The President's News Conference
THE PRESIDENT. Ladies and gentlemen, I have only one announcement this morning. The Premier of Burma, U Nu, is visiting us in the United States, and I shall have him for lunch, following an official visit in my office.
I merely want to express great gratification that he came over. The returning travelers and observers in that area have spoken of him in the most glowing terms as to ability and his leadership qualities. So I am very anxious to meet him, and we expect to have a very pleasant time this noon.
Q. Merriman Smith, United Press: Mr. President, could you tell us something of the physical arrangements for the Big Four meeting? some of the people who are going with you and, if possible, when you will leave here?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I should say I shall leave either Friday evening or possibly about Saturday noon. I do want to be in Geneva on Sunday morning at a reasonable hour, and I may, just for convenience, start on Friday night rather than Saturday noon.
Now, it's been agreed that there will be a limited number of people at the conference; and except for myself and two or three, what you might call, stenographic and secretarial help from my own office, the delegation will be largely the State Department-the Secretary of State and his principal assistants. 1
1 On July 11 the United States delegation to the Geneva Conference was announced by the White House as follows: the President; the Secretary of State; Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to the President; Charles E. Bohlen, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union; Robert R. Bowie, Director, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State; James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President; Douglas MacArthur II, Counselor of the Department of State; Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs; Herman Phleger, The Legal Adviser, Department of State; and Llewellyn E. Thompson, U.S. Ambassador to Austria.
I think that is about all I know about it at the moment.
Q. Pat Munroe, Salt Lake City Deseret News: Mr. President, we had a recent editorial which suggested that, perhaps, this Geneva Conference was a meeting at the semi-summit; and I wondered if you feel that Premier Bulganin, as head of the Soviet delegation, will be able to speak for the collective heads of the Soviet Union or if you hope that Mr. Khrushchev, Marshal Zhukov and, perhaps, some others will come along with the delegation, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, you raise one of the, you might say, questions that constitutes an existing puzzle. No one really knows who carries the dominating influence in that group. But let's remember this: there are different forms of government everywhere. Ours is one of those in which the head of the state is also head of a political party and head of a government. Now, in Britain, for example, you have a parliamentary form of government, and the head of the government is not the head of the state whatsoever. So in no case can you have, as I see it, exact counterparts from each state to be represented in a conference such as this kind, because governmental forms differ. So you would have to hope merely that the people who do have some powers of decision in their own governments will be the ones that are there.
Maybe the speculation of your editorial is just as good as anybody else's on this point.
Q. Robert E. Clark, International News Service: Mr. President, you dropped several teasers in New England this last week which sounded both as if you might and might not be a candidate in 1956. Since you appear to have relaxed your own moratorium on the subject, I wonder if you can shed any fresh light on it for us.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think you are making an assumption not necessarily true. A man going off where he is trying to have a good time--if people kid him a little bit, he has got to answer in kind. [Laughter]
Q. Charles L. Bartlett, Chattanooga Times: Mr. President, one of the justifications for the Dixon-Yates contract was that the Memphis area needed the power, needed the 600,000 kilowatts. Last week, as you probably know, the Memphis City Council voted to build a steam plant of their own of about 600,000 kilowatts. I wonder if, in your opinion, the Government should now proceed with the Dixon-Yates contract or cancel it at the cheapest possible terms.
THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had this matter brought up to my attention by any of my responsible associates since I saw that suggestion in the paper. But I do know this: that when I was first visited by a delegation from Tennessee and I suggested that the city of Memphis go ahead and build their own plant, they said it was an impossibility under the whole TVA system and the TVA contract; it was an impossibility.1 That's all I know about it.
1On June 30, at the direction of the President, the White House made public a letter of the same date from the Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, regarding the decision of the city of Memphis to construct its own power plant. Also released was a formal resolution adopted by the TVA Board on June 30 regarding this matter. The White House statement noted that the President had requested the Director of the Bureau of the Budget to confer promptly with the Atomic Energy Commission and the Tennessee Valley Authority to determine whether it was in the interest of the people of the area to continue or to cancel the Dixon-Yates contract.
