Food Supplies and Rationing

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Food Supplies and Rationing

The Cabinet discussed the serious difficulties of food supplies, in the main, caused by the lack of supplies of wheat from abroad particularly the US, this lead to rationing.  There was also a lack of raw materials and consumer goods.  All these subjects were discussed throughout 1946.

The following extracts give a flavour of what was said in Cabinet:

P.M.

Smaller loaf. 10.000 t. p. month}
Distilling 10.000 t. p. month} Total savings perhaps 32.000 t. p. month
Beer 10.000 t. p month}

B.S.

Saving in these 3 = 137.000 t to end/Sept. Extractn rate 21/2 wd. yield the same. Beer cut wd. lose 40.000 t of brewers' grains.

A.B.

Our med. advisers say no harm in going to 871/2% - tho' I agree with

T.W.

re agric. arguemts. against.

E.B.

Think it wd. be enough to do smaller loaf at this stage. That can be represented as 121/2% cut. Enough to match U.S. economics. Consider other economics later.

P.M.

Doubt if we shd. stop there.

J.

Why not do biscuits also?

E.B.

Can't turn on to any other food in U.K.

P.M.

Case for cutting beer - do that + smaller loaf. Beer is 28% up on pre-war: but (B.S.) the 28% is water.

E.B.

Then cut it by 10% only, not 20%.
Agreed: Introduce 13/41b loaf at 41/2d.
Cut beer production to 90% of pre-war.

J.S.

Warning. Deteriorations due largely to U.S. policy - more irresponsible & isolationist. Exports going to countries of their preference. Wheat - another memo. next week. 1.8 wheat equivalent last year: 1M. to-day. We want from U.S. 800.000 t out of their total export of ? 200m tons. Can. & Arg. so uncertain we must get assurance of something fr. U.S. Need also for agreement on rice price: & means of getting it fr. Siam. Meat & bacon rations can't be m'tained w'out U.S. help. Unless we get U.S. help our food situation in '47 will be worse than any year during the war. Wheat & fats: meat & bacon: rice - grand remonstrance to U.S. at high level after their elections. E.B. to head it off with Byrnes: then conference, which I wd. have to attend. Can't be done by officials for only argument we have is effects on their for. policy. I might go over in mid-Nov.

H.M.

Selfish policy of U.S.A. unilateral redn of extraction rate. Extravagant use of fats, linseed oil. R.S.C. Possible misunderstanding in State Dpt. re wheat contract with Canada- that it covers more than our pre-war total imports.

J.S.

There is hostility to that contract: hence readiness to misunderstand. Need for clearer understanding with U.S. T.W. We suffer fr. decision not to publish figures. We must soon tell the world the truth - & shame the U.S. P.M. Winter sowing in Europe?

J.S.

Don't know: no reason why they shdn't continue their recovery. Will it be wise to approach U.S. for sake of U.K. alone. Might court rebuff.

A.B.

Supported proposal for publn of full figures. Turn the heat on that way. Make U.S. public face the facts.

P.M.

No publicity before Elections. Face them then with world position - not U.K. alone. We cd. feed U.K. if we ignored dependencies - 1.8 m tons required for them. C.J. Food prodn in Colonies. Action being taken. Lack of consumer goods. Will submit memo. on Africa.

J.S.

I will give E.B. a brief for his approach to Byrnes. a) what we want from U.S. I can give that briefly. But b) he wants to put the overall world picture. That can't be short. That approach will be private & personal. A.V.A. Publication of facts. We must keep our own people informed. The longer you delay, the heavier the pol. attack on controls, Govt. buying etc. Must get this across. Set this v. E.B.'s desire for secrecy. A. Can prepare & w'hold until after U.S. elects. But publish then. "Why are we worse off than in war?" We must answer that Big effort on alternative sources.

E.B.

I don't object: only asked no publicity for my approach to Byrnes.

R.S.C.

But publn of facts will reflect on U.S.

E.B.

Doesn't matter if you don't attack U.S.

J.S.

Publcn of our wheat stocks? H.M. We must get conscience of U.S. public stirred & shamed somehow. Maybe not by offl. publn: but at least by not officially suppressing informn.

Taken from C.M. 37(46)(2) - Meeting held on 24 April 1946

J.S.

Warning. Deteriorations due largely to U.S. policy - more irresponsible & isolationist. Exports going to countries of their preference. Wheat - another memo. next week. 1.8 wheat equivalent last year: 1M. to-day. We want from U.S. 800.000 t out of their total export of ? 200m tons. Can. & Arg. so uncertain we must get assurance of something fr. U.S. Need also for agreement on rice price: & means of getting it fr. Siam. Meat & bacon rations can't be m'tained w'out U.S. help. Unless we get U.S. help our food situation in '47 will be worse than any year during the war. Wheat & fats: meat & bacon: rice - grand remonstrance to U.S. at high level after their elections.

E.B.

to head it off with Byrnes: then conference, which I wd. have to attend. Can't be done by officials for only argument we have is effects on their for. policy. I might go over in mid-Nov.

H.M.

Selfish policy of U.S.A. unilateral redn of extraction rate. Extravagant use of fats, linseed oil. R.S.C. Possible misunderstanding in State Dpt. re wheat contract with Canada- that it covers more than our pre-war total imports.

J.S.

There is hostility to that contract: hence readiness to misunderstand. Need for clearer understanding with U.S.

T.W.

We suffer fr. decision not to publish figures. We must soon tell the world the truth - & shame the U.S.

P.M.

Winter sowing in Europe? J.S. Don't know: no reason why they shdn't continue their recovery. Will it be wise to approach U.S. for sake of U.K. alone. Might court rebuff.

A.B.

Supported proposal for publn of full figures. Turn the heat on that way. Make U.S. public face the facts.

P.M.

No publicity before Elections. Face them then with world position - not U.K. alone. We cd. feed U.K. if we ignored dependencies - 1.8 m tons required for them.

C.J.

Food prodn in Colonies. Action being taken. Lack of consumer goods. Will submit memo. on Africa.

J.S.

I will give E.B. a brief for his approach to Byrnes.
a) what we want from U.S. I can give that briefly. But b) he wants to put the overall world picture. That can't be short. That approach will be private & personal. A.V.A. Publication of facts. We must keep our own people informed. The longer you delay, the heavier the pol. attack on controls, Govt. buying etc. Must get this across. Set this v. E.B.'s desire for secrecy.

A.

Can prepare & w'hold until after U.S. elects. But publish then. "Why are we worse off than in war?" We must answer that Big effort on alternative sources.

E.B.

I don't object: only asked no publicity for my approach to Byrnes.

R.S.C.

But publn of facts will reflect on U.S.

E.B.

Doesn't matter if you don't attack U.S.

J.S.

Publcn of our wheat stocks? H.M. We must get conscience of U.S. public stirred & shamed somehow. Maybe not by offl. publn: but at least by not officially suppressing informn. Taken from C.M. 91(46) - Meeting held on 25 October 1946