Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

December 12, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. I have some announcements to make first.

[1.] [Reading] "In accordance with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, I am today appointing a General Advisory Committee to advise the Atomic Energy Commission on 'scientific and technical matters relating to materials, production, and research and development.' "The appointees are--"

You will be handed a sheet which will give you the backgrounds on all these people.

--Dr. Conant; DuBridge; Fermi; Oppenheimer; Rabi; Rowe; Seaborg; Smith; and Hood Worthington.

"I am advised by the Atomic Energy Commission that it will establish other committees to advise it on the problems and the applications of atomic energy in specific fields, including, among others, biology and medicine, geology and mining, and the social sciences."

[2.] And I have got another statement here for you. All these things will be handed to you as you go out, in mimeographed form.

[Reading]: "I have today appointed John R. Steelman as Assistant to the President, to continue to aid me in coordinating Federal agency programs and policies.

"Mr. Steelman, assisted by a small staff, will also continue to serve as liaison between the executive agencies and the President's Commission on Higher Education, as well as chairman of the President's Scientific Research Board which was established recently by Executive order to report to the President on current scientific research programs of the Federal Government and steps needed to coordinate and strengthen these programs. [3.] "I have signed an Executive order,1 effective today, creating a new agency which will be known as the Office of Temporary Controls. The order consolidates the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, and the Office of Price Administration, the Civilian Production Administration, and the Office of Economic Stabilization into the new agency. I have appointed General Philip B. Fleming to head the new agency. In addition, he will continue as Federal Works Administrator.

1Executive Order 9809 "Providing for the Disposition of Certain War Agencies" (3 CFR, 1943 - 1948 Comp., p. 151).

"The Office of Temporary Controls will be responsible for carrying out the continuing responsibilities of the OPA and the CPA, and certain activities of the OWMR. The priorities powers under which CPA operates will expire March 31 except for building materials, unless extended by Congress. The principal OPA programs which continue by law are sugar rationing and rent control. The functionings of the Office of Economic Stabilization already have been largely terminated as the result of decontrol of prices and wages and the elimination of most items from rationing.

"The consolidation will result in economies in operation, and in a more rapid liquidation of personnel, property, records, etc., which are no longer needed for current programs.

"Although the reconversion program has not been completed, the actions taken by this order in reducing the number of agencies involved in reconversion matters and the recent removal of price and wage controls materially lessen the need for continuing a separate OWMR. The statute under which OWMR operates expires June 30, 1947. Until that date most residual functions will be carried on by the Office of Temporary Controls established by the order. The OWMR Advisory Board will be continued for some time. Its members have expressed to me the desire to wind up their work and be relieved of their duties at the earliest practicable date.

[4.] "The order also terminates the Wage Stabilization Board as of February 24, 1947; and the Economic Stabilization Board--"

Q. What was the date on the Wage Stabilization again, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. The order terminates as of today. This order is effective as of today. This affects these agencies today.

[Continuing reading] "and the Economic Stabilization Board is also terminated. It reestablishes the Office of Government Reports and transfers to it the functions of the Government Information Service of the Bureau of the Budget, and the functions of the Advertising and Motion Picture Divisions of the OWMR.

"The order transfers the functions of the Office of Contract Settlement to the Treasury Department and disposes of certain other wartime functions, including certain functions of the Wage Stabilization Board which are transferred to the Department of Labor."

[5.] I have appointed Mr. Frank Creedon of Massachusetts to be the Housing Expediter. Mr. Creedon was in charge of the construction of the Manhattan Project, and has had wide experience in this field.

[6.] I have appointed Raymond M. Foley of Michigan as Administrator of the National Housing Agency. Mr. Foley is now Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, and he will remain in that position also. Biographical information will be available on all these people as you go out.

I have called a meeting to discuss housing, in the Office of the President, at 3 o'clock this afternoon.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, may I ask one question? You said that--

THE PRESIDENT. I hope we could--

Q.--on rents and sugar.

THE PRESIDENT. Sugar?

Q. Does that mean rice has been taken off controls?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. Rice should be included in that.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, does this mean that Mr. Steelman ceases to be Reconversion Director ?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Steelman will be Assistant to the President, to carry on the duties practically as he has been carrying them on; and whatever is necessary to be done on reconversion, he will continue to do.

Q. What happens to OWMR?

THE PRESIDENT. OWMR is abolished.

Q. Absorbed--

THE PRESIDENT. Absorbed in all these other agencies which I have named.

