Partial Transcript: Uh, this is, uh, side two of reel six, and Senator Barkley now is going to take up the story of events leading to the 1952 convention and the part he played in it.
Segment Synopsis: Barkley shares some of the events that led up to the 1952 convention and how he was involved in them.
Keywords: 1952 Democratic National Convention; national conventions
Partial Transcript: Well... events moved along... after the inauguration of Truman and me on January the twentieth, 1949. I might say... that... during the camp... I think though I...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley shares how he had to adjust himself to the formal duties of presiding over the Senate.
Keywords: Senate--tie votes; campaigning; national elections; vice president of the United States--duties
Partial Transcript: Well, we were talking about the... the course of events after Mr. Truman and I were inaugurated as president and vice president, leading up to the convention of 1952.
Segment Synopsis: Barkley discusses the Democratic National Convention of 1952 and how the Democratic Party's presidential nominee was undecided. He also talks about the legislation that allowed Roosevelt to serve a third (and part of a fourth) term.
Keywords: Democratic National Convention--1952; presidential nominees; term limits in public office
Partial Transcript: And that situation... dragged along for quite a long time before Mr. Vinson eliminated himself. I want to say about that... and Mr. Vinson and I...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley remembers his relationship with a fellow politician from Kentucky, Fred M. Vinson.
Keywords: Chief Justice Vinson; Fred M. Vinson; collegial relationships; political attitudes -- Supreme Court
Partial Transcript: Then, uh, in January of forty--of '52, Governor Stevenson... came to Washington, I think on the invitation of President Truman. He told me that he'd...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley shares how Governor Stevenson conferred with him as to which public office he (Stevenson) should seek.
Keywords: family members--cousins; governors; presidential nominees
Partial Transcript: Let me ask one question at this point that bears on it. Had... you ever had, up to this point, a frank, on the...cards-on-the-table talk with Truman?
Segment Synopsis: Barkley describes the events surrounding Truman's decision not to run for president again.
Keywords: US Presidents -- Truman; presidential nominees
Partial Transcript: No, I, uh, I want to say this in that connection, that before I left Washington I talked with William Green...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley remembers how support for his presidential nomination among labor is divided.
Keywords: AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Congress of Industrial Organizations; Walter Reuther; William Green; political groups--labor; political promises
Partial Transcript: Did these fellows just sort of take it on themselves to give out this statement, or did they have any official go-ahead or what?
Segment Synopsis: Barkley discusses the pressures to withdraw his bid for presidential nominee.
Keywords: Democratic National Conventions--1952; political groups--labor; political promises; presidential nominees -- withdrawal
Partial Transcript: Well, no, I, I, I, say this with no feeling. I mean, I have no resentment. I do feel that an injustice was done me by men who... in whose behalf, in whose cause...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley discusses why he felt aggrieved by the actions of some labor leaders. He also discusses his reception at the 1952 Democratic National Convention.
Keywords: DNC; Democratic National Convention--1952; speeches
Partial Transcript: Uh, reel number seven, side one. Uh, Senator Barkley, you were saying that you didn't think that Russell could achieve the nomination...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley gives his thoughts on why some of the possible presidential nominees were not viable. He also discusses the machinations that resulted in Governor Stevenson's nomination.
Keywords: Adlai Stevenson; political records; presidential nominees
Partial Transcript: No, it was... yeah, it was under the stands. It was right back of the platform, back in there. There were several rooms, offices back in there...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley tells how he did not attend the 1952 Democratic National Convention after he gave his speech.
Keywords: DNC; Democratic National Conventions--1952; political influence
Partial Transcript: How did you and Jane feel and what did you talk about on the drive to Paducah?
Segment Synopsis: Barkley recounts the drive home with Jane and the support he encountered on the way. He also discusses the state of the Democratic Party after the 1952 Democratic National Convention.
Keywords: Democratic Party; Republican Party
Partial Transcript: It's been suggested that if you had been candidate, whether you would have beaten Eisenhower or not, or whether several other men had been the...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley tells why the presidential election of 1952 depended on Eisenhower more than on the Republican Party. He also expounds on why Truman decided not to run.
Keywords: Eisenhower; presidential elections -- overwhelming majority
Partial Transcript: Now, Senator, we're back, um, on a new subject, a little bit of miscellany that will fit into your later expanded account of experiences...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley discusses a fellow Kentuckian, Admiral Rodman, and shares a story about him.
Keywords: friends and associates; reported stories
Partial Transcript: He was not the profound scholar, though he'd graduated at Groton and at Harvard. And of course, during his illness... uh with... his acute illness...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley expounds on Roosevelt's intellect and personality.
Keywords: US Presidents--Franklin Roosevelt; collegial relationships
Partial Transcript: As a closer, there's been one other thing that's been pressed on me during our conversation. You have spoken several times of your... admiration...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley discusses Henry Wallace.
Keywords: Henry Wallace; US Secretary of Agriculture; Vice President of the United states
Partial Transcript: When you mentioned a while back Mr. Truman's appointment of Byrnes as Secretary of State, uh, uh, do you regard that appointment as having any significance...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley comments on the significance of Byrnes' appointment as Secretary of State.
Keywords: James F. Byrnes; US Secretary of State; political appointments
Partial Transcript: Uh... I wonder if you'd put on tape an account of your famous bathroom conference after Yalta with President Roosevelt.
Segment Synopsis: Barkley gives an account of the "bathroom conference" with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Keywords: Cold War; European politics; FDR; US Presidents--Franklin Roosevelt; Yalta Conference; collegial relationships
Partial Transcript: Now, he may have been... in utter good faith at that time in everything that he did or said, but, uh, it was so soon after that that the war ended in Europe...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley gives his opinions regarding the Yalta negotiations with Stalin.
Keywords: Cold War; European politics; Joseph Stalin; Poland; Presidents--Franklin Roosevelt; Winston Churchill; Yalta Conference; collegial relationships
Partial Transcript: What happened about it was, there was a man down at Wingo... who bought a bit of...
Segment Synopsis: Barkley reports a humorous anecdote about a man from Wingo, KY and also shares a personal story about singing in London, England. The interview is concluded.
Keywords: London, England; Wingo (Ky.); hymns
SHALETT: This is side two of reel six, and Senator Barkleynow is going to take up the story of events leading to the 1952 convention and the part he played in it.
BARKLEY: Well, events moved along after the inauguration of Truman andme on January twentieth, 1949. I might say that during the camp--I think though I'll probably discuss that--the campaign of 1948 separately. I was about to remark that a great many people, including Democrats, didn't think Mr. Truman and I could be elected in '48.
BARKLEY: I began to feel that we would be, along about00:01:00the first of October when I went out through the West and campaigned in the farm sections and all over the country, as I've already said. I began to feel victory. And the more I went around and the further we got toward the election, the more sure I felt--there was no certainty, but the more confidence I felt in our election. Well, the result everybody knows, that from the very beginning of the count on the evening of the election, Mr. Truman was ahead and remained ahead in the popular vote all through the night. And the next day, of course, it was certain that Mr. Truman had--and I had won, and Governor Dewey, I think, conceded the election along around midnight and so forth. Well, we were inaugurated, and events proceeded. He had a program of legislation, domestic and international, which he urged Congress to adopt and in which I was in sympathy, and 00:02:00for which I worked as consistently as I could, not any longer being a senator, being then a presiding officer. I had been majority leader so long and a senator so long that I found it a little bit difficult to adjust myself to the role of presiding. Frequently during the excitement of the debate, I felt almost an impulse to get down off the rostrum and take part in it, but of course, I couldn't and didn't. And I finally adjusted myself to the more formal duties of presiding over the Senate. I had many tie votes to untie during that four years. I think probably I had as many occasions to untie tie votes in the Senate as any previous vice president. Under the Constitution, the Senate--the vice president has no vote except in case of a tie, and in that case he can cast the deciding vote. But his vote is effective only 00:03:00when he is in favor of something on which there is a tie, because a tie vote defeats whatever is before the Senate, because under the rules of the Constitution, any proposal has to have a majority of votes to be carried. And if it receives a tie vote, it is not the majority and it is therefore defeated. And so it will be of no value for the vice president to cast a negative vote, because the proposition's already defeated unless he simply wants to put himself on record, but his vote is not effective. But where he is for a proposal, a bill or a motion or any other action, and there is a tie vote, his vote counts and carries the vote in the affirmative. I had many such occasions to do that. Well, things went along and--
SHALETT: May I interrupt there, Senator? Since you brought up thatsubject, I've had in my file a clipping which refers to just such a situation where I believe you temporarily strained your relations with one of your good friends, Scott Lucas, then majority leader, on a--where 00:04:00you broke a tie vote in favor of the farm block. According to Time magazine, Scott was described as "hopping mad at your quote betrayal and saying, 'That was the blank-blankest performance I've ever seen. Barkley doesn't know a thing about farming.'" Do you recall that? (Barkley laughs.) And how did you make--
BARKLEY: Well, that--as I recall it, that was on a conferencereport of the two houses on an agricultural bill. And I have forgotten the details of it, but the question was whether the conference--I think I'd better check in on that to get a little more of the details about it.
SHALETT: All right. I'll leave--
BARKLEY: But my vote was in favor of the farm propositionthat was up, because it involved the conference report and a resubmission of the matter to the conferees. And I think Senator McCarran was involved in that too in some way, and I'll have to check. But Scott Lucas, who was the majority leader and who had voted 00:05:00and whose position was contrary to my view on the matter, he had flared up a little bit when I voted the way I did to cast the deciding vote against the--the conference report, as I recall.
SHALETT: Just a second.
[Pause in recording.]
BARKLEY: That was one of many tie votes that I untiedin the affirmative. My vote to untie it in favor of what I thought was the proper attitude of the Senate and the Democratic Party toward the farm situation. And my vote to untie that particular situation was consistent with my attitude when I was in the Senate and when I was majority leader on farm legislation. It happened, for the time being, not to be quite in harmony with what Senator Lucas, as majority leader, was favoring. But still, I was following my own course in that matter and voting consistent with my record as 00:06:00a friend of the farmer. And of course, a suggestion that I didn't know a thing about farming was ludicrous, because I had been reared on a farm all my life and at that very time I was the owner of two or three farms in Kentucky and lived on one on which I now live, so I think that rather superlative disparagement of my knowledge of the farm grew out of Senator Lucas's temporary fret over the vote that I had cast, because Senator Lucas and I are great friends, are now and always have been.
SHALETT: Well, you didn't stay angry, did you?
BARKLEY: No, no. No, no. It didn't amount to much, andit didn't last long.
SHALETT: Scott was high-tempered at times.
BARKLEY: Well, he didn't relish opposition from that source, especially oppositionthat decided the issue the other way.
SHALETT: Yeah, but you became -------------(??)----------.
BARKLEY: Oh, we--it didn't interfere at all with our cordial relations.And as vice president, I always tried to help him all I could, because I had been majority leader a long time, and he 00:07:00had a very difficult situation. And wherever I could, by advice or counsel or by my assistance among senators, I tried to make his pathway as easy as possible because I had trod the same path over many rocks and rough territory in the time when I had the same position.
SHALETT: Did you--was he an effective majority leader?
BARKLEY: Yes, he was a very good majority leader and agood debater. And I thought he was very good in that position, and I was very much for him for re-election and campaigned in Illinois for his re-election in '50.
BARKLEY: And I was greatly surprised and greatly disappointed that hewas not re-elected.
SHALETT: Um-hm. Now, let's see, where did we leave--
BARKLEY: Well, we were talking about the course of events afterMr. Truman and I were inaugurated as president and vice president, leading up to the convention of 1952. As that convention approached, a good 00:08:00many months beforehand, I should say back in--well, even in '50, people began to speculate, and the press began to speculate as to whether Mr. Truman would run again in '52. And he himself seemed to be undecided about it. I had the viewpoint that he would. And up 'til the very day when he announced that he would not, I felt that he probably would run for re-election. But in view of the uncertainty about whether he would run for re-election, and if he had announced that he would run or would have accepted the nomination, he would undoubtedly have been nominated for a--well, a third term, what was effectively a third term, because the Constitutional amendment limiting a president to two terms exempted him from the provision, because he had not had two full terms. He came in as the successor of Roosevelt in April of '45, and he lacked about two and a 00:09:00half months of having a full eight-year--two-year--two eight-year--two four-year terms, amounting to eight years.
