Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

November 16, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. Be seated, please.

[1.] I have a statement here that I want to read to you. Mr. Ross tells me that you have asked him several questions about Chinese Communist intervention in Korea.1 I thought I would set it out here so that you would understand it. I hope you can understand it. And copies, of course, will be available for you when the conference is over.

1On November 3, 1950, Chinese Communist armies began to move into North Korea from Manchuria. See also Item 295 [1].

[Reading] "The Security Council has before it a resolution concerning the grave situation caused by the Chinese Communist intervention in Korea. This resolution, introduced by the representatives of Cuba, Ecuador, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, reaffirms that it is the policy of the United Nations to hold the Chinese frontier inviolate, to protect fully legitimate Korean and Chinese interests in the frontier zone, and to withdraw the United Nations forces from Korea as soon as stability has been restored and a unified, independent, and democratic government established throughout Korea.

"This resolution further calls upon all states and authorities to withdraw immediately from Korea all individuals or units which are assisting the North Korean forces. I am sure that all members of the Security Council genuinely interested in restoring peace in the Far East will not only support this resolution but also use their influence to obtain compliance with it.

"The United Nations forces now are being attacked from the safety of a privileged sanctuary. Planes operating from bases in China cross over into Korea to attack United Nations ground and air forces, and then flee back across the border. The Chinese Communist and North Korean Communist forces are being reinforced, supplied, and equipped from bases behind the safety of the Sino-Korean border.

"The pretext which the Chinese Communists advance for taking offensive action against United Nations forces in Korea from behind the protection afforded by the Sino-Korean border is their professed belief that these forces intend to carry hostilities across the frontier into Chinese territory.

"The resolutions and every other action taken by the United Nations demonstrates beyond any doubt that no such intention has ever been entertained. On the contrary, it has been repeatedly stated that it is the intention of the United Nations to localize the conflict and to withdraw its forces from Korea as soon as the situation permits. Speaking for the United States Government and people, I can give assurance that we support and are acting within the limits of United Nations policy in Korea, and that we have never at any time entertained any intention to carry hostilities into China. So far as the United States is concerned, I wish to state unequivocally that because of our deep devotion to the cause of world peace and our long-standing friendship for the people of China we will take every honorable step to prevent any extension of the hostilities in the Far East. If the Chinese Communist authorities or people believe otherwise, it can only be because they are being deceived by those whose advantage it is to prolong and extend hostilities in the Far East against the interests of all Far Eastern people.

"Let it be understood, however, that the desire for peace, in order to be effective, must be shared by all concerned. If the Chinese Communists share the desire of the United Nations for peace and security in the Far East, they will not take upon themselves the responsibility for obstructing the objectives of the United Nations in Korea."

That will be available for you in mimeographed form when you go out.

Q. Mr. President, in that connection, the Red Chinese admitted yesterday in a document presented to the United Nations that they had intervened in Korea. I think it was the first such admission. Would you comment on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on it. I saw that admission, but I do not want to comment on it now.

Q. Do you think there is any significance, sir, in the fact that that document was delivered by Malik, the Russian delegate?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you can draw your own conclusions from that.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, 2 weeks ago, I believe, you said it would be a long, long time before you appointed an ambassador to Spain?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. I was wondering if this new loan might mean that you have changed your mind on that?

THE PRESIDENT. The position on the Spanish loan has never changed. I have said here time and again that whenever Spain made the proper show to the Export-Import Bank, I supposed that the loan would be made. That doesn't have anything to do with appointing an ambassador to Spain.

Q. You still maintain that--

THE PRESIDENT. I feel rather reluctant about appointing an ambassador to Spain. I could be convinced that it is necessary, but I am not in that frame of mind now.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, would you say a few words about Carter Barton? I understand he--

THE PRESIDENT. About what?

Q. Carter Barron--chairman of the Sesquicentennial Commission here. Mr. Ross: He died today.

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I didn't know about it. That is news to me. I am very sorry to hear it. Carter was one of the ablest fellows around town, and one of the greatest assets that the District had. I didn't know about it.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, does your statement on Korea rule out consideration of the creation of a buffer zone in the Chinese-North Korean--

THE PRESIDENT. The statement speaks for itself. You read it carefully, and I think you will find out just exactly what it means.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to try to make an effort to get along with the Southern bloc in the Senate?

