Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Oral History Interview with
John W. Snyder

Secretary of the Treasury in the Truman Administration, 1946-53. Other Federal positions once held include Executive Vice-President and Director, Defense Plant Corporation, 1940-43; Assistant to the Director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1940-44; Federal Loan Administrator, 1945; Director, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 1945-46. Secretary Snyder was a longtime close friend of Harry S. Truman beginning with their service in the U.S. Army Reserves after World War I.

Washington, D.C.,
April 16, 1969
By Jerry N. Hess

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Snyder Oral History Transcripts]


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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

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

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Snyder Oral History Transcripts]



Oral History Interview with
John W. Snyder

Washington, D.C.,
April 16, 1969
By Jerry N. Hess

[1401]

HESS: Mr. Snyder, this morning let's discuss the Japan phase of the trip that you took in November of 1949.

SNYDER: Right. On November 17th at 7:25 a.m. we arrived in Tokyo at Haneda airfield and we were met at the airport by General MacArthur, Mr. Joseph M. Dodge, G. H. Q. Chief Almond and party. Mr. Joseph M. Dodge was the financial advisor to SCAP. We then proceeded to the residence of General MacArthur where I was a guest during my visit to Japan. Before discussing my visit to Japan I want to again emphasize that I was most careful to state in advance that the official purpose of the trip was to inspect the United States Coast Guard installations in the Pacific. I had been invited to visit Japan some

[1402]

months previously by General MacArthur so I took advantage of the proximity to accept this invitation. It was fortunate that I did use these precautions for the papers began to speculate that the purpose of my trip was to bring about the devaluation of the yen. And they played it up very strongly and referred back to my trip to London just previous to the discussions that came up later in the United States which resulted in the devaluation of the pound. It created quite a flurry, but fortunately, due to the careful planning and the press releases which emphasized that the purpose of my trip was inspection of Coast Guard installations, General MacArthur, State Department, and Treasury were able to pin it right down to its true purpose. That thorough planning showed that the Japan part of the trip came about because of this previous invitation of

[1403]

General MacArthur and because we were in the vicinity. For our record in looking backward, I have told you that it was really, off the record, a three purpose trip and it actually was that, but for the public consumption, and because of the manner in which the press always tries to make a great to-do out of it, we were very cautious to try to indicate that the official purpose of the trip was the Coast Guard installation inspection.

Upon arriving, I stated to the press again the official purpose of my trip. In answer to questions regarding my discussion on Japanese monetary problems I stated that I would talk on any subject that General MacArthur wished to discuss. So I just passed the ball right back to General MacArthur, put him in control of the situation, and that brought it to a close finally, but the papers were loaded with speculation

[1404]

that the real reason for the trip was to discuss the devaluation of the yen.

At 9 o'clock, after getting settled in my quarters, Admiral O'Neill and the Coast Guard officials accompanied me to an inspection of the Yokohama and Tokyo Coast Guard installations. At 11 o'clock I made an official call on General MacArthur at G.H.Q. This was very brief, he extended me a warm welcome and outlined the things that he had in mind, a thorough briefing on the situation in Japan and in the Far East including Korea.

HESS: What were his views on Korea?

SNYDER: Well at that time he didn't express any, he just said he was going to give me a briefing during my trip.

HESS: Which came later.

SNYDER: Which came later. Following my official call, I went into conference with Mr. Joseph M.

[1405]

Dodge, who was the financial advisor to SCAP. He was the man that I had arranged to go over to help General MacArthur try to straighten out his economic situation, and to back him up I sent a cadre of twelve Treasury experts, specialists, over to work on the taxes, and new monetary phases of the reorganization of the Japanese government. Mr. Dodge warmly thanked me for the splendid work that the Treasury people had done and expressed general pleasure at the warm cooperation that he had been receiving from General MacArthur. Because one of the key points of the whole offer of help by sending Mr. Dodge to the area with the Treasury people was that General MacArthur would cooperate sympathetically and give them an opportunity to show results. General MacArthur initially had had a great number of his staff officers try to undertake these economic,

