The President's News Conference
THE PRESIDENT. I have a question or two as to whether I had anything to say on the departure of the commission, so I have prepared a little statement, and will give it to you in a minute.
LONDON NAVAL CONFERENCE
I am sure the whole Nation bids Godspeed to the American delegation that leaves tomorrow for the London Naval Conference. The people and the governments of the five nations assembling at this meeting are genuinely desirous that agreement shall be brought about by which competition in construction of naval arms is brought to an end, and by which an actual reduction in naval burdens shall be accomplished. The difficulties in finding a basis are very great, but they are not insuperable.
The conclusions of the Conference must be such as to give a sense of security and satisfaction to each of the nations. We cannot base anything in the nature of permanent peace on any feeling of insecurity or having taken advantage of or having created a situation of prejudice to any one government.
The technologies of the problem are very considerable. I do not think we need to hope for any immediate results. To complete the Conference in 3 or 4 months would be an accomplishment.
It is, in fact, the most important international conference that has been held for many years and probably for many years to come. The progress of peace in the world rests to a very great degree on the success of this Conference. There is a very great feeling of good will not only on the part of the people of the different countries but on the part of the governments themselves to the success of the Conference. That has been outstanding in all of our discussions right from the beginning and right up to as late as last night.
The importance and the gravity of the occasion have been recognized by the appointment of leading men of every government to attend this Conference, and I believe that men of that character and caliber, with that weight of responsibility, will succeed. I do not believe it is possible to bring together men of such character and with the fundamental backing of good will and responsibility such as this Conference convenes under without success.
I am in hopes that the people of this country will show patience and give encouragement and keep free from criticism. We go to London in a fine atmosphere and with a good spirit on the work of the commission, and we must preserve it, if we can, through the period of negotiations. So that again I repeat that it is my belief that the whole American people wish Godspeed and success to this effort. And that is all I have today.
Q. Mr. President, was that along the lines of what you said to your breakfast guests this morning ?
THE PRESIDENT. It was.
Q. Mr. President, could you tell us something about it ? I think the others have hesitated about telling about it.
THE PRESIDENT. The discussion was very general. I gave no instructions to the commission at all. I did not go into any detail, and we had no discussion of details. We merely discussed the general setting, the favorable character of the evidences that we had from each one of the governments of their desire to come to conclusions and, in fact, more or less, of an expansion of the ideas that are here.
The American delegation, as you know, is not only a strong one, but composed of men who understand the problem. I do not think that we have ever sent a delegation abroad that has had such a grasp on the essentials of what they are to undertake as this group of men have. So that it was not necessary for me to thrash out details with that group. What is more, our delegates have been engaged for the last month in a study of the problem which they have to undertake, and they have become technologists on the subject, each one of them himself. So that it is unnecessary for me to discuss tons, et cetera, with those men. They know as much about it today as I do and more. The whole occasion was merely to give them encouragement and the assurance of complete support from this side in any conclusions which they may come to.
Note: President Hoover's eightieth news conference was held in the State, War, and Navy Building at 12 noon on Tuesday, January 7, 1930.
The President breakfasted with delegates and advisers who were leaving for London. Ambassadors Charles G. Dawes and Hugh S. Gibson were already in Europe.
The White House also issued a text of the President's statement on the London Naval Conference (see Item 11 ).
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/209518