Oral History Interview with
Raphael Green was a member of the secretariat of the mission to Korea and Manchuria, May to July, 1946, headed by Ambassador Edwin W. Pauley, President Truman's personal representative on the Allied Commission for Reparations. Later in life, Green became an independent producer of travel films.
(With participation by Jocelyn Green)
May 4, 1991
by Niel M. Johnson
See also Raphael W. Green Papers Finding Aid
[|Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
Appendix A – Biographical material on Raphael Green
Appendix B – Itinerary May 1946 – Korean trip
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by Raphael Green 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. ) 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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 September 28, 2005
Harry S. Truman Library
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Oral History Interview with
Raphael Green (With participation by Jocelyn Green)
May 4, 1991
by Niel M. Johnson
Summary description: The primary subject of the interview is Green’s work as a member of the secretariat of Ambassador Edwin W. Pauley’s mission to Korea and Manchuria, May to July, 1946. Green’s early life and his career as independent producer of travel films is also discussed.
People mentioned: The members of the secretariat of the Pauley mission: Gail Carter, Marlin E. Fenical, Richard Gaynor, Charles A. Karl, Benjamin C. Olson. Other people: Edwin W. Pauley, I. M. Chistiakov, O. Edmund Clubb, William Mayer, Li Xishun, Douglas MacArthur, Edwin M. Martin, Chiang Kai-shek, Harry S. Truman
JOHNSON: I am going to start out, Mr. Green, as I usually do. I am going to ask you when and where you were born and what your parents’ names were.
GREEN: I was born April 15, 1912. My father’s name was Edwin, and my mother’s
name was Elizabeth.
JOHNSON: And where were you born?
GREEN: Lee, Maine. It was a little town, population of about 200 people.
JOHNSON: What was your father’s occupation?
GREEN: He was a farmer and lumberman.
JOHNSON: Was this in potato country up there in Maine?
GREEN: No, potatoes are grown further north in Aroostok County.
JOHNSON: So he was in timber and farming. How about your early education? Where did you go to school?
GREEN: I went to elementary school in West Enfield, Maine, which is about twenty miles from Lee. Then I attended Howland High School across the Penobscot River from West Enfield.
JOHNSON: That was a public high school in one of the neighboring towns?
GREEN: Yes, Howland was across the river from West Enfield. It had a public high school.
JOHNSON: Graduated from there?
GREEN: Yes. After I finished Howland High School, I attended Husson College in Bangor, Maine. I trained to be a teacher in business administration, shorthand, typing, business law, and so on. After I graduated from Husson College, I taught for two years in Garland High School, and another two years in the commercial department of Old Orchard Beach High School.
JOHNSON: You were teaching what subjects?
GREEN: All commercial subjects. Accounting, business law, shorthand, and typing.
JOHNSON: So you had a business college education then that you used in teaching.
GREEN: That’s correct.
JOHNSON: So those were your first jobs prior to getting into government. How long did you teach?
GREEN: Four years.
JOHNSON: Just four years. Then what did you do?
GREEN: I went into the service. World War II had started while I was still teaching.
JOHNSON: This would be about what year?
GREEN: I went into the service in December of 1942. There were three months the latter part of 1942 in which they took applicants into the Naval Reserve and the Maritime Service. After those three months they froze the applications. So I went through basic training along with all the other volunteers from Maine. At the end of the training period, I was assigned to be a teacher in the purser’s school for merchant seamen.
JOHNSON: What school do you call that?
GREEN: It was called a purser training school it was an officer’s training school located in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York.
JOHNSON: That was the Maritime Service, and the Merchant Marine?
GREEN: Yes. The members of Merchant Marine worked on the ships that actually sailed the seas. The Maritime Service was the administrative branch that operated the ships and personnel.
JOHNSON: You didn’t have to go on any convoys then.
GREEN: No. I was at Sheepshead Bay from 1942 until January of 1946 when I was discharged.
JOHNSON: What kind of rank did you have while you were there?
