Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

The Truman Administration During 1949: A Chronology

Compiled by Raymond H. Geselbracht, Special Assistant to the Director, Harry S. Truman Library

Items Arranged by Date

1949: January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December


January 1: Chiang Kai-shek resigns as president of the Republic of China (Nationalist China).

January 1: The United States recognizes the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

January 3: The 81st Congress convenes. The Senate is comprised of 54 Democrats and 42 Republicans, the House of Representatives of 263 Democrats, 171 Republicans, and one American Laborite.

January 5: President Truman delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. In the address, he puts forward a long list of domestic policy goals and states that "every segment of our population and every individual has a right to expect from our Government a fair deal."

January 7: President Truman accepts the resignation of George C. Marshall as Secretary of State, effective on January 20.

January 10: President Truman presents to Congress a $41,858,000,000 budget, the largest peacetime budget ever presented. Approximately half the budget is for defense and foreign aid.

January 11: President Truman meets with a committee comprised of the White House architect, the heads of the Public Buildings Administration and the Public Works Administration and several consultants to discuss the renovation of the White House. At this meeting, the idea of saving the original stone walls was put forward.

January 12: President Truman meets for the first time with the Presidentís Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which was created according to the provisions of Executive Order 9981. The committee was charged with making recommendations to the President which would bring into effect the desegregation of the armed forces. "I want the job done," Truman said during the meeting, "and I want it done in a way so that everyone will be happy to cooperate to get it done."

January 13: The Presidentís Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services holds its first hearings. Representatives of the Army defend segregation of African-Americans. The Marine Corps also defends its segregation policy and admits that only one of its 8,200 officers is African-American. The Navy and Air Force both indicate they will integrate their units. The Navy admits that only five of its 45,000 officers are African-Americans.

January 13: President Truman sends to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification the Charter of the Organization of American States, formulated at the Ninth International Conference of American States. The Charter was favorably considered by the Senate on August 28, 1950, entered into force on December 13, 1951, and was proclaimed by President Truman on December 27, 1951.

January 13: President Truman sends to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification the Inter-American Convention on the Granting of Political Rights to Women, formulated at the Ninth International Conference of American States. Trumanís transmittal letter to the Senate said this: "The purpose of this convention, and the principle underlying it, have my complete and wholehearted approval...."

January 19: President Truman signs legislation raising the Presidentís salary from $75,000 to $100,000 a year and giving the President a $50,000 tax-exempt expense account.

January 20: Truman is inaugurated as President of the United States. In his inaugural address, he outlines a "program for peace and freedom" which includes four major points: 1. Unfaltering support for the United Nations. 2. A continuation of programs, especially the Marshall Plan, that will create world economic recovery. 3. The creation of collective defense arrangements, and especially one for the North Atlantic region (which would become NATO). 4. A program of technical assistance for underdeveloped areas (which would become the Point Four program).

January 21: Dean Acheson is sworn into office as Secretary of State.

January 25: The Soviet Union announces the formation of the Council for Economic Mutual Assistance, called the "Molotov Plan" to indicate its counterpart status to the Marshall Plan. The six member nations are Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.

January 29: The Truman administrationís proposed National Labor Relations Act of 1949 is made public. The act would repeal most of the provisions of the Taft-Hartley law.

January 31: The United States extends de jure recognition to Israel following the holding on January 25 of elections in that country. The United States had extended de facto recognition to Israel on May 14, 1948.


February 10: President Truman receives from the White House renovation committee a report entitled "Elimination of Structural and Fire Hazards, Executive Mansion," which called for renovation work on the White House which would cost $5,400,000. Truman sent to Congress a request for a supplemental appropriation for this amount on February 17.

February 15: The anti-inflation legislation called for in President Trumanís 1949 State of the Union message is introduced into Congress. The proposed legislation would give the President standby powers to control wages and prices, raise taxes by $4 billion, extend rent, credit and export controls, and empower the government to make loans or to build and operate plants in order to increase production of critical materials.

February 18: The Berlin airlift delivers its one millionth ton of supplies to West Berlin.

February 19: President Truman reactivates the United Service Organizations, stating that conditions in the world require that the United States maintain a large military establishment, and that the USO is for the young citizen soldiers that make up the bulk of the American forces "a strong and steady link with the homes from which they came and to which they will be returning. It is important to keep this home contact, with all that it means of wholesome influences, happy associations, and strong spiritual resources."

