Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Oral History Interview with
Major General Kenner F. Hertford

Kenner F. Hertford

Career officer, U.S. Army, 1923-55. Military Advisor, Conference Chapultepec, Mexico and U.N. Conference, San Francisco, 1945; National War College, 1946-47; Military Staff Committee, United Nations Staff, 1947; Deputy Commander, Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Sandia Base, New Mexico, 1948-52; Research and Development Division in Army General Staff, 1952.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 17, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie

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


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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened February, 1978
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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



Oral History Interview with
Major General Kenner F. Hertford

Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 17, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie

 

[1]

MCKINZIE: Perhaps we could start, General Hertford, by asking you how you happened to become involved in Latin American affairs in the Second World War? It seems that it's really not appropriate to talk about the postwar period without tying it to the events of the war.

HERTFORD: I had never been particularly interested in Latin America. I've been more of a philosopher all my life, As a matter of fact, I have

 

[2]

had a "misspent life" in that I was interested in almost everything possible outside of the Army, although I did enjoy enough in the Army to retire as a major general. I was a Corps of Engineers officer, and I was in France about three years with the American Battle Monuments Commission. I spoke fluent French, and I was interpreter between Marshal Petain and General [John J.] Pershing a number of times before World War II.

After interpreting French and being an engineer, I came back and was assigned to the Chief of Engineer's Office, working on tables of organization for aviation engineer units. One could see the war was ready to start for the U.S. and the War Department General Staff wanted someone to work on northeast Brazil.

I was in the Chief of Engineers' Office, and the War Department was interested in getting

 

[3]

an Army corps in northeast Brazil (this was before Pearl Harbor) because it was thought the Germans might attempt to come over there.

There were a lot of German sympathizers in Brazil and throughout South America as a matter of fact. The Lufthansa was down there, and the Germans had infiltrated many places. So, they asked for two colonels, and myself (I was a brand new major). The three of us went to Brazil. We were down there for about three months. I got a little book on Portuguese. I'd had Spanish at West Point and 12 years of French as a kid, so I picked up enough Portuguese to talk to General [Enrico Gaspar] Dutra who was then Minister of War and subsequently became President of Brazil. He spoke only Portuguese, and the two colonels with me spoke only English.

 

[4]

I was rather frank with him and realized that he wasn't about to let an American infantry corps come down there -- we actually didn't have one to go at that time.

He said substantially, "You give us the equipment and some people to train us to use it, and we will garrison northeast Brazil."

We all took a trip to the northeast. As an engineer I went with the Chief of Intelligence in the Brazilian Army all over northeast Brazil and took photographs. We went on that little railroad between Recife and Natal then back in the hinterland. By this time my Portuguese was pretty good.

I came back and made a report. Then I was ordered to the War Plan's Division to plan for a possible occupation of northeast Brazil. If we did put troops in there -- not by force --

 

[5]

I had to work on the intelligence and logistics side of the picture. We worked on this plan at what is now the National War College at Ft. McNair.

Then I went back to the Chief of Engineers' office. When Pearl Harbor occurred General Mathewson -- a friend of mine, then a colonel -- asked me to come over to the Latin American branch of the Operations Division.

The Operations Division was destined to run the war. So, I didn't have much choice. I preferred to go out and command an engineer battalion, but I was under orders. We'd lost the Philippines and everything looked black. Eisenhower came in as head of OPB. He was a brigadier general and didn't stay too long.

I never will forget that he called us all in his office his first day there as a brand new brigadier general and said as I recall it,

 

[6]

"Everybody's walking around glum. We're going to come out of this thing all right; there's no doubt about it. All I want you to do is to speak to each other and smile when you're walking in the halls of the Pentagon. That's all gentlemen."

When Mathewson left, I found myself organizing a joint Brazil-U.S. Defense Commission, because I'd said that I knew how we could get troops in there. When you complain about the mess, they make you mess officer. And the next thing I knew they'd said, "What's your scheme? You go back down there."

I said, "No, I've been down there once."

They said, "Well, who?"

I said, "Send another engineer officer down there to talk about the engineering side of it."

There was a colonel, Lucius Clay, wandering

 

[7]

around -- a good friend of mine -- and I said, "How would you like to go down to Brazil to finish up this engineer report of the whole northeast of Brazil from a logistic point of view and talk to the Minister of War?"

He said, "Okay, how long will it last?"

I said, "Oh, a couple of months."

I was a lieutenant colonel by that time, and I had known Lucius for years in the engineers. Lucius went down and sent back hot telegrams that I knew were going to disturb both the State Department and [Jefferson] McCaffery who was our Ambassador there. I wrote a reply to Lucius and took it to General Eisenhower. (Eisenhower had served with Clay years before). Eisenhower walked up and down the room and said substantially, "I know Clay; I know him very well. You can't send him

 

[8]

a message like that; you've got to really hit him hard."

I said, "I've been used to writing messages to Ambassadors from the State Department point of view." These had to be written in a passive voice because you didn't want to let them know who was really going to have to do something, but it had to be done.

He said, "Change this word, change that word." This was in the Operations Division.

I sent the message to Lucius. And he fired a hot one back and said, "I'm coming home," which he did.

Then I helped organize a joint Brazil-U.S. Defense Commission. Then with the Mexicans we organized the Mexican-U.S. Defense Commission. We were to try to get troops into northeast Brazil. We didn't have a lot of troops to go

 

[9]

anywhere.

To make a long story short, the Brazilians agreed to have a hundred Marines come in at Belem, a hundred Marines at Natal, a hundred at Recife, and at Fortaleza. These Marines went down there equipped with anti-aircraft guns. Then they agreed to let us put Army Air Corps people in the control towers so we could fly through there. They couldn't wear uniforms at first, but finally they were allowed uniforms. I agreed to turn everything over to the Brazilians when the war was over. So, that's how it got started.

MCKINZIE: Where did lend-lease fit into this?

HERTFORD: We decided we would start to build a Brazilian Army. Then Brazil declared war and that's when lend-lease really got started.

 

[10]

We got the materials and airplanes they wanted, and they decided to organize a division. I was ordered from Washington to Recife as Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Forces South Atlantic. The main idea was to take a group of instructors and equipment down to Rio and to train this Brazilian division. The same was true for a fighter squadron.

We were given a lot of material by lend-lease. Then, Nelson Rockefeller got into the picture. He was the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. Rockefeller went to see General [George C.] Marshall, who was Chief of Staff then, and said that he was very much interested in seeing that interest in Europe and Asia didn't completely overshadow Latin America. He had a desk in the State Department and asked for me. I was ordered back at Christmastime of '44.

 

[11]

As a brigadier general, I was assigned to the Pan-American Division, a newly organized division in the Operations Division. I headed that until the end of the war, I also attended the Chapultepec Conference in Mexico City as a military advisor.

MCKINZIE: Can we talk about the Chapultepec Conference? One of the ideas of the Conference was to come to an agreement on collective security. Was this an idea that was already well developed within the Pentagon?

HERTFORD: Not in the Pentagon, but within the State Department. We had many conferences on it similar to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference before we went out to San Francisco. I don't remember the details, but Senator [George D.] Aiken from Vermont was one of the big shots

 

[12]

down there, and I believe Stettinius was Secretary of State.

MCKINZIE: That's right.

HERTFORD: We met at the State Department. The State Department was really calling most of the shots. The war wasn't over, but we had landed at Normandy and were pushing all over. It was just a question of time.

The military then began to pull back in its influence in Latin America. We had run affairs in Panama and told the Ambassador what to do. I used to send telegrams to our Latin American ambassadors or had gotten Dean Acheson to send them. But now the State Department began to really call the shots, which they should. Another method of operating had occurred during the military phase when things were really

 

[13]

serious, and the ambassadors didn't interfere too much.

It's very fuzzy in my mind now. I'm much clearer on Dumbarton Oaks because that came afterwards.

We met with the Mexicans at Chapultepec and came up with a lot of resolutions and agreements that were general and sufficiently vague to be acceptable by everybody. This is the typical way that some of those things happened. They are doing it now with the Soviets.

MCKINZIE: I think that's a very significant conference because there were then two ideas of how to approach the future: globally or regionally. And Chapultepec was in the spirit of developing the regional.

HERTFORD: The regional -- that is exactly right. This

 

[14]

came up when we were working at Dumbarton Oaks which was after that. This was strictly regional, and both the military and the State Department thought at the time that regional concepts would be better. We had regional concepts and then we put them all together into a United Nations -- a global concept.

This was analogous to our form of government. We have municipal, county, state, and Federal government. The regional pacts, as we envision them, would be based on several factors: geography, ethnic considerations, economics, cultural considerations, etc.

MCKINZIE: Defense considerations.

HERTFORD: Yes, defense; but we wanted to leave the military aspects out of it as much as possible. We didn't want to put the military requirements

 

[15]

out in the front. It was a question of how best to cooperate economically. We could cooperate culturally and we could cooperate politically, of course. The object of the War Department at the time was really to foster the military side of the matter. But we didn't want to say this was all it was for. We had to say it was for cultural exchange, and economics -- lend-lease. We didn't call it lend-lease, but economic aid in the form of equipment, supplies, and know-how. The same thing is going on over the world today but with different names.

When that was over, I was in the throes of Dumbarton Oaks with Stettinius; Senator Tom Connally from Texas; Virginia Gildersleeve; Representative Eaton from New York; Jack Hickerson from the State Department, who was a dear friend of mine; and, Alger Hiss, whom I knew very well.

 

[16]

There was a major general in the Air Force, who was the Air Corps representative, and Lieutenant General Stanley Embick, who was the senior Army advisor, and myself. John J. McCloy was also there.

I was on the commission, as it was called, concerning the Security Council, the Military Staff Council, and Trusteeship which had military implications. We weren't about to give back all those islands that the Navy had conquered. And, of course, Nelson Rockefeller was there to deal with the Latin-Americans. (I wasn't involved then with the Latin-Americans). A General Leitão de Carvalho from Brazil was there. I had worked with him on the Brazilian Defense Commission. But my principal job then was to work with the Soviets, to try to find out what they were doing.

Admiral Rodionov, the Soviet representative

 

[17]

was on two or three of the commissions, and he spoke fluent French. We went to cocktail parties, and I would tease him about his white uniform, Jack Hickerson had noticed that he and I talked together. I knew a few words of Russian because I had been curious about it.

Things were going pretty well; except the Latin-Americans decided that they wanted more members on the Security Council. The U.S. didn't want more; the Soviets didn't want more; and, neither did the Chinese nor the French nor the British.

One night at the Fairmont Hotel, Jack Hickerson called me. He said Senator Connally from Texas wanted me to call Admiral Rodionov and tell him something that we're going to do tomorrow so he can support us.

I told Jack that I couldn't get in touch

 

[18]

with those people down at the Francis Drake.

"Well," he said, "the Senator wants you to do it."

It was about a quarter of eleven at night, and so I thought how do I do this?

I called the Soviet switchboard there, and asked for Admiral Rodionov. He answered the phone and said, "Allo!"

Then I begged his pardon for deranging him at that time of night. And I said, "We military people have got to stick together." I said, "I never know what my delegation is going to do, but I found out something just a little while ago from a meeting that I thought you ought to know, so I'm calling you, and I hope no one's listening." And I told him just exactly what I had been instructed to say, but I took credit for doing it surreptitiously.

 

[19]

He thanked me profusely and hung up. The next morning he walked in and bowed. There were the U.K., U.S.A., and U.S.S.R. people sitting alongside each other. It all happened just exactly the way I told him concerning the number of members in the Security Council -- I think that's what it was about. So, he took the same side that we did. He had been briefed about it and had talked with his delegation. And, I thought, thank goodness that's over.

That night at 11 o'clock when I was in the Fairmont Hotel the phone rang, and it was Rodionov. (We never knew what the Soviet delegation was doing.) He said, we military people have got to stick together. And he told me something very important that had to get topside right away.

I called Jack Hickerson at the Fairmont. I told him to get Senator Connally and Eaton and

 

[20]

part of the delegation together over at the Fairmont, and I would come right over. I told them what I'd found out, and it was fairly important.

I told Jack I had to have a tidbit for tomorrow to tell Rodionov. Rodionov and I developed a friendship that was really good. I honestly think he was sincere, but I wasn't at all, and this somewhat hurt my conscience.

When Truman came to address the conference those of us who had been there for several months were apprehensive about what he would say and how he would get along with this heterogeneous group of people. Molotov was there, and translations were difficult in those days. They had no instantaneous translations and interpretation. But, Truman did a beautiful job. You probably know what the speech was. I can't remember those details, but I know it made a very great impression.

 

[21]

Some of us thought Roosevelt had been sent from heaven. I wasn't a Democrat; I'm registered as an independent. But still we thought that Roosevelt had done a magnificent job of running the war and getting us out of the depression.

I was a very skeptical person, but I was very proud of this fellow from Independence, Missouri, who suddenly found himself the President of the United States. I never met him personally before I went back to Washington.

MCKINZIE: What kind of hope did you have for Dumbarton Oaks and your work on the Military Staff Committee and the Trusteeship? Did you ever anticipate when you were working on that Military Staff Committee that there would be a U.N. military force? Was your hope based on the continued future cooperation of the Big Five?

 

[22]

HERTFORD: Those of us with the military point of view, working with people like Abe Fortas, Ralph Bunche, Stettinius, and Alger Hiss felt we had been paid to do a job; so we did it. But we felt it was another League of Nations. All of us were very familiar with history. I had been a student of history all my life. I felt that the United States would under no circumstances be coerced by the other big powers, or even by a majority vote of all the people, into doing something against its national interest. This was true of the Soviet Union, the Chinese, the British, and the French. There wasn't any question in my mind that it wouldn't work from a military point of view, I was on duty then with the Military Staff Committee in New York City when we were just getting it organized.

MCKINZIE: You didn't have hope even in the very

 

[23]

beginning?

