Herbert Hoover photo

Address in Salt Lake City, Utah

November 07, 1932

My fellow citizens:

It is with difficulty that I can formulate phrases which would express my appreciation for the generosity and courtesy of your reception.

This is by no means my first visit to Salt Lake City. I came from the West, and one of my first professional engagements was the responsibility of carrying a chain and driving stakes on a ditch line in this State.

It has been a great relief and great stimulation in the last 2 days to come back to the West where I was born and reared. So I come to your State as no stranger.

We are going through an emergency unparalleled in the peacetime history of our country. The first great stake in this election and one which should give the deepest concern to every citizen is to save the principles on which this Nation was rounded and the ideals upon which it has grown great. The Republican administration has held that its first obligation as the party "of the people, by the people, and for the people," has been to preserve the fundamentals of the Republic. In these trying times we have refused to adopt any of the evasions and resorts which have been installed by scores of other nations who have been precipitated into this crisis as the result of the World War. We have in no way countenanced the curtailment of public and private liberties. Thus we shall find, when this emergency is past, our governmental, social, and economic structure is functioning as before. And even at political cost to ourselves, we must preserve those precious forces which have builded up this Republic over 150 years.

In no community in all this broad land is there today any lessening of ordered liberty, of vitality, of initiative, of individual enterprise or sense of responsibility of the community or the responsibilities of the States upon all of which this Republic is based.

The second duty with which we were confronted was to recognize honestly the forces moving against us and to give them battle with all the reserve powers of the Federal Government, to protect our people where they were unable to protect themselves, by strengthening the State, the municipality or institution.

There is nothing more difficult than to face the facts unflinchingly. Nor could we afford to look at them through eyes colored by political interest. There is nothing more difficult in times of emergency than to say "no" to anxious people when "yes" would give momentary satisfaction and yet would undermine the stability of the Nation which is our first fundamental security.

We have provided a series of measures unprecedented in the history of the Republic. In all these measures we have preserved the recognition of the responsibility of the States, local communities, private institutions, and individual citizens. These have been tremendous undertakings and instrumentalities, unparalleled in the history of the United States. They have carried us through a crisis which, without these actions, would have left the Republic with a generation of chaos. These measures and weapons were created not only for defense in the great battle with invading forces, but they were built also for purposes of counterattack. We were delayed in this counterattack for 4 months by the destructive attitude of the Democratic House of Representatives which proposed day by day measures which pandered to sectional and group interest in preparation for this political campaign. These obstructive actions themselves have destroyed public confidence during that time.

We were thus fighting not only on the front preserving the Republic, but fighting an irresponsible enemy on our flank. It was not until we had defeated the flank attack that we were able to concentrate on the frontline of battle and carry the frontline trenches. We are moving forward today. A million men in 4 months have been restored to their normal jobs. Our agencies report that they are being taken back at the rate of 500,000 a month. So great has been the transformation in certain centers that in the great city of St. Louis where they had secured a large loan from the Reconstruction Corporation in order to care for the destitute, they are surrendering most of the loan back to the Government. With a magnificent sense of courage and community spirit and individual responsibility they announce that they can now take care of their own because of the increasing number of men who have returned to employment. I have just received a telegram showing that employment and business in all of the New England States, after deducting all seasonal factors, increased nearly 10 percent in the last 4 months.

I regret that agriculture has been lagging behind industry in this march to recovery. The reasons are, first, because our domestic markets must be reestablished by the reemployment of men; second, because we have met a new blow through depreciation of currencies in 30 governments which have collapsed under strains from the aftermath of the Great War. Their currencies have depreciated all the way from 10 percent to 50 percent, and depreciation of currency means reduction of wages and of standards of living. It has further increased their capacity to compete with our farmers. It has created breaches in the protective tariff wall which stands as the bulwark of our agricultural industry. Our first and immediate duty now is to repair these breaches in order that agriculture may resume a march forward parallel with industry within the next 30 days. That we shall do, either through the flexible tariff provision or, if necessary, through legislation. We propose to preserve the American market for the American farmer. You will realize that in these Intermountain States of ours nearly 99.5 percent of all your products are marketed within the borders of the United States, and that what you require is the protection of that market.

The Democratic campaign has been conducted from the start upon the theory that by misrepresenting the origins of this crisis as having been brought about by the Republican administration, they could then successfully play politics with human. misery. This pretext has been exploded. It was based on the assumption that the American people were an ignorant people, without knowledge of history or of current events. It was assumed they had no recollection that just such a crisis followed the Napoleonic wars, just such a crisis followed the Civil War and the wars in Europe which took place a few years later. They pretended that the World War had nothing to do with this crisis. They estimated that our people could not grasp the fact that increases in our own public debts due to the World War, together with the effect of the enormous inflation in values which took place during the war, had anything to do with our problems today. This indeed was an avoidance of the fact that these things all occurred under a Democratic administration. They assumed that our people were so ignorant as not to recognize that the overwhelming debts of foreign nations from increasing armaments from their continuing frictions, and finally their frantic attempts to secure their national liquidation, brought about the collapse of a great number of nations.

