Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Oral History Interview with
Stephen J. Spingarn

Attorney, U.S. Treasury Dept., 1934-41; Asst. to the Attorney General of the United States, 1937-38; Special Asst. to the Gen. Counsel, Treasury Dept., 1941-42; Comdg. Officer, 5th Army Counter Intelligence Corps, 1943-45; Asst. Gen. Counsel, Treasury Dept., 1946-49; Alternate Member, President's Temp. Comm. on Employee Loyalty, 1946-47; Dep. Dir., Office of Contract Settlement, 1947-49; Asst. to the Special Counsel of the President, 1949-50; Administrative Asst. to the President, 1950; and Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, 1950-53.

Washington, D.C.
March 21, 1967 (Third Oral History)
By Jerry N. Hess

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 April, 1972
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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

Oral History Interview with
Stephen J. Spingarn

Washington, D.C.
March 20, 1967 (Third Oral History)
By Jerry N. Hess


Third Oral History Interview with Stephen J. Spingarn, Washington, D.C., March 21, 1967. By Jerry N. Hess, Harry S. Truman Library.

HESS: Mr. Spingarn, we finished yesterday by discussing some of the men who were on the White House staff, and there are a few others that we could mention this morning to get your evaluation of, what their responsibilities were, just how good they were and perhaps some example of something they may have worked on to show their relationships perhaps with the President, with other members of the White House staff, or anything of that nature. How about George Elsey?

SPINGARN: Well, George was a young fellow who really grew up in the White House; he came there as an ensign during the war; he was in the Map Room -- as I understand it was a G2 operations room where the President could see at a glance what was happening on all the battlefronts of the world; and, later Clark Clifford came in there as assistant naval aide, and later the naval aide, and then obviously he spotted -- I'm just supposing this -- George as an able young chap and when Clifford went over to the civilian side as special counsel to the President, he took George with him as his assistant,


in fact his only assistant.

HESS: I've heard that George Elsey helped to make many of the first drafts of the speeches in those early years. Did you hear anything about that?

SPINGARN: I am sure that was true. I speak only from hearsay, but I am sure that George participated heavily in the first drafts of those speeches. He was extremely able, lots of ideas, imaginative, and I would rate him very high among the men I knew at the White House. At that time he was somewhat modest and self-effacing in personality, but like anyone else -- he was only twenty-eight, I think, when I first met him in late '47 or early '48 -- but like anyone else, he's grown in stature and confidence in the years since then.

Clark Clifford depended very heavily on him, and rightly so. Actually, George was responsible for my coming to the White House on a permanent basis in early '49 because he went on active duty in the Navy for about a year, and I was then brought to the White House to fill his slot as assistant to the special counsel -- Clark Clifford.

HESS: Did you work with him any during the years that you were being worked into the White House operation -- before


you came to the White House officially?

SPINGARN: Before I came into the White House officially, yes. As a matter of fact, it is my impression -- my recollection -- that in early 1948, when I went over to the White House on detail from the Treasury to work on the civil rights legislative program, that it was George who made the first contact with me from the White House, that is my recollection. In any event, I recall close association with him from that time on. We became friends, and we usually thought along the same lines. I had and have great confidence in his judgment and abilities.

HESS: Did he help in the writing of that message -- the February 2nd message?

SPINGARN: Yes. I can't tell you exactly at this late date how much of a role anyone played.

HESS: But he was involved?

SPINGARN: He was involved, yes. And he's had a highly successful career since the White House. He became vice president of the American Red Cross afterwards, and then he went into business, and he is now one of the top ten executives of a billion dollar firm -- an enormous business firm.


HESS: The Pullman Corporation.

SPINGARN: That's not the name. Pullman is one of the subsidiaries, I believe. Pullman is involved in the pot there, but I don't think it is the whole pot.

HESS: For awhile the name was Kellogg-Pullman, or something like that.

SPINGARN: Kellogg is in there somewhere. I have forgotten the name of the firm, but I know George is one of the ten men on the masthead.

Then there is Ken Hechler, who is a remarkable chap; an egghead who has made good as a practical politician. He is a New Yorker, from Long Island, and he's a Ph.D. and a college professor. He has taught at Princeton and other places. During World War II he was a military historian, and he actually participated in the operation that resulted in the crossing of the Rhine at the Remagen Bridge.

This was one of the great coups of the later stages of World War II. It was expected that it would have to be a river crossing, which is a dangerous and often costly affair against heavy opposition. The Germans tried to blow up the Remagen Bridge, but they didn't put enough explosives there, and it jumped


up a few feet and settled down again and lasted for another week; and, in the meanwhile we poured troops across and established a beachhead and held it, and that undoubtedly speeded things up by some weeks.

In any event, Ken was there as a major in the historical division, as I recall, and after the war he wrote an excellent book called The Bridge at Remagen, paperback only I believe, but an excellent book -- I've read it. He went back and he interviewed the people involved on both sides; the allied officers and men, and the German officers and men, and he wrote a book which details hour by hour -- first on the American side and then on the German side -- what was happening during those critical hours and days while we were crossing the bridge at Remagen. And by the way, later when he ran for Congress in West Virginia, he used to tour his district, I am told in a jeep, with stacks and stacks of that paperback, The Bridge at Remagen, which he gave away as souvenirs of the candidate, and I am told that he was a very effective candidate, and I know he is an effective Congressman from the standpoint of his constituents.

HESS: Been re-elected several times.


SPINGARN: He is in either his fourth or fifth term, and the unusual thing is this: He's a carpetbagger. He went down to West Virginia from Princeton; he went down to Marshall College there and within two years he gets elected to Congress.

I thought to myself, well this is just a seven-day wonder, you know, he will serve one term and then they'll wipe him out, but he's held his seat and he's now in his fourth or fifth term, and he might even be Senator from West Virginia one day.

Ken is a fellow who goes in for unusual and whimsical, some people might say even eccentric, stunts to attract attention to his candidacies, and his causes, and my impression is they are highly effective. I remember once at a dinner some young Democrats -- a political dinner a few years ago, some young Democrats from West Virginia told me with great pride that Ken Hechler was their Congressman, and they were real proud of that.

Ken actually came to the White House as assistant to George Elsey, after Elsey returned from naval duty and became an administrative assistant to the President. Hechler was his assistant, and he specialized in preparing background material on places that the President


was going to visit and where he would have to talk, so that the President would have the pitch; the terrain; the political geography; the political, economic and social geography of the place, which any man ought to have when he makes a speech somewhere; otherwise, he is likely to put his foot in his mouth, and he was very good at that.

HESS: What other tasks did he have?

SPINGARN: I would say that he was the political researcher for the White House. He researched political situations and how the vote had gone, sliced forwards and backwards and every other way you know, and giving areas and places. He also worked on speeches and messages along with the rest of us. He tended to be a little prolix in his writings, a fault which I myself am guilty of, so I can sympathize with him. The hardest thing in the world is to write a short good speech.

I am always reminded of the story of the bishop who visits a strange city for a vacation and the congregation of his church in that area, of his denomination, come to visit him and ask him to give them a sermon, and he says he will be delight to, but, "How long a sermon do you want?"


And they told him, "Suit yourself Bishop. Any length you see fit to give us."

He said, "No, it's important."

And they said, "Why?"

And he said, "Well, if you want a five minute sermon it will take me two weeks; if you want a fifteen minute sermon it will take me one week, but if you want an hour sermon, I am ready right now."

And believe me truer words were never spoken. Well, I think that I have covered most of the people on the staff now. Oh. Harry Vaughan you asked me about.

HESS: We have a couple of military men that we might cover, Harry Vaughan and Admiral Dennison.

SPINGARN: Admiral Dennison and Harry Vaughan, yes.

HESS: How about Harry Vaughan?

SPINGARN: Now, Harry Vaughan, of course, was the President's military aide, but he was more than that. He was a very close, personal friend of the President's who had been in Battery D in World War I with him, and was from his home state. He was a lifetime friend. He had been his secretary when President Truman was Senator. Harry Vaughan is a very likable, extroverted chap.


I got along very well with him in spite of the fact that I think he regarded me as a pretty liberal fellow, perhaps even more liberal than I really was. But Harry and I -- I liked him and I think he liked me. I remember one occasion he sent me a box of cigars -- good cigars, too. Harry was undoubtedly the best poker player at the White House and whenever we played poker, and that was often on trips to Key West and even on the Williamsburg and on other occasions, Harry was almost always the winner.

I was practically always the loser. Fortunately for me they had a rule that you couldn't lose more than a hundred dollars in a week. I used to go down a hundred dollars usually in the first day, but after that you were carried, you see. That wasn't much fun for the others because they couldn't win any more money from you, the only thing that could happen was that you could win from them or stay level at a hundred minus. I have always felt that Harry, who was sort of a whipping boy for the press, was a much maligned person.

HESS: Why do you think that image of Harry Vaughan evolved?

SPINGARN: Well, I think it evolved for two reasons; one Harry is a rough, tough sort of blustery kind of chap


with a sort of outhouse wit which amused the President, and amused me as far as that goes, but some people found it a little too heavy for their tastes.

Now, I want to say this -- every President needs a close crony, if you want to call it that, a court jester if you want to call it that, a friend who relaxes him, you know, who doesn't pay him the deference, who doesn't put him up on a pedestal and treat him like a king and a god, but who he can be at home and relaxed with...

HESS: A change of pace.

SPINGARN: ...a change of pace. President Kennedy had David Powers, and others who I believe fell in that category.

HESS: Is there anyone in the White House now that you would place in that category? Getting off the subject just a little bit.

SPINGARN: I don't know. I really don't know. I can't say to my own knowledge that there is, but I would be amazed if there wasn't someone -- one or more people with whom LBJ relaxes with his vest unbuttoned, and swaps tales -- swaps lies about old days in Texas, which is what everybody likes to do once in awhile. Franklin


Roosevelt had George Allen and by the way George Allen survived; he was Dwight Eisenhower's favorite jester, too. And you can go down the line, I don't know whether Herbert Hoover had anybody or Calvin Coolidge but certainly Warren Harding had plenty.

HESS: On the subject of George Allen, he was also around the White House a little bit during the Truman administration.

SPINGARN: Yes, he was.

HESS: Did you ever run across him in the White House or was he gone by that time?

SPINGARN: I never knew him more than just to say hello to.

HESS: The only official position that I have is that he was Personal Representative of the President for the Liquidation of War Agencies, August '45 to January '46. As far as I know that is the only official position he had.

SPINGARN: When was he on the RFC? I don't remember. In any event, he was a friend of President Truman's, but I think he was closer to both Roosevelt and Eisenhower -- that is my impression -- than he was to President Truman but, I'll have to let the facts speak themselves, I don't really know.


However, getting back to Harry Vaughan -- it seemed to me that on the one hand his personality lead itself to attacks from some quarters. It didn't grate on me at all, I found him extremely amusing. And the President enjoyed his company obviously. There was another factor and that is this; that Harry Vaughan, who I believe to be an entirely honest man -- I'm sure that all these charges about Harry Vaughan are enormously exaggerated -- Harry Vaughan I know to be a man who lives on a modest scale, who teaches Sunday school and who lives essentially a blameless life.

But Harry Vaughan had this difficulty, he had been secretary to Senator Truman, and a Senator's secretary is supposed to do favors for the constituents. When they come seeking introductions at the agencies -- that's his job. When Harry Vaughan moved to the White House I don't think he quite made in his own mind the change that he should have made. I think he still regarded himself as a Senator's secretary, and the constituents came around and he would introduce them at the agencies, and he didn't realize perhaps the impact, the different impact it had when the introduction came from the President's White House military aide, than when it came


from the Senator's secretary. Now, this I think had something to do with it, and of course, human beings being the way they are, certain people certainly abused his friendship. Now, this I think is probably the main ingredient in Harry Vaughan's image.

HESS: Did he have any particular responsibilities in the White House other than his military aide duties, and he was also coordinator of veterans' affairs.

SPINGARN: As far as I know he had no other responsibilities, but obviously a man who is close to the President and whom the President sits with in his "unbuttoned moments;" and perhaps shares his thoughts with may influence presidential thinking simply in casual conversations in which they discuss matters, you know, on occasions that policy is not theoretically being decided.

HESS: In June of 1948, as you know, the President took his nonpolitical trip out west and one of the stops -- unscheduled stops -- was at Carey, Idaho where they dedicated an air field to the wrong person. Did you ever hear General Vaughan make any comments on that?

SPINGARN: No. I remember the incident, but I was not at the White House at the time, so I don't have any really firsthand information. Yes, I remember that was always


regarded as a horror case of what shouldn't happen, but which can all too easily happen when a man is moving around and making five, six, eight, ten stops a day at different places.

HESS: And now Admiral Dennison.

SPINGARN: Yes. Bob Dennison was the naval aide. If my recollection is right, he was the captain of the Missouri when President Truman met him at the beginning of his administration, or possibly even earlier. In any event, when I reached the White House he was a rear admiral and the naval aide.

HESS: I have it down here that his official date for coming into the White House was January 28th of '48, which would be just about the time they were contacting you. This would be during the time that you were working on the February 2nd message.

SPINGARN: When did the President meet him?

HESS: I don't know.

SPINGARN: I think it was substantially earlier.

HESS: Well, he probably knew him before this.

SPINGARN: Yes. In any event he was at the White House when I got there, and he was a rear admiral and the naval aide, and he was, from my way of thinking, an


unusual military officer. I say that because I was an officer in various grades through lieutenant colonel in World War II, but I was always a civilian at heart as are most men commissioned for brief periods, I mean for three or four years in a war, are. And to be honest, I did not tremendously admire the majority of the military brass that I met as to the -- broadness of their vision and range outside the military field. They seemed to me rather parochial in their outlook. I would make exceptions for men I met like General Gruenther, who was the chief of staff at Fifth Army in Italy and in Africa where I was, and I would make exceptions for men like General Bradley, and for Lawton Collins and others whom I had some contact with.

But generally speaking I found the military mind -- from the standpoint of a civilian -- inclined to be rather parochial, outside the military field which was their field of expertise, but Bob Dennison was not that way at all. He was a man of very broad-ranging curiosity and intellect; he had as I recall at least an M.A., I think he had an M.A. in some scientific field, and it may have been a Ph.D. -- I'm not sure. In any event, he was interested in everything and his


opinions were well worth listening to on almost anything.

He and I sometimes agreed and sometimes disagreed. I remember, for example, on the Basing Point Bill, I happened to be in charge of the White House task force that wrote the veto on the Basing Point bill in 1950, and Bob Dennison and I discussed that at some length. If my memory serves me right, he took an opposing view. He didn't seem to think the bill was so bad it should be vetoed, and he had plenty of respectable support in this area. His opinions were worth listening to. They were not simply the ignorant opinions of an uninformed man, they were always opinions of a man who had done some thinking and knew what he was talking about.

I would rate him very high in ability and I think that is indicated by his subsequent career because in spite of the fact -- I don't know how the military service regards the service of an officer at the White House for a long period of time, but it would occur to me that at the Pentagon in military circles that would somewhat tend to identify him politically with the President and the administration for which he had served in that capacity, I don't know, I'm just guessing, you


see. In any event it evidently didn't hurt Bob Dennison that he had been associated with Democratic President Truman because under Republican President Eisenhower, he rose to be a four star admiral and the supreme commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and the NATO commander in the Atlantic.

HESS: I have a question here on this. When Admiral Dennison and others on the military and naval aide staff would give you the benefit of their advice...

SPINGARN: Well this is only informal discussion at lunches and things like that, naturally you tend to discuss your work and this was not in policymaking meetings of any sort. He had no function in this, this was simply friendly discussions, a fellow interested in public affairs perhaps at lunch or on some other informal occasion.

HESS: Good. That's the point I want to bring up.

SPINGARN: He was not intruding on policy at all. He was just a friend who was discussing an interesting matter in which we were all interested.

HESS: It just occurred to me how much of this would be in a formal discussion group.

SPINGARN: These were not formal. These were informal


discussions. Now, there was also the President's doctor, General Graham, Wally Graham, one of the nicest people you could ever want to meet and I understand an extremely capable doctor. Everybody liked Wally Graham. And then there was Bob Landry -- Robert Landry, Major General Landry -- who was the air aide and he, too, was a very likable and affable chap, though not an intellectual heavyweight by any means. Now, is there anyone else I should cover?

HESS: I don't believe so right now.

SPINGARN: Well, I would like to talk about President Truman and civil rights. Recently, I have had considerable activity in the field of defending President Truman's record on civil rights. Last fall, I was invited by the American Historical Association, which was holding its annual convention in New York City in late December 1966, to participate in a session on civil rights in the Truman administration.

This convention assembled some six thousand historians at the New York Hilton Hotel, and the session on civil rights which was on December 29th, was the first major session that I am aware of that's been held on the subject of civil rights in the Truman administration,


at least by the historians.

Dr. William Leuchtenburg of Columbia, was the program chairman who invited me, and Dr. Philip Brooks, the Director of the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, was the moderator of this program. The main paper was prepared by a young professor at Stanford, Barton J. Bernstein, assistant professor, a young man about thirty years old who has done a considerable amount of research and writing already in spite of his youth.

There were to be two commentators. The batting order was this: Bernstein was to present a paper of about forty-five minutes in length; then two commentators, Professor Alonzo Hamby of Ohio University, not Ohio State, but Ohio University at Athens, Ohio, was to have fifteen minutes for comment on the Bernstein paper, and I was to have fifteen minutes.

In September 1966, Professor Bernstein called me up in Washington and asked to see me, and we met at the National Press Club, of which I am a member, and spent several hours together. I discovered -- and this is not mere digression because this ties in with what happened later, at least from my way of


thinking -- I discovered that Professor Bernstein was an ardent anti-Vietnam man; he is an activist who took part in teach-ins and demonstrations. I, on the other hand, with perhaps less zeal than he, and perhaps less certainty of the perfect purity of my position, support the main thrust of the administration's position on Vietnam, as I understand it's neither dove, nor hawk but owl...I like to say.

I think that the administration is doing a very difficult and typically unpopular thing in trying to defeat aggression in a peripheral war -- a border war -- with the minimum use of U.S. military power. Obviously we could wipe out North Vietnam tomorrow but that would be a catastrophe which would very likely start World War III; so, this is a difficult thing to do, to fight a border war with not a maximum but the minimum amount of military power on the part of a great power contending with a little power, the minimum amount necessary to defeat or to deter that aggression. We did the same thing -- I say the same thing -- we had a similar but not identical situation in Korea except that there the aggression was overt, an army marching across a border. And again we didn't bomb China;


we didn't drop atom bombs; we didn't unfurl Chiang Kai-shek; we didn't do many of the things we could have done, and which the hawks of that period wanted us to do; the hawks including General MacArthur.

I have often thought of MacArthur as the General McClellan of his day, or I think of General McClellan as the General MacArthur of his day. I remember when I was appointed to the Federal Trade Commission, at the opening ceremony where I was sworn in I told this story about General McClellan which I also apply to General MacArthur.

McClellan, it will be remembered was a rather prima donnish young general, who took a very haughty view towards President Lincoln -- actually, he was downright rude and insulting to him on a number of occasions. And, on one occasion McClellan sent Lincoln a memorandum which in his typical flamboyant fashion, he datelined, "Headquarters in the saddle," and Lincoln read the memorandum and observed dryly to an aide that the trouble with General McClellan was that he had his headquarters where his hindquarters ought to be.

So I feel that the Korean thing, although it ended in an inconclusive peace, although we still have troops


facing the North Koreans, along with our South Korean allies, across that demarcation line, the thirty-seventh or thirty--ighth parallel, that it was a success.

Fourteen years later after it ended, there has been no further aggression there of significance. I think we slowed down their timetable. I believe we are fighting for time in this picture. That internal centrifugal forces within the Communist world are working for us, not against us, and that the longer we can defer a frontal -- a direct conflict between the two mammoth power complexes, the better things are, and that we may be in the position for a long time of fighting inconclusive border wars, the way the British once did.

In fact, I would like to go into this a little further because this is a speech, if you like, a statement that I like to give the young people, the people of college age crowd, who are so typically, especially the intellectuals among them -- so typically hostile to what we are doing in Vietnam.

I put it this way: I say you are not old enough to remember firsthand the history of the last thirty five years, but I am. Let me recount it briefly for you as I see it and why it is significant today. In 1931


the Japanese moved into Manchuria. In 1935 Mussolini invaded Ethiopia. In 1936 Hitler moved his troops into the demilitarized Rhineland in violation of the Versailles Treaty. We know now from captured German documents that his instructions to his generals were that they were to withdraw if there was any opposition from the French or the British, and the French and the British consulted but they did nothing. And so on down the line -- the whole timetable -- there was Spain; there was the Anschluss in Austria; there was the Sudetenland -- right on down the line. We flunked every test, we and our western allies. We flunked every test. Every time the aggressor moved we let him move. And did that stop a World War? No, it hastened the most terrible war in human history.

Now, I say aggression has changed its face. In those days it was armies marching across borders; today it's called a war of liberation. But I say, look at this -- in every country in the world there is a Communist party, or other splinter dissident group. All an aggressor on the outside has to do is to move in leaders, and training cadres, and arms, and ammunition, and money, and propaganda and take over the local dissidents and


call it a war of liberation, and that is what they're doing.

Now, I say if we could get out of Vietnam tomorrow and we could be sure this was the end of all this thing, I would say fine, let's go -- but I am as convinced as I can be of anything, that if we got out of Vietnam unilaterally tomorrow within six months another government, probably in the same area -- it might be Thailand, it might even be the Philippines because the Huks, the Communist Huks, are rising there again and they are being supplied and supported by the Chinese Communists. I have heard President Marcos of the Philippines say this within the last few months.

They were once defeated and they are not yet a major threat but they are on the move, the rise, or so he said when he was here last fall. Suppose we get out of Vietnam and suppose the Philippines turn to us and say, "We are having serious trouble with the Huks, we need your military help, will you help us." Then we'd have the same decision to make over again. Do we move in and help them or don't we? And each time we don't help them our credibility among other countries that are attacked dwindles. This is no mere matter


of face, this is a question as to whether you are going to get help in your hour of need, and if you know you are not going to you are going to make the best kind of deal you can with the other fellow, aren't you?

And that's the way I look at it -- again we will be flunking tests, just the way we did all through the '30s and it didn't avert a terrible war then, and I do not believe it would avert it now. I think it would probably hasten it.

Anyway, that's my theory of the case and another thing I say to them -- in this world there are no one hundred percent choices. It would be nice if everything was black on the other side and white on your side, but that's not the way it is. You have to make up your mind on where fifty-one percent of the truth lies, when you are dealing with jugular matters, and then you have to proceed on the fifty-one percent side. Now there are things that are happening in Vietnam that are unattractive obviously, but let us look at this business of atrocities for example. I clipped from the Washington News last fall two stories in the papers which struck me as so good in the way that they pinpointed the difference between our "atrocities" and the


Vietnam atrocities.

It showed these two concurrent stories: Our artillery had made a mistake -- a one hundred and eighty degree mistake -- and had fired into a South Vietnam village killing some civilians. On the same day the Vietcong had murdered, deliberately, a group of Vietnam civilians and mutilated their bodies -- that was the difference. Our "atrocity" was inadvertent -- the kind of thing that happens in every war.

I say to these young people, have you ever been in a war? I have. I was no combat soldier, but I spent three years overseas -- I was in two invasion landings, I was at Salerno and Cassino and Anzio and I saw a lot of men get killed, near me, too. And I know what death is like, I've seen it, and I know what mistakes are like. I've seen us kill our own troops, and they are doing it in Vietnam occasionally, too. When you fight a war, you can't help that -- you try not to. We are probably doing a better job on that than has ever been done in warfare before, in terms of trying to select targets.

And, then there is a lot of talk about how we mustn't use tear gas -- my goodness, we use tear gas in


riots in the United States -- I can only say when you are dealing with these underground burrows, these great fortresses underground, I would think that tear gas would be the best thing to flush the Vietcong out from under it, and I don't regard that as vicious at all.

And even the napalm. Napalm is a terrible weapon, there is no doubt about it, but I don't know that a man killed by napalm is any deader than a man killed by a bullet -- or a child for that matter. And I noticed -- it was buried on page eighty-four of the New York Times the Sunday before last -- that Dr. Rusk, Howard Rusk, the medical editor of the New York Times is out, or was out in Saigon, and he went to many hospitals to investigate how many civilian casualties thee were from napalm, especially children -- Vietnam civilian children -- and he found there were very few children in spite of all the horrible cries that are appearing, that there are very few children suffering from napalm. There were plenty of children there, but eighty percent of them were suffering from diseases and malnutrition and accidents, not military casualties at all, and of the military casualties, there were


very few napalm casualties.

On the other hand, he found that on the whole the people who were there were there as a result of Vietcong -- the civilians -- Vietcong atrocities, in the hospital I mean, and these were both deliberate atrocities where they had deliberately murdered people or fired or burned the village. And there were accidental atrocities, if you want to call them that. In other words, where the Vietcong had laid a land mine and a civilian truck had gone over it and blown up a lot of people, and that sort of thing. They found that there were apparently substantially more civilians in the hospitals as a result of the Vietcong than there were as a result of our military operations -- so all this should be judged in context. And again, I say that a lot of Vietcong stuff is deliberate, and ours is never deliberate, except you have some sadistic individual which you have in every army who may do something wrong and criminal, that is a possibility.

Now, getting back to Mr. Bernstein -- Professor Bernstein -- so, he came to see me and we spent two hours or so talking at the Press Club one day in December of


'66, and I discovered he was an anti-Vietnam, activist. I had written a letter that month. I had written it to the London Times first. I had written it actually to ten newspapers. It was a letter attacking Lord Russell -- Bertrand Russell's so-called trial of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretaries Rusk and MacNamara as human fiends -- war criminals -- Nuremberg style, for atrocities in Vietnam.

I wrote to ten newspapers, seven in the United States, one in England, one in France and one in Italy, personal letters to the editor in each case. It was partly an exercise on my part to see how many places I could place this letter, how effective a counter propaganda operation one man could run. Really it was a maneuver and an exercise, in a sense.

Also, it had its own merits, and as far as I know four newspapers published it, and the New York Times wrote me that. they would have published it if it hadn't already appeared in the Washington Post. The Los Angeles Times published it, and the Washington Post, and a couple of others. Now, the London Times turned it down, and I had also sent it to France Soir, in Paris, the largest French paper which had published


some articles on counterespionage of mine back in '48 or 9. My Saturday Evening Post articles were published in that newspaper. I also sent it to the largest circulation Italian newspaper.

I didn't hear from them, so I suppose that the French and Italian newspapers did not publish it -- I'm not aware that they did. Now, the London Times turned it down, but I didn't stop there.

I have a first cousin, Lord Walston, who is a British peer, he is a labor life peer. And Harry Walston was until a month or two ago, until January of this year -- '67 -- the British Labor Government spokesman on foreign policy in the House of Lords. So. I wrote Harry and I sent him a copy of this letter and I said, "I don't know much about British newspapers other than the London Times, everybody knows that one, and they have turned it down. Would you be good enough, Harry, to pick a newspaper that might print this letter?"

So he did. He sent it to the London Daily Telegraph which he said, "It's rather rightwing but no matter," and was right, they printed it. That was on September 21st. I didn't know that they had printed


it when I saw Bernstein. I didn't know it till several weeks later.

On the 30th of September 1966, Bertrand Russell replied to my letter in the same newspaper, and I have given you that material. Now, I showed Bernstein the copy of the letter I sent -- I didn't know yet that it had appeared in London, but it had appeared in American newspapers. At one point in that letter I said -- impeaching Bertrand Russell's credibility -- this is the same man who once advocated that we use the atom bomb on the Soviet Union -- back in the '40s he advocated that. Now, he has made a complete switch, he seems to run the gamut, three hundred sixty degrees around the clock. So, young Professor Bernstein looked this over and he said, "I used to think that, but a student of mine came to me recently and showed me evidence that convinced me that that statement about Bertrand Russell is not true."

And I said, "I would be very interested in seeing your evidence. When you get back to Stanford," he was returning there, "will you send it?"


When we parted at the door of the Press Club, I


reminded him I wanted to see that evidence that he had contradicting the statement in my letter. And he promised me he would send it. Several weeks went by and I heard nothing from him, so I wrote him a polite letter reminding him that he had promised to send this to me. He then wrote me a letter saying that he had made a search but had been unable to find the evidence which he had referred to; that he would continue to search but with diminishing hope of finding it.

I then knew, or believed in my own mind that he had tried to run a bluff on me, and I wrote him back a very sharp letter sayings "Look, you told me a student came to you recently and gave you evidence, well find that student. Why should it be so hard to find him?" He then wrote me a letter which I regard as utterly incredible saying that it wasn't recently it was a year ago, that Stanford was a big university and he couldn't remember who the student was, and so forth and so on.

I didn't believe this for a moment. I thought that he had simply tried to run a bluff on me and I have found this sometimes -- whenever I call the bluff


of one of these anti-Vietnamese on factual matters, I usually find they are wrong, they haven't got the evidence to support their case. I am willing to listen to their side, I wanted the evidence. I then turned around and I dug up evidence -- I dug up Bertrand Russell's statement, I sent it to him in quotes, you know, the place where it appeared or a reproduction of it. And Bernstein then had the good grace to reply that he would have to accept my facts; he couldn't find his, and he would have to accept mine as correct.

Naturally this did not reassure me as to his general historical accuracy. I knew that he was deeply committed on the Vietnam thing and I felt that he had let his judgment run away with him and sort of moved up in the wild blue yonder with some facts that didn't really exist, or he had seen something very flimsy and thin, perhaps, and suddenly he wanted to blow it up into evidence, but then he either couldn't find it or when he looked at it he realized that it wasn't evidence and he wasn't even prepared to show it to me -- that was my theory of the case.

Well, this is background. Early in December, he send me a copy of his paper which he was going to


read at the AHA Convention on civil rights in the Truman administration, and when I read it I found it so bad, from my standpoint, so unfair on account of civil rights in the Truman administration, that I long-distanced Professor Leuchtenberg at Columbia, at home one weekend -- he was the program chairman -- and I asked him to give me thirty minutes instead of fifteen minutes to comment on Bernstein's paper, and he gladly assented, and I told him the reason and he said it sounded like an interesting session, he thought he would attend himself, and as a matter of fact I think I took nearer to forty minutes when the actual occasion came.

I want to say this, that Professor Bernstein apparently didn't think too badly of my personal conduct at the White House because on page fifty-five of his paper -- actually the footnotes to his lengthy paper -- he has this to say about me as a White House staff man working on civil rights -- this is footnote forty-three, and he is talking about people questioning the sincerity of the President and his party on civil rights in 1950; the sincerity of Truman and the Democratic Party's devotion to civil rights. He says this: "On Truman's reluctance to battle for FEPC see Spingarn to Charles


Murphy, March 11th, 1950 -- Spingarn to Truman, May 16 and May 19, 1950. All manuscripts in Spingarn Papers -- Truman Library." And then he adds this: "Although the attitudes and positions on civil rights are not clear for many of Truman's assistants and advisers, Spingarn seems to have been among the most ardent supporters of civil rights within the White House," and so on. He hasn't said this about, as far as I know, anyone else on the White House staff. Now this, of course, unfairly exaggerates my position in the matter, and it would only be fair to say that people like Philleo Nash, David Lloyd, David Bell, and Charlie Murphy were every bit as anxious to see civil rights legislation passed as I was. Perhaps it could be said that I documented my devotion to it better than they did, that's about all.

So, the great day arose. By the way, this is an amusing episode that I believe deserves historical recounting. The night before the December 29th historical convention meeting, this session on civil rights, I was standing in the pantry of my mother's apartment on 64th and Madison -- in the pantry because that's where the telephone was -- one in her bedroom


and one in the pantry. Behind me was a large porcelain sink about eight feet long. I was talking to Barbara Tuchman on the telephone -- it was about ten o'clock at night. She is the author of The Guns of August and The Proud Tower, and so forth and so on. We were making arrangements to meet for a drink the next day -- she was also addressing another session of the historical association convention. I leaned back lightly, as lightly as a fellow my size can, against the porcelain sink, and with a tremendous crashing roar it broke off, fell to the floor, sheered off a pipe. A scalding hot two inch jet of water leaped out and hit me on the leg, I yelled at Barbara, "Disaster has struck," or something like that and banged down the phone, and the next forty-five minutes or an hour was absolute pandemonium. The apartment began to fill up from the bottom, one inch, two inches, three inches, four inches; it was scalding hot water, you couldn't even stay in the place without boots on. The apartment also begin to fill with steam.

The superintendent was a new man, he was running around there like a chicken with his head off, with diagrams, he didn't know where the water controls were


and couldn't find the place to turn them off.

I had the presence of mind -- my eight-four year old mother was screaming and I was yelling like a bull and the elevator men and the doormen were all thronging around, everybody was bumping into each other -- and I had the presence of mind, I claim, to throw the furniture out of the dining room and pull a huge rug up and dike it against the door on one side of the pantry and kitchen complex, and do the same thing on the other side, and diked the water in there you see; so, it didn't get out into the main apartment -- just the kitchen, pantry and the cook's room.

Well, it kept rising though, and pretty soon it was going to roll over the dikes and into the main apartment. I thought myself of an all-night plumber, and I ran to the yellow book and I found one -- days, nights, holidays, always -- I called him up -- it was ten o'clock in the evening -- "So sorry, but we are not working tonight." Then I called the fire department -- this was no time to equivocate. And, just as I started to dial the fire department the superintendent got the water controls turned off. I have said many times that was the worst hour I've had since World War II. I remember I rushed down to -- we were up on the ninth floor -- and, of course, the water ran


through the floor and into the apartment below where a judge, who fortunately was away for a couple of weeks, lived. I ran downstairs and I assembled everybody working in that apartment house, the doorman and elevator men and people downstairs, and I shouted, "Everybody get a mop and a bucket up to my apartment," I said. "Everybody will get paid," I shouted. I mobilized the troops and we got a whole platoon up there and they cleaned it up within an hour or two, and so it did a surprisingly small amount of damage, but it was an exciting hour. The next day I saw Barbara -- had drinks with her -- and I said, "You write about history; last night I made it, and I made it in your presence, too. You were on the other end of the phone when I made it." That was quite an amusing episode. At least it's amusing now.

Well, the next day in the afternoon, we had the session and Professor Bernstein read his paper for forty-five minutes, and the main thrust -- he blew hot and cold on Truman and civil rights -- but it came out of the horn this way: He said at the end that Truman had left an ambiguous legacy to the next generation on civil rights, and he said that President Truman had to bear a heavy share of the responsibility for our present racial


violence and trouble.

Professor Hamby then had fifteen minutes and he, in polite and scholarly academic style, criticized the thesis.

My style is not academic nor is it particularly scholarly, but it's my style; and, I want to summarize what I said on that occasion because no record was made of it and I didn't write it out, I was just talking from notes and there was no transcript or recording of it, and I think it belongs in the Truman Library. I said, "Professor Bernstein is a conscientious historian within the definition of that term by Herodotus only twenty-five hundred years ago -- the father of history as he is often called -- Herodotus said, 'Very few things happen at the right time and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects."' I said, "Professor Bernstein is a very conscientious historian and he has corrected a hell of a lot of defects."

I said, "I have read his paper several times and I find it shallow, two-dimensional and self-contradictory. I do not quarrel with his facts, as far as I can judge from memory they are substantially correct. I do quarrel with his conclusions which I find more ambiguous than


the legacy he says President Truman bestowed upon the generations which follow, and I find them something less than penetrating and perceptive," and I described what his conclusions were: "All this seems to me to blow hot and cold, but I come up with the final conclusion that President Truman carries a major responsibility for the difficult racial situation in which this country now finds itself. This to me seems absolute nonsense, and pretty pernicious nonsense at that. Our present trouble stems from three and a half centuries of stupidity and bigotry, by this nation, by all of us, and particularly from the last century of the same stupidity and bigotry plus indifference and apathy, without any sense of the terrible injustice that we have done a whole segment of our population since emancipation. Professor Bernstein admits that men, at least liberals, should not be judged anachronistically but in the context of their own times, but he seems to me, when he is blowing cold on HST, to judge him by 1966 standards -- I was talking then in December of 1966 -- though he admits that no President in the Twentieth Century, up to President Truman, has done as much to promote civil rights. I'll go a step further; no President since Lincoln has done as much, up to and


including John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Lyndon Johnson alone perhaps has done more, and, of course, that includes all Presidents before Lincoln.

Thirty-four men besides Harry Truman have been President; and, he has done better than thirty-two of them. And perhaps he did as much as the other two. Let us put the blame on those thirty-two before we start kicking Harry Truman in the rump.

As to President Truman's personal views on civil rights and racial relations, he was a real liberal by the standards of his own origin and environment, and that's the way you judge a man -- a game fish who swam upstream against the current of his own society -- a much harder thing to do than to be a liberal in New York City, or Chicago, or Philadelphia, or Los Angeles. President Truman is not as liberal on civil rights as I am, or Professor Bernstein, I assume. I equate myself somewhere near the views of Roy Wilkins, the executive director of the NAACP, but I am not as liberal as Martin Luther King, and he's not as liberal as Stokely Carmichael, and perhaps he's not as liberal as Mao Tse-tung, and so on -- so what? I do not think highly of the kind of New York City or northern liberal who


damns a Hodding Carter of Mississippi, but loses his liberalism when there is a threat that real open housing legislation will bring a flood of Negroes into his neighborhood to live; he's very staunch on liberalism in Mississippi, but he may not be that staunch in his own neighborhood.

Even the real liberals can be pretty naive about who are their friends and what helps the liberal position. And then I recounted an episode: "In 1963 -- November '63 -- I was invited to be one of four participants at a three-day panel on civil rights at the University of Vermont in Burlington -- it was an annual students assembly affair. The others were James Farmer who was then the head of CORE; Louis Lomax who writes the books, The Reluctant African, and so on, has a television program; and John Lewis who was then the chairman of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

I was the only white member of the panel and believe me I was low man on the totem pole as far as the students were concerned; they weren't the least interested in what I had to say, but I was impressed by Farmer and young John Lewis, and I found Louis Lomax insufferable, arrogant and snotty.


One thing that interested me was that Farmer and Lewis didn't know the score on who was their friend, in an actual political situation, and who was their foe -- that was '63 -- and they recounted a situation in which the House Judiciary Committee had reported the less liberal bill before them. I said to them, "Are you really serious? Don't you know that the people promoting that more liberal bill, that the votes for it were southern Democrats and Republicans mostly, because they knew that the best way to kill civil rights legislation was to get a bill on the floor that couldn't be passed, and that would be recommitted. Don't you know that? It's all in the New York Times," I said, "Look at the votes."

James Farmer said to me, "Have you got that New York Times clipping with you?"

"Yes," I said, "I have," and I showed it to him.

Now, James Farmer is an honorable and a good man, I'm not denying that, I'm just saying that sometimes people -- liberals, civil rights liberals -- don't know who their friends are and who their enemies are, because in this situation he really believed the people who voted for the moderate bill, which could get through the House, and did eventually, were his enemies; and he


thought that the people who voted for the more liberal bill were his friends, but he had the situation exactly reversed -- the people who voted for the more moderate bill wanted civil rights legislation and were putting a bill on the floor that could pass, and the people who voted for the more liberal bill were deeply opposed to civil rights legislation and wanted to kill it.

Now, there is one thing I learned -- my father used to quote Voltaire to me, "The best is the enemy of the good." This is a profoundly wise political policy, and thesis and credo. Those people who will not compromise, who will insist on one hundred percent perfection will always fail because all politics, and in fact all human existence, of every kind, is a matter of compromise. Edmund Burke said something like that two hundred years ago, that all politics and all life was a matter of compromise and barter, and this is true. If everybody is agreed on something then there is no need to compromise, but that never happens on a controversial matter. Wherever there are opposing points of view, you have to compromise, and the art of politics is to compromise at the highest possible level of good from your standpoint. But I have no sympathy with the


ivory tower liberal, however idealistic he may be, who seems to have a death wish. He would rather go down to defeat striking a noble posture for a hundred percent perfection, than win with sixty or seventy-five percent, which is the best he can get.

Another example is right here in the District of Columbia. This is in a sense a digression, but not entirely so. In 1964, I was a participant -- I was a candidate in the Democratic primary in the District of Columbia, and incidentally, I am proud to say there were a hundred and seventy-eight Democratic candidates in that primary, I was the only one who had the personal endorsement of President Truman,. and I have a newspaper clipping that evidences that. Joe Rauh didn't have it -- he and his slate won -- but I had it.

This is rather interesting. I had lived in the District since I got out of law school in the mid-thirties. The first half of that period I voted from Arizona, where I started voting, and the second half I voted from New York which is my original native heath. Then the twenty-fourth amendment was passed which gave the District a presidential vote and I said to myself, "My goodness you have been living here all of your adult life


practically, you ought to vote where you live." So, I transferred my voting affiliations to the District, where they now are; and, I joined my precinct organization and went around and did my chores, rang doorbells, and so forth.

But I was a Johnny-come-lately, in terms of District politics, and District politics were, until recently, presided over by Joe Rauh -- Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.

Joe Rauh is a liberal Democrat. I have known him since at least 1941. In fact in 1941 he and I did a chore together which was sort of a bond between us. We were working on the first war powers bill, the bill that was to give the President -- this was right after Pearl Harbor, December of '41 -- the bill that was to give the President and the Government the powers necessary to wage war successfully and effectively. And one night a week or two after Pearl Harbor -- I would place it around the 20th of December '41 -- there was a night hearing of the full House Judiciary Committee to consider and hopefully report this bill -- a night hearing.

The attorney general and other bigwigs were to be present, but at the last moment they were called to the White House, and Joe and I -- he was a young lawyer in


lend-lease and I was a young lawyer in the Treasury -- were the Government's only witnesses at that hearing on the most important bill before the Congress and we spent the whole evening, two or three hours there, and at the end of our explanation they reported the bill unanimously, and I always thought that was a bond between me and Joe Rauh, that on that occasion we had done a good job together, and we were friends, not close, but friends.

But, in 1956, I was working in the campaign, I was director of special activities for the vice-presidential campaign -- that was Estes Kefauver -- and I was very busy, and I was a little irritated by ADA, Americans for Democratic Action; an excellent organization but one which I have found often too "ivory-towered" and perfectionist -- and I equate at least a large segment of the ADA group -- not all, but a large segment with the "ivory tower" liberal that I speak of who insists on going down to defeat with perfection rather than winning on an effective compromise.

So, I was doing a little needling of ADA and apparently it had gotten back to Joe Rauh who was national chairman of the ADA at that time. And one day, about mid-December of '56, the National Capitol Democratic Club, of which I was one of the founding fathers, or


sponsors, and of which Charlie Murphy was the sparkplug and the first president, and of which President Truman is the honorary president to this day, I believe, along with Lyndon Johnson; and they were, having their housewarming -- had just opened their doors -- and I arrived and Joe Rauh was there and I went up to the group he was in, and I said, with my tongue in my cheek, "Hello Joe, I didn't know you were a Democrat."

Joe snarled something at me, which I didn't quite catch, but he repeated it several times and I finally get it, he was saying, "You dirty yellow-bellied son-of-a-bitch."

I thought he was kidding. I was kidding and I didn't think he would take it that seriously, so I continued with my needling. I said, "I'm starting a new organization, Joe, it's called "NADA." That means "nothing" in Spanish, you know. "It stands for "No ADA."

He bellied up to me, and he repeated those words that I have just said, and he repeated them over and over again, and there was a group forming around us and he said, "Come on out in the alley, I'm going to beat you, you son-of-a-bitch. I'm going to lick you."


There were about fifteen people around us watching this circumstance, and my girl was with me, and a lot of ladies, and it was a rather embarrassing moment, and I suddenly realized that Joe was dead serious -- he meant it. At first I took a light tone, but after awhile after he had repeated those insults long enough, I began to get annoyed and I said, "Okay, come on out."

So, he turned and left the room and I started to follow him, but friends said, "Don't pay any attention. He's been drinking," and this and that and the other thing, so I said, "Oh, hell, I'll forget it."

So I stayed and he never returned and that was the end of the episode. And later, I wrote him a note saying I thought it was silly for us to quarrel, that after all we had been friends and so forth and so on, and he replied in friendly fashion and that was healed over.

But in '64, I wanted to get into the primary here, and Joe was Democratic chairman of this city, and so I kind of suggested myself for his slate, but there was no interest whatever. And I could understand this, I was a Johnny-come-lately, and there were plenty of people who had done their political chores here for a long time -- this was understandable. There were three slates in that primary and, by the way, it is interesting,


they were all balanced ethnically exactly the same way -- the leading male candidate was a Negro and the leading woman was a white woman. On Joe Rauh's slate E. Franklin Jackson, the Reverend Jackson, was the candidate for national committeeman, and Polly Shackleton, the incumbent, was the national committeewoman candidate. There was a second slate which was called the Reeves-Lanahan slate, and I hung around the outskirts of that slate looking eager until they invited me aboard. Our head man was Frank Reeves who was then the incumbent national committeeman but who had split with Joe Rauh and was therefore on this other slate. He had been special assistant for awhile to President Kennedy. He's a lawyer, teaching at Howard now and practicing law. And our woman candidate was the delightful Scotty Lanahan, who was F. Scott Fitzgerald's daughter, and who writes a column for the Washington Post now which is first-rate; in fact, it's too good for the woman's page, it belongs out in the general circulation pages. She's got a good deal of her father's ability, I think. And then there was a third splinter slate -- the Dedmon-Thompson slate, I believe it was called -- they had no chance. It was between the Reeves-Lanahan and the Rauh-Jackson-Shackleton slate.


I took a very vigorous part in the campaign, and I had sound equipment installed in my car and toured the city making sound speeches all over and, of course, at night went to rallies and made speeches. And I didn't overlook Joe Rauh. I took my car with the sound equipment to his block on Appleton Street; it's kind of on a hill and I parked my car at the top of the hill and I made a speech against Joe Rauh in his own block, you see -- I wasn't mean or bad, I didn't say anything personally obnoxious -- I said Joe Rauh was a nice fellow personally, but he was running the Democratic Party in the wrong city, he was running it like a closed club for his friends and acquaintances, and we were going to open it up and make it a broad base, hard-hitting party. That sort of thing, you know, that was the idea. Then I walked down the block and I knocked on every door, and I gave them "poop" attacking Rauh and company and if they weren't home, I would put it under the door sill.

When I got to Joe Rauh's house his wife and one of his sons, I think it was Carl Rauh who is now an assistant U.S. attorney here in the District, he was then a young man of twenty-three or four, were out in


front. If looks could have killed, I would have dropped dead on the pavement. And his son bellied up to me and he said, "Aside from the fact that you are a big fat slob and a jerk I have nothing against you."

I said, "Assuming for the purpose of argument that's true, I don't quite see how it affects the primaries, but let me say this -- I have been a soldier and I have been in combat, have you?" I knew damn well he hadn't -- he was twenty-three or four years old. "And I served in invasion landings under old blood and guts Patton, and if there is one thing I learned it is that when you are in a war you carry the attack to the enemy; you don't sit on your dead rear end and wait for them to come to you. Now what have you got to say to that?" Well, what could he say? He walked away mumbling and I felt that I had won that round.

Then I went over to Polly Shackleton's block in Georgetown and I made the same kind of speech on her doorstep and somebody leaned out of a upper story window and shouted, "How dare you. Right in front of her own house?" As if that was important you see.

I had a good time. I enjoyed it. I learned a lot about pavement politics -- but we lost.


It was funny. There was three slates, and the only real issue in the campaign was who loved Lyndon Johnson the most. Now, a year earlier -- and this was part of my literature -- in February of 1963, Joe had made a speech, reported in the press, in which he said that Lyndon Johnson, then Vice President, had once again shown that his first loyalty was to the southern racists – snarl -- that was Joe Rauh a year earlier; now he was the head of a slate which called itself the United Democrats for Johnson and he loved Lyndon Johnson so much that he got misty-eyed every time his name was mentioned, and that was the only real issue in the campaign, who loved Lyndon the most.

We shouted -- I put out a press release -- I spread it all over, and so did others -- that our group had a record of support of Lyndon Johnson -- none of us had been against him. Joe Rauh and Polly Shackleton had to be dragged screaming off the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in 1960 when Lyndon Johnson was nominated for Vice President after John Kennedy had given the nod to him, because they opposed him after he was approved by everybody, and they were circulating around the floor carrying anti-Johnson posters --


placards -- and they wouldn't leave the floor when they were told to and they had to be dragged off.

This was the team that was leading the United Democrats for Johnson -- well, politics is a funny and ironical business to put it mildly.

In any event, needless to say, after Joe's group was elected I never received any political chores or assignments in the local arena -- I was not asked to do any work, although I wrote letters to the newspapers, which the Star headed "Good Loser," saying I accepted the results and was willing to help in any way I could and they had just to call on me, but nobody called. And Polly Shackleton, whom I had known on casual but friendly terms, for twenty-five years, Polly Shackleton would hardly look me in the eye, she would cross the street to avoid seeing me, and she was very hostile. But I finally solved that. Last fall I got sick and tired of having her snub me, arid walk the other way and not take my hand at political parties and things like that for two and a half years, over the mere fact that I had campaigned against her. So, I ran into her in a stationery store near my home, and the store was so small she couldn't avoid me, and I went up and I shoved


into her hand a fact sheet I had written for the Democratic National Committee on high prices and inflation, and she tried not to take it, but I said that Esther Peterson and the whole Cabinet and the White House had called me up and said it was the greatest thing that had been done since the Bible, and so forth, and she finally reluctantly took it. But she was very haughty.

So, I went back home and I wrote a letter, a snotty letter to her -- snotty nice -- and I said, "Polly," I said, "you are a lousy politician." She's the national committeewoman. I said, "There is one thing you ought to know in politics, that you are gracious and kind to a defeated foe, you may want to make him an ally later. For two and a half years, you've been snubbing me just because I campaigned against you." I said, "Now, Joe Rauh, he's a good politician. Joe wouldn't give me the time of day politically, but he is always friendly and we talk when we meet. He's a good politician." I said, "Polly, why don't you uncoil and learn a little about politics?" So, to rub salt into her wounds, I didn't send the letter to her, I sent it to Joe Rauh and asked him to forward it to her, and you know something? Polly Shackleton


does exactly what Joe Rauh tells her to. I got a long friendly letter from Joe, and then I got a long friendly letter from Polly which he had evidently told her to write, and she said very humbly, "You're right, Steve, I'm not a very good politician and Joe is."

I then called up Joe and took him to lunch, and we again healed the breech. In January he resigned as chairman and Ted Dudley was named chairman of the Democratic central committee here. Ted Dudley I have known for years; he's the chairman of the speaker's bureau of the AFL-CIO. He's a lawyer -- a good man -- and he and I have been on friendly terms right along although he was on the Rauh slate, and within a week after he was named chairman, he called me up and asked me to do a chore, the first time anybody in the city had asked me to do a political chore. He said -- it was Monday night, one day in January, and he called me about four thirty in the afternoon and said, "Steve, would you work up a consumer protection program for the District of Columbia?"

I said, "When do you want it?"

He said, "Friday. I want you to present it to the D.C. citizens advisory council." This is a group of


twenty-five people appointed by the District commissioners as sort of a sampling cross section of the population, to advise them on all policy matters they want advice on.

I said, "That's awfully short notice, I haven't even thought about such a thing for a long time."

Well, he said, "Get together with Sarah Newman, she was the chairman of the D.C. advisory council, and she is a professional consumer protection woman; she is the general secretary of the National Consumer's League. Before I looked up Sarah, I called up Esther Peterson's office, and I called up the Federal Trade Commission and I prepared my consumer protection program to my satisfaction, and then I took Sarah Newman to lunch and she bought my program, and Friday I went before the council and I discovered that Sarah was chairman of a committee which was making a report of their consumer protection program. She wasn't present; but she had authorized me to say that she approved mine. And, her committee, the vice-chairman presented the report, and the committee was split several ways, and there was a somewhat confused situation. There was a majority and a minority and this, that and the other things -- and then I presented my report and there


seemed to be pretty general acceptance of it, and then the whole thing was referred back to the committee for further consideration and report. But, I only mention this because that committee had been working for months, you see, and they couldn't agree on a report and of course, one man can always agree, and I thought my report made a good deal of sense and I bet a nickel that they'll buy it, they may take other things, too, but I bet they'll buy my report when they get through. But I did it in three days, you see, because I wanted to prove to Ted Dudley, the new chairman of this city, whom I had lunch with recently after this episode, that I was able and willing to do a political assignment.

Anyway, this is a long digression, I was talking about ivory tower liberals. It had been my opinion that Joe Rauh, at least at one time fell in that class: (a) he insisted on perfection, and (b) he was too quick to denounce in very intemperate terms the people who were against him, which is a mistake. I mean there are moments for denouncing people, but you shouldn't do it as a rule of thumb; you shouldn't immediately say that the other side are racist and fiends, you know -- that


doesn't help anything. There may be moments for this, but you should be very selective and not do it regularly. But I will say this, I think that Joe has moderated with the years and I think he is a better and more effective politician than he was, that's my opinion.

Oh, here is the Edmund Burke quote that I was speaking about. "All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act is founded on compromise and barter." And that and the other saying, "The best is the enemy of the good," I think form the main stem of any effective political philosophy.

And I say, that's why the perfectionist liberal always fails. He is more interested in posture. I'm going back to my civil rights speech at the convention. "He is more interested in posture than results; hence, he loves a Stevenson who opposed compulsory FEPC, or a John Kennedy who flirted with McCarthyism, and weaseled on civil rights, and lost his legislative battles with great style and grace; he prefers them to a Lyndon Johnson or a Harry Truman who won without style or grace; and a Jackie Kennedy to a Lady Bird." The difference between them is that Jackie Kennedy thinks in terms of beautifying the White House and


Lady Bird thinks in terms of beautifying the nation. I mean Jackie is a beautiful and talented woman but as the President's wife -- as a first lady -- Lady Bird is worth five or ten of her in my book. Then I told some of the aspects of the Truman presidency which I thought .... I said that Bernstein has presented a shallow and superficial picture. Any real picture of Truman on civil rights would have to go a lot deeper. First, there was his allergy to arm twisting, hence there was no high-powered staff operation along the lines that Franklin Roosevelt had, and that Lyndon Johnson has, and other Presidents have had.

HESS: Congressional liaison.


HESS: We'll get into that just a little bit later.

SPINGARN: Yes, but I want to get in to it right here.

HESS: Fine.

SPINGARN: The thing is that Harry Truman, as I understand him, had rankled sometimes at the pressures that had been placed on him when he was a Senator and he was determined that when he was President that he was not going to place that kind of pressure --at least this is my evaluation of the case -- that kind of pressure on his fellow Senators; so, it was a low keyed operation basically.


HESS: How was it carried on?

SPINGARN: Well, we had two legislative liaison people -- there was Joe Feeney who covered the Senate and Charlie Maylon, a colonel then and later a brigadier general, now dead, who covered the House.

HESS: They were both brought in in 1949.


HESS: And there was no one on the White House staff who had a comparable job before that time, was there?

SPINGARN: Not to my knowledge, no.

HESS: Why was it thought necessary at this time to...

SPINGARN: I don't know. I don't know.

HESS: How did those two men operate?

SPINGARN: Well, they operated in a very low key way. They simply seemed to me to be head counters, and liaison people. Neither one of them knew much about the merits, the substantive merits of legislation, and neither one was equipped, as I saw it -- to argue with a Senator about the merits of legislation. They were just up there to tell him what the White House position was, if it was recorded, and to find out what their position was.

Of course, that's not the way a Larry O'Brien operates, and that's not the way Tommy Corcoran, or


Charlie West, or Sherman Minton, or the Roosevelt era people operated, obviously.

However, we had another type of operation in which I sometimes participated -- on civil rights to be specific. In 1950, we tried twice for closure on the FEPC bill -- twice to limit debate so the bill could be passed. There was a majority for the bill, but you had to limit debate and that took two-thirds -- I've forgotten what the rule was at that moment -- but I assume it was two-thirds of the total membership at that time. In any event, it was difficult.

Now, here is what we did: I was in charge of this operation and twice -- once I think in May and again in July I may have the dates wrong but it was twice in the spring and summer of '50 -- we made an organized effort to break the filibuster. I assembled in my office -- I had a large office in the Executive Office Building, I believe that General Eisenhower and General MacArthur had once had that office when it was the old State-War-Navy Building.

It was very large and we assembled there, representatives of the interest groups that supported civil rights; labor, Negro and civil rights groups, ADA, AFL and CIO,


they were still split, machinists, and the various other groups that were interested. I had a list of the Senators and we had classified them in four or five categories; those who were definitely against us, forget them; those who were firmly for it, forget them; those who were leaning against us, those you did not forget; those who were leaning for us, those you did not forget; and those you didn't know -- unknown. The last three groups obviously were the ones you worked on; and we went down the list and we would say, "Now who knows him? Who has done him a favor lately?" And somebody would speak up and say, "Well, we have good contact with him," okay, "See him," -- and maybe he would ask two or three to see him. We would go down the list that way and we would agree on who saw whom.

HESS: Do you remember any examples of that?

SPINGARN: No. It was a long list. How do you look for examples twenty years later. This is the way it was done. I can't remember individual names, but actually I think you have all this in -- you see that big gray folder there? Those are my White House manuals -- they were Xeroxed and they are all in the Truman Library and they contain checklists of the sort that we used.


at these meetings, checklists rating the Senators in different categories. I don't know whether they actually show who approached whom but they do show how the operation was organized. Now, that was what we did, and we did it not once but twice that year, you see we tried. The votes weren't there, the votes simply weren't there. It was impossible, nobody could have broken that filibuster; no President could have in 1950. That was the thing that the Bernsteins don't realize, they are judging 1950 by the 1960s when things are different. Well, we've moved a long way you see, but nobody could have done it then.

HESS: Did Charles Murphy take an active interest in congressional liaison?

SPINGARN: Damn right. He certainly did, he was very active in it, he was intimately involved in it.

HESS: Did the President rely on Lester Biffle, or Sam Rayburn and the other members of the Big Four?

SPINGARN: Well, yes. Charlie Murphy could give you a better picture, and the President himself, of course, I shouldn't really be saying how much he relied on him -- that's a judgment for the President to make, but certainly Biffle was close to the President and I am


sure that as a source of intelligence, and possibly .... I didn't actually see Biffle being used to corral votes, but I can't say it wasn't done -- I don't know that it wasn't.

I remember one interesting experience I had with the Speaker. I was in charge of preparing the Defense Production bill immediately after the Korean war broke out. We had to put through a bill -- it was a mobilization bill to ....it was like the War Powers bill back in '41, in a sense, although the provisions were different. It was really an economic mobilization bill to put the government in a position to mobilize its resources and also stand-by price control legislation and other things, so that it could wage the Korean conflict effectively.

Well, this was a terrible driving period. We put that bill together .... we had advance drafts of legislation, much of which turned out to be useless by the time we needed it. It had to be totally revamped. We had sort of stockpiles of emergency legislation but I recall it wasn't too good. And the real bill had to be thrown together in a matter of five or six days -- I think it was five days, and that was over a weekend, too. And I can remember it was just a blur.


I was sitting there and I had task forces stacked all around the Executive Office Building, on different titles of the bill and I was sitting there, making snap decisions on what went in and what went out night and day there for five days, and of course, checking the very important things to the President. But on the minor things you couldn't check everything and you had to make snap decisions. Well, in any event, we got a bill together in a matter of five days, or something like that, and then I took it up to the Congress to give it to the leadership for introduction, and I remember I took it to the Speaker; I took it to John McCormack, he was the majority leader; I took it to Senator Lucas, he was the Senate majority leader; and I tried to call on the Vice President, but I missed him, and thereby hangs a tale which I will mention later. In any event, when I went in to see the Speaker -- I mean I had phoned in advance and he knew I was coming, he had Deschler, Lew Deschler, the House parliamentarian with him. One of the things that we wanted was to get this bill to the Banking and Currency Committee. Senator Maybank was the chairman and he was well disposed on this, rather than the Armed Services Committee -- I've forgotten who


was chairman of that -- I beg your pardon, Brent Spence of Kentucky was the chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, and he was a liberal Democrat and close to the President, and the House Armed Services Committee -- I can't remember who was the chairman, but we knew that we would have trouble with him in that committee. The question was a parliamentary one, where would the Speaker refer it, and I made the mistake of telling the Speaker that the President hoped -- this was true, but I shouldn't have said it, the Speaker bridled -- the President hoped it would go to the Banking and Currency Committee, and the Speaker bridled visibly. He said, "Young man," or words to that effect, nobody tells the Speaker of the House of Representatives where legislation is to be referred. That is the prerogative of the House of Representatives," and so forth and so on -- "Yes sir." He and Deschler went over the bill, and then he looked at me owlishly and he said, "You fellows have rigged this bill so I can't send it anywhere but the Banking and Currency Committee." That's where it went. And the Speaker said to me, "I want one provision added to the bill, a termination provision. I want this thing to terminate automatically in two years unless extended by act of Congress."


"Yes sir." We put that in naturally.

Well, that is a typical example of relationships with the Speaker. I mentioned Vice President Barkley because there was a little contretemps in which unwittingly I annoyed him. I didn't realize it. As I say, there was a Cabinet meeting that afternoon at four o'clock, let's say, to go over this bill, and Vice President Barkley was to attend; so, I called his office and said that I was going to bring a draft by, but I hadn't intended to suggest that I wanted to see him, because I knew he was going to be down at the Cabinet meeting later, so I just wanted to leave a copy in his office so if he wanted it he could look it over. I went to the House side first. I saw John McCormack, and while I was in McCormack's office the Speaker came out of his office and buttonholed me and brought me into his office and I was delayed, and when I got down to Barkley's office, his assistant came out and he said, "The Vice President waited for you, but he had to leave," and I discovered later he thought I was coming to see him and he was irritated because I was late -- I hadn't intended to see him and it was not my fault, it was only because the Speaker delayed me.

Later this seemed to assume some significance, this


little episode, although I'm not sure how much. In any event, I saw Lucas and I went back to the White House. I attended the meeting and the President explained the bill, and at some point the question arose about where it would go in the House and I knew because I had heard the Speaker and Deschler say, and I said I had talked to the Speaker and that he had said that the bill was so drafted that it would have to go to the Banking and Currency Committee in the House, and I turned to the Vice President, and I said, "I brought some copies by your office, too, Mr. Vice President, but I missed you," or something like that.

And he said rather snappishly, "Yes, I waited for you," or something like that.

So, I could see that he was a little miffed, and I waited around until after the meeting to buttonhole him and apologize, but he got into a conversation with the President, I thought it wasn't that important, and I never did. I mention all of this because later I was kicked upstairs to the Federal Trade Commission under circumstances for which to this day I don't know the real reason. I didn't want to go, I wanted to stay at the White House, but the President decided that the


Federal Trade Commission was the place for me. Obviously something had happened. There are only two episodes I can think of in this connection and one unexplored one, which is only a speculation. The only two episodes I could put my finger on; one, is this Barkley episode, which seemed to me so trifling that I couldn't understand how the Vice President would really seriously regard that as a major thing. Unfortunately I never got around to explaining it to him, but the fact was there had been simply a misapprehension, I hadn't intended to see him, and I had been delayed by the Speaker and I had done nothing obviously very bad. It might have been a minor irritation, but I don't think he would say you have to fire the guy, or move him out of the White House, on this account. I couldn't believe that, because Mr. Barkley was an awfully nice fellow and a very decent, generous sort of fellow.

The other thing was different. It was on the Internal Security bill. The White House was against it and we had prepared our own bill, which by the way, I drafted, and the message, too, which went up in August of '50, because you can't beat something with nothing we had a bill of our own, but the Internal Security bill --


this was mid-McCarthy, and you could have labeled a piece of toilet paper a security measure and passed it; anything would go by if it was labeled as internal security.

In any event, one day Leslie Biffle called me (or, come to think of it, it may have been Senator Kilgore), and he said that a number of Senators wanted to hear the administration's opposition to the Internal Security bill -- this was August, 1950 -- would I come up to Leslie Biffle's office and explain it to them -- sure. And I went up, and I took Bob Ginnane of Justice with me; he later became general counsel of the Interstate Commerce Commission; he'd done a lot of work on constitutionality of the Internal Security bill; we went up together; and I've forgotten, for certain -- Biffle himself didn't attend the meeting -- it was in a back room of his office. Hubert Humphrey was there, as I recall; I remember Senator Lehman was there; Senator Graham of North Carolina was there; there were several administrative assistants, and probably Senator Kilgore and one or two other Senators, I can't think of -- and Senator O' Conor, now dead, of Maryland. Now, O'Conor was the only one who was likely to be for the Internal Security bill --


that didn't mean that the others would vote against it, but who personally might favor it among this group -- the others were liberals, you see; they might feel politically they had to vote for it, but they weren't for it.

So, I went through the bill explaining the thing, and there were a lot of immigration provisions in it, and I turned to Senator Graham I remember, and I said, "Senator, you know" -- the Senator had been charged with belonging to a number of front organizations, and some of them he had belonged to, they were the kind with worthy motives that people belonged to in the '30s -- and I said, "Senator, you know, it is perfectly possible that under these immigration provisions, if you were an immigrant, you couldn't get into the United States, they are so stringent," and so on and so forth.

And Senator O'Conor got mad and he started to swell up and he got purple in the face and he said, "These immigration provisions were reported favorably by a judiciary subcommittee of which I am a member, as a separate bill," and he said, "I am not going to sit here and listen to twaddle like that," and he stormed out of the room in a rage – mad -- and there was a long pause, naturally.


