Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 07, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated. I have no special announcements to make this morning.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, how do you feel?

THE PRESIDENT. I feel all right. [Laughter] What makes you ask that question?

Q. I thought maybe you felt better now than you did yesterday morning?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I always feel good. I am always physically fit. If anybody doesn't believe it, come up and take a try. [More laughter]

[2.] Q. Mr. President, the Export-Import Bank recently announced a credit of $150 million to Mexico. Do you wish to comment ?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very happy that they saw fit to do that. We have been negotiating that loan ever since I made my visit to Mexico and the President of Mexico made his visit here. The President of Mexico was exceedingly pleased and happy over the arrangement, and so am I.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us when you plan to sign the Defense Production Act?

THE PRESIDENT. Just as quickly as it has been properly analyzed and I have the papers before me. It is in the course of being analyzed now. It will be signed, I hope, in the next few days.1

1 The President signed the Defense Production Act of 1950 on September 8, 1950 (64 Stat. 798).

Q. That won't be today?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it won't be today. You can be assured of that.

Q. Mr. President, will our economy be entirely under the control of civilians?

THE PRESIDENT. That is the intention.

Q. But no military appointed?

THE PRESIDENT. There will be no military dictator. [Laughter]

[4.] Q. Mr. President, two Democratic Senators yesterday issued conflicting predictions as to what you would do if the McCarran subversion bill is passed. One said you would veto it, and the other said you wouldn't. Would you tell us which is right?

THE PRESIDENT. You mean the Mundt-Nixon bill as revised by Senator McCarran? That is, the Mundt-Nixon bill as revised by Senator McCarran and made a little worse. I would do the same thing to it that I would do to the Mundt-Nixon bill.2

2 See Item 254.

Q. Mr. President, would you sign a substitute that is being sponsored by Mr. Kilgore?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question because that bill has not been passed through either House of Congress, and it is not before me for consideration. I am not in a position to comment on legislation until it is a little further along than that bill is. That bill is an improvement over the Mundt-Nixon bill.

Q. Mr. President, just to clarify one point, you said you would do the same thing to this McCarran bill as you would to the Mundt-Nixon bill, but you didn't say what you would do to the Mundt-Nixon bill?

THE PRESIDENT. I made a statement on that last year, when Mr. Dewey and Mr. Stassen had their argument out in Oregon about the same time, that I wouldn't sign any such bill.

Q. That is what I want to clarify for the record.

THE PRESIDENT. All right--all right.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, have you received the report of the Bell mission to the Philippines ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, the report is not ready yet.3

3Daniel W. Bell was named Chief of the Economic Survey Mission to the Philippines on June 29, 1950 (see Item 180).

The report of the Mission was made public by the White House on October 28, 1950. The report, dated October 9, 1950, is printed as Department of State Publication 4010, Far Eastern Series 38 (Government Printing Office, 107 pp.).

[6.] Q. Mr. President, has anything been done, sir, about implementing this Defense Production Act? I mean the thing has got to the point where it is discussed. There is a story in the morning paper that there is to be one overall agency to handle wages and prices--I just walked up three flights of stairs! [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I know that, Joe.4 The bill has not been completely analyzed. A great deal of work has been done in the various agencies of the Government with regard to the things that I think will be necessary to be done. I can't give you a definite outline of the situation until the bill is completely analyzed and before me for consideration, .at which time I will make it perfectly plain to you. And, incidentally, I intend to make a speech on it Saturday night, on all four radio hookups, 5 and I will give you advance sheets of it before it goes on the air.

4 Joseph A. Fox of the Washington Star.

5See Item 243.

Q. This coming Saturday night?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, the American Chemical Society, meeting in Chicago yesterday, had a good many conferences on the question of deferment of scientists, and Charles A. Thomas, president of the Monsanto Chemical Co., is quoted as saying that policy can be decided on only by the President himself. Is that a matter for Executive decision, or is it not a matter for legislation?

