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46   Harry S. Truman Typed Letter Signed  $300 $330 $363 2 You must login to place a bid.
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#46 - Harry S. Truman Typed Letter Signed Estimate: $4,000+

“Disturbed” by ‘a gossipy letter’ from his former Secretary of State, Truman acknowledges the “storms of criticism, vilification, disappointments and betrayals” faced by President Johnson in 1966, while expressing hope that he “will rise to the full measure of the great calling of that office”

TLS, one page, 7.25 x 10.5, personal letterhead, October 19, 1966. Letter to Dean Acheson, his former Secretary of State, in full: "As always I was glad to hear from you. As you may well imagine I was disturbed by all you had to say about the situation as you found it after taking a good look at it! I can only hope that with experience and the conditioning and strength that comes to the man after he has weathered the storms of criticism, vilification, disappointments and betrayals that he will rise to the full measure of the great calling of that office. Bess joins me in sending you and Alice our warmest greetings and our best wishes." In very good to fine condition, with light creasing to the bottom blank area, and a vertical bend to the left margin.

On June 28, 1966, Acheson wrote to Truman promising ‘a gossipy letter about my three months’ service in the State Department in the Johnson Administration.’ A typed copy of said letter, which was written and mailed to Truman on October 3rd, is included with this lot. The letter offers a very candid portrayal of his role and experience as an unofficial advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Secretary of State, Dean Rusk. From April to July 1966, Acheson had coordinated the Johnson administration’s response to the crisis within NATO caused by France’s withdrawal.

Among its ‘tell all’ content, most glaring is Acheson’s frankness in speech, deeming the experience as “most disillusioning,” while assailing the organization of LBJ and the instability of his old ally in Rusk, whom he had not long ago recommended to President John F. Kennedy for appointment. The brunt of Acheson’s gripes, however, are heaped upon the leadership of the “devious” Johnson, who is “a worse postponer of decisions than FDR” and “can’t carry on more than a few matters at once.” LBJ’s “preoccupations” with Vietnam Acheson believes are hastening the “unraveling” of a “forgotten Europe” and the Marshall Plan that he, Truman, and George Marshall set into motion.

Truman’s hopeful response is in stark contrast to that of Acheson’s, but with Vietnam’s rising death toll and a deepening rift within the Democratic Party, it would be the latter who history would ultimately prove correct; by early 1968, Johnson once again sought the counsel of Acheson, who advised the president to pull out of Vietnam and, subsequently, to not run for reelection.

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