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TRUMAN, Harry S. Typed letter signed ("Harry S. Truman") as President, to Dr. Daniel A. Poling, Washington, 5 December 1950. 1 page, 4to, White House stationery, original White House envelope.

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TRUMAN, Harry S. Typed letter signed ("Harry S. Truman") as President, to Dr. Daniel A. Poling, Washington, 5 December 1950. 1 page, 4to, White House stationery, original White House envelope.

"IT IS A TRAGIC SITUATION IN CHINA. I THINK THE MAJORITY OF CHINESE PEOPLE...WOULD EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN FAVOR OF FRIENDSHIP FOR US"

Six months into the Korean War and just weeks after the battlefront shifted to the Chinese border, Truman writes to a leading American churchman and newspaper editor, offering him continued assurance of friendship as well as commentary on pressing international events. "I don't want you to feel as if you can't talk to me in my present position just as you would talk to me if I were Presiding Judge of the County Court in Jackson County, Missouri," the President assures Poling. Turning to world affairs, he says: "It is a tragic situation in China. I think the majority of Chinese people if they had an opportunity to express themselves, as we are allowed to do once every two years, would express themselves in favor of friendship for us. Free expression, however, is not possible when a Police State gets control of the avenues of thought and the free movement of the population. Sometime or other when you are down this way and things are eased up a little bit, I'd like very much to have you come and see me and discuss a few things in which our interests are mutual."

Poling (1884-1968) was president of the International League of Christian Endeavor and the editor of Christian Herald magazine. He had previously been a radio commentator for NBC, pastor of Marble Collegiate Church and head of the Bowery Mission in New York. A lifelong "dry" Republican, he supported intervention in World War II, and the anti-Communist policies of the Truman administration. Poling's son Clark (also a chaplain) was killed in 1943 in a famous episode in which the four chaplains aboard a torpedoed ship off Greenland sacrificed themselves by giving their life preservers to crew members.
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