Oral History Interview with
Special Assistant in the White House Office, 1951-53, on the staff of Charles S. Murphy, Special Counsel to the President.
April 5, 1963
by Charles T. Morrissey
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | 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. ) 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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 November, 1963
Harry S. Truman Library
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Oral History Interview with
April 5, 1963
by Charles T. Morrissey
MORRISSEY: Let's start, Mr. Hansen, simply by letting me
ask, when did you join the White House staff?
HANSEN: I went on the White House staff about November 1, 1951.
MORRISSEY: And how long did you stay?
HANSEN: I remained there until the administration changed in January,
MORRISSEY: Why did you join the White House staff?
HANSEN: Well, Mr. Murphy needed some help. He apparently asked Steve
[Stephen] Spingarn for a recommendation as to a lawyer. I understand Steve
Spingarn recommended me and another attorney, both of us at that time
being in the office of the General Counsel of the Treasury Department.
The other attorney, whose name was John Carlock, and who is now Fiscal
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury,
went over to see Mr. Murphy first and Mr. Carlock was then Assistant General
Counsel of the Treasury Department. He didn't want to make the switch
to the White House staff very bad and the General Counsel of the Treasury
Department, for whom he worked, didn't want him to go, because he was
an extremely valuable man. So I went over next and saw Mr. Murphy. I remember
I was on vacation at the time and the General Counsel called me one Thursday
afternoon. He told me to come in and see him the next day. I went in to
see him the next day and he told me that the White House was looking for
a man and to go over to see Mr. Murphy. So I went over to see Mr. Murphy
that day and Mr. Murphy asked me how I would like to work at the White
House; and I told him I didn't think I had any particular qualifications
for the job, although I'd be glad to do whatever it was desired that I
should do. After some talk, he told me to come over and start work the
following Thursday, and I think that was the first of November, 1951.
MORRISSEY: Had you known Mr. Murphy beforehand?
HANSEN: No, I had not.
MORRISSEY: Had you known Stephen Spingarn?
HANSEN: Yes, I had worked for him at the Treasury Department.
MORRISSEY: I see. And when was that?
HANSEN: Steve Spingarn was in the legislative section of the Treasury
Department when I first went to work there in June of 1940. After the
war he was Assistant General Counsel in charge of legislative matters
and I worked under his supervision for several years until -- up until
the time he went to the White House, as a matter of fact.
MORRISSEY: Could you give us a little biographical information prior
to the time you joined the White House staff?
HANSEN: I was born in Caney, Kansas, a small town of 2500 in southeastern
Kansas. I completed public schools there; went to college at the College
of Emporia, Kansas, which is a Presbyterian school; after graduating there
in 1935 I went to the University of Kansas Law School and graduated there
in '38 -- completed my work in January
'38; worked for a law firm at Hutchinson, Kansas, from January until September,
1938; then went to the University of Minnesota on a public administration
fellowship which was under the Rockefeller program at the time, a two-year
fellowship which called for one year of graduate academic training and
then an internship for a year; and after completing the school year of
'38 and '39, I came to Washington on the intern program of the National
Institute of Public Affairs and served my internship at the Bureau of
the Budget; then I went to the Treasury -- General Counsel's office in
June of 1940 -- at the completion of that internship.
MORRISSEY: You say that you worked for Charles Murphy on the White House
HANSEN: That's right.
MORRISSEY: Did he have a large staff?
HANSEN: Mr. Murphy had a very small staff. Mr. Murphy's staff consisted
of, at the time I came there, of David Lloyd, David Bell, Richard Neustadt,
and Kenneth Hechler.
MORRISSEY: So you were the fifth member of that staff?
HANSEN: That's right. And immediately before I went there Charles Irelan
who had been an attorney with the Department of Justice was working with
Mr. Murphy. I think he went there in August of 1951 and then he left to
become United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, I guess, in
October of 1951 or immediately before I went there; and I succeeded him.
MORRISSEY: What was your specific title as a member of the White House
HANSEN: Special Assistant, White House Office.
MORRISSEY: And was that the title of your colleagues -- the four other
gentlemen you just mentioned?
HANSEN: I believe it was although Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Bell later became
Administrative Assistants to the President.
MORRISSEY: How did Mr. Murphy conduct his staff business? What were the
procedures between himself and the staff members?