February 21: President Truman sends a letter to Congress outlining his program for liberalizing and expanding social security. His proposals would almost double the number of people covered by social security, almost double the minimum and maximum monthly benefits, and add disability insurance to the existing old-age and survivorís insurance component of social security.

February 22: President Truman remarks during a Reserve Officers Association dinner that no "s.o.b." could force him to dismiss a member of his staff by making "some smart-aleck statement over the air." He was reacting to Drew Pearsonís criticism of Harry H. Vaughan, the Military Aide to the President, for accepting a medal from Argentine president Juan Peron.

February 28: At President Trumanís urging, the Senate considers an amendment to its rules that would impose cloture to debate by a simple majority vote. Southern Democrats countered by opening a filibuster to resist this attempt to end the right of unlimited filibuster. On March 11, a coalition of Southern Democrats and Midwestern Republicans defeated a measure that would have limited debate on the amendment. This was the first serious setback suffered by the Truman administration in the 81st Congress, one that meant that the administration would not be able to get from Congress the substance of the civil rights legislation it wanted.


March 2: An Air Force B-50 Superfortress, Lucky Lady II, completes the first nonstop flight around the world. The plane was refueled four times in the air. General Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command, said the flight proved that a B-50 bomber could take off from the United States and drop an atomic bomb anywhere in the world. The flight was part of an Air Force campaign to persuade President Truman and the Congress that it should be expanded to 70 combat-capable groups.

March 3: President Truman approves a National Security Council paper recommending that the United States pursue a policy of creating "rifts between Moscow and a Chinese Communist regime," partly by restoring ordinary economic relations with China.

March 3: President Truman announces that James V. Forrestal is resigning as Secretary of Defense, effective March 31, and that he will be replaced by Louis Johnson.

March 13: Winston Churchill delivers a speech on world affairs in Boston. The speech, which was viewed as a sequel to his "Iron Curtain" speech of March 5, 1946, strongly condemned the postwar policies of the Soviet Union. Churchill noted that there was "a very different climate of opinion" in the United States and Britain in 1949 than that of 1946, when his "Iron Curtain"

speech provoked controversy. In contrast, this present speech gave rise to little controversy.

March 18: The text of the proposed North Atlantic Treaty is made public by the seven nations that drafted it--the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

March 21: In an address to the United States Conference of Mayors, President Truman criticizes "the attempts of the usual troublemakers to make it appear that there is bad feeling between the 81st Congress and the President of the United States.... Basically, the Congress and the President are working together and will continue to work together for the good of the whole country. We are going to agree on a lot more things than we disagree on."

March 24: President Truman signs a Senate Joint Resolution authorizing a contribution by the United States of $16 million to a United Nations fund for the relief of Palestine Refugees. "There is pressing need for this fund," Truman said on signing the resolution, "for seven hundred thousand refugees are living almost on starvation level.... I trust that before this relief program is ended means will be devised for the permanent solution of the refugee problem, and that the efforts of the Palestine Conciliation Commission to establish a lasting peace will bring hope of a brighter future to these destitute victims of the recent hostilities in the Holy Land."

March 25: President Truman asks the Congress to establish a commission to oversee the renovation of the White House.

March 28: The secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force testify before the Presidentís Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. The Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Navy both testify that they were opposed to segregation and are pursuing policies to integrate their services. The Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall argued in favor of maintaining segregation, saying that the Army "was not an instrument for social evolution."

March 28: Louis Johnson is sworn in as Secretary of Defense. On March 29, he announced plans to speed up the unification of the armed forces.

March 30: President Truman signs the Housing and Rent Act, which extends federal rent control authority. "This act was passed by the Congress despite the propaganda barrage which was designed to destroy rent control altogether," Truman said. "In its final form, it represents a crushing defeat for the real estate lobby." The act, Truman concluded, clearly demonstrated Congressís intention "to maintain adequate protection for tenants until the housing shortage is relieved."

March 31: The Soviet Union sends identical messages to the seven nations involved in drafting the charter of the North Atlantic Treaty which charge that the proposed treaty would form an "openly aggressive" alliance against the Soviet Union in violation of the United Nations Charter. On April 2, the foreign ministers of the twelve nations that signed the North Atlantic Treaty two days later responded that the treaty provided for an alliance that was completely defensive in nature and "not directed against any nation or group of nations but only against armed aggression."


April 1: The Commission on the Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government issues its final report, which charges that inefficiency, waste, favoritism and corruption mark the administration of the government in many agencies.

April 4: The North Atlantic Treaty is signed in Washington, DC by representatives of Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, the United States and Canada.

April 7: Secretary of Agriculture Charles F. Brannan presents the proposals regarding farm price supports that would come to be called the Brannan Plan to a joint hearing of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. President Truman indicated his support for these proposals during a meeting with Brannan on April 6. The Brannan Plan would guarantee farmers a high income without production controls.

April 8: The United States, Great Britain, and France agree that their respective zones of occupation in Germany will fuse, and they also agree on a new occupation statute which will permit the German people living in the three former occupation zones to establish a German Federal Republic.

April 8: The Americans for Democratic Action call for a mobilization to save the Fair Deal program from the efforts of Republicans and Southern Democrats in Congress to kill it.

April 9: President Truman tells the Citizens Committee for Reorganization of the Executive Branch of the Government that most of the reorganization plans he has sent to Congress have been rejected, "and unless some educational program is put on by those interested in efficient government we shall have the same results" when any further plans are sent to Congress.

April 12: President Truman speaks on the floor of the United States Senate on the fourth anniversary of President Rooseveltís death. "...It became necessary for me to assume a tremendous burden on...[the] evening [of April 12, 1945]. I have tried my level best to carry that burden in the interests of all the people of the country, and I hope that when the history of the period is written that it will be said that the effort was not in vain."

April 13: President Truman sends a message to Congress recommending the establishment of a Columbia Valley Administration. "...Our natural resources must not be wastefully exploited," Trumanís message said, "but instead must be developed and used for the benefit of all our people, and at the same time must be conserved so far as possible to preserve their usefulness permanently."

April 14: Congress authorizes about $5.5 billion for Marshall Plan programs for the period April 1949 through June 1950.

April 14: The Commission for the Renovation of the Executive Mansion is established by Congress.

April 14: Conclusion of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal war crimes trials. As a result of the twelve trials conducted at Nuremberg beginning in October 1946, 185 people were indicted, 24 hanged, 20 imprisoned for life, and 98 imprisoned for lesser terms.

April 22: President Truman sends to Congress a special message on the nationís health needs. The message included four recommendations: 1. That the Congress enact legislation "providing for a nation-wide system of health insurance." 2. That the Congress enact legislation to help medical schools expand. 3. That the federal government provide increased aid for the construction of hospitals and other medical facilities. 4. That Congress increase the amount of and consolidate federal grants to assist state and local governments to prevent and control certain diseases and to promote certain basic health services.

April 24: The American Medical Association denounces the Truman administrationís health program as an "Old World scourge" that would "regiment doctors and patients alike" and "turn back the clock of medical progress in this country 50 years."

April 24: Communist Chinese forces occupy Nanjing, the Nationalist capital.

April 25: Bills to enact into law the Truman administrationís health program (S. 1679 and H.R. 4312, called the Murray-Dingell omnibus health legislation) are introduced into both houses of Congress. Congress adjourned in October 1949 without acting on the legislation.

April 26: President Truman accepts John L. Sullivanís resignation as Secretary of the Navy. Sullivan resigned in reaction to the cancellation by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson of the Navyís first supercarrier, the USS United States.

April 28: The Truman administrationís civil rights program is introduced into Congress as a four bill package. Three bills focus on, respectively, lynching, the poll tax, and fair employment practices; the fourth bill, called the Civil Rights Act of 1949, would establish a structure within the government to address effectively civil rights issues, and would safeguard the rights of African-Americans to vote and strengthen laws protecting individuals from police violence.

April 28: President Truman sends to Congress for consideration the Charter for the International Trade Organization. "This Charter," Trumanís message to Congress said, "is an integral part of the larger program of international economic reconstruction and development. The great objectives of the European recovery program will be only partially realized unless we achieve a vigorous world trading system. The economic advancement of underdeveloped areas likewise depends very largely upon increasing the international exchange of goods and services. Thus the Charter is an effective step toward improved standards of living throughout the world...."


May 3: President Truman announces the resignation of General Lucius D. Clay as Military Governor of Germany, effective May 15, 1949.

May 4: The United States, Great Britain, and France inform the United Nations that agreement has been reached with the Soviet Union to end the Berlin blockade, effective May 12, 1949.

