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.
 20.  Statement Upon Issuing Order Establishing the President's Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights
January 23, 1951

I HAVE today established a Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights. The Commission will be composed of nine members. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz will serve as Chairman.

The Commission will consider in all its aspects the question of how this Nation can best deal with the problem of protecting its internal security and at the same time maintaining the freedoms of its citizens. It will consider the harm that comes from the wrong kind of action as well as the good that comes from the right kind of action.

The Commission will make a thorough examination of the laws, practices, and procedures concerning the protection of our Nation against treason, espionage, sabotage, and other subversive activities, and of the operation of and any need for changes in such laws, practices, and procedures. The Commission will also consider the methods used by public or private groups for the purpose of protecting us against such activities. It will consider these matters from the standpoint of protecting both the internal security of our country and the rights of individuals, and will seek the wisest balance that can be struck between security and freedom. The Commission will report its conclusions and recommendations for legislative, administrative, or other action it deems appropriate.

I consider the task of this Commission to be of extraordinary importance. The world is in the midst of a struggle between freedom and tyranny. The United States is one of the leaders of the free world not just because we are powerful in material things, but because we have preserved and expanded the freedom of our people. We have built our society in the faith and in the practice of freedom--freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of association and political belief.

We in this country have always been ready to protect our freedom--to protect it against external or internal enemies and to protect it against unwarranted restrictions by government. From time to time in our history, we have faced the need to protect our freedom from these different kinds of encroachment. Each of these occasions has presented our Nation with new and often conflicting considerations. To reconcile these considerations, and to find the proper national policy, is always difficult, and is especially so at times, like the present, when our freedom is severely threatened abroad and at home.

Today, we are particularly concerned by the threat to our Government and our national life arising from the activities of the forces of Communist imperialism. In addition to the vigorous action we are taking abroad to meet this threat, we must be sure that our laws and procedures at home are adequate to protect our system of government against unconstitutional attacks and to preserve our national security against treason, espionage, sabotage, and other subversive acts designed to weaken or overthrow our Government. At the same time, we are concerned lest the measure ...
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