Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

December 18, 1947

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I have some things to talk to you about today. First, I want to make a short statement on the final report of the Luckman committee, and this is mimeographed and will be available--no, it isn't, either. You will have to make your notes. [To Mr. Ross] This one isn't?

Mr. Ross: But it is printed.

THE PRESIDENT. It is printed. You will receive the report.

[Reading, not literally] "I received today the final report of the Citizens Food Committee,1 headed by Mr. Charles Luckman, and I wish again to thank the Committee for its effective work in the emergency phases of our food conservation program. The report will be released for publication shortly. I think you will find it extremely interesting.

1 The 83-page report is dated December 18, 1947.

"I wish to call your attention particularly to the statement about the number of men thrown out of work by the temporary shutdown of the distilleries. I believe you will find a good story there.

"You will recall the estimates that fifty to one hundred thousand employees would be thrown out of jobs. Later it appeared that a maximum of some three thousand might be affected. The report now shows that 965 workers were actually laid off because of that shutdown, and that the United States Employment Service was able to place 551 of these in new jobs. The result is that only 414 of the distillery workers are now out of work--414 as contrasted with the hysterical estimate of more than fifty thousand"--as are most of these estimates.

[2.] The Honorable David A. Reed resigned from the Battle Monuments Commission, and I have today appointed Adm. Edward C. Kalbfus of the Naval School at Newport, R.I.

[3.] Under the Labor Management Relations Act, created under the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, I am appointing the following, who will serve as the National Labor-Management Panel. Their function is to "advise in the avoidance of industrial controversies and the manner in which mediation and voluntary adjustments shall be administered, particularly with reference to controversies affecting the general welfare of the country." And this list will be available, along with a short statement in regard to it, as you go out.

Mr. James Black, president, Pacific Gas and Electric Company--these are from management--Mr. Benjamin F. Fairless, president, United States Steel Corporation; Mr. Paul G. Hoffman, president, Studebaker Corporation; Mr. George M. Humphrey, president, M. A. Hanna Company; Lewis Lapham, president, American-Hawaiian Steamship Company; Charles E. Wilson, president, General Electric Company.

From labor: Mr. Harvey W. Brown, president, International Association of Machinists; Clinton S. Golden, Chief of the Labor Division of the American Mission for Aid to Greece; William Green, president, American Federation of Labor; Allan S. Haywood, vice president, Congress of Industrial Organizations; William L. Hutcheson, president, American Federation of Labor Carpenters Union; and Philip Murray, president, Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Now there will be a statement handed to you with that list that will cover the situation.

Q. Does that mean that Clint Golden is on his way home now ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not necessarily. If he is, I don't know it.

[4.] And I have a short statement with reference to Mr. Anderson's appearance before the congressional committee.

[Reading, not literally] "With reference to the question regarding the publication of the list of speculators in commodity markets, I think that such list should be made public.

"However, the Congress has provided by law that information furnished to the agencies of the Government on a confidential basis shall not be divulged. Since the Congress itself has so provided, it is necessary that the Congress take some action removing this restriction. The Secretary of Agriculture could then make the list public.

"A resolution giving such authority to the Secretary of Agriculture has already been introduced and could quickly be adopted.

"I would approve such a resolution immediately.1

"At the hearing this morning before the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Secretary further stated that he would furnish the list to the committee, if so directed, provided the meeting was held in public and the list was made available to the public. The committee refused to take this course of action. Instead, the committee adopted a resolution that the list should be furnished to it at a secret session and behind closed doors.

1 On December 19, 1947, the President approved a joint resolution authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to publish the names of persons transacting business on the boards of trade and to furnish such names to committees of Congress upon request (61 Stat. 941).

"The Secretary properly rejected this proposal.

"I fully support the position of the Secretary of Agriculture.

"I have already made my position clear with reference to speculation on the commodity exchanges, and I hope that the Congress will act promptly so that the facts in

this situation can be known to all." Any questions?

Q. Is that statement mimeographed, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That statement is mimeographed and will be available to you.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, on the Roy Harper judgeship out in Missouri, is it your understanding that when Congress adjourns tomorrow the recess appointment expires, and if so will you send a new recess appointment ?

THE PRESIDENT. I Will meet that situation when it comes up.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, it has been pointed out in the press that at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences when differences arose between foreign ministers they were resolved by meetings between the heads of state. Would you be agreeable to a meeting with General Stalin in order to smooth out the differences which have developed?

THE PRESIDENT. I would be most happy to see General Stalin in Washington, if he wants to come here. I have said that time and again. But I want to say to you, and clear you up entirely, that the meeting at Yalta and at Potsdam was of the heads of the states and not the foreign ministers. The foreign ministers conference was organized at Potsdam, so the foreign ministers didn't have anything to fall out about at those meetings.

Q. I was referring to the meetings which they used to hold in the mornings.

THE PRESIDENT. That was only preliminary. That was only preliminary to the meetings of the heads of states. They made no decisions.

Q. Along that line, Mr. President, have you had any direct communication with Marshal Stalin ?

THE PRESIDENT. Why, no, not recently.

Q. What was the question?

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if I had any communications from Premier Stalin lately, and I said no I had not.

Q. Have you had any with him ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.

Q. Mr. President, is there anywhere else that you would meet him besides Washington ?

THE PRESIDENT. I would be glad to see him in Washington. Period. [Laughter]

[7.] Q. Mr. President, I would like to ask a question about the Philippines. There is a report that we have in mind abandoning the treaty with them by which they could get preferential tariff duties in this country?

THE PRESIDENT. Where did you get that notion ?

Q. Came from Havana.

THE PRESIDENT. There isn't a word of truth in it. Not so long as I am President it won't be abandoned.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, in the debate this afternoon in the Senate, on the provisions for voluntary agreements which would permit agreements between businessmen on allocations and priorities, Senator Morse of Oregon said the effect of this action would be to pass the political buck to the President of the United States. Would you care to comment on that, sir ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that has been very well commented on by Senator Morse. [Laughter]

[9.] Q. Mr. President, if there is a budget surplus of $7 billion in the Treasury, as reported, do you think that would justify tax reduction ?


Q. Mr. President, does that mean you are against any tax reduction next year?

THE PRESIDENT. I will come to that after the first of the year. You will hear about that in the Message on the State of the Union. I simply answered this question.

[10.] Q. The new crop report is out on winter wheat prospects, which says we can expect a 20-percent decrease next year.

THE PRESIDENT. IS it as much as that? I thought it was a billion, 240 million? No, that was the last year's crop, wasn't it?

Q. Yes. This is winter wheat, which is the major part of the crop.

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen that. I haven't seen that last report.

Q. Came out at 3 o'clock.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't had a chance to see it, and I can't comment on it, but I know just exactly what it provides. That should take into consideration all the other small grains, as well as wheat.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, what would you say, in your opinion, is the present outlook for peace, as a result of the failure of the London conference ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not at all downhearted about the peace. I think we will eventually get it.

Q. Peace with Germany?

THE PRESIDENT. Peace in the world.

Q. Have you any comment on the breakup of the London conference ?

THE PRESIDENT. General Marshall will answer that question tomorrow night, at 10 o'clock on the radio.1

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're entirely welcome.

1 Secretary Marshall's address is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 17, p. 1244).

Note: President Truman's one hundred and thirtieth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 o'clock on Thursday afternoon, December 18, 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/232605

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