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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

August 10, 1928

I haven't any information from the State Department about any other countries adhering to the peace treaties, except the expression and the hope that others will adhere.

It is too soon to say what could be done as the result of the peace treaties relative to our national defense. It would be better to wait and see whether the peace treaties are signed and ratified by the Senate before we begin to discuss hypothetical conditions that may arise as the result of their adoption. This of course is to be kept in mind—that these treaties that are being made are treaties in which they agree not to attack each other and have very little to do with national defense, so that so far as our country is concerned the peace treaties would have little effect on the Army and the Navy, because our Army and Navy are maintained entirely for defensive purposes and not with the idea of attacking anybody.

I don't know the purpose that the British had in submitting the proposed peace treaty to the League of Nations. Perhaps it was with a view of interesting the different governments that are signatories of the covenant of the League of Nations to join in this treaty. Not knowing what the purpose was, it is not possible for me to comment on it. There is a provision in the League covenant that requires all treaties that members of the League make to be filed at the Secretariat of the League, but I think it does not apply to the treaty until it has been made. And there are certain limitations I should say in the covenant of the League concerning the kind of treaties that can be made. Perhaps this was submitted with the idea of finding out whether the League had any objection to the members of the League, certain members, entering into a treaty of this kind. I can't conceive of any objection that could be raised. The claim of the League has been that it is an instrument of peace, though some opponents of the League have not always viewed it in that light. I should suppose the members of the League, whether it was proposed to include them in this treaty or not, would be delighted to see the great powers joining in a treaty of the kind that is proposed.

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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