Herbert Hoover - Typed Letter Signed 11/11/1959
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Herbert Hoover - Typed Letter Signed 11/11/1959:
PRESIDENT HERBERT HOOVER - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 11/11/1959 HERBERT HOOVER
Hoover denies allegation of insulting FDR on the last day of Hoover's Presidency after the incident was printed in James Roosevelt's book.
Transition of the Presidency: Historically Important Typed Letter Signed: "H.H.", 2p, 7¼x10½. The Waldorf Astoria Towers, New York, 1959 November 11. To Lawrence Richey, Washington, D.C. Hoover's former White House Secretary. HOOVER WAS PRESIDENT FROM MARCH 4, 1929-MARCH 3, 1933. HE RECALLS AN INCIDENT WITH PRESIDENT-ELECT FDR ON HIS LAST DAY AS PRESIDENT. In full: "I have your copies of The White House appointment sheets showing Mr. Roosevelt's formal call at The White House on March 3, 1933, and that he was accompanied by James Roosevelt. I think it is desirable that I should record my recollections of this visit. I had received through Secretary of the Treasury Ogden L. Mills, a request given to him by some one of Mr. Roosevelt's staff that he (Mills) and Eugene Meyer, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should be present at the meeting and Mr. Mills had arranged it. Roosevelt spoke to Secretary Mills and to Chairman Meyer, and Mills told me afterwards that Roosevelt had asked him to remain for a time to aid the new Secretary of the Treasury, and Meyer confirmed to me that Mr. Roosevelt wished him to remain as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. In the background of this meeting were two subjects. One, a widespread panic of bank depositors had started as the result of the rumors that Mr. Roosevelt was going to devalue the dollar and statements by some of his supporters to that effect. These rumors and statements had been made a fact by Senator Carter Glass's refusal to accept the Secretaryship of the Treasury and his public announcement that he had refused because Mr. Roosevelt's intention to devalue the dollar. The other background was that we had requested Mr. Roosevelt to approve my issuing an Executive Order, which we had prepared, controlling panicky withdrawals by bank depositors and flight from the dollar through foreign exchange. This authority was an unrepealed act of World War I and there was doubt by Attorney General William D. Mitchell that it should be used unless Mr. Roosevelt approved, as he could have it confirmed by his overwhelming majority in the incoming Congress. We had urged this action previous to the March 3rd meeting, but Mr. Roosevelt refused. At this meeting on March 3rd, Mills, Meyer and I urged Mr. Roosevelt to issue such an Executive Order after his inauguration the next day. Roosevelt did issue an Executive Order under this authority a day or two later, but closed all the banks - which was totally unnecessary if he had instead used this authority solely to control panicky action by depositors and speculators in exchange. That there was no acrimony in any conversations at this meeting is evidenced by the ending of the discussions. Mr. Roosevelt asked my opinion as to the McNary-Haugen bill to assure farm prices which was then before the Congress. I advised him that it would not work. (He never used it.) All this stuff about my making insulting remarks to Mr. Roosevelt is hardly likely in view of the above actual conversations. I have some recollection that Mr. Roosevelt spoke of his difficulties in getting about (due to the paralysis of his legs), and I sought to good-humoredly assure him that on his becoming President he would be in full control of visits of all kinds. You were not far from me at this time, and if you had heard any such insults as James Roosevelt represents, you would probably have remembered them. Of course I will follow my usual policy of not engaging in misrepresentation or smearing, or of answering misrepresentations and smears." Hoover closed this letter "Affectionately, H.H." as the book written by James Roosevelt was titled Affectionately, F.D.R. In this excerpt from Affectionately, F.D.R. by James Roosevelt and Sidney Shalett (Harcourt, Brace & Company, New York: 1959), James Roosevelt details how he remembers the meeting with Hoover: "On March 3, 1933, the day before he was to take office as President of the United States, Father asked me to accompany Mother and him to the White House for their pre-inaugural protocol call on President and Mrs. Hoover...It would be putting it mildly to state that Mr. Hoover was not happy with Father. It was obvious that he had taken his defeat as even more of a personal humiliation than it should have been...The call was made at tea time, and we were to be received in the Green Room on the first floor of the
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