Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 16, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

I have no particular announcements to make this morning, but I will try to answer questions, if you have any.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, you said last week you did not think General MacArthur was a candidate for the Democratic nomination.--

Voices: MacArthur? Eisenhower. Eisenhower.

Q. I mean--[laughter]--General Eisenhower. Senator Douglas said this week that he is not a candidate. I was just wondering who is left besides you? [More laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I can't answer that question. I am sure there are plenty of people who are ambitious for the job. They don't know what they are getting into, though.

Q. Could you name them ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Wouldn't be seemly for me to name them.

Q. Mr. President, could I ask--while we are on that question--when you said that General Eisenhower is not a candidate for the Democratic ticket, did you say it from firsthand information ?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I made any such statement as that. I said I didn't think he would be a candidate on the Democratic ticket. I didn't say he wouldn't be.

Q. I see.

THE PRESIDENT. But I rather think, my friends, that we have worked that vein pretty nearly to the vanishing point, and I think there are more important things to talk about than who is going to be a candidate for the Presidency next year.

Q. Mr. President, before we seal that off, I have one question. Speaking of Senator Douglas, the other night he said that he would support you, despite the little controversy that you have been at1--despite that, he said he would support you for President in 1952. I wonder if you would welcome that support?

THE PRESIDENT. Certainly. If I were a candidate I would.

1 See Item 165[8].

Q. Another question is, Mr. President, he said that--asked if you were--thought that you were a candidate--said he thought you were standing under the mistletoe to be kissed. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

Q. We didn't get that.

THE PRESIDENT. What was that?

Q. We didn't get the answer?

THE PRESIDENT. I said no comment.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, these military defense arrangements that we are working on with the Philippines and Australia, New Zealand and Japan in the past week, will they have the same effect in the Pacific area as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

THE PRESIDENT. That is the intention.

[3] Q. Mr. President, there is a published report this morning that General MacArthur will address the Japanese Peace Conference in San Francisco next month. Has he been invited to speak--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. It will be all right, if he wants to address the Conference. I would have no objection to it whatever. And if the State Department invites him, he undoubtedly will. I think Mr. Dulles covered the situation pretty well. 2

2 On August 15 John Foster Dulles, Consultant to the Secretary of State, released a statement on the forthcoming San Francisco Conference on the proposed Japanese Peace Treaty. Excerpts are published in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 25, p. 346).

[4.] Q. Mr. President, I have two questions, one regional and one more or less inane--[laughter]--the regional question is, in your dispersal policy that you announced last Friday,3 the work was done in Seattle by a labor industrial group. Would you comment on the work of that group?

3 See Item 189.

THE PRESIDENT. The program that was announced was done by the National Security Resources Board, and they have been at it for the last year and a half.

[5.] Q. Now for the inane question. I have been asked by several women's organizations to ask you in what way or ways the average American woman can help the defense effort?

THE PRESIDENT. To support the program that we are trying to put across with everything they have.

Q. Can you suggest any concrete way?

THE PRESIDENT. No. That is up to them.

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. They are citizens the same as I am.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us any further information on this overemphasis of athletics in military academies? 4

THE PRESIDENT. I am still in the middle of the investigation, and I can't comment on it.

4See Item 188 [14].

Q. Would you tell us, sir, who is conducting the investigation?


Q. [The White House Official Reporter noted that this question was inaudible. He thought it was to this effect: "Could you tell us if anybody is helping you with the investigation?"]

THE PRESIDENT. I am conducting it myself.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, have you anything further to say at this moment about the plans for the visit of Princess Elizabeth and her husband ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, only that we are very happy that they are coming and we will try to give them as warm a welcome as we possibly can.

[8.] Q. Do you have any information that the President of the Philippines will go to San Francisco to sign that Mutual Security Pact?


Q. I beg your pardon ?

THE PRESIDENT. They will. They are going to sign the Japanese treaty.