SHALETT: You've said earlier that you yourself had told Roosevelt thatthe third term thing was just a tradition and it wasn't vital. Did you favor the amendment limiting--
BARKLEY: No, I did not. I voted against the amendment asa senator.
SHALETT: You were a senator.
BARKLEY: I was senator. I voted against the amendment limiting theterm of president to two terms, because I felt that the American people had a right to elect a man president as well as senator, governor, or any other officer, as long as they wanted to, and that they ought not to be curbed in their desire to elect a man if the situation required it or demanded it at the time when they were called on to do that. And I didn't feel like there ought to be any constitutional provision limiting the people in the election of a president.
SHALETT: Which Congress passed that?
BARKLEY: It was the--probably the eightieth. I think it was the00:10:00eightieth, though I'm not certain.
SHALETT: It was a Republican measure then.
BARKLEY: Well, it was supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. Iwas one of the Democrats who voted against it. As a matter of fact, of course, there has no--there has been no real consistency between the parties or among the parties on that subject. In 1912, the Democratic platform, I think, adopted at Baltimore, on which they nominated Woodrow Wilson, declared in favor of a single six-year term without eligibility for re-election. I'm--I'd have to check in on that, but that's my recollection. That's forty years ago.
SHALETT: Well, we'll check the record and the vote on that.
BARKLEY: Mr. Wilson did not favor that, although he ran onthat platform. I think later on, when he became president, he thought it was unwise and did not advocate it, and I think really opposed it. Well anyhow, I opposed the limitation and voted against it and spoke against it on the ground that the people had a right to elect a man three times, and they'd shown they had that right--they'd exercised it--by electing a man three times. 00:11:00
SHALETT: Well, we'll insert your speech into this.
BARKLEY: Yeah. We'll check in on that. Well anyhow, a questionwhether Mr. Truman would run for practically a third term was uncertain. I felt that he would. Other men, including myself, were being mentioned for the nomination, and it was generally--the newspapers and the magazines carried a good deal of publicity growing out of the fact that it was thought that President Truman was favoring Chief Justice Vinson as the Democratic nominee in 1952, and I think he did. I think he undertook to persuade Chief Justice Vinson to become a candidate for the nomination. And that situation dragged along for quite a long time before Mr. Vinson eliminated himself. I want to say about that--and Mr. Vinson 00:12:00and I have been warm personal and political friends ever since he entered Congress. I made my first race for the Senate in 1926, and he had then been a member of the House two years, I think. He was elected to succeed Congressman Fields, who was elected governor of Kentucky in 1923, and Mr. Vinson was elected in '24 and was running, I think, for re-election in '26 when I was a candidate for the Senate. And I made him my campaign manager in Kentucky in that senatorial campaign at which I was first elected. And he had been in the House ever since. And he became a very valuable member of the Ways and Means Committee and became a sort of a tax expert. He came to me one day and said he'd like to be appointed to the bench, said he was tired of running every two years for Congress, that his wife was anxious for him to get out of the political game, and 00:13:00he wanted me to go down and see President Roosevelt in his behalf to be appointed to the Circuit Court of Appeals there in the District of Columbia. It seems that I was always going to see Mr. Roosevelt for somebody else for a judicial appointment. (Shallet laughs.) Well, I went down to see President Roosevelt in behalf of Fred Vinson and urged his appointment. And President Roosevelt rather protested on the ground that Fred was a valuable man on the Ways and Means Committee and had become quite an expert on taxation, and he hesitated to take him out of the House, but he did appoint him to the circuit bench there in this District of Columbia. And when Chief Justice--when Justice Byrnes resigned from the Supreme Court to become Economic Stabilizer, Judge Vinson--he didn't resign, actually, at first, I think. Maybe he 00:14:00did resign from the circuit bench to become an assistant under Mr. Byrnes in the Economic Stabilization set-up. President Roosevelt didn't fill that vacancy for a long time, I think, having, probably, the idea that when the war ended and Judge Vinson's duties should cease in that capacity, he might want to resume the bench. But in the meantime, of course, Mr. Roosevelt died and President Truman succeeded him and appointed Mr. Byrnes Secretary of State and then appointed Fred Vinson Economic Stabilizer in his place, and later appointed him Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and later appointed him Chief Justice of the United States. I was--I felt very strongly that no man, as I've already indicated in the case of Justice Hughes, that the Supreme Court ought not to be made the football of politics. It ought not to be made a stepping stone for men who had political ambition, that when 00:15:00any man went on that court he ought to put all political ambition behind him. Now, I never went to Judge Vinson to express that view, because my name was at the same time being mentioned as a possible candidate. I was not a candidate. I had no intention at that time of becoming one, but as had been done frequently, my name was mentioned time after time in connection with the nomination for president and vice president. And I hesitated, and I did not go to see Judge Vinson to express my feeling that he ought not to entertain the idea of being nominated for president because of this deep conviction of mine that the Supreme Court ought to be beyond politics. But he finally decided himself, probably on his own or after consultation with others, that he would not become a candidate. And after he had eliminated himself, I then had a conversation with him in which I had congratulated him on the decision that he 00:16:00had come to, and he agreed with the position that I had deeply felt, that the Supreme Court was no place to be a breeding ground for political candidates. And so after he eliminated himself, after a good many months of talk and consideration and speculation--you know, in the meantime, President Truman had never announced he would not run. Then in January of forty--of '52, Governor Stevenson came to Washington, I think on the invitation of President Truman. He told me that he'd been over at New York, and the president asked him to come by and talk with him. Anyhow, however that happened, he came to Washington and Mr. Truman asked him to come out to the White House. And he began to--apparently to promote Mr. Stevenson as a possible nominee in the event that he didn't himself run. This was in January--I 00:17:00think on Sunday in Jan--some Sunday in January, Governor Stevenson went down to the White House and had a long--to Blair House and had a long talk with Mr. Truman about it. Mr. Truman urged him to consider being a Democratic nominee. Well, he'd already announced as a candidate for re-election as governor of Illinois, and his primary was to take place, I think, in April. Well, he was very much up in the air about what to do, so he called me up on Monday.
SHALETT: Stevenson called you?
BARKLEY: Stevenson called me up on Monday over the telephone andsaid he'd like to come over and talk to me. I said, "Why, come on, Adlai." I'd campaigned for him out in Illinois when he was a candidate for governor, and I had spoken out there many times at his invitation, four or five times in succession at the Illinois State Fair even before he was elected, but while he 00:18:00was a candidate. And then I--every year while he was governor, I had spoken at--on Governor's Day at his invitation to the Illinois State Fair, which is one of the best, if not the best, state fair among all the states of the Union, very outstanding state fair. So he came over to my office and told me what had happened, that the president had suggested that he consider being a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, never exactly saying that he himself had eliminated his own possible nomination. He didn't do that until the last of March. Well, I said to Governor Stevenson, I said, "Well, I'm a little embarrassed to give you frank advice on this question because I've got a lot of friends urging me to consider the possibility of running for the nomination if Mr. Truman doesn't run." I said, "If Mr. Truman should be a candidate, I'm for him. I've 00:19:00told him so, and I've told everybody else that if Truman is a candidate for the Democratic nomination, I will be for him and I would not consider getting in the race against him under any circumstances."
SHALETT: You're saying you had told Truman that.
BARKLEY: I had told Truman that, and I had told everybodythat. I had announced it in the paper. And I said, "Now, if Mr. Truman is a candidate, I'm for him, but if he isn't a candidate, I've got a lot of friends who from over the years have been urging me as a possible nominee. And I don't know what's going to happen, I'm not a candidate now." I said, "I realize that my age is against me. On the calendar," I said, "I'm just as strong and vigorous and as active as I ever was in my life, work four times as hard as I did forty years ago." But I said, "I am seventy-three or -four years old, and that is--as far as the calendar goes, that's older than anybody ever has been who's been nominated for president." William Henry Harrison, I think, was seventy-one when he was nominated, and he 00:20:00took pneumonia and died in a month, and so forth. Well, that wasn't a very good example for me to refer to, but I said, "Well--." Governor Stevenson said, "Well, if you were ten years younger, you would be the nominee by acclamation, there isn't any question about that, but undoubtedly theoretically your age is against you." But I said, "Well," I said, "Churchill is seventy-eight, and he's going pretty strong." And I named a--I said, "Justice Holmes didn't retire from the Supreme Court until he was ninety-one." And I named a whole lot of people. I said, "Goethe wrote his great Faust at the age of eighty-two." And I referred to a whole lot of people who had done their outstanding work after they were seventy. And I said, "Now, that may not have any effect on a convention, and it may affect the psychology of my possible nomination, but I feel that I can't give you frank and open advice without saying that while I'm not a candidate, my name is being mentioned and I will be compelled to give it consideration." But I said, "There's one thing certain. You 00:21:00can't run for both president and governor at the same time. You will be nominated for governor of Illinois, in my judgment, without opposition, and you're going to have to make up your mind whether you want to be governor again or whether you want to take a chance on being elected president, but you can't do both. If you decide you want to be nominated for president, you'll have to withdraw from the race for governor. If you decide that you want to be governor and don't want to be nominated for president, you'll have to make that decision and make your fight for re-election for governor." But I said, "If you try to hold on to one while reaching out for the other, it'll help you--it'll hurt you in both cases. It'll hurt your race for governor, and it'll hurt your race for president." I said--well, he agreed with that, said of course he couldn't do that. "Well," he said, "I came over here to talk to you because there's so much confusion of tongues here in Washington, and you and I are pretty closely related, and I wanted to talk to somebody I could trust, so I just came over here." And he said, "I think probably I ought to announce right now 00:22:00that I won't--wouldn't accept it under any condition." I said, "No, don't do that. You can't tell what'll happen between now and July. Mr. Truman hasn't eliminated himself yet and he may not eliminate himself. And if he doesn't eliminate himself, he'll be nominated, and there's no use for you to take any position one way or the other. And even if he does eliminate himself, you don't have to announce now that you wouldn't accept the nomination under any condition. I think that'd be unwise." So he left my office. This conversation lasted a long time; we went into a lot of things about it.
SHALETT: He was quite earnest.
BARKLEY: He was quite earnest, but very undecided. He was veryundecided about what he ought to do. And so he left and I didn't see him anymore until, I think, April. He made an announcement in the meantime out in the--in Springfield that he would not 00:23:00seek the nomination, that he did not desire it, that he did not desire anything except to be re-elected governor of Illinois, which sounded on the surface like he eliminated himself. But he didn't quite do it. He did not say he wouldn't accept the nomination if it were tendered. So I sent him a telegram from Washington congratulating upon his frankness, something that I had a right to expect of him and the people had a right to expect of him. Well, in April they gave a big dinner in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria in honor of Averell Harriman, who was being boosted as a favored son from the state of New York, and had a lot of speakers there, including Governor Stevenson and me and I don't know who all. And I sat pretty close to him at a table, and I went over and I said, "I think that was a very courageous and frank thing you did the other day." And he said, "Well, I appreciated your telegram." He said, "I don't know whether I did the right thing or not.""Well," I said, "whatever it was you 00:24:00did, you did it." (Both laugh.) And so if you're hesitating about it, if you--it's too late now to decide whether you did the right thing or not, you've done it. Well, things went on and people were--finally, the big Jackson-Jefferson Day dinner in Washington, which was an annual affair that took place on the twenty-eighth or the twenty-ninth of March, I don't know which one of those days, but one or the other, the latter part of March. And Mr. Truman, of course, was to be one of the speakers, and Speaker Rayburn one of them, and I was to be one. We three usually addressed the big banquet there in addition to the chairman of the party--committee. As we walked in, President and Mrs. Truman and Mrs. Barkley and I assembled out in a little side room before we were to go in. As we walked in and got in the banquet hall, I 00:25:00started up on the steps of the speaker's table at one end of this big armory, while he--with Mrs. Truman--and he and Mrs. Barkley walked around across the banquet hall to the other side where he was to sit until a certain signal, and then we were to exchange places, and I was to go over there and he was to come back to the table where I first sat. And as I stepped up on the steps of this table where--to which I had been assigned, he was walking along with Mrs. Barkley, and about ten feet--
SHALETT: The president was with Mrs. Barkley.
SHALETT: Um-hm. He got about ten feet from me, and Iwas in the act of putting my foot up on another step, he left her and dashed back to me and said, "I'm going to with--I'm going to announce tonight that I will not be a candidate." I said, "No, you're not. You're not going to do that." He said, "Yes, I am."
