The President's News Conference
THE PRESIDENT. Ladies and gentlemen, of course no one can say exactly what influence the efforts of your people and of your employers had in effecting a 20 percent reduction in the Fourth of July casualties. So far as I am concerned, something kept 80 families that were last year sorrowing for the loss of a child or a relative, kept them from doing it; and I think you had something to do with it. I thank you, and I am sure that every single American who knows anything about this terrible toll we pay on holidays would thank you also.
I have heard from Mr. Hagerty and others exactly how intensive was the campaign that was carried out, particularly by some of the groups. I am grateful.
With respect to things more intimately connected with my own work, I remind you that some months ago I expressed the great conviction that this fall the issue before the public was going to be the legislative program presented by the administration, and the success in translating it into law.
In the past week there has been such great progress in both Houses that I think the prospects are looking up. As a matter of fact, I would say the prospects are rosy that there will be placed before the public this fall a record of accomplishment of which any Congress, any administration, could be proud; particularly the farm bill that passed in the House and the tax bill in the Senate made my weekend, at least, a very, very much more pleasant affair.
Now, with those two remarks, I think we will go directly to questions.
Q. John Cutter, United Press: Mr. President, since your recent talks with the British Prime Minister, there has been considerable talk in this country about the admission of Communist China to the United Nations; it has been the subject of congressional debate, and so forth like that. I wonder if you could give us today, sir, your own feelings on the admission of the present Communist government of China to the United Nations.
THE PRESIDENT. I would be glad to. As you know, and I have said before this particular group, I am completely and unalterably opposed under the present situation to the admission of Red China into the United Nations. I personally think that 95 percent of the population of the United States would take the same stand.
Now, let's take a look at this thing for a minute, if you will bear with
There is a moral question, first of all, that is involved. The United Nations was not established primarily as a supergovernment, clothed with all of the authority of supergovernment and of great power to do things. It was, among other things, an attempt to marshal the moral strength of the world in order to preserve peace, to make certain that quarrels were composed through a decent respect for justice and fairness and right, and to see whether we couldn't avoid resort to force.
Today we have Red China going to Geneva, and instead of taking a conciliatory attitude about anything, it excoriated the United Nations. As a matter of fact, at Geneva it demanded repudiation of the United Nations position. On top of that, Red China is today at war with the United Nations. They were declared an aggressor by the United Nations in the Assembly; that situation has never been changed. They are occupying North Korea; they have supported this great effort at further enslavement of the peoples in Indochina; they have held certain of our prisoners unjustifiably, and they have been guilty of the employment of the worst possible diplomatic deportment in the international affairs of the world.
How can the United States, as a self-respecting nation, doing its best and in conformity with the moral standards as we understand them, how can we possibly say this government should be admitted to the United Nations?
That is the way the case stands now, and that is my position.
Q. Chalmers Roberts, Washington Post and Times Herald: To carry that a little bit further, sir, there have been some suggestions on the Hill that if Red China is admitted over our protest, that the United States should then withdraw from the U.N. Would you comment on that, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, yes, I would. We went into the United Nations under treaty forms. Now, I must say, first, if the United States ever reaches the point that it wants to repudiate solemn treaty obligations, it must do so after the most careful deliberation and study of all of the consequences that could be involved.
Secondly, I repeat, the establishment of the United Nations was an effort to rally the moral forces of the world. I don't see how any state, impartial state, can vote for their acceptance under present conditions; I just don't understand it.
If these people, mistakenly, as we believe, could override us--I don't know that they can, I would fight to the last minute to prove they can't-but if they should, the question of whether we would accomplish more good in the world, whether we could advance the cause of peace and decency better by going out than by staying in, that is something that would have to be decided.
My own feeling is this: I never give up a battle until I am licked completely, utterly, and destroyed. I don't believe in giving up any battle as long as I have got a chance to win.
