Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 17, 1952

[Held in the National Museum and attended by members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors as well as the regular White House correspondents. ]

MR. SHORT.1 I will leave it to the President to welcome you, but I have a brief announcement to make.

[1.] This is a regular press conference, and the usual rules will apply. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the rules, they are: (1) Unless specified to the contrary, you can write anything that is said here. (2) No direct quotations on the President, unless specifically authorized.

1 Joseph H. Short, Secretary to the President.

The correspondents have requested that the editors identify themselves when they ask a question, and I hope that the correspondents will do the same for the editors.

Mr. Jones,2 the President of the Society, will wind up the questioning by the editors, and that will be the signal to the correspondents to ask their questions.

2 Alexander F. Jones of the Syracuse Herald-Journal, president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

[2.] Q. Mr. Jones: Mr. President, on behalf of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, I just want to express our appreciation for your treatment of us in the past. You have addressed our banquets, our luncheons, and you have gone out of your way to be very kind, and we greatly appreciate this opportunity, because it is the last time that we are going to meet you as President.

And I am going to take the opportunity of asking you the first question, if you don't mind, and that is, I wonder if you would care to comment on your political philosophy in retiring, irrespective of any personal considerations ?

THE PRESIDENT. I--first, before I answer Mr. Jones' question, I am happy to have you here. I hope you enjoyed the trip to the rehabilitated President's house, and that you got to see everything you wanted to see up there. You will find out, if you look closely, that you have to inquire where any changes have taken place.

My only difficulty now is to find my shirts and socks--which I will probably be able to do by the time we get ready to move out.

This, by the way--for your information-is the 300th press conference which I have held since I have been President of the United States.

I want to say to Mr. Jones that I have been a very close student of the Presidency of the United States, and also of the individual Presidents who have occupied the place since Washington's time.

And my reason for not running again is based on the fact that I don't think that any man--I don't care how good he is--is indispensable in any job. The Presidency itself is a continuing office, the greatest office in the history of the world, and that office ought to be continuing as far as individuals are concerned.

And another thing in connection with it. When a man has been in this very responsible position for 8 years, which I will practically have been by the 20th day of next January, he has--or should have by that time--made all the contribution that he possibly can to the welfare of the Nation. He has either done it well, or he has done it not well.

I have tried my best to give the Nation everything I had in me. There are a great many people--I expect a million in the country--who could have done the job better than I did it. But, I had the job, and I had to do it. And I always quote one epitaph which is on a tombstone in the cemetery at Tombstone, Ariz. It says, "Here lies Jack Williams, he done his damndest." [Laughter] I think that is the greatest epitaph that a man can have. When he gives everything that is in him to the job that he has before him, that's all you can ask of him. And that's what I have tried to do.3

Now I am ready for your questions.

3 The President's opening statement was released by the White House later in the day.

[3.] Q. A. Reed Sarratt, Jr., Winstom Salem (N.C.) Journal-Sentinel: Mr. President, Mr. Newbold Morris addressed us at lunch today, and said he didn't know why he had been fired.4 I wonder if you could tell us why ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a question that I will have to avoid answering--I'm sorry. If he doesn't know why, there is no reason for my telling him.

4 See Item 75 [2, 4].

[4.] Q. Barry Bingham, Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal: Mr. President, would you say how you feel about the withdrawal of Governor Stevenson5 from the presidential race?

THE PRESIDENT. I think Governor Stevenson is a good man. I think he would have made a good candidate for President, but he has control of his own actions, and the only comment I can make on it is that I am sorry he did not go into the Democratic convention.

5Governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois.

[5.] Q. (Name inaudible), Radio Richmond: Mr. President, more than a year ago, sir, you stated that you would have a hand in drawing up the platform for the next convention. In this coming platform, will there be a compulsory FEPC ?

THE PRESIDENT. I read the Democratic platform on March 29th. If you will read that speech,6 you will know what it is going to be.

6 See Item 69.

[6.] Q. Lester Markel, New York Times: Mr. President, what do you think ought to be done with ex-Presidents? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. You know, on their immediate retirement, there are a lot of people would like just to put a rock around them and put them in the Potomac River right out here.

