The White House calling list was cut down so that the President could give his attention, if it were needed, to the coal strike. It was scarcely needed. Legal infantry were carrying out his orders in the court battles, following a strategy planned in advance. All that Harry Truman required was a series of position reports and estimates of the situation. These he got from his counsel, Clark Clifford, who was in & out of his office unnumbered times.
On the sixth night of the coal strike, the President faced another ordeal: the first full-dress U.S. diplomatic dinner in seven years. The 90 guests used gold cutlery from McKinley's time, and china designed by Franklin Roosevelt. The dinner, with turkey as the main course, was called "a good American meal." Harry Truman, who dislikes white tie & tails, wore them well, was apparently at ease and smooth and amiable with the starchy, beribboned envoys. The diplomats agreed they had had a nice evening, and pretty informal, after all.
For the rest of the week, critical as it was for his Administration, the President relaxed. Thanksgiving was a quieter day than the Trumans had expected: daughter Margaret, studying voice in New York, failed to let them know until the last minute that she would not be home for family dinner. Without fanfare, the Trumans attended services at Christ Church in Alexandria, Va., sat in the pew originally bought by George Washington for £36 10 s.
At week's end the President took in his third football game of the season: Army-Navy at Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium (see SPORT). Press Secretary Charley Ross was at pains to emphasize that the eight-car presidential special train burned no coal; its motors were driven by hydroelectric power. Traditionally impartial, the President changed sides in the middle of the game, but walked out (at Secret Service urging) with two minutes left to play, missed the Navy's nearly successful final drive.
Last week the President also: ¶ Set up an interdepartmental committee under Assistant Attorney General Devitt ("Gus") Vanech, to devise rules for keeping subversive or disloyal employes out of federal service. ¶Named a Republican small-businessman, William Chapman Foster of New York, to succeed Democrat Alfred Schindler, resigned, as Under Secretary of Commerce. ¶ Upped his naval aide, Captain James H. Foskett, to rear admiral. ¶Passed over 158 ranking medical directors to pick Michigan-born Captain Clifford Anders Swanson, 45, specialist in eye, ear, nose and throat ailments, to be surgeon general of the Navy, succeeding Vice Admiral Ross T. Mclntire. ¶Gave tea, dinner (black tie) and a night's lodging to South Africa's Field Marshal Jan Smuts, brought in General Eisenhower for the after-dinner talk.