October 14, 1947 – a snapshot of the Postwar world. This was a Tuesday in 1947, and that meant Meatless Tuesday if you lived in America on this day. Food rationing was a reality, and it wasn’t just meat being in short supply. There was Poultry and eggless Thursday. Americans were asked to cut down their intake of meat, so that supplies could go to Europe during their period of reconstruction. Trouble was, not everyone complied with Meatless days – in fact, butcher shops in several cities around the country reported just as brisk, if not more brisk business in selling fresh cuts of Beef on this day than before. But the general assessment was, meat consumption was down – and because this was the second week of meatless days, the situation was sure to get better.
Labor was also in the picture, with the AFofL holding their annual meeting in San Francisco, and the CIO meeting in Boston. Both unions expressed concern about the current state of Foreign affairs and the ever-increasing atmosphere of Cold War existing between the U.S. and Russia. And since President Truman‘s Foreign relief program (the Marshall Plan) was in the process of being introduced to Capitol Hill, the unions wholeheartedly supported it as a way of end-running Communist influence in Europe.
The subject of Labor also extended to issues at home with relation to living wages for Americans. In 1947, the prevailing minimum wage of .40 per hour. There was a bill in Congress proposing to raise the minimum wage to .65 an hour, with the proviso that it would be raised to .75 an hour within a year. Secretary of Labor Schwellenbach spoke to the CIO membership in Boston and said the current cost of living was so high, that .65 an hour was not nearly enough. Schwellenbach called for an immediate raising of the minimum wage to .75 – many thought this would wind up being a campaign position for Truman in the 1948 elections, just around the corner.
And at Lake Success, temporary home of the United Nations, UN Adviser John Foster Dulles presented the American plan to set up a permanent little Assembly. It brought an immediate rebuke from Andrei Vishinsky, who claimed it proved that Dulles was a War Monger, and he called the proposal “the work of reactionary circles”. Meanwhile, former Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, blasted Wartime Treasury Secretary Morgenthau, who said President Truman cut off Lend-Lease too abruptly. Byrnes reiterated the provision of the Yalta Conference, in that it stipulated Lend-Lease would end upon VJ day and that there was never any intention to carry it any further.
And that’s just a bit of what happened on this October 14, 1947, as presented by Pure Oil News Time over NBC Radio.