tv Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman CSPAN September 9, 2017 11:30am-12:21pm EDT
>> up next, the friendship between herbert hoover and harry truman. this event was part of the herbert hoover presidential library conference. it is 45 minutes. >> welcome back. for the second half of our conference, starting off this afternoon is a paper by dr. lisa payne ocean. she is a professor of history at des moines area community college. she received her masters degree in women's studies from eastern michigan university and a doctorate from iowa state university in agricultural history and rural studies. author of three books.
ocean has now direct did her research interests in exploring hoover's postwar food relief efforts. ocean serves on the board of "war and culture," and is the editor of a forthcoming volume. her talk today is entitled "a kind and understanding heart, the politics and friendship between harry truman and herbert hoover."
these welcome lisa ocean. [applause] lisa: i changed my title a little bit. they changed my slides. i have the after lunch crowd. i hope you did not eat too much in that warm weather. what qualities should a president possess? a reporter asked eleanor roosevelt in the spring of 1946. she quickly responded -- a kind and understanding heart. and perhaps this was the quality that herbert hoover and harry truman had throughout their friendship which began in this ping of 1945, a little over 72 years ago.
hoover and truman were, on paper and on surface, very different men. hoover was a republican. he was the depression era president. he was an engineer. and he was also a humanitarian. truman was a democrat. he was the post-world war ii president. he was a politician. and he also had been a captain in the first world war. but as the joint project of the truman and hoover library so eloquently states, it is easy to overlook the fact that they both have roots in farming communities. they had known economic hardship and self-reliance. there were transformed by the conflagration of world war i. and they lived in the shadow of franklin d. roosevelt. but i also add that both men were quite similar in their hearts.
both were ethical men in their respective religions. one, hoover as a quicker, and treatment as a baptist. both were practical leaders who build strong camaraderie and loyalty from their men, man who worked for hoover and truman were loyal to them forever. they were both loving husbands. baystate absolutely true to their first and only wives. both fell in love once. they were committed fathers who protected and nurtured their two sons or their daughter, and also their grandchildren. april 12, 1945, the first communication between the 31st and 33rd president. herbert hoover sent a telegram offering condolences and assistance after the death of
fdr. " all americans will wish you strength for your gigantic task. you have the right to. ask for the aid of the country" truman would responded with later. please accept my thanks. i need not assure you that your good wishes are deeply appreciated. very sincerely yours, areas truman -- harry estimate. -- harry s truman. truman would say to his staff later at the end of april that he would do something they would not like. he was going to invite herbert hoover to the white house. between handwritten letters and communication between their aides, letters and phone calls and that, the two presidents would arrange the very first meeting.
in my presentation, i will quote a lot from these two if you're going to look at the relationship, the words matter. and the words that they used with each other were off and carefully chosen and very well mannered, and that would give them a very strong basis for their friendship. on the morning of may 28, 1945, this would end herbert hoover's isolation of the white house. it would less 55 minutes, but would last until hoover's death in 1964. hoover was asked to write, and he live -- and he loved to write memoranda, but this was just a couple of sentences. i saw truman this morning. he asked me what i thought about the food situation. i replied that it was
degenerating all over the world, partly due to the war and partly due to mismanagement. but he had to take it as it is and there was no time to be bothered with recrimination as to what might have in. -- have been. bare subsistence meant hunger and hunger my communism. truman would always be brief and pithy. he would write, dear hoover, thanks a lot for your memorandum where it will be useful to me. then he added aps i appreciated your bear match coming to see me. and gave me a lift -- i appreciate you very much coming to see me. it gave me a left. we discussed our prima donnas and what makes them.
in his memoirs, historians of all to him for the details of his first meeting. truman recorded these are the occasion, the respect, the urgency, the drama, humor as hoover remembered the way to the oval office. so this would be their second meeting. and of may of 1945 and all the decisions that needed to be made in the war in the pacific and in the fall and all of that. the two would not meet again until march 1, 1946. hoover was interested in a fishing trip. he dropped the fishing and florida and came in immediately
memoirs later about this joint meeting. " i told the group that i thought this was the most important meeting we had held in the white house since i had become president. that's quite something considering all the major decisions truman had to make following that. hoover would also write about the event. so he talked about this responsibility being. thrust upon the american people hoover would state -- responsibility being thrust upon the market people. hoover would state emphatically we cannot fail. within hours and a couple of days, the other trip -- the entire trip would be planned. hoover was back. as you notice in this picture, he is smiling. i think he could also be skipping out of the white house. he was so thrilled, when, to be called back to the white house, but also to be of use again, to be working for a cause he was really good at. so he would make two radio addresses to the american public before the departure of this global famine survey. he would note that 800 million people were at threat of starvation. more people are dying after world war ii than during it. this is the crisis situation. truman knew nobody knew more about food and about saving lives than hoover. and he needed him.
so as hoover would say at the end of the radio addresses him a i know that the american people would respond with kindliness to suffering. will you not take to your table an invisible guest? so this is the salmon -- the famine survey that truman asked hoover to make. they need information. there's only four countries in the world that have enough food -- the united states, canada, australia and argentina. and there's only a few countries that are at subsistence level. the rest are in dire, dire straits. they get a plane nicknamed the faithful cow, because it makes a noise when it lands, and that is their right in hurry. they go to 20 -- their itinerary. they go to 22 countries.
they circle the globe. there is sunshine throughout the trip, except for wendy in athens. they had been having a drought. so that was welcomed. they were never late. this is a fantastic travelogue. you will see -- hoover is getting much better with pr. the photographs taken of him and all the articles being written and that. if you will notice on this one, this little boy has a knife to into his belt -- tucked into his belt. [laughter] that is not the security we live in. this was a cherished photo of hoover's work and his care for children and that. originally, the trip was only supposed to go through europe and back. hoover really felt the need that it should go on to india, to
china, to korea and japan. the asian countries were at greater starvation levels and greater risk for communism as well and that. so hoover and truman will have less than three-minute phone call in cairo, egypt. hoover received a telegram that he was supposed to cut the trip short and come home and talk to the american public. truman wanted hoover to return and promote the cause for food conservation. he was also personally a little worried about hoover's stamina. he was, after all, a 71-year-old man and this was a brutal schedule in that. but hoover wanted to continue the trip through asia. so they talked for a little over a minute and a half. in that time, hoover persuaded him to let him continue the trip.
one of his colleagues noted the phone rang shortly after hoover hung up and it was the operator saying that he had paid for a three-minute long-distance phone call, would they like to finish it? and use it -- and hoover said, no, they were done. [laughter] they were practical men, even when he came to long-distance phone calls. on may 7, 1946, a day before the anniversary of d-day, truman would write to hoover -- he greatly appreciated his most recent letter and he would praise him for the work that was being done. hoover's was now in honolulu. they had circled the globe. they were just about ready to come home and would spend the day at the site of the harbor -- of pearl harbor. truman would tell hoover i recognize the sacrifice and risk
you are taking with such a hazardous journey. but the excellent results you have obtained will be of inestimable valuable -- value to this country. the day after they get back to washington is the meeting. this is the big meeting on may 13, 1946. it is in the oval office at truman's desk again. if you are at the truman library, there are hundreds of photos of people seated by truman at his desk. he loved that pose. it's funny, too. you can only till the time differences because the photos in the background will change. i don't know somebody is dusting and they would rearrange the family photos. but this would be hoover's report. he would say to him, dear mr. president, we have completed your instructions. we have traveled some 35,000 miles, visited 22 countries,
