Biographical sketches

Edwin W. Pauley

Edwin W. Pauley (1903-1981) served as United States representative to the Allied Reparations Committee from 1945-1947. In May 1946, Pauley met with Herbert Hoover to discuss the impact of food relief on Japan's ability to pay reparations. Pauley was en route to East Asia to discuss with General MacArthur the Japanese situation in light of rising tensions with the Soviet Union.

Pauley made his fortune running oil companies from the mid-1920s onward. He became involved with the Democratic Party as a fundraiser in 1930s, eventually becoming treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. In the summer of 1944, while treasurer of the DNC, Pauley was part of a group that persuaded Roosevelt to choose Truman over Henry Wallace as the vice-presidential nominee.

Shortly after becoming president, Truman appointed Pauley special representative to the Allied Reparations Committee. In this capacity, Pauley traveled to Europe and Asia to assess what reparations the defeated Axis powers could afford to pay the victors. His business acumen, coupled with his experience as petroleum coordinator for the war in Europe (one of the $1/year men), made Pauley well suited to the task.

When Truman nominated Pauley to be Undersecretary of the Navy in 1946, he was opposed by Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes. Ickes held that Pauley's ties to oil interests was a clear conflict of interest. Truman pressed ahead with the nomination, so Ickes resigned. This effectively scuttled Pauley's nomination, and led him to return to working behind the scenes in the Democratic Party.

Pauley served in Truman's 'kitchen cabinet' and advised Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He also was an ardent supporter of UCLA, both as a regent and as a financial donor. Pauley Pavilion is named for him. For more information see: David McCullough's Truman, pp. 293-316 passim; Harry S. Truman Encyclopedia, pp.272-273.

 


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