Press Conference, December 11, 1928

Date: December 11, 1928

Location: Washington, DC

(Original document available here)

I haven’t made any further plans about the Christmas holidays, so I don’t know what may develop in relation to that. Every time I go into the South anywhere I am received so hospitably that I am always tempted to go again. As you know, I have also had a similar experience in going into the West, though the West isn’t a place to tempt one so much in cold weather. It is possible that I may make some short southern trip for the holidays. The only plan I have about going to Mountain Lake, Florida, is to go there and make a short address dedicating a bird sanctuary and the chimes and return. I have had some suggestions about stopping at Savannah and some other places in Georgia. That is under contemplation, but I haven’t made any plan about it. It will depend something on the pressure of business and the Congress.

Would that trip be at the Christmas holiday season?

President: No, that is the first of February. I think the plan is to have the dedication on February 2nd. Is it Feb. 2nd, Mr. Sanders?

Mr. Sanders: It was the 1st, I think, Mr. President. Feb. 1st.

President: Yes, Feb. 1st.

Question: What are the chimes you speak of?

President: It is a singing tower. The European name with the English pronunciation is carillon. They are to be about the finest set of chime bells that are in the United States. Some of you may recall visiting a tower of that kind that had been donated by Mr. Barron at the time I was up in Massachusetts.

Question: Is anybody donating these chimes?

President: Yes, Mr. Bok. Mr. Edward Bok.

Mr. Bok is giving the bird sanctuary as a tract of land at this place. He is dedicating it as a bird sanctuary and putting up these bells to interest the birds in music.

I don’t suppose that my son will be here over the holidays. He is busily engaged, as I understand it, working for the railroad.

Question: When you said you might be tempted to go South, is that definite at all?

President: No, I have had invitations to go along down the coast, North and South Carolina, and down off the Georgia coast, but nothing definite has been decided.

I took up with General Lord this morning, Governor Towner, Senator Bingham and Rep. Kiess of Pennsylvania the matter of relief for Porto Rico , which I had recommended in my message, and a bill has been prepared which has my general approval. I am not familiar with the details of it. So far as I know about it, I approve the principle of it. And I have also signed to go up today a supplementary estimate for tax refunds, which is about $55,000,000 more than the Treasury had figured their tax refunds would be, so that if that is taken up at this time the $37,000,000 of surplus that I had expected would be in existence on the 1st of July or the last day of June would be exhausted. That is a reason for very careful consideration by the Congress in making additions that will call for expenditures before the 1st day of next July.

There are some suggestions being made that the incoming President might not find enough money in appropriations with which to carry on the work of the Government. Of course, if that should develop, he could apply to the Congress that comes in a year from now, which would leave him the six months of the appropriations now to be made to increase them. It doesn’t occur to me that the incoming President is going to be worried about not having enough money to spend, so much as there is danger that he will be worried about the prospect of a deficit. If it should transpire that there hasn’t been enough money appropriated and there are funds with which to meet a larger appropriation, why supplementary appropriations could be put in the budget and when the Congress reconvenes in regular session next December, or if there should be a special session, it could be taken up then. But if Congress should appropriate more money than the Treasury has funds with which to meet the appropriations, he would be faced with a deficit, which would be very difficult to take care of.

I have been very much interested to see the comment that arose in relation to a little good will piece that I prepared for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in recognition of their 50th anniversary. It has been quite extensively reprinted by the press and considerably commented on. There has been some suggestion that it had reference to a summer White House. That is not quite the emphasis that I intended to put on what I was saying. I think a President would like to go away in the summer for a considerable period of time and visit some part of the country that he wasn’t familiar with, and stay there long enough to absorb something of its atmosphere. Of course, I have been to New England some, but I went up there simply for recreation, not because I expected to learn much. I have been in the West because I expected to learn of things out there and it has been very helpful to me. What I had in mind was a place where a President could spend a week end. It so happened that I was brought up at an elevation of 1400 ft. and so I notice perhaps more than others might staying here at sea level. I would like a place where I could go in two or not more than three hours, an automobile ride, and stay overnight if I wanted to, leave Saturday after lunch as I do to go on the Mayflower, or Friday, and get back here Monday morning in time to perform the usual office duties. So, while a place of that kind would probably be designated as a summer White House it really isn’t that. It would be a place that the President might use all the year round. It would be a place in the hills somewhere that would be a little cooler and give a little elevation. There is a place that is owned by the Agricultural Department not so very far away where they undertook to establish a post for weather observations. It has a very good house on it and is well provided with out buildings.

Question: That is in Virginia isn’t it?

President: Yes, I think it is about 85 miles away.

Question: In Bluemont?

President: Yes. I have never been there, but I know about the place. It is for sale because it didn’t work out as it was expected. It has a good elevation and might be a place that could be considered.

Question: Have you received any letters suggesting places, and so on?

President: No, I don’t think so.

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

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

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