Oral History Interview with
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.
Stephen J. Spingarn
March 29, 1967 (Thirteenth Oral History)
By Jerry N. Hess
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview
Transcript | Additional Spingarn Oral History
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
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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 It may not be published in full except by permission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
[Top of the Page | Notices
and Restrictions | Interview Transcript
| Additional Spingarn Oral History Transcripts]
Oral History Interview with
Stephen J. Spingarn
March 29, 1967 (Thirteenth Oral History)
By Jerry N. Hess
Thirteenth Oral History Interview with Stephen J. Spingarn, Washington,
D.C., March 29 , 1967. By Jerry N. Hess, Harry S. Truman Library.
HESS: Mr. Spingarn has indicated that he has a few more items to cover,
the first is an addition to the Clifford material and it will carry the
same restrictions that we have for the Clifford material, closed until
five years after the death of Mr. Clark M. Clifford.
SPINGARN: I have before me my longhand notes that I wrote, myself, contemporaneously
to the events which they describe. They may have been written a few days
later or even a week or two later, but they were written very close to
the events that they refer to.
Under the heading, June 29, 1950 -- July, I have written “Pan Am-AOA
Mess.” This was the Pan American-TWA conflict over who was going
to get the AOA routes to Europe -- the airline routes. I’ve written
here in the margin: “I asked H.S.T. [the President that is] for
permission to disqualify myself on Pan Am-AOA case because of C.M.C. [that’s
Clark M. Clifford, of course] because of C.M.C.’s interest in the
matter as TWA and Howard Hughes’ counsel. H.S.T. approved.”
That is, my request for disqualification, and it was arranged that Fred
Lawton the then Director of the Budget, would handle it directly with
the President, instead of sending it through me as the White house aviation
man. Continuing from my longhand notes:
Original letter approving CAB decision sent June 29, [this is all 1950,
of course,] withdrawn and entirely different one sent June 30 after
H.S.T. meeting with Steelman, Lawton, Connelly and Oswald Ryan [Oswald
Ryan was the Republican member of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and who
had been on the majority side of the original CAB decision sent over,
while Ryan had been on the minority side]. July 3, O’Connell wrote
H.S.T. an angry letter asking resignation submitted June 13 be accepted
at once. H.S.T. replied, “You were asked.” -- No mention
of resignation. O’Connell sent second letter detailing that he
was not asked. C.M.C. [that’s Clark Clifford] came to see me at
home [that’s my home here at the Anchorage] Thursday, July 6th.
He know all consequential facts -- was thinking of going to H.S.T. I
suggested he resign TWA job and retainer before doing so. He’s
sore at C.S.M. [that’s Charlie Murphy]. Later same evening, July
7, Friday, C.S.M. [that’s Charlie Murphy] urged the president,
H.S.T., to call in whole Civil Aeronautics Board on matter. In meanwhile
the CAB had written H.S.T. accepted O’Connell resignation on July
7th -- letter dated July 6th, and it was announced Saturday, July 8th.
C.M.C. [this is Clark Clifford] called me up at home Sunday, July 9,
said he was thinking of quitting TWA, then seeing H.S.T. [but, as far
as I know, he did not so]. July 10 [here’s another entry] Pike
confirmed easily [this is Sumner Pike of the Atomic Energy Commission,
there was controversy over his re-nomination, I worked on that in securing
the approval of the re-nomination].
C.M.C. [Clark Clifford] called me at home in evening to say H.S.T.
that afternoon had sent letter to CAB putting Pan Am in Rome and Paris.
I had not heard of it. C.M.C. then called C.S.M. [these initials are
a little confusing but remember that C.M.C. is Clark M. Clifford and
C.S.M. is Charles S. Murphy always] as I discovered, when I did same.
Si Anderson [now Si Anderson was with the railroad union, he was executive,
he was their chief lobbyist, I guess, you might call him, for the railroad
union, and a good man; worked with us on matters of mutual concern in
the legislative field and many things] Si Anderson called me after C.M.C.
called [that’s after Clark Clifford called] to say two men he
knew were peddling explosive stories on this case around town. I said
I didn’t care to discuss the matter.
That ends my notes on the Clifford episode.
HESS: And that ends the restrictions.
SPINGARN: And that ends the restricted material, yes.
HESS: Mr. Spingarn has indicated that he has a few more items that he
would like to cover.
SPINGARN: Now, with further reference to my own leaving of the White
House, I mentioned that I've never known to this day why I was kicked
upstairs, although, I've mentioned two episodes which possibly were involved;
one involving Vice President Barkley, which always seemed so minor and
so piddling, that I couldn't believe that it really had anything to do
with it, but, of course, it may have been used, or blown up in
some way that I wasn't aware of, and the other involving Senator [Herbert
R.] O'Conor and in this case it was true I made Senator O'Conor very angry,
but I did so because I was defending the Administration's position on
a bill which he had approved in separate form in a different committee,
and he was angry to have legislation that he had already approved attacked.
However, I was not a volunteer, I'd been invited to the Hill by Senators
to express the Administration position on the Internal Security Bill,
of which the provisions that O'Conor got angry about, were a part -- they
were immigration provisions.
There were, I may say, one or two mysterious things that had happened
which I didn't put together until after I learned about my departure.
One was that I received an offer from a large New York law firm in which
a former presidential assistant of both Roosevelt and Truman was a senior
partner. I had received an offer to join the firm and I declined it saying
I was much happier where I was and I wouldn't leave for a hundred thousand
dollars a year, which, by the way, nobody was offering me.
I later learned that this was probably a device to arrange for a graceful
departure for me from the
White House. I have here a memo which I wrote about the meeting in Biffle's
office in which I made Senator O'Conor so angry, which, as I say, was
one of the episodes, though it's hard for me to believe that it counted.
Senator O'Conor was often against the Administration and he carried absolutely
no weight with the President. I knew that he was not a man whose opinions
were highly respected by the President but on the other hand, it was also
possible that this episode was blown up in some way or other -- there
were other people who wanted to expedite my departure; it might have been
distorted. In any event, I have here a memo for the file, dated September
30, 1950, a memo for my personal file, it's called, the subject of it
was "Meeting of Tuesday, August 22, 1950, in Leslie Biffle's office, on
pending McCarran Internal Security Bill, S-4037, later passed by the Senate
as HR-9490." I think I probably wrote this at this late date, you see,
several months later, because by this time I knew I was going to leave
and naturally thought of this episode in connection with my departure,
and I wanted to make a record of the episode; that's the only reason I
can imagine why I wrote a memo about it over a month later,
and here's what I wrote:
Senator Kilgore called me late that morning to say that he would like
me to come up to the Hill to discuss the McCarran bill and explain its
defects to a small group of Senators including himself, Senators Humphrey,
Graham, Magnuson, and possibly O'Conor. He asked me to call Leslie Biffle
and arrange for this meeting to be held in his office [Biffle's office].
