Gilbert F. White
As a matter of fact, as I recall, that original National Planning Board went by
the wayside because it was originally funded through the Emergency
Appropriations Act of '33. Then when that funding was gone, they had to
disband and then come up with some other. . .
They did. And they continually did this. The new National Resources Board
was set up by executive order, not by Congress.
Now, Congress must have gotten a copy of this report, though, somewhere
along the way. I mean, this report went to the President. Clearly it would
have been sent to Congress, too.
Oh, yes. It was sent to Congress.
Do you know if this report had any kind of impact on subsequent
congressional deliberations prior to the 1936 Flood Control Act? Was there
any connection between the two?
There was frequent discussion in the old Interior Building and the old
Executive Office as to what the role of the findings of the Mississippi Valley
Committee and the National Resources Board had been in shaping either
agency policy or congressional legislation. It was tantalizing for the people
who had been connected with the committee at the top because if an agency
such as the Soil Conservation Service or the Corps of Engineers or Bureau of
Reclamation found something in the Mississippi Valley Committee report or
National Resources Board report that looked sound and promising to them,
they picked it up and used it as part of their ordinary presentations to the
Congress. Thus, the planning agency got very little credit for it on the Hill
if it seemed a good idea. If it was an unpopular or troublesome idea, the
agencies could say, well that's what the National Resources Board was
proposing. And the Resources Board members had no significant influence
on the Hill beyond what the President could claim for them.
How about Abel Wolman himself? Did he have influence on the Hill?
No direct influence. The board followed a policy. When I speak of the
board I mean the National Resources Board, National Resources Planning
Board, National Resources Committee. They had a practice of making