Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Statement on the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation.

October 01, 1933

President announced today he has instructed Harry L. Hopkins, Federal Relief Administrator, to take the leadership in prompt organization of a non-profit corporation, of which Mr. Hopkins is to become chairman, for the purpose of buying the necessities of life and distributing them among the needy unemployed. The President anticipates that in cooperation with Secretary Wallace and George Peek, the Agricultural Adjustment Administrator, the plan will be speedily worked out so as to result in an effective and combined attack upon the relief problem and upon surpluses of agricultural and other products which have been holding down farm prices.

The President has determined upon an emergency relief corporation as the most effective instrument for accomplishment, promptly and on a big scale, of this service to the unemployed and to farmers.

In order to assure speed and effectiveness in the movement of huge supplies, the President has directed not only that the corporation be equipped with adequate funds but also that it should be given wide powers in the purchasing and distributing of surplus foods and other commodities. The President believes the corporation can be organized quickly and in such manner as to become the best agent for decisive action in the emergency.

Mr. Hopkins has canvassed with the President the relief situation in the country as a whole. The President is convinced that in many States relief allowances now made by State and municipal authorities are far from adequate, and must be substantially increased as rapidly as possible.

The President asserted that while farmers' buying power has increased to an encouraging degree, agricultural prices still remain substantially below the level needed to hasten the country on the road to economic recovery.

The new effort worked out by Mr. Hopkins and Secretary Wallace to make maximum use of surpluses that have been burdening the commodity markets is part of intensified plans to raise farm prices to economic levels. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration's efforts to control production of surpluses too great to be used are to be continued.

The President indicated details of the corporate form to be adopted for the relief corporation will be worked out in a few days.

The corporation will have powers to purchase directly from farmers, whenever desirable, in such a way as to carry out the purposes of the Agricultural Adjustment Act.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207702

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