Clark M. Clifford Oral History Interview, July 26, 1971

Oral History Interview with

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

Washington, D. C.
July 26, 1971
by Jerry N. Hess

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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


HESS: Mr. Clifford, to begin this afternoon I'd like to ask a few questions. And as the release of the 47 volume study conducted in the Pentagon on the background to events in Indochina has been very much in the news, I'd like to ask you a question or two about President Truman's thinking on the subject of Indochina. Now, in an article in the Washington Post on the third of this month, written by Chalmers Roberts, the first two paragraphs read:

On May the lst of 1950 President Truman approved the allocation of 10 million dollars for the Defense Department to cover the early shipment of urgently needed military assistance items for the French in Indochina.

It was the first crucial decision regarding U.S. Military involvement in Indochina, according to the analysis of the RooseveltTruman years in the Pentagon papers available to the Washington Post.


And on June the 27th, 1950, shortly after the invasion of South Korea, President Truman issued a statement on the situation in which he had the following paragraph:

I have similarly directed an acceleration in the furnishing of military assistance to the forces of France and the Associated States in Indochina, and the dispatch of a military mission to provide close working relations with those forces.
Now I realize that you left before these events took place, but I'd like to ask anyway, what had been the view of the President and his advisers on the advisability of concerning ourselves with matters in Indochina?

CLIFFORD: I do not have an independent recollection of any details regarding Indochina during the period that I was with President Truman from 1945 until 1950. I have a general impression, during that time, that President Truman was interested in taking those actions that would be helpful to France after the Second World War.


A great deal of the fighting, you'll recall, had taken place in France. After the Second World War, the nations of Western Europe were prostrate and the United States, generally under the aegis of the Marshall plan, took those actions that would assist the nations of Western Europe to returning to some form of economic viability.

I have a general recollection that the only interest that I can recall our country having in Indochina during that period of 1945 to 1950, was to take those steps that generally would be of assistance to France in recovering its economic equilibrium. I would say generally that it was felt at the time that the assistance that we could be to France in restoring its posture in what had been French Indochina was calculated to be of assistance in France gaining some type of its former economic stability.


Now, I do not recall individual actions such as you describe of May lst. As you say, I had left the White House by then, and I wouldn't be likely to recall individual action after the passage of over twenty years. I can recall merely a broad attitude our country's government took toward what was then known as French Indochina.

HESS: Do you recall Mr. Truman making any statements to you in this context about Indochina?

CLIFFORD: I do not.

HESS: Do you recall any discussion with Mr. Truman, or among his advisers, that even though the French had this territory in their possession before the war that actually it is the territory belonging to the indigenous people and that perhaps we should work through the indigenous people and not through the colonial countries?


CLIFFORD: I do not recall any philosophy or ideology of that kind being discussed. It was more the attitude that now that the Second World War was over, we would attempt to help the nations of Western Europe reconstruct. France had owned Indochina. The reason they'd lost it was due to Japanese aggression. We were, I believe, attempting to take those steps which would tend to return areas of that kind to' the status quo. I don't recall taking part in any kind of discussion or policy debate about whether we should assist the French in their colonial or imperialist attitude. I would be rather surprised if there was much of a debate in that regard because it seemed to me to be the rather settled policy that we were attempting to return conditions to those that had existed prior to the changes that had taken place in the Second World War as the result of Communist


aggression--Communist or Japanese aggression.

HESS: Did you ever recall what Mr. Roosevelt's attitude was, might have been, on helping the French after the war in this area?

CLIFFORD: I have since read about it, since it became such an important topic during our presence in Vietnam. But at the time I do not recall it coming up for discussion.

HESS: Anything else on that subject?

CLIFFORD: I can offer very little because it was not a subject of major importance and merely fell within the framework of our attitude toward assisting France in regaining its feet.

HESS: Do you think we might have been better off if we had worked with the indigenous people? Not necessarily Ho Chi Minh, not necessarily the Communists, but finding someone who is


there, someone who is a native of the country rather than working through foreign countries.

CLIFFORD: An answer to that question would be based upon all that we have learned in the last twenty years. At the time, I do not believe that the world had any real understanding of the spirit of nationalism that was then starting to come into focus; it would have taken a man of very considerable prescience. At the time we were engaged mainly in saving Western Europe and doing those functions that contributed to that.

