David H. Stowe and William J. Bray Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
David H. Stowe and William J. Bray

STOWE: Chief Examiner, US Bureau of the Budget, 1943-47; Deputy to the Assistant to the President of the United States, 1947-49; Administrative Assistant to the President of the Untied States, 1949-53; Labor arbitrator since 1953, including Organizational Disputes Arbitrator, Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO, 1955-70, and member, National Mediation Board, from 1970 until retirement in 1980.

BRAY: Served as Special Assistant to John R. Steelman in the White House, 1947-49; assistant on the 1948 Presidential Campaign train; Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury, 1949-52; Assistant Chairman, Democratic National Committee, 1952; Assistant Postmaster General, 1952-53; assistant to Harry S. Truman on former president's speaking tour for candidate John F. Kennedy in the 1960 campaign; and as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, 1961-69.

Washington, DC
February 12, 1973
by Jerry N. Hess

See also: David H Stowe Oral Histories

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

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

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

See also: David H Stowe Oral Histories

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 1991
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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

Oral History Interview with
David H. Stowe and William J. Bray

Washington, DC
February 12, 1973
Jerry N. Hess


HESS: Mr. Stowe, in your first interview with Charles Morrissey in 1963 you briefly discussed Dr. John R. Steelman's operation in the White House, but I wonder if we couldn't just go into that subject just a little deeper. In some interviews I've had I've gained the impression that some members who served on the White House staff did not have a clear idea in mind as to just what Dr. Steelman's role was in the White House. I've heard it expressed that the Special Counsel was a policy adviser and that Dr. Steelman handled the day-to-day affairs of the White House, but just how did you see Dr. Steelman's role?

STOWE: Well, it's a little difficult to separate Dr. Steelman's role in the White House in the early days when I first worked with him and his role as the head


of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion.

Briefly, as you probably know, Dr. Steelman had been Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for a number of years when it was in the Department of Labor. In that capacity he became recognized as one of the country's top flight mediators, and I think he would probably rank, in almost anybody's ranking, among the best half dozen we've had in the field of labor relations in many years.

I am not familiar with his role in the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion. I'm not familiar with what precisely that office did, because at that time I was in the Bureau of the Budget; but I do know in the early days in the White House he was an Administrative Assistant to President Truman and Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion.

This latter office was being gradually liquidated. The war was over, and the functions were being gradually phased out, so he had a residual staff, a group of people who had come from OWMR into the White House. Consequently, he had a disproportionately large staff in the White House. A good many of the people who worked on his staff, up to the time they left, or at the end of the administration, were people that had


come from the OWMR and were on some of the residual duties which were slipped into the White House, one way or the other.

And I'd like to talk about what he did as The Assistant to the President. Now, my understanding was that he did serve briefly with the title of Administrative Assistant and then became The Assistant. That you would have to check; I'm not sure, because when I knew him he held the title of The Assistant to the President.

HESS: Well, I have the list of the staff here, and he was not really an Administrative Assistant; he was what was called a Special Assistant to the President, for about one year. From December 29, '45 to December 12, '46, he was Special Assistant to the President, and then he was The Assistant to the President. You know, I've heard it both ways. I've heard that the "The" was capitalized (not that it makes much difference), and I've heard that it wasn't capitalized.

STOWE: Well, I always understood it was capitalized.

HESS: Well, I have too, except I believe in that Neustadt report that I mentioned before we started, that Mr. [Richard E.] Neustadt mentioned that one day when he was waiting to talk to Dr. Steelman and he was looking around his office, he noticed the commission on the


wall and noticed that the "The" was lower case, but that's neither here nor there.

STOWE: Well, let's talk about what Dr. Steelman did. I think basically he was involved in the day-by-day operation of the Government, as perhaps the number one staff assistant so engaged in the White House as distinguished from the legal counsel, who worked more in the field of policy and political matters, on relations to Congress, etc.