[1406]

monetary and educational operations and had not had great success. So it was upon his request to me to send help that the arrangements were made. It was thoroughly understood, in fact we received a letter from the General stating that Mr. Dodge would have full cooperation and assistance and all the directives that he needed to accomplish what he was undertaking to do. We even went so far as to have it specifically understood that Mr. Dodge could report directly to Washington on his programs and that he had direct contact with General MacArthur and didn't have to do it through channels, as had been the case with quite a number of other projects over there. I was delighted to hear both from General MacArthur and from Joe Dodge that they had functioned very, very splendidly together.

Following my conference with Dodge,

[1407]

General Almond, who was chief of staff of the troops, had a luncheon for me and I had an opportunity to meet quite a number of the top military and naval people. I might say right here that I learned from them that the Communist press had been extremely active trying to stir up trouble in every fashion possible between the American troops and the Japanese people and the Korean people. Okinawa, of course, was quite an area of conflict. The Akahata was the newspaper that was the leading Communist paper. We had a very interesting and searching talk during the luncheon and I was advised that the following day we would have a full dress briefing of the situation. Following the luncheon we made a brief tour of the city. At that time the reconstruction job had not gotten under full swing. There were a great many badly burnt out areas. But they

[1408]

showed me their plans which involved putting up better houses. They weren't to be as flimsy as the original ones were. They had better sanitation arrangements, had better lighting arrangements, and they told me at the time that it was the plan to try to make them attractive for the student and for the family. The Japanese are very strong on family life. In this connection I want to jump forward some years and say that when I was back in Japan in 1955 that Mr. Mikata, one of the officers of the power company in Tokyo, very proudly told me that as of that date every family unit had at least one electric drop light installed and that 69 percent of the homes had radios in them, which shows you the tremendous step forward that had come in the reorganization, rehabilitation, of the Japanese economy.

At 5 o'clock that afternoon Prime Minister Yoshida came to pay an official call on me, and

[1409]

during his visit we discussed the new constitution. This was quite an undertaking for the Japanese to get away entirely from the old military dominated operation and come up with a new constitution patterned somewhat on that of the United States. The State Department, Justice Department and the Treasury Department contributed a great deal in helping them draft this new constitution, and I was pleased that Prime Minister Yoshida seemed to be enthusiastic about it, though he was puzzled a great deal how some parts would work. He was particularly interested in the voting provision and was not too sure how to handle it just the way it was set up. But by and large he was very enthused. We also discussed the farmland reform which was quite a departure from the old landed gentry arrangement with tremendous privately owned

[1410]

rice paddies and the other lands. They raised some sugar. The farms had been operated by the peons -- slaves practically who were very low paid employees -- and under the land reform these rice paddies would be divided up into smaller sections and allotted to the individuals. It was more a case of family than the individual ownership. However, this entailed also a marketing problem that was not sufficiently provided for in the plan. They soon learned that it was not enough to just give a man some farmland to operate. There had to be some planning on what he was to plant, the type of seed he was to use, so as to assure the marketability of his agricultural product and then, of course, he had to have some guidance in what to do about selling it; Where to sell it, when to sell it, and how it was to be

[1411]

prepared for the market. And so that was one of the large, you might say, correlated operations of the land reform. It went further than that in the distribution of the land. They had also discussed certain cooperative operations similar to the ones that we have here to help the farmer to be able to buy his tools for his farming, and help to get the loans for the original purchase of seed and for improvements on his rice paddy. And to improve his irrigation systems and so there were those cooperatives too that were involved. By the time we got through discussing it it had proven to be a most fascinating undertaking. Our Agricultural Department was extremely cooperative and helpful with them in setting up some of these operations.

And then we got off into banking which was rather brief because he said, "My friend

[1412]

Ikeda will discuss all these things with you but we are most grateful to you for the great assistance that the Treasury Department, under your direction, has given us in this reorganization."

