Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949

Contents:
Author: Harry S Truman  | Date: June 30, 1949

144
The President’s News Conference of
June 30, 1949

THE PRESIDENT. I have no special announcements to make, so fire away with your questions when you are ready.

[1.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Baruch said yesterday that he thinks the overall plan for industrial mobilization in the event of war should go to Congress now.1 What do you think of that?

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

1On June 28 in an address at commencement exercises commemorating the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C., Bernard M. Baruch charged that the plans for the Nation’s mobilization were being obstructed.

The full text of the address is published in the Appendix to the Congressional Record (vol. 95, p. A 4134). Further statements by Mr. Baruch, made on October 3, concerning the need for a mobilization plan are published in the Appendix to the Congressional Record (vol. 95, p. A6025).

Q. What about the statement that neglect and vacillation is the reason for the present situation?

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

Q. Mr. President, did you ever reject any mobilization plan?

THE PRESIDENT. No.

Q. Did you ever receive any mobilization report, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. No,

Q. Do you consider that the administration is taking a needless gamble with the national security?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. There is no need to prolong the conversation at all. Mr. Baruch was misinformed, that’s all there is to it. The thing was amply answered by Charlie Ross.2

2 On June 29, Charles Ross, Secretary to the President, speaking as an unidentified White House source, stated that Mr. Baruch was "pretty badly informed" in his charge that President Truman had stopped an industrial mobilization plan prepared by the National Security Resources Board.

Mr. Ross stated that in the first place no such plan as described by Mr. Baruch had ever been presented to the Board. So the President, in turn, he said, could not have rejected a plan submitted to him by the Board.

Mr. Ross told the press that it would be shocking to think that the Government was doing no industrial mobilization planning as Mr. Baruch asserted, and stated that planning continued constantly. "Any Government would be derelict in its duty if it did not plan against eventualities," he added.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, do you hope for Senate decision on the displaced persons bill this session?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn’t catch the question?

Q. Do you hope for Senate decision on the D.P. bill?

THE PRESIDENT. I do hope for it, yes. That’s what I was talking to Senator McGruth about yesterday.

Q. Was he able to give you any assurance—

THE PRESIDENT. He assured me that there would be a bill reported to the Senate.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, have you decided on the SEC appointment yet?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I will make the announcement.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, would you sign the labor bill as the Senate passed it this afternoon?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that question when the bill comes before me. I can’t answer now.

Q. Mr. President, do you think the Senate’s action on this bill will help or hurt you in trying to defeat Taft?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have never undertaken to defeat Taft, so you have got your question based on a wrong premise. But the labor bill as it appears before me will be analyzed and either signed or vetoed, and I will attend to that when it comes up here.

Q. Mr. President, do you agree with certain labor leaders who have said that they think the fight to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act at this session is now lost?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don’t agree with them. The fight is going to continue just as hard as I can make it, to carry out the Democratic platform.

Q. Mr. President, does the effort to defeat Taft have your blessing?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not want to answer questions like that.

Q. How about the Democrats that are helping Taft, how do you feel about them?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment to make.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, the Government owns and operates the General Aniline Corporation, and they have fired a lot of people lately from the company’s plant at Binghamton, N.Y.—fired around 3,000 people lately, some of whom have been with the company 15 or 20 years. People are very disturbed, and they wonder whether the administration can do anything about that?

THE PRESIDENT. I know nothing about it. That is completely outside my purview.

Q. The Alien Property Custodian—

THE PRESIDENT. I know how it’s operated, but it isn’t under my direction, and I have no comment to make.

[6.] Q. Mr. President, the New York Herald Tribune has published stories recently about 5 percenters who claim to be able to sell influence to get ’people Government contracts. Secretary Johnson and some other people have denounced them. Would you care to make any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. I have always made it perfectly clear that a businessman doesn’t have to hire a go-between to get Government contracts. That has always been my stand. I made that perfectly clear, when I was running that Senate thing, to everybody who talked to me about it.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, on the situation in Hawaii, Senator Butler, as chairman of the subcommittee, brought out a report that communism has a firm grip out there and statehood is out of the question. Does your information support that conclusion?

THE PRESIDENT. No, it does not.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, there is a report that you might campaign in New York State this fall, in connection with the special Senate election?

THE PRESIDENT. Entirely without foundation in fact.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, can you inform us whether President Quirino of the Philippines is expected here for a visit in the next few months?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. Not that you know of.

