Breadcrumb

Clark M. Clifford Oral History Interview, May 10, 1971

Oral History Interview with
CLARK M. CLIFFORD

Assistant to White House Naval Aide, 1945-46; Special Counsel to the President, 1946-50.

Washington, D. C.
May 10, 1971
by Jerry N. Hess

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Clifford Oral History Transcripts | List of Subjects Discussed]


Notice
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened April, 1977
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Clifford Oral History Transcripts | List of Subjects Discussed | Top of the Page]



[171]

HESS: To begin this afternoon, Mr. Clifford, just a short question, and as the man who held the top position in the Department of Defense, I'd like to ask your opinion of the possibility, or feasibility, of the separation of powers between the two major departments, the Department of State and the Department of Defense. And it seems to me, that decisions made by the Department of State, bring about a situation where the Department of Defense is brought in to back up those decisions, and sometimes the Department of Defense almost makes foreign policy. Can a neat, straight line be drawn between the responsibilities of those two major departments?

CLIFFORD: My experience would indicate that it cannot. The fact is I have given some consideration

[172]

to recommending to a President at some state, that a study be made to determine whether a "super secretary" shouldn't be placed over the two departments which are then maintained in substantially the same form as they are now.

The degree of cooperation between the two must be very close. Oftentimes, in my experience, the Defense Department feels that the State Department moves so ponderously, and so lethargicly, that some better system should be devised. Also, and this looks at it just from the standpoint of Defense, it is felt that State operates so in the course of tradition that it prevents as much flexibility as is needed.

Now, I doubt the wisdom of combining the two departments because Defense is so enormous and the administrative task there is no great. But I believe that a new secretary post might some day be created to whom both the Secretary

[173]

of Defense and the Secretary of State report; that individual would be the person that the President of the United States would hold responsible for foreign policy and national security policy. Some means must be devised to make that operation a smoother more integrated type of operation than it is now. Sometimes, as you suggest, State will make policy in an area which Defense thinks that it is the most important factor; Defense will sometimes make policies that have an enormous impact on State, and they won't consult State at all.

A quick illustration: I think State should be taken in on the discussion of new weapon systems, because State could be very valuable in saying, "Well, let's don't give any attention now to new weapons systems for fighting jungle wars, because our longrange planners in the State Department don't believe we're going to get involved in any more jungle wars." State's

[174]

really never consulted in that area.

What the "super secretary" is called makes no difference, but there is the need for a higher authority so that the decisions of State and Defense can be ordered with a clear recognition of the interests of each department.

HESS: And there were times during the Truman administration when even the Department of Commerce got into the foreign policy act. What do you recall about the difficulties that befell Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace in September of 1946?

CLIFFORD: Well, that came awfully early in the Truman administration, before machinery had been devised which would prevent incidents of that kind. Later, I think the machinery was established by President Truman, which certainly

[175]

made it much less likely that an occurrence of that sort would take place. I recall it generally, and others will have more detail.

Henry Wallace was Secretary of Commerce; President Truman liked him. He was a sincere, patriotic American, who had different ideas from some of the rest of us at the time. He had come from a farm state, and he and President Truman had a good deal in common.

Secretary Wallace had agreed to make a speech at Madison Square Garden, and he came over to President Truman's office and indicated the type of speech that he was to give.

HESS: Did he have the draft with him on that occasion?

CLIFFORD: I was not present at the meeting. My recollection of it is that he brought a draft of the speech along with him. I understood that

[176]

he said to President Truman, "I have here a draft of a speech that I'm going to make later this week in New York at Madison Square Garden. The substance of it is so and so." And he sort of thumbed through the speech, and gave President Truman a general description of the content of the speech. I think that President Truman indicated in some manner that it sounded perfectly appropriate to him.

As a result, I think Secretary Wallace left with the feeling that he had cleared the speech with President Truman, which really was not correct.

Wallace went ahead and made the speech, and the roof fell in; the speech definitely intruded into the area of foreign policy. I have some recollection that Secretary of State Byrnes was away at the time. I think he was in Paris, but after he heard the report of the speech and

[177]

saw the treatment it received in the papers, he was either on the phone with President Truman or in touch by teletype. He was outraged by the speech.

It was a pretty serious time as far as the two men were concerned, because I never had the feeling that as a team they were working together any too smoothly anyway. It was a serious setback to the effective and smooth operation of our Government at the time.

HESS: At the time that Mr. Wallace came in, you personally did not read the draft, is that right?

