Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

June 05, 1952

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

I have no announcements this morning. I am ready for questions.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, I have a request from the St. Joseph News-Press, down in your State of Missouri. They said that since you have said last week 1 that you would support Buck Taylor for the Senate, they asked me to inquire whether you are going to support Phil Welch or Phil Donnelly for Governor?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that.

1 See Item 149 [3].

[2.] Q. Mr. President, if we could get on with more politics, General--Mr. Eisenhower seems to think that one party has been in power too long. Will you comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment. That is up to the people to decide.

Q. You wouldn't want to analyze his speech for us?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I'm not running in the Republican preconvention contest at all.

Q. Do you think the General spelled out the issues?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. I may talk about that later.

Q. Did I get you correctly, you are not interested in the Republican preconvention contest at all?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q. What was Tony Leviero's 2 question?

THE PRESIDENT. He said did the General spell out the issues, and I said I didn't know.

2 Anthony H. Leviero of the New York Times.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, did Senator Kefauver, in asking for a conference today, say what he wanted you to do for him today?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. He hasn't seen me yet. He has got a right to talk to me about anything he wants to, just as any other Senator has, or any other citizen, for that matter.

Q. Mr. President, Senator Kefauver said yesterday at his press conference--when asked if he thought you would support his candidacy--he said that you would announce that you would be neutral in the choice of a candidate and he believed that you would be. Is that so, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. That is correct.

[4.] Q. Can you tell us anything about the steel situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have no comment on it.

Q. Do you plan to use the Taft-Hartley law at all?

THE PRESIDENT. NO comment.

Q. When could you comment on the Supreme Court decision? 3

THE PRESIDENT. Never. [Laughter]

3 On June 2 the Supreme Court ruled the seizure of the steel plants unconstitutional.

Q. Mr. President, was that question when will you comment, sir ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

Q. Mr. President, you have said that the Supreme Court--that nobody could take away your powers that were inherent in the Constitution. I wonder if you could elucidate that now ?

THE PRESIDENT. I will at a later date. 4 Not today. The best thing for you to do is to read the Constitution of the United States. It can be amended only by one method.

4 See Item 161.

[5.] Q. Are you intending to--do you have in mind a message to Congress on new legislation to handle labor disputes?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q. None?

THE PRESIDENT. None in contemplation at the present time.

Q. Do you think we need it?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to see any other New England political leaders besides Mr. McGrath 5 on that 2-day visit up there?

THE PRESIDENT. NO, I do not. The Attorney General asked me to spend the night at his farm, when I go up there to commission that submarine, 6 and I accepted the invitation. There is no political implication in it whatever.

5 J. Howard McGrath, former Attorney General.

6 See Item 170.

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Just a social visit.

Q. Is that a commissioning, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what the proper word to use is.

Mr. Short. Keel laying, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Keel laying, that's what it is. You don't commission it until they are ready to go to sea.

Q. I just wondered, as that one would have come along a little fast.

THE PRESIDENT. This is a keel laying, so they tell me, whatever it is--a celebration of the power use of atomic energy, and that is what we have been working on for a long time.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, when you say that it was correct that you would remain neutral--

THE PRESIDENT. Does that word need a definition?

Q. No sir, but I was wondering if that goes all the way through the convention or up until the convention?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not making any statements as to the time limit on what my actions will be. I am a freeborn American citizen, and a delegate to the National Democratic Convention. You wait and see what develops. [Laughter]

Q. As I understand it, you said you did not plan to go?

THE PRESIDENT. Not until after the President is nominated. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, do you plan to be neutral in favor of people or neutral against them ? [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, now, I think you are straining a point here. When I say I am neutral in this preconvention campaign, I mean just exactly what I say.

Q. Mr. President, I didn't quite get your answer to the question on going to Chicago. You say you will not go until after the nominations are made ?

THE PRESIDENT. After the President is nominated. [Laughter]

Q. Well, does that mean you will definitely go ?

THE PRESIDENT. I intend to go, but I am not going as a Presidential nominee. I am going as a retiring President of the United States. I like to go to conventions. I wish I could go straight through this one, but you know I can't. It will create a disturbance if I go there early. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, there is a question here, on your assertion that you would go to Chicago after the President is nominated. You mean after the President is nominated, or after the nominee

THE PRESIDENT. After the Presidential nominee has been confirmed out there. It will not be the present occupant of the White House, you can be assured of that. [Laughter ] Somebody wanted to ask a question ?

Q. Just along that line. In the last few days, sir, several Republicans have charged that you are engaged in a devious plot to be nominated.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you know charges of that sort usually originate in warped minds. They would try to do the same thing if they had the opportunity. They would like to charge a man who wouldn't do a thing like that with that sort of action.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, air power has apparently become an issue between Mr. Taft and Mr. Eisenhower. Do you think air power will be an issue between Republicans and Democrats?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not.

Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the accuracy of Senator Taft's statement, that air power began to decline while General Eisenhower was Chief of Staff?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on the quarrels in the Republican Party. They please me very much, but I don't want to get mixed up in them!

[9.] Q. Mr. President, if--excuse me-- getting away from politics for a minute, a group of men's wear merchants met up in Rochester yesterday and made a proposal that when you leave the White House you would be a good man to be what they call the czar of their industry. They say that you are the leading style-setter for men's clothes. Are you looking for work of that kind? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, now, I should like for them to read the comments of the English tailors. [More laughter]

Q. We don't consider those comments accurate.

THE PRESIDENT. No, Of course not, but then they are working for their own industry and they hoped I would come over there and probably do the same thing you are asking me to do now, which I don't intend to do in either case. [Laughter]

[10.] Q. Mr. President, I have a little speech that Representative Jackson of Washington as a member of the Joint Atomic Committee said today-Q. Can't hear you.

THE PRESIDENT. Speak into this thing.

Q. Representative Jackson says that Russia is making a truly all-out atomic effort while the United States has adopted a halfway program. I just wonder if you have any comment on atomic energy ?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us anything about the issues at stake in your correspondence with President Rhee of Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a message from the head of one state to the message of another, and it is confidential and no comment will be made on it.

Q. Have you received a reply ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not as yet.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, Congress has adopted an act--or bill--which you have criticized. How adequate do you consider the amount for foreign aid should be?

THE PRESIDENT. AS Soon as I have had a chance to analyze the bill, and when it gets to my desk, I will comment on it in words that you can understand. 7

7 On June 20 the President approved the Mutual Security Act of 1952 (66 Stat. 141).

[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you made up your mind whether to approve or veto the bill giving the Commissioners authority to appoint a Recorder ?

THE PRESIDENT. It has not come to my desk yet. I will act on it when it comes. 8

8 for the statement by the President upon signing the bill relating to the office of the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia, see Item 160.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, does the fact that Margaret and Drucie 9 are going to Europe this summer mean that you don't expect war to break out this summer?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. You don't think I would let them go if I did anticipate war would break out?

9 The President's daughter Margaret and her longtime friend, Mrs. John E. Horton, daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury and Mrs. john W. Snyder.

Q. No, I didn't. [At this point there was a pause in the questioning. ]

THE PRESIDENT. Are you out of "soap"?

[15.] Q. No sir--I would like to ask, if I may, if you regard the victory of Senator Knowland, whose foreign policy is somewhat hostile to yours, as a feeling that the people of California are against your foreign policy? He won both Democratic and Republican nominations.

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about the California situation, but I think we had a very difficult one in 1948, and the Californians came out all right, and they will this time.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's three hundred and seventh news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 5, 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/230866

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