Calvin Coolidge Says, July 7, 1930

Date: July 7, 1930

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

Some of our people are expressing regret because we did not appear at the London conference with the largest navy in the world. If we had done so they assume we would have been able at once to dictate to the other nations a treaty entirely to our advantage. That would have meant a recourse to the old rule of force. They must conclude that we would have secured an agreement by which we would say just what our own and other navies should be. It did not work that way at the Washington conference. We had to reduce our capital ships to a system of parity. We greatly outclassed Italy and France, but they left London without agreeing to our terms. With the world as it has been since the war we could have taken no course that would have injured us more in the estimation of humanity than by adopting a building program that could have been considered a menace to other countries.

No one can now claim that we were forcing a reluctant world to arm. Our moral power at London was far greater because we were not attempting to lead in naval strength but were attempting to lead in naval limitations.

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 Robert Manchester who prepared this document for digital publication.

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