CLIFFORD: I did not read the draft. I know that no one read it because, in discussing the incident with the President afterwards, he was very clear on the fact that a real gap had occurred. We then put into operation a rule that if someone

[178]

brought over a speech, or called the President to tell about a speech, President Truman would say, "Send a draft of the speech over here." And that was then done. He would pass it on to one of us to read and we would get a crack at it. So, as far as I can remember, that particular mistake did not ever occur again.

And I'll tell you something else that President Truman learned from that and from two or three other incidents. Sometimes a Cabinet member would come over and explain orally a course of action that he was going to take. And in the early days President Truman would say, "Well, that sounds all right to me," and the man would go ahead and do it. After a while President Truman said, "Submit a memo to me and I would like to consider that," and then the Cabinet officer would send the memo over. President Truman would submit it to the staff

[179]

and we might have a discussion of it. More than half the time it was something that President Truman wasn't in accord with, and he would then inform the Cabinet officer. Out of the Wallace incident, there thus came a change in operation of the White House that was very much to the good.

HESS: That gave the staff time to reflect and to think about what needed to be done.

CLIFFORD: Right. President Truman did not have time, not does any President have time to read all of this material. By having the person send over drafts of the speech or a memorandum of what they intended to do, somebody could read it and point out to the President what was in it that he should know. I think we prevented a number of serious misadventures from occurring after that incident.

HESS: In Volume I of Mr. Truman's Memoirs he has a

[180]

letter to "Mama and Mary," one of his letters home, and I won't read it all by any means, but in it he refers to the firing of Henry Wallace and says:

Charlie Ross said I'd shown that I'd rather be right than President, and I told him I'd rather be anything than President. My good counselor, Clark Clifford, who took Sam Rosenman's place, said, "Please don't say that." Of course Clark, Charlie and all the rest of my good friends are thinking in terms of 1948--and I am not.
An observation: Are you aware that this reference in Volume I, and the reference to your participation in the meeting, and the review of the twenty-one point message in 1945, which we have covered, are the only two times which you are mentioned in Mr. Truman's Memoirs?

CLIFFORD: I was not conscious of that fact.

HESS: It surprised me when I saw that in the index. Does it surprise you as one of his--one of the

[181]

top members of the staff to find that you are only mentioned twice in the Memoirs?

CLIFFORD: No, because a staff member to a President does not expect to attain any particular place in history through the occupying of that position. You are there to serve the President.

President Roosevelt expressed it very well when he said he wanted staff members who had a passion for anonymity.

Now, the press does not permit that to happen, because they're interested in the men around the President. And so, some of us received a substantial amount of publicity; all staff members do. But when a President writes his Memoirs I don't believe that any President refers at any length to his staff men, because they really do not constitute an independent opinion or even an independent

[182]

individual. They become part and parcel of the Office of the President.

When people ask me did I write speeches for President Truman, I say invariably, "I worked on the President's speeches. I would talk with him and get his idea; I would do research and I would prepare drafts. In the end they became the President's speeches." And that same theory applies to any other type of service that an assistant would render to a President.

Now, on the other hand, a Cabinet member is in an entirely different position and a President, in writing his Memoirs, will very likely refer at considerable length to his contact with a Cabinet member. That person is a separate individual and the position he holds is set by law. By comparison, many of the White House staff positions are just created by the

[183]

President. The staff members merge their identity, their personality, their very being into that of a President.

HESS: All right, one brief question relative to your memorandum on Soviet Russia that appears in Arthur Krock's book as Appendix A. Were there other times that you worked on contingency plans of this nature concerning other countries? Was this something that was discussed in the higher levels of Government? What should we do if England takes certain action? What should we do if Germany takes certain actions? What should we do if China takes certain actions? Did you work up similar memos on other countries?

CLIFFORD: I did not. I think there's a reason for that. Memoranda on other countries as far as the President was concerned would fall clearly within the province of the State Department.

[184]

That's where the experts were located and if some problem came up with reference to China, or Japan, or whatever the country might be, they had experts.

I remember at one stage for instance, the State Department prepared a so-called "White Paper" on China that set forth the whole background of the relationship where we were and what we might expect in the future. The President was very clear that that was all within the province of the State Department.

Now, if you will give special consideration to what he wanted when he talked to me about this in the spring of 1946, you will see that this was really not a State Department function. What he wanted was the opinions of the top senior personnel, all through the Government, and not just the State Department. He wanted it to be much broader than that.

[185]

There was only one other major power in the world at that time, and that was the Soviet Union. After the war was over, no one else had the strength that would constitute any threat to us at all. The fact is, in my opinion, that continues down to the present day. There is only one other power in the world today that is a threat to the United States, and that's the Soviet Union. That's the way it was in 1946, and that's the way it is now, twenty-five years later.

Our whole preoccupation at the time was with the Soviet Union--what was our future to be as far as the Soviet Union was concerned and was there some possibility of building a relationship based upon the fact that we were allies during the Second World War? That's why it was clear in my mind that the President said, "I want a broad panorama of opinion from

[186]

our senior men in Government about where we go from here with the Soviet Union.

He did not say this, but he clearly didn't want just some Soviet expert in the State Department to get up a memo. He already knew how they felt. He wanted War, and Navy, and Justice and Admiral Leahy, and the State Department, and anybody else whose activities in any way impinged upon our relationship with the Soviet Union to join in this major senior study. Our relationship was developing at the time so that I think he just said, "Well, this is the way I want it done and this is the fellow I want to do it."

HESS: All right, let's take up the subject of the group of liberals that met at the Wardman Park Hotel in late 1946 and early 1947, whenever it was, until the time of the election, describing in many books as the Ewing-Clifford group. When

[187]

was it set up, why, and by whom?

CLIFFORD: I cannot recall the exact date. I'm sure somebody who has explored it and written it would remember it. I came into the position of Special Counsel on June 1, 1946, and my guess is that sometime toward the end of that year, or the beginning of ‘47, the group was organized.

It was organized by Oscar Ewing who then held a position in the Government. Interestingly enough, he was a New York lawyer who had come out of the old Chief Justice [Charles Evans] Hughes law firm, a very conservative New York law firm that represented the large corporate clients. But Oscar Ewing was a basic, living, breathing liberal, and was a very valuable man to have in Government. He had the feeling that there were these forces and influences operating within the Administration, and that to some extent the liberals were at a disadvantage.

[188]

We knew that there were men in the Administration who were close to the President, who were taking a conservative line. There was a good deal of feeling in a number of areas at the time that the Roosevelt administration had gone so far in its twelve years of constant liberal attitude that the time had come for the Administration to be more conservative. And from time to time events took place which caused considerable concern on the part of those in the Administration.

Jack Ewing organized the group; we met maybe every other Monday evening at his apartment at dinner. We talked, and out of the group that he organized, I think, came the major impact of liberal thinking on the Truman administration in ‘47 and '48.

HESS: Who do you recall as being present at the meetings?

[189]

CLIFFORD: Well, Oscar Ewing was always there; Leon Keyserling as an economist; a man named [David A.] Morse who was in the Labor Department; a man named [C. Girard] Davidson, who came out of the Interior Department. Later on I have the feeling that Charlie Murphy of the White House staff came in; Oscar Ewing's son would sit in the meetings from time to time; and there must have been a couple of others.

HESS: Who chose the participants?

CLIFFORD: Oscar Ewing. Oscar Ewing chose them and then it may be after the nucleus was organized (maybe there were four of us) we discussed who else might be brought in. My recollection is that we ended up with meetings in which there were six or seven or eight of us.

And one interesting fact: the group's existence was never known until after the election

[190]

was over in November of 1948. It was one of the best kept secrets. Ther'e was no reason why it should be known. If it had become a matter of public knowledge, the effectiveness of the group would have been adversely affected, and I think we all understood that.

The group was invaluable to me. I was dealing with problems on behalf of the President week in and week out, and to have a group with whom I could discuss these problems in complete confidentiality, and in the knowledge that they were working towards the same goal that I was, made it very valuable.

Also it was clear to the group that I was as important to the group as the group was to me, because I was their link with the President. It wouldn't do the group much good to arrive at conclusions on major issues of the day unless they felt that those views could be presented to

[191]

the President.

HESS: To what extent did political expediency and the winning of the next election influence the views of the members?

CLIFFORD: I think it influenced them quite a lot.

HESS: Was that the main thing you had in mind?

CLIFFORD: I believe not. I believe that when it started there was a very real embroglio within the administration, and it was generally known that there was a conservative-liberal struggle going on. I think that the original idea was that this was the way to promote the interest of those in the administration who believed that the liberal principles should continue to guide the Truman administration.

Now, that's the basis on which I believe it began. I would say that within a period of a

[192]

few months the political overtones of these decisions began to become apparent and we were clear beyond any question in recognizing the fact that through ‘47, as the record was being made, it would either make a contribution to ‘48 or be a burden to ‘48. By the time we got into 1948, obviously, every decision made at that particular time had some political connotation.

HESS: Do you recall if Oscar Chapman ever attended any of these meetings? And why I ask, he is usually regarded as a leading liberal of the period.

CLIFFORD: There were a number of leading liberals of the period who were not included in the group. I would suppose if you pick the the leading liberals of the period, none of them were 'in the group.

During part of that time Chapman was Under

[193]

Secretary of Interior, and then he became Secretary of Interior. That would be a little too high up for this group. We had a man from Interior.

HESS: Davidson.

CLIFFORD: Davidson would represent the liberal view on all questions involving Interior; and there are a good many questions regarding our public parks and preservation of Government lands. There are a number of liberal-conservative issues that involve Interior.

But this was not an effort to select leading professional liberals. In the first place you could never have kept it quiet. In the second place here was a group that worked together, developed together, and were being effective together. And we didn't have to go out to bring in the publicly known liberals.

[194]

HESS: All right, just a short quote from Cabell Phillips' book. This is on page 163:

These imperatives called for a liberal approach to the domestic problems of the nation. But this was not a liberalism focused on poverty and inequality, as in the New Deal. Rather, it was liberalism focused on the creation and equitable distribution of abundance, which now loomed as an attainable reality. What this group sought, in a word, was political implementation of the theory of a constantly expanding economy.
And when my eyes hit "constantly expanding economy," that was one of the favorite theories of Leon Keyserling, correct, who was one of the members?

CLIFFORD: Yes, and there's a background to this that's really quite interesting. I'll comment on it briefly. When the Second World War ended, our economists and the persons in important government positions felt that we would go through the usual recession, or sag, in the economy that follows every war. We had done it every time before, and real efforts were being made to

[195]

prevent that from happening.

Well, it turned out it never really occurred. The basic reason for that was that for a long period of time we had had wage and price control. The whole industrial effort was going into the enormous task of winning the war.

You may remember for instance that President Roosevelt said what this country must do was produce 50,000 planes. People were staggered by that. We did that many times over; the ships that we produced, the guns, the artillery, the submarines, were an enormous accomplishment. But all during that period a very large public demand began to build up for consumer goods so that as the various restrictions on our economic effort were removed, this long, backedup consumer demand began to evidence itself.

Months after the war, we began to find out that here was the making of a whole new period

[196]

of prosperity. What this group wanted to do was to make every effort it could to see that that prosperity was participated in by all and not by just a favored few.

One of the expressions, I remember we used repeatedly, illustrates the point. We were opposed to what was known as the "trickle down" theory. The old idea of economy was that there is a selected group at the top who participate to a major extent in the prosperity of the country, and through their largess and beneficence, some of that is permitted to trickle down to the masses. We were opposed to that concept. We wanted to build the prosperity of the country with the widest possible participation by ordinary people. Now, that sounds easy now, but no one knew what lay ahead. The conservatives didn't want to approach it that way at all.

[197]

I remember at a debate one time (and I'm not going to mention his name) in the Cabinet Room amongst senior advisers of President Truman. At the time there was a serious wage struggle going on. One of his senior advisers, a Cabinet member, spoke up and said, "These people have had enough. They don't know how to spend if they got any more." Well, it just showed the kind of conflict that was going on.

The thrust of the Ewing group was in domestic areas. Economy was very important, civil rights was also very important. The major tenets and bases of a liberal approach were prepared and discussed. We oftentimes would get up papers so that we would have an opportunity of presenting these liberal approaches since the President was constantly being exposed to conservative influences.

Now, it is everlastingly to President Truman's credit

[198]

that his basic inclinations were along liberal lines, or I think the group never would have succeeded. But the President understood quite well the attitude of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Bankers Association. He knew pretty well what position those groups were going to take. That was not the position that appealed to him.

HESS: You think Mr. Truman was basically a liberal?

CLIFFORD: I think he was.

HESS: Well, Mr. Phillips seems to be a little bit puzzled about that and I'll just read two lines.

CLIFFORD: All right.

HESS: And in speaking of the influences that were at work on Mr. Truman, both from the liberal

[199]

and conervative side, Mr. Phillips says:

Where did Truman stand in this ideological crossfire? No one was quite certain, including Truman himself.
Do you think Mr. Truman was confused in his own mind as to where he stood?