HANSEN: We all, of course, were over in the Executive
Office Building, the old State Department Building, and usually his secretary
would just call and say he wanted to see me, or the others, and we'd go
into his office, or I would go into his office, and he would give me assignments.
Sometimes he'd send correspondence or memoranda or things like that over
with a little note for me to review and I wouldn't have to talk to him
about it; but on many things he would call me over to his office. He always
operated in a very, very informal manner and it was really a pleasure
to work for him. He's a very informal man, and a very wonderful man, I
MORRISSEY: Did he hold regular staff meetings or deal mostly on a person
to person basis with his staff members?
HANSEN: Well, I wouldn't say he held regular staff meetings, but in the
nature of the work he did, which sometimes involved speechwriting and
messages to Congress -- major veto messages and that sort of thing --
several of us would be working at the same time and we would just meet
in his office and maybe spend practically a day there working on something.
MORRISSEY: You mentioned the informality of the way that
he conducted his staff business. Did you think at the time that this was
a successful way to do business, let's say more successful or less successful
than more formal arrangements between a staff director and the people
working for him?
HANSEN: I thought it was very effective; in fact, I thought it was wonderful.
I've worked in several agencies of the Government: General Counsel's office
of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, Budget Bureau, Department
of Justice; I've seen operations in many branches of the Treasury. I think
you gain a great deal by the informality with which he operated there.
And of course, the whole White House staff, to my amazement, operated
practically the same way, and I thought it was wonderful. Boy, you could
get things done a lot faster than I had ever seen it done in Government
before. Things could be done rapidly and effectively. I recall that John
Steelman once expressed his admiration at the way Matt Connelly handled
a difficult situation. Late in the afternoon Matt would give about thirty
names to the White House telephone operators to call. These were the names
of people who would be unable to get in
to see the President because time was not available. One by one Matt would
tell these people they couldn't see the President. He did this in such
an effective way that he was able to lessen the disappointment each one
must have felt. Steelman was quite impressed with Connelly's success in
handling this problem. It required a lot of tact which Matt was able to
express to each person.
MORRISSEY: This informality evidently surprised you when you joined the
White House staff?
HANSEN: Very much.
MORRISSEY: You expected the opposite?
HANSEN: Very much so. In fact, I was very formal in memoranda and getting
initials on things, you know, and setting things up just right, and I
was amazed at how fast something could slip into the President. Something
that used to take maybe weeks or months to get to the Secretary of the
Treasury or even to the Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service,
could get to the President very fast I found.
MORRISSEY: Do you remember any specific examples of this
sort of thing?
HANSEN: I remember, for example, we had problems on reorganization plans
and we had many problems on the so-called Government's loyalty program
and this was the day of the McCarthy era; McCarthy was riding high and
he was hitting the State Department day after day and it seemed to me
that there was one crisis after another as far as the State Department
was concerned, because their appropriations subcommittee, as I recall,
of the Senate Appropriations Committee, included Senator McCarthy, Senator
McCarran, and a third senator whose name I don't remember, but it was
a real murderer's row. And of course, McCarthy was always delving into
loyalty-security operations and so on and I can remember times that they'd
call over and say, we've got to have a Presidential directive to back
us up on refusing to turn over information or give an excuse for not giving
information, and so on, and things like that can get written up very fast
and get cleared very fast and so on. In fact the Secretary of State or
any other Cabinet officer could call the President and ask that the staff
of the department meet with somebody on the White House staff to get
something taken care of and Presidential approval and it could be done
MORRISSEY: Did you deal directly with any of these senators that you
HANSEN: No I did not.
MORRISSEY: Or any members of that senate committee staff?
HANSEN: No I did not.
MORRISSEY: I'm wondering whether the difficulty between the White House
and the senate committee centered on appropriations for the State Department
or promotions or maintaining certain personnel within the State Department
or if the problem...?
