Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 01, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I want to open the proceedings by making an announcement in anticipation of any questions--that negotiations in the Mexican oil loan will continue. I have been interested in that ever since it came up, and I have had conversations on the subject with the President of Mexico, and eventually I am sure we will arrive at a conclusion that will be satisfactory both to us and to the Mexican Government.

Q. When you say you have had conversations with the President of Mexico, do you mean right recently, or on his--

THE PRESIDENT. On my visit there, and on his visit here we had the conversations.

Q. Mr. President, I heard when I was west this summer that Ed Pauley had a part of this--

THE PRESIDENT. Ed Pauley has no connection with it whatever. Ed Pauley made an agreement on his own with the Government of Mexico, long before these talks were thought of.

Q. But he is not--he is not promoting this one?

THE PRESIDENT. No interest in this at all. Neither is any other company that I know of, except some that are working to keep it from being negotiated.

Q. Mr. President, did Senator Chavez discuss it with you yesterday?


Q. He didn't plan it on the basis of the good neighbor, but--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that's the way it has always been. It has been on that basis all the time.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, is there any implication in the proposed visit on the part of the Sixth Task Fleet to a Spanish port for the first time in 10 years?

THE PRESIDENT. None that I know of.

[3.] Q. Could you elaborate on that point about possibly some companies trying to stop the loan?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be elaborated on at a later date, not now.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, were you pleased with Governor Lehman's decision to accept the senatorial nomination in New York?

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly was. I wrote him a letter and told him I hoped he would run, so of course I am pleased he decided to do it.

Q. When did you write the letter, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, about a week ago.

Q. Is the decision that old, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about it. You will have to ask Governor Lehman. He made the decision, not I. He wrote me and recommended a judge to me, and I answered his letter and told him that I had heard he was going to run for the Senate and I would be pleased if he did. It was personal correspondence--very satisfactory to him and to me both.

Q. Do you think he will win, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes he will. Of course he will. [Laughter]

Q. Do you think you will be making any speeches in New York?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question until after the primary, if they have a primary. I don't know whether they have a primary there or not.

Q. Yes.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, what is your opinion of the present state of affairs of your program?

THE PRESIDENT. My opinion is just what it was last January. We are going to put over the fair deal program before we get through, in toto. You know, there are two sessions of the 81st Congress and this, the first one, is not over yet, so you can't draw any conclusions. It will be some time before it is over, I hear.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel that General Vaughan got a fair deal before the Senate subcommittee? 1

THE PRESIDENT, I have no comment to make on that.

1See note in item 161 [5].

Q. Do you have any comment on the reports that the suspended Quartermaster General is to be reinstated momentarily?

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, do you believe that the NSRB or the Air Force should have the authority to determine where bomber construction should be done by private airplane industry?

THE PRESIDENT. Ask me that question again?

Q. Do you believe that the Air Force or the NSRB has the final authority in determining where bomber construction should be done by private airplane industry?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that the Secretary of Defense, in the long run, probably will have the final say on that.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, this is the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. Do you have any reflections on the state of world peace on this anniversary?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course I am exceedingly happy that the shooting war did not continue. I have been rather disappointed that the war of nerves has been carried on for the last 3 or 4 years, and I am sincerely hoping that eventually that war of nerves will end up in surrender, as the shooting war did, and that we will have peace in the world. That's all I have been working for since I have been President of the United States.

Q. Mr. President, what do you mean by "end up in surrender"?

THE PRESIDENT. Just what I said. I can't make it any plainer.

Q. Mr. President, I am interested

Q. Mr. President, can you give us any idea--

THE PRESIDENT. Wait a minute here!

Q. I want to ask you about that war of nerves, and what you thought about the present intensity, is it slacking off--

THE PRESIDENT. It is slacking off.

Q.--so far as you know?

THE PRESIDENT. It is slacking off. I think it is slacking off very much. Very decidedly slacking off.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us any idea how soon you may nominate these new judgeships?

THE PRESIDENT. Just as soon as I am ready to make the nominations, I will announce them in plenty of time so that you will know it.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, can you make any comment on these reported Russian troop movements around the Balkans--apparently into Yugoslavia?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can make no comment on it.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, Congressman Wolverton said yesterday that when the House reconvenes he is going to make an investigation of what he calls inept handling by the State Department of the Mexican oil loan?