CLIFFORD: I don't believe he was confused. In retrospect, it's really quite simple to determine what was the liberal position and what was the conservative position. Oftentimes it's very difficult at the time to know that. Problems arise and there is a difference of opinion among his advisers and, ultimately, the President has to make the decision.

Now, these disputes are not labeled for a President. His advisers don't troop in and here's a group with white hats sitting on this end of the table, and they're the liberals; and then there's a group of black hats over here and they're the conservatives.

[200]

HESS: Both groups think they have the white hats, don't they?

CLIFFORD: Both groups think they have, and at many times those who I knew to be conservatives would feel that they were presenting what was the true liberal position.

Any President goes through issue after issue, at the time, without having it in such clear delineation that he can say, "Well, this is right and this is wrong."

As we look back twenty years later, that becomes relatively simple. I think that what Cabell Phillips says is that on many issues President Truman did not have a clear opinion of the action he was going to take until it had all been talked and argued and debated out before him. That's the way our Presidency worked, and that's the way it should work.

[201]

HESS: Who was the principal, or the leading conservative adviser on the White House staff?

CLIFFORD: I would say John Steelman was probably the leading conservative on the staff. We've already spoken about the' fact that I think Secretary of the Treasury Snyder was unquestionably the leader of the conservatives in the Cabinet.

HESS: How did you try to counter some of the advice that Mr. Steelman may have been giving to the President? If he gave some advice that you thought was far too conservative, just how did you set out to change President Truman's mind?

CLIFFORD: There would be various ways. Oftentimes the subject would come up for discussion in the presence of the President. And he would state his position; I would state mine. We would have an opportunity to engage in a dialogue in the

[202]

presence of the President so that he would have the benefit of that.

In other instances, as the subject might come up, I might have the chance to see the President alone on it. He might at some other stage have the opportunity of seeing the President alone.

There was no formal, rigid, institutionalized plan of presenting your views to the President. He ran an informal White House. And oftentimes at our early morning meetings (we met at 8:30 every morning), a subject would come up. There were five or six of us at those meetings, and anybody could speak up who chose to.

I followed the practice after awhile of going in at the end of the day with some item, and seeing President Truman. After a little while it became almost a custom. And I utilized that opportunity, I think, very effectively. It

[203]

would be the end of the day and he was a little more relaxed. We might look at what had gone on that day and then I could get in my blows on behalf of the position that I thought was right for him to take.

HESS: Whose viewpoint do you think that the President came to accept, yours or Dr. Steelman's?

CLIFFORD: I don't believe it becomes that clear.

I think as time goes on, the areas of differentiation between our views have a tendency to narrow.

If President Truman was definitly taking the liberal course, more often than he took the conservative course, that in itself would have a tendency to affect Dr. Steelman's views. So I would only say to you that during those two years in which the struggle went on, ‘47 and ‘48, by a very substantial margin, the liberal view succeeded over the conservative view.

[204]

HESS: We have used the terms liberal and conservative, just what is liberalism?

CLIFFORD: I believe that in the sense in which I'm using it, it is the differentiation between a concern over the welfare of the many, as opposed to the concern over the welfare of the privileged few; and that.'s where the real debate took place.

For instance we had a whale of an argument over the Taft-Hartley law. The business interests in the country got behind the Taft-Hartley bill and had it passed. It put a real crimp into the power of labor. Then the question came up as to whether or not that was to be vetoed, and there was a real argument over that. President Truman made the decision to veto the Taft-Hartley Act and I think he made it wisely. There were any number of instances in which there were disputes between business and labor and generally

[205]

he came down on the side of business.

In addition, there are questions about education, that is educating the mass of our people. There's a question of the health of our people, and there's the question about housing for our people. These are all liberal-conservative issues. There's the question of civil rights; that's a liberal-conservative issue. I'm using the word in that sense.

HESS: Why do you take the liberal view? You are a very wealthy man.

CLIFFORD: I would say that I grew up in the liberal tradition, and I see no antithetical posture to taking the liberal view and still working hard to meet the economic exigencies of the day. You can be comforted by the fact that you can leave your family in very comfortable surroundings if anything happens to you. I

[206]

don't find that anything that is . . .

HESS: Have you ever heard that old saying that you can tell where a man changes parties from Democrat to Republican by taking a look at his bank balance and seeing when he gets so much money?

