Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 18, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] I understand there are some visiting editors and some people from ASNE here today. On account of the fact that I found it impossible to appear at their meeting, if they will meet me over here in the side room, I will be glad to shake hands with them. 1

1 President Truman had been scheduled to address the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors on Thursday, April 19, but he had canceled it in order not to interfere in any way with General MacArthur's appearance before the Congress at 12:30 p.m. that day. For the same reason the regular Thursday news conference was held on Wednesday.

[2.] I want to say something before we start that will save you a lot of misery. My position on the Far Eastern situation is well known. General MacArthur is coming here tomorrow to state his position, and therefore for that reason there is no use your asking me any questions that .pertain to those two subjects. So now we're ready to go forward with the press conference.

Q. Mr. President, may we quote that?

THE PRESIDENT. Why do you have to quote that? I am just making a statement as to how the press conference is to be operated. There is no sense in your quoting it. No!

[3.] May, 2 I got a card today with your picture on it and a whole lot of things about you.

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

Q. Nice, wasn't it?

THE PRESIDENT. I thought it was.

Q. Thank you.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to act this week to set up this new Wage Stabilization Board?

THE PRESIDENT. I am working on it now. I was very happy at the way my advisory commission is working out. It is accomplishing just the thing that I set it up to do, and I think before we get through we'll have the thing in operating order so we can go right ahead with the program. 3

3 See Item 74.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, can you set a date when you will send up recommendations for changes in the defense program act?

THE PRESIDENT. We are working on it now. It takes a little time to get ready. I hope in the next 10 days, but I can't guarantee that. 4

4 See Item 91.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, does your answer on the Wage Board mean that you have accepted the advice the Board gave you yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it does. That is what I set it up for. When you get a majority of three to one, it is about time to operate.

Q. Mr. President, do you expect to designate the members?

THE PRESIDENT. We will have to work the thing out as we go along. We're making steps forward. I am making no positive statements on anything. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, does the administration plan any definite action to end the textile strike in the South?

THE PRESIDENT. It has not been put up to the administration.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder whether you will clarify a phrase or two in the statement on the contemplated Pacific understanding. 5 You say here the three powers, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. Would that mean that an attack on one would be considered an attack on all?

THE PRESIDENT. It would be similar to the guarantees that are in the Atlantic Pact. They will be modeled on that treaty. That is what is intended to be conveyed there.

5 See Item 84.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, does the administration approve of Government agencies subsidizing technical schools and paying prospective employees to attend?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't gone into that. I think it has been the custom ever since the Government has been in existence, and so I can't answer your question without looking up the facts. I don't know what you are aiming at.

Q. Specifically, sir, in Dayton, Ohio, the Air Force has subsidized two business schools and is paying 120 employees $42 a week apiece to learn typewriting, and they plan to establish similar courses in Washington and subsidize them; but Mr. Ramspeck, Civil Service Commission, has objected.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, now, that is a matter I think you ought to take up with the Air Force. I don't know anything about it. It is news to me.

Q. But, Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no statement to make on it. You are not going to get me on record on anything. [Laughter] You talk to Harry Byrd 6 about that. He will tell you more about it!

6 Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, do you intend to see General MacArthur or ask him to report to you?

THE PRESIDENT. That comes under the statement that I made at the beginning of this.

Q. Mr. President, at the risk of also coming under that heading, Congressman Armstrong came back here the other day after a trip to the Far East, and he said that General Ridgway felt the same as General MacArthur did about the use of Chinese Nationalist troops. Do you know if that is a fact or not?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't. There is one way for him to find Duff

Q. Mr. President, without discussing present-day generals, could you draw on your knowledge of history and tell us about the careers of Horatio Gates and Winfield Scott?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think that is a matter you amateur historians ought to look up. It is very interesting.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, did Mr. Magnuson 7 go to Japan as your personal representative?

THE PRESIDENT. He did not; he went on his own hook. [Laughter] He was going in behalf of his Committee, I think. His trip was entirely a legitimate one for the Congressman.

What was the question back there?

7 Senator Warren G. Magnuson of Washington, member of the Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any afterthoughts about the American Foreign Ministers Conference--developing phases or other aspects of it?

THE PRESIDENT. I was very happy over the results of the Pan American Foreign Ministers Conference. 8 I think I issued a statement on that subject; I am not sure.

8 See Items 67 and 76.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, could you add a personal comment to the statement issued by the State Department commenting on the signatories to the Schuman plan?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very happy, as the State Department expressed my views. They submitted that statement to me before it was issued and I am in complete accord with it. 9

9 The statement, released by the State Department on April 18, is as follows:

"According to press reports, the ministers of six countries meeting in Paris to complete negotiation on political provisions of the Schuman plan have agreed on the major issues and this morning have formally signed the text.

"The department wishes to state that the ability of the ministers to reach a decision on the variety of complex and delicate issues with which they were confronted provides striking evidence of the constructive spirit and continuing good will which have characterized the Schuman plan negotiations from the very first. The early ratification of the plan by the parliaments of the six countries would go far toward convincing the world that Western Europe has the courage and the ability to develop the solidarity which is essential for the survival of the free world."

[14.] Q. Mr. President, would you comment on something that Mr. Short 10 said-no plans for the White House to invite MacArthur--

THE PRESIDENT. I think Mr. Short answered that question, and he would not have made it if he hadn't had the permission of the President. Mr. Short has learned a lot of things now. He makes no tactical errors like that.

10 Joseph H. Short, Secretary to the President.

[15.] Q. Well, Mr. President, if I might go back to your refusal to allow us to say anything about the statement, it puts us in a jam because people think we didn't ask you questions.

THE PRESIDENT. What statement?

Q. Your original statement.

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to quote it verbatim here. There is nothing in the world to prevent you from putting up an alibi and your paraphrasing the thing.

Q. Well, I wanted to make sure, because you said--

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right.

Q.--it was for the press conference only.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I said I didn't want this quoted verbatim. Now, you can paraphrase it; if you want to make an alibi that you couldn't get any answers out of me that will be all right! [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, have we overlooked anything?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so!

Reporter: Thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and sixtieth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1951.

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/230423

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