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Katie Louchheim Oral History Interview

Katie Louchheim

Oral History Interview with
Katie Louchheim

Delegate from the District of Columbia to the 1948 Democratic National Convention; delegate to the 1952 Democratic National Convention and a member of the platform committee; Director of Women's Activities of the DNC from 1953 to 1960; and Vice Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1956 to 1960.

Washington, D.C.
September 27, 1972
by Jerry N. Hess

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]


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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened January, 1975
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]



Oral History Interview with
Katie Louchheim

Washington, D.C.
September 27, 1972
by Jerry N. Hess

[1]

LOUCHHEIM:  This is an up to date biography including the pictures.

HESS:  Thank you very much.  We will place it in the appendix.  All right, to begin this morning, Mrs. Louchheim, what are your earliest recollections of Mr. Truman?

LOUCHHEIM:  My earliest recollections quite naturally are through stories in the media, when he was chosen to be Vice President at the last FDR convention, 1944.  I was not active in the same sense that I became later in politics.  However, I was an avid devotee of politics having come to Washington in the New Deal days.  I was also an avid reader of various newspapers and journals.  And I was very much interested in

[2]

Mr. Truman, but they were not direct recollections.

HESS:  Just what did you know about him at the time that he was selected as vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 1944?

LOUCHHEIM:  In order to answer this question properly I think we should begin with the unfortunate and misleading aura that surrounded Mr. Truman as the vice presidential nominee in '44.  A great many people were led to believe that his selection was what is now often referred to as a very -- well, perhaps the word should be "political," in the worst sense, maneuver on the part of Franklin Roosevelt to get the support that he would need from the regular politicians, the people in those days who were proud to call themselves pros -- the people who were big city leaders.  And the best thing I can do at this moment is point to the current -- survivors, shall I say, of this lost breed, and Mayor [Richard J.] Daley comes to mind at once.  But they were the people who really controlled the Democratic Party because they could get out a vote.  And it was known that Harry Truman was very, very good news to them; which immediately made him very, very

[3]

bad news to all the intellectual liberals.  Although not as famous at that time as they have become, they were nevertheless a clique, and a very talkative and articulate and literate group. They wrote; they made speeches; they went to dinners; and they spread the gospel that Harry Truman was nothing but a "ward heeler politician."  So that...

HESS:  Would it be fair to say that the politicians were supporting Mr. Truman and the intellectuals Mr. [Henry A.] Wallace?

LOUCHHEIM:  Yes possibly.  I'm not sure...

HESS:  The intellectuals lost out.

LOUCHHEIM:  Yes.  I'm not sure when we come to '48 whether that's the way it came out, but that may have been the case in '44.  I never knew Henry Wallace.  My connections at that time, as I have stated in my political memoir By the Political Sea were strictly limited to membership on a 1940 finance committee.  I was very happy to have this opportunity to return to my native New York City; to try to collect some money for Franklin Roosevelt.  Subsequently, I did see President Roosevelt at receptions and on the day

[4]

of the inaugural luncheon, which was not a very large affair in 1941.  Subsequently I never saw him, nor did I have any contact with the White House -- except, as I said they gave large receptions from time to time to which my husband and I were invited.  I don't think, therefore, that I ever saw Mr. Truman vis-a-vis until the '48 convention.

HESS:  Mr. Truman had been Chairman of the Committee for the Investigation of the National Defense Program that became known, of course, as the Truman Committee during the war.  What weight would you place on his handling of that committee to his receiving the nomination in 1944?  How instrumental was that?

LOUCHHEIM:  I think it was enormously instrumental and very effective in securing the nomination for him.  He had received national prominence and conducted himself with great dignity, and more than just ordinary acumen.  He was not the sort of person who was handed his questions.  He knew spontaneously what he was going to ask his witness as the investigation went along.  I must also guard my reactions, because unless I went back into some very incomplete records, which as we

[5]

discussed earlier are very unsatisfactory, I would have to say that -- because I was absorbed in a war job, I did very little but read up on the first international effort with which I was connected, namely, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.  But I do think Mr. Truman's investigation of the National Defense Program played a large role in his selection.  I have never seen anybody who rose, you might say from complete oblivion, from nobody knowing about him to become President of the United States.

