Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

February 15, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Please be seated. I have one short announcement to make, and that is that on Saturday I am going over to inspect the Aberdeen, Md., Proving Grounds. This will be placed on the bulletin board, and anybody that feels like he would like to fire a bazooka or get fired at by one, will be welcome to go. That's all I have.

Q. What time are you leaving, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Nine o'clock.

Q. In the morning?


Q. By train?


Q. What time will you come back?

THE PRESIDENT. When we get through. I don't know what time that will be.

Q. Mr. President, does this possibly indicate you might visit some other Armed Forces installations around the country?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't any under consideration right now.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, there have been some reports on the air lately that you are no longer in favor of the Federal-State accord on the St. Lawrence--

THE PRESIDENT. That is not true.

Q.--on letting the States handle it?

THE PRESIDENT. If you will read the messages I sent down, you will find that that is not true.

Q. I remember in 1945 you said you were in favor of it.

THE PRESIDENT. Why certainly--there is no misunderstanding between the State of New York and the President.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, the term of Governor Stainback of Hawaii was supposed to end last August. Do you intend to appoint a new Governor before the Hawaiian legislature--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not.

Q. You do not?


[4.] Q. Mr. President, you received a letter from the Federal Reserve Board on the maintenance of Government credit terms to the percentage--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen it.

Q. You have not received the letter?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen the letter.

Q. So you can't comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on it.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, Justice Douglas made an address out in Tucson yesterday, rather critical of Asiatic policy--saying that the Asiatic world was in a form of revolution akin to the French Revolution and the American Revolution. Is there anything you might care to say about that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[6].Q. Mr. President, you recently wrote Federal Reserve Board Chairman McCabe that you understand that you have the assurance that the market on Government securities will be stabilized and maintained at present levels.1 Is it still your understanding that you have that assurance, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That letter has said exactly what I meant, and still says what I mean. [Pause]

1 See Item 29.

What's the matter with everybody? [Laughter]

Q. We're writing.

Q. Have to write.

Q. That's important.

THE PRESIDENT. Too bad--you didn't used to do that when I made you stand up. [More laughter]

[7.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. DiSalle2 said today--I think Mr. DiSalle asked Police Commissioner Murphy3 of New York to take the enforcement job of price administration?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that would be a good appointment, if we can get him to do it. Mr. Murphy looks exactly like Grover Cleveland, and he is a fighter, too.

2 Michael V. DiSalle, Director of Price Stabilization.

3 Police Commissioner Thomas F. Murphy of New York City.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, it has been some time since you have made any comment on the progress on the fighting in Korea. Would you care to do that today?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment. I think there is more in the papers about that than any comment I could make.

Q. Mr. President, do you care to discuss where we go from here in Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. What about? Where is it you want to go?

Q. Well, the 38th parallel--or not?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that. That is a military matter, and the President of the United States has never interfered with military maneuvers in the field, and he doesn't expect to interfere in it now.

Q. Any comment on the senatorial strategists who want to go into Pingyang, then call it off?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. No comment. We have got a lot of strategists up there.

[9.] Mr. Short:4 Mr. President, I think that quote from McCabe was an inaccurate quote.

THE PRESIDENT. What one was that?

4Joseph Short, Secretary to the President.

Mr. Short: The quote from the McCabe letter that was read over there.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that was an accurate quote. Joe says he doesn't believe that that quote that was read over there from a letter I wrote to McCabe was an accurate one. Jack,5 let's find it and read it back.

5Jack Romagna, White House Official Reporter.

Q. Mr. President, I read the quote as saying that: "As I understand, I have your assurance that the market on Government securities would be stabilized and maintained at present levels"--and it goes on-"in order to assure the successful financing requirements, and to establish in the minds of the people confidence concerning Government credit."

THE PRESIDENT. I think I expressed appreciation at their cooperation, if I remember correctly.

Q. That is not the full quote. That was a paragraph from the letter.

THE PRESIDENT. I think you had better quote the full letter, because I say that letter still stands. I will see that you get the full letter.

Mr. Short: if you will come to my office, I will make the full letter available.

Q. Mr. President, it was in reply to your letter to Chairman McCabe that he responded the following day. Is that letter not a reply to this?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen the letter.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, you were asked about crossing the 38th parallel, and you replied that that was a military matter. Is it--

THE PRESIDENT. That is a strategic matter. It is a strategic matter, and it is in the hands of the Commanding General of the Far East.

