Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

October 01, 1940

Q. Mr. President, if you have read the papers in the last twenty-four hours you will notice that a Presidential candidate [Mr. Willkie] has been subjected to rather harsh treatment in Michigan. I think it was throwing cantaloupes or something at him.

THE PRESIDENT: I have not read it because the only paper I read this morning was the Washington Post and I did not see anything about it in that. But Steve [Mr. Early] told me about it, and all I can say is that it is thoroughly reprehensible to do a thing like that. I imagine under the laws of almost every State it is criminal and it is an assault. And the only other thing I can suggest is that Steve says it is an R.F.C. employee; and the employee should forfeit employment, of course, for doing a thing like that.

Q. What was the last part, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: The employee should forfeit employment fordoing a thing like that. . . .

Q. Three governors from the Mid-West were in here today. Were you able to give them any assurance that more defense orders will go to the interior?

THE PRESIDENT: They had seen several people on our Defense Council and, I think, the Army and Navy. I think they were completely reassured on the subject of our building up facilities in the central part of the country as fast as we can do so without loss of time.

Let me talk to you, just for a minute, off the record, on that. Some of you went along yesterday and saw the Martin plant just outside of Baltimore. The question came up-this is off the record, just for background-the question came up a little while ago as to adding to the Martin bomber output; and we, all of us, wanted to put the necessary addition to the plant somewhere out in the Middle West, which meant doubling the plant; and then came the question of time. The production experts believe that to double the plant by putting the other part of it out west under the same management would cost several months in time of starting production, as against building another unit within a mile of the old plant. Well, that happened to be the decision on that particular case, that particular company. It is a question of administration, management, et cetera.

In the case of some other company, the experts decided they would not lose time by going out to the Middle West. There are a great many management factors that none of us understand. We have to take the word of management experts; and it was felt in this particular case you had yesterday that it was better to build the other plant just one mile from the old plant. In the case of the North American and Curtiss Manufacturing, and perhaps the Vultee, and one or two others, they felt there would be no loss of time in putting the new plants in some new point in the Middle West instead of in the old place.

So each case is being taken up on the merits of the individual case, with the objective of putting as many new plants in safer places than they would be on either the East Coast or the Pacific Coast, there being certain exceptions to the general rule, as we saw yesterday. . . .

Q. Can we use this for background without mentioning any plant?


Q. Has there been any disposition on the part of the owners of these plants to insist on the East and West Coasts? They say that freight rates and trained personnel are not available. Is there anything to that?

THE PRESIDENT: I think very little, Pete [Mr. Brandt]. They have been very cooperative, and it has been decided wholly on the merits and with the approval of the plants themselves, the companies. . . .

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

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