Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

July 03, 1952

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] Have you all recovered from your trip?1

1 On July 2 the President had participated in the dedication of the Norfork and Bull Shoals dams in northern Arkansas (see Items 193-195).

Q. Not yet, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Tony2 said there was too much going on.

2 Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated Press.

Q. It was a little busy. [Laughter]

[2.] THE PRESIDENT. I have got a couple of statements I want to read to you. They will be mimeographed and available over at the house. They won't be here.

Mr. Short:3 Not immediately.

THE PRESIDENT. Not immediately.

3 Joseph H. Short, Secretary to the President.

[Reading] "I understand that a good many of the steel companies are ready to settle with the union on all the issues.

"I also understand that these companies are being prevented from settling because pressure is being put on them by other steel companies.

"This appears to me to be a conspiracy against the public interest and not a labor dispute. In my opinion, it does not call for the use of the national emergency provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act.

"It calls for honest collective bargaining between the individual companies and the union. Also, those companies now in agreement with the union should consummate the agreements and begin producing steel for the welfare of this country."

Now, just to save you a lot of time and thought, that's all the questions I am going to answer on the steel situation.

Q. I think that covers it pretty well, sir.

[3.] THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have got another thing here that you will be interested in. And as I say, both of these things will be mimeographed for you when you get back over to the house.

[Reading] "I have sent up to Congress today a report on this country's activities in the United Nations during the last year.4

4 See Item 196.

"As I said in my letter of transmittal, I believe the United Nations is the mainstay of our work to build a peaceful and decent world. I think the United Nations is vital to our future as a free nation. I am sure that the great majority of the people of the United States, regardless of political party, support the United Nations."

Now this is the important part.

[Continuing reading] "I have asked Mrs. Roosevelt to talk about the United Nations at the Democratic National Convention, and she has kindly consented to do so. I made this request because Mrs. Roosevelt has rendered a great service to her country in her work in the United Nations, and because I want everyone to appreciate clearly what the United Nations means to us."

Now I will try to answer questions.

Q. Mr. President, you talk about one conspiracy. Is there the beginning of another conspiracy against the United Nations?

THE PRESIDENT. The statements speak for themselves, and if you will read the message that I sent to the Congress, that will answer your question.

Q. Yes sir--if I may intrude--I also read the letter in front of your report that talks about partisan attacks on the United Nations. I wonder if you could enlarge on that?

THE PRESIDENT. You have read those partisan attacks. It came out in your paper, some of them did.

Q. Also, I think there is a bill in Congress. Are you thinking of that--relating--

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. The letter speaks for itself, and it means just what it says. There is no hidden meaning in it at all.

Q. Do you know what date she will speak?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't--no, I don't. The National Chairman will set that date.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, I have another one to ask you, also. Could you comment now on the merits of the new fair Trade Practices Act?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen it, so of course I can't comment on it. When it comes to me, why then I will make my comment.5

5 For the President's statement upon signing the "fair-trade laws" bill, see Item 204.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, you stirred up a real hornet's nest in Arkansas politics yesterday when you endorsed Governor McMath for another term,6 and all of his political opponents today--in the Governor's race--claim you were paying back a political obligation because he has been faithful to you.

THE PRESIDENT. That is news to me. I think Governor McMath has made a good Governor, and my statement stands for just what it is worth and just what I said--no hedging on it at all.

6 See Item 195 [3].

[6.] Q. Mr. President--


Q. I have been assigned to ask this question--I know nothing about it at all, sir--[ laughter ]--

THE PRESIDENT. All right, Eddie.

7 Edward T. Folliard of the Washington Post.

Q. It seems that the Federal Trade Commission has a report on an alleged oil cartel. Could you tell us when that will be made public, or what disposition will be made of it?

THE PRESIDENT. It is a document that is not for publication at the present time.8 It has been--the committee which is headed by Senator Hennings has had access to it.

8 See also Item 221 [11].

Q. Mr. President, is the reason that it will not be made public at this time one of national security, or other considerations?

THE PRESIDENT. There are other considerations.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, I am asking this for the Bavarian radio system in Germany. Does the American Government consider the opposition of many Germans to a new German army as a true change of mind of these Germans regarding militarism ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, as we told you when you got aboard the plane yesterday at Newport, a number of people out there in Arkansas regarded you as the logical Democratic candidate this year. If it were to come about that the Democratic convention were to give you the nomination after the fact, would you turn it down ?

THE PRESIDENT. Now, you are asking a hypothetical question. There are a lot of people that feel the same way the people in Arkansas do, and I am glad they do. If everybody was happy and cracking his heels together because I got out of the way, I would feel very sad about it. [Laughter]

[9.] Q. Mr. President, the El Paso Times had an editorial recently that you would have veto power on any Democratic nominee. Would you comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. That is news to me. That's another speculative proposition.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the injustice done to Mr. Lattimore9 by a Seattle travel agent's tale, do you think the procedure of the State Department in regard to leaving the country should be strengthened-or tightened, rather?

THE PRESIDENT. We are looking into that situation, and I hope another one like it will never come up. In fact, if I can prevent it, it won't.

9 Professor Owen Lattimore of Johns Hopkins University.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, have you signed the Puerto Rican constitution resolution?

THE PRESIDENT. It hasn't come to me yet. I will sign it when it does.10

10 For the President's statement upon signing a bill approving the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, See Item 198.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you regard Governor Stevenson's statement in Houston, last week as one that indicated he is available for the nomination ?

THE PRESIDENT. Your interpretation is as good as mine. I have no comment on it.

Q. Mr. President, I beg to differ with you, sir. You were right in 1948 and we weren't. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.

Q. In the light of that, sir, would you comment on Governor Stevenson's statement?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment.

