The President's News Conference
THE PRESIDENT, Please be seated.
I have no special announcements for you this morning. I will try to answer questions, however, if I can.
[1.] Q. Mr. President, have you received a report from the Wage Stabilization Board yet on the copper situation ?
THE PRESIDENT. No.
Q. Could you tall us what the next step in that is, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. I haven't received the report. I can't make any comment until I know what is in the report. 1
1 See note to Item 204.
[2.] Q. Mr. President, I have been asked to ask you this question for comment, in the case of two "engine hustlers" out in Toledo, who have been ordered discharged for refusal to join a union on religious grounds. Do you--the union has just signed a union shop contract with New York Central--
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about it.
[3.] Q. Mr. President, a Senate committee-District of Columbia committee--has reported out a bill to give the people here home rule. The people would elect a city council, and the President would appoint a mayor. Do you favor action--
THE PRESIDENT. I have been fighting for home rule for 17 years. I hope they will get it this time.
[4.] Q. Mr. President, you told us that you were going to continue correspondence with the President of the Soviet Presidium. Could you tell us anything about it--something coming up on that?
THE PRESIDENT. No, there is no hurry. Those things have to be done very deliberately. I meant what I said when I said I would pursue the correspondence. 2
2 See Item 147.
[5.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to participate in some kind of ceremony out in Kansas City next Thursday in the National Guard Armory--
THE PRESIDENT. Wall, it's a Reserve Armory, not National Guard.
THE PRESIDENT. It's a dedication of the Organized Reserve Armory. Yes, I am.
Q. Will you make a speech ?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I expect so. I will make a few remarks off the cuff. 3
3See Item 218.
Q. Are you going to spend your time at home, or will you be in the city--
THE PRESIDENT. At home. I'll stay at home.
Q. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT. I'll be back and forth from the city all the time, just like I always am. I want to take a look at that flood area again, to see how it looks after they started to dean it up.
Q. Will you do that, sir, by plane or car ?
THE PRESIDENT. Walk!
Q. Oh! [Laughter]
Q. How far is that walk going to take you?
THE PRESIDENT. Oh, it won't be very long--three or four miles. [Laughter]
Q. How far?
THE PRESIDENT. Three or four miles.
Q. Mr. President, will you walk slow enough so we can follow you? [More laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I think I'll compromise with you and ride most of the way, but there will be some of it on foot, of course. I want to see what it looks like.
[6.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if I could get your reaction--you are acquainted with the case of the seven newspaper people in Louisiana who were indicted--
THE PRESIDENT. All I know is what I have seen in the papers. I don't know anything about the facts. I understand the matter is now pending in the courts, and I don't usually comment on those things.
[7.] Q. Mr. President, a recent opinion poll in the Middle West shows a sharp rise in your popularity. Have you any comment?
THE PRESIDENT. No. No comment. You know how those things go up and down, and a lot of people are disappointed in the results when they finally count them. [Laughter]
[8.] Q. Mr. President, to get back to this business of the Russians and the Shvernik letter, the morning papers are carrying stories from Moscow, quoting the Moscow press as accusing the United States of starting world war III. Do you have any comment on that?
THE PRESIDENT. That is nothing new for them. It isn't true, of course. Like all the rest of their propaganda, not founded on fact at all.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, did you by any chance look at that other piece by Jonathan Daniels about 1952? 4
THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't seen it.
4The article by Jonathan Daniels, entitled "Truman Can't Lose," is printed in the September 1951 issue of the American Magazine.
Q. Well, Jonathan says that--without any qualification at all--that on the basis of recent conversations with you, he thinks your attitude to the race indicates you will run and be reelected, and by about 419 electoral votes now.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, any American citizen is entitled to his opinion. I am not expressing mine. [Laughter]
Q. Well, Mr. President, would you say Mr. Daniels' was an informed opinion ?
THE PRESIDENT. He did not consult me about it. His guess is as good as anybody's. [Laughter]
Q. Before, Mr. President, we asked when that thing came up, when Jonathan--when he came out from seeing you a few weeks ago, we asked you if he was acting on anything more than reportorial instinct, and you said that was what the case was. Is that what this case is ?
THE PRESIDENT. That's the same kind of a case exactly.
