Date: July 28, 1925
Location: Swampscott, MA
(Original document available here)
I don’t know of any particular subject that I shall discuss with Senator Pepper. I saw him in Washington some time before I came up here and he said he would be going up on the Maine coast. Quite naturally I like to keep in touch with members of the Congress, the Senate and House, and so I told him when he went by here I wished he would try to arrange to stop and stay with us. I think he will reach here on Saturday and perhaps stay over Sunday.
There isn’t any change in the status of the proposed disarmament conference. One thing or another has developed in Europe that hasn’t made it seem quite opportune to propose it. Just at present the matter of the security agreement is pending. Of course if that can be arranged, why it will lay a very broad foundation for further disarmament. With that undecided the question of how far disarmament could be carried would not be one that they could make an accurate decision about. Now, I am quite aware that there is never going to be any perfect condition under which disarmament conferences can be called. First, I didn’t want to insert that question into an international discussion during the work that was going on on the Dawes plan when the question arose about putting the Dawes plan into operation. Then the question came up at the Geneva conference. Now it is the question of the security pact. What I have been waiting for was a time when Europe had seemed to arrive at as stable a condition as we can hope to have there, with all pending difficulties over there so that there will be a situation that would make it seem that a disarmament conference would have the largest possible promise of being successful.
I haven’t had any further information from Chairman O’Connor or any information at all about sales of ships. The question arose in the Shipping Board, as I understand it, whether they had a right to sell ships for anything other than shipping purposes, and I understood they wanted to get the opinion of the Attorney General. I have undertaken to cooperate with them toward that end. I asked them to formulate their question and that I would then submit it to the Attorney General.
The officials of the Navy League came in to talk with me about having a Navy Day this fall. I expect that will be held the latter part of October.
I haven’t any expectation of any visits of Cabinet members except in the most general way. I expected they would come here from time to time. There is no specific time now for any particular member of the Cabinet to come.
I am not familiar enough with the details of the work that the Federal Trade Commission does to go into any specifications in relation to it, but I should think there was a very broad field of useful activity in which they might engage which is set out in detail in the act establishing the Commission. They come upon that condition that is chronic in relation to commissions that are established to do something that the legislative body doesn’t know how to do. Now that is no criticism on the legislative body. There are matters of legislation and control that are of such an intricate and technical nature that legislation doesn’t appear to fit them, and there is a belief on the part of individuals and the public – I am speaking generally now – that there are evils that ought to be remedied and the established remedy is to provide a Commission to do that. It has been my understanding and experience in public life that a commission would be established and the legislature would go home thinking that that question was never going to bother them again. Well, these evils that are complained of are more or less chronic in the carrying on of business affairs and the relationship between different individuals of the community. While the commission may help to solve the problems, it isn’t able usually entirely to eliminate them. Then the legislature comes back the next year and somebody gets up on the floor and says the commission is all right but it is the personnel. He wants to abolish that commission and appoint new members, then the evils will be entirely eliminated. That is the way things of this kind work. Well now, I don’t expect that commissions are going to cure entirely all the evils of our relations, whether they be industrial or social. I think they are helpful. It isn’t always possible to get the members of the commission, when it comes to be tried out, to be one that functions perfectly. But I have a good deal of faith and confidence in the state commissions here in Massachusetts and in our Federal commissions. I think they serve a very useful purpose and are very helpful, and I think the Federal Trade Commission can perform a very helpful service. Now it may be that there are practices that ought to be changed. It may not be doing some things it ought to do. As I say, I can’t discuss the details of their work because I am not familiar with them. But I should be very much surprised if there wasn’t a very large volume of work that would appear to he profitably performed by this Commission. It isn’t very popular in the business life of the nation, but I don’t regard that as a fatal criticism of it. It is in the nature of a business policeman. While perhaps it does things it ought not to do, and refrains from doing things it ought to do, I don’t think it has reached that stage where it can be said it isn’t any good.
