Correspondence: 1945
    Commentary by Steve Neal


    1. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, APRIL 16, 1945

 

    My dear Mr. President:

    There have been many thousands of letters, telegrams and cards sent to me and my children which have brought great comfort and consolation to all of us. This outpouring of affectionate thought has touched us all deeply and we wish it were possible to thank each and every one individually.

    My children and I feel, in view of the fact that we are faced with the paper shortage and are asked not to use paper that all we can do is to express our appreciation collectively. We would therefore consider it a great favor if you would be kind enough to express our gratitude for us.

    Sincerely,
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    

The next morning, Truman held the first news conference of his presidency and read this letter to more than three hundred reporters. When Mrs. Roosevelt moved to Hyde Park, the president sent along a stenographer to help manage her correspondence. Soon afterward, Truman was embarrassed when a senior aide, Eddie McKim, ordered White House secretaries to quit answering Eleanor's condolence letters. "Mrs. Roosevelt is no longer riding the gravy train," McKim said in issuing the order. When this unfortunate comment showed up in print, Truman fired McKim.


    2. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, APRIL 20, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President,

    As you see by the paper accompanying this little donkey, he has long been in my husband's possession and was on his desk. He looks a bit obstinate and Franklin said he needed a reminder sometimes that his decisions had to be final and taken with a sense that God would give guidance to a humble beast. Once having decided something, the obstinate little donkey kept his sense of humor and determination going against great pressure.

    I cannot leave this house without thanking you and Mrs. Truman again for your kindness and consideration.

    My best wishes for you and our country and may God bless and guide you.

    Sincerely yours,


    


    3. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO BESS TRUMAN, APRIL 25, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Truman:

    As you know, the President's wife is always asked to be Honorary President of the Girl Scouts. I have found that this does not take very much time.

    I have been asked to act as Honorary Vice-President, and also that I send you a line about their letter asking you to serve. I have agreed to serve as Honorary Vice-Chairman with the understanding that I can do no active work for them for sometime.

    My sons and I have been working hard trying to straighten out various details, but it is still difficult to believe that my husband is not off on a trip.

    My very best wishes to you,

    Very sincerely yours,


    


    4. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, APRIL 28, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I am sorry that I have been so long in thanking you for the little donkey which you sent me for my desk.

    He certainly is in a typical mulish attitude and, as the President used to say, when I have a hard decision to make I will look at him, think of you and the President, and then try to make the best decision.

    Sincerely yours,

    

Mrs. Roosevelt moved out of the White House on the morning of April 23. When she gave Bess and Margaret Truman a private tour, they were startled to find it in poor structural condition. The floors and ceilings sagged, plaster was cracking everywhere, carpets were threadbare and dusty, and some of the drapes were rotting. Congress had approved $50,000 in expenditures for housekeeping and maintenance. But Mrs. Roosevelt may have thought it wasteful to spend taxpayer funds during the war for her family's comfort. For nearly half of his presidency, Truman would live in Blair House, the guest house of the president, which is on Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House, while the executive mansion was being renovated.


    5. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, MAY 8, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President,

    I listened to your Proclamation this morning and I was deeply moved. I am so happy that this Day has come and the war in Europe is over. It will in a small way lighten your burdens for which we are all grateful.

    My congratulations to you on your Proclamation and on your birthday, and my best wishes that your future birthdays will be happier ones.

    Very sincerely yours,

    Don't bother to answer please! My warm regards to Mrs. Truman.

    

In his address to the American people, Truman declared: "Our victory is but half-won. The West is free, but the East is still in bondage to the treacherous tyranny of the Japanese. When the last Japanese division has surrendered unconditionally, then only will our fighting be done." Mrs. Roosevelt observed in her column, "I can almost hear my husband's voice make that announcement, for I heard him repeat it so often." But she could not celebrate because men were still dying in the Pacific war. "Some of my own sons, "she wrote, "with millions of others, are still in danger."


    6. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, MAY 10, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Your note of the 8th is most highly appreciated. The whole family were touched by your thoughtfulness.

    I noticed in your good column today you expressed some surprise at the Russian attitude on the close of the European War.

    I think that I should explain the situation to you. On Wednesday, April 25, our minister to Sweden sent a message to me saying that Himmler wanted to surrender to General Eisenhower all their troops facing the western front and that the Germans would continue to fight the Russians. Before our state department could get the message deciphered the prime minister called me from London and read the message to me. That was the great mystery of the trip to the Pentagon building.

