Oral History Interview with
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Director
of the Office of Public Information, Dept. of Defense, 1950-52; Assistant
to the President of the United States, 1952; and Deputy Chairman of the
Democratic National Committee, 1953-57.
By Jerry N .
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview
Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed | Additional Fritchey Oral History
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. ) within the transcript
indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral
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 It may not be
published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 August, 1972
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Transcript || List of Subjects Discussed|
Additional Fritchey Oral History
Oral History Interview with
by Jerry N.
Mr. Fritchey, when did you first become aware that President Truman did
not intend to run for re-election in 1952?
FRITCHEY: Well, I was never really sure until he publicly announced it.
Like some of the other members of the White House family, we had had some
indications and hints from time to time, and it may very well be that Mr.
Truman confided to others but he did not confide to me. And so we had only
a little inkling on the day, on the night that he drew down.
HESS: At the Armory? What was the inkling that you received?
FRITCHEY: Well, around the first of the year, it seemed to me, and to
others, that he was possibly preparing the way for a successor. By that I
mean he drew attention nationally to Adlai Stevenson. This turned out not
to be an accident. As we see now, he had been thinking very seriously for
some time of not running again. But I think, like most chief executives,
they find it necessary to conserve their power and not always
to reveal precisely what they have in mind publicly. And also
circumstances can change, so that it is better, on balance, to run again.
HESS: What do you think first brought Adlai Stevenson to the
President's attention in this context, as a successor?
FRITCHEY: Well, leaders of the party around the country always had a
great regard for Truman. Some of the most respected political leaders,
bosses, if you like, such as Dave Lawrence of Pennsylvania, and the
leaders in New York County, and the politicians in the Middle West, kept
in touch, sometimes indirectly, once in awhile directly, and the word
began drifting back to the White House of the impression that Stevenson
was making. Especially after a trip to New York, I believe late in 1951,
in which he took a large meeting pretty much by storm. So, I think this
idea began to develop in his mind, and I think it's fair to say now, that
Stevenson would not have been nominated had it not been for Mr. Truman. As
you know, Stevenson was not interested, and it took a great deal of
persuasion. Finally, it took Mr. Truman to do it personally in
the showdown in Chicago.
Whether the New Hampshire primary brought things to a head is something
we'll never know for sure. I think it was a factor. As you know that
occurred around the middle of March and it was a surprise around the White
House and a disappointment. I must say, Mr. Truman himself never showed
any particular reaction to it. So, I have concluded that he had already
pretty well made up his mind. After the New Hampshire primary I think he
felt he had better move because it was clear that Kefauver was going to be
very successful in the primaries. As it turned out, he won, I think,
fifteen in a row, probably the all time record. An interesting sidelight
on American politics is that a candidate can win that many primaries and
still not have a serious chance of getting the nomination, if the
President of the United States doesn't want him to have it.
HESS: Did Mr. Truman seem to be supporting any other prominent party
members other than Adlai Stevenson, about this time, about the first of
FRITCHEY: From the time that Mr. Truman made his public
announcement that he was not going to run again, it seemed to me that his
first choice, if not his only choice, from then until the convention,
almost to the convention, was Stevenson.
HESS: Did you ever hear of any support for Vice President Barkley?
FRITCHEY: This came about two weeks or so before the convention. There
had been communications, not a great deal, but some, back and forth to
Chicago and Springfield, Illinois; some directly with Stevenson and some
with his associates. And I think the President, President Truman, finally
became convinced that Stevenson absolutely would not run. This put him in
a difficult position because the principal regional and state leaders had
more or less deferred to the President in developing a successor. Very few
of them, as you know, were keen on Kefauver. Mr. Truman had, in effect,
undertaken, in their minds, to produce the alternative to Kefauver in
Chicago. And thus when it became seemingly certain that nothing could
prevail on Stevenson, it was necessary for the President to
act, and he came to the conclusion that Alben Barkley was the
answer to this. Just how he arrived at this, none of us knew for certain,
but it had its own logic. Probably the only serious drawback to Barkley at
that time, was his age, because he was a widely esteemed man, extremely
experienced, highly regarded by the public and a very popular man, and a
very popular man in the party, and a great campaigner and a great speaker.
I think it was on a Sunday, about two weeks before the convention was to
open in Chicago, that Mr. Truman had a quiet meeting one Sunday morning in
his study at the White House about 11 o'clock. And I can't recall exactly
who was there, but Charlie Murphy was, I remember that. I believe the
national chairman was Barkley's sort of man Friday, he's now dead, oh, I
can't remember his name to save my soul, his name was so well-known, it'll
come to me in a minute.
HESS: Leslie Biffle?
FRITCHEY: Les Biffle, sure. Mr. Truman began with a general review of
the political situation, and then he disclosed what he had on his mind.
Shortly thereafter Mr. Barkley came in, and it was apparent
that he had no foreknowledge of this. And when the President's
feelings and desires were made known to him I thought he reacted with
great dignity, in a most courteous way, but still firmly, I thought. He
pointed out to the President his own infirmities as a candidate, with
particular attention to his age. I thought it was quite a remarkable
performance. There wasn't any false modesty about it nor any coyness, it
was a very sensible recital of what he thought his drawbacks were.
HESS: What other drawbacks did he see in himself other than his age?
FRITCHEY: That's the principal one of course, and the ability to carry
on a vigorous campaign. And the age factor is a very serious one, there's
no doubt about that: The party looks forward to eight years for a
candidate, you see. That would have taken Barkley into his eightieth year.
HESS: Did he give Mr. Truman an answer at this time?
FRITCHEY: It was decided at that time, that all things being equal,
this is the way it would be. And so
about a week before the convention opened, the word was
gradually spread to various political leaders of the party coming into
Chicago for the convention, what the strategy was going to be. This
surprised a good many and some really couldn't believe it because of the
age factor. But gradually it became known that this was the wishes of the
White House. I don't know what finally would have happened had it not been
for the revolt on the part of labor, and that was enough to -- that
occurred on a Sunday I believe, before the convention opened. It was a
meeting of labor groups who were very friendly toward Barkley, personally,
but they felt they had a great stake in this election and they thought
they had a possible winner in Stevenson. And when Mr. Barkley learned
about this, it reconfirmed in his own mind that he had liabilities that
were too great. And on that same day there was a caucus of the Illinois
convention, late in the afternoon in Chicago, Sunday, at which Mr.
Stevenson made a final effort to extricate himself from any draft, and
news of that leaked out. At this time, I believe, Kefauver had an ironclad
commitment of over three hundred delegates
which he had won the hard way. And one never knows for sure how
things would have worked out. Well, my own view, if President Truman had
not decided to sort of take over the convention and run it, and actually,
forcibly draft Stevenson, I think the chances are strong that Kefauver
might have gone on to get the nomination. But as you know, the President,
by his personal intercession, prevailed on Stevenson.
HESS: Did you ever hear Fred Vinson mentioned as a possible candidate?
FRITCHEY: Yes, all kinds of possibilities were mentioned, but so far as
I know there wasn't a single delegation lined up for Vinson. There had
been no preparation for him. I think that it is true that an incumbent
President can -- his power is immeasurable and it might have been that he
could have put over anybody. I don't mean to suggest that Vinson was just
anybody, because he was a man of great reputation, very popular, and so
on, but there had been utterly no preparation for him either in the party
leadership or in the public mind.
HESS: Now, we've mentioned the principal regional and state
members, the so-called political bosses, what political bosses do you
think had the most influence with Mr. Truman during this period of time,
the latter part of his administration?
FRITCHEY: I would say the single greatest was Dave Lawrence of
Pennsylvania, who was almost an ideal type of political leader in the
sense that he himself was the mayor of a major city. He had his own
constituency and he had the gift for practical politics as well as a very
good record as a mayor in his own right. So he had a nice balance, a nice
appreciation of the need for first-class political performance and also
the practical requirements of politics.
HESS: Good. And I understand that you were associated with Governor
Stevenson's staff during the 1952 campaign and I'd like to ask you to tell
me about that episode. Perhaps you can begin with your opinion as to why
you were chosen for that position. Why were you chosen to assist in the
FRITCHEY: About a week after the close of the convention
and Mr. Stevenson's nomination, he flew down to the White House
to see the President, to discuss the coming campaign, get his views,
canvass strategy, all the natural things. During the course of this he
pointed out to the President that he was wholly unprepared to conduct a
national campaign because he had been Governor of a Middle West state for
the last four years and had been absorbed in relatively provincial affairs
and that his staff, while it was very good, was experienced largely in
statewide matters, regional matters, and not in national and foreign
policy, and so he felt the first order of business was staff. Now, Mr.
Truman said in effect, what could he, Mr. Truman, do to help him. The
momentary request of the Governor was to ask for the loan of two members
of Mr. Truman's staff, namely Dave Bell and myself. So, as I think I may
have told you, we were not even given time to go home and get a
toothbrush. After Governor Stevenson and President Truman had lunch, the
Governor went immediately to his plane, and Bell and I with him, and flew
HESS: Before we get into the matters at Springfield I would
like to ask one other question about the meeting between Governor
Stevenson and Mr. Truman, and to ask that question I would like to read a
statement from Cabell Phillips' book The Truman Presidency which appears
on page 425 and get your reaction to it and ask if this is the same
meeting. Mr. Phillips states:
In August Stevenson paid a visit to the President in the White House in
the hope of working out a modus vivendi by which the President would
remain in the background until the last couple of weeks of the campaign,
while Stevenson created a public image and program of his own. The
conference was held in the Cabinet room with the President and key members
of his staff lined up on one side of the vast coffin-shaped table and, on
the other side, Stevenson and picked members of "the Springfield crowd" --
like representatives of sovereign powers at a treaty conference. It was
stiff, painfully uncomfortable, and largely inconclusive.
Did you attend this meeting?
FRITCHEY: I would not exactly recognize the meeting from that
HESS: How would you characterize the meeting and who attended?
FRITCHEY: I literally can't recall. Most of the time they were
together separately from the staff. I don't recall any Springfield staff
that Stevenson brought with him but I don't trust my memory on that. I
believe, on second thought, Bill Blair his secretary, was with him. His
Springfield number one braintruster was Carl McGowan, now Judge McGowan,
and a very able man, but my recollection was that he was not along on that trip.
HESS: How would you characterize the meeting?
FRITCHEY: The meeting, I thought, the little I saw of it, of course I
didn't sit in nor did anyone else when they were having a bite to eat and
talking privately, but it seemed to me to be a cordial gathering. They are
both somewhat reserved men; Stevenson particularly. He is not a man you
would think of as spontaneously Mr. Truman's style. He was not chosen by
Mr. Truman on any cronyism or an old friendship or because they had ever
worked very close together. It was just a general instinct Mr. Truman had
for what he wanted as a high-class successor. We must always remember Mr.
Truman never forgot his reverence for this
office, and he wanted to be followed by the best man that could
be found. And these two men were not by nature very compatible. They
didn't have very many -- share many congenialities. They came from
different backgrounds; their approach was different; Stevenson was suave;
Mr. Truman was plain-spoken, but their essential outlook on the politics
of the party and the politics of the country and the policies of the
country, was fundamentally harmonious, and that's what mattered to Mr.
Truman. I don't think at that time that Mr. Stevenson's regard for Mr.
Truman was as high as it later became. This is a matter very difficult to
document. But I think that he, Stevenson, was to some extent influenced by
the environment in which he spent those four years in the Middle West. He
was not close to Washington or to national affairs during that time. The
anti-Truman press was virulent in Illinois. Many of Stevenson's close
friends were Republicans and he received a lot of Republican support when
he ran for Governor, you know, and he got a lot of money from Lake Forest,
what Agnew would call the effete snobs. And there was a certain
condescension in that area toward Mr. Truman. Also, like many others,
I think that Stevenson, at that time, was over-impressed by
Eisenhower. Stevenson had been in the war, he'd been an assistant to Frank
Knox in the Navy, he'd already gotten a taste for international affairs
and he regarded Ike as much more of an internationalist than he turned out
to be. But Eisenhower was a towering figure during those years that
Stevenson was involved in international affairs in the war and shortly
after the war and during the United Nations days and the Dumbarton Oak
days and meetings of the Advisory Council in London and the first meetings
in San Francisco of the United Nations. Eisenhower was, in the eyes of
many liberals, sort of a white hope, and most of them regarded him as
potentially a Democrat. As you know, there was even an effort made in 1948
to nominate him on the Democratic ticket. So, the little I saw of the
Truman-Stevenson meeting in the White House was, as I say, cordial,
polite, agreeable. I think Mr. Truman went out of his way to assure
Stevenson that he would support him in any way he possibly could, whether
it was staff or campaigning, or helping to raise money. To the best of my
knowledge, there was no effort to spell out the
respective roles at that time.
HESS: Did you, or did you not, feel at that time or later that Governor
Stevenson would have preferred that President Truman limit his activities
in the campaign?
FRITCHEY: Well, from the beginning this was an unspoken factor. There
is no question, as the polls showed, that this was the low point in Mr.
Truman's popularity. He had been the victim of a most concerted
propaganda, and he was also -- I don't suppose he had ten prominent
newspapers in the United States supporting him. Then there was this
magnification of the "mess in Washington," and once you get a cliche like
that going, and it gathers some plausibility, it is very difficult to
dispose of. In any case, there was general agreement that the situation
not only called for a new face but a whole new spirit. After all, the
Democrats had been in power, just think, five straight elections and
probably the most telling slogan, in that campaign, was "Time for a
Change." There was great exhilaration, momentarily, in the Democratic
Party after the Stevenson acceptance speech. There's no doubt it was
an extraordinarily fine speech and set a fine keynote for the
campaign. And it had a certain elevation, which people at that time did
not associate with Mr. Truman. His administration, unfairly, in my
opinion, had been pictured as grimy, involved with petty frivolities, and
so on. All which seems wholly unimportant today. But it was necessary to
create a new image if there was any chance of winning. Mr. Truman knew
that just as well as Governor Stevenson. The general message, through the
lines, between the lines, Truman to Stevenson, was, "You're the new
leader, and you must do it whatever way you think is best, and know that
I'm here and can be called on for anything you want, whatever amount or
degree seems best." It seemed to me a diplomatic and subtle way of saying
that he, Truman, knew the realities of that particular political situation
and what was called for in that campaign.
Now it is true that even the most modest of Presidents have their
pride, and their vanity. I think the way the campaign was ultimately run,
Mr. Truman felt a little hurt at not being called on more. I think he
always tried to tell himself that perhaps in
the same circumstance he would do the same thing. There is no
question that everyone felt that the emphasis had to be on a new voice, a
new spirit, a new pitch. Unfortunately, a newspaper on the west coast, I
believe in the State of Washington, came out with what purported to be an
exclusive story which appeared within the first couple of weeks after the
convention. Apparently Stevenson had earlier been in that city. I can't
remember whether it was Seattle now or Portland, one or the other. It was
before the convention, and he had offhandedly used the phrase "mess in
Washington" in connection with something. I don't think he meant that in
any serious way, but it was recalled by the paper, and it got picked up by
the wire services. This, of course, was a matter of great concern in
Springfield because, taken out of context, it was very hurtful. I had to
go to New York for Stevenson on another matter, and it was decided that I
should go by Washington and see my old boss. After all I was still on
leave of absence from the White House, so I did that. Before I could bring
up the subject, the President did. So, I just told him very frankly the
circumstances. Mr. Truman, himself, often spoke off-the-cuff, and said
things beyond what he really meant, which always is dangerous
to do in politics. When he knew all the circumstances, he kind of chuckled
and, knowing his own proclivity for shooting from the hip, he laughed
about it, and I thought was quite amiable. So, from that point on, I did
make trips back to Washington from time to time; not many, just to fill
the President in on what was being planned, discussed, what speeches were
coming up. He was always generous, never complained, never asked what role
the nominee had in mind for him.
HESS: Would you characterize yourself as being the principal point of
contact between the two campaigns?
FRITCHEY: No, I don't think so. I think I was one of them.
HESS: How was liaison between the two campaign programs carried on?
Besides through yourself?
FRITCHEY: There were a number of people on the White House staff that
kept in touch. Also the national chairman India Edwards who was very close
to the White House at that time, saw Mr. Truman pretty regularly.
once he was appointed, made a point of keeping in touch, and,
infrequently, Stevenson directly to Truman. I cannot recall any instances
of this surfacing in a clear-cut way except for this one instance I've
told you about. My recollection is that Mr. Truman did not campaign very
strongly until the end of the campaign.
HESS: He did make several trips I think in the latter part of September
and then in October.
FRITCHEY: That is my impression. I'd have to go back and check that
now. I don't believe that the Stevenson headquarters, the brain trust so
to speak, had very much to do with the content of those speeches nor do I
think they were cleared in any detailed way with Springfield.
HESS: Were the itineraries of where the President...
FRITCHEY: Itineraries, there was consultation on, oh yes, complete
agreement on that.
HESS: All right, the meeting at the White House that we mentioned
awhile ago, was it at that time when you
found out that your presence was requested in Springfield, is
FRITCHEY: Stevenson, or the President said jokingly -- well, Stevenson
said in effect, "Look, Mr. President, you got me into this, now you're
going to get me out," so to speak, "I don't have any staff or
So the President said, "What can I do for you?"