THE PRESIDENT. Is that about the Science Foundation?

Q. It's about the deferment of scientists and college students who are majoring in scientific subjects.

THE PRESIDENT. I really don't understand the thing. There is a Science Foundation, which I have been trying to get an appropriation to implement, in which a board of scientists has been appointed by the President with an executive director, and it is their business, I think, to try and arrange for the education of young men for a scientific career. I think that the President makes the appointments, and the board itself will pass on the students and how they are to be educated.

Q. This apparently was concerned with the drafting of scientists.

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that will have to be worked out on a commonsense basis, just like all the rest of the things we are faced with, and we will try to do it that way.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, there is another story in the morning papers, that Mr. Symington6 will be made an overall defense mobilization boss ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is the first time I have heard of it.

6W. Smart Symington, Chairman of the National Security Resources Board.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, I believe you saw Mr. McCloy7 here this week?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

7 John J. McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany.

Q. In the course of the conversation, did you have anything to say about your thoughts on rearming and security?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that is up for consideration before the foreign ministers and the defense ministers of the Allied Powers. It is not proper for me to discuss it before they have their meeting.

[10.] Q. Do you have anything to say about the attack on Oscar Chapman's patriotism?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Chapman is up before the committee now, and then when he gets through, that attack will be exploded into little bits, just like former attacks of the same kind have been.8

8On September 7 Secretary of the Interior Oscar Chapman appeared before the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs in answer to charges made on the floor of the Senate by Senator Andrew F. Schoeppel of Kansas questioning his past loyalty. Senator Schoeppel's remarks are printed in the Congressional Record (vol. 96, p. 14414).

[11.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Taft said yesterday that the Truman administration has so many conflicts within itself, it's like a man with no brains who is unable to develop a consistent course of action. Would you care to comment on this alleged

THE PRESIDENT. I am not running for office in Ohio, so I won't comment. [Laughter]

[12.] Q. Mr. President, would you say anything about the Russian plane shot down off Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment on that. That is being handled by the United Nations. It was a United Nations plane that did the shooting down.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, this question was not asked you. Do you have under consideration the creation of an economic stabilization agency, which would have control over wages and prices and other matters?

THE PRESIDENT. That is not under consideration at the present time. I will probably answer that question Saturday night.

Q. Not under consideration at the present time?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can say about the military situation in Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. I cannot comment on it now. General Bradley makes a report to me every morning. There has been no material change in our frontline in Korea during the last 10 days.

Q. Mr. President, our main line, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us-this may be a little bit in answer to your speech Saturday night--can you tell us whether you feel now that it is necessary to control prices rather widely, or on a selective basis, or as yet not at all?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I have to analyze the bill and find out just exactly what it provides before I can answer that question. I will answer it categorically when I have all the information before me.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, I think that there are a lot of people who have the idea that we have been pushed back from our lines in Korea in the last few days. Do you not have that idea, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. There are certain points in the line that have been crashed, but those points are being pushed back to their former grounds, and I think that will happen before the week is out. At least, that is my opinion. I am not a desk strategist and don't pretend to be one. I leave that to the military men.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, last night you commented about the Spanish loan that Congress has put in the appropriation bill. Could you clarify that, sir, as to whether the Spanish are now limited to going to the Export-Import Bank, or is there some chance that they might get this under certain limited conditions?

THE PRESIDENT. The statement clarified it entirely, and I have no further comment to make on it. 9

9 See Item 234. 10 See Item 235.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, I want to clear up, just a second, persistent reports that casualties have been much higher than the official reports go. Have you anything to say about that?

THE PRESIDENT. The official reports are always a few days behind on the casualties, because they try to notify the nearest of kin before they have the lists published. The total casualties are reported to me every day.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

[19.] Q. Mr. President---do you consider the Marine Corps incident closed?10

THE PRESIDENT. Yes!

10See item 235.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and thirtyeighth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, September 7, 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/230216

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