Correspondence: 1946
    Commentary by Steve Neal

When Truman nominated Mrs. Roosevelt as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, she understood the symbolic importance of her appointment. "I knew that as the only woman I had better be better than anybody else," she recalled. "So I read every paper and they were very dull sometimes because State Department papers can be very dull. And I used to almost go to sleep over them. But I did read them all. I knew that if I in any way failed that it would not just be my failure. It would be the failure of all women and there would never be another woman on the delegation."

Senator Tom Connally of Texas, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who was also a member of the U.S. delegation to the London conference, took a chauvinistic view about the participation of women in the United Nations. During the winter meeting, he told fellow delegates that he opposed granting membership to the World Federation of Trade Unions on the UN Economic and Social Council. If the trade federation gained admission, he solemnly warned, "all sorts of other groups, including women's organizations, would have to be taken in."

"Would you like to have a woman in here dictating to us what to do?" Connally asked. The other male members of the U.S. delegation had similar viewpoints.

By the spring of 1946, Mrs. Roosevelt had gained recognition as one of the more valuable members of the General Assembly. When the Nuclear Commission on Human Rights was established, she became its chairman. In this role she would have the responsibility for drafting an international bill of rights.

Eleanor did not approve of the anti-Soviet direction of U.S. foreign policy and blamed former British prime minister Winston Churchill. "It looks to me as tho' the President was running in Churchill's company too much," Mrs. Roosevelt wrote a friend, "and I am a bit nervous. FDR could cope with Churchill but he might fool someone not cognizant of world affairs." She became even more worried after Churchill, with Truman at his side, went to Fulton, Missouri, in March and called for an Anglo-American alliance to resist Soviet aggression. Mrs. Roosevelt said that the world should not be split "into armed camps."

Yet the more she dealt with the Soviet Union, the more frustrated she became. "No amount of argument ever changes what your Russian delegate says or how he votes," she wrote after the first session of the 1946 General Assembly. "It is the most exasperating thing in the world."

Truman appointed Mrs. Roosevelt's friend Bernard Baruch as U.S. representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission in March of 1946. By the end of the year, Baruch proposed a plan for international control of atomic energy. "An armament race in an atomic world is unthinkable," Eleanor wrote in her column. The United Nations commission approved the Baruch plan, which was vetoed by the Soviets in the Security Council. In the wake of this veto, Mrs. Roosevelt had few illusions about Stalin and Foreign Minister V M. Molotov.

Elliott Roosevelt's As He Saw It, which was published in the fall of 1946, accused Truman of squandering his father's legacy and blamed the United States and Great Britain for the collapse of their wartime alliance with the Soviet Union. "Somewhere, at some point in the months since Franklin Roosevelt's death, his brave beginning has been prejudiced," Elliott wrote. ". . . The peace is fast being lost." Mrs. Roosevelt, who wrote the book's foreword, disagreed with her son's instant analysis of the Cold War. "Naturally every human being reports the things which he sees and hears and lives through from his own point of view," she wrote. "Each personality leaves an impression on any situation and that is one reason why accounts of the same facts are often so varied. I am quite sure that many of the people who heard many of the conversations recorded herein, interpreted them differently, according to their own thoughts and beliefs." Her sons Franklin Jr. and James were appalled that Elliott had written a pro-Soviet apologia and disavowed his book. But when her cousins Joseph and Stewart Alsop wrote a column noting that Elliott's book had put him at odds with other members of his family, Mrs. Roosevelt defended her son.

In her correspondence with Truman, she never mentioned the controversial book. The president, though, had not heard the last from Mrs. Roosevelt's politically ambitious sons.



    Dear Mr. President:

    I want to thank you very much for the opportunity you have given me in being part of this delegation. It is a great privilege and my only fear is that I shall not be able to make enough of a contribution. I do feel, however, that you were very wise in thinking that anyone connected with my husband could, perhaps, by their presence here keep the level of his ideals. Just being here, perhaps, is a good reminder, which I think is what you had in mind.

    I feel that the meeting is starting off with good feeling though there was a little difference of opinion over the election of the president of the Assembly.

    I am sending a little note to General Eisenhower about a group of men who came to see me, representing soldiers of this area. They were very well behaved and, I thought, very logical. They said that the men with points below 45 realized that they had to stay here and were entirely reconciled; those with more than 60 had gone home; but those in between were very anxious to have a definite policy announced. A great many of them feel that more men are kept in the area than are really needed for the work and that this is done by officers who find their jobs not too unpleasant and like to have a good number of men under them. One boy said he would give anything to do one good day's work. I have had that said to me by a number of men, and written me by a number of them; and of course their living conditions are not pleasant as the officers'. I think, however, if it is possible for the War Department to give them some kind of a definite answer as to the plans made for bringing them home, it would make a great difference. One boy told me he had been six years in the army; he had volunteered for a year, here, after being in the Pacific, but he had been here a great deal longer than that and was now
    anxious to get home. They do feel that there is some injustice in the way people are sent home and that I know is difficult to eliminate in any great big undertaking. But certainly a clear and definite policy could now be formulated, and therefore in my note to General Eisenhower I am giving him the same information I am giving you in this letter. They are good boys but if they don't have enough to do they will get into trouble. That is the nature of boys, I am afraid in any situation.

    With thanks and best wishes, I am,
    Gratefully yours,


In London, more than five hundred American soldiers had protested the army's demobilization policy. Under this system, individuals rather than whole units were discharged on the basis of points for combat, overseas duty, military decorations, and parenthood.



    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I appreciate very much your good letter of January twelfth, which just now reached me.

    I think you are doing a wonderful job with the United Nations. I really believe it has gotten off to a good start and, I am sure, its future is now assured.

