Press Conference, January 26, 1926

Date: January 26, 1926

Location: Washington, D.C.

(Original document available here)

I have several questions today about the World Court and the reservations and the cloture. About all I can say about that is covered in my message, three messages. Of course the parliamentary situation of how to deal with that and how to secure a vote, I leave to Senator Curtis. The matter of reservations, I quite naturally leave to Senator Lenroot and Senator Swanson, Senator Pepper and Senator Walsh. They are looking after those details. I have indicated what reservations I thought ought to be made in my message. Now, these other gentlemen are on the floor of the Senate and know what the situation is there. I shall have to take, to a very large extent, their advice and counsel in relation to it. I should expect to take any action that the Senate might decide on and work it out the best way I could. I have indicated quite strongly, especially in the address I made at Arlington in 1924, that I didn’t want something proposed that wouldn’t be practical and within those limitations the Senate ought to make its decision as to how it will deal with the question, when it will vote on it, and what reservations it thinks necessary and desirable, and of course the language in which the reservations should be couched.

I have two or three questions about Lieut. Thompson who was convicted of murder in the Philippines. That case is before me. I haven’t made any final decision on it.

I also have several questions about Colonel Mitchell. There is nothing further I can say about that case than what was said in the decision I made relative to it. I have been in conference with the Secretary of War about it for some days. After the report of the Judge Advocate General and the Board of Review it came to him. The papers were formally sent over to me Saturday noon. I examined the record which was sent here, which was a complete abstract of the case, the evidence, the law and the decision, and made my decision in accordance with the statement that was given out yesterday.

I don’t know when a decision will be made about the Veterans Hospital near Boston. That has been under consideration by the Hospital Board and General Hines for some time. I think they have indicated once or twice locations that would be satisfactory to them, but on account of its taking considerable taxable real estate out of towns and cities where that has been proposed, there has been some opposition on the part of the local governments. I understood that conferences were being held in order to see if adjustments could be made. Now, when a decision will finally be reached, I don’t know. I know General Hines is anxious to make the decision and start in on the erection of the hospital, reflecting my attitude in that respect, as soon as possible.

I have seen some reports in the press about the alien veterans of the American Army that remained in Europe to visit their old homes and now find that on account of the quota laws they are not immediately eligible for re-entry into this country. It would be my offhand impression that the Congress ought to deal very leniently with proposals of that kind and wherever possible make provision either by putting them entirely outside the quota, or if possible make them preferred under the quota, so that those who have served our country in the war might be eligible for re-entry as soon as possible.

I haven’t any accurate information as to whether the estimate given by Chairman Green of the House Ways and Means Committee of the amount which he says the tax bill as reported to the Senate by the Senate Committee would reduce the revenue is accurate or not. If I had no other evidence, I should place a great deal of reliance on any statement of that kind that was made by Chairman Green; and I haven’t had any information from the Treasury Department as to whether his estimate differs from theirs. It may be that the estimates that have been made to me represent the immediate decrease in revenue and that his estimate is the ultimate decrease, one referring to the present fiscal year or the next fiscal year and his referring to a fiscal year some time in advance, two or three years in advance, when the entire bill would become fully and completely effective. That may be the reason for the apparent discrepancy. I have no advice from the Treasury about any further opinion as to the expediency of the repeal of the estate taxes, as proposed in the present Senate bill.

No decision has been made about Governor McCray of Indiana. As I recall it there wasn’t anything in his petition for clemency that set out that it should be granted on account of his present state of health. I understand that the suggestion is now made that if he wants to have that considered, he ought to make a petition based on that ground.

The Cabinet hasn’t considered the matter of the development of the Colorado River in the late months. I think it was discussed in the Cabinet when I was there during President Harding’s administration. I don’t recall that it has been taken up in the Cabinet at all since I have come in, though I wouldn’t be certain about it. I am sure it hasn’t been taken up recently. I have had a discussion about it with the Secretary of the Interior and also with the Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Hoover was quite instrumental as far back as 1921 or 1922 in conferring with the various interested states for the purpose of seeing if they could arrive at some agreement. All but two of the states ratified such an agreement. I think all but one ratified it at first, and then California made some changes in its ratification and Arizona has never ratified it. It is that lack of ratification that has held up the progress of the work. I think the Secretary of the Interior has made some suggestions about a possible basis for a bill that are now pending before the committee in the Senate.

There is nothing further developed about the appointment of a new member to the Shipping Board.

I told the gentlemen that came in and invited me to go to Charleston, S.C. on the 27th of March, that I could give them very little encouragement about it . I was in Charleston in 1922, I should say – well perhaps it might – yes, 1922, the 19th of December, and I enjoyed my visit there so much that I should be much pleased to make a visit there again. But the 27th of March is a time when Congress is going to be in session undoubtedly at that period, and if it is in session there will be a good deal of pressure for legislation, and I think I ought to be in Washington at that time. I have had a good many invitations to go out of town during the present session of Congress and I have had to make about that reply to all of them – that it is very difficult for me to get away. Of course, my father is ill. If I could leave town I should like to go up and see him. Even that hasn’t seemed possible.

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

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

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