Press Conference, September 11, 1923

Date: September 11, 1923

Location: Washington, DC

(Original document available here)

Have an inquiry about the proposed conference of Governors. No final decision has been reached on that. The Governors are to have their own annual conference, I think in Denver, about the middle of October. Now whether they will be called here before that or whether just previous to their gathering there, or whether, possibly, they will come here from that gathering is something that I am considering. I am quite certain that if there be any conference of Governors that it ought to be on the general scope of law enforcement and cooperation with the Federal authorities. We have questions of immigration, questions of the use, rather of the Suppression, of the use of narcotics, and allied questions of that kind that it would be very helpful to have the cooperation of the states assisting the United States Government in enforcing the laws.

Whether England or France has made any further request for aid in settlement of the reparations problem. Neither one of the Governments of France or England, so far as I know, have made any suggestion to this Government relative to that question.

Whether a recommendation will be made to Congress that a public body be established to receive and publish figures on the coal industry, as recommended by the Coal Commission. I haven’t considered that in detail, but generally speaking, I should expect to commend the report of the Coal Commission to Congress. It was a body especially established for the information of Congress and to assemble facts and figures that might aid them in the determination of legislation relative to the coal industry.

And some other inquiries relative to the figures that have been given out as to the result of increased cost of production of coal on account of the increase in wages. I haven’t considered those details myself and I can’t give you any opinion that would be of very much value. I had already spoken to the Coal Commission and shall speak to them further to take such action as they think it is take to secure a distribution of fuel for the people of the United States at as reasonable a price as possibly can be secured.

An inquiry about the appointment of an Ambassador to Mexico. No further thought has been given to that. It will be some time before the occasion would be ripe for an appointment there, and when that time arrives, I shall take the question up, considering it with the State Department, and announce the decision.

Question about the administration’s shipping policy. I have asked, as you know, the opinion of the Attorney General as to whether the plan which is proposed by the Shipping Board is within the contemplation of the law. I haven’t had any opinion given to me yet. If the opinion is favorable, then, as you know, it is my expectation to appoint a committee to consider the policy and the plan and the working out of it in detail. Of course, it all hinges on what the opinion of the Attorney General may be.
An inquiry about the Cuban situation. I haven’t had any official information about the Cuban situation for a week or more. I know in a general way that it is being considered, but I am not in possession of the details.

As to whether the situation in Europe is more hopeful. I haven’t any official reports on that. From what I have seen in the published reports, I think there is indication that the situation is more hopeful there, and that is the opinion that I get from unofficial sources, people that have been over there and come in and talked with me, some of them in unofficial life and some of them in official life.

Whether the appeal to help Japan has been satisfactory in its response. I has been very satisfactory. The immediate question of course is the relief of those that are suffering. As soon as that is done, then our country naturally will take up the question of assisting in the rehabilitation, the re-building, and putting that part of Japanese territory back into its productive capacity, and for that, of course, there will be a very large amount of money needed. But that is essentially a business operation, more than a charitable operation, but the response to our appeal for charity has been very liberal and I should judge it would run somewhere between $7,000,000 and $10,000,000. Whether that will be all that is necessary, we can’t tell now, but I am fairly certain that whatever may be necessary in the way of charity the American people will promptly furnish.

I have no information whatever about Professor Irving Fischer’s recent statement. A good many of these questions are duplicates so that I don’t have to answer all of them.

An inquiry about the Missouri political situation. The only thing that I have observed out there is a general desire on the part of those who have called on me to cooperate harmoniously in doing what they can to assist me in the administration of my office.

Whether I want to elaborate on a letter that I sent to Chicago where a club that bore my name has been formed. I don’t care to elaborate on that. I think I stated everything that is necessary in that letter.

The Minister of Panama called this morning to discuss generally the policy of Government business operations within the Zone. Our country has, under the Treaty, all the powers of a sovereign within the Panama Zone. We don’t always care to exercise every right that we have there, but we are always careful to state that we claim those rights and shall use them if they are necessary, coupled also with the statement that we do not want to do anything there for the purpose of securing a slight income to the United States Treasury that would be thought to be detrimental to the people of Panama or contrary to the wishes of the Government of that country. That was the message that I gave to the Minister. He expressed very great satisfaction in having that message and said he would transmit it to his Government, and that it cleared up every possible question that he had in mind.

Whether there will be a message from me on the occasion of the dedication of the Zero Milestone at San Diego California marking the terminus of the Lee Highway. This milestone was to have been dedicated by President Harding on August 6th. I expect to send a short message of that kind. There has been some suggestion that I might send it over the radio. I doubt if that would be feasible or practical, but I should desire to send a short written message anyway.

I sent Governor Pinchot a telegram of congratulation. I think it is the policy of this office not to give out telegrams of that kind. No doubt, he will give it out up there if he wishes to.

An inquiry as to whether I contemplate attending the meeting of the American Bankers’ Association at Atlantic City shortly. I wish very much that I might, but I don’t see how I can do that.

Another inquiry about the Federal Fuel Distributor, Wadleigh – Mr. F. R. Wadleigh, whose term expires on September 22nd. So far as I know there is no immediate occasion for activity on his part, if it be merely the distribution of coal. If there was a shortage of coal, so that the Government needed to supervise the distribution of it in order to see that it went evenly over the country, why then we should need to use his good offices. As I have already explained, his work is either under the Secretary of Commerce or the Interstate Commerce Commission. If anything occurs so that we need to continue his services, they will be continued, probably through him as an agent, by one or the other of those departments. I think the life of the United States Coal Commission expires in accordance with the law under which they were established, within a short time. I do not know of any executive power that could continue them officially in existence. No doubt, if anything should arise that would make it necessary, I could consult with them unofficially with just as good results as I could if they were in official existence.

And an inquiry about the letter of Governor Pinchot and of Mr. Lewis. I think perhaps I have already covered that. I said it was a matter that I had taken up with the Coal Commission some time ago. I think they are thoroughly alive to it and everything will be done that can be done to see that fuel is distributed at a reasonable price.

I think that covers everything.

Ques. Was there a cabinet meeting today?

Yes, but there was practically no business transacted at the Cabinet Meeting. It only lasted about 15 minutes, after which the world will soon know we had our picture taken.

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

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of J Mitchell Rushing who prepared this document for digital publication.

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