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Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in California and Nevada

November 12, 1932

[1.] GLENDALE, CALIFORNIA (Rear platform, 9 a.m.)

I am glad of this opportunity to meet with you again as a group of loyal friends who take this means of expressing their continued friendship. On my part, I welcome the opportunity to thank you for your comradeship in our battle together for the welfare of our country that has heartened me in many a difficult hour. And I wish to thank you even more warmly for your personal devotion, which touches me deeply and which I shall always treasure as the highest reward of public service.

The majority of the people have decided to entrust the Government to a new administration. The political campaign is over.

I asked for unity of national action in the constructive measures which have been initiated during the past 3 years for care of distress, to protect the Nation from imminent dangers, and to promote economic recovery. If we are to continue the recovery so evidently in progress during the past few months by overcoming the remaining difficulties which still confront us we must have continued unity in constructive action all along the economic front. I shall work for that unity during the remaining 4 months of this administration. Furthermore, it is our duty after the 4th of March to cooperate with our opponents in every sound measure for the restoration of prosperity.

I am returning to Washington in special concern that the measures and instrumentalities which we have in motion and which are operating on an entirely nonpartisan basis shall continue to function vigorously and contribute their utmost.

The functioning of our Government is dependent upon strong two party organization. It is only through party organization that public questions can be properly considered and determined.

Republicans of the country should not be discouraged by defeat. Rather they should at once strengthen all forces of national, State, county, and precinct organization for absolutely militant action. True to its great traditions whether in the majority or the minority, the Republican Party should and will continue to give its constructive service to the country. It will return to power.

I desire to extend my sincere thanks to all of our party workers and others who have given so freely of their time and effort in this campaign, in supporting the principles for which we stand, and the many evidences of devoted friendship I have received. But the first consideration today of every American citizen is the continued recovery of the country, and that is a consideration far above partisanship.

[2.] PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (Civic Center)

My friends in Pasadena:

It is difficult to formulate phrases to express my appreciation of this evidence of your friendship. I want you to know that we deeply appreciate it--both Mrs. Hoover and myself. It is an unexpected and spontaneous movement on your part which makes it doubly expressive.

I thank you.

[3.] POMONA, CALIFORNIA (Rear platform)

Friends in Pomona:

It is very difficult for me to find phrases to express my appreciation for this spontaneous reception. I would almost think I was still running in a campaign from this reception. But what I do know from this reception is that it is a reception from the heart and from your friendship. I want to thank you for it.


My friends in San Bernardino:

I feel as if I am still engaged in a campaign. A reception of this kind is very difficult to meet with words and to express the appreciation I have for so much evidence of personal friendship. I am coming back to California. I shall be seeing you all again very many times, and I want you to know how very deeply I do appreciate this heartfelt demonstration.

Thank you.

[5.] BOULDER CITY, NEVADA (Site of Hoover Dam)

Fellow citizens of Boulder City:

This is not the first time I have visited the site of this great dam. And it gives me extraordinary pleasure to see the great dream I have long held taking form in stone and cement.

It is now 10 years since I became Chairman of the Colorado River Commission. That Commission solved in a unique way the legal conflicts as to water rights amongst six States which had long held up any possibility of the realization of these works for many years. This was accomplished after 3 years of negotiation, finally closing with the Santa Fe compact. It was the first time that a provision in the Constitution of the United States for treaties amongst the several States was utilized on so great a scale. That compact was ratified by six of the States and is held open to the seventh to join at any time it may desire. It cleared out the legal underbrush in a way that we were enabled to take the next step. And I again had the satisfaction of presenting, both as an engineer and as head of the Commission, to President Coolidge and to the Congress, the great importance of these works. And I had a father part-to participate in the drafting of the final legislation which ultimately brought them into being.

That legislation required the making of an extremely intricate arrangement by which the Federal Government should advance the money but the byproduct of power arising from this dam should be sold in such fashion as to return to the Federal Government its entire cost with interest. That contract for the sale of power was successfully negotiated by the present Secretary of the Interior with my approval, and contracts were let for actual construction which was begun during my administration. The work has been carried forward with such rapidity that it is already more than a year ahead of schedule in its progress toward the specified period for its completion. Within a few days you will be at the next stage. The river will be diverted through massive tunnels in order that the foundations of the dam may be laid.

Now, I find I have a radio audience. Many things which are very clear to you in Boulder City are not very clear to the rest of the country, and it is because of the radio audience that I give you something about its construction work.

This dam is the greatest engineering work of its character ever attempted at the hand of man. Its height alone is nearly 700 feet, making it more than 100 feet higher than the Washington Monument, and far higher than any other such construction ever undertaken.

To understand its purpose our people must realize that the Colorado River in its freshets from the snows of the Rocky Mountains flows at a rate as great as that of Niagara. In the dry season it diminishes to less than 5 percent of its maximum flow. The purpose of the dam therefore is to store the freshet, and the amount of water is so gigantic in its proportions that the lake created behind it is over 100 miles long and will require the entire flow of the river for more than 2 years to fill it.

The primary purpose of this great construction was not the production of power, but as a byproduct to its major purpose it will produce over a million horsepower which will, as I have said, repay the cost of the dam and interest back to the Federal Treasury.

Its major purposes were four in character:

Its first purpose was to stabilize the flow of the river from these gigantic annual floods, thus preventing destruction of the great Imperial Valley and the agriculture which has grown up in adjoining States and in Mexico. Most Americans will remember how President Theodore Roosevelt many years ago had to intervene to stop the break in the levees on the Colorado River through which the whole of this river was pouring in torrent into the area of the Imperial Valley which, as you know, being below sea level, would have been turned into an irredeemable sea. This danger is forever removed by the construction of this dam.

Second, to provide a supply of domestic water accessible to Southern California and parts of Arizona. Southern California has a population grown almost to the point where its entire water supply is absorbed, as evidenced by the periodic necessity to ration water in that quarter. With these new supplies of water the growth of those sections can go on for generations. And in this connection, I may mention, and this will be of interest to you, that through loans from the Reconstruction Corporation, work starts at once on the construction of the great aqueduct to carry this water into Los Angeles and the surrounding towns.

The third purpose of this dam was to provide an adequate supply of irrigation water to the large areas of Arizona, the Imperial Valley, and other valleys of Southern California.

The fourth purpose is to preserve American rights in the flow of the river.

But the whole of this work that you are doing here and that you will do translates itself into something infinitely more important. It translates itself into millions of happy homes for Americans out under the blue sky of the West. It will in fact, in its various ramifications, assure livelihood to a new population nearly as great as that of the State of Maryland.

I know that I express the appreciation of the people of the Southwest to the members of the Colorado River Commission who played so large a part in removing obstacles and in effectively establishing these great works, and to those many others who devoted themselves for years to securing legislation, not only in the Federal Congress but in the legislatures of the different States, and to all those now engaged in direction and work upon this magnificent construction. It will be a source of pride to every man and woman to have been associated with so great a work. I hope to be present at its final completion as a bystander. Even as a bystander, I shall feel a special personal satisfaction.

The waters of this great river, instead of being wasted in the sea, will now be brought into use by man. And you will realize from this that civilization advances with the practical application of knowledge in just such structures as the one being built here in the pathway of one of the great rivers of the continent. The spread of its values in human happiness is beyond computation.

I thank you.

Note: The President was en route from Palo Alto, Calif., to Washington, D.C.

His remarks at Glendale were carried over a network of 88 radio stations, and his remarks in Boulder City were carried over national radio.

Herbert Hoover, Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in California and Nevada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207553

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