Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

J. Leonard Reinsch

Oral History Interview with
J. Leonard Reinsch

Former radio adviser to the White House, 1945-52; radio consultant, Democratic National Convention and executive director, Democratic National Convention, 1960 and 1964; and TV-radio director, Democratic presidential campaign, 1960.

Atlanta, Georgia
March 13, 1967 and March 14, 1967
by J. R. Fuchs

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

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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened November 1967
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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

Oral History Interview with
J. Leonard Reinsch

Atlanta, Georgia
March 13, 1967
by J. R. Fuchs


FUCHS: Mr. Reinsch, to start with, I thought you might just give a brief autobiographical resume of your life to the time you met up with Mr. Truman; when and where you were born, and your schooling and what your major subject was, just briefly, and your career up to that time.

REINSCH: I was born in Streator, Illinois in 1908; had my schooling in Chicago. I majored in advertising at Northwestern University while working at Radio Station WLS. I started in radio in 1924; did my first television in 1931; and I wrote a thesis on radio which won the D. F. Keller prize


at Northwestern and was instrumental in my getting an association with Governor [James M.] Cox in Dayton, Ohio in 1934. I took over the development of what is now WHIO for Governor Cox. I was sent to Atlanta, in 1939, when the Governor purchased the Atlanta Journal and Georgian and the radio stations. I was put in charge of WSB radio. In 1942 I was put in charge of our three radio stations.; station WIOD Miami, WSB Atlanta, WHIG in Dayton. In 1944 my national political works started with a call from President Roosevelt to Governor Cox. The background there, of course, is that in 1920 Governor Cox had run for President on the Democratic ticket and selected as his running mate Franklin Delano Roosevelt; these two men had a close friendly relationship, When the Democratic Party needed a radio man in 1944 President Roosevelt called Governor Cox and asked to borrow his radio man, Leonard Reinsch…


FUCHS: Was this for the convention specifically?

REINSCH: ...I was asked to handle radio arrangements for the convention and the radio campaign for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. As a result of the President's call I went to Chicago where the convention was to be held -- Bob [Robert E.] Hannegan was chairman of the Democratic Committee at that time -- I was tossed in the middle of convention planning. The program chairman of the convention really was George Allen who was in England at that time getting acquainted with General Eisenhower and meeting old time friends. I found as a result of that I not only had the problem of arranging facilities for the radio part of the program but that I was forced to make decisions about the convention program itself. Senator Samuel Jackson of Indiana was the chairman of the convention and was known as a pro-Wallace man,

There were some interesting developments


in the 1944 Democratic convention; this is one of the many political conventions in which counterfeit tickets showed up, and Bob Hannegan, Ed Pauley, Mayor [Frank] Hague, and a number of others prominent in Democratic politics, had received word that Harry S. Truman was to be the vice-presidential candidate. Thursday night the west gallery of the Chicago stadium was packed with people holding counterfeit tickets and by strange coincidence all of them were Wallace supporters. As a. result, there was a tremendous amount of cheering and yelling for the Wallace candidacy and it was felt by the party leaders that the best thing to do was to adjourn the convention and reconvene on Friday morning. This was done and the next morning Harry S. Truman was nominated as the vice-presidential candidate for the Democratic Party of 1944, He was sitting on the north side of the stadium with Mrs. Truman at the time the nomination was made. The platform


was on the south side of the stadium. Candidate Truman proceeded to the platform and stepped up to the microphones and thanked everyone for the nomination. This chance remark later led to quite an argument that I had with the network regarding the presentation of acceptance speeches. In the same stadium, in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt had flown from New York to make his acceptance speech. This instant acceptance speech set a new pattern, and the networks had felt that they had complied with the equal opportunity obligation when Mr. Truman said, "Thank you very much." The networks gave John Bricker, the vice-presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, a thirty-minute broadcast on a Saturday night from French Lick Springs, Indiana, to make an acceptance speech, I was successful in persuading the network that the mere thank you did not constitute an acceptance speech. As a result we


got thirty minutes of network time for the vice-presidential candidate to make his acceptance speech, which he did from Lamar, Missouri.

FUCHS: Did Bricker not make a short speech at the convention, is that why they gave him this thirty minutes at a later date?

REINSCH: No. The Republicans were able to persuade the network that they should have thirty minutes for the acceptance speech, and we had an interesting argument but we were persuasive and we got thirty minutes of free time for our candidate as well.

FUCHS: Had you met Mr. Truman prior to his nomination?

REINSCH: I had appeared before a Senate committee for the radio industry. I did not meet him personally. I had called on him during the hearings that the Senate was holding on the Federal Communications Commission. I called on many senators at that


time. The first time that I met with Senator Truman was to discuss the campaign of 1944 at his home in Independence. You recall that this was during the wartime and we had severe travel limitations, so that we had some problems of coordinating all of our travel plans. I had secured, following the nomination, a transcript and also a transcription of a speech that Mr. Truman had made in Philadelphia, which ran fifty-five minutes. The delivery was very rapid to the point that sometimes the material was not intelligible. One of my first questions to the vice-presidential candidate was, "Why did you go so fast at this speech in Philadelphia?"

And he said, "Well, I didn't think it was very interesting and I wanted to get it over with."

FUCHS: This was as a Senator?

REINSCH: As a Senator, he had appeared in Philadelphia


giving this talk. And I said, "Well, why didn't you cut the speech?"

He said everyone that worked on the speech felt their material was important and he just didn't feel like hurting their feelings in cutting the speech. So, he raced through the material to get it over with as quickly as possible. I had dinner at the home the night of our first meeting. Dinner was served by Mrs. Truman. Matt Connelly was present and Margaret was present. We discussed plans for the vice-presidential participation in the campaign, and I made several suggestions I had about the use of radio.

FUCHS: Could you date this meeting approximately?

REINSCH: In September of 1944.

FUCHS: This was after his acceptance speech at Lamar?

REINSCH: After the acceptance speech at Lamar, but


prior to the campaign. Now, prior to the acceptance speech at Lamar, however -- but let me go back to this meeting at his home. Following the meeting, I was to catch a train to go to Chicago to meet regarding other radio placements for the campaign for President Roosevelt. At the conclusion of dinner I suggested a cab be called to take me to the railroad station. And the candidate said, "No, I will drive you to the railroad station."

And I said, "No, that is too much of a bother."

He replied, "You were kind enough to come to Kansas City to talk to me about my campaign, and to make suggestions; the least I can do in return is to drive you to the railroad station." And he got in the car and drove me to the station.

The Lamar, Missouri acceptance speech was at a location selected by the candidate. I


went to Tom Evans' radio station at the suggestion of the candidate to make arrangements for a rehearsal of his speech. Obviously, the first problem was to slow the candidate down in his delivery, and second, to bring more emphasis to the important points and make a better radio presentation than is normally the case with someone with the midwestern twang, or a Missouri twang, whatever you want to call it. We were fortunate in that we had a much better voice and a better man, an easier man to work with than the Republicans did in 1936, when Al [Alfred M.] Landon had so much of a problem with radio delivery. In Tom Evans' studio we recorded the speech and played it back and it was apparent that the speed was still part of the reflex delivery action of the candidate. Then I started the idea of putting less and less material on each page, so he would have to turn pages frequently. The turning of the pages


would take time and the mechanical process would slow down his delivery.

FUCHS: This was done for the Lamar speech?

REINSCH: The beginnings were made with the Lamar speech. The technique was fully developed in his first address as President before the joint session of Congress. We put each sentence on a page and the physical turning of the page slowed down the delivery. In the meantime, he was getting much better in his emphasis and in the tonal quality. We were not trying to make a finished actor; we were trying to get the true expressions of a man across to the American people. Some of the technique was intended only to let him better express his personality and his thoughts. The Lamar speech was a real headache, and, as I recall, Senator Connally was giving the introduction to the vice-presidential candidate...


FUCHS: You went to Lamar with him?

REINSCH: ...I went to Lamar with him and it was the first of many trips that I was privileged to make with him -- Senator Connally was making the introduction and it was made in a typical town square, with the county courthouse in the center. The public address system was set up so that we had a bounce of the voice all over the place.

The vice-presidential candidate had a talk that took twenty-five minutes out of the thirty minutes of free time. Senator Connally's introduction was a long speech in itself which got me quite upset and we had a long discussion -- Les [Leslie L.] Biffle and I had a long discussion with Tom Connally, and he agreed to cut out a lot of material. I figure we got him down to about ten minutes, maybe eight minutes at best. We had the speech redrafted, and then tried to cut more of it but unfortunately


Senator Connally added material instead of deleting material, and the vice-presidential acceptance speech was probably the shortest one on record.

FUCHS: You were working with Biffle and Connally in Washington?

REINSCH: In Lamar. I had no idea that the introduction was going to be a speech. But there was quite a delegation from Washington came to Lamar -- this was a big event. But it worked out as well as could be expected with all of the conflicts we had and the length of the speech and content and everything else. Anyway the campaign was successfully launched and we were on our way.

On another occasion, I met the Vice President on the train in Cincinnati. I had worked with President Roosevelt in an eastern city and had to double back and meet the Vice President in


Cincinnati to ride with him to St. Louis. In St. Louis our schedule called for attendance at the World Series game. This was one of the few times during the campaign when we had an extra that was quite pleasurable for all of us. There was a broadcast that night on one of the networks in which the vice-presidential candidate participated; and then early the next morning he had scheduled a breakfast, as I recall it was one of those 7:30 breakfasts out in the country with a friend of his. He was kind enough to ask me to go along. We had a lovely suite that the national committee had rented for us in this hotel, but it only had one bathroom. My first recollection of the next morning was the vice-presidential candidate, fully clothed, standing over my bed shaking me again and saying, "Leonard, I'm afraid it's time for you to get up." I felt quite apologetic and quite embarrassed that the vice-presidential


candidate got up before I did and I apologized. "Don't worry about that. I like to get up early." And he continued, "You're all worn out trying to bounce back and forth between the President and myself. You are entitled to a little sleep." Nevertheless, I was somewhat crestfallen that I hadn't come out with the bell that morning. We had an enjoyable breakfast, incidentally, from a hilly area overlooking a beautiful plain. It was a nice change of pace. From there we moved into other campaign talks.

It was in this campaign that I introduced the five minutes idea. At the time I had no idea of the difficulty of getting radio time. The theory behind it was that if you presented only a five minute talk, that the radio listeners -- and in those days the family was seated around the large radio set in the living room -- wouldn't go over and change stations if the talk only lasted five minutes. You could slide in this


talk with your Democratic message and a lot of Republicans would be exposed to it. The difficulty I felt with a thirty minute talk was that we had the people on our side listening and the people on the other side listening to their candidate. We didn't get a crack at Republicans or the doubtful voters. It looked like the five minute idea would be one way of reaching them. We sold the networks on this general idea and then we had to go to the agencies in the accounts. We had a lot of trouble with accounts that were Republican oriented. Some of the business leaders were not exactly Roosevelt enthusiasts at that time. The Republican negotiation difficulty was quite apparent when we tried to clear five minute periods. We cleared five minutes out of Information Please and five minutes out of the Hit Parade. I finally realized that it would be necessary to put the vice-presidential candidate on as an attraction to sell the idea.


The vice-presidential candidate was very happy to cooperate and he introduced the first five minute political talk designed to bridge a gap between one program and another program and get exposure to all types of voters.

FUCHS: Where did this originate?

REINSCH: I've forgotten where we originated that program now -- I had been traveling back and forth -- but the idea was effective. Later we introduced the five minute idea into television. We were able to reach all voters with the debate idea which we finally were able to put in effect in 1960.

FUCHS: Now, who did you have to convince on the Democratic National Committee that this was a good idea?

REINSCH: Bob Hannegan was quite progressive; Ed Pauley was the treasurer and Paul Porter was


the press secretary. All backed my suggestion.

FUCHS: Did you work closely with him?

REINSCH: I worked directly with Paul and with Bob Hannegan and they thought it was a good idea. I explained why I wanted to do it and they said, "Go ahead and see if you can work it out."

FUCHS: What about Charlie Michelson?

REINSCH: Charlie was an excellent counselor. I spent quite a few hours with Charlie and learned much about political publicity from this master. He was one of the greatest. Then later I had the idea of the one hour presentation the night before the election in which the presidential and vice-presidential candidates would appear. We would use a dramatic approach instead of the old routine of a lot of long, dry speeches. We had a farm leader presented from Minnesota; a young child speaking from another area. We had


a terrific problem that we worked out with Jimmy Durante with the apple bit which recalled the depression days in the early thirties.

FUCHS: You are speaking of which year?

REINSCH: This is the 1944 campaign -- I'm jumping ahead now to the final broadcast the night before election. We out-maneuvered the Republicans and got the ten to eleven period time and we were going to close out with the Jimmy Durante bit and this was going to be a really terrific show. It was, and the program had a very high rating. On the day before the broadcast was to originate, which was the day before the election, the agency that had the Jimmy Durante contract decided that we could not use Jimmy Durante. They had a clause in the contract which made it possible to pull him off the show which left us with about eight minutes of dead time. We of course suspected Republican influence. After


considerable gnashing of teeth and comments that weren't very complimentary to the opposition, we decided that there was no point in trying to improvise and we would just run the program up to the point where we had the conclusion and then turn the time back to the network. The networks couldn't sell the time because it belonged to the Democrats. Fortuitously they put on an organist playing slow classical music. Most of the radio audience turned off their sets. The Republicans came on at eleven o'clock saying that they weren't in show business, they were just in the political business. The Republican talk was monotonous and deadly. Fala, President Roosevelt's dog, went to sleep and the President thought that was hilarious because he remarked, "They even put my dog to sleep.”


