Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

March 31, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I have no special announcements for you this morning. I made the special announcement last night so you would have plenty of time to mull into it.1 If you have any questions, I will try to answer them.

1See Item 65.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Taft and Senator Russell, apparently with considerable support from both parties introduced an amendment to cut ERP by 10 percent. Do you favor that?

THE PRESIDENT. The ERP should not be cut at all. It was worked out after obtaining the best information possible, and the request was made for the amount that was necessary to run the ERP budget for the coming year.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, Senator George is quoted as saying that a tax increase this year would be the only way to get us into a serious depression. It seems that some of the Senators up there--

THE PRESIDENT. I do not agree at all with Senator George on that. I think he is wrong. I think that the fact that we may have to run a deficit this year would be much more dangerous for the country than to levy taxes necessary to run the Government.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, there is another report, sir, that you may soon release the Bikini report.2 Is there any truth to that?

THE PRESIDENT. There is no foundation in fact for that.

2The report of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Evaluation Board on the atomic weapons tests held off Bikini Island in July 1946. See 1948 volume, this series, Item 278 [I].

[5.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided on the invitation to go to Hartford, Corm., in June to speak at Trinity College?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not accepted the invitation. I have been canceling invitations instead of accepting them. I am sorry. I wish I could go.

[6.] Q. Mr. president, can you say when the health insurance message would go up?

THE PRESIDENT. It is in the course of preparation now. As soon as it is ready, I will release it to you.

Q. It will be a message?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be in the form of a message, yes.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that the Federal Reserve Board intends to further relax Regulation W.3 Do you still intend to ask for extension beyond June 30th?

THE PRESIDENT. Certainly. I certainly do. There is nothing like that under consideration by the Federal Reserve Board at the present time.

3 See Item 32 [8].

[8.] Q. Is Dr. Nourse resigning?

THE PRESIDENT. No. He told you that yesterday, didn't he, as he went out the door?

[9.] Q. Mr. President, are you passing up invitations which will take you out of Washington during the month of May? In other words, you intend to remain here through the month of May?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that is my intention. I have so much work to do, I can't get to it.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, another report up there is that your economic stabilization bill has been shelved. Has that been done with your approval or your knowledge?

THE PRESIDENT. If the economic stabilization bill has been shelved, I know nothing about it. I don't think it will be shelved without consultation with me.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Bermudez of Mexico has been here seeking a loan for oil development. I was wondering if you are in favor of such a loan?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not gone into it. It has never been put up to me directly, so I can't tell you whether I am in favor of it or not. After it has been properly looked into by the departments, and they decide that it should be done, why of course I will be in favor of it.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on Chairman Vinson's idea that we need another billion and a half for the military budget?

THE PRESIDENT. If we needed another billion and a half for the military budget, I would have asked Congress for it when I sent up the Budget Message.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that you are considering Jonathan Daniels for the new Secretary of the Navy?

THE PRESIDENT. I have heard--I saw in the paper this morning that he was being considered for every job in the Government, and I have no comment to make on that.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that we will send an Ambassador to Spain soon after the United Nations votes to do that?

THE PRESIDENT. That's the first time I had heard anything about that. That's another of the "it is said" things on the front page of the Times--Herald Tribune--I forget which--this morning. That's the first time I ever heard anything about it.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Caffery, our Ambassador to France, has been mentioned as a possibility for Moscow. Are you considering that?

THE PRESIDENT. There have been a dozen possibilities for Moscow, but none of them is under serious consideration at the present time.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, have you any new choice for Chairman of the Security Resources Board?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. I sent my choice to the Congress, and I am still behind him.4

4 Mort C. Wallgren, former Governor of the State of Washington.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the present economic fluctuations which make it appear that inflation may have been stopped, would you be agreeable to deferring action on your economic control program?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the economic control program--the request for the economic control program has been one of the main reasons for the temporary heading off of inflation. I think it is just as necessary now as it ever has been. We have been using those powers that we have with circumspection in the public interest. That is what we intend to do with those powers we are asking for now,

Q. Can you say then, Mr. President, that the request to extend it has had a very good effect?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it has.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, the leader of the opposition--as they call him in England-Mr. Taft, has had some words to say about the.

THE PRESIDENT. I thought Mr. Wherry was the Floor leader of the Senate?[Laughter]

Q. Well!--I stand corrected.

THE PRESIDENT. Go on, Bob.5 [More [laughter]

5Robert G. Nixon of International News Service.

Q. Anyway, Senator Taft has had some words to say about the North Atlantic Pact. He has said that he is opposed to ratification of the pact, and he believes that a majority of Senators think the same way with him. Could you comment on that remark?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no way of telling anything about what Senator Taft thinks. I think he is wrong about the pact. I think the pact is absolutely necessary, and I think it will be ratified when it comes up before the Senate.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on the remarks of the real estate lobby on the rent control law?

THE PRESIDENT. I have a long-winded telegram from the real estate lobby, giving me all sorts of "what for" for signing the bill, so it must be a good bill for that very reason.

Q. Are you going to release the telegram, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. The telegram is not mine to release. It belongs to the sender. If he wants to release it, he is perfectly at liberty to do it, as far as I am concerned. It will confirm my statement of yesterday, if he does release it.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, I was just wondering if we could separate the standby wage and price controls from the other parts of the economic program? Has the legislation dealing with standby price and wage controls been shelved temporarily?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so. I don't think any of the present program has been shelved. It is still under consideration. Plenty of time yet for action on it.

Yes, Joe ?

[21] Joseph A. Fox (Washington Star): Who was the Senator that has got this telegram?

THE PRESIDENT. Which telegram?

Mr. Fox: On real estate.

THE PRESIDENT. I got it--I have got it right here. He can give it to you, but I am not going to do it.

Q. From a Senator?

THE PRESIDENT. From the sender. I have no objection to its being published.

Q. Was it sent by a Senator, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no-it was sent by the head of the real estate lobby here in Washington-- Mr. Nelson.6

6Herbert U. Nelson, executive vice president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards.

Q. What organization?

THE PRESIDENT [turning to Mr. Ross].What's the name of the organization?

Q. National Association--

THE PRESIDENT. National Association of Real Estate Boards.

Q. You said it would have to be released by the sender?

THE PRESIDENT. By the man who sent it. [Laughter]

Q. Oh!

THE PRESIDENT. That was the--the telegram was to me, and if the sender of that telegram, or the man who sent it, wants to release it, I have no objection, because it confirms what I have in my statement of yesterday.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, there have been reports that Joseph Fox is under consideration to be District Commissioner? Have you heard those?

THE PRESIDENT. The name of Joe Fox was presented to me by a number of eminent real estate--[much laughter]--I have real estate on the brain. Newspapermen, I should say.

Q. Fourth estate.

Q. Mr. President, is Mr. Fox also a candidate of the real estate lobby?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I made a slip of the tongue there. We have been talking about real estate--I was thinking about these gentlemen right here before me. White House correspondents.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President!

Note: President Truman's one hundred and seventy-fourth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 31, 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/230085

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