Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
Opened February, 1985
Oral History Interview with
August 24, 1972
by Jerry N. Hess
HESS: All right, Mr. Doty, for the record would you relate a little of your personal background? Where were you born? Where were you educated? And what positions have you held both before and since your service in the Truman Administration?
DOTY: I was born in California, raised in California, and received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College in Claremont, California, received a Master of Public Administration in the University of Cincinnati Graduate School, received a law degree from George Washington University. Secured the law degree at night school and joined
the -- it was while I was in the Department of Interior, working largely for -- I guess all the time, for Assistant Secretary [Oscar L.] Chapman.
HESS: When did you join the Department of Interior?
DOTY: I joined the Department of Interior in 1939.
HESS: Was that your first Government job?
HESS: Was that the first job you had after law school?
DOTY: Probably technically, though law school came later, the...
HESS: You went to a...
DOTY: In Pomona I was a political science major, and then went on. My object in life was career Government employment. So I went to this school in Cincinnati, which was a graduate school of public administration on the engineering side. It's still in existence, being a co-op school where you have
classes half time and work in your line of activity the other half.
HESS: How did you find that the training that you received in Cincinnati helped you when you went to work for the Government?
DOTY: In the short run it was very helpful. Because you had a lot of ideas and ways of doing things -- might not say they are fresh, at least to those that you're working with, but it would be fresh if they were going through a training program of that type themselves, which many of them do these days.
So I went out to Los Angeles as part of my co-op work and worked for the Los Angeles County Bureau of Budget and Efficiency for six months. And then I went back and got my masters degree in July of '58 and then while looking for a job I worked with Los Angeles County again. And then I was offered this position in what we call the Southwest Field Training Program of the Indian Service, which was sponsored by a Spellman grant. it's one of the
Rockefeller grants; with the purpose to try to train young people for administrative and executive positions in Government.
It was while I was working in New Mexico with the Indian Service that I was offered a permanent appointment with the old General Land Office. The first assignment was to go to Alaska and make an economic survey for Alaska and I was hired as a research assistant at $2,000 a year, very good pay in those days, 1939. And then I stayed in another position in the General Land Office. It was as assistant land economist, in the land classifications division of the General Land Office and then as a land economist.
And the way that I came to know Secretary Chapman, was that many of these people I was working with as co-trainees in the Albuquerque area would come to Washington and work for the Indian Service or work in the Secretary's office as part of their training program. One in particular was on loan from the Indian Service to Mr. Chapman's office. Mr. Chapman was then
Assistant Secretary and the pay was of course, on the Indian Service payroll in that case and he was getting about $2,000 a year there to do anything that the Assistant Secretary wanted him to, review the correspondence that came in and do special assignments. He was going off on a leave of absence of some kind, and he thought that I would enjoy this type of work. He took me out there and introduced me to Mr. Chapman, That was probably in about 1942. Then when he was drafted, I went out to work there on assignment basis from the General Land Office permanently. In time it evolved into a full time position but when I went up there the Secretary's office didn't have any money for an administrative assistant to the Assistant Secretary, so I was on the payroll of the General Land Office. That was in 1943 that I went up on a permanent basis and in time Senator [Joseph C.] O'Mahoney put $2,600 up against the Interior Department budget. The job became vacant; it became a job on the Secretary's payroll instead of on loan from the Bureau.
HESS: What were your principal duties during those years
DOTY: Well Oscar had nearly all the same duties that I had later when I became Assistant Secretary eight years later or so -- whenever the Indian Service and the General Land Office became the Bureau of Land Management through the consolidation of the General Land Office with the Grazing Service; the National Park Service; the Fish and Wildlife Service; the Office of Territories; the Board on Geographical Names. I believe I listed all of them. Oh, he had, of course, a lot to do at the time with the Geological Survey. The Conservation Branch of the Geological Survey had a close working relationship with the Bureau of Land Management on oil and gas leasing and that particular branch and was under a different Assistant Secretary.