    Regarding your suggestion to General Eisenhower, since your letter was written he has enunciated a definite policy on the return and discharge of the remaining armed forces. Secretary Patterson has just returned from a tour around the world and expects to go on the radio with an explanation of the program. I think that will clear the matter up completely. Of course, it is a most difficult matter to discharge five and one-half million men in five months and not have some injustices.

    All together the army and navy have discharged seven and one-half million soldiers and sailors since May first-a record unequaled in the history of the world. It has been done in a fairly orderly manner and with every effort possible for justice to the soldier and sailor. There was no way in the world to make a fair discharge system except on the point system. In World War I the army was demobilized by divisions. Two-year men and three-month men were discharged at the same time-that program could not be followed in this demobilization.

    Another very great difficulty has been the demobilizing of experienced officers and noncommissioned officers, leaving us with an army of four million, at least half of it untrained, with practically new officers and noncommissioned officers.

    We are now preparing to send home all the men in the Philippines, all those in Near East, all those in India, and all those in Great Britain by the first of July this year, provided we can dispose of surplus property in those areas. The occupation forces of Germany and Japan will each require about a quarter of a million men, and we will require at least a quarter of million at home to maintain and service those abroad.

    I hope by June 30,1947, to have the whole program completed.

    One of the difficulties with which I have been faced has been the fact that the wars both ended suddenly, far in advance of the anticipated date, and while some preliminary work had been done on demobilization and occupation, we were still unprepared to meet the situation.

    Considering everything, I think both the army and navy have done a remarkable job. One of the most difficult things always in demobilization of an army is to find competent and efficient leaders. As you know, from your long experience, that is true also in civil government. We are bound to make a lot of mistakes-it is customary also for the privates to throw bricks at their officers but you can't run an army without placing authority over it in somebody. I think our top leaders have been excellent-most of our division commanders have been good men but; in the service of supply, we have had difficulty because that end of the army has to be run more like a business than a military organization.

    I am hoping though, by the thirtieth of June this year, we will have eliminated most of the trouble and injustices that were bound to take place on the point system discharge.

    I am always happy to hear from you and appreciate your interest in what is taking place.

    Sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    I was told on my return that you had sent a beautiful wreath to be placed on my husband's grave on his birthday. I cannot tell you how deeply touched I am by your kind thought.

    With my sincere thanks, I am,
    Very sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    As you requested, I am putting down a few of the things which I talked to you about on Wednesday.

    I hope you can find the time to read this horribly long screed, and I make my profuse apologies for taking up so much of your very valuable time.

    It was a pleasure to see you.
    Very cordially yours,

    Memo for the president:

    First-the economic situation in Europe.

    I feel very strongly that it can not be handled piecemeal. For the safety of the world, we have decided to change the center of European economy from Germany. Much of coal and heavy industry emanated from Germany in the past. Now, as far as possible, Germany will be an agricultural nation. Unfortunately in giving Poland some of Germany's best land, we have complicated the industrial situation somewhat because she will have to have not only enough industry to meet her own internal needs, but enough industry to keep her people on a reasonable living basis which will mean a revival, at least, of the old toy industry and other light industries. When we made this situation, we also made the decision that Europe had to have in Great Britain, France, Holland, and other countries, the things which Germany had once provided.

    Owing to the fact that this Second World War has done more than destroy material things, bad as that situation is in all these countries, a much greater responsibility is going to devolve on us not only materially but for leadership.

    Great Britain is better off than the rest of Europe, but even in Great Britain our help in the provision of goods is going to be necessary. In Europe it will not only be the provision of goods without which loans would be merely a farce, since you can not start a factory with money alone-you have to have machinery. We will also have to provide skilled administrators and skilled technicians. This will be necessary because Germany in overrunning Europe wiped out one group of administrative officials, those who ran the towns and villages and cities, and those who ran the factories and business, etc. The Germans put in people whom they felt they could trust and they were usually efficient in large part. When we came and reconquered Europe we had to liquidate this second group and now there is no one left to take the leadership.

    The young people returning from concentration camps and forced labor camps will nearly all of them spend some time in sanitariums, but they will not only have to rebuild their bodies. The suffering they have been through will have left a mark on their personalities.

    I happen to remember the effect of unemployment and poverty in some of our mining areas in the depth of the Depression. It took several years for people to regain self-confidence and initiative, and that was not comparable to what these people in Europe have been through. That takes a large group out of the leadership area.

    Amongst the resistance groups, you have young people who have missed out on five or six years of education which they must either now try to get or they must get something else which will make it possible for them to earn a living. Even more serious is the handicap that the virtues of life in the resistance during the invasion period have now become far from virtues in a peaceful civilization. Lying, cheating, stealing and even killing was what they had to do. Now these are criminal offenses!

    The whole social structure of Europe is crumbling and we might as well face the fact that leadership must come from us or it will inevitably come from Russia. The economic problem is not one we can handle with a loan to Great Britain, a loan to France, a loan to Russia. It must be looked on as a whole. When we make the loans we must be prepared to send goods. This will mean very careful allocation over here so that our people will obtain only essentials and everything else, during the next couple of years, will go where it is needed even more.

    The economic problem is tied up with the problem of food. You can not rehabilitate people and expect them to work unless they are getting an adequate diet. At present that is not possible anywhere in Europe and the Far East and shortly we are going to have a real famine in India, and Burma, I am told.

    We are going to have to learn to stretch as we have never stretched before as far as food is concerned. I think we should begin an intensive campaign over the radio and in the newspapers to tell our people how to do this and to awaken in them a realization of the consequences, not perhaps this year or next, but five years hence if these people in Europe and Asia starve to death, or are not able to rehabilitate themselves and therefore are not able to buy some of our goods when our own savings have been spent. Even more serious is the threat of epidemics to world health, since starvation saps resistance to disease and there are no real boundaries today which will protect us if epidemics get started.


    I do not feel that there is any mystery about Russia as Senator Vandenberg in his speech indicated. I liked his speech as a whole very much, but these unanswered questions I think may lead to the flaming of uncertainty in this country which I think is one of the things we do not wish to do.

