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Lewis T. Barringer Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
Lewis T. Barringer

Longtime personal friend of Harry S. Truman and treasurer for his 1944 Vice-Presidential campaign.

Memphis, Tennessee
April 15, 1969
by J. R. Fuchs

[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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 1971
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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



Oral History Interview with
Lewis T. Barringer

Memphis, Tennessee
April 15, 1969
by J. R. Fuchs

[1]

FUCHS: I'd like to ask you first, Mr. Barringer, if you would give me a little of your personal history. When and where you were born and where you were educated and something about your career, your business and so forth.

BARRINGER: I was born in Spencer, North Carolina, June 30th, 1900.

FUCHS: Where did you go to school?

BARRINGER: I'm a graduate of the University of Memphis Law School and have been connected with the cotton business since 1919.

FUCHS: Is that when you came to Memphis?

BARRINGER: I came to Memphis in 1929, where I have lived since. It was 1937 that I first met Senator Truman.

FUCHS: How did you happen to meet him?

BARRINGER: In our cotton operations, my firm did considerable business in the State of Missouri.

FUCHS: Was that principally in St. Louis or what town?

BARRINGER: Principally in the five Bootheel counties of Missouri.

[2]

FUCHS: This was buying cotton that was grown there?

BARRINGER: Yes. Cotton was the largest agriculture crop for that section.

FUCHS: What towns did you visit in the Bootheel there where you might have met Mr. Truman?

BARRINGER: Caruthersville, Missouri was the main center of most of the cotton marketing activities. It was on occasions that Mr. Truman visited that area that I first became acquainted with him.

FUCHS: Why did he go to Caruthersville, for any particular reason that you remember?

BARRINGER: Naturally being in politics and feeling that to understand the thinking of his constituents and their needs he found that it best served the people for him to have personal contact and get firsthand understanding as to their views.

FUCHS: Well, then as you recall, you didn't know of Mr. Truman as the Presiding Judge of Jackson County. Your first contact with him was as a Senator from Missouri.

BARRINGER: My first acquaintance with him was at a time after he had first been elected Senator.

FUCHS: When were you first active in any degree, even as a contributor to Mr. Truman's senatorial career?

BARRINGER: In the 1940 campaign for U.S. Senator.

[3]

FUCHS: In what way did you become involved there?

BARRINGER: In the cotton business, being a relatively active operation for about eight months out of the year and the cotton year beginning in September, actually the season wound up most of the time in late spring, which gave the person considerable slack time during the summer months. Therefore, learning that Senator Truman had over the years shown distinct interest in cotton's problems, it was only natural that when campaign time came along in 1940 that whenever I had a few spare days I would go to Missouri and join in on the general campaign, helping in any way possible to help to create interest in Mr. Truman's behalf.

FUCHS: Was he generally popular in the Bootheel district of Missouri?

BARRINGER: Senator Truman was unusually popular in southeast Missouri.

FUCHS: Was that because he was a Democrat or do you think it was a lot because of his personal qualities?

BARRINGER: It was both personal and Democratic. However, even though he had always enjoyed much strength in that area, the big problem was to be sure that the voters did not take his re-election for granted just because that area might carry in his favor; but since

[4]

those people were his friends and the main thing was to be sure that the vote turnout was as large as possible in order to offset some areas where other candidates might be somewhat stronger than Mr. Truman. I think, however, that the 1940 election proved the value of southeast Missouri voters to Mr. Truman's successful re-election, due to the fact that by reason that he carried that area so heavy, it was of material benefit in offsetting areas where other candidates were somewhat stronger than Mr. Truman.

FUCHS: That area's closer to St. Louis than to Kansas City, why do you think he was stronger there than say some of your more substantial Democrats in St. Louis who were interested in the senatorship?

BARRINGER: Southeast Missouri being an agricultural area rather than manufacturing, had always found Mr. Truman so much interested in their problems that it was natural for them to feel a close tie with his views.

FUCHS: Now, were you acquainted with Bob Hannegan and Bernard Dickmann in 1940 at the time of the senatorial race?

BARRINGER: I was acquainted with Mr. Hannegan but not Mr. Dickmann.

FUCHS: There was supposed to have been a defection at

[5]

the last moment arranged by Hannegan that threw a lot of votes to Mr. Truman in St. Louis. Do you have any knowledge of that?

BARRINGER: No, I did not.

FUCHS: Well, now, after Mr. Truman was re-elected and went back to the Senate in '41, as you know, he set up the Truman Committee. Did you have any relationship with the Truman Committee or with Mr. Truman during that period?

BARRINGER: I saw Mr. Truman frequently during the time in which he was chairman of the Truman Committee. However, insofar as the committee was concerned, its purposes were not of an agriculture nature and were more in connection with defense contracts; therefore, as agricultural matters went that committee had no occasion to deal with our problems. However, as a United States Senator, agricultural problems affecting Missouri were frequently before Congress; therefore, in matters related thereto, Mr. Truman was certainly consulted.

FUCHS: What do you recall of any of his staff members that he had at that time in his senatorial office?

BARRINGER: Mr. Victor Messall was his Administrative Assistant during most of the period when he was Senator.

[6]

FUCHS: Did you know him personally?

BARRINGER: I did.

FUCHS: Was he, in your opinion, a capable, efficient servant for Mr. Truman?

BARRINGER: He was.

FUCHS: Why did he leave Mr. Truman in early 1941?

BARRINGER: I think that he felt that he could go in business for himself and earn more money than his job in the Senate was paying.

FUCHS: You don't know if he ever tried to go back to Mr. Truman after he became Vice-President?

BARRINGER: No, I don't.

FUCHS: Who else do you recall in his office?

BARRINGER: I think Harry Vaughan was there for a while, wasn't he?

FUCHS: Yes, he succeeded Messall. Were you personally acquainted with Vaughan?

BARRINGER: I knew him real well.

FUCHS: What did you think, upon reflection, about Vaughan and some of the troubles that he got into from time to time?

BARRINGER: It seemed that the General could get himself into situations that were needless, and he tried to help too many people without taking time to find out or learn the merits of the situation and that

[7]

was what did damage. Just slap-happy, he thought he could do forty things at one time.

FUCHS: Well, you were in Washington frequently you say, in connection with cotton matters, I suppose. With whom would you normally deal and what were you trying to do there?

BARRINGER: Most of it was cotton problems and I would say ninety percent were with the various agencies, since cotton and other agricultural commodities were under rigid Government regulation; therefore, any firm with a sizeable operation had to first start with a Washington agency under which regulations were issued covering the various aspects of the handling of cotton.

FUCHS: Were there any principal regulations or problems that were aggravated by the war effort that you had to deal with? Do you recall?

BARRINGER: You experienced much difficulty by reason of the war, which created extensive regulations; however, agriculture in the '30s had come under many new forms of Government regulations and controls by the reason of the fact that agriculture had reached a virtual bankruptcy stage in the early '30s and the Government had sought to establish programs which were of benefit to

[8]

producers. Therefore, you had two situations: One, where the Government was trying to help the farmer's income and then, on the other hand, during the war he had numerous regulations brought on by the war.

FUCHS: Did you ever have any personal contact with Henry Wallace when he was in the agricultural setup there?

BARRINGER: I had some contact with him but it was limited.

FUCHS: What about with Claude Wickard?

BARRINGER: I had a fair amount of contact with him. However, in his instance as in others, the Secretary of Agriculture had limited duties insofar as various regulations were concerned.

FUCHS: Did you have a preference between those two as the Secretary of Agriculture? Just as a matter of interest, do you think one performed more capably than the other?

BARRINGER: I think Mr. Wallace was the stronger Secretary without a question.

FUCHS: What about Clinton Anderson and Brannan? Did you come in touch with them and do you have any comments about their policies or effectiveness?

BARRINGER: Secretary Anderson made a good Secretary. I knew him real well. Secretary Brannan did a good job and I believe was more active as a Secretary than Mr. Anderson.

[9]

FUCHS: Was there anything that either of these last two gentlemen did in regard to cotton, if only indirectly through their department, that you thought was laudable or should have been done differently?

BARRINGER: Secretary Anderson by the reason of the exact time when he was serving, more or less followed the patterns of agriculture laid down by Mr. Wallace by the reason of the fact that the war slowed down any major changes during that particular time. However, when Mr. Brannan became Secretary, we had had so many needs for supplying foreign nations who had been closely associated with the United States in their military activities, that whatever surplus we had had in former years had dwindled to where the big question was how to produce sufficient agriculture products to care for the United States as well as to share a portion with our foreign friends. So, Mr. Brannan was faced with the problem as to how to improve our supply in the face of severe shortages. To this end he had a more difficult job than Secretary Anderson, and it must be said that he did all in his power to meet the needs of feeding the United States as well as sharing with the allies.

[10]

FUCHS: Now, Mr. Brannan succeeded to the office of Secretary of Agriculture in May '48, which, of course, was before Mr. Truman was re-elected and served all of the years, then, of the Truman Administration up till the time when Mr. Truman left office from May '48 on. Do you think agricultural surpluses were not a major problem during that period?

BARRINGER: Shortages existed all the way through Mr. Brannan's term of office. And it was very severe.

FUCHS: What was the situation in regard to cotton during that period?

BARRINGER: The supply of cotton had become so serious that the Security Council placed the disposal of cotton export under rigid control.

FUCHS: To bring us down to the present in regard to cotton. Do you think that the subsequent administrations have made it more difficult for you to operate? The Eisenhower and the Kennedy and Johnson, or have things become better for you as far as regulations and your activities in the world of cotton?

BARRINGER: The Eisenhower administration created unlimited problems for agriculture and, as a matter of fact, Mr. Benson should have been termed "Secretary of Dis-service for the Farmer" instead of

[11]

Secretary of Agriculture.

FUCHS: What was the major problem there as you see it?

BARRINGER: The problem with Mr. Benson was -- he stated that the best way for the farmer to operate was to go it alone. However, if he intended that that should be the program for the farmer he should have offered and sought farm legislation which would have removed some of the acreage restrictions under which the farmer was forced to operate; in other words, if the farmer was to operate without Government help in the way of payments. Agricultural laws which were on the books were very burdensome to the producers.

FUCHS: Did you personally seek any legislation on the Hill that would alleviate this situation, either during Mr. Brannan's years or Mr. Benson's years?

BARRINGER: I worked for agricultural legislation at the time when war controls were placed into effect. The Office of Price Administration issued many regulations which affected agriculture and cotton in particular. Therefore, in order for cotton to maintain its proper place in agriculture and the economy of the country, it was necessary that agriculture statutes be passed by Congress which would give cotton fair treatment.

[12]

FUCHS: Do you recall with whom you worked in Congress on this matter?

BARRINGER: When the agricultural acts were handled by Congress, Senator John H. Bankhead was chairman of the agricultural committee, and it was with him that I talked over most of the cotton problems.

FUCHS: At a later period, perhaps, did you work with the office of the Legislative Counsel on the Hill that was writing legislation and perhaps some on cotton?

BARRINGER: It was through Senator Bankhead that I became acquainted with the Legislative Counsel for the Senate. In that connection, Mr. Charles S. Murphy, who was on the staff of the Legislative Counsel handled agricultural legislation.

FUCHS: Did you bring Mr. Murphy to Mr. Truman's attention?

