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Small dealers, many of them imperfectly understanding the English language, only know that their customary source of supply is cut off. They are unable to understand why their competitor receives sugar and they do not. They pass this feeling on to their customers, the families that come into their stores with market baskets for this necessary food supply. This results in feelings of great bitterness and governmental agencies are blamed for the situation. I am not certain but that no control at all is better than a partial control, as a partial control is bound to develop such discriminations as I have outlined in my own case and with which I have had a most cruel and harassing personal experience.
I have intentionally omitted speaking upon the subject of price control. Your present position in this matter has been so well taken and appears to be so thoroughly understood that no word of mine could add anything to that which you already know, nor would I desire to see your present admirable system changed in this regard.
May I also offer the suggestion that in the position in which I have been, in close touch with the retail dealer, the small retailer, the user and the consumer, that I have had an admirable opportunity to know their state of mind and their feeling in the situation. The present or any other shortage will be cheerfully borne provided the shortage is equally borne. When, however, any person finds himself deprived of his source of supply, whereas his competitor is receiving, through governmental agencies, a partial supply or a nearly full supply, a school of Bolshevism is automatically created and the resultant ill feeling is automatically directed against the governmental functions which are striving to cure the very situation. I have no complaint with respect to the powers granted to the Sugar Équalization Board, nor the manner in which its powers have been exercised. I do submit that any new powers should be wide and adequate, and granted with the full understanding that they shall be so exercised as to insure in times of shortage an exactly equal distribution without reference to any prior business connection with any dealer who may for the moment be serving a particular locality, or who in normal times may represent a dealer who has been excluded therefrom.
(The bill referred to in the hearings was unanimously reported with the following amendment: Strike out everything after the enacting clause and insert in lieu thereof the following:)
That the President is authorized to continue during the year ending December 31, 1920, the United States Sugar Equalization Board (Incorporated), a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, and to vote or use the stock in such corporation held by him for the benefit of the United States, or otherwise exercise his control over the corporation and its directors, in such a manner as to authorize and require them to adopt and carry out until December 31, 1920, plans and methods of securing, if found necessary for the public good, an adequate supply and an equitable distribution of sugar at a fair and reasonable price to the people of the United States. Sections 5 and 10 of the act entitled "An act to further provide for the national security and defense by encouraging the production, conserving the supply, and controlling the distribution of food products and fuel,” approved August 10, 1917, as far as the same relates to raw or refined sugar, sirups, or molasses, are hereby continued in full force and effect until December 31, 1920, notwithstanding the provisions of section 24 of said act: Provided, That the provisions of this act shall expire as to the domestic product September 30, 1920: And provided further, That the zone system of sale and distribution of sugars heretofore established by the said United States Sugar Equalization Board shall be abolished and shall not be reestablished or maintained, and that sugars shall be permitted to be sold and to circulate freely in every portion of the United States. The termination of this act shall not affect any act done or any right or obligation accruing or accrued, or any suit or proceeding had or commenced in any civil case before the said termination pursuant to this act; but all rights and liabilities under this act arising before its termination shall continue and may be enforced in the same manner as if the act had not terminated. Any offense committed and all penalties, forfeitures, or liabilities incurred prior to such termination may be prosecuted or punished in the same manner and with the same effect as if this act had not been terminated.