Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

July 07, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. I have no special announcements to make this morning, ladies and gentlemen, but I will try to answer questions.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Vandenberg, in speaking about the Atlantic Pact in the Senate yesterday, expressed a desire that you lead a new crusade for world peace and, after the conclusion of the pact in the Senate, address a new message of peace to the world and reassure them of our peaceful intentions. Do you have any such thing under consideration?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, since April 12, 1945, I have been making a crusade--a continuing crusade--for peace, and I don't think there ever has been an opportunity that I didn't use that subject as one to talk about. If you will study all the speeches and messages that I have written to Congress, and the speeches that I have made outside on the world situation, you will find that that is the keynote of every one of them. I am going to keep it up.

Q. Then you may very well do it again, after the pact--

THE PRESIDENT. I say I expect to keep it up just on the same line that I have spoken of it all the time ever since April 12, 1945.

Q. Mr. President, I think what he had in mind was to emphasize the disarmament aspects of the Vandenberg resolution and the strengthening of the United Nations?

THE PRESIDENT. The disarmament program is before the United Nations, and when the atomic energy part of that disarmament pact is agreed to by all the nations, then we can talk about disarmament, but not before.

Q. Mr. President, the talk of your doing something about peace seems to imply a feeling that we aren't heading toward peace. Is it your thought that the world is moving toward peace?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh yes, it is moving gradually--slowly and gradually toward world peace, and we will eventually get it. I have said that all the time.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment, sir, on the plan of Senators Humphrey, Murray, and Sparkman to create a $15 billion public works fund against unemployment and so on?

THE PRESIDENT. That question will be answered in my Economic Message which will go down to the Congress about the first of the week. 1

1 See Item 151.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any thought as to who should replace Senator Wagner?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. That is not my business. That is the business of the great State of New York.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, some opponents of the Tydings bill to amend the National Security Act take the position that it would make the Secretary of Defense a potential dictator of the country. Do you care to express an opinion as to the validity of that?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it is a perfectly absurd opinion. As long as the Constitution makes the President of the United States the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, I don't think anybody else can take him over very well.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us what plans the administration has to help Britain to overcome its present financial crisis?

THE PRESIDENT. What are you talking about? Say that again.

Q. Can you tell us something about the administration's plans to help Britain overcome its present financial crisis?

THE PRESIDENT. The matter is being discussed in Paris and London now. I can make no statement on it at the present time.

Q. Will you deal with this at all in your Economic Message?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I will not. That Economic Message is one on the United States of America.

Q. Yes, I know, but I thought maybe this would be brought--


[6.] Q. Mr. President, there have been persistent rumors from abroad in the last couple of weeks, one from London, and one this morning from Rome, that you are going to visit Europe sometime in the next year?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I had no such plan. That is the first I had heard about it. A lot of people know more about what I am going to do than I do.

Q. They even have you visiting the Vatican.

THE PRESIDENT. As I said, I hadn't heard about it before, and I have no such intention. I have no such intentions.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, you still take an interest in Missouri politics--are you going to take any interest in the 1950 campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly am. Missouri is my home State, and I shall express my opinion freely in the Missouri campaign.

Q. What about the primary?

THE PRESIDENT. I may not participate in the primary, but in the general election I will tell you what I think later.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to visit South Carolina soon? You have been invited--

THE PRESIDENT. I have been invited on several occasions. I hope sometime I will be able to make a visit there. I used to go down there frequently.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, has the administration any move in mind in connection with the Hawaii strike?

THE PRESIDENT. None whatever. There is no move that we can make.

Q. Mr. President, when the Taft-Hartley repeal bill was up, there was a lot of discussion that the President had some inherent powers to move in on these situations and stop strikes?

THE PRESIDENT. He has. He has. He has inherent powers where the welfare of the Nation is at stake, or where there has been a breakdown of communications between the several States, or between the United States and foreign nations. But that condition doesn't exist in the Hawaii strike at all.

Q. Wasn't it a national emergency when the Japs dropped some bombs on Pearl Harbor?

THE PRESIDENT. That was a difficulty between a foreign nation and the United States, and we met it.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, has Ward Canaday decided whether he will accept the chairmanship--

THE PRESIDENT. He is trying to make arrangements to accept it now. He is doing everything he can to conclude those arrangements.

