The President's News Conference
THE PRESIDENT. Good morning. Please sit down, ladies and gentlemen. I have a statement of my own to start the conference this morning.
[Reads statement on mutual security and the cost of waging peace. for text, see Item 154, page 519.]
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I shall have a word about the bill now being debated by the House.
For some years, the legislative leaders of both sides and I have agreed among ourselves that the things that go beyond the waters edge are not partisan; they are bipartisan and the business of Americans as such.
Now, while I shall use every possible influence that I can think of to bring the people of my own party into the fold and to support restorations in the cuts made by the Appropriations Committee of the House, this is not a partisan effort and the leaders of the other party in the House are well aware of this point, and have so agreed.
On the contrary, it is my understanding that they will get every member of their own party so that we can have a real bipartisan effort to restore these cuts and to correct the situation that now threatens. I think that is my statement.
Q. Dayton Moore, United Press International: Mr. President, many Republicans, including some of your congressional leaders, are saying that Governor Adams should resign, or that you should fire him on the ground that his usefulness has been seriously impaired. In light of this, are you reconsidering your decision to keep him on?
THE PRESIDENT. The statement I made to you, ladies and gentlemen, I think about two weeks ago, is no more and no less an expression of my convictions at that time. I have nothing more to say at this time. The hearings are still going on, and I will not make any comment or entertain any questions about that matter.
Q. Stewart Hensley, United Press International: Some Congressmen are saying that, or are complaining that the Government is not doing enough to secure the release of the Americans held in Cuba. Could you tell us whether you have any further steps in mind to facilitate their release?
THE PRESIDENT. This is a delicate question.
Now, I remember when it first came to our intense study and concern years ago, as in the case of China, one thing was always insisted upon: we are trying to get live Americans back; we are not disposed to do anything reckless that would create consequences for them that would be final.
So, I would like to have that kind of thinking in our minds as we discuss this matter a bit.
Now, the cases that come up are not similar in their circumstances. for example, the case in Russia, the case in East Germany, the one in China are entirely different from the one in Cuba. Here it is a dissident portion of the nation which, alleging that this country--and I might say inaccurately--but, nevertheless, alleging that this country has been giving improper support to the government of Cuba, has taken these individuals apparently as hostages to secure some kind of accommodation or support for themselves.
This has no foundation in fact, and it is unjustifiable to have innocent people seized to be held as hostages for this kind of a purpose. So in every way that we can, we are trying to convince these people of the errors they have made and to release our people instantly.
I might add that there was, I believe, a report in this morning's paper that two or three of our consuls were seized. This is an inaccurate report. The consuls are in touch with the dissident sections and trying to bring about the release of these Americans--and a few Canadians, by the way.
Q. Robert J. Donovan, New York Herald Tribune: Sir, a committee supporting Nelson Rockefeller sent you a message yesterday which you may or may not have seen, saying that an earlier statement you made about Mr. Hall when he was leaving here seemed to prejudice you in favor of his nomination. Could you clear up your position on that, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. I didn't hear of this committee favoring Nelson Rockefeller; but I should, I think, make clear the incident of which you speak.
I was at a farewell party on the Hill for Mr. Hall and I had heard of his ambition, probably informally expressed, to be Governor; and I said that looked like a fine thing to me.
I think it was the next day or possibly the next conference here, someone caught me up on this, and I said, "Now this means if he becomes the nominee," because I have no partisanship as between contestants before the Republicans of New York State; and until that issue is settled, I cannot and would not express preferences between certain people, some of them my personal friends as you well know.
Q. William H. Lawrence, New York Times: Mr. President, my question concerns not the hearings on the Hill, but rather the responsibility of the Executive in enforcing laws. And in that respect have you, as President, caused any inquiry to be made of the Internal Revenue Service as to whether it has audited or approved Mr. Goldfine's corporate tax returns as to whether these claim that gifts to Sherman Adams were legitimate business expenditures?
THE PRESIDENT. I have not made any suggestion of that kind to the Internal Revenue because, until this morning, I had never heard of such a possibility; and you couldn't certainly go along about every businessman, suggesting that his tax accounts be looked over. It was a brand new one to me, but I assume that I will have a report from the Internal Revenue people when they are ready to report.
Q. John R. Gibson, Wall Street Journal: Mr. President, there have been many reports in recent weeks that the federal deficit in this 1959 fiscal year is going to run up around ten billion dollars or so. Could you look ahead a year and tell us what you and your advisers see as to the prospects for a balanced budget in fiscal 1960?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will put it this way: our beliefs are that the deficits will diminish. Now, when you say there is going to be a balanced budget, you are making--that would be an awful shrinkage because there certainly has to be a great increase in revenue and a shrinkage in expenditures if you are going to achieve that suddenly.
Actually, as a result of the recession of some months, we have had greatly reduced receipts; and these, themselves, are largely responsible for the '58 deficit. Then, with the sums that were expected to be received for '59 brought down considerably because of the result of this same recession, and then the sums to be expended increased far beyond what we expected to be expended, there is a deficit, as you say, possibly of the order of ten billion dollars that is looming.
I am sure, with the reviving receipts because of a more active economy, and with, I would hope, some little bit more sense in the new appropriations we make, that we can bring about again real progress toward the balanced budget.
Q. Edward P. Morgan, American Broadcasting Company: Mr. President, after they saw you last week, a group of Negro leaders said they came away with the impression that you had got more of an understanding of their problem in the recognition of their civil rights. What are your reflections on that meeting? Do you have any comment on the calibre of the leadership of the men that saw you; and do you have any new thoughts about a federal civil rights program?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, no, Mr. Morgan. I haven't certainly gone into that kind of detailed thinking of a new or revised plan in this field and I cannot make, of course--I would not have the effrontery to give you an evaluation of each of these men.
I will say this: that conferences were conducted on a friendly basis, showing in .each case the results of reflective thinking on the parts of each, and there was nothing extreme suggested to me.
Now, my own idea is this: the Attorney General will execute, so far as the Constitution of our land implies for him, all the duties laid upon him. At the same time, I still hold, as I have always held, that the true cure for our racial difficulties lies with each citizen in this land-each citizen examining himself, seeing whether he is doing his duty as is expected by our basic Constitution and legal procedures, and whether he is trying at least to obey law and logic and correct procedures rather than his own prejudices and emotions.
This, to my mind, is something that must come about before law, that might be called punitive law, can ever be universally successful. Of course, it will have its effect, and it will be executed as laid down by the Supreme Court procedures. But the fact is that we must look to ourselves in more of this business.
Q. William McGaffin, Chicago Daily News: Mr. President, a report presented at a recent national meeting of your church charged that America is practicing a kind of international hypocrisy in its foreign relations, and a warning was sounded that God may use Communist or other godless powers to punish such conduct. How do you feel about this, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't know what you're talking about.
Q. Mr. McGaffin: Well, there was a meeting in Pittsburgh where the two branches of the Presbyterian Church were merged--
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I know that.
Q. Mr. McGaffin: --and this document was prepared by the Administration Board.--
THE PRESIDENT. What are they administering--I don't understand the language. What are they accusing us of doing--that, I don't understand--or not doing?
Q. Mr. McGaffin: They say that our fathers' concept of freedom is being debased, that this nation counts among its allies some nations which are in no sense free and by our actions we proclaim to the world that lands where human freedom is utterly dead can qualify for membership in the free world simply by supplying military bases or strategic commodities.
THE PRESIDENT. I would say this: we are talking now about a struggle. One of the first principles that any military man must remember in conducting this struggle is that you must put your eye on the main danger. The main danger today is imperialist communism or communist imperialism.
The main danger is not from people who have embraced communism and who are not part of the imperialist group, and it is not from a local man who is exercising power, maybe even in dictatorial fashion, at this moment.
Now, I do not mean to say that we should ever forsake our ideals and try to bring about abroad, whether it be any other country, the practice of the same principles in which we ourselves believe and which we are still trying here to bring about. But when it comes to the great struggle in which the world is now tied up, for my part I will keep my eye on the main one as I concurrently try to bring about improvement in the other situations.
Q. Richard L. Wilson, Cowles Publications: Mr. President, this is a rather long-range question but fits into what you previously said.
In Congress and other places among some students there has been a discussion of a new book published by the Harvard University Press called "World Peace Through World Law." It's by Grenville Clark and Professor Louis B. Sohn, both lawyers, and they propose a series of amendments to the U. N. to bring about a world of law. You yourself have spoken of this.
I would like to ask, first, whether the book has come to your attention; and, second, whether you have in mind proposing, before the end of your term, any long-range reforms in the United Nations, or elsewhere, which would help to establish institutions of peace of a stronger nature than exist today.
THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Dulles and I, and others, have discussed this matter frequently and, by coincidence, only within the last few days.
Now, I have not read this particular book, although I have read much of what Grenville Clark has written, and I have no doubt that it is in the same vein, really a world of peace through world law.
I, myself, quoting my favorite author, wrote a short chapter to conclude a book that I wrote back in 1947 or '48. In it I pointed out that there was going to be no peace, there was going to be no real strength among the free world unless each was willing to examine its simple sole sovereign position and to see whether it could make some concessions, each to the others, that could make a legal or a law basis for settling disputes.
