Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

June 13, 1945

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Well, the first thing I want to tell you about is that I called Mr. Hull yesterday, and asked him to go to San Francisco with me for the closing of the conference, whenever that takes place. And he said he would like very much to go, but he thought it would be too strenuous a trip to be the first thing he would do after he gets right out of the hospital.

I wish he could have come. I wish he could go.

[2.] I sent down the name of former Governor William H. Wills-W-i-l-1-s--of Vermont to be a member of the Federal Communications Commission. He will succeed Norman S. Case, whose term expires on June 30. It's just a case of one Republican taking the place of another. [Laughter] Vermont is surely a Republican State, so they couldn't accuse me of playing politics up there. [Laughter]

[3.] I have another announcement I think I ought to make--it has already been announced--but John Snyder put a draft on Ed McKim to get him away from me for a special job, and I guess I'll have to let him go for the time being.

Q. Will he go out of the city, sir? Wouldn't he leave the city on that job?

THE PRESIDENT. No. He is going over to the office over here. He will probably have to go out of the city for some special reason if Mr. Snyder wants him to, but his headquarters will be here.

[4.] I wanted to say a word about the Office of War Information. "In my judgment, the things being done by the Office of War Information need to be done, in the interest of a nation still fighting a war which is far from over, and which the people need to know is far from over. OWI's work in both the domestic and the foreign field is now being performed by a trained, integrated, and experienced organization. To abolish some of its major functions, while the war is on, would be a mistake. It would be equally a mistake to attempt a hurried redistribution of those functions among other agencies which are not now trained or equipped to undertake them."

I am hoping that the Congress will restore the budget estimate for that organization.

[5.] For the parade on the day that we welcome General Eisenbower, I have indicated that the departments and agencies may, in their discretion, permit employees whose services can be spared to leave work without charge of annual leave for such period as may be necessary for the purpose of participating in the city's welcoming of General Eisenhower between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

I don't think we could do too much to show our appreciation of General Eisenhower. That's the reason for that arrangement.

[6.] Now, the thing that you are somewhat interested in, I think, is Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Davies. They both returned, and I just want to say a short word as to the background for that, and then you can ask me questions, and I will answer them if I am able to.

"In order to secure an interchange of views more satisfactorily and quickly than by cable, I sent Mr. Hopkins to Moscow and Mr. Davies to London. Their discussions covered the arrangements for the time and place of the meeting of Prime Minister Churchill"

Q. Will you go a little slow, Mr. President ?

THE PRESIDENT.--"of Prime Minister Churchill, Marshal Stalin, and myself, as to what would be most convenient for all three." Ready for me?

Q. Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. "Since their return, Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Davies have made their reports to me. The results have been completely satisfactory and gratifying.

"The all important thing which confronts us is that the unity, mutual confidence, and respect which resulted in the military victory should be continued to make secure a just and durable peace."

Q. Can we have that again, please, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. The last paragraph?

Q. The all important thing.

THE PRESIDENT. "The all important thing which confronts us is that the unity, mutual confidence, and respect which resulted in the military victory should be continued to make secure a just and durable peace."

In other words, Mr. Churchill, Mr. Stalin, and the President of the United States must be able to meet and talk and trust each other, in that we want to believe that each of us wants a just and durable peace. That is one of the reasons for the preliminary visits of Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Davies with those two gentlemen.

Q. Mr. President, has--can you say that a definite time and place has been set for the Big Three meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. It has, but I can't announce it, and won't, until we arrive there.

Q. Mr. President, does the success of these missions extend to other things besides arrangements for the Big Three meeting?


Q. The Polish situation?

THE PRESIDENT. The Polish situation, yes.

Q. Have you been advised, sir, that one of the London Poles already has rejected the invitation to Moscow?1

THE PRESIDENT. No. I hadn't heard that.

1On June 12 the White House released a statement listing the representatives of the Polish Provisional Government and Polish democratic leaders in Poland and abroad who had been Invited to Moscow for consultations concerning the reorganization of the Provisional Government of Poland on a broader democratic basis. The statement, issued simultaneously in Washington. London, and Moscow, is published in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 12, p. 1095).

