Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 28, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] I have one announcement to make. I am appointing George J. Bott of Maryland General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.

Q- What's his last name?

THE PRESIDENT. B-o-t-t. Mr. Bott has been serving as Associate General Counsel on that Board since 1948. He has been with the organization since 1947. It's a promotion for him. That's all the announcements I have to make.

[2.] Q. Can you tell us what you think of Jonathan Daniels's book? 1

THE PRESIDENT. The book speaks for itself. I have no comment to make on it.

1 "The Man of Independence," J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, 1950.

Q. Mr. President, could you answer that one question--Mr. Daniels says he is quoting you--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on it, Bert,2 and I don't intend to be drawn into any discussion of it.

2 Bert Andrews of the New York Herald Tribune.

Q. Mr. President, may I try once more?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. [Laughter] You are at liberty--you are at liberty.

Q. Do you consider it authoritative?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, without commenting on the book, could you say whether you had the manuscript before the book--

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. [More laughter] You see, I was ahead of you on that one. I knew what you were going to do.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, could you comment on the very much improved situation in Korea ? 3

THE PRESIDENT. I am very happy about it, and I hope that situation will wind up with a peace that will be satisfactory to everybody.

3During the week, Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, had been recaptured from the Communist North Korean forces.

Q. Mr. President, General Bradley said yesterday that the worst thing that could happen to us would be to let down our guard, now that the news is good from Korea.

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Bradley is exactly correct. He is remembering the results after the First World War and the results after the Second World War, as I am. We can't let our guard down, and shouldn't.

Q. Mr. President, do you have any official information on the reported peace feelers by the North Koreans?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I have no information at all.

Q. No information at all.


Q. Mr. President, has this Government given General MacArthur specific authority to cross the 38th parallel?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter I can't answer publicly now.

Q. I see.

THE PRESIDENT. I will give you the answer at the proper time. We haven't reached the 38th parallel yet.

Q. I wonder if I could ask you this question? Do you consider that he has implied authority to cross--

THE PRESIDENT. General MacArthur is under direct orders of the President and the Chief of Staff, and he will follow those orders.

Q. Do those orders imply, sir, the crossing of the 38th parallel?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer the question.

What was it the gentleman back there had?

[4.] Q. In view of the improved turn of events in Korea, is there any prospect that you will play an active role in the coming campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question at present. The matter is not settled, by any means, and we have a tremendous job ahead of us, in addition to that, in our preparations for defense.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Ires said that the cost of living has gone up so much that price controls should be brought into effect. Have you any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. That matter is under study. The matter is under study.

Q. The matter of-THE PRESIDENT. Price controls.

Q. What about wage control, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Same thing. Same answer.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, you said a week or so ago that the matter of crossing the 38th parallel was a United Nations decision?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. And you said today that General MacArthur is under your direct orders ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct, but the United Nations will have to act on it first. I appointed General MacArthur as the Supreme Commander, at the request of the United Nations. They have certainly requested--will make a request of me, if they wanted further orders issued to General MacArthur.

Q. Mr. President, there was an interpretation at the State Department today that the original United Nations resolution gave General MacArthur the right to go over the 38th parallel if he deemed it necessary. Do you--

THE PRESIDENT. The original United Nations resolution was very broad.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, are you considering an important military appointment for General Eisenhower--in Europe?

THE PRESIDENT. General Eisenhower is always at my request and call whenever I want him. I have not considered anybody for anything as yet because there is nothing to consider him for.3a

3aSee Items 308 and 310.

[8.] Q. In connection with the Korean situation, sir, American authorities in the United Nations have given out a six-point program for a settlement of the Korean situation. Have you seen it and would you care to comment on it ?

THE PRESIDENT. You mean the broadcast asking them to surrender?

Q. No sir. What I was thinking of was a plan for the settlement of the Korean situation based on our point of view.

THE PRESIDENT. It hasn't been taken up with me. The broadcast of General MacArthur--I think made today--was taken up with me, inviting them to surrender. I think he is making that broadcast today. You will have to consider that off the record, however, until General MacArthur makes the broadcast.4

Q. Yes.

4General MacArthur's broadcast was made on October 1. Recordings of a Korean translation were broadcast repeatedly both from Tokyo and from Seoul, and Allied planes dropped copies in leaflet form over North Korea. The General's message was as follows:

"To the Commander in Chief, North Korean Forces:

"The early and total defeat and complete destruction of your armed forces and war making potential is now inevitable.

"In order that the decisions of the United Nations may be carried out with a minimum of further loss of life and destruction of property, I, as the United Nations Commander in Chief, call upon you and the forces under your command, in whatever part of Korea situated, forthwith to lay down your arms and cease hostilities under such military supervisions as I may direct, and I call upon you at once to liberate all United Nations prisoners of war and civilian internees under your control and to make adequate provision for their protection, care, maintenance, and immediate transportation to such places as I indicate.