THE PRESIDENT. I am sorry to say that I don't think the Congressman knows exactly what he is talking about.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to reappoint Mr. Clark to the Fine Arts Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that.2

2Gilmore D. Clark was originally appointed a member of the Fine Arts Commission on April 15, 1932. His term of office had expired on March 10, 1949, and was not renewed. He served as Chairman of the Commission during the final 8 years of his tenure.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, you called the last Congress a "do-nothing" Congress. Would you care to evaluate this one up to date?

THE PRESIDENT. I told you that this Congress could not be evaluated until it is finished. It has not finished the first session yet, and it still has the other session to go. I think its record will be all right when they are finished.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, General Vaughan said yesterday that John Maragon will probably be barred from the White House. Have you issued any such order?

THE PRESIDENT. The committee hearing was held up at the Capitol. We will not continue it up here.3

3John Maragon, former Government employee and holder of a White House pass, was a central figure in the "five percenter" inquiry.

According to the testimony of General Vaughan before the subcommittee investigating influence in Government procurement, Mr. Maragon had access to the White House and had been observed using the general's telephone to make personal calls. When asked if he thought it was now possible to keep Maragon out of the White House, General Vaughan replied, "I think it is not only possible, but probable."

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you contemplate asking for any extension of the steel truce, in view of the prolonged hearings?

THE PRESIDENT. The matter has not come up to me yet.4

4 See Item 209.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, when you referred to the war of nerves, were you referring to the war of nerves between Communist governments and democratic governments?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that is just as plain as it can possibly be. I am hoping that the war of nerves will cease, that everybody will get in the mood for general world peace, and when they do that it will just take a very short time to get everything worked out the way it ought to be. The United Nations then will function as it should, and I am hoping that we will have generations of world peace.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to reappoint Garland Ferguson to the Federal Trade Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make.5

5On October 18, 1949, the White House released the text of the President's letter accepting the resignation of Garland S. Ferguson as a member of the Federal Trade Commission, to be effective as of November 15, 1949. Mr. Ferguson's letter of resignation was released with the President's reply. Mr. Ferguson served on the Commission for 22 years, the longest term of service since the Commission was created, and served as Chairman five times.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you could tell us about the new chairman on the Fine Arts Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no announcements to make on that.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, just to clear up one of the questions in the hearings, do you contemplate any change in your Army Aide?


[20.] Q. Mr. President, were you pleased with the Senate's action defeating the McClellan economic amendment the other day? 6

THE PRESIDENT. Certainly -- certainly. That was absolutely the wrong way to go about it. The Senate did the right thing on that. It is the business of the Congress, after I send the budget to the Congress, to analyze that budget and appropriate or not. That is their function, and they can't transfer that function to me. What would be the use of having a Congress, if I have a budget without having appropriations properly analyzed by the legislative branch of the Government, which is what the Constitution calls for?

6S.J. Res. 108, "To reduce expenditures in Government for the fiscal year 1950 consistent with the public interest," introduced by Senator John Clellan of Arkansas and 29 other Senators on June 13, 1949.

The resolution directed the President to reduce expenditures to be made during the 1950 fiscal year by no less than 5 percent. No single agency was to be cut by more than 20 percent. An attempt by Senator McClellan to include this legislation as a provision of H.R. 4146, the military appropriations legislation, failed on August 29. Although 63 Senators had signed a petition to bring this legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, it failed to carry because of a parliamentary ruling requiring approval by two-thirds of the Senate. The measure remained on the calendar, but as separate legislation.

Q. Mr. President, do you have any plans of your own, sir, to restore the balance of the defense establishment, that might affect--

THE PRESIDENT. The budget that I sent to the Congress was the budget that I thought was absolutely necessary. I stand behind that budget full tilt now. The reason for the ability to make a cut in the defense department was the carrying out of what I had asked the Congress to carry out 3 years ago in the reorganization of the defense department.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, what did you say to the farm group yesterday that got such fast action that they reported the bill last night? 7

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't say very much of anything. They discussed the situation among themselves and found that they were not as far apart as they thought they were. That is usually the case when you can get people together and get them to sit down and talk. When you are reasonable you can always come to a conclusion that will work.

7S. 2522, "To stabilize prices of agricultural commodities," introduced in the Senate on August 31, 1949, by Senator Clinton P. Anderson of New Mexico.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, there have been reports of a possible economic union with Great Britain. Have you any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I hadn't heard anything about it, so I can't comment on it.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and ninetysixth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 1, 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/230015

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