August 26, 1960

Harry Truman, "Blue as Indigo", Declares "Immature" John F. Kennedy the Lesser of Evils Over "Impossible" Nixon

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Truman is “blue as indigo” over what happened in Los Angeles, he tells Acheson. The convention, to begin with, was rigged, held in the wrong place and run, ultimately, by the devil. Then, the result was ghastly: “You and I are stuck with taking the lesser or the most of two evils or none at all. So," he declares, “I am taking the immature Democrat as the best of what's before us. Nixon is impossible. There we are.” But ever mindful of the workings of America’s democracy, he wisely adds, “When we look at the history of this great country we wonder how the hell we arrived at the top notch of things where we are. I am sure that's what the oldsters thought in 1828, 1840 and 1852 and sure enough in 1860. Well we came out on top in all those dates. Let's hope to God we'll do it again. It is going to take Him to do it!”

Truman came to feel that his faith was justified. John Kennedy paid assiduous court to the retired president, during the campaign and in the White House, and easily won him over. “Don’t get discouraged,” Truman would tell his old friends, “The boy is learning.”

Autograph Letter Signed (“Harry”), 2 pages, quarto, on his personal letterhead, Independence, Missouri, August 26, 1960. To Dean Acheson.

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Transcript

Harry S. Truman
Independence, Missouri

August 26, 1960

Dear Dean:

Your letters of the 12th & the 23rd really gave me the lift I needed. I have been as blue as indigo since the California meeting in L.A. It was a travesty on the Convention System. I don't think the end of Conventions is in sight, in spite of  what Sam Houston said.

The California Convention was organized by Ed Pauley without any consultation with anyone. He lined 65% of the National Committee and then called me!

In my opinion the Convention should have been held in Chicago, St. Louis or the "City of Brotherly Love." But it wasn't. You and I are stuck with taking the lesser or the most of two evils - or none at all.

So, I am taking the immature Democrat as the best of what's before us. Nixon is impossible. There we are. I hoped my stand before the Convention might help - but it didn't. Maybe I should have been there. Well, I've come to the conclusion that the devil has a hand in most things - and he certainly ran the L.A. Convention.

When we look at the history of this great country we wonder how the hell we arrived at the top notch of things where we are. I am sure that's what the oldsters thought in 1828, 1840 and 1852 and sure enough in 1860. Well we came out on top in all those dates. Let's hope to God we'll do it again. It is going to take Him to do it!

Sincerely,

HARRY