Franklin D. Roosevelt

Telegram to Alben Barkley Asking Him Not to Resign as Majority Leader.

February 23, 1944

Dear Alben:

As I am out of the City I am unable to have a personal talk with you. If I were there, of course, that is the first thing I would do.

I regret to learn from your speech in the Senate on the tax veto that you thought I had in my message attacked the integrity of yourself and other members of the Congress. Such you must know was not my intention. You and I may differ, and have differed on important measures, but that does not mean we question one another's good faith.

In working together to achieve common objectives we have always tried to accommodate our views so as not to offend the other whenever we could conscientiously do so. But neither of us can expect the other to go further.

When on last Monday I read to you portions of my tax message and you indicated your disagreement, I made certain changes as a result of our talk. You did not however try to alter my basic decision when you realized how strongly I felt about it. While I did not realize how very strongly you felt about that basic decision, had I known, I should not have tried to dissuade you from exercising your own judgment in urging the overriding of the veto.

I sincerely hope that you will not persist in your announced intention to resign as Majority Leader of the Senate. If you do, however, I hope your colleagues will not accept your resignation; but if they do, I sincerely hope that they will immediately and unanimously reelect you.

With the many serious problems daily confronting us, it is inevitable that at times you should differ with your colleagues and differ with me. I am sure that your differing with your colleagues does not lessen their confidence in you as Leader. Certainly, your differing with me does not affect my confidence in your leadership nor in any degree lessen my respect and affection for you personally. Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Telegram to Alben Barkley Asking Him Not to Resign as Majority Leader. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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