During the campaign we traveled to a number of cities, some of where they had done pretty careful preparation and others they hadn't done too well. We occasionally ran into crowd problems when we were in the Middle West in cities like Peoria, Illinois where the Republicans were particularly strong.

FUCHS: Do you know who the advance men were for the vice-presidential campaign train?

REINSCH: No. I was only involved when a radio pickup was concerned, which is the reason I was bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball between Washington and New York and wherever the candidates happened to be appearing. In the meantime, I was doing as much work as I could with the vice-presidential candidate on the presentation of his speeches.

FUCHS: You only worked with Roosevelt on the actual technical problems?


REINSCH: Actual presentation. For instance, I was in Philadelphia the night the Small Businessmen for America were sponsoring a thirty minute program on radio, and I had been with Candidate Truman that day. I came into Philadelphia late in the afternoon to find out there was a big argument about who was going to introduce President Roosevelt that night. Andrew J. Higgins was president of the Small Businessmen for Roosevelt Committee and he wanted to introduce him and someone from Pennsylvania wanted to introduce him. We finally worked it out to have the man from Pennsylvania introduce Andrew Higgins who introduced the President and the language went something like this: The man from Pennsylvania got up and said, "It is my privilege to introduce Andrew J. Higgins, the chairman of the Small Businessmen's Committee for Roosevelt who will introduce the President." And Higgins got up and said, "Ladies and gentlemen,


the President of the United States." Everybody was happy but this got to be one of these crises that make campaigns difficult at times.

FUCHS: Did you ever advise with Roosevelt about his actual speech mannerisms or...

REINSCH: No. That would have been presumptuous for me to say anything to this man about how to deliver a radio address because he was made for radio just as Kennedy was made for television.

FUCHS: He never asked you for any suggestions?

REINSCH: No. We just checked the microphone placement. I do remember that I was in Chicago when we filled Soldier Field for the appearance of Roosevelt. Ed [Edward J.] Kelly was the mayor. We were wondering about the crowd -- we had a hundred and twenty-five thousand for President Roosevelt's speech. This was when I first learned how to "paper the house." Mayor


Kelly had issued tickets for about four hundred and fifty thousand people. They couldn't handle the crowd that showed up at Soldier Field. The President drove from the railroad station in his car and came into the center of the field to make his talk. We had to get the network hookup wired at that point and the PA system hookup wired in. The PA system was going great but the network hadn't completed their hookup at the time we started on the air and I gave the President the signal to start and he greeted the crowd in Chicago; but it wasn't on the network. I had to advise the President to start all over. This is one of the places where you can die fast worrying about the Presidential hookup. We had another interesting episode in connection with the President. I don't know whether you want the Roosevelt side on this or not?

FUCHS. Some of the background I think is good.


REINSCH: The Teamsters talk which opened the campaign for President Roosevelt was one in which he talked about Fala (his dog) and how they were attacking his friend, Fala. Dan [Daniel J.] Tobin was introducing the President and the Teamsters were paying for the broadcast time. Tobin had about a six minute introduction which, of course, is too long, but it was his privilege and the President thought it was all right. Just about the time we went on the air the podium lights went out and like all of these set-ups you never have any tags on the wires to tell which is which wire. We had six minutes in which to figure out what to do about that light and at five minutes and fifty nine seconds we had new lights on that podium for the President when he started his broadcast.

FUCHS: What was the next speech that you recall in that campaign with Mr. Truman?

REINSCH: I don't remember the specific speeches


because the pace was fast and we were buying time for spot announcements to reach the farm audience in some sections of the country; we were buying network time; and we were putting special speeches on regional technique. Also for the first time we would have the national speech put on coast to coast with a break point somewhere in that speech or at the end of the speech, where the local candidate could come in. We were tying in the local candidate for the first time in broadcasting with the national candidate. We would have the local candidate appear in his particular state and that part of the network would be cut off from the rest of the network. The local candidate could speak to his own voters.

FUCHS: I see. To go back just a moment. In the Democratic National Committee proceedings, it mentions that Ed Pauley did a "heroic job since he has taken over as director of the convention."


What did they mean by that?

REINSCH: Ed was actually treasurer of the committee. The convention itself was run by a group: Bob Hannegan, Paul Porter, Ed Pauley. Ed may have had the title but the responsibility of what was done at the convention was pretty much worked out by that group I mentioned. I had the responsibility for the radio broadcast and a few other things that ended up on my shoulders in the course of time at the convention and the responsibility for the radio campaign.

FUCHS: What I was wondering -- it sounded as though there had been someone else with the title, and I wondered if there was, if you remembered who it...

REINSCH: Well, Frank Walker was involved in some of the early plannings, too. He was Postmaster General. He had been the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I believe, preceding


Bob Hannegan.

FUCHS: What I am thinking is someone with the title similar to that that Neale Roach later had, and then I believe you had the same title.

REINSCH: That operation at that time was not conducted the way Neale and I later planned the conventions. There was one interesting sidelight on that Thursday night adjournment. The chairman, Senator Sam Jackson, being a Wallace man, was not too anxious to adjourn the convention. Bob Hannegan and Ed Pauley and Mayor Hague and Ed Kelly and a few others wanted to get Senator Truman in nomination and get that part of the convention concluded. Jackson was reluctant and the announcement of the adjournment was covered up a little bit; Jackson was actually pushed up to the podium to call for the adjournment at which time I had Al Melgard, the organist play the music real loud so that not too many


people in the hall knew that the convention was adjourned. There were too many people in there that had counterfeit tickets that, surprisingly enough, were all Wallace supporters.

During the campaign in New York City we ran into a stacked house at Madison Square Garden. Senator [Robert F.] Wagner and Senator Truman, of course, had been friends in the Senate. The vice-presidential candidate, Senator Wagner and Wallace were to appear on the same program. We knew that the group in Madison Square Garden was ready to tear down the rafters for Wallace. We arrived in plenty of time -- Senator Wagner, vice-presidential candidate Truman and myself -- and we waited in the general manager's office at the Garden, but Wallace did not show. We had a check made and we found that what he wanted to do was have the two senators appear on the platform and that he, Wallace, would then make a grandstand entrance when we were on radio


coast to coast. He would get an overwhelming ovation and create the comment that he is much more popular than Senator Wagner and Candidate Truman.

FUCHS: Now this was after Mr. Truman was nominated...

REINSCH: He was already in the campaign -- it was merely an ego reaction on the part of Wallace. We were in the campaign, and the Wallace maneuver irked me quite a bit. I must say the vice-presidential candidate remained composed and didn't seem to be bothered about it. I guess I was bothered enough for all three of them anyway. So, Wallace finally did show up about thirty seconds before we went into the hall. As Wallace was introducing the vice-presidential candidate, that night, I took no chances. I went to the control panels with the engineers and when Wallace was introduced we didn't have the gain up quite as high as it could have been and when


our vice-presidential candidate was introduced we had the gain up all the way. It was pretty difficult on the air to tell the difference between the ovations -- in the hall there was a marked difference.

FUCHS: Did Mr. Truman ever discuss that with you?

REINSCH: He never knew that we did it. He probably wouldn't have let me do it if he had known about it, but I was a little irritated about what I thought was the unfair tactics of the former Vice President.

FUCHS: One scholar who interviewed you was a Mr. Rogge -- I don't know if you recall him -- and he wrote about your developing the idea of putting just a few sentences on each page to slow Mr. Truman down; and then another writer noted this, but he said Mr. Truman just turned the pages faster. Do you think that that is true?


REINSCH: This is not entirely true because there was a marked slowdown. After he became President, we had several advantages, in that we knew that the President would not be cut off the air; as Vice President we had to be very careful about the timing. There were several thoughts that were implanted in his mind as Vice President; one was that when he talked into the microphone the people that were hearing you were not assembled in a multitude of a million or five million. The audience was represented by three or four people in a home in a living room, seated around a radio console. If you thought in terms of a family in Independence, Missouri seated around their radio set and talk to them, that the problem for Mr. Truman of delivering, the problem of emphasis, would disappear, because automatically by reflex he would become conversational. So I took little slips of paper which I would put at various points throughout the speech which would read


"remember the living room" or "take it easy" or "slow down" or "easy does it," always trying to give him a physical reminder that he was much more effective if he took it easier. I think this was some help. He did not turn the pages faster; it is impossible for you to pace your delivery and turn the pages faster because you can't read that fast. This technique, of course, was abandoned later on but it was very helpful at the time.

FUCHS: Did you continue to edit his speeches for length both after he became Vice President and then as President?

REINSCH: I think the term edit is a little misleading. I kept pushing for shorter speeches on the basis of my experience in the radio field and the communications field. I knew that people listening did not listen with full attention even if the President speaks and that


if the talk is too long they just quit thinking. It was better to summarize a shorter speech, by numbers, than to continue with a long narrative. You make it easier for the media representatives to review your speech and it makes it much easier for the people listening to remember the speech. I kept pushing for shorter speeches. The difficulty with most of the old line politicians was that they spoke in terms of a hall before radio came and they found it difficult to convert to the personal immediacy relationship of the microphone, and they found it difficult to cut down the speeches. I remember when Governor Cox was dedicating WHIO and we had thirty minutes on the network with Will Rogers, and Amos and Andy, and Jessie Crawford and Graham McNamee and he asked me how long he should talk -- Governor Cox put the question -- and I said "about ninety seconds". That almost cost me my job. He


looked me in the eye and he said, "Young man, I don't get started in ninety seconds." This was true of all the old line politicians who were very effective in their day, but radio required a new technique just as television required a different technique today.

FUCHS: You mentioned this transcription you got of Mr. Truman's speaking before...

REINSCH: Philadelphia group, yes.

FUCHS: Would you date that? Was that before the Lamar acceptance speech?

REINSCH: Oh, yes, that was probably one of the last speeches he made as a senator and prior to the Democratic convention.

FUCHS: Do you know where you obtained it? We are interested in it.

REINSCH: The Biow Agency through John Hamm.


FUCHS: You say that is the Biow Agency?

REINSCH: Biow Agency which is no longer in existence. Milton Biow was the president.

FUCHS: Mr. Evans also said he thought they had these recordings that you made with Mr. Truman, but he had the boys looking for them and they have never been able to locate them.

REINSCH: Unfortunately they didn't have the sense of history. Like good engineers will do, they decided to use them for something else.

FUCHS: My point is, as far as you know, they were all left there?

REINSCH: I know that I didn't take any of those out of KCMO.

FUCHS: Tom thought that he had them -- he still thinks they are around.

REINSCH: It is easy to get all of the material


because all of the networks have the recordings, and Frank Stanton made special recordings and albums which he presented to the President. After he became President, as part of my campaign for shorter speeches and more effective speeches, I worked with Frank Stanton, then president of CBS, or perhaps he was vice president at that time in charge of research, and we did a study of the speeches with audience reaction. I presented to the President, as a result of Frank Stanton's cooperation, surveys of a speech which showed the high points, the low points, and loss of audience, paragraph by paragraph, and line by line. This is a little bit startling to the speechwriters.

FUCHS: About how many times did Mr. Truman record the Lamar acceptance speech for your criticism?

REINSCH: I don't think more than twice because at that point we were more interested in getting a


slower delivery and we were thinking more of the campaign than the acceptance speech itself.

FUCHS: Now, to go on then, after Mr. Truman became Vice President, do you have any specific recollections of working with him?

REINSCH: Yes. I met with him and suggested that to get the identity as Vice President that he should schedule speeches once a month. I was making arrangements with a different network each month. I would check with him and be present at the time the speech was delivered. For instance we went into Chicago to a speech on St. Patrick's Day, and we tried to make the speech as safe in the sense that we didn't want controversy to develop from the Vice President's talk, but we did want the identity of Truman as Vice President. Later when he became President I had the Secret Service develop what is now a common practice -- the Presidential seal to be


placed in front of him -- because I wanted the identity of Truman as President of the United States to catch the eye as well as the ear; and right after he became President we used this seal. Every time he made a public appearance the Presidential seal was placed in front of him. This had not been done in the past and later, of course, Nixon used it for the vice presidency and Lyndon Johnson used it for the vice presidency; but when we introduced it for Truman it was something new.

FUCHS: Had they been doing it for the Presidents, with Roosevelt and...

REINSCH: No. They didn't have the Presidential seal. It appeared sometimes but not consistently, and I felt that if we could get the identity of Truman as President with the use of the Presidential seal we could accomplish a very effective presentation.


FUCHS: It wasn't done with Truman as Vice President though?

REINSCH: No. But he, as I recall, made about six speeches. Later when he became President they were analyzed by all of the columnists and news magazines. We were quite pleased that they were safe and sound. He was in a position to take whatever stand he wanted on any issue without being in violation of something he said as Vice President.

FUCHS: A letter from the senatorial files of Mr. Truman shows that he asked former Governor Cox to let you continue to work with him as Vice President. Were you pleased about that?

REINSCH: I enjoyed it very much because he was a fine man to work with and he appreciated the things that you suggested and you could be candid with him. I remember when we first put the wire recorder in at the White House and this


had about a three thousand cycle response that really didn't give you a real reaction to his voice. We would play back his speeches and he would say, "Well, how did that sound?"