I called Mr. Biffle at once, and he immediately agreed to set up a meeting
for that afternoon. I went to the Capitol about 2:30 p.m. with Bob Ginnane
of Justice [who had been working closely with us on this bill]. The meeting
was in the back room of Leslie Biffle's office. Present were Senators
Kilgore, Graham, Humphrey, Magnuson and O'Conor, Harold Miller, administrative
assistant to Senator Kilgore, Bob Ginnane and I. Leslie Biffle was in
his office but did not attend the meeting. [He was in the front office.]
That's simply a brief account of that.
Now, I have naturally inquired of many people since this event, I mean
people involved, what they knew about it, and I never got the real straight
of it and I suppose I never will -- it's more a matter of curiosity now
than any burning need to know. I know that it wasn't any major displeasure
with my work or me, on the part of Mr. Truman, because we continued our
relationship, and I have many letters from him and I have seen him when
he comes to Washington every time, and have continued a relationship with
that he obviously would have not continued if he were completely dissatisfied,
Here is a note of 1952:
On Saturday, October 25, 1952 [ this is apparently written three days
later] I saw Philleo Nash and had a long talk in his office. [Philleo
was still at the White House, I was a Federal Trade Commissioner.] I asked
him if at this late date he could throw any further light on who stuck
the knife in me in 1950. He said he didn’t for sure, he thought that Matt
Connelly might have had something to do with it. He also mentioned O’Coner
[Senator O’Coner] and "Veep’’ [ that’s Vice President Barkley] episode.
I asked if he thought that Max Lowenthal might have influenced Matt Connelly.
I mentioned that Max Lowenthal had once told Niles, and possibly others
that I was a Facist, that was in 1949, because I told Lowenthal I favored
wiretapping under proper controls, that is if you get approval in each
case of the cabinet officer involved and a court warrant.
Nash said it was quite possible that Max Lowenthal was very vindictive,
and he mentioned that Max Lowenthal is currently spending much time in
Matt’s office with L’s son. [I suppose that’s Lowenthal’s son]. Nash also
mentioned the matter of getting into other people’s subject matter areas
[this is a bad sin at the White House, but it is very easy to do] and
my widely circulated memos [that’s apparently another sin]. Nash said
that Niles had warned him against this sort of thing [and so forth].
I also have a little note here referring to my talk with Earl Kintner,
who was my legal assistant at the Federal Trade Commission, about the
same time, or a little bit later actually; it was in December, 1952, I
set the date at, no, November 22, 1952.
Kintner [I said] told me of Max Lowenthal’s attempt to poison John Carson
against me in 1950.
John Carson was a fellow commissioner. He was already on the commission
when I arrived, and he has, for many years, been a good friend of Max
Lowenthal's. This was the first I had heard of this business.
And John Carson, this was before John knew me, because we became friends
later and he even sided with me in the most controversial matter in which
I was engaged in, that was the fight with the oil industry, against my
two Democratic colleagues, although Carson was not a Democrat, he was
an independent with a Republican background.
And John Carson told Earl Kintner he was making a mistake to go with
me [that is to say, he told Kintner before I came, at the beginning of
my stay, that he was making a mistake to become my legal assistant. That's
what Kintner told,me, I'm quoting Kintner, and I don't see any reason
why Kintner should have misled me on this, I don't see any possible reason
for his doing so.] Philleo
Nash was sure Niles [that's David Niles] had nothing personal to do with
my ouster, but equally sure that he wouldn't raise a finger to help me.
That I know. I didn't have to be told that. I don't really think Dave
Niles would have raised much of a finger to help anybody in such a thing,
if it involved any insecurity for him.
I think I'll spin through these notes, I couldn't reproduce them, you
know, they're unique for me, at least. Some of it I summarized later.
1948 [I wrote] January and February, detailed at the White House's request
[Charlie Murphy] to work on civil rights message and omnibus bill; message
went to Congress February 2, 1948. March 27th, Matt Connelly wrote Secretary
Snyder asking for my indefinite detail to White House. Treasury did not
want to let me go, and after a conversation between Charlie Murphy and
me, the matter was dropped. It was about this time that I handled preparations
of Treasury's views on Internal Security Bill, Justice sponsored, subsequently,
1949, introduced as S-595, 81st Congress. Horan, Justice, powwow with
Tom Lynch and me.
That's a reference to the fact that a young lawyer named Mike Horan from
Justice came over and tried to argue Tom Lynch, the council and me into
dropping all our objections and all our provisions in amendment of their
bill, although these had now received the approval of the President, ours
I mean, the Bureau of the Budget
speaking for him.
September, while in Los Angeles [well, actually in Beverly Hills on vacation]
Tom Lynch called me to say the President had called Secretary Snyder and
asked for my immediate return to work [this is still '48] at the White
House. I returned on Labor Day [or actually, I think, the day after, well
maybe it was Labor Day]. On September 8, I attended conference with President,
Clifford, Murphy, Connelly, Dawson and Attorney General Clark [I have
already referred to this, but these are specific notes, you see, and I
have the names more, certainly here, than I had in my memory]. President
told group that he wanted me to coordinate all loyalty and security matters.
Attorney General said fine and promised full cooperation. I spent most
of the next few weeks working on speech which President gave at Oklahoma
City on September 28th and other campaign speeches.
Started a long powwow with Attorney General Clark after submitted memos
of questions to him [I submitted this memo of questions to him, which
he answered orally, with evasive dexterity, let us say]. January and February
[that's '49] at request of Charlie Murphy, I was detailed to the White
House again to work on the CVA [that's the Columbia Valley Authority bill]
during this period, Clifford asked me if I'd like to come over on a permanent
basis and be his assistant -- I did so on February 28th. [Now I've written
in the margins here] Vanech [that's Gus Vanech] Connelly -- FBI episode,
and Clifford's investigation in the matter.
Now I remember that, apparently, Gus Vanech had made some rather oblique
and ambivalent remarks to Matt Connelly that the FBI didn't like me, you
see, and this is what Clifford was inquiring about.
HESS: He wanted to know why they didn't like you.
SPINGARN: He wanted to know why, and he discovered that it was simply
a difference of official opinion on legislative matters, while I was representing
the Treasury which naturally sometimes had a difference of views with
the FBI -- we had our own enforcement agencies of which I was counsel.
It was not any comment on my loyalty or integrity -- my policy views on
internal security legislation, you see, was the meat of the coconut.
I told him of my official disagreements with Vanech [that was in the
loyalty commission hearings] and the FBI on Treasury-Justice matters as
counsel for Secret Service and the other Treasury cops and the internal
security bill controversy, and the controversies of the temporary commission
on employee loyalty.
Clifford was satisfied by all this and brought me over, of course.
October; [this is '49] veto S-1407, 81st Congress on October 17th, the
Navajo-Hopi bill on my recommendation. Conferences with Krug, Chapman,
Senators McFarland and Hayden and Representative Morris and others. Krug
was angry about veto [he was Secretary of Interior then, and Oscar Chapman
was Under Secretary]. He called me up the day it was vetoed to tell me
so [and he chewed me out].