It was Western Europe that really mattered to us at the time, because you will recall that during the Second World War and thereafter, the Soviets started their very aggressive expansionism towards the west. They took forcibly all of the nations on their western periphery such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Rumania,


Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and they were pressing onward. The major concern during those years was that they might press on even from the west.

Also you will recall the Russians at that time established what was known as the Comintern, i.e., Communist cells were established in each country to try to break up the government of that country and transform it into a Communist country.

The Communist Party was a very powerful force in France after the Second World War and had they gotten control of France, one would not know what Western Europe would look like today.

So this was our main consideration and I think that territorial concerns regarding former properties owned, not only by France, but other Western powers, was really not a matter of major concern. We were fighting to save Western


Europe at the time.

HESS: All right, now moving back to our date in 1948, where we were, one point I want to bring up concerns Judge Sam Rosenman. In the files of the Library I found a couple of interesting letters. On March the 10th of ‘48, Judge Rosenman wrote to the President saying in part, "As you know, I want to be of whatever service I can from now until election day."

President Truman wrote back a couple of days later and said among other things, "I am counting on you to be on the team, as usual."

Judge Rosenman did come to Washington, he went to the convention in Philadelphia, he assisted you I understand with the writing of President Truman's acceptance speech, but when the campaign came on he was not utilized, why? Any particular reason?


CLIFFORD: I do not know of any specific reason. Certainly there was no break between President Truman and Judge Rosenman. Remember that he had left the end of the year 1945, so held been gone for over two years during all of ‘46 and '47.

HESS: February the lst of '46 was the official date of his resignation.

CLIFFORD: Yes. So he'd been gone over two years before he wrote the letter of March of ‘48. That two-year absence from the scene makes a great deal of difference in government.

You naturally assume that a man has not kept up with the day by day, week by week, or even month by month developments


that take place. Obviously he cannot. He had gone back to the practice of the law and it's just generally understood that he would not be as informed as were those who were working with the President every day.

The second point I think is that we had developed a team, after Judge Rosenman left. The President, I think, was really quite satisfied with the team and with the team spirit that existed.

Third, I might say that it was loyal, and certainly friendly, of Judge Rosenman to write that letter in March, because there were very few individuals, who in March of '48, thought that President Truman had any chance really to be reelected. The only time I independently


remember working with Judge Rosenman was when he came down and assisted in the preparation of the President's acceptance speech in Philadelphia. Now he may have come down once or twice before that, but it would not have been on a very regular occasion. The fact is, the President had rather moved away from those who had been prominent in the Franklin Roosevelt administration. I believe that it is possible that there was maybe some psychological reason he wanted to run on his own. He had been in the shadow of Franklin Roosevelt for so long.

HESS: And the close association between Judge Rosenman and Roosevelt might have been in some people's mind, a little bit too close to Roosevelt?

CLIFFORD: I believe so. I'm not sure that it was reasoned out that way, but I was very conscious


of the fact that those around us, particularly as we began to prepare for the campaign, were ascertaining President Truman's independence. President Truman himself was asserting his individuality, and asserting his image of a man who was his own boss. And, as a result, persons who had been closely identified with Franklin Roosevelt were not called back for the campaign. If there was any reason that I could think of right offhand, I think that would be it.

HESS: Was there any discussion among the staff on that point?

CLIFFORD: I think not. I'm not sure that it was specifically discussed. I do not recall from the time we got in the campaign (that would be the time between the convention and the election) seeing Judge Rosenman once.


HESS: That is correct.

CLIFFORD: Now that is my feeling and I think this is the main reason behind it. The President wanted to be surrounded by just his own men and not FDR's men.

HESS: Not running in Roosevelt's shadow any longer.

CLIFFORD: Exactly. Exactly.

HESS: All right, just after the Democratic convention on July the 26th of '48, two Executive orders were signed, Executive Order 9980, "Regulations Governing Fair Employment Practices Within the Federal Establishment," and Executive Order 9981, "Establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services." Now some historians have said that the timing, just after the convention, and before the campaign, was for political


purposes. Would you agree or disagree with the timing of those two Executive orders, or with that premise?

CLIFFORD: I suppose that if a President has followed a certain policy and he is then preparing to get into a campaign, that it is considered appropriate at the time to dramatize and emphasize the policies that he has been following. So, I would say that it is entirely possible that there is some political flavor to the timing of those two events.