And I would say, "Not too good, but keep in mind, Mr. President, that this is not a true reproduction of your voice. I am more interested in the pacing, but the speech is too long." This was part of my suggestion to make the speeches shorter. Now, that doesn't mean that a President doesn't have an obligation from time to time to deliver a long talk or deliver a long message in written form. But if he expects to hold the audience, he has to pace himself according to his audience. I also served temporarily for the President as press secretary for two weeks until Charles Ross came in, when he became President.

FUCHS: It's been written that you followed Mr. Truman when he was giving a speech with your own copy of the speech. When did you start that?


REINSCH: From the very beginning I would carry the original in a notebook, which was his copy, and a carbon copy in mine. Then I would come back to Atlanta after the campaign, and when he was Vice President, I would play back his speech and make notes, then I would discuss with him suggestions that would occur as I played back the speech. When Mr. Truman became President I would always have the original copy delivered, or the Secret Service would have it, but I would always have a carbon. The main worry you have, of course, is that a page is missing or that the pages are transposed. Another concern is that the rostrum or podium gave him the liberty of turning pages without bumping into a light or into a microphone and that lighting did not cast a shadow across the speech copy. When he became President we had to treat his glasses so that there was no reflection of light from his glasses.


FUCHS: Did you follow his speech, though, with your copy and make annotations on there to bring up specific points?

REINSCH: I would make notes myself at the time which we would discuss later. And there were words that each of us had difficulty with, that someone else may speak quite glibly; you would watch for words that gave him trouble -- and this will vary from time to time. If you are reading a speech there are certain words that are oral and can be easily understood. There are other words that are very easily misunderstood if they are used in a speech, but may look good in written copy. Part of my work was to make sure that the final speech didn't have these landmines of words that could give a different meaning if a person wasn't listening attentively. I always went on the basis -- and still do -- of trying to get the attention of the person that is only half listening and to make sure the words


are not misunderstood.

FUCHS: A letter in the files shows that a copy of a speech Mr. Truman was to deliver in Jefferson City to the State Legislature as Vice President, in February of 1945, was sent to you for your "final polish." You probably don't recall the specific speech but I wonder if this was done very frequently and did it continue to be done for any length of time after he became President?

REINSCH: Actually, I traveled in and out of Washington frequently, And I must say that Governor Cox was very liberal minded; I think he enjoyed the work that I was doing because the Governor was so politically conscious and a foremost leader in the Democratic Party. As a result, all of my expenses were paid by Governor Cox. For the most part Governor Cox was paying the bills for my traveling. I spent quite a bit of time in Washington with Vice President Truman. I would


visit him in his office and go over some of the material for the speeches, but basically I was: One, making sure that the time and the length of the speech was correct; two, that we didn't have any words in there that could be misunderstood or the words that he was having difficulty with at that particular time.

FUCHS: Rogge's dissertation in the field of speech mentions that he had an interview with Gene Bailey, who was an assistant to Mr. Truman after he was out of office; and he says that Bailey told him that Mr. Truman frequently changed his wording when he looked up from his speech text. Did you observe this habit in Mr. Truman as Vice President and as a President, that that was when he made interpolations?

REINSCH: No. He would, as any political speaker, or for that matter any speaker, on the inspiration of the moment or the response of the group, change


some wording or he may feel a little more cofortable with some language; but that is more as a response to the audience reaction than it is to a mechanical process. We had to be very careful that we didn't have -- this is true for any speech -- that we didn't have bad lighting that would cause shadows to hit across the manuscript, or the microphones didn't cause shadows. I was able as a result of President Truman's permission, to eliminate in the House of Representatives for the joint session with the cooperation of Sam Rayburn, the Speaker of the House, the multiplicity of microphones that used to overwhelm President Roosevelt. We cut down the microphones to the barest minimum so that the President became the center of attraction instead of twenty-three different microphones with different network labels and station labels on them. Probably my greatest contribution to the House of Representatives was to eliminate a forest of microphones that hid


the speakers.

FUCHS: You mentioned before that briefly you acted as press secretary for President Truman. I believe he announced in a press conference, his first, that you would assist with press and radio affairs and there was some question about whether he had actually appointed you press secretary. Would you give your recollections of that?

REINSCH: To go back -- on the Saturday preceding President Roosevelt's death, Vice President Truman made a talk in Buffalo, New York. I accompanied him on the train in Buffalo. I stayed at the hotel with him and I handled the press conference that Saturday afternoon in Buffalo, since I was the only one present with the Vice President and this was part of my work and in my field and I knew most of the media people. The following Friday, President Roosevelt was to speak from Warm Springs; Ellis Arnall and Vice


President Truman -- Ellis then Governor of Georgia -- to speak in Washington, D.C. at the Mayflower Hotel. I left the dinner after the broadcast (in Buffalo) which was part of this plan of having the Vice President appear on a different network each month, and went to New York on company business and left New York for Washington. It was one of the few times that I carried a radio. I got the word of President Roosevelt's death on the train en route to Washington, where I was supposed to work on the radio pickup for the dinner, As soon as I arrived in Washington, I called the President and I had, of course, some difficulty in getting through but finally did. He asked me to report the next morning, Saturday morning at the White House. I met with him and I spent the next two weeks with him in Washington doing whatever I could to help the new President through a very difficult period. I had no particular assignment. I had briefings by


Steve Early about the press job, and of course the fact that I was handling the news conferences at the time created a furor in the press area, because I was a radio man and they forgot that I also grew up in the newspaper field. I was a radio man as far as the press was concerned, and that job belonged to someone in the press area. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was in no man's land under quite a crossfire between all the press people; later some of my most bitter critics became my best friends. I really was doing whatever was necessary. John Snyder was there doing whatever was necessary; all of us were pitching in to help. If the President had asked us to sweep up the floor we would have done it. This was a critical period and a tough adjustment period. The new President had to make some crucial decisions. He had to address the joint session of Congress; questions of what day, what time; as the new Commander in Chief when


did he address our Armed Forces in this war that we were in, and how did he handle that? Then we had the problem of the Blair House which had been occupied by the Arabs and they had live sheep around there and it was not the cleanest place in the world; Stanley Woodward, chief of protocol at the time, had to get the Blair House vacated. President Truman graciously told Mrs. Roosevelt to take her time and spend as much time as she wanted to in the White House. And we had to go up to Poughkeepsie, and the arrangements had to be made for the funeral train to go from Washington to Poughkeepsie. I recall the problems we had with the train because the train was too long and it kept breaking when they tried to go around a curve in the yard to get started. People lined up along the way to see the funeral train got cinders in their eyes because the train was trying to make up for lost time. Who was going to be on that particular


train, a matter of protocol, and there were problems coming up in all areas, and I don't think any of us worried about whether we were supposed to be in this job or that job. The main thing was to help the President in every way we could.

FUCHS: You didn't know at the time whether you would stay in the White House or not? What were your feelings?

REINSCH: I had a mixed reaction naturally. This was a very exciting time. Later I saw another new President move into the White House when Vice President Johnson assumed his new duties after President Kennedy's assassination. Governor Cox had quite a bit at stake in the responsibilities that I had in the radio side, and he felt like I was contributing quite a bit to the Democratic Party but there should be a limit of Leonard Reinsch's time contribution. This evolved naturally, and I ended up doing the work that I


later did with President Truman, still working with Governor Cox; and that seems to be a happy evolution because it is still in operation with President Johnson.

FUCHS: I believe the President released as a press release a wire that he had from Governor Cox, requesting that you return to your duties.

REINSCH: The Governor felt that I was having a rather long stay in Washington and he talked to the President.

FUCHS: By phone?

REINSCH: I would imagine they talked by phone and then to handle it all according to the way it should be handled, he sent this wire and the President recognized my position. As I mentioned to President Truman, and have also had the opportunity to mention to other Presidents, my desire was not to have a high position in


Government; my desire was to serve the President and the Democratic Party; and I felt that I could make the best contribution in the type of life that has evolved, in which I am working in the communications field and giving professional services without charge to the party and to the White House.

FUCHS: Did you work with Eben Ayers by any chance during this period?

REINSCH: Yes. Some.

FUCHS: Do you have any recollections of him? He was an assistant press secretary.

REINSCH: Yes. He worked with the incomparable Bill Hassett at that time, too.

FUCHS: As correspondence secretary.

REINSCH: He was working on speeches, on letters; the same work he had done for President Roosevelt.


FUCHS: Are there any anecdotes that you recall about either Hassett or Ayers that might be of interest?

REINSCH: Not at the moment.

FUCHS: Then you continued as a radio adviser to the President?

REINSCH: Actually I worked with the National Committee and with the White House and this evolved into traveling with the President. I went to Canada with him to make the arrangements for his address to the Parliament at Ottawa and handled the radio arrangements when he and President Alemán addressed a distinguished dinner group; but the Ottawa, Canada one was the one that provided a rather offbeat story.

FUCHS: What year was this, do you recall?

REINSCH: This was 1946-47 somewhere along in there. The morning parliamentary session required striped trousers, which I didn't own, and had


to rent. My wife had packed my bag and when we got to Ottawa, Canada I discovered I had only one patent leather shoe and one street shoe. This was not the most exciting trip that was ever made -- and at the big, formal dinner that night my shoe problem became quite a story. The President had quite a chuckle. The Canadian press picked it up but they thought it didn't make much of a story with Leonard Reinsch in it, so they had the President as the one who found out he only had one patent leather shoe when the time came to dress for dinner.

FUCHS: You actually had to go to dinner that way?

REINSCH: The Secret Service located a pair of shoes for me by some manner of means, very fortunately. The story got around and things were rather quiet, so it made all the wire services.

FUCHS: Is there anything in connection with Mexico City? Did you wait until he actually came down


to Mexico City and delivered the speech?

REINSCH: I traveled with him to Mexico City.

FUCHS: I thought you might have gone ahead.

REINSCH: No. It was during the honeymoon period which every President enjoys the first six months or so -- give or take a couple of months -- and give or take some personality -- and we traveled to the State of Washington. President Truman was to address the UN opening in San Francisco, and we stopped off in Portland. I went to the West Coast with him and then I went ahead to San Francisco to check out the setup. It was fortunate I did. At two-thirty in the morning I had to get carpenters to remake the UN rostrum because the President's notebook would have been of no use to him since he could not turn any pages in that notebook without bumping into the light that they had provided. The way the rostrum was designed they had to knock it apart and rebuild


it in order to make it functional. This was a good example of the need to check little things ahead of time. Speaking of little things reminds me of the '52 convention for which I handled television. It was the first time conventions were coast to coast in television -- and the President, of course, arrived in the city prior to the nomination of Governor Stevenson. We were making the arrangements for all of the people at the convention who were being seated on the platform at the time President Truman would be introduced. Governor Stevenson would be on the platform with President Truman. I had been talking to all of the political groups about the necessity of remembering that on television that large lens -- we didn't have the zoom lens in those days -- but the large lens, the close-up lens, would put you in the center of a picture and you would never know you were in that picture. I told them they had to watch how they looked and display the


proper enthusiasm so that the party would get a good picture on television coast to coast. Then came the announcement that we were going to have President Truman appear on the platform -- I believe, close to 1 a.m. -- and we had to clear out the whole platform and then reseat the chairs so that we would provide for the Cabinet members and the other prominent members of the party. I stood there in the middle of this platform unhappy that I had the protocol problem of figuring out who was going to be seated where. It was then that I forgot about all these talks that I had been giving to the political people, and I looked a little bit unhappy about the assignment and I was tired as you are at a convention on the next to the last day, and I didn't present the finest picture in the world of a member of the Democratic Party. We finally worked out the seating. The President came on and Vice President Barkley was there. Mrs. Truman was seated in


the box at the back as she didn’t like to be out front; she had a very fine manner and a fine dignity. I had to persuade her that it was necessary for her to be in front as with all the other people that were there. She reluctantly consented, and she showed up in the center of the picture which was not her desire.

FUCHS: How long did you work with the wire recorder tin the White House, and what area of the White House did you use?

REINSCH: We used the Cabinet Room as a rule. I would set it up in the Cabinet Room or we’d go over to the residence and set it up in the living room, and occasionally in the dining room, if we were to have lunch together. Then we would play it back following lunch and review the speech. This is a good help. It develops proper pacing. Today we have tape that gives you fine quality reproduction and


even the video tape if you want to do a rehearsal for TV.

FUCHS: How long did you continue that?

REINSCH: I don't recall the length of time -- until had served its purpose and then we dropped it. It was the first wire recorder, I believe, that used in Washington, D.C. We got it from the Signal Corps.

FUCHS: Did you go to Key West with him on any occasion?

REINSCH: No. That was an area where I couldn't be of any help and I couldn't justify taking the time to go to Key West as much as I would have liked to a couple of times.