SHALETT: Whispered it to you?
BARKLEY: No, he--yeah, he whispered it to me. I said, "You'renot going to do anything of the kind." He said, "Yes, I am." Well, he did; he announced that he wouldn't accept the nomination. And of course, that opened a whole Pandora's box of situations and 00:26:00issues and candidates and all of that.
SHALETT: Let me ask one question at this point that bearson it. Had you ever had, up to this point, a frank, on the--cards-on-the-table talk with Truman?
BARKLEY: Oh yeah, I had talked with him. I said, "Now,I think you're going to have to run." I said, "I think you ought to run. I don't know of anybody else. Now, you know my name is being mentioned in connection with it, but I have told everybody that if you're a candidate, I wouldn't consider it. And looking at it from my standpoint, we're in the midst of a situation here, the Korean problem has come along, the European situation and all that, and you have been in the forefront of that, and you've made the issues. No matter who's the nominee, your record and your administration are going to be issues, and you're the best man to defend that record."
SHALETT: You were willing to run with him.
BARKLEY: No, I didn't say so. I never indicated that I'd00:27:00run with him, of course I didn't think I--well, I did say this finally, that, "If you decide to be a candidate for president and want me to run with you, I'll agree to do it. Otherwise, I wouldn't consider the vice presidency again with anybody. I'm not a candidate for vice president again no matter who is nominated, unless it's you. If you're re-nominated and you want me to run with you, I'll do it. But otherwise, not."
SHALETT: But you weren't being coy.
BARKLEY: No, I was not being coy.
SHALETT: And if he didn't want you, it was all rightwith you.
BARKLEY: Oh, of course. If he didn't want me to runwith him, why, of course, I wouldn't have accepted the nomination.
SHALETT: With ----------(??).
BARKLEY: But of course, which was a silly thing to talkabout, because if he had been re-nominated, he would have--he had told people, as well as me, that if he were re-nominated--if he'd be re-nominated, he would want me to run with him. He would put it very strong that he would insist that I run with him. But I was not interested in another term as vice president just 00:28:00in order to hold the office, and I told him and I told everybody else that I would not consider or accept a nomination for vice president on the ticket with anybody else, no matter who it was. Well, and I told Governor Stevenson that, when he was talking to me on that Monday after he'd talked to the president. I said, "I'm not a candidate for vice president. I won't accept the nomination for vice president on the ticket with anybody." So--well, anyhow, Mr. Truman announced that he wouldn't be a candidate again, and of course, it was the big headline of the day, and then the speculation began about the nomination. Well, Governor Stevenson kept on running for governor and was nominated without opposition. And of course, there was great pressure being brought to bear upon him by local leaders around over the country. He was a young, active figure. He'd--he was the governor of a big Middle-West state, and he was in a good picture geographically and politically to make a strong candidate. And things went on 00:29:00until the convention. Well, as the convention got near--Congress adjourned, I think, a couple of weeks before the convention was to meet. In the meantime, a lot of my friends there in the Senate and over the country, especially in Kentucky where they had--where the convention had met, and without my request or my presence even, had endorsed me for the nomination for president, all of which I appreciated and all that. I had never said that I was a candidate. I did make a statement that if I were chosen by the convention I would accept. But I hadn't actually said that I wanted a nomination or would seek it. So a lot of my friends said, "Well, nobody knows whether you want this nomination or not. You said you'd accept, but we think you ought to make a more positive statement than that." So on the day when Congress adjourned, I think, or the 00:30:00day before, I made the statement that in view of the fact that my state had endorsed me and that many friends of mine in the Senate and over the country were urging me to be a candidate, that I would be a candidate and commit the name--my name to be submitted to the Chicago convention. I went on home. A week before the convention was to meet, Mr. Leslie Biffle, who was secretary of the Senate, called me at my home in Paducah, and he said, "President Truman wants you to return here Sunday for a conference. And this is a necessary thing; it's a must." Well, I said, "I can't inquire about it over the telephone, but if he wants me and you have the authority from him to ask me to come back to Washington, I'll be there on Sunday. I came back, and at eleven o'clock Sunday morning I went down to the White House. I went with Mr. Biffle, the secretary who had 00:31:00arranged the appointment. There were--Frank McKinney, the chairman of the National Committee, was there. A group of eight or ten of Mr. Truman's official family were there. I don't remember who all. I think Clayton Fritchey, who's now connected with the National Committee and is now the editor of this Democratic Digest, was there. Dr. Graham, the president's physician, was there. I never did quite understand what part he played in it, unless he was to look me over and see whether I'd live through the campaign. (Both laugh.) But anyhow, he was a good friend of mine, and as a matter of fact, he had over and over again expressed his hope that I would be nominated. I want to say that for Dr. Graham. He's a very charming man.
SHALETT: Did he have his stethoscope out?
BARKLEY: No, he didn't have anything. He didn't even inquire aboutthat. (Shalett laughs.) I was kidding. But this group was there, and Frank McKinney had evidently been talking to the president about the 00:32:00situation, and the president had decided to be for me, to urge my nomination, not publicly, but to urge his own Missouri delegation to vote for me. Well, I said in the conference, "What about Mr. Stevenson? In my judgment, he has not eliminated himself from the possibility of nomination." I said, "I think he still has his foot in the door so that it won't be shut. I don't mean any reflection upon his sincerity and all that, but he has never positively said he would not accept the nomination." And I said, "As long as that is the situation, I think we've got to take account of him." "Well," they said, "no, he's eliminated himself. He's out, he's not going to accept it."
[Pause in recording.]00:33:00
BARKLEY: I don't know what authority you have for that, butanyhow, we'll get on.
SHALETT: Was the president a little out of patience with Stevenson?
BARKLEY: Well, he--I think he had gotten a little peeved becauseStevenson had not been willing, apparently, to be known as his candidate. He didn't want to go into the campaign with--as a Truman candidate. And the president said, "Well, throughout the history of this country, any president, any outgoing president, can nominate his successor if he wants to." And it was true, because Theodore Roosevelt had brought about the nomination of Taft in 1908 as his successor. It hasn't often happened. Cleveland 00:34:00didn't do it, because he certainly had no control over Bryan's nomination in '96. And--but I think by and large whenever any outgoing president, unless he was terrifically unpopular or out of harmony with his party, who has tried to control the nomination of his successor, has been able to do it.
SHALETT: Was this after the New Hampshire primary?
BARKLEY: Oh, yeah. This was the Sunday before the convention--
SHALETT: Oh, of course.
BARKLEY: --was to meet on the following Monday week.
SHALETT: Oh, that's--
BARKLEY: It was only a week before the convention.
SHALETT: Yes. Was Kefauver discussed at this conference?
BARKLEY: Well, yes. He was discussed, in this way. All ofthem were discussed. Russell and Kefauver and whoever--and Kerr, in this sense. Frank McKinney had made a tabulation of what he thought would be the vote for the different candidates on the first ballot. And he had figured that if I were nominated before the convention as a candidate actively, that on the first ballot I would get about 220 00:35:00votes, that Kefauver would get around 350, in that neighborhood, and that Russell would be the next man to Kefauver, and that I would be third. That on the second ballot, I would gain 150 votes, which would put me above Kefauver and above Russell and on about the third ballot, I would be nominated. Well, it sounded good and looked good on paper. So I went on back home.
SHALETT: They didn't want Kefauver.
BARKLEY: Well, they didn't say so, but if they had wantedhim, they could have easily made it known to the country and to the convention. Anyhow, I went on back home, feeling that I had the support of the president and of Frank McKinney, the chairman, and that according to their figures, it looked pretty easy. I went on up to the convention on Friday before it was to meet on Monday. And the headquarters were established in the Stevens Hotel, or the Conrad Hilton Hotel as it is now. And I appeared on 00:36:00television and radio programs from Friday until late Sunday night. I really felt that I ought to be conferring with state delegations and making my appearance and allowing them to see me. But I was pulled and hauled, like all the others were, from one radio and television station to another, so that from the time I got into Chicago on Friday morning and walked five or six blocks from the Illinois Central Railroad Station up to the Conrad Hotel on a hot July day until Sunday night, I was all over Chicago on every television and radio program.
SHALETT: Had labor done its little ----------(??)?
BARKLEY: No, I want to say this in that connection, thatbefore I left Washington I talked with William Green--
BARKLEY: --president of the American Federation of Labor and told himthat I was seriously considering allowing my name to go before the 00:37:00convention, that we'd been great friends always, and that he had been for me for the vice-presidential nomination in Chicago in '44. But we'd been great friends, and I said, "I, naturally, would like to have your sympathy and your support and your help." He said, "We hope you do--we hope you do allow your name to go before the convention, and we'll be glad to do anything we can for you." Well, I accepted that, of course, as--from the head of the American Federation of Labor, as being representative of labor. Then I had--I was invited by Phillip Murray, head of the CIO and also head of the US Steel Workers, to address their convention in Atlantic City, which I did. And as I--after I finished my address and told him goodbye, he said to me, "If you get into this presidential race, count on us a hundred percent." Well, I said, "That's fine, Phillip. 00:38:00I am not sure yet that I will, but if I do, I certainly appreciate your support." So I went to Chicago with the very definite feeling, coming from the heads of both of these great labor organizations, that my nomination would be acceptable to them and very pleasing. Well, I got out to Chicago, and I think on Sunday afternoon the Iowa delegation and the Massachusetts delegation and one other delegation invited me to come by their headquarters, which I did for a few minutes and made a five-or ten-minute speech to them and so forth. That was Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, I felt that I ought to get some of the labor leaders who were in Chicago at the convention, either as delegates or otherwise, to meet with me. So I invited ten or twelve of them to have breakfast with me on Monday morning, and they accepted the invitation to--ten of them 00:39:00came. In the meantime, the--George Harrison of the Railway Clerks, and Walter Reuther of the Automobile Workers, and one other active representative of one of the labor unions gave out a statement in the papers at Chicago that appeared Monday morning, that labor would oppose me because of my age. That's the reason they gave for it. But they came on to my breakfast anyhow after that, and I had gotten the morning papers, and when they came into my room and we sat down at breakfast, I exhibited that paper with a headline all the way across the top of the front page announcing their opposition to me. I said, "Gentlemen, I never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd read a headline like that, for I have been 00:40:00fighting your battles, as you know, for forty years. And I talked to Mr. Green and Mr. Phillip Murray about this situation, and both of them indicated their support of me." And I said, "I think that before you gave out a statement of this kind, at least you ought to have permitted me to consult you about it or to know something in advance." Well, they sat around the table there for a--
SHALETT: Who is "they," Senator?
BARKLEY: Well, I can't recall all of them. Harrison was notthere, Harrison didn't come. Reuther was there.
SHALETT: He was.
BARKLEY: Reuther was there, and Mr. Potofsky, head of the--
SHALETT: Jake Potofsky.
BARKLEY: Yeah, head of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, was there.
SHALETT: Well, your records will show that.
BARKLEY: My records will show that. I can't recall all theten. I think Mr. Keenan was there, Joe Keenan. And there was a representative of the Railway Labor Organizations there. We talked around the table about it, and I said, "Now, I realize that I'm older than I used to be and older than any of these other candidates, but I--." Then I recounted some of these other men in 00:41:00this country and other countries who had done, really, their outstanding work after they were seventy years old. And they all listened very politely, didn't refute anything I said. Finally, Reuther spoke up and said, "Well, Senator, Mr. Vice President," or something, "we know you've been the friend of labor all these years, and nobody can deny that." "But," he said, "we don't like the statement that Jim Farley gave out, that he was for either you or Russell, that either one of you would make a good president, and that you--if you were nominated for president, he thought Russell ought to be nominated for vice president." Well, I said, "Now I don't know whether Mr. Farley gave out any such statement as that or not. I haven't seen it, but if he did, he gave it on his own responsibility." I said, "I'm fond of Senator Russell. We've been colleagues in the Senate a long time, and I admire his ability and his character. We don't agree 00:42:00about a good many things." I said, "I haven't even put my mind to think about who would be my running mate or who ought to be or who would be satisfactory if I were nominated. And I said, "In addition to that, I think it would be folly to nominate both candidates from south of the Ohio River, no matter who it was. Obviously, that would not do." And I said, "I haven't even thought about such things," and so forth. Well, then they went on to say--he went on to say that they had been led to believe that Mr. Truman was for Averell Harriman, that they had sort of gone into his camp on the assumption that Mr. Truman was for Harriman, and that they were trying to work with him. I said, "Well, I don't know about that. I don't recall that Mr. Truman's ever made any statement that he's for Mr. Harriman. He's--of course, Mr. Harriman's a part of his administration, and he's been courteous to him and all that, but I don't think he 00:43:00ever committed himself to Mr. Harriman, whether he had or not." I said, "Of course, if you are committed to Mr. Harriman and you promised to support him, why, that's another matter. I wouldn't ask you to go against your word." Well, we talked around and finally I said, "Well now, gentlemen, I want to say this. Whether you're for me for the nomination or not, if I am nominated, I'd like to have your support in November." And they spoke up and said, "Well, yes. Of course, we would support you. There wouldn't be anywhere else for us to go in November." And they all walked out, and I shook hands with them. And as they left, some of them whispered to me and said, "Good luck to you." And I said, "Thank you," and went on. Well--
SHALETT: Reuther wasn't one who whispered, was he?
