THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Gentlemen, and ladies, some of you, I think, haven't--you were not in here yesterday when we were showing the picture here, which is, I think, a treasure. Now it is public property. We have dosed the deal on it on Lincoln's birthday, and are able to announce that it is public property. And I hope to hang it out in the lobby where a lot of people can see it, or in the National Gallery of Art. I just put it up there--[indicating the wall]--temporarily so the picture men could take pictures of it. It is very interesting. If you haven't read the release that we put out on it, I would suggest that everyone read it, because it is an interesting thing. That picture of Lincoln there, that is the original of the official picture that hangs over the mantel in the State Dining Room in the White House.1
1 On February 12 the White House announced that the President had authorized the purchase by the Government of a historical painting, "The Peacemakers," depicting President Lincoln, Generals Grant and Sherman, and Admiral Porter in conference aboard the steamship "River Queen" during the last days of the Civil War. The picture, the work of George P. A. Healy, the release stated, was painted shortly after the war. The artist was not present at the meeting near Richmond. However, he had previously painted individual portraits of the four and he had obtained the data from which he worked from General Sherman.
The portrait of President Lincoln in the State Dining Room, also the work of Mr. Healy, the release added, is believed to have been a replica of the one in the group picture. Robert Todd Lincoln, in a letter to a friend many years later, described the history of both pictures in some detail. Of the portrait he wrote, "I have never seen a portrait of my father which is to be compared with it in any way."
I have no special announcements to make, and if anybody wants to ask questions, I will listen.
[2.] Q. Mr. President, you last week-or early this week, I forget the exact date-stressed the necessity for maintaining the synthetic rubber industry in this country, even when the supply of natural rubber becomes more plentiful. Could you give us any details on how that industry would be maintained ?
THE PRESIDENT. No. That's a matter that we'll have to work out. I went into the whole rubber situation while I was in the Senate, and made the report which finally wound up as the rubber policy of the United States Government. Of course, I think it is necessary for us to maintain and stand by synthetic plants so that we will not be caught as we were in the--in this Second World War, although we all hope and are working toward the end that there will be no more world wars.
[3.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to accept Mr. Hannegan's nomination for 1948? [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. I thought, Bert1--I thought you might come out with something like that, so I will read you a statement that covers the thing categorically.
Q. Slowly, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. I will read this slowly, but it is ready for handing out
Q. That has been mimeographed, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it has been mimeographed.
"In view of certain comment regarding the Presidency, I wish to say that there has been no change in my attitude since the statement I read to you November 11, 1946.
"The Presidency is being conducted now just as it was then. It will continue to be so conducted. That is to say, I intend to Bert Andrews of the New York Herald Tribune. continue to act in this office as the agent of the American people, without regard to my personal political fortunes. I repeat what I said on November 11, when I pledged the Executive to cooperate in every proper manner with the Congress:
"'As President of the United States, I am guided by a simple formula: to do in all cases, from day to day, without regard to narrow political considerations, what seems to me to be best for the welfare of all of our people.' "That's all the answer I have for you, Bert.
Q. It's a good answer.
[4.] Q. Mr. President, what is your opinion of this projected Republican $6 billion cut in the budget?
THE PRESIDENT. The budget that I sent to the Congress is the budget which is necessary for the operation of the country. I have no comment to make on any statement that the Republicans may make, for I know nothing about the details.
Q. Can you comment on the $2 1/2 billion on national defense cut--proposed cut?
THE PRESIDENT. I think Secretary Patterson answered that very effectively yesterday.
Q. Do you endorse his statement, sir ?
THE PRESIDENT. I do.
[5.] Q. Mr. President, are you considering Mr. Ed Pauley for Ambassador to England ?
THE PRESIDENT. I am not.
[6.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell me why the Democrats are going to have a Jefferson Dinner instead of a Jackson Day Dinner this year?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, they are holding it in April instead of January. That's the only reason that I know of.
Q. They gave me two reasons in the Committee when I asked--
THE PRESIDENT. Well, the Committee ought to know. I didn't. [Laughter]
Q. But one reason was that the only date they could get the hotel was nearer Jefferson than Jackson. Then they said they had had Jefferson Dinners for 13 or 14 years, and it was time for a change.