"North Korean forces, including prisoners of war in the hands of the United Nations command, will continue to be given the care dictated by civilized custom and practice and permitted to return to their homes as soon as practicable. I shall anticipate your early decision upon this opportunity to avoid the further useless shedding of blood and destruction of property.


Q. Mr. President, is that a demand for unconditional surrender?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you will have to wait for General MacArthur's broadcast, and then I will comment on that and answer your question.

Q. Mr. President, do you anticipate any letup at all in this country's defense preparations following the end of the Korean situation?

THE PRESIDENT. There will be a sincere effort to block the whole thing, as there always is, but I hope that it will not be successful.

Q. I assume there will be no letup on the part of the administration in its defense preparations?

THE PRESIDENT. Not a bit. But it takes money to do those things, and the money has to be appropriated by the Congress.

[9.] Q. Will Bill Boyle be replaced as chairman of the Democratic National Committee?

THE PRESIDENT. Bill Boyle will be back on the job in a week or two, just as good as ever.5

5 William M. Boyle, Jr., underwent an appendectomy on September 23.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, in the light of your statement just a second ago, and in regard to defense matters and recent appointments of Republicans, can we consider that merely coincidental, or is it a setting in of a tide of bipartisan appointments?

THE PRESIDENT. The bipartisan foreign policy has always been on that basis, and there has been no change in it whatever. I have always appointed just as many Republicans in the United Nations setup as I have Democrats. In fact, I think a few more.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided what will be done with Judge Carroll Switzer in Iowa?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I haven't given that any thought.

Q. Or Judge Andrews of Georgia?6

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't given it any thought.

6 See Item 209 [17].

Q. You haven't given it any thought.

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had time. I have been reading reports on bills stacked up about that high [indicating] most every night, and it takes me until midnight to get through when I read the reports.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, have you had any kind of public reaction to your veto message of the McCarran bill?7

THE PRESIDENT. It has been very good. I think they believed what I said was a fact.

7See Item 254.

Q. In the form of letters, sir? Would you tell us something about it?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't. No use commenting on it because you always get the usual number of letters and telegrams every time a White House document is put out, and we have had a flock of letters and telegrams on that, and they have all been favorable, most of them.

Q. Mr. President, are there any parts of that law which you feel you should not carry out, either for constitutional or security reasons ?

THE PRESIDENT. I shall enforce the law as it is on the books. That is what I am sworn to do.

Q. Mr. President, in that regard, you said that to publish the list of defense plants would endanger the security--

THE PRESIDENT. It certainly would endanger security, and as Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, and for security reasons, I will not be in any hurry about publishing that list. I hope to be able to take it up with the Congress and have it repealed.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do your proposals for Korea include a democratic election under the United Nations

THE PRESIDENT. I have made no proposals on Korea, so I can't answer your question.

Q. Mr. President, as I understood you, you said in effect that General MacArthur's broadcast is off the record?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that is correct--until he makes it.

Q. Could you tell us when you expect him to make it ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think some time today, isn't it, Charlie?8

Mr. Ross: I think it is today.

THE PRESIDENT. I think it is today. I think he is going to make it today, and then you can get the release of it from the State Department.

8 Charles G. Ross, Secretary to the President.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, where do you expect the sincere efforts to block the defense effort to come from?

THE PRESIDENT. Where it usually comes from. Haven't you been here when the Congress has been in session? How long have you been in this town? [Laughter] We had terrific opposition in the very last session on it.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, in relation to what you just said about enforcing the law, do you draw a distinction between enforcing the law and spending money that Congress has given you to spend?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, what do you mean by that, Miss May?9

9Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Q. I was thinking particularly of the air groups last year. You didn't spend all the money they gave you.

THE PRESIDENT. It wasn't necessary. It was not necessary.

Q. But you do draw a distinction between spending an appropriation--

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly do. That is the discretionary power of the President. If he doesn't feel like the money should be spent, I don't think he can be forced to spend it. How would you go about making him spend it, Miss May? [Laughter]

Q. Oh, I believe in Congress being paramount.

THE PRESIDENT. Of course you do. I don't. [More laughter] I think they are equal--I think they are equal. The Congress's job is to make the laws, and the President's job is to carry them out and enforce them, and he does just that.

Q. But not spend the money?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right--that's right. I thought you were an economist. You come from Maine. [Laughter] Do you belong to the economy bloc?

Q. Well, that's not my money.

THE PRESIDENT. It is your money. Don't you pay taxes, May?

Q. Yes--oh, a lot.

THE PRESIDENT. All right. Then it is your money. [More laughter]

Q. May we interrupt ?


Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and fortyfirst news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, 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/230292

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