May 9: President Truman sends to Congress a special message asking it to act on the several measures before Congress concerning the reorganization of the Executive Branch. These measures included legislation to improve the organization of national security and foreign affairs activities of the government, and legislation which would create a National Science Foundation, a Department of Welfare, and a General Services Administration. Truman also asked Congress to pass a general reorganization statute.

May 11: Israel is accepted by the United Nations General Assembly as a member nation.

May 12: The Soviet Union ends the Berlin blockade, though it does not allow access to Berlin by surface routes to return to normal. One American official said on May 19, 1949 that Berlin remained "in a state of semi-blockade." The Berlin airlift continues operation.

May 18: President Truman announces the nomination of John J. McCloy to be U. S. High Commissioner for Germany.

May 18 to 28: President Enrico Gaspar Dutra of Brazil visits the United States. On May 21, Presidents Truman and Dutra issued a joint statement which focused on economic development and technical assistance issues.

May 19: The State Department Policy Planning Staff completes a report on Southeast Asia which recommends that the Truman administration press France to accommodate its policy toward Indochina to the realities of nationalism in the area.

May 23: The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is proclaimed in Germany.

May 23 to June 20: The four foreign ministers (for the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union) comprising the Council of Foreign Ministers meets in Paris. The foreign ministers failed to agree on a plan for the unification of Germany.

May 26: President Truman issues a statement acknowledging receipt of the final report of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch and pledging to work to place into practice the measures for the effective management of the government which the commissionís report recommends.

May 31: Alger Hiss goes on trial for perjury in New York City. Hiss was accused of having lied to a grand jury about giving government documents to Whittaker Chambers.


June 5: The Senate Judiciary Committee publishes the names of ten people identified by Elizabeth T. Bentley, a former Communist courier, as having passed information to the Soviet Union. Six of the ten people were or had been U. S. government employees. Bentley had previously identified 31 other people as Soviet spies.

June 6: President Truman issues Executive Order 10062 establishing the position of United States High Commissioner for Germany.

June 7: President Truman asks Congress to appropriate $150 million in economic aid for the Republic of Korea (South Korea). "Korea has become a testing ground," Truman said, "in which the validity and practical value of the ideals and principles of democracy which the Republic [of Korea] is putting into practice are being matched against the practices of communism which have been imposed upon the people of north Korea. The survival and progress of the Republic [of Korea] toward a self-supporting, stable economy will have an immense and far-reaching influence on the people of Asia."

June 11: President Truman gives an address in which he argues against those in Congress who would reduce Marshall Plan aid. "A slash in the funds available for European recovery at this time," he said, "would be the worst kind of economy. It would cancel the hopes and the plans of the Western European nations. It would be a great gain for communism."

June 16: In response to reportersí questions, President Truman likens the spy trials and hearings and related activities in the United States to the period around 1800 when the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed. "Hysteria finally died down and things straightened out," Truman said of this period, "and the country didnít go to hell, and it isnít going to now."

June 20: The Allied High Commission is established to exercise the occupation powers in Germany of the United States, Great Britain, and France, thus ending the military occupation of the western zones of Germany and putting in its place a civilian occupation authority.

June 20: President Truman signs the Reorganization Act of 1949 and submits seven reorganization plans to the Congress. The common objective of all the reorganization measures, Truman said, "is a government establishment which performs its authorized functions with effectiveness and economy."

June 21: President Truman issues a statement regarding the just completed Paris session of the Council of Foreign Ministers. He announces that the foreign ministers made progress toward ending the occupation of Austria and the conclusion of a peace treaty with that country. He also acknowledges that similar progress was not made with regard to Germany. "The Soviet Union," he said, "...sought a return to Potsdam and its system, which the Russians had rendered unworkable by their misuse of the unlimited veto. They refused to recognize the important progress which has been made in Western Germany since 1945. In these circumstances, real progress for the unification of Germany and its people was impossible."

June 21: The New York Herald Tribune publishes an article which charges that influence peddlers--called "five percenters" in the article--got government contracts for clients willing to pay them 5% of the value of the contract. One named person claimed he could get government contracts for clients as a result of his close association with Harry H. Vaughan, President Trumanís military aide, as well as with other administration officials.