Now, I think that that is the gist of Mr. Clark's; and, as a matter of fact, Justice Roberts was of the same group. It is the kernel of his thinking, but of course he has studied it in great detail and tried to lay out the countries that might agree to start in such an operation and how they could do it, all the procedures that I have never done.
Q. Raymond P. Brandt, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Can you tell us what you hope to accomplish by your visit to Canada next week?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't describe in detail everything that I expect to do, but I believe this:
first of all, with our two close neighbors, our relations should be just as close as we can possibly make them. I believe those relations cannot be close unless we have a chance to talk together about our common problems. There are problems involving the water of northwest United States and southwest Canada. There is the oil problem. There is lead and zinc. There is the surplus wheat. There are numbers of problems that I believe we should take right out on the table to see whether sensible men, people of good will on both sides, can find ways of handling so that there will not be too much damage occur to either.
Now, that is what I hope to bring back, a feeling that we can meet this.
You people may know there are, I think, two meetings a year between certain members of our Cabinet and certain members of theirs, in order to settle these things so far as possible. But occasionally I think heads of government can do a little bit more than can Cabinet officers to bring about an understanding; and that is it--to bring an honest agreement, and where there are things that don't seem soluble for the moment, to at least agree to attack them in a friendly way.
Q. Mr. Brandt: Prime Minister Diefenbaker has suggested a Canadian-American wheat pool to get rid of our surplus. Will that be the start?
THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard that. I will discuss anything he wants to because I like Mr. Diefenbaker and I think he is a very able man.
Q. John Scali, Associated Press: The Russians finally showed up at Geneva yesterday after threatening to stay away, and the Soviet delegate in his opening remarks further acknowledged that the meeting is not supposed to discuss the problem of an end to tests, but to confine itself to technical discussions.
Now, this series of flip-flops by the Russians has given rise to a lot of wonder as to what their motives were in coming up with this last-minute maneuver. Do you have any analysis of this that you can give us?
THE PRESIDENT. No. I would certainly be unable to give any accurate estimate of their motives.
Frankly, it is difficult to understand, sometimes, exactly what they mean, and sometimes I think it may be translating difficulties because we get expressions that do not seem to have meanings that we would normally give to similar expressions.
What we did was this: believing that at the very last minute a conference of this kind should not be abandoned--it was, we thought, a very bad thing to do in our international relations--we sent our people on, knowing at the very least we would show seriousness and earnestness in our effort to do our part of solving the problem that was laid before the technical committee.
Moreover, it seemed to us dear that even conversations among our technical friends from friendly countries would bring about possibly a broader and better understanding on our own part for anything in the future.
When the Soviet scientists appeared, we were very pleased; and rather than to express any criticism at this moment, I would like to express a word of hope that from this there may be some kind of understanding that can lead along a little bit to a next one.
Q. Garnett D. Homer, Washington Star: A moment ago in talking of your visit to Canada, you spoke of a desirability of talks with both our close neighbors. Does that mean that you are planning a visit to Mexico, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, this was the point I was trying to make: they are both tremendously important to us.
Now I have seen President Ruiz Cortines, oh, I suppose four or five times, and I have no invitation. As a matter of fact, I think they are now in the throes of, or just about in the throes of, an election which will bring about a new president because they have a constitutional provision that only one term can be served. I will say this: anything that I can do to help make even closer our relations with Mexico and discuss with them problems of a similar kind that I itemized in answering Mr. Brandt's question, I would always be glad to do this.
Q. Lillian Levy, National Jewish Post and Opinion: American education recently has been criticized, notably by Admiral Hyman Rickover, for placing too much emphasis on social adjustment and not enough on the basic education. Would you give us your views and, also, sir, would you tell us what you would consider essential to a good congressional school bill?
THE PRESIDENT. You have raised a question that would, of course, take far too long to try to answer at this moment. I do have very definite ideas about some of these things and whether the time is being wasted in certain instances and in certain directions, or whether not.
I will say this: the bill that I sent down to the Congress was made up by consultations with every educational authority we could think of. This does not mean that the ideas of each of those men or women could be comprehended in the bill, because often the ideas were different; but in general that bill seems still to stand the test of the examinations made by these educators all the time.
When you come down to it, it gets to this point: we believe fundamentally the educational process should be carried on in the locality. We don't want any more federal interference or control or participation than is necessary, but we found, we thought, that we were in something of an emergency, coming about as a result of years of lack of particular educational efforts. So this bill tries to correct and get a start in a somewhat different direction, and that is all it does do, but it should do that. Marvin L. Arrowsmith, Associated Press: Thank you, Mr. President.
Note: President Eisenhower's one hundred and thirty-eighth news conference was held in the Executive Office Building from 10:31 to 11:02 o'clock on Wednesday morning, July 2, 1958. In attendance: 178.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233665