Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

May 25, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] At 11 o'clock there will be a release--it is a simultaneous release in Britain, France, and Washington. It will be available at the door as you go out, together with a statement by the President. It is all mimeographed and ready for you.1 I have no further statements to make to you.

1 See Items 147 and 148.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us what you think of Mr. Trygve Lie's consultations? Do you think they will help the cause of peace any?

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about them and can make no statement until I see the Secretary of State.

Voices: Can't hear--we can't hear.

THE PRESIDENT. I said I know nothing about them and I will make no statement on it until I have talked to the Secretary of State.

Q. Are you going to see Mr. Trygve Lie?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. What was the question?

THE PRESIDENT. The question was what I knew about Mr. Lie's contributions to world peace, and I know nothing about them.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, inasmuch as the text of this statement which you are going to issue at 11 has already moved out of Paris and London, could you discuss it with us now?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I cannot.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, the Post on Monday carried an editorial called "The Road Back To America."2 I assume you may have read it?

THE PRESIDENT. I heard something about it.

2 The editorial in the Washington Post of May 22, 1950, stated that the Capital was "convulsed by a terror" due to the fear of communism and uncertainty as to how to deal with it. It suggested a commission, appointed by the President after bipartisan agreement on its membership, "to survey the major aspects of national security--the internal menace of the fifth column, civilian defense, development of new weapons, the size and use of military expenditures, economic restoration of our friends and allies."

Q. I wonder if you would comment, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment, except that I see no reason for a supergovernment in the United States. I am trying to run the Government under the Constitution, and I shall continue to do that. [Laughter]

[5.] Q. Mr. President, would you like to see the sesquicentennial revived in the District of Columbia?

THE PRESIDENT. I was for the sesquicentennial when it first came up, and I have done everything I possibly can for it, and I shall continue to do that; but somebody else has to put it on. I can't go out on the street and put it on.

Q. Some of the local businessmen, sir, have called for the resignations of some of the members of the commission--

THE PRESIDENT. It's about time that the local businessmen wake up and find out what it's all about. 3

3 See Items 77, 137 [22].

[6.] Q. Mr. President, would you accept a voluntary FEPC from the Senate such as the House passed?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I would not.

Q. What was the question?

THE PRESIDENT. Wanted to know if I would accept a voluntary FEPC. I have got that now.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Humphrey of Minnesota has added his voice to those of the labor leaders who are asking or demanding that you fire Robert N. Denham, General Counsel of the NLRB. Do you intend to do so?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not right now intend to go into any phase of that situation. I have sent the reorganization plan to the Congress, and it was rejected.4 I have other matters under consideration at the present time, and I will do nothing further about that at present.

4 Reorganization Plan 12 of 1950, providing for reorganization in the National Labor Relations Board, was disapproved by the Senate on May 1950 (S. Res. 248). See Item 66.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, have you in mind any post for Ray McKeough, who has been a member of the old Maritime Commission?5

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the permanent board of the Maritime Commission has not yet been appointed, and we have a great many things under consideration. I can't answer that question right now.

5 On August 18, 1950, the Senate confirmed Raymond S. McKeough as a member of the International Claims Commission of the United States.

[9.] Q. One more question, sir, do you expect to see Joe Ferguson of Ohio, the Democratic senatorial nominee?

THE PRESIDENT. If he comes in and asks to see me, of course I will be glad to see him, as I will any other Democratic nominees.

Q. I understand, Mr. President, that he wants to ask whether you are going to do any whistlestopping in Ohio?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not in a position to answer any questions like that.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided on a successor to Ambassador Waynick in Nicaragua, and Patterson in Guatemala?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had the matter up for consideration.

[11.] Q. One more, sir, as General Somoza has again been elected President of Nicaragua, and is again proposing the Nicaraguan Canal, what is the attitude of the administration at this time towards that project?

THE PRESIDENT. How long has the Nicaraguan Canal been under consideration? I was in Nicaragua, you know, about 10 years ago and looked at the site for the Nicaraguan Canal. It is a matter for conversation and probably will be for a long time to come.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, before we went out on the trip you said that about next year the defense budget would be lower. Since then there has come the London conference, and the story is that as a result of the decisions made there, our defense budget for next year will have to go up. Does your opinion still stand--

THE PRESIDENT. The defense budget is under consideration at the present time, and I can't answer questions on it until we have gone into it more thoroughly. The ceiling has been placed upon it.

Q. I was wondering if your opinion of a few weeks ago still stood ?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't give you an answer to the situation until all the facts and figures are in, and I will discuss it freely with you when we are ready. I can't do it now.

Q. May I ask you one more question, sir?


[13.] Q. Yesterday, Bevin6 said that he would like to see Communist China seated in the United Nations in order to break the Russian deadlock. I wonder if we have changed our opinion and now would be willing to see Communist China seated ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that.

6 Ernest Bevin, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom.

Q. Mr. President--

Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. There is a lady over here that wants to ask a question.

[14.] Q. Are you going to see those visiting veterans from the Birmingham Hospital?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I won't see them.

Q. You are not going to see them?


Q. Could I ask one more question?


[15.] Q. How is the Mexican loan--oil loan--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question, I am sorry.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, in connection with Mr. McCardell's 7 question, there were several speeches made by our foremost military leaders on and just before Armed Forces Day, and some of them indicated that they were not entirely satisfied with the present situation defensively, and perhaps that was in connection with this, with the decision in London, which indicated that the United States would be taking a greater responsibility on airpower and navy, as contrasted with ground forces. I wonder if you would comment on that ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, that is a matter that will have to be worked out in consideration of the budget, and when that time comes, I will discuss it with you.

7 Lee McCardell of the Baltimore Sun.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, you said that a ceiling had been placed on this defense budget. I wonder if you would tell us what is the ceiling?


Q. I didn't think so. [Laughter]


[18.] Q. Can you tell us, Mr. president, when we can expect some word on a Chairman for the Atomic Energy Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. No. When I get ready to make the announcement, I will make it publicly so that you can all have it at the same time.8

8 On July 11, 1950, Gordon E. Dean was appointed Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the 5-year contract which was signed with General Motors Corporation and the United Automobile Workers ?

THE PRESIDENT. I understand that they are both highly pleased with it, and if they are, of course I am, too.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, I agreed to ask this question for a visiting German correspondent. He asks does the American Government believe that the Germans themselves can solve the problem of the 8 million refugees from East Germany and Czechoslovakia?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter that is under consideration in the United Nations, and with our own setup in Germany, and I am not in a position to answer that question this morning.

[21.] Q. Now then, may I change the subject? Are you meeting Toscanini tonight?

THE PRESIDENT, How's that?

Q. Are you meeting Toscanini tonight?

THE PRESIDENT. I am going to hear Toscanini. If he wants to meet the President, he will have the same privilege that every other great musician that comes to that place over there has.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us why Margaret has canceled her summer engagements?

THE PRESIDENT. Miss Helen Traubel has answered that question completely and thoroughly.9

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

9On May 23 the New York Times reported that Helen Traubel, who was supervising Margaret Truman's musical education, had announced that upon her advice the President's daughter had canceled her singing engagements for that summer. Miss Traubel stated that she had advised Miss Truman to rest and devote herself to further study during the summer because she had just finished a spring tour and was anticipating a busy schedule in the fall.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and twentysixth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, 1950. Motion pictures and still photographs were taken at the press conference.

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/230692

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