They assumed that the knowledge of these events and their effects upon us by their undermining of our credit, their reduction of buying power for our goods, were all unknown to the American people. They have had the political foolishness to misjudge that the intelligence of the American people would accept their claim that a boom on the New York Stock Exchange, participated in by Democrats as well as Republicans, was the cause of this world calamity. They attempted to establish this claim in spite of the fact that we have had similar booms 15 times in the last century, and deplorable as they are, they have never yet jeopardized our Republic or brought catastrophe on the world.

They have in this campaign also relied upon the spread of misinformation to convince the American people that the great final blow which brought the world to disaster was through the passage of the increased tariffs under the Hawley-Smoot act which took place 12 months after that boom had cracked. Most of those increases were for the benefit of our farmers. They attempted this particular foolishness in spite of the fact that it has been demonstrated time and again that this tariff law affected only $10 out of every $1,000 of world trade, and that similar increases many, many times before in our history, when we had to recover protection from Democratic administrations, had had no effect on the world. All of this gigantic pose was designed to fool the people.

We have pointed out on many occasions that this refusal to recognize the facts, this attempt to mislead the people, disqualifies that party for the Government of the United States. Again, I repeat that the object in all of this misleading is to find some way to place on the Republican Party the responsibility for this worldwide disaster, and thus to draw members of the Republican Party to their banner out of discontent. Furthermore, their strategy in this campaign was to rely upon the solid South as. an impregnable fortress in a political battle. They then would use their political brigades in the great cities. They sought by these misrepresentations, by nebular promises directed to the unemployed, to the farmers, to the miners, to every industry that is suffering, to attract from the Republican ranks a sufficient number to carry this election. They have, instead, driven many honest minded Democrats from their ranks, and their failure to draw thinking Republicans will be their rebuke for intellectual dishonesty.

The Republican Party, confronted with the greatest crisis that has come in peacetime, prepared and carried through a gigantic program. That program is in action now. It is showing its results.

When we search for their program with which to meet this depression, and their real views on long-view national action, we find ourselves compelled to search a series of acts passed in the last session of the Democratic House, calculated to attract sections, groups, and radical elements to their banner. They expounded here and elsewhere through their candidate a philosophy of government that would have destroyed the foundations of the Republic. Their party convention, by the nomination of Mr. Garner, ratified these acts. Their candidate for President, having failed to disavow them, has also ratified them.

I ask you to compare my review of their program for meeting this emergency, as outlined by me in an address at St. Paul and elsewhere, with the program which the Republican administration has already in action. Their long-view policies have the same weaknesses and the same evasions in frankly meeting national problems as their emergency program. In my addresses I have presented proof, step by step, of these facts. I have exposed their misstatements and their avoidances and their fallacies and their destructive philosophy of government. On the last point I have the gravest concern. If that philosophy were ever put into action, the America we have known in the past would be changed, and we would join with other decaying nations. Such a program put into action would destroy those principles which have given to us through these decades our great accretions of national progress, and which have sustained every man in his personal liberty and sustained the protection of his individual opportunity and has sustained the ideals of a great people.

The discussions in this campaign have largely revolved on economic issues and our material welfare, but there are issues in the campaign which far transcend the interest of our pocketbooks. While the immediate issue is to overcome this crisis, far beyond this is the higher duty to maintain faith in and fidelity to our institutions. These are the most necessary part of our problems of government and the problems of your life and of my life.

In all great crises our decisions have not been based on dollars and cents. When our people look anxiously toward the future they look to the preservation of our liberties and the safety of our institutions. We are a people devoted not to our own immediate self-interest, but we are concerned with the fate of our children and their children.

In this campaign, knowing the responsibilities of the Presidential office as I do, I have felt that I was leading a cause vital to the future of my country and to my children.

There is no community where the building up of the home and the advancement of children born amid the handicaps of the desert has called for more sacrifice by men and women, and where its hopes have been more nearly attained than in this city. I ask you to traverse the program which has been laid down by the Democratic Party, their program for long-view policies, and determine whether you think the growth which you have made here in the last 75 years can be continued if you project yourselves for the next 75 years into such a program.

