Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with John Sherman Cooper, January 22, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - U.S. Senate in 1947 and 1948

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Partial Transcript: The following is the fourth in a series of unrehearsed interviews with former Senator and Ambassador John Sherman Cooper.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper recalls his time spent as a senator in 1947-1948.

Keywords: Applicable; Appointed; Approval; Attorney General; Balanced; Battles; Committee on the Judiciary; Confirmed; Congress; Constitutional provision; Constitutional questions; DC Committee; Departments; Disapproval; Displaced Persons Act; Federal city; Financial assistance; Fundamental; High; Hydroelectric dams; Important; Industry; Interested; Investigation; Issue; Judicial positions; Justice Tom Clark; Laws; Low impact; Nationality; New; Nominees; Opposed; Peculiar; Placed; Public roads; Republicans; Search and seizure; Senate; Settling; Taxes; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Worldwide

Subjects: Budget; Cities; Committees; Flood control; Fraud; Interest; Kansas City (Miss.); Navigation; People; Politicians; Programs; Property; Proud; Race; Rural; States; Value; Washington (D.C.)

00:06:35 - Compensation to Japanese Americans

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Partial Transcript: During the War--war--I have to distinguish between the wars.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper details his role in securing compensation for Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants who were placed in internment camps during World War II.

Keywords: American citizens; Approved; Arms; Bravery; Commission; Compensation; Daniel Inouye; Differing; Distinguished; Division; Emergency order; Fighting; Franklin D. Roosevelt; House; Injury; Internment camps; Law; Loyal; Members; Naturalized; Passed; President; Property bill; Recognition; Regiment; Relatives; Return; Senate; Supreme Court; Tim Lee Carter; Treatment; Unanimous decision; Unprecedented; Valuable; War claims; War powers; West Coast; World War II; Wrong

Subjects: Americans; Bataan (Philippines : Province); Brothers; Businesses; California; Canada; Europe; Father; Hawaii; Idaho; Italy; Japanese; Kentucky; Origin; People; Philippines; Politicians; Property; Protection; Regret; Tragedy; Views; War; Woman; World War, 1939-1945

00:11:14 - Compensation to American prisoners of war / Experiences with partisanship

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Partial Transcript: The second issue that came up was, uh--oh in the same, uh, bill I think it was. As I recall.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks of legislation that he voted for that provided compensation for American prisoners of war from World War II. Cooper also details his experiences with partisanship throughout the years.

Keywords: Amazed; Amendment; Angry; Chairman; Check; Company; Courteous; Cruel; Defeated; Democrat; Democrats; Dislike; Displeasure; Distribution; Election; Expression; Few; Frozen; Funds; Gone; Help; Hispanic; Increased; Instances; Issued; Known; Land warfare; Large; Law; Middle name; Office; Paid; Passed; Politics; Provision; Rare; Refuse; Republican; Republicans; Resolution; Return; Rule; Senate; Studied; Suffering; Testified; Thank you; Tobacco bill; Treatment; U.S. Army; U.S. Treasury; Unfair; World War II

Subjects: Albuquerque (N.M.); Assets (Accounting); Bataan (Philippines : Province); Germans; Handshaking; Harrodsburg (Ky.); Hearings; Money; New Mexico; Partisanship; People; Philippines; Politicians; Prisoners of war; Tobacco; Travel; Veterans; Voting; Witnesses; World War, 1939-1945

00:18:58 - 1948 Republican National Convention

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Partial Transcript: Senator Cooper, I'd like to ask you now about the 1948 Republican National Convention, was held in Chicago.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses the 1948 Republican National Convention and his role as Chairman of the Kentucky Delegation.

