Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

July 06, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. I have no special announcements to make this morning. I will try to answer questions, if I can.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you would comment on the railroad strike and what might be done to bring it to an end?

THE PRESIDENT. The railroad strike has been brought about by a very small minority of the switchmen. It is an unjustified strike, and the men ought to go back to work at once. They had the views of a very able board, made up of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Utah, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Indiana, and the professor of economics of California University. The Mediation Board suggested that they go back to work, and they should have gone back to work when the Mediation Board suggested. I hope it won't be necessary to take drastic action to force them back to work.1

1See Item 188.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, two questions, sir. First, have you any comment on Mr. Martin Hutchinson's case now?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, Martin Hutchinson's case is pending before the Senate for confirmation, and I am still backing him.2

2On March 6, 1950, Martin A. Hutchinson of Virginia was nominated to be a member of the Federal Trade Commission. The Senate rejected the nomination on August 9, 1950.

[3.] Q. And secondly, sir, would you care to state your intentions regarding Mr. Sumner Pike? One Senate leader states he would vote for him if you were to assure the Senate that you will not appoint him Chairman of the AEC.

THE PRESIDENT. I will make no such assurance. I am back of Mr. Pike, and he ought to be confirmed. He has been confirmed twice by the Senate, and this is a foolish procedure.3

3Sumner T. Pike held the position of Acting Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission from the time that the resignation of David E. Lilienthal became effective on February 15, 1950. Mr. Pike's 4-year term as a member of the Atomic Energy Commission had expired on June 30. He was subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate for another 4-year term on July 10, 1950. Gordon E. Dean was appointed Chairman of the Commission on July 11, 1950.

Q. Mr. President, one or two of his opponents on the Hill imply that he has dragged his heels on some very important defense projects recently ordered by you?

THE PRESIDENT. It is not true, and it has been testified by the Defense Department that Sumner Pike has been always cooperative. If I had been intending to appoint Sumner Pike Chairman of the Commission, I would have done it a long time ago. But I will make no such assurances to the Senate that I won't appoint him.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, may I ask one more question about the railway strike, please? You said you hoped it will not be necessary to take drastic action.

THE PRESIDENT. That's correct.

Q. Do you feel that the strike, although limited, is sufficiently important to require action, like going before Congress with a message to the Congress, or seizure ?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't understand that question. Will you repeat it, please?

Q. Do you feel, sir, that this strike of the switchmen is important enough, even though it is limited, to require that you go before Congress, or seek seizure through the courts?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, this strike is tieing up five mainline railroads, two of which are absolutely essential to the movement of the wheat crop and to the movement of cattle from the grass pastures to the feed lots in the Middle West, and it seems to me that that is reason enough for drastic action unless the strike is discontinued.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, at the hearing on Mr. Pike, no charges were made against him, and no questions were asked him. Are you aware of the nature of the opposition to him?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am perfectly aware of it. It is purely political.

Q. Party politics?

THE PRESIDENT. Party 'politics. Republican Party politics, if you please. [Laughter]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, is this railroad strike having any effect on the shipment of other materials--men or anything else needed in the Korean fight?

THE PRESIDENT. No. This is purely a domestic proposition.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, there was one Democrat voted against Mr. Pike, Mr. Johnson of Colorado.4 Have you any explanation of that?

THE PRESIDENT. Does that need any explanation, Pete?5

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. He votes with the Republicans much oftener than he does the Democrats, although he poses as a Democrat.

4Senator Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado.

5Raymond P. Brandt of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Q. I didn't quite understand what you said.

THE PRESIDENT. Pete asked me about the Democrat

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT--who voted against him. I said he votes with the Republicans more often than he does the Democrats. And he is chairman of an important committee, too.

Q. The Hutchinson committee?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. The Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee.

Q. Yes. Hutchinson is Federal Trade, which comes under that committee.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sure. I am not talking about Hutchinson. I am talking about the chairman of the committee.

Q. Mr. President, were you aware of the report that they were perhaps going to knock off the two together, Pike and Hutchinson?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I was not in on the inside workings of the committee, because I wasn't present. [Laughter]

[8.] Q. Mr. President, since we last talked to you last Thursday, there have been some developments in the Korean situation. Could you, at this time, tell us anything further about what we are doing out there and what is going on?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not in a position to comment this morning.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, should the switchmen go back to work as a patriotic duty or merely to carry out the objectives of the Railway Labor Act?

THE PRESIDENT. They should go back to work to carry out the objectives of the Railway Labor Act, which is also a patriotic duty, by the way.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, there was a story in one of the morning papers today to the effect that some 40 reserve battalions will be called into action--into mobilization to back up MacArthur?

THE PRESIDENT. There are a great many military experts in this country who know exactly what ought to be done, and that measure has not been discussed by the people who would have the authority to do it.

Q. Thank you.

Q. Do you have any plans now to call the National Guard up?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have the authority, but no plans in that direction.

Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans in mind for asking additional military funds from Congress ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at the present time.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, yesterday Secretary of Defense Johnson said that the Joint Chiefs and the service Secretaries were not making any public pronouncements or speeches during the month of July because, he said, there was a possibility of misinterpretations with this Korean situation going on. He said you were very happy to learn of this, and he said we should ask you whether you plan to do the same thing. We asked him and he said to ask you about it.

THE PRESIDENT. I have no dates in mind right at the present time. And I am very happy that the Defense Department is going to devote all their time to their job over there, instead of making speeches. [Laughter]

[12.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us anything about the effect that the war in Korea may have on the military aid program as regards Korea? Will the expenditures originally intended to fortify their own military forces be now available for use elsewhere since our own military is in there fighting, under United Nations auspices?

THE PRESIDENT. No, there will not be, and I can make no comment on that until we get the final results of the situation as it develops in Korea. But the appropriations here remain specific with regard to Korea.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on a report from Cairo that we are exerting pressure on them to back the United Nations resolution?

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, are you expecting a report on industrial mobilization from Mr. Symington6 in the near future?

THE PRESIDENT. That report is always up to date. We work on it all the time. I can get it any minute I want.

6 W. Stuart Symington, Chairman, National Security Resources Board.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, are you still hopeful with the general situation in Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course I am. It will work out all right.

Q. Mr. President, is the door closed on using those 32,000 Chinese Nationalist troops in Korea ? 7

THE PRESIDENT. Now that is a political matter of international purport, and I can't comment on it this morning.

7The Chinese Nationalist Government on Formosa announced on June 29 that they were willing to send 30,000 combat soldiers to the aid of the South Korean forces, if that action was approved by Allied officials.

Q. Is the decision up to the

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on it this morning.

Reporter: Thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and thirtieth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, July 6, 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/230936

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