Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

December 18, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Reiteration of the policy toward China was released today. I think you have all had it.

[2.] And also, the Economic Council's Report to me was released to you.1

1The First Report of the Council of Economic Advisers is printed in Senate Document 6 (80th Cong., 1st sess.).

I have no special announcements to make. If anybody has any questions--

[3.] Q. Mr. President, was there any reason for the timing of the Chinese announcement ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. What was the purpose of it?

THE PRESIDENT. So the people would know what our policy toward China is.

Q. You mean American people?


[4.] Q. Mr. President, I have a specific question, sir, on the Economic Council's Report.


Q. I see Dr. Nourse is here. I am very curious, sir, as to why the figure of approximately 1,500,000 electrical refrigerators and ranges--washing machines, rather, was used as a symbol for what would be good in 1947 and 1948, since the revised Commerce Department figure shows that in one instance it was better in 1939 and the other almost as good, which certainly was not a full employment year. Have you had any information on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have these economists to make that report to me for that purpose, and I haven't studied the report carefully. Maybe Dr. Nourse would want to answer that question?

Dr. Nourse: I don't think that the report said that. I thought it said "and similar figures" after speaking of housing as to those electrical appliances.

THE PRESIDENT. Read the report carefully. I don't think it has any wild statements. [Laughter]

[5.] Q. Mr. President, to go back to your Chinese statement, at the time that you sent General Marshall over, I believe you said fairly carefully that he would stay a matter of months, and it has now been just over a year; and I wonder if you expect that he will continue--

THE PRESIDENT. One year is 12 months. That statement was made the 15th of December last year--1945. This reiterates a clarification of the situation as it has developed. General Marshall will stay as long as it is necessary with the hope of getting the thing settled.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, on the Economic Council's Report

[7.] THE PRESIDENT. General Marshall has done a remarkable job. Nobody could have done better.

[8.] Go ahead with your Economic Council--

Q. In view of the possibility of a recession in 1947 and--

THE PRESIDENT. What makes you think there's a possibility of a recession in 1947? I don't admit to any such thing.

Q. The report suggests that there are factors which might bring about one.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't carefully read the report, but I don't agree with any such suggestions.

Q. Mr. President, will your report to Congress be more specific than this report?


Q. You will have more concrete proposals?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. My report will be a concrete report.

Q. You will have a report--

THE PRESIDENT. I will discuss it with you just like I will the budget.

Q. Will it contain legislation--

Q. Contain recommendations?


Q. This one was very vague.

THE PRESIDENT. It will contain specific recommendations.

Q. Mr. President, some of the discussed implications of this report are that not very much in the way of legislation seemed to be necessary for next year.

THE PRESIDENT. I am very glad to hear that. [Laughter]

[9.] Q. Mr. President, can--I have one more question about China.


Q. In your statement you said that we started--that we have continued this policy. You mean the point that while we haven't attained the objective which we sought and which we are still seeking, would it be correct to assume that this policy is permanent--I mean by that until that objective is attained?

THE PRESIDENT. This policy is a continuing policy, that's the reason I reiterate it.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to say what you think the outlook for 1947 is, in an economic way?

Voices: Can't hear--can't hear.

THE PRESIDENT. He wants to know what, in my opinion, the economic outlook for 1947 is. Well, I think I made the statement time and again that the outlook for the country is good, and it will continue to be good if we can just get people to go to work. I have reiterated that ever since my speech in Kentucky, at the dedication of that dam.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, getting back to China--is that 500 million dollar import credit endangered by the present statement?

THE PRESIDENT. The 500 million import, I hope, is not endangered.

Q. You hope it is not?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't want to make a positive statement on it.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, when you say "go to work," I think the original was made during a strike. Do you mean to say now that we have to go to work or keep on working

THE PRESIDENT. Stay at work.

Q. You don't want any strikes in 1947?

THE PRESIDENT. Nobody wants any strikes. I never want any strikes at all, and I don't think any of them were necessary.

Q. Mr. President, can you say anything about your specific recommendations to Congress ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I will give you that when I get ready to make it.

Q. Mr. President, yesterday Mr. Stassen posed the problem of clarifying the national labor policy as prior to and more immediate than the problem of housing. Do you share that view ?

THE PRESIDENT. I will set that out in clear and understandable terms in the Message on the State of the Union.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, at our last conference you said you hadn't had a chance to took at the Nathan report. Have you in the meantime, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Looked at what?

Q. The Nathan report.

THE PRESIDENT. No. I haven't looked at it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, have you had specific recommendations for legislation from the Economic Advisers Council?

THE PRESIDENT. I have--I will get those recommendations. I am not ready yet to discuss them because they are not ready. When I get ready to send out the documents to Congress--my reports to the Congress--I will see that you are fully informed.

[15.] Q. Senator Vandenberg suggested yesterday that he would like certain areas of bipartisan agreement on foreign policy--to cover all phases of international relations. Have you given that any thought?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. We have always had that in mind. When we say bipartisan policy in international relations that covers the whole field. We have been trying to adhere to that policy right straight through.

Q. He mentions specifically that there have been no bipartisan conversations on things like Argentina and the Far East-Palestine.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the President is responsible for the foreign policy of the United States, and when it becomes the duty of the Senate to become involved, they will be informed and the matter will be discussed with them.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you subscribe to the theory of laissez faire on external remedies, as expounded in the Economic Reports?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that question in my report to the Congress.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, do you know when General Marshall might come home to make a report again?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have no comment to make on that.

Q. Mr. President, are you urging the Nationalist government in China to accept Communists in the cabinet?

THE PRESIDENT. That is set out fully in this report here. If you will read this report, this statement that I have just issued you, you will get that information. That has been the policy all along.

Q. Is that what you mean by unification?


[18.] Q. Mr. President, have you given any more thought to finding a man to take Mr. Gardner's place?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I have given it some thought. I have reached no conclusions.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, is there any progress on the United States nomination of a new President of the World Bank?

THE PRESIDENT. Not yet. When we are ready, I will announce it.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, will the good old St. Lawrence Seaway be in your message to Congress ? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. That will speak for itself when it comes out.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, do you intend to combine the Budget and State of the Union Messages ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not. There will be a State of the Union Message. There will be a Message on the Economic Council program, and there will be a Budget Message-issued in that order.

Q. Budget Message be based on existing laws?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course. What else could you base it on?

Q. I was just thinking of last year's message, based, as I recall, on your recommendations

THE PRESIDENT. Well of course, it will be based--the budget itself will be based on law. You make certain recommendations in the budget which are not a part of it until they become the law, if you want to make a hairline distinction on it.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on the suggestion by Senators Murray and Flanders that the work we have been doing in China be extended by the establishment of a three-nation board--the Soviet Union, Britain, and United States ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us where you will be Christmas Day ?

THE PRESIDENT. I will be at home with my feet under the table, I hope. [Laughter]

[24.] Q. Mr. President, the Republicans are keeping us busy these days saying they are not candidates in 1948. Would you accept the 1948 renomination?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment. [Laughter]

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You are welcome. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I probably won't see you until after Christmas.

Voices: Same to you, sir. Thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's ninety-first (APP correction: ninety-second) news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18, 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/232348

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