    In a great country like the USSR where her soldiers for the first time have discovered what other people have in the way of consumer goods, it must be realized that in one way or another, all people being human beings, they are going to demand the satisfying of the normal desires of people for better living. For that reason I think that intelligent people at the head of their government are anxious to establish economic conditions which will allow them to import and export without difficulty. Hence the agitation in Iran, the Dardanelles, etc. They are going to ask for political control to safeguard economic agreements but it is security in the economic situation that they seek. They must have it to secure political security at home but I do not think the political controls abroad are their first considerations.

    Along the European border of the USSR, however, she is chiefly concerned with her military security. That is why she will try to control the governments of the nations in all those areas and why she dreads seeing Germany built up as an industrial power against her. She will liquidate or allow governments under her control to liquidate, any of the displaced people now outside her borders if they show signs of dissatisfaction or unrest against her control in these countries. She has not enough real security and stability to live with an opposition at home and this is difficult for us to understand. We have had no political refugees in our country since the days of the Civil War. The opposition is always in our midst and frequent changes occur, but we do it through the ballot and peacefully. They do it through revolution and the use of force. This is largely a question of maturity and, of course, trust in the people themselves and not such great dependence on the absolute control on the head of the government.

    It will take sometime for Russia to achieve this, but there is no reason why we should not explain this to her. It will have to be stressed for her that the vast majority of displaced people in Europe today who long to go back to the countries of their origin, must be able to go back in safety and have enough freedom within their countries to feel that they control their national government internally, and their association with the Soviets is exclusively a real protection for the future.

    This holds good for what we call the Balts who are people from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and also for many Ukranians outside of Ukraine today.

    Poland has several factions and people are going back, if they are not shot by one faction are afraid of being shot by the other. I suppose this holds good and will hold good for some of the other countries. Czechoslovakia seems to have worked out under Dr. Benes, a fairly satisfactory kind of government for everyone concerned. She does not, however, seem to feel free to differ with the Soviets judging by the way Masaryk voted and that is because the Soviets haven't really been strong enough to explain that they are willing to have people do what they think is right and they will not attribute to them any less fundamental agreement amongst themselves.

    I think we should get a very much better understanding of the displaced persons situation but perhaps that can wait until the committee on refugees makes its report to the UNO [United Nations Organization]. It might be well to prepare our people for the report, however, and also to make clear why certain thinks have to be said to Russia.

    Third-Mr. Winant.

    If Mr. John G. Winant could be made our permanent member on the Economic and Security Council, I think he could make the most valuable contribution of anyone I know because of his long association with the Europeans on the ILO [International Labor Organization in Geneva], and as ambassador to London. He is really liked and trusted. I know that there are some stories about him, but I am quite sure that he is fundamentally a loyal and honest person. I should like you to give him a chance to tell his side of any stories if they should be brought up as a reason for not appointing him.


    I wonder if in your food production program, we could not enlist the cooperation of South America and possibly increase their production by allocating to them some agricultural machinery?

    Fifth-Mr. David Gray.

    Mr. David Gray, our minister to Ireland, asked me to give you his regards and tell you we were going on leading the fight to have the Irish turn over the German diplomatic people to the courts as has been requested. Ireland is a curious country and even the Catholic Church situation is different from anywhere else in the world. I hope if Mr. Gray does get permission to return for a time this spring that you will allow him an opportunity to tell you about their very peculiar politics.

    Now I must say something to you which I hate to say because I think you have so many troubles and I am conscious of them.

    I know that in naming Mr. Pauley you were doing what Mr. Hannegan quite naturally asked you to do. I remember very well the pressure under which my own husband was placed and his agreement to name Mr. Pauley as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and then we had a long discussion about it because I was very much opposed to having Mr. Pauley in any position where oil could be involved. Franklin assured me that if he put Mr. Pauley in as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he would have nothing to do with oil because Mr. Forrestal would be over him and he would never be a secretary.

    I have seen in the papers both that Franklin had agreed to appointing him as Assistant Secretary and that he was to succeed Mr. Forrestal. I have been thanking my lucky stars that nobody asked me how I felt on this, as I would hate to have to say that I was opposed to his appointment, but I feel it only honest to tell you how very strong my opposition is. I know Mr. Pauley did a remarkable job in raising money for the Democratic National Committee, but he was in a position to do that job legitimately, and I am not sure that it was always done with the strictest of ethical considerations in the forefront.

    Any President frequently suffers from his friends as much as from his enemies, and it is the sense of loyalty and gratitude which often gets men in public life into the greatest of trouble. In this case, I think you would be bringing on yourself unnecessary anxiety and trouble if Mr. Pauley should by chance get through. He may not want an ambassadorship, but that would be considerably safer if he was not sent to a country that dealt with oil.


Mrs. Roosevelt favored a plan developed by former treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. that would have destroyed Germany's industrial capacity and reduced it to a pastoral and agricultural state. "Such a program could starve Germany to death," Truman wrote in his memoirs. "That would have been an act of revenge, and too many peace treaties had been based on that spirit." Mrs. Roosevelt thought Germany deserved harsh treatment. "Anyone who looks at the German people knows that they have suffered less than any people in Europe," she wrote in her column. "What are we doing? Are we planning to make them strong again so we can have another war?"

Truman agreed with Mrs. Roosevelt's recommendation that the United States had a vital interest in rebuilding war-torn Europe. The Marshall Plan would be the culmination o f this effort. As for the European food crisis, Truman named former president Herbert Hoover as chairman of the Famine Emergency Committee. In this task, Hoover did a great deal of good.

Mrs. Roosevelt, who valued the Soviet Union's role in the Allied victory, was more optimistic than Truman about future dealings with the Kremlin.