HESS: So your first contacts were with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Is that right?
DOTY: That's where I first worked when I joined the Federal Government. It was with the program in the Pacific Southwest. My experience was largely in Santa Fe as subagent to the assistant superintendent of the Indian reservations, from Santa Fe north to Taos. Probably the most exciting and interesting time I've ever had.
HESS: What were your duties? What did you do that was so exciting?
DOTY: Well, I attended the council meetings and tried to work out their problems in dealing with the Spanish Americans as they lived very, very close to each other and used the same irrigation ditches. Oh, some police problems.
HESS: Was water one of the main problems back then?
DOTY: Water -- water and land -- land probably more. I spent more time on land than on water, but there were water problems. One of the main things I did was to establish a way of dividing land among the Santa Clara Indians which later became a prototype
for other land. Well, the problem didn't seem simple at the time, but it seems simple now.
The problem was that they'd been given 3,000 acres of land, as the result of a congressional act to try to consolidate the pueblo's holdings in one area, so the Government commission had bought out some of the white and Spanish American land within the pueblo boundaries. The problem was how to divide this land equably among the members of the Pueblo and not only to divide it equably but to have the land in units. There's no sense in a man having a quarter of acre one place and two miles way off, having another acre, an acre and a half. This was all irrigated land and so it wasn't range land. So that was a lot of fun; of course I was only out there four months.
This land division at Santa Clara took a great deal of my time. The work we had at the other reservations was largely liaison between the Indian office and the tribal councils. You know, all sorts of problems, trying to see if we couldn't work out cooperative purchase of corn seed, things
of that kind at the proper time of the year. I still think a great deal could be done in that regard, cooperative buying and purchasing.
HESS: Was John Collier the Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs at that time?
DOTY: Yes, he was the Commissioner of Indian Affairs when I was in this program and later when I was in Assistant Secretary Chapman's office. Dr. Sophie Aberle was the superintendent down at the United Pueblo agency. And Bill [William A.] Brophy, who later became Commissioner of Indian Affairs, was the special attorney for the Indians. Bill was on a retainer from the Solicitor's office. He represented the legal questions that would come up. It was a very exciting time for the Indian Service.
HESS: What would be your evaluation of appraisal of Mr. Collier's handling of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as compared with other commissioners that you have known? How would you rate him as a Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs?
DOTY: Well I would place him probably the highest, and probably the lowest when it comes to administration.
DOTY: Well he's too much of an idea man. He is a developer of programs, and he had very little interest in the day-to-day nitty gritty of getting things done. He was a beautiful dreamer in lots of ways -- figurative, an outstanding man, came on at a time when he was very badly needed. Some of these things he was doing may have been dreamlike. A few of them were not very realistic.
HESS: Would you give me a few illustrations?
DOTY: The one real illustration that comes to mind is he developed the undying enmity of the Navahos over a range reduction program on the Navaho Indian Reservation. His moving attitude was to drastically try to cut the number of cows and sheep and horses that were grazing on that land.
HESS: He thought they were overgrazing the land?
DOTY: He thought they were greatly overgrazing the land. They were then. I assume they still are, from looking at it a year ago when I was out there.
HESS: Is that a difficult point to get across to the Indians?
DOTY: Almost impossible to get across to the Navahos.
DOTY: It's part of their status in life and their tradition. Their wealth is counted in large part on the number of sheep they have, their status in the community. It's a very, very difficult problem.
HESS: Can you think of any other illustrations, any other program he tried to put across and had some difficulty with?
DOTY: No, I can't think of any in particular.
One of the programs he worked on was the
Wheeler-Howard Act, which would give the Indians a greater say in their own affairs and set up an organization by which they could manage their own affairs. I think that was one of the outstanding successes of his administration. That took a great deal of time.
I would easily put him at the top of the list of Indian Commissioners since that time. Bill Brophy was a very good commissioner. He knew the Indian picture very well, because he has been in the Southwest for so long. Dillon Myer was a very fine administrator, but he didn't understand the Indian.
HESS: His skills were just the opposite of Mr. Collier?
DOTY: Just the opposite of Mr. Collier. He was basically inclined to administration.
HESS: If you had to pick one of the two opposites, which would you have? A man who knew more about the Indians but less about administration or a good administrator who knew less about Indians?
DOTY: You know, I would always hope that they'd have somebody around that would do some administration, but basically I'd go for Mr. Collier.
I had one big ruckus with Dillon Myer.
HESS: What was that?
DOTY: It was over the rights of the Indians to represent themselves. I was an Assistant Secretary at that time for Indians, and had the Indians as one of my bureaus. Dillon had come over from Agriculture, where the Japanese Relocation Administration was at that time. He was an administrator of that. A very excellent administrator and he was a very fine man.
I think it's part of this; if the law gives you authority, to the administrative mind, sometimes, you're supposed to exercise it. And the law is fairly precise that the Secretary or the Indian Commissioner should approve Indian contracts for attorneys. The actual fact is that it had been used very, very rarely.
I suppose I was probably a full-blown lawyer by that time. I think I was probably out of law school. I just didn't think it was right for the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to stand in between the Indian and the lawyer that that Indian tribe had decided to have. He wasn't a swindler -- a shyster sometimes -- but he was in good standing, and that was their selection. I fought Dillon Myer on that for a long tine.
HESS: How did that come out?
DOTY: Oh, of course, I lost and won. Mr. Chapman backed Dillon on it. They issued regulations to implement the law and give strict control. And then the Indian groups and their lawyers hit the ceiling, so we had a. hearing later on. And then they either just didn't enforce it at all or maybe canceled it. I forgot what the thing is, but the heat became so great that either Oscar Chapman, as Secretary at that time, or the Commissioner had to give in on it.
It made me sort of a baddy among the Indian groups. As Assistant Secretary in charge of the Indians I got part of the flashback of the thing. It gave Mr. [Harold h.] Ickes a lot of -- I can't say pleasure, but gave him one of his arrows he could shoot at the Truman administration on the Indian administration. That's when he was writing for the New Republic. Mr. Ickes thought that Mr. Doty was a lousy Assistant Secretary in charge of Indians, in this Department.
HESS: Is that one of the charges he made?
DOTY: That was one of the charges he made. I was completely on his side on the matter, but couldn't do a thing about it.
HESS: Did you speak with Secretary Chapman to try to tell him about your side of the story?
DOTY: Not only spoke with him but I wrote memorandums frequently.
HESS: Why in your opinion did he side with Mr. Myer?
DOTY: He wanted Dillon Myer very badly as his Commissioner of Indian Affairs. And he made a very broad commitment to Dillon that he could very well run that office as he wished to run it. I'd have to say that I was never brought in on that understanding; if I was I don't remember it. I didn't act in the way that there was such an understanding. So that put me in conflict with Dillon. And Dillon again having a very logical mind and being basically an administrator, wanted to terminate the Federal obligation to individual Indian tribes.
The Indian business is a very, very difficult business. Termination may sound good but how do you terminate and not repeat what was done in the first part of the century. Then they had the right to convey their land and they lost two-thirds of the land on various methods. They had no base on which to live. Their base in many areas is still inadequate. This termination, as such, is a very rough deal.
I read in the papers that Nixon has terminated the -- what papers termed as the Eisenhower policy of termination. It is my understanding unless they are
talking about a different thing, that the Indian termination policy started with the Democrats. One of your researchers can check that out.
HESS: One further question about Mr. Collier, how would you appraise the cooperation that he received from Harold Ickes?
DOTY: I think it was very good, but I'm going a lot on hearsay. His relationship with both Secretary Chapman and Harold Ickes, I think were excellent.
