THE PRESIDENCY: Over the Teacups

The crowd began gathering near the sentry boxes at Blair House at dusk, stood raptly as rush-hour traffic blatted past on Pennsylvania Avenue. It multiplied as President Harry Truman walked across the street from the White House with three Secret Service men and hurried inside. Madame Chiang Kai-shek was about to come to tea—and to make a last-ditch plea for aid to China.

Ever since Madame Chiang had arrived in the U.S., it had been obvious that her mission was going badly. She was the guest of Mrs. George Marshall at Leesburg, Va.,...

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