|61. The President's News Conference|
March 14, 1946 |
THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I want to make it strong and emphatic, as there still seem to be rumors about that there has been a rift between the Secretary of State and myself, that there is no such rift, never has been one, and never will be, I hope.
[2.] The return of the veterans--the demobilization has reached its peak, and I am issuing a statement today on the reemployment of veterans, and suggesting the job that the U.S. Employment Service has done, and also suggesting to employers, that they list their jobs with the United States Employment Service, so that it will make it much easier to put the veterans to work quickly when they are finally demobilized, and they decide they want to go to work.
The USES has done a remarkable job, up to date, on this putting the people back to work, and I just want to emphasize it.
Now, if you have questions, I'll be--
[3.] Q. Mr. President, these rumors about Secretary Byrnes apparently don't just come from spontaneous combustion--
THE PRESIDENT. Yes they do--yes they do.
Q. Someone is trying to circulate them.
THE PRESIDENT. They have no foundation in fact whatever, and never have had; and I don't know what else they could come from except spontaneous combustion, and somebody just wants to tell a big lie.
[4.] Q. Mr. President, in the last couple of weeks, a number of appeals have been addressed to you to take some action in this labor dispute that shut up a lot of California
fruit and vegetable canneries. Do you plan to do that, in view of the food situation, to end that row?
THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary of Labor is handling that.
Q. It has all been referred to him?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. It has been referred to him.
Q. Do you know what he is likely to do? Has he discussed his course of action with you?
THE PRESIDENT. No. You can question him on that.
[5.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Churchill has now announced he is going to renew his world debate with Marshal Stalin on the radio Friday night--
THE PRESIDENT. I saw that in the paper.
Q. Did you have any previous notification of that?
THE PRESIDENT. No. Only what I saw in the paper.
Q. What do you think of the propriety of that debate being conducted from the United States?
THE PRESIDENT. I have nothing to say about it.
[6.] Q. Mr. President, are there any plans afoot for another Big Three meeting?
THE PRESIDENT. No.
[7.] Q. Do you have any comment, Mr. President, on the reports that the Russians are moving heavy--heavy troop movements in Iran?
THE PRESIDENT. I only know about that-- I say I only know about that from what I see in the papers, and I have no comment.
Q. You have no official information?
THE PRESIDENT. No.
Q. Mr. President, Ambassador Harriman is reported to have told the House committee that he thinks Russia is bluffing by these various moves in the world theater. Do you share the Ambassador's views?
THE PRESIDENT. He has a right to his own opinion. I have nothing to say about it.
Q. Did he tell that to you today?
THE PRESIDENT. He did not.
Q. Could you tell us about your conversation with him?
THE PRESIDENT. Just had a very pleasant visit with him, and he expressed his pleasure at being back in the United States, and that he would see me again next week.
Q. Mr. President, have you had any personal communication with Marshal Stalin over the current situation?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.
[8.] Q. Mr. President, General Eisenhower indicated the other afternoon that you might have something to announce to us, as to some decisions reached by you and him during his visit?
THE PRESIDENT. I am not ready to make that announcement yet. I will make one at a later date.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, last week you were asked about the labor application of the 18 1/2 cents to steel fabricators, and you said it applied only to the major steel.
THE PRESIDENT. That's right.
Q. Has anything been done about that, one way or the other?
THE PRESIDENT. No. No. I thought I made that perfectly clear last week, that that is a matter of negotiation between the employers and labor.
[10.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on Marshal Stalin's interview published in Pravda, criticizing Mr. Churchill?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I can't read Russian, and I don't know whether that is the right translation or not, so I have no comment to make. [Laughter]
[11.] Q. Mr. President, there is a great deal of concern over the international situation in general. Could you say anything about it to relieve that concern?
THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make--at this time.
Q. Specifically, Mr. President, could you say whether you think the situation is as fraught with danger as a great many people think it is?
