Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Public Papers
Harry S. Truman

President Harry S. Truman.  Source: Truman Library.

The Public Papers of Harry S. Truman contain most of President Truman's public messages, statements, speeches, and news conference remarks. Documents such as Proclamations, Executive Orders, and similar documents that are published in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, as required by law, are usually not included. The documents within the Public Papers are arranged in chronological order. President Truman delivered the remarks or addresses from Washington, D. C., unless otherwise indicated. The White House in Washington issued statements, messages, and letters unless noted otherwise. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1966)

The Public Papers contain items such as the Statement by the President Announcing the Use of the A-Bomb at Hiroshima (August 6, 1945), the Special Message to the Congress on Greece and Turkey: The Truman Doctrine (March 12, 1947), the White House Statement Announcing Recognition of the Government of Israel (January 31, 1949), the Statement and Order by the President on Relieving General MacArthur of His Commands (April 11, 1951), and The President's Farewell Address to the American People (January 15, 1953).

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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
 138.  Remarks at the Armed Forces Dinner
May 19, 1950

THANK YOU very much, Mr. Secretary. It has been a wonderful evening. I want to compliment the Secretary of Defense on that address he has just delivered. It covered the situation very adequately. But really, I wish you could really have some trouble. You know, we have 52 Sundays in a year on the average, and there are 313 other days left. I have applications for those 313 days for special occasions. I wish I had time to give you a list of some of the things I am asked to do during those days. One of the things that is beautiful about this unification thing is the fact that we have eliminated 2 days and now have only one for three.

I was somewhat intrigued tonight because I found that by appointing the Chief of Protocol as Ambassador to Canada, I had gotten myself into trouble tonight. I just sat here and I sat here, and then it was decided that maybe protocol should decide that I ought to sit somewhere else, but protocol wasn't here. And you know how that originated? In the armed services. I thought maybe that I ought to send for Stanley Woodward and see whether he could tell me what the difference is between State Department protocol and protocol in the armed services.

But this has been a grand evening. It is the beginning of an era. You know, in 1789 Mr. Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States, and he had a Secretary of State and a Secretary of War and an Attorney General who were his first three Cabinet officers. And the Secretary of War was the Secretary of National Defense. It has taken us from 1789 until 1947 to decide that George Washington knew what he was doing.

In 1792 General Washington sent a message to the Congress of the United States, in which he stated that every man in a republic owes a duty to that republic, and that man should have a certain amount of training so that he could serve that republic in any capacity as necessity required it.

The Congress at that time decided that General Washington did not know what he was talking about.

In 1945, in October, I sent a message to the Congress of the United States and requested a universal training program for the young men and women of these United States, so that they could furnish the service necessary for the welfare and the defense of the United States of America.

The Congress of the United States decided that the then President of the United States didn't know what he was talking about, they didn't know what he meant.

So, I appointed a commission, made up principally of people who were opposed to a universal training idea. And you notice I emphasize universal training, not universal military training. And that commission began investigating the situation from all angles.

And I had a Baptist preacher on that commission, and I had a Presbyterian preacher on that organization, and I had a Catholic priest on that organization. I had lawyers and doctors--there were a dozen or so of those people.

And they start ...
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