Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Oral History Interview

Theodore Tannenwald

Oral History Interview
Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr.

Special Consultant, War Department, 1943-45; Consultant to the Secretary of Defense, 1947-49; Counsel to the Special Assistant to the President, 1950-51; and Assistant Director and Chief of Staff to the Director for Mutual Security in the Executive Office of the President, 1951-53.
Washington, D.C.
July 14, 1969
by Jerry N. Hess

See also Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Papers finding aid

[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. [45]) 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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 July 14, 1969
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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

Oral History Interview with

Washington, D.C.
July 14, 1969
by Jerry N. Hess


HESS: Judge, could you give me a little of your personal background: where were you born, where were you educated, and what positions have you held?

TANNENWALD: Well, I was born in a little town in upstate NewYork called Valatie, which is about halfway between Hudson and Albany, and it is best known because it is the next town to Kinderhook, which is where Martin Van Buren was born. I went to grammar school in Valatie and in those days there were no psychological problems in skipping children, or at least people weren't aware


of them, so that I completed the eight grammar grades in five years, and graduated from the Valatie grammar school at the age of ten. I was eleven the month after I graduated. At that point my mother and father moved to Albany and I entered the William S. Hackett Junior High School, which was the first class of the junior high school in Albany. I spent a year there, and then went on to the Albany High School and graduated from there in 1931. I was fifteen the month after I graduated from high school, and the combination of the fact that my age, being so young, and the fact that I didn't have any money, caused me to wait a year before I went to college. I spent that year taking a couple of courses in the high school. I think I took a chemistry course and worked for the legislative correspondent of the New York Times every afternoon. In those days the New York Times used to publish the list


of new corporations formed every day, and it was from the office of the secretary of state in Albany and type it up and send it in to New York. I had the job of typing. I was not a typist. I did it by the old-fashioned hunt and peck system, which I still use.

In September of 1932 I entered Brown University in Providence on a scholarship and graduated there fours years later summa cum laude and then went to the Harvard Law School. I put myself through Brown, principally by borrowing enough money to see me through my first year, and I did the same thing at law school. Other periods I worked. It may be an interesting commentary to note that the aggregate of my gross expenses before scholarships and so on for my four years at Brown was approximately the same as the cost of one year of my younger son's education at Dartmouth some thirty odd years later.

I entered Harvard Law School and kept my


nose to the grindstone the first year and ended up first in my class, made the Harvard Law Review. I was also the first in my second year and for the three years' average. I was note editor of the Harvard Law Review. While I was in law school I did some outside tutoring to make some money, and also in my last year in law school, I helped the then professor of taxation, Erwin Griswold, later dean and now Solicitor General of the United States, write a couple of briefs. His wife had been stricken with polio the latter part of my second year in law school, perhaps the summer of 1938. In any event, my last year which was '38-'39, academic year, his wife was flat on her back in the hospital in Cleveland, and the financial drain on him was enormous, so he did a considerable amount of outside practice. He had two or three of his students helping him write briefs, and so on. I was one of the few members of my class


who decided I wanted to go into private practice instead of going into Government service, and I made arrangements to join the firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges when I finished law school. In the spring of 1939 when Professor Magruder was appointed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, he asked me to come with him as his law clerk for a year, but I had made up my mind I wanted private practice, and I had a job so I didn't need the clerkship for a job, and I guess I was ambitious to make money in those days and so I turned him down. It's one of the few regrets I have in my life, not that it would have helped me pragmatically. I don't think it would have had any direct bearing on my future career, but I always have felt that I missed a year that would have been a very pleasant memory and a very wonderful experience, because Magruder was quite a man.

I entered the firm and did general practice


until shortly after Pearl Harbor, when I became very restless. I tried to get a commission but couldn't on account of my eyes, and I had lots of friends who had been classmates of mine in law school who were working in Washington. The bulk of the members of the Law Review, as a matter of fact, came to Washington to work, and I started looking for something that would give me an outlet for my emotional problems of not being willing to stay in private practice while the war was going on. One of my good friends, who unfortunately is now deceased, was Philip L. Graham, who later became publisher of the Washington Post. Phil was then assistant general counsel of the Lend-Lease Administration. I talked to Phil and he found out that Dean Acheson, who was the Assistant Secretary of State, was trying to augment his staff but had budgetary difficulties and so temporarily it was worked out that Lend-Lease hired me, and I went to work


for Acheson in the State Department. This is why I am listed as a principal legal consultant to the Lend-Lease Administration. I never really worked for Lend-Lease. I started from the very first day I went to work, which was I think in May of 1942, over in the State Department working for Acheson in the economic warfare area. I think after a month or so I was assigned to the Foreign Funds Control Division, which involved the diplomatic and political side of the Treasury Department's exchange control regulations during the war.