And I said, "Maybe I better fold up and go back to the White House,. I. seem to be losing ground here." And the others said, "Oh, don't pay any attention to him, go on." So, I went on with the explanation of the bill. After the session was over, I went down to the floor of the Senate, and I sent in a note to Senator O'Conor, saying I wanted to apologize to him, that I didn't intend to hurt his feelings, and so on, but he wouldn't come out. And I went back to the White House and I wrote him a nice note saying I hadn't intended to anger him and I was sure like the good sportsman he was he would accept my apology, and so on. He didn't answer it.

The whole thing was this: O'Conor carried actually no weight at the White House, the President had no special regard for him, he was not a power at the White House in any sense, but what he may have told Leslie Biffle, and what Biffle may have told the President, I don't know. It may not have been anything .to do with O'Conor, personally, but there may have been some thought that I was tactless, or that my modus operandi was not good, or something like that, I don't know, although again that didn't seem to be enough. I have never known to this day why I went to the Federal Trade Commission, although


as I look back it was a good thing from my standpoint that I did. I'm not sorry that I went, but I didn't want to go at the time.

One interesting thing. There is a speculative factor in all this. You mentioned Max Lowenthal before, and I started to talk about him and I think didn't finish up. Max Lowenthal was a good friend of the President's from the days in the '30s when the President was in the Senate and a member of the Interstate Commerce Committee, and on the Railroad Reorganization Subcommittee, and Lowenthal was one of the lawyers for that subcommittee. They became friends at that time, and he had total access to the White House. During the McCarthy period he was there all the time, almost daily; he used to hang out in Matt Connelly's rear office. I had had an encounter early in my White House career with Max Lowenthal. Clark Clifford told me that Max was worried about an Internal Security bill -- that was the one that I told you about that Justice had put up, on which I had written the Treasury's report and the bill provided for wiretapping.

The Treasury report, which I wrote, said that with certain safeguards added we would favor it, and the safeguards were that it had to be limited to a certain


category of cases. There had to be written approval in each case by the attorney general, and they had to get a court order, in each case.

Clark Clifford told me that Max Lowenthal was concerned about that bill and I should get in touch with him, but before I could, Max Lowenthal called me up at home one day -- I place this in '49 sometime -- and we had about an hours conversation. He was shocked to find that I favored any kind of wiretapping under these restrictions, and Clifford later told me that he told him that I was a Fascist, you see. Max was prone to these rather violent terms, and he is one of these black and white people, I was a Fascist. Max was very secretive; he was the kind of guy who would make a big cloak-and-dagger operation out of buying a dozen oranges. I remember one day I wanted to give him a report I had written -- it was unclassified, it was mine personally, it had nothing to do with the White House -- it was something I had written on how to improve U.S. counterintelligence; it was a unclassified, personal memorandum I had written on the basis of my wartime experiences. He wouldn't take it. He said, "Is it classified?"

"No." But he wouldn't take it. Somehow or other,


I don't know why, I can't imagine why, it wasn't that he objected -- we were having a friendly chat, it wasn't anything unfriendly, you know, it was just somehow or other he seemed to think I was planting something on him -- or I don't know what he thought. That was the kind of character Max was.

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It's funny, when I learned about this -- it happened as a complete surprise -- Charlie Murphy called me in one afternoon and he told me that the President had decided


I should go to the Federal Trade Commission, and I was unhappy but I knew that there was no alternative if the President decided that; so, did I want the appointment? I said, "Well, there is no alternative -- sure." So the appointment went up that day -- the nomination -- and the next day or a few days later I lingered after a press conference -- not after press but after a staff meeting with the President -- I lingered after it and talked to him, and the only things I could think of were the Barkley episode and the O'Conor episode, I tried to explain my version of them, and he listened patiently for five or ten minutes, and then I could begin to see he was beginning to twitch his fingers a little, and I knew that there was no point in going on, so I thanked him and left. To Charlie Murphy I said, "Charlie, I never understood why, in a sense, I got the rigid digit there."

And he said, "Well I never have either, and nobody has ever told me even if anyone knows." He said, "One of the problems is that there was no matter of principle involved." The President was strong on principles, but there was no matter of principle involved here. And I know that the President didn't personally -- I mean I have had many letters from him of the kindest fashion.


He wrote me a beautiful letter when he left in January of '53, January 16th when he left office, I was still serving, and I have had many letters through the '50s and '60s from him, and I have a historic letter from him in '56 about how his views on civil rights were shaped -- it's never been published, someday I'll publish it. And, also, at that time he wrote me a series of letters and in one of them he said in '56, "That if you and Dave and Charlie stick together we will win the next election," -- he meant Dave Lloyd and Charlie Murphy; so, I know that the President wasn't personally aggrieved against me. But at that time in 1950 for reasons which I don't know and probably never will know, he felt that it was best for me to leave the White House. But, of course, White House staff men are expendable by nature. You offend somebody important and...

HESS: Someone else has to be brought in.

SPINGARN: ...someone else has to be brought in, but I would naturally be interested to this day finding out what the real facts were of the situation. I'll probably never know. It's just curiosity now, it makes no real difference.

HESS: I have one other question here on congressional liaison.


Do you recall working with John Carroll on legislative matters?

SPINGARN: Well, not really. John Carroll (who had been a Senator from Colorado), in effect replaced me at the White House; I mean he took over the slot that I had and he was the legislative pivot man at the White House afterwards. I used to drop in and see him occasionally, but I can't say I worked with him. Why? We weren't there at the same time.

HESS: He was just called in to replace you, is that right?

SPINGARN: That's my recollection of the situation, yes.

I wanted to get on with this civil rights situation -- I hadn't finished that. As I've said, one of the aspects of Truman was his allergy to arm twisting. He had no high-powered staff operation and he didn't seem to want one. Another was that he inherited David Niles from Franklin Roosevelt, and that Niles who nominally had the civil rights assignment really didn't do anything about it except .... the only civil rights matters he seemed to deal with were Jewish civil rights matters, and New York City politics, as nearly as I could see. And, of course, Israeli matters.

Philleo Nash feels differently about it and maybe he's right. He was closer to Niles, but this is the way I saw it, this is the way it seemed to me.


I have talked to Philleo about this, and I know that he would not agree with me on this, but that's the way I saw it -- to the extent that anything that was done it was by Philleo. Now, this is all very well, but Philleo didn't have the job, didn't have the title, and didn't have the status to do what a man who had direct access to the President had.

So, what I am saying is that if the civil rights man, the official rights man, had been more active and aggressive in the job, and needled the President more about it, done more about it, I think that would have made some difference, and this was not altogether President Truman's fault because he inherited Niles from Franklin Roosevelt.

Now, finally I went on to say that as far as President Truman is concerned -- this brought down the house -- this is what I told a group up there at New York. I said, "I'll bet a dinner at Le Pavillon," that's the best and most expensive restaurant in New York City, an average dinner there would cost maybe thirty dollars a head. "I'll bet a dinner at Le Pavillon for this entire American Historical Association Convention."


Phil Brooks interrupted there, he said, "There are six thousand people here."

I said, "Yes, for everyone -- one dinner -- everyone of the six thousand. I will bet a dinner that in 2066," they will have to dig me up, "historians will rate Harry Truman above Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson:"

I pointed out first of all before I said this, that a few years ago, I place it around '62 or 3, Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. took a poll, a sampling poll, of representative historians and they rated all the Presidents of the United States, in their opinion, in their order of greatness as Presidents, and as I recall Harry Truman was eighth on the list. First was either Washington or Lincoln, and then the other one, then Jefferson, Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, Wilson, and strangely enough Polk, and then Harry Truman; Dwight Eisenhower was the twenty-sixth, I think, or somewhere in that area. I said, "In 2066, I will bet that he rates above Franklin Roosevelt and Wilson." I said, "Wilson was a brilliant man, but he was a poor politician and he could have gotten a League of Nations if he had been a better politician and been willing to make some compromises. And I said, "Franklin Roosevelt is sometimes


described as a lion and a fox, but more fox than lion, on civil rights, for instance, he was pretty much of a weasel." I said, "My own father told me often," now my father was president of the NAACP all through the '30s until his death in '39 -- when he went in to see the President, and Walter White told me this, too, when my father or Walter White, who was executive secretary, sometimes they went in separately, sometimes together, when they went in to see the President, typically the meeting would go like this: The President would hail them jovially as they came in the door, "Oh, by the way, Walter or Joel .I want to tell you a story," and he would then launch into an anecdote and he would talk for fifteen minutes telling stories, and then Marvin McIntyre, the press secretary, would come to the door and say, "Your next appointment is here, Mr. President," and they would be ushered out never having reached the problem they wished to discuss with him; this was typically the way Franklin Roosevelt evaded issues, you see, on civil rights.

There was more, but this gives the substance of what I had to say in my speech, and the whole thing was that when I got through Bernstein had ten minutes rebuttal


and he was mad; he got up angry, obviously, and he then proceeded to describe -- I also mentioned in my speech the things that had been done, the things that could be done, and Bernstein had mentioned these, too, that the Army had largely been desegregated. I said that the Government had done things that it could do, short of legislation which it couldn't do at that time, and one notable thing was the amicus curiae brief which had evolved under Truman. whereby the Department of Justice interceded as amicus curiae in private litigation, typically in cases the NAACP brought, in support of the NAACP, the civil rights position -- this had been done in other fields but it had not been done in civil rights before as far as I am aware of until the Truman administration, and Phil Perlman was the Solicitor General who spark plugged this.

Well, when Bernstein got back up again for his rebuttal, he was mad and he did a foolish thing, he fabricated or distorted facts. He told about an interview he had with Philip Elman. Now, Philip Elman was one of Phil Perlman's assistants in the Solicitor General's office in the Truman administration. He is now Federal Trade Commissioner, as I once was; I know him slightly.


Bernstein said he had an interview with Elman and Elman had told him that Phil Perlman was basically a racist and a bigot who said things like, "There is a delegation of 'coons' waiting to see me," that Perlman had no interest really in civil rights, but just in personal publicity; and that the White House was almost never in touch with their office on civil rights matters, and so forth, for ten minutes.

This didn't make sense to me, and I got up and I asked Phil Brooks for two minutes I wasn't entitled to, and he gave me two minutes for rebuttal, and I said, "Now look, I, don't know what you're talking about that the White House wasn't in touch with the Solicitor General's office -- you mean that they weren't in touch with Phil Elman, Phil Elman was way down the line, he was a third or fourth echelon lawyer, he wasn't a first or second assistant to the Solicitor General; we naturally didn't deal with him." I said, "I had many talks with Philip Perlman during that period, and the President and Charlie Murphy had many more than I did. What do you mean we weren't in touch?" This was nonsense. Well, I couldn't deal with the other quotes at that time, but when I came back to Washington ... .by


the way, before I left New York, I called up Roy Wilkins, the executive director of the NAACP, and a wonderful guy, and I told him what Bernstein had said and he laughed, "Well, that is absolute nonsense," he said, "old Harry Truman got the civil rights wagon rolling again after it stalled under Roosevelt." That's what Roy Wilkins said.

All right, when I went back to Washington I called up Philip Elman, and I told him what Bernstein had said, and I suggested to him he ought to write Bernstein and get this settled. I had some trouble convincing him -- Elman didn't understand -- he thought that I was denouncing him for having said these things -- it took some time for him to understand. I was trying to get him to say what he had said, and find out whether Bernstein was correct, you see, and when he finally realized it, he said, "Of course, I didn't make any such denunciations of Phil Perlman." And I then said, "If I were you I would write this young professor out at Stanford and get things straight with him."

And he said, "Well, I'll think about it."

And I said, "If you write him, will you send me a copy of your letter?"


Well he said, "I'll have to think about that."

I could see he was a man in the middle; he didn't want to get between me and Bernstein on this thing. Then I called up Arnold Raum -- Arnold Raum is now a judge of the United States Tax Court -- and he was number one assistant -- Phil Perlman's dead -- he was Perlman's number one assistant. Elman was down the line, unranked. Raum said this was absolute nonsense. He said, "You could say Phil Perlman died for civil rights," because in 1960 he was leading the fight for a strong civil rights plank in the Democratic convention in Los Angeles, and he worked so hard and he had a weak heart that he died a few months later.

And he said, "Now, Phil Perlman was born and raised in Baltimore. He was born in the Southern tradition. He may have used terms sometimes that a Bernstein might seem outrageous. But he became a dedicated civil rightser and it is absolute nonsense to say that he was a bigot or racist." And he said, "Furthermore, I was a personal and social friend of Phil Perlman's. as well as a colleague and his first assistant." He said, "Philip Elman wasn't; so, I know him much better than Elman does." And I then talked to


Abe Harris who was assistant solicitor general under Perlman, and he told me the same story. They both praised Perlman as a dedicated man who believed in what he was doing in the civil rights field. I called Elman again, and this time he said he was going to write Bernstein, and he said he agreed in principle with what Raum and Abe Harris had told me. So, in other words, what I am saying is that I have confronted Bernstein twice and each time he had fabricated or distorted his evidence. That's my opinion -- once on Vietnam and again about Perlman; so I have a very low opinion of him as a historian. He may be brilliant and he may be able, but a man who has committed himself to an opinion so strongly that he has to fabricate or distort facts in order to support that opinion is not much of a historian. Maybe someday he will be, but he is not now, and I hope you send a copy of this transcript to Professor Bernstein.

HESS: I rather imagine that he will read it one of these days when he is at the Library.


I think I would like to talk about a program for the Democratic Party which I have just succeeded, I'm


happy to say, in persuading the Democratic National Committee to adopt after only ten years and three months of effort. I call this program KOED -- K-O-E-D -- and that stands for Knock on Every Door, an acronym; actually it's only a rather gimmicky title for promotional purposes; it's rather catchy and easily remembered.

This program evolved this way: In 1956, in the latter stages of the campaign, I was asked to take over an operation for the vice-presidential campaign; actually, it covered, in part, the presidential, too. I was given the title of Director of Special Activities of the vice-presidential campaign -- that was Estes Kefauver who was a friend of mine of some years standing, since the early '40s -- and actually the job was a speechwriting operation.

It is almost impossible to realize, unless you've been in it, the punishing rigors of being a speechwriter in a campaign. When your man is moving around making eight, ten, twelve, sixteen whistle stops and speeches a day of one sort or another, the speechwriters working sixteen or eighteen hours a day just run out of fuel after awhile. Estes Kefauver had some very


able speechwriters, but I guess they were beginning to drag a little at this point and they wanted some fresh blood from the bench; so, I was asked to jack-up a speechwriting operation and I took over an empty apartment in my apartment house, The Anchorage, and got a few bright young ladies to assist me and went to work. In two and a half weeks we produced, I think, it was fifty-five speeches -- short and long, all sizes. And this is the way I did it: I called people I knew all over the United States from Maine to California -- remember this was the middle of the Eisenhower administration -- mostly ex-Democratic bureaucrats and academicians, professors, active Democratic professors, and I said, "We want a speech on the following subject which is within your expertise. You are a tax man. You are an anti-trust man. Whatever you are." The general theme, the umbrella for them all, was that the Eisenhower administration is totally dominated by big businessmen and their bankers and lawyers, and when they sit down at the counsel tables of Government, these men occupy all the seats.

Now, we don't say they are bad men -- they are undoubtedly good to their wives and their children


and their grandchildren -- but they look at the world in a different way than you and I. They look through their binoculars and they see General Motors and not small business and, so, they are doing all sorts of things. They believe in the Trickle Down theory of prosperity, where if the rich fellows get enough, the little ones will eventually get a little dew at the bottom. And, this is all very well for them, but it is not very good for you Mr. and Mrs. America; so, I said., that is our theme song, that is the main theme song.

Under that general tent, I would say to Mr. "A" out in Ann Arbor or Berkeley, or wherever, "Give me two thousand words on small business, or taxes, or consumer protection," or whatever the subject we wanted. I said, "Never mind the beginning or the ending, we will add those, just say, 'Tonight I want to talk to you about' ....and then get right into your subject." And I said, "We need them right away," and I would get them, within forty-eight hours often, air mail special delivery. It was so easy.

After this was over I said to myself, "Well, this is so easy, why don't we keep this thing up?" So I


wrote a program and called it KOED, and the idea was to recruit activist Democratic academicians, and these would be the people, not the ivory tower people, but the people who are active in Democratic politics -- chairmen of speaker's bureaus for their local party, or maybe county Democratic committee members, and they have done all sorts of chores, and maybe they have done it on a higher level. And get them to agree to write speeches and fact sheets and position papers as requested within their expertise -- break this thing down, computerize their skills, break them down by congressional districts and states, make available to every member of Congress and to every Senator, the people, the eggheads within his area who have agreed to work for this project; so, whenever he wants a fact sheet, a speech, a position paper, any kind of writing, he simply looks up the man in his district who has that expertise. If he has no man in his district who has that expertise, we will have a home base in the Democratic National Committee headed by a savvy political scientist -- a professor of political science -- with active experience in polities who will recruit and run the operation and he will make


available to the Senator or Congressman somebody from another district with that skill. And these people can do more than write for our members of Congress, they can write for our candidates, they could work for political organizations of the party at every level, state, national, local, and they can set up their own speaker's bureau and make themselves available to local groups of all kinds -- women's clubs, labor, business, any kind to make speeches. They can do political research, they can do political intelligence -- now that is important. You know, usually, if you want to know what the political situation is in district "A" or county "B" or city "C," you go to the local political leader, yes, but he has a stewardship that he has to defend and you are not likely to get a really good picture from him, I mean, you are lucky if you do because he is defending his stewardship, there.

HESS: Trying to make himself look good.

SPINGARN: Naturally. Every human being wants to do that, so when you ask the man who is responsible for the job how he's doing the job, you can't expect to get very good intelligence, can you?



SPINGARN: So, the answer is ....oh, yes, get his opinion, but get outside opinion, too ....they can do Harris and Gallup type polls. In any event, there are many things they can do. They can do market surveys testing what issues are most troublesome in what areas, so you know what you are going to bat on and what to minimize, all sorts of things. Many of these people have never been used except in campaigns and hurried up operations, and then dissipated right after the campaign is over.

All you really have to do is thank these people graciously when they do anything, whether you use it or not -- get a letter from an important person thanking them. When they come to Washington arrange for them to see the Senators and Congressmen and Cabinet officers they want to see. And, another thing, you can arrange with the departments, you should screen these people and see who the good ones and the effective ones and the workers are, and pick those people. Now, there is another way you can help them, every big agency has temporary jobs,, summer trips of advisers on commissions to Europe or South America or Asia around the country, you know, special advisers on this or that. Well, pick these good men, and give them these jobs on their


summer vacations, you'll be getting better men than you would in ordinary course, you see, and yet they will love it won't they? Just think if you are a young assistant professor at Smallville College, and you are given a free trip to Athens, let us say, to be adviser to some mission on something or other within your expertise, you'd love that -- and this is available, this can be done, and a lot of other things can be done too.

I don't believe there would be any trouble getting them if you run it right. So, I went to bat and I lined up all sorts of support. My first and most enthusiastic support was John McCormack, strangely enough, the Speaker -- the then majority leader -- now the Speaker of the House of Representatives. On December 31, 1956, he wrote me a five-page longhand letter from Boston:

Dear Steve: I have just had an opportunity of reading your letter and your proposal, [That is KOED. Now, this is just excerpts of his letter, not the whole letter] in connection with this proposal I am enthusiastic, very strong for something along the lines outlined by you.

For a number of years I have advocated without success a close relationship between the national committee and Democratic members of Congress with the national committee having


qualified persons to do research work and suggest and write speeches to members of the Congress to make in and out of Congress.

Your proposal covers this and goes further and in the right direction. Not to flatter you but to compliment you, I think your plan is a well considered one, practical and productive of excellent results. I am glad to see that someone else -- you -- were thinking along the same basic lines I have been thinking and talking and using and urging unsuccessfully for some years.

By the time you receive this letter I will be in Washington. After the early busy days of organizing I do hope you will get in touch with me so I can discuss your plan in person. With kind regards, I am sincerely yours, John W, McCormack.

He was then the majority leader. He authorized me to use this letter to get other support, and that was important, and I did, and I have a letter from President Truman saying that the plan looked good to him and Eleanor Roosevelt supported it very ardently. I have a number of letters that she wrote me and that she wrote Paul Butler, specifically endorsing KOED and saying that it could be used even in more ways than Steve Spingarn suggested.

Now, in addition, I got all kinds of other congressional support, and I got egghead support, too.

In early '57, I went out to the Democratic National Committee, the full committee, that is a


hundred odd members met in San Francisco in mid-February '57. I went out first to Arizona where I went to college and law school, where I had good contacts and I barnstormed the state you might say, made some speeches in Tucson and Phoenix, and I lined up everybody. The Democratic state chairman, Evo Deconcini, was my law school classmate, and Dick Harless who was a Congressman, was my law school classmate, and I got the national committeeman and the national committeewoman and Governor McFarland to endorse it; he was a former Senate majority leader.

I went up to San Francisco and the Arizona delegation, that is the national committeeman and woman, put a resolution in before the full committee endorsing my program by name and urging the national chairman, that was Paul Butler, to put it into effect. And the full committee adopted the resolution. Then, I went out and I found a rich man in New York. It was funny how I found him, too, because I was in Twenty-One one day in New York and I ran into a fellow who had been in my outfit overseas. I had gotten him his commission. I was his commanding officer in Italy, and he was the public relations guy for this rich man:, I told him


my plan and the old Army contact worked out; he lined up his principal. And this rich guy -- there's a letter, I'll read it to you, I won't give you his name, it is dated January 29, 1957. This guy had undertaken at this time to raise a million dollars for the Democratic Party by getting two hundred and fifty people to give a thousand a year for four years. He had raised huge amounts of money for the party at this time, and he wrote this letter to Paul Butler, then the national chairman on January 29, '57.

