Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 03, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I am sending down the name of William J. Kennedy of Cleveland, Ohio, to be the Chairman of the Railroad Retirement Board--the one that Murray Latimer left.

[2.] I want to call your attention this morning to Mr. Snyder's sixth report on reconversion. I have read the report twice, and it is a most interesting report. Shows that production of goods and services for the civilian market is higher today than ever before in the Nation's history, in war or in peace, and is still going up.

And it goes into detail on the--the equipment after V-J Day; and the wage-price policy is being translated into action without losing vital ground to inflation. We must not be complacent about these good signs of progress, however.

I have got a mimeographed release here,1 which I would like for all of you to read carefully; and then it wouldn't hurt any of you to spend your time reading that report. That is the best answer to the rumors and things that have been made about the wage price policy and the reconversion policy which has been pursued by the administration since V-J Day. I think it's the best answer that you can possibly have on the subject. It covers the whole front--take you a little while to read through. I read it in half an hour, and I read it again in another half an hour. It's worth reading. Anybody have any questions?

See Item 73.

Q. I would like to ask, Mr. President-I read that, not as carefully as you did--I was impressed with that general statement of the large number of goods, but it is perfectly true that the goods are not well distributed at present. We have no shirts, and things of that sort. Would you, Mr. Snyder, or the President, have anything to say about that particular--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, there are certain individual things--shirts, for instance, that you mention, that distribution has not been as--the distribution has not been as good as it should have been--and a great many other things, but you must understand that all shelves--all inventories were down.

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. And I had one startling thing told to me just this morning: that it takes 32,000 automobiles for each dealer to put one in his window that doesn't, that is not for sale. It takes 32,000 automobiles to put one in each dealer's window for show purposes.

Mr. Snyder: Mr. President, on those textile things, the CPA and the OPA will issue some regulations within the next week that are going to further supply the low end of textile articles. CPA is directing certain yardage into the low end products, and OPA is making--has made, in the last 10 days, some additional adjustments in pricing, which will certainly build that up--

Q. That has to do with shirts, doesn't it? Mr. Snyder: Well, textiles--

Q. And others?

THE PRESIDENT. Textiles and other things.

Mr. Snyder: Men's and boys' clothing.

Q. How long will it be before they are evenly distributed? When can we get a shirt? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Your guess is as good as mine. I have got some surplus shirts, if you don't wear them too big.

Q. 15 1/2; 35! [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I have some 15 1/2, but it's 33. [More laughter]

Q. [Aside] No shirt!

Q. Mr. Snyder know whether or not the new regulations will now permit a man to buy a suit with two pairs of pants?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. I suppose it's--as soon as they get enough woolens and things of that sort, you will be able to buy two pairs of pants, as you formerly could before the war.

Mr. Snyder: Up to now two pants are not in.

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Snyder says up to now the two pants are not in yet.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, the Committee for Economic Development, which is a pretty well-recognized outfit--nongovernmental--research outfit--in its last report contended that production alone could never cure inflationary trends, and that what was needed was more fiscal control, and particularly restrictions on bank credits. I think the report doesn't mention the need for that, and I wondered if it had been considered?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it has been considered. And it is being considered. All those things have a hand in the control of inflation. We are doing everything we possibly can to prevent inflation. That is our biggest problem at the present time.

Q. Mr. President, do I understand you correctly that we will--the Government is considering new fiscal restrictions, such as restrictions on bank credits?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't say that the Government was considering, I said we had been doing that. And the Secretary of the Treasury has been working on a fiscal policy of the country right straight along. There is no immediate change contemplated right now.

[4.] Q. Could you or Mr. Snyder tell us what a prolonged coal strike would do to this report's predictions?

THE PRESIDENT. A prolonged coal strike? I can answer that categorically. It would knock the whole thing out. The steel strike cost us about seven million tons of steel production that go to make rails and rods, and things of that sort. That is about one-ninth of the yearly production.

Q. How many tons was that--

THE PRESIDENT. Seven million.

