Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Roger Tubby

Oral History Interview with
Roger Tubby

Positions held during the Truman Administration included: Director of Information, Foreign Economic Administration, 1944-45; Assistant to the Administrator, FEA, 1945; Director of Information, Office of International Trade, Department of Commerce, 1945-46; Press Officer, Department of State, 1945-49; Executive Assistant for Press Relations, Department of State, 1950; Assistant Press Secretary, The White House, 1950-52; Acting Press Secretary to the President, October-December, 1952; Press Secretary to the President, December, 1952; subsequently served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, 1961-62 and U.S. Ambassador to Geneva to all the international organizations there, 1962-69.

Washington, D.C.
February 10, 1970
by Jerry N. Hess

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


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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

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

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



Oral History Interview with
Roger Tubby

Washington, D.C.
February 10, 1970
by Jerry N. Hess

[1]

HESS: Ambassador Tubby, to begin, would you tell me a little bit about your background: Where were you born, where were you raised, and a few of the positions that you've held.

TUBBY: Well, Jerry, I was born in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1910, December 30, 1910. I went to Yale University. I worked in Vermont for the Bennington, Vermont Banner; I was a reporter and then editor. My main achievement there, I think, as I look back, was getting town manager government for Bennington. During

[2]

the war I was in the Board of Economic Warfare and when that became the Foreign Economic Administration, a combination of BEW and Lend-Lease, I became assistant to the administrator, Leo Crowley. Subsequently, I went to the Department of Commerce as Director of Information of the Office of International Trade; and after that to the Department of State in 1946 with Mike [Michael J.] McDermott, who was then the chief spokesman of the Department of State and had been for a great many years before. In 1950 I went to the White House as the assistant White House press secretary under Joe Short. Do you want anything after that period?

HESS: Let's have a few of your positions afterwards. What were a few?

TUBBY: In 1953 Mr. [John Foster] Dulles asked me to come back to the State Department and be his

[3]

Press Chief. I felt, however, that I could not really do this because I believed strongly in Mr. Truman's positions, and accordingly I told Mr. Dulles that I thought it better if I did not. Subsequently, in partnership with Jim [James] Loeb, we bought a little daily newspaper in northern New York, Saranac Lake, where I was co-publisher-editor, jack-of-all-trades, and became president of the Adirondack Park Association, an association that covers all the communities of about a fifth of New York State, in the northeast corner; and advisor to the Governor on natural resources and.conservation. For a short time I worked with Averell Harriman when he was Governor. In 1956 I went out to campaign with the Adlai Stevenson staff, and in 1960 I joined John F. Kennedy at the Los Angeles convention and stayed with the Kennedy team through the election,

[4]

serving as Director of Press Relations for the Democratic National Committee. Subsequently I became Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs; and for the last seven and a half years I was Ambassador to Geneva to all the international organizations there. I am presently Dean of the School of Professional Studies, Foreign Service Institute, Department of State.

HESS: We will come back to a few of those and ask some further points on them. But to get back in time, just how did you come to be a member of the White House staff?

TUBBY: Well, my understanding is that Charlie Ross and the President asked Joe Short who was then with the Baltimore Sun, and Bill Hillman who was then with Collier's, and I think one other, to make nominations for a possible successor to

[5]

Charlie Ross, because Charlie had indicated that he would like very much to retire, and to get a country paper and edit it during his last years.

HESS: About what time was this that Mr. Ross was thinking of retiring?

TUBBY: My recollection is that this was maybe as early as 1949. Anyway, Bill Hillman called me one day at the State Department and said he would like to have a meeting with me at the Carlton Hotel, and I did meet him there with Matt Connelly. They told me what they had in mind -- would I be interested in coming to the White House? They didn't say exactly what date. I had been nominated to go to the National War College for the following year and I was very much interested in doing so and continuing my career in State, but naturally,

[6]

when you get an invitation to go to the White House, you drop everything else.

Then Charlie Ross had his heart attack and died, and Mr. Truman, very wisely, I think, chose Joe Short as Charlie's successor. Joe had been covering the White House for a number of years for the Baltimore Sun and had the complete confidence of HST.

HESS: Do you recall when you first met Mr. Short?

TUBBY: I had known him slightly over the years, but I don't think I really met him or had a talk with him until around November of 1950.

HESS: How would you compare the two men, as to the way that they handled the office: Charles Ross and Joe Short?

TUBBY: Well, I didn't know Charlie Ross enough -- I rarely saw him in action. My impression is

[7]

that he had an easier personality, more relaxed personality than Joe Short, that he enjoyed a very long friendship with HST over many years, and that there was complete confidence, rapport between the President and Charlie, and the President held Charlie in very high regard. He had been former editorial writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and chief of the Bureau for the Post-Dispatch in Washington.

Joe enjoyed the President's confidence likewise. He was, by nature, however, quite tense, very conscientious as was Charlie Ross, but very much aware of the possibility of error and of consequences of error in anything that was said to the press, and so I do think that Joe was more wary and therefore, perhaps, in some ways, not quite as successful as Charlie was. Somebody else really ought to make a judgment on that.

[8]

HESS: You mentioned that you did not have very many dealings with Charles Ross while he was Press Secretary, is that right?

TUBBY: I had only one, and this was in connection with the termination of Lend-Lease. I was then assistant to Mr. Crowley, who called me up from Chicago one day, I think it was in August of 1946, and said that he wanted me to draft a statement for his approval to go to the White House indicating that Lend-Lease be terminated forthwith. I drafted a statement in which 'I recalled the tremendous job that Lend-Lease had done during the war and indicated that there would probably be some follow-up measures taken to carry on the general thrust of Lend-Lease. These measures were eventually taken in the form of the Marshall plan. When Mr. Crowley came back to his office, then in the National Press Club, I showed him this draft and he said, "This

[9]

isn't what I want at all. I just want a short, brief statement indicating that Lend-Lease is to be terminated forthwith."

I said that I felt maybe this wasn't the wisest course and he said, "Well, we owe it to the Congress. We've indicated that when the war was over that we would terminate Lend-Lease. The war is over and we should therefore make the statement."

I took it over to the White House. On the way out of the Crowley office, Oscar Cox, who had drafted the Lend-Lease Act, was sitting in an outer office. Crowley had really taken over from Oscar Cox. I paused briefly to say to Oscar that I was on my way to the White House and I wasn't very happy about what I was going to have to do, and then went on my way. When I got to the White House I saw Charlie Ross and handed him the Crowley statement and he looked

[10]

at it; and I also showed him the somewhat longer statement that I had drafted. He took both of them. Whether or not he ever showed both of them to the President I don't really know; or what he may have said to the President I don't really know, if anything, about the longer draft. But when I got back to my office I had a summons from Mr. Crowley to appear forthwith to his office. From the tone of his voice I felt pretty certain that he wanted me to come in and that he was going to fire me, for understandable reasons. I had seen him fire two or three other people, and he did it in a very short and sure way. So I said goodbye to my staff and went up to see him, but by the time I had gotten there, he did not fire me, he indicated displeasure, but he said instead that he wanted to have a press conference. He had never had a press conference

[11]

as head of FEA. Bert Andrews, the then Bureau Chief of the New York Herald-Tribune, had called Charlie Ross and expressed his astonishment that Lend-Lease was being terminated in this manner. And Charlie had said, "Well, if you don't like it you'd better get in touch with Crowley. He's the man responsible." And Bert had, and I arranged a press conference. We had not only one, but two that day.

Well, that was my one very brief contact with Charlie Ross.

HESS: Do you know who Mr. Crowley consulted with on the decision to call for such a rapid dropping of Lend-Lease?

TUBBY: No, I don't. I think it would be interesting to know whom he consulted with. My guess would be that it may have been somebody, one or more, on the Hill, who had said, "What are you going

[12]

to do about Lend-Lease now that the war is over and we better cut it off." But I really don't know. It would be interesting to know that.

HESS: At the time you were at the State Department, did you have any dealings with Eben Ayers, who was Mr. Ross' Assistant Press Secretary?

TUBBY: Very few, very few. And I don't really remember any occasion when I talked to Eben.

HESS: I see. What were your first duties after you became a member of the White House press office?

TUBBY: Well, I had helped develop a new system of preparing for press conferences at the State Department under Secretary Marshall.

When I had gone to the State Department, under Secretary Byrnes, and later under his

[13]

successor, later dealing with Dean Acheson, the custom was usually to sit around with the Secretary a half an hour or so before a press conference, and orally bring up various questions that might be asked and to make suggestions as to how they might be answered. And some assistant secretaries or others might be called in to advise. It certainly seemed to General Marshall, or Secretary Marshall, too haphazard a way of preparation, and so under Marshall and Mike McDermott, we began to collect material two or three days ahead of time and put it into a black looseleaf notebook.

HESS: Who did you collect it from?

TUBBY: Well, we collected it from many different parts of the Department, from the Department of Defense, Interior, Commerce, depending on

[14]

the nature of the question. We usually anticipated anywhere from thirty to fifty or fifty-five possible questions. Sometimes we knew from our own contacts, sitting in the Secretary's staff meeting, or from other sources, pretty well the gist of what might make a sensible answer. Many times, however, we needed and got help from the relevant officials.

Well, anyway, this system seemed to work very well, and when I went to the White House I noticed that President Truman was using the old Byrnes system.

HESS: How would you describe that, as just a discussion group?

TUBBY: Just a discussion group. So I suggested to Joe Short that we try this other technique, the Marshall technique.

[15]

HESS: You suggested this early in your tenure at the White House?

TUBBY: When I first went over, and soon thereafter, we began to use the -- again, I should put in a caveat for all this. It's been a long time since I've thought about any of this and my recollection of dates may be off; it may even be considerably off. My recollection is that we started to do this fairly early on.

HESS: Was it successful?

TUBBY: I think it's been successful. I made a recommendation to Jim Hagerty that he do the same. He did through the Eisenhower years and indeed, when Kennedy came in I recommended to Pierre Salinger that he do the same. This has been carried on, I believe, right through to

[16]

today.

HESS: Did you ever hear President Truman compare the two systems of preparation, briefing books and discussions?

TUBBY: No, but he certainly seemed to like it. He would take the material -- the night before a press conference it would be in his hands. He would go over it at Blair House or in the White House, before he went to Blair House. Then in the morning, forty minutes or so before a press conference we would gather around with him. Meanwhile, there might have been some new things come up overnight that we would have checked on and suggest inclusion in his material.

