Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

November 11, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Gentlemen, I have a statement for you, which I will read to you. Then it will be handed to you in mimeographed form as soon as the conference is over.

"The American people have elected a Republican majority to the Senate and to the House of Representatives. Under our Constitution the Congress is the law-making body. The people have chosen to entrust the controlling voice in this branch of our Government to the Republican party. I accept their verdict in the spirit which all good citizens accept the result of any fair election.

"At the same time, and under the same Constitution, the duties and responsibilities of the Chief Executive and the executive branch of the Government are entrusted to me and my associates.

"Our Government is founded upon the constitutional principle that the three branches of the Government are independent of each other. Under this principle our country has prospered and grown great. I should be less than candid, however, if I omitted to state that the present situation threatens serious difficulties.

"Only by the exercise of wisdom and restraint and the constant determination to place the interests of our country above all other interests, can we meet and solve the problems ahead of us.

"The stake is large. Our great internal strength and our eminent position in the world are not, as some may too easily assume, indestructible.

"I shall devote all my energy to the discharge of my duty with a full realization of the responsibility which results from the present state of affairs. I do not claim for myself and my associates greater devotion to the welfare of our Nation than I ascribe to others of another party. We take the same oath of office. We have at one time or another been equally willing to offer our lives in the defense of our country. I shall proceed, therefore, in the belief that the members of the Congress will discharge their duties with a full realization of their responsibility.

"Inevitably, issues will arise between the President and the Congress. When this occurs, we must examine our respective positions with stern and critical analysis to exclude any attempt to tamper with the public interest in order to achieve personal or partisan advantage.

"The change in the majority in the Congress does not alter our domestic or foreign interests or problems. In foreign affairs we have a well-charted course to follow. Our foreign policy has been developed and executed on a bi-partisan basis. I have done my best to strengthen and extend this practice. Members of both parties in and out of the Congress have participated in the inner council in preparing, and in actually carrying out, the foreign policies of our Government. It has been a national and not a party program. It will continue to be a national program in so far as the Secretary of State and I are concerned. I firmly believe that our Republican colleagues who have worked intelligently and cooperatively with us in the past will continue to do so in the future.

"My concern is not about those in either party who know the seriousness of the problems which confront us in our foreign affairs. Those who share great problems are united and not divided by them. My concern is lest any in either party should seek in this field an opportunity to achieve personal notoriety or partisan advantage by exploitation of the sensational or by the mere creation of controversy.

"We are set upon a hard course. An effort by either the executive or the legislative branch of the Government to embarrass the other for partisan gain would bring frustration to our country. To follow the course with honor to ourselves and with benefit to our country, we must look beyond and above ourselves and our party interests for the true bearing.

"As President of the United States, I am guided by a simple formula: to do in all cases, from day to day, without regard to narrow political considerations, what seems to me to be best for the welfare of all our people. Our search for that welfare must always be based upon a progressive concept of government.

"I shall cooperate in every proper manner with members of the Congress, and my hope and prayer is that this spirit of cooperation will be reciprocated.

"To them, one and all, I pledge faith with faith, and a promise to meet good will with good will."

Any questions ?

[2.] Q. Will there continue to be regular conferences with the majority leadership, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. That matter will be attended to when the Congress meets.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, shall we take this as your answer to Senator Fulbright?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.1

1As reported in the New York Times for November 7 Senator Fulbright had suggested that the President should appoint a Republican Secretary of State and then resign. On November 8 the Times reported that the Senator proposed to offer a constitutional amendment to enable the Congress to call a national election at any time in order to eliminate a lameduck President.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, is there any particular significance to the rare presence of Secretary Forrestal here today?

THE PRESIDENT. Ask him, there he sits! [Laughter]

Q. Is there, Mr. Secretary?

Secretary Forrestal: I lay an interdiction on Mr. Andrews for any kind of questions. [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. He just happened to be in the building and came in.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Basil Manly has proposed a year's industrial armistice between management and labor, to promote Production and--as he says--to save the country from chaos. Have you read that plan, and have you any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't read the plan, but since August 14, 1945, I have been urging that very thing right here at this desk. A little late to get on the bandwagon.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, there have been various rumors published and otherwise, that there would be further changes in the Cabinet this year. Have you anything to say about that? Do you know of any?

THE PRESIDENT. None that I know of. Everybody seems to know more about it than I do. So far as I know there are no changes.

[7.] Q. Along this line, there are--

Q. Mr. President, may I ask--

Q.--rumors current that General Eisenhower is about to resign because he can't seem to get together with the administration on how much money he should be permitted to spend. Have you any comment?

THE PRESIDENT, No comment. I don't think that rumor has a bit of foundation in fact.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, I was going to ask you about housing. Most people are not completely clear about the situation on housing, following your statement the other night, and Wyatt's statement. You said then he was going to make a report to you.

THE PRESIDENT. That is true. He will make a report to me tomorrow.

Q. Is there anything you can say now about the controls on housing which have to do with prices on houses, and rents?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I thought that was made perfectly clear in the statement.

Q. It was, but I find there is some confusion about it.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, there shouldn't be. My statement still stands.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, in connection with the change of control in the Senate, Mr. Leslie Biffle, his job goes to a Republican. Could we expect him in the vacancy of the Administrative Assistants that you have, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, you had better talk to Mr. Biffle about that. I have no comment to make on that.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, is there a possibility of a special session of Congress ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at the present time. I know of no reason why I should call the Congress into session.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, is Paul Porter going back to the FCC ?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, is Chester Bowles being considered for Ambassador to the Court of St. James ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of. [Laughter]

[13.] Q. Mr. President, a certain radio commentator last night said Mr. Ross would immediately resign.

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Ross is not going to resign. There have been all sorts of rumors about one or the other resigning. They all seem to know more about it than I do.

Q. Is anybody going to resign, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. That's settled.

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of. [Laughter]

[14.] Q. Here's one that hasn't been asked for several weeks. Is there anything in the air on a Big Three or Big Four conference?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, the Big Four conference is going on in New York right now.

Q. With the foreign ministers? I mean with the heads of states ?

THE PRESIDENT. The Big Four conference is going on in New York now--

Q. But not--

THE PRESIDENT. -- and it has my full backing.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, you spoke there in your statement of people still exploiting sensationalism and starting controversies. Are you--you mean by that that you feel that that may run into investigations just for the sake of investigating, on the Hill?

THE PRESIDENT. The statement speaks for itself.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's eighty-ninth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10 a.m. on Monday, November 11, 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/232244

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