Q. Edward T. Folliard, Washington Post and Times Herald: Mr. President, this is related to--
THE PRESIDENT. Could you speak a little louder, Mr. Folliard?
Q. Mr. Folliard: Yes.
This is related to Mr. Clark's question.
I wondered if Sherman Adams was going to be able to finish those ecstatic lectures on New Hampshire for the White House staff?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, he seems to be generating a very great capacity for doing it in a hurry. [Laughter]
Q. Ray L. Scherer, NBC News: Along the same line, you said several times during the tour that the purpose of the trip was a matter of self-education.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. Mr. Scherer: It was sort of a matter of education for newsmen, too, and some of us got educated into the notion that the people up there would like to see you stand for re-election.
I was wondering what general impressions you brought back from your tour.
THE PRESIDENT. Of course, you possibly saw my friends along the roads, and we don't know who was behind in the alleys. [Laughter]
Q. Charles E. Shutt, Telenews: Mr. President, I wonder if you could tell us at this time how optimistic you are toward any positive results coming from the Geneva Conference, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have tried to explain that. I think that the world, including ourselves, deserves a renewed opportunity now through such a meeting to attempt to discover what are the general intentions of all of us. We, trying to explain ours eloquently and intimately as we can to those who oppose us, trying to get the same impression of their intentions and purposes, through this method we may find ways of putting problems in new channels or in places and under particular studies where some real progress toward an easing of tensions, and so on, may be made.
Q. Charles von Fremd, CBS News: Mr. President, the mutual security program of the administration is running into some difficulty in the House where critics apparently believe that now that Russia is on the run, so to speak, on the defensive, that we can cut back somewhat on our foreign aid spending. Do you have any comment?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, we have cut way back from the level that we once maintained.
The finest statement on this whole proposition that has been made, almost, was in the report of the House Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On about page 3 or 4, as I remember, you will find a couple of paragraphs that tell about the things that have been accomplished through this program.
They even went on to say that at last, finally, they have come to the place where they no longer have to ask for an explanation of what is being accomplished or what is desired, that the results are proving themselves. And then they go ahead to name, I think a half a dozen countries where great benefits to the United States have sprung from this program. And they reached the conclusion that with things going so well, with even an apparent change in the general Soviet attitude toward the world and toward us, this is no time to abandon the theory of a strong America binding to herself strong allies and helping them to be strong both internally and externally, that we should not now abandon that policy.
It is a very splendid statement, and I would commend it to all of you for reading.
Q. William Theis, International News Service: Mr. President, there have been indications on the Hill that there would be introduced before this session ended some resolution expressing this Government's endorsement and hope in the future of the satellite peoples. Will you encourage or support such a move at this time?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't know in what words such a resolution would be couched. In fact, I haven't heard of any such purpose.
I have constantly, over the past years, stated my general attitude toward this proposition, that until such states as these have a right themselves, by their own free will, to determine their own forms of government and destiny, that there could be no real peace in the world. I am sure that is true.
Q. Robert G. Spivack, New York Post: Mr. President, do you believe that if this were a Republican-controlled Congress, that the desegregation amendment to the Reserve manpower bill would be passed?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I wouldn't even speculate on that. I don't know anything about it.
All I have ever said on that is that I would like to see one bill, which is so terrifically important to the United States, be handled specifically on its own merits and without the introduction of any other kind of matter, no matter how desirable any such legislation might be in anything.
Q. Chalmers M. Roberts, Washington Post and Times Herald: Mr. President, at the UN meeting at San Francisco last week after you spoke, most of the other speakers stressed their feeling for the need of some sort of worldwide agreement on disarmament, especially in the nuclear field.
You have had Harold Stassen working on this problem for some time, and I wondered if you expect that he will have for you before Geneva, or by the time you go, any formalized program that you can present there or discuss there or make public at that time?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I would say not a formalized program, Mr. Roberts.