HESS:  What were your thoughts and impressions when you heard of the death of President Roosevelt?

LOUCHHEIM:  I was working in the office in the Dupont Circle Building.  I was shocked and all of us were very disturbed.  We gathered in little groups.  My office was down the hall from the general counsel's office (a man from New York, called Abe [Abraham] Feller, who subsequently went to the UN and had a very bad time and committed suicide).  Gathered in Feller's office were a group of so-called liberals, they were wringing their hands and saying now -- what's going to happen to us -- that was the attitude.  And I must say that I

[6]

doubt whether at that time I was a very independent thinker, I was part of a group of people and it was pretty hard to get away from their line of thought.  I was very seldom exposed to any other, and I felt more or less the same way.  We were worshipers of the New Deal; we came down with the New Deal.  My husband was the thirteenth employee on the roll of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  We were so thoroughly mesmerized by the Roosevelt presence -- the legend -- his style.

HESS:  Charisma.

LOUCHHEIM:  That's right.

HESS:  I don't know if the word had been coined back then.

LOUCHHEIM:  I don't think it had.  I think that's a recent...

HESS:  That's a "Kennedy" word isn't it?

LOUCHHEIM:  Yes.  I think he made it popular and well-known.  But I feel that was not fair. For instance today we would be staggered if anything would happen to Mr. [Richard M.] Nixon. We're thoroughly familiar with Mr. [Spiro T.] Agnew.  We know whether we like him or whether

[7]

we don't like him.  But we didn't know anything about Mr. Truman -- really.  We only knew this unhappy legend that he was a routine political compromise choice in order to get rid of Henry Wallace and to put somebody in who would help the ticket.  After all this was the fourth time and Roosevelt needed help.

HESS:  What kind of job did you think Mr. Truman would do?

LOUCHHEIM:  Well, until the summer of '45 I had no impression of Mr. Truman.  Shall we go backwards and forwards quickly?  Here we are talking about Roosevelt's death in '44 and I would like...

HESS:  That's '45.

LOUCHHEIM:  '45.

HESS:  April '45.

LOUCHHEIM:  I'm glad you corrected me, '45.  Then I would like to project myself to July of '45, when I first saw Mr. Truman climbing the stairs at SHAEF Headquarters in Frankfurt where I was stationed.  He was walking along side of General [Dwight D.] Eisenhower.  You may recall that I said something about them in my book,

[8]

the fiery little man and this very handsome, tall -- rather overwhelming presence of the general in full military regalia.  But I got the very strong impression that day that this -- Mr. Truman was a man -- whom no one was ever going to tell what to do, who was going to be very feisty, and his own man, and I was thoroughly -- pleasantly, agreeably surprised.

HESS:  All right.  And you were a delegate from the District of Columbia to the 1948 Democratic National Convention that was held in Philadelphia.  What do you recall of the events?  Perhaps we can start with the formation of the delegation.

LOUCHHEIM:  The formation of the delegation was due to Joe [Joseph L., Jr.] Rauh.  I had been an active participant in voluntary activities at the national level, because the Democratic National Committee was located in Washington.  I had never taken an active role in local politics.  In fact, I was walking along the street one day when a woman (Helen Fuller) stopped me -- incidentally I read she died yesterday in the paper -- "Are you going to be a delegate?"  And I said, "Is there a delegate from the District of Columbia?"

