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Letter to Harry S. Truman on the 20th Anniversary of the Truman Doctrine.

March 11, 1967

Dear Mr. President:

On this day--as on so many others--those who love freedom will once again honor your name.

Twenty years ago you went before the Congress and summoned the American people to a great endeavor: that of helping free peoples to "maintain their free institutions and their national integrity against aggressive movements that seek to impose upon them totalitarian regimes."

With that message you served two great functions of the Presidency--those of the teacher and the leader. You related the struggle of the Greek people against armed terrorism to the national security of the United States. You recognized that totalitarian regimes, imposed upon free peoples by direct or indirect aggression, "undermine the foundations of international peace." And you called upon the Congress and the American people to help resist that aggression.

Today America is again engaged in helping to turn back armed terrorism. As in your day, there are those who believe that effort is too costly. As on other occasions during the past twenty years, there are those who counsel us that the stakes are not high enough, nor the danger near enough, to warrant our involvement.

But our people have learned that freedom is not divisible; that order in the world is vital to our national interest; and that the highest costs are paid not by those who meet their responsibilities, but by those who ignore them.

You helped to teach those lessons, Mr. President. Just as importantly, you had the courage and the determination to put them into practice: in Greece and Turkey, in Berlin, in Korea, and in other parts of the world where today men are free and prospering because of what you did.

March 12th is thus a proud anniversary. Years from now men will still mark this date, and the man whose Doctrine gave it meaning.

With best wishes for your health and happiness.



[The Honorable Harry S. Truman, Independence, Missouri]

Note: For President Truman's message to Congress on March 12, 1947, see "Public Papers of the Presidents, Harry S. Truman, 1947," Item 56. See also Items 108, 109, below.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to Harry S. Truman on the 20th Anniversary of the Truman Doctrine. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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