What I do believe is that through his efforts our Government and all its parts, I mean legislative leaders and the executive departments, can come together on a general type of approach to this problem, that we can then inform the American people of the general approach, and then try to make progress under that plan.
In each case it would have to be a specific, probably, conference to take each item; I mean a specific step--might be the same conference--but it is going to be a very long and tortuous road to follow.
Q. Mr. Roberts: Do you expect, sir, to make public what proposals he comes up with before you begin to negotiate them at the conference?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't expect to make public anything before we have got our own minds crystallized and know that we have searched out all of the pitfalls in such discussions and such programs, and are ready to stand back of something. To do otherwise merely raises a speculation and doubt. Again, I don't know of any two people in the world that agree on this subject in its details. I have personally been studying it for, I know, 40 years, so I think we have got a pretty tough one. And the reason I have put one man and given him the sole responsibility to find the areas of agreement--out of that will come a basic principle, a basic method, that we will follow, and it will constitute the real foundation of the whole structure that we will try to build.
Q. Mrs. May Craig, Maine Papers: Mr. President, in relation to Mr. Theis' question, the House passed last week 367 to nothing a resolution of Democratic Mr. McCormack of Massachusetts, expressing sympathy with the satellites, condemning colonialism of all kinds, and asking that the United Nations and any organization in which we participated do what they could to release them.
Did you favor that resolution? Did you know about that?
THE PRESIDENT. As a matter of fact, I didn't know about that. Maybe I was fishing that day, I don't know.
Q. Mrs. Craig: 367 to nothing.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I still say that there are all kinds of nuances in any such statement, possible complications, that make you very careful in uttering an official statement.
For example, if you believe that, how far are you going? You are certainly not going to declare war, are you? So there instantly you fix for yourself limitations on how far we, as a people, will go in accomplishing this thing. That means, therefore, that we use peaceful means and means that are not provocative. We use moral suasion, we use refusal to be drawn into any seeming approval of such a situation; but we do place limits on ourselves instantly when we think about the thing. And so that means that there is a problem. It is not just as simple as just saying something and forgetting it.
Q. William H. Lawrence, New York Times: Is there an agreed termination date on this Big Four meeting? I rather gathered from the San Francisco dispatches that Mr. Molotov and Mr. Dulles did not agree on that point.
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know whether there has been a complete agreement. What there is, as an examination of my own duties will, I think, show to anyone, any reasonable person, is that there is some limitation on the time I may spend as far away as Geneva at a time when Congress is in session and approaching the end of the session.
So we have simply stated that such-and-such a time is as long as I personally can stay in Geneva.
Q. Mr. Lawrence: And you feel, sir, that having stated that in advance, you do not run the propaganda risk of which you spoke earlier?
THE PRESIDENT. I think I don't run any risk with reasonable-minded people; I am sure of that.
Q. Sarah McClendon, El Paso Times: Sir, I believe I am right in this, that you have always taken a stand consistently against price controls, and that was in your '52 campaign and what you have done since.
Now, I wonder if you feel there should be any exception in the price of gas at the wellhead?
THE PRESIDENT. Of course, you bring up a question that has been one of the most argumentative in all this field of Federal control over the natural resources of America.
There is a bill in Congress now, progress is certainly being made, and here is the problem: how do you defend adequately and properly a consuming public, and how do you encourage at the same time the utmost in exploration and exploitation of the natural resources, in this case gas?
One way you could kill off all exploration and raise the price of gas unconscionably would be just to stop exploring for it. So just a simple answer of saying, "We are going to control gas at 8 cents a thousand," or something like that just won't do it. So this is a complicated problem, and my feeling is this: Congress is actually making progress because they are trying to devise a bill which, at one and the same time, protects the consumer but which, at the same time, will encourage exploration.
All the details of this bill I am not completely certain about because, after all, I have not had time to study it. But it seems to me that progress is being made in this complex problem.
Q. Hazel Markel, National Broadcasting Company: Mr. President, I would like to ask you, in returning to the U.N. Conference, that either by your own presence there or by the subsequent report of your Secretary of State, if you feel more or less happy and confident about the summit meetings.
THE PRESIDENT. About the--
Q. Miss Markel: About the summit meeting at Geneva.
THE PRESIDENT. Oh. You mean what I have picked up--
Q. Miss Markel: Yes. Are you confident that it is going to be successful?
THE PRESIDENT. I think this--I am trying not to expect too much, Miss Markel, but I do say this: there is obviously some change that has come about in the Soviet attitude. If that change is one that makes it easier to live with them, easier to negotiate with them, easier to solve problems that arise from day to day, then that cannot help having eventually a fine effect on the entire situation, the general situation.
Now, no one believes that the great Marxian doctrine of world revolution has been abandoned by its advocates. No one believes that, and we have got, therefore, to be careful. But if we can find ways that will take some of the burdens of fear and tension off of people, we ought to explore them to the maximum.
I personally believe, from what I learned in San Francisco and through my talks, that the chances for that were better than I thought they were 2 months ago.
Q. Miss Markel: Thank you, sir.
Q. Frank van der Linden, Nashville Banner: Senator Kefauver charged on the Senate floor yesterday that the Budget Bureau was trying to conceal what he called a scandal in the DixonYates contract negotiations regarding the employment of Mr. Adolphe Wenzell of the First Boston Corporation.
Senator Knowland says there is no corruption in it, and that he thinks you were just trying to help the Tennessee Valley get some power.
I wondered if Mr. Hughes of the Budget Bureau had cleared with you his refusal to give Mr. Kefauver the information he was asking down there?
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Hughes came to see me, went over the situation, and I repeated to him the general instructions, I think, that I expressed once publicly in front of this body: that every single pertinent paper on the Yates-Dixon contract from its inception until the final writing of the contract would be made available, I think I said at that time, to the press, to any committee.
Now, I do stand on this: nobody has a right to go in, wrecking the processes of government by taking every single file--some of you have seen our file rooms and know their size--wrecking the entire filing system and paralyzing the processes of government while they are going through them.
These files are filled with every kind of personal note; I guess my own files are filled with personal notes from my own staff all through, they are honeycombed with them. To drag those things out where a man says to me, "I think so-and-so is a bad person to appoint to so-and-so, and you shouldn't have him," all he had was his own opinion. You can't drag those things out and put them before the public with justice to anybody, and we are not going to do it. But at the time that I gave those instructions, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Strauss, whoever else was involved, got together every single document that was pertinent to this thing and put it out.
Now, as far as the Wenzell report, Mr. Wenzell was never called in or asked a single thing about the Yates-Dixon contract. He was brought in as a technical adviser in the very early days when none of us here knew about the bookkeeping methods of the TVA or anything else.
He was brought in as a technical adviser and nothing else, and before this contract was ever even proposed.
Q. Allan W. Cromley, Daily Oklahoman: Mr. President, you said progress--
THE PRESIDENT. I said what?
Q. Mr. Cromley: A while ago you said that progress was being made in regards to gas legislation.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. Mr. Cromley: Recently, Mr. Rayburn, after the House approval of the bill, I mean the House committee approval, said, "I think it is going to take the endorsement and power of the administration to get this bill passed and, of course, that means the President of the United States."
I just wondered if that means you will endorse and support the bill, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I get many advisers, but it has not been brought up to me yet.
Q. Alan S. Emory, Watertown Times: Mr. President, on Friday the Senate passed a bill authorizing the Civil Aeronautics Administration to obligate 4 years in advance $63 million a year for Federal aid to airports.
The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, which reported to you yesterday afternoon, advocated that the CAA authorize such aid at least 2 years in advance.