Collier had such an outstanding reputation as a defender of the Indians and before Mr. Ickes came in they were friends in Chicago. And I think they thought a lot alike. Secretary Ickes had the same basic feelings that John Collier did. In fact, I don't know whether his book said it or not, but the story was that Mr. Ickes came to Washington hoping to be Commissioner of Indian Affairs and ended up as Secretary. So he was greatly interested in Indians and I think that John Collier was going along that way. I think John Collier and Oscar got along very well. Their minds ran very much
the same, great compassion in both of them. And, as Oscar has probably told you, his relations with Secretary Ickes were always very delicate.
HESS: I have talked to some people who think that the Bureau of Indian Affairs should be administered by Health, Education and Welfare, or what was to be back in the Truman days, as you know, the Federal Security Administration, because Indians are people and not land. Do you have any thoughts on that?
DOTY: Oh, you run into it all the time but I don't think so. That proposition is being considered now again; and I believe that President Nixon has turned it down.
The health services are being performed by the Public Health Service. I think that has been helpful not so much from the standpoint of technique but from the standpoint that the Public Health Service has been able to get more money.
There has been talk of transferring the education features to HEW. I don't know if that makes
a great deal of difference. It might work out as well as the HEW thing has worked out. I think that the Indian base is at this time probably 75 percent on the land. The development of the land, the irrigation, grazing and that's why I think it should be in Interior or the Department of Natural Resources.
HESS: What is your general evaluation of the success or failure of the United States Government's handling of the Indian problem?
DOTY: Well I get greatly disturbed about it. I have no solution, so I can't be too critical.
As I say I joined the Indian Service in 1939 in the Southwest, and I was in the Assistant Secretary's office for eight years and I was assistant to Oscar when he was Under Secretary, and Assistant Secretary in charge of Indian Affairs.
We struggled mightily and in all good faith as they have all the years since then. That comes to about 25 years or so, 30 years, that I've been watching the Indian business, and I don't think that any substantial progress has been made.
HESS: Why do they seem to have such a difficult time making any progress with the Indians? Last night I was watching television and there was an advertisement on for the Save the Children Foundation, and it showed a poor little starving Indian child living in an unheated shack out in the West.
DOTY: I think there is a lot of exaggeration on that type of thing, but as I say, I don't have any solutions for it. I think this administration is going along in the right direction. It's certainly worth a try. It may be inefficient as the devil what they are just planning to do, of turning over the complete affairs of the Navajo Tribe including a grant of 150 million or so -- Federal Government is spending there on the Indian tribe to see what happens. I think it should be an area in which there is a great deal of experimentation to see if we can't break out of this. Progress, if any, is exceptionally slow. I think that from 1938 to 1972 is a fair representative time sample.
HESS: That's quite a while isn't it?
DOTY: Yes. I still have close friends who administer the Indian Service and I am interested in it. I have lunch with them every couple of weeks and see what's happening. There's going to be an awful lot of criticism develop out of this present thing. This is going to be a waste of money, money that can't be accounted for, as there is on many of the poverty programs. A lot of money is going to be misspent.
HESS: For any particular program in the Bureau of Indian Affairs?
DOTY: Well this one includes turning it over to the Indian tribes for administration. We can't apply the same General Accounting Office type of techniques to Indian tribes trying to have an action program as you can to the Federal Government. It's just one of those things that people are interested in, you should realize and not be too critical if they misstep themselves and drop ten million dollars.
HESS: That's a pretty big drop isn't it?
What are your earliest recollections of Mr. Truman?
DOTY: Well probably when he was in the Senate as the Chairman of the Committee to investigate the National Defense Program.
HESS: Which came to be known as the Truman Committee.
DOTY: The Truman Committee, in which he did -- at least everything that's written about it says it was -- a magnificent job.
HESS: He headed that from '41 until '44, and that's your earliest recollection of him.