June 24: President Truman sends a special message to Congress recommending the enactment of legislation to authorize an expanded program of technical assistance to underdeveloped areas--called the Point Four program--and to encourage private investment in these areas. This legislation, Truman said, "will constitute a national endorsement of a program of major importance in our efforts for world peace and economic stability.... We are here embarking on a venture that extends far into the future."

June 28: Harry and Bess Truman celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary. On June 29, Harry wrote this to Bess: "...What have we had but the best of luck and a most happy thirty years. Hope we can have thirty more equally as happy without so much responsibility."

June 30: President Truman signs the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, which creates the General Services Administration. The creation of the new agency had been recommended by the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government.

June 30: Mao Zedong announces that China will align itself with the Soviet Union.


July 5 to 8: The Senate debates ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty.

July 8: The perjury trial of Alger Hiss ends in a hung jury.

July 11: President Truman sends his midyear economic report to Congress. Noting that the economy is in a transition between a postwar inflationary period and a succeeding period of stable economic growth, and noting too that economic activity is falling and unemployment rising, President Truman asks Congress to take several actions which together will help bring that period of stable growth. These actions include the following: Keep tax levels stable; adopt an improved program of farm price supports; increase the minimum wage to almost twice its current level; strengthen the unemployment compensation system; strengthen the old age and survivors insurance system; improve the public assistance system; enact legislation to provide technical assistance to underdeveloped areas abroad and to encourage investment in those areas; and restore the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act.

July 13: President Truman makes a radio and television address to the American people on the state of the American economy in which he says that the economy is in recession and argues for activist government programs to maximize employment and production. He denigrates the "men of little vision" and "selfish interests" who say the government is doing too much and spending too much money.

July 15: President Truman signs the Housing Act of 1949. "This far-reaching measure," Truman said, "...opens up the prospect of decent homes in wholesome surroundings for low-income families now living in the squalor of the slums.... [It] also establishes as a national objective the achievement as soon as feasible of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family...." The act provided for, among other things, the construction of 810,000 housing units over a six year period; a five year slum clearance program; and $325 million in loans and grants for farm housing aid.

July 19: President Truman tells a Shrine convention in Chicago that although Communism "may have temporary triumphs...in the long run it must either destroy itself, or abandon its attempt to force other nations into its pattern.... In the battle for menís minds our faith is more appealing, more dynamic, and stronger than any totalitarian force.... Our idea of democracy speaks in terms which men can understand. It speaks of opportunity and tolerance and self-government. It speaks of the dignity of the individual, his freedom of conscience and the right to worship as he pleases. It does not exact blind loyalty to false ideas or improbable theories. It does not make a god out of the state, or out of man, or out of any human creation."

July 21: The Senate approves the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty by a vote of 83 to 13.

July 21: A coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats defeats the Brannan Plan in the House of Representatives. The Senate Committee on Agriculture voted at about this same time to disapprove the Brannan Plan proposals.

July 25: President Truman announces the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty. "The American people value peace and freedom above all things," Truman said. "Our ratification of the North Atlantic Pact with the overwhelming support of the Senate and the people shows our determination to preserve this peace and freedom."

July 25: President Truman sends a special message to Congress recommending the passage of legislation to authorize a military aid program. He requests authorization for $1,400,000,000 in military aid in 1950, the major portion of which would be devoted to the needs of Western European nations. Truman believed this aid program was a necessary complement to the North Atlantic Treaty. "Like the North Atlantic Treaty," he said, "this program of military aid is entirely defensive in character. By strengthening the defense establishments of the free nations, it will increase the confidence of the peoples of the world in a peaceful future and protect the growth of world recovery."

July 27: The National Security Council approves a recommendation by the military governors of Germany that the Berlin airlift continue operating at a reduced level in order to maintain a nucleus from which a full-scale airlift could be quickly reconstituted.


August 5: The Department of State releases the so-called White Paper on China (entitled United States Relations with China), which seeks to explain and justify United States policy toward China. The Communists had by this time won the civil war with the Nationalists in China. In a letter accompanying the White Paper, Secretary of State Dean Acheson argued that "nothing the United States did or could have done within the reasonable limits of its capabilities could have changed the results [of the Chinese civil war]." One Republican Senator called the White Paper "a 1,054-page whitewash of a wishful, do-nothing policy which has succeeded only in placing Asia in danger of Soviet conquest."

August 8: The Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments opens hearings regarding charges of influence peddling by so-called "five percenters" in the government. Harry H. Vaughan, Trumanís military aide, the chief witness, testified before the committee on August 30.

