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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

January 18, 1924

Here is an inquiry about the lease of the Teapot Dome Naval oil reserve. That is under investigation, I think, by a Senatorial Committee, and of course no action is contemplated by any other arm of the Government so far as I know. It wouldn't be natural to take any action until the Committee had made their investigation, in order to find out whether anything develops that would appear to warrant any further investigation or action by any other part of the Government.

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PRESS: Did anything happen at the Cabinet meeting?

PRESIDENT: I was going to speak about that. We had considerable discussion about the difficulties that are arising in the northwest on account of the closing down of some banks up there, and we are making plans to see what we could possibly do to relieve that situation. The Federal Reserve Banks and the Federal Reserve Board are going to do what they can. I have been in conference with Comptroller Dawes about it, and the War Finance Corporation stands ready to be of any possible assistance. The situation is serious, though not desperately so. They have a great many banks in the northwest that are quite different from what we understand as a bank in the east, and with very small capital. I was astonished to find they had one bank for about every eight hundred people, which puts a good deal of a burden on eight hundred people to support a bank, but whether they have been wise in having that number, I don't know, and I am very anxious to relieve them by furnishing additional credits. Mr. Dawes has been in communication with banks in Chicago and with the Twin Cities. Mr. Meyer also is working in the same direction. I think they have a plan by which they can finance the troubles up there and get the matter straightened out as speedily as possible. I haven't any figures on the matter. There is a large bank in Sioux Falls, I think the Sioux Falls Savings Bank, that is the correspondent of quite a lot of other banks around there, and has their deposits and keeps for them their legal reserve. It is to relieve that situation and take care of the needs of those banks that had deposits there that Mr. Dawes and Mr. Meyer are especially solicitous.

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No final decision has been made about the extension of coastwise shipping laws to the Philippines. A good many difficulties are in the way. I should be exceedingly loath to take action in that respect that was very much opposed by the Philippine Government, or by the Filipino people. I recall that some of our own difficulties in colonial days resulted from the fact that our people were very much embarrassed by the restrictions that were put upon their shipping. While I am exceedingly anxious to build up the American Merchant Marine, I shouldn't want to do so in a way that would imperil the friendly feeling of the people of the Philippines for America. I don't think that would be profitable or helpful. We want their friendship, their commerce, and their cooperation, and in order to secure that, of course, we would have to take very largely into account their desire. If it is a wise thing to do, deliberation and discussion on their part will reveal that to them, and they would join in wishing to have it done. I am very loath to impose upon them something they don't want to have.

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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