Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 27, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

I have no statements for release, but I will try my best to answer questions--if you have any.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us any background on the mission of General Bradley and "Chip" Bohlen 1 out to the Far East? They left last night, that much has been announced, so it is not a trick question.

THE PRESIDENT. They are going out for an interview with General Ridgway. It is a customary procedure which has been followed right along. That is about all I can say about it.

1 eneral of the Army Omar N. Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Charles E. Bohlen, Counselor of the Department of State.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, awhile ago in the House, Mr. Leo Allen of Illinois gave as one of the principal reasons for opposition to the Fogarty resolution on the unification of Ireland,3 that he and other Members of the House had not been told what your views were in the matter, and he said they did not think they should pass a resolution like that unless they knew what your views were. I wonder if you would care to say--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no views on it. [Laughter]

2 on January 19, 1951, Representative John E. Fogarty of Rhode Island had introduced a resolution "to provide for the unity of Ireland."

[3.] Q. Mr. President, when you sent up your message this morning about the public statement on outside income of Federal employees, a it produced a rather varied reaction in the Senate. Senator Capehart said he would support it, but Senator Millikin said it was too degrading to even be before the Senate. What do you think of Senator Millikin's position on that?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, now, that is his opinion, and he is entitled to his opinion, the same as I am entitled to mine. And my opinion is expressed in the message.

3See Item 237.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report from Belgrade today that Britain, the United States, and France have agreed with Yugoslavia for the partition of Trieste between Italy and Yugoslavia. Can you tell us whether that is correct or not?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on it.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided to appoint Telford Taylor to head up the Small Defense Plants Administration ? And also, are you ready to fill that remaining vacancy on the Renegotiation Board?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on either question.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, are you hopeful of a peaceful solution to the Iranian difficulties?4

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am. I am always hoping for peace everywhere in the world. Sometimes that hope never comes to fruition, but I still hope for it.

4 British-Iranian dispute on the nationalization of the oil industry in Iran. See Item 140 [4].

[7.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to name Joe Duke, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, to the International Boundary and Water Commission ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us the purpose of Mr. Potofsky's 5 visit this morning?

THE PRESIDENT. He comes to see me whenever he feels like it. I think he is one of the ablest of the labor leaders. He came in to discuss various things with me, particularly the unemployment that now exists among the garment workers.

5 Jacob Potofsky, General President, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the power shortage in the Northeast, due to drought, are you going to try to hurry along Government action on the Quoddy tidal power project?

THE PRESIDENT. I have been trying to hurry that along for 6 years, May,6 but your Senators and Representatives are not very enthusiastic about it. That's one of the reasons I haven't been able to get it. Mrs. Smith 7 is for it, but I don't know of anybody else who is in that neck of the woods that is for it.

6 Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

7 Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine.

Q. I understood, sir, that they had asked you in June whether they should try to get the money, and you asked them to refrain until you had got the results of a Government survey being made this summer?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. That survey is now finished, and that has some connection with the St. Lawrence Seaway. The power pool in that part of the country will be made up, if we get it, of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Bay of Fundy project.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, are there any plans for Mr. Harriman 8 to return to Tehran in the near future?


8W. Averell Harriman, Special Assistant to the President.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, there have been several collectors of Internal Revenue now under investigation, and I have been asked to ask you whether you are considering suggesting that these jobs be taken out of the appointive field and put under civil service?

THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't that under consideration at all.

Q. You have, or hadn't?


[12.] Q. Mr. President, the conference committees of the two Houses completed work today on the foreign aid military economic bill,9 calling for a new director to handle the new agency, appointed by you. Have you decided on whether Mr. Harriman will be the man for that?

THE PRESIDENT. The bill hasn't reached me. Until I make a survey of it, I can't give you any answer on its administration.

9 See Item 250.

Q. As I remember, you told a previous conference you weren't concerned so much with operations as you were with the money that was needed ?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. But you haven't decided who will fill the job?

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

[13.] Q. Mr. President, on the Internal Revenue collectors, I think it has been the practice for a long time to make the appointments more or less political, such as the postmaster appointments have been in many cases. I wonder if you were tending a little bit toward a career man in that field, such as Mr. Dunlap ? 10

THE PRESIDENT. The best answer to that is that I have appointed more career men in all the fields than any other President. There are two career men in my Cabinet.

10 John B. Dunlap, Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

Q. Yes sir. I wondered if you planned to make any particular point of that with the collectors ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, not at all. If a man is able to fill the bill and has had experience in those positions, it is always best to appoint him.

Q. Mr. President, do you regard yourself as a career man ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I have been in elective office for 30 years. I think that's a pretty good career. Will be 30 years, at the end of my present term.

Q. That wasn't what he meant. [Laughter ]

THE PRESIDENT. I know that's not what he meant. But he got his answer. [More laughter]

[14.] Q. Mr. President, have you changed your opinion in any way on Mr. Boyle,11 as a result of his testimony today?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

11 William M. Boyle, Jr., chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, would you say anything about your exchanges between the British Prime Minister on the Iranian situation?


Q. I didn't catch the question.

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if I can say anything about the exchanges between the British Prime Minister and myself on Iran, and I said I couldn't make any comment on it.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, on your message to Congress this morning, you mentioned in one of the paragraphs that although the overwhelming majority of the people in Government administration were composed of honest, decent men, that there were some who put private interests before the public. Now, in most of the cases on which you have been questioned at these conferences you have expressed confidence in the men who have been under attack. Does that mean that you feel there have been some cases that have not been made public?

THE PRESIDENT. None that I knew of. [Pause]

What's the matter with you? Are you out of "soap"? [Laughter]

[17.] Q. Are you seeing the Canadian Prime Minister tomorrow, as I understand it? 12

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. On the St. Lawrence Seaway project.

12See Item 240.

[18.] Q. The other, sir, I want to ask about--the Atomic Energy Commission has complained today, to some of the labor unions, about strikes at a couple of atomic energy plants that they are afraid may hurt the defense effort. I wonder if that had been brought to your attention ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it hasn't. Probably will be, though, before it is finished.

[19.] Q. Do you care to summarize your questions following the visit of the Italian Prime Minister ?

THE PRESIDENT. Wall, I think they were very well summarized in the communique which was issued by the two of us. 13 I think that answers your question. [Pause]

What's the matter?

13 See Item 232.

Q. Not a thing! [Laughter]

Q. I will volunteer.


[20.] Q. Is there any reason why the St. Lawrence and Niagara power projects should be linked together ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, there is a very good reason--because we want to get them both constructed.

Q. But the Niagara power is ready to go now--as an independent proposition.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, but I am not for it. I never have been in favor of taking them apart, for the very simple reason that I don't want to see one constructed without the other. I would like to see them both constructed.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and eightieth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 27, 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/230865

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