Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

May 02, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. I have no announcements to make today, but I thought maybe you might want to ask me a question or two, and I had better let you in and let you ask them. So, fire away.

[1.] Q. What assurances did you give Mr. Byrnes yesterday about the French loan and some increased shipments of wheat?

THE PRESIDENT. I gave him none.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to make use of your reorganization authority Soon?


[3.] Q. Mr. President, I understand you saw Ed Pauley and Dean Acheson this morning.


Q. Did you discuss Mr. Pauley's forthcoming trip?


Q. Got any assurances that he can get into Manchuria? Have you any comment on that situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment on that. I am sure he can.

Q. Mr. President, what about that Court appointment?

THE PRESIDENT. Just a moment. I finish up with Mr. Pauley and then I will talk to you about that.

Mr. Pauley--I thought maybe you might ask me a question like that, and I just want to reiterate what I have said before to press conference, that Mr. Pauley is on in his capacity as Chief of the American Reparations Commission.

The resources and industries of Manchuria and Korea are basic to the of any long-range plan for the peaceful economy of East Asia. Mr. Pauley's report on Japanese reparations, removals, is a splendid plan for immediate action, to utilize the productive ability of Manchuria and Korea. At the present time, however, we have little information on their current productive ability. Therefore, no final program of reparations for Japan can be evolved until we know more about the resources and industrial relations on the continent, particularly in Manchuria and Korea.

Since both the Secretary of State and I consider this to be a matter of considerable importance, we have got Mr. Pauley to undertake this firsthand study of the situation in Manchuria and Korea.

The Acting Secretary of State will have a statement on Mr. Pauley's mission.

And that is substantially what was in my letter asking Mr. Pauley to continue this.

Q. Has it been decided who is going with him?

THE PRESIDENT. You will have to ask Pauley.

Q. Mr. President, have the other governments involved in that problem been officially advised of his assignment?


[4.] Q. Mr. President, have you seen General Simpson's report on reorganization of the Army?

THE PRESIDENT. No I haven't.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, how about your Court appointments?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment.

Q. No comment! [Laughter]

[6.] Q. Anything on the Maritime Commission vacancy?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

Q. Could you tell us whether the Court appointment will come--

THE PRESIDENT. This young man over here wants to ask me a question. I'll come back to you, if you will give me time.

[7.] Q. The Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine, Mr. President, recommended that other governments take care of the Jews in Europe, outside of the hundred thousand whose certificates were recommended to be granted in some way. Has the American Government any comment, Mr. President, on--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment, outside the statement which I issued on the report of the committee. That statement stands as all I have to say at the present time.

Q. I was wondering if you could give us a slight hint on the Court appointment-tell us whether the Chief Justice is going to come from one of the present judges, or from outside?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you favor the OPA expediting committee, which the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion Advisory Board suggested?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it's a good idea.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, in connection with the Palestine report, could you say whether this country is prepared to accept any responsibility for disarming the so-called illegal armies in Palestine, to make possible the admission of the refugees?

THE PRESIDENT. Suggest that you read my statement on the report. I have nothing further to say than what is in that statement.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, will you allow Federal departments to bargain with unions whose constitutions permit strikes against the Government?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't believe in strikes against the Government. I don't think it legal, or ever will be. Whenever they are, the Government will cease to exist.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the renewed discussion of the possibility of rationing in the food crisis, could you update us a little on food, with particular reference to whether you now think rationing would be needed?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, rationing at the present time would not meet the emergency, because there isn't time to implement it, as I have told you time and again. If there should be a disastrous crop failure, and it should become necessary for rationing, we will not hesitate to put it into effect.

Q. Barring crop failure, then, you don't think it will be necessary in the future?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it will do any good, under present circumstances. And if there is no crop failure, if we have bountiful crops, it won't be necessary.

Q. Some people have called for what they call--describe as drastic new measures to meet the situation. Have you any thoughts on that subject?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I have put in all the drastic new measures I can think of to meet this situation. It's a matter where the heart of the American people has to meet it; and I think it will.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to see the American fliers who have come here on behalf of Mikhailovitch?

THE PRESIDENT. They have discussed the matter with my Military Aide, and that is as far as it will go.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, may I ask you about that expediting committee for OPA? Is it now in existence? It was announced?

THE PRESIDENT. No. It's--it's contemplated, and I don't think it is necessary as yet.

Q. A part of OPA?


[14.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to say whether you and Mr. Pogue discussed the disposition of the North Pacific air routes this noon?

THE PRESIDENT. I did not discuss it.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to step into the threatened railroad strike?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it will be necessary.

Q. How about the coal strike, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. The coal strike is a very serious situation. We are viewing it with alarm.

Q. You view it as a strike against the Government yet, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Not yet. If it becomes necessary, we will.

Q. Mr. President, if it becomes necessary then, you will ?


[16.] Q. You regard Secretary Forrestal's testimony yesterday as lobbying against the merger bill?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not. Did you read the whole of Secretary Forrestal's testimony?

