Feb. 6, 1952
Sen. Burnett Maybank, Sen. William Fulbright, Sen. Homer Capeheart came to see me this afternoon just before the Security Council meeting.
These three gentlemen have been holding up the confirmation of Harry McDonald as head of the Reconstruction Finance Corp. My good friend Maybank has joined my good friend James F. Byrnes, Governor of South Carolina. Fulbright has never recovered from his House Resolution which sent him to the Senate (Potomac Fever), nor has he forgiven me for telling him at a Press Club dinner that he'd been a better constitutionalist had he been educated in a land grant American College rather than Oxford.
Senator Capeheart came to see me when I was in the midst of the controversy with John L. Lewis and told me that I should settle with beetle browed John on his terms! I asked the great Republican Senator from Indiana to repeat what he'd said. He did and then told me that he would lose ten thousand dollars a day if I did not settle with Mr. Bulldog Lewis. I stood up and of course Mr. Capeheart had to stand, and told him in words of one syllable that I didn't care what he'd lose, that either the President was the head of the government of the United States or he wasn't, that I didn't care much what he the senator lost by day, by week or by the month. I escorted him to the door!
Now these three "great" senators are doing what they can to ruin a great public servant. I told them to do what they felt their consciences told them to do, that I'd run the R.F.C. whatever they did. Then I went to the Security Council meeting. It was a good meeting.
After Security Council meeting Jos Short and I took a lot of White House reporters over to the White House to let them see how much progress is being made on the rehabilitation.
I started in on the old ground floor, showed them the housekeepers office, the new kitchen, the old kitchen which will be the broadcasting room, the doctor's and dentist's office, the Diplomatic Reception Room, below the Blue room, the china museum, the library and the auxillary [sic] rooms on the ground floor.
We then went to the main or first floor. I showed them the East Room, Green, Blue and Red rooms, and explained that there would be no change in them. I showed them the State and family dining rooms; explained to them how the beautiful hallway on the first floor in times past extended from the East Room to the back wall of the present State Dining Room; that Ted Roosevelt put in a blind stairway to the left of the main entrance and extended the State Dining to take in the space of the old stairway. Under the present renovation a real State Stairway to end in the great hall. The East Room, the Green Room, the Blue Room, the Red Room and the State and family dining rooms will appear as they have since 1902.
Then I took them to the family or second floor, told them about the Lincoln room, the Rose room and the Monroe room. Told them that Lincoln has slept in every room on the family floor-and so had I, that the Lincoln room was the one where Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation; that the Monroe room was the old Cabinet room where Monroe had signed the Monroe Doctrine proclamation and where the treaty of peace with Spain was signed. I showed them the Rose Room where queens, kings and foreign presidents had slept.
It was an interesting afternoon. I showed them why the Jackson porch on the Penn. Ave. side of the W. House should be shortened to make Jackson's porch in the proper architectural portion to the House as a whole. I told the news boys that I'd tried to get the rehabilitation commission to put the Pa. porch in its proper prospective-but could not get it done.
If the Congress could have been convinced that the President of the United States was not a crook the rehabilitation of the White House could have been done for at least three million dollars less money and two and a half years less time. But here we are almost but not quite finished. More than five million dollars has been put in to the President's House.
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