Date: March 12, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
The results of the recent European naval agreement were mostly political. In that field they are important. The great powers finally have reached a definite basis for all naval construction. That is the outstanding fact. After years of effort, competition has been limited and perhaps ended. That is an achievement of the first rank. The agreement has not been accomplished without considerable sacrifice of principle. It does not in terms provide for a reduction, but for an increase of naval armaments. This may be only a concession to national sentiment. Perhaps the additional tonnage will not be constructed.
For the sake of establishing the principle of limitation and ending competition, probably it would be wise, for our own government to concur in the agreement if necessary to make it effective. If France increases her submarine fleet we have the same right to build destroyers as an offset that any other nation has. The world has to make slow progress in reversing a policy of ages. But the policy has been reversed. The five powers all have adopted the course charted in the Washington treaty. They will be in better condition to make further progress in the 1932 conference.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Fr. Stephen Lawson who prepared this document for digital publication.