Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with John Sherman Cooper, April 26, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:05 - Campaigning for Charles I. Dawson in 1950

Play segment

Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview, the fifth in a series, with former U.S. Senator and Ambassador John Sherman Cooper.

Segment Synopsis: John Sherman Cooper talks about campaigning for Charles I. Dawson as the Republican nominee for a seat in the United States Senate in the fall of 1950. He talks about Dawson's career as a lawyer and attorney general. He talks about how Dawson had supported him in his 1939 campaign for Senate, but he did not support Dawson's candidate in turn in the 1948 election. This caused friction between the two until Cooper later supported Dawson in his 1950 Senate campaign.

Keywords: Arthur Vandenberg; Attorney General; Attorneys; Charles Dawson; Charles I. Dawson; Decisions; Delegates; Earle C. Clements; Friendships; Governors; John Foster Dulles; Kentucky; Lawyers; Louie B. Nunn; Political candidates; Republican nominees; Speeches; Supporters; Thruston Morton; U.S. Senators; United Nations (U.N.)

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Dawson, Charles I., 1881-1969; Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); United States. Congress. Senate.

00:07:10 - Rumor that he would be running for governor in 1951

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well now, in spite of--(clears throat)--the fact that you were not really seriously considering running for governor in 1951, a lot of, a lot of Kentucky Republicans began to insist right away that you run.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about the rumors that he would be running for governor in 1951. He talks about how many people in the Kentucky Republican Party encouraged him to run. He talks about how the death of Virgil Chapman, which resulted in a vacant position in the Senate, changed the course of his career.

Keywords: Death; Judge James Park; Political appointments; Political candidates; Republicans; Rumors; Thruston Morton; Virgil Chapman; William Wallace

Subjects: Chapman, Virgil, 1895-1951; Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Elections; Governors--Election; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Morton, Thruston B. (Thruston Ballard), 1907-1982; Morton, Thruston Ballard, 1907-1982; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); State governments; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:11:43 - Rumor that he would be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1951

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, there, there were also other rumors early in, in ni--

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about the rumor that he would be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1951 by President Truman in an attempt by the Democratic Party to take him out of the running for governor. He talks about some of the other Kentucky politicians who had been nominated to the Supreme Court. He talks about the opposition to the nomination of Abe Fortas as Chief Justice due to charges of corruption.

Keywords: Abe Fortas; Alben Barkley; Attorneys; Chief Justice John Minton; Decisions; Fred Vinson; Governors; Harry S Truman; Judgement; Judiciary committees; Kentuckians; Lawyers; Louisville Courier Journal; Lyndon Johnson; Political appointments; Political nominations; Practicing law; Resignation; Rumors; Supreme Court; The Courier-Journal

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Democratic Party (Ky.); Democratic Party (U.S.); Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); State governments; United States. Congress. Senate.; United States. Supreme Court

00:18:31 - Testifying on the authority of a president to deploy troops

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Early in 1951, you appeared as a witness before a joint meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about testifying as a witness before a joint meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee on whether the president should have the authority to deploy troops to Europe during World War II. He talks about his opinion on this issue versus his stance during the Vietnam War, which some people have called inconsistent. He talks about why the two issues were different, in his opinion.

Keywords: Authority; Berlin Blockade; Congressional consent; Dangers; Destruction; Europe; Harry S Truman; Inconsistency; Influence; Military troops; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Policy positions; Power; Regrets; Russia; Senate Armed Services Committee; Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Speeches; Testimony; U.S. presidents; War experiences; Warsaw Pact; World War II

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Law and legislation; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; United States. Congress. Senate.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; World War, 1939-1945

00:27:38 - President Truman firing General MacArthur

Play segment

Partial Transcript: While, while--before we leave, uh--(clears throat)--the, uh, Truman administration, what was your reaction to Truman's firing of General MacArthur in, uh, I believe it was in April of 1951?

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about his opinion of President Truman's firing of General MacArthur for disobeying orders during the Korean War. He talks about how the American people felt about MacArthur, and MacArthur's speech at a joint session of Congress.

