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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  53. The President's News Conference  
March 8, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] The fact-finding board on the threatened railroad strike was appointed this morning: Judge Leif Erickson of the Montana Supreme Court; Frank M. Swacker, lawyer at 120 Broadway, New York City; and Gordon S. Watkins, Department of Economics, University of California. That is a pretty even geographical distribution.

[2.] I want to make a comment on two strike settlements, which I think deserve comment; that is, the rubber and the telephone strike settlements, settled strictly on a collective bargaining basis, and satisfactorily settled for both sides, without any ballyhoo or unnecessary conversation. There have been hundreds of such settlements which have received no notice. Those settlements were made by CIO unions, and A.F. of L. unions, and independent unions. And it is too bad that the people who do the right thing can't get just as much publicity as those who are always running for headlines to settle things in the newspapers.

Q. Mr. President, in that connection, do you have any comment on the General Motors situation?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment. They had the same right to collective bargaining that the rest of these people have had.

Q. Have you any comment on the fact-finding board's decision ? Do you still think it could be settled on that basis?

THE PRESIDENT. That has always been my opinion.

Q. In that connection, Mr. President, I believe the Detroit City Council yesterday asked if you would intervene. Is there any answer to that yet?

THE PRESIDENT. I will not intervene. That is the answer.

Q. Mr. President, in connection with the steel settlement, is it true that the fabricating end of the industry tends to follow the pattern of basic steel?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I thought maybe you might ask me that question, so I hunted up that question that I made at the time those gentlemen were in here, and I will just read it to you.

This statement was issued by Mr. Ross: "The President said his recommendation for an 18 1/2-cent-an-hour wage increase applied only to the basic steel industry. The President stated he assumed other settlements would be made through negotiations, expressing the hope that the men on strike in those seven hundred companies would already be back at work as soon as possible."

Now the union officials have claimed that I made certain commitments, and the men who do the hiring--management has claimed that I have made certain commitments; but that is the only commitment that was made. It was settled on basic steel, with the hope that negotiations would be followed through on the others.

There have always been a number of fabricators who have followed the pattern of basic steel, and there is no reason why they shouldn't do it, but there are certain others who have negotiated their own wage program, even after basic steel was settled, and there is no reason why they shouldn't go ahead with their negotiations.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, your presence on the stage at Fulton, Mo., has led to some speculation that you endorse the principles of Mr. Churchill's speech. Would you comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't know what would be in Mr. Churchill's speech. This is a country of free speech. Mr. Churchill had a perfect right to say what he pleased. I was there as his host in Missouri, because I had told him if he would come over here and give the lecture at that little college, that I would be glad to introduce him.

Q. What is your opinion now of his speech, after you heard it, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, Secretary Byrnes said in New York that to be a world power we had to have some form of universal military training. What steps have been taken by the administration to get a bill? It seems to be stalled in the House right now.

THE PRESIDENT. The President has done everything he possibly can do in the matter. I don't know what else I can do. I can't tell the Senate and House what to do. Only in the form of a message, which message I have given to them. I went down there personally and read it to them.

Q. That was in October, and nothing has been done.

THE PRESIDENT. Didn't think it was that late. I thought it was earlier than that.

Q. Your message was in October.
Q. Some time later, General Eisenhower, in talking to Members of Congress, thought it was a--indicated that he thought that universal training was impossible if the draft was continued; that is, you couldn't have the two things at the same time. What about the conflict between the two? You are still--still--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't discussed that matter with General Eisenhower. I don't know what his views are. If he made that statement to the Congress, that is evidently what he thinks, but I haven't discussed it with him.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, are you familiar with how long the Combined Chiefs of Staff, representing the United States and Britain, intend to continue their planning for whatever they are planning?

THE PRESIDENT. Until the war is officially ended.

Q. Only until then, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that, cause we will have to settle that when the time comes.

Q. Would you favor an Anglo-American military alliance after that?

THE PRESIDENT. I will discuss that when the time comes.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, referring to the labor situation, can you tell us anything about your conference with John Lewis and Mr. Hutcheson?

THE PRESIDENT. I had a very pleasant conference with Mr. Lewis and Mr. Hutcheson. I have no comment to make on the conversations. That was between the President and those gentlemen.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, can you clear up some confusion, whether "Cap" Krug is going to administer all the other jobs Ickes had, or redistribute some of them among other individuals?

THE PRESIDENT. I will have to attend to that on the reorganization plan which is now in progress, under the new law. Krug will take over exactly where Mr. Ickes left off.