August 10: President Truman signs the National Security Act Amendments of 1949. The amendments created the Department of Defense, greatly strengthened the office of Secretary of Defense, and gave statutory recognition to the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

August 11: President Truman nominates Omar N. Bradley to be the first permanent chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

August 12: President Truman writes Vice President Alben W. Barkley that the threatened Congressional disapproval of Reorganization Plans No. 1 and No. 2 imperils "the whole great endeavor to reorganize the executive branch." The two plans would create a Department of Welfare and transfer two agencies to the Labor Department.

August 14: Elections are held in the western zones of Germany to select the members of a new Bundestag. The Christian Democratic Union and other moderate right parties win a majority of seats.

August 16: The Commerce Department reports that the Gross National Product fell 2.4% in the second quarter of 1949, following a drop of nearly 2.9% in the first quarter. The economy was in recession.

August 16: The Senate defeats Reorganization Plan No. 1, which would have created a Department of Welfare. Opposition Senators said they felt the new department would be used by the Truman administration to promote its health program, which they opposed.

August 22: President Truman gives a speech to a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in which he argues that the United States must provide military assistance to democratic nations, and particularly to the North Atlantic Treaty countries. "...We have forever put behind us the false security of isolationism," Truman said. "...We have learned that the defense of the United States and the defense of other freedom-loving nations are indivisible."

August 24: The North Atlantic Treaty comes into effect. President Truman issued a statement which emphasized the global responsibilities accepted by the North Atlantic Treaty signatories. "By this treaty," he said, "we are not only seeking to establish freedom from aggression and from the use of force in the North Atlantic community, but we are also actively striving to promote and preserve peace throughout the world."

August 25: President Truman suggests twice during a press conference that he will not run for reelection in 1952.


September 1: The Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) issues a report which expresses concern that Marshall Plan aid is falling to a level that is too low to bring Europe to self-sustaining economic prosperity by 1952, the last year of the Marshall Plan.

September 1: President Truman tells reporters he will not fire Harry H. Vaughan, his military aide. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, a member of the Senate subcommittee investigating the so-called "five percenter" allegations, said Trumanís attitude "will lead to unlimited graft and corruption in the government."

September 5: President Truman delivers Labor Day addresses in Pittsburgh and Des Moines in which he supports the Brannan Plan and argues that farmers and workers should stand together against "selfish interests" who use scare words like "collectivism" and "welfare state" in order to "turn the American people against the programs which the people want, and need, and for which the people voted [in November 1948]."

September 7 to 12: Representatives of the United States, Great Britain, and Canada meet in Washington, DC to discuss measures to help the countries within the so-called sterling area (countries having close trading relations with and reliant on the currency of Great Britain) overcome their shortage of dollar reserves.

September 8: The United Nations Commission for Korea issues a report in which it warns that there is a danger of civil war in Korea, and that Chinese Communist troops might help North Korea invade South Korea.

September 10: Letters from three U.S. Navy admirals critical of Air Force and Department of Defense policy are made public. The admirals criticized the policy of underemphasizing naval air power and relying instead on strategic air power for national defense. They also criticized the

B-36 bomber.

September 15: The West German Bundestag meets for the first time and chooses Konrad Adenauer as the first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

September 18: Great Britain devalues its currency by about 30%. The devaluation was intended to correct the trade deficit in dollar denominated goods of Great Britain and other countries of the so-called sterling area.

September 19: 480,000 members of the United Mine Workers begin a nationwide strike over pension and welfare fund issues.

September 21: Senate majority leader Scott W. Lucas says that the 81st Congress will not repeal the Taft-Hartley law.

September 23: President Truman announces that the Soviet Union has exploded an atomic bomb. "We have evidence," the White House statement said, "that within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the U.S.S.R."

September 26: President Truman signs the Trade Agreements Extension Act, which extends until 1951 and provides authority for expanding the agreements regarding the reduction of trade barriers that were reached in 1947. These agreements were collectively called the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

September 27: In a radio address on Democratic Womenís Day, President Truman argues that the Democratic Party favors a program "founded on the principle that the power of the government should be used to promote the general welfare." He said that the government must work to solve the problems and meet the needs of the American people "in spite of the outcries of certain people who say there is something alien or dangerous in the idea of a government that works for the welfare of all our citizens."

