The United States in the World War

By John Bach McMaster | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
RATIONING AND FIGHTING

THESE acts having been approved by the President, steps to put them in force were promptly taken. By one proclamation November 1 was named as the day whereon, under the provisions of the Food-Control Act, cold storage warehouse owners, operators of grain elevators, warehouses, and other places for storing grain, and sellers of a long list of food products whose gross sales exceeded $100,000 a year must obtain licenses to carry on their business. By another the provisions of the Trading-with-the-Enemy Act were put in force and the War Trade Board, the War Trade Council, and the Censorship Board to control all communication between the United States and foreign countries by cables, telegraph or mail were established. Under this Act a custodian was appointed to take care of all property in the United States owned by enemies, or allies of enemies. Each enemy or ally of an enemy doing business in the United States was required to obtain a license to continue in business; citizens of the United States were forbidden to trade without a license with any person there was reason to believe was an enemy or an ally of an enemy; and every newspaper printed in a foreign language must furnish to the Postmaster General English translations of all it printed concerning the war, unless a license not to do so was obtained.

The provision touching newspapers the Postmaster General at once put in force; but assured them that none need fear suppression unless the bounds of fair criticism of the President, the Administration, the army, the navy, the conduct of the war were passed. He would, he said, take great care not to let criticism, personally or politically offensive to the Administration, affect his action. But if newspapers attacked the motives of the Government and thereby encouraged insubordination they would be dealt with severely. They would not be allowed

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