Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 10, 1952

THE PRESIDENT. Good morning. Please be seated.

[1.] I want to make an announcement about next week's press conference. It will be held down here in the Natural History Building at 10th and Constitution Avenue. It will be a joint press conference for you and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, which is why we are moving to a larger hall. That is also the storage place for dinosaurs. [Laughter]

The hour is 4:30, instead of 4. Give you a little more time to get there.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, last week we were a little preoccupied by some other matters, and we wanted to explore, if you are willing, the background and reasons for your decision not to run again.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, there is only one reason: because I didn't want to. That's the best reason I know. I made up my mind a long time ago on it. I think a year or two ago you asked me if I had made up my mind, and I told you I had. But I had to wait until the right time to announce it.

Q. Mr. President, could you elaborate a little on why the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner1 was the right time?

THE PRESIDENT. The biggest audience I will ever have in my life. [Laughter] I wanted it put out so it could not possibly be distorted, so I put it out myself with everybody listening. And I made it as plain as English can be written, so far as I know.

1 Item 69.

Q. Mr. President, are there any conditions under which you would accept a draft at the convention ?

THE PRESIDENT. NO. I will not accept a draft.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, how soon do you expect a solution by collective bargaining in' the steel dispute? 2

THE PRESIDENT. I can't--have no way of knowing. I hope it will be soon.

2see Items 82, 83, 103, 110.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, have you received any notice of General Eisenhower--of his! intentions to resign or, in fact, his actual resignation? 3

THE PRESIDENT. I have not--no--nothing to say on the subject now.

3on April 11 the White House released the text of the exchange of letters between Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett, in which General Eisenhower requested release from his assignment as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers Europe, and the Secretary promised to take action to obtain it. General Eisenhower's letter of resignation to Lt. Gen. Paul Ely, Chairman, The Standing Group, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was also included in the release. The text of the correspondence is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 26, p. 614).

Q. Mr. President, you said you would not?

THE PRESIDENT. Nothing to say.

Q. Mr. President, I asked you a question at Key West, and your answer was some-what confusing--to me at least--about the procedure that would be followed. You appointed General Eisenhower, and I wonder if it is true that his relief from his position as Supreme Commander of NATO would come directly to you?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that appointment was made with the approval and advice of the associated countries. I think General Eisenhower's right to quit, or do as he pleases, rests entirely with him. And the appointment of his successor will follow the same procedure--if, as, and when he does quit. But the appointment to follow, we will have the agreement of the associated nations [ inaudible ]--

Q. Mr. President, in that procedure, did the associated nations ask you to appoint an American.--


Q.--or did they ask you to appoint Eisenhower?

THE PRESIDENT. They asked me to appoint an American commander for the allied troops, just as I was asked to appoint the allied commander in Asia.

Q. But not by name?

THE PRESIDENT. Not by name, no. Came up for me to make the appointment, and they were all very happy at the appointment I made. And so was I.

Q. Mr. President, I remember in relation to the supreme commander you said that was a continuing authorization. You would then appoint

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it is a continuing authorization, but it is courtesy to have it continued at each time.

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. The procedure will be followed to keep friendly with the allies.

Q. Mr. President, I am still confused about procedures. You said that the general would present his resignation perhaps in person to Lovett. Would it be to Secretary Lovett, or to the Standing Group, or to you?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be to me through the Secretary of Defense. Come through channels.

Q. First, Mr. Lovett, then you ?

THE PRESIDENT. Then come to me.

Q. You will present it to the Standing Group?

THE PRESIDENT. I will just announce it.

Q. You will announce it.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, in the steel dispute, do you have any plans for putting the Wage Board recommendations into effect?

THE PRESIDENT. The parties to that dispute are negotiating for a settlement, and I want that negotiation carried through as a collective bargaining affair. I will not interfere with it.

Q. That goes for

THE PRESIDENT. That's final. That's final.

