Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Oral History Interview with
Roger W. Jones

Administrative Officer, Bureau of the Budget, 1939-42; and successively Budget Examiner, Assistant to the Director, Deputy Assistant Director, Assistant Director for Legislative Reference, and Deputy Director, Bureau of the Budget, during the period, 1945-59.

Washington, D.C.
August 14, 1969
by Jerry N. Hess

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


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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened January, 1970
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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



Oral History Interview with
Roger W. Jones

Washington, D.C.
August 14, 1969
by Jerry N. Hess

[1]

HESS: Mr. Jones, for the record, would you give me a little of your background. A little information on your background, where were you born, where were you educated and what positions have you held?

JONES: Gladly, Mr. Hess. I was born in New Hartford, Connecticut on February 3rd, 1908. My education was in the public schools of Connecticut; Cornell University, from which I received an AB degree in 1928; a Master's degree from Columbia in 1931. I came into the Federal Government in 1933, first with the Central Statistical Board. I transferred

[2]

to the Bureau of the Budget in 1939, on July 1st when it became part of the newly organized Executive Office of the President. I was with the Bureau until I went into active duty in the Army in 1942. I returned to the Bureau in 1945, late in the year, after release from active duty, and was with the Bureau from then on until I was nominated to be Chairman of the Civil Service Commission by President Eisenhower in 1959. In 1961, with the change of administration, President Kennedy asked me to go to the Department of State as Deputy Under Secretary for Administration where I stayed until I came back to the Bureau in the late summer of 1962. In 1968, in the fall, I retired from full-time service but at the request of the Nixon administration, came back to full-time duty in March of this year, 1969.

HESS: And to begin the substance of our interview, about the days of Mr. Truman, what can you tell me about

[3]

the establishment of the institutional channels of communication with the committees of the 80th Congress and the subsequent developments in the Bureau of the Budget?

JONES: Let me begin by saying, Mr. Hess, that I consider President Harry Truman probably the greatest constitutionalist of the twentieth century in terms of his understanding of, his respect for, the office of the President of the United States. In all of Mr. Truman's administration, from the time he first took over until he turned over the reins of office to President Eisenhower, the one thing that stood out most in my mind was his respect for and his understanding of the office. And it is in this connection that I would like to answer your question.

You asked about institutional channels. This really began with the election of the Republican

[4]

80th Congress in 1946. It was Mr. Truman's belief that the constitutional duty of the President to provide the Congress with information on the State of the Union and to recommend measures to the Congress for their consideration, meant among other things, that the Congress was entitled to know the thinking of the executive branch, the positions of the President, and, in general, what his priorities for the accomplishments for those aims were. You will recall that in September of 1945 Mr. Truman sent to the Congress the first major message of his administration. The message on which really the whole concept of the Fair Deal was built. The election of the Republican Congress the next year posed a good many problems for the President in terms of advancing the progress of that program towards legislative enactment. It had been many years since the Republicans

[5]

had controlled the Congress and the President believed that there would be a good deal less embarrassment both from the administration's point of view and from the congressional point of view if a non-partisan, but not necessarily non-political, but I guess I would say, an institutional channel of communications were set up between his office and the Congress. The Budget Bureau, in its Office of Legislative Reference, was really picked to do this job. In fact, I think this marked the beginning of a new era of understanding between Mr. Truman and the Budget Bureau, to which I'll come back a little bit later on on a matter of great importance to the Bureau and me personally and I think to the office of the Presidency. Well, in any event, through one of those accidents of knowledge, I guess, that come about, Jim Webb, who was then the Director of the Bureau, felt that the way to

[6]

advance the President's purpose was to appoint one officer with primary responsibility for legislative liaison. Quite naturally he looked for someone who was known to be a Republican. Through sheer accident, I was known to be a Republican. He asked me if I would take on this responsibility. I was most happy to do so. It was one of these points of the postwar when you were sort of at a turning point in career and it was a new set of challenging duties in a field in which I was very much interested, and indeed he took me over to call on Mr. Truman very briefly so that Mr. Truman could see what I looked like. This was the start of what within a year or so became a rather substantially institutional type of channel. I say within a year or so, I say that advisedly because at the time the 80th Congress was elected, the very long term Assistant Director of the Bureau for legislative matters

[7]

was rapidly approaching the end of his career. This was Fred [Frederick J.] Bailey. And there was a strong desire not to make a drastic change in the way in which Mr. Bailey conducted his office. So, in effect, I did not work under Bailey, I worked under Webb but in close cooperation with Bailey and in even closer cooperation after Elmer Staats moved in as Bailey's deputy, and ultimately his successor. The President's view was quite simple, and in the barest terms it was this: That the Congress was entitled to know the views of the administration and that the committees were entitled to know the relationship to the President's program of all ideas that came from the executive branch for legislation and all ideas for legislation which grew out of the introduction of bills by members of Congress themselves. That's perhaps a long answer but I think it's an answer which deserves some detail.

[8]

HESS: Going back just a little bit, since you worked for the Bureau of the Budget for such a long time, I have several questions that I would like to ask about it. Just how has the role of the Bureau of the Budget changed since its establishment in 1921?

JONES: Well, here again I don't want to take up too much time with this but in perhaps too capsule form, a little oversimplification, there are really several eras in the Budget Bureau's history. The first from its establishment in 1921 until it was put into the Executive Office of the President in 1939, is one era of rather consistent pattern. This was an era in which the Budget Bureau's function was looked upon as being rather limited. It was the agency which was to put together the budget, in almost the ministerial sense. It was to be in the forefront of all drives for economy and efficiency,

[9]

even to very minor kinds of economies in which the Bureau itself took a very substantial lead. The Bureau's detractors have referred to this as the "green eyeshade" period of the Bureau. This is not entirely unfair because the concept of the job as laid down by General [Charles G.]] Dawes initially, and subsequently carried on pretty much without change by General [Herbert M.] Lord, who succeeded General Dawes after a short period of time, Colonel [J. Clawson] Roop who was Mr. Hoover's budget director, acting under White House guidance felt that their role was pretty much a ministerial role. It was to pull the budget together and to take a generally negative attitude towards expansions of the government program or expansions of government responsibilities on the ground that this cost more money than the Government should spend. However, there began to appear, even before the change of image -- I

[10]

would say this was about midway perhaps of Mr. Hoover's administration -- a realization that .the President had, in the Bureau of the Budget, an almost unique collection of information about the programs of the Federal Government. That no one else had quite as much information about it. And President Hoover did rely upon the Bureau very extensively after the full effects of the depression began to be felt to give him more searching analysis of what government programs were and how government resources could be marshaled and mobilized to combat the depression effects. The impetus that was given to this kind of work ground to a halt, however, in the election of 1932, as I understand the records, for two reasons. First: Mr. Roosevelt's first Budget Director Lew [Lewis W.] Douglas, was a great advocate of the Democratic platform plank for a reduction of 25 percent in government expenditure

[11]

and the old, more or less traditional, frugality ideas of the Budget staff came almost immediately into focus with a great rally of support to Mr. Douglas. Secondly: Mr. Roosevelt, in 1933 at least, did not have what came later to be conviction about the need of the President for extensive machinery of his own. He tended to rely largely on the National Emergency Council to provide the kind of staff help that subsequently became pretty much our Budget Bureau job. I think there was another thing, too, and that was the fact that the Budget Bureau was still in the Treasury Department, in one sense of the word. It was with it, it was not subordinate to it, but it was located there and it was looked upon as a kind of an adjunct of the Treasury Department. By the time of the first re-election of Mr. Roosevelt, in 1936, the need for more effective presidential staff machinery was

[12]

beginning to concern the President and was beginning to be obvious in Washington. The growth of the New Deal programs, the growth of new agencies, the very rapid growth of the budget itself in an effort to overcome the effects of the depression, all argued strongly for better presidential machinery. And it was shortly after the 1936 election, as I recall, that the famous Brownlow-Merriam Committee went to work, leading to the development of what ultimately became a very extensive series of reorganization plans, which Mr. Roosevelt started putting into effect in 1939. One of the very early recommendations of Louis Brownlow and Charles Merriam was to remove the Budget Bureau from the Treasury Department and to make it a nucleus of a new Executive Office of the President, with rapid development of all of the facets of its statute which had been, more or less, overlooked, but

[13]

in any event allowed to lie dormant in the years between 1921 and 1939. For example, the 1921 Budget and Accounting Act clearly gave the Bureau the responsibility for advising the President on organization and management issues. This had not even begun to be developed until the spring of 1939 when Harold Smith was appointed as the Budget Director. The work of the Office of Legislative Reference, so important in Mr. Truman's administration, had been very largely negative. In a nutshell, the office had operated on the basis that anyone who wanted to oppose legislation on the grounds that it cost money was free to do so, and there had been almost no part played by the Bureau in the development of the President's legislative program or in the screening and development of departmental legislative programs that were positive in their intent and purpose. So, we

[14]

entered into the new era in 1939. The Budget Bureau, which had been, I guess literally up to 1939, only about forty people at the most, expanded rapidly. We established for the first time a formal office for legislative analysis. We established for the first time, formally, an office which handled the budget estimates. We established a division which was responsible for fiscal analysis. The Central Statistical Board, in which I had been a member of the staff, was transferred into the Bureau in 1939 when the Bureau became part of the Executive Office. We established, of great importance, an office which was charged with becoming the chief advisor to the President on organization and management issues. So, a new era began. We must remember, however, that in September of '39, the Germans invaded Poland, and World War II began to break around our heads. Almost immediately in the

[15]

development of our own defense programs, even though we were maintaining positions of neutrality, the Bureau had to concern itself with kinds of problems which it had not expected to take on. The organization of the defense program, the rearrangement of the budget to give a higher priority to defense matters, the realignment of national priorities and national resources against the possibility that the European war would make demands that were not in our thinking at all. And, of course, within a relatively short period it became apparent that we were probably going to get involved. There was rapid acceleration of attention to the Budget Bureau's role as an organization and management planner for the President and as a sorter out of fiscal priorities and possibilities. So, it remained pretty much through the entire World War II period.