which have a deficiency of food, and informed ourselves the situation and several others. so this would be the letter that was attached to the final report. trim would respond in kind. i know the people of this country will do their part as you have done yours. we have never failed and we will not fail now. but that wasn't enough. [laughter] so truman needed hoover to go to south america. so they would meet again for their fourth time on may 16, 1946, to discuss the russians and their obstinate spirit, as hoover would say. truman would ask hoover to go to south america. so the following day, hoover would address and make a radio announcement -- along the 35,000 miles we have traveled, i have seen with my own eyes the grimmest specter of famine in
all of the world. i was asked by the president to undertake this work in a purely advisory capacity. and with our journey now to latin america, my service will then end. so former president hoover would travel on may 25 until june and would visit 11 countries in south america in those 25 days. he returns on june 19, meets immediately with the president the following day, and discuss argentina, i'm particular, because it does have some food resources, and what to do about wheat shipments. only six months later would hoover admit to a friend of his how exhausted he really was. and he would tell him in a letter -- every molecule in my body yells at me that it is tired. at the end of the year in 1946, a few weeks before christmas, truman would send hoover the following note, and it must have been such a wonderful gift of
hoover to finally be recognized for all of his hard work. as you heard from before, that is all hoover wanted to do, was to work and to serve. and truman would write -- you don't know how greatly i appreciated your letter of the third and i think your suggestions are sound with regard to america's participation in the distribution of food. i am more than happy to have your views on any subject which you would care to write me about. and hoover would state, again, i want to say that i think you did a magnificent job last year for the welfare of the world. and those are the words that everyone loves to hear, no matter the age or experience. we sell them say that out loud or put them to paper. i am proud of you, thank you. so this would be where their relationship deepened and solidified, due to their common interest, respect, and trust. as we would say in contemporary circles, they had bonded. so truman meets hoover again the following year. it is the germany-austria trip
in 1947. at the end of february. there's more and more things going on in germany. what are we going to do in the postwar era? we have the four zones and they are not cooperating well. there was a lot of question about what to do with the british zone and a lot of hunger. a lot of people saying should we feed these nazis, they are only going to be added again, and hoover said it would be the humane thing to do. but he was also concerned about the economic strategy as well. as the heart of europe.
in germany went down, everybody else would go down as well. hoover very much knew that. he would write about this trip to germany and austria. entirely aside from any humanitarian feelings for this mass of people, if we want peace, if we want to preserve the safety and health of our army of occupation, if we want to save the expense of even larger military forces to preserve order, if we want to reduce the size and expense of our army of occupation, i can see no other course but to me to the burdens i have outlined. our determination is to establish such a regime in germany as well present forever again the rise and tortures him of aggression within these people. those who believe in vengeance and the punishment of the great mass of germans, have no
misgivings for all of them. they need food and warmth and shelter. they have been sunk to the lowest level known in western history. if western civilization is to survive in europe, it must also survive in germany. so this would be the beginning of what is initially called the hoover clan in march and april of 1947. we now know it as the marshall plan. what hoover was recommending is that we actually spend more money than the marshall plan what, and that we spend it not only in europe, but in asia as well. if we truly want to to fight communism and save the taxpayers money, we needed to do this. this is hoover's argument. both hoover entryman knew that their names could be attached to anything. there was a republican congress
in 1946 he was listening to hoover but not to truman. -- who was listening to hoover but not to truman. there were all certain things going on. so these matters were going on. then we have a time that is difficult in their relationship. other matters and issues will come about. the republican congress in the fall of 1946 has been very difficult for truman. he needs hoover for appropriation bills. but some would argue did he manipulate hoover stressed that this time and other things? so there was a lot of contentiousness about the formation of the marshall plan, and the role the hoover played. so their friendship had really peaked for a while and then it
would plummet and then it would start to go back up. so we would see throughout the years this building again. jim and would ask hoover to come and reform of the government and make it much more efficient. that's another aspect of the different social call the make up on each other. when truman is no longer president in 1953, this is where the two men can really be as it was with each other. so this is where their relationship can really deepen into more of a friendship. let's fast-forward to the dedication of the hoover library in august 10, 19 tuesday to -- august 10th, 1962. it was such an exciting day. truman decided to not be too
