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Oscar L. Chapman Oral History Interview, February 2, 1973

Oral History Interview with
Oscar L. Chapman

Assistant Secretary of the Interior, 1933-46; Under Secretary of the Interior, 1946-49; Secretary of the Interior, 1949-53.

Washington, DC
February 2, 1973
Jerry N. Hess

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Chapman Oral History Transcripts]


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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 1980
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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Oral History Interview with
Oscar L. Chapman

Washington, DC
February 2, 1973
Jerry N. Hess

[825]

HESS: Mr. Chapman, to begin this morning, in our last interview we were discussing Cabinet members. We have a list with us this morning of Cabinet members, and just looking over that list, which members of the Cabinet should we comment further on?

CHAPMAN: I would like to make just a short statement about Mr. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury. He was not too well-known and it was not but a very short period of time that he served under President Truman, but he had a very fine and pleasant relationship there with President Truman; and, of course, this was well-known through every media and every other method of dispensing this publicity. Mr. Morgenthau really worshipped President Roosevelt. He came with him; he had lived up there in New York close to

[826]

him at his home, then he came with Roosevelt to Washington and then he stayed in the Treasury for quite a while. He was succeeded, I think, by John Snyder. No, I'm mistaken, he was succeeded by Fred Vinson. Mr. Vinson, incidentally, later made a great reputation for himself as a wonderful Chief Justice, and he was most loyal and most helpful to President Roosevelt. He was a great friend of his in the true sense.

HESS: Did Mr. Vinson make a good Secretary of the Treasury for Mr. Truman?

CHAPMAN: I think he did. I think he made a good Secretary of the Treasury. He was more conservative in his general attitude on the monetary system than I think Mr. Truman might have been, but he had very good thinking and he had a pattern of planning out what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. He did a very good job for him.

HESS: Was he as conservative as the gentleman who

[827]

followed him, Mr. John Snyder?

CHAPMAN: No, I don't think he was; I think he was a little bit more liberal, little bit more liberal than Mr. Snyder was--I would so interpret that. They both were good men; they both served at the right time, and they served at a time which they could give the best in them, and they...

HESS: Were there times when you felt that Mr. Snyder may have been giving Mr. Truman advice that was a bit too conservative for the good of the country?

CHAPMAN: I felt that he was a good fiscal man, fiscal from a true sense of the word, but he was not imaginative enough in the terms of projecting projects into our system to keep it growing.

Our democratic system of government that we have, that we function under, is the type of a system that you have to keep projecting new ideas and new thoughts into the program to keep the country growing. Its economy and its social

[828]

status need to be kept fed with new ideas and new things to try to help people, and I didn't think that he had quite that--not enough initiative in that field.

HESS: There was a time, as you may recall, September the 6th of 1945 when Mr. Truman sent his famous 21 points message to Congress, calling for additional housing, more housing for the United States, and calling for a medical program, 21 points that were fairly liberal. Now, I understand that Mr. Snyder was opposed to a good many of those points.

CHAPMAN: It was my understanding that he had opposed those very vigorously. Rather definitely he made his position known to the President, that he thought they were too liberal and the President, in his usual way of getting advice--he knew enough people on both sides of an issue that he could get information from two sets of people on the same subject and he'd pretty much come out with the

[829]

proper answer that he ought to make good in.

The only trouble with that is that it has a tendency toward a drawback so that your opposition can organize around that so easily, especially if he's a member of the President's Cabinet and is opposing the President's program of that kind. It makes it easier for the general opposition to organize a program against it and can easily kill it in the House and Senate. That's a danger of that kind of a freedom of expression (if you want to put it that way). You had to be very careful about how much we assume of our Cabinet members; how much freedom do we have a right to assume in expressing ourselves, especially publicly, in opposition to a Presidential program.

Now, in my mind I always took the position that when the President submitted something that I considered extremely important and valuable and something that was for the benefit of the people as a whole, and it was so clear to me that that

[830]

just ought to be done, I felt compelled to express myself on it. I never had come to the position, at any time, of publicly expressing myself against any of Truman's programs, because President Truman a lot of the time was ahead of most of his Cabinet in suggesting liberal things.

HESS: Can you give me an illustration of something that the President may have proposed that you were somewhat in opposition to? Can you think of anything that we can give as an illustration?

