AUGUST 16, 1956
NEW YORK—Monday afternoon was quite a busy time for me in Chicago, seeing people and finally going over to join Adlai Stevenson in a television interview. Like all conventions, this one was filled with rumors. Someone was always telling me about something which probably hasn't happened and isn't going to happen.
Former President Harry S. Truman's announcement for Governor Averell Harriman set off innumerable rumors, but they gradually died down and, as the smoke cleared, it looked as though our ex-President was not being as successful as he thought.
People love him. They like to listen to his voice, but I think youth is asserting itself and many younger leaders are emerging who want to decide for themselves what leadership they feel would be best for the party.
Many people said to me that they wondered why our ex-President wanted to deadlock the convention. I made the suggestion that Missouri's favorite son might be the beneficiary.
On the other hand, Mr. Truman said that his one desire was to make the convention think. Thinking is always a good thing. But it seems to me that the more the convention delegates really think about the problems facing us and the man best able to help solve them, the more they will turn to Adlai Stevenson.
There seems no lessening of enthusiasm and no real worry in the Stevenson ranks. And this is a good sign, for it means that though the nomination business may be prolonged, Stevenson will be a stronger candidate because he will have won on his own and will owe the nomination this time to his own strength.
President Truman has pledged himself to support any candidate chosen by the convention, and I hope that he will be backing Stevenson wholeheartedly.
The second session of the convention showed a really remarkable film on the history of the Democratic party. It is one of the most moving films I have seen and I think that any citizen, regardless of party, can be proud of the great men held up in the film for public attention, since they all are Americans and they all have contributed to the greatness of America.
I was especially interested in the report given by National Democratic Chairman Paul Butler.
I thought it was a truly encouraging record to have paid off the debt which faced the Democratic Party at the end of the 1952 campaign, to have a good organization today and to be able to report that throughout the country the organization of the Democratic party is better and that its financial condition is more stable than at any previous period. This was a real achievement. Butler must be very proud of his success and I want to congratulate him for a truly businesslike job.
The keynote speech gave, of course, all the factual material necessary for the campaign and was delivered in a style typical of the great orator, Governor Frank G. Clement of Tennessee. I found it a little difficult to follow him as a speaker, but I was pleased that two delightful children and a very inspiring song came in between so that the people would be let down rather easily.
With the end of that evening, my participation in the convention hall affairs was over and Tuesday evening I flew back to New York City to do a few last things before I take a short trip abroad.