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Oral History Research Office

The Renilnlscenees of

( A L U i ^ H

c^ w * i j


a s.Ccntj

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f'HfV* k5


These rsailniscencos are the result of a series
of interviews with Hr* Chester* C* Davis held by Mr*
Dean Albertson in December 195>2 and January 1953*
The interviews were held under the auspices of
the Oral History Research Office, and were subsidized
by the Bancroft Fond of Columbia University and the
Did Dominion Fund, Inc*
The interviewer’s questions have been omitted
from the account.

The questioning was primarily in the

form of topics suggested to Mr* Davis concerning which
he might have some intimate knowledge.

fJo editorial

insertions have been made other than, the brief synopsis
of the donor *s activities and the index*
2 he language of the narrative is substantially
that of Mr. Davis sine© all interviews were transcribed
from tape-recordings.

The completed manuscript has been

corrected by Mr* Davis, and the validity of the informa­
tion it contains has been attested to by him#

Chester C« Davis - Chronology

1887 Born, Balias County, Iowa
1911 B*A* Grinnell College
1911-1917 newspaper work. South Dakota and Montana
1917-1921 Editor and Manager, The Montana Parmer
1921-1925 Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor, Montana

Director of Grain Marketing, Illinois Agricultural

19 2 6 -I9 2 8

Agricultural Service- for Farm Organisations

I9 2 9 -I9 3 3

Executive flee President, Cornstalk Processes, Inc*

1933 Hay 15-Seceiaber l£, Director of Production
Division, Agricultural Adjustment Administration
1933-1936 Adralnx stratcr, Agricultural Adjustment Adminlstration
1936-I9i|.l Member, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System
19J|-1**1950 President, Federal Reserve Bank of St* Louis
19l|.0~194l National Defense Advisory Commission
19^-3 March-June, War F<5od Administrator

I was born on November 17 , 1887* on a farm near
Linden, Iowa - just a vide plaee in the road in Balias

Linden is about forty miles west of Dee Moines*

Dallas County is the county next to Polk, in which Des
Moines is located*

Z think it just has a post office

now, or perhaps a general store*

In 1923 Mrs* Davis and

I drove back around there on a black dirt road, but I
don’t remember much about it*
We moved over to the county west of Dallas, Guthrie
County, after I'd had a little country schooling - perhaps
the first two grades was all*

The first thing 1 remember

is the fire that burned down the house on the farm my
father had just bought, and living in the granary while
they were building a new one*
I don’t remember the fire*
there at that time*
to the farm,

I remember the granary.

I don't think the family was

I think'we were just about to move

X would have been three and a half or four

years old, I guess, about that time*

It was just before

the hard times of *93 end *9lj. hit Iowa*
X remember little things like my brother, who was
three years younger than I* crawling around on the floor
and dropping a little jewelry that a cousin who was visit­
ing us had let him play with*

He dropped it down through

a crack, and there was a great commotion when they tried to

recover it*

He was probably six or eight months old, so

I would have been just under four*
recollection I have*

That's the earliest

Of course, at that time 1 didn't

realize just what was happening.
My father, who was born In 1852 and who was close
to forty at that time, had been a tenant farmer and was
working "up the ladder*" He acquired personal property work stock, livestock, farm equipment * and bought this

We called it the Birchfleld Place*

He bought it,

and within three or four years lost it again.
a series of misfortunes*

Thero were

The fire destroyed the house*

He had to borrow money to build a new house*

Then there

was the period of l893a*9^> which might be called a reces­
sion now, but it was a panic then*

Prices went all to

That was before the days of inoculation against

hog cholera, and I remember hog cholera swept out the
biggest quick asset we had - the hogs*

He had gone on

the note of someone fairly close to him who had defaulted,
and my father got stuck for that*
him through the wringer*

Anyway, it really put

The rest of his life he tried to

make up for it by just working twice as hard as anybody

He died a comparatively young man in 190lj.*

Be was

only fifty-two*

My mother was born in Ohio, and my father was born

in Indiana*

The whole history of my father's family is

of their moving westward.

My great-great-grandfather, on

the Davia side* came out of Pennsylvania to Ross County,

My great-grandmother*s family moved from Kentucky,

They both came into Boss County.

The maternal side of my

family came into Ross County in 1798 from Kentucky.
Pennsylvania movement was about the same time.



County, Ohio, of which Chillioothe is now the county seat,
was pioneer country then * Indians, wolves, and so forth.
The next move in my father’s family was up to Soblesville,
Indiana - that’s Hamilton County, Indiana.
my father was horn.

That’s where

While he was just a young man, they

moved to Iowa.
My grandfather had Intended to go to Fort Des Moines,
I remember being told, but stopped to visit relatives in
Marion County, which is south of Des Moines.

They were

driving overland, and a visit in those days could be for

He liked it and finally took up land, under the

conditions where you pay #1.25 an acre, or something like
that, north of Knoxville, Iowa » that’s the county seat of
Marion County.

They stayed there and didn’t go on to

Des Moines.
I think the story is mueh the same in my mother’s

I know that her great-grandparents came out of

the Atlantic area - the Chesapeake Bay area.
little about them, except that.

I know very

I wouldn't know the stages

by Tsfaich they came to Ohio, but they settled in southeast­
ern Ohio, although my mother and father didn't meet until
both families met up in Iowa in Marion County.


where they were married.
My mother died in 193&*

She was a wonderful woman,

As I look back on it now, I would say we were

generally very poor after my father's death.

Ee died on

the farm in Guthrie County.

He had bought a little place

and was starting up again.

He was trying by hard work to

get a new start.

When he died I was seventeen.

My mother

was a very gentle woman with a burning ambition that all
the children should have an education.

She was determined

that they all have the best that could be
she knew very little about it.

had, although

She loved to read.

In the

period in which she lived, I don't think she had what you
would call a high school education, even, but she was a
well-educated woman.

She read widely.

She had intellectual

She loved to just talk to people.

She was

dark-eyed, and white-haired when she was fairly young.
was just a very gentle woman.

She was very soft spoken and

I never heard her say an unkind word about anybody

in my life.


I would judge that my father was about ray height*
He didn’t take on the middle-aged spread that I have*
wore a little short beard.

In his youth I think he was

very active and fun loving*
and loved it*


He played the violin by ear,

But as life pressed harder on him, he had

to give all that up*

I can remember him playing the violin*

He played the ”Arkansas Traveler*, the "Irish washerwoman*,
and all that sort of thing*

In the communities in which we

lived Dad’s music, and dancing, were generally regarded as

I was told that he used to play for the barn

dances, and so forth, around*

I don’t remember*

It seems to me that I remember the birth of my younger
brother, who is three years younger than I*

It seems to me

that 1 remember my father rocking in the chair, debating
about his name*

1 seem to remember that*

They say you

don’t remember that early, though, so X don’t know*
My first recollections of my father are of his work­

He felt that all of us had to work*

our chores very early.

He broke us into

I remember the first signs of the

paralysis that finally made him an invalid*

It was my birth­

day, and he and I were husking corn on the Reynolds farm out
at Panora, Iowa*

We lived near there in Guthrie County* He

had rented some land from the wealthy family of that commu­
nity, the Reynolds*

They were an old Yankee couple whose

children included some of the leading bankers, subsequently,

of that age.

There was George IU Reynolds of the Conti­

nental Illinois in Chicago, and Arthur Reynolds, X think
of the same bank.

George M* Reynolds, I remember-s was

the big banker of his time in Chicago.

We were out husk­

ing corn on my birthday, the seventeenth of November.
would rather have done something else* I remember*



father* as a special treat, stopped at the church supper*
They had a chrysanthemum show in Panora on the second
floor of the little wooden opera house*
there and saw the flowers*

We had dinner

SJy father was kind of pathetical­

ly anxious to do something for the children, but had no
After my father died, first my mother struggled to
see that the children got through high school*

After that

she encouraged us to go on to college*

There were six

children - three boys and three girls*

There was Pearl

who was born in 1875*

She was the oldest*

Frank was born

in 1877 * Harriet - Hattie, as we called her - was born in

She's the only one who is not living*

Ida was b o m

in 1885* I was born in 1887. The youngest was born in

1890* His name was Lewis*

They all lived except Hattie*

She died around 1916*
Pearl is twelve years older than I am*
lot to do with the direction my own life took*

She had a
In a way,

she was the second mother.

She was a very active, ener­

getic woman - still is - with itchy feet.

She married

Charles R. Gannaway who, after they were married, got
through his medical course*

He was a doctor*

I always

thought, due to her own eagerness to see what was on the
other side of the hill, she kept him moving around quite
a bit*

Finally they went into the Hear 2ast,

Gannaway wasn't exactly a medical missionary*

He was

head of the medical mission for the Hear East relief in
the period of the Armenian difficulties*

2hey were there

from about the time of the massacres, and so forth, that
took place la World War I, and on for quite a while. They
were in what is now Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon*


they were there they adopted a little Armenian girl - they
brought her back to this country and adopted her*
a very happy mother of a family here now*


She had been

left at the hospital in Beirut by her mother who was is
one of these parties - 7?hat we call B.P. *s now - being
driven through by the Turks*

My sister and her husband

sort of mothered the little girl when she seemed almost
certain to die, and brought her back to this country.
Pearl is a very kindly person.

Dr. Gannaway died about

eleven years ago, and my sister remarried*

Her husband

is Prank E* Field, for thirty years a missionary in Ghina*
They now live out in Pasadena, where I live*

Frank's at Morro Bay in California.

He had, I think,

the most engaging and the finest personality of any of the
Davis family.

He never had much formal education.

my father didn’t get along*

He and

My father was irritable, with

the hard work, really, as I see it now.. Prank was full of

He liked to have a good time*

Frank tells me that

the trouble came because he was on the high school football
team, and they bad a game on a Saturday when my father
thought the corn needed husking*

Neither one gave in so

Frank, as we used to say in those days, "ran away from

He packed up and went out on his own.

starting high school.

I remember just the commotion it

caused in the family when Frank left*

He was just

I think he went to

He later was in the Spanish-American War*

He fs

just a natural politician, and out in California he was
active in local politics*
Morro Bay, California*
while in Kern County.

He's retired now, and living at

He was deputy sheriff for quite a
He's a great guy.

Harriet • "Hattie" - also married a doctor, who was
a classmate of my oldest sister's husband.

Hattie and her

husband, my younger brother Lewis and his wife, and Ida and
her husband, all moved out to the desert - as it was called
locally - west of Blackfoot, Idaho, to homestead.

This was

at the time it was believed that you could accomplish

miracles by dry-land farming*
as I look back on it*

Their moving was foolish,

It was in the

movement in 1915 or thereabout*

period of westward

It was a pretty remote

area which, incidentally, did not stand up as farming
country, and the farms have all gone back to desert*
There's an atomic energy plant and proving ground there
now that’s taken them all in*
Hattie had an attaek of appendicitis, and being
so far away, it became acute before they could get her
to the hospital*

She died on the operating table*


was a doctor’s wife, but they were a long way away and
transportation was not very good*
four little girls*

She was the mother of

She was a very sweet, gentle woman,

a good deal like my mother.
Ida and her husband left the homestead and moved
into the irrigated area out of Idaho Falls*
the best farming sections outdoors*

It’s one of

They own and operate

the largest chinchilla business in the world*

The last

time I talked to my sister they had, I think, 1)500 chin­

That’s a lot of chinchillas*

But, ahead of that,

he was a very successful farmer, and owns a great deal of
property there*

I suppose Bay, her husband, could buy and

sell all the rest of us*

Lewis moved to Los Angeles, where

he’s in a little meat market business*

Lewis* Ida and I all graduated from Grinnell College
in Iowa.

My mother was determined and she had it Instilled

in us - me perhaps less than the others - that it would be
a fine thing to get an education*

I didn't have any more

idea of what a college was like when I went to college
than a pig has about Latin*
about it*

I just didn't know anything

It came about kind of through this oldest sister

of mine*
We were on a farm in Linden until I was around seven
years old*

We then moved into Guthrie County to a farm west

of Panora.

In Linden I remember standing on the scales and

being weighed in the store*

1 didn't weigh very much the

first time I was weighed - I don't remember what it was*
remember going into town, occasionally*
into town*

We called it going

There was just a general store*

very much there*


I don't remember

I remember, of course* the country school

- the "readers'* we used, and things of that sort*

I wish I

could get hold of those old Barnes Readers that I think we

We had McGuffey's around there, too, and I bought a

set of them a while ago.

But I believe the McGuffey's had

been changed a good bit before they were discontinued, and
were different from the days when we used them.

This really

was a country school - I mean it - I mean this one room

I don't remember a great deal about the move to Guthrie


It was sort of an adventure,


moved out of the

lovely rolling hill country about two miles west of Panora*
We crossed the middle Raccoon River - 'Coon River, we called

It looked as big as the Mississippi to me, then. There

was an old mill that we used to consider quite a romantic
place - Lenon’s Mill - right where the road crossed just
above the dam.

The road ran up Reese *s Hill.

a coal mine on it.

There was

It seemed like an enormous hill.

went two miles west of town, where we lived.


My father

had bought a little piece of land there, and my father's
father had bought an additional small piece - and I mean
small piece!

We had forty acres that were about half a

mile separated from the homestead, but the little place
where we lived was only seven acres.
tions for that.

I remember negotia­

My father's father helped him buy that.

Then we rented an adjacent sixty acres, which my father
was subsequently negotiating to buy when he died.
At the time we moved there, it was pretty much un­
plowed land.

It was hilly rolling land.

Much of it was in

good hardwood timber - white oak and black oak.
to prefer the white oaks for posts.

We used

There was walnut*

There were wonderful woods which had no value except for fuel
or fence posts on the farm,

I can see now that the effort

was a continuation of the old practice of clearing the

land - getting the woods off it in order to grow a crop*
I don't remember log-rollings*
timber country*

It wasn’t that much of a

I remember working in the woods*


cut and saw the wood up into four-foot lengths for cord
wood, and then make fence posts out of the best of it*


even used blasting powder on some of the white oak to blow
it open, in order to get it split*

It didn’t split as

easily as the black oak, as we called it*

It wasn’t a

straight grained wood*
Looking back on it, the thing that impresses me
most is what happened to that land in a little over a

It was beautiful rolling land*

land that had been in grass or timber*
cleared we put it to crop*

Then as it was

We left that farm about at the

time of my father’s death in 190i).*
helpless at the end*

It was black

My father was totally

It seems to me that his period of

partial and increasing invalidism must have stretched over
two years*

In the meanwhile my mother, of course, was ex­

hausting every resource we had trying to run down this,
that, or the other cure, or something that would help*
dies when I was seventeen*

I was about fifteen when we

left the farm and moved into Panora*
plained of headaches*

My father had com­

He had had a runaway accident years

My oldest sister and my older brother both believed

that part of my father's trouble came as a result of an


accident that he had when the team ran away with him*
This happened shortly after we1d moved onto that Birchfield farm in Dallas County#

That was when we moved from

Knoxville up to Dallas County#
was kicked on the head#
left eye#

The team ran away, and he

He always bore the scar over his

They say he was never well after that, although

I didn't realize that,
X remember his headaches,

I think the first day I

ever thought that ray father wasn't* perhaps, wholly sound
was that birthday when we were husking corn#

In the middle

of the day he went into the barn there at the Reynolds

He said he wanted to rest#

He lay down, and an

hour or so later when he came out he said that his whole
body had gone to sleep, just as we used to say our foot
would go to sleep, and that it was awfully hard for him
to start moving again#

I remember he told me that he felt

very refreshed and rested after that#

He spent a long time

in a wheelchair, and then finally was in bed#
on the farm which we had to let go#

This was out

That's the one west of

We moved into a house that I think we took in on

trade, in Panora, and that's where my father died#
in high school#

I was

I remember my sister and I were called

home from high school on the day my father died#

It was

either on my birthday or the day after that he died, I


It was my seventeenth, birthday*

I remember this birthday when we were working*
remember also the day my father died*


He hadn't been

lucid in his mind, but this day when we came up I was
standing at his bedside with my younger sister.
come from school.

We had

He knew it was my birthday and he

spoke about what a big boy I was getting to be, which
wasn't true - I wasn't a big boy*
I don't recall birthdays.

But he spoke of that*

I don't recall that we had

The only party I can remember was when we were

living at the Birchfield place.

The people generally had

their social life around the church, and they held what
they called "socials,” and one of them was at our house*
I remember oyster stew and canned peaches were the two

The oyster stew was made of cove oysters,

out of cans - the old cans with steer heads on them*
The two went well together - they were wonderful]

We had

oyster stew and then the canned peaches for dessert*
were verj



It was the first time I'd had oysters*

In ray early recollections my father was jovial and

Then, of course, he was worried.
He was a rip-snorting Democrat*

been a very ardent Democrat*

He was always
His father had

He had me reading Coin Harvey

literature in the first William Jennings Bryan "free silver*


I really absorbed it*

I remember, when we lived

west of Psnora* that I had a boyhood friend named Bruce
Gilbert, who lived about a half mile from where we did,
farther out along the road*

Bruce and I were the best of

friends, but his family were very ardent William McKinley

Bruce and I locked horns and wrassled - we

called it fighting - through the whole recess one time
over politics*

I could quote Coin Harvey on free and un­

limited coinage of silver as long as anyone would listen*
I think the Gilbert family moved west*

Bruee was

the youngest of a bunch of sturdy Scotch youngsters*
was a very fine family*


He became a good friend when we

both went to school in Panora from our homes out west of
the town*

We didn't have consolidated school districts

This district, I imagine, wasn't wealthy enough to

support a school*

It didn't have one*

school in town, two miles away.

So we attended

We used to drive back and

forth with a horse and a little buggy, tip and down Reese's
Hill where the mud would get hub deep, it seemed like

We had a little gray horse*

and forth*

The Gilberts sometimes would drive with us,

and sometimes we'd drive with them*
grade school and on into high school*

We drove back

That continued through
We walked or rode*

It was only two miles, but it seemed like a long way then*

I was a small boy.

When 1 was married I think X

weighed 125 pounds, or something like that#

If anybody

had ever told me that I would weigh as much as I do now,
I would have regarded him as a hopeless liar#

I was very

I'm five feet seven and a half inches tall#

wiry and could do a man's work,all right#

1 was

When we lived

on the farm ifcile my father was becoming less and less
active, I was the one at home to take over the little
farming that we were doing#
had left home.
American War#

My oldest brother, as I said,

He was in the Philippines in the SpanishI used to handle the stock and the little

farming that we did#

Frank left home about eighteen or

twenty years before my father's death#

The accident hap­

pened to my father in l89G-*91 - around there somewhere#
I don*t remember

Frank very well*

% e accident happened

to my father right at the time of the move to Birehfleld
Farm when the house burned#

I've heard my mother talk about

I have no recollection of that at all#

I don't remember

if he was laid up for any length of time after that#
him, he probably wasn't#


As soon as he could get around he'd

be up.
I was much closer to my mother because our relation­
ship continued over a longer period of time.

She never

ceased to be an active influence in our lives up to the
time of her death.

She died in Idaho Falls, where she had

a little house in town in order to be near ay sister, who
was the one who anchored there.

That was Ida.

I think I

was closer to my mother even when my father was alive.


were in the house and around more, and my father from dawn
until dark was out at work.
with us.

He didn*t have any time to play

He couldn*t give too much time to us.

always did.

My mother

That *s no criticism of ray father.

Under the

circumstances X think it's natural that we were closer to
my mother.
X was closer to Pearl than to the others.

When X

was near the end of my third year in high school at Panora,
probably I was a little hard to handle.

X was full of

nervous energy, X suppose, or something.

Anyway, at the

end of my junior year I was determined not to continue on
in high school, and the authorities were equally
as to whether X should continue.


This older sister of mine,

Pearl, whose husband Dr. Gannaway was then practicing medi­
cine at Lake City, Xowa, asked me to eome up and live with
them and enter high school there, which X did.

X finished


high school there.
second mother.

She had at different times been a

So X went and lived with them for a year,

and finished high school at another high school.
were all right.

They were passing grades.

My grades

Xt was taken

for granted that I was at the bottom of a hell of a lot
of things that I really didn’t do, around there*

I had

been picked for discipline once for something that I
didn’t do.

I knew who had done it.

It was just a case

of getting cross-ways with the authorities.
I was not particularly happy and not particularly

I was just restless.

they called me a nervous child.

I think I was nervous It just meant that I was

restless in classroom, restless in the assembly room the place where you go when you’re not In recitation.
was undoubtedly troublesome to the teachers.
think there’s any doubt about that.
of regarded as a devilish kid.


I don’t

I think I was sort

I wouldn’t want to classify

As I recall it, I was given credit for a lot of

things I didn’t do.
It was sort of a foolish thing that I was unjustly
accused of*

The teacher had left the assembly room.


would leave one teacher In charge of assembly when she
wasn’t hearing recitation.

Her name was Mary Stanley.


was along in the marble season, and one of the boys stood
up and took a big glass marble - it seemed as big as a wal­
nut - and threw it so it careened around the corner of the
wall and made a noise like the building was coming down.

teacher came in just as the rattling was going on.

The room was in an uproar.

She didn’t say anything, but

came down and sat right down in the seat next to me. That
evening before school closed, the principal who was a very
fine man named Mr. McKinley called me in and told me to
take my books home and said that I didn't need to come
back for two weeks•"

There was no question of asking,

“Did you do it or didn't you?" at all.

It was just,

“Stay home for two weeks.11 Well, of course that broke
my mother's heart.
and the sugar bowl.


was a good deal like Tom Sawyer

While I hadn't done that 1 might

have done many other things that would have justified
what they did, so I didn't have much say.

At the end

of that year, anyway, my older sister thought I'd do
better if I had a change of scene, and I think, on the
whole, I did.

I think it was a good thing.

I was not too upset in this period.
full of nervous energy.

1 was active -

I didn't get into too many fights

- a few, I suppose - as many as anybody, but I wasn't
ticularly quarrelsome.


Maybe I was pretty careful about

the selection of my fights, for I don't recall taking a
bad beating.

Neither was I what you'd call a brave boy.

I wasn't going out looking for trouble.

I don't remember

any pranks, particularly, in that period, and those in the
later days I think could just as well be forgotten.

I think the struggle that my father had and what I
saw was happening all around Iowa at that time did leave
a mark, although it was only my very accidental association
with M.L. Wilson which turned me back into active work
with farming*

I had left the farm.

After we left that

farm west of Panora just before my father's death so that
he could be in town and my mother could be in town with
him, I never returned to the farm except for the fact that
the only occupation a boy could have between the time school
let out and the time it picked up again was working on a

'I'hat was really not the only one, but it was the only

one that occurred to me.
on a farm.

So I*d go out summers and work

I finally got so I was a full farm hand, and I

got $23.00 a month - which was considered good - and board,
of course.

That was considered good man's w*ges at that

1 don't remember how much butter was then, but I

imagine that twenty cents would be a very high price.
traded it.

They didn’t soil butter.


If you made butter,

you took it into the store and I suppose you got credit.
I think that twelve to fifteen cents would be a high price.
You traded that butter in, and you took back cloth and thread
and other things.

I wouldn't be surprised if those wages

would equal $200 or $225 now.

I've spent a lot of money to find out what my facial

spasm its.

I first began to not lee a twitch in the left

eyelid - I think perhaps the lower eyelid - ia 1923 #


was then the commissioner of agriculture in Montana*


think the title is Commissioner of Agriculture, Labor, and

^he symptoms became increasingly severe*


had a very extensive course of clinical examination, and
for a time treatment, but I finally just realized that
it's the kind of a thing you've got to learn to live with
and forget, so 1 don't think about it*
To begin with it was just a small twitch, and then
it spread over the area that's covered by the seventh facial

It's not, so the neurologists tell me, related to

the general nervous condition*

They think there is some

source of infection somewhere that has just tripped that
nerve, which, is a motor nerve and not a sensory nerve*
There is no pain connected with it*
active seventh facial nerve*

It's just an over-

The reverse of that is what

1 think they call Bell's palsy, when the left side of the
face covered by the seventh nerve becomes paralyzed*
Henry C* Taylor had that at one time*

At one time 1 was

paralyzed there, but that was induced by a surgical opera­
tion which should never have been performed*

It was the

severing of the seventh facial nerve back of the ear, and
then suturing it so that it would grow back together again*

W© had moved to Evanston, Illinois, in the early
summer of 1925*

Along about *27, somewhere, I went to

Dr. Hugh Patrick who was the head of the neurological
work at Northwestern University - a man who was a dean
in his profession - a very tough little Scotchman.


showed me a cabinet of just hundreds, it seemed, of
photographs of patients who had come to him with this
identical difficulty*

One was an Italian ditch digger

- a big tough cookie - you could tell from his picture.
Another was a big fat colored woman*
3?hen I relax it’s just the same*

The chief diffi­

culty - the one that caused me to seek treatment - was
interference of sleep at night*

When you*re trying to

get composed, it’s just like somebody is standing by your
bed jerking your face*
Hugh Patrick said, "I can't tell you what causes
the trouble.

It may be your teeth.

you have your teeth examined*

I’d recommend that

I recommend that you trace

any possible source of infection, but I don*t think the
chances are good you’ll find it.
treat the syaptoms.

They rarely do*

I can

The treatment for the symptom is to

inject straight grain alcohol into the seventh facial
nerve by a hypodermic injection back of the ear*

If it’s

successful - if you catch the nerve or get right next to it -

it will induce a partial paralysis*

You’ve interrupted the

After a little bit you*11 recover your muscular

control# but the impulses won’t come through, and you*11
have a period of maybe a year or maybe a few months when
you*11 be free from the annoyance of the spasm. °
I told him to go ahead.
painful thing.

It*a an extraordinarily

He didn't deaden the area.

He just shot

it in there, and you just had to grin and bear it.
I had that a few times.


It would work for a time after

the injections - sometimes more and sometimes less.


Dr. Patrick went abroad, and left his practice with another
doctor there in Chicago.
still alive and active.

I’d rather not name him.


It was recommended that I go to

He said, *1 wouldn't fool with the alcohol treat*

ment, but I think lt*s worth taking a chance to sever
the nerve.** If I had just realised that his diagnosis
was that it was a habit spasm and that if you broke the
habit there was a chance you’d recover, I wouldn’t have
let him perform the operation, because It was deadly.


brought about this sag on the left side of my face, because
it was the same as total paralysis of that nerve.
to wear

adhesive tape, trying to hold the face up, on

his advice.

I used

That was in 1929* 1930 - that period around

there. Perhaps it was *30 or *31*

I don*t know*

As I

recall, it was when things had cracked wide open and there
was a real depression on.
When the nerve finally healed and united, the spasm
impulses came through long before any muscular control of
the face returned.

Total control of the face never has

The spasm was more severe than ever.

It was

a very disastrous experience.
I should have developed the philosophy sooner of
forget it and live with it, because that's what you have
to do.

It isn't in my mind at all, now.

There still is

that problem of composing it at night, but I get plenty
of sleep.

I never have sought psychiatric help for it.

Hypnotism has been suggested.

I've talked with some

pretty good psychiatrists, all right, as friends, but I
have never consulted any professionally.
worry about it now.

I*m too old to

I’ve known a few people who have this

spasm, mostly in less severe stages, but some I've known
are worse.

I remember a chap, when I was at Great Palls,

Montana, who was a linotype operator and a poultry breeder
on the side.

He was an officer in a little poultry asso-

elation we started for shows and promotion of better poultry
breeding in Great Falls.

He was elected president of it.

I remember how horrified I was at his condition.
the spasm on both sides.

He had

I used to ask him if it hurt.

It always seemed to me that it must be painful*

I didn't understand it then*

It never

I don't now*

It bothered me for a while when X had to make a
speech, bat public speaking was always painful for me, any­


Even the thought of making a talk was an agony.


I finally made up my mind that this was something X had to do,
X just would go ahead.

X don't think the spasm had any

effect on my public life.

I notiee almost uniformly that as

people become older in their association with me, they in­
variably say, "Why, it's so mueh better now*

X don't notice

it," which, of course, is just because they've become
acquainted with me.

The one amusing thing about it is that

X don't know which eye closes as if X were winking.


apparently is one, because in meeting strangers X frequently
find them winking back at me.

I've seen that for years*

It's a sympathetic response.

X would advise anybody else

who has this facial trouble just to forget it right from
the start, just let it play its course and realize that
you can learn to live with it*
My mother was a deeply religious


My father,

X remember, walked the trail for Billy Sunday who was holding
a revival service in this little town of Fanora*


pleased my mother, though it didn't last as far as any active
connection with the church was concerned*

The rest of my

family exeept Frank and me are all very active church

I haven’t been active in the church.

Out in

the country we had the church known as the Church of
the United Brethern.

We called it the United Brethern

It wasn’t a Campbellite church, as we knew them

in that area.

There are a lot of the United Brethern

and Church of the Brethern in Indiana and across the
Middle West,


had the community church because it

was the only church in the neighborhood.

It was out in

the country, not in Linden, but out in the country near
our farm.

Of course, we all went to church.

drove to church.

My father

Everybody drove to church.

The family connection, later when we moved to
Panora, was Presbyterian and then Congregational*


Davis and I were married by a Congregational minister in
George 1

It might have been a Presbyterian minister, by
I don’t know that we had a Congregational minister.

It was one of the two.

Anyway I know his name, even though

I don’t remember his religion.
They used to hold revival services, I remember, at

I suppose I was in my mid-teens, then, when attend­

ing one of them regularly I had a great burst of enthusiasm
and joined the church.

But the reaction following that was

It was one of just unconscious shrinking from it.

X judge I was about fifteen when this happened.

It was a

combination of music - the moving hymns they used to sing **
and the mass enthusiasm*

So I joined the Presbyterian

church there at Panora*

It was what they call a genuine

religious conversion, but I think it was mass hysteria,

But I felt it,

I was really

analyzed my reaction, particularly.
the other direction.


I never

I just went over in

It was not a reasoned agnosticism,

but just a desire to keep as far away from it as I could,
a desire not to have anything to do with the high pressure
aspects of religion*

It was a reaction from the emotion,

and 1 wonder if most people don't experience that*


they respond to that emotion, I wonder if the pendulum
doesn't swing the other way with them for a time*
reaction was within a matter of weeks - very soon.


revival moved on to the next town, probably, and I calmed

I felt somewhat ashamed*

I felt not despondent, but

let down after the high peak of the idea*
The others have been active church workers, in the

My younger brother Lewis out in Los Angeles County

and his wife sing in the choir and are very active in the

My older sister is very determined to get my wife

and me active in their church out there.

We haven't been


I like to give to the church, but I’m a little

reluctant to become active because X think the disposi­
tion will be to move in on you and make you do church
work, and I like a little leisure when I can get it.
I think religion has played a great part in ay
life, but it isn’t a formal religion.
cult to put into words.

It would be diffi­

It’s a confidence that there is

a power which one can draw on in times of need and deci­
sion, which doesn’t fail you.

For that reason, as much

as anything else, I’ve had an underlying optimism in the
face of much evidence that denies

optimism, as far as the

course of the human being on earth is concerned.

