Press Conference, January 15, 1929

Date: January 15, 1929

Location: Washington, D.C.

(Original document available here)

I know that there is some legislation pending relative to increases in pay, said to correct injustices and inequalities that have resulted under the last pay increase. One way to correct it is, I suppose, to reduce the people that have had too much. I don’t know that any one is suggesting that that should be done. The usual course is to work in the other direction and increase those that think they have not received enough. If there are any real injustices and inequalities that ought to be adjusted, I should give that very careful consideration. I am somewhat doubtful about the existence of anything that bordered on injustice, and of course I am not in favor of any large increases in pay. Everybody had their pay increased last year. I started out by finally agreeing to $14,000,000, then they came back and wanted $18,000,000, then they boosted it up to $22,000,000 or $23,000,000. I didn’t feel like vetoing the bill. If the committees had taken the advice that was given them by people that were qualified to give advice they wouldn’t have found they had legislated in a way to give any one an opportunity to think there was injustice. They didn’t do that. I have noticed in the press that I was reported as being in favor of this legislation. I don’t know of anything I have said that indicated I was favorable to it or unfavorable. I am not in favor of any sweeping increases in salaries, because we have recently granted very large increases in pay, much larger than I wanted to grant, but if there are some trifling matters that ought to be adjusted I should probably take the opinion of the Congress on that.

There is further legislation pending, I think, to increase the amount that is to be paid on retirement. A bill has just been passed for that purpose which went as far as I thought we ought to go. We might very well let that act go into operation and find out from experience how it worked. I felt it was sufficiently liberal in its provisions. I don’t know of any reason for legislating on that subject. Of course, what I say in relation to both these bills is in a tentative nature, simply expressing the opinion that I have, with the understanding that when the legislation comes to me I will take it up and try and decide it on its merits. Concerning the retirement bill, I feel rather more certain than I do about the pay bill. I am certain a retirement bill isn’t needed at this time.

I don’t think there is anything further that I could say relative to the question of German reparations. I tried to indicate what the situation was at the last conference, so that the press might comment on it with an understanding of what I thought the real situation was. The Americans are to be appointed by the foreign countries, but I do not know whom they are going to appoint. When they make their appointments, I suppose they will be the ones that will make the announcement. And I have no information as to when the appointments are to be made. I have seen several names suggested, but I have no information concerning them other than what has been in the press. And I have no information as to the future course of Mr. Gilbert. He is the Agent of the Reparations Commission, not the Agent of the United States or its Government in any way. If he was to be indicating any expectation of what course he might pursue, of course he would indicate it to the people under whom he is serving, and not to us.

I think it is likely that the Senate will reach a vote on the treaty very so on. It is an especially important subject. In fact, I don’t know of anything that has come before the Senate while I have been President that is of greater importance than this treaty. It would do more than anything else of which I know to stabilize and give expression to the peace sentiment of the world and greatly increase the probability of permanent peace. It would be a very complete answer on our part to the criticism that our country is sometimes under, especially to any suggestion that we had any motives of aggression toward any other country. I think the Senate understands the situation very well and that they want to ratify the treaty and are especially desirous of avoiding any action on the part of the Senate that could be interpreted either here or abroad as varying the terms of the treaty by making any amendments or reservations in relation to it. And with that situation before the Senate and before the country, I feel quite certain that the Senate will act favorably on it.

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

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

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