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Letter to Mrs. C. Irving Guyer on the Need for Controlling Inflation.

July 19, 1951

Dear Mrs. Guyer:

Thank you for your thoughtful letter about the need for price controls. It means a great deal to me to get letters like yours. And I have been getting many of them-letters from places like Houston, Texas and Oakland, California and Cincinnati, Ohio; good, heartening letters from big cities and small towns and rural R.F.D.'s all across America.

These letters prove what I believe so strongly, that millions and millions of Americans--housewives like yourself and workers and businessmen and farmers--know the facts about inflation and understand them very well. They know the lobbyists are working hard here in Washington to get the Congress to pass weak control laws, which will keep us from putting up a successful fight against inflation. And they know how badly off we'll be if the lobbyists win.

I don't think you can fool most Americans once they have the facts. And I'm convinced that more and more Americans are learning the facts about inflation. And the more of our fellow citizens who do know the facts, the easier it will become to ward off the lobbyists' attacks and get the kind of legislation that the people of this country need and are entitled to.

You asked me in your letter to speak for you and all the other housewives, who aren't represented here in Washington by any lobby organization. Of course I will do that. It's what I have been doing. It's what I'm here to do. I have been speaking for you and working for you as hard as I can to make dear what the issues are in this fight against inflation and to convince the Congress that we must get a strong new control law on the books.

Let me say this to you. If we can't beat off the lobbies this time, we will just make a new start and try again. I want you to remember always, that though the special interests may have a triumph now and then, the people's interest is sure to carry in the end. Once the people know the facts and understand where their interests really lie, they are an irresistible force. Nothing can stop them.

That is our whole history as Americans.

I would like to ask you to remember one thing more. In Springfield, Massachusetts the cattle ranchers of the West may seem very far away. It must be hard, sometimes, not to identify them all with their self-styled "spokesmen" in Washington. It is just as hard, sometimes, for people out West not to identify all Eastern businessmen--even small businessmen like your husband--with the "spokesmen" of the "big interests" in New York, or the paid propagandists of the National Association of Manufacturers.

But these are both mistakes--mistakes none of us can afford. Most of the cattlemen and most of the businessmen are good patriotic Americans, who want to safeguard their own interests, like anybody else, but not at the country's expense.

I am sure you know this. I am sure you realize how little the big paid lobbyists in Washington may really represent the members of their own organizations, much less anybody else. But these "spokesmen" have been filling the air with so many violent accusations against whole groups of Americans, that I fear sometimes lest many of us may forget how much we have in common-how much our welfare as individuals is bound up with our common welfare as American citizens, working together.

If we all remember that and keep it constantly in mind--in spite of all the shouting by the "spokesmen" and the "special pleaders," we can win the battle for price controls and the bigger battle that lies behind it--the battle for peace and security in the world.

Sincerely yours,


[Mrs. C. Irving Guyer, 58 Rockland Street, Springfield, Massachusetts]

Note: The President wrote in reply to Mrs. Guyer's letter of July 10, also released, in which she described her efforts as "a fairly representative middle class housewife," with five children and a "small businessman" husband, to "keep our heads above the rising fide of inflation."

Mrs. Guyer wrote: "I understand that right now Washington is crowded with lobbyists, lobbyists representing the cattle interests, the real estate interests, the farm interests etc., all fighting to weaken price control legislation or to eliminate it entirely. Nowhere have I heard of any lobbying being done for a very large and pretty important group of Americans who will certainly be seriously affected by any further inflation--the housewives.

"Since I cannot afford a trip to Washington to lobby for the housewives personally, I am writing to ask you, Mr. President, to speak for us."

Harry S Truman, Letter to Mrs. C. Irving Guyer on the Need for Controlling Inflation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230437

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