The President's Man: Leo Crowley and Franklin Roosevelt in Peace and War

By Stuart L. Weiss | Go to book overview

14
The End of Lend-Lease

F ive days after Roosevelt's death, Crowley lunched with Sam Rosenman and Oscar Cox in his Mayflower suite. Cox noted, " Leo told us what he expects to do." He wanted to return to Standard Gas immediately, but he knew he could not. Harry S. Truman, now president, had asked key Roosevelt people to stay at their posts. He required their institutional memories, experience, and advice, and the American public and the Allies needed the reassurance that retaining well-seasoned Roosevelt men would provide.1

Dutifully Crowley would stay another six months, through the end of the wars in Europe and the Pacific and the collapse of the Grand Alliance. It was a decision he would regret. He would be hurt deeply ten years later when Truman, in his Memoirs, charged him with abusing his authority by abruptly shutting off lend-lease to the Soviet Union in May 1945, thus contributing to the collapse of the Grand Alliance, even to the budding Cold War. As Truman put it: The United States gave Marshal Joseph Stalin "a point of contention which he would...bring up every chance he had."2

Crowley found Truman's charge grossly unfair and attempted a response in the New York Times. He pointed out, quite correctly, that Truman did not sign the lend-lease order on May 8, as stated in his Memoirs. Otherwise, Crowley argued that it was Congress's intent that lend-lease be discontinued "summarily" when European hostilities ended, except as it would be used in the Pacific, and he included an August 1945 note from Senator Vandenberg stating that he had "literally fulfilled his promises to Congress." What might have been said on the night of May 11, before Truman signed the order, or what was done and by whom the next day, Crowley did not say. Thus, in the pre-Vietnam era, when Congress's influence over foreign policy was usually

-219-

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The President's Man: Leo Crowley and Franklin Roosevelt in Peace and War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Plunger 1
  • 2 - The Richelieu of Wisconsin 17
  • 3 - Cover-Up in the Capital, I 33
  • 4 - Cover-Up in the Capital, II 48
  • 5 - Banking and Politics 65
  • 6 - Private Enterprise and Public Service 81
  • 7 - A Third Term for the President 98
  • 8 - Alien Property Custodian, I 114
  • 9 - Alien Property Custodian, II 132
  • 10 - The Nation's £ 1 Pinch Hitter 148
  • 11 - Global Diplomat 165
  • 12 - Embattled 183
  • 13 - Germany, Politics, and Lend-Lease 200
  • 14 - The End of Lend-Lease 219
  • 15 - Epilogue 238
  • Primary Sources and Abbreviations Notes Index 245
  • Primary Sources and Abbreviations 247
  • Notes 249
  • Index 287
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