In view of the political and military menace to America's supply of rubber from the Far East, Frank A. Howard, vice-president of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, has proposed synthetic rubber production as the only reliable alternative, in an article printed by the current issue of the "Business Review."
Neither Firestone in Liberia, Ford in Brazil, nor Goodyear in Central America, he says, have been able to find a combination of soil, climate, and labor to compete successfully with the Far Eastern plantations.
"Ersatz" rubber is already being produced in this country by all the major American rubber companies and has proved even more durable than the national product for certain articles rung as gasoline hose, oil-retaining gaskets pump packing, deducing surfaces and bullet proof tanks.
Tires May be Synthetic
The use of synthetic rubber for automobile tires depends upon production in great quantity, so that costs can be slashed to approximate those of natural rubber.
In reviewing the seriousness of the rubber importation problem, Howard points out that "first of all, its continuing supply depends upon open sea lanes. Secondly, the annual trade balance has a debt of 100 percent of all rubber consumed. Thirdly, the world rubber market is not a free market but definitely a controlled market, with supplies fixed by agreement among the principal producing countries."