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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

February 19, 1924

The Attorney General has not resigned and there was no discussion of him or his office in the Cabinet either before or after the meeting.

I haven't given any special consideration to the selection of a successor to Mr. Denby.

I don't know just how far I can go hereafter in giving out any information about the oil lease cases. I am willing at all times to give the press anything I can give without embarrassing the cause of the public service. Now it is very seldom that that would be the case, but it is especially the case in the prosecution of cases in court. I don't imagine that those who may be defendants in these cases feel that their case was helped by supplying the details of their defence to the press, nor would the case for the Government be helped by supplying to the press the details of the Government's case, what it might think about the law, or what facts it had to present. I imagine though, that the press will be and is in possession of all the facts, and can advise itself about the law. But I think it would be better for the men who have charge of that, I mean Senator Pomerene and Mr. Roberts, to assume responsibility for giving out information. That doesn't mean that you won't get what you can from any other source. It is perfectly proper to do that. I prefer, though, that they should take the responsibility of giving what they can to the press other than doing it myself. They will stand in the same relation to these cases that the Attorney General stands to the other legal requirements of the Government. They are public officers, appointed under statutory provision and confirmed by the Senate, and that resolution or statute gives them full authority to prosecute these cases. I give you that as a preliminary, in order that you may understand hereafter if I don't have an opportunity to say much about the cases.

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Here is an inquiry about the thirteen Pan-American conferences that are scheduled for the coming year and in the early part of 1925, on science, education, child welfare, and other matters that cover a wide variety of subjects. It is the policy of the Government to encourage this tendency towards cooperation between North and South America. That has been a well-known policy of our country for many years, a notable expression of which was the Pan American Union which we maintain here under the direction of Doctor [Leo S.] Rowe, who I think is doing very splendid work in that direction. It is especially desirable from every point of view of which I can think. It is desirable in the first place to maintain the most friendly relations between North and South America. We are contiguous countries and our interests are substantially the same, being in the western hemisphere. And I go from that on to the commercial possibilities which at the present time appear to be greatest for our country in that direction. The European field is fairly well taken up. It is an old country. It isn't a developing country in the way that new lands are. Those of South America are new and open to development. The natural resources of South America have yet to be developed. There are opportunities there for all kinds of production from agriculture to manufacture, so that the opportunity for production there being great, the opportunity for exchange is great. It isn't one government usually that trades with another, but it is the people of one country that trade with another. The governments can help in that direction by the diffusion of proper in-formation, and by rendering every possible encouragement, to the people of one country to trade with the people of another country. In that direction I think our commercial welfare lies to a good deal of an extent.

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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