Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

July 26, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

I have no particular announcements to make to you. I will try to answer questions.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, General MacArthur made a speech last night,1 and he said these things: in Korea the result has been indecisive--said that there has been appeasement on the battlefield--he said a great nation which enters upon war and fails to see it through to victory must accept the full moral consequence of defeat--

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

1General MacArthur addressed the Massachusetts Legislature in Boston on July 25. The text of his speech appears in the Congressional Record, vol. 97, p. A4721.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you have gone into this charge that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has made on Bill Boyle?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. All I know about it is what I have seen in the paper. I am looking into it.

Q. Mr. President, do you think it was proper for Mr. Boyle to take money from the American Litho--when he was paid $3,000 a year.

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it, only what I have seen in the paper. I can't comment until I know the facts, and I don't believe it until I know them myself. 2

2 For a statement by the President on Democratic National Chairman William M. Boyle, Jr., and certain RFC loans to the American Lithofold Corporation, see Item 188 [3].

[3.] Q. Mr. President, what is your reaction to this action of the House Public Works Committee in tabling the St. Lawrence Seaway--

THE PRESIDENT. I am still hopeful that the St. Lawrence Seaway will come out on the floor of the House.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, in that same speech last night, General MacArthur hinted that some kind of reprisal had been threatened against him--

THE PRESIDENT. Still no comment. [Laughter]

Q. May I finish the question, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes--I know what you are going to say. Go ahead and finish it so that it will be for the record.

Q. Has any additional disciplinary action against General MacArthur been considered ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No. I will say no to that.

Q. Mr. President, I will take it one step further, sir--has any military man ever in any way undergone any reprisal for any testimony that he has given on the Hill ?

THE PRESIDENT. Never. Never.

Q. Has any ever been in your mind, sir ?

THE PRESIDENT. Never. I wouldn't let them testify in the first place, if I felt that way about it.

Q. [Inaudible]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, they can't testify unless I let them.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, does the agreement on the agenda in Kaesong make you more hopeful now that we may get a cease-fire and armistice? 3

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it does.

3On July 26 delegations representing the United Nations Command and the Communist forces, meeting at Kaesong, Korea, agreed upon a five-point agenda for the regulation of the military armistice conference. U.N. commander Matthew B. Ridgway's announcement of the agreement, including the outlined agenda, appears in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 25, p. 231).

[6.] Q. Mr. President, I write for a paper in the northwest part of Indiana, a heavy industrial steel area. We have had a chronic housing shortage since Pearl Harbor. The war veterans that came in since the World War did not go home but stayed there. Under present building regulations, they don't have the $4500 or $3500 to pay down for a house. They would be able to pay 10 percent. In the Defense Production Act there are provisions for a return of the 10 percent down payment. Twelve percent of the conferees seem to be in agreement on the bill which may be on your desk within a few days. I wonder if you would care to make any statement on that bill? [The White House Official Reporter noted that this was condensed from a barely audible question ]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't comment on that bill until it is on my desk, but the housing situation is being torn all to pieces in the House--the public housing proposition-and they might endeavor to knock it out again in the bill that was passed in the Senate, but I don't know what will happen when it comes up to me. I will comment on it when it does. 4

4 For the President's statement upon signing the Defense Production Act Amendments of 1951, see Item 176.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, a day or two ago you got a letter from Phil Murray, asking the administration to throw its weight behind the MVA proposal. Can you say whether--

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that letter in due course, then I will give them both out. I don't answer letters that are published in the paper. I always am courteous when I receive a letter. I will answer it, and when Murray has had a chance to get my views, then I will give it to you? 5

5 For the President's letter to CIO President Philip Murray on the flood control problem in the Missouri River Basin, see Item 183.

Q. Independent of his letter--

THE PRESIDENT. No comment--no comment. You know how I stand on MVA, so there is no comment on that.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, there are a lot of suggestions from Democratic leaders here and there for candidates in 1952, in case you shouldn't run. Jake Arvey out in Chicago said he had a couple, Eisenhower, and the other Douglas, if you shouldn't run--

THE PRESIDENT. No, there is no comment, only I think Jake went off half-cocked once before in the history of the country. [Laughter]

Q. In 1948, sir?


[9.] Q. Mr. President, on the decision of the Municipal Court of Appeals on the validity of the 1873 act prohibiting discrimination in restaurants, according to most attorneys that act is now law, but just this week the District Commissioners announced that they would not enforce that law until it had been decided upon by the United States Supreme Court. I wonder if you wish to comment on the stand taken by the Commissioners?

THE PRESIDENT. The matter is pending in the courts, and I never comment on things that are pending in the courts.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, have you found a successor for James Pope on the TVA Board?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. I will announce it just as soon as I do find one.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to clarify the functions of the newly formed Gordon Gray board? There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding as to it.

THE PRESIDENT. The Psychological Warfare Board is just what it says. That board is for the purpose of coordinating things that will psychologically help win the peace. I think Gordon Gray can give you a detailed statement on the subject that will cover every phase of it. I would have to talk all afternoon to do that.

Q. May I ask one more question, sir?


Q. Do you intend for it to be a permanent board ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. It is a part of the Central Intelligence Agency.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, would you be able to clarify my thinking on when you will decide whether or not you will seek election in 1952?

THE PRESIDENT. You know, I am afraid that I just can't do anything for your thought factory on that! [Laughter]

Q. Thank you, sir. I was trying to think of a new way to phrase it. Have you decided whether or not you will do any stumping this year?

THE PRESIDENT. Can't answer that one either.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that Ralph Bunche will be the next Ambassador to Moscow ?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard about it.

Q. Can you comment--

THE PRESIDENT. I say I haven't heard about it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us any idea when you will name a new Chief of Naval Operations ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I cannot. I don't like to discuss things like that when the great man is lying in his coffin. 6

6 Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations, died in Naples, Italy, on July 22. He had just completed a mission to Spain where he discussed European defense measures with Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

Q. Mr. President, can't hear--we can't hear.

THE PRESIDENT. I said I don't like to discuss things like that when the man who held the place before is lying in his coffin.

Q. Do you have anything that you want to add?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't think of a thing, thank you very much.

Reporter: Well, thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and seventy-second news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, 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/230478

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