I have

a feeling that by stages and with many ups and downs, we
can evolve here on earth - I don’t mean in my time • a
progression which will avoid the dark ages toward which
we would be headed, otherwise.

I believe in prayer in the

sense that I’ve expressed.
I know very little about the United Brethern church.
I think it’s nearer the Congregational type of church.
have never been a student of religion.


I have known a few

men who have belonged to that church, since.

We had an

application in the Ford Foundation for support to the
Mheifer project," supported by the United Brethern.


certainly a well-intentioned move tc assist in the exporta­
tion of bred heifers of good blood to add to the productive
resources of other people in other lands.

It may be a good

idea* but you want to turn it over and look at the other

I’m a skeptic about transplanting American methods

and American idea - and American livestock breeds - to
other cultures*

The church throws me a little, too* in

the missionary field*

I met a young man and talked to him

in India a year ago last summer*

We brought him down from

up near Kashmir* up north of Delhi*

I wanted to talk to

him because he had been described to me as a young man
who*d been out there as a missionary* I think for the Pres­
byterian board, for a number of years, who knew several of
the vernaculars, who could talk to the natives, and under­
stood the natives*

The natives liked him*

I thought per­

haps when we came to establishing a representative there,
if we could have a man like that for a matter of six months,
at least, to help our man get started, it might be worth­

Even this man, who was very deeply emotional about

helping India work out her problems, when I asked him whether
he'd be interested, said, ffWell, in our talk w© haven*t
touched on the one thing that would interest me*

Are yon

seeking to make Christians of the men we're working with
and the people in India?”

I told him, "Let’s define the term Christian, first.
If that means that we're going to try to get them to accept
formally the Christian religion, I'd say no.

If, on the

other hand, it's an attempt to broaden the concept of
brotherly love and translate it into life, yes.n
him, “How big an area do you work with?”

I asked

He told me.

I asked, "When you became associated with the mission, how
many professed Christians did you have? - if you're apply­
ing this test of success.”

He told me.

I said, n5ow many

do you have now?”
He was a little reluctant to say, but he said, "Well,
we've got about the same number.”

In other words, his life

had been a failure, by that test.

I don't believe that you

can take our philosophies and transplant them bodily.


got to build on the values that are there and try to get some
good from them, as well as trying to assist them with anything
that is transferable out of our culture.

I have never felt

confident, at any time, that I knew the answers to some of
these tough questions.

I am equally skeptical of the other

man's thinking when he has all the answers.
I realize that doesn't make for effective leader­
ship when you want to sway people and win causes.


you're in a fight like the McNary-Haugen fight, you give

it the works • The only leader who is any good in a fight
like that is one like George Peek, who just sees one side*
For leaders like George Peek, it's black on one side, it's
white on the other.
hits hard.

He just goes right down the line and

That's the kind of a man who gets results in

legislation or in any drive to try to force a quick change
in a point of view,

Now, there are places where that'll

work, and there're places where it won't.

But even there,

George and I were completely apart in our point of view
after we had gone through the 1923 campaign, and particularly
after the possibility emerged of a change of administration.
Today I can rationalize a defense for the McNaryHaugen fight without reservation*

The McUary-Haugen fight,

1 think, did as much to dramatize the defects in the pro­
tective tariff system as anything could have done, by
carrying on to its logical conclusion the application of
the protective system to the unprotected segment of the

I think it would have done some temporary good,

but as we watched the procession of events through the
’twenties when this country exported capital in the form of
loans to the amount of billions, it became perfectly dear
that we had to have a change in our whole philosophy of
trade between this country and the rest of the world.
Those loans subsequently turned out to have been grants,

because they were not repayable.

George never agreed to

He never saw It.
After the 1928 campaign, I told George that 1 had

trotted my last heat on the McNary-Haugen philosophy of
1921*.-*26, that the adjustment to the fact of our emergence
@s a big creditor nation was something we had to turn our
attention to.

Of course, even then we were in the very

preliminary stages of what happened after World War II.
I said that I didn't believe the McNary-Haugen Bill, as
such, would meet the situation as we saw it clearly then
in 1930, approximately.
It wasn't a religious feeling that drove me into the
farm fight.

It grew out of the fact that we had a condition

in the northern Great Plains area which I saw clearly and
at first-hand.

It was a condition of economic injustice -

not intentional, imposed injustice but a situation where
we were at the mercy of world markets in an economy which
was cushioned in so many of its other important segments.
I lived out in the Northwest in the days of sweeping bank
failures, foreclosures, hard times and the Non-Partisan
1 doubt if the origin of the course that I took from
1917 on in respect to agriculture can be found in my adoles­
cent period.

I think it started with ray experience in


I had, of course, this unrealized understanding of

what had happened to my father*

I'd seen what had happened

there and of course, I suppose that made an impression, but
I wasn't brooding over it*
of my mind,

It wasn't really in the surface

I did have some things as a result of those

years which were simply Invaluable to me throughout my life*
1 had lived on a farm - lived with livestock, done the
things that you do on a farm - and had been privileged to
carry it through to the point where I was a full-fledged
farm hand*

I never had technical training in agriculture*

I went to a liberal arts school, and I took a liberal arts

But that farm upbringing branded me unconsciously,

and was of great help in understanding and giving me a sense
of activity on the farm that you just don't acquire too
readily otherwise*

I think that much I had*

out of it with any sense of injustice*

1 didn't come

1 always was for the

"underdog," but X think most people are - that is, they
have sympathy for the fellow who has got the short end of
the stick*

The disposition I think I've had is that when

I see a problem I think immediately in terms of action what can you do about it? - what can be done about it?


own security has never been much of a concern to me, really,
much to my wife's discontent*

I think the term “fighting9 describes my actions with
George Peek, all right, but I don't think of myself as a
fighter, however.

It might have been fighting*

I guess

people would call what I did in the Montana period and on
through, the ’twenties fighting.

But I do not think of it

as fighting in a Non-Partisan League sense*
to find the personal devil,

I didn't try

I didn't believe there was

one who was responsible for the farm troubles of the
'twenties and ’thirties.

I thought it was a problem of

trying to set forces in motion that would balance the scales,

That13 what 1 was thinking about*

It wasn't a

case of picking out the International Harvester Company or
the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and blaming them*

I’» begin­

ning to realize that it must sound awfully conceited to
start a self-analysis like this*
I think this is it*

1 think that I've always - and

it's been a handicap many times - had an instinctive tend­
ency to balance the scales.

If I*m with a group in which

everything that was done in the Roosevelt administration is
thought of as evil, why then I'm on the defensive.

On the

other band, if I’m with a group which says there was nothing
but good in it and its opponents were purely selfish interests
calculated to lead the country into trouble, then my
tion is to take the other side*


That isn't a case of justice.

I think it *s being cursed with the ability or the tendency
to look at both sides of the question.
in the McNary-Haugen fight.

1 didn't call names

I didn’t say that selfish

interests were out to grind the farmer down.

1 had asso­

ciates who did* and who could at that time stir up the
farmers much more successfully than I.

But here was a

situation in which the part of the country I lived in
depended pretty much for its cash Income on crops produced
and exported, at a time when surpluses from several of
the commodities weighted the world market.

The plan George

Peek and Hugh Johnson had evolved for the treatment of our
exportable surpluses* in such a way that we could maintain
an independent price behind tariff protection for the crops
consumed at home* made sense to me as a market stabilising

In that, our whole concept - carried on through

until political forces came into the picture - was that
the operation could be done at the expense of the crop.
That is* it wouldn't be straight treasury subsidy.
I think I have a disposition to try to bring about a
balance In my associates.

I don't know if it implies that

things were only at one time out of balance* for they always

In one way or another.

aren't in equilibrium.

In this world things certainly

I feel now very strongly about the

problems we have in this country with our racial minorities
and the inequality of opportunity for them.

On the one hand*

I don’t go with those who believe that you can pass a law
and correct all those injustices and make a Negro over and
change his place in society this week*

But on the other

hand, I think it’s one of our great problems which 1 am
very anxious that not only the Foundation but every other
force be brought to consider and work on,

I have felt

about our farm program, that in the period in which the
farmer is relatively very well off, the farm program should
be held on a standby basis and should not be a continuous
program that pour* out all the money it can get from the

xhe tendency

exists to do this aad partly

to keep an organization alive.
In my childhood it never occurred to me that I wasn't
getting my fair share of whatever there was to get.

We were

what you’d call a poor family, but it never occurred to me
that we were, particularly*
had a piano,

We had plenty of books.

The girls were taught music.

It didn’t occur

to me that I was poor when I was in college either,
was no favoritism in our family.
to our mother.


We were all great people,

She was the one who carried on,

think my father had a favorite.


I wouldn’t

It might have been, with

him, Hattie, who was so like her mother and so angelic,

Pearl, my older sister, was restless and energetic

and driving,

I suppose she was more like me than any of

the other children were.

My wife says I’m like her in

having what she ealls the itching foot, that is, that X
won’t stay put.

She thinks that these trips to Sew York

are motivated, at least in large part, by my desire to
take a trip* which God knows isn’t true!

We are alike*

I’d say that my father probably liked Eattie - she just
appealed to him, perhaps - although it did not show it­
self in any discriminatory actions*
My grandfather, my father's father, had a nickname
for every human being he was closely associated with*


was a very remarkable character, and to me he used to be
a model.
ever knew.

He was unconsciously the most profane man I
He was about my size - snappy, cfuick acting,

quick thinking, bright-eyed right down to his death.
nieknamed my older sister Pearl, Little Devil.
found a nickname for Hattie*
I was dark in coloring.

There was in Panora the son of a
Johnny was - as X know

I don’t know how old he was.

was undeveloped mentally.
this little town.

He never

Mine was an odd one - Johnny.

Welsh washerwoman, Johnny Jones.
now - a subnormal kid*



His mother took in washing in

She was always kind to all of the kids.

They didn't live very far from us*

This Johnny Jones was

almost as black as a Negro, and of course, because I was

dark tay grandfather called me Johnny*

I was always Johnny*

He called Pearl Little Devil, but he couldn't tag any name
on Hattie*

She was just so kind and gentle and good*

grew up to be that kind of a woman*
father had a favorite, it was Hattie*
had none*

We were all fine*


So I think that if my
Hy mother absolutely

All of the in-laws were fine*

She saw good in everybody*
Pearl alvays kept a kind of maternal eye out for me*
The others did not have the same opportunity*

Uy older

sister is responsible for the fact that I went to college
at Grlnnell*

You know, you used to be able to teach school

with a high school education and a little normal training*
Lewis and I, of course, were just raised together as a
couple of kids*

We played together.

I was very close to

Ida and I weren't particularly close, though we used

to ride back and forth to school together and we got along

For a time in high school - one winter, 1 remember -

mother arranged to have a room for Ida and me.

It was

really a little one-room house on the lot of another house.
We rented it.

It had a little stove in it.

We always got along fine, and still do.

We stayed there.

I admire her very

I feel about ?earl something like I do about M«L.

Wilson, that at what may have been critical timed in my life

- at least at two stages - she was there to help*
was in high school.

One stage

Pearl was there, and what she did un­

doubtedly had a lot of influence on what happened to me*


other was when she and Charles Gannaway, her husband, started
me off to college.
I remember Pearl first coming back from title school to
which she had been sent after high school.
that it was at Le Grande, Iowa*
of a school it was*

It impresses me

I don't know now what kind

It wasn't a normal school*

She went

there more for musical training - piano and voice - than
for anything else, and it probably was a very* short course*
I remember her coining baek and living with us*

1 remember

the fact that she was very competent at organization*


organised parties - church affairs - would sing in the choir,
play the organ, or do whatever needed to be done*

I suppose

the most impressive recollection I have of her is of her
driving a team of bay ponies to Fanora and then turning
north for about two miles where she taught what we called
the Diehl School*
a month*

It was a country school and she got $2?.00

She would drive, hitch and unhitch that team of
She would drive there and back.

Oscar Diehl, who

was of that family, used to come to the house to "beau" her,
you know*

I always admired the team he drove* But my sister,

driving this, to me, very fast-moving team of ponies back and
forth to school made quite an impression on me*

Pe&rl asked me to make my home with her and her husband
in Lake City, Iowa, before X entered my senior year of high
school at Panora.

X did, and enrolled in the Lake City High

School for my final year.

X think X was a difficult young­

ster to get along with, bat she and her husband - and I
haven’t given him as much credit in this as X should - were
extremely patient with me, and they got me through high

Lake city was in Calhoun County, northwest of Des


Her husband’s name was Charles R. Gannaway.

a doctor.

He was one of several brothers.

small contractor in and around Panora.

He was

His father was a

After he married my

sister he went on to acquire his medical education.


attended the state university of Xowa and finally got his
degree from Northwestern university.
Lake City, Xowa, at the time.

He was practicing in

That was only one of the occa­

sions when they were extremely helpful to me.
The next occasion followed my graduation from high
school, when they were solely responsible for my going to

X was working on the Northwestern Railroad at

what X hoped was a temporary job, on the section.
pound spikes.

We tamped ties.

and firm up the roadbed.

We didn’t

You do that with a shovel,

That’s what we were doing that

summer, anyway, on the Northwestern Railroad west of Denison,

My sister and her husband, without consulting me,

arranged to get me a scholarship at Grinnell which took care

of the tuition, through the influence of Dr. Gannaway»s brother
who was a professor in the political science department at

Tuition then meant just what you paid the college -

not your board and room, or anything like that.
very high.

It wasn't

As I recall it, it was something like §63*00 or

$61).*00 a semester.

They got the scholarship for my freshman

year and they saw me off to college. Otherwise, it would never
have occurred to me that I'd go on to school.

I didn’t have

any more thought of college than I did of the ministry, at
that time - and 1 didn't think of that*

I certainly had not

thought of college until they called me up snd said that this
could be done.
I remember that when they saw me off on the train for
Grinnell, my resources outside of the clothes I wore and my
tuition were the change out of

the ten-dollar bill from

which i bought my railroad ticket*
other than that.

1 didn't have any resources

There were a lot of people who attended col*

lege at Grinnell who were in that fix, and it didn't prove to
be very difficult*
That's where my sister and her husband had a rather
decisive influence*

It seemed like a good idea to go to col*

It didn't fill a felt need*

wanted to go on with my education*

I didn't realise that I
I hadn't really looked

around yet after getting out of high school*
High school did not mean to me a good time, hard work,
or athletics*

It was the thing to do*

My mother was very

interested in seeing that all the children got an education*
In those days, completing high school

meant getting an edu­

I don’t think going to college was the thing to do

that it is today*
I always read a great deal in high school*
everything I could get - biography, fiction*
I did like politics and political history*

I read

I read constantly
I read the Horatio

Alger series, hut I think that was before high school*
I played a little baseball in high school*
I wasn’t particularly athletic#

That was all

Until my senior year I went

to the Guthrie County high school in Panora, Iowa*

I lived a

large part of the time out on the farm two miles west of town,
and there were chores to do*

I didn't stay in town too long*

I would go in to school and then go right back out home*


did the milking and whatever had to be done around the farm*
I wasn't passionately fond of any of the chores, as I recall

I liked to work with horses*

I liked that, I think, the

best, but I think I liked milking the least*

That's mere

drudgery - still 1st
Philip Hare Davis, my grandfather, was a very inter­
esting character*

Hare was his mother*s family name*


was about my size, except for the bulge in the middle that I

He didn't have it*

He was probably the most inoffensively profane man I've

ever known in my life*

He was a slim, erect, fast-moving

It was just natural with him,


heard the story in my family of how my gentle grandmother
married him with the intention of breaking him of that habit,
but it was just as natural with him as it was to breathe*


was extremely picturesque, and would be called vulgar today*
It was earthy, and just flowed from him*
excitement with the kids*
woods, near the farm home*
we'd go out hunting*

He»d take me out hunting in the
He got me an air rifle once, and

He would make it a great adventure *

seeing something behind every bush*

Then he»d simulate

He was not a well-educated

He was a farmer, trader, and what they called a horse

doctor9 but not a graduate veterinarian*
with things*

He was just handy

He was well respected in the community around

Knoxville, Iowa*
1 don*t think I could appraise his effect on my life*
1 admired him*

% certainly never dreamed of matching his

That would have been unpopular at home*

haven't tried to emulate him*


Oddly enough Mrs* Davis1s

grandfather, from the description she gives of him, must
have been almost exactly the same kind of a fellow - loved
horses, a great trader, and extremely profane in the same
nice sort of a way*

It was just a part of his vocabulary*

1 reached Grinnell in the fall of 1906*
class then was the class of *0?*

My contact with Grinnell

started before I reached the campus*

The senior

On the day

coach going

toward Marshalltown, where we changed to go down to Grinnell,
an older boy - he impressed me as very much older - introduced
himself to me*

We learned we were both, going to Grinnell* Be

took me under his wing*

We went to call on the superintendent

of schools at Marshalltown who was a young graduate, and then
went on down to Grinnell from Marshalltown.

Be was Oliver

Ellsworth Buckley, who has just retired as head of Bell Labora­
tories for the American Telephone and Telegraph (A.T. and T.)

He became a very great scientist in his field*

We arrived in Grinnell in the early evening*

They had

the custom then that new students were all greeted at the train
by volunteers * upperclassmen*

The man who picked me up was a

shy-appearing fellow, short and dark*

His name was E.B. Benger,

and he recently has retired as one of the great chemists of the
DuPont company*

He had a great deal to do, I think, with the

development of nylon, and one thing and another*
well known in the DuPont organization*

He*s very

1 corresponded with

him after he became prominent in the DuPont organization, but
I never met him after he left college*

But those two fellows

just happened to be distingaished scientists afterward*


happened to be the two first men 1 met*
Grinnell didn*t have dormitories for men*
one girls dormitory, but none for men*
around the town with the townspeople*

There was

The custom was to room
Benger took me over to

the house in which, he lived where there were eight or ten boys,

and they put me up there a day or two*

Then I found a plaee

where 1 was to tend furnace and do errands and work for my

You*d study at nights*

That's the way you did it*

started with the simple things - that is* odd jobs*
didn't get a regular job unless you were lucky*



1 remember

that they were just in the transitional stage at Grlime11
between seventeen and a half and twenty cents an hour*


conservatives held that seventeen and a half was about right
for college students, but the more liberal group had advanced
to twenty*

It took a lot of work*

I worked for my room*


did errands and tended furnace, and so forth, for the family
where I held my room*

The room would have been four or five

dollars a month - not more than that*
You didn't board there*

The lowest board in Grinnell

at that time seems Incredibly low now*

They had two or three

students* clubs - boys* clubs, they called them - where one
or two men would manage and other students would do the work*
The managers did the buying and planning of the meals# and so

It was a co-op*

They were the lowest priced*

freshman year, the lowest was $2*5>G a week for board*
that seems incredible, of course*

In my

That shows why it was

easier to do, in those days, what so many of us did - that is,
work your way completely through school without outside help*
I worked my way completely through school.

A lot of people did*

My tuition was paid for the first year*

The second

year I got my tuition for ringing the chapel bell*

It waan‘t

just the chapel bell, but it was the school bell*

1 had to be

there at quarter of eight for the first strokes, and then toll
the bell for about five minutes before the chapel hour at nine*
I forget the routine*

1 know my sister sent me her watch so

I'd hare some thing to get to the bell on time with*
me my tuition the second year*


That got

third year 1 was chairman

of the employment committee of the Young Men*s Christian Asso­
ciation (YMCA)• The college, itself, didn’t directly ran an
employment service for the boys who were there, but the YMCA
set up a committee which assisted boys in getting their employ­

The chairman was given his tuition by the college in

recognition of that service*

In my final year - the first

and second semesters were divided by one year’s absence - I
paid my tuition, because I was then the business manager of
the college paper, the scarlet and Black, and in those days
the editor and the business manager were allowed to retain
what they could make the paper
of printing and so forth*


pay over and above the cost
provided just about enough

money to carry a boy through school*
I think if I could have waved a wand and become what
I would have liked, I would have become a writer*
have loved to write*

I would have enjoyed being a creative

writer, which I never was*

I would

An opportunity to try out for

the Scarlet and Black staff came up* I think* in my second

They’d give you a try out*

You’d take an assignment

and go out and cover a story and come back and write it*
you were willing* they'd take you on*
too severe* as I recall it*


The competition wasn’t

Newspaper work was glamorous to

It just seemed about the most attractive thing I ever

heard of*

I did get excited about that*

It was the first

thing that I recall getting excited about in college*
I’d never been particularly attracted to farming*
I might have been if ours had been a well-established and
smooth farming operation* but the way it was
particularly* to go back to it*

I didn’t care*

The last job 1 had as a hand

on a farm* the man believed that four-thirty was the time to
get up In the morning*

He not only believed it - he practiced

I always worked on fawns during the summer before I got

to college*

Then I didn’t go back to the farm*

This had been

the summer before I went to Lake city to high school*


thirty was pretty early in the morning* and you couldn’t
possibly get through at night in time to get enough sleep* it
seemed to me*

Ho* I was not attracted to the farm*

an unattainability about the newspaper business*

There was

The idea of

being a newspaper reporter just struck me as something pretty

I wasn't with pearl and her husband very much during

college• We corresponded.

I don't know whether I ever told

them about my newspaper work*

X didn't chronicle what I did*

I never was much to dwell on what had passed or what X had
done* so I would tell them I was well, and so forth*
place in my life has been stupendous*
me but never even tried to guide me*


She always encouraged
Having a little more

conception of what college or university life was, she was
the one solely responsible for my move at that time*
don't know what X might have done otherwise*

How, X

X might have

become awake, or X might have gone on and become an officer
of the Northwestern Railroad*

X don't know what would have

I don't think X had a sense that I was going to

go somewhere.

I wasn't particularly ambitious at that time*

X was an energetic person - nervous energy*

I was always

doing something*
Later X became aware of something from other people's
appraisal that X was not aware of, myself - that X did have
a faculty for getting things done*

That finally dawned on

me in college, but very late, because the fellows at Grinnell
were giving me credit for carrying things through that we
would undertake.

It never occurred to me that X possessed

the faculty at all until after a few lessons it finally
dawned on me in Grinnell where X discovered that other people
are likely to place a higher estimate on your capaeity than

you, yourself, do,

with great surprise it finally dawned on

me that if yon just keep your mouth shut and go ahead and
work, other people will advance you.

You don’t do it yourself.

I don’t believe I have ever sought a job in my life, since X
left college.
sons this ways

X don’t think X ever have.

X put it to my

you do the job you have, to the very best

of your ability# you don’t have to be looking over your
shoulder for opportunity.

Xt will tap you, and you’ll be

The unhappy person is the one who is worrying be­

cause he isn’t advancing or because he isn’t advancing as
rapidly as he thinks he should, who is trying to help fate
out a little bit by trying to use Influence to get a job or
pushing for something for which, perhaps, he’s not prepared
I assume I may have thrown enormous energy into anything
X did.

x began to awaken to the fact that X could do things

when I was in college.
to rate myself short.

I was diffident and, X know, inclined
Xt was only in the last

years of col­

lege that X became dimly aware of some of the truth which
Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed so well in his "Essay on self

X didn’t read it at that time but X did, later, and

it expressed so well what had been finally impressed on me.
This was brought to my mind when X was elected to the
board of the college junior Annual, “The Cyclone”. ^hey used
to have these college yearbooks.

X suppose they still do.


began to hear talk that I was going to be selected as business

It struck me as completely surprising, and what

helped to open my eyes the most was a bit of advice from a
ram who was in the class of 1908*

He was a senior when I

was near the end of my sophomore year*

He was a good friend*

We called him "Dopey", which was a nickname.
George Mcllrath*

His name was

He's a lawyer in Kansas City now*

We were

loafing up in my room - two or three men - and someone said,
!'I hear you're going to be business manager of the Annual*"
I said, ”VJhy, no, I'm not."
"He's a lot better than I am for it*
said it very sincerely*

I named a man*

I said,

He'd be the man.”


I wasn't being coy*

Mcllrath sat up in bed and said, "Don't let me ever
hear you say again that somebody can do something better than
you can*

Even if you think it, keep your mouth shut*

don't have to say it*

You may not be the best judge*


a lesson you've got to learn*n This struck me as an astounding
philosophy, but later I realised there was a great deal of

to it*
The business manager put me in charge of advertising*

Rustling the advertising was really the thing that brought me
into being business manager of the college paper in my senior

I liked editorial work better than advertising*
I was very shy.

I was

I remember when I went to Des Moines -

which was just Ilka taking a trip to London or Paris today •
to try to knock over the merchants for the usual space in the
college annual# I was surprised at the incredible results *
the fact that they were not only very courteous and generous
with their time* but they were very helpful*

I came back

with more advertising than they'd had the year before* which
surprised me very Bruch*

It really did*

X had had a feeling of Inferiority# which is illustrated
by the fact that for a very long time X didn't apply this les­
son that ”Dopey” Mellrath had given me*

When I did I learned

with surprise that if you just keep your mouth shut* other
people would give you credit for a great deal more wisdom than
you possessed*

Let's take the Federal Beserve System as an

illustration of this*

lt*s a good one*

X can't think of any­

body who was less well informed than X on the problems and
principles of central banking when X was appointed to the
board of governors by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in

How* there was a wonderful group of men on that board* all

anxious to be helpful*

There was a case where X kept still

for quite a long time while I was absorbing some of the princi­
ples of what is not an easy sub jeet to move into*

X would say

that not one commercial banker out of a thousand really compre­
hends the principles of central banking and how the Federal
Beserve or a similar bank functions in the credit* monetary*

and fiscal picture.

Well, 1 had no idea of it*

I think tbs

records will show that as a member of the board of governors
I was very silent for two or three years*
At Grinnell I did too many things to do well the things
that were really important*

The opportunity for a balanced

liberal education was there* and I came out without having
made the most of it*
of the same sort*

I suppose all men would say something

My grades were good, with one exception

which amuses me a little*

In the junior year course in psy­

chology I think we irritated the kindly professor a little
too much*

My roommate at that time was James Norman Hall,

who has written Mutiny on the Bounty and Men Against the Sea.
and other outstanding books*

As I recall it, we each collected

a "D" in our course in psychology our junior year*

It amused

me even more when iforman’s first book was published*

*t ran

serially in Atlantic Monthly. That was *gitchener»s Mobn. It
was the story of the British Tommy as Norman saw him, as he
lived in the trenches with him*

it was a beautiful piece.

remember the passage in which Norman paraphrased accurately
William James on these several layers of consciousness and
capacity that you peel off and draw on in times of stress*
I thought, nl bet J.D. Stoops, our old prof, will be amazed
when he reads that*” For some reason we just didn’t get
along well in that course, and 1 collected that nDn.


We had a P M Beta Kappa there, land my grade average tied
with the one who was chosen*

I wasn't chosen because of that

Irregularity, but they voted me in a few years later,

I had

pretty good grades - better than were due me, I think.
worked hard*


X was engaged in many outside activities, and

that meant that I didn't really put the concentrated effort
on my schoolwork that X should have*
X was a moderate leader on the campus,

it may have

been that the younger classmen regarded me as one of the leaders.
The Junior Annual position was elective.
political office, in college or out*

X never ran for a

X think the only time X

was threatened with it was in Montana in the 1921}- election*
Governor Joseph M. Dixon, with whom X was very closely asso­
ciated, didn't want to run, and he used to say to me, "Chester,
if you just weighed twenty-five or thirty pounds more you»d
trot this heat instead of me this fall*

it, and*I think you could make it*"
in that campaign*

X don't want to do

X was active, in a sense,

He was one of the greatest natural political

leaders X have ever met, on the national scene or any other*
A good deal of my energy at Grinnell went into making
a living*

Then X was attracted by the opportunity to do things

in outaide activities*

X enjoyed that*

There wasn't enough

X have always wished X could be two people •

one, for

example, sitting in here talking to you, and the other in there
at my desk, you see*

I have no idea

vhy X did those things *

I have no Idea why one fills his life full*
jump clear to the present

How here *s a

When I see a man like

Paul Hoffman with his incredible energy, why then I wonder
why I ’ve been so idle.
have enough, time!

Of course Mr. Hoffman never seems to

I ’ve never seen a man in my life, though,

with more energy - and purposeful energy - than Paul Hoffman.
In sgr experience, 1 think lie’s almost in a class by himself.
He’s very restless - never still - always doing something. He
prefers to fly between California and Hew York by night so
that he can be at the office the next morning early.
it all the time, and then returns the same way.
to go on the day flight myself.
and read - escape books.

He does

Well, 1 like

I like to take books along

1 have always enjoyed adventure

%'hen 1 feel that I ’ve gotten my things in shape,

why then if I can take an hour or two to read it does me

When I think I ’ve done about all I want to do, then

if I can steal an hour or two. I’ll do it.
I’ll take the day flight and be in the hotel that night.
28her: we’re both going to a meeting in lew York, he’ll take the
flight at night.

In the morning he ’ll come in just as fresh

and sparkling - all he needs is a shower and a shave and he’s
in there pitching.

He enjoys It*

press-are of public life.
to the extent he does.

He enjoys very mueh the

I don’t think I do - not, certainly,
I enjoy a sense of accomplishment, of

getting something done as well as I can*

Looking baek, 1

wouldn*t say that I've always done well*

I don't mean getting

some thing done just in the sense of going through the motions.

I mean wrapping up the package neatly * getting it done and
put aside*

I enjoy that, but I suppose all people do* There’s

not haste just for the sake of getting the job done*


sometimes circumstances, like having a date line on the job,
that bring haste to it*

I would rather develop things in an

orderly way and get them done, and I want to see the edges
tucked in as I go along*

I enjoy that*

1 enjoy many of the aspects of public life*

I enjoy

the occasional opportunity to bring a young man along and
shove him ahead so that he's ready and can take over*

The re* s

been a lot of satisfaction that has come from watching a young
man grow*

I suppose that satisfaction would come even more to

people who are teaching than it would to people who are in
public life*

A young man who is barely forty has just been

elected first vice president of the Federal Reserve bank of
St. Louis, a young man with whose development I've had some*

thing to do*

There's a lot of satisfaction in that*


means that, with all things being equal, he's marked for the
presidency of the Federal Reserve bank of St* Louis in a com­
paratively few years' time*

I do enjoy things like that*

The word fight means a struggle to me - not personal


I don’t think of fight in terms of a feud with any­

I think of fight as a phase of your life, of your

attempting so many things such as attempting to get things

There are conditions toward whose improvement you’d

like to contribute something.

There are problems of organ­

ization that require the adjustment of all kinds of conflicting
personalities# and all that*
fight in me.

I suppose there*s a lot of

Fight means getting a job done.

I don't ordi­

narily personalize problems in the sense that somebody becomes
the embodiment of evil and I feel I have to go out and get

Fight doesn't mean that to me.
I think I'm an emotional person, but not more than the

average person.

I think I'm probably more emotional than

people think I am.

I don't know how other people think of

it# but I know that I'm sometimes surprised at the appraisal
other people make of my calmness and dead-level quiet.
think I'm emotional.


I'm not as emotional on causes# like

the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)# as a lot of
men I know.

