Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


 

William H. Draper Jr.

Oral History Interview with
General William H. Draper Jr.

Chief, Economics Division, Control Council for Germany, 1945-46; Military Government Adviser to the Secretary of State, Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, 1947; Under Secretary of War, 1947; Under Secretary of the Army, 1947-49; and United States Special Representative in Europe, with rank of Ambassador, January 1952 - June 1953.

Washington, D.C.
January 11, 1972
by Jerry N. Hess

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


NOTICE
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.

RESTRICTIONS
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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened May, 1974
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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



Oral History Interview with
General William H. Draper Jr.

Washington, D.C.
January 11, 1972
by Jerry N. Hess

[1]

HESS: General, for the record, will you relate a little of your personal background: Where were you born, where were you educated, and what are a few of the positions that you have held both before and since your service in the Truman administration.

DRAPER: My name is William H. Draper, Jr. I was born in New York City in Harlem, August 10, 1894. I went to school there and to NYU to college, where I got both a B.A. and a M.A. in economics.

My work first was in the Army, shortly after I got out of college, although even before that I had been a member of the Ford Peace Expedition to Europe which tried to stop the war at the end of 1915. I was chairman of the student delegation. There were sixty regular delegates and thirty student delegates. The expedition, with Mr. Ford aboard, went to all the neutral countries

[2]

and set up a peace congress at The Hague at the Peace Palace, which lasted about six months. Contrary to the public impression at the time the peace congress came fairly close to settling the war. However, it did not. Within six months or a year, I saw a number of the student delegates in the Army.

After the First World War, I went first with the National City Bank, then with the Bankers' Trust Company and then Dillon, Read and Company. I stayed in the Army Reserves. In 1939 and 1940 I was Chief of Staff of the 77th Division, a Reserve Division, and probably because of that I came in contact with General [George C.] Marshall. In 1940 he invited me to go on active duty in Washington on the general staff, G-1, where I stayed for about a year and a half before Pearl Harbor. During that period I worked largely with then Major [Lewis B.] Hershey, later General Hershey, in writing the Selective Service Act and putting together the administration of Selective Service.

After Pearl Harbor, General Marshall agreed that I should leave staff work and get a regiment. After a regimental commander's refresher course at Fort Benning, I commanded the 136th Infantry, part of the 33rd Division, a National Guard Division from Illinois. I joined them

[3]

in Tennessee, then for training near Seattle, Washington, then to the California desert, then to the Pacific Theatre. I was called back after about a year out there to head up contract termination for the War Department.

Then I was asked by the Secretary of War Mr. [Henry M.] Stimson and the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. [James V.J Forrestal at that time, along with Admiral Lewis Strauss, to try to put the purchasing arrangements for the Army and Navy together with a common purchasing policy an action which did put some of the purchasing for both services together.

Then I went to Germany, going to France first, while the war was still on, with General [Lucius] Clay, preliminary to the occupation which he was expecting to take over in Germany under General [Dwight D.] Eisenhower. I was asked by General Clay to take on the responsibility for the economic side of the occupation. Then General Eisenhower left for the United States where he became Chief of Staff of the Army. General Clay eventually became Commander in Chief for the European Theater in addition to handling occupied Germany.

After about two years in Berlin dealing with the German economy, its agriculture, industry, trade and general administration of its economy the German

[4]

government had simply disappeared, and the occupation forces of Great Britain, Russia and the United States and eventually of France, became the German government for some period -- in July of '47 I returned to the United States for a coal conference with the British about the Ruhr -- the need for more coal production. While there, Secretary of War [Robert] Patterson resigned; General Kenneth Royall was made Secretary and he asked me to become Under Secretary, which after consulting General Clay for obvious reasons, I accepted.

My duties for the next two years were primarily supervision of the three occupations: Germany, Japan and Austria, although I became Acting Secretary when Mr. Royall was away from Washington.

After I retired in early '49 and married again (my first wife had died early in the war), I returned briefly to Dillon, Read and Company and then was invited by Governor [Thomas E.] Dewey of New York State, where I was living, to take over the Trusteeship of the Long Island Railroad after several very serious rear end collisions on that railroad, as a result of which the public had lost confidence in the safety of the road and in the management. I discharged this responsibility for

[5]

about a year. We were able to find electronic safety devices that were installed over a period of about a year, and which automatically and electronically, through the rails, put the brakes on the following train if two trains got too close together. There have been no rear and collisions on the Long Island Railroad since.

About that time the Truman administration invited me to become the United States' member of the NATO Council in Paris. The Council was moving from London to Paris and being upgraded, as it became evident that it would be necessary, with the Korean war on and the threat to Western Europe from Russia, to build up the Western world's mutual defenses. The NATO Alliance had been formed on paper about a year and a half before, but it became very clear that it would be necessary to have a large and active defense force in being.

Before accepting I asked for the opportunity to visit Europe briefly and talk with General Eisenhower who was there in command of NATO's military forces, such as they were, to make sure that he and I would be working in close harmony, he being the top military man in NATO, and I to be the top civilian on the U.S. side on the NATO Council.

We met in Paris. He introduced me to Winston Churchill

[6]

who happened to be there at the time. We talked about my possible appointment and he not only agreed that I should take it but welcomed my appointment.

I returned to the United States and suggested that since I would be dealing with the defense of Europe, and since I would also be representing the Mutual Security Administration under Mr. [Averell] Harriman and dealing with the economic problems of the European countries as well at a time when France and Great Britain were practically bankrupt, and when our Mutual Security arrangements and our Marshall Plan follow up were beginning to bear fruit, but still required a great many adjustments and continued assistance, that I would need deputies with the proper authority and rank in the defense field, in the economic field, and in the political field; plus an overall deputy, since we were dealing with twenty European countries, and I would be traveling a great deal in Europe and back and forth to Washington. He would be my alter ego. These arrangements were all agreed to and the deputies appointed.

I went to Paris about the end of '51, spent a few weeks in close collaboration with Jean Monnet, and a prominent Britisher, whose name slips me, and who later became head of the British atomic energy commission.

[7]

The three of us, known correctly or not as the three wise men planned the recommendations that would be made to the Lisbon Conference, to which came Secretary of State [Dean] Acheson; Secretary of Defense, Robert Lovett; John Snyder, Secretary of the Treasury, and Averell Harriman.

The Lisbon Conference was held in February 1952. It laid the groundwork on a very constructive basis for the military buildup of NATO. The French were asked for twelve divisions, as I recall. The United States had to agree to a great deal of economic support to make that possible. There were political questions involved. The French Prime Minister, Mr. [Maurice] Faure, I believe it was at that time, at the last minute in a private conference, held in the basement of the British Embassy, in Lisbon, told us that he agreed with the principle, that he was going to agree, he thought, to what we were asking, namely twelve French divisions, for the common defense. But he said, "This is going to cost me my political head." We adjourned this private meeting, we went into the final Lisbon Conference meeting, the agreement generally was reached, and the agreement signed. Three days later M. Faure did lose his job as Prime Minister, but the agreement held.

After about a year and a half the various agreements made at Lisbon were pretty well coming into force.

[8]

General Eisenhower was elected President. He asked me to return to the United States before he took over as President to meet with him and with his future Cabinet members to acquaint them with the developments in NATO. He himself, of course, was quite familiar with what had gone on there. As was customary, I gave the incoming President my resignation. He asked me not to insist. I pointed out that including the war years I had been about ten years in Government service, or more perhaps, and he agreed that I could retire about the middle of '53, which I did.

Shortly after that I went to Mexico for six years to head the Mexican Light and Power Company, a most enjoyable and constructive business assignment. In 1959 I decided it was time to return to the United States. I persuaded General Maxwell Taylor, who was then retiring as Chief of Staff of the Army, to take over my job in Mexico, which he did. Mrs. Draper and I moved to California, and I formed a financing firm with General [Frederick L.] Anderson who had been my general deputy in NATO. And six or seven years later I retired from that firm, moved to Washington, and became Chairman of Combustion Engineering in New York for a few years. In 1965 I retired as Chairman, and since then I have been devoting my entire time to trying to do something about finding

[9]

solutions for the population problem of the world -- the so-called population explosion.

That's very lengthy, much more so than I anticipated making it.

HESS: That's quite all right. What is the name of the particular organization that you are with now?

DRAPER: I wear several hats: I am Honorary Chairman of the Population Crisis Committee here in Washington; I'm on the Governing Body of the International Planned Parenthood Federation; and am Honorary Vice-Chairman of the Planned Parenthood movement in this country; also by President Nixon's appointment. I represent the United States each two years, or whenever meetings are held, of the United Nations Population Commission. Our last meeting was in November 1971 in Geneva, the first two weeks of November. In general, my work with the Population Crisis Committee, means dealing with our own Government, and other governments, and with private and international organizations interested and involved in the population problem. I travel a great deal.

In addition to the above, for the last few years I have been assisting Mr. Paul Hoffman, who has been in charge of the Development Program of the United Nations,

[10]

to raise the funds from governments for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, about thirty million dollars this past year from forty six governments.

HESS: What are your earliest recollections of Mr. Truman?

DRAPER: I don't believe that I had ever met Mr. Truman personally until after he became President. At the time of President Roosevelt's death I was in Washington, on the General Staff of the Army. Shortly after that I went to Europe, on General Eisenhower's staff under General Clay.

HESS: What were your impressions upon the death of President Roosevelt? You mentioned that you were here in town, but what came to mind?

DRAPER: We were still at war. President Roosevelt had been a great war President. I'm a Republican; he was a Democrat. I hadn't voted for him. I disagreed with many of his domestic policies, but I certainly recognized and do today that he foresaw our participation in the war, our necessary involvement, and that prepared for it in a way that the American people accepted. While it took some time it did help greatly to bolster the British during their year of fighting it out alone, under the lend-lease

[11]

agreements that he made with Mr. Churchill. He began building up the forces preliminary to Pearl Harbor so that when that blow struck it was, I think, very largely due to Mr. Roosevelt's forethought and foresight, that we were able to quickly mobilize and go to war effectively.

When he died, to get to your direct question, I had known that he was not in good health, but I had no idea that he was near death. It was almost -- here in Washington -- almost a physical shock to the entire community, that permeated the atmosphere in a way that I've never known before or since. Even the declaration of war didn't compare, the shock waves, that seemed to be going around us everywhere with our war leader suddenly dead.

