Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

November 10, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] Some of the boys up here in the front row are making fun of my certificate as an honorary airline transport pilot, with all ratings authorized. I was trying this morning to get volunteers for my first flight, and I couldn't get any. [Laughter]

Q. Get some Republicans, Mr. President!

Q. I'll go.

Charles G. Ross, Secretary to the President: May1 says she'll go.

1Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Q. What can I lose! [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I am--if you want to ask questions, go ahead.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, there are persistent rumors that some thought is being given among some administration people to raise the price of gold as a means of reducing the national debt?

THE PRESIDENT. Categorically, no. As long as I am President of the United States, the value of gold is fixed.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, there is a printed rumor, I think in the United States News, that someone in Washington--this administration-is planning to increase the size of the Supreme Court again by two members, one Republican, one Democrat. Have you heard of that?

THE PRESIDENT. I wonder--I wonder who is trying to do that? I hadn't heard of it.

Q. The United States News publishes it, I think.

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, that's a very reliable sheet. [Laughter] But I have no authority for the publication.

Q. You don't know about that?


[4.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to name James Barker of Sears and Roebuck chairman of the Munitions Board?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. Do you have any other candidate?


[5.] Q. Mr. President, there was an election this week. Do you have any comment about it?

THE PRESIDENT. I commented on that election, I think, very fully on the night of the Women's Democratic Club dinner. It was published in all the papers.

Q. Mr. President, in that connection, the word "mandate" is being batted around again. The day after election last fall, your friends said you had a mandate to do this and that, and your ill-wishers said you had no such mandate. Now that is being done again.


Q. What do you feel about a mandate again?

THE PRESIDENT. --do you use the word "mandate" in the manner in which it is used by the United Nations, or do you mean a local colloquialism?

Q. Local colloquialism.

THE PRESIDENT. The Democratic Platform sets out what the campaign was fixed on. When the Democrats win an election they have authority--call it a mandate, if you want to--from the people to carry out that Democratic Platform. That's all I am trying to do. I think this will make it easier to carry out the Democratic Platform.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the reports this week that you have sent a very strongly worded letter to Secretary Krug?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no comment. No comment.2

2See Item 255.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, there has been some talk out in St. Louis about the Jefferson River Park Memorial. Have you changed your attitude on that--completion of that project?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I was for that Jefferson Memorial project before it started, and I have been for it all along, and I am going to continue to be for it. I hope it will be finished sometime in the not too far distant future.

Q. Mr. President--

Q. Do you know about--

THE PRESIDENT. Pardon me--he didn't finish.

Q. Do you know about the details, as to what they are planning?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I know nothing about that.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, have you reached a decision yet on the plan advanced by Senator Green and Congressman McCormack to allocate ECA money for the purchase of textiles?

THE PRESIDENT. Purchase of what?

Q. Textiles--in this country, for sale to Germany and other--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that's a matter for ECA. That's a matter for ECA to decide. That has been put up to ECA, not up to me.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, what effect will the election have on the future of John Foster Dulles in the nonpartisan--

THE PRESIDENT. I think you had rather put that question up to John Foster Dulles. He runs his own business. I am not running it for him. I didn't put him in the race for Senator.

Q. Is he likely to be reappointed as the delegate--

THE PRESIDENT. I have not given that any consideration.

Q. Mr. President, on that point, do you see any reason for modification of the bipartisan attitude on foreign policy?

THE PRESIDENT. Why certainly not. Of course there isn't any reason, except in Bertie McCormick's mind, or Hearst's. They are isolationists, if you remember.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, there has been some speculation in the Indian press about the possibility that the Premier of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, might be visiting this country?

THE PRESIDENT. It has been under consideration.

Q. It has been under consideration?


[11.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on the preview of the Austrian art exhibit?

THE PRESIDENT. I was very much impressed with it. I enjoyed the visit down there very much. And it's well worth seeing. I am advertising the art gallery now. I hope you will all go down and see the Hapsburg collection. It is well worth the visit.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on Mr. Lewis sending his miners back to work, with the threat of another strike at the end of this month?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. His picture is there, on the front page of the Post. Take a look at it! [Laughter]

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you know whether there have been any further atomic explosions in the Soviet Union since the one that you reported?

THE PRESIDENT. There have not been, so far as I know.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, may I ask if you think the steel and coal strikes would have been settled if they hadn't had Taft-Hartley hanging over them?

THE PRESIDENT. I Can't answer that question. You will have to ask the heads of the steel companies and ask the negotiators for the unions. Maybe you can get an answer. I can't give you one.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, did your reply to my question about the Premier of Pakistan mean that you had actually given him--

THE PRESIDENT. No--no. I said it had been under consideration. The matter will be attended to by the Secretary of State in due course.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any reports by the State Department on the Mexican loan negotiations?


Q. Are they still in progress?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. I suppose they are.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us about your talk with Cardinal Dougherty yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. The Cardinal paid a courtesy call on me. We discussed various matters in which we are both interested. Had a very pleasant visit with the Cardinal.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you believe it correct policy to stop dismantlement of the western part of Germany?


Q. Dismantlement?

THE PRESIDENT. That matter is under consideration by the foreign ministers in Europe, and I have no comment on it.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, the Bolivian Ambassador called on a special mission the other day. Did they invite you to visit Bolivia?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, they always have invited me.

Q. Will you be able to accept?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, is there any idea that out of the foreign ministers' meeting will come an approach to better relations with Russia?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question.

Q. Do you have a feeling, sir, that we will get anywhere with Russia?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope so. I hope so. I have always been hopeful in that direction.

Q. Do we have, sir, any mediums of getting together?

THE PRESIDENT. Regular diplomatic channels. Just the same as they have always been.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, in case of no settlement in coal, do you have any plans to try to keep the mines running after November 30th?

THE PRESIDENT. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and fifth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 10, 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/229719

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