HESS: Do you recall when you first saw Mr. Truman?
DOTY: No. I'm sure I never met him before I was appointed Assistant Secretary in 1950 or so.
HESS: Did you have any dealings with the Truman Committee?
DOTY: Not at all.
HESS: Not at all,
DOTY: He had a very outstanding reputation in that Committee.
HESS: Mr. Truman was appointed as the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee in 1944. Were you surprised?
DOTY: I wasn't for Mr. Truman.
HESS: Who were you for?
DOTY: Mr. Henry Wallace.
HESS: Mr. Henry Wallace, who wanted the nomination, the re-nomination in his case. He wanted it quite badly, did he not?
DOTY: That's my understanding and Mr. Chapman was also for Henry Wallace at the time. I guess Chapman went to -- that convention was at Chicago wasn't it?
HESS: That's quite right. Yes.
DOTY: To try to help Mr. Wallace in. I was very strongly opposed to Mr. Truman at that time.
HESS: Did you go out to Chicago?
DOTY: No, not in 44, I didnt. I've only been to one convention.
HESS: Which one was that?
DOTY: The Stevenson 1950.
HESS: '52. The first Stevenson.
HESS: Which I believe was also in Chicago.
DOTY: Chicago, yes.
I wasn't mixed up in the political side of the Department. In other words, I had nothing to do with the Democratic National Committee -- my contacts with the White House Staff were very, very few.
HESS: What do you recall about the 1944 events when Mr. Wallace wanted the re-nomination and didn't get it? As you know, there were several others in the running; Mr. Truman was one, James Byrnes would also have liked to have been nominated, and Justice William O. Douglas was mentioned...
DOTY: Yes, I remember that.
HESS: ...as a possibility. Why in your opinion was not Henry Wallace given the re-nomination in 1944? Why was he unsuccessful?
DOTY: Well, I think probably because he was out-of-step with the times.
HESS: Do you think it was because he was out-of-step with a lot of the powerful politicians?
DOTY: Yes, it's the same thing. The party had to put in a sequence of history, some of his political view, which I can't recall right now. I don't think he was as talkative in '44 as he became later.
HESS: September of 1946 was the date of his speech in
Madison Square Garden which sounded the death knell of his membership on the Truman Cabinet. Do you recall that?
DOTY: Yes I do. I was, of course, for Henry Wallace when Mr. Truman became Vice President. My interest in Wallace versus Truman was not developed until much later, after Secretary Ickes resigned in a huff. And that was because Secretary Chapman was greatly interested in becoming Secretary, actually working with a lot of people trying to have President Truman name him as the Secretary. Then Secretary [Julius A.] Krug was named. Secretary Krug had Mr. Chapman stay on as Under Secretary. And because of some of the things I heard after Mr. Krug was named, I have a feeling that Oscar Chapman was probably lucky to stay on as Under Secretary. He had no chance of becoming Secretary, and I think that...
HESS: Why? What did you hear?
DOTY: The things I heard were that Mr. Truman, or whoever
advised Mr. Truman on such matters, held it very definitely against Mr. Chapman for backing Mr. Wallace in 1944. Sufficiently so that Mr. Chapman wasn't in good graces at all in the White House. So I don't recall, while we are on this subject, how Mr. Chapman became the front man, the traveling man
HESS: Yes, the advance man, as they call them nowadays.
DOTY: The advance man, the showman...
HESS: The showman -- the drumbeater. How did he get that position?
DOTY: I don't know. I don't know how he got it.
HESS: He was from the West.
DOTY: Of course, he had been the western campaign coordinator for Franklin Roosevelt. I guess for at least two campaigns -- maybe more. He, of course, was Assistant Secretary of the Interior and had close connections with Senator [Edward Prentiss] Costigan.
HESS: He was Under Secretary at that time, in 1948.
