Date: September 27, 1927
Location: Washington, D.C.
I haven’t made up my mind yet as to a successor to Governor-General Wood for the Governor-Generalship of the Philippines. The Philippine Commissioner, who is Resident here in the city, came to me the other day and said that Senator Quezon and some others would like to come over here to confer with me about Philippine matters. I do not understand that it is particularly about the Governor-Generalship. Perhaps not at all about that. I told him that I would be very glad to receive them at any time. I suggested that their Legislature was in session and that these men that are to come – who I think are all members of the Philippine Legislature – probably have duties there to perform that they would want to weigh very carefully before they came away and left their Legislature in session. So I haven’t any information as to whether they are coming or not from any authoritative source. I have heard indirectly that they were expecting to come leaving there very soon. I told him that I would be very glad to see Senator Quezon or any other of the Filipino people at any time that they wished to confer with me. You might make it plain, if you have any occasion to make any comment about it, that I am receiving them in this instance because they have asked to come if they do come; that they are not coming because I have sent for them.
I am not enough of an expert on naval affairs to pass any criticism that would probably be of any great value on the article that recently appeared which was written by Admiral Magruder — I think he is a Rear Admiral. I have only glanced at the article. I saw it when it came out. I thought perhaps that there might be some suggestions in it that would be helpful in the administration of the Navy or that would be worthy of investigation. I do not believe that there are any set of men, even though they are as wise as those we have in the Army and Navy, that are able to expend $700,000,000 a year that can make the expenditure in such a way that after it has been made some one could not show that a part of it could have been better expended in some other direction. Criticism of that kind helps some, but of course the criticism that helps more would be to indicate what can be done in the future. I suppose every one knows that I am exceedingly desirous of having a first-class military establishment represented by the Army and Navy. I am desirous, too, of bringing the expenditure for that purpose within a reasonable amount. The country is able to meet the present expenditure without feeling that it is an undue burden in my opinion. So that my main desire is not so much to reduce the present level of expenditures as it is to see that the money that is appropriated is wisely expended and that as a result of it we get the very best possible Army and Navy that we can with the money at hand.
QUERY: Would you permit an inquiry as to whether the Magruder episode figured in the deliberations of the Cabinet today?
THE PRESIDENT: It did not.
(Continuing): I do not know whether the Navy is over-officered. My own view about that would he that I do not think it is. Now I do not know whether this position of mine is worthy of very much approval, but my own feeling about both the Army and Navy is that we ought to have on hand a large supply of officers. It is possible to get enlisted men and train them in a short time, but it takes a long time to make officers, so that I should favor and do favor and have favored the policy of having an adequate supply of officers in the Army and an adequate supply in the Navy. I think they are an insurance to us and necessary for our protection. I do not know that it makes a great lot of difference where they are located. I think there has been some suggestion that perhaps there are more officers in Washington than are necessary. If there isn’t anything for them to do somewhere else, it is all right for them to be in Washington. If the suggestion is that the departments here in Washington are presided over by officers of the Army and Navy, and that the officers are really not needed, and that they are here in Washington making expenditures of money — I am not talking about their salaries — that are unwarranted, of course that is criticism; but the mere fact that the officers are in Washington I do not regard as a matter of particular consequence. This is the headquarters of the Army and Navy. It is quite natural that we should have a good many here. But I assume that the suggestions that Admiral Magruder made are worthy of careful consideration, and it is possible that out of them we may be able to nave a more thorough Navy for the same expenditure of money. If that can be secured it would be very gratifying to me and I rather think it would be gratifying to all the people in the Naval service.
I do not know of any possible development relative to another arms conference. There is one going on at the present time under the supervision of the League of Nations, where our country is represented. I had not seen any suggestion from Baron Saito that his country might call a conference. The position that was taken by the Japanese at the Geneva Conference was one I think that was entirely satisfactory to this country. We thought they showed every disposition to cooperate in every way they could. I have since the breaking up of that conference had no suggestions other than some newspaper questions that have come to me about the calling of an additional conference.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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