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The President's News Conference

May 24, 1951

THE PRESIDENT. Please be seated.

[1.] I want to read you a reminder, then you can ask me questions.

[Reading, not literally] "I just want to remind everyone that next Wednesday is Memorial Day, and that we all have a duty on that day to pray for permanent peace as well as to honor the heroes of past wars.

"In the proclamation which I issued on May 23, 1950, pursuant to a joint resolution of the Congress, I proclaimed each succeeding Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and suggested 11 o'clock in the morning, eastern daylight saving time, as an appropriate time for each American according to his own religious faith, to beg divine aid in bringing enduring peace to a troubled world.

"I called then, and I call again upon the press, radio, television, and other media of public information to participate in this observance.

"This proclamation was first issued before the Communist aggression which made it necessary for the free nations to turn back the invaders in Korea. With our men, and the men of the other free nations, fighting this Memorial Day in Korea, it is more important than ever that we join--every one of us--in praying for the peace which is our objective."

You will have copies of this available when you go out, and I hope you will see that it gets proper circulation.
I am ready for questions now.

[2.] Q. Mr. President, some of the Democrats out in Denver1 have indicated that they would follow your preference in the selection of a convention city. Do you have any preference as between Chicago and Philadelphia?

THE PRESIDENT. No. That is a matter that the committee has to pass on. Either city is good. I have been in both places and had a good time. Nominated a winning ticket in both places! [Laughter]

1 The Western States Conference and the Midwest Conference of the Democratic Party met in Denver on May 23 and 24, and the Democratic National Committee met there on May 25. See also Item 110.

Q. Philadelphia seemed to work better than anywhere else, didn't it, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, Philadelphia was a little more controversial, but it came out all right. 2

2 The 1948 convention of the Democratic Party was held in Philadelphia.

Q. I meant for yourself, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am not sure about that. That depends on your viewpoint. [Laughter]

[3.] Q. Mr. President, your Secretary of Agriculture said that he hoped you would run in 1952. Do you share in that hope?

THE PRESIDENT. That is mighty nice of him, and I appreciate what he has to say. [More laughter]

Q. Mr. President, along that line, a few weeks ago, you said that you made up your mind, but that you were the only one that knew what your decision was ?

THE PRESIDENT. That is still good.

Q. I wonder if the ruckus kicked up over General MacArthur has changed your mind--

Voices: Louder--louder. Can't hear-can't hear back here !

THE PRESIDENT. He wanted to know if the ruckus kicked up over a great general from the Far East had changed my mind as to my ideas on the Presidency for the next 4 years. It has no effect on it whatever.

Q. What was your answer?
Q. The season is still on?

THE PRESIDENT. The season is still on. I said it has no effect on it. The season is still on. [Laughter]

Q. Would you care to elaborate on that line, sir?

Q. You said before that you had made up your mind ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. That is correct. But that doesn't close the gate to anybody else. You see, the Democratic Party is a little different from other parties. Anybody in the world who wants to, can run for the nomination for President in the Democratic Convention, and a lot of people do, always.

Q. Mr. President, has Mrs. Truman made up her mind as to whether you are going to run?

THE PRESIDENT. Mrs. Truman has never been very enthusiastic about my holding public office, but she has had to put up with it for 30 years. And I don't blame her at all. She and I understand each other.

Q. Mr. President, also with reference to Denver, Bill Boyle read a letter out there saying that you hoped to see some people before very long.3 Would you define that "before very long" for us ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think I told you-all you people that are interested in that sort of thing, that I would give you plenty of notice so that you could get your suitcases 'packed in plenty of time. Now, when the time comes around, I will make the announcement-if it does come around--so that you will have plenty of time to get ready to go with me, and I know all of you will want to go. [Laughter]

3 See Item 110.

[4.] Q. Mr. President, Ambassador Cowen of the Philippines is in town.4 Do you expect to see him on Philippine matters some time soon ?

THE PRESIDENT. I didn't understand the question?

4 Myron M. Cowen, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.

Q. Ambassador Cowen of the Philippines is in town for consultations. Do you care to. make any comment on his visit?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will see him. Whenever an Ambassador wants to see me, I always see him. I saw him when he first came back.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, if you should pack your bags and hit the road, would it be to resell the country on your foreign policy, or with some political overtones in view ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, that matter would have to take care of itself at the time, but the objective would be to tell the truth about domestic and foreign policy, just as I did in 1948. When the people have the facts, you can't fool them.

