Calvin Coolidge photo

Excerpts of the President's News Conference

January 02, 1925

There is nothing I can say this morning in relation to the call on me of Lord Cecil. It was that ordinary call of courtesy that is made by foreigners when they come to town, I suppose to satisfy a mutual desire to see what kind of people each of us may be, mutual curiosity perhaps in order that he might see what I looked like and that I might see what he looked like. We chatted about various things that I chat about here in the newspaper conferences. Nothing new developed. I usually inquire, and did of him, if the situation was clearing up in Europe, if there was a prospect of stability. He thought there was. That is as we long know over here. He wanted to know if I could give him any message, and I told him I didn't know of anything other than that he might say I was pleased with the friendly relations that exist between this country and his country. That is rather barren, I am afraid, of news, but there wasn't much of any news in the call.

* * * * * * *

I haven't received any text or outline of the French Government's note. I wouldn't want to assume that there was one, suggesting terms of settlement of the French debt to the United States, and including a proposal for a ten year moratorium. I don't want to be ungracious enough to say that I told you so, but so far as any information has come to me it seems to bear out the supposition that I made either at the last or the next to the last [press] conference that Mr. Clementel hadn't made any definite statements that undertook to bind the French Government, suggesting that the suggestion was made about that they wouldn't do anything about their debt. So far as suggestions have come to me from an authoritative source, they are to the effect that that wasn't at all intended by him. I think I did suggest at the last session that I doubted very much if responsible officials of the French Government were making any suggestions of repudiation, and that while some individual might make some statement that squinted in that direction, we ought not to impute that to the French Government or the French people any more than we would impute some improper proposal to our Government or our people, that apparently was biased by some public official over here. I am very glad to be able to report that that is apparently the case. Mr. Clementel seemed to indicate that his report was improperly reported and that there were things in it that indicated a desire on his part to pay what the French owe the United States, and not at all a desire to repudiate.

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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