Winant, a liberal Republican and former three-term New Hampshire governor, served as ambassador to the Court of St. James from 1942 until 1946. In this position he did much to help consolidate the wartime alliance between Roosevelt and Churchill. FDR gave serious thought to naming Winant as his running mate in 1944, which would have meant that he rather than Truman would have assumed the presidency. Winant, who had served in the thirties as assistant director of the International Labor Organization, an agency of the League of Nations, had hoped to become the first secretary-general of the United Nations. Norway's Trygve Lie, though, gained this distinction. The "stories" to which Mrs. Roosevelt referred were that Winant had passed some bad checks while serving as ambassador. Even so, he remained popular with the British. Truman named him in 1946 as U.S. representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Edwin W. Pauley, a self-made millionaire and oil tycoon, had served as FDR's wartime envoy to the Allies on Lend-Lease tanker exchanges. One of the Democratic Party's top fund-raisers, Pauley had promoted Truman for the vice presidency. In January of 1946, Truman repaid the favor by nominating him for undersecretary of the navy. Before his death, Roosevelt had discussed Pauley for this slot and asked for Truman's help in winning Senate confirmation. So Mrs. Roosevelt's opposition jolted Truman. Another FDR stalwart, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, quit the cabinet over the Pauley nomination.



    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Thanks a lot for all your trouble in sending me the memorandum of your visit to London. I read it with a lot of interest and it will be helpful to me.

    I am sorry about the Pauley matter but I merely thought I was carrying out the Program. Personally I think very highly of Pauley and I think he is an honest man.

    I sincerely hope we can get this United Nations program implemented so it will work, and I know we can do it if we make up our minds to do it. Your suggestion on the financing and rehabilitation of Europe is most interesting. It certainly was a pleasure to me to have an opportunity to discuss the situation with you the other day.

    Sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    I have just been over the plans which are ready to continue the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration clothing drive which was conducted by Mr. Kaiser and turned into the United Nations food collection drive.

    I think they have a broader setup and probably can do the best work of any group in this country. They must however have a chairman and I am wondering if Mr. Kaiser will again be chairman or if you are thinking of someone else? The sooner they get started the better.

    I am deluged with letters from people wanting to do something to help and this will give these people an outlet as soon as it is regularly started.

    Very sincerely yours,




    My dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I appreciated very much your note of the sixth regarding chairmanship for the food drive.

    I have asked the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, and Mr. Herbert Hoover to act as a committee for implementing the food drive. I have forwarded a copy of your note to Mr. Anderson, who is the chairman.

    Thank you so much for your interest in this program.

    Sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    I know you are planning to attend the ceremonies at Hyde Park on April 12th, and I should like to know if there is any way in which I could make your trip more comfortable. How many will be in your party? I understand it may not be possible for Mrs. Truman to accompany you.

    In view of the fact that Mr. Ickes had so much to do with the house and grounds in the beginning, I wonder if it would cause you the slightest embarrassment if I were to ask Mr. and Mrs. Ickes to attend the ceremonies? I consider them my personal friends and would like to ask them to be present if it is agreeable to you.

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I am expecting to attend the ceremony at Hyde Park and to make a short address. I will have my military and naval aides, Mr. Ross, and possibly some members of the Roosevelt Memorial Foundation, if they are able to come.

    Of course, I'll be most happy to have you invite Mr. and Mrs. Ickes. I never had any quarrel with Mr. Ickes-the quarrel was all on his side. He raised all the fuss and caused all the trouble himself and I regretted it but, under the circumstances, there was nothing for me to do but let him quit. As you know, he had been trying diligently to quit ever since April twelfth but I always had great admiration for him and thought he was a good public servant. Apparently his idea was to take himself out in a blaze of glory at the expense of the administration, which he was supposed to support. I regretted that very much.

    I am looking forward to a most pleasant visit with you on the twelfth.

    Sincerely yours,


Truman regarded Ickes as a schemer and faker. During the Pauley controversy, Ickes went before the Senate Naval Affairs Committee and testified that Pauley had told Democratic leaders in 1944 that he could raise $300,000 for their campaign war chest if they would drop federal claims to offshore oil lands. Instead of calling this to public attention at the time, Ickes waited for two years until Pauley f aced Senate confirmation. Ickes was seeking to transfer control of the oil reserves from the navy to the Interior Department. Truman thought that Ickes was overreaching. Before Ickes testified on the Pauley nomination, Truman advised him to be truthful but if possible give Pauley the benefit of the doubt. Ickes told Senators that Pauley had dubious ethics and implied that Truman had sought to muzzle him. When Truman stood by his nominee, Ickes announced that he would quit "rather than commit perjury for the sake of the party." Truman gladly accepted the resignation and gave Ickes three days to move out of the Interior Department.

Despite this bad blood, Truman recognized that Ickes had been close to the Roosevelts and could not object to his presence at Hyde Park.

When Ickes did not attend, the columnist Drew Pearson erroneously reported that Truman had kept him from coming.



    Deeply appreciate your telegram asking me to serve as member Famine Emergency Council. But regret I belong to no organizations and am going to West Coast for two weeks so cannot serve in organization work. Will talk and write on subject and do all I can that way.

    Eleanor Roosevelt




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I wish to thank you sincerely for your telegram of March thirteenth, telling of your readiness to help in the work of the National Famine Emergency Council.

    I note particularly your readiness to talk and write on the subject and do all you can in a personal way. That is exactly what I had hoped for. In that way you can do a great deal of good. I do not feel that the inability to serve in organization work which you mentioned will be a handicap, and since the Council plans no general meetings, your trip to the West Coast will not interfere.

    Again I wish to thank you for your prompt and wholehearted expression of cooperation.

    Very sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    I am sending you this report and I shall appreciate it if you will return it to me after you have read it. The author was one of the economic advisers in Europe and has had a long experience in Europe in the past.