December; at Key West with presidential party from December 5 to December
1950, February 15, the President called me in and gave me my commission
as administrative assistant to the President -- complete surprise -- I
not expected it. Stammered out thanks and hoped that I would measure
up to responsibility. Later the same day, the President told Elsey that
he never saw so big a man so scared.
I was amazed, I will tell you that.
I didn't feel that I had really done much of a job during that preceding
year because I worked for a man who didn't seem to need me, that's Clark
Clifford, and the work I had done had been for Charlie Murphy. Charlie
had two marvelously able young men as his assistants, Dave
Bell and Dave Lloyd, and they had worked like dogs all that year and I
knew they were both entitled to it more than I was.
Clark Clifford had resigned as special counsel in January, 1951, and
Charlie Murphy had taken over that job February 1. Work on small business
program began -- March to April. At Key West with presidential party --
March 27 to April 10. Returned to Washington with President by air on
April 10. Work on small business program continues, also handled rent
control extension measures to Congress.
May: small business message went to Congress May 5th. I took bill up
May 18th or 19th and gave it to the congressional leaders.
The President on west coast trip May 6th to 16th – fifty-seven
speeches and whistlestops. I remained in Washington and was busy as beaver.
Contacts with Paul Hoffman, William Foster, Jim Webb, Fred Lawton, Secretary
Sawyer, Secretary Tobin and others during this period, also with Representative
John McCormack, House majority leaders and others on Hill. Many phone
I was really backstopping, you see, on the work, a good deal of it anyway,
for the staff, for Charlie Murphy and other major members of the staff
had gone out with the train.
H.S.T., I wrote the President's message to the Senate urging that the
NLRB reorganization plan be approved, [two-headed freak I described it
as] it was sent to train, signed and sent back to H.S.T.
That was the situation where they had a board and an independent general
council that was independent of the board, you see, it was an officer
not responsible to the board.
When President returned [that's May 16th] I began going to his morning
staff meetings on own initiative [this is when I infiltrated then and
stuck] not invited [I write] and the matter was soon regularized by practice.
Couldn't do my job without it.
I'll tell you that was a nervous moment when I went in the first day.
HESS: Waiting for somebody to say something?
SPINGARN: Yes, waiting for somebody to say something, you know it would
have been awfully humiliating to get thrown out of there in front of all
my colleagues, wouldn't it have? Nobody said anything. Well, they
wouldn't have done it that day, but they would have told me later, "Well,
you'd better not come," but it didn't happen that way.
June: Began going to President's pre-press conferences on Thursday.
This was the warm up before the press conference at which the staff discussed
with the President the matters that might come up at press conferences,
the questions that might be asked, and discussed with him the possible
alternative answers to these questions.
Began going on Thursdays and to press [that is the press conference itself]
this was natural development of going to staff. Worked on basing point
bill S-1008, 81st Congress. Heading up task force on it Eckart of Budget,
Joe Wright of Federal Trade Commission, Bob Turner [who later became a
member of the Council of Economic Advisers] Dick Neustadt. Veto was June
19th [I have a questions mark there].
June 14th, Wednesday, I went down to Quantico with President on Williamsburg
overnight where we review impressive Marine amphibious landing exercises.
Returned June 15th.
June 6th, the President made speech to Better Business Bureaus, at my
request, he put in ad lib for small business program which was then pending
on the Hill.
June 27, I went with H.S.T. to ceremony in which he laid the cornerstone
of new U.S. Courts Building for District of Columbia [that's the one down
around Third or Fourth Street just above Pennsylvania Avenue]. He made
fine speech on human rights convention and Genocide Treaty.
By the way, on that genocide, I did my best to get that thing approved
but we were never able, and it still has not been approved by the United
States Senate, the Genocide Treaty, to this day.
HESS: What were the main hang ups on that?
SPINGARN: The main hang up, as I understand it, is the whole feeling
on the part of the Senate, perhaps Congress generally, that all these
human rights treaties, some of which do no more than we are already doing
you understand, they represent a potential invasion of sovereign powers
by an international organization, that under the treaty power, you see,
they might wipe out state rights in the field, which couldn't, perhaps,
even be done by Federal legislation except under the treaty power.
I mean, I'm probably not stating it too clearly, but it is this malaise
about what might be done by a world organization, a world government,
in invading sovereign rights either of the Federal, or more particularly
in this case, the state government. That is to say, if state laws were
in violation of the treaty that we had approved, the USN. treaty, what
would happen to them.
Now, the genocide thing seemed so -- we, by the way,
were one of the early countries to sign it as I recall. The fellow who
was usually known, I think he's now dead, as the father of the Genocide
Treaty, he was a Polish emigre, if I'm not mistaken, a very fine man,
named Doctor Lemkin, I think it was Raphael Lemkin, if my memory is correct.
I believe he was at Yale, and this was a sort of great crusade for him.
I think most of his family had been wiped out in death camps, at least
that's my vague recollection. He came in to see me several times, and
you couldn't help sensing the deep feeling this man had about this matter;
in fact, no human rights treaty, if I'm not mistaken, no U.N. human rights
treaty of any kind has been approved by the Senate to this day. The genocide
thing and one or two others, I mean, it seems perfectly ridiculous that
we won't even approve an anti-slavery U.N. treaty -- anti-slavery -- I
mean, we abolished slavery over a hundred years ago here, but it is estimated
that there are in the world still perhaps two million slaves, and actually
human slavery still takes place in some remote parts of the world -- the
Arabian Peninsula, perhaps, other places; even that we haven't ratified
-- the Senate hasn't.
Well, he made a fine speech on human rights convention and the Genocide
I may have had something to do with getting that genocide stuff in his
speech, I don't remember, and the human rights thing, perhaps, but I don't
June 28, I went with H.S.T. to ROA [that's Reserved Officers Association]
convention meeting which he and Louis Johnson addressed. Through June
I continued work on legislation, the head of the small business programs.
On Monday, June 26th, I spent two hours with Federal Reserve Chairman
McCabe and his staff urging him to make changes in his statement the next
day before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee on this program.
He did so and gave fine statement.
I mean, his original statement had been rather hostile, but he changed
it, and the sales talk that I made to him was that this was very near
and dear to the President's heart, you know, he had been a small business
I think Tom McCabe heard me. He's a nice fellow, McCabe, and our encounter
was entirely pleasant, I mean he invited me down to lunch, and I sang
Investment Bankers Association asked him for twenty-eight hundred copies
of his statement. Also I did missionary work with Treasury Lynch, [that's
Tom Lynch] Kirby, [that's Vance N. Kirby, that was the tax legislative
accountant] Preston Delano [was Comptroller of the Currency] and FDIC
[that's Harl who was one of the board of FDIC].
