Hoover, Herbert


1961 “Cold War” TLS praising Senator Robert A. Taft’s integrity and courage and the work of an educational foundation named for him


Type: Letter
Description: (1874-1964) Mining engineer in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia1895-1913, Secretary of Commerce 1921-28 (Harding-Coolidge), President of the US 1929-33 (Republican).

TLS on 10 ½ x 7 ¼ personal letterhead from his Waldorf-Astoria Towers residence, New York City, October 1961, to Jeremiah (“Jerry Jr.”) Milbank Jr., NYC. At Milbank’s request, the former president, unable to attend a meeting in person, sends a message, as follows: “It is important that Senator Taft’s devotion to our American heritage, his analysis of our national problems, and above all, his integrity and courage should be preserved in the minds of his countrymen. At a time when the fundamental precepts of our form of government are menaced by the spread of foreign dogmas, your work is of significant importance. You have my good wishes, Yours faithfully, [sgd].”

At this writing, the Cold War was “heating up” as potential conflicts in Berlin and South Vietnam loomed as well as USSR atmospheric nuclear bomb testing.

ROBERT A. TAFT (1889-1953) Eldest son of William H. Taft, Ohio US Senator 1939-53, conservative GOP presidential hopeful. A 1957 Senate committee named him as one of the 5 greatest senators in US history.

Harvard Law 1913, practiced law in Cincinnati, helped found the law partnership Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister. In 1918–19 he was in Paris as legal adviser for the American Relief Administration, Herbert Hoover’s agency which distributed food to war-torn Europe. Elected US Senator in 1938, led the conservative coalition opposing the New Deal he condemned as socialist. He attacked deficit spending, high farm subsidies, government bureaucracy, the National Labor Relations Board, and nationalized health insurance but supported public housing programs and the Social Security program. He enunciated a conservative agenda that promoted economic growth, individual economic opportunity, adequate social welfare, strong national defense, and noninvolvement in European wars. He harbored a deep suspicion of involvement in postwar military alliances, including NATO. He became chairman of the Senate Republican Conference in 1944.

Taft condemned the post-WW II Nuremberg Trials as violating US justice and internationally accepted standards in favor of a politicized version of justice. His opposition to the trials was strongly criticized by Republicans and Democrats. John F. Kennedy, in his book, “Profiles in Courage”, applauded Taft’s principled stand in the face of great bipartisan criticism.

When the GOP took control of Congress in 1947, Taft focused on labor-management relations as Chair of the Senate Labor Committee and wrote the anti-labor 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. When the GOP controlled the Senate 1947-49, Taft was his party’s leading voice in domestic policy. In foreign policy, he was non-interventionist and did not see the USSR as a major threat. The true danger, he believed, was big government and runaway spending. He led Republicans in condemning Truman’s handling of the Korean War and questioned the constitutionality of the War itself. In 1950, he won a 3rd term and given the nickname “Mr. Republican,” the acknowledged leader of the GOP conservative faction. His 3rd and final try for the GOP nomination in 1952 was his strongest, however the race changed when Dewey and other GOP moderates convinced Eisenhower to run for the nomination. Following Ike’s election and the GOP takeover of Congress, Taft was Senate Majority Leader in 1953, and strongly supported Eisenhower’s domestic proposals.

The Robert A. Taft Memorial, featuring a 10′ statue, is located north of the Capitol on Constitution Avenue. The Robert A. Taft Institute of Government Institute was created in 1962 as a tribute to him, a bipartisan foundation that promotes seminars on government to help prepare young people for participation in politics.

Condition: Very good, 2 mail folds

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