Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 24, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

I have a couple of announcements to make. The copies of these announcements will be available to you later.

[1.] The following named persons are to be the Representatives of the United States in the Fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations:

[At this point the President summarized a statement the full text of which appears as Item 219.]

[2.] Now I am announcing the appointment of Mr. Walter J. Donnelly to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Austria, and concurrently United States High Commissioner for Austria. 1

1 See Item 218.

I would like to welcome the several Austrian journalists who are visiting in this country and who have been invited to attend this press conference. I hope that they are having an enjoyable stay here in America, and I am happy to be able to make an announcement that concerns their country this morning while they are here.

Q. Mr. President, I never know how to spell anybody's name. Walter J. Donnelly, how does he spell it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will spell it for you--D-o-n-n-e-l-l-y. You know how to spell "Walter," don't you?

Q. Yes, sir. [Laughter] THE PRESIDENT. All right.

Q. Mr. President, what was Mr. Donnelly's last job?

THE PRESIDENT. Ambassador to Venezuela.

Q. Venezuela?

THE PRESIDENT. He is Ambassador to Venezuela right now. He is being transferred to Austria.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, what are you going to do about the railroad strike?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it has happened very suddenly and unexpectedly, and I will have to take the matter under consideration and give you an announcement on that later. 2

2 See Item 221.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, in view of Mr. Donnelly's appointment--have you decided on an Ambassador to Venezuela?

THE PRESIDENT. No, that decision has not been made yet. It will be announced as soon as it is made.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, there are rumors around of the possibility of several ambassadorial appointments in Latin American areas.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right, there are rumors rife all the time. I have seen everything that is going to happen in the papers for the next 2 months, but then you had better wait until what the action is, before you decide that they are true.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you think the announcement on the railroad situation will come today?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question right now. I will have to consider the situation further. I had no idea that the strike was going to take place, so I can't discuss it until I am more familiar with the reasons why it did--it is announced. It has not taken place yet, and I hope it won't.

Q. Mr. President, you say it came suddenly and unexpectedly. Had you been given some assurance that there would not be a strike?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I had definite assurance that there would not be.

Q. From whom, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. From the railroad unions, and the railroad managers--both.

Q. Mr. President, how recent was that assurance made?

THE PRESIDENT. Within the last 2 or 3 days. It was in all the columns of the papers in the last 2 or 3 days.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, do you know whether the $4 1/2 billion budgeted for the Korean war will be enough this year?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, we got the impression yesterday afternoon that such an assurance had been given the White House up to as late as an hour or more, or perhaps less.

THE PRESIDENT. I think that is true. I think that is true. I am sure it is true.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, when the new Ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador O'Dwyer, goes down there, will he take the Mexican oil loan paper with him?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question. You will have to ask him. He will ell you when he gets ready to go.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, Secretary Snyder seems to believe that efforts should be made to keep the interest on the Federal debt at about the same level, and that the Federal Reserve Bank should not encourage any increase in the interest on the Federal debt. Do you agree with that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, there have been reports that the administration may revive a new price control bill in this session as a substitute for what they put in the defense bill last week. Do you have any desires on that question--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that. I can't comment on that legislation until it comes to me for consideration, because you can't tell what a bill will contain until it goes through the conference and comes to the White House. Usually bills of hat sort contain everything but the kitchen stove, and sometimes they have to put that in, and then take it out.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, will you allow the Senate wiretapping committee to have Lieutenant Shimon's income tax reports?3

THE PRESIDENT. It has not been requested of me.

3 Joseph W. Shimon, Washington police lieutenant. On August 17, 1950, two Washington detectives testified before the Senate wiretapping subcommittee that they had been assigned by Lieutenant Shimon to tap the telephone conversations of airplane manufacturer Howard Hughes during a Senatorial investigation in 1947. At that time Mr. Shimon was chief investigator in the United States Attorney's office.

Q. Senator Pepper said he would ask you for it.

THE PRESIDENT. When he asks me for it, I will give him the answer.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, the technical industries are asking you to call off the tariff production conference in England next week. Are you planning to have it.--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not planning to have it called off.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, how do you feel about those reports that Franco Spain--

THE PRESIDENT. What's that?

Q. How do you feel about the Senate vote to force a loan to Franco Spain?

THE PRESIDENT. I expressed my opinion of that at the last press conference. I don't like it.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, there is a story, fairly widely printed this morning, that Mr. William Henry Harrison, president of the I.T. & T., is going to head the Priorities and Allocations Division of the Commerce Department?

THE PRESIDENT. That is news to me.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, the Philippine Ambassador informed the Secretary of Defense of the readiness of the Philippines to send 1,200 soldiers to Korea. Do you wish to comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very happy to hear that, of course. We want all our allies in the fighting and shooting part of this unpleasantness, and I hope as many of them will come in as is possible.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, I understand you recently received a letter from Congressman Cole,4 relative to an RFC loan to Lustron. Do you have any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't hear the question. Will you please repeat it?

4 Representative Albert M. Cole of Kansas.

Q. I understand that you recently received a letter from Congressman Cole of Kansas, relative to an RFC loan to Lustron, calling your attention to that. I wonder if you have any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I have received no such letter. It is customary for Congressmen, when they are running for office, to write letters to the President and give them to the press long before he ever receives them.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, was this provision in the economic control bill, placing priorities and allocations under the Secretary of Commerce, satisfactory with you?

THE PRESIDENT. It was not.

Q. There is a report, sir, that your Secretary of Commerce lobbied for that.

THE PRESIDENT. That report is absolutely without foundation. The Secretary of Commerce is in complete agreement with the President on what he asked for.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, will the Secretary of State go to New York to attend the General Assembly meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. I have an idea that the Secretary of State will be there on occasion, if it is necessary. He is not a delegate necessarily, but he is always welcome if he wants to go there. He has my permission to go, if he wants to.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, it is said that this matter of conducting controls through the Secretary of Commerce will give the advantage to business over labor and other elements of our society. Do you think that is true?

THE PRESIDENT. Who says that?

Q. It is said around the Capitol--

THE PRESIDENT. That's just one of those wild rumors. I have no comment.

Q. Do you think that is true?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on it.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, I don't anticipate your statement that you might have on the railroad situation, but I wonder if you would say that the tactics used under those circumstances was a doublecross--

THE PRESIDENT. Now, Bob,5 I don't want you to be putting words in my mouth. When the statement comes out, why it will contain everything that is necessary. I am not making any statement this morning.

5 Robert G. Nixon of International News Service.

Q. Thank you, sir. [Laughter]

[22.] Q. Mr. President, do you share with Secretary Johnson the feeling that the Korean war will be over in 6 to 8 months?

THE PRESIDENT. There is nothing certain on prophecies for military maneuvers. I have no comment to make on that question.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you noticed that the British are taking, I believe it is, 6D-some of their ships out of their mothball fleet. Have you been informed of that?

THE PRESIDENT. Not officially. All I know is what I have seen in the papers.

Q. I just wonder if you have any reaction to it--that was announced last night?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am happy that they are doing it.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. All right.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and thirtysixth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, August 24, 1950.

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/230162

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