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Letter to the National Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars, on Representation of Veterans at the Peace Conference.

July 26, 1946

My dear Mr. Stack:

I have given careful consideration to your thoughtful letter of July 11 with respect to the Peace Conference.

I am wholeheartedly in sympathy with your observations concerning the grave responsibilities confronting the peacemakers and your comments relative to the period following Versailles. Both the Secretary of State and I share most sincerely your hope that the aspirations of the common men and women of all nations should be the challenge and the guiding light of those at the peace table.

As you know, the Peace Conference will consider draft treaties which have been developed after months of difficult work by the Foreign Ministers of France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and this country, their deputies and their staffs. Included in the group assisting the Secretary of State have been officers of the United States Army and Navy who have had combat service in World War II.

The job to be done at Paris is to explain to representatives of the other seventeen governments the treaties which have been drafted by the Council of Foreign Ministers. This must be done by the technicians who are acquainted with the provisions of the treaties. After the Conference has submitted recommendations either as to amendments of the treaties as now drafted or as to additional matters to be included in the treaties, the four Foreign Ministers must meet to consider the recommendations and agree upon the final texts of the treaties. Enclosed for your information is a copy of a press release which explains the procedure in more detail.

I agree that the views and feelings of our veterans of World War II should be reflected in the position taken by our Government. I believe they will be so reflected and that they have been reflected in the prior negotiations. Any other situation would be intolerable. Our Delegate, the Secretary of State, must moreover represent every citizen of this country, and our final position must and will take into account the aspirations and views of all segments of our population. This process is democracy. I know that the Secretary of State shares these feelings and that he will carry out his grave responsibilities in that spirit.

I trust this letter makes clear that while it is impractical to adopt your suggestion, its spirit will motivate and guide our Secretary of State at Paris.

Sincerely yours,

HARRY S. TRUMAN

[Mr. Joseph M. Stack, Commander in Chief Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh 30, Pennsylvania]

Note: In his letter Mr. Stack suggested that at least one well-qualified veteran of World War II be eluded in the peace conference. His letter, released with the President's reply, is published in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 15, p. 203).

Harry S. Truman, Letter to the National Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars, on Representation of Veterans at the Peace Conference. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231934

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