Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to Governors on the Oil Industry Emergency.

April 03, 1933

My dear Governor:

I am sending you herewith for your consideration a report submitted to the Secretary of the Interior as the result of a three days' conference held in Washington the early part of this week on the oil situation and participated in by representatives of the Governors of seventeen of the oil-producing States. There were also present at the conference representatives of the independents in the industry as well as of the major oil- and gas-producing agencies. The main report was drafted and unanimously adopted by a Committee of Fifteen, composed in equal parts of representatives of the Governors, of the major oil industries, and of the independents. When this report was finally submitted to the full conference, it received the affirmative votes of all the representatives of the Governors and of those representatives of the oil industries voting as set forth on page four of the report.

Together with the majority report just referred to, I enclose also, for your information, a minority report adopted by a group of independents and subscribed by them in the name of "Independent Petroleum Association Opposed to Monopoly."

I further enclose a resolution adopted by the representatives of the Governors after the main report already referred to had been ratified.

To complete the record, I am sending also a final correction to the recommendations made by the Committee of Fifteen, which was handed to the Secretary of the Interior yesterday.

I especially direct your attention to paragraphs A-1 and A-2 of the recommendations of the Committee of Fifteen. It is obvious that the action proposed to be taken in these paragraphs is within the sole authority and jurisdiction of the interested States. The President of the United States has no authority to declare a moratorium such as is proposed and he might be regarded as infringing on the sovereignty of the States if he should make the suggestion contained in paragraph A-2.

There seems to be a widespread feeling that an emergency exists in the oil industry calling for action and it is hoped that the Governors of the States affected, after consultation with each other, will take action appropriate to meet it. ' The Committee of Fifteen in paragraphs A-3 and A-4 recommend certain action on the part of the Federal Government. I am of the opinion that the suggestion that the Congress pass legislation prohibiting the transportation in interstate and foreign commerce of any oil or the products thereof produced or manufactured in any State in violation of the laws thereof, is well considered. I am prepared to recommend such legislation to Congress as a contribution on the part of the National Government toward the solution of the difficulties in which the oil industry finds itself.

I also approve of the recommendation in paragraph A-4 of this report.

The report of the Independent Petroleum Association Opposed to Monopoly recommends "the enactment of emergency legislation by Congress divorcing oil pipelines engaged in interstate commerce from other branches of the oil industry." I am of the opinion that this is a reasonable request and that such legislation should be enacted at as early a date as possible.

There are other suggestions and recommendations made to the Secretary of the Interior as a result of the deliberations of the oil conference that on their face are fair and reasonable but which do not require immediate action. These recommendations can be taken up at a later date, perhaps after further conferences between the representatives of the States and of the industry and of the National Government.

Very sincerely yours,

The foregoing letter was sent to the Governors of the following States:

Arkansas Louisiana Pennsylvania

California Montana Rhode Island

Colorado New York Texas

Illinois New Mexico West Virginia

Kansas Ohio Wyoming

Kentucky Oklahoma

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to Governors on the Oil Industry Emergency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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