    Mr. Baruch tells me that what he has to say is undoubtedly true. I have always known that a certain group in Great Britain will try to bolster Germany's economy as they are really afraid of a strong Russia because that group in Great Britain is more afraid of economic change than anything else. I am also afraid that Mr. Murphy, our representative in Germany, has always played with this group and this line of thought. From my point of view it threatens not only the peace of Europe but of the world. Therefore I have the temerity to send this report and to ask you to read it through.

    I am also enclosing a newspaper clipping about your telegram to Abraham Flaxer of the New York SCMWA. What you say in your telegram is of course, absolutely right but, I wish you had been able to say it in some other way. I doubt whether Mr. Schwellenbach is familiar enough with labor leaders to know who among them are the Communists and who are not or surely he would have told you. In the Department of Labor there are people who know and there should be some one among your executive assistants who are close enough to labor to know.

    There are many of the labor leaders who are accused of being Communists and then deny it, and then of course, there is always a question, but Abraham Flaxer never denied it, so it would seem to me to have been unwise to have sent a telegram to him when the same end could have been achieved in some other way.

    As you know, I want friendly relationships with Russia but I certainly do not want red baiting accusing people of being Communists, or accusing them for other reasons, using the Communist claim, but this whole business in the labor movement is one that should be carefully watched and handled and there should be somebody to watch it for you.

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I am indebted to you for making it possible for me to read that report, which in compliance with your request, I am returning herewith. The facts developed in the report should give us pause. They give force to the warning in Macbeth that "we have scotch'd the snake, not killed it."

    I have brought the document to the attention of Mr. Snyder, director War Mobilization and Reconversion, and desire to assure you that its ominous disclosure will not be overlooked.

    Very sincerely yours,


Mrs. Roosevelt believed that the struggle over Germany was a threat to the stability of postwar Europe and world peace. Robert D. Murphy (1894-1978), who had been among FDR's more versatile diplomatic troubleshooters, served as political adviser to General Lucius Clay, military governor of occupied Germany.

Federal judge Lewis B. Schwellenbach (1874-1948), one of Truman's former Senate colleagues, was chosen by the President to succeed Frances Perkins as labor secretary. Like Mrs. Roosevelt he sought to reduce the influence of communism in the labor movement. But she disagreed with his later effort to outlaw the Communist Party.



    Dear Mr. President:

    I was immensely impressed by your speech before the Congress, and I realized what very great burdens these last few weeks have put upon you. My admiration is great for the way in which you have acted in the public interest and ignored the political considerations.

    You will forgive me, I hope if I say that I hope you realize that there must not be any slip, because of the difficulties of our peacetime situation, into a military way of thinking, which is not natural to us as people. I have seen my husband receive much advice from his military advisers and succumb to it every now and then, but the people as a whole do not like it even in wartime, and in peacetime military domination goes against the grain. I hope now that your anxiety is somewhat lessened, you will not insist upon a peacetime draft into the army of strikers. That seems to me a dangerous precedent.

    I am also a little bit troubled over the reorganization of the Labor Department which will divide some of the functions of the Children's Bureau. Many of us who worked for the establishment of the Children's
    Bureau are deeply concerned that in this reorganization it should at least become more efficient and not less efficient.

    I know the various arguments because in previous plans for reorganization, Mr. Smith of the Budget Bureau, my husband and various others, discussed these questions at length. I think it is logical to move it under Social Security and I hope that it will remain with Miss Lenroot who ahs shown her capacity and ability to run it successfully, intact enough so that the main operations go and perhaps only such things as deal directly with Labor are taken away. I hope you have talked the whole thing over with Miss Lenroot and with some of the other people in her department who have worked for a long while on these questions.

    The Children's Bureau is close to the hearts of many of the women in organized groups throughout the nation and they will be deeply interested in the outcome of whatever you do.

    Politically you are going to need the women if you decide to run in 1948 and if you decide not to run, whoever is nominated will go do to defeat unless the great mass of women, both Republican and Democrat, backs him in the next campaign.

    With my congratulations on your courage and all good wishes, I am,

    Very cordially yours,


In the first six months of the postwar era, more than 2 million American workers went on strike. A railroad strike threatened to paralyze the nation's transportation system. Truman ordered the government to draft striking workers. As he appeared before a joint congressional session, Truman learned that a settlement had been achieved. Mrs. Roosevelt thought the president had overreacted. Organized labor would retaliate by sitting out the 1946 midterm elections.



    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I hope you will pardon my delay in answering your letter of May twenty-seventh, but as you can well imagine I have been quite busy.

    It is very heartening to get your kind expressions with reference to some of the recent events in Washington. I have tried to carry out what I think is the best interests of the nation as a whole. I am sure that I have succeeded in wiping from my own mind any thought of the political considerations involved.

    The dangers to our whole economic system stemming from the stagnation of the railroads were so great that there was no room for any politics. I am afraid, however, that in some quarters the old criterion of politics was still quite important.

    As you know, the Senate has removed from the bill the provision for drafting strikers against the government. I assure you that it was not easy for me to recommend such legislation. I tried to hedge it around with as many safeguards as possible. Among those safeguards was a limitation of its provisions to a handful of national industries in which a stoppage of work would affect our entire economy. There was also the limitation that its provisions could be made applicable only to those industries which already had been taken over by the government. I am afraid that the Senate has taken all of the teeth out of the proposed emergency legislation.

    It is difficult to understand how the Congress can expect the President adequately to cope with emergencies such as faced this country ten days ago when the railroads were stalled, when the coal mines were in great danger of being closed down, and when a general shipping strike was imminent.

    I am glad that you approve of moving the Children's Bureau over to the Federal Security Agency. I, too, have been much impressed by the work of the Children's Bureau. I certainly do not think its activities should be curtailed in any way. I expect to talk to Miss Lenroot about the situation.

    I welcome your advice and suggestions, and hope you will continue to write to me.