Q. The point I was going to make is that there has been a lot of discussion about the political aspects of crossing the 38th parallel--

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, yes, and there will be a lot more discussion on that subject, too, but I don't intend to comment on it today.

Q. Mr. President, do you mean that the United Nations' permission of last October to cross the 38th parallel still holds good?

THE PRESIDENT. It is still in effect.

Q. Mr. President, just so we don't get into a "rowdy-dowdy," the way we did on that atomic bomb thing, do you mean by that, sir, that this--you don't mean discussing it whether we need more authority, or whether this is still--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I think the Commanding General of the Far East Command has all the authority necessary to carry on the military operations. And that is his job.

Q. I see.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, I have been reading a lot in the papers--society columns--about various trip plans you have-- [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. As you know, Tony,6 I told you the other day that I thought that was a trial balloon sent up by the pressroom of the White House. [Laughter]

6Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated Press.

Q. But these people don't operate out of our pressroom.

THE PRESIDENT. I know, but then they are friends of nearly everybody in the pressroom, and you attend cocktail parties and places, and that is where all these rumors start. [More laughter]

Q. They have left me out of all of them.

THE PRESIDENT. They have me too, Tony. All I know is what I see in the papers.

Q. Well, Mr. President, aside from trial balloons, are you going anywhere?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am going out to Aberdeen Saturday.

Q. After Aberdeen, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that today.

Q. What about Guantanamo, Mr. President? That is a--

THE PRESIDENT. That's a lovely place. That's a lovely place.

Q. Will you go there, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I would like to go there, but I doubt very much whether I will have the opportunity.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, have you received any recommendations from Hirain Bingham7 on tightening up requirements for--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I have not.

7Hiram Bingham, Chairman, Loyalty Review Board, U.S. Civil Service Commission.

Q. Do you have any comment on his reported request that Federal agencies be enabled to discharge personnel, or reject a person for employment, if there is some reasonable doubt of their loyalty?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that the Nimitz commission8 is going into completely, and I don't care to comment on it now.

8The President's Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel the Ways and Means Committee's action on the delay of the $10 billion tax bill is endangering the anti-inflation program?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am very sorry that they decided to delay. The objective in sending down the message I did on the tax program9 was as quickly as possible to obtain a tax measure that would help stop inflation; and then the deliberations could be carried on when it becomes necessary for further taxes, which will amount to about $16 1/2 billion altogether.

9 Item 28.

Q. You are still sticking to it?

THE PRESIDENT. The message speaks for me.

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. I still believe what the message said.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, the price of food continues to go up. Is there anything that you have in mind at present--rollbacks to take care of that--

THE PRESIDENT. The Stabilization people are working on that now, and I have done everything I can at the present time.

Q. I wonder, sir, if you were going to make a specific request of Congress for legislation to change provisions in the Defense Production Act, on the setting of farm prices on priorities?

THE PRESIDENT. If Mr. Wilson10 and his Defense Production people feel that that legislation is necessary, I shall ask for it.

10Charles E. Wilson, Director, Office of Defense Mobilization.

Q. But you haven't any plan in view at the moment?

THE PRESIDENT. Not now. I have the--the Defense Production organization is working on the situation, in a sincere effort to prevent a spiral of prices in food--and other things as well.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you think that commercial banks should, at this time, have a normal loan policy; that is, to go on making loans as they would in normal times, in spite of efforts to control prices?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not an expert on that, and I can't answer that question.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan any further action, if a settlement is not reached in the rail dispute soon?

THE PRESIDENT. I beg your pardon?

Q. Do you plan to appoint a new mediator to return the rail dispute negotiations to the White House, if a settlement is not reached soon?

THE PRESIDENT. They are still in conference, and I have no comment to make on that.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on General Marshall's testimony today? 11

THE PRESIDENT. General Marshall's testimony is in line with what I believe, and that is the reason he made the statement. We have been working on that policy right along, and he set it out very simply and clearly.

11Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees on the question of assigning U.S. ground forces to duty in Europe (see Department of State Bulletin, vol. 24, p. 328, or "Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, Eighty-Second Congress, First Session, on S. Con. Res. 8").

Q. Mr. President, have we overlooked anything?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't believe you have. I can't think of anything!

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and fifty-fifth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 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/231387

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