Let me hasten to add, however, there was no change in policy. I have contended on a number of occasions, that President Truman did more in working toward equality for our minority groups in the United States than any President before him. You perhaps would have to say he did more with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. In the Franklin Roosevelt administration,


there was a lot of conversation about what you were going to do for the blacks and they for the first time, I think, had blacks at the White House. There was, in short, a good deal of publicity about the Roosevelt administration's interest in the blacks, but it was not until President Truman assumed office that real, concrete, affirmative, progressive steps were taken. History will show that he took such determined actions prior to that convention that that was the issue that caused such great touble at the convention. You remember there was a walkout of southern delegations from the Philadelphia convention.

I recall in the spring of 1948, at the Jefferson-Jackson annual dinner, the South Carolina delegation purchased a table right in the center of the banquet hall and then no one showed up. There was thus an empty table that


just stared at everybody during the dinner. And as you know photographers spent most of their time taking photographs of that . . .

HESS: Empty table.

CLIFFORD: . . . empty table. Now the reason the South Carolina delegation did not show up was that they were bitterly opposed to President Truman's civil rights policy; the South was bitterly opposed. He had done a great deal in that regard long prior to the convention and was paying the price for it as shown by the attitude of the southern states. So, I would say to you that it is possible that the timing of those two orders had some political connotation. You can't do anything between a convention and a campaign that doesn't have some political element in it. But I'm emphasizing it did not constitute a change in his policy on civil rights. It was just a next logical step to what


he had been working towards.

HESS: If I recall correctly, the southern delegation walked out when the so-called Andrew J. Beimiller-Hubert Humphrey plank was added to the Democratic platform, rather than the one that the Administration had been backing. Now one was not all that much stronger than the other, but it has been pointed out by historians that one was considered to be a little weaker than the other, the one that Mr. Truman was backing, not the BeimillerHumphrey one, but the original one, was somewhat weaker. Do you recall any discussions on this with Mr. Truman as to whether or not he should have a strong civil rights stand?

CLIFFORD: Well, I do recall a discussion. I'm not sure this has ever been referred to; I doubt that I have ever referred to it before. As I appraised and analyzed the political situation


in the spring and summer of 1948, I felt that it was important for us to hold onto the South. I thought that we could hold onto them as I mentioned in the memorandum that I wrote. Although I had supported the President vigorously in his civil rights program, I felt that there was no need to mortify the South by pressing for an extreme civil rights plank at the convention. After all, a plank doesn't amount to very much.

HESS: It can just make some people awful mad.

CLIFFORD: It can make some people very, very angry.

HESS: Did you feel the Beimiller-Humphrey plank was too strong?

CLIFFORD: Well, I cannot recall that particular detail. I'd have to say to you I had a discussion with President Truman prior to the convention and suggested really quite a mild


approach to civil rights. He indicated at that time that he felt that we should be stronger in a civil rights plank than I had indicated that I wanted. And he was not deterred from that and he did promote, and propose, a strong civil rights plank.

Now at the convention I have some recollection that it became stronger, and as far as I can remember that was all right with him. There wasn't a great deal of difference. It was just a question of degree; the whole thrust of it was about the same.

HESS: Did he say why he said he wanted a stronger program? Did it seem to be that he thought this was the thing to do or did he think it was politically expedient?

CLIFFORD: I believe that I was concerned more with political expediency than he.


HESS: Did that concern him very much?

CLIFFORD: The question of political expediency? Well, you get into a campaign and when one would have to be unrealistic to suppose that a President was not giving attention to the political facet of every policy that came up. Every President since George Washington has concerned himself with the politics, I'd say, in the period between the convention and the election.

HESS: If at no other time.

CLIFFORD: That's all that you think about at that particular time. Every action that is taken is taken with the concept of what is its political effect going to be. But I would say to you that I have a distinct recollection (and I don't recall it with any particular pride), saying to him at the time that I thought


we ought to be very careful not to drive the South away, and his taking the position to me that he was not going to retreat one inch from his civil rights program. And by god that's the way it was, and that's the way he was going to stay with it. And he did stay with it. He did not budge an inch.

Now it turned out what he was right in principle, and interestingly enough, I think he was right politically. But I do not believe that at that time that he felt that this was a mere political course of action to take, because most of his friends at the time were urging him to go easy with the South. Most of his good friends on the Hill had been Southerners, like Dick Russell and men like that.

