Harold D. Smith Papers
The papers of Harold D. Smith relate to his work as Director of the Bureau of the Budget during the Truman administration. The collection consists predominantly of typed copies of his diary which are, more accurately, notes of his budget conferences with President Truman. Detailed daily records also make up a significant portion of the collection. These provide information as to any meetings or telephone conversations that Smith had during specific days. Also included are notes of telephone conversations, memorandums, and conference notes by Paul Appleby, Assistant Director of the Bureau. All documents in this collection are copies from the Harold D. Smith Papers at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in New York. Only copies of documents relating to Smith’s service in the Truman administration have been included in the Truman Library collection.
Less than one-half of one linear foot (approx. 500 pages).
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The Harold D. Smith Papers are comprised of his diary and daily records for the period (April 1945-June 1946) that he served as Director of the Bureau of the Budget under President Truman. Also included are memorandums and notes on telephone conversations that Smith believed were relevant to issues discussed in his papers.
The collection consists of approximately 500 pages of material, divided into a Diary series and a Daily Record series, each arranged chronologically by Mr. Smith. All items are copies of original documents at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in New York. Other papers from the years Smith served in the Roosevelt administration (1939-1945) are not included in this collection and are found exclusively at the Roosevelt Library.
Although there is some variety in the types of materials, there are no official documents from the Bureau of the Budget in this collection. This may limit the papers to the personal biases of Mr. Smith, but it also allows him to relate personal feelings of President Truman and others that may not have been recorded in an official record. For example, as recorded in Smith’s diary entries, President Truman was often candid as to his personal feelings towards a particular member of Congress or governmental agency. The notes on telephone conversations also provide a unique look at part of the process behind decisions relating to government budgets which, in many cases, could be ignored.
Although Smith was not directly involved with policy decisions he did have a great deal of influence in determining the budget for nearly all federal programs. Smith notes that he recommended to both General George C. Marshall and President Truman that the budget for the Manhattan Project be reduced after the high cost to the War Department’s budget. Smith was part of conversations ranging from the unification of the Army and the Navy to the feasibility of tax cuts. This range allowed him to have significant influence in the policy decisions of the government. Programs would thrive or wane based on Smith’s evaluation of the percent of the budget it should be allotted.
The first series, the Diary File, provides Smith’s account of his budgetary conferences with Harry S. Truman. These accounts are supplemented and at times replaced by the notes of Paul Appleby, Assistant Director of the Bureau, and one account dictated by L. C. Martin, Assistant Director in Charge of Estimates. There are also some notes on telephone conversations between Smith and other parties. However, there is little overall variety in the type of documents that are present in the Diary File.
The Daily Record File contains detailed accounts of the daily activities of Smith. These agendas, notes, and memorandums document meetings, lunches, conversations, and telephone calls that Smith had while he was Director in 1945 and 1946.
Materials at the Truman Library relating to the Harold D. Smith Papers include the Official File (OF 79, 79a), the President’s Personal File (PPF 756, 3441), and the White House Bill File of the Harry S. Truman Papers; and the Eben A. Ayers Papers.