Harry S. Truman photo

Letter Accepting Resignation of Basil O'Connor as President of the American National Red Cross

September 22, 1949

[Released September 22, 1949. Dated September 21, 1949]

Dear Mr. O'Connor:

The sum of your activities and the value of your achievements during the years of your direction of the work of the American National Red Cross constitute a contribution of incalculable value. Your efforts have indeed been time consuming. They justify your desire to relinquish active association with this great organization in order to return to private pursuits.

Accordingly I have no recourse but to accept, effective as of October first next, your resignation as President of the organization, tendered in your letter of September nineteenth.

You have directed Red Cross activities through momentous years, both in war and in peace, and not the least of your contributions has been that which you made in piloting a complete reorganization plan through the Congress.

When my predecessor appointed you Chairman of the then Central Committee of the American National Red Cross in midsummer, 1944, this country was in the throes of the greatest war in history. The Red Cross responded magnificently to the call which war sounded. Its ministry of relief to the sick and wounded on far-flung battle lines is an epic of service--a service that continued after active hostilities were concluded and the call was to maintain morale in the cold war that followed. In every crisis Red Cross made its own peculiar contribution to American life.

With victory to our arms you turned your attention to the revision of the outworn charter with its antiquated procedure. You achieved this happy result with consummate skill. You have justified abundantly my confidence in appointing you the first President of the reorganized American National Red Cross. I feel that you have, through this reorganization at national level, with upwards of four thousand chapters and a Board of Governors of fifty members, given your country a relief agency capable of efficient work through strictly democratic processes.

I concur in your opinion that the Red Cross blood program may well become the greatest single health activity in history.

And so to you I say: well done. For all that you have achieved you have earned the thanks of your government and of the great American people.

Very sincerely yours,


Note: On July 13, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Mr. O'Connor chairman of the Central Committee of the American National Red Cross, in which capacity he served until May 8, 1949. At that time President Truman appointed him the first president of the reorganized American National Red Cross, to serve for a 3-year term until June 1951.

Mr. O'Connor's letter of resignation was released with the President's reply.

Harry S Truman, Letter Accepting Resignation of Basil O'Connor as President of the American National Red Cross Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230091

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives