Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

March 11, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. [1] First, I want to pay attention to a vicious statement that was made by a columnist in a New York gossip paper, in which he said I had made the statement to an editor of a New York paper here that the Jews in New York were disloyal. I had thought I wouldn't have to add another liar's star to that fellow's crown, but I will have to do it. That is just a lie out of the whole cloth. That is as emphatic as I can put it.

Now I am ready for questions.

Q. May we quote you on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Verbatim, if you like.

Q. What is the name of the gentleman, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. You know him as well as I do. I am not going to name him. Get the article out of the Daily Mirror in New York and read it.

Q. He said that you had made the statement that Jews were disloyal?


Q. All Jews? The Jews?

THE PRESIDENT. Jews. Jews in New York are disloyal, which is a lie out of the whole cloth. It makes good reading in a political year.

[a.] Q. Mr. President, are you ready to announce the names of the American delegation to the Geneva Freedom of Information Conference?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, a year ago tomorrow you enunciated the Truman doctrine to contain communism, and in view of the fact in the past year that communism actually has expanded, I wonder if you would comment generally, particularly as to whether you feel the doctrine should now be expanded or strengthened .

THE PRESIDENT. It does not need expansion. The so-called doctrine is part of the foreign policy of the United States. It is preliminary to the European recovery program which is a part of the same program. If the European recovery program is carried out promptly, it will answer the purpose for which it was--the so-called doctrine was set up. It has been successful, however, in what it was intended to do to date.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, last December, and several times recently, you expressed confidence in ultimate world peace. In view of recent events, particularly events in Europe, is your confidence still as strong as it was, or has it suffered--

THE PRESIDENT. It has been somewhat shaken, but I still believe that eventually we will get world peace. We must have it, because we can't afford to destroy the whole world in another world war.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, the key word in that statement which you just made was "promptly," I imagine?

THE PRESIDENT. Promptly--that's right. Promptly--that's correct.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you have anything to add to Senator McGrath's statement on your candidacy?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I think he stated me clearly. Quoted me correctly.

[7] Q. Mr. President, do you care to make any comment on Mr. Masaryk's death? 1

THE PRESIDENT. I, Of course, was well aquainted with Mr. Masaryk, and feel very badly, and am very sorry that he is dead, and shall express my sympathy to his family. I cannot make any official statement on his death or its cause, because we have had no official comment on it. I think, though, that we should be careful, as General Marshall said, not to let any passions get the better of us until we know the facts.

1 Jan Masaryk, Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to send Congress any bills to carry out your civil rights message--

THE PRESIDENT. Congress never feels very happy when the Executive sends them bills and says "this is it." When I was in the Congress it was customary for the Congress to write its own bills. If they request me for suggestions, I will be glad to make them.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, I believe the term of Governor Gruening of Alaska is about up. Do you plan to reappoint him, or anyone--or appoint anyone else?

THE PRESIDENT. Is that the Governor of Alaska you are asking me about? I will make an announcement on that very shortly.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report, which Secretary Anderson has not denied, that he plans to quit the Cabinet to run for the United States Senate, in New Mexico. Have you any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen Secretary Anderson, and I expect to see him tomorrow at the Cabinet meeting, and I will comment on it then.

Q. Would that be agreeable to you, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. It would not. I hope Secretary Anderson stays in the Cabinet. He is a good Secretary of Agriculture, and has done an excellent job.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided yet who it is you will appoint to those two vacancies on the CAB?

THE .PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. I will make an announcement on that just as quickly as I can.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, when will you get that steel report?

THE PRESIDENT. It is in preparation now, and I hope it will be ready for release very shortly. Just as soon as it is ready, it will be released. 1

1 The report on steel prices by the Council of Economic Advisers, dated March 10, 1948, was released by the White House on March 13.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to see Michael of Rumania 2 while he is here?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not been approached for an appointment as yet. If he asks to see the President, of course I will be courteous to him.

2 Michael I, former King of Rumania.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, there has been a revival of rumors of the possibility of a meeting between yourself and Generalissimo Stalin. Is there anything new you can say on

THE PRESIDENT. No, I know nothing about such rumors. There has been no official approach to me on the subject.

