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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

January 11, 1929

There hasn't anything new developed relative to the German reparations problem. I presume the conference has in mind what the situation is; that the European governments that are interested, including Germany, would like to secure the services of two Americans to join with the experts that are to be appointed by the European governments, and we have reported to the European governments that our Government has no objection to their taking that course. It also needs to be kept in mind that it is the European governments that are making the appointments and making the selections. I think, as I indicated once before, I would be more pleased if the European governments would settle that question themselves, but if they feel that they need assistance of some Americans I don't think it would be becoming on the part of our Government to say that the people here that are willing to serve should not be permitted to do so, or rather that our Government wouldn't give its consent to their doing so. The last body of experts that was headed by General Dawes worked out what has proven to be an acceptable plan, and in its operation has been successful, so that I judge that one of the main things that is left to be considered is the final amount that Germany is to pay. If it is found that they could go on paying 2,500,000,000 marks, which is about $625,000,000 a year, then the only question to consider would be how long they ought to keep on paying it. If it is found there is some reason for varying that amount, why that is another question, and it is for the purpose of deciding what would seem to be fair between Germany, considering its ability, and the European countries that are interested on the other side, including Japan and the trifling amount that is due us comparatively, that this body of experts will be brought together. We are returning, as you will recall, the private property of the German nationals that we held as security for the payment due us as our bill for the Army of Occupation, which is some $200,000,000, and whatever may be found to be due by the German [American Mixed] Claims Commission for damages which accrued to our citizens in the early part of the war, I think before we went into the war. Those two together are not very large sums, so that the amount due us is not large. That, however, would not be a matter that would be considered by a commission of experts—the amount of our bill. If there is anything to be done about that at this conference it would be done through our regular diplomatic representative, probably as, though there are Americans on the committee of experts, they do not represent the Government of the United States.

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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