Oral History Interview with
Assistant Secretary of the Interior, 1933-46; Under Secretary
of the Interior, 1946-49; Secretary of the Interior, 1949-53.
Oscar L. Chapman
April 28, 1972
Jerry N. Hess
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview
Transcript | Additional Chapman Oral History
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
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
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 It may not be published in full except by permission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.
Harry S. Truman Library
[Top of the Page | Notices
and Restrictions | Interview Transcript
| Additional Chapman Oral History Transcripts]
Oral History Interview with
Oscar L. Chapman
April 28, 1972
Jerry N. Hess
HESS: All right, Mr. Chapman, to begin this morning, let's make a correction
on how Colorado went in 1948. All right?
CHAPMAN: Yes, I made a mistake when I said that Colorado did not go for
Truman in 48; I was in error. It did go for Mr. Truman, if my memory
serves me correctly, somewhere around 25,000 votes or more.
HESS: You had thought that there was one state that you had missed.
HESS: Looking at this list, do you recall now which state went for Dewey
that you thought was going to go for Truman?
CHAPMAN: Just offhand here, I don't see it.
HESS: Perhaps we can come back to it.
Iowa went for Truman, and you thought Dewey was going to take the farm states.
CHAPMAN: At that time (before the plowing contest) I thought Dewey was
going to take Iowa, yes.
HESS: That was quite a surprise.
CHAPMAN: I would like to connect that particular thought up with another
phase of that campaign. I would like for the people to know those who
contributed so much to the different phases of this campaign. The Secretary
of Agriculture, Mr. Charles Brannan of Denver, made a most significant
contribution in guiding and helping to direct the campaign program through
those farm states. I thought he had done a magnificent job in informing
the people, as well as the President, on what the situation was regarding
their legislative program that was in the Congress at the time, and the
lack of support that the farmers were getting from Congress. I thought
Secretary Brannan made a most significant contribution to that whole campaign,
in the planning stages, and in the intimate contact and work with the
President on this.
HESS: There was an interesting thing that came up about both Iowa and
agriculture at that time. Do you recall the rewriting of the charter of
the Commodity Credit Corporation at that time, and the Republicans had
stricken out the provision for purchasing and providing Government storage
for grain, of which Iowa was one of the big growers. There was a bumper
crop that year and so when the Iowa corn growers got ready to store their
corn, there was no provision for it; they couldn't get Government price
support. Do you recall that?
CHAPMAN: You have hit the very key, the thing I had in mind, when I was
referring to Secretary Brannan. He had done a magnificent research job
in having that piece of legislation researched carefully as to how much
money was cut out of
that bill so that the farmers were not given any
help in building some storage tanks to help store their grain, instead
of pouring it out on the ground where you could see it, and where it was
being ruined every week it stayed out there. Mr. Brannan did a splendid
job in briefing that case through for the benefit of the President and
for the benefit of the people of the State of Iowa.
Now, he did the same thing for other farm states, but that particular
one always stands out clearly to me, because I didn't realize at the moment
how far-reaching that issue was. I discovered before the election, of
course, that it was really cutting very deeply, and therefore we pressed
that issue hard in that section of the country, and in other parts of
the country we explained why the farmer wasn't getting his share of help
that he should have been getting from his Government.
HESS: As Mr. Truman said at the National Plowing Match
at Dexter, Iowa
that year, "The Republicans are sticking a pitchfork in the back of the
CHAPMAN: That's the very words he used, and I was standing right behind
him when he said that. I was at that meeting.
HESS: What was the impression that you came away with there? How was
he received by the farmers? Now, as I understand, the airplanes were lined
up and the Cadillacs were lined up, a lot of wealthy farmers came to that
CHAPMAN: Very much so. A lot of people had driven in there for miles
and miles to be at that luncheon. We had a big luncheon under a great
big canvas tent out there in the field, and had this plowing contest carried
on, and the feeling and atmosphere among those people was, to me, perfect.
It was a great day, good, jovial and friendly. They were most friendly
to the President; they gave him a very warm reception.
HESS: Did you speak with some of the farmers there? Did you circulate
through the crowd and speak with them to see what the tenor of the crowd
CHAPMAN: Yes, that was one of the things I did quite a bit of, to get
their reaction to what should be done to help them, and to ask them to
tell me what they really felt we should do to help them. I found invariably
that they would come back to this, "Why didn't Congress let us have a
little money to build storage tanks to save our crops when they were giving
money to every industrial plan in the United States to increase their
industrial capacity and efficiency and everything else?" They felt that
they had been left out.
