Herbert Hoover photo

The President's News Conference

March 22, 1929


THE PRESIDENT. In the first category of questions which you can quote, this is an announcement which we have had mimeographed for you:

"The Attorney General has advised me that in failure of Congress to suspend action, it is now mandatory upon me under the Immigration [p.34] Act to issue the proclamation [No. 1872] establishing 'national origins' as the basis of immigration quotas. The proclamation must be issued prior to April 1 and will be issued at once. It will go into effect on July 1 unless action is taken by Congress in the meantime. While I am strongly in favor of restricted and selected immigration I have opposed the national origins basis. I, therefore, naturally dislike the duty of issuing the proclamation and installing the new basis, but the President of the United States must be the first to obey the law."

For your own information, I imagine Mr. Tilson1 will make some further comment on that whole question.

1 Representative John Quillen Tilson of Connecticut was Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.


Now, as to the second category of things that are not important, and which you do not attribute directly to me just because they are not very important.

I have directed that the yacht, the Mayflower, shall be withdrawn from commission and laid up. The Secretary of the Navy reports that it costs over $300,000 a year to maintain the yacht and that it requires a complement of 9 officers and 148 enlisted men; and that the Navy has now arrived at a point where it must expand its personnel and expenditure for maintaining the new equipment coming in. Therefore, I have considered that this expenditure and the use of the men on the Mayflower is no longer warranted because it will save that much new recruiting and that much new expenditure involved in the new equipment. Therefore, I have concluded to do without that boat.


I have some questions on the radio commissioners. We have been fortunate enough to induce General [Charles McK.] Saltzman to join the Radio Board. He comes from Iowa and therefore from the Midwest district. Mr. [Arthur] Batcheller, who is the radio inspector of the Northeastern district, does not want to join the board because of its uncertain [p.35] tenure and, therefore, we must find somebody in the Northeastern district to complete the complement of the board. That has not yet been done.


I have some questions on conservation of various kinds. I have not yet had time to consider the other questions of conservation than oil--and the administration as yet is not 3 weeks old--so you will have to give me a little more time on that.


Also, I have a number of questions on railway consolidations. These matters do not arise until the long session, and, as you know, I have been identified with Mr. Coolidge's policies in these matters, and I see no reason to alter the position of the administration as held over these many years.


I have a series of questions about Mr. Root's proposals 2 and naturally all that type of question must await Mr. Stimson's arrival and his consideration.

2 Elihu Root was a member of the League of Nations Committee of Experts to revise the World Court statutes in a manner that would encourage United States membership.


I have a number of questions on farm relief. There seems to be some misunderstanding still current about that question. I already tried to make it clear that in matters of major public policy the Executive should be the first to safeguard the independent relationship between Congress and the executive side of the Government. That initiative, in important legislation of that character, should come from Congress, and I want to make it equally clear that I propose to cooperate with the committees of Congress in working out that legislation in every way.

Now, the general principles of farm relief were fought out and determined in the last political campaign. There remains nothing to do except the problem of the detailed drafting of those principles, with such [p.35] supplementary ideas which are in accord with the principles they have laid down as we can add now. It is not a case where there is no plan of farm relief, as has been reported. The Republican Party has a definite plan, and carried that plan through the campaign clearly defined as to its general principles. It is the obligation of the party to enact those principles into law, and it is for that purpose in large degree that I called the extra session of Congress.

Now, that is purely background material. I am not stating that for quotation, as I do not want to appear to be propagandizing, but simply for your information. I want to make it clear to the correspondents that some of the information that has gone out that we have no farm plan, that the world is now at sea, is not quite correct.

That I think is about all for today.

Note: President Hoover's sixth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 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/209247

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