Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

March 28, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1] I want to announce the appointments in the permanent grade of General of the Army, under this new bill which just passed the Congress March 23, of General Marshall, General Douglas MacArthur, and General Eisenhower, and General Henry H. Arnold. Admiral Leahy, Admiral King, Admiral Nimitz, and Admiral Halsey; General Vandegrift, and Admiral Waesche--Watchee, however he pronounces that name. [Laughter]

And I am reappointing Claude L. Draper, of Wyoming, to be a member of the Federal Power Commission.

Q. What's his name? Claude L.

THE PRESIDENT. Claude L. Draper. He is a Republican member of the Federal Power Commission. His term expires, I think, about June. I am sending his name down, and--

Q. Republican what, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. He is a member of the Federal Power Commission. He is now on the Commission. A reappointment.

Q. And what State is he from, sir? Wyoming?

THE PRESIDENT. Wyoming. That's right.

Q. What are these grades--Leahy, King, and Nimitz ?

THE PRESIDENT. Fleet Admirals. All four of them are Fleet Admirals. General Vandegrift is a four-star General.

Q. Waesche, what's he?

THE PRESIDENT. He's Admiral--

Q. Fleet Admiral?

THE PRESIDENT. --a four-star Admiral.

Q. Well, Vandegrift is a four-star General?

THE PRESIDENT. Four-star General.

Q. And Waesche is a four-star Admiral, and the others are five-stars?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the others are Fleet Admirals--Generals of the Armies.

Q. Permanent grade for life?

THE PRESIDENT. Permanent grade for life, with all the salary and emoluments that have gone with it during the wartime.

And it creates for the President an elder statesmen organization for national defense. These men will not, under that increase, have to go into any advertising business, or go to work for any airplane companies, or anything else, for their support. That--for once, a Republic, I think, has been fair to the people who have taken it through one of the greatest emergencies in the history of the world.

That's all that I have to announce

[2.] Q. Mr. President, to clear away any possible doubt, could you tell us whether Secretary Byrnes has your full support and backing, in pressing for immediate Security Council action on the Iranian question?

THE PRESIDENT. He certainly has, or he wouldn't be doing it.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, in their half-hour discussion with you this afternoon, did Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Flynn of New York State discuss with you the possibility of Senator Mead's candidacy for Governor of New York State?

THE PRESIDENT. They discussed every phase of the New York political situation, and I was very much interested, and was a very careful listener. They did discuss Senator Mead's candidacy for Governor of New York.

Q. What did they say about it?

THE PRESIDENT. They said that he could be elected.

Q. Did they know whether he would run, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't ask them that.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, it was suggested on the Hill this morning that you call a Big Three conference.

THE PRESIDENT. They have been making that for months, I think. The same answer is the same.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, getting back to the New York political situation again [laughter]--if I may .


Q.--and I don't like to ask what might seem to be a badgering question, but if I could ask, how it squares with your answer of a week ago or so, that you were willing and able to discuss Missouri politics, but that you weren't ready to discuss New York politics?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. It's just as correct today as it was then. I was a listener to two able New York politicians. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, can you tell us anything, sir, about the possibility of Mr. Mead running? Do you think he will?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know a thing about it. The best way to do is to talk to Senator Mead. He is available.

Q. Thank you, sir! [Laughter]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, when it was announced that you would postpone the atom bomb tests, the primary reason--official reason-given at that time was that it would take too many Congressmen out of Washington.1 Yesterday, Speaker Rayburn said that things were going so well in Congress on emergency legislation that they could have a spring recess. How do those two things fit together?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't talked to Speaker Rayburn on a spring recess, but the reason expressed in the release is exactly the reason why the atomic bomb plan was postponed.

1On March 23 the Press Secretary to the president had announced that the tests scheduled for May 15 and July 1 would be delayed for about 6 weeks. The reason given for the delay was that a large number of Congressmen had expressed a desire to witness both tests but owing to the heavy legislative schedule would be prevented from doing so if the tests were held on the dates originally fixed.

Q. I just wondered if anything had happened in Congress since then, that made it possible for them--


Q.--to take a recess?

THE PRESIDENT. The best way is to discuss that with the leaders in Congress.

Q. Mr. President, have you got any letters for or against the test?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

Q. You have not?

Q. In this morning's paper, Mr. President, there was a story that another factor in that delay was the construction of measuring instruments--of instruments to help measure the effect of the blast. Is that also true?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard it. The first I've heard it. The reason was the one expressed in the release, and no other reason affected my postponing the test.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, in light of the threatened famine of food all over the world, you asked the American people to save food, and the situation which developed in California, where there is a threat to cut off food because of jurisdictional strikes, I am wondering whether you consider that is important enough to step in on this plan of regarding it

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that is being handled by the Labor Department, and I hope by the Governor of California-just as I told you last time it was brought up.

