Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

January 31, 1952

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] I am announcing some additional members for the Committee on Government Contract Compliance1 (this is mimeographed and you can get it as you go out): Russell Forbes, Deputy Administrator, General Services Administration; Michael J. Galvin, Under Secretary of Labor; Everett L. Hollis, General Counsel, Atomic Energy Commission; and John D. Small, Chairman, Munitions Board.

1 See Item 7 [1].

[2.] I think you will find for distribution, when you go out, this little booklet here, "The Budget in Brief," which gives you a bird's-eye view of the budget, in language that is simple and can be understood. It is an excellent booklet, and as I said last year, if you will study it carefully you can't be confused by the budget.

That's all I have to say at this time.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, a whole week has passed since we asked you whether you were going to run again. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I'll tell you, I think enough questions have been asked on that, and there are so many more important things, I think we ought to drop that for the time being. When I get ready to make an announcement I will make it formally, and you will all know about it.

Q. Can I ask you one thing? Have you been getting any mail on the subject?

THE PRESIDENT, Not so much.

Q. Can you tell us how it runs, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you ought to know--it's all favorable. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, before we drop that-I don't want to intrude--but last week the Democratic State Committee in Pennsylvania asked you to seek reelection, and pledged unwavering and enthusiastic support if you should run.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that has been done all over the country by various and sundry organizations. I think it's time to drop the subject, as I said awhile ago. Because when I get ready to make a formal announcement, I will let you all know in plenty of time so that you can get to the telephone.

Q. I just thought Pennsylvania with all those wonderful votes might make a difference. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, quite apart from your own decision as to when you want to make your statement as to intentions yourself, there has been a new development in the last 24 hours in which your name has been filed as a candidate in New Hampshire, as I understand it, apparently without consultation with you or the national committee.

THE PRESIDENT. I saw it in the paper this morning. It will be taken off.2

Q. It will be taken off?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

2 See Item 28.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, were cables to you from General Lowe in Korea intercepted?3

THE PRESIDENT. No.

3 Maj. Gen. Frank E. Lowe, who spent 10 months in Korea as the President's personal representative, was quoted in the New York Times of January 26, 1952, as having said that some of his reports had not been delivered to the President. He stated that he was inclined to believe that the cablegrams had been stopped at the Pentagon. A spokesman for the Department of Defense said that there would be no comment on General Lowe's criticism of top military officials because "his remarks were a matter of opinion."

Q. You are aware that he has said that they were?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on what General Lowe said, and will not talk about it further, May.4

4 Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Q. Couldn't hear the question, May--

THE PRESIDENT. She wanted to know something about General Lowe and the cables, and I say I received every message that was ever sent from him, but there is no further comment on General Lowe.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, I have been asked by my paper to ask you this question. As a bit of background--in the loyalty investigation program, there are 846 cases in which decisions of the departmental loyalty boards were reversed by the Loyalty Review Board. Now the question is, in changing you have issued--I believe there are two orders.5 In the first you said loyalty should be based on reasonable grounds, and in the second order you said on reasonable doubt.

THE PRESIDENT. That amended order was written at the suggestion of the Loyalty Review Board, and at the suggestion of the Civil Service Commission, and the letters on that, I think were released at the time--

Q. I haven't--

THE PRESIDENT. --that covers the situation.

5Executive Order 9835 of March 21, 1947, entitled "Prescribing Procedures for the Administration of an Employees Loyalty Program in the Executive Branch of the Government" (3 CFR, 1943-1948 Comp., p. 627), and Executive Order 10241 of April 28, 1951, amending the above order (3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 749).

Q.--asked the question yet. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, well, go ahead. This is all background--go ahead.

Q. In setting the new "reasonable doubt" standards, was it your intention that these 846 cases would be reopened automatically and without discretion, or was it your intention that these 846 cases would be reviewed before the persons involved again were charged and their jobs again placed in jeopardy?

THE PRESIDENT. I would suggest that you read the two letters I referred to, and also read the order, very carefully.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, we heard last night that you had offered Ellis Arnall 6 a job. Is that so?

THE PRESIDENT. I might be in the frame of mind to give Ellis Arnall a job if he wanted it, but he did not come to see me about a job, and I don't think he wants one. I would be glad to have him in the administration if he wanted to come.

6 See Item 31 [1].

[7.] Q. Mr. President, there have been newspaper stories about a stop-Kefauver drive originating around the neighborhood of the White House. Have you heard anything about that? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Never heard of it. I don't want to stop anybody.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, I beg your pardon, but I want to follow Bills question--I wonder if taking off your name in New Hampshire-would that set a precedent for--if any other name were entered in any other primary, would that automatically be taken off?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

Q. Mr. President, I would like to clear up one thing. If you ask them to withdraw your name, does that preclude you from being a candidate?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all.

Q. That's what I want to get clear.

THE PRESIDENT. All these primaries are just eyewash when the convention meets, as you will find out. [Laughter]

Q. What was that? We didn't hear the question.

THE PRESIDENT. Ask it again.