[9]

And she said, "Of course there is.  Why don't you file?"  Well, because of the friendship with Joe Rauh I was asked to file, and I was asked to file by a group of four insurgents, one of whom was Mrs. Ernest Lindley, Joe Rauh, myself and I believe, the fourth was Tilford Dudley.  We were going to try to win four spots on the delegation, from a man named Melvin Hildreth, who was then the national committeman.  And I had just gotten to know something about him through my friendship with Mrs. Harriman, Mrs. J. Borden Harriman.  Mrs. Harriman had been the national committeewoman, associated with the committee since the twenties when she first came to Washington.  She had a very low opinion of all of the members of the District Committee; the man who ran it was the numbers racket king in Washington.  So when Joe Rauh asked me to become a delegate along with the others I immediately agreed.  The way we ran afoul of Mr. Hildreth was very simple; he was a puppet controlled by these other people.  When we went to ask him whether we should pay our filing fee with certified checks he said, "That would not be necessary."  So we paid a rather large sum of money I remember -- $250.00 to file as delegates, and then received a formal

[10]

notice saying we could not be admitted as delegates because we had not given a certified check. It was the old army trick.  You do what they tell you to, and then they tell you did wrong.  This, perhaps we should delete the word army, I don't know why but its a well-known political trick. Subsequently Joe Rauh decided to take the case to court.  I was at a luncheon when he reached me and I ran to the phone to call my husband, who was at the Securities and Exchange Commission.  My husband requested permission for me to join in the suit from the general counsel and the SEC denied it, they said my husband was a government servant and I could not, in effect file a complaint against Mr. Truman.  Apparently the only person that one could file a complaint against was someone who was the head of the party, or rather his surrogates, I don't know who they were.  And so I couldn't go along on the suit.  I dropped out.  The suit, however, never got to court.  It was settled out of court and we were accepted as delegates.  They called me and said, "Would I join the delegation?"  I protested that I really didn't deserve to because I hadn't gone along for the fight.  They said they wanted me anyway.  So

[11]

that's how I became a delegate.

Now the rest of the circumstances are that Joe Rauh was then a rising star in the Americans for Democratic Action, and that he was passionately for -- believe it or not [William O.] Douglas or Eisenhower for nominee for President.  And this seemed rather strange to us at home, but we accepted it because we were very close to Bill Douglas.  And Bill Douglas, as we mentioned earlier, was not an admirer of President Truman.  I don't know why.  Perhaps I did know, but I've forgotten.  Whether it was on the same sort of mythical belief that no professional politician could ever handle an ideal, or could never accept an ideal, or the penance of progress.  But it was a very deep-seated prejudice.  So we even, my husband and I, gave a little money toward the William O. Douglas pamphlet.  One of these throw-aways that people were given in order to influence them in the direction of the man described.  So that we were completely committed.  I took the Eisenhower thing as a joke.

HESS:  What did the ADA know about General Eisenhower's political views at this time?

[12]

LOUCHHEIM:  I don't think they knew anything.  But I say I speak with great hesitation, because I think Rauh would be your person on this.  He was the commander in chief of this little crew.  I can only say that he told us what we were going to do.  What signs we were going to carry and etc.  The whole thing was a Joe Rauh dominated exercise.

HESS:  Is he usually the commander in chief of any group that he was in?

LOUCHHEIM:  Yes.  But I think in -- besides being a man of great individual charm and love -- not the word "love" but of great charm and warmth; he would be the sort of person who would be tolerant of the fact that you differed with him, which is sometimes not the case with the intolerant radical liberals.  Oh, he would not stop liking you, lets put it this way, because you disagreed with him which is often the case today.  I've found I've made enemies that I didn't know about for taking a moderate stand on a subject.  For instance I made enemies among intellectuals because I didn't criticize Lyndon Johnson in my book -- wouldn't vilify him.  I was considered a traitor.  So, at the time you have

[13]

to go back to this same atmosphere.  The atmosphere was certainly not that we knew anything particularly against Mr. Truman, we just thought the great thing to do was to have a presence, and Bill Douglas was a very ambitious, rather youngish man at the time, and he wanted the nomination, I suspect.  I don't know anything about General Eisenhower.  I don't know whether anybody ever approached him or asked him or...I couldn't tell you.

