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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.
  208. The President's News Conference  
December 7, 1945

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't have any special announcements to make to you today, but since you haven't had a press conference in the afternoon this week, I thought I had better let you come in and ask some questions. You might have something to say to me.

[1.] Q. Well, Mr. President, we have. The White House Correspondents' Association each year makes a small gift to the Warm Springs Foundation through the White House, and the President customarily receives it, and we would appreciate your accepting it.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, thank you--thank you.

Q. A thousand dollars.

THE PRESIDENT. A thousand dollars. From the White House Correspondents' Association to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis--a thousand dollars. Well, thank you. On behalf of the Foundation, I thank you. And I will see that that gets into the proper pocket. [Laughter]

[2.] Q. Mr. President, there are dispatches coming to us from London which indicate that Foreign Minister Bevin may announce some time today a five-power meeting of foreign ministers and perhaps a three-power atomic conference.

THE PRESIDENT. I am not familiar with it. I can't answer it. I don't know.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, could you make any comment on the northern Governors' suit to set aside the ICC freight rate decision?

THE PRESIDENT. Is that the one that breaks up the combination ?

Q. Well, that is the suit that involves the class rate ruling of the ICC, rather than the antitrust act.

THE PRESIDENT. I am not familiar with it, but I want a freight rate structure in this country that is fair to every section of it. I don't like the structure that has been in effect in the country with different brands in different parts of the United States. I have spent most of my time in the Senate trying to break that.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, have you yet selected your American members of the Palestine commission?

THE PRESIDENT. No, but they will be announced. I think we will be in a position to announce it Monday.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, are you doing anything about the reinstitution of controls on building material?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, we are. We are trying to make some arrangement to channel building materials for residence purposes. I thought I would have a special announcement to make to you this afternoon, but we didn't get it ready.

Q. Did any event hold that announcement up?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No. We just weren't ready.

Q. Could you explain that word "channel"?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, see that building materials are used principally for residence purposes. Might use priorities. Probably would be better than channeling.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you intend to act on the recommendation of the Democratic National Committee that Governor Tugwell of Puerto Rico be removed immediately?

THE PRESIDENT. The Democratic Committee has made no such recommendation to me. We didn't know here--neither did the Democratic Committee--until we saw his name in the paper.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us the names of the fact finding board you said you would appoint in the General Motors case?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not quite ready right now with them. I can announce it in a very short time, but I can't give them to you today.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you know of any instance where agencies of another power have got hold of any part of the atomic secret we have?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not familiar with any specific instance. I have heard rumors to that effect, but rumors you can't give as facts.

[9.] Q. Can you give us any comment, Mr. President, on Mr. Murray's observations regarding your labor program?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, do you want to comment on the increasing rate of highway accidents? Is there anything the Government can do about it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, let me see. I think in 1935 I succeeded in getting a bill through the Senate to regulate drivers on interstate highways. That bill was passed by the Senate and was killed three times in the House. It had to do with proper examinations for drivers, before they would be allowed to drive on highways in interstate traffic.

I still think some sort of regulation is going to have to be made of these drivers, either by State laws such as the ones they have in Massachusetts and I think in four other States in the Union--or five--or else the Federal Government is going to have to take a hand in stopping these accidents.

Up to 1935 there had been more highway deaths from accidents than we had lost men in all the wars we ever fought, beginning with the Revolution. There had been a property damage rate of about a billion dollars a year. That is a tremendous price to pay for crackpots to drive automobiles.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, what is the next step on the British loan?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be sent to the Congress in the form of a message, and then the Congress will have to act upon it.

Q. Will it be this week?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be some time in the near future. We can't set the date now.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, Ambassador Hurley in his testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee accused Under Secretary Acheson of destroying American foreign policy in Iran. Do you think that American foreign policy has been destroyed in the Near East?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The first I had heard of that view was when Mr. Hurley made the statement to the Senate committee.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you any plans for starting negotiations with Soviet Russia for a loan? They have asked for $6 billion, I believe.

THE PRESIDENT. If they have, it has never been officially given to me. They never asked me for a $6 billion loan, since I have been President.

Q. Have there been any moves by the Government, Mr. President, to survey what the total possible loans may have to be, along the lines of Mr. Baruch's statement in a letter to Representative Gore?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, Congressman Manasco's committee reported a bill on the full employment idea, which pretty much emasculates your program. They have even stricken the words "full employment" and put in the idea of high-level employment. Do you have any comment on that committee's action?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't; but I hope the House will pass some sort of bill so we can get the conference and probably work out a bill.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you contemplate any action in the near future in returning the Coast Guard to the Treasury?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes--yes. I don't know exactly when it will be done, but it will be done sometime soon, as soon as I can get the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of the Navy to agree on a date.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment at this time on unification?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I will have something to say about that in the very near future.

Q. Does that mean a message next week, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope so.

[17.] Q. Can you tell us, Mr. President, anything about the instructions to General Eisen--Marshall at this time?

THE PRESIDENT. No. General Marshall has been so busy with other things that I haven't had a chance to discuss the program with him and the Secretary of State.

Q. Will General Marshall try getting the two factions in China together again, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope so. I will give you that when the instructions are published.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, have you got any comment on the resignation of Charles Houston from the FEPC?

THE PRESIDENT. I wrote a letter on that, which was published in today's papers, which covers the situation thoroughly.1

1 The letter accepting Mr. Houston's resignation, not published herein, was released by the White House on December 7. The letter referred to an apparent contradiction between the law--which required the Government to operate seized properties under the terms and conditions of employment which were in effect at the time of seizure--and a proposed FEPC order concerning the Capital Transit Company In the District of Columbia.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, in connection with housing, are you going to take any position on price ceilings on houses, as in the Patman bill?

THE PRESIDENT. We hope to.

Q. Do you advocate price ceilings?

THE PRESIDENT. Some sort of control on real estate prices, I think, is going to be necessary, unless we are going to have real estate inflation. I don't know whether we will be able to do it or not. That is a matter that will have to be worked out after much thought. I don't want to say right now that it will be done, but some sort of arrangement will have to be made to prevent inflation in real estate prices, especially the small residence section.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, the Red Cross central committee was supposed to meet December 4th, I think, to name a chairman or rather to get a recommendation from you. Could you tell us anything about your recommendation with regard to that?

THE PRESIDENT. They didn't meet, and I didn't make a recommendation.

Q. They were scheduled--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't think so.

Q. Is there any change there in prospect, so far as you know, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I will announce that on the 12th of December.

Q. You mean you are announcing a change? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I will announce the chairman of the Red Cross on the 12th of December.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us anything about the Pacific Northwest light metals plant situation, as a result of your conference with Senator Mitchell today?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, Senator Mitchell was here to discuss the continued operation of those light metals plants in the Northwest, and no conclusions were reached.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

NOTE: President Truman's thirty-seventh news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, December 7, 1945.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.