THE PRESIDENT. Unless he decides to come, and if the announcement is officially made. He is in the Philippines, not here. I know nothing about his intention.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, were you surprisedat Mr. James Byrnes’s attack on your domestic program at Washington and Lee University?3

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

3On June 18, 1949, former Secretary of State James F. Byrnes was the principal speaker at exercises ending the university’s year-long observance of its 200th anniversary. In his address Mr. Byrnes stated that some of the suggested new Federal programs "point inevitably to a welfare state."

He declared, "We are going down the road to statism. Where we will wind up no one can tell. But if some of the new programs seriously proposed should be adopted, there is danger that the individual-whether farmer, worker, manufacturer, lawyer, or doctor—will soon be an economic slave pulling an oar in the galley of the state."

The full text of the address is published in the Congressional Record (vol. 95, P. 7904).

Q. Do you think there is any connection between his attack and Mr. Baruch’s?

THE PRESIDENT. Draw your own conclusions.

Q. What was that question, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if there was any connection between Byrnes’s attack and Baruch’s. I said I thought he could draw his own conclusions.

[11.] Q. Do you approve the method of the 5 and 10 economy resolution? 4

THE PRESIDENT. I can answer that question very well as I did the other day. Remember the cartoon that was in the Washington Star last night, with the dear old Congress hitting itself on the head with a hammer and asking me please to have him stop that? [Laughter] That cartoon answers that.

4In May and June 1949 several resolutions were introduced in Congress proposing that the President be directed to reduce appropriations 5 to 10 percent after they had been approved by the Congress.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, do you favor the Barden bill on aid to education?

THE PRESIDENT. I don’t know what the Barden bill is. I am after a bill on aid to education, and I am not writing the bill.

Q. Mr. President, would you mind telling us if you discussed that with Mr. Barden yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. I discussed aid to education with Mr. Barden and I urged him to get a bill out so that the House could vote on it. That is as far as the conversation went.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you expect the United States will agree to the Mexican request for aid in oil development?

THE PRESIDENT. J can’t answer that question now. It is under consideration.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment, sir, on the swimming pool disturbances in Anacostia? 5

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

5An incident involving interracial disturbances at a municipal swimming pool in Washington.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the move on the Hill to cut excise taxes?

THE PRESIDENT. No comment. I don’t know anything about it.

Q. The Senate Finance Committee voted 7 to 6 today to cut back the excise taxes to 1942 levels. Have you any—

THE PRESIDENT. I don’t know anything about it.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, there are a very complex series of negotiations going on in London these days on conditions of trade between the countries involved in the Marshall plan. Last week Mr. Hoffman said that the whole Marshall plan was in peril over failure to restore conditions of trade.6 I wonder whether you had any—

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can’t comment on it.

6On June 24 Paul G. Hoffman, Economic Cooperation Administrator, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee. In his testimony in support of a $4 billion appropriation for the ECA in fiscal year 1950, Mr. Hoffman said that unless the United States increased its purchases from Marshall plan countries, their dollar earnings would be inadequate for a self-sustaining economy. He placed the minimum increase needed at $1,500 million a year.

[17.] Q. Have you any report from the Treasury about the prospective size of the deficit this year?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No official report.

Q. Any unofficial report?

THE PRESIDENT. I can’t give it to you. I don’t give out unofficial reports.

Q. Can you give us a guess? [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can’t give you a guess.

Q. Mr. President, do you think it will be sufficient for a new tax bill, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I would advise you to read the veto messages that—to the tax bill—I wrote three of them. If you will read any one of those through thoroughly, you will find out just exactly what I think on the subject.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, can you say if you have been asked to speak for the Democratic candidate for Governor of New Jersey this fall?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, when Senator Chavez called on you, did you discuss the future course of CVA7 legislation in the Senate?

THE PRESIDENT. No, That wasn’t even mentioned.

7Columbia Valley Administration.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, does the strike in Hawaii modify your views regarding your recommendation for Hawaiian statehood?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all. Not at all. The Governor of Hawaii and the Secretary of the Interior were in to see me this morning, and the fact-finding commission has made a report on the strike situation in Hawaii, and I sincerely hope that that recommendation will be adopted and that the strike will cease. If they have been laboring under a delusion that maybe the President might take a hand in that situation, under present conditions the President has no power to take a hand in it at all.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, has Mr. Carpenter been asked to head the National Securities Resources Board?

THE PRESIDENT. What’s that?