HESS: As you know, several historians have said that President Roosevelt had prior information that Pearl Harbor was to be attacked, and he did not notify the commanders so that the Japanese would attack and get us into the war in that manner. What do you think of that?

DRAPER: I don't believe it. I don't know, but I don't believe it. I can't believe that if there was any prior knowledge of Pearl Harbor that General Marshall would have been riding horseback that Sunday morning when it happened.

HESS: What kind of a job did you think Mr. Truman would do

[12]

as President of the United States, and just what did you know about him on April 12, 1945?

DRAPER: I had a favorable picture of Mr. Truman without knowing him personally. His work as Committee Chairman in the Senate, and his investigation of war activities which had gone on for some time before he became Vice President, had favorably impressed everyone, including myself. As Vice President he was not prominent in current goings-on, so that I didn't know too much about him; and like everyone else, I wondered what kind of a President he was going to make. I was tremendously impressed with his modesty and the way in which he took over the Presidency, indicating that he thought the size of the job was such that he only hoped he could live up to its requirements.

HESS: And before moving on, as you were with Dillon, Read for a good number of years, what are your recollections of Mr. James Forrestal? When did you first meet Mr. Forrestal?

DRAPER: When I first joined Dillon Read which was in 1926. He was already one of the senior members of the firm. I guess he was the senior member of the firm, probably, next to Mr. Clarence Dillon, the top man, and a very able

[13]

financial genius, I would put it almost. He worked in a way like -- by himself to some degree, but he had tremendous influence in bringing financial arrangements to fruition. He was a very fine person in every way. I knew him well, intimately, worked under him for years, so that in 1940 I went to Washington before he did, but when he was invited to Washington he was one of the so-called nine anonymous young men in the White House. He impressed everyone that he worked with here in Washington and moved up to Under Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Navy, and finally the first Secretary of Defense.

The Secretary of the Navy when he came to Washington was Secretary [Frank] Knox. One of the smartest things that President Roosevelt ever did was to bring two Republicans into the Cabinet, and the timing was perfect. There had been a lot of bickering going on in the War Department between Secretary [Harry H.] Woodring and Assistant Secretary [Louis] Johnson. Nobody knew who was boss or what the policies were. When the President decided that the time had come to have the other party represented in the Cabinet in order to attract national support he appointed Mr. Stimson as Secretary of War and Mr. Knox as Secretary of the Navy. In effect he turned over our national defense to the Republicans, and so far

[14]

as the individuals he selected were concerned, he made a ten strike with each.

Mr. Forrestal had been invited to serve generally in and around the White House, but settled down in the Navy. Mr. Knox must have known him or came to know him, and pretty soon he was Under Secretary of the Navy, and then became Secretary later on.

During the period after Pearl Harbor the man who was responsible for the rebuilding of our Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed so much of it, and who built it to levels we'd never dreamed of before, and which made it possible to fight in two oceans, and gradually to move across the Pacific, island after island, until we had conquered the Japanese, was James Forrestal.

HESS: In your opinion, what was his view of the unification of the services?

DRAPER: My impression of Jim Forrestal's views on unification are that he was resisting a great deal of pressure from the admirals who were almost all opposed to the idea, while himself believing that it was the right solution for American defense organization. His thinking was probably affected by his close association with Bob Patterson, the then Secretary of War, and probably also by President Truman's own views.

[15]

HESS: In your opinion, why was he selected to be the first Secretary of Defense?

DRAPER: Simply for that reason. I don't say it was to bribe the Navy admirals but his appointment did certainly take into account their point of view. The Navy had always been on its own. The Captain was supreme on his ship. The Navy had that overall point of view -- a good one indeed for fighting battles on the sea. I'm sure the President said to himself, "We'll just take the Navy along by putting him in charge." And it worked.

HESS: What is your general opinion of his effectiveness both as the Secretary of the Navy, which you've fairly well covered, but as Secretary of Defense, too? Just how effective was he in the job?

DRAPER: The first Secretary of Defense had a hard job, obviously. He had to bring together the War Department, which became the Department of the Army, and the new Air Force, which had been a part of the Army, and the Navy as well. For the Air Force it meant a greater degree of autonomy. But both the Navy and the Army and the War Department had been supreme and independent in their own right, and it was not an easy thing to knock their heads together and for both to have a single boss. I

[16]

think he did that job very well indeed.

I worked very closely with him for about three months. He asked Secretary Royall to let me spend a few months directly with the Secretary of Defense to build up and put forward the first defense budget for the three services. So I worked day in and day out on that job and saw a great deal of him during that period. It really meant that I was dealing back and forth and compromising with the three services to try to find a budget that the President would approve and that still took care of each of the three services to the extent possible within that limit.

HESS: In his Memoirs Mr. Truman makes the comment that in working on military budgets, sometimes the Navy was the most difficult to satisfy and to get along with. What would be your view?

DRAPER: I found that true, too.

HESS: Why would that be true? Why was that true?

DRAPER: Their tradition had always been one of independent action and the Navy considered it simply had to have what it needed. The admirals were good proponents and didn't take no for an answer easily. A lot of my good

[17]

Navy friends were in there fighting all the way. They are still good friends of mine, those that are still living. But when they're arguing the question of the Navy's rights, they're very strong protagonists.

Actually, to get back to that first budget for just a minute, I'm afraid that I would consider that first budget one of President Truman's real mistakes. At that time -- what year would that have been, 1948, I guess -- the three budgets were put together at three levels: One, if I remember the figures, the minimum budget of thirteen and a half billion dollars for the three services, which sounds picayune today; the middle budget was about seventeen billion and the third was what the three services asked for, and which was the way we first started to put the figures together, it was about twenty-one billion dollars. Mr. Forrestal felt very strongly, as did I, that while he could justify reducing the twenty-one billion, he felt strongly that the middle ground of seventeen billion was the irreducible minimum from the point of view of the national defense of this country.

I prepared these three budgets. The thirteen and a half budget was only made because the President had set that as the figure, although it wasn't supposedly the final figure. But that was the figure he hoped to reach.

[18]

So we had to make a budget there, but to get the three services to agree on the figures for that, just meant they had to be rammed down their throats. But the seventeen billion budget took care reasonably at least, of what each of the three felt their really irreducible requirements actually were, although they all three badly wanted the twenty-one billion budget.

I sat in the meeting when Mr. Forrestal presented the three budgets to the President, and Mr. Forrestal was more concerned than I had ever seen him in my life. He was very, very seriously troubled. After the presentation the President said very little except to ask a few questions. Then the President said, "I'll let you know, Jim." And a day or two later he did let him know that it was thirteen and a half billion -- the President's original budget. I think that may have helped to bring on the Korean war. I think that may have helped to bring on Jim's death. That's something I'd like to put off the record until after the President dies.

HESS: Now, a further question on this same matter: Was Frank Pace the Director of the Bureau of the Budget at this time? Harold Smith, of course, was the first director and he was replaced by James Webb. I believe at this time Frank Pace was Director of the Bureau of

[19]

the Budget. In drawing up these very important budgets, the most important -- the budgets that take most of the money -- are the military budgets. In drawing these up, did you work with the Bureau of the Budget?

DRAPER: I must have. I guess it was Frank Pace, but whoever it was I certainly must have worked with him, but not nearly as closely as I did with the three services. My job, really, was -- as outlined to me by Mr. Forrestal -- although I guess I evolved the idea of the three budgets, was to take into account the three requests from the services and then to get a reasonable budget together -- one that he could recommend. This turned out to be the seventeen billion one. And then he also asked me, against his better judgment, to prepare a budget at the lower level, set by the President, and when the lower level was approved, I know that it was a great shock. It meant to him that his country was not going to get what it needed for its defense for that period.

HESS: 1948 was a very important year, that was a political year, the year Mr. Truman ran and was elected, to many peoples' surprise. In your opinion, do you think he had political considerations in mind when he wanted a balanced budget that year? Was that his reason for the

[20]

lower budget?

DRAPER: I wouldn't want to express an opinion on that. He felt that a balanced budget, now that we were out of the war, was the necessity, the need for the country, I'm sure. Whether there were political overtones, too, I can't say.

HESS: All right. As you have mentioned, the cutting back of the armed forces at this time left us somewhat unprepared at the advent of the Korean war. We were unprepared to meet the situation that arose. Where should the blame lie?

DRAPER: Those decisions are a matter of judgment. The President has to make the final decisions. He doesn't have anybody to lay the blame on. I think one of the great tributes to Mr. Truman, and I would be the first to make it, was his power of decision. Throughout the time that I was Under Secretary, and sometimes acting as Secretary, I would go to the President from time to time, with particular problems of the Department of the Army that had taken us weeks or months in some cases to evaluate and decide what we should recommend or what course we thought the country should pursue. I have never been impressed by anyone more in my life than by

[21]

the way in which he would receive the problem; I would describe it briefly, for five or ten minutes; he would ask a few questions; I would give him the two or possibly three alternative decisions that could be made; he would make one of them, and that would be that. He would go on to something else. That's the way he ran the Presidency. He constantly carried out the little motto on his desk, "The Buck Stops Here."

Now, to get back to your question. He had to decide on whether a balanced budget at that time was more important to the country than a little more money from his point of view in defense, and he made the decision. I wouldn't criticize it.

HESS: How often did you meet with the President during the time that you were Under Secretary of the Army, approximately?

DRAPER: I suppose twenty times, I don't know. I was there about two years -- twenty or thirty times.

HESS: Did you work with any of the White House staff members at the time?

DRAPER: Yes, yes.

HESS: Who comes to mind? Did you work with Clark Clifford?

[22]

Clifford was Special Counsel at that time.

DRAPER: Yes, yes, very often with Clark Clifford.

HESS: Did he provide you with any particular help? Anything that you and he worked on that might help illustrate his functions in this field? Is there anything that comes to mind?

DRAPER: No, we talked about the problems as they came along and he'd give me the President's answers. As a rule, of course, Secretary Royall had these conversations. It was when either he delegated me to do something in particular or when he'd be away on a trip that I would have the direct contact.

HESS: Did you have any contact with the Military Aide, General Harry Vaughan?

DRAPER: I certainly met him a few times, but remember nothing in particular.