Q. When the President said that he was going to have his name withdrawn from the New Hampshire primary, I wanted to make it clear that he didn't mean that would preclude him from not accepting the nomination.

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all. You see, all these primaries are eyewash. When it comes to the national convention meeting, it doesn't mean a thing.

Q. Why are you having your name withdrawn from the thing?

THE PRESIDENT. Why there isn't any sense in my entering a primary. If I want to be nominated, I don't have to go into any primary. [Laughter]

Q. The last question on this subject--I will ask it.

THE PRESIDENT. All right, Ed.7

7Edward A. Harris of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Q. Does the two-term limitation have any weight in your thinking about whether you will run again, even though you were exempted ?

THE PRESIDENT. The two-term limitation I think is all right, but you must understand that by a technicality I have only had one term.

Q. But in actuality it is practically two terms.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you can translate it any way you want to. You and the Post-Dispatch will do a good job on it, I am sure. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, this is just a technical point. Do you expect to withdraw your name in New Hampshire, by advising the man who put your name in, or the secretary of state of New Hampshire ?

THE PRESIDENT. Whatever the formal manner is to do it.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, I have a request to ask you a couple of questions--

THE PRESIDENT. Shoot.

Q.--from the Mexico (Missouri) Ledger--

THE PRESIDENT. That's a good paper.

Q.--which I assume doesn't have a staff correspondent here.

THE PRESIDENT. No, it's a nice country daily--very good paper, and a friend of mine.

Q. From Robert M. White, the editor. First--and this is his language--as a good Democrat and a believer in the United States world policy for peace, would not you consider it a duty to help personally in retiring Senator Kem?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, my answer to that would be that I will be glad to help retire any Republican Senator that is running. [Laughter]

Q. I have got to get this down. [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right. He has got another question from my friend on the Mexico Ledger, and I want him to ask it.

[ 10.] Q. The other question is, still quoting Mr. White--the Ledger has long advocated that past Presidents of the United States be made lifetime members of the United States Senate. Do you agree with this idea?

THE PRESIDENT. I made that suggestion a long time ago, and Senator Brewster introduced a bill to that effect in the Both Congress. It didn't get anywhere in the 80th Congress.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, you're not ready to nominate a successor to Judge Waring8 in the lower district--

THE PRESIDENT. I have not received his resignation as yet--his retirement request-I don't know which it is. And I can't consider a successor until I know for sure whether he is going to quit or not.

8Judge J. Waties Waring of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina. His retirement became effective on February 15, 1952.

Q. You will probably consult South Carolina Senators on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I will take that matter up when it comes time for me to make it.

Q. You don't have any comment to make on Judge Waring's resignation?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't, because I haven't received it as yet. I think he is a very great judge, however. I'll say that for your benefit.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, it is true, however, that Senator Brewster's bill would not give you a vote?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what the bill provided. If you are familiar with what is in it, whatever you say will be right.

Q. My recollection is that it gave no vote.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, when can we expect the FCC freeze on construction of new television stations to be lifted ?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer. I don't know.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, Representative McKinnon said last Saturday that he talked to you recently about the Bolivian tin situation, and that you had told him you were working on it and hoped to have something to announce on it in the near future. Do you have anything at this time ?

THE PRESIDENT. NO, not at the present time. When we are ready to make the announcement, I will let you know.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, not to dwell very long on a subject that we seem to be overdwelling on, but Ellis Arnall in 1944 came out of the White House and said that Mr. Roosevelt definitely would run for a fourth term. Yesterday he came out and said he thought you were going to run again. We asked him whether he thought his ability as a forecaster was standing up, and he said he didn't know but he thought it might be interesting if we asked you today what you thought of him as a political prognosticator. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. As I told you awhile ago, I am very fond of Ellis, and he is entitled to his own opinion--it is only one man's.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, would you say that these various favorite son campaigns are strengthening or weakening the Democratic Party?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no answer to that.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, I believe former President Hoover in a speech in New York Sunday9 suggested the reopening of "the great debate" on foreign policy. Do you have any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

9In a radio-television address over the Columbia Broadcasting System on January 27, former President Hoover urged that the United States withdraw all of its ground forces from Europe except those needed to protect U.S. air bases outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations. The full text of Mr. Hoover's address is published in the Congressional Record (vol. 98, p. 518).

[18.] Q. Mr. President, another. You haven't decided whether you will enter the senatorial primary in Missouri, I assume?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. [Laughter] That will be the best answer to White's query, you see.

Q. Yes, sir. I don't want to make it Missouri day, but a bill has been introduced awaiting the Governor's signature in Missouri, that puts your hometown and Grandview--where your sister lives--in the same district; and I just wondered if you plan to follow the course of John Quincy Adams and seek a House seat, by any chance ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we will have to wait and find out whether that is necessary or not.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, did you see former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson this week?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us what you talked about ?

