Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 20, 1945

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I've got a telegram I will read to you. Is everybody in?

Mr. Early: Yes, sir.

[1.] THE PRESIDENT. This is dated Miami, Florida, April 19, addressed to me here.

"Dear Mr. President: Some time ago, you made an appeal--

Voices: Little slower--slow!

Mr. Early: You will get copies of it later.

THE PRESIDENT. I will read it to you first. Then I will see that you get copies.

[Reading, not literally] "Dear Mr. President: Some time ago you made an appeal to me which I think I responded to at the moment in good spirit. Now I am going to make an appeal to you. Please let us have Leonard Reinsch back. When we gave our consent we were not sufficiently mindful of the tremendous tasks ahead of us in radio in connection with Television, Frequency Modulation and what not. On special occasions for your personal uses his services could be availed of without embarrassment to us. It might not seem a patriotic impulse which prompts this message, and yet I am sure on reflection you will see it is justified. Kindest regards, James M. Cox."

And he is my friend. I think he will do anything in the world for me, so as to make Leonard available to me for the radio jobs that he has always done. Leonard will be on call just as Jimmy Byrnes is for anything that I want. And I am going to comply with Governor Cox's request.

[2.] And the reason I am calling you in to give this to you is because I called in Charlie Ross last night after this happened, and Charlie agreed to come with me after this San Francisco Conference, on May 15th.

Then Charlie and I got sentimental, and called up our old schoolteacher in Independence last night, and I am afraid that there is a leak in Independence--[laughter]--and Charlie also called up his son. I didn't want you fellows to be scooped on it, so that's why I am doing this.

Q. Did you say he called his old schoolteacher--

THE PRESIDENT. He and I called her together. She is the only schoolteacher that is living, and so we called her up. We used to go to school together. I asked Mr. Pulitzer to give Charlie 2 years' leave, and Mr. Pulitzer very kindly complied with that; and I hope he won't do the same to me that has happened here. I hope not. He said he wouldn't.

Q. What is the schoolteacher's name?

THE PRESIDENT. Miss Tilly Brown. Matilda Brown. We always called her Tilly. Matilda--M-a-t-i-l-d-a--Brown. We always called her Tilly.

Q. That is at Independence?

THE PRESIDENT. At Independence.

Q. How old is she, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't think she would object to her age being told--[laughter]--but I don't know. She is somewhere between 75 and 80.

Q. Was that grade school?

THE PRESIDENT. High school. She taught Charlie and me English.

Q. Were you in the same class?

THE PRESIDENT. Charlie and I graduated in the same high school class.

Q. What was that year, sir ?

THE PRESIDENT. 1901. Do your own figuring. [Laughter] That covers everything, doesn't it?

[3.] Oh, yes. I almost forgot something. Jonathan [Daniels] has agreed to stay with me. He is going to stay with me until Charlie comes. Does that take care of everything? I am appreciative of that, too, just as I am of all these things; and I am exceedingly happy to have these people on call when I need them.

Q. When are you--when is Mr. Reinsch leaving?

THE PRESIDENT. At his convenience. The telegram is specific.

Q. Mr. Ross will come in about the 15th of May, sir?


[4.] Q. Mr. President, what about the reports that Leslie Biffke will come down here?

THE PRESIDENT. They have no foundation in fact.

Q. Mr. President,--

THE PRESIDENT. Les is literally of much more use to me as Secretary to the Senate than he would be down here at the White House--much more use to the Senate. I don't want to cripple the Senate by taking Les Biffle away from them.

What did you start to say?

Q. I started to say, sir, that means that you didn't even ask for him to come down. The report is going around that you and Mr. Barkley were arguing over who was going to get Les.

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, that is--no argument--[inaudible words]--only in fun. Don't quote that, though. There was never any thought on my part that Biffle be brought down here.

Q. Nothing serious?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I wouldn't say there was no kidding--[inaudible words]--Barkley, you know, and I like to rib each other. I was worrying him a little bit, and he was trying to worry me.

Q. You'd say he was a good man in almost any job he worked ?

THE PRESIDENT. Biffle? They don't make them any better than Biffle. And you can quote me on that.

Q. Mr. Ross will be the Press Secretary?

THE PRESIDENT. Press Secretary. Reporter: Thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's second news conference was held in his office at the White House at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, April 20, 1945.

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/232110

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