[8.] Q. In view of your professed backing of Secretary Byrnes, do you have any misgivings about Russia taking a permanent walk?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, along the line of the food situation, the UNRRA food subcommittee, following Governor Lehman's lead, has suggested all the United Nations going back to food rationing. Have you got an appeal on that?

THE PRESIDENT. The--as I said the last time that this was brought up, the thing, if it became absolutely essential and the emergency was of a long enough duration that it would be necessary for us to go back to food rationing, I certainly would be in favor of doing it. But this is an emergency proposition, and the reimplementation of food rationing would take longer than the emergency is supposed to last. It is only supposed to last until the spring wheat crop can be gotten in.

Q. There isn't very much likelihood

THE PRESIDENT. Not for this emergency.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us whether other names came into your political conversation with the two gentlemen from New York?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't remember. The best thing for you is to talk it over with them. I remember particularly that they did discuss Senator Mead.

Q. Mr. President, does that mean that you are backing Senator Mead for the gubernatorial nomination--

THE PRESIDENT. I told you that I did not interfere in New York politics, outside of the State of Missouri.

Q. Did you state to them, Mr. President, the particular feeling that you expressed a couple of weeks ago, that you thought Senators ought to remain in the Senate?

THE PRESIDENT. I did not discuss that phase of the matter. When it comes up to me, I will discuss it.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, from New York there are some reports that Mr. Byrnes has been talking to you about this deadlocked Security Council. There is also speculation on reports that there is a possibility that you or he might try to get some help from Mr. Stalin. I am wondering if anything like that is in the wind?

THE PRESIDENT. It hasn't been discussed. Mr. Byrnes is in touch with me every day. He just phoned me a half hour ago on the situation.

Q. What did he say, Mr. President? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. He said that the matter would come up at 4 o'clock, and it would be discussed at the Security Council. I have no comment to make on what may happen.

Q. The matter of Russia leaving.

THE PRESIDENT. The matter that was under discussion--whatever it was.

Q. The matter that was under discussion between you and Secretary Byrnes?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The matter that is under discussion at the Security Council, will come up at 4 o'clock, and we hope to settle it.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to make any comment on the special State Department report on international control of atomic energy, which will be released at 8 o'clock tonight?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have no comment to make. It hasn't been released yet.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you had any reactions from Congress to your appeal of last Saturday night, on party unity and responsibility?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have had lots of responses from Congress. They are in favor of it, most of them.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, did Mr. Baruch tell you he wanted his name withheld from consideration--consideration at this time?

THE PRESIDENT. I think he told Senator Connally that he would like to have it delayed, and I confirmed that statement to Senator Connally.

Q. Yes. Do you know of any reason for that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't. You had better ask Mr. Baruch.

[15.] Q. I want to ask you about that tie that caused so much--[laughter]--is that--

THE PRESIDENT. You know, that tie seems to have caused more trouble than the speech itself. And as I said, I have had that necktie, I think, for 4 or 5 years, and have worn it on several occasions. I think I wore it at the Gridiron dinner, if I am not mistaken. No comment was made on it then, because you people were familiar with such a tie.

Q. You weren't setting any such new style?


Q. Just interested in it--indicating that things are getting back to normal?

THE PRESIDENT. I think so, yes. It makes me very happy.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, there are reports that Secretary Forrestal has started organizing a civilian advisory committee--invited about 75 or 100 very prominent people to belong to it--advisory committee to the Navy Department; and some of the proponents of the merger of the armed services say that it--actually it's an antimerger organization--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard. I haven't heard about it.

Q. Haven't heard about the organization?

THE PRESIDENT. No. It hasn't been discussed with me.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, have you made your selection of the--for the Under Secretary nomination?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, I haven't. I will announce it to you when I get ready.

[18.] Q. Do you expect a coal strike, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on that. Your guess is as good as mine.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to issue a statement or proclamation any time, when Mr. Small and Mr. Wyatt get ready with the real--put all the details of their program for these construction committees into effect, which requires a great deal of civilian cooperation?

THE PRESIDENT. Whatever it takes we will proceed to do, to get that program put through. That is one we are really behind, with everything we have.

Q. Mr. President, are there any plans for Government seizure of the mines, in case of a strike?

THE PRESIDENT. No, there are not.

[20.] Q. [In broken English, unintelligible, about food and South America.]

THE PRESIDENT. I am sorry, I didn't understand the question. Would you please repeat it for me?

Q. [Repeated, and still unintelligible. ]

THE PRESIDENT. I am hoping that South America will join us in sending food to Europe, and I am sure they will.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's fifty-sixth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4:02 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, 1946.

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/232738

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