Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

January 22, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. I have no special announcements to make this morning, so if you want to start off with questions, why go ahead.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, this week a couple of major economic recommendations were made to the Congress by people outside the Government, which attracted a lot of attention. I wonder if you could give us some comment on the Baruch recommendations,1 and Mr. Hoover's recommendations? 2

THE PRESIDENT. Well, most of Mr. Baruch's recommendations I was pleased to read, most of them. I have already made a specific recommendation to the Congress, and so far as Mr. Baruch's recommendations are in line with that recommendation, I am for what he said.

I am not for Mr. Hoover's recommendations.

1 On January 19 Bernard Baruch proposed an 11-point program which included postponement of tax reduction for 2 years; a world recovery program based on providing a market in the United States for raw materials from all nations; and an all-out production effort in the United States coupled with wartime controls on food, prices, wages, and profits.

2 On January 22 former President Herbert Hoover was reported in the press as having challenged the administration's handling of the European recovery program, and as having urged that Congress limit appropriations for world relief and rehabilitation to $4 billion for the 15 months beginning April 1, 1948.

[2.] Q. There is another economic recommendation that was made by President Wilson of General Motors, that was along the line of extending the workweek from 40 to 45 hours, as a compromise.

THE PRESIDENT. I think Mr. Wilson is living in 1890, I am sorry to say. There is another Mr. Wilson who doesn't believe that. He is the president of the General Electric Company.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, is Admiral Merrill 3 being considered for the CAB chairmanship?


3 Adm. Aaron Stanton Merrill.

Q. What was the name that he asked?

THE PRESIDENT. Admiral Merrill. I have never heard of him.

Q. He is either CAA or CAB. [Laughter ]

THE PRESIDENT. He is not being considered by me.

Q. Are there any considerations being given to the vacancies--

THE PRESIDENT. I have several men under consideration. I have asked several men to serve, and I have not yet succeeded in getting one to say yes. And the man whom I did get to say yes, the Congress didn't see fit to allow to serve. And that brought the salary proposition into it, which had nothing whatever to do with the proposition at all. I was merely endeavoring to find the man to do the job for me temporarily to get the thing going again. And I found out afterwards that General Kuter's salary was greater than the one that was paid by the chairmanship in the CAA. But they would have saved $10,000 anyway, because Kuter still draws his pay.

Q. Well, Mr. President, in view of the trouble you have had filling these different positions, do you think the pay of high-ranking jobs should be increased?

THE PRESIDENT. I think so, yes. I think they should be paid commensurate with their responsibilities. I have always said that. I think I had more to do with the raising of the pay of the Congress than anybody here.

Q. Can you tell us who declined the proffers-these posts?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I shall not.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, could you name some of the specific recommendations of Mr. Baruch which you endorse?

THE PRESIDENT. Just read it and compare it with my program which I took down, in the Message on the State of the Union. You can do it yourself. I am not working for newspapers! [Laughter]

[5.] Q. Mr. President, will you reappoint Mr. Szymczak of the Federal Reserve Board?

THE PRESIDENT. I will make an announcement on that at a later date.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you see any sign, or have any hope, that Mr. Wallace will follow the example of Mr. Whitney? 1 [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that.

1 On January 17 Alexander F. Whitney, president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, resigned as vice chairman of the Progressive Citizens of America.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to reappoint Governor Gruening of Alaska?

THE PRESIDENT. I have that under consideration. I have not made up my mind on that, as yet.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the announced retirement of your old friend Mackenzie King of Canada?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very sorry to see the Prime Minister of Canada retire at this time, although he has given 20 of the best years of his life to Canada as Prime Minister, and in the meantime I think was still a Member of Parliament. He has been in public life a long time. He is 73 years old, but in very good physical condition. I had a very pleasant visit with him when I was in Canada, and he has visited here on several occasions. And Canada is really suffering a loss in a real public servant. I am a very great admirer of Mackenzie King.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, if we could go back a second to the Hoover recommendations, specifically he asked for a cut in the amount of funds for 15 months and then limitation of 15 months--

THE PRESIDENT. I just don't approve of Mr. Hoover's statement. That is as far as I care to go. Wouldn't go into details, because it speaks for itself.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, the St. Lawrence measure also comes up on the Senate floor Monday. Do you still plan to send a message or letter?

