Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 14, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I have a statement here that I want to make. It will be available for you in mimeographed form after the press conference is over.

[Reading] "It has long been the view of the United States Government that the people of Japan were entitled to a peace treaty which would bring them back into the family of nations. As is well known, the United States Government first made an effort in 1947 to call a conference of the nations holding membership in the Far Eastern Commission to discuss a peace treaty with Japan. However, procedural difficulties at that time and since have prevented any progress.

"The United States Government now believes that an effort should again be made in this direction, and I have therefore authorized the Department of State to initiate informal discussions as to the future procedure, in the first instance with those governments represented on the Far Eastern Commission, and the ones most actively concerned in the Pacific war. It is not expected that any formal action will be taken until an opportunity has been had to assess the results of these informal discussions.

"The policy in regard to a Japanese peace treaty is in accord with the general effort of the United States to bring an end to all the war situations. We have long pressed the U.S.S.R. for an Austrian treaty, and we are exploring the possibility of ending the state of war with Germany." Any questions? I will be glad to try to answer questions.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, recently you said that Secretary Johnson would not resign while you are President, and that he was not embarrassing you. I wonder if you would tell us now what caused you to accept his resignation?

THE PRESIDENT. The letter speaks for itself. I have no further comment to make. That is a closed incident.1

1See Item 245.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, in his Chicago speech last night, Chairman Guy Gabrielson2 said that, and I am quoting: "President Truman should have dismissed Secretary of State Acheson along with Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson." Have you any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Acheson is still Secretary of State, and he will remain Secretary of State.

2 Guy G. Gabrielson, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, we have an inquiry from Tel Aviv as to whether Mr. Bartley Crum will succeed Mr. McDonald as Ambassador to Israel. Do you know anything about that?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. McDonald has not yet presented me with his resignation, and I have not considered his successor as yet. 3

3 The resignation of James G. McDonald as Ambassador to Israel became effective on December 31, 1950. The nomination of Monnett B. Davis, of Colorado, to succeed him in that post was confirmed by the Senate on February 1, 1951.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, this morning Charlie Ross4 confirmed that you had received some pro forma resignations from some of the members of the Defense Establishment. Have you ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is customary. That is customary.

4 Charles G. Ross, Secretary to the President.

Q. Yes sir. Have you received any from the three Secretaries of the services?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

Q. Do you expect that to come, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I judge soon. It is customary. That doesn't necessarily mean that they will be accepted.

Q. Mr. President, have you selected a Deputy Secretary of Defense yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I will announce it as soon as I select one.

Q. Mr. President, will General Marshall have a pretty large voice in who will be Deputy Secretary ?

THE PRESIDENT. He will be consulted, of course,

[6.] Q. Mr. President, in the informal discussions between the Department of State with members of the Far Eastern Commission on the proposed Big Three with Japan, will the discussions also be held with the U.S.S.R.?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, certainly. They are a party to it. They had their occupation forces in Japan.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel any better about the Mundt-Nixon-Ferguson-Wood bill?

THE PRESIDENT. I think I made the statement to you last week that the Mundt-Nixon bill, in the form in which I knew it, was objectionable to me, and if it had come to me I wouldn't sign it. If it came up in that form, I would feel the same way. But, of course, I can't pass on legislation until it is before me and has been analyzed. The bill has to be rewritten in conference, as the House and Senate are not in agreement as to what the bill will contain. When the bill comes before me, I will have it analyzed and then I will let you know exactly what I am going to do with it, and promptly.5

5 See Item 254.

Q. Mr. President, just to clear the record, you said at the time that the McCarran bill was a little worse--

THE PRESIDENT. I think it was worse--I think it is.

Q. I just wondered if the additions to that had been--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that because I don't know what it is. That is the reason I have to wait and see what I am going to do. Go ahead.

Q. I wanted to get that straightened out.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, will you be able to give us any time soon when you might put this economic stabilization--when you will name the man who will run it?

THE PRESIDENT. As soon as I find the man, I will let you know right away.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, if Russia continues to take the attitude that it has been taking on the Japanese treaty, which so far has been unsatisfactory, will we go ahead with the informal talks with the other countries--

THE PRESIDENT. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any analysis--your own analysis of the results of the Maine elections?6

6The Maine election, held September 11, resulted in a Republican sweep of the top offices, but both the Republican and Democratic national chairmen had issued statements interpreting the results as indicating a favorable trend.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have. I am very much pleased with them. The Democrats made tremendous gains in the Maine election. They have cast the largest Democratic vote in Maine than they ever had before--larger than 1948. And the Republicans cast a smaller vote than they did in 1948. So it looks very, very encouraging to me.