Following the call of the Prime Minister, he remained while some of his Cabinet came in. Minister of Finance Ikeda, who later became Prime Minister and resigned just before he died in 1955. He was Prime Minister when I visited there in '55. I was at dinner at his house when he was taken to the hospital for a throat ailment from which he never recovered. He was a very dear friend of mine. He visited me three times here in the United States, and he always -- to everyone not just me, but to everyone -- always gave me credit for explaining to him Mr. Truman's philosophy in politics and stating that it was on those principles that he won the election as

[1413]

Prime Minister. The Cabinet members who were there at that time were Minister of Finance, Ikeda; the Trade and Industry Minister, Inagaki; and the Economic Stabilization Board Director, General Aoki. They came in accompanied by Mr. Joseph M. Dodge. Our conference covered all phases of the Japanese economic problems and their plan for meeting them and lasted for some hours. Each left saying that he would like to feel free to come back again if there was an opportunity during my visit and follow up on some of the things that we had discussed. They in particular wanted to check back on some of the things that I said to them and some of the things that Mr. Dodge brought out and to re-discuss some phases of it. They were extremely pleased with what we had done in connection with setting up their credit system, their monetary system. We set up an entirely new

[1414]

currency system for them, specie and new paper currency. We also set up a tax system for them, and also a collecting system for getting the income from the taxes and a budgetary system. We went into great lengths with setting up a budgetary system. Mr. Dodge at that time was very open in saying that he was more than pleased with the thorough cooperation that he had received from these ministers.

HESS: Did you find them apt pupils?

SNYDER: Very, very. Ikeda particularly had been diligently studying. He was very United States oriented, and he was from a very top family of Japanese who had, by great skill, steered clear of the war guilt or any operation of that sort. His family had been bankers and landowners, very wealthy as had all of those who were there. But they had been able to establish

[1415]

a disassociation from the warlords and it made it very effective and helpful that such able leaders stepped in to undertake to set up a government that was so drastically different from the warlord government.

Following this meeting we had a rather late dinner which Joe Dodge had set up for us to meet some of the leading businessmen and other government officials of Japan, and quite a number of his staff and my staff were present. It turned out to be a sort of discussional dinner because a great number of matters were brought up that were mutually interesting to those present.

The following morning at 8:30 we had breakfast with Mr. Moss, my representative from the Treasury, and his staff. We spent some hour and forty-five minutes during breakfast discussing business. We had to combine our eating with our work because we were there such a short

[1416]

time. And so most of our breakfasts, lunches and dinners were really working occasions. There was one dinner and one luncheon, however, that was purely social and both of those were given by General MacArthur. But at this particular breakfast I had an opportunity to get a direct verbal report from Mr. Moss and different members of his cadre. I inquired into the various acceptances by the Japanese as well as by General MacArthur's staff and General MacArthur. It appeared that they had worked well together, all parties, and that by the early spring of 1956 they would be finished with their program.

Following this at 10 o'clock we went to G.H.Q. for a series of briefings. They had it well set up, with progress maps and charts of the area. General Almond conducted the briefing and called on various staff officers for the different phases of it. They brought out

[1417]

that they did not feel that they had sufficient troops in Korea, that while they didn't think that there would be any threat from the North, they did think that they were pretty thinly deployed. Their troops were very poorly supplied.

HESS: Why did they think that they needed more troops if they didn't think that they were threatened?

SNYDER: Because they had to build up the South Korean ROK troops there, train them and equip them so that they could meet the threat if it ever came. But that was their problem right then.

HESS: They didn't think that there was enough men there for training purposes?

