Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 12, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Miss Perkins will be a member of the Civil Service Commission. She takes the place of the retiring member of the Commission, Mrs. McMillin.

And, West Executive Avenue will be opened, as soon as it is convenient.

[2.] I notice here in the Star this afternoon a piece by Robert Lewis in which he says the White House denied approval of a $60,000 carpenter shop. Now there are some improvements to the White House workshop, and that work should be made, but I had that postponed myself a month ago, because I thought the material might be needed for veterans' housing. A misapprehension in the piece.

[3.] I have got a proclamation on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. That proclamation is available for you as you go out, along with a statement issued by me on the same subject. Now I am ready for questions.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, the Nation seems to be in a really hopeless spiral of paralyzing strikes--there seems to be a trend to increase wages and living costs. Does the President propose to take action to end that spiral ?

THE PRESIDENT. The President has already taken action to end that spiral some time ago. I think the order was dated last February.

Q. Do you think it may be necessary, Mr. President, to--if that order is not being obeyed, to ask for new legislation?

THE PRESIDENT. Are you sure that the order is not being obeyed? I am not sure that it isn't being obeyed.

Q. I'm not, either, sir, but I think a great many people in the country wonder whether it's being obeyed ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you work it out.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, in a speech for delivery tonight, Secretary of State--I mean Commerce--Wallace--[laughter]--has this to say about the middle of it, "When President"--

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, you say the speech is to be delivered ?

Q. It is, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I--I can't answer questions on a speech that is to be delivered.

Q. It mentions you, which is the reason I ask, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that's fine. I'm glad it does. What was the question ? Go ahead. Maybe I can answer it. [Laughter]

Q. In the middle of the speech are these words, "When President Truman read these words, he said that they represented the policy of this administration."

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. My question is, does that apply just to that paragraph, or to the whole speech?

THE PRESIDENT. I approved the whole speech . 1

1 On September 14 at 2 p.m. the President called the newsmen into his office at the White House and read to them the following statement:

"There has been a natural misunderstanding regarding the answer I made to a question asked at the Press Conference on Thursday, September twelfth, with reference to the speech of the Secretary of Commerce delivered in New York later that day. The question was answered extemporaneously and my answer did not convey the thought that I intended it to convey.

"It was my intention to express the thought that I approved the right of the Secretary of Commerce to deliver the speech. I did not intend to indicate that I approved the speech as constituting a statement of the foreign policy of this country.

"There has been no change in the established foreign policy of our Government. There will be no significant change in that policy without discussion and conference among the President, the Secretary of State, and Congressional leaders."

Q. The whole speech. Thank you, sir.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, from your long talk with Mr. Fitzpatrick this morning, I wonder if you have any conclusions you drew on the New York political situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have--I was getting advice from Mr. Fitzpatrick on the New York situation. I wasn't giving him advice.

Q. I see. Have you any comment on what that advice was ?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment on what he said. You talk to Mr. Fitzpatrick. He can answer for himself.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, when is there--is there going to be a break today from the White House on the maritime strike ?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Steelman will have a statement to issue on that within the next hour, which will be available for all of you. That will cover the situation.

Q. Mr. President, in case the strike doesn't break, are any plans being made to get food and vital necessities to offshore areas ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that the truck situation has practically settled that situation, according to the latest headlines that I saw in the afternoon paper.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, did you detect the trend in the Maine election, sir? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I am no expert, but if the percentages are to be considered, the trend is toward the Democrats.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, going back to Mr. Fitzpatrick, did he request you to make any speeches during the campaign in New York ?

THE PRESIDENT. Every State in the Union has asked me to make a speech in their State.

Q. How many States--

THE PRESIDENT. None of them. I don't think I will make any speeches in any particular State.

[10.] Q. Will Miss Perkins be Chairman of the Civil Service Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. She will not. She will be a member of it. The Chairman is still in charge of the Civil Service Commission.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, will this statement by Mr. Steelman--will it be the basis for a settlement?


Q. Mr. President, will it announce a settlement ?

THE PRESIDENT. It will not.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, I didn't catch your answer about speeches ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no plans for any speeches. The plans are still in the embryo stage. I haven't agreed to make a speech anywhere.

Q. That doesn't preclude the possibility, sir, that you might make a tour?

THE PRESIDENT. It does preclude that possibility.

Q. It does ?

THE PRESIDENT. There will be no tour.

Q. Whatever speeches--will be made from Washington ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is probable.

Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. Still isn't decided. What was the question back there?

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you regard Wallace's speech a departure from Byrnes' policy


Q.--toward Russia?

THE PRESIDENT. They are exactly in line.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, last year you promised Roy Harper and others that you would come back to Caruthersville this year.

THE PRESIDENT. I still have that under consideration, but I haven't made any decision on it as yet.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Fitzpatrick said that the Democratic ticket has mildly electrified the people. Is that--in New York--is that your impression of it too?

THE PRESIDENT. He didn't say mildly to me. He left that qualifying word out. He said it had electrified the people.

Q. Well, let's leave it out then.

THE PRESIDENT. That's what he said to me.

Q. Electrified the people.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. Do you think that is correct?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have to take his word for it. He is the Chairman for New York, therefore that is where I get my advice.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, Field Marshal Montgomery seems to be pointing it up that the Combined Chiefs of Staff is still in existence. Have you given--

THE PRESIDENT. Why does he point that up? Did General Eisenhower's visit to Brazil point it up? Field Marshal Montgomery just made a trip here, to pay a friendly visit to this country, as Eisenhower and our admirals have been doing in South America and other countries. There was nothing, so far as I know, significant about it except a friendly gesture between two allies.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, on that thing, West Executive Avenue opening up, sir, did you say "as soon as convenient"? Would you pinpoint that for us?

THE PRESIDENT. It won't be very long. As soon as the details can be worked out with the Commissioners and with the State Department, it will open.

[18.] Q. May I finish that question on the Combined Chiefs, Mr. President?


Q. Then are we to assume that the Combined Chiefs will continue in status quo, perhaps at least until the official end of the war?


[19.] Q. Mr. President, will Mr. Steelman's statement be a modification of the stabilization policy?

THE PRESIDENT. It will not.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, is Max Gardner being considered for the Atomic Control Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. No, he isn't. I was asked that question once before. I have Max

Gardner where I want him to stay.

Q. Mr. President--

Q. Mr. President, do you intend to make an early recess--

THE PRESIDENT, One at a time, please! [Laughter]

[21.] Q. I'm sorry. Do you have any comment, Mr. President, on the dispute in Panama over American bases there?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. That is a matter that has to be worked out by the State Department.

Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman back there, let him ask his first. [Laughter]

[22.] Q. I have a Puerto Rican question here, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. All right. Fire away. [More laughter]

Q. Do you intend to make an early recess appointment of a Commissioner of Education for Puerto Rico?


[23.] Q. Mr. President, getting back to the maritime situation again, is what Mr. Steelman going to announce--is it a Government suggested plan for settlement of the thing?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, Merriman,1 let Mr. Steelman's statement speak for itself, and then there can't be any possible chance of a tangle. That statement will specifically state what it means.

1Merriman Smith of the United Press Associations.

Q. May we see Mr. Steelman afterwards ?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Steelman will not talk to you until the statement is issued.

Q. Afterwards?

THE PRESIDENT. You can talk to him then any time you want. He is busy at the moment. [Laughter]

Q. Yes! [Mr. Steelman was sitting on the couch] [More laughter]

Q. Do you know what the statement is ?

THE PRESIDENT. Let John speak for himself.

Q. Is he sitting on the statement now? [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. That is possible. That is possible.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's eightieth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 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/232072

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