DOTY: Yes. And Costigan had died by that time. He had been Costigan's campaign manager when Costigan ran for the Senate. I don't recall the other Colorado Senator that he worked so closely with. Oscar had good connections with the old Franklin Roosevelt Democrats.
As to how he got to be picked as advance man in 1948, I don't know. I had never seen a man work as hard as Mr. Chapman did in '48. He was Under Secretary in '48. No, he wasn't yet; he was still Assistant Secretary.
HESS: He was Assistant Secretary from May of '33 until Harold Ickes left in 1946 and then he was Under Secretary through the Krug administration and then became Secretary in -- I think...
DOTY: November of...
HESS: ...December the 1st, I believe was the day he was sworn in, December the 1st of '49. He had been nominated during November of '49.
DOTY: Truman's secretary called him on...
HESS: Matthew Connelly.
DOTY: ...Armistice Day, November the 11th, '49. His name was to be sent to the Senate for confirmation.
HESS: Were you in the office when that call came in?
DOTY: Yes, yes. I don't know why I was that day; maybe I had a premonition of some kind.
HESS: What was his attitude when he got that call?
DOTY: He expected it.
HESS: Did he? He expected it. What was the trouble with Secretary Krug? What was the problem there?
DOTY: Can we put that off till later?
HESS: We sure can. We can come back to that. All right, now let's move back...
DOTY: Actually I don't know very much about it, but I still would like to put it off.
HESS: Until we come to it in regular chronological order...
DOTY: I think it would be a good idea if we'd comment on a lot of these personalities all at one time.
HESS: Probably so. All right, Mr. Truman was nominated and then he and Mr. Roosevelt were elected in November and then on April the 12th, 1945, Mr. Roosevelt died. Do you recall where you were when you heard the news?
DOTY: Yes. Oscar and I were going down in the elevator. We were leaving early that day. I've forgotten what the time was, 4:30 or so in the afternoon, 5 o'clock, the news came. Somebody in the elevator said he just heard that President Roosevelt had died. Naturally the intensity of our feelings, my feelings, of course, I'm sure Oscar's were the same for President Roosevelt -- just a tremendous guy.
HESS: What kind of a job did you think Mr. Truman would do as President?
DOTY: I was sick. I just didn't think he was going to do a good job at all. In spite of his excellent work on the Truman Committee, I didn't think he would be a great President.
HESS: And then in February the following year, in 1946, Harold Ickes resigned. What do you recall about the background of the resignation of Harold Ickes?
DOTY: Oh, I don't have any background except what was reported at the time. It seemed to me that he was looking for a chance to get out in a blaze of publicity and fuss over the -- [Edwin A.] Pauley was Under Secretary of the Navy at the time wasn't he?
HESS: His appointment had been sent to the Senate.
DOTY: Oh yes, but not confirmed.
HESS: But not confirmed and was not confirmed. Mr. Ickes was opposed to that nomination.
DOTY: You know, my feeling was at that time that the
charge against Pauley was just an excuse for Ickes to sound off. I was not a great admirer of Mr. Ickes.
DOTY: Because if he had compassion, he kept it very carefully hidden.
HESS: It was rather difficult to tell if he had any?
DOTY: You know, you hear some stories that he had it. When I was in the Department when he was around I didn't see any evidences of it.
The relations between he and Mr. Chapman were very delicate and difficult.
HESS: What was the basis for their difficult relationship.
DOTY: Basically because Mr. Chapman wasn't his man. Mr. Chapman had been brought in there by Jim Farley and Ickes wanted nearly all the Assistant Secretaries and Under Secretaries in the Department as his people, appointed by him, and responsible
HESS: Did he try to move Mr. Chapman out?
DOTY: I think on a number of occasions he tried to.
HESS: Why was he unsuccessful?
DOTY: You never knew which way -- it was a day-to-day matter, which way Mr. Ickes was going to blow. His reputation for administration was because he would follow every possible detail.
