Date: April 20, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
Summary: President Coolidge addresses a common criticism of foreign investment.
(Original document available here)
Whenever any questions arise as to our relations with countries south of the Rio Grande some one always brings forward the charge that our business enterprises in those regions are engaged in exploiting the native population. The inference intended is one of criticism of our commercial activities as entirely selfish on our part and degrading to the people who come in contact with them.
This charge has no general application. Our business men have often gone into regions that had made little progress for hundreds of years. They have given employment at fair wages, built roads, schools, hospitals and churches, opened mines, turned the jungle into productivity and made the country sanitary. Our presence, our capital, our skill has given the inhabitants their main chance to rise in the scale of civilization. Our people have made large investments in the government loans of these countries, which have not been repaid. We have done much more for the people with whom we have come in contact than they have done for us. Up to the present time a strict balancing of accounts would probably show that we are the ones who have been exploited.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Madison Thornton who prepared this document for digital publication.