Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Bruce C. Clarke

Oral History Interview with
Bruce C. Clarke

West Point graduate and among many commands served as a combat commander in the 7th and 4th Armored Divisions, 1943-45 (participating in the Battle of the Bulge); commanding general of the 2nd Constabulary Brigade, 1949-51; commanding general of the 1st Armored Division, 1951-53; and was Commander in Chief of the US Army in Europe, 1960-62.
January 14, 1970
Jerry N. Hess

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]

This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]

Oral History Interview with
Bruce C. Clarke

Arlington, Virginia
January 14, 1970
Jerry N. Hess


HESS: General, to begin with will you tell me a little bit about your background?

CLARKE: I enlisted in the Army in 1918 and served several months in the United States before I was discharged later on that year. I went from there to work in a steel plant, then a hardware store and then a grocery store and returned to high school to complete my high school education, after having been out for two years, much more motivated to get an education than I had when I dropped out of high school. In 1921 I took a competitive examination to go to West


Point, and to my amazement, I passed it and was graduated in 1925, as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. I served in the Corps of Engineers for the next sixteen years in normal engineer assignments, in postgraduate college study and in postgraduate schools in the Army. In 1940 I became associated with the build-up of the armored force and moved in 1942 from Engineering to Armor, was chief of staff of an armored division, commander of an armored combat command in the battle of France. And at the end of the war, was a brigadier general and commander of the Fourth Armored Division. When I returned to the United States in 1945 I became associated with organization and training of troops in which I specialized for the rest of my career, some seventeen years. During that time I commanded all of the commands of the Army except Panama and Alaska and commanded some ten million American and Allied soldiers during


that time. I was very interested in command and in leadership and training, and in handling the American soldier, that's what I specialized in. I never served on the Pentagon staff. I was in charge of the Army school system for awhile. I taught in the Army school system and was in charge of the Armored School during that time. So, my background has been in command, training, and in teaching, covering some ten million soldiers in the Regular Army and the Reserve and the National Guard, plus some foreign troops that were under my command from time to time. My education, aside from my bachelor of science degree from West Point, consists of a civil engineer degree from Cornell, a bachelor of laws degree from LaSalle Extension University, and a couple of honorary doctor's degrees that I have received along the line; also four postgraduate Army schools.


One thing that I am very proud of, because I -- we may talk about it later -- was that I was the one of five living Americans made an Honorary Senator of the University of Heidelberg. They have made only a relatively small number of Honorary Senators in five hundred and seventy-five years and only a few of them have been Americans. And I think, as I have looked over the list, I was the only general who has been Honorary Senator of the University of Heidelberg. I speak about this because it was due to my solving the public relations problems of stationing U.S. troops on the inside of a sovereign nation. That brings up a lot of problems which I think we might want to discuss later because the troops have to be properly told as to their status and to realize that they are guests in a foreign sovereign nation and they have to act as guests. This requires


a tremendous amount of orientation of the soldiers and it's a problem that a commander must address himself to if he's going to satisfactorily command troops in a foreign nation. Perhaps some of our problems in Vietnam today has been brought about because that has not been adequately done. I think it's being done at the present time more than it was in the early years of our Vietnam war, but it is a problem that I think we may want to discuss later.

I retired in 1962 as Commander in Chief of the Army in Europe, being held over an extra year over the retirement age of 60 by the President because of the Berlin wall crisis as I was in Europe when the Berlin wall was built. And after that situation stabilized, I retired at the age of 61, some seven years ago.

HESS: Let's move back in time just a little bit, General, can you tell me some of your first


impressions when you arrived at West Point as a young man?

CLARKE: Well, my background when I arrived at West Point was that of a farmer boy, a poor farmer boy from the country, a boy who had served some months in the Army as an enlisted man. I say boy, I was over twenty years old, who had worked in a steel plant as a laborer, had worked in a grocery store and a hardware store as a clerk and a delivery boy, and I was extremely awed by West Point; awed by its history; awed by its appearance; and awed by the prominent people and instructors and superintendents that I saw there. I think my first year as a cadet I was, of course, a plebe and subject to plebe rules, but it was a year of awe and it took me a year to settle down and relax as a cadet.


HESS: What were some of the activities that you took part in at West Point?

CLARKE: I joined the football squad and was on the squad for some three years. My second year I had my ankle broke in a game so I played no more and I helped coach the plebe, or the freshman team, my senior year. I had very few other activities except studying. I had to study a lot because I went to West Point with only two and a half years of high school, even though I had a Regents diploma from the State of New York, so I'd passed the necessary courses. But, in two and a half years taking the accelerated program that I took, I did this because I was much older than my high school classmates, my education had been somewhat skimpy and I had to do a lot of studying. But that paid off because I graduated 33 in my class of 246, which enabled me to be commissioned in the Corps of Engineers which


branch took only the upper part of the class.

One of the things that I remember well from West Point that I think is important today, was that I did spend a lot of time tutoring deficient cadets. This was allowed of upperclassmen who had done well in certain subjects, and for this extra work that we took on we were allowed to have lights until 11 o'clock at night instead of 10 o'clock; so that would seem to be a motivating factor. But from that I developed an interest in teaching, in coaching students in how to study, and how to take exams; because most deficient cadets had the ability to pass the course, but like many students, they had never learned adequately how to study or how to approach an examination in high school. That's even true today. In fact I've written a little booklet [see Appendix V] on that which I'll give you that has been particularly true some four years later when


I taught freshmen for four years at the University of Tennessee. I found that those students needed to be taught how to go to college and how to study and how to take exams and, I think the first month in all of my courses each freshman year, I spent on that subject rather than the subject matter. I'm a firm believer that a lot of our dropouts in school today, and I think this may be said very much of our Negro students, the ones who are not passing. One of the reasons why they are not passing is because they haven't been taught how to study and how to go to school. There's an art and technique of being a student like there is an art and technique in being a brain surgeon. I think that art and technique can be taught. I think our school systems are remiss when they don't start off early in a student's career, even in grade


school, to teach him good study habits, because regardless of what you do in life, you'd better learn early good work habits and going to school is work. Unless you have those habits you don't get the best out of yourself. I've known students, cadets, who would sit down and study a subject for four hours in the evening; at the end of four hours really hadn't accomplished very much. Other cadets who had studied a difficult subject for an hour and then to bed had mastered the subject. It wasn't all difference in intelligence, it was difference in application.

HESS: What courses did you take there that you found most beneficial to you during your Army career?

CLARKE: Well, West Point is a generalized course leaning towards engineering, at least it was then. Now it's branched out into the social sciences more, but I think probably the courses that I took that did me the most good were


mathematics and science, English and history. And I wouldn't want to neglect to speak something about English because half of the problems in the world today are brought about by people who can't read and speak good English. Our law profession is kept busy by people who can't write what they mean, and that even goes for people that make the laws in Congress.

HESS: The lack of being able to communicate.

CLARKE: The lack of being able to communicate has been characteristic of engineering students and I say that because I am a civil engineer. When I took civil engineering in Cornell I found that all the Engineering students received at Cornell was one semester called Engineering English. I think that was very inadequate. They should have received a lot more because an engineer might have the best ideas in the


world but if he can't write and put them across, he can't sell it. That's why, when later on as a U.S. District Engineer in Texas, and I had groups of committees who came in to sell me projects almost every day, the spokesman was usually a lawyer. An engineer sat in the back of the room and he didn't say a thing unless he was asked a question. And he was the one who had written up the project. That encouraged me to get a degree in law. I think as an engineer, as a government engineer, I used my law more than I did my engineering. I had fifty or sixty very competent specialists in engineering working for me, I didn't have to know the details, I just had to understand them.

HESS: At what point in your career did you obtain the degree in law? I understand that you mentioned that was from LaSalle Extension University.


CLARKE: That was while on duty at the University of Tennessee.

HESS: What year was that?

CLARKE: That was in the year 1936.

HESS: How valuable to you did you find that?

CLARKE: I thought it was a wonderful course. The books that you studied were well written, the courses well handled. It was a difficult course, they worked you very hard. The truth of the matter, I understand that only about 10 percent that start that course ever finish it. In fact, Dr. Ray [Raymond W.I. Miller] is a graduate in law from that school. I never had any desire to practice law but it was a good balance to a technical education. It taught me many, many new ways of thinking that are associated with the thinking of lawyers. I


felt as though that was a great thing in my career, even though I never practiced law.

HESS: Are there any particular professors that you had at West Point who stand out in your memory? Men who have made an impression on you, men who may have helped you in any manner?

CLARKE: My first instructor that I went to was in mathematics and he was Major Omar Bradley. He taught me algebra.

HESS: That's starting off right at the top isn't it?

CLARKE: And then, of course, there were many fine instructors there. Probably the man that I remember most up there was the Professor of English. He was a Yale man, and had been directly commissioned as a colonel to be Professor of English, by the name of Lucius


Holt. Dr. Holt taught me one thing that I never have forgotten. He said, "If you're going to be successful in the military where you have to issue instructions and orders, you must have the ability to issue them, not just to be understood, but so you can't be misunderstood." I think some of our problems in Vietnam today are orders and instructions that are misunderstood. We find that every day in reading the paper and I've had people say, "Well, that is just a play on words, that is semantics," but it isn't, it's an attitude. I never write anything but what I go back and check it over to say to myself, "In what way can he misunderstand me?" My theory in handling people over the years has been based upon this premise: Everybody who worked for me I assumed wanted to do what I wanted done and when he didn't do it it's because he didn't understand what I wanted.


If you start to handle people on that premise, you've got the first great truth in how to handle people. This little booklet called Soldier Management and Morale (see Appendix VI) the first statement in that little booklet is that statement. This little booklet, by the way, has been published in the Army in a million copies. It's still being used and is the basis of leadership in the Army. It's a little booklet that you can read in twenty minutes but I've had many officers tell me that they carried that in their shirt pocket and every time they had a problem they found the answer in that little booklet. On the occasion of the millionth copy being issued, it was recently published in the Congressional Record.

HESS: And you wrote this in 1955?

CLARKE: I wrote it in 1955 and used it in my


commands and it's still being published by the Army. One of the problems I think that we have in our country is the colleges do not teach a course to students in leadership; how to handle people. Now maybe they get some of it in psychology, I'm not sure, but we're training our people who graduate from college to be leaders and I would think that one of the main courses in a college should be a course in leadership.

HESS: How would you set that up, just what would you have in a course of that nature?

CLARKE: I would have the practical points in there. Now you can take courses in the colleges in abnormal psychology but our problem is to handle the normal people and motivate them. The key word in handling people is motivation. I wrote a note this morning to Coach [Henry]


Stram of the Kansas City Chiefs and I pointed out to him that I detected in him the essence of a great leader; a man who could motivate young men to work together and to accomplish great things and to be relaxed under stress. Now if you saw that game the other day.

HESS: Being from Kansas City I was glued to my set.

CLARKE: And I sent him a copy of this little book and I said, "You would do a great thing for America if you would take this little book and change the title of it and publish it as a Football Player Management and Morale, because you've got the prestige, you've got the background, you've got the knowledge that you could influence an awful lot of young men coming along in our schools and colleges."

HESS: And moving ahead just a little bit General, what was the most important or vital combat


action in which you were involved?

CLARKE: I think the most important action I took part in was the Battle of St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge where I found myself thrown by a stroke of fate in front of the main effort of the German army. The effort that, if successful, would have captured Liege and Namur and cut off and been behind the British army in the north. And I found myself there after the 106th Division had been overrun and practically destroyed. I found myself there with a greatly outnumbered enemy. I held them up there for seven days during which time the American forces formed at the rear and then the main plan of the Germans had been destroyed. Marshal [Kurt von] Manteuffel gives credit to the defense that held him up there for six or seven days at St. Vith to have spoiled the German plan for the Battle of the Bulge. It was a seven-day battle in which


I had no time to lay down to go to sleep; I slept in my jeep. I used to tie myself in my seat when I traveled I sat in the seat and slept. That went on day and night for seven days. The weather was terrible, we had no air support because of the poor weather. I lost two thousand men killed in that battle in seven days. But at the end of seven days the high-water mark of the German army was reached and we, from then on, just went and finished up the war. That was the greatest battle I ever took part in. Of course, I was commander in Korea of the First Corps, a hundred and seventy-five thousand troops. When I was commander in Korea Porkchop Hill was in my command. But I was not as close to the fight as I was as a combat command commander. I was at this time a corps commander and a corps commander is a little bit removed from the close contact of


the battle.

HESS: What were some of the more difficult problems in the Battle of the Bulge? Organizing the men to fight?

CLARKE: Well, the most difficult problem in the Battle of the Bulge was brought about by the fact that we were completely surprised. American intelligence did not detect this great attack, and as a result it came before 5 o'clock on a December morning and our troops were completely surprised all the way back to Eisenhower's headquarters. And as a result, units were cut off, communications were broken, the German troops had filtered through the lines and got in the rear areas and did a lot of damage. Rumors were wide-spread; units lots of times didn't know who their next higher commander was. I had a combat command of the


Ninth Armored Division that joined me at St. Vith that didn't know who they were working for. And that was characteristic. The great problem during the Battle of the Bulge was to bring order out of chaos. Now all battle is chaos, by its very nature, but I say you should have organized chaos and my job was to bring about organized chaos.