HESS: What were some of your duties while you were there?

TANNENWALD: The duties of that division were--it was a very small one--were to maintain liaison and coordination with the Treasury Department, in order to make sure that the diplomatic and international political considerations on controls


over transactions and dollars were taken into account for freezing foreign-owned assets. For example, one of the provisions that came in, that came under consideration, was the question of freezing or getting the Latin American countries, in addition to ourselves, to stop the importation of U.S. currency, green stuff, and this involved negotiations with Brazilians, for example, and I was involved in that. We also were involved with the Alien Property Custodian, and some of the political implications of the seizure of enemy-owned assets which were held--purportedly held by the enemy via a neutral country. For example, I was involved in the seizure of American Bosch and what to do about it. The Swedes claimed that it was a Swedish corporation. These were the kinds of problems that we got into.

I stayed there only for a year, because it became apparent to me that I was going


to be drafted, and while I had no basic objections to serving in the army as a buck private it seemed to me that if I could find an assignment that would make better use of my talents, I would be well advised to do it.

In 1942 the United States Air Forces, the Army Air Forces, under General [Henry H.] Arnold, had decided to copy a system that the British had created at the time of the Battle of Britain, which was to opt the services of the Air Force and to make scientific analyses at the operational level and put their conclusions, if they could, into practice, without having the information come back to the laboratories in the United States, which meant it would be six months or a year before the answers came back and by that time it might be too late. The chief of that setup in the Army Air Force was a professor in my law school, W. Barton Leach,


and Leach felt very strongly that there was a role for the lawyers to play, particularly if they were possessed of technical background. And I had had the equivalent of a mathematics major in college, and so I was offered the chance to become the deputy chief of the Operations Analysis Section of the Eighth Fighter Command in England, and I took it in the spring of 1943.

Leach's theory, which was quite valid and proved out in my case and a few other cases, was that a lawyer could perform two functions in that kind of a setup. Let me just say a word about what the setup was. Most of the sections were on the bomber side, and they would do analyses of the strike photographs to determine such questions as the proper pattern for bombing, whether you bombed individually or whether you bombed on the leader of a squadron or a wing; or the various kinds of fuses and size of bombs for particular types of targets.


On the fighter side, we got involved in problems such as the proper belting of ammunition, the study of combat film. Every fighter plane automatically took a film of his combat to determine ways in which fighter pilots might be trained for better accuracy, because this was before the automatic sighting mechanisms, and the pilots were notoriously poor in their shooting capabilities. Gasoline consumption studies, which became very important as they tried to push the outer range of the fighter planes, to Berlin for example, and then later in the Pacific, when the planes based on the Philippines and Okinawa were flying over water into Japan. But the point that Leach had and he was quite right, was that a lawyer could serve a very useful purpose in that area. Two ways: First of all, he was the administrative officer of the section, he was the one who had to take care of all the nonsense


of getting the supplies and getting the travel orders and the day-to-day housekeeping problems that most of the long-haired scientists didn't want any part of, and even if they would have had to do it, they wouldn't have known how to do it. Secondly, the key to the success of these sections lay in the ability of the scientific personnel who were members of the section to communicate their conclusions from their studies to the commanding general of the unit. This meant that you had to put it in language that the average military officer would understand, and here again, Leach felt, and quite correctly, that a lawyer, particularly a lawyer with a scientific background, could perform a useful function. I found that because of my scientific and mathematical background, I was able to take the ideas and conclusions of the scientific boys, who were members of my group, and put those conclusions


and ideas in language that the military would understand. I spent about fifteen or sixteen months, with the Operations Analysis Unit in the Eighth Fighter Command, right outside of London. Then, toward the end of 1944, in September, I was assigned temporarily to London to set up the mechanics for housing and implementing a program of what was known as the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. I was there only until about a months after the survey team came over. They came over about Thanksgiving of 1944, and I left in late December of ‘44. This was a very interesting group. Its potential for future history was perhaps not recognized at that point. Just by way of notation, three members of the group were Adlai Stevenson, Paul Nitze, who later became head of the Policy Planning Staff in the State Department and then Deputy Secretary of Defense, and George Ball, who became Under Secretary of State. I became good friends


of all three of them and maintained that friendship over the years. Stevenson certainly did not indicate his future potential at that point, in fact, of the three that I've mentioned, if I had to rate them, I would have rated Stevenson third in capability. He was bright, but I didn't think measured up to either Nitze or Ball.

