Calvin Coolidge photo

Excerpts of the President's News Conference

December 04, 1923

An inquiry about a report of Major General Beach as to the safety of the White House. I haven't seen any report of that kind. I think there was some reference to it in the newspapers. Whether he has made an official report that would properly be characterized as representing the White House to be unsafe or not, I do not know. I have much doubt whether the report would go to that length.

PRESS: Mr. President, the report was that of Major General Beach to the Secretary of War. If my memory serves me correctly, he said he called that to your attention.

PRESIDENT: I am not going to dispute a gentleman and an officer. I don't have time to read every communication that comes into the office, although I look at every communication that comes to my desk with the care which it deserves. But that hasn't come to my attention. The White House is an old building, but I think it is fireproof to the roof. Whether it is unsafe in any way, I don't know. A man who was there with President Cleveland told me that they found during his term there was an accumulation of books and old papers and documents, which you know come to be very heavy, placed up on the third floor, that was causing a sagging of the floor. There may be something of that kind there now, some water tank, or something of that kind that makes a crack in the wall.

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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