    The matter was discussed with our staff and the offer was very promptly refused. The Russians were notified of our joint action. Prince Bernadotte of Sweden informed our minister that Hitler had had a brain blowup of some sort and would be dead in twenty-four hours so Himmler had informed him. The p.m. and I decided that when the Gestapo butcher said a man would be dead in twenty-four hours he usually made good on the promise.

    Negotiations went on for two more days we always insisting on complete, unconditional surrender on all fronts. The German idea, of course, was to split the three great powers and perhaps make things easier for themselves. Our headquarters kept me informed all the time by almost hourly messages. We were nearly at an agreement and the famous Connally statement came out and completely upset the apple cart. Himmler was displaced by Admiral Doenitz and a new start was made.

    Germans delayed and delayed, trying all the time to quit only on the western front. They finally offered Norway, Denmark, Holland, and the French ports they still held, but wanted to keep resisting the Russians. Our commanding general finally told them that he would turn loose all we had and drive them into the Russians. They finally signed at Rheims the terms of unconditional surrender effective at 12:01 midnight of May 8 9.

    In the meantime Churchill, Stalin, and I had agreed on a simultaneous release at 9:00 a.m., Washington time, 3:00 p.m., London, and 4:00 p.m., Moscow time. Then the Associated Press broke faith with General Eisenhower. The Germans kept fighting the Russians and Stalin informed me that he had grave doubts of the Germans carrying out terms. There was fighting on the eastern front right up to the last hour.

    In the meantime Churchill was trying to force me to break faith with the Russians and release on the seventh, noon, Washington time, 6:00 p.m., London, 7:00 p.m., Moscow. I wired Stalin and he said the Germans were still firing. I refused Churchill's request and informed Stalin of conditions here and in England and that unless I heard from him to the contrary I would release at 9:00 a.m., May 8. I didn't hear so the release was made, but fighting was still in progress against the Russians. The Germans were finally informed that if they didn't cease firing as agreed they would not be treated as fighting men but as traitors and would be hanged as caught. They then ceased firing and Stalin made his announcement the ninth.

    He had sent me a message stating the situation at 1:00 a.m., May 8, and asking postponement until May 9. I did not get the message until 10:00 a.m., May 8, too late, of course, to do anything.

    I have been trying very carefully to keep all my engagements with the Russians because they are touchy and suspicious of us. The difficulties with Churchill are very nearly as exasperating as they are with the Russians. But patience I think must be our watchword if we are to have world peace. To have it we must have the wholehearted support of Russia, Great Britain, and the United States.

    I hope this won't bore you too much, but I thought you'd like to know the facts. Please keep it confidential until it can be officially released.

    Please accept my thanks again for your good message.

    Most sincerely,

    

Until the last possible moment, Churchill kept pressing Truman to make the announcement without the Russians. "He finally had to stick to the agreement but he was mad as a wet hen," the president wrote in a letter to his mother and sister. When Mrs. Roosevelt noted in her column that the Russians had delayed their announcement, Truman wanted her to know that he had played straight with Stalin.


    7. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, MAY 14, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    I was very much touched to have you take the trouble to write to me that long letter in longhand about the Russian situation. Please, if you write again, do have it typed because I feel guilty to take any of your time.

    I am typing this because I know my husband always preferred to have things typed so he could read them more quickly and my handwriting is anything but legible.

    Your experience with Mr. Churchill is not at all surprising. He is suspicious of the Russians and they know it. If you will remember, he said some pretty rough things about them years ago and they do not forget.

    Of course, we will have to be patient, and any lasting peace will have to have the three Great Powers behind it. I think, however, if you can get on a personal basis with Mr. Churchill, you will find it easier. If you talk
    to him about books and let him quote to you from his marvelous memory everything on earth from Barbara Fritche to the Nonsense Rhymes and Greek tragedy, you will find him easier to deal with on political subjects. He is a gentleman to whom the personal element means a great deal.

    Mr. Churchill does not have the same kind of sense of humor that the Russians have. In some ways the Russians are more like us. They enjoy a practical joke, roughhouse play, and they will joke about things which Mr. Churchill thinks are sacred. He takes them dead seriously and argues about them when what he ought to do is laugh. That was where Franklin usually won out because if you know where to laugh and when to look upon things as too absurd to take seriously, the other person is ashamed to carry through even if he was serious about it.

    You are quite right in believing that the Russians will watch with great care to see how we keep our commitments.