prepared, so there were extraneous remarks that he made to the crowd. my good friend, president hoover, who did a job for me as president of the united states that nobody else could do, and for which i am and always will be grateful to him. i feel that i am one of his closest friends and he is one of my closest friends. and that is the reason i am here. i wanted to give you a little perspective of time. this is me in early 1963. as i have to remind my millennial students, it really isn't that long ago. and those are my two grandfathers. it is so nice to see hoover's grandson here. there is a special relationship. and though my grandfathers were very different men come i think
hoover was one of the few things a -- things they agreed on politically. december 19, 19 62, 8 days before my own birth, hoover would write from the waldorf astoria towers in new york where he lived, he would write to truman about the book that truman had written, his memoirs. for hoover, this is more of a personal letter. it wasn't one of his engineering formulas or some of that pessimism he has been known for. he really kind of opened up. you can tell he is 20 end of his life, so he can do that. he writes to truman -- this is an occasion when i should like to add something more. because yours has been a friendship that has reached deeper into my life than you know. i gave up a successful
profession in 1914 to accept public service. i served in the first world war and after for a total of 18 years. when you came to the white house, within a month, you open the door to me -- you opened the door to me in the only profession i knew -- public service -- and you undid some disgraceful action that had been done in prior years. for all of this and for your friendship, i am deeply grateful. yours safely, herbert hoover. truman would write from independence, missouri on generate second, 1963. he still called hoover, dear mr. president. you will never know how much i appreciated your letter of december 19, 1962. in fact, i was overcome because you state the situation much better than i could. so i will quote you for your friendship, i am deeply
grateful. most sincerely, harry truman. herbert hoover would die shortly before noon on october 20, 1964. harry truman would telegraph hoover's sons that day, expressing his deep sadness and how he wasn't able to come to the funeral due to a recent injury. later, in june of 1965, truman would publish this eulogy as a preface to herbert hoover/book -- herbert hoover's last book. this is what truman would say of their friendship. my warmth and close friendship with herbert hoover dates back to the day he visited washington shortly after i succeeded to the presidency. i was moved to invite him back into public service in the hope
he might resume the task of again seed -- feeding the hungry in the wake of the fight -- frightful devastation visited on so many human beings in many parts of the world. i wanted to help restore as quickly as possible, friend and foe alike, to their normal lives into their peaceful pursuits. president hoover did not hesitate, nor did he weigh the matter of personal convenience or even hardship. he accepted at once. the meeting between him and me at the white house is now history. his work in feeding the hungry express to their care and generosity of all americans, regardless of political differences. president hoover and i have visited each other frequently. whenever either one of us happened in the neighborhood of the other, they felt free to just drop in.
president hoover helped in the dedication in the library in independence, missouri, and i was glad to take part in the dedication of his library in iowa. briefly put, he was my friend and i was his. in the words of eleanor roosevelt, hoover and truman both certainly held the most important attributes for both friendship and a president. they both had a kind and understanding heart. thank you. [applause] i think i went a little fast after lunch. [laughter]
thomas: questions? >> interested in your comments about south america. certainly aware of it in europe and the middle east. lisa: what south america, it was more of the next one nation of what food they might have. i'm kind of going through some of that quickly. but argentina was one of the food surplus countries. but now as we know, it has a shaky history, too. that park it's come but stated. that it was trying to come in his engineering mind, find out who had what. it's the same today. we have enough food in the world. but it's the politics and the logistics and the economics of who sends what where.
that is where hoover's engineering mind -- he is a very cosmopolitan man. he had contacts everywhere. he could talk with people that nobody else could. truman certainly recognized that in him. he could go places. truman had no experience. that was part of the south american trip, reside to have as much now is that you're being trip, but extremely come but stated. the matter how tired i get in my own troubles, you know -- [laughter] i just think of hoover appeared he just shows up at the white house the next day. [laughter] -- i just give hoover. he just shows up at the white house the next day. [laughter] >> one of the impressions i have had, while hoover and roosevelt had a developing friendship, there was considerable opposition to that by truman's advisers. i wonder if you could tell us a little bit more of that, particularly how truman faced that down.
