Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 28, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. I have got an announcement or two to make this morning.

[1.] Maj. Gen. Philip Fleming, Federal Works Administrator, will be appointed to the Maritime Commission; and when he is confirmed he will be made Chairman of the Maritime Commission. And he goes on that Commission as an independent, with no political affiliations.

Jess Larson, Administrator of the War Assets Administration, will be appointed as Federal Works Administrator, to succeed General Fleming.

Rear Adm. Paul Luther Mather--

Q. Mr. President, you are a little too fast for me.


Q. What was that--

THE PRESIDENT. Rear Adm. Paul Luther-Luker--L-u-k-e-r it is--Mailer, Assistant Administrator of the War Assets Administration, will be appointed Administrator of the War Assets Administration.

And Mr. Richard Erwin Dougherty of New York, and Douglas William Orr of Connecticut, members of our--these two men were members of our advisory committee on the safety of the White House--will be appointed as the members of the Commission to Superintend the Construction of the White House. They will work in conjunction with two Senators appointed by the Vice President, and two Representatives appointed by the Speaker.

These two gentlemen are--one of them is an outstanding engineer, and the other one is an outstanding architect.

Q. That is in connection with the reconstruction of the White House?

THE PRESIDENT. Reconstruction of the White House--

Q. Mr. President, may I ask on Paul-relating to Paul Luther--how does he spell that last name?

THE PRESIDENT. His name is Paul L-u-k-e-r Mather--M-a-t-h-e-r.

Q. And he is to be--

THE PRESIDENT. He is to be head of War Assets Administration.

Then, I am sending down a thousand postmasters. They will be submitted to the Senate today. And there will be about that many next week.

[2.] There has been some conversation about the Navy's activity in Shanghai. I have seen headlines in several papers in which it said the Navy had run out on the civilians in Shanghai.

That is absolutely without foundation in fact. The Navy has done an excellent job in Chinese waters from one end of China to the other. They have made arrangements for the evacuation of all American citizens in China who want to be evacuated. The President Wilson left Shanghai yesterday-that is the 28th of April in the Eastern Hemisphere--with vacancies which could have been filled by anyone who wanted to leave.

There are two other President Line steamers, the President Van Buren and President Pierce available in Shanghai today, and they will probably leave today for any Americans who want to leave. And the Navy is still able to evacuate any people and to protect American citizens, if it becomes necessary, in Shanghai or any other port in China.

That's all, gentlemen. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them.

Q. Mr. President, there are no combat ships in Shanghai, are there?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Yes, there are.

Q. Mr. President, in that connection, is it the plan to protest the violation of the United States Embassy in Nanking?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know that it has been violated, has it? I haven't been officially notified that it has. Not from the Ambassador. I saw it in the paper, but I have had no complaint from the Ambassador.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, can you clear up this Calder situation for us?

THE PRESIDENT. Calder1 has been under consideration for the appointment as Secretary of War. He is still under consideration.

1Curtis E. Calder, chairman of the board of the Electric Bond and Share Company.

Q. Well, it was announced yesterday that he had accepted, and now he says he has not?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't make the announcement.

Q. Mr. President, in that same connection, could you tell us who you are considering for Secretary of the Navy?

THE PRESIDENT. There are several people under consideration.

Q. No names?


Q. Is Mr. Daniels.

Q. Jonathan Daniels one of those?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, Jonathan Daniels is one of those.

Q. Mr. President, could you tell us what transpired in your conversation with Mr. Daniels yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I cannot.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, these postmasters, are they postmasters who were held up last year, or is that an entirely new batch?

THE PRESIDENT. Some of them are, the ones that were held up last year. Most of them are new. There are expirations all the time in post offices--and run about 4,000 a year, the appointments do.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect to discuss the China situation today with Secretary of State Acheson, and Senators Wherry and Bridges?

THE PRESIDENT. If they come in for that purpose, I will discuss it with them.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel encouraged by the reports you have received thus far on the Malik-Jessup conversations?

