Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

November 21, 1947

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I have some announcements for you this time.

General Bradley will go back to the War Department on the 1st of December, and Carl R. Gray, Jr., the vice president of the Chicago, North Western Railway Company, will take over the Veterans Administration on January 1st.

General Littlejohn will send in his resignation, and it will be accepted, the 28th of November. And Gen. C. B. Cares, who is now in the War College, will be Commandant of the Marine Corps.

[2.] And I want to make it plain that at this year's Army and Navy game I am going to be the guest of the Army, and sit on that side all the time. Next year I am going to sit with the Navy, when they will be the hosts. I like to enjoy a ball game just as well as anybody else, and don't want to be the show myself.

Q. Will that be after election day, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT, Yes, it will be after election day. The President's term doesn't expire until the 20th of January. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, is the Department of the Air Force going to have a team too, now?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't gone into that. They have no school as yet, you see. They go to school both at Annapolis and at West Point, and I haven't heard of their organizing a team.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, just to clarify this thing a little bit to me, General Bradley is going back to the War Department presumably as Chief of Staff?

THE PRESIDENT. He will be Chief of Staff as soon as General Eisenhower goes to the Columbia University.

Q. When is that, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. That is up to General Eisenhower.

Q. It has been mentioned--mentioning April 1.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you will have to talk to General Eisenhower. I can't give you that.

Q. Mr. President, when is General Little John's resignation effective? I didn't get that.

THE PRESIDENT. The 28th of November-28th of November.

Q. Mr. President, what will General Bradley's duties be in the War Department between December 1st and the time he takes over?

THE PRESIDENT. General Bradley has certain accumulated leave coming, and he wants to make a survey of the War Department at the various headquarters around the country before he becomes Chief of Staff. He will have plenty to do. He made this request himself, and we are complying with what he wants.

Q. Mr. President, are you prepared at this time, sir, to name General Littlejohn's successor to War Assets ?

THE PRESIDENT. The Deputy Administrator over there will take over.

Q. What is his name, sir?

Q. Deputy or Acting?

THE PRESIDENT. Acting. Larson is his name.

Q. Mr. President, I understand Mr. Litfiejohn is going to the Philippines to advise President Roxas on the war surplus situation?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what General Littlejohn is going to do. I know he is going to quit on the 28th. I don't know anything about his movements after that. He handed me a check--photostatic copy of the biggest check I ever saw, for $143 million that we sold that pipeline for.

Q. He will start liquidating War Assets before very long, won't he ?

THE PRESIDENT. War Assets is supposed to be liquidated by next June, and that is due to the efforts of General Littlejohn. He has done a most successful and a wonderful job. He was just tough enough to do it, and that's what it took.

Now you will have a letter from him and one from me handed to you as you go out, and you will also have the background of these appointments I made handed to you in mimeograph form.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, the other thing is: Dillon Myer announced yesterday that you are going to transfer him to another job. Could you tell us at this time what that job is ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Dillon hasn't made up his mind which one he wants. As soon as he does, I will make the transfer.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the Canadian Government's action prohibiting exports ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, a few hours after you delivered the message to Congress here the other day, Senator Taft went on the air and called the proposal you made totalitarian. Will you comment on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. The speech speaks for itself. If you don't understand it, read it again.

Q. Your speech or his speech ?

THE PRESIDENT. Both of them. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, are you satisfied--what comment can you make on the reception of your speech by the public?

THE PRESIDENT. It has been very satisfactory.

[7.] Q. Any indication when you might have to use consumer rations and price controls if authority is granted ?

THE PRESIDENT. We will have to discuss that after we get the authority. Can't do it now.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, when will you be prepared to submit the Marshall plan to Congress ?

THE PRESIDENT. In about 10 days.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, Republicans including Senator Taft say that you have export controls which you have not used.

THE PRESIDENT. I think that that probably is correct. We never make complete use of every power that we have. We use it where it will do the most good. The export controls will expire. We are asking for their extension.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can say about the particular point that we are shipping a lot of heavy machinery to Russia--allowed to go ?

THE PRESIDENT. Russia has a purchasing mission in this country. They have been allowed to purchase those things that are necessary for the rehabilitation of Russia's electric dams that were destroyed by the Germans, and some farm machinery.

Q. Do you favor continuing that purchasing program, Mr. President ?

THE PRESIDENT. I see no reason to stop it now.

[11.] Q. To return to the export controls a moment, sir, your message to Congress called for strengthening as well as extending them. Can you tell us in what way

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. you would strengthen them?

THE PRESIDENT. That speaks for itself. And the details will be given to the committee when they want to have a hearing. I don't want to have that hearing here.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, is Gray in Minneapolis now ?

THE PRESIDENT. He lives in St. Paul, I think. Either Minneapolis or St. Paul.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, what do you propose--how do you propose to control the grain exchanges ?

THE PRESIDENT. In the same manner that the New York Stock Exchange is controlled.

Q. You would apply the same margins there?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, along the same line. I can't go into details because it will have to be worked out before the committee. But we ought to have the same authority we have over the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank.

[14.] Q. Well, Mr. President, have you considered block purchasing of crops for distribution?

THE PRESIDENT. Everything of that sort has been and is being considered. That will be given to the committees when hearings are held. You will have all that information at that time.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, would you extend this commodity control exchange to the cotton exchange, and to the wool exchange ?

THE PRESIDENT. Is cotton a commodity? Is wool a commodity?

Q. Generally considered so.

THE PRESIDENT. All right. All right--that answers your question.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and twenty-eighth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 9 o'clock on Friday morning, November 21, 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/232549

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