But I think all ex-Presidents--and I hope to be one for some time--can make a contribution to the welfare of the country. Herbert Hoover has made a contribution to the welfare of this country. He did a wonderful job for me in 1946, and he also served as chairman of the commission which went into the reorganization of the Government.7

7In 1946 Mr. Hoover served as Honorary Chairman of the famine Emergency Committee and in 1947-49 was Chairman of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government.

I think every man who has held this position accumulates knowledge that ought to be available for the whole country, and I expect to do whatever I am asked to do, just like these people have done for me while I have been President.

[7.] Q. Walter Jones, McClatchy Newspapers in California: Mr. President, I have heard some talk in Washington since I arrived on Monday, that some people are proposing that if the Republican convention nominates General Eisenhower, that the Democrats should do the same thing. Would you care to express an opinion on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment on that. [Laughter]

[8.] Q. A. M. Piper, Council Bluffs (Iowa) Nonpareil: Mr. President, you were over our town yesterday, and I wonder if you would like to say what you think we can do to avoid another catastrophe such as the one facing us now?

THE PRESIDENT. Back in 1926, General Pick and I--he then was the engineer for the Missouri River, stationed at Kansas City-went into the flood situation from the headwaters of the Missouri, and the headwaters of the Mississippi to Cairo, Ill. General Pick at that time began to work on a plan, particularly a plan for the Missouri River basin as a whole. It drains, I believe he told us yesterday, some 600,000 square miles. He finally came up with a plan--a compromise plan it was--he and Mr. Sloan came along with a plan, and we have been trying to implement that plan.8 It hasn't been with very much energy or with very much promptness that that plan has been implemented. Had that plan been completed--I mean, the whole thing, which affects all the small rivers as well as the Missouri itself--I think last year's disaster, and this one, too, could have been avoided.

8Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, Chief of Engineers of the United States Army, and William G. Sloan, formerly with the Bureau of Reclamation, were joint authors of the Pick-Sloan plan for the Missouri Valley. The Corps of Engineers was given responsibility for determining the capacity of main-stem and tributary reservoirs for flood control and navigation. The Bureau of Reclamation assumed responsibility for determining the capacities of reservoirs for irrigation purposes. The plan was approved by Congress on December 22, 1944 (see. 9, 58 Stat. 891).

It seems that this country has a peculiar complex. They never take things that might happen and try to do something about them before they happen. They always have to be in the midst of a disaster before they go to work and do what ought to be done to meet the situation.

I have had exactly the same trouble with the national defense program. I hope there will be no letdown on the national defense program. And I hope we can finish this preliminary program for those big rivers out there in the Middle West, because that is the breadbasket of the Nation, as I said yesterday,9 and we ought to take care of them. Had it not been for that breadbasket working full steam ahead during the Second World War, we could have lost the war. And that means something to the world and to us. And I am sorry that it takes something like--such as happened on the lower Missouri last year, and such as has happened on the upper Missouri this year, and the upper Mississippi this year--to wake people up to the fact that something ought to be done to meet these situations. And they can be met.

9 See Item 97.

[9.] Q. Raymond A. McConnell, Jr., Lincoln (Nebr.) State Journal: Mr. President, in urging an overall program for the Missouri basin breadbasket, do you mean to include in addition to the Pick-Sloan plan, the Department of Agriculture plans for proper land management, conservation, and small watershed treatment?

THE PRESIDENT. It all goes together.

Q. And a second part of this question, sir--in saying at Omaha that the Governors should join you in getting action now and should stop fooling around, did you mean to imply abandonment of the policy by which, since the outbreak of the Korean war, the Budget Bureau has impounded several millions of dollars of appropriated funds?

THE PRESIDENT. It had no connection with that whatever. We have had in the Missouri Valley 9 Governors--I believe it's 9, or 11--that are affected by this flood control plan, and most of them have been dragging their feet for the last 25 years. I just want them to pick their feet off the ground and help me to get started on a plan. But that has no relationship whatever with the budget.

[10.] Q. Coleman Harwell, Nashville Tennessean: Mr. President, you have stated that the prevention of world war III was one of the accomplishments of your administration. Would you care to comment, sir, as to what you feel is your greatest contribution on the domestic policy ?

THE PRESIDENT. Will you please ask that question again, I couldn't hear?

