Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Paul A. Porter, March 19, 1975

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Meeting Vinson

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Porter we'll begin then by finding out when you first met Fred Vinson...

Segment Synopsis: Porter describes when he first met Vinson during the 1928 U.S. presidential election campaign, in which Vinson and Porter worked on the Al Smith campaign in Kentucky.

Keywords: 1928 U.S. presidential election; Al Smith; Bigotry; Campaigns; Chairman; Congress; Eastern Kentucky; Fred M. Vinson; Herbert Hoover; Law firms; Precincts; Virgil Chapman; Winchester (Ky.)

Subjects: Elections; Lawyers; Republicans; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:03:50 - Vinson's work before being appointed to Roosevelt's Cabinet

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Partial Transcript: He came under a lot of fire, around the state I think, for his support of Al Smith.

Segment Synopsis: Porter discusses Vinson's time in Congress and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Vinson's work on the U.S. Emergency Court of Appeals before departing the judicial arena to work in Roosevelt's Cabinet is also mentioned.

Keywords: Defectors; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Fred M. Vinson; House Committee on Ways and Means; Party switching; Tax laws; U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; U.S. Emergency Court of Appeals; Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Friendship; Loyalty; Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941; Politicians; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:06:03 - Office of Economic Stabilization

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Partial Transcript: Then, uh, Vinson became, uh--left the court after Pearl Harbor...

Segment Synopsis: Porter reflects upon his time spent working with Vinson in the Office of Economic Stabilization during World War II. A case regarding a price increase in crude oil involving both the oil industry and various interest groups during this time is examined.

Keywords: Administrators; Analysis; Charles Bowles; Congress; Consumer groups; Crude oil; Data; Disputes; Fred M. Vinson; Gas rationing; Issues; Lobbies; Lyndon B. Johnson; Mandates; Memorandum; Office of Economic Stabilization; Office of Price Administration; Oil industry; Oklahoma; Policymaking; Price increase; Sam Rayburn; Secretary of Agriculture; Texas; World War II

Subjects: Collective bargaining; Economic Stabilization; Editing; Labor unions; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953; World War, 1939-1945

00:19:09 - Reactions to Vinson as Chief Justice

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Partial Transcript: I recall the Kentucky Society when he became Chief Justice...

Segment Synopsis: Porter shares the reactions of Vinson's colleagues to his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The variety of positions that Vinson has held in all three branches of government is emphasized.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Chief Justice; Dinners; Fred M. Vinson; Jobs; Kentucky Society; Office of Economic Mobilization; Paducah (Ky.); Prices; Reconstruction Finance Corporation; Secretary of Treasury; Speakers; Station masters; Supreme Court

Subjects: Anecdotes; Furniture; Mail; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:22:28 - Agricultural Adjustment Administration / Vinson's political ideology and memory

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Partial Transcript: Uh, now you came to Washington with the Department of Agriculture, is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Porter articulates his time in the Agricultural Administration, and Vinson's assistance to Porter in this work. Following this, Porter discusses Vinson's political ideologies. The interviewee briefly mentions Vinson's memorization abilities.

Keywords: Administrators; Advice; Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA); Amendments; Burley Tobacco Allotment Program; Cases; Congressional records; Economy; Fred M. Vinson; Henry Wallace; National income; Overturned; Pragmatists; Presentations; Secretary of Agriculture; Tax policy

Subjects: Agriculture; Bill; Conservative; Democrats; Farmers; Ideology; Labels; Legislation; Memory; Philosophy; Revenue; Sons; Sports; United States. Department of Agriculture; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:30:32 - Voting absentee / Vinson as director of the Office of Economic Stabilization

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Partial Transcript: While Vinson served in the Congress, uh, he was very active in Kentucky politics still.

Segment Synopsis: Porter briefly talks of his experience voting absentee in Kentucky instead of voting from Washington (D.C.). Additionally, Porter talks of Vinson's tenure as the director of the Office of Economic Stabilization.

Keywords: Absentee ballots; Charles Bowles; Consultation; Decisions; Directors; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Fred M. Vinson; Happy Chandler; Harry S. Truman; James Byrnes; Kentucky politics; Office of Economic Stabilization (OES); Petroleum case; Politics; Relationships; Senate; Taxes; University Club, New York (N.Y.); Voting residence; Willard H. Pedrick

Subjects: Dynamics; Law clerks; Mutual friend; Politicians; Prices; Professor; Time; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:39:46 - Office of War Mobilization / Vinson and President Truman

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Partial Transcript: Well in, in April then, 1945, he became director of War Mobilization and, and Reconversion.

Segment Synopsis: Porter talks of Vinson's role as the director of the Office of War Mobilization during the end of World War II. Following this, Porter considers the working relationship between Chief Justice Vinson and President Truman in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Keywords: "Meat price decontrol"; Allocation system; Cold War; Direct industry; Directors; Fred M. Vinson; Greece; Harry S. Truman; John Small; Office of Price Administration; Office of War Mobilization; Price system; Reconversion; Steel prices; Supreme Court; Truman Doctrine; Work habits; World War II

Subjects: Cabinet; Judges; Justices; Liquidation; Presidents; Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953; Work; World War, 1939-1945

00:45:10 - Rebuilding Europe / Chief Justice Vinson

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Partial Transcript: Vinson had a role to play in this, uh, effort of rebuilding Europe...

Segment Synopsis: Porter explains Vinson's participation in the implementation of the Marshall Plan. Subsequently, Porter discusses what Vinson was like as Chief Justice, including whether or not he had an influence upon President Truman's policies (and vice versa). Vinson is also characterized as a strict Constructionist by Porter. Vinson's attitudes towards civil rights and personal liberties are also highlighted.

Keywords: Approach; Chief Justice; Congress; Constructionists; Europe; Foreign policy; George Marshall; Government; Harry S. Truman; Influence; John J. Parker; Marshall Plan; Personal liberty; Records; Relationships; Supreme Court; Tributes; U.S. Department of State; United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; Winston Churchill; World War II

Subjects: Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Constitution; Europe; Ideology; Public interest; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953; World War, 1939-1945