He said, "Well, I would like to steal some of your staff to begin
He said, "O.K. who do you want?"
On that occasion he mentioned Bell and me and it was instantly
HESS: Fine. We mentioned a few of your duties in Springfield but let's
enumerate that further. Just what were your duties for Stevenson in
Springfield and who did you work with?
FRITCHEY: Wilson Wyatt was the campaign manager and I was his executive
assistant. This particular setup enabled me to cover quite a lot of ground
in addition to working closely with Wyatt. I tried to devote quite a bit
of my time to public relations in general.
Stevenson's press secretary was an able young man, but he, like
many other members of the Springfield staff, had been confined largely to
Illinois affairs and he did not know any of the Washington press corps or
any of the national columnists, which obviously I did; and so I tried to
be helpful in that area, although I did not serve as press secretary. We
then also had a most unusual operation, which so far as I know, has never
been written about and this was the speech brain trust. Every candidate
has to have a number of speechwriters because if he did nothing else he
wouldn't have time to write all of his speeches. I recall while flying
back from the White House to Springfield, that this was what Stevenson
wanted to talk about more than anything else. It was the first time I
learned how much store he put on speeches, he had always been used to
doing his own and he still thought he could in this campaign. I think he
told me that he had spoken to John Sparkman, who was then his
vice-presidential running mate, about this, and he quoted Sparkman telling
him he couldn't make less than a dozen major speeches. I remember I
spontaneously laughed, and he looked at me rather oddly. So I told
him that I had gone back and checked two or three campaigns
just to see how many speeches had been made by various candidates.
And he said, "Well, for instance how many did Wendell Willkie make?"
And I said, "He made two hundred and fourteen."
I thought Stevenson was going to faint. He said, "Why, you can't write
a half a dozen good speeches a year. Nobody on earth can write two hundred
and fourteen, even bad ones."
And I said, "That's true, so therefore, you've got to have a speech team."
He said, "I've never had a speech team."
I said, "Well, you're going to have to have in this campaign."
He said, "I knew it was a mistake."
So, gradually it forcibly dawned on him, as time went on, that he
really was not going to be able to write every word of his speeches. His
candidacy attracted some of the most brilliant men, not only in this
country, but elsewhere, many of whom came to Springfield. Some stayed
twenty-four hours, some stayed twenty-four days, as long as they felt they
had something to contribute. We felt they had something
to contribute, and we welcomed their presence. So we had this
sort of "brainpool" to contribute ideas, or a paragraph, or a sentence, or
a slogan, or an entire speech. It ended up that Stevenson never, ever,
took anybody's in total but he would have available to him this mass of
material from which to choose, to select. Of course, he ended up rewriting
almost every speech, so in the end he might as well have written it
himself except that he couldn't have; you've got to have something to go by.
HESS: Who were a few of the people that were contributing ideas for the
FRITCHEY: Dave Bell was a notable one. Arthur Schlesinger was, Ken
Galbraith was, Bill [William M.] Reddig, David Cohen, Herbert Agar. Well,
so many came and went that it's hard to recall. Many of them, leading
members of the Senate came, some of the more literate ones like Bill
Fulbright, Hubert Humphrey, full of ideas, full of intimate knowledge of
the national scene, and foreign scene, and they would stay and not only
visit with him but visit with us and we would sort of pick their brains
and then keep them there until we got everything we could.
HESS: Would there be anything that might be characterized as a
typical speechwriting session that you could tell me about?
FRITCHEY: No, we had no real format. I suppose a more methodical
candidate might have wanted a more methodical way of doing things.. It was
haphazard but it worked -- the end result was, as you know, probably the
greatest collection of campaign speeches in many, many years.
HESS: To what extent did Governor Stevenson participate in the writing
of the speeches?
FRITCHEY: Well, we worked out a system of sorts where there would be
discussion with two or three members of the entourage about a given
speech, on a given trip, whether it lasted six days, or ten days.
Obviously there are appropriate places to give a farm speech, appropriate
places to give foreign policy speeches. The brain trust, so to speak, got
the general drift of his thinking, and what he wanted to say, and this
would end up usually in a first draft. Then he would work on that, and
there would be a second draft, and then he would end up endlessly
rewriting, until toward
the end it was ninety percent Stevenson. This became a real
trial to us because he would keep on rewriting up until about five minutes
before the speech was given. This made great difficulties for me and my
dealings with the press, because obviously they wanted a speech frozen as
many hours or days in advance as they could get it. They would see him
sitting up on a dais in Indianapolis, or Los Angeles, writing away, and
realize he was making substantive changes, and that they would have to
rewrite their leads, which sometimes they did in the middle of the night.
This was very exasperating for the press. Time and time again we would
discuss it with him but we never made much progress.
HESS: What particular men would...
FRITCHEY: He just hated the idea of anybody else writing a word for him.
HESS: What particular men would you place as members of the brain
trust, the speechwriting brain trust?
FRITCHEY: Well, the ones I have mentioned, of course. Carl McGowan was
a very important member of it, Bill
Blair, both very intelligent, able men, both of whom knew
Stevenson better than the rest of us who came into Springfield from the
outside. They knew what his prejudices were, and what sort of style he
favored. George Ball was a very important member of it. Wilson Wyatt, as
you know, was highly intelligent, a very distinguished lawyer, so we had a
cross section of men who were extremely well versed in twenty different
fields. Dave Bell had been in the Budget, you know, an extremely able man.
And then, as I told you, we had the top members of the Senate coming and
going, and we were on the telephone to people around the country all the time.
HESS: As you will recall, there was some criticism that Governor
Stevenson's speeches were too intellectual and on too high a plane for the
average voter. What do you say about that? Would you agree with that?
FRITCHEY: Well, there was much discussion of this. My final judgment is
that they weren't , that they created an atmosphere that was of lasting
value to the party. It ultimately led, in my opinion, to the election of
Jack Kennedy. A fortunate thing for Stevenson was
that no one believed that anybody could beat Eisenhower, and,
therefore, his defeats were never seriously held against him. His campaign
was on a high plane, with no concessions to demagoguery in a desperate
effort to defeat Eisenhower.
HESS: Do you think that Adlai Stevenson thought that he could defeat
FRITCHEY: Let me answer your question this way: I've come to the
conclusion that all nominees, whether for sheriff, dog catcher, mayor,
Governor, Senator, or President, ultimately come to this conclusion,
otherwise they can't run. And they are surrounded by people who also get
caught up in it, and who in any case feel it is all-important to maintain
the morale of the candidate. And so there is this tendency to magnify
every good indication and to diminish the reverse. I think toward the end
of the '52 campaign that Stevenson did think he had a serious chance. I
must say, I did too, especially when you consider the last Gallup poll
showed them only one percentage point apart.
HESS: Is there something that Governor Stevenson...
FRITCHEY: Also, you must remember that no Democrat had been defeated
for five elections.
HESS: In your opinion, is there something that Governor Stevenson could
have done that he did not do that might have swung the election the other way?
FRITCHEY: No, and I've never heard anyone else suggest it.
HESS: Why did Governor Stevenson decide to leave his principal
headquarters in Springfield and not to move it to either New York or to
FRITCHEY: Well, that to some extent, to a very large extent, was
strategy, or tactics if you please. Obviously there are many mechanical
drawbacks to running the campaign in a small town, and they were very,
very painful ones, I assure you. The communications problem, the housing
problem, the difficulty of people getting to see you. Yet it was part and
parcel of the image that all of us felt that Stevenson had launched with
his great acceptance speech: The Lincoln, the
Springfield ambience. Chicago is Cook County, and is the worst
ambience. New York would not have been logical under the circumstances. He
wanted to stay in his own state, he wanted the Illinois background, he had
been in Springfield, he had, as everyone knew, a passionate admiration for
Lincoln. So that was a deliberate political choice.
HESS: Could you tell me something about the physical setup that you had
FRITCHEY: Well, pitiful. Wyatt and I finally found a relatively small
house a few blocks away from the Governor's mansion. It probably finally
got about twenty or thirty cubicles in it but was never adequate, and we
had to add on and add on. As the campaign went on, we finally took over
the Elk's Lodge and moved quite a few people in there. The hotels, of
course, were inadequate. We finally managed to get one floor of a hotel.
But just trying to find housing and shelter over night for all kinds of
party leaders pouring in, Governors, Senators and others coming in, state
chairmen -- I would never want to go through again. It served the
purpose but it was a tremendous handicap from a mechanical
HESS: Did you go on any of the campaign trips?
FRITCHEY: Oh, of course.
HESS: Would you tell me about those and how were they run?
Are we running out of time, it is 4 o'clock?
HESS: All right, let's quit here and schedule another one.
FRITCHEY: All right.
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