Date: March 20, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
(Original document available here)
The voyage of President Hoover will direct public attention to the importance of our insular possessions. For the most part they came to us as the result of the Spanish War. In population they are about fourteen and one-half million people. The annual trade with them is more than five hundred and fifty millions of dollars. This is more than one-tenth of our population and more than one-twentieth of our foreign trade.
These islands all represent a great public duty that in the course of history has come to the United States to discharge. The people involved for the most part would not be able to make their own way in the world. They have had no experience in self-government except what has been brought to them under our direction. Without some help, without being attached to some country, they could neither repel foreign aggression nor maintain sufficient domestic order to insure any individual freedom. Our purpose is mainly to help them advance economically, intellectually and politically until such time as they can assume entire charge of their own affairs with safety to themselves and other nations. Our duty is plain even if it brings no thanks.
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 Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.