September 9, 1952
I have, as usual, a real day. Talk with the staff at ten A.M. Then have a session with Max Lowenthal, The Charge d' Affaires on Formosa spends a quarter of an hour telling what is happening on that island. It is an interesting story.
The Secretary of Defense then comes in and we discuss the coming Atomic Explosion on Eniwetok on Nov. 1. It will be an explosion of all explosions. Wish I could be present. I can't of course.
Had a memo from Mr. Lovett on plane production, prepared by the Sec. for Air and a Munitions Report which were most encouraging. Bob gave me a definition of a statistician-"a man who draws a straight line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion"! I gave him one for a consultant Washington style-"an ordinary citizen away from home."
Came over to the House after a long session with the new Chairman of the Dem. Committee.
Bess & I talk to Margie at 6:30 on a three way hookup. We go down to the south porch at seven for dinner-a good dinner too-tenderloin of some kind, really tender, asparagus, and a cooked stuffed tomato, then a large piece of thick, light yellow cake with caramel sauce.
One of our squirrels comes up to the table and asks for a bite to eat. Turns up his nose at a crumb of bread soaked in cooked tomato juice. We send for some crackers and he accepts pieces of cracker and goes under a chair each time, sits up and eats. Bess hands him the pieces one at a time until he has eaten three whole crackers. Then, without a bow or a thank you he walks down the steps and disappears. But he'll be back tomorrow night as usual for more to eat.
Tomorrow he'll take the attitude of the "You ain't done nothin' for me lately" of Barkley's Kentucky constituent in 1938.
Barkley was campaigning in 1938 along the Ohio River in a small town. He noticed an old fellow with whom he was well acquainted cross the street to avoid meeting him. Alben asked another friend with whom he was talking at the time if old man so & so was at outs with him. Barkley was informed that old man so & so was "mad" at him. So Barkley crossed the street and stopped old man so & so and asked what the trouble could possibly be.
Barkley reminded the old man that as soon as the Armistice of 1918 was signed he had succeeded in having his boy returned so the old man could run his farm. "Yes," said the old man, "you did that." "Well," said Alben, "didn't I get your daughter made postmaster of this town?" "Yes," said the old man, "you did." "Then," said Barkley,"didn't I get you a disaster loan a few years ago when the Ohio washed you out?" "Yes," said the old man, "you did." "Then," said Barley, "why are you against me?" "Well, said the old man, "you ain't done nothin' for me lately"!
It is a good story and it makes a hit when told, but there are very, very few like old man so & so. The vast majority of the people for whom favors are done do not forget.
Well, to finish the day I am expecting to listen to Ike at ten P.M. and to Adlai at 10:30. Ike at Indianapolis, Adlai at Frisco.
Mr. Hopkins, the chief clerk, informed me when I signed the documents and letters this afternoon that the mail had fallen below 5000 letters today for the first time since I've been President. I asked him a foolish question-why?
The diplomatic chief clerk informed me that the mail always decreased in volume at the end of an Administration, particularly when the White House Occupant was not coming back. Well it is "The King is dead-Long live the King."
It is fortunate that I've never taken an attitude that the kudos and kowtows are made to me as an individual. I knew always that the greatest office in the history of the world was getting them and Harry S. Truman as an individual was not. I hope I'm still the country man from Missouri.
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