Q. Mr. Harwell: You have stated that the major contribution of your administration was the prevention of world war III. Would you care to comment as to what you feel has been the greatest contribution of your administration on the domestic front?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I will be glad to do that, for I think it's equally as great a contribution. We have been able to keep employment at full tilt. We have been able to fix the income of the country so that it's fairly distributed. The farmers are in better shape than they have ever been in before--you have given me a chance now to make a political speech! Labor is in better shape than it has ever been in before, and so is management and industry. They never had such glowing times as they have had over the last 5 or 6 years. I think that is the greatest contribution I have made to the domestic situation. An even economy, well-balanced, so that everybody has a fair chance.

[11.] Q. (Name inaudible): Mr. President, what do you consider is the paramount issue of the 1952 election?

THE PRESIDENT. The paramount issue of the 1952 election is the defense program to keep peace in the world, and to keep this economy of ours on an even keel. They all go together. If one fails, they will all fail.

[12.] Q. Herbert Brucker, Hartford Courant: Mr. President, do you think the economy can be kept on that even keel without the rearmament program?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, of course I do. When the rearmament program is finished, if we can go ahead with the improvement of the underdeveloped areas of the world, and even raise the standard of living of the underdeveloped countries of this world at least 2 percent, our production machine can never stop in the next 25 years.

[13.] Q. Colvin T. Leonard, Greensboro (N.C.) Record: Mr. President, I don't want to seem to be ridiculous, but a certain news agency sent a story down to North Carolina the other day, to the effect that rumors are going around Washington that you were coming to the University of North Carolina to teach history. Do you have any comment ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, sir--I will tell you something about that. I am no historian. I have no college degrees except honorary ones that they have given me since I have been in the Senate and President of the United States, and I don't believe there is any college in the country that would consider me qualified to teach history--or anything else. [Laughter]

Q. Arthur V. Burrowes, St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press--

THE PRESIDENT. I know you.

Q. Mr. Burrowes: Mr. President, in view of what you have said, you know of course, that Walter Williams, president--late president of Missouri University--never had a college degree except an honorary one. There has been much talk in Missouri of offering the presidency to the present Governor of Missouri, your friend Forrest Smith. Would you consider the presidency of the University of Missouri ?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I can. I don't think your Republican editor of that St. Joseph paper ought to come down here and try to undercut my Democratic Governor. [Laughter]

[14.] Q. (Name inaudible): Mr. president, if you can seize the steel mills under your inherent powers, can you, in your opinion, also seize the newspapers and/or the radio stations?

THE PRESIDENT. Under similar circumstances the President of the United States has to act for whatever is for the best of the country. That's the answer to your question.10

10 See also Item 107 [1, 2, 8].

[15.] Q. McClellan Van der Veer, Birmingham News: Mr. President, you spoke of 8 years as being the limit for one man in the Presidency.

THE PRESIDENT. It is constitutional.

Q. Do you think there is any limit for one party remaining continuously in power[laughter]-

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't. As long as that party makes the country work for the most people and their benefit, that party can stay in power as long as they can do that. I do have some ideas about--since the President is limited by constitutional amendment to two terms, it doesn't affect me, however, but I think it is ethical that I should recognize it. I think there are some other limitations on terms in Government that would be very helpful to the welfare of the country. [Laughter]

[16.] Q. Charles E. Gallagher, Lynn (Mass.) Item: Mr. President, I wonder if you would comment on what you consider the greatest contribution the average layman could make to his country in the present conditions?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I think the average person ought to inform himself fully as to just exactly what the United Nations stands for, what it means to world peace. And he himself ought to try in every way he possibly can to make his own individual contribution to the welfare of the country, locally in his local community, in his city community, in his county community, and in his State, and in his Nation. I think every citizen in the United States owes it to himself to become a first-class politician. And politics in this country, under our form, is government. And when you try to cast aspersions on a politician, you are not doing yourself or your country any good. I am a politician, and I am proud of it.

[17.] Q. Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Tulsa Tribune: Mr. President, do you see any progress toward a satisfactory peace settlement in Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on that.

[18.] Q. Robert W. Akers, Beaumont (Tex.) Enterprise: Mr. President, you were speaking of citizens interesting themselves in politics. The Democrats in Texas and Louisiana and the South find that the only major candidates now left in the running for the Democratic side of the November election are now southerners, a very remarkable situation. Now, I would like to ask you, sir, as the number one Democrat--I mean this quite seriously--do you think it is conceivable that a southerner could be nominated against the will of the Northern Democrats ?

