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The President's News Conference

May 24, 1929

MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOOD CONTROL

THE PRESIDENT. I have a number of questions in respect to the brief that was filed by a number of Senators and Representatives from the Southern States. They requested that the proposed contracts for initiation of work should be suspended pending entire reconsideration of the plans and the authorities under the Flood Control Act. Some of them contend that the entire control plan should be revised. As you will recollect, there is a provision in the act which sets up a special engineering commission to examine the conflicts between the so-called Mississippi River Commission plan and the Jadwin1 plan.

1 Maj. Gen. Edgar Jadwin was Chief of Engineers, Army Corps of Engineers.

The Mississippi River Commission plan, you will recollect, was estimated to cost $750 million and the Jadwin plan $325 million. That [p.152] Commission was appointed, and it made its report and a determination of its conclusions as between the two plans. That report was presented to the President in favor of the Jadwin plan, and President Coolidge promulgated that plan by a definite order.

The effect of other suggestions in the brief is that the Government should purchase flowage rights over lands along the stretches of the river where there will be no additional waterflow than the main channel. Where the Government is required to purchase land under the law, of course, it is now in progress and monies have been established for that purpose.

But before the merits and demerits of the suggestions can be gone into, I must first determine what the legal questions are that are raised as to whether or not the plan and method have already been conclusively determined by the act and the Executive orders of the President, and for that purpose I have submitted the brief to the Attorney General and the Secretary of War for study and report.

APPOINTMENTS

On appointments I have a number of questions--one with respect to Mr. [Eugene A.] Gilmore, who is Vice Governor of the Philippines. Mr. Gilmore has given distinguished service, and everyone is anxious that he shall retain his position.

I shall appoint Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Governor of Porto Rico. Governor [Horace M.] Towner has expressed a willingness to remain until September or October, and Colonel Roosevelt will have returned to the United States by that time.

Ex-Governor [John H.] Bartlett, who has been Assistant Postmaster General, has consented to become a member of the International Joint Commission. I wish to express some satisfaction over that, because I have more important purposes for that Commission to undertake than it has been engaged with hitherto.

One additional appointment--Mr. Joseph P. Cotton, a leading lawyer of New York, as Under Secretary of State.

GENEVA DISCUSSIONS OF NAVAL ARMAMENTS

I have some further questions on the continued work of the Geneva conference. I explained last week the American method or plan proposed by Mr. [Hugh] Gibson to the other principal naval powers, and I have no doubt it is under consideration by them.

I have nothing more that I am either aware of or can add.

INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND CANADA

Q. Mr. President, is there anything that you can say in elaboration of the work of the International Joint Commission ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I would rather not add to it now.

PLANS FOR THE WEEKEND

Q. Mr. President, what are your plans for tomorrow ?

THE PRESIDENT. I thought I would go out for the usual picnic lunch about 11 o'clock, and come back that evening.

Note: President Hoover's twenty-fourth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 1929. The White House also released a biographical sketch of Joseph P. Cotton and the text of the President's statement on Mississippi River flood control (see Item 85 ).

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/209422

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