I am rather busy just now trying to have my portrait painted, so that I don’t know whether I can get over to the Salem Theater or not. I should like to go over there some time.
Ambassador Phillips is calling, as I suppose any of our foreign diplomats call on the President when they come to this country.
Question: Is that today, Mr. President?
Answer: He is coming, I think this morning at 11:30. He has no particular errand so far as I know, and I don’t know of any particular subject that I shall discuss with him. Of course, quite naturally I will ask him about general conditions in Europe and his observation of affairs over there.
I understood that Major General Patrick is going to he reappointed as Chief of the Army Air Service. He is a man of ability, a faithful and conscientious public servant, and I think is doing a very good work in developing the Air Service. From things that I know haven’t been, and perhaps ought not to he published, I am quite confident that our Air Service is constantly growing in efficiency and that it is at the present time at a very efficient state.
Question: Do you refer to the Army or Navy, or both, Mr. President?
Answer: I refer to the Air Service generally.
I suppose it would be appropriate to have a picture taken of the portrait that Mr. Tarbell is making of me. I should like to have it pretty well along, though, when that is done, and when that period is reached I shall let the newspaper picture men know. The inquiry is whether it can he done next Friday, and I don’t know whether it would be ready then or not.
I don’t know just what time I shall come to the Essex County Republican Club. I thought I would like to get up there about an hour before the speaking began and stay a little while and then come away. I should like to meet some of my old associates that I have known so long in the public affairs of Essex County. I don’t have any intention at present – this is the first I have heard about it – of attending an outing that is being held by the Lynn policemen at Beverly. I don’t think I shall go over there.
No formal statement has been made to me about my appointing a member to a board to arbitrate the building trades service controversy. I should think that is rather a local matter. The only information I have is that which I have seen in the press.
I haven’t any information about the establishment of a home for Navy dirigibles at San Diego. The first information I heard about it is that which is contained in this question. I don’t think the plan has been under consideration. It hasn’t been brought to my attention. Of course both the Army and Navy are constantly working on plans for more efficient national defense that never come to my attention. I wouldn’t have time to consider all those details, and I don’t know what plan may have been worked out in this respect. If a plan has been decided upon by the Navy Department, I haven’t any doubt that there are very valid reasons for it.
I haven’t specific information before me in relation to the textile industry. I think if you would look at the address that I made last April before the gathering of the Cotton Manufacturers at Washington, you would see that there are figures there that do not indicate that there is any general depression in the textiles. Now there are depressions in different localities, but I was astounded when I got the figures from the Department of Commerce, of a great increase in the amount of textiles that are turned out in this country. The increase has been perfectly tremendous. Of course during the war the textile industry, like many other industries, extended itself very greatly in order to meet war time demands, and quite naturally when the war was done those demands ceased and there is undoubtedly somewhat of a surplus of textile plants. Now, I am advised that the trouble with the textile industry in New England is two-fold. The first is the competition that comes from the making of such a large amount of coarse goods in the South and the competition that has come from the importation of such a large amount of fine goods. The textile industry here in New England has felt those two sources of competition. That is the only specific information that I have. I haven’t any specific information about the woolen industry, but I should be very much surprised if a survey of that industry wouldn’t also reveal that they are making more woolen cloth in this country than they were before the War. That is somewhat a matter of fashion. I recall now that Lieut. Governor Allen was in to talk with me just before he sailed and he said the woolen industry had been fairly good but the worsted industry had not been good, and that that was a matter of fashion. Both men and women had taken to wearing the woolens and hadn’t been for the past two years wearing so much worsteds. The fall styles this year, however, seem to be turning again to the worsteds. He thoughthat would bring the worsteds again up to their usual activities. Of course I knew something about the woolen industry here in Massachusetts before I went to Washington, and it suffered then from the general depression and the general shrinkage in values. Some of our very large woolen manufacturing concerns here in Massachusetts – one of them had to go into the hands of a receiver because of the great shrinkage in the value of wool.
That seems to cover the inquiries of the day.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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