I think I've been handicapped by the disposition

to try to see two sides of a question as I go along.

The man

who is going to be a successful leader of a cause is the man
who shuts his eyes to everything else except the end he seeks.
That was George Peek1s way.

I'm handicapped from the stand­

point of leadership by the ability# capacity# or tendency to look at

the other man»s point of view# to see the other side*


peek had the capacity for leadership# that single-mindedness
of purpose that led him to a dogged course on the McEary-Haugen
Bill which survived to his death*
had this*

I don't think Henry Wallace

H«L* Wilson is a great philosopher# and H*L* sees

all sides of the question about as well as any human being
I know*

He isn't the crusader*

He works patiently on a

problem with an awareness of all the factors*

He*s able to

move other people successfully by his very analytical under­
When 1 came out of Montana on the invitation of the
elder Wallace# Henry C* Wallace# and spent my first months
in Washington on what later became the McNary-Haugen Bill#
I think I was as worked up about the situation of the farmers
and ranchers out in Montana as anybody else*

?'he remedy

which evolved then# vhich seemed the best we could think of
at the moment to meet the immediate situation# did not thereby
become an end in Itself to me*

It was the means to the end

of improving the situation under the conditions that existed

Subsequently# when the conditions

changed or at least

when our understanding of the conditions became clearer# it
seemed to me that other things had to be done than would have
been accomplished by the McNary-Haugen Bill*

George Peek al­

ways felt that that was the answer# even when he became aware

that the rest of the world was not in the position to take our
The end justified the means to a good many men who were
not on the George Peek side of the fence*

!?here were a good

many ”end justifies the neans” boys in the Triple-A in the

I hope I wasn’t one of them*

I don’t think X was*

She end is what I like to see clearly defined, and
then I like to develop the means that are appropriate to that

That doesn’t mean that the end overrides the choice of
By using the Alger Hiss episode as an exasple X can

define what I mean by a man to whom the end to which he is
passionately devoted excuses any kind of behavior that leads
to that end,

This took place in the period leading up to 1935 *

and is said in the lijht of what we have learned subsequently,
much of which we did not know then*

I ’m convinced that we had

in the Triple-A ssany people who were interested in shaking
down the existing social-economic order and reshaping it in a
way they were convinced wo :ld be jetter for mankind.


anythir.- they had by way of an opportunity to do that would
hasten the shaking-down process and the building up of the
kind of political force they -wanted, they would consider justi­
fied even though it was an extremely upsetting proposition in
an organization created by Congress for a specific purpose.

But I’ve wandered away ahead of my story, so let’s get


back to Grinnell.

I hate to contradict James Herman HaXl*s

book. My Island Home. &

has us meeting on the train from

Colfax to Grinnell when we were both freshmen.

He writes that

we compared notes and found that neither one of us had any


He pictured me as a much, more confident young man

than I really was, and himself as a complete hick, while
really as I saw it it was precisely the reverse*

Uorman and

I met at Grinnell, and formed a friendship that lasted to his

My younger son is named Norman Hall Davis*

He was one

of the

great men of Grinnell in my time, and I think people

recognized it in Eform, and that isn’t generally the ease, I
think, in college*

He knew what he wanted*

He loved beauty*

He loved the beautiful in music and in literature, and he got
more, I imagine, out of his college courses in English litera­
ture than anyone else there at the time*
an accident with Worm.
knew him*

writing wasn't just

He wanted to write back when I first

I think he probably had something to do with my own

ideas about writing*
Forman was shy and inclined to be a little reticent,,
although he loved people and got along well with the college

He always had a distrust of what he called - probably

not originally - the tyranny of things * He always was determined
that he never would be tied down with possessions that would
limit his freedom to move about and see what he wanted*


difference between us is perhaps illustrated by the way we
spent two steamers*

One of my summers at Grinnell I got a job

on a cement sidewalk construction crew*
mixing machines*

We didn’t have the

We turned it with a shovel*

goodbye at the end of the school term*

Horm and I said

Norm had arranged to

get passage on a cattle boat to England*

I stayed and worked

on the cement sidewalk gang, and Norm went on a tour to England*
He made several trips to visit the scenes of the English writers
whose works he could quote by the hour and whom he loved*


would stay at Grinnell and grind away, and then wefd meet again
in the fall*

He always was determined to be free to move about#

I think this will help to explain him*
of the war, he had served under three flags*
in ’lk*

When he came out
He had gone in

He had signed up as a Canadian in the early volunteers

in London*

He had been bicycling up in the hills in Scotland,

and when he came out he realized that the war was on, which was
something of a shock to him*

He would go down where they were

signing up the volunteers for the making of the British army,
and he doesn’t describe it this way in his biography but this
is the way he told it to me*

He said, nYou know, Chet, I’d go

down there and line up with those fellows in the long queue that
led up to the sergeant*s desk, Just to talk to them and get the
feel of it*

I did that two or three mornings *

just before I got to my turn*

I dropped out

But you know, one morning I went

on through and I just signed up*” That’s how he said he got in*

Ho had a very deep fueling about the world situation that led
M m into the war, all right*
He was pulled back out of the trenches after a year or

His relatives got him an honorable discharge by working

with the State Department, I think, when Norman's father was
near death*

He came back, but was restless in Colfax*


he sought to get back to the war he found to his astonishment
that he could get into the Lafayette Eseadrille which was just

He became a flyer then*

I have his letters telling

of his experience when he was first shot down and wounded*


was creased on the head, shot through the thigh, and one bullet
just missed his lungs*

They were flying those flimsy crates*

He said there were seventy-six bullet holes in the wings of his
machine when he crashed in the French front-line trenches*


was back flying again in a matter of weeks, really* 3&en when
we went into the war he was transferred Into the American air­
force with the rank of captain*

He was shot down again and

taken prisoner*
When he got out at the end of the war he was completely
fed up with “civilization* ” He had much the same feeling at an
earlier time after he had worked for the Massachusetts Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children*

He then wrote to me

in Miles City and wanted to know if he could get a job as a
sheep herder where he could have complete solitude, out in

Hg quotes this in his book - he even quotes my letter

in the book*

I told him I thought he could#

Then some other

developments came along and it never took place*

Ilona always

wanted to get away out of the beaten path*
When he came out of the war, he and Charles Hordhoff
wrote the history of the Lafayette Escadrille*

Ellery Sedgwick

of the Atlantic Monthly encouraged them to go to the South Sea
islands and that*s where he spent the rest of his life*
roosied together in our junior year*


Uiere were two professors

and I think two other students besides Nonaan and me in Chapin
House at Grinnell*
Harry Hopkins was two years behind me in Grinnell*


knew his next older brother somewhat better than I knew Harry*
His name was Rome*

He's now dead*

Rome had & great deal of

natural ability, but was a good deal of a hellraiser and he
didn't complete his college course*
young man.

I knew Harry fairly well*

in the Scarlet and Black, also*
later years in Y/ashington*
He was a tall lanky chap*

He was a very popular
Harry was coming along

I knew Harry very well in

Harry was well liked in Grinnell*
He was a good basketball player,

worked hard around Grinnell, and was highly regarded*
When I went out to Montana, with another man, I became
owner of a little country paper*

We were looking for someone

to come out and run it, and I remember corresponding with Harry
to see if he would like to come out and take a crack at it*
That was after he'd finished in 1912*

Then I heard of him

occasionally but we dicta*t correspond.

We weren*t that close*

One day I was in the anteroom of the office of Henry A. Wallace,
Secretary of Agriculture, when Harry walked in*
on the secretary#

He was calling

He told me that the President had asked him

to come down to help out on some of the plans then being made
to meet the unemployment situation,

Harry had been President

Roosevelt’s welfare department director in New York State*
Then, of course, down through the period of the ’thirties and
’forties I saw Harry frequently*
as I was to llorman.

I wasn’t as close to Harry

Norm and I were classmates and roommates*

I was two years ahead of Harry*

It makes a little difference,

unless you’re thrown in the same rocoa*

Harry lived at Grinnell*

His parents lived there*
I had the unique experience of getting Paul Appleby his
first job in college and his first job out of college*

I was

chairman of the committee on unemployment in the YMCA at Grin­
nell when Paul came down from Newton, Iowa, and he didn’t have
mueh money*

His family's was a well-known name in Grinnell.

He had had sisters, at least, who had gone through ahead of

He needed work, and I was able to place him waiting on

table at one of the boarding houses there, which was lucky in
a selise for him because those things usually come after a little
time, as they’re permanent jobs*

Paul came out to Montana to

take over the newspaper job that I’d corresponded with Harry
Hopkins about*

He was editor of the Belgrade Journal for a©*

That would have been around *13 , I imagine*
My odd job phase at Grinnell didn't last too long*

Early in my freshman year I got a job waiting on table at
the Grinnell Cafe*

Again, to illustrate what prices were,

I remember the evening meal with dessert was twenty-five cents
at the Grinnell Cafe*
counter place.

I waited on counter*

Xt was just a

It was twenty cents for the dinner without

dessert, and twenty-five cents if you had dessert*

Then after

the Thanksgiving break I got a job washing dishes in the girls*

That was permanent for me through the rest of that

Grinnell was strictly coed, so you had no difficulty

meeting girls there*

They were a very fine lot*

year I had a laundry agency for the local laundry*

The next
I think

that’s what most people remember me for in Grinnell, for the
enormous piles of laundry I used to carry down the street in a
basket with a strap over my shoulder*

I'd carry one of those

big oblong baskets just heaped with packages of soiled laundry
which I*d pick up and later deliver and collect*
deal then*

That was the

Then in my junior year I continued that, and in my

senior year I worked on the college paper*

I think perhaps I

got the laundry job because the owner of the laundry lost his
agent and asked xae to undertake it*
it, I recall*

I didn't go and try for

That was a regular student activity, and it al­

ways seemed to me like a very good one*

I think somebody,

perhaps, proposed me for the Job*
Nobody had any class feeling about working students at

The young man who waited on table might date the

most sought-after girl at Grinnell,

There were no castes in

There were no fraternities or anything of the sort*

I think traditionally the Greek letter fraternities are not
permitted there.

They have now a complete system of dormi­

tories, and they have their halls and so forth which in a way
fill the need.

I’m sure Grinnell doesn’t recognize Greek

letter fraternities*
However, boys are always trying to set up fraternities
even when it’s verboten.

Late in our junior year a group of

men whom I liked very much organized a secret Greek letter

They asked Norman Hall and me to join.

just before we broke up for the summer*

It was

We did, and went

through the initiation as you do for a secret fraternity paddles and all that.

It was local, of course, although they

expected to be connected with a national if it were pexraitted,
and they hoped it would be, sometime,
what it was called*

I don’t even remesiber

It was a Greek letter.

We didn’t continue.

Norm and I both reacted against it during the susaer and came
back determined that we were going to get out of it.
that it wasn’t square with the college*
same way*

We felt

Both of us felt the

I don’t know whether it continued or not*

I rather

question whether it did, although the same people continued
to live in a house that had been chosen as its center, and it
was a good outfit*

But I don't think they continued vith it*

I had some very close friends that were outside this fraternity,
and I felt that this would be a kind of turning my back on them*
It just didn't seem comfortable*

Interestingly enough, Norm

had reached the same conclusion when he came back in the fall.
Robert Maynard ”Bob” Hutchins tells a story of Oberlin
which is interesting in this connection*
rule on Greek letter fraternities*

Oberlin had the same

I think ten out of the

eleven members of the first-string football team were fired
out of college when it was learned that they had joined a
Greek letter fraternity, which was a blow to Oberlin as a
football institution and which may have had something to do
with Bob's subsequent attitude toward football*

I don't know.

When Bob got through with his testimony before the House in­
vestigating committee on football, Mr* Donald L* O'Toole, a
lame duck Congressman, said, "I want to know about your attitude
on football*

It seems to me that that's as un-American as

anything I ever beard of*"
Bob said, "Well, maybe so**

The pay-off was when Bob

said, "Well, it seems to me it might be better if the colleges
had race horses*

?he jockeys could wear the school colors and

they could ride the races, and the horses wouldn't have to pass
the entrance examinations•"

It Hag been ray observation that Elen’ s characteristics
don’t differ with occupation, so I don’t want you to think
that story Illustrates my attitude toward Congressmen*


find the same kind of people; farmers and bankers are much

People don’t stratify too easily* you know*

a lot of mixtures of good and baa*


You take a cross-section

of society and you’ll find the same emotions and the same dis­

In Congress it’s the same way*

On the whole, I

think Congress is made up of surprisingly hard-working and
able people, but there are a lot who don't contribute much,
and many who contribute a lot more than they’re given credit

1 really never had any serious trouble on the Hill*


think that August Herman Andresen, if you talked to him today
£L95>27t would respect me*

I would rather see Clifford Hope

chairman of the House committee on agriculture, however*
In January, 1910, I left college to go to work in
Redfleld, South Dakota*
my senior year*

That was before the last semester of

The editor of the college paper while I was

business manager was George A* Clark*
poseful student*

George Clark was a pur­

He knew where he was going*

He knew he was

going to get married right after he graduated, and he had
decided upon a political career*

He had picked South Dakota

as his scene, and in the fall of 1909 he had gone to Woonsocket,

South Dakota, and had bought the Woonsocket Tiag£*

One of the

considerations was the promise of the rn&n who sold him the
Times, who had the unusual name of Peter Jerusalem Benz*


promised George that within a year after he took over the paper
he would secure him a federal appointment of no less rate than
postmaster at Woonsocket*

That was the consideration*


was thinking in terms of a political career, at that time*
George wanted to finish his college and then get married*


far as I was concerned, I had no particular objective in mind*
and it seemed like an adventure*

So when George asked me if I

would go to Woonsocket and run the paper until he could come
out and take over, I said I'd be delighted*

Kxat was editorial

work, and I was to run the whole paper* too*
It was apparent the minute I saw Woonsocket that that
would never do as a place for George*

There were three weekly

papers in a little town of about a thousand*

They were all

starving, and his was probably the least lucrative of the

George then made another trip to South Dakota and

bought the Bedfield Journal Observer at Redfield, South Dakota,
That was ready to be turned over to me*

I stayed in Woonsocket

for about a month and then went on up to Redfield and ran that
paper until George came out*
In the meantime, the people of the Aberdeen Daily Hews
had asked me if I'd like to join their staff, so when Clark

took over I went to Aberdeen with the title of city editor*
I realize now that you got that title in lieu of salary,
only had one reporter - a girl*


She was a good reporter* too*

I was city editor, and it sounded big, but $18*00 a week wasn’t
so big*

Still, I had the title*

time to go back to Grinnell*
•ap just the last semester*

I held this job until it was

X wsnt back in mid-year to pick
I had already completed one-half

of xny senior year, and I went back, then, in the holidays, in
the break between 1910 and 1911 *
I had an interesting experience there that taught me

As one of the features in the Aberdeen Daily Hews

I developed a page of sport news*

There weren’t too many

I had known a wrestler in Iowa whose younger brother

was in Grinnell*

That brother is now

tlarino, California*

here in San

His name was Stanton Turner - a great man*

Staat spent his life subsequently in the Philippines as head
of the YMCA there*

He capped it off with about four years of

internment in Santo Tomas*


was interned there*

He had an

older brother named George who was a wrestler of the Frank
Gotch period in Iowa*

Gotch was world champion wrestler, and

was from Humboldt, Iowa*

This George Turner had taken me,

once, into Gotch’s dressing room to meet Frank Gotch*


had moved out to South Dakota, and he was a rancher at Selby
out west of Aberdeen*

George came in to see me one day and said it would be
kind of fun if we could get some wrestling going around South
Dakota# so I commenced to smoke it up.

We promoted some

matches in Aberdeen and around there*
Gotch had retired, and a man had sssumed the title who
lived in the Twin Cities*

I had assisted in arranging a match

for the Christmas holidays at Pierre# South Dakota# between
George Turner and this fellow named Matson, I think, who held
the world's title*

I was only giving it news*

A saloon keeper

named Bob Hall in Aberdeen was the actual promoter*

About a

week before the match, Hall called me over to see him*
lived in an apartment over the saloon*


He had a very bad cold,

and he said he couldn't go through with this*

He talked as

into assuming the responsibility of promoter of the match down
there# and taking it over*

I cashed in everything I had and

went down to Pierre and promoted that match*

A blizzard hit

the night of it# and it just peeled my pile down to the point
whsre I barely had enough money to get back to Grinnell when
I got through*

This taught me something about the ways of

promoters and saloon keepers*

I know now that Bob Hall was

simply getting out from under a failure*
The one friend we had there was Peter Uorbeck - now
Senator lorbeck*
in Redfield*

I had met him occasionally*

He was then lieutenant governor*

His home was
He came to the

wrestling xnatc.ii» and I remember I took his money*

I hated to

do it, but we didn't have enough of a crowd in there*
it in a big barn of a place*
there was a blizzard.

We had

It was twenty below zero, and

We didn't have more than fifty people

in the house*
When I got back to Grinnell I floated my first bank

I went into George Hamlin at idle bank and borrowed

$100 to help me out in my last half year*

He had known me

because my first experience in a bank had been as janitor in
his bank building*

I used to clean out the bank, during one

of the periods there*

I finished with the class of 1911*

Looking back, I see Grinnell as a great experience in

It was certainly one of the most democratic communi­

ties and institutions I've ever known.

There's a very real

sense of brotherhood and helpfulness there at Grinnell that I
think branded the people pretty much who were there at the
time, not all of them but a lot of them.

It was a place

with a minimum of class distinction, a place where anyone no
matter what work he did had the s«me social and political - in
the school sense - opportunities as the men who came down with
his way paid and full leisure*

I imagine there are many such

institutions, but that certainly was true of Grinnell*
Then it had some great men*

The two men on the faculty

who impressed me most were Jesse Macy and Charles S. Payne.
Jesse Macy was a Quaker.

He had collaborated with Lord James

Bryce on Bryce*s The American Commonwealth.» and they had col­
laborated on Macy*s The English Constitution* Macy was one of
the great men of his generation* and I took all 1 could take
tinder him.

He was a tall kindly Quaker - had a white beard -

a handsome, imposing man*

Macy first awakened my interest in

civics and political science*

He was a great teacher*

The other one is a man of whom Hall writes a great deal
in his book* Charles E* Payne.

He was subsequantly head of the

history department - he wasn*t at the time*
both legs as a boy*

Payne had lost

I think it was in a train accident* al­

though he never told me*
He had artificial legs*

They were off just across the thighs*
Payne lived in Chapin House that

year* the same house that Hall and I lived in*

I got very

close to Payne through, an incident or an accident during the
week we moved into Chapin House*

My room was next to his*

I*d been staying there that summer so I moved in early* and
Payne had moved in early also*
back and forth in his room*

I could hear him clumping

He was unpacking his books and

putting them in the bookcase* although 1 didn*t know what he
was doing at the time.

Then I heard a crash in the hall and

silence* so I went in*

I had barely met him.

so he couldn’t get up*

I picked him up.

He was helpless

He had broken the

apparatus on one of his legs at the knee joint*

I went down

to a blacksmith shop and got a couple of pieces of scrap iron

and fixed him up*

He was in a panic.

He thought he would

have to go back to his home in Terre Haute, Indiana, to get
a replacement, because that was where he had bought his arti­
ficial legs*

I knew of a place*

I'd seen it in Des Moines

on the street up from the depot to the Eliot Hotel*
where it was*

I knew

I described it to him, and I told him that 1

knew he could get his leg fixed in Des Moines*

They were

displayed in the windows, you know, and all that*
him down and put him on the train*

I took

He could have held up an

elephant on the scrap iron repair job but it had no flexibility*
Looking back on it,

I think it's odd that I didn't go down to

Des Moines with him.

It just shows that when you don't have

any money, those things don't occur to you*

The idea of taking

a trip to Des Moines and putting out the money to do that just
never occurred to me*

He, also, would have been sensitive

about taking ray time to do it, so I put him on the train and
he got it fixed*

Well, that broke the ice with us*

we were good friends*

After that

He and Norm Hall and I were life-long

friends *
He was a great man*

He was a great internationalist*

was a thinker far beyond most of the people at that time*
think Payne marked a good many of us*
devoted to Payne, and Hall was*
little in his book*


I know Paul Appleby was

Hall deals with hira quite a

Payne tried to get both of us to teach*


He told of the compensations in a teacher’s life*

He couldn’t think of it#

larly, and for one reason*

It terrified

It didn’t appeal to me, particu­

During ny college course and for

years afterward, I wouldn’t get up and make a talk*

I was

terrified at facing an audience, and the idea of getting up
before a classroom and talking had no appeal to me at all*
Norman was much the same way*

He made one lecture trip after

he came back from the war just to get some money to help
finance his way to Tahiti*

His description of that in his

biography is exactly the description he gave me*

It was the

most terrifying experience he ever had in his life, but he
made a little money out of it*
I think if I had devoted less of my energies to what
you might call campus or outside activities and more to the
classroom, I could have developed some real intellectual inter­
ests there at Grinnell which I would have carried on*
There’s just so much energy you can put into things*

I didn’t*
I do dis­

cuss philosophical matters with M.L. Wilson, for instance*
tend to listen more than to talk*

I wish I had been a writer*

However, I have no complaints, at all*


I’ve enjoyed what I’ve

But I still think that if I could successfully do creative

writing, I could get more satisfaction out of that*

I have

accumulated a modest pile of rejection slips in my time*


only articles I’ve ever sold are factual rather than fiction*
Ihat’s all*

I know ay oldest son can write*

I know he writes well.

I think he,s in a spot where he can develop it*
may do something*

I don’t know.

I expect lie

He?s with Gordon Gray *s

papers in Winston-Salem, Forth Carolina, as a feature writer*
His name is Chester S. Davis - the £5 for Smith, his grand­
father ’s name*

Chet finished at the School of Foreign Service

at Georgetown on a scholarship he wen from Eugene Meyer*s

Then he graduated from Harvard Law School*

married in his senior year*

He was

The Federal Bureau of Investi­

gation (FBI) was recruiting from his class and since he was
anxious to get incorie he signed up.
five years.

He was a special agent for

That is what led his to his newspaper work*

Gordon Gray wanted to try the experiment of putting some­
one on his staff who was skilled in investigation, who had come
up that route rather than by writing as a reporter*


it over, they thought first of the FBI as a recruiting ground*
Chet had been stationed at Winston-Salem for a while, and he
knew the town*

He had then moved down to the Mexican border*

Gordon Gray called him and asked him to come up and talk with
him about coming on, with absolute freedom to deal with any
social, economic, or political question of general interest in
North Carolina*

Chet took it*

He*s now a member of the edi­

torial board and takes his turn running the editorial page, but
his main interest is the production of a one-page feature in the

Sunday combined issue which is a
on any subject he chooses*

by-lined, illustrated article

Many of the things he has written

have had a good deal of influence in North Carolina*
writing some good stuff*
That<s it*

I think that's what he’d like to do*

He’d like to write*

No one called me "chet" in Washington*
who call me Chet are the Grinnell people*
me Cheater*


The only people

M.L* Wilson calls

since my son is generally know as Chet, X think

1 prefer Chester*

l*m used to it*

My wife ealls me Chester*

This is another thing Grinnell did for me*

While I was

on the college paper I made the acquaintance of the men who
ran one of the Grinnell papers*

There were two papers and one

of the two was the old Grinnell Herald. The Herald editor
asked me if X would spend one summer as their reporter*


was at the end of the period when I had run the business end
of the college paper*

so I got a chance to work then under

some competent editorial direction*

I began to really learn

how to write a news story, how to write a head, how to make
up a paper*

So I worked that summer at that, the summer of

That was all the experience I had to take out to south
I gained plenty of experience in south Dakota*


I was fortunate in Aberdeen to fall under an editor who was
really competent, John Sanders*

Aberdeen was the place I went

after I had finished running the journal observer at Redfield*
That was in the interval between the two semesters of my senior

Meanwhile we had moved my family down to Grinnell*
mother was living there with us*


A day or two after graduation

I received a telegram from the Daily Hews asking if I would
come back*

So I went back up to Aberdeen and stayed there a

little while*

Then I had an offer from Miles City*

This is how my family happened to move to Grinnell*
My sister Idav the next oldest* had finished high, school,
taken a little teacher training work* and was teaching in a
hi$i school out in western Iowa*
finished high school*

My brother had not quite

He was three years younger than I*

Mother was living where my sister was out in Westside* Iowa*
I don’t know

how tbs idea developed in conversation, but I

figured that if the family would move down to Grinnell and
we could find a small place there, we could pool our efforts
and it would be possible for my sister* who was teaching but
had never gone to college, and my brother to go to college*
My younger brother wasn’t really out of high school yet*


took preparatory work in Grinnell to complete his work*


my mother moved down, and we found a small place there*


lived at home, and we all worked*

We supported my mother*

Prior to that, my sister had taken care of her with the help
of the other members of the family*

she had stayed with Ida*

but we had all contributed what we could*

when she came down

to Grrlnnell, Lewis worked and Ida worked and I worked.
three were In college my junior and senior years.
through school that way.

We all

They got

So I was at home when the wire came

asking me to go baek to Aberdeen.
I went to Aberdeen in June, 1911.
a short time, only for a month or so.

I worked there for

I had a wire from the

Miles City Star offering me what was a considerably better

In the meantime I had formed this plan.

My sister

Pearl and her husband were then located in Seattle where he
was practicing medicine.

They were good friends of Scott

Bons, who was publisher of the Seattle Fost-Intelligencer.
Between us we cooked up the idea that If I could get to
Seattle with some experience back of me, I could get on the
P.I. staff.

I had my eye on the West, but thought it would

be well to take it by jumps.

The first opening came with this

wire from Miles City, and X went over there and edited the
Miles City Star. A printer • a Uneotype operator • who had
been in Aberdeen had moved to Miles City, and he had told them
about me.

So the telegram came - as an offer* and X went over

This was the summer of 1911*
X stayed at Miles City and had typhoid fever that fall.

The people were awfully kind.

X had been in the doctor’s office on the street

picking up news.

It was Dr. J.H, Garberson’s office.

the Milwaukee surgeon there.

X was taken into the Sisters

He was

Miles City was the Milwaukee

division point.

I was in his office and he looked at me and

said9 "I'm going to take jour temperature.*

I had 106 degrees

temperature* and he shot me into the hospital*

I had typhoid

I hadn*t felt so good, but I hadn’t realised what it
That was the closest call I*re ever had, I suppose,

in the meantime, in Bozeman, Montana, two weekly papers had
both decided to start dailies.

I don’t know how the offer

came from Bozeman, but I had decided before I went to the
hospital that I was going to move on to Bozeman and had agreed
to come over when I could conveniently leave Miles City.
I really don’t know how my appointment at Bozeman came

They had heard something of me.

I had chances at that

time to go to both Bozeman and Missoula.

I was working west

toward Seattle, and had stopped at Bozeman for rather a trivial
reason, I suppose.

A boy \iicm I had known well in Grinnell was

going to college there, and I thought I’d just stop off at
Bozeman - being intermediate - and then take a chance of getting
on to Missoula later.

His name was George Roosevelt.

He was

sort of a distant cousin of the Roosevelt we heard of then the Theodore Roosevelts.

We had made the deal sometime before

for me to come there and work.

I had had an offer from them.

I don’t know who had told them of me.

They were starting a

little afternoon paper, the Bozeman Courier. The Avant Courier
had been the pioneer paper’s name, and the Avant had been

dropped long before I got there*

X had a lot of fun digging

into their issues of thirty-five years before*
January 1, 1912*

X got there

I created a "thirty-five years ago” column,

and combed each old weekly for enough to fill the six daily

X liked Bozeman very much*
The young county agent in Custer County, of which Miles

City was the county seat, was a man named M.L. Wilson*

I met

him there just once, and X don’t know that either one of us
remembers it clearly*
Miles City*

M.L. moved on to Bozeman then, from

But he had been the county agent in Custer County

• one of the original county agents out in that part of the

X remember his name very distinctly, but X don* t re­

member a meeting with M.L. until in Bozeman.
think we did meet in passing in Miles City*

But both of us
X wasn't there

very long, and he was leaving*
Th® Bozeman courier was a little afternoon daily.
7 was the news editor, and then editor*
to Butte, and X succeeded him as editor*


The editor moved on
Xt was just a little

daily newspaper with the "pony” United Press service*


Bozeman Chronicle had the morning field, with Associated Press

It had more resources, and it lasted in the dally
The Courier, after a year or so, dropped back to a
They couldn't make two dallies stick, and the one X

was on didn't stick*

I thought it was a wonderful town, with mountains hemming


you around*

When I came there, I walked up the main street of

Bozeman with snowbanks on either side higher than my head,
where they'd dug out*

But \iien you came to the intersection,

it almost seemed that just at the end of the street there
were the mountains*
not so good, now*

It was a great fishing place then*


The tourists have killed a lot of fish

since then*
I suppose the most important thing that happened there
was that I met my wife*

Her name was Helen Smith*

She had

returned from the kindergarten school she'd been attending in

it was the Christmas recess, just a year after l*d

arrived there - the Christmas of 1912*

A mutual friend

arranged a date, and we were married in August of *13*
The paper was a Republican paper*

in the election of

1912 it supported Theodore Roosevelt throughout the pre-convention campaign, but when the Bull Moose Party bolted the paper
stayed regular and supported william Howard Taft*

The owner,

a man named Henry Sears, determined the policies*

1 needed the job, and I wasn't interested in moving on
rigit then*

I wanted to stay a little longer in Bozeman*


had become interested in trout fishing and of course in 1913*
which was shortly after the election, I had met Helen, so that
was as far West as I ever got*
That was not unusual there*

We courted on fishing trips*

I put the paper to bed in the


^hen a friend who had an automobile would come

by with his current gal, and we'd be off to the canyons and

Wonderful fishing*

I stayed on because we were mar­

ried and her home was there, and remained there until 1917*
I met H.L. Wilson very shortly after I went up there.
I remember the first raseting well because I thought he was a
very brusque individual.

That was my first impression of him.

V,L, had called a number of the then fairly new county agents
in for a conference at the college, and X was scouting news
t&erever I could so X dropped out to see him.

X asked him

if there was any news about it and he assured me there wasn’t.
He wasn’t intentionally brusque, but he was busy and had a lot
on his mind.

X thought there was surely a story in it, so X

was a little persistent about it.
dig up much on that.


X recall it, X didn’t

But X came back thinking M.L. wasn’t

particularly cooperative.

I’d heard he was a very fine fellow.

We really didn’t begin to work together until, oh, probably
»ll|. or *15 *
The paper supported a straight Republican ticket.


wasn’t particularly active in tiie Samuel V. Stewart campaign.
I hadn’t been there very long.
or Interested in politics.

I wasn’t particularly active

I believed in T.R*

X wasn’t so

particularly interested, except as you get interested in team
play when you’re with a political newspaper*

But X wasn’t

particularly interested*

It seemed a foregone conclusion

that Woodrow Wilson was going to get elected, and I hadn't
been particularly interested in state politics - hadn't been
there long enough*
I think it was in 1913 that we went back on a weekly

I supplemented my income by corresponding for the

Butte Miner and the Montana Record-Herald in Helena*


of trying to establish a home, that was my main occupation*
I didn't start working with the college and with M.L. until
I think along in 191lt>«
M.L. started to use me in a very minor way.