Q. What was that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Chairman of the Munitions Board.

Q. They don't call it the Army and Navy Munitions Board?

THE PRESIDENT. No. It's the Munitions Board.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Knowland has introduced a bill to give you power to intervene in the strike.

THE PRESIDENT. Local strikes is that?

Q. In Hawaii, yes.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't know whether I want any such powers or not.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, last week you said you were going to continue to fight for Taft-Hartley repeal.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right. I shall.

Q. On that line, I wonder whether you have asked your leaders in the House to bring the bill up again in the House at this session?

THE PRESIDENT. They are considering it. We discussed the matter at the meeting Monday, to study the advisability of bringing it up again.

Q. No decision as yet?

THE PRESIDENT. They will make the decision.

Q. They will. Would you like for them to bring it up?

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly would.

Q. What bill was that? I didn't get it. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Taft-Hartley repeal.

Q. I was getting a little worried there, for a while.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, Congressman McCormack said on the radio last night that he didn't think there was going to be a tax bill this year. Do you agree?

THE PRESIDENT. Who said that?

Q. John McCormack.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think John probably would know what the situation is, for the simple reason that tax bills have to originate in the House of Representatives.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, would you accept a Senate-House conference compromise on Taft-Hartley repeal?

THE PRESIDENT. I would have to tell you about that when it came before me and I had a chance to analyze it.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, would you tell us what Congressman Pickett of Texas talked to you about yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. He talked to me about politics in general, and Texas politics in particular. We had a very pleasant meeting.

Q. Patronage?

THE PRESIDENT. That was brought up and discussed very amicably between us. Every Congressman is interested in patronage. used to be a Senator, and I was too, then. I am yet, but it is on a larger scale. [Laughter ]

[16.] Q. Mr. President, sometime ago you said you were turning down some big invitations to go here and there making speeches, that you had to remain at your desk while Congress is in session.

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. I wonder, Mr. President, why you changed your mind to go to Chicago? 2

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't change my mind. I will be gone exactly one day. My mind hasn't changed a bit on that subject, but that has been one matter which has been under consideration for a year or two, and I finally made up my mind that I would make the trip out there for the benefit of some of my friends who are generally interested in my being present. It is not a political trip, however.

2 On July 19 the President flew to Chicago to attend the Imperial Council Session of the Shrine of North America. See Items 159 and 160.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, are you bearish or bullish on the general economic situation?

THE PRESIDENT. I am bullish. Read the stock market returns for the last 3 or 4 days.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, are you considering any more women for appointment to ambassadorships? 3

THE PRESIDENT. Oh yes. I have several under consideration.

3 Mrs. Perle Mesta was sworn in as Minister to Luxembourg on July 8, 1949.

Q. Is there any chance you will announce them within--

THE PRESIDENT. When I get ready to make the appointment I will make the announcement--

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT.--if I decide to make the appointment.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, have the new deflationary forces outweighed the inflationary forces?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that, but I will make an announcement in the Economic Message on Monday.

Q. I thought so.

THE PRESIDENT. You will find out what has happened.

Q. Do you answer it then?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer it then.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, during the visit of President Dutra of Brazil, you issued a joint statement in some detail concerning economic cooperation. Since the President's visit, is there any further development or activity in that connection?

THE PRESIDENT. No. We are working on it all the time.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on Senator Lodge's move to have the presidential campaign financed by the Treasury?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. That has been under consideration ever since the Hatch Act was passed, but I think it is merely a matter for consideration, to give you a headline once in a while.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, now that final enactment of the housing law is in, have you any statement on the proposed activity program, how soon that program might get underway?

THE PRESIDENT. The Housing Administrator was with me the other day, and that was the substance of the conversation. As rapidly as possible we are going to move forward on the housing bill.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, reports on the Hill yesterday were that you had expressed yourself as favoring the basing-point bill passed by the Senate? 4

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen it. I don't know what it contains, and I can't give you the answer on that. I will tell you about it, though, if it ever comes before me.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

4 On February 17, 1949, Senator Francis J. Myers of Pennsylvania introduced a bill to provide a 2-year moratorium on prosecutions of antitrust violations in basing-point cases. On May 31 Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney of Wyoming substituted a bill which permitted absorption of freight charges, sales at "delivered prices," and certain instances of price discrimination in the absence of conspiracy. Several amendments were added to this bill to safeguard small businesses against such discrimination. The Senate passed the modified bill on June 1 by voice vote.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and eighty-eighth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 7, 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/229686

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