President Truman held a press conference, this January 3rd in 1952. True-to-form for most press conferences during his administration. Simple, direct; no frills. Just information and simple yes/no or “that’s my business” answers.
During this press conference, he’s asked about moving into the White House. At the time, the White House was under renovation; it was a project so expansive that it went from 1948 until January 1952. That explains the questions regarding allowing visitors access to the White House before the Truman’s could move in.
Another point was the ongoing issue of Universal Health Care. Certainly a topic that’s been discussed, fought over and legislated for and against. Here is the printed excerpt of that answer:
Q. Mr. President, after you set up the commission to study the health needs of the Nation, Dr. Cline, the president of the American Medical Association, had quite a lot to say about it. He opposed the idea and said that he thought you were misusing emergency funds by setting up this commission. I wonder if you have any comment ?
THE PRESIDENT. He is entitled to think anything he wants to, but I have got a little statement that I want to read you about it, which covers it.
[Reading] “I established the Commission on the Health Needs of the Nation because I want to see to it that the health of our people is protected and that sick people receive adequate medical care.” Which they are not doing now.
“The purpose of the Commission is to study the facts and to give us the recommendations of high-calibre professional and lay persons. Their findings will help the public to get rid of the confusion that has grown up as a result of the bitter attacks upon any constructive measures I have supported to bring adequate health care to all our people. The fact that we lost over 500 million man-days of work due to illness in the last fiscal year is evidence enough that we must keep fighting the drain on our strength due to sickness and disease.
“I appointed as Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Paul Magnuson, an eminent surgeon whose reputation for integrity and devotion to the public service are absolutely unquestionable. Every one of the other 14 members of the Commission was recommended to me by Dr. Magnuson. I would not have asked the doctor to serve on the Commission under any other arrangement. Every one of the 14 members had indicated a willingness to serve prior to the public announcement of the establishment of the Commission.
“The sole purpose of my Commission was to get representative opinions from both the medical profession and the lay public on the best means for alleviating the suffering of millions of Americans. The only condition on the selection of the Commission was a willingness on the part of each member to approach each problem with an open mind and weigh the facts and to suggest solutions to the problems. The Commission will operate in this framework and will have its first meeting in Washington next week.”
The Press conference lasted a little over 15 minutes, and as was the custom during this time, it wasn’t broadcast. The broadcasting of Presidential Press Conferences wouldn’t start until the Eisenhower Administration in 1955.
But to get an idea of what it sounded like before it became a media event, here is that press conference in its entirety from January 3, 1952.