HESS: General, do you think that the victory goes to the side that has the most organized chaos, the best organized chaos?

CLARKE: I think so. I have made a great study in my career on "generalship." In fact, I am probably one of the few American writers who has written on "generalship." Most people who study "generalship," they study Europeans. They study [Baron De Antoine Henri] Jomini, or [General Karl von] Clausewitz. I think probably the


great generalship I saw in the Battle of the Bulge, was the generalship of Marshal [Bernard Law] Montgomery. He took command of the north half of the Bulge, as you know, and I was under his command in the Battle of St. Vith. The thing that I was impressed about Montgomery was that he was calm and collected. He was not emotional. He was very much relaxed sort of like I detected the Chiefs were on Saturday. They were calm and collected, as result they didn't make mistakes, they didn't fumble the ball. They went about their work completely calm and collected as against the other team that was jittery. A lot of our high commanders in the Battle of the Bulge were jittery. Montgomery wasn't jittery, he was calm and collected. He made a statement during the Battle of the Bulge that a lot of people have pooh poohed, but I think it has great merit.


He said, "There comes a time in every battle when you should take time out to tidy up the battlefield." Now, that has great merit in a battle. That settles everybody down. And my men, I think, at the Battle of St. Vith did such a wonderful thing because they were settled down, they were calm, they knew they were in a terrific situation, but aside of that they were calm and collected. They weren't jittery even though their losses were high. I had companies of a hundred and fifty men in that battle that lost a hundred men in six days, still they were staying and fighting. That is the payoff, they were calm and collected.

HESS: How do you go about bringing order out of chaos in a situation like that?

CLARK: Well, I think the first thing you have to do is to radiate confidence. You have to radiate


confidence even though inside of you you may not feel a great deal of confidence, you can't afford to display it. You can't afford to display a lack of confidence. I think Stram in that football game radiated confidence right from the first play, and as a result his men radiated confidence. I think football is a great teacher of generals. That's why it's been an important part of the curriculum at West Point for many, many years. Some of our great generals were on the football squad; Eisenhower, Simpson, Bradley and Patton. It develops characteristics that are good in a commander. The truth of the matter today, I think one of the greatest assets in America today, in our colleges, is our athletic program. There's where we have the only discipline in many of these colleges. You read about a coach here in George Washington University the other day who arbitrarily


threw two men off of his basketball team because they violated his curfew. In athletics it's where you're teaching teamwork and the fundamentals of life when you have to get in and win in competition. A lot of these people that are dissidents in our colleges are people who don't have the ability to compete in life and they're doing what they are doing to cover it up. A lot of them have an inferiority complex and they're covering it up. I know of no football players amongst them. Another thing, probably not many amongst them that belong to fraternities. My attitude towards fraternities has enormously grown in recent years. I never belonged to a fraternity until I taught at the University of Tennessee and then I was asked to be a faculty advisor of a fraternity and I was for three years. A good fraternity, if it is run well by the seniors, is a tremendous asset


to young men coming into college. Attitudes and ethics and so forth are taught in these good fraternities. I've learned to think fraternities have a great important part in our university life.

HESS: You mentioned great generals. Who would you pick as the greatest American general of our history?

CLARKE: It'd take many, many hours of argument to ever come to that. You can't arrive at that conclusion without taking full account of the situation in which the general found himself. I don't think that anybody in the time of our Revolution could have won that war but Washington. And Washington had the ability to persevere in the face of situations that would have made lesser men to quit and go home. At the crossing of the Delaware, which I have


studied and helped make a TV film on recently, I don't know anybody in the history that I have studied in warfare that could have launched that operation but Washington. He had so many things against him that he had only one chance in a hundred of being successful, in my opinion. But in spite of that, he was successful. That's a great general, even though he only had twenty-two hundred and eighty-eight men involved.

Another man I think we mustn't overlook was probably [Ulysses S.] Grant. Grant was not a brilliant man nor a brilliant scholar. [Robert E.] Lee was a brilliant man. Lee graduated very high in his class at West Point, and Lee was a great general. I don't want to disparage Lee, but Grant had the strength of character and the stick-to-itiveness to win the war when many others had failed. One story


I'd like to tell about Grant. Sherman as you may remember, was the president of what is now LSU when the war started. He chose not to stay with the Confederacy but he worked his way north on the Mississippi River, probably in packet boats. He eventually got in Memphis and was standing on Beale Street in Memphis one day when he saw a man coming down the Street with a load of firewood, drawn by two mules. He looked at the character and something struck him that he looked familiar. So he walked into the Street and stopped him and he said, "My name is Sherman, do I know you?" And he said, "I don't know, I'm U.S. Grant." Four years later Grant and Sherman had won the war. A few years later Grant was President of the United States. Now isn't that fantastic?

HESS: Came a long way.


CLARKE: Here was a man that had failed in everything. He had failed as a storekeeper, he had failed at most everything he'd done but he was a man that Lincoln finally found to win the war.

HESS: As Lincoln said, "I need him, he fights."

CLARK: So, it's very difficult to say who was great and who wasn't great. Eisenhower was a great man. I think probably the ideal man for his job, which wasn't entirely military but was complicated by international politics in which he did a superb job. Bradley was probably the smarter military technician. It's awful hard to tell. It depends upon what job they have and where they fit into the picture.

HESS: How would you rate General [George C.] Marshall?


CLARKE: I would rate Marshall as one of the great Americans that I have ever known. I think Marshall was probably the greatest man of the Second World War time, not discounting the men who were President. Marshall was the only man who was strong enough to be Secretary of Defense. We've never had a fully adequate Secretary of Defense but Marshall. The job has just been too big for everybody but Marshall who's had it. It was too big for Charles Wilson, it was too big for [Robert S.] McNamara and the reason it was too big for McNamara is that McNamara paid little attention to soldier management and morale. I was commander in chief in Europe for a year and a half under McNamara during the Berlin Wall. He never came to visit my troops. Five times I sent word by visitors that the Secretary ought to come and visit my troops and the word I got back was that he was too


busy. He just didn't think that the handling of men was important.

I don't know anybody that's ever been a success as a general who operated from an office. I never stayed in my office. I was out with my troops all the time. I let them see me. I let them know who Bruce Clarke was. I let them know that I was interested in what they were doing. I was always looking out for them.

HESS: What seemed to be the basis of McNamara's administration of his office? How did he go about running the Department of Defense?

CLARKE: Well, I have to answer that by saying that I never served in the Pentagon so I only observed McNamara from the field.

HESS: Yes. But asking him to come and he would not come?


CLARKE: No, he never came. One time he came as far as Paris and said that if I wanted to come back and talk to him he'd give me a few minutes and I went back and spent a few minutes talking with him. But whether my men were well fed or well clothed or well equipped, he didn't ask me any of that.

HESS: What seemed to be on his mind? What interested him?

CLARKE: I think he had a mind of a data processing machine. He could have run Ford Motors and he could tell if his factory output at the end of the day was enough cars and so forth, but as far as being interested in the men on the line that were assembling the cars, I don't think that was anything that he thought was much of his business.

When I commanded a company I knew every


man in my company. I knew if he was in debt, I knew if he was having trouble with his wife, I knew if he had a sick child. Not that I was nosey but I knew how to allow for what he was thinking and how he would do and then maybe I could help him. When I got to be a battalion commander I knew all the non-commissioned officers.

That is your greatest problem in handling the man. How to recognize them as individuals, and every man is an individual and every man's attitude towards a problem is different. But how to take all those people of diverse characteristics and attitudes and mold them together in a team so all the vectors are going in one direction -- in the direction that you want to go, is leadership. And we ought to teach it in our colleges. The only leadership I think is being taught in our colleges, is in the ROTC.


HESS: And many of those courses are coming under fire by the militants on the campus.

CLARKE: Right.

HESS: One question on McNamara, now, when he decided on which contract to allow for the TFX fighter bomber, he went against the advice of his generals and admirals. Do you think that this was part of his attitude of ignoring the people and going at it just from the nuts and bolts standpoint?

CLARKE: Well I, of course, have no background in this at all except what I've read in the papers. It was common knowledge around the Pentagon that McNamara brought in a lot of brilliant, young men who they called "whiz kids" and they became the policy makers. I think McNamara just didn't trust generals. One of the first things McNamara did was to reorganize the National Guard and the


Reserve. He established what he called a high priority reserve force. These people were ready to go to battle in four weeks. Well, I don't think anybody who had any experience felt as though that was possible. If it's possible you don't need a regular army. Within the last ten days you've read in the paper where inspectors have found these units are not good.

HESS: Have the latest findings pretty well agreed with what you thought they would be?

CLARKE: Oh yes. That is attitude -- a lot of problems being now brought up by Senator Proxmire were not problems that were started in the last year under the present administration. They were problems that started several years ago and the man who was responsible for them and who nobody now says anything about, was McNamara.

HESS: How would you rate a few of the men, or the


men who served as Secretary of Defense in the Truman administration? Of course, we have mentioned General Marshall, he served from 1950-51, but after the organization of the Department of Defense, James Forrestal, who of course had been Secretary of Navy, was moved in as Secretary of Defense. What do you recall about James Forrestal?

CLARKE: Well, I was on duty at what is now CONARC at Fort Monroe, during that period and had a lot of contact with the Pentagon. That was a transition period from three services to one service. Forrestal, I think, was a competent fellow. I think maybe the job became a little big for him. I'm not sure how he finally died but I think it was a result perhaps of the job getting him down. The job is probably too big for one man. There are not men in this country big enough to do it. We brought in


Charles Wilson from General Motors. Now, they thought that if he could run General Motors, the biggest corporation in America, he could run the Pentagon, but he couldn't. He was inadequate. He visited with me in Korea and spent a day or two with me but he was inadequate to grasp the many problems, apparently. After all, the Pentagon controls half of the appropriations of America. It is spread all over the world. It involves three and a half million military plus a couple million civilians. It's in thirty or forty countries. It's a broad scale thing. Involves public relations, involves international relations and involves many things that Wilson had little background in. I talked to him one day and I said, "Mr. Secretary, what is it that you want to accomplish most while Secretary of Defense?"

And he said, "General, I want to be known


as the Secretary that has done away with duplication in the services."

"Well," I said, "that is a very noble aspiration. I don't think you're going to do it." Because you've got Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Corps, and the Marines want to wear one belt buckle and the Navy another and the Army another. That doesn't bother me; in fact I think it has advantages. But then I said to him, "Mr. Secretary, you just came from General Motors which makes six or seven makes of automobiles, many models in each make, many body styles, many colors, many options and so forth, you must turn out every day in General Motors, over two hundred different automobiles, each one to do the same thing. It can take five people, or six, from A to B in comfort and security and all at the same relative speed, isn't that a tremendous duplication? Why don't you turn out a few


different cars and sell them cheaper?"

He said, "General, you don't know a thing about the automobile business."

HESS: And you were telling me at that time that he didn't know much about the military.

CLARKE: Well, I did not say that.

HESS: But quietly.

CLARKE: I think my staff who were sitting around the table got the point.

HESS: They got the point.

If the job of running the Pentagon is too big for one man, how could the job be changed? Can the job be changed?

CLARKE: Yes, the job can be changed. Over the years there has been a concentration of activities from the Army, Navy and Air Force upward to


centralize them into the Department of Defense. For instance public relations has been centralized. Many other things have been centralized. I think you should reverse that and put a lot of that back under the secretaries of the several services with adequate directives on what guidelines to follow, but allow them to do it. I'll give you an example. During Tet in 1968 I visited the troops in Vietnam at the request of General [William Childs] Westmoreland. I spent a week or ten days in the field with the soldiers. I just happened to be there during the Battle of Tet. I came back and pointed out that I felt the troops were not adequately oriented as to why they were in Vietnam. Unless the soldier knows why he's doing something he's not motivated to go all-out. I had to do that in Germany in 1956 when our public relations were so poor that I was sent over there by the Secretary of the


Army to straighten out the public relations. The basis was a poster [see Appendix IV] which I had designed, to orient the troops why they were in Germany, and the key was to be a good neighbor to our German neighbors. Our troops changed their attitudes in Germany from being an occupation force to being a guest of a foreign nation. When the soldier was in an occupation force he was the master. You can't do that after Germany became a sovereign nation and we were guests. Then you've got to act as guests. I had to reorient all the troops in Europe on just why they were there and this poster was the key.

HESS: How difficult was it to change the thinking of the soldiers on this point?

CLARKE: The first thing you had to do was to change the thinking of the commanders. I got every


commander in my theatre from battalion level on up and said, "You're going home and sell that. You're going to be the public relations man of your battalion, and regiment and division. You're not going to delegate it to some staff officer. You can use him to help you, but you are going to be it and you're going to get every man together and sell this to them." Within a few months time we had changed the attitude to the point when I left over there in a poll conducted in Germany, only 5 percent of the people wanted the Americans to go home.

HESS: Sounds successful.

CLARKE: Now this is the next example. When they built the Berlin wall, things were very tense as you will remember, more tense in the United States than they were in Germany. I didn't think it was going to lead to a war but the new President


was jittery about it. I found it necessary to orient my troops about the Berlin wall. So, I prepared this poster [see Appendix III]. Another thing that I did on this, I took every first sergeant to Berlin to see the wall and to be oriented, then to come home and talk to the soldiers. I think that was a good thing because the soldiers would listen to the first sergeant. He was another soldier. He could come home and say, "This is what the wall is all about," and "This is what it looks like." He took the company camera along and he took some pictures and he came back and oriented the soldiers. So, I had no problem. During this time I put the entire command in Europe on a 12 o'clock curfew. I held them there for several months, which is not easy to do with soldiers.

HESS: Why did you find it necessary?


CLARKE: Because, as I pointed out to the soldiers, we might have to fight tomorrow. We may be attacked like we were in the Battle of the Bulge. I think that when you go to training out in the morning you owe to the Government to bring to training a healthy and rested body. You can't do that by staying up and drinking beer all night in the German gasthouses and get home in time for reveille. You owe more to your Government than that. I'm going to be in bed at 12 o'clock and everybody else is going to be too. I would just walk out of the German parties at 11 o'clock and say, "I have to be home for a curfew."

HESS: Did the level of training improve?

CLARKE: Oh, yes. It went up about 20 percent. The attitude of the soldiers improved. I had no trouble, because the soldiers were oriented.


HESS: One question on the wall. I can remember the time that the wall was constructed and there was some talk in the United States of why didn't we take direct action against the wall at the time it was being constructed. Why didn't we take some tanks and smash them right into the wall and prevent it.

CLARKE: Well, that is a very good question. I've been asked that many times. In the first place, I couldn't have done that without authority of the President and the President, I felt, wouldn't give such authority. The President and his advisors didn't want to go to war, and that might have caused us to go to war.

HESS: Did they think that there was any action that they could have taken?

CLARKE: The President never suggested anything and I've talked to the President about it during the


Berlin wall days. When you come down to it, the Berlin wall was built on the Russian side of the boundary. You may have a neighbor that builds a spite fence between you and him. But what do you do if he builds it on his land?

HESS: It's on his land.

CLARKE: What are you going to do about it. I mean, legally? We may not like it but what are we going to do about it? So, I never would have recommended it, I had a few troops trained in the woods in the west of Berlin to do it in case the President said to knock it down.

HESS: How were you going to try to do it?

CLARKE: We had tanks with bulldozers on the front of them and we had replicas of the wall built in the woods back at Berlin that we attacked.

HESS: As training


CLARKE: As training. We had task forces all trained to do it. Very few knew anything about it.

HESS: How successful were you in your training of that?

CLARKE: At that time we were very successful because the wall then was quite inadequate. It has been strengthened since.

HESS: They've built up a great deal since then.

CLARKE: The wall was just started with "concertina" rolls of barbed wire. It took many years to bring it to its present engineering project. It is now a great feat of engineering. They've got mine fields, tank traps and all this other stuff but that wasn't put in at first.

HESS: That took a while to put that in.


CLARKE: That took a while. Another thing few people don't know about that wall. The wall part was nine miles long through the city, then there was eighty-two miles of fence built around West Berlin because you had to connect the two ends or else the people would run around the end of it, so that the wall was some ninety miles long.

HESS: That's part of the fence that goes around the outside.

CLARKE: A wall across the city would, of course, have been of no value.

HESS: Can we have these to put into the appendix?


HESS: That's fine, we'll put these into the appendix to the interview.


CLARKE: After Tet I went to the Army and said, "Your soldiers over there pretty well know why they're in Vietnam and I think they think it's right for them to be there. I've had three sons in Vietnam, one there the second time. They all felt as though they should be there. Most of the soldiers said, "When I make speeches on Vietnam the first question I get is: General, why are we in Vietnam?" Well, I say, it takes me twenty minutes to answer a question. A soldier won't take twenty minutes to answer a question. You've got to give the soldiers something that he can tell quickly. You need a poster. They came out with this poster [see Appendix II] which the Army drew up and they sent to me for comments. They modified it a little bit on my suggestion. My basic fundamental rule is that you must not have over four or five reasons for doing something.


HESS: He probably only reads the first four or five anyway.

CLARKE: Well, a preacher will tell you the best sermon in the world only gets across two points. If you're going to try to get across more you lose your congregation.

HESS: Now, we have here, "Helping stop aggression. Helping bring an end of terror in South Vietnam. Helping achieve a just honorable, and lasting peace. Helping South Vietnam build a strong viable nation."

CLARKE: That has been published within the past six months and has been sent to General {Creighton W.] Abrams in over a million copies.

HESS: General, do you think that the country itself has had it explained . .

CLARKE: No. Not adequately.


HESS: Why? It seems to me that that has been a real failure.

CLARKE: I have thought -- and I wrote this to the President not long ago and sent him a copy of this poster. I told him that unless he could get the country to accept these reasons that his plan for Vietnamization of the war would not last because our people had to be made to understand that these were in the national interest. I got back a good letter from Mr. [Herbert G.] Klein saying that the President was very much interested.

What you've got to do to handle soldiers is to put yourself down in the mental attitude of the soldier. Soldiers don't want to be lectured to. They won't listen to you if you do. That's why this book has been successful on leadership, it's twenty minutes long. You take a thick book


that sells for $6.95 and there's not a platoon leader in the Army that will read it. He'll say, "I know all about leadership, that's too much, too many words." But he will read this little book. I've always thought that we could do a lot of good in our colleges if they would put out a little book like that signed by the president, called Student Management and Morale. This booklet starts off by saying "What men expect from their leaders." It then lists about thirteen things that the men have the right to expect from their leaders. When I wrote that several generals said to me, "You will create a crop of guardhouse lawyers in the Army," but it did not happen that way. A soldier must be kept oriented, and told the reasons why. The complaint that I got when I was in Vietnam in August from the sergeant when I visited the regiment fighting on the Cambodian border when I asked:


"What problems have you got sergeant?" He said, "Every day the regimental commander gets all the officers together and orients them, but he never gets the men together."

HESS: Just orients the officers.

CLARKE: Just orients the officers. He said, "We don't know what the battle is all about." You know that's pretty poor leadership. Stram couldn't have beaten the Vikings if only the quarterback had known what the situation was. He had to explain his play program to some forty men.

HESS: Concerning the integration of the services into the Department of Defense and into one service, do you think that it might have worked better had they left it alone and had it as it was up until 1947?


CLARKE: No. I helped work on that plan as a young brigadier general. That plan was drawn up by General Joe [J. Lawton] Collins and I did some work with him on the plan. I was a believer in it. I felt as though we had to get the armed forces together. I felt at that time, and I feel right now, and I think it's been proven that the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force today have a minor job. They probably wouldn't agree with me, but I think it is. They have very little authority. They have gradually pulled all authority up in the DOD. Now the DOD is a tremendous outfit. I visualized DOD might be a hundred people that would put out policy statements. I don't know how many dozens of assistant secretaries we've got in DOD now because I never worked in there. But it must be great. In my opinion, of course, it's just like our


Government, we keep drawing in Government into Washington and take away from the states and localities. I think the present President is trying to reverse it but he's going to find it very hard because once you create vested interests they just don't want to give up.

HESS: Three of the men who held the position of Secretary of the Army under Mr. Truman were Kenneth Royall, Gordon Gray and Frank Pace. Can you tell me anything about those gentlemen?

CLARKE: Well, I knew them all slightly as a brigadier general in the field might know them. I think they were adequate men. Not particularly outstanding, any one of them, I don't think. I think the best Secretary of the Army we've had in my time, not counting [Henry L.] Stimson, whom I think was one of the great men of his time.


The best one we've had in recent years was Wilber Brucker. Wilber Brucker was Secretary of the Army for five years. I think he was the best Secretary of the Army we've had. He was a man that fought for the soldier. Every soldier knew that Mr. Brucker was fighting for him, and that's what a good Secretary has got to do. He's got to make sure that somebody is looking out for the soldier because a soldier does not have much political influence and it's very easy for the soldier to be overlooked as he often is. One of your problems in an all-volunteer army is that a soldier is looked on by the Congress and so forth as a second-class citizen; that he's only entitled to what we give him. Take for instance when I was in the Army in 1918. I had $10,000 war risk insurance; he still has $10,000.

HESS: Why do you think that attitude has developed?


CLARKE: Because he doesn't have many to speak for him. If the Secretary of the Army doesn't do it there's a few else to do it. You see he takes orders, it's for him to do or die but not to reason why, that's his job and you can't change that. We certainly don't want the Army to be unionized and the soldier has to do what he's told to do. That's in accordance with the Constitution.

HESS: Two other gentlemen have held the position of Secretary of Defense under Mr. Truman were Louis Johnson and Robert Lovett. What can you recall about those gentlemen?

CLARKE: I can't recall anything about those people because I wasn't in the Pentagon and I only knew them from a distance and knew them as a name. My impression is that Mr. Lovett was the better of the two. I'm not sure Mr. Johnson was a very competent. He had been head of the


American Legion, but I don't recall that Mr. Johnson had a very big reputation. Lovett I think was a better man, that's my impression.

HESS: During the period of time that Mr. Johnson was there, there was a cutback in the armed services. They cut down the number of wings and aircraft and also I believe that they cut back the number of men in the Army. Do you recall that?

CLARKE: No, I don't think I do. I don't think I can tell you the years that they were in office because I was in the field.

HESS: Johnson went in in March of '49 and was out in September of '50 and Lovett went in after General Marshall. He went in in '51 and stayed until the end of the Truman administration in '53.


CLARKE: Well, Mr. Lovett was the man that had to handle the Korean war and that's perhaps why I know of him more than I did Johnson. When Johnson was in I was a brigade commander in Germany so I didn't know much about him.

HESS: Johnson was in when the Korean war started. Why do you think that we were taken so much by surprise by the North Koreans?

CLARKE: Well, our history has been that as soon as the war is over our people don't want to ever think that we are going to have to fight another war. This happened in 1918. The great cry was immediately to bring the soldiers home. As a result the President in the First World War . .

HESS: Wilson.

CLARKE: . . . Wilson tried to put across the League of Nations, but having no troops in Europe, he


had no basis of strength to talk from and the League of Nations was lost.

You only negotiate in international affairs from strength. We may not like that but that's the way the balls and strikes are called in that league. At least that's my impression as to the way they are called. We, having two or three hundred thousand troops in Europe gives us a lot of strength on the Continent; whereas, if we didn't have anybody in Europe, you wouldn't have much influence over there.

HESS: And in June of 1950, when the Korean war started was shortly after our cutback in our forces.

CLARKE: We had been living without a draft and I had been G-3 of what is now CONARC during '45, '46, and '47, up until '48 in a no-draft period. Our problem was that we could get men


to enlist to go to school and learn a trade, but we could only get about 2 percent of the enlistments for the infantry. So, when Truman sent our people into Korea, our infantry units were at about half strength. And we're facing the same thing again today. During the Truman administration when we didn't have a draft, we doubled our recruiting effort, we did everything. The thing that we hit on was get men to enlist and learn a trade. We did a good job at that. We turned out a tremendous amount of technicians for the civil communities.

HESS: But not enough soldiers.

CLARKE: We didn't turn out many combat soldiers because the trade of being an infantryman isn't called for in civil life except for maybe a few policemen or something.

HESS: Somewhat less demand.


CLARKE: Less demand. We turned out thousands of specialists which I think was for the good of the country. I think our country would be hurting today if it wasn't for the service's technical schools.

Now, the key problem in raising an army is due to the fact that the hardships and the hazards are not equal in the various services or between the various branches in the Army. In the Korean war the Army lost 26,000 men killed, 84 percent Infantry. The Navy lost 458, the Air Force 1200 and the Marines 4,267. Now, if you were a man who was going to enlist in the services . .

HESS: Well, I did, and I enlisted in the Navy.

CLARKE: Well, that certainly is a factor that motivates people to enlist. I did some research recently on the members of Congress


(or the Army did it for me), and 394 members of Congress had been in the armed services at some time or other (this was about six months ago). Only 90 of them had been in the Army, and of that 90 only -- not very many of them had been in the Infantry. I don't have that latter figure but not very many. That should be the answer on your problem. The Infantry, Armor and the Marines are the three parts of the armed services that close with the enemy and defeat him on the ground. That is where close combat is.

HESS: It sure is.

CLARKE: How do you get these people? There's where your casualties are. There is where the hardship is. The artillerymen who are back here shooting over the heads of the infantry, aren't wading through the rice paddies. He isn't closing


with the enemy. It's an entirely different attitude with him. It's a problem that we don't know how to lick. I think that the President's committee on an all-voluntary Army doesn't know how to lick it either. I expect they will say that we ought to raise the pay of the soldiers. I would agree with that, he's not very well paid, but there are many problems in raising the pay of the soldier. If you pay the soldier too much money over the pay table, you create problems that you can't live with. You create absent without leave problems, you create problems when every soldier's got an automobile. You create -- if you're overseas, problems in inflation. You create problems with the people that you're serving with who get far less pay. You can't overpay soldiers. Now, you can get around that by giving them a bonus when they are separated.


HESS: What inducements could be given if it isn't in pay?

CLARKE: Prestige. Prestige. You're trying to build up the police in Washington, D.C. The last I heard there were 1100 under strength even though they were offering $8,000 a year. Now, you can't have the people calling the policeman a "pig," and so forth, and every time he does something you bring him before the board and try him and throw him out or something.

HESS: Put him on administrative leave for awhile.

CLARKE: That's right. You can't do that and get many who want to go into that business. The answer to it is here.

HESS: Morale.

CLARKE: Morale comes from doing first an important


job, doing it well, and getting recognition. Now, who gives the policemen in Washington any recognition?

HESS: Nobody.

CLARKE: You've thrown away a great motivation. You couldn't take Hamburger Hill by pay. You've got to take Hamburger Hill by esprit and morale. In other words you've got to build into your army, "duty, honor, country" or else it's got nothing but mercenaries. The history of the world has been that mercenaries have never been very reliable.

HESS: How do you really go about building up esprit de corps?

CLARKE: Well, you build up pride in the outfit, that is the first thing. Take the 1st Infantry Division. The first thing that a man gets who comes with that infantry division is probably


several days instruction in the history of the great things that division has done. Anybody who is allowed to serve in it is especially privileged he believes.

HESS: The "Big Red 1."

CLARKE: The "Big Red 1," are special people. That's what the Marines do, they build up the history and they keep that before the soldier all the time. Supposing you wanted to play football next year for the Kansas City Chiefs. They could tell you all the history of the Kansas City Chiefs and that you're especially privileged to play with them instead of the Senators. Morale comes from first building up that you've something important to do. And if you don't have anything important to do, you don't have any morale. Unless you feel as though you're doing it well, you don't have


morale. And third, unless you get some recognition. I think that applies to your job, as well as to the soldier. That is one factor that civilians don't do enough of and maybe we don't do enough of in the service. But, we lots of times, get the impression that if a man does a good job that's what's expected of him, when it's so easy to pat a man on the back. I used to say if I couldn't put out ten letters of commendation to every one in which I found fault, that I wasn't a good leader. I searched for people that I could write such letters to. I had my staff looking for them all the time. Because an awful lot of people that are doing great jobs that are hidden where nobody ever sees, and as a result, they receive little recognition.

HESS: It seems to me that the Marine Corps has been particularly successful in building esprit de corps. Why have they been so successful, if


they have, if their success has been somewhat greater than some of the Army units?

CLARKE: Well, we in the Army don't agree that that is so. We in the Army used to say that when you organized the Marines into a squad, you have seven Marines and a PIO in each. Recognition comes from that however.

HESS: You know Mr. Truman got in a little bit of trouble about this one time saying that the Marines had an excellent publicity organization.

CLARKE: That's right. But I do not find fault with that. That's the third element of morale that we overlook. I think that is one of the troubles we've got today in concentrating our PIO effort in the DOD.

HESS: The various units get overlooked.

How would you say that the American soldier


compares with soldiers from other countries?

CLARKE: I have commanded soldiers of about fourteen or fifteen different nations in battle, and have commanded Germans out of battle. I would say that the American soldier has a characteristic that is different from all the rest in that first he has to be told "why." He will not take it for granted without being told why and that is not a new characteristic. If you'll read the writings of Von Steuben in the Revolutionary War, he said the genius of the American soldier was that he had to be told why before he was issued an order. So, it's not new, it's two hundred years old. The American soldier has more initiative than other soldiers. He's probably better educated than soldiers of other nations. He is used to living in a Democracy and he's used to living in a country that has a free press. His tenants


of ethics and so forth are based upon Christianity and the concept of justice based upon the English common law. That's what makes him different. Now, you could say that's also true of the British. I think the British are good soldiers, but they're not so filled with initiative as is an American soldier.

HESS: And you mentioned earlier that you were appointed a Senator of the University of Heidelberg. Would you tell me about that? An Honorary Senator.

CLARKE: Well, I was appointed an Honorary Senator of the University of Heidelberg at a convocation just before I retired. And it was due to my public relations effort with the Germans. That's what the citation said, and I think that was the reason why, because I did have good public relations with the Germans. I'm very fond of


the German people. We adopted a German girl, by the way, who was eleven years old when we adopted her. She is now graduated from the University of Richmond and has married to a Marine captain and has two fine little boys and she is a very fine person. I'm very proud of her. But we had many friends among the Germans. The German people have many fine characteristics. It's too bad they sometimes get under the control of people like Hitler, but you can discount that. They are honest and hard working people, morally very good, and ethically very good people.

HESS: Do you think the Germans have any more of a military or a martial spirit than most other countries?

CLARKE: I wouldn't say that they do at this time. Now, they might have had thirty years ago, but not at this time. I commanded two-thirds of the


German army when I was in Europe. I helped build up and train them. I would say that the German army took to our ways of soldiering very quickly and their officers took to our ways of handling men very quickly. I would say the German army today thinks and acts very much like an American army does. We've spread a lot of different ideas around the world by virtue of the fact that our military have been all over the world for the last thirty years. And what has rubbed off from our military around the world, has been really amazing in the attitude of the world in general. The American military has been the greatest Americanization force in the world in the last thirty years because we have a million men overseas today around the world. The American soldier, and the American airmen and the sailor does not stick to himself. He gets out and gets to know the people. He marries the local


people, he assimilates very easily with the local people. This is especially true in Germany.

HESS: How important is it to the strength of a free Europe to have a strong West German army, would you say?

CLARKE: Well, I think it's very important and I'm glad to see that Germany has rearmed itself. Germany does not have a high command as you know. The Germans have three corps, two of which are under the Americans, and one of which is under the British. So the German high command is in NATO and not in the German army. I think probably that is good. It's taken considerable time for them to arm themselves but I wouldn't think it would be possible today for a Hitler to rise up in Germany again. I don't think the people would stand for it


again. And I think the NATO setup over there has been very successful. We've maintained the peace over there without fighting for over twenty years and Western Europe has prospered economically. They've improved in the concepts of government. Western European nations nearly all have a democratic form of government. Somewhat different than ours, but basically the same concepts that we live under, and that is a strong bulwark against the expansion of communism to the west in Europe. Communism has not expanded to the west in any degree in twenty years.

HESS: Isn't there a man in Germany that heads the National Democratic Party, that some people say is the present day Hitler?

CLARKE: Oh, well, he has little following.

HESS: What is his name?


CLARKE: I've forgotten.

HESS: I have too. [Adolf von Thadden]

CLARKE: He doesn't amount to anything I think. I don't think he has over a handful of votes.

HESS: It seems to me that Russia has quite a fear of a rearmed Germany. Is this correct?

CLARKE: I think so. The Russian attitude towards Germany has been to keep her divided and weak. She has been able to keep Germany divided and she hasn't been able to keep Western Germany weak though because we have prevented that. But I feel Russia doesn't trust East Germany even though it's a Communist government. Russia has twenty-two divisions in East Germany right now. And they are at full strength, they are ready to go. That's why if the Russians wanted to attack West Germany they could attack it


tomorrow. They could repeat the Battle of the Bulge because they could attack it without a build-up.

HESS: When Germany was divided after the war, Berlin was placed in the eastern or Russian sector without a corridor to the western section. Why the oversight, do you know? Or was that an oversight?

CLARKE: I think that the agreement was there were three air routes that could be flown and then there was one highway route and I'm not sure about a railroad route but I think there was a railroad route.

HESS: And yet when the Germans did put on the blockade they closed the land routes with...

CLARKE: Yes, they did.

HESS: . . . without too much effort.


CLARKE: And they...

HESS: And they harassed us in the air.

CLARKE: They harassed us during the Berlin wall days. They occupy checkpoints along the road and all they had to do when a convoy came along was to stop it and check its papers and all they had to do was to say, "You've only got three copies, we demand five," what are you going to do, are you going to fight?

HESS: Fight for two copies, huh?

CLARKE: So, you go back and get two more copies, and that takes time. You see all of such things are irritations, harassment. One time I got to Helmstedt to go into Germany, to Berlin, in my train and suddenly the Russians said that I couldn't go that they had instructions that I couldn't take my train to Berlin anymore.


So, I had to go back and get an airplane and fly into Berlin. However, when I complained about it to the Russian commander in East Germany, he said that it was all a misunderstanding. It wasn't a misunderstanding, it was just harassment. Subordinates in the Russian army don't misunderstand.

HESS: If they do something, they have been ordered to do that. Is that right?

CLARKE: You're right. They don't exercise many initiatives in that league.

HESS: About integration of Negroes into the services, sir, what do you recall about the efforts made to desegregate the armed forces and what was your part in that matter?

CLARKE: Well, there were no integrated units when I joined the Army in 1918. The Negro troops


were all in Negro units and were all in service-type units such as engineers, quartermaster and labor troops and so forth, having a very low number of non-commissioned officers and a very, very few grades and ratings. They were definitely second-grade troops. During World War II we had a couple Negro divisions. They didn't do too well. I didn't serve with them but I've read their history. The thought was that the Negro wasn't a good soldier. I think we proved that that assessment is not true. The Negro can be as good a soldier as anybody when he's properly trained and educated and handled. And I think that integration in the Army has proved that. Integration on an individual level was started in the Army, to the best of my knowledge, in 1949 when I integrated a squadron patrolling the Czechoslovakian border. The squadron wasn't big enough to do


the job that was given it, and when asking for more troops, I was told that I could use a Negro infantry company to augment my squadron. This decision was made by General [Clarence R.] Huebner, the commander in Europe at that time. So, I took this Negro company to the border and integrated it in the squadron on an individual basis. In other words, I broke up the company and I moved them right into the squads and platoons so that every squad had one or two Negroes in it and I think that we established, at that time, the concept that's the basis of the present integration in the armed services. I was very apprehensive about this. I had never seen it done before, but I had confidence that it would work. I called the battalion together in a theatre at Weiden and I talked to the Negro soldiers and the white soldiers together and told them why I was doing this


and pointed out that the basic premise in handling the men was that nobody, colored or white, got anything that he didn't earn and nobody was denied anything that he did earn, regardless whether he was white or colored; and that Negro non-commissioned officers would be put in the jobs for which they had the rank and the white soldiers would serve under them and carry out their orders without any question, and similarly, the colored soldier who was in a squad commanded by a white squad leader would do likewise. This was accepted and the result was very good. It's all written up in the report that I've given you. [see Appendix VII]

HESS: I have this on xerox and we'll include this in the appendix.

CLARKE: A year or two later I came home to be


promoted and to organize a new division at Fort Hood, Texas. And I came through Washington to get some instruction from the Chief of Staff of the Army. While I was talking with him he said, "How would you like to integrate the 1st Armored Division?" (That was a new division I was creating.)

"Well," I said, "I would be very happy to, but I don't know the situation in Texas. I'm sensitive to public relations, and I would like to have you order me to. Then I won't get the reputation down there of being a man that wants to change things." I said, "I don't have enough rank, you've got all the rank up here. You just order me to and I'll be very happy to."

Well, it took six or eight months before they did, but they finally did order me to integrate the 1st Armored Division. That was


the first division in the Army, to my knowledge, that was integrated on an individual basis. I had three Negro battalions in the division at the time, out of about fourteen. I broke them up and scattered them through the division so that we had about 12 or 14 percent Negro in every unit. We had no trouble with the local people. They didn't question it. They made no issue of it at all. I think that, because I really had oriented them as to what we were doing and so forth, and I had good public relations in Texas, so we had no trouble. So, from there on we integrated the Army pretty fast. But the same basic rules have applied all the way through.

I think that one of the problems of selling integration today is this thought that the colored man shouldn't have to meet the standards of the other man. In fact, we are trying to


do this in college. To let him in college without having requirements that other people have to have, that makes other people resentful I think and I think it's basically wrong. I think he's basically wrong to demand it. Now, the colored soldier has never raised that issue. All he wanted was to be used on the same basis of everybody. He wanted all the rights and privileges that any soldier had and then I think he's been satisfied, and as a result, integration in the Army today, is on a very sound basis in my opinion. Now, we may get a few people in who are agitators at this particular time because of the general conditions in our country and over Vietnam, but they are a relatively small minority. The colored men that I've talked to, and I've talked to a lot of colored soldiers both in Vietnam and here, are very happy to be in the Army and they think


they are getting a fair deal.

HESS: In the papers recently there have been stories about disturbances at various Army camps and also many Marine bases; Camp LeJeune, and Quantico, and I believe Pendelton. What can be done to try to correct the situation?

CLARKE: Well, I think it's a situation that's got to be corrected through education. I think the Marines have made less emphasis on integration than the Army. The Army, in the last fifteen years, has not dragged its feet a bit over integration and I think the white soldier has not dragged his feet over integration. I've seen squads commanded by colored sergeants with people from Alabama and Tennessee in there, and it didn't seem to make any particular difference. I think it's the question of orientation. I get right back to the point that the


basic thing is communication and orientation; that's the basic thing to the American soldier, he's got to be oriented, he's got to be told why. And when he's told why, if it makes sense to him, he forgets about it. I think that if you would try to integrate a squadron when I integrated the first one, by just moving the colored company in and sending so many to each of the white companies, you might have had a riot. But when I got them all in the theatre and got up in front of them and told them why we were doing it and what the rules were, and gave them a chance to ask questions, that when they left the theatre they were satisfied.

I think the trouble that you're having in your universities is that university students aren't very well oriented by the administration. I wasn't when I went to the universities. I don't think that our universities have done


nearly as good a job as we have in the Army on orienting their freshmen as we have in orienting our recruits.

HESS: Do you think there has been more of a problem in the military when so many of the people have come from an urban situation, when so many of the colored people have come, instead of coming from the rural communities as they used to, a larger number of them are coming from urban ghettos?

CLARKE: That may be, because your ghetto colored man may have been subject to more agitation, I don't know. I commanded a colored company at Ft. Belvoir in 1928 in which all of our soldiers came from southeast Washington. Every time we would have a vacancy I'd give the first sergeant a three day pass and tell them to bring me back two recruits. The truth of the matter is that a


lot of them were very happy to get some good clothes and good meals and a good place to sleep. And they made pretty good soldiers. We didn't have any trouble with them at all.

HESS: Now, one of the important Executive orders of Mr. Truman's administration dealing with desegregation of the Armed Forces was Executive Order #9981 of July the 26th of 1948 establishing the President's Committee on Equality and Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services of which Charles Fahy was chairman. Do you recall anything about that particular meeting?

CLARKE: No, I don't think I do. Let's see, that was in, what date ...

HESS: In '48, just after the convention in 1948.

CLARKE: Well, I don't know when that report ever was issued to the troops.


HESS: May the 22nd of 1950 and it was called "Freedom to Serve." That was when it was submitted to the President.

CLARKE: May the 22nd, 1950 I was then in Germany and then I think if dates were correct, I had just integrated a battalion over there. I can't remember the date of that integration but it must have been about that time.

You know after these reports are made from a committee appointed by the President, before it's put out in directive to the field, it probably shouldn't, but it generally takes a year or more to get it down to the battalion commander level. Lots of times it doesn't get down to him in a year. Of course, that had to be approved and then it had to go over the Secretary of Defense and so forth for implementation and it takes some time. I don't know as I knew anything about that. I don't recall.


HESS: Well, the order from the Army putting the directive, putting their requests, and their directives into work for the Army, I believe, was on September the 30th of 1950, so I found in the New York Times. And shortly after that Gordon Gray, who was Secretary of the Army, had ordered his field commanders to assign qualified Negroes to white combat units. This was in 1950.

CLARKE: Well, that was about the time, or maybe a little after, I did my integration. You know a lot of things take time after orders are issued. Now Secretary Gordon Gray said in there, qualified men. If a battalion commander didn't want to do it, they'd say, "I'm still looking for some qualified men." You see, it's like integration in our country, it all depends upon whether you want to do it or not. And if you didn't want to do it you could find a reason for delay.

HESS: And yesterday in the New York Times magazine


for June the 11th, 1950, I found an article by E. W. Kenworthy, who was the Executive Secretary for the Committee on Equality and Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces, and in that he stated that integration had taken place faster in the Navy and in the Air Force than in the Army. What would you think about that? Disagree with it?

CLARKE: I can't believe that. It isn't true today. We were told Sunday by Mr. Hallett it wasn't true. I don't know where he got his facts and figures, because the Army is away ahead of all of them in this field. I don't think that any of those services integrated a whole division in 1951 or '52.

HESS: Would you tell me just a little bit about Judge Hallett, what is his background and just . .


CLARKE: I don't know his background. He works for the Assistant Secretary of Defense on Manpower and he is the integration consultant. That was what he was introduced as on TV.

HESS: You say he is a Negro.

CLARKE: He is a Negro and was a very fine appearing and a very well-posted man in his field.

HESS: Do you have any other comments, thoughts, on integration?

CLARKE: When I was Commander in Chief U.S. Army in Europe I had forty thousand Negro soldiers out of two hundred and seventy thousand troops. We were completely integrated, everything on the post were integrated; the clubs, the messes, hospitals and everything else was integrated. But when the soldiers left the post to go to town, there were certain gasthauses that the


colored soldiers went into and certain ones that the white soldiers went into and how this came about, or how they were decided, I could never find out. They would tell me when I'd ask them, "Well, that's just the way we do it." They didn't want to drink beer together when they went to town. They wanted to "socialize" as a colored man says, they want to socialize with their own people. I think we've got to recognize that and I don't think that that is anything that we should worry about. I don't worry about it. I think that's just human nature. I think a lot of people are doing an awful lot of things, are trying to push things perhaps too fast. We have a lot of people in our country that are dogooders, you know. When I was commanding the 1st Corps in Korea, I had a part of the Korean army in my corps and one day I had three ministers


of churches that came to see me and they, after they came in my office and they talked awhile, I said, "What brings you here?"

And they said, "General, we understand that the Korean officers are cruel to their men, and we came over to find out what you're doing about it."

"Well," I said, "I don't think that the Korean soldier thinks that they are cruel to him. This is the way they live and their society is very old and this is the way they do things. I know we wouldn't do it that way, but," I said, "I can't change the attitude of Korean people towards how they get along with each other, and furthermore I'm not going to try."

And they said, "Well, you say you won't do anything about it?"

And I said, "That's right."


"Well," they said, "that's what we're going to have to report on when we go back to the United States."

And I said, "O.K., that's all right with me."

But the last thing I would do would be to call in the Korean generals and tell them how they should handle their men. They would tell me I wasn't minding my business. They probably would be reluctant to do that but that's what they would infer and they would walk away and leave me and then what would you do about it?

One thing that you've got to realize when you're commanding foreign troops, and a lot of American generals get in trouble over this. You must realize when you are commanding foreign troops you don't have a channel of command, you only have a channel of suggestion. And this was true -- I had in my command in Korea during


battle, I had the Commonwealth Division made up of Canadians, and Australians, and New Zealanders, British. I had Turks and Ethiopians and Colombians, Dutch and French and several other different kinds, Filipinos. When I would put out an order that this is what I want done, if they thought it offended their national sensibilities, they wouldn't do it, they just wouldn't do it. Then what are you going to do? You had better get the order withdrawn in a hurry and think about something else to do.

I remember when the Ethiopian battalion was due to rotate home. I put out an order that it would leave its personal equipment, including small arms, behind for the new battalion that was coming out. Now, Ethiopians were good troops. They were all special troops. They were all members of what was called Haile


Selassie's Personal Body Guard. That was an elite organization in Ethiopia and they were real good troops. They were good fighters and they were very fine appearing men. But the battalion commander came to me and he said, "General we can't leave our weapons and our cartridge belts and our helmets and so forth behind. We've got to parade down the street of Addis Abada when we get home and the whole city will be out to greet us and we've got to come home with our weapons." He said, "We'd be in disgrace." He said, "We just can't do that."

And I said, "Colonel, just think no more of it, take them home with you."

And I drew enough equipment out of the stocks of the Army to equip a new outfit and I didn't ask anybody. The Ethiopians took a thousand sets of equipment back home free from the American Army.


HESS: It would have been a disgrace to them.

CLARKE: Those are the problems that may come up. Another problem that should come up in commanding, and I had twelve or fourteen different nationalities in my command, I was furnishing all the rations. You had to be awful careful what you issued them for food. Every one of them had his own peculiarities of things that he couldn't eat or things that he could eat. It complicated life a great deal.

HESS: I suspect it did.

CLARKE: But that's a problem that you get by handling foreign troops and you've got to adapt yourself to it. There's no use of you pounding on the desk and saying to these people, "That is my order." Because when they say, "I'm not going to do it," then what's your next step. You can't try them. The American court martial


doesn't apply to them.

HESS: Which foreign troops would you classify as the fiercest fighters?

CLARKE: Well, that is a hard thing to do. I think probably the best troops I had among the foreign troops were the Commonwealth Division; British and Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, they were good troops. They're stolid but they're steady.

HESS: Are they more tightly disciplined than some of the other countries -- the troops from some other countries?

CLARKE: Well, in many ways, but they have a different type of discipline than we do. Probably the regulations applying to the British army, probably in volume may be less than one fifth of ours. We issue lots of laws, lots of regulations. They


do or don't do many things because of custom.

The Turks were good fighters. They're very fierce fighters, very interesting to handle. Whenever a Turkish soldier was wounded and went into the hospital, we had to send another soldier along and put him in the bed beside of him as a buddy.

HESS: Why?

CLARKE: Because he was lonesome. He wouldn't stay in the hospital. All of these little things you know would come up and as soon as you learn them, you go ahead and do them as a matter of course.

HESS: You have to be understanding, don't you?

CLARKE: Well, you can't learn these things by sitting in an office. You've got to get out and find these things out. Another thing, the Turks


used to get credit for the amount of Communists that they killed in battle, and to qualify for this credit, they used to bring back an ear.

HESS: So I've heard.

CLARKE: It got so they would bring back two ears off of the same man, and claim two and finally the Turks had to put out that they only gave you credit for two ears for one man.

Another thing that I had to be hard on the Turks -- and this was true of a great many of the foreign troops -- was their maintenance.

All of these funny things you have when you're commanding foreign troops. You'd better learn them and you'd better learn them quickly and you'd better not be arbitrary. You'd better stick to the fact that you only have channels of suggestion and you don't have a channel of


command. You may be their commander, but if you offend their sensibilities they just wouldn't do it. They'd just say, "In my country we don't do that," and then what do you do next?

HESS: How about education in the Army?

CLARKE: The American soldier who has made a career of the Army in the last fifteen years, I think, is completely satisfied with his opportunities in the Army and many of them have improved themselves a great deal. Just before I retired I went to a graduation of the University of Maryland at Heidelberg -- that was conducted in a hall in the University of Heidelberg. The Secretary of the Army put out degrees to a hundred and fifty soldiers that had earned their degrees over the years from the University of Maryland. I would say that about 20 percent of them were Negro. I talked to one Negro soldier particularly because he had his wife and four or five children, and he was


not a young man. I said, "Sergeant, how long have you been working on this degree?"

He said, "General, when I came in the Army I had only been to high school a few months. I first got my high school diploma and," he said, "in the last fifteen years I've been working on this degree and it's taken me that long to get it. But," he said, "I decided that that was what I was going to do and I'm very proud that I am now a college graduate."

Well, you have to take your hat off to people like that. They've done things the hard way and raised themselves by the bootstraps but he's done it because he's had the opportunity to do it and he didn't ask for special favors. All he asked was for the opportunity. If the colored man tomorrow in the United States, would disavow the Black Panthers, and say, "All we demand is an equal opportunity in everything," I think that


we'd solve the problem in a hurry. I think that would do it. I can't conceive of the majority of white men saying, "No, we wouldn't give it to you." Can you?

HESS: No, probably not.

CLARKE: I can't conceive of it. I don't think white officers would deny him that opportunity and your white officers are a cross-section of America. You know only 4 percent of the officers come out of West Point in the Army.

HESS: Really?

CLARKE: Yes. Last year we took into the Army twenty-six thousand officers, lieutenants. Only seven hundred and sixty came from West Point.

HESS: Most of them from ROTC units in colleges. Is that right?


CLARKE: The biggest bulk, some sixteen thousand came from colleges, and about six or seven thousand came from Officer Candidate School. But, you know, I've delivered lectures on the Army and told the people that and I've had people come up to me and say, "General, I thought every officer in the Army came from West Point. Why do we have West Point, you're getting most all the officers from someplace else?" West Point is the yeast that leavens the bread, and its concepts and standards and so forth permeate the Army and I think very well. And it's done without any West Point clique. It's been forty-five years since I graduated and I've never been aware of a West Point clique in the Army. There is no such thing.

You know when we moved a battle group to Berlin in 1961, the order was issued late


on a Friday night to move to Helmstedt from a battle group in Mannheim, and they moved all day Saturday and way into the night Saturday night getting into Helmstedt to cross the border at 6 o'clock in the morning going to Berlin. President Kennedy was up pretty much all night; he was scared that we were going to get into a war; anything could happen. He had never been in a situation like this before and the farther you are from the front the more apprehensive you are. He called in his military aide General [Chester V.] Clifton and said to General Clifton, "I want the rundown on the colonel that is going to command the troops that's going to Berlin tomorrow," which was Sunday. Well, Clifton got his record and told him who he was and the President said, "You mean to say that General Clarke would select a man to go to Berlin tomorrow who wasn't a


West Pointer?"

Clifton said, "Well, he apparently has, this man is not a West Pointer."

"Well," he said, "I'm amazed, I thought West Pointers only selected other West Pointers for jobs like that."

Now, isn't that strange? I wouldn't have thought of it. I didn't even know. The truth of the matter is that I didn't even know. I selected the battle group to go. I knew it had a good commander. I knew the battle group was a good battle group and it was available. Whether the man went to West Point or not, I didn't even know, nor would I have cared. I don't think that was a factor that ever crossed my mind.

HESS: And he thought it was rather odd.

CLARKE: This man, as it turned out, was a very happy choice. He happened to be most fluent in German.


I didn't know that. But when he got in Berlin, to my amazement, he gave a speech to the Germans in German. I didn't know he could talk German.

HESS: He was a good selection.

You were transferred to Germany in 1949 and were there until 1951. What do you recall of the operations of the Marshall plan while you were in Europe?

CLARKE: The only thing that I would recall because I had nothing to do in the particular field, was the great resurgence of the German people economically. Construction started to build up, the German people were well fed, they improved their housing, their roads were put back in shape, and there was a period of great progress.

