GSA Logo Franklin D. Roosevelt and Conservation
Volume Two
VOLUME TWO: 1937-1945

Part V
The Fourth Term


WASHINGTON 6, D. C., January 21, 1945

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: When you told me at luncheon on Friday that you are going to take up the proposed Conference on conservation as a basis of permanent peace with Churchill and Stalin, I saw great things ahead and was more delighted than I can easily say.1 In view of that decision, would it be a good plan to make for you a rough preliminary list of subjects to be considered and get together some applicable facts about natural resources?

If you think it might be helpful, shall I go ahead, quietly and informally, and of course without publicity, and ask a few Government experts for needed assistance? For I am very far from knowing it all.

Another matter. I am deeply pleased and very grateful that you are willing to send a message to the Forest Service on its Fortieth Birthday. It is to be read on the afternoon of February first, on which day, forty years ago, Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill. I hope the enclosed draft may be of use.2

Warmest good wishes to you and yours from Leila and me, and a safe and successful journey.

Yours as always,


[Notation: A: TULLY] OK to prepare

[13:OF I—C:TS]

1There is no record of Pinchot having lunched at the White House on the preceding Friday (January 19). He may have seen Roosevelt on Friday, January 12, at Hyde Park. The President left for the Crimea Conference on Jan. 22, 1945. See below.

2Pinchot here referred to the passage of the act transferring the forest reserves from the Interior Department to the Agriculture Department, approved Feb. 1, 1905 (33 Stat. 628). The enclosed draft was revised by Roosevelt and sent as a letter of congratulations to Forest Service Chief Lyle F. Watts, Feb. 1, 1945 (OF I—C).


WASHINGTON 6, D. C., January 22, 1945

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: Here is the brief preliminary statement on the proposed Conservation Conference about which Mrs. Boettiger spoke to me yesterday.1 I hope it will answer your purpose.

I have intentionally avoided detail, first because you yourself don't need it, and also because the more detail, the more chance there might be for dissent from others.

During your absence I am going ahead to prepare a much more detailed plan for the proposed Conference, as I understand from Mrs. Boettiger you wish me to do. Much material has already been collected by individuals, by certain Nations, and by the League of Nations. I shall need to consult a number of experts, some in the Government service. I take it I have your permission to do so.

Every good wish to you, and every success on your epoch-making journey.

Yours as always,


[13:OF 5637:TS]

1This is embodied in the longer statement enclosed by Pinchot in his letter to Roosevelt of March 28, 1945, post, 1165.


[WASHINGTON] Jan. 31, 1945

MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: On December 22, 1944, I gave my approval to Public Law 534 authorizing the construction of certain public works on rivers and harbors for food control and for other purposes. This bill authorizes the appropriation of $955,500,000 to your Department for surveys and for the construction of the public works authorized therein. As I stated when I signed the bill, I consider the projects authorized to be primarily for post-war construction, and until the current wars are terminated I do not intend to submit estimates of appropriation or approve allocations of funds for any project that does not have an important and direct value to the winning of these wars. Moreover, some of these projects have lower economic priority than others. Also there are features, I think, of some of these projects that will require adjustment before initiation of programs for their construction. I wish, therefore, that you defer making any allocation of funds or request for appropriations either for construction or for the preparation of necessary plans, specifications, and preliminary work for any of these projects, until they are taken up with the Director of the Bureau of the Budget for Executive Office approval.

I think that all of us concerned with rivers and harbors and conservation of water resources recognize today that one river is one problem. No longer can we make a practice of treating each consideration as an isolated problem. Rather, the whole must be considered. I think that your Department has had for some years now full authority to make continuing surveys for food control, navigation, and hydroelectric power development on practically all of the major streams of the Nation, and it seems to me that these individual flood control surveys might well be consolidated in comprehensive basin studies. Furthermore, other agencies of government concerned with water resource control and development are making surveys on the streams of the country. It seems to me that when more than one agency is concerned with development of a river basin, the best composite judgment of the executive branch shall be made available for consideration, and all the agencies concerned should work together and make reports, through the Bureau of the Budget, to me and to the Congress, jointly setting forth recommendations as to what physical works are needed for the development of the basin.

I wish you would have your Department proceed to follow out these suggestions in order that, with the least possible delay, work can go forward in full towards the preparation of necessary plans and specifications for this part of the backlog of public works for post-war construction.

