Interview with John Sherman Cooper, May 19, 1981

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Cooper and Keen Johnson

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper briefly talks of his disagreements with former Kentucky Governor Keen Johnson.

Keywords: Advantage; Assistant Secretary of Commerce; Chairwoman; Country; Democrats; Details; End; Friends; Governor; Harry Truman; Keen Johnson; Nice; Positions; Problems; Senator; Served; Unknown; Wife

Subjects: Career; Daughter; Experience; Kentucky; Politicians; Tobacco

00:02:48 - 1960 Senatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: Well now, just prior to, to this 1960 campaign, uh, was when the, the Newsweek poll, uh, came out which named you the most able Republican Senator.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper reflects upon his experiences in the 1960 Senatorial campaign, including an incident of anti-Catholic sentiment that occurred (which he disapproved of).

Keywords: 1956 Presidential Election; 1960 Presidential Election; Al Smith; Alben Barkley; Anti-Catholic; Background; Bluegrass; Boat; Campaign; Campaign Manager; Candidate; Circumstances; Congress; Consultation; Convenient; Correspondents; Defeated; Demonstration; Gallery; High-class; Hills; Hometown; Husband; Improper; John F. Kennedy; Keen Johnson; Louie B. Nunn; Most influential; Nephew; Newsweek; No evidence; Not sponsored; Old; Opening; Opponent; Opposed; Placards; Political organization; Poll; Presidential nominees; Rally; Refused; Republican governor; Return; Senate; Speaker; Statement; Term; Thruston Morton; U.S. Ambassador to Portugal; Vote; Well-known; Western Kentucky; William O’Connell Bradley

Subjects: Attention; Catholics; Churches; Daughter; Death; England; Historic; India; Lancaster (Ky.); Literature; Louisville (Ky.); Newspapers; Origin; Politicians; Prejudice; Press; Protestants; Speech; Surprise; Telephone calls; Truth; United States; Walking; Washington (D.C.); Young

00:09:28 - Louie Nunn as campaign manager

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Partial Transcript: W--was Nunn also the campaign manager that year? He was in 1960.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper describes Louie B. Nunn as a campaign manager, including some of his positive attributes.

Keywords: 1956 Presidential Election; 1960 Presidential Election; Campaign; Campaign Manager; Catholic question; Clean; Enjoyed; Forward; Full; Good campaign; Law practice; Louie B. Nunn; Natural politician; No problems; Organizer; Politics; Quota; Republicans; Rules; Thruston Morton; Unaccepting

Subjects: Brother; Catholics; Kentucky; Management; Money; New York (N.Y.); Organization; Political campaigns; Politicians

00:12:18 - Quote from Richard Harwood / Joseph McCarthy

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Partial Transcript: Richard Harwood wrote an article in the Courier-Journal in which he quoted you.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper addresses an incorrect quote attributed to him by journalist Richard Harwood. Cooper also provides his opinion on Joseph McCarthy.

Keywords: Against; Alben Barkley; Annoying; Committee; Correct; Defense; Favored; First; Friendly; High position; Joseph McCarthy; Later; Louisville Courier-Journal; Media; No commitment; Political viewpoint; Press; Questions; Quote; Referred; Richard Harwood; Unhelpful; Untrue; Vice president; Votes; Wrong

Subjects: Censor; Censorship; Hearing; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Patriotism; People; Politicians; Tactics; True; Writing

00:16:48 - Keen Johnson and the 1960 Senatorial race

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Partial Transcript: What are your general recollections about Johnson and, and the Senate race, uh, against him in 1960?

Segment Synopsis: Cooper describes the challenges of going up against Keen Johnson in the 1960 Senatorial campaign. Cooper explains the advantage he had over Johnson in regards to tobacco legislation he enacted previously in the Senate.

Keywords: 1960 Presidential Election; Alben Barkley; Albert "Happy" Chandler; Assertion; Authorize; Bill; Buckhorn Dam (Ky.); Calling; Ceremonies; Chief Assistant to Secretary of Commerce; Closer; Complicated; Confused; Crowd; Debate; Dedication; Defeated; Democrats; Details; Dislike; Elected; Expectations; Exploit; Fault; Friendly; Gone; Growing tobacco; High quality; Introduction; Invited; Issues; Keen Johnson; Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Law; Objective; Office; Older; Opponent; Particular; Position; Price support; Problem; Record; Senate; Senator; Speakers; Supporters; Terms; U.S. Army; Unknown; Visiting; Vote

Subjects: Bowling Green (Ky.); Career; Cost; Counties; Discussion; Growth; Hazard (Ky.); Health; Hope; Horizon; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Memory; Politicians; Recall; Running; Somerset (Ky.); Speech; States; Surplus; Surprise; Tennessee Valley Authority; Tobacco; Walking; Words; Work

00:27:10 - 1960 Campaign incident

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember, uh, one amusing incident during that campaign...

Segment Synopsis: Cooper recalls one interesting incident during the 1960 Senatorial campaign in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.

Keywords: 1960 Presidential Election; Allow; Amusing; Artifacts; Built; Campaign; Chamber of Commerce; City; Court day; Crowd; Democratic Party; Fun; Good time; Governor; Incident; Keen Johnson; Platform; Roof; Senate; Standing; State election; Trucks; Waving

Subjects: Barns; Feathers; Listening; Mount Sterling (Ky.); Native Americans; Patent medicines; Pistols; Political campaigns; Politicians; Relics; Rifles; Stockyards

00:29:59 - Cooper and John F. Kennedy

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Partial Transcript: Was it--did, did you find it difficult in 1960, to, to speak in Kentucky against, uh, the Kennedy ticket?

Segment Synopsis: Cooper describes his acquaintance with John F. Kennedy. Cooper's agreement with Kennedy to never have him speak in Kentucky while Cooper was campaigning is also mentioned.

Keywords: Bad; Before; Carl Perkins; Circuit judge; Congressional district; Consistent; Democratic district; Democrats; Different; Election; Family; Friendly; John F. Kennedy; Judge; Lasted; Later; Loss; Nomination; Not exciting; Not offended; Office; Owed; Personal feeling; Refused; Republican; Republicans; Robert Kennedy; Senator; State legislature; Strong; Thruston Morton; Voted; Wilson Wyatt

Subjects: Administration; Feelings; Kentucky; Mountains; Parents; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race; Reasons; Time; Washington (D.C.)

00:35:17 - Trip to the Soviet Union

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Partial Transcript: And anyway, my wife and I had decided that we would go back out to India for a visit after the election.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses his trip to the USSR which included a stopover in India. Cooper emphasizes the anti-American sentiment that was present in the Soviet Union during his visit in 1960, which was the height of Cold War-era tensions.

Keywords: Aggressive; Aggressor; Airport; Anastas Mikoyan; Arrangements; Balanced; Break; Campaign; Caps; Close; Colonialism; Communist; Crowd; Debate; Decision; Different; Director General of Personnel, State Department; Dress; Effect; Elected; Election; Embassy; Familiar; Followed; Great; Help; Idea; Imperialists; Impressions; Indoctrinate; Interpreters; Interview; Jawaharlal Nehru; Jimmy Carter; John F. Kennedy; Josef Stalin; Leader; Llewellyn “Tommy” Thompson; Marxist; Message; Militaristic; Nikita Khrushchev; Nuclear attack; Officials; Opposite; Plans; President; Questions; Quote; Reasonable; Refused; Reporters; Residence; Return; Rich; Richard Nixon; Rule; Russian leaders; Russian women; Senate; Soviet plane; Stewardess; Stopped; Strong; Talking; Threat to peace; U.S. Ambassador to Nepal; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); Untrue; Vasili Kuznetsov; Verified; Vice president; Visit; Warmongers; Welcome; Wife

Subjects: Ambassadors; Americans; Carnegie-Mellon University; China; Cleaning; Cold War; Communism; Conversation; Countries; Dark; Ditches; East Germany; Education; Elevation; Friend; Geography; Good; Himalaya Mountains; India; Language; Marriage; Meeting; Moscow (Russia); New Delhi (India); People; Politicians; Press; Russia; Russians; Soviet Union; Staff; Tashkent (Uzbekistan); Thinking; Threat; Travel; United States; United States. Department of State; Views; War

00:50:34 - Kremlin visit / John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union

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Partial Transcript: Other than that though, it happened at the time we were there the d--deputy to Nasser was in Moscow.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper details his visit to the Kremlin and the interesting Russian generals he met. Cooper talks of Kennedy's foreign policy with the Soviet Union, and how the Russians felt about Kennedy in general.

Keywords: Advice; Aids; Bodies; Broad; Buying; Calvary General; Chinese Revolution; Conference; Correct; Courier; Difficult; Dining room; Disciplined; Dwight Eisenhower; Embalmed; Fair; Famous; Files; Gamal Abdel Nasser; Governor of Poland; Group; Impressed; Inaugurated; Interview; Introduced; Invitation; JFK Presidential Library; John F. Kennedy; Large; Llewellyn “Tommy” Thompson; Military commander; Moustache; Mysterious; Nikita Khrushchev; Nuclear scientists; Old; Outside; Pleased; President; Receptions; Report; Rough; Semyon Budyonny; Senate; Slender; Standing; Statement; Stocky; Throne room; Together; Tough; Treatment; Victory; Vladimir Lenin; Wall; White House; Wife

Subjects: Age; Atmosphere; Ballet; Boston (Mass.); Buildings; Caviar; Change; China; Cold War; Confidence; Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962; Czar; Dancing; Egypt; Egyptians; Food; Fruit; Generals; Harvard University; Kremlin (Astrakhanʹ, Russia); Meeting; Money; Moscow (Russia); Opportunity; People; Poland; Politicians; Professors; Rooms; Russians; Scientists; Singing; Soviet Union; Table; Tickets; United States; United States. Department of State; Vienna (Austria); Washington (D.C.)