Q. Mr. President, there is some comment that you had not mentioned the open shop provision in the Wage Stabilization Board recommendations ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not the negotiator for these things. That is a matter for the collective bargaining. I did not enter into it. I don't expect to.

Q. Was there any significance--

THE PRESIDENT. None whatever. None whatever.

Q. Mr. President, I must have misunderstood you--

THE PRESIDENT. It is kind of hard to make yourself perfectly plain, but this is a collective bargaining matter, and I want these parties to reach an agreement by collective bargaining. What's the matter, Smitty?4

4Merriman Smith of the United Press Associations.

Q. I didn't understand your answer. Do I understand correctly that you will not order the Wage Stabilization Board recommendations put into effect while this collective bargaining is going on?

THE PRESIDENT. I will cross that bridge when I get to it. But I want this negotiation to be successful, and I think it can be.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, two questions, if you please. First, in the steel profit figure per tonnage you used on the air, was that figure before or after taxes ?

THE PRESIDENT. That figure stands just as it was in the speech, and I am not going into details about it at all.

[7.] Q. The second question, sir, do you to consider the recommendations pro or con on a union shop within the purview of the Wage Stabilization Board?

THE PRESIDENT. The Wage Stabilization Board did not stop--step out of its prerogatives when it made the recommendation.

[8.] Q. Sir, do you yet have a successor to Mr. Wilson--Charles E.?5

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, I haven't. I will announce it as soon as I have one.

5See Item 70.

Q. Mr. President, speaking of appointments, are you planning to appoint Raymond McKeough, former Congressman,6 to a vacancy on the Federal Trade Commission?


6 Raymond S. McKeough, former Representative from Illinois.

Q. Mr. President, speaking of appointments and nominations, what about the two Illinois judges?7

THE PRESIDENT. Still under consideration. [Laughter] They will probably remain there for a long time.

7 See Item 35 [7].

Q. Mr. President, what about a successor to John Russell Young?8

THE PRESIDENT. When I find him I will announce it to you and you will have it in plenty of time.

8On April 9 the White House released the text of Mr. Young's letter of resignation as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia and the President's letter of acceptance. Mr. Young's resignation became effective May 31, 1952.

Q. Does Mr. Donohue have any chance of being appointed Assistant Attorney General?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard anything about it. I haven't heard anything about it.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to make any comment on Mr. Randall's 9 speech last night, charging you entered into a corrupt political deal with the CIO?


9On April 9, Clarence B. Randall, president of Inland Steel Company, spoke on a nationwide radio and television broadcast, regarding the seizure of the steel mills by President Truman. The text of Mr. Randall's remarks is published in the Congressional Record (vol. 98, p. A2331).

[10.] Q. Have you anything to say about the cuts that the House made in the Defense appropriation bill ?

THE PRESIDENT. When the appropriation bill comes to me--it's in the course of action now--then I will comment on it.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, another appointment. Are you going to appoint W. W. Herron to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. W. W. who?

THE PRESIDENT. Judge Herron, down in Tennessee--a very fine gentleman, and a friend of mine. He is under consideration, but I have come to no conclusion about the appointment.

Q. He is the chancellor at Trenton.

THE PRESIDENT. He's all right--a fine man.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, if I may go way back to the Eisenhower matter again, you said that the appointment of a successor, if and when, would follow the same procedure as before. That would be, of course, if they asked for the appointment of an American again--I mean, is that implied ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think they asked me to appoint a supreme commander.

Q. Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. I did not put any qualification on it at all.

Q. No, sir--oh, I see. The fact that you were asked to appoint a supreme commander wouldn't necessarily mean--we're just going into problematics there--that if you saw fit to go outside of the American Army, you would also be privileged to do that?

THE PRESIDENT. I would do my best, if they still want me to continue to have that power--I would do my best to find the best man available for the purpose.

Q. I just wanted to get that cleared up.

THE PRESIDENT. That's fine.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, I want to ask you a question on the Executive order. As I read it, Mr. Sawyer10 would have authority negotiate wages and conditions, or terms and conditions of employment, while the mills are under his operation, is that--

10Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer. See Item 82.