HERTFORD: None whatsoever. My political and military training has been based upon communications. I think you can communicate with people, not just by words but through a silent language -- some of it ESP, maybe. But if you can get people together so that they can talk, even in an assembly where everybody has to be on his toes, there are bound to be times when they go to the restroom or to a bar and have a drink. People are going to talk, and there are other times they get together. So, we thought this was a wonderful, pious idea and that maybe the failure of the League of Nations would keep this thing going long enough to be a world sounding board. But we had no illusions whatsoever about military force, under a U.N. command or anybody's command -- putting out fires, except maybe one in El Salvador.

 

[24]

As far as any major confrontation of powers, the U.N. was utterly powerless.

I was firmly convinced of this, and I had talked to my colleagues about it. I tried to put my heart and soul into it to make a go of it. I studied Russian for two years in New York when I was on duty with the Military Staff Committee after the war was over.

I was reduced to colonel along with three thousand other generals in the Army. There were 3500, and they only kept 500; I don't blame them. I hadn't been really in the war, but not because I didn't want to.

Then I went to the National War College, and Eisenhower was Chief of Staff of the Army. I already had a piece of paper saying that I was given constructive credit for the National War College, but they asked me if I wanted to go, and I spent a wonderful year! I had enjoyed

 

[25]

"pulling people's legs" and asking all kinds of embarrassing questions. Al Gruenther is a dear friend of mine, and he was assistant commandant.

Then I was ordered to the Military Staff Committee of the U.N. But before I went to the National War College on leave, I was called to come back into Latin-American affairs and possibly get re-promoted.

I said that the damage has been done, and I know Latin-Americans well enough to know that my effectiveness has gone. They saw me as a brigadier general working for the future defense of Brazil with a top man. Then they saw the United States make me a colonel again. And I refused to go back.

After that I went to the Military Staff Committee, and attended meetings. The U.S

 

[26]

presented in the Military Staff Committee what they thought the U.N. force ought to be composed of, which was a lot of submarines and strategic bombers. The Soviets had none of the bombers, and very few submarines. The Army had to get its part in there, and we had a big ground contingent, most of which we could furnish ourselves. This didn't set very well with the Soviets. I think we all knew that this didn't make any sense, but it was what Washington instructed us to do.

MCKINZIE: This is what the General Staff told them?

HERTFORD: Yes. The Chief of Naval Operations and War Department General Staff. We had to sit there through meetings at the Henry Hudson Hotel and at Two Park Avenue while translations went through in Chinese, French, Russian, and English.

 

[27]

These are the four languages that were used.

We couldn't accept the Russian proposal and they couldn't accept ours. The British were sort of in the middle, and the French and the Chinese didn't have much to say. It was a very futile thing. It just didn't make any sense to me.

Then I caught pneumonia and brucellosis, and they decided they'd sent me to Sandia Base in Albuquerque, where there was an Armed Forces special weapons project.

MCKINZIE: In those staff meetings in New York was there a lot of discussions about atomic components. Was that at all mentioned?

HERTFORD: No, it really wasn't. I think that Bernard Baruch had made some proposals at the time. We never mentioned including atomic weapons

 

[28]

capability in the U.N. Force.

After four years at Sandia Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as Chief of Staff and Army Deputy Commander in the atomic weapons program, I was ordered to Washington in Research Development.

I had done some midnight studying to find out what the guided missile program was all about. We had known a little about them at Sandia Base in the "marriage" program -- putting warheads on them -- but we were a long way from knowledge of the missiles themselves.

Well, to make a long story short, I served on the guided missile committee in the office of the Secretary of Defense and learned about the Army R&D program. In the spring of 1953 I was re-promoted to brigadier general, and in less than a year and a half

 

[29]

later, I found myself as Chief of Research and Development of the Army and chairman of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Committee in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

Guided missiles were the other side of my intellectual curiosity. I had always been interested in scientific and technical things. I was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for 30 years and read all the technical articles I could find. I took graduate work in mathematics at Cornell and was quite interested in it. It was a far cry from a political-military relationship.

MCKINZIE: Another career in a way.

HERTFORD: Yes, it was another career. I could speak the same language as Jim Killion at Harvard, and many of the Scientific Advisory Panel members.

 

[30]

As I said before I can talk for five minutes on almost any subject, but when I find someone who knows more than I do about it, I change the subject.

Dr. Norris Bradbury, head of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for years, and I would discuss philosophical questions of why things happen in the atomic field. Then I got interested in Oriental philosophy for years. Many of these things were considered by others to be useless. Some people would say, "Kenner, you have more useless information than anybody I've ever known." But I wonder if it was useless?

MCKINZIE: I don't think it was.

HERTFORD: I took civil engineering at Cornell University after West Point. I had to take 18 hours

 

[31]

of engineering, but I also took another 18 hours in the arts college. I audited a lot of the courses including freshman Greek, growth and structure of the English language, philosophy of esthetics, French literature of the 19th century, and zoology.

I've often made the statement in speeches that I thought that people I'd found at parties or other places were probably more interested in the Italian Renaissance than they were in the construction of sewers. This was an understatement, but I said, "Even though they're not interested in the Renaissance, they'll listen a little bit better to that than they will to talk of the outfall and effluent of a sewage disposal plant."

MCKINZIE: Did you say that you had some dealings with the settlement of lend-lease?

 

[32]

HERTFORD: With the Latin-American countries, and the Canadians and the British.

MCKINZIE: I wonder if you could talk about that a little bit? I know it all came at a very busy time for you.

HERTFORD: It was a very busy time -- with these conferences. V-E Day happened when we were at San Francisco for the conference in April of '45, I believe.

I stayed on as Chief of the Pan-American Division as a brigadier general until June of '46, when the Army was rapidly demobilized.

For lend-lease we used what was then the Ordnance Corps, the Signal Corps, and the Technical Services that supplied the equipment. There were representatives who handled lend-lease -- like the Quartermaster Corps and others.

 

[33]

I dealt mostly through them with some of the countries where we did not have bilateral commissions. We had commissions with Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. My staff or I would deal directly with the Canadians, Mexicans, or Brazilians. Then we would come up with the minimum that they thought they ought to have. For example, we would try to fill out a squadron where they had 7 airplanes, and they needed 9 in the squadron. Or if they needed a certain number of trucks to fill out a battalion, we'd send somebody there to find out if this were true. We had records of everything that had been sent.

I had made an agreement with the Brazilians that we'd give them everything that we had down there -- all the communications equipment, radar, and machineguns that were used on the base

 

[34]

where the Germans never came. I was instructed to get all the troops out of there when the war was over. But the Brazilians didn't want to take it over. They didn't want the troops to leave. I had just as much trouble convincing my own people, the War Department, to leave some people there long enough to train the Brazilians to use the towers and weather and communications equipment. We finally contracted with Pan-American Airways or somebody to do it. But we left the equipment there -- a lot of it couldn't be used -- and they finally did start to use some of it.

