Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 02, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] It just now occurred to me, when my friend here mentioned it, that this happens to be V-J Day.1 Just 3 years ago today the Japanese surrender was signed aboard the battleship Missouri. I had thought by this time we would have a settled and permanent peace, but we are still working at it, and eventually we will get it, I am sure.

1Prior to the formal opening of the news conference, one of the reporters had mentioned that it was the third anniversary of V-J Day.

[2.] We are issuing a health report today, on which I want to read you a statement which will be mimeographed and available for your use when this press conference is over.

[Reading] "In January of this year I asked Oscar Ewing, the Federal Security Administrator, to undertake a comprehensive study of the possibilities for raising the level of the Nation's health and to report to me feasible goals which might be realized in the next decade. The report of the Administrator, entitled "The Nation's Health--A Ten Year Plan," has now been transmitted to me.1

1The report is dated September 1948 (Government Printing Office, 186 pp.). For the President's letter of January 30 to the Administrator requesting him to undertake the study, see Item 16 above.

"This report is an impressive document, which describes where we are today with respect to the health of our people and the goals toward which we must move. The report recognizes the great advances that we have made in recent decades toward improving health and relieving suffering. It makes equally plain the additional progress we must make, and outlines a series of objectives which will be important guides for years to come to all who are working to improve the Nation's health.

"The report demonstrates that we now have, and will face for years to come, serious shortages of doctors, of dentists, of nurses, of hospitals, and other medical care facilities. These shortages, together with the fact that millions of our citizens cannot afford good medical care, are the principal obstacles which must be overcome if we are to bring good health within the reach of everyone in this country.

"These facts further emphasize the need for the national health program which I have previously recommended to the Congress.1 The program includes five major points."

I will take these rather slowly.

1 See 1945 volume, this series, Item 192; 1947 volume, Item 98.

"1. Adequate public health services, including an expanded maternal and child health program.

"2. Additional medical research and medical education.

"3. More hospitals and more doctors--in every area of the country where they are needed.

"4. Insurance against the costs of medical care.

"5. Protection against loss of earnings during illness.

"I believe that Federal legislation in accordance with this program would carry us far toward the objectives stated in this report. However, more than Federal legislation is needed. State and local governments, medical schools of all types, hospitals, members of the medical professions and other interested groups, and citizens will all have to work together if we are to reach our objectives.

"For this reason I believe that the National Health Assembly, which met here last May, was an extremely important gathering. This assembly, consisting of more than 800 professional and community leaders, reached a wide area of agreement on the Nation's health needs and on ways and means of meeting them. Except for the recommendation for national health insurance, that assembly's conclusions support every major recommendation of this report. That assembly indorsed the principle of contributory insurance as the basic method for financing medical care for the large majority of our people, but took no position for or against national health insurance.

"No health program, of course, can stand alone and apart from the economic and social circumstances of our citizens as individuals and as families. Our boys and girls and men and women will gain and hold good health not only from a sound health program, as such, but from decent housing, from adequate nutrition, and from proper education. It is clear that only as we move forward with a broad program to benefit the well-being of all our people will we be able to achieve the kind of health of which this Nation is capable.

"The principal value of this report is that it outlines broad objectives and definite methods of achieving them. We can have more hospitals, more doctors, more dentists, more medical specialists of all kinds. We can provide better health care for all the people of our land. I heartily commend this report to every citizen who looks forward to these goals ."

This report will be available for you in mimeographed form as soon as this conference is over.

Q. Mr. President, the report to which you refer was issued by the White House for release this afternoon at 6 o'clock?

THE PRESIDENT. Six o'clock, that is correct.

Q. Does a similar release apply to the statement, or may we put it out now?

THE PRESIDENT. It can be used now. Of course, it has to be released on schedule, but the statement can be used now. I am giving it to you now for that purpose.

Any questions?

[3.] Q. Mr. President, in connection with the V-J Day statement, I wonder if you would tell us, in the recent four-power conference, whether anything has developed to provide the basis for your hope for eventual peace?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on that, but at a later date I think you will come to the conclusion that I know what I am talking about. I have no comment to make on the four-power meetings in Europe.

Q. Mr. President, could you tell us what the foundation for your optimism is?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment off that.

[4.] Q. Anything new, Mr. President, on campaign plans after the Labor Day trip?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that Mr. Ross announced that we will go to Des Moines on the 18th, and further plans will be announced when I get back from Detroit. They are not completed as yet, and we can't go any further than the starting point, which is Des Moines.

Q. Mr. President, do you expect a more cordial reception in the South than Mr. Wallace received?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, of course, I will receive a cordial reception, I am sure, wherever I go. Without comparisons, please.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, you made a very important statement, and I didn't hear the question. Is this correct: In your opening statement you said that you eventually hope for peace, and a gentleman asked you a question; and you said regardless of the fact that you are not saying anything now about the four-power conference, you still believe in eventual peace?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. Correct.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to Des Moines? I understood you were going to Dexter?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that's right. It's about 18 miles east of Des Moines.

Q. Mr. President, you will go to Des Moines then, too?

THE PRESIDENT. I will go through Des Moines to go to Dexter.

Q. Will there be a stop in Des Moines?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question until the details are arranged. You will be notified and well-informed in detail when I get back from Detroit.

Q. Mr. President, aside from any actual details, can you tell us approximately when you will go South?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't. No arrangements have been made.

Q. You do intend to go South, though, Mr. President?


Q. Mr. President, 6 days after you make 5 speeches in Michigan, Senator Homer Ferguson is up for reelection. I wonder if you are going to suggest during the speeches that Senator Ferguson be impeached by the voters?1 [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. No comment on that.

[ More laughter ]

1 Senator Homer Ferguson served as Chairman of the Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments which at the time was investigating Communist influence in the Government.