I note here, also, that "At this time I called Donald Dawson's attention
to Walter Cosgriff," and also Mr. Truman's attention, the reason was this;
Cosgriff was a banker out in the West, Utah I believe, and I think he
had a lot of branch banks. He was actually a very conservative gentleman,
a Republican and a conservative Republican on most matters, but in banking
he was a liberal, and he had testified for the Truman Small Business Program,
that's what endeared him to me. He was a friend of Elwood Brooks of Denver,
and Walter Bimson of Phoenix.
These were two liberal bankers who actually believed in lending people
money. Someone has said, I can't remember the exact witticism, but the
general idea is banks lend you money when you don't need it; when you
need it, you can't get a nickel. These fellows that I'm referring to believed
in a more liberal lending policy. Bimson was the author of the so-called
Bimson Plan which was one of the main components of the President's Small
Business Program, and this plan was to set up an insurance fund like had
been done on housing renovation, to insure small loans by bank, I mean,
loans up to $25,000 and up to five years maturity
to small business, and a fraction of one percent you know, a quarter
of one percent would go to this insurance fund.
It had worked beautifully in the housing field, there had been no losses
at all. I mean the fund was self-supporting, made money, in fact, as I
recall; it made a lot of sense. Later H.S.T. nominated Cosgriff to the
RFC; he served there but was not confirmed before Symington took over,
he served, I think, on a recess appointment, and at this point the RFC
"scandals" broke, you know, all this Merl Young and mink coat stuff, and
eventually the President put through a reorganization plan that wiped
out the board and a single administrator, who was Stuart Symington, put
in for a while; and that eliminated Cosgriff's job, of course, but he
was an interesting chap that Cosgriff. He proved, once again, that people
are very complicated, I mean a fellow who is conservative on one side
of his nature may be liberal on another.
June 22nd; I attended a meeting at Blair House -- 8:00 to 10:15 p.m.
on proposed message to Congress, re internal security and individual rights
I was, I guess you could say, the principal drafter of that message,
well, I guess, as much as anyone, probably
more than anyone, I drafted that. I believe George Elsey and Charlie
Murphy had a big part in it too, but I know I did an awful lot of work
Present at the meeting were the President, "Veep" [that's Barkley], Sam
Rayburn, the Speaker, McCormack the House majority leader, Senators Tydings,
McMahon, and Green, Clark Clifford, Attorney General McGrath, John Steelman,
Charlie Murphy, Don Dawson and myself.
June 24th, Saturday; Korean Attack [that was our time, it was the 25th
June 27th, Tuesday; at staff I rushed in where angels would have known
better. My suggestion for U.S. proposals for U.N. army headed by non-American.
H.S.T. then told us about deliberations and what he proposed to do later
in day, that is historic announcement about U.S. military resistance to
June 30 to July 2, Friday to Sunday; Went to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania,
with H.S.T. where he addressed forty-seven Boy Scouts, then spent two
days returning on Williamsburg. Aboard were H.S.T., Margaret, Charlie
Ross, Bill Hassett, Charlie Murphy, Bob Dennison, Bob Landry, George Elsey,
Dave Stowe, and myself. Only lost $24 at poker, moral victory.
I was low man on the totem pole on the poker team, I will say that. We
had a rule that you couldn't lose more than $100 in a week, if you were
playing at Key West for a long period of time. I was usually down $100
the first day, playing on borrowed money the rest of the time.
I mentioned to H.S.T. the J.E.S. [that's my father] article on the 'Poet
and Politics' in November, '42, Atlantic Monthly, also discussed
Pike's nomination [that’s Sumner Pike's nomination for another term on
the AEC]. He asked me to prepare a statement for him [that is President
Truman asked me to prepare a statement for him] to use if Pike was defeated.
July 3; sent J.E.S. article to H.S.T. at Blair House.
July 6; he told me at his staff that he had enjoyed J.E.S. article.
And I've already covered the other material in this.
There's some other notes here; I'll see if there’s anything of interest.
I see now that many of the longhand notes that I took have already been
Xeroxed by the Library through Charlie Morrissey back in 1964. I have
some notes here right after the election of '52, the first Eisenhower
On Saturday, November 22, Earl Kintner [who was my legal assistant] came
over for a frank talk at my invitation on Lowell Mason project.
That was to develop an answering campaign against Lowell's attacks on
the Federal Trade Commission, his own as well as my commission.
I said, 'I believe we understand each other,' [that is Kintner and I,
Kintner was, of course, a Republican]. He said he had prepared memo for
Republicans on FTC [the Federal Trade
Commission], can't show me but is sure I'd approve of it. He also told
me that Max Lowenthal had definitely poisoned John Carson against me in
1950, at least. Kintner said Carson, on basis of Lowenthal's disparaging
views of me as a Facist, had told Kintner that he was making a mistake
in working for me and urged against it. This confirms an opinion I've
long held that Lowenthal was the man most responsible for my 1950 White
House exit to the FTC.
I can't prove anything here, but I mean I just have a feeling that somehow
or other, that Lowenthal and Connelly went to the President, there was
some kind of equation here that would solve the mystery, but that's just
speculation on my part.
Had lunch with Charlie Murphy, Dave Bell, Dave Lloyd, Ken Hechler, and
Charley Davis, general counsel of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Suggestion
made that White House itself do work on election results survey since
Democratic Committee dragging feet on matter.
I suggested key man technique, that is finding the one man in each state
and area who was the most conversant with the political situation regardless
of title or responsibility and asking him to do it, or several men.
In Wisconsin, for example, write Tom Fairchild, James Doyle, Democratic
state chairman, Robert Fleming, Milwaukee Journal reporter on McCarthy,
William Evgue [or however you pronounce it], publisher of the Madison
Capitol Times, Morris Rubin, editor of the Progressive,
the Madison, Wisconsin monthly, and also editor of the
McCarthy Records for the Citizens Committee on McCarthy back in 1952,
also a friend of Ed Morgan, who praised Morgan's efforts in Wisconsin
highly in November 6th letter to Morgan.
My point was, that a group like that could take the state for you and
give you a picture of what had happened better than probably any other
group of a thousand men.
Spent an hour and a half with Ed Morgan after lunch at his office.
Morgan was an ex-FBI agent who was helping me on this Truth Foundation.
He wants to see Rusk with me if Rusk is interested in my proposal.
That's the Truth Foundation, which is similar to the present Institute
of American Democracy established last November.
I said, fine. Morgan has ideas of his own about buying a movie studio
and making American Heritage of Freedom type documentaries for T.V. He
has a wealthy client interested but hopes to interest Rockefeller Foundation
too. Morgan gave me November 6th letter copy he had gotten from Morris
Rubin, also promised to send me copies of his speeches when available.
Morgan, as I say, was an unusual fellow in this respect; he was an ex-FBI
man, but he got so mad at McCarthy in the last week or so of the campaign,
he campaigned all over Wisconsin and started making speeches against him
and saying McCarthy wasn't doing a bit of harm to communism,
he was helping it.
McCarthy was up for re-election; it didn't beat him but still, I'm not
sure if it hadn't been done for two or three months, it might not have.
