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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

February 12, 1929

I am having rather more trouble in getting out of the White House than I had in getting in. There is a very large accumulation of things that a President acquires while he is in the White House. Most of them are of no intrinsic value, other than the fact that they have been associated with the residence of the President in the White House for some considerable time. It makes me desire to keep them. The packing of them up is a good deal of an operation. I think we have already reached something like over 150 boxes.

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I had hoped, as I think I have already indicated, that it would be possible for the experts conference on reparations now sitting in Paris to agree on some member other than a citizen of the United States for their Chairman. It did not seem possible for them to do that, so that of course I indicated to Mr. Young that he and Mr. Morgan were to use their discretion about Mr. Young accepting the chairmanship. I understand he has done so. That seemed to be necessary. It wouldn't be of any value just to permit citizens of the United States to go over there to help unless their help is to be of such a nature as would be effective. While I would have preferred to have another person than a citizen of the United States Chairman, it seemed to be best under the circumstances for Mr. Young to serve.

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I haven't seen the Capper resolution relative to giving the President authority to put an embargo on the sale of arms. Such comment as I have seen on it indicates that it may go somewhat farther than I would think it was wise to go. The President already has power to embargo arms and ammunition against the western hemisphere when there are domestic disturbances within any of the nations, and against any other country where we have extraterritorial jurisdiction. We have that in China, for instance, and formerly had it in Turkey, but I think that has been eliminated. I think that something of that nature might be helpful. It would be extended, of course, to include cases where there was not only a domestic disturbance, but where there was international conflict. There has been a bill in the Congress by which it was proposed to enact a law absolutely prohibiting in the future any export of arms and ammunition to any country or countries that were at war. There are some objections to that. The smaller nations that do not make arms and munitions would feel that that would be a handicap on them. If they were at war with some other country, they couldn't secure arms and munitions, and the country that manufactured arms and munitions could secure them. I would look with sympathy on a proposal of that kind as far as the principle is involved, but I should want to have the details of it carefully investigated before making any specific commitments in relation to it.

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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