I came back in December of 1944, and at that point the Air Force was stepping up its activities in the Pacific and augmenting some of its new commands, and I was asked to form an Operations Analysis Section to go out with the 301st Fighter Wing, which was then based at Mitchell Field. I spent the first six months of 1945 looking for people and getting equipment and so on together, and I finally left with my section in the first week of July of '45, and I was there until September when the war with the Japanese ended and I came home. We were on Ie Shima.


I was a civilian throughout this period. I had the simulated rank of a full colonel. I was technically in '45, in June of '45, drafted, but the Air Force had worked out with the Army Adjutant General at that point, or long before then, that any of us that were drafted, there were only about seven or eight of us in this group that were of draft age, most of the scientific personnel were men in their late thirties and forties, that we would be inducted, but instead of being sent to basic training, we would be released in the enlisted reserve and sent back. I was sworn in along with forty-nine other people at Grand Central Station in New York, the induction center, and forty-nine of them got tickets to Camp Dix, and I got my papers releasing me to the enlisted reserve.

I went back to my firm in October of ‘45, and started to do tax work for the firm, because they needed somebody to take over the tax job.


The man they had wasn't working out.

In the spring of '46, the firm needed somebody to go down and run the Washington office which they were establishing. They asked me to recommend somebody, and I recommended myself, because I loved Washington. And so I came down here and I was here from 1946 to 1949.

During that period, I gave vent to some of my urge for public service by getting involved with the Secretary of Defense in two specific projects. I was a very close friend of the then special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Marx Leva, who in 1949 became Assistant Secretary of Defense under Forrestal. When the Air Force was separately constituted by the National Security Act of 1947, there was a lot of paper work involved within the Department of Defense, drawing a line and separating out this segment of the Army, because the Air Force had been part of the Army until that


point. And so I was asked to supervise that separation, and what that meant was, I spent a day a week at the Pentagon reviewing papers. I had a committee of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, principally the Army and the Air Force, working up drafts of orders for Forrestal to sign. We had to separate the procurement functions, we had to separate the transportation functions, who got what jeeps and so on. Some fascinating problems which I always threatened to write a Law Review article on and never did, involved the whole question of what you did about the officers club funds, which are non-appropriated funds, but still are public funds. I mean, the whole history was going back to the Civil War days, legal history. But these were the kinds of problems.

HESS: How did you work that out?

TANNENWALD: We just separated it out. I've forgotten


now, frankly, the particular techniques. I'm sure the orders are all a matter of public record and speak for themselves. That went on from, I guess it was early in--I don't know when I started this. Nineteen forty-seven, I guess, early '47 I think I started that. And then in early 1948, March of 1948, the United States Government started to worry about the possibility of a Communist takeover in Italy and France, in the spring elections of 1948. We suddenly came to the realization that really aside from the President's power as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, there was no legal basis for furnishing arms and equipment to a foreign government, other than by way of sale. At this point of time, the first Economic Cooperation Act, ECA act, was going through Congress. And Mr. Lovett, who was then Under Secretary of State and conducting the liaison with Senator Vandenberg, who was chairman of the Senate Foreign


Relations Committee, worked out with Senator Vandenberg, a possibility that there would be a military assistance section to that act, to be known as Title VI. I was given the job of drafting that section. The draft was prepared in February of 1948, which then never saw the light of day because Vandenberg decided that for various reasons it would not be appropriate to try and get military assistance as part of the economic assistance legislation. There was a decision made to go for a separate military assistance act the following fall, and at that point in time, I think it was in October or November of '48, General [Lyman L.] Lemnitzer, who was then a two-star general, was brought into the Secretary of Defense's office as a special assistant for military assistance, and I became his counsel. I took three months off from my firm with the idea of getting the legislation presented to Congress. There were


delays and along around March of '49 my firm said enough was enough, and I had to leave Lemnitzer and I went back to my firm. The Military Assistance Act finally got enacted sometime in the summer of 1949.