HESS: You have mentioned a meeting at the White House in which Mr. Forrestal presented the budget and mentioned his attitude at that time. What are the earliest signs that you can recall of the unfortunate mental breakdown that overtook Mr. Forrestal? Was this the first time

[23]

that you noticed that something might be wrong?

DRAPER: Well, I didn't notice any mental breakdown or anything of that kind. He was simply greatly shocked that the President's decision was so low. No, I think that was much later on I retired. I saw Jim several times before that. I retired, around March of '49. I had been wanting to return to private life before that but Jim had persuaded me to stay just as the President had persuaded him to stay over the election into the new year. He and Mr. Royall and the President permitted me to go in March of '49.

HESS: The same month that Mr. Forrestal left.

DRAPER: He left after I did. I saw him before I left to say goodbye, and I noticed then that he was very distraught.

I returned to Washington about ten days later, after my wedding and a short honeymoon, and had breakfast with Jim, and then I could hardly get his attention on anything. He was obviously worried, distraught . . .

HESS: Early in April.

DRAPER: No, this was still in March, I think. He was soon going to leave -- I knew then he was going to leave. He was going to leave and I ascribed his distraught condition

[24]

to the fact that he was leaving, and perhaps to not being happy about his successor going to take over.

HESS: In March Louis Johnson replaced him.

DRAPER: That's correct.

HESS: Why was that change made? You mentioned that Mr. Forrestal had wanted to leave.

DRAPER: He had wanted to leave, but this was in the fall or winter before, but the President persuaded him that he needed him and wanted him to stay, and he agreed to stay, and then apparently very suddenly the President decided to appoint Mr. Johnson. My information at the time, which was rumor largely, was that Mr. Johnson had raised the money for the election and was told that he could have any job he wanted after the election, if the President were elected, which you can understand. Then Mr. Johnson asked for the Defense job, and the President gave it to him.

I was present when Johnson was sworn in at the Pentagon. They had a full dress affair in the encircled area inside the Pentagon Square or Pentagon, and the President pinned a medal on Jim, and then swore in Johnson. Everybody from the Pentagon had been invited

[25]

to flock inside the enclosure and see the show. Jim went back to his office and a friend of his from New York took him by plane to Hobe Sound where he stayed at Douglas Dillon's house. That's where the tragedy started.

HESS: Do you think that Mr. Forrestal had changed his mind in March and would liked to have remained?

DRAPER: I don't know, but my guess is at that time he didn't like to be suddenly replaced. He perhaps would voluntarily have offered to go in another month or two, but I don't think he felt happy at all about the President, after urging him so hard to stay, deciding that somebody else should take the job. That's a personal impression only.

HESS: Some people say that Mr. Forrestal's lack of support of the President in the election might have influenced that. Would he reasonably have expected support from Mr. Forrestal?

DRAPER: It's been a pretty regular rule in our Government that people involved in defense should not get into politics. I certainly agree with that rule personally, and I think that was Jim's point of view, and I wouldn't expect that the President thought anything else. No, I think it was just because Johnson had put the President

[26]

under a real obligation and he was paying his debt.

HESS: We discussed the reduced budget, and not too long after Mr. Johnson came in, I believe one of his first actions was to stop work on the super carrier, the U.S.S. United States, and that was when Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan resigned, shortly after you left.

DRAPER: That's right, but I'm not familiar with that incident.

HESS: Back on General Marshall. You had mentioned that General Marshall asked you to come back into the Army in 1940. What were your early associations with General Marshall? When did you first meet him?

DRAPER: As Chief of Staff of the 77th Division, which was then a part-time job, that was when I was in the Reserves. We could see war looming ahead. I had for some months, maybe for a year, been working with other officers of the Division, and with General Vanderbilt who was the commanding general at that time, preparing war plans so far as the Division was concerned, and looking forward at the right time to calling in the enlisted men and also piecing out the training of the officers. We had had occasion two or three times to take some of these

[27]

plans to Washington for consultation. And General Marshall had sat in on some of these consultations. I had met with him to discuss these plans and problems with him on behalf of our Division.

One day I got a personal phone call from him asking if I'd come down and go on active duty for six months -- it turned out to be nine years -- but I can't blame General Marshall for that. I really think that he wanted to have some Reserve officer down there to give him whatever benefit there might be in the Reserve thinking, and also to reflect perhaps, through that Reserve officer, to some of the Reserve Divisions, the War Department thinking about the future of the Reserves. But it didn't turn out that way. I became almost immediately involved in the Selective Service and in the G-1 operation and was absorbed with that, working with General -- then Major -- Lewis Hershey. The President appointed me -- President Roosevelt -- to the Army and Navy Recreation Board and some of the other boards and committees that dealt with the enlargement of the strength of the Army and the Navy.

HESS: You were with General Marshall at the Moscow conference, but that was in 1947, so we have another subject before we come to that. We will come back to General Marshall.

[28]

But we should cover your experiences in Germany at the end of World War II. I believe that you were Chief of the Economics Division of the Control Council for Germany from '45 to '47. Just what were your general impressions at that time and what were your duties?

DRAPER: As I've said before, the occupation became the actual Government of Germany. When we moved up from Versailles, our offices were first in Frankfurt, and then in July of 1945 we moved to Berlin.

First the tripartite Control Council, then when the French joined us, the quadripartite Control Council was the Government of Germany. It was simply that. Each of our national army organizations in our own zones of Germany were supreme, subject only to the quadripartite policy decisions. So my job, under those general policies and in line with the Morgenthau doctrine that had been directed to us from Washington as the U.S. economic policy for Germany, was to run the economy of our zone of Germany. That meant the agriculture, the industry, and the trade (in or out of Germany although there was no trade outside of Germany at that time), and to try to keep the country from starving and from going berserk.

The crops that year were quite good, and there was

[29]

also considerable food we found that the Wehrmacht had stored, which we took over. So there was no immediate danger of starvation that particular fall or even that winter. The winter was not too cold, but there was great concern whether the crop could be gathered that summer and fall. There were some eight million Germans in prison camps. The crop had to be brought in by the old men and the boys and the women, but they did it. Industry was at a complete standstill; the coalmines in the Ruhr had been flooded before the Germans gave up that area; there was no coal production; and no coal on hand; no factory was turning a wheel hardly anywhere in Germany. The destruction of the air bombing had made all of the factories or most of them look as if they never would run again. It turned out a year later that after the debris was cleared away, there was more of the machinery and the going parts of the factories able to be revived than we had expected. But at the beginning there was no production of coal or of anything else, except food on the farms, and the factories and the industrial production of the country was practically nil. So, except for what food was being grown, Germany had to start from a standing start to again make its way.

We found after a few months that we were going to

[30]

have to import food. Western Germany, the part where we were, had not been the breadbasket; that had been Eastern Germany largely, and we were getting no supplies of food or anything else from the Russian zone, so that we had to look the situation in the face and come to a decision. General Clay first had to be persuaded and then he had to help me persuade them back in Washington that we in this country -- even though we had conquered Germany -- that we were going to have to help feed them. That was an idea that no one at that time had even envisaged. We had to get appropriations; I had to come back to appear before the Congress, and . . .

HESS: Was it difficult putting that view over?

DRAPER: Very. And I think probably it was only made possible because the crisis was delayed about a year. Actually we managed to wiggle through during the first eight or ten months because our own Army had been bringing with it a food reserve to avoid feeding troubles for our allies or our enemies during the fighting, and we had as well as the food that we found in the warehouses that the Germans had husbanded as their stock and their reserve. Those things helped that first six or eight or ten months.

But as those months went by, we could see that in

[31]

our area of Germany we had to have more food, and the British concluded similarly, particularly in the Ruhr.

The one thing that saved the day, in my judgment, was the action taken by one who is now a very close friend of mine, Mr. Tracy Voorhees. He was the adviser to the President on food. I don't know at what stage that appointment was made, but that's how it turned out. He clearly saw these problems, both for Japan and Germany, and he had the great good fortune, and the imagination, to suggest to President Truman that the one man in this country who could help solve this problem and help persuade the Republican Congress that action should be taken, was former President Hoover. He first suggested this to the President, then he went to see Mr. Hoover, and the President then talked to Mr. Hoover.

As you recall, after the First World War, Mr. Hoover had made his famous journey to Belgium and to Europe. He still found alive and was able to collect, half a dozen of the top people who had gone with him in 1919 on that first relief mission, when President Truman asked him to repeat, on a much more serious scale, his visit to Belgium after the First World War that had prevented that country from starving.

So, I guess it was early in '46, or the winter of

[32]

'45-‘46, that General Clay and I got word from Washington that the former President was coming with Mr. Voorhees and a group of those that he had collected together, to make a survey, not only of Germany but of the food situation in our allies' territory as well; France, Belgium, and so on. So they came first to Germany, and I remember the occasion very well, when they came in by train. General Clay and I met them, Mr. Hoover and Tracy Voorhees and the others.

Mr. Hoover understood the situation very quickly because of his past experiences, and he came to realize that if the Germans weren't fed (I don't care who fed them), but if they weren't fed, we couldn't stay there even with bayonets, that that was not a tolerable situation in modern times, and that if we wanted a peaceful occupation, if we wanted to bring the Germans back into the community of nations, first they had to be fed, not too much, but they had to have enough to live. The ration in Berlin was 1560 calories a day, just about half of what you and I eat now, or then, as well. They got along on it. It wasn't a good solid three meals by any means.

One of the first steps we had to take was because we needed coal worse than anything else, except food, and

[33]

we didn't have any coal. The Ruhr mines had to be mined if we were going to get the factories started, and we found that the miners couldn't mine coal on 1560 calories or even 1800, so one of the first steps we took was to raise the calorie level for the miners to 4000 calories, against great protest, obviously. Then the next step we had to take was to search the miners when they went home every night, because they were dividing their 4000 calories with their families. Well, from the humanitarian point of view that's fine, but it couldn't work, and so we had to strip them of food and they had to eat it themselves. So it was that kind of decisions we had to face.

So Mr. Hoover made his survey, went over the findings with me, and then he went to three or four of these other countries which were pleading that they wanted the food. The worst thing in the world from their point of view was to feed their former enemies. And so the decision had to be made, and was made, that the allies, most of them, while not well off with food, weren't starving. We did furnish some food to them, and certainly later under the Marshall plan they got food, but the basic decision was made that we had to feed the Germans, that they were the worst off, and we had to send food to them. And it was Mr. Hoover and his influence with the Republican Congress

[34]

and his report to them, privately as well as his published report, that did the trick. He and I saw the head of the appropriations committee, and things like that, and he appeared before them, I believe; I certainly did.

And that was the one part of the appropriation, as I remember it, that the Senator from New Hampshire, who was chairman of the appropriations committee, accepted in its entirety, with Mr. Hoover's word for it -- and then it was appropriated by the House of Representatives, too, and we got every dollar of the request we made.

Then the food had to be bought. It turned out in '46-'47, that year, worldwide, including the United States, that the crops were very poor, and Tracy Voorhees did the buying for the Government for the food, or directed it, and had great difficulty to find the food, to find wheat and corn and the other basic things, and he finally shipped one crop which was in surplus, potatoes, and we got a good many shiploads of potatoes. Those you had to get over in a hurry and use in a hurry or they'd spoil. But I give Mr. Hoover and Tracy Voorhees very high marks -- and Mr. Truman the President, who backed us to the limit -- for the fact that we were able to prevent most of the threatened starvation, although there were plenty of deaths from hunger and cold because there was no coal for

[35]

heating, and comparatively little food, so that disease took the old people off pretty easily. So while there were many deaths that undoubtedly had to do with lack of food, there wasn't rampant starvation. The fact that they got fed reasonably, small rations, but reasonably; and then the fact that we took their part in Berlin, against the Russians' willingness to starve them out at the time of the airlift, and at the time of the blockade, those two things together, in my judgment have now made the Germans among our most trusted allies.

HESS: What was the nature of the experiences that you had at that time working with the Soviet representatives that were in Germany? Were they difficult people to work with? Did they live up to agreements that were made?

DRAPER: They were difficult people to work with, they didn't always live up to their agreements, but I greatly admired those that I worked with during the first year, particularly General Shabalin, who was my opposite member as the Russian member of the economic directorate. He had been a schoolteacher before World War I, had joined the army in World War I, stayed in the Army, became a general but was still a schoolteacher and a peasant at heart, and with it all, a fine person. I met him first about ten

[36]

days after we got to Berlin. I was in General Clay's staff meeting -- Saturday morning was our staff meeting -- and he came to my office, I learned later, storming around because the day before he had had a pass to go to Frankfurt on one of our planes to see the city, and he had gone back this Saturday morning because the weather had been bad Friday, and they told him the pass had been rescinded by my order, which didn't happen to be true, but that's what they told him. And he came storming into my office to complain and to give me hell. When I came out of the staff meeting, he'd gone, but I learned all about his visit.

So after I had lunch I got my jeep and my Russian interpreter and went over to his headquarters. He wasn't there but I found his house, and I called there. At first he wouldn't let me in, he was so mad, but finally my interpreter made him understand that he could go to Frankfurt every day of the week as far as I was concerned, and I would see that he got there. So then he went a hundred percent the other way and said, "Kamerad," put his arms around me, and said we had to celebrate this meeting of the two armies by my staying and having lunch with him. Well, I'd just finished a big lunch, but I figured in the interest of international camaraderie,

[37]

I had to eat another lunch.

I never suffered so much in my life for my country. Lunch started with a great big bowl of cabbage soup, and I thought maybe that was the lunch, but the next course was a big steak with four eggs on it.

Anyway, we made up, and we were good friends ever since. We didn't always agree, obviously. He'd get instructions one way and I'd get them another, but we always remained friends and I'm sure that he, and I think all of the other Russian generals that I dealt with, including even Marshal Zhukov and General (later Marshal) Sokolovsky, were looking forward to a peaceful solution, just as we were, and hoping to build a permanent peace, in contrast to the two world wars in thirty years, which we had just experienced.

But as our system of rapidly bringing the troops back home went on, the Russian attitude in Moscow, hardened steadily. Our so-called point system meant that the oldest ones in service, whether officers or enlisted men, unless they volunteered to stay, were railroaded home first.

HESS: We lost our most experienced men first?

DRAPER: Yes. As a result of that policy we were losing

[38]

them pretty fast, and our equipment was being loaded and taken out and driven out, and taken out on ships, as fast as it could go.

When the war ended I suppose that our military strength in Europe and Germany was greater than any similar military strength that had ever been concentrated in one spot before in the history of the world. Within six or eight or ten months as this point system operated, our military strength was -- I won't say nil -- but certainly not very great.

HESS: Greatly reduced.

DRAPER: Tremendously reduced, and the Russians could see that as well as we could.

HESS: Could you see a change in their attitude?

DRAPER: Without any question. After about a year, instead of being fairly reasonable -- they never were truly reasonable, but at least you could get along with them -- but then it became nyet instead of saglasin, no instead of yes, almost invariably. They undoubtedly thought back in Moscow at that time that they were going to conquer Europe, move across the rest of Europe to the channel. And I think that when the Korean war started

[39]

that's what they had in mind doing as soon as they could.

A map had been put out by our State Department that showed the perimeter that we were going to defend, and it did not include Korea. I think we fooled the Russians as well as ourselves. And when Truman made perhaps the greatest decision of his life, to go back and fight in Korea, which he did within twenty-four hours of their attack, the United Nations soon endorsed his decision and our Congress came along later. But it was President Truman personally that made that decision. He acted, and fooled the Russians. We weren't too ready for it ourselves, but we prevented Europe being taken over -- or rather he did -- by that action.

HESS: You have mentioned the Morgenthau plan. I also understand there was a Draper plan, and it was your belief that the German economy could not be restored under the agriculture and light industry plan of Henry Morgenthau. Tell me about your plan.

DRAPER: I never heard of a Draper plan in Germany. Later on there was one that was called that in Japan.

The Morgenthau plan was unfortunate; it was based on vengeance plus the theory that the Germans had started World War I; perhaps they had, but they were paying for

[40]

it anyway, and they had certainly started World War II. And Mr. Morgenthau was of the opinion that Germany should be prevented from having the where withal to ever start another war, and he persuaded President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill to agree to his proposals. He believed that if the Germans were limited to growing food and to light industry and were not permitted any substantial amount of steel production or other basic industrial production, and not permitted to build ships or any of the other things that are required for war, even when on a peacetime basis, that they would be kept perpetually and forever in a condition impossible for them to wage war.

That also would be in a condition which would become impossible for the Germans to exist unless somebody helped them and provided the necessities of life. It became evident to us very quickly that this was the case, and that if we carried out literally the terms of the very famous Morgenthau directive, the United States would have to support Germany for the rest of time or as long as that policy stayed in effect. And so, we had to wiggle here and waggle there and do the best we could without openly breaking our directive to permit the German economy to begin to function. We argued with

[41]

this one and argued with that one here in Washington and in Germany, wherever we had the chance, and bit by bit, we recouped or revised the situation so that it became possible.

A Dr. Calvin Hoover from Duke University came over. He was a very fine international economist, who is still alive. Although he only had a limited period of service, a few months, we asked him under the directive to draft up a potential possible level of industry plan. He did that very effectively, but from the point of view of the directive, and so under duress, under pressure. And it was his plan that with some modifications was finally adopted by the quadripartite government for Germany. The levels were changed some.

We were more hardboiled than anybody except the Russians. The British were the most sensible. The French were even better than we were, although they were pretty severe, too. The Russians went even beyond the Morgenthau plan. They were basing their tough attitude on the fact that their whole country had been ravaged and millions of their people killed. They had been invaded, and you have a certain point of view when that happens. They were there to take it out on Germany, I guess, and we were pretty near as bad, although we hadn't been invaded.

[42]

Anyway, the level of industry was finally determined on a level that didn't last long; it wasn't realistic. It took about two years to change. It was after I was back in Washington as Under Secretary before that directive was finally officially revoked.

In the meantime, we didn't pay as much attention to it as perhaps we should from the point of view of military discipline. There were several efforts to pull me back and have me charged with not carrying out the directive.

General Clay always defended me. He knew perfectly well that such a policy couldn't last just as well as I did. We fought it out and finally persuaded Washington. General Marshall himself defended me in testimony before a Congressional Committee. So, it finally worked out. The real turning point came when the currency was devalued or revalued in 1948. At that time we gave the Russians the opportunity to do the same to revalue the mark in their sector, in their zone; they refused. I was back in Washington before this -- when they walked out of the four power council meeting -- the Kommanditura. A few days later they declared the blockade of Berlin.

HESS: Which we will get to in just a minute. Did you ever discuss the Morgenthau plan with its author, with Henry Morgenthau?

[43]

DRAPER: Yes, I had a session with him before I went to Germany and he gave me his views. At that time I didn't have any very clear cut views myself, one way or the other. I hadn't been in Germany except on that Ford Peace Expedition I spoke of many years before. I had gone through Germany from Sweden to Holland in a locked car with all the other peace seeking delegates, guarded by German bayonets and with signs saying that we were spies and the soldiers shouldn't talk to us. So that was my only former visit to Germany. So I didn't, at that time, do anything but listen. I don't think I ever talked to him about it during the period of the occupation, but I did since, before his death, and he and I didn't agree.

HESS: What did he say? Did he realize that you were there in Germany and not really going along with his plan?

DRAPER: Oh, I'm sure he did.

HESS: Did he say anything of that nature when you spoke to him later?

DRAPER: Yes, in a more or less friendly fashion we agreed that we had been in complete disagreement. By that time the whole situation had changed, of course. He was no longer in office either.

[44]

HESS: That's right. What were his views? Did he think his plans should have been adhered to, that things would have been better off if Germany had been turned into an agricultural nation?

DRAPER: I would think probably so. He certainly wasn't giving any ground, but it was a friendly conversation. But it was past history by that time.

HESS: Anything else before we move on to the period of time that you were military government adviser to General Marshall in Moscow?

DRAPER: No, that was while I was still in Germany. I think we went to Moscow in December 1946 and were there about eight weeks. The conference ended earlier than this memo would indicate.

HESS: Oh, I see. I had the wrong dates down here.

DRAPER: I figure the conference ended in February.

HESS: December through February.

DRAPER: February, maybe March.

HESS: Tell me about the conference. What comes to mind when you look back on that conference, and the Russians' attitude?

[45]

DRAPER: It was one of the most interesting experiences of my life.

We were there in Moscow for seven or eight weeks. We expected it to be much shorter, and it dragged out. They were most hospitable as far as the physical facilities went. They cleaned all their top people out of a hotel before we came and repainted it and, in effect, turned the hotel over to us. Nobody in Russia owned an automobile, of course, but they had assigned automobiles to all their top people, generals and government officials, but they took them away from many of them for us. Each one of us had a car and a driver assigned to us. Food was scarce for the population but not for us. We had everything we could ask for including very scarce fresh eggs. They did everything they could to be hospitable.

General Marshall was our representative. Molotov was usually speaking for the Russian. [Aneurin] Bevin, the British coalminer who became Foreign Secretary, was British representative and the star performer, I would say, of the whole show. The Frenchman was good, too. It was a battle of wits and a battle of nations for several weeks.

The basic differences, of course, were obvious between the Russians and the other three. Bevin told

[46]

them off several times. He was the only one, he said, of all of them, in spite of what the Russians were saying, that ever really worked at a job such as the mines. He knew what the working man's needs were better than they did, and yet he saw it from a democratic point of view and not a dictator's -- but he was absolutely frank. The differences of opinion were very, very real, and not very much agreement was reached. In spite of putting out statements from time to time that looked reasonably favorable, there wasn't much really accomplished. About half way through the conference, the question of our supporting the Greeks and the Turks came up when it was announced by President Truman. General Marshall, of course, was our Secretary of State and was there with us. He was involved very definitely in the new Truman Doctrine and the Russians were supporting the other side. So it was a very open split. General Marshall handled himself beautifully.

I often got to see Averell Harriman who was our Ambassador in Moscow then. He had also been our Ambassador in 1945, when I had gone to Moscow the first time in the fall of '45 as Acting Chairman of the Reparations Commission. At that time I really had the chance to really know Mr. Harriman. I had met him a few times before. He had the picture of the Russians' real ambition and real lack

[47]

of desire to come to friendly terms, of peaceful friendly relations with the United States. Earlier, I think, than any other of our diplomats or officials. I had certainly gotten from him in September of 1945, a picture of Russia as it's turned out to really be, far better than from anyone else. At that time, General Clay and I had tended to discount his point of view, because in Germany we both were hoping and thinking and wishing that we were going to reach a peaceful solution between our two countries. I don't think Harriman thought that at all, because he had seen the Russians operating from behind the scenes through a good part of the war.

To go back to the foreign ministers' meeting, we discussed the whole future of Europe, and indirectly how the United States and Russia would be living together after the war. We didn't get very far, in fact it was at the Moscow Conference that the Cold War really started. So the foreign ministers had to have another meeting in Paris a year later, as I remember, to try to patch things up. So we just went on, each side going their own way more and more.

HESS: Not too long after General Marshall's return was the date of his speech at Harvard University. It was on June 5th, the famous Marshall Plan speech. At the

[48]

time that the foreign ministers' meeting was going on, was there very much discussion about the necessity for a massive aid plan in all of Europe, such as the Marshall Plan came to be?

DRAPER: No, there were some off-the-record backroom discussions, many of those, as to what was going to happen in Western Europe including Germany. But I was surprised when the Marshall Plan was announced. I remember being at a garden party on a Sunday in Germany when someone came and handed me the press release that had just come off the wire of General Marshall's speech at Harvard. It was something that I knew very little about until that happened. Later on, of course I participated a great deal as the Plan developed.

HESS: Which we will get to. I believe your last duty as a military government official was in connection with the British-American conference on the Ruhr coal production which was held here in town in August of 1947. We've mentioned that earlier this morning, but could you expand on that? What do you recall about that particular conference? Why was it called, what was its importance, and what was its outcome?

DRAPER: There were over the months many discussions of what

[49]

should happen to the Ruhr coal. There were claims on it from almost every one of our allies. The need for more coal was very evident, and there was more coal there than anywhere else in Europe. Why the meeting was called in Washington rather than in Germany I didn't know at the time, and don't know now. I suppose our own Government officials including the Under Secretary of War, Kenneth Royall, wanted to find out why the coal production wasn't rising quicker, and why we weren't able to meet the requests of our allies. One of the things that we had a specific directive on in the early days, and I think it was signed by Churchill and Roosevelt personally, was that a very large part of the coal in the Ruhr (and this was before much was being mined) had to go to Belgium and France, and we couldn't carry it out. Germany simply couldn't have existed if some of that coal, or even the bulk of that coal, which was very little, very much less than the requirements, didn't go into German industry. We fought that battle out with Washington and finally won it. But at the time of the coal conference this was still simmering and still a problem, and I presume that's why this meeting was held in Washington.

The meeting was going very well. We had settled all the various issues, and just about the time we were coming to a conclusion, Mr. Royall called me one morning

[50]

and said that Mr. Robert Patterson, the Secretary of War, had just called him to tell him that he had just resigned, and was leaving Washington that day. His money had run out completely, he had borrowed all he could on his life insurance policies, and he had to go back to work in order to be able to support his family. He didn't put it that way publicly, obviously.

Judge Patterson had come to this conclusion that very morning when his secretary brought in the figures. He called the President and said, "I'd like to come over and see you." And when he dial he told him that he was retiring, resigning, and leaving Washington the same day. Before he saw the President, he told Mr. Royall about this, who was his Under Secretary. He also had told him that if the President asked him for a recommendation he was going to recommend Mr. Royall as Secretary.

Kenneth Royall called me to tell me this and to say that if this happened that same day, he was going to have to move over to the Secretary's office, and would I be good enough for three or four days to just cover his desk and handle what papers I could and those that I couldn't, come and see him about. I said I shouldn't really do this because I was in uniform and this was a civilian job. "Well," he said, "you'll be just doing this on my

[51]

behalf, so don't worry about that."

This all did happen, and he became Secretary. Three or four days later he asked me to stay at the desk and take over and become Under Secretary, provided the President approved, and if I was confirmed by the Senate. I said I would have to talk to General Clay first, who was my commander. I was reporting to him, and this was going to twist the relationship all the way around. So I did talk to General Clay on the long distance telephone and he said, "Sure, go ahead." So I did become Under Secretary.

HESS: This was in August of 1947?

DRAPER: I guess so. I don't remember the exact date.

HESS: As a Republican, what are your views on Mr. Truman's understanding of the political importance of having members of the opposition party represented in high Government office?

DRAPER: I don't think I ever discussed the question with him. He certainly knew what benefit President Roosevelt had derived from appointing Mr. Stimson and Mr. Knox. But I wasn't appointed as a Republican, I'm sure, as far as Mr. Truman was concerned, nor General Royall

[52]

either.

General Royall and I had worked closely together when he and I were serving together, during the year or more that I had been in Washington before I went to Germany, working on contract termination, and when he was working on various matters on the staff. So we had gotten to be rather close friends. I was back there and working under his jurisdiction on this coal conference. He was participating in that, and he simply thought, "Here is a fellow that I have confidence in; he knows the situation in Germany; he hasn't been to Japan, but those are our two big occupation problems, and why wouldn't he be the right fellow to have here." It had nothing to do with whether I was a Republican or a Socialist or a Democrat.

HESS: And I understand that shortly after your appointment you went over to Japan, is that correct?

DRAPER: That's right. I had never met General MacArthur, but I had heard fantastic tales about him, and I figured that he would think, "Here's this fellow who's been in Germany and Germany's going to get a good deal of the favors if he's going to be the Under Secretary." I thought the best thing for me to do if I was going to

[53]

be evenhanded and have any influence in Japan on the occupation there, was to go to Japan right away. Mr. Royall had delegated to me under his basic responsibility, the operation of the three occupations. So I felt I'd better get right over there and come to terms with General MacArthur and let him know that I was ready to assist in any reasonable way to make the Japanese occupation a success. I think it was the right thing to have done.

I arrived there. I informed him that I was coming. He was at the airport to meet me, which I believe was the first time he'd met any official from Washington. He took me right to lunch and I said, "What can I do to help?"

Almost the first question he asked me was, "Could you find me somebody that knows something about running the economy of Japan, because I don't. And my military officers who are responsible for it don't either," which was obvious and natural.

So my quest back here was to find such a man, and it took some months. Before I was able to solve that one, I took Paul Hoffman who was then president of Studebaker this was before the Marshall Plan -- and Percy Johnston, the head of the Chemical Bank in New York, and three or four other businessmen as a group to Japan to make a report on just the kind of thing that I'd been up against

[54]

in Germany. While it wasn't called the Morgenthau Plan, the economic order to MacArthur very closely paralleled those that went to Germany.

There was one big exception, a difference, and that was that contrary to the situation in Germany, there was a Japanese government. The fact that the Emperor had been permitted to stay and that the Japanese government continued in office, made it easier in many ways in Japan than in Germany to bring about a stable situation. But of course, General MacArthur was Emperor No. 1 and the other one was Emperor No. 2, actually General justified that position and that confidence in the eyes of the Japanese people, who had expected a cutthroat dictator; and instead they found a great administrator who fed them when there was no food, who was just but severe, and who merited and received their adulation. I guess that is the right word, and certainly he gained their great respect. Every morning when he, at a certain minute, would appear in his car to enter the Dai-Ichi Building where his headquarters were, there were hundreds of people gathered there. This went on for months and months, just to see him come in; and it was the same at night when he left.

I took this group of businessmen over, because I

[55]

had become convinced from what I'd known in Germany and what I had learned in Japan in two or three visits, that the orders concerning the economy of Japan had to be changed. I took this group of businessmen there to buttress my own recommendations to the President and the Secretary of State and the Congress to change the instructions to MacArthur in Japan. There wasn't a wheel turning, they didn't have a pound of cotton to spin in their textile mills, arid while they had coal of a poor quality and water power, those were about their two assets. There are very few resources in Japan, natural resources, except the people themselves. Their whole economy is based on taking in raw materials and fashioning them and then selling them to the world. They do it pretty well, as you know. But then they had no raw material. They had no credit; they had no money; they had no way to buy raw materials, unless we provided them, and we weren't providing them. The place was, so far as industry was concerned, a morgue.

The orders were that General MacArthur was not responsible for the economy, that he had the authority, of course, but the real responsibility was that of the Japanese government, but they had no authority; they had no assets, no capital; so the thing was just falling

[56]

between two stools. The Japanese yen was depreciating six or seven percent a month. The whole country was being fed and largely fed by us, but that's all you could say.

You spoke of the Draper plan, this plan, or this report that we made, that Paul Hoffman and Percy Johnston and the rest of the businessmen made after we spent had a month in Japan. The report we made resulted in the President changing the policy, on the recommendation of the Secretary of State. Secretary of the Treasury John Snyder was the first one to understand it, and the President also soon understood it fully. And it was then that I recommended to the President that Joe [Joseph M.] Dodge, who had been in charge of the finance division in Germany, and who had then had gone back to his Detroit bank, and became president of the American Banker's Association, be invited to go to Japan as a kind of economic czar. I had asked him but he wouldn't go before. Now the rules were changed, there was a chance to win, for the economy to recover but it took somebody with a lot of knowledge and a lot of guts to do it. General MacArthur had promised his complete support, which he always gave. So the President invited Dodge to come to Washington. He told me that morning before seeing

[57]

the President that he wasn't going to take the job. The President saw him and Dodge had lunch with me and by that time he had taken the job.

The same thing was almost true with Paul Hoffman whose wife recommended against his taking the Marshall plan job. He was offered the job while we were on the way back from Japan in Hawaii. He was on my plane and we got off in Honolulu and there was a phone call from the White House for Paul Hoffman. They got on the phone with him and said that the Congress had just passed the Economic Cooperation Plan for Europe, and the President wanted to sign it the next day, and at the same time to announce the new administrator was Paul Hoffman. So whoever it was in the White House said, "We'd like your answer on the telephone, please."

Paul said, "Well, you have my answer on the telephone. It's no!"

And then they got me on the phone and said, "How soon can you get this fellow to Washington."

We flew to Los Angeles. I had dinner with him, stayed with his family that night, and his wife said, "No Paul, you can't take it." He called his associates in South Bend at Studebaker and they said, "No, you and we are working together to pull this company out of trouble."

So we went to Washington together the next day. On

[58]

the plane he said, "You see I can't do it."

So I said, "Well, we’ll have lunch after you have seen the President."

At lunch he said, "Well, the President's asked me to reconsider, so I'm going to talk again with my family."

So while we were still having lunch at the Army-Navy Club they brought in a report from the ticker tape saying the President had just announced the appointment of Hoffman as Administrator of the European Cooperation Program.

HESS: What did he say?

DRAPER: He was shocked, but he took it, and he told me no later than two weeks ago that that was the best thing that ever happened to him in his life. That was the kind of thing the President could get away with, and did, and it was part of his strength. He didn't have to do quite the same with Dodge.

Dodge did take the job, although somewhat reluctantly. Joe Dodge went out there to Japan and in six or eight months he had done the job.

We adopted a new policy which was sent by cable to General MacArthur, which made it possible for the economy to be revised, but it had to involve the farmers,

[59]

the farm prices, agricultural production, the industrial production, and raw materials. It required a loan from the Export -- Import Bank to provide them with cotton, which worked out very quickly. And it required Dodge to take care of the price relationships to increase taxes, and to put that economy back on a paying, balanced basis. And from a tremendous governmental deficit situation when Dodge went over, within six months to nine months he had balanced the Japanese budget, or rather he forced the Japanese government to balance its budget, but under his instructions.

HESS: General, will you tell me a little about your interest in population control?

DRAPER: Population control may be the wrong word. It's a population problem and a population explosion and the question is what to do about it.

I got interested in this question of population when President Eisenhower appointed me in 1958 as Chairman of his Committee on Foreign Aid, Military Aid and Economic Aid. We found, the committee of ten, that in most of the developing countries their rate of population growth was such that it was interfering seriously with their economic development, particularly with any

[60]

improvement in their per capita income. The whole purpose of economic foreign aid was to improve the lot of the individual members of society, especially down at the bottom and to improve per capita income. So if the population increase was offsetting any gain in a particular economy, and dividing it into that many more pieces, the only way to help was to cut down on the growth rate of the population, on a voluntary basis.

Eventually, we recommended to President Eisenhower that our country through its aid program give help to population programs of foreign governments, on their request. To our surprise he turned down that request, because it was an election year and he thought that Senator Kennedy was going to be running for President. With the Catholic Bishops attacking this particular recommendation, President Eisenhower feared that if he approved our recommendation and if Kennedy, as a Catholic, attacked it this might split the American people on a religious issue in a national political campaign; and he thought this would be bad for the American people.

Later on he changed his mind, after he was no longer President, and published articles saying that not only private organizations but governments, and particularly our own Government, had to take an interest in this

[61]

problem, if it was to be solved which it has been doing since.

It was President Kennedy, a Catholic, who really started that program, and then President Johnson expanded it, and President Nixon has gone even farther in sending the Congress a special message on population. A special law was passed a year or more ago which is to take care of our own population problem here. It proposes to give birth control information and services to the five million women that are estimated to be too poor to afford family planning facilities themselves.

Anyway, during this period, after President Eisenhower had changed his mind and was favorable, I asked him whether he would head up an honorary Council for the Planned Parenthood movement. He still was dubious about this, I guess for political reasons. Finally I asked him whether if President Truman -- and I had no idea what Harry Truman thought about this problem, I had never discussed it with him -- if President Truman, as the only other living ex-President, were willing to be an honorary co-chairman with him of Planned Parenthood, would that make a difference, would he then be willing to accept. He said, "If Harry will, I will."

So I trotted off to Independence, Missouri, where

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President Truman had already invited me to come sometime to see his Library. I gave him President Eisenhower's regards and best wishes, and told him that President Eisenhower would only take on this honorary chairmanship if he would also do so.

He said, "Well, if President Eisenhower is willing to, I don't know why I shouldn't." And he did. And the two of their names and their influence and their later statements, from time to time, were of tremendous help in raising the whole level of the Planned Parenthood and world population movement to a much higher level.

HESS: General, one of the important things you had to deal with at the time that you were Under Secretary of the Army was the Berlin blockade. What was your involvement in that, and when did you first think that a blockade was probable?

DRAPER: We knew for some weeks that this situation was rising, that trouble was brewing. We were having constant arguments in the quadripartite council in Berlin. I was in Washington. I stayed up several nights all night long as we followed these negotiations, partly because of the difference in time. Instructions had to be given almost momentarily, sometimes by scramble telephone or

[63]

by cable. And we watched the rising emotion and the rising level of argument with the realization that we were perhaps moving even toward war with Russia.

When finally the revaluation of the currency, of the German mark, was decided on by the three powers in order to put the economy back on a money basis rather than a ration basis -- because up to that time, people had pockets full of paper money but unless they had a ration ticket to buy an overcoat or to get food (unless it was through the black market), they had no way to buy. The purpose was to squeeze the juice out of the overvalued currency and put it down to its real value. The result turned out later to be the right thing to have done. The goods came out of hiding and the economy began to get back on its feet.

But at the moment, the Russians refused to go along. We invited them and they refused. They walked out of the council one night, broke up the meeting, and trouble was obviously ahead.

I had planned at that time to make an inspection visit in Berlin and in Vienna, and had set up a trip and had my plane waiting. I left early one morning, with General [Albert C.] Wedemeyer, my chief planning officer at that time. We took off without knowing that the

[64]

blockade was already on. We had our cables with us, that had accumulated during the night, and after we had breakfast on the plane, we read our cables and learned that the blockade was on. We were on our way to London.

On the way over we planned the airlift. General Wedemeyer had had charge of the airlift over the hump in India earlier during the war, so he had a pretty good idea of what the different types of planes would carry in the way of tonnage, and how often a plane could land at an airport, through actual experience. I had negotiated in Berlin with the Russians for the feeding of Berlin some years before, for the British and American sectors, and later these included the French, so I knew the tonnage of food necessary on a ration level to feed the two and a half million people in those sectors of the city.

We both knew the number of planes we had in Europe. They were DC-3s, the old DC-3, or C-47 in Army parlance, the workhorse of the war. We had about a hundred of them. They would each carry about two and a half tons of food on a trip, and you had to allow about a two minute leeway for a landing during the day, and a little more at night, quite a little more at night. So we figured whether or not it was a physical possibility to feed that many people with that many planes, if we had the

[65]

pilots and the airfields, and all the necessary organization was set up. We came to the conclusion that it was a possibility but not a sure thing, and that it was worth trying.

So when we got to London, Lewis Douglas who was our Ambassador there, met us and we arranged through him and he went with us to see Bevin, who was the Foreign Minister still, in London. We told him our plan, and he said, "All right, we'll add twenty-five planes." All they had that were available. "We're all for it," he said. "You never can make it work; you never can feed two or three million people from the air, but we'll make a great psychological impression. The Russians are trying to starve the Germans and we're trying to feed them. I'd suggest you take milk powder and chocolate and things of that kind for the women and children and make it as much of a psychological show as you can, and it will give us a little more time for negotiations. But it will never succeed."

We loaded up that plane at our Embassy with about two tons of food, and I guess I signed for it. They've never come back to ask me to pay yet. Then we went on to Paris. We didn't know what the French government's attitude would be. We found them just as much for it as

[66]

we were, or as were the British. They had no planes to offer, but they would be backing it, and they had an airfield in Berlin and that would be at our disposal. It was [Georges] Bidault and [Robert] Schumann (one Prime Minister and the other Foreign Minister) that I talked to. So we had their blessing.

In the meantime, I had talked to General Clay on the scramble telephone and had given him our figures and our conclusions. He had been doing similar figuring and he'd come to the same conclusion, that it was worth trying.

So we got to Berlin the next day, and General Clay called in his people and we exchanged thoughts and ideas and figures and he called in his Air Force commander and the airlift started a day or two later.

Then I flew down to Vienna. In Berlin the war clouds were everywhere. It was a question of what hour or day the war might break out. We didn't know. We got to Vienna and it was just as peaceful as Washington is today. It was the Fourth of July and our commanding general there was giving the usual Fourth of July garden party, and the Russians came and were toasting the Fourth of July just as much as we were.

Anyway, the airlift got started that way, and we nearly lost, actually. We were very close to defeat.

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After about two or three months we almost ran out of food. We had about ninety days' supply of coal, and about thirty days' supply of food when this started. We should have stocked up more before. We really didn't visualize that this blockade was going to happen. We should have taken action earlier and stocked food, but we hadn't, at least not very much. We had about thirty days' of food and some 90 days of coal. Se we didn't have to worry about the coal right away.

This started in early July. I would guess that it was about the end of August, when we were really running downhill. We weren't keeping even. We got down to three or four or five days' stock of food. So we had to face a strategic decision in Washington. There was one way we could save this situation if we were willing to take the risk, and that was to take all the DC-4s that we had around the world, Army planes and private airline planes, and substitute them for the DC-3s. The DC-4 will carry ten tons where the DC-3 carries two and a half. But it meant stripping our Army in Japan, it meant stripping our Army in Europe, and the airlines in the United States, of the only really available and useful carriage for troops if we were going to war. It would have meant a very real difference whether we had those

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planes immediately available or had to find a way to get them together again.

But the decision was finally made to substitute, and we quietly stripped everywhere of these planes, and took them away from the airlines and the Army and sent them to Europe, substituted them, and put the DC-3s back in their place. They of course couldn't do the job of troop carrying that the others were capable of doing. So immediately the level of food shipments by air went up. And by that time, the coal was also running out, and so some of these were then made coal wagons, the most expensive coal wagons the world ever saw. We tried dropping the coal in chutes, or as it was into big nets, or on the ground. By the time it got near the ground it was powder and blew away and it didn't work at all, so we had to land the planes and unload them just like the food. I rode one of those coal wagons one day from Berlin to Frankfurt and it was quite an experience. But it began to work. Everything worked fine. The stocks were built up, the stockpiles of both food and coal.

Then in November we had an early winter, and early fog; the fog's bad in Berlin, anyway; but this year it was worse than they had ever seen, I guess, and it came down about the first of November and it just stuck. It

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meant that you had to go on GCA, on instruments entirely. In the meantime, the Russians were buzzing the planes. They didn't shoot any down, but they came right near us. It's a wonder there weren't any accidents, and so starting a war, because that would have probably done it.

Anyway, this fog came down and it meant that you had to land every five or six or ten minutes instead of every two, and the stockpiles ran down again. It ran right through December and by the third or fourth or fifth of January we were down to two days again. And it looked like curtains. If that fog had stayed another three weeks we probably would have had to run up the white flag. We probably couldn't have gone on. You can't have people starving, and keep on with the occupation. But the weather lifted about the fifth of January, it was fine, and immediately we restored the situation. The Russians knew they were licked right away, but it was May before they finally gave up.

In Berlin at that time -- I went back and forth a number of times from Washington -- at almost any point in Berlin, you could see three planes in the air, two on their way in and one or two on the way out, depending on where you were standing, and it was that continual bridge of planes that the Berliners (and the other Germans knew about it all over Germany), kept seeing day after day.

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There were forty of our pilots killed in accidents. They knew that, too.

HESS: A very visible sign of support.

DRAPER: That was what brought the Germans into our camp, in my opinion.

HESS: During that period of time, were you ever in any meeting with President Truman where he might have expressed his views on the handling of the blockade?

DRAPER: No, we knew perfectly well his views. They were very clear cut. I don't think I met personally with him during this period -- well, I probably did as Under Secretary, but I don't recall -- I undoubtedly did.

HESS: During the period of time that you served, the armed services were organized into the National Military Establishment.

DRAPER: Right.

HESS: That law came into being, it was the National Security Act of '47, passed on July 25th. What is your general evaluation of that particular setup, and why was it found necessary two years later to change it and set up a Department of Defense? What was deficient?

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DRAPER: Was the first one by law or by regulation -- whichever it was, it was intended to put the three departments into a coordinated whole. And probably (and I'm not too sure about this, it was a long time ago, and I was out of the Department before that second law, I guess, was passed), but the first step was taken in 1949.

HESS: That was when the Department of Defense was established, but it was 1947 when the National Military Establishment was formed.

DRAPER: It was 1947, that's right. Well, that was put together as a first effort, and on the basis of a couple of years of experience I suppose that the law which fashioned it on a more permanent basis was passed. I don't think there were any great changes, were there?

HESS: I think about the only changes that I can recall, were that the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Army did not sit in on the Cabinet meetings. They weren't considered Cabinet level under the Department of Defense, whereas they sat in on Cabinet meetings during the days of the National Military Establishment.

DRAPER: That's true. That's normal. It meant that the

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Cabinet was a little too bulky.

HESS: That's right, and it gave the Secretary of Defense more authority under the present setup.

DRAPER: I think the whole thing has worked out just the way it should, a logical development, and most other countries have adopted much that same form of defense establishment, indicating that others think that we have the right method now.

HESS: Earlier this morning I asked your opinion of Secretary Forrestal's view on unification, and as you know, the Navy expressed a good deal of fear about the effects of unification. They thought they would lose the Air Wing to the Air Force; they thought they would lose the Marines to the Army. Do you think the Army would have liked to have taken over the Marine Corps at this time?

DRAPER: I have no doubt it would have loved to have done it, but nobody ever took that as a practical possibility that I ever heard of.

HESS: Did you ever hear any of the generals discussing that subject?

DRAPER: I guess I heard the Navy's fears about it, but

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I don't think we in the Army had any illusions.

HESS: More on the Navy's side than on the Army's side.

DRAPER: And as far as Navy Air is concerned, that's certainly going strong still. In Vietnam you get planes off the ships right along, off the carriers. And I guess the Army with its little planes, has actually as many or more planes than the Air Force. Of course it doesn't have the fighting ships.

HESS: Just a word or two about some of the gentlemen you served with. Kenneth Royall, of course, we've mentioned him several times.

DRAPER: He passed away a year or so ago.

HESS: Not too long ago. How effective was he?

DRAPER: He was a wonderful leader. He had great self-confidence; he had great ability; he had great experience and background. He was the one that first integrated the blacks and whites in the Army; he was a southerner and he could do that better than a northerner could have done. He had real vision. He had the great confidence of President Truman, I know, and every impression I have and recollection is that he gave the country a splendid

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administration for the Department of the Army.

HESS: On the problem of integration of blacks into the armed forces: Did your duties touch upon that?

DRAPER: Not particularly. I incidentally only know it was Secretary Royall's thinking, and he was the first one to take action in that direction. And I think it was his personal initiative.

HESS: John L. Sullivan was Secretary of the Navy at that time.

DRAPER: A splendid person, too. He's still living here in Washington. And John Kenney was his Under Secretary. John Kenney and I worked very closely together. And so I did with Mr. Sullivan.

HESS: Stuart Symington was Secretary of the Air Force.

DRAPER: Now he's in the Senate, and taking quite a different point of view than he did then about military matters, and about the war in Vietnam, particularly.

HESS: Mr. Gordon Gray, who was later Secretary of the Army was Assistant Secretary at the time you were Under Secretary.

DRAPER: He was Assistant Secretary and so was Tracy Voorhees,

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the one I mentioned before. There were two Assistant Secretaries. And Gordon Gray later became Secretary of the Army, both of them fine people. Gordon Gray was a young captain who came to the Department after I was Under Secretary, and Tracy Voorhees had charge of food problems for the Army, and then he became Assistant Secretary. We had a fine family of officials there, all working very closely together under Mr. Royall.

HESS: What other problems did you have to deal with as Under Secretary? What other areas of the job have we not touched upon?

DRAPER: Well, there was the whole question of budget; there was the whole question of strength of the Army. I really had a full-time job running the several Army occupations. It included four (I said three before; it included Korea and Austria also). But whenever the Secretary, Mr. Royall, was on a trip or away, I was Acting Secretary and had to deal with the whole range of whatever came up at that time.

HESS: Did you see at that time that there was any likelihood of trouble in Korea as it erupted in 1950?

DRAPER: No, no. I went to Korea, went out to the dividing line between North and South Korea and checked on our

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situation there, but at that time we were still there, we hadn't pulled out. So it changed completely after I had left when it was decided to pull our troops back to Japan. That, I suppose, acted as an invitation, or at least it didn't prevent the possibility, of an invasion from the North.

HESS: Do you recall the views of the Department of the Army at the time the Secretary of State Dean Acheson made the talk, and drew the defense perimeter down the western area of the Pacific, leaving Korea out?

DRAPER: No, I was already out of the Department, and I read about it in the newspapers just like you would have done, and thought it was unfortunate, but I had no particular knowledge or comment about it at that time.

HESS: We earlier have mentioned your appointment as United States Special Representative in Europe in 1953, and you mentioned about . . .

DRAPER: '51 it was, '51 to '53.

HESS: . . . '51, and you mentioned about taking the trip to see General Eisenhower. Just what were your duties as Special Representative in Europe?

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DRAPER: NATO had been formed a short time -- two or three years before that or less. The NATO Alliance was a direct result of the Korean war in its requirement, as Dean Acheson and the rest of us saw as the need, and the other countries as well, to band together to keep the Russians from moving to the Channel; it was just as simple as that.

My duties as the U.S. member of the Council were to deal first with the defense aspects and help to build up the strength of NATO from all of the countries concerned, including our own; to embark on a program of ammunition production and arms production in Europe, which had practically disappeared from Europe; to provide the European countries with planes and ammunition and artillery to the extent necessary until their own production got underway. That was on the defense side.

On the mutual assistance side: The need was for economic assistance to permit them to carry this military burden, and to extend the recovery they were already beginning to make from the ravages of war.

On the political side, it was of vital importance to discuss not only European problems with our NATO allies, but worldwide problems, such as we had to deal with in the Pacific and with, of course, the Russians,

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and the Koreans, the United Nations' problems, because the United Nations was involved in the Korean war as well. So there were those three: The defense, the political and the economic. And Ambassador Livingston Merchant was my Ambassador on the political side; General Luke Finley was my deputy on the military side; and Paul Porter was my economic deputy. General [Frederick L.] Anderson was my overall general deputy.

The responsibilities required me to deal with twenty countries that were in Europe, and also including Canada, also a member of NATO.

HESS: Just briefly, what are your views of the current state of NATO?

DRAPER: I'm delighted that the President has now appointed a new Ambassador, the former Secretary of the Treasury, David Kennedy, and has again broadened out the duties and responsibilities of our NATO Ambassador.

After I left the job was downgraded very considerably, and has been on a much lower level ever since. I'm glad to see it reviving. He's going to, in fact, have a little higher status than I had. He'll be a member of the Cabinet as well as Ambassador and he's a Roving Ambassador as well, so he will combine trade functions,

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which I had too, but on a broader scale throughout the world. He will need, I believe, equally strong deputies if he's going to cover this wide ground.