Q.--seven hundred million?

Q. You said about one-ninth of a year's production?

THE PRESIDENT. That is rails and rods, and things of that sort. That is not pig iron. That would be eleven million tons with pig iron.

[5.] Q. Can you say anything about a balanced budget, on the strength of this.--

THE PRESIDENT. Not at this time. I will talk to you about that a little later.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, can you say anything about the coal strike in general, the possibility of the mediator--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the Labor Department has a mediator with the operators and with Mr. Lewis, and they are working diligently trying to arrive at a settlement.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, the report says that the deficit for this fiscal year would be reduced by several billions. Have you any figure in mind as to what the deficit will be June 30th?

THE PRESIDENT. I will give you a statement on that at the next press conference, and go into detail with you. It is not quite ready yet, and I don't want to put out any guesses.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, will this Russell amendment have very much effect on this report?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not familiar with the Russell--you mean--

Q. Case amendment.

THE PRESIDENT. The Case-Russell--that will upset the applecart if it goes through. I have said that to the Congress.

[9.] Q. May I ask a question about this fiscal business? There's a drive on by which such banks as the Morris Plan--these banks that lend you a thousand dollars for more consumer credit, is that a part of the fiscal control that you are speaking of? Is that a detail that--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. I am not familiar with it at all. I am not familiar with that at all. I would like to answer it if I could, but I can't.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us who your new Ambassador to Argentina will be?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't. I will tell you at a later date, but not now.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, I would like to have any comments you have on the Republicans' new chairman? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I think--I think that there has been a great deal of comment on that. I read an article in the Baltimore Sun this morning that seemed to me to be a very good article on the subject. It's on the editorial page of the Baltimore Sun.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, whatever Ambassador you appoint to Argentina, will it justify these suggestions that are being made now, that it will represent a softening of United States policy towards Argentina?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that now.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, has your new horseshoe court been staked out as yet? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it has.

Q. Played on it?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. I haven't had a chance as yet.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, Under Secretary of the Navy selected soon?


[15.] Q. Mr. President, there has been another local jailbreak--[laughter]--and one of the local papers would like to ask you whether there is any possibility of the Federal Bureau of Prisons investigating this latest, and the others in the series of breaks from the local district jail?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't thought about it. That is a matter for the government of the District of Columbia.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, to get back to the shirts, the principal cry of the retailers is on the OPA adjustment of the maximum price policy, which they said is causing them to withhold $3 shirts, because they couldn't get $2 shirts to match up. Have you any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I haven't any comment to make on it because I haven't gone into the details. I used to know something about shirts, but I don't any more [Laughter]

[17.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any new word this morning from the U.N.O. Security Council meetings--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

Q. --whether they have heard anything from Russia or Iran?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, on the tidal wave in Hawaii, I wonder if you have been in touch with any relief agencies--

THE PRESIDENT. The Army is acting to meet the situation, and I think have met it very creditably. We will take care of our own, just as we are trying to take care of the other people in the world.

[19.] Q. We have dealt with shirts and pants. I would like to know why we had plenty of rayon stockings in the war, but none now?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. I imagine that the demand is so great that it can't be filled. I didn't know we had plenty during the war. My family didn't.

Q. Rayons? Oh, plenty of rayons.

THE PRESIDENT. Of course the nylon demand is so much different--that's different. Mr. Snyder: That is still a major issue.

THE PRESIDENT. That's different. I am not familiar with it. Sorry I can't answer that.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, did you and Mr. Loughlin talk about Senator Mead's candidacy yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Discussed everything that had to do with New York politics, and I listened with a lot of interest. [Laughter]

[22.] Q. Mr. President, did you and Governor Arnall discuss the Bulwinkle bill the other day?


Q. I wonder if you would tell us what you plan to do, in case that is passed?

THE PRESIDENT. I will take care of that when the bill comes up to me. I just listened to Governor Arnall discuss his views on the subject.

Reporter: Well, thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's fifty-seventh news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3, 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/232742

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