THE PRESIDENT. You mean Jackson. No. You see, the battle of New Orleans was fought on the 8th day of January, and that is usually the time for the Jackson Day Dinners. There is one in Missouri every year on the 8th of January. Jefferson's birthday, as you know, is on the 13th of April; and if we hold dinners in April--Jefferson Day Dinners, there isn't any difference. They accomplish the same purpose.
Q. Is there not a difference between Jefferson and Jackson democracy?
THE PRESIDENT. Not a bit.
[7.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us something about your meeting with the President-elect of Uruguay?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I had a very pleasant meeting with the President-elect of Uruguay, and we had luncheon over at the White House at one o'clock. And he is a very charming gentleman. And he is a farmer, and he and I speak the same language. He doesn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish, but we speak the farm language. [Laughter]
[8.] Q. Would you like to comment on the attack on Mr. Lilienthal ?
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Lilienthal is fully and thoroughly equipped for the position to which I appointed him, and I shall stay with him straight through.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, there has been a big vacancy on the FCC for a good many months.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. Is there any chance it will be filled ?
THE PRESIDENT. It will probably continue for some time to come yet. I haven't found the man I want to put on that.
[10.] Q. Following this press conference, Governor Warren of California is due to visit you. Would you accede to his request for 40 billion--for the 20 billion--million, rather--State Central Valley Authority project?
THE PRESIDENT.. I don't know whether he is going to ask me that or not. I will talk to him about it when he comes in.
[11.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think of Senator McKellar's charges that Lilienthal either is a Communist or flirts on the fringe?
THE PRESIDENT. They are absolutely unfounded.
Q. Can we quote that, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes--verbatim.
[12.] Q. Mr. President, there are reports that Mr. John Small is going to be appointed to the presidency of one of the corporations seized by the Alien Property Custodian. Is there any truth in that?
THE PRESIDENT. News to me.
[13.] Q. Mr. President, that--is the appointment of an Ambassador to Britain-could you tell us anything about it? Have you settled on anybody?
THE PRESIDENT. NO, We have not. As soon as I have decided, and we find that the gentleman will-or lady--will accept-
THE PRESIDENT. I will let you know immediately.
Q. You mean there is a possibility that you might appoint a lady Ambassador?
THE PRESIDENT. I said that for the benefit of May.1 [Laughter]
1 Mrs. May Craig of the Portiarid (Maine) Press Herald.
Q. I would like to repeat that question, sir. Is there a possibility that one will be named to that diplomatic post?
THE PRESIDENT, There is of course a possibility of a woman getting any job, but not that one.
[14.] Q. May I ask if you haven't found the man you want for the FCC, does that preclude Miss Martin ?
THE PRESIDENT. No, not necessarily. Doesn't preclude a woman. You know, they take that "man" to mean the whole species.
[15.] Q. Mr. President, is General Eisenhower among those under consideration for the appointment to London?
THE PRESIDENT. He is not. I need General Eisenhower right where he is.
Q. Secretary Forrestal on the list?
THE PRESIDENT. I need Secretary Forrestal right where he is.
[16.] Q. Do you have any further comment on the British economic crisis?1
THE PRESIDENT. NO, I have no comment. I am sorry to see it happen, but I have no comment on it.
1See Item 29.
Q. Mr. President, have you received any assurance from the leaders on the Hill that the authority of the Maritime Commission to operate ships will be extended ? I understand it expires the last of this month.
THE PRESIDENT. I understand a bill for extension has been reported out.
[17.] Q. Mr. President, is Mr. Clayton being considered for Ambassador to England?
THE PRESIDENT. Who?
Q. Mr. Clayton?
THE PRESIDENT. NO.
[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to ask Congress for extension of the draft?
THE PRESIDENT. I will issue a statement on that in a few days.
[19.] Q. Is John Nicholas Brown being considered, just to give you another name for the ambassadorship ?
THE PRESIDENT. I am not going to tell you anything about it. You could ask me everybody in the United States, and I will say not until I get ready to announce it will I give it to you.
[20.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any word on when former President Hoover is returning from Europe?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. He will return as soon as he finishes his job over there.
Q. Thank you, Mr. President.