Keywords: 1948 Republican National Convention; Advice; Amazing; Arthur Vandenburg; Belief; Candidate; Chairman; County conventions; Delegates; Delegation; Democrats; District conventions; Domestic affairs; Elected; Fight; Foreign affairs; Friendly; Generous; Harold Stassen; Head of Kentucky Delegation; Largest; Majority; Mid-west; Nelson Rockefeller; Nominee; Opinion; Outstanding; Own; Record; Republicans; Robert Taft; Selected; South; State convention; Strong; Support; Thomas Dewey; Thurston Martin; Votes; West

Subjects: Conservative; Gangs; Leadership; Memory; New York; New York (N.Y.); Ohio; Politicians; Population

00:23:51 - 1948 Senate campaign

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Partial Transcript: Well, then after the, the, uh, convention in Chicago, you, uh, came back to, uh, run for the Senate again in 1948.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses his 1948 Senatorial campaign and the challenges of campaigning in a Democrat-majority state.

Keywords: 6th Congressional District (Ky.); Accomplishments; Accusation; Alben Barkley; Arbiter; Bill; Bouncing; Characters; Congress; Courthouse; Debate; Defeated; Disappointment; Dislike; Effort; Endorsed; Fight; Filed; Fine; Forefathers; Great; Happy; Hard; Harry Truman; Ignored; Income tax returns; Independent; Initiative; Invitation; John Y. Brown; Letter; Likeable; National Democratic Convention; New Deal; Nominated; Not present; Opponent; Opposition; Passed; Plaque; Powerful; Preface; President Truman; Primary; Proceedings; Re-elected; Republicans; Residence; Rifle; Social programs; Speaker; Special session; Standing; Statement; Subjects; Support; Supporters; Thank you; Thinking; Tobacco growers; Train; Tremendous; Typical; Urged; Vice president; Virgil Chapman; Vote; Wife; Won; World War II; Worrying

Subjects: Applause; Bible; Cumberland Gap (Ky. and Va.); Franklin (Tenn.); Horses; Labor; Listening; London (Ky.); Mother; Politicians; Popular; Radio; Russell County (Ky.); Social Security; Somerset (Ky.); Speech; Speeches; Surprise; Time; Tobacco; Views; Voice; World War, 1939-1945

00:34:33 - Results of election / Supporters and detractors of Senatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: From the very beginning of the campaign in 1948, it seemed that almost everyone was, was confident that there was no way that you could lose.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks of his 1948 Senatorial Campaign and the subsequent results of the election. Cooper provides his opinion on supporters and detractors of his campaign, focusing on the views of public figures.

Keywords: 1st Congressional District; 5th Congressional District; 7th Congressional District; Alben Barkley; Big; Carl Perkins; Crowds; Democrats; Doris Fleeson; Election; Endorsement; Governor Clements; Hard; Ill; Later; Leader; Local; Lost; Louisville Courier Journal; Majority; Maverick; Message; Mistake; Nominated; Outspoken; Position; Qualifications; Question; Reasonable; Reporter; State races; Statement; Strong; Thomas Dewey; Turndown; Turnout; Vice president; Votes

Subjects: Authority; Chicago Daily News, Inc.; Confidence; Fayette County (Ky.); Jefferson County (Ky.); Kentucky; Labor; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Maine; New York herald tribune; Politicians; Power; Press; Speech; Time

00:41:08 - Aftermath of 1948 election

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Partial Transcript: Uh, you lost by only 25,000.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses what he did following the immediate aftermath of his loss in the 1948 Senatorial race.

Keywords: Acceptance; Alben Barkley; Appreciative; Continuing; Credible; Democrat; Disappointed; Election; Interesting; Majority; Politics; Republicans; Sad; Strong; Tobacco market; Treatment; Visiting; Votes

Subjects: Age; Aging; Chance; Farmers; Friend; Home; Louisville (Ky.); Politicians; Race; Shelbyville (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Time; Tobacco

00:44:26 - Legal career after 1948 Senatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: But I knew I had to get a job.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper details his legal career following the 1948 Senatorial campaign.

Keywords: Accepted; Achievement; Adequate; Ambassador to Great Britain; Amount; Anti-trust lawyer; Anti-trust tobacco cases; Appointed; Approach; Attorney; Believed; Brother; Candidate; Cases; Connected; County judge; Court; Criminal cases; Defeated; Docket; Doubts; Elected; Enjoyed; Equity; Familiar; Fiances; Firm; Gardner, Morrison and Rogers (law firm); Hard; Harry Truman; Head; Interesting; Law; Law school; Leaving; Length; Max Gardner; Milder; Nice; Night; Notice; Old-fashioned; Opinion; Pay; Persuasion; Places; Political events; Politics; Practice; Practiced; President; Process; Republicans; Reversal; Salary; Senate; Small town; South Carolina; State legislature; Strong; Study; Supporters; Surprised; U.S. Army; U.S. Court of Appeals; U.S. District Court; Undersecretary of the Treasury; Visited; Winning; Wonderful; World War II

Subjects: Age; Business; Christmas; Cincinnati (Ohio); Death; Good; Growth; Kentucky; Law firms; Lawyers; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Luck; Men; Months; New York (N.Y.); Offices; Partners; Politicians; Prices; Retirement; Sons; Time; Washington (D.C.); Work; World War, 1939-1945; Yale Law School

00:53:52 - Political opportunities following 1948 Senatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: People were urging, uh, Governor Clements to appoint you to fill the unexpired term, uh, of Barkley.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper lists some of the political opportunities that came about following his 1948 Senatorial campaign.

Keywords: Able; Appointed; Attorney General; Calm; Chairman; Commissions; Committee; Congressman; Consider; Defeated; Elected; FCC; FTC; Fair; Federal Communications Commission (U.S.); Federal Trade Commission (U.S.); Fiscal policy; Foreign relations; Forgotten; Friends; Funeral; Garrett Withers; Governor; Governor Clements; Harry Truman; Hugh Scott; Indirect; J. Howard McGrath; Judiciary; National Republican Party; No allies; Not regular; Objective; Offered; Older; Posts; Refuse; Refused; Republicans; Return; Robert Taft; Rumor; Senate; Small town; Suggestion; Supreme Court; Taft-Hartley Act; Talking; Tom Clark; Vacancies; Visited; Voted; Western Kentucky; Wonderful

Subjects: Friendship; Good; Home; Politicians; Retirement; Rhode Island

01:01:19 - Lack of presidential aspiration

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Partial Transcript: Were you aware of or, or did you ever have any contact with an organization that was formed in Louisville in 1949 called the National Citizens for Cooper for President?

Segment Synopsis: Cooper explains why he would not like to be President of the United States.

Keywords: Abilities; Administrative ability; Enjoyed; Field; Governor; John F. Kennedy; Legislation; Limits; National Citizens for Cooper for President; Not possible; President; Small

Subjects: Ambition; Louisville (Ky.); Politicians; Possibility; United States

01:03:46 - Appointment to the United Nations

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Partial Transcript: In 1949, John Foster Dulles, who had been the--a U.S. Delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations, was appointed to the U.S. Senate.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper reflects upon his experience of being appointed to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly in the late 1940s.

Keywords: Accepted; Admitted; Advisor; Allies; Alternates; Ambassador of US Delegation to UN General Assembly; Appointed; Approved; Arms control; Arthur Vandenburg; Automatic majority; Bi-Partisan; Campaign; Candidate; Control; Current; Decision; Defeated; Delegates; Democrat; Different; Earle Clements; Eastern Europe; Eleanor Roosevelt; Expenses; Fred Vinson; Friends; Glad; Hotel; Ideas; John Foster Dulles; Law firm; Learned; Members; Mistake; Nominated; Not permanent; Paid; Palestine question; Philip Jessup; Position; Practice; Principal delegates; Public; Question; Quick; Recommended; Replacement; Republicans; Sacrifice; Salary; Same; Senator; Senator Wagner; Strong; Sworn-in; Talking; UN General Assembly; Untrue; Valuable; Vocal; Voted; Votes; Western Europe; World War II

