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The President's News Conference

September 17, 1929


THE PRESIDENT. On the recommendation of the Secretary of War I have today appointed General Lytle Brown as Chief of Engineers, with the rank of major general, in the place of [Major] General [Edgar] Jadwin, who has retired.

With the appointment of General Brown we propose some important alterations in the organization of the Chief of Engineers' Office. The very large increase in public works programs during the last 2 years and the probable further increases seem to point to the necessity of a more definite responsibility and more continuity in the direction of public works than we have had under the organization which was adopted to smaller and more disintegrated undertakings.

We, therefore, propose to appoint an engineer who shall have the direct responsibility under General Brown of the whole of the new flood control and other works on the lower Mississippi. We are also considering the appointment of a single engineer to have the responsibility and direction of the works on the tributaries of the Mississippi, that is, the Ohio, the upper Mississippi, and the Missouri, Illinois, et cetera, comprising that into one unit as a great inland transportation unit.

And we are considering the appointment of a third engineer to have charge of the work on the Great Lakes and the probable work on the St. Lawrence. The amount of work which has been undertaken, or is likely to be undertaken, in the next few years in each of these three projects--each of these three divisions--is in itself greater than the construction of the whole Panama Canal, so that we are endeavoring to find a method whereby, so far as we can within the law and the various commissions that have been set up, to centralize responsibility and establish administration on the spot rather than so much centralization in Washington.

And that is all that I have got on this occasion.

Q. Mr. President, will these new engineering officials take up their place of duty on location ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is the idea.

Q. Will they come from the Engineers--Army officers?


Q. Mr. President, could I ask about the Assistant Chief Engineer?

THE PRESIDENT. There has been no decision about that at all yet.

I have secured from the War Department a note on General Brown's previous service, which you will find outside.

Note: President Hoover's fiftieth news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, September 17, 1929.

On the same day, the White House issued a biographical sketch of Maj. Gen. Lytle Brown.

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/207296

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