Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Oral History Interview with
George Meader

Assistant Counsel of the Truman Committee July 1943 - October 1945

Washington, D.C.
June 12, 1963
by Charles T. Morrissey

[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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 June, 1965
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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


Oral History Interview with
George Meader

Washington, D.C.
June 12, 1963
by Charles T. Morrissey

[1]

MR. MORRISSEY: Mr. Meader, when did you join the staff of the Truman Committee?

CONGRESSMAN MEADER: July 1, 1943.

MORRISSEY: Why did you join the staff?

MEADER: That's rather interesting. I was a law school classmate of Hugh Fulton, who was the first Chief Counsel. He had lived in Ann Arbor, and during the time that I was prosecuting attorney in Ann Arbor, Hugh made frequent visits to Ann Arbor where his mother was living. I mentioned to Hugh one day that I had made inquiries concerning getting a commission in the Army or Navy for Military Government, and he said, "George, do you want to come to Washington?"

I said, "I'm not particularly interested in Washington, but I thought military government would be an area where

[2]

my background and experience as chief law enforcement officer of a county of 167,000 population, together with a knowledge of foreign languages, would be useful in governing civilian populations in the wake of military advance."

He said, "Well, anytime you want to you can come down to Washington and be Assistant Counsel of the Truman Committee."

I had previously met Senator Truman and other members of the committee when they had visited the bomber plant at Willow Run. Also I had appeared as a witness before the Truman Committee in connection with a wartime housing program at Willow Run. So within a month, I resigned as prosecutor and took the job of Assistant Counsel under the sponsorship of Senator [Homer] Ferguson.

I subsequently learned that Senator [R. Owen] Brewster, the ranking Republican on the Truman Committee, had been urging Senator Truman to appoint a Republican as Assistant Counsel and that Hugh Fulton had chosen me as one he thought could work with him. Fulton had arranged for Senator Ferguson to sponsor me. In fact, by being a Republican, apparently, instead of disqualifying me, was one of the reasons I became Assistant Counsel.

[3]

MORRISSEY: Did Mr. Truman ever comment on the fact that you were a Republican and this committee was headed by a Democratic Senator?

MEADER: Yes, he said he thought maybe he could convert me.

MORRISSEY: Do you remember anything about your first meeting with Mr. Truman at Willow Run?

MEADER: Well, as I recall it, we were riding around in one of the sight-seeing cars they have, through the large bomber plant, and one of the Ford officials, sitting ahead of me (and Mr. Fulton) turned around to Hugh and said, "Well, now if you see anything wrong in the way we're doing things here, let me know." Of course, Hugh was no engineer; he was a lawyer. He whispered to me as we were riding along, "If I really wanted to be smart with this man, I would just wait until we get to the end of the production line and say 'What's wrong is that there aren't enough bombers coming out of here."'

As far as Senator Truman was concerned, on that occasion, I don't recall anything special about him.

MORRISSEY: Did Hugh Fulton ever comment to you on how he happened to become Chief Counsel of the Truman Committee?

[4]

MEADER: Yes, as I understand it, Senator Truman became interested in this subject because of certain camp construction in Missouri which he personally visited. He was not satisfied with the way it was being handled. As county judge in Missouri, he had had charge of letting construction contracts, and he wasn't very happy with the way the Army was building these camps. That led him to introduce his resolution to create a select committee to investigate the National Defense Program. After the resolution was adopted, as I understand it, he went to [Robert] Jackson, then Attorney General, and said that he wanted a first-rate trial lawyer and asked Jackson to recommend one. I understand Attorney General Jackson said, "Well, I know just the man, but I don't think he'll take it."

And he said, "It's Hugh Fulton who successfully prosecuted the Associated Gas & Electric Case, and I believe, a case against a judge. Anyhow, he was a special assistant to the Attorney General, in New York, who had handled some difficult criminal trials."

I understand Senator Truman said, "Well, get him down here; I want to talk with him."

So, Fulton came down and Truman asked him to take the job. Fulton asked one question, "Are you going to

[5]

let the chips fall where they may, or is this going to be a whitewash?"

