Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

August 11, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. [I.] I have a couple of announcements to make. I sent down a ',thank you" letter to General Eisenhower for his help on the reorganization bill.1

1See Item 180.

And, I am appointing General Bradley to be Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff; and have appointed Admiral Denfeld to be Chief of Naval Operations for another 2 years, from December 15, 1949. That's all the--

Q. Two years from next December 15th?

THE PRESIDENT. Two years from next December 15th, yes.

Q. Chief of Staff, sir? Did you say.

THE PRESIDENT. Chief of Naval Operations.

Q. In other words, that is a reappointment?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a reappointment. Well, this letter, I want to tell you, is available for distribution when you go out-this letter to Eisenhower.

[a.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you could tell us about a new Army Chief of Staff?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I am not ready to make that announcement yet.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, have you reached a decision on the SEC vacancy yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, I have not.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, do you favor return of General MacArthur for discussion of the Far Eastern policy?

THE PRESIDENT. I think I made a statement to you about 2 years ago, when this same agitation was in force, that General MacArthur is at liberty to come home whenever he sees fit. Of course, it requires an order from the Commander in Chief to bring him home, but he hasn't indicated that he wants to come.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, do you think we are on the last mile on the back road to collectivism?

THE PRESIDENT. What's that? [Laughter] Say that again. It sounded funny to me.

Q. Do you think that we are on the last mile on the back road to Collectivism?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what that is, but I don't think so. [More laughter]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, the spokesman for one of those steel companies, speaking to your board--Steelman's board--today, said that the appointment of that board marked a new social order and would force ruination of collective bargaining. Perhaps you have seen the whole statement?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't seen the whole statement, but--

Q. You have heard something about it?

THE PRESIDENT. --we have been appointing boards like that for--if I am not mistaken--for 15 or 20 years, and it hasn't ruined the country. Been very helpful.

Q. End of collective bargaining?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh no, it isn't anything of the kind.

[7.].Q. Mr. President, there is a great deal of interest in your plan for aiding areas of unemployment--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, we are working at it now.

Q.--but no one yet has been able to determine how the contracts will be channeled into those areas to avoid the public bidding--

THE PRESIDENT. That is not intended to avoid public bidding. It is a practical matter that is being worked out as fast as we can work it out. It takes a little time to do a thing of that kind, and if we get a concrete result in 3 or 4 months, we will be doing pretty well.

Q. You intend to issue an Executive order calling for negotiating of contracts?

THE PRESIDENT. Whatever steps are necessary to implement the program as soon as it is ready to go forward. If it takes an order, I will issue it.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, will you approve the wage-hour bill passed by the House today?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know the contents of the bill, and haven't read it, so I can't comment on it. When it comes up here to me, then I will either sign it or tell you why I won't.2

2 See Item 239.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, do you think it was within the realm of propriety for your Military Aide and Veterans Affairs Coordinator to help a race track get permits for scarce materials when there was a scarcity of those materials for veterans housing?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that statement because I don't know that what you said is a fact or not.

Q. Except, Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. I say I don't know whether that is a fact or not, and you don't, either.

Q. No, except that it is the testimony of your Housing Expediter under oath, sir?

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

Q. Is there any significance in General Vaughan's not being here? We can't see him from back here.

THE PRESIDENT. General Vaughan, I imagine, had some appointments in his office. Whenever he has an appointment, it is customary for him to stay. He is not afraid of you, don't worry about that. [Laughter]

[10.] Q. Mr. President, will General Bradley continue as Chief of Staff of the Army?

THE PRESIDENT. No, he will not. I will appoint a successor as soon as I decide on who it is to be.

[11.] Q. What did you say General Vaughan wasn't afraid of?

THE PRESIDENT. Of you. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, are you attempting to make any personal determinations of those facts?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I am not. That is not my business. I am not ordering the hearings. When I was in the Senate I got the facts for myself.

Q. Mr. President, if the Secretary of the Army decides in the case of General Vaughan, as he did in the cases of Generals Feldman and Waitt, that there was indicated indiscretion, will he be free to relieve him from active--

THE PRESIDENT. He will not.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, I got scooped. I notice out in Des Moines that you are going out there next week?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we have it in contemplation, and as soon as the details are worked out, and if I can arrange to go, I will make formal announcement on it. You know how they do, they come in to invite me to things of that sort, and I say I would like to come, and then they go out and say "Well, he's coming."

