Oral History Interview with
Assistant Director of the Research Division of the Democratic
National Committee for the 1948 Presidential election campaign.
Dr. Johannes Hoeber
September 13, 1966
by Jerry N. Hess
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview
Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry
S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee
but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember
that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview .
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced
for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission
of the Harry S. Truman Library.
Opened December, 1970
Harry S. Truman Library
[Top of the Page | Notices
and Restrictions | Interview Transcript
| Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]
Oral History Interview with
Dr. Johannes Hoeber
September 13, 1966
by Jerry N. Hess
HESS: Dr. Hoeber, would you, for the record, give me a little of your
personal background. Where were you born, where were you educated, and
what positions did you hold prior to your service on the Research Division
of the Democratic National Committee in 1948?
HOEBER: I was born in Switzerland and raised and educated in Germany.
I studied economics and political science at several German universities.
I did a year of graduate study in political science under Harold Laski
at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1926-27, and
then returned to my alma mater, the University of Heidelberg, Germany,
where I obtained my Ph.D. in political science with a thesis on the post-World
War I history of the British Labor Party for which I had gathered the
materials during my year in London, which coincided with the year of the
first Labor government under Ramsay MacDonald. After graduating from Heidelberg
I became director of information and assistant to the mayor of the German
city of Mannheim, where I worked from 1928 to 1933 until the Hitler government
came to power in January, 1933, arrested the entire city government from
the mayor down, including myself. After my release from "protective custody"
in April 1933, I stayed on in Germany for five years as circulation manager
for the Rhineland of Germany's most famous liberal paper, the Frankfurter
Zeitung, which was the only one of two independent papers which survived
for a while as an independent newspaper under the Nazis, until control
got tighter and tighter. At that time, my father taught in the medical
school at the University of Pennsylvania, and so in 1938, my family and
I came to Philadelphia. By one of those fortunate coincidences, I became
part of a group in Philadelphia, very shortly after my arrival, which
was working on a new city charter for the city of Philadelphia. The group
had been looking for somebody who could, from personal experience, advise
on the structure of city government in various European countries, and
I was initially employed as research assistant for the Citizens' Charter
Committee Committee of Philadelphia to prepare a number of position papers
on the manager plan, proportional representation, and the experience European
countries had both with full time professional career mayors and with
the system of proportional representation in government. Via this route
I became very quickly involved in Philadelphia in a broad range of what
you would call, for lack of a better term, independent democratic politics.
And out of the city charter committee developed a strong, independent
reform movement in Philadelphia, which--I'm jumping ahead now by about
fifteen years, which later on formed the nucleus of the reform movement
in Philadelphia which came to power in city hall thirteen years later
when the now U.S. Senator, Joseph Clark, was elected as the first Democratic
reform mayor of Philadelphia in November of 1951. Through this activity
I had become involved originally
in the Philadelphia Citizens' Political
Action Committee over the issue o£ whether the committee would back in
1946 the candidates of the Democratic Party, or whether the committee
would back Henry Wallace's Progressive Party and the candidates which
the Progressive Party was running in the 1946 congressional elections.
The non-Communist liberals succeeded in retaining control of the committee
and thereby throwing the weight of the independent movement behind the
Democratic candidates in Philadelphia. One of the Democratic candidates
in the 1946 congressional elections was William L. Batt, Jr., who was
running for the congressional seat in Pennsylvania's Montgomery County.
This upper income suburban county immediately adjoining Philadelphia to
the north has always been, and still is, a one hundred percent safe Republican
seat. But Bill Batt, who had returned
from the war in, I believe, 1945,
and whose father was a very prominent Philadelphia industrialist, with
a very well-known name and had become active both in the liberal political
movement and very active in the American Veterans Committee decided to
run for Congress in Montgomery County on the Democratic ticket. I met
Bill Batt through the Philadelphia Citizens Committee on Political Action,
and became active in his campaign. Out of it developed a friendship which
has lasted all these twenty years. The Philadelphia Citizens' Political
Action Committee was disbanded right after the 1946 congressional elections
and was converted early in 1947 into the Philadelphia chapter of Americans
for Democratic Action, then organized on the national level. A group of
us from Philadelphia, including Bill Batt and myself, attended the
convention for the Americans for Democratic Action in Washington in the
early spring of 1947, and then proceeded to organize the ADA chapter in
Philadelphia. Bill Batt became the first chairman of the chapter in Philadelphia
and I became the first secretary-treasurer of the chapter. We participated
in the following year, very actively, both at the local level and on the
national level, in ADA's organization and growth. Both Batt and I became
members of the National Board of ADA, the first national board formed
In the spring of 1948, out of a clear sky I received a call from Bill
Batt, who had gone to Washington, that he had been asked by the Democratic
National Committee to organize a research division of the Democratic National
Committee to help in the preparation for the 1948 presidential campaign.
This is how I became involved in the research activity of 1948. I took
a leave of absence from my job
with the Community Chest in Philadelphia
for four months, from May through September 1948, to join Bill Batt and
a group of others in Washington as assistant director of the Research
Division. As Batt explained it to me, the function of the research committee
was to be to prepare factual background papers on the issues which were
likely to be the prime issues in the 1948 campaign, and to assist with
speechwriting and other campaign activities. So in May 1948 I came to
Washington. I think I was the third or fourth to join the group. Batt,
of course, was already there. Ken Birkhead, who had been with some independent
liberal organization in New York City, whose name I do not recall at the
moment (I think it was called Friends of Democracy), and Frank Kelly,
a newspaperman, who had just completed a Neiman fellowship at Harvard,
were already there, and soon after I came, we were
joined by Phil Dreyer,
another young liberal from the West Coast, who had also been very active
in the American Veterans Committee on the West Coast. This constituted
the original nucleus of the Research Division.
HESS: David Lloyd joined later, is that correct?
HOEBER: David Lloyd joined later.
HESS: When did he come in?
HOEBER: I do not recall exactly when he came in. My guess would be not
until about July, but I'm not absolutely certain.
HESS: One reason I mentioned that, in the New York Times article
of August 1, 1948, the article that was written by Anthony Leviero, and
it mentions all the members of the Research Division, but not Mr. Lloyd.
And I wondered if
he joined sometime after that?
HOEBER: Yes, let me talk about that after a moment. This article came
as a bombshell for all of us. We had all been told right at the beginning
that this Research Division was to operate in the strictest anonymity,
that even its existence should not be publicly known, mainly for reasons
of security. We were given office space in the Hamilton National Bank
building on Dupont Circle, about two blocks away from the Ring Building,
where the Democratic National Committee was then located. And except for
Bill Batt, all of us were really kept away completely from the Democratic
National Committee. I don't recall visiting the Ring Building more than
maybe two or three times during the four months I was there. It was quite obvious
that there was a very strict rule that the existence of this group
should not become a public issue, and consequently we were quite shocked
when the Leviero article appeared in the New York Times, really
spilling the beans about the existence of the entire group.
By then we were working full speed on the preparation of what became
known as the Files of the Facts. My initial assignment was to prepare
two of the twelve files which had then been planned, one file on labor
and the other file on price control, those two, of course being major
issues, in the 1948 campaign.
HESS: In drawing up these Files of the Facts, what particular sources
did you go to, or did you go to any, just how were these built up?
HOEBER: Largely, really, by utilizing existing materials; official reports
of the departments and agencies involved; congressional hearings, prior
campaign materials; newspaper files very extensively. We did not do anything
like what you might call original research, but it was simply compiling
the materials which we had available and converting them into handy briefs
for the campaign. The purpose of the Files of the Facts was to be available
to the White House staff--to Truman's White House staff--as background
materials for speechwriting, for interviews, for campaign materials and
so on. Later on, when President Truman started to travel around the country,
the Files of the Facts traveled with him and with his staff and were constantly
and extensively used on the campaign train for the daily needs of the
campaign staff. Actually,
the Research Division did not report to anybody
in the Democratic National Committee. The Research Division reported directly
through Charlie Murphy to Clark Clifford and the White House staff.
HESS: What seemed to be the general relationship between the Research
Division and the Democratic National Committee. Were they friendly relations
or not friendly relations?
HOEBER: The Democratic National Committee did not have a research staff
of its own. The contacts which existed were carried on exclusively by
Bill Batt himself with Charlie Redding and Sam Brightman, in the public
relations department of the Democratic National Committee. I wouldn't
say the relations were at dagger's point, but they were kind of exceedingly
cool. I think the Ring Building
fellows considered this long hair crowd
as kind of interlopers into their professional business.
HESS: Did you ever hear them say anything of that nature?
HOEBER: No, I wouldn't recall any such statements. It was more a general
atmosphere than anything that was ever said in so many words. I think
as the Research Division became more and more involved in, for instance,
preparing background briefs about the whistlestops--the places where the
President's train was going to stop--preparing short background papers
on who were the important politicians, who should be recognized, who should
not be recognized, what was the socio-economic background of that particular
town, what were the issues the President should hit there,
I think the
fellows in the Ring Building felt more and more that this was really their
prerogative. Why these assignments came increasingly to the Research Division,
I don't really know. My assumption would be that they came to the Research
Division by default.
HESS: By default. One question on those Files of the Facts: Was each
particular man given an area to cover and draw up a File of the Facts?
HOEBER: Yes, and of course on each of the Files you find who carried
that particular assignment.
HESS: I'll just read those off into the record:
Files of the Facts Number 1 - "Human Resources, Social Security, Education,
Health, and Veterans," William L. Batt, Jr., Director.
Number 2 - "Agricultural Abundance," by Phil Dreyer
Number 3 - "Housing" by Phil Dreyer
Number 4 - "Veterans' Benefits" by Frank Kelly
Number 5 - "Loyalty and Subversive Activities" by David Lloyd
Number 6 - "The 80th Congress and the Lobbies," by John E. Barriere
(who is a man we didn't mention awhile ago), and Frank Kelly
Number 7 - "Labor" by yourself, Johannes U. Hoeber
Number 8 - "Civil Liberties" by David D. Lloyd
Number 9 - "Foreign Policy" by William L. Batt
Number 10 - "Prices" by Johannes U. Hoeber
Number 11 - "Natural Resources" by Phil Dreyer
Number 12 - "Thomas E. Dewey" by William L. Batt
HOEBER: The Thomas E. Dewey file was really a cooperative effort. Everybody
pitched in on that one.
HESS: This is the tail end. This is the last one that was done?
HESS: Do you have anything else on the Files of the Facts before we move
on to the job of speechwriting?
HOEBER: Well, the one thing that we had settled very early was on a uniform
format for these files; the basic structure was: The Democratic record;
quotes from Roosevelt and Truman; what we did; what the opposition said;
the Republican record, the Democratic plans for the future. This was the
uniform structure which was followed throughout our files.
HESS: Also, since we just mentioned John Barriere, perhaps we should
say a word about him.
HOEBER: John Barriere joined the staff as sort of a junior member, fairly
early, I would say also in May. As I recall it he was a graduate student
of Paul Douglas' who that year ran his first race for the Senate in Illinois.
I think that's from where he came to us.
HESS: What type of speeches did the Research Division write? Back platform
speeches, or did they also work on some of the major addresses given in
HOEBER: Originally, the understanding was that the Research Division
would not do any speechwriting. That again underwent considerable changes
and later on, the Research Division became involved in preparing both
some of the drafts for some of the major speeches, which were then turned
over to Charlie Murphy, and
increasingly, as the whistlestop campaign
got underway, brief drafts for the back platform speeches. I recall, for
instance, I was called on, I'd say, on almost an emergency basis one night
late in July to draft a speech for Truman's major campaign speech in Louisville,
Kentucky. This was the speech delivered by Truman on the night of September
30th, rather late in the campaign. I recall getting a call from Charlie
Murphy directly, I believe the previous weekend, to write a draft for
the Louisville speech, that the draft which had been turned in was completely
unsatisfactory, and would I please undertake on a crash basis preparing
a new draft. If my memory doesn't fail me, I delivered it personally to
the White House late on a Saturday night. It was then edited and rewritten
by Charlie Murphy, and
I believe George Elsey. I was terribly pleased
to find when the speech was released and delivered that about eighty percent
of my draft had survived.
HESS: About eighty percent.
HOEBER: Yes. So, I'm keeping to this day with a great deal of pride a
copy of that speech.
HESS: What was the general subject of the Louisville speech? Wasn't that
HOEBER: No, it was very largely on prices.
HESS: On prices. Did you help to write any other of the major addresses?
HOEBER: This is the only major address on which I helped.
HESS: Did any of the other members of the Research Division help on writing
any of the major
HOEBER: Yes, I think so. I recall very dramatically the opening speech
of the campaign--I believe it was Labor Day in Cadillac Square in Detroit.
Oh, incidentally, I'll have to get back to Detroit later on. But I remember
our working very long and very hard on a draft, all of us. By then all
of us had started reading like mad Franklin Roosevelt's campaign speeches
of all of his campaigns. We wrote a speech in typical FDR style, long
sentences, very highbrow, very colorful, and all of us sat around Batt's
office when the President delivered that speech in Detroit.
HESS: What time was that?
HOEBER: This must have been around Labor Day.
HESS: Oh, this was the Labor Day speech.
HOEBER: Yes, and we were listening and we were quite desperate because
obviously the speech written in the FDR style was not the speech for Harry
HESS: He delivered it more or less as you wrote it.
HOEBER: He delivered it, largely I would say, as we had written it. It
didn't come across very well at all. From then on, the word was, whenever
we were involved in speechwriting, short sentences, brief words, and a
very hardhitting, very popular style, rather than trying to copy another
man's style for President Truman.