    A rumor has reached me that that message from Mr. Stalin to you was really received in plenty of time to have changed that hour but it was held back from you. Those little things were done to my husband now and then. I tell you of this rumor simply because while you may have known about it and decided that it was wise just not to receive it in time, you told me in your letter that you did not receive it and I have known of things which just did not reach my husband in time. That is one of the things which your military and naval aides ought to watch very carefully.

    Sometime when you have time, since my son, Elliott, is in Washington now and then, you might like to let him tell you about what he learned of the Russians when he was there. He was in Russia quite a good deal and helped establish our air force there and he has an old friend who is the only American who has flown with the Russians from the very beginning. Elliott gets on well with them and understands the peculiar combination that can look upon human life rather cheaply at times and yet strive for an ideal of future well-being for the people and make the people believe in it. He has an understanding of their enjoyment of drama and music and the arts in general and he realizes what few people seem to understand namely that when you telescope into a few years of development in civilization which has taken hundreds of years for the people around you to achieve, the development is very uneven.

    I will, of course, keep confidential anything which comes to me in any letter from you and I will never mention it, and I would not use a private letter in any public way at any time.

    I would not presume to write you this letter only you did say you would like me to give you some little personal impressions of these people, gathered from my husband's contacts, before you went to meet them and as I realize that may happen soon, I thought perhaps you would like this letter now.

    If you or any of your family ever feel like getting away from formality and spending a few days with me in this very simple cottage I should love to have you and I am quite accustomed to the necessary secret service protection.

    With much gratitude for the trouble which you took, and with my kind regards to Mrs. Truman and your daughter, believe me,
    Very cordially yours,

    

Surprised that Truman had reacted to her column by writing her a detailed letter, Mrs. Roosevelt responded in kind with this thoughtful message. This exchange marked a turning point in their correspondence. She now realized that Truman took her views seriously and that her syndicated column was an invaluable public forum.


    8. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, MAY 18, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt,

    You don't know how very, very much I appreciated your letter of the fourteenth, in reply to my longhand letter explaining the situation with Russia. It gave me a lift and also a lot of information which will be very helpful to me.

    I had a very pleasant visit with Elliott and Anna and they also gave me some vital information, of which I can make very good use, I am sure.

    Whenever I can be of service in any way, please feel free to call on me.

    Sincerely yours,


    

An Army Air Corps pilot in World War II, Mrs. Roosevelt's son Elliott flew more than three hundred combat missions, was twice wounded, and rose to the rank of brigadier general. Anna, the eldest child and only daughter of Eleanor and Franklin, had accompanied her father to the Yalta conference and served as an aide during the final months of his presidency.


    9. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO BESS TRUMAN, MAY 26, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Truman:

    Many thanks for your check for the food which you bought from the supply we had in the White House. I very much appreciate your doing this.

    I hope you are comfortably settled by now and that all is going well. I am still trying to sort out and divide possessions for my children and with two of them in the Pacific, it is a little difficult to decide what they may want. A house that has been lived in as long as the house here, certainly gathers and keeps a great many things which are now difficult to dispose of.

    With many thanks again and my warm good wishes, I am,

    Very cordially yours,
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    


    10. BESS TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, MAY 31, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Indeed I feel very much indebted to you for letting us have all that food. It was a great help. I have thought of you so often, realizing how much you must have to do in sorting out your many belongings and in the great accumulation which followed you from here. Even moving from an apartment seemed to bring to light any number of possessions, and I am appalled to think of what you must have faced after living for twelve years in the one place.

    If you plan to be in Washington any time I hope you will let me know so I may see you again. It is something that I always look forward to. Thank you for your note and I hope that even your capable hands are not being overwhelmed with work.

    Sincerely yours,
    Bess W. Truman

    


    11. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, JUNE 3, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    I am enclosing a copy of a letter which I have just sent to Mr. Hannegan, as I have been doing a lot of thinking along these lines since I have been back in New York State .

    . . . I have no idea whether you agree with me or not, but all I can do is to send you the results of my observations and my conversations with people in the last few weeks.

    I should also like to bring to your attention, in case you missed it, a broadcast which came from overseas in Germany the morning of June 2nd, shortly after midnight. I listened because I know Bill Chaplin, the AP reporter who was one of the speakers. I know he is an honest and reliable reporter. This was the last apparently of three reports from Germany but it was the first I heard and it horrified me. I think it would be worth your while to get it and read it. It came over WEAF in New York City. If such conditions actually exist in Germany I think the people of this country have a right to feel outraged and I gather from letters I received from boys now in Germany that these conditions are not exaggerated by this reporter. I am quite sure that both the Secretary of War and General Marshall as well as yourself should read these broadcasts.

