|97. The President's News Conference|
April 27, 1950 |
[Held in the Indian Treaty Room, Executive Office Building]
THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I think I had better make a statement to you about this proposed change. It occurred to me that it would be more comfortable for you. I know it will be more comfortable for me to be able to see everybody, and for everybody to be able to hear what is said. That room over across the street is built in such a manner that the acoustics are not good. Whenever I have a conference of any importance where there are more than three people present, I always move it back in the Cabinet Room.
I want the procedure to go just as it always has, and when the top White House correspondent gets tired, or thinks he wants to say "Thank you, Mr. President," we will quit.
Q. Mr. President, will you please speak a little bit louder? [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. I will. Maybe I'll have to put a mike up here, if you can't hear back there. I thought you could. I could hear you much better than I could hear you over in that other room.
[2.] I have an announcement to make. Stanley Woodward is going to be the Ambassador to Canada. And just a day or two after the leak came about in Canada, he called up Mr. Connelly,1 and wanted to know if the proposed new Ambassador to Canada could see the President. And Mr. Connelly told him that he would have to take it up with protocol in the State Department if he expected to see me. [Laughter]
1 Matthew J. Connelly, Secretary to the President.
[3.] I am interested in the reorganization 'plans that are now before the Congress. I sent down 21 of them.2 They have resolutions against 8 of them introduced in the Senate, and I think 5 in the House.
2See Items 53-76.
Now, if we are going to have efficiency in the Government--we spent an immense amount of money, and a lot of time. And the commission headed by Mr. Hoover and Dean Acheson brought in an excellent report. I have had the executive branch of the Government working on that report ever since it came in. And as fast as we get these reorganization plans ready, I have been sending them down to the Congress.
And I think if we are going to make any sincere effort to carry out that able and efficient report in an able and efficient manner--we must remember that the reason the Congress itself has not been able to make the necessary reorganization of the Government by law is because every single one of them has some special reasons added on to get this thing or that thing done--every one of these reorganization plans will tend to increase the efficiency of the Government And I am exceedingly anxious that those 21 plans be approved.
I am working on other plans now, which I will send down to this session of Congress before it adjourns, as soon as we get them ready. And I sincerely hope that they will all be approved.
That's all I have to say, gentlemen. I will answer all the questions I can, if you will ask them.
Q. Mr. President, how many more plans do you expect to have ?
THE PRESIDENT. We are going to keep on until we have lined up that five-volume report. I don't know how long it will take, or how many plans it will take.
[4.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you are familiar with the RFC loans being investigated by the Fulbright committee3 up on the Hill?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not. That is what I have had the RFC for, to make the investigation of those loans. I am not familiar with them.
3 Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee.
[5.] Q. Mr. President, one of the results of the McCarthy4 investigation has been a countercharge that he is being fed material by Nationalist China sources. I wonder if you would care to make any comment on the suggestion raised by several publications, including the New Republic, for an investigation of the so-called China lobby?
THE PRESIDENT. It seems to me that that is a question you ought to ask the chairman of the committee. Let him find out. I have no comment on it.
[At this point there was a pause in the questioning.]
THE PRESIDENT. Don't be bashful, gentlemen! [Laughter]
4 Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, member of the Investigations Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments.
[6.] Q. Could you tell us something, sir, about your interview yesterday with the Treasury Minister of Argentina?5
THE PRESIDENT. He paid me a courtesy call, as nearly all these foreign dignitaries do. I had a very pleasant visit with him, and he told me that he had been discussing various matters in which both the Argentine Government and the Government of the United States are interested, that he had received the utmost cooperation from the people with whom he had to deal, that he had several other interviews to make, and several other people to see. And I told him I hoped he would have the same courteous treatment, and have the same good results which he assured me he had had up to date. That is the gist of the conversation.
5 Ramon A. Cereijo.
[7.] Q. Mr. President, to get back to those reorganization plans, I understand that your Secretary of the Treasury is opposed to the transfer of the currency into--
THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary of the Treasury has his views, which he is entitled to, on the control of the currency. That is one small part of that reorganization plan. The plan should not be defeated on that account.
[8.] Q. Mr. President, within the past day or so the direction of the military budget appears to have turned upward again--there have been recommendations on the Hill--I wonder if you would comment on that in relation to your general policy--
THE PRESIDENT. I think the statement of the Secretary of Defense to the Appropriations Committee fully covers the situation.6
6Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson appeared before the House Appropriations Committee on April 26 and stated that the Department of Defense had been engaged in a reevaluation of the country's military requirements since September 23, 1949, when President Truman had announced that there had been an atomic explosion in the Soviet Union. He urged that the Committee recommend an increase in the military budget of $350 million. Of that sum $300 million was to be used for aircraft procurement and $50 million for antisubmarine vessels. His recommendation was approved by the Committee.
Q. And you support it?
THE PRESIDENT. And it was submitted to me for approval before it was made, and I think it is necessary or I would not have approved it.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, regarding the Navy Privateer plane,7 I wonder if the next time Russian planes buzz around our planes that the Russians' claims are likely to be true, that is, that we fired--
THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that the State Department has been handling, and I can't comment on it, I'm sorry.
7 See Item 86 .
[10.] Q. Mr. President, insomuch as nominations from the White House for toplevel posts are frequently held up by the Senate confirmation quite a long while, would you recommend or approve legislation calling for approval of such within a reasonable time?
THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I was a United States Senator from Missouri for 10 years. The Senate has certain rules with regard to their advice and consent power in the Constitution. I wouldn't change it. I manage to get along all right, whether they approve it or whether they don't. I think most of them will be approved.
