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War Economy

Immediate Reserve Requirements specified in March 1939

Immediate Reserve Requirements specified in March 1939

In 1939 it was quite hopeless to try to build up stocks generally. The emphasis shifted to provision of reserves of some of the more important commodities.

The Supply Control Committee at its third meeting, on 14 March 1939, recommended2 that a six months' reserve of the following imports should be purchased immediately:

Asbestos fibre Tenting material
Gypsum Tin
Lead Tinplate for use in dairying and meat industries and for petrol containers for the Air Department.
Nitrate of Soda
Rock phosphate
page 110

Of the following goods, a six months' reserve should be purchased as soon as definite particulars could be obtained of the quantities and kinds required:

Bags and sacks Cardboard
Replacement parts for sewing and weaving machines Salt
Soda Ash
Wire Tinplate, for packing

Goods of which a six months' reserve was desirable, but not absolutely necessary, were cotton piece goods and sewing threads.

For most of these commodities it had been left too late to build up a six months' supply before war broke out, even if import controls and shortages of overseas funds had not added to the difficulties.

2 Ibid., p. 46.