He was

working with an association in the Twin Cities which was
interested in promoting better varieties of flax and better
flax culture*

M.L. wanted me to work with him in preparing

some posters, bulletins, and other material*
with him then*

I began working

1 think that was in 1911}- and *1$.

I know

it was in *1f> and then '16 that I used to go with him when
he'd go out to call on county agents*

I worked with the

new county agents to teach them how to write news stories how to get out their little Farm Bureau News*

The Farm

Bureaus were county organizations Intended solely to multiply
the effectiveness of the county agents and the extension workers
at that time*

The state Farm Bureau federations and the nation*

al federation didn't come along until several years later*


part of their extension movement* they issued these little
papers with perhaps four, sometimes six* and sometimes even
eight pages*

They were three-column affairs*

The eounty

agents welcomed a little help with make-up, news story style*
how to write headlines* and
with M.L. like that*

so forth*

l*d go out and work

Z did some work in helping edit some

bulletins* get them in a little more popular style*
in that way Z grew to know M.L** but our association
became much closer after Z had left Bozeman*
helped M.L. with three lines of work*

At Bozeman* Z

Z helped him with the

flax publicity* his work with the county agents on some of
their problems he thought Z could help them with* and with
some bulletins the college was putting out*

He wanted a

little help in trying to popularize them - putting them in
layman»s language*
I was just

X was not on the college payroll* at all*

working with M.L. and, to some extent* with some

other men at the college*

Zt was a friendly relationship and

it developed into a very important one*
Harry Hopkins and Z corresponded*

Z wanted to see if

Harry would be interested in coming out to edit the paper
which Hr* sears and Z had bought in the town adjacent to
Bozeman, Belgrade*

The town was just a wide place in the road*

but at that time when the small town was more important it was
the eenter of a very productive wheat area and general farming

Hr* Sears and Z finally traded that paper for a quarter

section of irrigated land over in park County*

I had another farm interest - you could never call it
a farm, however*
roe in Aberdeen*

A former college friend of mine had come to
He didn't have enough money to complete

filing on a desert claim he had wanted to acquire in Park

You could take a half section of land as a desert

claim and in three years time if you developed an Irrigation
system that brought water to a portion of the land you could
acquire title to it*

The residence wasn't so strict on the

desert claims as it was on the regular homesteads*
the money for his initial filing fee*

I advanced

He came back again and

again when I was in Aberdeen, and I staked him a little*


I went out to Bozeman I was in the county next door to him*
He finally proved up on it*

when our affair with Mexico

broke out, he was anxious to cut loose and realized then that
the f a m didn't amount to anything and couldn't be made to
amount to much*
money on it*

So I took it off his

hands and borrowed

So I had those two pieces of farm real estate

in park County*

Those were side issues that were not profitable*

1 didn't go over and live there*
leased to adjoining operators.

in both cases we

As soon as I saw the half

section I knew that it didn't have any possibilities*

I don't

know what sold him the idea except land hunger which was char­
acteristic of that period*

We had been brought up to believe

that all land was valuable and that the price could only go
in one direction, and that was up*
realized that

When I saw the land I

it couldn’t be made to amount to much*

was rough and broken - very little arable land on it*


imagine it’s now incorporated in a range operation for either
cattle or sheep up there*
Harry didn’t want to come out to edit the paper*
Appleby came*

I think Paul was on the loose then*

finished school*

He had

He also had been on the college paper*

had known of his work there*
running the paper*

There wasn't much

shortly after he left we traded it

Paul and I had no difficulty out there*

were good friends*


He came out and did a good job

He didn't stay long*

opportunity out there*
for this land*



I followed his career then when he was

publishing an lowa magazine*

I think J* Stuart Russell was

associated with him on that*

Stu is now the Des Moines

Register and Tribune farm editor*

Then Paul went to the Des

Moines Register as an editorial writer, and we corresponded
some then*

I rather lost track of Paul when he moved back to

Radford, Virginia, and I didn't see him again or hear from him
again until we showed up in the Department of Agriculture in
My acquaintance with the Non-Partisan League really
developed in 1917 and the

years following when I moved to

Great Falls to edit the Montana Faaaer* The Great Falls
Tribune had started the Montana Fawner some years before and

published ifc as a great big sheet - I think a seven-column
affair - with twelve pages, but not in the usual form for
a farm paper*

The editor, Harvey Griffin, had bougjht a ranch

in western Montana and was leaving the paper, so Hr* Oscar M*
Warden who was one of the partners who owned the Great Falls
Tribune property came over to Bozeman to talk to the people
at the college about an editor*

M.L* was the man Warden

wanted for his editor, and M.L* told him he wasn’t an editor
and dicta*t want to be but that there was a young fellow down
on the Courier who could do it*

After talking around at the

college, Warden came down to see me*
to go to Great Falls in April of 1917*

I accepted and agreed
Great Falls was more

nearly in eastern Montana than in west central Montana, as
Bozeman was*
I decided to go because it paid more and it was an

1 was still moving some, but in this case it looked

like a real opportunity to tackle something new and exciting*
But it was something about tfaich I had considerable misgivings*
You see, while I had been raised on a farm and all that, I
hadn't been technically trained in agriculture and my asso*»
ciations with farm organizations or farm people had not been
anything but just personal since I’d left school*
it really was an exciting change*


With M.L.'s assurance that

he»d stand by me and help me all the way, and with the feeling

that the people at the college were very friendly and very
cooperative, I made the move*

I was anxious to try out some­

thing else, which I still think was a good idea which worked
out pretty well*
I had an idea that the Montana Farmer was using too
much material that was in the form of canned stuff, more or
less, from the college - hand-outs*

Men from Montana State

College were most of the department editors*

I had an idea

that it vould be interesting to try to find out the farmers
and ranchers

who, themselves, were doing significant things,

and encourage them to write the story, or to try to get out
and see them and get it, myself*

I thought we should begin

to fill the paper more with communications from the famers
who were farming and doing these things than from the class­
rooms and experiment station*
I think it paid off*

I think it was a good move*

we changed the paper into the then

standard fana paper format - magazine style - somewhat like
Wallaces* Parmer is today*
Shortly after I went up there the manager left, and
they made me editor and manager*

I enjoyed it a lot*

It was a very interesting

My wife liked it very much* she

always has been slow to make changes, and has always been
sort of a rebel against her environment the first few years
after we have moved*

Since we've moved frequently, it means

that she*s constantly In an uproar*
It was out on the

Great Palls was windy*

edge of the Ore at plains, and it was new*

Before she left there she loved it*

She wouldn*t have

wanted to return to Bozeman, hut she found plenty to com­
plain about in Great Palls*
she was living there*

I think she liked Montana while

I don *t think she would want to go

I know she wouldn»t*

tine up there*

I’d like to spend part of ay

My father-in-law has some ranches up there

which are down in the valley and which are crossed by some
spring creeks, as we call them - that is, spring-fed creeks
that don’t freeze over.

They are magnificent for the eastern

brook and German brown trout*

It’s some of the best fishing

Nobody’s fished it ,-iuch.

I always felt that it would

be a wonderful thing to take the lower place where the creek,
Bull Hun, crossed, and then feed out of Bull Hun into a joodsized pond.

Watercress just grows naturally around there, and

I could develop a lot of taste trout right in my front yard*
I’d like to have that as a summer place, and go up there for
a few aontiis in the summer*
While I was up there I had plenty of time to fish*
Bozeman was a small town*

Even when the paper was a dally,

we’d go to press always before four o ’clock*
north there, and stayed light a long tix&e*

It’s a little
It would just

take a few ir-inutes to get out into the canyons, and you could
have your line in the water shortly before five o ’clock.


would do that two or three times a week, and then on Saturdays
and Sundays*

I didn't get so much fishing in at Great Palls*

It was a little farther and I was working harder*

Things were

no re exacting*

You know, a job gets to be sort of routine

after a while*

You develop your sources of news and they

feed it to you*

That, I think, was one reason why I was so

Interested in taking that Great Falls job*

It was new and

different from just another job for a dally newspaper man*
Out in Montana you didn't play golf*

The outdoors was there*

Fishing was a perfectly natural thing, and I did enjoy it
One of ray great regrets at Miles City was that

I was

so busy trying to make an eastern standard newspaper stand up
in that town that I didn't really get out and get the flavor
of one of the last remaining cow towns*
real cow town*

At the time it was a

Freighters loaded up in the middle of Miles

City's main street with twelve, sixteen horses, for a trip
to ranches 150 miles out*
cow punchers were in there*

The ranchers were in and out* The
The saloons had thrown their

keys away - that's the way they put it*

They never locked

Miles City was just full of colorful characters, and I

was so busy trying to run a newspaper just as I would back
in Sioux City or Bes Ttfoines, Iowa, that I didn't get to enjoy

Well, at Bozeman I got more fun out of it*

It was a

lot of fun*

I always regretted that I didn't get the feel

of Charlie Russell's vest*
in Great Palls* later*

I got to know Charlie Russell

But Miles City vas a plaee to really

experience that - to get out and ride - get out on the ranches*
They were a very hospitable people*
I did do at Bozeman what X wish I'd done at Miles City,
except Bozeman didn't have the same atmosphere*
a cow town*

Bozeman was an irrigated valley*

community and a college town*

It wasn't
It was a farming

The fishing there was new to me*

I had never done anything except what you call still fishing
on a lake or in Coon River, Iowa*
The offer of the job at Great Falls attracted me and
challenged me*

It was very exciting*

It was the kind of thing

I didn't know whether or not 1 could do*

I was not a trained

I had always assumed that to be editor of a

farm paper you should be expert in something.
out all right.

But it worked

X think that the four years X was editor of

the Montana Parmer I was successful.

X think the paper devel­

oped and grew, and X know X had as much fun out of that as out
of anything I've ever done in my life.

I got to know the farm

and ranch people over the state very well, and enjoyed it
I don't know if I considered very much the significance
of the trade for the job in Great Falls*

I knew what I was

acquiring, and that was a feeling of being in touch with things

of greater reality than I had been in touch with on the daily

The newspaper reporter deals with passing events* but

when I got to dealing with the problems of making that new
land productive* 1 felt I was in touch with something of
greater reality, something more tangible and substantial*
It was a new country*

You see* the great flood of popula­

tion had opened up the range land*
settled onto it*

They were just getting

They were having some fine years* which

subsequently turned into poor years*

There was a feeling

of growth and expansion and adventure in the uhole farm field
at that time*
The Non-Partisan League had been developing in North
Dakota - western North Dakota* particularly* right adjacent
to the eastern Montana line* so of course it spread over Into
eastern Montana*

When the first signs came on the horizon

that dry-land farming wasn't all that the railroad circulars
had made it appear to be* why of course the Non-Partisan
League began to spread*

1 attended a number of their conven­

Several were held in Great Falls*
The farmers* organisations* right at that time* were

the Society of Equity* and the Farmers union* and the Farm

One of the first things I did with the Montana Farmer

was to get the existing farm organizations* except Equity
which had its own paper* to make the Montana Farmer their

official paper, and I told them I'd give them apace in it for
reporting their doings, and so forth.

I then encouraged the

development of a lot of breed associations, livestock asso­
ciations, Which also was extremely interesting.

The purebred

livestock boom was on, and the bubble didn't break until the
early twenties.

There was this speculative business of the

breeders going to each others' sales and bidding up the
prices, and the outsider got rooked when he got in because
the price level was artificial.

The artificiality was not

as apparent to me then as it is now.

It was exciting to

attend the sales and have bids sent in which you could handle,
and so forth, and to build up advertising.
It really was exciting to build up that newspaper.
You had the feeling that you were really creating something.
It confirmed the hunch I'd had before that it isn't necessary
to confess your ignorance at every turn, that if you just kept
still in farming circles you could get by with the reputation
of greater wisdom than you possessed.
diligent to learn all 1 could.

In the meantime, I was

It was quite fun.

It also

broke down my unwillingness to make a public talk, because
it soon became apparent that I had to talk.

And so I used

to talk, although it was agony - believe me I But it was
training that I wouldn't have had, otherwise.
I ever got over my fear.

I never got

I don't think

over the point where

making a talk wasn*t a matter of some concern to me*

I always

thought, "Well, now, will this be the time you*re going to make
a total flop and be unable to talk?" which had been my horror
before I ever made one*
One of my most amusing experiences was my first one at

They have a semi-pro fire department with a few

salaried men, and the rest volunteer*

To honor the organisation,

business men put on a firemen*s social session annually* Shortly
after I went to Bozeman i was asked to speak on their program
at the soeial session*

It's a pretty gay affair*

as all Montana towns were, was very free


with liquor, and

the soeial session was high, wide, and handsome*

Sober talk

wouldn't go, so I had spent a great deal of time working out
a parody in the sense of just twisting the characters of the
prominent people precisely in reverse as nearly as I could,
and then telling a story as seriously as 1 could*
up around some foolish thing or other*
if I didn't forget it*

It was built

I knew it was all right

In casting ahead, 1 felt probably the

biggest danger would be that my mouth would get dry and then
it'd be difficult to talk*

So, without testing it I thought

if I just chewed gum without any ostentation I'd keep the
saliva flowing and get along fine*

The talk went over big -

the first part of it - and they were really cheering and
whooping and hollering*

Everybody was in a mood to laugh*

Then to my horror I realized that my mouth had gone dry, and
I still had that chewing gum there.

I forced the words out,

but it became an absolute muscular test of whether my tongue
could tear loose*

I finally absolutely gummed down and had

to stop and ream my mouth out before I could finish.
was quite an experience*


I didn't repeat the gum-chewing

I don't recommend that anyone else try it*

There were ludicrous things about this business of learning
to get up and talk*

I subsequently have had to do a great

deal of it, but it was in the Montana Parmer days that I did
more of it*
in the meantime, of course, I saw a lot of Wilson*
worked with him a lot*


He counselled me on the important

We worked together*

He was an enormous help* Wilson

was a great man to me, from the first time I really got to
know him, on through*

He is a man who has continued to grow,

but he was a big man in his interests and in his human qual­
ities right from the beginning*
Montana, even in those


He was an institution in
There have been fewer funda­

mental changes in Wilson than one would think possible*


then had the same curiosity, the same interest in many divergent

He was a man of broad interests then, just as he is now*

He was interested in the causes of human behavior*

His was

interested in how to get at those causes and produce desires

for change.

He was already one of the leading amateur col­

lectors of Llncolnla in the country*

He lost in the fire

at the homestead at Fallon* Montana* what was a very valuable
Lincoln library*

I think there were 800 volumes, or some­

thing like that* and articles* and so forth* lost in the fire

That was Wilson of that time*

He continued to develop*

He was a great student of the American Indian and a collector
of artifacts*

He was well informed about the Indian*


knew and appraised agricultural movements in a way that was
fascinating to ms*

All those things that mark Wilson as the

elder statesman marked him then as a very young man*
I have great admiration for him* which really is affec­

Of course* I have the sense that probably more than any

other individual Wilson has marksd and changed the course of
my entire life*

There was time after time when* during impor­

tant changes* Wilson was on the scene and was an important

My sister and my brother-in-law and M.L* Wilson* un­

doubtedly, and George Peek were the outstanding people who had
an influence on my life*

Wilson has to be at the top of the

list* really*
I was always interested in his philosophical discourses*
We had a mutual friend* Uncle Sam Hampton* who used to make

I hired him on the Montana Farmer to go out and

attend farm meetings and try to increase circulation*


Sam used to tell me, and I think he told M.L* the same thing
repeatedly, "Now hang the fodder low.

You boys are likely

to get out there and pitch it too high*

Hang the fodder low*11

I had no difficulty, because I guess I naturally thought low*
I always thought M.L* did "pitch it low1* - keep it within

I had no difficulty talking to farm groups*

I don't

think that I stood still for M.L. long, or that he wasted
much time on me*

l*d talk to M.L. about problems of action*

Then when he would discourse on other lines, that was Jugt
so much net gain*

But we'd get the action advice, all right,

because M.L. also has been a man of action*

At the same time,

he's deepened and enriched his philosophy and his grasp of
human behavior*
He's the one who said that I must move from Bozeman to
Great Palls*

He said, "You must do it*

You can do it, and

the paper needs life and you ought to get up there and do it."
He wouldn't, and I was the next choice and so I did it*


was the same way with the next job I took, as head of the
state department of agriculture *

I thought the move to Great

Falls was a move on into a new and interesting field* and a
more responsible field,

it was an advance in income*

an opportunity which the Bozeman Courier didn*t offer*

It was

was an opportunity to move on, with a risk which now attended
it since I had a wife and a son at that time*

My Seattle

ambition disappeared after I got to Great Falls*


I suppose, if this opportunity hadn't come along I would have
attempted to move on to Spokane, probably*

I knew we »d get

out of Bozeman - I hadn't intended to stay there all my life*
It was a pleasant place, however, and I wasn't in any par­
ticular hurry to go.

It was a lot of fun*

I wanted interesting work and some escape from the
extremely tight budgets on which we operated in Bozeman.
had had poverty in my childhood.


Bozeman had a few wealthy

people, but most of the young people with whom we were asso­
ciated, as the phrase goes, "did their own workn - all of
them did - so we weren't conscious of poverty.

On a gross

income of not to exceed $l}.0*00 a week, i&ichwas about what
I scraped up with my correspondence and from the paper at
Bozeman, we weren't buying any fc.russ*
a farm to go on a farm.

I wasn't about to buy

I used to go down with my father-in-

law frequently to the ranch and walk over it and talk about
his problems with him.

I was not particularly concerned, ex­

cept as a family proposition*

My wife says it bored me*


likes to remind me that my trips with the doctor and tramping
over the raneh bored me.
me, too.

It bored her, and she says it bored

I suppose it did*

Farming was not much in my think­

ing then*

There were opportunities to go into business that would

have been the right choices from the standpoint of income*
Money isn’t a prime consideration in the life of any civil
servant* and if you're doing your job you just don*t think
about your personal affairs*

I know during the thirties and

forties I paid no attention* whatever* to investments*
wasn’t interested in the up's and down's*


I had had my

fingers burned once in the late twenties when l*d tried to
figure what wheat was going to do*

it was really in the

early thirties*
interesting work and challenging work are the things
that have concerned me*
can do something or not*


challenge is a test of whether you
I have tackled jobs all along which

I felt were probably beyond me*

That's a challenging thing -

to see whether you can ride the horse or not*

I think more

young people tend to be diffident than overconfident* to be
more doubtful of their capacity than assured of it*

I have

always tried to dress up and give them "Dopey” Mcllrath's
advice to me - don't ever admit for a minute in your mind*
or to let anybody see it* that you can't do any job that comes

But it's interesting to have it put to the test*


don't care for a job after it becomes largely routine* unless
it carries with it the opportunity for outside activities that
are purposeful and exciting*

Now* I think I could have stayed

as president of the Federal Reserve bank of St* Louis as long

as they would have kept me and would have been extremely busy,
because the opportunity there to participate in movements for
the economic development of that interesting part of the
United States was endless, and it was something Federal Reserve
banks have not ordinarily done*
X wasn't motivated by causes, unless participating in
the better use and development of resources is a cause*


is the thing that X have probably been more interested in the
last fifteen years than anything else*

There was some of it

in the Triple-A# although we were primarily concerned with

Later in the Federal Reserve system there was this

opportunity to activate bankers to use the leadership they
naturally possessed to promote the better development and the
wiser use of the resources in their communities.

I don't

know whether that *s a cause, or not, but it was an objective
that was very interesting*

For me, the trouble with, "causes”

has been that X always see the other side of the thing*
just isn’t all one side*


That is a handicap to the leader

of a cause, all right * You’ve got to be singleminded - almost
fanatically so - to lead a cause*
voted to a cause*

X have never been that de­

X can see the weaknesses in many of the

things that I was active in*
I think the owners of the Montana Farmer were proud
of what happened*

I think they watched with kind of an

amused tolerance while we were getting it underway.

They took

great pride in the property that the paper developed into.


became* and still is* a very good piece of the Great Falls
Tribune property.

Hr. Warden is dead now.

He's a boy who

came out from New England to Great Falls.

He and William

Bole bought and developed that property.

Both of them were

New Englanders.
The Non-Partisan League interested me very much.
sympathized with what they were getting at.


I thought that

the leaders were using pretty bad tactics in selling their
bill of goods by personalizing the business man whom the
farmer dealt with as the devil and the cause of all his mis­

Yet* on the other hand* I felt equally critical of

the grain trade and the state chambers of commerce* and so
forth* for their aloof* patronizing and superior attitude
with respect to the farmers.

There were ways in which they

should have joined hands* but the business leadership was not
smart, either.

I think the Non-partisan League was a fairly

normal development.

It used to shock me sometimes to discuss

with some of the fanner members - many were not paid leaders*
or anything of the kind - and realize how far they accepted
the completely socialistic doctrine.

It used to shock me that

some of those Scandinavian farmers and others who were develop­
ing pretty good farms up there did not have the pride in

ownership of land that I'd expected*

We'd get to discussing

what the state ought to do* and I'd contend that there was
some virtue in their doing it for themselves - individually
and cooperatively*
farmer's pride

The reliance I had sort of had on the

of ownership of his land was rudely shocked

The Montana Fanner never fought the Hon-Partisan League*
We reported* as news events, most of the developments*


think we treated them sympathetically rather than scornfully,
but we didn't buy their bill of goods*

I don't know whether

I consciously determined that socialism was not for me*
didn't appeal to me*


It didn't seem to make sense, as far as

the farmers were concerned*

On the other hand, we were trying

to strengthen and develop the cooperatives as much as possible
up there*

That seemed the hopeful way rather than state owner-

They had many hard times in the grain co-ops there in

Mont ana, and there were a lot of things to complain about*


were producing at that time a very high protein wheat in

It was dry-land wheat with a high protein content*

The grades on which it was bought and sold didn't really re­
flect the inherent values, the premiums, which the high protein
wheat bought*

There was the natural complaint against the

Montana millers that they bought their wheat at Twin City
prices, minus freight, but sold the flour on a competitive

basis with outside flour.

Well, looking back on it, I don’t

think any of the flour millers were getting rich from the
deal, but you can understand how the farmers felt.


heard the same story all my life about packers, but pro*
motion of a full-grown new local packing institution gener­
ally fails.

The farmers feel they ought to be able to pay

the high price for the hogs and then sell the product cheaper
than the outside product.

Well, it doesn't really work that

I had nothing personally to do with the tfon-Partisan


I met and knew and talked with, most of the leaders,

at one time or another, but 1 was a little skeptical about
that quick and easy way to settle the difference.
The crop failure that followed 1912, of course, gave
impetus to the Non-partisan League.

Followed by years that

were better in some respects, worse in others, it really
brought the Montana farmers and ranchers into a pretty tough
condition by 1921. These people had come from all over the
Middle west and settled on homesteads, plowed up that wonder­

ful prairie land, and had great June rainfalls and great crops
for several years.

Then before 1 left the state, there were

winters and seasons wher«» well-educated people who had moved
into the state with something of a stake, walked off and left
it, where their families pieced out their meat with gophers,
and underwent real hardships,

^hose were tough times.


subsequently led us all to search for some activity that could
bring prices


We were struggling with the problem of get­

ting markets that would refleet the true value of our wheat,
for example, but the movement hadn't developed*

With the

Non-partisan League churning all around you, you were natural­
ly thinking of what could be done*

It really didn’t hit

Montana as a real problem until the break in prices in '20
and ’21 *
The Non-Partisan League continued*

Lynn Fraser was

Non-Partisan League governor of the state*

It continued all

through the period in Which I was commissioner of agriculture *
Fraser was in North Dakota*

Samuel V* Stewart during the war

years, and he called one of the first conferences I attended
on emergency relief for some areas that had been hard hit by
the *1 ? drought*
There isn’t much to my story on up to 1920*

It is just

one of growth and development of the paper, and my increasing
awareness that the farm problems weren’t simple*

I was aware

that we had sane years of trouble ahead of us in Montana*
course, there was a war on*
in that period*


I made my first trip to Washington

David F. Houston was secretary of Agriculture,

and he called the farm paper editors in for a conference, which
was quite an exciting adventure for me*
*17 or *18*

It was November*

That was either in

The man I teamed up with more

than anybody else was Ben Lawshe, who came down representing
the Dakota farmer.

Ben and I went on into New York together.

It was the first time l*d seen Hew York.

I never have liked

New York, but it was a tremendous excitement and I suppose I
did more sight-seeing around Hew York than l»ve done subse­
It was an interesting experience meeting the farm
paper men*

I particularly remember Clifford V. Gregory.

was the first time l*d met Cliff.

Carl Williams was another

who was very vocal and aetive in this meeting.
the Oklahoma Parmer.


He represented

He was a member of the Federal Board

I remember George Irving Christie, who was Assistant

Secretary of Agriculture, impressed roe as quite a finished

I met Chester Morrill.

in the department.

Christie was with Houston

I went in to talk to Morrill and, I think,

to Charles J. Brand about grain grades.

Chester Morrill was

in the department, and was Interested in grain grades and grain

That was something I was very much interested in, so

I went to talk to him about some of our problems.

I sat in and

listened while he was holding a hearing, I remember, on rye

Of course, I got to know Chester very well in the

Federal Reserve organisation later.
Department of Agriculture then.

But he was in the

He was important in the grain

standards, packing, stockyards, and the regulatory activities.

I thought of packers and stockyards in connection with
Chester Morrill because of this development:

Henry C* Wallace,

who was the Secretary in the Warren G. Harding Cabinet, subse­
quently offered me a position in the Department which would
have combined the packer and stockyards and the grain standards
into one*

He wanted to bring all the enforcement agencies

ISbrrill, at that time, had part of it*

That is the

reason why I identified Morrill with packers and stockyards
back in that first meeting*

But I’m sure he was associated

with the grain standards at that time as well*
I thought Charles J* Brand was a very imposing looking

He was a good egg - but very pompous*

highly of Charles*

I thought

He was that sort, but fundamentally he was

an awfully nice fellow*

I don’t think he was a good adminis­

trator, although he had a reputation for being one*

In our

Triple-A set-up he proved to be a terrific bottleneck*

I had

told Henry A* Wallace that he would be*
X didn’t meet Henry A* Wallace in 1917 » and I don’t
think his father attended that meeting*

I don’t remember who

represented Wallaces’ Parmer. I’m sure Henry A* didn’t, because
Henry A* in the early years when X was beginning to become
acquainted was more of a retiring economist - statistician type*
He was not active in the editorship of the paper*
was, at that time.

His father

I don’t recall who was there for Wallaces *


I don*t think Donald B* Murphy was*

I had gone to

school with Don*s brother» and his name would have impressed

M.L. didn’t go#

There were just representatives of farm

I met W.J* Spillman*

X think M.L. assisted me in my

hotel reservation, and he had given me notes of introduction
to the man who was in charge of the division of extension
into which Montana fell*

His name, I’m sure, was Lloyd*


saw a little more of Spillman later, but Spillman and Lloyd
I met in the Department, all right, at that time*

X confuse

what I'd heard and read of Spillman a little bit, although 1
have a very clear picture of Spillman in my mind as I saw him
and talked with him*

He was somewhat like John D. Black -

kindly and a little painstaking* slow* and interested in young

1 had the feeling that he was quite interested in our

problems in Montana*
X got to know Henry C* Taylor so well in the ftwenties
that X am not sure that X met him at that time*

$y first

associations with H.C . Taylor are closely tied up with Henry
C. Wallace* in 192lj. in Montana and a great deal in Washington*
too* in ’2l| - late *23 and *2lj.* X doubt if I saw Henry Taylor
in 1917*
The Department fascinated me*

There was a dignity about

the old red brick building where the Secretary was then housed*

Of course, this was all new and quite glamorous to SB*
some time* when X could* up on the Hill.
esting to see it in operation*

X spent

That was very inter­

That*s* X suppose* a boy*s

normal reaction to coming into the nation*s capital about
which so many pictures had already formed*
that X*d like to be in Washington*
in political history*

X always felt

X always had an interest

X used to read it a great deal*


me, it never occurred to me that X would be in Washington but
X thought it was a wonderful place*

There used to be. a diction­

ary of American politics that m s published*
high school days* and it was a Bible*

I acquired one in

My grandfather raised me

on Coin Harvey1s literature in the ’96 campaign*

Ird always

been interested in politics* but X think most boys are*
never formulated itself in a program*
terms of my being in government*

X wasn't thinking in

X just thought it was a

wonderful place and a wonderful thing


for the men who were

X didnft take the next step and say* *lfow maybe some*

day you* 11 be down here*®

That never occurred to me*

t should

say it didn*t!I
When X made the visit to Washington* X was still thinking in terms of being an editor*

That was fairly early in my

period with the Montana Farmer* and X was very anxious to do
something there*

We were concerned with working out cooperative

arrangements with a number of farm papers • the Paeifie-Borthwest

Parm 5?rio and other farm papers - not in the standard farm
paper group of Wallaces1 Farmer* Prairie Farmer, and so forth*
I was beginning to work on that*

fhis was to promote the use

of state farm papers by national advertisers* and then to con­
sider other problems of common interest*
snail publishers group.

It was sort of a

I was concerned with an increase in

our advertising as well as I was with policy, because I had
the responsibility for both on the Montana Farmer* It was a
new paper* and to get on the national advertising lists is
quite a struggle*

Then you have* of course* the competition

with the national farm papers for the place in the advertiser*®

You can make more of an impression if you're joined

up with a bloc of states and sell a whole area* than if you're
trying to maintain yourself individually*
on that at the time.

So we were working

I was very much concerned with the prob­

lems of the Montana farmer* and it never occurred to me that
I'd be going back to Washington someday*
We got our national advertisers*

We started the asso­

ciation that's since changed and strengthened*

She Montana

Fanner is on the good lists and is doing very well now*


Hockv Mountain Hews was one of our competitors. It was pub­
lished by an old man R.H. Sutherland* who was really a relic
out of the pioneer days*

He was a kindly old gentleman.

was a weekly farm paper published in Great Falls*


Then there

was the Montana stnckman and Farmer, It was published in
Helena* OTOied by the Record there.

It was competition,

Wallaces1 Farmer and Prairie Farmer had no circulation out

The nationals did - Dakota Farmer did* 3 ome,


catered to the purebred livestock people* and conditions were
sufficiently alike that Dakota Farmer had quite a large circu­
lation there.

The Pacific-Northwest Trio and the Washington

Farmer got over in western Montana,

I think, by the tine I

left, we had pretty veil taken over the field*

Montana has

big average farm holdings, and its population is low.

So we

didn’t have many farm families to work with, but wo had a
high percentage of them as readers and they have a very high
percentage today.

We became a member of what is called the

Audit Bureau of Circulation so that we would have a bona fide
audited circulation figure to give to advertisers.