Sincerely yours,


[Notation: AS] HDS1

[13:OF 635:CT]

1Budget Director Harold D. Smith, in whose agency this letter was drafted. In his memorandum to Roosevelt of Jan. 23, 1945 (OF 635), enclosing the draft, Smith said he thought the time had come to stop making piecemeal surveys of parts of the country's rivers. "We should consider each river basin as a whole and, in fact, should coordinate the surveys of the various agencies while they are being made." Stimson replied to Roosevelt Feb. 27, 1945 (OF 635), that he would comply with the President's wishes. With respect to the need for considering river basins as entities and for getting the "best composite judgment of the agencies concerned," Stimson said the Corps of Engineers had been doing this for several years.


WASHINGTON, February 7, 1945

MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT: In your absence we have talked with David Lilienthal about the questions involved in the proposed extension of the TVA idea to other regions. At our request he has prepared a long memorandum, a summary of which is attached.1 We are impressed with the points he makes and hope very much that no plans or decisions in this field will be made by you until we have had an opportunity to discuss it with you further. Also, we hope that you can find time to discuss the matter with Lilienthal after your return.


[13:OF 1516:TS]

1The longer memorandum has not been found in the Roosevelt papers.


[WASHINGTON, February 7, 1945]

This is a summary of a memorandum to you, prepared at your request and discussed with you February 6, 1945, plus reference to a few additional points developed in the course of our yesterday's discussion.

1. The effective way to secure legislation providing for additional regional agencies like TVA, as recommended by the President in his message to the Congress of September 21, 1944, is at this stage to concentrate on a Missouri Valley Authority (MVA).

The legislative phase, even for one more regional agency, will take a considerable period at best. To press, simultaneously, for a number of "TVA's" at this point will endanger the early prospects of action on the one that has the best chance. That one is probably MVA, because of strong and increasing support and understanding of the idea within that region. This kind of priority attention will not discourage the continued growth of local support for such agencies in other regions—such as Arkansas Valley, Columbia Valley, and perhaps the Central Valley in California. On the contrary.

2. The vitality in the TVA idea lies in the decentralization of its administration, the fixing of responsibility in a Board making its decisions in the field. That is what the people want. That is why the Tennessee Valley people fight for TVA. It is the feature about TVA most widely discussed. To suggest that an MVA should not be independent like TVA but should be made subordinate to the Department of Interior would be interpreted by advocates of an MVA as a repudiation of the essential characteristic of the regional development they are so vigorously supporting. The only people now supporting MVA would fall away. The loss of this support would spell defeat for any regional agencies.

3. Advocates of MVA have studied the TVA. They understand that on this point there can be no compromise. They realize that TVA'S decentralized methods of administration rest squarely on the independence of its Board. The characteristics are not separable. When it is suggested that regional authorities may make their decisions in the field while at the same time reporting to the Secretary of the Interior for the purposes of "coordination" they recognize that such administrative "coordination" is a denial of the power to decide in the field. "Coordination" of operating decisions is control of those decisions. Under a regional agency like TVA coordination takes place in the field, not in Washington. Problems are settled where they arise, not referred up through bureaucratic levels.

4. The creation of an independent MVA need not result in an unreasonable burden on the President. In fact, properly organized, an MVA should be from the beginning as TVA has been in its maturity, a device to lessen the administrative burdens inevitably connected with the development of a region's resources.

An analysis of the problems on which TVA has been required to consult the President reveals that many of them would not be repeated. Today, on the part of Congress, other government officials, and the people there is wide understanding that under the TVA plan responsibility is fixed in the Board. That understanding provides a climate which tends to reduce all the requirements for the personal attention of the President and together with a perfected statute will eliminate almost all the problems which had to be considered by the White House in the early years of TVA.

[13:OF 1516:T]


WASHINGTON 5, D. C., February 15, 1945

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: In connection with an inquiry as to actual results which can be credited to the Great Plains Report (1936 Drought Report) I have run across some very exciting data about the much maligned "tree belt." As originally proposed, the line was theoretically to run generally north and south. Actually the direction of the plantings is generally east and west—to face prevailing local winds. The distance between the Canadian border and the southern end is approximately 2,000 miles but the tree belt sections, if placed end to end, would now run 100,000 miles. Rows of ten are a prevailing standard. 65 percent of the trees planted are in "excellent" condition and only 5 percent are poorly. Much of this area never did have trees. Now that 250,000 acres have been so successfully planted the people have plans for an additional two million acres. They like trees and now know they can have them. Many new varieties have been successfully tried. All these statements should be checked.

In view of the way this suggestion was originally received it occurs to me that you may care to secure "through channels" a report on accomplishments and prospects of the tree belt. Some airplane views would lighten the story. I would be glad to help if needed.1

Yours very sincerely,


[13:OF 149:TS]

1Answered post, 1160.

1159 PRESS CONFERENCE, Aboard the U. S. S. Quincy, February 23, 1945, 12:15P.M.

[Excerpt]1 The President: We can look as far ahead as humanity believes in this sort of thing. The United Nations will evolve into the best method ever devised for stopping war, and it will also be the beginning of something else to go with it.