THE PRESIDENT. I do not think it is.
Q. You do not think it is?
Q. May we quote that, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT, Yes, you may,
Q. Could we have the quote read to us?
Mr. Romagna [reading]: "I do not think it is."
THE PRESIDENT. The question is: Do I think the situation is as fraught with danger as a great many people think it is; and I said I do not think it is.
[12.] Q. Mr. President, would you approve of the Pace bill, including labor costs and farm parity prices?
THE PRESIDENT. I couldn't understand it?
Q. Would you approve of the Pace bill, or similar bill, to include farm labor costs and parity prices?
THE PRESIDENT. I will take care of that if such a bill comes to my desk.
[13.] Q. Have you selected your membership for your full employment board yet, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.
Q. In that connection, there have been reports around town that Mr. Nathan had been invited to become a part of it, but that he had found his present work so heavy that he could not?
THE PRESIDENT. I have not issued any such invitation to anybody.
[14.] Q. Mr. President, do you think the United Nations Security Council meeting will go on as scheduled?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I do. I am sure of it.
Q. With a full attendance?
THE PRESIDENT. I see no reason to believe that there won't be a full attendance. I am sure there will be a full attendance.
Q. Do you intend to go up there?
THE PRESIDENT. I hope it will be possible for me to welcome them to the United States. That depends altogether on conditions here.
Q. Thank you.
[15.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us what is holding up the appointment of the American representative on the United Nations Atomic Control Commission?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I can. I have been hoping that the Congress would legislate on the situation before we made that appointment. If they do not arrive at a conclusion shortly, we will make that appointment.
Q. Is that legislation necessary for such an appointment?
THE PRESIDENT. It is not necessary, but it would clarify the situation to a very great extent, and would give the appointee a better chance to speak for the United States, and for the rest of the world.
Q. How long do you expect to wait before"'--
THE PRESIDENT. Well, we'll see.
Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the proposal of Senator Vandenberg to make some changes in the Atomic Commission Board? Will that be followed out--have you any comment on that?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't think there is a dear understanding by the public, or even in the Congress, on what is meant by civilian control of that board. I have tried to make that Perfectly clear in my letter of February 2d, I believe it was, on a--the idea is that the military, of course, has an important part to play and should be consulted, but it is a mistake to believe that only the military can guard the national security. The full responsibility for a balanced and forceful development of atomic energy looking toward the national economic good, national security, and a firm, clear position toward other nations and world peace, should rest with the civilian group directly responsible to the President. Now the President is the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces of the United States, and is charged with the security of the United States in the first place; and the civilian board under him would in no way hamper the military in their proper function.
Q. Wouldn't the Vandenberg amendment seem to meet this?
THE PRESIDENT. I haven't read the Vandenberg amendment.
Q. Could we put quotes on that?
THE PRESIDENT. Certainly you can. I am on record on it. If you will read the letter that I sent down there February 2d, it covers the situation completely and thoroughly.
[16.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us who will get the job that Ed Pauley wanted?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't.
[17.] Q. Mr. President, I was wondering if you could put in an affirmative way, on this situation about not sharing this international picture fraught with danger--
THE PRESIDENT. Well, would it help you to say I am not alarmed by it?
Q. Yes, sir.
Q. Well, are you optimistic that we will work out of this?
THE PRESIDENT. I am sure we will work out of it.
[18.] Q. Going back to that atomic situation for a moment, Mr. President, when you say that you are for a civilian board, that implies that you support the position of Senator McMahon? Is that correct?
THE PRESIDENT. If you would read the letter sent down there February 2d, that sets out my position very clearly, and I will furnish you with a copy of it after the conference is over.
[19.] Q. Mr. President, for several weeks there have been a couple of other vacancies open in the top ranks in the Interior Department. Have you any intentions of filling them soon?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. Have you discussed them with "Cap" Krug?
THE PRESIDENT. No. I haven't had the opportunity. He is getting himself ready to take over his duties, and I haven't had a chance.
