Treasury Secretary Woodin says national banking holiday not to be extended

March 06 1933
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The Secretary commented that he did not expect to have to extend the national banking holiday, so sweepingly put into effect by President Roosevelt's proclamation early this morning. He thought it would end Thursday unless some unforeseen contingency arose.

The six rules were issued principally upon the necessity of keeping food movements unhampered. Mr. Woodin gave assurances that postal savings deposits would be accessible. Banks were given permission to allow customers free access to their safety deposit boxes.

Through all the rulings, however, there was a sharp prohibition against any withdrawal of gold, either for domestic or foreign use.

Many of the nation's banks were closed in all departments today, making it impossible for customers to reach stores of currency they had laid up for just such an emergency.

Mr. Woodin expected to make further rulings relative to the banking emergency later in the day. He said a system of scrip money, to be issued locally in various financial centres but controlled from Washington, would be in operation tomorrow.

Mr. Woodin said no Federal Clearing House certificates or scrip would be issued. That will be a matter for local issuance, he said, but the federal government will supervise it and provide a plan for its operation.

"Rules and regulations for different parts of the country will be drafted by the Treasury today," Mr. Woodin added.

"Under the proclamation issued by President Roosevelt, I have unlimited powers," Mr. Woodin said. "These powers are the salvation of the proclamation."

The midnight proclamation by which President Roosevelt shut off all gold and currency withdrawals in a four-day banking holiday brought other moves earlier in the day to keep open the channels of trade and prevent disruption of commercial or family life. Officials noted a distinct easing of the public's state of mind.

The Interstate Commerce Commission, anxious that there shall be no interruption in the orderly movement of food and other commodities, announced that the four-day period would be considered a legal holiday, thus postponing freight payments until termination of the moratorium.

The President's plans for dealing with the banking situation meanwhile were strengthened by a resolution of full support from the Governors of many States whom he met in conference today.

Mr. Woodin said many plans to meet the situation had been advanced.

"Various communities will handle their own mediums of exchange. It is our hope to get banks into shape to carry on checking accounts during the holiday. It is logical to assume that this is the aim of the President."

Mr. Woodin said federal supervision of Clearing House certificates and other mediums of exchange would make the issuance legal. He added that Clearing House certificates issued in 1907 were without authority and therefore illegal.

He expressed a belief that script or Clearing House certificates issued in one city would be acceptable in others.

Asked if Postal Savings accounts could be drawn on Mr. Woodin smilingly replied: --"Of course they will."

He said the Treasury would continue to cash government checks and make change.

The Secretary's conference was closed when subordinates told him he was wanted in the Federal Reserve Board rooms and also at the White House.

Democratic Senate Leader Robinson said today he believed the special session of Congress called for Thursday would adjourn immediately after passing emergency, banking legislation, which would not include a general reorganization of the banking system.

This afternoon President Roosevelt renewed his conversations on the banking situation, called in James H. Perkins, chairman of the Board of the National City Bank of New York.

"We talked over general subjects," Mr. Perkins said when he left the White House. "You may say we talked over the general financial situation. I think we will be able to work things out."

Carrying out with a far-flung sweep his promise of instant action, President Roosevelt signed the proclamation in his second floor White House study "as of 12:05 A.M., today." Actually it was signed about 11 P.M. last night.

President Roosevelt acted with startling speed. He signed the eventful proclamation after a long, busy Sunday crammed with feverish conferences. He was sitting calmly in his quiet study. With him were Secretary Woodin, Attorney General Homer Cummings and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.

Behind the plain desk littered with a few papers and telegrams, looking across under the shaded desk lamp, sat the President in a blue serge business suit. Sturdy-shouldered, smiling, calm, talking pleasantly, with an occasional humorous sally, he was a picture of ease and confidence.

As he talked he deliberately inserted a fresh cigaret into an ivory holder. There was little to suggest that this scene marked one of the milestones in this nation's history.

Mr. Roosevelt acted under power granted by the war-time "Trading with the Enemy act."

"The United States is not off the gold standard," said Mr. Woodin shortly after the proclamation.

"This is the start of the real thing. I think we're on the bottom and will not go lower. If people have confidence in the great leader in the White House, the country will get out of these difficulties quite readily."

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