Date: April 29, 1927
Location: Washington, D.C.
I do not see any method by which resort can be had to the Federal Treasury for funds for relief work in the Mississippi Valley. I think that ought to be made quite plain. There has been some suggestion that such might be done. Of course, if that impression becomes held in the country it won’t be possible for the Red Cross to do anything in raising money. They would get very little response from the public, if it was thought that the public treasury could be used. The Red Cross are making very great progress. It is quite evident that the $5,000,000 will not be sufficient for the immediate necessity of the relief needed, so that I am urging an increase in the amount to be raised. I do not expect, of course, to call any special session of the Congress. It would take quite a long time to get Congress assembled and quite a long time to get an appropriation bill through. First there would have to be a bill authorizing the appropriation and then a bill for the appropriation, and it doesn’t seem to be expedient. The Federal Government is making large expenditures of supplies, running into some millions of dollars, through the War Department, the Navy Department, in the use of the resources of the Treasury Department, the Coast Guard, the health authorities of the Treasury Department, and the surgeons of the War and Navy Departments. Of course, the Engineering Corps of the Army is provided with funds for working on the levees up and down the river. I might say in relation to funds, that when the bill failed on account of the congestion of business in the final sessions of the Congress, sometimes referred to as a filibuster, the bill which provided the Department of Agriculture with funds for the purchase of seeds and fertilizer and so on to be used in the Northwest and in the South failed with it, and the Department has been obliged to tell the people in those regions that it had no funds at its disposal for use for that kind of work.
Question: Wasn’t there a direct advance from the Treasury in the case of the San Francisco fire?
President: I don’t know whether that was the case or not.
I haven’t any information relative to recent immigration rulings that have been made in relation to residents of Canada crossing and recrossing into this country. I knew that the Department of Labor was working on that question. I think their main desire was to prevent our immigration laws from being circumvented by persons of alien birth coming to Canada and getting naturalized and then obtaining the right to come into our country to work. It is quite obvious that if that is done to any great extent it would circumvent the present laws, so they have tried to make rulings, as I understand it, and adopt regulations that would prevent that. I think the rules relative to persons born in Canada, who want to come over here, are different from those relative to persons who have been born under some other jurisdiction.
Of course, legislation is almost always under contemplation relative to the prevention of floods in the Mississippi River. There are three elements always to that question. One is flood control, the other is power development, and the other is navigation, all of which makes a complication that is not very easy to solve.
I think all the information that I have relative to the peace negotiations that are going on in Nicaragua has already been published in the press. Whatever comes up from there is given out by the State Department, relative to those negotiations. I couldn’t tell what would be the result of the negotiations, if they are successful. I should expect that the result would be that we could withdraw a large part of the marines that are already there. It would depend on what we were expected to do there after the negotiations are carried out. If we had to maintain a force of marines there for a dozen years , I presume that it may be necessary to keep a small legation guard there for some time in the future .
I don’t know of any changes in the situation in China, other than what have also been given to the press by the State Department and the Navy Department. The country is in a rather rapidly changing situation. There were reports this morning of some military operations by Chang Kai Check against some of those that have formerly been associated with him under his command. I assume it was the more radical followers that had been associated with the Cantonese movement, in which Chang Kai Check had defeated some of the troops that were attached to the radical movement and driven them back. Nothing further i developed in relation to judgeships.
Question: Are you fixing any amount for the additional call for flood sufferers?
President: No. I am glad you spoke about that. I am awaiting the return of Mr. Hoover, which I expect will be in a day or two. I haven’t heard from him since he left for the Mississippi Valley. But some member of the Cabinet this morning thought he was going to return in a day or two. I am not sure who that was. The suggestion may not be authentic. He has with him some of the head men of the Red Cross and when they return we will take up the matter of what additional funds ought to be asked for. But I should be very much pleased to have the press make the general announcement that the President desires the collection of additional funds, as it is apparent that the present amount which has been asked for, I think $5,000,000, will not be adequate.
Question: Then you are not going to make another call?
President: I am not certain about that. That may be considered necessary, but on that I should want to take the judgment of the officials of the Red Cross headquarters.
The motion picture theaters throughout the United States and Canada have very generously responded to the proclamation that I issued in behalf of the American Red Cross and to their response I have suggested that Saturday the 7th day of May the motion pictures give benefit performances, the proceeds of which will be contributed to this Red Cross relief work. I think that is understood. I make the proclamation, and they wanted to know what they could do to help, and I suggested that on the 7th of May they give benefit performances and give the proceeds to the Red Cross.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Vincent Scanlan who prepared this document for digital publication.