[16]

I was in Washington with the Combined Chiefs of Staff during the entire period of my Army service and consequently saw a good deal of Harold Smith in an informal way and had the advantage of being able to look at the Bureau from long range, or relatively long range. I knew that Harold Smith was concerned that the Budget Bureau image, by the late stages of the war, had become that of purely a fire-putting-out agency for President Roosevelt and that he himself was getting a little bit the reputation of being Mr. Fix-it. This disturbed Harold because he thought it was interfering with the growth of the Bureau as a principal staff arm of the President in all of these fields of fiscal analysis, organization and management, legislation, preparation and administration of the budget, coordination of statistics and so on. Then, of course, came the unexpected death of President

[17]

Roosevelt in the spring of 1945, and the equally unexpected move into the Presidency by Vice President Truman. For a period of some months, there was great uncertainty about the role of the Bureau. Smith was looked upon almost entirely as a Roosevelt man. I think some of President Truman's own immediate advisors who came into positions of close contact with him in the spring of '45 felt that Smith had been so close to Roosevelt that he couldn't serve equally well for Mr. Truman. What they failed to understand was the Bureau's already highly and keenly developed sense of institutional responsibility to the Presidency, first to the office, and secondly but equally to the man who happened to be occupying the Presidency. We were his staff in the best sense of the word. However, there was also the fact that the country was trying to move from war to peace. There were all

[18]

kinds of ideas on how fast Mr. Truman should move from becoming a shadow of the dead Roosevelt to President in his own right, and I'm sure you will recall that he, himself, had pledged himself to a program of carrying out what Mr. Roosevelt had stood for.

With the famous September 1945 message to the Congress, the Budget Bureau, once again, found itself very much in business because we recognized that the development of this program and the development of the tissue for this program would take the very best that the Bureau could give to the President by way of staff work, in analysis in legislative development, in figuring out what priorities might be for the utilization of national resources that were freed up by the end of World War II and so on.

Smith left in the spring of 1946 and a complete unknown, James Webb from the Treasury

[19]

Department, became Budget Director. Webb saw immediately the need to make himself and his organization indispensable to the President and he proceeded to do so with great dispatch, great vigor and with tremendous intelligence. He made the Bureau staff available to the White House staff to work with them. He volunteered to take some of the difficult problems which the President faced back to the Bureau for further analysis.

HESS: What types of problems?

JONES: All of the problems that related to the September '45 message to which the Congress had not begun to respond: The President's desire to get legislation for the handling of work stoppages. The President's insistence that we needed, what eventually became the employment act of 1946, the Full Employment principle. We

[20]

worked extensively with and for the White House on the problem of a Fair Employment Practices Commission. We, I think, were the first agency to do any substantial analysis on the issue of what is now Medicare, which Mr. Truman advocated very early in his administration. We spent a great deal of time on the unification of the Armed Services, ultimately resulting in the National Defense Act, and the creation of the defense establishment. Atomic energy was being worked on here, in the sense of some consideration of how to turn from the utilization of atomic energy solely for destructive purposes to peaceful purposes, to constructive purposes.

This then, I think, marks the third era of the Bureau, the establishment of it and its sub units, in a very firm way as institutional arms of the White House straight across the board from the President on down. The Smith relationship

[21]

had been almost entirely with the President himself and there had not been a great deal of participation by Bureau staff in White House matters except on the handling of reorganization plans, and an occasional staff member accompanying Mr. Smith to the White House to give some kind of very special briefing to President Roosevelt. With Mr. Truman, however, this changed quite rapidly after he began to use the Bureau. I think that it was Webb's influence which led Mr. Truman (in his search for a real transition from war to peace and movement forward with the Fair Deal) to adopt as policy the presentation of the 1947 Budget message and the State of the Union message as one document. This had never before been done, and it was then that the President took the next step, which also had never before been done in the same way, of pulling together in one place, not only his entire legislative program, but

[22]

also the price tag on it. This was done in the consolidated 1947 State of the Union and Budget message. It called for a little under two billion dollars of authorization and projected expenditures of about a billion and a half in the fiscal year 1947. This excluded an area in which we were not working, the President's plans in the field of international finance.

HESS: Were you in on the decision to have a joint Budget message and State of the Union message at that time?

JONES: I was not in on the decision, no. I was in on the follow-up to this extent, that having been in the congressional liaison business for relatively few months at that time, I did participate in the development of some of the tissue that went to the White House by way of estimates on what the chances were for legislation,

[23]

where they stood and so on and so forth. This, I don't think, was particularly important at that time. We didn't really have a feel for what the 80th Congress was going to do that early in the game. But the President did hit hard in that message on the fact that he had recommended things which he thought were terribly important for the development of the country and for transition back to a peaceful world, to which the Congress had not responded. Even the Democratic Congress which he had in 1945 and '46, until the election in '46. The next year the pattern was repeated. Although there was a separate State of the Union message, the Budget message became the main vehicle for outlining the legislative program in spite of the fact that Mr. Truman knew perfectly well, having already made up his mind about the 80th Congress, that the price tag which he was going to put on this legislative

[24]

program would become a political issue, that everything that was unenacted the Republicans would claim was a savings.

HESS: Why did he do this?

JONES: Because, I believe, for the principal reason that he took very, very seriously his constitutional duty to recommend measures to the Congress for their consideration and to indicate what the state of the Union was as he saw it, what the needs were, and to back that up with a program which could not be misunderstood by people with purely partisan motivation, by putting it within a framework of an institutional document which the Budget of the United States really is, even though it's an executive budget, it's an institutional document.

HESS: Do you think it could have been something in the nature of record making and issue building,

[25]

presenting the Congress with an outline of action that he thought it should take, knowing full well that it would not take part of that action and then during the following campaign he could say, "Well, I told them to take this action and they did not."

JONES: Mr. Truman was a competent politician but Mr. Truman was not a politician who used the political process for political gain, in that sense of the word. If this was done, I think it may have been done instinctively, with a politician's instinct, but I do not think that it was -- I just can't believe that it was a part of a strategic plan on Mr. Truman's part.

HESS: Do you think that those around him may have had that in mind?

JONES: I would doubt it, from the contacts that I

[26]

had with people at that time. I think Mr. Truman, up to the last, sought for cooperation from the Republican 80th Congress, and as a matter of fact, he got a lot more cooperation from that Congress than ultimately, in the campaign, he gave them credit for. I don't say this in any disparaging way either. Once he got into a campaign, why then this was fine, if it was a good issue to belabor the 80th Congress. But the record of the 80th Congress was not, entirely, a negative record and it did enact a good many things but the country wasn't ready for some of the things. Therefore, I doubt very much -- which Mr. Truman knew and recognized -- I doubt very much, therefore, whether there was any real motivation to do this as a means of advancing his own political fortunes.

HESS: What legislation did you have in mind when you mentioned that the country was not ready for it?

[27]

JONES: Well, it wasn't ready for Medicare. It certainly wasn't ready for the St. Lawrence Seaway. It wasn't ready for the concept of the expansion of Social Security into something other than an absolutely minimal type of insurance program for old people. I doubt that it was ready for the kinds of housing programs that he advocated, and I'm quite sure that it wasn't ready for Mr. Truman's concept of what we ought to have by way of fair employment practices.

HESS: Do you think that Mr. Truman realized, or thought, that the country was not ready for these measures?

JONES: I do think that Mr. Truman realized that the country was not ready for them but I think he also, because of his respect for the office, his understanding of the office, felt that it was the

[28]

duty of the President to lead. He was the one elected representative of all of the American people and he had a responsibility to lead and to try to mold public opinion to the support of the positions which he took.

HESS: Something in the nature of public education?

JONES: Public education if you will, yes.

HESS: Well, we have many, many questions but I think that we got off of that when we were discussing James Webb.

JONES: I think we did, I didn't really finish on the eras of the Budget Bureau. Through the Truman administration this era of the development of the Budget as the chief institutional arm of the Presidency continued, not only under Webb but under Frank Pace, who came in after the 1948 election and under Fred [Frederick J.] Lawton who

[29]

was director in the final years of Mr. Truman's full, elected term. The pattern was very much the same with the one exception, I think, that in the last year or so of Mr. Truman's administration, he looked to the Bureau to provide most of the tissue for transition to the next administration since he knew there was going to be a new President. We'll come back to that one again a little bit later on if I may. With the start of the Eisenhower administration, although Webb, Pace and Lawton had been relatively close to the President on a personal basis, a new kind of relationship developed. The Budget Director became not only the head of an institution, but also a member of the President's immediate staff. Eisenhower, in fact, announced that Joe [Joseph M.] Dodge would have the status of a Cabinet officer and would attend Cabinet meetings and would be looked to by the President to do a very large

[30]

variety of things through the institution of the Budget Bureau, but really in a capacity of being something other than just a Budget Director. This began a new kind of an era for the Budget Bureau and perhaps its involvement, to a rather considerable extent, in a good deal more of the political negotiation and the political infighting that was going on. The ultimate result was that not only did we have a director and what had been known as an assistant director, but a deputy. We began to add new principal officers at the top level of the Bureau who, although not appointed by the President, as the director and the deputy were, were nevertheless in the fullest sense of the word, policy making officers acceptable to the White House staff and who could serve the director and the President in any way that he wanted to have them serve on a personal basis, but using the institutional

[31]

mechanics of the Bureau. We had had the economy minded military officers, [Charles G.] Dawes, [Herbert M.] Lord, and Clawson Roop period; then Lew [Lewis W.] Douglas, and the only member of Congress, incidentally, who served as Budget Director. And then we had the public administrators, Harold Smith, Jim Webb, Frank Pace and Fred Lawton, the first career man from the Bureau itself who ever became Director, although Daniel W. Bell, a career officer of the Treasury had been acting director for some five years. With the start of the Eisenhower administration we moved to another type of Budget Director, Joe Dodge, a banker; Rowland Hughes, a banker; Percy [Percival F.] Brundage, a certified public accountant; Maurice Stans, a certified public accountant. They brought a new type of image to the leadership of the Bureau and a different response from the institution in

[32]

terms of how it fulfilled the needs of those particular gentlemen. Again, a change came with the Kennedy-Johnson administration. It was a period in which economists were Budget Director, as they all were: Dave [David E.] Bell, an economist although a former Budget Bureau and Truman staffer; Kermit Gordon; Charlie [Charles L.] Schultze; and certainly Charlie [Charles] Zwick. Now we have an economist-banker again in Bob [Robert] Mayo in the Nixon administration. But to stop this wandering around so much, the double tie-in, not only the institutional response, but the more personal response through a larger political level continued on through the Eisenhower administration and has continued on through Kennedy-Johnson and is apparently going to be the same in the.Nixon administration. We added, first, two statutory assistant directors, then

[33]

three, then President Johnson added a fourth through the utilization of the President's authority to establish executive level jobs by Executive order and then, finally, in the Nixon administration, the temporary establishment of a fifth when I was asked to come back to active duty for a while.

