Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

August 07, 1931


THE PRESIDENT. I have to announce the appointment of Mr. Frank Evans, of Salt Lake, to membership on the Farm Board. For many years he has been the attorney for farm cooperatives both in the West and in the East. He is endorsed by Mr. [Charles C.] Teague and many of the other cooperative leaders, and he takes Mr. Teague's place as the western representative on the Board.


During the last 3 weeks, as some of you may surmise, I have been engaged with other members of the administration in a study of the problems of unemployment and relief likely to confront us next winter and the organization necessary to meet that possible situation. While the improvement in a good many directions seems promising, the problem, whatever it may be, will be met. With the organized cooperation of the local and State and Federal authorities and the large number of relief and charitable organizations in the country, the problem was successfully overcome last winter, and we shall adapt the organization methods in such a manner as may be necessary to meet the next winter.

The first of the facts to be determined is the volume of the load of distress which will need to be provided for. The various bureaus of the Government are engaged in an exhaustive study of last winter's experience of all organizations in the country as to the average number in distress and their location. And a further examination is being made as to the probable increased or decreased load in different localities next winter. Those reports are not yet complete and won't be for some little time. The second requirement is to appraise the action now in progress, the agencies which are available for the winter, their resources, and the methods which have proved successful in last winter's experience, and the organization necessary to coordinate and cooperate with the various agencies. I have been in communication with a number of the Governors and with other public authorities. A number of States and municipalities have already begun to lay the foundation for action necessary to meet their problem over the winter.

I have canvassed the situation in conference with business and financial and labor leaders as to different methods of assistance in which interstate industries can be brought into greater aid.

I have had a number of conferences with the leaders of the important relief and business organizations throughout the country with view to consolidation and coordination of their efforts to support the national and local government. We now have underway a reexamination to determine the actual number of employees probable on Federal public works. This will show a very material increase over last winter--the exact numbers we do not as yet know. And further we are canvassing the municipal and State programs, and are also canvassing the industrial programs.

The completion of these conferences and inquiries will probably require another month. At that time all the facts should be clear, both as to the load to be met and the progress and strength of the organization in different regions and the character and method of national organization necessary to coordinate and successfully cope with the problem.

That is all I have got today.


Q. Mr. President, how about the number of unemployed ? Can you give your figure--what you are working on?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not approaching it at this time from a theoretical number. We have found on investigation that it is not merely bewildering but misleading. The problem is the load to be carried rather than any theoretical numbers. I might tell you that the 6 million of last January on investigation proves to have many flaws in it, and there is no method that I see for accurate determination. We are, however, on solid foundations when we examine the actual load of last winter and when we estimate what the probabilities will be based on the increase or decrease of employment in given localities, or factors of that kind. We get down to the ground at this time and cease talking about gross figures.

Note: President Hoover's two hundred and second news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 7, 1931.

On the same day, the White House issued a text of the President's statement on the organization for unemployment relief (see Item 284).

Herbert Hoover, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211811

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