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The President's News Conference

May 20, 1932

NEW YORK BANKING AND INDUSTRIAL COMMITTEE

THE PRESIDENT. I am much gratified at the action taken in New York by which a joint committee has been appointed representing the financial and industrial leaders of that city, for the purpose, amongst other things, of securing that the expansion of credit facilities which have been made available through the Federal Reserve banks and the Reconstruction Corporation shall be translated directly to industry, employment, and agriculture. I am in hopes that similar action will be taken in the other Federal Reserve districts. It would seem desirable that the Governors of the different Federal Reserve banks should proceed in a similar way, and as soon as the chairmen of these committees are known, I will invite them to Washington in order that the whole problem may be put on a national basis.

That is all I have for general public distribution.

COUNCIL OF NATIONAL DEFENSE

For your own information I would like to talk to you a moment about these recent advocacies of resurrection of the Council of National Defense. We have had that subject up before. It seems to have become alive in the last few days again.

You will recollect that the Council of National Defense is a statutory body comprised of five members of the Cabinet and an advisory body comprised of five civilians. The duties outlined for it are purely war duties, and it can only advise Cabinet members. It is contended that there are one or two expressions in the act which might be translated into use for purposes of the general welfare, and I presume it is the creation of the advisory body in which the various promoters are interested. The advisory body may hang over from the old body, and in any event it appears to have been recently canvassed to see what its opinion would be on the subject. Several of them have written to me and stated that if they are still alive that they would not serve on such a body because they do not believe it has any constructive purpose and they do not believe there is anything to be accomplished by it.

In any event, if you will consider that we already have a Cabinet in which there are eminent representatives of agriculture and labor and finance and industry; that we have the Reconstruction Corporation with six or seven Directors who represent directly industry and finance and agriculture; that we have the Federal Reserve Board, which represents finance and industry and agriculture; that we have the Farm Board which represents seven different branches of agriculture; that we have the Farm Loan Board with representatives of both agriculture and finance; that we have the President's Organization for Unemployment Relief, which is an advisory body of 100 leading citizens of the United States; and back of all these organizations we have the bureaus of the Government with their mass of information and all of their expert advice, and that all of these bodies are cooperating closely; that they are comprised of men of both political parties, and in fact, in their total sum and their daily conferences they constitute the most effective economic council that could be devised because they have behind them both authority and cooperation. So, it does not seem that the creation of any more commissions or committees is so much needed at this moment as the balancing of the budget. I am today a strong exponent of the desirability of committees which are created for some specific purpose or some specific duty where there is some definite and positive goal that can be set and methods by which it can be arrived at. A very typical committee is that created in New York yesterday--it being created from the Federal Reserve district for a very positive purpose, and the coordination of that body by bringing their chairmen together is a definite and constructive contribution to a specific problem. And a much more constructive activity by some of the people who worry about setting up more committees and commissions around Washington would be if they could display the same energy in supporting us in the completion of our program of reconstruction and endeavor to break the back of the depression by this program. As a matter of fact, if we could have all the energy that is now devoted to creating new committees and conferences devoted to that purpose, that would get us out of this depression in short order.

Otherwise than that I have nothing that disturbs the situation today.

Note: President Hoover's two hundred and forty-ninth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 20, 1932.

On the same day, the White House issued a text of the President's statement on the formation of the New York Banking and Industrial Committee (see Item 170).

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/207995

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