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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

February 15, 1924

Another inquiry about a rumor that former Secretary Fall and Secretary Denby started negotiations looking toward leasing coal fields in Alaska on similar lines to those followed in the Teapot Dome lease. I don't recall that any report of that kind ever came to me. I haven't at present any information about it. I know, of course, that there is criticism about the conduct of affairs in Alaska, though I had understood that the visit there last summer of Secretary Wallace of the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Hoover of the Department of Commerce, and I think Secretary Work of the Department of the Interior, had fairly well cleaned up any questions that were at issue. They had an opportunity to secure firsthand information and were working along the proposal for the development of Alaska to the best possible advantage.

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I have heard reports about the investigation of the Tariff Commission as to the cost of producing wheat in this country and abroad, and while I haven't any of the details of it, I knew in a general way that their investigation has seemed to be showing, so far as it has proceeded, a considerably higher cost of production in America than it is in Canada. Just what the difference will turn out to be, I don't know, but it is quite a material sum, and I think the indications were that it would be above the present tariff price of 30 cents a bushel. That affects I think especially the hard wheat, and a change in that tariff would be beneficial to the hard wheat region, which is the northern region of the United States, the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, and indirectly it might have some benefit on the soft region, but it would be especially beneficial in the hard wheat region, and that is the region in the most financial difficulty.

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Here is an inquiry about the Russian situation—whether the American attitude has produced, or shall begin to produce, results such as the stoppage of propaganda and the recognition of private American claims, etc. I haven't any information that would enable me to answer that either one way or the other. I don't know of any effect, either favorable or adverse. The situation, as I understand it, is exactly as it has been for some time, barring certain changes in personnel, etc., in Russia. Whether the action of some of the European governments which are reported to be about to recognize, or have recognized the Russian regime, will materially affect our attitude or not, I don't know. I don't see now that it will, unless they bring about a change in the attitude of the present Russian regime. It is possible there may be some effect in that direction. Should that be so, we would govern ourselves accordingly. I don't know of any change in the situation over there. I don't know of any present activity in the way of propaganda, nor do I know that propaganda has ceased. I haven't any information on one side or the other.

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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