Highlights Of
Truman's Hidden Diary


History News Network
On July 10, 2003 the <>Truman Library revealed the discovery of a previously unknown Truman diary from 1947. The diary had been hidden in the back of a manual for the Real Estate Board of New York. Two entries attracted immediate attention. In an entry on July 25, 1947 Truman says that he had met with Dwight Eisenhower and offered to back him for the Democratic nomination in 1948 if MacArthur decided to run for the Republican nomination. (Truman later denied ever making the offer.) In an entry a few days earlier, on July 21, Truman denounced the Jews as "very, very selfish." - Mark Weber, IHR.
Below are highlights from the diary as compiled by the Truman Library.
January 3, 1947
Byrnes & I discussed General Marshall's last letter and decided to ask him to come home. Byrnes is going to quit on the tenth and I shall make Marshall Sec[retary] of State. Some of the crackpots will in all probability yell their heads off-but let 'em yell! Marshall is the ablest man in the whole gallery.
Mrs. Roosevelt came in at 3 P.M. to assure me that Jimmy & Elliott had nothing against me and intended no disparagement of me in their recent non-edited remarks. Said she was for me. Said she didn't like Byrnes and was sure he was not reporting Elliott correctly. Said Byrnes was always for Byrnes and no one else. I wonder! He's been loyal to me[.] In the Senate he gave me my first small appropriation, which started the Special Committee to investigate the National Defense Program on its way. He'd probably have done me a favor if he'd refused to give it.
Maybe there was something on both sides in this situation. It is a pity a great man has to have progeny! Look at Churchill's. Remember Lincoln's and Grant's. Even in collateral branches Washington's wasn't so good-and Teddy Roosevelt's are terrible.
January 6, 1947
The floors pop and crack all night long. Anyone with imagination can see old Jim Buchanan walking up and down worrying about conditions not of his making. Then there's Van Buren who inherited a terrible mess from his predecessor as did poor old James Madison. Of course Andrew Johnson was the worst mistreated of any of them. But they all walk up and down the halls of this place and moan about what they should have done and didn't. So-you see. I've only named a few. The ones who had Boswells and New England historians are too busy trying to control heaven and hell to come back here. So the tortured souls who were and are misrepresented in history are the ones who come back. It's a hell of a place.
Read my annual message. It was good if I do say it myself. Outlines by me to begin with, the cabinet, the little cabinet, Sam Rosenman, the Chief Justice all added criticisms. Clark Clifford did most of the work. He's a nice boy and will go places.
January 8, 1947
Marshall is, I think[,] the greatest man of the World War II. He managed to get along with Roosevelt, the Congress, Churchill, the Navy and the Joint Chief of Staff and he made a grand record in China.
When I asked him to take the extrovert Pat Hurley[']s place as my special envoy to China, he merely said "Yes, Mr. President I'll go." No argument only patriotic action. And if any man was entitled to balk and ask for a rest, he was. We'll have a real State Dep[artmen]t now.
January 16, 1947
Was sitting at my desk just before dinner tonight when [name of person and staff position restricted] came up and asked if he might speak to me. He was scared stiff and almost crying. Said he'd got his checks mixed up, had lied to the Secret Service and he wanted to tell me before his boss did. As usual I felt sorry for him and promised to help him out. I wonder why nearly everyone makes a father confessor out of me. I must look benevolent or else I'm a known easy mark. Well any way I like people and like to help 'em and keep 'em out of trouble when I can and help 'em out when they get into it.
The rule around here is that no one may speak to the President. I break it every day and make 'em speak to me. So-you see what I get. But I still want 'em to tell me.
March 7, 1947
Doc tell's [sic] me I have Cardiac Asthma! Ain[']t that hell.
Well it makes no diff[erence,] will go on as before. I've sworn him to secrecy! So What!
June 27, 1947
Called in Sec[retary] of State, Gen[eral] Marshall, Sec[retary] of War, Sec[retary of the] Navy, Gen[eral] Eisenhower, Adm[iral] Leahy, and Adm[iral] Nimitz along with Dr. Lillienthal to discuss new atomic bombs, and the advisability of testing them. Gen[eral] Marshall agreed that they should be tested but at a date beyond the Foreign Minister's meeting in Nov.-say from Feb[.] to April.
I appointed Patterson, Forestal [sic] and Dr. Lillienthal to work out details with Gen[eral] Eisenhower and Adm[iral] Nimitz as advisors. Gen[eral] Marshall & Adm[iral] Leahy to be consulted as developments proceed.
We must make the tests without insulting the Bolshies or our own Red helpers-headed by Wallace.
July 5, 1947
Spent a quiet pleasant day at Stanley Woodward's place.
It is ideal.
Haven't had a more pleasant week end since moving into the great white jail, known as the White House!
July 21, 1947
Had ten minutes conversation with Henry Morgenthau about Jewish ship in Palistine [sic]. Told him I would talk to Gen[eral] Marshall about it.
He'd no business, whatever to call me. The Jews have no sense of proportion nor do they have any judgement on world affairs.
Henry brought a thousand Jews to New York on a supposedly temporary basis and they stayed. When the country went backward-and Republican in the election of 1946, this incident loomed large on the D[isplaced] P[ersons] program.
The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog. Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes.
Look at the Congress[ional] attitude on D[isplaced] P[ersons]-and they all come from D[isplaced] P[erson]s.
July 25, 1947
At 3:30 today had a very interesting conversation with Gen[eral] Eisenhower. Sent for him to discuss the new Sec[retary] for National Defense. Asked him if he could work with Forestal [sic]. He said he could. Told him that I would have given the job to Bob Patterson had he stayed on as Sec[retary] of War. I couldn't bring myself to force him to stay. He has three daughters comming [sic] on for education and I know what that means, having had only one. But she is in a class by herself and I shouldn't judge Patterson's three by her. No one ever had a daughter equal to mine!
After the discussion on Forestal [sic] was over Ike & I visited and talked politics. He is going to Columbia U[niversity] in NY as President. What a job he can do there. He'll do it too. We discussed MacArthur and his superiority complex.
When Ike went to the far east on an inspection tour in 1946 I asked him to tell Gen[eral] Marshall, then special envoy to China, if he'd accept appointment to Sec[retary] of State. Byrnes was tired, sick and wanted to quit. Ike, when he returned came in and said "Gen[eral] Marshall said yes." So when Byrnes quit I appointed Marshall and did not even ask him about it!
Ike & I think MacArthur expects to make a Roman Triumphal return to the U. S. a short time before the Republican Convention meets in Philadelphia. I told Ike that if he did that that he (Ike) should announce for the nomination for President on the Democratic ticket and that I'd be glad to be in second place, or Vice President. I like the Senate anyway. Ike & I could be elected and my family & myself would be happy outside this great white jail, known as the White House.
Ike won't quot [sic] me & I won't quote him.
July 26, 1947
At 1:30 Washington time recieved [sic] message my mother has passed on. Terrible shock. No one knew it.
Arrived in Grandview about 3:30 CST[,] went to the house and met sister & brother. Went to Belton with them and picked a casket. A terrible ordeal. Back to Grandview and then to Independence with Bess & Margie. They were at airport to meet me but stayed in Grandview while I went to Belton with Vivian & Mary.
Spent Sunday morning and afternoon at Grandview. Mamma had been placed in casket we had decided upon and returned to her cottage. I couldn't look at her dead. I wanted to remember [her] alive when she was at her best.
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