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The working title of this film was Operation Malaya. It opens with the voice-over narration of "John Manchester" reading a letter written by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Manchester Boddy, the basis for the character of Manchester. According to a 1944 article in Los Angeles Daily News, of which Boddy was the publisher, in 1941, a disastrous fire and explosion at Fall River, MA destroyed the government's stockpile of rubber, thus necessitating rubber drives to collect scrap. Boddy was on the air every night for more than four months, appealing to the public to collect and turn in their scrap rubber. In a memo to President Roosevelt, Boddy outlined a plan to get rubber out of Malaya. Three weeks after he had written the memo, Boddy received a letter from the President thanking him for the idea and telling him that the operation was under way. According to a January 1949 Daily Variety news item, Boddy's story was bought by Dore Schary, then head of production of RKO, who took the property with him when he moved over to M-G-M and purchased it from RKO. Although onscreen credits and the Variety review list Tom Helmore in the role of "Mattison," the CBCS credits Lester Matthews in that role. Valentina Cortesa was borrowed from Twentieth Century-Fox, and Sydney Greenstreet was borrowed from Warner Bros. to appear in this film.