Press Conference, July 20, 1926

Date: July 20, 1926

Location: White Pine Camp – Paul Smiths, New York

(Original document available here)

Secretary Davis and I discussed only incidentally the question of munition depots. He said that there was a location in Utah that would he available, but the expense of moving our munitions out there would be pretty heavy. I think he said that none of the munitions that belong to the War Dept. have been exploded. What he did say which was of most importance was that careful studies were being made to make the locations of munitions as safe as possible.

I am not just certain when I shall go to Plymouth. I had rather expected that I might go last week some time, but I wasn’t able to get away. I haven’t any definite plan about it. What would the members of the conference prefer, to go by automobile or by train?

Press: Train.

President: Seems to be unanimous. Well, I think I can arrange to take you over there by train, if that would suit you better. I will do what I can in that direction. I suppose I will have to set down a time when I have made up my mind to go and then stick to it. Otherwise there is something coming up all the time that seems to make it desirable for me to be here. I got word that the Secretary of War was coming up, and now the Secretary of State is coming up here later in the season. He is going to speak at Plattsburg at the celebration there of the MacDonald victories on Lake Champlain.

The resignation of Commissioner Fenning is in the hands of the Attorney General. It was received just about the time we were leaving Washington. He has some small matters that we wish to have him clear up before he relinquishes the office. That will take but a few days and then he is to retire. I suppose that he would have given in his resignation any way, but I did send a request to him that he should retire.

Press: Was that request since you have been up here?

President: Why no, I said I got the resignation just as I was leaving. The request was made just before I came away.

There isn’t any particular significance in the visit of Senator Fess. He told me while I was in Washington that he was to be in the Adirondacks this summer. He has some friends up here. I think he makes it a practice to come up here every summer. They are located within 30 or 35 miles. I understood he was to be at Tupper Lake, but he is at Loon Lake. Perhaps he was going to Tupper Lake later, and I told him of course that if he was here I hoped very much ae would have a chance to come and stay a day or two with me.

I am not expecting to speak at Plattsburg at the unveiling of the MacDonald monument. As I indicated before, the Secretary of State will be there. I understand there will be some representatives of the Canadian Government there, which makes it especially appropriate for the Secretary of State to be present.

Press: Do you think you will go over, Mr. President?

President. No.

I haven’t any information about what Chairman Parker or other members of the House Commerce Committee are contemplating in relation to coal legislation for a conference with the coal operators and coal miners during the vacation. I knew that Representative Parker had prepared a bill, or that his Committee had, I coal legislation, which they were proposing to take up immediately on the convening of Congress. There didn’t seem to be time to take it up at the last session. I think I have said enough to make that plain. I didn’t know anything about a plan for trying to make an adjustment between the operators and miners, other than what I have seen in the press. I think I indicated at a conference that was held long ago that perhaps the railroad legislation which was passed at the last session might furnish a foundation principle for legislation and adjust in the coal industry. There are two or three things that I wanted as coal legislation. The first was the opportunity to call in a temporary Board to adjust differences whenever an emergency might arise, and the second was an opportunity have a coal administration whenever a scarcity was threatened. Those are the principal things.

There isn’t any comment that I can make on the fall of the French Cabinet. It is hardly appropriate to comment on a matter of that kind.

I hope that I may have a chance to go to the training camp at Plattsburgh some time during the summer. That is about 50 miles away and I judge we could go over in the morning and return in the afternoon.

If I go by train to Plymouth I shall go to Ludlow, and I think the members of the press would find accommodations at Ludlow or at Tyson, which is about 6 or 7 miles from Plymouth. It i s in the town of Plymouth, but that is post office name, 5 miles toward Plymouth from Ludlow. There Is a very good hotel there that was opened long ago but has been closed quite a good deal and reopened last summer. I went down there to lunch with Secretary Mellon and Senator Smoot when they came to Plymouth to confer with me relative to the Belgian Debt settlement, so that I know that it is a very comfortable place. And there is also at Woodstock a very good Inn that some of you are already acquainted with.

I haven’t had any report from the Secretary of Agriculture relative to his work in putting into operation the bill that was passed at the last session relative to cooperative marketing.

And I haven’t any information other than that which has appeared in the press about bank failures in southern states. That seemed to be due to some local conditions there. It i s my understanding that those were mostly state banks and not national banks.