Q. Can you tell us anything about the release of the 16 Poles at that--

THE PRESIDENT. I will. That was one of the things that I sent Mr. Hopkins to Moscow for, and conversations were had on that subject. No conclusions have as yet been reached, but every effort is being made in behalf of those 16 Poles by both the American Government and the British Government.

Q. Mr. President, in San Francisco some weeks ago, when the arrest of the Polish leaders was first revealed, the Secretary of State said that negotiations for working on the new government could not proceed until the question of why they were arrested was cleared up. Has that position been changed?

THE PRESIDENT. That position has been modified, let us say, and I think that we are on a road to a complete settlement; but I want to make no statements that will in any way embarrass the Russian Government.

Q. Mr. President,--

THE PRESIDENT. At least, we are in a much better position now than we were before Mr. Hopkins went to Moscow, and Mr. Davies went to London.

Q. Mr. President, did Mr. Pauley's statement on reparations, indicating the very firm American stand of our Government, have any effect on the Russian's position?

THE PRESIDENT. That matter had not been discussed with the Russian Government.

Q. Mr. President, will Mr. Hopkins go to--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what effect it had.

Q.--the Big Three meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Pauley set out the position which he was instructed to take when he left here. What was your question here?

Q. Will Mr. Hopkins be going to the Big Three meeting, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, he will.

Q. Mr. Byrnes?


Q. Mr. President, do you plan to take

THE PRESIDENT. Admiral Leahy will, also.

Q. Mr. Davies?

THE PRESIDENT. So will Secretary Stettinius.

Q. Mr. Davies?

THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't talked to Mr. Davies about it until his health permits. I may ask him to go. He hasn't been well, nor Mr. Hopkins, so that is contingent on both their physical conditions.

Q. Do you plan to take any congressional leaders to the Big Three--


Q. Who else will go, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I Can't name the others. All the Combined Chiefs of Staff will be there, I can say that much.

Q. Did I understand you to say you won't announce the place until after the arrival there?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that is correct.

Q. There is a story this morning that the meeting would be secret, that no newspaper reporters would be permitted--

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q.--to be there.

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. The meeting will be secret?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it will not be public, such as this one is. [Laughter] There will be no reporters or press conferences at that meeting.

Q. Will there be any reporters at the meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. No, there will not be.

Q. Did you say the Combined Chiefs of Staff will be there?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. All our members will be there. I can't speak for the other countries, but I guess

Q. Do you know what continent it will be held--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't want to answer any questions in regard to that trip.

Q. Mr. President, has there been any change in American policy which has caused the Russians to change their position on the Polish issue?

THE PRESIDENT. No. There has been no change in the American policy. There has been a very pleasant yielding on the part of the Russians to some of the things in which we are interested, and I think if we keep our heads and be patient, we will arrive at a conclusion; because the Russians are just as anxious to get along with us as we are with them. And I think they have showed it very conclusively in these last conversations.

Q. Mr. President, could you tell us what the Russian chief of staff--

THE PRESIDENT. Tony,1 you had better ask Mr. Stalin about that. [Laughter]

1Ernest B. Vattaro of the Associated Press.

Q. You said Combined--

THE PRESIDENT. That is up to him. If he wants it, he will be there.

Q. Mr. President, on this no reporters, you will recall that on previous occasions all these meetings have been announced to the world by some sources other than American sources first. Have you given any thought to that?

THE PRESIDENT. That will not be done. I think the American reporters will be given an exactly equal chance with all the rest, but these conferences can't be held in the limelight because we are trying to get ready for a peace conference,

Q. Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT.--and that is my objective.

Q. On other occasions, the news has been diluted by getting out in advance before official

THE PRESIDENT. With everything that I am capable of doing, I will see that that does not happen this time, if I can prevent it.

Q. Mr. President, will White House Press Secretary Mr. Ross go with you?

THE PRESIDENT. He will, that is certain.

