Date: March 26, 1926
Location: Washington, D.C.
(Original document available here)
I haven’t very much information about the proposal for the settlement of the Alien Property and German War Claims, or rather the return of the Alien Property and settlement of the German War Claims. I know that the Treasury is working on some plan. I think they have substantially worked out a plan and are trying to draw a bill to put it into operation. There is quite a difference between those two things. Before I can make much of any comment on it, I should want to see what the bill involved.
It is true that the United States has undertaken to extend its good offices to Chile and Peru to settle the Tacna and Arica boundry matter or disposition of the territory in those provinces. That doesn’t mean that the proceedings will be abandoned for the plebecite. It only means that they will be suspended and an attempt made to close up the matter by negotiation, rather than by carrying out for the present the provisions of the Arbitrator. I have several questions in relation to that.
I don’t know whether Captain Andrews will take part in the Geneva Conference. I think his name has been mentioned. I understood that the Navy Department would take several men with Admirals Long and Jones. Is it Jones?
I have had several conferences in relation to the dam on the Colorado River, usually known as the Bowlder Canyon project. I think that the Interior Department has worked out a plan for legislation which would give relief especially to Southern California that is very much in need of an opportunity to secure the use of the water, and which would also provide flood control for the Colorado River. The details of the hill I think are familiar to the members of the press or can be made so, if they want to read the bill that is before the Committee, so I wont undertake any analysis of it. I consider that a very important project and very much hope that some legislation can be passed at the present session of the Congress. The plan as it is contemplated will be a bill passed now, authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate with the localities interested for the sale of the water and power, subject to the approval of those contracts by the Congress. That would provide a method of financing and meeting the payments of interest and principal on the initial outlay of capital that would be necessary to complete the works.
I hadn’t thought anything about what would be done with the farm at Plymouth. I suppose I shall keep it. That isn’t the place where my grandfather’s grandfather, Captain John Coolidge, settled when he went to Plymouth, but it is one of the five farms he owned when he died and it is my understanding that he died there. It has always been in the family, ever since. I expect it will remain in my possession. I am undertaking to provide for it to be carried on as a farm for the next year. I have already spoken of the Bowlder Canyon.
I haven’t enough information about the proposal in Virginia for a National Park in the Shenandoah region to make any helpful comment about it. It is a recognized policy of our Government to establish National Parks in suitable regions. I have been interested in the project of establishing a National Park in that region, but about the details of it I haven’t enough information to give intelligent comment.
I am not familiar with the Pepper bill providing Government aid for shipping, by that designation. This is an inquiry from Mr. Montgomery. Just what is the bill?
Montgomery: That is a bill in which the Government makes refunds on the tariffs –
President: I don’t know enough about the provisions of that bill to comment on it. I should like to have legislation relative to the Shipping Board as soon as possible.
I think I have stated several times the only position that I can take in relation to retirement legislation. I thought that it was desirable to pass some legislation in relation to retirement, but I have been waiting before wanting to pass an opinion on the present pending bill to secure from the experts and the actuaries an estimate of what the expenditures would be. It has been represented to me that that would be ready in the very near future. Then we can pass some judgment on the desirability of legislation.
I haven’t any definite recollection about what Commissioner Fenning and myself said in relation to his outside activities at the time of his appointment. It was only very general, as I recall it. The salary of the Commissioner is small – what is it, $5,000?
President: And I think something was said about that salary, and think I said that I didn’t see any reason why if a Commissioner had time that isn’t required in the discharge of his duties he couldn’t engage in some other business. I don’t know what the practice has been about that. I don’t know what the statute is. Sometimes the statute provides that when a person receives a specific appointment he shall not have any other position. I don’t know any such statute in relation to this position. My own desire in appointing Mr. Fenning was to get a very excellent man, which I thought he was, and at the same time have him make as small a personal sacrifice as would be necessary.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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