HESS: One point, why I asked about the time that you brought in this new refinement, was from

[17]

Presidential Leadership of Public Opinion by Elmer E. Cornwell, on page 172, he says:

When Roger Tubby became Press Secretary towards the end of the Truman tenure, he instituted a further refinement which he had brought over from his experiences in the State Department.

Then he goes on, Cornwell implies that this was quite late during the time that you were at the White House.

TUBBY: He may be right, I don't know. I'm pretty sure that we were doing it much earlier on. I don't recall ever having talked to him, so I don't know where he got this information.

HESS: I think he had an interview -- I'm not sure if it was a personal interview or not -- but your name does appear in the notes in the back.

TUBBY: Then, in addition to working on preparation of the President's weekly press conference, I and Irving Perlmeter, the other Assistant Press

[18]

Secretary and myself, both helped to get together material every day for Joe Short's daily briefings for the press. Then in addition to that, there was a certain amount of drafting of resolutions of proclamations, of drafting suggested replies to letters, either for the President's signature or Joe Short's.

The question as to whether these functions were successfully carried out: I think reasonably well. I think some of the press felt that perhaps we were too wary. I don't know whether we get into this later or not, but I do think that...

HESS: We don't have to stick with the list.

TUBBY: I do think that the press were very fond of Mr. Truman and liked him, not only for the kind of human being he was and is, but liked him for his candor. I think they were fond

[19]

of him and I think they had a respect for him. So, having this kind of an ambiance between the working press -- I don't mean the publishers -- and the President, made it a lot easier for Joe Short and the rest of us.

HESS: Do you think the press liked the manner, the way, in which the press conferences were held with questions on any subject and then the answers by the President?

TUBBY: Some did. Some had reservations about this system. I myself did. It seemed to me then, and it seems to me still, that in the average presidential press conference, you are apt to have a lot of trivial questions thrown up, a whole succession of them, valuable time taken up in making some observation about whether Passamaquoddy is going to have a new dam, or a new judgeship. There was thought, while we were

[20]

there, of whether we should go back to -- I think it was the Hoover system of having written questions and then selecting out those that seemed to be particularly germane, particularly interesting, that would elicit more, perhaps, statesman-like comments.

HESS: Would you have preferred that?

TUBBY: No. Well, in a way, yes. But then the trouble is that some of the press would feel that we were exercising a measure of censorship and awkward questions would be passed over. So, in the end, and I think it's still true, just part of the operating hazards of having a press conference is that you're going to have a lot of -- sometimes -- just plain, silly questions.

HESS: That would probably bring up the charge of "control of the press."

TUBBY: Control of the press, yes, definitely.

[21]

HESS: Do you think some of the newsmen would have liked more than one news conference a week?

TUBBY: Yes.

HESS: I understand Roosevelt usually held two.

TUBBY: He usually held two and sometimes even more. I think some would have. It naturally varies. It would vary on what's happening in the world and the country as to whether it would really be worthwhile. I think some of the press objected to the background system that we used without direct quotation of the President. Under Eisenhower they made direct quotes of the President possible.

And then some, even in those relatively early days of TV, were anxious to have their press conferences televised. I think the President and Joe Short both were concerned about the possibility of serious error going

[22]

out as the President's position in a very hard way, quoting the President as saying so-and-so, when there might be an afterthought that you would really want to, get into the record. So if it came out of the background statement it was somewhat easier to make a correction.

HESS: I also understand that Roosevelt used to have what he called "background conferences" when he would talk to the press, not for publication, but just for their general information, to keep them abreast of the happenings.

TUBBY: Yes, I think that's right. And he did it very successfully during the war and, I think, he brought them into his confidence, a few of them into his confidence on the North African landings, for example, and D-Day, and that his confidence was never abused, at least I am not aware of it.

[23]

HESS: Do you think the newsmen would have appreciated it if Mr. Truman had also had various backgrounders?

TUBBY: I think they probably would have. He didn't really do it, at least not in my time there, until the very end when I set up a number of individual session with different correspondents with Mr. Truman. I think they would have appreciated it, and I think he would have done very well.

HESS: He had a few called "off-the-record," but they were usually, I believe, given before, groups of newspaper publishers or something of that effect.

Who were some of the newsmen that you helped set up for individual interviews?

TUBBY: I don't remember for sure, now. I think Bob Donovan may have been one, who was then with the New York Herald-Tribune; Jack Horner of the Star --

[24]

I don't really remember.

HESS: This is after the time that Arthur Krock had his personal interview with Mr. Truman.

TUBBY: Yes, this was around Christmastime of 1952, January, 1953.

HESS: Late in the administration.

TUBBY: Yes.

HESS: Were there any members of the press that seemed to have Mr. Truman's special favor?

TUBBY: Well, I think, of course, Joe Short himself before he came on board. Eddie Folliard of the Washington Post -- Mr. Truman was very fond of him and vice versa, I think. Tony Vaccaro of the Associated Press. Pete Brandt of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I'm not sure about Merriman Smith, of that relationship.

[25]

You did have a question that you were going to suggest that I would like to comment on, and that is my first meeting with HST. When I did go in to see him, I reminded him that I had a rather dark background, that in Vermont in the thirties, I had been on the Republican town committee and I had campaigned for a liberal Republican for Congress, who was beaten by Congressman Plumley in the primary, and that I had been the one editor of a daily paper in the state who had supported George D. Aiken, for the Republican nomination when he first ran for the Senate. Mr. Truman said, "Well, if you're okay with George Aiken, you're okay with me, and I understand you are okay with George Aiken."

I think that he was interested in -- although he was very partisan -- but he was interested., really, in what people could do.

[26]

I remember once a young nephew of mine showed up from the State of Washington, and he came in kind of old clothes, and I said, "Would you like to hear a presidential press conference?" He said he would and so I took him along and afterwards I introduced him to the President, and the boy, who was about eighteen or nineteen, apologized for the look of his clothes.

And the President said, "Son, I don't go by that. I go by the look of a man, his eyes, his general bearing, etc., and I can see that you're okay!" putting the boy very much at his ease.

HESS: I have one question about the pre-press conferences, or the sessions that went on before the press conferences: After the time that you instituted using the briefing books with the information from the various agencies, did they still have a discussion group?

[27]

TUBBY: Yes, they did, right before the conference.

HESS: Who usually sat in on that and how was that conducted?

TUBBY: Well, usually, the President and Joe Short, whoever was the press secretary, John Steelman, usually the military attaches, Charlie Murphy, Dave Lloyd, I think Dave Stowe was usually there, five or six, maybe eight or nine. It was rather like a morning staff conference.

HESS: Do you think that they conducted those at that time much as they had before you had instituted the briefing books?

TUBBY: Yes, I think so.

HESS: Just trying to figure out what subjects might come up that day.

TUBBY: Well, what subjects might come up that day.

[28]

I think it gave the President a chance to double check with some of his top staff aides on a recommended answer.

HESS: Did Mr. Truman usually use the recommended answer, or once the press conference was going, would he come up with something that would surprise you as well as...

TUBBY: No, he usually used a general line. He didn't read it, but he usually talked pretty much along the line of what had been recommended. There were surprises in the press conferences.

NESS: What do you recall?

TUBBY: Well, I recall particularly the day that he said -- that was on August 24, 1952 -- the day he said that he had sent an ultimatum to Joe Stalin directing him to, get his Russian troops out of Iran by a day certain, and as soon as

[29]

the President said this -- I had never heard of an ultimatum to Stalin -- and I whispered something to him, "Was he sure?"

And he said, "You know, Roger's asked whether I sent an ultimatum or not; I sent Stalin an ultimatum."

When the conference was over and as we were going down in the elevator, he said, "If you've got any doubt about it, you check over it, you check the records, and if I'm wrong, why, set the record straight." I did check the State Department very carefully, up and down the line, and Defense, and the White House records themselves, and there was no indication of an ultimatum having been sent to Stalin, though there was a pretty strong letter sent on March 6 making our position very plain. The Russians did, in fact, withdraw their troops from Iran in May, 1946. The note to Stalin was sent to the Russians by the State Department

[30]

at the direction of the President.

HESS: Do you recall if you came out with a clarifying statement at this time?

TUBBY: Yes, I came out with a clarifying statement in the afternoon on April 24.

HESS: Do you recall the President's reaction when he was told that a clarifying statement would have to be issued in this case, or did you see him?

TUBBY: Oh, yes, I saw him. I told him what I thought we might say about it.

HESS: What was his reaction?

TUBBY: It was, "Well, go ahead and say it." Naturally, he still felt, though, that we -- "we" in the press -- were being too technical. The important thing was that a pretty strong note

[31]

was sent to the Russians, and the important thing was that they got out.

HESS: There were other times during the administration when clarifying statements had to be made to cover over or to explain something that the President had said in an interview. Was that much of a problem? Did you have to watch for that?

TUBBY: Yes. We watched for it. I think that, in my time, this was the most difficult situation. He did speak rapidly. And, of course, one other more celebrated case, and I think it was his acceptance of the word "red herring" -- he didn't dream up the word but was simply replying to the use of the word by a correspondent in such a way that from that time on, I think in the '52 campaign -- during the '52 campaign it was alleged that it was really Truman who thought up the use of the word "red herring."

[32]

HESS: Did he have a tendency to accept the phrasing of some of the reporters rather than taking their question and rephrasing it himself?

TUBBY: Well, I wouldn't say he always did it, but this was something that we watched for.

HESS: Did you attend all the press conferences?

TUBBY: Yes.

HESS: At the time that you were there they were held in the Indian Treaty Room, is that correct?

TUBBY: Yes. They were, and the President, usually Joe Short, Irv Perlmeter and myself would go over with him; sometimes Charlie Murphy and John Steelman, Matt Connelly. The President was certainly carrying the ball naturally directly himself.

HESS: Do you recall if Mr. Connelly participated

[33]

in the discussions before the press conferences?

TUBBY: I think he did. I'm just not sure about that. Then, of course, there was Bill Hassett, Dave Lloyd. Now, whether Don Dawson was there at sometimes, I just don't recall.

HESS: Is there any particular news conference that stands out in your memory?

