Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

June 07, 1935

THE PRESIDENT: I hope you are all making arrangements and will let me know as soon as you can how many people are going up to Hyde Park, because Monday is the beginning of Commencement Week at Vassar and I have got to make arrangements for the boys who are going to help carry the daisy chain. (Laughter)

Q. (Russell Young) Steve can carry it himself.

Q. (Francis Stephenson) I think the Senator could be on the tail end of it.

Q. (Russell Young) If Steve will help me it is all right.

THE PRESIDENT: Besides that, there is no news whatsoever I know of.

Q. Mr. President, reviving an old topic, have you any comment to make on the A. F. of L. announcement yesterday regarding N.R.A.?

THE PRESIDENT: I have done no more than read the headlines in the newspapers.

Q. (Francis Stephenson) How did you come out on that? (Laughter)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I read eight headlines .so, of course, now I know all about it. No two of them agreed; otherwise it was all right. . . .

Q. (Mr. Cromie, editor Vancouver Sun, Canada) What would you say was the social objective of the Administration?

THE PRESIDENT: I am glad to see you back here. Is this going to help in the Canadian election too? (Laughter)

That is a difficult subject to discuss, offhand. It would take an hour or two hours at least.

The social objective, I should say, remains just what it was, which is to do what any honest Government of any country would do: to try to increase the security and the happiness of a larger number of people in all occupations of life and in all parts of the country; to give them more of the good things of life, to give them a greater distribution not only of wealth in the narrow terms, but of wealth in the wider terms; to give them places to go in the summertime—recreation; to give them assurance that they are not going to starve in their old age; to give honest business a chance to go ahead and make a reasonable profit, and to give everyone a chance to earn a living.

It is a little difficult to define it and I suppose this is a very offhand definition, but unless you go into a long discussion, it is hard to make it more definite. I do think, however, that we are getting somewhere toward our objective. . . .

Q. Would it be possible for us to use that definition in quotes?

THE PRESIDENT: If you will let me read it over first.

Q. That is fair enough.

THE PRESIDENT: Before you quote, I will let you use it in quotes if you will give me a chance to revise the English. Get it out for me, Kannee. (Stenographer at Press Conferences)

Q. The anti-trust laws immediately go into effect after the codes expire.


Q. The anti-trust laws will have to be enforced after the codes expire.

THE PRESIDENT: I shall have to give you a very offhand opinion on that, and that is that the expiring of the codes means also the expiring of all of the provisions of the codes and therefore you go back, of necessity, to the fundamental statute law.

In other words, do not interpret that as meaning that I am not fully in favor of voluntary codes just so long as voluntary codes do not run counter to statutory law, because we are back to the statutory law, and I am sworn to uphold statutory law.

Q. Can they agree to voluntary codes under the present antitrust laws?

THE PRESIDENT: Offhand, I should say yes. There are many things that can be voluntarily agreed to that do not violate any provision of the anti-trust law. . . .

Q. Under the code you had some provisions for price maintenance. Now such agreement for price making is in restraint of trade and therefore against the anti-trust laws; therefore there could not be any voluntary agreement for price making.

THE PRESIDENT: Not if it is against the anti-trust law. In other words, I cannot waive the law by any action on my part. As to a code which violates the anti-trust laws, the mere approval on the part of the President is "no go."

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

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