Dr. Steelman was able to do this because many of the things that come to the White House in terms of government operation also involve some conflict or potential conflict, between various departments and agencies of the Government. As a mediator, Dr. Steelman had the ability of getting into problems of that type, either before they developed or after they developed, and working out arrangements, a "rapprochement," whatever you want to call it, in such a way as to keep these problems away from the President. And I think, unquestionably, President Truman relied very substantially on Dr. Steelman, in this phase of White House operations.

In addition to that, having been the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and having had to work with labor and management in the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, Dr.


Steelman was probably not only the most knowledgeable man in the field of labor relations in the Government, but he had a whole host of associations with management and with the major trade union presidents and officers. So when disputes or problems became difficult, vis-a-vis either management or labor, or both, he was able-- either working through the duly constituted agencies of the Government concerned with the problem, or actually bringing the problems on occasion right into the White House where he dealt with them as The Assistant to the President--to work out major labor management problems. These were not necessarily confined to disputes, but often they were disputes.

So, this was an area in which he probably did a substantial amount of work, which other members of the White House staff might or might not know about for the simple reason that many times when you're in negotiation you don't negotiate through the newspapers, or through any kind of public relations. You do it very quietly and hope to get the situation, whatever it might be, resolved.

HESS: There are some historians who speculate, or point out, that having a labor man right in the White House, so close to the President, cut out the Department of Labor or at least lessened its importance, and therefore if a dispute arose, the partners in the


dispute would not really bargain in the Department of Labor because they knew that it wasn't going to end there. They knew that this man was sitting in the White House, so why waste time with the Department of Labor when we are going to move right on to the White House? Do you think that caused difficulties for the Department of Labor?

STOWE: Well, I think first of all it depends on perhaps the White House's own philosophy of how to deal with major labor-management disputes. Now, I an talking about disputes and not broad problems. Relations of management and labor such as we had during the time of price-wage controls oftentimes were not disputes; they were matters of relationships. The Government, particularly the White House, worked with these parties.

Returning now to your question of disputes in the Department of Labor, first of all I point out to you that the two major labor dispute-resolving agencies, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the National Mediation Board, are independent agencies. They are not in the Department of Labor. Consequently, and I think over the years I've heard many people from both those agencies regret the fact that there is no one, or has been no one, in succeeding administrations that understands labor, understands the problems of


settling disputes; they abhor the whole thing, wish it would go away. Also, the general policy has been in subsequent administrations to have these independent agencies report through the Secretary of Labor. Now this creates a couple of problems. First of all, independent agencies, whether it's right or wrong, like to maintain their independence.

HESS: Does the National Mediation Board report today through the Secretary of Labor?

STOWE: Yes, we report through the Secretary of Labor.

The second thing is that oftentimes the Secretary of Labor, not having any day-by-day responsibility for the resolution of disputes, is unknowledgeable in the given dispute and the problems and the background as anybody just sitting in the White House. I think it's a long debate. Each President has organized it a little differently. No one has had anything like the Steelman office, so to speak. Since then, under President Kennedy there was at least one person over there who was getting to develop a considerable amount of knowledge, and the independent agencies tended to gravitate towards him. But it depends a little bit, first of all, on the orders that the President has given to the Secretary of Labor and to the independent agencies; and secondly, on the interest of the


Secretary of Labor in the resolution of disputes.

HESS: Do you think that your task as Chairman of the National Mediation Board would be easier today if there were someone in a comparable position as Dr. Steelman?

STOWE: According to my own personal philosophy, I do, because I grew up under that system. I understand its advantages. I recognize that many people feel that it is not the best way to do it, that it brings labor disputes in too close to the Presidential office. I think there is considerable merit in what they say; but to answer that--yes philosophically I would like to see it.

HESS: How long did you work for Dr. Steelman?

STOWE: I came in in September of '47 and was supposed to leave in September of '48. I remained on, and after the election the President designated me as an Administrative Assistant.

HESS: I think that was in March of '49.


HESS: Now, we have lists with a few people who served on Dr. Steelman's staff. I have just taken this off of a long list of people who served, but some of those people could have served after you left. Does your eye


land upon anyone that we should mention? Any particular duties that person had, anything of interest about any of those people come to mind?

