Date: March 29, 1927
Location: Washington, D.C.
Colonel Cheney has been my Military Aide for a couple of years or so and is desirous of returning to more active service, so that he will be relieved about the 1st of May and will be succeeded by Colonel Blanton Winship, who is now in the War Department in the Judge Advocate General’s office.
Question: Wasn’t he the law officer of the Mitchell Court Martial?
President: I am not certain about that. Perhaps he was. He has seen service in Cuba and had quite a good deal to do there with helping frame some of the Cuban laws.
Question: Can you say what Colonel Cheney’s assignment will be?
President: I don’t think that is determined yet. He is an Engineer and will naturally be assigned to some duty of that nature. There has been some suggestion that he might be assigned to the Department that has its headquarters at Boston, but I haven’t had any report from the War Department yet as to where they desire to locate him.
All that I can say about the number of our forces that are to be in China would be to say what I said the other day — that we didn’t have any present intention of increasing them. But I had hardly made that statement before a request came in from Admiral Williams to send 1500 Marines, which the Department is planning to do. I expect that will be sufficient. It is possible that they will not be needed, but it is some distance over there and takes some time to get a force assembled and send it there, so that we have to work in anticipation of what might possibly arise. We depend of course on what Admiral Williams requests.in the way of additional forces and up to that time he had not seemed to think it was necessary to send any larger force than what he had there. Three of the cruisers were held at Honolulu, I think, for a considerable length of time awaiting his call. They had been dispatched some days ago. Our forces are there for the purpose of protecting our people and their property. They are not at all in the nature of an expeditionary force, nor are they there to make war on any one. They are there in the nature of a police force to protect our people, in so far as we can see now, not from any organized military attack on them, but from disorganized attackes sometimes made by soldiers we assume not acting under the authority of any one there that is attempting to function as a Government, but acting rather in accordance with a mob spirit. It is because of the liability of something of that kind to break out at any time in most unexpected ways that we are increasing our forces. There will be no change in the command of our forces there. They will be under the charge of our own officers of course, and there is no intention of having any unified command so far as I know now. We cooperate with other nations there. Of course, that is necessary. The location of the foreign settlement is such that I do not understand that our people are altogether separated from those of other nations. I rather think the French settlement is perhaps the most compact, but of course that is not separated from our settlement or from the settlement of other nationals there, so that we should all act together to prevent a mob from breaking through at any point, I assume, to afford protection for our own people.
I do not recall any persons that might come under the designation of political leaders calling on me at Dupont Circle with the possible exception of Mr. Hilles, who was in town for two or three days, and I think he dined with me. I am not certain about that. I think he did. He came to see me in relation to the suggestion of some names for District Attorney of New York and some of the vacancies on the bench in that State, more in the nature of a report to me what he found out at that time. He had then arrived at no determination about it. It was understood he would take the matter up further on his return to New York and make a further report about it.
I do not expect that the situation in China or Mexico will prevent my going away for a considerable length of time during the summer. It is possible that the limitation of naval armaments conference would make it more necessary for me to remain in Washington in close touch with the Departments than the situation in China or Mexico or Nicaragua.
I haven’t made any decision as to where I shall go for the summer. As I have already stated, I have invitations under consideration running all the way from Michigan to the Pacific States.
So far as I know there was only one American killed in the recent disturbances in China, which has already been reported, a Dr. Williams connected with the University at Nanking. One or two women were wounded. One American I think had his ankle broken. But as I understood that, it was not from violence on the part of the Chinese but was an accident he suffered in getting over the wall that surrounds Nanking. There are steps up on the inside, but of course nothing of that kind on the outside. They have to be let down. I understand he fell about 20 feet in being let down, and suffered that injury to his ankle.
As I have already stated, there is no plan for any unified control of our forces in China.
I can’t tell just when I may be able to get away on my vacation. I am expecting to have the semi-annual Business Meeting of the Government on the 10th of June, 10th or 11th. That is a little earlier than I expected to have it, the reason being that it is the night when it will be possible to secure the best broadcasting of the meeting. I doubt if I shall do any hunting. I never know where I am going to break out in that respect. I hadn’t time for any fishing since I was a boy until last summer and my hunting consisted mostly of hunting birds and rabbits with a muzzle-loaded shot gun in the early Fall at the same time that I was fishing in the summer. I rather prefer fishing to hunting. It appeals to me in some way more. So I am not making any plans about hunting. I shall be glad to confer with the members of the conference though about that any time.
No final decision has been made about appointing a United States District Attorney for the City of New York, but I think a decision may be made within a day or two.
No one has finally been selected for judge of the Western New York District.
I have appointed the members of the Economic Conference:
Henry M. Robinson, of Los Angeles. He is known to you as one of the men that served on the Committee which the Reparations Commission chosen from this Country to make suggestions about the German reparations,
Norman H. Davis, of New York City, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Assistant Secretary of State.
John W. O’Leary, of Chicago, and President of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
Alonzo E. Taylor, of Stanford University. He is a man that has had considerable experience in Europe and he speaks several of the European languages and is especially an agricultural economist.
Dr. Julius Klein, the Director of our Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. He knows our Government relationship to economic questions perhaps as well as any one in any of our departments. He is very familiar with the different questions that have been up for discussion during the past two or three years.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge: Remarks by the President to Newspaper Correspondents
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