Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

March 26, 1947

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Well gentlemen, this is the hundredth press conference that I have held. I have nothing special to tell you because all the announcements have all been made, but I thought you might have a question or two you might like to ask me so I'd let you in.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, what is the purpose of your conference today with the AFL leadership?

THE PRESIDENT. They asked for the conference, and I guess they will state what the purpose is when they get here.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, will former Ambassador Lane have your approval when he speaks out openly against the tragedy in Poland?

THE PRESIDENT. He is speaking for himself. My letter answers that question.1

1 On March 25 the White House released an exchange of letters between the President and Arthur Bliss Lane, Ambassador to Poland. Mr. Lane offered his resignation, effective March 31, stating his belief that he could do more for U.S.-Polish relations "if I should revert to the status of a private citizen and thus be enabled to speak and write openly, without being hampered by diplomatic convention, regarding the present tragedy in Poland." In accepting Mr. Lane's resignation the President said, "I am well aware of the difficulties which confronted you in the performance of your mission to Poland and appreciate the vigorous efforts which you made to persuade the Polish Provisional Government to fulfill its pledges with respect to the holding of free elections in Poland."

[4.] Q. There is a report that the Ambassador of Honduras, Mr. Erwin, is being recalled. Anything you can say on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[5.] Q. What about Mr. Patterson of Yugoslavia? Is he going back?

THE PRESIDENT. NO.

Q. He isn't going back?

THE PRESIDENT. He isn't going back.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, is Mr. Pawley going back--Brazil--Mr. Pawley?

THE PRESIDENT. Who ? Yes, I am sure he will go back.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, I would like to have your comment on us after a hundred conferences ?

THE PRESIDENT. On you? [Laughter]

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you really put me on the spot, Miss May,1 but I enjoy these press conferences immensely, and I want to say to you that I think you have been eminently fair to me ever since we started, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I think everybody here has tried his best to give the facts as they are. I have no quarrel with you at all.

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

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you intend to appoint successors soon to Mr. Lane and Mr. Patterson, or leave those posts vacant for the time being?

THE PRESIDENT. As soon as we possibly can, we will appoint successors, and I will announce those immediately so that you will have them right away.

Q. Mr. Patterson remaining in the diplomatic service, or is he dropping out?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that is up to him. I don't know whether he is going to remain or not.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us anything about your talk yesterday with Ambassador Pawley?

THE PRESIDENT. I had a very pleasant talk with Mr. Pawley on conditions in Brazil, and it is--that was about all there was to it. He was just making a report to me on conditions as they are--very optimistic report.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, both the Democratic and Republican leadership up on the Hill say that the Greek bill will not be through by the deadline, it is going to take some weeks longer. Do you favor a stopgap loan from the RFC or something

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I sincerely hope that the Congress will act as promptly as possible and that it will not be necessary to have the stopgap.

Q. But if it doesn't get through?

THE PRESIDENT. Then we will take that matter up when it confronts us.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, Gael Sullivan got into something of an uproar while you were away, by proposing that the two national chairmen sign a statement on foreign policy. Had Mr. Sullivan consulted with you before he did that?

THE PRESIDENT. The first time I saw it was in the paper.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, in your talk with Senator Austin yesterday, can you say whether or not he is to present the view of your position and the view of this country on the Greek-Turkish situation in the U.N. ?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't like to anticipate Senator Austin's speech. He is going to make a speech Friday, which will cover the whole situation.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, did you speak to Gael Sullivan about his letter?

THE PRESIDENT. He spoke to me about it.

Q. Afterward?

THE PRESIDENT. Afterward.

Q. Did you speak anything to him?

THE PRESIDENT. You had better ask Gael! Q. Mr. President, does Gael have any intention of resigning now as executive director?

THE PRESIDENT. NO, I think not.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, some Sherlock Holmes in the shoe factory--he is sending the shoes that they say you are going to bowl in--and from deducing something or other, he says you are a left-handed bowler. Is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I always was left-handed.

Q. How can the shoes

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what effect the shoes have on it. We'll find out, maybe, when they come.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, have you any thoughts now on prices generally?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope that prices will not continue to rise. I sincerely hope that business will see the handwriting on the wall and hold prices so there will be no spiral later.

Q. Would you like to see some of them reduce prices, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes I would. A great many of them have been doing that. For instance, International Harvester Company, and Ford, and one or two others--which I have seen in the paper.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, will you sign the portal-to-portal pay bill as it stands?

THE PRESIDENT. I will talk to you about that when it comes to me. I don't know what is in it and I don't know what will be in it until it gets to my desk. I will give you the answer when it comes.

[17.] Q. On that price thing once more, sir, you said "handwriting on the wall." Would you mind explaining that a little bit?

THE PRESIDENT. What was that?

Q. You said that you hoped some of the other business people would see the handwriting on the wall

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I mean by that I don't want to see a spiral in prices which will cause inflation and which will cause another round of clamoring for wage increases. It just never stops, unless we can stop it now.

Q. Are you concerned with the price rises ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have been concerned all along.

Q. Were you concerned last year when you asked them to continue price control, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, of course. That's the reason I asked for it. The situation, I think, though, will build up along lines that will be for the best interests of the country. That is my opinion now. And the Economic Council is making a complete survey of the situation on which they will make a report to me very shortly.

Q. The price situation?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

[18.] Q. Are you concerned over the wage demands now pending, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I beg your pardon?

Q. Are you concerned over the wage demands now in negotiation?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think the negotiations are going forward in good shape. The settlement in the rubber situation did not cause an increase in prices, and I hope that the other negotiations will end up the same way.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think about actions like Congress in cutting off the salaries of persons appointed in the executive departments ? Do you think that is proper procedure?

THE PRESIDENT. I never have thought so. But that bill hasn't reached me yet. It still has to pass the Senate.

Q. Mr. President, that bill is an appropriation bill, I suppose?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it is.

Q. And that--you didn't say so, but to veto an appropriation bill doesn't restore the amount of money, of course, does it?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh no, it has.--

Q. Do you want to give us any instruction what you might--what might happen?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I would rather discuss that when the bill is before me.

You see, it isn't--it hasn't passed.--

Q. It hasn't passed?

THE PRESIDENT. -- it hasn't become a matter of legislation, and I don't like to comment on things that are pending in the Congress. Only one time that I made a comment on things pending in the Congress and that was when I suggested Congress should raise their salaries, if you remember, last year. [Laughter]

[20.] Q. Mr. President, was Secretary Schwellenbach speaking for the administration when he recommended outlawing the Communist Party?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that. He was speaking for himself, however. That is pending in Congress, and I will attend to that when it comes down before me.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, one of the big issues that is being debated ever since you made your speech to the joint Congress, which is now called the Truman Doctrine1 is the question of whether your policy for the United States will lead to peace or to war. I wondered if you had any comment to elaborate on that particular

1Speech on Greece and Turkey to a Joint Session of Congress on March 12, 1947.

THE PRESIDENT. I think the speech speaks for itself. I think it was made very clear, that the speech was made hoping that it would contribute to peace.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, would your position on pending legislation prevent you from commenting on the tax reduction bill before the House today ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, there isn't any bill pending as yet. When it comes up here, I will comment on it. I have made comments on it in the Message, I think, on the State of the Union.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundredth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 26, 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/232843

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