Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference at Olympia, Washington

June 21, 1945


Mr. Ross: Ladies and gentlemen, the same rules will prevail here as prevail at the Washington press conferences; that is to say, if the President says anything that is off the record, that means it may not be used at all. Anything else may be used, but may not be directly quoted; it may be paraphrased. For example, "he said that," but it may not be put within quotation marks. If, however, he says that a particular thing may be quoted, then of course it may be. Generally speaking, what he says must be paraphrased, not put in quotation marks. That's all.


[1.] The first thing I want to announce to you is that since the time of the closing of the San Francisco Conference has been extended over to next Tuesday, as announced from San Francisco last night, we will stop for 3 hours in Portland. We will leave here at 10 o'clock Monday morning and arrive in Portland around 11, and try to leave there about 12:30 or 10'clock, so as to arrive in San Francisco at 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon. That is for the reason that we feel we should pay visits to all the three Western States, and we have been urged for sometime by the people in Portland, and by the Portland Oregonian, to stop there.

I have a telegram this morning from Lew Wallace, Chairman of the Democratic Committee of Oregon--I don't know whether he is any kin to the fellow that wrote Ben Hur or not, but he signs his name the same way--[laughter]--"I am very anxious about your 3-hour stopover in Oregon. As Democratic National Committeeman representing the Pacific senior State of this Northwest"--[looking around at Governor Wallgren, and laughing]--"it is my full duty to strenuously urge this stopover. Bring Mon along. We like him too." [Laughter]

The San Francisco Conference seems to have accomplished its purpose, and as I told you before, the reason for the delay has been technical, and the fact that so many translations have to be made on the treaty and the translations have to be agreed on by all the interpreters. That is taking more time for the details than was anticipated, and that is the reason for the 2-day delay; but I am very happy that the Conference has been a success, and all that we anticipated that it would be.

[2.] I want to read you just a short statement, which I will read very slowly, on how I feel about the Senate approval of the renewal of the trade agreements.

Mr. Ross: Mr. President, may I interrupt ? This may be quoted.

THE PRESIDENT. This may be quoted directly, that's right.

"The action of the Senate in approving the legislation to renew and strengthen the Trade Agreements Act "

Q. Hold it a minute! [Laughter] "The action of the Senate in approving ?"

THE PRESIDENT. "The action of the Senate in approving the legislation to renew and strengthen the Trade Agreements Act is indeed gratifying." [Pause] All ready?

Voices: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. "The revitalization"--here's a $40 word-- "the revitalization of this act places the United States squarely behind the principles of international trade cooperation, which must prevail in the interests of world peace and economic well-being. Trade cooperation, however, must go hand in hand with monetary and financial cooperation. I am confident that the Senate will also take favorable action on the Bretton Woods legislation dealing with these closely related subjects."

I was informed last night that the final vote on passage of the bill was 54 to 21, which is very gratifying indeed. That is more than two-thirds, and a majority is all that was necessary.

[3.] I had an interview yesterday afternoon with the Governor of Alaska and Senator Magnuson, and discussed the completion of the Alaska highway up through the "Trench." It requires a connection of about 600 miles to make that road complete from here to Fairbanks.

Q. Six hundred miles?

THE PRESIDENT. Six hundred miles. It's a 600-mile gap to fill. It is, I think, absolutely essential that this construction be considered as a postwar project in which Canada, British Columbia, and the United States are all three interested. Senator Magnuson and Governor Gruening are very much interested in this program, and I think I will revitalize the Commission which has had that under consideration, and try to find a way to have that road constructed. It will require the cooperation of all three Governments to do it. Of course, the State of Washington and the Pacific Coast are vitally interested in that connection, and from the standpoint of the State of Missouri, so are we. [Laughter] Senator Magnuson was on that Commission before, and I think the Governor was, too. It's a good project, and I shall support it.

Now, gentlemen, if you have any questions you want to ask, I will try to answer.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, there are stories in the eastern papers this morning getting rid of Mr. Ickes again, saying that Cap Krug is his possible successor. Do you anticipate any change in the post ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't. That's the first I heard of it, and it's news to me. I haven't discussed it with Mr. Ickes at all.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, a lot of people out here are interested in CVA. Have you any comment on that?


Q. The Columbia Valley Authority.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I am interested in it. I think the junior Senator from Washington, Mr. Hugh Mitchell, has introduced a bill for the Columbia Valley Authority, and I am for it.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, are there any other Cabinet changes in prospect?

THE PRESIDENT. None immediately anticipated.

Q. You told us to keep asking about Stettinius. We will ask you again, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right. No change is contemplated immediately. I will let you know when that--anything of the kind takes place, with regard to any members of the Cabinet, I hope in plenty of time, so that you can get it in the paper.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, is there any contemplated change in the dis, charge system, the lowering of the draft, or discharge ages?

