The President's News Conference

July 17, 1947

THE PRESIDENT. I have a couple of announcements to make to you.

[1.] I am going to appoint the Honorable James Forrestal, the Secretary of the Navy; the Honorable Arthur S. Flemming, Civil Service Commissioner; the Honorable Dean Acheson of Washington, D.C.; and the Honorable George H. Mead, Dayton, Ohio, on the Commission on the Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government. There will be a mimeographed copy of the letter which went to each one of them for you when you go out.

[2.] Now I am reappointing the three members presently on the National Labor Relations Board, Mr. Paul Herzog whose term expires in 1950, Mr. John Houston whose term expires in 1948, Mr. James Reynolds whose term expires in 1951, and J. Copeland Gray, Buffalo, N.Y., for a term of 2 years, Abe Murdock of Utah for a term of 5 years; and I am nominating as General Counsel, Mr. Robert N. Denham of Maryland for a term of 4 years.

Q. Is that D-e

THE PRESIDENT. D-e-n-h-a-m.

I am designating Paul Herzog as Chairman of the new Board. We will have autographs -- autobiography -- a biography of each one of them when you go out.

Q. Will that include Denham's biography ?


Q. Mr. President, does that take care of the Counsel ?

THE PRESIDENT. The Counsel is Denham.

Q. Denham, you said ? Of Maryland.

THE PRESIDENT. He lives in Maryland.

Q. What's he been doing?

Q. What's he been doing, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. One at a time, please. [Laughter]

Q. Autobiography contain their--what their politics are-- their biographies?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't know. I suppose it will. I suppose it will. Gray is a Republican. Murdock is a Democrat. And Denham's a Republican, if that will be of any help to you.

Q. Just helping out the Republicans!

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, you are helping them out? [Laughter]

Q. Was it legally necessary for you to reappoint the present members ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it was.

[3.] Q. Mr. President, is there a nomination for the Mediation Conciliation Service?

THE PRESIDENT. No, not yet. I will announce that.

[4.] Q. Can you tell us anything more about Mr. Denham, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. He is the General Counsel for the Board. A Maryland Republican.

Q. What's he been doing lately, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. He has been one of the assistant counselors to the Board.

Mr. Ross: The background is fully given on that.

THE PRESIDENT. YOU will have the background when you get outside.

[5.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the fact that I asked you about Mr. Gray the other day, when you said his name hadn't been presented to you-


Q. Can you tell us now how it happened to be presented, or who presented it?


Q. I asked you about him the other day.

THE PRESIDENT. I couldn't answer you then because his name hadn't been presented to me at that time. It was presented and I thought he filled the bill, so I appointed him.

[6.] Q. These people are more or less in sympathy with the new act?

THE PRESIDENT. They certainly are. They have to be.

Q. I just wanted to bring it up.

THE PRESIDENT. They have to be.

[7.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to Kentucky about the first of August?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so. I have no engagements from now until next Christmas that I know of. [Laughter]

[8.] Q. Mr. President, I understand your shipping commissioners met yesterday with Dr. Steelman. I imagine their recommendations concerned additional passenger ships-construction ?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't discussed the matter with Dr. Steelman.

Q. Mr. President, has anything in particular been done to revive coastwise shipping, which is pretty dormant now?

THE PRESIDENT. I imagine that's what the conference was about yesterday, but I haven't discussed the matter with Dr. Steelman or anybody else.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, I have noticed some stories and some editorials to the effect that more gas and oil were consumed last year than in the peak of the wartime period, and that within 25 years our supplies here would be exhausted. Is that being taken up on your level at all?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it is being studied.

Q. Is there anything you can give us ?

THE PRESIDENT. I can give you nothing in regard to it, because that is a part of the economic survey which is being made for the country now.

Q. What was that answer?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a part of the economic survey being made--being made now for the country.

Q. Is that the one you will send to Congress Monday ?

THE PRESIDENT. No--no, no. This is the one that has to do with implementation of the Marshall plan.

[10.] Q. Mr. President, will your veto message on the tax bill indicate what you think is the right way and the right time to reduce taxes ?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the best thing for you to do is to wait and read the veto message which will be out soon. You only have about 9 hours to wait. [Laughter]

[11.] Q. Mr. President, you spoke just now of the implementation of the Marshall plan. That's what the point of your economic message will be?

