Referring to the telegram from James M. Cox, Columbus, Ohio, as to the supply of bonds, I have the honor to state that we have already shipped to Federal Reserve Banks, for distribution in over-the-counter sales, of the Second Liberty Loan Bonds 1,200,000 pieces, aggregating in face value $289,000,000. We are sending out every day approximately 200,000 pieces, of which approximately half are the new fours and the other half are the three and one-half per cent bonds of the first issue. Concerning these latter, there has been some disappointment due to the fact that subscribers want to satisfy their curiosity in seeing the bond, although probably in the next three or four weeks, or even less, they will be exchanging it for a four per cent bond. These conversion fours are different in text from the new fours. Consequently, we are actually having to deal now with three different sets of bonds at the same time. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Registry Department and Division of Loans and Currency of the Treasury Department are taxed to the utmost in carrying on these extraordinary transactions.
The telegram of Mr. Cox was sent you on the day subsequent to the release of the bonds of the present issue for sale over the counter. Columbus will doubtless have received a number of the bonds by this time, as it is to be presumed that the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland will have sent a part of its supply there.
On the general situation, I enclose herewith copies of telegraphic correspondence between Secretary McAdoo and myself.
There are many suggestions reaching the Department as to the benefit that might be derived from any encouraging statement which the Interstate Commerce Commission might be willing to make. I have hesitated to approach them in any way whatever, although fully appreciating the importance to the Liberty Loan subscriptions if that Commission should announce, even in general terms, their expectation to permit a modification in railway rates. My thought has been to go only this far, namely, to inquire of the Commission whether they had yet determined upon any encouraging statement, either in general or in detail, and to suggest that if they had made such determination it would be extremely beneficial that it should be made public at as early a date as possible.
While loath to burden you with any of these matters, I yet feel in this case a delicacy in approaching an independent Commission, even in the way above indicated, and therefore venture to take the liberty of asking whether you would approve of such an inquiry on my part.
In the meantime, my dear Mr. President, I amCordially yours,
Oscar T. Crosby
The White House.