|6. The President's News Conference|
January 8, 1946 |
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't anything to tell you especially this morning, and so I am open for questions to start with.
[1.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to tell us what you discussed with Mr. Schram this morning?
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Schram asked for the appointment, and he came in to tell me that there was no inflationary trend in the stock market.
[2.] Q. Mr. President, out in Kansas City you said that after you had had a chance to read the foreign ministers communique, you would give us some comment on it. Would you be good enough to do that today ?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I was satisfied with the communique, and satisfied with the accomplishments of the foreign ministers conference in Moscow, and I think it will have constructive results. One of them, I noticed in the New York Times this morning, has been accomplished in Rumania already.
Q. Mr. President, will you tell us why we plan now to recognize the governments in Rumania and Bulgaria without the guarantees of free and unfettered elections which were contained in the Yalta communique?
THE PRESIDENT. They are not going to be recognized without the communique's guarantees of free and unfettered elections. That guarantee has not been foregone. I still have the final say on what we will do in those two countries.
Q. We had the same agreement respecting Yugoslavia, Mr. President, and yet all the reports from there say that the elections were completely faked; and yet we recognize that state.
THE PRESIDENT. We have recognized them conditionally.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
[3.] Q. Mr. President, there is a story today that the Russians have an atom bomb about as big as a tennis ball--so much bigger and better than ours. Have you any reason, or has this Government any reason to believe that the Russians do possess
THE PRESIDENT. This Government has no reason to believe it.
[4.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to elaborate on what you started to say about Yugoslavia then?
THE PRESIDENT. The Yugoslavian recognition was conditional and is still conditional. And it was necessary under the circumstances, because we had tentatively to recognize that government to begin with and go through with it. But we are still hoping for a better situation in Yugoslavia.
[5.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to appoint new Ambassadors soon, either to Moscow or to Rome?
THE PRESIDENT. Not immediately.
Q. Not immediately?
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Harriman has been trying to quit ever since the Germans folded up, but I have persuaded him to stay, for the reason that he has a knowledge of conditions over there that would be very hard for a new man to attain immediately, and he has been kind enough to continue on. But I am sure that he still wants to quit. I hope he won't quit in any hurry.
Q. What's the situation in Rome?
THE PRESIDENT. The situation is as it has always been.
Q. As far as Ambassadors--
THE PRESIDENT. That's right.
[6.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on Secretary Byrnes's detailed explanation yesterday of the plan for the atomic energy commission?
THE PRESIDENT. I think Mr. Byrnes covered it very thoroughly and completely.
Q. What is the scope of that commission, Mr. President? Does it only advise the U.N.O. delegation, or has it anything to do with the domestic legislation?
THE PRESIDENT. It is only to advise U.N.O. delegates. Of course, it will finally wind up with presentation of a program to the Congress of the United States for ratification.
Q. How about the Senate Committee? Does it conflict with the Senate Committee in any way?
THE PRESIDENT. I can't understand the question ?
Q. How about the Senate Atomic Energy Committee ?
THE PRESIDENT. The Senate Atomic Energy Committee has the job of recommending legislation for the control of atomic energy in the United States.
Q. Well, you said that this committee would eventually make recommendations to the Congress?
THE PRESIDENT. This committee of U.N.O., we hope, will arrive at a conclusion for international control of atomic energy in such a way that everybody will be happy over it for peacetime purposes.
Q. Mr. President, it has been suggested that we stop manufacturing the atomic bomb. The suggestion was made by the Washington Post. Would you comment, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment.
Q. Mr. President, would you comment on this committee to foreclose consideration by the Senate Committee of the international aspects of the atomic bomb?
THE PRESIDENT. It does not--it does not foreclose the Senate Committee from doing anything it chooses to do.
[7.] Q. Mr. President, I have a question here from Bend, Oreg. They are quite interested in legislation that has been introduced creating the Columbia Valley Authority, and they recall that in your Gilbertsville speech you said that the development of river valley commerce should be a matter for the people themselves to decide now. Do you contemplate such need of a referendum or community vote
THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not. I do not. I think the referendum is in the Congress of the United States.
[8.] Q. Mr. President, that was a very varied group of Senators you had in here. Would you say what you talked about?
THE PRESIDENT. They were anxious for the distribution of mail in Germany.
Q. Did you tell them you approved?
THE PRESIDENT. I told them under present circumstances it was not possible, but that we were working towards that end.
Q. Senators McCarran and La Follette both?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. McCarran, La Follette, Eastland, and Wherry.
Q. Could you tell us why it was not possible, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. On account of the transportation system in Germany. As soon as the transportation system can be worked out for that purpose, and as soon as we can reach an agreement with Russia and France and England on the matter. This eventually will come about, of course.
Q. This include sending food through the mails?
THE PRESIDENT. It will include regular things that can be sent through the mails.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, do you want to say anything at all about these demonstrations of soldiers in various parts of the world, protesting against the slowing up of demobilization?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know all the facts in connection with this situation in Manila, so I would prefer not to comment on it. 1
1 On January 9, the White House announced that the President had received a memorandum from the Chief of Staff, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, concerning the demonstrations in Manila. General Eisenhower reported that on January 6-7 a series of demonstrations took place, and that the only one of any magnitude had been a mass meeting of 8,000 to 10,000 soldiers at the City Hall. He further reported that the discontent had been primarily caused by acute homesickness aggravated by the termination of hostilities, and that the men, who had performed magnificently under campaign conditions, were not inherently challenging discipline or authority.
