Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in
The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Preparing for the massive program of assistance to Europe known as the Marshall Plan after World War II, President Truman made a televised appeal to Americans for their support through sacrifice. The Post did its part, too, reminding readers every Tuesday and Thursday in the top corner of the front page of their dietary obligations. An excerpt from The Post of Oct. 6, 1947:
President Truman last night called upon his country for a stiff program of self-denial at the dinner table to meet a "grim and forbidding" situation in Europe.
His program directs:
1. Use no meat on Tuesdays.
2. Use no poultry or eggs on Thursdays.
3. Save a slice of bread every day.
4. Public eating places will serve bread and butter only on request.
Further, the President called upon the commodity exchanges of the country to raise their margin requirements to "at least 33 per cent."
"If the grain exchanges refuse, the Government may find it necessary to limit the amount of trading," he warned, in the first presidential address ever televised from the White House.
The President was the last of five speakers on an all-chain radio broadcast. Preceding him were Secretary of Agriculture Clinton P. Anderson, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, Secretary of Commerce W. Averell Harriman and Charles Luckman, chairman of the President's Citizens Food Committee.
The President declared that the program, as outlined by Luckman, "has my whole-hearted support."
"I am confident," he declared, "it will have the support of every American."
The builders of the program worked feverishly all day Sunday getting the gears oiled for it. The meatless Tuesday, and the plan for Thursday without poultry and eggs were on the original program planned by Luckman, but which the Citizens Committee did not vote on last Wednesday. Yesterday the members of the committee were polled by telephone, and those contacted voted unanimously for the program's adoption.
Also during the day the announcement from Moscow of plans for a Communist-directed international organization to fight the Marshall Plan is reported to have entered deeply into consideration of last night's broadcasts. Although no mention was made at any time of the Moscow development, it is believed that it and the polling of the food group was the cause of delay of release of the President's appeal until less than half an hour before the program went on the air. ...
In addition to a promise made by part of the distilling industry last week to cut their use of grain by one half, beginning at once, Luckman, in his Administration-approved program, asked "a 60-day emergency shutdown at the very earliest possible moment."
Brewers also are to be asked "for substantially increased savings."
Luckman also announced that the baking industry is taking important steps, "both in the manufacture and distribution of bread." This was taken to mean probably smaller loaves, and perhaps the halting, temporarily, of the time-honored custom of grocers returning day-old bread.