TUBBY: Well, naturally for my small part in it, the ultimatum stands out. I think his last press conference, when he sort of summed up his years in the White House and did it in a very effective way, I thought, I think that stands out.

HESS: Mr. Truman was often accused of "shooting from the hip." Did that cause any particular problems, or, indeed, do you think that he did?

TUBBY: Well, I think at times he did somewhat.

[34]

I think we've covered this a bit in some of the earlier comments.

HESS: Was news leaking out of the White House offices through unauthorized sources much of a problem during the Truman administration?

TUBBY: Well, there's likely to be always some leakage from any Government office. And I think one of the most troublesome leakages, I think the one you've referred to in another context, and that was this business on Wake Island. The Truman-MacArthur meeting on Wake Island which Tony Leviero of the New York Times -- and incidentally, Tony Leviero was certainly one of the people that HST liked very much -- and how that got out, I haven't any idea. But stopping news leaks is almost an impossibility. Really, one has to depend on the loyalty and the sense of responsibility of individual officers.

[35]

Occasionally you get a situation where, I think in the Kennedy administration, where there was a great concern about some leak and President Kennedy was very anxious to have it tracked down. One might find that the leak came even directly from himself, possibly at a Georgetown dinner. Sometimes top officials at informal gatherings talk quite frankly to old friends, and don't realize that that may be the source of the leak, whereas the people who are in the press offices or others down the line are apt to, most of the time, lean over backwards not to leak. Of course, you do then have the problem of some officers who may disagree with Government policy and try to sabotage it by leaking something prematurely. This can be a real headache.

HESS: One other question on this general nature. Was there an attempt to establish an

[36]

inter-administration coordination of news releases during the Truman administration, checking between the various departments to see that one department was not going to release an item that might overshadow a release from another department, and also that the various departments were in agreement with the general release?

TUBBY: Well, this is very informal. I mean, it was the kind of thing where Joe Short would double-check with [Clayton] Fritchey or whoever was at the Defense Department if something crossed between the two, or with Mike McDermott or Link [Lincoln] White at the State Department. We did not have the system that Jack Kennedy had of weekly meetings of the top information officers. I think that probably was a useful thing to do, but we didn't have that.

HESS: Was there ever any discussion of instituting something of that nature?

[37]

TUBBY: Not to my recollection.

HESS: Concerning the White House staff meetings, how would the President run his morning staff meetings?

TUBBY: Usually, he would start off with the Press Secretary, "What have you got on the griddle, what is the press concerned about?" And then discuss whatever it might be. The Press Secretary might ask for recommendations as to how he might handle this or that problem. The President would either instruct him or it would be kicked around amongst the group. The Press Secretary would then get his instructions. This was very helpful. Then he would move around to Steelman...

HESS: Who usually attended?

TUBBY: Well, Murphy, Short, Connelly, Hassett, Steelman, Stowe, Lloyd, Vaughan, Dennison and Landry

[38]

(the three attaches), Perlmeter and myself.

HESS: Do you recall a particularly interesting staff meeting when something may have been discussed that's generally known?

TUBBY: Well, you've got so much already. Well, I think one of the most interesting staff meetings perhaps of all was concerning the President's decision to fire General MacArthur. I did put down very shortly after that staff meeting my recollection of what the President said, and what some others, at that time, had to say at that meeting and subsequently.

HESS: We can put that in the appendix and we'll mark it at this spot.*

Anything that your eye lands on that we might expand upon? Something that may have come to light after you wrote this particular

* See appendix.

[39]

memo?

TUBBY: Something that came to light after I wrote the memo?

HESS: Yes, something the memo may not contain?

TUBBY: No, I don't think so. I think this covers what I was aware of, and of course I was only one of many. The thing that I maybe would like to put in at this point, because I think it might have contributed to the firing of MacArthur at that particular time, was that I went into the President one day with a particular newsticker item, which carried MacArthur's message to Joe Martin, who was then Speaker of the House. In it, MacArthur had once again said that he felt that General Chiang Kai-shek's troops ought to be unleashed, and that we ought to be able to hit north of the Yalu. I showed it to the President, and he was reading General

[40]

Bradley's story of the General,* and he glanced at the ticker, put it down and turned back to the book. I don't think I go into this quite as much as in the memo. I said, "Mr. President, this man is not only insubordinate, but he's insolent, and I think he ought to be fired."

The President picked up the ticker and read it, really I think for the first time (he just glanced at it before), and then he said, "By God, Roger, I think you're right." He then got Marshall and the whole apparatus was put into process to recall General MacArthur. The original idea was that he would be brought back in due course with the pomp and circumstance due a great General, but the scenario really fell apart when we got wind of a report that MacArthur was about to resign in Tokyo. I really sort of led the fight to get MacArthur fired at once on the grounds that I did not

*'Bradley, Omar. A Soldier's Story. New York: Holt, 1951.

[41]

think that the President of the United States should be put in the position of being "behind the eight-ball" and have to explain after MacArthur had retired with a blast to the President, to have to explain, "Well, after all, MacArthur had been insubordinate." It seemed to me that the President, really, given the nature of the situation and the history of the situation, and the likelihood that MacArthur was about to quit, that he ought to be put out right away. General Bradley was the first one to come around to this point of view. After the firing (this isn't in here), after the enormous angry response by so many, I think Charlie Murphy and several others felt that I had gone much too far in pressing for quick action. They were very unhappy about it, and unhappy with me. But I think it worked out right.

[42]

HESS: This is something they said later, isn't that right?

TUBBY: Their unhappiness.

HESS: Were there people at that time that this was transpiring that did not think MacArthur should be fired?

TUBBY: I think there was general feeling that he should be fired, but, you know, after this letter to Martin, but there was feeling that it should not be done in a precipitous manner. That was what upset Charlie Murphy and others.

HESS: How did they think it should be handled?

TUBBY: Well, I think they felt that MacArthur -- they weren't sure that MacArthur was in fact about to resign, they thought maybe somebody was pulling our leg. I got a call from the Chicago Tribune's Pentagon correspondent and

[43]

later from the Mutual Broadcasting Company in New York indicating that they had word from Tokyo that the important resignation announcement would be the next morning. I said, "I didn't know what it could be." But in my mind, I was pretty sure.

No, I think they felt that the President shouldn't be rushed into something of this kind, that there would be an angry reaction, and that it was almost better to take a chance that MacArthur wasn't really about to resign. They might have been right, although subsequently, it seems to me, I don't recall exactly where, but that I read, and I think I've got it tucked away in a file somewhere, that I read a statement by one of MacArthur's people at the time, that he was indeed about to resign. But this doesn't come through I think in MacArthur's own memoirs.

[44]

HESS: After this passage of time, do you think things have worked out for the best along that line?

TUBBY: Yes, as I recall in that staff meeting after the President had fired him, I came in with a stack of telegrams and indicated there were bushel baskets of telegrams, many of them attacking the President, "It's too bad the Puerto Ricans didn't get him," "The President ought to be impeached," and so on. The President said, in effect, "See that fireplace over there? Go put them in the fireplace and set a match to them. The American people will come to understand that what I did had to be done. Now what's next on your agenda?"

Well, as in so many other crisis situations, he made up his mind, he wasn't going to worry about it, having acted, so get on with the next order of business.

[45]

HESS: We have touched on the military or civilian control of the services and the foreign policy. Did it or did it not seem to you during your time, during the Truman administration, that there was sort of a power struggle between the State Department and the Defense Department or some of the military people for control of foreign policy?

TUBBY: I think there was. There was some of this. I think it had definitely improved when General Marshall became Secretary of State. He had been a "boss man" on the other side, and he was now, in effect, in many ways, sort of the overall boss man. But this is something, I think, that in our Government, under any administration, there is likely to be considerable rivalry between the Defense Department and the Department of State for the President's attention, and for the President's support.

[46]

A lot of it is -- sure there are Cabinet meetings, and then there are meetings of NSC and meetings of the Defense Secretary and the Secretary of State with the President, but oftentimes key decisions are made when the President is talking alone to the Secretary of Defense, or alone to the Secretary of State. Then, too, this is sort of peripheral to your central question, but then, too, I've been impressed by (shouldn't have been, perhaps, surprised at all), but impressed by the role that a staff aide can play having access to the President through the day, and that a word or two, even a gesture, can help shape a decision.

HESS: Can you give me an illustration of that?

TUBBY: One was maybe my use of the word "insolent," although maybe I'm putting too much into it. The President might have decided to act then and there anyway. But I think other illustrations --

[47]

I don't remember exactly. There are so many that sometimes with regard to appointments, I think a staff officer could almost be a lift of the shoulder, the eyebrow, sometimes kill a possible appointment, or on the other hand, make it, so that not always is the written text a sure guide as to how influence is made or carried out.

HESS: We'll move onto our next topic, which is the White House staff. I'd like to ask just a few questions about some of the men who served on the staff at the same time that you were there. If you could tell me just a little bit about them, what their duties were, how effective they were in carrying out their duties, and if you had ever worked with them on a particular topic that might help to show their relationship with you, their relationship with the President, we might put that in. Let's

[48]

start with Matthew Connelly, what do you recall about Mr. Connelly?

TUBBY: Well, he was a very quick, sensitive, able Appointments Secretary. I use the latter word "able" advisedly. I think that he understood very well the President's nature and his needs, and did, by and large, a very effective job of screening. I think that one of his problems was, however, that he was a very gregarious and engaging Irishman who liked parties and there were those who liked to entertain him, and this led to, I think, some of his difficulty. I was very sad about Matt and when he had to go up to Danbury I kept some touch with him. I think he was, perhaps, grateful that I did. I think he once said, "You're practically the only one who ever tried to make any contact."

HESS: Why did that conviction come about, do you think?

[49]

TUBBY: Well, I think HST may have talked to you about it, and I'd like to know what he said, but I think that he has said it in writing, I think that he felt that Matt Connelly was in some measure framed. This was part of an effort to discredit the President. I don't know about the case myself to my own knowledge, whether Connelly had acted in any improper way, but I think the President -- maybe he still feels the same way -- but I think he felt there was an element of a frameup there.

HESS: The next man is William C. Hassett.

TUBBY: A delightful Vermonter, former Associated Press man, erudite, very wise in a Yankee way, who, as you know, had served under Franklin Roosevelt as Correspondence Secretary. He wrote beautifully and very effectively. Towards the end he had a health problem which made it difficult for him to carry on.

