Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

February 12, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. I have a few announcements to make.

[1.] Paul R. Rowen of Boston will be appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission. He will fill the vacancy resulting from the resignation of James J. Caffrey, December 31. Rowen is a Government service career man since 1924. He has served in the various departments. Has had more than 9 1/2 years' experience with SEC. Since November 1941 he has been Regional Administrator of the SEC for New England.

[2.] I am nominating John Thad Scott, Jr., of Texas, to be a member of the National Mediation Board, for the term expiring February 1st, 1951.

Q. Just a minute--be a member of what, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. The National Mediation Board.

Q. That term again, please, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Expires February 1st, 1951.

[3.] And I have a statement I want to read to you about the Treasury's bond drive: "The Treasury Department's plans for an intensified campaign for the sale of savings bonds have my complete support.

"In response to the widespread feeling of retailers, bankers, farm leaders, industrialists, heads of organized labor, and citizens, generally, in all walks of life that the savings bonds program can serve the Nation in peace as it did during the war, a special sales drive will begin April 15 and continue through June 30. It will be known as the Security Loan.

"I call upon Americans to participate in this Security Loan in every way possible, whether through the purchase of more sayings bonds or by serving as volunteer bond sellers or both. I hope that several million men and women will become volunteers in selling bonds to their friends and neighbors-selling them from door to door, office to office, bench to bench. It was this sort of bond selling during wartime that helped forge the home front unity without which victory on the fighting fronts might not have been achieved. The same sort of effort is needed now.

"I said November 17 in my special message to Congress, 1 and I reiterate, that every dollar saved instead of spent is a dollar fighting against inflation.

1 See 1947 volume, this series, Item 224.

"The Security Loan appeals to me as a family campaign. Every family should be a Security Loan team, contributing its maximum. This will safeguard the Nation's economic strength."

Q. What goal are they shooting at, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. The Treasury will announce that.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, does this mean that Mr. Rowen will be Chairman of the SEC?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The SEC elects its own Chairman. That is one of the few

Q. How does he spell his own name?

THE PRESIDENT. R-o-w-a-n, I believe--wait, I'll look. R-o-w-e-n--Paul R. Rowen--e-n-from Boston.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, what about the CAB? There is a report today that Mr. Harold Jones of Pasadena, Calif., an attorney, is being considered for that job?

THE PRESIDENT. I will make an announcement on that as soon as I am ready. I can't make it today.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, is there any action in regard to the CAA Administrator's resignation-some speculation--

THE PRESIDENT. No. Action has not been taken. His date of leaving is some time in the future. Trying to have it worked out before he leaves.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, have you instructed Secretary Krug to the effect that if the Congress passes the enabling legislation the Interior Department will take over the administration of the Pacific areas of Guam, Samoa.--

THE PRESIDENT. I can answer that better as soon as the legislation becomes effective. Then we'll see what the proper action is to take. The matter is pending in the Congress now.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, in view of your vigorous denunciation last June of section 304 of the Taft-Hartley law under which, or for violations of which, Mr. Philip Murray of the CIO was indicted yesterday, do you care to comment today on that indictment?

THE PRESIDENT. The only comment I have to make is the same comment that I made when the law became effective over the veto, that I am here to enforce the law, and it will be enforced. My comments you refer to are just as vigorous and in the same mood as I was then.

Q. May I ask, Mr. President, whether the White House communicated with the Justice Department during the time that investigation was going on?

THE PRESIDENT. The White House has not communicated. I only know what I saw in the paper. But the Justice Department is doing its duty--as set out in the law, as it always does.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can say now about this general controversy about the Palestine partition plan--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment.

Q.-- I as to whether there is any disposition to soften that at all?

THE PRESIDENT. The United States Government is supporting the United Nations. That is as far as I can go.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, would you consider the bond drive is directed against inflation?


Q. Does that mean that the administration feels that that is a major economic problem at the present time, and not deflation?


Q. Do you think it is as large a problem, Mr. President, as it was last week?

THE PRESIDENT. I can answer that a little later on. Can't tell what the final report on this situation is, and I can't comment on that until I know more about it. We are keeping tab on the thing, and all the agencies of the Government are working on just what the situation means, and you will be informed as soon as I am ready to make a decision on it.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel that the recent recession in commodity prices has in any way answered your request to the Congress for your 10-point program of price and inflation control?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not. I do not. It hasn't affected that at all. Those were standby controls that were asked for.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan conferences with these southern leaders on the civil rights program?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you think the recent turndown in food commodities is a step in the right direction?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course it is.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Scott Lucas is quoted as saying that the recession in commodity prices will force a tax cut this year, and on the contrary your economic advisers were quoted this morning as saying that they were going to recommend a very broad tax cut. Any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. Can't comment because I haven't talked to either one of those gentlemen.

Q. Do you think your $40 cut is still feasible?

THE PRESIDENT. I do. I certainly do.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, are you still hopeful that the Congress will take favorable action on your 10-point program?

THE PRESIDENT. I am. And I shall be hopeful until the Congress adjourns. [Laughter]

[16.] Q. Mr. President, has any decision been reached by the administration on meat reached by the administration on meat rationing, as to whether it is going to be necessary?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The 10-point program covered that situation.

Q. That was standby authority though?


Q. You said it still is as much a major threat today as it was a week ago?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it is.

Q. To recapitulate, you do not think then, sir, that the drop in commodity prices has lessened the--

THE PRESIDENT. Now, you needn't put what I think into the question, because I can't answer it.

Q. I was trying to clear up my own mind--

THE PRESIDENT. All right then, ask it, and see if I can answer it or not.

Q. Do you feel that the danger of inflation is still a major economic threat, despite the recent break in commodity prices?


[17.] Q. Mr. President, would you comment on your reasons for visiting Puerto Rico?

THE PRESIDENT. Because I have been-several times in the past have attempted to make a visit to Puerto Rico and did not manage to get there. When a native Puerto Rican was made Governor of Puerto Rico 1 by this administration, I was anxious to pay him a visit, and see just how the Puerto Ricans are getting along. And I understand that he has made a great Governor.

1 Governor Jesus T. Pinero of Puerto Rico.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel that the Fine Arts Commission sort of misled you on the question of approving the balcony?

THE PRESIDENT. I told you some time past that I would give you a lecture on architecture and the balcony, and I will do that at a later date. [Laughter]

[19.] Q. Mr. President, do you know that Captain Gaston is now proposing that you have a goat farm in this yard out here?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that wouldn't be anything new. They used to have cows, pigs, and chickens in that yard. It isn't necessary nowadays.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, there is still a question sort of up in the air, out of this balcony affair, and that is whether the south side of the White House is now the front, or whether the north side is the front?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, you will have to make up your own mind on that. Andrew Jackson had a fuss with the same Fine Arts Commission on putting a porch on the north side up, at that time.

Q. The south is the front?

THE PRESIDENT. The south is still the from.

Q. The south is still the front, officially?

Q. Mr. President, I didn't mean to bring up the balcony--[laughter]--but General Eisenhower says that his idea of retirement was to put a chair on the porch and sit still for 6 months, and then begin to rock slowly. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. That's what General Eisenhower told you, but I don't think General Eisenhower or anybody else can do it that has ever been in public life.

Q. Mr. President, you have no retirement plan involving a porch?

THE PRESIDENT. No--[laughter]--not on this porch.

Q. This is not a practice porch?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, it is not.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and thirty seventh news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 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/233918

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