Keywords: Aggressors; Armed forces; Disobeying orders; General Douglas MacArthur; Harry S Truman; Invasions; Korea; Military discipline; Military strategy; North Vietnam; Speeches; Testimony; United Nations (U.N.); Violating orders

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Korean War, 1950-1953; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:34:26 - 1952 Republican Senatorial nomination

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, in 1952 you declared your candidacy for the Republican Senatorial nomination.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about being nominated to run against Thomas R. Underwood, who had been appointed to replace Virgil Chapman in the Senate after his death, in the 1952 Senatorial election. Cooper talks about how he had been working at a law firm in Washington, D.C. since leaving the Senate in 1948 and why he decided to run for political office again.

Keywords: Ambitions; Attorneys; Decisions; Jobs; Law firms; Lawyers; Political nominations; Salary; Thomas R. Underwood; Tom Underwood; Virgil Chapman; Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; United States. Congress. Senate.; Washington (D.C.)

00:39:03 - Supporting Eisenhower as the candidate for president at the 1952 Republican National Convention

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well now, af-after you had announced for the Senate but before the campaign really got underway, the, uh, uh, Republican National Convention was held in Chicago.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about the 1952 Republican National Convention and his support of Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Republican nominee for president over Senator Robert A. Taft. He talks about Thurston Morton's role as a delegate for Eisenhower. He talks about a conflict at the convention between Thomas Dewey and Everett Dirksen.

Keywords: Chief Justice Earl Warren; Delegates; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Everett Dirksen; Kentucky; Political candidates; Political nominations; Presidential nominations; Republican National Convention; Richard Nixon; Robert Taft; Thomas E. Dewey; Thruston Morton

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Elections; Political campaigns; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); United States. Congress. Senate.

00:43:34 - 1952 Senate campaign--Tobacco issues

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, now let's, let's talk some about the 1952 Senate campaign.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about his campaign to be elected to the Senate in 1952. He talks about his opponent Tom Underwood. Cooper talks specifically about how his stance on tobacco issues, including working across party lines with Alben Barkley on a bipartisan bill for fixed supports for farmers, helped him in his campaign.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Arguments; Bipartisanship; Campaign issues; Commissions; Cooper-Barley Bill; Democrats; Fixed supports; Flexible supports; Harry S Truman; Interviews; Kentuckians; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Political issues; Political positions; Political stances; Price supports; Republicans; Senate Agriculture Committee; Thomas R. Underwood; Tom Underwood; United Nations (U.N.)

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Democratic Party (Ky.); Democratic Party (U.S.); Elections; Governors--Election; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Law and legislation; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); Tobacco; Tobacco farmers; Tobacco farms--Kentucky; Tobacco industry--Government policy; Tobacco industry--Kentucky; Tobacco--Government policy; Tobacco--Law and legislation; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:52:54 - 1952 Senate campaign--Tom Underwood as his opponent

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh, I don't know, uh, uh, I-I--he of course was a very able man and a very fine man...

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about his relationship with his opponent in the 1952 Senate campaign, Tom Underwood. He talks about Thruston Morton as his campaign manager and about Dwight D. Eisenhower's support of him as a candidate. Copper says that Underwood had been hand-picked as a candidate by Earle C. Clements. He talks about Underwood's campaign.

Keywords: Attitudes; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Earle C. Clements; Louisville (Ky.); Personality; Political campaign managers; Political debates; Political opponents; Relationships; Speeches; Thomas R. Underwood; Thruston Morton; Tom Underwood

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:57:13 - 1952 Senate campaign--The Courier-Journal's endorsement of Underwood

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now the Courier Journal, who had endorsed you in your previous, uh--in '48 they had endorsed you.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about why The Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky endorsed his opponent, Tom Underwood, in the 1952 Senate campaign despite having supported Cooper in previous campaigns.

Keywords: "Old guard Republicans"; Adlai Stevenson; Barry Bingham; Beliefs; Criticism; Louisville Courier Journal; Newspaper articles; Newspapers; Political endorsement; Principles; Speeches; The Courier-Journal; Thomas R. Underwood; Tom Underwood

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Democratic Party (Ky.); Democratic Party (U.S.); Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); State governments; United States. Congress. Senate.

