Press Release Issued by the White House on October 15, 194024

The President on October 10 approved an act which confers on him authority to requisition arms, ammunition, implements of war, machine tools, and other articles and materials which are needed for the national defense.

Under the Neutrality Acts of 1935,25 1936,26 1937,27 and 1939,28 and under the Export Control Act of July 2, 1940,28a certain articles and materials needed for the national defense have been subject to the export-licensing system. Since the passage of the last-named act, many applications for licenses have been refused as a result of decisions by the Administrator of Export Control that the proposed exportation would be contrary to the interests of the national defense. The articles or materials for which export licenses have been refused have in many cases already been sold and the title has passed to a foreign purchaser. It has been found that, in some of these cases, purchasers did not desire to sell the article or material in the United States or, because they were acting in a representative capacity, they were not legally in a position to do so. This situation has been particularly acute in the case of some exportations of machine tools. A great many of these tools for which export licenses have been refused are especially needed to meet national-defense requirements.

The President on October 15 issued an Executive order28b directing the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, acting jointly through the agency of the Army and Navy Munitions Board, to determine the necessity for the requisitioning of any equipment, munitions, or machinery, tools, materials, or supplies necessary for the manufacture of munitions, or the servicing, or operation of facilities for the national defense, and to determine whether in any case it is in the public interest to sell, or otherwise dispose of, any of the articles and materials so requisitioned. The administration of the other provisions of the act has been vested in the Administrator of Export Control.

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The President at the same time issued the necessary regulations for the carrying out of his Executive order.28c

As a result of his approval of this act and the issuance of this Executive order and these regulations, the President is assured the use of the critical articles and materials required in the national-defense program which might otherwise be unobtainable.

  1. Reprinted from Department of State, Bulletin, October 19, 1940 (vol. iii, No. 69), p. 313.
  2. Approved August 31, 1935; 49 Stat. 1081.
  3. Approved February 29, 1936; 49 Stat. 1152.
  4. Approved May 1, 1937; 50 Stat. 121.
  5. Approved November 4, 1939; 54 Stat. 4.
  6. 54 Stat. 712.
  7. No. 8567; Federal Register, October 18, 1940 (vol. 5, No. 204), p. 4121.
  8. Ibid., p. 4122.