There is another incident that I recall. We finally got it worked out for the new President to move into Blair House, He was being briefed on many things that of course he did not know as Vice President. He came back one after noon after he had been briefed, I later found


out, about the atom bomb. He said, "Leonard, I have just gotten some important information. I am going to have to make a decision which no man in history has ever had to make." But he confirmed, "I'll make the decision but it is terrifying to think about what I will have to decide." He kept talking around it and repeated, "I wish I could talk to you about it." Of course, he couldn't, but it weighed heavily on him. I said at the time and a good many times later that I knew he would make the right decision. I have also said many times that this man will go down in history as one of the great Presidents of the United States. He had the courage to make the major decisions when they were required to be made and he made them with full consideration and full conscience and after thorough study. I have never seen a man work as hard. Day after day he would leave the White House office with an armful of books


and materials that certainly was not the most interesting reading in the world. He was careful to be briefed and to get the information about each call that came in. I remember in one case he had a visitor from Africa. The President named a river in the country and the effect it had on the economy. Another random thought -- the first day on Monday at the White House, when the "Big-Four" (being the leadership in the Senate and the House) came to call on the President. I was witness to one of the most interesting sidelights that week when there was considerable discussion as to which man should first step into the President's office among this four. I was privileged to listen to the arguments, pro and con as to who had the protocol right to be the first one to step into the office and at that time when the President probably didn't care less.

FUCHS: Were they each arguing for the right or were


they trying to persuade…

REINSCH: Oh, no, no. They were all arguing for the right to be the one to step in there first. They were quite impressed with this.

FUCHS: It wasn't an Alphonse and Gaston act?

REINSCH: No, it was "me first."

FUCHS: When the bomb was dropped then in August of '45 did you immediately connect that with your conversation?

REINSCH: Well, I had connected it before then. You recall that on the Augusta coming back from Potsdam that the newsmen were briefed then about the bomb. I believe that records of history show that Stalin in his meeting with the President at Potsdam knew about the bomb and our ability to deliver it.

FUCHS: It was dropped while Mr. Truman was on the way back and I just wondered if it flashed in


your mind then that that was the decision he had been talking about?

REINSCH: There was no question that this was the decision. There was another interesting sidelight in the early days. Mrs. Truman was scheduled for a news conference and I got wind of it. At the time there were eighty-eight women correspondents covering Mrs. Roosevelt, and any change in the White House, as I learned later, has quite an impact on the nature of the correspondent corps covering the President or the President's wife. Mrs. Truman being very gracious had agreed to have a news conference and this I felt was unnecessary and unfair. I called Mrs. Truman and I asked her if it would be all right for me to cancel the news conference on the basis that while Mrs. Roosevelt was still in the White House Mrs. Truman didn't want to hold a news conference. This could get her out of that news conference and then she didn't need to schedule any more. She


was very grateful. She had no desire to appear in the limelight; she had no desire to hold a news conference; she had been given the impression that it was obligatory and that it was necessary for her to do it and she was quite relieved when I told her we could get out of it gracefully. Another time, when Margaret first appeared as a concert singer in Detroit, I was commenting about it the following week and the President said, "You know, I had a notion to call you and see if you couldn't go out and help her on the press relations on that particular concert."

And I said, "Don't hesitate, if I can be of any service, you call me." And I would have been very happy to be of assistance.

The other thing that we got into quite a hassle about was the plan that we developed for a news conference room adjacent to the President's office. It was obvious that the President's office was too small for a news conference, the


the old State Department Building finally became necessary for news conferences, With architect Winslow and the help of Frank Stanton of CBS we developed some plans that would have provided a conference room off the President's office to the back, which would not have been apparent from the street; in fact, no one would have known it was there unless they were told it was there. Unfortunately the architect announced it as an addition to the White House. If he'd said it was an addition to the President's office or said that an executive office was being built, we would today have this conference room, which is badly needed, in back of the President's office. Once it was announced as an addition to the White House all hell broke loose. The President's balcony problem was minor compared to the furor that was being created by this big monstrous addition that was going to deface Washington, D.C., when actually it was one of the


most needed areas for efficient management of the President's office.

FUCHS: How did you come into this since it seemed to be more of a matter for press relations than radio?

REINSCH: I was always counseling about news handling where I thought it could improve the President's image or improve the image of the country or make it easier for the President, and it was obvious that they had a lot of difficulty with the location of news conferences and television was coming along. I felt if we had fixed positions for cameras, in an unobtrusive place we could improve the conferences. The addition made sense for efficient operation. The President could also use the new area for other conferences with large groups of visitors.

FUCHS: They didn't broadcast the press conferences during the Truman administration, or did they?


REINSCH: In the first place, in those days, they were called press conferences and I tried to get them changed to news conferences and that was a big move. We couldn't broadcast from the White House in those days, which was another problem, and there were other restrictions. Television in the early days had to yield to the newsreel cameras in the theaters. Newsreel camera crews were an autocratic group that have long since disappeared from the scene. There are a number of frictions, jealousies, traditions that have been built up by media -- space and placement with large news conferences is a difficult problem. This problem particularly shows up at conventions in the facilities that area available to various media.

FUCHS: Did these plans bring you into it partly through the fact that they wanted to add radio broadcasts?

REINSCH: Well, this was part of it and part of it was more efficient news conference operation, and


for the President to be more comfortable in his relationship with the media.

FUCHS: They did shift the conferences later on. Did they still continue to exclude live broadcasts of the press conferences?

REINSCH: I think so. I am hazy about that period because all of these changes evolved rather abruptly and all of a sudden you wonder why you haven't been doing it that way all along.

FUCHS: Did you confer with Charlie Ross during his stay there?

REINSCH: Oh, yes, I worked with Charlie and Joe Short and Beth Short. They used to expect me to have the answer to any radio problems that came up, and then later television problems.

FUCHS: Do you recall anything about your relations with them -- any anecdotes?


REINSCH: No. I was on call and I would get the President's schedule if there was to be a speech. Later when they were dedicating the Truman Library I met the President in the Mayflower and he said, "I would appreciate it if you would come out and handle the arrangements for the radio and newsreel at the dedication of the Truman Library.

And I said I would be glad to do it. So, I went there on that hot July day and found out that seats hadn't been assigned, and I was again faced with the protocol problem of who sat where; and I asked him how to handle it and he said, "Leonard, you know how to handle these people, you go ahead and do it. Whatever way you think is best is all right with me."

So I had to assign all the visiting dignitaries, and then he asked me to be sure that President Hoover got back to his house following the ceremony. You may recall that President Eisenhower sent a letter which was cold -- you


could almost see the icicles on it on a hot July day -- to the dedication. President Hoover made a very gracious speech; and I talked to President Hoover about his talk and he remarked, "The President and I learned a long time ago that on a hot day you don't make long speeches."

"I thought it was very gracious of you to come here," I said.

He replied, "I wouldn't miss it," and continued, "You know the administration wasn't too anxious for me to come." Apparently they had made a specific request that he not attend the dedication of the Truman Library. But, I recall today that President Truman, who had a keen sense of history, made the remark that we didn't make use of former Presidents the way we should in this country. He thought that President Hoover had not had the proper attention, and that he could perform a sizable service, and he was going to call him into the White House and have him serve. I


happened to be in the Presidents office the day President Hoover came in and I am convinced that this gave President Hoover a second lease on life; and the Republican Party finally recognized that they had a former President in their party only after President Truman had asked him to come in to do this work on what later became the Hoover Commission. The President’s keen sense of history was illustrated by another point. My son and daughter, then quite young, came to Washington with me. As I was going to the White House I stopped by for them to meet the President. President Truman chatted with them and then pointed to the picture of Simón Bolívar in his office and asked, "Do you know much about that man?" They of course said no, and he proceeded to give them a fine talk about Bolívar's contribution to South American history. He spent about twenty minutes talking to them about history. Naturally, they were very, very impressed. This was one of the


highlights of their childhood, as it should have been.

FUCHS: I believe it was Merriman Smith who wrote about the feverish activity, so to speak, that went on regarding the speech that Mr. Truman was about to deliver concerning the railroad strike in May 1946. Was it "so feverish" as he made out? Do you recall anything about that?

REINSCH: I recall the meeting in President Truman's office after Judge [T. Alan] Goldsborough had ruled. It depends on the definition of feverish. I think sometimes the press is more inclined to use the term loosely in describing activities. Certainly the President was determined. He had right on his side and he was not afraid to take action, and he knew what should be done and what his responsibilities were, and he fulfilled these responsibilities:

FUCHS: I think what Merriman Smith was pointing out


is that changes were being made, as he put it, right up until President Truman was ready to step up to make the speech. I wanted your comment on that.

REINSCH: I don't recall it that well.

FUCHS: Did you work with Mr. Truman when they were considering the first television broadcast from the White House in October 1947, which launched a food saving campaign?

REINSCH: Yes. I am hazy about that. I remember going into the President's office when they had the first television set. There was a pickup from the Congress and no one, of course, knew how to tune the set. This was a RCA set, and I was in the communications business. I was a television man as well as a radio man; therefore, I should know all about television sets; so, they expected me to tune the set in properly, I walked over to the set -- I had never seen the


controls before -- and was fortunate enough to get a real good picture. My reputation as a communications man remained on a high level at least in that area.

FUCHS: A letter in the files, a copy of which was referred to you by Charlie Ross for opinion in March of 1947, was from Carlton Skinner, who was Director of Information of the Department of Interior. He had made a proposal to connect a line into the White House. They had some sort of communications recording system and he thought the disc recordings it would make would provide better fidelity than the wire recordings you had been using. Do you recall that?

REINSCH: I have a hazy recollection about that. We were constantly searching out the newest techniques because obviously the President is entitled to the finest techniques that are available in presenting this material and there were several


suggestions made over a period of time. Again, I have a hazy recollection of this one but, as I recall, we didn't do anything with it.

FUCHS: I noticed in the Democratic National Convention proceedings for '48 that there seemed to be no mention of radio and television arrangements. Now, what part did you play officially and unofficially in that '48 convention?

REINSCH: In '48 the television pickup ran from Washington to Boston and probably, next to the Republican convention of '52 and the Puerto Rican episode, had one of the most interesting television factors that we have had in any political convention. Unfortunately, or fortunately -- depending on your approach to it -- we only had television from Washington to Boston. Emma Guffey Miller, the fine old committeewoman -- and I use the word "old" in endearing terms rather than otherwise -- from Pennsylvania -- had an idea that she would have


"doves of peace" released over the convention and this would just be terrific. The first time we heard about this was when the Life photographer, perspiring as all of us were, came in and said, "They won't let us photograph those dying pigeons." This shook us up but there were enough things shaking us up at that time so we didn't get particularly concerned about the remark. The next thing we knew, apparently crates of pigeons that were pretty well beaten down by the heat, were opened somewhere in the hall. Some tired, hot pigeons staggered out of the crates. They spotted the fans in the ceiling and when they got enough energy several of them headed for the ceiling fans. The spectators seated immediately below the fans lost all interest in what was happening on the platform and kept their eyes on the pigeons floating around the ventilating fans. Some other pigeons had a little more energy and a couple of squadrons of them spotted


Sam Rayburn's perspiring bald pate which made quite a target near the rostrum area; they zoomed in on this shiny target and the first time Rayburn knew what was happening pigeons were coming at him in all directions. He waved his arms around and got them scared off for awhile; and they regrouped. This target looked pretty good so they zoomed in again -- and by this time it was a little bit too hot in the auditorium anyway and all of us were tired -- and the Speaker started moving his arms around; the pigeons started going in all directions and he finally leaned over and the radio audience from coast to coast heard the Speaker utter in despair and disgust, "Get those goddamned pigeons out of here."


Second Oral History Interview with J. Leonard Reinsch in Atlanta, Georgia, March 14, 1967. By J. R. Fuchs, Harry S. Truman Library.

FUCHS: Yesterday I believe we pretty well carried the story down through '48.

REINSCH: Jonathan was at the White House as press secretary; he had succeeded Steve Early when Steve left to join the Pullman Company. Jonathan did not intend to stay in the White House too long because he was more interested in doing writing. At that time he was writing articles for Collier's magazine. In fact he did several about the early days of the presidency, and did some articles about the changeover from President Roosevelt to President Truman. Some felt that he was taking a little bit too much liberty in writing for a national magazine about some of the things going on at the White House. This is probably the reason I had a negative reaction when Life magazine asked me to write an article about my


work with President Truman, my reply was, "No."

They then offered twenty-five hundred dollars for the article. My answer was still no. They offered to provide a writer. At which point I replied, "I may not be the greatest writer in the world, but I have done considerable writing and had considerable training in this field and if I did anything I would do it myself."

They then asked what the price would be and I replied, "I think you fail to get the meaning of my remark. I believe that the relationship that I am privileged to enjoy with the President is a personal relationship. If anything is to be said about the work that we are doing then it is the privilege of the President to make the statement. Frankly, I am a little bit unhappy with these people that go into the President’s office for five minutes and then write a long article about their experiences in the White House, or leave a presidential conference and


hand out several pages of mimeographed material about what they told the President. Under no circumstances would I write an article about the work that I was doing with the President."

FUCHS: Would you care to name any of these individuals who objected to Jonathan's activities?

REINSCH: I think it was the general feeling of most of us working at the White House. As far as we were concerned it was a violation of trust. I presume media people thought it was just a matter of history and they were doing history a favor in disclosing all of these items. There wasn't anything in the revelation that was outstanding, it was just the idea of capitalizing on the White House that most of us didn't think was right.

FUCHS: I believe he didn't work but a month or two. Now was this writing actually done while he was still in the White House or was it a reaction to


what he had done after he had left?

REINSCH: Right after he left. We thought it overlapped in some of the work we were doing. Jonathan, of course, came from a very famous journalistic family in Raleigh, North Carolina, and we have always enjoyed a fine relationship, then and since.

FUCHS: In the same connection to a degree in that we were offered money to write articles, do you recall ever discussing with Mr. Truman an offer that was supposed to have been made to him to go on the speech circuit?