Q. What was the question?

THE PRESIDENT. The question was that there has been a revival of rumors that there would be a meeting between the Premier of Russia and myself. I said there is no foundation for any such rumors as I have not been approached on the subject at all.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, at the Capitol, when I left there a half-hour ago, it was full of rumors that you were going to make some tremendous foreign policy statement at the conference. I haven't heard any yet.

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard anything about it. [Laughter]

[16.] Q. Mr. President, a week ago you were asked if the time had arrived for the United States to join the other Western nations in some sort of military alliance, in view of the actions of Russia. You answered that you were not prepared to answer the question at that time--

THE PRESIDENT. I am not prepared to answer now. I have no comment to make on that question.

[17] Q. Mr. President, on the subject of United States policy toward China, is it still the policy of this Government to favor the inclusion of Chinese Communists in the Chinese Government?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know that that was ever the policy of this Government. If it was, it's news to me. The United States wanted--is already on friendly relations with the Government of China. It recognizes the Government of China. We have been trying to help the recognized Government of China to maintain peace in the Far East.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to make any major speech on St. Patrick's Day in New York, or will there be--

THE PRESIDENT. That will be a matter of judgment.

Q. Could you tell us whether it will be on foreign policy, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't tell you. I haven't got it ready yet. When I have it ready, I will give you a copy of it.1

1 See Item 53

119.] Q. Mr. President, returning to the Chinese question, you did make a statement in December 1945,2 advocating a broadening of the base--

THE PRESIDENT. I still stick to the statement. That statement is just as good today.

2 See 1945 volume, this series, Item 216.

Q. Can't hear those questions over here.

THE PRESIDENT. The question was that in 1945 I did make the statement that I believed in the broadening of the base of the Chinese Government. That doesn't change my position a bit. I still do it that way.

Q. You mean the broadening does not include taking Communists into the National Government?

THE PRESIDENT. It does not. It does not.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, what did you and Mr. de Valera 1 talk about yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Social things.

1 Eamon de Valera, former Prime Minister of Ireland.

Q. What sort?

THE PRESIDENT. The welfare of the people of Ireland and the hope that he would have a very pleasant visit in the United States.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, when that December 1945 statement was made, did it then include the possibility of including Communists--

THE PRESIDENT. It did not include Communists at all.

Q. Mr. President, along that line, could you amplify for us now a little bit what was the purpose of sending General Marshall to China at the time?

THE PRESIDENT. In an endeavor to assist the Chiang Kai-shek government to meet the situation with which it was confronted.

Q. In that connection, Mr. President, will the Wedemeyer report be released?

THE PRESIDENT. It will not.

Q. Mr. President, Secretary Marshall, just before he became Secretary of State, in his report on China, 2 did recommend the broadening of the base of the Chinese Government, that Communists be included?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think General Marshall intended to take any Communists into the Chinese Government. We don't want a Communist government in China, or anywhere else, if we can help it.

2The statement by Gen. George C. Marshall, released to the press on January 7, 1947, is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 16, p. 83).

Q. Mr. President, is it not possible they were using the word "Communist" in a different sense?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that is possible.

Q. What was the question, please?

THE PRESIDENT. The question was that maybe the questioners were using the word "Communist" in an entirely different sense than the one in which I am talking about it.

Q. Well, Mr. President, could you tell us what sense you are using it in?

THE PRESIDENT. Let the questioners tell me the sense in which they were using it, and then I will explain it to you.

Q. I would like to hear both versions.

Q. Mr. President, a great many people, I believe, thought that "broadening the base" meant taking in Communists, or at least Chinese liberals.

THE PRESIDENT. Chinese liberals. There is a very great difference between the liberal element in China and the Communists. The Chinese Communists are those people who believe in government from the top-the totalitarian state. There are a great many liberals in China. I talked to one of them just the day before yesterday. There are a great many of them who have been educated in this country, and they are the intelligentsia, really, of China. They are the people in whom we are interested principally. We would like to see them included in the broadening of the base of the Chinese Government.

Q. Mr. President, the distinction between liberals and Communists would also apply in this country too?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. That is a very good definition. Same difference exactly.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and thirty ninth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, 1948.

Harry S Truman, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232448

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