Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

October 11, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

I have no special announcements to make. I will try to answer questions, if I can.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, I assume that you have not seen this list of awards made by Oscar Ewing1 this week, and announce--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. No, I haven't.

1 Administrator, Federal Security Agency.

Q. May I just read one of them to you? It is very short--about four lines long. Doctor Robert F. Winch, Northwestern University, has been awarded a grant to study unconscious factors governing courtship and mate selection, and the various mutual needs entering into the choice of married partners will be surveyed in the light of his findings in the field of mental health. [Laughter]

I wonder if you would tell us anything about what this means ?

THE PRESIDENT. No sir, I can't.

Q. When you find out "what is this thing called love," what are we going to do about it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, sir, that has been a question ever since Adam and Eve, and I guess it always will be. [More laughter]

Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. Tony 2 wants to ask me a question.

2Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated Press.

[2.] Q. I wanted to know, Mr. President, what you will do about appointing new judges in Illinois, in view of the Senate's action rejecting the others? 3

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we will have to have judges out there sometime, but it will take some deliberation to find good ones, I fear.

What was your question now ?

3See Item 165 [8].

[3.] Q. Mr. President, Jim Forrestal's diary 4 reports that you had a letter after the 1948 election, in which Bob Taft said that he and Mrs. Taft were not too unhappy about the outcome. One, did he write it; and two, do you expect a like letter from him next year? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. You put a "cracker" on your question. If I told Jim Forrestal that, I certainly must have had the letter. I haven't had a chance to look it up, but I think it was a letter of congratulations on being elected as President, just as I had bushels of them at the time.

4 "The Forrestal Diaries," edited by Walter Millis with collaboration of E. S. Dufiield, New York, Viking Press, 1951.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to make any more recommendations to Congress this session on the Hoover Commission reports ?

THE PRESIDENT. We are working on that situation now.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if I could pin down that question a little more ? In that letter Senator Taft actually did say that he was not--

THE PRESIDENT. I do not recall what was in the letter. I will look it up and read it, and I will tell you what he said.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans to withdraw the nomination of this Beck for Recorder? 5

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not.

5The nomination of Earl W. Beck of Kansas City, Mo., to be Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia was sent to the Senate on September 26, 1951.

Q. Has there been a suggestion by the Senate District Committee, sir, in regard to that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, they have further consideration to give it.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on the House Public Works Committee action in putting off any further consideration on the St. Lawrence Seaway until after January 1?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. I am sorry they did it, is about all I could say.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, last week you were asked about the Army's order for the removal of crosses from 13,000 graves in Hawaii, and you said you didn't know anything about it. I wonder if you had looked into it, and if you knew anything new about it?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have looked into it, and they are treating all the soldiers exactly alike. They have arranged to meet the Korean situation just like they have in other places, and the markers are being placed as fast as they can be obtained. 6

6 See Item 247 [4].

[9.] Q. Mr. President, did you ever ask James Finnegan 7 not to resign his collectorship in St. Louis?

THE PRESIDENT. My recollection is rather hazy on that. They said that I did once.

7 James P. Finnegan, former collector, first district of Missouri, Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Q. When did you first learn that he had extracurricular activities?

THE PRESIDENT, Just a short time ago.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, you are going to give a speech at Winston-Salem, I believe, next week. I wonder if you are going to answer any points raised by Governor Byrnes,8 or if you will have anything to say there about the Southern political situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I will not. That is an educational meeting.

8 Governor James F. Byrnes of South Carolina.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, one more question, do I understand correctly that you approve of the way the Army is handling this cross situation in Hawaii ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. They are straightening everything out. I think you will find, if you will inquire down in the Department of Defense, that everything has been worked out to the satisfaction of everybody.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Lodge today suggested use of atomic weapons in Korea. Do you have any views on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

Q. Mr. President--

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any general observation on the matter of Mr. Finnegan's extracurricular activities ?

THE PRESIDENT. I did not approve of them--do not approve of them and never have.

What was the question over here ?

[14.] Q. I was going to ask, sir--I believe I am up to date on this--I think the nomination of Miss Frieda Hennock for the judgeship is still before the committee. If it shouldn't come out before they recess, will you give her an interim appointment?

THE PRESIDENT. I will take that under consideration when the time comes. 9

9 See Item 283.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think generally of the idea of collectors of Internal Revenue having outside employment ?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think they should have, and never have thought so. I am still of that same opinion.

Q. Mr. President, are you going to do anything to stop it? As I understand it, it is permissible for collectors to have an outside--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you will find that the vast majority of them do not have. Those that get in trouble are those that have.

