Diaries, Private Memoranda, Papers
President Truman made available to me his diaries, private memoranda and papers. Those portions published here illustrate what goes on in the mind of a President and the manner of man he is, but are not a complete record. President Truman does not always keep a day-to-day account of his thoughts and actions. He is no Pepys.
But once a week, or oftener when a situation warrants it, the President writes a memorandum in longhand, outlining facts, decisions and the persons involved with his plain- speaking comments.
The President keeps his diaries in black leather notebooks. But his memoranda are written on blocks of paper, five by eight, and none of them have been type-copied or designed in any way for any eyes but his.
The President told me that the writing of these memoranda helps him to clarify his thinking and serve as notes for further study and decision.
For the first year of his Presidency, Mr. Truman penciled brief but pungent comments on the margin of his daily appointments sheet. For example, after listening to one visitor for fifteen minutes, the President wrote simply: "Baloney peddler." Or having discussed the international situation with a public figure, he recorded in pencil: "This man not only wants to run the country but the universe and the entire milky way." On the margin of his visitors' list of March 23, 1946, after the following item for 10.00 A.M, ( General Walter Bedell Smith, U. S. Ambassador to Russia), the President writes in longhand in ink: "Told him to tell Stalin I held him to be a man to keep his word. Troops in Iran after March 2, upset that theory. Also told him to urge Stalin to come to U.S.A." 7.10 P.M. (Leave for Mayflower Hotel to attend Jackson Day Dinner): "An enthusiastic meeting. My first political speech as President. Rang the bell, I believe."
Running throughout the diaries and private papers, one theme predominates: I don't