Calvin Coolidge photo

Excerpts of the President's News Conference

February 02, 1926

There are two sets of people in the country at the present time that I think have the wrong impression of our vote to become members of the World Court. One set thinks it doesn't mean anything and won't be helpful. I think it will be very helpful. It will be regarded all over the world as a helpful attitude, and an expression of the sentiment of desiring to cooperate, and a desire to put America on the side of having differences settled by orderly procedure and as near as they can be in accordance with international law, friendly conferences and settled rules, rather than to resort to force and have the question settled because one country or the other has a larger army and navy. There is another opinion that is being expressed: that this is merely preliminary to our country becoming a member of the League. I don't regard that as the case at all. You will recall that in my message to the Congress I differentiated the very marked difference between adherence to the protocol that established the Court and adherence to the Covenant of the League. They are two very separate and distinct things. One of them doesn't at all imply the other. I don't regard the action that has been taken as at all indicating that there is any difference in public opinion in this country in relation to any suggestion that America should become a member of the League. I rather regard it as an implication to be taken in the other direction, that we wanted to become identified with the Court, and a rather definite expression of the fact that we don't want to become identified with the League. One is a judicial institution; the other is a political institution. Their aims are different; their methods of procedure are different; and because we wanted to belong to the Court is no indication at all, but rather the contrary, that we want to belong to the League.

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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