Date: September 18, 1925
Location: Washington, D.C.
(Original document available here)
I didn’t happen to see Senator Frelinghuysen when he called yesterday. I think Mr. Sanders told me that he was here. He is one of the most active members of the Harding Memorial Association who has, I think, now that Dr. Sawyer is gone, more to do with it than any one else, except perhaps the local man Mr. Donithen. I understood that Mr. Frelinghuysen called to say that everything was going on very well in connection with some choice of plans and beginning some work.
I don’t know what action may be taken in relation to any persons that may be proposing to come into the United States. I make that observation in response to a question here as to whether anybody else proposing to come here as a delegate to the Interparliamentary Union might be debarred from entry. I haven’t heard that there was any one else that was likely to be debarred in addition to the member of the British Parliament that has already had his passport or his visa revoked. These Parliamentary Union gathering s are not official. They are not representative of any government. They are voluntary associations among members of the different legislative bodies of different countries. I think that any member of any legislative body of a country is invited to go that wishes to attend. As I say, it is voluntary and doesn’t represent the governments. I suppose that action in relation to anyone that wanted to come to attend an Interparliamentary Union would be the same as though they were in any other business here. Now that isn’t a matter of choice with any official s of our Government. Congress has passed a law debarring from entry into the United States certain persons who hold and express certain views. Whenever any of them shall attempt to enter here it in the business of United States official s under their oath of office to exclude them. They may like to do that and they may not like to, but have virtually no discretion about it. They are simply carrying out the act of Congress that requires such action.
Press: Mr. President will you permit a question as to whether there will be any inquiry as to whether other delegates holding such views would be debarred?
President: I suppose that if it came to the attention of our Government that there were any such, that they would take the same action. I don’t know of any inquiry that is to be made. Very likely it might not come to my attention anyway. There are a great many people excluded from the country and a great many are deported because of the views they hold and the expressions they make. It is almost never that any case of that kind comes to my attention. I don’t think it ever has, unless it has been a matter that I have seen in the public press.
I anticipate that the Aircraft Board will have to finance itself. Of course quite a number of the members of the Board are officials of one kind or another, either of the United States or of some other association which is interested in aircraft work, so that they are not dependent upon any compensation that they might receive for their services in thin respect for their livelihood. It has been brought to their attention that there is a statute that provides that no public money into be used for purposes of this kind except when the investigation is authorized by Congress. I had an idea that if they incurred any expenditures that amounted to anything, that Congress very likely would pass a law to reimburse them for those expenses. I should think they would he very small anyway, trifling, perhaps so insignificant that it wouldn’t call for any appropriation. There in one Senator on the Board and two members of the House, one Chairman of a Committee of the House, and of course that Chairman can use his Committee Room for this purpose and I suppose such clerical assistance as he has if he wants to use it.
No decision has been made yet about the Ambassador to Japan. There are several names under consideration.
I am going to try to go to the American Farm Bureau Convention in Chicago, which meets early in December. Of course I can’t make a final decision about that now, but I want very much to go out.
I don’t wish to make any comment on the French debt problem. I think any comment on that would better come from the Debt Commission. They have all the details of it in mind and are adequately able to represent the Government, and any comments I might make might he misunderstood here and abroad, so that I think I had better not make any comments.
I haven’t any information about the Shipping Board’s refusal to sell some ships to the Pan American Line or Munson Line. I knew that there were negotiations pending, but I didn’t know that any final decision had been reached. I suppose every one knows that I would like to sell the Government ships, or to put that in the third person that means I would like for the Government to sell its ships as fast as possible to get them into private hands, with a provision for their operation in a way that I outlined several times in conference, and I suppose that is the policy that is outlined in the act that created the Shipping Board. If this sale hasn’t been made, I imagine it must be because the price hasn’t seemed to be adequate. That might very well be so.
I would make one suggestion to the press in relation to is discussion of the French debtor any other foreign problem. I think that the American papers ought to assume, generally speaking, that they would look after the interests of our own country before looking after the interests of some other country, and when there is any doubt about a problem that our American papers I think ought to resolve that doubt in favor of the American Government and the American citizens. I doubt very much if you will find the Government undertaking to impose any hardship on any country that it is unable to bear. The Government and its agencies are probably very well informed about the problems with which it has to deal. It may make mistakes sometimes. They are made. But whenever there is a problem about which you do not have information I think you will usually be right if you will resolve your doubt in favor of the American Government and American people.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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