Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, Vol. One (8)

Year of Decisions. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1955. 

Why Read It? Truman had to end the war, decide on the atomic bomb and then shift to a peacetime economy in which he had to fight a Cold War with the Soviets, fight the Korean War, battle through labor troubles and to remind everyone of the necessity to maintain civilian control of the military through relieving MacArthur of his command. Although he appeared to be a normal U.S. citizen, he was anything but. His character was almost the ideal of a U.S. President. His decisions were well thought out and decisive. He was well known for his plain spokenness.

“When the facts are known, reasonable men do not disagree with respect to them.” p. 168. ………. “The power to investigate is necessary to the intelligent exercise of the powers of Congress.” p. 168. ………. “I never permitted irrelevant questioning or any browbeating of witnesses.” p. 174. ………. “The reports did more than simply summarize our findings. Many of them contained definite recommendations for legislation to correct abuses that had been brought to light.” p. 174. ………. “As the Committee’s investigation proceeded into 1942, the evidence of waste and confusion became more shocking than ever. I saw that the war effort was bogging down because of red tape and bureaucratic waste, because of overlapping jurisdictions and the failure to delegate authority , and because of conflicts between military and civilian agencies.” p. 18. ………. “We were still uncovering new problems more rapidly than solutions were being provided for old ones.” p.  183. ………. “…certain rules and conditions should be imposed on an investigating committee by the body from which it issues…should be stated clearly what the power of the committee is to be.” p. 188. ………. “I consider the methods used by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to be the most un-American thing in American in its day…more of an inquisition than an investigation.” p. 189. ………. “The power of the Congress to investigate may become equal to, if not more important than, its power to legislate.”

To be continued.

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