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The President's News Conference

October 15, 1929

AIR AND OCEAN MAIL CONTRACTS

THE PRESIDENT. I have a question--"Did the question of further reductions in the airmail service come to your attention today ?" It did not.

The Post Office is working on a very difficult problem of trying to discover some form of a rate structure for the airmail service. Hitherto, as you know, the routes have been let by competitive bid, and a great many distortions have grown up as the art has made progress and the aviation concerns have grown. And those contracts are up for revision by the Post Office under the law, and it is confronted with the very difficult task of trying to find some basis that can be made as universal in its application as possible. The Post Office is doing its best to try to work out some sort of a rate structure.

There is in the airmail the very definite element of subsidy on the [p.327] part of the Government until the airmail is substantially created, and there is no disposition on the part of the Post Office not to act in a liberal fashion with the aviation operators.

There is involved in that a further problem, which I have put in the hands of the four departments, that is, Commerce, Post Office, Army, and Navy, for study. And that is, what routes we can now determine as positive national routes with view to building those routes in as substantial fashion as we can, both from the point of view of equipment and support through the Post Office for air and passenger services.

So that we are working on a dual question of the primary and necessary routes which should be established as national routes, and a secondary problem, we are trying to find a rate structure under which the Post Office can act. All of it requires some time and thought, and the negotiations with the aviation industry are going along favorably. We are in a new field, and it is difficult to find one's way about.

Somewhat the same thing has arisen in the matter of the merchant marine under the Jones-White Act and the Post Office contracts that are let which are in support of the merchant marine. I have asked the four departments concerned and the Shipping Board to make a study of what are the essential trade routes and what use we can make of the Government's support through the Post Office to the improvement in shipping and the support of those routes. So that we will get away if possible from the more or less haphazard question of letting mail contracts without due respect to the ultimate development of merchant marine.

They are both intensely complex and very difficult problems, but they are under very careful scrutiny at the present time.

APPOINTMENTS TO THE COURT OF CLAIMS

I have two appointments to announce today to the Court of Claims. That is, Mr. Benjamin H. Littleton of Tennessee, who is now Chairman of the Board of Tax Appeals, and Congressman Thomas S. Williams of Illinois.

Further than that I have nothing.

Note: President Hoover's fifty-eighth news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, October 15, 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/207529

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