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Karl R. Bendetsen Oral History Interviews


Oral History Interviews with
Karl R. Bendetsen

General counsel, Department of the Army, 1949; Assistant Secretary of the Army, 1950-52; Under Secretary of the Army, 1952. More
Interview Transcripts
October 24, 1972 | November 9, 1972 | November 21, 1972
by Jerry N. Hess

[Notices and Restrictions | Biographical Information | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]



These are transcripts of tape-recorded interviews conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of each transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that these are essentially transcripts of the spoken, rather than the written word.

As an electronic publication of the Truman Library, users should note that features of the original, hardcopy versions of the oral history interviews, such as pagination and indexing, could not be replicated for the online version of the Bendetsen transcripts.

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 They may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.


[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Biographical Information | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]



Additional Biographical Information
(submitted by Karl Bendetsen)


During World War II during the administrations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and of President Harry S. Truman, Bendetsen was an officer of Field Artillery of the United States Army on active duty from August 1940 through December 31, 1945 in the grades of Captain through Colonel. While detailed to the War Department General Staff, he served in various capacities among which were Special Representative of The Secretary of War to General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines and to Lt. General Short, Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department. In February of 1942, he was assigned to the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army as Assistant Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer of the Wartime Civil Control Administration, an agency of the Fourth Army. In this latter capacity, among other duties, Bendetsen directed the evacuation and relocation in 1942 of persons of Japanese ancestry who were then resident along the Pacific Sea Frontier of the United States.

During the administration of President Truman, Bendetsen served as Acting Deputy to the first Secretary of Defense (Mr. Forrestal) during the initial phases of the Berlin crisis. Later that year he established the Office of General Counsel of the Army and served as its first incumbent also in 1948. From 1949 through 1952, he served successively as The Assistant Secretary of the Army and The Under Secretary of the Army. During this period, in addition to his other duties, he served as Director General of the U.S. Railroads and as the first Chairman of the Panama Canal Company.


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The Facts about the Proposed Panama Treaties: A Summary of the Historical Background; An Analysis of the Consequences of Ratification; Separating Myth from Fact,, by Karl R. Bendetsen, First Chairman, Panama Canal Company, no date (Truman Library Verticle File Collection: Bendetsen, Karl R.)

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Biographical Information | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]



List of Subjects Discussed




Acheson, Dean, 198, 202, 203, 220
Adjutant General, 9
Alamogordo bombing range, 180
Alaska 92, 117-119
Aleutian Islands, 66, 67
Alien Exclusion Acts, 67, 68
Aliens, enemy, 115-117
Allen, Levan, 123
American Legion, 187
Ardennes Campaign, (World War II) 126-130
Armed Forces Policy Council, 213, 214
Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senate, 9
Army, U.S., equipment of, in 1940-41, 16-18
Army, U.S., organization chain of command, 140, 142
Army, U.S., strength of, in 1940, 16
Army-Navy Staff College, 82, 83
Assembly Centers (War Relocation Authority), 78, 81, 86-88, 94, 96, 102, 109-112
Atomic bomb, possible use of, in Korean War, 259, 260
Attlee, Clement, 260, 261
Auer, Harry, 5, 7

Banana River bombing range, 181
Barnett, Allison J., 74
Battle of the Bulge, 126-130
Blair House conferences (Korean War), 202, 204-206, 211, 216, 217
Bradley Foundation, 125
Bradley Library, 125
Bradley, Omar N., 120-128, 133
British navy, historical background of, 139, 140

China, People’s Republic of, 254-258
Clark, Tom, 69, 71
Class I railroads, 236, 237
Class II railroads, 236, 237
Cold War, 193-195, 196
Collins, J. Lawton, 201
Corps of Engineers, 13, 14, 118, 119

Dairy industry, 148, 149
Dawson, Donald S., 182,