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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the years 1921-1932

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year ended June 2, 1921,   pp. [1]-69 ff. PDF (26.8 MB)

Page 28

the sureties on the bonds of the banks permanently closed paid in 
full both principal and interest. 
A pronounced change in market conditions occurred within the 
year. The early months showed a continued scarcity of supplies and 
material with consequent high prices, which condition, under the 
pressure of the so-called "buyer's strike," reversed itself very
cidedly during the closing months, bringing about lower prices in 
many lines, much to the relief of this service. The change likewise 
was apparent in the increased competition secured through advertise- 
ments. Competition on Government purchases is a fairly accurate 
barometer of commercial conditions, for, if business is good on the 
outside, there is apparently little desire to supply the Government, 
unless the volume is large, but when, as for the past several months, 
business is at a standstill, then interest in Government orders is 
awakened. This service has benefited accordingly. 
The opening of bids and awarding of annual supply contracts took 
place as usual in the spring of 1920, at Chicago, St. Louis, and San 
Francisco, also at Washington, D. C., on coal, beef, pork, mutton, 
and oleomargarine, and in the fall at Chicago on dried fruit, canned 
goods, cereals, flour, and other products. 
The regular list of supplies was purchased in the spring of 1920, 
except where the reaction in prices had not definitely taken place, 
as with sugar, shoes, linseed oil, and numerous other items.. By a 
careful analysis of market conditions later purchases were made at 
a considerable saving. To illustrate, stigar at the usual time of 
buying was quoted i~n New York at approximately 23 cents per 
pound;by holding off it was purchased for December delivery at 
7.74 cents and for February delivery at 7.5 cents per pound, a saving 
of approximately $90,000. Linseed oil, offered in June, 1920, at $1.85 
per gallon,.was purchased in March, 1921, at an average price of 85 
cents, a saving of approximately $9,750. Sole and harness leather were 
bought later in the season at a saving of approximately $4,000. The 
larger part of the leather shoes were not bought until they were 
actually needed. In the fall, after a third advertisement, when 
prices had dropped approximately 25 per cent, they were contracted 
for at a net saving of about $13,000. 
. Field officers ordered for the year only those items and in such 
quantities as they felt were absolutely vital to the successful opera- 
tion of their plants. Reserve supplies since the outbreak of the war 
have gradually been depleted, until a surplus now exists at the end 
of the year at few, if any, places. Such surplus as exists and is not 
required at the point where located is transferred to other places 
where the supplies can be used. It seems, therefore, that the quan- 
tities called for by the field officers, generally speaking, have about 
i!eached the minimum status. 
The surplus of other departments, particularly the War and Navy 
Departments and the United States Shipping Board, has been drawn 
on whenever reported on any items or class of items for which this 
service was in the market. Many thousands of dollars' worth of 
material and supplies have thus been obtained during the fiscal year 
1921 and several prior years, and this cooperation will continue with 

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