THE United States is more independent of outside sources for strategic materials than any other country - and its list of “have-nots” is much shorter than it was in the last World War, Dr. Gillett brings out in this paper - an analysis of just where we stand today as regards ersatz materials. He shows clearly, however, that very definite problems face the United States as regards manganese supplies and substitutes, that tin also is a major worry, and that the situation on chromium “is not so rosy.”
Detailing our position in each of the ersatz categories, Dr. Gillett points out that high cards in the ersatz deck may be of several denominations. A “stock-pile” of materials is a high card, but not necessarily a winning one as no one knows how long a war will last. More powerful cards are techniques capable of bringing into use low-grade domestic supplies and/or the creation or existence of domestically available substitutes.
The metals about which the United States is chiefly concerned, according to the author, are tungsten, antimony, chromium, tin and manganese.
Stressing the need for broad research throughout the substitute field, Dr. Gillett points to the fact that cheap materials like chromium and manganese do not create a natural urge for substitution in normal peacetime - yet such substitutes may be “life-savers” in time of stress.