An Outgoing President’s Message

(Columnist’s note: The following quotes were excerpted from a private letter written by the former president to a Republican Senator during the transition after the November election. Since released for public viewing, the excerpts reveal the thoughts of the president at the time.)

“Today we are on the verge of financial panic and chaos. Fear (of) the policies of the new administration has gripped the country.”

“(There is) hoarding of currency. Banks are suspending (operations). Prices have fallen.

Hundreds of millions of orders placed before the election have been cancelled.”

“Men … are unable or are refusing to pay their debts. Unemployment is increasing.

(There is) flight of capital from the United States to foreign countries. Men have abandoned all sense of new enterprise and are … in defense against disaster.”

“Every development has stirred the fear and apprehension of the people. (They) are alarmed at possible new … policies. Fear dominates the national situation … not lack of resources, currency or credit. (There have been) runs on … banks, failures of many of them.”

“Proposals for reduction of expenditures have been ignored by the Democratic House of Representatives. Democrat leaders and the President-elect … reject the balancing of the budget.”

“There have been proposed in the Congress by Democratic leaders … projects involving federal expenditure of tremendous dimensions which would obviously lie beyond the capacity of the federal government to borrow without tremendous depreciation in government securities … (and) bills to assume Federal responsibility for billions of mortgages.”

“The President-elect has done nothing publicly to disavow … these proposals. (There is) fear that … balancing the budget (will) not be successful. People are seeking to protect themselves individually but with national damage.”

“In the interest of every man, woman and child, the President-elect has … been urged by the saner leaders of his own party … by myself and by Democratic bankers and economists whom he has called on for advice, (to announce) that the budget will be balanced … that new projects will be so restricted that government bond issues will not in any way endanger stability of government finances.”

“I have … refrained from criticism … but have instead been giving repeated assurances to the country of our desire to cooperate and help the new administration.”

“What is needed … is the immediate and emphatic restoration of confidence in the future. The resources of the country are incalculable, the available credit is ample but lenders will not lend and men will not borrow unless they have confidence … The courage and enterprise of the people still exist and only await release from fears and apprehension.”

(Written by Republican President Herbert Hoover to Senator Simeon Fess, Feb. 21, 1933)


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