HESS:  Just for a minute while we are discussing the delegation, lets look down the list of delegates.  This is from the official proceedings, on page 378 of the official proceedings.  Would you read off the names and just tell me a little bit about some of the people who were on that delegation and, perhaps, the other groups?  Were there other groups of people who may have been in support of Mr. Truman?  Do you recall?

LOUCHHEIM:  On the delegation?

HESS:  On the delegation.

LOUCHHEIM:  Again I would find it very difficult to be absolutely precise in my reply.  I'm sure there must have

[14]

been, because my first comment would be that some of these people were part of the original Democratic District of Columbia organization.

HESS:  And they were appointed by the Democratic Committee here in town?

LOUCHHEIM:  Yes, some were members of the Democratic Central Committee.

I was one of the dupes. At the time, when I filed as a delegate to the convention, I was not told, that I also had to file for membership on the Democratic Central Committee.  And when it came time to become a member of the Democratic Central Committee they kept me waiting, because by then we had reformed the committee and we had a brand new chairman, A. L. Wheeler.  To be sure that I knew that he would be my mentor, and that I would be bound to him if he let me on the committee, he kept me waiting for several months.  I see him on the list of delegates.  He was one of the newcomers, along with myself, and the others that I mentioned earlier.  Arthur Clarendon Smith and Brigadier General Albert L. Cox, and I think, Mrs. Estelle Pearce were definitely hold-overs.  William L. Houston may have

[15]

been a newcomer with us.  He was one of the dearest, lovliest men in a quiet way, he was probably what would be called an "Uncle Tom."  He was a judge, and he was black, and he was not a young man even then, but he was a delight to be associated with.  The other member of the delegation who was black was Edward Williams, who I know to be a newcomer.  And who to the best of my recollection was a "firebrand."  I would be able to check better if I looked at the '52 delegation.

HESS:  All right.  Now continuing on with the delegation I believe there are two people that we have not mentioned previously -- James F. Reilly and John Wattawa.

LOUCHHEIM:  Wattawa.  I believe he was an old-timer and Reilly came in with us.  These are very inadequate replies to what is a precise question, and I refer you again to Joe Rauh, because my recollections are very strong when it comes to Mrs. Lindley, who subsequently became an associate, and somebody I worked with.  And I did remember Arthur Clarendon Smith who was a rather aggressive public relations man who had his own moving business...

HESS:  "Don't make a move without calling Smith."

[16]

LOUCHHEIM:  "...calling Smith."  He used to call me and finally I did go to one of his breakfasts, he used to give regular Sunday breakfasts.  He was always doing things.  And he was all the way over on the right on the subject of racial integration.  He was a formidable foe of any kind of integration.  I think it was even difficult for him to be a member of a delegation that was integrated -- which we were.  He was an older man and it was too late for him to change, or to moderate his views.  I remember that about him.  I remember very little about Brigadier Cox, except he was impressive looking and had very good manners.  I suspect he was also very much of what we now call a "right winger."  Tilford Dudley was an extreme radical, a liberal CIO man. Mrs. Pearce was somebody I -- who was either in the government or in someone's office.  I don't have a very clear recollection of her.  Al Wheeler became a very successful real estate operator. He built most of the new houses that have been built in Georgetown, and has become a multi-millionaire.  I never hear of him politically anymore.  He was also a liberal, a southern boy from Georgia who had a law degree, and who kept secret the fact that he was quite wealthy.  We always got the impression he was only moderately well off

[17]

while quite the contrary, he was rich, very rich.  He became the Chairman of this new committee and he was the one that kept me waiting for a long time for membership.

Have I spoken about all of the members?

HESS:  I think so.  All right.  Moving on into the convention, you mentioned several items in your book the fact that you were selected to second Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas's nomination.  You mentioned the Liberty Bell -- the flowered Liberty Bell.  But what comes to mind when you think of the 1948 convention in Philadelphia?

LOUCHHEIM:  Quite definitely I would say the most important experience of my political career occurred at the '48 convention.  In terms of the selection of the Vice President -- once Mr. Truman had been nominated, or perhaps even before, there were all sorts of rumors current about whom he would select to run with him.  And there was a rumor which had some authenticity, I gather, that he was interested in Justice William O. Douglas, who was then vacationing in the west.  The group that I was associated with, and I will just mention two names to you, one was Abe Fortas and the other was a man called James Allen (who

[18]

was connected with the government at the same time we were in the early New Deal days and became a sort of a public relations -- that's the wrong word -- public information adviser to Justice Douglas) and who was at the convention representing the forces for Justice Douglas.  Mr. Allen is now a resident of California and he is with Northrop Aviation; and Fortas you know about.  I was in the room when Mr. Fortas and Mr. Allen spoke with the Justice and a man called Saul Haas on the telephone as well as Bill Douglas, about this rumor, and whether or not he would accept the nomination.  I'm not certain whether I was on an extension phone, or whether I was just told afterwards what the conversation was, but I was involved for the first time in my life in some pretty heady maneuvering.  It struck me that Mr. Douglas was making a mistake.  That I remember, because it seemed at the time of course, since Mr. Truman had had the nomination -- that it would be a good thing for him if he was at all ambitious to be President someday, which I believed him to wish, and to get off the court, and to be in active politics.  But Bill Douglas and his friends were adamant.  They would have no part of anything that concerned Mr. Truman.  It would be

[19]

teresting to get that story.

HESS:  What did Mr. Douglas say?

LOUCHHEIM:  Its hard because I -- it doesn't come back to me -- what he particularly said.  I had heard him on the subject previously . I can go back to a situation, he was living in the country, living in Alexandria, or somewhere near Seminary Hill, and my husband and I would go out and visit him and his wife -- his first wife, Mildred.  And at the time when Mr. Truman became President or shortly after he became President through the death of President Roosevelt – he -- I remember him standing in front of his fireplace saying, "The Truman administration is like a toboggan going down hill with no one steering."

HESS:  Did he say why?

LOUCHHEIM:  No.  If he did -- I'll check it with my husband but to the best of my recollection it was a prejudice that may have come about through some encounter, or it may have been just this general prejudice that was held by people who thought themselves to be the saviors of the Democratic Party, because they were the new liberal forces.  Just the way George McGovern and his troops feel

[20]

today.  And these people represented what for George McGovern's people, the Truman people a backward look.  And he was proud of his record and did not want to be associated with anyone who was a party politician in the worst sense of the word, who owed all his allegiance to people of that stripe.

HESS:  Do you think Justice Douglas would have liked to have received the top position in 1948?

LOUCHHEIM:  Oh, yes.

HESS:  Was there much of a movement for that?

LOUCHHEIM:  Yes.  But there wasn't much of a movement for it.  It never got off the ground as far as I recall.  When you interview Joe Rauh you might bring this up, as to the strength of the movement.  How many ADA people were delegates?  I wouldn't be able to answer those questions.  But I do feel that there was an innate and unjustified prejudice against Mr. Truman -- right through all these people.  It was like stripes -- they all wore them.

HESS:  What do you recall about Helen Gahagan Douglas' candidacy?  When did you first become aware of that and

[21]

when were you asked to second her nomination?

LOUCHHEIM:  I did not know that she was a nominee until she had somebody invite me to second her nomination.

HESS:  Do you recall who?

LOUCHHEIM:  No.  I would have to correspond with some people.  I wouldn't mind writing to Mr. Allen and asking him if he remembers, because he was the one who helped me write my speech.  He and I stood in the back of the hall (I think I mentioned this in my book) writing this speech which I was supposed to make, and we felt somebody bumping into us and we looked around and it was a large live donkey.  And so we decided that politics afterall had its humorous aspects.  They a...

HESS:  Well, he was right at home at a Democratic Convention.

LOUCHHEIM:  Oh he was indeed.  He was bumping us, and I don't know why somebody had let this animal loose.  It seemed a rather out of...

HESS:  Was there no caretaker or...

LOUCHEIM:  I didn't see the caretaker, I only saw the animal

[22]

and I thought to myself, I've seen everything now at the Democratic Convention, here's a live donkey.  But...