One of the things I did when I first went on as a $2,000 a year and $2,600 a year assistant was to work on a program of trying to delegate business in the Assistant Secretary's office and that's when I was concerned with the Bureaus, as the Assistant Secretary. The signing load would take two or three hours a day, the way he'd do things. The Assistant Secretary couldn't possibly know what he was doing. He had so much signing to do on papers. Now Ickes whole earlier technique was to first drag you into Washington and then drag you into the Secretary's office.
HESS: Centralize all of the authorities.
DOTY: All the authorities with the expectation that you've got to sign the piece of paper, and that somebody might know what the devil's in it and understand it. There are stories about his substituting Alice in Wonderland in between some of these memorandums and getting signatures on it.
HESS: Are those true?
DOTY: I think it could have happened to probably all of us -- this is the reason that you have reviewers. You may not read the paper yourself, but at least you have somebody else that reviews it.
HESS: Well, nevertheless, when he resigned in February of '46 he was replaced by Mr. Krug. Why was Mr. Krug chosen?
DOTY: Secretary Krug had a very good reputation.
HESS: He had come out of TVA...
DOTY: TVA -- War Production Board along with electric
utilities. He was a very young man, I think he was probably 36 and he had an excellent reputation as an administrator.
HESS: How did he work out? What is your evaluation of his administrative ability?
DOTY: I think very poorly.
HESS: Why? What went wrong?
DOTY: That's one of the -- I wish somebody -- maybe somebody like Jebby [C. Girard] Davidson, who was closer to him than I was, Miss Ramsey,his secretary. I think it must be one of the most interesting stories, if one knew the reason, of any Secretarial office in the history of this Republic. He came in, a very personable person. A person with an excellent background, better than most Secretaries or Assistant Secretaries that one gets in Departments. For a month or so it was all activity and then nothing. He sort of retired from the field. Some of the things he was doing I thought
were very good, and would be very good today.
HESS: Did he try to implement some new policies when he first came in?
DOTY: One of the basic things he tried to do, which I think was excellent, was that he tried to make the Interior Department, a Department. I suppose it's his TVA background, in part. Instead of having 10 or 11 or 12 bureaus with each going their own paths, with each having a constituency not out in the states, but in the Congress, he tried to make a Department. And one method of trying to do it was by establishing field committees, where the field secretary would be his man, and on the field committees could be the representative of each of the regions. Then he was taking some other steps here in Washington to try to make one part of the Department know what the other part was doing.
HESS: I have heard that there were times when before a Congressional committee you might have a -- oh, the Bureau of Reclamation arguing on one side of
a question and you might have the Bureau of Land Management arguing on the other side, right there in front of Congress, Is that right?
DOTY: Well, if you will substitute the Park Service for Reclamation I think it probably did.
HESS: And Mr. Krug did try to get the Department to settle their problems at Interior and send one view to Congress, is that right?
DOTY: Yes. Of course, that was the lesser part of it; but he had to coordinate the Bureaus within the Department. The closest people on the level I would have anything to do with, were Secretary [William E.] Warne and Secretary Davidson, and Mr. Chapman was Under Secretary. Under Secretaries are used in lots of ways in Government. I just happen to be of the belief that the Under Secretary should be the Secretary's alter ego, to give the Secretary either time to be a front man, to go around making the speeches and consulting with the President and pay more attention to the
political side. And that the Under Secretary should be an administrative man, or even if he has to combine politics and administration, which everyone in a sub-Cabinet position up has to pay some attention to. It can still be the Under Secretary who would run the Department, the day-to-day activities. His relationship with the Secretary should be exceptionally close.
The Secretary should always be free for any bureau head to go directly to him. The relations should be such between the Under Secretary and the Secretary, that the Secretary keeps him advised, or better yet, has the Under Secretary in when he meets with the bureau chiefs, so that they are both carrying out the same policy. The Under Secretary is carrying out the Secretary's policy.