HESS: On speechwriting, let's go back here just a little bit, all the
way to June. Mr. Truman
took a trip out West the first two weeks of June
of 1948, sort of a little preliminary campaign and made several whistlestop
speeches. Now did the Research Division have any functions connected with
that June trip? Did they write any of the speeches?
HOEBER: I do not remember. I'm not sure of that. I doubt it very much.
I remember for a short while there was quite an issue whether a member
of the Research Division should ride the campaign train with the White
House staff and the decision was against that. I think this had something
to do with keeping the existence of the Research Division under wraps.
At any rate, none of us ever got on the campaign train. Our materials
traveled, speech drafts traveled, but none of us ever traveled with the
HESS: On any of the trips?
HOEBER: On any of the trips.
HESS: Back just a little bit further. Did you ever hear Mr. Batt say
where the idea for setting up this Research Division came from? Whose
idea was it originally?
HOEBER: To the best of my recollection, he said it was Clark Clifford's
idea. I think Clark Clifford realized fairly early that the staffs of
the national committee were not sufficient for this campaign. The national
committee, as I recall it, was in very desperate financial straits at
that time. They were short staffed, it was primarily concentrating on
fund raising, on public relations, and it was not equipped to do this
job. By the same token, the White House
staff, the President's personal
staff, was not large enough to take on this added task. As I recall it,
from conversations with Batt, it was Clark Clifford's idea to create this
HESS: Why do you think that the decision was made to keep it secret?
HOEBER: I think because of the nature of the people who were recruited
for the Research Division. The Research Division had a very strong and
outspoken ADA, American Veterans Committee slant. All of us either came
out of the ADA crowd or came out of the American Veterans Committee crowd.
HESS: Tell me about these men here. This is a good opportunity so let's
just go down the list. Will you give me a little thumbnail
of these men? Let's start with William L. Batt, Jr.
HOEBER: Bill Batt's primary political identification was with the American
Veterans Committee, whose eastern regional chairman he was, and with the
Philadelphia chapter of Americans for Democratic Action, whose chairman
he was, and which he represented on the national board of ADA.
Phil Dreyer had been very active in the American Veterans Committee on
the West Coast.
Ken Birkhead came out of the typical independent liberal setting of New
York City. I think his father had been very prominent in Civil Liberties
Union activities, and other nonpartisan, independent activities in New
Frank Kelly had no political background
of any kind at all. Batt also
knew him through the American Veterans Committee.
I've told you about my background. My identification was through my job
with the CIO and through politics with the ADA.
Dave Lloyd, of course, was a horse of a different color. Dave Lloyd had
long experience on the Hill, and I believe he had been a staff member
for one of the major congressional investigations. I believe it was the
antitrust investigation, as I recall it.
And John Barriere was really nothing more than a very bright, senior
HESS: He was just getting started.
HOEBER: Just getting started. So none of us really were politically known
in any way, and
as far as we were politically known we were not exactly
persona grata with the regular Democratic organizations.
I had had a number of fairly serious scraps with the regular Democratic
organization in Philadelphia. Bill Batt had been sort of an outsider.
So, I think this was the principal reason. I think more because of personalities
rather than because of the organizational structure that the people in
the White House did not want this group to become publicly known.
HESS: Back onto speeches just for a moment, then we'll get onto another
area. On the whistlestop speeches, just how were those drafts drawn up?
Did you write a complete sort of speech, or was it in outline form?
HOEBER: We did two things. We wrote a one page
backgrounder on the nature
of the whistlestop city, its socio-economic structure, its politics, its
prior political record, and who the key people were in that particular
area. And then we attached it to (this grew gradually), and then we attached
to it regular drafts, very brief drafts, a page, two pages, three pages,
double spaced. But they were regular speech drafts. This did not develop
until, I would say, late in August and early in September. This certainly
was not our function in June and July in the early months of the Research
Division, but as I said earlier--I want to get back to Detroit for a moment.
Before Truman went to Detroit for Labor Day, Batt sent me on a field trip
to Detroit for two days to talk to key people, key Democrats in Detroit,
on what the local people considered as the principal issues
and I prepared
then, when I came back, a memorandum for Batt which I think he passed
on to the principal issues that the President should hit. I remember,
for instance, talking at great length to George Edwards who was then president
of the City Council of Detroit and one of the key Democratic figures in
Michigan at that time. I don't recall whether it was just the year after
or the year before that he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Detroit. He
came very close to winning, but there again George Edwards was the National
Vice-Chairman at that time of the ADA, represented the liberal wing of
the party in Michigan. I remember using him as one of the principal resources
for gaining background material for Truman's visit to Detroit. And some
of the others got these assignments on a spot basis occasionally. If there
was a major Truman speech coming up
somebody from the Research Division
went to that place for a couple of days to kind of savor the local flavor
as background material.
HESS: Did you make many of those trips?
HOEBER: I made only one; I made only Detroit.
HESS: Harkening back here just a little bit further, back to the President's
acceptance speech at the convention in Philadelphia--which was a rather
famous speech, rather well-known. Did any of the members of the Research
Division help with the drafting of the President's acceptance speech?
HOEBER: Not that I recall. I'm certain that I personally was not involved.
On the other hand I believe this speech, more so than any of the others,
drew very heavily on the Files of the Facts. It was actually, in many
respects, a comprehensive precis and summary of what we had put into the
Files of the Facts as the major issues in each one of these areas.
HESS: Some of the speechwriters in the White House would draw on the
Files of the Facts?
HESS: Now, I have heard that Clark Clifford and Samuel Rosenman did a
great deal of work on that speech. So perhaps they drew on the Files.
HOEBER: I wouldn't know, but I would assume that that's correct.
HESS: At the end of that speech he made a rather important announcement
about calling Congress back into the special session. What can you
tell me about that decision?
HOEBER: Well, the issue about whether to call the Congress to special
session or not, by then, of course, had become a cause celebre. The Truman
advisers, the Democratic National Committee, the White House staff, the
congressional leaders, everybody was kind of divided on whether this was
advisable or not. We discussed the issue extensively in staff meetings
of the Research Division, which incidently Batt held quite regularly,
at least twice and sometimes four times a week. We usually met for about
an hour in the morning to hash over the latest developments and to kind
of lay out the plans for the next few days. I recall, I wouldn't say,
endless, but very extensive discussions of this issue. The concensus of
the staff of the
Research Division was to strongly urge the President
to call a special session.
HESS: In the papers of the Truman Library, in Samuel Rosenman's papers,
there is an unsigned memorandum dated June 29 of 1948, the subject is
"Should the President Call Congress Back." [See Appendix A] Would you take
a look at this and would you tell me something about that?
HOEBER: I've seen this memo before. I recall the memo very vividly. And
now, after these many years, reading it over and over again, I'm firmly
convinced that this memo was written by Bill Batt on the basis of the
extensive discussions we had in the Research Division staff. Having known
Bill Batt and his writing and his style for twenty years, this memo to
me clearly bears the stamp of Bill Batt's
thinking and language, and I
find in there a great many of the points which we had discussed extensively
in the Research Division staff meetings and so on; I have very little
doubt in my mind that this memo was written by Bill Batt.