BARKLEY: No, I don't think he was. I don't think hewas.
SHALETT: Did these fellows just sort of take it on themselvesto give out this statement? Or did they have any official go-ahead or what?
BARKLEY: I don't think they had any--if they had any officialgo-ahead, I don't know anything about it. I know it's raised an awful row within the ranks of labor. George Meany, who was then 00:44:00secretary of the American Federation of Labor, and is now--
SHALETT: President of it.
BARKLEY: --president of it, came up to my office, outrag--up tomy room, outraged at what had happened. He hadn't been consulted about it. He said, "Why, here you are, you've been a friend of labor ever since you've been in public life. And for them to make a statement without--." Said, "They didn't get any authority from William Green, nor from Phillip Murray, nor from the executive committee of either American Federation of Labor or the CIO to make any such statement. They made it on their own responsibility."
BARKLEY: And members of the executive committee of the American Federationof Labor, many of them who happened to be in Chicago at the time, came up to my room to protest against that. And I got telegrams and telephones and personal visits from members of the executive committee of the CIO protesting against it. And I got many bitter telegrams from people who felt that they were not properly represented in that attitude. Well, anyhow--
SHALETT: You could almost--that was almost a knife in the back.
BARKLEY: Well, I never did call it that, of course. I00:45:00felt that it was something that I did not deserve after all that I had--my whole lifetime record in behalf of labor, and so forth. Well, they left, and we shook hands, and that was Monday morning. I think they--and Monday night--of course, the convention opened at noon on Monday with the preliminary ceremonies that were--the chairman made a talk and opened the convention; Mayor Kennelly of Chicago made a speech welcoming on the part of the city; Governor Stevenson made a speech--the host governor, welcoming the convention to Illinois and Chicago, made a very good one, so good that a lot of people thought it was a bid for the nomination. I remember one senator from a state who--which had a candidate--and I won't call his name--called me up afterward. He said, "What did you think of Governor Stevenson's speech?" Why, I said, "I thought it was a very good speech." "Well," he said, "it 00:46:00sounded to me like a nominating speech, sounded to me like a bid for the nomination." I said, "Well, maybe so." And I said, "Maybe he'll be nominated. The convention might nominate him." And he said, "Yes, it might do it." Well, that was Monday afternoon. And then that night--that afternoon late after the convention had adjourned the preliminaries, before it had really gotten into its work, Governor--Senator Clements, who had been urging me for months to--actively to become a candidate, and Mr. Biffle, who had arranged the conference between Mr. Truman and me at the White House a week before and who had been very friendly, in a way, in talking up my cause and all that, and the Lieutenant Governor, Emerson Beauchamp of Kentucky, came up to my room, and 00:47:00they began to talk about what had happened. The effect of this statement of the labor man had caused the delegates from a lot of big labor states to desert on that account and withdraw their support of me, although many of them had indicated that they would support me. And they talked around a while about the situation, and finally I said, "Well, gentlemen, do I understand that you've come up here to urge me to withdraw?" And they said, "Yes, we have. We think it would be better for you to withdraw now, while it looks like you might be nominated, than to wait and be defeated." Well, in the meantime, Jim Farley came up to the room while the thing was going on. And Jim talked around, he wasn't urging me to do anything or not to do anything, but he said, "If you do get out, get out under circumstances that don't look like you're bitter or anything of that kind." "Well," I said, "I don't know what I want to do yet." Well, the upshot 00:48:00was that after talking about the thing for several hours, I felt that if my own supporters, my campaign manager, in other words, was urging me to withdraw, that probably I'd just as well. Anyhow, I permitted myself to be persuaded to withdraw from the race. It created quite a lot of consternation in the Kentucky delegation, because the Kentucky delegation had not been called to meet since it had gotten to Chicago. They didn't know that I was going to withdraw or that I'd been advised to withdraw until they saw it in the papers on Tuesday morning. They were stunned by the announcement that I'd withdrawn. And a lot of other delegates from different states and labor people who had been my friends, they began to urge me not to have done it. They didn't think I should have done it. John L. Lewis came out in a vigorous statement in Washington denouncing the 00:49:00action of these three labor leaders whom I've mentioned in Chicago, that didn't represent labor. And he called me up and said, "Why don't you get back in there? Fight!" Said, "Get in there and fight. We'll beat 'em." "Well," I said, "I have acted on the advice of two members of my own delegation, one of whom I had asked to act in the capacity of chairman, and the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor was there. Governor Wetherby was in the room, he came up. He was the chairman of the delegation. I said, "I have--I've been--they have persuaded me that it's best for me to withdraw, and I've withdrawn, and now I can't get back into it--I can't." So I let it go at that. Well anyhow, that was on Tuesday morning. Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, I got word that I was going to be invited to address the convention on Wednesday at noon when it reassembled. And I said, "Well, there won't be anybody 00:50:00there at noon. The convention meets at eleven, and I know how conventions are, they come straggling in. There won't be anybody there, and I don't want to speak to an empty convention hall." And they finally put it off until Wednesday night. I said, "Now, furthermore, I don't want to interfere with Speaker Rayburn." I said, "He's the permanent chairman, and he'll be speaking--he'll be making his speech Wednesday night. And I don't want to go out there and interfere with him or try to take away any of his acclaim, and I don't think that's a good idea. Well anyhow, I agreed though to go out, after he'd finished, to address the convention. I had no time for getting off to myself to prepare a speech, for all day my rooms were crowded with people who were outraged at the fact that these fellows had announced that they couldn't support me because I was too old, and so forth. And that--it looks like I've been too old so many times. That's what Mr. Roosevelt said in 1944, that 00:51:00I was older than he was. And I was, that's the truth. I was older than he was, but--
SHALETT: Still around.
BARKLEY: --I'm still around, and I'm sorry he isn't. I don'tsay that with any glee at all. I'm sorry, of course, that he isn't here too. But I'm still here, and I'm--I work about four times as hard as I did forty years ago and feel just as good as I did forty years ago. So I--to me, it has always sounded ridiculous that I was too old. I was too old to do anything except go out and fight for other fellows who were nominated and who want to be elected, and I've been doing that all my life, and I did it in '52. Well--
SHALETT: They didn't pull their punches in asking you to goout and do it. They didn't care how hard you worked--
BARKLEY: Well, no, I say this with no feeling. I mean,I have no resentment. I do feel that an injustice was done me by men who--in whose behalf, in whose cause I'd worked all my life, not just to curry their political favor, but because I believed in organized labor, and I believed in fairness to them, that 00:52:00I had helped to pass in the House of Representatives and in the Senate every bill that had been--ever been enacted in behalf of labor in this country. And I felt that I was entitled to better treatment than that from those in whose behalf I had worked for years. And so I frankly felt--I felt offended, I felt aggrieved. I wasn't bitter. I don't mean that I hated anybody about it, but I just felt that an injustice had been done me in that regard, and I still do. And I say that without any feeling, any animosity at all toward anybody. But I just feel that my record in the House and the Senate, and as vice president of the United States, in advocating the cause of labor deserved better treatment than I got at their hands. But after they had made this statement, of course, it was impossible for even the friends of mine among the labor organizations to restore the situation so as to 00:53:00nullify what they'd done, because these delegates, so many of them which I will not mention, and I won't even mention the states, where there's a large labor vote and where I had a right to expect a large vote in the convention, they felt that if labor's not going to be for Barkley, why, we can't go along with him. And so then I addressed the convention, and of course, you know what happened at the convention. It was a very gratifying demonstration of sincere regard for me, for I had no time to prepare a speech. My rooms were full of people all day. I couldn't even get off to myself to make a note.
SHALETT: You made that speech right off ----------(??).
BARKLEY: Right off the cuff, literally without a note. And asI said at the beginning of it, I'm speaking from the heart and not from a piece of paper. Well, the demonstration, accordingly, before I could even be permitted to speak was one of the greatest that I've ever seen in a convention. And after I concluded, it 00:54:00was even longer. I think I stood on my feet from the time I arrived on the platform and was introduced for more than two hours before I could speak, while I was speaking, and after I spoke, because I had to stand on my feet and wave and acknowledge greetings and cheers and applause and all that for thirty-two minutes before I could even start speaking, and then I spoke about thirty-five minutes, and then for a longer period after it was over, I had to do the same thing. So I was on my feet for more than two hours in a very thrilling episode in the history of conventions, which I shall always cherish. And I might say that I got over a million letters and telegrams from people all over the United States.
SHALETT: Over a million?
BARKLEY: Over a million. And it took nine secretaries over twomonths just to acknowledge receipt of them and thank them for them.
SHALETT: Your wife was there with you.
BARKLEY: She was there with me. After I made the speech,she came forward on the platform for a moment with me during 00:55:00the ovation at the end of the speech and then went back and sat down with some friends. And when it was all over, we left and went back to the hotel. That's about the story. Well, of course, Governor Stevenson was nominated. I'll say this, when I made the statement on Monday night that appeared in the Tuesday morning paper that I was withdrawing, that my name would not be permitted--would not go before the convention, at seven o'clock the next morning Governor Stevenson sent me a note written in his own handwriting by hand to me at my hotel. He said, "What you have done has made it much more difficult for me," words to that effect, and signed it. It didn't require any answer, and I didn't send one. And then after I had made the speech on Wednesday night, he called me over the telephone and said, "Your performance tonight sets an 00:56:00all-time high for conventions, for character and sincerity, and all of that," and so forth. Well, I thanked him. And I--then when the nominations began afterwards, I had made up my mind that I probably ought to go on home. There was--I didn't want to hang around there. I had done what I thought was my duty, and I didn't want to hang around like a dog at a kitchen door hoping somebody's going to throw a bone to him. And so I really prepared to go on back to Paducah. Well, friends said, "No, don't go. Don't leave. You can't tell what's going to happen here." Well, I said, "Nothing's going to happen to me, I'm out. I've eliminated myself, and I've received a great accord here by the convention, and there's nothing more for me to do." "Well," they said, "hang around." I ha--so I did. Well, without my knowing anything about it and 00:57:00without my being consulted about it, when the nominations were being made, Senator Tom Hennings of Missouri rose and placed my name in nomination. I was greatly surprised, because I hadn't been consulted. And if I had been, I would have said no, I don't want that done, I'm out, I've withdrawn. And John McCormack of Massachusetts made a seconding nomination. Tom Hennings' speech and John McCormack's speech and one or two others whose names I don't now recall, made the most sincere and the most appealing speeches in my behalf that I ever heard anybody make in my behalf. Well, of course, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. I knew that unless there was a deadlock in the convention, and that neither Stevenson, nor Russell, nor Kefauver, who were the leading 00:58:00candidates to be nominated, that they might finally nominate me, just because they couldn't agree on somebody else, and a lot of the delegates felt that way about it, and so forth. So I remained there, and of course, Stevenson was nominated. I never did feel that Senator Russell could get the nomination. Notwithstanding he's an able man, and in many respects, he and I have worked there together. We never did agree on the civil rights program.
SHALETT: Did you feel--
BARKLEY: I felt that because of his record on that subjectthat he could not command enough support--
SHALETT: Hold on.
[Pause in recording.]
SHALETT: End of side two, reel six.
[Pause in recording.]00:59:00
SHALETT: Reel number seven, side one. Senator Barkley, you were sayingthat you didn't think that Russell could achieve the nomination.
