Home
Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker
Mary LaskerMary Lasker
Photo Gallery
Transcript

Part:         Session:         Page of 1143

then he started to justify the use of the atomic bomb, and he said, “You know by doing this, Marshall told me, we saved the lives of 300,000 American men because that many men would have been killed in the landings on Japan.” I didn't mention to him that I didn't think that would have been necessary, that it could have been done by air power alone--I just didn't discuss that with him--but I could see that this was so much in his mind because to a complete stranger he was still justifying himself out loud. He felt very tentative and apologetic about being President, even to a stranger like me, which seemed so extraordinary, because I came, you know, to the highest officer of the land to get something done about the health of people and I was taking him for granted. But he was excusing himself, at that moment.

Later, in '48, when he won on his own, he took on all the majesty of office, and he looked like a President, if anybody ever did. He was superb.

Well, fortunately, that day he said that he would go along. I said, “If you send this message to the Congress of the United States, it willbe the first time any President has shown any interest in the health of the people, and it will be an historic act. Will you do it?” He said, “Yes, I'll do it,” and he did it.

Now, after that we had numerous contacts with him and he did send three health messages: one, again, in May of '47, I think, and one somewhat later, at our instance. And one of the things that we got done under the research section was to get the heart research bill passed through the House and the Senate. We



© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help