Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Wallgren, Monrad C. (Monrad Charles), 1891-1961; Ilgenfritz, Carl A.; Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875; Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908
Legislators; Executive power; Executive advisory bodies; Executive-Legislative relations

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, ca. 1949. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

[Undated 1949]

These two Boards serve in an advisory capacity to the President and the Secretary of Defense.

The objection to Mr. Ilgenfritz was that his salary from his company-the United States Steel Company-would be paid to him while he served the government. It was never intended that he would draw his government salary. He was to do a patriotic service for his country for one year for which he would only receive the honor of serving. His qualifications and experience were exactly in line with the job he was supposed to do, which is an advisory one. (Explain job) He would make no purchases, no contracts, have nothing to offer his company or any other company or individual. It was found on an examination of the law creating the Munitions Board that it provided "that the Chairman shall receive $14,000.00 per annum".

Senators viewed with alarm the fact that a man drawing $70,000.00 a year from the US Steel Company should continue to draw that salary and be forced to take a salary from the government too. So though highly qualified for the position the Senate refused to confirm.

Governor Wallgren served six years in the House of Representatives and six years in the Senate. He was a member of the Military Affairs Committee, Appropriations Committee and the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program. The Governor was Chairman of the subcommittee which investigated every airplane factory in the country and which also went into the light metals problem. He knows the national set up as well as any man in the country. He served a four year term as Governor of the State of Washington. Was a successful and capable public official wherever he served, yet the Senate Committee on National Defense would not even let the Senate vote on his appointment.

These two appointments are practically the same as cabinet positions and are essential to the proper functioning of the executive branch of the government. They should be filled by men the President can trust and by men of ability. These two men have those qualifications.

There is a growing tendency on the part of the Senate to infringe on the powers and prerogatives of the President. For instance a provision in the European Recovery Act sets up what purports to be a Watch Dog Committee to oversee the executive branch of the Government in the expenditure of the money. Luckily the House wouldn't give them any money for their snooping and so they haven't functioned.

The Congress has a right to investigate and pass laws to remedy those things which not done correctly by the executive. But the Congress has no right to interfere or hamper the President in the enforcement of the laws passed by the Congress.

In Andrew Johnson's administration Congress tried to override the Constitution in this respect and finally impeached the President when he would not perform the unconstitutional acts Congress passed.

Grover Cleveland was harassed the same way although he was not impeached.

The 80th Congress made every effort possible to abolish the powers of the President and were turned out of office for it. The present Senate is by every means at it command trying to carry on the policy of the 80th Congress in this respect. It will not succeed. But it has succeeded in making it almost impossible for the President to obtain capable efficient help.

When men are tried and abused publicly by irresponsible Senators who hide behind their immunity it is almost hopeless to try to get good men for responsible positions.

Statement on Presidential Appointments.

Mr. Ilgenfritz, a U.S. Steel executive has been rejected by the Senate with a large majority.

Governor Wallgren's nomination was tabled in the Committee for the Armed Services, without giving the Senate a chance to vote.

The steel magnet [magnate] was nominated to the chairmanship of the Munitions Board; the Governor was nominated to the chairmanship of the National Security Resources Board.


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