No. 460

Harry S. Truman Library, Myron C. Taylor Papers

President Truman to Myron C. Taylor

Dear Mr. Taylor: You have been unwearied now for more than a decade in your labors for an honorable peace and for amelioration of the human suffering which war has wrought over the face of the earth.

Despite discouragements and unexpected obstacles you have pursued this noble aspiration. It seems especially fitting that I should ask you, in the months and weeks ahead, to continue with religious leaders in Europe wherever your travels take you, conventions concerning the possibility of concerted action for peace. I therefore ask you again to go overseas on special mission as Personal Representative of the President of the United States with the rank of Ambassador.

I am still persuaded that we must cooperate with all religious leaders who share our conviction that only through peace can happiness again become the portion of mankind. And so I ask you to go out again on your mission and renew expression of the hope that “you will continue to discuss with men of open minds—wherever you find them—whether leaders in church or state or civic affairs generally, the possibilities of a meeting here in our Capital City to lay the ground-work for peace and to promote good will among men.”

Happily during your many previous journeys you have established close contact with important religious leaders in Europe. As Personal Representative of the President to His Holiness the Pope you accomplished much good during the decade of your tenure in that office. I am sure the counsel of His Holiness will be invaluable in discussion of the conference we hope to arrange. I desire that [Page 1001] you go on the present mission with a free hand to seek counsel and cooperation wherever your own judgment and discretion dictate. It might be well for you to seek the views of such an outstanding leader in our own country as Right Reverend Henry Knox Sherrill, Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church and President of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.2

The world has yearned for peace since the days of the Old Testament Patriarchs. We are part of the whole age long stream of prophecy from Isaiah to the apocalyptic vision of St. John the Divine, in fellowship and communion with priest and prophet, saint and seer, in the search for peace.

And so as you go again to Europe—whether you travel by bright or shadowed road—you will walk in the presence of unseen witnesses who bear testimony through the ages to the Divine Witness which is the hope of the world—the source of all our strength.3

Very sincerely yours,

Harry S. Truman
  1. Documentation concerning Taylor’s meeting with Bishop Sherrill and Bishop Sterrill’s report of a subsequent meeting with President Truman is in the Myron C. Taylor Papers at the Harry S. Truman Library.
  2. On May 8 Taylor left New York for visits to Paris, Florence, Rome, and London where he met with leading religious leaders in an attempt to draft a common declaration signed by leaders of all denominations concerning the moral and spiritual bases for peace. Despite a statement by Pope Pius XII on June 19 explaining his difficulty with joining Protestant leaders in a public appeal for peace, Taylor continued to seek agreement among other religious leaders on a declaration. Attempts to draft such a declaration continued after Taylor’s return to New York on July 26, but, on September 6, the Archbishop of Canterbury informed Taylor that these drafting efforts had been abandoned since agreement by leaders of world denominations was so remote. Documentation concerning Taylor’s visits to Europe and his efforts to seek agreement on a joint declaration is in the Myron C. Taylor Papers at the Harry S. Truman Library.