STOWE: Yes. First of all, when I became Administrative Assistant to the President, Dr. Steelman was looking for someone to more or less replace me as his assistant, and that person was Harold Enarson. Harold Enarson went over there, it says here, on September 5th of 1950. I thought it was earlier than that. He more or less took over the operations in Dr. Steelman's office as sort of an executive assistant. He did not have the deputy title that I had or didn't get into a lot of the things that I had, but he did take over as a Special Assistant in Dr. Steelman's office, and he remained there until 1952 when he was made a member of the Wage Stabilization Board during the later part of the Korean war.

Similarly, so did Mr. Russell Andrews. He went over there. Both of these gentlemen worked for me in the Bureau of the Budget, and this was in effect, I suppose, how their names came up for consideration, and they went over. It wasn't until Mr. Enarson went down to the board that Andrews came over, but I will say that they did much the same job--actually working within John Steelman's department as his assistant.


HESS: Did you work closely with those men, for instance during the activities of the 1952 steel strike?

STOWE: Well, the 1952 steel strike was primarily worked on by Dr. Steelman in his capacity, Mr. [Charles S.] Murphy in his capacity, and myself in whatever capacity I had outside of the labor relations field at that time. So, I would say we were the three people who were most concerned.

I noticed on here you have another name, Milton P. Kayle. Mr. Kayle was my assistant. He never worked in Dr. Steelman's office. Each of the Administrative Assistants had an assistant.

HESS: Oh, he was your assistant?

STOWE: Yes, he was my assistant as Administrative Assistant to the President, just as Neustadt was assistant to Murphy.

HESS: Well, we have so many lists about the people who worked in the White House and heaven only knows where some of this information comes from. Yes, I have him down here as Special Assistant to the President.

STOWE: Yes, it may very well be that was their payroll title.

HESS: Yes, that could well have been his payroll title.


STOWE: They had a lot of payroll titles. For example, when I first went over there, I was Administrative Assistant in the White House Office. I shared the title with Rose Conway. Subsequently, I became Administrative Assistant to the President, one of the, quote, "six who were supposed to have a passion for anonymity." I'm not sure that my title was changed, except on the personnel records.

HESS: Payroll records.

STOWE: In fact, I didn't know until just recently that during the period of time from September 30th until whatever the date was, March 9th--when I was finally made Administrative Assistant to the President--that I was carried on the Bureau of the Budget payroll as Assistant Chief of the Estimates Division, which was a promotion from what I had been when I went over in the White House. I discovered that only by looking through my own personnel file. Now as head of an agency, I have access to my own file.

The next group here--Mr. William Bray, Mr. [James V.] Fitzgerald, Mr. [John T.] Gibson, Mr. [Dallas C.] Halverstadt and Mr. [Charles W.] Jackson--I know that all of them, except perhaps Mr. Bray, were people who had been on the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion staff. Mr. Fitzgerald was an old


newspaperman and handled public relations more or less in terms of the OWMR program. After that was over, I guess, he remained with Dr. Steelman. However, he retired shortly after I went over to Dr. Steelman's staff.

Mr. Gibson was handling the advertising liaison operation. You may recall the Advertising Council was giving, during the Korean war, a substantial number of news spots and radio and television to the Government, paid for I guess by the industry, and there was always a problem about what program was entitled to receive this. All of the various departments and agencies were trying to get some advertising, and finally after the OWMR was reduced, or eliminated, that function was kept in the White House. It continued as sort of an allocation function, as I understand it, and as an advisory function both to the White House and to the Advertising Council. It involved deciding how free advertising of a Government, public-interest type should be distributed, what programs were entitled and what programs were of lesser entitlement.

The same thing was true of Mr. Halverstadt, except that he dealt with the motion picture media and worked with various Government agencies and the motion picture industry in terms, again, of what had priority. Everybody wants to get all the freebies they can and


these two industries, as I understand it--and this is purely hearsay, really, as I understand it--they had said they would continue to make this free media time available, provided somebody in the Government would decide the priorities of the thing. So, these two gentlemen, as I understand it, remained on to do that.

Now, Mr. Jackson's function also was a residual function from the OWMR, but frankly I really don't know what particular media he dealt with.