    Please do not bother to answer this letter. I simply felt that I had an obligation to write to you.

    Very cordially yours,

    

Robert E. Hannegan (1903-1949), Democratic national chairman from 1944 until 1947, played a critical role in the removal of Wallace and selection of Truman for the vice presidency. In May 1945, Truman appointed him postmaster general, which then had cabinet rank. By sending the president a copy of this letter, Mrs. Roosevelt signaled that she would remain politically active. Now that the war was ending, she favored a return to the social activism of the New Deal.


    12. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, JUNE 5, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    I have never thanked you for your kind thought in sending the wreath up to my husband's grave on Memorial Day. The little ceremony was dignified & moving & I was glad that I could be there.

    You have been very kind & I am very grateful.

    Sincerely yours,

    


    13. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, JULY 2, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    It has been suggested to me by the United Feature Syndicate for which I write a column, that they would be glad to have me go to Russia .

    . . . I haven't spoken to the syndicate about going at any immediate time because I wanted first to make sure that it would meet with your approval to have me go to Russia, either now or in the spring.

    I would want to go as a correspondent in the usual way, but I realize that being my husband's widow, there would have to be a little more of the formal paying of respects and possibly even some entertainment. I would do my best to keep this down to a minimum, but I naturally do not want to be rude or to offend the Russian government and the Russian people. I would primarily be gathering information on the situation and interests of women and children from every angle and I would hope that the whole trip could be undertaken and finished in the space of four to six weeks.

    Please be entirely frank in your own feelings in the matter because it is far more important that you not be hampered or bothered by anything anyone else does, and I know that your path at the present time must be anything but smooth.

    With all good wishes to you in the fight for the quick ratification of the charter, believe me.

    Very cordially yours,

    


    14. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, AUGUST 8, 1945

 

    To the President:

    Welcome home. Much interested in your great achievements.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    


    15. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, AUGUST 9, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I certainly did appreciate very much your message of last night. We seem to have had a reasonably successful conference. I am hoping to make a report on it tonight over the radio.

    It was kind and thoughtful of you to remember me.

    With very best wishes from Mrs. Truman and myself, I am

    Sincerely yours,

    

The Potsdam Conference, which opened on July 17,1945, and concluded on August 2, marked Truman's debut on the world stage. Stalin arrived late and Churchill left early when British voters chose new leadership. The allies agreed to Truman's proposal for delegating peace treaties to a Council of Foreign Ministers. The American president also succeeded in his effort to bring the Soviets into the war against Japan. The summit would have been held earlier, but Truman held out for a later date until the atomic bomb could be tested. During the conference, the president learned that he had the weapon that would end the war.


    16. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, AUGUST 15, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President,

    I greatly appreciate your calling me last night. It is a weight off one's heart to have the war over. For you, however, I appreciate only too well what the new problems are. I feel that our safety lies in attacking with as much breadth of vision & imagination these problems as he [FDR] did the war problems. The government must keep control till we are on an even keel from the economic standpoint. You will have pressures from every side. I am sure your own wisdom and experience and faith in God will guide you aright.

    My best wishes to Mrs. Truman. These are great days in which we live. God bless you both.

    Sincerely yours,


    

Mrs. Roosevelt supported Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb, which ended the war, noting that it was fortunate that the allies developed this weapon before the Germans. "The new atomic discovery has changed the whole aspect of the world in which we live," she wrote in her column. "It has been primarily thought of in the light of its destructive power. Now we have to think of it in terms of how it may serve mankind in the days of peace."

Following the Japanese surrender, Truman designated Sunday, August 19, as a day of prayer to honor "the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory."


    17. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, AUGUST 18, 1945

 

    Deeply regret will not be able to attend service. Tomorrow my thoughts will be with you all at that time.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    


    18. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, AUGUST 20, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    We were sorry you could not be with us yesterday.

    We had a very nice service and it would have been complete and perfect if you had been there.

    Sincerely yours,


    


    19. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, SEPTEMBER 1, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I have just returned to the White House study from the executive office. The first thing I always do is to look at the Scripps Howard News and read the editorial page and your column. Today you've really "hit the jackpot" - if I may say that to the First Lady.

    I am asking one of my good Senatorial friends to put it in the Congressional Record on Tuesday for the sake of history. I only turned the reports loose because I was very reliably informed that the sabotage press had paid a very large price for them in order to release them on VJ. Day. It is my opinion that they'll be a nine days cause for conversation and be forgotten in victory.

