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The President's News Conference

October 08, 1929


THE PRESIDENT. I am sure that we all welcome your English confreres in this country and at this conference. I am told that the press does not have to undergo this sort of pains and penalties in England.


I have only one small domestic matter. The Secretaries of Interior and Commerce have made their report on the problem of the Government's surveys, a matter not as much of general interest as it is a matter of special interest to you. The progress of fundamental surveys of the United States is on such a moderate (?)1 basis that it will take about 80 years to complete the basic survey of the country at the present rate of speed, and they have given me a program which will complete [p.317] the surveys in approximately 18 years, and it will be adopted into the budget. It is not a very largely increased budget, but of great economic importance both to the States and Federal activities in the States.

1 The question mark appears in the transcript.


There is nothing that I can report at the present moment on the conversations with the Prime Minister. These conversations are continuing in the most friendly of atmospheres. We fortunately have no controversies between our countries that are to be settled, and we are, therefore, able to discuss our mutual problems in the long distance view and solely in the broad aspect of human welfare in its very largest sense. Moreover, we are able to carry our conversations without circumlocution and in absolute frankness, with recognition of the point of view on both sides. Neither of us has anything in reserve. We have only to search for those things that will promote the good will and moral solidarity between our two countries. The Prime Minister possesses a wealth of Scotch humor that would lubricate successfully most any discussion.

More important than all of the conversations we are engaged in is the very great evidence shown by the press and the American people of genuine friendliness to the Prime Minister and to the people of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The demonstration that is in progress is in itself more important than any incidental conclusions that the Prime Minister and I might come to on questions that we have under discussion.

I am in hopes we can have something to say to you in the course of a day or two, but that is as far as I am able to go for the moment.

Q. Mr. President, is that for quotation ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, you can get it.


Q. In reference to the surveys, were you referring to the Geological Survey and the Coast and Geodetic Survey ?

THE PRESIDENT. The Coast and Geodetic is the foundation survey. [p.318] The topographical map comes on the top of that, as you know--the Geological Survey. Both of these we propose to expedite. It might cost an additional million dollars to shorten down the term of completion.

One incidental matter that I may give you as an instance is that there has never been adequate maps made of the flood area--of sufficient accuracy of the flood area of the Mississippi. If there had been accurate maps of that kind we could have saved a hundred thousand head of cattle if we knew where to put them out of the reach of the floods.

Your British confreres will recognize that we do have maps of the United States, but we are referring to maps of such accuracy as to show differences of elevation as low as one foot over the entire country. We are discussing here a question of accurate mapping.

About 43 percent of the very accurate mapping of the country is complete. That has been done over a period of 70 years, and we do not want to wait for a period of 80 years to complete it.

Note: President Hoover's fifty-sixth news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, October 8, 1929. The White House also issued a text of the President's statement on the progress of conversations with Prime Minister MacDonald (see Item 228).

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/207507

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