Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 17, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I have got a couple of ambassadorial appointments to announce: George V. Allen of Maryland--to Iran; and Edward F. Stanton of California--to Siam.

[2.] And then there will be available for you, when you go out, a report by Howard Bruce on surplus property. It is a most interesting report, and gives an outline of the surplus property situation as it is today, with certain recommendations which are being carried out.

And that's about all I have to offer.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, how do you spell Mr. Stanton's last name?

THE PRESIDENT. S-t-a-n-t-o-n--Edwin--

Mr. Ross. Edwin, isn't it, Mr. President? E-d-w-i-n.

THE PRESIDENT. E-d-w-i-n F--Stanton.

Q. F for Frank?

Q. Is he a career man?

THE PRESIDENT. F is his middle initial. He is a career man, yes.

Q. How about Allen? Career both career men?

THE PRESIDENT, Yes.

Q. On that ambassadorial subject, Mr. President, I understand quite a number of prominent persons have spoken to you and written you about Mr. Earl Brennan, with a background of 8 years in Italy for the State Department, and former head of an OSS section. Are you considering him for the Rome post?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Nobody is under consideration for that.

Q. Mr. President, has the present Iranian Ambassador resigned--our Ambassador?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Resigned on account of his health. Very good man, but he has come home on account of his health--Mr. Murray.

Q. Mr. President, there have also been reports that you have already decided on James C. Dunn for the Rome post. Are they correct ?

THE PRESIDENT. That's the first I've heard of that. No, I haven't been considering anybody for the Rome post. Feel satisfied with the man that's there, so far as I know.

Q. Is that the George Alien who was in the Near East section of the State Department?

THE PRESIDENT. It's not the George Allen who is a Director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation! [Much laughter] Yes, that's the one, in the State Department.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, your meeting this afternoon with the Secretary of the Navy and Admiral Nimitz--can you tell us about that conference, what you expect to take up?

THE PRESIDENT. This conference was requested by the Secretary of the Navy and Admiral Nimitz to discuss unification.

Q. Does that group include any of those, Mr. President, that have been lobbying?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of. I don't think Admiral Nimitz or the Secretary have been lobbying.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, has Mr. Hannegan contacted you lately, in regard to this caucus tonight?

THE PRESIDENT. No, he has not. I saw, though, where the Republicans had been invited to that--[laughter]--which is a good thing. Somebody down there must have made the same sort of error that they did at the Democratic Committee.

[6.] Q. Any comment to make, Mr. President, on the statement Sunday on the radio that you would veto the Bulwinkle bill if passed by Congress?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. I never make any comment on a bill before it reaches me because I don't know in what form it will come. The Bulwinkle bill is not yet through the Senate.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, what is your reaction to the proposal that Americans voluntarily, one day a week, go on a diet similar in caloric content to these European countries-

THE PRESIDENT. I think it would be a wonderful thing for them to do that--for 2 days a week.

Q. 2 days?

THE PRESIDENT. They would know, then, exactly what it means to go hungry. Most of us are eating too much. We throw too much away. There is enough wasted every day in this country to feed all the starving peoples for the time that we have to take care of them.

Q. Is that every week, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Every week--until the famine is over.

[8.] Q. In connection with Mr. Hannegan, Mr. President, have you been considering a new Democratic chairman--national--

THE PRESIDENT. I am not. The committee decides who the chairman will be, anyway. I am not considering a new one. I like Mr. Hannegan.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report in the State Department carrying--handling the disposal of patents, particularly Alien Custodian patents, which have been vested in foreign governments. Has that come over to you?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I don't think it finally has come over to me. I have been discussing it, however, with all the people that are interested, but I don't think the final order has yet reached my desk.

Q. Can you make any comment on your discussion?

THE PRESIDENT. No,

[10.] Q. Mr. President, did you read about Mr. Lehman's speech, saying he didn't think the administration has done everything it could do in this food crisis?

THE PRESIDENT. I think Mr. Lehman is very much mistaken. Of course, Mr. Lehman's heart is in this thing, and I am glad it is, because we have got to make every effort possible to feed these people. But if Mr. Lehman made the statement that the administration is not doing everything it can to meet the situation, he is mistaken in that. Mr. Anderson, I think, covered the situation thoroughly.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any nomination in sight, for filling the vacancy on the Maritime Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Not right at the present time.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, did you see Senator Robertson's charges, that the Army is also very vigorously engaged in lobbying on the unification proposal?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I didn't see that. I didn't know that they were. I don't believe in lobbying by the departments. I believe that these men should go down and express their views to the committee, and let the committee make up its mind on the facts. That was my policy when I was running a committee in the Senate.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you intend to fill that vacancy on the Federal Communications Commission--

THE PRESIDENT, Federal Communications Commission? I am considering several people for that. I will fill it eventually.