BARRINGER: I did. When the Republicans had control of the 80th Congress, Senator Taft, who was chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee, had discovered in his working with the Legislative Counsel's office that Mr. Murphy was a most competent person. I observed that Senator Taft was so frequently calling on Mr. Murphy for such a substantial portion of his time that I figured that if Mr. Taft needed the services of anyone to the extent that he was using Mr. Murphy, that he should have sought out a

[13]

Republican; and I saw no reason for a good Democrat having to put up with so much Republican indoctrination, that I put in a plea to Mr. Truman that he should find a spot somewhere for Mr. Murphy. The result being that after several months, Mr. Truman placed Mr. Murphy in his office at the White House.

FUCHS: To your knowledge did Mr. Truman know of Mr. Murphy to any degree before you called him to his attention?

BARRINGER: Yes, Mr. Truman knew Mr. Murphy quite well. Anyone who was as active in legislative matters as Mr. Truman experienced continuous dealings with the Senate Legislative Counsel's office.

FUCHS: Were you in a position to make an observation as to the influence and position of Mr. Murphy in the White House, say as in relation to some of those who received more notice, such as Clark Clifford?

BARRINGER: I'll say this for Mr. Murphy, that whoever Mr. Murphy was working for, Mr. Murphy always tried to put that particular person's interest ahead of his own and he tried to do exactly what that particular person desired. And now, that's been the whole thing there. Mr. Murphy, you and I know, wanted to do just the best that Mr. Truman wanted

[14]

done and Mr. Truman knew that.

FUCHS: One reason I mention this is, as I'm sure you know, certain writers have said that with the exception of Clark Clifford, all the Truman staff, administrative assistants, special counsels, and so forth in the White House, were rather second-rate and I just wondered how you felt about that.

BARRINGER: There's no truth in it and I think that proof of it lies in a recent situation in which Mr. Johnson, that's President Lyndon B. Johnson, exercised when he knew that he was not going to run for re-election as President of the United States. Before any announcement was made, Mr. Johnson transferred Mr. Charlie Murphy, who was chairman of the CAB, to the White House for the purpose of handling all transitional matters of turning over the Lyndon B. Johnson administration to the Republicans. I do not know of any situation under which more expert knowledge is essential than when a President turns over the termination of his term to an incoming President. Mr. Johnson had observed Mr. Murphy over many years prior to his appointing him as Under Secretary of Agriculture, and then placing him in the chairman's job at the Civil Aeronautics Board. So, I don't know of any greater responsibility as well as confidence

[15]

that could have been placed in a man as Lyndon B. Johnson placed in Charles Murphy; because in turning over the files of one administration to another there are so many incidents that could come out of such a situation that they would be hard for the President to live down. I don't believe Mr. Johnson would have put anyone into that job that he figured was not of the highest caliber in every way. Further on that matter, I've heard remarks by people in high positions of government, state that they had never seen a smoother transition from one administration to another than that handled by Charles S. Murphy. And you know, I have heard a lot of folks say they couldn't understand this thing, for Mr. Murphy could just go to any law firm that he wanted in Washington and go into partnership with any law firm there. That's his caliber.

FUCHS: Now, I don't know how much knowledge you have of his activities as Under Secretary of Agriculture. Do you have anything that you might either criticize or laud about his work there?

BARRINGER: Mr. Murphy undoubtedly was one of the best administrators that has ever been in the United States Department of Agriculture. I've never

[16]

talked to anybody anywhere that will admit that Mr. Murphy's not the top administrator that has ever been in there. And I understand, also, in talking to people acquainted with airline operation, and they say that Mr. Murphy put more patterns of essential handling of matters before the Civil Aeronautics Board than anyone else has ever done. In other words, it goes back to prove that he is a fine administrator of Government affairs and I think that if you had to pick out an administrator, people who have dealt with Charlie Murphy would put him tops anywhere.

FUCHS: I'm sure you know of the recent decision by the Nixon administration to rescind some of the route allocations that the Johnson administration made in its last days. Do you have any observations about that situation?