THE PRESIDENT. The order speaks for itself, and I can't elaborate on it.

Q. I was just wondering whether the plan was to have salaries remain, and wages remain, where they are until the negotiations are worked out?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't expect to comment on anything in connection with this, as long as these negotiations are going on. I would like to make that final.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, I am a little bit confused about this Eisenhower thing now, for sure. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I wish you wouldn't be.

Q. Why would they ask you to make the appointment if it were other than an American general, sir ?

THE PRESIDENT. The principal reason why they would ask me to make the appointment is because we are the keystone of the defense of the free world.

Q. And it would be possible, then, because of your position as President of the United States, in the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty, that you would name other than an American ?

THE PRESIDENT. I could. I didn't say I would.

Q. No. I understand that.

THE PRESIDENT. What is it, Bob?11

Q. Mr. President, there is one other thing on the Eisenhower matter. If and when the General does request to be permitted to come home--be relieved of his command--would you make that announcement within a short time after receipt, or is there any reason that you might find necessary to hold it up ?

THE PRESIDENT. Whenever General Eisenhower is ready to have the announcement made, I will make it. It is strictly up to him.

11Robert G. Nixon of International News Service.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that you have suggested to some of the Democratic Party officials that Senator Huinphrey 12 would be a suitable choice for keynoter at the Democratic convention.

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that is in the hands of the national chairman.

12 Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you think that the government of the world will bring about world peace before 1953?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not a good prophet. I hope it will.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided who will succeed General Eisenhower?

THE PRESIDENT. The matter has not been considered.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to attend the Democratic National Convention in July?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't think so. I expect to campaign for the nominee after the convention.

Q. Do you? That raises an obvious question which has not, to my knowledge, been clearly answered, as to whether you will indicate a preference among the candidates before the convention opens ?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope it won't be necessary for me to do that. But the President has a right to a preference, the same as any other citizen.

Q. Mr. President, on this matter of the keynoter, do you think there will be some embarrassment in having a candidate as the keynoter ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't think so. It has been done before.

Q. Mr. President, if Mr. Kefauver13 should be the nominee, would you campaign for him ?

THE PRESIDENT. I will support the Democratic ticket no matter who is nominated.

13Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.

Q. Mr. President, is that preference going to be for Governor Stevenson 14--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no preference to express right now.

14Governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois.

[19.] Q. Another question, Mr. President. The Senate Judiciary Committee is making noises like they are never going to get around to the new Attorney General's confirmation15 Any comment to make on that?

THE PRESIDENT. None whatever. You had better talk to the Chairman of the Committee,16 and find out for sure.

15 On May 20 the Senate confirmed the appointment of James P. McGranery as Attorney General.

16 Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, I just want to be clear--you said you did not plan to go to the Democratic convention?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so. There is no reason why I should go to the convention. I am sure I won't be a delegate from Missouri. [Laughter]

Q. I just wanted to be sure.

Q. Mr. President, one of your constituents or one of your Congressmen down there said you had been invited to attend the convention at Jefferson City, May 26th, and he seemed to have high hopes that you would go?

THE PRESIDENT. I would like to go. I don't know whether I can or not, but I would like very much to go to that convention. I have been to nearly every Missouri State convention since I can remember.

[21.] Q. Is it definite now that you are not going to that dinner in New York next week for Harriman? 17

THE PRESIDENT. I don't see how I can get there. I would like very much to go, but I just don't see how I can get there. Just too much to do around here. My day has got longer than it was before--if that is possible.

[22,] Q. One other question, sir. You said you would campaign for the Democratic nominee. Do you plan an active stumping tour, such as you had in 1948?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that is a matter that is up to the national committee. I will render them all the assistance they think I should, and I will do my best, because I want a Democrat in the White House next time.

17W. Averell Harriman, Director for Mutual Security.

Merriman Smith: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and ninety-ninth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 10, 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/231670

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