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Letter to Speaker of the House Joseph W. Byrns on the President's Press Conferences.

May 08, 1935

My dear Mr. Speaker:

I wish very much that you would thank the House of Representatives and Congressman John Martin of Colorado, in particular, for the opportunity given me in House Resolution 212 to transmit the transcript of my conference with the Press, wherein I spoke of the historic attitude of certain types of business organizations toward legislative proposals which have been introduced in the Congress of the United States and in many State Legislatures during the last twenty years or more. I do appreciate this opportunity.

I do not believe, however, that it would be advisable for me to create the precedent of sending to the Congress for documentary use the text of remarks I make at the bi-weekly conferences with the newspaper representatives here in Washington.

It is my desire that these conferences should be continued on the free and open basis which I have endeavored to maintain at all times. To create the precedent of permitting questions and answers which come up at a Press Conference to be transcribed and printed in the Congressional Record or other official documents would mean that I no longer would feel like speaking extemporaneously and informally, as is my habit, and it would bring to me a consciousness of restraint as well as a necessity for constant preparation of my remarks. The simple truth is that I do not have the time to give to such preparation for a press conference.

I much prefer to continue the conferences in the free and informal fashion. The newspapermen, except where particular permission is given, do not directly quote the statements I make to them. They do, however, use them in substance and the press reports generally published following the conference of Friday, May 3rd, last, present an accurate record of the statements I made at that time. As a matter of fact, there would be little difference between the transcript of this conference and the published reports except that one would be in the nature of a direct quotation and the other would be indirect.

Very sincerely yours,

Honorable Joseph W. Byrns,

Speaker of the House of Representatives,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to Speaker of the House Joseph W. Byrns on the President's Press Conferences. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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