Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 14, 1952

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] On the 14th of August I wrote a letter to Mr. Junius Wood of Holland, Michigan, about the Minerva clock and the Hannibal clock, and also about the scattering of the antique White House furniture.1 I thought maybe you might be interested in it. Copies will be available to you, if you want them. And I would be glad for every one of you to take a look at them. It has got some historical information in it that you might be interested in.

1 See Item 229.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, before we get around to weightier subjects, the Arkansas Gazette has asked me to inquire about your reaction on the defeat of Governor Sid McMath in the primary?2

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. Tell the Arkansas Gazette I have no comment. [Laughter]

2In the run-off primary held in Arkansas on August 12, Judge Francis Cherry defeated incumbent Sidney S. McMath for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, where do we stand now on this exchange of messages between you and General Eisenhower?3 Is there anything more to be said ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think probably it might be well for me to give you the background on that situation.

Some 10 days ago about, maybe--might have been a longer or a shorter time--I discussed with the Central Intelligence Agency the propriety of keeping the presidential candidates informed on the situation around the world. And we arrived at a conclusion that it would be a good plan to brief each one of them, in the first place, and then furnish them with the information at regular intervals. Most of this information is not for general distribution, and it cannot be used publicly because it is top secret and is security information.

3See Item 227.

I asked the Governor of Illinois to come and be briefed4 and then asked the candidate of the Republican Party to come and get the same sort of treatment. You know the rest.

4 See Item 224.

No comment on my part is necessary any further. I would like very much, though, to have each one of you familiarize yourselves with a Senate document. It is Senate Document 87. It was issued on October the 20th, 1951, by the foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate. It is a unanimous report on the bipartisan foreign policy, and the history of the operations of that policy almost from its beginning. You can get some very good information out of that document.

Q. Mr. President, I think one thing that is left hanging is whether General Eisenhower will get the CIA reports?

THE PRESIDENT. He will get the same reports that the Governor gets.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, 8 months have now transpired since Gen. Mark Clark asked that his name be withdrawn as Ambassador to the Vatican. The position has remained vacant, and I wonder if you intend to make a recess appointment, or let it go over for your successor to decide in January ?

THE PRESIDENT. The matter will not be considered at this time. I have no further comment to make on it.

[Pause]

What's the matter? Have you gone so political that you can't ask questions any more ? [Laughter]

[5.] Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. What is it ?

Q.--have your plans for private life jelled yet?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, no. They are in the making all the time. I am going to have the best time any man ever had, when I get out of here. You watch. [Laughter]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, since acceptance of the Labor Day speech invitation in Milwaukee, do you expect later to make a special appeal or speech to the farmers.--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that is a matter that will be worked out as we go along. The Governor and I did not discuss details individually. We discussed the Labor Day meetings at Milwaukee and Detroit, and decided that those meetings ought to be held.

Q. Mr. President, is there any possibility that you will reconsider the invitation to the National Ploughing--

THE PRESIDENT. What?

Q. The invitation to the National Ploughing Contest ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not received that invitation yet, I don't think. Of course I will give it consideration if it comes. Had quite a time out there with about 96,000 people. I think there were 10 acres of them, if I'm not mistaken.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, there was one thing I am not clear on, and that is when General Eisenhower was sent the invitation?

THE PRESIDENT. The telegram went to him the day before yesterday, but he had been informed that he would be receiving the information that the Governor did, sometime before that, by the Defense Department.

Mr. Short:5 Mr. President, General Eisenhower received that telegram at 9:17 a.m. Denver time yesterday.

THE PRESIDENT. It Was yesterday. The formal invitation went forward in the telegram that I sent.

5Joseph H. Short, Secretary to the President.

Q. Did you say he had been told ahead of time?

THE PRESIDENT. He had been told by the Defense Department that he would receive any information about the foreign situation in which he was interested.

Q. Could you tell me when he was told that?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I don't know. About a week ago, I reckon. I discussed it with the Secretary of Defense and with the CIA a week or 10 days ago.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, the CIO News of this week had a list of eight Senators that they regarded as the worst enemies of labor, including Senator Cain from Washington. I wonder if he was included on your list of those you would most like to see replaced this fall ?

THE PRESIDENT. I want to see Democrats elected everywhere. I have no special pick on anybody.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, have your plans jelled on calling a special session of Congress ?

THE PRESIDENT. They have not. That's a good word.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, regarding your future plans. Since the point 4 program has been identified with your administration, I wonder if it would be of continued interest to you after you leave the White House, and whether you think that it is a program that both parties could support? In other words--

THE PRESIDENT. Did you ever know a fire horse after 30 years of service that did not want to go to a fire when there was one going on? [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, I lost the question--

THE PRESIDENT. He just wanted to know if I was going to be interested in politics after I got through here, and of course I am.

Q. I was referring particularly to point 4.

THE PRESIDENT. I will be interested in everything the Government is doing. Don't worry about that. And I think I know how to approach most of them, after all this experience.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if--in your campaign speaking this fall--if you plan to do any train-riding?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. I will let you know in plenty of time, so that you can get your transportation and get your bags packed, if you want to go. I am going to do what the National Democratic Committee wants me to do.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, General Eisenhower indicated that he believed it would be unwise to accept your invitation, because he didn't want to have any communications with you that were not known to the American people. Did you plan to have any private conversation with him?

THE PRESIDENT. None whatever. Anything I say to him he is at liberty to quote. He has quoted a great many things already, some of it kind of garbled, but it's all right. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, on that point, what did you think of the statement General Eisenhower issued--let's see, it would be day before yesterday--in which he criticized Governor Stevenson sitting in on the briefing? I have forgotten just what the General's language was, but it was rather a harsh statement. What did you think of that

THE PRESIDENT. Well, now, let's let that rest for a while, and when the campaign gets to rolling pretty good, I think your question will be answered without much trouble. I don't want to get into any controversy with either one of the candidates for President. I am trying to help one beat the other, and that is what I hope to do. [Pause]

Q. Do you have anything else you want to tell us ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. [Laughter]

Reporter: Well, thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's three hundred and twelfth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 14, 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/231286

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