Does this proposal for advance obligation of aid to the airports run in the face of administration fiscal policy or does this meet with your approval, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had any study; as a matter of fact, I haven't heard of this particular proposal you bring up. I can't answer it, sorry.
Q. James B. Reston, New York Times: As I understand it, sir, there are no decisions to be taken at the Geneva meeting, and the conversation is to be fairly general.
Now, I wondered, in the light of that, what your approach is to publicity at that meeting? Is it your view that the views of the various sides should be widely publicized or not?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, now, in the first place, I don't mean to say that necessarily there will be no decisions. I would not expect solutions to any problem that bothers the world to come up, but there could be decisions on how we would approach them. I would hope some of those would come about.
As to publicity, I must say that that is one element--it is always, of course, a necessary element of these things--that has not yet come up for study. But I personally would hope that more than just the stereotyped, what do they call them, final communiqués which, I think, probably annoy writers as much as they do me-there would be something more than that come out.
Q. Martin S. Hayden, Detroit News: Mr. President, some of us over in this corner, sir, think that maybe you said something you didn't mean to. A minute ago you said no one doubts the axiom that the Marxian revolution has been abandoned by its advocates.
THE PRESIDENT. No, I didn't say that at all.
Q. Mr. Hayden: You mean nobody thinks it?
THE PRESIDENT. I said no one thinks for a minute that the Marxian doctrine has been abandoned by its advocates. I believe that--was that correct? [Chorus of "Yes, yes"]
Q. Paul A. Shinkman, King Features Syndicate: Mr. President, it has been suggested that you might take the occasion of your visit to Geneva to make one or two other stops before returning home. Is that a possibility?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, there have been a number of invitations; but because of their very number it makes it, I think, almost an impossibility.
Whatever time I have got over there I think I should devote to business. As you know, Europe is covered with my good friends. Nothing would give me greater satisfaction than to go into two or three of these cities. But I don't think I can do it.
Q. Milton B. Freudenheim, Akron Beacon Journal: Mr. President, Democrats in the House have been proposing and pushing a plan to finance long-range highway building by drastic increases in taxes on tires and also gasoline. Have you any comment on that, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, to this extent: first of all, I think everybody agrees that America needs roads, needs them badly, and needs them now, and they ought to be built on a coordinated, comprehensive basis, and that building ought to start.
Now, the question of financing raises problems. Either you must find some way to finance these things out of current revenues as you go along, which means very greatly increased taxes, and in this case that would be on related products, gasoline, tires, and so on, or you must find some method of having a bond issue.
If you had the bond issue, then you have the problem: do you want to add it to the national debt or do you want to put it under a special organization in which liquidation is provided for, and which will get this whole sum of debt off our books as rapidly as possible.
The Governors of the United States, and the Clay committee which I had appointed, in cooperation developed a plan that made road building, plus a bond issue which would be liquidating, under a U.S. corporation.
Now, here is one of the reasons against just raising taxes and trying to do it in that way, getting in a lot of revenue and building that much each year: where are the States going to get the money to do their part of this thing?
It seems to me that we have got to recognize occasionally the very great responsibility, authority, and power that should reside in our States, allowing them to have decent sources of revenue. If we put the maximum amount that the traffic will bear on all of these things, I don't know where the States' revenue is going to come from.
So we devised a plan that we thought met the needs of the situation in the best possible fashion, and I am for it now just as strongly as I was when it was devised by the Governors and by the Clay committee and put before the public.
Q. Richard Harkness, National Broadcasting Company: Mr. President, the Senate has passed a resolution, the House is scheduled to follow suit, sir, creating a bipartisan commission of 12 members to study and report on the Government's loyalty-security program. Do you see any constructive accomplishment in the report of such a committee?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, you say constructive accomplishment. I wouldn't want to answer in those terms.
I say this: I have no objection. This administration has nothing to hide.
It is a difficult problem. I have always maintained that I am ready to cooperate in any legitimate properly organized investigation of the Congress. Anything they do in this line, we will cooperate and do the best we can to bring to light all of the pertinent facts.