THE PRESIDENT. NO, no, we have appointed a large commission to make a survey of the resources of the United States. That will take in oil and everything else.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, many European countries have interpreted the fact that there will be no special session of Congress in the fall to mean that they can't look forward to any aid from us until some time next spring when the Congress would act. Is that a correct interpretation?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that for you. I don't know anything about what the interpretations are.

[13.] Q. Mr. President, the oil--National Coal Association, rather, issued a statement yesterday regarding a letter they had sent to you. Is that letter--which indicates that they can't hold down prices-going to affect your message to Congress Monday ?

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen the letter and it wouldn't affect the message.

[14.] Q. Mr. President, are you prepared to grow a beard or pay a fine, in connection with that question that Earl Godwin asked you a while ago? 1

THE PRESIDENT. I just now heard about it, but I haven't been officially notified as yet. But I will be fined. I will wait and see what happens. I don't expect to grow a beard. [Laughter]

1 The White House Official Reporter noted that prior to the opening of the news conference Earl Godwin of the American Broadcasting Company told the President of an Associated Press item which stated that the President was going to be fined $3.25 for not growing a beard for the celebration marking the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Santa Fe Trail.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to appoint--I am asked to ask you this..


Q. an emergency board in the Southern Pacific Railway case? You know they have a strike call for Monday.

THE PRESIDENT. I imagine that they will follow the usual procedure of the Railway Labor Act.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, is the Ambassador to Mexico coming home soon ?

THE PRESIDENT. Not that I know of.

Q. There has been some talk about it.

THE PRESIDENT. I haven't heard it.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, are you going to touch on the GI terminal leave bonds the bill is pending in Congress--on Monday in your Economic Report?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, the Economic Report is just like the veto message. It will speak for itself. You will have it this Saturday, so you will have plenty of time to study it for Monday. That will answer your question.

[18.] Q. Mr. President--what is your opinion, Mr. President, on the very cool reception given to your message on flood control by the majority group in the

THE PRESIDENT. Did it have a cool reception? I didn't know that.

Q. Mr. Taber received it

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, that's to be expected. He criticizes everything. [Laughter] I don't think that's a barometer as to What the Congress may do.

Q. Are you hopeful then, sir, that they will appropriate $250 million at this session ?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course I am. That's the reason I asked for it. I am sending down the budget on the subject immediately.

Q. This session?

THE PRESIDENT. In fact they have it, I think, now.

Q. When did you say you were sending down the budget?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it went today. I am sure I signed the request today.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, last week you were asked what your stand might be on the community property states and the noncommunity property states being put on the same basis of taxation. You said that was up for the Congress to decide.

THE PRESIDENT. That's right.

Q. Does that mean, though, that you would sign a bill that the Congress gave you that had such provisions?

THE PRESIDENT. Well now, I will have to decide that when the bill comes before me.

[20.] Q. Mr. President, is there any possibility of your attending the opening of the Rio de Janeiro conference?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think so.

Q. Mr. President, will Senator Vandenberg be named a member of the United States delegation to the Rio conference ?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I will answer that when the appointments are made.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, is there anything you can say on this report that Mr. Forrestal is to be the head of all the armed services?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that. I will take care of that when it comes up. The bill hasn't even been passed yet. When it comes to me, I will let you know just as soon as I have made up my mind.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, back to this question of your trip to Brazil, is there any possibility that you will go down there in August?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that, Smitty.1 I have been contemplating a trip to Brazil, but no arrangements have been made for the trip, and I don't know what the situation will be. When I get ready to go to Brazil, I will let you know in plenty of time so you can get ready, Smitty. [Laughter ]

1 Merriman Smith of the United Press.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, have you reached a decision about where the USES should be, either in the Labor Department

THE PRESIDENT. I have always held that it should be in the Labor Department. My position hasn't changed on that at all.

[24.] Q. Mr. President, what is your reaction to the fact that coal prices seem to be going right up ?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no comment on that because I don't know what's going to happen. I will answer that at a later date.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You're welcome.

NOTE: President Truman's one hundred and twelfth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 4 o'clock on Thursday afternoon, July 17, 1947.