Telephone Message from Bernard Baruch for Eleanor Roosevelt

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Telephone Message from Bernard Baruch for Eleanor Roosevelt

[18? September] 1946 [New York City]

Mr. Baruch called. He is troubled about Wallace's letter because Mr. B. says Wallace's statements on the atomic bomb are not based on fact. He talked to Wallace and asked him to come up for a discussion. Wallace was not very cooperative. Baruch does not want to make a statement and start a public row with Wallace and thinks Wallace should say he was misinformed.


1. Andrew Russell Pearson (1897–1969) started his journalistic career traveling throughout Europe and Asia as a freelance writer. In 1932, Pearson and fellow journalist, Robert S. Allen, began coauthoring a political column titled the "Washington Merry-Go-Round" after a book of the same name they had anonymously published about the Hoover administration. Allen and Pearson also co-hosted a radio show on station WMAL, but after Allen went on active military duty in 1942, Pearson both wrote the column and hosted the show alone. One of the features of the show was "Predictions of Things to Come," in which he speculated on the future actions of public figures. Pearson had been investigating the private rift between Wallace and Truman (ANB; Culver and Hyde, 424-26; "Text of Secretary Wallace's Letter to President Truman on U.S. Foreign Policy," NYT, 18 September 1946, 2).

2. Quoted in Culver and Hyde, 421-22.

3. That day, Wallace met privately with Truman and promised to stop his criticism of US foreign policy for the time being. Byrnes did not feel that Wallace's silence was enough. From the Foreign Ministers' Conference in Paris, Byrnes called for Truman to demonstrate American solidarity with either the "appeasement" policies of Wallace or his own firmer stance towards Russia. Truman responded by demanding Wallace's resignation on the morning of September 20 (Hamby, Beyond, 126-34; Lewis Wood, "Wallace Reveals He Bade President Treat with Soviet," NYT, 18 September 1946, 1; C. L. Sulzberger, "Paris Sees Byrnes' Policy Reinvigorated by Truman," NYT, 21 September 1946, 1; "Text of Wallace's Letter to President on Russia," WP, 18 September 1946, 1). See also Document 128 for more on the Baruch plan.

4. The two did not reach an agreement, as Wallace did not believe he had misinterpreted any of the facts concerning the Baruch plan. The meeting proved to be their last, and a public row in the major papers followed: Baruch announced at a press conference on October 2 that Wallace's interpretation of the Baruch plan as outlined in his letter was either "misinformation or complete distortion," and Wallace retorted that it was Baruch's "stern and inflexible" stance that "created the impasse" in the UN Atomic Energy Commission (Culver and Hyde, 427n; Schwarz, 502-3; A. M. Rosenthal, "Baruch Rebukes Wallace Groups for Distorting U.S. Atom Plan," NYT, 2 October 1946, 1; Lewis Wood, "Wallace Charges Baruch with 'Impasse' over Atom," NYT, 4 October 1946, 1).

On Truman, Stalin, and Churchill

On September 24, 1946, Arthur Murray wrote ER:

Heavy weather in Paris; but who, it may be asked, with any real knowledge of the past six and twenty years expected otherwise.1 The chickens of past blunders are darkening the skies as they scurry home to roost beginning with the catastrophic blunder—as some of us in Parliament pointed out at the time—by Winston Churchill after the First World War in supporting the Russian Generals Denikin and Wrangel in their attempt to overturn the Bolshevist Revolution.2 Was it likely that Stalin—the ultimate saviour of the Revolution—would ever forget that. Some of us prophesied five and twenty years ago that he would not do so. And he has not.

Murray also told ER that he found Churchill's September 19 speech in Zurich, in which the former prime minister proposed a "United States of Europe," pushed for a strong partnership between France and Germany, and declared that "there can be no revival of Europe without a spiritually great France and a spiritually great Germany,"3 yet "another ill-judged utterance."

No Frenchman who has lived through two German aggressions against France, and heard tales from the lips of his grandparents of a third, is going to tolerate Germany as France's partner. Nor in our lifetime will any nation which has endured German rule contemplate the revival, even for the common purpose of European defense, of the Wehrmacht which only last month was declared for ever dissolved. A call for "partnership" with Germany was out of place; was bound to fall on deaf ears; and was fated to arouse mistrust and suspicion, and to throw spanners into the peace-making machine.4

As her reply indicates, ER also found the speech "unfortunate."