THE PRESIDENT. I have a number of questions that bear chiefly on the business situation. I have some other questions, but I will confine myself to that one subject this time.
CONFERENCES OF BUSINESS LEADERS AND PUBLIC OFFICIALS
I have during the last week been engaged in numerous conferences with important business leaders and public officials with view to coordination of business and governmental agencies in concerted action for continued business progress.
I am calling the middle of next week a small preliminary conference of representatives of industry and agriculture and labor to meet with the Secretaries of the Treasury, Commerce, Labor, and Agriculture, and the Chairman of the Federal Farm Board to develop some concerted definite steps.
For instance, one of the results of the speculative period through which we passed in recent months has been the diversion of capital from the security market with the consequent lagging in the construction work of the country. The postponement of construction during these past months not only in buildings but in railways and public utilities, and in municipal, State, and Federal public works creates a fairly definite reserve that permits of prompt action in expansion. And that situation is further assured by the very strong cash position of the industries throughout the country.
The magnificent work of the Federal Reserve System, and the inherently sound condition of the banks has already brought about a decrease in interest rates and the assurance of abundant capital, and it is the first time such a result has been so speedily attained in any other similar circumstance.
Market booms develop acute overoptimism and with a corresponding reverse into acute pessimism. They are equally unjustified, and the [p.383] sad thing about that all is the number of unfortunate people that are drawn into the vortex with the loss of their savings and reserves. But any lack of confidence in the economic future and the basic strength of business in the United States is simply foolish. Our national capacity for hard work and intelligent cooperation is ample guaranty of the future of the United States.
My own experience, however, has been that words are of no very great importance in times of economic disturbance. It is action that counts. The action of the Federal Reserve Board in establishing credit stability, ample capital, the confidence of the administration in undertaking tax reduction, with the cooperation of both political parties, speaks a good deal stronger than any number of statements.
The next practical step is to organize coordinated and forward movement in business through the revival of the construction industries, the stimulation of exports and other legitimate directions of business expansion, and to do it in concert with the full use of our powers to assist agriculture. Fortunately sound sense and the ability for cooperative action amongst business leaders and Government agencies make all those things possible.
Q. Has the date for the conference been decided upon ?
THE PRESIDENT. Middle of next week.
Q. Mr. President, will any persons who would be qualified to speak for State and municipal projects be called in ?
THE PRESIDENT. It is very difficult to find such a person. We have collected a good deal of information as to the volume of those construction activities which are held in reserve which we can develop at this conference, but it is difficult to find anybody to speak for them as a whole.
Q. The idea is to bring them in ?
THE PRESIDENT. Ultimately. This will be a preliminary conference to work out a plan. And that is all I have today.