    With kindest personal regards,
    Sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    I read in the papers this morning that Mr. Stettinius' resignation has really come in and that you and Secretary Byrnes hope he will reconsider.

    I am wondering just what his reasons are, but in any case I feel there is no one who has had his long experience, nor been as devoted to the ideal of the United Nations, and if it is possible for you and Secretary Byrnes to get him to continue, I think it will keep a great many of us from feeling that the cause is a lost cause.

    I cannot help feeling that we need to be firm but we haven't always been firm in the right way in our foreign policy because one can only be successfully firm, if the people one is firm with, particularly the Russians, have complete confidence in one's integrity and I am not sure that our attitude on questions like Spain and the Argentine and even in Germany itself, has been conducive to creating a feeling that we would always keep our word and that we would always talk things out absolutely sincerely before we took action. We are bound to differ, of course, because we have fundamental differences, but I think these should be made clear. If at the top there was a complete sense of confidence and security and the policies at the top were really carried on at
    every level things might go better.

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I appreciated very much your good letter of the first and nobody was more surprised than I when I received the letter from Stettinius that he wanted to quit as representative of the United Nations Security Council. I urged him to stay but he was very anxious to quit, saying that he felt his job with the United Nations had been completed. I don't think it has but there is no way I can force a man to stay on the job if he doesn't want to stay

    I am truly sorry that you are not pleased with the attitude of the United States toward Spain, Argentine, and Germany. Certainly we are trying to be consistent in these matters and are making every effort possible to get the United Nations on its feet as an active organization. I think that is the most important thing we have ahead of us. Naturally we expected to have difficulty with the Russians, French, and British but none of the difficulties are insurmountable and I have every reason to believe that most of them will work out in a satisfactory manner. The conditions with which we are faced are not new as the result of the conflict-they are only greater in magnitude than they have been in the past because they are world-wide.

    I do appreciate most sincerely your interest and your kindness in writing me. I'll be glad to hear from you on any subject at any time.

    Sincerely yours,


Truman did not share Mrs. Roosevelt's high opinion o f the former chairman of United States Steel. During the Roosevelt years, Stettinius had served as chairman of the War Resources Board, administrator of the Lend-Lease program, and undersecretary of state. In November 1944, FDR named him to replace the ailing Cordell Hull as secretary of state. Truman believed that Stettinius had been promoted beyond his abilities, and one of Truman's first decisions as president was to make a change at the State Department. Mrs. Roosevelt was disappointed by Truman's choice of James F. Byrnes, a former senator from South Carolina and former Supreme Court justice, who had also been FDR's deputy president. As a consolation prize, Stettinius got named as the nation's first permanent representative to the United Nations and hoped to remain a player in the shaping of U.S. foreign policy. When his advice was ignored, he became frustrated and resigned in June of 1946. Three years later he died of a heart attack at the age of forty-nine.



    Dear Mr. President:

    I have just been sent a copy of the report of the Survey Committee on Displaced Persons sponsored by the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Inc. The chairman of the council is Mr. Joseph P Chamberlain, whom you will know by reputation, as well as you will probably know Mr. Earl G. Harrison, chairman of the Committee on Displaced Persons.

    It is too long a report for you to be bothered to read it. I had it briefed, however, and I think you might be interested in just glancing over the notes which were made for me and so I send them to you.

    It seems to me that our refugee committee under the United Nations is going to advocate something very similar, but whether they do or not, it is perfectly obvious that we are going to have a combination or strengthening of some groups to finish up this job on displaced persons and, the sooner it is done, the better the whole situation will be in Europe and for that matter in the Far East.

    I hope some of the congressional group will read this report because it is such a big job that we will need to think out very carefully how it can be accomplished in collaboration with other nations.

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I appreciate very much your letter of the sixteenth in regard to the displaced persons situation. We are working on that problem as hard as we can-it is a difficult one to solve.

    I was very happy and pleased at your sending me the digest of the report of the Survey Committee. It is most interesting.

    Sincerely yours,


Joseph P. Chamberlain (1873-1951), a longtime advocate in behalf of Jewish refugees from Western Europe, helped thousands of displaced persons emigrate to the United States. Chamberlain, a professor of law at Columbia University, founded voluntary organizations to promote human rights, raised funds, and lobbied the government. Earl Harrison, dean of the University of Pennsylvania law school, was appointed by Truman in 1945 as chairman of a task force to investigate the condition of European refugees. Harrison reported that six hundred thousand refugees desperately needed help.



    Dear Mr. President:

    I have just received an item from Newsweek, which states that you have told your advisors to be on the lookout for women qualified to take over several top jobs in the administration.

    This item was sent to a friend of mine, who forwarded it to me, by the chairman of the Women's Congressional Committee, in Washington. This group represents a rather large number of women's organizations and I think among them there are several people who have been afraid that in the reorganization of the government, women were being eliminated from important jobs and functions, such as the Children's Bureau, which has been of particular interest to women, and in being integrated with other groups, were passing out of control of the women who had headed them and might be completely changed in their aims. This item will, I think, encourage them.

    I used to have to remind the gentlemen of the party rather frequently that we Democrats did not win unless we had the liberals, labor, and women, largely with us. Among our best workers in all campaigns, are the women. They will do the dull detail work and fill the uninteresting speaking engagements which none of the men are willing to undertake. I hope you will impress this fact on those who are now organizing for the congressional campaigns and in preparation for 1948.

    With every good wish I am,

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I appreciated very much yours of June thirtieth regarding the item in Newsweek.

    I am hoping we can find some key positions for some of our able Democratic women.

    I have been particularly interested in getting Mrs. Perkins placed but I haven't yet had a place I thought was equal to her ability, which I could
    offer her, and there are several others who ought to be in the Administration setup. I hope we can work it out.

