Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

May 13, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. Well, ladies and gentlemen of the press, I have no special announcements to make this morning. We have been making announcements of things as they happen. I don't wait for press conferences any more, because you are so curious, but if you want to ask any questions, I will try to answer them.

[1.] Q. When will we get our new Secretary of Agriculture, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Just as soon as I can get him. I will tell you right away, so you won't have to wait for a press conference.

[2.] Q. When will we get the farm message, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Tomorrow, I hope.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, when Ambassador Smith referred to political speeches in this country which might lead to misconceptions in the Soviet mind, whose speeches did he have in mind, and what kind?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, you can't ask Mr. Smith that question, and I don't know what was in his mind.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, will the United States recognize the new Palestine state?

THE PRESIDENT. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Q. Do we have any new proposal on the subject to make in the United Nations?

THE PRESIDENT. We made one yesterday.1

1 On May 12 the United States delegation to the United Nations proposed an interim solution for the Palestine problem. The plan called for abolition of the United Nations Palestine Commission and appointment by the five great powers of a High Commissioner for Palestine who would maintain services and act as a mediator in the expected war between the Jews and the Arabs.

Q. Mr. President, can you tell us about your conference yesterday afternoon with Secretary Marshall?

THE PRESIDENT. It was just the customary conference with the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State, at which we discussed matters before the United Nations, including Palestine principally.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided on who you are going to appoint in the Maritime Commission to that vacancy?

THE PRESIDENT. No, not yet. I will give you the name of the appointee as soon as I decide on it. It is hard to get people to take jobs of that sort these days.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, will you send a message to Congress on the rearmament of the 16 Marshall nations?

THE PRESIDENT. I have none in contemplation at the present time.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, what is your understanding of this so-called lend-lease plan for the Western European--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no understanding on it, for there is no such plan before me.

Q. You have no--you have proposed nothing?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not.

Q. Has any other come from the State Department or--

THE PRESIDENT. No. It has not. It has not.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us whether you believe Congress has the power to compel members of your Cabinet to divulge confidential information?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that is a matter of record, and it has been passed on time and again by the courts. They have not!

[9.] Q. Mr. President, would you still be willing to meet with Mr. Stalin if he came here?

THE PRESIDENT. How many times do I have to tell you yes to that one?

Q. Just for the record, Mr. President, you haven't had any direct communication--

THE PRESIDENT. No. I don't expect any.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, Dr. Condon1 the other day requested that the FBI report on his case be made public. Are you going to do that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not going to make it public, because that is a matter of principle. They have no right to the confidential records of my office.

1Dr. Edward U. Condon, Director, National Bureau of Standards.

Q. Mr. President, would a congressional enactment change the principle, in your estimation?

THE PRESIDENT. It would not. You couldn't possibly get a congressional act unless I signed the bill.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, if Stalin should accept the invitation, what sort of things would be prepared to discuss with him?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't give you an agenda of a meeting that is all in the mind. Should that take place, I will give you the agenda, and it would be most interesting.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the developments of the past few days, would you care to say now how you feel about the prospects for peace, in view of the fact that you once said your faith was somewhat shaken?

THE PRESIDENT. My position hasn't changed on that.

[13.] Q. Well, Mr. President, about signing a bill, it could be passed over a veto?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it could be, but I don't think it would be. Congress has some secret papers they wouldn't like me to get my hands on. That would be a reciprocal proposition. [Laughter]

[14.] Q. Mr. President, have you changed your mind about appointing Marriner Eccles to the Federal Reserve Board?

THE PRESIDENT. I will let you know about that as soon as I am ready to make the appointment.

Q. Can you tell us any reason for the delay?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The reason is in my own mind.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel that the exchange of notes between the United States and Russia1 has cleared the air somewhat for peace, or is your--

THE PRESIDENT. I think General Marshall covered that very adequately in his conversation yesterday with the press.2 I have nothing further to add to what General Marshall had to say.

1The notes were delivered in the form of oral statements made by Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith and Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov on May 4. The statements are printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 18, p. 679). For the President's statement on the exchange of views, see Item

2Secretary Marshall's statement and a summary of his press conference of May 12 are printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 18, p. 683).

Q. You support what he had to say?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course I support what he had to say.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, in your message to Congress of February 2d, you said that you planned to issue an Executive order dealing with discrimination in Federal Government agencies. Is the order now being prepared?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it is not, at the present time.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, just to make sure I understand, your personal feeling is that your personal hope for peace hasn't increased as a result of the Russian action?

THE PRESIDENT. No, they have not, because the fundamentals have not been touched upon.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the Mundt-Nixon Communist-control bill?

THE PRESIDENT. I never make comments on bills that are pending until they come before me, but as to outlawing political parties in the United States, I think that is entirely contrary to our principles. I don't think the splinter parties do any harm, and if there is conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the United States, we have laws to cover that.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, did you discuss the note which Ambassador Smith gave to Molotov with your Cabinet before it was sent to Ambassador Smith?

THE PRESIDENT. It was discussed with General Marshall and the Cabinet.

Q. Including the last paragraph, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I told you the message was discussed with General Marshall and the Cabinet. That includes the message from the first word to the "yours truly" at the end of it.

Q. Mr. President, I believe the Ambassador was authorized to paraphrase the--

THE PRESIDENT. That's just what he did. That's just what he did.

Q. Did he follow it in general, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That's just what he did.

Q. Did he follow the text, or did he--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I wasn't there. I don't know. You will have to ask Ambassador Smith. I judge he did. It is customary with ambassadors to do that.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and fortyseventh news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 13, 1948.

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/229384

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