Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

January 31, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I have only one announcement to make--I thought maybe you might have some questions and I would let you in--this is a letter from John Blandford to me, and my answer to him. It is mimeographed. It is his resignation as Housing Administrator, and the suggestion that he become the Budget Director for China. There are copies of that. You can get them as you go out.

Now I am ready for questions.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, some time ago, if I remember correctly, in a press conference, you indicated that when the reports were in for the last quarter on steel operations, you would let us know what in your opinion would be a justifiable increase in steel prices.

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. Still working on that.

Q. Mr. President, when do you expect to have something on that ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't give you an exact time, but there will be something on it. The announcement will be made from the White House when it is ready.

Q. Mr. President, I understand the OPA has submitted a report to you suggesting what the price increase should be?

THE PRESIDENT. They are still working on that report.

Q. It hasn't come in yet?

THE PRESIDENT. It hasn't been finished.

Q. It was promised for February 1st, I believe.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the quarter, as I understand it, ended on December 31, and they are still working on the figures. I will make the announcement when it is ready.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, the Secretary of Commerce this morning recommended that the Manhattan District be turned over to civilian control at the earliest possible moment. Do you have any comment on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Whenever the Congress fixes the necessary responsibility, that will be done.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, would you say when, in your opinion, the war emergency may be officially declared over?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't make that announcement today. I will make it when-

ever that time arrives.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, do you support the State Department's policy that the United States should--

THE PRESIDENT. The State Department doesn't have a policy unless I support it. [Laughter] finish your question--I'm sorry.

Q. I mean with regard to the inter-American defense treaty, that we will not sign it if Argentina--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about any preliminary decision, or whether it will be signed or won't be signed, but whatever policy the State Department has, I will support it, or it won't be a policy. The State Department carries out the policies that are laid down by the President of the United States.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, are you still hopeful of universal military training legislation?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am--yes, I am.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, can you say when you learned of the agreement at Yalta regarding the Russian possession of the Kurile Islands, or our willingness to support Russian claims to the Kurile Islands?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't give you the exact date. It was sometime last summer, previous to the trip to Potsdam. You see, Mr. Byrnes wasn't made Secretary of State until December--July 3d, if I remember correctly, and I don't know what the exact date was that I became familiar with those documents. It was necessary for me to be familiar with them before I went to Potsdam.

Q. Mr. President, are we commanding air bases on the Kuriles?

THE PRESIDENT. We are not. No reason for air bases on the Kuriles.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, can you comment at all on the mail and telegrams you have received in connection with the court-martial death sentence imposed on a New Jersey soldier?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen any. I have seen none. There may be some, however, that have not yet been delivered to me.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, how do you feel about the labor situation now?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the labor situation is improving all the time.

Q. Do you see a chance, sir, for any break in the steel deadlock on prices--and the strike?

THE PRESIDENT. I will make that announcement at the proper time. I don't want to comment on it now.

Q. Mr. President, in that connection, yesterday Mr. Olds, Chairman of the Board of United States Steel, indicated that a price increase of six and a quarter dollars a ton would not be sufficient to cover the 18 1/2 cents wage increase. Do you have any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have none.

Q. Have you any comment on the possible seizure of the steel industry by the Government?

THE PRESIDENT. No further comment. I said something about it the other day. It isn't now under contemplation.

Q. Not now?

Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on House action on your fact-finding bill?

THE PRESIDENT. What was the House action on it ?

Q. The Case bill--the substitute.

THE PRESIDENT. That was the action--not the action of the House but the action of the Rules Committee, wasn't it? The House hasn't yet acted on it, unless they voted within the last few minutes.

Q. The House voted to take up the rule.

THE PRESIDENT. The House voted to take up the rule? They still haven't acted.

Q. To take up the bill--258 to 114.

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on it. That's the business of the House.

Q. It is 20 days since General Motors defied the President's fact-finding findings, and 13 days since United States Steel has rejected the President's proposal. Does the President contemplate any speedy action to break that deadlock?

THE PRESIDENT. I beg your pardon?

Q. Does the President contemplate any speedy action to break that deadlock?

THE PRESIDENT. We have been working on it all the time, taking all the action we possibly can, just as speedily as we can.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, outside of waiting on OPA to do something with prices, what else is going on under the surface? [Much laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that until when we make the announcement on that--on what has been done.

Q. This OPA report was supposed to be made tomorrow.

THE PRESIDENT. No, it was not supposed to be made tomorrow. When the figures haven't all been available until just right in the immediate past, we can't expect to arrive at a conclusion in 1 day when it takes a little longer than that to get all the facts.

Q. It will not come tomorrow, is that sure?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that

Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. --they might fool me and bring it in tomorrow.

[11.] Q.--have you written or discussed with General Bradley the policy of taking care of nonservice-connected cases in veterans' hospitals?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't discussed it with him.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, have you found the copy of the Yalta agreement that was spoken of in connection with Mr. Byrnes?

THE PRESIDENT. It never was lost. That Yalta agreement has been filed in the private files of the President of the United States. It has been there all the time, and I knew where it was all the time.

Q. Mr. President, is it likely to be made public if Moscow and London--

THE PRESIDENT. The State Department is inquiring of Moscow and London if they have any objections to its being made public, and if they have no objections the Secretary of State will make it public. It is a State Department document.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us anything about Chief Justice Stone's visit here today?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. He came to talk to me as the--I think I am the "titulary"-whatever that proper word is--[laughter]for the head of the Smithsonian Institution, and Judge Stone is the executive officer of that organization, and he came to talk to me about a meeting in August with regard to the Smithsonian Institution. He wanted me to make a speech at that meeting.

Q. He didn't discuss the possibility of the return of any of the Justice Department court people from Germany?

THE PRESIDENT. The Supreme Court was not discussed.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, have you given any thought to the possibility that there is an ambassadorial post which might soon become vacant?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sir. I have given a great deal of thought to that. Well, Mr. Harriman has been trying to quit ever since Germany folded up.

Q. We understand the job was offered to Mr. McCloy, and Mr. McCloy found himself unable to accept?

THE PRESIDENT. I have offered the job to nobody. I have offered the job to nobody-just discussed it with Mr. Harriman and the Secretary of State.

[15.] Q. Has the steel industry suggested any price increase to offset this proposal.


Q. Not to you?

[16.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on the letter of Henry Ford 2d, suggesting the removal of price controls?

THE PRESIDENT. The only comment I have to make on it is that you can't do it, unless you want wild inflation.

Q. What was that last?

THE PRESIDENT. Wild inflation.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, I am not about the Yalta thing yet. Is that in form of a treaty, and if so, is it signed by Churchill?

THE PRESIDENT. It is an agreement signed by Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill and Mr. Stalin, just the same as the one at potsdam was signed by myself and Mr. Attlee and Mr. Stalin.

Q. Mr. President, are we going to have any more of these agreements brought out later?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. I can't answer that. There are agreements signed in that way at all of these meetings. I think most of them have been made public. If any of them haven't been made public, at the proper time they will be made public.

These were wartime agreements made in an effort to arrive at agreements with our allies, to use the forces of ourselves and our allies to the best advantage to win the war. That is what this Yalta agreement was.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, Secretary of the Interior Ickes has written an article advocating that Alaska be opened to immigration from abroad. Have you any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. I haven't read the article. That is a matter for the Congress to settle.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right.

Note: President Truman's forty-sixth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m.. on Thursday, January 31, 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/232371

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