REINSCH: No. I heard about that offer, but he didn't mention it and I never asked him about it.

FUCHS: So you weren't privy to that and had no advice for him in that connection?

REINSCH: I think that is a subject in which he could make up his own mind. I think that all of us


admired his great knowledge of history. I think it was a surprise to many people the depth of historical knowledge that the President possessed, and it was always a revelation when he tied in present events with historical events. He was an unusually fine student of history and of the history of the presidency.

FUCHS: Did you have any particular reaction when you heard Jonathan Daniels was returning to work on the '48 campaign?

REINSCH: No. All good Democrats join together to help the candidates win the elections. As Will Rogers said one time, "I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat."

FUCHS: The files show that you worked on the Navy Day speech of Mr. Truman in 1945. I don't have it in mind just where that was given, but do you recall, and do you recall anything else about that?


REINSCH: Yes. That was given in New York and we had lunch on the Missouri, which I believe was the ship the peace treaty was signed on with Japan. As I recall, there was a plaque on this particular ship showing the spot in which the tables were located when this historic document was signed. The President talked in Central Park and was preceded by a motor cavalcade. The reason I recall the cavalcade was that we had the normal protocol problem as to which car preceded which car, and we had a little difficulty with some of the Democratic leaders with respect to their place in the motorcade. It was interesting to note that the Waldorf catered the luncheon on the ship. The Navy had brought a large number of small pineapples from Hawaii on their way across the Pacific and these were used as part of the luncheon menu.

FUCHS: I noted that you said in a letter to the White House prior to the speech that you were


going to leave Friday, November 2, 1945, with the party for the South. I wonder if you recall what you meant. Do you recall what followed that?

REINSCH: Let's see -- 1945. I don't know. I did go to Europe. I handled the arrangement for our Government and for our President for the declaration of peace in Europe and this created, of course, another protocol problem. The announcements were to be made simultaneously in London and Washington, D.C., and His Majesty's Government had certain ideas about when the announcement should be made; some of us had certain ideas of when the President of the United States should make the announcement; and considerable discussion ensued through normal channels before we reconciled the differences, I'm hazy about the time but I believe we agreed on a morning time. The problem of how the announcement would be handled was, of course, worked out in diplomatic channels,


but it was an interesting exchange. The President saw that each one of us that was present in his office prior to the international broadcast received an illuminated scroll of his declaration of the cessation of war in the European theater. I was in Washington preceding the Japanese treaty, but I was assigned to a group to go to Europe to review communication problems following the cessation of hostilities in Europe. I delayed my departure in Washington as long as I could, but unfortunately it was necessary for me to be in Europe and I was in London at the time of VJ Day. I recall the wild enthusiasm of the English people and I never will forget the "Roll out the Barrel" singing -- that happened to be the popular song. Everybody was singing "Roll out the Barrel."

FUCHS: I suppose this group made a report when it returned and that is in the files. What was that group officially doing there?


REINSCH: It was a broadcasting group and we were reviewing communications. We did make a report -- I believe it was made to the Pentagon, however -- and I am not sure whether it was a written report or whether we reported in person for cross examination or debriefing.

FUCHS: Did you cover a good many of the countries in Europe?

REINSCH: We were in quite a few countries. We hoped to go to Russia but, typical of the Russian attitude at that period, we did not receive approval to go to Russia until they were assured that we were safe on a plane heading back to the United States.

FUCHS: I notice that you and Matt Connelly, who was secretary to the President handling appointments, became quite good friends. Did this start when


he was on the Truman Committee?

REINSCH: It developed of course during the campaign and when I was working on what amounted to the public relations program for the Vice President. Matt and I checked very carefully and planned the cities where the Vice President should go and the type of speech, and the group, and then I would work out the network. By a little bit of persuasion we would get one of the radio networks to pick up the speech. We alternated network requests.

FUCHS: In this connection, a report of yours looking forward to '48, said that Peoria in 1944 was perhaps his best speech, but it was an industrial area and he talked on agriculture.

REINSCH: Yes. This was part of the problem of that campaign and it is true of every campaign. For some reason, he was scheduled into Peoria and asked to make a speech that was of no particular


interest to this industrial East Peoria and Peoria, Illinois. You have large factories in East Peoria. This was a hot bed of Republicanism at the time; the hall was too large for the number of people that the local Democratic organization could get to attend; and some of the opposition papers, including the Chicago Tribune, made much of a picture that they took in which they showed half the hall empty. We clipped the latter part of that picture so that we had the feeling of a full hall, but this was not a good scheduling. In the hurry of scheduling in a national campaign you run into problems here and there, and this was one. Candidate Truman made an excellent speech but he was scheduled in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong speech.

FUCHS: Who would have been responsible for that scheduling, if you recall, and why was the speech agriculturally oriented?


REINSCH: To use the term we sometimes use in our industry, in television and radio, GOK -- God only knows.

Coming back to the 1944 Chicago convention, we had had a little bit of difficulty in getting a seconding speech from businessmen for President Roosevelt. We located a man from Georgia who had a good reputation as a businessman, but he was not accustomed to public speaking. He appeared on the platform at the Chicago stadium to make the seconding speech but he had indulged too much in liquor to build his courage. It was obvious that he could not make a seconding speech. Fortunately he had a copy of his speech in his pocket. I removed the speech from his pocket, made arrangements with the reading clerk to read the speech. We then wrote an introduction so that the radio audience, unless they listened very attentively, would not have known that a different speaker was reading this material. I made


arrangements with Ed Pauley and several other well built Democratic officials on the platform to stand in front of this man so that the Chicago Tribune or any paper opposing us, if they did realize what was happening, wouldn't get a picture of this man as the type of businessman that was endorsing President Roosevelt for another term. About half way through the speech I noticed that our businessman shook his head a little bit. It was apparent he understood the words and there was something familiar about the speech. I was afraid that he was going to get up and head for the rostrum. I asked the policeman that Mayor Kelly had assigned to help me, to stand along side of him with the instructions that if he got up to shove him down the stairway to keep him out of the way. Fortunately he didn't get up; he went back into his pleasant slumber and as far as I know no one outside of the few people that were involved ever knew that the seconding speech


was read by somebody else.

FUCHS: In this connection, and in connection with this report I previously mentioned, one of your recommendations was in regard to limiting the number of seconding and the number of nominating speeches, both as to number and as to time, I believe. I gather this wasn't done for '44?

REINSCH: No. I have tried over the years to make changes. The people concerned with the political aspects of the convention, the party leaders, neither have the time nor the background to recommend the changes that should be made in convention procedures. We were doing the convention in 1944 like we did it in 1920 when Governor Cox was nominated in San Francisco -- with the exception that we didn’t have the torchlight parade -- almost like we were doing it from the beginning of conventions; so that some changes were really needed. Over a period of time I have been able


to persuade the party leaders that the Democratic Party would make a much better appearance before the American voter by making some changes in convention procedure. To give you an example: We limited the length of the invocation and the benediction. This created quite a furor, of course, because we were tampering with the Holy Word.

FUCHS: What year did this start?

REINSCH: I believe the first time we ever put that into effect was in 1952. Then we limited the length of nominating speeches; we limited the length of the seconding speeches; and, then, because in '52 we ran into a stalemate on the convention while waiting for the platform report, we made another basic change in '56. That was to have the platform hearings a week before the convention and then have the report ready on schedule. This did several things; one, it gave


people a full opportunity to express themselves before the platform committee; it gave us a couple of days to let the emotions that are aroused in discussion of the platform to taper off; and when we had a specific time allotted to the platform report of the convention we knew that they would be ready at that time. You may recall in '52 that we were stalled for about thirteen hours. This was the first time we went coast to coast in national television and my problem was to fill a convention schedule for thirteen hours because we couldn't adjourn since we felt that we had the problem of keeping the people in the hall satisfied with some type of programming; we of course mixed it with music, speeches and everything else. It was quite a strenuous period and so I spoke from personal convictions when I persuaded the arrangement committee to schedule the platform hearing the week before the convention opened. In '56 of


course, we introduced the questionnaire which has since been adopted by the Republicans. They have adopted many of the changes that we made first in the Democratic convention procedure. With television we required different techniques, but basically we always remember that a convention has only one purpose and that is to nominate the next President of the United States, the Democratic candidate and to nominate the vice-presidential candidate. Everything that you do in a convention should focus on these fundamental purposes. In that connection the National Committee is the continuity of the political party between conventions and each committee serves until the last day of the convention succeeding their appointment, They are confirmed usually in the last session of the convention and serve through the next convention.

FUCHS: When is the convention manager selected?


REINSCH: Well, I seem to have inherited this mantle, if you want to call it that, and it is the type of career that you don't develop by plan. Since 1944 I have been involved in the national political conventions and have probably more experience in this field than anyone in any political party, only because I have been exposed to it longer than anyone else. As a result of this experience I am able to make suggestions for consideration by the Democratic National Committee or by the President that can improve our program. The Republicans recently had a big committee that worked on improvements and presentation of the national convention, and their report is nothing more than items that we have been talking about since 1956 at various committee meetings. We have reviewed them, and either already adopted them or discarded them for various reasons. Each convention, of course, is a separate story. Each convention is a power within itself, the


convention makes its own rules, and the presiding chairman, particularly a figure like Sam Rayburn, is all powerful. For instance, in 1956 when we had the race for the vice-presidential candidate as a result of Adlai Stevenson's decision not to name his running mate. The Speaker Paul Butler and myself agreed that it would be unnecessary to have long nominating speeches for the vice-presidential candidates; we could eliminate the seconding speeches and we could limit the demonstrations. The Speaker's approach was to wait until there was quite a bit of noise on the floor; he rapped the gavel gently; the proposal for changes was made on the floor of the convention, and it was seconded and approved by the convention. Later on it was explained to the convention what they adopted. The convention itself is a power within itself and it makes its own rules.

FUCHS: It is interesting that a recommendation you


made in this letter of '47 to Matt Connelly, forwarding the survey of 1944 radio activities, suggested the very thing you just said was not adopted until 1956 -- that the platform committee be given a deadline, although they did use a slightly different method in '56. Did they just fail to act on this one in '48?

REINSCH: In the first place you can appreciate the reluctance to change procedure. There are many more important things to do in a convention than to change procedure. There is jostling for votes and control of delegations; and I was still the young man who came in in '44. I wasn't exactly gray haired by '56, but I had a little more seniority and had been helpful to a number of candidates in their radio campaigns and they called me for advice about radio. I gave them every help I could. I was in a position with respect to radio at that time almost like I have been since 1960 when we had the Kennedy-Nixon


debates. I tried to get debates going in ’52 and it didn’t work; in ’56 it didn’t work.. In ’60 we were able to get the Republican candidate into the so-called “great debate.” As a result of the success, because of Kennedy’s tremendous personality and ability, I was given credit for a lot more ability in handling television in the political field than I should have been given. I still get many calls from political leaders for advice about what to do. As a matter of fact, they even come from foreign countries. I have had people from Canada come in to see me. In the last premier’s race in Canada, where they were going to meet in a debate, they came to talk to me about how they should plan it. So that when you work with an outstanding man like President Truman, or you have an outstanding success like the debates of 1960, you get a great deal more credit than you probably should. On the other hand, if you want to philosophize a bit, you get blamed for


a lot of things that you shouldn't be blamed for too.

FUCHS: This is most interesting but I am not going to go into the Kennedy debates because I believe you have covered them in depth for the Kennedy Library, which will be available for scholars at some time.

You mentioned a questionnaire, I wonder if you would expand a little bit on that for '56.

REINSCH: The selection of a city for a convention is a little bit haphazard. The cost of staging a convention with television became almost prohibitive for the political party, and it was necessary to get the cities to bid against each other and provide more money, The '44 convention went into Chicago because Mayor Kelly called President Roosevelt and suggested that this was the ideal place in view of the wartime restrictions


on traveling and the hotel availability in Chicago and we could use the Chicago stadium. He said, "Don't worry about the money, Chicago will work it out for you."

With all due respect to that casual conversation and my good friends in the city in which I grew up, I believe we paid the last bill for the 1944 convention in 1951; I thought it would be good if we got a bit more specific. By '56 I was able to introduce the questionnaire which put down in detail the number of hotel rooms, the suites available, the charge for the rooms, the number of taxicabs, the taxicab rates, the size of the hall, the space available for the number of media people that had to be handled. We have reached the point now where we have maybe 5,600 media people and 5,000 delegates and alternates. This 5,000 figure would have covered all the delegates, all the people, and everyone else at the Chicago stadium, and left


over a few numbers of spectators. But the conventions had grown tremendously and we needed to get more specific information and the questionnaire was quite detailed, Some of the cities were a little unhappy about it at the beginning but now it is an accepted practice.

FUCHS: Just what are the implications of your statement that you paid the last bill for '44 by '51?

REINSCH: This is the normal problem of conventions. A convention is not the most efficient business operation because everything has to be done right now with an organization that is assembled at the last minute, and from many places in the country, and you don't have the control or the efficiency that you have in a normal business operation. This is not meant in a disparaging sense, the bills just accumulate and the charges are there, and you may not have the money from the convention hosts to pay. You just sort of


have to live hand-to-mouth and eventually they all get paid, but it's a struggle.

FUCHS: Again, in this report of radio activities of '44, which you recommended to Connelly for use by the convention in '48, you suggested using five-minute spots. Were they used and, if so, how successfully? How much did they contribute to the campaign?

