Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Harold D. Smith Papers

Dates: 1945-1946

Director, Bureau of the Budget, 1939-1946.

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.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one-half of one linear foot (approx. 500 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The copyright in the writings of Harold D. Smith in this collection has been retained by the donor and her heirs.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller (1967); Harry Clark (1968).
Updated by: Alison Spinden (2004) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and Amy Williams.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1898 (June 6)

Born, Haven, Kansas

c. 1917

Seaman in the United States Navy

1922

Degree in Engineering from the University of Kansas

1925

Received A.M. in Public Administration from the University of Michigan

1924-25

Member of the staff of Detroit Bureau of Government Research
1925-28

Staff of League of Kansas Municipalities

1928-37

Director of Michigan Municipal League

1934-37

Director of the Bureau of Government, University of Michigan

1937-39

Budget Director of the State of Michigan

1939-1946

Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Budget

1946-1947

Vice-President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank)

1947 (January 23)

Died, Culpeper, Virginia

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

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.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1

DIARY FILE, 1945-1946

Diary entries recalling Smith’s conferences with Harry S. Truman, notes on telephone conversations, and conference notes provided by Paul Appleby. All items relate to Harold D. Smith’s term as Director of the Bureau of the Budget under President Truman. The majority of the conferences with the President relate to the budgets of governmental agencies such as the Navy, Treasury Department, and Department of Justice. Funding of the Armed Forces and the Manhattan Project, as well as feasibility of tax cuts are areas of interest that are discussed. Arranged in chronological order.

DAILY RECORD FILE, 1945-1946

The daily record includes detailed typed daily agendas as to meetings, lunches, conversations, and phone calls that Smith had while he was Director of the Budget under Harry S. Truman. The Daily Record also includes notes on some telephone conversations as well as memorandums and conference notes. Arranged in chronological order.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST
    DIARY FILE, 1945-1946
  • Index
  • 1945, April
  • 1945, May
  • 1945, June
  • 1945, July
  • 1945, August
  • 1945, September
  • 1945, October
  • 1945, November
  • 1945, December
  • 1946, January
  • 1946, February
  • 1946, March
  • 1946, April
  • 1946, May
  • 1946 June
    DAILY RECORD FILE, 1945-1946
  • 1945, April
  • 1945, May
  • 1945, June
  • 1945, July
  • 1945, August
  • 1945, September
  • 1945, October
  • 1945, November
  • 1945, December
  • 1946, January
  • 1946, February
  • 1946, March
  • 1946, April
  • 1946, May
  • 1946, June

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