Q. Clark R. Mollenhoff, Des Moines Register and Tribune: Mr. President, a little while ago you stated that Mr. Wenzell was never called in about the Yates-Dixon contract, and there seemed to be some testimony before the SEC and before a committee that he had served as a consultant. I wondered if you were--
THE PRESIDENT. He did serve as a consultant at one time. Q. Mr. Mollenhoff: On the Dixon-Yates?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I think--now, I will check this up. My understanding is that quickly as the Dixon-Yates thing came up he resigned, and we got as our consultant a man named Adams from the Power Commission here itself to come over and be the consultant so as to have him, because he [Wenzell] was connected with a great Boston financial company.
Q. Mr. Mollenhoff: Mr. President, had you been informed that he had no connection at all with the Dixon-Yates?
THE PRESIDENT. My understanding of it--that part of it-there may have been an overlap of a week or two; there I am not sure.
Q. Mr. Mollenhoff: Would there be any change in your position on that if there was material that he had served as a consultant on that?
THE PRESIDENT. If he had served as a consultant on that and brought in a definite recommendation to us, I would be very delighted to make that public. But I just don't believe there is a thing in it about it. However, I will have it checked again. [Addresses Mr. Hagerty] Will you take that up? 1
1A White House release, issued later in the day, stated that at no time did Adolphe Wenzell take part in any policy decisions either with regard to the inception of the proposals which led to the Dixon-Yates contract or the development of Government policy with regard to that contract.
In 1953, long before any proposal concerning the Dixon-Yates contract had been made, the release stated, Mr. Wenzell at the request of the Director of the Budget, prepared an analysis of the records and accounting systems of the Tennessee Valley Authority, particularly as to comparison of its annual report of earnings with those of similar private industry which have different requirements as to taxes, interest rates and the like.
However, the release stated, one exception should be noted to keep the public record exactly straight. The one exception referred to was that from January 14 to April 3, 1954, Mr. Wenzell did serve as technical consultant to the Bureau of the Budget and in that capacity he did give advice to the Bureau of the Budget on such matters as the form of securities that might be marketable, the rate of interest that might be used, and the necessity for various protective clauses and relative costs that entered into preliminary, exploratory discussions that the Atomic Energy Commission and the Bureau of the Budget were conducting at that time.
The release added that prior to the time that the definite proposal of April 10, 1954, was made--which later developed into the Dixon-rates contract--Francis L. Adams, Chief, Bureau of Power, Federal Power Commission, had been called in and was serving as Bureau of the Budget consultant; that Mr. Wenzell did not serve as consultant from April 10, 1954, and had no connection with any subsequent discussion; and that he was presently serving as Assistant to the Director of Technical Operations of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Q. Gould Lincoln, Washington Star: Mr. President, Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas yesterday made a statement praising what the Senate had done in a legislative way, and he also said that a certain party leader made a speech last fall saying that a cold war of partisan politics would follow the election of a Democratic Congress. He inferred that possibly that certain party later might have something to say about it. [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I said in the campaign--and I assume that his allusion to me is not so hazy that we can't take that as a--[laughter]--I said this: if you do this, how are you going to fix responsibility either for failure or success? So the very fact that he gets up and makes this statement would indicate to me that someone is confused as to where credit lies, or blame.
Now, you have just given me a big chance to read a little list of legislation I want, not been passed yet. [Laughter]
So if we are to get this fine cooperation now, let me read you something that I think the American people would be interested in; because I can conceive of nothing that is more important to them than to get this list:
Military reserves--for once in my life I even asked for an opportunity to go on the radio after the conclusion of that last exercise so I could tell the American people what I thought about this thing of reserves. This is vital to all of us. Why are we fooling around about it?
Military survivor benefits
Mutual security authorization and appropriation--I believe that is up today, and if anything should go through in a hurry that should.