HESS: At this point, the appropriate question would be: Are there any changes that need to be made at this time in the Bureau of the Budget?

JONES: I'm not a very good person to answer that question. Personally I don't think so. I think we made changes a year or so ago that needed very much to be made. We recreated on a stronger basis, the Office of Executive Management and put it into the business of the development of management systems. We gave it a new kind of a charter in the field of organization which was

[34]

not just to tinker with present machinery but to think broadly in terms of what kind of organization would be necessary to carry out government programs in the next decade. We instituted the kind of professional expertise that would enable us to get ahead with the programming, planning, budgeting system. We re-did the organizational structure for the handling of program items to some extent. We created a small staff to try to put together a management information system for the President himself. We did the initial work, the pioneering work, in developing the techniques of systematic program evaluation both here centrally and in the departments and agencies. I don't see a great deal of need for a massive reorganization of the Bureau or the addition of any functions to it at the present time. I think we will always have to carry in mind the need to restructure the

[35]

Bureau to meet presidential needs if that becomes necessary. Indeed, again going back to Mr. Truman's days, this was very much in the forefront of people's minds. We had to sort out our role in the field of fiscal analysis, fiscal policy analysis, from the role of the newly created Council of Economic Advisors back in 1947 and 1948. And it took the remainder of the Truman term and into the Eisenhower term before we worked out the kind of accommodation that made it possible for us to put what we were going to do in the field of fiscal analysis and economic analysis actually into our operating substantive divisions and get rid of the office of fiscal policy which we had at one time.

HESS: You mentioned a couple of times the twenty-one point message of September the 6th of 19...

JONES: Fourteen point wasn't it?

[36]

HESS: I don't believe so, I think it's twenty-one.

JONES: Fourteen, twenty-one, I don't know.

HESS: We'll check on that.

JONES: Well I don't know, I don't remember.

HESS: What do you recall about the writing of that message? Anything in particular?

JONES: I recall nothing about the writing of it to be honest. I recently went back to the Bureau records to see if I could ascertain how much the Bureau had been involved and that kind of record is not here. I did not look at Harold Smith's diaries. I'm sure Harold Smith's diaries would have something to say about it but I did not look at those.

HESS: At the time that that came out, it was thought to be a rather liberal message. What

[37]

was your opinion of it at that time? Do you recall?

JONES: I thought it was very definitely a liberal message, but not liberal in the sense of being radical. It was liberal in the sense of trying to focus the country's attention on the fact that we now had to pay much closer central attention to the problems the people could no longer solve for themselves, paraphrasing Lincoln's words. I think Mr. Truman was very keenly aware that the post-World War II period would require a movement in the direction of presidential concern with what I call the problems of Mr. and Mrs. America. The personal problems of Americans. And indeed, I think it was in 1948 when we were first given our instructions about transition planning, that I heard Mr. Truman refer to President Wilson's pronouncement made, oh, I guess a good

[38]

fifty years before that, perhaps even more than that, that as the business of government became more complex, and extended more into the warp and woof of American life, the President would be bound to become more and more political and less and less an executive officer in the normal sense of being someone who sits at the top and gives orders and the orders are automatically carried out. I think Wilson's words were, "Director of affairs and leaders of the nation," as I recall. Well, this was very clear in Mr. Truman's attitudes and again I think is a manifestation of his -- well, to me his image as a tremendously great constitutionalist.

HESS: Fine, let's discuss a few of the duties, or your duties as head of the Legislative Reference Division. What were your principal duties and how did you seek to carry them out?

[39]

JONES: The principal duties fell under three heads. We were given the responsibility, very clearly, by President Truman for advising him on the action which he should take on enrolled bills. Whether they should be approved or vetoed. Again, a constitutional duty. He wanted institutional advice, he wanted someone to analyze for him the views of the departments, to give him the pros and cons, to stand aloof from the normal departmental attitude towards pieces of legislation, which heavily tended to reflect the attitude of the department's constituency and to do objective analysis of the issue for the President.

Our second responsibility which developed in his administration, was to help to put together the President's legislative program. Collecting the legislative ideas from the departments and agencies, recommending to the President

[40]

those which we believed were of such importance that they should become part of the President's own program. Sifting and sorting out the others, attempting to coordinate the departmental position so that we had a consistent legislative program not only of the President's but also of the departments themselves. A function which, as I say, grew very rapidly and became the heart of my entire operation after I became the Assistant Director for Legislative Reference at the very beginning of Mr. Truman's elected term in January 1949.

The third function at that time, and since moved out of Legislative Reference, was also to be the coordinator and the analyzer of all proposed Executive orders. The Bureau still has this function but the Legislative Reference does not now perform it. It is performed by the General Counsel, but with heavy input from the

[41]

Legislative Reference staff. Those were our principal duties. Also to make ourselves available and to make available, through us, and through the Director, other resources of the Bureau to assist White House staff in legislative drafting, the drafting of messages and the review and coordination of messages around town. These were duties which were quite important and I played a personal role in them. The period, as you know, between Christmas and the time the first message goes forward is always a very busy one. There were a couple of years when a good deal of work, I think this was in 1949 and 1950, when a good deal of work in that period was actually performed in the Cabinet Room by the President's staff and by some of our staff. I participated in a number of those meetings then as I did later in the Eisenhower administration and I've always

[42]

remembered, with considerable affection, one occasion. I think this was after Christmas in 1950 when the President came with his arm extended and about fifty gift neckties on it. He said, "They're pretty awful, but take your pack, the haberdasher's back in business."

HESS: Who on the White House staff did you work together with the most or perhaps the closest?

JONES: Most closely with the staff in the office of the counsel and some of the Administrative Assistants but both with Clark Clifford -- well, this had started, of course, when Rosenman really filled the role of Counsel, as he did at the start of the Truman administration, but with Clifford, and then in the latter years of Mr. Truman's elected term, with Charlie Murphy. Another thing happened which has, I guess not been recorded by anybody except Dick [Richard E.] Neustadt, and

[43]

that was the President's realization of what we could do for him, led to the movement from the Budget Bureau to the White House staff of a number of rather important White House staff members. Dick Neustadt himself went over and joined Charlie Murphy. David Stowe, who had been in charge of all of our labor work became one of the President's chief advisors in the labor field. Milton Kayle, who was one of my fellows from Legislative Reference, as had Dick Neustadt been, went over and became part of Stowe's staff. David Bell, went over as an Administrative Assistant. Fred Lawton was on the White House staff for a while as Administrative Assistant to the President before he came back here and subsequently became Budget Director, and so on, there were others who actually moved from here to the White House staff. Russ [Russell P.] Andrews who had been one of my principal

[44]

Legislative assistants, spent all of the latter years of Mr. Truman's elected term as an assistant for John Steelman in the East Wing. I also had very close relationships with the senior, well, no I guess he was not the senior, but the substantive military aid Admiral Robert Dennison. I guess he was junior to General [Harry H.] Vaughan. But General Vaughan did not work on substantive issues with us; Bob Dennison did. Our work on the legislative programs of the Department of Defense was such that there was almost daily contact with Dennison. He had charge also of maritime affairs, and as you remember there was a great deal of activity on maritime affairs in the Truman administration. I worked very closely with Dennison on that kind of thing.

HESS: How effective was he?

JONES: He was terribly effective. He was not a

[45]

Naval Aide except in a protocol sense. He was a principal staff substantive man for the President in the field of maritime affairs and the field of Army and Navy and Air Force affairs and actually spilled over into a good many other things. He was an advisor in many respects on personnel policies on which he worked with Don [Donald S.] Dawson. Don was another person with whom I had rather close contact. Don Dawson, Marty [Martin L.] Friedman, and some on spot issues on which the President wanted to handle himself with Matt [Matthew J.] Connelly. And Mr. Truman, when he wanted to handle an issue himself, would definitely get into it, as I saw in another contact which I definitely want to record on this tape. And that is this: I've always suspected that what we call private relief bills were kind of a hobby of Mr. Truman's. Hobby in the sense that they gave him a little

[46]

feel for the kinds of problems that Americans took up with their government and gave him occasionally an opportunity to see the reactions of common people to what government did and didn't do. I do know, because on two separate occasions, he told me this personally, that he looked upon the private relief bill essentially as an exercise on the part of an American of his first amendment rights, of petitioning Congress for redress of grievance. And that he expected the Bureau of the Budget to look upon that, not in a strict sense of construction of the law, but as an operation in the field of equity, that we were his advisors on the equity of the situation. And certainly, in Harry Truman's years as President, the attitude toward the private relief bill all across the government, changed very remarkedly in the executive branch. The President understood

[47]

for example, the attitude of the Treasury Department that they must make a horizontal application of the law until the law was changed and that if a private relief bill or a series of them came down, which on equitable grounds, wanted to waive the statute of limitations in an income tax situation the Treasury thought it should automatically recommend veto. In their view, this was discriminatory legislation that favored one person. President Truman understood that, he never became irritated with it, but he very definitely put the finger upon us here to take a much more careful look at this kind of case from the point of view of the equities involved and how seriously the principal of the equal application of the laws might be jeopardized by approval rather than veto. The result was that he had a higher standard both for approval and for veto on

[48]

private relief legislation than any President I think in the course of our history. And he moved with such skill and dispatch in this field in making his views known to the members of Congress that the whole process got straightened out to some extent. For example, under the McCarran-Walter Act, there were a good many exclusionary clauses the President didn't like and as you remember, he vetoed it. His veto was overridden. But he did, with our help and the help of his staff, convince the committees of Congress that passing three or four hundred private relief bills every year just to get around the mandatory exclusions from entrance into this country, didn't make a great deal of sense. We laid the ground work for what became the omnibus private relief bill in the field of immigration. For example, the omnibus bill lumped together all the health cases and

[49]

all the moral turpitude cases, many of which at that time ran to the wives of American servicemen whose crimes of moral turpitude usually were no more serious than having used a sister's ration card in Germany or some other place. In this again, I think, Mr. Truman demonstrated what a great constitutionalist he was, because he gave the private relief bill a new kind of status, a new understanding of its purpose and a new interpretation of the constitutional right of people to petition Congress for redress of grievances.

HESS: Is that particular understanding still in effect?

