Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 03, 1950

THE PRESIDENT. Be seated, please. Good afternoon, everybody.

[1.] I have one announcement to make. Mr. Harriman and General Norstad and General Lowe will leave tomorrow for Japan, for a political brief with General MacArthur on the political situation in the Far East.

Now I am ready for questions.

Q. Mr. President, I suppose I should be familiar with General Lowe's title and name, but--

THE PRESIDENT. Maj. Gen. Frank E. Lowe. He is a Reserve officer.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, to get rid of a rather obvious question quickly, it appears that Thomas Hennings, Jr., has been nominated for the Senate in Missouri.1 I assume that you will support the Democratic nominee regardless of the outcome?

THE PRESIDENT. I always do that. I always do that. But the election is not certain yet.

1 Thomas C. Hennings, Jr., defeated Emery W. Allison in the Missouri primary election held on August 1 for the Democratic senatorial nomination.

Q. I understand that.

THE PRESIDENT. The nomination is not certain because the absentee vote has to be counted, but if it comes out the way you think it will, why I will support the ticket.

[3.] Q. Along that same line, Mr. President, were you happy over the winning of Paul Aiken of Kansas over Carl Rice? 2

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly am happy about it. I haven't been officially notified that he was nominated. If he is, why I am very happy over it.

2 On August 1 Paul Aiken defeated Carl Rice in the Kansas primary election for the Democratic senatorial nomination.

Q. He said you called him last night--there was a report that you telephoned Mr. Aiken and told him you were happy about it?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I didn't talk to him.

Q. But you are happy about it?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I haven't had reports of any nominations as yet officially.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, the House, sitting as a Committee of the Whole, a short while ago this afternoon voted tentatively on a price control plan--price and wage control bill which would go into effect automatically when prices rise to 5 percent over the June 15th Bureau of Labor Statistics Index. What do you think of a plan like that?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think much of it. That invites a 5 percent rise in prices. If we are going to have a price control authorization, and what goes with it, it should be an authorization for the rollback of prices to a date between May 24 and June 24, on a basis that would set prices and wages during that time--between May 24 and June 24.

If you set an automatic price rise, then you have got to meet an automatic price rise with an automatic wage rise, and you will have a spiral just like we did in the other war. If we are going to have price control, let us have it, and have it in the right way.

Q. Mr. President, on that point, the Democratic Members of the Senate, and I believe the House, have advocated--I would like to have your comment on this point--they believe that business, realizing that price controls would not take effect unless there was a 5 percent rise, would itself see to it that prices did not rise to that extent. Do you think there is any force to that argument?

THE PRESIDENT. I think, if we are going to have price control, it is the business of the Government to do the policing. I didn't ask for price control, you understand. They may force it on me, and I will make use of it if it is necessary, if they do give it to me. I would have asked for it, if I thought I needed it--and I will use it if I do think it is necessary. But I hope that they won't set any restrictions on it so that it won't be used for the public good.

Q. Just to clear that up, you would have preferred legislation freezing prices to June 24--

THE PRESIDENT. Authorizing that that be done, if it becomes necessary.

Q. But not a legislative

THE PRESIDENT. No, it is not a legislative program.

Q. It is not.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, did Senator Lyndon Johnson consult with you at all about his new investigating committee operations in the Senate?3

THE PRESIDENT. No. He hasn't talked with me about it at all.

3On July 27, 1950, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas was appointed chairman of a subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee empowered "to keep continuous watchfulness over our entire rearmament and preparedness and defense program."

Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the fact that the Senate elected to follow essentially the comparative line

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about it. I haven't seen the resolution, and I haven't talked with anybody about it, so I can't very well comment on it.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the reports that due to the world situation, it has been decided to postpone indefinitely the tariff concessions as scheduled for next month?

THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't heard anything about that. I think I would be consulted before that was done.

[7.] Q. Did you say they were bringing a briefing to General MacArthur on the political situation?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Mr. Harriman is going to Japan to discuss the Far Eastern political situation with General MacArthur.

Q. Is he bringing any instructions from here?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have not made up my mind as yet on whether to give him instructions or not. I don't think he needs any, but I will discuss the matter with him.

Q. And that is tomorrow, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Tomorrow, yes.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, I hate to rise so much--

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right. You are free to ask any questions you want, and I will try to answer them.