THE PRESIDENT. None that I know of. That is strictly a military affair, and will be handled by the War and Navy Departments without interference from me. I think they have handled it, so far, in good shape.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, could you tell us anything about your plans for General Eisenhower?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no plans except that General Eisenhower is going back to finish his job in Germany. General Eisenhower is entitled to most anything he wants, and I want to help him get it. [Laughter] He is a grand gentleman, and an able leader, and a diplomat as well. An unusual combination in a military man.

Q. Mr. President, how long do you suppose it will be required for General Eisenhower to remain in Germany?

THE PRESIDENT. Your guess is as good as mine. I don't know. That is one of the things that will be settled at the conference of the Big Three, I hope.

Q. Mr. President, at the future meeting of the Big Three, do you consider Olympia as a suitable meeting place?

THE PRESIDENT. It will be an ideal place. [Laughter]

Q. Is there anything new on any Big Three plans that you could tell us?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I don't know of a thing that I can announce on it now.

[9.] Q. Have you decided definitely whether it will be possible to make the Mackinac Governors' Conference?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, due to this extended stay out here, and the fact that the situation in Missouri is one in which I must take a part, the Governors' Conference may be in some doubt at present, but I am going to still try to make it, if I can. That will depend altogether on the business situation from the Presidential standpoint in Washington, by the time I get through in Independence. Although I am in close touch with everything that is going on back in Washington, it may be necessary for me to be present personally in Washington to sign papers and things of that sort.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Hoover issued a lengthy statement about the food situation last night. He said that he thought the controls on meat distribution and meat prices had broken down completely. What is your reaction to that, sir ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't care to make any comment. When the Food Administrator takes charge, I think things will straighten out automatically.

[11.] Q. Is there any likelihood of your visiting Fort Lewis while you are here?

THE PRESIDENT. Only by proxy. My military aide probably will go over there. I have visited Fort Lewis and nearly every camp in the United States at one time or another within the last 3 1/2 years, and while I would like to visit Fort Lewis, the Governor and I have other things in contemplation besides inspection trips. [Laughter]

Q. What about Seattle, Mr. President? Will you visit there?

[12.] THE PRESIDENT. Well, I looked at Seattle from the air, and as I say, I visited Seattle on a number of occasions, and I think I am entitled to just a few days' vacation, and I would like to spend a vacation in Seattle, so far as that is concerned, but Olympia is a lovely place. [Laughter]

[13.] Q. Mr. President, touching on the food situation again, do you think the food situation will improve a great deal when the new Administrator takes over?

THE PRESIDENT. There isn't any question about that. We are working on that constantly all the time. This is no reflection on the present Administrator, who would straighten it out under him just the same. We are working constantly on it, and I hope we will get it straightened out. Mr. Hoover was helpful in the conversations I had with him on the subject, and I appreciated what he had to say. I haven't read his statement; therefore, that is the reason I can't comment on it.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, will your visit to Portland be limited to the airport, or will you go into the city proper?

THE PRESIDENT. Just speaking as I anticipate the thing, we will probably land at Portland about 11 o'clock and if they want to take a drive through the streets for a half hour or an hour, whatever they think is necessary, I can probably do that, and then come back and get aboard the plane and go on to San Francisco. It's just a courtesy call on the part of the President, on account of the urgings we had from the various people in Oregon, due to the fact that they claim to be the senior State in the Northwest. [Laughter] How about that?

Governor Wallgren: Too many arguments taking care of Missouri.

Q. Going to pay respects?

THE PRESIDENT. That's right. That is the intention exactly.

Q. Reversing the process ?

THE PRESIDENT. Reversing the process. [Laughter]

[15.] Q. Mr. President, could you give us some comment on Admiral Nimitz' statement this morning, that the Japs have finally been completely defeated at Okinawa?

THE PRESIDENT. That is all I know about it. That is only the--what the Admiral has said, and I of course am very happy that they are finally defeated. I understand that there are still some mopping-up operations that will be required, just as always is the case; but we are in complete possession of Okinawa, and it will be the base from which we will make it more "pleasant" for the Japanese in Japan.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, is there any possibility of a single control of food prices and food administration generally?

THE PRESIDENT. That is what we are trying to arrive at now. I hope so.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. [Some hurried exits]

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome. It's nice to be with you.

Q. Mr. President, may we have an afterthought? Did you mean to say that prices and food control would be under one head?

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. I meant.

Q. Misunderstanding?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't mean to convey that thought at all. I intended to have them in balance. That is the objective all the way along.

Note: President Truman's fourteenth news conference was held in Governor Mon C. Wallgren's office in the Legislative Building at the State Capitol in Olympia at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 21, 1945.

Harry S Truman, The President's News Conference at Olympia, Washington Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231935

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