Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 15, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] I want to welcome the visiting editors and publishers from the 14 foreign countries here this morning. I am glad they got to come in, and I hope I will have the privilege of shaking hands with them after the press conference is over.

I have a couple of announcements to make.

[2.] The Honorable Sherman Minton will be the United States Supreme Court Justice. I will appoint him, and as soon as the Senate confirms him, he will be the Justice.

I shall appoint the Honorable William C. Lindley, Judge of the United States Court for the Eastern District of Illinois at Danville, to succeed Judge Minton.

And, I have appointed Honorable Casper Platte, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Illinois--

Q. Casper Platte?

THE PRESIDENT. P-l-a-t-t-e.

Q. What is he now, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. He is Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Illinois. He succeeds Judge Lindley.

And I shall appoint Governor Ernest Gibson of Vermont to be the judge--

Q. You are going too fast, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT. How's that?

Q. You are going too fast. Would you slow up there just a bit?

THE PRESIDENT. Whereabouts are you?

Q. Judge Platte.

Q. Who is the last one, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Honorable Casper Platte, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Illinois. And Governor Ernest Gibson of Vermont, to be the Federal judge for the Vermont District.

I am ready for questions.

Q. I've already worn down one pencil. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Help yourself!

[3.] Q. Mr. President, Senator McCarran said last night, before sailing, that he is to visit Franco and talk about possible United States recognition, with the possibility of a loan for Franco Spain.

THE PRESIDENT. Senator McCarran is on the trip to Europe on his own. He represents nobody in the Government of the United States except himself. He can make no commitments with Franco or any other government. It is perfectly all right for the Senator to make a visit wherever he chooses, but he can make no commitments for the Government of the United States.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, Senator McCarran appointed Senator Eastland chairman of the Civil Rights subcommittee. Do you have any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment! [Laughter]

[5.] Q. Mr. President, do you accept Senator Wherry's definition of statism?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't read it. I don't know what the definition is. If he has a definition, he has more than any of the dictionaries have.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, in view of your assurances that the findings of the steel factfinding board were not to be mandatory, do you consider it proper for CIO President Murray to demand that United States Steel accept those findings?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make on that situation, for I am hoping that negotiations will progress to a settlement.

Q. Mr. President, is anyone qualified to draw the distinction between acceptance as a basis of negotiations, and acceptance outright?

THE PRESIDENT. I think there is a decided difference. The acceptance as a basis for negotiation, I think, is the way that it has been accepted all the way around. That is my understanding.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, I understand that you are interested in the National Guard recruiting campaign, a 2-month drive that opens on the 19th. Can you tell us something about that?

THE PRESIDENT. I am very much interested in the National Guard recruiting campaign. I am interested in the National Guard as one of the components of the Reserve, and I think the defense of the country will depend almost entirely on the Reserve, when they have peace in the world. And I hope the National Guard recruiting program will be a success, as it always is.

I started my military career in the National Guard in 1905, on Flag Day, June 14, 1905. I joined Battery B, Kansas City, Mo.

Q. Battery B?

THE PRESIDENT. B--yes. Afterwards expanded to the 129th Field Artillery, along with two other batteries. When I got promoted from the rear rank to the front rank, I thought I had got the greatest promotion in the Army. I went a little further than that, later on.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on the results of the British-Canadian United States economic talks?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the communiqué is all the comment that is necessary.1

1British, Canadian, and American financial and economic experts conducted preliminary technical and factfinding discussions in Washington from August 27 to September 2, in preparation for ministerial talks which began the following week. The tripartite economic conference was held from September 7--12.

For the joint communiqué issued by the conference representatives on September 12, see the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 21, p. 473).

[9.] Q. Mr. President, have you any opinion on the Whelan plan providing for oil drilling equipment for Mexico?

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about the Whelan plan, so I can't comment on it.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the statements Captain Crommelin has been making recently, about the defense high command nibbling away at the Navy?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the Secretary of the Navy handled that very capably yesterday, and it is in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy; and I am sure he will continue to handle it in a capable manner.2

2In a prepared statement presented to the press on September In, Captain John G. Crommelin, a member of the staff under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, protested that the Navy's offensive power was "being nibbled to death" and its morale destroyed.

On September 15, Francis P. Matthews, Secretary of the Navy, reversed the elevation of Captain Crommelin to the post of Deputy Chief of Naval personnel. He had been assigned to the post earlier in the day. The Secretary announced that Captain Crommelin had been transferred to the Office of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air for duty in the air warfare division under Rear Admiral E. A. Cruise.

[11.] Q. Any comment on the Pennsylvania election, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. [Laughter] If you remember, back in 1947 we had some barometers like that, and they didn't work.

Q. What was the last of that, Mr. president?

THE PRESIDENT, We had some barometers like that back in 1947 and it didn't work, remember them? I can name you three or four.3

3In a special election held in the 26th Congressional District in Pennsylvania the Republican candidate won. The election was characterized by the press as being the first grassroots test of President Truman's "Fair Deal" since the 1948 Democratic upswing.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on the article signed by James Lawrence Fly in the current issue of Look magazine, in which he deplored the extent to which wiretapping is being done, both by State and city police forces, private operators and by the FBI?

THE PRESIDENT. Since I don't read Look, and since I haven't read Mr. Fly's article, I can't very well comment on it.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and ninetyeighth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, 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/230081

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