Sunday, November 23; spent most of the day getting my Truth Foundation
material ready. Spent about another hour at Harriman's. George Elsey there
and later another Harriman assistant, Tom Wilson. Elsey had just sold
Harriman on F.D.R. Foundation with awards in many fields, principal function.
George had told me this idea six weeks or so ago. I thought then and now
that it was a wonderful idea and told Harriman so. He wants me to work
with George Elsey, and I told him, gladly.
He listened to my discussion of my proposal but his mind, obviously,
was on other matters, however, he promised to call Dean Rusk in support
of it. He asked me who would run it. I said, I was available after September
'53, and could easily find someone in the meanwhile. Later in the day
I called Don Hansen to discuss it with him. He said he would be interested.
I called Harriman and told him of Hansen. I also have Paul Jensen in mind
in spite of his erratic qualities [Jensen, he's now dead, was a Republican,
and he'd been in the CIC overseas with me, he's bipartisan in approach].
I talked to Butch Fisher [legal adviser to the State Department, he's
now deputy director of Disarmament Agency] in the evening and told him
of the letter to Rusk and the talk with Harriman. Fisher thinks the Ford
Foundation is a likelier bet than Rockefeller. Rusk is good man, he says,
but likely to slide out when going gets tough in a controversial matter.
[That's interesting.] Fisher is still going to check with Bernard Gladieux
of Ford Foundation and let me know.
Now, I find some notes of mine written in January, 1953, dealing with
the oil controversy which I was having. A lot of that is recorded in the
oil files that I have given the Library -- my FTC files on the controversy
with the oil companies in latter '52 and '53. Here's a note of January
On January 6th I sent Caltex booklet [that was the booklet they sent
to sixty-seven countries; Government officials and moulders of public
opinion, calling the FTC a bunch of low Pendergast type, sleazy politicians,
and possibly subversives]. I sent Caltex booklet and memo re the possibility
of Logan Act violation, [The Logan Act dates back to the 1790's and it
deals with private citizens attempting to negotiate with foreign governments
of matters of U.S. Governmental interest. Nobody has ever been convicted
under it, however.] to Attorney General McGranery and NSC members.
January 9; the NSC [that's the National Security Council] meeting on
the oil case -- no dope.
January 10: Talked to Jim Lay [he was the executive secretary of the
National Security Council]. Went to White House about 12:30 to Charlie
Murphy's office. He had conference of State and Justice people; they included
Butch Fisher and Leonard Emerglick, Justice. When conference broke up,
Charlie Murphy told me he could tell his story only on a confidential
basis, but he thought it better if I preserved my freedom of action [that
is, if he didn't tell me, I had nothing to conceal]. I agreed, said I
didn't want story on that basis. Charlie Murphy said situation was bad;
he was going to salvage what he could. I had lunch with Jack Anderson
[that's Drew Pearson's partner]. In the afternoon, I talked with John
Evans, who was State, who
mentioned Lebanon Star. I talked to Larry Henderson [he was the
staff director of the Senate Small Business Committee] who told of meeting
editor of Lebanon Star [a Connecticut man, it turned out to be
Jonathan Daniels' son-in-law, I think] in Beirut, in December of 1952,
and that the editor told him that Aramco [an American oil company] acquired
control of the Star in June or July, 1952.
The Star was pouring out editorials attacking the Federal Trade
Commission and the Oil Cartel Report and the antitrust proceedings against
the oil companies, then the oil companies were sending it back to the
State Department saying this was an example of Middle Eastern opinion.
That's how things worked.
Evans was the man who did the final State Department staff work for the
National Security meeting of January 9 on this Oil Cartel Report. The
questions of the National Security Council were should they downgrade
or drop entirely these antitrust proceedings against the oil companies,
or should they downgrade them, the civil proceedings, was national security
being hurt by these proceedings?
January 11, Sunday: I talked to Felix Blair [of the New York Times]
and A1 Friendly [of the Washington Post, he was, until recently,
the managing editor] also Joseph Paul. Times and Post only
papers that carried NSC decision story. Drew Pearson also has item on
radio broadcast. After Times and Post stories
appeared, Sunday night and early Monday mornings editions, wire services
and papers called me at home. I confirmed that when notified by Times
and Post of the National Security Council's decision, I had said
that if true a number of sincere and patriotic Government officials had
been the unconscious victims of one of the biggest 'snow jobs' in history.
They had agreed to downgrade the proceedings.
January 12th: I saw the President [which was eight days before Mr. Truman
left office] at 11 a.m. Brought a choice of books from White's Book Store
for him to select from. He choose beautifully leather bound two volume
edition of Cambridge Shorter Medieval History, a four volume work
on the Greek thinkers, Lucius Beebe's book on railroads, and a dictionary
of humorous quotations.
We talked about the oil case. I told him about the Lebanon Star,
and gave him various memos on the propaganda on the oil companies including
the Logan Act memo of mine of January 6, 1953, memo of December 23, 1952,
and so forth.
The President said he hadn't wanted to do what he did, but the National
Security Council had convinced him. [And here is an unfortunate gap.]
He mentioned particularly General...
And here the next page is gone, it was General Bradley that he was talking
about, I mean, General Bradley talked, was a Missourian, of course, and
he talked Harry Truman's language and anybody would have had confidence
in what General Bradley said, and I think General Bradley was a splendid
man, but, like all the others, he was a victim of the "snow job" by the
oil companies, working
through their minions, conscious and unconscious, who are legion; they
had them all convinced that the whole Middle East would go up in flames
if they didn't stop this oil investigation. Too bad I can't find that
next page. Well, it's probably somewhere around.
Now, I have a few little momentoes from the Truman administration which
I'd particularly like to note because I discussed at some length, at the
time, of the unhappy circumstances, for me at least, in my leaving the
White House, and to show that it didn't impair my relations with President
Truman, I have here several letters from him of that period. Here's one
of October 21st, let me see if I have them in the right batting order,
well, here's one of October 21st, 1950, that was when I left, you see,
I went over the 25th:
Dear Steve: I appreciate deeply the warm spirit which prompted your letter
of October 19. Only one consideration could influence me to consent to
relinquishment of your duties at the White House where your service has
been invaluable. I need hardly add that I heartily reciprocate all of
your personal sentiments.
In naming you to membership to the Federal Trade Commission, I feel that
I am placing you in a post of high responsibility for
which a great part of your active life has been in preparation. By experience,
by training, by taste and temperament, you're exceptionally qualified
for this new work. I know the public will find in you an earnest champion.
With every good wish always, Sincerely, Harry Truman.
And then on the 21st of December, 1950:
Dear Steve; I have just heard that the Senate has confirmed your appointment
to the Federal Trade Commission. I am delighted and know you will do a
grand job. My very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Sincerely yours, Harry Truman
December 28, 1950:
Dear Steve; I appreciated very much your good letter of the 22nd. I think
you have a place now that will really bring results, and I believe you
can bring them as well as anyone I know. Sincerely yours, Harry Truman
[And he adds in longhand] Happy New Year.
