Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

The President's News Conference

July 01, 1953

THE PRESIDENT. I have very little to volunteer to occupy your attention this morning.

One thing, if you are interested in my personal movements: I hope to be out of town for the weekend, up in Camp David, and to spend Saturday and Sunday there, as I did last week-very quietly, doing nothing.

The other thing--and of real importance--is this continued unrest in the satellite countries. I suppose most of you have read in detail Chancellor Adenauer's speeches on the subject. I must say that my own thinking goes a great deal along with his; that here we have a place advertised as the workers' paradise, and we have the repressions of tyranny finally resulting in spontaneous revolt that seem to spread like wildfire with no prior plan, almost--at least his speeches certainly indicate that.

It merely, I believe, reinforces the western contention that people who have known freedom still rate it as the highest of human values, and when it is taken away from them--and I mean freedom in the true and deep sense--that eventually man comes to the conviction that even life itself is worth spending for freedom. I think it is a most significant lesson to all of us.

Certainly the suffering of those people excites our pity just as it does our admiration, because it does seem unreasonable that people can't be allowed to live their own lives in this world. Certainly, it seems unreasonable to people who live in the Western World.

Now, I just make this one observation, ladies and gentlemen, because I have been following that movement. I have known some of those peoples very well, I admire them, and I visited some of the countries. I feel deeply moved by the things they are going through.

Other than that, I have nothing to volunteer, and so we will go right to the questions.

Q. Merriman Smith, United Press: Mr. President, is there anything you can tell us about the Korean situation? Particularly, are you hopeful or optimistic about the prospects of an armistice?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course, it is a confused situation, and there is not anything to tell you in detail that I think would make any real story.

There is this to remember: the enemy is still in North Korea-that is the principal enemy.

We are having an acute example of the difficulties that arise among allies that are really dedicated to the same principles and same basic ideas, but when we come to their application in a particular area or in a particular subject, a particular direction, we find that we get into difficulties. It is the history of coalitions; we shouldn't be too discouraged about it.

On the other hand, the differences are very real. People in emotional states are very apt to even overstate their cases, and it becomes extraordinarily difficult to get a reasonable solution.

However, I will say this: I still, in my own mind and in my very deepest convictions, believe that a satisfactory solution is coming out of it.

Q. David P. Sentner, Hearst Newspapers: Mr. President, can you tell us what the major objectives may be at the meeting Of the Big Three foreign ministers on July 10th, and how it may affect the proposed Bermuda meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. If I repeat myself in front of this group, I hope you will know that I so frequently have to talk; so often I forget the body that I have explained something to. But in the very inception of the Bermuda meeting it was hoped that there would be as little formality about it as possible, as little writing out of rigid agenda that would say, "We will reach a solution on X, Y, and Z."

What we were hoping was to get together and discuss in a friendly fashion the whole world situation, picking up those points where we had common interests and discussing them in a friendly way, to see whether or not it wasn't possible to develop a really satisfactory common purpose, common effort, in these vital regions or problems.

That was unfortunately put off due to the illness of the Prime Minister. But the need for discussing these various problems around the world--after all, there is Korea, there is NATO, there is Indochina, and Malaya; there is the Middle East; there are all sorts of problems to discuss; there is the business of trade-to meet and discuss these things in friendly fashion, in my opinion, should be done often.

This meeting that they are having, again, is in a more or less friendly and partially informal fashion of the first concept. They are going to have this talk. They are starting, I believe it is the 10th. Now, there is nothing that I can tell you that we hope as a definite and specific purpose to come out of it, except this increase of understanding among us.

Q. Raymond P. Brandt, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Mr. President, have you talked to Secretary Dulles about the purging of the books in the overseas libraries?

THE PRESIDENT. Only to the extent to ask him what had happened. He did do this: he sent me back the law under which those libraries were established. Have you read that?

Q. Mr. Brandt: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. I find that they were established with a very limited purpose. So I told him I wanted to talk further with him about it now, because obviously you can't violate the law, and he has sent me quite a memorandum. He and I are going to talk further about it.

Q. Mr. Brandt: Has he shown you a new directive yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No. As a matter of fact, he tells me that there is no directive he has issued that could possibly be responsible for some of the things we hear have happened.

Now, I think that I don't want at the moment to talk too much further about it, because that is as far as I have gotten in digging down to the bottom. I was unacquainted with the provision of the law.

Q. Mr. Brandt: Do you and he hope to get a clear directive eventually?

THE PRESIDENT. Certainly, I hope that.

Q. Mr. Brandt: Is it possible?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it should be, yes; I think it should be. I have never varied on this thing from the time that I first thought about books, as I think I referred to last time, to go back to the statements I made at Columbia; I still believe those things.

There is no question as to where I stand. Now, I think that we can make it clear so that any reasonable person can understand exactly what we mean.

Q. Mr. Brandt: If I may point out, I think there was some confusion between your Dartmouth speech and your press conference speech in which you said it was perfectly all right for the State Department to burn books or to do as they pleased with them.

THE PRESIDENT. I said burned books? You dig that out; I only believe I said that--

Q. Mr. Brandt: No, you said the State Department can do as it pleased.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't even know whether I said that. I said that that government would be foolish to promulgate and help to support the distribution of a book that openly advocated its own destruction by force.

I pointed out that in this Communist area one judge, at least one court, had found I I men guilty because they were in this Communist conspiracy, guilty of trying to destroy the United States by force, as I read the verdict.

I said they would be foolish to help promulgate and disseminate such a book. I don't think I said anything else about it.

Q. Mr. Brandt: I think there was a phrase there--

THE PRESIDENT. What was that phrase?