HESS: All right, we're ready to move on to the 1952 steel strike, which is a thorny subject. I have looked up some dates and will read them off. On November 30th of 1951 Conciliation Director Cyrus Ching reported to the White House that bargaining was hopelessly deadlocked. December 21st of 1951 was the contract expiration date. On December 21st of 1951 President Truman certified the steel dispute to the Wage Stabilization Board for recommendations for settlement. On January 7th, 1952, the Wage Stabilization Board began the steel case. They were unable to meet the initial deadline of February 23rd, and two extensions were worked out. The union accepted chairman Nathan Feinsinger's request for a delay in the strike until April 8th; that was April 4, plus 96 hours notice. On March 19th, 1952, the public labor members of the WSRB reached a majority recommendation, with industry representatives bitterly


dissenting. The majority recommended what was termed a generous wage and fringe benefit clause, set by the press as 26 cents per hour. As you know there are many different ways to arrive at that particular thing; some people said it was 26 and some said it was as low as 18. The 26-cent package looked big to some people. This is what I saw in the press.

The union promptly accepted the recommendations and the industry promptly rejected them. On March 24th [Charles E.] Wilson visited Key West; the trouble that he had at the airport on the way back is something you will recall. He resigned on March 30th.

Dr. Steelman then was designated as a temporary replacement for Wilson, and was announced as the new head of Office of Defense Mobilization, ODM, on March 30th. On April 8th the President ordered the steel plants seized to avert a strike. One April 29 there was the Judge [David] Pine decision that ruled the seizure unconstitutional. On Saturday, May the 3rd was the first meeting at the White House, and I have it down here that this was when you first met with [Phillip] Murray and Benjamin Fairless. On Friday, May 2nd, Murray ordered a return to work. On May 3rd, at 5 p.m., the Supreme Court announced that a hearing would be held on May 12th. On June 2nd the Supreme Court ruled the seizure unlawful. From the 6th to 9th of


June, meetings were held at the White House.

Does that give us sort of a backbone to work with?

STOWE: Well, it does, but I'm not sure about the latter dates. Let me first of all make this fairly clear, that when you talk about the steel dispute of 1952, you're talking about a lot more than a labor dispute. Now, the role I played in it, which we'll discuss later, was only as a co-mediator along with Dr. Steelman. It all occurred after [Nathan P.] Feinsinger's attempt in New York, and the failure of that; then we took over and in effect brought the dispute into the White House. I had nothing to do whatsoever with it during the period of the early part of that dispute when it was a wage-price problem, with the Wage Stabilization Board.

In that period of time I was engaged in other activities. As a matter of fact, I was in Europe for a part of the time. I have asked some people to go over some of the documents that you furnished me, and I understand from those who were close to that part of the problem, that basically those documents are correct. I have forgotten who it was, whether it was Neustadt or somebody who had written about it. Do you recall the documents?

HESS: Well, Grant McConnell had a study on one of those;


and I think one was in a book that Harold Enarson had written that was supposed to be a gathering together of different labor studies as a chapter in a book.

STOWE: There are oftentimes labor disputes that are only a part of the problem, just as the Senate the other day recognized that the current labor dispute on the Penn Central is only a small part of the problems of the Penn Central Railroad. Therefore, to talk about a labor dispute as spanning a total problem, you're wrong. And if you think of the labor dispute solely by itself, you're in trouble. Dr. Steelman and I conducted at various times, between the actual beginning of the strike and the final termination of it, three sessions, each of them lasting from three to five days. Dr. Steelman also had been involved in the earlier phases of the dispute, but I had not. So I can only talk about the mediation efforts.

Now here's where I have a problem. I have been unable to locate my notes on these sessions, so this is one I'm just a little lost on. The only thing I know is how it finally ended. We had gone through about 120 days of strike and it seemed that every time we tried anything it was like shoveling out one shovel full of sand and two came in on top of it. We had gone the route of the inherent powers of the President to authorize the seizure. The Department of Justice had


advised us that an alternative route which we had considered, mainly the route of using the Selective Service Act, had really been foreclosed by the fact that Congress when it reenacted the Selective Service law, just prior to this dispute, had eliminated that section. It could well be argued that it was the intent of Congress that this procedure was no longer available to the Executive. Now, it is my understanding that this is why the Department of Justice took the route of inherent powers, on which the seizure decision was based and which was, in turn, overturned by the Supreme Court.

At the very end, when we were having great difficulties and were getting into a very difficult situation, Mr. [Charles S.] Murphy one morning in a staff meeting indicated to the President that he thought that the time had come, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, to now try the Selective Service route. This would involve placing orders and insisting on compliance with penalties for non-compliance. The President came around to the staff meeting and asked for comments. I took a position contrary to Mr. Murphy's and suggested that really the only two people that could settle the dispute where Mr. Fairless and Mr. Murray. Before trying the rather dubious Selective Service route, I felt the President


ought to try to call the two gentlemen in and see if he couldn't persuade them to really sit down and get an agreement in principle.

Dr. Steelman indicated that although he had tried that, he thought it would not be amiss to go ahead and try again. I was asked to prepare the memorandum for the President. Dr. Steelman was asked to contact Mr. Fairless, and I was asked to contact Mr. Murray. As you know, you don't ask people like that to come in and sit down with the President unless you know you're going to have an affirmative answer.

On the following Saturday morning (I think it was a Saturday morning), I went to the President's office. Mr. Murray, Mr. Fairless, the President, and I were the four people in the room. I don't know where John Steelman was. I never have understood why he wasn't there; he may have been out of town. The President took the first part of the agreed-upon memorandum, a copy of which he had in front of him. It was a strong exhortation to Mr. Fairless and Mr. Murray that they should sit down; they should work this thing out; the country needed it; the public demanded it; and he was asking them to do it. He did a very eloquent job. He then told them to go into the Cabinet Room and that he didn't want to see them again until they had an agreement.


The second part of the memorandum, which he had directed me to prepare, contained a statement that if they did not reach an agreement that he was then going to try to use the Selective Service Act to bring this dispute to a halt. I was somewhat amazed that he didn't ever enunciate this to these two gentlemen, because it was in the memorandum in front of him. But he didn't; he simply stopped with, "You go into the Cabinet Room; get a settlement. Dave will be available if you need anything."

About three hours later they called me and indicated that they wanted to see the President. They went in to see the President; Mr. Murray and Mr. Fairless announced that they had an agreement in principle, and they were sure that they could work out the details. That was the way that it finally got over.

Since I can't find the notes I just wouldn't want to attempt to describe in detail each of the three major negotiation sessions. I do have some recollections, however. For example, I think it was the second session, but I'm not sure, where the steel workers agreed that if we could figure out a way to operate a portion of the steel industry that was necessary to keep the pipelines filled for Korea, they would be willing to do it. I recall that President


Murray of the Steelworkers assigned then Secretary-Treasurer David MacDonald to work with me on this. MacDonald and I worked for 5, 6 or 7 days. The only conclusion that we came to was that you just couldn't do it; there was no way to split up or know where an ingot was going, when it went into civilian production, whether it was going into plate for a tank, or where it was going. There were many things like that which came out--attempts to resolve the strike partially or in toto--but I can't recall whether they were in our first session, our second session, or our third session.

HESS: During one of those sessions didn't you go off by yourself though, with Murray and Fairless and meet with them, just them and yourself?

STOWE: Yes. Well, when I say just by myself, actually John Steelman was called out, so that timewise I was there most of the time. I forget whether the President called John in or not, but that was when we almost had an agreement. Again, I can't recall which one of these sessions it was but it seems to me that this is the one just before we heard the notification that the Supreme Court was upsetting the seizure. We almost had some kind of an understanding at that point.

HESS: What went wrong?


STOWE: They went out to lunch, and during that time somebody found out that the Supreme Court decision was going to come down later that day and everybody froze in place.

HESS: Wasn't one of the meetings held during the time when President Truman was on television, showing the White House that had been reconstructed? So instead of having their meeting, they were watching the President on television. Do you recall anything about that?

STOWE: I don't recall that; it may well be because as you know in mediation, the mediators oftentimes select people from one side or the other to talk to each other in private conversations. I don't remember sitting and looking at it myself.

HESS: Do you know why the Department of Commerce was chosen as the responsible agency to operate the steel mills rather than the Department of Defense?

STOWE: Yes. I think the operation of a steel mill is somewhat different from that of a railroad, for instance, in which the Transportation Corps of the Defense Department was well-equipped to do it. I really don't know, but management's relationship to the Government, which is basically through the Department of Commerce, might have played some part in that.


HESS: Do you recall Secretary [Charles] Sawyer's reaction?


HESS: Now, we've mentioned the fact that the Government wanted to go the inherent powers route. Holmes Baldridge, I believe, was Solicitor General at that time...

STOWE: Right.

HESS: ...and he stated before Judge Pine on April the 23rd and the 24th, in effect, that the Executive had unlimited power in an emergency, and from what I read, the reaction of the President and members of the White House staff was somewhat unfavorable to that particular pronouncement.

STOWE: Well, first of all, as I recall, the War Powers Act was no longer in existence. The War Powers Act did, as I understand, give the President almost unlimited authority, and it was under the War Powers Act that we did seize a number of plants during World War II and place them under Government operation in order to gain essential components of whatever it was we needed.

There was the legal school who felt that the President had these rights inherent in his office without the War Powers Act. Apparently, this was what Mr. Baldridge was in effect saying. I don't feel that


the White House staff felt as strongly as that; we thought it was at best tenuous, but it probably was not as tenuous as the Selective Service approach. It was my understanding that the clause under which we would have been moving was taken out of the Selective Service Act in the last reenactment, and one might well argue from its legislative history that Congress was in effect denying us that right. It may have been left out as an oversight--I don't know--but Justice felt we were better off to go with the inherent powers principle. Unfortunately, we did go with it, and the Court, I guess, established the principle that the President does not have the broadest of inherent powers, at least in this field.

HESS: What would be your overall opinion of John Steelman's effectiveness as a labor mediator and a labor adviser to the President?

STOWE: Well, as a labor mediator I would say that he was one of the best mediators that we've had in the field of labor mediation in the last 30 or 40 years. I hate to rank anybody, but he's certainly among the top ten without any doubt, perhaps even higher. His advice to the President with respect to these matters came from his close relationship with, and longstanding and great acceptance by, management and by labor. Therefore, he oftentimes was able, through private conversation with


key labor leaders and key management leaders, to really know what they were thinking and what they might do or react to.

HESS: He provided a direct channel.

STOWE: That's right.

HESS: Anything else on this steel strike situation in '52?

STOWE: Well, someday I shall be able to get my notes and really put together what went on at each of these meetings. However, even without them, I don't think it's such a great loss, because the greater part of this problem, like many, was not just the labor dispute, it was the economic factors that were involved, particularly that of price-wage stabilization. For example, how much do you have to raise your prices to meet a wage increase? When you have a stabilization policy then you add a whole new dimension to the problem, for the Government has a foot--more than a foot--in the door; they are sitting right at the table telling what you can do and what you can't do. When you have one group of people like the Feinsinger group [Wage Stabilization Board] trying to get the dispute resolved and another group trying to get the economic stabilization resolved, and when those two become incompatible, then you've got a problem


which is created by the situation of a Government stabilization program taking precedence over labor disputes. So the labor dispute becomes secondary. Yet, we had to get a resolution.

HESS: We have been joined by Mr. William J. Bray. The subject is now the 1960 campaign and Mr. Truman's involvement in it. Mr. Stowe, would you put down for the record just how you became associated with the effort in 1960?

STOWE: Well, during the congressional campaign two years earlier, Mr. Murphy and Mr. [David D.] Lloyd had traveled primarily with Mr. Truman, working on speeches that he made in behalf of some of the Congressional Democrats. In the presidential campaign of 1960 both Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Murphy were a part of the [Lyndon B.] Johnson entourage, and they asked me, since I had offices with Mr. Murphy, if I would take the President on about three or four speeches that he had agreed to make during the Kennedy campaign.