Q. Mr. President, anything new this week regarding the status of Secretary Stettinius?

THE PRESIDENT. Nothing new. Status hasn't changed. [Laughter]

Q. You said he was going to the conference?

THE PRESIDENT. lust keep on asking. He is going to the conference. [Laughter]

Q. For how long, Mr. President ? [More laughter]

Q. Mr. President, do we still recognize the London Polish Government ?

THE PRESIDENT. We are still recognizing the London Polish Government.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, I would like to ask a question about General Eisenhower. There is a story from Paris this morning which says there's a flurry of rumors that Eisenhower may not return to Europe. Is there any truth in that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That didn't start here. [Laughter]

[8.] Q. Mr. President, what was the--what would be the position of the London Polish Government, after the provisional Polish Government is set up as a result of the Moscow conversations?

THE PRESIDENT. If the Government of Unity, I believe they call it, in Poland is set up and agreed to by the British Government, and the United States Government, and the Russian Government, the London Government will go out of existence.

Q. Mr. President, does the date of the conference fall within the 40 days that you mentioned last week?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it does.

Q. Mr. President, you said that if the Polish Government is set up, that the Polish Government will be--the London Polish Government will go out?

THE PRESIDENT. Isn't that the purpose of the meeting that is being held on Friday--to set up this government? That's right. That's correct.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, Justice Jackson said in his report that he favored the trial of the German General Staff. What is your position on punishment of members of the General Staff?

THE PRESIDENT. What is my position on what ?

Q. The punishment for the German General Staff?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that matter of punishment will have to be assessed by the trial courts and the prosecutors. I am not in a position to say what their punishment should be. That would be judging them in advance, and they have not been tried.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, did Mr. Hopkins' work in Russia result directly in a change of the Russian position on the veto question at San Francisco?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I think it did. It did. Categorically, it did.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment at all on the FEPC situation?

THE PRESIDENT. The only comment I have to make is that I am sincerely hopeful that the House will give the House itself a chance--the Rules Committee will give the House a chance to vote on this question. That is what we are asking.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, have you rebuked Mr. Hopkins for saying that Russian women were more beautiful than American? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I am going to let Mr. Hopkins speak for himself on that. I think he was misquoted. [Laughter]

[13.] Q. Can you comment on the Wherry amendment?


Q. Can you comment on the Wherry amendment-on the OPA bill ?

THE PRESIDENT. It's a bad amendment, and I hope the House will throw it out.

[14.] Q. What will happen if the London Poles, which were designated to join this Government of Unity, refuse to join it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, this is not a government now, and they are being asked to join a conference in Moscow, to set up a government. Then, unless they agree, there won't be any government set up. So that, I think, answers your question ?

Q. Mr. President, can we assume that the first act of the new Polish Government of Unity will be to hold a free, democratic election now-with the old formula ?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope so. That is the reason for setting it up.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, on several occasions Mr. Grew has deplored the fact that the American newspapers don't get more information by direct reporting within the Russian spheres of influence and occupation. Did Mr. Hopkins ask that that situation be "broke" down a little more ?

THE PRESIDENT. We are exploring--we are working on that now.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, you said that if the London people don't go to this conference, in order to help set up a new government, no new government would be set up--

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. I said if they did not agree after they got there. They're going. Don't you worry about that. They're going. [Laughter]

Q. Do you mean that they have veto power over--England--

THE PRESIDENT. No. Don't get this thing tangled up now. What we are trying to do is to get the situation worked out that has been causing us a lot of embarrassment. And for God's sake, don't you go muddying it all up so as to make it worse! We have made arrangements so that all these factions can get together, the present Polish Government, the people in Poland who are not in the Polish Government, and the people in London, to see if they can't sit down and work out a government that will be satisfactory to Poland. Now, that's what this conference is for. We have succeeded in getting that far. But don't upset the applecart. Say we have made some progress and that I believe that we can get results that will do what we want, which is a free Polish Government.

Q. Isn't it true that no member of the present exiled government in London has been invited to go to Moscow for these discussions?

THE PRESIDENT. That is true.

Voices from the back of the room: Thank you, Mr. President.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. You're entirely welcome.

Note: President Truman's twelfth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:35 a.m. on Wednesday, June 13, 1945. The White House Official Reporter noted that Senator Green of Rhode Island was a guest at this conference.

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/232113

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