THE PRESIDENT. A southerner could be nominated if he is willing to run on the Democratic platform. And he could be elected if he would run on the Democratic platform. [Laughter] You can't be a Democrat with reservations, however.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, may I state, sir, when I asked the question earlier in the day, I overlooked the fact that Mr. Short said we should identify ourselves. It was Radio Richmond which asked the question.

THE PRESIDENT. I understand. We all know you. But these editors don't. I am glad you made that announcement.

Now gentlemen, are you ready for the reporters to go to work on me ?

[20.] Q. Frank A. Knight, Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette: To what do you attribute the fact that newspaper editors polled are pretty bad in picking presidential winners?

THE PRESIDENT. I will tell you exactly what is the matter with them. They don't know anything about politics. And I am trying to tell you to learn something about it. [Laughter]

[21.] Q. Lenoir Chambers, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: Mr. President, I think it is a fact that a large portion of the Democratic Party looks to you for leadership in the choice of a candidate. Would you care to say whether you will try to express your views as to a wise choice for the party on a candidate?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have the same right as every other Democrat in the United States. I have a right to express my opinion when the time comes. The time is not now.

You reporters got anything to add to this now? I think these editors have run dry. [Laughter]

[22.] Q. Anthony H. Leviero, New York Times: May we have permission to quote your opening remarks on the Presidency-quote you directly ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, you have my permission.

Q. Merriman Smith, United Press Associations: Well, that raises the question, how far does that quote run now?

THE PRESIDENT. That's the answer--it runs until the first question was asked after Mr. Jones'.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, Averell Harriman--

THE PRESIDENT. Tell these people who you are. [Laughter]

Q. Edward T. Folliard, Washington Post:--has announced that he is a candidate for the Presidency. Do you think he is well qualified, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I do. I think Averell Harriman is one of the most patriotic citizens in the country, and an able one.

[24.] Q. Carl McCardle, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin: Do you have any comment, sir, on Senator Douglas' endorsement of Senator Kefauver for the Presidency ?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. Every man is entitled to his own opinion.

[25.] Q. Fred Perkins, Scripps-Howard: Sir, in the steel situation, do you think Secretary Sawyer should impose the Wage Board's settlement in full or in part on the steel companies?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment--I have no comment to make on that. That is a matter for negotiation.

Q. Sir, it is a matter for Mr. Sawyer to decide.

THE PRESIDENT. It is not. The thing has to be decided by the President of the United States in the long run. The buck always comes to my desk and I meet it. But I am not ready to comment on it now.

[26.] Q. May Craig, Portland (Maine) Press Herald:

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, May ?

Q. Sometimes you pick on us at the press conferences, and frequently you say you can't get things in the papers. Why don't you now tell the editors your complaints about us and them? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. May, my complaints usually-always are specific, and I haven't one today on which to bounce you.

[27.] Q. [Name inaudible], Washington Daily News: Mr. President, how long can Washington get along without a Register of Deeds?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, it can get along forever, as far as I am concerned. [Laughter] What did you want, Smitty?

[28.] Q. Merriman Smith, United Press Associations: Mr. President, the D.A.R. today said that they thought there ought to be an inspection of the gold supplies at fort Knox. What do you think of that?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, Smitty, I will recognize a committee from the D.A.R.'s and give them a pass so that they can go down and look at it, if they want to.

[29.] Q. Edward T. Folliard: Mr. President, I would like to go back to something you said in response to Mr. Jones' question. Did you, sir, ever intend to run for a third term ?

THE PRESIDENT. I never did. I made up my mind at least 3 months after I got the second term that I didn't think it would be right.

[30.] Q. Raymond P. Brandt, St. Louis-post-Dispatch: Mr. President, have you read Mr. Byrnes'11 article in Collier's that is coming out tomorrow ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

11The article by Governor James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, former Secretary of State, appeared in the April 26 edition of Collier's magazine.

Q. Have you had any intimation about it ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I know nothing about it, Pete.

