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The President's News Conference

July 19, 1929

INDEMNIFICATION OF FLORIDA FRUIT GROWERS

THE PRESIDENT. I have several inquiries from Florida as to what the administration would propose to do to assist in the financial distress of fruit growers from damage caused by the action of our Federal and State officials in destroying fruit in the work of extermination of the Mediterranean fruit fly.

In accordance with a very long established precedent, such as that of the foot and mouth disease and other pests that the Federal Government has taken a part in the extermination of, where there has been actual destruction due to Federal action and State action, there is a moral obligation for some sort of reparations; and I will recommend to Congress in the next session, or as soon as they reconvene, that the Federal Government should contribute to the indemnification of those people whose actual fruit, et cetera, has been destroyed through Federal activities.

Q. Mr. President, have you any idea of the amount--what the amount will be ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. There has been a change in policy as the result of the recommendation of the commission which Mr. Hyde appointed-an important change in policy through which Florida fruit of the next crop will very considerably modify the amount of losses which will be suffered by the growers. So it is a little difficult to say how much it will come to. There has been a good deal of fruit destroyed.

Q. Roughly speaking, is that millions?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, yes, it runs into several millions. There will be constant destruction of fruit in areas of unquestioned infection. This change of policy enables the fruit to be marketed outside of the direct spots of infection, but the introduction of that new policy will greatly assist the growers of Florida and at the same time greatly reduce the amount of damage they are going to suffer.

USE OF COMMISSIONS

I have a question here as to whether I propose to name any more commissions. I might say that I certainly do. I hope to name new commissions for the whole of the next 4 years, for to me it is the necessary step in determining the fact on any public question, and the only basis of constructive action is to be found in the first determination of the fact, so that there will be many more commissions, I hope, as time goes on, for these purposes.

Q. Have you any particular ones in mind ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. I am just taking that as a right--as many as I like.

Q. Is this answer in the first category ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. And the Florida statement is in the first category.

GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURES

Here is a little matter of background on Federal expenditure, not sufficiently important to warrant quotation from me.

We have been making an investigation into the probable increases of Federal expenditure during the next 4 years as imposed by the laws so far passed by Congress, and other obligations that may be mandatory, and the important increases from existing legislation lying in the military expenditure, public roads, Post Office deficit, and farm relief. I have a table here, which we will get out for you, which shows the growth of expenditure from 1926 to 1933. It will give you 4 years of experience and 4 years of estimates.

The 1926 expenditures on Army, Navy, public works, and Post Office deficit is $790 million.

Those of 1929 fiscal year were just about an even billion, and for 1933 it is estimated at $1,148 million. However, I will give you this table so that you can see how it works.

The increased naval expenditure is due to the aviation program and cruisers and capital ship replacements.

Increased Army costs are due to the aviation program and [p.227] rebuilding of Army quarters, and, as you know, the Post Office deficit is due to the increased wages and decreased hours and lower rates.

The public works item in this table includes rivers and harbors, flood control, Boulder Dam, public buildings, public roads, every nature of public works entirely outside of whether they belong in any one department or not. But it is an indication to you as to the growth of expenditure.

One item, of course, that we haven't attempted to tabulate is farm relief. It is impossible to estimate distribution. We will probably have an expenditure this year of at least 150 million, and it is difficult to estimate the full period.

Of course, there is some natural growth to expenditure, but the growth of expenditure, while it shows an increase in our estimates over these 4 years of about 150 million on the above items, and about 150 million on the farm relief, it is about 300 million a year we might accumulate by 1933. We will probably have some compensation in the reduction of public debts and some other items. However, Miss [Myra] McGrath can give you that if you want to refer to it.

Q. Have you considered any estimates yet?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the Budget Bureau will be receiving them some time before the first of August from the different departments. They are all at work.

That is all that I have got on my mind.

Note: President Hoover's thirty-ninth news conference was held in the White House at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 19, 1929. The White House also issued a text of the statement on the probable increase in Federal Government expenditures (see Item 156)

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/212379

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