Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

May 29, 1935

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't any news at all.

Q. Is there anything you can tell us for background or otherwise about this N.R.A. situation?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think so.

Q. What did you talk to General Johnson about?

THE PRESIDENT: The same as I have talked to seventy-five other people today and yesterday, the N.R.A. business men, lawyers and newspaper editors—those are the three classifications.

Q. You had better talk to us reporters.

THE PRESIDENT: No. When I get through talking to all of them, I shall talk to you and find out what to do . . . .

Q. Any plans for dealing with the coal situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No, the coal situation is a good deal like a good many of the other situations that are brought about by the Supreme Court decision. Well, if I were going to write the story—I am afraid you are going to get something now—if I were going to write the story I would do it something like this: The spot news is not in Washington! Now, I know what a difficult spot that puts you in, all of you, because you are supposed to represent spot news.

The real spot news in the present situation is what is happening as a result of the Supreme Court decision in every industry and in every community in the United States. That is the spot news.

I have, for instance, a good many resolutions that have come in. Here is one, right in front of me, that came in to me ten minutes ago. It is from the Cotton Textile Industry Committee resolving that they recommend that the cotton textile industry make no change in the conduct of its business and urge the industry to accept this as a general policy. Of course that has already been expressed by Mr. Richberg in his statement the other day, in which he said that he hoped, and we all hope, that the code provisions with relation to fair trade practices and with relation to wages and employment in general will be maintained. That is fine.

But, at the same time, what are we going to do, let us say, in the cotton textile industry if some mill starts lengthening out its hours and cutting its minimum wages? That is putting it rather squarely up to the cotton textile industry and it all comes back to the same old thing. Ninety percent of them, as I said a couple of years ago, want to play the game on the level. But what happens to their playing the game on the level if 10 percent of them go out and hit below the belt?

You have a coal situation where everything has been going along pretty well for two years; you did not have any labor troubles and you won't have them if the present coal code provisions are carried on. What would you do as a miner, if your individual company, the individual company you are working for, went out and broke the present coal code procedure?

In other words, it all comes squarely back to spot news outside of Washington. What is going to happen and what is happening today? Are there any of the garment trade people in the City of New York who cut their wages from twelve dollars minimum to eight dollars today? That is where your spot news is.

Are there any factories in New York or anywhere else this morning that said to the girls, "Instead of going home at five o'clock this afternoon, we have a lot of rush work on. You are going to stay until nine o'clock tonight." What are the girls going to do? Are they going to walk out at five o'clock and lose their jobs? That is where your spot news is for the next few days in this country. That is the way I would write that story. That is as far as I can go today, but that is how I would write it. . . .

Q. Have you talked to anyone concerning Congressional action to limit the power of the Supreme Court, as can be done under the Constitution?

THE PRESIDENT: No. Oh, I have had—this is the batch since nine o'clock this morning, but I suppose that we have had about fifty different suggestions. They go all the way from abolishing the Supreme Court to abolishing the Congress, and I think abolishing the President. That is, so as to make it complete. . . .

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

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