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Letter to Albert L. Cox on the Proposed Reestablishment of the Council of National Defense.

June 10, 1932

My dear General:

I have your letter today signed by a number of gentlemen throughout the country proposing that we reestablish the Council of National Defense. It is my impression that but few of these gentlemen are familiar with the law bearing on this subject.

In this connection you may be interested in a "background" statement I made to the press correspondents in Washington on May 20th, copy of which I enclose herewith.

I am most desirous of receiving from yourself and your able associates suggestions of any specific action that might be taken by Government or private agencies which would improve the situation. Although I do not find myself in accord with your immediate proposal of another committee, I believe that if the signatories were fully informed as to the present effective organization they would agree with me.

Yours faithfully,


[General Albert L. Cox, Raleigh, North Carolina]

Note: For the background statement referred to, see Item 169. For the act of August 29, 1916, establishing the Council of National Defense, see Public, No. 242, 39 Stat. 649.

On June 10, 1932, a delegation led by General Cox presented a letter to the President urging the reestablishment of the Council of National Defense. A text of the letter, dated March 19 and signed by 86 business, labor, and farm leaders, follows:

Dear Mr. President:

This letter comes to you from a non-partisan group of citizens representing all sections of the country. We believe, as you by your public statements obviously do, that a national emergency of the first magnitude exists and that it needs emergency treatment. We therefore ask you to set in motion that agency of government especially designed for such purpose.

You have said recently "We used emergency measures to win the War. We can use them to fight the depression, the misery and suffering from which are equally great." With these words we are in full agreement and consider immediate action imperative.

From 1916 to 1921 the Council of National Defense well earned the faith and confidence of the American people. No other agency is so well equipped to win this present fight. The Council, first called the "Council of Executive Information," was created by a Federal statute. It was then strengthened by the passage of uniform State laws. The Act creating it requires the Council to nominate to you, and you to appoint an Advisory Commission of not more than seven persons having special knowledge of our country's industries and resources. The Council and its Advisory Commission is charged with "coordination of industries and resources for the National security and welfare" and with "the creation of relations which will render possible in time of need the immediate concentration and utilization of the resources of the Nation." It was created during Peace for the peace-time duty.

It was not intended that the Council with its Advisory Commission should cease to œunction with the successful completion of the task before it sixteen years ago. We join with you in opposing the establishment of new commissions, but are impressed with the present necessity for utilizing this well-tested and legally constituted body.

We are confident that an examination of the Council's records will convince you that it is the one legalized agency available to bring together representatives of the civil body to assist in coordinating the country's energies in definite accomplishment for the common good, and for meeting and overcoming the present nation-wide feeling of confusion and fear. It awaits your command.
[Honorable Herbert Hoover, President of the United States, Washington, D.C.]

Herbert Hoover, Letter to Albert L. Cox on the Proposed Reestablishment of the Council of National Defense. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207034

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