HESS: After you circulated through the crowds, talking with people, how
were your findings relayed to the President? Would you speak directly
to the President to tell him what your impressions were?
CHAPMAN: Usually each one of us would be doing this
kind of a thing,
such as Charlie Brannan, Secretary of Agriculture, Oscar Ewing of the
FSA, and Clark Clifford, and, oh, there were many, many others doing this
very same thing, and somewhere along the way, we'd get a chance for them
to come aboard the train to talk with the President for a few minutes.
Sometimes they might only have a few minutes, but they'd give him their
story and relate their problems to him, and these fellows would relate
the problems they had picked up from the farmers to the President. They
would give him a thorough briefing on what they had picked up from this
particular plowing contest, I did a good deal on that, and I'm sure Mr.
Brannan did, too, in that case.
HESS: But even after speaking with the farmers in Iowa, you still thought
Iowa was going to go for Dewey, is that right?
CHAPMAN: Not for long. About a week after that, I was sure we had it.
HESS: You were sure that they had it?
CHAPMAN: I was sure we had it.
HESS: Before we get along too far in the campaign, let's go back to the
very beginning of events during 1948 to that trip in June that Mr. Truman
took to the west coast, and I understand that you were the only advance
man used on that trip. Irwin Ross, in his book, The Loneliest Campaign,
states that you brought to the President's attention that Robert Gordon
Sproul, the president of the University of California, wanted the President
to deliver a commencement address at Berkeley on June 19 that year. Is
that correct? Do you recall that?
CHAPMAN: That is correct.
HESS: How did that come about?
CHAPMAN: I knew the president of the university, and I spoke to him by
telephone and asked if what I was told by a friend was correct; did they really
want the President to speak there at that commencement. He said,
"Why, by all means, we would love to have him. I haven't yet cleared it
with the board of regents, but I'll call a meeting and get them together
I said, "Well, I wouldn't want to create a situation here where there
would be any embarrassment, either to the school or to the President.
I wanted to be sure that you wanted him and that there isn't a political
trick involved in this thing; it's got to be a genuine desire to hear
the President of the United States discuss the problems."
He said, "Well, I'll assure you that's what we want. We want the President
of the United States to talk to this class. We feel that he can contribute
a great deal to these young people who are graduating from the school
this year, if he'll just give one of his plain, back platform train speeches."
He had heard him on two occasions, I think. At least he had heard him.
By telephone we arranged the whole thing.
He called the regents together
in a matter of days (I don't remember), and they agreed to invite the
President. They didn't want to be out on a limb, extending an invitation
and then be turned down either, and I didn't want the President to be
caught in a trap like that in his case.
So I then discussed the matter with the President, and he raised some
of the same doubts that I had as to whether they really wanted him, whether
there might be some political reaction or attempting to create a political
situation. Well, I assured him that I was convinced at that time that
they were sincere about it, that they really wanted him, and I was sure
they were sincere in wanting him to speak and there would be no problem
involved at all, no problem.
HESS: What did President Truman seem to think about the general wisdom
of taking a trip of this nature at this time? In other words, you know,
it's been called a shakedown trip to get ready for
the campaign. Was it?
CHAPMAN: That's probably as near as you could identify it by any particular
reason for the campaign; it was to get more exposure to the public, and
more explanation of some of the immediate bills that were pending in Congress
at the time. It was time for the President to speak to the people, anyway.
HESS: There was a memo that Clark Clifford gave to him in November, 1947,
about six months before, and in that memo it was suggested that he make
a trip of this nature; and also I have found references where Mr. Truman
had stated that he himself was thinking of a trip of this nature quite
some time in advance of June.
CHAPMAN: I had had a good visit with Clark Clifford, and between us,
I think, we both were in agreement that it was very timely for him to
make a trip, but to do so we ought to have some good reason for him to
go out there to the west
coast and back, rather than just going out and
making a lot of these speeches. So I tied the two things: The invitation
to speak at the University of California to the graduating class, and
to dedicate one more generator at the Grand Coulee Dam that we were putting
in. It was another generator that had been completed and put in which
was increasing the capacity of the kilowatt load for that dam for power
purposes. We decided those two things were sound, solid and adequate;
it was not to have some phony reason for doing it, but something genuine.
Well, here was something that was absolutely genuine. We had spent much
of our time in public life, both the President, Clark Clifford and I,
as well as the others working with the President, pushing the program
of the good development of the Northwest, the Bonneville Dam development
program, and the Grand Coulee Dam.
HESS: And the CVA, which didn't get off the ground...
CHAPMAN: That's right.
HESS: ...which we want to talk about one of these days.
CHAPMAN: That needs a thorough discussion.
HESS: That's a subject in itself.
HESS: That we can put off till another time. Let me ask you one question
about the meeting in Berkeley, if that's all right:
HESS: Were you present at the time the President spoke?
CHAPMAN: No, not at Berkeley. I didn't go over to the university.
HESS: I have heard, that when President Sproul introduced President Truman,
that he was not very polite? Have you ever heard that?
CHAPMAN: Well, I heard it, but really and truly there was really nothing
HESS: Some reference to the Republican National Convention, I think.
CHAPMAN: Well, weren't they having their convention out there in San
Francisco that year?
HESS: No, they had it in Philadelphia, too.
CHAPMAN: They had it in Philadelphia?
HESS: They had all three; the Republican, Democratic, and Henry Wallace's
convention all met in Philadelphia.
CHAPMAN: I think you're right.
HESS: What had you heard about that introduction?
CHAPMAN: I checked up on that story after I heard it but I was convinced.
I had some very good friends that were in that session, attended, and
they sat close to the front rows; they could see everything very carefully,
and they purposely were--I asked them to get for me a careful reaction
as to how it went off. I wanted to be certain that there was no question
of discourtesy involved in this thing. See, that was my very
the very beginning, that something like this could happen. I didn't want
it to happen if I could avoid it. I didn't go to the university; purposely
stayed away, because it was known generally that I was working pretty
hard on this campaign. And so I didn't want to mix the school picture
up with his campaign to that extent; his speech had to speak for itself.
So, as I started to tell you, after I had a good long visit with Clark
Clifford, we both came to the same conclusion--it was a time to have a
good trip to the West. I told Clark of my two reasons that I thought we
could accept: One was to let us announce that he was going to dedicate
the other generator that was being installed at the Grand Coulee Dam;
and second, accept the invitation to speak at the university at Berkeley.
Well, now, this Berkeley thing wasn't done without some very careful
checking, because my suspicions were not borne out, and I was very glad
for that, because I was following it very closely.
Going back to your question about the introduction of the President,
my friends (I had three of them) gave me a careful report on that, and
they were there for that purpose.
HESS: What did they think?
CHAPMAN: They said you couldn't interpret that to be in any sense a slight
or lack of courtesy. They said they didn't take it that way.
HESS: Who were the three men?
CHAPMAN: One of them is in a hospital right now in western Oregon.
HESS: Were they Interior Department men?
CHAPMAN: No, no. They were not Interior Department men. I didn't want
the Government people in there.
HESS: That would have been a little too much of a
Government flavor for
a non-political trip, wouldn't it?
CHAPMAN: Well, as much as you can emphasize that side about it, that
was the time to do it. Here you're going to speak to these students that
are not interested, per se, in an individual as a candidate; however,
a man who graduates from a university ought to be interested. In these
days, students are getting interested, too. I didn't want to emphasize
Government people, so I didn't try to get Government employees for meetings
or anything of the kind. I didn't have to, as a matter of fact. The lack
of enthusiasm for Truman on that western trip was among the party officials
more than anybody else. They had such reservations and doubts about his
being able to be reelected.
After that June trip, shall we say, I kept emphasizing, with all the
vigor I could command, that Truman was going to be reelected, and I didn't
have a shadow of a doubt about it. By that
time, I didn't. I was getting
better reports from the places that I was checking up on, and you know,
checking up on a given area about a man's popularity, there's a very interesting
technique involved in how you do that.
We found that the people, when they once heard Truman, when he stepped
out on the back of the train with his wife and his daughter, he would
introduce them, and it was the most perfect picture of, "Here's one of
our neighbors with his wife and daughter," with no fanfare, no Hollywood
stars backed up around him for pictures. I stayed away from that; I didn't
try to get that, although we had some, but we didn't try to make any effort
to press that. Now, that's a showmanship emphasis that I didn't think
was necessary in this case, because I wanted the real Truman as I knew
him to come through to these people, and he did just that. And those little
chats on the back of the train, they were no Lincoln day address of Gettysburg, but I'll
tell you now, they were the Truman day speeches for 1948 which
the country needed worse than they had ever needed before during my experience
in the Government.
HESS: Many people have pointed out that this was the period of time when
Mr. Truman developed a good speaking style. Up until this time he had
read many of his speeches. Was this a conscious decision made by a group
of advisers that he would speak from an outline, speak more from memo
form and less from a regular written text?
CHAPMAN: To be perfectly frank with you, I am not a speechwriter myself,
but from my own memory of the relationships of the people who worked close
to the President in this campaign, I would say that I believe Clark Clifford
probably got that idea across to him in his own way and in his own time,
because he saw him rather regularly. I think he got that idea across to
the President, because he did shift his style just a little,
but just a little; and I think Clark had caught this in listening to President
Truman's speeches, and I think that he probably was responsible for doing that.
HESS: As you were the advance man, let's talk about that for a few moments.
What did you do as an advance man? Just what does an advance man do?
CHAPMAN: You know, that's the most intriguing question that I've ever
attempted to analyze for anybody. It's something I get so wrapped up in
and I get to talking too much about any one thing, because, to me, it
was one of the most interesting experiences that I'd ever had.
Now, I had done a good deal of advance work before. There's all the difference
in the world in doing advance work for a President of the United States
and somebody else, who is just a prominent speaker. You had to handle
the President from the point of view that he's the President of the United
States and not just
a candidate for some party. You've got to get your mind
away from that a little bit, that he's not just a Democratic candidate;
he is the President of the United States now, and he's relating and reporting
on his record to the people, what he's done, what he hopes to accomplish
for another four years.
I have never known a man that had run for public office that had made
fewer promises and yet carried out more things that were suggested to
him and he in turn to the people, than he did. He carried out a program
for the farmers. He really helped them. He really worked hard on that
one, and that's why I like to give due credit to Secretary Brannan for
his very modest, quiet way of talking to people and to the farmers. They
liked him. They knew he was sincere and was trying to help them. And Oscar
Ewing, for instance, was extremely helpful in this campaign, not on this
particular trip. He was helpful. I'm thinking of him for the whole campaign, helpful
all across the board.
HESS: I've heard that Mr. Ewing used to have meetings at his apartment
at the Wardman Park every Monday night; have a little steak fry, and have
several people come in, the "liberals," to advise on methods of presenting
the liberal policy. Have you heard that?
HESS: Did you attend any of Oscar Ewing's meetings?
HESS: They're called the "Oscar Ewing meetings," but I guess only because
they were at his apartment.
CHAPMAN: He had an idea there that was very good, and one that was very
much needed to be discussed and bring together some consensus of the thinking
of those of us who thought of ourselves as liberals. When you try to analyze
what is a liberal and what is a conservative, you start
getting into deep water.
For instance, I always think of Senator Norris, who fought for eighteen
years to keep the Muscle Shoals from being turned over to the private
power companies for their benefit. They were turned over as it is to the
benefit of the people through Government management. He fought that thing
year after year. First, he'd have to fight it, kill a bill that they were
trying to put through to take it for the private power companies, and
then he would put in an amendment to some other kind of a bill to get
it for the people. Well, he had Roosevelt's absolute assurance and support
for that, and Roosevelt supported it 100 percent, and I don't mean way
after election, but the very day of election he was helping Norris' bill
right then. Roosevelt was really a charmer of the first degree.
One of my best mentors of my life was Judge Ben [Benjamin Barr] Lindsey
of Denver, juvenile
judge, one of the most prominent juvenile judges in
the world. He was written up as that quite a few times. A professor at
Berkeley has just come up with a biography on Lindsey, and he tells a
lot about him. One of the things that he always tried to impress on me
as a young man (I worked with him for eight years as his assistant), and
he would lecture me, and he would say, "Now, just remember, the artistry
of approach, the greatest weapon a man has in trying to put across ideas
to another person." He developed that thing in my mind, "the artistry
of approach," and the more I thought of it, I began to try to use it,
and there's so much to that. If you really work at it, you will find a
tremendous help from it, the "artistry of approach."
HESS: That comes in handy for anybody in politics, doesn't it?