HESS: What was the German economy like when you first got there?


CLARKE: Well, the German economy when I left in 1945, of course, was at a standstill. Now, when I went back in '49 it had greatly improved. Just when did the Marshall plan go into effect, I can't remember?

HESS: In '47, that's when it first started.

CLARKE: Yes, you see they had had a couple years start by the time I got over there. So they were going right ahead and doing things. We were doing a lot of things still for the Germans. My troops were helping to rebuild schools and helping to do a lot of things like that for the Germans as late as 1949 and '50. But the Germans were all working and they hadn't stopped to feel sorry for themselves. They were going right ahead to build up their country and their schools were running.

HESS: Mr. Paul Hoffman was Economic Cooperation


Administrator. Did you ever meet him in Germany, did he come over.

CLARKE: No, I knew the high commissioner over there at that time. He -- let's see, what is the name?

HESS: John J. McCloy wasn't it?

CLARKE: McCloy. I knew McCloy. I say I knew him, I met him several times. Officially I didn't have any work with him.

HESS: What kind of a man is he?

CLARKE: I think McCloy is a very competent person. He had a good record in Germany, the Germans liked him, and so far as I know, the military respected him a great deal. I never heard anything to the contrary. I know he went back recently as the head of another study in Germany a couple of years ago because my son


was his adviser.

HESS: Was the Army at all instrumental in helping ECA carry out any of its operations?

CLARKE: Well, it could have, on a higher level, but on my level as a brigade commander, in Constabulary, I occupied the eastern half of Bavaria and we knew who they were and sometimes cooperated with them when they needed some help. I know my engineer units at times would help get utilities set up in a village that they asked us to do but by that time they were pretty well on their own, and we had relaxed a great deal. At the end of the war I was sent down to eastern Bavaria to command the 4th Armored Division which I did for about a month before I went to the Philippines. We had the whole division of about twenty thousand men working around eastern Bavaria trying to get


the economy straightened out. We tried to get the water supply going again, the sewage straightened out, the light plants running. We were building bridges and we were fixing roads and we were trying to get the place operating again.

That was the time when General Patton got into trouble. By making the statement that he didn't know anything about the difference between Nazis and non-Nazis, they were just the same difference between Democrats and Republicans to him. Maybe you remember that. Well, this is how that came about. We would go into a village and we'd want to get the electric light plant started again. Well, the man that we would look for would be the former man who was in charge of it and his assistants. We tried to get them down there and cause they knew where the switches were and how to start it.

HESS: They knew more about it than anybody else.


CLARKE: That's right. You know all of these -- a lot of people, not military -- but a lot of civilian agencies would say, "Well, you can't use him, he was a Nazi."

"Well," I would say to them, "you had to be a Nazi to have a job." I mean you had to have some connections with the ruling party which were Nazis or else you didn't have a job. It's just like in Washington today, if you want a top job in the administration, you had better be Republican. And when the Democrats come in it will change. So, I say, "That doesn't worry me, if he knows how to start this plant, that's all I'm interested in. He can't practice Nazism now because they've got troops watching him." But there were a lot of people that objected to that and that's what made General Patton mad one day and he told off some of those dogooders and said, "I'm trying to get this


country going again and I'm more interested in getting going whether they're Democrats or Republicans." Well, by the time the paper got a hold of that it blew it all out of proportion and the Government had to straighten out Patton's thinking. They never straightened him out, but at least they had to reprimand him for it to satisfy the press. Of course, Patton was a man who didn't worry much about the press. But those are the things that happened during that period.

HESS: What do you recall about the time when General Patton got into trouble for striking a soldier?

CLARKE: Well, the story as I believe it to be, and I base this on discussion with people that knew, that General Patton went through this hospital and would stop and talk to each soldier in the beds as he went by and asked them their


name and where they were from and where they were wounded and so forth. He came to this man and he asked him these questions and when he asked the man where he was wounded, he said he was wounded in the foot, whereupon the hospital commander in a low voice said to General Patton, "He is a SIW case." An SIW in the hospital terminology was "self-inflicted wound." Well, that struck General Patton wrong and he hit the man with his gloves. He didn't hit him with his fist, I'm sure, he slapped him with the gloves. Now, General Patton's point of view was that when the man had purposely shot himself in the foot, he then became a problem to the rest of the soldiers to evacuate him and operate on him, and treat him, and take care of him in the hospital while his buddies were still up there fighting and he was back in the hospital from his own misdeeds. And that was repugnant


to General Patton, and it is repugnant to me too. I never hit a soldier over it but I used to get mad.

HESS: You spoke to the General about this did you not?

CLARKE: Well, I heard him discussing it with my division commander. I wouldn't say that I asked him, because I probably wouldn't have asked him, but I heard him discussing it. I think that is probably the truth of the case. They said the poor man was a psychiatric case, maybe he was, maybe if he hadn't been a psychiatric case, he wouldn't have shot himself in the foot, I don't know.

HESS: It looks a little that way doesn't it?

The Berlin blockade started on June 23rd, 1948 and continued until May the 12th of 1949. Was that over when you got there?


CLARKE: Well, no -- let's see, May l2th -- it was just over. I got over there in June of '49, it was just over. The truth of the matter is, one of the first things I did was to fly to Berlin just to see, and I got up there where I saw the piles of coal and stuff that they had flown in and the personnel that had flown the airlift were still on duty, they hadn't been relieved yet. I had nothing to do with that. That was run under General Lucius Clay as you know.

HESS: You were transferred to Korea shortly before the cease fire, is that correct?

CLARKE: I went to Korea in March of 1953 and the cease fire came some three or four months later, I've forgotten the exact date, so I was commanding the First Corps there for three or four months in the last part of the war. It was our biggest corps, it was the corps that


defended Seoul, the one on the western end of the line. It was a corps made up of an interesting group of troops. I had the Korean Marine Brigade, the 1st Marine Division, the Commonwealth Division, the 1st Korean Division, the 7th U.S. Infantry Division and the 24th U.S. Infantry Division. So, I had five divisions on the line, most all of them different. And the thing that was particularly difficult about that period, was that we were not allowed any offensive action. We could only defend, and that is particularly hard on troops. When troops just stand around waiting for the attack it's like playing a football game when you never get the ball. I couldn't commit more than a company to any operation without permission, although I had a hundred and seventy-five thousand troops. This is a hard way to fight a war but we had been doing that for about two years.


Ever since that I have had no patience with these people that say we should form enclaves because what we did is form in South Korea, one large enclave. We just stayed there and when they attacked, we tried to beat them off. That's very disheartening to troops. And then, of course, we were trying to get an armistice and the North Koreans demanded that the demarcation line, which was the line of contact, would be surveyed so many kilometers each side, and maps prepared, the whole length of the line; which were 155 miles long. That was a major undertaking. We would do that and turn in these maps showing the line of contact and so many kilometers on both sides the whole length of the line and then the damn Communists would attack and maybe drive one of our units back five hundred yards. And then the Communists say, "Well, the map is no good. It must be


done over," and we did that time after time, time after time. They weren't in any hurry to call off the war. They were fighting a war of attrition against the United States and against the attitude of our people just like we have the same thing now.

HESS: A good deal has been said and written about the misunderstanding between President Truman and General MacArthur about how the war should be fought in Korea. What is your view on that?

CLARKE: Well, I knew General MacArthur at first, when he was superintendent of West Point when I went there as a plebe in 1921. He was a relatively young brigadier general at that time, I think maybe in his forties. MacArthur was a very brilliant man, a highly intellectual type, a man of great capabilities and of great competence in many, many fields. His handling


of Japan after the war, I think was probably a very brilliant thing. MacArthur as a field commander, was a very brilliant man and his operations in the Western Pacific during World War II were brilliant. His operations in Korea were brilliant, and I think the operation of the Inchon landing was considered a very great stroke, at the time. In fact, it practically broke the back of the North Korean army. But MacArthur was a vain man, he was a man that was sensitive to his position in history, as I would say from what I know about him, and he had become very much convinced of his own infallibility and maybe he was right. I don't know, maybe he was right. But MacArthur was guilty of contumacy, which a general must never allow himself to be. He may think that orders that he gets are silly, but he must not allow himself to take issue with them. He may go back and plead for a change


but when the decision is made he must say, "Well, I've had my say and then it becomes my decision." He must do that. I mean it's the very nature of our government. But MacArthur became quite hard to handle.

During that particular time I am told that they had a colonel in the Pentagon through which every dispatch going to MacArthur was funneled and he edited to see that there was nothing in there that would irritate him. And I don't know whether Truman was right or wrong. I think history will probably argue this thing for maybe another couple of hundred years. I don't know. But, anyway, Truman happened to be President and Commander in Chief and MacArthur wasn't. I think MacArthur was wrong, and Bradley thinks he was wrong. Bradley was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time. Bradley is a good sound citizen. Bradley is a man of great


military judgment, in my opinion. Bradley was a major at West Point and an instructor when MacArthur was superintendent but they were both there together. So, MacArthur was twelve years ahead of Bradley at West Point. I think MacArthur was wrong. Maybe from a cold, logical, point of view of making decisions, Truman was wrong, but Truman happened to be the boy who had the monkey on his back and MacArthur didn't and Truman had the sign on his desk that said, "The Buck Stops Here," and Truman was the man that I thought was a great Commander in Chief. He wasn't afraid to make a decision and back it up.

HESS: Do you think General MacArthur may have had political ambitions at this time and was...

CLARKE: Well . .

HESS: . . . building a case for running for President?


CLARKE: He might have. I don't know, it's hard for me to know what was inside of his mind because he never confided in me or even discussed it in my presence.

HESS: One other item pertaining to General MacArthur, when he met with President Truman at Wake Island in the middle of October in 1950, one of the things supposedly that he told the President was that the Chinese Communists would not invade, which they did, which was quite faulty in his intelligence. Do you recall other times when General MacArthur may have placed reliance in faulty intelligence?

CLARKE: No, I wouldn't because I never served under General MacArthur in battle. I joined General MacArthur in Manila about the time of the armistice in 1945 and I organized a Base Section that ultimately went to Hokkaido, but I didn't


go with it. I was ordered back to Washington on duty and I wasn't with General MacArthur only two or three months. Then during the Korean war, he had been relieved when I went to Korea, and the commander in Korea when I was there was Max [Maxwell] Taylor, so I don't know anything about MacArthur from close contact in battle.

HESS: Did you ever have occasion to meet Mr. Truman?

CLARKE: Yes, I'm sure I have and I am trying to think when it was. I don't think he would recall me. When he was in the White House I was a very junior brigadier general and you don't have many opportunities to meet the President.

HESS: Did you ever meet or have any dealings with his military aide, General Vaughan?


CLARKE: Yes, I have met General Vaughan and have talked to him but I don't know very much about him. I don't know enough about General Vaughan to have any opinion of him because I never had anything to do with him.

HESS: What is your estimation of Mr. Truman's place in history?

CLARKE: Well, I think Truman will be lumped in the upper half of the Presidents of the United States in history. Of course, history isn't usually written until sometime after a man dies, because a lot of people that might want to say things or to report things, if they thought it was derogatory wouldn't do it while he lived. So, I'm distrustful of history that's written too soon. I don't think the history of the Vietnamese war will be written before the year 2000. I don't think the reactions will be


manifest before then. I think by the year 2000 we will see what the import of the Vietnamese war was in southeast Asia, but it will take that long to, I think, to sift out. I don't think you could get the history of the Vietnamese war by studying any of our papers. I certainly wouldn't want to take it out of the big papers. It's my opinion that it has been the poorest reported war of the four that I've had something to do with.

HESS: Why has it been so poorly reported?

CLARKE: I believe that what Mr. Agnew said has been so near right that it hurt, because the reaction that Mr. Agnew got was from people that showed that he touched a sensitive spot.

When I was in Vietnam during Tet, I took along with me a Mr. Frank Mayborn from Texas who owns three or four papers in Texas,


also TV stations and radio stations. He was a major during the war on Eisenhower's PIO staff, so he has been around. I had just invited him to go along with me because I wanted somebody that could tell what we saw and he had the ability to write and he had the ability to get people to pay some attention to him who might not have paid attention to me. It gave him a wonderful opportunity because wherever I went I took him right in with me to see everybody. There was nothing kept from him. So that gave Mr. Mayborn an insight into what was going on that probably no other reporter ever had. One day he said, "I won't go out in the field with you. I want to spend one day with the press because," he said, "I know a good many of them, especially the bureau chiefs." So he went to the Caravelle Hotel and spent a day with the press. He came back that night and he was


very disgusted. He told me that there were six hundred and thirteen reporters accredited to Vietnam, which is a lot of reporters, and that probably the best reporting we're getting in the United States, were from the reporters who were only one man there for a country newspaper because he was telling it as he saw it, the editor back home was printing it as it was sent to him. He inferred in our discussion many times, that much of the reporting out there was done to satisfy the attitude of the editor of the paper. The editor of the paper had his attitude towards the war and he wanted incidents to prove that he was right.

Now, I told this to a newspaper publisher in Minneapolis here two or three months ago. I told him what I'm telling you. And he said, "General, I don't believe it. I don't believe a newspaperman would do that."


I said, "Well, this is what was told me by a newspaperman." I don't know, I've never been a reporter, but I have been told by reporters whom I've known personally, that that's what they were sent out there to get, was incidents to prove that we shouldn't have been in the war or to prove whatever the attitude of the editorial staff of the paper was. I can't prove that that's so, but it's hard for me not to believe it. One thing that the newspapers have never talked about, they've never talked about the fact, or mentioned the fact, that they are a private enterprise, organized to make money. You've never heard them say that have you? Well, they're in the same business of making money as this Chevrolet dealer that's up the Street and they publish their papers to make money. And when they're motivated to make money and I'm sure that they do make money


or they wouldn't stay in that business, they are motivated to do the things that will make them the most money. Now, you might say that would be mercenary, but they're not a public service outfit.

HESS: Wasn't it William Randolph Hearst back during the Spanish American war that after the war started that on the masthead had something to the effect, "How do you like our dandy little war?"

CLARKE: I don't know. That was before my time.

HESS: Well, General, one of the things that I have seen in the papers is that some people accuse the Thieu government of being corrupt, and that we are actually supporting a corrupt government. What would be your answer to that?

CLARKE: Well, I spent a week in Vietnam in August


as a consultant to President Thieu on his postwar army and during that time had an opportunity to meet with him an hour and a half privately, with only one other person present, and another time in a larger group for three hours, so I've sat in conference with him for about five hours on that trip and he wasn't talking to me all this time, the other man with me was Dr. Wells of Freedom Foundation, but we were able to ask him a lot of very personal questions. I have no doubt but what there is corruption in Saigon, there's corruption in Washington. If you read the paper this morning, it's an editorial about the corruption in the Speaker of the House's office.

HESS: They were indicted yesterday.

CLARKE: Two people indicted, that worked out of the Speaker of the House. A man who has been in


Congress thirty or forty years. He's seventy-eight years old and his office was being used by people that were reputed to be dishonest, if not worse. But, anyway, there is corruption in Saigon but I don't think that Thieu is any more corrupt than a politician has to be. Thieu is a soldier, he has been born and brought up as a soldier, he's been trained as a soldier. He's a graduate of our Command School at Fort Leavenworth. He speaks English nearly as well as we do. He does have a little hard time when he's being interviewed before the TV. When he has to talk in English. You and I would have a hard time if we'd be interviewed in Vietnamese.

HESS: Couldn't say one word.

CLARKE: But, you see the nuances of replying to the sharp questions of a reporter before TV is very difficult on a foreigner especially when it's


got to be read back in the United States. I think we all ought to remember this because I've been interviewed before, by reporters and oft times, and I find that it's quite a harrowing experience. He's a very candid man. He answered all of my questions very quickly. He wasn't devious. I said to him, "People in our country say that you are not a popular President, that you are a minority President and you're not popular with the people. What's the answer to that?"

"Well," he said, "I am a minority President, but," he said, "you have a minority President in the United States, and you only had three political parties in your last election. I had many." He said, "I don't overrate my popularity among the people. All I can hope is that my people will respect me." And he said, "You must remember that no government in Vietnam has ever been popular


because they've never had a good government. The government in Vietnam has never existed, so the people think, for the benefit of the people. The people think that all government exploits the people," and he said, "that's something I've got to try to change." So, he said, "I don't have any doubts about the fact that I'm very popular, but I think that the people respect me," I think the main thing of it is that the army is behind him. He's got a million men over there in the military behind him and that's a pretty good big base of operation in a country of eighteen million people.

HESS: He has managed to remain in power far longer than anyone else.

CLARKE: That's right. Why, I came away quite impressed with him. Now, there is a lot of


corruption in Vietnam and I think our people don't understand that. The corruption in Vietnam pretty much is in Cholon which is about a half a million Chinamen in the city of Saigon.

HESS: Is that a section of Saigon?

CLARKE: Yes. That's where your black market is. They are Chinamen. They have no loyalty to anybody and it's true of all those southeast Asian countries. Their only motivation in life is to make money and go home and be buried in the fatherland. And their ethics are the ethics of a Chinaman.

HESS: Whatever that is.

CLARKE: I went down and spent all Sunday afternoon going through Cholon with an escort. I saw these stalls where they had all these American cigarettes and American whiskey and American


equipment and all this displayed for sale. I think when you add it up, it probably didn't amount to very much. The stalls weren't any bigger than this room. But there is one of your problems in Vietnam: If you go over there and exchange your money into piasters on the proper rate of exchange, you get a hundred and eighteen for the dollar, but you can give it to the bellhop in your hotel and he'll bring you back four hundred. So, that makes an awful hard thing on a soldier.

HESS: Then the dollar bill enters the black market.

CLARKE: Yes. You and I wouldn't go down and play on this I don't think, I wouldn't do it. In fact, I only needed enough money for tips anyway so I didn't have use for much money and I didn't buy anything to bring home with me. But take a soldier that gets a leave and goes into


Saigon and he's only got a few dollars; he's going to get four hundred piasters for it. How are you going to stop it? We're scared in this country of inflation, inflation over there has been three or four times in the last four or five years and Thieu has had the fortitude in the last couple of months of doubling the tax base of this country. We don't have anybody that would dare do that in the United States to cut down inflation. Now, I talked to Thieu about land reform. You've heard that kicked around a lot.

HESS: That's right.

CLARKE: And I said to him, I said, "Mr. President, tell me about the problem of land reform. Are you for that?"

And he said, "Yes," he said, "I am for land reform. I have got what I think is a good


bill in the legislature now. I think it will be passed within two months and I think it's good, but," he said, "just like in your country, just what you get out of Congress sometimes surprises you and so this may surprise me when I see it. But anyway, up until now, I think it's good. But," he said, "here's the problem. If you go out in a section of Vietnam, you take two hundred peasants and you go out there and here's a piece of land of 200 hectares. (A hectare is about two and a half acres.) You say, 'I want to give each one of you a hectare of land,'" and he said, "they would all be very happy. But," he said, "before you can do that the land has got to be surveyed, it's got to be described in metes and bounds, it's got to be reduced to a legal document, and it's got to be filed in some house of record." That's what you do when you buy a house in



HESS: Register the deed.

CLARKE: You've got to register it. He says, "Now, that involves engineers and it involves lawyers and it involves houses of record." He said, "One of the things that the Viet Cong did in this country when they came in was to destroy the townhouses in every village, and to kill off the head man in every village." That was their first plan to take over the country, create chaos. They were quite successful in that. I had a figure somewhere that thousands of head men were killed. And he said, "Until I can train somebody that can go out and stake out and survey and describe this land and reduce it to the necessary legal documents and get them recorded, you just can't point to that and say, 'Each one of you take a hectare.'"


That's no way -- you can't divide up the land that way." He said, "That is my problem. After I get the bill," he said, "the bill may be wonderful but we don't have at this time the personnel to implement it."

HESS: I hadn't thought of the problems.

CLARKE: But he said, "There's another problem. The French own a lot of land in Vietnam still. What's he going to do with those?"

HESS: Expropriate them like the Mexicans did the oil.

Did you ever meet General Ky?

CLARKE: Yes, I've met General Ky and I've talked to him.

HESS: What's your impression of him?

CLARKE: Well, General Ky is a -- I think the best


thing to say about General Ky is that General Thieu is a soldier and General Ky is an airman.

HESS: You don't like airmen?

CLARKE: No, I like airmen. I have a son who is a graduate of the Air Force Academy.

HESS: That's right.

CLARKE: I like airmen, but the airman has been brought up to move too fast. He wants to fly off in the wide blue yonder. And Ky is that type, he wants to grab something and take off right now. Thieu, I think is more down to earth and more susceptible to knowing what can and what cannot be done. Ky is a man that is given to maybe ill considered statements. I think he likes to get his name in the paper. But, I think that Thieu has handled him very well, and after all Ky was a Prime Minister for a couple of years so he was the


number one man for a while. Supposing that we would take the President of the United States and in the next election elect him Vice President. HESS: I don't think he'd like that very much.

CLARKE: It probably would be a problem, don't you think. I've talked to Ky and I've talked to his wife. He's got a very beautiful young bride. I think she happens to have some influence on what he does. Anyway I think Thieu has handled Ky very well. Ky has got a following and Thieu can't summarily get rid of him, but I think he's handled him quite well and Ky is bothering less and less I think as time goes on. You don't hear so much about him anymore. Once in awhile he makes a statement that gets in the press but not often any more.

HESS: Does there seem to be more corruption in Vietnam


than in any of the other Asian countries?

CLARKE: No. No, I don't think so.

HESS: Is corruption more or less a way of life in the Asian countries?

CLARKE: Well, I get back to what I said before. You and I are brought up under the Christian ethics. More or less, we operate under the Golden Rule. We probably break it as much as we observe it, anyway the Golden Rule has its influence on us whether we think it or not, and the Ten Commandments have their influence on us. We are the inheritors of the British common law, which was developed by free men in Britain over a period of several hundred years. We still, the law of our country over here, is still 75 percent under the British common law and its concepts. But when you get into a country that is not Christian, and whose concepts


of law and rectitude are not as advanced as the British common law is you get an attitude that says, well, everything is done by cumshaw. And it's a way of life. Now, I was talking with some Vietnamese. We met several out there, ladies and members of the Congress and Senate, and a man will get run over in the street, or a child will get hit on the street, and under what I think is the Buddhist concept, if you go out and pick him up and carry him up on the sidewalk, he's yours. And it is your responsibility to take care of him. After all you've interfered with destiny. Therefore, it's your responsibility.

HESS: From then on.

CLARKE: You know, those things scare me, don't they you?

HESS: Yes.


CLARKE: But those are the things that they live with and that's their attitude. Still in Saigon they have law and order. I think that they have as much law and order in Saigon as we have in...

HESS: Washington, D.C.

CLARKE: Washington, D.C. perhaps. The streets are relatively clean. They seem to be hardworking, there don't seem to be many loafers around, they're always hurrying here and there with their family to do something. They as a people, have a lot of ability, especially in doing things with their hands. They'll make good mechanics, good artisans and I think will, as their school system gets developed, which is what they need as much as anything, will turn out a professional class of people. There are a lot of people over there in schools more than I expected to find. They've in the


last fifteen years established a military academy that this last fall has a thousand cadets in it. It's patterned after West Point with a four year course leading to a bachelor of science in engineering. I visited it, I visited the new -- all new buildings. They expect to turn out two hundred graduates a year. They'll turn out their first four year class this year. And they are creating other institutions, it'll take time.

I talked to President Thieu about his army. His non-commissioned officers are not well trained. He needs a non-commissioned officer's academy to send their senior non-commissioned officers to. We have a system of that which, by the way, I started in Germany in 1948. I started the first American NCO academy. It's still going.

HESS: In Germany?


CLARKE: Yes, but we have them in the United States and I established the same thing in Korea while I was there. He needs that, he needs officers' school to train his -- to give some formal training to his lieutenants and captains. He's sending a good many of his senior officers back to the United States to go to school. They are doing very well. The ones that come back here have to learn English. They are doing very well. So, it's a question of time. If you moved in as a new coach into the Senators like Ted Williams did a year ago, or into the Redskins.

HESS: Like [Vincent] Lombardi.

CLARKE: Like Lombardi. We don't expect Lombardi to win the pennant probably within four, five or six years.

HESS: Well, we'll give him a little time anyway.


CLARKE: Yes. And the Vietnamese army has really only functioned as an army for less than two years because when I came home from Tet a year and a half ago, nearly two years ago now, and made my report, the President had me in the White House because he was surprised by how poorly the ARVN was equipped. I think he was surprised, he didn't say so, but I think he was. Within a week he sent word to me that he had released a hundred M-16 rifles to the Vietnamese army. They didn't have any Vietnamese armed with M-16 rifles during Tet in 1968. I believe it's true that McNamara's concept of the Vietnamese, was not to be trained as an army, but they ought to be trained for local defense and this has had to be reversed under Vietnamization. That has only been going on now less than two years.

HESS: Do you think that will be successful?


CLARKE: I think so. I was in charge of training the Korean army for several months and I can remember people saying, "You're just wasting your time, they're never going to be any good." I think we've proved them wrong.

HESS: I've seen articles in the paper recently saying that some of the Korean forces are some of the best troops in Vietnam. Some of the best trained troops.

CLARKE: I think it's true. I spent a day with a Korean corps during Tet and I was told this by American advisers with them. An American liaison officer said the area in which the Koreans occupied was the most pacified of any area in Vietnam. He said they move into a village, when they come out there are no Viet Cong left, because they are oriental and they know a Viet Cong when they see one. You and I


can't tell a Viet Cong from anybody else.

HESS: Also in the papers later I have seen that they have been accused of cruelty. Do you think that they are more likely to be cruel?

CLARKE: I don't think so. Close warfare is not a Sunday School picnic. I've been in battle enough to know that. We have never officially condoned cruelty in an American Army. We preach and we try to live by the international rules of land warfare. However, in the heat of battle where people are getting shot at, buddies are getting killed, a man is liable to not make a judicial estimate of the situation.

HESS: Do you think that's what happened in Mylai?