The repercussion of the termination of lend-lease particularly hit the State Department. I put it to the Latin-American people I worked with that the war was over. The President had said this was what we were going to do and

 

[35]

I said, "I'll do the best I can to try to get the minimum that you need."

MCKINZIE: You thought that it was an error for lend-lease to be terminated that quickly?

HERTFORD: Abruptly terminated, I thought it was an error. But when I look back on it, I feel that was the only way to do it. If you're going to do something, do it quickly, then you always know that you can give in a little bit afterwards. If you say, "Okay, this is it, stop," then you've got a chance to be a little bit more magnanimous by giving in there and there. This is what did happen. We did complete certain commitments. We'd already made certain commitments, but nothing new went down there. I knew from my dealings there that the Brazilians had war plans of their own.

 

[36]

One of the things that worried me from a political-military point was what these people were going to do now that we'd given them all of this equipment. We had given it to them because we thought that they would be our allies if the Germans tried to move into northeast Brazil.

We did work it out. I've forgotten the details, but the plan was approved presumably by the President or by his advisers. We did finish sending out certain equipment. Chile didn't get much but Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia did. Some material went to the Central American countries also. We had to turn the switch to go from wartime production into consumer production.

I visited one factory during the war where they were making shells. There was a place marked "top secret." I asked a man what he was

 

[37]

doing there, but he wouldn't tell me. He said that he was not working on a Government contract. Then that night we had a few drinks at a cocktail party, and the man said, "Well, that's a new refrigerator that we're making and going to sell after the war." Well, this was secret at that time.

MCKINZIE: In 1945 and 1946, when the U.S. Army was in the process of demobilization, there was a lot of thought about future hemispheric defense arrangements. The Army was very concerned that all the military equipment in the western hemisphere should be made in the U.S. so that it would be interchangeable if it were necessary to have some kind of integrated force. Was there any feeling that if the U.S. didn't provide leadership somebody else would?

 

[38]

HERTFORD: I'm glad you brought that up because I spent a year trying to stress this leadership. The Inter-American Defense Board was in existence when General Eisenhower became Chief of Staff. I went to see him and tried my best to impress him on the importance of Latin America from a hemispheric defense point of view. It was very difficult to try to standardize trucks because we didn't even have that in the United States Army. One year we would buy Fords, the next year Chevrolets, and the next year Plymouths. We couldn't overcome that. They would buy supplies, equipment, replacement parts, and ammunition from us which meant we would control how much they got because they couldn't use Soviet ammunition in our guns. It was a heartbreaking year.

When Spruille Braden was Ambassador to

 

[39]

Argentina, Braden did his best to get Peron defeated in the election. Peron was elected, legally, at the time, so I went to General Eisenhower and told him that Braden was hurting the national security (hemisphere solidarity was the word we used) from a military point of view.

He asked me what I wanted him to do.

I replied substantially that he should go to the State Department and get Braden relieved.

He said he couldn't do that exactly.

I was not sure how we should go about it, but the fellow was obviously interfering in the internal affairs of another country, and Argentina is one of the most important members of the inter-American group.

The second time I briefed General Eisenhower -- each time before he gave me 20 minutes --

 

[40]

I was there an hour. Then I suggested a meeting with the State Department people. I had gone as far as I could. I liked Spruille Braden personally, but he was interfering in Argentine affairs.

I'm not sure whether Spruille was Ambassador or back in Washington at the Latin-American desk, but we had a meeting at the Blair House with Dean Acheson, Braden, Eisenhower, General [John E.] Hull (head of Operations Division), Air Force General [Robert F.] Walsh, and myself. We had lunch, and then I made my position as clear as I could. I wasn't shy and timid about it, but I did it politely and tried to be diplomatic as I could.

I explained that certain actions in Argentina were definitely hurting the military services efforts to develop a group of allies in the Western Hemisphere. And at that time the Operations Division

 

[41]

saw trouble coming with the Soviet Union and thought we had better get this hemisphere together.

But at that time all eyes were focused on Europe and Asia.

Well, we had the meeting and nothing happened. This was in April or May of '46. I went to General Eisenhower again and expressed the feeling that few people were interested in Latin America, and Argentina was about to pull out of the Defense Board.

In the meantime the Argentine military attaché, whom I knew in Washington, came to me after Braden had made a speech damning Peron, and asked my advice on what to advise Peron to say in a reply.

He spoke some English, and I couldn't put my suggestions in Spanish, so I told him I would write something.

 

[42]

I wrote a telegram for him, which was strong, dignified, and factual. He said he couldn’t send it by codes since messages were intercepted.

I suggested. he take it down to Buenos Aires.

I called Juan Trippe, head of Pan-American Airways at that time, and he told me to get him to Miami, and then he would get him on a plane direct to Buenos Aires. Peron made that dignified speech, and it was almost my speech coming in the air.

Well, Braden did not change. And I talked to General Eisenhower again. He implied that it was either me or Braden, and I said that was substantially correct. So in about three weeks, I was reduced to colonel along with 3,000 other general officers. Now, there is really no connection, but at least I always tell the story.

 

[43]

It just broke my heart that few people were interested in Latin America, but I understood why. We had to reconstruct a devastated Europe and nobody had any time for Latin America.

This interest was revived to a certain extent, and I was asked to come back several times. But I thought my usefulness had ended. It wasn't that I wasn't willing to carry on the effort because I was. I was still fairly young -- 46 years old. But it just seemed somewhat futile. What did one do about Germany? What did one do about the Soviets? What about France, and Italy, Japan, and China and the Generalissimo?

Latin America hadn't been hurt; no bombs had fallen there. Economically we were pouring money into rehabilitating western countries. These were western countries, too, but it was heartbreaking to try to convince authorities that they needed help.

 

[44]

That year the State Department was really the main influence in Latin America. I knew Jimmy Byrnes well in South Carolina when I was stationed there from ‘26 to '30. And he used to call me on the phone about somebody being appointed to Latin America. He was not a very forceful Secretary of State, but he was a good politician. I never thought that he had a global outlook. I never had any dealings with him directly on Latin-American affairs, I always went through Ellis Briggs and the Latin-American desk. Ellis Briggs wasn't a very forceful fellow either as far as getting Braden relieved. The only thing that delighted me was that three months after I was relieved from the War Department General Staff, Braden was relieved as Ambassador.

MCKINZIE: When you were thinking about the problems

 

[45]

of hemispheric defense and integration of armed forces, did you consider the requirements for economic assistance to keep vital strategic materials coming?

HERTFORD: Yes, very definitely. We knew they needed transportation and communication equipment. To give them machineguns and bazookas alone wouldn't work for they might use them on their neighbors.

They needed education, transportation, and communications. Those were vital even from a military point of view. They needed to raise the standard of living of the people. They did not need to have food given but to develop a means to help them raise their own food. They needed technical training and industrial development down there.

MCKINZIE: From a military point of view you perceived those things?

 

[46]

HERTFORD: Oh, yes.

MCKINZIE: The military was not simply concerned about using U.S. produced equipment?

HERTFORD: No. It was not only a question of using equipment efficiently but maintaining it and making and obtaining spare parts. Certain things could be made there. Rubber tires could be made down there because they've got a lot of rubber.

We worked closely with the State Department during that year. The Argentine affair was a side issue, but you had to have them participate. They were one of the most powerful and largest nations there.

We wanted to help in Latin America from an economic point of view. We wanted to provide construction machinery to build roads. But would

 

[47]

they maintain the construction equipment? That's just as important as guns and engineers. They needed communications and airfields.

MCKINZIE: Nelson Rockefeller's organization did some of those things during the war and continued on a very modest scale afterward.

HERTFORD: But Nelson couldn't do it all alone. Congress wasn't interested enough and money had to go to where it was vitally needed to put out the fires at that time. And the fires were in Europe and Asia.

We did get a little equipment, but it was a token. Bulldozers or forklifts would have to be sent down there. The Pan-American Highway was stopped in Costa Rica and that almost caused a revolution in the Costa Rican Government during the war.

 

[48]

MCKINZIE: That was the problem between the engineers and the Costa Rican Government?

HERTFORD: Not precisely. Fulton Lewis Jr., the radio commentator was trying to involve General Somervell, the Chief of Engineers and FDR. Lewis implied FDR wanted to build a monument to himself by building the Pan-American Highway and the Alcan Highway. He said that these highways were politically inspired and that the engineers had done a lot of things wrong. I didn't really know what the engineers did, but I knew from a general staff point of view what had happened and how Somervell had initiated the project.

MCKINZIE: Would you talk more about that?

HERTFORD: Communications by sea and air to the Panama

 

[49]

Canal were seriously jeopardized by German submarines in early 1942. There were very few airplanes -- B17s were just being rolled out. So the Army Service Force -- Somervell's office -- recommended finishing a pioneer road to the canal -- the routes through Costa Rica and part of Panama need completion.

The project came to me in OPD and I thought it was a very good idea since we lost practically all tankers to the canal and couldn't get supplies down there. This was in May of 1942, and we had lost most everything in the Pacific and were worried about the canal.

I initially completed the staff work to the Service Force to go ahead with it. I coordinated with the State Department very carefully. The work was actually done by the Corps of Engineers. Then when the Marines landed on Guadalcanal

 

[50]

and secured it, we knew that we were on the offense in the Pacific. I wrote the State Department and stated we were going to terminate the work on the road because anti-submarine warfare had been successful in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean. The barrage balloons and smoke pots were all over the canal, and we didn't think the Japanese were going to land down there. We were getting ships through. So, the logical thing to do was to stop the road.

The State Department was very reluctant to suddenly stop the work.

The Army Service Forces said they had to complete it.

I disagreed but let the situation go for two months. I didn't go to General Marshall or General Handy with this one.

 

[51]

Then Fulton Lewis, Jr., the radio commentator, got hold of somebody from Costa Rica who talked about corruption and what the engineers had done. Then Fulton Lewis' brother, a colonel in the Air Force, asked me if I had anything to do with that.

I told him I had nothing to do with the engineering side of it, not dreaming that they would ask who authorized the road. The next thing I knew I was called by the Deputy Chief of Staff, General McNarney, who told me the committee wanted me to talk to the old Truman Committee about the Pan-American Highway. Senator [James M.] Mead was head of it then, but it was that same Senate committee.

I went to the hearing, which was public. Fulton Lewis, Jr. was there: The committee asked me questions, and I stated that I had authorized it then stopped it. I said I couldn't give the

 

[52]

exact dates now, but I would get them all.

Then the counsel, [Rudolph] Halley, said they don't want a lot of generalities but wanted specific facts.

I replied that I didn't know until 15 minutes ago that I was going to come here to talk on this, but I assured him that at the next meeting I would have all of it documented. I would declassify all the pertinent documents that I signed -- everything that went out of the War Department General Staff to the Army Services Forces.

I stated that I let the road go on because of some pressure.

I was asked if I got pressure from the White House.

I said, "No. The State Department had a very good reason -- Costa Rica's point of view." The

 

[53]

real problem on the road was going through those hills and mountains in Costa Rica. It just didn't make sense to me to suddenly disrupt the project and fire all those people if it could be phased out in a reasonable two month period.

I stated I didn't know all the details of how construction was to be accomplished, but I had a general idea of what they were going to do.

Then I worked nights on it for another week preparing for the next session. I was instructed to tell the truth and hold nothing from the committee.

I went through all the files and got all the pertinent staff memos and documents and photostated them. I made 12 or 15 copies and declassified them. The war was practically over, and they were not of interest to our vital

 

[54]

national security then.

I had all these materials bound together and brought over to the next scheduled meeting. I introduced the bound document as the whole story from the General Staff point of view with explanatory notes. It was very thick.

The counsel spoke up and said they didn't have time to read anything like that and just wanted me to tell them.

I said, "The last time I was here, you said you didn't want generalities, you wanted specifics," and I said, "Here they are; now shall I read it for you?" They didn't want that, but they asked me questions.

They had the Chief of Engineers on the stand who had staff officers do most of his homework. The only thing that the War Department General Staff had told me was to try to keep Somervell (head of Army Service Forces) off of the stand

 

[55]

if possible. Well I didn't mention him at all.

General Somervell's deputy came to a meeting and read a prepared statement about what they did in general terms. He had some problems answering questions.

The Pan-American Highway was ultimately finished as a pioneer road. It's not a very fine highway, but at least jeeps got through.

MCKINZIE: Were you involved in any of the final lend-lease settlements?

HERTFORD: I think that was '46 or '47, and certainly the President, who had been in office two years when I left the War Department, was responsible for the policy.

I watched this final lend-lease settlement from the standpoint of an observer while a student at the National War College, and then out

 

[56]

here in Albuquerque in the atomic weapons business. We felt that it was due to President Truman that business picked up at Los Alamos and Sandia Laboratory. We got the appropriations to carry on the development of newer and better atomic weapons, and it was due to Truman -- at least, he got the credit for agreeing that we should go on with the development at Los Alamos and the Sandia laboratory.

MCKINZIE: Was this at the time of the Korean War?

HERTFORD: Well, we got a little bit of a nudge in 1949. In '48 I came out to Sandia Base in Albuquerque and the AEC had money left over from the wartime Manhattan engineer district. The AEC took this money from the Manhattan district in 1946 or '47, and used it. It was not a new appropriation, but all of the other years had not

 

[57]

been revoked. When the military prepared budgets for 1949 or '50, we thought we were going to be cut way down. It wasn't cut back too much, but it was not increased.

We were told that the President wanted continued development on atomic weapons. Truman was the person who decided that the hydrogen bomb should be developed, and this was opposed by a lot of people – do-gooders. A lot of people didn't want to see this done, including some of the scientists that were working on it. They said why do this because the ones we have could wipe out almost any country?

A few people, including Dr. Edward Teller and Dr. Norris Bradbury, director of Los Alamos lab, knew the H-bomb was possible. When a scientist knows that something might be done, he wants to try it out and see. Truman was the one

 

[58]

that put the shot in the arm to Los Alamos. There wasn't any question about that.

MCKINZIE: As a man who is interested in the philosophic implications of these kind of scientific developments, did you talk to the skeptical scientists about this kind of development?

HERTFORD: Yes. I was in on it at Los Alamos although I wasn't an administrator; I was in the military. Then I was involved in the work of the AEC also, as Chief of Research and Development later and as a member of the Military Liaison Committee. Then in 1955 I retired from the Army and came back out here as manager of the Atomic Energy Commission office for 9 years. I had many philosophical discussions, moral ones if you will. But principally we discussed why matter worked a certain way and whether statistical probabilities meant anything.

 

[59]

As a military man my only thought was for national security. If it can be done, somebody's going to do it. We don't have to use it, but we can't sit by with our head in the sand and say, "It's immoral to make something that is as far-reaching as this (the hydrogen bomb)."

I suppose that the cavemen wondered about the javelin or the spear because they were a little more dangerous than a hand axe, and they could kill a man without another man getting close to him. I agreed that from a military point of view, it ought to be done. We didn't have to have a crash program, but it certainly ought to be followed through.

Edward Teller was a close friend of mine. I haven't seen him in a longtime. Norris Bradbury also is a close friend. They advocated development of the so called H-bomb. But there were many other reputable scientists who'd thought

 

[60]

we'd gone far enough.

I can remember in 1919 when I went into West Point, people said, generally, "Why are you going into the Military Academy? There will never be another war. We've just had the war to end all wars. You're just foolish to do that."

I said, "I'm going to get a good education. I may not stay in." I was always thinking of resigning. Then 32 years after I graduated, I did retire. And I went through two more wars.

Statements against development of the bomb were specious arguments. It couldn't be done in a hurry. We went ahead with it.

I give President Truman credit for having the guts to go against some of the objectors. Of course, now the Soviets have it; the Chinese and French probably have it. I don't know whether Madam Indira Gandhi has one now or not, but at

 

[61]

least they have gotten started on it. And suppose we hadn't done anything about it.

MCKINZIE: Do you think that the Korean war changed the thinking of a lot of the scientists regarding what could be developed or what ought to be developed?

HERTFORD: Not directly. There was one theory that they all shared -- and so did some of us in the military. The theory was that we just shouldn't use atomic weapons on Asiatic peoples again.

I went to Washington and talked to quite a number of people about what a Mark III would do against the caves and dug-in people. I explained to them that it would probably do nothing and would be the worst thing in the world for the U.S. to do from a military and political point of view. Dropping a bunch of

 

[62]

Mark III bombs (Nagasaki type) on supposedly military lines or dug-in places would have killed civilians on the outside but not gotten the people in the caves.

Then there was a flurry to develop penetrating weapons that could go down in the ground and then explode. I don't think they were ever really serious about using atomic weapons in Korea because it was a U.N. force and not just the United States.

I just wonder what would have happened (this is apropos of permanent members of the Security Council) if one of these nations knew it was being defeated. Suppose we had been pushed into the sea, and they had captured the whole U.N. force, mostly Americans. What would we have done? Would we have used the bomb? I don't know, but I don't think so. I

 

[63]

think there would have been an outcry from a lot of people if we had the bombs and still let these people push us into the sea. Fortunately it didn't happen, but this would have been a real test of the national survival point of view. The country wasn't going to be lost, but the country would lose a lot of prestige in the world, and at the same time lose a lot of men.

MCKINZIE: At the time you were dealing with the problems of atomic weaponry, the NATO treaty had been signed and there was an anticipated NATO force which did develop slowly. Did you have any thoughts or give any advice on how the atomic contingent of that should be handled?

HERTFORD: Not directly. Harold Agnew at the Los Alamos laboratory on loan to the Department of Defense did that. Then there was the Armed

 

[64]

Forces Special Weapons Project -- now called Defense Nuclear Agency -- with a big office in Washington, a tri-service command. They had a field command down here in Albuquerque and that was where I was working. We advised Washington from the standpoint of what technically and tactically could be done.

The U.S. Air Force was very close by, at Kirkland Air Force Base here which was concerned from the standpoint of delivery, and that was a most important factor. Technically, when these atomic devices are built they have to be completely compatible with a delivery vehicle, which was usually an airplane at that time. But the Army wanted atomic warheads for Honest John Rockets, and the Navy very definitely wanted delivery systems on carriers and later submarines.

Jointly from down here, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps contingents gave

 

[65]

the people in Washington all the technical information they could on the handling, safety, and use of atomic weapons. We told Washington how long a project would take and what safety precautions and other details would be included in development.

There was a feedback that came into the tri-service agency from the military. This was directly from the services, and it came down here to the laboratories. The military would say what they would like to have. They wanted smaller weapons that were easier to deliver. It took time, but they got them.

MCKINZIE: But they didn't get them in that period?

HERTFORD: No, not in that period; but the Mark III came along. Then the Mark V came. Then after that we went from fission to thermonuclear weapons.

 

[66]

These eventually became smaller and smaller, but with two orders of magnitude -- a hundred times more power.

When I retired and came here in '55 the atomic energy laboratories were expediting TN's, thermonuclear ones, for SAC. Then the marriage program between missiles and atomic warheads was very active. We began to make them for the Redstone missile, and then the Atlas and Minuteman came.

I do think that it was wise and that the President had a lot of guts to go on with TN, with the hydrogen bomb, and that was what it was called, as you may remember.

MCKINZIE: Yes.

HERTFORD: It's a thermonuclear weapon. We would have developed it anyway. I mean, I think it would have been done eventually but we would have

 

[67]

been way behind the parade if we hadn't done it at that time.

There was a lot of talk about it. The average person didn't know what it was all about. My friends here in Albuquerque and other places, didn't understand. Many books were written on what was called overkill. Some people would say that you're just as dead with a bullet through your heart with a 45 revolver as you are if you were completely volatilized by TN weapons. There really isn't any difference as far as results go.

Then there is the question of whether it is better to scatter a lot of small ones or use one great big one in the middle. These things had been hashed over many times and the stockpile became quite varied and one could select what they wanted.

MCKINZIE: Like a vending machine.

 

[68]

HERTFORD: Yes, somewhat.

When I finished one career, I turned the switches off usually -- not the rheostats down. I left the Army. I had my heart in it; I had spent all of those years in it, but I didn't keep looking backward. And didn't fight the battle of Chickamauga or Chancellorsville, or anything like that. I was interested in research and development.

We learned in Nevada that the trucks that were head-on to the blast were just pushed back a little with the windshields blown out, while the ones that were sideways to the blast rolled over and over. I said we should try to get them front end on in every direction. And that would be easy to do, just make them look like a doorknob.

As Chief of Research and Development I was interested in getting the Army conscious of what

 

[69]

could be done with atomic weapons using Army helicopters' mobility. Also with Army helicopters using other weapons even though the Air Force took a dim view of it in view of its roles and missions.

Now, the Army does realize the use of the armed helicopter, I wasn't too interested in a 150-ton tank. Of course, they can be useful, but they weren't too handy in Vietnam where there were jungles. They were all right in North Africa and in Europe, but I believe there will be no big tank battles with either China or the Soviet Union.

MCKINZIE: In this second phase of your career were you at all concerned about the integration of the Armed Forces? Mr. Truman undertook that, and he was not too successful in his attempts.

 

[70]

HERTFORD: Do you mean integration of the Army, Navy, and Air Force?

MCKINZIE: Yes.

HERTFORD: Oh, yes: First it was necessary in the Army itself.

There was an Assistant Secretary of the Army who had been looking over my shoulder in Research and Development. He'd been a rug manufacturer. I used to talk to him philosophically. I told him we were still organized the way they were after World War I. We have a Chief Signal Officer, a Chief Chemical Officer, and a Chief of Engineers and so forth.

I tried during the war (World War II) to give the Panama canal administration to the Navy. Being a Corps of Engineers engineering officer, I was not very popular with the Engineers. Then I explained that we have Quartermaster

 

[71]

Generals and Signal Corps and an Ordnance Department and they all make and use electronic equipment. I said we ought to reorganize and get rid of the technical services.

It had been tried before, and I didn't tell him this. But when you started doing away with the Ordnance Corps, you had to deal with the American Ordnance Association; and the American Chemical Association with the Chemical Corps. But I didn't tell the Assistant Secretary about that, and he said he would do something about it.

Well, he began, and he called in the tech service people, and they all had small empires -- and vested interests. Finally he called me about two months later and said substantially, "I feel like the man who had a big machine, and the big machine was not running very well.

 

[72]

And the man said, ‘If I can just get hold of the right nut and bolt here, or that lever, I can change it.’ And he put his hand in there to change it, and then he pulled it out and his arm was gone. Then he walked around to the other side, and said, ‘Now maybe this is better.’ So, he put his other hand in there and pulled it out, and that arm was gone." And he finally said, "I don't believe I can do anything about changing those tech services." It was done, as you know, later on.

I was in the attempt to integrate or at lease coordinate the services in the Guided Missile Committee in the Secretary of Defense's office. There used to be a lot of coordinating committees then, I also served as Chairman of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Committee.

As far as the Army organization and red tape was concerned, it was hard to try to get any

 

[73]

change. There had been about 160 officers in General Marshall's Operations Division during the war who really ran the war. Of course, they had tech and other services, but the rest of the General Staff played a support role. The opposition to change in the Army was strong, except for doing away with the Operations Division and returning to a conventional General Staff concept.

The Air Force was interested in getting a guided missile, but the Army had already developed the Nike even though it wasn't ready for full production. It was deployed, so one could say it was operational. There was a movie which showed a Nike shooting down a B-17. It showed three minutes of a B-17 falling in flames. The Air Force didn't like that, and the Air Force, at that time, badly wanted a guided missile.

 

[74]

The Army had the Redstone missile, which had a limited range of less than 500 miles. The strategic missiles were in the future.

I had a deal with my opposite number in the Air Force where the Air Force would take over the Nike missile and all anti-aircraft missiles provided the Army would take all ballistic missiles. The Air Force didn't have the capability for ballistic missiles at the time. Of course, the Nike was not a ballistic missile, it was guided. The Air Force would take all of the guided missiles, anti-aircraft and even the guided missiles from ground-to-ground, or air-to-ground, provided the Army would take all of the ballistic missiles. We had Werner von Braun, who was a good friend, down at the Redstone Arsenal, and we were about to close it up because we didn't have any funds to keep it going in the

 

[75]

ballistic field.

The Air Force was anxious to make some sort of a deal, and I went to the Army General Staff. The decision was to not give up the Army's role in anti-aircraft artillery or missiles.

I'm talking about the interface relations with the Air Force and working with them and also the Navy. I got along with my opposite numbers in the Navy R&D very well. We were even going to go to the Galapagos in 1954 and put up a satellite by using the Navy and the Redstone modified missile.

I went to the Army Chief of Staff with a colonel in the Ordnance Corps and explained what a satellite was. I told him we could put it up without instruments in it. It would be inflated, was yellow, and could be traced to measure the circumference of the earth and other scientific date. He thought the idea fantastic and asked

 

[76]

how much it would cost?

I told him we estimated two million dollars. The Navy would furnish the transportation down to the Galapagos on the equator. We could use the airport there, and take three Redstones missiles down.

I said the funds would have to come out of Research and Development. I explained that the purpose of this would be to demonstrate that it can be done; first, from the scientific point of view, then, second, from a national prestige point of view.

He was most interested in the proposal, but then the Air Force found out about it because I told them.

The Air Force said it's an International Geophysical Year and were we willing to declassify the Redstone missile, because anything

 

[77]

we do with it has to be completely declassified during this scientific year.

The Army stated it was a tactical missile so they wouldn't let us do it. I knew it wasn't the Army's responsibility, but the Navy was really behind it with us in R&D; but I didn't push it. There wasn't any sense in worrying about that when there were other things to fight about.

Then along came the Vanguard. I had told Werner von Braun to keep his work on the satellite Redstone on the back burner in the "back part of the garage." He had the Redstone to continue working on the clusters of Loki rockets to rotate and a balloon would be inflated with carbon dioxide.

In the meantime out at JPL they developed a little 5 pound instrument package. The Vanguard, was put in the IGY, and you know what

 

[78]

happened to it on the launching pad. It was called a "Flopnik" after Soviet Sputnik went up in '57. Then they called on Werner von Braun, and he just happened to have something. Then von Braun brought out the Redstone and the cluster of Loki rockets in January of 1958, and he put the five pound instrument package on top and we had our satellite up there.

It could have been done earlier, if the services had gotten together. They work together better now. I don't know, but my feelings for the lads in the offices and the people I see there is that they do get along much better. Then the Air Force was new and trying its wings and didn't want to play second fiddle anywhere.

I find that here with the West Point Society and the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy graduates. I have been instrumental in getting them together. I've been the master of ceremonies

 

[79]

for about 8 or 9 years. We got them together in a leadership award program. The West Point Society picks outstanding high school lads and gives them a soft sell on the service academies. We select them for awards for leadership which are presented when they graduate. We've gotten the Air Force into the program also along with the Navy.

The fellow that relieved me as Chief of Research and Development was in Operations and Plans, but he liked research and development. It's hard to separate plans from the new equipment that is being developed and he invariably gave a great deal of emphasis to R&D when he was in Plans. So he was made Chief of R&D for the Army. He never could shake the political overtones of Plans and Operations.

MCKINZIE: It's something that takes many years.

 

[80]

HERTFORD: It takes years of mellowing I suppose. The Services have also mellowed and matured. Of course, one never can get away from personal equations. The same is true with people at the top. I've always admired Harry Truman. I think that he had the guts to do several things that I was involved in. He made the decision on the hydrogen bomb, which was after I left Washington but at Sandia Base with the A.E.C. That was the best thing for the country. Thank God we haven't had to use it, but at least we have it. It may have been a great deterrent. Then, of course, the way he tried to keep the country together right at the end of the war. He couldn't stop a tidal wave of "Let's get the people out of the service." The Congress, I think, was part of it as well as the people.

Then I think President Truman did the right

 

[81]

thing by stopping lend-lease abruptly instead of coming up with a plan for gradual termination. Why, it might have still been going on. When you just stop it, then you can back up and give a little. People are going to look at the situation a lot differently with sudden termination than they would at making a plan to phase it out. Such a plan would just keep it going on and on. It's just human nature.

I had to defend the research and development budget before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee once with Republicans in control and then with Democrats.

Guided missiles were what they were interested in, but there was one item in the budget that I hadn't noticed. It was under the heading of astrophysics. I think it was about three pages from the end of the budget and a short paragraph.

 

[82]

It was Ford, I think, who said to the effect, "Now, General, what is this astrophysics? It says here that it's the distribution of red giant stars in the center of the galaxy. What in the world is the Army doing with that?"

I told him that I didn't know, but that I would find out and call him that afternoon.

I called the Ordnance Corps which was handling this research. There was a graduate student with an idea for an interferometer which he hoped would detect infrared emanating objects so close together that they couldn't be detected by anything else. This thesis was called "The Distribution of Red Giant Stars in the Center of the Galaxy." The thought occurred to the Ordnance Corps and others that it would be nice to have something that could tell the number of tanks or airplanes in flight because they all give off hot infrared rays, and

 

[83]

radar can't tell the number when they are close together.

This made sense. It was a really far out and venturesome project and it turned out that it did give additional ideas to others. I told the ordnance people not to call it astrophysics, but call it the development of an interferometer to distinguish hot objects close together. I informed Mr. Ford.

I had been before the Congress defending the budget twice. We had a Research and Development project to try to teach men to shoot a rifle at night in the moonlight because you can't see the target in the two sights at night. The Army did this project with a group from a university. They conditioned men to look at the target and to shoot from the hip. They did it in the daytime first. Then in twilight, then with

 

[84]

searchlights, and finally with moonlight. They'd do it in the dark, and also with flares. It was amazing and it was eventually written up as SOP, (standard operating procedure) for training.

This project appealed to the then chairman who was a Reserve officer specializing in small arms. He didn't question me too much about the guided missiles after we showed him that.

MCKINZIE: General, thank you very much.

HERTFORD: I'm afraid I haven't been very helpful.

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


List of Subjects Discussed

    Acheson, Dean, 12, 40
    Agnew, Harold, 63
    Aiken, George D., 11
    Air Force, U.S., Department of, 64, 73, 74-78
    Armed Forces, Special Weapons Project, 64-65
    Army, U.S., Department of, 37, 68-69, 70, 74, 77
    Atomic Energy Commission, U.S., 56-58
    Astrophysics, 82-83

    Baruch, Bernard, 27
    Bradbury, Norris, 30, 57, 59
    Braden, Spruille, 38-39, 40, 41, 44
    Brazil, 3-6, 8-9
    Briggs, Ellis, 44
    Bunche, Ralph, 22
    Byrnes, James, 44

    Chapultecpec Conference, 11-13
    Clay, Lucius, 6-7, 8
    Connally, Thomas, 15, 19

    de Carvalho, Leitão, 16
    Dunbarton Oaks, 13, 14, 15
    Dutra, Enrico Gaspar, 3-4

    Eisenhower, Dwight D., 5-6, 7, 38-39, 40, 41, 42
    Eubick, Stanley, 16

    Fortas, Abe, 22

    Gandhi, Madam Indira, 60
    Gildersleeve, Virginia, 15
    Gruenther, Alfred M., 25

    Halley, Rudolph, 52
    H-Bomb, 57, 59
    Hertford, Kenner F.:

      American Battle Monument Commission, mentions, 2
      and Argentina affairs, 40-42
      Armed Forces, integration of, concerned about, 69-70
      Army, U.S., South Atlantic, Deputy Commander of, 10
      and astrophysics, 82-83
      atomic components, discussion of, 27
      atomic contingent, handling of, opinion on, 63
      and Atomic Energy Commission, U.S., 58
      atomic weapons program, reference to, 28-29, 58-59, 68-69
      and Bradbury, Norris, 30
      and Braden, Spruille, 41-42
      and Brazil-U.S. Defense Commission, organizing of, 3-6, 8-9
      Chapultepec Conference, attended by, 11-13
      and Chief of Engineers Office, 2, 5
      Dunbarton Oaks Conference, mentions, 13, 14, 15
      and Dutra, Enrico Gaspar, reference to, 4
      and economic assistance, for strategic materials, requirements of, 45-47
      and Eisenhower, Dwight D., 39, 42
      House Appropriations Committee, research and development, budget of, defends, 81-84
      Korean War and scientists, opinion on, 61-63
      Latin American affairs, State Department division of, re-appointed to, 25-27
      Latin America, interest in, 43-47
      Lend-lease program, dealings with, 31-36
      and lend-lease, comments on, 9-10, 55-56
      Military Staff Committee, U.N., 21-24, 25-27
      National War College, attendance of, 24-25
      Pan-American Highway and the Alcan Highway, discussion of, 48-55
      and Rodinov, Admiral K., 16-20
      Truman Committee, appearance before, 51-55
      and Truman, Harry S., 21, 80-81
      War Department, U.S., Operations Division, Latin American Branch, 5
      Pan-American Division, assigned to, 11
      and War Plans Division, 4-5
      West Point Military Academy, attendance of, 60
      and the West Point Society, 78-79
    Hickerson, Jack, 15, 17, 19-20
    Hiss, Alger, 15, 22
    Hull, John E., 40

    Inter-American Defense Board, 38
    Inter-Continental missiles, development of, 72-77

    Killion, James, 29
    Korean War, 56, 61-63

    Latin America, 3-6, 8-9, 43-47
    League of Nations, 23
    Lewis, Fulton, Jr., 48, 51

    McCaffery, Jefferson, 7
    McCloy, John J., 16
    McNarney, Joseph, 51
    Mark V bomb, 65
    Mark III bombs, 62, 65
    Marshall, George C., 10
    Mathewson, General, 5, 6
    Mead, James M., 51
    Molotov, V.M., 20

    Operations Division, U.S., War Department, 40-41, 73

    Pershing, John J., 2
    Petain, Henri, Marshal, 2

    Redstone arsenal, 74-76
    Rockefeller, Nelson, 10, 16
    Rodionov, Admiral K., 16-17, 18-20
    Roosevelt, Franklin D., 21, 48

    Somervell, Brehon, General, 48, 54-55
    State Department, U.S., 7, 8, 10-15
    Stettinius, Edward R., 12, 15, 22

    Teller, Edward, 57, 59
    Thermonuclear weapons, 65-67
    Trippe, Juan, 42
    Truman, Harry S., 20, 21, 56, 57, 60, 69-70, 80-81

    United Nations, 16-24, 25, 27

    Vanguard rocket, 77
    Von Braun, Werner, 74, 77, 78

    Walsh, Robert F., 40
    War Department, U.S., 2, 5-6, 15, 26

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