Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Anderson, Clinton Presba, 1895-1975; Byrnes, James F. (James Francis), 1882-1972; Forrestal, James, 1892-1949; Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965; Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971; Fleming, Philip B. (Philip Bracken), 1887-195
Cabinet meetings; Trade agreements
Cabinet Meeting Minutes, January 18, 1946. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.
CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 1946
1. General discussion of strike situation.
Said steel conferees have still failed to agree. President made a proposal
to the conferees that a pay raise of 18 ½ ¢ be granted as of January 1,
1946. Steel company has it under consideration and will report at noon
today. If company does not accept we will have another program as strike
will be called on Monday. Reported to the Secretary of the Navy that he
has had complaints about food on the USS MISSOURI, SOUTH DAKOTA and others.
He is pleased with Eisenhower's statement on redeployment. Thinks that
UNO has done good job in London and has wired Sec. Byrnes to that effect.
He told of the volume of work that has come over his desk. He has had to
make decisions which should have been made in the Departments. He has
delegated responsibility to department heads but that responsibility has
not been accepted.
Hoped the President will continue to carry his fight to the people.
Convinced that people are behind the President and urged the President to
keep on fighting.
Everywhere he has been people are delighted with fighting leadership
displayed by the President. Urged that every possible means be adopted to
strengthening the administration.
Said he became a Democrat because Republicans did not accept changes in
tariff. He said he was extremely disturbed about the State Department
policy with respect to a revision of quota on import of Swiss watches. He
believes that this policy is seriously wrong. He referred to the fact that
his brother-in-law is the Swiss Minister, but he said that this had nothing
to do with his conclusions.
ACTING SECRETARY ACHESON
The watch industry has made a strong drive in Congress to protect American
production. There were 10 million watches imported in 1945 when only 5
million were exported. Stated that the Swiss government has opposed
limitation. He thinks that a modification can and will be worked out. He
believes that there should be a limitation of 3 million watches. He added
to this there may be indirect importation of 2 ½ million more. He
anticipates American production of about 2 ½ million.
Was worried about endangering reciprocal trade agreements by permitting
conditions to arise which would influence the man in the street. He
believes that the Swiss are not in position to say what limitations should
be imposed. Swiss are not by any means in the family of trade nations.
United States must become a creditor nation. We cannot continue to export
more than we import. Democratic Party must not be the Party to put on
quotas. This will spell the end of the Republican Party because they have
traditionally raised trade barriers.
Wanted the Cabinet to know what White House changed had been approved by
the Fine Arts Commission.
Said he wants to know policy with respect to speeches at political conventions.
Told him to make all the political speeches that his system could stand.
Believed that the surplus property situation should be clarified.
UNDER SECRETARY ROYAL [ROYALL]
The Army has set up a committee to clear surplus with RFC-SWPC, etc. Has
developed procedure which is now being cleared. In his opinion
distribution of surplus is of primary importance.
The President instructed him to get it done.