"We will make mistakes, but in war inaction is the
greatest of mistakes." James F. Byrnes
Mr. Byrnes' White House days began as Director of Economic Stabilization
under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Byrnes accepted this position
in 1942, the United States was deeply involved in the Second World
War. His major concern during this period of service was the control
of domestic prices, rents, wages and services. Byrnes oversaw the economy
from every angle
from regulating farm wages and food production to regulating the sale
of shoes. His goal in regulating the economy was to assure that armed
forces fighting abroad were sufficiently equipped. He also kept close
check on those in the economy who had selfish aims in mind and sought
to make great profits off the war.
As World War II escalated, the Office of War
Mobilization was developed by Congress; Byrnes was appointed
its director. It was from here that policies originated and programs
were planned for the war. All the war agencies which were connected
with the production, procurement, transportation, and distribution
of both civilian and military aspects of the war were governed by
Mr. Byrnes. Because of his close involvement with President Roosevelt,
Byrnes often was called the
Mr. Byrnes not only was involved with domestic policy, he also was
involved in foreign policies. At the request of FDR, Byrnes traveled
to Yalta to participate in a conference with Stalin (USSR), Churchill
(GB), and Roosevelt (US). At this first Big Three Meeting, leaders
discussed programs for reparations and Lend Lease. While at Yalta and
other official functions, Mr. Byrnes developed many friendships with
Through his many years of service in the White House, Byrnes truly
earned the title "Assistant President." In times of war and
peace, he was an important element in the workings of the government.
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