Truman and the Atom Bomb November 30, 1950 News Conference The following is from the New York Times:

Truman press conference President Truman declared today that the UN forces in Korea were determined to fight to the bitter end for justice and world peace and warned we would us the atomic bomb, if necessary, to assure victory. In his prepared statement Mr. Truman said: Recent development in Korea confront the world with a serious crisis. The Chinese Communist leaders have sent their troops from Manchuria to launch a strong and well organized attack against the United Nations force in North Korea This has been done despite prolonged and earnest efforts to bring home to the Communist leaders of China the plain fact that neither the United Nations nor the United States had any aggressive intentions toward China. Because of the historic friendship between the people of the United States and China it is particularly shocking to us to think that Chinese are being forced into battle against our troops in the United Nations command The Chinese attack was made in great force, and it still continues. It has resulted in the forced withdrawal of large parts of the United Nations command. The battlefield situation is uncertain at this time. We may suffer reverses as we have suffered then before. But the forces of the United Nations have no intention of abandoning their mission in Korea The forces of the United Nations are in Korea to put down an aggression that threatens not only the whole baric of the United Nations, gut all human hopes of peace and justice. If the United Nations yields to the forces of aggression, no nation s will be safe or secure. If aggression is successful in Korea, we can expect it to spread through Asia and Europe to this hemisphere. We are fighting in Korea for our own national security and survival. We have committed ourselves to the cause of a just and peaceful world order through the United Nations. We stand by that commitment. We shall meet the new situation in three ways. We shall continues to work in the United Nations for concerted action to halt this aggression in Korea. We shall intensify our efforts to hep other free nations strengthen their defenses in order to "meet the threat of aggression elsewhere. We shall rapidly increase our own military strength. In the United Nations, the first step is action by the Security Council to halt this aggression. Ambassador Warren Austin is pressing for such action. We shall exert every effort to help bring the full influence of the United Nations to bear on the situation in Korea. Some had hoped that the normal peaceful process of discussion and negotiation, which is provided through the United Nations, could be successfully entered into with the present Chinese Communist delegation at Lake Success. There is, however, no indication that the representatives of Communist China are willing to engage in this process. Instead of discussing the real issues, they have been making violent and wholly false statement of the type which have often been used by the Soviet representatives in an effort to prevent the Security Council from acting. We hope that the Chinese people will not continue to be forced or deceivedinto serving the ends of the Russian colonial policy in Asia. I am certain that, if the Chinese people now under the control of the Communists were free to speak for themselves, they would denounce this aggression against the United Nations Because this new act of aggression in Korea is only a part of a world-wide pattern of danger ot all the free nations of the world it is more necessary than ever before for us to increase at a very rapid rate the combined military strength of the free nations. It is mor ncessary than ever tha integrated forces in Europe under a supreme command be established at once. With respect to our own defense I shall submit a supplemental request for appropriations needed immediately to increase the size and effectiveness of our armed forces. The request will include a substantial amount for the Atomic Energy commission in addito to large amounts for the Army, the navy and the Air Force. I expect to confer tomorrow with Congressional leaders and ask them to give urgent consideration to these appropriations. This is a time for all our citizens to lay aside differences and unit in firmness and mutual determination to do what is best for our country and the cause of freedom throughout the world. This country is the keystone of the hopes of mankind for peace and justice. We must show that we are guided by a common purpose and common faith. Following the prepared statement a reporter asked Mr. Truman about use of the atomic bomb: Q - Mr President, will attacks in Manchuria depend on action in the United Nations A - Yes, entirely. Q - In other words if the UN resolution should authorize general MacArthur to go further than has he well... A - (Mr. Truman interposing) All necessary steps to meet the military situation would be taken just as we always have. Q - Will that include the atomic bomb? A - That would include every weapon we have Q - Mr. President, you said every weapon that we have. Does that mean that there is active consideration of the use of the atomic bombss A - Always there has been active consideration of its use, but he did not want to see it used. It was a terrible weapon that should not be used on innocent men, women and children who had nothing whatever to do with military aggression. And when it was used it did hur innocent people. Q - Mr. President, I wonder if we could retrace that reference to the atomic bomb" did we understand you clearly that the use of the atomic bomb is under active consideration? A - It always had been, it was one of our weapons Q - Does that Mean, Mr. President, use against military objectives or civilian... A - ((Mr. Truman interposing) Selection of the objectives or targets was for the military authorities to decide. He was not the military authority that passed on those things. Q - Mr. President, you said this depends on the United Nations action. Does that mean that we would not use the atomic bomb except on a United Nations authorization. A - No, it did not means that at all. The action against Communist China depended on the action of the United Nations. The military commander in the field would have charge of the use of the weapons as always. Some correspondents, and others, believed the president to infer that MacArthur or others would decide whether or not the bomb should be used, which was not what the president said. What he said was the commander in the field would select the target. ****** Mention of the possible use of the atom bomb caused a considerable stir both in the United States and abroad. It was necessary several hours later for the White House to issue a follow up statement making it clear that only the president had the authority to use the atom bomb and had not authorized its use. The president wanted to make it certain that their is no misinterpretion of his answers to question at his press conference today about the use of the atom bomb. Naturallly there has been consideration of this subject since the outbreak of the hostilities in Koren,just as there is consideration of the use of all miltiary weapons whenever our forces are in combat. Consideration of the use of any weapon is always implicity in the very possession of that weappon. However, it should be emphasized,that by the, only the president can authorizede the use of the atom bomb, and no such authorization has been given. If and when such authorization should be given,the military commander in the fireld would have charge of the tactical delivery of the weaponws In brief, the replies to the questions at today's prss conference do not re4present any change in this situatio