roots of the Governor’s
War Cabinet can be found in the Governor’s Emergency Committee,
established by Gov. A. Harry Moore in September of 1939 in reaction
to the war in Europe. The following year, a permanent organization
was formalized through the creation of the New Jersey Defense Council
(P.L. 1940, chap. 238, p. 924 and P.L. 1941, chap. 376, p. 981).
The Committee and later the Council were established in order to
coordinate the defense of the state and its population, working
in conjunction with the National Defense Council. In 1942, the
powers of the Council were transferred to the newly formed “governor’s
emergency war cabinet.” This committee, which referred to
itself as the “Governor’s War Cabinet” was composed
of the following officials: governor, senate president, speaker
of the General Assembly, adjutant general, State Police superintendent,
and the civilian defense director (P.L. 1942, chap. 251, p. 680).
The legislation empowered the governor to “employ all the
available resources of the State government and of each and every
political subdivision … and to commandeer and utilize any
privately owned property” as needed for civilian defense.
consists of the minutes of the Cabinet, beginning with 3 March
1942 (while it still functioned as part of the New
Defense Council) and continuing to 3 May 1944. The minutes
record discussions of varying issues including: the recruitment
maintenance of the New Jersey State Guard; planning and implementation
and dim-outs in answer to concerns about possible German U-boat
attacks; strategies for coping with shortages of fuel oil,
coal and rubber; and reports of federal civil defense regulations,
conferences and initiatives.
In addition to the records of the New Jersey Defense Council
and the Governor’s War Cabinet, researchers should
consult the correspondence of Governors Moore, Edison and
Edge for information about New Jersey during World War II.