Press Conference, October 14, 1924

Date: October 14, 1924

Location: Washington, DC

(Original document available here)

I had a very pleasant journey out to Pittsburgh. I was very much pleased with the reception that all the people gave us and was interested in studying the development of that industrial center.

It isn’t certain whether I can attend the unveiling of the Canadian Memorial to U. S. citizens that fought in the Canadian Army, which is to take place in Arlington cemetery.

Query: Did that mention the date?

President: It is said to be November 11th, Armistice Day.

I don’t know of any new development in proposed farm legislation. That problem is being explored by several different parties, some connected with the Government, some not. I understood from former Secretary of Commerce Nagel that their committee would probably report very soon. He did not disclose to me what the nature of their report would be.

I have some recommendations for the vacancy on the Federal Radio Commission caused by the death of Colonel Dillon, but I haven’t had time to investigate any of them.sufficiently to come to a conclusion.

There is discussion from time to time about the housing of the Army. It is a subject that I took up three years ago and the Department caused to be introduced a bill in the session that came in December, 1924, to create a military post construction fund, and there is to go into such fund such moneys as accrue from the sale of surplus land held by the War Department and surplus buildings. That bill didn’t pass at that session. I think it passed the House, but failed in the Senate. It was reintroduced in the next session and passed. I approved it. We have authorized since the 4th of March, 1925, expenditures of over $22,000,000 for new construction. We have appropriated over $8,000,000 for new construction. There was an item of over $6,000,000 in addition to that which failed on account of the failure of the urgent Deficiency Bill. I am putting into the present budget that is now in the making an estimate of some over $8,000,000, I expect, for additional new construction. And I expect there will be a Deficiency Bill. I don’t know whether I shall put into that the $6,000,000 or not that failed in the last Deficiency Bill. If that should be done, it would make an appropriation of $22,000,000, which is all that has been authorized for new construction by the Congress up to the present time. That is for new construction. That is only part of what has been expended for the housing of the Army. Some barracks and quarters were not in good repair and in 1926-27-28 we made additional appropriations of $12,500,000, so that —

Query: Is that for repairs?

President: Yes, that is for repairs. So that there has already been appropriated for new construction and for repairs over $20,000,000 in the last few years, and after the appropriations that will probably be made by the next Congress I judge the sum will be close to $45,000,000. No, I am wrong about that. It will be close to $34,000,000.

I saw some reference to the statement made by Senator Glass relative to foreign loans. The Senator is a man exceedingly well versed in national and international finance, and anything that he says is entitled to a very great deal of consideration. I have had under consideration several times the question of entirely disregarding proposals made for foreign loans in this country, bit it had all the time seemed to me that unless there was some contact between the State Department and those who floated foreign loans here it would be probable that the Congress would pass a very drastic regulatory law. So that it seemed to me best to proceed for the time being according to the present practice, which is merely advisory and really consists in inquiring whether, if the loan is made of such and such an amount to such and such a country, it would in any way interfere with the foreign relations that exist between that country and ours at the present time. The Constitution places in the hands of the President, and he exercises that authority chiefly through the State Department, the conduct of foreign relations, relations between this country and foreign countries. That is one element of them at the present time. Of course, our country doesn’t undertake to make any suggestion about the desirability of a loan, or the financial soundness of it, or whether it is worthy or unworthy of investment in its bonds by investors in this country. That is a question between themselves and our bankers, a question ultimately for investors themselves to decide, whether they want to make an investment in foreign loans. So that, as I said before, our interest in it is chiefly a determination as to whether a loan made would interfere in any way in the foreign relations, the relations that exist between this country and the country proposing to make a loan.

I saw some reference to a letter said to have been written by someone in Chicago to the Governor of Maryland, suggesting that the people in the District of Columbia vote in Maryland. It is an interesting suggestion. I presume that it would require a change in the Constitution of Maryland. In almost all the constitutions of the states the people that vote have to be citizens of the state. I don’t know whether it would otherwise be feasible or not. A great many citizens of various states that are here doing Government business holding elective or appointive positions vote in their own states. I presume a great many of them would prefer to vote in their own states, rather than to have Maryland under take to assign them to vote in that state. If they should have such preference, I don’t see any way to prevent their exercising it, unless you could get some law passed by the other 47 states that any one that wanted to live in the District of Columbia and vote in Maryland shouldn’t vote in their states. Or perhaps this would of the apply only to those that have abandoned all residence in any of the states and now merely have a residence in the District of Columbia. I don’t know just where the old line passed between Maryland and Virginia. I suppose it was the Potomac River. Some of the District, I believe, is still on the other side of the Potomac. Some of that, though, I think has been returned to the state of Va. Perhaps Va. might like to have those that live in that part of the District that was formerly a part of the Old Dominion vote in Va. It might create something of a conflict between Va. and Md. That would be an interesting study and cause for debate by those who are ardently devoted to the doctrine of states rights as to whether Md. or Va. should have access to all voters of the District of Columbia.

Query: There are a good many residents in the District of Columbia who would like to vote in the District. Is there anything on that today?

President: There is no written interrogatory on that today. If you want to propound one sometime, I would be glad to do that.

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

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

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