Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, March 4, 1952. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

March 4, 1952

My daughter left for Arkansas tonight at 7:45. She sings at Conway. Her pal Drucie Snyder Horton went with her. She was hesitant about going. Her grandmother is in a very precarious condition. The grandmother will be 90 years old August 4th. At that age the slightest thing can bring the end. But I told Margie that she had a contract and that she had to meet it.

Her three uncles, her mother's brothers, were here over the weekend and they went home last night, at their mother's direction. That is what they should have done. Everything possible is being done. I hope that the mother can survive to return to the White House and then for the return to Independence. I have been through the present situation twice in my life and it is heartrending. I was with my father the night he died and I spent two weeks day and night with my mother when she was on her death bed-and then was not present when she passed on. I was in a plane over Cincinnati and I knew what the message would say when it was handed to me. Just two hours away!

I'd had to return, after spending two weeks at home, because of the pressure of public business. Then I was too late on the return.

Tonight I had a long visit with Gov. Stevenson of Illinois. Some weeks ago I asked him to come to see me. At that first meeting we talked of the Presidency and what it meant; the burden of it and the constitutional amendment limiting the term to eight years.

I told the Governor at that time that I'd been in public elective office for thirty years or would be Jan. 1, 1953, that I'd been defeated once in 1924 for two years but that I'd spent two years in the army in World War One from Apr. 22, 1917, to May 6, 1919, so I counted myself a thirty year service man in elective office and never had I won one that I wanted! That is hard to believe. Some time I will set the facts down.

Tonight the Governor came to see me at his request to tell me that he had made a commitment to run for reelection in Illinois and that he did not think he could go back on that commitment honorably. I appreciate his view point and I honor him for it. He said he would not want to have people believe that he was announcing for reelection in his great State just as a stepping stone to the White House. He is an honorable man. Wish I could have talked with him before his announcement. He is a modest man too. He seems to think that I am something of a superman which isn't true of course.

He was overcome by my first talk with him in which I had offered to have him nominated by the Democratic Convention in July. I had explained to him that any President can control his party's convention. Then I cited Jackson, Hayes, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and myself at Philadelphia in 1948. I reminded him that Washington picked John Adams, that Jefferson did the same with Madison and Monroe before conventions were used for the purpose of selecting nominees. I told him I could get him nominated whether he wanted to be or not. Then I asked what he'd do in that case. He was very much worried and said that no patriot could say no to such a condition.

Then he argued that only I can beat any Republican be he Taft, Eisenhower, Warren, or anyone else! My wife and daughter had said the same thing to me an hour before. What the hell am I to do? I'll know when the time comes because I am sure God Almighty will guide me.


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