HESS: What do you see in Mr. Truman's background that would cause him to develop into a man who would want to take such determined action in


civil rights programs? A man from Independence, Missouri, which is really a southern town, especially during the time that he was growing up.

CLIFFORD: Well, I'm really quite clear on that. I think he understood the importance of the particular problem within the framework of our whole Democratic principles. After he got into the Presidency (I wouldn't know before that), I think he became deeply impressed with the need to move into this area. I can recall his using the expression "second class citizens." He would say that if our whole theory of government meant anything, that it meant that they were not to be different classes of citizens, that each would have the right both to social, political, economic opportunity in the country, and he developed a sincere, honest and enduring attitude toward that major constitutional question.


I think that he learned a great deal about the matter and manner in which our minorities were treated and exploited, both politically and economically.

I believe that he was determined to take corrective measures. I have heard other men who served in the Roosevelt administration say he took steps that Franklin Roosevelt was never willing to take.

For instance, that was a very, very important step that he took with reference to the armed services. I had to struggle some with that problem when I was in the Pentagon. The precedents that we had for actions that we took while I was in the Pentagon were precedents that were set in the administration of Harry Truman, and not anybody before that. The Fair Employment Practice Act, good Lord, was looked upon as an anathema by the Senate. They'd never had the slightest concept of fair employment



Well, you can see what that's grown to now. We work in that area in our law business. We represent companies that have plants down South, and labor pressure is growing there all the time. More and more Negroes are being employed in better and better positions. That also is a monument to Harry Truman.

Just to recapitulate, I believe that he took the risk that his attitude on civil rights would be a political liability because of the honest conviction that he had that progress had to be made in that field.

HESS: All right, moving on to the campaign, just what do you recall of the events of the 1948 campaign, and perhaps we could start by discussing what your duties were during the campaign?

CLIFFORD: I'd have to say, parenthetically, it's a


good deal of a blur to me from the time of the convention, which I assume was early or middle July, until election time. We gave every thinking moment to the campaign. A great deal of the campaign was conducted on a train. I have some recollection that there was one period of something like fifty days in which somebody figured out that we spent forty nights on a train.

I lived in a little tiny stateroom where I slept and ate and wrote. My big task in the campaign was to do the writing for the President. I remember that we kept building up the number of appearances that he had, I think the top one was one day when he had fourteen back platform appearances and then a major speech that night. We were getting this material out just as fast as we could turn it out. George Elsey was helping.

I remember one other, a personal recollection. I think I had gotten run down a little and I was


beseiged by an attack of boils during that whole summer. It was a nightmare. For years afterwards I'd sometimes wake up at night in a cold persperation thinking I was back on that terrible train. It was a real ordeal. I don't know quite how I got through it except I was young at the time and strong and vigorous.

We would talk with the President about policy. We would go over one evening that we were going to do the next day. This all occurred on that train where we went almost every place. I recall it became known as the famous "whistlestop" campaign.

HESS: Thanks to Robert A. Taft.

CLIFFORD: Thanks to Robert Taft who did not make many friends for Dewey by referring to stops on the railroads as "whistlestops." People were generally proud of the fact that they had a


railroad station and that the President would stop to see them.

The writing went on. We had an advance team out and they would get the material in to US. I remember I'd write up notes for the President when he would come into Chicken Bristle, Iowa, or some such place like that. He would congratulate the town on their having a new sausage factory. That would be based on material that had just come in a few days earlier from the advance team.

HESS: Do you recall if the Research Division of the Democratic National Committee also helped in this manner?

CLIFFORD: Oh yes. Yes . . . .

HESS: One was David Lloyd.

CLIFFORD: That's right. Well, the fact is that some


of the material that came out of the committee was so good we looked into it and found out who was doing it. We learned it was David Lloyd. And either then or later we pulled him over into the White House. They were very helpful.

My main job was to be in charge of the writing. I would get the material in, decide what would be helpful to the President, what would be dangerous, get his thoughts and then try to reduce his thoughts to writing. That would be the second most important function that I performed.

The most important function was to take part in the daily policy meetings that took place to set the policy in the campaign. I had some strong views about what ought to be done. I believe some of them were adopted; some of them perhaps weren't adopted.

HESS: Can you give me an illustration of one that


might have been and one that was not?

CLIFFORD: No, I can't. I can't remember details now. At that stage, the basic liberal-conservative struggle was still going on. It had gone on through the whole Truman administration. There were those that wanted me to take a more conservative view on some of these questions. Some of us felt that if we were going to win we had to win on a liberal approach.

