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Message to the Congress Requesting a Special Appropriation for the President's Organization on Unemployment Relief.

July 05, 1932

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The second Deficiency Bill just passed omitted an appropriation for continuance of the activities of the President's Organization on Unemployment Relief. I urgently request that Congress make a special appropriation of $120,000 to continue this work over the next fiscal year.

This organization, of which Mr. Walter S. Gifford is director, is comprised of leading men and women throughout every state in the Union and has served to establish and coordinate state and local volunteer effort in relief of distress throughout the nation. The organization has secured in a large way the cooperation of industry and labor, of the national social welfare organizations, and has assisted in mobilizing a large amount of voluntary funds and administering local resources to the best advantage. This organization is the only agency for national coordination and stimulation for the multitude of voluntary efforts and a clearing to these thousands of organizations with suggestions and methods for the alleviation of unemployment distress.

Should this organization be discontinued, not only would its important functions of stimulation of private giving and coordination be destroyed, but there would be grave danger of national, state and local volunteer groups concluding that services such as they have rendered were no longer necessary. Voluntary effort amongst our people is of far more importance both morally and financially than the direct aid of local or other governmental agencies. To demobilize this organization might easily create widespread confusion and bring great hardships when the need is greatest.

It is obviously of the utmost importance that no action be taken which shall in any way diminish voluntary efforts which combine the intimate knowledge of local conditions with the sense of responsibility toward fellow citizens and neighbors in distress. Continuance of this organization with its background of experience is, in my opinion, most essential to the intelligent carrying out of the provisions of all relief activities whether private or public.

The organization is made up primarily of volunteers serving without pay or expense. It is non-partisan and representative of various economic and social groups. To function successfully it must have funds to employ a relatively small number of trained personnel, together with necessary office help.

The appropriation requested for continuance of this organization is infinitesimal in its ratio to the large resources which are put at the command of those in distress and thus also relieves burdens upon municipalities, states and the federal government.


The White House,

July 5, 1932.

Note: Congress did not enact the special appropriation requested by the President. The President's Organization on Unemployment Relief was officially terminated on June 30, 1932. The Emergency Relief Division of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation continued to carry out some of the organization's functions until March 1933.

Herbert Hoover, Message to the Congress Requesting a Special Appropriation for the President's Organization on Unemployment Relief. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207137

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