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The War Assets Administration (WAA) was created to dispose of United States government-owned surplus material and property from World War II. The WAA was established in the Office for Emergency Management, effective March 25, 1946, by Executive Order 9689, January 31, 1946.

Predecessor Agencies[]

  • Petroleum Reserves Corporation (PRC), Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC, June–July 1943)
  • PRC, Office of Economic Warfare (OEW, July–September 1943)
  • PRC, Foreign Economic Administration (FEA, September 1943-September 1945)
  • PRC, RFC (September–November 1945)
  • War Assets Corporation (WAC), RFC (November 1945-March 1946)
  • Surplus War Property Administration (SWPA), Office of War Mobilization (OWM, February–October 1944)
  • Surplus Property Board (SPB), Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion (OWMR, October 1944-September 1945)
  • Surplus Property Administration (SPA), OWMR (September 1945-March 1946)


The WAA disposed of surplus consumer, capital, and producer goods; industrial and maritime real property; and airports and aircraft located in the United States and its territories. American factories had produced massive amounts of weaponry during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of tons of surplus military equipment, from mess kits to tanks, airplanes, machine guns, artillery, and even warships, were offered for sale as scrap by the WAA. Other items were sold for immediate use by consumers in their homes, vehicles, and businesses.[1] In addition, government-owned industrial plants, airfields, and other real property was sold or turned over. Even patents, industrial processes, manufacturing techniques, and inventions were declared surplus and put up for sale.[2]

Below are a few examples of surplus assets distributed by the WAA:

  • Agricultural machinery[3]
  • Aircraft, built for military transport, purchased by airline carriers for commercial use[4][5]
  • Artillery factory, then converted by the new owners to produce electrical cords[6]
  • Books[7][8]
  • Coal[9]
  • Fabric[10]
  • Factories built for war-time production, purchased by their lessees to continue production for civilian trade[11]
  • Gliders[12]
  • Gulfport Army Airfield was converted to commercial use, and is now the Gulfport–Biloxi International Airport
  • Hospital on a closed Army base became Alaska's first dedicated tuberculosis sanitorium[13][14]
  • Mules and horses[15]
  • Power station, to be operated as a public utility[16]
  • Snow chains for trucks and passenger cars[1]
  • Trucks[17]
  • Waste containers[18]


The WAA was abolished by the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (63 Stat. 738), June 30, 1949. It was succeeded by the General Services Administration, as liquidator.


