Dictabelt 24A.1

John Kennedy, Harry Truman
White House Telephone

President Kennedy: Hello?
Harry Truman: Mr. President?
President Kennedy: How are you?
Truman: Well, I'm all right. And I want to congratulate you on that treaty.1
President Kennedy: Well, I think Averell Harriman did a good job. And I think it protects our interests without--but on the other hand, maybe it's going to help.2
Truman: I do too. And I'm writing you a personal, confidential letter on certain paragraphs in it, which I know you're familiar with it but then I thought that's what you'd want me to do.
President Kennedy: Right. Right.
Truman: And--but I'm in complete agreement with what it provides because I'm--my goodness alive, maybe we can save a [unclear] war over that.
President Kennedy: Well, I think that's the whole--I think that--just to see where we go and see what happens with China. I think that's our--
Truman: Well, and I'm congratulating you on getting that thing done. I think it's a wonderful thing.
President Kennedy: Well, I appreciate that very much, Mr. President. That's very generous and I'm going to make a--
Truman: I'm going to special airmail letter from me confirming what I'm saying to you now.
President Kennedy: Good. Fine. Well, I think that anything you say about it would be very helpful.
Truman: Well, I'm not going to say anything publicly until you give me permission to do it.
President Kennedy: Yeah. Well, I think--
Truman: I don't like these fellows who quote the president on [unclear]. [chuckling]
President Kennedy: Well, no, but I'll tell you what. I'm going to make a speech tonight, then any time you could say anything would be very helpful.
Truman: I'll be glad to do it.
President Kennedy: Fine. When--
Truman: I'm going to St. Louis tomorrow.
President Kennedy: Yeah.
Truman: For the American Legion convention.
President Kennedy: Yeah.
Truman: And do you think that's a good time to do it?
President Kennedy: That--I can't imagine a better--
Truman: I'll mention your statements on the subject if it's satisfactory to you in connection with the letter which I am sending you. You will get it in the morning.
President Kennedy: That'd be very helpful.
Truman: Well, I want to do it the way you want it.
President Kennedy: Fine. Well, if you could say something tomorrow, I think that would really give us a lift.
Truman: I'll be glad to say it. I thought maybe Sunday morning's papers might be a good place to say it.
President Kennedy: Oh, good. That's fine, [Mr.] President.
President Kennedy: Well, you sound in good shape.
Truman: [laughing] Oh, I'm all right. The only trouble with me is that . . . the main difficulty I've had is keeping the wife satisfied.
President Kennedy: [laughs] Well, that's all right. [laughs]
Truman: [laughing] Well, you know how that is. Because she's very much afraid I'm going to hurt myself [unclear] even though I'm not.
President Kennedy: Yeah. Yeah.
Truman: [Unclear] tough bird. But then I want to do whatever will be helpful to you.
President Kennedy: Well, that's fine. I think anything you could say tomorrow would be very good.
Truman: All right.
President Kennedy: Thank you very much. Right. Bye.
  • 1. Truman is referring to the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, also known as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT). Negotiations for this agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union had just concluded in Moscow.
  • 2. W. Averell Harriman led the American delegation to the negotiations for the Partial Test Ban Treaty.