[50]

HESS: John R. Steelman, who held the post, The Assistant to the President.

TUBBY: A gregarious, enthusiastic, intelligent person, who was primarily, as I recall, an expeditor, a guy who would follow up on various assignments, jobs that various departments were supposed to do; an adviser on labor matters, labor management matters. I didn't really work closely with him, but that's my offhand impression.

HESS: How effective was he as a labor negotiator and mediator?

TUBBY: I don't know, Jerry. I just don't know.

HESS: Do you know where he got the title, "The Assistant to the President?"

TUBBY: No, do you?

HESS: No.

[51]

Charles S. Murphy?

TUBBY: I think a very good man, a very wise man, honest, and a terrific drafter of speeches, very gifted. He had the feel for the President's way of putting things, and he could draft a speech, while fairly simple and direct in the declarative sentences, would nevertheless have a certain eloquence and sort of communicate a feeling of excitement and so forth. I thought he was really great.

HESS: What seemed to be the relationship between Charles Murphy and John Steelman? In their job?

TUBBY: Well, I don't remember how that was split up, but Murphy had certain broad areas of responsibility which he and he alone worked on, particularly with respect to legislation, and reported to the President, and the same way

[52]

with Steelman. On speeches Murphy would be the man principally in charge of drafting, but he would work with Steelman and Steelman would have a chance to go over a text that fell particularly within his area of responsibility.

HESS: What seemed to be Charles Murphy's relationship with the men who held the positions of Administrative Assistants?

TUBBY: I would say very close, particularly with Dave Bell, George Elsey, Dave Stowe and Dave Lloyd, and Philleo Nash. He didn't have occasion really to work closely with Dawson, or Clayton Fritchey. Fritchey had left by the time I came over.

HESS: Let's discuss just a few of those men? What do you recall about Dave Bell?

TUBBY: Well, another terrific guy, very bright, very straight, idealistic, yet tough-minded,

[53]

a very good drafter. He and Murphy were an excellent team, with Dave Lloyd. I would say that Murphy, Bell and Lloyd were really the strong men on the legislative and speechwriting side in the White House during that time.

HESS: What about George Elsey?

TUBBY: A good man, but I didn't work closely with George.

HESS: Donald Dawson.

TUBBY: Dawson had a wide contact in the Government and on the Hill, and I think was generally well liked. Again, I didn't work closely with him.

HESS: His main area was personnel, is this correct?

TUBBY: Yes.

HESS: Dave Stowe?

[54]

TUBBY: Dave Stowe was an able guy, you know, dynamic, and a good guy. I think it's been said, I don't know who was writing about the President, but the President's staff, by and large, was not, aside from Clark Clifford earlier, was not of the same star quality of some of the men around Franklin Roosevelt. But I think insofar as competence and ideas go, maybe without the charisma, it would have been pretty hard to really beat Murphy, Bell, and Lloyd.

HESS: Now, Mr. Clifford had left before you came to the White House, but what do you recall about Mr. Clifford?

TUBBY: Yes.

HESS: What kind of an operator was he?

TUBBY: Very effective, very smooth, very bright, innovative. I remember one story that was told after I came there, and it might be worth

[55]

checking with him because I think it's a delightful story. In the last days of the '48 campaign, he had been the chief speech-drafter during that campaign. On the last day the President whistlestopped across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and as they were crossing in the latter part of the day, in between stops, Clark Clifford and the others were very anxious for the President to look over his St. Louis speech which was going to be the windup. It was one of the rare occasions in the campaign when the Democrats had enough money to go on TV, in fact, if you'll recall there was a day or two when they couldn't even move their train down in Texas or Oklahoma. So, Clark was very anxious for the President to read through it, because he realized that the President had trouble with the TV lights coming in, and his pupils dilating and contracting more slowly than normal. He looked up at the crowd and his eyes

[56]

were blinded by the lights, and he was really having a good deal of trouble finding his place in the text. Well, the President, I think, got through a page and a half or two pages, and then said, about half an hour before St. Louis, he said, "Well, fellows, I'm going to take a nap."

And Clark -- as I heard this story -- said, "Boss, you can't do this."

And the Boss said, "Well, I am." And he did. And he had this terrific facility for dropping off to sleep for a short time and the night MacArthur was fired he, for example, and his office was occupied by TV cameramen putting in their cables and all the rest, and he came into Bill Hassett's office, moved the books off the couch and laid down about a half an hour before he was going on nationwide TV and he said to me, "Wake me up at five minutes to 10." He did go

[57]

to sleep.

So, anyway, he did this, I understand, in '48. They got to East St. Louis and there was a great crowd in the railroad yards. Across to St. Louis, another great crowd, a parade up to the hotel, the meeting of the political leaders there, then on out to wherever the speech was being given. Then to the podium. And Clark Clifford said that he was so afraid of a disaster that he didn't dare stay in the hall; he went outside because he thought it was just going to be awful. Then he heard the roar from the crowd, more roars, and he came back in, the President had his speech text in the book, but he hadn't opened it. He was giving them pure HST.

HESS: So Mr. Clifford knew beforehand that Mr. Truman did not intend to read it, is that right?

[58]

TUBBY: Well, he wasn't sure, no, he wasn't sure beforehand. He thought he would try to read it, and would get lost and, you know, might well fumble around. This is such a good story. I've told it many, many times. It may not be accurate, but I do hope when you see Clark Clifford...

HESS: That will be one we'll try to clear up.

Mr. David D. Lloyd?

TUBBY: A delightful human being, and a very intelligent, good person.

HESS: How did he come on the White House staff, do you know?

TUBBY: He came on, I think, in about '47. He had been there some years before I got there. He's now dead.

HESS: What were his main duties?

[59]

TUBBY: He generally worked on speeches. I think he worked primarily on domestic problems, education, health, things of that sort.

HESS: Mr. Clayton Fritchey?

TUBBY: Well, he wasn't there when I was there. I knew him during the Stevenson campaign. In parenthesis, I'm not very high on Mr. Fritchey.

HESS: That we'll get into a little later. Did you say you were not very high on Mr. Fritchey's list?

TUBBY: No, I'm not very high on him!

HESS: Why?

TUBBY: Well, it seemed to me that he may well have been, probably was, a competent newspaperman, but it seemed to me that in his role as advisor on press affairs, he did not maintain anything

[60]

like close enough, or cordial enough, or candid enough, relations with the press. Now, this may be an unfair judgment, and I think that if you're talking to some newsman along the way in this project, and I hope you do, I hope you talk to, for example, Eddie Folliard, while he's still around. You know, he's retired. He would be the source of many anecdotes, and also rather shrewd judgments. They would be in a better position, really, to comment on him. I simply occasionally got some feedback along these lines.

HESS: His name will probably come up again when we get to the Stevenson campaign.

David Niles.

TUBBY: I met him from time to time but really don't know much about him. I'm sure he was a very able guy. He focused primarily on Israel problems.

[61]

Philleo Nash, Indian affairs, or minority affairs, was his specialty. A good guy. I think he later ran for Lieutenant Governor, didn't he, in Wisconsin?

HESS: He was elected for one term.

TUBBY: Oh, he was elected for one term. Have you talked to him yet?

HESS: Yes.

TUBBY: You have?

HESS: Kenneth Hechler?

TUBBY: Ken Hechler was a very good man. I should have included him in the category with Murphy, Bell and Lloyd. I hadn't noticed his name on the list before. He is now Congressman from West Virginia, a very fast drafter, very effective on the campaign train, both for HST and for Stevenson. He gathered together amounts

[62]

of material about a state, about a city, about the political, economic situation, and put it in a form that could effectively be used.

HESS: And Richard Neustadt.

TUBBY: Neustadt, of course, has written himself about presidential power and White House operations. A very bright guy.

HESS: What seemed to be his main area of responsibility?

TUBBY: This I don't recall, I'm ashamed to say.

HESS: And Admiral Dennison?

TUBBY: Admiral Dennison was an outstanding aide, whose judgment, I think, the President relied on sometimes for matters outside the Naval side. He was a very broadly intelligent sort of person.

[63]

HESS: Do you recall an illustration where his expertise may have been used on something other than Naval matters?

TUBBY: No, no, I don't. I must say that this interview is difficult because, partly because of the time factor. So much has happened in all our lives since those days. You get your mind, your memory, cluttered up with so many intervening things, and then partly because I do have, I did take, as many would, I'm sure, I did take notes on some of the interesting things that happened. And not with the intention of publishing a book, but that I thought some parts of them might be used, as in the case of this interview.

HESS: Are most of your notes at Yale now?

TUBBY: And my notes are all at Yale, that is covering pre-Truman, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson

[64]

period.

HESS: Perhaps some day a researcher can get your notes together with your oral history interview and work it up.

TUBBY: Yes, and I think there -- I doubt really if it would be worthwhile -- but there would be some additional answers to these questions, on these people.

HESS: Major General Vaughan.

TUBBY: A delightful person, sort of a-political, I would say. He played the role, sometimes you might say, he was the court jester. He served to relieve tension. As fairly serious matters were being discussed, he would occasionally weigh in with some preposterous story.

I think the one time that the President was personally irked with me, really cross, with me, I had been up home to Vermont and when

[65]

I came back from a vacation, I said how interesting it had been for me to find so many of my Republican friends up and down the State of Vermont, whom I had seen during vacation, say, in effect, well, by God, they thought the President had done the right thing on Greece and Turkey or Iran or the Berlin airlift, or whatever it might have been. And, "Yes, he's done the right thing." But there was a refrain, I said, and the refrain was, "But what about Harry Vaughan?" When I got started on this and I sort of realized, I sort of naturally sensed, that I was getting into some very dangerous ground. Yet, I felt, you know, maybe this kind of comment ought to get back to him, from somebody whom he was fairly close to, not just a gollywhopper of a Republican writing for Republican newspapers, but somebody on his own staff. As I recall, he

[66]

stood up and walked over to one of the long windows and looked out towards the Washington Monument with his hands behind his back, and I knew I was dismissed.

There were other occasions when this kind of problem came up, and I think one or two of them are referred to here, where he got hot, when I or Joe Short would raise a question about, you know, the problems of those who are close around the President, who would, really out of ignorance, I don't think they were deliberately evil, but just didn't think what it would look like, or didn't think how it might affect the President if they took a deepfreeze, or whatever it might be.