Q. Sir, would you be in favor of a regulation forbidding their outside employment?

THE PRESIDENT. We will have to look at that. I don't believe that Government employees should have any extracurricular activities at all. I never have thought so, but they are making it so difficult to get good men in public service that I don't know whether that is the right thing to do or not. We will have to look into it. I have expressed my opinion on it.

Q. Mr. President, you said they are making it so difficult. Who are they, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. You ought to know.

Q. Well, I am asking you, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. You ought to know. If you can't answer that question, you don't know what is going on. [Laughter] [Pause]

Are you out of "soap" today, or what?

Q. Well, we're writing now.

Q. It's all so fast.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to nominate a new man, sir, for the TVA to replace Waring? 10

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Yes. When I am ready to announce it, I will let you know.

10The nomination of Frank A. Waring as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority was sent to the Senate on August 1951, and withdrawn October 1, 1951.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, in the matter of the Illinois judgeships, the next time you said there would be some deliberations. On the next time, will you consult Senator Douglas ?

THE PRESIDENT. I will take that under consideration.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, have you anyone in mind as a successor to Mon Wallgren as Chairman of the Federal Power Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. Not ready yet. As soon as I am ready, why I will let you know.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the plan the former Treasury Secretary Morgenthau came up with today, of having the United Nations create an authority to buy the British interests in the Anglo-Iranian Oil--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't given it any consideration, and I can't comment on it.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, I was just wondering--we had to come over here to beat you to the elevator, and we didn't see former Senator Stewart 11--I just wonder if you could tell us what he talked to you about?

THE PRESIDENT. He just came in to pay his respects. He and I were good friends in the Senate, and he was in town and he just wanted to see me. We discussed old times, principally.

11Former Senator Arthur Thomas (Tom) Stewart of Tennessee.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, would you favor taking the collectors of Internal Revenue out of politics, as the postmasterships were, and make them civil service?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am not so sure of that. I am not so sure of that.

Q. I wonder why ?

THE PRESIDENT. Because sometimes it is very difficult to handle civil service employees when they get in places of responsibility. There are so many regulations, it would be exceedingly difficult to fire one when he went wrong. And I like to retain the idea that when a man is not right, he can be immediately fired.

Q. There have been accusations by the committees investigating this, that they haven't been fired fast enough in the present situation ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think they are wrong about that. They have been fired every time one of them has been found to be wrong.

[22.] Q, Mr. President, on the Illinois judges, do you intend to withdraw the nominations of the persons you sent up to the Senate ?

THE PRESIDENT. I understand the Senate rejected them. There is nothing--no further action is necessary.

Q. I see, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. You see, the Senate, having rejected them, that finishes it.

Q. I thought perhaps some move was--further on your part?

THE PRESIDENT. Nothing more to do about those two judges.

Q. Mr. President, just to clear that question, the difference between now and what you said at a previous press conference, the Senate had not actually rejected them then?

THE PRESIDENT, That's right.

Q. It hadn't been brought to the floor?

THE PRESIDENT. It hadn't been brought to the floor.

If you remember a bit of history, Andrew Jackson appointed Martin Van Buren Ambassador to Great Britain. He was 3 months in London and then was rejected by the Senate. It didn't injure his reputation, for he afterwards became President of the United States. [Laughter]

[23.] Q. Mr. President, Bernard Baruch said yesterday that the Russians had invited him to come to Moscow a couple of times to discuss his A-bomb control program, in 1948 and 1949, and he did not accept the invitations. Then, when he was asked why, he said that answer would have to come from officials of the Government. I wonder were you in any way involved in his not going? Do you know why--

THE PRESIDENT. I knew nothing about it. I knew nothing about it whatever. All I know is what I see in the papers.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, do you think it would be useful, say after the British elections, to have another Big Four meeting, and if so would you be willing to go to Europe or the Middle East for such meetings ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that question.

[25.] Q. Mr. President, have you found any new records in connection with the dispute over the conference with Senator Vandenberg and others on the China policy .

THE PRESIDENT. I think that Secretary Acheson answered that completely and thoroughly yesterday in the statement. 12

12 On October 10 Secretary of State Dean Acheson commented on the testimony given by Harold E. Stassen on October 1 before the Subcommittee on Internal Security of the Senate Judiciary Committee (see Item 247 [6] ).

Secretary Acheson denied Mr. Stassen's allegations that withdrawal of aid to Nationalist China had been proposed as a "dramatic peace move" at a White House conference in October 1949. The text of Secretary Acheson's statement is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 25, p. 656).

[26.] Q. Mr. President, I understand the AMVET group which you saw today asked you to get rid of Carl Gray? 13

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen the letter. I understand they left a letter, but they didn't talk to me about it.

13Carl R. Gray, Jr., Administrator of Veterans Affairs.

Q. Would you be likely to get rid of him, under the circumstances ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you know how I am about the people I put in places, and I am rather contrary about having other people tell me what to do with them. [Laughter]

[27.] Q. Mr. President, I sort of hate to ask you this--but a lot of people want to know--have you had any contributions to your library recently ?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. I don't know, and I don't like to refer to that as a

library of mine. It is an archives building that will belong to the United States Government, and that will contain the official papers and gifts that have been received by the President from all over the world for public use. And the land and everything will be deeded to the United States Government just as it was at Hyde Park, and there is a law authorizing such a procedure. But there is no law authorizing appropriations for its construction, and I understand that there has been an effort made to raise the funds for the construction of the building, which will then become the property of the Government of the United States.

Q. Mr. President, you are now talking about the proposed Truman Memorial Library?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't want any memorial to me! We are talking about the proposed building which will contain the archives of my administration. That is what it is, Eddie. 14

14 Edward T. Folliard of the Washington Post.

Mr. Folliard: I don't want any memorial either, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. I know you don't, Eddie. [Laughter]

Q. Could you elaborate on what you authorized Secretary Short to say the other day in connection with that?

THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Short said just what I authorized him to say.15 [Laughter]

15 At a press conference on October 10, Joseph H. Short, Secretary to the President, stated that the President favored the establishment of an archives or library to house his papers but opposed letters requesting contributions for the project. Such a letter had been sent out over the signature of Senator Clinton P. Anderson of New Mexico. The name of George E. Allen appeared on the letterhead.

Q. Well, Mr. President, I am not quite clear--do you think there should be such a building?


Q. But you did not know about the manner in which Senator Anderson and his--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I didn't know.

Q.--colleagues were proposing to do it?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Short answered that. Mr. Short answered that. I didn't know anything about that procedure.

Q. Do you have any method by which you think it could possibly be financed ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I have no method at all. All I hope is that there will be a place where these papers can be stored without being scattered all over the country.

You know, the papers of nearly all the Presidents have been misplaced, and it has been very difficult to get the facts of their administrative acts. And this new archives building bill which I asked the Congress to pass is proposing to take care of that situation, not only for the President, but for all the top administrators of every administration. And then the historians will have access to the papers whenever they want to see them, and they will be all put in one place.

Q. Do you think that it is better to have them concentrated in Washington?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I think because it gives access to people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to see what they contain. It will be under the control of Archives. The Archives Building is fast becoming too small to hold what we have there now.

Q. When President Roosevelt decided to have his at Hyde Park, the argument was made that it would be better for scholars if it were all concentrated here, because then they could get--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't agree with that.

Q. You don't agree?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't agree. And I think President Roosevelt was right in what he did.

[28.] Q. Mr. President, in Forrestal's diary there is a report that you told him that you hoped General Eisenhower would take the hint and resign, so that you could put General Bradley in as Chief of Staff?

THE PRESIDENT. No indeed. No indeed. General Eisenhower came to see me and asked me to appoint General Bradley. And I never asked General Eisenhower to quit at all. Whenever I have been able to use him, I have always used him ever since.

Q. You didn't say to Mr. Forrestal that you hoped he would take the hint?

THE PRESIDENT. I never had any such conversation that I recollect. I feel--I am sure I didn't say that, because I am very fond of Eisenhower. He was an excellent Chief of Staff, and General Bradley was, too, and so was General Marshall. I haven't had a bad one.

[29.] Q. Mr. President, you said that you would like to see the archives of the President handled in a library. Would--and I say this very respectfully--would it include carbon copies of letters that you have written ?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, yes. It will contain everything. I have got a stack of files over there that is larger than any other President ever had, and it will fill two rooms like this.

Q. Mr. President, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Allen will continue in charge of this collection?

THE PRESIDENT. I suppose that Mr. Allen will. I didn't know that Anderson had any connection with it.

Q. He wrote the letter.

Q. Clint Anderson ?

THE PRESIDENT. I know he did, but I say that is the first I knew about it. They are excellent and very dear friends, but sometimes your friends get overzealous.

Q. What was that last, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I said those two gentlemen are very good friends of mine, and sometimes your good friends get overzealous without any intention of doing any harm, and I am sure that is what happened in this case.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and eighty-second news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, 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/230979

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