Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 25, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. I have no special announcements to make. I will try to answer questions, if you have any.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, were you aware that in August 1945 the State Department was informed that you were personally interested in getting John Maragon to Italy?1

THE PRESIDENT. Same answer to that question as last week. After General Vaughan has testified, then I will answer your question. Not before.

1 See note in Item 200.

[2.] Q. Sir, last night there was an implication from Mr. McGrath that you might personally campaign in 1950?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a possibility.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, when you talked to the Girls Nation this morning you didn't sound like a candidate for another term in 1952?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think that was the implication intended.

Q. Well, the stable is filled up with runners.

Q. You are going to run again, aren't you, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that question when the time comes. I am not in Coolidge's position, who said "I am not--I do not choose to run."

[4.] Q. Would you like to see former Governor Lehman accept the nomination for the Senate of the United States?

THE PRESIDENT. I would be happy to see Governor Lehman in the Senate of the United States. That is up to the State of New York, however. I am not in New York politics.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, what is your policy on Federal loans for toll roads?

THE PRESIDENT. Federal loans for toll roads? The Reconstruction Finance Corporation has been making that sort of loan, and they are good, and there is nothing wrong with them.

[6.] Q. Is there a possibility that you will campaign in 1950 outside of Missouri?

THE PRESIDENT. There might be a possibility, after the tickets are made up. I won't be in the primary. I will be trying to elect Democratic Congressmen after they are nominated.

Q. You won't limit it to Missouri, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Not necessarily. I will go any place I please.

Q. That isn't the primary, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That isn't the primary. After the nominations are all made, and the chips are down for the election.

Q. Will you go into Ohio?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer specific questions. You will have to wait until things develop.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, due to the considerable-the great amount of publicity, would you care to make any personal observation of your general attitude concerning the prospective talks with the British on economic matters?

THE PRESIDENT. There can be no comment on that.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you believe that failure to pass the military public works bill at this session of Congress will seriously hamper defense work in Alaska?

THE PRESIDENT. I surely do. I know it will, in fact.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, it has been reported that you intend to appoint Robert Murphy Ambassador to Belgium. Is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard of that. There will be an announcement if that does take place, and you will know in plenty of time so that no one will scoop you.2

2 On September 21, 1949, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Robert Murphy as Ambassador to Belgium.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, many Members of Congress who have been screaming for economy are screaming the other way now, when Secretary Johnson announced some. Have you anything to say on that?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, don't you know that it's a solid rule that the economy must always be in the other fellow's district and not mine? That has always been the case. When I was in the Senate I was very careful to see that Missouri didn't get gypped out of anything.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, have there been any concrete developments on the Mexican loan?

THE PRESIDENT. No concrete developments. Same answer as last week.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, did you see Byron Skelton of Texas?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I didn't see him, unless I met him last night. I met so many last night I can't remember those I did meet. I had no conversation with him.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, are you saying you do not agree with Secretary Johnson on the cutting off of--

THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Johnson is following instructions from the President. We told the country that the reorganization of the military would result in economies, and it will. That's the demonstration of it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, do you think you will be referring to any developments on the Mexican oil loan by the time the Mexican parliament meets next week?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer the question.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, will complaints from Members of Congress deter you in that regard?

THE PRESIDENT. Not the slightest. Not the slightest. We are trying to make an efficient defense setup, and we will have one before we get through.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you intend to reappoint Lowell Mason to the Federal Trade Commission.

THE PRESIDENT. It has not come up yet, but I probably will reappoint him.3

3On October 6, 1949, the Senate confirmed the reappointment of Lowell Mason to the Federal Trade Commission for a term of 7 years.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, Congress put back $238 million in contract authority for those veterans hospitals that were cut out earlier--

THE PRESIDENT. That is another economy measure that doesn't seem to meet the general approval. You know, I think there were 16,000 beds called for in that program, and we had 5,000 beds vacant; and the reason for that cut was that we had neither the doctors nor the patients to occupy those extra beds. The hospital construction program, of course, is a local district proposition.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans to go to St. Louis for the World Series?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I would like to see the Cardinals win, of course, and I could be tempted very easily.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, did you see Mr. Pendergast today?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I saw him yesterday, too. And last night! [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, what about?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I say what about it? [More laughter]

Q. You know--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, what about it?

Q.--I didn't have an "it" on the end of it.

THE PRESIDENT. That's my business. He is a friend of mine. I saw him because I wanted to, and I'll see him again whenever I get ready.

[20.] Q. Do you expect to go to Bill Boyle's homecoming? 4

THE PRESIDENT. I told the committee this morning that I hoped to be able to get there. I never can tell this far in advance, whether I can go or not. Naturally, I would like to be present.

4For the President's address in Kansas City at a dinner honoring Democratic National Chairman William M. Boyle, Jr., on September 29, see Item 220.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, in view of your talk this morning with Ambassador McDonald of Israel, can you tell us your present view of the Arab refugee problem?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that view has been expressed; and that was a confidential conversation between the Ambassador and myself, and I have no comment to make.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the adjournment?

THE PRESIDENT. What's that?

Q. What do you think of the adjournment that's up in Congress--vacation?

THE PRESIDENT. I understood that it was a recess, and the Congress is in control of its own actions. It is not necessary for them to consult the Executive when they want to take a recess.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Lucas gave a list of more or less "must" bills, I believe yesterday afternoon. Do you feel Congress should stay here until most of that work is enacted?

THE PRESIDENT. I think I made that statement along in January or February, and it still stands.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, about the British financial talks again, there have been recriminations on both sides--

THE PRESIDENT. I think all the recriminations have all been in the newspapers, and nowhere else.

Q. Well--

THE PRESIDENT. There have been no recriminations--

Q.--in Congress there were--

THE PRESIDENT.--no recriminations between the two governments.

Q. Well, do you expect some good to come of them?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I wouldn't have the conference, if we didn't expect some good to come from them.

There's a cartoon--I was going to say there's a good cartoon in the Star the other day--I have to give Joe Fox a boost every once in a while--

Joseph A. Fox (Washington Star): I'm in left field. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT.--that cartoon showed Uncle Sam on one side of the ocean and John Bull on the other, very amiable to each other, but there are two little boys which say newspaperman, pitching bricks to each other. [Laughter]

Q. Did you see the cartoon with Senator Kem as Paul Revere yelling "The British Are Coming"?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I saw it. That would be Kem all right.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and ninety-fifth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 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/229963

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