HANSEN: Well, I would say this, that the State Department, of course,
had to justify its appropriations and it wanted to give testimony before
the appropriations committee without offending the senators that it had
to deal with; but nevertheless, Senator McCarthy and Senator McCarran
would persist in delving into loyalty and security operations of the State
Department which the Executive Branch of the Government considered
confidential and classified and secret information, which they didn't
think that the Senate committee should be going into; because if the Senate
committees did go into that sort of thing, they in effect, would be looking
over the shoulder of people who made security clearances and loyalty boards
and security boards and they would be second-guessing them and that sort
of thing. And this is a very delicate operation, of course, and it involves
not only the abilities of the people who sit on these boards but also
their feeling that to do an honest job and to do a proper job, they shouldn't
have the feeling that somebody's going to be looking over their work,
over their shoulder at a later time and either criticizing them or asking
them why they did certain things. And, of course, you have the reputations
of individuals involved too, which is a very serious affair. So some of
the senators, some of the senate committees as I recall, would write the
State Department or ask them at hearings for certain information about
certain persons and whether they'd been investigated, whether they'd had
loyalty clearance and security clearance and for information as to FBI
reports on those people, and things like that. That was in an era when
the Republicans were proclaiming that the
Democrats had lost China and that sort of thing, you know, and there were
people like John Service and -- oh, I can't remember the names now, but
there were many individuals that were very much talked about in the halls
of Congress. That's a sort of illustration of some of these things that
occurs to me.
MORRISSEY: And this sort of thing would come to the President's attention
via the State Department?
HANSEN: Sometimes the State Department people would call Mr. Murphy directly
or sometimes, as I understand it, the Secretary of State would talk to
him about things and I or some other White House staff member would get
together with State Department staff people and work out a letter which
the President would sign directing the Secretary of State to do or not
to do certain things in his relations with Congress. That would take the
heat off the State Department to a certain extent as far as helping them
not offend people they had to get appropriations from.
MORRISSEY: This sort of business took a lot of time then?
HANSEN: It took quite a bit of time, that's right.
MORRISSEY: Would you say more so than any of the other people who worked
on Mr. Murphy's staff?
HANSEN: I was about the only one that really worked on that phase of
things, in the first instance at any rate.
MORRISSEY: Was there anybody at the State Department that you worked
particularly close with?
HANSEN: I remember a boy whose name was Kidder, I think it was, Kidder
Meade. I remember working with him. He's the only one I remember now.
MORRISSEY: Did you have any friends on the Hill who tried to help you
out? People on the opposite side of this business from McCarran and McCarthy?
HANSEN: No, you see I didn't do any liaison work with Congressmen at
all except once in a while I'd take something up for Mr. Murphy to Les
[Leslie] Biffle or to Congressman Celler, who was chairman of the Judiciary
Committee or somebody like that, but by and large, I didn't have much
contact with them. In connection with the Internal Revenue Service reorganization
plan, I had some contacts on the Hill, but I didn't do very much.
That was actually Mr. Murphy's bailiwick or his problem. That raises an
interesting question too. At that time, there was a man on the White House
staff named Joseph Feeney, who did Congressional liaison work. And shortly
before I went to the White House there was a brigadier general whose name
I cannot now recall who was doing Congressional liaison work; but I remember
that that was one very serious defect in the White House staff structure.
My opinion, especially as I look back, that they did not have adequate
Congressional liaison at all, and Mr. Murphy was so terribly overworked
that he just couldn't possibly do all these things.
MORRISSEY: And yet if some member of the staff did take it upon himself
to make contact on the Hill, it usually would be Mr. Murphy giving himself
HANSEN: Well, that I can't answer exactly because Mr. Feeney did do liaison
work and of course, the President would tell him things to do I suppose
and he would discuss things with Murphy and other White House staff people,
I suppose. But as far as actual legislation was concerned, from a policy
standpoint, or from a drafting standpoint, that was Mr. Murphy that handled
MORRISSEY: Why do you think that this problem, this weakness, wasn't corrected?
HANSEN: That I don't know; I just don't know why it was, but there certainly
was a tremendous need for it at the time, I think, particularly since
the President was having a lot of difficulty with Congress at that time
in getting parts of his program through.
MORRISSEY: Can you remember any specific cases where you think this problem
made itself especially felt?
HANSEN: No, I can't at the moment.
MORRISSEY: Going back to what you said a few minutes ago, you commented
about the informality of the procedures of the White House staff, and
from a personal viewpoint this interests me because anyone who studies
White House staff procedures is struck by the complexity in the number
of different tasks going on at the same time; and one might think that
informality would lose more than it would gain. If because of informality,
something got overlooked or someone contacted someone else orally, but
didn't put it in writing so that the memo would be there on his desk to
read over a second time if he
forgot about the phone call -- do you have any comment on this?
