Calvin Coolidge's Telegram
to Samuel Gompers
BOSTON, MASS., Sept. 14, 1919


President American Federation of Labor, New York City, N.Y.

Replying to your telegram, I have already refused to remove the Police
Commissioner of Boston. I did not appoint him. He can assume no
position which the courts would uphold except what the people have
by the authority of their law vested in him. He speaks only with their
The right of the police of Boston to affiliate has always been
questioned, never granted, is now prohibited. The suggestion of
President Wilson to Washington does not apply to Boston. There the
police have remained on duty. Here the Policemen's Union left their
duty, an action which President Wilson characterized as a crime against
civilization. Your assertion that the Commissioner was wrong cannot
justify the wrong of leaving the city unguarded. That furnished the
opportunity, the criminal element furnished the action. There is no right
to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time. You
ask that the public safety again be placed in the hands of these same
policemen while they continue in disobedience to the laws of
Massachusetts and in their refusal to obey the orders of the Police  
Department. Nineteen men have been tried and removed. Others
having abandoned their duty, their places have, under the law, been
declared vacant on the opinion of the Attorney-General. I can suggest
no authority outside the courts to take further action. I wish to join and
assist in taking a broad view of every situation. A grave responsibility
rests on all of us. You can depend on me to support you in every legal
action and sound policy. I am equally determined to defend the
sovereignty of Massachusetts and to maintain the authority and
jurisdiction over her public officers where it has been placed by the
Constitution and law of her people.

Governor of Massachusetts