Oscar L. Chapman Oral History Interview, May 5, 1972

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
May 5, 1972
Jerry N. Hess

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

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.

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Chapman Oral History Transcripts]

Oral History Interview with
Oscar L. Chapman

Washington, DC
May 5, 1972
Jerry N. Hess


HESS: All right, Mr. Chapman, to begin this morning, I'd like to get your reaction to one matter concerning the trip in June. There were reports in the newspapers and some of the magazines, that some of the local politicians throughout the West felt they were ill-treated during that trip in June, because they were not given adequate time to talk to the President, or they were not allowed to ride from town to town when the President's train was in their state. Do you recall any such reports from disappointed leaders in the West after that trip?

CHAPMAN: Yes, I did. There were a few people that complained that they didn't have sufficient time with the President, and what they really wanted was to ride on the train within their state with the President across the state. That would have made it so openly a political front


it would have broken down the whole picture that Clifford and I were trying to establish.

HESS: Of a nonpolitical trip.

CHAPMAN: Yes. We were trying to establish it on that basis just as much as possible, and that's why I got this invitation for him to speak at Berkeley, which was purely non-political. He dedicated that generator at the Grand Coulee Dam; then he had another speaking engagement in Los Angeles, I think it was, with the press there; the local press gave a luncheon for him, and had a rather large crowd. They had charge of the luncheon; they invited whom they pleased, they were there, and all and all, it was a most successful luncheon, most successful meeting, and Truman spoke at considerable length there. He had a chance there to explain a lot of these things that he'd been criticized for that the public didn't have full information on, the entire story. That gave him a chance there to


really tell the people his side of the story, that he had been criticized for this or that, different actions that he had taken, and so on.

It was a most successful trip from the point of view of presenting Truman to the country just as Truman is himself, and we didn't try to garnish the lily and do something to try to make Truman something that he wasn't. He just went out and spoke as Harry Truman. Sure he was President; you're always President when you are selected to that high position no matter where you are.

That made it very convenient for us, because when a President stops on a back of. a train or in the other method, but in this case we'll say on the back of a train, he'd come out on the back of the train and make a little speech, usually a very short speech, not long, but he'd pick a particular subject and he went into that. I hope you will get the schedule that's worked out for that trip. That is in the Library, and it's a full record of that trip, the standing on


it, the stops he made, where he spoke, and it's an entire, completed volume of that, and I wish you could get that and take a look at it and you'll see where he stopped at so many little places.

Now, normally, he wouldn't get his name even in the press if he’d have said any of those things there on that page you're looking at; his name wouldn't have been in the press if he'd have made that statement here at the White House. But when a President stops at some little town, every press man there knows that the local press is going to play a story up, good or bad; they're going to write a story. So every press man that went on that train (and they all tried to go, as many as could; we had many requests to go on that train), they all wrote a story on it. So Truman got more publicity, and good publicity, out of that entire trip than any period of his time during the whole campaign, and it set the stage for our...


HESS: For what was coming up in the fall.

CHAPMAN: That's right, it set the stage for what we were going to face coming up. We also were hoping by this time, that the President was going to call a special session.

HESS: You were at this time?

CHAPMAN: Well, Clark and I were doing a lot of talking about it by this time.

HESS: You were?


HESS: Tell me about the background of that matter?

CHAPMAN: Well, the background of that is this: There were several bills before Congress that were really quite important, and Congress should have taken care of them before they went home; they could have done it in any one afternoon if they would have. But they were playing politics to downgrade the President and not to pass his program. So he just


called them back into special session and sent the same bills right back up there to them. So they had, between that and election day, either to get them out or vote them down, and it made a beautiful issue for us. We were sitting right on top of that issue through the country all over. I suppose, I may be wrong on this, but I think I'm right in judging it, that Clark Clifford and I were as much or more responsible for him calling that special session than anybody else. I know we originated the idea with him; at least we thought we did. We talked with him about it. Whether we were the first ones, I don't know.

HESS: About when did you start discussing this with Mr. Clifford, and then when did you broach the subject to Mr. Truman?

CHAPMAN: Clifford and I started talking about it almost before the convention was over in Philadelphia.


HESS: In Philadelphia?