HESS: What seemed to be the basis of the attachment between Mr. Truman and General Vaughan?

TUBBY: I think this is greatly to the President's

[67]

credit. They had started out together in Missouri. They had been together in Battery D in the heavy fighting near Verdun, and afterwards, Harry Vaughan had been one of the few who had stood by, worked for, Mr. Truman when he was first starting out in public life, when he ran for the Senate, and so that a long, long close attachment, a real friendship was established there.

I think that many of us have these kinds of friendships, but what irked me really was that anybody close to the President, whoever he might be, would not be very, very careful not to do anything that would hurt the President. Eisenhower had, I think, much more serious problems than President Truman did with Vaughan. He had a much more serious problem with Sherman Adams. Adams, after all, had come in as a knight in shining armour, and

[68]

he was going to clean up the mess and throw out, and so on.

HESS: "Clean as a hound's tooth."

TUBBY: "Clean as a hound's tooth." And then in spite of this, he got himself involved in the same type of thing; almost incomprehensible! I mean, the vicuna coat, the hotels paid for in Florida and so on. I mean, Adams, at least one would have thought, knew what he was getting into, and what he would mean to the President of the United States; whereas, I think Harry Vaughan somehow didn't really think about it in this way.

HESS: Why do you think Matt Connelly went to prison for doing just about the same thing that some of the others did? Sherman Adams took a coat. Matt Connelly took a coat.

TUBBY: Well, I think the important part, President

[69]

Truman's feeling was that Matt was framed, or maybe not wholly unfairly, in any case it was an uneven application of justice.

HESS: Any other members of the staff come to mind that I didn't put on the list?

TUBBY: Well, Irving Perlmeter. We'll probably mention him, somewhere later.

HESS: Tell me a little bit about Mr. Perlmeter.

TUBBY: Another former Associated Press man for many years. He came from Omaha, Nebraska, whom Joe Short knew when Irving was with the AP and Joe with the Baltimore Sun. He was a very good man, quiet, accurate, and well-liked by the press, and I think by the staff of the White House from the President on down.

HESS: When you two were Assistant Press Secretaries, did you have a division, would you divide up

[70]

the work, you'd take one type of work and he might take another, or how did you do this?

TUBBY: I would take, largely, State and Defense because of my background; and Irv would take largely all the other Government agencies.

HESS: On the subject of speechwriting, just how were President Truman's speeches written?

TUBBY: Well, oftentimes the President would get together, depending on what the speeches were supposed to be about and where they were going to be given, they would get together with the principal officers in the White House most directly concerned. It might be Steelman in one case, or Stowe in another, and so on; and with Charlie Murphy, Dave Lloyd and company, and talk over the general line that he wanted to get across. The President would discuss with them their suggestions as to the

[71]

general line that was to be gotten across. Then, whoever Murphy assigned to do the first draft, would work up the first draft, check it out with the relevant departments, come back, go over it with Murphy and the others, maybe do four or five or six drafts, even before showing a draft to the President, and then going to the President with it. He oftentimes would read it over by himself, and then maybe come in with a very small group, sit down and read it over line by line. This was, I thought, a very orderly way of going about it. It didn't result in the kind of special personal eloquence that an Adlai Stevenson could bring, but it was a much more efficient way of putting out speeches than Adlai's way. After all, Truman felt the important thing was to set forth clearly whatever the policy was, set it out as simply and directly as possible. If you can

[72]

dress it up with some eloquence and some style, and Murphy could do that, why, fine.

HESS: Did you help write speeches?

TUBBY: No, but I've sat in on some that were reviewed from time to time. I didn't write any that I recall.

HESS: What part did you take during a review, would it be for substance, would it be for language, or...

TUBBY: Sometimes it would be for substance, or it would be for language. Sometimes it would be to play somewhat the role of the devil's advocate, I mean, what would a newspaperman? I mean, I'd put myself in the role of a newspaperman: Was this really clear? Or, this will probably bring questions from the press...Shall we put something more in, or should we take something out? That kind of thing.

[73]

HESS: Do you recall a particular important speech that you may have worked on?

TUBBY: Well, the most important I guess was the one on the firing of MacArthur. Of course, there I was very subordinate. I mean, after all, the people who are most concerned, aside from those in the State Department, were the President and Dean Acheson. My role was a very subordinate one.

HESS: On the subject of congressional liaison, just how was liaison carried out between the White House and the Hill during the Truman administration?

TUBBY: My recollection is that, well, the President himself met with the leaders from time to time, but that Joe Feeney was a liaison officer; Charles Maylon, I don't remember.

HESS: Do you recall Joe Feeney, though?

[74]

TUBBY: Yes, a Pennsylvania Irishman.

HESS: How did they try to carry out their tasks?

TUBBY: Well, I don't know for sure. I just would assume that by personal contact, legging it around to the different Senators and Congressmen up on the Hill and of course, using the phone a great deal. But the most effective congressional liaison always has to be really with the President himself. Then, next, Charlie Murphy was a great source of strength with the people up on the Hill, John Steelman too, with his particular contacts there. But I think the President had very good, very close and cordial relationships with Rayburn and McCormack and "Mr. Sam" -- well, Rayburn is "Mr. Sam" -- Sam, McCormack, Lucas and others.

HESS: Did the President spend very much time phoning these men, or seeing them? He had the

[75]

"Big Four" breakfast on Monday morning.

TUBBY: Regularly.

HESS: But did he somewhat in the nature of a modified, perhaps, Lyndon Johnson, call people at various times?

TUBBY: I don't know how much he did of that. I assume that he did, but I don't know.

HESS: How close was Leslie Biffle to the President?

TUBBY: I think, very close. I think they were very fond of each other.

HESS: Did he ever come down to the White House very often, see him in the White House very often?

TUBBY: I think quite often he did, but I'm not sure though. People like that oftentimes

[76]

would not come in through our section of the White House. They would come in through the back door or side door.

HESS: On the subject of the Cabinet, what in your opinion did Mr. Truman regard as the proper role of his Cabinet members?

TUBBY: I think naturally to advise on the one hand, to carry out decisions on the other. And his prime advisors, in my period, almost of necessity, were the Secretaries of State and Defense because this was the period of the start of the Marshall plan, and before I went over there, the Berlin airlift and Korea, so that he was very close to the Secretaries of State and Defense.

HESS: Were there other men outside of the administration who would have a great deal of influence on the President's thinking, perhaps

[77]

more than a Cabinet member?

TUBBY: I don't know who outside -- well, when Clark Clifford left, I think he continued to have a great deal of influence. I think Judge Vinson -- the President had been very close to him.

HESS: How about in labor?

TUBBY: Labor...

HESS: Would anyone in labor have had the power...

TUBBY: I think George Meany, but I mean, I had a better feeling about George Meany's role later under Kennedy and under Johnson. For the Truman years I just don't know how much weight he carried. I would assume that he carried a great deal.

HESS: In your opinion, who was the most influential Cabinet member?

[78]

TUBBY: I would say George Marshall. George Marshall.

HESS: Would you rate him above Dean Acheson?

TUBBY: Yes, I think so, they were very close.

HESS: Why?

TUBBY: Well, I think partly because the President held Marshall in high regard for the job that he had done, the Commander of all the Allied Forces during the war. He had been a tower of strength. I think he liked the way he ran the Department. Perhaps the Department of State has never been more efficiently run than it was during the period of Secretary Marshall.

HESS: What did he do to run it efficiently?

[79]

TUBBY: He brought over, it seems to me, a more orderly, military way of running it. He had a small staff of young people, Carl [Carlisle H.] Humelsine, Bill [William J.] McWilliams, Luke [Lucius D.] Battle, all three very bright, who birddogged different parts of the Department. You often had the feeling that George Marshall himself was aware of what you were doing, even if you were in a subdivision. Indeed, occasionally, they would reach down and summon somebody up to the presence. I think the Assistant Secretaries were very much aware of his strong leadership. He was a man of few words, rather austere, but I think of a very basic honesty and wisdom. And, although the Marshall plan wasn't his original idea, the way in which it was carried out and implemented under his guidance was certainly one of the great things that we have done in our history.

[80]

HESS: If it could be pinned down to someone, whose idea was the Marshall plan?

TUBBY: I think Will [William L.] Clayton had as much to do with it as anyone. I was with him when he was Under Secretary of State and went to Europe in the spring of '47 for the first Economic Commission for Europe meeting and the first GATT meeting. And more than that he had traveled around Western Europe and was appalled by the almost complete breakdown of economic and social life in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Holland. In April of that year he wrote a letter, as I recall, to the Secretary in which he said he felt there ought to be a massive infusion of American aid into Europe -- he didn't differentiate between Western Europe and Eastern Europe -- into Europe, to restore more normal social and economic life. So I think he played a great role. I think

[81]

Paul Nitze played a role in it too, particularly in the shaping of the legislation and implementation of it, and later on, Averell Harriman and Dean Acheson as a key figure, and Bill Foster.

HESS: Acheson made the speech in Cleveland, Mississippi.

TUBBY: Yes, yes, he made the first speech. Then General Marshall at Harvard.

HESS: At the time that General Marshall made the speech at Harvard, were certain leaders of foreign countries alerted that there would be an important speech given and that they should pay particular attention?

TUBBY: I think they were. I think that, my recollection is, that [Ernest] Bevin, maybe it was only Bevin, but Bevin was alerted, and I think he was even -- somebody got him out of bed about 1 o'clock in the morning. Maybe he was even alerted a day or so before, I don't know. I

[82]

also think that maybe the British press -- in fact, I think Dean Acheson briefed some of the British press that this was going to be an especially important speech. And the British press played it up much more right off the bat, than the American press -- except for the New York Times.

HESS: Why were the British selected?

TUBBY: I think part of the old feeling of trust that we had. And there have been reasons, occasionally, when that trust has been shaken but not really at the top level. After all, through the war years, there has been a very, very close collaboration of the British, not only on military matters, but on economics, on their loan, the loan to Britain, then on the Marshall plan, the development of NATO and so on. I think the President held Ernie Bevin in very high regard.

[83]

HESS: Did any of the White House staff members sit in on the Cabinet meetings in the role of a secretary to the Cabinet during the period of time that you were at the White House?

