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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

September 22, 1925

I don't want to make any definite statement about the attitude of this Government towards a Disarmament Conference by the League of Nations. Before we could undertake to participate in a Disarmament Conference of that kind I should think we ought to have the authority of Congress. I have been basing my recommendations for a Disarmament Conference on the clause that is annually put into the appropriation bill, I think for the Navy. I think it goes into the Army bill. I know it is in the Navy Bill, and that gives Congressional authority. I don't want to say anything on the other hand that would discourage the calling of a European Conference because I realize that they have delicate questions over there which touch their conditions particularly and in which we are not so much interested. If they can solve those problems themselves, nothing would be more agreeable to our people I believe, and I am sure nothing would be more agreeable to our Government, so that I don't want to have anything that I might say taken in any way as undertaking to discourage their attempt to solve their own problems in Europe. Of course in the general question of disarmament we are interested. The Government as at present constituted is committed to it, believes in it, and I think the country believes in it, and we ought to do everything we can to encourage it.

* * * * * * *

I have a question here as to whether communists ought to be allowed to come into this country if they come in for commercial purposes. Well, I rather think that that question would answer itself. The only thing that the Government is trying to do is to see that our laws are observed. It isn't trying to enforce its own ideas or carry out its own desires about people that can come in or stay out. The fact that a person was going to come here and spend a large sum of money I don't think would make any difference in the law. I don't know of any provision in the law that says the right to come into this country is for sale, that the principles of the United States are for sale if you want to pay enough and you don't have to live according to the laws of this country. That isn't what I understand to be the policy of our land. I think I said something to that effect in my first message to the Congress. Personally, I think it is a good policy to permit very free discussion of anything that relates to our institutions. If anyone says anything about them with which I don't agree, of course I talk back and it is out of discussions of that kind that public opinion is developed and the soundness or unsoundness of institutions that prevail. But I don't know that that policy has anything to do with the duty that is incumbent upon the public officers of this country to try and enforce the law. When the law says that certain persons are excluded from the country, why then I suppose it is the duty of those who are charged with such enforcement to see that they don't come in. Of course it would be rather absurd to say that they could come if they agreed to spend considerable money after they got here, so I think that question would rather answer itself.

Source: "The Talkative President: The Off-the-Record Press Conferences of Calvin Coolidge". eds. Howard H. Quint & Robert H. Ferrell. The University Massachusetts Press. 1964.

Calvin Coolidge, Excerpts of the President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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