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The President's News Conference

May 16, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. I have two or three questions today. One is about the new Minister to Canada. I am not in a position yet to announce the name because we haven't been officially notified by the Canadian Government. They seem to have announced it but they have not yet notified us. 1

1 Hanford MacNider was the new United States Minister to Canada.


Also a question about the new hydraulic laboratory, a bill [46 Stat. 327] for which has just passed through Congress. That laboratory is due to the persistence of Senator [Joseph E.] Ransdell over the last 8 years, and is to be an important contribution to the solution of water problems in the United States. And we will undertake its construction out at the Bureau of Standards at the earliest possible moment.


We had some discussion at Cabinet this morning with regard to the program for improvement in the District, largely with view in that discussion to expediting work here in every direction we can. And in the course of these discussions I had before me a memorandum from Assistant Secretary Heath on the progress and character of all of the improvements contemplated in the District. I had thought that perhaps it might be of interest to you, and I have had it mimeographed for distribution. Secretary Heath's name is not on it, but it comes through his responsibility.


I also have a question about General Dawes' return. General Dawes, I understand, is coming over to attend some meetings in connection with the World's Fair at Chicago, where he has been an important factor. It has nothing whatever to do with the treaty, and we will all be glad to see him.


Q. Mr. President, in what category is this (indicating Heath memorandum ) ?

THE PRESIDENT. You can quote it. Give Secretary Heath credit for it.

Q. Who will go down to the camp tomorrow ?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't a list before me, but Mr. [Lawrence] Richey can give it to you.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and twelfth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 16, 1930.

Ferry K. Heath was Assistant Secretary in Charge of Public Buildings, Public Health, and Miscellaneous, Department of the Treasury. On the same day, the White House issued a text of Mr. Heath's memorandum on public buildings projects for the District of Columbia, which follows:

The projects for the improvement of the Capital City are embraced in about 10 pieces of legislation, either passed or pending, and a large number of appropriation bills appropriating funds under the authority of the original acts.

The Public Building Act, approved May 25, 1926, authorized an expenditure of $50 million for the District of Columbia, with the proviso that not more than $10 million shall be expended each year in the District of Columbia.

The Public Building Act, approved March 31, 1930, increases the total amount for the District of Columbia to $190 million, with the proviso that not more than $15 million is to be expended each year in the District of Columbia.

The improvements on Capitol Hill entailed an expenditure of over $26 million and included an addition to the House Office Building and enlargement of the Senate Office Building, the construction of a new building for the Supreme Court and the general landscaping of, and enlargement of the Capitol Grounds, which will extend from the Capitol to the Union Station.

The beautification projects, including parkways, boulevards and drives, under the National Park and Planning Commission, calls for an expenditure of $43,750,000. This includes the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which will be completed not later than July, 1931, at a cost of $14,750,000, as well as the completion of the George Washington Memorial Parkway to Mount Vernon, which will probably be completed by the end of 1932, at an estimated cost of $4,500,000.

The Cramton bill now pending provides for an extension of the Potomac Park and improvements to Great Falls, involving a total cost of $24,500,000. There is now an annual appropriation of $1 million under which this work has been initiated and, if the pending bill passes, it is expected that this annual appropriation will be merged into the new bill.

The joint resolution of the House and Senate passed June 15, 1929, provides for a civic center for the municipal government in Washington. Appropriations so far under this resolution have been for the purchase of sites. This group of buildings is estimated to cost between $25 million and $30 million, and it is expected that the cost of the land on which this project will be located will amount to approximately $6 million.

The expenditure contemplated under these projects aggregates over $320 million to be completed during the next 8 or 10 years.

The largest operation under the program is the projected group of 11 buildings to be constructed under the supervision of the Treasury Department in the so-called Triangle.

The Internal Revenue Building, costing approximately $10 million, is practically completed.

The Department of Commerce Building, furnishing over a million feet of space, is well underway.

By December of this year it is hoped that actual construction operations on the foundations may be underway for the new building for the Post Office Department, to be constructed at the east end of the Grand Plaza, that will stretch as a garden area some 600 feet wide from 14th nearly to 12th Street.

It is hoped the ground will be broken for the new Department of Justice Building in December, the General Accounting Building, to be followed by the Department of Labor Building as soon as the old power house of the Potomac Electric Power Company can be moved from its present location.

The new Archives Building, which will safeguard the Nation's historical treasures, should be in process of construction in the early part of 1931.

The center portion of the Department of Agriculture has just been completed, and a portion of the large structure planned for the balance of the Agriculture Department activities will be started very shortly.

The extension now being built for the Government Printing Office will be ready for occupancy within a few months.

The following is roughly a list of the buildings for Federal and municipal purposes which will be constructed or improved under the acts above-mentioned:

Supreme Court Building; Senate Office Building; House of Representatives Office Building; Department of Commerce; Internal Revenue; Department of Agriculture; Government Printing Office; Post Office Department; the Archives; Department of Justice; Department of Labor; General Accounting Office; Interstate Commerce Commission; Coast Guard and various independent establishments; State Department; War Department; Navy Department; Bureau of public Health; Arlington Memorial Bridge, and the great extension to the park and boulevard system of the District of Columbia, together with the municipal buildings of the District to be .built under the authority of the joint resolution of the House and Senate providing for a civic center.

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/210771

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