Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

February 07, 1952

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] I have one announcement here to make, and that is that I just sent down the name of Governor Ellis Arnall 1 to be Price Administrator, in place of Mike DiSalle.2

1 Former Governor of Georgia.

2 See also Item 34.

Q. Mr. President, you said you sent it down--already

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it has gone.

Q. When will that be released then, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I am releasing it right now. This is the first that has been said about it in the normal line.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, have you given any thought to appointing a successor to District Commissioner John Russell Young, who said he would give up--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have. I have given it a lot of thought.

Q. Are there other candidates, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, there are. Usually a number of candidates for a job like that.

Q. For a Republican--he is a Republican. Are you considering any Republicans?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't looked into the politics of the people under consideration-I don't know--probably I am. [Pause]

What's the matter, Smitty?3

3Merriman Smith of the United Press Associations.

[3.] Q. Well, Mr. President, we are just writing that one down. I have got one here. [Laughter] The departure of Dr. Cushing from the Veterans Administration 4 has resurrected the criticism of General Carl Gray,55 and there was a demand or a plea in the paper this morning from the American Veterans Committee, asking you to investigate and/or remove Carl Gray?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that is an administrative matter which is in Carl Gray's office. I don't know anything about it.

4Dr. E. H. Cushing, Assistant Chief Medical Director for Research and Education Service in the Veterans Administration, had just resigned.

5Carl R. Gray, Jr., Administrator of Veterans' Affairs.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, do you suppose the White House will be ready when Queen Juliana of The Netherlands will visit the United States April 2d? 6

THE PRESIDENT. We sincerely hope so. I can't promise it. I had a bunch of reporters over there yesterday explaining the situation to them. I think we had a very nice time. I did. We are hoping for the best. I would like very much to have it finished.

6See Items 73, 74, 78.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, some of us are beginning to get queries about Bill Hillman's book about the Presidency, or about or in collaboration with you--whichever it is.7 I wonder if you could tell us anything about how it got started?

THE PRESIDENT. Bill Hillman came to see me and told me what he had in mind. And it appeared to me to be all right. I have been answering some questions for him and helping a little bit, but you will have to wait until the book comes out. I can't tell you a thing that's in it. I want you to buy one. [Laughter]

7William Hillman, "Mr. President" (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1952, 253 pp.).

Q. I understand a lot of your own writing is in there. Is that true, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I Can't answer that.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, there is a published report that you are making some kind of temporary arrangement to run the Reconstruction finance Corporation, and one report says you are going to run the RFC yourself. What is the situation on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I could do that, you know, if I wanted to. Three very distinguished Senators were in to see me yesterday on that subject--the Senator from South Carolina, Mr. Maybank, the Senator from Arkansas, Mr. Fulbright, and the Senator from Indiana, Mr. Capehart. And we had a very nice conversation on the subject. And that Senate committee informed me that due to the fact that a House committee is investigating the Securities and Exchange Commission, they could not act on Mr. McDonald's appointment.8

8Harry A. McDonald served as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission until February 26, at which time he took the oath as Administrator of the Reconstruction finance Corporation. He had received the confirmation of the United States Senate on February 25.

Now, that is the first time in my long connection with the Senate that I have ever known a Senate committee to let a House committee tell them what they ought to do.

Q. Well, there is a report, sir, that you are bringing Mr. Bukowski9 back as deputy--

THE PRESIDENT. I have not had that under consideration. I am anxious to have Mr. McDonald confirmed, and until Mr. McDonald is confirmed the RFC will run--you needn't worry about it--I will take care of that.

9Peter I. Bukowski, former Deputy Administrator of the Reconstruction finance Corporation.

Q. Will Mr. Symington 10 remain there?

THE PRESIDENT. NO. Mr. Symington is going to Jamaica for a vacation.

10W. Stuart Symington's resignation from the post of Administrator of the Reconstruction finance Corporation became effective on February 15.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, General Eisenhower was quoted the other day as saying he was opposed to Spain's admission to NATO. Are those your sentiments, too?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about General Eisenhower's statement because I didn't see it. And I have never been very fond of Spain. [Laughter]

Q. The answer then is affirmative, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. That is my answer. I gave it to you.

[8.] Q. Moving over one country, Mr. President, do you think Cavendish Cannon will be the next Ambassador to Portugal?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. Whenever I am ready

Q. Is he under consideration?

THE PRESIDENT. --whenever I am ready to announce that, I will let you know in plenty of time. You won't get scooped, because I won't just hand it to one fellow. [Laughter]

[9.] Q. Mr. President, a group of Republicans are drafting a resolution to try to direct you to resubmit the budget in a balanced form. Have you any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. The budget has been submitted and will stay just as it is. They must do a little work on that budget, and that's what hurts them. What is it?

[10.] Q. Mr. President, several distinguished Members of the Senate are organizing in behalf of Senator Russell for President. I wonder if you would vote for him on the Democratic ticket?

THE PRESIDENT. If Senator Russell is the head of the Democratic ticket this fall, of course I'll vote for him.

Q. Do you think there is much likelihood of that, Mr. President ?

THE PRESIDENT. You mustn't put me on the spot. [Laughter]

[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to campaign in New Hampshire ?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q. Will you make any speeches--

THE PRESIDENT. NO.

Q.--or anything like that?

THE PRESIDENT. NO.

Q. Just stand for--

THE PRESIDENT. Just let the river take its course.

Q. Mr. President, that phrase I remember you have used before, back home, during the reign of T. J. Pendergast 11

THE PRESIDENT. It originated in my campaign in 1934.

11 Former leader of the Democratic Party in Kansas City, Mo.

Q. That's right. Does that mean generally, or just in New Hampshire?

THE PRESIDENT. Generally.