HESS: In here I notice that he mentions several times, we found,
and we make the following points, and things like that. So really
this was, as you say, probably written by Bill Batt, but it was after
his discussions with the entire Research Division. In other words, the
"we" stands for the members of the Research Division. This is the unsigned
memo mentioned by R. Alton Lee in his article "The Turnip Session of the
Do-Nothing Congress: Presidential Campaign Strategy" from The Southwestern
Social Science Quarterly of
December, 1963. Why was the memorandum
HOEBER: I don't know. Ask Batt. I'm still convinced that a further search
of the files, probably in either Clark Clifford's or Charlie Murphy's
papers, would turn up another copy of this memorandum, because if it was
written by Batt, as I'm convinced it was, it would have gone directly
to either Murphy or Clifford, and then may have been passed on by them
HESS: This is June 29 of '48, just about the last of June. This is trying
to remember back many years and trying to put these things in day by day
order, but do you remember very much discussion before this time? Was
this just about the earliest that a group gave this advice to the President?
HOEBER: I can't honestly say.
HESS: Well, it's a tough question.
Now, I have read where there was also a Republican research team working
at this time. Can you tell me about that?
HOEBER: Yes, we discovered this sort of by accident. There was a little
basement restaurant two or three doors from the Hamilton National Bank
building, where most of us usually went for lunch, and I don't know exactly
through whose contact there, developed some kind of a cross connection
between the two groups. I remember that we finally latched onto each other,
and I remember a very hilarious session one night--at which, incidentally,
I'm sure Batt was not present--a hilarious session one night where we
swapped kind of nasty campaign slogans which
could be used on either side.
Phil Dreyer, I think, had developed a phrase to describe Dewey as "the
candidate in sneakers" and I remember our swapping that with the Republican
boys. I think we volunteered for the housing issue that the Republican
policy could be described as "two families in every garage." It was that
kind of banter back and forth. But I have no recollection of who these
fellows were. I remember distinctly it was a younger crowd like all of us.
HESS: At that time did they know that you were members of the Democratic
HOEBER: This must have been after the Leviero article and the cat was
out of the bag.
HESS: After August lst.
HESS: O.K. And they knew who you were and you knew who they were?
HOEBER: That's right.
HESS: Did you ever get back any reports from the President indicating
just what kind of a job that he thought the Research Division was doing?
HOEBER: All of us got after the campaign was over, very glowing letters
from Clark Clifford about the job the Research Division had done.
HESS: It's dated January 17, 1953 from Mr. Truman to Mr. Batt, about
the current activities of the 1948 group. [See Appendix B] This is the February
2, 1949 letter from Clark Clifford to Johannes Hoeber expressing his appreciation
for the fine work that you did during the campaign [See Appendix C] . Other than this, did
you ever hear the President say anything
HOEBER: Yes, we might just as well get at this now. As I said earlier,
I had taken four months leave of absence from my job in Philadelphia and
I returned to Philadelphia on October 1st. About that time, it must have
been October 3rd or 4th, I got late in the afternoon an urgent call from
Batt to catch the next plane to Washington and meet the members of the
team at the White House, I believe it was at eight o'clock that night.
I remember getting the call about four o'clock in the afternoon or so.
As it turned out this was a personal invitation by the President just
to the members of the Research Division to say goodbye to us because officially
the job was completed on October 1st. On October the 1st the Division was
really disbanded, although some work was still carried on, I think,
in the first two weeks of October. Officially, the job was really completed
on October 1st. And when we got there, there was really nobody present
except the members of the team. Bill Batt very nicely had included the
girls who had helped us in the office, which was one of the typical, generous
Bill Batt gestures, which he's always very good at. And I believe the
only other person present was George Elsey. I think Murphy and Clifford
were both out of town. We were ushered into the Rose Garden, and there
was only the President, Mrs. Truman and Margaret Truman, and the eight
or ten of us chatted for about a half an hour, and the President was very
generous in his praise of what the Research Division had done. It
really an unforgettable evening, brief as it was, that the President in
the midst of the campaign took out this time to say his "thank yous" personally
to us. The most vivid memory I have is, I would say it was probably nine
or nine thirty when we said good night to the President, when he was ready
to go upstairs, and he went around and shook the hand of everybody and
said, if he said it once he said it three or four times, "On election
day we'll all celebrate together." And he said it with the firmest of
convictions. This was a small group. It was not the usual talk for public
consumption. This was his firm belief. I remember catching the expression
on Mrs. Truman's face at that moment, which was quite clear, that she
herself didn't think this would happen. And on Margaret's face there was
the same thing.
There was no doubt in the President's mind. This is a
memory which will stay with me always.
HESS: They were looking at him like they didn't agree with his optimistic
HOEBER: That's right.
HESS: That's pretty good.
On October the first, you say, the Research Division was disbanded. Now
were all the drafts--he made many whistlestop speeches and things during
the month of October. Were all the drafts drawn up ahead of this time?
HOEBER: I cannot talk from personal memory, because I left on September
30, so someone else--I think all the others stayed in Washington.
HESS: All the others stayed. Did they stay on the job?
HOEBER: I do not really know. I think I was the first one to pull out.
Unfortunately, and I've kicked myself ever since, I had made a commitment
to my employer in Philadelphia, and it broke my heart to sit in Philadelphia
and see the campaign go on and know that the other fellows were still
working one way or another. I found in my files, for instance, Batt called
me the day before Truman came to Philadelphia (Truman got a tremendous
reception in Philadelphia), and he asked me to give him a quick impression
of the Truman visit to Philadelphia--this was October 7. So obviously,
they were still on the job.
HESS: O. K. That's a good point. And also, you showed me earlier a memeographed
form dated April 5, 1948, on the subject of the Research Division functions.
It says, "Here is the outline of the jobs which it is planned to undertake
in the Research Division." So would you say that April the fifth was just
about the beginning of the talk about a Research Division?
HOEBER: Having read this memo again, which had really slipped from my
memory, my assumption is that this was written for the purpose of obtaining
the necessary funding to finance the operation. Because you know a four
months operation of this size was a fairly expensive operation.
HESS: It would take quite a bit of money.
HOEBER: It took a good bit of money. I said earlier, it was quite obvious
that the Democratic National Committee was desperately strapped for money,
and there must have been some demand to clearly spell out what this division
would do to pursuade the national chairman who was then Howard McGrath
to obtain the funding for the Division. There were a couple of crises,
I remember vividly, during those four months, where obviously the committee
had run out of money. I think a couple of times we had to wait for our
paychecks and so on, and I would assume that this memo, which is really
a job description for the Division, must have been submitted to the DNC
for the purpose of formalizing the setting up of the Research Division.
HESS: But you came in May?
HOEBER: I came in May and left on September 30.
I want to get back later, I don't know whether this is the time, later
on, to little sidelight on this issue of the security measures about the
existence of the Division. Is this a good point to do it?
HOEBER: We were all quartered together. The Batts had a house in Silver
Spring, as I recall. All of us had come to Washington without our families,
leading sort of a bachelors' life and all of us were quartered on the
fourth floor of the national club of the American Veterans Committee on
New Hampshire Avenue, just around the corner from our office. We lived,
rather monastic life, locked up in this menís club on the
third floor, almost dormitory style rooms. It had two tremendous advantages:
Number one, of course this added to the security of not disclosing too
much about the operation; secondly, we really spent days and nights together.
We were on tap twenty-four hours a day, and when we went from the office
around the corner to the AVC club where we lived, to eat our dinner, the
work just went on. We chatted over dinner; we chatted over lunch; we sat
around after dinner, and then each of us went to his room and continued
the work which we were doing, so it was really a totally cloistered operation
for four months. I think one of the reasons why Batt had made these arrangements
with the AVC national club, was also in order to keep
the group under very tight control.
HESS: Do you think that's one of the reasons that they didn't put you
in the Ring Building, for security reasons?
HOEBER: Oh, no doubt about it. That was why.
HESS: Just as a little sidelight, I understand they were putting the
underpass under Dupont Circle right about that time. Is that right?
HOEBER: It was murder, because the sledge hammers were going day and
night. And we had sometimes to shout at each other, because our windows
overlooked Dupont Circle. I had a balcony room. I was worse off. Batt
and I had the two front rooms. I was worse off than anybody else. At staff
meetings and so on, it was sometimes murder.
HESS: During October, the proposal was made to send Chief Justice Vinson
to Moscow. Nothing ever came of the proposal, but did you ever hear any
discussion about that?
HOEBER: No, no recollection at all.
HESS: Actually, that's after the time you left town. It's during October,
but I'm not sure when.
HOEBER: I don't recall it at all.
HESS: During the campaign, Mr. Truman did not really attack Mr. Dewey
so much as he did the 80th Congress. Why do you think that decision was
made? Why did he run against the 80th Congress and not the opponent?
HOEBER: I don't know, of course, it was quite obvious. Dewey was a rather
successful governor of New York at that time, with a pretty good
record, as far as Republicans go, with very much fewer real openings for
attack as contrasted to the miserable record of the 80th Congress in the
domestic field. It was infinitely easier to run against the 80th Congress
than it was to run against Tom Dewey. But I'm sure the Research Division
had nothing to do with that tactical decision.
HESS: One point on that: Many writers like to point out the fact that
the 80th Congress' record on foreign affairs is really what Mr. Truman
will be remembered for, the Greek-Turkish Aid Bill, the Marshall plan,
and things of that nature. So many writers, as I started to say point
up the fact that the 80th Congress really wasn't all that bad.
HOEBER: I don't know anything about this; I don't
remember anything about
this, because I stayed entirely on the side of domestic issues. I think
the foreign policy document was really very largely Bill Batt's personal
production, and therefore I would have no comments on that.
HESS: All right. One thing, did you think Mr. Truman would win the 1948
HESS: You didn't think so?
HOEBER: I remember an exchange of letters between Bill Batt and Elmo
Roper. They had known each other well; they were old friends, and I remember
the bombshell which must have been
August or September, I would say, a
long, two-page, single-spaced letter from Elmo Roper to Bill Batt explaining
why Roper had stopped polling on the election because all the signs were
pointing to such a landslide victory for Dewey that Roper--I think he
literally said he didn't want to invest any more money in taking polls
because it just wasn't worth it.
HESS: When was this?
HOEBER: This must have been August or September, around that time.
HESS: This was when you were still there?
HOEBER: Yes. And all of us, of course, naturally, were following the
polls like mad, and there was a general feeling around the staff that
this was--I think all of us considered it the most
exciting thing we'd
ever been involved in in our lives, but at the same time, I think each
one of us had a deep conviction that this was a Republican year and that
Truman could not win. I may add a personal note to it, I'm quite sure
that if I had not been so convinced that Truman could not possibly win,
I would have broken my commitment to my Philadelphia employer to go back
October 1st. I stuck to that commitment because I was absolutely certain
that it was a losing campaign, and that it was wiser for me for purely
personal reasons to re-establish my base in Philadelphia.
HESS: Could you enlarge a little bit on why you think Mr. Truman could
not win, or was not going to win, other than the fact that this was a
HOEBER: Probably mainly because of the polls, I would say. Now this is
a good point to throw in another name which we haven't mentioned before,
and that's Louie [Louis] Bean. Louis Bean, who then was, I don't recall
his title, chief economist, or something similar, for the, I believe,
Commodity Credit Corporation in the Agriculture Department. His professional
background had been that of a statistician forecasting crops, agricultural
crops, is as difficult a thing to do as forecasting political events.
Now Louie Bean, I believe, only the year before, maybe '48, had branched
out as a hobby, into political forecasting. Every time morale in the shop
got very low, Bill Batt arranged for all of us to have lunch with Louie
Bean, or have Louie Bean come up, because Louie Bean was the only one
who kept saying "Truman will win." And he stuck to that as long
known him and I think we met him for the first time, probably early in
June already, and we used him considerably as a resource person. I'm quite
sure that as far as the Files of the Facts on agriculture were concerned
that Bean may well have been one of the major resource people that we used.
HESS: Dr. Hoeber, you mentioned that Mr. Bean was associated with agriculture.
I have a question here on the Commodity Credit Corporation that I'll ask.
What do you recall about the importance to the campaign of the refusal
of the 80th Congress to appropriate money to the Commodity Credit Corporation
for grain storage bins?
HOEBER: I don't recall anything at all about that. And the reason for
that is that the research shop was pretty much compartmentalized. Everybody
was working on his own specialities, or the areas with which he was reasonably
well familiar. Now, Phil Dreyer, coming from the West and coming, I think,
from a small town background was our specialist on natural resources and
on questions of agriculture. All of us stayed pretty well out of the other
fellows' fields, and my fields, as we talked about earlier, were labor
and price control, one because of my association with the labor movement;
the other, because of my background as an economist. And I pretty much
stuck to my specialty, just like the others did. Dave Lloyd was obviously
the specialist on civil rights issues and civil liberties issues;
Bill Batt, who had previous association with, I believe it was--what was
economic aid called in those days. He had worked under Harriman in London.
But Bill Batt had been very deeply
involved with issues of foreign policy
and was obviously, besides being the overall director, he was specialized
in the field of foreign policy. But pretty well, all of us were kind of
specialized in our own fields, so I have no recollection of this.
HESS: Did you meet Mr. Truman at any other time other than that time
in the White House?
HOEBER: No, this was the only time.
HESS: Did you ever hear J. Howard McGrath make any comments about the
HESS: Did he have very much to do with the Research Division--did you
ever see him down at the building at Dupont Circle?
HOEBER: He never came to the Dupont Circle building.
He was never there.
I remember meeting him, maybe once, at the Ring Building, more or less
by chance. My general recollection is, on this again, you know, sort of
things which are in the atmosphere, my general recollection is that Howard
McGrath did not think very much of the Research Division.
HESS: Didn't think too much of it.
HOEBER: I don't think. so. This was not his cup of tea.
HESS: It isn't anything he said though, it was just a general reaction?
HOEBER: Yes. I think it had something to do, again, with financing the
campaign. I think in his book the research effort had a rather low priority
and being desperately pressed for campaign funds, for all kinds of things, I
think he put a rather low priority on the research effort.
HESS: Was this the first time that a Research Division such as this was
ever set up?
HOEBER: As far as I know, yes.
HESS: You mentioned John Redding and Sam Brightman a while ago. Did you
ever hear them make a comment about the Research Division? You
mentioned most of that was just mostly intuition.
HOEBER: Never personally. There was talk about the shop about a couple
of kind of itchy meetings between Batt and Redding. I don't think they
were on particularly friendly terms.
HESS: Did they come up to Dupont Circle? Did you ever see them?
HOEBER: Sam Brightman came up a couple of times. I remember vividly we
had a bad scare one time because one of Drew Pearson's men had caught
on to our existence, and we were worried that there might be a Drew Pearson
column about our operation. It never materialized. He had a younger man
working for him, I think his name was Anderson, I'm not sure.
HESS: Was this the Jack Anderson that writes with him now?
HOEBER: I think this is Jack Anderson, who at that time, of course, must
have been quite young.
HESS: Just getting started with him.
HOEBER: Yes. I remember that we kind of on a social basis met with Jack
Anderson a couple of times. I remember meeting him.
HESS: What led you to believe that he was onto the Research Division,
HOEBER: I think he knew about it. I think it simply came out in the conversation
and I think this was one of the points which may well have led to some
tension between Jack Redding and Bill Batt. We heard that Redding was
very fearful of a leak, especially in the Drew Pearson column.
HESS: Back to the campaign and Henry Wallace. How much of a threat did
you believe Henry Wallace and his Progressive campaign would be to Mr.
Truman and the Democrats?
HOEBER: Very serious. And, of course, as events proved, he threw New
York State into the Dewey column. Those of us who had come out of the
bitter fight between the Progressive Party and
the Democratic Party split
in the liberal movement--you know, Wallace had set up what was called
the Progressive Citizens of America, and ADA had set up shop early in
'47. There was bitter fighting between Wallace's Progressive Citizens
and the ADA. But there was an agreement very early in the campaign. I
do not recall how and when it was negotiated, there was an agreement very
early in the campaign, that the job that ADA would take on, would
be the fight against Henry Wallace. And ADA published a very extensive
book on the role of Henry Wallace, as a campaign document. And by mutual
agreement, the Research Division stayed out of that area entirely; this
was the specialty that the ADA took on. In hindsight, I think, it was
a very wise tactical decision to let what you might call the left wing
of the liberal movement supporting Truman take on
the fight against Wallace
rather than the official organization.
HOEBER: Because they could take on Henry Wallace on his own ground, namely
the fight for the liberal independent Democrats, much better than either
the White House staff or the Democratic National Committee. Besides Loeb,
James Loeb, who was then the national director of ADA, had been the national
director of the Union for Democratic Action, which was the ADA predecessor.
And under Reinhold Niebuhr and James Loeb, UDA had been the nucleus of
the fight against the infiltration of the liberal movement by left wing
and Communist controlled elements. Everybody bowed to the much greater
competence and experience of the top group of ADA fighting left wing infiltration
into the labor and liberal
movements, and left it to ADA to do this job.
You may recall that Hubert Humphrey was the first national vice chairman
of the ADA. Hubert Humphrey had just come out of a bitter fight in the
Democratic Farmer Labor Party of Minnesota, finally getting rid of the
Communists in the Democratic Farmer Labor Party. So this was the non-Communist
progressives in the CIO, Walter Reuther, David Dubinsky, David Dubinsky
of course then was with AF of L--James Carey--all the most prominent anti-Communist
leaders in the CIO and labor movement, were the nucleus of the new ADA,
and therefore at a very early stage of the game, the Research Division
bowed out of this area entirely.
HESS: Was this an agreement between the Democratic National Committee
and the ADA or the Research
Division and the ADA?
HOEBER: I don't know. My assumption would be that it was an agreement
between the Democratic National Committee and the ADA.
HESS: This is extremely interesting and I hadn't heard this before. When
did you hear this? Were you told this?
HOEBER: You need to recall, you see, that I was still doubling in brass
as national board member of ADA. In fact, I was on the national executive
committee. So I was really on both sides. As a matter of fact to add an
amusing sidelight to this, you recall that brief--thank God--brief fling
of the ADA to promote Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Democratic candidate
in 1948, and this involved, actually, two members of the later Research
Division, long before the Research Division was created, in a very
personal feud. 1 was then the second ranking officer of the local chapter
of ADA in Philadelphia. David Lloyd was on the national staff of ADA,
he was national legislative representative. The Philadelphia chapter,
and I think I can say this without bragging, through the years, was the
largest, the politically most experienced, and most influential single
chapter of ADA. The annual membership meeting in the Philadelphia chapter
of ADA was always a key event, not only in Philadelphia, but for the national
ADA. Forty-eight hours before the annual meeting of the Philadelphia chapter
of ADA in the spring of '48, 1 got a call from Jim Loeb that he could
not come to Philadelphia, that David Lloyd would represent him, and this
was the point at which Joe [Joseph L.] Rauh, Jim Loeb, and some others,
who I don't recall, had dreamed up this Eisenhower idea.
HESS: It was their idea?
HOEBER: It was their idea as far as ADA was concerned. And David Lloyd
was sent to Philadelphia to swing the Philadelphia chapter as the spearhead
of an endorsement of a grassroots movement by ADA to draft Eisenhower
for the Democratic nomination in 1948. Well, to make a long story short,
largely through my doing and a couple of others, David Lloyd left Philadelphia
with a smashing defeat. We stopped that nonsense in its tracks right away.
But this carried over for a long time. T remember a national board meeting
of ADA in the spring of 148, which was in, I think, Chicago, which was
attended by both Batt and myself--we both were on the national board--where
Jim Loeb, not officially in the meeting, but in the corridors, questioned
whether Batt and Hoeber should be allowed to vote on the political policy
of ADA because they were employees of
Mr. Truman. So, you see, through
my wearing two hats I was fairly familiar with what was going on between
ADA and the Democrats at that time.
HESS: This is very interesting, particularly since David Lloyd and James
Loeb later worked in the White House. But then they were trying to get
somebody else in there.
HOEBER: You shouldn't talk about a dead friend of yours. It's always
been my feeling that Dave Lloyd carried out the Philadelphia mission very
reluctantly. I do not think Dave Lloyd was really convinced that this
was a good idea.
HESS: He didn't have his heart in it?
HOEBER: I'm sure he didn't.
HESS: What about the other side of the coin here. The Democrats had another
split under J.
Strom Thurmond and his States' Rights Party. How much of
a problem did you think they would present to a Democratic victory?
HOEBER: If you hadn't reminded me I would not have remembered. I don't
think this ever entered either our thinking or our discussions. There
again, this centered around the civil rights issue, and so this was Dave
Lloyd's bailiwick; but I have no recollection of our having any concern
about the third party movement in the South, the Dixiecrats.
HESS: How much time was spent on Dewey himself? How much of your research,
how much of your writing--what percent of the time did Mr. Dewey come
into the picture?
HOEBER: A good bit of time in the later phases of the campaign. I know
that all of us were constantly reminded, any scrap of information any
of us could dig up about Mr. Dewey was
worth its weight in gold.
HESS: Could that by chance be because there wasn't too much?
HOEBER: That's right. It was very hard to find anything on Mr. Dewey.
HESS: In the book, Out of the Jaws of Victory, Jules Abels states
that the Democratic campaign was aimed at four distinct interest groups:
labor, the farmer, the Negro, and the consumer. What do you think about
HOEBER: I would say these were the four issues on which the Research
Division, either on its own, or under instructions, concentrated. If you
look at the Files of the Facts, it's quite obvious that these are the
four issues along which the campaign concentrated. None of us were involved
in any way in research specifically aimed at the Negro vote, except along
the general issue of civil rights and
civil liberties, but no effort was
ever made to produce any materials specifically aimed at the Negro vote.
HOEBER: I don't know.
HESS: That was my next question. How important did you believe the Negro
vote was going to be?
HOEBER: I don't recall any attention being paid to it. Now, this may
well have been, you see, an area which again was delegated largely to
Philleo Nash and Dave Niles. I believe this was handled entirely in Dave
Niles' and Philleo Nash's shop. We were not involved at all.
HESS: Were there any other minority blocks that were watched with any
particular interest, such as Poles or...
HESS: What about the question of the recognition of the State of Israel?
How important do you believe that that was to the campaign?
HOEBER: No involvement at all, as far as we were concerned.
HESS: O.K. Did any particular problems arise during the summer from the
allegations made by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers during the
summer of 1948? Did their accusations up on the Hill cause you any problems?
HOEBER: I would have to look at the Files of the Facts on civil rights
and civil liberties to find to what extent we were involved. I remember
we used to kid each other by putting notes on each others desk, "Elizabeth
Bentley called, please return the call." But this was, as you know, S.O.P.
in Washington in
those days. But there again, you see, the whole McCarthy
issue was one of the specialties on which the ADA concentrated, so we
stayed pretty much out of it. There was--I don't know for sure, because
I was never involved in these negotiations, or there must have been at
the top level, a pretty clear division of functions, who would concentrate
on what, and it was quite evident from everything that transpired that
the whole McCarthy issue again was left pretty much to the ADA group.
HESS: What in your opinion were the biggest issues in the campaign?
HOEBER: Price control, housing--personally, I agonized over President
Truman's position in the railway labor strike, because it was part, you
know, of my assignment in the Files of the Pacts on labor, to explain
Truman's position on the railway labor strike. This was a very sore issue
HESS: When he seized the railroads?
HOEBER: Yes, when he seized the railroad and thereby forced the railroad
unions to go back to work. It was very similar to the situation in the
airline strike. I remember going to great lengths--there must be (I haven't
looked at it lately), there must be pages and pages in the Files of the
Facts on labor, putting on record every move in the railway strike taken
by the President. It was a big issue. Those are the principal issues which
come to mind. You might remind me of some others.
HESS: How about the turning back of the Taft-Hartley Act?
HESS: That also interested the labor people?
HOEBER: Yes, a great deal. And of course Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley
Act was used very extensively, in almost every speech and in almost everything
HESS: Looking back, what do you see as the major mistakes in campaign
strategy do the part of the Republicans?
HOEBER: To take victory for granted. To really coast into victory. It
became quite obvious midway through the campaign that Dewey really conducted
a kind of an Olympian campaign, way up in the clouds, staying out of controversial
issues, saying nothing, so sure that it was all in the bag, that he actually
made no effort any more to really campaign against Truman. This I would
consider as the key error on the part of the Republicans. I mentioned
earlier, you know, a joking phrase used for Dewey, the candidate in sneakers.
This soft peddling, this kind of
shuffling through the campaign had been
HESS: I have a list of names of people who worked on the White House
staff during this time. Could you tell me if they were associated with
any of the efforts of the Research Division, or if you remember anything
about what they did at that time. What about Charles Ross?
HOEBER: No recollection at all.
HESS: Matthew Connelly.
HOEBER: No recollection.
HESS: Clark Clifford we've hit on a couple of times.
HOEBER: Yes, obviously Clark Clifford and Charlie Murphy were the key
HESS: What about George Elsey?
HOEBER: Yes, very important.
HESS: What was his main job at that time?
HOEBER: Oh, I think kind of a generalist. His academic background, if
I'm not mistaken, is as a historian. I believe he was writing his Ph.D.
thesis in history at Harvard at the time. He had been in the Map Room
in the White House during World War II under President Roosevelt, I think
he was used--I think he must have been one of the key speechwriters. George
Elsey wrote very extensively.
HESS: Was he on the train most of the time?
HOEBER: Yes. And of the three I mentioned, Clifford, Murphy and Elsey,
our day to day most frequent contacts were with George Elsey. We had some
contact with Dave Bell off and on, who also was on the White House staff
then. But the closest contact we had all the way through was
with George E1sey and Charlie Murphy.
HESS: Was Dave Bell on the train?
HOEBER: I donít know.
HESS: What about James Sundquist?
HOEBER: You mentioned this to me the other day. I have seen a good bit
of Jim Sundquist in recent years and yet until you asked me about this
the other day I did not even know that Jim Sundquist had been in the White
House at that time.
HESS: I think he was from the Bureau of the Budget and they asked him
to come over, or he was delegated over to help write speeches, if I'm
We mentioned Dave Niles and Philleo Nash. They were primarily concerned
with civil rights matters, is that right?
HOEBER: I think so. I don't recall our seeing much of Dave Niles ever.
We saw Philleo Nash off and on, but really more on sort of a social basis
rather than working with him.
HESS: Did he come down to the Dupont Circle building?
HOEBER: I think so, yes.
HESS: What about Donald Dawson?
HOEBER: No recollection.
HESS: Samuel I. Rosenman?
HOEBER: Batt met with him a number of times. As a matter of fact, it's
probably something we omitted. There was obviously some kind of coordinating
group which met off and on, very hush hush. Batt told most of us very
little about it. The only one who met with that group was Batt and none
of the rest of us
ever did. I know that Batt met with Rosenman on a fairly
HESS: Was he a member of that group?
HESS: Who else was on that?
HOEBER: I don't know. Well, Clifford undoubtedly, and I think McGrath.
HESS: What type of things were probably discussed there?
HOEBER: I don't know.
HESS: Jonathan Daniels?
HOEBER: No recollection.
HESS: The man that had the title "The Assistant to the President," John
HOEBER: No recollection.
HESS: Did you have any business or do you remember anything about Harry
Vaughan during this time?
HOEBER: I remember reading about him. I'm quite sure any of us would
have avoided meeting him.
HESS: You would have avoided him?
HESS: There were three men who were called in to act as speechwriters.
During this time did you ever hear of Dave Noyes, Albert Carr, or John
Franklin Carter in Philadelphia.
HOEBER: Carter became somehow involved in Pennsylvania politics and I
remember meeting him there in my Philadelphia political activities. I
have no recollection of his being around in those days.
HESS: Or the other two men either, Dave Noyes or Albert Carr?
HOEBER: That's right.
HESS: What part did William Bray play in the campaign?
HOEBER: I don't know.
HESS: Dr. Hoeber, I have heard that a research division was set up in
1950 and again in 1952. Do you recall anything about that?
HOEBER: I do not know any specifics about this. I remember having correspondence
in 1950 and 1952 with Ken Hechler, now Congressman from West Virginia,
who at that time was on the White House staff and was doing research on
elections very largely. He was involved in analyzing both the 1948 and
the 1950 elections, and I think also preparing some materials for the
1952 campaign. I seem to recall that he was somehow involved in campaign
research activities, whether this was while he was on the White House
staff or for the Democratic National
Committee, I do not know, but I recall
hearing that there was some research effort in both '50 and Ď52.
HESS: Fine. One final question. What is your estimation of Mr. Truman's
place in history? A hundred years from now what do you think people will
think of Mr. Truman and the events that came out of the Truman administration
that might be attributed to him?
HOEBER: I think he will go down in American history as one of the truly
great Presidents for two reasons: Number one, because I think he surprised
not only all the American people, but the entire world, by living up to
the highest requirements of that office, which a great many people had
not anticipated. I think this element of surprise in a man suddenly burdened
with the world's greatest political
responsibility, more than measuring
up to that job, I think, will be one of the reasons why he will always
be remembered. And secondly, I think he will be remembered as the American
President who successfully steered the United States through one of the
most difficult periods in its history, making the transition from war
to peace, making the transition from the grand alliance of World War II
to the Cold war and successfully negotiating that transition. I think
the aid to Greece and Turkey, the Marshall plan, these are world historical
events, which will always be associated with the name of Harry Truman,
and I think his place in history is absolutely secure and unquestioned.
HESS: Do you have anything else that you want to add; have we forgotten
anything; have we left anything out?
HOEBER: An hour after you've left I'll probably
remember a half a dozen
things. If I really recall something important, I'll call you and you
can come back.
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]
Appendix A Memorandum dated June 29, 1948, "Should the President Call Congress Back."
Appendix B Letter dated January 17, 1953 from Mr. Truman to Mr. William Batt, about
the current activities of the 1948 research group. Also a cover note from Bill Batt to Johannes Hoeber.
Appendix C Letter dated February
2, 1949 from Clark Clifford to Johannes Hoeber expressing his appreciation
for the fine work that Mr. Hoeber did during the campaign
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]
List of Subjects Discussed
Americans for Democratic Action, 6-7, 25, 26, 63-69
American Veterans Committee, 25, 26
Anderson, Jack (columnist), 61
Barriere, John, 17-18, 27
Batt, William L., 5-8, 10, 13, 15, 16, 21, 26-27, 29, 30, 34-36, 40, 41, 44, 52, 53, 57-58,
62, 80, 81
Bean, Louis, 55-56
Bell, David, 78
Birkhead, Kenneth M., 8, 26
Brighton, Samuel, 13, 60, 61
Citizens' Charter Committee (Philadelphia), 3-4, 6
Clark, Senator Joseph, 4
Clifford, Clark, 24-25, 39, 77, 78, 81
Democratic National Committee (DNC) and
relationship with Research Division, DNC, 13-15
Democratic National Committee, Research Division:
background briefs on 1948 "whistlestops,", 14-15, 28-29
Dewey, Thomas E., 38, 50-51, 70-71, 76-77
creation of, 7-10, 24-25, 45
"Files of the Facts", 11-12, 15-17, 31-32
funding of, 46
Presidential campaign of 1948, June trip, role in, 23
and Republican research team, 37-38
security and secrecy of, 10-11, 47-49
special session of Congress, role in originating, 34-36
speechwriting in 1948 campaign, 18-23, 28-32
Dreyer, Philip, 9, 38, 57
Edwards, George, 30
80th Congress, as target in 1948 campaign, 50-51
Eisenhower, Dwight D., and Americans for Democratic Action (1948), 66-68
Elsey, George, 41, 77-78, 79
Hechler, Kenneth, 83-84
Americans for Democratic Action, board member of, 7, 66-67
Humphrey, Hubert H., 65
appointment as assistant director, Research Division, DNC, 8
biographical data, 1-8
Eisenhower candidacy in 1948, role in defeating, 68
election of 1948, prediction of results, 52, 54-55
"Files of the Facts" assignments, 11, 16
speech by President Truman in Detroit, role in, 29-30
speech by President Truman in Louisville, role in, 19-20
as speechwriter in 1948 campaign, 19-20
Truman, Harry S., expression of appreciation from, 39-42
Truman, Harry S., meeting with, 40-42
Kelly, Frank, 8, 26, 27
Labor issue in Presidential campaign of 1948, 74-76
Lloyd, David D., 9-10, 27, 57, 67, 68-69
Loeb, James, 64, 67, 68, 69
McGrath, J. Howard, 58-60, 81
Murphy, Charles S., 13, 18, 19, 77, 78, 79
Nash, Philleo, 80
"Negro" voting bloc in 1948, 71-72
Pearson, Drew, 61, 62
Philadelphia Citizens' Political Action Committee, 5-6
Presidential campaign of 1948, major issues of, 71-72, 74
Railway strike, as issue in 1948 campaign, 74-75
Rauh, Joseph L., 67
Redding, John M., 13, 60, 62
Roper, Elmo, 52-53
Rosenman, Samuel I., 34, 80, 81
Truman, Harry S.:
acceptance speech, Democratic Convention of 1948, 31-32
"Turnip Day" special session of Congress, 33-37
estimation of, 84-85
Research Division, DNC, expresses appreciation to, 40-43
speaking style in 1948 campaign, 22
special session of Congress, calls for, 33-36
speech in Detroit, 1948 campaign, 21-22, 29-30
speech in Louisville, 1948 campaign, 19-20
Wallace, Henry, 62-64
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendicies | List of Subjects Discussed]