|226. The President's News Conference|
October 3, 1946 |
THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I want to call your attention to some highlights in Mr. Steelman's report.1 There is so much smoke and fire politically going on all the time in the country that unless you have the facts brought home to you once in a while, you forget what they are. All of us should be proud of what we have done so far. Here are some of the milestones:
1"The Second Year of Peace, Eighth Report to the President, the Senate & the House of Representatives by the Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion," dated October 1, 1946 (Government Printing Office, 1946, 76 pp.).
[Reading, not literally]: "Of the total labor force of 60 million, 58 million have jobs. For most of the 2 million who are looking for work, the periods of unemployment are short, and in most cases unemployed workers draw compensation while they are looking for new jobs.
"Ten million veterans are gainfully employed today, compared with only 2 million at work on V-J Day--a gain of 8 million jobs for veterans in a year. But the total of unemployed veterans is still higher than any of us like to see it--about 900,000 or almost half the total of the unemployed. It is the Nation's responsibility to see to it that veterans looking for jobs get satisfactory employment at the highest level of their skills and at good wages.
"More than 800,000 veterans are enrolled in college this fall and are receiving the education their country promised them under the GI bill of rights.
"More than 350,000 dwelling units have been completed and are ready for occupancy under the Veterans' Emergency Housing Program. This record is creditable, but we are going to make it better. The reconversion agencies are doing their utmost to speed up the construction of veterans' housing of all types.
"And business profits, after taxes, are at an all-time high in the Nation's history, in spite of the fact that in some important industries they are still lagging. Income payments to individuals are also the highest in total they have ever been. Farm income, too, is at record levels. Consumer spending is high--the public is spending at the rate of $126 billion a year for consumer goods and services, and more than 20 percent over the war peak, and more than 60 percent over the prewar peak.
"Since V-J Day, total production of goods and services by private industry has moved steadily ahead, and has now reached the annual rate of $172 billion. Making allowances for increased prices, consumer nondurables such as food and clothing are still being produced and sold at a very high level. Good progress has been made in the production of many consumer durable goods-we have already surpassed 1940 or 1941 production levels in the case of electric irons, vacuum cleaners, passenger and truck tires, electric ranges, washing machines, radios, trucks, and buses. Production curve of refrigerators, passenger automobiles, gas ranges, and sewing machines is rising, and during the next few months we should have an increasing flow of these and other finished goods.
"All this adds up to a splendid achievement. But we must not pause to congratulate ourselves. A difficult struggle lies before us. We must do our utmost to keep industrial peace, to maintain production at present levels where it is high, and to spur it to higher levels where it is lagging.
"I hope every businessman, worker, farmer, and consumer will take to heart this sentence from Mr. Steelman's report: 'An all-out emphasis on production of finished goods, and on preventing a further increase in prices, is the task immediately before us.'"
You have copies of that outside for you. Those are the facts, and I think you ought to stick to the facts when you are commenting on this situation.
[2.] Q. Mr. President, I noticed yesterday that the Treasury reported that for the first time in years, the first quarter of this current fiscal year had resulted in the Government being in the black. Have you any hope that this year--when the year is over--we will be in the black?
THE PRESIDENT. Not only hope, but we are going to do it.
Q. I think the estimate was that even on-even with this showing, it would be two billion in the red at the end of the year?
THE PRESIDENT. That is correct, but we are cutting down expenditures to the tune of $2,100 million.
[3.] Q. Mr. President, do you see any danger in the fact that real wages are going down?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I do. That is what we are fighting to avoid as much as possible. There is danger in it.
[4.] Q. Mr. President, was Mr. Baruch's letter to Mr. Wallace cleared with you before it was released ?
THE PRESIDENT. No, it was not. That's a matter between Mr. Baruch and Mr. Wallace.
[5.] Q. Mr. President, are you able to report any progress in your urging the British Government to admit 100,000 Jews into Palestine?
THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that at this time.
[6.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Steelman's report is full of warnings on the danger of runaway prices. Are you contemplating anything additional in that direction to check the tendency?