Q. He is very much against the bill.

THE PRESIDENT. He didn't say so. He didn't say so. Read it very carefully. Mr. Forrestal submitted his testimony to me before it was--before he gave it. And he has a perfect right to say what he did, and I authorized him to do it.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, it has been thought that the Government may find it necessary to seize some of the wheat now held by elevators and mills. Do you think that will be necessary?


[18.] Q. Mr. President, you haven't yet appointed, I think, the council for the full employment bill?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.

Q. Is that coming soon?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope soon.

Q. Can you tell us anything about that has been delayed? That's 2 months--

THE PRESIDENT. Difficult to find the men to fill the jobs. Should we find somebody that we think is capable of taking the job, he has got a better job, or doesn't want to consider Government service. That has been true ever since the war ceased. The good men are flocking to private industry for bigger pay. It's the most difficult thing we have to face, is finding men for the places.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, I am puzzled by your statement that Secretary--

THE PRESIDENT. You shouldn't be. You shouldn't be. What I am going to ask you to do is read the statement. If you do that, you won't have any trouble.

Q. He is not opposing the merger--

THE PRESIDENT. He is not opposing the merger.

Q. --or the bill?

THE PRESIDENT. You wouldn't have so much trouble, if you would study these things carefully. [Laughter]

[20.] Q. Mr. President, during the war, Mr. Roosevelt found it necessary to seize the coal mines, and I remember Mr. Lewis didn't let the men go back to work even in the face of that. I wondered if you have contemplated that situation?

THE PRESIDENT. We will meet that situation when it comes before us.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, going back to the first question that was asked you, could you give us any information at all about the occasion and nature of your talks with Secretary Byrnes yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Byrnes was making his usual report to me. This is the third-second or third time he has phoned me from Paris on what was going on in the Big Four meetings. It was nothing unusual or out of the way at all.

Q. Mr. President, the New York Times had a very detailed story in which they said that--in actual quotation marks--that you told Mr. Byrnes that the Cabinet had taken up the French loan and that wheat situation yesterday.

THE PRESIDENT. I never heard of it. I never heard of it until I saw it in the New York Times.

Q. Did you know the Cabinet was meeting yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the Cabinet met yesterday, but we didn't discuss that situation.

Q. Where did they meet yesterday, Mr. President? I didn't know about it.

THE PRESIDENT. There are lots of things you don't know about. [Laughter]

Q. I thought we usually have it posted when the full Cabinet meets?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, sometimes it isn't. [More laughter]

Q. Mr. President, did you say that they did not discuss that situation?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, they did not--

Q. What did they discuss?

THE PRESIDENT. -- they did not.

Q. What did they discuss?

THE PRESIDENT. It's none of your business. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, could you tell us the occasion for holding a sort of Cabinet meeting without announcing it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can hold a Cabinet meeting whenever I choose. I don't have to tell you about the Cabinet meeting.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, the United States has made some kind of reparations proposal to the Far Eastern Commission-some sort of plan. I wonder if that--is that the same thing as the Pauley plan?


Q. Could you tell us anything about its content at this time?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I cannot. It will be released at the proper time.

[23.] Q. How long will it take this coal situation to reach a serious enough point, Mr. President, where you might seize the--

THE PRESIDENT. Your guess is as good as mine,

[24.] Q. Do you agree with Secretary Anderson that controls on meat should be taken off in 90 days if the black market isn't solved.--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't given it any serious thought. If it is necessary to do that, we will do it.

[25.] Q. Mr. President, without discussing any contemplated change in the Supreme Court position, could you tell us about when you might be making the appointment--or sending the nomination--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I cannot. I am in no hurry.

Q. Mr. President, could you tell us what is causing--what apparently--apparently is the delay .

THE PRESIDENT. What do you mean? [Laughter]

Q.--the Chief Justice

THE PRESIDENT. The same situation that I told you about awhile ago. The difficulty is finding the right man for the right place.

[26.] Q. Mr. President, did you express any preference as to what legislation you would like to have Congress act on before it adjourns?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have, on several occasions. If you will read my message-the first message--you will see the measures in which I am very much interested.

Q. You--you hope that they will act on all of them?


[27.] Q. Mr. President, some time ago, Ralph Davies recommended that the Petroleum Administration wind up the 30th of April. Nothing has happened, no order has been issued liquidating it. Does that imply continued control--

THE PRESIDENT. It will probably be continued a while.

Q. How long is that "while" going to be? Can you guess ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I will let you know when it's time. It will be discontinued just as soon as it possibly can.

[28.] Q. Mr. President, have you given any consideration to the naming of a date for the end of the war emergency?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I have given it a lot of consideration.

Q. Could you tell us anything about it?


Q. Have you reached any decision?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not.

Reporter: Well, thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's sixty-second news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, 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/232857

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