Truman said, "The chips are going to fall where they may."

And Fulton said, "I'll take the job."

That's my understanding.

MORRISSEY: Is that the way Hugh Fulton told it afterwards?

MEADER: Yes.

MORRISSEY: Do you know why Mr. Fulton left the committee in 1944?

MEADER: Yes, because Mr. Truman had been nominated for Vice President on the Democratic ticket and Hugh helped him in the campaign and he left for that reason, as I understand it.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall specifically what Fulton did during the campaign to help Mr. Truman?

MEADER: Yes, I think he helped write speeches, traveled on the train with him. In my own view, Hugh perhaps was not as good a politician as he was a lawyer. I think he was one of the best lawyers in the country, and he had

[6]

a very complete knowledge of American history and world history, and I thought, had a very statesmanlike point of view in dealing with problems that came before the committee. But he had not had any political experience, and I think, that perhaps his political advice was not all that could be desired. For example, he got Truman to make speeches challenging Tom Dewey to come out against isolationist Republican Senators. The campaign finally got around to Massachusetts and here was Senator [David I.] Walsh who was just as isolationist as any Republican in the Senate and Truman made some observation to the effect that, of course, Walsh was an isolationist Senator but he wasn't up for election then. Meanwhile, Dewey had paid no attention to these challenges that Truman was making at Fulton's recommendation. My understanding is, that the reaction to Truman's statement about Walsh, publicly in Massachusetts, was such that Roosevelt had to go to Massachusetts and try to keep it in the Democratic column.

MORRISSEY: Why do you say that happened on the advice of Hugh Fulton? I'm trying to pin this down to authority.

MEADER: That's the way I understand it.

[7]

MORRISSEY: I see. From your viewpoint in 1944, how did Mr. Truman look upon a possible nomination for Vice President on the Democratic ticket in that year?

MEADER: Well, I came down to Washington in July of '43 and I was assigned the job of making a study of wartime transportation. In December we got out a report, which was subsequently praised by a professor of transportation at the University of Michigan Engineering School, as one of the best reports that had come out of Washington in the last ten years. And that led Senator Truman to think I was an expert on transportation; in fact, his picture, which I have here in my office, was given to me the day he resigned as chairman of the committee. And he wrote an inscription on there:

Very best regards and best wishes to George Meader, efficient, capable, and an expert on transportation. Harry Truman, U.S.S. Missouri, Prospective V.P.U.S.A.

And during the year or so before he was nominated, he accepted quite a number of speaking engagements on the subject of transportation. And, well, I guess, you'd say I ghost-wrote some of those speeches. One particularly was an address to the Traffic Club of Baltimore; and he spoke to the Traffic Clubs of Toledo, and Pittsburgh and

[8]

made various other speeches and also wrote some magazine articles. While he seemed not to be running for Vice President, he was a good enough politician to get his friend from Missouri -- Hannegan, wasn't it? -- Bob Hannegan -- in as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and my feeling was that he was really running for Vice President but not doing so openly.

MORRISSEY: Do you have any other evidence to buttress this viewpoint?

MEADER: No, I guess not. I made a bet with [Harry] Vaughan that he was going to be nominated Vice President, which I won.

MORRISSEY: Can you recall the date of this inscription on the Senator's portrait here?

MEADER: It was early August, 1944. I don't know whether it was the first, but whenever it was -- the day he resigned -- I think is when he gave me the picture with that inscription.

MORRISSEY: Do you know why William Boyle left the staff of the Truman Committee to go over to Hannegan's staff of the Democratic National Committee?

[9]

MEADER: Well, I would assume to help Mr. Truman.

MORRISSEY: You say you helped the Senator with some of his speeches. Could you enlarge upon that somewhat and tell me how you would handle these chores?

