Calvin Coolidge Says, June 9, 1931

Date: June 9, 1931

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

An incomprehensible suggestion constantly appearing is that our taxpayers should pay the nations of Europe billions of dollars for disarming. This is presumably by a cancellation of their debts. It is difficult to connect cancellation and disarmament.

In the first place, Europe agreed with Germany in the Versailles Treaty to disarm. That was part of the consideration for German disarming. To say the agreement was only to initiate disarmament is close to a quibble over words. The whole spirit of the, treaty is reduced armaments. There is no provision that we should pay for it.

In the next place, the only logical reason why one nation should make any payment to another in relation to armaments is when they are to be increased by the receiving nation for the benefit of the paying nation. Our people believe in the principle of disarmament as a method of peace and relief from the burdens of expense armaments impose. We have disarmed on land and surrendered our place on the sea. We wanted less naval strength than others demanded. The suggestion that we should pay foreign nations for doing them the favor of helping them reduce their armament costs is hard to understand.

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 David Diao who prepared this document for digital publication.

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