Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

July 27, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. I have no announcements to make. I will try to answer as many questions as I can.

[1.] Q. Well, Mr. President, if nobody else is going to ask a question, I think I will. [Laughter]

Could you comment, Mr. President, on the proposals made by Mr. Baruch 1 before the committee

Voices: Louder--can't hear--louder!

THE PRESIDENT. Turn around there and ask it.

1Testifying before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee on July 26, Bernard M. Baruch offered a plan calling for immediate and all-out national mobilization that would include price, wage, and rent controls as well as rationing.

He stated that the administration's proposals for production incentives, priorities and allocations, and consumer credit restrictions were excellent, but he declared that the program did not go far enough.

Q. I asked for comment on the Baruch proposals.

THE PRESIDENT. My comment is my message to the Congress.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, may I ask a couple of questions about Missouri?

THE PRESIDENT. Sure.

Q. Are you going to the Allison2 rally in St. Louis Saturday?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

2 State Senator Emery W. Allison of Missouri, candidate for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate.

Q. Can't hear!

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if I was going to the Allison rally in St. Louis Saturday. No, I am not.

[3.] Q. And the other one has to do with the new veterans hospital in St. Louis. I understand you have been asked to designate that as a memorial to Jack Cochran. Do you intend to do so?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope that can be done. I was very fond of Jack Cochran. He was a very great friend of the veterans.3

3John J. Cochran, former Representative from Missouri.

Q. Mr. president, there are two ways it might be done, by legislative action or by your action. My question is directed to yours ?

THE PRESIDENT. I will consult General Gray on the subject, and then I will answer your question. 4

4 Carl R. Gray, Jr., Administrator of Veterans Affairs.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, can you comment on recent statements by Churchill and De Gaulle to the effect that Europe is in mortal peril of aggression?

Q. Can't hear you!

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if I would comment on statements by Mr. Churchill and General de Gaulle that Europe is in mortal fear of aggression. I have no comment.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, I hate to pursue this Baruch thing further, but I take it by your answer that you made, that you have outlined your proposals to meet the Korean situation as of now?

THE PRESIDENT. I have, and I think they are the right ones, or I wouldn't have done it.

Q. Yes, sir.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, there are rumors all around town, including the Capitol, that you are going to ask for price and wage control by Labor Day, and that the ration books are already being printed?

THE PRESIDENT. They know more about it than I do. I have never heard of that.

Q. It was asked of Mr. Symington, and he said it was news to him.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right, and he is in control of the matter.5

5W. Stuart Symington, Chairman of the National Security Resources Board.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect any further delay in the transition to civil government on Guam?

THE PRESIDENT. There has been a 30-day delay on account of the fact that the Interior Department was not ready to assume control. We are going to try to get civil government on Guam as promptly as we possibly can.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, there is some legislation on the Hill to deal with aliens and subversives. I wonder if you would discuss your ideas of legislation in relation to your warning about sabotage and espionage last week ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we want to be very careful in times like these that we don't get in the alien and sedition mood of 1798. The Bill of Rights is still a part of the Constitution of the United States, and a most important part. That doesn't mean that we are going to overlook any operation to see that traitors and saboteurs are properly taken care of.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, your message to Congress and your Economic Message yesterday mention the possibility of price control. At what phase in the mobilization efforts, sir, would you consider wage controls might be necessary?

THE PRESIDENT. Whenever it is necessary for price controls and wage controls, and manpower allocations, why the step will be taken altogether.

Q. Do you think that it will be necessary?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not.

Q. Mr. President, if you should ask for price controls and rationing, will that be along with an excess profits tax?

THE PRESIDENT. The tax situation is one that should be worked out on a basis of equity for all concerned. It is a very controversial subject, particularly what you call excess profits taxes. The reason I asked for a direct levy on incomes and corporations, I think that can be done promptly. And then after the election is over this fall, it will give the Congress a chance to work out an equitable tax program, which they should have done 4 years ago.

Q. But you see no possibility, Mr. President, of wage and price controls?

THE PRESIDENT. No--not right now.

Q. Mr. President, would the institution of wage and price controls depend on the development of the Korean situation, or development of inflation at home?

THE PRESIDENT. Depends on the world situation, and the situation at home, of course.

Q. Mr. President, Mr. Baruch said that when it is done it should be rolled back to June 25th. Is that your feeling?

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

[10.] Q. Mr. President, you have said in the past, several times, that you would not hesitate to use the atomic bomb in case of aggression. Are you considering such a step no?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, in your message last week you said that you would ask Congress for more arms aid funds. Is it contemplated that would be done before Congress adjourns?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. The Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, Mr. Harriman,6 and the National Security Resources Board are working on a program now.

