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 voice.
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