Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

February 20, 1947

THE PRESIDENT. Good morning. How are you all?

Q. How are you?

Q. Quite a snowfall.

THE PRESIDENT. I was just watching it. They tell me that the streets are as slick as glass.

[1.] Q. You didn't take your morning walk this morning, did you?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes I did! I walked before the snow started. No, I didn't miss it.

Q. You must have been early.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I always leave the White House between half past 6 and a quarter to 7. It snowed about 10 minutes after 7. Sure did. I hardly ever miss.

Q. What?

THE PRESIDENT. I hardly ever miss, unless it's pouring down rain.

I have no particular announcements to make. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, when you visit Puerto Rico, do you plan to discuss any political questions with the leadership there ?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not.

Q. Do not?

THE PRESIDENT. LUST paying an official visit to Puerto Rico to see how they are getting along in their native government.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Lippmann seems to feel that the reason poison gas was not used in the last war was because everybody had it, and that the same thing would apply to the atomic bomb.

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Lippmann is entitled to his opinion the same as anybody else. I have no comment to make on it.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, when will you send up your message on the universal training and selective service?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be some time yet before it will be ready. I have that special committee, as you know, getting all the facts together, and as soon as that special committee makes the report, then I shall send up the message.

Q. Mr. President, then you plan no message on the draft?

THE PRESIDENT. That is under consideration, and will--at a later date I will make an announcement on it.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to send a message on export controls to the Hill in the near future ?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not.

[6.] Q. Any prospects of announcements on Ambassadors to India and England?

THE PRESIDENT. As soon as I have made the decision I will make the announcements immediately.

[7.] Q. You are still for universal training?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes indeed. I have always been for it ever since 1905, and that's a long time. I demonstrated that I was for it because I immediately went into training when I was 21 years old.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, has the shortage of boxcars been brought to your attention?

THE PRESIDENT. Time and again. Time and again.

Q. What is the situation, so far as you are concerned?

THE PRESIDENT. We are working it out. We have been working on it all the time to the best of our ability.

Q. It's a very vital thing.

THE PRESIDENT. It's a vital thing. Of course it's vital. We have been working on it all the time--doing everything we can to alleviate it.

[9.] Q. Did I understand you to say that you went into training when you were 21? There was no universal--

THE PRESIDENT. National Guard.

Q. National Guard.

THE PRESIDENT. When I was 21.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, would you give us your opinion on the bill in Congress for permission to study reorganization of the executive department of the Government?

THE PRESIDENT. I always give my opinion on bills when they come to my desk for signature, and not before that time.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, Representative Landis says that unless you take some immediate action about calling a conference between mine operators and the unions, there is going to be another disastrous strike April I. Have you any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. NO comment.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, what will be the impact on your foreign policy in the event the economy program of the Republicans is carried out in Congress, particularly with reference to occupied countries?

THE PRESIDENT. I will comment on that when that situation develops. It has by no means developed yet.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, could you comment on this? I understand that Senator Taft thinks that tax reduction should come before debt reduction. What do you think of the principle of that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Well sir, I would prefer not to comment on that. Senator Taft is entitled to his opinion. I will give you my comments when those matters come to my desk. I will give them to you in no uncertain terms.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, I ask a lot of questions this morning.

THE PRESIDENT. It's all right.

Q. But have you noticed that the Treasury cash surplus has reached $1,700 million--a record figure in our history?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. It is going to be much greater than that when we get through collecting all the taxes.

Q. Do you think we are going to be able to get the budget you pledged this year?

THE PRESIDENT. We are going to come mighty close to it. I don't want to make any comment on it until we have got all the figures in, but we will have a cash balance. But whether the budget will show a balance or not, I don't know. They are two entirely different things.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, are you considering any emergency action on rent control, in the event OPA is allowed to die?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not yet come to the conclusion that OPA is going to die.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, are you planning any changes in the Embassy in Cairo, Egypt?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, when do you expect to send up the unification bill ?

THE PRESIDENT. In a very short time. Just as soon as it is ready, I will make it public and send it up.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, if the Republicans in Congress don't pass your proposals on the finishing up of the Second War Powers, what effect do you think it will have on the condition of the country?

THE PRESIDENT. I think I stated that in the statement in the message at the time. If you will read that message I think you will find just exactly what I think about it.

[19.] Q. Is there any way the OPA can be kept alive if it doesn't get the deficiency which you have been requesting?

THE PRESIDENT. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, it has been reported from Tokyo that the Army Commissioner of Reparations has reached conclusions drastically different than those submitted to you by Ambassador Pauley. Has that been brought to your attention?

THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't heard about it. I don't know how they could reach any conclusions because they don't know anything about the whole picture.

Q. But he remarked on the statement

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about that. I haven't seen or heard of it.

[21.] Q. What do you hear from the Hill on Mr. Lilienthal's chances of confirmation?

THE PRESIDENT. I am still behind Mr. Lilienthal 100 percent, and I think he will be confirmed.

Q. [Aside] So do I.

THE PRESIDENT. I hear a comment, and so do I. [Laughter]

[22.] Q. Mr. President, you remarked a little while ago that ever since this summer you took long walks. Would you care to tell us this time which way you went?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I got up early enough so that it wasn't snowing when I left. I left the White House about 20 minutes of 7 and got back about a quarter after. I went up 17th to Rhode Island, over to 15th Street and back to the White House just about 2 miles.

Q. Thank you, sir.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, this morning someone asked you about export controls. You said that you were not going to send a message about it. That was included, I believe, that subject, in the message you sent to Congress on the subject of many controls.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. As far as I can find out, that message has been lost in committee up there. Nobody seems to be doing anything about it on the Hill.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, they are busy with other things. They don't have time to look at the emergencies closely. But they will probably get around to it. I hope they will.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, there have been some stories out of the War Department to indicate that the administration has definitely made up its mind to ask no extension of the draft.

THE PRESIDENT. That matter is under consideration. As soon as a decision has been reached, the announcement will be made on it.

[25.] Q. Mr. President, it has been reported the Navy is withdrawing from China. Is that true?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard about it.

[26.] Q. Mr. President, it has been reported that you are against "lameduck" appointments. Is that true?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter on which I don't want to make any comment. The actions will speak for that.

Q. Are you contemplating any actions in the near future?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, not immediately. Not in the immediate future.

Q. Anything about -- [inaudible] ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Same condition it has been all the time.

[27.] Q. Mr. President, you haven't decided on an Ambassador to London, did I hear you say?

THE PRESIDENT. No sir, I have not. I will make the announcement to you just as soon as the decision is reached.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's ninety-eighth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 20, 1947.

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/232711

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