A NEW PRESIDENT
AND AN OLD POLICY
At 4:35 P.M. the news of the president's death was flashed to the White House, triggering a frantic search for Vice President Harry S. Truman. He was in the Capitol, having a postadjournment drink with Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. A telephone call from Press Secretary Steve Early brought him to the White House. When Truman arrived, a somber Eleanor Roosevelt greeted him with the momentous words, "Harry, the president is dead."
A staggered Truman asked if there was anything he could do for her.
"Is there anything we can do for you?" Mrs. Roosevelt asked. "You are the one in trouble now." 1
Not long after Bess Truman heard the news, she said to one of her husband's close friends: "This is going to put a terrific load on Harry. Roosevelt has told him nothing." 2