TUBBY: Some members did. Of course, Joe Short sat in.

HESS: Did he take notes?

TUBBY: I don't know whether he took notes, but it was Joe who told me about Wake Island, and this I have not read or heard of, and again one of these things that might be interesting, if possible, to doublecheck. As I recall, Joe said that at Wake Island, MacArthur assured the President that there would be little danger of the Chinese coming into Korea if U.N. troops went up to the Yalu. The President expressed some concern about it, and put it this way, that he imagined that

[84]

if the Russians were in Nova Scotia and moved across towards the Maine border, across New Brunswick towards the Maine border, that he wouldn't like it a damn bit and that he would assume that either the Chinese or the Russians, or both, would react before we got to the Yalu.

And MacArthur then said, "I know the Oriental mind. I can assure you, sir, that they respect the use of strength and that we need not worry about this," or something to that effect.

Well, the only little new thing to it that I hadn't heard about or read about anywhere was as I recall, Joe's report of the President saying, you know, "If they were in Nova Scotia, coming towards the border, we would react very strongly." Of course, we damn well would react a lot sooner than Nova Scotia.

HESS: Which Cabinet member do you think had the

[85]

least influence with the President?

TUBBY: Oh, golly, I just don't know.

HESS: All right, sir, our next subject is the Korean war. Even though you were still at the State Department in the summer of 1950 when the Korean war began, we should talk about that briefly. What do you recall about the events of that time?

TUBBY: Well, naturally, I recall the deep concern, and the consternation at the time the North Koreans suddenly marched across into the South, and I was with Mike McDermott and he had, inevitably, many, many news conferences, briefings, about the background -- you know, off-the-record -- the background about the situation. During the period when our people were being thrown back, practically to Pusan, naturally the press was concerned whether we abandon

[86]

Korea altogether, or try to reverse this -- throw them back to where they had started from. There was concern at that time also whether this thrust into Korea was a prelude to thrusts by the Communists elsewhere in the world. I think some of the press at that time felt that the Russians, rather than the North Koreans, had moved because Dean Acheson at the National Press Club sometime before had not included Korea in what he defined, as I think I recall, the "defense perimeter" of what the United States considered the defense perimeter of our interests in the Pacific. Some felt that this was almost an invitation for the Communists to move into Korea. I haven't read all of Dean Acheson's book, but I'd like to see what his comments are on that.

HESS: In September, General Marshall replaced Louis Johnson as Secretary of Defense. What do you

[87]

recall about that change?

TUBBY: Only that I was very, glad that General Marshall did replace Louis Johnson, because I think Johnson had not been a strong or effective Secretary of Defense.

HESS: Why?

TUBBY: Well, I think partly because the man who is Secretary of Defense has to be aware of political pressures.

HESS: Wasn't he?

TUBBY: And he was, but maybe he was too much so.

HESS: Why was he appointed in the first place?

TUBBY: Well, I suppose because the President felt that he enjoyed a high degree of confidence on the Hill, and around the country.

HESS: He raised a little money in the '48 campaign,

[88]

too, didn't he?

TUBBY: Yes, he raised a good deal of money in the '48 campaign.

HESS: Do you think that had an influence on it?

TUBBY: It may have. I don't know whether Johnson said, "Mr. President, you know, I would like to have [let's say] Secretary of State, or I'd like to have Defense," and whether the President felt that his background was such that he could be a reasonably good Secretary of Defense. Of course, this is all in retrospect, hindsight. I think that Johnson's strong push for demobilization was leading us into a rather vulnerable position that was too weak. But, as I said earlier, he was a political animal, and he was very much aware of the widespread feeling around America that families wanted their boys home from Europe and back

[89]

from the Pacific, as quickly as possible, and demobilized.

HESS: Was there the feeling that he was just following orders somewhat reluctantly in that, or was he carrying that out with gusto -- the reduction of the Armed Forces -- demobilization?

TUBBY: I'd hesitate to say. I'd say that he was doing it with gusto, but I don't know really enough about it. I think he was reluctant to deal with MacArthur as strongly as MacArthur perhaps ought to have been dealt with, and that the situation might not have come to such a critical juncture had Johnson earlier on rapped MacArthur's knuckles or curbed him.

HESS: Why was he reluctant?

TUBBY: Well, I think MacArthur was a very powerful

[90]

man in the public mind, and not only that, he had many friends in the Defense Department itself, although he also had a number of enemies. I think that Johnson was even reluctant to carry out the President's own orders on one or two occasions to bring MacArthur up short. He didn't really want to tangle with him.

HESS: Do you recall what those instances were?

TUBBY: Well, I think it had to do with when MacArthur wanted to go north of the Yalu and I think he had actually started up there without clearing it first with Washington, with the Joint Chiefs, or the Secretary of Defense. The President was very much miffed about this and thought that Johnson ought to call MacArthur on it. I think the President was also miffed about a MacArthur trip to Formosa to see Chiang

[91]

Kai-shek. Did MacArthur go, or was he just thinking about going? I think he went. Anyway, ideally a Secretary of Defense (and, of course, Marshall would have been in a position, a stronger position because of his career). Ideally the Secretary of Defense ought to be able to deal with a subordinate officer in a way so that it wouldn't have to come up to the President to dispense with his services.

I remember the night when he decided to fire MacArthur, General Bradley said a couple of times in the Cabinet Room, "I hate to do this to Mac." And then he said, "But I've had to relieve officers in France when they were really not carrying out their jobs properly. I'm afraid Mac has not been carrying out his job properly."

Well, no, ideally, Johnson should have dealt with MacArthur short of having to come up to such a crisis situation, I think.

[92]

HESS: Perhaps he didn't have the background of relieving officers in France.

TUBBY: Maybe not. No, certainly not!

HESS: At what point in time do you believe the subject of replacing Mr. Johnson first arose?

TUBBY: I don't know. I think the relationship between Mr. Johnson and Secretary Acheson was not as warm and effective as it might have been, but there again, this I'm not really in a position to comment about.

HESS: We had mentioned Mr. Truman's trip to Wake Island in October. Did you have anything else to add to that?

TUBBY: No.

HESS: All right. What was the reaction of the State Department when the Chinese Communists crossed the Yalu River in 1950?

[93]

TUBBY: Well, I think I touched on it. It was of great concern.

HESS: Surprise?

TUBBY: Yes, I think surprise, although there had been reports that the Chinese were massing. You would never know whether this was part of the poker game or whether it was for real. An Indian Ambassador in Peking had gotten word back to us that the Chinese really would go in, but he had been a rather unreliable source on occasions past.

HESS: We have mentioned several times the dismissal of General MacArthur, but tell me a little bit about that. You were in the White House that night, I believe.

TUBBY: Yes. Well, I was in the White House and in and out of the Cabinet Room, and I do report on some aspects of it in this paper.

[94]

HESS: In what we'll have in the appendix. Fine. And you have mentioned that you did not know where Anthony Leviero got his information from the article in the New York Times.

TUBBY: No, I do not. I remember it caused a great brouhaha.

HESS: What kind of a brouhaha did it cause?

TUBBY: Well, people were concerned about where he got it.

HESS: Anybody leave the staff about that time?

TUBBY: Not to my recollection. Do you, did somebody?

HESS: I'm interviewing you.

TUBBY: All right. Not to my recollection. I think I would have recalled.

HESS: All right. On to Key West. You accompanied the President to Key West on several occasions.

[95]

What comes to mind when you look back on those days?

TUBBY: Well, I, as many others have reported, and the President himself, this is a marvelous combination of rest and relaxation together with work, because a great deal of stuff came down every day in the pouch, and many people came to see the President while he was down there. I think he usually went to work on the pouch around 10 in the morning. It was very late for him, having already gotten in a walk, enjoyed his poker of an evening, and an occasional movie. I think he understandably came back a good deal refreshed from having been down there.

HESS: How was the work carried out down there? Was it mostly in the mornings? Did you have the afternoons off and work in the mornings?

TUBBY: Yes. Gosh, I've got so many letters to my wife

[96]

and my mother, but here's one that I came upon for March 16.

In the front hall, the pouch from Washington has been delivered, and the letters, papers, etc. are being distributed by Captain Rigdon to the various members of the staff, some of whom are talking to Washington over phones off the hall. Telegraph messages also come in and others are sent out. The President sits at the one desk in the living room looking over his mail. Joe Short and I have just been talking about some movies which are to be taken. Yesterday's press conference was held just outside on the lawn. I must confess this is a little hard to write what with the distractions and interruptions, but this is probably as good a time as any to try. Although this is a vacation, we seem to be occupied almost all the time, even when not working. This morning, for instance, at ten, we all walked down along the Navy dock, a mile or so, maybe half a mile, with sailors and officers on ships, subs and pausing momentarily as we passed, and some standing at attention. The servicemen on foot and in cars flank and follow the President and his staff, and at the beach they stand guard as do two or three soldiers. When Mr. T. goes swimming, some three or four or more of them circle him in the water to watch out and scare away shark or barracuda, fish which do not usually come into shallow water. These young guards are quiet and unobtrusive, and after a while I took them for granted, as no doubt the President does. At first I felt a bit hemmed in. The President suns in a deck chair for a while talking business or pleasure, there are jokes and laughter, comparing of sea shell

[97]

collections, stories of Missouri, or stagecoach days, observations by the press, the state of the Nation, health, educational problems -- almost anything and everything. After a while, several phone calls and telegrams come into the beach house and go out. After a while, Mr. T. takes his dip for about ten minutes, swimming neither far nor fast, but pleasant splashing. In the evening, there is more work and play, the President usually getting in some poker or watching a movie or part of it. The other night he played some Chopin records for Joe Short and myself, who were the only staff members then present. He talked about various great pianists he had heard, their techniques, etc. I think he would have liked to have been a good pianist himself...

HESS: What pastime did you enjoy the most, swimming and fishing?

TUBBY: Swimming and tennis. I played a lot of tennis with Dave Bell.

HESS: Did you play poker?

