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    Harry S. Truman "Special Session of Congress" Speech Signed "Harry S. Truman" at the conclusion, four pages, 8" x 14", front and verso. Stapled together at upper left. Washington, October 24, 1947. This radio address was delivered from the White House at 10 P.M. that evening. On October 23rd, Truman had issued a rare presidential proclamation explaining that "an extraordinary occasion requires the Congress of the United States to convene at the Capitol" at 12 Noon on November 17, 1947. Printed at the top of this mimeographed speech: "Confidential: The following address of the President to be delivered by radio from the White House, must be held in confidence until released."

    The Democrats were in control of Congress when Vice President Truman became President in 1945 after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the midterm elections of 1946, the Republicans had won a majority in both the House and Senate. Truman had clashed with the now Republican-controlled 80th Congress over a number of issues. Earlier in 1947, Truman had vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act, which banned the closed shop and restricted the power of organized labor in a number of other ways. The bill was passed over Truman's veto. Twice in 1947, the 80th Congress passed tax cuts which Truman vetoed claiming they favored the wealthy. Looking forward to the presidential election of 1948, the Congress repeatedly blamed Truman for the nation's chief economic problem, inflation. So, on October 23rd, President Truman called the Republican-controlled Congress into session. If the Republicans had a solution to curb inflation, let them enact legislation.

    In part, "I have called the Congress to meet on November 17th to consider the problems of high prices at home and emergency aid abroad...Our domestic prosperity is endangered by the threat of inflation. The peace of the world is endangered by hunger and cold in other lands. These obstacles must be overcome by prompt and courageous action. Legislation by Congress is essential. The need is too pressing - the results of delay too grave - for Congressional action to wait until the next regular session in January..." On December 27, 1947, President Truman signed Senate Joint Resolution 167 into law saying that he did so "with a sense of deep disappointment that the Congress has seen fit to take such feeble steps toward the control of inflation. At a time when nearly everyone in this Nation is feeling the pressure of exorbitant prices, the Congress has enacted a bill that is pitifully inadequate as a weapon against the high cost of living. I sign the bill reluctantly, but feel that I must do so because it contains some measures that are needed now. On November 17, 1947, I recommended to the Congress a 10-point anti-inflation program. I emphasized that all 10 points were essential to an effective program to win the battle against inflation. Senate Joint Resolution 167 contains appropriate legislation with respect to only three of the 10 points that were recommended. And these three points are of minor importance compared with the others...The three points, out of the November 17 10-point program which this bill covers are: extension of export controls, extension of allocation authority over transportation facilities and equipment, and authorization for expansion of the Department of Agriculture program of encouraging conservation practices in this country and authorization of measures designed to increase the production of food in certain foreign countries..." Truman's vetoes of the Taft-Hartley Act and proposed tax cuts and his berating of the Republican-dominated 80th "do nothing" Congress were important factors in turning his almost certain defeat in the 1948 presidential election to victory. Light pencil notations by previous owner. An historic signed speech by President Truman in very fine condition. Ex. Henry E. Luhrs Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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