[10.] Q. Mr. President, if we could return to the atomic energy subject for just a moment, did you say that Mr. Byrnes' explanation yesterday should satisfy anyone who had any doubts about safeguards and control?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. Those were the two things that seemed to be worrying the delegates.
THE PRESIDENT. That was the intention of Mr. Byrnes' statement. I think it is.
[11.] Q. Mr. President, it has been reported that you have discussed an increase in the price of steel. Could you tell us about that?
THE PRESIDENT. There has been a discussion of an increase in the price of steel. As soon as the full figures for this last quarter are in, I think there will be some slight increase in the price of steel.
Q. Around $2?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what the figure will be.
[12.] Q. Mr. President, I have been asked for your comment if you favor giving quotas for Indian immigration ?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I favor doing the same thing for the Indians that we did for the Chinese.
[13.] Q. Mr. President, since your address to the country the other night, there have been some suggestions in Congress for a compromise on your suggestions for fact-finding legislation, a compromise to the effect that the 30-day cooling-off period and the power of subpoena would be removed. In the event that the committee worked out such a bill, would that be satisfactory to you?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that would accomplish anything. That was founded on the Railroad Act, which has worked rather successfully. And it was my intention to use the pattern, which the Railroad Act had set up for us, in those industries which have country wide effect on the welfare of the people. It wouldn't be possible in local matters. In fact, I think the local people will have to take care of that situation themselves.
[14.] Q. Mr. President, to come back to the Moscow conference a second, do you fully approve the agreement regarding Japan, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. I remember on the 25th of September you couldn't see any reason why there should be a control advisory commission.
THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I ever made any such statement as that. I was always in favor of an advisory committee for Japan, and I think our allies--I think our allies were entitled to that. Always have thought so.
[15.] Q. Mr. President, in view of your strong inflation stand, I wonder whether you would relate the prospective increase in the price of steel with other prices, so that the country could be clear about it?
THE PRESIDENT. I am not in any position to make a statement about the subject now. I will make it at the proper time.
Q. Mr. President, do you have any reason to believe that the forthcoming steel increase which you just mentioned might prevent the steel strike next week?
THE PRESIDENT, I have no statement to make on the subject. When it is the proper time, I will make a statement on it.
[16.] Q. Mr. President, for some months there has been a vacancy on the Civil Aeronautics Board. Do you expect to fill that vacancy sometime soon?
THE PRESIDENT. As soon as I can find a man that suits me, I will do it.
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.
[17.] THE PRESIDENT. I will read you something here. [Laughter] I have some--I never thought about this. I should have read it first.
I have a question pending down in the Congress on succession, and I have the solution in here, a telegram from Texas which I am going to read to you because it's pretty good.
[Reading] "With total membership of 57, this organization has 56 vice presidents." [Laughter] "They are hereby tendered you to solve the matter of Presidential succession for all time. When necessary to act as a hoard, meetings can be held at the branch White House at Truman, Tex. The Bonehead Club of Dallas." [Much laughter]
Reporter: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. That's all.
[18.] [Following the news conference the president met a group of Danish newsmen.]
THE PRESIDENT. It is a pleasure to meet you, gentlemen.
Borge Houmann (newspaper "Land og Folk"): Mr. President, I have been elected to extend our deepest gratitude for this journey, which is just about completed around your country. We have seen many things of extreme interest, and we have had brought home to us a picture of some remarkable contributions made by your country toward winning the war.
We have great interest seeing that our two countries are on a very amicable basis, even more so than some of us sometimes thought at the beginning of the war; and we feel, all of us, that this spirit of cooperation and good will has been very much strengthened by this journey. We feel that it will continue between our two countries and contribute to the mutual welfare of both our countries. Mr. President, you have the everlasting gratitude of all of us.
Well, you no doubt have heard of the underground work during the war in Denmark in organizing, and conducted by a few members of the underground movement-the Freedom Council in Denmark. We feel that in doing that work we contributed-although very, very little--towards winning the war. But most of the work we have been able to do we would have been unable to accomplish without the aid of the Allied army forces. In fact, without this aid, we feel sure that neither our country nor any other of the occupied countries of Europe would by now have been liberated from the yoke of Naziism.
On behalf of the Freedom Council of Denmark, of which I was a member, I take pleasure in presenting to you this arm band, which was the insignia of the Danish underground movement in the days before liberation on the 6th of May.
I present it to you as a token of fighting Denmark's undying gratitude and unbounded appreciation of what you have contributed.
THE PRESIDENT. I thank you very much. It certainly is a grand thing. I will have that framed, and keep it as one of the mementos of the administration.
Do you represent all Scandinavian countries, or just--
Voices: Only Denmark.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have always had a warm spot in my heart for Denmark, and for Norway and for Sweden. I do appreciate what Denmark did in this war. They really made a contribution, under circumstances that were most trying. We feel very, friendly toward your country.
Thank you very much for this.
NOTE: President Truman's forty-first news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:37 a.m. on Tuesday, January 8, 1946.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.