One of a growing number of commuters from Harvard who hurry off to Washington every week to work with the Administration on the defense effort, William Yandell Elliott, professor of Government and a hard working member said yesterday that three or four years of enemy raiding on American commerce would leave our industry disastrously crippled for want of strategic materials.
Replacing natural materials which we now import with "ersatz" would require at least three years of great industrial effort, he said, and would mean great dislocation of our economy if it had to be carried out during a maximum war effort.
Even if our navies controlled the oceans and the seacoasts, raiding ships could make paralyzing inroads on our supplies of essential materials. "Lack of shipping is another difficulty," Elliott added.
As a member of the Business Advisory Council before the OPM was reformed, Elliott spent much of last summer trying to persuade the Government and business men of the necessity for piling up back-logs of industrial stocks. The original estimates of industrial reserves have since turned out to be as abourdly small as he asserted. At present, only molybdenum of the many scare metals has been piled up in sufficient quantities. Even nickel is restricted.
Shortage were caused in great part by the obstinacy of a congressional blocked by Congressman Shrugham, who stood for protection of domestic producers of inferior ores, mined in insufficient quantities, according to Elliott.
As an OPM official, Professor Elliott often confers with Swope, Stettinious, Kaudsen, and other business barons who are working with the Government, Possibilities for salvage and for substitutes are investigated by the Industrial Materials Branch of the OPM, to which Elliott belongs.