Press Conference, August 22, 1924

Date: August 22, 1924

Location: Plymouth Notch, VT

(Original document available here)

Everybody in? I have several inquiries here about a conference for further limitation of armaments. I spoke of that in detail, first in the address that I gave at the Associated Press meeting in New York in April, and I spoke of it also in my address of acceptance. Now that lies in my mind this way; that when the situation in Europe is settled down so that they have the matter of their reparations out of the way and they appear to have reached a stable condition so that they are not disturbed lest they be attacked by each other, such a time would be an appropriate occasion for calling another conference for limitation of armaments. I suppose that means that there will have to be first an approach to find out whether such an invitation would be acceptable, and so on, and so forth. But I mention that as indicating my desire to call one at the earliest possible moment that it would seem to be practicable. I don’t think it would be practicable until they reach a somewhat stable condition in Europe.

I don’t know anything other than what I have seen in the paper relative to the attitude of private sources in this country toward a proposal to make a loan to Germany.

I don’t know as I can define what would be the chief issue in the foreign field. I have an inquiry here as to whether the World Court would be one of the chief issues. That is a project which I desire to see carried out. I shouldn’t think it would be so important as the results that might be obtained and which I hope shall be obtained from a conference for disarmament, though it is a very important matter. The codification of international law I regard as important. Of course, the matter of chief importance in the foreign field is the settlement of reparations, because on that hangs almost everything else.

I do not think I can make any comment on what the elder Mr. Bryan says, William Jennings Bryan. I haven’t any plans about any speech-making tour, and I haven’t any engagements of a political nature for making any speeches. I am expecting to speak at the dedication of a monument to Lafayette at Baltimore, September 6th. My address there will be short, and I am going to make a very short address to the Fraternal Congress which is meeting next week in Washington.

Can you give us the date Mr. President?

Friday forenoon, I think, at 11.00 o’clock – 10.00 or 11.00. I guess it’s 11.00 o’clock at Baltimore and 12.00 in Washington.

Can you tell us anything about this fraternal congress?

It is a meeting of fraternal organizations, probably Masons, Elks, Eagles, Grangers, etc., Representatives of all the fraternal organizations.

You don’t have any engagement of any sort for around Labor Day, Mr. President?

Nothing definite about that.

Now, I am not acquainted with the particulars of the difference between Governor Baxter of Maine and someone that I think is not in the Regular Army, but is a reserve officer. I think I might say this, however – that one of the things that I told the War Department at Washington was that this Defense Day would be a practical demonstration of the ability of men in the Regular Army to conduct themselves with such tact that they wouldn’t get into differences with the civil authorities. That is one of the things I especially cautioned them on.

I haven’t any comment to make about the remarks of Mr. La Follette.

I have already spoken of a conference on armaments.

I don’t want to say anything at the present time about debts due to us from foreign countries. You can see the reason. I think I explained that to you at the last conference. They have at the present time all they can do to settle their affairs in Europe, and I should very much regret complicating it in any way by asking them to stop settling their own affairs and begin to talk about our international debts. I am not speaking now of the debt due to us from Germany. That is all covered by the statutes, and any action that is taken would have to be taken in accordance with the statute provisions. The statute lays down the terms and has provided for the appointment of a commission, which commission is in existence.

I haven’t any detailed information as to the political situation in Maine. Such information as has come to me is of a hopeful nature.

I haven’t expected that General Dawes would come to Plymouth. When does he speak in Maine?

Tomorrow night, Mr. President.

I hadn’t expected that he would come over here. I would be glad to see him if he could come, but haven’t expected it.

Have you seen him at all?

Not since he came to Washington. He came there on the 2nd or 3rd of July when my boy took sick.

Mr. President, would you care to make any more extended comment on his speech of acceptance? He very vigorously went after La Follette and the radicals.

Well, I expressed my – I sent him my congratulations immediately after hearing it and commended his speech. Of course he said that he could only cover two questions. He couldn’t in one speech cover a great many things. Those he will undoubtedly discuss later in the campaign. But I thought he made a very excellent speech.

I do not think I shall have anything like a general reception here, but naturally I would like to have some day that the neighbors could come in and shake hands with my wife and me. They have been very considerate in giving us so much seclusion and refraining from doing anything to interfere with our quiet while we have been here. I thought that tomorrow afternoon there might be a time when we would be very glad to shake hands with any neighbors that want to drop in in an entirely informal way, perhaps from 3.00 to 5.00 or something like that.

I haven’t any plan for any speeches and I haven’t any idea whether I will be in New England again before November. I haven’t any engagement there that I now recall.