CLARKE: I think so. I can't conceive of an American lieutenant like this one who was apparently a good country boy, would personally kill a


hundred and six civilians. I can't believe it, can you?

HESS: No, it's kind of hard to believe.

CLARKE: I've studied his background and his history. He was a country boy, no great shakes as a student. He was well thought of, and graduated from high school and went to junior college and dropped out because I don't think he wanted to go to college. Anyway he dropped out and enlisted in the Army and finally went to Officer Candidate School.

There must be something wrong in the story. There must be something wrong in the instructions that he got. Maybe he didn't understand. There's more to this story than has been told I'm sure. I know there were things that were done by the American Army in the Second World War that probably we couldn't defend. But people who haven't been


in battle don't know the provocations that come from battle.

HESS: Like Sherman said, "War is hell."

CLARKE: Things happen and they happen on both sides. After all these people who think we ought to fight a war in which nobody gets hurt are not very realistic.

HESS: Perhaps they have had little experience.

CLARKE: Passions run high in battle.

HESS: Do you think that the Vietnamese war should have been fought differently? What I have in mind here, maybe it should not have been fought as a limited war fighting from enclave, maybe it should have been fought as an all out war. I don't mean atomic bombs, but I mean . .

CLARKE: We have been taught that the essence


of successful warfare is deliberate planning and violent execution. But I think we've been guilty of violent planning and deliberate execution. Now, that is not a way to win a war and that's not the way to play football. In the huddle there's deliberate planning, but when they go with the ball, it's violent execution. I would have blockaded the port of Haiphong if I'd...

HESS: As Goldwater advised?

CLARKE: I wouldn't have bombed it, I would have just sent four or five destroyers up there and announced to the world that the port was blocked.

HESS: What did Goldwater want to do, mine it?

CLARKE: Well, the same thing. He wanted to blockade it, you can do it with mines, or you


can do it with ships. We blockaded the harbor of Havana, you know, with destroyers. We just told the people that the port was closed. I think the President, after he once started bombing, made a mistake in cutting it off. One thing that you've got to realize, that when wars are settled by negotiation, and most wars are, you negotiate from strength, you don't negotiate from weakness. We've been nearly two years now in Paris negotiating from weakness and we have the same problems negotiating in Panmunjom. The only strength that we had was when, as I understand it, the President leaked to the North Koreans he was getting fed up and if they didn't start talking he was going to drop some atomic bombs up there. That's what I've heard. Maybe they believed him anyway. That negotiation took place in my Corps area and I watched it every day because the American


negotiators lived in my area and I was responsible for looking after them and feeding them and housing them and so forth, so I had a chance to talk with them.

HESS: They're still negotiating and talking aren't they?

CLARKE: Still negotiating and talking.

HESS: And every once in awhile somebody gets killed over there too, don't they?

CLARKE: That's right. That's why I don't think history will be written very early because when history is written you have to go back three or four years to the policies of McNamara and the President and then analyze them. I'm not sure McNamara was the right man at that time.

HESS: What part did President Kennedy play in our


getting enmeshed in the events in Vietnam?

CLARKE: Well, he, as I remember it, didn't he move ten or twelve thousand Green Berets over there, something like that?

HESS: Do you know what his interest in Vietnam was? Why did he have a special interest in Vietnam, why did he have a troop build-up during his particular time?

CLARKE: Well, I think he had the same interest in Vietnam that Eisenhower and Johnson and Nixon have. I think their attitude toward -- our interest in Vietnam was just about what's on that chart right there.

HESS: Do you think his failure at the Bay of Pigs may have had something to do with it, where he had a failure at one place and he was looking for a success someplace else? Even though it did not turn out to be a success? Have you ever


heard that?

CLARKE: I -- you mean Kennedy?

HESS: Yes.

CLARKE: I wouldn't know, I think the Bay of Pigs took place, when, what was the date?

HESS: Shortly after he went in.

CLARKE: That was when I was in Germany wasn't it?

HESS: Yes.

CLARKE: I don't know. I don't even know the truth about the Bay of Pigs.

HESS: What have you heard?

CLARKE: I'm not sure that -- I don't know who was responsible for that fiasco and, of course, everybody had something to do with it. But nobody has ever pinned it down on anybody as


being solely responsible.

HESS: If the plans for the Bay of Pigs invasion were formulated under the Eisenhower administration, do you think it would have been wiser for Kennedy to have delayed them once he came into office?

CLARKE: If I'd come into office and they told me this operation was laid on and was being planned, I'm sure that I would have said, "Let's start at the beginning now and tell me why we're in this and what we're going to do." Because after all he can't say if it's something that takes place during his administration, that he inherited from Eisenhower. You can't get away with that. All he had to do was to call it off, I guess. I think he had the power to call it off. I would think if he didn't call it off he went along with it. I'm not sure who was calling the


balls and strikes at that time but I would suspicion that his number one adviser at that time was Bobby.

HESS: His brother Bob?

CLARKE: Yes. I think he was his number one adviser.

HESS: McNamara was probably pretty high on that advisory list don't you think?

CLARKE: Well, McNamara was there. So, I...

HESS: Earlier when we were discussing the Berlin wall and you mentioned that you had men in training for attacking the wall, whose idea was it to train those men?


HESS: Did President Kennedy know about this at that time?


CLARKE: I don't think so, I didn't tell him.

HESS: Did you ever hear if he found out?

CLARKE: No, I never told anybody but you.

HESS: We've got something new today.

CLARKE: I never told anybody but we had a section of the wall down there in the woods. You know there is quite a forest in West Berlin.

HESS: I've heard about it.

CLARKE: We had a section in there, we had a maneuver training area in there. We put up a section of the wall and had some tanks with bulldozers on. It wasn't extensive, it was a very feeble effort but we wanted to know -- get some idea of what the problem was. We only had twenty tanks in Berlin.

HESS: Is that right?


CLARKE: That's all. We didn't have many tanks in Berlin.

HESS: The Russians could have taken it pretty easy then couldn't they?

CLARKE: Oh, yes, and we were completely surrounded by Russian armored divisions. There was no point in Berlin of us thinking that we could defend the city. The troops in Berlin were there for looking after domestic disturbances. You see, those were the only occupation troops left in Europe. They are still Army of Occupation troops. They're not a part of NATO. They are the Army of Occupation and they work in West Berlin under triumvirate command of which the commander changes every month between French and British and American.

HESS: Now one general question about the Presidents:

How would you rate the Presidents from Roosevelt


to the present, just in terms of their general ability as you saw it, and as men?

CLARKE: Well...

HESS: A pretty broad question.

CLARKE: I'm not sure that Roosevelt would be one of the best. Roosevelt did a lot of his work through cronies, I think, that's my impression. I would rate Truman pretty high because I think Truman knew how to command, Kennedy, I don't know because he wasn't in there very long, but I wouldn't rate him, from what I know, too high. Eisenhower probably so-so. Eisenhower was not our greatest military commander. He was a great international political leader -- political, military leader, and in that role he was very good. Eisenhower never commanded troops in battle except from a very high perch. I would rate Nixon very high. I think Nixon


has a more logical, a more -- I think he has a very logical and a very well thought out frame of mind and approach to his problems. Mainly, perhaps, Nixon got this from the fact that he was very successful as a trial lawyer. That's good training.

HESS: It's good schooling isn't it?

CLARKE: You can't be second best. It's like Stram in Kansas City. I would rate Stram very high in this. I would rate Nixon very high. I have the impression that Nixon really does his homework. I think he's . .

HESS: How would you rate Johnson?

CLARKE: Not too good. Johnson didn't have the ability or would he -- he didn't have the ability to issue a clear-cut directive to his subordinates and then monitor what they did. Johnson never


got above being a leader. Johnson was a great leader, but he never progressed into being a commander. You see the difference. In here it says, "As one progresses: up the echelons of command in the Army, and military services as well, he directs the actions of his unit more and more through increasingly important subordinate commanders and with the assistance of an increasingly enlarged and more complete staff." Of course, the ultimate is the President. He has a great many subordinate heads of departments who are his subordinate commanders and he has an enormous staff and this requires a gradual transition first from the art of leadership to that of commandership, and then to that of generalship and so forth. And those are -- come into being on these.

Now, when you turn over the back of this it says -- it is in step four that slogan, "An


organization does well only those things the boss checks." And I put this [see Appendix I] out in all of my commands over the years, perhaps a million copies.

HESS: "An organization does well only those things the boss checks." It's very good.

CLARKE: And just look at the Speaker of the House. He has checked on what his staff was doing.

HESS: He says that in all those years he didn't know this was going on. Which is quite an indictment in itself.

CLARKE: If I were commander in chief in Europe and things had blown up over there and the President called me up and said, "What's going wrong, Clarke?"

And I said, "I have no idea, I didn't even know it was going on," I wouldn't have been in


the job very long.

HESS: You'd have been on the next boat back.

CLARKE: I would have. My career would have been all over. The Vietnamese has put this out in Vietnamese to all their commanders. That's why I think maybe the Vietnamese have a chance of success. The military does this better than an industry. Industry are reluctant to check on subordinates. I looked at my checking, and I did a lot of it, as being helpful. I was checking on myself. I was checking to see what I told this commander to do, if he understood it.

Another thing about this is you follow up and make the necessary modifications and additions as the operation progresses.

George Patton used to say that the attack order only gets the command to the line


of departure headed in the right direction, and after that you adjust what you do depending upon the reaction of the enemy and factors that come up. If you issue an attack order and then go on leave and it bogs down at 10 o'clock in the morning...

HESS: Which is what it probably will do.

CLARKE: The key word in here is organization. Now, you see I didn't say an individual, I said an organization. Now, I'll bet you a dollar that Stram was checking on the Chiefs on every play and he had people up in the . .

HESS: Press box doing the same thing.

CLARKE: Press box, they all were checking on him and he got a report on every play on what every man did and who did it wrong. I know he did. Stram didn't go on vacation to Florida when that


game was played.

HESS: That's right.

CLARKE: He was following up and was making the necessary modifications and additions as the operation progressed. Now, there is the number one key to successful generalship, and it's true of the Commander in Chief. He has got to see if the operation is going sour, he's got to make the modifications and he's got to change it. He can't just let it run, which sometimes happens.

HESS: That's right.

CLARKE: And we've had Presidents who've been in there for many months when they were sick. Who's been doing the checking? Nobody, probably. I refer again to the four steps in command in my little folder. How well they follow them is


how I would rate the Presidents, because after all he is the Commander in Chief. He's got to do those four things and he can't particularly delegate them. Now, another thing the man in responsible position has got to do if he is going to be successful, and very few do it. He's got to do what I call war gaming opportunities for things to go wrong. When I was a commander I used to wake up about 3 o'clock in the morning and I still do it, a bad habit. I would wake up about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning and things were very quiet and I'd run through my head, "What are the operations that I've got going today that are liable to go sour?" I would go down to the office in the morning and I call in certain staff officers and I say, "Go down and take a look at that and come back this afternoon and tell me if there is anything wrong down there."


Just on hunches. It's surprising how often I would find things. But if you don't do it, you read about it in the papers.

HESS: That's right, you had better plan on things going wrong.

CLARKE: You've got to develop a sixth sense in command of where are the places where things can go wrong and you go down to check them ahead of time. Now, you do that in your work I know all the time. You think, where are some things that can go wrong, maybe I had better go there today and take a look.

HESS: That's right.

CLARKE: You don't have any knowledge that anything is wrong but it may be a very sensitive thing that the thing going right is very important. And a commander has got to do that. And that


is not a forty hour a week job. That is a seven day a week job and eighteen hours a day and you've got to realize that if you're going to be a successful commander, or if you are going to be a successful President, you've got to work at it all the time. At least you've got to spend all the time thinking. You may not be running but you, somebody's got to spend all the time thinking. And you can have help in your thinking, but you had better do a lot of it yourself.

Well, I've been long.

HESS: That's fine. Thank you very much.

Any other thoughts on what we have covered today?

CLARKE: No, I don't think so.

HESS: All right


CLARKE: Have you got to the end of your list?

HESS: We sure have, I sure have and everything else that we put down. Now if you think of anything that we have not covered just feel free to write it in.

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]


Appendix I: From Leadership to Commandership, by General Bruce C. Clarke (Ret.), no date, 4 pages (Truman Library Oral History Background Information File)

Appendix II: "The Soldier In Vietnam," DA Poster 360-119, GPO, Washington, D.C., 1969 (Truman Library Oral History Background Information File)

Appendix III: "Have You Ever Wondered: Why ...," Poster A08126, no date (Truman Library Oral History Background Information File)

Appendix IV: "Soldier, This Is Why You're In Germany," Poster, no date (Truman Library Oral History Background Information File)

Appendix V: How To Study and Take Examinations, by General Bruce C. Clarke (Ret.), prepared for the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, no date, 6 pages (Truman Library Oral History Background Information File)

Appendix VI: Soldier Management and Morale, by General Bruce C. Clarke (Ret.), GPO, Washington, D.C., A-9840, October 1, 1965, 26 pages (Truman Library Oral History Background Information File)

Appendix VII: Early Individual Integration In The Army, by General Bruce C. Clarke, (Ret.), no date, 7 pages (Truman Library Oral History Background Information File)

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]

List of Subjects Discussed