Q. Mr. President, I would like to ask a

question along the line of Smitty's.11 Despite all you have told us about your disinclination to run again, there is a widespread feeling that you might be the 1952 nominee. I wonder if you would care to nail it down?

THE PRESIDENT. I have said no as plain as I can, and I shall keep right on saying that I am not a candidate.

11 Merriman Smith of the United Press Associations.

Q. That you wouldn't--haven't you told us, Mr. President, that you would not accept

THE PRESIDENT. I said I did not intend to try to get the nomination, and I did not intend to accept it if they gave it to me.

Q. Mr. President, there have been renewed reports that you might like to run for the Senate in Missouri. I saw it on the ticker today.

THE PRESIDENT. If I had wanted to run for the Senate for Missouri, I would have filed at the proper time.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, to return to the Federal Trade Commission oil cartel report: There has been a considerable amount of speculation that the reason for its nondisclosure--that it has not been disclosed on the grounds that it affected national security-is that there were other less justifiable reasons for holding it back?

THE PRESIDENT. It was classified in the first place by the Federal Trade Commission itself, for national security reasons, but there are other reasons why it should be classified at this time.

Q. But can you explain what they are?


Q. Can you say whether--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no further comment on it at all.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, I want to ask you a noncontroversial question.


Q. How do you plan to spend the Independence Day holiday?

THE PRESIDENT. Why, if Mrs. Truman is willing, she is coming down here. She was up to see Margaret off today.12 We may go up on the "hill," but I don't think we will, because she has to stay close to a telephone on account of her mother's condition.

12 Mrs. Truman accompanied her daughter to New York harbor where Margaret boarded the liner United States for a six-week tour of England, Scandinavia, and Austria.

Q. Go up on the hill, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Shangri-La.13

Q. Oh. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think we will, because she has to stay where she can get in immediate touch with the family at home.

13 The Presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland.

[15.] Q. Mr. Truman, did you write a letter to Mr. Maury Maverick of San Antonio saying that the loyalist Democrats of Texas would be seated at the convention?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on General Eisenhower's desire that the Republican Convention be, as he put it, clean ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not running the Republican Convention, and I am just as glad as I can be that I am not a Republican. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, do you think the seeming disunity among the Republicans will be an advantage to the Democratic Party?

THE PRESIDENT. It usually is, of course. If history tends to repeat itself in that line.

Q. How would you characterize the scene in Chicago today, Mr. President? [Laughter ]

THE PRESIDENT. I don't characterize it. It is none of my business.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, will you by any chance make your preference known for the Democratic candidate sometime before the convention, or during the convention?

THE PRESIDENT. I will have a vote in the convention. I will express my opinion when I cast that vote.

Q. Mr. President, that sort of leaves us in the dark again, sir. You have said previously, sir, that you would not go to the convention until after the nomination for President is made.

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. I have an alternate there who will carry out my wishes.

Q. I see, sir. So we had best go talk to him?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, you can talk to him all you want to. He is a free man.

Q. Mr. President, is this a change in your position? Have you now definitely decided that you will express a preference at the time this vote comes along?

THE PRESIDENT. When my vote is cast, of course there will be a preference. The Missouri delegation is not one of these that goes to the convention with a yoke on. They are free agents. We don't work under the unit rule.

Q. lust for purposes of covering that Missouri delegation, at what stage will you tell your alternate just what he is to do?

THE PRESIDENT. After the nominations are made.

Q. That means, Mr. President, on the first ballot?


Q. Mr. President, can we come back around that again? [Laughter]


Q. You will tell your alternate what to do on the first ballot, is that right?

THE PRESIDENT. If he asks my advice, which he undoubtedly will, I will make a suggestion to him. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, isn't Missouri under the--you say it is not--

THE PRESIDENT. It is not under a unit rule. Never works under the unit rule.

Q. Who is the alternate ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not saying right now, because I don't want him disturbed. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, we met Mr. Gavin at Springfield and

THE PRESIDENT. He told me that he had been elected as an alternate to the convention. There will be an alternate for every delegate--I don't know whether he is my alternate or not.

Q. He told us that he was your alternate.

THE PRESIDENT. Did he? Then that is true then. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, will your alternate announce what your instructions are to him?

THE PRESIDENT. No, He will cast a vote.

Q. But you think we had better keep our eye on Mr. Gavin?

THE PRESIDENT. I would, if I were you.

Q. Mr. President, this is just a technical question. At the time of the voting, will we know who your alternate is?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think so. I think you know now.

Q. Name of Gavin.

THE PRESIDENT. His name is Tom Gavin from Kansas City.

Q. Mr. President, let me put it--then you would not have any objection to the world knowing just what your alternate was to do?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all. None whatever.

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. He is a free agent. I haven't any strings on him except that he happens to be a friend of mine--political friend.

[18.] Q. Judging by your speech yesterday,14 you evidently don't think the Democrats have been in power too long?


14 See Item 194.

Q. Would you enlarge on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. I think I made that perfectly clear, yesterday, that the people are best served by the party that is now in power, and I shall continue to preach that until the first Tuesday in November.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, in your speech before the ADA,15 you predicted a Democratic victory in November. Have recent events either strengthened or had any effect on your--

THE PRESIDENT. It looks more like a Democratic victory now, and the further we go it will look more like that all the time, and you won't be in the dark as much as you were in 1948. I think you will come to the same conclusion I do, as events unfold.

15 See Item 129.

Q. Mr. President, why do you say it looks more like that now?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the Democrats are always doing the right thing. [Laughter] As I stated, I think, in the ADA speech, or it may have been the speech on the 29th of March, the Republicans usually help us out but we have to help ourselves a little, which we will proceed to do.

Reporter: Mr. President, we have got to go for more paper. Thank you. [Laughter]

Note: President Truman's three hundred and tenth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 3, 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/231150

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