SNYDER: That's right and for demonstration purposes

[1418]

and that sort of thing. They had quite a number of things to say about their problems of the assignment of patrols of the Navy. And of course, there were naval people there too. And the Navy thought that they were too thinly deployed, that they didn't have sufficient numbers of vessels to do the patrolling that they were charged with, covering all of the Japan and China seas that they were trying to police. But generally speaking the report was that they felt that they had had great success in pacifying Japan, that the readjustment within four years of the Japanese had been remarkable, that there was a tremendous interest in getting to work and having a job. And in education, they were all fascinated apparently with the new education programs. You see, we put in a completely new set of school books with a different emphasis on history. The warlords' omnipotence was toned

[1419]

down terrifically, there was sufficient history of their accomplishments, and so forth, to keep the pride of the people up, but the militaristic side of it was toned down materially in the new text books and frankly, the texture of the texts of the new educational system was somewhat westernized while it maintained the culture of the Japanese. It did bring in new ideas, new commercial ideas, new municipal ideas. In their civics for instance, the system brought about better organization of communities and things of that character.

HESS: Who worked up these textbooks?

SNYDER: Oh, it was the job of various organizations -- it's a list a mile long. Every department here in the United States sent assistance.

HESS: Does that come under the U.S. Office of Education or something like that?

[1420]

SNYDER: I don't think that we had an organization by that name at that time. Remember that that was before H.E.W. was set up. And so we used the American Educational Association. We had many committees of all sorts for different phases of public life and called on Governors, professors, conferences on all phases of our life here to send over assistance. All of this, of course, was under General MacArthur's direction. He maintained a very proper decorum with the Emperor and everything was at arms length, with no great cordiality or warmness. It was strictly at arms length and the general public understood that MacArthur was running things and while he was very decorous with the Emperor and later brought his son, the Prince, more and more into things, but he understood the mind of the Japanese sufficiently and the Emperor seemed to reciprocate the understanding

[1421]

that he was finished and that he was there by sufferance. He normally, under their code, would have been beheaded. It was, I think, very well handled. It sounds very dictatorial as though at times we were setting up something that far exceeded the dictation of the Emperor, but it worked out in good shape and the Japanese people, as I say, liked it very much and they were very adaptable and flexible, and moved right into the new things as is demonstrated by their economic and cultural growth since the war.

Following this briefing conference, at 11 o'clock Mr. Dodge and I had another session. We brought in the people who wanted to come back again because he felt that it was very important that we give them a chance to check with their staffs and then to come back and get another round at us after our official meeting the

[1422]

night before, the courtesy call which went much deeper than normal for a courtesy call. But he felt that they should have another round so he brought them back in at 11 and we had another hour's discussion with the Cabinet members. They brought some of their staff along and Dodge had some of his staff present at that time and we also had two of General MacArthur's staff with us on that occasion. I was very cautious to see that in every contact that I made, that I had present a representative of General MacArthur, because I wanted him to be well aware of everything that took place while I was in Japan. I was rewarded by his attitude and his comments after I left of the splendid way that everything worked while I was there.

From there we went to lunch at General MacArthur's and this was a very formal state affair. The General had almost the same

[1423]

discipline in his home that he had with the Emperor. Everyone was assembled and waited. All of a sudden the butler came to the door and announced in deep tones "The General," and with that everybody came to attention and the General walked in and bowed very courteously and we all went back to our cocktails and conversations. He spent most of his time talking with me, and barely spoke to the rest of his guests. He outlined to me that while it was largely supposed to be a very social affair he did want to take advantage of our sitting together to tell me of a few more things that he wanted us to discuss while I was there. Mrs. MacArthur was a delightful person. She was extremely pleasant and made my visit most delightful. You could hardly lay a handkerchief down before it was whisked off to be laundered. And she made everything very

[1424]

pleasant. As a matter of fact she put me in touch with a delightful Japanese shopkeeper in Kyoto, who I will tell you about a little later. While we are on that subject though, every evening that I was there, after the social events and conferences were over, General MacArthur came up to my quarters and visited me for an hour and one time for nearly two hours. He brought me up to date on everything that happened from the time he went to Manila on up to the present. His review was well organized. And to say that he came up to confer would be, I think, a mild distortion. It was a monologue. The General walked the floor, he rarely sat down, he walked the floor and made gestures as thought he was delivering a lecture or a speech or addressing a classroom, and he constantly had that cob pipe in his hand, lighting it over and over when he paused. He would

[1425]

light it and he'd go through all of the gestures. But I want to tell you, Mr. Hess, they were the most interesting sessions that I have had because the man was a brilliant man and there was no question as to his evaluation of his own merit and worth, and he lost no time in telling me that he thought that he had been badly mistreated by President Roosevelt. That he...

