Harry S. Truman: The Man from Independence

By William F. Levantrosser | Go to book overview

25
The Unique and Inspiring Leadership of President Truman

Clark M. Clifford

President Shuart, Dr. Levantrosser, Mrs. Daniel, scholars, academicians, ladies, and gentlemen: It's a delight to me to have a part in this felicitous event. The more time we give to considering Harry Truman and the Truman administration, the better it's going to be for our country. How many times has each of you over these past tumultuous years heard someone say, "Oh, if we only had Harry Truman back in the White House." I wish to congratulate your university and Dr. Levantrosser on the excellence of the program. It's sophisticated, it's farreaching, it gives us many leads as we prepare for next year and the centennial of this illustrious American.

For three days--three and a half days--you will be considering many of the technical and formal aspects of the Truman administration. I would like to consider it from a much more personal standpoint. The work was hard, the pay was poor, the hours were long, the problems were almost insoluble--and yet it was the most rewarding period in anyone's life who had the privilege to work with Harry Truman.

It wasn't all trouble and all crises; there was a lighter side to it. One fortunate appointment was made by President Truman. He appointed a man to be commissioner of Internal Revenue who had a sense of humor--maybe the first and last time it's ever been done. This man, George Schoeneman, had a list of thirty or forty of us to whom he would send unusual documents or incidents that occurred in the Department of Internal Revenue. I remember one very well he sent around to us early in his career. It was a letter and it said, "Dear Commissioner of Internal Revenue, I cheated on my last year's income tax, and my conscience hurts me so bad I cannot sleep. Therefore, I am enclosing a check, a money order for $6,243," signed, "Repentant Taxpayer." Then it said, "P. S. If I still can't sleep I will send you the balance " Another one had a certain

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