    Sincerely yours,


Truman often said that he put women "on a pedestal" and he was certainly devoted to his wife, Bess, and daughter, Margaret. He also greatly admired Mrs. Roosevelt. But he did not share her commitment to the political empowerment of women. Less than three months into his presidency, Truman eased out Perkins as labor secretary because, he privately acknowledged, he wanted only men in his cabinet. Though his predecessor and successor would each name a woman to their cabinet, Truman never did. In September of 1945, he appointed Perkins to the Civil Service Commission and she served for nearly eight years. In the first three years of Truman's administration, he named only three women to positions requiring Senate confirmation, compared with thirteen by FDR at a similar point. But partly because of Mrs. Roosevelt's influence, Truman improved on this record. By the end of his eight-year presidency, he had nominated eighteen women for offices requiring Senate confirmation, one more than FDR had named in twelve years. This included Eugenie Anderson as the first woman ambassador in American history. When Truman was asked to consider making history by nominating Frances Allen, then a federal judge, for the Supreme Court, he demurred. Truman confided to an aide, "The justices don't want a woman [on the high court]. They said they couldn't sit around with their robes off, and their feet up, and discuss their problems."



    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    As one of the representatives of the United States to the first part of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, you made a contribution of great importance to the successful establishment of the United Nations as a functioning organization and to the leadership exercised by the United States in its affairs. I take pleasure in informing you that I have reappointed you to serve as a representative of the United States to the second part of this first session, which is now scheduled to convene in New York in September 1946. A complete list of the persons I am now appointing to this government's delegation is enclosed.

    I have asked the Honorable Warren R. Austin to act as senior representative and in that capacity, he will be the principal spokesman for the United States in the General Assembly. It is understood, of course, that the Secretary of State may himself attend part of the session and that while he is there he will be senior representative of the United States.

    In accordance with the United Nations Participation Act of 1945, I shall transmit through the senior representative such instructions as may be necessary with respect to the casting of the vote of the United States in the General Assembly and its committees or other agencies. As to many matters which may come up, these instructions will vest considerable discretion in the senior representative to determine the position of the United States after consultation with the other representatives.

    I have complete confidence that you will effectively discharge in the best interests of the United States and of the United Nations the most important responsibilities which this appointment will place upon you.

    Very sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    The enclosed paragraph came in a letter from one of our boys who had been stationed for some time in China.

    I thought it might interest you in view of the radio comment which I heard this morning on the statement by Mme. Sun Yat-sen. I have long believed that of all the Soong sisters, she is the most truly democratic and devoted to the well-being of her people. I would give considerable thought to what she says.

    Very sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    I received your letter about my appointment to serve on the second part of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

    I will of course do the best I can to be a satisfactory representative and I am deeply honored by your appointment and this evident trust in me.
    Very sincerely yours,


Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois (1900-1965) and Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas of California (1900-1980), who were among Mrs. Roosevelt's favorite public officials, were named by Truman as alternate delegates to this session of the General Assembly.



    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I appreciated your note of the twenty-second enclosing paragraph on the free interchange of students.

    Nothing would please me better than to see that happen but it is going to take a lot of understanding and good will to make it work.

    I also appreciate very much your statement about Mme. Sun Yat-sen.

    It was a pleasure to reappoint you as a delegate on the second part of the First Session of General Assembly of the United Nations.

    Sincerely yours,


Charles Jones Soong, founding father of a modern Chinese dynasty, converted to Christianity, moved to the United States in his youth, studied for the ministry at Vanderbilt, and returned to China as a missionary. He later made a fortune publishing Bibles and encouraged his children to seek positions of power and prominence. The eldest daughter married a wealthy banker who later became premier of China. Middle daughter Ch'ing-ling married Sun Yat-sen, founder of modern China and first president of the Chinese Republic. Soong's youngest daughter, Meiling attended Wellesley and later became Madame Chiang Kai-

shek, the wife of China's leader. Her brother, T. V Soong, was the long-time finance minister of Chiang's regime. By the summer o f 1946, it was apparent that Chiang's Nationalist government was in trouble. Earlier in the year, Truman's administration had provided more than $1.5 billion in military aid and pipeline equipment to the Nationalists. General George C. Marshall, Truman's special envoy to China, sought to negotiate an end to the civil war. But neither Chiang nor his rival, Mao Tse-tung, gave Marshall much help.



    Dear Mr. President:

    I have just received a report from China which was sent to me by a friend in whom I have implicit confidence and she in turn vouches for the reliability of the person sending this information.

    I thought you ought to see it.

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Thanks for your note of September twenty-seventh enclosing me a quotation on China, which I am glad to have.

    It is a most difficult matter to find out really what the truth is in regard to this situation.

    The great blow was the looting of the industrial plants of Manchuria and I have serious doubts about an industrial recovery in that part of the world in less than a generation. Of course, if they don't get their civil strife settled there never will be a recovery.

    I still have faith in General Marshall.

    Sincerely yours,


Mrs. Roosevelt had passed on another report about the corruption of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist regime. Like her husband, Truman wanted to extend Chiang's tenure as China's leader. But the Chinese economy was on the verge o f collapse and the future of the Kuomintang was questionable at best. General Marshall, called out of retirement by Truman, sought to negotiate an end to the Chinese civil war.



    Dear Mr. President:

    The birthday message from you and Mrs. Truman brought me a great deal of pleasure. It is always heart-warming to be remembered on one's birthday.

    I am deeply appreciative of your kind thought and hope that I shall have the pleasure of seeing you and Mrs. Truman before too long.

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    I know the election must have been a disappointment to you, as it was to me. I had expected some losses but not quite such sweeping ones.

    However, I am not at all sure that you will not get as much out of a straight-out Republican Congress; which now has to take the responsibility for whatever happens, as you got out of the type of opposition which the coalition of reactionary Democrats and Republicans created.