BARKLEY: Yeah. I had a feeling that the convention that inall probability would reiterate its position on the civil rights, would hardly nominate a man who had fought that legislation, regardless of his ability and his character, that it was an inconsistency that I did not think would happen. I didn't think Senator Kefauver would be able to get enough votes to be nominated, although he was the strongest candidate individually when he went into the convention. But I didn't feel he could climb the hill. And it therefore appeared to me that either--Senator Kerr of Oklahoma was a candidate, and he had his own delegation and some other votes. But the way the thing looked to me, 01:00:00that if Senator Russell and Senator Kefauver were eliminated, that the nomination would either go to Governor Stevenson or to me. And I--
SHALETT: Why didn't you think Kefauver--
BARKLEY: Well, I just didn't think he was going to getenough votes, that was the main reason. It was no criticism of his character or his ability or his record. But it was obvious that--to me, that in spite of anything, that there would not be enough delegates for him to nominate him. There's one incident that I failed to mention a while ago in connection with my own and Governor Stevenson's situation, vis-a-vis each other. After Congress adjourned, about two weeks before the convention, I went on home. And I think about the second day after I got to Paducah, Colonel Jacob S. Arvey, national committeeman from Illinois who had succeeded Mayor Ed Kelly as the leader of the Chicago Democracy and was a leader in the Illinois Democratic 01:01:00Party, and who had been promoting Governor Stevenson's possible nomination, called me over the long-distance telephone at Paducah. And he said to me, "Mr. Vice President, Stevenson is not going. He's not going to be nominated. He's out." And he said, "I--we want to be for you." Well, I said, "Jake, how do you know he's out? Has he told you he's out?" "Well, practically," he said, "he's told me he's out." And he said, "I think he ought to place you in nomination at the convention if it's agreeable with you and with your delegation." "Well," I said, "I'm sure it'll be agreeable. It certainly will with me. Governor Wetherby, as the chairman of my Kentucky delegation, is expected to nominate me before the convention, but I'm sure he'd be glad to yield to Governor Stevenson if Governor Stevenson feels like doing it himself." And I said, "That's a very gratifying piece of news that you convey to me that Stevenson is out, and that he might 01:02:00be willing to nominate me." I said, "Have you spoken to Stevenson about it?" "No," he said, "I haven't spoken to him about it, but I'm sure he'll be glad to do it." I said, "All right. I'll talk to Governor Wetherby about it and see if he's willing to yield." I took it up with Governor Wetherby, and he said he'd be delighted to yield to Governor Stevenson to place my name in nomination.
SHALETT: You still didn't think he was out, though.
BARKLEY: I still didn't think he was out, because he hadn'tsaid he was out. And of course, it turned out he wasn't out. And I never quite knew whether Colonel Arvey was advised of the situation as to Governor Stevenson or just why he called me, because he was so positive about it, that it--and after that, I was called back to Washington, and after the White House conference, it looked to me like there was an open door right into the nomination. Of course, it turned out to be entirely different than that. And so I think that that's an important little cliche--if that's the proper word--in the backstage maneuvering of conventions that produce nominations. But I 01:03:00never have quite understood the reason why Colonel Arvey called me and told me all of that, because I haven't been pushing myself with him. I hadn't asked him to be for me. I had assumed that if Governor Stevenson were interested in the nomination, of course, the whole delegation would be for him. And then when I got to Chicago, one of the local county officers there came to my rooms and said, "We just had a conference of the Illinois delegation"--that was Sunday before the convention was to meet Monday--"and Stevenson doesn't want to run," and so forth. I said, "Well, the question is not whether he wants to run, but is the door shut against his nomination? If it is not shut, he's still in."
SHALETT: Don't you have a story in your system that wouldillustrate his attitude? 01:04:00
BARKLEY: Well, I don't--I might have one, but I'd have towhip it up. I can't give it to you at the moment, because it ought--if I have one, it ought to be good. (laughs)
SHALETT: Yeah, it ought to be about a girl, probably. (laughs)
BARKLEY: Ought to? Well (laughs)--well anyhow, he was nominated, and Iwent out to the convention after he was nominated and was there when he made his acceptance speech and congratulated him. Well, then they began to urge me to accept the nomination for vice president. Now, he didn't.
SHALETT: He didn't.
BARKLEY: He did not. He never suggested anything of the kind.And--but I had told him in January that I would not accept the nomination on the ticket with anybody unless it was Mr. Truman. Well, after the convention adjourned--or no, it hadn't adjourned, he accepted the nomination and they went through some preliminaries to close it. He went off in a room with Mr. Truman and Colonel Arvey and Frank 01:05:00McKinney, I think, maybe one or two others, to consider who his running mate would be. And I walked back--Mrs. Barkley was back of the stage and I walked on back, and we were getting ready to go home. And I met Colonel Arvey in the passageway. He said, "Why don't you go in there with them in regard to this vice presidency?" I said, "I'm not interested in the vice presidency. I'm not interested it. As far as I'm concerned myself, I wouldn't accept it." I don't know whether he meant for me to go in there and talk to them about my own nomination or help them select somebody else. But I said to him--thinking that he meant, maybe, that I would be interested in being nominated with Governor Stevenson, I said, "I'm not interested in it at all, and I certainly am not going to barge into that room into which I have not been invited." And Mrs. Barkley and I went on home--back to the hotel.
SHALETT: That was that room under the stands?
BARKLEY: No, it was--yeah, it was under the stands. It wasright back of the platform, back in there. There were several rooms, offices back in there. Frank McKinney had one, Biffle, the sergeant-at-arms of 01:06:00the convention, had one. There were several offices back there for use of the committee in the convention. But we went on home. And of course, they agreed on John Sparkman, and he was nominated without any opposition. And I went on--Mrs. Barkley and I drove on to Paducah. We were--we drove down there. And we stayed around there from July until through the summer, and I got into the campaign in September, and spoke as actively as I had ever done. And I didn't go into as many states as I did in '48, but I went into all I could get to, and did my job in trying to help carry the ticket to success.
SHALETT: Let me go back one minute. After you withdrew, youhad no part in shaping the selection of Stevenson. You weren't in on the parleys and--
BARKLEY: No, I was not in on any of that. Iwas--my only--the only time when I attended the convention was when I 01:07:00was invited to speak on Wednesday night and when I went out there after Stevenson was nominated, to be there when he accepted the nomination. I had felt that I--I wanted to go to the convention and sit with the Kentucky delegation, which I'd always done. I had been attending the Democratic Convention as a delegate-at-large from 1920 on, without exception or interruption. And I wanted to go out to the convention and be there. But my advisors and friends said, "No, it wouldn't be dignified for you to show up on the convention hall. They might think you were trying to use your presence to promote your nomination." So I didn't go. I listened to it and looked at it over the television, which was put in the room at the hotel.
SHALETT: I think you chided Senator Kefauver in your speech forappearing as a delegate and precipitating a demonstration--
BARKLEY: Well, I didn't--
SHALETT: --without mentioning his name.
BARKLEY: I--well, that was a good-natured sort of a jibe, butthere was some criticism of him around the convention. I did what I thought was the proper thing.
SHALETT: You didn't think it was proper.01:08:00
BARKLEY: I didn't think it was proper, and I didn't go.And I didn't participate in any of the conferences or any of the backstage maneuvers or palavers or dickers or anything else that went on.
SHALETT: Well, you can't contribute any direct commentary on how Stevensonwas prevailed to take the nomination?
BARKLEY: No, I cannot, except that I think the pressure fromthe delegates--whether it had been an organized pressure or whether it was a voluntary, spontaneous thing, is a matter of opinion. There had been, undoubtedly, an organized effort to promote Governor Stevenson. Whether he knew about it or participated in it or encouraged it, is another matter. But it was pretty well--it was pretty smooth. It worked like a charm. And the fact that he felt that if he was going to 01:09:00be nominated at all, he wanted to be drafted, he did not want to be an active candidate.
SHALETT: Well, you don't--
BARKLEY: And then there was some question raised about whether hewanted to be Mr. Truman's candidate, whether he, if he was nominated, he wanted to be nominated without any White House influence, which may have been a very proper thing to feel that he didn't want to be tagged as anybody's candidate, but to be drafted by the convention itself. Now, I don't know whether President Truman ever got out of patience with him, because he never really did agree to be a candidate. I wouldn't say about that. I wouldn't presume, because I don't know; Governor--President Truman never discussed that with me. But I think probably after Fred Vinson wouldn't--he kissed it off, as they said, and he tried to get Governor Stevenson to agree to be nominated, and he wouldn't agree to it, I think President Truman felt that he didn't want any longer to be urging him to do something that 01:10:00he didn't apparently want to do. Now, that's just an assumption on my part.
SHALETT: Do you regard the Stevenson nomination as a genuine draft?
BARKLEY: Well, yes and no. I think it was a well-organizeddraft. And--
SHALETT: Has there ever been a genuine draft?
BARKLEY: It may have been one that he didn't encourage, butevidently there was a committee appointed to promote his interest, he knew about it, and he--I suppose he could have stopped it if he had positively said, "I won't accept this nomination. I don't want it and I won't accept it." That would have ended it.
SHALETT: He could have--
BARKLEY: Could have. Yes. Anybody could have prevented a nomination, hisown nomination, if he just announced in advance, like Sherman, "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve." That's what he said, and that put a stop to him. But I think that--I think it would be perfectly legitimate, in view of the fact that Governor Stevenson was the nominee for governor of his state, and if he sought after the nomination of president and didn't get it, 01:11:00it would hurt him in his race for governor, which he would have continued to make. And he was on a delicate spot. He was walking a tight rope out there, naturally, because he was already nominated for one office, and if he were actively seeking to get the other one and didn't get it, it would hurt him in his election for governor, no doubt about it. He was in an embarrassing situation.
SHALETT: Has there ever been a genuine draft in American history?
BARKLEY: Well, I imagine that probably the nomination of Justice Hughesin 1916 was regarded as a draft, but of course, he knew that it was going on. He knew his name was being considered. He could have stopped that if he had said, "I'm a member of the Supreme Court of the United States. I don't think it ought to be made the football of politics or the springboard into the presidency, and I will not accept the nomination." Or, if he wanted to be an active candidate, he could have resigned from the court. He did not resign until he was nominated.
SHALETT: The third-term nomination for Roosevelt was the unfortunate sewer commissioner01:12:00incident. That was no draft.
BARKLEY: Well, the sewer incident played a very small part inthe actual nomination of Roosevelt. It played no part in it. It made no contribution to it.
SHALETT: No, no.
BARKLEY: None at all. The only thing it did was toannoy a lot of people and cause unpleasant comment after it was over that some sewer inspector down under the basement of the convention was shouting--organizing a shout, "We want Roosevelt." Well, the whole convention wanted him and the party wanted him. It wasn't this sewer inspector that had anything to do with it. It was a very stupid performance, I thought, although it didn't annoy me. I was permanent chairman and presiding over that convention during the whole deliberation, and I never even heard this inspector. I never heard anything about it until the convention was all over, and they made a lot of noise about it. That's the truth. But evidently he was there--
SHALETT: Yes, I was there and heard him.
BARKLEY: --because it (laughs) created a lot of commotion. I didn'thear him. I was busy up on the platform presiding, and I didn't know what was going on down in the basement, and I never heard him a single time during the whole convention. 01:13:00
SHALETT: Well, that convention certainly wanted Roosevelt.
BARKLEY: Oh, yes.
SHALETT: And Roosevelt wanted it too.
BARKLEY: Yeah, he wanted it. He wanted it. He--I don't meanthat he started out with any idea at the beginning that he would ever seek a third term. And I think he would have preferred not to have been elected a third term. But in 1940, World War number Two had already been in existence for a year and--nearly a year and a half. Well, a year. It started in September--
BARKLEY: --thirty-nine. It had been in existence nearly a year. Andall sorts of possibilities loomed up in the future about our own situation and our possible implication into it. We couldn't foresee and endure that uncertain situation, the party and the country itself, that Mr. Roosevelt's services were necessary and that the situation was so important that the third-term condition could be waived. And they proved it by waiving it. 01:14:00That's all there is to that. I think that if Mr. Ro--if things had been normal, and no war, that Mr. Roosevelt's program had been substantially completed in the two terms, that he would not have been willing to run again. But in the situation that existed, he couldn't very well say no.
SHALETT: How did you and Jane feel and what did youtalk about on the drive to Paducah?