THE PRESIDENT. I have always gotten along with the Southern bloc in the Senate. It's never been I that has never been able to get along. [Laughter]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us about your talks today with the Secretary of State and Mr. Dulles2 on the Japanese peace treaty?

THE PRESIDENT. I had Mr. Dulles in with Mr. Acheson for a report on the progress that he has made in the discussions for the Japanese peace treaty. He reported to me that he had been in conference with all the nations interested, that the matter had now been referred to the various governments, and that in 2 or 3 weeks he expected to have further conversations on the same subject, as to how the governments felt on our--the proposals. Not our proposals, but the proposals that had been made for the Japanese treaty.

2John Foster Dulles, Consultant to the Secretary of State.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, this is the first press conference since the election--

THE PRESIDENT. [laughing]. I have been waiting for that one.

Q. As I remember it, you made some right hopeful predictions--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, indeed. And, like all the rest of the pollsters and predictors, it did not come out exactly as I thought it would. But I am used to that. And you want to bear in mind that this is an off year election and it is the smallest loss for the party in power since 1916, with the exception of 1934, so I don't think there is anything to be very blue about. At least, I'm not blue.

Q. Mr. President, aren't you blue about Mr. Taft?3

THE PRESIDENT. No, I'm not. Mr. Taft won legitimately by a big majority, and he had a perfect right to do that. I never went outside of my State to do any fighting. I fought for the Senator in my State, and I got him.4 [Laughter]

3Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio.

4Thomas C. Hennings, Jr., Senator-elect from Missouri.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, Paul Fitzpatrick5 just told us that in his opinion you would be the Democratic candidate in 1952. May I ask, sir, whether you would accept the nomination ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not ready to comment on that subject.

5Paul Fitzpatrick, Chairman, New York Democratic State Committee.

Q. Any other comment, Mr. President, about Mr. Fitzpatrick's talk with you this afternoon?

THE PRESIDENT. He was in to report to me the situation in New York, and explained to me how it came about; and I was glad to hear about it.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, was it 1934 you said this was the smallest loss--

THE PRESIDENT. Smallest loss since 1916, except 1934--that's right--the Democrats gained 7 seats.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, some of the Republicans have been interpreting the election as meaning that you should ask for Mr. Acheson's resignation?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Acheson is going to remain Secretary of State, and you might just as well quit speculating about it. He is going to be Secretary of State, period.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you think that the results might indicate that the country might want to go slow on some parts of your domestic program?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not. Most of these results were due to local conditions. I would like to analyze every one of them for you, but it would take a little too much time.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, have you any preference for Senate majority leadership?

THE PRESIDENT. No. That is a matter for the Senate itself to decide.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, has the possibility of President-elect Vargas of Brazil to come up on an official visit yet come to your attention?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it has not. Somebody over here wanted to

[14.] Q. Mr. President, do you regard the New York State political results as a local situation?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, entirely. I am very happy that the Senator was elected,6 and that we only came out with a net loss of one Congressman.

6 Senator Herbert H. Lehman of New York.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, I would love to have you analyze Mr. Taft's victory.

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I will let you do that. [Laughter]

Q. But you said you would.

THE PRESIDENT. I could--I could--I can analyze it for you.

Q. The question was, you weren't unhappy about it ?

THE PRESIDENT. Any State can elect anybody they want to the Senate. And I have known Senator Taft ever since he has been in the Senate, and he and I never had any personal falling out of any kind. We just don't agree on public policy, and that is the way a democracy ought to run.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to call Congress in session earlier than the 27th?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not. The reason for that is that I was making a survey of the situation, and it was not intended for publication. It leaked, unfortunately, and you gentlemen began to speculate about this, that, and the other thing. The objective was to find out just what was necessary to be done, and whether it could be done completely in a short session.