CLIFFORD: Yes, I've heard of that, but I don't think there's anything inconsistent in being wealthy and liberal. We've had any number of liberals who've been men of very substantial means. Franklin Roosevelt is looked upon as one of the leading liberals of this administration. He was born into wealth. One of our top Democrats who has taken a liberal stand for the last forty years is Averell Harriman, a man of very substantial means. I grew up, as I say, in a liberal tradition.

The uncle after whom I was named, Clark

[207]

McAdams, was a liberal, crusading editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was my mother's eldest brother, and the whole family held him in high regard. As time went on, as a young lawyer I gravitated toward the liberal side.

I was a natural Democrat. As I went into this extraordinary opportunity into the White House I could have been one or the other, but it never entered my mind to urge the conservative position on the President. It was just inconsistent with my whole background.

HESS: Moving on to another subject: Do you recall if President Truman offered to step aside for General Eisenhower if the General would accept the Democratic nomination while he, Mr. Truman, would take the number two position as Vice President in 1948?

CLIFFORD: I have never known the exact details of that story.

HESS: It is as related in Cabell Phillips' book, page 196?

[208]

CLIFFORD: Right.

HESS: If anyone wants to look it up.

CLIFFORD: I have heard it mentioned. I heard it mentioned at the time.

If President Truman chose to keep a particular matter in his own confidence, then it would be presumptuous on the part of a staff member to question the President about it.

So, I think the President during that period, in that regard, very much kept his own counsel.

I believe that he was concerned over the possibility that the Republican conservative, or even reactionary forces, could get control of the Government. He thought that would be a calamity. And he was a very modest man. He had followed this great figure of FDR and I think he had the feeling that if he could help the Democratic Party find a man who could win,

[209]

that President Truman would be rendering the greatest service that he could render to the country.

I do not know the details of his talk with General Eisenhower. I proceed on the assumption that he must have explored it with General Eisenhower, and I believe that General Eisenhower must obviously have been greatly flattered by it. I think at that particular stage, he and President Truman were friends and they got along well. President Truman had a very real respect and regard for him. I do not know what General Eisenhower's opinion was of President Truman, but in any event, it is my information that those talks didn't lead anywhere. And there were others talking to General Eisenhower, representatives of business, representatives of conservative groups and so forth.

I do remember at one time, just to illustrate the point, that before the convention in 1948

[210]

in Philadelphia, the ADA made known the fact, or it became known, that they had approached General Eisenhower to find out if he would accept the Democratic nomination. If he said yes then they were going to go to work for him.

And that was, to me, one of the most revealing incidents that occurred. Here was President Truman who had met every liberal test that existed in that period. He had fought for the people economically, he had fought for housing, he had fought for civil rights, and he had fought for labor. It was one of the finest liberal records that a President had and here was supposedly the professional liberal organization who demonstrated their true colors. They weren't interested in a liberal candidate; they were interested in the candidate who they thought could win. And obviously, they knew nothing about what General Eisenhower's political opinions were.

[211]

Before General Eisenhower left the military service, I think I remember him telling me one time that he had never voted. He had never become a member of a political party.

I remember a speech he made one time, perhaps while he was still a General, in which he said that those people who are so concerned about security might well think of the value of jail; that gives you complete security. It seems to me that he made that speech down in West Virginia or someplace like that.

What President Truman had been concerned about was the security of our people as they got old: Social insurance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, old age benefits. And at that time I don't think General Eisenhower had any real understanding of those problems. I never have really been convinced that President Truman went the whole way in trying to persuade

[212]

General Eisenhower to become a Democrat and run for the Presidency. I think President Truman was too devoted to basic liberal principles to take that kind of chance.

Now, that's my own private opinion.

HESS: In the matter of ADA support of General Eisenhower, I have read that part of the reason behind that was just the feeling that they still held it against Mr. Truman because he was in office and not Franklin Roosevelt.

CLIFFORD: I think that's part of it. They had always had access to a President, and they wanted that to continue. And they just felt that there was no possibility for President Truman to win.

HESS: Now, moving on to a very interesting subject, and that is the subject of the memo of November the 19th, 1947. And Mr. Phillips says on page 197:

[213]

Late in November of 1947, Clifford put in the President's hands a 40-page analysis of the status of,Truman and the Democratic Party that should rank as one of the great dissertations on the art of politics. It did not promise Mr. Truman he could win. What it did do was cut down to size some of the mountainous imponderables of his situation and to suggest that he did not have to lose.
Mr. Phillips has the wrong number of pages, it's a forty-three page instead of a forty page memo, bu