JONES: It is still in effect.

HESS: One question on General Vaughan. You mentioned that you usually worked with Robert

[50]

Dennison, did you ever have an occasion to work with General Vaughan on matters pertaining to the military?

JONES: I worked with General Vaughan very little and when I did work with him, again, it was usually on, well, some immediate issue that the President was involved in. I remember having some conversations once with General Vaughan over a period of time about the problem of on-base housing, particularly in the Army. I remember on another occasion when I talked extensively with General Vaughan over a period of a couple of weeks, about the President's initial position on the so-called universal military service and training act.

HESS: What was his view on UMT? Do you recall?

JONES: His view, I think, was a reflection of the President's initial view which was that everyone

[51]

had an obligation to serve and we should devise programs that gave almost everyone, young male at least, a period of service to the United States, either in uniform or in some kind of related program. This incidentally was the greatest conceptional difficulty that I ever had with the Truman positions. I honestly didn't believe that this would work, I thought that there would be all kinds of boondoggling arrangements, and I was really pretty much relieved after we got into the hassle on how far the 1948 act should go, to find that the President had changed his position. We played a very substantial part in the development of the 1948 draft act here in the Bureau. In fact, a good deal of it was written here in the Bureau around the table in my office. But General Vaughan did not participate in that particular part of the exercise; General Hershey and his

[52]

staff did.

HESS: Did you express your opinions on that to the members of the White House staff?

JONES: I expressed my opinions on that and my difficulties with some of the concepts to the Budget Director and I assume that they were passed on to the White House staff. In fact, I felt for awhile there that I had better remove myself from the scene. I was worried because I was having such a hard time accepting the -- well, what was not yet a decision. I guess I was in a position where people rather expected me to try and get in and produce the evidence that would enable the President to make the decision that people thought he wanted to make and I didn't feel that this was my function. If he made the decision then I'd stay with him, of course, but I didn't think it was my job to try to develop arguments for UMT under that

[53]

concept when I didn't believe in it.

HESS: You mentioned a few minutes ago about the numbers of people who had worked in the Bureau of the Budget who subsequently went to the White House. What would be your opinion of the large numbers that were involved in that way. Would it be their particular training that they received here?

JONES: I think that, plus the fact that Mr. Truman, in the conduct of the office, another example of his greatness, was very non-partisan. He was concerned with the politics of program, and the politics of policy but not in a partisan sense. He always wanted the most objective kind of analysis that you could possibly give him of the pros and cons of any issue and I've heard him say many times, "I will worry about the politics, you let me have it just as you see it from the policy, the programatic, the substantive, point

[54]

of view. Let me worry about the politics." And I think the kind of analysis he had had from the Bureau had convinced him of our capacity to perform this sort of service and, of course, you know when somebody moves to the White House, why, if he needs help, he tends to look toward his friends to provide that kind of help. But, certainly, also what had started under Webb, this detailed contact between the Bureau staff and the White House staff, which had not existed up till that time, also led to this because the White House staff knew more of us and the President knew more of us on a personal basis. In fact there's one little incident which I think it's appropriate to record. This was on a hot summer afternoon in 1950. I was working away in the office -- it was a Saturday afternoon -- I was working on a veto message and I have long since forgotten what the bill was, when all of a

[55]

sudden I was aware of the fact that there was someone in the doorway, but I was writing and it was perhaps ten or fifteen seconds before I looked up and there was the President himself. I got to my feet pretty fast. The President had an enrolled bill under his arm. It was Saturday afternoon, but he was restless. He'd walked across the street. Where the Secret Service man was I don't know but he wasn't standing in the doorway. The President had a question on a private relief bill and he didn't think it was out of character -- instead of having Matt or somebody call me on the telephone to come over -- to get up and walk across the street, and come into my office himself. Well, it's one of the kinds of experience that you never forget.

HESS: Do you think that would be a little unusual for some of the other men who have held the office to do that?

[56]

JONES: He was the only President of the United States who was ever in my office, as President.

HESS: You mentioned that there were three main fields of interest and three main duties of the Legislative Reference Service. Let's discuss those for just a few minutes. The work on the enrolled bills, and at the Library we have the enrolled bill file and I have gone through that to an extent and many times I have found where all of the departments and agencies whose opinion was asked, would answer in one way and the Legislative Reference Service would have another opinion. Their opinion went contrary to that and quite often the President went along with the view of the Legislative Reference Service as opposed to all of the departments and agencies whose opinion had been asked.

JONES: That's correct. That's one of the things of

[57]

which I am very proud, frankly. In part, if you've been through those, this was a reflection of the President's request on the private bills that we be his court of equity. He did not take the departmental view on private relief bills anywhere near as often as he took ours unless the departments and we were in agreement. On the public measures, the President's philosophy was quite simple, "You look at this from the point of view of the President of the United States;" this we tried to do. It was the President himself who used the word that I have subsequently used many times without attribution to him, except at this time, that every officer of the executive branch is attached by an invisible thread to the Chief Executive. That is one of the things that he said in the 1948 initial transition planning business. Consequently, we did try to look at every piece of legislation, not only from the point of view of the Presidency but also from the point of view of what we knew about Harry Truman and Harry Truman's own convictions. This, well, it even led us to try to write things in Truman type of prose which I think is quite understandable. I

[58]

personally made quite a bit of study of the President's personal style. The way in which he arranged his ideas.

HESS: How would you describe his personal style?

JONES: Well, this is a little hard to do but, in a nutshell it was this: The President wanted to set the stage for what, under various circumstances became either inductive or deductive presentations by doing what, in the old days of English composition, we used to refer to as going "in medias res" -- starting in with the central issue and then developing forward or back from that as the case might be either inductively or deductively. But the central core of the problem, he wanted laid out immediately. His prose was good, it was short. His sentences were short, much shorter than mine incidentally in making this recording. His mind was extremely orderly and his sense of development of an issue was always in terms of how to trace it back to origin by jumping right into the middle.

HESS: One question before we move on...

[59]

JONES: But, just let me say just one more thing. The result was that again, I guess, it was a response to his "let me do the worrying about the politics." We would tend to look at it as we saw it from the point of view of the institutional Presidency or from the point of view of Harry Truman and this frequently put our position somewhat at loggerheads with the position of a department which might be reflecting, oh, Interior for example, reflecting the views of the National Reclamation Association or Agriculture reflecting the views of its agricultural constituency or the Labor Department reflecting the view of organized labor. We tried to take another look and a somewhat broader one from our point of view. I think the President appreciated this and on several occasions, I cannot give you the details of the bills at the moment, or even the subject matter because

[60]

that's a long time ago. But on several occasions President Truman talked to me or talked to the Budget Director or both of us on the telephone to tell us what his reasons were for departing from the Budget Bureau recommendations in a particular case, when he sensed that we had tried to respond to our view of the Presidency, and our view of the President, and what he wanted. He would call up and tell us why, or if the Director was over there he would tell him. On a couple of occasions, and I'm sure they're in the records at Independence, when we were writing veto messages, he sent the veto messages back over here with his own handwritten notes on the side to indicate what he wanted and where he thought we had not been responsive to what we should have known about his position.

HESS: One question. It's probably not very important but we were discussing Mr. Truman's prose and his

[61]

approach to writing, and do you think that if someone had used the terms inductive and deductive reasoning to Mr. Truman that he would have known what they were talking about?

JONES: Not if you used the term inductive and deductive, no. But if you had talked to Mr. Truman about the methodology of preparing a certain case as to whether you would use the inductive method or the deductive method putting it in terms of approaches to the case with the facts of the case, he immediately would have understood and would have given you an answer.

HESS: Now, moving on to the second duty of the Legislative Reference Service, which was putting together the legislative program and the recommendations to the President. Just how did you go about that?

JONES: This was a process which began with what

[62]

was known in those days as the annual call for estimates. Now it is referred to as Budget Circular A-ll. I still think the annual call for estimates was a better term. There was a paragraph in which we asked the agencies to send in, by a reasonably early date in the fall, all of their ideas for legislation broken down by extensions of present law, needs for changes in present law, new ideas, and major responses to presidential initiatives or known presidential positions. These came in in various and sundry ways. We took them apart, sorted them out, took over to the President lists of these ideas, usually arranged by general subject matter as well as by departments, with our recommendations for those which we considered important enough to be included in State of the Union, Budget message, Economic message or in a special message. We went over these with the

[63]

White House staff. The final decisions were made, we came back, we worked with the departments and agencies on developing the parts that were departmental legislative programs. We worked with the departments and agencies and the White House staff on special messages and frequently on individual paragraphs or sections of the Budget message of the State of the Union message. This was the method of developing a presidential legislative program and a departmental legislative program which was either supportive of the President's program or completely independent of it in the sense that items were not matters that the President had to be concerned with at all. Minor changes in departmental legislation or little things that were not of presidential import.

HESS: Who on the White House staff did you find the most helpful in setting up legislative programs?

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JONES: Well, here again, this was the responsibility of the Counsel's office and the formalization of this very largely took place, after Charlie Murphy came in and I can't remember whether Charlie came in -- I guess he didn't come till 1950 as I recall now. He...

HESS: He was in the White House as an Administrative Assistant.

JONES: As an Administrative Assistant, but he didn't become Counsel until...

HESS: Until Clark Clifford left on January 31st of 1950.

JONES: January 31st. I thought it was 1950.He had worked with Charlie before because Charlie had played a part, a very heavy part, in the messages in the campaign and afterwards, but the formalization of process largely was an

[65]

exercise that developed with Murphy's assumption of the Counsel position and continued on through from then. The pattern which was set then, I recommended to, and it was accepted by, the Eisenhower administration and we used it all the way through the Eisenhower administration up until the time that I left the Office of Legislative Reference in 1957. I think it's still being used, although with some differences.

HESS: How would you compare the assistance that you received from Murphy's predecessor Clark Clifford with Mr. Murphy?

JONES: Well, Clark didn't -- we in Legislative Reference didn't have this kind of machinery quite under Clark. He was working more closely with the Director. He was working very closely with us on enrolled bills and, in fact, it was an accident in the Clifford days that led to overcoming

[66]

the resistance of the Government Printing Office and the Congress to have facsimile copies of the enrolled bills produced which we would circulate for agency review as soon as the Congress got them enrolled. Up to that time, the practice had been to take the hard copy of the bill and literally walk it around for people to look at in town. Consequently there wasn't as thorough clearance as subsequently became the rule. But on one occasion, one bill somehow got lost. Nobody has ever known quite how and immediately after that, Mr. Truman in effect said, "No more sending my hard copies around, we'll get facsimiles." So we did get facsimiles, and now we get as many as we need.

HESS: One point, you mentioned Mr. Murphy's duties during the 1948 campaign. Did you assist or did you work in the 1948 campaign, being a Republican?

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JONES: No. No. No, Mr. Truman would not have asked anybody in the Budget Bureau, including the Director, to work in that kind of a way. He wanted this place to be institutional, and we were. Now, some of the people who have been on the staff after they moved to the White House worked in the campaign. Dave Stowe, of course, did. I think, my recollection is -- I don't remember whether Jim Sundquist had moved over at that time or whether that was the next campaign. Now this didn't mean that we didn't provide information to the President for utilization by his staff in campaign speeches. We didn't travel on the train. We didn't write speeches here. We would give information, of course, as we would give any President or as Presidents have had us give to the candidate of the opposing party. The information from this place has always been available by presidential direction to anyone who has the right to have it.

[68]

HESS: Once a legislative program has been set up, just how did the President seek to have that legislation passed?

JONES: Well, this pattern has differed somewhat over the years, too. Mr. Truman developed, very fully, the art and the technique of the special message backed up almost immediately by fully drafted legislation. In some cases they came from him, in other cases they came from, the pieces of legislation came from the departments. He did not use, or develop, as the Eisenhower White House did, a large legislative liaison staff of his own within the White House. If it was necessary to talk to legislative people on the Hill, by and large, he tended to do the talking or would occasionally send an immediate member of the White House staff, Counsel staff, or someone like that, down to have a conversation with the people on the Hill.

[69]

The Roosevelt pattern, well, I don't think that we need to say a great deal about it. He, too, sent many messages to Congress but they were never so consistently fitted into an overall pattern and strategy as they were under Mr. Truman from September of 1945 on. Mr. Roosevelt didn't have his staff keep a legislative score book for him as thoroughly as Mr. Truman had his staff and the Budget Bureau keeping score for him with the pieces being interknit in discussions with him at staff meetings and other things all the time. He was a legislative tactician as well as strategist. In the Eisenhower administration, there was the very rapid development under General Wilton Persons, (Jerry Persons), of a formal legislative liaison staff of the White House itself. This has pretty much continued. Certainly John Kennedy had it with Larry [Lawrence F.] O'Brien and his people.

[70]

Certainly Mr. Johnson had it with the people that he used on legislative liaison although he, like Mr. Truman, being a former longtime member of Congress, did much of his legislative liaison work himself by telephone. Mr. Truman didn't do as much by telephone as he did in person with the people; have them come down and sit down and talk to him. The Bureau's role, however, in the Truman days, particularly in the 80th Congress, and then the pattern, once established, carried on, was that of providing the institutional channel. He wanted us to work with the clerks of the committees, the staff directors of the committees, and to supply them anything that they wanted for their membership on either side, which we did. In return, we were supposed to report back on the legislative climate that we found. Mr. Truman used the Budget Bureau's

[71]

staff to testify on bills, to explain, not to go down there and take, you know, partisan advocacy positions, but to explain what was there, why it was there, what its relationship was with the President's objectives, how it got there. Occasionally he used me as an individual, seldom with -- well, I think only once with a personal assignment but through the operations of Mr. Murphy and other members of the staff, occasionally as a stalking-horse to go down before a committee and try to find out basically what they were doing. My long appearance in 1950 before the committee that was considering the lobbying act, was exactly that. I went down to see what was going on and to give institutional kinds of testimony. He used our Assistant Director for Administrative Management to present the case for reorganization plans. So, there was a close relationship between them and also, Mr.

[72]

Truman understood, as some of his predecessors and successors have not, the essentiality of having the White House stand apart from the burly-burly of legislative development before the members of the committee. He simply said, "The White House staff are mine. They are an extension of the Presidency, they are not available for testimony any more than the President of the United States is." A very sound position.

HESS: Later in Mr. Truman's administration, two men were brought in and given the title of Legislative Liaison.

JONES: Joseph Feeney and Charlie Maylon. Their legislative liaison, however, as I understood it, was with individual members of Congress on individual problems. It was not on legislation.

HESS: Did you think that the institutional channels that were established between the Legislative

[73]

Reference Service and the clerks of the committees were successful?

JONES: Yes, the channel was successful. It would not have been successful if we hadn't had first the support of the Public Works Committee after the '46 election, and secondly the very strong support of Senator Taft. Senator Taft understood fully what Mr. Truman wanted -- what his purpose was, and he was really the first committee chairman who sent everything to the Budget Bureau for advice as to relationship to the President's program. The Public Works Committee had started it off and I had some contacts with them. But Senator Taft, as chairman of the Senate Labor Committee was the first person to send everything down here and he argued for this system. He supported it again very fully after the Eisenhower administration came into office. And, by and large, it worked. There were very few committees

[74]

that didn't fall into this pattern fairly promptly. The chief exceptions were Ways and Means and Finance which felt that the development of tax legislation should be with the Treasury, and we weren't very much in the process until recent years, and the other was the House Armed Services Committee. We had a sort of after hour relationships with Judge [Carl] Vinson and other senior staff people on the House side and very often had an informal relationship to the Senate side in that the staff director would call our people who were responsible for legislation and want to talk over issues with them, but not very many formal requests for either Budget Bureau reports or advice as to relationship to the President's program.

HESS: Some historians have pointed out that Mr. Truman did not think that it was necessary to have a formalized congressional liaison set up

[75]

at this time. Do you think that was his idea?

JONES: I do. And, again, I think it was a response to his constitutional instincts that all executive powers are vested in the President of the United States and that, consequently, he had to take the chief responsibility for being the Executive Branch's legislative leader, and that a formal White House legislative liaison staff would mean really three things. Number one: That the White House would get involved in all kinds of things that they didn't need to be involved in, and that were better handled by the departments. Number two: That there was bound to be an opportunity for misunderstanding of the President's own position. And number three: That there would be an attempt on the part of the members of Congress to use the President's staff in ways that the President

[76]

might not thoroughly agree to. And I think all three have happened with extensive legislative liaison staff.

HESS: What is your opinion of the success or failure of Mr. Truman's legislative program?

JONES: Mr. Truman had a very high degree of success with his legislative program. That's why I said earlier when we were talking that I thought the 80th Congress didn't do as badly by him as he maintained in the campaign. I don't know. Of course, there are, in Independence, reports on the legislative score sheet. My impression is that the Truman legislative program, despite the fact that it was away ahead of its time, was on the whole over the years, even including the 80th Congress, better than 80 percent enacted, and that's a pretty high percentage.

HESS: Did you say that the Bureau of the Budget

[77]

kept that score sheet?

JONES: Yes, there were reports, I'm sure, which are available in Independence of...

HESS: And Mr. Truman kept a pretty good eye out for that did he?

JONES: He did indeed.

HESS: Well a couple of the questions I have here...

JONES: Another thing that Mr. Truman did in the Budget messages was each year he gave a recap of what he had recommended the year before on which the Congress had not enacted. And if you look at the '47, '48, '49, '50 and '51 Budget messages you will find this pattern recurring. He's the only President who's ever put this material together in one place and has hammered quite so hard on the unenacted

[78]

parts of the program. He developed the dollar figures to support them in these same sections of the Budget message.

HESS: Just how are those messages written, the Budget message and the State of the Union message?

JONES: The Budget message has always been in initial draft a product of the Budget Bureau. It's written, usually in one central place here, with in-put from the staff into a first draft, with every policy issue put in square brackets. Then that first draft goes across the street for discussion with the President's staff and some of the policy issues with the President himself. Out of that grows a second draft. The second draft is usually looked at by the President for emphasis, for arrangement, for style, for relationship to the other messages

[79]

on which work simultaneously is going on. Then you come back and start coordinating with State of the Union, with the Economic message and sorting out the issues which are coming out of the Budget message because they either got into one of the other messages or are important enough to be the subject of a special message. Then the final budget decisions are made, the President reads once again, personally, and then you lock up the Budget message. The Budget message really is the keystone of the arch. It looks back to State of the Union and forward to later messages. Work on it starts before work on State of the Union or very much work on the Economic message. And that pattern has prevailed pretty much ever since the day of Mr. Truman; began to prevail in Roosevelt's time.

HESS: Did you help with the actual writing of the

[80]

message? The wording?

JONES: I have worked extensively on Budget messages and particularly in the Truman administration on the section which laid out the legislative programs, either the separate section of the message or the bits and pieces of it that fed back into other substantive sections and, as I said, in the sessions from Christmas on in 1949, '50 and '51, I was part of the crew that used to sit around the Cabinet Room and work on these. And a good many special messages we made some in-put to, or we would clear the special messages with the departments and agencies that were involved. Again, a pattern which has tended to prevail although more responsibility for clearance really rests on the White House now than in the preceding administrations and in the Truman days.

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HESS: Do you recall what special messages that you worked on?

JONES: Well, no, this is hard to say. I certainly...

HESS: It's a long time back.

JONES: It's a long -- no, it's hard to say because I have difficulty sorting this out from what was done in the context of the Budget message itself. I do remember working on a housing message.

HESS: Did you help in the writing of the State of the Union message?

JONES: Only to the extent that we would be asked for our views as to certain individual paragraphs.

HESS: What do you recall about the press conferences that the President would hold exclusively about the budget?

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JONES: Mr. Truman felt that this was an executive budget, that it was his responsibility to explain it, this was his responsibility to defend it. And he did a masterful job. He mastered a great deal of detail. He took questions in the context of those sessions -- to all of which I went in his administration -- that he never in this world would have taken at another press conference. And, in a great many cases, his answers were on the record.

HESS: Why do you believe that Mr. Truman involved himself so deeply in this budget making process?

JONES: Well, because this budget, as I say, this was a keystone around which he built his own program. And he felt the responsibility for putting this out early and putting it out not only in its substantive terms but in its dollar

[83]

terms.

HESS: Did he take a greater interest than many of the other Presidents that you know?

JONES: In the budget process

HESS: In the budget process.

JONES: No. But he's the only President who -- I guess FDR had a couple of press conferences and talked a little bit about the budget but he was the only President in my thirty-six years who basically took the brunt of the entire budget "seminar" as we called it, with the press himself. And he did not do it every year, but he did most years.

HESS: What would the President do if he received conflicting advice from the Bureau of the Budget and the Council of Economic Advisors?

[84]

JONES: I can't tell you because I do not know how often we were in that position. In my days in Legislative Reference the relationships with the Council tended to be much arms length, pretty much on the record, and I don't think there was a great deal of conflict between us. Now, whether there has been since then I don't know. Certainly in the last few years the Budget Bureau and the Council have worked together hand in glove and, in fact on some work, our staffs have been almost indistinguishable. Charlie Schultze had most of his earlier Government experience in the Council. Kermit Gordon came from the Council. The relationship during the Eisenhower administration also was close. But I don't know what the President would do in case of conflict; I'm not sure. I doubt very much whether the Budget Director and the Chairman of the Council now would go with different points of view. I do know that

[85]

Smith in the early days of the Truman administration was looked upon as someone who was suspicious of the Council idea and in fact would have been glad to grab the Council off and have it as a part of the Budget Bureau. I've never known whether this was quite true. In the period in which first [Edwin G.] Nourse and then [Leon H.] Keyserling, were chairmen of the Council, there was a Budget Director-Chairman of the Council relationship which was quite different from the staff relationships that subsequently grew up, or the kind of relationships on legislation which, for example, I had with Arthur Burns and with Steve [Raymond J.] Saulnier in the Eisenhower administration. I don't have many contacts with the Council now in this Nixon administration because I am working primarily in the field of personnel. There isn't much economics in personnel policy.

[86]

HESS: We're coming down pretty close to the end of the reel. Let me turn this over.

We've mentioned the men that held the position of the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Mr. Smith, Webb, Pace and Lawton. If you had to pick one of those men and say he probably was the best in that position, who would you pick?

JONES: This would be very difficult to do, but I think I would have to say in terms of understanding of President Truman as a man and of Harry Truman's conception of the Presidency, I would have to pick Jim Webb. In terms of understanding Mr. Truman's constitutional view about building for transition, I think I would say Lawton, who sensed really more than Webb did what Truman wanted in '48, and presided over it in 1952. While Frank Pace was a great

[87]

oh, I don't like to use the word "favorite" because that has an old connotation of royal favorite, it was, I think, because Mr. Truman was very comfortable with Frank. He liked to have Frank around. He understood Frank. Frank was his kind of a politician. I've never been sure that Frank really, well, appreciated the presidential-institutional relationship in the sense that the others did. As for Harold Smith, he was tired and he was really a sick man before he left here to go to the Bank. I don't think Harold ever really rallied from the shock of the Roosevelt death. He made strenuous efforts but I think he was ready to go, to do something else, and certainly the initial Truman reliance on the Office of War Mobilization and Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, later on, gave Smith some pause. This was the kind of thing that Webb fought in order to re-establish

[88]

the Bureau as an institution in the President's understanding, affection and esteem, and succeeded. So, I'd have to put Webb, I think, in first place.

HESS: What was the part played by the Bureau of the Budget, or was there a part played, in the phasing out of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion?

JONES: The Bureau did play a part in this. I had very little to do with it myself. I really can't answer that question, I just don't know.

HESS: Did you feel at that time that the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, which, of course, had been headed at one time by James Byrnes, who held the unofficial title, the "Assistant President," was something in the nature of a competitor with the Bureau of the Budget?

[89]

JONES: Yes, very definitely. And in my early work with the Congress, in the 80th Congress, and subsequently, I saw a pattern of potential, if you will, "rivalry" here, that bothered me because I felt the Office of War Mobilization and its subsequent name in a different era, just plain didn't have all the information at hand that they needed to have. They may have known about what was going on on the war front but they didn't know about a lot of other things that weren't going on on the war front. And they also tended, and this included Mr. Byrnes -- not to insulate themselves as much from individual congressional problems as we've always been successful in doing. Of course, I didn't have a great deal of contact with him.

HESS: Do you recall what some of the problems were -- the legislative, congressional problems, that they had?

[90]

JONES: No, I can't say really that I do except that -- well, no, I think I had better remain silent on that. Except I will say just one thing, that both Byrnes and Vinson -- how long was Vinson in, I forgot how long he was there.

HESS: Not for very long.

JONES: Not for very long, but -- well, both of them had a proclivity, or a tendency, to think that they could intrude themselves between the Budget Director and the President. And this, we both resisted and resented because we felt that the Budget Director is the head of the office, which really is the central core of the Executive Office and should not have anybody coming between him and the President. Now, this is one of the things that I didn't like about the Eisenhower decision to make Dodge a member of the Cabinet. We'd always taken a view that the Budget Director

[91]

was really supra-Cabinet, that he was the President's own man. And therefore, nobody came between the two of them. He wasn't, you know, one among equals. I still think that's the right view.

HESS: Was there some lessening of efficiency when he was a Cabinet member, or when he was considered to be their equal?

JONES: No, there was no lessening of efficiency, there was a tendency, however, for the Budget Director to be expected to work out, if you will, almost compromises with his other Cabinet colleagues before going to the President. At times I'm not sure that this process served the Presidency or the President as well as it might have. Certainly Harold Smith never felt that he was under any obligation and just because he was at the same level of the Cabinet officers, but not of them, to take into account points

[92]

of view that he thought were inimical to the President's best interests. I'm afraid in the subsequent years occasionally this was rather expected, if not by the President himself, by the White House staff and by the Cabinet officers and just the expectation of it creates problems in my judgment.

HESS: Before we move on to the transition, I would like to ask a few questions about some of the men who served under you at the time that you were head of the Legislative Reference Division, and could you tell me just a little about each man. What their assignments were and how effective they were. Donald B. MacPhail as Legislative Analyst.

JONES: Don MacPhail I met immediately after World War II when he came out of the Navy. He was really the first person here in the post-World

[93]

War II period who had an assignment to get across what the Budget Bureau was all about in the institutional sense of the word. He wasn't really a public affairs or a public information officer but he was pretty close to it. I was very much attracted to his capacity to write and to his style and when I became Director of Legislative Reference, I asked him to become my Deputy. He was, incidentally, a very shrewd analyst. We became very close friends and I was heartbroken when I lost him to the AID effort. I've forgotten what it was called at that time, but anyway he went off to Paris to work on European foreign assistance problems. Perhaps some of the affinity between MacPhail and me grew out of the fact that we both had taken English majors and he had an interest that was quite parallel to my own in developing the capacity to write on the part of young

[94]

Bureau staff members. He was an instinctive analyst; he had an instinct for presidential feel for positions. He was a great student of Mr. Truman's techniques, Mr. Truman's philosophy, in fact he paid more attention than I did to everything that was said about the President in press conferences. He would go after everything that came out of the President's office in a way which led us both to believe that we should have what only recently, in the Johnson administration, came into being -- that weekly issuance that the Archives does of presidential statements and documents. But Donald was always trying to get anything that he could out of the White House about presidential positions. I found this useful, very, very valuable and he was a good leader of team efforts.

HESS: The next man was Jefferson D. Burrus, a Legislative Counsel.

[95]

JONES: Jeff Burrus, a brilliant lawyer, a Rhodes scholar, a great oarsman from the University of Wisconsin, came into the Bureau in Frank Pace's day. He was assigned to me in Legislative Reference because Frank felt that we needed a practicing lawyer who had had extensive outside business experience and who could focus primarily on the legislative problems that affected business and industry. Now this was his initial role, and has been his role ever since. In it, he brought a new kind of perspective, a new sort of approach which had not been in Legislative Reference before. I don't think we'd ever had in Legislative Reference, an attorney whose primary career had been outside the Federal Government. Jeff was the first one, and I guess to be honest with you, he's still the only one that had that unique set of original capabilities.

HESS: And Edward B. Bowers who was Legislative Analyst.

[96]

JONES: Eddie Bowers was a career civil servant who had grown up in the Budget Bureau under Fred Bailey, and who had an instinctive skill for simplification of issues into terse prose. I put him in charge of the coordination of all of the work on enrolled bills and the preparation of certainly the majority of the statements that went across the street on enrolled legislation. A very methodical worker, in the best sense of that word; by that I mean he had a very precise methodology, a phenomenal, almost photographic type of memory and with all, a sense of balance, a sense of timing, that I found invaluable. With Ed it was always the job first. In part this was because he had had a very serious accident some years before and for a great many years had a good deal of difficulty walking. It caused him pain. Consequently, he tended to want to stay right at the desk.

[97]

He was one of the best of civil servants. He was not an innovator, he was not a man who had ambitions beyond doing what he was doing. He didn't have a great deal of imagination, but he knew the legislative process from A to Izzard and he was a superb draftsman.

HESS: And Harry C. McKittrick, Legislative Analyst.

JONES: Well, Harry came into my shop from the examining side of the Bureau because I had instituted, or rather Elmer Staats had instituted, and the two of us continued, a system of having somebody from the Budget side of the shop come in each legislative session and learn the legislative analysis business. Harry was a very early staff man to do this. He had been a staff assistant to the Director and he developed a liking for, and a taste for, the legislative analysis of issues in the natural resources field. After his

[98]

relatively short period of duty in Legislative Reference he went into our Natural Resources Division and is now the Assistant Division Chief who has charge of the Interior budget.

In going over a list of this kind, since you refer to people, I should also refer to, very definitely, Phillip S. Hughes, Sam Hughes. Sam succeeded MacPhail as my Deputy, he further developed the office in the latter years of the Eisenhower administration. He nailed down its working principles. He followed along just as Staats and I had. He moved out of Legislative Reference to become the Deputy Director of the Bureau. He became the Deputy Director of the Bureau when Elmer Staats became Comptroller General, which leads me to believe that Legislative Reference is probably one of the best training grounds that exists anywhere in the Federal Government for positions of higher

[99]

responsibility at the staff level.

HESS: On the subject of the transition from the Truman administration to the Eisenhower administration, just what were your duties connected with that transition?

JONES: The idea of transition was first advanced by Mr. Truman in 1948. He said that it was essential for the Budget Bureau as the chief on-going piece of presidential machinery to be prepared for a new President in case a new President was elected. Of course, he didn't think a new President was going to be elected and that ultimately turned out to be the case. But, he did ask that we very carefully analyze the party platforms, that we watch the statements made by the party candidates and that we be prepared to give briefings on where the government stood on these issues. It

[100]

was pretty informal in 1948. Not much was done. Four years later when it was inevitable that there would be a transition, much more formal kinds of requirements were laid down by President Truman. Strangely, I've never read the principal books on transition that grew out of the Brookings Institution studies except in bits and pieces. I suppose I should have, but sometimes you don't because you feel, you know, too much of a personal involvement. But in 1952 it was not only analysis of the platforms, analysis of the presidential candidates' statements in the campaign, but there was the preparation of extensive background material which was to be turned over to the new administration once it came in regardless whether it was Republican or Democrat. There was the President's immediate invitation to General Eisenhower to send somebody down as Budget Liaison, with

[101]

the result that Dodge came literally, within ten days I think it was of election, and was on the ground to see how we put the budget together. It was Mr. Truman's view that we should try to persuade Dodge, as the incoming Budget Director, that we should participate in and arrange for extensive briefings about that budget and the legislative programs with the incoming Cabinet officers; the first time this had ever been done. It was done with outstanding success. I participated in it and used very extensively the materials which I had prepared because President Truman had told us to prepare them. These techniques first established on a formalized basis in '52, have been carried forward and used in '56, again, we had more sense that the probability we didn't go ever since. Now, than an intuitive of change was not through all of the very great, so fine mechanics of preparing

[102]

extensive analysis that we did in 1952. We did the normal sorts of things and we would have been prepared very fast after election had Eisenhower been defeated. But the Bureau did full transition planning again in 1960. I was not here, I was over at the Civil Service Commission, but on personnel matters I did the same kind of thing over there and collaborated with the people here. The Civil Service Commission, growing out of the experience with Mr. Truman, had practically every personnel policy issue briefed so that it was available to the new and incoming President. This material was turned over right after the election to Mr. Kennedy's people. This kind of work began to spread out through the departments after the '48 and '52 experiences so that by 1960 everyone was working away at the job of transition. I was probably sort of the, oh, sort of the ringleader. I gave

[103]

speeches about transition planning and I wrote a piece that got a bit of attention called "The new team must hit the ground running," designed to spell out the need for effective transition. I think we did a good job in '52, I think it was even better in 1960 and I think it was even better this time. We've learned the techniques, we know how to do it.

HESS: You mentioned that there was transition preparations in '48, is that correct?

JONES: Very informal. The President, of course, did not want to give at all the impression that he had any doubt about his re-election. But he did tell Fred Lawton to get ready, and this may be in what Fred's recorded for the Library. It is interesting that he told this to Lawton rather than to Webb, that the Budget Bureau was to be prepared for a new President and for

[104]

us to remember that it would be necessary to give all kinds of materials to the new man about the budget that his predecessor was sending to the Congress. Mr. Truman emphasized that the new President would be locked in by the budget that his predecessor had sent in unless he took the initiative to change it. He put the same, very much heavier emphasis, in 1952 when Fred was Director and repeated again our responsibility for doing this but he also told Fred that there were to be no new major initiatives. Now, President Johnson said the same things this time, that there would be no major initiatives after the nominating conventions and the Budget Bureau was to see to it that things stayed on an even keel.

HESS: Why do you think that Mr. Truman mentioned that to Mr. Lawton and not to Mr. Webb?

[105]

JONES: I cannot be sure that there was no conversation with Webb, but I think the primary charge was to Lawton. Fred had been doing some special jobs at the White House and I think it was just a random mention and he knew that Lawton was the principal man for liaison with the appropriations committee. I think it was just as simple as that, it happened that Fred was there and it was mentioned to him. Fred once told me that he doesn't have a clear recollection of it but I certainly have a clear recollection of being told about it.

HESS: You say the President told the Bureau of the Budget to keep things on an even keel after the convention in '48, is that right?

JONES: No, in '52.

HESS: In '52. Good, I had my years mixed up.

[106]

JONES: No, not in '48. Heavens no, in '48...

HESS: Well, that's right. He went to Congress with his Turnip Day speech.

JONES: That's right. We went and kept things going real hard in '48. No, this was '52. This wasn't necessarily because he thought there was going to be a change in the political complexion of the administration, it was just that there was going to be a change in the administration and he wanted to pass on his office unimpaired to his successor, but he also didn't want to pass on a thing that wasn't clear and that was in any way chaotic.

HESS: Just as an opinion, did you think that Mr. Truman supported Adlai Stevenson in 1952, very strenuously?

JONES: I honestly don't know whether I have any

[107]

basis for an opinion on that.

HESS: I really should have put it, was he his first choice? Was he the person that he thought would be the best standard-bearer...

JONES: I don't know.

HESS: ...of the Democratic Party?

JONES: I don't know. He certainly appeared to give him very substantial blessing. Frankly I find this a little hard to understand from my estimation of Mr. Truman, as a man, as a President, as a politician. I do not think Adlai Stevenson was his breed of cat in any sense of the word. Truman believed in firm positions that you stood on, you made "very clear," using one of Mr. Nixon's favorite words, and that you were perfectly willing to take your lumps on. And, while I had a high degree of affection for Mr. Stevenson

[108]

as an individual, his mind just didn't work that way. You weren't ever quite sure where Adlai stood, and I somehow can't believe that Mr. Truman really thought that this was the kind of a man who should be President.

HESS: At the time in 1952 when Mr. Dodge came in, did he bring any assistants with him that would be working in the Bureau of the Budget when he

JONES: He brought absolutely none. He turned to Fred Lawton, and to me, you see I have no humility at all, to provide most of the tissue for the transition. He turned to the Budget people already here for the factual kind of stuff. But he looked to Lawton, he told Lawton not to be in a hurry to leave and indeed Lawton stayed on for several months after Eisenhower's election, to give him a hand.

[109]

In fact, it wasn't until late that spring that Lawton went over to the Civil Service Commission as a Commissioner. Dodge, in effect, said to me, "Look you've been Mr. Legislation here for a number of years, now I want you to know there's not going to be a major presidential legislative program this year, but there are bound to be departmental things. I recognize that Congress isn't going to sit around doing nothing; you take the departmental legislation, you sort out all these for the White House and don't bother me unless you think some item is by and large presidential this year." So, that's what I did.

HESS: Did you see, or talk to Mr. Sherman Adams, Governor Sherman Adams during this period of time?

JONES: Many times. Now, I did not see Adams during the

[110]

Commodore period at all. The only Commodore folks that I saw were Tom [Thomas E.] Stevens and Herb [Herbert] Brownell.

HESS: Would you explain to me what you mean by the Commodore period?

JONES: The people who worked out of the Commodore Hotel in New York. You remember the Eisenhower people worked for some time from the Commodore Hotel. They did not immediately move to Washington. And after Dodge went to Korea with Eisenhower he still was moving back and forth some to New York. I don't remember how much. None of the rest of us did. But it was the Saturday after inauguration that I had my first series of conversations with the White House staff, first with [Bernard M.] Shanley, and then with Persons whom I had known for years. There was a break as far as Shanley

[111]

was concerned. One of Shanley's law partners and I had been very closely associated in World War II, so at least he knew who I was. Well, President Eisenhower knew who I was too because I had had some contacts with him early in 1942 before he went over to the other side of that Atlantic to get ready for the Supreme Command over there. I had had some contacts with Tom Stevens. You may remember Stevens was first announced as the President's Counsel, and that after Mr. Vandenberg was not appointed to the White House staff, Stevens became the Appointments Secretary and Shanley moved in as Counsel. Once the new staff came here in Washington, I had extensive, close, continuing contacts with Adams. At first, he did not understand our function. He tended to be a little bit suspicious of it and it took some work on my part, on Shanley's part, on Dodge's part, and very

[112]

definitely on the part of General Persons and Bryce Harlow to get Governor Adams to understand what this institutional machinery was all about. Once he understood it, he used it extensively.

JONES: He did?

JONES: Yes.

HESS: What is your evaluation of the success of the transition of 1952?

JONES: I think it was fine. It was very successful and much more successful than we might have expected considering the fact that there was a degree of coolness between Mr. Truman and General Eisenhower and considering the fact that even though he had very graciously opened up the White House and the entire executive branch to the Eisenhower people including the White House itself, not the fullest kind of advantage had

[113]

been taken of this. There'd been some rather arms length attitudes, which Joe Dodge fought against. He didn't approve at all. There were some things which President Truman just plain didn't like that happened to the White House itself.

HESS: What?

JONES: Oh, some of the liaison people assumed that they had the right of access to all kinds of information. One man, I think even presumed to ask for assignment of certain space in the White House.

HESS: Did you see General Eisenhower during this period of time?

JONES: I did not see General Eisenhower prior to inauguration for any conversation at all. I did see him shortly after inauguration.

[114]

HESS: Okay, that about everything on the transition?

JONES: I think so, except once again to emphasize that Harry Truman, as a constitutionalist, built the whole idea of transition. He had enough faith in the on-going career staff to believe that they could put together the kinds of documents that a new administration would need and that part of his constitutional duty was to pass on his office to his successor with a minimum of difficulty. He was not happy about the fact that the outgoing President had to make a budget that his successor had to wrestle with. That was, as I understand it from what Fred Lawton told me. (I had no conversation with Mr. Truman about this myself.) He wanted, to the fullest, the new administration to understand what the constraints were for the remaining five or six months of the term -- five months of the term -- in which they were definitely bound in by

[115]

the budget of the predecessor and bound in a great deal by whatever initiatives he had taken. That's why I think Mr. Truman, in effect, said no new initiatives in the summer of 52. I think this may be why Mr. Johnson said no new initiatives.

HESS: Just as an opinion, but to what would you attribute Mr. Truman's great interest in the Constitution and its proper use? Just as an opinion?

JONES: His reading. Over the years, because of the privilege of having been in his presidential offices, and on more than one occasion in the White House, itself, when we had to bother him at night on expiring legislation, I saw the kind of books that were there; I heard him talk about those books; I heard the kinds of greetings that he would make at White House gatherings when he moved around among

[116]

his guests, the way in which he would give asides (when we were developing a message) about this, that, or the other historical figure, or frequently the President of the United States. I never wrote these down, but nevertheless, they made an impression at the time. It was very clear how great this man's respect was for the office, how thorough this man's understanding was of the constitutional responsibilities of the President. On one occasion he complimented me because I had given a speech on the legislative clearance function, which somehow came to his attention, and I had stressed that our legislative functions all grew out of the presidential constitutional powers in the field of legislation. Mr. Truman said that he hadn't seen it expressed quite that way before. He complimented me on doing it. And I think, well, you asked for my opinion and it is my opinion, that Harry Truman

[117]

was a very humble man. He had doubts about his own capacity to be everything that the President of the United States should be, I think, and consequently, he was going to make sure that no mistake was made because he didn't study hard enough to learn what was expected of the Presidency. This President was a very great man -- is a very great man. His place in history is, I'm certain, very, very sure, as one of our great Presidents. Now, I don't say this because I'm making a tape for the Truman Library, I think, you know I say it out of complete conviction.

HESS: How do you believe he will be regarded by historians one or two hundred years from now?

JONES: As a man of infinite courage, as a man who withstood all kinds of assaults on the Presidency, as a very fine politician. The courage has

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already come into focus. The decision on the atomic bomb, the gamble on the decisions in postwar Europe, the Marshall plan, the early positions that he took, knowing he was going to be defeated on such things as Medicare and Fair Employment practices. The Korean war, the decision on MacArthur, the steel strike, you name it, courage was the -- well, it just emanated from all over the place, and yet it was never foolhardy courage.

HESS: In recent years there have been a number of revisionists that have said that the atomic bomb should not have been dropped. What is your opinion on that?

JONES: Dropping the atomic bomb saved several hundred thousand American lives. I know because I was in the business of planning for the invasion of the Honshu plain. I know what it would have

[119]

required by way of military effort and loss of American lives. An attack on the Japanese homeland would have made the kamikaze attacks on our carriers and the fleet look like nothing at all compared with the religious fervor and frenzy with which the Honshu plain would have been defended.

HESS: Where would you place Mr. Truman on a scale from a liberal to a conservative?

JONES: Well, I don't know how really to define those terms but as they are usually defined, he was not a far left liberal because he was too great a constitutionalist, he was too great a believer in the basic validity of all of the principles of democracy, the rule of the majority, the obligation of the minorities to respect the rights of the majorities, and at the same time their own, and vice versa. I can't put him way

[120]

out to the left, to use that term, but he was in my estimation, and in the best sense of the word, a true liberal. He was not just a moderate, because he was not a compromiser, and any moderate, I think, always has to do a certain amount of compromising. One thing I learned from Mr. Truman was the difference between compromise and synthesis. He was a synthesizer. By that I don't mean a man who believed in consensus, but synthesis in the best sense of the word. Taking all of the things apart and see what fitted together and putting them back together and coming out with a new product and often with a product, which by that process, was more effective than it otherwise would have been. Certainly he was no conservative except in the sense of conservative values and judgments with respect to issues of partisan politics, party loyalties and things of that sort. In that he was more conservative

[121]

perhaps than most others of the strong Democratic Presidents and more on a plane with the liberal Republican Presidents.

HESS: How would you rate the Presidents of recent years from Roosevelt to the present in terms of effectiveness, administrative ability, intellectual ability and as men?

JONES: Oh, I don't know that I can answer that question or that I -- it'd take me too long to answer that question. In fact I won't, I won't rank them. The differences are just the differences which our political scientists, our historians, our public media people have pointed out. Roosevelt, the patrician with the doctrine of noblesse oblige ground into him from the day he was born almost. Harry Truman, the man of the people, broad in courage and vision, basically a better politician than Franklin

[122]

Roosevelt ever was in my judgment, in his sense of understanding what the political cross currents of America were. A man of the simple kind of integrity, the simple kind of faith that occasionally got him in trouble because he just wouldn't believe badly of any man. Eisenhower, incidentally in my judgment, a far better politician than his detractors would say that he was. His political instincts I saw submerged time and time again because he believed that other people by training and experience were better politicians than he, and I wish to heaven he had followed his own instinct. A man who did gauge the temper of America, gave America what it wanted at the time. I don't like the idea of the father image because I don't think that's really accurate about Eisenhower. What is accurate about him was a kind of personal integrity that was recognized

[123]

by folks as something that they could look up to. Adulation grew out of the fact that he was one of the world's most successful generals. John Kennedy, a man touched with greatness, but not a man who was, in my judgment, a particularly good politician or a very farseeing politician. A man whose ideals way outran his practical sense of how to reach them, or how to accomplish them. Of course, the first twentieth century President in one sense of the word, the first one born in the twentieth century. Lyndon Johnson, the thoroughly political animal in every sense of the word and in the best sense -- a man who wanted to lead, who wanted to articulate his own hopes as the hopes of America, a man who drove, every minute, himself and others. Mr. Nixon, not just the man who came back. The man who came back by making a very careful study of the differences between Republican and

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Democratic philosophy and the way in which you could build initiatives on the differences rather than on the similarities, which I think will come out in focus with his administration. Well, enough said, I'm not going to rank them or rate them, they are too different to rate.

HESS: Do you have anything else to add on Mr. Truman or the Truman administration?

JONES: I don't think so except that to hope that the story of the Truman administration really someday will be told. I don't think it has been told yet, frankly. Maybe we're still too close to it. Maybe you can never tell the story of a President's administration as long as he is alive but we haven't yet had insofar as I've seen the literature, anything that approaches the kind of books that have come out about our other great Presidents within relatively few

[125]

years of the end of their administrations. But there again, usually this has happened because the President had died and people have felt less inhibitions to write and say things. And, although Mr. Truman, I think has done quite a job on his own Memoirs, they are only about a fifth as long as I think they ought to be. Again, I think this is the basic humility of the man coming through. But in the Truman books you get a sense of him being a participant and this is a little bit different from the Eisenhower books in which General Eisenhower rather looked upon himself as someone who is reporting on what has happened, rather than on the intense personal involvement -- the thing that you feel when you read Mr. Truman's writings. Enough said, I have taken too much of your time.

HESS: No. We thank you very much for your time, sir.

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


List of Subjects Discussed

    Adams, Sherman, 109, 110, 112
    Andrews, Russell P., 43-44
    Atomic bomb, use of, 118-119

    Bailey, Frederick J., 7
    Bell, Daniel W., 31
    Bowers, Edward B., 95-97
    Brownlow Merriam Committee, 12
    Budget and Accounting Act (1921), 13
    Budget message, drafting of, 78-80
    Bureau of the Budget:

      Fair Deal program role in implementing, 19-20
      history of (1921 45), 8-17
      legislation, role in formulating, 61-63
      Legislative Reference Division, functions of, 5, 13, 39-41, 51, 56-63, 70-74
      Office of Executive Management, 33-34
      and Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 88-90
      relationship with Council of Economic Advisors, 83-85
      reorganization in 1939, 14-15
      role in Eisenhower administration, 31-32, 33, 84-85
      role in Kennedy Johnson administrations, 32-33
      role in political campaigns, 67
      role in Truman administration, 18-21, 28-31, 35, 57, 59-60
    Burrus, Jefferson D., 94-95
    Byrnes, James F., 88, 89, 90

    Clifford, Clark, 65
    "Commodore period," 109-112
    Congress, committees of, and their relationship with Bureau of the Budget, 70-74
    Conscription law of 1948, 51-52
    Council of Economic Advisors, 35, 83-85

    Dawes, Charles G., 9
    Dawson, Donald S., 45
    Dennison, Admiral Robert, 44-45
    Director, Bureau of the Budget, as member of President's Cabinet, 90-92
    Dodge, Joseph M., 29, 101, 108, 109, 113
    Douglas, Lewis W., 10-11

    80th Congress, 3, 4-5, 23, 26
    Enrolled bills, 56-57, 65-66

    Fair Deal program, 18-20, 27, 35-38
    Feeney, Joseph, 72
    Friedman, Martin L., 45

    Hoover, Herbert, and Bureau of the Budget, 9-10
    Hughes, Phillip S., 98

    Johnson, Lyndon B., 123
    Jones, Roger W.:

      budget message of the President, role in drafting, 80-81
      career summary, 1-2
      duties of, as Director of Legislative Reference Division, 38-41
      legislative liaison, chosen for, 6
      legislative liaison, role in, 22-23
      Truman, Harry S., first meeting with, 6
      visit, in Jones' office, by President Truman, 54-56

    Kayle, Milton, 43

    Lawton, Frederick J., 28, 29, 31, 43, 86, 103, 104, 105, 108, 109, 114
    Lord, General Herbert M., 9

    McCarran Walter Act, 48
    McKittrick, Harry C., 97-98
    MacPhail, Donald B., 92-94
    Maylon, Charles, 72
    Murphy, Charles S., role in formulating legislation, 64

    Neustadt, Richard E., 42, 43
    Nixon, Richard M., 123-124

    Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 88-90

    Pace, Frank, Jr., 28, 29, 86-87
    Persons, Major General Wilton B., 110
    Private relief bills, 45-49

    Roop, Colonel J. Clawson, 9
    Roosevelt, Franklin D., 10-12

    Shanley, Bernard M., 110-111
    Smith, Harold, 13, 16, l7, 18, 19-20, 36, 85, 87, 91
    Staats, Elmer, 7
    Stevenson, Adlai, 107-108
    Stevens, Thomas E., 110, 111
    Stowe, David, 43

    Taft, Senator Robert A., 73
    Transition, Truman to Eisenhower administrations, evaluation of, 112-114
    Truman, Harry S.:

      as an administrator, 45
      budget message and State of the Union message, combined, in 1947, 21-22
      budget message of 1948, 23-25
      budget message, role in creating and defending, 82-83
      Bureau of the Budget, first use of, 18-19
      as a Constitutionalist, 3, 115-116, 119
      estimation of, 116-122, 125
      executive legislative relationships, position on, 4-5, 7, 70-72, 74-76
      Fair Deal program, promotion of, 27-28
      gifts of neckties to staff, 42
      legislation, method of promoting in Congress, 68-72, 73, 77-78
      legislative program, degree of success, 76-77
      politician, strategy as, 25-26
      Presidency, view of, 27-28, 37-38, 72, 75
      private relief bills, policy on, 45-49, 55, 57
      Roosevelt, Franklin D., comparison with, 121-122
      speechwriting, style of, 58, 61
      as a "synthesizer," 120
      and transition planning, 99-102, 103-104, 105-106, 114-115
      Twenty one point message to Congress (1945), 18, 19-20, 35-38
      universal military training, view of, 50

    Vaughan, Harry H., 44, 50, 51
    Vinson, Carl, 74
    Vinson, Fred M., 90

    Webb, James E., 5-6, 7, 18-19, 21, 28, 86, 88
    White House staff, members drawn from Bureau of the Budget, 43-44, 53
    Wilson, Woodrow, 37, 38

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