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The President's News Conference

August 22, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. I have reviewed the present fiscal situation with Secretary Mellon and Under Secretary [Ogden L.] Mills this morning, and I can state that there is no ground now for the anticipation that we shall not be able to continue the tax reductions over the next year. The indications of decreasing revenues and increasing expenses shown in the first 6 weeks quite properly furnishes a basis for calculations, but there are some administrative factors that have not been taken into account. The customs are temporarily lower because of anticipation of imports in advance of the passage of the tariff bill. Furthermore, we have been expediting the expenditure on construction work with view to giving maximum employment during the first 9 months of the fiscal year, in order that we might give the most work during the period of maximum unemployment. Further than that, these calculations take no account of the foreign debt payments which are likely to be very helpful this year. And they did not take into account the reduction in expenditure as the result of the drive we are making for the postponement--an actual reduction or economy--of such things as are not necessary at the present time. The reports of which are not in from all of the departments but so far as they have been received they indicate a probable cut of about $75 million in expenditure.

One has to bear in mind in reducing the expenditure that about $2,200 million out of the $4,200 million of estimated expenditure this year is in respect to fixed charges for interest and debt redemption, pensions, et cetera. So that the field which we have to work in for economies is less than one-half of the total national expenditure. Out of that there is about $400 million of construction in one department or another, which we have been increasing rather than decreasing as a matter of employment, so that the field for revising expenditure for emergency is more limited on this occasion than most any other.


I have an announcement to make for you, and that is that Mr. Henry p. Fletcher will be Chairman of the new Tariff Commission. He will take office at the expiration of the present commission, on September 16th. As you know, Mr. Fletcher has been in the Foreign Service of the Government for somewhere about 18 or 20 years. He has had to deal with economic and tariff matters in great numbers of aspects during this whole period. We will give you a little statement on his life and career, which I won't bother to read to you.


Now, there is a little subject I would like to take up with you on purely personal grounds--not a matter for news or public discussion.

Last night there was a story offered around Washington by one of the aviation companies for their own purposes, which very seriously reflected on the honor of the President of the United States and his son. I wish to thank all of you for the fact that only two papers in the United States printed that story. I consider it as a most dastardly thing to have done. My boy, striving to make his way as an aviation engineer, is employed by two or three different aviation companies, some of whom are actual rivals in this competitive bidding. And there was no justification whatever for bringing the name of a radio engineer employed by aviation companies into a question of honor in connection with the letting of Government mail contracts. Those contracts have not been let to start with, but in any event, whether let or not, I have not in my experience in Washington seen anything so rotten in an attitude of the press towards the President of the United States.

Thank you.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and thirty-sixth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 22, 1930.

During the news conference the President referred to his son, Herbert Hoover, Jr., who was chief engineer of the Western Air Express. Western Air Express, along with Transcontinental Air Transport, had been awarded the New York-Los Angeles airmail route. Allegations of improper influence came from United Aviation Corporation, a holding company that had submitted a lower bid but had been disqualified because none of its member companies had the necessary experience in night flying. Later investigations found no substance in the allegations.

On the same day, the White House issued a text of the President's statement on Government expenditures (see Item 274) and biographical data on Henry P. Fletcher, Chairman-designate of the United States Tariff Commission.

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/211466

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