MEADER: Well, the one before the Traffic Club of Baltimore had quite an impact. There had been a movement to establish what they called "The Transportation Association of America," which was recommending that there be a limited number of transportation companies providing all forms of transportation. That is, not just rail service -- but rail, truck, bus, water, air -- all modes of transportation in a cartel-like arrangement. And I had been familiar with the Senator's work on the Wheeler Committee in railroad financing; in fact, I had read some of the hearings which, of course, took place long before I came to Washington. When Bill Boyle asked me if I'd help write a speech for the Traffic Club of Baltimore, I went over and talked with the Senator and I said, "Would you like to talk about this Transportation Association of America and its objective of setting up these cartel-like transportation systems?" and told him that I didn't think that that was in the interest of competition, and he agreed with me and said he'd

[10]

like to talk about it. So we worked out this statement which he took home and read carefully. He made only one or two corrections on it. I remember I used the phrase -- Latin phrase -- "Sine qua non" and he said, "Put this in English." And he also said, "Now don't use qualifying phrases; if it's so, say it simply; if it isn't so, don't say it." So he gave that speech and Senator [George L.] Radcliffe from Maryland put it in the Congressional Record and many of the transportation organizations like the American Trucking Association and the waterways -- buses and whatnot, (not the railroads) -- ordered reprints. I think there was a total of something like 50,000 reprints and the speech was carried in a number of the trade journals (transportation trade journals) and then when Senator Truman subsequently became President, I think the idea was pretty well abandoned. So. I would say, that at least that one speech did have considerable impact.

MORRISSEY: Did you help with any other speeches?

MEADER: Yes, most of them that he gave on transportation.

MORRISSEY: Was there any one member of the committee staff who was in charge of speech writing chores?

[11]

MEADER: No, we had an editor, I guess you'd call him, or press expert -- Walter Hehmeyer -- and I think Hugh Fulton wrote a good many of Mr. Truman's speeches on the work of the committee, and sometimes speeches that were made on the floor of the Senate. For instance, the speech Senator Truman made announcing his resignation as chairman of the committee, which was quite a speech on the value of Congressional investigating committees, was largely prepared by Hugh Fulton.

MORRISSEY: How did it happen that you were assigned the research on transportation when you came to the Truman Committee?

MEADER: Well, I assume that probably Senator Truman and Hugh Fulton discussed it. Truman had always been very much interested in transportation, and in wartime there was a question of wasteful practices, cross-hauling of cement and so on, and the War Production Board got in the act. One of the principal things that report did was to prevent the issuing of an order by the War Production Board setting up some 92 zones, I think, in the United States, and prohibiting the transportation of articles across those zones without first coming to the War Production

[12]

Board and getting permission to do so, the idea being to reduce cross-hauling with a very complicated setup involving a lot of red tape and control by the War Production Board. I don't think the Senators thought it was a very good thing.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall Mr. Truman commenting on his interest in transportation from his road building days in Jackson County through his service on Burton Wheeler's committee?

MEADER: No, the only thing that I recall his referring to in the railroad financing investigation was that he had to sit there most of the time because Senator Wheeler would come and go and that he really had to do the hard work of listening to the testimony day after day.

MORRISSEY: How did Mr. Truman handle his relations with the committee staff?

MEADER: Well, I've said that I've served as a counsel for other committees, I mean under other chairman, under Harley Kilgore, Jim Mead, and Owen Brewster, and then later, in 1950, I was counsel for Senator [J. William] Fulbright's Subcommittee on Banking and Currency -- investigating RFC loans. Then, of course, in the seven terms

[13]

I've served under various chairmen. I still would say that Senator Truman was outstanding as chairman of a Congressional committee. His relations with the other members of the committee and the staff were excellent. I think we all respected him and he was always friendly and open minded and wanted people to make suggestions on committee work. Well, he himself said that he had ten prima donnas on the committee and it was a pretty difficult job to keep them all going in the same direction at the same time. But he did it, largely, by having frequent conferences. It was his practice to meet with Fulton at 8 o'clock practically every morning and consider what the committee ought to do. I think a lot of the programs and inquiries were initiated by Mr. Fulton and approved by Senator Truman and then he would get the committee together in his office and get the approval of the members before they went ahead, and it was done in a very business-like way.

MORRISSEY: Was there any procedure as to the making of assignments? For example, why were you assigned the study on farm machinery? Or reconversion?

MEADER: I think that was pretty much done by the Chief

[14]

Counsel. I would say Senator Truman, as did Senator Mead, pretty much left the management of the staff up to the Chief Counsel.

MORRISSEY: You worked with two men who were chief counsel, Hugh Fulton and Rudolph Halley.

MEADER: That's right.

MORRISSEY: Could you compare and contrast their ways of handling the work of the committee?

MEADER: Well, they both were very able lawyers. Frankly, I felt, that many of the inquiries that Halley undertook were of somewhat less importance than the ones taken up when Hugh Fulton was Chief Counsel. Now that may simply be because the times were different; the war was drawing to a close; Fulton was far-sighted; was looking into the reconversion from wartime production to peacetime production. Maybe it's simply my own personal relationship with Hugh Fulton, but I have a feeling he was a lawyer of greater caliber, vision and statesmanship than Rudolph Halley.

MORRISSEY: Was Senator Truman himself concerned about

[15]

problems of reconversion?

MEADER: I think he was, yes.

MORRISSEY: How were relations between Senator Truman and the other Senators on the committee?

MEADER: They were excellent. He kept the committee interested and got them to work and would assign particular topics to a Senator -- it would be kind of a subcommittee. For instance, he assigned wartime transportation to Senator Mead and then I believe magnesium and aircraft to Senator Wallgren. He'd get Senator Kilgore to do things and there was never any politics in the committee. Senator Ferguson was very, very active in committee hearings. During the entire period of my service with the committee, there never was a minority report. All reports were unanimous.

MORRISSEY: What was Mr. Truman's technique to assure these reports would be majority reports without any dissent?

MEADER: Well, the practice was that the staff would write reports knowing the position and the thinking of the members of the committee and then would circulate the

[16]

rough draft of the report among the members and give them a chance to look it over first and then perhaps go around and discuss it with them. Senators would even write their suggestions on the draft and we'd work those in. Then after the committee had pretty much approved the report, it would be submitted either to the companies or individuals under fire or to the executive departments and agencies under fire, and give them a limited time, maybe a day or two, to note on the galley proof of the report, the passages which they thought were factually incorrect, or even where there were inferences drawn from facts which they didn't think were valid. These differences or suggestions would be worked out with the staff if possible. Certainly anything that was factually incorrect we wanted to correct, and if there were unjustifiable inferences, perhaps they could be toned down in some way and a compromise reached between the agency and the staff. In the event the differences couldn't be eliminated that way, we sometimes had executive. sessions of the committee and heard these people and their objections. I think that that practice was a very good one and should be followed by all congressional investigating committees because, first of all, it's fair:

[17]

if you're going to say something critical of someone, give him a chance to disprove it; second, it insures the validity of the report by screening statements so that there are no factual errors.

MORRISSEY: Could you comment on the similarities or differences between the ways that Mr. Truman handled the committee and Mr. Mead, Mr. Kilgore, Mr. Brewster?

MEADER: Well, I would say that in general, they all handled the committee the same way, relying on the staff chiefs, Fulton, Halley, myself, and then subsequently Bill Rogers and "Frip" Flanagan. Of course, it can be said that the staff of the Permanent Investigations Sub-Committee of the Senate Committee on Government Operations is a successor staff to the staff of the original Truman Committee. There's a continuity. I think there may be one or two people still working for the McClellan subcommittee who were on the staff of the original Truman-Mead Committee. The times were somewhat different under these chairmen subsequent to Truman and, of course they were working with different counsel. My relations with Senator Mead were excellent. He had complete confidence in me, although I was a Republican and he was a Democrat.

[18]

I had some difficulty with Senator Kilgore. I made, on the instructions of the committee, a preliminary investigation of military government in Germany and Austria. It was after the time that Senator Mead resigned to run for Governor of New York, and Senator Kilgore and I went down to the White House and saw Mr. Truman. We had a list of eight items that the committee was going to look into, and the last one was a catch-all -- "Such other matters as the committee may decide are relevant to its inquiry." President Truman looked over the list and said, "Well, there's no question but that your committee has a right to look into these things," (Kilgore had scratched that number eight) and he said, "If George will go over to Germany and refrain from talking to the newspapers he could make a preliminary study and come back and let me have the benefit of it." He said, "I know things are not all they should be." He said, "I haven't been here very long, but I will take action." On that understanding, he approved my going over there. Well, when I came back (I came back just the day after the Republicans had taken over the 80th Congress), something happened that I've never been completely clear about. I had written in two weeks a sixty-four page report on my preliminary inquiry,

[19]

based on some seven-hundred pages of transcript (of course, it wasn't sworn testimony) of interviews with all the principal military government officials in Austria and Germany. I tried to cover the entire scope of our responsibilities there. I tried to summarize those items which I labeled "Secret" explaining that this report was based largely upon Army files and answers to questionnaires that I submitted both to General [Lucius] Clay and to General [Mark] Clark's subordinate in Vienna; and that it was only preliminary for the purpose of finding out whether the committee should make a complete inquiry into these matters, and that I thought its release would be very damaging and urged that it not be released. Well, anyhow, as I left my apartment to go home for Thanksgiving, I picked up the Washington Post and there on the front page was a story, "Kilgore Condemns Counsel." He'd never talked with me about it. And I later discovered that passages of the report were leaked to the press by Herb Schimmel who subsequently was one of the eleven communists kicked off the staff of the United Nations. The passages that were leaked were those relating to the conduct of Negro troops and the conduct of displaced persons with the aim of representing the report as an

[20]

anti-Semitic and anti-Negro. I was condemned all across the country. I have clippings of it. Well, that, I feel, was something less than complete candor between the chairman and the counsel. I had told Senator Kilgor the day he became chairman and we went down to the White House, "Now, I'm perfectly willing to resign; unless you have confidence in me, I don't want to work for you."

He said, "You stay right where you are."

I had a somewhat similar experience with Senator Brewster, so in answer to your question comparing the conduct of the four chairmen under whom I served, I would have to rate both Senator Truman and Senator Mead as excellent and something less than that for Senator Kilgore and Senator Brewster, as far as my personal relationships with them were concerned.

MORRISSEY: How did Schimmel get access to this report?

MEADER: Well, he must have gotten it from Senator Kilgore because he was one of Kilgore's staff men on some other committee, I think a Military Affairs Subcommittee.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall any times when a threat arose that Mr. Truman's remarkable record of majority reports

[21]

without dissent might have been broken?

MEADER: Well, let's see. I think there was one. I've forgotten the subject matter right now, but there was one that Senator Hatch didn't like very well, and the War Department didn't like it, but somehow those differences were resolved and the report was issued.

MORRISSEY: Did Senator Kilgore and Senator Truman seem to be particularly close?

MEADER: I think so, yes.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall any incidents or anecdotes or examples which characterize Mr. Truman as the man you know him to be?

MEADER: I don't know that I think of any offhand. I remember one time when there was a kind of social gathering at Bill Boyle's house, (I guess I was riding back with the Senator), and he talked about being fed up with the life of a Senator and thought maybe he wouldn't run again. But I guess that was just a human griping once in a while about trials of the office.

MORRISSEY: Do you remember when that was?

[22]

MEADER: Well, you see, I was only there a year under Truman so it would have been -- probably, it would have to be in that year -- late '43 or early '44.

MORRISSEY: Did the committee have problems with military secrecy in its investigations?

MEADER: I don't think so. I think the committee had complete access to information even of a classified nature.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall anything about the committee coming across evidence of the research in atomic energy which was going on during the years of World War II?

MEADER: Well, I understand secondhand, that the committee had information that there were large things going on at Hanford, Washington and sent Harold Robinson out to investigate and I believe that [General George C.] Marshall got in touch with Truman and told him what was going on and said, "We don't want this investigated," and Truman called off the inquiry.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall any communications between Senator Truman and President Roosevelt during your year on the Truman Committee?

[23]

MEADER: Not specifically. I assume there were some, but I do remember one episode that involved a magazine article that Mr. Truman had written which was very critical of the Roosevelt Administration, and I think he even endorsed the check for the article, and I know Fulton rushed up to New York to try to stop it. I think it was published.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall who worked on this article for the Senator?

MEADER: This was before my time, but I heard about it from Fulton and also from a lady who represented the magazine who much later happened to be in my office.

MORRISSEY: Was there much communication between the committee staff and the White House staff?

MEADER: I would say not. Most of our dealings were with the War Department and Navy Department and War Production Board.

MORRISSEY: How were your dealings, say with the WPB, and with Donald Nelson in particular?

MEADER: Well, I think we got good cooperation from them.

[24]

MORRISSEY: What was Matthew Connelly's function on the Truman Committee staff?

MEADER: Well, I guess his title was, at one time anyhow, Chief Investigator and what he did was, more or less, act as office manager.

MORRISSEY: Did he seem particularly close to Mr. Truman?

MEADER: Well, I think so. He didn't come from Missouri, of course. He came from Massachusetts and I understand he came on the staff at the very beginning along with Charles Patrick Clark, and I think they had previously been on some other Senate committee staff investigating elections or something which folded...

MORRISSEY: The Gillette Committee.

MEADER: Yes.

MORRISSEY: People have commented that relations between the Truman Committee and the press were very good. Would you agree?

MEADER: Yes, I would.

MORRISSEY: Why? What made them good?

[25]

MEADER: Well, I think the hearings were interesting and furnished good fodder for their news stories; I think they had the feeling that it was a hard-hitting, honest operation; I think they respected Fulton's ability and judgment and the attitude of the committee that this was not a partisan matter; we've got a war effort going here and we want to be sure that we're putting our best foot forward and not wasting things. I don't know that there was any particular effort made to curry favor with the press; I think another thing that the press appreciated was the policy of the committee to make information equally available to all, not to leak stories or favor one reporter over another.

MORRISSEY: There's a book about the Truman Committee by a person named Harry Toulmin. Do you recall who Toulmin is and why he chose to write a book about the Truman Committee and how he went about it?

MEADER: It was a little before my time. I don't know, Toulmin was a patent lawyer, I think, anal I don't know where he got into the act, but it was before my time. I have an idea that he was a little unusual character. Several other books -- Hehmeyer and McNaughton...

[26]

That's the second bell, I'll have to go answer my name. Are you about through?

MORRISSEY: How much more time do we have?

MEADER: Well, I can go and come back it you want me to -- answer my name and come back.

MORRISSEY: I hate to keep you but I think I'm running to the end. Do you have to go right this minute?

MEADER: No, I can wait about five minutes.

MORRISSEY: Let's try it a little longer. You referred to the fact that the committee had a lot to do with the Navy Department. Were relations here good?

MEADER: Yes, particularly after Captain Kennedy became liaison officer. I think Kennedy ([James] Forrestal was the Secretary of the Navy), who had newspapers and radio stations in West Virginia, actually intelligently used the committee to increase Forrestal's control over his own department. That may sound strange, but when you're head of a large department and you're responsible for it, you may not know everything that's going on, but by cooperating with the Truman Committee,

[27]

I think Forrestal had more control over the Navy Department than he otherwise would have, largely because Captain Kennedy was astute enough to see the advantage of it, and also not to try to fool the committee, or suppress things. They had an incident, of course, when Admiral [Thomas Leigh] Gatch (I think it was) turned over to the Justice Department the Corrigan files when the committee had had an understanding that they would be turned over to the committee. And I remember sitting in on a session with Justice Department representatives when [Francis] Biddle was Attorney General, who were not going to give this rather damaging evidence against Commander Corrigan to the committee. Truman displayed his toughness by saying, "I don't know why Biddle does this at this particular time," because it had been only a few days before that Marines had carried Sewell Avery out of the Montgomery Ward offices, but he said, "The files are not here and we'll issue a subpoena for them." And I think on two occasions Senator Truman did subpoena the Attorney General of the United States.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall anything about the Higgins Boat Industry in New Orleans?

[28]

MEADER: Yes.

MORRISSEY: Anything specific?

MEADER: Well, I visited there one time, saw their plants. That had pretty much been a matter that preceded my service on the committee handled primarily by Hugh Fulton.

MORRISSEY: Did the committee seem to be particularly mindful of the interest of small business?

MEADER: Oh, yes.

MORRISSEY: For any particular reason?

MEADER: Well, I think Senator Truman was interested and had had a part in the establishment of the Smaller War Plants Corporation and, I believe, the first chairman or the head of it, was a man by the name of [Lou] Holland, I think, who was a friend of Truman's.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall anything about the B2H2 resolution?

MEADER: Yes, just vaguely. That was also before my time.

MORRISSEY: Do you recall anything about relations between

[29]

the committee and labor unions, particularly Sidney Hillman?

MEADER: No.

MORRISSEY: One final question. When you were serving on the Fulbright Committee investigating RFC loans, did you have occasion to meet Mr. Truman then? Or any dealings with the White House on this matter?

MEADER: The only thing that I can recall is that I seriously urged Senator Fulbright and Senator [Paul] Douglas to show our executive record of testimony concerning Merl Young and other activities with respect to the Lustron loan to Mr. Truman and before they were made public but, I think, Senator Fulbright and Senator Douglas didn't agree with me and they didn't do it. I thought where the official family, Donald Dawson and Merl Young were involved, and there was going to be criticism that it was only a matter of courtesy for the committee to make this information available to the President before it was made public, and, of course, later on when there was a report issued which I prepared just before I resigned, on favoritism and influence in RFC, I urged Senator Fulbright before

[30]

releasing the report, to make public the testimony taken in executive session relating to the Lustron loan primarily. And they again disagreed with me and made the report public first. I think Truman called it "asinine" and I guess they subsequently held testimony to prove -- did hold public hearings and released the executive testimony which proved that the report was very well founded factually.

MORRISSEY: Did the President ever comment on the proposals sponsored by yourself and Representative Kenneth Keating for an independent Attorney General elected every four years?

MEADER: I don't recall that I sponsored any such proposal.

MORRISSEY: It's in the Current Biography sketch of yourself. I'm glad to hear you say that. It corrects an error.

MEADER: Whose biography?

MORRISSEY: I'll show it you. I have a photostat of it. [A copy of the sketch on Mr. Meader as published in Current Biography 1956 (New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, pp.476-28, is appended to this transcript, along with an exchange of letters between the interviewer, Mr. Morrissey, and Meader about this point.]

[31]

MEADER: I don't think I ever suggested that.

MORRISSEY: Unless you have any other comments you want to make, Mr. Meader, I think we can come to a conclusion. I hate to hurry you off if you have anything.

MEADER: Well, I have to make a roll-call, so I guess I'll have to.

MORRISSEY: Thank you very much.

MEADER: If I do think of something, why, I'll get in touch with you, write you or something.

MORRISSEY: Thank you.

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


List of Subjects Discussed

    American Trucking Association, 10
    Army camp construction during World War II, 4
    Atomic energy research, Truman Committee knowledge of, 22
    Austria, investigation of military government in, 18-19

    Baltimore Traffic Club, speech before by Harry S. Truman, 7
    Biddle, Francis, 27
    Boyle, William M., Jr., 8-9, 21
    Brewster, Owen, 2, 12, 17

    Clark, Charles P. , 24
    Clark. General Mark W., 19
    Clay, General Lucius D., 19
    Connelly, Matthew J., 24
    Corrigan. Commander John D., 27

    Dawson, Donald S., 29
    Democratic National Committee, 8
    Dewey, Thomas E., 6
    Douglas, Paul H., 29

    Ferguson, Homer, 2, 15
    Flanagan, Francis D., 17
    Forrestal, James V. , 26-27
    Fulbright, J. William, 12, 29
    Fulton, Hugh:

      American History, knowledge of, 6
      and article concerning Roosevelt Administration by H.S. Truman, 23
      and the Higgins Industries. Inc.. 27-28
      isolationists in 1944 campaign, advises H. S. Truman to speak against, 6
      Meader, George, chooses as Assistant Counsel for the Truman Committee, 2
      political experience, as lacking in, 5-6
      press, ability of respected by, 24-25
      as speechwriter in 1944 Vice Presidential campaign, 5
      Truman Committee, appointed Chief Counsel of the, 3-5
      Truman Committee business, conferences with H. S. Truman on, 13
      Truman Committee, evaluation of as Chief Counsel of the, 14
      Truman Committee, first Chief Counsel of the, 1
      Truman Committee, leaves staff of the, 5
      Truman Committee investigations, responsibility for initiating, 13
      Willow Run bomber plant, tours with Senator H. S. Truman and George Meader, 3

    Gatch, Admiral Thomas L., 27
    Germany, investigation of military government in, 18-19
    Gillette Committee, 24

    Halley, Rudolph, 14, 17
    Hannegan, Robert E., 8
    Hanford, Washington, 22
    Hatch, Carl A., 21
    Hehmeyer, Walter, 11
    Higgins Industries, Inc., 27-28
    Holland, Lou E., 28

    Isolationism as an issue in the 1944 Presidential campaign, 6

    Jackson, Robert H., 4
    Justice Department, 27

    Kennedy, Captain John, 20
    Kilgore, Harley M. , 2, 15, 17, 18-20

    Lustron Corporation, loan to by RFC, 29

    Marshall, General George C., 22
    Massachusetts, 1944 Presidential and Vice Presidential campaign in, 6
    Mead, James M. , 12, 15, 17
    Meader, George:

      Brewster, Senator Owen, relations with, 20
      conference with President Harry S. Truman and Senator Harley Kilgore re U. S. Military government, 18-20
      Congressional committee chairman, opinion of H. S. Truman as a, 13
      and activities of White House staff members in connection with RFC loans, 29-30
      Fulton, Hugh, law school classmate of, 1
      Kilgore, Senator Harley M., relations with, 18-20
      meets Senator Harry S. Truman, 2
      military government, interest in, 1
      military governments in Germany and Austria, investigation Of , 18-19
      Senate Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, estimate of chairmen of the, 20
      transportation, wartime, assigned to study of, 7
      Truman, Senator Harry S., speechwriter for, 7, 9-10
      Truman Committee, appointment to sponsored by Senator Homer Ferguson, 2
      Truman Committee, joins staff of the, 2
      Truman Committee, witness before the, 2
    Military government in Austria and Germany, 18-19
    Monopoly, 9-10

    Navy Department , 23, 26-27
    Nelson, Donald, 23

    Pittsburgh Traffic Club, speech by Harry S. Truman before, 7
    Press, Truman Committee relations with the, 24-25

    Truman Committee:

      assignments to Committee investigations, 13-14
      Clark, Charles P., as staff member of the, 24
      classified security information, and the, 22
      Committee reports, preparation of, 15-17
      Connelly, Matthew J., duties as staff member of, 24
      Corrigan, Commander John D., case of, 27
      Justice Department, relations with the, 27
      legal counsel, employment of, 1-2
      Meader, George, as Assistant Counsel of, 2
      Navy Department , and the, 26-27
      press, and the, 25
      relations of Harry S. Truman with staff of, 12-13
      relations of staff with government departments and agencies, 23
      and research in atomic energy, 22
      resignation of Harry S. Truman as chairman of the, 11

    Vaughan, Harry H., 8
    Vice-President, interest of H. S. Truman in running for the, 8
    Vice-Presidential campaign, Democratic, 1944, 5-6

    Wallgren, Mon C., 15
    Walsh, David I., 6
    War Department, 21, 23
    War Production Board, 11-12, 23
    Washington Post, 19
    Wheeler, Burton K., 12
    Willow Run aircraft factory, 2

    Young, Merl, 29

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