HESS: In what way?

SNYDER: That he was not given a greater part in the European affair. That he was not given sufficient troops and that he was not given sufficient support and that he should have been put in a -- of course, he did command the entire Pacific but, "My training, my background, my reputation, my record indicated that I was the most logical man," and he said that he was continually pushed into the background by President Roosevelt, and

[1426]

General Marshall later.

HESS: In my readings of history I found that the Pacific theatre at first was to be more or less a holding operation until we could finish with the European war and then move the forces from Europe to the Pacific. Did he disagree with that philosophy? Or...

SNYDER: He disagreed with it from the very beginning. Although it's difficult to follow, because as I understand it, nearly everything that was done was done on his recommendation. I learned that from Eisenhower who as a man went over as his Chief of Staff while he was Governor of the Philippines and he just didn't get along with MacArthur in spite of all of that you have heard...

HESS: General Eisenhower did not?

[1427]

SNYDER: He did not, and in fact, he asked to be brought back to the States. Although I read in the paper the other day at the time of Ike's death that MacArthur fired him and sent him home. That is not Eisenhower's story. He asked to be relieved, and said that they were incompatible and that he wanted to get back to the States. As I go along here if you have any questions please bring them up, because I am just looking at my notes and revealing the story as it comes to mind.

HESS: I'll do that.

SNYDER: Then after the luncheon which lasted some two hours, we went to a reviewing stand and at 3:30 p.m. reviewed the troops. We were accompanied by -- oh, by the way, at the luncheon were four House members of Congress who were over there on an inspection tour at the time,

[1428]

Representative [Otto E.] Passman, [Edward H., Jr.] Kruse, [W. F.] Norrell and Miller. They were over there on a check up on performance and budgetary matters for the appropriations subcommittee. They wanted to see if things were shaping up the way that Congress thought that the reorganization of Japan should be. They accompanied us to the reviewing stand and stood with us as we reviewed several of the crack units of the Eighth Army and of the G.H.Q. troops themselves. These were led by Major General Hobart R. Gay who was commanding officer of the First Cavalry Division. The review took place on the Imperial Plaza which was a part of the Imperial Palace grounds. It was most impressive. There couldn't have been a more perfect precision performance than that put on by the troops that passed in review. They also had a drill team that did an interlude there and it was really inspiring to me with my military

[1429]

background in World War I. Why, I enjoyed it tremendously.

Following this we had a press conference -- this was mixed, it was Japanese as well as foreign -- and they were pressing a great deal as to whether or not I had found it necessary to recommend any revaluation of the yen, and whether or not I felt that the taxes proposed were going to be necessary. The Japanese were going to have to learn to pay income taxes, which was something that they had never had before. Their tax revenues had been largely manufacturers taxes and excise taxes of that sort rather than income taxes. And they were very greatly puzzled about how that was going to work. Were they going to work out a budget that was passed on by the parliament or was it going to be a dictatorial budget that was similar to the old warlords budget and was it going to be

[1430]

carefully balanced? Was a great allowance going to be made for military and how much rearming was going to be permitted under the budget? All of these things were questions that they knew better than I did because they were on the ground and had been holding conferences with the various officials that had come over there on these subjects and with General MacArthur's staff. So I had to parry them along and in answer tell them something about setting up the new tax arrangements with the budget procedures and it was by and large a very polite, pleasant affair. And they were interested in loran. It was under the Coast Guard supervision and it had been for some time. Loran had been under, I think I told you last time, under naval control until after the war and then it was put under Coast Guard for maintenance and supervision. They were rather interested in

[1431]

the working of it, and how by triangulation and cross section we were able to fly planes right across the ocean without any lights or guidance or radio conversations. Loran is the name of the long range aids to navigation service.

