Calvin Coolidge photo

Excerpts of the President's News Conference

May 31, 1927

I am expecting to go down to review the Fleet, as the press already knows. I have conferred with the Secretary of the Navy this morning about making arrangements to take care of the press. They will be taken out from some appropriate point and either stay on the boat that takes them out or go on one of the battleships. I use battleship only in a general term—one of the ships of the Fleet that will be located at that point to give them every possible assistance in properly reporting the review. I hope we may have good weather and that the press anticipates the enjoyment of it as much as I do.

Here are two or three questions that perhaps could be answered more desirably by reference to Mr. Slemp's book—what is the title of that?

PRESS: The Mind of the President.

PRESIDENT: The Class is perfect.

* * * * * * *

I haven't seen the Goldsmith open letter which is said to have been addressed to me and which has been published in Canada. Without criticising in any way the writing and publishing of letters of that kind in foreign countries—it is perfectly proper, our own citizens do it here and citizens of other countries can very properly do that in their own lands—I think some of you recall that Clemenceau wrote a letter of that kind either last summer or two years ago, but it isn't possible for the President to make public comment on letters of that kind. I assume that it has something to do about our Government. But we have official methods of communication with the governments of other countries and it is necessary for the President to keep within that bound, to carry on our diplomatic intercourse through duly appointed representatives, rather than to undertake to guide it through statements given to the press.

* * * * * * *

I knew that some parties in New York, I think one of them is Professor Shotwell, are making a study of a possible treaty to be negotiated between this country and other countries on the subject which is generally referred to as outlawing war, and I had directed that they take the matter up with the State Department, which I think is being done. I wouldn't want to hazard any definite comment on it until I find out from the State Department just what is being proposed and what the view of the State Department may be. I have referred to that subject several times in my messages to the Congress. It is one which I have been very glad to observe is being studied and which I should be very much pleased to find had been put into a practicable form.

* * * * * * *

I do not think any movements of Marines in China of any considerable extent are contemplated. Our main base now is at Shanghai. We may send some more Marines to Tientsin. That will depend on developments in north China and whether we think that our Legation and our Diplomatic and Consular representatives in that locality and the American interests there are in any peril. We have in general contemplation that we should remove the Legation from Peking if any general disorder develops in that neighborhood, because that is a long ways from the coast, comparatively over there, difficult of access, and therefore difficult to protect. It would be very much easier to take care of our interests if our Embassy and the people connected with it—I mean the Legation—was brought down where it would have better access to the sea.

PRESS: Can you say where the Peking Legation may be moved to?

PRESIDENT: I can't say yet. May possibly go to Shanghai, or some other location.

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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