Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

February 23, 1934

THE PRESIDENT: On the forty-million-dollar emergency crop-production loan bill, I am signing it this afternoon. I haven't done it yet, but will do it in the next five minutes. I am going to sign it with the explanation that in signing this bill I do so only on the theory that it is proper to taper off the crop-loan system rather than to cut it off abruptly. This year they got something like eighty million dollars, and it is forty for the coming year.

A useful purpose will be served by aiding certain farmers who cannot qualify yet for crop-production loans from the newly established production credit associations. Such credit associations have been formed to take care of these crop loans. Where farmers have security to offer this year, they should be required to obtain their loans from the associations which have been established to give farmers a permanent source of production credit.

The record of these crop-production loans in the past is very bad. Unfortunately, previous crop loans show a large loss to the Government. In prior years, the rate of repayment of the loans runs 60 and 70 and 75 percent. In other words, the returns show a big loss; and in prior years the administrative costs have also actually exceeded the interest collected. That is bad business.

The amount appropriated this year is far below the appropriations of previous years. I think it is less than half of what it was last year; but this 1934 loan by the Government ought to be considered as a tapering-off loan, and should be the last of its kind. In other words, I do not want any more bills along this line next year.

I was rather horrified by the returns that came in. For instance, in loans made in 1933 so far, up to the first of the year, only 73 percent have been repaid . . .

Q. Would you care to state whether or not the crop-reduction plans have anything to do with cutting of production loans?

THE PRESIDENT: No, it is an entirely different thing. The new associations being formed are intended to take care of crop loans.

Q. Have you had a return on the fifty thousand questionnaires that went out in reference to the advisability of making compulsory or voluntary reductions?

THE PRESIDENT: The last I heard from the Department of Agriculture was 95 percent in favor.

Q. That was on cotton, was it not?

Q. Was that in favor of the tax idea?

THE PRESIDENT: No. It was put out in three different ways and split roughly three different ways. The 95 percent was split three different ways, but the whole of the 95 percent was in favor of some kind of more compulsory system than the old method. I thought those figures were given out. I thought that they had been given out by the Department of Agriculture. . . .

Q. You recently told us, or did you, about National Committeemen practicing as lawyers? I have an inquiry from Chicago asking if that applies to National Committeemen who bid on municipal contracts where P.W.A. funds are involved.

THE PRESIDENT: If you just leave it in general form and do not talk about the gentleman himself, just leave it as a matter of broad general principle, I am inclined to think that a National Committeeman within any State ought to make a choice. If he wants to bid on public contracts that have any relationship at all with the national Government and if he is the low bidder, he should get it; but I don't think he should continue to be National Committeeman at the same time. It is a question of ethics. He ought to choose between them.

Q. There seems to be a little distinction there. Do you mean, holding his job, it would be suitable for him to make a bid and then if he does get the project itself. . . .

THE PRESIDENT; NO, I don't think he should engage in that work.

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

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