Press Conference, October 21, 1927

Date: October 21, 1927

Location: Washington, DC

(Original document available here)

I haven’t any information when the committee that I think is working under the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, headed by former Secretary Nagel, is going to make any report relative to agriculture. I understood from him when he came in to see me — I talked with him but a minute — that they expected to make one very soon. Apparently something has caused some delay in it. But I have no other information.

It won’t be possible for me to attend the World Series Rodeo, I think that is what they call it – at New York. Clyde Jones and I had a little rodeo of our own out on the south lot, which will duly appear on the screen and in the stills. I think that is about as far as I can go. I am no rodeo entertainer.

I shall not be able to go to the Army and Navy football game in New York. I wish I might go. I am interested in that game. It takes too much time to attend it. The last Army and Navy football game I attended — I guess it is the last one but one — it rained all the time. They had us seated out in the choice seats out in front, which were very choice in fair weather, but lacking anything but choiceness when it rained. So I hope they may have good weather at this football game,

I haven’t any information about the practice in the Army and Navy Departments relative to publications made by men in the Army and Navy. I think in some instances they are submitted when there is any doubt about them to the different departments. My only recollection about that is that Colonel Mitchell came in to see me one time to inquire whether he might publish something, and I told him that I had no objection to it if his superior officers had none. I wasn’t an expert on the matter that he wished to discuss, so that was al l the information I could give him.

I couldn’t give any opinion in advance without seeing the proposed farm legislation as to whether it would be something that would meet my approval. There are so many angles to it that it would not be a thing that I could give an offhand opinion about. Of course, my general attitude relative to farm legislation has been set out in all of my messages, and my attitude relative to the particular kind of a bill that was passed last year was set out in my disapproval of the bill. I am still desirous of having some kind of legislation passed that will be helpful in assisting the farmer in the marketing of his crops.

No final decision has been made about any appointments.

The Attorney General was asked generally whether it was necessary in all cases where the Tariff Commission was making an investigation to ascertain the difference in the cost of production between this country and the main competing country to send the investigators into the main competing country. His general reply to that is in the negative. That will simplify the work of the Commission.

Query: Does that mean that the invoice prices may be used?

President: Well, I don’t know whether that is true. That isn’t the question here and it wasn’t the question that the Attorney General was called on to discuss. My own notion would be, and it is merely a notion, because that is all any one can give relative to a statute without carefully looking at it, that sometimes that might be helpful and sometimes it might not be. Sometimes, you know from the custom of the trade and the people involved that an invoice is a perfectly reliable thing and certain to indicate exactly what is going to be paid and is a price that is going to determine the margin of profit. In some other cases, you might think that the invoice wouldn’t indicate anything of the kind. It might be sent from a manufacturer abroad to the agent of the manufacturer here, and in that case the price on the invoice might be very much less than what the goods could be marketed for. It might come from a temporary and casual transaction, from a seller who was in financial distress and was obliged to make a sacrifice on the product of his concern. In that case it wouldn’t indicate anything at all about the cost of production. So that you can imagine a great many cases where it would indicate, and a great many cases where it wouldn’t indicate anything at all. But the general question decided was that the statute did not in all cases, perhaps not in any, but certainly not in the case at hand, make it necessary to send investigators into a foreign country to ascertain the cost of production.

Query: What would we rely on, the reports of Consular agents and attaches about it?

President: I don’t know enough about commercial procedure to answer that accurately. I suppose there are a great many records in this country that give the general level of costs abroad and things of that kind. If a manufacturing concern abroad bought it s raw material in this country, we wouldn’t need to go abroad to find out what the raw material cost them.

Query: The Dept. of Commerce also has trained advisors abroad?

President: Oh yes, and the Department of Agriculture. We have a great many sources of information. The commercial reports of foreign trade, the statistics of it, sometimes give us just as accurate information as we could secure by going abroad and making our own investigation there.

I haven’t made any extended investigation of the suggestion of Congressman McGregor of New York that Governor’s Island should be sold. I made some casual inquiry about it and I was advised that it was thought it ought to be kept for military purposes. The Secretary of War is away now. I haven’t had a chance to talk with him. I doubt very much if the Army of the Navy, or both must be interested in it, although I think it belongs to the Army, would favor a disposal of the Island, perhaps on the theory that though we may not need it now, that it is located in the center of a great area of population and that sooner or later the forces of the country will be so large that that will be needed as well as some other land that may have to he bought in the future.

Senator Wadsworth came in with Miss Loeb and Mrs. Harriman and Mrs. Brown. Mr. Brown didn’t come. The Philippine Commissioner came with them. Two other ladies that I think perhaps were attached to the group, perhaps in a clerical position. I think they have given out to the press their report of the Child Welfare Committee relative to dependent children in the Philippine Islands. Hasn’t that been given out?

Answer: Yes.

President: Well then you all have that. It seemed to me to be an important report and a subject I happened to be interested in. Daring my service in the Mass. House this question came up before the Committee on Legal Affairs. I don’t know but I need to revise that. I don’t know but what it was when I was in the Senate. I know it was when I was in the Mass. legislature that this matter of helping dependent children in their homes through aid extended to their mothers came up for consideration and we prepared a bill known as the Mothers’ Aid bill, which we passed at that session. That was one of the first States. I don’t know but what it was the first state that passed a law of that kind. I heard one of the party this morning, I think Mrs. Loeb, say that that plan had been adopted I think in every state in the Union. It seemed that it might be very well made applicable in the Philippine Islands. It is a subject that requires legislation on the part of Congress, but it is a subject that can be dealt with by the Philippine legislature. I shall be very glad to do anything I can to draw it to the attention of the Philippine legislature, and encourage them in adopting legislation of this kind.

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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