Published: Jan 1947
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The growing international tension of the years 1937 to 1940 gave rise to American military concern over the strategic requirements for rubber. In the latter part of this period, shortly before the beginning of hostilities, arrangements were consummated between the United States and Great Britain for the exchange of 500,000 bales of cotton for 90,000 tons of natural rubber. Before this tonnage had reached our shores, the United States Government authorized the Reconstruction Finance Corp. to purchase even larger quantities of rubber. This corporation, in turn, established the Rubber Reserve Co. to handle this task on June 28, 1940. The seriousness of the supply situation for the United States is indicated by the fact that by the end of the year 1939, there were only 125,000 long tons of natural rubber on hand. Rubber Reserve Co. was very active in 1940 to 1941 and contracted for the purchase of 800,000 long tons of natural rubber during this period. The increased civilian use of rubber prevented the total accumulation of this amount for stockpile purposes, so that, as a result, at the end of 1941 the country stockpile amounted to 503,000 long tons, with 100,000 long tons additional afloat. This was less than one year's supply at the best prewar consumption rate, and also considerably less than the 700,000 long tons per year required for military and civilian requirements. In May of 1941 Rubber Reserve entered into contract with the four major rubber companies to construct synthetic rubber capacity to the extent of 40,000 long tons annual rate. During the first half of 1942, plant capacity was increased to the astounding total of 805,000 long tons, consisting of 705,000 tons of GR-S, 60,000 tons of GR-I, and 40,000 tons of GR-M.
Hucks, W. R.
Deputy Director, Office of Rubber Reserve, Reconstruction Finance Corp., Washington, D. C.,