Herbert Hoover to TE Wilson


Herbert Hoover to TE Wilson


Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964




1917 December 1


Herbert Hoover assures TE Wilson that he understands his demands and will see that the Administration wishes to see their work succeed.


Hoover-Wilson Correspondence, Hoover Institution, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, California


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


United States Food Administration
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964--Correspondence




Dear Mr. Wilson:

I understand that the proposals of yourself and Messrs. Armour, Morris, Swift, and Cudahy, are that the rule of 9% maximum profits is unjust to the packers; that a limitation on profits will undermine borrowing power, and that it is destructive to the best interest of the country because it will be impossible for the packers to finance necessary extensions of plant out of this profit and that capital is not available during the war for such expansions at this rate of earnings; and that the result will be a failure of the five large firms to meet the continued expansions of service demanded by growth of population and world demands. I also understand that you wish it made clear to me that failure on the part of the packers to meet such needed expansion will rest upon myself, if I adhere to this ruling.

I am glad, as always, to have frank presentation of these complex questions. I understand that pre-war profits averaged somewhat less than 9%, and I understand that the bulk of the plants have been built out of the profits. As I stated today, the proposition of increasing earnings when the country is at war is, I feel, distasteful to us all as a toll from the country’s losses. I also feel that a request to increase charges to the public in order to provide equipment for private enterprise is one that raises serious issues of public policy which are beyond my sphere to determine but that must necessarily raise serious public opposition.

I have every desire to meet an emergency situation with every sense of justice, and I therefore repeat my proposal that if the packers have carried out to the fullest extent such necessary improvements in the food plant from profits as hitherto and if expansion beyond this is deemed by the government to be necessary and if the packers are absolutely unable to find from their own resources or to make capital issues therefor, then the Administration will endeavour to secure it, or alternatively adjust profits by some measure to meet the situation.

I indeed appreciate the spirit of the great packing firms in their desire to co-operate with the Administration in this very difficult situation and the expressed willingness to work to their fullest abilities under the regulations imposed by the Administration and Mr. Cotton’s general direction representing me.

Yours faithfully,
[Herbert Hoover]

Original Format



Wilson, Thomas E., 1868-1958




Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964, “Herbert Hoover to TE Wilson,” 1917 December 1, WWP19283, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.