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The President's News Conference

August 12, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. The San Francisco Bridge Commission has completed its labors on the determination of the fact and the study of the entire situation. It has found a basis of agreement by which the 10-year-old conflict between the Army and the Navy and municipal and State authorities in that locality has been settled by unanimous agreement, and that dispute brought to an end. It allows a very important development to proceed and involves no participation by the Federal Government other than certain rights-of-way.


I have a number of questions about my trip to the West, and, in view of the drought situation and the feeling that I can perhaps be of greater service here, I do not propose to go west--at least during the next month or two. I thought that if I can escape 3 nights a week from Washington, up in the hills where I can get a cool night's sleep, I am perhaps better off than the rest of you here.

Now, there are some matters here of purely background which may be of assistance to you.


I haven't any public statement to make about the drought situation. We are obviously engaged in formulating such plans as we can for the Federal agencies--national agencies of all kinds--to assist, and we won't be able to develop the definite form of organization until after I have had a chance to discuss the matter with the Governors and get their views, et cetera.

The publication of the national figures, such as the crop report, tends to obscure the real situation to some extent because a great shortage in corn, for instance, at 700 million bushels falls acutely on certain areas. Of course, there is some diminishing in the corn crop over a very large portion of the country, but the effect of such a shortage is to deprive great numbers of people of their complete livelihood, and everyday development shows that there is an increasing human problem all through the acute area; that we have a great many families that will have to have assistance to live over the winter. One other thing emerges from the crop report, and that is, that there is a shortage in feed corns for the Nation as a whole rather in excess of the total carryover and surplus in wheat. In other words, from a grain point of view the entire wheat carryover and surplus this year will be required at some point in the using capacity of the country, whether human or animal, to get us through.


One other matter in which I have a question and in which I can only give you background, and that is the long standing conflict between the Army and Navy, 1 which I see has crept out into the press over aviation stations. I, some time ago, instructed the Bureau of Efficiency to examine that question in its purely economic aspects, not its military aspects, purely the economic aspect of duplication of Government work, as to whether there is actual duplication or not from an expenditure point of view. That does not settle the military point of view at all, but will probably throw some light on the question when it is completed.

1 The military controversy was over the extent to which the Navy should maintain a land based air force. The Bureau of Efficiency study did not settle the matter, but the controversy subsided when the Navy adopted a new policy deemphasizing its role in coastal defense.


While I am giving you other background I might go back to my old subject--commissions. The San Francisco Bridge Commission is the fifth commission that has completed its work, all of which have been highly successful. The first one of these that completed their work being the committee I set up in the Government over the consolidation of veterans' agencies. You will recollect that subject has been a matter of conflict and discussion for the last 10 years, and every effort to get it settled has failed, due largely to the conflict between Government departments. We find that they have arrived at a basis of consolidation which is agreeable to and supported by all of the agencies of the Government and which has made it possible for Congress to act upon it. The results of that very searching investigation are popular and bringing results every day in economies in that segment of the Government.

Another one that has been completed long since was the committee under Garfield that settled the strike on the southwestern railways. 2

2 The special labor board, headed by James R. Garfield, settled a strike involving the moving expenses for relocation of reassigned employees of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. For the establishment of the special labor board, see 1929 volume, Item 19.

Still another was the Haitian Commission which, as you know, not only determined Government policies in connection with that problem in a fashion that seems to have been satisfactory to the entire country, but it also negotiated a settlement between factions in Haiti which saved us from being involved in a very considerable revolution.

And still another one was, of course, the Naval Arms Treaty which the American delegation has usually had up in the list of commissions. I think you will agree that that one was successful, also.

So that five of them have been born, performed their functions, and are now subsided--all of them with a very great deal of success.

And that is all that I have got on my mind today.


Q. Do I understand that your vacation is to spend a week at the camp or go up weekends ?

THE PRESIDENT. I shall spend a couple of nights a week. If Washington cools off I may not find it necessary to do that.

Q. Mr. President, any saltwater fishing down the bay or anything of that sort ?


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

On the same day, the White House also issued texts of the President's statements on the San Francisco Bay Bridge Commission (see Item 262) and summer vacation plans (see Item 263).

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/211323

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