Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

July 29, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. I have a question about the appointment of Nicholas Roosevelt. I have tendered Mr. Roosevelt an interim appointment as Vice Governor of the Philippines. Mr. Roosevelt has been so staunch in his support of the interests of the Philippine people in the United States and so sympathetic with them, so enthusiastic over their progress that I am sure any misunderstanding which has arisen in the Philippines as to his attitude will be quickly cleared up.


I have authorized the Attorney General to undertake an exhaustive investigation into the whole question of bankruptcy law and practice. It will be a most extensive and vigorous investigation. The work will be under the direction of the Solicitor General and he will be assisted by the Department of Commerce.

Losses through bankruptcy in the past 5 years exceed $3 billion and are now averaging $750 million per annum. The purpose of the investigation is, of course, to propose to Congress some essential reforms in the bankruptcy law and practice.


I am today appointing a committee to advise the Government departments on methods for revision of the statistical services for the determination of unemployment and to establish some basis for cooperation between Government departments and business. Congress, at the last session, added somewhat to the requirements of this service, the purpose of such information being not only as a barometer of business but more importantly as a contribution to methods for placing people in employment and in relief of unemployment. The need for more systematic information has been generally recognized by business and labor organizations for some years and we now have opportunity to see if we can put it on a sounder basis.

The Committee will be made representative of the American Federation of Labor, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Railway Employees and other labor organizations, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Committee on Economic Changes, and other economic bodies who have been interested in the problem for many years. Mr. [Ethelbert] Stewart of the Statistical Division of the Department of Labor and Mr. [William M.] Steuart, Director of the Census, will be ex officio members, together with a representative from the Department of Agriculture.

The question is not as simple as it appears on the surface. Fortunately, we secured an accurate determination of the amount of unemployment in the census taken April 1. We have there a base on which to formulate plans to better advantage than before. But if we were to attempt such an absolutely accurate determination of employment once every 3 months it would require a house-to-house canvass of the entire Nation and would cost $10 or $15 million a year. I do not assume Congress has any intention of providing for an operation of that character.

Contrasted with the Department of Labor statistics, the cost of which is about $150,000 per annum, the only hope of building up effective services is to get complete cooperation between employers and other associations with the Government to see if we can set up a system of largely voluntary cooperation.


To some who are anxious over the appointment of temporary committees and commissions and bodies of that kind for advisory, fact-finding, coordinating, or negotiating purposes, this is not a new necessity in Government. President Roosevelt created 107 of them, President Taft 63, President Wilson 160, President Harding 44, and President Coolidge 118. I have not as yet gone that far.

As we need the best brains of the country to assist in government and in the coordination of public efforts, I shall appoint other committees. One thing I do appreciate enormously is the willingness of our people to give their time and specialized knowledge in voluntary service to assist in solution of the multitude of problems of this kind. It is a fine attribute of American citizenship.


Now I could discuss with you some background on the Russian question. 1 I do not want to be quoted, this is solely for your own use. Our Government has not any notion of taking action in connection with Russian imports into the United States except insofar as they violate the laws which are applicable against all countries. The import of convict-made goods, dumping, or any of the inhibitions will be applied there and always have been applied to all countries equally. The Government does not intend to embargo Russian goods because we do not happen to like the character of the Russian Government. I think it might interest you to find out from the Department of Commerce the volume of trade both ways. I have not the import figures but I know the exports from the United States are running something over $100,000 annually. Our workers and farmers are much interested in those exports as well as some groups who are interested in the imports. As I said, our attitude toward Russia is not based on dislike of her form of government. Trade does not lie in that field.

1 American business and labor groups were protesting the import of Soviet pulpwood allegedly produced with convict labor. On July 25, 1930, the Treasury Department invoked section 307 of the Tariff Act and imposed a temporary embargo. Following hearings, the embargo was lifted on August 1.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and twenty-ninth news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, July 29, 1930.

On the same day, the White House also issued texts of the President's statements on the interim appointment of the Vice General of the Philippines (see Item 245), the investigation of bankruptcy law and practice (see Item 246), and the Advisory Committee on Unemployment Statistics (see Item 247).

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/211126

Filed Under



Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives