Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate History

By Robert E. Sherwood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXV
The Last Mission

In his first talks with President Truman after Roosevelt's death, Hopkins said that he would remain in Washington for a few weeks— he had set the date for his retirement from government service as May 12—and would make available to the new Chief Executive every scrap of knowledge that he possessed concerning Roosevelt's unrecorded plans and hopes and apprehensions for the future—and there was, of course, a considerable amount of knowledge that only he possessed. Truman said that he was genuinely sorry to see Hopkins go, and there is no doubt that he meant just this, for he had great respect for this ardent man with whom he had been associated in the earliest days of the relief program and, as a result of the work of the Truman Committee, he knew better than most the real nature of Hopkins' contribution to the vast organization of the United States for total war and total victory. He told Hopkins that he wanted him to stay on at his side to give the same kind of advice and counsel and assistance that he had given the late President. But Hopkins was obviously at the end of his physical rope. He said that he would require a very long rest before he could be capable of doing any real work, and that then he intended to devote himself to the sedentary occupation of writing his memoirs.

During the days before the San Francisco Conference, Hopkins wrote two short, personal memoranda. The first of them contained the following footnote:

Stalin sent for Ambassador Harriman soon after he learned of President Roosevelt's death and told Harriman that he wanted to give some immediate assurance to the American people to indicate his, Stalin's, desire to continue on a co-operative basis with this country. Harriman promptly told him that the thing the American people would appreciate most would be to send Molotov to the San Francisco Conference. Stalin asked Harriman if he was merely speak

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