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The President's News Conference

August 23, 1932


THE PRESIDENT. I haven't anything to announce today. I thought I would give you some background as to this forthcoming conference which begins its meetings on Thursday and continues Friday and part of Saturday. That is not a general economic conference or a conference to deal with the whole economic situation. It is a conference of the business and industrial committees which were created in each Federal Reserve district somewhere about 2 months ago. And the problems to be dealt with are not general problems but the problems with which those committees have been dealing. They run in two major directions.

The first is, now that the credit strain of the world is very much moderated, to get our credit machinery functioning again in all directions so as to better sustain commerce and industry and agriculture. The credit strain, as you know, has for more than 15 months resulted in the great restriction of credits from the banks and from all quarters. That strain began to be relieved in the month of June and has gone on progressively relaxing, but there are a great many derangements through the country, and it is proposed at this conference to coordinate all of the activities, so far as possible, of governmental agencies and the private agencies throughout the country to take up and solve the points of disarrangement. There are many industries which have not been able to obtain credits even though they had the normal credit terms. That varies in different parts of the country. It has been dealt with in different fashion by these committees, and we want to secure a coordinated and definite program for the whole country.

The other objective of the conference is to develop plans by which these committees may interest themselves in the spread of employment. Some of the committees have taken that up in their different districts with considerable success. The committees represent the banks and leading merchants and leading employers of the districts, and we are seeking to enlist the systematic activities of those committees throughout the country. The committee on the Pacific coast, for instance, has been most active in that direction and has developed a great deal of experience. The spread of employment has been going on, as you know, ever since the depression began 20 years ago, by a great many industries. Others have not felt the pinch and have not entered into it, and the idea is to spread employment even further than it has been done hitherto.

Those are the two major objects of this conference. It is a limited area. It is hoped that we may have benefits to agriculture by straightening out the difficulties which arise, especially in credit for the handling of livestock, which has been a very acute difficulty, and feeder cattle, et cetera, and the better handling of credits for the movement of agricultural commodities into the normal channels of trade both at home and abroad. It will deal with the question of systematic organization of credits for industrial establishments, et cetera.

I want to get it clear that this is not a general conference. It is a conference of these already established agencies, and the various elements of the community are represented only so far as those committees represent them; that where problems are taken up and organization is suggested, then the various groups will be brought in to cooperate. In other words, this is the setting up of organization in different activities under committees who will follow up, and those committees will then embrace a wider-spread distribution of activities into different groups than this conference will represent. Take the case of the question of the spread of employment. Discussions have taken place with organized labor by the men engaged in the preliminary work, and the labor world will be brought into the active pursuit of these policies when the interest of employer and so on has been secured. And the same thing applies to the agricultural groups. But it is not a general economic conference. It is a conference of these agencies that are already going with a view to uniformity and positive organization and with a view to taking on many more problems where they will come up within this area.

I notice a good deal of misunderstanding about it from a number of people, who believe that either they or some representative from their group should be invited. If we attempted to cover the whole economic gamut of the United States we would have a conference of several thousand people, whereas we are endeavoring to cover One segment of our battle at a time.

Q. Mr. President, will you personally address this gathering at any time ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am going to attend the conference. And it will be addressed by Mr. Mills and Mr. Meyer and Senator Pomerene, Mr. Fort, probably Mr. Bestor, the Secretary of Commerce, 1 and the other officials who have a part in the field being covered by the conference. Those addresses will be by way of explanation of the functions of the different Government agencies that bear on the problems which the conference is to consider. After that point the conference becomes a conference of the private institutions and individuals in the development of coordination of their activities and coordination of Government activities.

1 The President referred to Secretary of the Treasury Ogden L. Mills, Federal Reserve Board Governor Eugene Meyer, Reconstruction Finance Corporation Chairman Atlee Pomerene, Federal Home Loan Bank Board Chairman Franklin W. Fort, Federal Farm Loan Commissioner Horace Paul Bestor, and Secretary of Commerce Roy D. Chapin.

Q. Will this be made the opening day?

THE PRESIDENT. It will all be short.

Q. Who will preside?

THE PRESIDENT. I am going to open it. An executive committee has been provided. As I announced some days ago that the chairmen of the business and industrial committees of the different Federal Reserve districts have been called in the day before, that is on Thursday, to organize the conference and to lay out a program. And on that executive committee will be the heads of the different Government agencies so that that committee will present to the conference on Friday as soon as the general statements are over, a setup and program for the conference itself.

Q. Mr. President, in referring to spread of employment does that mean 5-day week or some consideration like that ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The 5-day week as an .accurate description is proving to be somewhat misleading. Industries have to approach the problem, each and every one of them, in a fashion adapted to its own work. Some of them use the 5-day week for individuals, and still operate 7 days a week. Others only operate 2 days in the week now. Others of them operate 3 days. Others of them have shorter shifts, and some industries run on four shifts of 6 hours each. So we are not using the statement 5-day week.

Q. Mr. President, will you meet with the executive committee on Thursday ?


Note: President Hoover's two hundred and fifty-seventh news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, August 23, 1932.

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/207400

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