CHAPMAN: Oh, it's the greatest thing in the world. And that's what some
of these people had. Truman had
a technique of his own, entirely his own,
the technique of the artistry of approach, very frank and thoroughly honest
with what he told you, and he would not tell me to do anything I knew
he couldnt do. And he didn't. He told something he was going to try to
do, and he darned near did them all, too. If he told these people something
he wanted to do for them, he made an honest effort to help them, and he
really tried to help them. They soon caught that with Truman, the people
did, so his approach to those people became identified with that kind
of thinking, with the artistry of approach. With these people, in the
farm cases, he had a natural there. First, we had an issue that was hot
and already made for this purpose.
HESS: And Mr. Truman had been a farmer.
CHAPMAN: He had been a farmer, and when he plowed in that contest that
day, he was as good a plower as you ever saw. It was one of those things
that was so interesting as an advance man--you asked
me about that, and
I told you that if I got off on that I'd start to ramble and get to talking.
But as an advance man, you first try to find out from your friends or
whomever you've got the closest contacts with, the leaders from a different
state or community, just what the situation is, what's the President's
standing around there, what they feel about him, and what are the issues
which they disagree with him on, and what are the issues they agree with
him on. You try to get a little of that, and within a short time, you've
pretty much got them catalogued into two or three groups of their likes
or dislikes and their reasons. You can kind of identify them into categories.
HESS: Also their support or non-support of Mr. Truman?
CHAPMAN: That's right. I came down there always with them--well, now
in a lot of these cases, I was not asking this particular fellow, for
instance, that I'd be talking to, for him to support Truman. I was assuming
that he was going to
support him, you see, and I approached him on the
theory that I was so glad we had helpers like him, and I .brought it around
that way, and I got more of them to helping me actually that way.
HESS: Rather than saying, "Are you going to help?" You don't put it that
CHAPMAN: No, you've got a question in there, so I never did that. I always
used the other approach, thanking them for something. I'd find out something
a person had done, and then somewhere (you couldn't talk to a man that
hadn't in some way done something for Truman) in some way had spoken kindly
of him or done something. I would run as many of those things down as
I could, and I'd get as many as time would permit. Then I'd get that party
and I'd congratulate him and thank him for his help, his expression of
his loyalty to Truman, how much we appreciated it, and so on, and if I
could I'd try to identify
something he'd said and then quote it in the
press. You don't always get that, because usually I wasn't calling press
people or publicity-minded people. They were people that were just at
home every night for dinner--a man with his family, and he would talk
about Truman in that atmosphere, and you catch him talking with his wife
and maybe some others of his family, and he would be talking about Truman
and before you know it, he'd be speaking for him before he got
through dinner. He would probably be for him.
I had a case just on the point of what I'm saying, where a man was not
for Truman at first; and he went home for dinner that night with his wife
and son--his son was twenty-four or twenty-five years old, graduate of
the University of Iowa in this case--and he started in talking about Truman,
and his wife and his son were good listeners, and they were willing to
get more information. And by their sincere questioning of the father who
goes downtown, he sees more
people; he'd know more about what's going
on in the neighborhood, and so they would be listening to him with a great
deal even of interest. The first thing you know, the wife and the son
would be asking him a perfectly innocent question on points that were
just focused right up Truman's alley, you see, and they were perfectly
innocent in what they were doing; they were sincere people who did want
to understand this particular episode. And they would ask the father about
it, her husband, and before he got through held be defending Truman's
position on whatever it was, or whatever the subject matter was.
I got that from the wife in one case, in Iowa, that was very intriguing
to me, the most intriguing case I ever saw. It was a perfect case of ideal
campaigning if you have time enough to do a lot of that, but you only
have a certain amount of time and you've got to divide it up as best you
can and hope to cover and see as many people as you possibly can. So,
therefore, you can't spend enough time with any of these people that you want to.
You're always saying, "I wish I could spend more time with Mr.
Smith because he's been so helpful to me."
I would always try to talk to the party leaders when I would go into
a state. I would make an effort, at least, to talk to them. But they were
the hardest ones, I found, to talk to, because most of those were not
good prognosticators and most of them didn't believe Truman could win,
until all of a sudden you hit a springboard someplace, and some fellow
would start defending Truman and he'd say, "Well, that man's going to
be elected President. I don't care what you say. He's an honest man and
he's going to be elected." And you'd hear some fellow, a perfect stranger
to me, get up and say at some meeting that I had the privilege of attending
or something, and they were very generous in their courtesy to me. I was
invited to a lot of little things by not the party people necessarily,
but somebody else. It might have been the American Legion group, or the PTAs,
or something else. I'd attend those little meetings; they were not
very large sometimes, but I'd attend them and I got as good a support
out of that as all the rest of them, and those people would begin to report
to me. They began to write me and call me and tell me what was taking
place, and they would want to do things for him, and they did. There were
different groups representing certain organizations, and they wanted to
In Los Angeles, an interesting thing happened there. Truman was speaking
in Los Angeles to the Press Club's luncheon and there was a group of Navy
women connected with the Navy through their husbands; their husbands were
officers or in some relation, something with the Navy that they were doing.