The NATO Alliance has, in my judgment, prevented World War III. We have been losing strength on a comparative basis with the Russians in Europe and in the rest of the world. I noticed just today or yesterday that it's been reported that our aerial defenses are weak too, by the Armed Services sub-committee, but that's a tendency that is obvious from the fact that we've been involved in the Vietnam war. The Russians have gone merrily along to increase their missile strength. They're way ahead of us in missiles now. I'm told that we are building five nuclear Submarines a year and the Russians twenty. They've thrown a missile defense around Moscow. We have it only around some of our missile bases and none around Washington or around any of our other big cities, and I think the next big problem myself -- this is a personal view -- the next big problem that our President faces is to evaluate, and I'm not in any position to do that, whether or not the Russians are, as the Secretary of Defense has recently indicated, about to pass us strategically. If that is the judgment of those who know best, then we have to change direction on our defense budgets, and our research and development

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of the whole missile and defensive posture of this country. That involves NATO as well as the world. Obviously you are familiar with the fact that these recent discussions that have been going on in NATO have gotten a certain amount of agreement from the Germans to take over more of the costs and from the other NATO partners to take over some more of the defense costs, because of our big imbalance of trade.

HESS: At the time that you were in Europe as Ambassador, near the end of the Truman administration, what do you recall about the success of the Marshall plan at this point?

DRAPER: Oh, tremendous. I suppose that we have never, as a nation, done anything that at comparatively small cost was of such great benefit to the world, to Europe, and incidentally and indirectly to ourselves. It was the groundwork for their recovery. They had to do the work themselves to recover from the war. We couldn't do that, but we gave them the resources to rebuild their economy, but the result of that has so greatly increased their ability to trade with us and to produce that between us we've risen to heights that we never would have done without that fillip that came just at the right time.

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That was a great, imaginative, well-timed, and well-directed operation in the international field. One of the best this country's ever done.

HESS: Were there any other major problems that you had to handle in Europe at this time?

DRAPER: The Marshall plan didn't come . . .

HESS: That's right.

DRAPER: The Marshall plan was at the time I was in Germany, and the German picture was not directly involved in the Marshall plan except as a parallel operation, but we had to work very closely together, Mr. Harriman and Paul Hoffman and General Clay and myself, under the President's direction.

HESS: What I had reference to was any major problems, any major duties, as Special Representative in Europe that we haven't mentioned.

DRAPER: No, I was dealing with the governments of all the Western European countries, and we were having sessions and meetings and problems continuously, but it was a time of building strength and a time of great interest on the part of all governments including our own. I

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got every cooperation from Washington. I had to come back to explain things and get directions and get help regularly, either I or General Anderson. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, that two-year period.

HESS: You held that position until June of '53.

DRAPER: That's right.

HESS: In your opinion, what were President Truman's major accomplishments during his career, and what were his major failings? What went right and what went wrong?

DRAPER: I would think that he was one of our greatest Presidents, My wife thinks he's the last great American. She's a Democrat.

He really was great for one whose experience had been what it had been, haberdashery salesman, I guess originally, and then part of the machine in Missouri, the political machine, and then a Senator from Missouri. The ability that he displayed when he was faced with the responsibility of leading this country in war and then in peace, was unbelievable, and I think that historians are going to look back on President Truman as one of the greatest men we've ever had in that office. The right

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man at the right time, and one from whom the country could hardly have expected the great degree of high quality service and integrity that he displayed.

His great accomplishments: He recognized, as President Roosevelt had not, very quickly, the Russian threat, thanks probably to Ambassador Harriman and others, but he not only recognized it but then began to do something about it. He had the courage, in the face of what many would have quailed under, to take on the assistance to Greece and Turkey and flaunt the Russians, and got away with it. He had the statesmanship to see the need, under Secretary Acheson's recommendations, and General Marshall's, for both the Marshall Plan itself and later the NATO Alliance, and those are two national efforts that were very successful. The NATO Alliance was initiated by him and is still in force, and is the keystone in our whole foreign policy.

If I were to be bold enough to suggest one of his mistakes, and there were very few, I would think it was the decision not to win the Korean war. It's my own belief that the risks that we would have had to take, and they were real, possibilities that China and/or Russia would come in, as China did, were risks that could have been taken if the planning had been different, if the

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planning and the authority given to General MacArthur had included the decision to win the war, which I'm afraid was not taken, and then if the planning had been along the lines necessary to accomplish that.

I was, as a Reserve officer, a Reserve retired major general, in close touch with the General Staff in Washington during the Korean war. I was available if they needed me at any time, and I used to spend a good deal of voluntary time here, particularly with G-3, or operations. We weren't on a war footing basis. We were more so than we have been during the Vietnam war, but we were not on the kind of war footing basis that you go on if you're going to win a war. If you decide to go to war at all the only way, in my opinion, is to do everything you can to win it and as quickly as possible.

Now, General MacArthur cannot be condoned however, for what was really his failure to obey orders later. I think his recommendations were correct, and the President should have perhaps accepted them, or more of them. I know that he was at times asking for four more divisions than he got, and things like that. The ammunition was running awful short at times, and we just didn't have it, and we weren't turning our industry throughout the country over to the wartime job, which we could have done,

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and had done during the World War.

So, I believe -- and there can be differences of opinion -- that the British and perhaps the Secretary of State and others, advised him that the risks were too great, and the President took those seriously and so we fought the Korean war with one hand behind our backs. He certainly did the right thing to treat General MacArthur the way he did when the chips were down. No President can have a commander in his Army defy his instructions. That's almost what General MacArthur did, and as much as I admire General MacArthur, and I do, because what I saw him do in Japan was tremendous, and what he did in the Korean war by insisting on that outflanking action . . .

HESS: The Inchon landing.

DRAPER: Yes, and which Washington was very cold to and only acceded to because of his strong recommendations as I understand it, that was the thing that gave us a chance to win the war, but then we failed to go on.

It was too bad that General MacArthur went to the Chinese border. If he had stayed fifty miles or a hundred miles away we probably wouldn't have had the Chinese come in and we would have had a better ending to the whole thing, but we weren't really trying to carry it through.

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I'm afraid that that very fact, that we didn't win in the Korean war, led to the Vietnam war eventually, and to some of the many problems we've had since. But no one can rewrite history.

HESS: Once it's done, it's done.

DRAPER: It's done. President Truman performed a service to this country that no one can exaggerate. It's very real and he should be very happy, he and Mrs. Truman, at the tremendous service that he was able to render to his country and to the world.

HESS: General, do you have anything else to add on Mr. Truman or your service in the Truman administration?

DRAPER: I just have the greatest possible admiration and friendly feelings toward both President and Mrs. Truman. They were both always hospitable and courteous to me. The fact that I happened to be a Republican was never even mentioned. I don't know whether he even -- I guess he knew it all right -- but that had nothing to do with our relationship. There was nothing political about it. He gave me every support and backing; so did Secretary Royall. I enjoyed my service during his administration tremendously, and I have the greatest admiration. I hope

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you'll be good enough to give him my best regards and my best wishes for health for both of them.

HESS: We'll see that that is conveyed. Thank you very much, sir.

DRAPER: Thank you, sir.

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


List of Subjects Discussed
    Anderson, General Frederick L., 8

    Berlin airlift, planning of, 63-70
    Berlin blockade, 62-63
    Bevin, Ernest, 65

    Clay, General Lucius, 3, 66
    Clifford, Clark, 22
    Coal production, postwar Germany, 48-49
    Cold war, beginning of (Moscow Conference), 47
    Combustion Engineering Company, 8

    Defense budget of 1948, 17-21
    Dodge, Joseph M., 56-58
    "Draper plan" for Japan, 56
    Draper, William H., Jr.:

      Berlin airlift, planning of, 63-70
      and Ford peace expedition of 1915, 1-2
      Long Island Railroad Company, director of, 4-5
      and Marshall, General George C., 26-27
      Mexican Light and Power Company, director of, 8
      and Selective Service Act, 2
      and Soviet officials in Germany, 35-38
      and Truman, Harry S., 10, 12, 21
      Under Secretary of the Army, appointment as, 50-52

    Eisenhower, Dwight D., and population policy, 59-62

    Faure, Premiere Maurice, 7
    Ford peace expedition of 1915, 1-2
    Foreign Ministers Conference, Moscow (1946-47), 44-47
    Forrestal, James, 12-16, 18, 23

    Germany, postwar food policy in, 28-35
    Germany, postwar, and Soviet policy, 37-41

    Harriman, W. Averell, 46-47
    Hoffman, Paul, appointment as Director of ECA, 57-58
    Hoover, Calvin, 41
    Hoover, Herbert, and European food relief, 31-34

    Japan, U.S. postwar economic policy toward, 53-59
    Johnson, Louis, 24-25

    Knox, Frank, 13
    Korean war, strategy of, 83-84
    Korean war, U.S. decision to enter, 39

    Lisbon Conference of 1952, 7
    Long Island Railroad Company, 4-5

    MacArthur, General Douglas, 52-54
    MacArthur, General Douglas, dismissal of, 84-85
    Marshall, General George C., 26-27
    Marshall plan, 48, 80-82
    Morgenthau plan, 39-44
    Moscow Conference of 1946-47, 44-47
    Mutual Security Administration, 6

    North Atlantic Treaty Organization Council, 5, 77-80
    NATO, and Lisbon Conference of 1952, 7

    Patterson, Robert, 50
    Planned Parenthood Federation, 61-62
    Population Crisis Committee, 9
    Population "explosion," problem of, 59-62
    Purchasing policy, joint Army-Navy (World War II), 3

    Roosevelt, Franklin D., 10-11
    Royall, Kenneth, 49-51, 52, 73-74

    Symington, Stuart, 74

    "Three wise men," 7
    Truman, Harry S.:

      and decision-making ability, 20-21
      evaluation of, by General William Draper, 82-83, 86-87
      and Planned Parenthood Federation, 61

    Unification of Armed Forces, 14-17, 71-73
    U.N. Population Commission, 9

    Voorhees, Tracy, 31, 34, 74, 75

    Wedemeyer, General Albert C.., 62-63

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