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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

May 04, 1926

You have already observed that with the exception of three or four comparatively small items about which nothing can be done at the present time the Debt Funding Commission has finished its work. They have settled debts that were in principal sum, $11,500,000,000, with interest of ten and a little over a half a billion, $10,621,000,000, making a total it has been contracted to pay into the United States Treasury of $22,143,000,000. I doubt if we are really able to grasp the magnitude of these transactions. They are the greatest financial trans-actions that ever took place between governments, and I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation of the work of the Debt Funding Commission. It has had the advantage of a membership composed of representatives of both parties, some coming from the country and not holding official positions, some members from the House, some from the Senate, and three members of the Cabinet, the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce. I understand that the Secretary of the Treasury is the Chairman of the Debt Funding Commission, and without detracting at all from the splendid cooperation that he has had from the other members, of course the leadership in these settlements has necessarily fallen to him. And I think they have been brought about to a considerable extent by reason of the confidence that is felt in his financial judgment, not only by the people of this country but by the financial agents of the governments abroad. Without that feeling of confidence, it would have been impossible to have secured the negotiation of the settlements that have already been ratified by the Congress. It is altogether a very great accomplishment that I think our country may look at with a great deal of satisfaction. It will result in large payments into our Treasury. It will result likewise in the stabilization and rehabilitation of financial conditions of the interested countries abroad. While our settlements have been liberal, I think they have on the whole been just, the best that could be arrived at with the information and prospects that we have at hand.

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Here is an inquiry about a Third Hague Conference. The value of a conference of that kind depends not merely on the attitude of our Government, but it depends on the attitude of the other governments that it is proposed to have attend the conference. 1 don't know of any present desire on the part of other governments to promote a conference of that kind at this time, the reason being that there are so many pressing questions in Europe that take up the attention and exhaust the energy of the present governments over there that I doubt whether they would be interested to take on a Hague conference at the present time, though of course I well understand that there are a good many things that we would be interested in that might be taken up at a Hague Conference—perhaps progress made there in consideration of arbitration, perhaps something might be done looking toward a clarification of international law. But with present conditions in Europe, and the other things they have to attend to, I shouldn't expect that we could get a favorable response on any effort on our part to call a conference at this time.

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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