I also expect to visit the Saranac Veterans Bureau Hospital for tubercular patients while I am here.

The Adirondacks climate is very much like that with which I am acquainted over in Vermont. I noticed that a number of the old-timers over here came from Vermont. Paul Smith came from Milton. A man named Plumbley, a very famous Adirondack figure for a good many years, came from Suesbury, next to Plymouth. Suesbury is even more like the Adirondacks region than Plymouth is. The fishing is better here than it is in Vermont.

I have an inquiry about the appropriations. If anyone is interested to analyze the increased appropriations for the present year you will find that there is a very complete study of that in the remarks of Martin B. Madden, as you know, the Chairman of the Appropriations on the part of the House. It is in the Congressional Record for Monday, July 12, 1926, beginning on Page 13,006. Of course our Post Office Department is a growing Department. We mean to keep it practically self-sustaining. Sometimes there is a deficit. There has been all the time since I have been President. Wages have been greatly increased in the Post Office Department since 1914, increased about 50%. Those that were getting $1400 at that time are now getting $2100, and the general average of increases in the postal service is very close to 50%. That accounts for a very large part of the increase in the appropriations for 1926 and 1927, that is the budget that has just passed. The Government expenditures are $273,000,000 greater. There is $100,000,000 of that which is accountable for on account of the adjusted compensation, or the bonus law. The first year that it went into effect it was estimated that the expenditure would not be known and that an appropriation I believe of $50,000,000 would take care of it , so that for this year we made up that deficiency with $100,000,000 I think put in the regular appropriation for the bonus bill. As I recall, it was $125,000,000. I won’t be sure about that. I know it is $100,000,000 extra we had that we put in. So that the Veterans Bureau has $173,000,000 more in the present budget than it had in the last budget. Than there was a great deal of money that came due on the matter of roads. We had been making appropriations that took care of the current needs, but last year there were very large bills that came in, so that the appropriation for this year is $26,000,000 greater. Than we have adopted the public buildings bill. Haven’t had a public buildings bill for 12 years, and that accounts for $14,000,000 more. Prohibition costs are $13,000,000 more. Rivers and Harbors carries $10,000,000 more. That is for special work that is being done in the Mississippi Valley, notably from Kansas City, or rather from St. Louis to Kansas City going up the river, or from Kansas City to St. Louis down. If you are reporting for the Kansas City papers it would be Kansas City first, if you are reporting for St. Louis papers St. Louis first. Than there were some refunds, $5,000,000 of refunds on cigars taxes and automobiles. We have increased pensions for Civil and Spanish War veterans $5,000,000. The Arlington Bridge $2,250,000. Then we have begun construction of military posts to replace the temporary housing erected during the war. That doesn’t come out of tax money really, but of course it does appear as an appropriation item. That is $2,250,000. We passed a law that as that military land was sold off the proceeds might be taken to make better housing facilities for our military posts. And the Sesquicentennial is $2,000,000. Judgments against the Government in the Court of Claims and other judgments are nearly $9,000,000. The total increase outside of the Post Office, of which these are the principal items, is $273,000,000. I think these items that I have given you figure up to about $260,000,000. But there are some other small items of one kind or another and you can refer to this little table here in the Congressional Record to give you a very complete explanation of it if you wish to. Now, some of those of course are permanent. The public buildings program runs for five years. The Veterans Bureau bill for the next year won’t be nearly as big. The cost for the Post Office next year I should expect would not be as large public buildings will be larger next year because we expect to appropriate about $25,000,000 a year, but we found that $14,000,000 was all that we could expend advantageously this year. It takes so long to make plans and lay out the work. It is difficult to make any estimate about pensions. The Civil War veterans are dropping away very fast. That item which now runs about $2,000,000 will naturally decrease. Of course the country is a growing country. It keeps expanding all the time and there is tremendous pressure on the Federal Government to take on new activities which the Congress resists as well as it can and which I resist as well as I can. As we pay off the national debt of course the expenses are going to be reduced for interest, but I think the plan is that as interest charges are reduced more money will go into the sinking fund. That isn’t spoken of here, but it is my recollection that there is $30,000,000 more in the sinking fund for the present year than last year. That means we are using that to pay off the public debt.

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

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

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