Harry S. Truman: The Man from Independence

By William F. Levantrosser | Go to book overview

especially Senator Revercomb's, attitudes toward the DPs in 1947 and 1948. On the other hand, Truman's own endeavors always reflected his desire to see the DP problem identified and solved in a humane fashion. He dispatched Earl Harrison to examine the assembly centers in 1945 and he agreed to the British proposal for a joint commission of inquiry to see if more Jews could be admitted to Palestine. On his own he ordered the immigration authorities to give priority to DP applicants to the fullest extent allowed by law. He also encouraged subordinates to work for generous DP acts and he appointed three liberal commissioners to the Displaced Persons Commission. Thus, with the exception of attempts to influence the leaders in Congress, and his reluctance to air publicly and continually his support for DPs, Truman acted in an admirable and notable manner. But--and this question is hard to answer--what if he had exerted himself to the fullest? Would the first DP Act have been passed earlier or with more generous provisions for the survivors of the Holocaust in Europe? I don't know.


NOTES
1.
Harry S. Truman to Henry Morgenthau Jr., June 2, 1945, Official File, Box 552, Harry S. Truman Mss., Truman Library, Independence Mo.; Kenneth Ray Bain, The March to Zion (College Station, Tex., 1979), pp. 71-72.
2.
Joseph C. Grew to Harry S. Truman, June 21, 1945, Folder, "Early G. Harrison Mission," War Refugee Mss., Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.; Harry S. Truman , "Memoirs: Years of Trial and Hope" ( Garden City, N.Y., 1956), p. 137.
3.
New York Times, September 30, 1945.
4.
Harry S. Truman to Dwight D. Eisenhower, August 31, 1945, in Public Papers of the Presidents, 1945, pp. 355-57 (cited hereafter as PPP); Foreign Relations of U.S., 8 ( 1945), 737-38 (cited hereafter as FRUS).
5.
Clement Attlee to Harry S. Truman, September 16, 1945, Box 1, General Records of the State Department, Office of Near Eastern Affairs, RG 59, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
6.
FRUS, 8 ( 1945), 772, 775, 785-86, 788-90, 819-20; Truman, Memoirs, pp. 68-69.
7.
Sidney Hertzberg, "This Month in History," Commentary 1 ( February, 1946), 48; Sheldon Morris Neuringer, "American Jewry and United States Immigration Policy, 1881-1953," Ph.D. diss. ( University of Wisconsin, 1969), p. 276; PPP, 1945, pp. 572- 76.
8.
British Public Record Office, Kew, England, FO 371 51606/AN45; John Lesinski to Harry S. Truman, January 30, 1946, "President's Secretary's File (PSF)", Box 184, Truman Mss.
9.
Jewish Chronicle ( London), August 23, 1946; New York Times, August 18, 1946; Stars and Stripes (European edition), August 21, 1946.
10.
The State of the Union Messages of the Presidents, 3 vols. ( New York, 1966), 3:2498.
11.
"Analysis of Revercomb Report on DPs," appended to letter from H. Graham Morison to John R. Steelman, February 25, 1947, OF 127, Box 552, Truman Mss.; interview with Irving M. Engel, August 21, 1978, New York City; Edwin G. Nourse to

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