Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

July 29, 1936

Held at Herring Beach, Campobello Island, N. B.

Q. What are your plans after you leave Quebec? Are you going to the Connecticut Valley?

THE PRESIDENT: Cannot answer that without Mac. I am going to detrain somewhere up in Vermont near Winooskie Dam that the C.C.C. Vermont camps have built, and from there motor to Montpelier, have a talk with the Governor and all State officials and Federal officials who are in any way connected with Federal projects, and get Vermont problems in my mind. We shall motor from there, stop one or two places either at sites of dams or work in progress. In Hanover I hope the Governor of New Hampshire and people will come for the same kind of conference; then I shall get on the train and go down to Springfield for conference with all Massachusetts officials in relation to the Massachusetts end of it.

Q. Will that include Governor Curley?

THE PRESIDENT: Include all State officials.

Get to Hyde Park late Saturday night. Shall not get off train in Springfield—get there about 5:30 for conference, no work to see in Springfield in way of flood control. Get to Hyde Park 10:30 or 11.

Q. How long do you plant to stay at Hyde Park?

THE PRESIDENT: Something less than a week, then go back to Washington. Beyond that nothing definite. . . .

Q. Have you given any consideration to a campaign swing to Coast in early September?

THE PRESIDENT; Have nothing planned except what I talked about before. Later in August I shall go to Southern New York and Northern Pennsylvania flood areas, also Western Pennsylvania and Ohio flood areas. I do not know whether it will be the same trip or two different trips.

Q. What plans have been submitted to you of work already done on Quoddy Village?

THE PRESIDENT: I cannot tell you now—bound to be vague, cannot give anything concrete. If any of you haven't seen it, go and see it.

The whole conception of it in the beginning was based on the simple fact that the use of power both in Canada and in the United States is increasing at the rate, let us say roughly, of 10 to 15 percent every year, and we think that it is going to continue to increase. Therefore, there can be more power developed of all kinds, coal, hydroelectric, and if we can find a new method, so much the better. This Passamaquoddy thought was originated in 1921 when the Severn River in England was being considered for tidal power development, and on the coast of France, where they have forty foot tides. In 1921 I talked with Owen Young of the General Electric about the possibilities of the Bay of Fundy. He was much interested and they made a preliminary rough survey. They found it was of interest and well worth while studying, but that the demand for power at that time did not justify anything further.

In 1926 or '27 Cooper came along with his survey, which was financed by General Electric, Aluminum Company of America and the Westinghouse. They found his plans were practical, but again there was the matter of demand. So, in'33 we had our first study made, and they assured us that it was a good proposition. Government engineers held it entirely feasible. At that time it did not seem feasible to talk to Canada in regard to joining. We went ahead with plans of developing on our side of the line, experimentally on a smaller scale, according to the development of power that we could sell.

Ever since that date the science of transmission of electricity has grown by leaps and bounds; private companies, like G. E. and Westinghouse, are working on direct current instead of alternating, which means much lower cost of production and much lower loss of power. If it succeeds as they think it will, that tidal power from the Bay of Fundy, both American and Canadian side, could be transmitted down to New York areas. In other words, there would be free power both ways across the boundary. We shall come to it.

Q. Will you talk about this in Quebec?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, without doubt, if Friday is a long enough day.

As to the next step, the first thing, when it is thoroughly understood that this is a useful experiment, is to put it through on a small preliminary scale, using relief money which would have to be used in any case. We have got to take care of these people. We have had them on road building and schoolhouses. Money has got to be spent, as approximately 5,000 people are on relief in Eastern Maine.

You can make it clear that whether something is done by the next Congress or not, these people who have been on the Quoddy project from relief rolls are going to remain on relief rolls doing something else. Obviously they have to.

As to what is going to be done with those buildings, that will be decided in the course of the next week. They will be usefully employed.

Q. Did Harry Hopkins have any ideas?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we have been talking and trying to get the best possible ideas.

Q. Can you allocate any of the $1,425,000,000 to carry further this work?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I made that clear dozens of times.

Q. Where are you to get the money?

THE PRESIDENT: I shall use the buildings for something. I cannot carry on the project without an Act of Congress.

Q. Do you plan to make any inspection through the Quoddy Village?

THE PRESIDENT: I may go over on the Potomac; I can see almost everything there is from the water.

Q. Where does the Dust Bowl trip fit in?

THE PRESIDENT: Somewhere around the end of August.

Q. Anything in the line of politics, for this is a campaign year, you know?

THE PRESIDENT: Is this the year, Fred? I had forgotten that.

Q. Are you going to listen to Colonel Knox Saturday night?

THE PRESIDENT: I shall be on the train.

Q. Is there anything to the story around here that you might discuss with Lord Tweedsmuir about making Eastport a free port of entry?

THE PRESIDENT: New one on me.

Q. Have you talked with the Prime Minister of New Brunswick about that?

THE PRESIDENT: Passamaquoddy is Passamaquoddy, and includes both sides of the line. Off the record, wouldn't it be nice to have free ports on both sides? Quoddy is just one of those dreams of the future. Either country having extra power could send it without any duty. It seems to be one of the last things in the world to put duty on.

Q. In your talk with the Prime Minister, will that embrace a proposition of Canada going into the proposal?

THE PRESIDENT: I think the first thing that should be done is experimenting in first tidal power in the world. It seems to be worth while trying, and it will be the largest in the world. It was a very good project in view of the fact that people were on relief. There is one other factor which we must consider. When I was a little boy we used to have three steamers a week to Lubec, Eastport and St. John. Now you don't see any-showing the economic condition of Eastern Maine. Anything that can be done to raise economic status is pretty good; otherwise we shall have to look forward to relief for many years to come. . . .

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

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