Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 11, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] The first thing I want to mention to you is a revision of the budget for the fiscal year 1946. We now anticipate net receipts for 1946--the fiscal year 1946 of 42,900 million, which is about 4,300 million above the January estimate. And it is now estimated that the budget will amount to about 64,700 million, which is about 2 billion, six below the January estimate.

I have this thing all mimeographed, with the details and everything, so you can work it out to suit yourselves.

That will mean an anticipated net deficit now of 21,722 million, against the former anticipated deficit of 28,620 million. It's a difference of 6,898 million-closer to 7 billion. Better off than we thought we were going to be.

It will be handed to you as you go out.

Q. Mr. President, has that been projected to the fiscal year 1947?

THE PRESIDENT. It has not. It's only for 1946.

Q. Are you making any statement for 1947?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not. I will make that statement at the proper time.

[2.] I have something for you here, Pete 1 [reading, not literally]: My dear Mr. President: Here's the 'shirt and the long of it.' I am sending you three white shirts, size 15½ by 35, to present to"--it says "Ray Brandt" instead of Pete--"re his query at your press conference. Hope that through his long arm of ability you as the head arm of the law will pacify a naturally inquisitive press. This is from an old haberdasher-one old haberdasher to another." 2 [Much laughter]

1Raymond P. Brandt of the St. Louis-Post Dispatch.

2The telegram (from Henry Modell of Henry Modell and Co., New York City) was in response to a query at an earlier news conference, concerning a shortage in men's clothing (see Item 72 [2]).

Q. Mr. Brandt: Thank you very much, Mr. President. [The President gave him the telegram.] I helped--I thank you for an assist on that.

THE PRESIDENT. All right, Pete. I was afraid I was going to get into trouble with all the rest of these people. It got results, anyway.

Q. [Woman reporter:] Would you like to discuss nylon stockings? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I might--I am afraid I had better not take on nylon stockings. Shirts have given me enough trouble. [More laughter] Any questions now?

[3.] Q. Mr. President, do you support Lewis Douglas for president of the World Bank?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

Q. And if so, what is your reaction to Mr. Morgenthau's letter of opposition?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, with Mr. Morgenthau no longer in the Treasury now, if Mr. Douglas is satisfactory to the Secretary of the Treasury, he is satisfactory to me.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, Harold Ickes-whom you may recall--[laughter]--says that he advised you twice last October to smash John L. Lewis. He didn't say just how. I was wondering if you intend to follow his advice?

THE PRESIDENT. You saw the comment on Mr. Ickes, did you not, in the Daily News, on that same subject? I would advise you to read the editorial.

Q. I would rather have your comment.

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on Mr. Ickes whatever.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, in your Chicago press conference, there was something mentioned about the poll tax. Can that be taken to mean that States alone have the power to repeal--

THE PRESIDENT. I anticipated that you would ask me that question, and I have got a statement prepared for you which will be the answer to you. I will read it for you.

[Reading, not literally] "I haven't changed my position on Federal anti-poll tax legislation. I am still in favor of Federal legislation. I voted for cloture on this issue in the Senate, and I would do so again if I were a Senator.

"However, I also favor State action. There is no contradiction between Federal and State action on this matter. While the Federal anti-poll tax legislation has been pending in the Congress, several States have abandoned the poll tax."

And you must have the support of the people for any law. The prohibition law proved that.

[Continuing reading, not literally] "This is a great step forward, and I hope more States will see fit to change their poll tax laws.

"It may well be that the possibility of Federal action has stimulated State action. This is often the case with State and local legislation. For example, while we were pressing for the Federal action on fair employment practice legislation, several States and a number of municipalities have adopted fair employment practice acts. Federal legislation and State legislation should supplement one another wherever possible. I am in favor of both Federal and State action on anti-poll tax legislation, FEPC and all similar legislation."

That ought to clear the matter up completely.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, at the eve of the--your first year as President of the United States, I was wondering if you would care to make a personal appraisal of the past year?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it is necessary. There have been enough appraisals made for the President. [Laughter] I would advise you just to read them, and take your choice. That is what I have been doing.

Q. How do you feel about your physical--

THE PRESIDENT. I feel just as well physically as I did at the beginning of it; in fact, a little bit better, if anything.

Q. Which appraisal did you choose?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't made a choice yet, because they don't seem to be through yet. [Laughter] I don't want to play any favorites.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, whom does Luther Johnson succeed on that Tax Court?

THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman from New York--has the long name which I can't remember.1 He's been on there from New York.

