Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Forrestal, James, 1892-1949; Hannegan, Robert E. (Robert Emmet), 1903-1949; Patterson, Robert Porter, 1891-1952; Krug, Julius A. (Julius Albert), 1907-1970; Fleming, Philip B. (Philip Bracken), 1887-1955; McGrath, J. Howard (J
Cabinet meetings; Food industry and trade; Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals, Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946; Congressional committees

Cabinet Meeting Minutes, September 20, 1946. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.

CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1946

THE PRESIDENT

Said he first wanted to discuss the meat situation. Stated that he believed the release he made at the press conference on September 19th was factually correct. He believed that nothing further can be done at this time to relieve the meat shortage. Stated that nature must take its course. Congress knocked down our ears by refusing to give us price control last March and if Congress had acted upon the administration's request at that time the present situation would not exist. However, the lapse at the end of price control of June 30th and the action of the Decontrol Board in placing meat back under price control caused the producers of livestock to glut the markets in order to obtain higher prices while controls were off. The President was hopeful that meat would again flow into the markets during the latter part of October. He stated that the removal of price control would in no way step up the flow of meat.

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR KRUG

Criticized the present distribution system of meat. Raised the question as to whether it would be possible for meat to be allocated where most needed. He has just returned from a trip to West Virginia and found that the miners are not able to obtain any meat and that they will not work without it. This is seriously impairing our coal supply. He stated that in locations like Washington, D.C. white collar workers can get along without meat and he believed it advisable to see what could be done to channel the available meat supply to locations where heavy industry predominates.

THE PRESIDENT

Stated that the thing that caused him the greatest concern at the present time was the danger of a lack of federal inspection due to the movement of meat in the black market. Stated that this one fact alone would have a serious health reaction among the American people.

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR KRUG

Reemphasized the importance of getting meat to the mines. Stated that he has reason to believe that John L. Lewis may be looking for another excuse to pull men out of the mines.

POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN

The people should be continually apprised of any improvement in the meat situation. He made the suggestion that the President might want to make a brief radio speech direct to the people to inform them of the reason for the present situation.

THE PRESIDENT

Agreed to consider the suggestion of the Postmaster General.

SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON

Followed up the Secretary of the Interior's suggestion and also raised the question as to whether meat might be channeled to mining regions. He believed that this was very important.

THE PRESIDENT

Stated that he had received a letter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asking that a Roman Holiday be declared in connection with the execution of the war criminal trials at Nuremburg. The Post-Dispatch asked that the executions be made public and cited as one of its reasons the fact that the paper has paid more than $9,000 to keep a reporter to cover the trials. They argued that this reporters series would be incomplete unless he can witness and write the final dramatic story.

SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON

The decision to keep the executions private was arrived at by the Allied Council of the four major powers at Berlin. The War Department had also received a request from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and from the United Press asking that the War Department that the executions be made public. They were informed that the War Department would consider their petitions. Both of these had been forwarded to General McArthur [MacArthur], Commanding Officer in the American zone of occupation. If their reasons were sound the matter would be brought up again with the Allied Council.

Secretary stated that another invasion of Germany was contemplated at this time by the Mead Committee of the Senate. Stated that the request is a departure in policy from the conduct of the Committee under the chairmanship of the President. The present request gets the committee into matters of overseas strategy. He believed that the Committee inquiry would be based on the testimony of certain officers who appeared voluntarily before the Committee and gave information with respect to moral corruption in the European Occupation Zone.

THE PRESIDENT

In his opinion the Committee has turned into a one-man grand jury during the last three months. Cited specifically the treatment by the Committee of Admiral King which he termed as disgraceful and unfair. The President stated that he does not approve of investigators of the Mead Committee going to Germany.

SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON

Stated that four members of the Committee, Senator Mead, Senator Kilgore, Senator Brewster and Senator Ferguson, during a meeting of the preceding day, were so determined to make this investigation that it might be well for the investigators to be allowed to go into Germany. However, he agreed that the matter should be studied further.

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FORRESTAL

Informed the Secretary of the Navy that on the request from the Navy Department that a national museum be created, he has studied the matter and has come to the conclusion that if such a museum is to be created it should he located in Washington and not in Baltimore as suggested by the Navy. He believed that the government should also set up a military museum which would also be located, in Washington and the various pieces such as the Constellation should be brought to Washington where more people will have an opportunity to view them.

SOLICITOR GENERAL McGRATH

(For Attorney General)

Disagreed with the President. Thinks that monuments which have become historically associated with certain cities should be allowed to remain there and that additional monument pieces should be spread around the country so that a greater number of people could have a reminder of past military operations of this government. He specifically referred to the Constellation which is now located at Newport, Rhode Island, the home state of the Solicitor General. He stated that in his opinion it would be extremely unpopular with the people of Rhode Island. The President agreed to take the matter under further consideration.

ACTING SECRETARY OF COMMERCE SCHINDLER

Cited the fact that wherever some historical monument is located it has been found very helpful to the promotion of trade in the municipality favored by such monuments. They attract people from wide areas and local merchants have found that additional benefits are accrued by the presence of such monuments.

THE PRESIDENT

Stated that it has finally been decided that our ambassadors would represent the President at the inaugurations of new chiefs of state in the South American countries. Referred to the fact that requests have been received for various government officials to attend such inaugurations as a representative of the President, but in order to prevent ill feeling a uniform policy of having the ambassador in the country so delegated would afford equal treatment for all.

Cabinet meetings are now back on regular schedule and the President stated that he wanted to inform each member of the Cabinet that the President has complete confidence in every member. He hoped that future meetings would be conducted on the basis of frank and open discussion. He stated that a Cabinet which failed to do so was not complying with its duties.

SECRETARY OF LABOR SCHWELLENBACH

Brought up the question pertaining to difficulties he had encountered in his department in dealing with the problem of investigating subversive activities by federal employees. Stated that when allegation that an employee is a Communist is made and is called in for questioning and flatly denies it, it presents a problem as to how the allegation can be substantiated.

SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON

The War Department has had that trouble. When an employee is charged with subversive activity they demand a full hearing but if this is done no further discoveries will be made. This procedure would expose the source of information with respect to the charges and no further information could be expected if public testimony was required from the informants. He stated that the F.B.I. was very much opposed to such procedure. In many instances they have employed undercover agents in military establishments and feel very strongly that if the wishes of the persons charged with being subversive are complied with, any attempt to discover further activities would be futile.

POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN

Expressed the desire to thank the members of the Cabinet for their attendance at a series of luncheons held in his office for Democratic candidates for Congress. He stated that the presence of the Cabinet members and other government officials was found extremely helpful as it indicated to the candidates that the Washington family was very much interested in their welfare. He asked for the continued cooperation of the Cabinet officers and government officials in furthering the candidacy of Democratic nominees.

GENERAL FLEMING

Stated that he had just returned from a trip to Mexico City attending the highway safety conference. He wanted to assure the President that there was 100% support of the President's highway safety program.

ACTING SECRETARY OF COMMERCE SCHINDLER

Stated that he wants to assure the President that the Commerce Department has settled down and gone back to work, that the fears of the employees have been taken care of and that he has every reason to believe that the new Secretary would achieve the full cooperation of the Department.


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