Q. Well, I was referring to a report from Manila that President Quirino himself would go to sign it. I was just wondering if--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no further information on that. I know they are going to sign it--both the treaty and the security pact.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to see the Russian Vice Foreign Minister Gromyko when he starts off from--

THE PRESIDENT. If he wants to see me, I will be most happy to talk with him.

[10.] Q. Do you know definitely when you will go to San Francisco?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am supposed to be there on the 4th.

Q. On the 4th ?


[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you think that the Russians will be able to succeed in doing any real damage in San Francisco, in upsetting the arrangements?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I don't think the treaty arrangements can be upset by anybody.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, after your Legion speech,5 Senator McCarthy commented that he thought your administration was governed by Communists. Have you any comment ?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

5 See Item 191.

Q. Mr. President, do you think McCarthyism will be an issue in the 1952 election?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

Q. I'm not doing so well today.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, I have just come back from a trip to Haiti, and those folks down there are very much upset because they haven't seen an American Ambassador for 8 months. I wonder whether you have any such intention--

6 Howard K. Travers of Central Valley, N.Y. Mr. Travers' nomination was confirmed by the Senate on October 2, 1951.

THE PRESIDENT. I appointed one yesterday.6

Q. Mr. President, I didn't see it. It didn't come through in the usual announcements from the Press Secretary's office?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't signed his commission yet, but as soon as the commission is signed, why it will be announced in the regular way. But I appointed one yesterday.

Q. Do you feel free to disclose his name now?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I can't remember it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, one other thing, have you read a copy of Look magazine? A professor had an article about you.7

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I saw it. I thought it was a very good article, and was written in a manner that was very truthful, and written by a man who knows what he is talking about, and I am not acquainted with him.

7 The article, "A Few Kind Words for Harry Truman," by Henry Steele Commager, was printed in Look magazine of August 28, 1951. The article was reprinted in the Congressional Record (vol. 97, pp. A5146 and A6214).

Q. What was that last ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not acquainted with him. Never talked to him in my life. He has worked out that article from the facts.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, as a former Senator, do you care to comment on the poll that was taken of correspondents at the Capitol, that Senator Douglas was the best Senator, and Senator McCarthy the worst?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, when I was in the Senate a similar poll was taken, and I happened to be in the position of Senator Douglas. I compliment him on being in that position.

Q. Yes sir.

THE PRESIDENT. No further comment. [Laughter]

[16.] Q. Mr. President, you haven't been asked yet about the situation in Korea. The peace talks--cease-fire talks, rather-have been going along for quite a while now, and not apparently getting very far. Is there any observation that you could make at this time about that general situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I think--there is no comment I can make at the present time.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, I would like-I am not trying to involve you in any personality controversy with Senator McCarthy, but would you care to give us an idea of your definition of McCarthyism, which apparently will be an issue in 1952?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, I just happen to have a copy of that Look magazine article with me. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Just happen to have!

Q. Would you--it says here: "By all normal standards his administration has been one of almost uninterrupted and unparalleled success." In another place, however, he states that he feels your domestic policy has not been as successful as your foreign policy. Would you care to comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I will comment on that at a later time, when it will do the most good, and tell you exactly the why and the wherefore for that statement.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Humphrey said this week, after he talked with you, that he urged you to make a whistle-stop tour this fall. Would you tell us anything about your plans ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have been urged to do that by a great many people. I haven't made up my mind yet, but when I do, I will let you know in plenty of time so that you can pack your grips--if I decide to go. [Laughter]

[20.] Q. Mr. President, might the answer to yours [inaudible]--domestic thing come at that time?

THE PRESIDENT. We will have to let that take care of itself. We will see what the conditions are.

What is it you wanted, Tony? 8

8 Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated Press.

[21.] Q. The only thing I wanted to know, when you come back from San Francisco, are we coming back direct here, or stopping--

THE PRESIDENT. I am supposed to stop at home on the way back, and stay a day or two, if something doesn't come up to force me to come back immediately.

Reporter: Well, sir--thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and seventy-fifth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 16, 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/230595

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