Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

July 13, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. [1 .] It looks like we'll have to get a bigger hall. [Laughter]

I have no particular announcements to make, but I will try to answer questions so far as I can.

[2.] Mr. President, two allied questions. First, is the excise tax being continued?

THE PEESIDENT. Mr. Snyder made a statement on the tax situation this morning, which I approved. I would suggest that you read the statement. I'll read it to you, it's short.1

1Secretary Snyder appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on July 13 and requested that excise taxes be retained. Citing the Korean situation he added that their discontinuance "would disorganize the taxing machinery of the Government and result temporarily in losses of needed revenues."

Q. I have a copy, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. All right.

Q. And, Mr. President, should co-operatives at this time be taxed the same as corporations ?

THE PRESIDENT. Same answer as before.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you could tell us about plans for any partial industrial mobilization--

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

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if there were any plans about industrial mobilization. All the things that relate to the emergency are under consideration, and at the proper time the necessary steps will be taken if they are necessary. I want to say directly that they are under consideration.

[4.] Q. Well, specifically, Mr. President, Senator Thomas yesterday said that he expects that there will be a request for a billion additional for military expenditures in a week or so?

THE PRESIDENT. Since the figures have not been assembled and presented to the President of the United States, we can't give any definite figure.

Q. Mr. President, may I just give you one more?

THE PRESIDENT. Sure, fire away.

Q. May we expect, though, that there will be a request for additional military expenditures in the next week or so?

THE PRESIDENT. It is under consideration.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, sir, do you still call this a police action?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it is still a police action.

Q. Mr. President, are we prepared to resist aggression everywhere in the world, as in Korea ?

THE PRESIDENT. We will have to meet the situations as they develop. I can't answer that question.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, there was a report from South America today that Chile is ready to give a corridor to the sea to Bolivia, and that you approve of the idea. Would you comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. It was discussed when the President of Chile was here. It is a matter between Chile and Bolivia. Doesn't require the approval of the President of the United States. [Laughter]

Q. But do you like the idea?

THE PRESIDENT. I like it very much.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, is there any truth to the report that you intend to ask the Army Engineers to go ahead with the St. Lawrence Seaway?

THE PRESIDENT. The first time I heard about it was the release that I saw on the wire. I know nothing about it. I have no such intention. That would be the best answer, I think.

Q. That's fine. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Did you have a question?

[8.] Q. Yes, sir, thank you--can you say anything about mobilization plans, sir, not industrial--manpower?

THE PRESIDENT. All those things are under consideration, and I can't make any statements on them at the present time. You will be kept informed of all the procedures as they come about.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, are you planning any report to Congress or to the people on the Korean situation?

THE PRESIDENT. That is under consideration, too. No decision has been reached.

Q. Mr. President, would you give us an evaluation now of the fighting so far in Korea, from your point of view ?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I am not in charge of the military in Korea, and the report is made every day by General MacArthur, and he is the one to evaluate the situation. I rely on his evaluation.

Q. Well, Mr. President, can you comment in general on the outlook in Korea? Last week you said you were hopeful--

THE PRESIDENT. I feel the same way. My position has not changed on that at all.

Q. Are you anything more than hopeful, sir--what I mean is--

THE PRESIDENT. What do you mean by that?

Q. It does require clarification. We all get queries from our home offices--

THE PRESIDENT. Sure.

Q.--on the communiqués. What reassurance can we give the American people that we are not getting the tar licked out of us?

THE PRESIDENT. We are going to--

Q. Can't hear, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. --let me tell you something--

Q. We can't hear.

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know what assurance we could give the American people that we aren't getting the tar licked out of us. It has never happened to us. It won't happen this time.

Q. In that connection, Mr. President, do you feel certain that we will be able to retain a foothold in Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. We will be able to retain a foothold in Korea as far north as the 38th parallel.

Q. Mr. President, does that mean that we don't intend to carry our police action north of the 38th parallel ?

THE PRESIDENT. I will make that decision when it becomes necessary to do it.

Q. Thank you.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, any news on the Mexican loan?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

[11.] There is one thing I would like very much to impress on you, if you will bear with me about a minute.

There is no prospect of any food shortage in this country at any time. We have in prospect one of the largest corn crops we have ever had and had a billion bushels carried over. We have a normal cotton crop in prospect, and there are 3 million bales in storage in the hands of the Commodity Credit Corporation. We expect as large a wheat crop as we had last year and anticipate as large a one next year, and there are some 700 million bushels of wheat in the carryover. So there is nothing to worry about, so far as food and things of that sort are concerned. I wish you would make that perfectly plain to your subscribers.

Q. Mr. President, we talked to Mr. Brannan this morning about that, and he said it would be a reasonable deduction that rising prices would be due to profiteering. Do you agree with that?

THE PRESIDENT. I do. The statement I just made you would show that that is true. I discussed the matter with Secretary Brannan this morning, too. [Laughter]

Q. He denied it.

Q. Would you like to comment on the hoarding, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I beg your pardon?

Q. There are reports of hoarding of food and various other commodities. Would you like to make a statement?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it is very foolish to start anything of that kind now. There is no necessity for it whatever, as I am trying to make perfectly plain to you.

Q. Mr. President, would your remarks apply also to consumer goods, like automobiles and other--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on any of those things, because I am only talking of the things that I know definitely about.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report from Geneva from the International Red Cross, I think, that they have sent a man to North Korea to see that they recognize the rules of warfare?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had any such report, but I am sure that General Marshall will see that that is done.2

Q. Thank you, sir.

2 Gen. George C. Marshall, President of the American National Red Cross.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, you were asked earlier about consideration of either going before the Congress or the people on the Korean situation. Did you mean that to say that you were considering both, or one or the other?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, both.

Q. Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. I am considering everything in connection with this situation which I think will be helpful in keeping the American people and the Congress informed on what goes on.

Q. Mr. President, are we doing anything to urge the participation of ground troops of other nations in--

THE PRESIDENT. That question was answered by Secretary Acheson yesterday. if you will read his report at the press conference, you will get your answer.3

3In a statement, released on July 12, Secretary Acheson said, "Many states have indicated a desire to assist but do not know what types of assistance within their capabilities would be useful. Advantage will be taken of these offers as soon as channels are set up." For the full text of Acheson's statement, see the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 23, p. 130).

[14.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to ask for an increase in taxes?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no tax plans. The statement of the Secretary of Agriculture covered all that I can say about the matter at this time.

Q. Treasury, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. I mean Secretary of the Treasury, yes. I was thinking about Brannan.

[15.] Q. Can you say anything about contingent reports that you might call up reserve officers and specialists, or mobilize the National Guard ?

THE PRESIDENT. All those things are under consideration. If it is necessary, announcements will be made in plenty of time so that you will all know about it.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, on the basis of what you said about food a minute ago, you mean that there is no contemplation of rationing being necessary in food?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the present situation, is there anything to speed up the machinery of the North Atlantic Pact being urged also on the other partners?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter on which I can't comment at this time.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and thirtyfirst news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 13, 1950. The Official White House Reporter noted that there was "standing room only this afternoon."

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/230974

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