Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 16, 1945

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I called this press conference at the suggestion of Mr. Ross, because I thought you hadn't all had a chance to look me in the face or ask me any impertinent questions. [Laughter] I haven't anything that you would break your arms to get out of the door for this morning. [Laughter] If you have questions to ask me--

[L] I have issued a proclamation setting aside Sunday as a day of prayer. After the 2 days' celebration I think we will need the prayer. [Laughter]

I am ready for any questions you have to ask. I will answer them if I can.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, the question I have written down here is: What is to be done with those three huge plants in the Manhattan project?

THE PRESIDENT. That is going to be up to the Congress. That Manhattan project product, in the long run, will be used for the welfare and benefit of the world instead of its destruction; and if Congress is willing to go along, we will continue the experiments to show how we can use that for peace instead of war.

Q. Are the wheels now turning ?--do you happen to know ?

THE PRESIDENT. The wheels are turning. I hope the Congress will want to go along.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, did you notice that the Japanese radio speakers indicate they are looking for revenge in the future?

THE PRESIDENT. Nearly every defeated people does that. That is natural. But I don't think they will have any chance at it. I don't think they will be able to implement it at all; at least, I hope not.

Q. Mr. President, there still seems to be a little confusion as to the legal status of V-J Day, when it comes.

THE PRESIDENT. V-J will be declared by proclamation when the terms of surrender are signed and implemented. The surrender isn't complete. There are still two million Japs fully armed.

Q. Will that day, once it is proclaimed--do you envision it as a holiday ? People will not be expected to work, will they?

THE PRESIDENT. I think they have had their holidays. There is too much to do to declare too many holidays.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, one of the new bills is the full employment bill?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. In Mr. Snyder's report there was no mention of that. Is there any intention of--

THE PRESIDENT. Full employment is a "must."

[5.] Q. Mr. President, will you or General MacArthur announce the signing of the surrender terms?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be announced from General MacArthur's headquarters.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, have you time to get back to the Supreme Court vacancy?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't had any chance to get to anything but what we have been going through; but politics is open and free now. [Laughter]

[7.] Q. Mr. President, anything you can tell us about the tax situation?

THE PRESIDENT. There is nothing now. Experts are working on it, and when they get the figures ready, I will give them to you.

[8.] Q. Anything about the Jewish national state discussed at Potsdam?

THE PRESIDENT. There was. I discussed the matter with Mr. Churchill and Mr. Attlee, and we are still discussing it.

Q. Not with Stalin?

THE PRESIDENT. No, there was nothing he could do about it.

Q. Mr. President, are you aware of any negotiations or conversations now with Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not.

Q. You know the situation; the Koreans are asking--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the Korean situation was discussed at Berlin, and the Korean program, I think, will be carried through as we anticipated-that it will be a free country.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, is Manila definitely fixed as the surrender place now?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. That is in the hands of the Allied Commander in Chief.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, did you take up the status of Hong Kong?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it was not discussed.

Q. Mr. President, there was a report General Eisenhower was returning here; have you any information on that.

THE PRESIDENT. I have not.

Q. Mr. President, was there any term of years fixed on the occupation of Germany?


Q. Some thought the 2-year reparations period indicates that we might get out in that time.

THE PRESIDENT. The occupation will depend entirely on how well the Germans rehabilitate themselves on the democratic way of life.

Q. Does that apply to the Japanese also?

THE PRESIDENT. It certainly will.

Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. Let this lady speak.

Q. Vivian Lovell, French News Agency: Have the different zones of occupation of Japan been discussed?

THE PRESIDENT. They have not.

Q. Are you anticipating any trips in the near future?

THE PRESIDENT. No; it's like moving a circus to get me around the country, and I will stay at home. [Laughter]

[11.] Q. Is Dean Acheson resigning from the Department of State?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter for the Secretary of State.

[12.] Q. What is the status of the War Labor Board under the new program--will it continue to exist?

THE PRESIDENT. No, the War Labor Board will only continue as long as there is a necessity, which I think will be only a limited time.

[13.] Q. Will there be occupation zones in Japan?

THE PRESIDENT. Japan will be occupied under the Commander in Chief for the Allies. I don't think there will be any necessity for zones of occupation in Japan. Probably there will be troops from the Allies in the occupation areas.

[14.] Q. How long do you think the draft will have to continue, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that Congress will have to decide. The draft is only temporarily continued for the need to get those soldiers who have been fighting discharged first. There is no reason why these young fellows who have nothing to do now should not replace the ones who have done the fighting so they can be discharged. The Congress will have to pass on that when they meet.

Q. Mr. President, are you going to make recommendations on what kind of peacetime military training we are to have?

THE PRESIDENT. I am going to make recommendations to Congress on a universal military training program which is not peacetime conscription.

Q. When?

THE PRESIDENT. When Congress meets.

[15.] Q. Any changes in the War Labor Board? Who will handle that?

THE PRESIDENT. The Department of Labor.

[16.] Q. Do you care to go any further with that peacetime military training now?

THE PRESIDENT. No, that will be a new story I will give you later. I don't want to talk about it today.

[17.] Q. Do you envisage the appointment of a political adviser to General MacArthur like Bob Murphy is to General Eisenhower?

THE PRESIDENT. If that is necessary, it will be done. The situation is entirely different in the Pacific.

[18.] Q. What was the American view on Palestine at Berlin?

THE PRESIDENT. The American view of Palestine is, we want to let as many of the Jews into Palestine as it is possible to let into that country. Then the matter will have to be worked out diplomatically with the British and the Arabs, so that if a state can be set up there they may be able to set it up on a peaceful basis. I have no desire to send 500,000 American soldiers there to make peace in Palestine.

Q. Was the meeting at Berlin the last of the Big Three meetings, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I cannot answer that question. It will have to be decided later.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, are you in a position to discuss what you want to do with the Army and Navy after the war ? There was some talk of combining them.

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't want to discuss that this morning. I will discuss it at a later date.

[20.] Q. Any decision made on the future home of the United Nations?

THE PRESIDENT. No, there has been no discussion of it.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, do you contemplate calling a conference of capital and labor in the near future?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sometime after Congress meets.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the rather sudden collapse of Japanese resistance, are plans in readiness now for the occupation?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, they are--for the control of the civilian government. General MacArthur has been working on those plans right along with his military plans.

Joe Fox, Washington Star: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Nice to have seen you all.

Note: President Truman's nineteenth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:03 a.m. on Thursday, August 16, 1945. The White House Official Reporter noted that Guy Innes of the British Ministry of Infermation was the special guest at this 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/231364

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