Date: March 11, 1931
Location: New York, NY
(Original document available here)
We are besought by Europeans to define our attitude toward any blockade by the League of Nations against one of its recalcitrant members. As our rights of trade are already substantially defined by the usages of international law, the request is virtually that we signify that foreign powers be given the privilege to abrogate and violate our rights. It is difficult to see why such authority should be granted even if our government had the power.
In so far as a blockade is an act of war, we could only participate in it through a declaration of the Congress. To observe a blockade amounts to about the same thing and undoubtedly would be considered unfriendly, if not hostile. We remember that whenever we have placed an embargo on arms, the country affected has usually been able to purchase a supply in Europe.
It would be more practical to await the event. Our position can then be ascertained. It will be on the side of peace and fair dealing. We already restrict the sale of arms. Having made the treaty outlawing war, we would not look with complacency on another nation proposing to violate it.
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 Greg Harkenrider who prepared this document for digital publication.