Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

June 13, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. I have a number of inquiries about the treaty and some phases of it, so I have some remarks to make on it. We will get this mimeographed for you so you will have it right.

The real issue in the treaty is whether we shall stop competitive naval building with all the destruction and the dangers to international good will that the continuation of that course implies; whether we shall spend an enormous sum in such a race in an endeavor to catch up with our competitors, with no assurance that we will be successful; and whether the present agreement gives us a substantial parity and a proportionate strength, and therefore, together with our army, gives us absolute defensive power; and whether it accomplishes this by an agreement which makes for good will, for decrease in naval armament of the world, and puts our program of naval renewals and cruiser construction at a cost far less than would otherwise be required.

As you know, the treaty revises the battleship program of the Washington Treaty in such a fashion that we reduce the total battleship tonnage of the world by 230,000 tons. The United States scraps three battleships, the British five, and Japan one, and postpones the enormous expenditure for renewals under the Washington Treaty until after 1936. We thus attain parity in the battle fleet now instead of 10 years hence. We accomplish that without building a single ship.

Now, the aircraft carriers, and the destroyers, and submarine programs of the treaty are fair, and they have not been subject to any particular criticism. The program of the treaty does represent a decrease in destroyer and submarine strength.

And against the great battleship saving our cruiser program increases from 300,000 tons to 320,000 tons. The point at issue in the cruiser program is whether or not we should have 30,000 tons more of cruisers with 8-inch guns or 38,500 tons with 6-inch guns as provided in the treaty. On the merits or demerits of these alternatives as to this very small part of the fleet of about 1,125,000 tons, our naval advisers are sharply divided.

The Senate, through two of its Members upon the delegation, has had practical participation in every step in the making of the treaty, and there is not one scintilla of agreement or obligation of any character outside the treaty itself. That to me seems to be the major issue in connection with the treaty.


I have no other questions except one on the District appropriations, and I anticipate that the committees will be able to find some solution without stopping the works of the District.


Q. Mr. President, did you sign the Porter bill ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not done so yet. It has not come in yet, but I will when it arrives.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and eighteenth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 13, 1930.

On the same day, the White House also issued a text of the President's statement on the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament (see Item 184).

The Porter bill (H.R. 11143), a measure to establish a Bureau of Narcotics in the Treasury Department, was introduced by Representative Stephen G. Porter. The bill, approved by the President on June 14, 1930, is Public, No. 357 (46 Stat. 585).

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/210883

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