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The President's News Conference

March 12, 1929

NEWS CONFERENCE PROCEDURES

THE PRESIDENT. I had a meeting with the committee1 the other evening, and I presume the committee will formulate the conclusions that were arrived at and circulate them to the correspondents. One of the suggestions is that written questions, so far as possible, should be put in 24 hours in advance on subjects that are not critical at the moment and that the questions immediately before the conference be, as far as possible, confined to matters which have arisen on the crest of the day's events. It gives me an opportunity for a considered answer, and will enable me to give you more information, because, as in the case today, I have just had a moment to go across the questions, and some of them I am quite willing to reply to, but would like to give them more thought. I think that would facilitate the volume of information which can be given. In view of the shortness of the time I have had to look over the questions, I am a little bit crippled on giving you adequate reply at this moment, and some of the questions I will carry over to next session.

1 A committee of news bureau and wire service heads which was formed at the President's suggestion to assist him in the development of news conferences.

GOVERNMENT OIL LANDS

There is one question on which you may quote me, with the usual preliminary that it is in answer to a question from the press, as to the policy of the Federal Government on the disposal of oil lands for the future.

"There will be no leases or disposal of Government oil lands, no matter what category they may lie in, of Government holdings or Government controls, except those which may be mandatory by Congress. In other words, there will be complete conservation of Government oil in this administration,"

Q. That means that it will only be disposed of by act of Congress.

THE PRESIDENT. I think there are a few minor cases relating to some Indian lands where oil leases are mandatory. That is the reason for that exception. That has no bearing on the general policy but I did not want to appear to cover the mandatory leases.

Q. Does that mean, also, you will take steps to preserve the waste material in the South ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter of private enterprise. I am only speaking of Government holdings and the policy of the Government itself.

REAR ADMIRAL WILLIAM A. MOFFETT

Now for matters for your information: Admiral Moffett has been continued as Chief of the Bureau of Naval Aeronautics.

CENSUS AND REAPPORTIONMENT BILLS

I have a question on the census and reapportionment bills, asking whether I am in favor of their consideration in extraordinary session. I understand that the House leaders have stated to the leaders of the Senate that after bills such as the census and reapportionment bills, which originated in the House, have been considered by House committees and formulated by the House and sent to the Senate, that their interest will extend to introducing those bills into the House under a rule waiving the rules of the House provided they are first passed by the Senate. That would enable the House to consider those particular pieces of legislation in the extraordinary session without violating the standard which was erected by the House leaders that they should limit their appointments of committees to Agriculture and Ways and Means.

I am not giving you that information in the fashion that it comes from me or that I have anything to do with it, but merely that it is information as to what has been suggested by the House leaders.

NATIONAL ORIGINS CLAUSE

Someone wants to know again about the national origins. I haven't yet received the opinion of the Attorney General.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

On diplomatic appointments there are four or five questions. There will be no diplomatic appointments made until after Mr. Stimson's arrival in Washington.2 So there is no consideration in that quarter at the present moment.

2 Henry L. Stimson, Governor-General of the Philippines, was to become Secretary of State. Secretary Frank B. Kellogg remained in the Cabinet until his arrival.

Q. When do you expect that arrival, Mr. President ?

THE PRESIDENT. He will be here the 26th.

Then there are some more appointments. Assistant Secretary [Theodore D.] Robinson resigned, as you know, from the Navy to return to private life--would not consent to continuing.

The same thing applies to Assistant Secretary [Charles B.] Robbins in the War Department. Both of these gentlemen insisted on retirement.

Mr. Ernest Lee Jahncke of New Orleans will be the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Jahncke has had much experience with shipping, and is an enthusiastic sailor himself, and is a large and important businessman.

Q. Is there anything to be said, Mr. President, about Under Secretary Reuben Clark's resignation ?

THE PRESIDENT. There is no thought going on in that quarter until Mr. Stimson's arrival. Mr. Clark is very insistent that he should retire from the State Department at the present moment, but I am in hopes that I can make arrangements. Mr. Clark, of course, has been a very valuable Under Secretary.

For the War Department, Mr. Patrick Hurley of Oklahoma has been made Assistant Secretary. Mr. Hurley has a very distinguished war record. You can find out more about it from Mr. Akerson.3

3George E. Akerson was Secretary to the President.

That covers the questions for today. I would be glad if the committee would let you all know what the conclusions are about the arrangements for the conferences, and I will try to be more ample on Friday.

Note: President Hoover's third news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, March 12, 1929.

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/208881

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