BARKLEY: (laughs) Well, we had a good time. It was hotas the hinges of the netherworld, and we didn't enjoy that part of it, but we had a good time. We drove as far as Mount Vernon--let me see. Yes, we drove as far as Mount Vernon, Illinois, and spent the night. And then we drove on to--
SHALETT: You were recognized, of course--
BARKLEY: Yeah, oh yes, everywhere we went, and couldn't get intoa hotel or stop to get gasoline in the car without being recognized and greeted. And a lot of people told me how much 01:15:00they enjoyed the speech I'd made, and how much they regretted that I hadn't been nominated. And I said, "Well, you've nominated a good man. He's your governor here, and he's a good man." And I said, "Better men than I am have been denied nomination for president of the United States. It's just one of the fates of men who cherish ambitions, that they can't always be gratified."
SHALETT: Were you let down--feeling let down?
BARKLEY: Well, no, not exactly. I was pretty philosophical about it.I avoided the terrible ordeal of a strenuous nationwide campaign, although, as I have already indicated, in every important campaign I have worked as hard as the candidate himself. And I've always campaigned all over the country for the Democratic ticket, even back as far as Woodrow Wilson's days. I not only campaigned in Kentucky, but I campaigned in all 01:16:00the states wherever I could get, in behalf of the ticket. So it is an ordeal, but it's one in which you get a thrill. You feel like you are enlisted in a great cause, even though in a measure, it's your own cause. But I didn't feel let down particularly. I was not morose or bitter or resentful, bec--at what the convention failed to do, as far as I was concerned. But I would not be a frank man if I did not say that I was aggrieved at what I thought was a lack of appreciation on the part of many people from whom I had a right to expect support who did not give it to me.
SHALETT: Well, in retrospect, we came out of the '52 conventionwith a candidate whose nomination came about in the manner you've described. It left the party a little torn--not a little torn, left the party torn and bitter. In retrospect, what was the mistake of the '52 convention? What should the Democrats have done? Could they have won at all?
BARKLEY: I don't know whether they could have won at all.01:17:00Of course, we were pitted up against a great military hero who had led our forces in Europe during World War II. Now, some other military man who had--who might have been selected for that job might have done as well, but nobody will ever know that, because nobody else was selected. And there was a feeling among the Republicans that they wanted to win. That was their supreme desire, was to win. They didn't care particularly with whom they won, they wanted to win. They'd been out of office twenty years, and they were beginning to die of the dry rot. And it was the general feeling that if they couldn't win in '52, why, they were pretty well through unless some great emergency and some great mistake of the Democrats should result in the restoration of the Republican Party. They wanted to win. And they thought they could win with Eisenhower more easily than with Taft or with anybody else. And when General Eisenhower finally indicated 01:18:00that he was Republican, after great uncertainty among people as to what his politics were--I never had any doubt about it myself because his whole family were Republicans, he'd been in the Army all his life, and I doubt very much whether he had voted often or at all because an Army officer is moved around from one place to another, he has no habitation in the sense of citizenship. When they nominated Zachary Taylor for president way back yonder in around 1840 or whenever it was, back in that time, he hadn't voted in forty years, hadn't cast a vote anywhere in forty years. He was in the Army of the United States. Well--but when General Eisenhower finally announced that he was Republican, about which I never had any doubt myself in view of his family and his environment and all that, why, of course those who wanted to win and thought he could win easier than anybody else began to organize for him, and he got the nomination. And he was popular. And the campaign dragged on for 01:19:00a while after nomination and the Scripps Howard newspaper, as you may recall, said that he was running like a dry river. And somebody stimulated him after that, and he picked up his pace. And I--he made a--I heard him--I listened to his speech in Philadelphia, and I thought from the Republican standpoint and the campaign document, it was a pretty effective speech, and so forth. I don't know whether we could have won with anybody or not against a great military hero like he was, and also in the face of the fact that the people had been pretty much sold on the idea that it's time for a change, twenty years is long enough for any political party. A lot of people felt that way about it. And a lot of little things, petty things that will disappear in the perspective of history that I've already said, but were very annoying, like mink coats and deep freezes and the irregularities in the Internal Revenue Department. All 01:20:00those things created a situation which caused a lot of people to say, "Well, it looks like it is time for a change. Maybe the party in power has been there long enough." And all that worked against us, and it might have worked against any candidate.
SHALETT: It's been suggested that if you had been candidate, whetheryou would have beaten Eisenhower or not, or whether several other men had been the Democratic nominee, we might have--the Democratic Party might have held control of both the Senate and the House, one or both.
BARKLEY: Well, the election in '52 was purely an Eisenhower victory.It was not a Republican victory in the real sense of the word, because I don't recall when any man, either Democrat or Republican, has been elected president of the United States by such an overwhelming majority in the popular vote and the electoral vote as General Eisenhower got over Governor Stevenson, who didn't at the same time carry with him an overwhelming majority of the House and the Senate. It happened under Woodrow Wilson when he was elected; he carried with him a majority of both houses. When Harding was elected, he carried a majority 01:21:00of both houses. When Hoover was elected against Al Smith, he had a majority of both houses, a substantial majority. He lost it in the middle of his term because of the conditions which existed. When Roosevelt was elected, overwhelmingly, he carried both houses of Congress, and at one time. And when I was elected majority leader, there were seventy-five Democrats in the Senate out of ninety-six, seventeen Republicans, and one independent, one Progressive, that was Bob LaFollette. We had such a top-heavy majority that it was obvious that we couldn't keep that majority forever. But the point is that all these men, Democrats and Republicans, who had been overwhelmingly elected as president also carried with them an overwhelming majority of the Congress of the United States. But in this case, while General Eisenhower was overwhelmingly elected, he only carried with him a House of Representatives by a majority of about six, and the Senate is so equally divided that there are forty-eight Republicans, forty-seven Democrats, and Wayne Morse, and the vice president. Of course, it being Republican, on any 01:22:00tie vote between the two parties, if Morse voted with the Democrats, the vice president would untie it. So it was an Eisenhower victory. Now, it's purely speculative, and an answer can never be given as to whether somebody else would have made a stronger race than Governor Stevenson. I had a feeling that if I had been nominated I would not have lost any Southern states. And the delegates from the South and the people from the South told me beforehand, and have told me since, that if I had been nominated I would have carried the South. Whether I could have carried any Northern states that Governor Stevenson lost, I do not know. I do feel that I could have carried the South without an exception.
SHALETT: Do you think if Taft had been the nominee, Trumanmight have run?
BARKLEY: No, I don't think so. I think that at thetime President Truman announced that he would not be a candidate, it looked very likely that Taft would be nominated. And until the--almost the time for the Republican convention, it looked like Taft would be the 01:23:00nominee, so that I don't think that would have had any--made any difference to him. I think he felt that he had served practically two terms, that the Constitution had been amended so as to limit a president to two terms, and while it exempted him, the spirit of that amendment was such that he could not ignore it. And in addition to that, he had worked hard at the office, and I think Mrs. Truman was unhappy about the prospect of another four years, and I think she had great influence over him. I'm speculating a little on that, but it was generally understood that she didn't want him to run again.
SHALETT: Do you think that Stevenson would have beat Taft?
BARKLEY: Well, that's hard to answer. He would have certainly comenearer doing it than he did to beating Eisenhower. But in view of all the situations that--the issues in the election and the build-up of the sentiment and the feeling under the propaganda that it's time 01:24:00for a change, twenty years is long enough for any party no matter what its record is, I think it's doubtful whether he would have beaten Taft.
[Pause in recording.]
SHALETT: Now, Senator, we're back on a new subject, a littlebit of miscellany that will fit into your later expanded account of experiences in World War--in Europe after World War I. And you had a Kentuckian of whom you're rather proud, an Admiral Rodman, who was both a great military man and a great wit.
BARKLEY: Well, this little thing was rather amusing. Admiral Rodman wasa Kentuckian; he came from a very prominent Kentucky family. He graduated at the Naval Academy and went into the Navy as a life's career and became a great old sea dog, typical old sea dog, as we used to say. He was in command of the American 01:25:00contingent of the Grand Fleet, which was anchored at the Firth of Forth in the North Sea. And Admiral Jellico and Admiral Beatty, with whose names you're familiar, were up in there. And Admiral Rodman invited us on his flagship one day for lunch. And we met not only all the staff of his officers in the American fleet that had joined the British Grand Fleet, but we met some of the British officers. My recollection is that we met Admiral Beatty; I don't think we met Admiral Jellico. But anyhow, we had a very pleasant day on board the ship with Admiral Rodman. And after either--after we had been on the ship, we were in Edinburgh and we were being shown around--we wanted to see Edinburgh--and we went through the Edinburgh Castle, which is a famous old castle there in Edinburgh. Then we went through Holyrood Castle, which had been the residence of Mary Queen of Scots. Well, you know, Mary Queen of Scots was quite a 01:26:00gay girl, and she--history says she had many relationships with men and all that. And anyhow, she was gay and lively, and I guess got talked about a little. Well, when we were being shown through Holyrood Castle and we came to the room where Mary Queen of Scots had been imprisoned, the guide who was taking us through said that not long before that some prominent and titled English lady was showing Admiral Rodman through Holyrood Palace, and when they came to that room, she said, "Admiral, this is the room where Mary Queen of Scots was confined." Well, Admiral Rodman said, "Well, whom did they suspect that time?" (Both laugh.) Later on when the war was over and Admiral Rodman retired from the Navy and made his home in Washington, I saw a great deal of him, and I asked him about the authenticity of that story. And he laughed very heartily and said well, he had gotten off that one before this charming English lady 01:27:00who--he was playing on words in view of the things they used to say about Mary Queen of Scots.
SHALETT: What was his first name?
BARKLEY: Admiral Hugh Rodman.
SHALETT: Senator, every time you discuss Mr. Roosevelt, I seem todetect that you had a--really a feeling of warm affection and a--for the man, and a lot of respect, though I know you disagreed with him on things. But you must--you seem to have respected him as a human and found him scintillating in--
BARKLEY: Oh, yeah. He was very scintillating in his conversation. Hewas one of the most versatile men I ever knew. And he had greater command of the details of every department of government, I think, than any president of the United States in the history of this government, certainly more so than any I ever knew. Part of that grew out of the fact that I guess during Wilson's administration he'd been Assistant Secretary of the Navy and in Washington. But he 01:28:00had a great faculty for mastering facts, and frequently when business executives would come into the White House and discuss things with him, he would reveal a knowledge of that man's business sufficient to amaze a man. He had a grasp of all that. Well, with all of it, he was a real human being. He played naturally on the emotions of people. I have sometimes said, and I said to him one day, I said, "Mr. President, you play with men like a cat plays with a mouse, just for the fun of it."
SHALETT: What was his reaction?
BARKLEY: Well, he laughed. He said, "Well, I don't devour themlike the cat finally does in playing with the mouse." Well, I said, "That's true."
SHALETT: Did you call him Mr. President?
BARKLEY: I--always Mr. President. Yes.
SHALETT: And he called you Alben.
BARKLEY: He called me--at first he called me All-ben, he gaveme that pronunciation.
SHALETT: A little Oxford in it.
BARKLEY: A little Oxford in it or Groton, I don't knowwhich. But anyhow, after a year or two, he began to call me Alben, which is the pronunciation everybody gives me and which my parents gave me. But it didn't offend me at all to have 01:29:00that Groton accent, that pronunciation, that broad "a" put on my name, but it didn't take with the public generally.
SHALETT: As long as he didn't say "Ah-ben, come put outthe fire."
BARKLEY: (laughs) Or come make the fire, yeah. As long ashe didn't say that, I could forgive him for the broad accent. But we had many very pleasant and happy associations together outside of the business of government. We joked; he enjoyed a joke. I remember one time after he got back from Yalta, I was--I'd heard a new story--I'd picked up a new story somewhere. And I always tried to relay new ones to him, because he was so busy with business and frequently so oppressed by the multitude of jobs that he had to do that I thought a little light touch wouldn't hurt him, and I usually tried to take him a new one. So this day I went in there, and he was still in--he was in his bedroom as usual, and I went in alone and stayed with him a half an hour. And when I got ready to leave, I told him a story and he laughed loud enough to be heard all over the second story of the White House. And 01:30:00when I walked out, one of the men who'd been waiting for him said, "That must have been a good one." Said, "We could hear him all over the house."
SHALETT: Well, what was it?
BARKLEY: Oh, I've forgotten what story it was. It was agood one, I do recall that, but I can't remember it now.
SHALETT: Let's try to drop it in ----------(??).
SHALETT: You could stand back and admire his political skill ortalent.
BARKLEY: Oh, yeah. He was a very skillful politician. Now, Inever did think that Roosevelt was the profound thinker that Woodrow Wilson was.
BARKLEY: He was not the profound scholar, though he'd graduated atGroton and at Harvard. And of course, during his illness with--his acute illness with infantile paralysis, he had taken advantage of that situation to do a great deal of reading and studying. And I think he had, during that time, done a great deal of soul-searching that changed his attitude toward a lot of things because of his own affliction. 01:31:00But fundamentally, he was not the scholar that Wilson was and was not the profound thinker, deep profound philosophical thinker, that Woodrow Wilson was. Now, that's no disparagement of his great intellectual power, because very few presidents of the United States, if any, have been as profound thinkers and scholars as Wilson.
SHALETT: He was a quick--he had a quick mind, didn't he?
BARKLEY: Very quick mind. Very quick mind. And he could detectthe sophistries in people's conversations. He could detect the genuine from the spurious in any situation which was being described. And he could pick up what he thought was a flaw in the argument as quick as anybody I ever saw.
SHALETT: Did he ever inflict one of those horrible old-fashioneds thatI've read about on you?
BARKLEY: You mean, liquidically speaking?
BARKLEY: Well, when we used to go on these fishing trips01:32:00down the river, he usually had "a little something for the stomach's sake," to quote the Bible. And he--I wouldn't say it was an infliction exactly, although I've always been a very temperate man and, during most of my life, a teetotaler. On a fishing trip like that out on the bosom of the river or the bay or the ocean, why, you feel the need--late in the afternoon after a hard day's fishing, you feel the need of a little relaxation. And he had usually the relaxer close at hand, modestly, to help the situation.
SHALETT: The reason I ask the question is I have readand heard that he would make these concoctions himself, and they were pretty radical. He'd put everything in them but quinine, maybe even quinine.
BARKLEY: Well, I wouldn't say they were too radical. They wereliberal--(Both laugh.) --and sometimes progressive. But they were not particularly out of 01:33:00order. I never did inquire--I never would look a gift horse in the mouth, and I therefore never inquired of all of the ingredients.
SHALETT: Well, we've had a long day's fishing, and maybe weshould adopt your idea. But as a closer, there's been one other thing that's been pressed on me during our conversation. You have spoken several times of your admiration, at least early in his political career, for Henry Wallace, how he was a friend of yours, you regarded him as a good Secretary of Agriculture. What happened to him midway that seemed to change his personality, if you think it was changed?
BARKLEY: Well, I don't know that anything happened to him thatchanged his personality. I did think, and I still think, that he made a very outstanding Secretary of Agriculture. He proposed legislation that undoubtedly aided the farmer. He studied agriculture under his father, and he had a wide knowledge of agriculture. He invented this hybrid corn of which 01:34:00you've heard so much, which now is accepted as one of the finest types of corn in the United States, all those things. When he became vice president, he had a lot of things in which he was interested, outside of the--presiding over the Senate. And I told him one day, in a friendly way, I said, "Henry, you don't devote enough time to presiding over the Senate. You've got too many outside interests, and as a result you're not making the personal contact in the Senate that I think a vice president ought to make. And in addition to that, you're not devoting yourself to the mastering of the intricate parliamentary rules of the Senate so that you can pass on close points of order without every time having to ask the parliamentary clerk how to rule on things like that." Well, he appreciated the advice and all that, and I meant it in, of course, good faith. But I don't know. I always regarded him as a sort of mystic in a way. Now, that's an elastic term. 01:35:00But I think you understand and the average man understands what we mean by a man who is a mystic in a way. Religiously, he was a very deeply devoted man. He was devout, I think, in his relation to almighty God and as a religious man. And he had widely studied other philosophies and other religions, not to adopt them for himself, but to know about them. And in all that process, it seemed to me that he became a sort of mystic in a way that I may elaborate on by way of definition. But then, of course, when he was not nominated--re-nominated for vice president in 1944, he was disappointed, naturally. It was rather humiliating to have one term and not to be given another. But he had, in some respects, been responsible for that situation, because the organization politicians in 01:36:00the great cities, especially, did not favor his re-nomination, and it had come about notwithstanding--that's a curious trend in human nature--notwithstanding all he had done to help restore agriculture. He had many opponents in the agricultural field. Well, in--by 1948, when he was nominated on the Liberal ticket or this Independent party, he'd gotten sort of out of tune with the policies of the Democratic Party. He did not repudiate anything that he'd helped to do while he was with Roosevelt. But there was a disagreement sometime between him and Mr. Truman, and he resigned from the position--from the cabinet. I don't think Henry ever became bitter, because 01:37:00he's not a man of a bitter nature. But I think he felt that he'd been passed by, passed up. And if he was afflicted with some sort of mysticism, he wove it into his political doctrines and made the mistake, I think, of permitting himself to run as an Independent candidate for president of the United States.
SHALETT: Do you think he was more picked up by theleft than picking up--
BARKLEY: Well, yes. I think he--he was a liberal in hisconvictions and his views, always had been all of his life. He'd been a liberal--when he was a Republican, he was a liberal, as I've already indicated, especially on tariff and tariff duties, ----------(??) protection and all that thing. And I think that the so-called left-wingers, they took advantage of him. They picked him as sort of symbolic of them, more than he picked them. When they picked him, he felt that he could not break away, at least for that time, which he did not. But he's been back to Washington since. I've seen him 01:38:00a number of times, and always been greeted by him cordially, and greet him cordially. I have a great respect for him as a good man, a good citizen. I don't--didn't always agree with him about everything, but I've never agreed with anybody about everything. I've never agreed with my wife about everything in the world. It'd be a monotonous world if everybody agreed about everything.
SHALETT: (laughs) Yeah.
BARKLEY: And it wouldn't get very far. The friction of differenceof opinion and argument is what makes progress in human affairs, I think.
[Pause in recording.]
SHALETT: When you mentioned a while back Mr. Truman's appointment ofByrnes as Secretary of State, do you regard that appointment as having any significance possibly tied in with Byrnes' disappointment at the '44 convention? 01:39:00
BARKLEY: Well, it's possible that it might have had such connotations,though I'm in no position to speak with any authority on it. Edward Stettinius was Secretary of State when Mr. Truman assumed the office of president. Cordell Hull had resigned, and he had laid the foundation for the United Nations after long conferences, and I'm going to talk about that more at length at another place. I participated in those conferences from the beginning. He had resigned as Secretary of State, and Mr. Stettinius, who was his under-secretary, had been appointed. And he was at San Francisco as Secretary of State at the time the United Nations was created and the charter was agreed to, as I recall. And in a talk with President Truman about his new administration and so forth, he said one day, "When I get the sort of Secretary of State I want, I'm going to take this or that or the other position." I didn't ask him whom he wanted, but 01:40:00I got the impression from that he did not intend to retain Mr. Stettinius as Secretary of State. And shortly thereafter, he did appoint Secretary Byrnes--Mr. Byrnes as Secretary of State. Whether he was actuated in that appointment by his desire to assuage the grieved feelings of Mr. Byrnes because of what happened to him at Chicago, I do not know. It may have had something to do with it, because he had promised, as he--as I told you, to nominate Mr. Byrnes for vice president before the convention, and that blew up. And he and Byrnes were personal friends, they had served in the Senate together and all that, just as we had. I do not know just what was the primary consideration that resulted in the appointment of Mr. Byrnes as Secretary of State, but well, of course, what happened afterwards, and his resignation and their disagreement over things and all that is a 01:41:00matter of history, and I don't care to comment on that now.
SHALETT: Yes. May I refresh your memory on one little point?When Mr. Truman called you to say, "I didn't know you wanted to be vice president," you've told this story on the tape, but I have a note from an informal talk the other day where you told me that your exact language in replying was, "You don't know it yet."
BARKLEY: Oh, yes. Yeah, that's right.
SHALETT: How did you put it?
BARKLEY: I said--he said, "I didn't know you wanted to bevice president." I said, "You don't know it yet. I'm not a candidate. I didn't come here as a candidate, and I haven't developed into one since I got here." That's the language. I said, "You don't know it yet."
SHALETT: I wonder if you'd put on tape an account ofyour famous bathroom conference after Yalta with President Roosevelt.
BARKLEY: Well, soon after this tax-veto episode--no, this is later on,I'm wrong about that. Soon after his inauguration on the twentieth of 01:42:00January 1945, after his fourth election, he was going to Yalta to meet Stalin and Churchill and so on to consider a lot of things, all the war issues and the war situation, and Poland and Russian boundaries and German boundaries, and all the things that were talked about. And I don't know what day he left. He left early in February or the latter part of January, as I now recall it. He was gone two or three weeks. When he got back to Newport News on the cruiser which brought him home, he called me up over the telephone and asked me to be at the White House the next morning at nine o'clock. He wanted me to bring him up to date on what had happened in the Senate 01:43:00and in Congress, and he wanted to bring me up to date on what happened in Yalta. So I told him I'd be there. At nine o'clock, I was in the White House, went up to his bedroom as usual. And when I got into the bedroom, I found him in the bathroom sitting on a low stool, shaving. And he had a mirror that came way down low so he could sit on this stool and see his face and shave.
SHALETT: What did he shave with?
BARKLEY: With an old-fashioned razor.
SHALETT: Straight razor.
BARKLEY: Straight razor. "Well," he said, "come on in here andwe'll talk here in the bathroom." Well, I said, "Where will I sit?" "Well," he said, "sit on the stool." "Well," I said, "that's about the only article of furniture in here that I could sit on." So I sat down on the stool, and he sat on his stool of a different type over in front of the mirror, and we lit into talking. I suppose we sat in there for an hour talking about what had happened in Washington and what had 01:44:00happened in Yalta. And he'd lather his face with the old--out of this old shaving mug that he had, and then he'd light into a line of conversation, and the lather would dry on his face, and he'd have to lather it again. And he'd lather it again, and then he'd start out talking and it would dry again. I think he lathered his face at least six times before he ever got shaved. Well, we talked about what had happened. I brought him up to date on what had happened in the Senate and Washington. And he told me a lot about Yalta, about what had happened over there. He said that when he went over, he and Churchill were opposed to the boundary between Russia and Poland known as the Curzon Line. Churchill was opposed to Russia having a boundary that far east--that far west in the territory of Poland, and so was Roosevelt. And then he said that Stalin said, "Well, we didn't establish the 01:45:00Curzon line." He said, "That isn't a line Lenin wanted between Russia and Poland. He wanted it further west." But he said, "This Curzon line was established by Lord Curzon, an Englishman, and by Clemenceau, a Frenchman, and by Dr. Walker, an American ethnologist." And he said, "I can't go back to my people in Russia and say I'm less Russian than Curzon and Clemenceau and Walker." And Roosevelt said, "Well, that was an argument I couldn't answer." Which was true. That line had been establ--
[Pause in recording.]
BARKLEY: --from an ethnological standpoint as the line between Russia and01:46:00Poland, which would be the fairest to the people on both sides, because they had crossed over and bred and interbred, so it was impossible to draw a straight line and say all on one side are Russians and all on the other side are Poles. So they agreed on the Curzon line, he said, after a while, but agreed to run the line of Poland further west on the western border to take in some territory that had been part of Germany to compensate for what Poland lost east of the Curzon line. But all of that was tentative, to be settled, finally, whenever a peace treaty was entered into at the end of the war. Further, he said they all agreed that there should be free elections in Poland. They had a government in exile, of which Mr. Mikolajczyk was the prime minister, the head. And Stalin agreed to a free election in Poland, Australian ballot, secret ballot, let the Polish people decide what kind of 01:47:00government they wanted, what form of government they wanted. Stalin agreed to all that. They held the election, but when I was in Poland in 1947 as a member of this joint committee looking into the Voice of America and the United States Information Service and the economic background for the Marshall Plan, they told me in Warsaw that in Poland, while there were approximately five thousand ballot boxes filled with the ballots of the Polish people in the election, only thirty-five ballot boxes were ever opened and counted. And based upon what they claimed was in those thirty-five ballots, they imposed this government on Poland, which they had, from without and against which the Polish people were helpless.
