Date: April 15, 1927
Location: Washington, D.C.
(Original document available here)
There haven’t been any developments relative to the appointment of a judge in the Northern California District. John P. Frey
There isn’t any division of the Cabinet over the policy that is being pursued in China. I don’t think that would be possible in my Cabinet. The way I transact the Cabinet business is to leave to the head of each Department the conduct of his own business, while, of course, matters are taken up in the Cabinet and everybody is asked to give their opinion, yet I have never considered that it was for one member of the Cabinet to have any very great weight in trying to indicate to another member of the Cabinet how the latter member should conduct the affairs of his own Department. What I am telling you is a general principle. It hasn’t any application at all to this matter in hand, because there isn’t any division in the Cabinet. All members of the Cabinet have agreed that what the Secretary of State is doing ought to be done. Of course, it is done under the general direction of the President and with his approval. I noticed in a headline recently the statement that Mr. Hoover disapproved of what the Secretary was doing, thinking that identic notes ought not to be resorted to. It is my recollection that Mr. Hoover was the warmest advocate in the Cabinet of identic notes, pointing out what is evidently the condition, that if each of the countries concerned – and it was the common concern of all – went ahead on its own initiative it would fail very much in the influence it would have if they all adopted their identic policy, which is of course the policy.
There is another matter of general concern, and that is this – that when our relations with a foreign country are in the condition that our relations with some of the Chinese are in at the present time, it is in danger of being quite harmful if the press resorts to speculation about the attitude of this Government. It probably would be very comforting to any opposition that this Government might have in China, and I don’t think there is very much there, but what opposition there is there would be comforted if they were told that the officials of this Government were in violent disagreement about what ought to be done. So that while I know that the press oftentimes has to speculate some and draw deductions of positions when our foreign relations are concerned, over a matter that is somewhat delicate there is grave danger that anything of that kind may do considerable harm and ought to be resorted to only on occasions when the press is pretty certain that it is going to be right. In this case it has no foundation whatever.
While I am on that, I might state again that Mr. Kellogg isn’t going to resign. If he does resign, Mr. Hoover will not be appointed Secretary of State.
I haven’t made any final decision about reviewing the fleet in June. I would like to go down on the Virginia coast when the fleet is down there.
There isn’t anything new in relation to farm relief. Senator McNary came in to see me before he went away and in a general discussion of the question told me that he was making some new studies, giving especial thought to the bills that have been introduced into Congress to see if with them as a foundation he could work out something that would be helpful, and I told him of course that I should be very glad to have him make a study of that kind and that the various Departments would be very glad to cooperate with him. There is also another body working on the farm problem that I mentioned the other day, headed by Mr. Nagel, ex-Secretary of Commerce. Some of them were in town Tuesday, I think. Secretary Nagel was not here. He expected to be here but didn’t come. I don’t know whether they have been in conference with Senator McNary. They were in conference with the Secretary of Agriculture. I haven’t any idea about any of the details that Senator McNary may be working on. The only matter that was mentioned was to take the various plans that had been proposed in the large number of farm relief bills and see whether any of them would furnish a foundation for some legislation that would appear to be helpful.
I think the general attitude in Porto Rico towards this country is very friendly. That is in accordance with the reports that come from there. There is the usual political disagreement, as I understand it, about things in Porto Rico that would correspond to political disagreement concerning policies in our own country. But l think the general feeling towards this country – and by the way they would like to be classed as America and Americans, I do not wish to differentiate between this part of the country and their part of the Country or as that being a possession or territory that is not just as much American as this. As I was saying, I think the feeling is very friendly there.
I haven’t given any recent consideration to the matter of a local election of Governor in Porto Rico. Under Secretary Weeks we did work out some kind of a bill, but it wasn’t apparently acceptable to the interested parties in Porto Rico and so the matter was dropped. I rather think that for the present there isn’t much that could be done in relation to a change of policy in that direction. I think it might be better in the first instance to try and appoint some one that lives in Porto Rico to be Governor. I am not certain that conditions are quite ready yet for that step. I think that would be a good way to begin.
The reply of Eugene Chen representing the Cantonese organization to the note that was sent relative to the injuries that Americans suffered at Nanking has been received. I haven’t had a chance to study it yet or to compare it with notes that may have been delivered to other countries. We should want to do both of those things before making any final comment about it. I think I suggested the other day that I had every expectation that a reply would be made within a reasonable time and that expectation has been borne out by the event.
I understand that a labor expert will be attached to the American delegation that goesto the Geneva Conference, that is the Economic Conference. I think this name that is given here, John P. Frey, is the name of the person that is under consideration and who, I understand, is to he appointed. That is a matter that is being attended to by the Department of Labor. It is my recollection that that is the name that was given in a communication that was sent to me by the Secretary of Labor.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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