I need not explain to you the principles of the protective tariff nor how dependent the Intermountain States are upon its maintenance. I may mention one fact alone and that is, outside of wheat 99.5 percent of your farmers' market depends upon the protective tariff. Nor do I need to point out to you that the only occasion upon which the Democratic candidate has expressed himself upon any particular schedule of the tariff was in a communication through the Cuban press to express his sympathy for the Cuban ambition to remove the tariff on sugar. And I might further call your attention to the explanation given, when confronted with the query as to whether this meant he would remove the sugar tariff, that he would not discuss any particular schedule. The same reply was made when he was asked what he would do about the tariff which today is the sole protection of your cattle and sheep industry, as distressed as prices may be.

Now, I submit that if any man is competent to discuss the protective tariff he must know whether the different schedules are too high or too low. He must also know that through the Tariff Commission these schedules can be instantly subjected to reexamination, and if found at fault they can be instantly remedied. I have repeatedly offered to submit any such schedule from the Democratic candidate to the Tariff Commission for their action. As I have stated elsewhere, his reply, when asked why he does not submit these facts or these faults in our tariff in order that they may be remedied, is that he will abolish the independent authority of the Tariff Commission.

I do not need to reiterate that I stand flatly for the protective tariff. I stand for the protective tariff which means always the preservation of the American market for the American producer. Further, I stand for the speedy repair of the breaches in its walls which have been made by the depreciation of foreign currencies as a result of this worldwide calamity.

This morning I issued the following statement, to the press which explains itself and is as follows:

"My attention has been called to the misrepresentation by Democratic agencies upon the question of the restriction of Philippine sugar. The Democratic Hawes-Hayes bill provides for a probation for Philippine independence varying from 9 to 17 years, during which time the quota of sugar which can be imported free is to be increased from the present average of the last few years of about 600,000 tons up to 850,000 tons. At the end of that period a catastrophe will come to the Philippine people through the total break of their duty-free trade relations with us.

"The Republican proposal is of a gradually modified relationship with the Philippines. We say that they cannot in their own interest attain political independence until they have secured economic independence. They depend for their prosperity upon being within the tariff laws of the United States. We therefore say that their amount of duty-free sugar and of other commodities must not be increased at all, but on the contrary must start, in the case of sugar, at 600,000 tons and be reduced every year in order to gradually establish their economic independence. That is in the interest of both the Philippines and the American farmer, and the Democratic proposal is not in the interest of the Filipinos or our farmers.

"The Democratic proposal continues and makes worse the situation of the American farmer for 9 to 17 years and in the end plunges the Philippines into ruin as the price of their liberty. The Republican proposal, as usual a constructive proposal, gives immediate relief to the beet sugar grower and our other producers and brings about a safe basis of Philippine independence."

And I wish to mention here and now that in securing these additional authorities to the Tariff Commission 2 years ago by which we have taken the tariff out of logrolling and placed it on a sound and effective basis and on a basis which can meet the emergencies with which we are now confronted, Senator Smoot of your State led not only in this fight but also in the fight for the protection of your industries in Utah and for the protection of the entire Nation. And I wish to make one other point. Senator Smoot is the doyen of the United States Senate. By his long service which has continued longer than any other Senator, he has a knowledge of the workings of the United States Government unparalleled by any other man in the United States Senate. It is necessary that Senator Smoot return to the United States Senate where he has given such untiring devotion to his constituents and has not attempted to promote local interests where they were in conflict with the interests of the country as a whole. Two of the political leaders in your neighboring State told me within an hour that they would be glad to have Senator Smoot for the campaign in their State.

This has been a campaign of peculiar misrepresentation from our opponents through failure to properly advise the Governor of New York as to facts and the consequent broadcasting time and again of misinformation both as to the origin of events and the actions taken with regard to them and in matters of common statistical accuracy which change the arguments.

One of these misrepresentations local to the Intermountain States has been as to my position as to silver. If I had no broader vision than my personal sympathy with every man who works with pick and shovel in the mines, every superintendent, and every owner of a mine, to which industry I devoted myself over a term of years, I would be anxious that their product could be salable at a price which would maintain their livelihood and the prosperity of these States from the national point of view. Increase in the value of silver would relieve us from strains of cheap production of goods which flow over our borders; it would rehabilitate the buying power of many foreign nations for our goods. We have long since determined that there can be but one standard of monetary value and that is gold, but yet we should restore silver to greater use for subsidiary coinage and other purposes in those countries which traditionally have used it and to do it without undermining the gold standard. The problem in the expansion of the use of silver thus becomes a problem which cannot be solved without international action.

For a score of years the Congress has been passing resolutions asking for an international conference for this purpose. I took the proper steps many months ago through our diplomatic agents to inquire of the nations, without whose attendance such a conference would be impossible, as to whether or not they would be willing to join in such a conference. They stated they were unwilling to do so at that time. Later on, when the question arose of a world economic conference to consider steps by which the international phases of this stupendous crisis could be further relieved, I stipulated as a condition of American entry into that conference that there should be considered also the methods for the restoration of the use and price of silver as a full part in that conference. That was finally accepted. I have given assurances to the people of the Intermountain region that I shall appoint a representative on the American delegation who will carry their point of view to that conference.