    I see red every time this same press starts a ghoulish attack on the President (I never think of anyone as the President but Mr. Roosevelt).

    My very best regards and greatest respect I am

    Sincerely,

    


    20. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, SEPTEMBER 7, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    I am glad you liked my column and very much flattered that you read it.

    May I say how much I admire your courage as shown in your message? You may be defeated, but you have stated your position clearly and I am sure Congress must uphold you if you make one or two clear talks to the people. I find the man in the street is backing you and gaining confidence in you fast as his confidence and support built up for my husband.

    Cordially yours,

    

On September 6, Truman sought to fulfill FDR's agenda with a twenty-one-point agenda for postwar recovery, including legislation for full employment, unemployment compensation, affordable housing, public works funding for the construction of airports and highways, an increase in the minimum wage, and establishing a Fair Employment Practice Committee on a permanent basis. Truman quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt's statement endorsing an economic bill of rights: "In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second bill of rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all-regardless of station, race, or creed." Among these rights, Truman noted, were the right to a useful and remunerative job, the right to a living wage, the right of every family to a decent home, adequate medical care, and a good education. "All of these rights spell security," Truman said, quoting FDR. ". . .America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world."


    21. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, SEPTEMBER 10, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    I am enclosing a copy of a letter which I have written to Speaker Rayburn. I know you are aware that my husband was interested and thought this picture would be a valuable addition to the Capitol and historically
    worthwhile for the future.

    This is just to let you know what I had written to the Speaker.

    Very cordially yours,

    

As a memorial to her husband, Mrs. Roosevelt suggested that Congress commission a painting of the late president with wartime allies Churchill and Stalin. Truman replied that he would be glad to endorse this proposal to Rayburn.


    22. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, SEPTEMBER 11, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    The Rogers estate, which joins ours at Hyde Park, was, as you know, leased by the War Department for the military police school. Now that the military police are no longer here, there is great interest in the village in having all or some of the property owned by the government, selected as the permanent headquarters of the United Nations.

    I have told those who came to me that a decision of this kind would have to be made by a majority of the nations and that our government could make no such decision alone.

    The idea seems to me good, however and I wondered if our house and the Vanderbilt mansion couldn't all be used at times of meeting and make a very acceptable center?

    You will get the local petition eventually, but I thought I'd pass the idea along now.

    Very cordially yours,

    


    23. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, SEPTEMBER 14, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Appreciated your note of the eleventh regarding the site for the headquarters. Of course, your suggestion is an excellent one but I don't know what the program will be with regard to the location of the headquarters.

    Mr. Stettinius asked me when he left here what attitude he should take if the members decided to make the headquarters in the United States and I told him to accept the nomination if they offered it to us.

    Sometime when you are in Washington I will be glad to discuss the whole thing with you.

    Sincerely yours,

    

It would have been a fitting tribute to FDR if the United Nations had adopted Hyde Park as its home. But larger American cities were actively campaigning to become the world's county seat. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City were among the contenders. In December of 1945, the United Nations 'site-selection panel met in London and recommended that the international organization be located somewhere east of the Mississippi. In 1946, New York City was chosen as the permanent site for the United Nations.


    24. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, OCTOBER 2, 1945

 

    My dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Thanks very much for sending me the Six-Point Program for Africa and the Peace Settlement. I am most happy to have it.

    It looks as if the foreign ministers meeting in London is stymied. The attitude of Russia and the Russian insistence that we recognize the governments of Rumania and Bulgaria, which we can't do, was the cause.

    We will have to take another approach to the matter, I believe.

    I do appreciate very much your sending me the African suggestion.

    Sincerely yours,

    

Mrs. Roosevelt had sent a one-page policy statement from the New York-based Council of African Affairs. It called for a specific timetable for ending imperial rule in Africa and urged the United Nations to take an active role in making nations out of colonies. The council said that a British proposal for regional colonial cooperation would allow "the perpetuation of colonial imperialism." Neither Truman nor his foreign-policy team gave priority to African affairs. In contrast with his predecessor, who favored a breakup of the colonial empires, Truman accepted the status quo and established full diplomatic relations with South Africa's pro-apartheid government headed by General Jan Smuts.


    25. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, OCTOBER 10, 1945

 

    To Eleanor Roosevelt:

    Mrs. Truman and I want you to know that we shall be thinking of you on your birthday. We hope the day will bring you great happiness because you have made countless lives happier through your understanding sympathy and acts of kindness. We both send you our love.

    Harry S. Truman

    


    26. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, OCTOBER 14, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    So many thanks to you and Mrs. Truman for your warm & thoughtful telegram.