CHAPMAN: We started talking about it, but we started talking in Philadelphia, or here in Washington, I don't remember. I rather think it was here in Washington, and we discussed the importance of the President's calling a special session and feeling that it ought not to be called unless we could base it on a good, sound, logical reason for the Congress to be in session, and that these were important pieces of legislation, and that for the benefit of the people they ought to be there working on them. We felt they were sound enough that the average man would appreciate them, that it was a piece of work they didn't finish, and that they ought to come back and finish it.

HESS: All right, this is a very important topic, and it brings up the subject of the unsigned memorandum of June 29, 1948, entitled, "Should the President Call Congress Back." This is found in various


places in the Truman Library. There's a copy of the unsigned memo in Judge Sam Rosenman's papers; there's a copy also in Clark Clifford's papers, and probably elsewhere as well. While you're looking over that, you'll want to notice that the pronoun "we" is used several times. It sounds like a group effort.


HESS: As you know, I left a copy of the memo with you when we met last week. Did you get a chance to look it over?

CHAPMAN: Yes, I read it. This you will notice by its very language; notice it was discussed by a lot of people at the convention, and before then I don't think it would have been discussed any with the President. But I had the feeling that Clark and I had kind of boxed this issue in by each of us separately going to him and expressing to him the importance of calling the Congress back. We felt that it was the right thing to


start with; we felt it was the right thing to do, that these people in that country were entitled to this help that was being given to this legislation, and we felt that they ought to have it.

Now, you remember that piece of legislation to grant some loans to the farmers to build storage tanks, or storage bins to store their wheat and corn in.

HESS: The Commodity Credit Corporation charter.

CHAPMAN: They turned it down, you know, wouldn't loan them the money. Now, Truman really put the heat on that one really hard, both in making his speeches and in his message he sent to Congress on that issue.

HESS: This particular unsigned memo was submitted or was dated well in advance of the convention. The convention was held in the middle of July.



HESS: I have the 1948 volume here, and Mr. Truman's address on accepting the nomination was on July 15th. So this unsigned memo as to whether or not the President should call Congress back was written two or three weeks in advance.

CHAPMAN: You mean, of the convention?

HESS: Of the convention.

CHAPMAN: That’s right.

HESS: He ended his nomination address, his acceptance, by saying:

On the 26th day of July, which out in Missouri we call ‘Turnip Day,’ I am going to call Congress back and ask them to pass laws to halt rising prices, to meet the housing crisis--which they are saying they are for in their platform.

So this was a subject that was brought up well before the convention. But who do you think submitted this memo? Who do you think wrote the unsigned memo?

CHAPMAN: You know, I read this and analyzed it. It


has the language of several people; it looks like their own expressions are in here, but it doesn't look like any one person put this whole thing together. This is the writing of at least two people, if not three. I can't for the life of me figure out who wrote this.

Everything they say in here, Clark and I discussed, talked it over. Now, we didn't begin to try to organize our--I don't like to use the word "pressure"--but we began to organize our energies as to when we should see the President and when we should get this thing organized. You know, when you try to sell the President a program, you've got to remember you've got something to sell this man, you've got to convince him this is the right thing to do. Now, the first thing is, it's important that you understand your man, and if you understand him, you can organize your approach to him better, how to do it.

I felt Clark and I together had--Clark


especially, I gave him credit for that--had especially good contact in a constant flow of give and take with the President, so that he was able to judge his feelings about some of these things extremely well. It was really fantastic, his understanding of the man. He really understood him better than I thought anybody would really. On the other hand, Clark was smart enough that--he was not the head of a department, a Cabinet officer, so he didn't have the staff of a Cabinet officer to call upon the department for different subjects originating in that department for legislation (like this corn and wheat storage program). He might call on Secretary Brannan; he presented and pushed that vigorously. He did a superb job in pushing that issue to the front so that the President was getting the benefit of it, so Charlie kept pouring it on wherever he spoke about it; he would talk about it, and he made a lot of speeches and covered the subject very well.


First, let me say to you, about writing speeches, I never wrote any speeches. I'm not a speechwriter; I've given memoranda for many speeches, but...

HESS: Ideas for what you thought should be included in a speech?

CHAPMAN: That’s right. I’ve given many memoranda. As you know, Clark was in a strategic position with the President to get the message in to him, and a quick answer, one way or the other, whether we could move forward or drop it. He was able to do that very fast, so we worked together in the greatest harmony and the best harmony that I've ever worked with anybody in my life.

Now, I had no advance man with me whatsoever, none at all. I had the White House Secret Service men that follow every President, but strictly on a security basis for the President. I had no advance men to help me on that trip.

HESS: On the June trip?



HESS: You were there by yourself.

CHAPMAN: By myself. And that helped keep it on the phase or understanding that we wanted to get across to the American people. This was a way to talk to the people about the economic problems of the country, and to get their reaction to what was needed, and what they wanted, and what they felt they wanted; and he got a lot of good information back like that, reaction to his trip, of extreme value to him for finishing up his campaign. It just opened the door for the campaign. We didn't consider it a political trip.

Now, let me tell you one other thing that you'll find running through everything you talk about on this June trip. I've had so many people ask me, "Did the organization support you? Did they fix up meetings for you when you'd go to town?" Well, I'd have to say honestly that the answer to that is no. They were not supporting us; they were not giving us any help. The national


committeeman would be out of town, or the chairman's family would be sick or something. The top officials of the party, not in every case now, but in 75 percent of the cases, were out of town when we got there, for some reason. They always made a good excuse to us, but I'd just smile and stuck the little letters in my pocket and put them away and saved them for a rainy day. I save them for the rainy day and they paid for those letters nicely. I had lots of letters to me making apologies, "I can't be in Omaha when you go there," and I got them. Up in California, they were there. They met us.

HESS: What seemed to be the general attitude of the people that you spoke with? Did they think that Mr. Truman would be a successful candidate for the Democrats in 1948 or not?

CHAPMAN: No, no, that was the basis for the whole thing. That was the basis for the apparent coolness, personally, but not really aimed at Truman


personally. It looked like they were, and if you add all these things up that I'm telling you, it looked like they were mad at him or trying to cut his throat. Well, I didn't interpret that they were really as mad at him as I thought they were; they were not. They just did not interpret the picture right.

HESS: They didn't think he could win.

CHAPMAN: They didn't think he could win. They had no idea he could win. I never found a politician from here to the coast that thought he could win, not a one.

HESS: Did very many of them mention other candidates that they thought would be more suitable?

CHAPMAN: This was before the convention in June. Oh, yes, on that trip, they naturally were trying to drop a word in; they had a name they were interested in promoting, they'd drop the name of somebody else, and usually it would be some favorite son. They


didn't have any real candidate. There was no real candidate against him, frankly. The ones that were trying to be a candidate against him just absolutely didn't mean anything. We could knock them over so fast; it just didn't mean anything.

HESS: During the trips that Mr. Truman took in the fall, did you obtain better cooperation from the political leaders in the field than you did in June?

CHAPMAN: Not until after the 15th of October. I began to get a little better warmth and in depth of the people; I was getting more favorable expressions from them.

HESS: But up until that time...

CHAPMAN: Now, I had some assistance, men helping me with those trips later, because it was humanly impossible for one man to take care of a thing like that on a political basis.


HESS: Who helped?

CHAPMAN: Usually always I'd get some man in that area to give me some time. They gave me some time, and they were important people.

HESS: Anyone from Washington go out? Did Donald Dawson, for instance?

CHAPMAN: Oh, yes, Don Dawson went out.

HESS: He was from the White House staff. Did you have anyone from the Democratic National Committee that you used in those matters, as an advance man?

CHAPMAN: Not too effectively. It wasn't as effective.

HESS: Who was it?

CHAPMAN: Well, McGrath was chairman.

HESS: He was chairman.

CHAPMAN: Yes, he was chairman.

HESS: But he wouldn't do this; would he assign someone?


CHAPMAN: He wouldn't do this; you wouldn't expect him to do this.

HESS: He was busy running the Committee.

CHAPMAN: That's right, he was running the headquarters here and trying to raise money. He was doing all he could. He was really working hard.

There was hardly anybody before the latter part of October...

HESS: Well, what happened in the middle of October that changed that?

CHAPMAN: You could begin to feel, the friendliness towards Truman was beginning to show up. It came up slowly after the 15th of October, and then came to its climax just at the right time; it was timed beautifully, the timing of what we did couldn't have been more perfect. Now, you've got to remember, we didn't have anything to throw away. We couldn't lose many votes. We had to hold everyone we could possibly hold,


because we knew it was going to be reasonably close. We didn't think it was going to be a walkaway, but I was convinced we were going to win after the 15th of October.

