Press Conference, September 7, 1923

Date: September 7, 1923

Location: Washington, D.C.

(Original document available here)

Mr. Clark of the International News Service has reciprocated today and brought me some news to the effect that the miners have accepted the Pinchot proposal and the hard coal strike is ended. I wish you would commend the Governor of Pennsylvania as strongly as you can for the important public service that he has rendered, a service not only to his own State, but to all those that burn coal everywhere, and an especial service to me and to my office, a very difficult iteration that he undertook, as I already suggested to you. While I presume neither party is satisfied with the result, yet the important thing to remember is that we are apparently to be relieved of a coal strike. I assume that the information is authentic and reliable.

An inquiry as to whether I am to discuss taxes with Representative Madden. Representative Madden is going to take dinner with me some time. I haven’t any plan to discuss any particular thing with him. He is an important element in the House, holding a position of influence up there, a man of character and ability, and I feel certain that he would be able to give me information that would be very helpful and beneficial to me. I don’t know whether he is going to say anything about taxes. I haven’t any plan about that. I doubt if he has. I had an idea that I would discuss the general financial condition of the nation with him. See what he thought ought to be done during the coming session in the way of appropriations and collateral matters of that kind.

An inquiry as to the expected appropriations for the Shipping Board. Do not know yet just what they are asking for or just what may be granted to them. It had been presented to me in a general way that they had expected to reduce their expenditures during the coming year, or rather for the year for which appropriations are to be made in the next Congress, and I don’t know when I shall get an opinion from the Attorney General. I shall know in the very near future to the legality of the proposed organization of corporations for the conduct of the shipping business. I have had, I think, a note from the Attorney General that he was working on this himself, had it sent up to him.

I do not know yet when there will be a conference of Governors. I have assumed, generally speaking, that there would be one, although it hasn’t been definitely determined. I found in talking with the Prohibition authorities that President Harding had not determined definitely on that and whether it would be best to proceed by a conference or by an interchange of communications and suggestions, in that way. That hasn’t been definitely determined. We are working out a program of what will best fit in with what we think the situation requires.

An inquiry about whether any recommendation will be made to Congress on the Ford offer. That matter is already before the Congress, and, as I understand it, was sent there by the Secretary of War. I don’t know that it would require any suggestion from the Executive, and I haven’t in mind at the present time making any suggestion about it. I may have a desire to do that in the future.

And an inquiry about the Gorgas Plant. I think you all understand about that. That is a steam plant with outrunning lines that is located on some land that doesn’t belong to the United States Government. The Attorney General has said that the contract under which the United States located its steam plant on this land was one that could be terminated on notice by the Alabama Power Company, or whatever that power company is down there. That Company has notified the United States to vacate and has coupled that notification with an offer to pay, what I understand is a fair price, for the property that the United States has on the land. So the question comes in undertaking to deal fairly with Mr. Ford, of what he desires the United States to do. He has been called into consultation for that purpose and we are awaiting some reply from him as to what action he desires to have us take, in order that we may know what effect it would have on the offer he has made.

An inquiry about the necessary relief funds for Japan. Of course, there isn’t at the present time enough real definite and precise information to warrant any one in making a definite estimate. That matter was considered in the Cabinet meeting this morning. According to our best information, and I wouldn’t be too precise about that, because I don’t want to discourage any gift s that may otherwise lade, Japan will need all the assistance that it can have. According to our best estimates, they will probably require something like $10,000,000 a month for a couple of months or so. Now, that is to come from us and from all over the world and from the Japanese people, who, of course, are not without resources themselves. What may be required in order to restore the property damage, of course, is another question. Whether our country would want to make any contributions for that purpose or not, I really never have considered. What we did have especially in mind was the relief of people at the present time, feed them, clothe and keep them warm, and care for them until they could adequately care for themselves.

Several inquiries about the Cuban situation. I haven’t had any information brought to me about the Cuban situation since I have talked with the representatives of the press about it. An inquiry in that connection about Dr. Colso Cuillar, if that is the way to pronounce it. I don’t know anything about it, I didn’t know that he was in the City and didn’t know that he had any conference with the Federal Reserve Board.

Another inquiry concerning a man named Clarence Marine. That is a name brought to my attention before, and I don’t know anything about his activities. So the report that some step is under consideration by me is not warranted at the present time. I don’t want to make any qualification about that. It is simply that I haven’t heard anything about it, and my saying “at the present that I haven’t any idea now of taking any action and don’t know that any is required or desirable.

An inquiry about a general reorganization of executive departments. That plan is in process of being carried out. Now whether it can be carried out or not is something on which your judgment, I suppose, is just as good as mine. I know in a general way that there are difficulties. I don’t know what the specific difficulties are, or what the details of them are, but I think those can be worked out. I know there is always a working back and forth, and if I may refer to personal experience, we had to consolidate the 100 or 200 departments in Massachusetts into 19 the first year I was Governor, and, of course, we had more or less difficulty about it. But when it came right to the case in hand, the legislature took hold and passed the bill. Now I imagine that something of that kind is very likely to happen here. There will be a great deal of criticism of one kind or another and some Departments will think they ought to have something else than what they are having, either more or less, but when the time comes, there will be a substantial comity and desire to pass a bill that will be intended to better the public service.

I haven’t received any report from any one sent to Havana and that answers the other question as to whether any report of that kind involves any Cuban or American officials. I didn’t know that there was any special report in contemplation and rather think that that is a rumor that hasn’t any real foundation.

I have already spoken about the relief measures that the Cabinet had up for discussion. About the only thing that we determined was that we had to undertake to coordinate all relief measures under the direction of the Red Cross. We realize, of course, great efficiency of the Japanese Red Cross as an association, and they will be used, as I understand, for the relief work, in Japan. We have sent up some doctors and so on with instructions to report to the Japanese and put themselves under Japanese control and Japanese orders, and should the Japanese say that, they would like to have them come to shore and have something: for them to do, of course, that will be done. When they arrive there, should it turn out that they are not needed by them, they can return. But I think you can emphasize this, that the American Government is going to put its resource disposal of the Japanese power, comprehending and realizing that they are perfectly competent to give the adequate directions for carrying, out everything, of that kind.

I think that covers everything this morning.

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

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

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