Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 23 Defense Production

Chapter 23. Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1968 (Record Group 128)

Table of Contents

Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1989 (Record Group 128) from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Joint Committee on Defense Production (1950-77)

JC.125 Rising wages and prices during the Korean War caused serious economic difficulties within the United States. In an effort to expand production and insure economic stability, the Defense Production Act of 1950 (Public Law 81-774) authorized Governmental activities in various areas, including requisition of property for national defense, expansion of productive capacity and supply, wage and price stabilization, settlement of labor disputes, control of consumer and real estate credit, and establishment of contract priorities and materials allocation designed to aid the national defense. Under section 712, the Joint Committee on Defense Production was established to serve as a "watchdog" over Federal agencies administering the various programs authorized by the act. The members of the committee were drawn from the Senate and House Committees on Banking and Currency.

JC.126 The committee undertook continuing studies and reviews of progress achieved under the various programs established by the Defense Production Act. It received quarterly reports from each Department or agency performing functions under the act, as well as a summary of yearly activities for inclusion in the committee's annual report of the committee to Congress. The agency reports provided information regarding authorities and responsibilities, progress and problems of current defense programs, future objectives, mobilization readiness, cooperation with small business, advisory committees, and related matters. Committee staff reviewed the reports and undertook interviews in the Departments. The committee held hearings on programs, activities, and problems, and it monitored expenditures of funds authorized by the act to purchase materials to expand supplies of strategic and critical materials and to provide loans to private enterprises for capital expansion or the production of essential materials. By the mid-1950's, the focus of the committee had changed from mobilization activities to preparation for future emergencies.

JC.127 The records of the committee include correspondence with small businesses, 1950-1953, regarding problems arising from the imposition of various controls deriving from the Defense Production Act. Other records for the same period include reports from Federal agencies, agency regulations, and executive orders, as well as a general subject file, comprised mainly of correspondence, regarding such issues as price controls, export licenses, Federal procurement policies, and other activities under the Defense Production Act. There are records regarding various legislative proposals relating to the work of the committee from 1950 to 1953 and to the steel strike of 1952. These include working papers, analyses, memorandums, extracts from the Congressional Record, correspondence, and press releases.

JC.128 Legislative oversight records, 1951 to 1974, relate to machine tools, transportation, rationing, the borrowing authority, and stockpiles and consist of correspondence, memorandums, reports to the committee, executive orders, staff reports and summaries, and printed materials used for reference purposes. Unpublished transcripts of hearings, 1951-1959, as well as certain reports and studies from executive Departments and others, are among the classified records of the committee. There is also a classified subject file that includes reports, memorandums, correspondence, and commodity fact sheets and inventories.

JC.129 A manuscript, informal folder title list is available for most of these records.

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1989.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42) by Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989), and Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245) by Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989).