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  • Writer's picturePaul

The Club



People told Harry his idea would go nowhere and that Herb would never help him with the problem he had.  Their ideological differences alone made them polar opposites and both had their own way of solving problems. Herb was described as confident, self-assured, but aloof and cold in social settings and self-righteous in his beliefs.  Harry was known to be stubborn, somewhat ornery with an authoritarian attitude and an explosive temper. Neither could bear criticism and they firmly believed when they made a decision , it was the right one. A more unnatural partnership could not be visualized.  Still, Harry had a problem that no one understood more than Herb and so Harry asked for help.

Herb was initially suspicious, but once Harry explained the problem, Herb responded with sincere concern and rolled up his sleeves and got to work.  Within weeks Herb had forged a number of solutions that would address the immediate concerns of the problem. Harry implemented Herb's idea's and it's estimated that Herb's ideas, backed by Harry's authority saved over 3,500,000 million children in post World War II Europe from starvation.  Herb and Harry also found themselves in a very unique friendship that would last until Herb died. Republican Herbert Hoover (America's 31st President) and Democrat Harry Truman (America's 33rd President) enjoyed a very special friendship and forged a very unique club that only a few will every join "The Presidents Club".


President Truman asked former President Hoover to organize European war relief at the end of World War II.  In 1946 Hoover traveled to 38 countries, documenting the lack of food and then located surpluses, and arranged food shipments to those countries in need.  Herbert Hoover is remembered as the "do nothing" President of the "Great Depression". Prior to the stock market crash of 1929, Hoover had another moniker.

When World War I broke out in August 1914, Germany invaded neutral Belgium, hoping to overrun France. By October 1914, food supplies in Belgium were exhausted and people were starving. The American government persuaded the British to allow food into Belgium to avert a catastrophe and save a starving population.  Herbert Hoover was asked to lead the Commission for Relief in Belgium. Hoover was a well-known businessman, a respected mining engineer, and self-made millionaire. More importantly, his organizational skills were unsurpassed and he a gift for major logistic undertakings. Hoover promised that none of the food would go to Germany or the German army in Belgium, a promise he kept.    Hoover also guaranteed that all aid went to civilians, funding much of the logistical requirements himself or through other businesses or associates who trusted Hoover and his plans. Hoover kept another promise, there would be no use of his people, equipment or transportation for spying by either side. By mid-November 1914, food supplies reached occupied Belgium avoiding a catastrophic famine.  Herbert Hoover gained worldwide fame as was known as the “Great Humanitarian”. Hoover created and lead an unprecedented selfless organization that fed 10 million civilians for five years in a war zone. Harry Truman knew exactly who to ask for help when it came to feeding a war-weary world full of hungry people in 1945.


This fascinating story and many others with names like Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixion, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama can be found in a book entitled "The Presidents Club".  Those who have sat in the Oval Office and made those tough decisions truly belong to an exclusive club. What is amazing is how past presidents advise, counsel guide and influence sitting presidents.

There are hours and hours of taped phone calls between Kennedy and Eisenhower (Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis), Johnson and Truman (Segregation), Johnson and Eisenhower (Gulf of Tonkin), ) Nixon and Johnson (Vietnam)  all in deep discussion about the best course of action for the nation, not the party. These are some fascinating relationships. A more core degree of authenticity cannot be found than in the men and women who have held high executive office.  Once a person has been the President of the United States, upon leaving office they enter a brand role, one of support, advisor, a mentor, teacher, friend, and sometimes an ambassador for the sitting President (Carter for Clinton while traveling to North Korea). No person can possibly imagine the loneliness or the difficult decisions facing a sitting President except those who have gone before them.

The reason President Ronald Reagan got along so well with British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher was a common belief in economics, foreign policy, and core freedoms.  Bill Clinton considered Richard Nixon to be one of his best advisors. Clinton spoke openly about how Nixon got it right time and time again regarding Russia and China and their views on American foreign policy.  Then there's the dad helping the son as H.W. Bush advised W.

Bush after 9/11.

When you enter a position of leadership, there is no shame or weakness in asking those who have presided you for help if they are available.  Hoover and Truman were both extremely confident, self-assured, but stubborn. Both hated their political critics, yet both told their political advisors that when problems arise of a global magnitude, there are no politics, only problems looking for solutions, where ever they come from.

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