REINSCH: The five minute idea was the one we developed in 1944 that I referred to before, and they were used in '48. In fact this is a common technique now. The Republicans have adopted it. We introduced it in television; it is a little more difficult in television today, of course, with all the video tapes and film programs we're carrying, but in '52 you recall that television was live. In '48 we didn’t have television availability except on the East Coast and spotted around the country here and there, so


it was not a factor in the campaign; but the five minute idea became common and was adopted by local candidates as well.

FUCHS: Your report showed that the Biow Company acted as the advertising agency for this '44 campaign. What would be the jobs of an advertising agency in such a campaign, specifically ‘44?

REINSCH: In '44 they had the basic problem of buying time on the networks and buying time on the regional networks and on the individual stations. In other words, they bought everything from spot announcements to thirty-minute programs and one hour programs. This was a major activity. They were responsible for the printed material that was used in the campaign. I think that '44 was the first campaign where we limited buttons. Up to that time buttons had been the greatest


campaign material in the world and Paul Porter decided this was going to be a no-button campaign. Of course, we had a lot of buttons but not in the number that we had up ‘till 1944.

FUCHS: That is, the National Committee did not provide the money for them?

REINSCH: Right. Then you have to provide written material, propose speeches, place ads in newspapers.

FUCHS: You also mention in this report that there were indications the network would include a five-minute recapture clause in their 1947-48 contracts. What would be the advantage to the networks, it seemed that they were still getting the same amount of money out of it.

REINSCH: They would get more money actually. They would get paid for twenty-five minutes and for five minutes and proportionately they would get


a little bit more, not much, The monetary advantage was not the consideration. The problem we had in 1944 clearing the five minutes was that the thirty minute dramatic show was a thirty minute show and we had no way of breaking into it for the five minutes. We could break into Information Please or The American Tobacco Show, which was all music; but I wanted to give advance notice to the network that we wanted the five minute periods in '48 so that they would have recapture clauses in their contracts with advertisers and that would help us. It didn't mean too much to the network. It meant a little less trouble for them and we wouldn't be quite as much a bother haunting them about these five minute periods.

FUCHS: Seeing that there was no monetary value to them that it would mean a little more work to them to have to split thirty minutes up into


two segments.

REINSCH: Now, I am wearing my other hat, my political hat, and stepping away from my broadcasting hat; but there is, we feel, an obligation on the part of the stations and the networks to provide us some time to present our message to the people.

FUCHS: Do you think the networks are inclined to do this for the parties equally?

REINSCH: I think they have learned that it is a public service obligation.

FUCHS: In this same report, you mentioned Neale Roach as enabling the radio personnel to secure satisfactory hotel accommodations. Two questions: I wonder how the problem worked out in '48 and what was Neale Roach's official capacity in 1944?

REINSCH: Neale Roach was working on hotel physical arrangements. Neale and I have both been active


from the early days in conventions and he does a tremendously fine job. He has been a great help to the Democratic Party. He and I worked together, for instance, in '52 when we first did national television, which created a whole new field of problems. And unless the man that is responsible for the physical facilities, in this case Neale Roach, is cooperative and understands what you are trying to do, you get insurmountable problems, But fortunately, Neale and I both had the same feelings about what we wanted to do to sell the Democratic Party and the Democratic candidate to the American people, and give them the proper exposure; so we did more work with media than probably other conventions had done in the past.

FUCHS: I gather from what you said yesterday that Roach probably did not have the designation "convention manager" for this particular convention?


REINSCH: I don't know. As a matter of fact, I didn't much worry about titles and never have, and I don’t think Neale was particularly concerned about it either. We had a job to get done and we got the job done.

FUCHS: You also brought out that for the first time the term "press-radio conference," which was important to you, as you pointed out, was used in '44. Who had to be convinced that this should be adopted?

REINSCH: Well, I, of course, coming from the radio side and also from the newspaper side, knew the sensitivity of the radio people to the term "press conference" and Paul Porter was appreciative of this problem as was Bob Hannegan, and we made quite a point of calling it "press-radio conference". Now, of course, the accepted practice is "news conference," but this had to evolve. It takes time to get these little nuances


taken care of.

FUCHS: Was there any trouble with the public address system in '48? Another recommendation of your report of '47 to the committee continued this.

REINSCH: Regardless of all the precautions we take there hasn't been a convention ever held by any political party that didn't have some trouble with the public address system. I finally got to the point where I would take one of our engineers from one of our radio stations and assigned him to walking around the convention hall at all times that we were in session to make sure that the speakers were working properly and we had the proper volume. This is a tough assignment but I guess it is the only way to solve the problem.

FUCHS: You did note also that Dewey had a good technique in building an audience for succeeding speeches "by referring in his speeches to broadcasts


on succeeding nights." Did the Democrats adopt this for '48?

REINSCH: Yes. Dewey had another technique in '44 that was good. It was well programmed by the agency that was directing him, in that he opened on a formula of applause and closed on a formula of applause with a plug for the following broadcast, In that connection, for the first time I developed a technique, and I never have been able to follow through on it completely, but I am convinced it will work: That is, to take the ratings of the candidates in individual cities and study the comparative rating of the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate at the time they make the speech. I think this will indicate whether or not the candidate is strong in an area, gaining or losing ground. We would not use the national average, which is a little bit misleading in our business, but


break it down by cities. I did this with some of the speeches of Dewey and some of the speeches of Roosevelt; and it was a preliminary study but there was enough evidence to indicate that there was a scientific tool we were not using. I have never been able to follow through with survey studies, but there is an opportunity there to compare the ratings in the individual cities and the individual states with what approximately will be the vote.

FUCHS: Mentioning this standard formula of opening with -- as you put it -- "Five minutes of applause," was this dubbed applause as you indicated...

REINSCH: No, with the cheerleader up front leading the crowd and keeping them going.

FUCHS: I believe in your report you did say there seemed to be a few places where they filled in with some dubbing.


REINSCH: I think they gave it body, I at least made the accusation, I think there was some substance to it.

FUCHS: Did the Democrats adopt this tactic for later transcriptions in later...

REINSCH: No. Democrats are always enthusiastic. We don't have to worry about dubbing applause.

FUCHS: You noted in your letter to Connelly of '47 that in submitting this report for his and the committee's consideration you weren't applying for the job of manager. Now, I notice that Kenneth D. Fry was director of radio and television for the Democratic National Convention in '48. Who was he and how did he come in?

REINSCH: Ken came in in 1946, Keep in mind that my main job was running radio stations for Governor Cox, this is the way I made my living and supported my family, and I worked as a


consultant. Ken had a good radio background and, as a matter of fact, succeeded, I believe, Bryson Rash or Bryson succeeded him, I have forgotten which; but I was instrumental in getting both of them on the committee.

FUCHS: Where did he come from?

REINSCH: He was in the radio business as I remember at that time. I know Bryson was; but Ken worked around Washington. He had a pretty good background for the work, just as later we got Jack Christie on the committee to work full time under Paul Butler handling radio and arranging the interviews.

FUCHS: You did then, I assume, work hand-in-glove with Mr. Fry in '48 on the radio-TV arrangements?

REINSCH: Yes. I acted more as a consultant. The TV arrangements were minimal because, as I mentioned, we only had Boston and Washington.


FUCHS: Jack Redding, who wrote Inside the Democratic Party, mentions Fry working out an earlier show which originated in New York, switched to Baltimore, then to Washington, and all on network. Do you recall any of that?


FUCHS: Not at the convention?

REINSCH: No. I don't remember that. We were providing innovations all the time and we were quite flexible.

FUCHS: Do you have any comments on Jack Redding? Your relationship with him?

REINSCH: No. I was associated with Jack. I didn't know him too well. He was director of public relations for the committee. Apparently very capable.

FUCHS: There was a speech at the AkSarBen auditorium in Omaha in 1948; do you have any memories and


reflections on that?

REINSCH: No, I have heard many stories about it, but I don't remember it.

FUCHS: You didn't work on the arrangements for that?

REINSCH: No, I didn't have anything to do with that one fortunately.

FUCHS: There is one letter in the file from you to Eddie Locke forwarding an article about a Latin-American airline case which, I guess, you thought would just be a matter of interest to him. Did you have any particular close friendship or association with Eddie Locke?

REINSCH: No, I worked with Eddie, but not closely.

FUCHS: What was Neale Roach's background?

REINSCH: I don't know. Neale and I just sort of grew up together in political conventions.


FUCHS: It has been written that Mr. Truman adopted a new method of speaking in his so-called whistlestop tours in '48; one in which he spoke more frequently using the method called "off-the-cuff." Do you have any memories of that?

REINSCH: No. I was tied up at that particular moment with the inauguration of a television station in Atlanta and Dayton, Ohio. President Truman was much more effective, as most speakers are, off-the-cuff. They are more natural, and they are inclined to express in their own language their own feelings and this has a greater impact than the carefully prepared speech in which the language has been very well laundered before they get to deliver it. I would say that this off-the-cuff technique had probably as great an impact in winning the 1948 election as the debates had in the 1960 election.

FUCHS: You didn't enter into the actual physical preparation for speeches in the '48 campaign?


REINSCH: No. As a matter of fact, when I was visiting the President early the following year, he had a map of his tour and he jokingly said to me, "You can see what your television stations cut you out of. You missed a great trip." That was a tough decision; I certainly hated to miss that trip.

FUCHS: Did you ever discuss with him the throwing away of his script of the major address he gave near the eve of the election, in St. Louis in the municipal auditorium?

REINSCH: No. This I don't recall.

FUCHS: It was said to be a very effective speech. While you were working fairly closely with the White House, did they bring letters to your attention that were addressed to the White House about his TV or radio addresses?

REINSCH: Oh, yes. We would review these trade


reactions. You need more of the professional reaction but at the same time you have to keep in mind that you are talking to the people. The reaction of the farmer in Iowa, or the laborer in Pennsylvania, or the fruit grower in California is much more important sometimes than the reactions along the Potomac. One of the problems of speech-writers and one of the problems of the presidency, of course, is this insulation from the people. You have a tendency in Washington to put the accent on what is important internationally and nationally, forgetting that someone in Indiana is not the least bit concerned about those problems. They are more concerned whether they are going to get a street light on their local street than they are about whether the atomic bomb is going to be dropped somewhere. This is just a commentary on human nature. Several times I brought surveys into the White House to show that the subjects that they were talking about that were so vital that I must agree that the American people should have been interested in, were eighteenth or


twentieth in importance in the minds of the people in the middle west or somewhere else

FUCHS: One of these letters was addressed to the White House early in the advent of the President's using of television, in July, 1949. It pointed out that the President on television needed a more interesting background; he needed a system of camera directions so that he would know where to look; the dead seconds after the finish of the speech should have been eliminated; and film clips or other visual images should have been added to the program; and this writer concluded, "The President deserves better television treatment next time." In the same connection you addressed a letter to Connelly in 1950 forwarding an article from Variety entitled "Star Spangled Monotony" in which they commented upon the pickup of President Truman's Jefferson-Jackson dinner in 1950. Again, saying supplemental film footing


should be used. Now, this was acted upon by 1952, or say, between 1950-52.

REINSCH: Let me jump ahead a bit. We have always felt in our field that when you describe a place overseas that if a map is placed in there and the location is noted, that the remark made by the President will be more effective. This requires very careful planning -- it is not always possible of achievement. If you are describing certain peoples and relationships of countries, illustrated material adds to the impact. I must admit however there is considerable argument among presidential advisers as to whether or not the President should use these supplemental aids. In 1956 I introduced the method of what I hoped would be the keynote address in film, rather than having a keynoter. I should have known by then that all I did was add another element to the program because we not only had the keynote address in film but we had a keynoter in person.


FUCHS: How did you think that worked out?

REINSCH: The keynote film, of course, we used as part of our campaign. It was the film that was introduced by Jack Kennedy, then a Senator.

FUCHS: Did you receive compensation for your work as radio adviser to the White House other than expenses?

REINSCH: No, as a matter of fact a lot of times I did not receive expenses, I wasn't particularly concerned about it; I considered it was a privilege to work with President Truman and to me it wasn't a type of job that required being paid for, anyway.

FUCHS: That question came to mind in reading Merriman Smith's book A President is Many Men, published in 1948, and in which he mentioned that you were not on the White House payroll.

REINSCH: Merriman is a good friend of mine, as a matter


of fact he gets down to Atlanta quite frequently -- he was using a little literary license.

FUCHS: Mr. Truman made an emergency broadcast, so to speak, regarding the Korean situation in 1950. Did you get called in in time to work on this?

REINSCH: No -- I don't recall the circumstance and I know I wasn't there. One of the most crucial ones I was in on was the OPA announcement on prices. They had to be very carefully guarded because of the impact on the economy. Drew Pearson worked me over quite a bit on that one. When I first showed up at the White House, Drew Pearson wrote a paragraph about this great political figure, Leonard Reinsch, which of course was of no interest to the national readers and was just a lot of filler. Then when we cut off some of his sources of supply and information, I became pretty stupid, which was also not of any interest to his readers. I rose and fell in Mr.


Pearson’s column according to the way we were blocking the information. Roosevelt had several leaks develop over a period of time in the White House and I think we successfully stopped these leaks. Mr. Pearson didn't like it.

FUCHS: Would you care to detail this because this has been brought up before?