Last year I flew to Teheran—across Persia. Persia probably is the poorest country in the world. In the early days, Persia was a pretty well wooded country. The Turks cut down all the woods. It has been a woodless country since. Niney-seven or eight percent of the people of Persia are tenants. Only one or two percent of the whole nation owns land or property. The only part they live in in Persia is in river bottoms.

Really, the people of Persia have no money. They can barely get enough to eat. The soil is all eroded—boulders where there should be fields. There's no rainfall, because it hasn't got absolutely any moisture; sun can't draw any out of the land, and the moisture in the land runs off in a few hours time. Persia has no purchasing power in the world except for certain things God gave it, like oil. It is neither sustaining nor has it any money to buy things.

Of course, the obvious thing for Persia to do is to improve its own country. Reforestation is the best hope, and the nation then might sustain itself, its whole standard of civilization would be a great deal higher. They could make more things than it could sell, buy many things it could not make.

The same thing is true about Iraq, Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Turkey. They've got no purchasing power to do anything with. Their only purchasing instrument is oil. Their people are not educated, do not get enough to eat, cannot cope with health problems. We talked quite a lot about this at the conference.2

Now, of course, all that is tied up more or less with peace. A country that isn't moving forward with civilization is always more of a potential war danger than a country that is making progress.

I even talked to Ibn Saud about that—mentioned the fact that I was a tree farmer.

One of his sons—I don't remember which one—was very much impressed, expressed his amazement. He said, "I am a farmer too."

Ibn Saud said, "I am too old to be a farmer. I would be much interested to try it, if I wasn't too old to take it up."

Take the Arabian, for instance. If you want to start a farm, you might build a dam, or start a pond or lake, but it would all evaporate overnight, the air is so dry. But there is plenty of water lying fifty or sixty feet below the ground. Now, if you can keep it below the ground to prevent evaporation, and put in pumps run by oil, you can get it out of the ground and do your irrigating at a very low cost.

This is just an example of how to do the same thing from a different angle.

Q: Wouldn't that be a long-time proposition?

The President: Growing trees is a long-time proposition.

Q: Do you mean that the conference looked ahead over a great many years?

The President: Sure, we are looking at the human race, which we hope won't end in fifty years.


1This press conference took place while the Quincy was en route from Algiers to Newport News. The President had been asked if the United Nations could be the foundation for world peace for more than the immediate generation. Newspaper men present were Merriman Smith, Douglas Cornell and Robert G. Nixon.

2Cf. statement by Roosevelt at the fourth plenary meeting of the Yalta Conference, in the State Department's Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers. The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945 (Washington, 1955), pp. 715-716.


WASHINGTON, February 26, 1945

MEMORANDUM FOR MORRIS L. COOKE: I have received yours of February 15th in the middle of the Atlantic. It would be fine if you will work up something for me to use as a statement in regard to the tree belt. This can be done in two ways. First, by something in about 3,000 words, and the other a more complete report with pictures.1


[13:OF 149:CT]

1Cooke replied March 23, 1945 (OF 149), that he would have the report prepared as requested.


THE WHITE HOUSE, March 2, 1945

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES: I transmit herewith for the information of the Congress a copy of a communication from the Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority submitting a report entitled "A Report on the Physiographic, Economic, and Other Relationships Between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and Between Their Drainage Areas."1 This report was prepared at my request under the authority vested in the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority by section 22 of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act and Executive Order No. 6161 issued pursuant thereto.

The report points out the similarity and inter-relationship between the problems of development of the resources of the Cumberland and Tennessee Valleys.

I have heretofore recommended to the Congress the enactment of legislation to bring the Cumberland River and its tributaries within the scope of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act. I take this opportunity to urge again that the Congress give consideration to the enactment of such legislation.2



1Published under this title as House Document 107, 79th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, 1945).

2Read in the Congress March 2, 1945, this message was referred by the Senate to the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and by the House to the Committee on Military Affairs (Cong. Rec., 79th Cong., 1st sess., 91:2, 1639, 2672).

On the same date as this message, Roosevelt paid his final tribute to TVA in a letter to Representative Estes Kefauver (OF 42), who had urged reappointment of Lilienthal as TVA chairman:

"You and I can remember when TVA was denounced as one of this administration's wild ideas. It does not seem wild now even to many of those who damned it most loudly at first. But it is, as it was, a great American idea. It is still disturbing, of course, to old advocates of the exploitation of resources without much concern for people beside them. It still disturbs, too, those who do not understand the meaning of TVA as an instrument by which big government need not be absentee government."