HANSEN: Well, I was struck by the same thing when I first went over there.
I had been reared in the Government tradition of making a memorandum for
the file every time you got a phone call or every time you crossed swords
with somebody or every time you were afraid somebody else was going to
make a memorandum for the file of a conversation you had with him, it
might be a little bit different from what your recollection was going
to be and which you thought might be important sometime. So I was reared
in the tradition of writing memorandum for the files. Well, they didn't
bother with that over there; there were too many other things to do; they
didn't have time for it by and large and I suppose it's unfortunate that
there weren't some people there writing memoranda at that time to record
a little more of the history, but I would say they didn't have time for
it and they just didn't bother with it.
MORRISSEY: Would you also say they didn't "get caught," as
a consequence of not writing these memos for the file?
HANSEN: What do you mean, "get caught?"
MORRISSEY: Oh, "get caught," in a sense of something being overlooked
HANSEN: I have no specific instance of it. It very likely happened, but
it never happened to me at any rate.
MORRISSEY: You also mentioned a few minutes ago, the ease with which
things would come quickly to the President's attention, and this is part
of the informal relationships among staff members and between staff members
and the President. Who would carry these things informally to the President?
Would this be Mr. Murphy?
HANSEN: As far as I'm concerned, it would be Mr. Murphy, yes.
MORRISSEY: He would carry them in and he would deal face to face with
HANSEN: Oh yes, as I recall, he'd go into the President's office many
times every day. Of course, the President always had a staff meeting at
9:00 o'clock in the morning, as I recall, for his administrative assistants
and principal officials of the White House. I didn't attend any of them.
MORRISSEY: Let me move on to two other things that you've
mentioned in the last couple of minutes. One, if you were writing a letter
for the President's signature, would the President usually accept the
draft as it would come to him or would he make changes? In other words,
would the President impress his own personality and his own thinking on
the letters that were prepared for his own signature?
HANSEN: No sir, I never saw any case that I worked on, any indication,
that the President changed any letter at all; but let me say this, I think
there was a reason for that. And that is that the President, President
Truman, in my opinion, insisted on and received excellent staff work.
I'm convinced that nothing went into him that wasn't very carefully looked
over before it got there. Now there were some times when he went outside
of his staff channels and he made some mistakes in doing so, I think;
but by and large, he had excellent staff work. Now, for example, the Bureau
of the Budget did a lot of staff work for the White House, but even so,
we looked over their things -- their papers too -- and I've known -- I
can remember a number of instances in which staff recommendations or staff
papers, from the Bureau
of the Budget were either wrong at some standpoint, or had to be corrected
and we changed them in the White House before they got to the President,
of course. But I do think as far as Mr. Murphy's operation was concerned,
at any rate, that the President had very good staff work. And of course,
those were three brilliant men he had there: namely, Lloyd, Bell, Neustadt,
and Hechler -- those were four brilliant men.
MORRISSEY: Do you remember any specific illustrations of difficulty the
President brought on to himself by going outside the staff channels you
HANSEN: Well, I don't specifically. I'm just sort of harking back to
such things as this famous letter to Paul Hume, I guess, and the fact
that sometimes he would say things at press conferences which were not
entirely accurate and would get him in trouble. Then Roger Tubby or some
information people -- press people -- would have to scratch or search
and get the State Department or some other department over and really
work on things. But as far as the business routine of the White House
itself was concerned, I think the President insisted on very good staff
work and I think he received it. I just have
the impression in my mind that there were times when he departed from
that staff clearance on a few things and those were the times when he
got out on a limb sometimes, I think.
MORRISSEY: You also say that you wrote speeches for the President to
deliver as well as letters for him to sign?
HANSEN: I was not a speech writer; I was supposed to be a speech writer,
but I'm a terrible speech writer. The greatest agony in the world, to
me, is trying to write a speech because I can sit at a table for two hours
and the first thought doesn't come to my head. I wrote a couple of minor
little speeches that he'd give for some conference or something, I don't
know. I can remember a time he went over to the Department of Commerce
and addressed some conference and one or two things like that. I helped
write some whistlestops of course -- I did write some whistlestop stuff
-- and I helped draft some things, but I didn't have the facility for
speech writing, I'm sorry to say.
MORRISSEY: These were whistlestop speeches in the '52
HANSEN: In the '52 campaign, that's right.
MORRISSEY: Do you remember offhand which ones?
HANSEN: I went on one short trip. We went to -- I went on a trip into
Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, I believe it hit part of West Virginia
on the way back. It was a three or four day trip, I think. But then before
the President made his other campaign trips including the ones out to
the West Coast, all of us pitched in and wrote little speeches for the
various stops that were scheduled.
MORRISSEY: When you say all of us, you mean Bell, Lloyd, Hechler, Neustadt,
Hansen and Murphy?
HANSEN: That's right.
MORRISSEY: I assume from what you say that the whistlestop speeches,
for the most part, were written on the train, at least on the one trip
that you went on?
HANSEN: Some of the writing was done on the train, but they had a lot
of material for specific stops before they
went on the train. In fact, I remember when the President took his Western
trip, went all the way to the West Coast and back, that the Department
of the Interior furnished many drafts of whistlestop speeches, particularly
for the Western states where the Interior Department had projects and
major Western areas were involved; and they did a wonderful job on it
MORRISSEY: You say the Department of the Interior. Was there any one
or group of people in the department that were doing this?
HANSEN: Yes, it was the office -- I can't remember the name of the office
-- I can't remember the man's name. He left early in the next administration,
I know. I can't remember his name now, I should. But it was sort of a
research office in the office of the Secretary of the Interior. I can't
remember the name of it now.
MORRISSEY: Do you remember any specific speech-writing sessions with
some of your colleagues on some of the major speeches that the President
HANSEN: I really don't. I remember writing sessions on some major veto
messages and that sort of thing, but I don't
remember speeches particularly.
MORRISSEY: Can you remember what veto messages?
HANSEN: Yes, that I do remember. One was the submerged lands legislation
-- the so-called tidelands -- that the President himself was quite interested
in. It is an interesting thing, I think, because it's an illustration
of how the President has to use and rely upon his White House staff sometimes.
The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior submitted
a very short draft of the veto message on the submerged lands legislation
which wasn't considered adequate at all. So, I recall, then, trying to
take care of the problem of merely simply acquainting or familiarizing
some of us on the White House staff with the problems involved, that Mr.
Murphy had the Secretary of the Interior, Oscar Chapman, and the Solicitor
General of the United States, Philip Perlman, come to Mr. Murphy's office
at the White House; and I remember we sat around that office almost all
one day along with -- I don't remember who else was there -- maybe Lloyd
or Bell, but we sat around there all day and just discussed this thing
to try to familiarize ourselves with it. I wrote a first draft of a veto
then Dave Bell wrote the final draft. But after the final draft was written,
I remember that Oscar Chapman and Philip Perlman came back to Mr. Murphy's
office again and we sat around much of one day chewing it up and fixing
it up and so on.
Another illustration is, as I recall, it's called the Walter-McCarran
Immigration Act of 1952 which includes the Internal Security Act and so
on. That was an instance in which something got away from the Administration
before they knew what was going on, because the Immigration Service and
the State Department had experts, as I recall, working up with staff committee
experts of the, I believe it was the Senate Judiciary Committee, for three
years or so. And they came up with this tremendous revision of the immigration
laws which closed all the loopholes they could possibly find on this,
that and everything else, I think. It was a gigantic thing. And then there
was a great deal of furor about the legislation in the press and in the
halls of Congress. A lot of people were opposed to it; they were mostly
people who were concerned about civil rights and were concerned about
having a more liberal immigration policy and not offending other nations
quotas and that sort of thing. So, I remember that the President received
a lot of messages, a lot of letters, a lot of personal calls from many
people who were opposed to this legislation and I guess, others who were
in favor of it. But there again was a situation in which the White House
staff at the time, or shortly before the time that the legislation was
enacted by Congress, didn't know very much about it. And again, as I recall,
Mr. Murphy -- oh yes, we called in State Department people to discuss
it with us; we called the General Counsel of the Immigration Service in
to discuss it with us; we called in various people from -- I don't recall
now -- oh, I think there was a former chairman of the Board of Immigration
Appeals who was in private practice in Washington came in and so on. So,
I remember the President said, "Write this up both ways and let me
take a look at it."
