Press Conference, September 8, 1926

Date: September 8, 1926

Location: White Pine Camp, NY

(Original document available here)

I suggested to the conference yesterday that probably Ambassador Sheffield would talk with the members of the Newspaper Conference while he was here, but he says he has refused ever since he has come out of Mexico to give out any interview and he desires to continue that policy. I have talked with him in a general way about the situation. He will return to Mexico. He has my entire confidence of course and the entire confidence of the State Department. He has had our complete support and will continue to have our complete support in carrying out the policies that he has been carrying out and is now recommending. I do not anticipate any change. There haven’t been any new developments that the press hasn’t already had in relation to the land laws of Mexico or in relation to the domestic religious difficulty that they are in. The policy of this country of course is to protect the rights of American citizens in the enjoyment of the personal privileges that they are entitled to under international law, usage, custom and our treaties, and their rights in the ownership and use of their property.

There was one other matter that I was going to speak about yesterday. I find that Commissioner Glassie of the Tariff Board’s time expires and I had thought that under the law he might hold over. I find that is not the case. The Senate has a Committee investigating the Tariff Board and allied questions and there has been a suggestion that the membership of the Board might be reduced – instead of having six it might be reduced to four. I therefore think I shall give Mr. Glassie a temporary appointment, because it would be rather unfair to any one that I might want to appoint to ask him to leave a permanent position and take a position on the Tariff Board that it might be necessary to vacate before the end of the next Congressional session. So that to tide this matter over, I don’t see anything that I can do except to give the temporary appointment to Mr. Glassie. The law provides that there shall be six members, not more than three of which I believe the wording of the Statute is shall be of any one party. There were two vacancies that occurred during the last session of the Senate and I appointed Mr. Sherman Lowell, a former Master of the National Grange. He was the Master of the National Grange just before Mr. Tabor came in, who is now the Master. Lowell is a resident of the State of New York. And I appointed, who is that Utah man, Mr. Clark?

Mr. Clark: Broussard.

President: Broussard, yes. Those are both Republicans, I think, I am not certain about Broussard. Yes, they are both Republicans. They were not confirmed by the Senate. The appointment was not acted on. It was neither confirmed nor rejected. So that left the Commission, on account of the Senate’s not acting, with three Democrats and one Republican. So that I had to make a recess appointment of Mr. Broussard and Mr. Lowell, and they were willing to take that appointment notwithstanding the fact that they will not draw any salary unless they are confirmed. I have thought best, as I say, to put Mr. Glassie in temporarily.

Press: Would that also apply to Mr. Glassie, unless he is confirmed?

President: No, because this vacancy occurred during a recess of the Senate and he will continue to draw his salary and then when I can get to Washington and talk with the Senators and see what is likely to be done I will see what permanent decision is to be made. Perhaps it is fair to say that several Democratic Senators have indorsed Mr. Glassie in very strong terms and I think one Democratic Senator has objected to him. But on account of the situation, I do not think it would be fair to put in a new man who might find his place made vacant, leaving a permanent position to take an uncertainty. If I were in Washington and the Senate was in session where I could see them, I could make a permanent decision. I can’t very well decide it until I can get hold of the Senators and see just what permanent decision should be made.

Mr. Drummond, the President of the Farm Congress is up at the Camp. I left too early this morning to confer with him.

Mr. Sargent, the Attorney General, arrived yesterday from Ludlow. There isn’t anything of special importance about which I am going to confer with Mr. Sargent, several small departmental matters. I suppose he will be here a day or two. I asked him if there was anything he would care to say to the press and he said he hadn’t anything he knew of that would be of any importance.

Press: Do you expect Mr. Drummond will see us?

President: Well, I think perhaps he will. I suppose he will be here today and tomorrow. I imagine he will have a chance to talk with you tomorrow, if you want to see him, or perhaps this afternoon.

Press: When is Mr. Sheffield leaving?

President: I don’t know just when he is going. He will perhaps stay a day or two. He has a camp of his own on Saranac Lake where he is going the latter part of the week.

Press: Do you know when he will go back to Mexico?

President: He wants to stay up a matter of a couple of months or so. I am delighted to see him in such fine physical condition. You will recall that last year when he was here he had to undergo a severe operation, but he seems to have entirely recovered from that and is in better health than for some time prior to that.

Press: Have you already or are you going to today or the next day reappoint Mr. Glassie?

President: I have reappointed him today.

Press: Would you care to say whether or not our lives and property have been generally respected or have suffered in Mexico?

President: Well, you can’t generalize about that. There isn’t any information about that that hasn’t already been made public. Mexico has been in a condition of uncertainty and there have been quite a number of years of burglary and revolution, but for the past three or four years that has been getting less and less, so that I don’t think there is much complaint now about a condition of disorder that has characterized Mexico in some years past. The present Government keeps a very fair condition of order. Of course we are not able in this country to prevent considerable lawlessness. We have constant outbreaks of burglary, highway robbery, and things of that kind. I don’t suppose any one would say it is because the Government is lacking in authority. We make every effort to apprehend anything of that kind and punish it. But I think generally speaking over practically the whole of Mexico there is a very good condition of order. Our citizens down there have been murdered in the past since 1913, a good many of them. But there is practically no complaint about that now. The complaint is rather about prospective, rather than present,interference, with the rights of our citizens. There has been a good deal of recession on the part of the Mexican Government in the claims that it has made of the privilege of interfering with the rights of our citizens. We still have some unsolved questions touching the rights of our citizens to hold property and conduct business there, but the general statement that I would make in relation to that is that the Mexican Government has receded very materially in the claims that it had put out as to its right to interfere with the business of our citizens in Mexico. On the domestic difficulty that they are having there, over the religious question, which is a religious question touching all denominations alike as I understand it, though it is referred to more particularly as a Catholic question, because I suppose 95% of the Mexican people are Catholic, 95% of those that have any church affiliation are affiliated with the Catholic Church, there is no difference whatever and we deal with that as we would deal with any other question that might affect the rights or property of our citizens. When those are affected beyond the practice of the Government relating to religion or the carrying on of business or anything else, we try to protect the rights of our people.

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

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of John Sullivan III who prepared this document for digital publication.

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