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
May 5, 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
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Harry S. Truman Library
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Oral History Interview with
Oscar L. Chapman
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
have broken down the whole picture that Clifford and I were trying to
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
Now, normally, he wouldn't get his name even in the press if hed 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
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
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
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
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
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
CHAPMAN: You mean, of the convention?
HESS: Of the convention.
CHAPMAN: Thats 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
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: Thats right. Ive 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
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,
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
HESS: Did anything particular happen on that date that made you feel
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
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
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
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
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
CHAPMAN: No, no. There were a few things that we probably could have
done to improve our relationship.
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,
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
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 OMahoney. If Barkley hadnt made that
speech I would have gotten him nominated.