REINSCH: One example -- there were several. The National Committee was located in the Mayflower Hotel on the mezzanine floor. Drew Pearson assigned a man to come in about five-thirty and ask to see someone that he knew wasn't there. Under one pretext or another he would get into the long hallway separating offices. When he would see an open office, he would go in and read the material on the desk. I was staying at the Mayflower and I observed this and suggested that no one should be allowed to go back to an office unless they were escorted. The National Committee thought


this was a good idea, put it into effect, and as a result source material dried up pretty fast. This resulted in another paragraph that I was pretty stupid, which didn't bother me at all one way or the other and didn't have any impact on the national readers anyhow -- they didn't much care. There are other sources closer in and around the White House that had to be stopped up -- a few people transferred. Over a period of years the columnists evidently developed some pretty good contacts.

FUCHS: Would you care to name any of these?

REINSCH: No, I would rather just leave it on general terms, but we did protect the President.

FUCHS: This speech you mentioned -- lifting of OPA controls -- that was just a radio address?

REINSCH: That was just radio, as I recall.


FUCHS: Your recommendation to a meeting of the Democratic National Committee in 1952 pointing out that the delegates needed to shape up a bit, so to speak, how did that actually turn out? You mentioned yesterday that your image on that occasion was not so good.

REINSCH: Well, we had a few problems with some key figures that forgot the admonition, including myself -- I don't mean as a key figure. We had a few problems with people reading newspapers during political speeches, and a few other problems of scratching their head and otherwise rather inelegant poses, but, by and large, I think that as a result of all the talks that were made about appearances that we come out much better than the Republicans.

FUCHS: A letter of February 13, 1952, that you addressed to Matt Connelly regarding the '52 campaign, again brought up the idea of five


minute spots and you related the technique back to its use in '44, not mentioning the use of such spots in '48. Would you have had any particular reason for that?

REINSCH: No, but in that connection I should mention that when Governor Stevenson became the candidate he asked for the removal of Frank McKinney and moved Steve Mitchell in as chairman. He thought that everyone associated with Truman should be eliminated and put on the back burner or off the stove completely. I happened to be in the Broadmoor with Frank McKinney when the Governor called him and suggested he was no longer the chairman. I also happened to be in the White House with the President at the time the candidate was in Baltimore. It was quite obvious that the candidate did not want to meet with the President because he felt that this association would contaminate him in


some way; and we were all quite irritated about this reaction. I did not, as a result of this feeling, get involved in the campaign until later in September when I got an urgent call from Washington from Hy Raskin, who asked if I could come in to Washington and meet with Steve Mitchell and himself. They had a television problem and I had to bail them out of some problems they had with television. I was pulled back into the activity only after they were in difficulty; but I was happy to be considered one of the Truman team. It was unfortunate and I think the Governor later regretted that attitude.

FUCHS: Do you recall Frank McKinney's immediate reaction -- or would you care to comment on it?

REINSCH: Well, a chairman that has successfully negotiated a convention and got the candidate nominated, when that candidate was not given


odds on a favored position at the start, you would expect a little more considerate treatment. He had the natural reaction that any of us would have under the circumstances.

FUCHS: Do you recall that he expressed surprise or did he have some indication...

REINSCH: I wouldn't say that it was surprise, it vindicated his suspicions.

FUCHS: You think it did?

REINSCH: The fact that there was no confirmation of his continuance as chairman following the convention would lead him to figure that there would be no change. There is nothing wrong with a change and the Governor had the privilege of selecting his own national chairman, but it was just the manner in which it was handled and the manner in which they approached the Truman team, and the feeling they had that the Truman


team couldn't help, and that they would hurt more than help.

FUCHS: There is no election of the national chairman?

REINSCH: The election of the national chairman is perfunctory, actually. He serves at the will of the National Committee which generally takes the suggestion of the national candidate, but the national committee as such elects him.

FUCHS: When is this normally done?

REINSCH: This depends on the wishes of the candidate. Paul Butler was elected in New Orleans, in a midterm, so to speak of the national committee meeting when Steve Mitchell stepped out. There was quite a hassle about Paul's succession to the national chairmanship. I was in the meeting in Indianapolis, a dinner meeting, and Albert Gore and Hy Raskin, Steve Mitchell, and Paul Butler,


and myself had a private dinner meeting and this was when the suggestion was made to Paul that he succeed Steve Mitchell and that it be done in the New Orleans meeting.

FUCHS: You became the Democratic National Convention manager for '56. When were you notified?

REINSCH: That was an unfortunate combination of circumstances that outside of the stress of developing a convention, normally would not happen. Neale was convention manager and I was handling -- as I did in 1952 -- the radio and TV arrangements, and we were getting along very well and everybody was happy, and then Neale and Paul Butler had a difference of opinion. I tried to get them both together and for awhile I kept things patched up but then everything fell, apart. Neale just felt he couldn't work with Paul any longer. I tried to get someone else into Neale's spot and couldn't do it and


for about a week nothing was done, so I had to step into the breach and take over the other activities in addition to my responsibilities as radio-TV director.

FUCHS: I should have put that in the form of a question as to whether or not you were convention manager?

REINSCH: Well, I ended up then, of course in ‘60 as a manager and '64, and in ‘68 I will be consultant to the site committee, consultant to the arrangements committee and executive director of the convention, and Neale and I will be working together again.

FUCHS: I got this implication from the Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention for '56 -- the implication that you had either been elected after the convention or that you served as convention manager, but Neale Roach was official



REINSCH: Yes, he started out and then I had to fill in.

FUCHS: One of your recommendations was that an idea be adopted to have a closed circuit national television meeting. Was this done?

REINSCH: It was adopted in a different way. The idea was basically sound and it still is, but the manner in which it evolved got to be pretty expensive, and AT&T and the closed circuit people made the money and the Democratic committee didn't come out too well on it. The Republican committee didn't come out too well either when they used the same idea.

FUCHS: Do you have any comments that might be of interest to historians about any of these particular chairmen -- Hannegan, Boyle, Paul Butler, or Frank McKinney?


REINSCH: I think that the political party like the Government is blessed with good fortune and that the right chairman comes in at the right time. In '44 Bob Hannegan was a natural. The chairmanship of Frank McKinney was very necessary in the '52 turbulence. The '48 convention, unfortunately, was not as well organized as clearly recognizing the political facts of life as it should have been. There was not as much control of the convention -- and I speak of that in the favorable sense and not the unfavorable sense of control of delegates -- I think that this could have been remedied with a little different directions from the National Committee. But the National Committee doesn't have any punitive power, it doesn't have any delegated powers in the sense that a delegate feels responsible. Keep in mind that a delegate comes to a national political convention at his own expense. He or she has been selected by several


different methods; in some cases appointed by a governor, in some cases appointed by the state committee; in some cases elected. They have different loyalties; they have different feelings about the party. When you get right down to it the convention is a cross section of "We the people of the United States." The National Committee doesn't have too much control of "We the people," and that is why a convention gets out of bounds sometimes. Steve Mitchell came in with Governor Stevenson with very high principles and a dedication to the right. You get back to another fundamental that the only purpose of the convention, as I mentioned before, is to nominate two candidates that you expect will be President and Vice President. In the field of politics there is no second place. If you are going to win you have to work awfully hard and you have to do many things and you have to talk to many different types of people. Sometimes


the chairmen lose sight of the fundamental purpose of the committee and the convention. Paul Butler was an unusually fine chairman for the period in which he served. He kept the party together as he had an intense loyalty for the Democratic Party. He had the misfortune of having a trait that didn't permit forgiveness or tolerance of people that might differ in keeping the Democratic Party together during a period when we were scattered all over the place. Paul would have been more effective if he had used a little different approach with Speaker Rayburn, probably, and other people on the Hill; but the attributes that made him good for the national party, also made it difficult for him sometimes to get along with the people on the Hill. Paul Butler was a great chairman at the time when we needed the missionary zeal that he provided for the party.

FUCHS: Prior to the actual election of '48, did you


think that J. Howard McGrath was a fortuitous selection?

REINSCH: I must be honest and say no. I think he lacked the understanding of detail or the ability to delegate to have the details covered. I think that in his own area he may have been very good, but a national chairman's job with a convention requires attention to ten thousand details and the ability to delegate the execution of details, and this he lacked. I think the ‘48 convention would have been a different convention with a different national chairman.

FUCHS: Could you be specific as to how?

REINSCH: It is pretty hard to say what could have been, but I think it would have been different. In the final analysis it was a successful convention because it nominated winners and this is the way politics is judged. The '52


convention was, from the Democratic standpoint, an interesting convention and a good convention, but a failure. They nominated losers.

FUCHS: Can you point out any specific places where you think Mitchell did a disservice, either of commission or omission to the nominee, Governor Stevenson?

REINSCH: Not necessarily the nominee. I think that his zeal and his good intentions were fine. I think that his timing sometimes in putting in improved practices left something to be desired. I think that the selection of some of the people that the Governor had confidence in resulted in placement of talents in the wrong area. They were people of tremendous ability but they were in the wrong slot.

FUCHS: Bill Boyle didn't serve, of course, during a presidential election, but I wonder if you have any comments about him?


REINSCH: Bill had a good feeling for people; an innate sense of people relationships, and he certainly had a practical, political savvy that was real professional.

FUCHS: Did Mr. Truman personally ever object to more staging, so to speak, for television shows?

REINSCH: Yes. I think this started from the natural modesty of the man and we had a little difficulty from the first day he went into the White House. I talked to him about the way President Roosevelt would have the state militia lined up as he went into Poughkeepsie and then very naively with a smile say, "I just can’t understand why all the people are out here, how they know that I am going to be coming in here at this time." The state militia had been there for the last four hours and everybody knew that that was a tip-off that the President was coming; but President Truman


wanted to cut down on the number of policemen at the first session that he attended when he spoke to the Congress -- during a session of Congress -- and he felt there was too much show. I talked to him at some length about the fact that the people expect certain things of a President that they don't expect of other elected officials, and there is a little pomp and ceremony that goes with the presidency that might run contrary to his natural inclinations but this is all part of the White House trimmings, so to speak; and he agreed, but he wasn't convinced.

FUCHS: Were teleprompters in use by this time?

REINSCH: 1952 was the first time a teleprompter showed up.

FUCHS: Elmer Cornwell, in a book recently published called Presidential Leadership of Public Opinion, criticized the failures of the President's


advisers to adapt specifically to the "peculiar requirements of television." He does say that Leonard Reinsch was added to the staff as a radio expert for technical arrangements and review of speech text in light of the needs of radio, but he says "the note of formality and the speech delivery were never remedied." Would you comment on that?

REINSCH: I think the President made tremendous progress. What this writer apparently is doing is starting with the President in office and continuing in office and is not going back enough in his research to know the manner in which the man as Senator delivered his talks. There is no purpose in the type of work that I did, in changing the man's personality, in changing the impact of his material; if you start in that direction you are in Hollywood. Our purpose was to make the President more intelligible, to make him feel more at ease,


and to have the people understand what he is talking about; and this he could do in his own manner with his own personality and not my personality or anyone else's personality. We wanted him to be himself, but we wanted to be sure that he delivered it so that people understood it. That's the purpose of speech.

FUCHS: A Pennsylvania State College expert said back in 1945 that Truman talked with an appealing ring of sincerity, conviction and simplicity and that he had an earthy quality -- what he lacked in oratorical beauty was more than compensated for by this earthy quality, and that he had a measured cadence reminiscent of Hoover and Coolidge. Would you have comments on any of that?

REINSCN: It bears out our purpose in working with the President. We were not trying to make a great orator of the President. We were trying to let him express himself to the people, because I was


convinced that the genuine qualities of President Truman becoming evident to the American people, would endear him as a President and that his power of leadership would be enhanced. Therefore, and I think that we were very fortunate that President Truman was an excellent student and that he took suggestions well, very direct, and that the result was the man himself being able to project the man that he was, and is. That should be the purpose of the speech, not to get a good mark from a speech expert for great oratory. There are very few great orators, and we will have fewer great orators with the mechanical assistance that we have today.

FUCHS: What about his comparison, if you can judge that, with Coolidge and Hoover?

REINSCH: I don't know. I did not study either Hoovers speaking or Coolidge's. I was acquainted


with Hoover later in life, I don't recall ever having heard Coolidge speak.

FUCHS: What about Mr. Truman's gestures, do you have any comments on that?

REINSCH: Everyone has certain gestures. President Truman had one, of course, that was referred to as "chopping wood," which was natural to him. If you had strapped his hands to his side and made it impossible for him to have that gesture I think you would have made him ill at ease. If a speaker is at ease at the rostrum and he has some natural gestures, it is better to let him use those -- so long as they are not too disconcerting -- so that he feels comfortable. If the speaker has to constantly think that he's got to point three fingers to the northeast on the third paragraph you generally get a mechanical speech; but if the speaker wants to wave his arms around and he feels natural doing it, let him do it. We were


not trying to get a classroom, ideal situation of "this is the way you should be as a speaker." We were trying to get a President to express thoughts the American people should have in the best way that he was most effective.

FUCHS: Did you advise with anyone else during the period that you were advising Mr. Truman? I mean did you advise any other major speakers?