I call your attention to the fact that in the history of 30 years this is the only administration which has won for you the consideration of this question by the nations of the world and eight of those years have been Democratic administrations.

I have referred to my early visits to this State. The pursuit of that same profession as an engineer took me into many lands peopled by many races, living under strange and diverse philosophies of life and many different forms of government. Later, during the World War in Europe, I saw men of all these origins gathered on the fields of battle waging the deadliest war in human history. I am perhaps the only man who was permitted to move within the battle zone and freely among the people on both sides of the conflict when it was in action. In my mission I discussed--merely as a matter of discernment for my own use--the war with statesmen and generals on all sides of the conflict. Their leaders had summoned their people to arms on every one of a dozen different pleas that are made to persuade men to risk their lives upon the issues of war. Some had been called to resist a hateful philosophy of government; some had been called to preserve their national existence; some had been called to guarantee with their blood a theory of their country's economic interest.

Now I would be the last man in the world to say that war is never justified. Many men of my own family have borne arms. I myself in the course of the World War repeatedly stated that I was prepared to serve my country in any capacity from that of laborer to that of soldier in the frontline trenches. There are issues for which it is right that men, if need be, should sacrifice their lives to defend them.

Nevertheless, I had at that time 4 years of unique personal observation of the horrors of war, 4 years of study of its causes, and after the armistice I had another year in endeavor to stem the tide of famine to save the children and to reestablish economic life in Europe. I then had another 8 years of intimate study of its appalling aftermaths in dealing with the foreign commerce of our country. And I have grappled daily, in my last 30 years as President in the most responsible office of government in the world, with the fearful aftermaths which had overwhelmed the world from war. All these experiences have impressed upon my mind with ineradicable vividness the colossal error of war as an instrument of national policy. I have learned the futility of war as a solvent of great human problems, and I have perceived the fearful toll that war takes of the generations succeeding the one which fought the battles.

Indelibly impressed upon my deepest emotions is the profound conviction that the very first of all problems pressing upon the human race generally, in its large assemblage of nations, is the problem of prevention of future wars. The greatest safety of the world from these crises we are now passing is to prevent war. I see this not only in its terms of crushing economic burdens, not only in its fearful disorganization and dislocation of economic life for years to come, not only in its crushing burdens of taxation for generations innocent of responsibility, I see it far more intensely as a supreme human problem.

I see in wars the loss of the glorious young manhood of the world who, but for war's slaughter, would lead the bright columns of human hope and human idealism and human progress to levels far above the past. I see wars in terms of women, widowed or unwed, with fond hopes blasted of homes and children. I see war's most lamentable casualties in homes wrecked and in homes that never even had their chance of being. I see wars in terms of children born into lives foredoomed to ignorance and the toil that dwarfs both mind and spirit. I see war's fatal poison subtly invading the moral ideals of the people, bringing grossness and cynicism where should grow the fine flower of idealism. The world has seen enough of a postwar peace that is not peace, but rather smoulders on in racial hatreds.

For these reasons, it has been a major purpose through all of my administration to guide the foreign policy of this Nation so as to maintain our traditional peace with amity with all nations. But, of even more importance, I have sought to do everything in my power to place the full weight of the moral strength of the American people behind every agency, existing or that can be devised, which has for its purpose the upbuilding of the spirit of peace in the world and the maintenance of peace among nations. I have made but one reservation, and that is, we will join no movement that proposes to use military or economic force in its attempts to prevent war. For that is a contradiction in method.

And there has been real accomplishment in this direction by our country in this 3 1/2 years. Through strengthening of the Kellogg Pact, beyond even the scope visioned by my predecessor, its great proponent, we have accomplished its acceptance by the entire world as an effective agency through which the moral influence of the world can be, and more than once has been, effectively mobilized to prevent war and sustain peace. The force behind that is the force of mobilized public opinion of the world. That is the greatest force which the world can command. We have sought and secured a large measure of disarmament. We are today placing our every influence to secure further disarmament.

If time permitted, I could enumerate a score of other measures and policies and individual cases in which the United States Government, representing the passion of our people for world peace, has been able to advance that cause by practical and effective action.

And if it shall be the will of this Nation that for another 4 years I shall continue to lead in the execution of their purposes, they may be assured, both by the pledge of past endeavor and by my solemn pledge for future endeavor, and by the further knowledge of my personal conviction and deep emotion on this subject, that then for yet another 4 years this Nation shall continue to advance in leadership toward the precious goal of worldwide and enduring peace.

Note: The President spoke at 12 noon to an audience of 10,000 people gathered in the Mormon Tabernacle.

Herbert Hoover, Address in Salt Lake City, Utah Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207522

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