Dear Mr. Butler: As one who is vitally interested in the Democratic Party, I have read with considerable interest the summary of the KOED plan as prepared by Steve Spingarn. I believe there is considerable merit to this plan and in the event it is adopted I would certainly work to acquire for it some financial support, but it is difficult at this time because of the political chronology of events [we had just lost two elections in a row, two presidentials] it is difficult at this time because of the political chronology of events to raise money. I do think it will be easier to raise it on a positive program of the type proposed by Mr. Spingarn. If you believe I can be helpful in this connection, please let me know. Yours sincerely.

Now, I had gotten it through the national committee. I had the range of support from Eleanor Roosevelt to John McCormack endorsing it in writing, but I couldn't sell Paul Butler. And this was ironical because Paul and I were friends, I knew him better than I have known any


chairman before or since. He had offered me a fulltime paid job the year before -- in '56 as executive director of the small business division of the Democratic National Committee -- he offered me a paid job, and I declined. He and I were friends, I liked him and I think he liked me -- I talked with him -- but the reason he didn't want the program was this: There was an enormous deficit after two successive presidential defeats. Paul Butler was only and single mindedly interested in paying off that deficit and he didn't want to do anything that would divert money from the deficit. Do you follow me? This would divert money from the deficit. If you raise money for this it wouldn't go for the deficit. That didn't make sense to me as I tried to explain to him -- I said, "Paul paying off a deficit is like burying a dead horse, nobody wants to give money for that. Get yourself a big forward constructive program that you will plug as going to win us the '60 election, raise your money on that and use some of that to pay off the deficit," but I couldn't persuade him -- so it died.

Well that's '57 -- nothing happened until '63, then, I saw that the Kennedy program was bogging down in


Congress, and one of my thoughts is that this type of grassroots speeches and speeches in Congress would help the public understanding of our programs, you see, and would help advance them if you did it in an organized and effective way. So, I wrote Larry O'Brien at the White House, the chief congressional liaison man for Kennedy, and now the postmaster general, again reviving my KOED program, and he wrote me back promptly -- this is about March, late February or March, '63 --he said, "I'll send it over to John Bailey (the Democratic National Committee chairman), for his consideration."

Now, I knew that I would have to go through all this business again of support you see. I knew Bailey wouldn't adopt it on his own because the Democratic National Committee has never -- not under Bailey or anyone else -- been very receptive to this kind of thing; they go in for the organization stuff, you know, the meat and potatoes, but they are not very receptive to this sort of voter education stuff, let's put it that way. Well, my theory is that you can drive people to the polls, but increasingly they want to know what they are voting for. As one politician out in Colorado told me back in '63 or '64, "In the last election," he said, "we


and the labor people did a terrific job. We got everybody to the polls and they voted Republican."

HESS: They got out to vote.

SPINGARN: Yes, they got out to vote, but that's not always the answer. It's a good thing to do, but it is not always the answer. Okay, so I went to work. I visited fifty-seven or eight Democratic Senate offices -- not once, but in the more important cases, three, five, ten, twenty times each, and almost as many or more in the House. I spent six months on this project or more, and I lined up enormous support. John McCormack again endorsed it, and many, many others. Hubert Humphrey who was then a Senator -- Hubert Humphrey -- and many others. Now, Senators, Congressmen and eggheads -- among the eggheads I got were Evron Kirkpatrick, the executive director of the American Political Science Association; among the eggheads I got were Dean Stephen Bailey, of the Maxwell Graduate School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University; among the eggheads I got were James MacGregor Burns, who is the biographer of Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy; and then the politicians, too, you see, and they all endorsed it in writing. Now eventually I went down and I saw everybody at the national committee; Hale Boggs, the


majority whip, got me in to see John Bailey as I remember; he got me in to see McGuire, the treasurer, I saw everybody. I saw John Bailey, I saw McGuire who was the treasurer, I saw Chuck Roach -- oh, I saw everybody. I saw Margaret Price. These were the top officials of the Democratic National Committee. I had thirty or forty-five minutes with Bailey, he seemed interested but eventually he turned it down.

But I didn't stop. I went to the President, that was Kennedy -- I had one avenue that I could reach him on I knew. I knew Evelyn Lincoln, his personal secretary and her husband, and I went to her husband and I gave him a memorandum for the President in which I asked the President -- I told him that Bailey had turned this down -- before they closed the doors on this, "could I have an opportunity to see either you, Mr. President, or Attorney General Kennedy or Stephen Smith;" Stephen Smith was his brother-in-law and he was running the Democratic National Committee. And, Harold Lincoln gave it to Evelyn who gave it to the President and she called me up a few days later and she said, "The President says you should see Steve Smith and I'll arrange it," and she did.

I saw Steve Smith, and I spent an hour with him.


I could see that he was not deeply stirred by the idea, though he saw some merits in it, but the question was I rated its cost at about twenty-five thousand a year, would twenty-five thousand be better spent on this or on the meat and potatoes work? I could see he leaned towards the meat and potatoes. But Hubert Humphrey, at that point, on my urging, wrote him a letter, and I have the letter somewhere around here. Here it is:

August 29, 1963 -- to Stephen E. Smith, Democratic National Committee. Dear Steve: I call to your attention a memorandum I received from Stephen J. Spingarn [that's about the KOED program] the proposal makes good sense and I hope that something can be done about it. I will be more than happy to sit down and talk with you in some more detail concerning Spingarn's suggestion. I have encouraged Spingarn in this matter because I believe it would be of great help to the Democratic Party. Sincerely, Hubert H. Humphrey.

So, Smith then wrote me that they decided to try this. I had gone over John Bailey's head and got him reversed, which didn't endear me at the committee any, as I found out later. He said they were going to try it on a pilot basis, and on October 11, 1963 John Bailey wrote a letter -- get that date, October, '63 -- he wrote a letter to all Democratic Senators, Congressmen,


and governors, telling them of this new program and asking them to furnish the names of all the Democratic professors in their districts who were active in Democratic politics as a basis for starting recruiting.

This was October '63. A month later came Dallas. Everything is suspended, of course. Now, in the meantime, among the people I'd gotten interested in KOED were Walter Jenkins who was at that time Vice President Lyndon Johnson's top assistant. He had helped me; he had made several phone calls to the committee, not one but several for me, on this KOED thing. Jenkins, by the way, was a very able and effective assistant to Lyndon Johnson. He deserves a lot of credit.

I'm proud to say that when Jenkins got into his trouble I wrote a letter to the New York Times, which was published, which is out in the Library, saying that Jenkins had had twenty-five years of dedicated service; that it was monstrous that some physical aberration that our society rated so low that a man could put up twenty-five or fifty dollars bail and forfeit it and that ended the thing, could destroy a good man's career, and that he should be remembered for the fine work he had done for his Government, and so forth, and it was published,


and I got some nice letters from the White House about it.

But anyway, that's Jenkins. So, Cliff Carter in late'63, was the White House man with the committee -- the national committee -- and I wrote him sending him KOED telling him about it, and he wrote back and said, "This looks good to me -- come in and talk to me about it."

And in January of '64; I think, I went down to the White House and I had twenty minutes with Cliff Carter. His outer office was stacked -- you know, it was like planes stacked over LaGuardia on a foggy night; the phone kept ringing while I sat with him as he was drumming on the desk ....you know, the poor guy was going crazy with all his assignments. I could see I wasn't getting his attention, he had a million things on his mind and this was pretty deep down in the pack. I just never was able to focus his attention, he had too many other more pressing important problems. I liked Carter and I am sure if I had had a chance for his undivided attention I could have sold it to him, you know, I'm sure of that, because he was a bright fellow.

This is often the case in these matters, the important men are too busy and it is awfully hard to


focus their attention unless it is something they absolutely have to do, they can't avoid doing it. You focus for one momentary flash then the flash is gone and that's it. Well, anyway, they vaguely resuscitated KOED. They had a very good man named Robert McNeill. He was then associate professor at Purdue University, a political scientist, and he was the political scientist at the DNC, but they gave him no help; he was diverted to other duties; he was allowed an hour a day or less to work on this KOED thing; he had many ideas; he couldn't get them cleared or approved; in other words -- nothing. It was never given a trial -- never given a trial, and it collapsed. After McNeill came another man, who was so brash and know-it-all that he queered everything he touched and that folded the whole thing up, it was never tried and it died in '64.

So, after the defeat of '66 I said to myself now is the time to try it again. I said, "Lyndon Johnson is a great politician, and if I am right about that, if he is a great politician, he knows he's made a bad mistake. He's made a terrible mistake, and if he's the great politician I think he is, he won't make it twice." The


great mistake he made was to think that he could run the Democratic Party single handed, and he can't, but that is the way it was run. Lyndon Johnson has been quoted to me, by people who I believe know what they are talking about, as saying -- this was before the election -- he didn't see why the Democratic National Committee couldn't be run by one man and a secretary, and that's the way it was run, and I'll tell you more about that after I get through with this KOED thing. I have watched the committee. It was the worse I have ever seen in my entire years of looking at it -- twenty at least I've looked at it at close range. It was awful -- moribund. The Republicans committee on the other hand was great. I went down there and I saw them at close range too.

HESS: '66.

SPINGARN: '66, right. They were good. Ray Bliss is a real pro. But the Democratic Committee was the worse I've ever seen them. I've seen them pretty poor, too, but this was the worst by far. Lyndon Johnson, as I see it, was lulled into a state of euphoria by the '64 victory, where he won by sixteen million votes, but what he obviously didn't realize, of course, this is all


hindsight; what he obviously didn't realize was that it was (a) detestation of the Goldwater candidacy, and (b) he was still on his honeymoon, you know. All right. We took a bad drubbing in '66; we lost forty-seven net votes in the House. We were bound to lose some but forty-seven was rough; three Senate seats, too. This was lousy. So, I said to myself, now is the time. I wrote the President a letter -- I'm great at writing letters, I don't say that anybody acts on them...

HESS: But at least they hear from you.

SPINGARN: At least they hear from me. I went down to the White House and I had an hours talk with John P. Roche, who is former national chairman of the ADA, a Brooklyn Irishman who is chairman of the ADA is something out of the ordinary -- and he is, he's a great guy. My talk was not on this at all. He's the intellectual. He replaced Eric Goldman, but he's much more than Goldman. Goldman was the ivory tower. type, and Roche is the pragmatic type, and he has substantive functions as Goldman never did, at the White House, I mean. So, I had an hour's talk with him about Vietnam, but then at the end, we didn't talk about KOED at all, I said, "Here is a letter for the President, John, would you see


that he gets it?"

He said, "Sure."

And in my letter I told the President that I thought he was facing the second great crisis of his political career. The first was November 22nd, 1963, and I said, "Now this is not as sharply focused, but," I said, "from where I sit it seems. to me that you are going to have to recognize that even as great a politician as you can't run our party single handed, and that's the way it was run in the last campaign, and it was a disaster." And I made certain recommendations about the national committee including a recommendation that Neil Staebler of Michigan be the new chairman. He's a remarkable combination of a practical politician; he's been a Congressman and a theorist; he'd been a Democratic state chairman; he was the fellow who put "Soapy" [G. Mennen] Williams across for six terms as Governor of Michigan and although he lost last time out, he's an idea man as well as a practical pro, He's been national committeeman for many years from Michigan, and he's a fellow who wrote the party's program in 1956 and 1957, which has played a major part -- he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee's committee on


organization, and he wrote the program for the party's operation, which played a major part in our big win in '58. He'd be an excellent chairman. I said I knew there were other people who would also be excellent chairmen. I didn't think I had to mention Larry O'Brien,, who would make an excellent chairman, or Jim Rowe, who would make an excellent chairman, or Ed Foley, who would be a good chairman. These are all men well-known and close to the President. Actually, I wanted to get discussion on this thing, I thought Neil would make an excellent chairman, and I wanted to present one who was a little out of the pattern, you see. Well, anyway, I also mentioned this KOED thing, and I started writing John Bailey and John Criswell.

Now a young fellow named Criswell, John Criswell, is running the Democratic National Committee. He is both acting executive director in place of Cliff Carter, and acting treasurer in place of Dick McGuire. For weeks I tried to see him after the election, without success, but one thing you can say for me is I rarely stop trying. So, I called everybody in the White House, almost daily, with the idea that they would help me get over to see them. And finally, possibly, if only to


stop the flow of calls, Robert Kintner had his assistant, Charles McGuire, tell Criswell to see me; so, I went in to see Criswell, this would have been February 3, 1967, and I had thirty or forty minutes with him, and I found him a remarkably savvy, imaginative guy.

He has been there, but he has been under wraps, because this was not the committee's fault it was the President's fault it was run the way it was. It's been run on presidential instructions, you might say, through Marvin Watson, who has been the Steve Smith or the Cliff Carter of this administration now, and who is a very conservative Texan who has been Democratic chairman down there -- a big steel man, I believe, but he does what the President tells him to, and he's been running it that way. In any event, I talked to Criswell, and I was much impressed with him. He's a young fellow from Oklahoma. He's still in his thirties, I am told, he looks a little older and he's bald, but he's young and he's good -- savvy -- imaginative, and he bought it right away. I could hardly believe my ears because in a matter of minutes he was not talking about if we'll do it, but how we'll do it. Well, I left then


and I said to myself, I'm not going to take any chances, the cup has been dashed from my lips too often that's Thursday or Friday, the 3rd of February -- I got on the horn right away and over the weekend. I talked to any number of Congressmen and Senators, I talked to Senator Claiborne Pell; I talked to "Mo" [Morris K.] Udall; I talked to many others, and on Sunday I telephoned Dean Bailey up in Syracuse; I telephoned James MacGregor Burns at Williams; I telephoned Evron Kirkpatrick here; I said to each one, "Look you've endorsed this program before. Now is the moment. I believe it's hot. Will you write or phone John Criswell and tell him you think it ought to be done?"

On Monday or Tuesday I had a twenty minutes telephone conversation with Speaker McCormack and I asked him to call Criswell, and so on. I went down the line. Every one of them, without exception, did it, either wrote or phoned Criswell. Here, for instance is a letter that John McCormack wrote me, and he wrote me this letter February 8, 1967.

Dear Steve: I talked with John Criswell, doing so on Tuesday last [now, I had talked to McCormack on Monday, February 6, so he talked to Criswell the next day] I talked with John Criswell doing so on Tuesday last. I told him of our years of


friendship and of the very high regard that I have for you. That we need more of your men around, active and interested Democrats. He said [he's quoting Criswell] I could not agree with you more. He has some ideas we are going to put into effect and we are going to make good use of his talents.

Now, this is McCormack, "This letter is to let you know I carried out the mission you asked me to. With kindest regards, I am sincerely yours, John W. McCormack." Well, that's the Speaker of the House, you see.

I have letters from James MacGregor Burns, and Bailey, telling me they did it, and many others. Claiborne Pell wrote a strong letter. Senator Gruening wrote a strong letter, and so on down the line. Criswell tells me -- I've talked with him since -- that it's definite. I said, "Soon?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "In June?"

He said, "Before that."

So, it is definite. So, after all these years, this program has been sold. Now, the thing to do is to see that it is run right.

Here are some more letters that I would like to read into the record on KOED. Here is a February 17, 1967 letter to John Criswell, acting executive director,


and also acting treasurer, of the Democratic National Committee, from James MacGregor Burns of Williams College, he is the biographer of Franklin D. Roosevelt, The Lion and the Fox, and also the biographer of John F. Kennedy, while Kennedy was still alive, and a distinguished political scientist.

Dear Mr. Criswell: Steve Spingarn has told me of his renewed interest in trying to work out more effective utilization of academic and intellectual resources for the benefit of the Democratic Party. I would like to indicate my support of his general proposal.

I have long been professionally interested in the relationship of political leadership and academic expertise, and I feel that while there are great difficulties always we do not effect as useful connections as should exist for the betterment both of the country and the party.

I am especially interested in this problem, too, because I am serving as a member of the Democratic. Advisory Council in Massachusetts, which Senator. Ted Kennedy took an active part in helping create. So. I want to state my strong support of this idea and also wish you all of the best of your very important work in Washington. Sincerely yours, James M, Burns, Professor.

Now, on the same date, February 17th, Jim Burns wrote me:

Dear Steve: You certainly are impressive in the way you go about things. You certainly have done a fine job of rounding up opinion and support and I am happy to enlist in your crusade. I enclose a copy of a letter I


have just written Mr. Criswell. Best Luck.

Now, here is a letter from Dean Stephen K. Bailey, a very distinguished political scientist who is dean of the Maxwell Graduate School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University, one of the major schools of public affairs in this country. I had telephoned Dean Bailey on Sunday the 5th, I believe it was, in February, and asked him to write John Criswell his support of the KOED program which Dean Bailey had previously endorsed in '63, the last time I was plugging it.

Dear Mr: Criswell: [this was February 6, '67] I have long been interested in Steve Spingarn's idea of harnessing the intellectual talents of the academic community around the country on behalf of the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates and office-holders.

The many professed Democrats among the academic professionals of the nation constitute, it seems to me, a valuable resource which should be increasingly tapped by the party and by individual candidates for national, state and local office. I do hope that this notion can be pushed and I stand ready to be of any possible help in the Syracuse area. [Now that's the operative sentence, when a man says he is willing to help himself and do some work you know he means it.] Sincerely, Stephen K. Bailey, Dean.

And here is a letter I got just today from Paul Douglas, the former Senator from Illinois. It is dated March 14, 1967, just reached me today:


Dear Steve: Many thanks for all the material you sent about your Knock on Every Door plan [that's KOED] it is good to know that you think things are looking up. I will be glad to help. With all best wishes, Sincerely yours, Paul.

And there are many others, but that gives you a cross sampling. I think (and I have written this to the White House, the President and others there), that the KOED program could help our party a great deal if effectively operated, and I place great stress on that because obviously if it is done on a lip service basis, it will be worse than useless, it will fail and it will further alienate the academic community. It must be done with adequate funds and good personnel. I myself place the approximate minimum cost at about twenty-five thousand dollars a year, and with that money I would envisage a good hard-hitting political scientist with actual experience in Democratic politics to run the operation at the Democratic National Committee, on a full-time basis with a good secretary or administrative assistant helping him, a bright savvy girl presumably, and with enough money to travel around the country and visit the campuses, and do the recruiting job, and with enough money to make the long distance calls and put out the mailings in quantity that would


be necessary to support this kind of an operation. So, incidentally, I want to say this, that I am very much encouraged by what is happening now at the Democratic National Committee. I have been watching at fairly close range the Democratic National Committee for twenty years, and apart from the election of 1960, I have done something in every presidential campaign and sometimes in the off-year campaigns, too. In 1948, I was detailed to the White House and worked on the campaign. I wrote the first draft of the famous Oklahoma City speech on communism. In 1952 I was Federal Trade Commissioner and was legally eligible, not "hatched," but there was a tradition against trade commissioners actively participating in the sense of making political speeches and I didn't do that, but I did participate in the sense of preparing speech drafts and memorandums of ideas and suggestions.

HESS: That was one of the questions I was going to ask you; just what your involvement was in the '52 campaign.

SPINGARN: The thing I was mostly interested in in the '52 campaign, I would say, was how to spike McCarthyism, and McCarthy, who was running rampant, who was attacking Adlai Stevenson in the most intransigent terms


and equating him with Alger Hiss, sometimes he referred to Alger Stevenson.

HESS: What were your ideas on that?

SPINGARN: Well, my ideas were that we were not hitting the fellow hard enough. That we were avoiding combat really and I thought that we ought to go out and expose his own tawdry record for lying and for unethical conduct down through the years. And I prepared a speech, a long speech on this subject, which went down over his whole squalid record and summarized situation after situation in which McCarthy had done unethical things, in which he had pocketed money under highly dubious circumstances, like the ten thousand dollars he got for supposedly writing a pamphlet for Lustron, the prefabricated housing outfit, at the same time he was serving on committees in which Lustron's interests were very much involved, legislatively, and many, many other things.

HESS: Was that speech ever given?

SPINGARN: No. I'm going to tell you about it. And even his own records of not hesitating to use Communists himself where it suited his purposes. Such situations as his praise of Earl Browder in the hearings in 1951,


because he was attempting to embarrass -- I've forgotten the details now, I'd have to check my speech -- but McCarthy actually at a trial in '51 in which Browder was involved testified for Browder, he was the only Senate witness for Browder although Browder had tried as I recall to subpoena other Senate witnesses, and the question was, as I recall, whether Browder had cooperated with a Senate committee and McCarthy testified as a character witness that he had cooperated beautifully. He was trying to embarrass other Senators actually.

Well, anyway, I prepared a speech, and Larry Henderson, who was at that time executive director or staff director of the Senate Small Business Committee, was working in the campaign and particularly working for Kefauver -- now this was '52, he was working for John Sparkman, of course, who was the vice-presidential candidate in '52 and was also chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee of which Henderson was the staff director.

McCarthy a night or two before the election was going on several hundred radio stations and make a final speech, which we knew was going to be a sock-a-doozer, and the idea was to get time, I believe it was either


directly before or directly after McCarthy, with comparable radio coverage to answer him. Larry Henderson called me one day, I believe it was a Friday or a Saturday, and he asked me to have a speech ready Sunday, and I prepared it -- I mean I had twenty-four or forty-eight hours to prepare that thing and I prepared it. It was easy because it was right on the top of my head -- this stuff. I had been writing endless memoranda and stuff on it, and it was no great problem.

HESS: It didn't hit you cold.

SPINGARN: It didn't hit me cold, no sir. Henderson had the time optioned on these several hundred radio stations, and I prepared the speech and Estes Kefauver was going to give it and then it was going to be followed up with several experts on counterespionage and security. One of them I remember was Edward Morgan, a former FBI agent who had been at one time the FBI's top authority on communism. He had been an inspector at the FBI, and he had been the fellow who gave the training courses to the agents on communism, and he told me that McCarthy had come to him sometime previously and asked him to help in making McCarthy's case against


the State Department's alleged Communists. He asked McCarthy to show him the material he had and he was shocked to find that McCarthy didn't have anything -- that he was just bulling; that he had absolutely no real evidence.