Q. Mr. Roberts: Sir, is it a fair inference from your remarks then that you oppose any amendment to the foreign aid bill or any current legislation, which would automatically take us out if Red China is admitted?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, as a matter of fact, I don't know that there is any such amendment under consideration of any kind.
Q. Mr. Roberts: It has been suggested in both Houses of Congress.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't believe it is up officially; I don't believe it has been brought up in a way that would cause real study on it. But I would not think that we ought to prejudge cases. I believe we ought to take these problems as they arise, and I doubt that any such amendment will be seriously considered.
Q. Mr. Roberts: Sir, could you tell us if what you have told us here is approximately what you told Senator Knowland yesterday?
THE PRESIDENT. Why, Senator Knowland and I had conversations about many things, programs and everything else; and I think we are, generally speaking, in conformity on most of our ideas and thoughts.
On this one, he did say that he would himself begin to fight for the withdrawing of the United States from the United Nations. I say I have not yet reached any such decision; no, I haven't.
Q. Frank van der Linden, Nashville Banner: Mr. President, Governor Frank Clement of Tennessee has sent you a telegram saying that your remarks here last week regarding TVA were deeply disturbing to him, and asking a chance to meet with you and state his case regarding this new proposal for private utilities to come into TVA territory. Have you decided to give him that conference?
THE PRESIDENT. AS a matter of fact, I haven't actually seen the telegram yet, but Governor Clement, like any other Governor in the United States, can come to see me at any time that a convenient time can be arranged.
Q. Andrew Tully, Scripps-Howard: Mr. President, can you think of any circumstances under which you would favor admission of Red China into the U .N . ?
THE PRESIDENT. I think there is no use of going forward into all of the things that would, let us say, constitute that record of deeds for which I have so often plead that would change my attitude. But I will tell you this: it would have to be a record of deeds that would prove really good faith and a readiness and a capacity on the part of their country to discharge its obligations in the international field properly and decently.
Q. Mr. Tully: Over a long period of time, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't--you are going to ask me how long is a piece of string pretty quick. [Laughter] I don't know exactly. I would say again, it is something to be met as time goes on, and let us see what are the developments.
Q. Wesley G. Peyton, San Jose (Calif.) Mercury: Mr. President, getting back to the legislative program for a minute, a few days ago California Congressman Charles Gubser wrote Chairman Hall of the Republican National Committee, urging the Republican National Committee to withhold the support and sponsorship of the party from all Republican legislators who do not back up your program. Would you care to comment on that, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. I didn't know about that message. No, I think I wouldn't comment on that one.
I do say this: I believe the program that has been put forward, while admittedly still with its imperfections, is a great pattern for the United States to follow as it pushes ahead--in, as I have explained, my idea-trying to be conscious of the problems of every individual, but trying to run the kind of an economy that gives every individual opportunity and initiative. With that belief, very naturally I want support for it. So when someone suggests different ways of supporting it, why, of course, he has an immediate pathway to my heart; but how these things work out within the political party, that is something for them to decide themselves.
Q. Edward T. Folliard, Washington Post and Times Herald: Mr. President, some time ago, I think it was last fall, you said that if the Republican Party did not enact a good legislative program, that it didn't deserve to remain in power. You said substantially that. In view of what you said this morning, I take it that you think now that it does deserve to remain in power?
THE PRESIDENT. It certainly is establishing a record that looks to me like it.
Now, admittedly, ladies and gentlemen, there are going to be little pieces and parts of this whole program in which I have had my disappointments. I would be just guilty of misrepresentation if I just said all the world is rosy, and all the roses are gilded. But if we had a straightforward, across the board progress, that shows that men have stood up to be counted and had the courage to go ahead in doing what they think is right, then I think we have got a pretty good record, and there is so much of the program being enacted into law, that I think by the end of the month or by the time, whenever it is, that Congress goes out, we are going to look pretty good.
Q. Walter T. Ridder, Ridder Papers: Do you plan in the coming months, sir, personally to tell the American people how good that legislative record is?
