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Excerpts of the President's News Conference in Plymouth, Vermont

August 22, 1924

I don't know that I can comment on the benefits that I have received from my vacation. It is naturally quite a relief to be up here for a while. While we had as you know a remarkably comfortable summer in Washington, yet the altitude there is low and the atmosphere is very much different from what it is here. We have about a 400 foot elevation here and we are quite a distance north of Washington. They say it is a good plan for a person to go back as often as they can into the atmosphere in which they were born and brought up. I always get re-freshed by coming up here. Naturally I feel rested and revived.

I haven't paid any particular attention as to what we were having to eat. I think there is a story isn't there about the man that illustrated the perfect digestion. He said that as for himself he had no digestion. And I assume the cooking up here has been so good and so natural that I have eaten it without thinking about it.

PRESS: Have you weighed, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT: NO, I haven't.

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I haven't thought about my annual message. I have an inquiry here. I suppose I shall see that about twice a week now—about what I shall put in my annual message. You can generally expect that I am advocating today the same things I have yesterday, unless you have an official announcement from me that I have changed it. I keep seeing in the papers that I have changed my position about something or other, which is all new to me. When people come to me about certain bills I refer them to messages to Congress and statements I have made. Sometimes they go out and seem to indicate that I have changed my mind. Of course there is a continuity of action where something is started today, and which would require supplementary action tomorrow.

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Everybody in? I have several inquiries here about a conference for further limitation of armaments. I spoke of that in detail, first in the address that I gave at the Associated Press meeting in New York in April, and I spoke of it also in my address of acceptance. Now that lies in my mind this way; that when the situation in Europe is settled down so that they have the matter of their reparations out of the way and they appear to have reached a stable condition so that they are not disturbed lest they be attacked by each other, such a time would be an appropriate occasion for calling another conference for limitation of armaments. I suppose that means that there will have to be first an approach to find out whether such an invitation would be acceptable, and so on, and so forth. But I mention that as indicating my desire to call one at the earliest possible moment that it would seem to be practicable. I don't think it would be practicable until they reach a somewhat stable condition in Europe.

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I don't know as I can define what would be the chief issue in the foreign field. I have an inquiry here as to whether the World Court would be one of the chief issues. That is a project which I desire to see carried out. I shouldn't think it would be so important as the results that might be obtained and which I hope shall be obtained from a conference for disarmament, though it is a very important matter. The codification of international law I regard as important. Of course, the matter of chief importance in the foreign field is the settlement of reparations, because on that hangs almost everything else.

I am not certain that I can give you any exact and detailed information about the next step in the reparations. I understand that the next step is the acceptance or ratification by the German Parliament and the French Parliament. I can't give any new idea about the way it will affect American trade or prosperity or export trade. I think there is a general agreement that it would be greatly for the benefit of American trade, as well as European trade, if they could have a definite determination of what Germany is to pay and what France and the other countries are to receive. It would undoubtedly enable France to turn her attention more vigorously to commercial affairs. It certainly would have that effect on Germany and probably on Great Britain. And anything that would stimulate production over there I should judge would be of benefit to us here, as it would result in an exchange of commodities and give us a chance to manufacture and sell to them and give them a chance to manufacture more and sell to us, which would be to our benefit as long as such goods came in on a basis that would enable our manufacturers and our laborers to maintain their present American standards—I mean such a tariff basis to be kept in effect.

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 in Plymouth, Vermont Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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