SHALETT: Did Roosevelt give you any appraisal of Stalin as apersonality?
BARKLEY: Well, not in detail. I, of course, was interested inasking Mr. Roosevelt his impression of Stalin. And his physical description of 01:48:00him was that he was a short man, dumpy, rather heavyset, reticent. He had a sense of humor, but not too vigorous a sense of humor. And he said he got along with him pretty well. He then told me about a good many amusing things that happened at the dinners and banquets they had. Seems they had a banquet every night over there sometime after they get through with the work. They're a great country for dinners and banquets, and they'd deliver toasts to one another and so forth. It's such a habit to deliver a toast--every time you opened your mouth, you had to deliver a toast to somebody, it got to be very amusing and all that. Well, he told me a lot about it. I'm not going into the details about that, because it involves a--it has involved a great controversy about whether Roosevelt sold the Polish people down the river, as has been accused, in that Yalta conference. And I think Mr. Roosevelt 01:49:00was doing what he thought was the best for the Polish people under the circumstances. He certainly was when he was insisting that they should be permitted to vote in a free election to determine the kind of government they wanted. That was democracy at work. And the trouble was that Stalin and his regime did not carry out their promise. They did not keep their word. They did not allow the Polish people to determine what kind of government they wanted, and they superimposed this government on the Polish people from without. And when I was in Warsaw in the fall of 1947, I visited, with other members of the joint committee, Mr. Mikolajczyk, whom I've already mentioned, who was the head of the Polish government in exile with headquarters in London. I was at a reception one night where he appeared, and he invited us out to his house the next morning. We went out. We could tell from all the circumstances that he was a marked man. And when we left his house after a long conference and a very cordial visit--he spoke very good English and he had 01:50:00the most concise picture of the Polish and European situation of any man with whom I talked. When we left his house, he walked out to the gate and looked at us--at our car longingly and wistfully, as far as he could see our car. And we said to ourselves--among ourselves, they'll get him before long. Well, the result was that sometime afterwards he escaped in an airplane, and he now lives in this country, I think he's in Virginia. Maybe--I heard that he owned a farm, bought a farm out in Virginia, living there.
SHALETT: That's true.
BARKLEY: A real great Pole, a great patriot, and who wouldhave rendered great service to the Polish people in a democratic government, but he had to escape to save his life, which is a terrible thing.
SHALETT: Well, what's your appraisal of the criticism of the Democraticadministration on Yalta? Do you think it's been perverted and ----------(??)?
BARKLEY: I think it has been exaggerated. I think much ofit was unfair, and of course, it has been played up for 01:51:00political purposes. And I think that when the truth is known about what was intended by the agreements they entered into, not by their perversion later by Stalin, that it'll be found that Mr. Roosevelt and his associates were trying their level best to bring the Polish people out into an open, independent, free government, for which they have been fighting, as we all know, for centuries and centuries. It's one of the tragic spots of Europe, partitioned among the crowned heads of Russia and Austria and Prussia, dividing Poland up. Every time it thought it was going to reach for independence and find it within reach, the great powers partitioned it and divided it out among themselves. At the end of World War I, it looked like Poland would come into its own as a free nation. It has--they established a republic and for a while, Paderewski, the great pianist, was president of the Republic of Poland. And then World War II came along, and it looked 01:52:00again like they might have within their grasp an independent nation, and then Russia took it over. That's what happened to the Polish people.
SHALETT: Well, you talked to Roosevelt when he came back fromYalta, and while he--it's true, I suppose, that physically he was not in his best condition, his mind was keen, he gave you a good appraisal of the situation.
BARKLEY: Oh, yes. His--he'd had a rest on this cruiser ashe came back from the Mediterranean Sea and from Crimea, stopping in the Mediterranean to receive old Ibn Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, and so forth. And--
SHALETT: Have a burgoo on deck.
BARKLEY: Have a bur--no, it wasn't a burgoo, it was a--
BARKLEY: --an invasion of the sheep and the live animals thatold Ibn Saud had to have and have killed right on the decks of the boat so he could he eat them fresh and even drink their blood, I guess. I don't know how far he went with that. But getting back to this bathroom conference, which was a very amusing and very unusual--and I--after it was over, I was sorry I hadn't had a photographer. If I had known that it was going to be a conference like that, I think I would 01:53:00have had a picture taken of it, because it was a historic conference, a very unique conference. I doubt if any other such conference had ever been held in the history of the United States between the president of the United States and the majority leader of the Senate in the bathroom, with one sitting on one stool and one on the other. And when he got finally through and shaved, I rolled him out on his wheelchair into his bedroom.
SHALETT: Don't hit me, Mr. Barkley, but you could say youwere really closeted with him.
BARKLEY: (laughs) Well, I was closeted with him, but it's beena matter of regret to me that I don't have a picture reproducing that scene in there. It would have been very interesting.
SHALETT: You--in retrospect, you don't--I don't want to ask it ina leading way. In retrospect, is it possible that Roosevelt underestimated Stalin's acumen? Or do you think he had a pretty good conception of what he was up against?
BARKLEY: I think he did not underestimate Stalin's cleverness and his01:54:00acumen from that sense. I think he overestimated his good faith.
SHALETT: He did.
BARKLEY: I think so.
BARKLEY: Now, he may have been in utter good faith atthat time in everything that he did or said, but it was so soon after that that the war ended in Europe and he began the machinations which have resulted in the present world situation and the European situation, that I'm satisfied that Roosevelt trusted Roosevelt--Stalin further than the circumstances justified. But that's a natural thing to happen, because Russia had been our ally in the war. We had fought side by side in the war to beat Hitler, and when it was all over with, it was natural for those who had whipped Hitler to get together to try to piece the world together again. And it was natural for Roosevelt and for Churchill both to take at face 01:55:00value the representations and the agreements, promises that Stalin made in regard to that situation up there, which was very important, not only from the standpoint of Europe, but from the standpoint of world sentiment, and very important from the standpoint of a great body of American citizens who were of Polish descent and are good citizens in this country, as we all know.
SHALETT: Well, let me get you off that stool.
SHALETT: How did you feel, as a practical politician, the dayyou picked up the paper and read Mr. Truman's comment, "I like old Joe, but he's just a prisoner of the Kremlin," or whatever it was?
BARKLEY: Well, that was a perfectly natural thing to say. Ofcourse, it had no significance as far as being committed to anything old Joe represented or wanted in the conference. In a conference where strangers meet, you form personal opinions and reactions concerning men. And I suppose "Old Joe," as the president called him, was affable and agreeable, 01:56:00and maybe on the surface a likeable old chap, and it was a perfectly natural thing to say, "I like old Joe." It didn't mean anything at all as far as the commitment of the government of the United States or even the president about it. It's just one of those colloquial, friendly sort of remarks that I never took very seriously, but a good many people tried to make something out of it politically later.
SHALETT: It wasn't very good politics.
BARKLEY: Well, it was not, no. It had been--it might aswell not have been said, but it was just one of those spontaneous outbursts that indicates a friendly disposition to--a charitable one, at least, towards people whom you've met and done business with.
SHALETT: I have a note from Mrs. Barkley that's gathering dustthat--to ask you to tell the Wingo story. I don't even know what it is.
BARKLEY: (laughs) Well, that is a story that--I don't think ithas any application here to anything, but it's--if you can fit it into something, it's a very good story. I have told it in connection with men who held many offices, either at the same time or in succession. I told it one time about--well, I've forgotten now. 01:57:00I've told it about two or three people who simultaneously held the various offices, either in government or in fraternities or in business or something else. What happened about it was there was a man down at Wingo, who bought a bill of--
BARKLEY: W-i-n-g-o, which is about ten, twelve miles south of Mayfieldin Graves County, between Mayfield and Fulton, Kentucky, on the Illinois Central railroad. This man bought a bill of goods from a wholesale grocer in Paducah, and he didn't pay for them promptly. The wholesaler wrote him a number of letters to which he made no reply. Six months went around, and finally the wholesale grocery man sat down and wrote four or five letters down to Wingo. He wrote to the station agent at the railroad depot and asked him if the goods had been delivered. And he wrote to the president of the local 01:58:00bank and asked him about this man's credit. He wrote to the mayor of the town and asked him to give him the name of a good lawyer because he might have to bring suit to collect his account. In a few days, he got back this reply, "Dear Sir, your letter received. As station agent, I'm glad to advise you, sir, that the goods were delivered. As president of our local bank, it gives me pleasure to inform you that my credit is good. As mayor of the town, I'm compelled to say that there's only--that I'm the only lawyer here. And if it were not for the fact that I'm pastor of the Baptist church, I'd tell you to go to hell." (Both laugh.)
SHALETT: Senator, you have a wonderful story that I think hassome application to problems of today, your experience in Hyde Park. Would you just pick it up briefly after the crackpot part of it and tell about the singing? You were in--you were visiting London with 01:59:00the first Mrs. Barkley.
BARKLEY: My wife and I--my first wife and I were visitingin London, and we were staying at a hotel, a new, sort of an American-type hotel at the corner of Hyde Park. And we went over there in Hyde Park to browse around and see what was going on. And there were seven soap-box orators speaking at the same time, far enough apart not to interfere with one another. And I went from one to the other listening to what they had to say. And if there ever was such a thing as freedom of speech, it certainly was exercised there. There were English policemen there--around to keep order, but no interference whatever, no matter what they said. One of these speakers was emphasizing the fact that he was the rightful king of England. He said, "King George has no business in Buckingham Palace. He is not the rightful king; I am the rightful king." And he said, "If you give me six weeks, I can convince the English people that I am the rightful king of England." Well--which is very amusing.
SHALETT: They arrested him ----------(??).
BARKLEY: Later on, I saw in the paper that he'd beenarrested as a lunatic. 02:00:00
SHALETT: They gave him six years.
BARKLEY: Gave him, I don't know how much. They gave him--theydidn't put him in prison, but they put him in an asylum. Well, up beyond this row of soap-box orators--and they carried their little platforms with them, and they entertained a little group. Each one had a group listening to him. And after I'd gone in the line of all of them, I heard singing way up in the park somewhere. And it sounded familiar. And I thought I--in the meantime, my wife had gotten tired and gone on across the street to the hotel up to our room, but I stayed. I wanted to see the thing through. It was very amusing and very interesting to see that thing happen there in the heart of London in Hyde Park, which had originally been a part of the Buckingham Palace grounds, and it was given to the public by Queen Elizabeth the first, the old Queen Elizabeth, way back yonder, as a park, a playground for the people. Well, I heard this music, this singing. And I walked up where it was, and I got up there, and there was a group of people singing religious songs. And they were familiar songs, 02:01:00songs that I had sung as a boy in the little Presbyterian and Methodist Sunday schools which I attended, and at the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, my parents being Presbyterians, and I being a Methodist. I got--first thing I knew, I was up in the middle of that crowd singing with them.
SHALETT: You were the majority leader.
BARKLEY: I was the majority leader of the United States Senate,and I found myself in that rather congenial religious atmosphere. And they were singing songs like, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," "Nearer my God to Thee," and others with which I was familiar. And the first thing I knew, I was right up in the middle with them, singing with them just as lustily as I could. And it was a wonderful thing. But there I was an American, majority leader of the United States Senate. Nobody knew me. There wasn't a soul in that audience who suspected who I was. Probably they may have looked at me and thought I was American. But to find there in London, in the heart of London, in Hyde Park this place where 02:02:00there is freedom of speech, to find myself singing with an unknown group of people these religious songs, has always remained with me as a very pleasant memory and an illustration of the fact that I don't care where you go or how far you go from home, you'll find a chord that runs through all human character and human nature that bind men and women together.
SHALETT: Have you ever happened to think of how unlikely itwould be to wander in a--say in the Kremlin Square, Red Square, and get into a thing like that?
BARKLEY: Well, it would be so unlikely that it wouldn't happen.And the fact of the matter is that when I was in Russia in 1930, which I'm going to talk about at another place, I couldn't get into the Kremlin. I went everywhere else in Moscow and Russia except the Kremlin, I couldn't get into that. But nowhere did I go where I found anybody singing any religious songs in--singing in which I could join. I finally did get into the Kremlin under a guard with other Americans who were on the trip with me.
SHALETT: Well, we'll go into that later. We're at the end02:03:00of a reel.
BARKLEY: All right.
SHALETT: End side two, reel seven.
[End of interview.]