Chapter 13: The 1930s
The Fed during the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations
Governor Eugene Meyer, Jr.
In 1930, Herbert Hoover appointed to the Federal Reserve Board an old friend from World War I days, Eugene Meyer, Jr., who had a long record of public service dating from 1915, when he went into partnership with Bernard Baruch in the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mining Company. Meyer had been a Special Advisor to the War Industries Board on Non-Ferrous Metals (gold, silver, etc.); Special Assistant to the Secretary of War on aircraft production; in 1917 he was appointed to the National Committee on War Savings, and was made Chairman of the War Finance Corporation from 1918-1926. He then was appointed chairman of the Federal Farm Loan Board from 1927-29.
Hoover put him on the Federal Reserve Board in 1930, and Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Reconstruction Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 1946. Meyer must have been a man of exceptional ability to hold so many important posts. However, there were some Senators who did not believe he should hold any Government office, because of his family background as an international gold dealer and his mysterious operations in billions of dollars of Government securities in the First World War. Consequently, the Senate held Hearings to determine whether Meyer ought to be on the Federal Reserve Board.
At these Hearings, Representative Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, said:
Eugene Meyer, Jr. has had his own crowd with him in the government since he started in 1917. His War Finance Corporation personnel took over the Federal Farm Loan System, and almost immediately afterwards, the Kansas City Join Stock Land Bank and the Ohio Joint Stock Land Bank failed.