01:00:28 - 1952 Senate campaign--Eisenhower's support

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did, uh, did Eisenhower, uh, help you during the campaign?

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about Dwight D. Eisenhower's support of him as a candidate in the 1952 Senate campaign. He tells a humorous story about how Eisenhower gave a campaign speech in Louisville, Kentucky but forgot to mention Cooper until after his speech. He says that Eisenhower told him that speaking at the University of Kentucky was one of his best campaign experiences.

Keywords: Campaign issues; College students; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Evansville (Ky.); Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Political endorsement; Political speeches; University of Kentucky; Whistle stop campaigns

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969; Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); United States. Congress. Senate.

01:04:37 - 1952 Senate committee assignments

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, when you came back to the Senate, uh, in 1952 and--now you would have been sworn in immediately--

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about which Senate committees he was appointed to upon his return to the Senate in 1952. He talks about how Wayne Morse left the Republican Party, becoming an Independent, and vacated his committee seats. He talks about hearing the case of Captain Rickover, a submarine expert, who was being forced to retire due to his age.

Keywords: Admiral Hyman G. Rickover; Changes; Democrats; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Forced retirement; Independents; Quality of education; Republicans; Robert Taft; Senate Agriculture Committee; Senate Armed Services Committee; Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee; Senator Robert A. Taft; Submarines; Wayne Morse

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Democratic Party (Ky.); Democratic Party (U.S.); Kentucky--Politics and government; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); United States. Congress. Senate.

01:10:17 - 1953 Tidelands Oil Bill

Play segment

Partial Transcript: One of the, uh, earliest bills that came up for a vote in the, the Senate after you came back, this would be very early 1953, was the Tidelands Oil--

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about his stance on the 1953 Tidelands Oil Bill which sought to define the reach of federal and state governments in regard to ownership rights off the U.S. coasts for oil drilling. He talks about a speech given by Senator John F. Kennedy on this issue.

Keywords: Continental shelf; Control; Federal government; Filibusters; John F. Kennedy; Jurisdiction; Natural resources; Offshore oil; Outer Continental Shelf Act; Ownership; Political debates; Speeches; Spessard Holland; Submerged Land Act; Territory; Tidelands Oil Bill; Wayne Morse

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Kentucky--Politics and government; Law and legislation; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (Ky.); Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); State governments; United States. Congress. Senate.

01:14:36 - Republicans' attempt to block the appointment of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What about the, uh--there was a sizeable group of, of Republicans early in 1953 who tried to block the appointment of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about Republicans' attempt to block the appointment of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia in 1953. He talks about a committee formed to investigate the issue which eventually resulted in Bohlen's appointment.

Keywords: Allegations; Ambassador to Russia; Character; Charles Bohlen; Charles E. Bohlen; Communism; Communists; Franklin D. Roosevelt; John Spartan; Joseph McCarthy; Political appointments; Republicans; Robert Taft; Senate committees; Senator Robert A. Taft; Soviet affairs; Soviet policy; Wife; Yalta

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Democratic Party (U.S.); Law and legislation; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); United States. Congress. Senate.

01:18:14 - 1953 Bricker Amendment

Play segment

Partial Transcript: One of the, uh, one of the big issues debated in that--(clears throat)--session, '53-'54, was the Bricker Amendment.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper talks about his stance on the 1953 Bricker Amendment which sought to limit the president's treaty-making power. He talks about how this issue arose over a treaty between the U.S. and Canada regarding the protection of migratory birds. He talks about how Senator Bricker attempted to gain support for his bill. He talks about a speech Secretary of State John Foster Dulles made in Louisville, Kentucky which was ambiguous on his opinion of Bricker's bill and how that later caused him trouble.

Keywords: Authority; Bricker Amendment; Canada; House of Representatives; John Bricker; John Foster Dulles; Migratory birds; Objections; Power; Republicans; Resolutions; Speeches; Testimony; Treaties; Treaty ratification; Treaty-making powers; U.S. presidents; Votes; Walter F. George

Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Democratic Party (U.S.); Law and legislation; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ); United States. Congress. House; United States. Congress. Senate.