That had

not been true before, so a comparison with the figures before
I came would not be on the same basis,

It*s my impression

that by the time I left we*d approximately doubled our circu­

It wasn't a big circulation.

was sixteen, eighteen thousand*

Perhaps when I left it

Perhaps now it is 30*000,

Tbs advertising had gone up more than the circulation,
the publishers were satisfied,

I think

I was*

Montana was the period when I became acquainted with
the farm people*

I met P*V, Cardon.

He was a very attractive

person who was quit© a friend of M.L. 1s • He was extreiaBly

The Moccasin Experiment Station was not too far

from Great Falls* and it used to be fascinating to go dora.
there and see him*

My impression was that he was a very

finished operator*

I had a high regard for him.

articulate and knew what he was trying to do.
Impression of him.

He was

®iat was my

Cardon and Wilson were different*


comprehended the research mind* hut he wasn't a researcher*
himself, and Cardon was a research man, interested in research
in the proper sense*

S3 really understood the function of an

experiment station* I thought* I learned a great deal from him*

1 suppose* in a sense* I was the man at that time who
took what both of them had to say and sort of put it out*


was unknown land to me, and these men who were responsible in
their positions at that time* like M.L. and Cardon* looked
like pretty finished performers to me*

It was new land to

both of them* too* but the difference was that they had been
trained for this line of work and I hadn't*
in agriculture*

They were trained

That accounts, some* for my lack of assurance

and my admiration of the men who had the basis for assurance
in it*
I wish 1 could have gone to war*

We had two babies*

and my wife had a cist or tumor which she had developed with
my older son*

We were too inexperienced to understand it* so

the child and the tumor amounted to almost half her total weight

when the child was bom*
far from well*

She’s a small woman, and it left her

And our second child was on the way right at

the peak of the war*

Her father delivered both boys*


jay urging, he insisted upon performing the surgery after our
first child was bom*
after the baby cams*
her health*

He hadn’t told us about the tumor until
Xt left her so we were concerned over

I’ve always had the feeling* that anybody would

have* that your boys someday are going to ask you* "Where were
you in 1917, 1918, and so forth?"

X didn’t join up*


draft had passed me up simply on the ground of the family
situation* and X didn’t volunteer*
X remember the elction of 1920 very keenly#

Shat was

the year* of course# in which Burton E* Wheeler was nominated
by the Democratic party with the endorsement and support of
the Non-Partisan League*

Joseph H* Dixon, who had been United

States Senator from Montana* had retired*

Be owned a control­

ling interest in the Daily Missoulian* and had a dairy ranch
at the foot of Flathead Lake at Poison in a beautiful place
there *

Joe Dixon had come out of retirement* and all of us

younger men were thrilled*

My chief impression of that cam­

paign can be summed up in the word disappointment * X was
disappointed# after Dixon was nominated by the Republican party,
in the nature of his campaign against Burt Wheeler * much* X

think, as followers of Dwight D. Eisenhower felt during the
campaign against Adlai Stevenson after he had secured the

The Eisenhower supporters had zeal and crusading

enthusiasm up to the Chicago convention, and there was &
feeling of disappointment and flattening out in the campaign
as it proceeded*

Stevenson made a magnificent impression*

Bte made talks that were impressive, and Eisenhower was some*
what disappointing*
expected so much*

It was that way with Dixon.

I guess we

He made what struck me as a very mediocre

instead of fiery campaign*

He wasn’t promising that he was

going to do anything and everything and set the state right*
Montana, of course, was a metal-mining state from terri­
torial days on*

The Montana constitution had been written*

understandably enough, by men who were friendly to the develop­
ment of the copper industry*
terms I can*

That's putting it in the gentlest

Written into the constitution were all the safe­

guards that can possibly be imagined which made, many of us
felt, an inequitable distribution of tax load*

The owner of

real property was getting socked - farmers and home-owners and
all that*

Incomes were not taxed*

The metal mines taxation

system, safeguarded in the constitution, was a perfect insurance
against mining companies being required to carry the portion of
the load that was proportionate to their returns*

The Anaconda

Copper Company (ACM) had been caught up, I think, in its own

political machine so that it was more or less helpless to

They bad felt for years that the way to play the

game was to control the nominees of both parties# and they
generally had succeeded.

When Burt Wheeler was nominated

by the Democrats with the backing of the Non-Partisan League
that was anathema*

When Dixon was nominated by the Republicans*

that was very little better*

Be was not their choice*


between Burt Wheeler, with the Non-Partisan League - the devil
- on his back - which just sent cold chills running up and
down the backs of the merchants and business men of Montana and Joe Dixon* why the company had no choice*

It had to

support Dixon in the campaign*
We wanted Dixon’s campaign to be about the equalisation
of taxes* but that was played down very very much*

X remember

making an appointment and going to see him at the Placer Hotel
in Helena, one time*

Of course* I was not in politics*

Montana Farmer was completely nonpolitical*


The Montana Farmer

was owned by a paper which was Democratic* the Great Falls
Tribune. which was one of the leading Democratic papers*


had hoped for so much from Dixon that I made an appointment and
went up to see him in his hotel room*

I just screwed up ay

courage and told him I was !g t-down and disappointed by his
campaign* and that many of the younger men of the state felt
the same way*

X said that here we had hoped for so much from

him in the way of leadership, and he was putting on a campaign
that was not offensive to the most conservative people there*
I said that Burt Wheeler, on the other hand, was out-promising
the moon*

Dixon was a chain cigarette smoker, and he started

walking up and down the hotel room, puffing away, not at all
angry but interested*
When I got through he said, "Well, now, Chester, let
me tell you something.

Let me just give you a little lesson

in practical politics here and now.

Do you think I could get

anywhere in this election by trying to out-Non-Partis an League
Burt Wheeler?

I sean, now just ask yourself that question."

He said, "I’ll answer it for you.

1 couldn’t.

She company

didn’t want as as the nominee• They don’t want me now
as governor.

The company didn’t want me nominated, and they

don’t want me elected.

Bat they have to go along with, the

conservative elements of this state, which just can’t take

They just feel they can’t take the 13on*Partisan

League, and so the company is in a fix.

How, ay job is to

carry on this campaign in a way that promises them nothing*
You haven’t seen me signing anything away.

But on the other

hand, I’ve got to get the votes of the conservative element
of this state or I won’t be elected.

That’s all there is to


I went away somewhat reassured, but still thinking he

ought to make a few faces at them*

When he was elected and

delivered his message to the state legislature, it was a
bombshell I He really went from start to finish, and he lined
up the things that Montana needed, most of them requiring
constitutional amendments • They started with the metal mines
tax and a call for a permanent and independent tax commission*
The tax commission was ex officio then, and if you got the
secretary of state and the governor and the state auditor
elected, why then you had the state tax commission because
they were its members*

He had plans for a severance tax on

the metal mines and a tax on the development of hydroelectric
power, and so forth*

It was a complete revision of the tax

system together with some other reforms the state needed* The
other reforms were mainly in the direction of a shorter ballot,
with more responsibility centered on the governor and less on
elective officers who made up boards and commissions that
really controlled the state*

It was to me an electrifying

document, and the Montana Farmer carried an editorial on that,
which hailed it as a great event, without consulting the owners
of the Tribune * It was to me#

It was a great one*

Dixon in his campaign had promised, among other things,
the creation of a strong department of agriculture, combining
all of the state activities that dealt with agriculture• I
thought he had stressed it too much because he made it the

center of bis agricultural policy*

He promised, as he put it,

to go out and get the ablest man he could find In the state and
pay liia enough to get him, and to build up a real department of
agriculture that would do great things for the farmers and
ranchers of the state*

That sounded to me like promising a

great deal for a department, but on the whole his message was
a good one*

He had campaigned on this department of agriculture

Our paper didn’t support anybody*

It was a farm paper*

and as such we didn’t take a partisan attitude, but I did write
an editorial on his first message* with a great deal of satis­
The commissioner of agriculture business actually didn’t
develop until after Dixon’s message - after he’d taken office
and things had drifted along*

It was in March before the gov­

ernor reached the point where he was trying to make a choice*
I probably had a talk with M.L. back in December*
member that talk*

I remember this*

I don’t re­

M.L* and I had talked a

number of times and I had told M.L. and I had told Governor
Dixon that Wilson was the man who had to be the commissioner
of agriculture*

It was true that I had no idea of doing any­

thing but running the paper in Great Palls - it was true right
up until the evening that he locked M.L* and me in the room*


have no doubt that M.L. and 1 discussed what the governor was
intending to do and the fact that he was looking for a man, but

I don’t remember that conversation as having anything to do
with me*

It never occurred to me at all that I would be

Commissioner of Agriculture»
one, all the way through*

1 thought of M.L* as being the

All during the campaign I'd figured

that M*L* should be chosen*

So we may have discussed it and

discussed who would be the man*

1 know X had conveyed to the

governor my feeling that Wilson was the man to take it*
I had not had a great deal of contact with the governor*
I had gone up to see him at the state house when I was going
through# to discuss this question with him*
about M*L*

That was early*

I talked to him

Then on another occasion when 1

had to go to Bozeman to deliver the commencement address for
the short course graduates - I’m sure that was in March - 1
stopped to see the governor*

I think he had called me and

asked me to stop by and see him*

I talked to him about Wilson

again and he said* "Well, M.L,, unless we can make him change
his mind, won’t take it.”
I said* "I know he’s not seeking it but I believe he *11
take it*"
»Io,B he said, "he won’t*

What do you think of George

M* Lewis of Manhattan^" George Lewis ran the Manhattan Ranch

He was a graduate of Dartmouth, I think, and a very

strong liberal and a well-informed man*

I said, "If M.L* won’t take It, I think George Lewis

would be wonderful,®
He said, "Well, I think so, myself*

Wilson won’t take

I'm going to try Lewis•”
I said, "He’d be a good appointment *"

Ha had been one

of Dixon's strongest supporters in the 1912 campaign when T.B*
was the candidate*

He'd followed Dixon all the way through*

So I went over and made ay pitch at the graduating exer­
cises • I was on the street downtown when I was called to the
telephone office, which was just off main street*

It was a

long-distance call, and it was Dixon*

He said, "Can you get

on the train and come right back here?

It looks as if the

aantle on this thing is going to have to fall on you.”
I told him, "Well, now, it just sure isn't*"
really became concerned about Wilson*

Then I

I said, "Let's get

Wilson in there and let’s make him take it*”
"Well," he said, "I’d love to have M.L., I’d love to
have you, but the point is we’re going to have to name some­
body and name him right away*"

M*L* was up in eastern Montana

in Plentywood, I think - clear up in northeastern Montana.


got him on the phone and he arranged to come right in and I
arranged to m e t him at Great Falls so we could ride in to
Helena together and talk this over*



We came down on

the train and went to the governor’s house after dinner*


governor came in and we talked about the state of affairs*
pleasantly, in a little library that he had there*


he arose and he excused himself and said, "Now, I’m going to
go and leave you two gentlemen here, and when you comb out 1
want you to tell me which one *s going to be the Commissioner
of Agriculture because I’m going to name him in the morning*
It's one of you two, and you’ve got to fight it out between
M.L. and I sat and looked at each other*
member the conversation*
take it*

I don’t re­

1 know this*that Wilson would not

He would not take it*

He felt that his life work

was in education, and he did not want to get over in an ad*
minis trative job of this sort*

He reassured me that I eould

do the job and do it successfully, and he was insistent that
I should*

She upshot was that he wouldn’t and I could take

it * I was free * so when we went out we told him I would be
the appointee*

1 would say that's the second time when, at

a very critical point in my life# M.L. was standing there*

1 know this*

I know Dixon did call George Lewis*

X know he

offered it to Georg® Lewis, and I know George Lewis said he
couldn’t take it - couldn’t afford to leave the ranch - but
that he should get me*

Lewis said me instead of M.L.


the chances are Dixon and he had discussed M.L* and he had
understood that M.L* would not do it* because Dixon was con*
vineed, I'm sure, that M.L. wouldn't take it*

Whether he

offered it to M.L. * as I think he did - beforehand, I don't


I’m sure he did because be was so positive that M.L.

wouldn’t take it*
This job carried with it fS>#000 a year, and I was
quite sure that that would please Mrs* Davis«

X had a profit-

sharing arrangement with the Montana Parmer* but It would have
been somewhere around #3 »600, 1 would imagine*
salary was wonderful*

To me $5#000

There weren’t too many of them in

I think the governor, himself, was the only officer

in the state that was paid more*
would please Mrs. Davis*

I was confident that that

We had no particular attachments in

Great Palls, except that she had a lot of good friends, and my
work was Interesting, and all that*

This was, to me, sort of

one of those breath-taking affairs that I certainly had not

It had not been even intimated to me that I was

under consideration, although M.L. might have expressed to me
the opinion that I’d be a good man for it, but 1 would excuse
that as bias on his part*

He may have*

But until Dixon tele­

phoned me# the thought really had never entered my mind that
this would come, and 1 did not seek it at all because, again,
it seemed like the kind of a job that I wasn*t particularly
well qualified to do*
acquired interest*

Again, agriculture was a recently

I felt that others could do it a lot better

than I could*

In each case where I’ve had that feeling, I’ve questioned

whether jay training and capacity adapted m

to that job*

hasn’t been a serious question in recent years*
of a thing you can get ore?*


It's the kind

It used to be a very serious

I didn’t know how th© hell I could make a success

of this job, but it*s good for your glands to undertake things
that you think you can't do*

I suppose I rushed into this one

without thinking, because 1 thought about the job and the
nature of the job and what could be done to make it helpful
to Dixon and to the farmers*

I was thinking of all those

things, whleh was a reason why I felt that a great leader like
M.L. would be better*

He had the confidence and the acquaintance

of the farm people of the state to a degree that nobody else
even approached*

1 don't think t feared that I would fail# but

I felt that Dixon was entitled to the best the state could give
him and I genuinely felt that M.L., and 1 would include George
Lewis, both would have gone in and brought to it not only ex­
perience but a position of solidity in the farming and ranching
life of Montana that 1 didn*t have*
indorsing George Lewis*

1 was perfectly honest in

I certainly did»*t want to let Dixon

down because my feeling for Dixon, at that time and throughout
lay term with him, was one amounting close to hero worship*
1 have a book written by Oscar King Davis • He wrote
Released for Publication - the story of the 1912 Campaign*
In it there1s a full-page picture of Dixon* a preposterous

thing, with a funny old hat on - a good picture of Dixon#
He devotes a page or two in his hook to Dixon, who was the
pre-convention campaign manager of Theodore Roosevelt# and
later the chairman of Bull-Moose national committee.


said that of all the men he had ever set in his life# Dixon
had the highest degree of political genius*

He rated him the

tops of any political leader he had ever seen.

I never Hist

anybody that I thought was a better political leader or leader
in a political government than Jo© Dixon*

He certainly fought

the fight - and, of course# he wasn’t re-elected.

But he

really drove through the changes and rewrote the political
structure of the state, particularly in the taxation field*
Many of the advantages were not retained but you don’t lose
them all*

I think Dixon’s four years were four great years#

although they were years of considerable unhappiness and
anguish so far as the company was concerned*
I think I called Mrs* Davis up that night, and told her*
She was very pleased and excited about it, but when the time
case to make the stove she really hated to move down to Helena.
Helena was the capital, but it was still only about 12#000 or

It’s an interesting city*

It grew on the two sides

of Last Chance Gulch, a placer mining gulch*
steep as they go up either side*

The hills are

It’s built right up the

slope of Kt* Helena, which would be a mountain on the plains

but isn’t so mueh of a mountain as compared to the Rocky

It* a an old mining town*

I think Great Palls,

when X was there, was about 23,000 or 30 ,000 * Mrs* Davis
bad made her friends, and that has been the trouble with all
the moves we have made*
most women do*

X think she1s suffered more than

You’d think that roots would become inured

to rupture so that you could tear them up a few times and
then they’d only be tentative in the way they set up, but
not with her*

She sinks them deep*

Most people would re*

gard a move from St* Louis to Sen Marino as not a bad move*
yet it has been harder for her to become adjusted to the
change here, X believe, than in any other move we’ve made*
X became secretary of agriculture of the state of
Montana in April, 1921*

The state legislature, following

the governor’s message, had to enact legislation consolidating
the activities and creating the new department, which it did*
fhe reason Dixon felt he had to make the appointment was that
the bill had been enaeted, the department was created* and it
was headless*

That took place in late March or very early

X had nothing directly to do with the tax program* !Ehat
was outside the department which X headed*

ISy department in*

eluded other things than agriculture because it, after all,
was a constitutional office and the legislature simply added

things to it*

It was. known as the Department of Agriculture,

Labor and Industry*

Along with, other appointees of the gov­

ernor* I supported his program*

To the extent we could we

were influential with our friends in the legislature.


didn11 ask us to campaign or do anything outside the line
of our duty, but I remember doing what I could to try to
influence some of the farm members of the senate and house
on some of the matters•
I didn’t have an agricultural program when I went to

I wanted to see if we could make the department a

rallying point for the farm interests of the state*

I wanted

to see if anything could be done to Improve some of the con­
ditions surrounding grain marketing there*
thinking of co-ops.

I was not wholly

I was thinking of the old problem of

handling grain in such a way that the farmers got the premium
paid for the high-protein wheat grown in that part of the

We had a number of official grades, and number one

and number two northern were the grades given to the hard
spring wheat grown there.

Those grades applied to wheat re­

gardless of whether it had low or high protein content, pro­
vided its weight per bushel and other external characteristics
met the requirements.
Montana had a lot more grain than it had storage facil­

for within the state.

Farmers sometimes liked to deliver

their wheat and take a warehouse receipt for the storage of
the grain# in expectation of a more favorable market later*
Sometimes they had a feeling that the market was down at the
time of harvesting and marketing* and they always were opti­
mistic it would be better later*

Shat wasn*t always the case*

but because of that feeling the practice of delivering wheat
to elevators and taking a warehouse receipt had groan to be
quite common in the state*

But the elevators were not storage

elevators *> Their total capacity didn' t permit holding the
wheat at the point of delivery* so the warehouse receipts
then in use gave the elevator man the option of making delivery
of the wheat at the point of receipt* or at the terminal mar­
kets in the

Twin Cities where they were permitted to deliver

wheat of like grade * Wheat being a fungible product* it
couldn’t be agreed to deliver identical lots of wheat*


grade might mean wheat which actually had a market value of
ten or fifteen cents a bushel less than the wheat the farmer
had sold* because of the variation in protein content*
I think one of the continuous struggles I had was an
attempt to devise and require the use of a new warehouse re­
ceipt which would require delivery of grain not only of like
grade but like quality* in order to insure that the farmer got
the added value which the high quality of wheat grown out on
the northern plains there entitled him to*

We prescribed a

change in the warehouse receipt then in use*
siderable difficulty about it*

Thar© was con­

We established a grain testing

laboratory with a service to enable the farmers to determine
what their protein content was*

You can't tell by looking at

There was considerable difficulty*

I think we got some

improvement worked out in that*
One of the most difficult problems that arose during
my term as commissioner grew out of the failure of one of the
large cooperatives that had been started a few years before I
took office*

The Montana Grain Growers had grown out of the

Equity and the old Farmers Alliance movement*

It was a move­

ment to set up a chain of country elevators and to market the
grain under central direction*

It was a bonded company, as

all the grain marketing concerns - private and cooperative were*

Skis practice of issuing warehouse receipts and shipping

out the grain got that co-op into real trouble*

It got the

department, which had the responsibility for administration of
the grain laws of the state, into plenty of trouble*

The manage­

ment of this cooperative had been delivering grain at terminal,
selling it, sad then attempting to protect itself by the pur­
chase of futures# instead*

It got caught when the spread be­

tween the option which the future held - which is simply a
contract on somebody's part to make delivery at some future
date - and the cash market worked against them*

The first

intimation that we had of trouble vas when they had difficulty
making actual delivery on warehouse receipts*

It wasn(t the

middle of the depression as far as the nation was concerned,
hut it was right in the depression as far as Montana knew it*
As soon as the situation was known, we put inspectors
on it*

We closed them and called the bond.

went into receivership*

They immediately

The attempt to realize on that occu­

pied a good deal of the time of the division there*


bonding company failed, also, and we had a real time - which
is one of the lessons that there1s no magic in the cooperative*
A cooperative can succeed only if it has excellent management
and gives the same kind of service at less cost or better serv­
ice at an equal cost than the farmer can get from the merchants
who are not cooperative merchants*
Aaron Sapiro didn't have anything to do with this*

Sapiro movement reached the state following this*


It was during

my term there that the Montana wheat growers were organized
along the Sapiro contract lines*
of farmers*

It reached quite a number

The plan consisted of the three-year contract

giving the cooperative the exclusive right to market the

This was a part of the similar movement that covered

all of the western states * the western wheat growers - which
were trader A* Sapiro contracts*
Montana Grain Growers*

That was not related to the

The basic difficulty was the continuing drought in
Montana, and the falling prices*

Two years before I vent

into office, ve had an experience that really flattened the
livestock industry in the state*

The year 1919 followed a

year of drought and low feed production in the state*
was a long and very severe winter#


The cattle population

was high and the prices were high, too, so the farmers and
stockmen, generally, bought feed, where they dldn*t have
enough to carry their stock through, wherever they could find

Counties would organize crews and send them back to

Minnesota and Wisconsin, to contract for acreages of slough
hay and cut it, bail it, and ship it back to Montana* Slough
hay is very poor feed*

Prices got too high#

One extreme

case I knew of in Great Falls, Montana, was when the costs
amounted to $90*00 a ton by the time the hay was laid down
there, and it was very poor feed*
Well, after going in debt and using tip their resources
to feed the cattle through the winter of 1919-1920, the break
in cattle prices came*


cattle that had been carried

through at a high price didn't eosaaand enough return on the
market to pay even the feed costs for the winter, let alone
what they were worth#

That added to the spotty and poor grain

crops and created a basic condition that was very difficult to
deal with#

That really started the agitation and the drive to

do something to offset the drop in farm prices that had taken

It was realized that there was very little you could

dc about the rainfall*

Farm prices had taken a dip*


May, 1920, It really 30t bad.
There was very little you could do about the problem of
dry-land farming*

There was disillusionment about dry-land

Scne people who stayed It through have really trans­

formed the state today, but at that tine they were Just strug­
gling and trying all the practices that the college and
experiment stations had developed*

Still, you couldn»t pro­

duce moisture when the moisture wasn*t there*
little you could do*

There was very

I wasn11 under any Illusions, I think,

as to what a state department or a state could do to meet a
situation like that*

It was a case of just trying to deal

with the problems that might offer some hope of help*


soon - about midway in my four-year term-we were preoccupied
with various plans or thoughts as to what could be done to
help out the situation*
I constantly leaned on the people at the collets and
the farm leaders of the state*

There were a number of fine

earnest men in the legislature*

The lieutenant governor was

an old Granger and Farm Bureau man, a close friend of mine*
His name was Will McCormick*

Hers dead now*

spun "David Harum" sort of a man*

He was a home-

I think my four years there

were interesting because* while I don’t think ve accomplished
much to carry out the governors high promises, I think we did
organize a good state department of agriculture.

I think the

lessons learned there were more of a negative character than
a positive one*

X learned to distrust

magie solutions, all

I learned the hard way the limits to voluntary cooper­

ative action by the farmers, themselves*

During the 'twenties

this led me to be very skeptical of the claims that were made
for the Sapiro-type cooperatives*

The basic condition under

which they operated was that the farmers were subject to the

world price*

The fundamental difficulty with the Sapiro

plan was that no matter how thoroughly a commodity is organized,
the members of the cooperative are still not one-hundred percent
of the total*

They'll be short of one-hundred percent*


attempt, through voluntary action, to stabilize and strengthen
the market for the whole commodity had to be at the cost of
the members*

That is, if a portion of the crop were with­

held from market in order to secure a desired price, that
meant that the returns which the members received would be
currently less by the proportion of the crop that had not been

Of course, they could borrow against that, but even

so there were certain responsibilities assumed by the members
which were not assumed by non-members*

But since the effect

sought was to influence the market price for all the

commodity, those who were not members got the full benefit
without paying any of the cost*

Those who were members were

holding the umbrella over the outside producers*
ay conclusion was that those who were inside would be
subject to a constant pull to get outside and cash in and let
the others carry the load*

It led me to think, when the real

break came on us in the *30 *8, that the machines?? of government
was required to help equalize the load over all the producers
of a commodity provided the majority of them favored the action*
That is something of the principle in the city improvement
districts, the drainage districts# and so forth*

Those were

lessons that were being learned - but slowly*
la this period, I didn't make many trips to Washington
until the winter of 1923-’2Jj.« I did not know Henry C* Wallace
until he came out to Montana accompanying President Harding on
his trip to Alaska*

When I went down to Washington in *23-*2^.

it was at his invitation, and I worked very closely with him
for a matter of several months*

X followed the Harding agri­

cultural conference in January with a great deal of interest
and some disappointment*

But I was completely busy In Montana

and I didn*t get active in this until after the middle of 1923 *
I had the sense of belonging to an administration that
really was accomplishing something in Montana*

X had that feel­

In the department there was a great deal of frustration*

The satisfaction came from what appeared to be the friendli­
ness and tbs cooperative attitude on the part of the farmers
and stockmen of the state in all the little things we were
trying to do*

But as I look back on it* it was not a period

of accomplishment as far as any great addition to the welfare
of the farmers of Montana was concerned*

This was my first

crack at administration except for the relatively simple ad­
ministrative. responsibilities of the Montana Farmer* I didn*t
have much of a staff at the Montana Parmer - two or three
field men and the office staff* but I thought of it as an ad­
ministrative job*

Administration meant to me the selection of

competent people and the delegation of authority to them in
their field, and then giving them enough supervision to make
sure that they cleaned up as they went along*

Ho policy had

been laid down in the basic law of the Department of Agricul­

The policy was more or less played by ear and determined

by staff conferences and consultation with the sort of an
informal Council of Agriculture which I set up with the farm

Council seemed to be the appropriate word for it*

I set it up shortly after I came in in 1921*
of the heads of the farm organizations*

It was composed

It was informal in

the sense that it wasn't provided for in the legislation* It
was composed of the heads of the Grange, Farmers Union, Farm
Bureau, and what cooperatives there were*

While the livestock

growers had preserved the independence of the livestock sani­
tary board and the state office that looked after brand regis­
trations, which were not in the department of agriculture, our
relations were cooperative and very close*
men were represented on the council*

So the livestock

I don’t think thatrs

where the name Council of Agriculture eaae from later on*
wouldn't imagine that they had any national, impact*


It*s a

perfectly natural name to describe something*
Policy* then, such, as there was, grew out of our internal
staff discussions# our discussions with leaders in the state
capital - members of the house- and senate who were concerned
with and informed about agriculture - and out of this council
of outside advisors, plus consultation with the college pretty

That gave such policy light as we had*

Because of the

problem® with the Montana grain growers, that part of our action
was pretty much a rear guard

action, although I think we made

some progress on the problem of getting the values for the
wheat growers*

1 think the failure of the Montana grain growers

enabled us to help check tbs practice which almost could be
considered conversion of wheat - the practice of buying it and
selling it on the market and then trying to protect yourself by
hedging rather than by owning the actual wheat*

X suppose some

good things came out of it, but as I*ve checked back over the
years X haven’t felt that the contributions of the department

lived up to the governor*s high hopes, by any means, although
he didn*t seem to be dissatisfied with it*

It probably m s

possible to do store than we did* but it was impossible for

I could see nothing else to do*

I don't know what more

a state department could have done*
Our policy came from Form Bureau* Extension, and other
organizations • Farm Bureau was fairly new*

It was in its

The Grange had strong able leadership and a good

membership in some localities, but as a state-wide body it
wasn’t too strong*

Of course* the ritual which held the whole

family interest was an important part of the Grange, but the
Grange in the West and nationally from that time on was con­
cerned with policy, all right*

The Farmers Union was very


It had several members who were members of the legis­


I think the Union was stronger than the Grange* The

Farm Bureau had a more evenly distributed membership because
it was a federation of county farm bureaus which had been set
up by the extension movement*
I didn’t go to Harding’s agricultural conference in
Washington* but I followed it with a great deal of interest*
We began to hear names we hadn’t heard before - George H* Peek
and Hugh S. Johnson*
those names.

This was the first time I’d ever heard

1 hadn’t met those men yet*

I imagine I heard

about ’’Equality for Agriculture0 at this time.

The term was

associated, of course, with, the Peek-Johnson presentation is
this conference.

Subsequently it hadn't been a rallying cry

in Montana, in *22.

It didn't begin to be used until after

the middle of '23, as 1 recall.

The conference didn't yield

I don't know that we expected much.

not particularly impressive.
could get and read them.

The results were

1 sent for all the reports 1

It was in *22*

I discussed the

"Equality for Agriculture11 plan with some people in Montana.
The problem of dealing with the "surplus" was in our minds,
and it was obvious that there were some people thinking of it
down in Washington at that time*
The Capper-Vols tead Act didn't particularly mean any­
thing to us in Montana*

We were interested in the Intermediate

Credit Act - that was *23.

As far as I personally was concerned,

I thought the Fordney-MeCumber (tariff) Act was bad medicine.
I think that feeling was generally under the surface, because
when we began to think in terms of action the idea of making
the tariff effective

for agriculture, as long as the country

was committing itself to higher tariffs, was one that didn't
require much selling*

Farmers understood that.

nationally, I was not close to the Farm Bureau at all
during these years - 1922, '23, *2lj.* In the state I was no
closer to it than I was to the other farm organizations*


ably 1 had more direct contact with the cooperatives than I

did with any of the form, organizations*

I don*t remember any

trips to Washington during these years*

The Montana state

budget was tight*

The Idea of staking a trip to Washington*

unless on call or urgent business* at state expense wouldn’t
have occurred to me*
I think these were happy years for me*

I think they

were happier in the doing than I think of them in retrospect*
because there always was the sense of activity, and of doing
new things.

The sense of disappointment that surrounds those

years I think is the feeling that 1 have looking back on them
rather than the feeling I had at the time*

There wasn*t any­

thing personal that made ms unhappy in those years*
ness it was a period of bank failures*
in Helena for a little - not much.

Da busi­

I was caught in a bank

I only lost what I had

But that was the general situation all over the state*

Banks were closing*

Then, of course* the result of the elec­

tion in 1921}. was a shock and a terrific disappointment to me*
I didn’t expect Dixon to be defeated because I thought he had
done such a marvelous job as governor that It was unthinkable
that the state would reject him.

1 suppose I was quite ideal­

istic about It, and I didn’t know the facts of life In politics#
notwithstanding Dixon*s words of wisdom to me four years before
and notwithstanding the fact that he told me repeatedly as we
went into the last year that this was going to be a tough fight

and that he had no confidence that ve could win it*
I think I worked hard as commissioner of agriculture*
There was not much fishing*

I remember one trip I took with

a sian, which produced the best fishing I ever had in my life*
I went with Bob Parker of the college, who was the active Ban
in the state entomology office, to check the Montana-Xdaho
boundary line for alfalfa weevil infestation*
and Montana was free*

Idaho had it

We were maintaining a quarantine, but

it was always a little bit questionable as to whether the
weevil had drifted across the border or not*

It was easy to

So I went with Bob Parker and we personally scouted the

alfalfa fields along the Montana-Idaho border*
the summer of 1922*

That was in

When we left our hunt for weevil, we cut

back, followed what were really the headwaters of the Missouri
River, the Jefferson River branch, up to the ultimate marshea,
and came out by west Yellowstone and started on to Madison*
On Grayling Creek we hit a pool where as fast as we could cast
we brought in rainbow trout of a remarkably even size - of
about a pound and a half - and Grayling, which are beautiful
native fish and have a spread of fin like goldfish*
just irridescent in the water*
fast as we would cast*


We would bring them in just as

When we had taken all the fish we

thought we could dispose of, we released them when we brought
them in*

fily older son is a fisherman*

He grew to be a very good

We used to say he could catch fish where there

aren't any*

I told him about that for years# and ten years

later - it was the sixteenth of July, I remember, of whatever
year it was - I returned to Montana from the East and went
back to that hole with my son*

By coincidence I met Bob

Parker and his son at the same hole*

We didn't catch any

I had no idea that Parker would be there*

But he had

been telling his son* also, about the fishing, and it happened
on the same day*

I came half-way across the continent to take

Chester, and Bob who lived in Bozeman brought his boy up* There
we were*

We didn’t get any fish*

one, but he didn't land it*

Chet hooked onto one big

We did have that fishing* but on

the whole there wasn't much time for fishing*

We didn't do

much of it in those four years*
In M e , 1923, Harding and Henry C* Wallace came through

I remember an evening with Secretary Wallace at

Governor DixonTs horns, which was quite a thrilling experience*
Wallace wasn't a voluble man* but deeply serious about the
agricultural situation.

It was the first time I had met him*

Well, he was a stocky* sandy red-haired* ruddy complexioned

He gave you the impression of solidity and deep


He had very great curiosity about the conditions

in Montana.

Obviously from his talk with Dixon* he had a great



deal of concern about the struggle that was going on in the
government between Interior and Agriculture over the old
perennial figure of the forest department* and the tug-of-war
with the President that obviously was going on*

X understood

that it was a battle that Wallace was winning, at the time*
with Harding*

There was some evidence of tension with the

Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover*

All that listening

to the governor and Secretary Wallace discuss those questions*
of course* was better than a front-row seat at the theater*
It was very interesting*

I don't remember anything that was

said - just impressions*

The whole matter was crystallised*

of course* when Henry Taylor came*

That was a little later*

I met President Harding on that trip*

As a matter of

fact* by accident I was presented to him twice#
the shot the second time*

He called

He said* "Why, you and I have met*"

which surprised me considerably because I thought he was meet­
ing a lot of people around there*

I hadn’t intended to gang

up on him* but it just happened that X was in another group
and was shoved along*
looking man*

Harding was a very handsome* impressive-

X think he looked very much the figure of the
Obviously* his mind was somewhere else while he

was meeting people in Montana*

He seemed preoccupied, con*

cemed, because he must have known then of developments in the
administration which didn't hit Ida© front pages really until

after his death*

He must have been aware of them*

I remember

Dixon*s remark following his death that no man could have been
more fortunate in the timing of his death than Harding was#
because the returning of his body across the country was marked
by a great deal of mourning and great public respect*

I re*

member Dixon*s conclusion that some months later it would
have been a little different*
I am aware that H.C. Taylor was along on this trip*
He was with the party at Helena*
time I met him*

I think that was the first

I had known of him a great deal* of course -

heard a lot of H.C. Taylor*

We didn't really get down to

discussing “Equality for Agriculture" until Saylor came to
Helena on the subsequent trip he made out west that summer*
A sense of contact with Henry C* Wallace was something new
that was added by this visit*

He was interested in the

Montana department, in what we were trying to do*
me many questions about it*

He asked

I gained a feeling of acquaintance

with him* notwithstanding the fact that he was very preoccupied
and busy* also# on the visit to Montana*
cold precise person.

Houston was a very

The conference with the farm editors he

carried on well but carried on just like a man who is doing a

With Wallace there was a sense of personal contact*

He was far from a dour individual*

He was* I think, in many

respects, a good deal more of a man’s man than Henry A* Wallace*

A man11s man is a man who enjoys relaxation and is at ease with
other men in a social sense.

Henry A. Wallace very rarely was

at ease with other men in just a social way*
ordinarily just not at ease with people*

Henry A* was

I am thinking not

of my personal experience with Henry C* Wallace, hut of his
participation in the little poker sessions of the Harding
era; the way he enjoyed golf, and liked to get out with men*
He would quietly tuck a little chew of tobacco up under his

I imagine when he and Harding were together they openly

enjoyed taking a chew of tobacco from the same plug and just
talking as men do*

I never could conceive of Henry A* relax­

ing and talking with men that way, as his father did - just a
casual enjoyment of human companionship, and relaxing in it
without leading up to the settlement of problems of any sort*
I think that was the kind of a man Henry C. Wallace was*
Montana gained nothing that I know of from the visit of
the President and the Secretary of Agriculture*

I was on vaca­

tion up on Flathead Lake when Harding died in San Francisco*
Mrs* Davis and the boys and I had gone up on Flathead Lake*
Eugene Meyer and Frank W* Monde11 came west in the fall
of 1923*

I think they came before Taylor*

I remember distinct­

ly when they came to Helena, and Eugene Meyer remembers very
well, too, the meeting in Helena to which we had brought men
from all over the state to discuss the agricultural situation*

It had been widely advertised that Meyer and Mondell were
coming to confer with the people of the West about conditions,
and to discuss possible remedies.
of it.

That was my understanding

They discussed conditions, and invited comments and


It was obvious they were thinking in terms of

emergency credit rather than any other relief action.


remember expressing another point of view and questioning the
efficacy of more credit to meet the conditions in Montana, in
a discussion we had from the floor at that time.

I was, of

course* affected by the feeling of many of the farm people out
in Montana that Eugene Meyer was not primarily interested in
the welfare of the farmers, which was an opinion I subsequently
changed as 1 grew to know Meyer better*
at that time*

I shared that feeling

X thought he was primarily interested in just

placating and calming down the storm in the West for political

I don't know that X associated him in my mind with

Mr* Hoover, but I associated him with the administration, with
the financial powers of the country*

I thought that they were

dealing very superficially with the symptoms and not attempting
to get at the causes of our troubles.
I have discussed this trip to the West with Eugene Meyer,

Evidently, he regarded my part in it as a bit of heck­
I*ve grown to know him very well and admire him.


numerous occasions he brings it up, jocularly, that I was a

fire-eater and that I certainly tried to make it tough for him
out there*

I don't think I was a fire-eater, but I did want

to make it a little tough for them*

I was thoroughly against

what they were talking about, and I wanted to make it a little

But I'm pretty sure I didn't*

I wasn't the type to

shout and wave my arms* Challenging them from the floor was
something I had to force myself to do, but I felt the questions
had to be raised*

And they were in the minds of others there*

X never was an orator, and the questions were raised deliberately
and, X hope, clearly*

X haven't the remotest idea what X said#

except that X know it was concerned with getting over the point
of view that there were some difficulties here that could not
be met by extension of emergency credit, and that the Montana
farmers and ranchers were already burdened with more debt than
they could handle and piling more on wouldn't solve their

It was my opinion that we had to get at some way to

make the products of the farms and ranches bring more money*
X was frankly surprised, on meeting Gene Meyer years
afterwards, to find that our meeting had made an impression on
him and stayed with him*

X hadn't expected it to, although

another session with fib** Meyer at the time of the agricultural
conference to deal with the problems of the northwest, called
by Mr* Calvin Coolidge in Washington, I think perhaps tended
to deepen Mr* Meyer’s impressions a little bit*

I think I was calm in those days.

How does one tell?

I have done very little thinking back on those years*

I don’t

look back very much, so ray memory on soane of these things isn’t
sharpened by continued reflection on then*

When a thing’s

passed, it’s passed, and I haven't gone back to mull events
over in my mind*
I an now*

I know I was a great deal thinner than

I didn’t weigh over 130 pounds on the hoof.


I pro­

bably was quick moving, but I never was a rabble rouser in talk
in private or public.

I didn’t do that.

I don’t think that I

was well defined in my opinions, but I was fairly firm in my
feelings about things.

I don’t know that I rationalized then

too clearly.
With some regret, I admit that my attitude at the time
was probably that Mr. Meyer represented the enemy.


Eugene Heyer since, I know that he was sincerely concerned
about the conditions in the West.

While Monde11 was more of

a professional politician than Meyer and his coming along on
the trip didn’t make it look like an objective economic mission,
nevertheless they had a very respectful hearing in Helena and
elsewhere in the West.

There was no packed meeting and no

I imagine that most of the people in the meeting

would have given a rising vote of confidence to Eugene Meyer.
Only the agricultural leaders had this feeling of antagonism.
We had bankers and leading business men in the meeting, as well.

So there wasn't unanimity of opinion as to what should be done
about agriculture, even in Montana*
On October 13, 1923* Henry Taylor and I arrived in
Helena from Great Falls*

Be was crossing the state, being

passed from hand to hand, as I recall it, by extension person­

I'm not sure whether Nils Olsen was with him on that trip,

or not*

Olsen came through a subsequent time*

Taylor was a

shrewd questioner, and he was asking questions as he came
across the state*

I went down to Great Falls to meet him, and

we came on into Helena*
Great Falls to Helena*

It's a matter of a few hours from
We talked about the situation in Montana

against the background of the developing national situation in

He was full of questions as to what I thought the

causes of the difficulties were, what I thought might be done,
and particularly what the farmers might be thinking about*


asked if we - the people in Montana - had followed the discus­
sions In the agricultural conference that had been held in *22 ,
and if we had formed any opinions about any of the variety of
suggestions that had been made there*
Hotel when we arrived in Helena*

We went to the Placer

M.L. spent that evening with

I may have brought down the lieutenant governor - I don't


His name was Will McCormick*

He was present at the

dinner meeting that night*
That night we went to Governor Dixon's for dinner*
don't think we had a drink before dinner*

As I recall it,


Governor Dixon never served any liquor in his home*


the period I was closely associated with Dixon* I don’t be­
lieve I ever saw him take a drink* although, in his earlier
years Dixon had consumed his share of liquor* so I’ve been told.
It wasn’t served at the executive mansion in those four years*
So we didn’t have a drink* I’m sure*
It was a very interesting evening in which Henry Taylor
really conducted a seminar*

During the meal the conversation

was general* but afterward he employed the Socratic method of
bringing out points of view.

Some people in Washington* who

questioned the purposes of his trip, I’ve been told, felt that
he employed it to lead people to a certain conclusion - to the
support of the export corporation idea or plan which had been
developed by Peek and Johnson in their brief as a move to
remedy the conditions we were in*

I think this Henry Taylor

always disclaimed* but always with his tongue in his cheek a
little bit.

There was no question about it* but he was doing

it skillfully and fairly*

1 mean* he wasn’t foreclosing any

other consideration, because we discussed many.
to say was very interesting*

What he had

The conference that night seemed

to open up certain possible courses of action that interested
me very much* Senator George William Norris had been discussing
plans for action*

There*d been many others that involved com­

plete and direct government intervention.

But the idea of

imposing a charge on the entire crop to accomplish Its market­
ing in an orderly manner that would segregate the surplus for
disposal while maintaining a price back of the tariff wall that
was more nearly related to the costs of making the crop, was
something that our experience and our education in cooperative
marketing made appealing*

1 don*t think there*s any question

but that Henry Taylor led the discussion along lines that in­
vited those favorable conclusions* as far as that general line
of action was concerned*

Of course* I can’t distinguish that

feeling from things I learned later*
I knew that Henry C* Wallace had asked the economists
associated with him to bring together such consultants as they
might want* from time to time* and make a survey of possible
courses of action and come up with a recommendation as to what
was the most workable and practical in the situation*

X learned

later that Wallace had reached the conclusion, himself - he

subsequently told me this - that the disposition of economists
was to talk endlessly on all sides of a question but not to
jell on any course of action*

He said that he had made up his

mind that the time had come for action* and he found a ready
ally in Henry C* Taylor* who was the head of the newly created
Bureau of Agricultural Economics*

1 heard Henry 0* Wallace

address a group of Chicago business men that fall of 1923* at
the time of the International Livestock show*

Then himself* he

made a statement which very cautiously raised the question*
and suggested the answer*

That was on November 12, 1923* I

was present at the meeting which he addressed*
All this confirmed the feeling that while Taylor did
not say so at the meeting in Helena, he with others had pretty
thoroughly canvassed the situation and had come to the West to
find out what the people were thinking about and whether they
had reached any consensus of opinion or feeling on any other
line of action*

He asked questions which started people to

thinking on these lines*

Now, when Taylor subsequently was

recalled to Washington as a result of some suspicion that he
was lighting a prairie fire, I know that he rested on the
assertion that he had just asked questions*

I think Henry C*

Taylor was trying to stimulate the people to think about a
possible course of action*
% as well as the others there, was groping for something
to swing in behind*

We had not swung yet*

I think Taylor*s

visit was the catalyst that precipitated the action*

If Dixon

arose to leave early at that dinner, it would have been char­

I attended many dinners at the governor’s home,

and he frequently did that*

I don’t recall his leaving.


was my impression that he sat through the evening with us,
which would have been rare, I think.
heavy load*

Dixon was carrying a very

I don’t remember the immediate step after this dimer,
but in general I remember planning with M.L. Wilson a course
of action in Montana which we subsequently followed*

It was

not long after that that I addressed a meeting in Bozeman,
which was the first meeting I ever talked to, about this ques­

I don't recall the date*

It might have been that winter

at the short course*

There were two meetings - one in Bozeman

and one in Billings*

It was in 1923*

called the export corporation plan*

We put forward what we
I suppose that I made the

most convinced and unqualified talks at that time 1 ever made
on the subject*

The more you study a question, the more you're

inclined to qualify your conclusions a little bit, and at this
time we were anxious to get export corporation leagues going*
The farm leaders of Montana and I were working together there*
We communicated with people from other states*


Jewett was the head of the American Wheat Growers Association*
This was a Sapiro-type organization*
headquarters in Denver*

George Jewett had his

We got George Jewett going*

We got

men in other states going, and we formed the Montana Export
Corporation League with the support of the Montana Wheat
Growers, headed by Dwight Cresap and C.N. Strawman*

It got

very active in starting what we called little local export cor­
poration leagues to explain and arouse interest in this movement*

My idea of the sequence of the two meetings is that I
talked first at Bozeman*
made on the subject*

It was the first public talk 1 ever

I was not particularly worried about it*

The proposition vas very clear in my mind*

The Bozeman meeting

was not called for the special purpose of advancing the Export
Corporation idea*

It vas a general session of the Annual

Farmers* Week to which I spoke*

I presented the subject much

more simply than the subject required*

It was so simple in my

mind that when I got down to Washington and saw the then work­
ing drafts of what became the McNary-Haugen Bill in Charlie
Brand’s office, I was appalled by the complexity and the detail
of it*

Wilson, Jewett, and I really started the so-called ex­

port corporation leagues over the West*

We then called a meet­

ing in Billings of all the representatives of these leagues and
the farm organizations*

Governor Dixon was entirely in support

of my doing this*
I don’t think Taylor at the time of his visit mentioned
ray coming with the Department*

1 think all he talked about

with me then was that he thought it was very important that I
arrange some way to come down and spend some months in Washing­

I imagine he did so because I was from a state where the

feeling was strong and I was willing to take the leadership*
I could do more publicly than M.L* could do in his position*
I think Taylor thought I would be useful to Henry C. Wallace

as a sort of unofficial liaison between the secretary*s office
and the Senate and House on possible legislation to meet the
farm situation*

The idea sounded all right to me*

I’m pretty

sure he mentioned this on this visit* although it wasn't
formalised until I met with both of them again in Chicago
in November*
The thought of going east was in our minds*
course* was fully aware of what Taylor was doing*

M.L** of
M.L. and I

both felt it was time for action and this looked like the di­
rection in which to hit*

That Billings meeting is the one

that raised a sum of money for the purpose of paying my
expenses on a trip to Washington*

Jewett was very active

in other states getting things moving*

We didn’t, as I

recall* make any trips outside Montana to start it*
action grew up in other states*


I guess we hit the trail first*

I think it’s correct that the money raised in Billings
paid my way to Chicago in November, 19^3*

I had had a telegram

from Taylor asking to meet him and Henry Wallace in Chicago, and
had complied*

I think I went alone.

W.L. Stockton, the presi­

dent of tile Farm Bureau, might have gone down at that time* I
don’t know*

He and I went to Washington together later*


retary Wallace and Henry Taylor were in Chicago attending the
annual meeting of the land grant colleges, but while there the
Secretary addressed the luncheon meeting of Chicago business men

at which he made the cautious and guarded statement which was a
public endorsement of the principle of government action to
assist in segregating the surplus of wheat, with the cost to
be borne by all the marketing units of the commodity*
meeting had a great deal of significance to sue*


I remember

I attended this luncheon with a couple of Ohio State College

One was Sam Guard, who was with the Breeders Gazette* He

still runs it, although it*s not now the kind of a Breeders
Gazette published in those days*

Another was a man named Glen

There were probably one or two others at our table* I

remember pointing out to them the significance of Wallace’s
statement, which seemed to me to be a commitment on the part
of the administration to support this type of legislation for
the farmers*

It was a guarded one*

It was son©thing along

this line - "After careful study# it has seemed to us that this
kind of approach might be the most effective one, in a practical
operating sense, to take.”

It was not more than that*

He des­

cribed it in about a paragraph of his talk, but to me that was
very sigtiifleant*

I don(t think the papers of Chicago caught

it or played it up so much because they hadn't been conditioned
to recognize the words and context, as some of the rest of us

I did not meet H.A. Wallace there, and I didn't meet

George Peek until later after I had spent some months in

% went to Chicago and returned to Montana. As I recall
it, we held the Billings meeting after that, at which we raised
the money for the trip to Washington*
at Wallace* s Invitation.

I then went to Washington

All I really knew when I went down was

that the Secretary wanted me there*

It was very early in 192lf.

that Stockton and I went down to Washington*
whether or not we went on the train together.
gone with 'as*
in Washington.

I don’t know.

I don’t recall
M. L* might have

I went to the Harrington Hotel

That’s where I stayed during that entire period*

I reported to the Department as soon as I could, reporting both
to H* C. Wallace and to Taylor,
again to Charlie Brand*

I was taken over and introduced

He gave me a copy of the then income

plete draft of the legislation, which had no name yet.

I went

to Washington at Wallace’s Invitation - I ’m not sure he spelled
it out before I went down there - to act as liaison with Congress*
Ee was meticulous in not wanting any of the Department employees
to do any work on the Hill, but he wanted somebody in whom he
had confidence to act unofficially as liaison with the Congress
on this legislation*

I was asked to go down to do it*


Dixon okayed my trip*
I was not to be paid by the Department*

Montana contin­

ued my salary, and voluntary contributions to the fond paid my

I had no thought of my future beyond going down and

doing what I could to advance Congressional action and consider­

ation of this thing.

I was an unofficial lobbyist for the

I suppose there has been something like it before

or since, but I don't know*

I expect that line of activity

can be found in many departments*

In my subsequent testimony

before Senate and House committees* I identified myself as the
Commissioner of Agriculture of Montana and the representative
of these voluntary associations which had asked me to go down
there *
I remember the Coulter Bill very well*
became the Horbeck-Burtness Bill*
member of Congress*
tural College*

It subsequently

John Lee Coulter was not a

He was president of Forth Dakota Agricul­

The idea was to make emergency credit available*

particularly for livestock purchase* for farmers in the north­

It was definitely a regional bill*

It was for loans to

wheat farmers for cattle to change their type of farming*
didn't appeal to me*


It didn't appeal to my associates in

You couldn't wave a little money over there and con­

vert the North Dakota wheat growers into dairy producers*


felt sure that this thing wouldn't work*
I worked with Brand - went over the legislation* made
suggestions * and started working with him*

Almost immediately

a call was issued by Mr* Coolidge - whose chief adviser on it
was *Er* Hoover - for a northwest agricultural conference, which
was held in the early months of 192^ - February 1|* 192^* I don’t

know whether M.L, Wilson was there continuously, but he was
there during that period.
I believe Mr, Stockton and I were the first to talk to
President Coolidge about what was to be the McHary-Baugen bill*
Mr* Scott Leavitt, who was our Congressman, arranged the appoint*
xnent and took us over*

I’d known Scott very well*

He *d been

forest supervisor in Montana and been elected to Congress from
Eastern Montana, and he was quite fired up on our proposition*
So he took Stockton and me over to see President Coolidge# and
we discussed this idea with the President*

He was polite but

The only thing 1 remember most distinctly was that

he asked, "What do the business people think of this?
men and the meat men, what do they think of it?*

The flour

Stockton and

I followed up within the next day or two by talking to two men
who were very close to President Coolidge*

One was jRrank

Stearns, who was a close personal friend of Coolidge, a merchant,
and lived with him at the White House while in Washington* The
other was William Butler, who subsequently became Senator from

He was a very shrewd cold proposition*


two men were closer to Calvin Coolidge, we were told, than any­
body else.

I don’t think Mr. Coolidge understood the problem,

and we hoped to find someone close to him who would study it*
Steams was very sympathetic, said it sounded pretty good*
Butler repeated the same line, that he felt it was something to

which business would be opposed*

He also sounded the soon to-

be -familiar cry that it was economically unsound.

I remember

asking Richard T. Ely once what he considered economically

He said, ”1 would say that anything is economically

sound that employs economic means to accomplish a desired eco­
nomic end, if it works•”

Obviously, you can have a judgment as

to whether something is economically sound or politically or
socially desirable, but you can’t from a text book say: "This
thing*s economically unsound because it attempts to interfere
with the ’law of supply and demand**"

If It uses the factors

of supply and demand to a certain end and it works, that
according to Ely would make It economically sound*

I remember

using that line frequently in the discussions we had*
I stayed in Washington a matter of three or four months
on that trip*

I made one trip back to Montana, but my wife and

children remained in Helena*

I talked almost daily with Gilbert

H* Haugen and Senator Charles I>. McNary during the period*


was one of the first witnesses for the bill In the Senate. After
the hearing Senator McBTary asked me to come to his office for
an extended discussion of the bill*

He brought in Glenn E*

McHugh, of the Senate legislative council, who was sitting in
on the Senate hearings, and drafting changes in the bill.
McNary and I for a long while kept discussing the way the
legislation would work, because he was trying to get many

questions answered that were in his own mind and to visualize
the operation of the plan*

Of course* the way Charlie Brand

produced it was a hell of a lot more complicated than 1 or
others had conceived .of it*
or Henry A* Wallace*

I had not yet met Peek, Johnson*

I met Hoover in this period, but it was

in response to an invitation on a collateral development that
took place while I was down there, following this northwest
fhe early part of 192fy was pretty much centered on

As I said before, February 4, 192lj., I attended

the President rs Conference on Horthwestem Agriculture and

It was called by Mr* Coolidge, and his original in­

vited list was made up in the Department of Commerce by Mr*

it was heavily weighted with handlers of farm crops

- bankers* railroad men, industrial and business leaders* and
so forth*

There was only a scattered representation of

agriculture *
1 remember going to the White House to see Judson C.
Welliver who was an assistant to Mr* Coolidge*
assistant to Mr* Harding*

He had been

He was a great ghost writer*


tried to get over to him this thought, that in the announce*
ment of this conference President Coolidge* in any message to
the conference or announcement in advance of it* would be ex­
posing himself to real attack if, with its proposed make -up,

it was called a northwest agricultural conference, because it
wasn’t agricultural in its make-up*

I had the thought that Mr*

Welliver could get that over to Mr* Coolidge*
The tug-of-war between Wallace and Hoover resulted in
broadening the list and in invitations being extended to a
number of us who were active on the other side of the fence to
attend the conference, which we subsequently did*

It was a

meeting that was planned to produce indorsement of the Coulter
Bill - the Norbeck-Burtness Bill*

It did, but the agricultural

members subsequently withdrew and developed their own set of
resolutions and presented them because they wanted to express
their point of view clearly, and it couldn*t be done through
that meeting*

So we adopted a statement which was prepared

and issued, which pointed out the inadequacy of the proposed
treatment and came out with a strong plea for the other type
of legislation*

That meeting was encouraged by Secretary

Wallace, all right*
As I recall it, Charles Donnelly, who was president of
the Worthern-Pacific Railroad, was the chairman of the resolu­
tions group*

Our conference with him may have secured some

modification of the resolutions that were officially adopted,
but they weren*t adequate from our point of view*
what might be called a rump session*

Ours wasn’t

It was just a separate

meeting of the people who were predominantly farmers or associated

with farm organizations or activities*
I didn't meet George Peek until much later in Moline,
and then it was almost by accident*

That vas when I was re­

turning, finally, after we had had our* first Congressional
set-to on the bill*

I was returning to Montana.

I arranged

to meet Mrs* Davis in Moline. It was summer then*

Peek was

not in Washington during any of this early period, at all*


didn't hear his name a great deal in connection with this early
stage of the campaign*
Wilson, Coulter, Leavitt# Brand, Taylor, Wallace, and X
were all active in the conference*

As 1 remember, George Jewett

became the active floor leader in these activities*

i was one

of the men who surrounded him closely# and there was Stockton
from Montana*

Wilson was very influential# but not as openly

He kept the fires going out in Montana*

small group.

We had a

Frank Murphy eame In very soon from Wheaton#
I think Frank got in there in the very early months*

I'm sure Frank was there at the northwest conference*


testified before the Senate and subsequently before the Bouse
I remember a series of Tuesday night "schools* held in
ttie House caucus room*

We had some very interesting sessions

there in the spring of *2lj.* They probably were called under
Gilbert Haugen.1s name, all right*

I think Brand appeared*


know 1 did, and Frank Murphy*

We were attempting to explain

the legislation and answer questions of senators and repre­
sentatives who were from the agricultural states and were
much concerned to get our story under a less formal atmos­
phere than at a committee hearing*
We set up an informal organization which brought in
as many of the farm leaders as were around Washington and
were interested*

I’m. not quite sure as to when the different

Farm Bureau presidents began to fall in line*
in the northwest came first*
belt later*

The difficulties

They only moved into the corn,

Early in the session one of the jobs Secretary

Wallace wanted me to do was to meet and talk with men like
Charles Hearst who was president of the Iowa Farm Bureau,
while he was in Washington, with Sam 1* Thompson, then presi­
dent of the Illinois Agricultural Association, William ttBillM
Hirth of the Missouri Farmers Association, Bill Settle of the
Indiana Farm Bureau who was very active in the wheat growers*
cooperative movement and quite a cooperative leader, and others*
Earl Smith didn’t become the head of the Illinois Agricultural
Association until later, but I met Earl fairly early in the
movement on one of my stops in Chicago*

James H* Howard, presi­

dent of the American Farm Bureau Federation never did get
steamed up over the plan, and it was much later when Edward MEdn
O'Heal, the vice-president, got warmed up on it*

Old man John

Trumbull of the Kansas Farmers T3nion and Charlie Barrett who
was head of the National Farmers 'Onion were there*

Those were

men I was working with., many of them at Secretary Wallace’s

When they’d come to see him and ask M m what it

was all about, it was convenient for him to refer them to me
and let me work on them*

That was going on all this time*

I’m not sure of the sequence, but we were appearing before
hearings, also, arranging witnesses, and seeking to broaden
the base of our support*

One of the first organization steps

was taken when George Jewett set up his headquarters In the
old Franklin Square Hotel,

la those early days George Jewett

was the active "field general" of the drive for what we called
the export corporation plan*
George Jewett brought the resources of the American
Wheat Growers - it was a Sapiro-type wheat cooperative thoroughly back of that*

They were chiefly in the West, though

they affiliated with organizations that extended into the MidWest*

He brought in a young man from California named Bay

McClung, a newspaper man out there*

McClung was his handyman -

We began to build up volunteer recruits from the

outside as farm leaders became Interested*

Their interest

usually grew out of the advance of distress and bank failures
into their part of the country*

This was the beginning of the whole

McBary-Haugen fight*

It carried on under different names and different organizations
through the spring of 1928 when the last bill had been vetoed
and we failed to pass it over the veto*

Up to the spring of

192^, Peek had no part in the drive except for writing pam­
phlets and following developments closely.

George had really

planted the seeds in Washington when* after the Harding Agri­
cultural Conference in 1922, he remained in Washington and
interviewed as many important people as he could*

During early

192li 1 do not believe George was in communication with any of
the farm groups#

Neither was I in touch with farm groups in

any organized, formal way* although informally I was very close
to the group that was gathering - George Jewett and the others.
This group was informally organized because it didn't adopt any
name that included all of the group*

At this stage no name

was used* except the wheat growers had their organization* The
others came in under the names of their own organization*


weren't organized in a "Committee of Twenty-Two,” "Cora-Belt
Committee*M or anything like that* as we were later#
Gray Silver sat in the meetings*
and had a leg in each camp*

He was very skeptical*

He was a very smooth operator * an

experienced lobbyist in Washington - and he looked on these
unorganized men who came in from the country simply as people
to keep in touch with and see that they did no harm*

Since some

of his own people were among them - state Farm Bureau presidents

- he was apparently sympathetic*

But Gray never "belonged*®

He wasn*t interested in what we were*

He was beginning to get

interested in the movement to build up a new grain cooperative
with headquarters in Chicago - The United States Grain Growers
to which he later turned his attention*

®he United States

Grain Growers was a capital stock organization with some inter­
esting promotion aspects*

I should say that ay work at this

stage was to testify in behalf of the McHary-Haugen Bill* and
to interview as many people as possible with respect to it,
always reporting to and advising with Secretary Wallace*
The drafting of the first McUary-Haugen Bill was pri­
marily Charlie Brand’s work* with the help of the House and
Senate legislative counsel*

Most members of both legislative

counsels were involved In it at one stage or another*


P. Lee was on It from the Senate side, and E.C. Alvord from
the House side*

McHugh was on it*

leading tax lawyer*

Alvord later became a

After he left the House legislative counsel

he went with Ogden L* Mills to the Treasury as Assistant Secre­
tary of the Treasury in charge of tax legislation, which he
carried through the 3111*

He left that position to set up an

office in Washington and established a very lucrative practice
in tax law*
In the early spring of 192^* I advised Governor Dixon
that Secretary Wallace had asked me to come into the Department

of Agriculture to reorganize and bring together in one office
the enforcement and regulatory activities of the Department#
I had taken it up with Governor Dixon and his answer was a
telegram on April 18, 192k, expressing his regret and the
hope that I would stay with the Montana work until September
first or October first,

I then told Secretary Wallace that I

would not be available until after the election in Montana in

That's where it stood when Secretary Henry G.

