Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Neely, Matthew Mansfield, 1874-1958; Foley, Edward H., 1905-1982; Steelman, John Roy, 1900-1999; McGranery, James P. (James Patrick), 1895-1962; Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986; Donaldson, Jesse M. (Jesse Monroe), 1885-1970; Sawyer, Char
Cabinet meetings; Korean War, 1950-1953

Cabinet Meeting Minutes, September 12, 1952. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings II.


Notes on Cabinet Meeting, Friday, September 12, 1952

1. Under Secretary Foley - he secured the signature of the President on an order for some refunding due October first. Stated he wanted to announce the order "at the close of the market today." Then he mentioned some West Virginia appointments in which Senator Neely is interested.

2. Secretary Lovett.

(a) No real prospect for Korean armistice. It would require retreat on issues which we cannot afford to make. The President said, "No, of course we can't."

Mr. Lovett: "If we stay firm we can tear them up by air. We are gaining in strength and are hurting them badly." The communists are taking an "awful pasting;" the score is about eight to one in favor of our Saber-jets vs. the MIGs. "...If we keep on, tearing the place apart, we can make it a most unpopular affair for the North Koreans. We ought to go right ahead."

(b) On production - in July we hit our targets - 838 planes - more in one month than total Korean losses since the beginning, etc.

(c) Discussed the rotation system in Korea and said it is costing about 4 billion per year. This year there will be a 1 million man turnover in the Armed Services due to the 24-month rule. Except for enlistments all who have been in for 24 months must be out and replaced. That, plus the rotation problem, is a terrific load and a terrific expense.

(d) Mentioned General Hershey and his speeches about drafting fathers. Lovett: "It simply is not, I repeat, NOT, so. We have 50,000 in the pool, and there is no need whatever of drafting fathers or of talking about drafting fathers (unless for headline getting) unless some unforeseen emergency arises. We will soon announce this and will check the statement with you (The President) before making it."

(e) Atomic energy construction has been lagging but is now picking up. There have been 57 strikes at Paducah.

Discussion of strike situation followed involving Joe Fowler, John Steelman and Assistant Secretary of Labor Galvin. Decided to call on Joe Keenan to assist. Also, that the Secretary of Labor would talk with some of the Building Trades International Presidents, realizing that Dick Gray is so bitter and antagonistic there is no use to call on him.

3. The Attorney General - "Nothing, Mr. President."

4. The Postmaster General - discussed briefly the "Anna Rosenberg show" of the day before.

5. Under Secretary of Interior - mentioned coal negotiations and said Department has plans to hold and allot all coal above ground unless settlement is announced by the 18th. The agreement ends (and presumably the strike would begin) on September 20.

6. Under Secretary of Agriculture. Stated thought food and fiber will be up to last year's production in spite of local droughts. These seem to be about over, etc.

7. Secretary Sawyer - stated his Department is making a survey as to marketing possibilities in the future; that when military needs drop off, distribution rather than production, will be the real problem. Said he is setting up an Office of Distribution in Commerce - all stress has been on production - we have been looking after manufacturers, large and small, but not the distributors, etc.

8. Under Secretary of Labor - Stated the big labor—management committee has now disintegrated to where "clerks" attend rather than Green, Murray, etc. He believes the labor difficulties mentioned by Secretary Lovett are due largely to a lack of interest and perhaps a lack of knowledge on the part of the higher officials. He stated he thought the international presidents could be reached.

The President said, "You and John work on it."

(After Cabinet it was decided Mr. Tobin should not call any public meetings but should quietly talk with these presidents individually about the bad situation and see if they would not give some attention to it - without publicity.)

9. Mr. Harriman - "Nothing, Mr. President."

10. John Steelman - "Nothing, Mr. President.

Then the Attorney General spoke a bit about the coal situation. He said he believes a part of the proposition now being discussed between the union and management - according to the papers - is absolutely a violation of the anti-trust laws. He plans to look into it, etc.

The meeting ended about 11:55 a.m.

/s/ J. R. S.