Date: February 15, 1924
Location: Washington, D.C.
Here is an inquiry about the Russian situation – whether the American attitude has produced, or shall begin to produce, results such as the stoppage of propaganda and the recognition of private American claims, etc. I haven’t any information that would enable me to answer that either one way or the other. I don’t know of any effect, either favorable or adverse. The situation, as I understand it, is exactly as it has been for some time, barring certain changes in personnel, etc. in Russia. Whether the action of some of the European Governments which are reported to be about to recognize, or have recognized the Russian regime, will materially affect our attitude or not, I don’t know. I don’t see now that it will, unless they bring about a change in the attitude of the present Russian regime. It is possible there may be some effect in that direction. Should that be so, we would govern ourselves accordingly. I don’t know of any change in the situation over there. I don’t know of any present activity in the way of propaganda, nor do I know that propaganda has ceased. I haven’t any information on one side or the other.
Here is a local inquiry about the visit of Mayor Kendrick of Philadelphia, who was in town the other day, and I invited him to come in and have lunch with me. Quite naturally he and I compared our experience in the office of Mayor, I having I been Mayor in the City of Northampton, where I believe we expended about $130,000 a year; and he Mayor of Philadelphia, where a total of about $75,000,000 a year is collected in taxes, he told me. That came about through my inquiry about the financial condition of the City, which he said was good. He was especially informed about the tax collections, because that is the department that he formerly was the chief of.
Mr. President, did he tell you anything about General Butler?
Not anything in detail. He made a report that he was getting on very well, he thought, and expressed his appreciation and thanks that the United States Government had been able to give him a release of time so that he might serve the City of Philadelphia. He mentioned the fact that the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was approaching. I inquired of him what they were doing in Philadelphia about that, and he said they hadn’t yet adopted any specific plan. It will be some time before the celebration. He spoke about the proposal pending for a very large celebration in the way of a World’s Fair, but hadn’t made up his mind yet and it hadn’t been determined yet up there whether that project would be carried out. I told him that the national government would be glad to assist him in any way they could. He didn’t know whether, the project of the World’s Fair would meet at this time with much enthusiasm on the part of the Congress. So we talked of many I things that really didn’t mean much.
I have heard reports about the investigation of the Tariff Commission as to the cost of producing wheat in this country and abroad, and while I haven’t any of the details of it, I knew in a general way that their investigation has seemed to be showing, so far as it has proceeded, a considerably higher cost of production in America than it is in Canada. Just what the difference will turn out to be, I don’t know, but it is quite a material sum, and I think the indications were that it would be above the present tariff price 30c a bushel. That affects I think especially the hard wheat, and a change in that tariff would be beneficial to the hard wheat region, which is the northern region of the United States, the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, and indirectly it might have some benefit of the soft region, but it would be especially beneficial in the hard wheat region, and this the region in the most financial difficulty.
An inquiry about the suspension of preparations for the Shenandoah’s polar flight. In order to carry that out, an appropriation was required of $400,000. That is in the Navy bill. I learned that there is some objection to that. I thought it would be rather unfortunate if we went ahead and spent more or less money preparing to take the Shenandoah to the polar regions, and then found out that the Congress was unwilling to make the necessary appropriations to carry on the work. So I thought it more prudent to wait and see what might develop. Another inquiry about a rumor that former Secretary Fall and Secretary Denby started negotiations looking toward leasing coal fields in Alaska on similar lines to those followed in the Teapot Dome lease. I don’t recall that any report of that kind ever came to me. I haven’t at present any information about it. I know, of course, that there is criticism about the conduct of affairs in Alaska, though I had understood that the visit there last summer of Secretary Wallace of the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Hoover of the Department of Commerce, and I think Secretary Work of the Department of the Interior, had fairly well cleaned up any questions I that were at issue. They had an opportunity to secure first hand information and were working along the proposal for the development of Alaska to the best possible advantage.
Here is an inquiry about the lines along which Government counsel may proceed in the oil lease investigation. I can’t give any information about that. I haven’t any, and if I did, I presume it wouldn’t be appropriate to give it out, other than the general suggestion that I expect them to proceed with every appropriate remedy. Whether that would be in the way of an injunction, or some other proceeding, I don’t know at this time.
Here is an inquiry about the nomination of Senator Pomerene. I have sent in the nomination of Senator Pomerene. So far as I know he has no disability of any kind. My impression is that the new nomination that I have sent in and that of Senator Pomerene (the new nomination is Mr. Roberts) will be confirmed. They seem to match each other in their ability and capacity for carrying on an investigation, and I judge they will both be confirmed. I haven’t any expectation of withdrawing Senator Pomerene. Of course if it should develop, as it did with Mr. Strawn, that Mr. Pomerene had some connection that was adverse, why then I would change my attitude. But I don’t think anything of that kind is likely to develop. Mr. Strawn found that the bank of which he is a director holds a mortgage which he had no knowledge of a when he came down here. It is very obscure and indirect connection anyway. But he thought perhaps under the circumstances he ought to ask to be relieved, so I sent word to the Committee that I would like to take their judgment on it. They were of the opinion under the circumstances that perhaps it would be better to get someone else, so I have secured Mr. Roberts. I think he is satisfactory.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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