Richard Nixon, Loathed by Harry Truman, Speaks Well of Him

September 5, 1986

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Richard Nixon, Loathed by Harry Truman, Speaks Well of Him
Autograph Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 1462

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      Background

      "Richard Nixon is a no-good, lying bastard,” Harry Truman famously declared – adding, for good measure, that “he can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and even if he caught himself telling the truth, he'd lie just to keep his hand in." Nixon, Truman told his biographer, was one of only two people, in the whole of his political career, that he actually hated; it had been this way since 1952, when Nixon, out campaigning for Vice-President, implied that Truman was soft on communism. For the next seventeen years, Truman regularly let Nixon have it, and that was pretty much the state of things when then President Nixon, in March 1969, paid a call on Truman, to return to the Truman Library the piano which Truman had played in the White House. That meeting is recalled here, warmly, to Truman's nephew, as is, almost, Truman’s presidency itself. In any case, Nixon makes perfectly clear, their antipathy wasn’t personal…

      While I had some pretty rough differences with your great uncle and namesake I never considered them to be personal. And on the political side my first vote as a freshman Congressman in 1947 was for the Greek-Turkish aid program which was the basis for the Truman doctrine. I have a warm recollection of my last meeting with him when I presented the piano he had played in the White House for his Presidential library in Independence. He got a kick out of my rather amateurish rendition of the Missouri Waltz.


      The name “Harry Truman,” Nixon tells Truman’s grand nephew and namesake, conveys a great heritage; he should be proud.


      Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page, quarto, on his personal letterhead, 26 Federal Plaza, New York City, September 5, 1986. To “Harry” [a Harry S. Truman namesake]
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