Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference on Foreign Policy

September 20, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. I am going to read you a statement on foreign policy.

"The foreign policy of this country is the most important question confronting us today. Our responsibility for obtaining a just and lasting peace extends not only to the people of this country but to the nations of the world.

"The people of the United States may disagree freely and publicly on any question, including that of foreign policy, but the Government of the United States must stand as a unit in its relations with the rest of the world.

"I have today asked Mr. Wallace to resign from the Cabinet. It had become clear that between his views on foreign policy and those of the administration--the latter being shared, I am confident, by the great body of our citizens--there was a fundamental conflict. We could not permit this conflict to jeopardize our position in relation to other countries. I deeply regret the breaking of a long and pleasant official association, but I am sure that Mr. Wallace will be happier in the exercise of his right to present his views as a private citizen. I am confirmed in this belief by a very friendly conversation I had with Mr. Wallace on the telephone this morning.

"Our foreign policy as established by the Congress, the President, and the Secretary of State, remains in full force and effect without change. No change in our foreign policy is contemplated. No member of the Executive branch of the Government will make any public statement as to foreign policy which is in conflict with our established foreign policy. Any public statement on foreign policy shall be cleared with the Department of State. In case of disagreement, the matter will be referred to me.

"As I have frequently said, I have complete confidence in Mr. Byrnes and his delegation now representing this country at the Paris Peace Conference.

"Mr. Byrnes consults with me often, and the policies which guide him and his delegation have my full endorsement." That's all, gentlemen.

Reporter: Thank you,-Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right.

Note: President Truman's eighty-third news conference was held in his office at the White House at 10:46 a.m. on Friday, September 20, 1946.

Harry S. Truman, The President's News Conference on Foreign Policy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232086

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