Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference

October 06, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. [1.] This happens to be the 200th press conference that has been held since I have been President, in the course of 234 weeks, I believe. And I have no special announcements to make to you this morning.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, I have been asked to ask you if you would name any of the special interests that you have referred to sometimes in some of your recent speeches?

THE PRESIDENT. When it becomes necessary for me to name them, I will.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, does the Army plan for integration of Negro personnel to meet the requirements of your Executive order on equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed services?

THE PRESIDENT. The last report of the Secretary of Defense was a progress report. There will be continuing recommendations from the committee which I appointed. Eventually we will reach, I hope, what we contemplated in the beginning. You can't do it all at once. The progress report was a good report, and it isn't finished yet.

Q. Mr. President, is your eventual goal integration of the races in the Army?


[4.] Q. Mr. President, the Defense Secretary some time back ordered an economy wave in his department. I believe you said at the time that he was carrying out White House instructions. I am wondering if you have ordered any economy wave in any of the other departments?

THE PRESIDENT. The economy wave, if you remember, was for the Department of Defense, and that covered all the departments in the Department of Defense, and it covers every other department in the Government. I think, if you will make an investigation, you will find that the Department of Agriculture has been cut down immensely since its wartime effort, as has every other department of the Government. Some day I will give you some figures on that that will startle you a little bit. The economy wave is always carried out by the Executive. The rest of the people talk about it.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, two members of the Cabinet yesterday warned of the effect of the coal and steel strikes on the economy. When do you plan to step into that situation?

THE PRESIDENT. Those warnings were well-timed and were necessary. The program has not reached the point yet where it is necessary for me to intervene.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, has the progress for synthetic fuels recently had your personal attention?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it has.

Q. In what connection?

THE PRESIDENT. In connection with the shale deposits in Utah, and things of that sort. I think there was an experiment--I know there was an experiment going on down here in Virginia--on coal being made into liquid fuel.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, I notice Mr. Boyle sent a message out to all State chairmen for them to get behind Senators to confirm Leland Olds. Is that a new departure in politics? I don't remember a national chairman putting the heat on Senators and Representatives.

THE PRESIDENT. I remember it very distinctly. It was customary when Jim Farley was chairman. I had the heat put on me by Jim. [Laughter] It is customary, and it is proper, and it should be done, and Bill Boyle is doing it because I asked him to.

Q. Isn't the only difference that Mr. Boyle is doing it publicly and it used to be done without any publicity?

THE PRESIDENT. It wasn't done so privately, as I remember it very distinctly. It was advertised to high heaven. They tried to get me to vote against Pat Harrison for leader of the Senate. I voted for Mr. Harrison. I was asked to vote for Mr. Barkley. I had nothing against Mr. Barkley, but I had promised Mr. Harrison, and I voted for him, but the heat was very well put on. Not anything wrong, and it should be done. If we are going to have party discipline in this country, then we must run our two-party system with party responsibility.

Q. Isn't that lobbying?

THE PRESIDENT. I beg your pardon?

Q. Isn't that the same as lobbying?

THE PRESIDENT. No, not necessarily. You have got to have party discipline, if you are going to transact the business of the Government. One of the things that you gentlemen do sometimes is to point the finger of shame at a fellow when he's loyal to his party; and it isn't the right thing to do. A man is elected on a party platform, and he ought to carry out what the party promises to do.

Q. Mr. President, does your remark on discipline apply to the Senators who voted against Mr. Olds?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a question I can't answer at the present time.

Q. Mr. President, do you expect them to be more in line than you were in the case of Pat Harrison? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. That's a good question. I was not informed that it was a party matter when the thing came up. If I had been informed in time, I would have stayed with the party, and besides that, it was a Democratic fight in the beginning. That was not a party matter at all.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, you referred in the statement about 10 days ago, to evidence of an atomic explosion in Russia. Have you, since that time, received any further evidence or details of that explosion?

THE PRESIDENT. I made all the statement that I intend to make, on the subject, in that statement that was made on the 23d of September.1

1See Item 216.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can say about Captain Crommelin's statement that he distributed Navy letters?

THE PRESIDENT. That's a matter for the Secretary of the Navy to handle.2

2On October 6, Francis P. Matthews, Secretary of the Navy, suspended Capt. John G. Crommelin, Jr., from duty and ordered him to be confined to the city of Washington preparatory to a court-martial. This order was later rescinded, and Captain Crommelin was returned to duty on November 8, after receiving a letter of reprimand from Adm. Forrest P. Sherman, the new Chief of Naval Operations.