Subjects: African Americans; Americans; Arabs; Arguments; Civil War; Countries; Criticism; Debates; Dependency; Housing; Israel; Liberia; Money; Monroeville (Liberia); New York (N.Y.); Palestine; People; Politicians; South America; Soviet Union; Speech; Time; United Nations; United States. Department of State; Vermont; Work; World; World War, 1939-1945

01:12:47 - Debates with Russian delegate / United States' United Nations policy

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Partial Transcript: You had some, some lively debates with, uh, Andrey Vyshinsky, the Soviet delegate.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks of debates he had with Russian delegate Andrey Vyshinsky at the U.N. during the late 1940s. Cooper also explains how U.S. foreign policy orientation (which was reflected in the U.S. delegation's decisions) prompted him to resign from his position as a delegate.

Keywords: Advisor; Against; Andrey Vyshinsky; Announcement; Appeal; Better; Bitter; Camp; Changes; Charged; Comments; Condemned; Conditions; Considerable; Credibility; Delegation; Destroyed; Details; Direction; Disagreement; Ease; Egoist; Failure; Fair; For; Forces; Hero; Josef Stalin; Known; Leader; Left; Limitation; Maintained; Movement; Outline; Overruled; Pacific Island; Paid; Palestine question; Policy; Positions; Proposal; Prosecutor; Reasonable; Refused; Resettlement; Seat; Session; Small; Soviet Ambassador to the U.N.; Speaker; Support; Typical; Unaccepting; Untrue; Vigor; Willing

Subjects: Applause; Arab countries; Arms control; Atmosphere; Atomic bomb; Change; Communists; Death; Debates; Food; Health; Housing; Independence; Israel; Jordan; Language; Mariana Islands; New York (N.Y.); Palestine; Palestinians; People; Politicians; Protectorates; Responsibility; Soviet Union; Speeches; Staff; United Nations; United States; United States. Department of State; Walking; West Bank; Work

01:22:51 - Early United Nations' days

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Partial Transcript: At that time the, the U.N. was scattered all over New York, wasn't it?

Segment Synopsis: Cooper describes what it was like to be a part of the U.N. in its early days, including the logistical challenges and some of the interesting people he met.

Keywords: Advisor; Delegations; Driving; Killed; King; Quiet; Restaurant; Scattered; Small; Traffic

Subjects: Africa; Brother; Commute; Death; Europe; India; Life; New York; New York (N.Y.); People; Politicians; Time; Travel; United Nations; Young

01:24:32 - Role in formation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

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Partial Transcript: I was asked by the State Department, by Secretary Acheson to be a--an advisor to him in the beginnings of the movement to create NATO.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper articulates his role in the formation of NATO, in which he was a member of the U.S. delegation in the initial negotiations with European allied powers.

Keywords: Affirmative; Agreement; Aid; Air Force (U.K.); Air attack; Airplane; Animus; Appointed; Approved; Berlin blockade; Capability; Captured; Clement Attlee; Command structure; Committee; Communications structure; Congress; Continental; Dean Acheson; Defense; Defense posture; Delegations; Deputies; Destroyed; Eastern Europe; English delegation; Ernest Bevin; Exciting; Financing; First; Forbidden; Formation; German Army; Great; Harry Truman; Implemented; Interesting; Minister of Foreign Affairs; Name; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Nuclear strength; Occupation; Overrun; Parliament; Policy development; Progress; Question; Reception; Robert Schuman; Strong; Substance; Supreme Commander; Talking; Threatening; Western Europe; Willingness; Withdrawn; World War I; World War II

Subjects: Allied Powers (1919- ); Belgium; Buildings; Cost; Countries; Denmark; Discussions; English; Fear; France; Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871; French; German; Germans; Germany; Hope; Infrastructure; Italy; Labour Party (Great Britain); London (England); Lucky; Meeting; Nuclear weapons; Organization; Paris (France); People; Politicians; Portugal; Rhineland (Germany); Soviet Union; United Kingdom; United States; Versailles (France); Weapons; World War, 1914-1918; World War, 1939-1945

01:36:12 - Meeting Winston Churchill / Approval of NATO in Congress

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Partial Transcript: But I saw former Prime Minister Winston Churchill sitting on a bench.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper recalls meeting Winston Churchill for the first time. Cooper also talks of how Congress came to approve the terms of NATO.

