TRUMAN, Harry S. Autograph letter signed ("Harry") to his former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Independence, MO, 18 July 1961. 4 pages, 4to (8 5/8 x 6½ in.), on Truman's personal stationery, staple holes in upper left corner, otherwise in very fine condition. [With:] ACHESON, Dean. A copy of an autograph letter signed, probably in Acheson's hand, to Truman, 14 July 1961.
TRUMAN AIDS KENNEDY'S ELECTION, BUT ADMITS "I AM FRANKLY WORRIED ABOUT THE SITUATION"
An intriguing letter providing an inside view of Truman's activities during the Kennedy campaign and his thoughts on the new administration. In 1960, Truman expressed his lack of enthusiasm for the popular John F. Kennedy as the Democratic candidate for President. Truman felt that Kennedy was young and inexperienced but also believed that America would not elect a Catholic. Despite his promise that he would do nothing to hurt Kennedy's campaign, Truman actively worked against the Senator in the Spring, announcing his support for Stuart Symington. When it became clear that Kennedy would be the easy victor at the convention, he refused to attend the Democratic gathering and made a public announcement that the Kennedy men had fixed the results.
Here, Truman begins by discussing Acheson's efforts to polish the image of his administration: "Your discussion of the 'image' approach is correct and to the point. If you can't field that 'hot drive to the short stop,' no one can. Of course you pay me the high compliment of a tried and true friend -- but, you must remember that I had no 'yes' men around me, particularly was that true of the great Secretary of State." Responding to Acheson's comments about the Kennedy administration, Truman expresses his own candid concerns: "I am frankly worried about the situation. When the young man came to see me before the Democratic Convention in L.A. I asked him if he felt he was ready for what faced him. There was no answer." Having decided to support the candidate in the midst of the campaign, Truman readily admits his important role in Kennedy's victory: "When the rigged convention was over he came back and asked for help to win the election. Since the Democratic Party had given me everything I ever aspired to from precinct to President, I did what I could. I am egotistical enough to think No. Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas were helped a little in their anti-Catholic attitude, and Missouri was just saved by an inch. The state ticket went over by about 330,000 majority - Kennedy by 35,000 or there abouts. As you remember I told the Baptists at Waco what I had in mind about their bigotry. Since I'm one myself they had to take it."
Truman concludes on a humorous note: "You know all this but I like to talk about it. It is like the 88 year old who was being prosecuted for rape by a 20 year old. He made no defense. The Judge asked him why. 'Well' he said, 'it sounded so nice and I was wishing so much it could happen that I enjoyed it'. He was not convicted!"