Q. That is still tentative?

THE PRESIDENT. It is pending, and as soon as I can make the announcement, I will announce to you just exactly what I propose to do. I am sorry you got scooped. [Laughter]

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you know whether General Vaughan is going to testify?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not.

Q. Is he free to testify?

THE PRESIDENT. He is at liberty to testify.

Q. He is at liberty to testify?

THE PRESIDENT. Sure. I announced that a long time ago.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, in your talks with the President of the Philippines, did the subject of a Pacific pact or Pacific union come up?

THE PRESIDENT. The communiqué which was released by the President of the Philippines and myself covers the conversation. It has been made a public document, and you have it, I think.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, has anything in the current Hill investigations so far changed your attitude toward General Vaughan?

THE PRESIDENT. Not the slightest.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, would you insist on Congress staying here until the passage of an aid to education bill?

THE PRESIDENT. That is the Congress's business. I hope they will do that. I rather think they will.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, have you any comment on Senator Vandenberg's idea on this arms program, 50 percent cash and 50 percent--

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't discussed the matter with General Vandenberg, so I can't comment.

Q. Senator.

THE PRESIDENT. Senator Vandenberg. I can't comment. There is a General Vandenberg, too. [Laughter]

[18.] Q. Mr. President, you referred a week ago to talks--exploratory talks--with the British and Canadians on the basic problems in the atomic energy field. I wondered how those talks have been going since--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on them.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, have you talked to Senator Hoey about the possibility of General Vaughan testifying?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not. I haven't talked to Senator Hoey about the hearing at all, because I don't want in any way to influence Senator Hoey's judgment. I want him to get the facts and satisfy himself.3

3See note in Item 161 [5].

[20.] Q. Mr. President, aside from your conversations with President Quirino, do you think it is a good idea--do you favor the approach of a south Pacific--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't comment on that at the present time.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, testimony brought out today at the hearing that General Vaughan got a deep-freeze unit. Are you considering one for the White House? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about it. I don't know anything about it.

Q. Mr. President, I saw a paragrapher's paragraph out there a minute ago, with reference to generals: Two down and Vaughan to go. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. That must have been one of the displaced persons that came in.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, following publication of the white paper on China, will there be any change in our attitude toward Chinese Communist-dominated areas?

THE PRESIDENT. Say that again?

Q. Will there be any change in our attitude toward Communist-dominated areas of China?

THE PRESIDENT. The policy on China is the same policy that it has always been. We have never been favorable to the Communists.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to get out a revised budget estimate this summer? You have always had one--on midyear plans--

THE PRESIDENT. The Budget now is working on a short budget which shows just exactly what the situation is. I can't get that out until the appropriation bill is passed. I was informed yesterday by Senator Hayden that--I think he has been in the Senate almost as long as I can remember--that never in his whole legislative, historical life had there been such a tangle up of appropriations as now exists, brought about by the Republican filibusters on every bill and every committee.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, we saw Mon Wallgren here today. Is it just a social call or--


Q.--are you considering a job for him?

THE PRESIDENT. --Mon comes in to see me. Whenever he comes to see me, I am always glad to see him.

[25.] Q. Mr. President, have you put a ceiling of 13,400 million on the military budget for next year? Somebody reported--

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not. The military budget for next year has not been made up, and it isn't ready for discussion. When I am ready to discuss it, I will tell you all about it.

Q. Somebody reported--

THE PRESIDENT. Oh yes, you always hear all sorts of reports before the budget comes out.

[26.] Q. Mr. President, in line with your statement just now that you are not favorable to the Communists in China, would you like to say definitely now that we will not recognize the government of China--

THE PRESIDENT. I am not in a position to say anything about the government of China. The white paper covers everything that I can say on China. Now read it, if you haven't already done it.

Q. Mr. President, do you consider this delay on the appropriations thing a reflection on the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee?

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly do not.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and ninetythird news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 11, 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/229842

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