The principal thing that we had to consider was appropriations and a tax bill, and the consummation of the Hawaii and Alaska statehood, and rent control. I found that the appropriations could not be in shape to present to the Congress before the 27th, due to conditions over which nobody had any control, and that the tax matter has already been presented to the Ways and Means Committee of the House, and they are working on it. Therefore, there wasn't any use in calling the Congress back sooner, because the House has no business to transact.

All these matters I have referred to, except the appropriations and the tax bill, are in the Senate.

Q. What appropriation is that--military supplemental.--

THE PRESIDENT. Military--deficiency appropriations to meet the Korean conflict.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, on that question of interpreting the election as a sign to go slow, is there an implication there that you will continue to press for your Fair Deal program?

THE PRESIDENT. Most certainly. I will continue to press for it as long as I am President. I have been pressing for it since the 6th day of September 1945.7

7See 1945 volume, this series, Item 128.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, is there any investigation to be made of the fact that the boys in Korea are not getting sufficient clothing?

THE PRESIDENT. I am informed by General MacArthur that they are, and that is just-well, I won't say what it is--but if General MacArthur says they have plenty of clothing, that is all the authority that I need to go on.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Taft, at a press conference 2 days ago, said that high taxes could lead to inflation if they were passed on in higher wage requests and higher prices to the consumer, and suggested the idea that he thought wage and price controls would probably be necessary now to prevent that?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Taft has got a right to his own opinion. I just don't agree with him.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, the Export-Import Bank Monday signed an agreement with a group of Argentine bankers for a credit of $125 million. Do you wish to comment ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. That is the business of the Export-Import Bank, and if it is a good loan it's all right; and I judge it is, or they wouldn't have made it.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, will you present your whole New Deal program to the November 27th session, or will you--

THE PRESIDENT. No. It has been presented to the Congress in words of one syllable time and again. It will be presented to the January session of the new Congress.

Q. It will be presented then?

THE PRESIDENT. This Congress will be informed on various subjects by letter or otherwise on things that are to be done. I have already written a letter on the tax bill. I shall write a letter on the appropriations. I shall ask them to finish up with the Hawaiian and Alaskan statehood bills. I shall ask them to extend the rent control, and then whatever else is necessary will be presented to them in that form.

Q. What do you expect to get, rather than hope?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope to get it all.

Q. No, expect.

THE PRESIDENT. I expect to get it all done, if you want to put it that way. I wouldn't be trying to get it if I didn't expect to get it. I hope to get everything I ask for.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, there has been a lot of talk about a price increase in steel. Do you have any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it. That is the first I've heard of it.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, will that program include repeal of the Taft-Hartley law, sir, or something less?

THE PRESIDENT. It is already before the Congress. That is a matter that is already before the Congress, and I don't know whether it is necessary to reiterate it or not. If they think it is necessary, I will.

Q. In your St. Louis speech8 you said something about removing the restrictive provisions--

THE PRESIDENT. That's right--that's right.

8See Item 279.

Q. You would be satisfied with some amendments then, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't tell you until they come before me.

Q. You are speaking now in terms of the January session rather than--


Q. I just wanted to know that.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, there have been protests to the Secretary of State recently from Mr. Murray of the CIO and Mr. Green of the A.F. of L.9 and similar farm leaders who have charged that the State Department is trying to make the Food and Agriculture Organization into a factfinding research organization.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about it, and I have got no comment on it. Whenever anybody's toes are tread on, you can always hear them yell for these restrictions to be put on the other fellow, not on themselves.

9 Philip Murray, president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor.

[25.] Q. Do you feel that wage and price controls are not necessary now?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't tell you that. I have never said they are not necessary. The survey is a continuing one, and when the time comes for price and wage controls, they will be put on. I don't think the time is here right now.

[26.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us anything about how soon we might have a name for the price stabilizer?

THE PRESIDENT. Just as soon as I can find a man with the guts to take the job, I will announce him to you.10

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You are entirely welcome.

10 On December 6, 1950, Michael V. DiSalle was confirmed by the Senate as Director of Price Stabilization.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and fortyfifth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, 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/230462

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