THE PRESIDENT. If it is as good as I think it is, I would be proud to.
Q. Sarah McClendon, El Paso Times: Sir, have you promised Senator Price Daniel of Texas that you would name Everett Hutchinson of Austin to the Interstate Commerce Commission as soon as you can get Monroe Johnson off?
THE PRESIDENT [laughing]. Wall, now, you have asked me sort of whether I have stopped beating my wife.
I don't know that I have promised to get anybody off, and I don't recall that I have promised to appoint any particular individual.
There has been argument advanced that the positions on some of these commissions are allotted geographically in our country, and that this one is the next one that is going to that region. But there is no decision made on any of this, so I don't admit that I am attempting to get anybody off or that I have promised to appoint anybody else to it.
Q. Edward F. Creagh, Associated Press: Can you tell us anything about the labor situation at Oak Ridge or the Paducah A-bomb plants?
THE PRESIDENT. Of course the picket line which was established this morning at one of the plants--the other one, I believe, is an hour or so later in point of time, and we do not know yet whether or not it's been done it's a serious thing for the United States, beyond all question. It was because of that that I signed the order last night to appoint a fact-finding board of inquiry.
I think there is great hope that the unions will observe the propriety of that action and the law in the matter, and will postpone their strikes and await the outcome of that fact-finding board. I certainly hope so, because it would be most embarrassing and difficult for us if these strikes were maintained. 1
1On July 7 the White House released two letters from the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, concerning threatened strikes by local unions associated with the A.F. of L. at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and by CIO locals at Oak Ridge and at Paducah, Ky. Also released were Executive Orders 10542 and 10543, dated July 6, 1954, creating emergency boards of inquiry in each dispute, and directing them to report to the President on or before July 20. (For text of orders see 1954 Supplement to title 3, Code of Federal Regulations, page 64).
On July 10 the White House announced that the President had been informed that the work stoppage at Paducah had been ended, and that the CIO workers had voted to return to their jobs. The announcement stated that the President desired to give special public tribute to those A.F. of L. workers at Oak Ridge and the supervisory personnel at both locations who recognized the importance of the national security aspects of their jobs and who did not leave them. It further stated that the President was gratified that the CIO members returned voluntarily to work and that the plants would soon be restored to normal operation.
See also Item 193.
Q. William M. Blair, New York Times: Mr. President, I would like to ask a question about the farm situation. Do you believe the compromise flexible system passed by the House last week gives you enough flexibility to deal with the present farm situation?
THE PRESIDENT. From my viewpoint, it wasn't even a compromise. If you will read everything I have ever said about this farm program, I have asked for a flexible system gradually applied.
The only thing that the House did by legislative rather than waiting for Executive action, they did provide that in the first year the drop in the price supports of the basics could not be below 82 ½ percent, a particular provision that I think will have really little, if any, effect upon the situation.
I don't mind telling you that I personally would have prevented any drop in the first year below 80, so I don't even look on it as a compromise. So far as I am concerned, I don't mind telling you I look upon it as a great and sweeping victory; we have got a long-term principle established in a positive way. The first year drop to 82 1/2 was not only acceptable to me, I was delighted with it.
Q. Joseph A. Loftus, New York Times: Mr. President, can you explain, within the area of security, why it is so vital that there be no interruption at Oak Ridge? Is there such pressure to reach a weapons goal, or is it important to maintain uninterrupted production, or what is it?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, there are all sorts of things. Primarily, one of the big troubles is the difficulty that comes about in closing, attempting to close, and then reopening later, some of these very expensive and continuous operations; any interruption in this kind of activity is a very serious matter in every respect. We know that potential enemies are advancing in this field, and we certainly want to keep pushing ahead ourselves.
Now, there are certain fields that have to do with the peaceful use of this; research, many other things of that kind, will be sadly interrupted. But there is no possibility of my here outlining all of the different aspects in which this could look serious, and others which would not be so serious; I could not possibly do it.