Q. He continues as Reconversion Director when needed?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right. Carries on the duties he has been carrying on as Assistant to the President.

[9.] Q. Is there any estimate of how much money will be saved and how many people will be affected by these

THE PRESIDENT. No. But I can furnish you that as soon as the details have been worked out. The order was just promulgated today, and as soon as we have that information, why it will be available.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, is there an increase in rent ceilings in the immediate prospect?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of. Never brought to me. It may be under consideration by OPA. I don't know.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you care to give us any views on the--your views on the housing program, which is fairly well confused in the public mind ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I will give you a complete outline. My views are--should be well known--will be, after I have this conference this afternoon. I will furnish you with them.

Q. There will be something coming out?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

Q. What people mentioned in this order today--the new appointees--will be in on the housing meeting this afternoon?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, here's--those who will be here--it's on the record: General Fleming, George Allen, and John D. Goodloe, Frank Kelsey of the Home Loan Guarantee Division, Veterans Administration, General Littlejohn, and Raymond Foley, and Frank R. Creedon, and Mr. Steelman and myself.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, did you see the Nathan report to the CIO which suggests we ought to lift wages about 21 percent without a reduction in prices ?

THE PRESIDENT. All I know about it is what I have seen in the paper. I haven't read the report. I have no comment on it.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, how long is it contemplated that the Office of Temporary Controls will need to complete the liquidating job?

THE PRESIDENT. As fast as it possibly can be done. I have been carrying out that program as rapidly as I possibly can ever since the 16th day of August 1945. I can't give you an estimate.

Q. No terminal date--

THE PRESIDENT. Terminal date is set by the Congress.

Q. The Second War Powers Act, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I think so.

Q. Is that the terminal date you refer to, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. The terminal date on most of these agencies, as soon as the work is done, will be terminated just as we have been terminating them right along; but whenever it is decided that the war is over, all things terminate 6 months after that date.

Q. But there are various termination dates for different functions, aren't there?

THE PRESIDENT. That's true--that's true. That's the reason it is so difficult to get the thing lined up in order, because you use different words in different bills to describe the same thing.

[14.] Q. How are you getting on with the study on the formal termination of the war ?

THE PRESIDENT. It is progressing, and had it not been for these strikes which we have had, I think we would have been able to issue that order now; but under the conditions we can't do it immediately.

Q. Speaking of strikes, Mr. President, a number of Senators have suggested that it might be desirable to create labor courts and refer these disputes to labor courts in advance of the strike. Do you favor that?

THE PRESIDENT. They haven't discussed it with me. I will tell you what I think when I write the message to Congress.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, there have been several stories published in the last week, saying that you are going to propose modifications of the Wagner Act. Is there anything to that?

THE PRESIDENT. Nobody has any right to quote me until I get ready to put out the message to Congress. You will know all about it.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, have you elected Mr. Max Gardner's successor yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No, as soon as he is selected, I will inform you right away.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, any merger legislation in your message to Congress ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

Q. Along the same lines as the--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, when you declare the war emergency at an end, then you don't want the Executive powers of the President to end at that point?

THE PRESIDENT. They automatically end 6 months after that declaration is made.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, at this date, do you see any chance for tax reduction recommendations?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't want to discuss that. I will put that in the message. [Laughter]

[20.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to consolidate the Budget and the State of the Union Messages?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. There will be three messages to the Congress this time. The Message on the State of the Union, the Economic Advisory Message--Economic Council Message, and the Message on the Budget. Three separate documents.

Q. Released at separate times ?

THE PRESIDENT. I beg your pardon?

Q. Will they all go up on the same day?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, no. They will go up at separate times. You will have plenty of time to digest each one of them separately. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, the Republicans said at their National Committee meeting that they would not cooperate if you sent up a radical message.

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, who is to define that? Who is to say whether it's radical ? I shall send up a message on what I believe to be necessary for the welfare of the United States, and that will be my viewpoint. They can have theirs. I don't care how they analyze it.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, with the Wage Stabilization Board ended now, what procedure is there, if any, for John L. Lewis to try to get concessions in the Government contract?

THE PRESIDENT. The John L. Lewis matter is in the courts, and as soon as the courts have acted then I will tell you.

Q. Mr. President, do you plan to put your labor discussion in the Economic Council Message?

THE PRESIDENT. Some of it--or it will be in the State of the Union Message.

Q. Do you hope that the courts will follow the election returns in the case of Lewis?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no hopes. I don't think anyone should endeavor to influence the courts.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's ninety-first news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 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/232329

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