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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

October 30, 1923

An inquiry about my understanding of the function of the conference of expert financiers—whether the report of the conference will be made to the Reparations Commission, or will the report of their findings be made to the respective governments concerned. I have here several inquiries about reparations. I wouldn't be able to answer that question in advance, or give any suggestion or opinion about it that would be worth while. As I understand the situation, it is this. A proposal has been made for experts to undertake to assess what they think Germany can pay. That plan has been accepted, apparently, in principle, by the interested governments. I understand that Poincare has indicated that it was acceptable to him, in a communication. Now the question comes of working out the details. That is under consideration by the interested parties, and no decision about that has been made, as to the scope, or just how the thing could be done, either as to how the appointments are to be made, or what is to be considered in detail, after the appointments have been made. Nor has it been determined where the Commission would meet, or anything of that kind. But there is, apparently, a hopeful avenue before us, that plans have been accepted in principle, and that the details are being sympathetically worked out.

An inquiry here about the conditions laid down by Poincare that there be no reduction in the German debt. That, I think, would be answered by a careful reading of the note of the Secretary of State. There wasn't any suggestion in that, of course, of any reduction of anybody's debt. It is a simple and plain suggestion that a committee of experts be appointed to try to assess the amount that Germany is able to pay. The rights of France are fixed by her treaty. There can't be any reduction except by the consent of France.

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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