Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 21, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. I have an announcement or two this time.

[1.] On Monday, I am having an official luncheon for the President of Israel, Dr. Chaim Weizmann.

And this morning I signed an appointment for David K. E. Bruce of Virginia, to be Ambassador to France. And the Honorable Jeff Caffery is coming back to the United States and will be assigned another post at a later date.

And, I accepted the resignation of the Secretary of the Army this morning; and the exchange of letters will be available to you in mimeographed form as soon as this conference is over.1

Now I am ready for questions.

1Kenneth C. Royall served as Secretary of the Army from July 21, 1947, through April 27, 1949. His letter of resignation and the President's reply were released by the White House on April 21

[2.] Q. Mr. President, the first question would be, naturally, who is going to succeed Mr. Royall? Is that determined yet?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't tell you yet. If I had known that I would have told you right away, Tony.2

2Ernest B. Vaccaro of the Associated press.

Q. Will there be an Acting Secretary in the meantime, or is that automatic--

THE PRESIDENT. The situation will automatically take care of itself, until somebody is appointed. I think probably it's the Under Secretary. If not, then the Assistant Secretary will act.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, there have been various stories recently that Mr. McCloy has been asked to take a position as High Commissioner, or under some other title, for Germany. Could you tell us whether that position has been offered to him?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on that at the present time.3

3On May 18 the President announced that he was appointing John J. McCloy to be United States High Commissioner for Germany and Chief of Mission. Mr. McCloy had been serving as President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The White House release stated that his appointment grew out of the Washington meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom and France with the Secretary of State at which agreement was reached on the tripartite control machinery for West Germany.

The release described Mr. McCloy's duties as follows:

"As United States High Commissioner, Mr. Cloy will be the supreme United States authority in Germany. Subject to consultation with and ultimate direction by the President, he will be under the immediate supervision and direction of the Secretary of State. He will have the authority to exercise all the governmental functions of the United States in Germany, other than the Command of the United States Occupation Forces. He will represent the United States on the Allied High Commission for Germany (United States-United Kingdom-France) when established and will exercise the appropriate functions of a Chief of Mission, Class One, within the meaning of the Foreign Service Act of August 13, 1946

"Subject to consultation with and ultimate direction by the President, Mr. McCloy will be the representative of the Economic Cooperation Administration in all its relations and actions with respect to Germany. As regards these functions he will be under the immediate supervision and direction of the Administrator for Economic Cooperation (Mr. Hoffman) and the coordination of the United States Special Representative in Europe (Mr. Harriman). Mr. McCloy will be assisted by a Chief of Special Mission to be appointed by Mr. Hoffman, who will have the rank of Minister and act under the immediate supervision and direction of the United States High Commissioner.

"On military matters, the Military Commander will continue to receive instructions directly from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. However, the High Commissioner will be authorized to direct the United States Commanding General to intervene for the maintenance of law and order and to take such other action as is required to support United States policy in Germany. During the period prior to the transfer of military government responsibility from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of State, the High Commissioner will also be the Military Governor of the United States Zone in Germany. In this capacity he will be under the immediate supervision of the Secretary of Defense, subject of course to consultation with and ultimate direction by the President."

[4.] Q. Mr. President, who will be succeeding Mr. Bruce on the ECA?

THE PRESIDENT. That has not been decided as yet.

Q. Is Barry Bingham being considered for that?

THE PRESIDENT. Several people under consideration-among them Barry Bingham.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, reports off the Hill this afternoon are that Mr. Acheson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the sum of the arms implementation plan is one billion, four. Is that approximately right, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Acheson had a confidential interview with the Members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, and I cannot comment on any leaks. [Laughter]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, has any final decision been reached on Mexico's request for an oil development loan?

THE PRESIDENT. The matter is under consideration, and is still under consideration.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, is it administration policy to keep the figures on the armament program in the category of executive information for some time yet?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that question when I get ready to send the request to the Senate. It will be in the regular form, and you will be furnished with a copy, as usual.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, 106 radio stations in the United States are operating on daylight time, through an agreement with Mexico--a gentleman's agreement. Mexico has broken the agreement and has invaded another wave band that they weren't supposed to even touch.