6W. Averell Harriman, Special Representative in Europe for the Economic Cooperation Administration.

Q. Mr. President, I didn't catch the question.

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know about arms funds--arms aid to Europe.

Q. Oh.

THE PRESIDENT. The Atlantic Pact countries.

[12.] Q. One more question, sir, in connection with working out the tax program. You said that that could be done after the elections. You have in mind, sir, that Congress should be on hand after the elections this fall ?

THE PRESIDENT. We will attend to that when the time arises.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, a short time ago you said that the outlook on world peace was better than since 1945. Can you tell us what you think about the situation now?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you had better wait for a few more developments before we come to any conclusions on the subject.

Q. What was that?

THE PRESIDENT. They wanted to know what I thought about world peace now, because I had said a month or 2 ago that I thought the prospects were better than they had been since 1945. I said we had better await further information before we make any statement on that subject now.

[14.] Q. Do you think that the Korean situation indicates a comparative need for speeding up the civilian defense planning, especially regarding Washington as a center of government?

THE PRESIDENT. Civilian defense planning has been going on all the time. Civilian defense planning is most important, and we have been working at it strenuously ever since the program was authorized. And we are much further along with it than anybody has any idea about. Sometime or other we will be able to tell you about it, but not now.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, are you planning to go to Missouri to vote in the primary?

THE PRESIDENT. I just voted in the primary-by an absentee ballot. [Laughter]

Q. By an absentee ballot.

THE PRESIDENT. I voted the Democratic ticket, and it's a secret ballot, and I am not going to tell you who I voted for. [More laughter]

[16.] Q. The other question was, you were invited to Indianapolis August 20th to dedicate a new Legion building. Governor Schricker had some idea you might come?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think there is any possibility of my getting out of Washington any time soon. I want to stay here on the job and do the best I can to help the situation along, and still hope reverently for world peace.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, there has been some speculation about your dropping entirely the idea of campaigning this fall in the congressional elections. Has there been any decision on that one way or the other--

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q.--whether to go ahead, or whether you decide to drop--

THE PRESIDENT. There has been no decision.

Q. One way or the other?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, can you say anything about the situation in Korea now?

THE PRESIDENT. I would rather not comment on that. I think the communiqués of the New York Times covered the situation very well.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, is there any change in our plan to name a civilian high commissioner for Austria?

THE PRESIDENT. Please ask that question again.

Q. Is there any change in our plan to name a civilian high commissioner for Austria?

THE PRESIDENT. I still didn't understand what he was to be named for?

Q. I understood that we were going to name a civilian commissioner for Austria?

THE PRESIDENT. That is under contemplation.

Q. There is no change in the plan?

THE PRESIDENT. No change in plan, no. No change in plan. We did that in Germany and we would like to do it in Austria, of course. 7

7 See Item 218.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, there has been a lot of talk about arming the Germans in West Germany, and also the Japanese. Would you comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, are you contemplating any immediate effort for production of more electric power?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am always contemplating that, May.8

8Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Q. Can you tell us where?

THE PRESIDENT. I am trying to get New England to wake up to the fact that they need a public power development over in that corner of the United States. We have a great public power development in the Northwest. We have one in the Southeast--one in the Southwest. New England is the only outfit that has been asleep at the switch on the subject. And then we have the middle part of the United States, which I am hoping to have developed in the same manner. You can't have too much power.

Q. Could you tell me just what your first step will be?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have a commission working on that, May, and when they make a report, I will tell you what it is.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, I just want to get straight on the answer you made awhile ago on wage and price controls. I think you were asked if anything like that was in sight, or whether you contemplated any, and you said no. Would you like to qualify that at this time?

THE PRESIDENT. No, not at this time. We have nothing like that in sight, because there is no necessity for it.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, in your message last week, I believe, you said that you had asked department heads to resurvey their nonmilitary budgets.

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. Are you getting any reports on that? Is there anything--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had time yet. The letter only went out day before yesterday.

Q. Are they to report to you, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, they are going to report to me--they report to the Budget and then to me.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, just to further clarify the question, did I understand you to say that when those things come--rationing and price controls and wages--they will all come at once?

THE PRESIDENT. They should, of course, yes. That will be all-out mobilization, and I hope we will not have to make an all-out mobilization.

Q. By that, Mr. President, you mean the two steps of price controls and rationing would not come unless they were coupled with all-out mobilization?

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct. Reporter: Thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and thirtysecond news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 27, 1950.

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/231055

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