GREEN: I was a Chief Petty Officer Specialist, what they called a T Specialist.
JOHNSON: Did it exploit your knowledge of business subjects?
GREEN: Oh, yes, I had to teach the pursers accounting, how to handle ships’ papers and how to go into port and come out and keep records of everything. Also they had to be able to type, or I had to teach them how to type in 90 days.
JOHNSON: All these fundamentals.
GREEN: At first we didn’t have typewriters so we had to do the exercises with our fingers. Most of these men were adults, grown men and their fingers were stiff.
JOHNSON: At least you had some experience with government bureaucracy and government procedures at this point.
GREEN: That’s true.
JOHNSON: So, what did you do after you were discharged?
GREEN: Looked for a job for about two and a half months in New York City.
JOHNSON: What kind of job were you looking for?
GREEN: Well, I was looking for a job with a magazine, a publishing house, as an office manager, but I wasn’t very successful. There were many GI’s available in the work force by then. From there I went with the [Pauley] mission in 1946.
JOHNSON: Do you remember just when and what the date was that you were hired for this assignment?
GREEN: It was the latter part of April. I’d have to confirm this with my papers that I have back home, but the approximate date was late April. I believe it was the 4th of May that we left for overseas.
JOHNSON: I do have a few dates here in some of this material. How were you offered this position, or how did you find out about it? Who told you about it?
GREEN: Gail Carter, the chief of the secretariat for the Pauley mission, had a brother who worked on Wall Street in New York City. Gail was in Washington, D. C. I believe he came from the Carolinas originally. Gail had asked his brother if he would keep an ear open for anyone who might fill the bill. They were in a hurry to fill the position because the mission was to be put together in a very short time. They didn’t have much time for research, or for looking around for people. Gail told his brother, “We want a person who can handle shorthand, typing, business papers and so forth.” So he asked his brother in New York, to see what he could find. Gail Carter’s brother knew a friend of mine. His brother called my friend and my friend called me, and he said to phone Carter in Wall Street and I did. We made an appointment for—I don’t remember what day—but around 10 o’clock in the morning. I went down to Wall Street and talked to him rather briefly. He phoned his brother in Washington, D. C. I talked to his brother [Gail Carter] about five minutes, and he said, “Can you come to Washington? I would like to talk to you further.” As I put down the phone, I suddenly realized I didn’t have enough money with me to make the trip to Washington. But Gail’s brother came to the rescue and gave me $20.00. I got in a cab and dashed to Penn Station, made it just in time, and arrived in Washington at 3:30 p.m., I think it was. When I phoned Gail, he said “Just get in a cab and come to the White House.” Today the section I went to is called the West Wing of the White House. I met Gail Carter and talked to him a few minutes. He said, “I’d like to have you meet the man in charge of this mission.” We walked down the corridor to another office and Gail Carter introduced me to Ambassador Pauley. Then Gail said, “This is one of the men I’d like to take with us on our trip to the Orient.” Up to that point, I had no indication that I was hired. Ambassador Pauley asked a few polite questions and that was it! Gail and I went back to his office and he gave me an application to fill out. He said he had to leave early, and he added, “Leave it on the desk when you finish and lock the door behind you.” I also had to fill out a passport application. I think I finished around 5 p.m. and put the forms on Gail’s desk and locked the door.
JOHNSON: And you were already in.
GREEN: That was it.
JOHNSON: That was about as quick a hiring as I’ve heard.
GREEN: Oh, it was the easiest job interview I ever had.
JOHNSON: Had you known anything about Ed Pauley by this time?
GREEN: No. I didn’t know anything about him. I believe I had read about him in the newspaper. I was trying to fix it time-wise as to when he was nominated for Under Secretary of the Navy.
JOHNSON: It was in 1945-46. That’s when the Harold Ickes thing kind of blew up.
GREEN: Well, we left on the mission in May of 1946 and we were gone for several months.
JOHNSON: At this point you were not aware of Pauley’s involvement with reparations, or had you done any reading on the subject at all?
GREEN: No, I knew nothing about