HESS: Who on the train was advocating a conservative approach?

CLIFFORD: I can't recall who all were the regulars on the train. I know Matt Connelly was there. My recollection is Charlie Ross was still there during the campaign. He, of course, had been there all the time, but . . .

HESS: Was his advice usually liberal or conservative?


CLIFFORD: Well, I think that Charlie was about in between.

HESS: Sort of middle of the road.

CLIFFORD: I would say that he was perhaps middle of the road.

HESS: Did Matt Connelly engage himself in the policy discussions?

CLIFFORD: I think not. He was more on the political side as to who the President should see and what the difficulties were in a particular state or country. He would arrange to have the local politicians come in and then he would be with the President when he saw them. That was his field.

But one did not have to be with the President all the time. Those who had taken the conservative approach were writing the President. We'd get


back to Washington and they would see him then. They would send memoranda to him. That kind of activity went on.

I was still pretty much the representative of the Ewing Group. That relationship has had a great impact on me and I continue to have contacts with them.

As I recall, the major thrust in which we were engaged were the following: One: Efforts to get strong support from labor. We had been through a real fight over the Taft-Hartley Act. President Truman had vetoed it, and Congress has passed it over the President's veto. We worked hard on labor.

Second: We worked hard on the farmers. The Republican Congress had passed a bill which apparently wasn't understood, nor did it have much impact on the general public. But it had a great impact on the farmer. The


substance of the bill was that in order to get a Federal loan on your crops, you had to place your crop in a Federally certified warehouse.

HESS: Which was the rewriting of the charter of the Commodity Credit Corporation.

CLIFFORD: Right. Well, the farmers detested it because it cut a great many of them out from getting the support prices. We used that a great deal.

HESS: Do you recall when you first heard of that issue? Does the name W. McNeil Lowry ring a bell?

CLIFFORD: Yes, was he in the Agricultural Department?

HESS: No, he was working for . . .

CLIFFORD: On a newspaper?


HESS: A Des Moines paper.

CLIFFORD: Yes. I may have heard about it from him. We had had a close relationship with farm organizations, or with one of them, and I recall a man named Patton.

HESS: Jim Patton?

CLIFFORD: Jim Patton, who I used to see from time to time when he came to Washington. Persons well-versed with farmers' attitude, early in the campaign, brought this matter to our attention and we used it a lot during the campaign.

Third: I'd say that we made a very definite bid for support of the Negro. We thought that we had a right to that after actions that President Truman had taken.

Also at the time we were appealing to consumer groups and the housewives, because the President


had taken actions in that regard that we felt warranted consideration by consumers generally.

I think also we gave a good deal of attention to the psychological fact that the President was the underdog and that we wanted to appeal in that manner as much as possible.

I'd say another point was that Dewey's speeches were bland. They had a tendency to be high level. He felt that held already won . . .

HESS: He didn't need to commit himself.

CLIFFORD: That's right, so that he was engaging in generalities, and we took the opposite attack.

Some of our speeches were really rough. I remember one time the President saying, the GOP stood for "Gluttons of Privilege." I remember in our big farm . .


HESS: Whose little gem was that? Do you recall?

CLIFFORD: I don't recall, but it was a pip. And I recall that at the big speech made out in Iowa at the annual plowing contest . . .

HESS: The National Plowing Match.

CLIFFORD: Match, that's right, that we said that the GOP had plunged a pitchfork into the farmer's back.

HESS: Now, I have heard that that was yours, is that right?

CLIFFORD: Well, it's highly possible. I'm not too proud of it today.

HESS: Well, you were trying to win an election, you know.

CLIFFORD: We were fighting to bring the President to the attention of the people. Much of the


public had written him off; the press had written him off. The other side had already assumed they were going to win. I remember stating to someone at the time that we were on our five-yard line with ninety-five yards to go; we had everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking every possible risk.

I recall that as the campaign progressed, especially the last month of the campaign, something was happening. The crowds were larger; they were enthusiastic. We would go into a town. We would arrive there at a quarter after six in the morning and there would be two or three thousand people that would come down into the freight yards to hear President Truman. He would start in and he would go about a paragraph and somebody in the crowd would yell, "Give 'em hell, Harry!" And then the whole crowd would hoot and howl; enthusiasm was building up.


And that last month you could actually feel it. The last ten days of the campaign were something of a triumph.

