Press Conference, June 15, 1926

Date: June 15, 1926

Location: Washington, D.C.

(Original document available here)

There haven’t been any developments in the Fenning case so far as my office is concerned. As I indicated the other day the Department of Justice is keeping watch of the case and I wanted to make it clear that that was not with the idea of prejudging the case, but with the idea of having some body advise me as to its developments for the purpose of not doing an injustice to Mr. Fenning and also for the purpose of protecting the public interests.

The Attorney General, as you may know, was called home yesterday. I received this telegram this morning from him that his son-in-law died a little past eleven o’clock last night and that the funeral is Thursday at two o’clock. His son-in-law was a Lieutenant and the disease from which he died, which was an affection of the heart, was a result of his service in France.

QUESTION: What is his name?

THE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Ralph Pearson. (Correct name is SAMUEL).

QUESTION: Where will the funeral be held?


QUESTION: Did you know the Lieutenant?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I only knew him slightly. I saw him several times when I had been at Plymouth, especially last year when I was up there. I had occasion to go down to Ludlow for something or other and I went to the Attorney General’s house and I saw more of him at that time than at any other time. You know I have been away from Vermont ever since 1895, and this man was quite a little younger than I, though I think he was a distant relative of mine on my mother’s side.

I haven’t had any information from the Treasury as a result of Mr. Winston’s visit to Europe relative to the probable action there on the French Debt. I think Mr. Winston was in Paris only a very short time, and I do not think he took up with any of the French authorities any matter relative to the settlement of the debt or any other question in which this Government is interested. He went from Paris, as I understood it, to Italy and spent most of his time there. He did not go over on any official business connected in any way with our foreign relations but went over on a short vacation.

I haven’t any very specific information about the purpose of the visit of President Bomo of Haiti to this country. I assumed it was a visit on his part because he wanted to come up here and see this country. You know the officials of the South American Republics, Central America, Cuba, Mexico and the Islands very frequently come to this country more for the purpose of travel and general information than because they have at the time of their coming here any specific and definite errand. Of course, Haiti is under the present arrangement quite closely connected with our Government. We keep General Russell down there, and, I think, we have a fiscal agent. This question is directed at the probability of his having come here to secure a loan from the Morgan bankers. I don’t know of any such purpose that he has in mind, though it may be he has. If he has, no such information has come to me. I understood from such casual conversation as I had with him at the White House and at the Haitian Embassy, when Mrs. Coolidge and I returned the call of the President and Madame Borno, that his country was in a very creditable financial condition, so I doubt if his presence here is that he is seeking a loan.

I think you could get very much more definite and specific information from Representative Bacon as to his bill for a separate administration of the Moro Provinces in the Philippines. Representative Bacon was out there last year and went there for the purpose of informing himself on the situation, and has introduced this bill. I think he introduced one other bill relative to the Philippines, though I am not certain about that other bill. It is a matter of general knowledge that the inhabitants of the Moro Provinces are somewhat different people from the Filipinos that live in the larger islands around Manila. The name “Moro” has an interesting significance. It is the Spanish word, I am told, for “Moor”. The Moors in North Africa went over into Spain and held a part of the Spanish country for a great many years. They were in their religion Mohammedans, so that in the early years when Spain was doing a great deal of exploration they went around finally to the Philippines and went to these Provinces and found there that these people were also attached to the Mohammedan religion. So they gave them the same name as the people with whom they had come before that in contact with in Spain, that is, the Moros. That is the reason they have held that name until the present time. I shall have to take the advice of Governor General Wood, through the War Department, before taking a final position on the proposal to have a separate administration, but I do know that there is friction, and I think everybody knows that there is friction between the Moro Provinces and the other Filipino people. May be some of that could be eliminated by action at this time.

