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The President's News Conference

August 05, 1930

GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR

THE PRESIDENT. I have decided to appoint General MacArthur as Chief of Staff of the Army on the retirement of General [Charles P.] Summerall. General MacArthur is recommended by Secretary Hurley, and it, of course, gives me a great deal of pleasure to promote so brilliant a soldier to that position. He is the only one of the major generals who has a sufficient period prior to retirement to serve the full period of the 4-year term. While there are very eminent gentlemen who outrank him, none of them I believe have 18 months to serve before retirement or at least are short of the full term.

General MacArthur is in command of the Philippines, as you know. At the present moment he is on temporary duty in China, and if you want more data about his career you can find it over at the War Department.

I am sure General MacArthur will maintain the very high standards set by his many eminent predecessors. And I am sure the whole country appreciates the great service of General Summerall and regrets that he has reached the time of life when he must retire from active duty.

COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS

I have also decided to appoint General [Ben H.] Fuller to Commandant of the Marine Corps on the recommendation of Secretary Adams. General Fuller, of course, succeeds General [Wendell C.] Neville--due to the death of General Neville. He is also a soldier who has had a long and distinguished career and has been Acting Commandant for some time since General Neville's death.

THE DROUGHT

I have some questions on the drought. That situation has been subject to a great number of conferences during the last 10 days between Secretary Hyde, Chairman [Alexander H.] Legge and myself. Some days ago the Department of Agriculture was instructed to make a detailed survey of the situation. They will publish their report upon it next Monday.

The information so far indicates a great deal of variation in the effect of the drought--variation between States and between counties in States, and between actual adjoining farms. There is no doubt that it is of most serious character in some localities, and that unless it is remedied there will be a great deal of suffering. The maximum intensity of the drought seems to lie in a belt following up the Mississippi River from the gulf, up the Ohio and to the coast, approximately along the line of the Potomac.

The measures of assistance that the Farm Board and the other agencies of the Federal Government should undertake have not yet been determined. It is evident already that considerable measures looking towards the movement of feed into that area and possibly of livestock outward will be necessary. It is too early to determine the actual precise character of relief, as I have said, either from a human or livestock point of view, and a great deal depends, of course, on the extension of the drought. But there will be no stone left unturned by the Federal Government in its assistance to local authorities to deal with the situation.

I have already asked the railways to investigate the question and determine what measures can be taken from a transportation point of view which will assist.

And that is all I have this morning.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and thirty-first news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, August 5, 1930.

On the same day, the White House also issued texts of the President's statements on the appointment of Gen. Douglas MacArthur (see Item 254) and on the drought (see Item 255).

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/211236

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