So I wrote a draft of a veto message which would say that he was signing
the bill -- approving the bill -- and giving some material on what he
liked about the bill, and then going into a mass of things that he wouldn't
like about the bill and asking the Congress to correct those in the next
session. I remember it was pretty long and it came back to me with a note
scribbled in the President's handwriting on about page 20 or something
like that and it said, "From here on, this is an excellent veto message."
Then the big veto message was written up by Dave Lloyd and he and I worked
days and nights together literally for, I think, it must have been a couple
of weeks or something like that before we finished the thing. If you ever
read that veto message, it's one of the most moving documents from the
standpoint of beauty of writing that I've ever seen and Dave Lloyd was
responsible for that, of course. He was a beautiful writer. And we had
the staff members of the McCarran committee down, too, and talked to them
about the thing. But there was a situation in which the administration
had let its own people get out of hand from the standpoint of doing work
up on the Hill; they hadn't been controlled back in the departments or
from a policy standpoint from the White House or the Bureau of the Budget
and it's an illustration of how you can get a monster on your hands without
half trying sometimes. Then you don't know what to do.
MORRISSEY: Why do you suppose that happened?
HANSEN: I think what happened was that the McCarran committee,
which I believe, as I recall it, was a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, although McCarran was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee. I believe that they became interested at some time in the general
revision of immigration laws, many of which were obsolete and certainly
could very well have been revised to make them a lot better. So I think
they just solicited the Department of Justice and the State Department
to furnish personnel that could help them work on this thing. I think
they did work on it for about three years, as a matter of fact. It was
a very comprehensive piece of legislation.
MORRISSEY: Why do you suppose the President would ask you to write up
two messages, one a veto and one an approval?
HANSEN: I don't think I wrote the one on approval; I think somebody else
wrote it in initial draft. I'm not sure the President asked that. It was
Mr. Murphy that actually told me to do it and I assumed that the President
had discussed it with him.
MORRISSEY: The reason I ask, I wonder if the President hadn't decided
in his own mind whether he was going to veto or approve McCarran-Walter?
HANSEN: Oh, McCarran-Walter? I don't think he had as a matter of fact.
I don't think the decision was made until a very late stage and the veto
message -- I think the veto message went back to the Congress the last
day it was open. Of course, it was overridden in the Senate by a couple
of votes I think.
MORRISSEY: Was there anybody you recall who was urging the President
to approve this legislation?
HANSEN: I do not recall specifically except that the Department of Justice
recommended it be approved, and I think the State Department recommended
it be approved. None of the agencies of the Government below the White
House recommended any veto of it or anything like that. But it was a job
that was done in the White House.
MORRISSEY: Was this an unusual situation for the White House to "overrule"
the recommendations of departments on legislation?
HANSEN: I'd say it was quite unusual, yes. I would say so.
MORRISSEY: In regard to both tidelands legislation and Internal Security
legislation, you emphasize how yourself
and other members of the staff would give a great deal of time to hashing
over the elements in each piece of legislation. Was your problem one of
trying to get information, or one of trying to evaluate the elements in
HANSEN: And it was a matter of having to get information rapidly and
being able to understand it rapidly, because both these bills -- the immigration
bill was a gigantic thing. Of course, the submerged lands bill wasn't
very big. But there were legal issues; there were policy issues; many
minority groups in the country were very concerned about the immigration
bill. As you know, several Southern states were very concerned about the
submerged lands legislation and of course, that had been in the Supreme
Court -- the submerged lands legislation had been in the Supreme Court
twice I think before this came up.
MORRISSEY: Then you would say that the President's viewpoint on both
these pieces of legislation and perhaps
more on tidelands than on internal security had a political dimension
to it? I'm thinking particularly of the claim of some people that a veto
of tidelands would lose Texas for the Democrats in '52.
HANSEN: My recollection is that the President was personally very concerned
and had been for many years about the submerged lands problem, because
particularly since the Supreme Court had held that the submerged lands
were the property of the United States. He felt that those properties
should be retained for the United States and maintained by the United
States and that the revenues from the rich oil lands should be a national
asset rather than the asset of certain states; and he thought there were
many billions of dollars involved in this thing and he thought that since
it was national property and the Supreme Court had so declared, that those
assets could be converted to national use. I think he had thought that
for years. On the immigration matter, I don't know. I had the feeling
that the people doing staff work at the White House -- we didn't know
ourselves until just about the last moment, I think, which way it was
going to go; and I don't think the President did either, but I think,
based upon conversations he had with people a