Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Schwellenbach, Lewis B. (Lewis Baxter), 1894-1948; Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965; Patterson, Robert Porter, 1891-1952; Krug, Julius A. (Julius Albert), 1907-1970; McKellar, Kenneth Douglas, 1869-1957; Dewey, Thoma
Cabinet meetings; Nuclear weapons testing; Food aid; Congressional elections

Cabinet Meeting Minutes, September 6, 1946. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.

CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1946

SECRETARY OF LABOR SCHWELLENBACH

Informed the President that he considered the recent trip of the Secretary of Interior to Alaska a great success. Informed the President that he believed that no other Secretary of the Interior had ever been received with such favorable acclaim as was given to the Secretary by all the people of Alaska.

SECRETARY OF INTERIOR KRUG

Thanked the Secretary of Labor and told the President that the people of Alaska are extremely anxious to have the President visit that territory and that they also indicated a great interest in arranging a visit by the Secretary of War.

THE PRESIDENT

Asked for opinions with respect to the postponement of the third atomic bomb test at Bikini. The President informed the Cabinet that the War and Navy Departments as well as the President's Commission to evaluate the atomic bomb tests were agreed to the postponement. Stated that from the information he received it would have little military value but it would provide information to scientific groups only. The President indicated that he did not believe that the expenditure required for a third test was justified by the ends to be obtained. Each member of the Cabinet gave his viewpoint and the Cabinet unanimously recommended a postponement.

The President then informed the Cabinet that the world food situation now facing us is somewhat critical.

ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE CLAYTON

(In absence of Secretary Byrnes)

Stated that he has had considerable exchange of information between the Department and their representatives in Europe. The Department is strongly of the opinion that the British approach to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations is the most logical one. He believes that the United States delegates should be instructed to go along with the British.

THE PRESIDENT

In the absence of Secretary Wallace, the President read a lengthy letter from the Secretary in which he disagreed with the proposal to refer the world food matter to an international committee. In commenting on this letter the President said he could see no harm in doing this and thereupon instructed the Acting Secretary of State to go ahead with a referral of the matter to the international committee and to so instruct the United States delegates at the food conference.

THE PRESIDENT

Informed the Secretary of Labor that he had decided against him in connection with the selection of a delegate to the International Labor Organization conference. The President stated that he considered the matter very carefully and has decided to have the American representative selected by the A.F. of L. rather than to provide for alternate delegates or two delegates with a half vote each, such selections to be made from the A.F. of L. and the C.I.O. The matter was so disposed of.

ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE CLAYTON

Asked for permission to discuss further the food situation. Informed the Cabinet that 400 million bushels of grain is the present goal of this government for relief shipments overseas. The Acting Secretary suggested the continuance of a joint committee of State, Agriculture, and Commerce to make continuing studies of foreign requirements.

THE PRESIDENT

Stated that in his opinion the joint committee should continue to function.

SECRETARY KRUG AND POSTMASTER HANNEGAN

Both objected to the State Department setting quotas and anticipating requirements in the future which would bring about announcement of restriction on home consumption. Both maintained that the administration would look silly if we suddenly became faced with a surplus rather than a shortage.

THE PRESIDENT

Noted these objections and requested the Acting Secretary of State to keep these objections in mind and to take adequate precautions to prevent the results referred to by the Postmaster General and the Sec. of Interior.

SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON

Stated that the War Department is now receiving considerable pressure from the Senators from Maine requesting that Department to buy dehydrated potatoes. The War Department cannot see the wisdom of making the extra expenditure to please the Maine Senators.

POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN

Stressed the importance of the members of the administration to think about the political situation during the next eight weeks. Asked that members of Cabinet acquaint him with any reference to speeches made by the members of Congress which might have political implications in connection with the coming campaign. The Postmaster stated that he has arranged a series of luncheons for new candidates and he asks that as many members as possible should attend these luncheons. He believes it will be extremely helpful to the candidates when they return to their home districts to be able to say that key officials of this administration are known to them and have indicated an interest in their welfare and election. The Postmaster General stated that he has been reliably informed that Governor Dewey of New York has decided to devote his entire energy to attacks on the national administration during the coming months. He thought it would be most helpful if the department worked out an arrangement to monitor Dewey's speeches and prepare immediate answers to any charges made by the Governor of New York. He stated that wherever possible such answers should be made to newspapers in which Dewey's speeches appeared.

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FORRESTAL

Suggested that in speeches by members of the Cabinet and other government officials more attention should be paid to mention the name of the President.

POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN

Stated that he reviewed several speeches made by government officials on Labor Day and could find no reference to the President in any of the speeches. He recalled that while in the Philippines for the Independence celebration, Ambassador McNutt made no reference to the President or to the administration, but rather left the effect that the Philippines were given their independence by Ambassador McNutt. The Postmaster General emphasized that members of the administration should, during the coming weeks, take the trouble to determine what has been accomplished by Congress and the favorable things which were accomplished should be stressed in all speeches.

He referred to a decision of the President to continue AFL representation in the International Labor Organization is sound at this time from a political standpoint. He is certain that if this was not done, the AFL would be likely to condemn the administration bitterly. Said that it might be harmful in some CIO districts but believes that this might be offset if something could be done by the administration in bringing about a settlement of the Allis—Chalmers and G.I. Case strike.

SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON

Told the President that he promised Senator McKellar he would bring up at the Cabinet meeting the cutback ordered by the President in the Rivers and Harbors program. McKellar told the Secretary of War that Memphis is badly in need of river and harbor work and the Senator prevailed upon the Secretary to discuss the matter.

THE PRESIDENT

Said that he had listened carefully to the protests made by several Senators and Congressman whose districts were affected by the cutback but that his decision still stands.

The President stated that if there was no objection the next meeting of the Cabinet would be held on September 20th.

SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON

Said that he did not want to let the opportunity pass to praise Secretary Byrnes on the speech he made at Stuttgart, Germany.

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FORRESTAL

Stated that members of the Cabinet should let the Secretary of State know of the favorable reaction and make him aware that he was doing a good job. He felt that this would be very helpful to the Secretary in realizing that he had the full confidence of his fellow members.