Truman becomes 32nd president


WASHINGTON, April 12, 1945 (UP) -- Harry S. Truman, one time $3 a-week "bottle duster" in a small-town Missouri drug store, was sworn in as the 32nd president of the United States, at 7:08 (E.W.T) tonight, succeeding Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose war and domestic policies he vowed to carry on. In his first official act, he authorized Secretary of State Edward R. Stetinius Jr. to announce that the San Francisco World Security Conference will be held April 25, as scheduled.


In his first official pronouncement, the new President pledged prosecution of the war to a successful conclusion.

"The world may be sure that we will prosecute this war on both fronts, east and west, with all the vigor we possess, to a successful conclusion," he said.

White House Secretary Jonathan Daniels, who made public the pledge, said Mr. Truman will be on the job at the White House at nine o'clock tomorrow morning and that he probably will hold a conference with Army and Navy leaders later in the day.


The new President and commander-in-chief, who will be 61 on May 8, took the oath from Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone in a brief, solemn ceremony in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

Even before taking the oath he had asked all members of Mr. Roosevelt's cabinet to stay in office and help him complete the job of winning the war and writing the peace.

The swearing in ceremony was witnessed by cabinet members and other high-ranking government officials. Behind the President stood Mrs. Truman, her eyes tear-dimmed.

The new President used a Bible brought from Mr. Roosevelt's office. He held it in his left hand and placed his right hand on top while Stone pronounced the oath from memory. Mr. Truman repeated it after him. Stone pressed his hand.

After the ceremony he left the White House and said he was "going home-to bed." Home-at least until tomorrow-is a modest, five-room apartment on Connecticut avenue.

Mr. Truman wore a gray striped, double-breasted suit, white shirt, and blue-and-white polka dot bow tie. The ceremony was delayed until Mrs. Truman arrived, and while he waited, the new President conversed with cabinet members. Members of the White House staff looked on, weeping.


One of Mr. Truman's last acts as vice president was to write a letter to a Miss Truman in Independence, Mo. He wrote it with his old gold fountain pen on senate stationery during senate debate. When the senate adjourned, he went to his office, where he heard of Mr. Roosevelt's death. A member of his office staff said he looked gray and agitated. He left for the White House immediately.

Mr. Truman was born at Lamar, Mo. He married his childhood sweetheart, the former Bess Wallace. They have one child, Mary Margaret, 21.

He spent his early life on a farm and his mother once said of him that he could "plow the straightest row of corn in the country."

On his way to the highest office in the land, he held jobs as drug store clerk, railroad timekeeper, bank clerk and newspaper mailing clerk.

He was elected to the senate in 1934 with the backing of the late Missouri political boss, Thomas J. Pendergast, and quickly won a reputation for getting things done. As chairman of the War Investigating Committee, he was renowned as "watchdog of the war effort."

In World War I he commanded a field artillery battery and saw action at St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne. He entered the war as a private and ended it as a major. He later won a reserve colonel's commission.


He was graduated from Independence, Mo., High School and attended Kansas City Law School. Later he tried to get into West Point, but failed because of defective vision.

He was elected Jackson County, Mo., judge in 1922, and held two four-year terms.

He won nomination for vice president at Chicago last July with the support of Democratic Committee Chairman Robert E. Hannegan, also from Missouri, when former Vice President Henry Wallace was bypassed.

Upon receiving the news of Mr. Roosevelt's death, Secretary Stephen Early telephoned Vice President Truman and asked him to come to the White House. Truman arrived in 10 minutes and was ushered to Mrs. Roosevelt. She told him the President had "passed away."

"What can I do?" Truman asked her.

"Tell us what we can do," Mrs. Roosevelt replied. "Is there any way we can help you?"

Early said it was then suggested that Truman call the cabinet to the White House.

Adm. McIntyre told how the news came to the White House. He prefaced his report by telling reporters, "This is a tough one for me to have to give you."

"At approximately 3:05 p.m. our time (E.W.T.)," McIntyre said, "I had a call from Warm Springs telling me the President had fainted while he was having his portrait done.


"They promised to fill me in later.

"I had talked with George Fox (Lt. Cmdr. George Fox, McIntyre's assistant) at Warm Springs earlier and everything was fine. In fact I thought I'd get to go down and get in a little golf.

"This came out of the clear sky.

"I asked Dr. James Paullin, of Atlanta - one of the real medical authorities in the country - to go down to Warm Springs, which he did." (McIntyre's request to Dr. Paullin was made after news of the President's fainting).

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