Cold War Jitters And Price Controls – December 3, 1947
Secretary of Agriculture Anderson predicted a dramatic rise in Meat prices for 1948 unless there was an unexpected falling off in demand for Meat without Price Controls. Anderson made the announcement during hearings with the Banking Committee on Capitol Hill this day. A Spring Meat shortage would invariably bring fantastic prices, Anderson went on, and he explained it would be the one thing that could spell disaster on the cost of living front. He stressed that Price Controls on Meat were imperative before the Spring. Anderson continued that, according to their findings, The Agriculture Department revealed that Americans were eating more meat in 1947 than before the Meatless Tuesdays were implemented, saying that meat being processed was some 300 million pounds per week before Meatless Tuesdays began. Now it was up to 400 million pounds per week and probably would go higher before the end of the year. However, Anderson pointed out that meat consumption went up over the Winter months which factored for the increased production. But he reaffirmed that despite the seasonal increase, controls needed to be implemented as soon as possible.
With all the domestic troubles, the extra added bonus of the Cold War atmosphere with Soviet Russia was the icing on a nervous cake. The House Foreign Affairs Committee sent out alarming news that Russia was out to conquer the world. Citing War Department figures that showed the Russian Army had over 4 million and that the satellite countries had an additional million troops ready, Committee Chairman Eaton was asked during the hearings what, with a combined European strength of less than 3 million including a U.S. troop strength in Europe of some 113,000, would prevent the Soviet Union from taking over all of Europe in less than 24 hours. Eaton replied: “not a thing”.
Concerns were multiplied by the ongoing labor troubles in France which many on Capitol Hill felt could be agitated by the Soviets in an attempt to turn France into a Communist satellite. All of this bay way of intimating U.S. Foreign Aid under the Marshall Plan might not have the desired effect of reconstruction, but rather making it easier for Communist takeover.
And so the fear went.
On the diplomatic front – a surprise announcement from Foreign Minister Molotov at the Ministers Conference in London suggesting a recess for two months during which each of the four powers were to prepare their own drafts of a German Peace Treaty and submit them to the council at end of that time. The proposal startled the diplomats and suggested some new move in Soviet tactics, but precisely what it was had the diplomats guessing. The only one offering a reply to the suggestion was French Foreign Minister Bidault. It was also learned that John Foster Dulles, the Republican adviser on the American staff was scheduled to leave for France to study the French situation in relation to current Foreign Policy and report later to Secretary Marshall. Some felt this was a preparatory step on a 3-way German Peace Treaty without Russia. The purpose of the Dulles visit was to drum up support from the De Gaulle forces that they would also support such a move. But France was in the midst of many strikes and dealing with the sabotage associated with those strikes.
Meanwhile, violence continued in Palestine between Jews and Arabs in the Holy land. Arab demonstrations against Partition extended across wide sections of the Middle East from Egypt to Iraq. In Palestine alone, at least 31 persons were killed; 17 Jews and 14 Arabs with the number of wounded reported to run into the hundreds.
All that, and a lot more for a seemingly uneventful December 3rd in 1947 as presented by NBC’s News Or World and News Of The World Night Special.