Q. If you or Mrs. Truman should decide that you might not want to run in 1952, have you any preferences ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, that is a hypothetical question, and not one that I can answer at this press conference.

Q. There has been some talk in the background about the Democrats having an eye on another general whom the Republicans are also planning on?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have heard something about that. There was something like that going on in 1948, if I am not mistaken. [Laughter]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, will you make public soon the report of Mr. Wilson 5 on the economic outlook, which is supposed to be out sometime early in the week?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know anything about any such report. I get a report from the Economic Advisers--who are there for that purpose--every week, and those reports are always available for--

5Charles E. Wilson, Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization and Chairman of the National Advisory Board on Mobilization Policy.

Q. Mr. President, this is one that goes back to your memorandum, following the so-called differences between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve? 6

THE PRESIDENT. That report has been under consideration. I have no comment to make on it as yet, because I have not analyzed it as completely as I want to.

6 See Item 44.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, back to your opening statement about the peace, there are rumors of peace feelers supposed to be coming from the Communist side. Would you say that the prospects for peace are better now ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the Secretary of State answered that question very fully yesterday.7

7At his press conference on May 23, Secretary of State Dean Acheson stated that the policy of the United States toward China had not changed, and that the United States Government still hoped to be able to negotiate a Korean peace settlement with the Communist regime in Peiping.

[8.] Q. Mr. President, have you any thoughts on the situation in Iran? For example, do you favor arbitration ?

THE PRESIDENT. I want to answer you again as I did the other gentleman over here, that the Secretary of State answered that very fully yesterday.8 If you will read his comments from his press conference, you will have the answer.

8 At his news conference on May 23, Secretary Acheson stated, "We believe very earnestly that the controversy between the British Government and the Iranian Government is a controversy which can be and should be settled by negotiation between those parties, and we indicated some of the principles which we thought were important in controlling the general conduct of those negotiations... The United States is the friend of, and is deeply concerned in the welfare and strength of both parties to the controversy." The text of his remarks on the subject is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 24, p. 891).

[9.] Q. Mr. President, do you consider this your second term ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, if you would read a little history, you will find that the first term of any President is the term to which he is elected.

Q. Well, that is a hypothetical situation. If you were a candidate in the next term, you would be running--it would be your second term ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, but that wouldn't make any difference, for the simple reason that I am exempted from that amendment, anyway--specifically.

Q. I was speaking only of tradition, not of the--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, let's cross that bridge when the time comes to do it.

Q. Would you care to express your views on the tenure of the Presidency?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I will do that at a later date.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, this is a local question. In New York there have been two long-standing vacancies on the U.S. District Court.

THE PRESIDENT. That is correct.

Q. The New York Lawyers Association has asked if you will appoint Lloyd Paul Stryker and Mr. Dimock.9 Is there any comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I have them under consideration.

9 Lloyd P. Stryker and Edward J. Dimock, New York attorneys. Mr. Dimock was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 11, 1951.

Q. You have them under consideration?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have them under consideration along with several others. And as soon as I come to a conclusion on it, I will announce it in plenty of time.
I am very careful about the appointment of judges to the Federal Courts. It is, I think, one of the most important things that the President of the United States does, because that is where the people come in contact with the Government under law. That is one of the greatest things that our Government stands for, is Government under law. And I am exceedingly careful about the appointment of Federal judges, and that is the reason I have hesitated about making these appointments. These gentlemen that have been recommended by the Bar Association are good men, but I think others are under consideration also.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can tell us now about a new Ambassador to Ireland ?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I can't tell you a thing about it because I don't know anything about it.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, nobody seems to have raised the MacArthur controversy this morning. [Laughter] Would you care to comment on Senator Wiley's 10 proposal that you testify before the--

THE PRESIDENT. Last week I made my position very clear on that controversy, and I have no further comment to make to that.

10 Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations which was holding joint hearings with the Senate Armed Services Committee on the removal of General MacArthur from his command in the Far East.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, General Van Fleet 11 said today the 8th Army is "attacking all along the entire front, and there is no limitation on its objective." I just wonder if that is any change at all in.--

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all. The commanders in the field have absolute control of the tactics and strategy, and they always have.

11Gen. James A. Van Fleet, new commander of the 8th Army in Korea.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, do you feel that Congress has made as much speed as it perhaps should have in the passage of the more vital legislation that is before it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, that is a very, very delicate question you have asked me. [Laughter] And I am not ready as yet to enter into a controversy with the Congress.

You can never tell what the record of a Congress will be until that Congress has adjourned for the period for which it has been meeting.