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Rear Platform Remarks in Ohio and Indiana.

June 04, 1948

[1.] CRESTLINE, OHIO (12 p.m.)

Thank you. Thank you very much. It is a very great pleasure for me to see you out here this morning. It is a pleasure to me. You know how intriguing it is, and helpful it is, for the President to get away from the White House and get to see the people as they are.

The President, you know, is virtually in jail. He goes from his study to his office and from his office to his study, and he has to have guards there all the time. And they do a good job, too--I am not criticizing the guards--but when you get out and see people and find out what people are thinking about, you can do a better job as President of the United States.

It has been a most pleasant trip, so far. This is the biggest gathering we have had anywhere.

I understand that this is top of the world in Ohio.

On this nonpartisan, bipartisan trip that we are taking here, I understand there are a whole lot of Democrats present, too.

It is a pleasure to have been able to see the Governor. I know he is going to be the next Governor of Ohio.

[2.] FORT WAYNE, INDIANA (2:20 p.m.)

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of Fort Wayne:

It is a very great pleasure indeed for me to have a chance to stop at Fort Wayne. I have always, all my life, been an admirer of Mad Anthony Wayne. You know, Mad Anthony had a dictionary without the word "can't" in it. Whenever he was given a job to do, he did it. These northwest territories are very much beholden to him for being a part of the greatest republic in the world.

In his day people were thinking just as they are now-. They were anxious for peace and security, and they themselves contributed to making that peace and security. They usually had their own squirrel rifle up over the door, the bag full of powder and shot, and a King James version of the Bible. It took all those things to make this great community what it is now.

Now people are asking today: Will there be a permanent peace?

I can say to you categorically that there will be a permanent peace if the United States of America assumes the role that God Almighty intended the United States of America to assume in 1920.

There are three things necessary for peace in the world.

The first is to have the United Nations to work as the United Nations Charter intends it to work, and that is what we have been working for ever since that charter was agreed to.

The next most important thing right now is the success of the European recovery program. If the 16 nations that agreed at Paris to the European recovery program are encouraged and we carry out the agreements which we made with them without stint, Europe will recover and we will have peace in Europe. It is just as necessary that we have peace in Asia as it is to have it in Europe, and since we are the leaders in world government, we will see that we carry out those agreements to the letter. And, I sincerely hope that the Congress will carry out the agreement that was made by these 16 nations to the letter, and not quibble on it.

The next most important thing we are faced with is the necessity that we have the strength to maintain that peace. In November 1945 I requested the Congress to give us a universal training program, so that we could be in a position, after our demobilization, to maintain the peace. In January 1946 and again in 1946, and in January 1947 and again in 1947, and last November and last January, I asked Congress for the same thing, for the same reason. We must be strong enough to maintain the peace if we expect to have peace in the world. If we did not have a police force in Fort Wayne, capable of enforcing the city ordinances, you wouldn't have any peace. That's all I am asking for, that's all we need. And I sincerely hope that this Congress will give us that temporary draft and universal training that is necessary to keep this country in the lead. That means peace in the world.

If those three things which I called to your attention are carried through to the logical conclusion, there will be peace, and there will be permanent peace, and there will be prosperity in all the world, for there are enough resources on this old globe to give everybody his fair share, and that's all the United States Government is working for.

Thank you very much.

[3.] GARY, INDIANA (2:40 p.m.)

Mr. Mayor, Congressman Madden:

It is a pleasure to me, I assure you, to have had the privilege of stopping here this afternoon and to have had the privilege of meeting this most intelligent audience, as Mr. Madden said. I appreciate that privilege. I wish I had the time to look at some of the great industries you have in this fast growing community. I am told that this is the youngest town in America over a hundred thousand inhabitants. That is quite a record. You have done some great things here in this town. I made some investigations here during the war, and the. plants in this city made a magnificent contribution to that war effort.

Everybody was worried and uneasy when the war ceased suddenly on V-J Day--in September--and everybody wondered whether he was going to have a job or not, and everybody wondered whether he was going to have enough to eat, and when he was going to be able to get what he needed to live.

Well, that worry about the job went out the window. The last part of last year we passed the 60-million mark in jobs in this country. At the end of May, in this year, there were 61,800,000 people at work in this country. But that 61,800,000 people at work in this country had another worry. They were very much worried about the cost of living.

Now that cost of living has been skyrocketing ever since July 1946. In July 1946--that is on the 30th of June 1946--the Congress sent me an impossible price control bill, and I vetoed it. Thirty days later they sent me one almost as bad, and I had to take it or none. I had suggested to the Congress leaving the powers with the President for a gradual release of controls, as production caught up with consumption. They did not see fit to do that. And therefore the price of living--the cost of living has been gradually going up. It made a tremendous jump from August 1946 to January 1947, and it has been steadily rising ever since. I asked the Congress last November in the message to the special session to restore Federal controls to the President so he could in his discretion hold down the cost of living to the common, everyday man. This 80th Congress has not seen fit to take any action. They have decided that the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Chamber of Commerce of the United States know all about prices and price controls.

Well now, we have price controls and rationing now, just as we have under Government controls, only those price controls are controls so that only the man who has the money is able to get the necessities of life.

Your dollar now in the purchase of food is worth only about 60 cents of what your dollar was in 1946, when the Government was controlling prices in favor of the consumer.

This is a producer's market under which we are living now. The cost of living now is still going up.

The Both Congress, I am afraid will adjourn without doing anything about it. And then we will be faced with a continued rise and rise in the cost of living. It can only go so far under this boom and bust program. I am hoping that when we get a new Congress--and we are going to get one this fall--maybe we'll get one that will work in the interests of the common people and not the interests of the men who have all the money.

Bear that in mind carefully when you decide that you want a new Congress. That is absolutely essential for the welfare of this country, and we need a Congress that believes in the welfare of the Nation as a whole and not in the welfare of special interests.

The welfare of the world is wrapped up in the welfare of the United States. We now, whether we like it or not, are the leaders in the world, and in order to get a lasting peace, the economy of this country must be absolutely sound and solid. I have been preaching that ever since July 1946, and I am going to keep on harping on it as long as I am President of the United States, and if you support me, we will probably get it.

Thank you very much.

Note: In the course of his remarks on June 4 the President referred to former Governor Frank J. Lausche, Democratic candidate for Governor of Ohio, Mayor Eugene Swartz of Gary, and Representative Ray J. Madden of Indiana.

Harry S. Truman, Rear Platform Remarks in Ohio and Indiana. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232338

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