Date: September 9, 1930
Location: Northampton, MA
A distinct cleavage exists between the United States and the League of Nations on national defense.
Under the League plan each member has responsibilities for the defense of other members. By that arrangement it would seem that as each country is entitled to help from all the others every one would feel that there was no need for large armaments. Curiously, it is not working that way. Each nation, instead of relying on the help of others, magnifies its obligations to help others and claims it needs large armaments. Instead of increased security each anticipates increased peril. When the United States was expected to join the League our government was proposing a standing army of about 500,000. This theory arms for security.
The theory of the United States is for each nation to defend itself, cultivate friendly relations with others and reduce armaments so that they are not considered a menace anywhere. This theory disarms for security.
This difference in theory has made the United States a leader in limitation of armaments while it has prevented the League from meeting the obligation under the Versailles Treaty to disarm. The League, founded in terms of peace, constantly thinks in terms of war.
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 Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.