Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 06, 1945

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] By memorandum on May 6 [1942] the President prescribed a policy to effectuate the maximum utilization of the facilities of the domestic airline companies in the prosecution of the war. It now seems desirable that the policy prescribed in the memorandum be terminated. Accordingly, the War Department need no longer follow the policy except with respect to paragraph 6 of the memorandum concerning priorities for air transportation which shall be followed until October 15.

That means that all priorities in air travel will be removed by October 15.

[2.] I want to announce the appointment of the Honorable Paul V. McNutt as United States High Commissioner to the Philippines. Mr. McNutt served as High Commissioner to the Philippines from 1937 to 1939. He was succeeded by Francis B. Sayre, who resigned in 1942. The High Commissioner is the representative of the President of the United States in the Philippines. Since September 16, after the withdrawal from Corregidor, the Secretary of the Interior has been handling the affairs without the help of a High Commissioner. Now it is desirable and necessary to appoint a High Commissioner so that all the activities of the United States Government in the rehabilitation of the Philippines can be coordinated and handled for the best interests of the Philippine Islands.

Q. When does he take over?

THE PRESIDENT. As soon as he can qualify. His name went up to the Senate today.

Q. Is that for the Philippines only?

THE PRESIDENT. The Philippines only. That's the only place we have a right to appoint a High Commissioner, and that is to expedite the things that are necessary to be done to help the Philippines to recover their position so that they can have independence as quickly as possible. That's all I have; if you have any questions

Q. Mr. President, what about Mr. McNutt's report or survey on health and rehabilitation? Do you wish to comment upon that?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't understand the question.

Q. Mr. McNutt was head of the conservation commission on Philippine health and rehabilitation.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, he was, and that will be a part of his job to implement the findings of that commission and whatever else is necessary to be done to put the Philippines on its feet. There is certain legislation pending in the Congress which is necessary to be passed to have that object carried out, and we have to have a High Commissioner in the Philippines.

[3.] Q. Would you have anything to say on the Navy's proposal for the retention of bases in the far Pacific?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not familiar with what the Navy's proposal was. As I said in the speech after the Potsdam conference, we expect, by negotiation and otherwise, to occupy the necessary bases there for the peace of the world and for our own welfare in the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere.

Q. The Navy didn't mention Okinawa specifically. I wonder if you have anything to say about that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not studied it, but if it is necessary to have one on Okinawa, I think we can negotiate so we can have it.

[4.] Q. It is reported that you have selected Bob Patterson of the War Department to be a member of the Supreme Court.

THE PRESIDENT. Somebody knows more than I do, then. [Laughter] I haven't yet made up my mind on an appointment for that vacancy.

Q. In that connection there are a lot of reports that you plan to appoint Bennett Clark to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and also E. Barrett Prettyman to--

THE PRESIDENT. I saw that in the paper, too; that is most interesting.

Q. Do you want to comment further on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment now. When I am ready to make those appointments I will announce them to you, but there'll be a lot more rumors before they are announced. [Laughter]

[5.] Q. Again back to Mr. McNutt's appointment as High Commissioner of the Philippines. The News has carried stories that it will be to the Western Pacific. Could you outline that a little more? Is it only to the Philippines?

THE PRESIDENT. That's what the law requires. It is for the Philippines only. He has nothing to do with the other parts of the Pacific Ocean. There are other things that will have to be done from the peace table.

[6.] Q. Can you say what Snyder, Symington, and Biffle are to do on their European trip?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I can; they are going there to investigate the surplus property proposition, to see how much can be turned over through UNRRA to the countries on a starvation basis.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Barkley announced that you had announced your support of a possible congressional investigation of Pearl Harbor. Can you indicate to us some of the things you hope such an investigation will reveal?

THE PRESIDENT. The only thing I hope is that it will get at the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Q. Mr. President, may we infer from that that you do not think any of the reports so far have told the truth?

THE PRESIDENT. I took the reports as they were given. They satisfied me, but apparently they did not satisfy everybody.

[8.] Q. Has Justice Roberts indicated yet whether he is going to accept whatever international post you offered him?

THE PRESIDENT. He has decided not to accept it.

Q. Can you tell us now what the post was?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I wanted him to be judge of the court to try war criminals.

Q. Japanese?

THE PRESIDENT. No, the international military tribunal to try war criminals. He decided not to accept.

[9.] Q. Have you given any thought to releasing the transcript of the testimony of those saboteur trials back in 1943?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't thought about it.

Q. Do you see any reason why they should not be released now?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't, but I would have to look into it.

[10.] Q. Do you think the 52 pages of the Army and Navy initial report should be turned over to Congress?

THE PRESIDENT. Congress will have the right of access to all the testimony there is available.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you have any guess as to what the total budget might be in this country the next few years if your program is put into effect?

THE PRESIDENT. I could tell you if I were going to submit a guess to Congress tomorrow, but it can't be submitted until we have the information about the military needs. I am not going to guess at it. When it comes time for the budget estimates I will have them ready.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, you said the other day you had been considering the St. Lawrence Waterway.

THE PRESIDENT. I am considering it.

Q. The question at that time was brief, and your answer was brief. I was wondering if there is anything further you can tell us on that.

THE PRESIDENT. I can't tell you now, but I think I will be in a position in a few days to announce it. I will give you all the facts then.

Q. Is the program of the various watersheds tied together?


[13.] Q. There are reports that you might name Ellis Arnall as Solicitor General.

THE PRESIDENT. I have nothing to say about that at the present time.

Q. There is a report that General Kutz is to be relieved as Engineer Commissioner; have you anything to say about that?

THE PRESIDENT. I think he is probably reaching the retirement age; if he is, he will have a successor. That is a regular Army routing matter.

Q. Can you say anything about the Office of Contingent Services now

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't at the present time.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You are entirely welcome.

Note: President Truman's twenty-fourth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, 1945.

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/231393

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