1920s

Initiation of preparations in several different quarters

Provision for economic defence attracted attention in many ways due to domestic experiences during the World War and because of examples abroad. Several proposals were made to establish a war economy general staff or a Council of National Defence.

Establishment of the National Wartime Economy Committee

In 1924 Mr Cajander’s government established the National War Time Economy Committee under the chairmanship of Mr Kaarlo Castrén. The Committee proposed the establishment of a National Wartime Economy Council to act as liaison between the business sector, public administration and the military forces. The committee also proposed the establishment of a State Granary.

Establishment of the National Defence Council

Mr Castrén based the Government’s security of supply policy on a broad based “security policy”. The National Wartime Economy Council was to organize the national economy on the basis of resources invested abroad and of help from the League of Nations. The National Defence Council was established in 1924. A Decree provided that the Council was to take care of economic arrangements. However, at the beginning the Council took a restrictive view of its powers to act and for that reason it was found necessary to establish also a separate body for economic matters.

In 1926 the Government established a new National War Time Economy Committee under the chairmanship of Mr Bernhard Wuolle. The Committee made extensive investigations concerning provisions for war within different sectors of the economy.

Establishment of the National Defence Council of Wartime Economy

In 1929 the Council of State established the National Defence Council of Wartime Economy. Dr Henrik Ramsay was appointed chairman. Officials at its office were Mr Gunnar von Wright as head of unit and Mr Artturi Lehtinen, agricultural college graduate, as deputy head of department. The Council had 18 members and was divided into five sub-committees for national food supply, for industry, for financial matters, for traffic, for public transport and for medical care. Only the national food supply and industry sub-committees functioned in practice.