The President's News Conference
REDUCTION OF NAVY PERSONNEL
THE PRESIDENT. First, as to the Navy reductions; there has been some misconstruction of the Navy's program for reducing personnel to plans effected by the [London Naval] treaty. The men for the Navy are recruited for definite periods, and they have the right, and the Navy would not dream of putting them out of the service until their term of enlistment had expired. Furthermore, under the plan anyone who wishes to reenlist in the Navy will be welcome. The readjustment of about 4,800 in the personnel will be brought about under the plan proposed solely by the wastage--men who die or who wish to quit at the time of the expiration of their enlisted period. So there is no basis for the suggestion that the Navy Department is adding to unemployment by this arrangement.
Then there is another current misimpression going about as to limiting exports of helium. The law governing the export of helium provides that the Government may issue licenses for export purposes.
The helium in the country is produced by private companies and by the Government. For the last 2 years private companies have not only been given every license or permit for export of every ounce of helium they could sell, but they have been urged to develop a foreign market. The Government has a helium plant in certain gas areas where it supplies itself, and that plant having been brought up to full development about 18 months or 2 years ago, the private companies were free for export business. They have not been able to obtain foreign orders to any very great consequence. As a matter of practical fact, helium costs about four times as much as hydrogen. It has somewhat less lifting power, estimated about 10 percent, and it is not available except from the western part of the United States, where hydrogen can be made on the spot wherever the balloon happens to be. In other words, there is no service station for helium all over the world.
So that is an entirely mistaken notion that the United States is preventing the use of helium in the development of lighter-than-air navigation. The private companies in the United States would be delighted to have the job of supplying helium. And as I have said, we have not only given every export permit they have applied for, but have even urged them to get into the foreign business.
And that is all I have today.
Note: President Hoover's one hundred and forty-fifth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, October 10, 1930.
On the same day, the White House also issued texts of the President's statements on reduction of Navy personnel (see Item 322) and the export of helium (see Item 323).
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/211911