    I look forward to seeing you both on the 27th. Sometime will you both plan to come up here for a day or a weekend that we know you are coming? It's getting cold now but will be lovely if you like autumn weather but the spring or summer may appeal to you more.

    With sincerest thanks,

    Cordially yours,

    


    27. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, OCTOBER 17, 1945

 

    My dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Thanks a lot for your cordial invitation to Hyde Park.

    I am sincerely hoping that Mrs. Truman and I will be able to accept that invitation sometime in the not too far distant future.

    We are looking forward to a pleasant visit with you on the twenty-seventh of October.

    Sincerely yours,

    


    28. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, NOVEMBER 1, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    It has just been called to my attention that your son Franklin had not been invited to the ceremonies aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    I am deeply regretful at this oversight on the part of the navy officials in charge of the ceremony. I am glad that he finally was able to be present. He should, however, have been seated next to you on the platform.

    I am sure, from long experience, you know how difficult it is to keep all of these things straight.

    With kindest regards,

    Very cordially,

    


    29. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, NOVEMBER 4, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    It was more than kind of you to write to me. Franklin, Junior, had wonderful seats and neither of us could have expected more at the ceremonies aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. The officers couldn't have been more courteous before, as well as at the ceremonies.

    Franklin, Junior, told me you thought I was upset, but I assure you I was not. Such occasions always seem formal to me and I behave accordingly, I imagine!

    Please never worry about such little things as far as I am concerned.

    With every good wish I am,

    Very sincerely yours,

    

Franklin Jr., who looked a great deal like his father, served in the navy during World War II and received the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Navy Cross for his combat service. He entered the navy as an ensign in 1944, and was discharged as lieutenant commander.

"One of the pleasant duties in the exacting life of a president is to award honors to our fighting men for courage and valor in war," Truman said at the New York Navy Yard. "In the commissioning of this ship, the American people are honoring a stalwart hero of this war who gave his life in the service of his country. His name is engraved on this great carrier, as it is in the hearts of men and women of goodwill the world over-Franklin D. Roosevelt."


    30. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, NOVEMBER 1, 1945

 

    My dear Mr. President:

    I am very anxious that the Administration do all it possibly can in providing full employment. It seems to me if a group of people, such as those who worked for instance for special legislation in the past, might be framed within Mr. Snyder's office, they might do some very good work both for the people and with Congress to uphold your program.

    I know that Mr. Allen works on legislation but I feel that no one man can possibly do all the work that needs to be done.

    Very sincerely yours,

    

John W. Snyder (1895-1985), a St. Louis banker and one of Truman's closest friends and advisers, faced the challenge as director of reconversion of leading the nation from a wartime to a peacetime economy. George E. Allen (1896-1973), a lawyer and businessman, had been secretary of the Democratic National Committee since 1943. In this role, he advised President Roosevelt to choose Truman for the vice presidency. After Truman moved up to the presidency, Allen became one of his more influential advisers. He was the new president's chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Truman also assigned him to make recommendations on phasing out wartime agencies.


    31. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, NOVEMBER 6, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Thank you for your letter of November first. I am very hopeful that we can get the Congress to pass the major parts of the program announced in my message to the Congress of September sixth 1945. I am particularly hopeful that the Full Employment legislation will be passed, and am bending every effort to that end. You probably read my public statement about it in the Wage-Price policy speech of October thirtieth 1945. I am doing all I can privately to get the bill out of committee.

    I have a small group of people working on different parts of the program both in Mr. Snyder's office and out of it. As you probably learned long ago, it is not easy to get the right kind of people with the correct social point of view who have influence with those congressmen who are blocking the program.

    I wonder whether there is anyone in particular that you have in mind. I am most anxious to get the program adopted, and would be very thankful to you for any further suggestions you can make. I certainly hope you will continue to write me your views frankly from time to time.

    With kind regards,

    

The Employment Act of 1946, which Truman signed into law, made it the policy of the federal government "to pursue all practicable means . . . to promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power."


    32. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, NOVEMBER 20, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    I hope you will forgive my writing you this letter, but, I like a great many other citizens have been deeply concerned about the situation as it seems to be developing both at home and abroad. I have a deep sense
    that we have an obligation first of all, to solve our own problems at home, because our failure must of necessity, take away hope from the other nations of the world who have so much more to contend with than we have.

    It seems to me, therefore, that we must go to work.