By this time. Morgan was out in private practice, and it was interesting to note that Morgan became angry when he realized what a fraud McCarthy was pulling on the American public and decided to do something about it. But, to show you how tense the pressures were of that period, immediately he felt pressures himself. His law partners came to him said, "Are you crazy, man? What are you doing? Are you trying to ruin our firm," and things like that, you know. He was under considerable pressure. He had gone out on a speechmaking stump, because McCarthy was running for the Senate himself that year, and Morgan went out and campaigned against him in Wisconsin, and he immediately found repercussions among his partners and the clients of this respectable firm -- that was the way things were in those days. And there were others we were going to get.

Stephen Mitchell was then the national committee


chairman in '52, and Mitchell at first decided to go along with it, and then he changed his mind and cancelled out the time that we had optioned, and then at the last moment he changed his mind again and decided to do it and it was too late, the optioned time had been disposed of elsewhere and we could no longer get it back; so, to make a long story short, that great speech was never delivered.

HESS: What was your opinion of Stephen Mitchell as chairman of the Democratic National Committee?

SPINGARN: Oh, basically, my opinion was good. I think he was a pretty good chairman -- I mean on this particular thing I think he was wrong, but we are all wrong from time to time on individual items. Basically, I think well of Stephen Mitchell. I would say he was a superior type of national committee chairman, a more intellectual type than most of our chairmen, a fellow who understood, for instance, the importance of voter education, of research, and of getting out fact sheets and things like that, as well as the meat and potatoes work of the national committee, which typically has been what they have done almost to the exclusion of everything else. I thought very well of Paul Butler, too, although


I couldn't sell him on the idea of KOED, but basically I think Butler was a good man. And I remember particularly Paul Butler in the '56 campaign -- or was it the '52, no it must have been the '56 campaign -- because Butler was entirely bypassed by the Stevenson organization. They set up their own organization out in Springfield, Illinois. And, by the way, they had some of Truman's people out there. Ken Hechler went out there, and Dave Bell was out there and some others, too, I think.

HESS: There could be, those are the two that I have heard about.

SPINGARN: Maybe. Those two I am sure.

HESS: Do you know why Mr. Stevenson kept his headquarters out in Springfield?

SPINGARN: I think one of the reasons was that he wanted to disassociate himself from Truman and...

HESS: Why?

SPINGARN: ...because I suppose that he thought Truman was a political liability. It must be remembered -- I'm just speculating now -- but it must be remembered that President Truman rates pretty high with the American people today and the historians, and everybody says


he was a fine President -- maybe even a great President, one of our best Presidents; but, it must be remembered that while he was in office his popularity rating at one time fell to twenty-three percent, and that's about half or a little more than what Lyndon Johnson has now and a lot of people say that's pretty low. So, the test of how good a President is, is not necessarily how popular he is at any given moment in his Presidency. A good example of what I mean is this: My brother Edward, who by the way is a fairly conservative Republican, is married to the daughter of Professor Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison of Harvard, the historian, one of the great American historians...

HESS: This what we discussed at lunch, but it's not on tape.

SPINGARN: Right. Sam Morison has won two Pulitzer prizes; he's been president of the American Historical Association; he's an eminent historian and he wrote the official history, a fifteen volume history, a naval history of World War II. He was specifically commissioned for that task by Franklin Roosevelt, as a lieutenant commander or commander and he had a wonderful assignment from his standpoint. He was told in advance when every operation


was going to be and if he said I want to be there, he was on a cruiser or a battleship or an aircraft carrier in that operation, he was there.

I was in the African invasion myself on November 8, '42 and I learned later that Sam Morison was there, too. He was all over the world. He eventually became a rear admiral, and he wrote the naval history; he's a great historian.

But, in 1956 after the defeat of '56, I wrote a lot of people I knew and this was a kind of a personal political Gallup poll, and I asked them how they voted in '56 and why. And, among the people I wrote was Sam Morison, and he replied -- and I also asked them how they voted in '52 I believe, how they voted both times, and Sam replied, as I recall, that he had voted for Eisenhower. Now, Sam had been a lifelong Democrat, a liberal Democrat, although he was a Boston Brahmin and you might not have expected. that, but he was a professor and an intellectual, too. And he replied that he had voted for Eisenhower in '52 and the reasons were, "Korea, communism and corruption." I was shocked that these slogans in the street were being used by a great historian. And in '56 he said he voted for


Eisenhower again, and he told me that he had done so for much the same reasons and he has talked particularly about the Truman scandals, and I asked him what were the sources of his information on the Truman scandals, and he wrote me that he had used a book by a fellow names Jules Abels, called The Truman Scandals.

Then, I was shocked because I knew that book. That book was a campaign document. It was first released, first released at the Republican National Committee in the campaign of 1956 -- that was the release place -- obviously this was political polemics. Abels himself was a minor official of the Eisenhower administration, with the Small Business Administration, as I recall. I read the book, or read large segments of it, and I remember particularly to show how "fair minded" this great document was, it had seven or eight pages devoted to a liquor tax scandal involving a big Baltimore liquor dealer named Hyman Harvey Klein, and it told all about all the awful things that had happened, and all the Democratic officeholders that were supposedly involved. But it never mentioned the fact that the most pre-eminent fixer of that period -- the early '50s, late '40s and early '50s -- Henry "The Dutchman" Grunewald, that


he had gone down and been all over the Bureau of Internal Revenue on behalf of Hyman Harvey Klein, and that he had been sent down there by none other than Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, one of the three or four most prestigious and important Republican Senators. He was, I think, chairman of the Republican Caucus but he was one of the top Republicans of the Senate.

Now, you might reasonably inquire or at least wonder why a Senator from New Hampshire would be that much interested in the troubles of a Baltimore, Maryland liquor dealer. That would be worth inquiring into. In any event, if you were rapping the Democratic officeholders who were involved somehow in this case in one way or another, why wasn't the Republican mentioned, but seven or eight pages were devoted to this case and there was never any mention that Senator Styles Bridges was in any way involved, you see, that's how fair minded this great book was that Sam Morison was using as his source.

So, I wrote all this to Sam and I also collected and summarized some cases of the Eisenhower period scandals, and there were quite a few. Particularly, I noted this -- and I want to go back to something that


happened to me while I was still at the Federal Trade Commission -- in May 1953 while I was Federal Trade Commissioner, I was invited to participate in a three day forum on ethics in Government at the University of California at Berkeley. I went out there and it was a very lively and interesting discussion. Dick Neuberger,, who was not yet a Senator was there, and Thurman Arnold was there and there were a lot of interesting people there -- Republicans and Democrats. Thurman Arnold was the keynote speaker; he made the opening speech, and he made a typically amusing iconoclastic Thurman Arnold type of speech -- The Folklore of Capitalism type of speech -- that's his famous book. He said, if you took all the problems of Government and wrote them down on a pad of paper, and you put ethics in Government at the top, and if you then turned the pad upside down, you would have ethics in approximately its relative position of importance in Government.

Well, we all laughed, that was a great way to start off a three day forum on ethics in Government, and we all said, "Oh, that's just Thurman, you know, he likes to do things that way," and we got a kick out of it.


But I went back to Washington after this thing was over and I picked up a book which had recently appeared called Hitler's Secret Conversations, and this was a book based on the verbatim stenographic transcript of Hitler's talks with his staff over a period of several years during the war. At night, you know, he used to sit around and talk, these are largely monologues, with the staff occasionally interjecting, "You are so right my Fuehrer," or something like that.

HESS: Somebody agreeing with him.

SPINGARN: Yes. Mostly it was Hitler talking to himself, you know, and the staff sitting around in adoration, listening. Well, these were stenographic transcripts, these papers had been scattered, they had been found in the courtyard, somehow some of them had been found and pieced together. Some were lost forever, but a good many were found.

One of the things that fascinated me was that the Fuehrer was deeply interested in ethics in Government and he talked very eloquently, and indeed quite reasonably, about the dangers of civil servants making "golden bridges," as he described it, with industrial


firms and paving the way for outside jobs by using their inside jobs in the Government to do favors, and things like that, and how important it was that the Government be scrupulously clean and ethical.

HESS: Clean as a hound's tooth.

SPINGARN: Yes, that's right. And I thought to myself, "Oh my heavens the fact of the matter is that every Government, Democratic, Communist or Fascist, doesn't want crooks running it." On that level they want to be ethical. But the real corruption of Government comes, I say, when a single interest group seizes control of all the levers of Government and pushes all those levers in their own interest quite legally, you see, not illegally, but legally. And, I say, that is in a way, not a Hitlerian way, but that's in a way what the Eisenhower administration, to a very substantial extent, represented. In the Truman administration we had scandals about mink coats and deep freezes, and things like that, petty stuff, but it catches the headlines. In the Eisenhower administration they had things like Dixon-Yates. That little deal involved something like a hundred million dollars, and the same man was on both sides of the fence, I've forgotten


his name now, but he was both the consultant for the Bureau of the Budget who worked up the deal for the Government, and he was the vice president of the First Boston Corporation which was going to finance the deal for the private outfits -- the utilities. The whole thing was eventually declared illegal by the courts.

All right, Dixon-Yates. That's real corruption. Even that was tainted with the illegality of this conflict of interest thing; but it could have been done quite legally, you see, and it might very easily have been done quite legally. It still would have been a big steal.

So, that seems to me the real corruption in Government. It is not that the Government shouldn't be honest in the small things, too, but every government when you get two and a half million people which is about what we have in Government now and have had -- we've had something on that order almost since World War II, two, two and a half million -- when you get that many people there are bound to be a few weak sisters and a few crooks. The important thing is, one, you want to keep your eye on the ball and get rid of those people as


fast as you can, but the main corruption of Government comes from the corruption of the power of Government to favor a special interest or one small segment of the population.

And there is another factor in this; and that is you hear a good deal about the Government man who is corrupted, but you seldom hear a great deal about the man or the interest that corrupted him. The typical situation was in the Teapot Dome case back in the Harding administration and [Albert] Fall went to jail for taking a bribe from [Edward Laurence] Doheny, and Doheny was acquitted -- I'm not sure that it was Doheny I'm talking about, whoever it was gave Fall that bribe, Secretary of Interior Fall -- in any event Fall was convicted and went to jail for accepting the bribe and the man who gave him the bribe was acquitted of giving him the bribe, you see. This was typical. In 1952 and '53 while I was Federal Trade Commissioner, and acting chairman for long intervals because Jim Mead our chairman was sick a good deal at that time, the international oil companies launched an attack on the Federal Trade Commission, and the point of the whole thing was this, our staff had prepared


a report, one in a series of reports that we prepared on international cartels and monopolies in different fields, and this was called the International Petroleum Cartel -- it was a staff report. It was held up for some time because of the trouble in Iran over Mosadeq and his nationalization of Anglo-Iranian oil interests there and the White House and the President asked us to hold it up for awhile because that pot was boiling. But eventually with some revisions and deletions of material which it was felt might be too provocative if they remained, the report was published by the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator Sparkman's committee, and it was sent to that committee at their request over my signature as acting chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.

Immediately the report was published -- this was about August, I place it, 1953 -- all hell broke out and the oil companies began to fill the air with screams about the horrors of this report, and in their meetings and conventions and associations all over the country they denounced the Federal Trade Commission, and they denounced the administration, and in the newspapers,


particularly in the trade press where it was vicious, but even in the legitimate daily press, editorials and news stories appeared in quantity denouncing this report.

Then, they hired a public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton, here in Washington, a well-known public relations firm, and they put on an international campaign against this report. They collected ail these editorials and news stories that were the most vitriolic -- dozens and dozens of them -- and they put them into a beautiful little brochure and they had the worst lines and sentences in each item circled, you know, and comments out on the margin about it, and they sent this, according to their own statement, to Government officials and molders of public opinion in sixty-seven countries, and this denounced the government and the Federal Trade Commission in the most intemperate fashion. They, were called, "cheap Pendergast politicians," "sleazy Truman politicians," and the like. One that I remember especially said, "Remembering Alger Hiss, we think that everybody in the Federal Trade Commission who had anything to do with this report should be investigated by the FBI."


I think that may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, as far as I was concerned, it made me mad. And I held press conferences, and went on television, and radio, and answered back, and for a time it was quite brisk. I also launched a campaign on, "Ethics in Government," and I wrote to national organizations, business and labor and the churches and Government and politics, you know, all the top national organizations, in which I described it as an ethics in Government issue, because the Federal Trade Commission acting under its legislative powers, had written a staff report. This staff report contained no conclusions, no recommendations. It was factual, it was based on the subpoenaed files of the oil companies themselves, and on investigations in countries all over the world.

We had done this under legislative authority. If there was anything wrong in it we wanted to know about it. If any evidence were presented to us, or if there were any mistakes we would correct them. But the oil companies refused the hearing that was offered them by the Senate Small Business Committee; they refused that and they went out in the market of public


opinion and conducted a propaganda campaign in which they never dealt with the facts of the report, they simply stigmatized the Federal Trade Commission and the Government in the typical McCarthyite fashion. McCarthy's central credo was never engage in rational debate, vilify the opposition, smear them; and that is what they were doing, you see. I said this presented a great issue on ethics in Government, because if private interest could intimidate their Government or Government agencies in this fashion in the market of public opinion, why you would have a weak and useless, ineffective type of Government, and that national organizations ought to interest themselves in this aspect, that you needed fearless and unintimidated Government officials, and you weren't going to get them if they were beaten over the head with a bat in this unfair and vilifying way every time they opened their mouths on public issues.

HESS: The regulatory organizations couldn't regulate anymore.

SPINGARN: That's right. This was a deliberate attempt to try to intimidate, you see. I was a lame duck commissioner, and I couldn't -- unfortunately I wasn't


eloquent enough to persuade my colleagues to participate in this crusade, or whatever you want to call it, of mine -- and I found that the oil industry had its tentacles, if you want to call them that, everywhere.

At that time the Department of Justice had two investigations going of the oil industry, the international oil industries. One was a case to recover alleged overcharges -- I think it ran around sixty-five or seventy million dollars, an enormous amount -- alleged overcharges for oil shipped abroad, under foreign aid programs; and, the other was a criminal investigation, a grand jury investigation, to determine whether they were violating the anti-trust laws. And the oil companies regarded the Federal Trade Commission report as the nucleus of all their troubles. This was furnishing the factual information, they felt, that was producing their trouble in the grand jury and in the civil litigation. So, they were attempting to kill these cases, and the National Security Council met several times on this matter.

I had a couple of talks with President Truman myself, I was, as I say, acting chairman of the


Federal Trade Commission at this time and I had several talks with the President on this: He told me, as I recall -- it is all out there in your files because I have a deep dossier on my tangle with the oil companies which I shipped out several years ago to the Truman Library, and what I am saying should be checked in those files because it is recorded there and my memory is not as good as the files are, but it is all recorded there -- the National Security Council wanted to downgrade the grand jury investigation, I believe, into a civil investigation.

The President told me -- I was attempting to preserve the investigation ....the President told me that General Bradley had told him that this investigation was causing repercussions in the Middle East, and perhaps injuring national security. My theory of the case was this: That the oil companies were kicking the Russian bear in the rump and then saying, see how mad he is. Things like this happened. There was a newspaper out in Beirut, Lebanon, called The Lebanese Daily Star, an English language newspaper, and it was printing editorials denouncing the oil cases, and the Federal Trade Commission report, and the grand


jury investigation, and saying that it was doing terrible injury to American interest in the Middle East. The oil companies were clipping these and shipping them to the State Department as if they represented Middle Eastern opinion.

But I discovered from Larry Henderson, who had been out there, this paper was in effect owned lock, stock and barrel by the oil companies, I don't mean literally but that all its subscribers were oil company employees, and all its editorial thinking was geared toward oil company interests. So really, they were producing their own editorials and then called them Middle Eastern opinion.

And when I published this, when I announced this at a press conference, the publisher, a gentleman named Kamel Mrowa, of the Beirut paper, wrote me a letter stating that I was wrong and that he was thinking of suing me for libel. I checked on him with the State Department and other people .I knew who had been out in Lebanon, and I discovered that Mr. Mrowa had fled the country, it was Syria then, when the Free French came in he had left with the Germans, the Nazis, he had gone to Berlin and there he had sat out the war


as a propagandist, for the Nazis propagandizing the Arabs on behalf of the Nazis.

HESS: Not too good a background.

SPINGARN: And I wrote him relating the facts I discovered about him and challenging him to sue me in any American court he wanted to. I never heard further from him again. That was an amusing sidelight. But this it seems to me represents a very real picture of what ethics in Government means. Now, I seem to have lost the thread...

HESS: I have one other question on the 1952 campaign. It has always seemed to me that the liaison and the communication between Governor Stevenson and President Truman was just not too good during the 1952 campaign. Is that a fair assumption or not?

SPINGARN: Well, I would think that was a fair assumption, yes, that is my impression of the matter. I don't pretend to have any inside dope but my impression is that Mr. Truman was a little miffed with Mr. Stevenson and vise versa.

HESS: Why?

SPINGARN: Well, Truman had first ....I think it was Adlai Stevenson's Hamlet-like agonizing; Truman had suggested


to him that he be the candidate and Stevenson had...

HESS: Held out for quite sometime.

SPINGARN: ...held out for a long time, "To be or not to be," and Truman, I think became a little p. o.'d with this -- what seemed to him indecisiveness. And, then there was the further fact that Truman's popularity index was on the wane, was on its lowest ebb at this point, and Stevenson quite obviously was attempting to disassociate himself from his own President, because he felt that Truman's coattails were not only not a asset, they were a liability. So. I think you are quite right when you say that there was not the closest relationship between Mr. Truman and Mr. Stevenson in that 1952 campaign.

HESS: Mr. Truman put on quite a vigorous campaign, as you know, whistle stopping and went, I don't know to exactly the same cities, but he made roughly the same route that he did in 1948, but as I say it just seemed to me...

SPINGARN: Well you have to remember that their styles were so different. You can't imagine that Adlai Stevenson would -- I mean he may have liked Truman as a man and a human being, but Harry Truman's style on the


stump I do not think would appeal very much to Adlai Stevenson, and perhaps vice versa.

HESS: Do you know why David Bell and Kenneth Hechler went to Springfield? Were they sent there by the Truman organization or were they requested...

SPINGARN: I don't know. You would have to ask them. I don't know -- I imagine I knew at one time, but I've forgotten. But they are both available -- Hechler is here in town, and Bell is in New York, and you can ask them.

I wanted to get on to this McCarthyism business. When I left Government, I had decided that I was going to try to engage myself in some pro bona publico sort of thing, and the thing I particularly wanted to do was to launch on operation against McCarthyism -- not just McCarthy but the whole climate of McCarthyism which was then so powerful and running so rampant in this country that it is hard for people today to remember back, even people of my vintage, and for the youth of today it would be almost impossible to visualize how deep a grip that had on the fears and tensions and imagination of the country.

Well, there was another factor -- I mean it is


possible to look back and think that I made a mistake in decision, perhaps I did, I don't know. But there was another factor. Aside from the sort of public interest work that I'm talking about, I was best equipped to be a Washington lawyer in Federal practice here, that was what my training all equipped me for. I had been, in effect, a legislative counsel type of lawyer in Washington all my life -- I was a young legislative lawyer in the Treasury, I became Treasury legislative counsel, I was legislative counsel, in effect, at the White House, and at the Federal Trade Commission, in the last year I was there, I did more legislative work, made more congressional appearances than all the other four commissioners put together, including the chairmen. Because if a fellow likes that kind of work and is reasonably adequate at it, why a lot of people don't like it you know, you are on the grill there, and some people don't like it so well.

HESS: If he shows the knack for it, that's the assignment he's going to get.

SPINGARN: That's the assignment he's going to get, that's right. But the difficulty is this, that a Federal


practice in Washington means "lawyer-lobbyist," that's what it means in plain English. You are a lobbyist either before Federal agencies or of the Congress, or both, usually both. Several incidents happened that persuaded me that if I could avoid it -- I don't want to be too nice about these things -- if I had had the economic pressures that other men had, I am sure I would have, done it; if I had a family and needed the money to support myself and my family. But there were several instances, and I'll only name one and I won't mention any names, at this juncture. While I was on the Federal Trade Commission, an eminent Washington lawyer, who had been an eminent public official, and who is still equally eminent today, and whose name is known to every American who is familiar with national politics, came to see me to discuss several matters in which he was interested at the Federal Trade Commission; this was perfectly proper, I was available to talk to anybody about it as long as the case hadn't reached the judicial stage, that is as long as it wasn't a case that was being heard where the complaint had been filed, and it was before the…


HESS: Before the court.

SPINGARN: ...before the commission as a quasi-judicial body to decide. At that point I couldn't discuss it except in the presence of opposing counsel, you see. But in the earlier stages I could, and some of this stuff was legislative. He wanted to know our position on legislation and so forth and so on, that he was interested in.

But then he came to one matter which involved.. "he represented a firm which wanted the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation of a competitor, on the grounds that the competitor was violating the anti-trust laws, this was perfectly proper for him to seek that. We had the matter then under consideration, and he was there to urge that we do it, that we launch the investigation. And he argued the case on the merits, which was perfectly appropriate and I listened, and as a matter of fact the case was with me -- I was the one who was going to make the recommendation to the full commission as to whether we launched the investigation, and I had already done some preliminary examination, as I recall, and was satisfied that we ought to, there was no doubt in my mind that we ought to.


He didn't know it but we were going to anyway. But he was there to argue that we should, you see. I should say that this man had reason to believe that I was under obligations of gratitude to him, although in that respect he felt one way and I felt the other. He may have thought so, but I didn’t. Anyway, everything went well until the end. And then when he reached my door, leaving, he turned. "By the way Steve," he said, "there will be a twenty-five thousand dollar fee in it for me if the commission starts this investigation." Now, I thought that was a rotten thing to do. In other words he was suggesting that, that should influence my thinking, what he could make out of it. What other implication was there? This is not a thing that he should have said to me. Now, this man...

HESS: Do you suppose he was implying that you might get part of that?


HESS: He was just making a statement.