THE PRESIDENT. I--what I know is contained in the statement issued by the State Department Yesterday.2 I think it is encouraging.

2 The statement on the negotiations between Philip C. Jessup, American Ambassador-at-Large, and Jacob A. Malik, Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations, on the subject of the lifting of the Berlin blockade, was released on April 26, 1949. It is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 20, p. 590).

[7.] Q. Mr. President, there seems to be considerable apprehension in the Navy over, one, losing all the Navy air to the Air Force and, two, transfer of all Marine Corps air activity to the Air Force. Can you straighten us out--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think there is any foundation in fact for either one of those-what is it you call those things?--the columnists do, when they prognosticate? [Laughter]

Q. Predictions.

Q. Mr. President, that wasn't a columnist's prognostication, that was Secretary Sullivan's letter.

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't read Secretary Sullivan's letter to the Secretary for Defense. I only read the letter he wrote to me, and I replied to that.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to send Congress another message on civil rights?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it is necessary. It has been reiterated time and again, and was clearly stated in the message of 1947; and that condition has not changed, so far as I know.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, is there going to be any message or a letter from the White House nailing down the amount of dollars to be appropriated for arming the Western European countries?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that has already been approved, and will go down just as soon as the State Department is ready to send it down. I believe the statement was covered very clearly by Acheson before the Foreign Relations Committee. That was shown me, and I approve of what Mr. Acheson said, and--

Q. The figure of 1 billion, 450--

THE PRESIDENT. --nothing has to be said about a leak this time.

Q. Is the figure of 1 billion, 4 correct?


[10.] Q. Mr. President, have you talked with Mr. Calder in regard to taking that post of--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have. Yes, I have. He came in here especially to talk to me about it.

Q. Did you talk with him yesterday about it?

THE PRESIDENT. No--I don't know--it was 3 or 4 days ago that I did. I don't remember exactly.

Q. Do you think he will take the job?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question. You had better ask him. I hope he will. He is a very capable man.

[11.] Q. Do you believe the Russians are acting in good faith with the Berlin proposal?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. If I didn't think so, we wouldn't continue the conversations.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the recent changes in the economic situation, are you considering any changes in the stabilization program?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not.

[13.] Q. In the event that the Embassy has been violated, will there be a protest in the normal course of events, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I will attend to that when it comes up. You are asking me a hypothetical question, and I am not admitting that the Embassy has been violated.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, Senator McGrath yesterday said that he and the group of other leaders conferred with you on patronage matters, and that party loyalty was to be the test for patronage. Can you throw any further light on that conversation with that group yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it is necessary, except to say that Democrats are those people who support the Democratic platform, which is the law of the Democratic Party, and should support that platform after they are elected just the same as they did beforehand in making promises. That is what I am doing.

Q. Will it be in terms of the record on the votes in Congress?


[15.] Q. Mr. President, was the decision to send up the postmaster recommendations reached yesterday at that meeting?

THE PRESIDENT. It has been under consideration for some time.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, would you consider the vote on the Taft-Hartley repeal one of these tests?

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly will.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, there have been reports on the Hill that the administration is sponsoring certain amendments to the Lesinski bill. Do you have any comment--

THE PRESIDENT. The administration bills have been favorably reported before both Committees of the House and the Senate, and that is the administration measure now as it is on the calendar.3

3See the more extended comment on the various bills to replace the Taft-Hartley Act in the news conference of May 5, Item 93.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you have any comment on the ambushing and killing of Mrs. Quezon of the Philippines, under Communist-led--

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't know about it.

Q. We can't hear those questions.

THE PRESIDENT. They wanted to know if I had any comment on the ambushing and killing of the wife of the former President of the Philippines. That's the first I had heard about it. I didn't know about it. I think it is an awful thing, if it has happened.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, in connection with this patronage session yesterday, it has been reported in some papers this morning that the effect of that would be to deny patronage to the Dixiecrats. Is that true, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Let's wait and see how the thing works out, then the question will answer itself as we go along.

Reporter: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and eightieth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, April 28, 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/230221

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