CHAPMAN: I don't think he definitely proposed this idea, but there was heavy pressure on him to sell him the idea, to get him to change the whole oil policy of the United States, to make a change in policy. It could have meant millions and millions of dollars. I was very concerned about that and expressed myself pretty freely about my opposition to any change in the direction that

[831]

they were discussing. I was for some change, but not the kind they wanted. I was for a different type of change in the oil situation, and there ought to be better equalized comparison of their competitor's industry.

HESS: Did you present your opposition to the President, did you tell him about your views?

CHAPMAN: I did. I had a very fine talk with the President. He assured me (the President in talking with me), he assured me, "I'm not going to make my mind up on this overnight." He says, "I'm inclined to feel that the big boys have done their share already, out of the industry as such, and there may be an equalizing point to be yet passed. I don't know, but," he said, "I don't want to make my mind up upon it just yet until I've talked to a few more people." And he said, "I'll assure you that I'll talk to you again before I--if I don't, before long, on this I'll talk to you again."

[832]

Well, he did talk to me again and he went along with my position on it completely; went along with it and I couldn't have asked for better support. Now he could only do so much because of the opposition. The opposition was so clear here he couldn't then do very much because it was so strongly expressed at that time. So, he did discuss the subject matter with me, and I appreciated it very much. It gave me a good light on what I thought was a proper attitude of the opposition. If there was any opposition, he had the right format to discuss it on, to start out on the format that he had in mind.

Now, that being true, I was not too worried about the oil matter with Mr. Truman after I talked with him a few times, because he was so definitely--you know, Truman never left you in doubt. He might disagree, but you were never in doubt where he stood. And he'd tell you very frankly, and he always did, and it was so helpful to us all. A Cabinet member is so often left in

[833]

the cold, not being able to get quite through to the President all the things he wants, because there are so many people that cut in between you and the President.

HESS: Did you find that a problem in the Truman administration?

CHAPMAN: Not at all with him; I didn't have one bit of it. That was the one thing that I shall always appreciate about President Truman, he never cut across a program we were working on. He had suggestions for changes; he'd discuss them with me and we'd agree on them, work them out, and we would work out changes in many programs. We did that, but it was done in a way of development and progressing along the road that we all hoped to go and wanted to go, if circumstances permitted it, that being circumstances political and economical.

HESS: As you know, in the present administration, there are those who say that the Cabinet members have a

[834]

great deal of difficulty scheduling appointments with the President and they are blocked from seeing President Nixon by some of the members of the White House staff. Did you have any difficulty with members of the White House staff in the Truman administration? Here I have in mind such people as Clark Clifford and Charles Murphy, Matthew Connelly, people in that particular category.

CHAPMAN: No, I never had any problem whatsoever with any of those.

HESS: They did not attempt to place themselves between the President and the Cabinet?

CHAPMAN: No. No. Every one of those men that you have mentioned in there, every one, and all the rest of them that worked around the White House with the President, that had the opportunity to work between you and the President, taking a different position from you and what you had

[835]

recommended to the President--not a one of those men, to my knowledge, ever did anything that I thought was unfair to my position or my opportunity and right to present my case, keeping it before the President in its proper perspective; and I never had any trouble with seeing or talking to Clark Clifford, Charlie Murphy.

HESS: In your opinion, how much more difficult would it make it for you today to be Secretary of the Interior with the present setup, if indeed it is true that the Secretaries have trouble seeing the President? If you were in the position of Rogers Morton today, do you think you would have a more difficult time today conducting the affairs of office than you did in the Truman administration?

CHAPMAN: Well, you have to take that question back to the basic philosophy of the men, the difference in the philosophy of the men involved, both Nixon and Truman, and Mr. Morton and Chapman; and there

[836]

was not as much difference between Morton and myself as there was between Truman and Nixon, I can tell you that.

As a matter of fact, I had some opportunity to work with Mr. Morton on a couple of matters that were very broad and very important in the development of our country. He has been kind enough to invite me over and has discussed with me one or two very important matters, important for the development of a policy that was so vital to our country as we went along. And he was very nice to do that, but he never--I don't think he fired anybody because of any political dealings. I never felt that he let any of them go just for the sake of political expediency.

Well, a President on his first initiative should try to pick a man that thinks in the same general direction as he does, who has the same philosophy, as much as he can. He can't possibly pick one that would get them all; it's impossible.

[837]

You're human beings and you have a certain philosophy about something and you want to express it; you've got to be careful where you express it, and how you express it so that it doesn't leave the wrong impression of what you are trying to do.

HESS: It would seem to me that on Mr. Truman's Cabinet he had quite a diversity of opinion though.

CHAPMAN: Oh, he did.

HESS: He didn't pick men that were all of the same thinking. Now, here again, I hark back to Mr. Snyder, his Secretary of the Treasury, quite conservative; yourself, Secretary of Interior, quite liberal; so Mr. Truman did not pick people in just one mold, correct?

CHAPMAN: Well, I'll tell you where he did. Mr. Truman had a natural, human instinct of understanding the man in the street; he really had a

[838]

gift for interpreting the thinking of the problems that that man had, and to think of his problem in his setting, in the way he was working and the problems he had to deal with; and he seemed to understand them so well that he got along with people very well.

Now what may appear to some people to be diversity--the observation that you have just made--was simply that Truman always allowed freedom of expression of his Cabinet officers so long as they made it in the right place, to him. You can discuss whatever you want with him about something that you disagree with, but you shouldn't go out as a Cabinet officer, and I shouldn't go to Chicago and make a speech.

HESS: Or to Madison Square Garden like Mr. Henry Wallace did.

CHAPMAN: That's right. You shouldn't do those things. I mean those are the things in which you are breaking a major policy pattern, that you know is

[839]

different from what the Commander-in-Chief has been advocating, and you should not attempt to make that change to the public by making a public speech against it in that way. Mr. Truman did not appreciate that, and I wouldn't, and I don't think any other ordinary man who wants to be man enough to run his own shop would tolerate that kind of a thing. Now, there were a few who overstepped the bounds of propriety in exercising too much of that right, of the freedom that the President gave them.

HESS: Who comes to your mind besides Mr. Henry Wallace?

CHAPMAN: Well, you had several men in the very beginning there that really thought they were President.

HESS: Who do you have in mind?

CHAPMAN: Well, not to be unkind or discourteous to the man; I do give him great credit for a lot of good work, and he did a lot of good things, but I didn't think that Secretary Byrnes handled himself

[840]

just in the proper way in building up confidence with the public regarding the two men. His method of approach to the subjects and the way he presented them was one that would always tend to promote a lack of trust and confidence in the minds of the laymen in the street. He would give them that impression.

HESS: Now, you mentioned that Mr. Byrnes, before you identified him, had the opinion that he was President. Could we go into that just a little further?

CHAPMAN: Well, for instance, I don't recall the exact subject matter that was under discussion at the time, but when Mr. Byrnes came back from Paris on one of his very important trips, he came back and he made a complete report and statement to the public before he had reported to the President.

HESS: He had announced that he was going to make such a statement.

[841]

CHAPMAN: That's right. That is right, you are correct.

HESS: And then Mr. Truman requested his presence on the Williamsburg, as I recall...

CHAPMAN: That's right.

HESS: ...before he made any public statement. What do you recall about that meeting?

CHAPMAN: Yes, I recall that, very definitely.

HESS: At which time he was told that if he had something to report that he should report it to the President first.

CHAPMAN: That's right.

HESS: Instead of coming back and making an announcement that he was going to make a public statement.

CHAPMAN: That was the first time that that happened.

HESS: Why do you think that Mr. Byrnes had this attitude? Now, what I'm driving at here is

[842]

the fact that he wanted the vice-presidential appointment in 1944 very bad, as you will recall. This we have already discussed...

CHAPMAN: Yes, we did.

HESS: ...about his call to Independence asking Mr. Truman to place his name in nomination. There are those that think that Mr. Truman's appointment of Mr. Byrnes, as Secretary of State, was sort of in the nature of a consolation prize to the man who thought that he should be in the first chair, who thought that he should be President at this time.

CHAPMAN: Well, I think that probably gave rise to some of the reported buildup of the ego of the individual himself, that he was President, I am President; he made me Secretary of State, which is the second man in importance in terms of the total program of the Government's policy. And so, therefore, I'm going to go ahead and run it. This is my

[843]

interpretation of what I think came from his mind. He felt that he had been given the right to go ahead and do as he pleased.

Now, he assumed too much on that freedom of action by the President, that he allowed all of his Cabinet members to speak out freely on the subjects under their jurisdiction. He allowed them to speak without any restraints on them. He never tried to direct your policy or what you were going to say or not say, unless you took something up with him and asked his advice and explained what you planned to do, and if that was something that was in opposition, or that tended to be in opposition to Mr. Truman's own policies; he would tell you so. Then he'd leave you to your own judgment.

Now, at that point, if you had good sense with dealing with men, and dealing with people, and having to run a united organization, a team program, you'd understand what you should do. But if you didn't, you'd make your mistake right at that point as far as your relationship with

[844]

Mr. Truman was concerned.

HESS: What other Cabinet members should we discuss now? What about Robert Lovett, who was Secretary of Defense?

CHAPMAN: I'd like to mention Mr. Lovett because I don't think Mr. Lovett ever got the credit from the public that he was justified in getting for his ingenuity, his brilliance, his hard work physically and mentally. He was a man who was not afraid to project his ideas in the open before Senate committees. I've seen him do it, things that he and the President had discussed and they both understood were going to create opposition when he did it, but he was willing to do it. If Bob Lovett thought something was right for the benefit of the people, all the generals and admirals in the Navy couldn't change him, and couldn't affect him, because he would not make a dogmatic position for himself out of that difference. He would look for information to see

[845]

if he was wrong, to justify the position he was taking; and I know several small incidents in which he did that, and he did a terrific research job on it to be sure that he was getting off on the right basic...

HESS: Could you give me an illustration of that?

CHAPMAN: Well, I think one was the building of the air carrier. Now, we look at it as just one of the little housekeeping jobs of the Navy and the Defense Department. That was a housekeeping job; that was one on which the Secretary ought to have a position, and he ought to have complete clearance with the President on such an expenditure as that you see, as such a big expenditure, and also affecting your defense situation. And the military people that the President had confidence in, and others that he consulted about these various things--Bob Lovett wouldn't hesitate to inquire of those people their points of view and what it is based on; and he never hesitated to look to the bottom

[846]

of the story and try to get the real facts separated from the jealousies of human beings working together and so on.

HESS: He had always worked quite closely with General Marshall had he not? Now, he had been his assistant when General Marshall was Secretary of State.

CHAPMAN: That's right.

HESS: And then when General Marshall was called back in 1950 to be Secretary of Defense, Mr. Lovett came with him again, and succeeded him in 1951 when General Marshall went back to Leesburg and back into retirement. What can you tell me about the relationship between General Marshall and Robert Lovett?

CHAPMAN: I felt, from the knowledge I had of them, that they were in as near complete accord as two men could be, and I felt that they worked together in perfect harmony, and that they felt

[847]

completely at ease at what they were doing; and Robert Lovett always worked with respect to his senior officer, and he followed that very closely. By the same token, he felt the same relationship to the President, that he should keep the President informed of everything.

HESS: Mr. Lovett came from Wall Street. He was, and is, a very wealthy Wall Street investment banker. I believe he's a member of the Republican Party, is that not right?

CHAPMAN: Yes, he is.

HESS: Was this a bit unusual for Mr. Truman to use an influential Republican as a Cabinet member and as an important policy adviser?

CHAPMAN: Well, let's say it this way; he hadn't been in the office long enough to establish a pattern for such a thing as that. However, if you check Mr. Truman's pattern of development of his appointments you will find several places where he

[848]

didn’t follow the party line necessarily.

HESS: That’s quite right.

CHAPMAN: He figured if a man was a good man, and he thought he was a good man, he would not refuse to appoint that man to a good place because of that.

HESS: This is a very important topic. I can think of a few and maybe you can add a few more. Now Paul Hoffman, who ran the Marshall plan, the European Recovery Program...

CHAPMAN: That’s right, one of the most important places in the public picture at that time.

HESS: Who are a few of the other important Republicans that were in the Truman administration?

CHAPMAN: Well, of course did Stimson stay on for a while?

HESS: A while.

[849]

CHAPMAN: He didn’t stay long.

HESS: He didn’t stay very long.

CHAPMAN: But he had served a long time, you know.

HESS: Yes, he had.

CHAPMAN: And I mean, his age; but let me tell you, Stimson, from my research that I have done on him, myself, Stimson was a great man.

HESS: Or a little less, from April to September of ’45.

CHAPMAN: That’s right. But he left on a perfectly friendly and a good attitude and a good understanding, as near as I could learn. They parted with a very good approach to each other, and they could consult with each other afterwards; they were not cut off just because he resigned.

[850]

They had not cut off their relationship.

Now, that was what I had learned about it, had interpreted what I had learned; that's what it really meant in their relationship, they worked together. Stimson had very strong support in this country; I wouldn't say support as a Presidential candidate per se. However, he was in the category in that he was one of the possible choices of his party except that he was too independent and would not play politics with his position.

HESS: Did you ever hear President Truman articulate his views on the importance of having members the opposition party in high policy levels in the Government?

CHAPMAN: I definitely have. He's definitely made that statement in my presence several times in discussing different things that we ought to bring people in for. We ought to get a good man to do this particular job, say a new job opened up; and it doesn't matter whether he's a Republican or a

[851]

Democrat, if he's a good man and can do this job, we ought to try to get them.

HESS: Well, there the emphasis is on the man regardless of the party.

CHAPMAN: Absolutely.

HESS: But did you ever hear President Truman say something to the effect that we should bring a Republican in?

CHAPMAN: Only in this respect. Truman has made this kind of a remark that would give me the impression of what he meant, to the extent that he felt that you go beyond the emphasis of the man; that the different segments of the population in the country ought to be represented as much as competency and loyalty would permit. He believed in a wide base representation.

HESS: This gives rise to a question that just entered my mind; was the subject ever discussed of bringing

[852]

a black man into the Cabinet?

CHAPMAN: I once discussed it with the President. I never had discussed it in a Cabinet meeting. It was never discussed in a Cabinet meeting when I was present--if it had been I wasn't there--but I discussed it personally with Truman at one time.

HESS: Did you have anyone in particular in mind?

CHAPMAN: Do you know what he said?

HESS: What did he say?

CHAPMAN: And Thurgood Marshall was the name that was mentioned.

HESS: That was the man that you had in mind?

CHAPMAN: Yes. I was talking of Thurgood Marshall for the circuit court of appeals. There was a vacancy coming up at that particular moment and I knew it. Well, he put Judge [William] Hastie in there.

HESS: In the Third Circuit Court.

[853]

CHAPMAN: In the Third Circuit Court.

HESS: He's still in Philadelphia.

CHAPMAN: And he's the first Negro ever appointed on the circuit court.

HESS: That's true.

CHAPMAN: And he was also the--I don't know whether he was the first Negro we ever appointed as Governor of the Virgin Islands...

HESS: That's also correct.

CHAPMAN: ...but I think he was.

HESS: That's right.

CHAPMAN: Truman had no hesitancy of just going along and doing the thing that ought to be done because of the competency of the man being able to do it and his loyalty to his country. He never stopped to discuss; he wouldn't discuss with you whether he was white or black; he wouldn't really waste

[854]

his time discussing that factor per se. You just assume that what you're looking for is a competent man, and that was his limitation on it.

HESS: At the time you were discussing Mr. Thurgood Marshall what was the post that was under consideration?

CHAPMAN: Well, at that time--I think there was a change being considered in the Solicitor General, in Justice.

HESS: A post that he held later.

CHAPMAN: He did later hold it. Did Truman appoint him later?

HESS: No, he was appointed later I believe, if I'm not mistaken, by Kennedy.

CHAPMAN: I believe he did.

HESS: I could be wrong on it.

CHAPMAN: I believe he was.

[855]

HESS: And then later was appointed to the Supreme Court by Johnson, but I think that he was Solicitor General back during the Kennedy administration.

CHAPMAN: Yes, I think Kennedy appointed him first Solicitor General. I had built up that momentum a little bit behind Marshall.

HESS: What did the President say? I mean he was not appointed Solicitor General at the time.

CHAPMAN: No, well, the reason he wasn't appointed at that time is, that at that particular time, first, the President had a problem of personalities he had to adjust and deal with in competition for that place, between some white people and he wanted to get it worked out first.

Well, he never quite could get this situation in the right posture, to make the appointment in such a way that it would not be interpreted as a political appointment; say that he appointed Thurgood Marshall simply because he was a Negro.

[856]

Now he didn't want that.

Now, he didn't want you to--there's another thing Truman did that I was very pleased to see him do and he did it very forcefully to many people in my presence. For instance, this job over here is not a job for a Negro; it's for any man that qualifies and meets the qualifications for that office, and I want to quit calling this--for instance in my department I had a little instance where they had a habit of always naming the Land Office Commissioner here in the city; they always had a habit of calling that the place for the Negro, saving it for him.

So, they always approached it from the point of view of putting a Negro in there. The President said to me; he said, "I don't want to put a Negro in there," he says, "I want to break that habit of setting aside a position for just a Negro. I want the Negro to be set aside for whatever job he is qualified for and be appointed to that job because he's qualified and not because

[857]

he is a Negro."

HESS: All right, still it must be recognized that there were very few Negros appointed to policy positions in the Government at that time. Was it difficult to find qualified people?

CHAPMAN: It was difficult to find qualified people to do it.

HESS: Here we are talking about Thurgood Marshall and Judge Hastie; they are very well-known men and well-qualified and they were--Judge Hastie was appointed.

CHAPMAN: He was, and later Thurgood Marshall has been appointed.

HESS: And later Thurgood Marshall, but what's the difficulty in finding good qualified Negroes?

CHAPMAN: Well, now, here was your problem; this goes back for a hundred years. Your basic educational system was showing up, at the very period of time

[858]

when they should have been on the top level of qualifications from academic and educational point of view. Now they did not have that kind of a qualification in most cases. Then there were a lot of cases, they were well-qualified, they just weren't appointed; so the racial question did enter, and there's where the racial thing drew the line. That's where it finally came to a head, and Truman drew that issue really very forcefully in appointing a Negro, or establishing the right to an appointment to any place in Government by a Negro. Even though he realized he'd have difficulty in following up, you didn't have a large office, a great big law office that had 40 or 50 or 75 lawyers in it that were qualified to do this or that kind of a case. We didn't have that.

HESS: All right, proceeding on, sir, there's another segment of our society that also went unrepresented in high positions that now we hear a good deal about from Women's Lib. Was it ever discussed regarding

[859]

appointment of a woman to either the Cabinet position or to the Supreme Court or to a high policy position?

CHAPMAN: I have never heard the President express himself in the approach in discussing a position whether a person could or should be a woman. To him, was she qualified. That's all he cared about; he didn't care, he was perfectly willing to appoint a woman and his attitude was such that it was easy...

HESS: Still none was appointed, though.

CHAPMAN: No, that was the trouble and that was one of the problems we had, and that was one of the things that I should say I was defeated on.

HESS: You tried to get a woman appointed did you?

CHAPMAN: I did, I tried.

HESS: Who did you have in mind?

CHAPMAN: I tried to get a woman appointed, a very

[860]

brilliant woman, and of course, Mrs. Perkins stayed on as a Cabinet member for a little while and then Truman didn't fill her place with another woman. Now, he said, "I don't want to get that place established as a place for a woman."

HESS: She left in June.

CHAPMAN: Yes.

HESS: Her resignation was effective June the 30th of '45, and then Louis Schwellenbach...

CHAPMAN: Yes, Schwellenbach, the Senator from Washington. Bone was also a Senator from Washington and he was appointed...

HESS: Homer T.

CHAPMAN: Yes, and he was appointed on the...

HESS: Homer T. Bone.

CHAPMAN: ...Circuit Court. Homer T. Bone. He

[861]

came back from making a trip to Puerto Rico to make a report to the Senate on what we should do about the Puerto Ricans, that they were asking for their independence. He said, "If I had it in for Puerto Ricans and wanted to really do them dirty, I'd give them independence." He said, "They'd ruin themselves in six months; they'd all be on charity." And he was completely right, they were not ready for it at that time.

HESS: There are a good many Puerto Ricans that are agitating for independence yet today; do you think that would be a good idea today or not?

CHAPMAN: There are not many people, really, for independence...

HESS: It's a minority party, but it's a vocal party.

CHAPMAN: It's a very vocal party and...

HESS: Sometimes it's even a bit more than vocal,

[862]

because as you will recall, on November the 1st of 1950 they took some shots at President Truman.

CHAPMAN: That's right. That's right.

HESS: Do you remember that?

CHAPMAN: I sure do!

HESS: November the 1st, 1950.

CHAPMAN: Because my name was on that list of three that they were trying to shoot when they came up here.

HESS: Is that right?

CHAPMAN: Yes.

HESS: Who were they?

CHAPMAN: The President and myself; and who was the third person? The third person was a Senator.

HESS: Where was that list found?

CHAPMAN: In the pocket of the fellow who was killed,

[863]

was shot, right on the ground in front of the Blair House. It was contained in a note, just a scribbled note.

HESS: And your name was down on that list.

CHAPMAN: My name was on the list. T