SPINGARN: No. He thought I was under obligations of gratitude to him, and that I would want to see him make a rich haul, that's all. I'm not suggesting that he was trying to ....no, no, nothing of that sort. And I want to say this, this man is far from being the


worst of the lawyer-lobbyists in Washington. It is very difficult you know. The whole thing is that the firms that hire you don't hire you for your legal ability most of the time, they hire you because they think, rightly or wrongly, that you have influence. Now, in most cases they don't have influence. But, in any case that's what they are looking for. They are looking for the people with the best contacts, and the people who have the readiest access to the powers that be -- in Congress and at the other end of the avenue. There could be no question this man had marvelous access to everybody.

Now, there was another case earlier. Another equally eminent lawyer-lobbyist in this city, another man who has been equally important in Government and who -- this was a long time ago -- but he still is very important in the political life of the city, although behind the scenes now. And this was a case -- this was in '56 --and this was a case of a congressional report, an investigation of certain agencies which did not reflect credit on the conduct of the senior officials of the agencies vis-a-vis some of the business interests that they were regulating, it showed an


unattractively close relationships between the regulator and the regulatee in some of the regulatory agencies. It was during the campaign of '56. This man went to a very important member of Congress, and a very fine member of Congress, with whom he had a very close relationship, and succeeded in blocking or at least deferring the issuance of this report, at least for a time, not for very long, but for a time. And he was involved -- this lawyer was involved himself in some of the relationships that the report dealt with particularly with one agency.

Well, Drew Pearson published a story on this, and I want to say that Drew Pearson is an old friend of mine, one of the first people I met in this city. In 1934 when I first came here, I had a letter of introduction to Drew, and I took it to him and he was very nice and friendly, and he gave me a letter to somebody else -- that's the way it works, you see. You get a man off your neck by giving him a letter to someone else. And I used to see Drew from time to time, and actually in '41 or early '42, I got his wife Luvie Pearson, a job in the Treasury War Savings Bond woman's division -- I don't mean I'm close with them,


but I'm on moderately friendly terms, I have often been a guest in their home, and that sort of thing, and from time to time I would have lunch with Drew and I also know Jack Anderson, his associate -- well, pretty well.

Well, Drew published, or was about to publish, a story on this, and one day Drew had me to lunch at his house and he asked me about this case and I told him what I knew, but I discovered he knew as much as I did if not more. I could only corroborate what he already knew; I wasn't furnishing the original information. From my own sources, I had heard the story, and he had heard it, and he seemed to know more than I did, but I knew something.

Well, sometime later, I had occasion to call the lawyer that I'm talking about, who had blocked that report for awhile, on some other matter, and somehow or other he had heard that I had given Drew Pearson the story and he exploded in my face, you see, and called me some harsh names, and I told him, I said, "Bill," let's call him "Bill," because that's not his name -- I said to "Bill" laughingly, "You ought to thank me. Drew Pearson gave you a million dollars


worth of publicity. All your clients will read that you were able to go to one of the most important men in Congress and stop a congressional report, at least for a time. That shows you've got all kinds of influence."

And he said, "Well, I don't want that kind of publicity." He was mad. But all I'm getting at is -- and these episodes I give you as sample instances of what I have seen. Now, on the other hand, it is true that there are men -- I would say Charles Murphy is an example. Charles Murphy, who is now the chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, who was Truman's special counsel, was also a lawyer and a lobbyist, I guess, for a period from 1953 to '61, but Charlie Murphy is a fellow with the highest ethical standards, nobody could persuade him -- there wouldn't be money enough in the world to make Charlie do something that he thought was wrong. After all there is nothing wrong with being a lobbyist, everybody is entitled to hire a lawyer-lobbyist -- I mean, a lobbyist has become a word of stigma, but the lobbyist, a good lobbyist, performs a very useful function, and all members of Congress, to some extent, rely on lobbyists.


But the good lobbyist, or at least the man of integrity, he doesn't (I hope), pull little stunts like those that I have described, and I said to myself and I. am only giving you a couple of examples among those that I remember, I said to myself, "Well, by golly, I don't want to be in this kind of business. I don't want to do this." Everybody gives hostages to fortune, but I don't want to give them unless I have to and fortunately for me, I had a modest but adequate personal income, and I had the assurance of substantially more to come if I outlived people in their eighties. So, I had "social security."

So, I decided in my own mind that I didn't want to be a Washington Federal practice lawyer, because I saw the compromises that men, who were not bad men either, seem to have to make in order to carry on this kind of a job.

Now, just before I left Government, a delegation, a committee of three or four people -- I remember one was Don Montgomery, now dead, who was the legislative representative of the United Automobile Workers here, I think, and there were two or three others that came to see me.


A new committee was being set up, and in fact I was a member of the committee. It was called the National Issues Committee and Mrs. Roosevelt, and most of the Truman Cabinet, Clark Clifford, Charlie Murphy, and others like that, and myself were members of the committee. The idea was that we Democrats were going into outer darkness, the Republican administration had arrived, and how were we going to keep the liberal Democratic side of the issues before the American people, after we no longer had a forum, as it were, in the White House. So, the idea was to establish a National Issues Committee which would put out publications, keep the liberal Democratic side on the issues before the people. It was a good idea, by the way. It is not altogether unrelated to the KOED idea. KOED I think is a better way to do the same thing, frankly, or it could be. But in any event they wanted, they needed a staff director and I was offered the job at fifteen thousand a year, which was the same salary I was then getting at the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Trade Commission job now pays twenty-seven thousand or thirty thousand or something like that, but that's what it paid in 1953.


I turned the offer down, and it didn't make much difference, as a matter of fact, because the committee only lasted a year or two at most and folded up. It couldn't raise money, and I wouldn't have done them a bit of good on raising money, because I was never any good at that, if that is what they wanted I wouldn't have helped them much.

I decided that I wanted to work somehow in spiking McCarthyism, and in the fall of '52, while I was still on the Federal Trade Commission, I prepared a lengthy memorandum on what I called the "Truth Foundation," and the idea was to establish a tax exempt organization, the purpose of which would be to try to purify, or keep pure, the wells of American public opinion, and to present the rational side of ....I mean to answer the lunatic, extremist, McCarthyistic attacks on national programs of all kinds, both foreign and domestic. At that point the typical stigma was that every program was socialist and communistic, and all sorts of lies and hyperbole and half-truths and distortions were thrown into the pot; and. the American people were certainly being confused about things.

The United Nations was presented to them as a


Communist organization, and even the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts and the YMCA were Communist organizations, according to some of the McCarthyite people. It's hard to bring yourself back to that era now because we've come a long way, but we could return, we have from time to time throughout our history. We had the Know Nothings in the nineteenth century, and had the alien and sedition laws at the end of the eighteenth century, and there have been these periods. We always recover our sanity and then eventually we always lose it again, and, of course, this happens typically in moments of stress and hysteria -- in moments, for instance, when war is imminent.

Now we are in a period of stress -- of not as much hysteria as there has been perhaps, but it certainly is a period of tension. If things went badly, I mean, in the world, it is possible that we could return to McCarthyism, unfortunately. In any event I prepared a program, a plan, for establishing what I called the "Truth Foundation," the purpose of which would be to propagate the rational side of national issues and present to the American people the facts to


answer the lies and distortions and also, to attempt to provide assistance and advice for people who were under individual attack, as where school boards or superintendents of schools or individual teachers or professors were being attacked on absolutely ridiculous grounds as Communists -- for no reason at all.

I am not talking about the cases where they were Communists, I am talking about the cases where they weren't, but they were being attacked on some absolutely ridiculous and spurious basis, such people were deeply worried, and they badly needed an information center where they could go for both information on who the attacker was and modus operandi information on how to deal with the attack. Also to reacquaint the American people, if you like, with the meaning of the Bill of Rights and what civil liberties and civil rights mean. Sometimes we tend to forget, maybe it would be well to remind them and to playback, if you like, such ancient but sterling episodes in our history as that of the trial of John Peter Zenger, the colonial editor in Philadelphia back around 1730 or 1740 who was tried for libeling the colonial


governor, and acquitted, and all sorts of episodes like that. The story of [John Peter] Altgeld, the Illinois governor, "The Eagle That is Forgotten," and many other cases in which good men have been attacked and vilified and eventually reason has prevailed, if not in their time in a later time.

Anyway, I presented this in memorandum form, all worked up, you see, and I tried to get a foundation interested. I went to the Ford Foundation, Paul Hoffman was then the head, and I went to the new Fund for the Republic, it was just being set up -- Robert Hutchins, then as now, it's still in existence, was the head of it. I talked to Hutchins personally and to Frank Kelly who was then Senator Lucas' assistant when he was majority leader and who is now assistant to Hutchins, Frank's the vice president of The Fund for the Republic, they call themselves a different name now -- it is out in Santa Barbara anyway. They now are lolling alongside swimming pools and writing deep-domed essays on the nature of man, and society, which is very high level and perhaps has long-range value, but it doesn't reach the man in the street at all, certainly. And, I talked to Dean Rusk, who was then


president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

But this was a period of McCarthy, the foundations were frightened to death over their tax exemptions. There were constant threats being made by people like McCarthy, not only he either, that this rascally liberal foundation, we are going to take their tax exemption away from them, and of course that would put them out of business, or anyway cripple them terribly; so, I wasn't able to make any headway.

Well, by 1963, the John Birch Society had sprung into existence, and it galvanized the right wing. It had been organized, as I recall, at the end of '59 and by '63, it was hitting high gear and it was the focus, it was the fulcrum, it was the center and it still is, of the radical and lunatic right wing.

To give you an idea of how well it has done, the John Birch Society raised about 1.6 million dollars in '65, and the returns are not in for '66, but it is probably more than that, and we don't know what it will raise in '67. They have places all over the country, they have several hundred staff men. It is a big thriving organization, and it is the center and heart of the lunatic right, and all the other organizations


use their material, and often their ideas.

It is estimated that there is thirty million dollars a year raised by lunatic right organizations, last year I mean. Not only that, there are over ten thousand radio broadcasts every week, every week, by outfits like Dean Manion's Forum, and The Dan Smoot Report, and Carl McIntire, the fundamentalist, a Protestant minister, defrocked; and Billy James Hargis and others like that. Over ten thousand radio broadcasts in every one of the fifty states, every week.

HESS: "Dateline" sponsored by H. L, Hunt.

SPINGARN: "Dateline" by H. L. Hunt, that's right. No. I think it's called "Life Line." And then they have things like "Let Freedom Ring." I have the telephone number if you want it over in my apartment, if you can call this number right here, it's in Virginia. It’s just a telephone taped or recorded two minutes thing, and they give you some, crazy right wing account about how the fluoridation of water is a Communist plot or the United Nations, everything is a Communist plot, of course. Their school of thought believes nothing ever happens because of historical circumstances, or because men are not omniscient, it all happens because


there is a deeply wicked and sinister and diabolical group of traitors who are plotting it that way and are trying to sell out the country, and so forth and so on, and they infest both parties.

According to Robert Welch, the degree of Communist control of the United States Government and its institutions is now, I think, he said seventy percent; it's gone up you know. Back three or four years ago it was only forty percent according to him, but now it is seventy percent, maybe it's eighty. Nonsense, absolute nonsense, but it has its impact. It's like poison being dripped in and it's not being answered or counteracted, that's the thing -- ten thousand broadcasts a week.

So, in '63, I revived this thing and I put out a shorter memorandum, perhaps more effective, the other one was pretty long, and I circulated it myself to a hundred and fifty to two hundred national leaders of both parties, and no party. I sent it to Milton Eisenhower, and I sent it to Paul Hoffman, and I sent it to Senator Kuchel, the Republican assistant leader of the Senate, and I sent it to Nelson Rockefeller and many others; and on the Democratic side I sent it to President


Kennedy and Vice President Johnson; I sent it to Abe Fortas, who was not then a Supreme Court justice .... and Jim Rowe, and George Reedy and many, many, many others -- a hundred and fifty or two hundred people. And I talked to some of these people, I had a half an hour talk with Senator Kuchel who had been blasting at the lunatic right on the floor of the Senate. And I got a letter when I wrote Rockefeller, I got a letter from George Hinman who was then the Republican national committeeman from New York, and Rockefeller's number one political lieutenant. He wrote me the Governor was much interested in this and he was going to discuss it with him, and I went up to New York and I had a talk with Rockefeller's staff people, not Hinman but other people, and they told me that he was interested, but I never heard further from him .... let me say this; in 1964, in September '64, a truth foundation, not called that, was set up, I don't know whether, or to what extent, my memorandum played any part in this, you never know these things. All I know is that it was set up. It was bipartisan, oddly it was called the National Council for Civic Responsibility, NCCR, headquarters in New York, but Dewey Anderson and the


Public Affairs Institute, of which he was the executive director, was the housekeeper, he had a tax exemption for the Public Affairs Institute and it was to be under his wing, and he was to be the staff director. I had many talks with Dewey, and Arthur Larson who was Eisenhower's head of the USIA and Under Secretary of Labor, and a White House assistant, was the chairman; Jim Mitchell, now dead, Eisenhower's Secretary of Labor was on it; and so were such respectable figures as General Lawton Collins, the former Army Chief of Staff, and many, many Democrats and Republicans of pre-eminent stature; Marion Folson, I believe, and many more.

It was started in September, the middle of the 1964 campaign, that was the unfortunate thing and it was wedded too closely to the anti-Goldwater campaign. It was exactly on all fours with my proposal of '52-'53 and of '63; but Goldwater was overwhelmingly defeated and immediately nobody had any further interest in this program, which should have been a long-range, permanent program. McCarthy was a one-man operator He was tremendously effective as a one-man operator, but he was no organizer. He never organized the way Robert


Welch has. He was enormously better known than Welch is, but Welch has done a terrific job of organizing, and he has been more effective in organizing the radical right than McCarthy, who was not interested really in an organization, he was only interested in trumpeting for McCarthy; so, in some ways, therefore, the present radical right is a more effective and, therefore, more dangerous operation because it has roots and organizations which McCarthy never had. When he passed -- look...

HESS: It was gone.

SPINGARN: It was gone. All right, but this is not a one man operation any more, it is an organization. So, immediately the purse strings knotted. They had a proposed budget, as I recall of half a million dollars and they were only able to raise a hundred and thirty thousand, or something like that, and so they folded up almost immediately. When the 1964 election came along they never did anything after that and they formally closed down about February 1965. All right.

But, now, finally another organization, a successor, was established last November (1966). It is called the Institute for American Democracy, and I am going


to give you this for the Library. I am not officially any part of it, I am a rank and file member, but I have been giving them the benefit of my advice in great detail, believe me. The Institute for American Democracy, IAD, started off at a press conference here in Washington, November, 1966. Its purpose is exactly what I described for the Truth Foundation, that sort of thing. And the chairman is Doctor Franklin Littell, who is a Republican, a Methodist minister, and the president of Iowa Wesleyan College, and a man with great experience in both left and right wing radicalism -- knows a lot about it. The executive director is Charles R. Baker, Chuck Baker, who is a hard hitting and savvy public relations guy with a labor background -- knows his way around. And its got a distinguished list of sponsors; Republicans like Marion Folsom, some of the same people who were there before, and here is a list. Thurman Arnold is here; and Francis Biddle, who was Roosevelt's attorney general; Hodding Carter of Mississippi, the editor; Senator Clifford Case, the liberal Republican Senator from New Jersey; and Oscar Ewing who was head of Truman's -- what is now HEW, but wasn't then; and many others of that caliber;


Arthur Larson is here, too; and Senator Gale McGee of Wyoming; and Senator [Frank Edward] Moss of Utah, and many others.

Now, by the way, on January 16th, the National Education Association held an all day conference here on the right wing attacks on the schools, and among the speakers were Chuck Baker of IAD, and Wesley McCune, who is an old Truman man. Wes McCune was Charlie Brannan's assistant when Charlie was Secretary of Agriculture, he was a speechwriter, and later when Charlie went out with the National Farmers Union, Wes went out to Denver with him; now he's back here and he's running an outfit called Group Research, which puts out publications and does an intelligence job on reporting on the activities of the radical right and the left, particularly the right, and this is being used by this new outfit, IAD, among others. IAD is a good organization and I hope it prospers. The big thing is it needs to raise money, and that's their big problem. I'm going to give you this folder which I picked up at the National Education Association which contains a good deal of material on IAD, too.

HESS: I'll send this out to Independence.


SPINGARN: I have had many talks with Chuck Baker and with Dr. Littell, I've given them innumerable memoranda, and I have done my best. For instance, I went to lunch with Drew Pearson in January and spent most of the time telling him about this outfit and I have done the same thing with Jack Anderson, his colleague, in the hope that they will give some publicity to it, you see.

I have talked to Russell Wiggins, the editor of the Washington Post, the editor in chief; I've talked to Newbold Noyes, the editor of the Washington Star; I have talked to the New York Times, and to various columnists, and I have suggested to Chuck Baker and to Senator Moss, who is one of the sponsors, that this operation be done all around the country by members of their sponsoring committee, who are elsewhere with the idea of getting newspapers and columnists to print editorials and stuff about this operation and give it some favorable publicity.

But the big job is to raise money and my suggestion along those lines, for whatever sense it makes, has been this: Typically on their committee of sponsors, they have people representing a lot of prestigious


national organizations; business, labor, church, you know, the whole range of national activities, as well as people who have held important offices at one time. But these big national organizations, they seem to think that when they lend their name that they have done their job -- they make a token contribution and that's it boys, that's it. That's not the way you get money. I say that the way to get money is to get some rich people who have foundations, this is my phrase, "hanging out of their pockets" so that it doesn't cost them personally a nickel. They have foundations hanging out of their pockets -- approach them, never mention the word "money" initially, never -- approach them and try to involve them in your operation, put them on your trustee's board and try to involve them in your operation on its merits without ever mentioning the word "money," and hope that if you can rub their noses in it for awhile that they will see the need and then all they have to do is to turn to Foundation "A," and say, "Disgorge." It doesn't cost them a nickel, and of course, the ideal people, I say, are the people who have themselves been in one way or another the target of extremists. I think in that


connection of Winthrop Rockefeller, who was smeared in the recent Arkansas campaign because he had a very rightwing Democrat running against him who made vicious attacks against him personally.

HESS: James D. Johnson.

SPINGARN: Yes, Johnson. And, then I think of the new money fellows. I think of guys like Hirshhorn, who is reputed to be worth over a hundred million dollars and who just gave a collection of fifty-six hundred pieces of art worth twenty-five to fifty million dollars to the Government and which is to be housed in a museum called the Joseph Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Park. It's being set up right across from the National Gallery of Art. He is a Latvian emigrant who has made more than a hundred million dollars, and a very lively character. There was a long profile of him in the Potomac magazine in the Washington Post on Sunday -- last Sunday.

And there are many others like him, you know, new money people, who made enormous amounts of money quite recently, and who hopefully are looking for something worthwhile to do with it, and there are other things


besides collecting art and giving that to the Government, I say, that are worthwhile; although that's certainly worthwhile.

And then there are rich, dedicated, brilliant ladies with foundations at their side. I just name these as names, I don't mean that these are real possibilities, but a woman like Mary Lasker, for example, who has tens of millions of dollars in foundation money and who practically all she has to do is point a finger at the National Institutes of Health, and they jump. She is the queen goddess out there because of her foundations work in the medical field, and Marietta Tree, whose husband is very rich, and many others you can think of. Clare Boothe Luce, if she could be interested, and others. But it seems to me that this is the route to .... and this is not crass, it seems to me that this is the sensible way to raise money for a very worthy cause, and these people that I'm talking of would be doing themselves and their country both a benefit because the radical right is dropping poison into the American system day after day and month after month and something is needed as an antidote. Well, so much for that.


Now another thing, a Truman thing which I'm interested in, and which is current, and that's the Consumer Dollar Study. In 1952 I was at the Federal Trade Commission, and John Carson and Jim Mead and I -- Carson was another commissioner, and a fine chap and Jim Mead was our chairman -- and I think especially Carson and myself, interested the President in the Federal Trade Commission making a continuing Consumer Dollar Study.

The idea was that this would not be a one shot operation; that it would not include merely food but it would include every item important in the consumer budget, every item in the budget of the average American family -- food represents only about eighteen percent -- and that it would break down exactly where the consumer dollar went for each such item; that is, how much went for raw materials, how much went for the manufacturing, how much for the labor, how much for transportation, overhead, distribution, advertising, taxes, profits, you see -- a breakdown. And this was to be done annually on every item.

In September 1952, the President, wrote a letter, to the Federal Trade Commission, a letter which we had


actually drafted, asking us to make -- we had the power under our basic statutes -- to make this study, and Jim Mead, chairman Mead, promptly replied that we would be glad to do so, and that we would keep the President advised. And we put an item for a hundred and eighty-six thousand dollars in our coming-up budget -- let's see that would have been the '54 fiscal year budget -- a budget, by the way, which I presented because Jim was sick, as I recall. And Jim Mead and I paid several calls on the President, and there were several press releases -- both the White House and ours -- about our conversation with the President about this, at that time, in the fall of '52. The hundred and eighty-six thousand dollars was not to make the whole study, it was to study and decide on the best modus operandi, a pilot, you know, of how we could best make it because this was an ambitious project which was presumably going to cost several million dollars a year to do, when you were running the whole show. So, this was to determine the best way to do it, and we were going to have hearings, investigative hearings, and call in experts, and interest groups, academicians, research the whole picture as to how best to make the study.


A hundred and eighty-six thousand in our budget -- well, along came the November election and another administration came in. Now, we had gotten from the Bureau of the Budget that year, the Federal Trade Commission, a five and a half million dollar estimate to send to Congress, that was by a million dollars -- I'm proud of that because I made the presentation to the Bureau of the Budget -- and that was by a million dollars, the most we had ever gotten and included in it was this hundred and eighty-six thousand dollar item for the Consumer Dollar Study investigation, a preliminary study.

The Eisenhower administration came in and immediately the Bureau of the Budget, the new Bureau of the Budget, advised us that our estimates which were already on the Hill were to be cut a million dollars, one million, that was almost twenty percent, seventeen or eighteen percent, and they specified that this cut was to include the Consumer Dollar item, this was specified, they wouldn't put it in writing but they orally told us. I wrote a letter of protest to President Eisenhower, but of course this was an exercise of futility, and I also went to the Hill and tried to get it reinserted,


and this was another exercise of futility because this was the Republican eighty-third Congress that we were dealing with.

