Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

December 22, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. First, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year.

And I want to say to you that I think the vast majority of you have been as kind to me as I deserve--[laughter]--and I appreciate it most highly.

I have a couple of announcements to make.

[1.] I have asked Mr. Lilienthal to remain over until the 15th of February to wind up a few things that are now pending before the Commission.

And I am going to make Mr. Charles Murphy the successor to Clark Clifford. That's all the announcements.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us, sir, what has been the trouble in selecting someone to succeed Mr. Gray of the National Labor Relations Board?

THE PRESIDENT. There hasn't been any trouble that I know of. I am just not ready to make the appointment.

Q. You haven't decided on his successor?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't decided on his successor.

Q. Who was that, Mr. President? What job?

THE PRESIDENT. Gray--Copeland Gray.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, has anyone from the RFC asked you for your general policy on making loans to States to build toll roads?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Nobody has asked me anything about that.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, there has been a sort of drought down South as far as top level appointments are concerned--

THE PRESIDENT. Are you right sure about that? I would like to call the roll for you.

Q. All right, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. I think you will find that the South is still running the Government, if you go by appointments. [Laughter]

Q. I will say no more then.

THE PRESIDENT. You look over the roll call, and you will see.

Q. There's one, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, a dozen of them here. [More laughter]

[5.] Q. Mr. President, when does Mr. Murphy take over?

THE PRESIDENT. About the 1st of February.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, there have been statements on the radio and scuttlebutt from Key West that you were dissatisfied with Louis Johnson and that he would be out by midsummer?

THE PRESIDENT. There isn't a word of truth in it.

Q. Is there anything you could say about it?

THE PRESIDENT. There isn't a word of truth in it, that's all I can say.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, there has been a report from Rome that Mr. Myron Taylor is planning to resign. Could you tell us about that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment on that.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you favor the proposed coalition of Republicans and Dixiecrats?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think it is in existence now.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, do you think General Eisenhower is a candidate?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not. General Eisenhower and I are on the friendliest of terms, and always have been. I told you in 1948--when they were passing around all those remarks--that there wasn't anything to them, and none of you believed me, but they happened to be the facts. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, couldn't you be on friendly terms even if he ran?

THE PRESIDENT. Why certainly I could-certainly I could.

Q. Mr. President, do you feel that you know what is in the General's mind--

THE PRESIDENT. I think I do.


THE PRESIDENT. I think I do.

Q. Do you feel sure, Mr. President, that he is not a candidate for 1952, as he was not in 1948?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, he said so; and that is as far as I care to go. I think his word is good, and it has always been with me.

Q. Another aspect of this, do you think somebody is trying to make him a candidate?

THE PRESIDENT. I wouldn't be surprised about that. They have been trying to, ever since he got out of the Army.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, do you think a continued 3-day workweek in the mines would provide enough coal for the country?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question because I don't know.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, I would like to ask a question about the policy on antidiscrimination in housing. Suppose a householder getting Federal aid doesn't record his covenant, but he practices discrimination anyway, would he be deprived of Federal aid?

THE PRESIDENT. I would suggest that you ask that question of the legal adviser to Mr. Foley, as I told you to do down in Key West. [Laughter]

Q. Third effort.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, to follow up--

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q--the coal query, do you think the 3-day week in the coal mines puts it outside of the emergency?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't answer that question, because I don't know anything about what the answer is. If I find that there is an emergency, I will take the necessary action.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, I have a story from the AP this afternoon, after George V. Alien had seen you and gotten his final instructions as Ambassador to Yugoslavia, which said that when he presents his credentials to the Tito government to state as clearly as he can the policy of the United States which has just been confirmed by the President as regards Yugoslavia, that we are just as opposed to aggression against that country as any other country--or any pact country?

THE PRESIDENT. That is true--that is true. We are opposed to aggression against any country, no matter where situated.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, have you taken any personal interest in this Detroit bombing?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course--of course, I am interested in it. I think it is an outrageous thing. Of course I am interested in it.

Q. Has Mr. Hoover been given instructions to make a full investigation?

THE PRESIDENT. He has not. The Attorney General answered that statement this morning, and the Attorney General's statement stands.1

1On December 21 Attorney General J. Howard McGrath announced that he had ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether Federal law was violated in the attempted bombing of the headquarters of the United Auto Workers, CIO, in Detroit on December 20. A box containing 39 sticks of dynamite had been discovered in the building.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, your statement about aggression doesn't mean any change in your policy toward Yugoslavia?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all--not at all. That has always been our policy.

Q. Mr. President, would that apply to Formosa?

THE PRESIDENT. That--I can't answer that question, because that is not a free country. It's a part of Nationalist China, and we still recognize Nationalist China as the government of China.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, is there any prospect of balancing the 1951 fiscal year budget?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that. I will let you know all about that in the Budget Message.

Q. You have it scheduled yet, sir, how those messages will go up to Congress?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. The first message will be the Message on the State of the Union. I hope the second message will be the Economic Report Message, and the third message will be the Budget Message. In that order.

Q. Do you have dates for those?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I can't set the dates until I have had a chance to have a conversation with the leaders of the House and the Senate. Then I will set the dates.

Q. Mr. President, in that connection, would you care to indicate whether the State of the Union Message will cover foreign and domestic affairs or will your foreign affairs--

THE PRESIDENT. I think maybe you had better wait and see the message. That's the best way to find out.

Q. Which one will cover taxes, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. You will find that out when the messages come out.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that the President of Chile has accepted an invitation from you to visit the United States?

THE PRESIDENT. He has been invited, and I think he has accepted. Sometime in April, I think, he comes.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you are aware of this report in Jane's Fighting Ships that the Russians are building a big navy, including a lot of subs. Were we taken by surprise by that report?

THE PRESIDENT. We were not.

Q. Have we changed our defense allocations?

THE PRESIDENT. We were not. It had no effect on our defense allocations.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, are you optimistic about economic and business conditions this year end?


Q. Would you care to elaborate on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I will give you an answer to that in the Economic Message. That is thoroughly covered.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, did you read the CED report on changes in your top policy on the National Security Council and National Security Resources Board? They wanted to add three men to the National Security Council and--

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't read that. I don't know what they were talking about.2

2 See the report "National Security and Our Individual Freedom," a statement on national policy by the Research and Policy Committee of the Committee for Economic Development (New York: 1949, 34 pp.).

[21.] Q. Mr. President, Secretary Brannan told us he left a letter with you in regard to the cotton acreage program. I wonder what comment you might have on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I haven't had it but half an hour. I have been signing documents and meeting customers, and I haven't had a chance to read it.

Q. How's business, Mr. President? [Laughter]


[22.] Q. Mr. President, any comment you can make on your Cabinet session this morning?

THE PRESIDENT. The Cabinet session was devoted to the usual routine matters that come before the Cabinet members. There was discussion on the Message on the State of the Union.

Q. Mr. President, can you indicate what you might have told them about excise taxes?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I will give you that in the message.

Q. Well, we wish you a Merry Christmas, too!


Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's two hundred and ninth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4:02 p.m. on Thursday, December 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/229827

Filed Under



Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives