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The President's News Conference

October 06, 1931


THE PRESIDENT. As I stated yesterday, I have asked for a conference this evening with leaders of the two Houses and Members of some of the committees who may be available around Washington. And the purpose of that conference is to advance a program of national unity in setting up of constructive forces in place of destructive forces now working in this depression. I feel that it is not proper in advance of this conference to make any announcement.

Now, I would like to talk with you a little confidentially--perhaps even more confidentially than background--on a difficulty that confronts the President of the United States. I think you will agree with me that this is a position of very unusual responsibility, a position of unusual difficulty, a position of many discordant forces, a position in which it is difficult enough to secure the unity of action which the Nation absolutely demands at the present time. In the endeavor to bring various groups into coordinated action, it is necessary that I shall have conferences with those groups. I have had many such conferences, and I continue to have them--at this office, and by telephone, or any place else that is convenient for such purposes. I shall continue to do so. It is your natural business, and I admire you for it, to endeavor to find out anything you can find out. That is the proper function of newspaper correspondents. I have no feeling on that subject.

I think you will realize as citizens, however, that the disclosure of discussions, programs, and ideas that are put forward, when they are in their formative stage and when they must be hammered out on the anvil of debate with many groups, may lead to oppositions which are wholly unnecessary and increase the difficulties of the times. I am asking you to suppress nothing. I ask you to go and find out everything you can. But I think you will bear with me if I don't discuss these matters with you. Nothing would be more pleasant to me than to be able to tell you in detail everything that has taken place in the last 3 weeks, to tell you of the difficulties that have been plunged upon us by the situation in Europe, the endeavors we are making to meet them, but it would not be fair to the American people that I should start crosscurrents that are bound to rise from partial programs. So that I hope you will bear with me, and I have to bear with you.

Q. Mr. President, cannot you, after tonight's conference, give us some rather definite statement. It is coining out piecemeal if you don't. You are going to have people there--a great many groups--they will tell things and in fact be all mixed up. The condition of the financial men of the country is such now that all these rumors will have a very bad effect.

THE PRESIDENT. I would like to make an arrangement, but I don't think it is possible. I don't think that I ought even to suggest it to you, because there are persons who think I am endeavoring to suppress the news. Tonight's conference will have certain results. I cannot anticipate what they may be. I have got to have time to formulate those results in a proper public statement. When you have finished a conference at 12 o'clock at night it is not the time to sit down and endeavor to prepare a statement on those difficult subjects we have to meet. I propose to make a statement tomorrow. I don't want you to announce now or any other time I am going to do so. I am wondering whether or not I could make an arrangement with you that you will forebear any of this incidental comment that may come out of this conference. It is impossible to have a group of men who don't, some of them, wish to convey impressions, and as you say, it mixes the situation very badly and makes it very difficult for me. I don't put that up to you otherwise than as a thought of mine: that it would be helpful in this very difficult situation if you were prepared to just leave this generally alone and forebear any attempt to pry into what may take place tonight and allow me until tomorrow, that I may have at least a few hours to formulate the conference into a program.

Q. Of course, Mr. President, I don't have a morning paper. But no individual newspaper can do that. You cannot effect an agreement among newspapermen on that.

THE PRESIDENT. That is why I started off with the premise that such a thing was impossible. I am giving you my feeling and what I think would be in the interest of the American people. I leave it to you and ask for no promises. I don't even put it up as a matter you should abide by. You are absolutely free to do whatever you please.

Q. Mr. President, harking back to your words as to the purpose of the conference--is it largely with respect to the domestic situation or international as well ?

THE PRESIDENT. Largely domestic. It has bearings and roots from abroad. So that is all I am able to say to you at the present time.

Note: President Hoover's two hundred and twelfth news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, October 6, 1931.

On the same day, the White House issued a text of the President's statement about the conference on economic problems with certain Members of Congress (see Item 342).

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/207809

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