Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

January 15, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] The first announcement I want to make is that the Message on the State of the Nation and the Budget Message will go down together on Monday.

On Saturday morning at 10:30, in the White House movie theater, we will discuss the Budget Message with those who are interested, as is usually done each year.

Now I am ready for questions.

Q. Mr. President, why is the--why has there been a delay in the State of the Union

Message? Is it hooked up with the labor situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No. It was a decision shortly arrived at, that one message is enough. The State of the Union Message and the Budget Message will go down together.

Q. One document?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be one document.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Barkley said on Monday that it would be unseemly for Congress to do any business until this Message had gone up. Are they released now to go ahead?

THE PRESIDENT. They have been released ever since they met. I have no strings on them. [Laughter]

[3.] Q. Mr. President, what did you and Mr. Farley talk about this morning, and did it include New York State politics?

THE PRESIDENT. It did not include New York politics.

Q. Could you tell us what else?

THE PRESIDENT. Everything else under the sun. Oh, personal matters, principally.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, the delegation in London seems to be divided on the question of whether or not the Japanese mandated islands that we conquered out in the Pacific should be placed under a U.N.O. trusteeship. What is the administration's policy on that?

THE PRESIDENT. Those that we do not need will be placed under a U.N.O. trusteeship.

Q. And those that we need--

THE PRESIDENT. We will keep.

Q.--we will annex, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. We will keep.

Q. Forever?

THE PRESIDENT. That depends. As long as we need them.

Q. Will we go through a form of individual trusteeship for--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Yes, it will be under an individual trusteeship.

Q. For the islands we need? The others will be collective?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. Wouldn't that be under the Security Council?

THE PRESIDENT. I beg your pardon?

Q. Will that be under the Security Council?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Just like all the rest of them.

Q. Well then, Mr. President, the way that will work out will be that there will be some islands under our trusteeship and some under the individual trusteeship of other nations?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, no. It will be through collective trusteeships, in most instances.

Q. You envision that we will be the only nation that will have individual control--

THE PRESIDENT. That is not necessarily the case. We will have to work those things out as we come to them, and inaugurate the policy as we go along.

Q. On those islands where we are the sole trustees, will we know the United Nations are all for that?


[5.] Q. Mr. President, what about the union picture--the labor picture? Anything new come to you?

THE PRESIDENT. All I know is what I see in the papers.

Q. Mr. President, some of the supporters of the Hobbs antilabor-racketeering bill on the Hill complain that it is stymied in congressional committees. The question is whether in view of your radio speech you have any comment to make on that?

THE PRESIDENT. The House, which is considering it, should be allowed to vote on it the same as any other legislation.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, in accepting the General Motors fact finding board's increase, the union put a limit of a week on its acceptance. Do you have any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. I approved the report of the fact-finding commission.

Q. Do you have any comment on this-on this contract that was signed by KaiserFrazer, where they added a bonus?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not familiar with the contract--of course, I am glad that the collective bargaining in that case was a success. That's all I can say about it. I have never seen the contract.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, at the end of the Fairless-Murray meeting the other day, Mr. Ross told us that--in giving us a sort of narrative--that Mr. Fairless made a proposal and Mr. Murray made a counterproposal. Was that Fairless proposal a new proposal, or a reiteration of one of his old ones?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. All I know is that be made the proposal and then Murray made the counterproposal. It all took place before he came here.

Q. Is that a new proposal?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. You will have to ask Mr. Fairless.

Q. Was an increase in the price of steel discussed at those meetings?

THE PRESIDENT. It was not.

Q. Was that above 15 cents, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it was not.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, it has been announced that there will be an addition built to the White House1 in the back here. Some of our leading architects are opposed to the--

THE PRESIDENT. What leading architects?[Laughter]

1 A White House release, dated January 11, outlined plans for the work, noting that the $1,650,000 construction project would be divided into four main units: (1) addition to the Executive Offices; (2) completion of the East Wing; (3) interior alterations to the Mansion; and (4) landscaping and improvements to the grounds.

Q. The American Institute of Architects.

THE PRESIDENT. I have never been in touch with the American Institute of Architects. And the Park and Planning Commission have approved the program, and all the architects we have talked to are in favor of the program. And it is built principally for your benefit. I am going to have an auditorium in which you gentlemen can sit down and ask me questions. [Laughter]

Q. These architects, Mr. President, feel that the White House should be the President's home.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I feel that way, too. But this has no connection whatever with the White House. This is an addition to the offices of the President.

Q. That is what they are opposed to. They think--

THE PRESIDENT. They don't want the President to have any offices to work in. It's just something to talk about.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, getting back to the Pacific Islands, there are several islands below the Equator which I understand are not Japanese mandated. Are you interested in those?