September 29: Representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and Canada fail, following two months of meetings, to agree on a plan to achieve internatioinal control of atomic energy.

September 30: The Berlin airlift ends.


October 1: Secretary of State Dean Acheson testifies before an executive session of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that the United States should not support France as a colonial power in Indochina.

October 1: Mao Zedong proclaims the existence of the Peoples Republic of China.

October 1: 500,000 steelworkers belonging to the Congress of Industrial Organizations strike over pension issues. By the end of the first week of the strike, 90% of the countryís steel making capacity was shut down.

October 2: The Soviet Union recognizes the Peopleís Republic of China.

October 3: The United Nations decides to maintain for a second year the United Nations Commission for Korea, which has representatives of seven nations and is charged with monitoring Soviet activities in North Korea that may endanger South Korea.

October 5: Representatives of the 12 signatory nations of the North Atlantic Treaty, convened as the Defense Committee of the North Atlantic Council, meet for the first time following the coming into effect of the treaty. They establish a Military Committee headed by Omar N. Bradley, which is charged with drafting a defense plan for the North Atlantic area.

October 6: President Truman signs the Mutual Defense Assistance Act, a military assistance act which authorizes the distribution of about $1.3 billion in arms, equipment, and technical assistance to several areas of the world, particularly to Western Europe. Truman had requested this legislation on July 25, 1949, the same day he announced the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty, and he regarded it as a necessary supplement to the treaty.

October 6: President Truman signs legislation which authorizes about $5.8 billion in foreign economic aid, including about $3.6 billion in Marshall Plan aid.

October 6: Iva Toguri DíAquino, known as Tokyo Rose, is sentenced in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to ten years in prison for making radio broadcasts for the Japanese during World War II.

October 10 to 13: U.S. Navy admirals testify before or submit statements to the House Armed Services Committee regarding the policy of the Department of Defense to de-emphasize naval air power and rely instead for national defense on the Air Force and strategic air power. The admirals are very critical of this policy.

October 11: The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is established.

October 11 to November 7: Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India visits the United States. At a news conference on October 14, he said that it was premature to consider establishing an Asian defense agreement similar to the North Atlantic Treaty.

October 12: President Truman nominates Eugenie Anderson to be ambassador to Denmark. She was sworn in on October 28. Anderson is the first woman to serve as an American ambassador.

October 13: President Truman is asked at a press conference if he approves the ending of the investigation by the Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments into "five percenters" in government. He responds, "I donít think they ever had an intelligent investigation, so there was no sense continuing it."

October 14: Eleven U.S. Communist leaders are found guilty in New York City of criminal conspiracy against the United States government. The trial, which began on January 17, was believed to be the longest criminal trial ever to occur in the United States.

October 15: President Truman nominates William H. Hastie to be a judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Hastie is the first African-American to be named to a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

October 15: The Senate kills a proposed liberalization of the Displaced Persons Act.

October 16: Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer predicts that the steelworkers strike will cause five million people to lose their jobs by December 1.

October 18: Congress passes an appropriation bill for the Department of Defense which provides for a 58 group Air Force instead of the 48 group force requested by President Truman. Two independent boards had recommended that the Air Force be expanded to 70 groups.

October 19: Omar N. Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers a statement to the House Armed Services Committee in which he accuses the admirals who testified before and gave statements to the committee of "open rebellion" against civil authority. He accused them of making misrepresentations and false insinuations regarding defense policy and said they had damaged the position of the United States in the world.

October 19: The first session of the 81st Congress adjourns. The session lasted 290 days, the longest since 1922. Of the 824 bills passed during the session, President Truman signed 792 and vetoed 32. "I am confident," Truman said in a letter to the President of the Senate, "that the American people will agree that the results have been well worth while." The Congress rejected or failed to act on the following administration sponsored measures: repeal of the Taft-Hartley law, the Brannan Plan to guarantee farmers a high income without production controls, a health plan which included national health insurance, civil rights legislation, the Point Four program of technical assistance to underdeveloped areas, wage and price controls, universal military training, extension of Social Security coverage, the creation of a Department of Welfare, and liberalization of the displaced persons law.

October 19: The Japanese war crimes trials end in Tokyo.

October 19: Edwin G. Nourse, chairman of President Trumanís Council of Economic Advisers, resigns after publicly criticizing on October 18 the administrationís policy of deficit spending during a time of prosperity.

