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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

July 18, 1924

I haven't started any special work on my address of notification. I have gotten now just to the point where someone asked the man who had a reputation as a speaker how long it took him to prepare his speech, and he said he had been working on the speech all his life.

I don't think I can give any definition of the words "reactionary" and "progressive" that would be helpful. That reminds me a little of the old definition of "orthodoxy" and "heterodoxy." I think they used to say that "orthodoxy" was "my doxy" and "heterodoxy" was "your doxy." Sometimes the person is not well thought of and he is labeled as a reactionary. Sometimes if he is well thought of he is called a progressive. As a matter of fact all the political parties are progressive. I can't conceive of a party existing for any length of time that wasn't progressive, or of leadership being effective that wasn't progressive.

PRESS: Mr. President, will you take occasion to reply to the statement made by Mr. Davis, his address of acceptance?

PRESIDENT: Of course, I don't know about that. A great many times if you let a situation alone it takes care of itself. I mean that if I let this situation alone somebody may take care of it better than I can.

* * * * * * *

I don't know enough about the progress of the London Conference to express any opinion on it really satisfactory to myself, for you and your readers. I haven't any information on it other than what I have seen in the press. I judge that that is entirely accurate, and I don't say that in any way of depreciation. Of course you know and I know that it is difficult to get foreign news in the press that you can always rely on, but I think the reports that have come relative to the London Conference have every appearance of being authoritative and especially reliable, and judging from that I think it is making satisfactory progress, though judging from the personnel of the conference and what I know of its objects and its plans, I felt quite sure that that would be the result. And also judging from the rather optimistic note that Ambassador Kellogg sounded just before the Conference met, we might expect a great deal from it. He is a cautious man, and doesn't make statements unless he has a pretty secure foundation on which to base them.

I haven't any information other than what I have seen in the press of a report that the post of Reparations Agent General had been offered to Owen D. Young. I don't know whether it would it be proper for me to make any comment on that in advance. I suppose it would. This appointment is made entirely by the European authorities. It isn't an appointment that has anything to do with directing the Government of the United States. It is as though they wanted an engineer, or that they wanted a high class surgeon ... or something of that kind, and decided that they had found the man with the right kind of equipment in America. They asked him to come and serve, undoubtedly, in this case. No one would accept an appointment of that kind without inquiring if such action would embarrass the United States Government, or whether it would be satisfactory to them. I do not know of any reason now why Mr. Young wouldn't be entirely satisfactory to our Government, and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be very much pleased if he is willing to accept such a position, if it were offered to him. I think I have seen the statement from him that no such post had been offered and didn't know it was going to be. So I can't make any direct statement about it. I suppose it would go without saying that he served over there in the capacity of an expert acceptably in a way that was very satisfactory to our Government, and that we would have every confidence in him to meet any kind of situation that he might undertake.

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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