Q. Did you discuss it with the Secretary of the Navy yesterday, Mr. President?


Q. Did you make those recommendations to the Secretary?

THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary of the Navy was instructed to handle the matter.

[10.] Q. I notice that Senator Gillette is on your appointment list this morning?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Senator Gillette and I have always been friends. I don't know what the Senator wants, but I will talk to him about anything he wants to talk to me about. Something, I imagine, that affects the State of Iowa.

Q. Like a judgeship, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Could be. [Laughter]

[11.] Q. Mr. President, which is the Democratic Party's position on the farm bill, Barkley's or Senator Lucas's?3

THE PRESIDENT. Read my message on it, and you will find exactly what the party program is on the farm bill. All you have to do is read the message, and you will get all the information.

3The disagreement on the farm program between Vice President Barkley and Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas centered around the amendment to S. 2522, introduced in the Senate on September 26 by Senators Milton R. Young of North Dakota and Richard B. Russell of Georgia. The amendment would require 90 percent of parity supports for basic crops for which marketing quotas or acreage allotments were in effect. In a tie breaking vote on October 4 the Vice President supported the amendment, whereas the Majority Leader opposed it.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything yet on the SEC vacancy?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, I will let you know after I make the appointment.4

4On October 12, 1949, the nominations of Edward T. McCormick and Donald C. Cook to be members of the Security and Exchange Commission were sent to the Senate.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you think it is possible, in view of the atomic thing, to reach an agreement with Russia any more than it was before the atomic--

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer a question like that. I don't know. We have made the most important proposition in the history of the world with regard to that atomic situation, and the Russians didn't see fit to accept our proposition.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, did you order the Justice Department investigation of interstate crime--big crime syndicates?

THE PRESIDENT. The Justice Department has a standing order to that effect. I haven't made any special order on the subject.

Q. Nothing as a result of Mayor Morrison's statement--the New Orleans mayor's statement? 5

THE PRESIDENT. No. No, no. I didn't know he had made any.

5According to newspaper reports, Mayor deLesseps S. Morrison of New Orleans had recently presented a report on crime to a meeting of the American Municipal Association in Chicago.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, getting back to Olds, do you still hope that he will be confirmed?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope that he will be confirmed. That's the reason I am doing all I can to get him confirmed.

[16.] Q. Would you include the oil and gas interests as one of the special interests to whom you referred--

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, you will have to make up your own mind on that. You are an excellent reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and you ought to know. [Laughter]

Q. Thank you, Mr. President!

[17.] Q. Mr. President, do you have a chairman of the Munitions Board yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I will announce him just as soon as I can. We are trying to get one.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can say to us on the occasion of your 200th press conference, as to your thoughts on the institution of a press conference?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I like it. I like press conferences. I always try to answer your questions straight from the shoulder, try to tell you the truth, and when I can't answer them, I don't answer them.

Q. Do you become a little annoyed with us at times?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I never get annoyed with you. I get annoyed with your bosses, sometimes. [Laughter] I think most of you try your best to be entirely fair. I have never had any reason to quarrel with you.

[19.] Q. Did you read what Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt said yesterday about the Navajos and Hopis? She hopes very much they won't be made citizens of the State of New Mexico?

THE PRESIDENT. I am sorry, I didn't get to read Mrs. Roosevelt.

Q. She wants you not to sign that bill.6

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think anybody knows what will be in that bill until it gets here. It hasn't passed yet.

6See Item 233.

Q. Yes sir--yes sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think it's in conference. I don't think so.

Q. That's true--it is in conference.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it is proper for me to have anything to say about it.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, has it been decided yet when and if you will go up to New York City?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it has not. Mr. Fitzpatrick covered that, I think.7

7Paul E. Fitzpatrick, New York State Democratic Chairman.

Q. I didn't understand your answer, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I said there have been no arrangements made.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, you referred to the most important proposition in the history of the world with reference to atomic energy--

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the proposal of the United States to turn over to the United Nations the atomic control of the world. No other nation in the history of the world, with the most terrible weapon in its possession, has ever been known to do anything of that sort.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that Russia is about to come up with some new proposal for disarmament. Would you look forward to hearing what that is?

THE PRESIDENT. Not necessarily.

Q. It will make no change?

THE PRESIDENT. Any number of proposals that couldn't be accepted, and this will probably be in the same class.

Q. No change in ours?


Q. If we don't get an agreement with Russia, is it possible for an arms race in this thing?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope there won't have to be an arms race. I still have hopes that we will get the United Nations in the position where it will control such things as that.

Reporter: Thank you, sir.

Note: President Truman's two hundredth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 6, 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/230139

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