BARRINGER: I would say that the Johnson decision was strictly political and that it was a wide departure from that which was recommended by the Civil Aeronautics Board.

FUCHS: Then you feel there is justification for President Nixon's action in this case?

BARRINGER: Yes.

FUCHS: Did your path ever cross that of Clark Clifford

[17]

who, of course, was from St. Louis originally?

BARRINGER: I saw Clark frequently, but had very little in common with him.

FUCHS: Do you know how Mr. Truman looked upon the performance of Clifford both as his counsel and then subsequently in the various jobs he has held, and as a lawyer?

BARRINGER: I think he had considerable respect for him. However, I noticed that he had not been called in for preparing many speeches for him since he left office.

FUCHS: Why do you think that's so?

BARRINGER: I think that he called in writers who worked on ideas which were more in keeping with Mr. Truman's. I think that one reason that Mr. Murphy has been so highly regarded by Mr. Truman since Mr. Truman left Washington, is that anytime he called on Mr. Murphy to help him on a matter it was always done with the idea that it followed as near as possible Mr. Truman's own wishes and desires.

FUCHS: Then your implication is that this might not have always been so with Mr. Clifford?

BARRINGER: I think that's true.

FUCHS: What about David Lloyd? Did you know Mr. Lloyd?

[18]

BARRINGER: Mr. Truman had considerable confidence in Mr. Lloyd.

FUCHS: Did you regard him as a first rate administrative assistant, first rate man in the White House?

BARRINGER: He was but he was not in the Charlie Murphy class. But he was certainly a most trusted staff member and he was entitled to that recognition, and I think that everybody felt that he always put his job first.

FUCHS: Did you have a chance to observe David Niles or Philleo Nash?

BARRINGER: I did not know Philleo Nash to any extent. I knew Dave Niles in a general way but not close.

FUCHS: What about Dave Noyes?

BARRINGER: Dave Noyes was very competent in his own way. However, his was more a public relations matter rather than many administrative details.

FUCHS: Did anything ever come to your attention where you thought he might have either done a disservice to Mr. Truman or done a particular good service?

BARRINGER: I don't know that much about him; but it seemed that in every way that I knew him, I never did see that he tried to take any advantage.

FUCHS: I believe that you were acquainted with Eddie

[19]

Locke?

BARRINGER: Generally. I never did know him too well, but he always had a nice appearance, but I never did exactly know just how deep he got into matters, though.

FUCHS: Well, to go back a bit. In the 1940 campaign, did you come in touch with such individuals as J. V. Conran, who I believe was a political power of sorts in southeast Missouri? Just what is his position down there?

BARRINGER: I knew him but in a general way; but I never was associated with him closely.

FUCHS: What about Judge Roy Harper.

BARRINGER: I knew Judge Harper quite well. He lived at Caruthersville prior to being appointed judge. Roy being a lawyer, naturally went into politics to a considerable degree, and in all political campaigns he was usually real active.

FUCHS: Does the name C. L. Blanton mean anything to you?

BARRINGER: No.

FUCHS: Do you recall of any particular situations in Pemiscot County in that election that might have swung the vote? I saw a reference to it in the files we have of Mr. Truman's.

BARRINGER: No, I don't.

[20]

FUCHS: To come up on the 1944 campaign in which Mr. Truman was running for Vice President. You were in Chicago at the convention, I believe?

BARRINGER: Right.

FUCHS: Would you care to relate what you recall of the situation there and what actually occurred? How you happened to have gone to the convention and so forth?

BARRINGER: Ahead of the convention there was, as usual, considerable speculation as to who would be nominated to the Vice President's spot, since it was presumed that Mr. Roosevelt would head the ticket. Since Mr. Truman had had such wide experience as chairman of the Truman Investigating Committee which handled investigations of broad scale defense contracts, his prominence led to much thinking that he had an excellent chance of getting the vice-presidential nomination. Therefore, many of the people that I knew in politics thought that it would be well for everybody in favor of Mr. Truman to be at the convention; so, I was one of those of his many friends who attended. The main opposition at that time came from Jimmy Byrnes and Henry Wallace. The record will show though, that when the Truman name was placed before the convention it did not take

[21]

long to settle who was going to be the Vice President. The delegates moved very quickly to take Mr. Truman.

FUCHS: Did Tom Evans first make your acquaintance at the 1944 convention, or did you know him prior to this?

BARRINGER: I believe it was in 1944 at the convention.

FUCHS: Did Mr. Truman personally request that you come up there?

BARRINGER: I believe he did.

FUCHS: What hotel did you stay at?

BARRINGER: Palmer House.

FUCHS: Palmer House. Was Tom Evans at the Palmer House and was he there before you arrived?

BARRINGER: I'm not sure what hotel he was staying in. I believe, though, that he was at the Palmer House, too.

FUCHS: What was the convention headquarters, the Democratic headquarters hotel?

BARRINGER: I believe the old Morrison Hotel was the headquarters. Mrs. Truman was there, too.

FUCHS: Do you know of the call that Mr. Truman was supposed to, I guess overheard, he didn't talk with Mr. Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt called and talked to Bob Hannegan and some of the others, and Mr. Truman was in the room. Did you ever talk with him about that?

BARRINGER: No. I'll tell you, I think the man that knows about as much about that and Mr. Truman, too, or next

[22]

to Mr. Truman that is still living is Ed Pauley.

FUCHS: You know Mr. Pauley?

BARRINGER: Quite well. But Ed and Bob Hannegan were the ones who were talking most frequently with Mr. Roosevelt.

FUCHS: Mr. Truman, of course, said he was committed to Jimmy Byrnes when he went to Chicago, and then, subsequently, he has said that he felt when Byrnes called him up to request his support, that he, Byrnes, already knew that Mr. Roosevelt was thinking of himself, of Mr. Truman, for the position. Do you have any remarks about that?

BARRINGER: No, but I'm sure that that is probably the situation. Because, in other words, when it comes to reaching for an office as high as the presidency or the vice-presidency of the United States, there are many tight situations that occur, and many means are used or employed to accomplish winning the top spot.

FUCHS: Tom Evans has said, I'm sure publicly, that Mr. Truman wanted you to come to Chicago to work against his being nominated for the vice-presidency. Do you think that that is true and an entirely candid statement and that Mr. Truman felt that way.

BARRINGER: I think that's right. I think that Mr. Truman

[23]

was satisfied with the office as United States Senator from Missouri and preferred to continue in that office rather than to being nominated as Vice President and which he had good reason to believe would eventually put him in as President of the United States. I think that he felt that he was well satisfied in being a United States Senator. And I think that was kind of his feeling and I imagine it was Mrs. Truman's as well.

FUCHS: Did he invite you to Chicago to accomplish the same purpose?

BARRINGER: No, he didn't go into it from that aspect at all.

FUCHS: In other words he didn't ask you up there to help him fight off those who wanted him to have the nomination?

BARRINGER: No, I think the main thing was that he wanted to be sure that he had people around him that were his friends.

FUCHS: Before the nomination, did you work actively in any way to get him the nomination?

BARRINGER: I most surely did.

FUCHS: In other words, from the time. that you arrived in Chicago you were in favor of him getting the nomination.

[24]

BARRINGER: I felt confident that if he could get the nomination and would become President that he would certainly make one of the country's outstanding Presidents.

FUCHS: Did you have the feeling then, that if he were elected Vice-President that he might become President?

BARRINGER: I did.

FUCHS: What did you do precisely, if you can recall, towards achieving the end of getting him nominated?

BARRINGER: I sought out every delegate that I could that I thought would support him and naturally I sought out the ones that I thought could get other delegates to follow them.

FUCHS: This was in delegate blocs other than Missouri?

BARRINGER: Right. Right.

FUCHS: Did you have something to do with getting publicity material to appear suddenly, that is banners, posters, and so forth?

BARRINGER: Yes. We had groups organized and set up to handle all phases of getting the candidate before the convention.

FUCHS: What part did you play in the campaign after Mr. Truman received the nomination for Vice President?

[25]

BARRINGER: Mr. Truman immediately asked me would I serve as treasurer for his campaign to which I agreed to do.

FUCHS: You set up a committee for this I understand.

BARRINGER: There was a separate finance committee organized under the laws of Congress in compliance with those statutes covering candidates running for Federal office.

FUCHS: The campaign then developed with you serving as treasurer. Just how did you operate setting up the committee and so forth? Who was on it that you recall, principals?

BARRINGER: I don't remember all the members of the committee; but we needed funds to conduct the campaign and we sought financial help from whatever sources were available to us.

FUCHS: Did money come fairly easy?

BARRINGER: Money never comes easy in a campaign. It requires a lot of hard work to raise funds. It comes mostly by personal contact and not by letter writing.

FUCHS: How were the monies handled?

BARRINGER: Well, as the funds would come in they were deposited in the bank and the checks drawn to cover expenses.

FUCHS: What bank did you use?

[26]

BARRINGER: A bank in St. Louis. I forget the name of it, but it was a St. Louis bank.

FUCHS: What was Tom Evans' role in the campaign fund committee?

BARRINGER: Tom, like everyone else close to Mr. Truman who worked in the campaign, sought out as many people he knew and contacted them for financial support.

FUCHS: Did you work very closely with Tom?

BARRINGER: Right. Tom was on the committee. I'm trying to think who else we had on that committee. Tom was one of the leading workers on the committee.

FUCHS: I believe Tom was chairman, according to a document in your files. Some of the other members were: Paul Dillon from, I believe, St. Louis. Do you have any comments about him?

BARRINGER: No, I don't.

FUCHS: Tom H. VanSant.

BARRINGER: I knew Tom VanSant, but just generally.

FUCHS: Who was Leo B. Parker of Kansas City?

BARRINGER: I don't remember him.

FUCHS: H. S. Shapiro?

BARRINGER: Shapiro was an attorney there. I only knew him in a general way and he seemed to be mostly working for Shapiro's interest.

FUCHS: I believe you related to me when I interviewed you

[27]

the last time, in preliminary conversation, something about his contributions. Do you recall that now?

BARRINGER: We returned his contributions. Whatever financial contribution he made we returned it to him.

FUCHS: I think you will agree that that is a bit unusual. Why was it done in this case?

BARRINGER: Well, it seemed that he was more interested in Shapiro's affairs than he was interested in Mr. Truman. Which we found out after the election.

FUCHS: In what way?

BARRINGER: He was seeking too many political favors.

FUCHS: Was Mr. Truman aware of this?

BARRINGER: No.

FUCHS: Was he aware that the money was returned to Shapiro?

BARRINGER: I'm sure that he was later on, yes; not at the time it was returned, though.

FUCHS: There was a Frank Schwartz on the committee. Do you recall who he was?.

BARRINGER: No, I don't.

FUCHS: How about Joe McGee?

BARRINGER: I knew Joe well. Joe was a hard worker, too.

[28]

FUCHS: Eddie McKim?

BARRINGER: I knew Eddie after he came to Washington for a short stay. I never did know him when he lived in Kansas City.

FUCHS: Then there was a man from Los Angeles, Charles L. Burdge.

BARRINGER: No.

FUCHS: Jules E. Kohn? From Kansas City.

BARRINGER: I didn't know him. I only knew of him. I didn't know Burdge at all.

FUCHS: How about Harry Schwimmer?

BARRINGER: I knew Harry generally. I don't know him too well.