THE PRESIDENT. Probably won't require a message. I will probably send a letter to the Speaker and the President pro tem.1

1 See Item 12.

Q. Is it still considered a vital national defense project?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, indeed. Not only that, it is a very good economic project for both Canada and the United States.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, since your last press conference, there have been some more presidential candidates come out in the open, even Governor Dewey. So far, there have been no Democratic candidates. [Laughter] Have you any idea when there will be any announcement?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't the slightest notion.

Q. Will there be any?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, eventually of course there will be one before the Democratic convention meets in Philadelphia, but I don't see that there is any hurry about any announcement. [Laughter]

Q. Just one, Mr. President? Q. I notice you said one.

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't say that--everybody in the United States has a right to be a candidate for President if he wants to be, on either party ticket.

Q. Or a third party ticket?

THE PRESIDENT, Or a third party ticket. He would have a better chance, however, if he were on the ticket of the other old parties.

Q. Mr. President, do you imply that some don't have to pick a ticket until pretty late in the day?

THE PRESIDENT. Some of them don't--they vacillate. Could name a great many who are newcomers to both parties. But some of them, of course, will try to get back on the bandwagon and in the parties where they really belong.

Q. Anyone particularly in mind, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. You can draw your own conclusions. [Laughter]

Q. Do you think that there will be an announcement before the Democratic National Convention?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, undoubtedly there will be, by someone. I know somebody will be a candidate on the Democratic ticket.

Q. Do you plan to do much traveling this year, sir? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. NO, I don't. I may go down to Key West again for a rest.

Q. Does that mean a back porch campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. It probably might, Miss May.1 A front porch campaign. No, that's the front of the White House. [Indicating]

1 Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Q. Really. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. That's the front of the White House. The Chesapeake and Potomac Canal used to run along down there 2--[indicating]--and John Quincy Adams used to go down there and swim every morning. Some lady reporter had been trying to get an interview with him for a long time.

2 Tiber Creek formed the southern boundary of the White House grounds until the early 1880's when it was filled in.

Q. Anne Royall.

THE PRESIDENT. She went down and sat on his clothes and let him talk to her. [Laughter] I thought you would be interested in that.

Q. Mr. President, you asked whether that meant a back porch campaign, I judge for you--you said "probably might." Could we have that a little more definite?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I wasn't speaking of myself. Anybody can have a porch campaign. Six or eight Republicans can start campaigning. Some of them are not on the front porch, however.

Q. Mr. President, there is only one involved in a back porch news item, however?

THE PRESIDENT. I wouldn't say back porch. It's front porch--front porch. [Laughter]

[12.] Q. Mr. President, is there any arrangement being made to send other Marines to the Mediterranean?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Just filling up the quotas on the shifts in the Mediterranean.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, has the matter of censorship of military developments come to your attention since last week?

THE PRESIDENT. I have never heard of it. Nobody mentioned the subject to me at all. I don't think anybody is thinking about censorship. I told you the last time, you gentlemen are just as patriotic as all of the rest of the country in the protection of your own country, and its welfare is just as much in your hands as it is in mine.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, just to clarify the record, is it your stand that you will be absolutely against any tax reduction which cuts personal taxes but doesn't increase business taxes ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have made that perfectly clear in my statement on the tax proposition. If you will just read that, that covers the ground entirely.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the German-Russian state papers published yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment. Most interesting. I have been reading them. Just an historical document. The historians have been clamoring for secret documents and we are trying to give them the documents as fast as we can.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the Star's 1 editorial attack on the Office of the White House Architect?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't know about it.

1 Washington Evening Star.

Q. They have almost a column which said it was an unnecessary office that paid almost the maximum, and so far as they could ascertain, he did nothing.

THE PRESIDENT. That is news to me. I never heard of it. He has just as much work to do as any other White House employee. That's the first I've ever heard of it. I haven't read that editorial. I am going to do it.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and thirty fourth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, January 22, 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/232308

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