HESS: Did anything particular happen on that date that made you feel that way?

CHAPMAN: I just kind of spotted the 15th of October; there was no particular day, other than that was about the time that I could look back and see, that was when the beginning of the good will began to show up. I was getting better cooperation from the organization people; they were beginning to come through with support.

You've got to remember, you're running in a campaign with Strom Thurmond, South Carolina, on the extreme right; and Henry Wallace on the Progressive ticket from the extreme left. Wallace took enough votes in New York that he cost us New York, and I knew that the organization in


New York really was not helping us very much, with any enthusiasm anyway. So, I was convinced personally (I didn't tell this to anybody), but I personally wrote New York off.

HESS: You wrote them off.

CHAPMAN: I did. I steered some money from going up there that they were going to send the last week, and I persuaded them from sending it to them.

HESS: What seemed to be the main problem with the Democratic organization in New York?

CHAPMAN: Well, you've got to understand New York to understand what this is. They're the greatest experienced people with trading you ever saw. They can trade candidates so easily from one party to the other up there.

HESS: They have the Liberal party in New York.

CHAPMAN: Well, you've got that, you see, which is a


leverage against the old party organization man, we'll say, who thinks heavily on the other side of the picture, and was not sympathetic to the President. Now, the liberal group was sympathetic to us.

HESS: I understand that when Mr. Truman spoke at Madison Square Garden on the windup trip, that Madison Square Garden was rented for Mr. Truman by the Liberal party and not by the Democratic Party organization. Do you recall that?

CHAPMAN: That's right.

HESS: He received more support from the Liberal party than from the local Democratic Party.

CHAPMAN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. If we had gotten the same support from the Party as we did from the Liberal party, we would have been able to carry the state anyhow, in spite of it.

HESS: In spite of Henry Wallace?


CHAPMAN: Yes. Now, Henry took half a million votes, approximately a half a million. That was just enough to knock us off there in New York.

HESS: I have that here. Wallace got--you were very close--509,559. So you're only a little over 9,000 votes off. Dewey got 2,841,163. Mr. Truman got 2,780,204. So they were very close. If it hadn't been for Wallace, Mr. Truman would have taken New York with its 47 electoral votes.


HESS: What plans were formulated to try to counter the effects of Henry Wallace and the Progressive Party?

CHAPMAN: Nothing special that you just wouldn't do as a normal thing.

Here's a man that's speaking out on some liberal things, and some of them were not thought out adequately enough to go to the public and try to explain it to them, to tell them, "This is


what I'm going to do if I'm President."

Wallace, to me, was a very good man; at heart, he was a very good man. He was hurt, like most humans would be when they get disappointed, and he had been disappointed that he didn't have anything going. But he couldn't stay with Truman and say the things he was saying in his speeches; he just couldn't do it. No President can keep a Cabinet officer and let him say what he pleases about everything. You've got to stay within the realm of reasonable association with the President.

Now, Wallace thought he had a good liberal program that would attract largely middle class people. That was exactly the group we got ourselves. All that he got was the extreme liberals. When I call them extreme, they were the extreme liberal voters.

HESS: Do you think we could use the word Communists?

CHAPMAN: No, I don't think that would be quite accurate, because you had many people in there--I think


Wallace was taken in by the Communists in that, but they were not the principal supporters necessarily of Wallace. They supported him and they sponsored him wherever they could, and they did anything they could to embarrass the President. Their main purpose was to hurt Truman; they didn't care what happened to Wallace. He didn't see that; he didn't know that. I tried to tell him.

HESS: You did? Did you speak to him about this matter?

CHAPMAN: I did. I was very close to Wallace, we were very good friends, and I could talk to him very frankly.

HESS: What did he say?

CHAPMAN: I told him; this was in the presence of Helen Fuller and Bill Walton. He was at the luncheon that we had at his house. It was in Georgetown somewhere. And Helen Fuller set up


the lunch. She was a newspaperwoman. She did a lot of writing for the left. I knew her very well and she knew me. She wanted me to meet William Walton. I knew him personally, this artist, painter. He was very close to the Kennedy group afterwards. He didn't say he was acting on Wallace's instructions or on his word, but he left it to appear that he was speaking for himself to see if I would consider managing Wallace's campaign. I said, "That would depend upon which party you run him on." I said, "I'm not going off on any third party, because they're not going anywhere; they're not ready for that yet. The country's not in the mood for a third party. You may think they are, but I don't think so.