Well, I'll just put those in. Now, while I was going through the same
batch, I see some souvenirs from the Roosevelt days. Here's a clipping
from the Washington Herald or Times, it must have been around
1937, there's not a date on it but it would have been then. It was a presidential
reception for the executive branch.
Among those seen were the president of the American Federation of Labor,
Mr. William Green having a serious conversation with Madame Perkins [who
was, of course, the Secretary of Labor under Roosevelt]. The President
and Mrs. Roosevelt were hosts at dinner preceding the reception where
the guests were; Mr. S. M. Simsack, Mr. John McCeeb, member of the board
of governors of the Federal Reserve System; Mrs. McCeeb, Mr. and Mrs.
George Backer, Mr. and Mrs. Turner Catledge [he's the editor of the New
York Times now, head editor, I guess], Captain and Mrs. Edward McCauley,
Mr. Stephen J. Spingarn, the Reverend Doctor and Mrs. Benjamin O. Wilkinson,
and Mr. and Mrs. Aubrey Williams, Mr. and Mrs. John Russell Young [he
was the DC commissioner], Nancy Cook, and Mrs. Robert Baker.
Oh, that was the day of my glory.
And here's an invitation from Mrs. Roosevelt to a small dance, December
26 , but I don't know what year, and an invitation in another year to
a small dance, December 30th, but I don't know what year, from Mrs. Roosevelt,
and so on. That was all due to my father getting out on the hustings in
1936 for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and that's what taught me the importance
of politics, in the first instance.
Now, this is a memo to Doctor Phil Brooks, the director o f the Truman
Library. I have in my hand now some material I'm about to turn over to
Jerry Hess dealing with loyalty and internal security matters. Some of
these memorandum are classified confidential or otherwise, entirely aside
from that, they deal with people, all of whom, as far as I know, are still
As far as I am concerned, I not only have no objection to these being
made public, I would welcome the fact that they be made available.
But I think the Library ought to review the matter from the standpoint
of overall Government policy and determine for themselves how these documents
should be treated in the Library. I emphasize that I was authorized to
take these documents with me. They were matters with which I worked. Some
of them I went back later and got. Some of the documents in my files,
not necessarily turned over to you at this time, because as I've already
pointed out, in 1953, November of '53, Attorney General Brownell, Eisenhower's
first Attorney General, unleashed a blast at President Truman for his
handling of the case of Harry Dexter White, who had been a Treasury official
who went to the International Monetary Fund.
I was involved, I was in New York and I assisted in the preparation of
the President's reply to the subpoena of the Un-American Activities Committee
who immediately wanted to get into the act and subpoenaed Mr. Truman or
Charlie Murphy did the main chore in writing that
answer but I did a little. Most of these documents, as I say to you,
were in the handling of the Treasury of its loyalty matters and of the
controversy we had with the Department of Justice at the time over the
handling of these matters which prevented us from disposing of these cases
as expeditiously as we would have liked to; but the Justice Department,
as these records will show, refused to furnish us with the information
on which a fair-minded man can make a judgment nor would not give us the
go-ahead sign to do our own investigating. And there were constant and
innumerable talks between Secretary Snyder. and Attorney General Clark
and between Under Secretary Wiggins and Assistant Secretary Foley and
myself and Justice officials during this period -- innumerable talks --
as these memorandum, which are not all, by any means, will document. I
leave it up to the Library -- I want these back, of course, I want these
back and pronto, because I got them for the express purpose of always
having in my files a record of how I, and I was the spade working man,
I was the working Joe on these things in the Treasury, as these documents
will show, I was the key man on everything, everything came to me in the
instance, for decisions as to what next steps to take, and I want to
keep them so that if I ever have to, shall we say, justify my stewardship
of my duties, why I'll be in a position to do so. I personally feel that
we acted responsibly and that we have nothing to apologize for. I'll amend
that word "nothing" to say "very little." There's probably nobody who's
ever handled a controversial matter in his life who's done a hundred percent
perfect job, and I don't suppose we did, I think on balance we did a good
I note also when I finish this statement, I'll turn these papers over
to you, Jerry. Now this next part is not restricted, although it deals
with the, no, wait a second, I will restrict it, this next part, in the
same way, that is, I'm not restricting it, I'm only asking that the Library
decide for itself whether any restrictions should be imposed on the basis
of overall Governmental policy.
HESS: That's done with each and every record we get, but it's always
good to make it clear.
SPINGARN: Fine, because I myself, have no objections to this thing made
public, you understand.
Now here is an extremely interesting matter, I
think. I'm not going to mention the man's name, because he's not only
alive but he’s still an official of an international organization, a former
Treasury official, and he has been through the wringer on, as I understand
it, his agencies security procedures and been cleared, and he's there,
has been for many years. I have notes before me, contemporaneous notes,
let's see what the date on them is, December 18, 1953, which supplement
my December 16, 1953, on this same person. Let's call him Mr. Blank. I
In his November 17, 1953, testimony before the Jenner subcommittee, Attorney
General Brownell said that Mr. Blank, 'Was known to be one of the forces
in the Treasury Department section of Far Eastern Affairs, that has been
furnishing documents to Philip Jacob Jaffe, editor of AMERASIA.
AMERASIA was a famous case of this period and Jaffe was a far leftwinger,
if not an actual Communist, I forget what his exact tincture was, he may
have been a Communist, in any event, AMERASIA was the famous case.
As of the date of Brownell's statement, the Treasury had no such information
on Mr. Blank. All Treasury had was the Gregory Report.
Gregory was a cover name that the Department of Justice gave or the FBI
gave to Elizabeth Bentley in a big report in which a new edition which
came out every few months
and got larger, and there's an amusing contretemps about that.
I have that paper before me, I'll get to that later about how we knew
Gregory was Elizabeth Bentley. We did because the FBI fouled up in sending
us two reports within twenty-four hours of each other. In one was a big
report about Soviet espionage in the United States, and it described Elizabeth
Bentley by name in several places, and gave a description of her life,
her curriculum vitae, and the other was a report based entirely
on her interrogation and they gave her the cover name of Gregory, and
when you squared the two reports together, it was obvious they both gave
the details of her life, who Gregory was, you see, there was no question
about it. A Vassar girl who has held certain jobs, and all this sort of
thing, you know, there was no question about it. Well, this wasn't very
good security on the part of the FBI, obviously, because within twenty-four
hours we got documents, one of which exploded the cover of their informant
-- blew it.
So I said all Treasury had was the Gregory reports.
It is believed that Brownell's November 17 statement is a badly garbled
version of information
in the Gregory report about Blank. The Gregory report showed merely that
Jaffe and Andrew Roth considered Blank to be one of their sources on Far
Blank had written an article on Far Eastern affairs for Jaffe's magazine,
AMERASIA, in 1939, and he listed this article among his publications when
he applied for a Treasury job in 1941 --no secret about it.