WASHINGTON, March 19, 1945

MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT: Subject: Proposed Memorandum for Governor Pinchot. You requested the Secretary to prepare for your signature a memorandum for Governor Pinchot suggesting that it would be unwise to have a separate International Conference on the subject of Conservation of Resources.

I am attaching a proposed memorandum along the lines outlined to me by the Secretary.



1163 [Enclosure]

MEMORANDUM FOR GOVERNOR PINCHOT . . . CONSERVATION CONFERENCE: I refer to our previous talks on this subject.

There is no question that conservation of natural resources, including the rehabilitation of agricultural areas that have been denuded for one reason or another, and the planned use of the world's subsoil resources, is of the greatest importance for the future well being of the world. Also there is no question that international collaboration in this field is needed.

We would not want to have a separate international organization to recommend plans and projects with respect to conservation except subordinate to, and related to, the Economic and Social Council of the proposed United Nations Organization. There are, however, other organizations for which plans have been made and which would also come under the Economic and Social Council; and these other organizations would of necessity have some interest in the field of conservation. I refer particularly to the Food and Agriculture Organization, to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (which would, under certain circumstances, make funds available for conservation programs), and to the organization which would facilitate the study and discussion of international commodity programs and would aid in the negotiation and operation of commodity arrangements.

Thus, as you see, there are organizational problems involved which have not yet been fully worked out but many of which will, we hope, be settled at San Francisco. Until they have been worked out, I think we should delay the convocation of a conservation conference.

Meanwhile, however, I have this whole problem most urgently in mind and I shall include a recommendation about it in my message to the San Francisco Conference.

I shall want your advice on this matter after the San Francisco Conference, when we will be able to know better what immediate steps we want to take.

[13:OF 5637:T:PHOTOSTAT]


WASHINGTON, March 23, 1945

MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT: Anna tells me you wish to be reminded about the world conservation plan in which Governor Pinchot is interested. Anna also said you were not very pleased with the memorandum on the suggestion from the State Department and that you mentioned you would like Gov. Pinchot and Mr. Hugh H. Bennett, Chief of Soil Conservation Service, to get together and work out something pretty concrete. After this has been done, you said you wanted it taken up with someone in the State Department who understands and is sympathetic to the idea.

Do you wish one of us to get in touch with Gov. Pinchot, explain to him that you are extremely busy but suggest that he get in touch with Bennett and even tell him that you were not satisfied with the State Department's working out of this matter?1


[Notation: A: TULLY] OK

[13:OF 5637:T]

1Acting Secretary of State Grew took up the Pinchot proposal with Roosevelt following the Cabinet meeting of March 23, 1945. Grew asked him if he wished to discuss the matter or postpone it. "The President said to hold it over as it was not urgent" (memorandum of conversation by Grew, March 23, 1945, State Department, 800.508/3—2345).


WASHINGTON 6, D. C., March 28, 1945

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: Before your brilliantly successful visit to Yalta, you were good enough to agree that a rough plan for a World Conference on Conservation as a Basis of Permanent Peace should be worked out during your absence. Here it is.

T. R. introduced conservation to America. Nothing could be more fitting than that you, who have already done so much for conservation on this continent, should crown your good work by rendering the same great service to the rest of mankind.

If you decide to call such a Conference, you will guide all Nations toward the intelligent use of the earth for the general good of men, and you will make to the movement for permanent peace the most enduring contribution of all.

The proposed meeting would assist powerfully in attaining the objectives of the Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks Conferences. It is intended to fit easily into the pattern of the coming international organization.

At your direction, I saw Secretary Wickard. He expressed agreement. Without exception, the Government experts I consulted approved holding the conference.

There will be objections, of course, but the thing can be done.

Every good wish to you, Faithfully yours,



1166 [Enclosure]

Table of Suggestions for the Conference

1. Statement of the case as a Preamble to the Invitation to the Conference.

2. Invitation to all peace-loving Nations, to be prepared by the Department of State.

3. Outline Order of Business.

4. Committee on Agenda.

5. Draft of Possible Conclusions.

6. Draft of Possible Recommendations.

7. Possible preliminary action at San Francisco.

A. Preamble to Invitation

Since human history began, the commonest cause of war has been the demand for land. Under whatever name, land means natural resources. And natural resources—forests and waters, soils and minerals—are the material foundations of human security and progress. Without them we cannot live.

Because the commonest of all causes of war is the demand for land, permanent peace is impossible until, through the conservation of natural resources and fair access by the Nations to raw materials they require, general plenty is assured.

No Nation is self-sufficient in all the natural resources its safety and prosperity require. As industrialization increases, so does the demand for more and more varied natural resources and the raw materials they yield.