REINSCH: Yes. I worked some later with Governor Stevenson at his request, and I have since worked with many others. My record fortunately has been pretty good. Former Governor [Carl E.] Sanders, Lieutenant Governor Smith who is now in office, Mayor Allen, former representative Charles Weltner, all spent considerable time in this office and in our studios in developing their own technique. We worked with them to give them the best possible presentation manner on television. Six months ago I received a call from a


Republican candidate for governor in another state asking if I would be available to help with television presentation. I pointed out that my political work was an extra-curricular activity -- I did this work as a professional, but I am a Democrat and I work for Democrats and I want to see the Democrats in office.

FUCHS: Did you go back to the White House when Mr. Truman held his dinner late in December of '52 for various staff members?

REINSCH: I attended several dinners there and I don't recall that particular one.

FUCHS: Have you any other remarks that you would like to make on things I should have covered?

REINSCH: No. I think you did a very thorough job. Your research brought back many happy memories. One of the most pleasant periods of my life was spent working with President Truman. I enjoyed


the man as an individual; I admired him as a President; and I again say that he will go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents in the United States.

FUCHS: Thank you very much, Mr. Reinsch.

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

List of Subjects Discussed

    Aleman, Miguel, 54
    Allen, George E, 3
    Allen, Ivan, 145
    Arnall, Elks; 47
    Atlanta Georgian, 2
    Atlanta Journal, 2
    Atomic bomb, 61-64
    Ayers, Eben, 53

    Barkley, Alben W., 58
    Biffle, Leslie L., 12-13
    "Big Four", 62
    Biow Company, 35, 104
    Blair House, 50, 60
    Bolivar, Simon, 72
    Boyle, William M., Jr., 138-139
    Bricker, John W., 5, 6
    Broadmoor, Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colo., 127
    Butler, Paul, 97, 130, 131, 133, 136

    Cabinet Room (White House), 59
    Canada, 54-55
    Chicago, Illinois, 3-4, 100-101
    Chicago Tribune, 89, 91
    Christie, Jack, 114
    Collier's magazine, 79
    Connally, Tom, 11-13
    Connelly, Matthew J., 8, 87-88, 98, 126
    Cox, James M,, 2, 34, 44, 51-52

    D. F. Keller Prize, 112
    Daniels, Jonathan, 79, 81-82
    Democratic National Committee:

      chairmen, 1944-1960, 127-131, 134-139
      chairmen, selection of, 130
      closed circuit television, use of, 133
      Fry, Kenneth D., appointment as director of radio and television, 113-114
      Mitchell, S. A., replaced by Butler, Paul as chairman, 130-131
      news leaks, 123-125
      radio in 1944 Presidential campaign, use of, 15-17
      Reinsch, Leonard, as radio and TV director for during Truman Administration, 54-59
      role of, 95
    Democratic National Convention, 1944:
      convention city, choice of, 100-101
      financing, 101, 102-103
      organization, 26-29
      Reinsch, Leonard, radio director for, 2-5
      Roosevelt, Franklin D., seconding speech for, 90-92
      Wallace, Henry A., support for renomination, 28-30
    Democratic National Convention, 1948:
      and McGrath, J. Howard, 137
      organization, lack of, 134, 137
      radio TV coverage, 113-114
      television and radio, use of, 76-78
    Democratic National Convention, 1952:
      evaluation of, 137-138
      rules of procedure, changes in, 92-94
      television, use of, 57-59
      TV coverage, difficulties encountered in, 126
    Democratic National Convention, 1956:
      Butler, Paul and Neal Roach, differences over operation of, 131-132
      questionnaire, use of in connection with choice of convention site, 101
      Reinsch, Leonard, as manager of, 131-133
      rules of procedure, changes in, 93-95, 97-99
      vice presidential candidate, choice of, 97
    Durante, Jimmy, 19

    Early, Stephen T., 49, 79
    Eisenhower, Dwight D., 3, 70-71
    Evans, Tom L., 10, 36
    Executive Office Building, 65

    Fala, 20, 25
    Fry, Kenneth D., 113-115

    Goldsborough, T. Alan, 73
    Gore, Albert, 130

    Hague, Frank, 4, 28
    Hamm, John, 35
    Hannegan, Robert E., 3, 4, 17-18, 27, 28, 134
    Harry S. Truman Library, dedication of, 70-71
    Hassett, William D., 53
    Higgins, Andrew J., 22
    Hit Parade, 16
    Hoover, Herbert, 70-72

    Infomation Please, 16

    Jackson, Samuel D., 3, 28
    Johnson, Lyndon B., 39, 51-52

    KCMO Radio, 36
    Kelly, Edward J., 23-24, 28, 91, 100
    Kennedy, John F., 98-99

    Lamar, Missouri, 6, 8-13, 35, 37
    Landon, Alfred M., 10
    Life magazine, 77, 79-80

    Madison Square Garden, 29-31
    Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D. C., 48, 124
    McGrath, J, Howard, 137
    McKinney, Frank E., 127-128, 133, 134
    Melgard, Al, 28
    Mexico, 55-56
    Michelson, Charles, 18
    Miller, Emma Guffey, 76
    Missouri, U.S.S., 84
    Mitchell, Stephen A., 127-128, 130, 131, 135, 138

    Nixon, Richard M., 39, 99

    Pauley, Edwin W., 4, 17, 26-27, 28, 91
    Pearson, Drew, 123-125
    Peoria, Ill., 88-89
    Porter, Paul A., 17-18, 27, 105, 109
    Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 139
    Presidential campaign, 1944:

    Presidential campaign, 1948:
      radio, use of by Democratic Party, 103-104, 105-106
      Truman, Harry S., speech technique, 117
    Presidential campaign, 1952:
      Democratic National Committee chairman, F. McKinney replaced by S.A. Mitchell as, 127-128
      Mitchell, Stephen A., and, 138
      Truman, H.S. and Adlai Stevenson, differences between, 127-128, 129-130
    Presidential campaign, 1956, 98
    Presidential campaign, 1960, 98-99
    Presidential press conferences, 65-69
    Presidential press secretaries, 79
    Presidential seal, 38-40
    Presidential speeches:
      Joint Session of Congress, April 16, 1945, address before, 11, 46
      New York City, N.Y., October 27, 1945, 84
      Ottawa, Canada, June 11, 1947, public reaction to, 119-120
      San Francisco, Calif., April 25, 1945, 56
      supplemental aids in television, use of, 120-121
    Presidential speeches. See also Truman, Harry S., individual speech entries.
    Price Administration, Office of, 123
    Public address systems, use of at political conventions, 110

    Radio, political campaigning by, 14-17, 33-35, 103-106
    Railroad strike, May, 1946, 73
    Raskin, H.B. (Hy), 128, 130
    Rayburn, Sam, 46, 78, 97, 136
    Reinsch, Leonard J.:

      attacks on by Drew Pearson, 123-125
      accompanies President H.S. Truman on trip to Mexico, March 1947, 55-56
      biographical data, 1-3
      briefer political speeches, advocate of, 33-34
      Canada, trip to with President H.S. Truman, June 1947, 54-55
      compensation as advisor to the White House on radio matters, 122
      Democratic National Committee chairmen, 1944-60, evaluation of, 134-139
      Democratic National Committee, as radio advisor to, 113
      Democratic National Convention, 1952, director of radio TV at, 57-59
      Democratic National Convention 1956, manager for, 131-133
      Democratic National Conventions, 1960 and 1964, as manager of, 96, 98-99
      Democratic National Conventions, role in, 96
      Democratic Presidential campaign, 1944, radio director of, 2-33
      Democratic vice presidential campaign, 1944, radio director for, 2-3
      European assignment as communications expert, 1945, 85-87
      five minute political advertisement on radio, introduces concept of, 1944 Presidential campaign, 14-17, 103-104
      Kennedy Nixon debates, 1960, role in, 98-99
      Life magazine, refusal to write article for concerning White House duties, 79-80
      popularity of political candidates, formula for measuring strength of, 111-112
      Presidential campaign, 1944, report on radio activities, 88, 103-106, 111-113
      Presidential secretaries, relationship with, 69
      press secretary to President H. S. Truman, 47-53
      radio director, Democratic National Convention, 2-5
      Roosevelt, Franklin D., learns of death of, 48
      Roosevelt, Franklin D,, technical advisor to, 1944 Presidential campaign, 21-22
      St. Louis, Mo., attends Democratic campaign rally with H. S. Truman, 1944, 14
      speech advisor to Democratic party leaders, 141
      technical consultant to H, S. Truman for radio TV speeches, 56-59
      TV and radio in political campaigns, as a consultant on use of, 98-99
      Truman, Harry S.
        advisor to on speech technique as President and Vice President, 31-33, 37-38, 40-44
        evaluation of as a speaker, 144-145
        first meeting with, 6-8
        speech advisor to, 1944 Presidential campaign, 7, 9-13
      Truman Library dedication, director, radio TV coverage, 70-71
      White House, work for during L. B. Johnson Administration, 51-52
      White House staff, resignation from, April 1945, 52-53
    Republican National conventions, 95
    Roach, Neale, 28, 107-109, 116-117, 131-132
    Roosevelt, Franklin D.:
      acceptance speech, 1932, 5
      Cox, James M., relationship with, 2
      Fala and 1944 Presidential campaign, 25
      funeral train, 49-51
      International Brotherhood of Teamsters, speech before, Sept. 23, 1944, 25
      presidential campaign, 1944, 9, 19-20, 90-91
      publicity, use of, 139
      radio talks, 1944 presidential campaign, 21
      Soldiers Field, Chicago, Ill., Oct. 28, 1944, speech, 23-24
    Roosevelt, Mrs. Franklin D. (Eleanor Roosevelt), 50, 64
    Ross, Charles G., 69, 75

    St, Louis, Mo., 14
    Sanders, Carl E,, 145
    Secret Service, U. S., 38, 42, 55
    Short, Joseph H., 69
    Short, Mrs. Joseph H. (Beth Campbell Short), 69
    Small Businessmen for America, 22
    Small Businessmen for Roosevelt Committee, 1944, 22
    Smith, George T., 145
    Smith, Merriman, 73, 122
    Snyder, John W., 49
    Stanton, Prank, 37, 66
    Stevenson, Adlai E., 57, 97, 127-128, 135, 138, 145

    Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, International Brotherhood of, 25-26
    Televising of Presidential speeches, 120-122
    Television broadcast, first White House, Oct. 1947, 74-75
    Television, use of at 1952 Democratic National Convention, 57-59
    Tobin, Daniel J,, 25
    Truman, Harry S.:

      acceptance speech, Democratic vice presidential nomination, 1944, 5-6, 8-13
      atomic bomb, decision to use against Japan, 61-64
      ceremony, dislike of, 139-140
      decision maker, as a, 61
      Democratic National Convention, at the, 57-59
      early riser, as an, 14-15
      eyeglasses, treatment of to stop reflections, 42
      final speech as Senator, 35-36
      first days as President, 48-51
      historian, as an, 72
      history, knowledge of, 82-83
      interpolations in prepared speeches, 45-46
      Madison Square Garden, Oct. 31, 1944, appearance at, 29-31
      Navy Day speech, New York, N, Y., Oct, 27, 1945, 83-84
      Peoria, Ill., speech, vice presidential campaign, Oct. 26, 1944, 88-89
      personality of, 40-41
      Presidential campaign, 1948, speech technique, 117-119
      Presidential seal, use of during speeches, 38-39
      Presidential speeches, study of audience reaction to, 37
      railroad strike, May, 1946, and, 73
      Reinsch, Leonard:
        advisor to in speech technique, 139-146
        appointed interim press secretary by, 1945, 47-53
        first meeting with, 6-8
      St. Louis, Mo., broadcast at, 1944 vice presidential campaign, 14
      speaking style, 7-8, 10-11
      speech, Buffalo, N. Y., April 5, 1945, 47
      speech technique: speeches delivered as vice president, 37, 40
      speeches, public reaction to, 118-120
      speeches. See also Presidential speeches
      speechmaker, as a, 141-143
      speechmaking, gestures used in, 144-145
      Stevenson, Adlai E., relationship with, 1952 Presidential campaign, 127-128
      trip to west coast, June 1945, 56
      Truman Library, dedication of, 1957, 70-71
      undelivered speech, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D. C., April, 14, 1945, 48
      vice presidential nomination, Democratic, 1944, 4-6, 28-29
      vice presidential nomination, Democratic, 1944, acceptance speech, 5-6, 8-13, 37
      wire recorder, first use of in connection with speech preparation, 40-41
      wire recorder, use of in speech preparation, 59
      work in evenings as President, 61-62
      World Series, attendance at, 1.944, 14
      World War II, announcement at end of in Europe, 85-86
    Truman, Mrs. Harry S. (Bess Wallace Truman):
      news conferences, aversion to holding, 64-65
      publicity, dislike of, 58-59
      Reinsch, Leonard, first meeting with, 8
    Truman, Margaret (Mrs. Clifton Daniel), 8, 65

    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 87
    United Nations, 56-57

    Vice presidential nomination, Democratic, 1944, 4-6, 30-31
    V J Day, 1945, 83

    Wagner, Robert F., Sr., 29
    Walker, Frank C., 27-28
    Wallace, Henry A., 29-31
    Weltner, Charles, 145
    WHIO Radio, 2, 34
    White House:

      communications system, 75-76
      first television broadcast from, Oct. 1947, 74-75
      first television set in President's office, 74-75
      news leaks, 123-125
      press conference room, proposed, 66
    White House staff, articles by members of, 79-81
    Winslow, Lorenzo, 66
    WIOD Radio, 2
    Woodward, Stanley, 50
    World War II, termination of in Europe, 85-86
    WSB Radio, 2

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