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The President's News Conference

July 05, 1929

MEETING OF THE FEDERAL FARM BOARD

THE PRESIDENT. I called a first meeting of the Farm Board for Monday, the 15th. I think we will have some more acceptances by that time. In any event, the six members who have already accepted will be able to take the initial steps of finding quarters and offices and setting up an immediate machinery so that we won't lose any time even if there is a little delay in selecting the last one or two members.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BUILDING PROGRAM

One other thing that might interest you, as a background, is about the building program here in the District. Mr. Mellon and I have been [p.214] making something of a study of that program, and the $50 million appropriation, which you will recollect is spread over 10 years, is not going to meet the necessities of the Government for space and accommodation for our clerical staffs.

We are anxious to secure as soon as we can the erection of the Department of Justice and Labor and the Archives, and the independent establishments' buildings, which are not in this $50 million program, although the triangle authorizations cover the acquirement of sites, but do not cover construction.

Further than that, we would like to put that construction on the basis of rotation. If we can have the continuous excavation of foundations and the placing of the steel in rotation, one building after another, and the stone and the finishing, all of them falling in one after another, we can save a very large amount on construction cost. When once the labor is assembled the contractors are able to bid considerably less for each one of those steps. What is more, the different contractors get experience from building to make much closer bids.

In order to cover the other buildings, including the putting of new clothing on the State Department, which we are all very anxious to do--the State, War and Navy Building--would require somewhere about another $2 1/2 million a year. We have 10 million at the present time on the present appropriation. If we extend that program up to 121/2 million from 10 we believe that we could bring all these other buildings in the rotation so that the end of the 10 year program would cause practically completed Federal accommodations. All that is subject, of course, to congressional authorization, but I think it is a good sense program that will appeal to most people.

Q. You mean a $75 million program instead of $50 million ?

THE PRESIDENT. We would add 2 1/2 million on to the 10 already appropriated.

If we were authorized to do that we could get ahead with the designs of all those buildings and the plans completed so as to bring them into actual rotation

Q. Mr. President, have you decided to make some changes in the State, War and Navy Building ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think everybody is agreed that if we can do that for $2 1/2 million it is a wise expenditure on behalf of bad feeling (?).1

Q. The plans that Mr. Mellon had over there some few weeks ago, have they been approved--plans for refacing the State Department?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that they are made out in detail, but in general that is the line

1 The question mark appears in the transcript.

FEDERAL FARM BOARD

Q. Mr. President, did you say six members had accepted membership on the Farm Board ?

THE PRESIDENT. Including Mr. Hyde. We ought to have a couple more before long.

INTERIOR CHANGES IN THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICES

Q. Did you say anything about making changes in the interior of these offices here ?

THE PRESIDENT. We are working out a method by which we can still work here. We are going at it right away--a little tunnel (?)1 across the front and divert traffic, all of you gentlemen, from the other side.

1 The question mark appears in the transcript.

GUESTS IN VIRGINIA

Q. Are you going to have any guests with you down in Virginia ?

THE PRESIDENT. Walter Newton and Vernon Kellogg. I am also taking Bill Hard and Mark Sullivan for general entertainment (?).1

1The question mark appears in the transcript.

Note: President Hoover's thirty-sixth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 5, 1929.

Walter Newton was Secretary to the President and Vernon L. Kellogg had served with Mr. Hoover in postwar European food relief activities. William Hard and Mark Sullivan were journalists who had written books, articles, and commentary about the President and current events.

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/211281

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