The greater the demand for natural resources, the greater the mutual interdependence of Nations, and the more pressing the need for international cooperation in world-wide conservation and fair access as indispensable for permanent peace.

Conservation as a policy is universally accepted as sound, and rightly so. For the conservation of natural resources means the planned and orderly use of all that the earth produces for the greatest good of the greatest number for the longest time. It is therefore the basic material problem of mankind.

The conservation problem is concerned not only with the natural resources of the earth. Rightly understood, it includes also the relation of these resources and of their abundance or scarcity to the distribution of peoples over the earth, to the strength or weakness of Nations, to their leaning towards war or towards peace, and to the misery or prosperity, the constant dread or confident security, of their inhabitants.

In 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt, on the valid ground that "The people of the whole world are interested in the natural resources of the whole world, benefited by their conservation, and injured by their destruction" sent to 58 Nations invitations for a World Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources, to be held in the Peace Palace at The Hague. Thirty of the Nations had accepted when change of Administration defeated the plan.

Although all intermediate attempts failed, the movement for international conservation thus begun in 1908 has recently been given strong support. In 1940 the Eighth American Scientific Congress, representing all the Nations of the Americas, by unanimous vote declared that:

1. Throughout human history the exhaustion of these resources and the need for a new supply have been among the greatest causes of war.

2. International cooperation to inventory, conserve, and wisely utilize natural resources to the mutual advantage of all Nations might well remove one of the most dangerous obstacles to a just and permanent world peace.

In 1941 the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in preparing a plan for an International Resources Office, declared that:

"Unless we apply our ordered intelligence to this question, the sequence of crisis and war will continue with ever more disastrous results."

The United Nations took a long step towards lasting peace when, through the Atlantic Charter and the Lend Lease agreements, they declared for fair access to needed raw materials for all the peoples of the world. Yet war is still an instrument of national policy for safeguarding natural resources and for securing them from other Nations.

No more vital task confronts the world than to make future wars impossible. We cannot safely ignore any means that promises to assist in bringing lasting peace.

It would be wise, therefore, for the United Nations, through their appointed delegates, to meet and consider the conservation of natural resources and fair access to raw materials between the Nations as vital steps toward unbroken plenty and permanent peace.

Such a Conference might well consider:

1. An International Organization to promote the conservation of natural resources and fair access to necessary raw materials by all Nations.

2. An inventory of the natural resources of the earth.

3. A set of principles for the conservation of natural resources.

4. A set of principles for securing fair access to necessary raw materials by all Nations.

5. Conservation and fair access in postwar rehabilitation and reconstruction.

6. Such other factors of continuous plenty and permanent peace as the Conference might decide to take up.

The information necessary as a basis for such consideration undoubtedly exists here, and could be assembled without undue delay.

Open discussion by an International Conference should bring to light the principles upon which all Nations can agree for conserving and distributing the natural resources of the earth, to the great end of human welfare through general plenty and lasting peace.

Conservation is a basis of permanent peace. Without world-wide conservation, steadfast peace is impossible. And peace is the hope of the world.

B. Invitation to the Conference to be Prepared by the Department of State

If a majority of the Governments of the United Nations accept this invitation, the Government of the United States is prepared to assemble in advance existing data which the Conference might require, and to draw up and submit to the Conference tentative Agenda for its modification or approval.

C. Outline Order of Business

Address of Welcome: The President of the United States

Subject: Conservation is a Basis of Permanent Peace

Responses by Representatives of Other Countries

Organization of the Conference including appointment of Committees and Staff.


To be organized under the Chief Topics of Forests, Waters, Lands, Minerals, and People.

I. Sectional Sessions to consider the principles of conservation and fair access in relation to each of the five Chief Topics.

II. Plenary Sessions to consider general questions relating to two or more of the Chief Topics, such as:

1. Past Wars for Resources

2. An Inventory of Natural Resources

3. Fair Access to Natural Resources

4. Conservation and Human Welfare

5. Conservation and Full Employment

6. International Financing and Resource Development

7. Migration and Resettlement

8. Stockpiling for War and Peace

9. World-wide Conservation and World Peace

10. Whither Mankind?

11. Recommendations and conclusions of the Conference

The Conference might well be held in the City of Washington in late October, 1945, and be preceded by one or more excursions to the best American examples of conservation applied to Forests, Waters, Lands, Minerals, and People.

If sight-seeing can be included, New York Harbor, Niagara, TVA, an irrigation project, a National Forest, Grand Coulee or Boulder Dam, the Bohemian Grove, Yosemite and the Big Trees, and the Grand Canyon are suggested.

