Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 12, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. I have no statements for you today, but I will try my best to answer questions, if you have any.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, have you any observations to make on the record of the special session?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, my observations are that it was a kind of a poor result that we got.1 I think more action could very well have been taken. There were instances when committees refused even to meet to hear the administration's views on the subjects on which we asked them to act. On those things that they did act upon, it didn't take them very long. I think it took 40 minutes to pass the appropriation for the-authorization for the United Nations loan; and it didn't take them very long to take the emasculated housing bill out, when they wanted to act. And the educational bill, and the Taft--Ellender-Wagner bill--the housing bill that I asked for--were both in the same shape as the U.N. loan was. And I think they could have taken a great many more actions, very easily, and in just as short a time, if they had been so inclined.

1 On August 12 the White House released a summary of action taken by the special session in response to the measures proposed by the President in his message of July 27 (see note to Item 165).

Q. Would you say it was a "do-nothing" session, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I would say it was entirely a "do-nothing" session. I think that's a good name for the 80th Congress.

Q. Mr. President, will you hold Governor Dewey responsible for the record of the 80th Congress in the campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, Congressman Mundt, commenting on your statement that the red investigation was nothing but a "red herring," 1 told a radio audience that he believed that the committee's work will make you eat your statement word by word.

THE PRESIDENT. General Eisenhower didn't think so. General Eisenhower didn't think so.

1 See Item 170 [4].

Q. You still think it's a "red herring," sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I do. The first--the strongest type you can smell.

[3.] Q. Can you tell us, sir, when Selective Service inductions will begin?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't been informed yet. The machinery hasn't been completely set up. I will let you know whenever the time is ready.

Q. Mr. President, you are considering permitting women to serve on draft boards, in some cases, as has been suggested?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't given it any consideration. There is no reason why they shouldn't.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, recently, the Immigration Service ordered the deportation of 24 nationals of Baltic countries who landed in Boston last month.

THE PRESIDENT. You are mistaken about that. They haven't been ordered to be deported, and every effort is being made to treat them just like those that landed down in Florida.1 This is different from the one in Florida. And Congressman Kennedy of Boston introduced a bill to allow these people to stay. Of course, the Congress didn't get to act on it. The Attorney General and the Immigration Service are doing everything they possibly can to keep these people in the country.

1 See 1946 volume, this series, Items 239 and 246.

Q. The problem is whether they will be allowed to stay in this country?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't answer that until we have all the facts. But there is no order of deportation being asked, and there won't be one in the immediate future.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us about your conference tonight with political leaders ? I should say there is a report that you are conferring tonight with some party leaders.

THE PRESIDENT. I am conferring tonight with the Chairman of the National Committee and some of the men who are connected with the White House and the National Committee, and with Senator Barkley.

Q. That is tonight?

THE PRESIDENT. That is tonight, yes.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to North Carolina next week?


[7.] Q. Mr. President, will you comment on the decision of Maurice Tobin to accept the appointment as Secretary of Labor?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very happy that he accepted. He will make a good Secretary of Labor.

[8.] Q. Do you have any travel plans between now and Labor Day?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

Q. Do you expect to remain in town?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I will probably go out of town on the ship down the Potomac River for a few days at the end of next week, if everything holds together, and get a little sleep.

Q. Other than this cruise on the Potomac, do you plan anything?


Q. Mr. President, after September 1st, do you intend to go back to the Caribbean?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, I do not.

Q. Will you go to Detroit, or isn't that known yet, on Labor Day?

THE PRESIDENT. [ am not ready to make the announcement on that. It is being considered. I will make the announcement on it very shortly.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, some Republicans have charged that the increase in Federal Government payrolls since January has been about 15,000 monthly, due to election year. Do you have any comment on that, or is there any?

THE PRESIDENT. No. There is absolutely nothing to it. That increase was brought about, I think you will find, due to the European recovery program, and also I know of no appointments on that setup except those necessitated by Mr. Hoffman. I didn't make any of them, rest assured on that.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, do you know when Mr. Tobin is to take his oath?

THE PRESIDENT. He will be at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow at 10 o'clock, and I think he will take his oath immediately after that.

[11.] Q. Is it possible yet, Mr. President, to give any estimate of the progress or lack of progress on the Moscow talks?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it isn't.

[12.] Q. Can you tell us anything at all about your campaign plans, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. No. When I get ready to release them, I will give them to you so as to give you plenty of time to pack your bags and everything.

Q. Mr. President, could you tell us why you might make a Labor Day appearance in Detroit rather than somewhere else? I mean, why--particularly being--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will answer that question when I decide to make the announcement that I am going to do it.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, is there a gentleman by the name of Alex M. Campbell about to be appointed Assistant Attorney General?

THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't heard about it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Taft said it looks like prices are going to level off from now on. Do you agree with that?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope Mr. Taft is a good prophet. I don't agree with him.

Q. Do you think prices will level off soon then?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, let's wait and see. Your guess is as good as mine on that subject. It has been the case ever since price controls were taken off. I hear every week that prices are going to level off. They are leveling off at a little higher level every week.

Q. Do you think prices will come down under this anti-inflation bill?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not.

Q. Have you decided on the action you are going to take on the anti-inflation bill?

THE PRESIDENT. When it comes before me, I will let you know. It isn't on my desk as yet.

Q. What effect do you think the big crops will have, Mr. President, on prices?

THE PRESIDENT. A big crop will be a help in the food situation, a very decided help-I hope. But it will take some time for that to take effect. You see, these crops aren't even gathered yet, except the wheat crop. The corn crop is yet to be gathered, and it will be some time before we will know what effect that will have on the situation.

Q. Mr. President, what is the answer to those who say it is not consistent to have a program to support prices, and a program to reduce or control them?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what their system of philosophy is. It isn't mine, you can rest assured on that.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and fifty-third news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 12, 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/232736

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