Press Conference, June 28, 1927

Date: June 28, 1927

Location: Rapid City, SD

(Original document available here)

I am not certain whether any suggestion has come into the office relative to an investigation of the corn products schedules of the customs tariff. Something of that kind may have come in. If it did, it would be referred in the usual course of business to the Tariff Commission.

I don’t know of any change in the policy that has been recently pursued toward the Philippine Islands as a result of the visit of General Wood. The General met with an uncomfortable and somewhat painful accident on his way over, an injury to his ribs, but not anything serious. I was very glad to see that his general health was so good and very much encouraged with the report that he gave me in relation to conditions in the Islands. The general result is I think that there has been an acceptance on the part of the Filipinos of the present policy toward the Islands, and I think that change has resulted in the feeling of stability. I have all the time advised the Philippine people to show their capacity for self-government by a careful administration of the fundamental law of the Islands, which is the Jones law, the organic law we call it, and apparently they are wholeheartedly undertaking to pursue that policy. I think General Wood pointed out to you that some 99% of the administration of the Islands is in the hands of the Filipinos. They hold almost all of the offices and carry on almost all the government. They are in that happy condition of having virtually self-government without the responsibility for protection and national defense and so on that usually has to be shouldered by people who have self-government.

I don’t know of any change in the policy that has been recently pursued I don’t know which one of my cabinet officers may be the first to come here. Secretary Hoover told me that he was expecting to go West some time in the near future to California, and I suggested that either going out or on his return, I think Mrs. Hoover will accompany him, that I would be pleased to have him here. I don’t know of anything now that is likely to bring Postmaster General Hew here.

Question: Secretary Davis is in St. Paul this week. I was wondering if he was coming over?

President: I haven’t any information about that. Do you know what time or what day he is to be there?

Questioner: Wednesday, I think.

President: Which Davis?

Questioner: Labor.

President: I would like very much to have him come and visit me here. Of course, while he is on a trip to St. Paul, I don’t know whether he has time to come or not. I wish you would keep that in mind Mr. Sanders and drop him a wire that I would be glad to have him come here if his arrangements are such that he can do so without inconvenience to the public business.

To return to the Philippines for a moment. General Wood and I discussed very briefly the establishment of some central bureau that would have charge of all our insular possessions. That is not exactly a new thought. It was included in the reorganization bill which the Congress never got around to act on. There they were placed under the Secretary of State. I recall that Secretary Hughes said he wasn’t anxious to undertake the administration of insular possessions, but of course if it seemed best to put it in his department he would undertake that service, I have never given the matter a great deal of study. As far as I had thought of it at all, it had seemed to me that the Department of the Interior, which is the department that has always had charge of our territorial and disconnected possessions like Alaska might be the logical place to put the administration of our insular possessions, the only difference being there that those territories that have been in the Department of Interior have been a part of the United States in a little more intimate and a different way than our insular possessions are, because it is always understood that those territories that were under the Department of Interior would very soon come into statehood, which they all have now, with the exception of Alaska. Of course the Department of the Interior still has the administration of the great tracts of public lands belonging to the United States, and it is also the department that looks after our Indian affairs. The Indian Bureau is in the Department of the Interior, I don’t want to be understood as making any criticism whatever of the policy of having the administration of the insular affairs in the Army and the Navy. That grew up naturally. They came to us as the result of the war with Spain, were taken over by military activities, and at first had a military government. It was quite natural that someone in the Army or Navy should be appointed as the Civil Governor when the civil government was established, and in that way the administration grew into the Army and Navy and has remained there, and that administration has been, of course, exceedingly successful. Of course, the fact remains that our Army and Navy are established for the purpose of national defense and not for the purpose of administering insular possessions. Some time that will be changed and the insular possessions will he put under a civil bureau.

Question: Do you expect to make a recommendation to that effect in your next annual message?

President: I hardly know about that now. I think I have made a recommendation that was virtually that in some of my messages.

Question: In your comment to the Congress with Carmi Thompson’s report, didn’t you say that?

President: That is what I think, though I submitted the report of Colonel Thompson for the information of the Congress. It came, as you will recall after my annual message to the Congress had been sent in, and it is my recollection that when I submitted the report of Colonel Thompson I said it was submitted for the information of the Congress and that in its general terms it was very much in harmony with what I had said in my message.

I don’t see any reason now why Secretary Kellogg or Secretary Wilbur will find it necessary to come here and discuss developments at Geneva. Something of that kind might occur, but I don’t see anything of that nature at the present time. I am advised that Lieutenants Maitland and Hackenburger of the Army Air Service have started from San Francisco this morning to fly to Hawaii. Lieutenant (Commander) Sogers, was not that his name? Yes. As I had occasion to say in the little word of welcome that I gave to Colonel Lindbergh, made a flight long enough to have taken him to Hawaii, but because he happened to get off his course at the latter end of the flight he did not strike the land at Hawaii but landed in the ocean. It is my recollection that he landed to the north. His direction was given him by radio, and he took it to mean that he was south of the directing ship, and so turned further north, which took him of his course. He stayed in the air long enough and far enough, but because he was of his course didn’t strike the Island, so that from that previous experience I should judge that there is very good reason to expect that these Army officers will be able to reach their objective.

I have two or three inquiries about the Geneva Conference. As I indicated before, I don’t wish to discuss that here, the reason being that at these informal conferences the result might be a misapprehension especially abroad in the press as to what I might say. The place to get definite and specific and certain information about our attitude on questions which are before the Geneva Conference is from our representatives at Geneva. If, parenthetically, I may say that the time comes that I may say anything that might help out the representatives of the press here in their dispatches, of course I will be glad to do that.

I have appointed a Register of the Treasury — that has been given out.

I rather thought when I extended the half holidays to include June, July and August, that the better policy was to have more half holidays rather than fewer whole holidays. It seems to me that if there are to be full Saturday holidays during the summer that they should be provided by law of Congress. There is constant request coming to the Executive Office s and the different departments for holidays, and while we try to be liberal about it, especially in cases of emergency like the death of sane man who is important, or such an occasion as we bad when Colonel Lindbergh returned, I think the matter of holidays is a question that ought to “be settled by the Congress rather than to be left to the discretion of the Executive. I have forgotten what the expense of a half holiday is to the Departments in Washington, but it runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars. While it makes no difference to those who are on time work, those who are on piece work – and we have quite a considerable number of them – if they are laid off for a half day of course they lose their compensation.

I hope you are all enjoying this climate and the surroundings here as much as I am. There are a great many things to write about here in the Black Hills, and I am going to make this suggestion to you for what it may be worth. We shall be here for some weeks, and I think you will find that at the end of your stay here that your work will be more satisfactory if you take up some particular thing and write a very good story about it, and at a later time pass on to something else, rather than try to include almost everything in one story.

Question: You said you didn’t want to discuss informally the Geneva situation . Do you think you might be able to say something formal which we might be able to use?

President: Well, that is a possibility, but it would be mostly of a negative character if I did anything of that kind, because I don’t want to have arise here a confusion of counsel and have reports in the foreign press that the President has said this, that, and the other thing, which might be construed to be opposed to the stand our delegates have taken, because I have every confidence in them and they have full and explicit instructions, and while I have said that I will be glad at any time to help out the press here, I do want the publicity that is to be given out to be given out by our delegates there and then there won’t be any confusion about it.

Question: Is it fair to assume that they might get new instructions that they didn’t have before they left as regards Japan, or perhaps Great Britain?

President: I don’t know about that. I don’t want to make any comment about that . Anything that the delegates, our delegates, ask instructions about, instructions will be given.

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

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

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