Q. Ethel Payne, Defender Publications: Mr. President, we were very happy last week when the Deputy Attorney General sent a communication to the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee saying that there was a legal basis for passing a law to ban segregation in interstate travel. Mr. Rogers also said that in view of the recent decision by the Supreme Court in the schools cases, that such legislation ought to be enacted by Congress at this time, and the Bureau of the Budget approved it. I would like to know if we could assume that we have administration support in getting action on this?
THE PRESIDENT. You say that you have to have administrative support. The administration is trying to do what it thinks and believes to be decent and just in this country, and is not in the effort to support any particular or special group of any kind. These opinions were sent down, these beliefs are held as part of the administration belief, because we think it is just and right, and that is the answer.
Q. Harry W. Frantz, United Press: Mr. President, reverting to your comment on the legislative program, have you abandoned hope of getting legislation for Hawaiian statehood at this session and, if so, will you carry over the campaign into a future Congress?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't entirely abandoned hope. I would be foolish to say that there aren't some very tricky problems involved in it, because the Senate put both of these together; but I haven't abandoned hope at all by any means.
Q. Hazel Markel, Mutual Broadcasting System: Mr. President, I have a biographical question. I think it is pretty generally known that your parents were deeply religious, and I think a number of articles which have been written on your family have stated that they were very strong pacifists, and some other statements have been made that both of them objected to your being a soldier. I interviewed a gentleman yesterday who said that you had corrected him on that; that your father had not objected at all, that it was only your mother who had objected. I wonder if that is true, if you care to comment, and also if she finally was reconciled to it.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, of all the kinds of questions that I never expected to go into here--[laughter]--would be to go back that far into my family life.
All such things are normally exaggerated, except the one that they were deeply religious people. They were also rebels in religion. They would join here, and go out to some other place very soon. They had their own religion. It is true that my mother finally became a member of an organization which had definitely pacifistic tenets in its program; but I think that it would be enough to say about my father's belligerency that he was Pennsylvania Dutch and he had all the temper of a Pennsylvania Dutchman; there was nothing pacifist about him. [Laughter]
I have also heard that my mother objected strenuously to my going to West Point. I know that she even at that time believed that the world didn't have to go to war, believed it very passionately; but she never said one single word to me.
Now, I think, that answers the question as well as I can.
Q. George E. Herman, CBS Radio: Sir, there has been a lot of talk and speculation and rumors about the situation inside CIA, certain charges of infiltration and other things. I think you are the only person in the country who can straighten us out on what is going on in CIA and what is going on in there.
THE PRESIDENT. As you people know, all of the organizational features are to be examined by a task force headed by General Clark, a man that I have known from the time we were both cadets, for whose ability and patriotism and loyalty I have the highest respect, and who I think will do a very grand job.
So far as the head of the CIA is concerned, he has constantly invited Executive examination into his operations, to get some help to see that everything there is being done that can be done to further the purposes for which it was established, for which it is supported, and to make certain it is being done honestly and decently.
Now, all of that goes on all the time on some kind of a routine basis, one or the other.
I assure you that I have the utmost confidence in the integrity and the loyalty and efficiency of the head of the CIA.
Q. Edward T. Folliard, Washington Post and Times Herald: Mr. President, the Ground Observer Corps is having a day soon, July 14. It is made up of 250,000 people trained to watch for enemy planes. I wondered if you cared to give them a word of encouragement. [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. Not only would I but I think, unless I am mistaken-sometimes a man's memory can be very badly off as to time--I think I have already written a message for use on that day. I personally think that the more we can enlarge that corps, and the more we can impress upon them the responsibility that will rest with them, the better off we will be. I think they are doing a very fine and loyal service.
John Cutter, United Press: Thank you, Mr. President.
Note: President Eisenhower's forty-third news conference was held in the Executive Office Building from 10:32 to 10:56 o'clock on Wednesday morning, July 7, 1954. In attendance: 165.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232286