Date: May 21, 1926
Location: Washington, D.C.
Governor Sproul came in on his way to Chicago, I think, to inquire whether there was anything he could do for me when I go up to Philadelphia on the 4th or 5th of July to make an address on the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He also said that if I could at that time, they would he pleased to have me drop into the Union League Club, or the UnionLeague, I don’t know just what the right name is. I told him I doubted if I would have time to go to the Union League on that occasion. But to compromise with him I invited him to lunch.
Press: Did he stay, Mr. President?
I doubt very much if Colonel Thompson ever gave any intimation that he was going to travel to the Philippines with a considerable staff, and I am quite certain that no such information was ever given out by me. I think that impression must have been gained from newspaper reports. Perhaps it was assumed that that was the case. I never knew of their being in contemplation any plan to have a considerable staff of experts from Government Departments go with him. There are experts in the Philippines of one kind and another representing the Departments. I think the Department of Labor has or has had some one there. The Department of Commerce has some one there constantly, I believe, and I don’t know whether any other Departments – sometimes the Department of State has some one down there, though not frequently. Perhaps the fact that these representatives of thes e different departments would be there and be subject to inter – view, and I was going to say use – I don’t mean exactly that – where Colonel Thompson could obtain any information from them he may desire – might have led to the thought that experts would go with him. I don’t understand that that is the plan. Nor does the fact that they are not going with him as you would infer from what I have said change the original scope and objects of the mission, which is to make a survey and find out if there is anything I could do to obtain a better administration of affairs there, or anything I could do to to promote the economic and industrial – agriculture business and financial welfare of that country. I know that resolutions are pending in Congress providing that every two years a delegation from Congress should go to the Philippine Islands. That, I think, is a very excellent idea. Otherwise, there is likely to be a feeling on the part of the people there that we are neglecting them and not paying any attention to them and lacking information which is direct and specific as to their needs and requirements. And then there is likely to be a lack of information on the part of Congress as to conditions there that would enable them to meet any questions that might come up in relation to conducting the affairs of the Islands.
I noticed some reference to suggestions that were said to have originated in Japanese quarters at Geneva that there be another naval limitation conference at Washington, to be participated in by the United States, Japan and Great Britain. That was made, if at all, I assume entirely on the authority of the Japanese people who are making it. If such a suggestion was made it was done without consulting this Government. There is very little that I could say about that suggestion at the present time. At some other time or under some other circumstances I might view a suggestion of that kind with considerable sympathy, but at the present time this Government has committed itself to the conference that is now in session. If now we should begin to talk about some other conference to consider questions that are really being considered by this conference, I should think it would very seriously impair the prospects of any successful and practical conclusion being reached by this conference. Now, I don’t say that at all with any criticism of what the Japanese have said, but I feel that if this Government should join in and participate and endorse that I should think the other governments that are assembled there would say, well what is the use of going on with this conference? Now, the attitude of this Government is to do everything possible to make the present conference a success. The interested governments are all assembled there. It has taken a considerable time to secure that result. Everything that possibly can be done to work out a practical solution of further limitation of naval armament and land armament should be done at this present conference, and I have such strong hope and so much confidence that they can reach a practical solution that I think it would not be helpful for me to make any comment or any suggestion or join in any suggestion that we have in contemplation the calling of a conference at Washington.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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