Wallace died that fall*
There is one other bit of history that followed closely
on the meeting of the northwest agricultural conference, because
I know that some of the developments took place while men were
there who were attending that conference*

Secretary Wallace

was very much concerned over legislation that was being drafted
through the advice of the Department of Commerce which would
have put an end to the agricultural attaches abroad as employees
of the Department of Agriculture,

That was another - and I

think a principal - cause of difference between Secretaries
Wallace and Hoover*

I felt strongly on the question* myself*

I felt that these agricultural attaches were the eyes and ears
of agriculture abroad, and I felt, in common with my associates
in the farm groups, that it was important to keep them in agri­
culture and not move them outside*

I undertook to circulate a

round robin, which was signed by the heads of quite a large

number of farm organizations, protesting against it*

I then

received a call from Secretary Hoover at the Harrington Hotel
asking me to come to M s office, which I Sid*
had heard of the round robin*

He told ms he

He wondered if I had heard all

of the facts of the ease and the reasons why this change was
advocated by the Department of Commerce*
of it*

We had some discussion

I told him that if the bill were to be reported out of

committee - it had actually been introduced - then 1 would put
a copy of this round robin on the desk of every member of the
House and Senate*

Otherwise, I didn't intend to use it*

knew this document had been circulated*


I felt quite sure that

Gray Silver was the man who kept him advised*
A few days after that I received word from the attorney
general of Montana that he had received a wire from the Secre­
tary of Commerce asking under what auspices I was working in
Washington., whether I was there at the expense of the state of

The attorney general didn't carry it any further than

the inquiry*

That* I know* irritated Mr* Hoover very much •

this little byplay*

It wasn't part of the main business*


felt, rightly or wrongly, that Mr* Hoover was a leader of forces
who were opposed to ours, a feeling* of course, which George
Peek held vehemently when he came in the picture*
Gray Silver probably thought he was acting for the best
Interests of the P a m Bureau*

He was not yet committed*


organization was not yet committed on this program.


reasonably sure that Secretary Wallace didn’t trust him.
I think Taylor felt that Mr. Hoover was a party to his re­
call from the field#
We gave the McHary-Haugen Bill the works.

One reason

why the early efforts weren’t as effective as the later ones
was because cotton and tobacco hadn’t yet come in.

This was

really a grain belt deal, with what sympathizers we could
pick up outside.

Passage in House and Senate was not a pos­

sibility until the cotton and tobacco cooperatives, and sub­
sequently the cotton and tobacco Congressmen and Senators,
came in.

Our friends could count noses, and it didn’t look

possible for the legislation to be passed at this time* There
wasn’t the strength*

We didn’t represent the populous states.

We didn’t have enough states, that was all, at that time*
As soon as I could leave after the defeat, X arranged
to have Mrs. Davis and our younger son meet me in Moline.
Mrs. Davis had been visiting in Wisconsin*

She had a cousin

who was the head of the sales organization for the John Deere
Plow Company in Moline, who had visited us in Montana*

It was

arranged that I would meet Mrs* Davis in Moline to visit for &
day or two with her cousin, and then we’d return home*


there I asked Ernest Johnson, my wife’s cousin, about George
Peek - asked if he were in Moline*

George Peek was quite a

figure in Moline*

He always was a positive force in the farm

implement business, as he vas a positive force in everything
be undertook*

Johnson said yes* that he vas quite sure be vas

in town and he knew he vas interested in the things I'd been
doing, so he called George Feek on the telephone*

1 remember

his approach vas sort of in the way of - "Nov, possibly if
you have time, my cousin would like to see you.” Ernie was
a little dubious as to whether George would be Interested,
but George Peek couldn’t wait*

He said, "Bring him over right


He knew I had been in Washington,

I want to talk to him,”

and he was very anxious to get the first-hand story*

Be was

going to make a speech, I remember * 1 think locally - in which
he was going to discuss this farm issue* and he was very anxious
to have a first-hand report on what had taken place - what the
forces were, hov they divided*

I remember I asked him to give

me a desk and a typewriter, and I wrote a few pages*
"This might be useful to you*"

I said,

He encouraged me to do it*

So we saw quite a little of Mr* and Mrs* Peek while we
were there.

We stayed there only two or three days*

I was

very anxious to get home, and I really thought 1 was through on
this thing*

I liked George Peek very much*

tive, forceful, and extremely engaging man*
could be very rough and tough, too*

Hie was an attrac­
Of course, he

He had strong likes and

They were an extremely attractive couple*

Both are

dead now#

While I enjoyed my visit with him, I was anxious to

get home, back to Montana and back to ray work, said 1 thought


that I certainly had done all I could do fop the cause*

wanted to dear tip my work and get bade and see if I could be
of any assistance to Governor Dixon in the campaign.
I was planning to go into the United States Department
of Agriculture for the new regulatory work that fall*


Packers and Stockyards Administration was only one of the

They were going to combine the regulation of grain

futures, the grain standards act and all that into one - it
might have been a bureau, I suppose - and I was to head it*
Morrill was to go into other work*

He went with the War

Finance Corporation, then followed Eugene Meyer to the Federal
Reserve Board*
Peek and I decided nothing at that time*
him everything I knew about it*

I simply told

He was extremely interested*

Be didn't even indicate to me his future plans beyond indicating
that he thought he would go down to Washington and look the
scene over - something of that sort*

That *s all he said to me

at that time*
We Bet General Hugh Johnson in Moline on that trip*
George Peek, Hugh Johnson, and two or three others were asso­
ciated in the management of the Moline Plow Company, which had

been taken over by bankers* representing the bond holders*
They* in turn* had made a management contract with Peek*
Johnson* Phil Nolan, and two others# under which it was plan­
ned to liquidate the indebtedness through operation rather
than by forced sale* under terms that would leave the manage­
ment group In control of the company when they had paid off
the debts*

George Peek felt - his reasoning was very direct

- that you can’t make any money out of a busted customer and
he was willing to do anything he could to pump new life blood
back Into the farming business* which was then in a pretty bad

George Peek didn't like to lose*


George was a good

Hobody likes to lose* but it was less popular with

George than nearly anybody I ever knew*
X met Johnson at the railway station*
and tumble guy* obviously tough* outspoken*

He was a rough
X think he gave

you the impression of a man who had lived haz'd* perhaps dissi­
pated hard - be looked as if he were a hard drinker* X don't
know whether he was or not at that time*

X could see that

George was slightly disapproving in his attitude toward Johnson*
X could see there was not the entente cordlale between them that
might have been anticipated*
X had heard the name Bernard M* Baruch before this time*
X thought of him as a successful Wall Street speculator*


don't know if Peek or Johnson mentioned his name at this time*

but they did frequently thereafter when Baruch became interested
in and a supporter of the equality for agriculture movement*
knew of their war industries board service*


When Baruch became

chairman, George had been the commissioner of finished products*
Johnson was also in the group because it was there George and
Johnson got to working together*
him to the Moline Plow Company*
not being so cordial*

George took Johnson back with
There were reasons for their

Instead of giving the group time to work

out the program George Peek had outlined and which was covered
in the management agreement of the Moline Plow Company, some of
the bond-holding group tied in with a man who had an attractive
plan for getting some of their money out fast through liquidation
and sale of property, and George felt that Hugh played along
with that group when he himself insisted on fighting it out in
Federal Court*

The result was a contract settlement which was,

I think, considered quite satisfactory from the standpoint of
the management group*

I don't recall the details of it, but 1

know that George felt that Hugh had not backed him up as he
should have done, but on the contrary had given aid and comfort
to the liquidators *
Sfy wife and I went by train to Helena*

We had been there

only a few days when I received a telephone call from George

Or it might have been a telegram*

Be said he and James

Mitchell, who was then chairman of the board of the Federal

Re serve Bask of Minneapolis and quite a prominent citizen of
the Twin Cities, were together in Washington, and were insistent
that I arrange my affairs in Montana to enable me to come on
back to Washington*

I did return, and spent some time working

with George, taking leave again from my job as Commissioner of

X went via St* Paul where X stopped and talked to

Mr* Mitchell, meeting him for the first time*

The American

Council of Agriculture was organized at St* Paul at a somewhat
later date*

One of the understandings with George was to help

lay plans for the meeting which organized the American Council
of Agriculture*

X spent some time in Washington, some in

X think this was all in July*

pretty fast*

Things were moving

We were very anxious to pull the pieces together

and start again*

My schedule seemed busy at that time, all right*

Among other things, we started our negotiations with
Governor Frank 0* Lowden and Judge Hiram Bingham of Louisville*
We at least tried to get them to attend the meeting in St* Paul
of the American Council of Agriculture*

Through, this period X

was talking with Walton Peteet whom X had met in Washington*
He was an interested onlooker in this first McNary-Haugen fight,
rather sympathetic but still feeling that the cooperatives could
do the job themselves*

Hie was the Washington representative and

secretary of the National Cooperative Council made up of the
Sapiro-typ© cooperatives.

I don't recall whose idea the American Council of Agri­
culture was*

Frank Murphy was very active in it, and others in

St. Paul and Minneapolis*

George Peek was active in it*


don*t know who threw the idea out first* but we felt it was
necessary to bring all the forces we could under on© tent
instead of operating as a loose informal group as we had been

The idea of the American Council of Agriculture was to

formalize, more or less, for this particular purpose the equality
for agriculture movement, and to realign our forces and get busy
to push the bill through Congress*
out to do*

That*s what we were setting

Frank W. Murphy of Wheaton, Minnesota, was Chairman,

B.A. Selvidge, also of Minnesota, was Secretary, and H.A* Cowles,
Treasurer of the Illinois Agricultural Association, was Treas­

In the meantime, the Illinois Agricultural Association,

the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Indiana Farm Bureau and a number of
other Farm Bureaus - had jumped into the fight with both feet,
so that we had that added strength*

Their representatives

attended the meeting in St* Paul, also a number of Farmers
Union leaders*

Bill Settle was there, Hirth was there, I#m

quite sure, and Charlie Hearst was there*

Whether Earl Smith came along at that tine or not, I

not sure*

Earl was a prominent member of the board of the

Illinois Agricultural Association*
at that time*

Sam Thompson was

He was not its president

The Farm Bureau came into the movement by more

or less simultaneous and independent interest*

Sam Thompson

was the Illinois Agricultural Association man, although he was
elected president of the American Farm Bureau during this fight,
in the early winter of 1925? Earl Smith was then elected presi­
dent of the Illinois Agricultural Association*

The American

Council of Agriculture issued a public statement of principles
and purposes following its meeting*

I think this organization

served its purpose - served its purpose very well*
I didn’t stay East too long this trip*

It wasn#t pos­

sible for me to devote all my time to this work*

I worked with

George Peek on some revisions we both thought would be helpful
in the bill, and got back to Montana just as soon as I could*
George Peek was a very good friend, and very considerate, as
the last paragraph of this letter shows:

Moline, Illinois
August 20, 192lj.
Mr* Chester C* Davis
Commissioner of Agriculture
Helena, Montana
Dear Mr* Davis:
The enclosed clipping will give you some inside
light on the Moline Plow situation* Up to date I
have been one-hundred percent supported in my conten­
tions by the court decision* Just where it will all
land before I get through I do not know*
I believe the next few days are going to be im­
portant ones in the agricultural situation* If the
President complies with our request to take the sub­
ject out of partisan politics, that is one thing; if
he does not, of course that is quite another* My
friends among the farm leaders are not going to be
kidded and, as you know, they have a pretty good in­
sight on the situation in Washington*
I am delighted to he su? that your young son is
recovering from his late indisposition and sincerely
hope his recovery will be rapid and complete* Mrs*
Peek joins me in cordial regards to both you and Mrs*
Davis *

Sincerely yours,
George H* Peek

Of course, we had continued activities in the Montana
department that I had to take care of.

I accompanied Governor

Dixon on some of his campaign trips in 192^»
political speech in the campaign.

I made only one

That was the night before

election, at Hardin, Montana, which was sort of headquarters
for the Crow Indians.

It was quite an experience.

Hardin and I found them in a considerable uproar.

I came into

Dixon was the Republican candidate for governor, and the week
before the Democrats had made a big roundup.

President Coolidge

had just signed the bill making the members of the Indian tribes
voting citizens, and this was the first election in which they
were to have a vote.

There was considerable activity in both

parties to line up the Indian vote.
Hardin was an amusing one.

The story I heard in

A number of the big candidates for

office - Senator Walsh, a candidate for re-election, the candidate
for governor - had spoken at a big rally in Hardin the week be­

Word had been sent out to all of the Crow Indians across the

reservation to come on in because these important white fathers
were going to meet with them and talk.

The Indians accepted the

invitation, and by horseback, cart, and every way except automo­
bile, they converged on Hardin.

After they had settled in the

flats outside of town, and set up their tepees, a delegation of
chiefs called on the chairman of the Democratic County Committee
and pointed out that they were there, that their lodges were

esipty of meat, and they wanted to know what to do.

There was

some telephoning* and the Democratic county chairman arranged
for the purchase of some steers that they drove out to camp*
They continued that until the day of the rally.
learned politics in a hurryI

The Indians

At the last, when the steer meat

ran short and the feeling was running a little high in the
Indian camp* the County Committee in desperation sent word
to the restaurants that they could feed the Indians and charge
the Democratic Committee the hill.
I heard this story in one of the restaurants where I
was sitting up at the counter taking a lunch, myself.


man who ran the restaurant said, ”You know, we had one buck
come in here and eat twelve chicken dinners that day.


are a little tough because the bill hasn’t been paid yet#*
Neither the Democratic Committee, nor the Republican, had any
more money than they needed*
addressed the meeting.

So that was the setting when 1

It was the only political speech I

ever made in my life, and I don’t think it was a very good one*
We lost the election*

The leaders of the forces that

opposed Governor Dixon had been very shrewd*

They had picked

Judge John E* Erickson, who subsequently went to the United
States Senate and was a judge from northwestern Montana as
their candidate*

The Scandinavian name has an enormous voting

appeal in Montana, as it does in the Dakotas and Minnesota*

They concentrated opposition on Dixon.

I didn’t have the

slightest idea that he vas going to he defeated, which shows
I was not politically experienced*

He kept asstaring me that

it was going to be tough, and he vas not at all sure he vas
going to make it.

He Td even had a tough fight in the primary

to defeat the chairman of the state railway commission, who'd
been put up against him.

Be had come through that, but the

vote against him gave him a tip-off that the thing would be

It wasn't like the previous campaign where the Kon-

Partisan League had backed Wheeler, which drove all the con­
servative forces to support Dixon.

So he was defeated*


course, in the meantime Secretary Wallace had died so I had
completely washed out the idea of going to the Department of
Agriculture .
The Montana Wheat Growers cooperative came to see me
and asked me if I would take over the management of that. The
Illinois Agricultural Association asked me if I would consider
coming with them.

Sam Thompson of the American Farm Bureau

had idle bright idea of making me the Washington representative,
but he wasn't man enough to budge Gray Silver.
enough support in the organization.

He didn't have

So I finally went down to

Chicago, talked with the Illinois Agricultural Association,
and agreed to come with them on the expiration of my tern in
April as director of grain marketing.

I moved down there then

in the spring of 1925*

I continued as Commissioner of Agri­

culture until my term expired*

It gave me a little opportunity

to overlap and work with my successor*

It may not seem so* but

I was very much interested in what we were trying to do in the
department, and my successor was a good friend of mine*
a chance to work with him and talk with him some*

I had

On the eve­

ning of the expiration of my term I was on my way to Chicago*
An experience like that# when I felt that certain corpo­
rate interests really controlled the politics of the state* didn't
leave me with the feeling that there was very much future for
me in Montana* so X was ready to move*
eight years*

It was pleasant.

sons went to school there*

We lived in Evanston for

We lived right on the lake*

I don't like the city too well*

don't care for Chicago, particularly.
pleasant in Evanston where we lived*



I didn't find it un­
I didn't attend the

President's agricultural conference in January* 192!?.
After tiie election* President Coolidge came to Chicago
to address the Annual American Farm Bureau Convention.

I had

gone back to Chicago for a conference with the Illinois Agri­
cultural Association*
Charles G. Dawes*
Evanston home*

George Peek toofeme out to meet General

We spent some time with him in his beautiful

George had corresponded with Dawes* who in turn

hac brought some of the questions up with Sir Josiah Stamp* who
had been an associate of his 013 the German Separations Mission*

1 had forgotten all about the telegram* dated March 3,
1925* stating:
President O’Shea writing stop It you are seeking
permanent connection in West* re comend you give
serious consideration to subject matter of letter
and see 0 *Shea first opportunity.
Signed: George C* Jewett
That* of course, was George Jewett who was head of the Wheat
Growers cooperative.

O’Shea was president of the F&deral Land

Bank at Spokane* and he had in mind for me a position in M s
organization, but I had already committed myself to the Illinois
Agricultural Association.
I am also reminded of the telegram dated March 16, 1925*
addressed to me at Helena* stating:
Our board unanimously passed a resolution asking you
to take charge of our organization work along the
lines of our recent conversation. Action contingent
on other states adopting program. Please do not
commit yourself until we can make a definite offer*
Signed: B.C. HOllenback
That was from the Montana Wheat Growers.

I had made up my mind

by March 16* but had made no announcement of it*
Meanwhile, after a short period in which Howard Gore
served as Secretary of Agriculture* the appointment had gone to
William ®* Jardine* President of Kansas State College*


had been one of the land grant college heads who had expressed
himself as opposed to the McKary-Haugen Bill*

Since he came

from Kansas where we had real support from the organizations,
we didn*t view the appointment with enthusiasm, although we
weren’t surprised*

Jardine vas a very pleasant man, personally*

I remember shortly after he had taken office George Peek and I
called on him in Washington and talked the situation over with
him and attempted to feel him out and see if he would be a

I remember that we walked out from the old red

building in silence as ve left*

Finally George turned to me

and uttered just one four-letter vord vhieh vas exactly the
vord that vas in my own mind*
The spring of 1925 vas a period for getting settled in
Chicago and for getting acquainted with the workers on the
Illinois Agricultural Association staff*

It vas my expectation

and intention to vork as a staff member on any jobs assigned*
The chief problem in grain marketing confronting the Association
had to do with the United States Grain Grovers Inc * The Illinois
Agricultural Association vas inclined to oppose the movement
vhich vas counting on Farm Bureau support*

One of the things

they asked me to do vas to get all the information I could to­
gether about it*

The Board hadn’t really made up its mind*

They were skeptical, but were in the process of examining into
the whole proposition*

I spent a great deal of time working on

that, getting all the infonaation together I could*
like a phoney to me - a promotion proposition*
took that position*

It looked

The association

The other thing we wanted to do was to see if we could
work out some plan for the effective

amalgamation of the

country cooperative elevators of Illinois into a more cohesive
marketing organization*

In that we were working with a very

strong organization on the other side*

That was the associa­

tion of the country grain elevator cooperatives*

They were one

of the first forms of cooperative organization* and somewhat
limited in their usefulness although they had been important
as single unit elevator operations*

I concerned ayself with the

attempt to develop a program. which would be attractive to the
single unit cooperatives and at the same time would move in
the direction of an integrated grain marketing system*


weren't thinking in terms of only Illinois, although we were
working primarily with Illinois.

We were also working with

elevator and Farm Bureau groups in other states to see what we
could come up with*

It wasn't successful*

I thought that my job with the Illinois Agricultural
Association would have nothing to do with the McNary-Haugen
Bill, but it didn't work out that way*

More and more demand

was made on my time to participate in conferences* documenta­
tion* correspondence* drafting* all relating to the McNary-Haugen

It began to get really burdensome*

I went along*

But that developed as

George Peek was the leader then*

He had some

able and strong associates*

Jewett was becoming less active*

The Sapiro grain cooperatives had begun to get into real diffi­

They had rough sledding* and Jewett had plenty to do*

X don't know at just what period he withdrew from active leader­

It was not a case of breaking with the movement* but X

think Jewett became more and more preoccupied* and the wheat
associations became less and less potent* as memberships dis­
solved* and some of them didn’t carry on*

I couldn’t put the

date on when the wheat cooperatives began to weaken, but by
midyear in 1925 they had become relatively less important in
the McEary-Haugen movement*
The same factors brought trouble to the other coopera­
tives which had started out with much stronger membership*


instance* the Burley and Bark tobacco associations and the
Bright tobacco association - had signed up in some cases in
excess of eighty percent of the growers in their organizations*
The American Cotton Cooperative Association and the StapleCotton Cooperative Association* which were two separate coopera­
tives dealing with cotton* were becoming interested because of
the problem of holding their membership in line while they were
attempting the job of stabilization for the entire erop*


Staple-Cotton Cooperative had excellent management and a
specialty commodity to deal with*

They survived and have had

a continuous existence as a very strong and ably-managed

cooperative • The American Cotton Cooperative Association lias
had a number of changes in its form, and at that time it was
really in soma difficulty*

In tbs period of *25 and '26 ,

these cooperatives really brought pressure to bear within the
states in which they were operating, which gave us enough,
strength to pass the bill*
Peek and I didn’t disassociate at any time*

I went to

work for the Illinois Agricultural Association, but George
still continued to call on me*

I was constantly in conferences

and meetings, and 1 know the people in the Illinois Agricultural
Association thought this was a very proper job for me*


things were naturally turned over to me in the Illinois Agri­
cultural Association by Sam Thompson and later by Earl Smith*
Sam Thompson is still living in his home in Quincy*
Adams County, Illinois*

He was a tall, lean, kindly man who

inspired confidence in anyone he met*

Sam Thompson, when 1

last saw him, was active in the little bank he controlled in
Adams County*
on his farm*

He still owned his farm land*

He didn*t live

I went up to see him two or three times, and

enjoyed meeting him.

Hie’d become very hard of hearing* Thompson

was a simple man, not possessed of much formal education*


he had a very great sincerity and great persuasiveness because
of it*

He could get mad and he wasn*t any push-over, but he

wasn’t the hammer type*

He was more the anvil type*

J.R* Howard always impressed me more as the farm organi­
zation politician*

I think *T*E* Howard was the first president

of the American Farm Bureau*
from Ohio*

Oscar Bradfute came along later

He was a pompous* good-natured chap* with no great

depth* and of course I was not sympathetic with him because he
wasn't sympathetic with us*

When Sam Thompson came in* of

course* it completed the swing*
American Farm Bureau with us*

In 192lf we didn't have the
X think the shift came at that

1925 winter meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation in

The later North and West St* Louis meeting was quite

important* and that was the first meeting Henry A* Wallace

But in May* 192£* we didn't have the American Farm
The organization really came with us when Sam Thompson

was elected president*

We couldn't move Bradfute*

One of the

things Thompson wanted to do but wasn't able to do was to re­
place Gray Silver as Washington Representative of the Farm
Ed O'Neal was vice president* and as vice president he
directed the legislative operations in Washington*
pretty much the function of the vice president*

That was

At that time*

Ed was not wholly sold on the McNary-Haugen Bill*

His interest

in the legislation didn't come along until *25-*26 when the
cotton growers cams in*

But when O'Neal joined us he was

powerful* hard-hitting and a very able* smooth operator* He's

one of the most genial and lovable of men*

In 192i{. Sd would

kid us along on our proposition and express great interest in
and admiration for what we were accomplishing, but was not
heart and soul for it at that time*
Earl Smith is an extraordinarily able man - a good type

He had arisen as one of the younger members of the

board of the Illinois Agricultural Association to the point
where he was elected president when Sam Thompson became presi­
dent of the American Farm Bureau*
friends I have had*

Earl is one of the closest

He had extraordinary abilities of leader­

He never could be tempted to move on to the national

Farm Bureau presidency* even years later when I would think
most of the leaders of the American Farm Bureau wished him to,
and after he had served with great distinction as vice-president
of the national organization*

When Ed had reached the stage

when for his own interests retirement was indicated* Smith
wouldn ’t permit his name to go before the Convention*
was never ambitious for it*


He really wasnrt• When he retired

- and retired voluntarily from the Illinois Agricultural Asso­
ciation - he had no ambition to move on*

I don't mean that

Earl might not have been tempted* for example, if somebody had
tagged him and said, "I'd like you to be Secretary of Agriculture*
or something like that* but he never sought to advance in the
Farm Bureau organization beyond the leadership of the Illinois

Agricultural Association which was* of course, the most power*
ful single unit in the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)*
Earl was not ambitious in farm organization circles, except as
be was ambitious to make the Illinois Agricultural Association
serve its purposes*

He was very able as an administrator* He

was a leader, believe met

Earl really controlled his organ!*

On May 12-13, 1925* the Grain Belt Federation of Farm
Organisations (Com Belt Committee}# was formed at Des Moines*
I was there*

The C o m Belt Committee became the vehicle through

which Frank Morphy worked, although Bill Hirth was chairman, and
Frank Murphy only the head of the legislative committee*
and Frank were two odd ones to be teamed up together*



Murphy actually, from the standpoint of leadership, took it over*
Bill Hirth was a good deal of a single-tracker - something of a
lone wolf*
It was quite a job keeping a group of those prima donnas
pulling in team harness*

Bill Hirth had been a dictator in his

Missouri Farmers Association*
sold on this proposal*

He was deeply and emotionally

While he would sit in at meetings, Bill

was a great hand to go off by himself and write a long manifesto
that hefd bring in and want us to issue*
over to me*

I remember several times when I’d go over it and

then turn it back to Bill*

Then they’d turn it

He *d bring it up at a subsequent

meeting and I*ve heard him say, ”You know, this Goddam thing
didn’t have much merit when I first produced it, but by the
time Chester got through with it it was utterly without merit,
but I now present it to you*” He was a lovable fellow with a
great deal of power over the Missouri delegation*
prank Murphy really made himself the spark behind the
C o m Belt Committee* much to Bill Hirth»s disgust*
wanted a vehicle which he could operate, himself*

This organi­

zation did quite a lot of work, and was responsible for nome
confusion as well*

After the "Committee of Twenty-Two" got

going, we had it with George Peek as head at the Lee House,
and we had the C o m Belt Committee with Prank Murphy operating
at the Hamilton Hotel, and there used to be some amusing devel­
opments of cross-purposes*
Da October, 1925, Governor Lowden advanced a plan which
embodied the McNary-Haugen principle but relied heavily on co­
operatives for administration*

Walton Peteet and I had been

He had come to see me*

He had discussed the

difficulties of some of the cooperatives*

He was impressed by

the argument we had made repeatedly that the cooperatives which
tried to handle these widely-grown commodities on the Sapiro
principle carried the seeds of their own dissolution, with
their members bearing the cost of stabilization of the whole
crop, and the non-members taking a free ride#

Of course, they

were seeing that work out on every hand* so Peteet and Bill
Settle (who was in both camps * he was a Farm. Bureau man and
he was also a very strong Sapiro cooperative man)* had several
informal talks with George Peek and me*

Hhen a meeting was

arranged with Judge Hiram Bingham* Frank Lowden* Peteet* and
Bill Settle*

Bingham, publisher of the Lousiville Courier^

Journal, was Chairman of the Board of the National Cooperative
Council, the Sapiro organization*

1*31 not sure whether Bill

Hirth came up to that meeting or not*
the instigator*

George was very much

I'm not sure when that was*

was announced in October of *25*

Lowden*s plan

In the interval before the

St* Louis meeting* these negotiations were going on* all right*
I remember we discussed with Lowden* Bingham* and so forth*
the possible avenues of approach to the cotton and tobacco
cooperatives of the southern and border states*

Bill Settle

undertook to go down and see them - make a swing around and
talk to them - because he* himself* was well known in the co­
operative circle*

‘That took place in the interval between the

announcement of the Lowden Plan and the St* Louis meeting in
which the southerners participated*
Peteet *s headquarters were Washington at that time*


was the secretary of the National Cooperative Council* made up
primarily of Sapiro cooperatives*
and he was a

Peteet had come out of Texas*

disciple of Sapiro*s - a very sincara and devoted


He bad seen an opportunity for wedding the cooperative

movement and the McNary-Haugen movement, and with his help we
had arranged this meeting*
Later the meetings that we had at the Lee House with the
American Cotton Cooperative Association were quite important•
These boys from the South were very suspicious and shy about
their contacts with the organizations from the North,

I re­

member they set up their headquarters at one end of a hall in
the Lee House, and we - George Peek, Frank Murphy, I think
Bill Hirth, and others - were headquartered at the other end*
We found a common denominator in Judge Xenophon Cavem o - he
was Irish, by the way, not Greek - from Canalou, Missouri*.
The judge was an ex-Yankee who bad moved from Kewanee* Illinois
down to southeastern Missouri in the "boot-heel" there, which
is a very productive cotton area*

He was a member of the board

of trustees of the American Cotton Cooperative Association, but
he being an ex-Illinois man understood the North, so he paddled
from one to the other with proposals and counterproposals as we
were discussing the possibility of the bill being shaped to be
useful to cotton*

We»d been thinking in terms of wheat and com,

the consumption of which, directly or indirectly, was preponder­
antly domestic so the export item was not relatively important*
Waen we talked of cotton, we were talking of a crop which ex­
ported half or more of its domestic production*

There were many

things that needed to be worked out*
The leader of the cotton cooperative group - that is#
the chairman, not the executive manager - was Dr* B.W. Kilgore
of Forth Carolina*

He was an extremely gentle, patient, quiet

man who felt that there was a chance for a union and worked
patiently at it*

The manager was a man named C *0. Moser, who

had been a former extension worker in Texas*
in this as a part of the Sapiro movement*

Hefd become active

Moser was, of course,

concerned with something that would work for cotton, but at the
same time he really felt the need for some place to light with
the Sapiro cooperative*
We held these meetings*

We also, somewhat later, held

sessions with the tobacco cooperatives*

The legislative strength

really grew out of that union of the South and the West which
was symbolized, we thought, by the meeting at St* Louis*
these things were taking place in the meantime*


In December,

1925# Bradfute was defeated and Sam Thompson became president
of the American Farm Bureau*

Then Earl Smith succeeded as presi­

dent of the Illinois Agricultural Association*
Baruch backed the American Council of Agriculture finan­
cially because he believed in it*

He believed in equality for

I don’t mean that he believed in the details of

the IvIcNary-Haugen Bill, but he believed that we were employing
devices that same of American industry had used and he sympathized

with our efforts*

Then, he was a friend of George Peeke's*

I've talked to Baruch a number of times about this*
lieved in the basic importance of agriculture*

He be­

He felt that

the nation was crippled by the weakness of this important seg­
ment of it*

I talked to him a number of times*

I’m. quite sure

he wanted to help the movement along, although I don’t want
that to imply that he had studied the plan we were advocating
and was satisfied with it in all particulars*
My only connection with him was through my association
with George Peek, not Johnson.

