Harry S. Truman photo

The President's News Conference on the Railway Labor Negotiations

May 18, 1946

THE PRESIDENT. The Engineers and Trainmen have agreed to postpone the strike date from 4 o'clock, May 18, to 4 o'clock, May 23.

That is in response to a request that I made from them, by giving them assurance that I was sure that further progress could be made in the negotiations with the railways if they were willing to negotiate further.

Now, get this carefully: The Trainmen's key word--the Trainmen's key word for Postponement is Convention; the Engineers' key word for postponement is Johnston-J-o-h-n-s-t-o-n.

I called them at 3 o'clock, and they called me back at 3:34, and accepted the suggestion.

Q. You called them at 3?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes.

Q. You called when?

THE PRESIDENT. I called them at 3 o'clock, and then they called hack at 3:34.

Q. They agreed to postpone on your assurance that--

Dr. Steelman [to the President]: You used this word instead of "move."

THE PRESIDENT. Use the word "move" instead of "postpone" there. The Engineers and Trainmen have agreed to move the strike date from 4 o'clock, May 18, to 4 o'clock, May 23.

Q. What is the meaning of that key word?

THE PRESIDENT. That means they will not strike.

Dr. Steelman: The Trainmen will not strike.

THE PRESIDENT. The Trainmen will not strike.

Q. Been given the assurance that--

THE PRESIDENT. Assured them that I was confident that further progress could be made, if they were willing to negotiate further.

Q. Could you tell us what you base that on, sir? Did you confer with the railroad officials before you told them that?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I didn't; but I am confident that that will happen.

Q. Will they be resumed in Washington, Mr. President? They are standing by here.

THE PRESIDENT. They will be resumed immediately.

Q. This key word, sir, is that the key word for resuming

THE PRESIDENT. For postponement of the strike for moving the strike date. The key word is to call off the strike at this time.

Q. Anything on coal?

Q. [Interposing] Convention is for Trainmen, and what for Engineers?

Voices: Johnston.

THE PRESIDENT. Johnston--J-o-h-n-s-t-o-n.

Q. Mr. President, did you say the negotiations would be resumed here?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. They will fly here tomorrow.

Q. Mr. President, did you talk to--to Whitney and--to both of them?

THE PRESIDENT. I talked to Whitney and Johnston.

Q. Double setup.

Reporter: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. That's all right.

Note: President Truman's sixty-sixth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 3:53 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 1946.

Harry S. Truman, The President's News Conference on the Railway Labor Negotiations Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231536

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