Q. Mr. President, encouraging for what? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, what are we going after, Miss May?7 We want a Democratic Congress this fall. It means--I think it means a Democratic Congress this fall.

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

Q. You mean encouraging for this coming election ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that's correct. Encouraging for the Democrats, Miss May. [Laughter]

Q. Yes sir--I understand.

THE PRESIDENT. I want it to be perfectly clear, Miss May. [More laughter]

Q. You've got the figures ?

THE PRESIDENT. If you look at them--if you look at them, they are very encouraging.

Q. Mr. President

Q. Mr. President--pardon me--

THE PRESIDENT. GO ahead. I'll get to you after a while.

[11.] Q. I wonder if you think the Taft-Hartley failure of the Congress in the last session reveals that the Taft-Hartley Act will be an issue in this campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it is an issue in Ohio right now.

Did you have a question you wanted to ask?

[12.] Q. What do you think of the Australian Foreign Minister's proposal for a Pacific pact with the rest of the Latin American nations?

THE PRESIDENT. I asked the Australian Minister for External Affairs to discuss the matter with the Secretary of State, and then I would discuss it further.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, in reference to the McCarran bill--considering it--will you have in mind the fact that Congress presumably is going home within a few days?

THE PRESIDENT. I told you that I would take action as promptly as I could get the bill analyzed.

Q. One other thing, sir. Every time you mentioned it, you have said you wouldn't sign it. Are you spreading--

THE PRESIDENT. In the form--in the form in which it was presented to the Senate. Now I don't know what kind of bill we are going to get. I can't tell you until it is before me. I will give you an answer on it very promptly.

[14.] Q. One other thing, sir. You haven't to date ever used the so-called pocket veto, have you, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I don't believe in pocket vetoes.

Mr. Ayers: Mr. President, you did use it on one or two unimportant bills.

THE PRESIDENT. Eben Ayers8 informs me that I did use the pocket veto, but not intentionally. I think it was--the things expired before I got around to them, and they were not important.

8 Eben A. Ayers, Assistant Press Secretary.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, have you seen General Marshall since he accepted the appointment over the telephone?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I talked to him over the telephone. I haven't seen him.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think about Senators who talk about the number of atomic bombs that we have--in official positions?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on that.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, in connection with the discussions on the Japanese peace treaty, will the question of rearming Japan come up?

THE PRESIDENT. That whole matter will be discussed by the conferees on that, I am sure.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any hopes or reasonable expectation of action by Congress towards suspending the copper tax? 9

THE PRESIDENT. I ask for it every time I have an interview with any of them.

9 See Item 231.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, it is said that Frank Graham's name is being considered for head of the Red Cross?

THE PRESIDENT. Senator Frank Graham's name has been suggested to me as head of the Red Cross. General Marshall has not resigned yet, however, and I can make no comment.10

10 See Item 278 [1].

[20.] Q. Mr. President, if I remember your statement, you said that we were exploring the possibility of a German peace treaty--peace settlement with the Germans. I wonder if you anticipated any progress more than we have had ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't answer that question--I can't answer that question.

Q. I thought it would apply--

THE PRESIDENT. We are exploring the possibility of such a thing, but I can't tell you what progress. We have been right up to the signing of the Austrian peace treaty for the last 3 years, and haven't signed it yet.

Q. Will the German matter specifically be reopened the same as the Japanese, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That is being explored, and I can't give you an answer on that.

Q. Would that mean--I don't want to press you--

THE PRESIDENT. It's all right.

Q.--would that mean that there is a possibility of any Big Four meeting, in which it has been discussed, of course, before--the German treaty?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be discussed by the foreign ministers.

Q. In the Big Four?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, just as it always has been discussed.

Q. Then we are working on the possibilities of another Big Four meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't know about that. All this reference that--I am talking about the foreign ministers, not the heads of states.

Q. I am talking about the foreign ministers.

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right. I am in agreement then.

Q. The idea of it being explored at another meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. On the German peace treaty?

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

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right. Your seats are too comfortable, you hate to get up! [Laughter]

Note: President Truman's two hundred and thirtyninth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, 1950.

The following statement was issued later in the evening by Charles G. Ross, Secretary to the President.

"In the statement issued by the President at the press conference today, he said, 'We are exploring the possibility of ending the state of war with Germany.'

"This statement had no reference to an ultimate peace treaty with Germany, which is not under consideration at this time, but to the legal state of war which still exists with that country.

"This is one of the subjects now being discussed by Mr. Schuman, Mr. Bevin, and Mr. Acheson in New York, and envisages only actions which might be taken by those three powers in occupation of Western Germany."

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/230253

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