Q. The question I have is--through one of our member papers--as to whether you have any plans for reappointing Mr. Taylor as Ambassador to His Holiness?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not. When Mr. Taylor resigned, that office automatically ceased, because that was a personal representative appointed by the President. Mr. Taylor resigned, and no further appointment in that line has been considered. The possibility of maintaining a regular Minister at the Vatican is under study. 4

4 See Item 16. [1]

Q. It might be a regular Minister?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it might be a regular procedure.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, are the Spaniards prematurely enthusiastic about this loan of $100 million that the Senate voted yesterday ?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that amendment should be in the ECA bill at all. It doesn't belong there. There is nothing in the world to prevent the Spanish Government from applying for a loan to the Export- Import Bank, and if they have sound collateral the loan would be favorably considered, I am sure. But that amendment is entirely out of place in that ECA bill, and I hope they will take it out.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, Percy Priest, Congressman from Tennessee, the majority whip in the House, is quoted in the papers as saying he thinks Secretary Johnson and Secretary Acheson should resign, in view of the war developments. Will you agree with that?

THE PRESIDENT. Who made that statement?

Q. Congressman Priest of Tennessee, the majority whip.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am surprised. I don't think he has any business making any such statement as that, especially if he is the leader of the majority. Just make it plain to him they are not going to resign, as long as I am President.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, with regard to your statement about the $100 million to Spain, a great many people do not understand this phase of it, and it was expressed by some Members in the Senate who said that not arming Spain or not financing them leaves a hole in the dike. Do you care to make any statement on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't care to make any statement on that.

Q. Or explanation?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Lucas is saying that the Senate now does not have the time to consider statehood for Hawaii and Alaska. Do you agree with that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't. I am going to urge them to consider it now, because I think Alaska and Hawaii fall in the public interest and for the national defense.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you consider Jimmie Byrnes5 a Democrat, and will he be invited to the White House functions, such as the recent Democratic Governors luncheon? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. He was not invited to the recent Democratic Governors luncheon, and he was not a Governor at that time.

5James F. Byrnes, former Secretary of State. Mr. Byrnes won the nomination for Democratic gubernatorial candidate for South Carolina on July 12, and became Governor in January 1951.

Q. You didn't understand my question, sir, if you will excuse me. Do you consider Jimmie Byrnes a Democrat now, and will he be invited in the future to such.--

THE PRESIDENT. I will cross that bridge when I get to it. [More laughter] You ask Mr. Byrnes what he thinks about that. He can answer you better than I can.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, could you expand a little bit on the purpose of Mr. Harriman's talks in Tokyo? Will it include the Japanese peace treaty?

THE PRESIDENT. It will include political matters that affect the Far East, and that's about all I can say about it. I can't go into detail on that.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, will you plan to withdraw the nomination of Mr. Martin Hutchinson to the Federal Trade Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q. They won't act on it--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't intend to withdraw it. Mr. Hutchinson says he is willing to go through with the fight, and I will back a man up when he wants to make a good fight.

Q. Would that also apply to Carroll Switzer? 6

6On January 5, 1950, the President transmitted to the Senate the nomination of Carroll O. Switzer to be the Federal District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa. The Senate rejected the nomination on August 9, 1950.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it does.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, would you comment on the new $9 1/2 billion rearmament program which has been announced in London--British rearmament?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very happy over that. I just discussed it with the Secretary of State, just before lunch, and I think the British have made the proper approach. And I hope all the rest of our allies will do likewise.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, I thought somebody else would ask about Mr. Pauley at the Capitol today. Could you explain why Mr. Pauley came to tell us the story?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't. I understand, from what I have heard about it since then, that Mr. Pauley was requested by the Defense Department to go up to the military committee and discuss the matter. He was not requested to do it by the White House.7

7On August 3, 1950, Edwin W. Pauley, former U.S. reparations representative to Korea, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. His testimony included a statement that in 1948 he had urged war with the Soviet Union when a committee of the United Nations was refused admittance to North Korea.

Q. Mr. Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Tydings,8 said the White House--

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Chairman of the Committee was mistaken!

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT, All right.

8 Senator Millard E. Tydings of Maryland, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and thirtythird news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 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/231071

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