Q. Mr. Brandt:.--that they could do as they pleased about it. Someone asked if you approved of burning.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I said they could do as they pleased; if I have, then I would like to look at it. I would like to see it and in what connection, because I did say this: I get responsible people, and I expect them to carry out the policies of the Government.

Q. Mr. Brandt: One of the points was whether the books by Communists which are not on communism should be in the libraries.

THE PRESIDENT. I am not going to answer that strictly. You must read the law from which these particular libraries are established, and it says this: books about American life, about the American system of government, and the things that touch its own interests, in furthering its own interests. It is a very limited purpose in that law.

Q. Mr. Brandt: I am not standing up for any writer, but one of the writers was Dashiell Hammett who writes detective stories. So far as I know--and I have read several of them--I don't see anything communistic about them, but they were thrown out of the libraries.

THE PRESIDENT. Who were they thrown out by?

Q. Mr. Brandt: Well, the list was given out; it was--thrown out

THE PRESIDENT. Here? In Washington?

Q. Mr. Brandt: Oh, no; by the libraries overseas.

THE PRESIDENT. I think someone got frightened. I don't know why they should. I wouldn't; I will tell you that, I wouldn't.

Q. Anthony H. Leviero, New York Times: Mr. President, is there anything you can tell us about the report by William H. Jackson?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I would say this: he has made his report, but he made it in a form open to discussion. We had a long discussion about it either yesterday or the day before yesterday. It is coming back in final form and, as I recall--now, this is not a promise, but as I recall--it is planned to publish the summary and transmitting letter. So you will have it at first hand and we won't have to guess at its various details. I mean that is very soon, the summary of the report.1

1Released July 8; cited in footnote to Item 128.

Q. Mr. Leviero: Mr. President, were they unanimous in their findings?

THE PRESIDENT. So far as I know. I assume that on all such important subjects they had their fights, but as given to me there was no minority report given.

Q. Edward J. Milne, Providence Journal and Bulletin: Mr. President, are you going to oppose in the House the cuts by the Appropriations Committee in your defense budget?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I wouldn't even comment on that until I see them all in detail. The only way you could oppose them would be to send word to the Senate on where you were badly hurt; I don't know what else you could do.

Q. Mr. Milne: As I understand it, the cuts were announced on Saturday. I wondered if you had taken any action since Saturday to ask the leadership up there to oppose the cuts?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't say "to oppose them"; on specific items we told them what we need, we think, as a minimum. Of course there is always the opportunity if you get into a jam to go back to Congress and tell them what kind of a jam you are in. I am not going to comment in detail on those things at the moment, because it is all still in the hands of Congress; and it is a good time to keep still and let them work out their problems, I think.

Q. Roscoe Drummond, Christian Science Monitor: Mr. President, may I return to the matter of the revolt behind the Iron Curtain?


Q. Mr. Drummond: I would like to ask whether you feel that the events which are now taking place create an opportunity for the administration to take any tangible action to support liberation in line with its stated objectives?

THE PRESIDENT. We have always said we are for free elections in those countries. I do not believe that there is any thought of taking any physical action of any kind that could be classed as intervention.

I do think that in all of the normal activities of a people, of a government--the Government here--the statements, the speeches, the talks of members of Government should be directed towards showing what is the meaning of this kind of thing under these situations, and to try to show people that are suffering like that that they do have friends in the world and people that are standing by to help so far as is possible.

Q. Alan S. Emory, Watertown (N.Y.) Times: Mr. President, I wondered if you could tell us whether or not you were satisfied with the cooperation and treatment afforded to your legislative program to date by the Republican majority in Congress.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't think that is much of a question; I must say I think that is pretty general. But I do think this: I think that the whole Republican Party is gradually showing that it has taken over responsibility and is getting itself organized steadily to carry that responsibility, discharge it. Whether or not they always agree with me is not so important as that we get a progressive, needed program out before the people for their guidance and observance.

Q. W. L. Beale, Jr., Associated Press: Mr. President, I wonder if you would like to clarify your position on the Bricker constitutional amendment in the light of what Senator Knowland said yesterday indicating that you may have changed your mind about the necessity or the need for such amendment.

THE PRESIDENT. I have never changed my mind in this respect: I have always stated that I don't believe that any treaty can circumvent or supersede our Constitution.

Now, I don't believe it can now, but if there is any amendment necessary to make that simple statement, then such an amendment, if it would quiet fears anywhere in this whole country, would have my support.

I will never agree to anything that interferes with the constitutional and traditional separation of powers between the departments, and the necessary coordination as specified by our Constitution. So you get into a matter of words and semantics.

What I am getting down to is this: the Attorney General is working with the people on the Hill to see whether there is any possible language that satisfies their viewpoint or the particular viewpoint as represented by Senator Bricker and, at the same time, acceptable to the administration. But never would I agree with a disturbance of the constitutional powers between departments.

Q. Sarah McClendon, El Paso Times: Sir, I believe it was around April 29 that Secretary McKay recommended to you that Marvin Nichols be appointed Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner. Are you going to approve that recommendation and appoint Mr. Nichols?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't remember; I can say nothing about it.

Q. Mrs. McClendon: There was a United Press story, sir, to the effect that Mr. C. D. Jackson of your staff was opposing it.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can say this: I don't think C. D. Jackson ever came to me and said anything about an appointment. I don't know anything about these stories, but I do say this: when we have appointments to announce, why, we always get them out as fast as possible. [Laughter]

I really am not trying to be facetious, but the whole thing has slipped my memory, whatever you are talking about. So there is no use in trying to talk about it at the moment.

Merriman Smith, United Press: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Eisenhower's twelfth news conference was held in the Executive Office Building from 10:30 to 10:46 o'clock on Wednesday morning, July 1, 1953.

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/231716

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