On or about December 1, 1953, Assistant Secretary to the Treasury Chapman
Rose [now remember Chapman Rose was the Republican Assistant Secretary
of a Republican headed department of a Republican administration] spoke
to Assistant Attorney General Olney of Justice about this matter. Mr.
Olney referred Mr. Rose to Mr. Yeagley of Olney's office. Yeagley told
Rose in a phone talk that he had made a check, and based on that, he could
say that the Brownell statement. of November 17, 1953, about Mr. Blank,
did not accurately reflect the original document on which it was based,
namely the so-called Gregory report. [This is a Justice man talking about
the Attorney General.] On December 3, 1953, Yeagley told Feidler [that
was Chapman's assistant] that he had made a very careful study of the
Blank matter and that it was impossible to sustain, from the files, the
statement made by Brownell before the Jenner subcommittee on November
17 [a very damaging statement to Mr. Blank, you see], Yeagley said further
that he had asked the FBI to re-examine their original transcript which
formed the basis of the statement in the Gregory report about Mr. Blank
being a "source," and the FBI reported there was nothing with regards
to papers, documents or similar matters mentioned in their transcripts
and that the statement in the Gregory report
went as far as it was possible on the basis of the information on hand.
A much different statement than Brownell made before the Internal Security
Subcommittee -- the Jenner subcommittee that the Internal Security Subcommittee.
On or about December 3, 1953, Yeagley told Harney [that's Mal Harney
the chief coordinator of Treasury Enforcement] the same thing he told
Feidler, furthermore, he said that a check of the AMERASIA files showed
that no Treasury documents of any kind were found in the AMERASIA raid.
You see, Mr. Blank was a Treasury official, so that was also a negative
Yeagley also told Harney that under EO-10422, the significant United
Nations Organization security order, the FBI had sent the Civil Service
Commission two reports on Mr. Blank of July 31, 1953, and August 19, 1953.
The Treasury never received copies of these reports and as of now December,
1953, requests them from the FBI. Brownell said all interested agencies
were getting FBI reports. Now Mr. Blank testified before the McCarran
Internal Security Subcommittee in 1952, apparently, fully and completely.
It had been Treasury's view, therefore, in 1952 [Truman was still the
President] that his case didn't require the same drastic action as the
cases of Coe [that's Frank Coe] and William Taylor [now dead, that is
they requested that they be dismissed summarily, well, Coe was dismissed,
and the last I heard of him, he was out in Communist China, but William
Taylor was cleared and remained to his death an official of the International
Monetary Fund, and as far as I know, he was the victim of circumstances
and a much maligned man], but rather that the procedures
[I'm continuing to quote from my notes] being worked out for an international
organization, which resulted in EO-10422, could take their regular course.
Had there been any evidence of Mr. Blank furnishing documents to Jaffe
[of AMERASIA that is], Treasury would have, undoubtedly, classed this
case in the same category as the Coe and Taylor cases.
In other words, and asked for immediately summary removal. Treasury memos
to the files about these events I have described dated November 18, 1953,
signed by Harney, Feidler and Sutherland and December 7, 1953, signed
by Feidler, in other words, when I was going through the files, as I was
authorized to do, I found these memorandum about this situation and I
have excerpted it. Now the interesting thing is Attorney General Brownell
in his efforts to blow up the case on mishandling of loyalty matters against
the Truman administration, makes a very damaging statement casting the
severest doubts about the loyalty and integrity of an official, a former
official of the Treasury, now an official of an international organization
– publicly -- before the Internal Security Subcommittee. His own people
say it can't be supported, that it was a garbled version of the information
they had which was far different and which was perfectly innocent. But,
as far as I know, Mr. Brownell, although this was called to
his attention, never publicly revised his testimony. I regard this as,
rather "dirty pool" and I'm sure Mr. Blank would too, except that Mr.
Blank probably is not aware of these facts .
Apropos of, well, I've already described this but I have a longhand memorandum
in my files dated the 25th, of, I don't know when it's dated -- several
dates on it -- but in any event it was '52 or '53 which deals with this
thing I've already told you about; the FBI sent the Treasury one report
on March 4, '46 and on March 5, ' 46 , the reports have previous dates
-- back dates -- but they came to the Treasury within twenty-four hours,
and one is a long report about Gregory, which is a cover name for Elizabeth
Bentley, and the other is a general report which covers other people too,
and which gives the name of Elizabeth Bentley and so describes her as
she is described in the Gregory report, so you know easily that Gregory
is Elizabeth Bentley when you check the two reports together.
Now I also found some interesting statements by Mr. J. Edgar Hoover.
These are notes I took in December, 1953. This is a quote from a J. Edgar
Hoover speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police at
Miami, Florida, on December 10, 1945. (This is where I found it. Ninety-one
Congressional Record 12218 to 12220 dated December 17, 1945.) Now I'm
quoting Mr. Hoovers speech
Early in the war skeptics proclaimed that we were wide open to espionage.
They held that nothing was secure and nothing was being done. The record
is exactly to the contrary. We knew from the very outbreak of the war
that espionage was under control, I do not mean that the enemy was not
active, he was. Foreign powers tried not only to steal the atomic bomb,
but other military secrets. The counter-espionage program which we developed
did more than encircle spies and render them harmless, it enabled us to
learn of their weaknesses and their aims.
For further brags about the FBI job on internal security, see the annual
report of the Attorney General for the fiscal year 1943 page 6, the same
report for 1944 page 6, the same report for 1946 page 10, and I have a
quote from that:
With the war and its intended threats to the country concluded, we can
look back upon and be justifiably proud of the manner in which the internal
security of the country was maintained during the war years.
That's 1946 report of the Attorney General page 10. And here's Mr. J.
Edgar Hoover on December 10, '45, his speech also to the chiefs of police
which I have cited here -- same speech:
I do not for a moment detract from the heroic fight Russia waged against
the invading Nazi hoards to emerge as one of the great powers of the world.
We must not let the antics of the American Communists prejudice us against
this great nation which has the right to any form of Government she desires.
Nor must we judge the great Russian people by the lunatic fringe which
represents the great majority of American Communists.
Pretty heady stuff from J. Edgar Hoover, but, that was 1945. Now, the
point I am getting to is, the FBI may well have done a very good job on
Nazi espionage but the question that is open in my mind is to how good
a job they did on Soviet espionage during the same period, and one of
the things I find, I mean, my main query on that is the fact that Elizabeth
Bentley was a courier for an espionage ring, or a group of espionage rings
really, in the U.S. Government, that was working throughout this period
until, actually until 1944. Golos died in November of '43, and she continued
for a year or more after that, and then I think she became quiescent for
a while and finally she went to the FBI. I can't seem to place my finger
on it immediately, but there are several statements I was reading this
morning in which (these come from the Gregory report, the report on the
of Elizabeth Bentley), maybe I can find them.
Now here are my notes made on December 10, 1950, at the Treasury with
the approval of the Republican authorities of the Treasury at that time,
specifically, Assistant Secretary, later Under Secretary, Chapman Rose.