In June of 1949, I went back to New York because I decided that if I wanted to really be part of my law firm I belonged in the main office and not in the branch office. At that point of time again, in order to keep my finger in the pie in Washington, I went back to being a consultant to the Operations Analysis Section of the United States Air Force. The Air Force had continued Operations Analysis into peacetime, and still has it, as far as I know. I didn't do much in that capacity, I think I came down for consultation on a few specific problems, maybe three times between the summer of 1949 and the summer of 1950. In early July of 1950 I was in Washington for a day of consultation


to the Air Force, and I went by to see my friend, Marx Leva. He and Felix Larkin, who was then the general counsel of the Department of Defense, had just had lunch with Secretary Johnson. Johnson had just come back from a Cabinet meeting at which Harriman had been present. And Harriman asked Johnson to recommend somebody as his lawyer. Harriman was going to form a very small staff. He had just come back from Paris where he was Special Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs, and he asked Johnson to recommend one of five people to hire as his lawyer. Johnson asked Leva and Larkin at lunch who they had and they said that the lawyers that they had on the staff of the Pentagon who were good they didn't want to let go, and the lawyers that weren't good they didn't think they ought to shove off on Harriman. But they had two names of people outside of Government whom they thought might be interested: one was myself, and the other


was Jack [John T.] Connor, who later became Secretary of Commerce and was then, I think, secretary of Merck & Co., and later became president of Merck. I happened to show up so they twisted my arm and I reluctantly agreed to at least go and talk with Harriman that afternoon, which I did. I went to work for him the following Monday.

I don't know how far you want to get any personal color into this sort of thing, but the day I saw Harriman, whom I didn't know, I think I had been in a couple of meetings over in the State Department during this period of being a part-time consultant of Forrestal, at which Harriman was present, and we probably met, but we certainly didn't know each other.

I had an appointment with him, as I recall, at 6 o'clock. I delayed my return to New York in order to keep it, and he was very busy. At about twenty minutes to 7, he came out and said,


"I'm awfully sorry, but I've got to go and meet Dean Acheson." I think they were meeting, as I recall, at the Chevy Chase Country Club. He said, "Come on and ride out with me, and then I'll have my car take you to the airport."

It was pretty obvious to me as we drove out in the car that Harriman had done some checking on me between the time that Louie Johnson had called him at about 2 in the afternoon and when I was riding with him. I never did find out all the people he checked with. I know one was Phil Graham, who told me months later that Harriman had called him.

In any event, the point of all this is that the conversation in the car dealt with explaining the job and asking me a little bit about my background. I remember very vividly that when we got over the Taft Bridge near the Shoreham Hotel, Harriman suddenly turned to me and said, "Look, I don't really care what your political beliefs


are in the sense of identification with a party. I would hope that you were a Democrat, but I wouldn't really care if you were a Republican, provided you answer one question. You've got to answer me honestly. I really have only one question to ask you. Do you believe in the liberal principles that Franklin Roosevelt stood for, because if you don't I don't want you.”

And that was the test. I've always remembered that because I thought it was very significant. This was the most important thing in his mind. Everything else was subsidiary.

HESS: Have you ever heard anyone else mention that they were asked the same question by Mr. Harriman?

TANNENWALD: No. Never as far as I know. There could have been others, but I've never come across it. In any event, this was a Wednesday,


and I went to work for him on the following Monday, which as I recall, was the 16th of July 1950. Harriman's job at that point was very ill defined. He told me afterwards, and he's made this statement many times, that immediately after Korea, he called the President and said, "I'd like to come home and work on this with you." And Truman said, "Come on home."

In the early days, as best I can make out from the situation as I found it when I went to work for him, his primary responsibility was to try to bring some peace into the relationship between the State Department and the Defense Department. Acheson and Louie Johnson were at sword's point. It was a very unpleasant and unproductive personal and professional relationship.

HESS: What was the basis for their disagreement, do you recall?


TANNENWALD: I really never figured out whether it was simply the usual struggle between the Defense and the State Department. I'm inclined to think that it was exacerbated by Louie Johnson's personal political ambitions. I think Louie Johnson hoped someday to run for the Presidency. And there was talk about that later on. It never materialized, but in 1952 there was some talk about Louie Johnson.

HESS: Why was he chosen to be Secretary of Defense?

