Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

December 16, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I have one announcement to make today. On the 5th day of January, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, I will deliver the State of the Union Message to a joint session of the Congress. That arrangement was reached after consultation with the Vice President-elect and Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Majority Leader of the House.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the indictment of Alger Hiss, do you still consider this Communist investigation--

THE PRESIDENT. I have made my position perfectly clear on that subject, and I have nothing further to say on it. My position hasn't changed. Period.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to ask for price controls for textiles and other commodities?

THE PRESIDENT. That question will be answered in the Message on the State of the Union.

Q. Mr. President, Vice President-elect Barkley has said in a speech that the next Congress will enact price controls, and he also says that there will not be a general tax increase. Do you share those views, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. My views on that subject will be stated to the Congress in two messages-maybe three messages. The Economic Message--there will be the Message on the State of the Union--and there will be the Budget Message, which I will discuss with you in detail when the Budget Message is ready.

Q. Mr. President, you said it will be stated, or it has been?

THE PRESIDENT. My position will be stated in those various messages which will go down to the Congress.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, would you say anything about your luncheon with Mr. Forrestal?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have been in the habit, on occasion, of having luncheon with a member of the Cabinet when he has other members of the Cabinet present for lunch. It was a social affair.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, the National Farm Federation is meeting in Atlantic City, and they are split on the question of long-range farm programs. Some of them think that they are going to continue 90 percent parity. Has your position changed on the long-range farm program?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that in my messages to the Congress on the subject.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, the Hoover commission today reported that its investigation of the armed services under the Unification Act reveals that, quote, "there are deficiencies all along the line." And they quote in particular an Air Force intelligence report last spring, which they say if it had been followed by you would have led to total mobilization of the United States. They said fortunately it wasn't done because they were checked by other intelligence agencies. Is there anything you could say on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, there isn't, because I haven't seen that report.1 I will take it under consideration when it comes in, then probably comment on it at the time, or I will send a message to Congress on the subject.

1 The Task Force Report on National Security Organization prepared for the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government by the Committee on the National Security Organization (Government Printing Office, Jan. 1949, 121 pp.).

[7.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to discuss tidelands oil in the State of the Union Message?


Q. But no change in that--

THE PRESIDENT. No change, so far as I am concerned. I announced my position during the campaign, and it hasn't changed.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, in the State of the Union Message, do you--will you include foreign policy outside--


Q. That is something else?

THE PRESIDENT. That will be a separate message.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, Governor Dewey said today that you are trying to pick political daisies by blocking the New York plan for separate development of the St. Lawrence power?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the daisy picking is on the other side of the fence. I am for the St. Lawrence Seaway and power project as outlined in my message to Congress on the subject, and it is a matter that is to be decided by the Canadian Government and the United States Government, and not between any State or Province of Canada.

Q. Mr. President, I take it that you will resubmit the St. Lawrence--

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly shall. Yes, indeed.

Q. Mr. President, also out of Albany today there is a report that you are planning another TVA on the St. Lawrence. Any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. My messages are very clear on what I want on the St. Lawrence, if you will read them. I sent three messages to Congress on the subject.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, if this new Congress, before January 20th, should see fit to raise your salary, would you feel impelled to veto the bill ?

THE PRESIDENT. I would not. [Laughter] I want you to distinctly understand that I didn't ask for any raise. I vetoed the tax bill, which automatically raised my salary. I am not interested in that, but I am interested in the heads of the Government departments receiving a raise in salary, and I think the Vice President ought to have a raise.

[11.] Q. I understand that the Interior Department disclosed that they have been laying plans for your proposed visit to Alaska. When do you plan to go?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no plans.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you concur with General Vaughan's 1 views on the inaugural preparations?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on that. I am in harmony with the Inaugural Committee, and they are carrying out the plans as approved by me.

1 Maj. Gen. Harry H. Vaughan, Military Aide to the President.

Q. May we have a repetition of that question?

THE PRESIDENT. She wanted to know if I agreed with General Vaughan's comments on the inaugural plans. General Vaughan said he never remembers having made any such statements for publication. [Laughter]

[13.] Q. Mr. President, Secretary Royall granted Christmas holiday clemency to some four hundred military prisoners today. Do you have any similar plan in mind for--

THE PRESIDENT. I have not.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, has there been progress in your talks with the Attorney General on possible tightening of the lobbying law?

THE PRESIDENT. No particular progress since the last conversation. He is making a survey of the situation, as I told you before.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans to ride on the so-called Dewey plane that the Air Force is reported--

THE PRESIDENT. Never heard of it. Only what I saw in the paper.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you could tell us about your talk the other day with Madame Chiang?

THE PRESIDENT. Nothing further.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, do you know yet when you will leave for Independence?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't. The date has not been set. I want to go as soon as I can get away from this desk, which gets higher and higher all the time. I am going to leave as soon as I can. I will let you know exactly when I can leave.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us an idea now when the Budget Message might go to Congress in January?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope it will go a couple of days after the Message on the State of the Union. It will go after that, on the following Friday or the following Monday, if I can get it ready.

Q. The Economic Message will go in later?

THE PRESIDENT. The Economic Message may come in between. You will just have to take them as they come.

Q. Mr. President, do you plan a special message again on civil rights?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it will be necessary. There will be a message on it, if we don't accomplish the purpose.

Q. Will that be in the Message on the State of the Union?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be in the Message on the State of the Union.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, could you summarize your position on this "red herring" matter that you have said--

THE PRESIDENT. I think I have answered that question often enough. I don't intend to talk any more about it. You know where I stand on the subject.

Q. Mr. President, quite aside from that, would you say anything on your feeling as to how the case has been prosecuted--

THE PRESIDENT. I will say nothing about it. I will say nothing about it. I told you that very plainly. It's a closed incident, far as I am concerned.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on whether you believe the House Un-American Activities Committee should be continued or not?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans for tightening the espionage laws?

THE PRESIDENT. The Attorney General is working on that situation, and has been for a year. It is a very difficult matter to do and still stay within the Bill of Rights.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and sixty-first news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4:02 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, 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/234137

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