Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

September 07, 1934

Q. Have you given any thought, outside of the impending visit of Mr. Johnson, to your temporary reorganization plans for N.R.A.?

THE PRESIDENT: Not any more than I have been doing every day for the last three months. I give a certain amount of thought to it every day. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Q. Have you received any reports or any data from Washington?

THE PRESIDENT: Nothing for about a week. Of course I get reports all the time in the way of suggestions and recommendations. There isn't anything. I couldn't write a story if I tried. None of those reports and recommendations is news.

Q. Has the program for reorganization taken any fairly definite shape yet that you can talk about?

THE PRESIDENT; I haven't got to that point yet but things are "sort of shaping up." Certain aspects are becoming more and more clear in my mind. Now, as I think I told you before, the ultimate shaping-up is a matter of legislation for the next Congress. So it is not exactly a spot news story, and it is very difficult to write it as a dope story, because no program has been determined on and we are looking at all kinds of permanent administration. The trouble is that if I were to give you an example it would give that particular thing undue prominence in a very big program. That is why it is so difficult to do. There are a lot of things, like child labor, for example. You cannot alleviate that unless you talk about minimum wages and hours of work, also the old-age pension and the interpretation of 7-A. You have to have the individual authorities getting together and exchanging views. Then, how far can you go on the exchange of views before running afoul of the anti-trust law—price fixing and things of that kind? You might say they all have an equal value in the entire picture, and we are considering them all.

Q. Mr. President, do you expect that you will get an N.R.A. reorganization, a temporary one, well under way during this month or October, or are you going to wait until shortly before Congress?

THE PRESIDENT; I think you can probably make a fairly good guess on that. If I were writing the story I would say that there will undoubtedly be a recommendation to the Congress for permanent legislation. It does not matter whether it goes up in January or does not go up until March, but something will have to be done before the Congress adjourns that would be permanent legislation in the sense that it would at least tide over for one year. In other words, we are feeling our way on all of these steps. You cannot at this time say that the permanent form of N.R.A. is going to be A, B, C or D. Child labor and collective bargaining, the collective principle of bargaining, are examples of those things which should have a permanent position in American life. Now, those things will have to be taken up by the Congress, otherwise the whole thing will have to be renewed for another year.

Then you come to the borderline; it is partly administrative and partly a question of whether the thing has worked or not. If a part has not worked, should it be modified or abandoned, such as price fixing? That is one of the items on which there is a question mark. We all know that. It runs afoul of the Sherman Anti-Trust Law and other things.

Then, on the administrative end, it is probable that there will be certain temporary changes in the purely administrative set-up which is more a matter of detail than anything else, before the legislation of the next Session goes into effect. Again we are feeling our way, feeling our way toward the ultimate goal. What we do may not be permanent, it may be changed a half dozen times. There have been changes in the past, quite a number of them. There probably will be more as we work toward a simplification of the whole procedure.

Q. You are not including price-fixing policy and price posting, things of that sort, in the category of things that might be changed? After all, you don't need new legislation to change that.

THE PRESIDENT: They might be modified in the meantime. We are trying it out. After all, they were put in there to try out. But those things, as I said, are pretty vague and I would not go so far as to say that they are going to be done, because I don't know. They are among the things that are open for discussion and have been right along; very much so.

Q. On administrative set-ups, will there be a change in that in the near future, say, by the first of October?

THE PRESIDENT: Now you are getting too definite. I don't know. That is the trouble, you haven't a spot news story. You have an interpretative long-range story. I cannot tell you what will be done, because I don't know. But we are working gradually toward a simplification of N.R.A., throwing overboard or modifying the things that are not working— putting in eventually, through perhaps a process of several changes, a machinery that would seem to work better with a more permanent and more simplified organization. It is hard to say anything categorically about it ....

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

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