Calvin Coolidge Says, June 5, 1931

Date: June 5, 1931

Location: Northampton, Massachusetts

(Original document available here)

The proposed visit of Secretary Stimson to several countries in Europe reminds us that governments do not depend so much as formerly on the reports of diplomats but are most disposed to take up important questions by direct personal contact between those in authority. The Chancellor of Germany is about to visit the Prime Minister of England, who in turn not long ago came here to confer with President Hoover. The Prime Minister of Canada paid this country a like compliment.

No way is so effective for finding out the difficulties and opinions of the other fellow and candidly disclosing to him your own as though a personal interview. Much can be said that would never be put in a diplomatic dispatch. That basis of good understanding which the world so much needs today is deficient because those in authority do not have a first hand knowledge of the people and conditions with which they are attempting to deal.

This method is easier for Europe where the capitals are not far apart than it is for us. But our Secretary of State ought to go abroad each year to make personal acquaintances even if he has little requiring diplomatic adjustment.

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 Caleb Oh who prepared this document for digital publication.

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