TUBBY: And poker. I had one disastrous evening at the poker table when I first went down, because they played very wild cards, one-eyed jacks,

[98]

two's wild, baseball, high-low, etc., which I had not played before, and in no time at all I was really in the hole. I think the President realized that I was rather unhappy. I had four children at home. I remember one particular hand where it was straight poker, and so I thought, "Now I know what I've got." I came up with a pretty good hand. And so I stayed in, and several others stayed in, and the pot got bigger and bigger. Then people began to drop out, and ultimately it was just the President and myself, and he threw in. I think it was Admiral Leahy said, "Wait a minute, Boss. You can't do that." He was very improper -- the whole thing was very improper. He picked up the President's hand and looked at it and he said, "Why, you ain't even got a pair of deuces." Well, it was simply the President staking me, getting me out of the hole. Whether the others sort of got the message along the way, I don't know.

[99]

HESS: But his bluff raised a pretty good pot.

TUBBY: A pretty good pot.

HESS: Was the President's announcement at Key West that he was not going to run for re-election in 1952 in March of 1951 as he has it in his Memoirs, Vol. II, page 489, or on November 19th, 1951 as William Rigdon has it in his book, White House Sailor, page 267? According to the logs of the President's trips, you were along on both trips and Rigdon states that you were one of those present on November the 19th.

TUBBY: I believe it was November 19th. I've thought about this, and I believe it was November 19th. My recollection is that we all -- this is something we all kept under our hats. No, I think it was November, of 1951, rather than March of '51.

HESS: His announcement at the National Guard Armory was in March of '52.

[100]

TUBBY: Right. And I'm quite sure that we hadn't been told a whole year in advance.

HESS: What can you tell me about the occasion. Just what did the President say?

TUBBY: Well, as I remember, he got us all together, and he took out a little card and read from it, something he had written some time before, and said that he wanted us to know, so that we could make our own plans, this was it, and, you know, it didn't come as a complete surprise by any means to us, but it's something -- you keep hoping that isn't going to happen. When he announced it there were expressions of, "Boss, you mustn't do it," or "It's too early, wait and see who the likely candidates are," and "You may have to run after all." And I think he said something about his age.

HESS: In your opinion, who would the President

[101]

have preferred for a Democratic standard-bearer that year in 1952?

TUBBY: I think early on, he thought of the possibility of getting Ike. But the readings he got at first were that Ike was not interested, not interested in running as the Democratic standard-bearer. Then the Stevenson thing sort of boiled up, largely, I think, because of the lack of any other strong candidates that were available.

HESS: Who were the main Stevenson boosters on the White House staff?

TUBBY: Well, I'll tell you, I think Dave Bell, Jim Loeb, who was really an assistant to Averell Harriman, who was then on the staff, was one of the early people. And naturally, I don't know whether -- yes, Jim, I think did go out and help some on the campaign. I myself thought that Stevenson would make a good candidate, because he had been a strong Governor, but I didn't work

[102]

at it at all.

HESS: What was the basis for his reluctance in accepting Mr. Truman's invitation to run on the ticket?

TUBBY: I think partly because he had just been re-elected Governor, and he thought he ought to fill out that term. I think also there was a family thing, he thought of being President with three young boys, that it would be rough for them. I think that he felt that maybe four years later, some time even later than that, would be better from this standpoint. I think he was concerned about and aware of the mood in the country, you know, the crime, corruption and communism. President Truman and his administration had been under a lot of heavy attack, and he was also perfectly aware that if it were Eisenhower, that Eisenhower would be a very tough man to beat.

[103]

HESS: Did you ever hear Mr. Truman make any comments about Mr. Stevenson's reluctance during this period of time?

TUBBY: I don't remember a direct quote, but I remember in general a couple of occasions when he expressed impatience that Stevenson should be so hesitant.

HESS: What do you recall about the convention in Chicago that year?

TUBBY: Well, the President of course went out late, and very much toward the end of it, and went almost directly, I think to the Stockyards Inn, and met with some of the political leaders from New York, Illinois and other states. I think it was at the Stockyards Inn that night, late, New York, which had been Harriman-oriented, switched to Stevenson, and that was the decisive thing.

[104]

Then the general pandemonium, and then going on into the hall, and when Stevenson was nominated, it seemed to me that Stevenson (and Truman introduced Stevenson very warmly), it seemed to me that Stevenson looked a bit wary, almost embarrassed that Truman was introducing him. He was so much sort of concerned about not being tied too closely to HST in the campaign.

HESS: Do you think that feeling persisted through the campaign?

TUBBY: Yes, I do, through much of the campaign.

HESS: Did you ever hear Mr. Stevenson say anything about the help that he would like to have received, or would like to have not received from President Truman?

TUBBY: No, I didn't. Of course, Mr. Truman, I was with him all through the '52 campaign on the very extensive whistlestopping that he did, Mr. Truman

[105]

really gave it his best in support of Stevenson, in attacking the Republican Party and naturally defending the Democratic Party's achievements.

HESS: Mr. Stevenson paid a visit to the White House in August 1952. Do you recall that visit?

TUBBY: Yes, I do. And I recall it very vividly. I almost had the feeling that a Republican nominee had come into the house with his team to discuss the takeover. It was not a really easy kind of a session.

HESS: Who did he bring with him, do you recall?

TUBBY: I think he had Bill [William McCormick, Jr.] Blair, Phil Woods -- I don't know. And [William I.] Flanagan, his press man. I don't remember who else.

HESS: Who from the White House staff sat in with the President on the meeting?

[106]

TUBBY: Well, I think all the top people who normally sat in on this morning sessions. The President was forthcoming and indicated that he would do everything possible to help, and this offer, I think, was received with something less than enthusiasm by Governor Stevenson.

HESS: Do you think that Governor Stevenson would have been happier if the President had not campaigned with such vigor?

TUBBY: Possibly, possibly, although I think the President's campaigning in that manner stirred up the campaign, which had been rather a dull one, and actually helped to get Stevenson going with a little more vigor himself. But I never heard Stevenson talk about this. The extensive campaigning that Truman did, naturally did recall to voters' minds that Truman and Stevenson were inevitably linked, they were both Democrats after all!

[107]

HESS: Do you think that Stevenson wanted a vigorous, "give em hell" type campaign?

TUBBY: I doubt it.

HESS: Would he have preferred a different style?

TUBBY: Well, he might have preferred it, but he probably, I think he knew enough about Harry Truman to know that a different style wouldn't be natural to HST, and therefore, it would probably be quite ineffective.

HESS: In your opinion, why did Governor Stevenson decide to leave his headquarters in Springfield?

TUBBY: I think partly to get away from the Washington Democratic operation, partly as a matter of convenience. He was still titularly Governor of Illinois; partly, maybe in a way, to disassociate himself from what was called "the

[108]

mess in Washington."

HESS: What was the relationship between the staffs of the Stevenson and the Truman campaign?

TUBBY: Rather tenuous, not close, not close enough.

HESS: I understand that two men left the White House to go to the Stevenson campaign, Dave Bell and Clayton Fritchey. Is that right?

TUBBY: Right.

HESS: Did their presence in Springfield help with the liaison?

TUBBY: Oh, I think it helped. Unfortunately Dave had a breakdown somewhere along the line, a nervous breakdown, and was out of commission for two or three weeks, I think, during the central part of the campaign. It helped some, but it was not very close or effective.

[109]

HESS: Mr. Short died on September 18th of that year. Where were you when you received the news of his death?

TUBBY: I was at home having breakfast and his wife called up and told me what had happened, and asked if I would please arrange an autopsy since he had not long before had a complete physical checkup, and had been told that the one thing he didn't have to worry about probably was his heart, and she thought that maybe an autopsy would show what had happened, and might help to give some insight as to this kind of an attack.

HESS: Did it?

TUBBY: Yes, it did. They found his aorta had been clogged up.

HESS: What had been your role in the campaign up until the time of Mr. Short's death, and

[110]

what was your role after that point of time?

TUBBY: Well, it was general assistant, briefing the press and preparing press conferences, making arrangements along the way for hotels, busses, telephones, typewriters, all the rest. And then, after his death, just more of the same, really.

HESS: Do you have any specific recollection of the '52 campaign, any high spots that come to mind?

TUBBY: Yes, I think the time when the President blew his stack because Eisenhower had deleted a favorable reference to George Marshall at the request of [Senator William E.] Jenner (I think it was in Wisconsin), or Joe McCarthy, and the President felt that this was a terrible thing that Eisenhower would accede to this kind of a request, that Marshall had promoted Eisenhower and helped make him what he was, and that this was a very cheap and unfortunate business. He

[111]

was really seething over that, and then later on he really seethed when Ike said he would go to Korea if elected. The President felt that this was also a sort of cheap way to get votes.

HESS: It seems to me that in the speeches, Mr. Truman was hitting out more at Eisenhower than Stevenson was.

TUBBY: Yes, he was. I think Stevenson liked Eisenhower. Truman had liked Eisenhower. I think Stevenson felt that Eisenhower had done a pretty good job as commander in chief and I think President Truman did too, but I think that Truman hit out hard, not only in these couple of instances I mentioned, but because the Republican campaign became rougher and rougher, targeting on the President and on his administration. So naturally, HST struck back.

HESS: Were you along on the trip when Mr. Perlmeter suffered his heart attack?

[112]

TUBBY: Yes, I was sitting right behind him, and saw the great purple discoloration on the back of his neck. He turned and tried to say something and I realized something was terribly wrong, and luckily Dr. [Major General Wallace H.] Graham was two or three seats back of me, and I said -- the President was speaking at the moment -- and I said, "Wally, we need some help quickly." Had he been fifty or sixty feet away, Irv might not have survived. Anyway, he gave him a shot and saved his life.

HESS: Was the loss of Mr. Perlmeter, for all sum and substance for the rest of the campaign, did that throw quite a strain on you?

TUBBY: Yes, it did. I was utterly exhausted when the campaign was over, emotionally and physically. The hours are terribly long and terribly hard and it was really rough.

[113]

HESS: Who else on the train had some major duties in '52?

TUBBY: Well, of course, Matt Connelly carried a great load, Charlie Murphy, Ken Hechler, Dick Neustadt -- well, he was more back in Washington, I think, feeding out material -- and Dave Lloyd. But Connelly and Charlie Murphy carried a great load.

HESS: How would you evaluate the President's role in the eventual victory of General Eisenhower that November? In your opinion, would it have made any difference in the outcome if Mr. Truman had taken a more active or less active role?

TUBBY: I don't think it made much difference either way, more active or less active, because I think the feeling of a need for a change was so great and I think Eisenhower was such a popular figure that nothing that the President could have done would have made a substantial difference.