Q. Mr. President, do you plan to speak in your home State during this campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, certainly.

Q. Will you close your campaign in Independence ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is customary. I don't know whether it will be in Independence. Wherever it will be--somewhere in Missouri, I hope.

Q. Do you expect to speak in Chicago, Mr. President, during the campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I think eventually I will land in Chicago.

Q. Late or early in the campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. Can't answer that. I will give you details later.

Q. I think we were told at some time that you planned to speak both in Kansas City and St. Louis during the campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. That is the present plan. But then that is subject to change without notice. I will let you know the details as soon as we have them all worked out. It is a very difficult matter to work them out, because everybody wants you to stop at every whistlestop. That's what we want to do, if we can.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, are you prepared to announce the selection of the Air Judge Advocate?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not. That is under consideration. I am not ready to announce it yet.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, some of the whistlestops prefer not to be called whistlestops--

THE PRESIDENT. Los Angeles and San Francisco and Seattle, for instance. [Laughter]

Q. Speaking of whistlestops, does that mean you will probably make most of your campaign by train, and probably not by plane?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that, but that is the present intention, of course, to go by train.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Stassen charges that the administration is deliberately trying to keep food prices up. Is that correct, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary of Agriculture will answer Mr. Stassen's statement in full, and it will be a complete answer. I noticed an article this afternoon in the Star,1 in which it says $300 million have been expended to support crop prices, and it would imply that that had been done in the last year. It hasn't been done in the last year. If you will read the article carefully, you will find that it covers a 5- to 10-year period.

1 Washington Evening Star.

Q. Mr. President, don't you think that the crop support program is not a big factor in prices?


[10.] Q. Mr. President, here is a hardy perennial.

THE PRESIDENT. All right. Good.

Q. On the St. Lawrence power project, that it was cheaper to do it from the navigation channel? A formal application to that effect has come from New York authorities?

THE PRESIDENT. I wouldn't approve it. I haven't seen it, but I will not approve it, I can say that to you definitely. The St. Lawrence project goes through as a whole or not at all, so far as I am concerned.

[11.] Q. Like the reply by the Secretary of Agriculture, are you having campaign charges answered by various experts in the way of protocol arrangements?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that was a campaign charge, that was just a misstatement of facts, and I am having the facts put out to you to know.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, Governor Dewey said yesterday that cleaning the Communists out of Washington was a national job of great urgency, and one that should be tackled as soon as a Republican President could get it done. Any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I think Mr. Dewey is mistaken about Communists in Government. There has been a program, ever since the war started, to see that disloyal people are not in Government, and very few disloyal people have been found in Government, and those few have been discharged long ago. I think Mr. Dewey's intention is to eliminate the Democrats from Government, not the Communists. [Laughter]

[13.] Q. Mr. President, will you go to upstate New York in your campaign trips?

THE PRESIDENT. The plans have not been completed as yet, and when the time comes for the announcement, I will let you know about that definitely. I can't answer the question now.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, some people have said that you must back down on your "red herring" characterization of the spy investigation?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not going to back down on that because it is a fact, and I will prove it before the campaign is over.

Q. It has been charged that you are protecting Communists.

THE PRESIDENT. Of course, that is just a lie out of the whole cloth, and you know it. I never protected Communists or any other disloyal people. You know, the spies that really caused us trouble during the war were not Russians. Russia was our ally. The spies were Germans and Japanese. I have never heard anything about a search for them. They were our enemies, if I remember correctly.

Q. That's a pretty good quote, "a lie out of the whole cloth." What about it?

THE PRESIDENT. Go ahead, quote it. It's true. It's also a plain lie. I never protected a disloyal person in my life.

Q. It's the quote which makes the statement.

THE PRESIDENT. Make it a quote. It's all right. You can use it.

Q. May we quote "just a plain lie"?

THE PRESIDENT. A lie out of the whole cloth, that's what it is, just a lie out of the whole cloth. I could give it an adjective, but you wouldn't print it. [Laughter]

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you know of any crisis facing the United States on the domestic scene today?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't know of any serious crisis facing the United States on the domestic scene. I haven't been informed of one.

Q. Is that the first time in 8 years?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I--no, I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say that.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, I think you could get the adjective printed where no one else could. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you know what it is.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, won't continually rising prices become a crisis?

THE PRESIDENT. They will be, eventually, if they keep on climbing. They can cause a serious crisis.

[18.] Q. Do you want to enlarge on what you have already said about the garbage thrown at Mr. Wallace in the South?

THE PRESIDENT. I made a statement on that through Mr. Ross which covers the situation completely, and that statement still stands.1

1On August 31 the President issued a statement through his Press Secretary in which he denounced the hostile reception given to Henry A. Wallace, Progressive Party candidate for President. The President said that the rowdy behavior which greeted Mr. Wallace in North Carolina was "contrary to the American spirit of fair play."

Q. Mr. President, do you plan to take any action on the west coast maritime lockout and the truck strike in New York?

THE PRESIDENT. Every action possible has been taken in that west coast strike. This is the end of the 80th day, and I have no emergency powers. There is nothing that can be done now in that strike. We have done everything possible and are still trying to settle it by negotiation.

Q. Mr. President, do you plan to appoint Mr. David Henderson as temporary judge of the western district of North Carolina?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that has already been done.

Q. I think there's a temporary appointment recommended for the interim--until the action on the Judge Warlick 2 nomination?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that, because I don't remember the details. I will hunt it up for you and see that you get it, if you are interested.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

2 Wilson Warlick whose name was submitted to the Senate by the President on April 2 for confirmation as District Judge of the Western District of North Carolina.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and fiftyfifth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4:05 p.m., on Thursday, September 2, 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/232759

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