[31.] Q. Mr. President, do you think Averell Harriman, or any potential Democrat has the same sort of political "moxey" that you had in 1948, or that "Ike" Eisenhower might have in 1952 ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, that depends altogether on the impression they make on the voters. You have got to go out and sell the voters a bill of goods. I went 31,700 miles, and made 355 appearances, and spoke to 7 million people, and saw 7 million more, spoke to 30 million people over the radio, and sold them a bill of goods, and I became the President. [Laughter and applause]

[32.] Q. Alan S. Emory, Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times: Mr. President, last week, or rather this week, you met with some Canadian officials on the St. Lawrence River project.

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. When they came out, foreign Minister Lester Pearson issued a statement. I would like to know on the basis of that, first, whether you have agreed to what you last termed your second best choice on the St. Lawrence, in other words, an alternating seaway; and second, in that event, whether you have decided as to whether a Federal agency or New York State could build the power dam on the United States part of the river, and if so, which one ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very anxious for the seaway to be built, and for the power to be .developed. We have been 21 years negotiating with Canada. Canada has been very patient with us. They came up with the Proposition that they would like to build the seaway, and that they would like to make arrangements to develop the power. And I am very anxious that the Congress take immediate action to go ahead with the agreement that was made in 1941. If they don't, I am going to cooperate with Canada on their construction of the seaway, because we must have it. And when we come to the power development, I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

[33.] Q. Mr. President, I am Sarah McClendon. I represent several Texas papers, and the bosses are here, so I will just say I am from Texas papers. Would you please comment on another figure who withdrew this week--Senator Tom Connally. He isn't going to run for the Senate again. Would you care to make some remarks about that ?

THE PRESIDENT. Senator Connally came to see me last Sunday morning, and told me that he did not expect to file for the Senate in Texas. I was very sad about that. Senator Connally was on my investigating committee in the Senate. I was on his Public Buildings and Grounds Committee when I first went to the Senate. Senator Connally and I developed a plan to build a tremendous auditorium here in the city of Washington. We also developed a plan to finish the Capitol Building, which has never been finished, it is still--the dome still hangs in the air. My relations with Senator Connally have been of the finest, and I really am sorry to see him quit.

[34.] Q. Merriman Smith: Mr. President, some of us got the impression yesterday at Omaha that you had some specific plan of action regarding flood relief-something new that you were going to do. Is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT. We are still--General Pick and I are always improving the plans for flood control in that great valley from Pittsburgh to Denver and from Minnesota to the Gulf.

Q. Raymond P. Brandt: Mr. President, there was a report that you were going to take flood control away from the Army Engineers and give it to Interior. Is there anything to that ?

THE PRESIDENT. There was a recommendation by the Hoover Commission for putting the civil part of the engineering business under one head. That is under consideration, as it always has been since the report came in.12

12See Item 107 [6].

Q. Mr. Brandt: One story said it might go up very shortly as one of your recommendations ?

THE PRESIDENT. It is not ready yet.

Q. Mr. Brandt: It is not ready yet?

THE PRESIDENT. Whenever we get it in shape, I am going to send it up.

Q. Mr. President-

Q. Mr. President, Ruth Montgomery Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I can't talk to three at once. Let me talk to the lady first over here, Tony, and then I will talk to you.

[35.] Q. Ruth Montgomery, New York Daily News: Mr. President, you made a very fine speech last week against colonialism,13 and then our United States delegate at the United Nations refused to vote to hear the Tunisian case--

THE PRESIDENT. Now you--you can't bring up a question like that at this press conference. It has no place here, and I'm sorry. You have to know all the facts, and all the details, before you can come to a sane conclusion on this thing. And you don't know all the facts, and I do-and I can't comment on it. What is it, Tony?

13See Item 81.

[36.] Q. Ernest Vaccaro, Associated Press: Mr. President, you were questioned a little while ago about Newbold Morris not knowing why he was fired. You said that was a question he would have to answer. Actually, the firing was done by the Attorney General. Is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. Who was it down here--Tony?

[37.] Q. Anthony H. Leviero, New York Times: Mr. President, one of our foreign colleagues would like your comments on the visit of the Swedish Prime Minister.

THE PRESIDENT. I had a very, very fine visit with the Prime Minister of Sweden14 He is a grand gentleman. And the Ambassador to us from Sweden was at the luncheon, and the Secretary of State 15 told a good story which I am going to repeat--I haven't got his permission for it, but I am going to repeat it.

14 Tage Erlander, Prime Minister of Sweden, visited the President on April 14. He was accompanied by Erik Boheman, Swedish Ambassador to the United States.

