Date: July 29, 1927
Location: Rapid City, SD
I think the press has all the information that has come to me relative to the Naval Conference at Geneva. The proposals that have been made by the representatives of Great Britain seem to us to call for the building of a much larger navy than we think is necessary, so that we haven’t been able to agree. Now, whether those proposals may be modified as the result of conference and discussion, I don’t know. The proposals that have been presented, as I understand them, call for the building of a larger navy than we should wish to agree to. I think that is the main obstacle. There are some other collateral questions about the tonnage of ships and the caliber of the guns, but I think the main difference is in the size of the navy. We called this conference, thinking that it might result in placing a limitation on armaments which would perhaps help the countries interested to reduce some as years went by the size of their navies which would result in making economies, and secondly, what I thought was of even more importance, the promotion of a spirit of peace and good will and better understanding. I have placed that, of course, as the main object in view. The matter of the removal of the burden of taxation and the economic benefits would be the natural consequences of peace and good will among the nations. But up to the present time the expressed desire on the part of representatives of the British Government is for so large a navy that our representatives and our Government haven’t been able to agree. As I said before, I want to emphasize that discussion may modify it to such an extent that we can agree.
Mr. Michael: Would you care to go beyond that point, in case we don’t agree?
President: Well, in case we don’t agree we are right where we are now.
Mr. Michael: Well, I mean as to what we will do with our navy in the way of building?
President: Right where we are now. We have no agreement now and will be in the same position we are in now.
Mr. Michael: I meant as to a navy program. Do you think we ought to build as to where Great Britain is?
President: Well, that is a matter to be taken up in the future and on which at the present time I would express absolutely no opinion. And when you have questions, Mr. Michael, you ought to submit them in accordance with the custom of the conference.
I don’t know whether I can get back to the White House when we return to Washington. I think it is doubtful if it will be fully completed. They have made splendid progress and I haven’t had any definite reports on it for some little time. But there is a good deal to do in cleaning up. You men may have noticed that it meant practically the wrecking of the whole inside of the White House to make the changes and improvements that have been necessary. While no building goes on below the second story, it is filled with dust and dirt and everything of that kind and it will take some time to get it ready for the use of the President after the work is all completed.
Question: Your Dupont place is still available?
President: Oh yes. That is the present headquarters in Washington.
I have already discussed the Geneva Conference.
I haven’t seen the interview that was given by Mr. Tardieu relative to our French debt, so there wouldn’t be any comment that I could make upon it.
I don’t think General Hines has any special mission. I told him as I did practically all the heads of our departments that if he was in this region during my stay here, I hoped very much to have him come to see me. He came to Custer this morning on a train due there a little after 10:00, which I believe was a little late. I don’t know how long he is going to stay. Did he give any indication, Mr. Sanders?
Mr. Sanders: He didn’t indicate just how long.
President: I will try to remind him this afternoon if he would like to see the newspaper men. I don’t ordinarily come down here Saturday, so I don’t know whether I am coming down or not. So far as I know, I don’t expect to. But I will ask him about seeing the newspaper men.
There haven’t been any developments so far as I am aware about the invitation that was presented to me by President Machado to attend the Pan American Conference which is to be held in Havana next winter. I told him I would take it under consideration and expressed the hope that I might be able to attend. Of course, it involves some question about the President going out of the country and so on, which it might be necessary to give some thought to and which, when it is investigated, may not prove to be very serious.
I didn’t bring away any gold from Mystic. There was some gold that showed up in the pan.. I thought it was shown to all the members of the press that were there. There were several of what I understand they call colors, which is considered to be a very good pan. A gentleman by the name of Sherman has just brought me in from Pactola a little phial with gold in it. He said his father came in here at a very early date. I didn’t have a chance to inquire what Sherman family he was a representative of. There was a Sherman family which settled in Water town, Mass. at the same time my family settled there. Some of them were at Swampscott with me two years ago and saw some of the Sherman headstones that were in that cemetery at Watertown when I visited there one day, Senator Sherman and General Sherman.
I doubt very much if I shall be able to attend the air races at Spokane. Of course, I should really make that stronger — that I will not be able to attend them. They do not occur until the 25th of Sept. and by that time I expect we will all be happily returned to Washington.
I doubt if I can continue horseback riding after I get back to the capital, and I don’t know what I shall do about taking the horse that was presented to me back with me. I enjoy horseback riding, but when I am in Washington it takes too much time to get my boots on and off, change my clothes, and then my horseback riding experience was all in the country about what it is around the Lodge. What we have in Washington I didn’t find very satisfactory with the necessity of crossing a road every little while and looking; out for automobiles.
I don’t know of any members of the Cabinet that are likely to come out here other than what has already been suggested.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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