[114]

HESS : I believe you held the position of Personal Assistant to Mr. Stevenson in '56. Why were you selected for that task and what did it entail?

TUBBY: I don't know why I was selected, possibly for my earlier experience. Bill Blair asked me to come out. I was then an assistant to Averell Harriman in Albany who had indicated that he would not be running, although later on he did, and was supported by HST. But I felt I might be helpful to Mr. Stevenson and it entailed, in the primary, really being his press secretary, doing all the things that I had become familiar with doing for HST; and then in the main campaign, sort of being a handyman for all sorts of things during the campaign, making arrangements for Stevenson to see people, and so on.

HESS: What could Governor Stevenson have done that he did not do in order to win in either '52 or '56?

[115]

TUBBY: I don't think he could have done anything much different. I mentioned my conversation with him at the Chicago Club, and sort of his built-in, you might say, handicap there and I think the damaging Internal Revenue and other scandals were very tough for the Democratic Party and therefore for Stevenson. I don't think it would have made much difference. Then the night after the election in '56, President Truman -- well, in '52, President Truman went to bed early, and as soon as the Danbury, Waterbury, and Bridgeport returns came in, he said, "That's it, Roger, there's no point staying up all night." And early in the morning I went into him with a ticket and I expressed some irritation at the size of the Eisenhower victory, although Stevenson had gotten a very substantial number of votes, but the margin was quite considerable. The President said, "Now, don't forget that we're not a banana

[116]

republic. It's a healthy thing for us to have a change of party from time to time." And this from a very partisan, fiercely partisan, and proud Democrat. But he was taking, obviously, the philosophical and the truly democratic (with a little "d"), point of view on the results.

I think it went pretty well. I, in my field, briefed Jim Hagerty as to just what we did in terms of getting ready for presidential press conferences and all the rest, and so too with all the other members of the staff. I think it was a good transition.

HESS: Did you stay on for any length of time after January 20th?

TUBBY: I stayed on for a while, went out to Independence with the President and Mrs. Truman and Margaret. I was the only staff member to go out, and one little incident on that trip.

[117]

He, after he left Union Station, he became restless after a while, and he said, "Let's take a walk." We went up through the parlor cars and hardly anyone recognized him, or if they did, no one spoke to him. As he got up to the first of the coaches, and he was about to go through the door, he turned and said, "Well, now, Roger, we're going to meet our kind of folk." And surely the people in the coaches were not by any means all Democratic, maybe half and half, but it was such a different atmosphere. It was so warm, and "God-bless" and so on. He worked his way all the way up through, and ultimately visited with the engineer of the train on the way into Pittsburgh.

Then I went out to Independence and drove around with him when he had gotten out there in his little car and went out to Grandview and into his office, he adjusted so easily and so smoothly and naturally, and it was really a

[118]

wonderful time.

HESS: In your opinion, what were Mr. Truman's major contributions during his career?

TUBBY: Well, the major ones -- of course, I think his handling of, first of all, the end of the war, the creation of the United Nations, the Marshall plan, the sending of aid to the Greeks, the time when the Communists were at the gates of Athens, aid also for the Turks, his message to Stalin to get out of Iran. Then the development of NATO, the reaction to Korea. On the domestic side, I think the steps he took towards integration, the stand he took on off-shore oil, which cost him, probably, some of the states in the South, his firmness in dealing with John L. Lewis, and many other steps he took in the New Deal area. I think sometimes we have forgotten that he had a very liberal and a strong, good record on the domestic side. He is remembered

[119]

largely today, I think, for all the things he did on the foreign side.

HESS: What is your estimation of Mr. Truman's place in history? How do you believe he will be regarded by historians and the general public one or two hundred years from now?

TUBBY: Well, of course, I'm partial, and I'm also relatively close to his time, when you speak of one hundred or two hundred years from now, very close to his time, I would think that he would stand high as one of our great Presidents. God knows who we will have had for Presidents though between now and then. He's certainly one of our great Presidents up to now.

HESS: How would you rate the Presidents of recent years from Mr. Roosevelt to the present, in terms of effectiveness, administrative ability, intellectual ability and as men?

[120]

TUBBY: This is really a tough one, terribly tough. I mean, what does one mean by effectiveness, effectiveness with the Congress, with the country, with other countries? It's so hard to do, because in some areas you rate a man highly effective and in others the same man low. LBJ, I'd say, had been very effective on some domestic programs, and very low in dealing with foreign affairs. HST I would say high in effectiveness on foreign affairs.

I would say as men, maybe there's an easier way to put it, but I'd put HST at the top, for his character, and for his wisdom, for his breadth of understanding of history. I remember once in Vermont I ran into a selectman. He'd been the county supervisor for many years -- no, it was in New York. He had been chairman of the board of Essex County for many years. He was an old farmer and he said he didn't like Truman for some things,

[121]

"But I'll tell you one thing, that man always plowed a straight furrow." And I think there was this about him, a feeling of strength and goodness and decency that makes me, at least, put him at the top.

It's too early, I think, to make a judgment about President Nixon. He certainly started out doing a lot better than I think many Democrats thought he would do. I have read that he, although he was very partisan against HST, I have read that he always admired HST, the way HST operated.

Of course, then, FDR, my God, for his time, he was tremendous, but then how do you rank these things? One his administrative ability, I'd put FDR almost at the bottom; intellectual ability, I'd put him about mid-way; and I'd put JFK up near the top. For administrative ability, I'd put HST at the top; JFK next. Well, I think it's almost impossible to play this game, and

[122]

how the historians will view it, God only knows. But I think HST is going to come out well.

HESS: Do you have anything else to add on Mr. Truman or the Truman administration?

TUBBY: No.

HESS: We thank you very much for your time.

TUBBY: Thank you for coming in.

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


List of Subjects Discussed

    Adams, Sherman, 67-68
    Adirondack Park Association, 3
    Aiken, Senator George D., 25
    Andrews, Bert, 11

    Battle, Lucius D., 79
    Bell, David, 52-53, 108
    Bevin, Ernest, 81, 82
    Biffle, Leslie, 75
    Bradley, General Omar, 91
    Brandt, Pete, 24

    Cabinet meetings, notes on, 83
    Clayton, William L., 80
    Clifford, Clark, 54-58
    Congressional liaison, 73-76
    Connelly, Matthew, 48-49, 68-69
    Cox, Oscar, 9
    Crowley, Leo, 2, 8-11, 12

    Dawson, Donald, 53
    Dennison, Admiral Robert L., 62-63
    Donovan, Robert, 23

    Eisenhower, Dwight D., in Presidential campaign of 1952, 110, 111, 113
    Elsey, George, 53

    Feeney, Joseph, 73-74
    Folliard, Edward T., 24, 60
    Foreign policy decisions, Department of State and Department of Defense rivalry on, 45-46
    Fritchey, Clayton, 59-60, 108

    Graham, Dr. Wallace H., 112

    Hassett, William C., 49
    Hechler, Kenneth, 61-62
    Hillman, William, 4, 5
    Horner, Jack, 23
    Huinelsine, Carlisle H., 79

    Iran, Soviet troops in, 28-31

    Johnson, Louis, 87-89, 90, 91, 92

    Korean conflict:

      beginning of, 85-86
      Chinese intervention in, 93
    Krock, Arthur, 24

    Lend-lease program, announcement of termination of (1945), 8-11
    Leviero, Anthony, 34, 94
    Lloyd, David D., 58-59
    Loeb, James, 3

    MacArthur, General Douglas:

    McDermott, Michael, 85
    McWilliams, William J., 79
    Marshall, George C., 78-79, 81
    Marshall plan, inception of, 79-82
    Murphy, Charles S., 41, 42, 51, 52

    Nash, Phileo, 61
    Neustadt, Richard, 62
    Niles, David, 60
    Nitze, Paul, 81

    Perlmeter, Irving, 17, 69-70, 111-112
    Presidential decision making, influences on, 46-47
    Presidential transition, 116
    Press conferences:

      background briefings, 21, 22
      clarifying statements, 30-31
      discussion sessions prior to, 26-28
      "leaks" of unauthorized information, 34, 35
      participants in, 27, 32, 33
      structure of, 12-17, 19-20, 21, 26-27
      ultimatum on Soviet troops in Iran, 28-31
    Press releases, coordination of, 35-36

    "Red herring" statement, 31
    Ross, Charles G., 4-5, 6-7, 9-10

    Short, Joseph, 4, 6-7, 83, 109
    Steelman, John R., 50, 51-52
    Stevenson, Adlai, 101-102, 111
    Stowe, David, 53-54

    Truman, Harry S.:

      and advisors, influential, 77
      and Cabinet, role of, 76, 78
      candidacy for reelection (1952), announcement on, 99-100
      and Eisenhower, Dwight D., in 1952 campaign, 110-111
      Independence, Missouri, return to in January 1953, 117-118
      Iran, "ultimatum" on Soviet troops in, 28-30
      in Key West, 94-97, 100
      and liaison with Congress, 73-76
      MacArthur, General Douglas, decision to dismiss, 40-41, 44
      MacArthur, General Douglas, Wake Island conference with, 83-84
      and Marshall, George C., 78
      as poker player, 97-98
      press, relations with, 18-19
      Presidential election of 1952, reaction to, 115-116
      speech in St. Louis (1948), 54-58
      speechwriting for, 70-72
      and Stevenson, Adlai, 101, 103-106
      Vaughan, Harry, loyalty to, 65-67
    Tubby, Roger:
      career summary, 1-4
      duties of, as White House assistant press secretary, 17-18
      Nixon, Richard M., estimation of, 119
      notes and papers of, 63
      as personal assistant to Adlai Stevenson in 1956 campaign, 114
      as poker player, 97-98
      Presidential campaign of 1952, role in, 109-110, 112
      press conferences, initiates new structure for, 12, 14-15
      speechwriting of, 72, 73
      Truman, Harry S., estimation of, 118-119, 120-121
      Truman, Harry S., first meeting with, 25, 26
      Truman, Harry S., journey to Independence with (January 1953), 116

    Vaccaro, Anthony, 24
    Vaughan, Harry, 64-66

    Wake Island conference of President Truman and General MacArthur, 34, 83-84
    White House staff, in Presidential campaign of 1952, 113
    White House staff meetings, 37-38

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