Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Oral History Interview with
Oscar R. Ewing

Attorney, Hughes, Hubbard & Ewing, New York, New York, and predecessor firms, 1919-1947; Assistant Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, 1940-42; Vice Chairman, 1942-47; Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, 1942 and again in 1947; Acting Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, 1946; Administrator of the Federal Security Agency, 1947-53; and organizer and member of an unofficial political policy group during the Truman administration, 1947-52.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
April 30, 1969
by J. R. Fuchs

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Ewing Oral History Transcripts]

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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened July 1971
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Ewing Oral History Transcripts]

Oral History Interview with
Oscar R. Ewing

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
April 30, 1969
by J. R. Fuchs


FUCHS: Do you have something to add about the Minnesota episode?

EWING: Well, yes, as I said the merger of the two parties in Minnesota was completed just before the Democratic National Convention in 1944. After the election and after around the first of the year, Mrs. Ewing and I were at the White House for lunch with President Roosevelt and others. As we walked in, of course President Roosevelt was sitting down. As Mrs. Ewing went up to greet him, he pulled her head down so that he could whisper and I wouldn't hear, and he said to her, "Helen, your husband is a miracle man."

Naturally she was surprised and replied, "What do you mean, Mr. President?"

"Well," he said, "I have been trying to get the Democratic Party and the Farmer-Labor people in Minnesota together for the last twelve years and I got nowhere, and your husband did it in two years. He's a miracle man."

That was, of course, very nice for the President


to say. It certainly showed how appreciative he was of any help one gave him.

FUCHS: Very interesting. What else do you recall about the 1944 convention and what part did you play in that?

EWING: In the 1944 convention it was all set that Roosevelt was to be renominated for a fourth term. The real fight was over the vice-presidency. In 1940 Henry Wallace had been elected Vice President along with Mr. Roosevelt as President, and when the 1944 campaign came around Mr. Roosevelt indicated that he would again like to have Henry Wallace as the candidate for Vice President. There was a great deal of opposition to Mr. Wallace's renomination and Bob Hannegan, who was National Chairman at the time, was a strong booster for Mr. Truman. There were various other candidates, too, such as Jimmy Byrnes, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, shipbuilder Henry Kaiser and a few favorite sons. Mr. Hannegan was so busy with his activities on behalf of Mr. Truman's candidacy that he really had very little time to arrange for the convention. As a result, I as vice chairman, had to more or less arrange the program and attend to other details such as arranging


for the resolutions that had to be adopted and so forth. The mechanical details of the delegate's rooms, the convention hall and all similar things were managed by the treasurer's office. Ed Pauley was treasurer. But actually because of Mr. Hannegan's involvement in the fight for the vice-presidency I had a great deal to do with the actual running of that convention. The way things went I had to make sure that all necessary material was with the platform committee, as an example of what I'm talking about. Then there were some matters that were bitterly controversial and it was necessary to appear before one committee or the other, so that the committee members would know what was the administration's position on the contested issues.

FUCHS: Do you remember any of these specifically?

EWING: Well, as I recall, there was the matter of the seating of the delegation from South Carolina. An all white delegation had been certified by the state authorities and there was a Negro delegation which was contesting the action of the state authorities. There were similar matters, for instance, a similar contest


regarding the Mississippi delegation.


EWING: There was nothing of earth shaking importance. These were just routine details.

FUCHS: Had you come in touch with Mr. Truman other than the incident that you related yesterday regarding the speeches by Stark and then your appearance before the Truman Committee? Had you come in touch with him in any other way during this period from the 1940 campaign of his up to 194 4?

EWING: Well, there had been various social how-do-you-dos. But I don't recall anything special. We had, however, got to know each other fairly well. One thing I remember distinctly. During the 1944 convention, in Chicago the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee were in the Stevens Hotel and I had an office there. One day, I think perhaps the first or second day of the convention, Senator Truman and Senator Tunnell of Delaware came into my office. Senator Truman said to me, "Oscar, some of my friends are trying to nominate me for Vice President and I do not want it. If there's anything you can do to prevent them from


doing it I would appreciate your help. I want to stay in the Senate, I don't want to run for Vice President."

I replied, "Well, Senator, I don't know whether I can do much, but I'm glad you told me what your desires are. "

And that was all, because I did speak to Bob Hannegan and told him what Senator Truman had said. Mr. Hannegan was all hot and bothered about getting the nomination for Senator Truman, so he paid no attention to anything I said, and I knew he wouldn't.

FUCHS: Did you talk to Hannegan about this before Truman's call?

EWING: Oh, yes. He was full of it. Every time I would see him he would say something about it. And Ed Pauley, who was treasurer of the National Committee, he was just as enthusiastic for Truman for Vice President as Bob Hannegan was.

FUCHS: Why do you think that they were so enthusiastic for Truman?

EWING: Well, number one, I think they felt that Henry Wallace would not be a good candidate and you can't beat somebody


with nobody. They believed that, all things considered, Senator Truman was the best man for the job. Of course, Mr. Hannegan took the lead because he had been prominent in Missouri politics and his support of Truman in the 1940 primary when the latter was running against Governor Stark for the Democratic senatorial nomination contributed much towards Truman's victory. It was therefore, quite natural for him to take the lead in trying to get the vice-presidential nomination for someone from his own state. Mr. Pauley, I think, was genuinely fond of Truman and very sincerely thought that he was the best man that could be got for the nomination.

FUCHS: I wonder how Pauley became acquainted with Mr. Truman, how he became so enamored with Mr. Truman?

EWING: I am not sure that I know. Pauley knew every angle of the petroleum business and rendered invaluable assistance to our Government on petroleum problems from about the time World War II began in Europe. This kept him in Washington much of the time and I imagine he got to know Senator Truman during this period. Anyone who got to know Truman could not help but like and admire him.

FUCHS: Do you recall attending any meeting in which they


were planning their strategy to get Truman the nomination?

EWING: Not particularly. You see, we were there in headquarters and I might be asked to sit in on the discussion of some problem or might have casual talks in the hall but actually I was so busy with the details of the convention that I had little time to devote to who would be nominated for Vice President.

FUCHS: You didn't attend any in the months prior to the convention, say starting in January 1944 on through when Hannegan, Pauley and some of the others were conspiring to do this?

EWING: Yes, I am sure I did but I do not recall any specific sessions. In any event, I wouldn't call it a conspiracy.

FUCHS: Well, it wasn't a conspiracy, a poor choice of words.

EWING: On the planning you mean. I don't recall. I have a feeling there were one or two but I don't remember any details. We're talking about things that happened twenty-five years ago.


FUCHS: Yes, it's very difficult. Did you have any intimate knowledge of the call that Mr. Roosevelt was supposed to have put through to Hannegan which Mr. Truman was supposed to have overheard, in which he asked Mr. Truman to run and Hannegan said that Mr. Truman was against it and Mr. Roosevelt was supposed to have said, "Well, all right, if he wants to wreck the Democratic Party they can always make excuses." Did you ever talk about that with Mr. Hannegan? The reason I ask is that there are several different stories about it as to whether Mr. Truman actually talked with Mr. Roosevelt or whether he just overheard this.

EWING: Well, I'm not sure that I have an accurate recollection of just what happened. I was very busy on the details of the convention and I wasn't deeply involved in the vice-presidential nomination. In fact I would say that most of what I know of those details was accidentally acquired. But there was a great deal of talk at the National Committee's headquarters obviously. If my memory is right, the President was passing through Chicago on his way to San Diego. Before he had left Washington, I think Mr. Hannegan had had a talk with him and I think the President still indicated he preferred Mr. Wallace. His


train was to go through Chicago at the time the convention was in session or just a day or two before. The President did not leave the train and I think it was in the course of that conversation that the President told Mr. Hannegan that if he were a delegate he would vote for Henry Wallace but that if the convention felt otherwise he would accept either Senator Truman, or Bill Douglas. Is that right?

FUCHS: That's right.

EWING: And that was the word with which Mr. Hannegan came back from that train talk with President Roosevelt. And then he and the people who were working with him for Mr. Truman felt that they had the permission of the President to nominate, in addition to Wallace, either Senator Truman or Mr. Justice Douglas. This gave a great lift to activities for Senator Truman. The labor people were very active at this time and I had been in close touch with the labor people right along. I recall that Sidney Hillman asked me to arrange for him and some of the other labor people to have breakfast with Mr. Hannegan, and I may also say that I think this took place a day or two before Hannegan's talk with


the President to which I just referred. At that time the labor people were pushing very hard for Henry Wallace. As I understood it, Mr. Hillman wanted to talk with Mr. Hannegan and express labor's views in the hope that he would stop urging Senator Truman so strongly and go along with the nomination of Vice President Wallace. Of course, I'm sure that Mr. Hannegan at the breakfast still maintained his position and I got the impression that the labor people were very unhappy about that.

FUCHS: You didn't attend the breakfast?


FUCHS: Was this at the Stevens, the breakfast?

EWING: I think it was. It could have been at the Palmer House or someplace else. I've just completely forgotten where they did hold that. I know I did not attend, but Mr. Hillman did afterwards express his disappointment that he hadn't made more of an impression on Mr. Hannegan.

FUCHS: Did you have any contact with Jimmy Brynes at this time who, as you know, had aspirations?


EWING: No, I did not. I did not. I always had a very high opinion of Mr. Byrnes, Governor Byrnes, Senator Byrnes, Mr. Justice Byrnes and still do. I think he had been encouraged by Mr. Roosevelt to seek the vice presidency after the President had begun to have doubts about Henry Wallace as a candidate. The labor people were dead opposed to Byrnes and still wanted Wallace but had indicated that if it could not be Wallace they would take Truman.

I well remember the Thursday night of the convention. President Roosevelt had been renominated and had accepted the nomination by radio. All the galleries had been packed by Wallace followers. At the conclusion of the President's acceptance speech there was a tremendous demonstration which soon turned with great shouts for Wallace and demands that the convention proceed with the nomination of the vice presidential candidate. The tumult was so great that Senator Samuel Jackson, of Indiana, the Permanent Chairman, warned the crowd that they were packing the aisles until it was becoming dangerous. I realized that if the convention remained in session it might very well nominate Henry Wallace. So I went to Chairman Jackson and said, "Senator,


you've got to adjourn this convention tonight and let the nomination go over until tomorrow."

He shouted back, "Why, I can't. There's too much noise here to even put a motion."

I said, "Well, now listen, I'll go down on the floor and find Dave Lawrence," who was Mayor of Pittsburgh and chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation. "I'll ask Dave to make a motion to adjourn. No matter how much noise there is you recognize Dave and put the motion, declare it adopted and walk off the platform. Nobody can stop you, and everybody will soon walk out."

In this way we got the convention adjourned until the next morning and Senator Truman was nominated on the second ballot.

FUCHS: Do you recall anything then that occurred after Mr. Truman received the nomination? I mean there in Chicago?

EWING: No, I don't. No, I don't. I know later, and I'm not sure how much later, but the labor leaders came around to me and told me how they were for Truman all the time.

FUCHS: How did your duties as vice chairman differ from--


besides managing the convention--from those you had as assistant chairman?

EWING: Not at all.

FUCHS: Was there more than one vice chairman at this time?

EWING: Yes, but they were completely inactive. Frank Hague, as I recall, was a vice chairman; then the head of the Women's Division was a vice chairman, Mrs. Tillett. Whether there were any others I do not recall but I'm sure that Mrs. Tillet and I were the only two that were active.

FUCHS: What part did you play in the campaign?

EWING: Well, I made a number of speeches and rode on the President's train on one speaking trip. Things would come up in one state or another where someone from the National Committee was needed to do something. I don't remember any specific things. I was just, more or less, a trouble-shooter.

FUCHS: What do you recall of the years from November 1944, say, up until the time you became Federal Security Administrator in August of 1947, almost three years there?


EWING: Well, I recall nothing in particular. With the end of the war in late 1945 I'd finished my work as counsel for the Aluminum Company of America in Washington and went back to full time with my law firm in New York. I was still able to do chores for the National Committee. Bob Hannegan was still National Chairman. After President Roosevelt died and Mr. Truman became President, there were gradually a number of changes in the Cabinet. In one of these changes Mr. Hannegan was made Postmaster General.

FUCHS: Didn't you serve as acting chairman in 1946 when Mr. Hannegan had a serious illness?


FUCHS: Do you recall anything of that--anything that came up then or any problems you had? Any appointments that you were consulted about?

EWING: Well, no, there were a lot of routine appointments that went through the National Committee all the time, and Mr. Truman was very punctilious about getting the opinion of the National Committee on practically all


appointments. I don't think this applies to Cabinet appointments or things like that which were quite personal, but routine appointments such as United States Attorneys and judges, postmasters, etc. I think it was after Mr. Truman took office that Attorney General Biddle resigned and Tom Clark was made Attorney General.

FUCHS: How did you view that appointment?

EWING: Oh, I thought it very good and it certainly proved so. He had the pleasure of seeing his own son made Attorney General by President Johnson, and to me Ramsey Clark made a great Attorney General.

FUCHS: Did you approve of the Supreme Court appointment for Clark?

EWING: Oh, yes, I thought it was fine. Tom Clark was a good lawyer and made a splendid Supreme Court Justice.

FUCHS: Did you feel that they were nominating a future President when Mr. Truman was nominated for Vice President?

EWING: Well, I was very concerned about Mr. Roosevelt's


health. I had had an experience that had given me a warning about that. During a Presidential campaign, as you know, it is customary for the Democratic candidate for President to go to New York the Thursday before the election, and make a trip around through the five boroughs, ending up at Madison Square Garden for a rally and a major speech. In the 1944 campaign, President Roosevelt's train arrived in Jersey City early that morning and was ferried over to the Brooklyn Navy Yard where he got off of his train and the motorcade around the five boroughs started. I was in the motorcade in the car directly behind the President along with Steve Early, the President's Press Secretary, and Admiral Ross McIntire, who was the President's. physician. During the trip around the boroughs an incident happened that involved a joke on Admiral McIntire. Late in the afternoon the cavalcade ended down in Washington Square in New York where Mrs. Roosevelt had an apartment at the time. Steve Early could hardly wait to tell the President this joke on Admiral McIntire. A couple of months later on the very day the President started for Yalta, at noon he had a luncheon for the campaign workers at the Democratic National Committee.


Mrs. Ewing and I sat at the President's table and I reminded him of this episode with Admiral McIntire and he didn't recall it. I was sure Steve Early had told him about it and I knew that it was an event that he would normally remember as the President greatly enjoyed jokes on members of his staff. His failure to remember this joke on Steve was a tip to me that he was not his old self. Afterwards, after President Roosevelt's death, Admiral Swanson, who was Surgeon General of the Navy and had accompanied the President to Yalta told me how sick Roosevelt was on that trip.

FUCHS: Where were you when Roosevelt died?

EWING: I think I was in Washington. I am sure I was, because I attended the funeral ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

FUCHS: You went back to New York at the end of 1945?

EWING: Yes. I went back to my old firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Ewing and was there all of 1946 and until August 1947 when I was appointed Federal Security Administrator.

FUCHS: I have a copy of a telegram here that was addressed


to you, at Indian Road, Fieldstone, New York 63, New York, by J. Donald Kingsley. It's dated January 3, 1947, and it reads:

All members of our group including Clifford and Connelly can meet Thursday night January 9. I have therefore set up our meeting for that time. Letter follows.

Recall what that would have been as early as January 1947?

EWING: Oh, yes. The 1946 election had turned out very badly for the Democrats. We lost control of both the House and the Senate and naturally that was a slap at the President. President Truman had been in office since, I think, May of '45 when President Roosevelt died. Some time after President Truman took office, I went up to New York with him. He was to speak up there and we rode in from the airport to the hotel. He rode in an open car and sat on the top of the back seat. As we drove through the streets no one seemed to pay the slightest attention to the President. That concerned me greatly because if it had been Roosevelt the streets would have been blocked. But this was characteristic of the attitude all over the country towards President Truman at that time. He was not given credit for the qualities he had. He was following an outstanding


President with great popular appeal, and was compared to Roosevelt to his, Truman's, disadvantage. The public at that time had more or less the attitude that they would endure Truman because they had to. This, taken with the loss of the House and the Senate in '46, worried me very much and I felt something had to be done about it.

At this time I was Acting Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The loss of Congress had so upset Bob Hannegan, who had high blood pressure anyhow, that he nearly had a breakdown. He went to Florida for about six months to try to get his strength back. It was during that time that I was the Acting Chairman. It seemed to me that we had to do something that would create a better image of President Truman.

In my gropings for what might be done I remembered an experience that I had had in the 1940 campaign. President Roosevelt had come up to New York to make a talk and he had brought a group of newspapermen along with him, in fact a whole trainload I think. After the President's speech they all rushed down to the Pennsylvania Station to take the train back to Washington. It seems that when the newspapermen, who were headed by


Steve Early, attempted to go down to the train the gates were closed and the police would let no one through. Well, Steve was a hot-headed Virginian, very able, I'm not criticizing him at all; but he was hot-headed, and he got angry. A Negro policeman was on duty at the gate they were supposed to use and Steve got into an argument with the officer and kneed him. Well, that caused the greatest furor that you can imagine. The Republican papers took it up from one end of the country to the other, and you'd almost think that Roosevelt himself had assaulted the policeman from the furor that they raised.

About a week after that, Ed Flynn, who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee at that time, called me into his office and asked me to have lunch with him alone. He started off by saying, "Jack, I'm terribly worried about this Steve Early matter. If it had been anybody except a secretary of the President, the man who kicked that policeman would have been in jail. Steve was completely wrong in what he did and it is hurting Roosevelt. I have told Roosevelt that he's got to fire Steve Early."

I said, "Oh, Ed, great goodness, I'm afraid that will make this matter worse instead of better."


"No," replied Mr. Flynn, "we're being put in the position of defending a wrongdoer. That's an untenable position and we shouldn't permit it. Steve Early should get out of the way and not hurt Roosevelt's campaign."

We talked along a little longer and then Charlie Michelson came in. He was head of the Publicity Department of the Democratic National Committee, and had a telegram from Chicago saying that Willkie had cancelled all of his speaking itinerary in that part of the country and was returning to New York where he would speak in Harlem the following night, Philadelphia the next night, and Pittsburgh the next night, Akron the next night, Detroit the next night, and then in Chicago again. Well, this news disturbed Mr. Flynn even more.

FUCHS: What was the significance of this change of itinerary?

EWING: He was coming back to speak in the Negro areas of those cities. The three of us talked along a little further and suddenly a thought occurred to me and I said, "Ed, have you had the views of our Negro leaders up in Harlem?"

"No," he said, "that's a good idea. Get some of them in here this afternoon. Let's see what they think."


By then it was two o'clock I suppose, and I was able to reach two of the leaders in Harlem by telephone. They were the only ones I could contact on such short notice, Herbert Bruce and Danny Burroughs. They said they would be at my office at four o'clock. When they arrived we started discussing the problem immediately. Mr. Bruce and Mr. Burroughs told me that they really did not know how their people felt about Steve's mixup with the Negro policeman. Both men told me they had had their captains in the night before and tried to find out what their people were thinking, but about the only answer they got was that people were saying nothing. This troubled Mr. Burroughs and Mr. Bruce because they said that when the Negro wasn't saying anything it was ominous. After considerable discussion Mr. Bruce spoke up and said, "Mr. Ewing, I happen to know that policeman pretty well. If you'd like to get a statement from him, I think I can arrange it."

"Oh," I answered, "that would be wonderful, please do it."

"Well," he said, "you dictate the statement you want him to make."

So we got a secretary in and dictated a statement.


We tried to make it as near as we could to what the policeman might say. One sentence was: "The Republicans are trying to make a political football out of me." When we got the statement written Mr. Bruce left to try to contact the policeman. About eight o'clock that night he called in and said he'd seen the policeman. The policeman was perfectly willing to sign the statement, but he was under strict orders from the police department to sign no statement and give no statement to anyone. This obviously meant that we would have to get approval of the police department. So I telephoned Dave Niles. Dave Niles was one of President Roosevelt's secretaries who had taken time off to act as liaison officer between the Norris-La Guardia Committee (which was to help in re-electing President Roosevelt) and the Democratic National Committee. I asked Dave if he would contact Mayor La Guardia and ask him to arrange for the policeman to sign the statement. Dave called back in a few minutes to say that Mayor La Guardia had made a speech that noon in Detroit and was now on the train, on the Detroiter, returning to New York. He was to arrive at Grand Central Station at eight o'clock the next morning. I, therefore, asked Mr. Niles if he would be good enough


to meet the train and try to clear the matter with Mayor La Guardia early the next morning. Dave said he would.

Next morning I was down in my office early, before eight o'clock, and shortly after that time the telephone rang. It was the Mayor and he said, "Mr. Ewing, I understand you have a statement you want that policeman to sign."

And I said, "Yes, Mr. Mayor."

"Well," he continued, "Mr. Ewing, I'm going to be at 1234 Broadway at 9:26 this morning, and I don't mean 9:25 and I don't mean 9:27, I mean 9:26, and I want you to have someone there with the statement so that I can go over it first."

I said, "I'll have someone there, Mayor."

So, I did. About 9:30 I had a telephone call and it was the Mayor. "Oh, Mr. Ewing," he exclaimed, "that's a wonderful statement. It's fine, I'll see that it's issuance is authorized." Then he asked, "How do you plan to put it out?"

"Well," I said, "we were hoping that the Police Department could put it out because we don't think it would look so good for the Democratic National Committee


to be issuing it."

He answered, "Good! I'll take care of that."

The next thing I knew, oh, it was about half past one, Police Commissioner Valentine called me and said, "Mr. Ewing, I've got this statement that you want this policeman to make but we can't put this statement out. "

I asked, "What's the trouble Commissioner?"

"Why," he replied, "it's political and we don't want to get into politics and we just can't do it."

I said, "Well, how is it political, Commissioner?"

"Why," he answered, "you have that sentence in there that 'Those Republicans are trying to make a political football out of me.' If you take that sentence out we'll be glad to put the statement out."

"Well," I said, "Commissioner, the Mayor went over that statement and he called me back to talk about how it should be put out and he said, 'Don't let anyone change a word of that statement. It's perfect as it is.'" I said, "If you can get the Mayor's consent to eliminate that sentence it's perfectly all right with me."

He says, "Oh, hell, I'll put it out."


This experience had a lesson for me, because when election day came, Roosevelt carried those Harlem districts thirteen, sixteen to one. Now, the Negro up there couldn't tell their captains anything, they were inarticulate, but all they knew deep in their heart was that Roosevelt was pitching on their team; and that's the greatest asset a politician can have. So, the memory of all this came back to me when I was trying to think, in early 1947, of some line of action that would make great masses of voters feel that Mr. Truman "was pitching on their team." I decided to get a group together and see if we could think of things to do that might create this feeling. I got the Secretary of Agriculture, Charles Brannan; Leon Keyserling, who was a member of the Board of Economic Advisors; Dave Morse, who was Under Secretary of Labor; Jebbie Davidson who was Under Secretary of the Interior; Clark Clifford who was the President's personal counsel; Wayne Coy who, I think at that time was a special assistant to the President in the White House.

FUCHS: Now this letter was from J. Donald Kingsley. Was he included in that?


EWING: Yes. Don Kingsley was my Assistant Federal Security Administrator.

FUCHS: Now, was that later on or was that as early as January '47? I was wondering if this group started as early as January of '47 or if this letter could have been...

EWING: No, this group was started before I was appointed Federal Security Administrator. Several months before I started the group in my capacity as Acting Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

FUCHS: Kingsley was then in the White House, apparently.

EWING: I think that that's right.

FUCHS: This is a White House letterhead.

EWING: That's right.

FUCHS: Had you been a friend of Kingsley's for some time?

EWING: Yes, he was more a friend of my older son, Jim, but I had met Kingsley through Jim and had a very high opinion of him and particularly his political


acumen. When I became Federal Security Administrator I asked him to become Assistant Administrator, and he did. But that must have been just about when the group was getting started.

FUCHS: Who made the selection of these members?

EWING: I think I did very largely, in fact I know I did, but it was in consultation with Kingsley and others.

FUCHS: Who did you first propose the idea to? Do you recall?

EWING: Well, it may have been Kingsley, I'm not sure. It may have been my son, Jim. I'm not sure.

FUCHS: Matt Connelly was included in the original group?

EWING: I asked Matt, originally, to join us and he came to one meeting, and right away said to me, "Clark Clifford is the one from the White House who should be in that group." I don't think Matt attended a meeting after that.

FUCHS: Connelly has been accorded by some students to have been rather astute politically. Would you corroborate


on that or not?

EWING: Oh, yes, oh, yes. He was of great value to the President. He was Appointments Secretary and to see the President you had to go through Connelly. He had a very keen ability to let the people see the President who ought to see him and keep out those who just use up the President's time.

FUCHS: Did he go into the President's office much when Mr. Truman had someone there with him or did he just always remain outside at his desk.

EWING: Oh, I think he practically always remained outside unless the conference was about something in which Matt was already involved. He never intruded. For instance, sometimes when I'd see the President, I might ask Matt to sit in because it was to be something that I wanted him to know about. But he certainly never intruded.

FUCHS: You think that he felt that one, or maybe two, if Kingsley was going to be there as well as Clifford, was a sufficient number from the White House that he


didn't feel that he could add anything?

EWING: No, I don't think it was that. I think he felt that Clark Clifford, who was counsel to the President, was really more involved than he was with policy matters, and that of all people in the White House Clark Clifford would be the best liaison between our group and the President.

FUCHS: So, how did this group develop then?

EWING: Well, we met at my apartment in the Wardman Park every Monday night. We would meet at six o'clock for dinner, my secretary would call all the members beforehand to find out if they were coming and what they would like for dinner. She would put the order in during the day and the food would be all ready when we got there. As soon as we finished eating we would discuss various things that we thought might help the President politically.

FUCHS: Did you tell him of this when you started?

EWING: Oh, yes.

FUCHS: Did you ask him if it was permissible?


EWING: Yes. The President knew all the time what was going on. After we got started Clark Clifford carried on most of the liaison work between our group and the President. But every so often it would be more appropriate for someone else to discuss a particular matter with the President, for example, Charlie Brannan if it was something to do with agriculture. Later on when I became Federal Security Administrator, if it was something in my bailiwick, why, I would take it up with the President. But if the subject was something general Clark would be the one who would talk to the President about it. For instance, things involving the military, Clark would handle that. That was clear out of my field.

One of the matters that we took up involved civil rights. The Civil Rights Commission had brought out their report and they had made quite a number of suggestions for action by the Government. We had all read the report and some one had the idea that there were many recommendations in the report that would require legislation, but that there were a great many others that the President could make effective by Executive order. Whoever it was that brought this up


went on to suggest that we advise the President to actually proceed to issue such orders. The President took that advice and did it. For instance, the report recommended abolishing all segregation in the armed services. As Commander in Chief the President could order this. I remember working with Clark Clifford and Secretary Forrestal in the preparation of that order. Finally we got it in shape as far as the President and we were concerned. Secretary Forrestal suggested that before it was issued it ought to be cleared with the heads of the three services, that is the Army, the Navy, and the Air Service. Secretary Forrestal said when we were discussing this that he was perfectly sure that the order would be satisfactory to John Sullivan, who was at that time Secretary of the Navy; he was also sure it would be satisfactory to Stuart Symington who was the Secretary of the Air Service. He was a little concerned about Secretary Royall, who was Secretary of the Army, and he turned to me and said, "Jack, you know Secretary Royall well, would you mind clearing this with him?"

I said, "No. I'll be glad to."

And I did. I called Secretary Royall up for an


appointment and then went over to his office. He read over the draft order once, then he read it over again, and then turned to me and said, "Jack, you can tell the President that this order is entirely agreeable to me. Not only will the Army go along but we will do so enthusiastically." As an afterthought I could not understand why the Secretary of Defense should ask me to clear something with one of his subordinates, and I don't know to this day why it was. But that's what happened.

FUCHS: What were your thoughts about Secretary Forrestal at that time?

EWING: Well, I admired him very much, very much. I did not know him in New York, but I got to know him quite well in Washington and I thought very highly of him. I think he was the Under Secretary of the Navy when I first got to know him. It was after the Allies had crossed over from Africa to Sicily and were beginning to move up the Italian peninsula, and the question arose as to what kind of civil government should be established behind the army as it moved further up the Italian peninsula. Dean Acheson was Under Secretary of


State at that time. Shortly after the middle of 1943, Mr. Acheson and Mr. Forrestal came over to see me at my hotel and asked me if I would consider the appointment as, I think they were going to call it Governor General of Italy or something of that kind, but anyhow it would be to head the civil government behind the army as it moved on north. I told them that this was not a post that would interest me. I did not speak Italian, although Mrs. Ewing spoke it fluently; but I just did not feel that this was a job that I could do well and I preferred not to be considered.

FUCHS: Do you recall who was given the appointment?

EWING: Yes, Charley Poletti, who had been governor of New York. He was lieutenant governor and when Governor Lehman resigned to become head of UNRAA, Mr. Poletti became governor of New York. It was an excellent appointment. Governor Poletti spoke Italian and could understand the nuances of what went on much better than I could.

FUCHS: You said your group would have dinner. Did you generally eat first?


EWING: Yes, that would be purely social and we didn't start business until after we had eaten. Then we'd talk till sometimes pretty late, half past eleven, twelve.

FUCHS: Did you have a prepared agenda?

EWING: No. What would happen during the week was that each member of the group would be on the lookout for something that should be discussed and, at the meeting, the subject would be brought up and considered. Sometimes it would be an idea that we couldn't do anything about and we'd drop that subject. Someone else would always be ready with another subject for discussion. We never lacked for matters to consider.

FUCHS: Was the press aware of this?

EWING: I think there were times when the press got wind of our activities, because I've seen where some columnist would make a reference to them; but we were very careful not to let anything get out to the press and that's why no notes were kept, no minutes or anything else.

FUCHS: No records at all were kept of this.

EWING: No. The only record I think is the one my secretary


kept of who was coming to a meeting so she could order dinner for the group.

FUCHS: One writer, Cabell Phillips I believe, has said that this group disbanded after the 1948 election?

EWING: No. That is not correct. We kept on practically until Governor Stevenson's nomination in 1952. Obviously there wasn't much for us to do after that because he was running the show. I think he was very reluctant to associate himself with what we might be doing because, as you remember, at the end of President Truman's term, his popularity had sunk considerably and I think Governor Stevenson felt that it would be wise to stay a little aloof from him.

FUCHS: Could you succinctly, but not too briefly, state your concept of the function of this policy committee?

EWING: Yes. In organizing the group it was my idea that we should try to develop a pattern of things for the President to do that would convince the various groups of voters that President Truman was pitching on their team, just as those Harlem Negroes felt towards President Roosevelt in 1940. For instance, one of the early subjects


that we considered was whether or not President Truman should veto the Taft-Hartley Bill. He was under great pressure from the leaders in Congress and I think from all of his Cabinet, except the Secretary of Labor, to go along with that bill and approve it. Our group, after discussing it, felt very strongly that it was unwise for him to approve the bill. We argued that labor was very much opposed to it, that the chances were the bill would be passed over his veto anyhow and thus become law so that he would lose nothing by the veto. Our view finally prevailed and the President vetoed the bill. Congress promptly overrode the veto but Truman had greatly increased his popularity with labor thereby.

FUCHS: It might be important if you recall anyone who opposed the veto, or what was the situation in the White House as you might have known it--people outside the group. Who was advocating it if any?

EWING: Well, I think all of the Cabinet were opposed to the veto except the Secretary of Labor, and the leaders in Congress were urging the President to approve the bill such as Speaker Rayburn and the Democratic Majority Leader John McCormack.


FUCHS: What about John R. Steelman?

EWING: I don't recall what if any position he might have had on it, because John was not in our group but he would have been very much in favor of anything he thought would help the President. He was very loyal to the President.

FUCHS: Was there anyone in your group that favored signing it or who played the devil's advocate particularly?

EWING: Well, I'm sure the arguments in favor of the President signing the bill were weighed. I don't recall that any one person pressed them. If an argument occurred to any one of us which he thought should be considered he would bring it up simply to be sure that all angles were discussed.

FUCHS: Did you generally just arrive at a consensus or did you take a vote?

EWING: No, there would always be a consensus on any action that was recommended. I don't recall that in a final showdown if anyone ever dissented from a conclusion of the group. The last thing we'd do was to decide who would take the matter up with the President. And as I


said, it was generally Clark Clifford, but if the subject was in someone else's field, why, he would be asked to discuss the matter with the President.

FUCHS: Did Charley Murphy, as assistant to Clifford in Clifford's office, attend any of these meetings?

EWING: At first, he did occasionally. Clark would ask Charley to attend if for some reason he, Clark, could not. But when Clark resigned as counsel to the President, Charley Murphy took his place and he was regularly in attendance from then on. I think Clark attended some meetings also even after he had resigned as counsel to the President.

FUCHS: There is a memorandum which has received considerable notice by scholars lately, I believe that it was first, to my knowledge, mentioned by Cabel1 Phillips in his book on Mr. Truman's presidency, and then subsequently has been mentioned by Irwin Ross and Arthur Krock, to the effect that Clark Clifford wrote this memorandum of November 19, 1947 outlining the strategy for the campaign. Are you aware of this memorandum?



FUCHS: Would you comment on the authorship of that and what you know about that.

EWING: I think Clark wrote that, as far as I know, himself. I'm sure I wasn't involved in it in any way, although much of its contents had been discussed in our group. Clark didn't have to have the approval of our group to write that memorandum; he was free to send any memorandum to the President. I know some of the things that were in that memorandum had been discussed in our group. It was a very, very able piece of work and very prophetic as to what might happen.

FUCHS: Did you see the memorandum prior to the election?


FUCHS: Did you know that it had been written?

EWING: No. Clark may have told me about it. I tried to think of that, but my best answer would be that I did not know about it. It's so hard after all these years to know just when you found out something. But I know that when I saw these recent references to it my mind


was a perfect blank. I did recall, when I read it over, various things that I knew we had discussed in our group. But what, if any knowledge I had of the memorandum at the time, I just draw a blank.

FUCHS: So then, the next question is whether Mr. Truman had ever mentioned it, but obviously you recall nothing about it.

EWING: Oh, he never mentioned it to me.

FUCHS: When this group started you were still residing in New York, you had gone back to New York?


FUCHS: But you kept this apartment in the Wardman Park ever since your...

EWING: No, when I terminated my work with the Aluminum Company of America in Washington at the end of '45 I gave up the apartment in the Carlton Hotel. It was after I became Federal Security Administrator in August of 1947 that Mrs. Ewing and I took an apartment in the Wardman Park.

FUCHS: Well, if this group started to meet in early 1947,


where were you meeting then?

EWING: Well, I dare say that I just went down to Washington and got a suite at the Carlton. That must have been it. Iím sure that's what it was, because that's where I always stayed in Washington.

FUCHS: Do you recall any other particular matters, such as you already have on Taft-Hartley and civil rights, that this group considered prior to the nomination and the election?

EWING: Well, at one time or another I believe we discussed every issue that arose between January 1947 and the middle of 1952. Among these were national health insurance, national fair employment legislation, unification of the armed services, massive housing legislation, overhaul of existing labor legislation. Other issues were also discussed but I do not recall them now. On the whole I believe the group's deliberations and recommendations contributed substantially to President Truman's re-election in 1948. Clark Clifford wrote me a congratulatory note on my 70th birthday in which he refers to the work of the policy group. This letter is as follows:


February 1959

Dear Oscar:

I am delighted to be even a small part in the celebration of your seventieth birthday. It must be tremendously gratifying to you to look back over those seventy years and realize what a unique contribution you have made to your friends, your party and your country.

If I had to select the outstanding service you have rendered in your notable career, I would choose the contribution you made to the Truman Administration as the organizer and leader of the policy group that played such an important part in those exciting years. The influence you had on the men around President Truman was of inestimable value to him and will be remembered always by all of us.

You have my best wishes for many more fruitful years and my affectionate regards.

Faithfully yours,

(signed) Clark M. Clifford

FUCHS: Did you take part in the speechwriting, say for instance the President's civil rights message of February 1948?

EWING: Well, I did work on some messages, Not a great deal. I worked on his campaign speeches in 1948. I would answer your question by saying that I'm sure I took part occasionally in some message that would be dealing with subjects within my bailiwick in the Federal


Security Agency, but I don't recall any one of them specifically.

FUCHS: How did your appointment as Federal Security Administrator come about?

EWING: Well, Bob Hannegan had been close to Mr. Truman politically for many years. In Mr. Truman's campaign for re-election to the Senate in 1940, Bob had rendered important aid at a very critical time. Furthermore, Bob had headed the fight to get Mr. Truman the Vice Presidential nomination in 1944. After Mr. Truman became President, Hannegan, as Democratic National Committee Chairman and Postmaster General, occupied a very influential position. He was particularly anxious to have the new President surrounded by people who would be completely loyal to the President.

I remember the night before President Roosevelt's funeral. Bob Hannegan and I were together in Flynn's hotel room. We all agreed that the most important thing that Mr. Truman as President could do was to surround himself first of all with people who were loyal to him. Hannegan carried that message to Mr. Truman and there was a gradual shift of personnel


surrounding the President. Of course, Mr. Truman at first asked all the Cabinet to remain but gradually he moved them out and got his own people installed. That's absolutely essential for a President to do. Any contrary practice is ruinous. A President has got to have people who are loyal to him or they will cut his throat. In 1947 Mr. Hannegan urged Mr. Truman to appoint me Federal Security Administrator. I'm sure it was primarily as a result of Mr. Hannegan's activities that I was appointed.

FUCHS: Why was the then Federal Security Administrator, who had succeeded, I believe Paul McNutt, who was the original one, why was he leaving?

EWING: That I don't know. The President gave him another position.

FUCHS: This was...

EWING: Watson Miller. I forget what job he was given.

FUCHS: I believe he became Commissioner of Immigration.

EWING: No, it wasn't that but it was something like that.

FUCHS: You know of no other reasons why Watson Miller was


given another position and room made for you in FSA?

EWING: No, what I think the President had in mind was this: The Federal Security Agency was politically a very sensitive position. Its activities affected every man, woman and child in the United States, and the President wanted someone heading the Agency who would be alive to the political consequences of what might be done. Watson Miller was a perfectly grand person but he did not have that particular quality.

FUCHS: On the policy group again, did you deal in foreign affairs. Did you discuss foreign affairs at all?

EWING: No, not the policy group. I got involved very much in one phase of foreign affairs.

FUCHS: But not at this time?


FUCHS: On the 13th of August 1947 you wrote the President and said that you had just talked with Tom Clark on the telephone and that he had told you that all preliminaries were arranged, and that Mr. Truman was ready to announce your appointment as Federal Security


Administrator when you were next in Washington. I wonder why this came through Tom Clark. In the same letter, I might mention, you also noted that: "The position gives me an unique chance to help politically; but I know that first and foremost I can help most by doing a bang-up job with the agency--and I promise to do this." Do you care to comment on how Tom Clark came into this. I believe you have already gone over the political angle. Another letter of the same date written to John Steelman says that Tom Clark had just told you that Steelman had all the preliminaries arranged in regard to the appointment.

EWING: I had completely forgotten those letters but seeing them brings back that I had just previous to that time of August of 1947 finished the prosecution of Douglas Chandler in Boston for treason.

FUCHS: What was that case?

EWING: Tom Clark was Attorney General at the time and he had appointed me Special Assistant to the Attorney General to prosecute that case. Mr. Clark was a great friend of Bob Hannegan's, and this would indicate that


he knew what was going on in regard to my possible appointment. John Steelman as Assistant to the President, I remember, he was the man that the President had asked to get things straightened out with Watson Miller. Apparently that's why I wrote to him. That's the way he was involved, in any event.

FUCHS: I see. Would you care to go over the prosecution of Douglas Chandler? I think that that would be interesting, how you happened to come into that.

EWING: Yes. I've already told about working on the prosecution of William Dudley Pelley for sedition out in Indianapolis in 1942. That prosecution necessitated my making a study of Nazi propaganda. As a result of that study, I got the idea that we ought to prosecute those American citizens who were broadcasting Nazi propaganda and Fascist propaganda from abroad. So, I went to Attorney General Francis Biddle and suggested that these broadcasters be indicted for treason. He answered my suggestion by saying "I don't think we can make a case stick because there are some Civil War cases which hold that mere words do not constitute the overt act that is an essential element of the crime of treason. "


FUCHS: Now Biddle's resignation was effective June 30 , 1945. But you did take this up that early?

EWING: Oh, yes. This talk with Attorney General Biddle was not too long after I finished trying the Pelley case in 1942. In this talk I explained to Mr. Biddle why I thought we could make the case. I argued that those Civil War cases involved nothing more than a man getting on a stump and talking to a crowd of people that were within the normal range of his voice. I felt this was quite different from words spoken into a microphone that could project the words all over the world; furthermore, that propaganda had become a definite weapon of warfare, and that anyone who used that weapon against his own country should be prosecuted for treason. When I had finished, the Attorney General said, "Well, I think you've got a point. Will you prosecute them?"

I told him I could not. I explained that it would not be fair to my law firm for me to be away from the office for the time required to prepare these cases for trial and try them.

He thought a moment then said: "I'll tell you what we will do. We'll monitor all these broadcasts that


come in from Axis stations and see what they look like."

So, he arranged to have all of these broadcasts monitored by a monitoring station located in Maryland near Washington,. Obviously there was nothing much the Government could do until it could arrest the broadcasters. In the meantime, however, the F.B.I. was monitoring the voice of Douglas Chandler and others, and then had witnesses in Washington identify the various voices. On the basis of voice identification, several of the broadcasters were indicted in the District of Columbia. After the war these broadcasters who had been spewing Axis propaganda were captured. The Department then sent investigating teams over to Europe and they procured very convincing evidence which built up very strong cases of treason against them. But there was an interval between the time I talked with Francis Biddle about indicting these broadcasters in early 1943 and the end of the war when the further investigation could be made in Europe and the broadcasters could be reindicted on the new evidence. This accounts for the interval of time and why in early 1947 I would be working with Tom Clark who had, in the meantime, succeeded Francis Biddle as


Attorney General.

FUCHS: You probably didn't take this up with Biddle in 1945, during the some two and a half months that he served as Attorney General in the Truman Cabinet.

EWING: No. No, I did not.

FUCHS: Then did you approach Tom Clark about the prosecution of Douglas Chandler and Robert Best, who was the other one you were to prosecute, I believe?

EWING: Well, first I was asked to be prosecutor in all eight cases. I said I couldn't do it and then they finally asked me if I would take the first case. At one time the Department planned to prosecute Best and Chandler together and then we realized we couldn't. I, therefore, took the Chandler case and it was to be the first one to be tried. This would present an opportunity to get a court's reaction to our theory that mere words could be the overt act required for a treason conviction when the words had been spoken into a radio microphone for all the world to hear.

FUCHS: Best broadcast from where?

EWING: I don't remember, because I never got into that


case. It was very obvious to me from the start that we couldn't try Chandler and Best together because they broadcast from different places.

FUCHS: You just tried the one case?

EWING: I only tried the one case.

FUCHS: So then, Clark asked you to come in on it?

EWING: I think that's the way it happened.

FUCHS: Anything you recall that might be of interest about this case as it developed?

EWING: Oh, yes. It was a very interesting case. The group that the Department of Justice sent over to Europe after the war to collect the evidence, they did a marvelous job. Chandler was a very handsome man, but he had made a failure of almost every business venture he had undertaken. He had tried many things, being a stockbroker, being an insurance agent--I don't recall the others but in every case something happened that made it a failure. Chandler always blamed the failure on a Jew. As far as I could see no Jew had anything to do with any of the failures, but that didn't make any


difference in Chandler's mind. It was because of his violent anti-Semitic feelings that he applied first to the Italian and then to the German governments to broadcast for them. Before the war Chandler had married a woman from Pittsburgh who was fairly well-to-do. As the clouds were gathering, they had moved to some little place in Austria near Trieste. There he nursed his anti-Semitic feelings and first applied to the Italian government for a job of broadcasting to America. The Italians turned him down. Then he made a trip to Berlin to apply personally for a job of broadcasting to America for Radio Berlin.

FUCHS: Did he do this partly because he needed money or was it solely because he wanted to work against Jews?

EWING: I think it was the latter. I believe his wife had an income on which they could live comfortably, but not extravagantly. One reason they went to Austria was because the cost of living made it an attractive place for them. When he applied to Radio Berlin they employed him at the highest salary that they paid any broadcaster.


The crew that the Department of Justice sent over to Europe dug up all of this. They dug up the details of the workings of Radio Berlin. It was all under Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda. The Germans had divided their radio activities into various sections. There was Radio North America, Radio South America, Radio North Africa, Radio Southeast and Radio East. Each one of those sections had a head man and then there would be various broadcasters who worked under the head. The heads of the various sections had a meeting with Dr. Goebbels every morning at eleven o'clock, and he gave them what was to be the line for that day. They, the heads of those sections, would go back to their office, call in their broadcasters and tell them what were the lines for the day. The broadcasters then went off to prepare their broadcasts. They might work at home or they might work there at the station. In the late afternoon they would return to the station and make recordings. The recordings would be put on the air at various times in the evening, depending on whether they were broadcasting east to Asia or to the Near East or Africa or America. The broadcasts for America were put on late in the evening because of the


difference in time.

FUCHS: What were they normally, fifteen minutes or half hour stints?

EWING: I would say they were about fifteen minutes.

FUCHS: They didn't have the long playing records?

EWING: I don't recall whether they had them or not.

FUCHS: It's not important, I just wondered. Then how did the prosecutions case go. What was Chandler's defense?

EWING: Insanity. When the army took over Germany, Chandler had been arrested and put in jail in Paris. Then on the basis of the new evidence collected in Europe by the investigating team Chandler was reindicted in the District of Columbia. After that he was brought back to this country. This was done by flying him first from Paris to the Azores and from there to Gander. We were very insistent that the army, in bringing him back to the District of Columbia, fly over no United States land until they got to Chesapeake Bay and then fly up over the Potomac River to the District.


The reason for that was because under Federal Law if a Federal crime is committed outside of the territories of the United States and the accused is captured and brought back into the country, he must be tried in the United States District Court of the District into which he is first brought. We wanted to try this case in the District of Columbia and that was why we asked the Army to be sure that the plane didn't cross any United States territory until it came up the Potomac River. Even then we could not be sure because a court might hold that the Potomac River would be in either Maryland or Virginia.

FUCHS: Were there precedents for this that even though they didn't land in a district that if they flew over it...

EWING: No. That is what we were hoping for but we didn't want to take a chance of flying straight down over land. Notwithstanding all of our requests that this route be followed, the pilot of that plane had a girl in Boston so the next thing that we knew he had landed at an airport near Boston, Westmoreland Field I think it was.

FUCHS: I really don't know, sir.


EWING: Well, it was near Boston, Massachusetts. The result of this was that we had to bring all the witnesses from Germany back again to Boston and reindict Chandler in Boston so we could try him there. We didn't want to take a chance of a possible reversible error if we tried him in the District of Columbia.

FUCHS: Why was that?

EWING: Well, simply, it would give him a legal point. There was no question that we had to try him in the district in which he was first brought, and there was no question as it turned out that he was first brought into the district of Massachusetts. That's why we had to reindict him up there because of what this darn pilot had done. We later found out that he had this girlfriend in Boston, that's why he brought the plane down there. He claimed that he couldn't get his wheels retracted and that it slowed him down so much that he couldn't get any further than Boston. He couldn't make the District of Columbia. And I'm sure this bloop of his cost the United States Government at least a hundred thousand dollars because of the expense of bringing the witnesses back again from Germany.


FUCHS: What happened to Chandler?

EWING: Chandler put in a defense of insanity. His lawyer claimed that this obsession about the Jews was a paranoid form of insanity. The defense brought in expert witnesses who said that Chandler's violent anti-Jewish feeling was a symptom of paranoia. We had witnesses who testified that he didn't have. a lot of other symptoms that a true paranoia would have to have. And so the jury convicted him. The judge was then obligated to sentence him and could impose the death sentence. I thought if there were ever to be a death sentence in any case Chandler deserved it because his propaganda was so vicious. He deliberately tried to disrupt the morale of the men in the armed forces as well as the morale of their wives and children and families at home. His main theme was to tell the men in the Army and Navy that their wives were running around with other men in America, then he'd make a broadcast to America addressed to the wives and sweethearts of boys in the armed services and telling them that their men were playing around with the girls in foreign countries. It was a nasty, mean thing, and I felt very strongly that the Judge should have given him


a death sentence if there were to be any death sentences for any crime. But the Judge only sentenced him to life imprisonment and he's still in the hoosegow as far as I know.

FUCHS: Was it weighed that maybe he was only giving what Goebbels told him to, that they were not actually his words?

EWING: No, no that defense was never made. The Constitution is very specific in its definition of treason. It's adhering to the enemy, giving him aid and comfort. That's the substantive part of the crime. Then the procedural requirements for the crime are that there must be the testimony by two witnesses to the same overt act. We ended up proving, as I recall, about twelve overt acts of broadcasting. We would have a witness who would testify that Chandler made a certain recording and then we'd play the record of that broadcast to the jury so they could hear his voice and what he said. We had to bring witnesses over from Germany who could describe to the jury exactly how Radio Berlin operated, how it was set up and how when a man spoke into the microphone a recording was made and when the recording was played


how the wires took the words to the broadcasting apparatus. The Department's investigators did a beautiful job.

FUCHS: I believe that I've read that the average time served on a life sentence is fourteen years? I may be wrong on the exact figures. It's now been twenty-two years, I guess. Has he come up for parole?

EWING: Well, the only thing that I know is that after Chandler had been in jail five or six years, one of his daughters came to see me. This was when I was still Federal Security Administrator so it must have been prior to January of '53. His daughter asked me to recommend that her father be paroled or possibly pardoned. I told here I didn't feel that I could do it, that I felt what he had done was really a very serious crime and that I was not willing to recommend his release. As far as I know he's never applied for parole again.

FUCHS: Do you know where he is confined?

EWING: He was in a Federal prison in Connecticut. There's a Federal prison there in which he was confined.


FUCHS: Was he a young man when you prosecuted him?

EWING: No, he was a man, oh, I'd say fifty years old.

FUCHS: What ever happened to Pelley?

EWING: Pelley had been sentenced for a term of five to fifteen years. I believe he served only a little more than five years because he was a good prisoner and behaved himself.

FUCHS: Is he still living?

EWING: I don't know. It seems to me that I've seen that he died. But I'm not sure of that.

FUCHS: Do you care to cut this off now?

EWING: Well, we might.

FUCHS: It's four-thirty and I don't want you to get too tired, and you have a meeting and you haven't had your dinner yet. It's up to you, sir.

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