Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

June 23, 1936

Q. We have a slim crowd for you today, Mr. President.

Q. just the second-string men. (Laughter)

THE PRESIDENT: I would not stand for it for a minute.

MR. EARLY: I pointed out this morning that any news out of here might compete with Philadelphia (where the Democratic National Convention was in progress).

Q. We might get some local stuff here today.

THE PRESIDENT: For the benefit of all of you, there is no general news and, for the benefit of Russ (Young), there is no local news. . . .

Q. Harry Hopkins had a group in the other day. On their way out they did not talk very much. They said something about studying cooperative enterprises in Europe.

THE PRESIDENT: I was going to release that next week, but I might as well tell you that now. There are three men going abroad: Jacob Baker, Assistant Works Progress Administrator; Leland Olds, who is the Secretary of the New York State Power Authority, and Charles E. Stuart, of the engineering firm of Stuart, James and Cooke, of New York.

They are going abroad on the first of July to make a report on cooperative enterprises in certain parts of Europe. They are going to the British Isles, Sweden, Denmark and Finland and, I think, Norway, although it is not down here, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and France. Also, possibly, Hungary.

They are to study the cooperative developments in Europe in relation to cooperative stores, housing, credit, insurance, banking, electrical distribution, cooperative producers, cooperative marketing and, in general, the coordinating of these different kinds of cooperatives with each other and with other forms of conducting the same services, also the relationship of these different Governments to these cooperative agencies.

This is a thing you will not want to use, but I think it is tremendously interesting; and you might perhaps use it as background without attributing it to me. I became a good deal interested in the cooperative development in countries abroad, especially Sweden. A very interesting book came out a couple of months ago—The Middle Way. I was tremendously interested in what they had done in Scandinavia along those lines. In Sweden, for example, you have a royal family and a Socialist Government and a capitalistic system, all working happily side by side. Of course, to be sure, it is a smaller country than ours; but they have conducted some very interesting and, so far, very successful experiments. They have these cooperative movements existing happily and successfully alongside of private industry and distribution of various kinds, both of them making money. I thought it was at least worthy of study from our point of view.

I think this Committee of three will be gone only about two months or two months and a half and it will necessarily be just a hasty survey—a bird's-eye view of what has been accomplished over there. It is especially important because in this country, as you may know, there has been a substantial growth of the cooperative movement in various parts of the country among producers, such as farmers, and among middlemen and among consumers.

It is something that has nothing political in it, from a partisan point of view.

Q. To whom do they report, to you?


Q. Do you see a way of putting unemployed to work? Is it a move toward putting unemployed to work through cooperatives?

THE PRESIDENT: Only indirectly. In Scandinavia the unemployment situation is not a serious one. They still have their unemployed but, since going on these general methods, the number of unemployed has decreased quite sharply.

Q. Isn't the cooperative movement an answer to monopoly rather than unemployment, viewed in that light?


Franklin D. Roosevelt, Excerpts from the Press Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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