Those women had formed an organization out there; I was trying to think
the other day what they called themselves, but they formed a little organization,
just a local thing. They had a couple of hundred members there in Los
Angeles. And the first thing I knew when I hit town--in this case, a week
ahead of time, because I had a lot of work to do--and when I hit town,
I let it be known in the press and had a press conference, why I was there
and where I was staying and let it be known that people could get in touch
with me there, and, believe me, they did.
When I opened it up like that I didn't realize what I was doing to myself,
but I sure did have to take it on the chin from there, because I was amazed
at how many people that had nothing to do, as far as the party was concerned;
you'd think they never heard of the Democratic Party or the Republican
Party, they were just interested. They were interested; "Truman did so-and-so
and so-and-so, and I'm for him, for a man who's stood up and fought these
birds, I'm for him." These women, the officers of that club, got in touch
with me and came down to see me. They said, "We want to bring our members
down and shake hands with Mrs. Truman, either before the
lunch or after,
whatever time you work it out. Can we do that?"
I said, "How many members would you bring?"
They said, "Oh, probably a couple of hundred."
I said, "Let's look at it. We have three organizations that want to do
the same thing"--and they did. I said, "If I made any arrangements for
any one of them, I'd have to make it for all of them, and it would be
a physical impossibility to have a hand-shaking reception; but I'll tell
you what I'll do, you bring them down here, and at this particular appointed
hour," that I gave them, "and have them stand in the courtyard of the
Ambassador Hotel, have them come and gather in a group right there, and
I'll have Mrs. Truman and Margaret both to be there and meet you and talk
with you." Oh, they thought that was wonderful.
Mrs. Truman in that wonderful motherly way of hers, she was so much at
home with the mothers, or the woman that keeps house at home and looks
after her business, and wasn't trying to run the world. She was just trying
to help Harry. And I'm telling you, that went through that crowd, and
you'll never understand the feeling that a man has when you catch that
so clearly, that this whole group was, "We're going to help this man,
too, because she's out here trying to help him, and we're going to help
him, too." You'd be amazed at the sincerity and the depth with which
that particular group felt towards Mrs. Truman.
"What does an advance man do?" You try to see that, first, the President
and Mrs. Truman meet as many of the leaders as possible.
HESS: Just a couple of thoughts about that June trip. Now some of the
negative things that are usually brought up when that trip is brought
up, are the sparseness of the crowd in Omaha; the dedication of the Wilma
Coates Airport in Carey, Idaho; and the President's statement, "I like
old Joe," in
Eugene, Oregon. Do you recall those three incidents that
took place on the June trip?
CHAPMAN: All three of them.
HESS: What happened in Omaha anyway?
CHAPMAN: There was a perfect explanation for it, and there's where our
enemies overplayed their hand. In the first place, the local man, who
was a friend of Truman's--but to go back to what I said in the beginning,
that handling a President's presentation to an audience or to a group,
is something that you have to do...
HESS: Was Ed McKim in charge of that meeting?
CHAPMAN: Well, yes, he was. A person has to have some experience to know
how to handle those things. If you don't, you get them mixed up."
There was some confusion about whether Truman's military...
HESS: The 35th Division Association.
CHAPMAN The 35th Division Association. Whether they were to go to the
armory that night to hear him, or were they to just march down the main
streets or something; that was never made quite clear to those people.
HESS: Whether the meeting was open to the public or not.
CHAPMAN: That's right. They thought it was a closed meeting.
HESS: Just for the Association members.
CHAPMAN: That's what they thought. The Association had not been so instructed
that it was even for them,
HESS: And I understand, Mr. Truman did march in a parade that day and
thousands of people had had a chance to see him.
CHAPMAN: They had.
HESS: Were you at Omaha?
CHAPMAN: No, I had left before he got there.
HESS: Life magazine made a big thing out of it. They had a photographer
take some pictures from the back of the balcony.
CHAPMAN: I had 50,000 copies of that article ordered from Life
magazine and mailed out to certain people
HESS: Why did you