TANNENWALD: I don't know. I was very much on the fringe. I don't know why Johnson was chosen. He had done yeoman work for Truman in raising money in 1948. He had been an Assistant Secretary of War so that he was familiar with some of the military problems; he had the reputation of being a sound, competent lawyer, and I think that these were all factors that went into Truman's mind.


HESS: Did he or did he not have a tendency to try to overstep his bounds and take upon himself some of the responsibilities that rightfully belonged in other departments and other areas?

TANNENWALD: I would say yes, although I only had one specific indication of that that I can remember. I went with Johnson up to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he testified in executive session. And I've forgotten now whether I was invited to go by Johnson, or whether Harriman found out that Johnson was testifying and thought it would be useful to have an observer there and called Louie Johnson; however it was, I don't know. But there was clear indication in this testimony that Louie Johnson was chafing under the restrictions imposed upon him by the White House, both budgetary wise and in terms of the overall load in the military. He was all for--well, let's put it


this way, he was a "hawk" in terms of what we ought to do in Korea, and he made no bones about it in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, although the primary purpose of that testimony, as I recall it, involved the question of bases, or military assistance to Spain. There is one episode or one aspect of that trip to the Hill that I think I might just as well record. It's been, as far as I know, a fairly closely guarded secret, but Truman knows it. I know what happened, and I may be wrong in putting two and two together, and I don't think I'm a hundred percent wrong. After that hearing was over, Johnson asked me to ride back with him. He said he would drop me at the old State Department. He had never met me before, and I always thought that what he did showed very poor judgment on his part. He utilized the ride from the Senate side of the Capitol to the old State Department building,


now known as the Executive Office building, to tell me what a terrible time he was having with Acheson, what a terrible man Acheson was, and that he hoped that Harriman would straighten this out. And he left no doubt in my mind--in fact, as I recall, he said in so many words that he hoped that Harriman would become Secretary of State.

I came back and reported this to Harriman, along with a report on the testimony. Harriman asked me to put it in writing, and I put it in writing, and there was only one copy of that memorandum, to my knowledge. Harriman had a meeting with President Truman that afternoon, or the next morning, I've forgotten which, but within a space of twenty-four hours after. I'm quite certain that Harriman reported this to the President and indeed, I'm convinced that he showed the President my memorandum, and for all I know he may have left it there. I don't


know where that memorandum is today.

HESS: Did you ever hear Mr. Harriman express an opinion on how he evaluated the qualifications of Louis Johnson?

TANNENWALD: Not really, except that I know that he was very much upset about this conversation, and felt that this showed a streak in Johnson that made him questionably--let me put it that way--questionably fit to be Secretary of Defense. And of course the sequence of events was, that within a matter of five weeks after this episode, Louie Johnson was no longer Secretary of Defense. Now it would be presumptuous of me to suggest to you that my memorandum is what fired Louie Johnson. I mean, there were a whole conglomeration of considerations but I've always had the feeling that this episode may well have been the straw that broke the camel's back. Because Truman was a great admirer of


Acheson's, as you know. And this attack by Johnson on Acheson not only must have galled Truman because of his feelings for Acheson, but as I indicated before, I think it showed very poor judgment, I mean, for the Secretary of Defense to sound off to an underling of another Cabinet or semi-Cabinet member, on a highly personal relationship at the top level of the Government. It just didn't make any sense.

HESS: What methods did Mr. Harriman use to try to bring about better cooperation and coordination between the Defense Department and the State Department?

TANNENWALD: Well, there was a very short period, of course, when Louie Johnson was there, it was really July, August and the early part of September of 1950. During that period Harriman was really just beginning to lay the ground work. He did it by constant contact with the men


in uniform, the top men in uniform, whom he had known from the wartime days. And knew them all: Marshall (well, Marshall was out at that time), Eisenhower, Bradley--you name the top people and he knew them. He did maintain a direct liaison with these people in the Pentagon. He went to every morning staff meeting at the State Department. He was invited by Acheson to participate in that. The relationship between him and Acheson, of course, was excellent. I think it has deteriorated in later years. Now it's got nothing to do with personalities. It's just that Acheson is a hawk and Harriman is a dove, and I think they have parted company. But they were very close, they had gone to Groton together, they had gone to Yale together, very close friends, and each respected the other's ability and each respected the other's position. Harriman was very sensitive to the role of the Secretary. He never