HESS: This was before the convention?

CHAPMAN: Yes, this was before the convention. Helen Fuller was there. She heard him make this offer to me, and we discussed finances a little bit. I could see that they had no real financial


program organized. What they had was a lot of wishful thinking. Wallace, beyond any question, had discussed it with Helen and this man about trying to get me to manage him, because I'd been real friendly with him at a time when he was at odds with the White House.

I felt Wallace could be saved for the cause. I felt he could be brought around, but I was mistaken. He was so deeply dedicated to issues and things that he thought were better for the country than what we were doing. Now, he was so wrong on some of these issues that he was talking about at that time, that he couldn't have gained any widespread support for that in this country at that time. You see, there's a time for everything,

HESS: What issues do you have in mind?

CHAPMAN: Well, for instance, in '48 Wallace was trying to press a--I don't know how you would interpret this--he was trying to press for a


closer relationship to Russia, which you and I could say, "That's fine, we ought to have a closer relationship," but you can't give away your information to the Russian people, any of them, about what you're doing. You've got to keep confidential certain things. Wallace was pressing that all the time.

HESS: He had been pressing that for a number of years. As you will recall, his speech in Madison Square Garden in September of 1946 was on that subject, greater accommodation and improving our relations with Russia.

CHAPMAN: Now, it was all right to say that once and get it on record that you were for better relations with Russia, but he should not have kept going back to Truman and trying to pressure Truman. You can't pressure him; you can talk to him, but you can't pressure him, and he can tell in five minutes when you're putting a high-pressure job on him. He can tell whether he thinks you are


sincerely mistaken and you're leading off on the wrong trail. He could tell. He could judge people. He was one of the greatest men for judging people that I ever saw, interpreting their political philosophy and their feelings politically about other people.

HESS: There are a number of historians today who think that in those years, '45, '46, ‘47 and '48, we should have improved our relations with Russia, and had a closer accommodation with Russia.

CHAPMAN: A lot of people did. There were a lot of people who felt that way.

HESS: And many people feel that way today, many historians who are writing today. What is your view; should we have done things differently than we did?

CHAPMAN: No, no. There were a few things that we probably could have done to improve our relationship.


HESS: What?

CHAPMAN: It was a question of timing on when we did certain things and when we didn't do certain things. Now, I am not a State Department expert on any of these things, when you start talking about what was said or done at the wrong time or place by Truman. But I got the impression at that time, now it may have been influenced partly by Wallace's constant talking to me about it, but I felt that there were certain things we should do. Just offhand, I can't think of them now in detail as to what they were, but my thought was to do the normal things that would put us on a normal diplomatic relationship with Russia, if we could. But, as you know, Harriman went over to Russia and did a very good job. I think Harriman did one of the best jobs we had in Russia for thirty years.

HESS: All right. Some people say that the June 29, 1948 unsigned memo is a product of the Oscar


Ewing-Clark Clifford group that used to meet each Monday night at the Wardman Park Hotel.

CHAPMAN: I think that could be as true as anything I can think of.

HESS: Other people say that it may have been a product of the Research Division of the Democratic National Committee. That was set up by Bill Batt, Johannes Hoeber, Kenneth Birkhead, Philip Dreyer and others.

CHAPMAN: Yes, now that well could be their memo. It has some of the language that Bill Batt used.

HESS: It is dated June 29th. That was about two weeks before the convention opened. Did you speak to Clifford after that time, after June 29th?

CHAPMAN: Oh, yes.

HESS: Closer to the convention.



HESS: This is when you brought up the subject with Clifford?

CHAPMAN: Yes it was.

HESS: Do you know if before the President's announcement there at the convention hall in Philadelphia when he was making his speech early in the morning, 2 o'clock in the morning, and he made the announcement, do you know if he had cleared that announcement with the leaders of the Democratic Party? Had he talked to Sam Rayburn, for instance, to let Sam Rayburn know that he was planning on calling Congress back?

