Previous | Next
718719720721722723724725726727728729730731732733734735736737738739740741742 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