[10.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to take any steps to try and restore that ECA cut in the foreign aid appropriation in the Senate ?
THE PRESIDENT. I have done everything I possibly can on that part of that legislation. I am going to keep working at it. Looks rather hopeless now, however. It is a very serious situation.
[11.] Q. Mr. President, are we in a stronger position in Korea, if fighting has to be renewed, than we were when the talks began?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Certainly we are.
Q. Then, would you comment on the talks themselves--evaluate the situation?
THE PRESIDENT. General Ridgway has expressed the opinion of the American Government, and I am behind him 100 percent.
Q. We will be stronger than we were?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
[12.] Q. Mr. President, have you looked into that Cowart5 case, the man who was dismissed by the Department of Agriculture and there has been some complaint about it?
THE PRESIDENT. I only know what I saw in the paper. I haven't talked to the Secretary of Agriculture about it.
5Jack Cowart, former official of the Department of Agriculture. The reasons for his dismissal were not made public.
Q. You haven't talked with him. Has Mr. Rayburn talked to you about it, by any chance?
THE PRESIDENT. No. I haven't talked to anybody about it.
[13.] Q. Mr. President, would you like to enlarge at this time on the possible results of the cut in the foreign aid funds ?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can make a remark or two that I think apropos.
Back in 1947 it was decided, after Mr. Acheson stated the case at Cleveland, Miss., and General Marshall stated it at Harvard University, that economic recovery is what Europe needed in order to stave off the Red aggression.
A plan was worked out, presented to the Congress, and they were informed that we hoped over a 4-year period European recovery could be accomplished for less than$17 billion. The last request brought the total up to about 14 1/2 billion, 2 1/2 less than the original estimate, with success in sight.
Now, it is a pity to overturn the whole applecart in the interests of misplaced economy. It isn't economy, and will not be economy, if the European recovery program is ruined at its conclusion when we are just on the verge of success. And the economic improvement of Europe will be of immense assistance in the rearming of the Atlantic Treaty countries. It all fits in the same pattern. And it isn't economy to do what they are trying to do now to the economic recovery program.
Q. Mr. President, present indications are that the Congress may change the authority for administering this foreign aid and take it out of the hands of the Secretary of State. Do you think that such a plan is workable?
THE PRESIDENT. I wonder who the Chief Executive of the United States is ? It is the business of the President of the United States to carry out the mandates of Congress and that is the way this will be handled.
Q. In other words, does that mean you think it will be workable under that present plan, where it explicitly leaves it up to you for all final decisions ?
THE PRESIDENT. That would be absolutely necessary, anyway. It will be workable.
[14.] Q. Mr. President, the Czechoslovakian Ambassador last night said that he regards the Oatis case as closed. What do you think of that?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't think the Oatis case will ever be closed until he gets out of jail, at least not in this country. 6
6 See Item 145 .
[15.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the-[inaudible]--control vacancy, are you planning any reshuffling of the agencies, including the abolition of ESA ?
THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question until I know just what the bills provide. It is being analyzed now by the Budget.
Q. Mr. President, I didn't get his question?
THE PRESIDENT. They wanted to know if there was going to be any reshuffling of the agencies that have to do with the price control and defense production, things of that kind, on account of the tremendous cuts which were made by this Congress. I told him I can't answer the question until the bills are analyzed and we found out just what has been accomplished--or not accomplished, whichever way you want to put it.
[16.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to make any comment on India's refusal to attend the Japanese peace treaty conference in San Francisco ?
THE PRESIDENT. No comment. We sent a message which covered the whole situation.7
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. You are entirely welcome.
7 The Indian note of August 23, released to the press on August 25, gave the following reasons for India's refusal to attend the Japanese peace treaty conference: "(I) The terms of the Treaty should concede to Japan a position of honour, equality, and contentment among the community of free nations; (II) They should be so framed as to enable all countries specially interested in the maintenance of a stable peace in the Far East to subscribe to the Treaty sooner or later. The Government of India have after most careful thought come to the conclusion that the Treaty does not in material respects satisfy either of these two criteria." The Indian message and the U.S. reply of August 25 are printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 25, p. 385).
Note: President Truman's two hundred and seventy-seventh news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 30, 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/230686