Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Morse, Wayne L. (Wayne Lyman), 1900-1974; Flemming, Arthur S. (Arthur Sherwood), 1905-1996; Caudle, Theron Lamar, 1904-1969; McGrath, J. Howard (James Howard), 1903-1966; Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972; Murphy, Thomas F.; Bell, Daniel W. (Daniel
Government employees; Cabinet officers; Legislators

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, December 26, 1951. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

[Letterhead] Hotel Muehlebach, Kansas City

December 26, 1951

The facts about recent discharges for malfeasance in office. The collector of internal revenue in San Francisco was discharged for inefficiency. He was afterward indicted by a California Federal Grand Jury at the behest of the Atty. General.

The collector in Boston was fired because of irregularities in his office. The collector in St. Louis was asked to resign because he did not attend to the duties of his office. He was afterward indicted for irregularities in his office. The collector at Nashville was fired because he is a drug addict. The New York office was cleaned up because of irregularities.

Caudle was discharged because he did not handle his office efficiently and Oliphant was allowed to resign for the same reason.

All the operations [sic] were carried out after investigations by the Treasury. In each instance Committees in Congress and individuals in Congress made great displays in the press after the fact trying to gain credit for themselves publicly which is a natural and usual procedure with some Congressmen not all. In every instance executive action had been taken to meet the situation.

When the President came back from Florida a meeting was called of the Attorney General, the F.B.I. Chief and the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission. It was suggested that these three gentlemen form a commission and clean up the situation. There were loud outcries against the suggestion by all three of the gentlemen.

Then I decided at their suggestion to set up an independent commission and ask Judge Murphy of New York to hear it, with Dr. Dan Poling of Philadelphia and Dan Bell of the American Trust, former Asst. Sec. of the Treasury and former head of the Philipine [sic] Commission, as members.

Judge Murphy agreed right away to do the job for me. Then I called Dr. Poling and he agreed. Mr. Bell turned me down on account of his health and his bank board.

Murphy went back to New York and talked to the press, which he should not have done. Then he had a meeting with his colleagues on the Federal Bench and wrote me a letter asking to be released from his commitment. I didn't answer his letter because he gave out an interview which was very misleading and a stark misstatement of fact.

This procedure on Murphy's part caused me some embarrassment. I had asked Arthur Fleming a former member of the Civil Service commission to act in Bell's place. After Murphy's wild statement to the press I did not hear from Fleming.

I then decided I'd use a new approach. Give the Atty. Gen. an ambassadorship and put Wayne Morse, Senator from Oregon, in as Atty. Gen. and have the clean-up from that angle. Wayne thought it over for twenty four hours and said "No" to it. I have asked Justin Miller, former Appeals Court Judge, former law school dean and an all round go getter, to do the job. I think he'll do it.

In the mean time, we are reorganizing the Internal Revenue Department and I hope will get the job done.


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