October 24: President Truman delivers an address at the cornerstone laying ceremony for the headquarters buildings of the United Nations in New York City. "These are the most important buildings in the world," Truman said. "...They are the center of manís hope for peace and a better life.... The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of manís aspirations."

October 26: President Truman signs the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1949. The amendments almost doubled the minimum wage and expanded the scope of its coverage, and they passed into law other provisions intended to assure the health, efficiency and general well-being of workers.

October 27: President Truman denies he is planning to intervene in the steel and coal strikes, and he says that the strikes have not yet come near causing a national emergency.

October 28: The Federal Reserve Board reports that the continuing steel and coal strikes have caused industrial production to fall to the lowest level in 3 Ĺ years.

October 29: President Truman announces, after signing the appropriation bill for the Department of Defense, that the administration would not increase the Air Force from 48 groups to 58 groups, as Congress intended should be done. To do so, Truman said, would disrupt plans to unify the armed services and require heavy future expenditures.


November 1: President Truman writes in his diary: "Trying to make the 81st Congress perform is and has been worse than cussing the 80th. A President never loses prestige fighting Congress. And I canít fight my own Congress. There are some terrible Chairmen in the 81st. But so far things have come out fairly well. Iíve kissed and petted more consarned S.O.B. so-called Democrats and left wing Republicans than all the Presidents put together. I have very few people fighting my battles in Congress as I fought F.D.R.ís."

November 3: In a speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, President Truman says that the first session of the 81st Congress "has reversed the backward trend [of the 80th Congress] and has made substantial progress in many fields. Moreover," he said, "I am confident that the 81st Congress will accomplish a good deal more next year in its second session."

November 3: The Commission for the Renovation of the Executive Mansion selects the construction firm of John McShain, Inc. to undertake the work of reconstructing the White House.

November 6 to 12: The coal and steel strikes effectively end.

November 8: Democratic candidates win most off-year elections.

November 9: The five members of the Atomic Energy Commission send a divided recommendation to President Truman regarding the development of the hydrogen bomb. Three commissioners recommend against development; two recommend in favor if the Soviet Union will not agree to international control of nuclear weapons.

November 16 to December 30: Visit to the United States by the Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. On December 30, 1949, President Truman and the Shah of Iran issued a joint statement which affirmed that the United States would offer military assistance to Iran. "It is the policy of the United States," Truman said, "to help free peoples everywhere in the maintenance of their freedom wherever the aid which it is able to provide can be effective."

November 17: The second perjury trial of Alger Hiss begins. Hiss was found guilty in early 1950.

November 21: In a speech before the Southern Governors Conference, former Secretary of State James F. Byrnes attacks the Truman administrationís "costly" and "socialistic" programs.

November 23: The Joint Chiefs of Staff advise the Secretary of Defense that "possession of a thermonuclear weapon by the USSR without such possession by the United States would be intolerable."

November 28: President Truman flies to Key West, Florida, for a three week vacation. He works with his advisers on his upcoming State of the Union address and on his messages to Congress on the budget and the economy.


December 6: President Truman proclaims December 10, and every December 10 hereafter, as United Nations Human Rights Day. "The attainment of basic rights for men and women everywhere is essential to the peace we are seeking," Truman said.

December 13: The work of dismantling the interior of the White House begins. President Truman formally resumed residence in the renovated White House on March 27, 1952.

December 15: Dwight D. Eisenhower denies he is a candidate for President.

December 26: President Truman presents an equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson to Jackson County. The statue stands in front of the county courthouse in Kansas City that Truman helped build when he was presiding judge of Jackson County.

December 28: President Truman issues a statement congratulating the people of Indonesia on the attainment of independence. "The United States," Truman said, "will welcome the Republic of the United States of Indonesia into the community of free nations and looks forward to Indonesiaís admission to membership in the United Nations."

December 29: President Trumanís Council of Economic Advisers, in its fourth annual report to the President, says that the American economy is expanding and should continue to expand.

December 30: The Department of Defense announces that the Joint Chiefs of Staff will go to Tokyo in February 1950 to discuss United States strategy in the Far East with Douglas MacArthur, the commander in chief of U. S. Army forces in the Pacific.

December 31: In a radio broadcast from Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek, head of the Nationalist Chinese government, tells the Chinese people, "as long as I am still alive, I will never stop fighting [to] save you from the iron curtain."

1949: January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December