Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Byrd, Harry Flood, 1887-1966; Gillette, Guy M. (Guy Mark), 1879-1973
Appropriations and expenditures; Government salaries; Presidential salaries

Letter from Frank R. Kent to President Harry S. Truman, February 14, 1949. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

THE SUN Sun Square Baltimore 3, MD.

[handwritten]

Dear Mr. President -

With warm personal regards.

Sincerely, Frank Kent

THE SUN Sun Square Baltimore, Md.

Personal and Confidential.

February 14, 1949.

Dear Mr. President:-

Your letter of February 12, marked "Personal and Confidential", received this morning.

I am distressed that you should feel offended by my article of last Sunday on tax exempt expenses. Reading it over, I agree some of the language was untactful and for that I am sorry. However, I do not think you are quite fair to me in that you ignore the chief point I made. If you will again examine my piece you will see that I in no way criticized either the increase in salaries or in expense money. The point I made was that it is a bad principle to appropriate money for expenses out of the U.S. Treasury without requiring some kind of accounting. That was the point of the whole article. It was the point made by Senators Byrd and Gillette at the time and I still think it a sound one.

I believe Congress, itself, set this precedent three years ago when it appropriated $2,500 tax free and not to be accounted for money for expenses of each member. I think it was a bad precedent and was sorry to see it followed this year. If I had been a member of Congress I should have voted for the increase in salary to $100,000 or even to $150,000, and probably for the $50,000 tax free expense fund - but only if it were to be accounted for. Not because of any lack of trust in you but solely as a matter of principle.

I hope, Mr. President, you will understand my position in this matter and believe that what I wrote was entirely without personal feeling against you. If the way in which the piece was phrased gave you any other opinion, I regret it very much. Because, my personal feeling toward you is one of real respect and friendliness.

With my very best wishes,

Sincerely, Frank R. Kent

His Excellency, The President of the United States, The White House, Washington, D.C.

P.S.- I do not like to think you regard me as belonging in the class of the four journalists you mention as being "intellectually dishonest."


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