WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 1939 — A little noticed but significant type of American ``economic'' action against aggressor nations - through restrictions on the export of strategic raw materials - is gaining ground here and may be expanded in future. For the first time, President Roosevelt last week added two important raw materials - aluminum and molybdenum - to the ``moral embargo'' invoked by the United States against countries engaged in civilian bombings. Hitherto, only aircraft with their finished parts and equipment had been included. Germany in particular needs aluminum, having this far been unable to obtain as much as expected from the mines of Yugoslavia, which is within the circle of the British blockade. Russia also has none to much of this material which is vital in an age of aerial warfare.
There is now a precedent for banning shipments of airplane gasoline, or even the petroleum which might be refined for airplane use, under the broadened terms of the moral embargo. This more drastic action would probably be opposed by oil interests, non-interventionists, etc., and is very much in the study stage at present.
The Monitor is looking back at the events of World War II.