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The President's News Conference

September 29, 1931

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

THE PRESIDENT. I have one or two subjects on which I can talk to you from the point of view of background. I think we need a reunderstanding of what background consists of--it is the desire on my part to help the correspondents with the facts about various things on which I do not desire to be quoted. There seems to be a little departure from that idea. If the correspondents do not think it worthwhile it is not a matter with which I am greatly concerned.

NAVY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS

We have had some discussion about Navy appropriations, and as I say, I am talking for background. I have had each of the departments here and have asked them to reconsider their proposed appropriations for the forthcoming year in order that we may, so far as is physically possible, meet the financial situation with which we are confronted. The Navy budget was $401 million as proposed for the fiscal year 1933, compared with $360 million for 1932--an increase of about $41 million. In the budget of 1932, construction activities involved about $50 million and the Navy is reconsidering whether or not, with some extension of construction programs, possibly bringing it up to $65 million. It would not be possible to make economies in other directions so as to bring the total appropriation for the year down to $340 million, to maintain the present rate of construction activities with some slight increase, and at the same time orient the Navy in a fashion that we would certainly not exceed the appropriation for the current year, but reduce it.

Similar suggestions have been made to other departments of the Government and I would like to add one thing to that discussion. The problem of reducing Government expenditures is a difficult one and affects great numbers of people. This makes it doubly difficult for the President and Cabinet officers to handle the problems if departmental people are going to start backfire in the press against the administration in efforts of this character. I regret that the Navy Department has considered it in the interest of their activities that they carry this fight into the press. If they wish to, I welcome it and will go to the American people on the question of whether the departments have the right to dictate to the American people what they shall expend. That is a matter that lies in the recommendation of the administration to Congress and, in finality, the action by Congress.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR HEINRICH BRUNING

Another small background question is the statement about Mr. Bruning's possible visit to the United States. We have heard nothing of it.

TAXATION

Another question is on the tax question. I told you some weeks ago that we would continue to explore the question of our expenditures and the course to be pursued to the time Congress meets, and there has been no departure from that policy either by the Executive or by the Treasury. There is nothing I can add to that.

WORLD SERIES

Finally, and this is not background, I propose to attend the baseball game in Philadelphia next Monday and will welcome all the press support on that occasion that you feel you can give.

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

Q. Mr. President, would it be permissible to ask if there has been any rift at all between you and Secretary Adams ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is not at all a nice question to ask, but there is nothing of the kind and has been no thought of such a thing. Secretary Adams is devoting himself to carrying out his job and there has never been any question of his loyalty.

Q. I asked it only because there have been rumors to that effect.

THE PRESIDENT. I am glad you asked the question because it is only fair to Secretary Adams that such rumors should be cleared up. There is absolutely no truth to it. Such things do not happen in sound government.

Note: President Hoover's two hundred and eleventh news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, September 29, 1931.

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/207676

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