CHAPMAN: I can't say for sure that he did. My answer is going to be based upon what I interpreted out of what I knew to be a certain relationship there. The President and Sam had a very good relationship, and they could talk very frankly, and Sam was there at the convention. I had a feeling that he had talked to Sam.


HESS: Vice President Barkley?


HESS: At that time, Senator Barkley?

CHAPMAN: Senator Barkley then. I had a feeling that he had talked to Sam and possibly Johnson.

HESS: This is a question that interests historians. And possibly Johnson?

CHAPMAN: Because Johnson had helped him a great deal, although Johnson was one of those who leaned over backwards when he asked. He didn't think he was going to win. I don't think Johnson thought Truman was going to win. I shouldn't say that as a positive statement, but I have a feeling that he probably thought that. But so many people did, it's understandable.

HESS: I'm going to have to ask which Johnson?

CHAPMAN: President Johnson.


HESS: Lyndon Johnson. At this time in '48?


HESS: I didn't know that he was considered that influential in 1948 that the President would be clearing things with him at that time.

CHAPMAN: He didn't necessarily clear anything with him, but the President felt that Johnson had an unusually keen political feel for a situation, and. he did have.

HESS: When did he first come to Congress anyway, 1937? He was a member of the House of Representatives for a number of years.

CHAPMAN: He came here while Roosevelt was here. He came to the House, you see.

HESS: He first was in the House.

CHAPMAN: He first was in the House, and then Roosevelt got him to run for the Senate.


HESS: Is that right?

CHAPMAN: Yes, I know that to be a fact. I know that he asked him to run. Sam Rayburn was a real mentor of Johnson's, always had been. He guided his political steps in bringing him into Washington all the way through. Sam had helped him in every detail, in every way. Johnson wouldn't turn his hands on a political question without checking with Sam Rayburn, and that lasted as long as Sam lived. Johnson never made an important decision of anything that would come within the range of Congress at all that he didn't get clearance or discuss it with Sam.

I want to clarify--and I think this is a good place to do it--as to how Barkley got nominated. We discussed the last time a good deal about Bill Douglas and some other prospective candidates for President. We did not discuss Barkley at the time, but Barkley was counting on that Vice Presidency with Truman and I could


tell it, I could just feel it in my bones when I talked to him.

HESS: Why do you think he wanted the nomination in 1948? Many people thought Mr. Truman was going to lose.

CHAPMAN: Well, Barkley didn't think he was going to lose. Barkley was one of the few that--well, let's put it this way, "Whether he loses or wins, I may be of some help to him, to the ticket and to the Party, and I'll take it." He was doing something there that he really believed in all of his life, that a man ought to help his party's candidate. He felt he could give some unique help to the party, and he did.

HESS: Do you think that Mr. Barkley would have liked to have run in the top spot?

CHAPMAN: Yes, he would.

HESS: Did you talk to him about that?


CHAPMAN: Not really.

HESS: What did he have to say? What were his feelings on that?

CHAPMAN: Well, he would always say, "Well, you'll have to just wait and catch the mood of that convention, see what they're going to do."

Here's what he was counting on and he was playing his marbles absolutely straight. Barkley was convinced that he could pull one more political speech out of the hat that could turn that convention around. Now, he had analyzed the delegates there, who they were and all, better than any man in Philadelphia. There wasn't a man in that convention that understood the overall complexion of that convention as well as Barkley did.

HESS: They say that his keynote address secured for him the Vice Presidential spot. It was a very good keynote address. It put some fire into an otherwise very dead convention.


CHAPMAN: That's right.

HESS: Do you think that he had in mind at that time that if he gave a very good address he might get the top spot?

CHAPMAN: That was what he counted on as his key to get into that convention.

HESS: It was his keynote address?

CHAPMAN: Yes. He was convinced that he could turn that convention around with a real top speech, and from an orator's point of view, it was one of the best I've ever heard. It was not an intellectual speech in the sense that he was trying to be an Adlai Stevenson.

They are two different types of men. Stevenson could sway the convention if the country was in a certain mood, a certain condition; he couldn't otherwise. But Barkley, that convention was made for Barkley; it was just made for him. They were all mixed up; they were all for different candidates.


I was pushing Senator O’Mahoney. If Barkley hadn’t made that speech I would have gotten him nominated.