When Presidential Secretary Steve Early told newshawks one morning last week that the President's afternoon conference would be worth attending, Trans-radio Press promptly picked up the information and an announcer of the District of Columbia's Mutual station WOL broadcast it over Washington.
Thus well warned nearly 150 newspapermen trooped into Franklin Roosevelt's office at four o'clock. After a few words about the death of Consul General Marriner (see p. 14), he expressed his regrets to the correspondents. All the news he had for them was a little proclamation he had just signed: "Whereas public interests require that the Congress of the United States should be convened in extra session at twelve o'clock, noon, on the fifteenth day of November, 1937. . . ."
Half-a-dozen correspondents dashed from, the room to flash their offices the long-awaited news. To those who remained the President explained that his reasons for this extra session would be expounded by radio within six hours.
Tenth Fireside, After dinner that evening, Franklin Roosevelt seated himself before a microphone in-the White House oval Diplomatic Room (which has no fireplace) for the tenth "fireside chat" of his Administration, to tell the U. S. what he expected of the New Deal's second extra session of Congress.*
At Franklin Roosevelt's normal broadcasting pace, last week's fireside chat would have taken 35 minutes to deliver. Actually, spoken with fewer persuasive pauses and in a more matter-of-fact tone than usual, it took just over 27. He had used previous fireside chats to put new lines of thought and action before the nation. Last week, however, the keynote of his broadcast was a multiple line of political defense.
Apropos of the extra session he defended himself from charges of dictatorship: "Those who do not like Democracy want to keep legislators at home." He defended his recent trip to Seattle from accusations of being politically motivated: "Any one charged with proposing or judging national policies should have first-hand knowledge of the nation as a whole." He defended himselfon the obliquefrom imputations that he desires a third term: "[A President] . . . must think not only of this year but of future years when some one else will be President." He defended CCC and WPA for flood-control projects they have constructed; an irrigation project in Idaho for providing good land for farmers from the dust strip 1,000 miles away;
Grand Coulee Dam because almost half the cost had been spent for materials which came from the eastern third of the U. S.
But most of all, he defended his extra session of Congress because it would avoid a lengthy session next year "extending through the summer," because the people of the U. S. have been checked in their efforts to make "prosperity stable." Among these efforts he listed:
Crop Control "We intend this winter to find a way to prevent four-and-a-half-cent cotton, nine-cent corn and thirty-cent wheatwith all the disaster these prices mean for all of usfrom ever coming back again. To do that, the farmers themselves want to cooperate to build an all-weather farm program so that in the long run prices will be more stable."