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to melt the cold war. Averell invited virtually every VIP. The one person who refused to go was Harry Truman. The next day at our breakfast (as I told you, I'm not very tactful), I said, “Mr. President, I know that it's none of my business, but I was rather surprised that you wouldn't go to this party which obviously was intended to warm things up and try to turn Khrushchev into a friend. Why were you the one that wouldn't go?”

Truman, when he got indignant, would start poking you in the ribs. He started poking me and said, “I'll tell you why I didn't go to that reception. When I was President of this country, that man never missed an opportunity to make a fool out of me. Now, I'm a private citizen--he can go kiss my ass.” I let out a roar of laughter. That was the way, of course, that Truman talked. I said, “I think you have made yourself quite clear, Mr. President.”

Another funny Truman story concerns an evening a year or so later when we were the two speakers at a big banquet. I think that it was in Des Moines. He gave the political and the serious talk and I was there to provide a few innocent laughs. It was a great big dinner for about 1,000 men. We both got pretty handsome sums for this job. That's why we were there!

Put before me was the usual dinner served at these banquets...you know, a chicken leg with a couple of hairs sticking on it and green peas that roll off your knife...oh, horrible. But they brought Truman a steak with mushroom sauce! I grumbled, “How the hell did you get that steak while everybody else is served this undercooked chicken?”

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