    The suggestion that was made the other day that a survey of our resources be made on which we base not only our national economy, but what we lend to other nations, would seem to me sound, if the person making the investigation had sufficient standing to be accepted by management and labor as well.

    In situations of this kind, my husband sometimes turned to Mr. Bernard Baruch, because of his wealth of experience and his standing with the industrialists of the country. At the same time, I think that even the young labor leaders, like Walter Reuther and James Carey, believe in his integrity. If it could be possible to get the Detroit situation started up by giving both management and labor something so they would at least agree to work until, let us say, next October on condition that Mr. Baruch was asked to gather a staff of experts, I feel he would consult with both sides as he always has in the past.

    If there was a limit for the time of the report, I think labor would not feel that it was being taken for a ride.

    When it comes to lending money, it seems to me that we should lend to other nations equally. If we lend only to Great Britain, we enter into an economic alliance against other nations, and our hope for the future lies in joint cooperation. If we could only lend in small amounts at present, until we get into production we cannot sell to any of these countries in great quantities and there is no value in their having the money unless they can use it, it would be helpful. They would also profit by this type of survey and we would be making no promises we could not carry out.

    If you talk to Mr. Baruch, I think you must do so only if you yourself, feel confidence in him, because once you accept him you will find, as my husband did, that many of those around you will at once cast doubts upon whatever he does, but that would be true even if the job were given to the Angel Gabriel.

    I think Mr. Baruch has proved in the past his ability to see things on a large scale, and where financial matters are concerned, he certainly knows the world picture which is what we need at the present time.

    I am very much distressed that Great Britain has made us take a share in another investigation of the few Jews remaining in Europe. If they are not to be allowed to enter Palestine, then certainly they could have been apportioned among the different United Nations and we would not have to continue to have on our consciences the deaths of at least fifty of those poor creatures daily.

    The question between Palestine and the Arabs, of course, has always been complicated by oil deposits, and I suppose it always will. I do not happen to be a Zionist, and I know what a difference there is among such Jews as consider themselves nationals of other countries and not a separate nationality.

    Great Britain is always anxious to have someone pull her chestnuts out of the fire, and though I am very fond of the British individually and like a great many of them I object very much to being used by them.

    Lastly, I am deeply troubled by China. Unless we can stop the civil war there by moral pressure and not by the use of military force, and insist that Generalissimo Chiang give wider representation to all Chinese people, which will allow the middle of the road Democratic League to grow, I am very much afraid that continued war there may lead us to general war again.

    Being a strong nation and having the greatest physical, mental and spiritual strength today, gives us a tremendous responsibility. We cannot use our strength to coerce, but if we are big enough, I think we can lead, but it will require great vision and understanding on our part. The first and foremost thing, it seems to me, is the setting of our own house in order, and so I have made the suggestions contained in the first part of this letter. I shall understand, however, if with the broader knowledge which is yours, you decide against it, but I would not have a quiet conscience unless I wrote you what I feel in these difficult times.

    With every good wish, I am,
    Very cordially yours,

    


    33. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, NOVEMBER 26, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Thanks very much for your letter of the twentieth, to which I have given much thought.

    I have particularly had under consideration for some time the suggestion about a study of our national resources with a view to what we can afford to do. I think that is a very good suggestion, and expect to take some action on it.

    I doubt very much whether that kind of study, however, would have much to do with the immediate situation in Detroit, although it is barely possible that it might influence the ultimate conclusion in a great many labor situations.

    With respect to our foreign loans, I am sure that you have a deep appreciation of the reasons for our policy. We feel that it is necessary not only for the welfare of Great Britain but for our own welfare and for the welfare of the entire world that the British economy be not allowed to disintegrate. Equally important is the necessity of reestablishing world trade by helping the British expand their own trade instead of taking refuge in a tightened sterling bloc.

    What we hope to do for Great Britain we also hope to do eventually for Russia and our other Allies, for it will be impossible to continue a stable world economy if a large part of the world has a disordered economy which would result in bitter trade rivalries and impassable barriers.

    I'm very hopeful that we really shall be able to work out something in Palestine which will be of lasting benefit. At the same time we expect to continue to do what we can to get as many Jews as possible into Palestine as quickly as possible, pending any final settlement.

    In China, as you know, a definite commitment was made by the three major powers to support the Central Government in disarming and removing the Japanese troops now in China. I know you realize how important to the future peace in the Far East and throughout the world is this objective. All of us want to see a Chinese government eventually installed and maintained by free elections-one which will include all democratic elements. I do not see how we can do that unless we first help clear the land of the Japanese aggressors.