Refugee Act amendments--and you all know about the needs for them.
Water resources--the Upper Colorado and the Frying Pan and the Cougar Dam up in the Northwest, all trying to get started and all waiting because they are not done.
Customs simplification--something that is just vital to us; well maybe that is too strong a word, it is terribly important.
Minimum wage and other labor bills The atomic ship Hawaiian statehood
Now, I am just delighted, and I am glad to give credit for everything that has been done.
I will thank everybody, personally if I can get a hold of him, that has voted for the necessary legislation. Now I want some more.
Q. John E. Kenton, New York Journal of Commerce: On the question of the atomic ship, sir, you are surely aware of some criticism that has been raised in Congress by members of both parties--
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. Mr. Kenton:--against your conception of the plan on the ground that it
THE PRESIDENT. That is right.
Q. Mr. Kenton: --it would not contribute much to real progress of the American merchant marine.
In the light of the Senate vote last night, not to proceed with your conception of the atomic ship but rather with the longer-range program, wouldn't you comment on that and tell us whether you still intend to continue to fight for your version?
THE PRESIDENT. I have no doubt there are among you here people who have been serving, or have had your duties, in South American countries, Asian countries, and different European countries recently.
You will find, as you were serving on those tours, that the mass of the world thinks of the atomic science as of great importance to two great power centers, Washington and the Kremlin; that it is a science that has specialized in the destruction of men, the destroying of civilization. They really shudder to think about it.
What I am trying to do as one of the peace moves in this world is to convince the world, not just Russia and ourselves, but to convince the world that here is a science that can mean practically the doubling, let us say, of living standards within a reasonable space of time. Here is a great science opening up opportunities in every way.
Now, one of the ways I would like to bring this about is to have a ship going into every important port of the world, inviting people aboard; they would come by the thousands. I remember the days when the Empress of Britain used to go around advertising British goods, and I was one of the crowd that went on to see what they had.
Think of the crowds that would come to see an atomic ship! And they would get the understanding that here, a ship powered by atomic energy, everything on it operating that way, with all the exhibits of what this can do in agriculture and medicine, all of the other sciences, to improve the lot of man. They would soon begin to develop and generate a moral force in this world: "Let's get this uranium turned into peaceful channels and not just in destroying men." I will tell you any way you can do it is cheap.
Now, these people may differ with me as to whether it is beneficial or not. But some of them haven't differed, because one committee said "Build two ships, not one, build two."
Maybe there is a difference of opinion. But I will tell you if we are going to win this war for peace, let's stop talking about cold war. We are trying to wage a war for peace; if we are going to win it, we have got to inform the world. And one of the ways to inform the world is to let them see these things that can happen with this great science.
I am just sure we have got a hold of something here that can mean more to us in terms of untold billions, we will say, in terms of the lessening of tensions; and then we say, "Oh, this is a waste of money !"
If we are trying to use any money through interchange of students and the Information Services, all of which I stand for and believe in implicitly, to take this and send it around as a physical demonstration of what might happen--I think we are missing a great opportunity if we don't do it. And thank you.
Q. Merriman Smith, United Press: One more.
THE PRESIDENT. I Saw him on his toes.
Q. Robert E. Clark, International News Service: Mr. President, can you tell us how you feel about the Bering Sea plane incident, and whether you agree with the Secretary of State that it was probably due to a trigger-happy Soviet pilot rather than a policy?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am sure it was a local occurrence and not something that was directed as a matter of policy.
Now, weather conditions were not good. There was a cloud cover, and there were other things in it that made it look like it was at least local, and part of it misunderstanding.
It was, I think, very encouraging to note that in this incident, at least, there was a different attitude taken by the Soviets than they ever had in a similar one before.
Merriman Smith, United Press: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. OK.
Note: President Eisenhower's seventy-second news conference was held in the Executive Office Building from 10:31 to 11:06 o'clock on Wednesday morning, June 29, 1955. In attendance: 186.
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/233212