Truman Statements of 7 June 1945 related to the Transportation Problem

The President's News Conference
June 7, 1945

[excerpt begins]

THE PRESIDENT: I want to say something to you about the transportation situation that we are facing now, on account of the redeployment situation.

Colonel Johnson was in to see me yesterday, and told me very plainly that we were going to have to meet this transportation situation in 10 months. We have only a third smaller job to do than the one which has just been finished, and it took--that was over a period of 48 months. This will be over a period of 10 months; that is, to transfer all our armed forces across the United States and the deployment in the Pacific--redeployment in the Pacific. The first transportation job was considered a miracle, and this one ahead of us is even bigger.

And I want to impress it on our citizens that their best contribution in this case will be to stay at home.

I have written a letter to Colonel Johnson on the subject, and a statement will be available when you go out. But that is most important, that redeployment transportation situation. It is going to strain every facility we have, in order to get it done on time.

[excerpt ends]

Source:
Harry S. Truman: "The President's News Conference," June 7, 1945.
Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=12215

Letter to the Director, Office of Defense Transportation,
Concerning Redeployment of the Armed Forces.
June 7, 1945

Dear Colonel Johnson:

The transportation facilities of the nation are now called upon for the most gigantic task in all the history of transportation. The American armies must be moved from the victorious battlefields of Europe to meet and wipe out the tyranny of the East. In order to do this job most of our soldiers will be transported the full length of the American continent.

It required every transportation ingenuity to assemble our armies in Europe over a period of four years. This time the job is to be done in ten months. The contemplation of this task would overtax our faith if we had not found during the course of this war that the impossible has become our daily job.

I am asking you to extend my congratulations to all of our transportation agencies--and their millions of workers--on the results they have accomplished. At the same time express my confidence in them for the greater effort that lies ahead.

Sincerely yours,

HARRY S. TRUMAN

[The Honorable J. Monroe Johnson, Director, Office of Defense Transportation]

Source:
Harry S. Truman: "Letter to the Director, Office of Defense Transportation, Concerning Redeployment of the Armed Forces.," June 7, 1945.
Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=12212

Statement by the President on the Transportation Problem.
June 7, 1945

ALL TOO FEW realize the transportation difficulties which are now developing and which will continue well into 1946. It is important that the public understand the situation and at once lend full cooperation in order that the burden may be minimized.

The transportation performance in mobilizing our victorious in Europe over a period of four long, difficult years required the effort. The plan of battle now requires that our armies be transferred to the far Pacific in the very short time of 10 months. We must now complete in 10 months a task that is only one-third less than the previous job which required nearly 48 months. The transportation job in the first phase of the war has often been called a "miracle." The job ahead of us is even bigger.

The facilities for civilian passenger transportation will be greatly reduced. In order to obtain passenger equipment for troop movements, it will probably be necessary to reduce the capacity of sleeping car equipment on regular trains by 50 percent. Men in uniform, other than on troop movements, now comprise about one-third of the passengers on a regular train. If the number of these travelers in uniform remained constant, a 50 percent reduction in sleeping car capacity on regular trains would mean that only one out of four of the civilians now using this equipment could do so in the future. But the number of travelers in uniform will be greatly increased.

In addition, war material moving to the Pacific will be more than twice as much as heretofore. This tremendous increase must move over the western railroads, which are already loaded to capacity.

Thus the various transportation restrictions will not only be retained but undoubtedly increased. Those asking for relaxation of the restrictions are asking for the impossible.

The situation requires the cooperation and self-denial of all users of transportation. The speed with which our men and munitions can be carried to within striking distance of Japan will largely determine how long the war must continue. I know that every American wants to add his effort to that of the millions of transportation workers on whom this grave responsibility rests.

Remember, the returning soldier is here for a few days on his way from one conflict to another.

Source:
Harry S. Truman: "Statement by the President on the Transportation Problem.," June 7, 1945.
Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=12211