FUCHS: There was a document in your file that indicated that you didn't want too much publicity about this separate fund raising campaign as apart from the Democratic National fund raising campaign. Why was that so? How are funds normally raised?

BARRINGER: Well, ordinarily you have an active presidential campaign and the fact is there is so much effort placed on the head of the ticket that sufficient funds come in to take care of the entire cost of the campaign. However, since Roosevelt was not expected to campaign too heavily and since Mr. Truman was going to have to do most of the

[29]

traveling, Mr. Truman feeling that campaign money was hard to come by in the best of conditions, and with Mr. Roosevelt not out campaigning in the normal fashion, Mr. Truman feeling that he ought to have some of the people that were well known to put him on a campaign and extra effort to assure that the Democratic Party had sufficient funds to see it through a successful campaign. Mr. Truman's reasoning was quite good. Democratic candidates did win and when the campaign bills were presented the party had outstanding bills amounting to a half million dollars as compared with some of the later candidates' five to eight million dollars.

FUCHS: Do you recall anything of the charges made when Mr. Nixon became involved with "slush fund" charges in 1952, that the surplus fund from this committee of 1944 had been used as a "slush fund" for Mr. Truman?

BARRINGER: In answer to that question. The records will show that any funds not spent during the campaign tour were turned over to the treasurer of the National Democratic Committee. These funds were turned over on the installment basis due to the fact that it was

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not known exactly when all outstanding bills might be rendered that were chargeable to Mr. Truman's campaign. Therefore, sufficient money was held until the time that payment had been made against any expenses.

FUCHS: To retrogress just a little bit, Senator Kenneth McKellar at the convention did not, as I recall, switch his vote from their favorite son, Governor Prentice Cooper to Senator Truman on the vice-presidential roll call even after it was quite certain that he was going to get it. Do you have any idea why he did not do that?

BARRINGER: I do not. I know that the Senator was very close to Mr. Cooper, but I do not think that he had very good reason to remain with Mr. Cooper all the way through since due to the fact that after the election Mr. Truman invited Senator McKellar, as president pro-tem of the Senate, to sit in as vice-presidential replacement at all Cabinet meetings. In all of his association with Senator Truman and/or President Truman, I never heard him make a remark that was not complimentary. So, to figure why Mr. McKellar stayed firm with his original vote for Mr. Cooper in controlling the Tennessee delegates, I do not know. There has

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been some question raised that he might have felt some obligation to Jimmy Byrnes and thinking maybe that Mr. Truman did not have a chance to win the nomination, I do not know. But I do not think that the chairman of the appropriations committee of the United States Senate had anything but high regards for President Truman. If there's anything there, strictly off the record, I think that was what it was. He just didn't think Mr. Truman could carry and maybe Jimmy Byrnes would have if he come in there. He knew that Prentice Cooper couldn't do it, see. I mean it wasn't a Chinaman's chance. So, I think he was just trying to outguess him.

FUCHS: I knew you were very close to Senator McKellar. I guess you felt it would have been too presumptuous to ask him why he did this? Did you ever ask?

BARRINGER: It would have, and even though I was close to him, I guess more than anyone other than his family could be, had he wanted to tell me it was none of my business he would have certainly told me so.

FUCHS: While we are on the subject of Senator McKellar, do you know why he was so strong against David Lilienthal of TVA?

BARRINGER: Not unless he had misled the Senator on some

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occasion to perpetuating Mr. Lilienthal's ideas to the adverse thinking of Senator McKellar, along with the matter that Mr. Lilienthal was a fair liberal thinker to which point one would probably have to classify Senator McKellar as a moderate conservative. The Senator at times did vote on legislation which some of the liberals joined him on, but by and large, his actions and his thinking were very conservative.

FUCHS: How did "Boss" Crump in Tennessee here feel about Mr. Truman becoming a vice-presidential nominee and subsequently Vice