Editorial Note

On June 23, 1952, volume I of the Report of the President’s International Materials Policy Commission, entitled Resources for Freedom: A Report to the President, and an 81-page summary of that report under the same title were published. Four subsequent volumes, providing background material for the conclusions expressed in the first volume, were released later in 1952.

The International Materials Policy Commission, also called the Paley Commission after its chairman, William S. Paley, was established at the direction of the President on January 22, 1951, and was charged with determining the overall position of the United States with regard to its supply of raw materials necessary for national defense. The thrust of the Commission’s report was that minerals, more so than other raw materials, were in such demand and were thus rising so rapidly in price that there existed a threat to “undermine our rising standard of living, impair the dynamic quality of American capitalism, and weaken the economic foundations of national security.” In order to remove this threat, the report recommended that the United States acquire its minerals and other raw materials on the basis of “least cost,” regardless of whether the supplying source was domestic or foreign. This would require, according to the report, the stimulation of foreign trade and the repeal of the “Buy American” Act, which the Commission characterized as “a relic of depression psychology.”

On July 1, President Truman submitted the report to Congress for examination. He also directed the National Security Resources Board to conduct a continuing review of the entire materials situation and to establish a task force to suggest ways to implement the report, requested the views of other executive agencies on the report, and ordered the Bureau of the Budget to review the operations of the Executive branch with respect to the materials problem. Further documentation on the measures taken to implement the recommendations of the Paley Commission Report is in Department of State file 397.6. For additional information on the report and its receipt by President Truman, see the Department of State Bulletin, July 1, 1952, pages 54–60.