Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

May 10, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Good morning everybody. Please be seated.

I don't have any announcements for you this morning, but I will try to answer questions if I can.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, the Veterans Administration tells me that they are absolutely right in denying hospitalization to this nonservice-connected Korean combat veteran in Arizona. And they say that because we are not at war in Korea they cannot hospitalize those veterans. Would you care to comment on that ?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. I think the Veterans Bureau answered that. It is a matter that is up to Congress. They are simply obeying the law. 1

1 See Item 102.

I want to say further that these Korean veterans ought to be treated in exactly the same way as all the other war veterans have been treated. And they will be; but it requires a change in the law to do it.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, sometime ago you answered this question with some finality, but in the hullabaloo over this MacArthur thing it has been revived, the reports that Mr. Acheson will get out in 2 weeks, in 2 months, or 3 months, or something like that. I wonder if you still

THE PRESIDENT. That is a rumor that has no foundation in fact. What is it, Tony? 2

2 Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated Press.

[3.] Q. I was just asking--there was a story out yesterday that you were going to recall Ambassador O'Dwyer from Mexico?

THE PRESIDENT. That is news to me. I hadn't heard about it. That is a rumor that has no foundation in fact, too, Tony. [Laughter]

Well, well, well! What's the matter this morning? I guess one of the things that's the matter with you is because all your questions have been answered, either Monday night3 or by General Marshall.4 I think that is probably what's the trouble. [More laughter]

3See Item 96.

4In early May 1951 Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall testified at Senate committee hearings during the investigation of the military situation in the Far East and the facts surrounding the relief of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur from his assignments in that area.

In his testimony Secretary Marshall stated, "From the very beginning of the Korean conflict, down to the present moment, there has been no disagreement between the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff that I am aware of.

"There have been, however, and continue to be basic differences of judgment between General MacArthur, on the one hand, and the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the other hand."

His complete testimony is printed in "Hearings Before the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, on the Military Situation in the Far East, Part 1" (Government Printing Office, 1951, Parts 1-5, 3691 pp.).

[4.] Q. Would you care to give us a general comment, sir, on the way that the MacArthur hearings have been developing?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very satisfied with General Marshall's testimony. I think he has made a great witness; and I know this: he has told the exact truth, word for word.

[5.] Q. Mr. Truman, I had one.

THE PRESIDENT. Shoot, May. 5

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

Q. General Marshall said, and Secretary Acheson also said in his speech to the Chamber of Commerce,6 our purpose was not to drive the Communist forces out of Korea militarily. He said, quote, a political rather than a military objective of the United Nations. How can we unify them politically if we don't get them out militarily?

THE PRESIDENT, Well, May, if you can answer that question you will be a genius. [Laughter] I will let you answer it. That is a good question for you to answer, May. The comment speaks for itself. I have no comment on it.

6The text of the address by Secretary of State Dean Acheson before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on April 30 is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 24, p. 766).

[6.] Q. Mr. President, when you nominated Mon Wallgren to head the National Security Resources Board, there was a great deal of comment about the fact that he might not be capable of filling the position, which would make him a czar in wartime. The NSRB does not seem to be heard of anymore. It is a group operating--it is only a planning agency--

THE PRESIDENT. That is all it was ever supposed to be--a planning agency. It was never intended to be anything else. It is a part of the staff of the President of the United States, and it will continue to be just what it always has been.

Q. And you are not going to appoint a new--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am going to appoint a new Chairman, because it is part of the staff of the President. There will be a new Chairman appointed.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, along that same line, Mr. Gorrie's 7 designation, I think, is temporary ?

THE PRESIDENT. Temporary. He is Acting Chairman. He is acting in the position of Acting Chairman, just as John Steelman was for a long time.

7 Jack Gorfie, Acting Chairman of the National Security Resources Board.

[8.] Q. Would you care to comment on the fight over beef price ceilings ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will tell you what I would like for you to do. Go back and read a little history in 1946. This is just the same old fight. Whenever you tread on the toes of anybody, he has to scream. I think it will work out as it should. If we are going to have controls, we have got to put them into effect as far as we can. That order was put up to me, and I approved.

Q. Mr. President, will you back up Mr. DiSalle 8 on the beefsteak "--

THE PRESIDENT. I have already backed him up.

8Michael V. DiSalle, Director of Price Stabilization.

Q. You are not going to let him down on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I okayed the order to begin with. What about that, May?

Are you getting steak any cheaper now?

Q. Not yet. [Laughter] Not yet.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, are you considering a diplomatic promotion for Mrs. Perle Mesta 9 as an Ambassador?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't thought about it. If I decide to give her a promotion, why I will do it.

9U.S. Minister to Luxembourg.

Q. Do you think she will ask for one?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so. You don't ask for things like that. They come to you unsolicited. I have made many an Ambassador since I have been President, and none of them ever asked me for the job. Those who have asked me for the job usually don't get them! [Laughter]

Reporter: Mr. President, if you don't have anything else to tell us, can we say "Thank you"?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes indeed, Bob,10 it's all right. Thank you all very much.

10Robert G. Nixon of International News Service.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and sixty-third news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 10, 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/231044

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