Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

September 22, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. [I.] Dr. Basil O'Connor has resigned as President of the Red Cross, and General Marshall will succeed him on October 1st. The exchange of letters between Mr. O'Connor and myself is available if you want it, after the conference.

Q. What was the date for General Marshall?

THE PRESIDENT. General Marshall will take over on October 1st.

Q. President of the National--

THE PRESIDENT. American National Red Cross.

Q. That job doesn't pay anything, does it?

THE PRESIDENT, It is an honorary job. I think where trips are necessary to an emergency area, probably expenses are covered in the thing.

Q. Are you sure it doesn't pay

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know--I can't answer it definitely, because I don't know. It doesn't make any difference to General Marshall whether it pays or whether it's honorary, he is going to take it anyway.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the change of government in Germany? I understand the State Department took over.

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment.1

1On September 21 the responsibility for the control of the American zone of Germany was transferred from the Department of Defense to the Department of State. On that date the Council of the Allied High Commission, representing the United States, British, and French Governments, came into being and formally proclaimed the Occupation Statute which was an act in lieu of a peace treaty between the Western occupying powers and the new Federal Republic of Germany.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, this is an old one that comes up periodically here. Because it came up again today in the Senate, we will bring it up again. Senator McMahon said this afternoon that after the arms aid bill passes that he certainly wishes you would suggest a meeting with Mr. Stalin?

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

[4.] And, just so you'll be satisfied, General Vaughan [ not present] is in the dentist's

chair. [Laughter]

Q. In pain?

THE PRESIDENT. Probably. Did you ever sit in a dentist's chair without being in pain?

[5.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on the devaluation of the pound?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment. I think all the comment necessary was made by the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, and the foreign representatives who were here at the meeting.2

2The financial and economic conference between British, Canadian, and American officials, held in Washington from September 7-12.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, we have a story today that Chairman Lesinski of the House Labor Committee doesn't expect any effort to write a new labor bill, either at this session or the next. He says unless the attitude of the Congress changes, it is hopeless.

THE PRESIDENT, You don't expect me to make any comment on that, do you?

Q. Do you have any hopes of repealing Taft-Hartley--

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly have.

Q.--at the next session?

THE PRESIDENT. My 'position hasn't changed, and I don't intend to answer questions any further.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, do you think Congress ought to go home without acting on civil rights?

THE PRESIDENT. That is up to Congress. I expressed my views in the Message on the State of the Union back in January.

Q. Mr. President, are you pressing your leaders to bring up civil rights before adjournment?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, the leaders were here this morning and you had a chance to interview them.

Q. They said maybe.

THE PRESIDENT. I am not speaking for the leaders. I talk to them, not over their heads at a press conference.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, do you plan to make any moves in the coal stoppage?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment on that.

[9.] Q. Do you feel hopeful still about averting a steel strike, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. From what I see in the papers, it looks very hopeful. [Laughter]

[10.] Q. Mr. President, from the Hill we hear they got pretty quick action reporting out the point 4 bill, and I think Senator Lucas said you had asked for that this morning?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right. I asked them for that. I think the legislative program will work out very well, just as I said at Pittsburgh, before Congress adjourns.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any views on noncontributory pensions, which is an issue in the steel--

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment. [Pause] What's the matter--

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and ninetyninth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, 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/230090

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