BARUCH sat on his famous park bench one day in the late spring of 1942 wearing an intent but frustrated expression. Two men were sitting by him, talking earnestly. Baruch was silent. He didn't understand a single idea either of the men was expressing. Every sentence contained some technical term or formula that escaped him. The two men were James B. Conant and Earl T. Compton, who with Baruch constituted the special committee just appointed by the President to work out some solution for the rubber problem.
"When you fellows get through talking Chinese," Baruch finally broke in, "please let me know, as I believe then we can go ahead and declare a dividend."
Baruch had been seeking a solution to this country's rubber problem for nearly forty years. In the hope of a profit he had sent expeditions all over the world and had actually begun profitable production in Mexico, from guayule, though the revolution had put an end to it. Then from 1934 right up to the outbreak of the war he had urged stockpiling of this precious substance but had been only partly successful in bringing about government action.
When, shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Army, Navy, bus and truck operators, and civilians were all frightened to death that there would not be enough tires, he was the logical man to head any group assigned to study the problem.
The committee reported that summer. There is space here for