Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Snyder, John W. (John Wesley), 1895-1985; Lovett, Robert A. (Robert Abercrombie), 1895-1986; Brannan, Charles F. (Charles Franklin), 1903-1992; Donaldson, Jesse M. (Jesse Monroe), 1885-1970; MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964; Sawy
Cabinet meetings; Korean War, 1950-1953; Armed forces officers; Military readiness

Cabinet Meeting Minutes, March 20, 1951. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings II.

CABINET MEETING MARCH 20, 1951 11:00

State - absent
Marshall - absent
McGrath - absent

Lovett for Defense
Perlman for Justice

COL - (AAF)

Briefed Cabinet on Korea.

THE PRESIDENT

Has had a sad experience with McArthur [MacArthur] who beat the gun on a statement which was to be used as a statement by the President. MacArthur picked up the statement and went beyond it with views of his own with threats of mass destruction if necessary if Commies did not go along with proposed peace suggestion. It was a disloyal act to the Commander in Chief.

We are trying to work out a meeting of minds of labor - farmers and industry on stabilization. All segments of our economy must make sacrifices. There can be no exceptions. The present Defense Mobilization Act is not workable. We are now trying to suggest amendments to make stabilization effective. The President has now set up by executive order a new board which will have representation from all segments.

SNYDER

Our tax message was designed to conduct Defense Program on a pay as you go basis. Committee has been studying tax approach and will meet again next week. There has been considerable resistance from different groups who are seeking exemptions. This had held up progress of Defense Program. Will appear before Ways and Means again and reaffirm our desire to operate on pay as you go basis. Unless we do inflation will run wild.

THE PRESIDENT

The problem is that we are in a serious situation which is not dramatic but which is vital and dangerous.

LOVETT

Defense Dept has 3 enemies -

(1) Risk of visual aggression. We are making promising progress on this front but not satisfactory as of yet.

(2) Inflation. That has cost us 2 billion out of every 10 billion since June.

(3) Relaxation. This has shown itself by reversal of attitude of Congress. In December Congress was talking full war mobilization. It was in an attitude of gluttony. Now the attitude is to minimize the need for vital projects.

The Senate 2 months ago got out a good universal service & training bill. It went to the House which is now trying to split up the bill and by so doing will defeat the program. The proposed limitations being sought by Congressional groups will be most dangerous to our national security. The coming weeks will provide a very tough battle to maintain our objectives of UMT and Universal Service.

P.M.G.

Thinks we will get a postal rate increase through Congress but it does not look like we will do much on publications rate.

March 26, 1951* (continued)

BRANNAN

The Government Division of the Red Cross Drive is in bad shape. All departments are falling down badly. Pleaded for support for increased effort.

Farm prices in many categories are lower in 1950 than in 1949. Increases in consumer prices are not being passed on to the farmer. He is doing everything possible to get production - and his profits do not compare in any way with profits of 50 large corporations in the U. S.

SAWYER

There are too many committees in Congress conducting repetitious investigations which are delaying our production effort by tying up time of key officials.

VICE PRES

Suggested Sawyer sit down with the chairmen of the committees and try to pull the investigations into a central jurisdiction.

TOBIN

Latest price index has gone through the roof. It is vital to get stabilization and quickly. Urged consideration of Govt subsidy for certain food items which will check price rises and help to bring about real stabilization.

WILSON

Referred to Brannan's statement about 50 corporations which he agreed was true and unconscionable. However as these companies go into defense production their profits will drop off. Thought that we should siphon off some of these profits. Thinks that no company should get more than 10% gross profit on any defense work.

*Connelly's notes show no break between end of March 20 meeting and beginning of March 26 meeting.

12:35


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