Press Conference, August 9, 1927

Date: August 9, 1927

Location: Rapid City, SD

Here are a couple of questions somewhat introspective relative to the effect of the environment about here being somewhat the same as the location and surroundings in which I was brought up. I find them quite natural to myself. I would say that they are conducive to peace and serenity. And I think that is a condition that contributes to the power of making important decisions. While I realise that these questions are more in the nature of an essay than of news, I am very glad to give my offhand opinion about them.

No final decision has been reached about a successor to Ambassador Sheffield or to General Wood. Mr. Sheffield is still our Ambassador to Mexico, though he wants to retire. He hasn’t retired yet.

I have talked over the present state of the Navy with the Secretary, quite naturally, as he is here, more for the purpose of bringing my information up to date than anything else. We haven’t developed any change in the naval policy that has recently been pursued.

I don’t know of any appeal that has been received recently relative to the Sacco Vanzetti case. I get communications relative to it from time to time from people who through their misinformation suppose it has something to do with the U. S. Government. Of course it is a matter entirely within the hands of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, over which the U. S. Government exercises no jurisdiction at all.

No decision, has been made about another Ambassador to Cuba.

I would say in relation to the naval program of the United States what I said the other day, that it will go on the same has it has been going before the Geneva Conference. Our country had in process a moderate building program as outlined in my several messages to the Congress. I assume that that will be carried out.

Question: won’t the failure of the conference make necessary some increases in that program?

President: I hardly think so. Of course the program we have had heretofore was a program based on present conditions. We have had some hope that we might get an agreement among the nations interested for further limitations, but until that agreement was secured of course it was realized that we would go on as though it did not exist. We haven’t been able to secure it yet. We may possibly be able to secure it some time in the future. But in the meantime we will go on with our ordinary building program and what we thought was necessary for the maintenance of the defense of the United States.
I haven’t talked with the Secretary about any expansion of our aircraft program. We have, as you know, a five-year program that was adopted as the result of the investigation that I had made in the Fall of 1925. That will be carried out, I assume, and there will be a considerable expansion of our aircraft over what it was before that date.

Governor Campbell is serving — former Governor Campbell is serving the U. S. Government as Commissioner General of the Seville Exposition, so that I shouldn’t regard him as available at the present time for any other appointment.

Question: The Exposition is in Seville, isn’t it? Spain? Presidents Yes. The Seville Exposition, pronounced —.

I don’t think the death of General Wood will make any difference about the administration of the insular affairs.

I didn’t intend to indicate the other day that I had reached any settled conclusion as to where the Insular Bureau ought to be placed, if it is taken out of the War Dept. I suggested that my offhand thought was that the Department of the Interior would seem to be the natural department for it to go to. I haven’t felt, though, that there was much disposition on the part of Congress to make a change. General Wood suggested when he was here the setting up of an entirely new department in which all those things would be gathered. I haven’t liked the idea of establishing a new department. As the conference knows, I have “been rather more interested in the consolidation of departments already established than of establishing any new ones. Congress has set up and I have signed some bills for new commissions and so on, as there didn’t seem to be any other way to do. I have done it regretfully and with the hope that it would be temporary. But after a Commission is established you find that it always wants to enlarge itself, employ more people, is very busy with Senators and Congressmen to impress upon them the great value of the services of the commission, and even when I talk with people that I appoint to commissions and tell them that I would like to have them go on to the various hoards with the idea that they may “be abolished they say they ought to be abolished, but when they have taken their position they very soon seem to change their mind.

I don’t recall any other trips that I have now, except the one to Rushmore tomorrow and the one to the Pine Ridge Indian Agency. I doubt very much if I shall go up the Spearfish Canyon. That is a very interesting canyon I know, but not particularly different in its formation than the Rapid River Canyon. I don’t know just what route I shall take on the Rushmore trip. Col. Starling and Mr. Gideon have gone out again this morning to try to locate the best possible route. It may be that the road is so bad from Keystone up to Rushmore that it will be impossible to go up there. It was impossible to get through there even with horses a few days ago, there had been a cloudburst in the road, though it may be that it has been fixed up. I think it is quite probable that we shall stop at Keystone and have the exercises there. But that hasn’t yet been decided. I am expecting to remain there but a very short time. I don’t think the exercises will take a great while. I have a short address, more appropriately referred to as a few remarks which I am going to make. Then I think some one is going to say something particularly about Washington, another person about Jefferson, another one about Lincoln, and another one about Roosevelt!

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

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of James George who prepared this document for digital publication.

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