HESS: One question on the Japanese press. How would you compare the Japanese reporters with American reporters? Intellectual ability for instance.

SNYDER: Remember that was just four years after the war, and the press conferences held for the Japanese were not what you are accustomed to. Usually they were handed a prepared statement, and at that time were not given an opportunity to ask any questions. A prepared statement was made available for them and they could come and get the statement. MacArthur carried that on for

[1432]

a while after he got there, but with this flood of American officials, Congressmen, military, business, church, I think MacArthur decided, "Well, I'll expose these visitors to the press and let them answer questions. I would discipline the visitor as well as the press." So this conference was a polite one. The questions of some of the Japanese reporters who were present were very sharp and very well thought through. They were generally, at that time, rather shy. The double questions that you got came from the European and the United States reporters.

Following the press conference we had dinner with Minister Sebald. We had not set up an ambassadorship at that time. General MacArthur's nephew and his wife, Barkley's daughter, had arrived to be Ambassador and they were extremely nice and we enjoyed visiting

[1433]

with them very much. But Sebald was the one in charge. He gave a dinner and there I met the people of the State Department, and our trade organization. The Labor Department had quite a committee over there trying to organize their labor to set up unions and that sort of thing. It was a very, very interesting, informative dinner.

The following morning at 7:55 we left by air and flew to Osaka and set down for just a short check of one of our Coast Guard stations there, then on to Hiroshima. We overflew Hiroshima, circled several times and had pointed out the effects of the atomic bomb. And it was very shocking to think that one explosion caused the damage that we saw. It wasn't the shelling; you see I had been pretty hardened to cities being shelled out with my trip to Europe following the war and flew over the 14

[1434]

bombed out cities. I was somewhat prepared for destruction, but to know that this damage was caused by one missile alone was overpowering. It wasn't the shelling, it wasn't the bombing, it was just one bomb that did all this...

HESS: The damage had not been repaired?

SNYDER: Oh, no. No, they had done very little reparation at that time because you see it took a long time to decontaminate the area and they were very cautious about that, they didn't want to have any of the radioactive after effects. I think the decontamination was just about over. So there had not been a great deal of rebuilding of Hiroshima at the time that I was there.

HESS: Okay, I've got a question. Do you think that bomb should have been dropped?

SNYDER: I did at the time and I still do. Because

[1435]

there is no telling how much longer the war would have gone on. It would have been a fight to the last ditch on Japan itself. The warlords were determined to sell out at a very great price, and it would have caused great slaughter. There would have been great cost, and it would have drawn out much longer. We would have been considerably delayed in getting back to being a peace-loving people. Of course, your question perhaps should have gone back much further and said, "Should President Roosevelt ever have given the green light for the work on the atomic bomb?" That was actually out of our hands because the Germans were well on the road to having a bomb. They had their heavy water plant up in Norway and they had a lot of things that were already moving right along. They already had those "whizz-bangs" that were the initial

[1436]

weapons which we knew nothing about when they first went off except rumor.

HESS: That's the V-2 rockets?

SNYDER: Yes. So it was by force of circumstances and events that Mr. Roosevelt had to step right in and say "Let us beat them to it." And of course we spent quite a bit of our time bombing out German installations. In 1964 when Lyn and Betsy Horton, my granddaughters, were with me over in Scandinavia we went down to the spot where the heavy water plant was located in Norway and saw where they dropped the bombs and destroyed the plant during the European hostilities. We did some very effective spelling out and locating some of their works and destroying them, which delayed their operation considerably. And Von Braun has since told us that three or four times they were just

[1437]

to come to some conclusions when the bombing would upset some part of the operation. Even though we had large plants in Oak Ridge, one in the northwest, and in Chicago, all part of the Manhattan project, you know, extending into many research laboratories, we had them pretty well diffused around the country so that no place was ever quite vulnerable enough to close us down entirely, although in the earlier stages we were rather vulnerable had they been able to reach them at first.

