Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum



John L. Sullivan  

John L. Sullivan Papers

Dates: 1940-1976

Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, 1940-44, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, 1945-46, Under Secretary of the Navy, 1946-47, Secretary of the Navy, 1947-49.
 
The papers of John L. Sullivan relate to such subjects as wartime tax policy, the unification of the armed services, amendments to the National Security Act of 1947, weapons procurement, and the Navy's postwar expansion program. The collection includes such intimate types of documentation as transcripts of telephone conversations and memoranda for the record that describe the business of the day.

[ Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 7 linear feet (ca. 14,000 pages)
Access: Open
Copyright: Copyright in the unpublished writings of John L. Sullivan in these papers has been donated to the people of the United States. In addition, documents prepared by United States government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in documents which do not fall into these two categories is presumed to remain with the authors of the documents.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller, Raymond H. Geselbracht, Sharie Simon, and Dennis Bilger

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1899, June 16Born, Manchester, New Hampshire
1918Served in U. S. Naval Reserve
1921B.A., Dartmouth College
1924LL.B., Harvard Law School
1929Elected Solicitor, Hillsborough County, Maine
1937Commander of the New Hampshire Department of the American Legion
1939Assistant to the U. S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
1940-44Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
1945-46Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air
1946-47Under Secretary of the Navy
1947-49Secretary of the Navy
1949Returned to private law practice
1952Active in the Democratic presidential campaign
1976Active in behalf of Henry Jackson's presidential campaign
1982, August 8Died, Exeter, New Hampshire

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of John L. Sullivan document primarily his service in the Treasury and Navy Departments from 1940 to 1949. His service as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1940 to 1944, and as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, Under Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Navy from l945 to l949, are particularly well documented by such intimate document types as daily narrative summaries of events and transcripts of telephone conversations.

The collection consists of five series. The Daily Record is composed of several different kinds of documents, originally bound together into volumes. The daily entries begin with a "Report on the Day's Activities," which Sullivan apparently dictated almost every working day for about four years, from January l940 through January l944. The daily reports exist only sporadically for succeeding months of l944; the last one is for September 7. The reports comprise, in effect, an annotated daily calendar, containing sometimes detailed descriptions of Sullivan's meetings. Besides these reports, the Daily Record contains transcripts of telephone conversations; copies of memoranda, particularly those directed to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and including some memoranda that Sullivan prepared for inclusion in Morgenthau's diary; speeches; statements before Congress; reports on the proceedings of and hearings before the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Committee on Finance; and reports on the development of revenue bills. These documents are inserted variably among the "Reports on the Day's Activities." This inserted material is particularly full for the years l94l and l942. It declines in volume for l943, and practically disappears for l944. The l944 Daily Record volume is vestigial. The main topic documented by this series is the Federal Government's taxation policy during World War II.

The Daily Record, Telephone Calls and Callers series documents Sullivan's service with both the Treasury and Navy Departments, but the latter much more fully than the former. The series was initially in the form of annual or semi-annual bound volumes. The main document type throughout this series is a government form that lists visitors to Sullivan's office, or "Callers," and incoming and outgoing telephone calls. Brief descriptions of the subjects of many of the telephone calls are included with the listings. In addition to this form, which is apparently present for every working day of Sullivan's service, other document types are irregularly included. For the years l940 through l944, representing Sullivan's Treasury Department service, very little documentation is present beyond the "Calls and Callers" form. There are a few memoranda for the record describing Sullivan's telephone conversations among the l940 material, and also a few transcripts of telephone conversations, but these supplementary materials quickly disappear as one proceeds through the series, and by l94l only the "Calls and Callers" forms are present, and even these usually offer only sparse information. An exception is that some of the l944 forms offer relatively full information regarding the basic purport of telephone conversations.

For the years l946 through l949, representing Sullivan's Navy Department service, the series changes considerably. The "Calls and Callers" forms are still present for every working day, but other types of documents become regularly filed among them. The documentation for l946 is remarkably full, and includes many transcripts of telephone conversations, a few memoranda describing meetings, Sullivan's memoranda to Secretary of the Navy Forrestal, and some of Secretary Forrestal's correspondence with the President. The material for l947 through l949 includes only the "Calls and Callers" forms and transcripts of telephone conversations, but there are a large number of the latter. The "Calls and Callers" forms for part of l948 and for l949 were kept for two offices, one identified at the top of the form as "Main Navy." The forms throughout the series list which telephone conversations have been transcribed.

The Subject File relates primarily to Sullivan's work in the Navy Department from 1945 to 1949. The Navy's postwar expansion program, particularly its construction of submarines and aircraft carriers, is well documented in this series; other covered topics include the amending of the National Security Act of 1947, the controversy surrounding the B-36 bomber, procurement policy, the President's Air Policy Commission, and the unification of the armed services. The archives staff has added information, in brackets, to some of the folder titles in the Subject File.

The Speech File contains primarily drafts and transcripts of speeches Sullivan gave during his service in the Treasury and Navy Departments. His tenure as Secretary of the Navy is particularly well documented. The series also contains speeches Sullivan gave as a private citizen from 1950 to 1976.

The Clippings File documents Sullivan's service in the Treasury and Navy Departments. Most of the clippings were originally in bound scrapbook volumes prepared by Mr. Sullivan.

Materials in the Harry S. Truman papers relating to the John L. Sullivan papers are in the President's Secretary's File (Subject File--Cabinet), the Confidential File (Subject File--Navy Department), the Official File (OF l285-C), the General File (Naval), and the Senatorial and Vice Presidential papers (Navy Department). Other collections relating to Sullivan's work in the Navy Department include the papers of Dan A. Kimball, John T. Koehler, Francis P. Matthews, Mark E. Andrews, Robert L. Dennison, James H. Foskett, W. John Kenney, Lewis S. Parks, William Rigdon and Francis P. Whitehair. A few Truman Library collections contain material relating to Sullivan's work in the Treasury Department during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. They are the papers of Edward H. Foley, Abijah U. Fox and Thomas Lynch.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.Series
1-3DAILY RECORD, 1940-44,
Correspondence, memoranda, transcripts of telephone conversations, speeches, press releases and statistical tables relating to Sullivan's work as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and particularly to such topics as tax policy, the President's World War II budgets, defense contracts and war bond drives. Arranged chronologically.
4-9DAILY RECORD, TELEPHONE CALLS AND CALLERS, 1940-49
Forms listing visitors to Sullivan's office and incoming and outgoing telephone calls; transcripts of telephone conversations; memoranda and correspondence; and a few diary-like memoranda describing the day's business. The series documents Sullivan's work in various positions in the Treasury and Navy Departments, with his Navy Department service being much more fully documented than that in the Treasury Department. The forms listing visitors and telephone calls are throughout the series, but the other types of materials are only irregularly present. See the Scope and Content Note for further description of this series. Arranged chronologically.
10-13SUBJECT FILE, 1940-1976
Correspondence, memoranda, reports, appointment calendars, and printed material relating principally to Sullivan's service as Secretary of the Navy. Topics covered include the B-36bomber, the organization of the U.S. Navy, the President's Air Policy Commission, aircraft carrier and submarine construction for the Navy's expansion program, and the amending of the National Security Act of l947. Arranged alphabetically.
13-15SPEECH FILE, 1940-1976
Drafts and transcriptions of speeches given by Sullivan during his government service and as a private citizen. Duplicate copies of some of Sullivan's speeches have been filed at the end of the series. The material in this series was originally in bound volumes. Arranged chronologically.
16-18CLIPPINGS FILE, 1940-49
Clippings relating to Sullivan's service in the Treasury and Navy Departments. Most of the clippings were originally bound in scrapbooks. Arranged chronologically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1

Box 2 Box 3 Box 4 Box 5 Box 6 Box 7 Box 8 Box 9 Box 10 Box 11 Box 12 Box 13 Box l4 Box l5 Box l6 Box 17 Box 18

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