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The President's News Conference

May 02, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Adams has worked out the changes in commands of the fleet in certain of the bureaus in the Navy, by which on the retirement of Admiral [Charles F.] Hughes next October, Admiral [William V.] Pratt will become Chief of Naval Operations, and Admiral [F. B.] Upham will become Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. Admiral [J. V.] Chase will become Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet in Admiral Pratt's place, all of the details of which we will give you.


I have also a letter here from Mr. Sloan, who is the chairman of the Electrical Utilities Committee that we set up last December on construction work, in which he reports the progress of their construction program as being up to date and has even increased from 865 million to 900 million. And that is that.


I have one or two things for background.

Someone has understood the suggestion I made last evening for the appointment of a body of representative men to study the economic developments during the last 18 months as being the setting up of some superpowered body to direct economic life in the United States. I just want to call your attention to the fact that it is a body purely to make an examination of the experience that we have had in line with the same study that was made in respect to the boom and slump of 1919-1920. That study had the most important effects in the fact that it amounted to a crystallization of ideas and the spread of understanding, and has entered very largely into our economic conduct since that time. The setting up of committees of this kind does not imply questions of. administration or supervision over industrial life, but that we might develop our experiences to get them into form that have more power rather than administration in filtration of ideas. I do not propose to set up that committee until the situation becomes more clear and we have the full background behind us.


I also have some reports on construction of naval work. The Navy Department had expected to lay down the keels of the three cruisers which have been assigned to the Navy Yards on this year's program--at least one of them something over a month ago--but they have been held up with view to consideration of redesign of the whole of the three cruisers. It may delay the construction work for a month or two, but it is believed by the Navy that it makes a more perfect ship.


Congress passed a few days ago an amendment to the Post Office mail contract--aviation mail contracts--which amounts to a revolution in the relations of the Government with commercial aviation. It places the contracting for mail on a space-weight basis, as it is called, on the same lines as the railways. The purpose of it was to enable the Postmaster General to contract in such a fashion as to encourage passenger traffic and to bridge over from solely a postal aviation to passenger-carrying airplanes. The heads of various aviation companies have been called in to work out the details. The act also calls upon the Postmaster General, if possible, to consolidate competing routes and give some authority for continuing contracts. Generally, it is quite a revolutionary step in the whole development of commercial aviation.

And that is all I have got on my mind.

Q. Mr. President, you said they would be called in ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, by the Post Office Department--a number of them here today.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and eighth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 2, 1930.

On the same day, the White House issued a statement on changes in the chain of naval command (see Item 146). The White House also released the text of a letter, dated April 29, 1930, from Matthew S. Sloan, president of the National Electric Light Association and chairman of the Electrical Utilities Committee, as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

Within the past week, I have again secured progress reports from electric light and power companies of the status of work in carrying out the programs for new construction and expansion of facilities of which you were advised at the Conference in the White House on November 27, 1929.

Reports by telephone and telegraph are in hand from executives of companies representing eighty per cent of the total to be expended. These reports for the several companies are attached. They may be summarized as follows:

The new construction program of the electric light and power companies is progressing according to schedule and no curtailment or slowing down is reported in this program; on the contrary, in several cases projects have been added which will result in a revision upward, amounting to an increase of thirty or forty million dollars.

The program for the electric light and power companies as announced to you was $865,000,000, and the information in hand indicates that this will probably reach $900,000,000.


You may also be interested in information on the output of electricity because of its value as indicating general business conditions.

During the entire period since the first of the year, output of electricity by the electric light and power utility companies has maintained levels above those corresponding weeks in 1929.

The output for January, February, March, and April to the 26th of the month, has been 5.5%, 2.6%, 3.0%, and 1.8%, respectively, above 1929.

The output for these same months is, however, 19.8%, 11.6%, 14.7%, and 18.3%, respectively, above the levels for 1928.

The rate of increase in output of electric energy during the greater part of 1929 was abnormally high, due in large part to accelerated industrial activity. For this reason, we consider the levels of electric energy output which have been maintained this year as indicative of strong demand for electric service.

Although there is falling off in industrial power in localized areas, this has been more than offset, taking the country as a whole, by the remarkable increases which are going on in the use of electricity in homes. The use of electricity in households in the United States is running about 15% above the levels for 1929.
Respectfully yours,

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/210096

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