Q. That makes a better story.

THE PRESIDENT. That covers the whole front--the whole waterfront.

Q. Mr. President, it has been--I don't know the history of that. Has this been a usual phrase in your campaigns, to let the river take its course ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, but I sometimes put a few walls and sometimes put a dam across the river, too. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, I am a little confused, you sometimes put a few walls and what else?

THE PRESIDENT. And sometimes put a dam across the river and change its course. That has been done on several occasions. I can remember at least four campaigns that I have had to do that, and it has been a rather successful procedure up to date.

Q. Any dams in prospect, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. No. It keeps them from running, if it's in a fellow's way. [Laughter]

Q. Well, if you have been invited, Mr. President, there is the Quoddy dam?12

THE PRESIDENT. I recommended that, but that won't cause any river in the United States to run our way. That is out in the ocean.

12Passamaquoddy tidal power project in Maine.

Q. Well, you could inspect it, however, couldn't you ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that would be a fine thing, I think, to inspect it.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Benton 13 said today that you promised to come up there and campaign for him; you promised definitely to come up there and make some speeches. I wonder if you would elaborate on that? Is that part of a set plan now ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I will tell you this, just so you will have a clear understanding of the situation. I shall do everything I possibly can to help elect the Democratic nominee no matter who he is; and if I am invited to come to any special meetings in Connecticut, I will be glad to do what I can to help elect Senator Benton. I think he is a good Senator.

13 Senator William Benton of Connecticut.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, does your change of mind in New Hampshire constitute a dam?

THE PRESIDENT. It might. It doesn't, however. [Laughter]

[14.] Q. Mr. President, would you please tell us what you think of this bill which the Senate passed the other day, which said farmers should be penalized for harboring "wetbacks," but that their employment would not mean harboring ?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen the bill. It hasn't come to me for action. I can't tell you about it until I know what is in it, and as soon as I have it where I can, I will let you know exactly what I think about it.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, to get away from this metaphorical river, are you going to run for the Presidency again this year?

THE PRESIDENT. NO comment. You know I told you last week that I thought we had discussed that long enough, and sometime or other I am going to make you an announcement that will clear the air.

Q. Well sir, we thought maybe you might want to make it today?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't want to make it today.

Q. Mr. President, is there a prospect that you might announce it before the New Ham?sire primary, when your name will first be before the people?

THE PRESIDENT. What's that? I didn't understand.

Q. Is there a prospect that you will make your intentions known before the vote in New Hampshire ?

THE PRESIDENT. The vote in New Hampshire wouldn't have anything to do with my decision.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, I am a little confused on the answer on this Veterans Administration. You were asked about a plea of the American Veterans Committee to investigate or remove Carl Gray, and I thought your answer was that that is an administrative matter, and I--

THE PRESIDENT. The matter that caused that request is an administrative matter--

Q. I see.

THE PRESIDENT. --in Carl Gray's office, and he is handling it, and I know nothing about it. People don't usually get anywhere, asking me to fire people.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Williams14 has said in the Senate today that in his opinion you have not been aggressive enough in dealing with what is called corruption in the Bureau of Internal Revenue?

THE PRESIDENT. How much more aggressive does a man have to be when he fires those who go wrong and has some of them prosecuted ?

14 Senator John J. Williams of Delaware.

What he would like to do is have them all fired so he could get some Republicans in there, I guess. [Laughter] He isn't going to get that done.

Q. Well, he also seems to feel that Secretary Snyder15 must be held responsible for these conditions--mentioning names and denouncing officials who condone the scandais--

THE PRESIDENT. They have all been named, and some of them are indicted right now.

15John W. Snyder, Secretary of the Treasury.

Q. You do not--

THE PRESIDENT. One of them has been tried and got a sentence.

Q. Do you feel that Secretary Snyder is to blame in this matter at all?

THE PRESIDENT. NO, I don't. Not any more to blame than you are. These things happen. These things happen all the time--in banks and in businesses. Well, look at this grain that has been stolen by these grain fellows. Secretary Brannan16 didn't have anything to do with that any more than John Snyder had to do with the crookedness in the Internal Revenue Department. That is just a piece of foolishness in politics, that's all it is. Whatever action is necessary we will take to clean those things up.

16 Charles F. Brannan, Secretary of Agriculture.

[18.] Q. On that point of the grain shortages, did you discuss with Secretary Brannan your reorganization of the Commodity Credit Corporation or its administration ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I did not.

Q. You don't plan to?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The Commodity Credit Corporation is set up by the Congress, and I signed the bill just like I do for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Reconstruction finance Corporation, and things of that kind. I had nothing under consideration for its reorganization.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided who will represent you at the funeral of King George?

THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary of State.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you could say further about the exchange of letters between you and Mr. Caudle? 17

THE PRESIDENT. No. Nothing to add to it at all.

17Theron Lamar Caudle, former Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division.

Q. Mr. President, one along that line. Last December you said that sometime back you had been aware of the outside activities--

THE PRESIDENT. That is true. I had--

Q. Could you tell us how far back?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't remember. I can't remember how far back, but I had a report on him which I was having investigated. I don't make snap judgments on these things at all. As soon as I got the evidence, I let him go.

Q. Could you tell us what brought it to your attention?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't. Can't remember. The report is in my file somewhere. I am not going to let you see it.

Q. That was the next question.

THE PRESIDENT. That's what I thought. [Laughter]

[21.] Q. To clarify a point, Mr. President, when you said you have never been very fond of Spain, you are referring to the Franco government?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right. That's right.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and ninety-third news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, 1952.

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/230940

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