NESS:  Was her nomination put forward by the ADA?

LOUCHHEIM:  It could have been.  I don't know.  I don't want to plead ignorance, I would hate to do that, I would rather plead memory failure.

HESS:  I believe that C. Girard Davidson was to place her name in nomination.  Do you recall anything about that?

LOUCHHEIM:  No.  I didn't know him at the time.  All I recall is that I had a role and I was excited about it.  Lets go back a minute and mention the vice presidential parley that I was in on. And say that was -- plus the Helen Gahagan Douglas experience, which never came to anything -- that was very heady wine for a fairly naïve and unsophisticated -- hopefully politician to be -- like myself.  And that I was hooked on politics forever after, because this is easy when you came in at the top, which I thought that I had.  Here I was sitting in a room where they were talking to the man who -- might become the Vice President of the United States.  About Helen Gahagan Douglas, I don't think that any of us felt that it was more than a

[23]

courtesy due her.  She and Emily Taft Douglas were two of the women whom I had been associated with in my wartime UNRRA experiences.  And it may very well have been that Mrs. Helen Gahagan Douglas remembered me when she went down the list of delegates and had somebody choose me, or ask me to second her nomination.

HESS:  Did you think it was possible for a woman to receive the nomination at that time?  That was twenty-eight years ago.

LOUCHHEIM:  No. No.

HESS:  And we still haven't had a woman nominated.

LOUCHEIM:  No.  There was no possibility.  It was a courtesy nomination, and one which she deserved.  And she belongs very much in the tradition of, certainly, the rebels in the Democratic Party.

HESS:  Do you think that it would be a good thing if we could have a woman nominated?

LOUCHHEIM:  I've never accepted that, Mr. Hess, as a question.  In all the years when I was on the road for the Democratic National Committee I was always asked, "When will we have a woman Vice President?  When will we have a woman

[24]

President?"  And I would always answer, "Why don't you change your question?"  After all in recent years we've lived through the genuine tragic deaths of Franklin Roosevelt and Kennedy and unexpected ascendancies to the presidency from the vice presidency -- twice.  We had it in FDR-Harry Truman days and we had it with Jack [John F.] Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.  So the question is wrong.  Do we want a woman President?  Do we want a black President?  Do we want a Jewish President?  These are all current and favorable.  I would think a -- my answer in all seriousness to the woman question would be that until we have more women in Congress, and in the Senate, and as governors, and as mayors, and in important roles, you are never going to have the public convinced that a woman could be President.  I'm not saying that she couldn't be, or that she couldn't conduct herself in a manner that was suitable.

HESS:  The image needs to be changed, and revamped.

LOUCHHEIM:  Well, yes.  We have to change the image anyway of what a woman can and cannot do.  We talked so often during my State Department days about the role of Indira Ghandi, or Madam Bandaranaike who was the

[25]

Premier of Ceylon and I would answer always that these women inherited their -- just the way Queen Elizabeth did -- their right to rule.  That is a different matter.  Now the nearest we came to changing the image was with Eleanor Roosevelt, who as a widow became a world figure.  But if she'd been nominated instead of her husband in 1932 nothing would have happened.  And I'm not sure that it would happen today.  I don't think its a question of the image so much, as the confidence of the people.  Maybe we were talking about the same thing and using different words.  We have had two women governors, (I'm not sure of my statistics anymore) we had two women in the Senate until recent years when Mrs. [Maurine Brown] Neuberger dropped out, we've had a very few women in the Senate on their own, most of them come by the widow route. The famous line is "They use the coffin as a springboard."  It is not a very pretty expression but that is the case also with women members of Congress -- to a marked degree.  Even Mrs. Margaret Chase Smith whom I admire, and consider a friend, and who I respect, came by the way of her husband's death to be a member of the House, and is now the Senator from Maine. But I think this has all got to be different.  Then you've got to find a woman, who if she is married

[26]

has a husband who is willing to support this activity completely, perhaps even financially, but also enthusiastically and emotionally.  And I've always said that the reason that I was able to have a public life was that my husband was domiciled in the District of Columbia, and that he was willing to have me go to work.  If I had stayed a housewife in New Jersey or New York City, I never would have had a public life.