1John M. Sternhagen.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, now that General Marshall is expected to go back to China, can you tell us anything about his conference here, and what the results of them may be?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, General Marshall paid me a visit just a while ago, to make a final statement, and his conferences here have been very successful. He will leave for China at once.

Q. Can you tell us anything about what he wanted them--he spoke a great deal about economic and material assistance to China, to the press?

THE PRESIDENT. I think at the proper time all those matters will be released. It is a little bit early now to make a release because it might embarrass General .Marshall. Let's wait till he gets back to China and authorizes the release, and the whole thing will be turned loose for the benefit of everybody, just as the policy will be turned loose, at the proper time, for China.

[9.] Q. I want to check up a little bit more on your first year.

THE PRESIDENT. All right.

Q... do you think the first year is the toughest?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that is of course the motto: the first year is always the hardest. I hope the rest of them won't be any harder. Eddy,2 you wanted to ask a question?

2 Edward B. Lockett of Time magazine.

[10.] Q. Yes, sir. I wanted to ask you if your Secretary of Agriculture is correct in saying that he can lick you playing horseshoes?

THE PRESIDENT. He did it. [Laughter] That's the only thing I can say.

Q. By how much, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, about two to one.

Q. Two to one. Could you tell us anything about the game, who else was there-for a little color story?

THE PRESIDENT. No--just the Secretary of Agriculture and I.

Q. Just the two.

THE PRESIDENT. We discussed the food problem, and then we got out for a little relaxation.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, are you considering Mr. Pauley for the civil government in Germany?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not. Mr. Pauley has a job on the Reparations Commission, which is not yet finished. He is still on that.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on your conference with Secretary Byrnes and Ambassador Messersmith today?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment.

Q. Any comment on the Argentine situation at all ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I don't care to comment.

[13.] Q. What are the prospects for settling the coal strike?

THE PRESIDENT. That matter is entirely in the hands of the Secretary of Labor, and I would suggest that you talk with him about it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything new on the--on the food situation?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the food situation is improving to some extent. I have been informed that the rains in India have very materially helped the situation, and if we can get over the next 90 days--the anticipated grain crops in North Africa and in France are the best they have had in 10 years. Our outlook for the winter wheat crop, and the spring wheat crop, is also excellent; but the next 90 days is the crucial period, and we are going to have a great deal of trouble over that period. But we are doing everything we possibly can to meet the situation.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, have you approved the Simpson report on Army reorganization?

THE PRESIDENT. Which report?

Q. Simpson report on Army reorganization?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. It has not come up to me yet. I know about it, but it hasn't reached my desk as yet.

[16.] Q. Does the subcommittee report on unification, reported the other day, have your full support, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I have read that report, and the subcommittee was up here and discussed the bill with me. It has a lot of good points. It is not customary to approve legislation before it's passed. I will act on it when it comes to my desk.

Q. Do you think the Navy is justified in continuing its fight on it?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not. I do not think the Navy was justified in making a fight after I announced the policy.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the Polish charges against Spain before the United Nations?

THE PRESIDENT. It's political, I think.

Q. Can you explain that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q. It isn't a picayune statement.

THE PRESIDENT. No further comment to make on it.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, didn't you authorize Navy officers to speak against that?

THE PRESIDENT. I did not. I authorized Navy officers to express their honest opinions. They are still authorized to express an honest opinion, but when the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, sets out a policy, that policy should be supported by the Army--and War Department--and by the Navy Department. That doesn't mean that the individuals are muzzled on their honest opinion.

Q. Mr. President, they show no signs of stopping expressing their opinions on it or of fighting the bill. Do you intend to take any steps against any of the admirals, in case they keep on fighting?

THE PRESIDENT. I will attend to that a little later.

Q. Mr. President, what is the distinction you make there, sir, as a Department--distinction between the Department and individuals?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Distinction between the Department and the individuals. We are trying to get the facts as they are, and facts are not in propaganda and lobbying, which has been going on to a very vast extent.

Q. Would that mean, sir, that you would shake up the individual civilian end--service heads of the Navy Department, if this fight continues?

THE PRESIDENT. Not necessarily. I think it will work itself out. Just wait a little.

Q. I'll bet you two to one. [Laughter] THE PRESIDENT. I will take you on that. I will take you on that.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, is that situation entering into your selection of the Under Secretary of the Navy?

THE PRESIDENT. It is not. I am trying to find the man best qualified for the Under Secretary of the Navy.

Q. The Navy suspects that you may choose an Army man, Mr. President. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Wait and see.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, are you satisfied with the housing bill as it went to the Senate yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's fifty-ninth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 1946. The White House Official Reporter noted that Mrs. Truman and members of her bridge club from Independence were present at the 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/232762

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