In spite of Krug's background in administration the working relationships between -- and I'm not talking about personal relationships. As far as I know personal relationships were always excellent between Secretary Chapman and Secretary
Krug, but the working relationships were not good. Secretary Davidson was going off on his tangents. Bill Warne, the Assistant Secretary for power, was going off on his tangents.
Secretary Chapman was trying to run the nuts and bolts of the Department and keep a watch on the Hill, on appropriations and the big policy things that would get unusually hot. And I was the Assistant Secretary under Secretary Chapman's administrative assistant then, It was very difficult, because some of the things that Jebby and Bill Warne were proposing just wouldn't fit in.
DOTY: If you're going to have a basic bureau set up on things which are going to cross over bureaus, you are going to have a lot of problems. Not only do we have the normal problems of inertia, the allocation of money to existing programs, so there isn't any money to go to new programs, that -- you have the big question of policy.
One such program that Jebby was trying to push was a TVA for the Columbia Basin. And one that Bill Warne was very strong for was the development of Alaska. Jebby Davidson's concepts went a great deal further than Bill Warne's did. Just because something was so successful in the Tennessee Valley (the Tennessee Valley Authority was at that time, I hope it still is. It seems to be, at least it stays out of the line of gunfire.) It is very difficult to put that on an area such as the Pacific Northwest, where so many bureaus have -- not only Interior, but other agencies -- entrenched interests and where the basic thrust of what he was trying to do, was directed at power. This is 1951, '50 and '52 we're talking about, and this is not particularly directed at Davidson.
One of my main interests was protection of the Park Service and protection of the Fish and Wildlife Service. One of my biggest enemies was the Assistant to the Under Secretary before I became Assistant Secretary, and it was in connection with my fights with the Bureau of
Reclamation, with Mike [Michael W.] Straus over his plans for the Rogue River in Oregon; plans for the Echo Park Dam in Utah; all the environmental things which they are making so much of a fuss about the last two or three years.
HESS: Was he a difficult man to work with?
HESS: Yes, Straus.
DOTY: Mike was a very difficult man to work with. Mike didn't give a damn about anybody. That goes as far as the Department was concerned. I don't know what his relations were with the White House.
Mike could be given very exact instructions and you could be sure he was going to violate those instructions. He and Ickes were very close and he and Oscar were very good friends. I can't say if Ickes understood him. I think Oscar understood him thoroughly. Oscar's problem with Mike was one of Mike's political strengths and when he would press that button and get every Reclamation
Center west of the 100th meridian going, it was very impressive; to get all those Chambers of Commerce in Utah and Arizona and the Central Valley of California. He had one thing, he had his programs and those programs were going to control that Department.
HESS: Rather than the Department control the Bureau of Reclamation?
DOTY: The Department never controlled the Bureau of Reclamation in Ickes time or my time or since. The only reason that there's no problem now is that there's no money for new starts on reclamation.
HESS: Where did they draw most of their strength -- from their connections on the Hill?
DOTY: Yes. And of course, from the hundreds of irrigation districts and power projects in the West. Just like the Corps does.
HESS: Was the Corps of Engineers Straus' principal
competition or opponent?
DOTY: Well, there was fighting in places but they sort of reached an accommodation of splitting up the rivers.
HESS: Did the Corps take the eastern portion of the United States, and the Bureau of Reclamation the western portions?
DOTY: The Corps had some of the dams on the Columbia. I think McNair is one of theirs and I think they said to Reclamation, "Well, you can have the Colorado," and that pleased Reclamation very much. It wasn't the Corps that went back on that deal, it was just time -- emerging "ecology."
Mike was an interesting character, a very strong personality.
HESS: Was it difficult for Mr. Chapman or any other Secretary of the Department of the Interior to try to control the Bureau of Reclamation?
DOTY: Well, we succeeded to an extent. I generally
won on things I was interested in; as a rule. I was ahead on the Echo park thing, when I left the Department to go to the Federal Power