  1. 1.0 1.1 War Assets Administration (March 25, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-1". p. 7. "Approximately 78,399 pairs of new passenger car and truck tire chains, valued at $523,485, have been declared surplus by the Army and will be placed on sale beginning March 26, 1946, the War Assets Administration announced today.... A spot check by WAA has disclosed a ready market for the chains for domestic use and it is expected that the supply will be absorbed immediately." 
  2. War Assets Administration (June 27, 1946). "Patents, Processes, Techniques, and Inventions: First Supplementary Report of the War Assets Administration to the Congress". U.S. Government Printing Office. 
  3. War Assets Administration (April 25, 1946). "WAA-120: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 275. "Lieutenant General Edmund B. Gregory, War Assets Administrator, today instructed each of the 33 regional directors of WAA to speed up the disposal of all types of farm machinery and equipment to help overcome the critical farm production crisis. This is in line with a promise which General Gregory recently made to leaders of national farm organizations that WAA will get all farm machinery and equipment into the hands of the farmers as quickly and as directly as possible." 
  4. War Assets Administration (May 1, 1946). "WAA-143: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 327. "Allocation of eight surplus transports to six domestic applicants was announced today by the War Assets Administration.... This brings the grand total of surplus transports allocated to 819.... The complete 32nd allocation of surplus transports, announced today, is as follows: Douglas (C-54B): American Airlines Inc., 1, and Pan American-Grace Airways, Inc., 2. Douglas (C-54A): Alaska Airlines, 2, and Peninsula Air Transport, Miami, Fla., 1." 
  5. War Assets Administration (May 25, 1946). "WAA-215: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 153. "A Douglas C-54B was assigned to Pacific Overseas Airlines, Ltd., Fairfiled California. The plane will be used in trans-Pacific cargo air service...." 
  6. War Assets Administration (April 10, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-32". p. 77. "Cords, Ltd., Inc., 26 Camp Street, Newark, N. J., has purchased the gn-mount and ordnance plat operated by American Type Founders, Inc., at 780 Frelinghuysen Avenue, Newark, N. J., for $375,00.... Cords, Ltd., will use the plant for the production of molded electrical cords. About 400 persons will be employed." 
  7. War Assets Administration (April 2, 1946). "WAA-45: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 105. "Surplus libraries, including books, magazine racks, shelving, library furniture, book trucks and similar equipment, will be disposed of intact, and will be allocated among states on the basis of population and need, War Assets Administration announced today. After the priorities of Federal agencies have been met, the surplus libraries will be offered as units to libraries and other educational institutions.... Designed to satisfy all reading tastes, the libraries contain a balanced collection of books, largely recreational in nature, with a normal quota of reference and technical books, the Army said. The majority is fiction including westerns, mysteries, and romances. About 40 percent is nonfriction." 
  8. War Assets Administration (May 21, 1946). "WAA-202: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 119. "Surplus textbooks transferred to the Veterans Administration will be channelled through the educational institution where the veteran is enrolled under government sponsorship, the War Assets Administration said today. The Library of Congress will distribute the books to educations institutions, which will in turn handle distribution to veterans." 
  9. War Assets Administration (May 3, 1946). "WAA-143: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 29. "Release of 32,000 tons of surplus coal by the War Assets Administration today helped relieve critically depleted fuel supplies throughout the Nation. Acting with dispatch to avert an impending crisis, WAA sold 17,000 tons to four railway systems less than 24 hours after the initial request. The fuel was allocated by the Solid Fuels Administration activng under executive order." 
  10. War Assets Administration (May 27, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-216". p. 155. "Approximately 10 million yards of surplus cotton herringbone twill will be offered to priority claimants in a 20-day sale beginning June 3, 1946, the War Assets Administration announced today." 
  11. War Assets Administration (May 17, 1946). "WAA-194: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 103. "A Teterboro, N.J., plant, leased and operated during the war by Air Associates, Inc., has been sold to its wartime lessee for $155,000. Constructed in 1941, the plant was engaged in the production of aircraft accessory equipment and expects to continue to manufacture these items for the civilian trade. A Marion, Ohio, steel castings manufacturing establishment, leased and operated during the war by the Osgood Co., has been authorized for sale to Osgood for $131,927. The company expects to continue in the manufacture of steel castings." 
  12. War Assets Administration (March 27, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-15". p. 41. "73 SURPLUS GLIDERS SOLD IN THREE DAYS. The entire lot of 73 Pratt-Reed TG-32 two-piece training gliders in surplus stocks was sold during the first three days they were placed on sale at $200 each, War Assets Administration announced." 
  13. War Assets Administration (May 10, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-173". p. 577. "A modern, 150-bed hospital, together with all auxiliary installations, declared surplus by the Army at Ford Raymond near Seward, Alaska, is being transferred by the Territorial Government of Alaska, it was announced today by the War Assets Administration.... The hospital, which originally cost the Government $570,000, will be operated by the Territory of Alaska as the first exclusive tuberculosis sanitarium in Alaska, in its fight against a steadily increasing spread of this disease, especially among the wards of the government, throughout the territory." 
  14. Cagle, Jennifer Laurie. "Harbor Defenses of World War II". Seward Resort. "After the war, Fort Raymond was deactivated, and the Women's Society of Christian Service took over, operating the facility as a tuberculosis sanitarium. The reduction of tuberculosis cases gradually diminished until there was no longer a need for the sanitarium, which closed in 1957." 
  15. War Assets Administration (March 26, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-11". p. 27. "Three auctions of surplus army mules and horses conducted in the last few days in widely scattered locations netted the government a return of $324,106, it was announced today by the War Assets Administration. In all, 2,383 mules and 142 horses were sold." 
  16. War Assets Administration (April 18, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-104". p. 237. "Sale of the Riverside Power Plat of the Mathieson Alkali Works at Lake Charles, La., was announced today by the War Assets Administration. Gulf States Utilities Company purchased the land, building, and machinery for $2,408,126.55... Built by the Army Air Force at a cost of $3,208,489, the plant was a component part of a facility to produce magnesium. The new owner of the property will operate it as a public utility." 
  17. War Assets Administration (May 22, 1946). "WAA-211: WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION". p. 137. "War Assets Administration today announced that 28,489 trucks of all types were sold during a three-months' period that ended March 23. The majority of the sales, WAA said, were made to veterans who bought 12,075 vehicles. Federal government agencies purchased 3,805, while state and local governments bought 1212. All other classes of purchasers, including dealers, bought 11,397 trucks, the report said." 
  18. War Assets Administration (March 29, 1946). "ADVANCE RELEASE: WAA-8". p. 21. "A nationwide fixed-price sale of ash and garbage cans declared surplus by the Army will open March 29, the War Assets Administration announced today. The cans are corrugated, zinc coated and were built to stand hard military use.... A spot check by WAA indicates that ash and garbage cans are in short supply." 

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