HESS:  All right, back to the convention.  You mentioned in your book that the reason that Mrs. Douglas's nomination was not put to the floor was because the civil rights fight took up to much of the time.  What do you recall about that civil rights fight?

LOUCHHEIM:  Well, some of the things that I recall are very difficult to analyze.  The excitement -- the fiery emergence of Mr. [Hubert H. Jr.] Humphrey; the emotion on the floor; the uncivil behavior of men and women, which I'd never witnessed before, and the eventual walkout, and the strange impression that I carried of that walkout, which was that they were all rather small shrunken-looking men.  Perhaps it was just my mood, but we were in an unairconditioned hall.  The men were in shirtsleeves. And

[27]

they went out in a fashion that seemed to me to make them all look like little men.  I can't describe it to you in any other way.  They may have been giants, but my recollection was that this phalanx of people who looked angry, and defiant, and at the same time didn't seem to belong to my kind of world.  And this is another one of the recollections one has that would be helped if we had television at the time.  I would know whether I was right or wrong.  They may have been giants, as I say, and very prepossessing, but they did not seem to be at the time.  I do recall another matter which I think received too little attention.  You know in the great struggle for reforms which we seem to periodically go through in the Democratic Party, we have abolished the unit rule.  But it was the unit rule that made the civil rights plank possible, and it was Frank [Francis J.] Myers of Pennsylvania who voted the entire delegation of Pennsylvania in support of Mr. Humphrey.  And then I believe there was Kansas next, I'm not at all certain.  But they also voted the unit rule.  In other words, they didn't have to poll their delegation.  They didn't have to put up with all the people in their delegation who were against and opposed.  They just simply voted with those who were for it.  If there was a majority -- hopefully, they won and

[28]

that was fine.  But they voted the unit rule "for" and that made it possible to have a civil rights plank.

HESS:  Was there very much disagreement in the D.C. delegation over that?

LOUCHHEIM:  Oh, I suspect that they lined up pretty fiercely, but we supported it.  I'm sure we had the majority vote.

HESS:  There were twelve delegates and alternates, and six votes.

LOUCHHEIM:  Well, we came down the line and I think that by time it was pretty well known that it was going to pass and maybe we got unanimity, but I don't recall. But certainly Arthur Smith wasn't with us and I'm not sure about the others that I mentioned.

HESS:  Do you recall anything in particular about Mr. Truman's views on the so-called Humphrey-Biemiller plank and the other plank?  The Humphrey-Biemiller plank, of course, was a minority report that was proposed by Andrew Biemiller for himself, Hubert Humphrey, and Esther Murray of California.  But to a plank that had been suggested, or had been put forward by the platform committee.  Do you recall any views that you may have had on which

[29]

plank Mr. Truman supported?

LOUCHHEIM:  No.  I would be telling an untruth if I said I did.  My association with Mr. Truman at the time was very distant.  I did not meet him.  I did not know him.

HESS:  Did you have any views at that time on what you thought Mr. Truman's civil rights stand was?

LOUCHHEIM:  No.  I'm sure that I learned later that his civil rights stand was moderate.  And when I got to know him well I would still describe him as being moderate.

HESS:  What effect did you think that the walkout of the south would have on the upcoming election?  The short range implications of the walkout, which of course, as you know, J. Strom Thurmond started the States Rights Party.  And then what did you see as the long-range implications of a split in the party that developed at that time over the civil rights matter?

LOUCHHEIM:  Well, some of us felt that it was overdue.  Let's for a minute generalize.

HESS:  As Mr. Humphrey said, "It was time to walk out of the shadow of states rights into the sunshine of civil rights.

[30]

LOUCHHEIM:  Human rights.  But I was going to allow myself a few gener