THE FRIEND of my youth, who became a tower of strength when the responsibilities of high office so unexpectedly fell to me, is gone. To collect one's thoughts to pay tribute to Charles Ross in the face of this tragic dispensation is not easy. I knew him as boy and as man. In our high school years together he gave promise of these superb intellectual powers which he attained in after-life. Teachers and students alike acclaimed him as the best all-round scholar our school had produced.
His years of preparation were followed by an early maturity of usefulness. In the many roles of life he played his part with exalted honor and an honesty of purpose from which he never deviated. To him as a newspaperman truth was ever mighty as he pursued his work from Washington to the capitals of Europe and to far continents.
Here at the White House the scope of his influence extended far beyond his varied and complex and always exacting duties as Secretary to the President. He was in charge of press and radio, a field which has steadily broadened in recent years with continuous advance in the technique of communications. It was characteristic of Charlie Ross that he was holding a press conference when the sudden summons came. We all knew that he was working far beyond his strength. But he would have it so. He fell at his post, a casualty of his fidelity to duty and his determination that our people should know the truth, and all the truth, in these critical times.
His exacting duties did not end with his work as Press Secretary. More and more, all of us came to depend on the counsel on questions of high public policy which he could give out of the wealth of his learning, his wisdom, and his farflung experience. Patriotism and integrity, honor and honesty, lofty ideals and nobility of intent were his guides and ordered his life from boyhood onward. He saw life steady and saw it whole. We shall miss him as a public servant and mourn him as a friend.