    With my very best wishes to you and my warm regards to Mrs. Truman and Margaret, I am,

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I certainly appreciated your note on the election.

    You are exactly right about the congressional situation-it couldn't be much worse than it was last winter. In fact, I think we will be in a position to get more things done for the welfare of the country, or at least to make a record of things recommended for the welfare of the country, than we would have been had we been responsible for a Congress which was not loyal to the party.

    Mrs. Truman and Margaret want to be remembered.

    Sincerely yours,


"Had enough?" was the GOP's slogan in the 1946 midterm elections, and the American voter answered in the affirmative. For the first time in sixteen years, the Republicans won both houses of Congress and a majority of the nation's governorships. The party holding the White House traditionally loses seats in the midterm elections. But the Democrats suffered even bigger losses because many voters were weary of labor troubles, inflation, food shortages, and black markets. Among the new faces of 1946 were freshmen congressmen John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Richard M. Nixon of California. "The New Deal as a driving force," the Chicago-Sun asserted, "is dead within the Truman administration." But as luck would have it, Truman would turn this setback into an advantage by running against the "good-for-nothing, do-nothing Eightieth Congress" in his 1948 campaign.



    Dear Mr. President:

    Things seem to be moving rather slowly in the United Nations. When I accepted membership on your Committee for Higher Education, I had thought that this Assembly meeting would not take place in September and it did not occur to me that there might be any conflict in the meetings of the Assembly and your Committee on Education.

    To my regret, I am now worried for fear we will not be through in time for me to attend the meeting scheduled for December tenth and eleventh. I missed one meeting this summer and was unable to attend a subcommittee meeting.

    I am writing you now so that there will be ample time for you to appoint someone who is free. I do not know whether you know Miss Charl Williams of the National Education Association. She was one of our first, if not the first, vice chairmen of the Democratic National Committee, and has been in educational work all of her life. She might be a useful member of the committee. However I am not making any specific recommendations.

    I am very sorry indeed to have to withdraw from the Committee because it is something in which I am very much interested. I have just heard that I am to serve on the Human Rights Commission again and that the first meeting in 1947 will be in January.

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    Replying to yours of the eighth regarding your position on the Education Committee, I sincerely hope that things will not interfere so you can't go through with that program.

    I don't want to be selfish and appear to work you to death but it seems to me that for its first start you would be an ideal person to set the American policy

    Of course, if this interference with Assembly meetings becomes increasingly apparent, I'll be glad to consider your recommendation of Miss Williams. I hope, however, it will not be necessary for you to leave the Committee on Education.

    Sincerely yours,




    Dear Mr. President:

    Many thanks for your letter in answer to mine about the Committee on Higher Education. Every day it seems to me less likely that we will be free in early December and today I was told that Mr. Spaak was setting the closing date for December fourteenth, which is after the date of your committee meeting in Washington.

    I do not know that the members of the committee would like having Miss Williams as she represents more the point of view of the public school group, than does Mr. Brown, the secretary. I think it might be good leavening for them to have someone with that point of view.

    I am sorry that I can not be more than one person, but I just do not see how I can be of service to you when I quite evidently will not be able to attend the next meeting on the ninth and tenth of December.

    Very cordially yours,


In the summer of 1946, Mrs. Roosevelt was among thirty people named by Truman to the National Commission on Higher Education. George F Zook, president of the American Council on Education, was the panel's chairman. Roosevelt refers in this letter to Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium, the first president of the United Nations General Assembly.



    Dear Mr. President:

    I am enclosing a letter and release which I received. I have been asked to write you about the conscientious objectors.

    I think it might be wise to release these men who are still in prison.

    Very sincerely yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I appreciate very much your note enclosing a letter from the Committee for Amnesty for all conscientious objectors. This matter is being worked out in the Justice Department on the basis of individual cases.

    I don't think there should be a general release or pardon to those conscientious objectors who shirked their duty as citizens of the United States and profited by the actual risk of the men who were willing to fight.

    Some of the conscientious objectors are honestly objectors-a great many just didn't want to fight and I know what I am talking about because I had experience with them in the first World War. We are trying our best to arrange matters so there will be no injustice done to any honest conscientious objector but the malingerers should have all that is coming to them.

    Sincerely yours,

    P.S. The most sincere conscientious objector I ever have met was one on whom I placed a Congressional Medal of Honor, not long ago. He served in the Medical Corps of the Navy and carried wounded marines and sailors to safety on Okinawa under fire. He was a real conscientious objector who believed the welfare of his country came first. I shall never forget what he said to me when I fastened the medal around his neck. He said eh could do the Lord's work under fire as well as anywhere else.


Mrs. Roosevelt enclosed a letter from the Committee for Amnesty in New York, which was chaired by the labor and peace activist A. J. Muste. From 1940 through 1953, he had major influence as executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a group that advocated resolving labor disputes and social conflicts through nonviolence. Muste, who had been a Protestant minister, became disillusioned with the organized church when most denominations supported America's participation in two world wars. Truman had little sympathy for Muste's amnesty campaign. This is the first of two references that Truman makes in this volume to Private Desmond T. Doss of Lynchburg, Virginia, whose acts of valor on Okinawa earned him the nation's highest military honor. No other conscientious objector had ever received the Congressional Medal of Honor.



    I expect to be in Washington to keep a few engagements from the second to the fifth of January and I should appreciate it very much if I could have the opportunity of talking with you.

    Would any time in the afternoon of the third be convenient for you? I am lunching with a group in the State Department that day.

    With my best wishes to you and Mrs. Truman and Margaret for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I am,

    Very cordially yours,




    Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

    I'll be happy to see you any time that is convenient to you on the third. Three o'clock on the afternoon of the third will be entirely satisfactory to me if that will meet with your plans. I shall be most happy to see you.

    I sincerely hope that you have the happiest sort of a Christmas and a successful and prosperous New Year.

    Sincerely yours,


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