Economic Security and the Origins of the Cold War, 1945-1950

By Robert A. Pollard | Go to book overview

strong economy is in itself our greatest security asset," a PMPC staff member observed in the early stages of the commission's work. But "to the extent the United States turns increasingly abroad for supplies of important industrial materials we are confronted increasingly with security problems in event of war." 62

The Paley Commission forecast a geometrical growth in U.S. consumption of materials coupled with rising dependence on imported commodities. Generally, the PMPC opposed extensive governmental intervention in the marketplace. While the commission's experts forecast a doubling of energy requirements by 1975, they assumed that technical advances and substitutability among fuels would safeguard America's energy future.

To spur development of foreign materials, the PMPC favored greater U.S. private investment in the developing countries. Specifically, the commission recommended that Washington conclude FCN treaties and taxation conventions with the LDCs, offer technical aid to resource- rich countries, and create a permanent U.S foreign materials agency. (The PMPC also supported international agreements to stabilize commodity prices, a step that would have met a key demand of the LDCs.) Finally, the Paley Commission strongly advocated obtaining materials from least-cost sources. In effect, it rejected national self-sufficiency and endorsed free trade and interdependence in raw materials.

The PMPC recognized that private capital could not always fulfill the investment needs of the developing countries and that U.S. governmental aid was necessary to boost overseas mineral production. Reflecting the infighting within the Truman administration over Point IV, the Paley Commission failed to reach a consensus on the relative importance of the public and private sectors in foreign development. It was also symptomatic of the administration's policy toward materials questions as a whole that the PMPC's report was released too late ( June 1952) for the White House to implement any of its major recommendations. 63


Conclusion

The Second World War highlighted the strategic importance of minerals and the growing dependence of the United States upon foreign sources of them. Given its immense economic and military power, the United States probably could have met its raw material needs through a

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