan. 18, 2011  Disappearing Forests
Aug. 2008  Race for the Arctic
Feb. 2008  Looming Water Crisis
Oct. 28, 1988  The Battle for Natural Resources
Mar. 21, 1951  International Control of Essential Materials
Oct. 11, 1935  Raw Materials and World Peace
Exports and Imports
International Law and Agreements
Mineral Industries