Q. Is that temporary, applying to petroleum, coal, and everything else?

THE PRESIDENT. He will have everything that was assigned to Mr. Ickes.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect Mr. Pauley to withdraw his request for--

THE PRESIDENT. . I have made four statements on Mr. Pauley. I still stick to the four of those statements.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, will you ask a continuance of the draft?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, do you recall whether the subject of return of, or the handing over of the Turkish provinces of Kars and Ardahan to Russia, ever came up at Potsdam?

THE PRESIDENT. Ask that question again. I didn't hear it all.

Q. I wonder, sir, if you would recall if the matter of handing over the Turkish provinces of Kars and Ardahan to Russia ever came up at Potsdam?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it did not.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans, if Russia declines to withdraw from Iran?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that will be handled when it comes up.

Q. If Russian refuses to withdraw, Mr. President, do you think that that means that the United Nations Organization is likely to collapse?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not. The United Nations Organization is not going to collapse. We are not going to let it collapse.

Q. Do you mean, sir, then, that you favor the other nations going ahead with it, even if Russia insists or persists in going down a one-way street on these matters?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think Russia is going to go down a one-way street.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, there has been some criticism in the press and in congressional circles that the tripartite declaration on Spain is constituting a possibly dangerous interference in the domestic affairs of another nation. Would you comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I would not.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you made up your mind, sir, on this full employment board membership?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. I will announce them when they are ready.

[14.] Q. How about your board to evaluate the atomic tests? Is that made--been prepared yet?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I have one acceptance to be received. Then I will announce it.

Q. Mr. President
Q. That was to be a five-man board?

THE PRESIDENT. Somebody there never asks many questions--give him a chance. What is it? [Laughter]

Q. I just didn't hear what the question was. [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Jack,1 give him the question and the answer.

1 Jack Romagna, White House Official Reporter.

Mr. Romagna [reading]: "Question: How about your board to evaluate the atomic tests? Has that been prepared yet? The President: Yes. I have one acceptance to be received. Then I will announce it."

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to drop in at the U.N.O. Security Council meeting in New York at the end of this month?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope I will be able to do that. I hope I will be able to welcome them to the United States; but I can't make any definite appointments because we never know what the President has to do at this desk.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, the New York Times has a story this morning that Mr. Paul E. Fitzpatrick, who I believe is State Chairman in New York, has been asked if he would be willing to step into Mr. Hannegan's shoes, in case Mr. Hannegan's health should make him have to retire. Could you give us any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. It is news to me. I never heard of it until I saw it in the paper.

Q. Do you know of any plan for Mr. Hannegan to retire as Chairman?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not.

[17.] Q. Could you tell us anything about Mr. Winant's visit?

THE PRESIDENT. He is coming home to make a report. He hasn't been home for a long time.

Q. Will he go back, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. It is--that is up to him, I guess.

Q. Mr. President, has he requested any retirement?

THE PRESIDENT. No, he has not.

[18.] Q. Do you know of any plan for General Marshall to replace Mr. Byrnes, who might retire?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not. That's another matter I saw in the paper the other day, on my way to Fulton, Mo. It's news to me.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, how long will the national war emergency continue? Will that last until the peace conference will be held, or will it be canceled before then?

THE PRESIDENT. That will depend on conditions. I had hoped that it would be announced at an early date, after hostilities ceased; and I have been doing everything I possibly can to arrive at that situation. Conditions, I hope, will develop so that we can announce it as early as possible. I am not anxious to continue it any longer than is necessary.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, just to dear my thinking, do you--[laughter]--do you disavow Mr. Churchill's suggested Anglo-American alliance?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I just have no comment to make on it. Only Mr. Churchill is a guest over here. If he wants to make a speech, he has a perfect right to do it, and if I want to go to England and make a speech, I have a perfect right to do it.

Q. Are you, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. No. [Laughter]
Q. Are you figuring on going?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I am just using that as an illustration.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, one of the London newspapers a few days ago suggested editorially a new meeting of the Big Three government heads. Is there any possibility of that?

THE PRESIDENT. Not in the immediate future.

Q. You are not discounting it entirely?

THE PRESIDENT. Not entirely. Anybody that wants to come to Washington to visit the President of the United States will be welcome.

Q. The meeting should be held then?

THE PRESIDENT. That is my opinion.

[22.] Q. Is General Marshall coming home soon for consultations?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, he will be home very shortly. At my request.

Q. Do you have any--

THE PRESIDENT. And he is going back. [Laughter]

Q. Going back as Ambassador?

THE PRESIDENT. No. He is going back in the same capacity in which he is working, as Special Envoy to China.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided on a new Ambassador to Brazil?
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

NOTE: President Truman's fifty-third news conference was held in his office at the White House at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 8, 1946.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.