[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the recommendation of Mr. Jesse Jones for abolition of the RFC?8
THE PRESIDENT. NO comment. Mr. Jones no longer runs it. Maybe that might be the reason he made that comment.
8 As reported in the New York Times, Jesse Jones, Chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation from 1933 to 1939, stated his case for terminating the Corporation in a letter to Senator J. William Fulbright, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee. The letter pointed out that the conditions that prompted the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in the days of the depression no longer existed and that continued activity in the field put the Government in competition with private lending companies.
[12.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to make another effort to get draft legislation at this session?
THE PRESIDENT. I sent a message on the subject and I think in the Message on the State of the Union, both last January and the January before. That still stands.
Q. Will you make another effort?
THE PRESIDENT. That still stands. That still stands. That is before the Congress now and has been right along. My position hasn't changed, and I don't intend to change it.
Q. Mr. Vinson,9 chairman of the House Committee came out yesterday in favor of it.
THE PRESIDENT. I am very happy. Very happy that he did.
9 Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you got any kind of plan to hold on to Berlin in case this demonstration comes off on May 28th?10
THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter on which I can't comment.
10 The East German Communists had threatened to stage a demonstration in Berlin on May 28. The demonstration was to take the form of a march on West Berlin.
Q. What was the answer ?
THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on it.
Q. Could you comment on the report that we are prepared to shoot?
THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on it at all.
[14.] Q. Mr. President, at the conclusion of this unusual press conference, will you express to the correspondents how you like it? [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. Oh, surely. Surely I will.
Q. Mr. President, in relation to that question, since this is the first conference in this room, you might know of some of the historic events which have occurred in this room, and I am wondering if you are familiar with--
THE PRESIDENT. Not entirely. I am familiar with some of them, but not with all of them.
Q. A historic Indian treaty, opening the West, was signed here.
THE PRESIDENT. Lots of things happened in here.
I might comment further on the reason for an effort to make it more convenient for you.
If you remember, in 1945, I got an authorization to rebuild the President's offices on a permanent basis as they were meant to be built in the first place. And in those plans was a room especially for the purpose of holding press conferences. That room was equipped with radio equipment, and with a place to take pictures and everything else that would be for the convenience of the press and the news services.
When we moved the shovels in there to go to work on the program, I think some discussion came about in a press conference about a cafeteria, and the Congress revoked the appropriation.
Now this is the next best thing that I can think of to do to make it more convenient for you, and it certainly is more convenient for me. I can see every one of you, and when you stand up I can hear what you have to say, and I hope you can hear me equally well. And it is, of course, for your convenience that I wanted to make an experiment of this kind.
I think, when we get used to it, that we may find it is necessary for me to stand down there in the middle so we can hear better, in which case that is what we will do.
But I want to make this thing in such a manner that everybody will understand the questions and the answers, and get them fully. And I don't want to head off anybody's prerogatives as a member of the White House Correspondents' Association, or shut off any ability to break a leg getting to the phone if it is necessary. [Laughter] I don't think that will be necessary today. That is the only reason for the thing, and it seems to me that when we get used to the situation, and have found the flaws and corrected them, I think you are all going to like it.
You know, everybody is opposed to change. We are all more or less fundamentally a little conservative about any improvement in anything with which we are familiar and which we have been doing over a period of years. You are no different from anybody else.
But I believe in moving forward. That is what I am always trying to do.
[15.] Q. You don't believe in too much change in certain directions, like the elections next fall, though ?
THE PRESIDENT. Well now, that is a matter that the voters have to settle, and I am going to try and convince them that they have the best they can get. [More laughter]
[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to honor Baltimore by dedicating its international airport this summer?
THE PRESIDENT. Your Governor and the mayor of Baltimore talked to me on that subject, and we are trying our best to arrange so that I can go. I want to go. If I go-of course, I can't make firm commitments this far in advance, and you understand that we have got a long, nonpolitical appearance in the next 2 weeks, and my desk may pile up so high I may not be able to make it, but I want to try to get there. I would like to come.
[17.] Q. You discussed with Senator Bridges a new approach to--on bipartisan foreign policy--bringing in Republican leaders. Could you tell us how that would work? Would Democrats be present?
THE PRESIDENT. Oh, certainly. I had a conversation on that very subject with Senator Connally and the Secretary of State this morning, and issued a statement on the subject which covers it fully.11 It is the program that was inaugurated by Cordell Hull--simply trying to carry it on.
11 See Item 96.
You know, changes take place in the Government of the United States that are continuous and sometimes the successors to the people who inaugurate a plan are not entirely familiar with it. I think that is all the difficulty there is in connection with the bipartisan foreign policy. I am continuing with it just as it was started by Cordell Hull.
[18.] Q. This has been a magnificent press conference, and I think what I say will be agreed to by all members of the press here present. Will you now just give us a few words to sum up your whole attitude towards this press conference ?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am highly pleased myself. [Laughter]
Q. Then we will all go home. [Laughter ]
THE PRESIDENT. We will all go home. The reason I am highly pleased is because I am going to be able to call all of you by your first names, as I did the first row over there in the other building. And I think maybe we will consider putting this desk or table down in the middle there, facing the chairs on all four sides, so that everybody will have a chance, and I think probably the acoustics will be better from there than it is from here. That balcony back there may make it harder to hear for those in the back. But I would like to try this thing out to its logical conclusion; and then if you all feel like you want to go back to the old conservative way of doing business, we will consider it. [Laughter]
Reporter: Thank your, Mr. President.
NOTE: President Truman's two hundred and twentythird news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 3:55 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, 1950.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.