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The President's News Conference

September 06, 1929

PROPAGANDA AGAINST NAVAL REDUCTION

THE PRESIDENT. I have a note of my own here. I have been a great deal interested in the disclosures in respect to the relations of a naval expert with three important shipbuilding companies, as disclosed in a suit filed in the New York State Supreme Court. That suit calls for payment for services which are described in the complaint, and acknowledges receipt of $50,000 in payment. That particular propagandist in the past few years organized very zealous support for increased armament and has been a very severe critic of all efforts of our Government to secure international agreement for the reduction of naval arms, including not only the attendance at the Geneva Conference but also continued propaganda against the movement that I have launched in the last 3 months. And a considerable part of that propaganda is devoted to creation of international distrust and international hate.

Now, I can't believe that the responsible directors of those three corporations have been a party to those transactions as represented in that lawsuit, but a statement of the case by them is very much to be desired. They owe it not only to the Government, but they owe it to the public, and they owe it to their own corporations.

In the meantime, I have directed the Attorney General to determine what action he can take, for unless the case can show a very different situation from that indicated in the lawsuit, we must propose some measure that will free the American people from that type of influence.

Now, every American has a right to express his opinions and to engage in open propaganda on any subject that he sees fit, but to secretly undertake such propaganda for persons who have a definite interest--who are engaged in the undertaking of naval contracts with the American Government in an endeavor to increase armament, or alternatively, to defeat the efforts of the Government to secure international agreement [p.275] for the limitation of armament, or to employ persons for that purpose, is not a fitting thing. And I am making that statement publicly so that there will be no misapprehension of my determination that our present international negotiations shall not be interfered with by any such activities or by any such methods.?

Q. Do you make that in your own name--and we may say so.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, and we will give it to you mimeographed in a little while.

As I have no questions except one that relates to agricultural questions, which concern the Department of Agriculture, and which I cannot answer, that is all.

Note: President Hoover's forty-seventh news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 6, 1929. The White House also issued a text of the President's statement on disclosures of propagandizing against naval reduction (see Item 193).

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/207859

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