THE PRESIDENT. We are doing everything we possibly can, with the tools with which we have to work.
Q. Mr. President, in view of the warnings .of Mr. Steelman's report, is there any chance of reconsidering your previous decision that there is no necessity for further legislation at this time to meet the price situation?
THE PRESIDENT. There is no necessity for legislation at this time. Legislation wouldn't help the situation one bit; that is, the legislation we would probably get. [Laughter]
[7.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided who will be the next Commissioner of Education for Puerto Rico?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I will announce it just as soon as I make the decision.
[8.] Q. Mr. President, have you given any new consideration to another Big Three meeting ?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, what is the purpose of Mr. Bedell Smith's trip to Moscow?
THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that.
[10.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us anything more about your campaign plans ?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I cannot. I am not ready to make any announcements.
[11.] Q. Do you have any comment, sir, on Secretary Byrnes' speech in Paris today?
THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Byrnes and I discussed the speech over the telephone, and I am in accord with what he has to say.
Q. Mr. President, do you intend to take up that same question, perhaps soon, in a broadcast--foreign policy?
THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't contemplated it, and I think it has been pretty well stated.
[12.] Q. Coming over to the White House 2 days ago, Representative Spence indicated that there might be some definite or affirmative action in connection with the meat situation, other than action which has already been taken. Could you throw any light--
THE PRESIDENT. Well, every department of the Government which has an interest in that subject is in constant touch with the situation; and we of course are keeping our hands-our fingers on the situation, and if it is necessary to take any action, we will.
[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on the Nuremberg verdict, particularly the acquittals ?
THE PRESIDENT. I have none. I think that's a fair trial, as far as I can see it, and I think it's a good thing for the world--one of the greatest things that has come out of this war.
[14.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us whether you discussed with Admiral Towers, when he was back here recently, the plan for bases in the Pacific, which he announced today?
THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on any conversation I had with Admiral Towers.
[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you see any discrepancy between your recent statement at the press conference about meat being in abundance--being more available shortly, and Mr. Steelman's report saying that the meat shortage would be worse in the winter?
THE PRESIDENT. No. There's no discrepancy in it at all.
Q. As I recall it, you said there would be a change in the spring, in some cities possibly?
THE PRESIDENT. I said there would possibly be a shortage of meat continually, there will not be an abundance of meat for some time to come, but there would be no meat famine. If you read that statement you will find that that is the statement. It hasn't been--it isn't contemplated by Mr. Steelman's report.
Q. Mr. President, Mr. Steelman says the meat shortage will grow worse this winter. Do you agree with that?
THE PRESIDENT. I am making a survey to see whether I agree with the OWMR. I think ,Mr. Steelman is probably correct.
[16.] Q. Have you made any progress toward appointing an Ambassador to Great Britain?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.
[17.] Q. Have you anything, sir, on your Atomic Energy Commission?
THE PRESIDENT. No. No announcements until I am ready.
Q. Could you say if Mr. Lilienthal is among those under consideration?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, he is.
Q. Could you say if Senator La Follette is also one of those under consideration ?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I could not.
Q. You couldn't say, or he is not?
THE PRESIDENT. I could not say anything about it. [Laughter]
[18.] Q. Could you tell us anything about Senator McKellar's attempt to get flood control funds released ?
THE PRESIDENT. You might ask Senator McKellar about that.
Q. Are you making a new survey to determine whether additional funds should go into some of these projects?
THE PRESIDENT. We are making--the Budget and Mr. Steelman are making a survey to see whether any injustices have been done in the cutting off of contracts. If any injustices have been perpetrated, why they will be adjusted; which doesn't necessarily mean that there will be an increase in the funds available.
[19.] Q. Mr. President, an Army publication known as the Armored Cavalry Journal says that despite your statement several weeks ago that the third atom bomb test would not be held in the near future, that it actually was going to be held--is going to be held on schedule?
THE PRESIDENT. My statement stands.
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.
NOTE: President Truman's eighty-fifth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 3, 1946.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.