D. Committee on Agenda

A Committee, of nine or more members appointed by the President as soon as practicable, to include representatives of each of the Chief Topics and a representative from the Department of State, and authorized:

1. To prepare and arrange for detailed Agenda for the Sectional and Plenary Sessions.

2. To supervise the collection of material necessary or useful in the deliberations of the Conference.

3. To lay out and manage excursions.

4. To promote cooperation with, and secure necessary assistance from existing organizations in the Government, and in other ways to forward the work of the Conference.

E. Draft of Possible Conclusions

The conservation of natural resources being the planned and orderly use of all that the earth produces for the greatest good of the greatest number for the longest time, the Conference might conclude that:

1. Natural resources are the material foundations of human welfare.

2. No Nation is self-sufficient in all natural resources essential to the safety and prosperity of its people.

3. Without adequate supplies and effective use of necessary natural resources full employment and good living are impossible.

4. The commonest incentive to war has been and still is the desire for land and the natural resources it supplies.

5. The welfare of every Nation depends on fair access to natural resources which it lacks.

6. "The people of the whole world are interested in the natural resources of the whole world, benefited by their conservation, and injured by their destruction."

7. A knowledge of the natural resources of the world is indispensable for using them wisely in the general interest of all peoples.

8. "International cooperation in conserving, utilizing, and distributing natural resources to the mutual advantage of all Nations might well remove one of the most dangerous of all obstacles to a just and permanent world peace."

9. World-wide practice of conservation by wise use and fair access to necessary resources are indispensable bases of continuous plenty and permanent peace.

F. Possible Recommendations

The establishment of an International Conservation Office, whose duty it would be, in cooperation with the United Nations and their appropriate subdivisions:

1. To promote world-wide conservation of natural and human resources to the end of freedom from want and freedom from fear—of better living and permanent peace.

2. To advance the practice of fair access by all Nations.

3. To make, revise, and maintain world inventories of natural resources.

4. To promote international exchange of information concerning supplies on hand, new uses, and probable shortages, of natural resources.

5. To take note of possible disagreements between Nations based on the lack of natural resources, and to recommend means of avoiding them.

6. To cooperate with national organizations concerned with the conservation of natural resources.

7. To make available information useful in the relocation of peoples.

8. To assist in the development, distribution, and especially the conservation, of natural resources throughout the world.

9. To make provision for future Conferences at appropriate intervals.

G. Dr. Lewis L. Lorwin of the FEA1 has suggested an addition to Chapter I of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, entitled "Purposes of the United Nations."

Dr. Lorwin's suggestion is as follows:

4. To encourage international cooperation in the conservation of natural and human resources to the mutual advantage of all Nations in order to maintain and develop the human and material foundations of permanent plenty and enduring peace.

Such an addition would round out and strengthen the statement of Purposes of the General International Organization, and would power fully advance the cause of conservation among the Nations.

[13:OF 5637:T:PHOTOSTAT]

1Foreign Economic Administration.


[WASHINGTON] April 2, 1945

MY DEAR MRS. TOEPFER: Because of my long-standing interest in forestry your two letters of February ninth, one to Mrs. Roosevelt and the other to me, were held for my attention while I was away.1 I have pretty deep convictions that our forests can and should be handled so that they will contribute much more adequately to our national welfare. Forests protect watersheds that are vital for power, irrigation, and food control. They provide outdoor recreation for millions of people. Productive forests add to our national wealth and support permanent industries. They mean jobs and payrolls for hundreds of thousands of workers and opportunities for other thousands in professional, personal and public services.

I recognize the facts set forth in the resolution of the Woman's Conservation League of America. Abuses of our forest resources should be stopped.

The Secretary of Agriculture and the Forest Service have outlined a comprehensive forest program for the Nation. This program includes the substance of your proposal: sufficient public control of cutting on private lands to prevent abuse and provide for adequate timber growth. It also includes additional aids to farmers and other private timber growers, an increase in public ownership of forest land unsuitable for private ownership, and public work to improve and develop the forests.

I should like to see all phases of such a program go forward at the earliest practical date. However, viewing the situation in its entirety, I doubt if it would be practical or desirable at this time to single out destructive cutting for action by executive order. It is important that we find permanent solutions. That calls for legislative action.

Last year Congress passed and I signed several important forestry measures. One opens the way for cooperative sustained-yield management of federal forest land and nearby private land. Another increases the authorization for cooperation with the States in fire protection on the 430 million acres of State and private forest land. Still another gives authority for completing the Nation-wide forest survey and keeping it up to date. These measures, I think, show that Congress is deeply interested in forest conservation.2

I realize, of course, that the demands of war have aggravated an already serious forest situation. At the same time, we have been repeatedly reminded of how vital to the war effort lumber and other forest products are. I am sure that heavy demands upon our timber resources will continue when peace comes. We shall have to meet pent-up civilian needs and we may be asked to help reconstruct war-torn areas abroad. In this we must not lose sight of conservation objectives.