I am not certain that I can give you any exact and detailed information about the next step in the reparations. I understand that the next step is the acceptance or ratification by the German Parliament and the French Parliament. I can’t give any new idea about the way it will affect American trade or prosperity or export trade. I think there is a general agreement that it would be greatly for the benefit of American trade, as well as European trade, if they could have a definite determination of what Germany is to pay and what France and the other countries are to receive. It would undoubtedly enable France to turn her attention more vigorously to commercial affairs. It certainly would have that effect on Germany and probably on Great Britain. And anything that would stimulate production over there I should judge would be of benefit to us here, as it would result in an exchange of commodities and give us a chance to manufacture and sell to them and give them a chance to manufacture more and sell to us, which would be to our benefit as long as such goods came in on a basis that would enable our manufacturers and our laborers to maintain their present American standards, – I mean such a tariff basis to be kept in effect.

You don’t anticipate any change in the tariff do you, Mr. President?

Not anything definite at the present time, of a general nature, nothing definite.

I don’t know of any American draft that is anything more than a draft made by some private individuals relative to world disarmament. I think I have read that there has been a draft made, but that is made by private individuals. It hasn’t, so far as I know, any official sanction.

You don’t recall by who, Mr. President?

I don’t know. It may be a very good draft or a very poor one. I don’t know.

I haven’t matured any plans for participation in the remainder of the campaign, except to go on as I am going, trying to look after the Presidential office. I haven’t had any reports from Mr. Butler since I have been here.

I haven’t any definite outline about my Baltimore speech. I imagine it would touch on those things naturally suggested by General Lafayette and his participation in the American Revolution and the events which grew out of that.

I haven’t reached any conclusion about the sugar matter.

I haven’t anything that I can announce about Tokio or Mexico, the ambassadorships.

Mr. President, there has been mention of Mr. Bancroft.

I can’t give you any information about that. There is nothing matured that can be announced. As soon as anything does mature, it will be announced. But as I explained before, inquiry has to be made as to whether this person, that person, or the other, will be acceptable.

I don’t know that I can comment on the benefits that I have received from my vacation. It is naturally quite a relief to be up here for a while. While we have had as you know a remarkably comfortable summer in Washington, yet the altitude there is low and the atmosphere is very much different from what it is here. We have about a 400 ft. elevation here and we are quite a distance north of Washington. They say it is a good plan for a person to go back as often as they can into the atmosphere in which they were born and brought up. I always get refreshed by coming up here. Naturally I feel rested and revived.

I haven’t paid any particular attention as to what we were having to eat. I think there is a story isn’t there about the man that illustrated the perfect digestion. He said that as for himself he had no digestion. And I assume the cooking up here has been so good and so natural that I have eaten it without thinking about it.

Have you weighed, Mr. President?

No, I haven’t.

Nothing has come to my attention about an American representative to the Irish Free State. I think I explained that we have been inquired of as to whether we would welcome someone, I have forgotten the name, and we replied that he would be very agreeable to us. He seemed to be a very able man and we would be pleased to have him come. I do not think we have taken any action here about sending anyone over there.

I don’t know anything about receiving the members of the Michigan Grange. I think I have heard of some of them coming here. I will be glad to do anything I can for them.

No negotiations have been opened in relation to an arms conference for the reasons that I have given you. The Europeans are very busy trying to settle their own affairs, and I don’t want to complicate that with other things. We couldn’t have a conference that would be likely to reach any practical solution until their affairs are settled.

I haven’t thought about my annual message. I have an inquiry here. I suppose I shall see that about twice a week now – about what I shall put in my annual message. You can generally expect that I am advocating today the same things I have yesterday, unless you have an official announcement from me that I have changed it. I keep seeing in the papers that I have changed my position about something or other, which is all new to me. When people come to me about certain bills I refer them to messages to Congress and statements I have made. Sometimes they go out and seem to indicate that I have changed my mind. Of course there is a continuity of action where something is started today, and which would require supplementary action tomorrow.

That Congress I spoke about is designated here as the World’s Fraternal Congress.

I haven’t had any recommendations given to me up here about that Committee that I am going to appoint to look into the agricultural situation. I have asked some members of the Cabinet and others to think the matter over and make some suggestions to me.

I noted the report that the American flyers have reached Greenland. That was the longest leg of the journey, and that would seem to indicate that there is every expectation that the -round-the-world flight will be a success. It is one of the great achievements of air aviation. I suppose it is really the greatest one that the world has ever accomplished.

I haven’t any definite plan yet for Labor Day.

I think that covers the day’s questions.

Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents 

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of John Sullivan III who prepared this document for digital publication.

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