Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

July 02, 1929


THE PRESIDENT. First, I am able to announce two acceptances on the Farm Board--Mr. [Charles C.] Teague of California, about whom we will give you a note, and Mr. [Alexander] Legge of Chicago.

Mr. Legge probably makes as great a sacrifice as any citizen ever made to enter public service. It will reduce the gentleman's salary from something over $100,000 a year to $12,000 a year, as an evidence of his desire to be of service to the American farmer.

Mr. Teague likewise makes a very great sacrifice in income. I do not know precisely what his remuneration is as the head of the two largest farmer cooperative associations, but it is certainly far in excess of $12,000 a year.

Mr. Legge will be the Chairman of the Board for the first year, and Mr. [James C.] Stone will undoubtedly be the Vice Chairman. You will recollect that in the selection of an outstanding businessman for the Board we consulted with some 150 farm organizations and found that they were desirous that that should be done, and I further consulted the leaders--or had the leaders of numbers of those associations consulted--on the question of selecting Mr. Legge, and they were very desirous that he should be secured if possible. [p.207] We ought to have some more acceptances in the course of a day or two, but that fills five members of the Board out of the eight.1

1The White House later announced additional appointments to the Board, as follows: on July 8, William F. Schilling; on July 12, Charles S. Wilson; and on July 30, Samuel R. McKelvie. Biographical information and endorsers were released in connection with the appointments.

While talking of sacrifice I should include also the other three members of the Board, who also are making a tremendous sacrifice to come into this Board--each one of them. All of the men whom I have invited to come on the Board have considered that here was an opportunity to do probably as great a service as will come to our generation, and that there was no call upon them to which they should not respond. With the exception of Mr. Legge, all of the men so far chosen have been at the direct proposal of farm organizations.


I have a question of possible tax reduction. It is always a pleasant subject.

We are giving a great deal of study to the possibilities in that direction, and we all hope that a situation may work out on the safe side of a surplus for tax relief. But we must determine three essential things before any conclusion could be arrived at.

First, we must know what the effect will be of the legislation during the last 12 months, which has greatly increased the expenditures for the present fiscal year beyond the amount budgeted. The new enlarged program for naval armaments, the increased expenditure for Army and Navy aviation, the rebuilding of the Army posts, increased expenditures to veterans' services, in addition to the necessities for the Mediterranean fly--which by the way, may be a considerable item on the farm relief-have all intervened since the budget for the fiscal year that we have just entered was passed by Congress, and we are not yet certain as to what the volume of those expenditures will accumulate to.

And we must know how far we can reduce expenditure in the Government in other directions to partly compensate for these increases that have been imposed by the legislation of the last 6 or 8 months.

We do know that the expenditure during the past fiscal year just ended exceeded by $200 million the amount budgeted and passed by Congress as the budget. The completion of the budget for the year beginning the first of next July will give us a fairly clearer idea as to what the permanent burdens of the increased legislation may be and again as to what we can save in other directions.

And then beyond that on the revenue side, we must have some experience as to whether or not the increase in revenue is due to temporary stock exchange activity or other temporary causes, and then we can come to a final conclusion.

All of those things ought to develop during the next 4 or 5 months. By the first of November we ought to be able to see fairly clearly where our commitments and income are likely to land us.


I have one announcement to make. I have decided to call a White House conference on the health and protection of children. That conference will be comprised of representatives of the great voluntary associations--I have a rough note here, and Miss [Myra] McGraph will take this, so you don't need to bother taking it--together with the Federal and State and municipal authorities who are interested in those problems. The purpose will be to determine the facts as to our present progress and the future needs in this field, and to develop such measures for more effective official and voluntary action and their coordination as will develop further care and protection to children at large.

That conference will not be assembled for another 9 months, and perhaps 12 months, in order that there may be time to complete an exhaustive advance study of the facts and forces in progress and of the experience with the different measures which are now in progress over the country, which, as you know, are a very large activity.

And in order that we may make an effectual determination of those things, we will set up a series of committees in each special field of the leaders in those fields, with expert assistance.

The subjects to be covered embrace such things as the problems of dependent children, of regular medical examination, of school or public clinics for children, hospitalization, adequate milk supplies, community nurses, maternity instruction and nurses, teaching of health in the schools, facilities for playgrounds and recreation, voluntary organizations of children, child labor, and scores of subjects of that character.

Now, to cover the expenses not only of the preliminary committees and of the conference but also of the follow-up work that needs to be done for a national effort of that character in order to secure that it results in some definite and positive influence, I have received the sum of $500,000 from purely private sources.

This will be the first national conference in review of this subject since the conference called by President Roosevelt in 1909.

I propose to include all of the interested groups, amongst them the educational associations so far as they relate to the teaching of health, et cetera, but it is not the purpose of this conference or its work to invade the obligations or the province of parents and their responsibilities.

I have communicated with a great number of voluntary associations throughout the country. They are all very anxious that such a conference should be called in order that there might be a new platform and a new basis for more coordinated and renewed effort in those directions.

The country--the Nation is fundamentally concerned with the equality of opportunity, and the very first step in equal opportunity is health in children.

The work of .the conference will be under the direction of Dr. [Ray Lyman] Wilbur, Secretary of the Interior, and with the cooperation of Secretary of Labor Mr. [James J.] Davis. Dr. Harry E. Barnard, who was formerly State Commissioner of Health of Indiana, will be the Executive Secretary.

A preliminary committee is in process of assembling, who will lay out the chart of the work and assist in selecting the members of special committees. And that is all that I have today.

Note: President Hoover's thirty-fifth news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, July 2, 1929. The White House also issued texts [p.210] of the President's statements on tax reduction (see Item 141) and on the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection (see Item 142).

In connection with the announcement of Federal Farm Board appointments, the White House issued a brief biography of Mr. Legge and a list of "organizations favoring the including of a strong businessman or banker on the farm board ."

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/210982

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