The appointment of W. Stuart Symington, St. Louis industrialist and chairman of the Surplus Property Board plus the recent recommendation of President Truman that the responsibility be placed in the hands of a single administrator bodes well toward bringing the confusion of the present surplus property disposal situation into some sort of order.
For over two years various business groups, governmental agencies, business executives and Congress have been studying and surveying ways and means of handling government war surplus. If all of this thinking and planning can now be coordinated under the aggressive leadership of a man with the qualifications which Stuart Symington appears to possess, it will not be long before orderly disposal will be under way.
Over a year ago we stated that this was the greatest merchandising job of all time and that still stands. However the disposal agencies are in for a bad way if they do not use to the fullest extent every bit of technical advice and experience obtainable. One cannot sell electrical equipment, machine tools, chemical plants and a thousand and one kinds of mechanical items with only a “suit-and-cloak” background. We are for hiring typewriter salesmen to sell office equipment and the department store guy to sell blankets and shoes but Uncle Sam (and don’t forget that’s you and I) will be holding the bag for years on end with billions worth of surplus goods which will wind up in the scrap heap unless real intelligent merchandising methods are adopted “and quick.”
According to the latest news reports, Mr. Symington has been quoted as being ready and willing to adopt an aggressive policy taking hold of a job which at its best will be subject to more brickbats than bouquets. We think that everyone will be hearing a lot about Mr. Symington and we are for the kind of philosophy which he has already expressed and that is, “Plants or machine tools are only worth the value of the wealth that can be produced from them.” This kind of thinking indicates that action will be the watchword.