After finding out that this, normally, would involve my flying out to Independence, picking up the President, flying with him to wherever he was going, returning to Kansas City with him, and then my coming back to Washington, D.C., I agreed I would do it.

It turned out to be quite a different story. The


first trip I made with him was to Marion, Indiana on September 5th, for a Labor Day speech. I had fortunately taken my young son along with me; he was then about 19 or 20 years old, and there were two things on that trip that I recall very vividly.

The first [thing] was that it was impossible for one person to do all the things that would be necessary in traveling with a former President. You know, at that time, a former President did not have Secret Service protection; we had no press representative, we had nothing. Just traveling along with friends, so to speak, put him at the mercy of newspaper reporters, and restless crowds and everything else. It was clear that one person couldn't possibly do all that was necessary. The second thing that I remember from that trip to Marion was that when his speech was over somebody called from the crowd, asking him how come he was out there campaigning for John Kennedy when he had been against Kennedy and had not supported him in the nominating convention.

Well, Mr. Truman replied to that by saying that yes, he had been for Stuart Symington, a Missourian, and he would like to have seen him receive the nomination. However, the convention had spoken, and in the meantime he had had the time to look carefully at John Kennedy's record. And with that he took off and


made another speech on the subject of Kennedy's record.

We returned that same day to Independence; I then flew back the next day to Washington. At that point, the President and I had discussed the inability of one person to handle the details. Also, it looked like the number of speeches was already beginning to grow. We understood that Mr. Bray was with the committee [Democratic National Committee] and might be available. Mr. Bray had operated the President's [railroad] car in the 1948 campaign; he was an experienced campaigner, and he knew a hell of a sight more about handling political campaigns than I would ever learn. So, the President asked the National Committee to make Mr. Bray available, and so Bill Bray joined us on the next trip to Spencer, Iowa, and was with us throughout.

The two of us then handled Mr. Truman throughout the entire trips which you have listed here.

HESS: We should add that we all three have a copy of a list that was provided by the Truman Library. It's been titled "1960 Political Speeches Given by Former President Harry S. Truman," and I might add that just before we started recording, these two gentlemen have found several mistakes which we will correct as we go along.

Mr. Bray, what do you recall about when you joined? What do you recall about your first day on the



BRAY: Well, of course, going back 13 years right at the present time, one has to have a little bit of help in refreshing one's memory. But, as I recollect, why, we flew on out to Kansas City to join the President on these trips. I imagine we were out there the day before, making whatever arrangements, and contacting the people in the towns that we were going to visit. After all, as Dave has pointed out, there was a lot of extracurricular activity in making sure that we had the proper accommodations, which sometimes local committees do not give. The National Committee did not advance anything either for the train or other things.

HESS: How were the itineraries established for the various trips? How was it decided that the President would speak in the various towns that he did?

STOWE: Well, Jerry, as I indicated when we were first asked to do this, it was thought that there would be four or five trips. In all, it would have been, sort of--fly out, pick him up, fly there, come back to Independence, but then as you can tell from...

HESS: It looks like things grew, didn't it?

STOWE: Yes, things grew rather substantially.


BRAY: There was a lot of places that wanted him to speak that we just had to turn down because there just wasn't the time.

STOWE: But the arrangements varied. Well, the next group we're going to talk about is Texas. That trip was pretty well arranged by Johnson who was the candidate for Vice President; he had his personal representative with us throughout the entire trip. But there were others where we had to call up the night before to find out where they wanted us, what time they wanted us, what kind of security arrangements, if any, had been made, were they going to have television, were they going to have radio, or could they get radio; that is, could they get these various things. In fact, Bill and I used to stay up late. The President used to go to bed about 10:30 or 11 o'clock every night, and we'd be on the phone until 2 in the morning...

BRAY: Easily, two o'clock.

STOWE: ...doublechecking every little arrangement. Frankly, this was the kind of area which I probably would have wandered through, but Bill had had experience in this. He knew what was required, and we just had to get on the phone and make sure all these pieces fit. Now sometimes we had them fairly well worked out a few days in advance; other times we were