John Kennedy, Harry Truman
Published in Philip Zelikow and Ernest May, eds., The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises, volume 3 (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001), pp.522-23.
Operator: Yes, sir.
President Kennedy: President Truman, please.
Operator: Thank you. [Phone connection is made.] Hello?
Harry Truman: Yes, hello.
Operator: He’ll be with you in just one minute, Mr. President.
Truman: All right. All right.
President Kennedy: Hello.
Truman: Hello, this is Harry Truman.
President Kennedy: Hello! How are you, Mr. President?
Truman: Well I’m all right and I’m just pleased to death the way these things came out.
President Kennedy: Well, we’ll just stay at it, and I just wanted to bring you up to date on it. We got a letter from him on Friday night which was rather conciliatory on these withdrawals. Then on Saturday morning, 12 hours after the other letter was received, we got this entirely different letter about the missile bases in Turkey.
Truman: That’s the way they do things.
President Kennedy: Then, well then we rejected that. Then they came back with and accepted the earlier proposal. So I think we’re going to have a lot of difficulties. But at least we’re making some progress about getting these missiles out of there. In addition, I think that Khrushchev’s had some difficulties in maintaining his position. My judgment is that it’s going to make things tougher in Berlin because the fact he’s had something of a setback in Cuba is going to make him—
Truman: That’s right.
President Kennedy: —rougher in Berlin. But at least it’s a little better than it was a couple of days ago.
Truman: Well, you’re on the right track. Now you just keep after them. That’s the language that they understand, just what you gave them.
President Kennedy: Right. Good.
Truman: They’ve been asking me for comments and I’ve said the President ofthe United States is the only man who can comment on it.
President Kennedy: [Chuckles.] All right. OK. Good. Take care. I’ll be in touch with you.
Truman: All right.
President Kennedy: Thank you, Mr. President.
Truman: I certainly appreciate your call.
President Kennedy: Well, thank you, Mr. President. Bye-bye.