I want to talk to you about rubber-about rubber and
the war-about rubber and the American people.
When I say rubber I mean rubber. I don't mean gasoline.
Gasoline is a serious problem only in certain sections of the country.
But rubber is a problem everywhere-from one end of
the country to the other-in the Mississippi Valley as well as in the
East-in the oil country as well as in the corn country or the iron country
or the great industrial centers.
Rubber is a problem for this reason-because modern
wars cannot be won without rubber and because 92% of our normal supply
of rubber has been cut off by the Japanese.
That is serious. It would be more serious if we had
not built up a stock pile of rubber before the war started: if we were
not now building up a great new synthetic rubber industry. That takes
time, so we have an immediate need.
Neither the stock pile, nor the synthetic plants which
are now being built, nor both together, will be enough to provide for
the needs of our great new Army and Navy plus our civilian requirements
as they now exist.
The Armed Services have done what they can. They have
eliminated rubber wherever possible. The Army, for example, has had
to replace rubber treads with less efficient steel treads on many of
its tanks. Army and Navy estimates of use of rubber have had to be curtailed
all along the line.
But there is a limit to that.
You and I want the finest and most efficient Army
and Navy the world has ever seen-an Army and Navy with the greatest
and swiftest striking power. That means rubber-huge quantities of rubber-rubber
for trucks and tanks and planes and gun mounts-rubber for gas masks
and rubber for landing boats.
But it is not the Army and Navy alone which need rubber.
The process of production also needs rubber We need rubber to get our
war workers back and forth to their plants-some of them far from workers'
homes. We need rubber to keep our essential goods and supplies moving.
All this adds up to a very serious problem-a problem
which is a challenge to the sound judgment of the government and to
the ingenuity of the American people. It is a problem we Americans are
laboring to solve-a problem we will solve.
But there is one unknown factor in this problem. We
know what our stock pile is. We know what our synthetic capacity will
be. But we do not know how much used rubber there is in the country-used
rubber which, reclaimed and reprocessed, can be combined with our supplies
of new rubber to make those supplies go farther in meeting military
and civilian needs.
Specifically, we don't know how much used rubber there
is in your cellar-your barn-your stock room-your garage-your attic.
There are as many opinions as there are experts, and
until we know we can't make our plans for the best use of the rubber
The only way to find out is to get the used rubber
in where it can stand up and be counted.
And that precisely is what we propose to do.
We are setting aside the two weeks period from June
15 to June 30-from 12:01 a.m., June 15 to 12:00 midnight, June 30-to
get the old rubber in.
We have asked the filling station operators-the thousands
upon thousands of citizens who operate gas stations and garages from
one end of the country to the other-to help. And they have generously
and patriotically agreed to help: they and the oil companies which serve
They have agreed to take the old rubber in and to
pay for it at the standard rate of a penny a pound-an amount which will
later be refunded to them by the government.
I know that I don't need to urge you to take part
in this collection drive. All you need to know is the place to take
your rubber and the time to take it there-and the fact that your country
We do not want you to turn in essential rubber that
you need in your daily life-rubber you will have to replace by buying
new things in the store. We do want every bit of rubber you can possibly
spare-and in any quantity-less than a pound-many pounds. We want it
in every form-old tires, old rubber raincoats, old garden hose, rubber
shoes, bathing caps, gloves-whatever you have that is made of rubber.
If you think it is rubber, take it to your nearest filling station.
Once the rubber is in, we will know what our supplies
of used rubber are and we will make our plans accordingly. One thing
you can be sure of-we are going to see to it that there is enough rubber
to build the planes to bomb Tokyo and Berlin-enough rubber to build
the tanks to crush the enemy wherever we may find him-enough rubber
to win this war.
Here are two simple rules for this rubber emergency.
1. Turn in all the old rubber-anywhere and everywhere.
2. Cut the use of your car-save its tires by driving
slowly and driving less.
I know the nation will respond.