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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.
  70. The President's News Conference  
April 5, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] I am very happy this morning to greet the visitors from Latin America. We are glad to have them as guests this morning. I appreciate their coming here.

I have a couple of releases which will be handed to you after this press conference is over.

One is on the adoption of Senate Resolution 99,1 and the other one is in regard to the request for funds for the Voice of America.2

1See Item 71.

2See Item 72.

Both of those statements will be available to you after the press conference is over. Any questions in regard to those two things will be answered in those two releases.

Now I am ready for any questions you want--

Q. I just have a very simple question. What is Resolution 99?

THE PRESIDENT. It's the resolution that has to do with the sending of troops to Europe.

Q. Will you entertain any questions, sir, about that?

THE PRESIDENT. I will listen to them, of course. I will answer them if I feel like it.

Q. I just wonder if the Senate's action will alter your policy in any way regarding sending troops to Europe?

THE PRESIDENT. The only thing under consideration in that resolution is the sending of four divisions, which was approved.

Q. Mr. President, how do you feel about the section in which they say that it is essential that you not send more without their approval?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the situation will develop as we go along. The Senate and the House have always been consulted in any major policy, and that situation will develop in the usual manner. Every part of our foreign policy has been carried out after careful consideration and consultation with both Houses of the Congress from the beginning, since I have been President on April 12, 1945. The policy had been carried out by President Roosevelt, and I continued the policy.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, it has been reported that you will soon submit a complete subsidy program for minerals and farm products in Congress--

THE PRESIDENT. It has not been put up to me yet, so I am not in a position to answer your question. I don't know anything about it.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, do you think that the world crisis is deteriorating, particularly in the Far East, recently?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the crisis under which we issued the Executive order creating the situation with which we are faced, is just as it was in the beginning.3 And it is necessary for us to carry out our defense program--even more necessary now than it was then--because we are nearing a situation which will accomplish the purpose for which we started out.

3Proclamation 2914 of December 16, 1950, "Proclaiming the Existence of a National Emergency" (3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 99).

[4.] Q. Mr. President, Sam Rayburn, after telling us in the White House yesterday that he discussed the world--that you had discussed the world situation with him, took the floor of the House to say that large numbers of troops were massing in Manchuria, and not all of them by any means were Chinese--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on Speaker Rayburn's statement, but the Speaker is a truthful man.

Q. Mr. President, on your "no comment," he also said that he thought we may be at the beginning of world war III.

THE PRESIDENT. I have no further comment to make on Speaker Rayburn's comment.

Q. I wonder if your statement covered the whole of the--

THE PRESIDENT. No further comment.

Q. Mr. President, aside from your statement, do you think there is a danger of a major world war greater today than at any time, say, since the end of World War II?

THE PRESIDENT. It is just as great as it ever has been. We were faced with that in the Berlin airlift. We were faced with it in Greece and Turkey. We were faced with it in Iran, when the troops of the Allies and Russia moved out of Iran. We were faced with it in Korea as an actual fact on June 25th. That situation has been a dangerous one for the last 5 years--last 4 years, I will say.

Q. Mr. President, do you agree with Senator Connally's belief that there won't be a third world war this year?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope there never will be a third world war. That is what we are trying to prevent. That is the reason for all this preparation.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, these gentlemen seem to think you know whether there is going to be a war or not. Do you know who is going to win the Derby? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think I have a better chance to get concrete information on that than I have on the other--[laughter]-- although I have more information than anybody else in this country on that subject. I can't give you a tip on the Derby, however.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to send a message soon on extending the controls section of the Defense Production Act?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that is in the course of preparation now. 4

4See Items 91, 176, 199.

Q. Have you decided whether you will ask modification of the parity provision in the act?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't tell you what the recommendation will contain until I have finished writing it, but as soon as it is ready I will see that all of you have a copy of it.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, is Jonathan Daniels still welcome at the White House?

THE PRESIDENT. Why, of course.

Q. Well, Mr. President, this is--[pause]-he said

THE PRESIDENT. What's the matter, May?5 [Laughter]

5Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Q. Wall, I don't know--[more laughter]-this is strictly a feminine question.

THE PRESIDENT. All right--go ahead.

Q. Did you say, or do you think that congressional wives think their husbands know better how to run the country? I mean, he said in there that you felt that if Congressmen did not think they knew better than you did how to run the country, at least their wives did?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't read the article. I probably won't read it. The only comment that has been made on it was made by Mr. Short, and I back him up in that comment. 6

6"What Truman Would Do to Congress," by Jonathan Daniels, a former aide to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. The article appeared in the April 14th edition of Colliers' magazine.

Q. I wonder if it was laudable for wives to think their husbands know best?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course it is. [More laughter]

[8.] Q. Mr. President, along the same line, who are those four or five people that Hersey said you are going to punch in the nose?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on that. As I said awhile ago, I haven't read the article and I know nothing about the--

Q. This is the Hersey piece.7

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I know--and I don't intend to read it--I am not interested in it. People have a right to say what they please about me if they want to. I have no objection.

7The article by John Hersey, entitled "The Wayward Press; President Truman's Press Conference, November 30th" appeared in the New Yorker magazine on December 16, 1950. For the press conference to which the article referred, see 1950 volume, this series, Item 295.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, will your meeting with the United Labor Policy Committee this afternoon be confined to the mobilization advisory board, or will you spread it out to cover other things?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer a question like that because the meeting has not taken place yet. After it is over, I will tell you what took place.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, will Mr. Churchill visit you?

THE PRESIDENT. Why, of course. He wouldn't think of coming to this country without coming to see me, and I wouldn't think of going to Great Britain without going to see him, either.

[11.] Q. Well, that reminds me also--

THE PRESIDENT. All right, May.

Q. Austine Cassini8 said this morning that you and Mrs. Truman were going to Paris with Miss Margaret and that you would probably stop in on the King and Queen of England on your way back?

THE PRESIDENT. May, no such plans have been made, because my presence is needed right here in this country. The fact that I went to Key West gave a lot of people spasms and jitters, so I couldn't think about going outside the country!

8Writer and columnist.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, this massing of troops in Manchuria, are you--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on that, and I don't intend to answer any further questions on it at all.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, I want to ask you one thing. Provided that you did have some people in mind that you would like to punch their noses, after you step out, would you be punching in 1952 or 1956?

THE PRESIDENT. Tony,9 let's wait until developments take place. Your question will answer itself. [Laughter]

9 Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated Press.

[14.] Q. Do you think the tax increase of $10 billion is enough to drain off enough buying power?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Snyder spoke for the administration when he appeared before the committee. You will get your answer from Mr. Snyder's statement to the committee. 10

10On April 2 Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, testifying before the House Committee on Ways and Means, stated that the administration was going to reduce its request for additional taxes to $10 billion.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, has General MacArthur been authorized to bomb bases in Manchuria?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a question that cannot be answered because it is a military strategy question, and it is not a question that I can answer.

Q. I wonder if we could have that question--

THE PRESIDENT. He asked me if General MacArthur had been authorized to bomb bases in Manchuria, and I said that is a military strategy question that I cannot answer.

Tony, how do you decipher all those things? I see you are messing it all up. You write a little in one place, and then you go down and write in between.

Q. It isn't easy! [Laughter]

Q. Have you got anything else on your mind, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

NOTE: President Truman's two hundred and fifty-ninth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 5, 1951.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.