We flew over Hiroshima, as I said, and on to Kyoto. Kyoto is a religious center. It was absolutely untouched by the war. There were a great many temples of ancient origin and they had annual treks to Kyoto when the various religious units caused the town to be on almost continual religious ceremony. It was one of the important silk centers, and one of the important

[1438]

educational centers. Mrs. MacArthur had given me an introduction to a silk dealer and it was there that I bought the material for my daughter, Drucie's wedding dress. She was married in January of 1950 and this was in late November 1949 so I brought the silk home from Kyoto from which her wedding gown was made. I shall always remember Kyoto with great affection.

We had lunch at one of the most delightful, colorful, interesting temples that was prepared for us by what would be your mayor and we enjoyed that. All of the Japanese guests and all the service people were in native costume and it was one of the really delightful Japanese occasions that we were invited to attend. It was in such peaceful, delightful surroundings.

After lunch we went shopping and also took quite a tour around through temples and the flower

[1439]

gardens. There were beautiful flower gardens. The Japanese gardens are just color explosions, delightful.

At 4:40 or sixteen forty hours we departed Kyoto, flew back to Haneda airport and went immediately to a reception which had been prepared by the foreign newsmen. It was a cocktail party. Nothing formal but just mill around and I again was pressed with questions about the economy and what we were going to do and what steps would be taken. It gave me an opportunity again to back up General MacArthur, Joe Dodge and the Prime Minister Yoshita and his Cabinet. Nothing very specific came up and from there we went to dinner at 8 o'clock at General MacArthur's, which was kind of a farewell dinner and summation of the trip. The next morning at 6 o'clock General MacArthur, Joe Dodge, General Almond again assembled and

[1440]

drove me out to Yokohama to the airport -- Haneda airport is located there -- and gave me a royal send off. And we took off at 8 o'clock, 8 a.m. for Iwo Jima. We flew over to Iwo Jima, set down for just a minute, inspected a Coast Guard installation and were on our way to Manila. We departed Iwo Jima at 10 o'clock, arrived at Manila at 4:05 and our next previous discussion takes up from there.

HESS: I have a couple of questions. At the time that you were speaking to General MacArthur did he have anything to say about Mr. Truman or about how he thought Mr. Truman was handling the Government?

SNYDER: His remarks were complimentary in a fashion and he sent his warm regards to Mr. Truman. As you know we had not entered the Korean war at that time. The Korean war didn't come until

[1441]

June, some months later, and so there had not been many real controversial problems come up with General MacArthur. The only question that had come up was when he got mired down in the reorganization of the economy and some pressures had to be put on him to bring in better equipped people to do these reorganization jobs. But that never developed into anything very difficult. It was not until after hostilities started that the problems began to come up with General MacArthur, because he felt that he should be the overlord there and that whatever was done in the military was strictly his business and that the Pentagon had nothing to do with it and would be advised about what had happened as they went along. That is on policy making and things of that sort.

HESS: Did he think that he was receiving adequate

[1442]

support from Mr. Truman's administration?

SNYDER: No, they didn't. I told you that they felt that they were not getting sufficient supplies or men. But they weren't making an issue of it. At the time they were just registering a statement.

HESS: And then you were helping them with your fact finding groups that were...

SNYDER: Oh, no question about that.

HESS: Well, you have mentioned that they did not think that North Korea would invade into South Korea.

SNYDER: No. They didn't think that the Chinese would ever supply them with the attack forces to come through, don't you see. They weren't concerned about the North Koreans coming through alone, but if any attack that came from the North

[1443]

Koreans would have to be heavily supported and supplied by the Chinese and they didn't think that the Chinese would do it at that time.

HESS: Anything else this morning?

SNYDER: No, I think that we'll call it a day.

HESS: All right, thank you very much.

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Snyder Oral History Transcripts]