Typed Letter Signed Commenting on His Secretary of State: “The judgment of history… will mark Dean Acheson among the top three or four of the great Secretaries of State”

Signed by Harry S Truman

$800
Item: 19385
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TRUMAN, HARRY S. (1884-1972). Thirty-third president of the United States. TLS. (“Harry S. Truman”). 1p. 4to. Independence, March 29, 1963. On his personal stationery. Praising Dean Acheson to the president of the Yale Club of Montclair, New Jersey, WILLIAM P. KENNARD (1919-2013). On former President Truman’s personal stationery. Docketed and signed (“D.A.”) by DEAN ACHESON (1893-1971) at the head of the letter.

“The judgment of history, already in the process of shaping up, will mark Dean Acheson among the top three or four of the great Secretaries of State. No one has had a clearer sense of the times or the direction of the course this nation had to take in her relations with its friends and allies, as well as to meet the threat from the new enemy. That he and I were able to work so well together is one of the most comforting memories I have of those trying years of the ‘reconstruction…”

As president, Truman guided the United States through World War II and into the nuclear age. After leaving office at age 67, he returned home to Independence, Missouri, remaining active in public life, campaigning for Democratic candidates, writing several books, articles for the North American Newspaper Alliance,and establishing the Truman Library in Independence, which set a precedent for establishing future presidential libraries through private donations.

President Harry S. Truman with Dean Acheson in the Oval Office

Acheson served as assistant secretary of state during World War II and, in 1949, became Truman’s secretary of state, implementing the difficult diplomacy of the Cold War years and the United States’ policy of containment. He returned to private law practice after leaving the Truman administration and donated his papers to the Truman Presidential Library. However, he continued to exert a profound influence over policy matters as advisor to presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

Kennard was a Yale graduate, World War II veteran and proprietor of a textile company. Between 1963 and 1968, he also served as president of the Montclair Yale Bowl, the Yale Club of Montclair, New Jersey’s annual program honoring distinguished Yale alumni. “Acheson had been named by the Yale Club of Montclair, New Jersey, as the Outstanding Alumnus of Yale University, and a dinner was held in his honor in April 1963. [President] Kennedy decided to have some fun with the occasion. He sent a telegram to Acheson at the dinner, praising the former secretary while at the same time getting in a few lighthearted jabs. He made reference to the honorary doctor of law degrees from Yale that had been awarded to each man in July 1962: ‘As a member of the Yale Class of 1962, I am delighted to extend my congratulations to Dean Acheson as he becomes the Outstanding Alumnus of Yale University. One of Mr. Acheson’s own outstanding traits is his possession of an intimidating seniority… As a Yale man I welcome this recognition, and as a Harvard man I want to assure Mr. Acheson of my reasonable confidence that in his new guise he will not be presiding over the decline of a first-rate power…’ The heavily Republican Montclair Yale Club roared with laughter at the president’s telegram,” (John F. Kennedy and Europe, Brinkley and Griffiths). Acheson’s docket is affected by two file holes in the top margin; in very fine condition.

Typed Letter Signed Commenting on His Secretary of State: “The judgment of history… will mark Dean Acheson among the top three or four of the great Secretaries of State”

Signed by Harry S Truman

$800 • item #19385

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