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it, and anyway that's a matter that would have to go through the State Department and the Communications Commission.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, do you anticipate any other changes in the Defense establishment?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that, because I really don't anticipate any serious change--any further major changes immediately. Of course, there are some changes being made in the Government, for the simple reason that it takes an iron man with an elephant hide to hold a Government position nowadays, and the pay is not worth all the ribbing they have to take.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, who is going to replace Tom Clark?

THE PRESIDENT. Nobody. Tom Clark is going to stay where he is.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, you had an important California politician in here today.


Q. Will you support him for the Governorship?

THE PRESIDENT. Senator Luckey 4 is a very fine gentleman. I discussed California politics with him, that's all I have to say about it.

4E. George Luckey, California State Senator.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, now that the keel of the new carrier has been laid, can you scotch these rumors that are going around--

THE PRESIDENT. Has it been laid? Has the keel been laid officially? I haven't gone into the matter. I don't know for sure. I wasn't invited to the laying.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, the former Governor of Puerto Rico, Mr. Pinero, is on a trip to South America. Is he on some official mission, or representing you, or have some Government--

THE PRESIDENT. You had better ask him. I don't know. I didn't even know he was in South America. He has got a perfect right to go wherever he pleases in the Western Hemisphere. There's only one place you can't go, and that's behind the Iron Curtain.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, have any peace feelers from Soviet Russia come your way?

THE PRESIDENT. Not my way. I have no comment on that.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, will Weizmann's luncheon be at the Blair House?


[16.] Q. Mr. President, can you comment on the Chinese situation? 5

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment on it.

5On April 19 the Communists had breached the Yangtze, and on April 21 the Government force abandoned Nanking.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan a radio speech to go with your national health program?

THE PRESIDENT. We have had it under consideration, and it is still under consideration. I will announce it in plenty of time so that all of you will know about it; and I will be sure that each one of you has a mimeographed copy of it, if I decide to do it.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, are you ready yet to fill the vacancy on the Atomic Energy Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. Not yet, no. I will announce it just as soon as I can.

Q. Is there likely to be another vacancy?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that because I don't know.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, has Dr. Bacher submitted his resignation?

THE PRESIDENT. Dr. Bacher has submitted his resignation, yes.6

6The resignation of Dr. Robert F. Bacher as a member of the Atomic Energy Commission became effective on May 10, 1949. Dr. Bacher's letter of resignation, dated April 15, 1949, was released by the White House on May 9 together with the text of the President's reply.

Q. Have you persuaded him to stay?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't been able to as yet.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, what about the chairman of the Maritime Commission, have you any idea when you will fill that?

THE PRESIDENT. I will make an announcement on that very soon.

Q. Does that mean that Admiral Smith will not be reappointed? 7

THE PRESIDENT. I will make the announcement at a later date.

7Vice Adm. William W. Smith served as Chairman of the United States Maritime Commission from May 27, 1946. through April 16, 1949.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, could you make any specific comment on the way Louis Johnson has started off his job?

THE PRESIDENT. I think Louis Johnson is doing a good job. I thought he would do a job when I put him in, and I am sure he will.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, you expressed some surprise about the keel being laid for the super-carrier. Has any decision been reached on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No--and the only comment on the thing is right here now.

Q. Well, I mean is it under consideration whether they go ahead with it, or not to go ahead?

THE PRESIDENT. It hasn't been under my consideration.

Q. Well, is it going to be built, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer the question.

Q. Mr. President, it will be under consideration some time soon?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh yes, the matter will have to be finally submitted to me, and I will make the decision on it whenever it comes up, as I always do.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, Secretary Tobin said he is convinced that the administration's labor bill would pass both chambers. Have you any comment on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I think that the statement of the Secretary of Labor speaks for itself. I have no comment on it.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, if the Soviet Union were, of its own accord, to lift the blockade in Berlin, would the United States in cooperation with the other Western Powers be prepared to consider the possibility of opening the--reopening the German--

THE PRESIDENT. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. You have too many "ifs" in there.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and seventy-eighth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, 1949.

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/230190

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