Q. Going to wait until you can talk it over?
THE PRESIDENT. Certainly.
[20.] Q. Mr. President, does your comment about Secretary Byrnes infer that he is not going to resign?
THE PRESIDENT. He has never had any intention of resigning, and he is not going to resign, either on his own initiative or by request.
Q. Mr. President, I am curious--I think we all are--as to why you voluntarily brought that up as the first thing in the press conference? Have you been hearing new rumors yourself?
THE PRESIDENT. Oh, yes. All the gossip columns are full of it. Of course, I never believe the gossip columns, but then a lot of people read them.
Q. How do you know what's in them? [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. Somebody presents them to me, usually.
Q. Did you say you never read them?
Q. [Interposing] You don't believe them.
THE PRESIDENT. I didn't say I didn't read, I said I didn't believe them.
Q. Excuse me.
THE PRESIDENT. That's all right. That was a good question--[more laughter]-- anyway.
[21.] Q. Mr. President, the statement given out by Senator McFarland the other day, about your desire that he remain in the Senate, and the fact that Senator Mead saw you yesterday, makes me wonder have you a general policy of asking Senators-Democratic Senators--to remain in the Senate, if these other things do open up to them?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. And I think it's better for a Senator with experience to remain in the Senate. I was in the Senate 10 years myself. I know that length of service and experience is of--is invaluable to a State, and to its Senators.
Q. Did you make that argument to Senator Mead yesterday, or do you mind telling us?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, we didn't discuss that at all.
Q. You didn't? I thought you discussed New York politics yesterday?
THE PRESIDENT. No. No New York politics were mentioned.
Q. Do you think Senator Mead will run for Governor of New York?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know.
Q. Do you think that Governor Lehman will run for Senator, in the event that Senator Mead--
THE PRESIDENT. Neither subject has been discussed with me. I am not intending to interfere in New York politics. Now if you ask me about Missouri, I can answer your questions.
Q. Mr. President, since you don't read the gossip columns--
THE PRESIDENT. I didn't say I didn't read them, I said I didn't believe them.
Q. Oh, I see. Drew Pearson had one today, that Senator Wagner is going to resign. Do you know anything about that?
THE PRESIDENT. You had better ask Senator Wagner. I don't know. As I said, I wouldn't believe it, if I saw it in that column. [Laughter]
Q. As from Missouri, are you supporting Senator Briggs?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes sir, I am. I will answer that straight from the shoulder, Pete.1
1 Raymond P. Brandt of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Q. Mr. President, will you take part in the mayoralty election in Kansas City?
THE PRESIDENT. No. I am not a voter in Kansas City. If you will ask me about Independence, I will tell you all about it.
Q. How about Independence? [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. I am for the election of the present Mayor. [More laughter]
[22.] Q. Have you had time to study the La Follette-Monroney report on reorganization?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have; and I think it is a good report, and I sincerely hope they will put it into effect. I know something about that situation.
Q. Mr. President, do you specifically favor the proposal of registering all lobbyists in that report?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I do. I certainly do.
[23.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the message sent you by the President of Brazil?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, he didn't send any special message. It was a very friendly letter, which I have answered, expressing his friendship for the United States, and that Brazil would continue to be always friendly to this country. It was just a friendly personal letter from one President to another.
[24.] Q. Mr. President, as an aid to helping the famine situation, are you going to suggest that the country go back on daylight saving?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, if the country as a whole would go back on daylight, it would be a good thing, but I don't like piecemeal daylight saving here and there all over the country. And there was such strong pressure-you know the very first thing the Congress acted on in the program was to set the clock back. So they may want to keep it set back. But I think it ought to be national if we do go on daylight, and not be in a piecemeal manner.
Q. Would you approve it?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. If the Congress would pass it, I would approve it.
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.
Voices: Thank you.
NOTE: President Truman's fifty-fourth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 1946.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.