Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949

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Author: Harry S Truman  | Date: March 23, 1949

56
Remarks at a Testimonial Dinner for Secretary Forrestal.
March 23, 1949

THIS IS not a hard subject to discuss. I have known Mr. Forrestal ever since he came to Washington, and I have known him favorably and well. I knew him before he became Secretary of the Navy. He was Secretary of the Navy when I became President. He served as Secretary of the Navy and then as Secretary of Defense when that organization was instituted.

He has a record that I think not only he should be proud of—and I am sure he is-but all of us who have had any contacts with him know how well and thoroughly he has done every job which has been entrusted to his care.

Mr. Forrestal, when I became President, offered his resignation, as did all the other members of the Cabinet. I was successful in persuading him to stay, and ever since then at stated intervals he has been endeavoring to leave the Government service, as all Government men eventually want to leave the Government service, because it is a sacrifice to them to stay with it.

Eventually I had to accept his resignation for his own welfare, because he was making a tremendous sacrifice by staying on the job. I hope that he will have a most successful and happy career from now on. I have succeeded in getting an agreement out of him that in case of necessity he would come back and serve in whatever position the President at the time would see fit to ask him to serve.

I want to congratulate this organization for showing this mark of respect to the Secretary of Defense, and I am sincerely sorry that I couldn’t be here for the whole evening, but I couldn’t make it. I have, as you know, too much to do for one man, and in addition to that my daughter came home for the weekend today, and I stayed at home and had dinner with her. She is here for a certain meeting tomorrow evening with the former Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Jim, I want to congratulate you on a great public career. I hope I am as well thought of, when I go out of office, as you are.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:30 p.m. in the Chinese Room of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. For the President’s letter accepting the resignation of James Forrestal as Secretary of Defense, see Item 46.

On May 22, 1949, Mr. Forrestal died at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. On the same day the President signed Proclamation 2840 (3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp, p. 15) officially announcing the deathof Mr. Forrestal and ordering that the national flag be displayed at half-mast upon all public buildings and U.S. installations, until "after the funeral shall have taken place."

In referring to Mr. Forrestal the proclamation stated, "He exhausted his strength by his unremitting labors in the burdensome duties of these offices during the war and the critical years which have followed the end of hostilities. His tragic death came as a shock to his friends, and a great loss to the people of the United States, whom he had served so well and faithfully."

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Chicago: Harry S Truman, "56 Remarks at a Testimonial Dinner for Secretary Forrestal.," Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.592-593 180. Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CK7292MCIHHQ6GH.

MLA: Truman, Harry S. "56 Remarks at a Testimonial Dinner for Secretary Forrestal." Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.592-593, page 180. Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CK7292MCIHHQ6GH.

Harvard: Truman, HS, '56 Remarks at a Testimonial Dinner for Secretary Forrestal.' in Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1949. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.592-593, pp.180. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CK7292MCIHHQ6GH.