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Telegram Inviting Industry and Labor Leaders to Conferences at the White House.

November 20, 1929

[Released November 20, 1929. Dated November 19, 1929]

I WOULD appreciate it if you could make it convenient to attend a small conference at this office at ten o'clock Thursday morning in matters connected with my public statement last Saturday.


[Philip H. Gadsden, President, Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia, Pa.]

Note: The White House released the text of the telegram to Philip H. Gadsden, president, Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia, Pa. Similar telegrams were sent to other industry and labor leaders across the country.

On November 21, the President met in the morning with leaders from major industries and in the afternoon with labor representatives. The White House issued lists of those expected to attend the meetings, as well as the following statements:

The conference this morning of 22 industrial and business leaders warmly endorsed the President's statement of last Saturday as to steps to be taken in the progress of business and the maintenance of employment. The general situation was thoroughly canvassed, and it was the unanimous opinion of the conference that there was no reason why business should not be carried on as usual; that construction work should be expanded in every prudent direction both public and private so as to cover any slack of unemployment. It was found that a preliminary examination of a number of industries indicated that construction activities can in 1930 be expanded even over 1929. It was stated, for instance, that the telephone company was proposing to assist by a considerable expansion in their construction and betterment program over the year 1929, during which year this company expended something in the neighborhood of $600 million for this purpose. It appeared that the power, gas, and other public utilities could undertake a program in excess of 1929, the details of which would be developed at a special meeting of the leaders in the industry to be called, after which the program would be announced. The leaders in the automobile industry expressed the opinion that whereas in 1929 production was unusually large due to the carryover of a great deal of unfinished business from the previous year, they confidently expected that except for this excessive margin the industry should quickly return to its normal [p.390] production. In the steel industry it was stated that large construction programs would be undertaken for replacement of antiquated and obsolete plants.

It was considered that the absorption of capital in loans on the stock market had postponed much construction and that the flow of this capital back to industry and commerce would now assist renewed construction.

It was the opinion that an indirect but very substantial contribution could be made to the extension of credit for local building purposes and for conduct of smaller business if the banks would freely avail themselves of the rediscount privilege offered by the Federal Reserve Banks.

The meeting considered it was desirable that some definite organization should be established under a committee representing the different industries and sections of the business community, which would undertake to follow up the President's program in the different industries.

It was considered that the development of cooperative spirit and responsibility in the American business world was such that the business of the country itself could and should assume the responsibility for the mobilization of the industrial and commercial agencies to those ends and to cooperate with the governmental agencies.

The members of the group agreed to act as a temporary advisory committee with the Secretary of Commerce who was authorized to add to the committee. Mr. Julius Barnes, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, was asked to create an executive committee from members of this group and the various trade organizations who could assist in expansion of construction and maintenance of employment. A definite canvass will be made of the different industrial fields to develop the amount of such construction.

The President was authorized by the employers who were present at this morning's conference to state on their individual behalf that they will not initiate any movement for wage reduction, and it was their strong recommendation that this attitude should be pursued by the country as a whole. They considered that aside from the human considerations involved, the consuming power of the country will thereby be maintained.

The President was also authorized by the representatives of labor to state that in their individual views and as their strong recommendation to the country as a whole, that no movement beyond those already in negotiation should be initiated for increase of wages, and that every cooperation should be given by labor to industry in the handling of its problems.

The purpose of these declarations is to give assurance that conflicts should not occur during the present situation which will affect the continuity of work, and thus to maintained stability of employment.

Herbert Hoover, Telegram Inviting Industry and Labor Leaders to Conferences at the White House. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208500

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