Press Conference, February 12, 1929

Date: February 12, 1929

Location: Washington, D.C.

(Original document available here)

I haven’t made any final decision about the cruiser bill. I have been having the Bureau of the Budget investigate the amount of money that it would be necessary to appropriate under it and they think that the immediate appropriation would be about $45,000,000 to $50,000,000 to put it into operation for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 1929 and the coming fiscal year that ends June 30, 1930. For this present fiscal year the amount would be very small. The main appropriation would be required for the next fiscal year.

I had hoped, as I think I have already indicated, that it would be possible for the experts conference on reparations now sitting in Paris to agree on some member other than a citizen of the United States for their Chairman. It did not seem possible for them to do that, so that of course I indicated to Mr. Young that he and Mr. Morgan were to use their discretion about Mr. Young accepting the chairmanship. I understand he has done so. That seemed to be necessary. It wouldn’t be of any value just to permit citizens of the United States to go over there to help unless their help is to be of such a nature as would be effective. While I would have preferred to have another person than a citizen of the United States Chairman, it seemed to be best under the circumstances for Mr. Young to serve.

I haven’t any information relative to the agreement that has been reached between the Vatican and the Italian Government, other than what I have seen in the headlines of the press. I don’t understand that it is a matter that requires any action of any kind on the part of our Government.

I expect to leave Washington on the afternoon of the 4th of March and shall be headed for Northampton. I don’t know whether we can leave early enough to reach Northampton that night. As I have explained before, the very critical condition of Mrs. Goodhue makes it necessary for Mrs. Coolidge to go to her bedside.

I am having rather more trouble in getting out of the White House than I had getting in. There is a very large accumulation of things that a President acquires while he is in the White House. Most of them are of no intrinsic value, other than the fact that they have been associated with the residence of the President in the White House for some considerable time. It makes me desire to keep them. The packing of them up is good deal of an operation. I think we have already reached something like over 150 boxes.

You know Mrs. Coolidge and I are very much interested in the Clarke School. She was there for two years before she was married. I am one of the trustees and we have been assisting in an effort to raise an endowment fund of $2,000,000 for it, to which liberal subscriptions have already been made, and I think we shall be successful in reaching that amount. It occurs to me that the conference can help a little on that if it is disposed to in this way. I have recently had a bookplate made which goes into such books as I have, and there are quite a number of people that collect bookplates. I have arranged with the people that make the bookplate that they will furnish one of them to anyone who wants to make a contribution of $5.00 to the Clarke School, and such persons as have been approached on that subject, those that have written in for a bookplate, have been very generous in their response and have indicated a great satisfaction in securing a bookplate in that way.

Question: Do you know the amount that is still remaining to he raised?

President: No. We have over $1,500,000. I think the amount has now reached between $1,500,000 and $1,600,000.

Nothing further has developed relative to the District Court, District of Columbia.

I think that I shall be ready to decide the matter of the cruiser bill within a day or two.

I haven’t seen the Capper resolution relative to giving the President authority to put an embargo on the sale of arms. Such comment as I have seen on it indicates that it may go somewhat farther than I would think it was wise to go. The President already has power to embargo arms and ammunition against the western hemisphere when there are domestic disturbances within any of the nations, and against any other country where we have extra-territorial jurisdiction. We have that in China, for instance, and formerly had it in Turkey, hut I think that has been eliminated. I think that something of that nature might be helpful. It would be extended, of course, to include cases where there was not only a domestic disturbance, but where there was international conflict. There has been a bill in the Congress by which it was proposed to enact a law absolutely prohibiting in the future any export of arms and ammunition to any country or countries that were at war. There are some objections to that. The smaller nations that do not make arms and munitions would feel that that would be a handicap on them. If they were at war with some other country, they couldn’t secure arms and munitions, and the country that manufactured arms and munitions could secure them. I would look with sympathy on a proposal of that kind as far as the principle is involved, but I should want to have the details of it carefully investigated before making any specific commitments in relation to it.

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

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

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