THE PRESIDENCY: Two at a Table

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Roosevelt would give his moral, if not official, support to one of them. Would the U. S. refuse suspension on Dec. 15 as a preliminary to debt reconsideration? Did any reconsideration necessarily mean a reduction in the $22,000,000,000 the U. S. hoped to collect in half a century? Could the old War Debt Commission be revived, as President Hoover had suggested, to conduct negotiations? Would the debtors default if refused another moratorium? Would such a default set back world recovery? Would a world conference on debts and tariffs, such as Governor Roosevelt had suggested, produce a solution? Would it really be better business for the U. S. to revise War Debts downward? What about the U. S. taxpayer who would have to make up the amount of the revision? Could the debts be successfully used to bargain for better trade opportunities and arms cuts? If the U. S. insisted on full payment of political debts, would U. S. private debts abroad be imperiled? Such were some of the questions of the Hoover-Roosevelt conference. Any decision reached at the White House was worthless without the concurrence of Congress, and Congress seemed to have made up its mind firmly against any leniency toward Debtor Europe. President Hoover was informed by long-eared Senator Reed of Pennsylvania: "I've not found a single member of Congress who will vote for a suspension of debt payment. The proposal is dead." Debt revision produced a deafening Capitol chorus. Idaho's Borah: "I'm opposed." Oregon's McNary: "I'm against." Mississippi's Harrison, Tennessee's McKellar, Georgia's George (in close harmony) : "We're opposed." Wisconsin's La Follette (solo) : "I'm not for." Democratic House Leaders Rainey, Collier and Byrns: "We're against." Last week it seemed very doubtful if even the combined efforts of Messrs. Hoover and Roosevelt could move such a mountain of Congressional opposition. ¶ The 1933 deficit is mounting at the rate of $5,000 per minute. It now stands close to $700,000,000. Last week President Hoover held his first full Cabinet meeting in three months to consider economies. Members pondered the problem for two hours. Next day President Hoover called them back to the first extraordinary Cabinet session during his term, told them he was determined to turn the Government over to his successor with a balanced budget. Unless taxes were to be upped, expenditures must come far down. After the meetings the President declared that 1934 appropriations would be reduced by $700,000,000. ¶ President Hoover signed a formal request for the extradition of Samuel Insull from Greece. ¶ Received by the President as the new Ambassador from Cuba was Senor Don Oscar B. Cintas. They made little speeches to each other about the "traditional friendship" between their countries.

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