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Why "War Ration Book No. 1"?

War Ration Clippings

By Richard M. Boeckel

War Ration Book No. 1 -- first in the history of the United States -- will shortly be issued to consumers. It will limit their purchases of sugar -- beginnning around the middle of March -- to 12 ounces per individual per week. Use of sugar by industrial consumers has already been limited to 80 per cent of the amounts they used in 1941 and will be further restricted after family rationing is placed in effect.

The reasons for sugar-rationing are fairly well known to the American people. Japanese occupation of the Philippines has cut off the supply formerly received from that source. Sugar cargoes from Hawaii will be cut about in half by the need to conserve shipping, and by the diversion of labor to military work. Considerable amounts of sugar must be used to meet minimum requirements of other nations fighting the Axis, and some may be sent to mediterranean countries and the Near East to replace supplies formerly received from Japan.

The Reconstruction Finance Corporation has contracted to purchase the entire Cuban sugar output for the year 1942, but one million tons will be delivered in the form of high-test molasses, for manufacturing industrial alchohol, and will not be available for consumption as refined sugar.

The prices to be paid for Cuban sugar is $2.65 a hundred pounds, which is equivalen to $3.74, duty paid, at New York. Price Administrator Henderson fixed the price of raw sugar at $3.50 per hundred pounds last August, but the ceiling was raised to $3.74 after the R.F.C. sugar-purcase contract had been signed. With the raw product selling at $3.74, prices of refined sugar at retail should not exceed 7 cents a poind.

Sugar-consumption in the United States approximated 8,000,000 tons in 1941. The Office of Price Administration estimates that only 5,300,000 tons will be available for 1942. All Government restrictions on planting have been removed, but the supply available from beet areas in 1942 is expected to decline about 200,000 tons, due to last year's restrictions of acreage. Sugar from this year's beet crop will begin to reach the market in November and December, but expanded production from additional cane-plantings will not become available until 1943.

Notwithstanding the shortage, new marketing quotas were proclaimed last December which purport to limit the amount of sugar that may be sold in the United States in 1942 to about 8,000,000 tons -- including a quoate of 1,237,764 tons for the Philippines and 1,127,420 tons for Hawaii. The unreality of these allotments under present circumstances leads to a belief that they will shortly be suspended and that no attempt to reimpose the quaota system will be made until after the ward ends.

The amount estimated to be available for 1942 will permit a per capita consumption of about 80 pounds a year, compare with 120 pounds in 1941. Nutrition experts have estimated that a per capita consumption of 65 points a year is adequate to meet all health requirements. Under the rationing system being devised for industrial users, smallest amount of sugar are to be allowed manufacturers of confectionery, beverages and tobacco.

Sugar experts assert that very much larger supplies of sugar can be obtained than the amouonts estimated by the Office of Price Administration, but large quantities of labor, materials, machinery, rail transportation and shipping-space would be needed to raise the supply to the 1941 level of consumption. In these circumstances, Washington may be content to allow present conditions of shortage to continue for an indefinite periond.

(Editorial Research Reports)

[Date Unknown, 1942]

 

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