THE PRESIDENT. Talked about politics in West Virginia. They all talk politics when they come to see me these days. [Laughter]

[20.] Q. Mr. President, this week Senator McCarthy attacked Philleo Nash 10 on your staff, and said he had FBI reports, and I want to know if you had any comment on that, or intend to ask Mr. Hoover 11 how that could be possible?

THE PRESIDENT. It'S in the same line as all the attacks that the pathological Mr. McCarthy has made on all of the Government employees that he doesn't like.

10Special Assistant in the White House Office.

11Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Q. Do you think he is telling the truth when he says he bases that speech on FBI reports ?

THE PRESIDENT. Does he ever tell the truth? If he does, I haven't found it out.

Q. A couple of weeks ago he attacked Mr. Lloyd,12 also on your staff, and he said at that time he had received some information from the Loyalty Review Board. Do you think-is that subject being investigated?

THE PRESIDENT. I doubt very much whether he received any information. He doesn't need information to become a character assassin. That's his business. And I'm not talking with immunity.

12 David D. Lloyd, Administrative Assistant to the President.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on Governor Dewey's New York speech proposing a Pacific defense pact? 13

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about it. Explain it to me; maybe I can give you a comment.

13Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, speaking before the National Industrial Conference Board on January 24 in New York City, urged the establishment of a Pacific pact similar to the North Atlantic Treaty and the Rio Pact. The full text of the Governor's address is published in the Congressional Record (vol. 98, p. A405).

Q. Well, in his speech tie favored a pact in the Pacific comparable to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on that because I will have to read what he had to say in detail. We have defense treaties pending between us and the Philippine Islands, between us and Australia, and New Zealand, and I don't know how much further Mr. Dewey wants to go. But I will look at the thing, and maybe I can comment on it the next time we have a meeting.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, I just wonder if--could we quote you directly on "character assassin"?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q. On that same point, Mr. President, how about "pathological Mr. McCarthy," could that be quoted directly?

THE PRESIDENT. NO. You will have to paraphrase it if you can. There are two or three definitions of that in the dictionary. [Laughter]

[23.] Q. Mr. President, since you are going to survey another flood today, I wonder what is holding up the appointment of that commission that you were going to name for the Missouri Valley study?

THE PRESIDENT. Nothing. We are just trying to get the right people.

Q. Are you having trouble, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No. We are just about ready with it, and as soon as it is completed, it will be announced.14 And there is nothing holding it up except to be sure that we have the right people understand what flood control means, especially in these two great valleys.

14 See Item 32.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the Judiciary Committee in the House decision to investigate Mr. McGrath and the Justice Department ?

THE PRESIDENT. That's their privilege. They can investigate anybody. I would advise them to investigate themselves if they feel like it. [Laughter]

[25.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to send down the nomination of the Federal Power Commission soon?

THE PRESIDENT. Just as soon as I find the man I want, I will send it down.

Q. Mr. President, is there any possibility that on that Federal power commissionership you might deviate a little and have a consumer representative rather than a power or hydroelectric power man?

THE PRESIDENT. Say that again, I think you misconstrued what I want.

Q. I was just wondering if in naming the new Federal Power Commissioner, you might deviate a little from past policy and select a man who represents the consumers' interests, rather than--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I have ever appointed anybody to any commission that I did not think represented the public at large.

[26.] Q. How about the Director of the TVA, Mr. President, anything on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have one in mind, and as soon as he is able to take the position I will announce him to you.

[27.] Q. Mr. President, there was a story that you offered Robert Patterson15 the job of Attorney General. That came out of New York. Is that true or not?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it is not.

15 Former Secretary of War.

[28.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that you have urged the radio department of the Democratic National Committee to do everything they can to encourage as many television stations as possible to be in operation by next September. Would you like to say what you think about more television stations throughout the country.

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I think the more television stations we have the more likely we are to get the truth over to the public. And that is no reflection on anybody.

Q. Would you like to say whether or not you did ask the Democratic National--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't talked to the Democratic National Committee about it at all.

Q. Mr. President, do you think television is going to play a very big part in the campaign, regardless of who runs ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Television is going to play a great part in any campaign that Comes Up.

Q. Do you think it is going to--over the years--revolutionize the type of campaigning ?

THE PRESIDENT. NO I don't. I think it is going to go along the lines of the campaign of 1948, which was mostly television. I got out where everybody could see me--and I won. [Laughter]

[29.] Q. Mr. President, getting back to Ellis Arnall, I wonder if--you said you would like to have him in the administration. There have been reports that he asked for the so-called clean-up job. Could you tell us about that ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, that isn't true. That isn't true. When I get ready to make the announcement about him, why you will know it in plenty of time.

[30.] Q. Mr. President, is it true that Robert Murphy will be appointed the first post-war Ambassador to Tokyo?

THE PRESIDENT. At the present time I can't make an announcement on that.

[31.] Q. Mr. President, one more appointment question, sir. Mike DiSalle16 is leaving in a week or two. Do you have a man to succeed him?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

16Michael V. DiSalle, Director of Price Stabilization.

Q. Can you give us his name, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't do it until the time is right, then I will tell you.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and ninety-second news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 31, 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/230529

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