Q. Do you think you will do it soon ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not very soon.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, what was it that the Navy did that constituted lobbying? Did they really go down and ring doorbells, and so forth?

THE PRESIDENT. What does a lobbyist usually do? Whatever a lobbyist usually does, that is what they were doing. They were giving out interviews all over the world. I saw one go out from Hawaii by an admiral in charge over there, and I don't think he knew what he was talking about. And that is really what stirred me up.

Q. What admiral was that, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Melboe, wasn't it? [Turning to his Naval Aide, Captain Clifford] Was that it--Mel--? Whoever the admiral in charge of the Hawaiian station was.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, why should the Lichfield trials be moved to Germany? Why do you not bring them back here?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know.

Q. -- the Lichfield brutality trials?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not running that. That is at the War Department's own discretion. I am not running that. I didn't know anything about it going to Germany. You have given me news.

Q. I understand they are going to be moved to Germany.

THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't heard it. I don't know about it. The best way--best thing is to ask the Secretary of War, I can't tell you.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, can you say how quickly Ambassador Allen will go to Iran, and whether he is taking any special instructions--

THE PRESIDENT. He will go immediately, and the Secretary of State will give him the usual instructions.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, the Secretary of Agriculture recently discussed with American bakers the proposal for--order for cutting down the use of flour. Does that order meet with your approval--the 25-percent reduction--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that was given my approval. It wouldn't go into effect if it didn't.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, a half-dozen Senators who are on the--kind of an "anxious seat," came out yesterday and told us that you had congratulated them highly on their achievements in the Senate. Could you tell us if that is so, and if so, why? [Much laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question, I'm sorry, and I prefer not to comment on that--what the Senators made.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, I understand you receive a calf in the morning at 10 o'clock. Could you tell us where you intend to pasture it?

THE PRESIDENT. I will turn it over for food for the starving people. I'll probably send it to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Q. What was that you are going to receive, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. A calf. Somebody said he was going to give me a calf.

Q. Is the Secretary of Agriculture starving? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary of Agriculture is the head of the food committee. He will take care of it. I don't think he's starving, nor anybody else in this country.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, going back to the Senators' visit yesterday, Mr. Ross announced afterwards that he understood all of these were candidates. Was Mead a candidate for Governor or Senator? Can you clear us up on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't discuss it with him.

Q. Did he discuss it with you?

THE PRESIDENT. The best way is to talk to Senator Mead.

Q. You have talked with him, Mr. President. Did he discuss it with you?

THE PRESIDENT. No, he did not.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, have you seen Jesse Jones' blast against the British loan?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I saw it. [Laughter] No comment to make on it.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, if you were still a Senator, would you be in Senator Bankhead's group in regard to removing certain commodities from OPA?

THE PRESIDENT. I would not.

[23-] Q. In that connection, Mr. President, did you referee the dispute between the Secretary of Agriculture and Mr. Chester Bowles over milk subsidies?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't discussed it with either one of them, but I will referee it if it becomes necessary.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on the House-passed draft bill?

THE PRESIDENT. On what?

Q. The draft--extending the draft--just passed in the House?

THE PRESIDENT. I prefer not to comment on it. I hope the Senate will pass a draft bill that will work. [Much laughter]

Q. Mr. President, you don't think the House version would work, Mr. President? [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will leave that to your own conclusions. If you read it, as I have, you will not.

[25.] Q. Mr. President, the railroads have asked the Interstate Commerce Commission for a 25-percent increase in freight rates--

THE PRESIDENT. I saw that in the paper.

Q. Have you any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on it. That is a matter for the Interstate Commerce Commission to handle.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

[26.] THE PRESIDENT. I was going to call your attention to the fact that discharges in the Army have almost reached seven million-as you can see. [Holding up a graph] The most remarkable demobilization in the history of the world, or "disintegration," if you want to call it that. [Laughter]

[27.] Q. Mr. President, are you planning a fishing trip to the Pacific coast this summer?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No fishing trip to the Pacific coast. I have been thinking very seriously about going to the Philippines. I hope I can go.

Q. Do you think that that will take you on to Japan?

THE PRESIDENT. That is something that will have to be decided as circumstances develop. I would like very much to go to Japan--China, too. But that depends on how business back here is.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's sixtieth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:35 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 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/232794

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