15 Dean Acheson.

He said there was a certain young man in the foreign Service in Sweden, who was going on a weekend vacation with his wife. And two of the foreign Service people in Sweden who were about the same rank he was--maybe down on the fourth or fifth level in the foreign Service--came down to see him off. The boat pulled out and took these two Swedes with him. They didn't have an overnight bag with them, and so the--Dean said they had to make use of his bathroom every morning. And they had a grand weekend. And one of those young Swedes is now the Ambassador from Sweden to the United States, and the other young fellow is the Secretary of State of the United States. [Laughter]

[38.] Q. Carl McCardle: Mr. President, what do you think of the cuts Congress has made in the defense appropriation?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will give you my opinion when the bill gets to me. You see, it is in the formative stage right now. What I asked for in the Budget is what we ought to have, but I can't comment on what Congress has done until it gets around to me, and then I will comment in no uncertain terms.

[39.] Q. Mr. President, I understood you to say awhile ago that you were going to try to do what people wanted you to do. Well, what if a considerable number of people in Missouri would like to have you back as a Senator again?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, there is an ethical situation in connection with that that bothers me. Nothing in the world would please me better than to go back to the United States Senate. I had the best time of my life while I was there, but I don't think it would be proper for the President of the United States--and this job never ceases from 5:30 in the morning until 11:30 at night while I am in it--to use that powerful office to get himself elected to another one. That is the reason I refuse to run for the Senate in Missouri.

Q. Ben H. Reese, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Spring Lake, N.J.--

THE PRESIDENT. How did you get way up there? [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, in the next senatorial campaign in Missouri, and you were relieved of your present responsibility, would you consider being a candidate for Senator from the same State?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I would love to be a candidate for the Senate from Missouri, but I wouldn't run against Tom Hennings.16 He comes up next.

What did you want to say?

16 senator Thomas C. Hennings, Jr., of Missouri.

[40.] Q. Frank Bourgholtzer, National Broadcasting Co.: Mr. President, the Ambassador to Austria, Mr. Donnelly,17 left your office this morning, and he was asked about the Russian peace offensive. He said he thought that if the Russians wanted to demonstrate a will for peace, they would settle on the Austrian peace treaty first. Is that your opinion, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. They should settle the Austrian peace treaty, and they should accept the arms limitation agreement which we have been trying to get them to accept for the last 5 years, if they really mean peace.

17 Walter J. Donnelly, U.S. Ambassador to Austria.

[41.] Q. Paul Leach, Chicago Daily News--

THE PRESIDENT. How are you, Paul?

Q. Mr. President, Senator Douglas this morning, in making his announcement on Kefauver, said that he had--or he would recommend to the Democrats of Illinois that they abandon the unit rule controlling delegations to national conventions, on the ground that they are no longer necessary, since the two-thirds rule has been abolished. Have you any comment on continuing or abolishing the unit rule in national conventions ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter for each State to decide for itself. I can't comment on what Illinois ought to do with its delegation.

[42.] Q. (Name inaudible): Mr. President, you commented today on Mr. Harriman and also on Governor Stevenson. I wonder if you would comment for us on your opinion of Senator Kefauver as a--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it's up to me to analyze all the candidates in the race on either side of the ticket. I am very fond of Senator Kefauver. He came to see me before he started to run. The Democratic National Convention will have to settle who is to be the candidate. I am not going to pick him here for you.

Q. Bert Andrews, New York Herald-Tribune: Mr. President, did you mean that you are going to pick the candidate at the convention, sir? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Now you know, you are one of these speculative fellows, Bert, and you like to make something out of everything I say. You can do whatever you please with it. [Laughter]

Q. Paul Leach: That raises a legitimate question, Mr. President. Do you intend.--

THE PRESIDENT. You mean Bert's wasn't legitimate? [More laughter]

Q. Do you expect to attend the Democratic convention at Chicago?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that would be ethical, either, for the President to. go. And everybody would say he had gone there to dominate the convention. I don't have any ambition to do that at all.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's three hundredth news conference was held in the National Museum Auditorium in Washington at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, 1952. The conference was held for the American Society of Newspaper Editors as well as the regular White House newspaper correspondents. Motion pictures and still photographs were taken 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/231717

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