Not only did they not restore that million or that hundred and eighty-six thousand either, but they thought that we rascals at the Federal Trade Commission, since our appropriation was rather broadly phrased, that we might divert money from some other pocket and use it for this. So, they put a rider on our bill, the House Appropriations Committee put a rider on our bill saying that no Federal Trade Commission’s appropriations should be used for the purpose of making a Consumer Dollar Study. They wanted to nail the coffin lid down. So they went over to the Senate with that rider on and there was an effort in the Senate to rip out that rider, and in May 1953 -- I've forgotten the exact date but it was around mid-May -- the Senate had a roll call vote on this effort to remove the rider and it lost by a vote of forty-five to thirty, and so the rider remained. It was interesting to look at the thirty who wanted it out because you had a wide range of support for this. You had Senator Eastland of Mississippi, for example, he was in favor of knocking out that rider and so was,


as I recall, Senator Milton Young a conservative Republican from North Dakota. You see, you get all kinds of support in this field. These are usually regarded as pretty reactionary fellows by most standards, but they were for a Consumer Dollar Study apparently, and after all they came from agriculture states, you know, and they probably have some Populist tinge to their political orientation. Well, anyway, so it died. In ' 63 or ' 64 I decided to try to revive it and I wrote it up in memorandum form, and I collected and had Photostatted or Xeroxed the papers including the Truman letter to us, and this sort of thing, and I presented it to various people, including Esther Peterson, the consumer representative; she is special assistant, or was until the other day, to the President for consumer protection; and to other people such as Hubert Humphrey. I always send things to a lot of people on the assumption that somebody may take an interest in it. And Mrs. Peterson took quite an interest in it, and her deputy, David Swankin a very able fellow, took a great interest in it and they seriously considered it, and they had it studied by


one of their advisory committees and they thought well of it, but they were never able to get it off the ground at that time.

Then, last summer (1966), I tried again and I wrote Bill Moyers, who was still at the White House, as the President's number one assistant, and he promptly replied that this looked very interesting, and that he was going to turn it over to Joseph Califano, another assistant to the President, a very important one, in whose field it lay, and Califano wrote me that this looked interesting to him and he was going to have it researched, staff researched. And I sent it to Secretary Wirtz of Labor, and in September I got a letter, a "Dear Steve" a longhand letter from Wirtz, saying that he had never seen this idea before but that it looked good to him, and it had real guts, he said, and, "I'm going to see what I can do about it." And I talked to him more recently and he tells me he has been discussing it from time to time with Arthur Ross, the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the latest wrinkle, to bring you up to date, is this; David Swankin called me a few weeks ago and told me that Senator Brewster of Maryland, a liberal


Democrat from Maryland, to whom Swankin had sent my file on this thing, had made a speech on February 23rd (1967), in the Senate saying he was going to introduce this consumer dollar bill and he linked it up with the Truman program, as the same thing. I have within the last two weeks been up to see Brewster's legislative assistant Abels, Shep Abels, and they are going to do it, they are going to introduce a bill, and this is good, and Brewster is in a position to do something because he is a member of the Consumer Protection subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, so that's the status of the thing so far. The bill as far as I know hasn't been introduced because Brewster is busy on other things, but at least the Truman Consumer Dollar Study may yet see the light of day. Well, so much for that.

HESS: Do you want to go into this one thing on the Bernstein question?

SPINGARN: All right.

HESS: We discussed Bernstein's paper that he gave in December before the American Historical Association and I would like to ask one question from that since you were the man that was in charge of writing the


message of February 2nd.

SPINGARN: Well, I was in charge of the legislation and I worked on the message, I wasn't in charge of the message.

HESS: In charge of legislation and worked on the message, but anyway you were quite closely associated with the famous ten point civil rights message...

SPINGARN: Yes, I was. In fact I selected the ten points, you might say.

HESS: And that came about shortly after the committee came out, with their report To Secure These Rights, in October of 1947, and I'll quote just about a paragraph that Bernstein has in his paper, it's on pages thirteen and fourteen, and just get your opinion of it. He refers to the report that came out in October and then he says:

For a few months he seemed to hesitate. The issue was not whether he would do nothing. The hour was too late for inaction. The issue was how much of the report he would endorse. In large measure his decision was influenced by the prospect of a new third party led by the liberal Henry Wallace, Roosevelt's Vice President whom Truman had dismissed as Secretary of Commerce. Wallace's candidacy compelled the President to take a stronger position on civil rights. Only by moving to the left could he prevent a bolt of important members of urban Negroes from the uneasy Democratic coalition. Without their substantial support, he and


many urban Democrats were doomed to defeat.

That gives rise to several questions. Did you at this time hear any discussion of Wallace's joining the campaign, and becoming a candidate, given as a reason for the message of February 2nd?

SPINGARN: Well, let's put it this way. You are talking about an event that happened nineteen years ago. I don't recall that I heard anything, but nobody remembers with precision what they heard or didn't hear nineteen years ago. Professor Bernstein, in whose factuality I have very little confidence, states this as a fact, that he did this -- I have heard what you read, that he did this for that reason doesn't he, flatly? How does that go?

HESS: "In large measure his decision was influenced..."

SPINGARN: Was influenced -- he doesn't say if, and, or but, it was influenced. How does he know that? Does he give any documentation for that statement?


SPINGARN: Well, I don't see how he arrives at that conclusion. Let me say this: That I was not in direct contact with the President, at that time. That was when I was called over from the Treasury, and I was


dealing with Clark Clifford and Charlie Murphy, who were talking to the President. This question should be addressed to them obviously, or to the President himself, rather than to me, but I'd like to know, (a) what was the status of Wallace's candidacy in January? I was called over in January, what was the status of his candidacy in January of '48 when the decision had been made that a message was to go up, or maybe the decision had been made earlier for all I know, and then simply hadn't gotten around to doing anything about it because they are pretty busy over there, you know, until January. The report had only been delivered in October 1947, the Civil Rights Commission report. Obviously, I would say, the President wasn't going to bury that report, that would seem implausible to me. If he meant to do nothing with it, if he meant to soft-soap the whole thing and just gild it over, why didn't he appoint the kind of commission that would have given him a bland know-nothing, do-nothing report. As Bernstein himself, I believe, has pointed out, that surprisingly in a way, Truman committed a do-something commission. He appointed an activist liberal commission which was bound to


bring in a strong hard-hitting, in the context of those times at least, a hard-hitting report.

So. I would say that a decision to do something was reached at the time that he appointed a liberal commission, which was a year earlier, I'm just making an estimate, but as far as what was in the President's mind, and what may have been discussed at that time, I wasn't privy to the President's thoughts at that time. It wasn't until I became his administrative assistant that I had direct dealings with him in any extensive way, that was later; so this question should really be addressed to Murphy and to Clifford.

HESS: While we're on the subject of Bernstein, I would like to read a couple of paragraphs from the book that he and Allen Matusow have just put out recently on The Truman Administration, A Documentary History, on page eighty-six, and I quote:

From one point of view Truman's domestic program known as the Fair Deal, can be judged a failure. After almost eight years in office Truman could point to only a few tangible accomplishments: his executive orders ending discrimination in the armed services and in the federal government, the public housing act of 1949, a rise in minimum wages passed that same year, and a social security measure in 1950 that increased benefits and extended


coverage to ten million more Americans. But his boldest proposals were ignored or defeated by Congress: civil rights legislation, national health insurance, the Brannan Plan for agriculture, rational and humane immigration laws, federal aid to education. His achievements, then, seem mainly negative. In a conservative era he helped prevent repeal of the New Deal and preserved its vision of mild welfare capitalism.

This judgment, while true, is also incomplete. Truman's best proposals proved to be a form of public education that prepared the way for enactment of similar programs in more favorable times.

What's your reaction to that statement?

SPINGARN: Well, I think he has given a valid statement at the end of his paragraph there. I would say this, though: In the first place he is talking about the domestic program only, but a President's record has to be viewed in totality. Truman had a tremendous record overall and the bulk of it, of course, was in the foreign policy field. I mean the Truman doctrine, the Greek-Turkish program, the Marshall plan, NATO, the resistance to aggression in Korea, all that you see and more -- Point 4.

This is a tremendous program and history is going to record that no major power in the world, up to this time, had taken as generous and responsible a role in


world affairs, I believe, as the United States did, starting with the Truman administration after World War II, and that will be Truman's glory, I believe.

Now, on the domestic side, after every war there seems to be a move toward reaction and conservatism. If you compare the Truman era after World War II, with the Harding, Coolidge and Hoover era after World War I, I would say it looked enormously better to me -- enormously better. Because they went backwards, and they gave us a spiraling inflation that resulted in total collapse and a do-nothing Government, and farm bankruptcy, and all that sort of thing.

Truman tried hard, and I have told you that no President, in my opinion, could have put through the civil rights bills in Truman's period -- no President -- I don't care how charismatic he was. The Brannan plan has not been passed to this day. It always made a lot of good sense to me and it still does, but it hasn't been passed to this day, in fact it is not even actively under consideration, hasn't been since it failed, I guess. As far as that goes, the health insurance program, except for the small end of its Medicare, hasn't been passed to this day, and I expect


it will be quite a while before we get a comprehensive health insurance program for the whole country.

So, the fact is that the country might have slumped under a different President, if there had been a different President, a Taft or some other different type of President, the country might have slumped into reaction and gone backwards, instead it can be said that the country inched forward under Truman, and he held the line, and he did beef up the educational program, and so I think that even on the domestic side that a good deal was accomplished. Now, I would like to say something about Presidents and square up Mr. Truman with some other Presidents. In the first place, it makes me pretty sick and tired to read the attacks on Lyndon Johnson today by a certain type, of what I would call ivory tower or perfectionist liberal.

HESS: Who would you place in that category?

SPINGARN: I would say that...

HESS: I don't want to interrupt your chain of thought but it is of interest.

SPINGARN: I would say that Hans Morgenthau is a good


example of what I have in mind, and with a little thought I could probably dig up a great many others. But let me put it this way, it is people whose name is legion in intellectual circles who sneer at Lyndon Johnson. I don't think anyone would argue with me that there is a considerable number in the academic and intellectual arena who do it. My friend Lewis Mumford would be one. Eric Goldman, I guess would now be in that category, and perhaps Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., I don't know, he wasn't always, but perhaps now, and so on and on. My point is this: that these people seem to dislike Lyndon Johnson because he didn't go to Harvard, and his wife can't speak French to Andre Malraux. They despise his style. They say he is so corny, and they find Lady Bird rather corny, too, her deep southern accent, and they seem to think that he shouldn't be allowed to win victories in this cornball fashion, that he should really give the ball back because he hasn't won them in the right way.

Now, I simply don't see this. I admit that John Kennedy was a golden boy in many ways, and a very admirable one. That he had great wit, youth, a fine and handsome appearance, charm; he had charisma, there


was something about him that attracted people, especially the young, all over the world, not just in the United States, and I have to admit that Lyndon Johnson has hardly any of these things. But, as I said to the young ladies at Marjorie Webster Junior College, this is not the test of a President. The test of a President is how well he exercises the powers of the Presidency. I regard Lyndon Johnson as a regional politician who grew and became a great national politician, but who still preserved some of the parochialism of his region, if you like; and I regard Harry Truman as the same kind of a man, a regional politician, from a rather parochial background, who grew and became a great national politician but always preserved some of the indicia of his background.

It seems to me that it is notable that a man from a border state, both of whose grandfathers fought on the Confederate side (as I recall), in the Civil War, all of his parents I believe were born in the South, in Kentucky weren't they -- and whose mother was so Confederate that when she came to the White House, because she was still living when he became President and did for some years, she refused to sleep in the


Lincoln Room, because she wasn't going to sleep in the bed that man slept in. Now, this was Harry Truman's background, and it takes a game fish to swim upstream against a background like that and emerge with a substantially more liberal orientation than the environment he came from. In New York, my goodness, in the circles that these liberals move in, you'd have to be a game bird to be reactionary or conservative, because all their circles are liberal so they are not doing anything very daring. A man should be judged against the context of his environment. Lyndon Johnson never grates on me, perhaps because I went to the University of Arizona rather than Harvard, and my wife can't speak French to Andre Malraux, possibly because I have no wife.

I want to give you one case history; I mentioned Hans Morgenthau. Hans Morgenthau is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is one of the top ideologists of the anti-Vietnam intellectuals, and he doesn't like Lyndon Johnson.

On November 26, '66, Morgenthau published an article of about seven thousand words in The New Republic, it was called "Truth and Power." I read


it with fascinated horror. His general thesis was that the intellectuals seek only truth and the politician seeks only power, and these two things are incompatible, although they have to work alongside of each other. And this is particularly bad when you have a corrupt power-mad politician like Lyndon Johnson, who not only seeks power but wants to destroy truth, that doesn't agree with him, and so he tries to .... and Morgenthau is always talking particularly about Vietnam, that's what his main thesis is and so -- I'm quoting Morgenthau now:

And so Lyndon Johnson seeks first to intimidate intellectuals who disagree with him, and he does that by stigmatizing and vilifying them publicly, and he has a hatchet man named John Roche [says Morgenthau] who goes around crucifying and stigmatizing, as a bought-and-paid-for whore for Lyndon Johnson, and if he can't do it that way he corrupts them [says Morgenthau] he corrupts them by giving them Government jobs or by getting them jobs on Government grant projects.

Now, this is the basic thesis you see, and this is an awful state of affairs says Morgenthau, and Lyndon Johnson should be ashamed of himself, and history will judge him harshly, and so forth and so on. And then he goes on to add and this is what fascinated me:


That there had been few examples of a real combination of truth and power in one man, but Abraham Lincoln was the classic example of the man who combined truth and power.

Well, Hans Morgenthau simply doesn't know his history. I happen to have read a little history, and I will refer him to one source book that perhaps he has never seen; what I would say is the standard work on the Presidents relationship with the press, it's called The Presidents and the Press, by James E. Pollard, and it was published in 1947. It has one or more chapters on every President and his relationship with the press. The fact of the matter is, Professor Morgenthau, that the Hans Morgenthaus of the 1860s despised Abraham Lincoln for the same reasons that you despise Lyndon Johnson. They called him a simpleton, a buffoon, a country bumpkin, a crude, coarse, common person -- white trash. These are actual quotes. And, according to one history book I read, it was the smart thing to do for intellectuals, to vilify the President -- Abraham Lincoln, I mean -- and if Hans Morgenthau had been living in the 1860s he would have hated Abraham Lincoln for the same reasons he now despises Lyndon Johnson, because Abraham Lincoln was the same kind of man.


He was a regional politician who outgrew his regionalism and became a great national politician, but who never threw off all the indicia of his parochialism. Many people thought he was awfully crude right to the end. He told those corny and dirty stories, you know, and things like that, they said. Well, here is a good example from the intellectual community -- not the whole intellectual community. I regard myself as not an intellectual, but the product of that community. My father was a college professor and an intellectual. My only brother has been a college professor, and is an intellectual, and I have lived in that atmosphere all my life, even if I don't regard myself as one.

I wrote The New Republic and asked for an opportunity to reply to the Morgenthau articles. I asked for two thousand words of space to reply to his seven thousand words. By the way a seven thousand article is very unusual in The New Republic, their average article is two thousand words, so evidently the editor placed great value on the Morgenthau article. He was obviously talking their language. The editor-in-chief of The New Republic is a chap named


Gilbert Harrison, I just met him once, and Alex Campbell is the managing editor, I've only met him once or twice. Not getting an answer from them I turned to the publisher, Garth Hite, that's the business manager, and he is a new man there and he replied courteously that they made other arrangements for an answer. I wrote back "fine," I hoped that they had gotten John Roche to answer it since he had been particularly attacked in the article.

Well, two or three weeks later, about December 9th or 10th of December '66, I read the Morgenthau article over again and it made me mad all over again; this was about the third time I read it, so I sat down and I wrote a two thousand article, or letter, anyway, although I had been turned down, and I took it down to The New Republic and I handed it to Garth Hite the publisher, and he said, "Well, we just have a new issue with the answer." And he gave me the issue. It was dated December 17th, although this was the 9th or 10th of December, and the answer was by a chap named Melvin I. Urofsky who was listed as a member of the history department at Ohio State University. I had never heard of him. I went back. I read the article. It wasn't


very hard-hitting -- it seemed to me much too easy on Morgenthau. It certainly wasn't a bad article, but the fact was that Morgenthau is a national figure in the intellectual circles and the man who answered him was an unknown. They were sending a squire against a king. This makes a lot of difference.

So, the next day I happened to call Professor Leuchtenburg at Columbia, because he was the program chairman on the American Historical Association Convention, and I was calling him to ask for more time to answer Bernstein, and I mentioned this and I said, "Have you read this Morgenthau article?"

And he said, "No, but I have it on my desk,I mean to."

And I said, "A fellow named Urofsky has answered Morgenthau."

And he said, "Melvin Urofsky?"

And I said, "Yes."

He laughed and he said, "He's a student of mine."

I said, "A student of yours? He's at Ohio State."

"Yes." He said, "He's an instructor out there, but he's taking his Ph.D. under me next June at Columbia."

I was fascinated. So, I telephoned Urofsky at Columbus, Ohio, and he was out walking the dog but his


wife answered and eventually he came in and I talked to him, and I explained who I was and why I was interested, frankly. I said, "Would you mind telling me how you happened to get your article into The New Republic?"

And he said, "No." He said, "I read that Morgenthau article and it made me mad because it seemed to attack the integrity of every intellectual who works for the Government. So, I sat down and I wrote a letter about two thousand words and I sent it in, and I wrote it on the letterhead of the history department where I am an instructor. I didn't indicate anything else about myself." And he said, "I suggested they make an article, although I wrote it as a letter., and I promptly got a reply -- I think it was from Gilbert Harrison, the editor -- telling me that they were going to print it, and not asking any further questions."

And it was printed. And that was strange, it seemed to me. A man writes in cold, why did they take it? And then I went down to the National Press Club a day or two later, and I wandered in to see Richard Strout of the Christian Science Monitor. Strout is a


veteran Washington reporter and he is most famous because he is the T.R.B. of The New Republic, and has been for twenty-five or thirty years. The New Republic on its first page has a weekly column signed T.R.B. -- he's T.R.B. Twenty or thirty years, he's been that. Everybody who knows anything here knows that.

I talked to him about the Morgenthau thing and I found he was just as mad and hostile to the Morgenthau article as I was, and he further told me that he had angled for the opportunity to answer the Morgenthau article in The New Republic for which he has written a column for twenty or thirty years and they wouldn't let him do it, their own veteran columnist, highly respected all over the country, and in intellectual circles, no, they picked a letter by a perfect unknown, a nice young fellow named Urofsky out at Ohio State, selected him cold, and they print that. Well, this is how fair they are. And by the way, Gilbert Harrison would never answer my phone calls, nor would Campbell, nor my letters.

HESS: They knew that you didn't like it.

SPINGARN: Yes. So, then I called up Russell Wiggins the editor and chief of the Washington Post, whom I have


known on friendly but casual terms for twenty years or so, and I explained the situation, I said, "Russ, would you print a letter for me denouncing an article in The New Republic?" Now, this is a little irregular, and I explained why, "They won't print it," I said.

And he said, "Send it down."

So. I wrote a fifteen hundred word, I have now written a two thousand word and a fifteen hundred word item. There is a lot of work that goes into this. I sent it down to him and they printed it -- I have given you a copy -- boiling it down to six hundred words on December 24th, 1966 in the Washington Post. Now, that represents the intellectual community, a certain strong segment of that community's attitude toward Lyndon Johnson.

Now, I want to give you another example. In the October '66 issue of Harper's Magazine appeared an article by Larry L. King, called, "My Hero, LBJ," and it was probably the most scathing take-apart of Lyndon Johnson that I have ever read. Larry King is young, he's in his late thirties, he's a young Texas newspaperman. When he was a boy of ten or twelve Lyndon Johnson was his hero. He never met him, but


he used to campaign for him and carry his posters around, and all that. The boy grew up and he came to Washington and he became administrative assistant to a Texas Congressman named Rutherford in the '50s, and eventually he moved to the perimeter of Lyndon Johnson's entourage because when Lyndon was running for the Senate or the Vice Presidency or the Presidency he would round up all the Texas crowd to help him, and all their staffs would go with him.

Larry King used to go out as advance man for Lyndon in the late '50s. And he tells some scathing stories about Lyndon Johnson and how he would smile and beam at the crowd, and kiss the babies and coo, and then return to his hotel room and scowl and turn to his staff and say, "Which one of you sons-of-bitches got me into that foul-up," or something like that. I give you a typical example.

Well, I don't pretend that Lyndon Johnson is a saint. I'm sure he doesn’t walk on the water -- hardly ever -- and that he puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, but it has been my experience that almost every hard-driving executive is rough on his staff from time to time. It's his nature. He's rough


on himself and he's rough on his staff, almost universally. I will say this: Mr. Truman was never rough on his staff, but then he was not a hard-driving executive either. He was easygoing, maybe he was too easygoing, sometimes I thought so. Perhaps there is a happy medium somewhere in between. I never heard Mr. Truman say a harsh word to a staff man even when he deserved it -- even when he fouled up, I never heard him say it. But maybe he should have.

HESS: Did you ever tell him you thought he was a little easy on the staff?

SPINGARN: No. You think so? Hardly. I'll tell him now, but I wouldn't then. No. That would be a pretty presumptuous thing to tell a President wouldn't it?

So summing up, doubtless LBJ was sometimes too rough on his staff. And quite possibly Harry Truman was sometimes too easy on his staff.

But in many ways they resembled each other -- and they each resembled Lincoln too. They were all regional politicians who became great national politicians, but still retained many of the parochialisms of their regions.

And this grated, grated very hard on the Hans


Morgenthaus of the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s and of the 1860s too.

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