Press Conference, May 1, 1925

Date: May 1, 1925

Location: Washington, DC

(Original document available here)

Here is an inquiry about Ambassador Sheffield and the situation in Mexico. I had a letter from the Ambassador last week I should say, saying that (no I don’t know that it would do any harm to give this out, I suppose it is public) that Yale University was going to confer a degree on him. I think there is no impropriety in announcing that. It has been decided. He is going to be present to take it. And of course he wants to come up to have that degree conferred on him. And that when he was up here of course he would like to come to Washington and talk with the State Department and myself. I didn’t get from his letter that there were any unfavorable developments in the Mexican situation, but rather that conditions were very promising there. There are always problems in Mexico, but I judge from the tone of his letter that he thought things were working along exceedingly well, so far as American interests are concerned.

The reports that come to me about Secretary Weeks are all very encouraging. I understand that he is sitting up and that they expect him to be out in a short time. It takes some little while for him to get his strength back after a serious illness, but he is making all the progress that can be hoped for.

I can’t give anything that is very certain about my summer plans. I have no objection to having any of them published that are determined on, and I don’t object to any speculations that you want to make on it. I shall have to be in Washington until the latter part of June. There is a Budget meeting on the 22nd of June, semi-annual meeting, so that I can’t get away until after that, and when that is over, so far as I can see now, I am liable to go most any time. I think you would be safe in advising your offices that they had better provide quarters for you up there in New England soon after that time. Now, I am not certain of course when I can go, as I say, but you ought to file a notice with your office that they should make some kind of reservations up there.

Question: Mr. President, what is the best hotel in Plymouth?

Answer: The best I know of is the Coolidge House.


Question: Mr. President, do you think – is it your intention to go up on the Mayflower?
Answer: I don’t think so.

I don’t think any one has been decided on for appointment to the New Jersey judgeship. There is quite a list of names that have been proposed. Senator Edge I believe is to call on me tomorrow, and that is one of the matters I am determined to take up with him. It is mostly due to his absence that I haven’t been able to decide on any one. I want to advise with him before making a final decision.

I haven’t any very definite information about issuing passports to married women in their maiden name. I should judge that would be determined by the statutes, though it may be just a matter of practice. I suppose every person has some regular name. Up in Massachusetts I don’t think it would be possible to summon a married woman into court under her maiden name, though it is possible to refer to any one as John Doe or Richard Roe, even if you don’t know their name, and the service is made on that person. They come into court and you amend your writ after you find out what their correct name is. I suppose the name that goes into a passport is for the purpose of identifying that person. The natural thing to do would be to put in the legal name of the person. Now this is all speculation. It is rather idle to speculate about a statute. If it is covered by statute, why of course the thing to do is to issue the passport according to the terms of the statute. If it is a matter of practice, why that can be varied. It might cause confusion to foreign countries, to those who are charged with being vised with notice, so that they could not identify a person if the name given was the maiden name when the person is really a married woman. I don’t know just why the Department has refused to issue passports to women in their maiden name, but I suppose because it has been the universal rule of the Department.

Question: Mr. President, Mr. Kellogg says it is up to the President. The regulations provide that the President can change it if he wishes to.

Answer: Well, it hasn’t been brought to my attention officially. If it is, I will examine it with the State Department. I am sure the desire is to accommodate the person, keeping always in mind that it should be such a document as will enable those who are to be vised by notice of the passport that this is the person described in the passport. I don’t know whether I ought to consult with the husbands of the married women about the rule or not.

I haven’t had a chance to give any mature deliberation to the suggestion of Chairman O’Connor of the Shipping Board for the payment by the U.S. Government of part of the wages of the seamen of the Merchant Marine. I should judge that if that policy were to be adopted it would have to be adopted almost entirely on the theory that these are not merely merchant marine reserves, but that they are naval reserves. Now, if the Navy Department should say that something of this kind would be a benefit to the country, in the nature of national defense, I can see that there would be quite a strong reason for adopting a suggestion of this kind. But if it is merely a matter of trying to help the shipping business, why then of course you have got to consider whether you want to help that any more than you want to help some other business; whether you want to pay part of the wages of the men that are employed in shipping any more than you would want to pay part of the wages of men that are employed on farms, in the mines, or in factories. I think if this policy were to be adopted, it would have to rest on the benefit that the national defense would secure from it. As to whether that would be necessary or desirable, I should want to talk with the Navy Department.

There isn’t anything I can give out about diplomatic appointments to Finland, Siam or Albania. There are some men under consideration. As you know, even after deciding, and I haven’t decided on any one for these places, we have to inquire if that person will be agreeable to the country to which he is to be accredited, and we always prefer to make that inquiry before the name is published, because if something should happen that the person wasn’t agreeable, why then the proposed person would be embarrassed by having it published that he was to have an appointment and didn’t get it, and that the country to which it was proposed to send him didn’t want him. So we wait to finish those inquiries before we make appointments public.

I haven’t determined on any person to succeed Solicitor General Beck.

Governor Brewster came in and invited me to go to the Governors Conference at Poland Springs. I should like to go to that, I became quite interested in Governors Conferences when I was Governor. I used to go to some of them when I was Lieutenant Governor. I told Governor Brewster I couldn’t give him very much encouragement about it. I have several things to do about that time. Whether I could get up to Maine or not is quite problematical.

Now that Congress isn’t in session I am rather aware of the paucity of news, though of course there are a lot of small things that are always developing in relation to our Government, and many times they have larger import and interest. I want to be helpful in any way I can to guide the press in their efforts for news items. My own thought about the situation at the present time is that I would like it if the country could think as little as possible about the Government and give their time and attention more undividedly about the conduct of the private business of our country. If that is a thought that you can develop in any way, I think it would be helpful. There are going to be a few months here when the Congress won’t be in session, and when, so far as I can tell, there won’t be any very large governmental matters projected by the Executive, and it is with that in view that the country may be relieved from having to look to Washington every day or two to see what is going to be done and given an opportunity to feel that things are as settled as they can be and the uncertainties removed as much as they can be, and that there is a foundation on which they can make commitments for the carrying on of their business without being in jeopardy of change of law or something of that kind that might change conditions in such a way that their investments would become uncertain.

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

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

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