Q. Mr. Carpenter—who used to be—

THE PRESIDENT. No, he hasn’t. When I get ready to make the announcement, I will tell you flatly who it is going to be. You won’t have to guess.

[22.] Q. Did you and Senator Chavez discuss United States-Argentine trade?

THE PRESIDENT. We did not.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, I believe you met with your Economic Advisers today. Did they give you any better picture as to whether we are now in a business recession?

THE PRESIDENT. When I get ready to issue that—that report on that conclusion will be answered. I can’t answer it now.

Q. Mr. President—

[24.] Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the Anglo-Argentine bilateral trade agreement?8

THE PRESIDENT. No comment.

8A statement by the Department of State commenting on the provisions of the Argentine-United Kingdom trade and payments agreement is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 21, p. 37). It was released to the press on June 27.

What was that question you tried to ask? We got interrupted.

[25.] Q. They were coming too fast for me. [Laughter] I was just wondering on this Finance Committee action to cut back excise taxes, that is certainly not in line with your program, is it?

THE PRESIDENT. I can’t comment on that, because I don’t know anything about what it is.

Q. Mr. President, would you favor or oppose a cut?

THE PRESIDENT. I will answer that questionwhen it comes to me. I can’t answer now.

[26.] Q. Mr. President, on William Green again. He also said that the Democrats who voted for the Taft-Hartley bill are enemies of labor.9 Do you agree with that?

THE PRESIDENT. I don’t want to speak for Mr. Green. I think he spoke very plainly for himself. I am making no comment on it.

9On June 29 William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, issued a public statement in which he said, "The Dixiecrats who voted against labor yesterday and thereby repudiated the Democratic Party’s platform pledges and repudiated the campaign pledges of the Democratic Party’s leader, President Truman, must be regarded as outright enemies of labor." A letter, dated June 29, from Mr. Green to Scott W. Lucas, Senate majority leader, regarding the situation is printed in the Congressional Record (vol. 95, p. 8578).

[27.] Q. Mr. President, Senator George said yesterday he thought you should tell the country that an increase in taxes would be unwise. Any comment?

THE PRESIDENT. Say that again. I didn’t get it.

Q. Another tax bill—an increase in taxes now would be unwise.

THE PRESIDENT. I don’t think Senator George has ever been for sufficient taxes to run the Government, so that is not unusual.

[28.] Q. Mr. President, the Minister of Economy for Chile saw you a few days ago and he said that he left with you a plan that would help you in your discussions on lower copper prices. Have you had a chance to study that document?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have read it, but there is no comment.

[29.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Vandenberg and Mr. John Foster Dulles have recently complained that in respect to China the administration is not following a bipartisan foreign policy. Do you draw any distinction between China and anywhere else?

THE PRESIDENT. I do not. I certainly do not.

[30.] Q. Mr. President, will you have some appointments to make on the War Claims Commission soon?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I hope so.

Q. Do you know when?

THE PRESIDENT. I will announce them as soon as they are ready.

[31.] Q. Mr. President, when we came in you said that you were prepared to answer a question, and it’s in the thing on your desk there. Have we asked it yet? [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT, No, you haven’t, so I will answer it for you without your asking it. [More laughter] It’s about the sesquicentennial that—the Commission or whatever is the proper name for it. They had a meeting with me back—Sesquicentennial Commission—on the 28th they had a meeting back in the Cabinet room, and I urged them to go ahead and try to put this sesquicentennial on, in spite of the fact that the House had turned down the appropriation. And it was suggested that they might obtain a loan on their possible income from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, but that requires permissive legislation from the Congress. But I hope they will go ahead with the program. I think it is a fine thing. 10

10 See Item 79.

Q. Mr. President, did you suggest that they ask the RFC for a loan?

THE PRESIDENT. I have suggested that they ask Congress for permission to ask the RFC for a loan.
Reporter: Well, thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. That’s all right.

NOTE: President Truman’s one hundred and eightyseventh news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, 1949.

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Chicago: Harry S Truman, "144 the President’s News Conference of," Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.592-593 341–343. Original Sources, accessed January 26, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PNFL7WP2VK4NAI.

MLA: Truman, Harry S. "144 the President’s News Conference of." Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.592-593, pp. 341–343. Original Sources. 26 Jan. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PNFL7WP2VK4NAI.

Harvard: Truman, HS, '144 the President’s News Conference of' in Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.592-593, pp.341–343. Original Sources, retrieved 26 January 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8PNFL7WP2VK4NAI.