I want you to know that I appreciate your active interest in this subject. Groups such as yours can be of tremendous help in making people aware of the problem. Public discussion of the forest situation and its relation to human welfare will create a firm foundation for a fully effective national program of action.3

Very sincerely yours,


[13:OF 149:CT]

1In "as both letters (OF 149) Mrs. Toepfer urged that the President use his powers authorized by Congress" to prevent forest devastation through improper logging practices. She enclosed copies of a resolution of the Woman's Conservation League of America, Inc., to this effect; this was adopted at a meeting in Milwaukee on Jan. 19, 1945.

2The Sustained-Yield Forest Management Act, approved March 29, 1944; the act to amend the Clarke-McNary Act of 1924, approved May 5, 1944; and the act to amend the National Forest Survey Act of 1924, approved May 31, 1944 (58 Stat. 132, 216, 265).

3Drafted by the Agriculture Department.


WASHINGTON, April 9, 1945

MEMORANDUM . . . Will you talk with the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission1 so as to get things planned uniformly on the Missouri River Valley Authority situation? Also, it would be a good idea if all of you would talk with Congressman Cochran.


[Notation: T] Ltr of 3/21/45 to the President from Rep. John J. Cochran; in connection with the preparation of plans by the Interior Dept. re the development of the Missouri River Valley projects, it would be helpful to get a favorable expression from the Chief of Engineers of the Army and the Secretary of the Interior. Ltr sent to the Sec. of War.

[13:OF 1516:CT]

1Basil Manly.


WASHINGTON, April 9, 1945

MEMORANDUM FOR MORRIS L. COOKE: Thank you much for the copy of the article.1 I like it but it is too dull. Can you send me some human interest stuff to put into it—one story on what tree planting is doing for a given community; another on what it is doing for a typical family. And I need a little more material on what tree planting is doing to enable families to improve their yield in crops.

Things of that kind would help.


[13:OF 149:CT]

1A 2000-word memorandum on the Shelterbelt prepared by Elmer A. Starch of the Lincoln, Nebraska, Office of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, sent by Cooke April 6, 1945 (OF 149).


WASHINGTON 6, D. C., April 10, 1945

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: You will be glad to know, I am sure, that the possibility of a conflict between the World Conference on Conservation and the Food and Agriculture Commission, concerning which Wickard sent for me, seems to have vanished. I had a talk with Pearson,1 head of the latter, who assured me that he could see no reason for such a conflict.

May I say how much I hope that you will have time to glance at the plan I sent you (on March 28th) before San Francisco, where perhaps some action should be taken.2

Every good wish to you.

Faithfully yours,


[13:OF 177:TS]

1L. B. Pearson, chairman of the United Nations Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture.

2Pinchot also wrote to Grace Tully on April 10 (OF 277), asking if his plan had been received. See below.


[WASHINGTON] April 17, 1945

GOVERNOR PINCHOT'S PROPOSAL FOR A CONSERVATION CONFERENCE: I understand that you are soon to meet with Governor Pinchot to discuss his proposal for a world conference on "Conservation as a Basis of Permanent Peace." This is a matter in which President Roosevelt took a personal interest and on which there is a background of correspondence between the Department and the White House. The chronology is as follows:

(1) On three previous occasions we commented at President Roosevelt's request on Governor Pinchot's proposal. Departmental memoranda, dated November 10, 1944, December 16, 1944, and March 19, 1945 (copies attached), were prepared and submitted to the White House.

(2) The memorandum of November 10 was adverse to the Pinchot proposal as we understood it. It was received unfavorably by President Roosevelt.

(3) The December 16 memorandum suggested a mild and partial acceptance of Governor Pinchot's proposals in the form of informal regional conferences on questions of conservation. It was received by the White House without comment.

(4) The March 19 memorandum was prepared upon the basis of your conversation with President Roosevelt and Secretary Wickard on March 16, and incorporated remarks along the lines of Secretary Wickard's comments which, when made orally, had apparently been well received by President Roosevelt. Our memorandum, however, was returned with the notation that he did not want to forward it to Governor Pinchot. It is not clear whether he disapproved the substance or merely wanted to handle the matter orally.