undercut Acheson with Truman. He was a mediator. He tried to get things done by persuasion. But as I say, the Johnson-Acheson business never became a problem that he really coped with, because Louie Johnson was only there for about three months or less, and then it became Marshall and Lovett. And of course this put a completely different color on it. First of all, Marshall had been Secretary of State, and understood the respective roles of the Departments. Secondly, Lovett had been Under Secretary of State and was a close personal friend of Harriman's. Lovett's father and Harriman's father had run the Union Pacific Railroad together, and Lovett and Harriman were partners in Brown Brothers Harriman in New York, so that the personal relationships here were such after mid-September of 1950 that there were no special problems. Harriman's work really involved just shuttling back and forth between the Pentagon and the State


Department and the White House, bringing to bear his vast experience and understanding of international affairs. He had a sixth sense about international problems. He is not an articulate man; he never has been. He's better now than he was. But I used to go to meetings with Harriman and he would sit and listen to everybody else talk, and when it was all finished he would somehow, in a largely inarticulate fashion put his finger on the critical problem, not so much the critical problem now, but the implications for the long run. And ninety-nine out of a hundred times subsequent events would prove him right. But he was highly respected by Marshall and Lovett and by Acheson. And then, of course, David Bruce, who was an old friend of his, became Under Secretary of State. Harriman was a great one to utilize the powers of persuasion. He also had a great capacity which he taught to me,


and it has stood me in very good stead, to know when to fight and when not to fight. He didn't fight for everything; we had our priorities, and we sometimes would remain quiet on something we didn't agree with, or make a pro forma protest and let it take its course even though we didn't agree with what we were doing, because we knew that the next day that we had a more important battle that we wanted to win. He had a great sense of being able to select.

Now, this was September of ‘50. Harriman had a five-man staff in which he really covered the waterfront of the military and foreign affairs field.

HESS: Who was on the staff?

TANNENWALD: The final staff as it evolved--there were a few people who were there temporarily, for example, when I came in in July of '50 Charlie [Charles] Hitch, who later became the


comptroller of the Defense Department in the Republican administration, and is now the, I think, the provost of the University of California at Berkeley, was there for a while, but the basic staff that evolved was Lincoln Gordon, who was his economist, Harriman's economist, and involved in all the economic aspects of foreign policy, and military policy; Frank Roberts, who was a retired general--I'm not even sure Frank was even retired at that point--who was Harriman's liaison with the National Security Council. Sam [Samuel David] Berger, who is now the number two to Bunker in Vietnam, Sam had come out of the labor movement and had been with Harriman on the Lend-Lease Mission in London as early as 1940. And Sam was Harriman's liaison with the labor groups and although I was never privy to the full extent of what Sam did, I'm convinced that Sam did a good bit of liaison work with the


CIA, Harriman's involvement with the CIA. Gordon, Roberts, Berger, myself, I was "the lawyer" but I ended up pretty much as Harriman’s chief of staff. I sort of kept the office running and I was his troubleshooter. The fifth guy was a fellow named Dick Johnson, Richard M. Johnson, who was Harriman's liaison on the lending side and the financial side of foreign affairs. He maintained Harriman's liaison with the Export-Import Bank, and with the National Advisory Council which was the fiscal advisory body at the Treasury. That was the group throughout this period, 1950-1951.

I gravitated in the fall of 1950 partly from being the troubleshooter to being a member of the presidential speechwriting stable, along with Murphy and Bell and Neustadt and Lloyd, and occasionally Marx Leva from the Defense Department, and Marshall Shulman from the State Department.


HESS: Do you recall what speeches you helped on?

TANNENWALD: The two that I remember most vividly were the national emergency speech in December of 1950, which was after the Chinese struck in Northern Korea, and then the State of the Union message in January of 1951.

HESS: Let's take those one at a time. Just how were those speeches written?

TANNENWALD: Well, the pattern of all the speeches was the same, these two, as well as any other speech. Murphy was in charge of speeches. Murphy was the Special Counsel to the President, and he was in charge of speeches. And he would opt various people on his staff, like Dave Bell, Dick Neustadt, Dave Lloyd and George Elsey. Those were the principal ones that he used from his staff. And then he would pull in people from the outside. If it was a speech, for example, that had a lot of military overtones,


Marx Leva from the Defense Department would be involved from the beginning. If it was a foreign affairs speech, Marshall Shulman, who was Acheson's