Keywords: Agreements; Alone; Amounts; Approval; Bench; Bourke Hickenlooper; Chairman of Armed Services Committee; Chairman on Foreign Relations; Characteristics; Dangerous; Dean Acheson; Debate; Defense of Western Europe; Delegation; Done; Ended; First; Forces; Glad; Homeland; Joint committee; Later; Limited; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Noted; President; Printed; Questioned; Return; Richard Russell; Right; Roles; Senate; Similar; Supportive; Threatened; Tom Connally; Troops; Washington star; Winston Churchill

Subjects: Advocate; Alliances; Authority; Brandy; Chance; Conversation; Countries; Glass; Horses; Kentucky; Military bases; New York times; Newspapers; Opportunity; Politicians; Power; Reunion; Sacrifice; Speech; Truth; United Kingdom; United States; Walking; Washington post

01:41:48 - Return to Europe for NATO negotiations

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Partial Transcript: Well they ended up--we finally went back for a third time in, uh, December to Brussels.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses his second trip to Europe in order to finalize the terms and conditions of NATO.

Keywords: Agreement; Airplane; Alben Barkley; Birthday; Chief Commander; Columbia University; Commander; Concluded; Dean Acheson; Delegation; Dwight Eisenhower; Elected; Failed; First commander; Forward; Inquired; Joseph McCarthy; Lapse; Large; Leaving; Member; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Obvious; President; Quiet; Resolution; Selection; Submitted; Tank; U.N. General Assembly; Wife; World War II

Subjects: Atlantic Ocean; Belgium; Brussels (Belgium); Engines; Europe; France; Meeting; Paris (France); People; Politicians; Sleeping; United Nations; United States. Department of State; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945

01:46:05 - Business trips to Europe / Dean Acheson

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Partial Transcript: There was a, a story that circulated about one of these trips...

Segment Synopsis: Cooper recalls some of his more interesting business trips to Europe. Cooper discusses his working relationship with former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, including how Acheson incorporated Cooper's suggestion of using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as an intermediate organization that would allow West Germany to eventually enter NATO.

Keywords: Able; Accent; Accustomed; Adolf Hitler; Afternoon; Allies; Associated; Attack; Believed; Biased; Boat; Calm; Capacity; Clement Attlee; Committee; Conferences; Congress; Cultured; Dean Acheson; Death; Difficulty; Dissatisfied; Dress; Dwight Eisenhower; Elected; Established; European; Extraordinary; Fair; Fastidious; Firm; Friends; Fun; Great; Harry Truman; House; Hurry; Intermediate organization; Invited; Joseph McCarthy; Law firm; Leaving; Loyal; Members; Missed; Moustache; Neat; Nice; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Office; Opinions; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Participating; Phone call; Pleasant; Politics; Problem; Questions; Reception; Return; Secretary of State; Senate; Small; Suggestion; Supportive; Untrue; Vaccinations; Visiting; Wait; Wartime; Wife; World War II

Subjects: American; Belgium; Best; Brussels (Belgium); Canada; Communists; Cork (Ireland); Credit; Cunard Line, ltd; Discussion; English; Europe; Germany; Good; Humor; Liverpool (England); Meetings; Men; Months; Morale; Ocean; Opportunity; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; People; Physician; Politicians; Retirement; Russians; Teasing; Travel; United Kingdom; United Nations; United States. Department of State; Washington (D.C.); West Germany; World War, 1939-1945