Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

May 06, 1948

THE PRESIDENT. I have no special announcements to make to you today. If you want to ask any questions, I will try to answer them.

[1.] Q. What are the prospects for preventing the railroad strike, now that Mr. Steelman has gone into action?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Steelman is handling that, and we will let you know if anything occurs.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, in addition to your press club speech in Los Angeles, have you been invited to speak under the auspices of the Democratic Central Committee?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not. The only invitation I have from Los Angeles I accepted. That is from the press club.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, getting back to the railroad strike, if we may--in Chicago, which is quite a railroad center, there have been numerous orders for embargoes on the handling of freight and furlough orders, some of which go into effect as early as tomorrow midnight. Is there any possibility of averting this thing to avoid this--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that categorically. We have done and are doing everything we possibly can to avert the strike, under the Railroad Labor Act.

Q. Mr. President, has the ODT been alerted to prepare for a possible seizure?

THE PRESIDENT. They have not.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report out today, from both Washington and London, that you made an effort to bring an end to the fighting in Palestine and to get the British to stay there beyond May 15, but that the effort has failed in the last 24 hours?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think the effort has failed. The effort is still being made. We are doing everything we possibly can to prevent bloodshed, and are trying to get the Palestine matter settled on a peaceable basis. That has always been our objective from the very beginning. In 1946, when the argument first started--our endeavor has ways been to get a peaceable settlement without people getting killed and the holy places being disturbed.

Q. This report said that you had offered an airplane to send Arabs, Jews, and other representatives--

THE PRESIDENT. I would have given them one, if anybody wanted to go to the Holy Land and really negotiate in dead earnest. I would be glad to do anything that would help the matter along.

Q. Mr. President, does your answer apply to the part of the question which stated that you had asked the British to remain in Palestine after May 15?

THE PRESIDENT. I have been in no communication with the British on the subject at all, except through the United Nations.

Q. The United States Government has asked them to remain?

THE PRESIDENT. The United States Government is putting forth every effort, through the United Nations, to get this thing settled. I don't know what the United Nations have asked the British to do.

[5.] Q. Has the failure of Mr. Ching's attempts to get the meatpackers and the CIO together here in Washington changed your view as to the necessity for an injunction under the national emergency pro, vision?

THE PRESIDENT. It has not.

Q. You plan no new move yet?

THE PRESIDENT. Plan no move yet.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, this rail strike comes as about the fourth major dispute that has threatened the national economy-the coal strike, the Oak Ridge strike threat-also threatened then. Have you any explanation for this increase in industrial unrest?

THE PRESIDENT. Your explanation would be as good as mine, so you work out one for yourself. I am trying to keep the peace, that's all I am trying to do. Keep the country running.

Q. Mr. President, do you see any occasion for new legislation governing the railroads--or railway labor in particular?

THE PRESIDENT. I have sent numerous messages to the Congress on that subject, and there is no reason for me to comment on it now.

Q. On amendments to the labor--railroad--

THE PRESIDENT. On the labor situation and the way to handle it.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, Governor Dewey has a partition plan for the St. Lawrence Seaway which involves building power projects, but not the seaway phase. I wondered if you had any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. The matter has not been taken up with me. All I know about it is what I have seen in the papers. I haven't been in communication with the Governor on the subject, and I can't comment on it.

Q. Can a State carry on foreign relations--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that is a matter that will have to be settled, if the thing comes to a concrete stage.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, the last time a railroad strike was threatened, you had legislative proposals to the Congress. Do they still hold for this present situation?

THE PRESIDENT. We will see what develops, and then I will answer that question.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, Secretary Marshall intimated yesterday before Congress that you were to ask for legislation to provide arms for the 16 Marshall plan countries?

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

Q. Mr. President, you don't care to deny that we are doing that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment.

[10.] Q. I wonder if we might come back to this St. Lawrence thing for a moment ? One of the new proposals is that the State of New York and the Province of Ontario should jointly develop this electrical power along there, and there is a significant question there as to whether--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. I can't answer it until I get the information on the subject, to find out what the law is. I can't answer that question offhand.

Q. They will ask, apparently through the International Joint Commission, for authority to do it.

THE PRESIDENT. I see. When it comes up to me for consideration, I will act on it, because the matter has to be taken care of.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, you have been asked by the Maine congressional delegation to refer the Quoddy title project to the International Joint Commission? Have you had that done?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I had that referred, Miss May.1 I have asked the State Department to make the reference, but that is for the United States Government and not for the government of Maine.

1 Mrs. May Craig of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.

Q. No--have they asked you, as President, to ask the State Department to refer it to the International Joint Commission?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, for the United States Government, and not for the State of Maine.

Q. Have you done that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have asked the State Department to do that.

Q. You have?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Well, there's a difference in your question and Mr. Wright's.2

2 James L. Wright of the Buffalo Evening News.

[12.] Q. Any comment on the Ohio primary?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I have no comment. There has been a lot of comment, and it's all good! [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, the people of Ohio seem to have had a hard time making up their minds whether they prefer Taft or Stassen for the Republican nomination. Would you have that trouble?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment! [More laughter]

[13.] Q. What about the Alabama primary, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on the Alabama primary.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, have you selected a new Ambassador for Australia as yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No, not yet. As soon as he is selected, I will announce it at once.

[15.] Q. How about the new Secretary of Agriculture?

THE PRESIDENT. I am not ready to make an announcement.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, the chairman of the House Rules Committee has proposed a substitute bonus plan for the draft. Any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that is the most asinine proposition I have seen yet!

[17.] Q. Mr. President, are you prepared now to talk about Mr. Eccles's position on the Federal Reserve Board?


[18.] Q. Mr. President, you said today that we are going to make the United Nations work for peace. Do you think it can be done without amending the charter?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I do. That is the reason I am working at it.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, several of these press association men have a cocktail party this afternoon. Would you accept a "Thank you, Mr. President," from someone else?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I would. [Laughter]

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Truman's one hundred and fortysixth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, 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/229370

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