Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 14, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. I just wanted to say that I have no special announcements to make this morning. Any questions you want to ask? Now, go ahead.

[1.] Q. Is the--are you going to let the Navy go ahead with the plans for that world's biggest aircraft carrier?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that at this time.

Q. Is an investigation under way on it?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, the term of the Maritime Commission Chairman expires this week. Do you plan to renominate Admiral Smith?

THE PRESIDENT. I have the matter under consideration, and as soon as I am ready to make the announcement, I will let you know.

Q. Can't hear you.

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if Admiral Smith would be reappointed to the Maritime Commission. I said I had the matter under consideration and would make the announcement at the proper time.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, have you heard of any approaches by the Soviet Government toward settlement of the Berlin crisis?

THE PRESIDENT. I think Mr. Acheson answered that adequately yesterday at his press conference.1 He sent me a copy of what he said, and that covered the situation.

1According to newspaper reports Secretary Acheson declared at his news conference on April 13 that official avenues of communication were still open for Russia if she wanted to discuss lifting the Berlin blockade and undertake four-power talks on Germany, but he made it clear that the blockade must be lifted in advance of general discussions on Germany.

He made this position known in replying to questions concerning rumors in Europe that the Soviet Union had been extending "feelers" on a solution of the blockade and the German question.

Mr. Acheson said that the attitude of the United States Government toward the blockade as an obstacle to four-power talks on Germany had been stated many times, both by himself and by his predecessor, Gen. George C. Marshall.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, you were supposed to receive a telegram last week from Representative Lane of Massachusetts, asking you to do something about the unemployment situation in Lawrence.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't remember having received such a telegram. There may be one in the mill somewhere. I haven't seen it.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that Mort Wallgren is considering asking you to withdraw your nomination.2 If he does, and you do, have you anybody else-[Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what is in Mon's mind. I have no intention of withdrawing his appointment to the Senate.

2On February 3, 1949, the President had nominated Mon C. Wallgren, former Governor of the State of Washington, to be Chairman of the National Security Resources Board.

On March 15 the Senate Armed Services Committee rejected the nomination. For the Committee hearings see "Hearings Before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, on the Nomination of Mon C. Wallgren to be Chairman of the National Security Resources Board" (Government Printing Office: 1949, 240 pp.).

On May 17 the White House released an exchange of letters between the president and Mr. Wallgren in which the latter requested that his name be withdrawn. See Item 100.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, in your conference on Tuesday with the four Massachusetts Members of the House, did that restore peace and harmony to the Massachusetts delegation?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I suppose so. I don't think there was ever any necessity for the restoration of peace and harmony. I think they have always been at peace and harmony. I had a very pleasant meeting with those four young gentlemen--all Democrats.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, yesterday the Foreign Minister of Turkey came in to see you. Could you say whether you discussed a Mediterranean Pact, similar to the North Atlantic Pact?

THE PRESIDENT. The Foreign Minister of Turkey came in to pay a courtesy call on the President of the United States, and he delivered to me a letter of felicitations from the President of Turkey, and that's all that took place.

You started to ask a question, what was it?

[8.] Q. I wanted to ask you, sir, whether any decision has been reached on the Mexican proposal for a loan for oil development?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. Any in sight?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer the question. The negotiations have not taken place in my office.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, have you under consideration any proposals for the Ambassadors to either Paris--either France or Belgium?

THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary of State and I are discussing the appointment of Ambassadors. We have come to no firm decision as yet for any of those places.

Q. What about Moscow, sir? Anything you can say about that?

THE PRESIDENT. Nothing I can say about it at this time. Whenever we are ready, I will make the announcement, so that you will all have it at once.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, did you and Mr. Fitzpatrick discuss the possible resignation of Senator Wagner from the--

THE PRESIDENT. We did not.

Q. Could you say what you and Mr. Fitzpatrick talked about?

THE PRESIDENT. We talked about politics in the great State of New York. That's what the State Chairman usually talks about with the President of the United States, and he usually is always very anxious to know if there are any good jobs loose. [Laughter] That is principally what we talked about.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, anything on Royall or Sullivan yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No, not yet.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you contemplate a special message on the arms implementation of the North Atlantic Treaty?

THE PRESIDENT. That will come at the proper time. I am not ready to make the announcement on it as yet.

Q. When the announcement is made, do you expect it might come in the form of a special message?

THE PRESIDENT. I will have to answer that question when it comes around. I can't answer it this morning.

[13.] Q. Have you decided when you are going to ask Congress to extend Regulation W?

THE PRESIDENT. Regulation W, I think, runs a year yet.

Q. Expires June 30th.

THE PRESIDENT. No--I think the request has been made for its extension, and that request still stands.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, I notice you put in a Columbia Valley Authority recommendation yesterday.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. Is there anything that is planned for the St. Lawrence Valley?

THE PRESIDENT. The St. Lawrence Valley is a different proposition. That is a matter that has to be worked out between Canada and the United States, and in times past we have reached certain agreements on the St. Lawrence, which I think will probably be just the same as they were before.

Q. Mr. President, do you plan to send a similar message on the MVA?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at the present time.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, I believe you said "No, not yet" on the question about Mr. Royall and Mr. Sullivan?

THE PRESIDENT. Whenever it comes time to make the announcement on that--what I intended to imply was that I will make the announcement so that everybody will have it at once, if an announcement is necessary.

Q. Could I--could you say whether or not Mr. Royall or Mr. Sullivan have submitted their resignations?

THE PRESIDENT. Every man in the Government has submitted a resignation. They submitted their resignations along with the Ambassadors and all the rest of the Secretaries, and Under Secretaries, and Assistant Secretaries, and all the appointive officers. I have a drawer full of them.

Q. But nothing beyond that?


Q. Are they going to leave the Cabinet soon, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that question when the time comes for it. I can't answer it this morning.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, on this alphabet business, what in the devil is Regulation W? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Regulation W has to do with a regulation on credit, for the people who buy cars on credit, and who make furniture purchases on credit, and things of that sort. It requires a certain percentage to be paid down on the purchase, and it was somewhat eased with regard to car purchases not long ago. I think that is probably what brought up the question.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, have you been briefed on the speech made in the House yesterday by Representative Cannon on air power?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't, and I haven't had time to read the Congressional Record.

Q. I thought perhaps you had been briefed on it because it has attracted a great deal of attention?

THE PRESIDENT. I heard something about it, but I haven't read the speech, and I haven't been briefed on it.

Q. You aren't ready to comment on it yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I don't want to comment on it.

[18.] Q. A $600 million supplemental request for the Veterans Administration came up a couple of days ago--

THE PRESIDENT. I think it was $540 million.

Q. I thought it was 595.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, whatever it is--we won't quibble over $50 million. [Laughter]

Q. I have two questions. The first is whether that will increase the prospective deficit by that much?

THE PRESIDENT. Certainly it will.

Q. The second question, sir, is whether the same circumstances that prompted that supplemental request will apply on next year's Veterans Administration?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I hope not. I hope not. I hope that the next time it is necessary to make that estimate, the budget will come more closer to it than it did this time.

Q. You don't plan any supplementals then?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at the present time, but I can't tell what the conditions will be then.3

3On the same day the White House issued the following statement clarifying the effect of the supplemental estimate for the Veterans Administration upon the budget for fiscal year 1949:

"Although the supplemental estimate for readjustment benefits will increase expenditures for this program of the Veterans Administration, its effect upon total expenditures for the fiscal year 1949 must be considered in relation to other Government programs.

"Out of the $595,890,000 supplemental, $323,193,891 had already been included in the January budget as a supplemental for fiscal year 1949. The remaining $272,696,109 thus represents an increase over the original appropriation estimates for readjustment benefits. While expenditures for readjustment benefits will thus be somewhat higher than estimated last January, there are offsetting decreases estimated for other programs.

"A recent review of expenditures indicates that within the total of expenditures some items are now running at a higher rate and others at a lower rate than estimated in January. For example, expenditures for ECA and for stockpiling are at a somewhat lower rate than previously estimated, but on the other hand expenditures for veterans' programs and price support are running at a higher rate.

"These differences, however, almost offset each other and there appear to be no changes of sufficient significance to cause a revision of the January estimate of a $600 million deficit for the fiscal year 1949."

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're entirely welcome.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and seventy-sixth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 14, 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/230140

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