Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

April 29, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. I have a statement I want to read to you. I have been cautioned to read it very slowly by several of you. I will read it as slowly as I can. It is mimeographed and will be ready for you as soon as you go out.

[1.] "On April an I submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent the nominations of David E. Lilienthal to be Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, of Robert F. Bacher, Sumner T. Pike, Lewis L. Strauss, and William W. Waymack as members of the Atomic Energy Commission.

"It is now nearly a year and a half since these five men assumed direction of the atomic energy program as the first members of the Atomic Energy Commission established by the Congress on August 1st, 1946. During this period, a gigantic atomic energy program has been put into forward motion after the long period of drift which occurred after the war. It is imperative that our program in this field continue to advance and that there be no uncertainty in the continuity of the experienced leadership essential for the Nation's preeminence in the field of atomic energy.

"These names have been resubmitted at this time because of the provision of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 that the terms of all five Commissioners should expire on August the first of this year. The purpose of this provision was to permit the President and the Congress to have an opportunity to review the performance of the Commission before beginning the 5-year staggered terms provided for in this act.

"The reappointment of the 5 Commissioners is based on my firm conviction that under their direction real progress has been made in all phases of our atomic energy program and that under their continued leadership even greater progress will be made. The Congress has had a year and a half to observe the performance of these men as members of the Atomic Energy Commission, and I have no doubt that the Joint Commission on Atomic Energy has been diligent in observing their performance. I have submitted their names in mid-April in order that there should be sufficient time to enable the Senate to act on their nominations.

"I am informed that a suggestion has been made that the Senate should not act on these nominations, but that instead the Congress should enact a law extending the terms of the present Commission for 1 or 2 years. Such a proposal would restore the pall of uncertainty which surrounded the development of this country's atomic energy program from the Japanese surrender until the spring of 1947, when the present Commission was confirmed. Such a proposal would have an adverse effect on the urgent business of pushing ahead in our knowledge and utilization of atomic energy, both for use in our economy and for our defense.

"The present members of the Commission were appointed without any reference to their political affiliations. Since we all recognize the need for a vigorous nonpartisan development of our atomic energy program, I strongly urge that these nominations be considered on the schedule originally set by the Congress." And which is now the


Q. In other words, you are against any compromise?

THE PRESIDENT. I am for carrying out the law that the Congress itself made, and which I have been trying to enforce to the best of my ability, and in a manner that has no connection whatever with politics. These men came in here to see me about their staggered terms, and I told them to go back and settle it among themselves. They did make a settlement among themselves, and I sent the appointments down as they themselves had agreed on.

Q. Mr. President, have you discussed this with Senator Vandenberg?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not.

Q. Mr. President, did Senator Hickenlooper propose to you, before those names went up, that these--there be some sort of compromise adjustment on the terms, when he was in here?

THE PRESIDENT. Senator Hickenlooper came up and discussed with me what he thought would be the attitude of the Senate. That's all the discussion was. And it was a private conversation between the Senator and myself.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, on these appointments, can you tell us when you plan to name Marriner Eccles Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't tell you.

[3.] Q. Have you anything to say about the railroad strike at this moment?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't. The Conciliation Service is working heroically to get that strike settled--the proposed strike settled. I think they are going to have good luck. At least, I hope so.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, can you say anything about the recent atomic experiments at Eniwetok?


[5.] Q. Mr. President, the Boeing strike in Seattle has now been going on 2 weeks. Have you any thought of appointing a board of investigation, or of issuing an injunction.--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think that is a national emergency. Therefore, I cannot appoint a board on it.

Q. You do not think it is?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I do not.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, the other day I looked into this matter of putting off the confirmation of appointments, and so forth, and while these five men are the most conspicuous, there are about a thousand postmasters still pending--

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q.--up there. Then they also propose to put on the shelf this legislative program of reciprocal trade treaties.

THE PRESIDENT. That is the most terrible thing of the whole business. Our foreign policy and the European recovery program, and everything else, is based on that trade treaty agreement. You said there are 700 postmasters--maybe 900. They are all appointed under civil service examination, under a law that the Congress itself has always followed. I don't know what they have got against these postmasters. All of them are acting postmasters now.

Q. I guess what they have got against them is the provision that was written in, virtually giving them the appointment for life when they get confirmed. They didn't used to be but 4-year terms.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know whether that is so or not. I can't tell you how it is done. That's their own business, but they aren't doing the business of the Government any good, so far as efficiency is concerned.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us what you discussed with Senator Tobey?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I cannot. That was an off the record conference with Senator Tobey and myself. I do not care to discuss it.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Cordon saw you yesterday, and afterwards said that you were still for statehood for Hawaii. Is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh sure, that's correct. He also invited me to go to their rose festival in Portland, as did Senator Morse and the Governor of Oregon.

Q. Are you going, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, have you made that decision on stopping at Chicago on your California trip?

THE PRESIDENT. As soon as this proposed trip is or is not worked out, I will tell you definitely just exactly what to do about it. I will give each one of you a chance to pack your clothes, so you won't be in any too big a hurry to leave.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, have you made any decision yet on a Deputy Director for ECA?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us when you will probably appoint a new Secretary of Agriculture?

THE PRESIDENT. No I can't, but I will let you know when I do.

[12.] Q. Do you have any comment on Helen Douglas' trip to the grocery store yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it's a very good thing for Helen to put those prices before the public. I think you will be surprised at them.

[13.] Q. I wondered, since last week you said you might have something soon on this Western European alliance?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment on that.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, will it be practical for you to take any further steps in behalf of Hawaiian statehood which

THE PRESIDENT. I have done everything I can do. I sent a message to Congress on the subject. Now it's up to Congress to act.

Q. You sent two messages.


[15.] Q. Mr. President, is former Governor Tobin being considered for the Deputy ERP Administrator under Hoffman?

THE PRESIDENT. No, he is not.

Q. He is not?


[16.] Q. Mr. President, do you find the idea behind this new compromise draft-UMT proposal on the Hill acceptable?

THE PRESIDENT. That's all it is, acceptable. It is the best we can get. it isn't what I want, by any means.

Q. It is acceptable?

THE PRESIDENT. It iS acceptable, because it's a step in the right direction.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, is Judge Larson being considered as Deputy--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, he is.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, would not a modification of reciprocal trade agreements make it very difficult for Marshall plan countries to repay advances from this country?

THE PRESIDENT. Would make it impossible.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, do you contemplate any changes in the chairmanship of the Maritime Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at the present time. If there is a change, I will let you know in plenty of time.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, have the details of the shipbuilding program been worked out yet? 1

THE PRESIDENT. They are working on them now.

1 See Item 79 and note.

Q. Is that what Admiral Smith will be in here about to discuss?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know what Admiral Smith wants to talk to me about. He is coming in to see me.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, could you clarify your answer to the question on the Marshall plan countries, and about repayment? Not all the aid under the Marshall plan is scheduled to be repaid.

THE PRESIDENT. The question that was asked me was that--if the sabotage of the trade treaty agreement wouldn't prevent countries under the Marshall plan from repaying that part that is to be repaid, and I said it would be impossible for them to repay, if that treaty is not extended.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and fortyfifth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 29, 1948.

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/229340

Filed Under



Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives