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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

November 06, 1923

An inquiry about the Veterans Bureau investigation. Now, it is difficult, of course, for me to comment on the details of an investigation that is being made by a committee of Congress. Perhaps it would be almost enough to say that the Congress had provided for this investigation, authorized it, and directed it to be made by that Committee. It is not to be made by me. The Committee will make their investigation, and after they have heard all the evidence, they will make a report. When that report comes in, I suppose it may call for some action. Sometimes reports do. From the evidence that appears to be coming out, I suppose this report will call for action. But when it is finally made, then such action as the Committee determines, and such facts as they develop, will be taken under consideration, and appropriate action will be taken.

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Whether the position of the United States is changed in regard to entering into European embroilments. I don't know of any change in that respect. Our position has been carefully and definitely stated a great many times, both in speech and in writing, and it has been stated, also, by our actions. I think you know of the events that led up to the present situation—the suggestion that was made here as a result of some inquiry that we still had a desire to be helpful in Europe whenever the opportunity offered itself, and the note that came from the British Government, and the reply that was made to that note, which is known as the Hughes note. Now, I think almost every possible inquiry that you can devise will be answered by a reading of the note. I think you will find the answer to the inquiry there. It states the position of our Government definitely and fully, and that it is the desire to be helpful. We haven't any other motive. We have no direct interest to serve, no expectation of reaping any reward. We are undertaking to discharge our obligations—of lending our counsel, if we can, in order to settle a long standing difficulty. Now, there isn't any occasion for being disturbed or discouraged, because we aren't able to step in and settle, in twenty-four hours, a difficulty that has engaged the attention of Europe for hundreds of years. We have got to be patient about it, and try to do the best we can. We observed that the French have taken possession of the Ruhr, and as a result of that there was that passive resistance on the part of the Germans. That finally came to an end, and it seemed to us that that might furnish an opportune moment for a suggestion that we lend our counsel, and that we would be helpful, if our help was wanted. We aren't trying to do anything more than discharge what we think is our duty. We hope that we can be helpful. But that depends on the state of mind that exists over there. If it is one that wants to be helped, then I think we would be warranted in looking at it very hopefully. If it turns out that the state of mind is not one that wants help, why, then there is nothing that we can do. But of course, our people here, we hope people generally throughout civilization, will understand that we tried to do our part. That answers, I think, quite a good many questions.

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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