    All of these things take a great deal of time as you know from personal experience. I am sure that it was the late President's experience, as it is mine, that we are very apt to meet criticism in the press and often in the Congress from those who are unfamiliar with the facts and to whom the facts cannot be disclosed. He often talked to me about how difficult that part of the Presidency was. However, I feel proud that our objectives are the same as those which actuated your late husband. Indeed I have no other aim than to carry them out.

    I want you to know how much I appreciate your writing to me from time to time, and hope you will continue to do so.

    With kindest regards,

    Very sincerely,

    


    34. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, DECEMBER 13, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    The United Feature Syndicate for whom I write my daily column has asked me again if I still plan to go to Russia in the spring, as they would have to start the machinery if I am to go.

    I am very much interested in going unless something unforeseen happens, and I would like to go about the middle of March for about four or five weeks. This, however, may conflict with the other interest about which you telephoned me in reference to the United Nations Organization. I would feel that was the more important.

    Could you tell me if there might be a conflict and whether I should keep my time fairly flexible for the spring? I would not want to make any definite commitments with regard to Russia and then have to give up the trip, as I think it might have a bad reaction.

    I do not like to bother you with all of this, but I shall appreciate your advice.

    Looking forward to seeing you and Mrs. Truman on January 7th, I am,

    Very cordially yours,

    


    35. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, DECEMBER 17, 1945

 

    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Replying to yours about your proposed trip to Russia. I think you can go ahead with your arrangements for the trip in March, if you like, without interfering with the meetings of the United Nations Organization. The first meeting will be sometime in January and should not last over thirty days. It will be an organization meeting and will decide on the location in the United States, etc.

    The next meeting will not come until the latter part of April which will give plenty of time for your trip. Hope you have a happy and pleasant one. I was highly pleased when you accepted the UNO appointment. I shall send the names down as soon as the House acts.

    Hope you have a lovely Christmas.

    Most sincerely,

    Mrs. Truman and I are looking forward to seeing you on the 7th of January. Hope your family are all in good health and can be with you for Christmas.

    


    36. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT TO HARRY S. TRUMAN, DECEMBER 18, 1945

 

    Dear Mr. President:

    I am enclosing a copy of a letter which has come to me, on which I have removed the name and address of the writer. He is an employee in close contact with these people and I thought the facts he gives should be brought to your attention.

    Very sincerely yours,

    


    37. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, DECEMBER 21, 1945

 

    My dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I read your letter about the treatment of American-Japanese in the West with a lot of interest and have forwarded the letter to the Attorney General with a memorandum asking him to find a solution for it.

    This disgraceful conduct almost makes you believe that a lot of our Americans have a streak of Nazi in them.

    Sincerely yours,

    

On December 27, Truman wrote Attorney General Tom Clark: "I am enclosing you a letter which I have just received from Mrs. Roosevelt. I have read it and it certainly makes me feel ashamed .... Isn't there some way we can shame these people into doing the right thing by these loyal American-Japanese? I'll listen to any suggestion you may have to make on the subject." Clark ordered an immediate investigation of the hate crimes against Japanese reported in Mrs. Roosevelt's letter. On the attorney general's recommendation, Truman directed the Justice Department to launch a national investigation of violence and discrimination against Japanese Americans.


    38. HARRY S. TRUMAN TO ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, DECEMBER 21, 1945

 

    My dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I am pleased to inform you that I have appointed you one of the representatives of the United States to the first part of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations to be held in London early in January 1946. A complete list of this government's delegation is enclosed herewith.

    The United States representation at the first meeting of the General Assembly will be headed by the Secretary of State as senior representative or in his absence by the honorable Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.

    In so far as the General Assembly will deal with matters covered by the report of the Preparatory Commission, the [actions of the United States on some issues] will be guided by my special instructions. I am, however, authorizing the senior representative after consulting with the other representatives to agree to modifications of the preparatory commission's recommendations which in his opinion may be wise and necessary.

    In so far as matters may arise which are not covered by the report of the preparatory commission, I shall transmit through the senior representative any further instructions as to the position which should be taken by the representatives of the United States. I have instructed the senior representative to act as the principal spokesman for the United States in the General Assembly.

    You, as a representative of the United States will bear the grave responsibility of demonstrating the wholehearted support which this government is pledged to give to the United Nations Organization, to that end that the organization can become the means of preserving the international peace and of creating conditions of mutual trust and economic and social well-being among all peoples of the world. I am confident that you will do your best to assist these purposes in the first meeting of the General Assembly.

    Sincerely yours,

    

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