Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Pallette, Mel; McCormick, Robert Rutherford, 1880-1955; Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951
Editorials; Newspapers; White House staff

Unsent Letter from President Harry S. Truman to William Southern, July 8, 1949. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

July 8, 1949

Dear Mr. Southern:

Most days I read "Solomon Wise" in my home town paper. I'm always disappointed when "Solomon" has hay fever or is otherwise incapacitated and his "column" doesn't appear.

Of course there are days in a row when I do not receive the "home town" paper, through no fault of anyone, but due to the fact that some 23,000 letters and as many circulars, advertising sheets and papers come to the White House every day.

I have a very efficient staff to look after the mail but some times it is too much for the most efficient. Eighteen years ago one man could take care of the White House mail. He assigned it to a half dozen people to answer. Now we have twenty-five to mark and assign it besides a half dozen secretaries and executive assistants and four hundred helpers to answer it all. I myself sign my name six hundred times a day to documents, orders, and private mail.

When I was on the County Court I signed my name six hundred times a day to orders, warrants and letters-so it is not new to me.

What I started out to say was that I see Les Byrum, an indicted County Judge, mentioned in your ten and twenty year ago columns, I see Mel Pallette. I see numerous and sundry people most of whom I know-some favorably-but I never see any mention editorially, ten year, twenty year or thirty five-year ago, about a former resident of Independence, who was Eastern Judge for two years, Presiding Judge for eight years in Jackson County and ten years United States Senator from Missouri; also Vice President for almost three months and then President for and elected to be President for a full term.

This no good fellow who fooled you on the road fund expenditures, who fooled you on his first campaign for US Senator, who fooled you for his second campaign for Senator and who really put you in the hole on his campaign for President of the United States-is and will be President for three and a half more years-come hell or high water-and maybe longer if he wants to be.

This is all true-yet his home town editor-a grand old man I'd say-can't possibly admit that his home town has a number one world citizen who may? be a credit to his home town. I wonder why!

It makes no difference to me. I won both senatorial elections with all the press against me and a presidential election with ninety percent of them against me, all the pollsters, all the "ivory tower" columnists, the gamblers and everybody but the people against me.

And I'll do it again if it becomes necessary.

What I wonder about is why my friend, my original backer and my home town editor acts like that old character assassin Joe Pulitzer or Bertie McCormick or William Randolph Hearst. Is it circulation, advertising or what? I thinks it's or what.

Sincerely Harry.


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