(5) All three of these previous memoranda were prepared without benefit of any detailed statement by Governor Pinchot of what his proposal specifically contemplated. We now have in hand a copy of what Governor Pinchot calls his "rough outline" for the kind of conference under discussion.1 It confirms our early misgivings. The suggested agenda and "possible recommendations" and "possible conclusions" all indicate a coverage of discussion that would overlap at almost every turn with the functions of the Food and Agriculture Organization, with the subject matter of the World Trade Conference which you announced in your Chicago speech, with the responsibilities of whatever organization may be established under the Economic and Social Council to deal with international commodity arrangements and related matters, and with such Article VII conversations with individual governments as may be held in the next year or so.

(6) Governor Pinchot and President Roosevelt apparently had the impression that other government agencies were unanimous in support of the Pinchot proposal and that only the State Department was reluctant to give its approval. This impression is not borne out by information received from contacts at working levels. I recommend that before you see Governor Pinchot you discuss the conservation conference proposal with Secretary Wickard and with Mr. Howard Tolley, United States representative on the United Nations Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture.

(7) An attached memorandum contains in summary form the principal points which have been developed in the Department previously on this subject, and some further comments relating specifically to Governor Pinchot's outline proposal.

I recommend that in discussing this matter with Governor Pinchot the Department go no further in the way of encouraging the Governor than a promise to bring his proposal before the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy for its consideration.


[Notations: AS] B. F. H. JAL


1Ante, 1166.

1172 [Enclosure]

Proposed Conservation Conference

April 17, 1945

It is recognized that the principles and practice of sound conservation of natural resources are of primary importance to nations and that a considerable measure of international collaboration with respect to conservation can be fruitful. There are, however, several considerations militating against the advisability of an early convocation of a separate conference to deal specifically with the question of conservation.

(1) Such a conference would necessarily be designed either (a) to facilitate the collection of information about natural resources and their utilization, or (b) to propose measures for a collaborative approach to problems of conservation.

(2) It is unnecessary to convoke a world conference in order to facilitate the collection of information. Indeed this can better be done by technicians in the various countries of the world communicating with one another when necessary through normal channels. It would be obviously undesirable to convoke any conference in the near future which is not absolutely necessary for the purpose intended.

(3) It is unlikely that nations could agree at the present time on measures of collaborative action with respect to conservation problems until some area of agreement has been blocked out with respect to larger problems of trade and commodity arrangements. To convoke at the present time a conservation conference which could not agree upon useful and constructive decisions would prejudice the benefits that might be anticipated from the convocation of a conservation conference at some later date when the general international economic and commodity situation might be clearer.

(4) The topics uppermost in the thinking of Governor Pinchot have to do with the general subjects of soil conservation and reforestation. These topics fall clearly within the sphere of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, whose Constitution specifically provides that it (the Food and Agriculture Organization) "shall promote and, where appropriate, shall recommend national and international action with respect to . . . (c) the conservation of natural resources" and "shall collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture." It also appears, both from the text of the Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization and from the first report by the Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture, that the responsibilities of the Food and Agriculture Organization extend to problems of conservation with respect to fisheries and forestry.

(5) The U. S. program with respect to international commodity agreements (which was approved by the White House) recognizes that conservation is an important element to be considered in connection with international commodity arrangements. Therefore, many issues connected with the general problem of conservation will necessarily arise in the forthcoming trade and employment conference, which would cover the general topics of commercial policy, commodity arrangements, cartels, international aspects of domestic full employment programs, and international organizations related to these matters.

(6) President Roosevelt is understood to have already recognized that any organization which might come into being to deal with conservation problems should be subordinate to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations Organization. It will be recalled that Secretary Wickard emphasized this point when he spoke with President Roosevelt on March 16.

(7) Therefore, the course which the Department should pursue (and this should be explained to Governor Pinchot) is to examine the situation in the light of the arrangements concluded at San Francisco, and to examine the functions and responsibilities of the Economic and Social Council, and of the various organizations subordinate to it. In the light of this investigation it should be possible a little later in the year to determine the extent to which problems of conservation will be provided for on an international basis and what supplementary mechanisms of international consultation and collaboration should be sought.1


[Notation: AS] JAL

[13:OF 5637:T:PHOTOSTAT]

1Following President Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, Pinchot tried to interest Harry Hopkins in the proposed conference. Writing to Hopkins on May 1, 1945, Pinchot referred to Roosevelt's statement that he "intended to take this matter up with Churchill and Stalin," and to the plan that he had delivered to the President after his return from Yalta. He asked for an interview. Hopkins replied May 10, 1945, that his illness prevented him from "going into the conservation plan." He suggested that Pinchot talk with President Truman and Averell Harriman about it, and that in the State Department he would find Clayton "sympathetic and understanding." Pinchot replied May 25, 1945, that he had written President Truman and would try to get in touch with Clayton. (This correspondence is in the Harry L. Hopkins Papers in the Roosevelt Library.)

[13:OF 5637:TS]

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