COOLIDGE, Calvin. Autograph letter signed (''Calvin Coolidge''), as President, to Myron T. Herrick, Washington, 21 February 1926. 1 page, 4to, on White House stationery, with a stamp (''Acknowledged 23 Feb 1926'') at top right.
COOLIDGE, Calvin. Autograph letter signed ("Calvin Coolidge"), as President, to Myron T. Herrick, Washington, 21 February 1926. 1 page, 4to, on White House stationery, with a stamp ("Acknowledged 23 Feb 1926") at top right.
A FINE EXAMPLE OF A COOLIDGE PRESIDENTIAL ALS, written to the U.S. Ambassador to France. "These absurdities seem to predominate," Coolidge says, "in some diplomacy. Of course [the] item has not a word of truth in it. I wonder why papers print it." In a postscript the President adds: "You were present when I met Mr. C at my dinner."
The offending newspaper item is not explained. But it is not surprising that Coolidge takes pains to personally reassure this important diplomat. Herrick was embroiled in the difficult task of trying to preserve peaceful relations among the major European powers, especially France and Germany. He worked hard to find a solution to the vexing--and ultimately disastrous--debt crisis that plagued all the European combatants after World War I. This, in fact, was Herrick's second tenure as head of the American legation in Paris. President Taft named him to that post first in 1912, and Wilson continued him through the early years of the war. After returning to the U. S. for an unsuccessful bid for the Senate, Herrick was posted back to Paris by Warren G. Harding. He consistently urged the U. S. to forgive loans owned to it by France, and he was instrumental in sculpting the Dawes Plan, which temporarily revived Germany's economy by granting it debt and reparations relief. As Herrick foresaw, the pyramid of interlocking debts eventually brought all of the great European powers to ruin when the Great Depression struck in 1929. The resulting disaster laid the groundwork out of which Hitler emerged to power in Nazi Germany and brought on a Second World War.