Here is an inquiry as to whether I would care to discuss the military training in schools and colleges. I suppose every one knows that I am in favor of what I would feel to be adequate preparedness for national defense—the Army and Navy maintained on about the standard that they are maintained now. From time to time there are going to be developments that will cause some changes in the plans for national defense. A notable example of that kind would be the development of aviation, and I have been i n favor of strengthening that arm of national defense. I am in favor of young men having some military training. I have had my son go two years to the military citizens’ training camp at Ayer, Massachusetts, and I realized when he went there that he was in a position where he could go. A great many other young men are not in a position to go to such a camp, and the ultimate cost does not contemplate having all of our young men go to military camps. I would want to differentiate very carefully between the physical and mental value that comes from military training. I thought in the case of my own son that it was quite beneficial. He came back from camp last year, I felt, very greatly benefitted by reason of his training. I would want to differentiate between that and any attempt in this country to cultivate a war-like sentiment and an over-mastering military spirit. Those things are quite different and should be kept distinctly in mind, I think, in any discussion of what training we should have in schools and colleges. I would not want to go so far as to say that all the boys, certainly not all the girls, that go to school and college ought to have a military training; and I should want to limit them to the advantage they might get from the physical side, which is closely identified with mental help, – of knowing just exactly what it is that you want to do in the way of training the body to respond to the direction of the mind. That is a very important branch of education. Now, I should be opposed to undertake to stimulate in this country anything like a war-like spirit or an over-mastering military sentiment. Whatever action I take in the way of national defense is for the purpose of maintaining the peace and tranquility of this portion of the world, and not at all for the purpose of that military and war-like spirit that might result in a desire to attack any of the other nations. I think if those two quite different objects will be kept in mind, there will not be very great difficulty in solving the question as to whether military training should be adopted in schools and colleges. I should say that some of the young men could do that kind of work and some could not. I hark back somewhat to the method that was adopted in Amherst College while I was there. It was semi-military in its nature. We had compulsory physical education. That meant that each class went to the gymnasium four times a week for half or three-quarters, or an hour’s training; and it partook somewhat of a military nature. They were formed in line and taught those maneuvers of platoon formations and marching around in columns and breaking up in columns of fours and twos, and such orders as might be given for that purpose. There wasn’t anything in the way of military training so far as the use of fire-arms was concerned, but it was that integration of the mind and the muscles. We used dumb-bells, and I think the latter part of my course we had some drill in singlesticks. That is a sort of adaptation of fencing. That was very beneficial to the men in college and was very helpful to them. I have found i t helpful to me all through life in giving me a new knowledge of a necessary state of mind and action of the body in marching. It has been helpful. I think something of that kind would be helpful to all our young people. If it would be understood by military training that they were to take a course in the handling of fire-arms, or something of that kind, I do not think that would be of very great benefit. I am talking now of the boys more or less at large that are in school or a certain portion of them who at some time or other would want to interest themselves in that kind of thing. That is different.

There wasn’t anything of large public interest that took place in the Cabinet this morning with the exception of the announcement by the Secretary of Labor that a very long standing jurisdictional difference between the carpenters and the metal-workers had finally been settled. A great many times in the erection of buildings there arises the question as to whether certain parts of the work are to be done by the metal-workers or by the carpenters. There was no definite rule about that. Each one of those labor bodies claimed they ought to have the sole privilege of doing that kind of work, and it resulted oftentimes in strikes, tying up of construction work, and they finally made a definite and conclusive ruling about the jurisdiction of those two labor bodies over that kind of work. The significance of that, I think, is important, because it shows a growing tendency on the part of organized labor to adjust their differences in such a way that they will not approve of any method that results in strikes, the loss of wages, the loss of investment on capital, and the delaying of construction work. It is perhaps more important in that it shows the spirit that is more and more animating the ranks of organized labor than it is of this particular quality, and that is a spirit that has been quite prevalent in recent years of getting together, not only between different unions that claim jurisdiction over different kinds of work, but of getting together between employers and employees.

QUESTION: What part did the Department of Labor take in this matter.

THE PRESIDENT: He (the Secretary of Labor) said this had been before his Department for twenty years. They have been working on it for a long time and finally have been able to make some proposal through their conciliation and mediation that has resulted in a final settlement.

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

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

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