THE PRESIDENT. Only in conjunction with our allies.

Q. Mr. President, have we decided which of the mandated islands we need?

THE PRESIDENT. We have not.

Q. We have not?

[10.] Q. Are you still hopeful that the steel strike will be settled--on the steel--


[11.] Q. Mr. President, I am curious to know why you are combining the messages?

THE PRESIDENT. Because I think it is necessary that they should be combined. The State of the Union is wrapped up in the Budget.

Q. But you meant to send two?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I didn't necessarily mean to send two. After giving the matter a great deal of study, I came to the conclusion that one message would be just as good as two, and in fact a little better, I think.

Q. Mr. President, how long is that going to be, when you put them together?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it will be long enough to keep you busy for quite some time. [Laughter]

[12.] Q. The Mayor of Chicago just told us that he discussed with you the--a way to prevent all of these firearms coming into the country as souvenirs and being used in a bad way in this country; and he said that Mr. Hannegan might do something to stop that. Can you tell us about that?

THE PRESIDENT. He did discuss it with me. We have been looking into that situation for quite some time and are trying to take the necessary steps to prevent those implements of destruction from getting into the wrong hands.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you come to any decision on raising the price of steel?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. That hasn't been discussed with me.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, a moment ago, when someone asked you about possible comment on labor's stand in this General Motors strike, you said you had nothing more to say than that you had approved the fact finding. Does that preclude any comment on management's stand?

THE PRESIDENT. Management didn't take much interest in that fact-finding report, and I hope that they will at a later date.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, have you any sort of comment on demobilization?

THE PRESIDENT. I think General Eisenhower covered that very thoroughly this morning before the Congress, as did the Navy. I have a copy of the statement here, which I haven't had a chance to read yet.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, how do you feel about the general progress of the United Nations meeting in London?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it is doing remarkably well. And I think it is going to accomplish the purpose for which it was intended; that is, keep the future peace.

Q. Mr. President--

Q. Mr. President, are there any plans--

THE PRESIDENT. Let me answer the lady's question, and then I will answer yours.

[17.] Q. Did the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry leave any preliminary recommendations or report with you this morning?

THE PRESIDENT. NO. They did not have facts enough to base any preliminary report on.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, are there any plans for taking over the meat packing industry?

THE PRESIDENT. There are not.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to discuss the St. Lawrence Seaway in your State of the Union Message?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so. I sent a special message on that, and that special message still stands.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, General Eisenhower said this morning that the requirements of the Army for a million and a half men by July 1st couldn't be met unless the recruiting program, or the enlistments under Selective Service were increased, that they were now well below the 50,000 a month that they needed. Are there any plans to increase the Selective Service call now, to hitch it up to that?

THE PRESIDENT. We have been asking the Selective Service for So, odd a month. I think the greatest number they have ever got was 37,000.

Q. Is there anything that can be done to bring that up?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know of anything. Selective Service has that.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, has anybody intervened with you in behalf of this boy who is accused of killing two Japanese?


Q. Have you anything on it?

THE PRESIDENT. I have had no official word on it. All I know about it is what I have seen, the Post article in the paper.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, when are you sending up the special message on the British loan?

THE PRESIDENT. After the annual message goes up, yes.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans for asking any additional authority over labor disputes, in addition to your fact-finding? The reason I ask that is this: under your fact-finding procedure as proposed--such as has been gone through with this subpoenaing of the books at this time-you have a strike more than 30 days old so that the situation will be just as it is now. I am wondering whether you have any other plans?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I think a fact finding setup would answer the purpose. It has worked very satisfactorily in the railroad program, and that was where I got the idea. I have been on the Interstate Commerce Committee of the Senate, and studied that situation very thoroughly, and have appointed, since I have been President, several fact-finding committees for railroad disputes. They worked very successfully.

Q. The reason I asked that, sir, was this: if this bill had been passed before this General Motors fact-finding board had been named--

THE PRESIDENT. I think the General Motors strike would have been settled, if that had been done.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us anything about Mr. Lockers report? You remember in Kansas City you said it would be out in a few days.

THE PRESIDENT. We decided to hold it up for a future release until General Marshall's job is completed in China.

Q. You haven't got any idea at this time, then, when that might be?

THE PRESIDENT. No. It will be released at a very much later date.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's forty-third news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4:05 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15, 1946. The White House Official Reporter noted that John R. Steelman, Special Assistant to the President, John W. Snyder, Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, and Postmaster General Robert E. Hannegan were present at the conference.

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/232064

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