Now we were all indoctrinated with the fact that he had a real long shot on our hands; but that last ten days, that last five days even, you could sense there was something going on.

I remember thinking, "Well, I don't know whether we're going to make it or not, but, by god, I bet if we had another week we would surely make it." There was something rolling all the time. We could sense it and the newspapermen could sense it. The other side never saw it at all.

HESS: Did you ever talk to any of the newspapermen (I suppose you did), who were switching trains? Some of the newspapermen stayed with the Truman train all of the time, others stayed with the Dewey train, but many of the news services


would switch their reporters from train to train. What did the men tell you that had come from the Dewey train as to how things were going there? Do you recall?

CLIFFORD: In the first place they were terribly bored. In the second place, they didn't like Governor Dewey. They thought he was a stuffed shirt. The third place, they were impressed with the smooth mechanical efficiency of that trip. Ours wasn't that way. Ours was just catch as catch can, and the contrast was very noticeable.

But there was a ferment on our train. There was something going on and they would get caught up in it. Most of the working press, in my opinion, were for President Truman. Now the editors and publishers and owners may not have been, but most of the working press was. And I spent a good deal of time with them, getting


ideas from them and passing on our ideas to them to use in their story. They were very friendly to us.

Sometimes I'd go out and have breakfast with the whole crowd of them when they were having breakfast. I had contacts of that sort with them. They expected Dewey to win; they weren't looking forward to the next four years with Governor Dewey. They liked President Truman. They thought he was courageous. They liked his spunk. They liked the way he was fighting against what everybody at the time thought were hopeless odds.

HESS: All right, now just a couple of points. You mentioned that in your policy discussions the civil rights matter was brought up. Reading through the Public Papers of the President, and reading through the speeches at that time, I believe that the first time that the subject


was brought up in a speech by Mr. Truman, was late in the campaign, at Harlem on October the 29th. Now do you recall any discussions about not mentioning anything about civil rights matters until that late in the campaign?

CLIFFORD: I would be surprised if it had not been referred to before. That may have been a major speech on it, but the attitude that he was taking towards civil rights colored the whole campaign. I don't recall the individual speeches. There would be references in press conferences and in smaller off the platform speeches. There was no question in anybody's mind what his attitude was. Now it may have been that that was a fullfledged speech on civil rights, but...

HESS: Harlem being the spot for such an address.

CLIFFORD: Well, yes. All around the country it was well-known that President Truman had put


those Executive orders into operation. His attitude on civil rights was very clear. And, as with most issues, Governor Dewey was ducking it and not taking specific positions in order to allow himself plenty of latitude when he became President.

HESS: At the whistlestops, and at the various stops, did you get off the train and walk around to hear what the people were saying, perhaps ask them questions on what they thought?


HESS: Was that done?

CLIFFORD: Yes. Some would do it. Sometimes Elsey did it and sometimes other persons who were on the train did it. I can't recall very well who else was on the train, but others would do it..


HESS: Did they come back and tell you what the general tenor of the crowd . . .

CLIFFORD: They would come back and report generally to us. We traveled with the President on his car, and I don't think I . . .

HESS: They had the Ferdinand Magellan?

CLIFFORD: Yes. That's where the President lived. He had Mrs. Truman and Margaret with him most of the time. I think I lived on the car just in front of that. We met every day around the dining room table on his car sometimes at breakfast, sometimes at lunch, and sometimes off and on during the day. I was in contact with him three, four, five times a day--just very close to him all around the period. I had to know what he was thinking, what he wanted for the next speech, and what he wanted to use for a platform address. And on those occasions individuals who had gotten out and mixed with the crowds would report. I just didn't have time to do it.


HESS: Did you concern yourself more with the major speeches that were usually delivered in the evenings than you did with the whistlestop speeches?


HESS: Both.

CLIFFORD: Both. I gave more time to the major speeches, and I think Elsey was spending more of his time on the platform speeches, but for awhile we both wrote those platform speeches. The President developed a style that the people liked and then we began to get them up in outline form. We'd send in the material in the form of memos, and then give him an outline. He would have the outline in front of him and would pretty much give the speech in his own words. We were making a number of major speeches at that time and we just turned it out, and turned it out, and turned it out.

HESS: In working on Mr. Truman's speeches, when you


were writing them, perhaps a major evening speech, did you try to write them in the language that Mr. Truman would find comfortable, and if so did you study