Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

May 23, 1945

THE PRESIDENT. Everybody here?

[1.] Well, I have some Cabinet changes I wanted to tell you about. Mr. Biddle's resignation has been accepted, and Tom Clark of Texas

will be appointed in his place as Attorney General.

Q. C-l-a-r-k--no E?

THE PRESIDENT. Tom C. Clark, no E.

I will read you the first paragraph of the letter I wrote to Mr. Biddle. It says, "In accepting your resignation, I desire to express my appreciation of the patriotic services which you have rendered to your country during the war, and during the days when we were preparing for the war."

And in the last paragraph, "I hope you will have continued happiness and success in your future work, and I trust that I may have the privilege of consulting you in the future when occasion arises."

I am accepting the resignation of Miss Perkins as Secretary of Labor, and am appointing Judge Lewis B. Schwellenbach of Washington to be Secretary of Labor. Miss Perkins wrote me a very fine letter, and I wrote her a good one. You will receive copies of it.

Mr. Wickard's resignation is being accepted, and he is being appointed REA Administrator; and Congressman Clinton P. Anderson of New Mexico is being appointed Secretary of Agriculture.

Q. Clinton B. Anderson ?

THE PRESIDENT. Clinton P. Anderson.

Q. D, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. P. Anderson, Congressman from New Mexico. He has been Chairman of the War Food Committee in the House of Representatives.

Q. Are all these effective immediately--


Q.--effective immediately, or June 30th?

THE PRESIDENT. --the last of the fiscal year. These are all effective on June 30, except Mr. Wickard's. His takes effect as soon as he is confirmed as REA Administrator.

I have the resignation of Marvin Jones as War Food Administrator, and I would like to read you the last two paragraphs of Mr. Jones's letter and comment on it.

"While the war was being fought on both fronts, there was considerable logic in having an independent War Food Administration. It has worked well. In each of the war years there has been an outstanding record of production. There has been complete cooperation between the Secretary of Agriculture and myself.

"Now, however, that victory in Europe has been achieved, I feel that the work of the Department and the War Food--and War Food could well be carried on by the Secretary of Agriculture, probably with somewhat less expenditure of funds."

Now Judge Jones is going back to the Claims Court on June 30th, and when he goes back and relinquishes the Office of War Food Administrator, , I expect to make the Secretary of Agriculture War Food Administrator.

And I think that's about all, unless you have got some questions to ask me. [Laughter]

Q. I might say that is pretty good.

Q. Mr. President, the--Clinton Anderson has been--made two or three good reports.--

THE PRESIDENT. I think so.

Q.--and have you read them, and have they--


Q.--led you to any consideration on your part?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it didn't. I had him in mind before I read his reports, but his reports helped.

Q. Mr. President, did Mr. Morgenthau offer his resignation this morning?

THE PRESIDENT. No, he did not, and if he had, I wouldn't accept it.

Q. Mr. President, do you contemplate--

Q. Who was that?

Q. We didn't hear that.

THE PRESIDENT. Morgenthau.

Q. What was the reply, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. He did not offer his resignation, and if he had, I wouldn't accept it.

Q. Sir, do you contemplate any change in the State Department?


Q. Mr. President, were any of the resignations requested by you ?

THE PRESIDENT. They were not. I have the resignation of every member of the Government who can resign since I have been President! [Laughter] I can accept them or not as I choose.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, would you clarify, please, the future status of Russia under lend-lease, now that the war in Europe is over?

THE PRESIDENT. The--I don't care to discuss that. I think I covered it very thoroughly in the statement that was issued.1

1For the President's statement upon signing the bill extending the Lend-Lease Act, see Item 3.

Q. It left open one question, and that is whether or not Russia is getting any lend-lease now?

THE PRESIDENT. Russia is getting the lend-lease that she has contracted to receive during the month of May.

Q. How about, sir, when the protocol expires at the end of June?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, let's wait and see what is necessary to be done at that time, then we will take care of it in a way which we think will be all right for the peace of the world.

Q. When did cancellation of orders begin on lend-lease to Russia?

THE PRESIDENT. The cancellation of lend-lease began as soon as the war ceased. It was not a cancellation, it was a readjustment because of the new conditions as they came about due to the collapse of Germany. The whole thing has to be gone into completely and thoroughly for all the nations, and I think it would be handled in a way that the country and the world will be helped by it.

Q. Have you any estimates of the amount of savings resulting from the readjustment?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not, because I don't know just how much of a readjustment has taken place at the present time.

Q. Mr. President, under the law can lend-lease equipment be sent to Russia, or to any country, when it is not engaged in the war against Japan?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it can. When it has been allocated to Russia by protocol and treaty, we have to carry out our commitments.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, now that the war in Europe is over, has any arrangement been made for early release of the Italian armistice terms?

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, have you-can you inform us at all, on this status of German war prisoners, as to when they will cease being prisoners? Have you any plans--


Q.--to make any statement on it?

THE. PRESIDENT. No, I can't. I can't do anything about that until we have an established government in Germany.

Q. That might be for a generation.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, your guess is as good as mine. [Laughter]

[5.] Q. Mr. President, a couple of weeks ago you told us you knew Hitler was dead, but you wouldn't give us very much detail about it. Can you give us any now ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I think I can tell you why I thought Hitler was dead. Himmler had told our Minister in Sweden, through the--I think Prince Bernadotte of Sweden--that Hitler had had a stroke and that he wouldn't have but 24 hours to live. And I understood that whenever Himmler said anybody had just 24 hours to live, that's about all[remainder of sentence inaudible]. That's what I based my statement on.

Q. What--does it still hold true ? Is that the way you think he died-when he died ?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know a thing about his death more than you do--only what I have seen in the papers.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's eighth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 1945.

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/232555

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