These are notes made from a report which I had read extensively, of course,
and studied at great length when I was handling these cases because this
report dates from 1946, actually its first edition was in '45, but I had
what I think was the second edition Here before me, I call it the Gregory
report of February 21, 1946, Gregory being Elizabeth Bentley as I have
pointed out; sent to Treasury March 4, 1946 -- Fred Vinson was then Secretary
of the Treasury -- I am quoting from the report, starting on page one:
Predictions: Background of current presentation. [This is the FBI report.]
The purpose of this memorandum is to set forth certain charges against
officials and employees of the Federal Government. These charges will
be dealt with in detail and information arising from other sources and
investigations will be coordinated in an effort to give an overall view
of the situation concerning underground Soviet espionage activities in
the United States Government at the present time. A time element exists
in making a factual approach to the materials set forth. Although the
majority of the basic charges against the individuals
mentioned herein concern activities dating back several years, these
charges must be viewed from the fact that they only became available in
November of 1945, [Remember that date, I'm going to come back to it after
I finish this quote. They say it didn't become available until November
of 1945.] Consequently, the reader must consider the difficulty of actually
proving these activities by investigation at this late date. The facts
are strong in many instances, and circumstantial in others, primarily
because of the disparity in time between the date of the activity and
the actual report of these activities to the authorities. A determined
effort has been made to produce as much actual and circumstantial evidence
as possible; either to prove or disprove the basic charges, At the outset
it is considered proper to make a statement concerning the source of the
basic charges which will be outlined hereinafter. The source who became
available and cooperative in November, 1945, for protective purposes,
in view of continued assistance being received, therefore, is being given
the cover name of Gregory. All material originating with Gregory will
be so designated and will be set forth as nearly as possible in the very
words used by Gregory in reporting the material submitted.
And I have added (that's the end of the quote), note an identical statement,
that is a statement identical with the above statement is on page one
of report C. I've called this one report B in my notes that I just read,
presumably because it's the second edition of the Gregory report, A, I
suppose, would have been the first edition or maybe I gave it to some
document, anyway report C is dated October 21, 1946. This was dated February
21, 1946, and sent to the Treasury on March 4th. As I said, a statement
identical to this appears in the next edition of October 21, 1946, of
the Gregory report which wasn't received by the Treasury until March 8,
1948, a year and a half later.
Gregory was Elizabeth Bentley. We know today from her own sworn testimony,
and her book, that it wasn't November when she became available to the
FBI, it was August 1945. She went to the New Haven office of the FBI in
August and then there was a gap of two and a half months or more while
she waited and nothing happened, and then suddenly great activity -- they
suddenly believed her after they had persuaded her to recontact the Russians,
and money had passed from the Russians to her, and then they believed
her. They started turning out the first edition of these reports.
That's one thing. They give themselves a couple of extra months, you
see, and then they document it, and then they are very rough on other
people who don't move instantly. And too, actually, I don't
understand why they didn't have this woman under surveillance all the
time, since she was the mistress of a known Soviet agent and had been
for years since the '30s, since the late '30s, and this man was well known
to the FBI, had been arrested, tried and convicted of being an unregistered
Soviet agent, under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and that was
And she herself described how she was constantly under FBI surveillance
and the devices she used to lose them, and yet for all this time she was
coming directly from Golos to the heart of the espionage ring, the Silvermaster
home in Washington, once every two weeks for years -- three years or more
-- picking up microfilm copies of secret Government documents and carrying
them back to Golos who turned them over to the Russians. Great. A great
job of counterespionage. It's a little difficult to understand why --
where were they, where were they, where was the FBI? That's the question
I'd like to have answered.
As a sort of a humor item, here is a letter to me from J. Edgar Hoover
dated August 8, 1950, and it's marked "personal and confidential." Although
August 8th, I know I received it August 14th. It must have come by Pony
Express via the west coast -- personal and confidential. There isn't anything
personal and confidential in it. I shouldn't complain because I've got
to admit when I was a counterintelligence guy, I classified everything
confidential even the toilet paper we used, every telephone list, everything
was classified -- this is the nature of internal security and counterintelligence
Honorable Stephen J. Spingarn, Administrative Assistant to the President,
White House, Washington, D. C., Dear Mr. Spingarn; I appreciate the comments
that you made in your letter of August 3, 1950, relative to my statement
outlining what the public should and should not do to help the Federal
Bureau of Investigation out in this emergency. I read with interest the
statement which the President has prepared for delivery by you to the
third National Counter Intelligence Corps Convention, and I am sure that
the group will maintain the same high standards in the present emergency
as they did in the last world war. Sincerely yours, J. Edgar Hoover.
So with that statement I will turn over to you these documents. I will
ask you to take very special good care of them because, as I say, I want
them back and quickly because they are my file on this matter and they
are actually irreplaceable. And I put the matter in Doctor Brooks’ lap
as to what restrictions, if any,
should be placed on any copies you make of these documents. I personally
hope that there will be no restrictions, because I believe that they represent
a story of responsible conduct by the Treasury in the handling of its
loyalty cases during the period I was an official of the Treasury and
participated in these matters.
HESS: We'll have to go over them and deal with them as individual cases.
SPINGARN: But there is, of course, both the question of classification;
some of them are classified confidential and there is the case of the
fact that many or all of these people are still alive. Most of them have
been well discussed in the public print but whether you want to revive
that discussion is also another matter, you see, this was years back.
I think it is quite likely that the Mr. Blank I refer to will be just
as glad to forget the whole thing which must be an unhappy chapter in
his life because he must have gone through hell, and yet he has been cleared
and he is holding a responsible job in an important international organization
to this day, as far as I am aware. I don't think that Herbert Brownell
should be too proud of his conduct in that matter.
Now I think I will close right here. Incidentally, I will say that I
am going down to the White House this afternoon for an appointment with
an official of the National Security Council made as a result of a talk
I had with Walt Rostow the Special Assistant to the President on national
security matters, and it will be my purpose to present to him, as I have
to others, my views that the Government is not putting its best foot forward
in its presentation of a good case for our involvement in Vietnam.
It's not putting its best foot forward to the American people and it's
not putting its best foot forward with our allies abroad. I have some
suggestions which I hope are constructive for improving that situation.
I believe that while we're winning the military war out in Vietnam and
spending five or six thousand lives and twenty to thirty billion dollars
a year to do it, that we are losing the propaganda war, if you'd like
to call it that, here at home and in the rest of the world, and if we
lose that, we may lose both wars. If the American people get sufficiently
impatient and they have a record of being rather easily impatient with
long inconclusive border wars, they may say one
of two things, they may say escalate up to whatever is necessary to finish
this quickly or get out pronto, right now; either one would be a disaster
in my opinion. I think we've assumed roughly the right course now and
I hope we continue that and I hope we are able to make our showing to
both our own people and to the rest of the free world that we have a good
case. That's what I'm going to talk about this afternoon at the White
Well, have you got any questions, Mr. Hess.
HESS: No, that's it. Thank you very much for your time. We took an awfully
lot of it.
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