In 1947, Harry Truman, who was then president due to the death of Pres. Roosevelt, decided to run for the office.
Most Americans had only a vague idea of who Harry Truman was, so when he decided to run for president, I was approached by some of his supporters to do a recording that would bring Truman a man into better focus.
In pursuit of that I went back to Topeka, Kansas, where Truman came and ended up producing a record called a man from Topeka; Harry Truman.
I found out that after World War I, in 1923, Truman with a Jewish partner, opened a haberdashery, it remained opened for a couple of years before going bankrupt.
In my research I stumbled on a fascinating subtext dealing with the emergence of Israel as a country in 1948 and the question of Truman recognizing it.
It was at that time that Truman's former partner from the haberdashery, visited him at the White House and convinced him to recognize Israel. This was at a time when Truman was still acting president.
Our State Department, traditionally was very pro Arab, since that's where our petroleum came from and the Arab countries admitted very clear that it is indeed we were to recognize Israel the consequences would be hard. Traditionally the State Department had always been pro – Arab.
When Israel became a country in 1948, the Arab countries made it very clear that if we recognize Israel the consequences would be harsh.
Truman who would recognize the state of Israel, had a lot of opposition to this in his own administration. Those opposed included his Secretary of State General George C. Marshall, Undersecretary of State, Robert Lovett; his predecessor, Dean Acheson; the number-three man in the State Department, Charles Bohlen; chief of the Policy Planning Staff, George F. Kennan; Secretary of Defense, James V. Forrestal; and Dean Rusk,
When it was announced, in 1948, that we were recognizing Israel, the Arab countries immediately placed an embargo on all oil products to this country. Many of you reading this may remember when you had to fix on your windshield a notice as to when they were allowed to drive on Monday Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday Thursday and Saturday. You could only get gasoline on those days.
You may also remember waiting for hours to get to the pump only to find they had run out of fuel.
In the end, Truman got elected, this really set back the Arab onslaught, and my record, The Man from Topeka, was released.
Just a small footnote in history that I want to share with you.