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The President's News Conference

March 19, 1929

THE PRESIDENT. I have no very important questions this morning--nothing, I think, that I am ready to make a statement about for quotation. Various things are being prepared, but haven't got to the stage where I am ready to make any announcements.

RAPIDAN RIVER FISHING LODGE

In the second category of questions--that is, the things you can attribute to the White House--the question is asked if I am proposing to set up a fishing lodge at the headwaters of the Rapidan River. That is not true, except in the sense that the director of the Shenandoah Park, knowing that I was cognizant of the fishing facilities of the upper Rapidan from previous experience, has proposed to make one branch of it accessible by building some roads and trails and building a fishing cabin therein; and I accept his suggestion with gratitude.

I do not propose to do anything, at the moment at least, about rebuilding Mount Weather.1 I rather prefer the more rustic and intimate type [p.31] of a log cabin than a more formal place, like at Mount Weather with all its encumbrances of servants, et cetera.

1 President Coolidge had proposed the remodeling of a former Weather Bureau station in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Bluemont, Va., to be a Summer White House. The station included an observatory, laboratories, and staff living quarters on an 84-acre tract

That is not to say that Mount Weather might not yet be available, but in any event for the present I am entirely satisfied with the arrangements which the director of the park is making for my entertainment for a day or two during the summer.

Q. How far away is that ?

THE PRESIDENT. It is about 97 miles--about 3 hours from Washington. The nearest post office is Madison, Virginia--Madison being about 9 miles from the spot.

RESIGNATION OF WILLIAM P. MACCRACKEN, JR.

A question is asked in regard to Mr. MacCracken's resignation as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for aviation. Mr. MacCracken has resigned as he is determined to return to business, much to our regret. But he is going to remain at the Department of Commerce for another 2 months. In the meantime, nothing has been settled as to his successor. Mr. MacCracken, like a great many men who come into public service, did so at a very great sacrifice, and I can't very well insist on men going on for a great number of years in that position.

FEDERAL RADIO COMMISSION

There is a question regarding Radio Commission appointments. Those have not yet been settled. I hope that we shall arrive at some conclusions there within a couple of days. We have not yet reached a determination about that.

THE SITUATION IN MEXICO

There are some questions here--more or less background questions. One of them is in respect to the treatment of any Mexican revolutionists that might come over the border. Of course, this is not for quotation or authority. But obviously the United States will always act as a sanctuary for people fleeing from evil, and that is about as much as we say about it.

On the Mexican situation generally, our advices are that the revolutionists [p.32] have, as you know, retreated from Torreon. The only one further item than that is that it appears that the total rebel forces there were something under 6,000 men. General Almazan 2 is approaching with about 18,000.

2 Gen. Jesus M. Almazan was commander of Government forces in the states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

TAX REFUND PUBLICITY

There are two matters which have appeared in some of the press discussions that I am going to take the liberty to comment on. One of them is the sort of implication that something was imposed upon Mr. Mellon in respect to the publication of tax returns. 3 That is not the case. Mr. Mellon made those proposals himself in order to comply with the spirit of the last Revenue Act--and the proposals come from him as a method by which that problem can be settled.

3 See Item 7.

PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT GOALS

There is also some thought, apparently, that I propose to initiate some kind of drastic, dramatic prohibition drives that will be startling in character--filled with news. That is now [not] my purpose or object. My purpose is to gradually, week by week, year by year, as rapidly as possible, build up the enforcement of the laws of the United States, whether they relate to prohibition or narcotics or any other subject; to tighten the organization, to reorganize, but in general to build up law enforcement. And in that effort to reorganize both the administrative side and judicial system. We are working to the ultimate purpose of reducing crime in the United States, and I expect the support of the press and of every decent citizen in this country. Law enforcement permits of no argument. The Government has only one duty.

I only want to make it clear that I am not looking for dramatics. I am looking for substantial, permanent advance of the country to a realization of the necessity of enforcing the laws of the United States as they are on the books.

Q. Mr. President, is the last for direct quotation? [p.33]

THE PRESIDENT. That is background material for you.

Q. Do you think we could use the Mellon fact ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I think that is only informative for you. I want you to have an understanding of what the position is.

Note: President Hoover's fifth news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, March 19, 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/208193

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