and secondly, you said, after peaking at a certain period, the relationship dipped. i wonder whether you could elaborate more on that and how it revived. lisa: truman had that wonderful attribute. i tell my teenager this. he was able to dance between difficult friends [laughter] friends. [laughter] the same meeting -- the same month he is meeting. thus the same month churchill are coming. he and hoover hated each other. truman to go between them. neither one felt threatened by that or felt that he was doing something else.
truman had some interesting diplomatic skills with that. then the second part of your question is --? oh, the dip. so truman makes the salmon survey and comes back with extraordinary information. they are streit -- they are setting to free up things and working with the u.n., which is a new organization. from his salmon survey, this will be the beginning of unicef. so that is directly hoover's idea. one of his men, murray's pate -- maurice pate, that would be an extraordinary contribution and pretty straightforward. the other, and this is when truman asked him to go to austria and ascend -- and assess things there. do we keep feeding in a charity mode starving people, creating a dependence and anger, possible threats to common is of?
so hoover did not want that. they had to contain this rather cantankerous republican congress. they would listen to hoover. he's going to these very content senate meetings and other hearings, making this pitch. but then it becomes rather partisan. this is the part that people don't know about. there is a democratic committee that want the marshall plan to go through. they want to claim it. they wanted it as a democrat accomplishment. former secretary of war, robert patterson, hoover wrote one of the saddest letters i have ever seen. so a lot of things going on with this creation of the marshall
plan. in many ways, truman is a politician. at times, you feel like he is using hoover to get what he wants, to get the republican senator listen to this need for aid. yet, is he throwing them under the bus, so to speak at times? it's very difficult, who said what? it's hard to piece together. but hoover really maintains the high road on this in the public, he is always seen as wanting what is best for americans and, as he would say, for serving children. these are children. we cannot get so caught up in politics that little kids are
dying. so it's difficult. i do not have clear answers. >> will kind of [indiscernible] lloyd he use when he would lend in a country to determine the need? lisa: right. it is extraordinary. first of all, they've got this great plain and an army through they are just top-notch. so they've got the logistics. hoover knows. he's got really good men they go with him. he does make a deliberate decision that no women come on the strip. i know his secretary, named bunny, was upset. bunny was a mastermind. let's face it but the men who would go with him had worked with him before.
they had been salmon relief and new people in a replace they were going. secretary galpin was making all of the arrangements. every time they would land, they would have. a sure and routine they would land, they would be met at the airport, they would he escorted, they would stay. this is post-world war ii. things are just devastated. when they are going through warsaw, it is 90 something percent stubble. but they were going gets settled. they would have several, very long meetings with dignitaries. everybody met with them. you had the secretary of agriculture, food, of the army meeting with them, giving them the reports. there would be some dinners and some receptions. hoover would say i don't want a seven-court meal when we are on
a salmon survey. it looks bad. people were so honored to meet him. somebody would be out visiting orphanages and schools and hospitals and things like that. they would get six hours of sleep, get on the plane the next morning, never had a late start, go to the next country and do it all over again. one of his men, frank mason, kind of joke that we have not seen more of the world on this or because everything was so busy and so highly coordinated. they took great records of everything. than the combat is on what should be done about the world. it's an extraordinary trip. thomas: lisa, would you talk a little bit about -- i am over
here. [laughter] it's a disembodied voice. the issues that are unrelated to food relief, for example, the campaign of 1948. does any of your research drift into that, where truman was using hoover as a political foil during the campaign and did that affect the friendship. lisa: mostly, i am looking at the years between 1946 in 1947. truman would say some things at times and then write it off, oh, i was just being a politician. there was still a lot that americans could get by blaming hoover for the depression. but hoover is getting much more perspective at that time.
balance is politics and you probably shouldn't have said that. hoover himself is being asked by the republicans to speak at the convention. and his status is going up as well it is a little bit more equal. they both realize they are caught up in scenarios. in my readings, i have come across the name hugh gibson. he accompanied hoover on the round the world trip? lisa: he did. that's hugh gibson right there. he served with hoover in belgium. he was an ambassador.
had a lot of connections. they truly adored each other. though they seemed really different. that is really focusing with hoover. the men who served with him have this loyalty to him until they die, you know. we have often said in the archives, if you think of hoover -- but they can about the radiant out. it just goes on and on and on, this influence that hoover would have. he and truman were always extremely loyal to their men. they were very conscious of people who worked for them. they were very kind to people who didn't have money. that matters to people. so they were always going to do anything for him. hugh has a really good diary of the strip. i haven't been able to read all of it. i have five different competing diaries of the trip. it's a secretary that is making all the arrangements who does not have any time to do anything. they are madly typing away on the plane before the next city, and talking about that. >> can you talk a little bit about the cairo speech? also, how involved was truman in
getting the builder -- the bubble dirt dam renamed? [laughter] lisa: i should have the cairo speech memorized. in cairo, he makes several really good speeches. i don't know that one is much off hand as i should. hoover becomes much better at the radio, make -- making shorter speeches, interesting allusions that people can think of. so he is much better than he was as president with that.
but that's only one of many. i think balance order stands out because they were afraid -- would be cut short. hoover really wanted to go on to asia, know what was going on in india. shortly after going into china. he was also very attuned to korea and what would happen there. this is all 48 to 50. and then going into japan and he meets with macarthur is interesting because of her health -- that part, too, china and japan, it's the one part where he gets a little was full about lou. but that is the only part. and i think, too, he took this trip partly out of his grief.
there is a wonderful little memo that hoover writes to his friend. he says they should go visit hoover dam, now that it is renamed, and throw rocks over it. [laughter] i don't know if they ever did that are not, but it is a wonderful image. it was a pretty slight. it was very public to do that to him. i hope he threw rocks over it. [laughter] rocks over boulder dam, you get the pun. [laughter] hoover has a pretty good sense of humor. it's kind of understated. its between friends. thomas: just a quick note on the boulder dam controversy. it started out as legislation by a california congressman. then he went to omb, who approved it. it was signed on by harry truman to ginger back to hoover dam. but fred allen, the great radio comedian, got on the air after
the change and said this would not have been a problem if the former president had been willing to change his name to herbert c boulder. [laughter] lisa: that's a good one. thomas: let's thank lisa for her talk. [applause] >> coming up this weekend, railamerica, a 1970's film on the mission operation of the detroit news.
liberalme things we are and others we are conservative. there is an effort to give up of sides of the question and give our readers a balanced diet from which they can select their own opinion. national parks service director on the immigration of new england abolitionists to kansas. >> a particular estonian -- bostonian businessman was so upset that he wrote a letter to his uncle. he said we went to bed old-fashioned conservative union wigs and woke up stark mad abolitionist. the great migration of
african-americans from the rural south two areas north and west after world war i. they had a lack of workers to help prepare supplies needed for the war effort. can we find people to hold these jobs? positions for african-americans begin it to become available. there is now a reason to move. tv, allcan history weekend, every weekend, only on c-span3. next, an artist talks about his great grandfather, an indian who performed in the wild west show. he shares family photos and
paintings and collages. this is about an hour. >> the man i will introduce to you today has many accomplishments, which i will get to. but i would like you to hear first a little bit about the historical associations of mr. arthur amiotte with the buffalo bills center of the west. arthur's family history with the center goes back much further than you may think as he is the great-grandson of standing bear, a lakota performer in the buffalo bill wild west show. standing bear would tour until 1890, when he was injured in vienna and he was left behind to recover. his eventual return to pine ridge was with his the emmys nurse who had -- is viennese nurse who had become his wife.
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