I never had any connection with

Johnson at all until I was Administrator of the Triple-A and he
was the National Recovery Administration (NBA) Administrator*
George and Hugh had more or leas drifted apart*

While I recall

one or two occasions when Johnson sat in on some discussions,
he was not active in this at all beyond the preparation of the
original briefs*

In that I’m sure that the idea was George’s

and the language was Johnson*s *
I would imagine that some of Peek’s ideas were also
Baruch’s ideas on other matters*

I don’t believe Baruch con­

tributed ideas to the McNary-Haugen plan, so called*
evidence of it*

1 saw no

He contributed money and moral support*


really have no reason to believe that Baruch was the man behind
the ideas in this movement*

Baruch’s interests were much wider

than agriculture,
James F* Byrnes*

I knew of his association in support of
I imagine there were many others*


was not in any sense dependent upon Baruch, although he had
great respect and admiration for him*

He was neither finan­

cially nor mentally dependent upon him*
of making up his own mind*
1 had no question about it*

He was absolutely his own man*
Hie was very devoted to Baruch*

There was no question about that either*
chief” to him*

Baruch was "the

Barueh*s connection with all this movement

was a very tenuous one*
to know*

George was capable

X really think I was in a position

It was through Peek, entirely*

Baruch did all he felt he could to help*

I don’t know whether
Before I came into

the picture I think Baruch was one of the men George discussed
this idea with and that Baruch had at least not discouraged
him - not knocked it down*

George talked to many people in

1922 in Washington and in industry*

I believe Baruch was one

he had talked with*
She Illinois Agricultural Association was relatively

At the time I joined the Illinois Agricultural Asso­

ciation it had 60,000 members who were paying at the rate, at
that time, of $15>*00 a year*

A portion of that was retained

for the county Farm Bureau, a portion went to Illinois, and a
small portion off to the American Farm Bureau Federation* That

was a very high membership and high income for a farm organi­

They had an excellent system for collection*


memberships were for three years, and the members were encour­
aged to authorize an annual draft on them through their banks
for the amount, so there wasn't a collection problem*
a good budget*

It was tightly administered*

They had

1 had forgotten

they had made a contribution to the American Council of Agri­
culture, but I understand why they would, whereas some Farm.

Bureau with #£*00-a-year dues or less, and a much smaller
membership, would participate in the start but wouldn*t kick
through on the budget*

The American Council for Agriculture

didn’t last long*
I don’t think 1 participated in the meeting in Des Moines,
in December, 1925, of the American Council of Agriculture affil­
iated with the C o m Belt Committee *
these meetings*
in to see me*

I was not going to all

I was only answering calls when people came
I imagine that’s where Frank Murphy of the

American Council of Agriculture came In on the Corn Belt Com­

Peek was president of the American Council of Agri­

culture, but Frank really ran It*

George went on to other

things and used that as a vehicle of expression, all right*
The All -Iowa Agricultural Marketing Conference In Des
Moines, following the organization of the Corn Belt Committee
and the American Council of Agriculture, led to Governor John*s call of the governors of eleven states to a conference.
George vas active in that conference*
operated with Hammill in it*

He promoted that and co­

During this period* Peek and Murphy

were the guiding lights, with the other farm leaders more or less

George unquestionably was the continuous thread in that

As the period divides in my mind, in *25» and *26 I worked
for the Illinois Agricultural Association and tried to give it
my full effort* but an increasing amount of my time was called
on in this other work*

I think of *2? and *28, then, as the

period after I*d left the Illinois Agricultural Association,
and with Walton Peteet had set up Agricultural Service*
not incorporate the partnership*

It was Just a name*

offices in Washington and in Chicago*

We did

We had

In that period I worked

as closely as possible with George Peek*

George Peek took the

responsibility of underwriting Agricultural Service and raising
the money for it*

He may have had money in that from Baruch*

I know he received funds from Woods Brothers of Lincoln*
himself, contributed more heavily than anybody else*
brother Burton Peek was a contributor*



He is counsel and, 1

think, still chairman of the board of Deere and Gompany*


from Peteet *s side we were retained by the cotton-tobaceo co­

We received funds from them*

But George Peek was

the underwriter of the movement*

I met Harry Butcher when I passed through Chicago in 192lj.

or *2£.

He graduated from Iowa State College at Ames in *2lj.«

He came to the Illinois A gric'iltural Association as director
of information# so of course I was closely tied in with him
during all of *25> and on until I left the association*


strongly recommended him for the position that moved him to

He and his very charming wife* Ruth* were just

a couple of gay and eager youngsters*
of ability*

Butch had a great deal

He became quite interested in what we were doing*

I visited in their home a great deal, and when Mrs* Davis
moved down, we were good friends*
In January there was the battle in the American. Farm
Bureau Federation over who should be appointed Washington
backed me*

Ed O’Neal backed Gray Silver and Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson lost*

Ed O’Neal hadn’t come completely

There was a lot of history back of that*

Gray Silver

had cooperated with Ed in the Alabama Farm Bureau* s great pro­
motion of the development of Mussel Shoals*
know me very well*

Ed O’Neal didn’t

I didn’t know it was much of a battle*


think Sam Thompson wanted to bring me in as Washington repre­
sentative and he couldn’t do it*

I didn’t participate in it*

I had sized the thing up, as I recall it, pretty early* Thompson
had spoken confidently of it when he assigned the presidency
that this was one thing he wanted to do*

Then the grapevine or

some other source of information tipped me off that the situation

didn’t look right*

I assumed that Thompson had neves* made a

real effort on it#
The legislative counsel wrote the Dickinson Bill, which
was introduced into the House on January II, 1926*

George and

I had gone down and talked to Congressman Lester J# Dickinson
of Iowa about it*

It brought in the cooperatives*

It was a

part of the evolution which accompanied the growth of the inter­
est of the cooperatives*

It had other features in it which I

think weakened It a great deal as a working instrument, but
that gave it a little more ”sex appeal* as far as votes were

A good many of the compromises as they came along

tended to weaken the original fabric*

When the cotton people

came in and really moved up, they found the cotton Senators and
Congressmen willing to go along on everything except the com­
modity* a paying Its own way.

They introduced the idea of getting,

for a period, at least, a direct appropriation from the Treasury
to take care of them*
In that period we met and worked with some extremely able

Two from the Cotton Stapte Association were very impressive*

One was Alfred Stone and the other was Sam Bledsoe*
had had sin amazing history*

A1 Stone

He was a very brilliant man. Bledsoe

was sharp and incisive and a very keen trader.

When they came

to town Senator Pat Harrison and the others got very much inter­
ested right away, but they didn*t want the cotton growers to have

to put up the money - Harrison and the others*

So* regretfully

on the part of the cotton staple people* they came back with
the word that the Mississippi and the other cotton belt dele­
gations would support the bill but they wouldn*t go along if
the equalization fee applied at once to cotton*

Pat Harrison

was a great deal store interested in Sam Bledsoe and A1 Stone
and the cotton growers than he was in Baruch*

I really saw

the thing develop play by play when these people were working
on their Congressmen*

1 used to talk to Pat Harrison about it*

If he had discussed it with Baruch and Baruch had said* ’’Why,
why don*t you go ahead and support it?” it would certainly have
been helpful, but I have no reason for thinking that that took

I know that these cotton organizations packed a lot of

political weight*

The Staple-Cotton Cooperative Association

membership comprised the aristocracy of the Mississippi delta,
and the American Cotton Cooperative Association had a good many
of the others*

So there was abundant motivation there without

looking for Baruch in the picture, in my opinion*
Bill became the second McNary-Haugen Bill*

The Dickinson

There were other

drafts and changes, but that*s ray recollection*
I was very active in the Executive Committee of 22.


called it the Executive Committee of 22 and then shortened it
to the Committee of 22,

There were two representatives from

each of those eleven states whose governors were invited to the


I participated in the activities in Washington

when they came back from that meeting and began to work*
They sent f¥ank Warner, who was secretary of the Iowa Bankers
Association* down*
and others*

Governor Hammill came down* and George Peek

We still were at the Lee House*

press release*

They issued a

I worked with them in setting up the Washington

end of the activity* but 1 did not attend the meeting at Des

Peek was very much a leader of this*

just for publicity*

This wasn*t

It was for power - for votes*

1 think

Hammill, himself, may have volunteered to try to get some of
the governors together to organize the states*

This has to be

seen against the background of deepening concern on the part
of the farmers*

In the combelt they had got out from tinder

the worst of the post-war depression and were really on the
upgrade in *26 , but banks were still in difficulty and recovery
was spotty*

There was real concern* and it was against that

background that Hammill called the governors together*


then helped direct the formation of their executive committee
under which his activities for the rest of the fight were
pretty much carried on*

Prank Murphy and some associates

didn*t merge headquarters* although we worked together con­

They worked under the name of the Oorrt Belt Committee*

TOiere was the Committee of 22, the C o m Belt Gommittee, and then*
of course* the farm organizations* each in their own right,

pulling their way, and the cooperatives and others doing what
they could*
The C o m Belt Committee really acted as a spark plug and
kept the fire under the other organizations, kept them activated*
The nerve center for the latter stages of the McNary-Eaugen
fight grew around George Peek and the Committee of 22* Another
nerve center was the C o m Belt Committee* largely with Frank

ITm sure that Bill Hirth continued at least a nominal

connection with it* but Bill preferred to operate directly*
He preferred most of all to operate as the Missouri Farmers

Frank Murphy found it very difficult to be second

to any man*

Russ Wiggins (now managing editor of the Washington

Post)« was associated with him as his assistant for a time# Russ
was just as enthusiastically committed to this as anybody could

He came from a newspaper and a farm section* (Wheaton*

Minnesota) and was concerned with it* Here are farm organiza­
tions with a very considerable line of activity, very wide
Interests - legislatively and otherwise - which diluted their

Then here were these nerve centers that were paying

attention to nothing else but this#

From these nerve centers

the impulses would go out that would help activate these other
farm groups in situations where help was needed and where their
weight could be thrown to advantage*

A central office manage­

ment was required, and they more or less gave it*


the farm organizations would have pushed but would have been
completely uncoordinated and relatively less effective* I think*
I wrote material, wrote speeches, sat in on the drafting
of bills, interviewed people.

We would now be called consult­

ants, I think, if we were in Washington#

At the time the

American Council of Agriculture was formed my interests and
commitments were in Montana.

I may have been a member of the

I aonTt remember whether I was or not*

I went to

Agricultural Service, not the American Council of Agriculture.
This was really a purely personal service of Walton Peteet’s*
We were th© servants of these groups.

They retained us, and we

worked for them Just as today Washington consultants are re­
tained to look after people1s interests.
that line.

We were lobbyists.

maintain my office in Chicago*

We were working in

The Intention was that I would
We did maintain one there*

Walton Peteet had the Washington office, "but because activities
shifted back and fo’rth I spent considerable time in the Washing­
ton office.

That continued for two years or really through

the Say 1928 defeat and the failure to pass it over the veto.
3hen I felt, with George ?eek, that we had one more job to do,
after which I felt I was completely through#

That Job was the

political conventions.
The Fess-Tincher Bill, January 29, 1926, is one of the
best illustrations I ever saw of the effectiveness of debate*

This was part of my work with the Illinois Agricultural Associ­

The Fess-Tincher Bill contained an appropriation which

would have provided the money for the purchase of those
Rosenbaum elevators in Chicago.

I went to Bert Wheeler of

Montana with the story, and it was just the kind of a thing that
Bert ate up.

We had nothing in writing - just made a few notes

as we stood out in the anteroom because the thing was right hot
on the griddle.

The debate was on.

I sat in the gallery while

he made his extemporaneous speech on this.

The way he would

drawl out Man-n-n-v Rosenbaum in telling about it was good

He did an effective job of torpedoing the bill, and

they couldn't have passed it to save their lives after he got
through with it.
Growers movement.

This refers to this whole United States Grain
Gray Silver and John A. Coverdale - the

Washington representative and the secretary of the American
Farm Bureau Federation - had been promised that they would be
the executives in the thing.

It was a sweet job for them.


have no doubt that Coverdale, at least, would rationalize the
thing in terms of the best interest of the corn belt farmers,
but after all self-interest wasn't lacking.
line up the central AFBF group on it.

They certainly did

They didn't make it stick.

Gray Silver went out, and he and Coverdale did set up something
of an organization, but they didn't buy the elevators.


The date X went out with George Peek to meet General
Dawes for the first time was in 1925* all right.

It was when

President Coolidge went out to make an address before the annual
convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation*
held in Chicago in December.

That was

On that occasion I remember that

President Coolidge took a crack at the McNary-Haugen Bill and
defended the recent tariff increases* and so forth* and did
not go to call on General Dawes.

Coolidge didn't set the meet-

lng on fire*
I remember General Dawes referred the Josiah Stamp cor­
respondence to

George Peek and me for analysis and comment*

Stamp had raised a number of questions*
published the exchange of letters*
printings on it*

We discussed it* Dawes

As I recall* there were two

Xt was rather widely distributed*

It gave a

sort of a little aura of economic respectability to the McNaryHaugen Bill* particularly among the people who didn*t read the
interchange of correspondence and didn't pay much attention to

The reason for it was that Dawes - quite without any sug­

gestion from any of the farm groups - because of his great
respect for Sir Joslah Stamp, with whom he had worked on the
German reparations, had written to him to get confirmation of
his own disposition to favor the bill*

He favored it simply

as a concept "to make the tariff effective for the surplus
crops of agriculture* at the expense of the commodity" - that

is, a device fox* managing the surplus.
up to Sir Josiah Stamp*

That was what he put

With certain assumptions and with the

reservation in respect to possible effects in stimulating in­
creased production* Stamp said it appeared to him to be eco­
nomically workable*
about this*

I only met Sir Josiah Stamp on one or two

One evening X spent some time talking with him
As a business executive* capitalist* economist*

Stamp wouldn't have been expected to pound the table about our
proposal* or anything of the sort*

On the other hand* it didn’t

outrage him*
Quite a few members of the Committee of 22 met in Wash­
ington before we set up offices in Chicago on February 1* They
didn’t all come down*

Then we set up our offices in Chicago*

I don’t remember when I left the Illinois Agricultural Associa­
tion to give my full time to this work*

Once they had set up

the office in Chicago, it began to require an increasing amount
of my time.

We hadn’t set up an office in Washington.

We met

The Peek-Davis offices were set up in Washington from

March 1 to July 1.

They were turned to this effort. The office

of the Committee of 22 was in the same building - the Transporta­
tion building at 608 South Dearborn Street in Chicago where the
Illinois Agricultural Association had its offices.
I recall it* a floor or two above them*
so many things that it led to the shift.

We were* as

They called on me for
I imagine it took

place about that time,

I had thought of it as something later,

but I think it vas about that time*
X really do not have any distinct recollection of the
meetings held in Chicago on February 15*

We were constantly

X was concentrating on revision and perfection of the

bill, trying to incorporate views that were constantly being ad­
vanced from the cooperative group and others, getting material
in shape, and meetings were being held frequently*

I don't

recall the particular meeting to which Mr* Albertson refers*
In March, 1926, the American Council of Agriculture met
with other groups in Ifemphis, Tennessee • Frank Lowden*s pos­
sible candidacy for the Presidency was not a part of that

This followed the visit Bill Settle had made, when he

called on the tobacco and cotton cooperatives*

As a result, we

met in Memphis with President Benjamin W* Kilgore and other
trustees of the American Cotton Cooperative Association, and at
least agreed there was a mutuality of interest here*

This was

followed by an agreement to meet in Washington, which we did*
The farm forces that were back of the McrTary-Eaugen Bill,
together with many others, were strong in urging Governor Lowden
to come out of retirement and make the race in 1928 for the
Republican nomination*

X think perhaps the St* Louis meeting

in November, at which Governor Lowden spoke and after which he
spent some time meeting and talking with southern cooperative

leaders* may have given hirth to the idea.

But it wasn’t

publicly or privately discussed with Lowden at any time to
my knowledge*

He wasn’t an announced candidate at that tine*

X didn't have any discussions with him until long after he was
committed to the race, and then it was concerned with farm
questions rather than political questions#

Governor Lowden

had many friends left over from his campaign for the presi­
dential nomination in 1920, who were quick to come out for
him and who, themselves, urged him*

There was plenty of

strength back of Lowden in the Republican party to urge him*
Of course, I think the probable support of the farm states was
a factor in his decision to run# but X don't think the farm
people were the ones who spearheaded the drive to get him to
commit himself#

We were factors in it, X have no doubt#

On March 3 and

the Committee of 22 met in Washington

with a joint Congressional committee representing the twelve
northcentral states to plan a program*
presenting it to Coolidge*

I don't remember our

X recall that one meeting was held

at which Coolidge was particularly noncommittal*

I've even for­

gotten whom we had chosen as spokesman for the group but I think
it was Sam Thompson*

It was a very brief affair*

spoke our piece, and filed out*

Jardine attended and was a

more relaxed individual than the President*
cation of support or encouragement*

We filed in,

There was no indi­

I don't think Jardlne

welcomed the conference, and I know our group wasn't particu­
larly enthusiastic or hopeful about it*
I probably testified in the hearings held by the House
committee on agriculture* March 4* on the House bill*
was a witness in those years*

I usually

The following is & letter from

me to R*A* Cowles:

The Lee House
Washington B.C.
March ij.* 1926
Mr* R*A. Cowles
Illinois Agricultural Association
608 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois
Dear Mr* Cowles,
This acknowledges receipt of the package
containing copies of minutes of Chicago meeting April
1|, and the Des Moines meeting, December 21 and December
22 , 1925* I appreciate your thoughtfulness in attach­
ing certificates to be used in connection with excerpts
from the minutes should that be required*
Time has passed by swiftly since we came* That
is the case when it is all days and no nights* Too
early to say how things are coming on* Some of the
people, particularly the new hands* felt encouraged
over the reception at the White House* You and I
know how much that counts for*
The position is this with them: the President's
Agricultural Conference* suggested by Hoover, of
which the present secretary was a member* recommended
a federal farm board with broad powers to study and
work with cooperatives in connection with the surplus
problem* but without actual power to do anything* The
administration feels* therefore* that they can grant
the federal farm board part of our program and have us
in a position of endorsing what Hoover suggested indirect­
ly through the conference last spring* And there you
are* It makes ms sick to hear some of the people refer
to the willingness to accept a farm board as a conces­
sion on their part* when, as a matter of fact* that
has been the administration's position ever since the
agricultural conference*

The bunch has been behaving splendidly. Some­
times I think there are too many generals and not
enough privates, but that is always the situation*
Peek is remarkable in his patience and force and keeps
discordant elements together better than any man I
ever saw* The other night, though, he had to use the
big stick and I have heard some murmuring of discontent*
There are too many men here who want to ”issue state­
ments tc the press,” and have their names used in con­
nection with it. Hone of this will be news to you since
you have gone through it before, I am not happy in the
delay in getting the financial part of the program
started out in the country. The first thing we know
the tumult and shouting will have died and some of us
will wake up to the fact that the job of raising money
is like the old farmer having to dig down in his jeans
to pay for a dead horse.
Sari Smith is coming back to Chicago this after­
noon. Earl is one-half of the Executive Committee of
22* s representatives from Illinois* Cannot you and he
frame up a call of the committee of fifteen to appoint
a finance committee without requiring that George*or
I return from Washington at this time? I want to talk
to Mr, Smith again this afternoon before he leaves, if
possible. He has handled himself in splendid shape.
I am afraid he may be leaving town a day too soon, since
a short stateiaent from him to the House committee would
be a good thing*
I could run on in a letter like this for a week
and tell you the things that have been going on, but
will wait until we can talk them over.
afill you hand the enclosed letter to Mr* Fox, please?
With personal regards, I am
Chester C* Davis
This letter brings to my mind the financial aspects of the pro­
gram of our own particular office, which we had set up in
Washington and Chicago*
be done.

It was a good deal like a courtship.

question as to support.

Farm groups had been insistent that it
There was no

There was no question as to their

financing the movement, but George Peek and & few others found
it a little bit difficult to convert the promises into money*
I think that happens vith most campaigns*
The bill creating a farm board was introduced under the
names of its sponsors - Senator Charles Curtis and Representa­
tive Charles R* Crisp*
which vas to

It provided for a federal farm board

make advances to cooperatives marketing associa­

tions to help them deal vith surplus crops, and so forth* It
subsequently did become* in effect* the legislation passed
after Mr* Hoover became President - the Federal Farm Board Act*
Ours vas a constant maneuver to fend off different diver­
sionary bills that vere introduced during that period*
vould come from elements in the South*


They vould come from

the administration* as the Curtis-Crisp and Fess-Tincher bills

Hr* James B* Asvell of Louisiana, in the House* had a

bill* I remember*

He vas a member of the House committee*


of those vere crovded toward hearings* and none of them seemed
to strike at causes* none of them seemed to provide adequate

But that vas a part of the maneuvering of that period

vhich kept us busy analyzing those bills* trying to figure out
how they would work*
The following is a quotation from a letter I wrote to
R.C. Covles on April 1* 1925*

You may have noticed that Senator Norris put in the
Congressional Record on March 29 what purports to be
the complete correspondence between Sapiro* Bingham*

Peteet, relating to the activities of the latter in
studying surplus control legislation* Senator Norris
referred to this correspondence as evidencing a
gentleman*s agreement between Coolidge* Hoover, and
Jardine on the one hand* with Bingham and Sapiro
for the national council on the other# under the terms
of which Bingham and Sapiro agreed that the council
would not support any legislation aimed at surplus
That was the attitude of the cooperative groups - the Sapiro
groups - at the time the correspondence put in the record by
Senator George W* Morris referred to*

They were able to change

their minds a little later* and it wasn't due to pressure from
other farm elements as much as to the developing toubles and
difficulties of the contract cooperatives, particularly in
tobacco and cotton*

In the early twenties when the Sapiro

cooperatives were spreading over the country and were in their
honeymoon stage, there was complete conviction on the part of
people like Judge Bingham* Frank Lowden and others* that the
contract-type Sapiro cooperatives could do the job*

It was the

awakening awareness that caused them to change from the attitude
expressed in the correspondence Senator Horris put in the record*
Henry A* Wallace really began to be curious and interested
about the time of the St* Louis meeting*

Before that he had

been* I think* sort of an objective observer*

At that time I

thought of the younger Henry Wallace as a dreamer, a side-line
student of affairs, and a man who had when quite young* during
the war* developed something of a phobia on Herbert Hoover as a

result of some controversies over the price of hogs* the cornhog ratio* and so forth* when Mr* Hoover was food administrator.
He hadn't up to the time of the St* Louis meeting become par­
ticularly interested in what we were doing - at least he had
given no sign of it - and he hadn't taken much of a part* so
far as I had observed* in the early developments at the time
his father was becoming interested in this as Secretary of

The St. Louis meeting was November 16 and 17*

Wallace reported rather completely on this meeting in

Wallaces* Parmer* He was there*

I remember that*

In addition to Kilgore and Moser from the South* there
were U.B. Blalock from South Carolina and C.L* Stealey from

I recall that Stealey was chosen as spokesman and

did present the statement from the cotton groups to the House
and Senate committee*

The administration forces were disturbed

by the activities of the cotton people* and they really did
woo those cotton people to try to keep them in line.


Senators and Congressmen were opposed to any measure that im­
posed a charge or fee on the cotton producers.

That really set

the cotton people back*
A phenomenon that I've observed all through the years is
that it has been the so-called agricultural leaders in the Senate
and House who have been responsible for bringing forth some of
the features of farm legislation which go farther in treasury

raids than the farm leaders themselves voluntarily wished to

It creates a situation which puts the farm leaders on the


We saw that later in the compulsory aspects that were

brought into the Triple-A act, the Bankhead bill, and others*
This was obvious here*

It was the attitude of the Congressmen

rather than the wishes of the farm leaders that resulted in the
three-year postponement of the equalization fee as applied to

In order to keep it from being a sectional preposition,

we tied c o m in with cotton*

Com, of course, was primarily

fed on the farm or in the county in which it was produced.
There was certainly less ease in collecting a processing tax
on c o m than in the case of wheat, which was the commodity
usually used for illustration of the workings of the equalization

We did tie c o m in with cotton*

General Dawes was extremely

helpful and active during this period from the introduction of
the McNary-Haugen Bill to the vote in June*
I met Henry A* Wallace in St* Louis*

1 think 1 had un­

met him before that time but I don*t have a clear

impression of the time at which I first met him*
Agricultural Conference in 1922, but I was not*
the conference*

He was at the
I didn*t attend

I didn*t attend the meeting, either, where the

Committee of 22 was set up*
The movement for farm legislation really became formidable
when cotton and tobacco joined*

We used the threadwom technique

of getting letters started coming into the Senate and House#
Up to that time we hadn't tried to start anything in the coun­
try except to get enough flowing to some of the key men like
Haugen, Fred S. Purnell, Arthur Capper, and HcUary to strengthen
their positions in support of the legislation*

Purnell was a

very able Congressman from Indiana*
On April 17, 1926, Peek wrote to Cowles, in parts
Please do not close my office or discharge Mrs*
Koch, Miss Nelson, or Mr* Davis* I need them
all at the present time and will become person*
ally responsible for the expenses incurred in
maintaining them until further notice* Things
are getting hot here /in Washington^
George personally agreed to stand as underwriter, althoughihe
pressure for us to open the offices and keep them going came
from all over the country - from all of the farm and cooperative

I think there was a disposition on the part of many

of the farm leaders, who had more places to use their organi­
zation funds than they had money, to believe that the Lord
would provide*

In this case they were thinking of George

Peek and a few of his associates whom he had brought into it*
Mark Woods of Woods Brothers, Lincoln, Nebraska, was a close
friend of General Dawes and a loyal supporter of George in
these days*

There were a number of those men, who were men of

substantial means, who were in it up to their necks*

I think

there was a disposition on the part of the farm people to feel
that these things would be taken care of, and they could go

ahead and use their money in their own line*

Although they had

been parties to the creation of these offices* they lagged in
their support*

That period - and that was not the first on© -

certainly convinced as that the man who took a position in
which part of his activity had to be devoted to raising funds
to support his activities was in a bad spot*
Baruch*s interest was always friendly but not particularly
close or active*

I think Baruch came in for two reasons*

was his close friendship for George Peek*


Second* I think intel­

lectually he agreed that there was inequity in the business pic­
ture against agriculture, which was not healthy for the nation*
I think he had that interest*

X doubt that the $$,000 was the

total contribution Mr* Baruch gave* but X have no knowledge to
support that*

Peek talked about Baruch in affectionate terms -

references - personal things - but he never discussed him in
detail with me*
of the sort*

We never had a "Baruch evening”, or anything

If this had been a major interest with Baruch* he

would have been in there pitching*

He would have passed the

word to men undoubtedly very close to him who never were on our
side of the fence*

I doubt very much that Jimmy Byrnes ever

voted for this legislation*

1 think he was closest to Baruch

of any man in the United States Congress*

There1s no doubt in

my mind that Baruch could have accomplished something if he had
really wanted to*

Baruch could have been a powerful aid here*

This entire campaign vas handled with, a very small amount of
money, really*

It’s a perfectly tenable theory that Baruch,

might have been some sort of a mystery man back of this vhole
movement, but it just happens that I believe there is not
even a trace of substance to the shadow.
$5*000 vas not a significant thing*

To Baruch., giving

It vas something he’d do

at George Peek’s request*
The vote on the McNary Bill in the Senate vas i}5-39»
James E* Watson of Indiana had been the preliminary poll taker
on our behalf*

A day or tvo before the vote vas taken, ve were

having one of our conferences in General Daves’ office*
were frequent - daily, almost*


Senator Watson came in and

said, nAs nearly as I can figure it out, Charlie, this is going
to be dead heat*

It looks like a tie to me *9 Daves puffed his

pipe a little furiously at that*

He asked for a recheck, and

Jim Watson checked vith his opposite number on the other side
vho vas doing the polling and came out vith the idea that it
vas likely to be a tie vote in the Senate*

The night before

the vote vas going to be taken, George Peek and I vent to the
Metropolitan Club to see the General*

He vas living there then.

He asked us to come up to his room*
The next year the bill vas passed*
bill vas defeated*

We sav Daves under almost the same circum­

stances that year as ve did the next*

At this time, the

We vere seeing him

The bill passed in *2 ? and again in *28, but it


was defeated this time - in 1926.

The 1926 drive marked the

first appearance of the bill and the first vote after the cotton
forces had joined and after the provision appeared which ex*
empted cotton for three years from the equalization fee.
The meeting with General Dawes that night was interesting.
The Metropolitan Club bedrooms were not ornate.

It was a very

barren room * a large room - in which the General was seated at
his desk.

'The top of the little table desk was just covered

with papers.

He had been scribbling away, and the air was blue

with his pipe smoke.

He let us have it just as soon as we came

Be said, "You know, it looks as if this may be a tie vote**

which we agreed to, and he said, "I'm going to tell you now*
if it comes up to me for a vote to break the tie I shall vote
against it."

If you’d kicked George Peek right in the stomach

he wouldn't have been more taken aback.

Dawes said* "I'm now

preparing a statement that I shall issue if I am compelled to
vote on this bill.

The reason I'm not going to vote for it is

that you sacrificed principle here for political expediency in
making that concession to cotton* so it's nothing but a raid
on the treasury of the United States.

The thing I've always

liked about this legislation* as you men well know* is that
you're not asking the treasury to carry your load.

You're pro-

viding a mechanism that will collect the costs from the commodity*
and of that I approve.

I'm not in favor of taking it out of the

treasury of the United States to buy the cotton support* and
I'm going to let the cotton Senators and Representatives have
it just as bluntly as I can.”
We tried to dissuade him.
on the question.

George* particularly* pressed

I know that when we left there we were both

disappointed* and George felt particularly let-down by what the
General proposed to do.
relief* was not a tie.

But the vote* much to the General's
He did not issue the statement.


don't think this story has ever been published.
After the bill was defeated we commenced re-examining
the bill* discussing among ourselves the moves that should be

I think then we began to think more in terms of a real

and possibly a permanent union based on common economic interests
between title South and the West and the northcentral states*
I'm not sure whether Wallace began to write "the wedding of
corn and cotton11 then or after the St. Louis meeting.

We began

to plan the St. Louis meeting* St* Louis being on the border­
line between the South and the northcentral states and accessible
to the West.

We began to plan for that.

had other things to think about.

At the same time* we

The Fess Bill was brought out

and supported by some elements in the Farm Bureau.
At this time Chester Gray was the Washington representa­
tive of the American Farm Bureau.
Sam Thompson became president.

He was elected shortly after

Gray Silver wasn't the Washington

representative at this time.

He was devoting all of his time

to the united States Grain Growers•
In October, 1926, George Peek underwent an operation
for gallstones.

It didn’t slow him down for any length of

He was powerful physically - a aian ■with great physical

and personal strength.

He was always extremely careful in

Mrs* Peek was the mother hen with the one chick, and

she really did look after George.
careful - pleasant livers.
diet - both of them.


They were very careful in their

George was very moderate in food, drink -

anything of that sort.
drink to excess*

They were abstemious and

He’d take a highball, but he didn’t

George was temperate in everything except

He was a driver*

George was a nan of great energy*

1 don’t recall whether I attended the meting of the
Corn Belt Committee at Des Moines on October 19* 1926*
George attended, I probably did not*
would have*


If he had not gone# I

There were those two organizations - the Com

Belt Committee and the Comaittee of Twenty-Two - and the Job
of keeping them in harness required some attention right along*
These groups always competed against each other, but it never
was serious*

It was just one of those amusing little human

affairs that you had to handle*
I remember one time when debate was about to begin in
the House*

Peteet and I had decided it would be a good idea to

anticipate every objection that could be raised against the
legislation or was likely to be raised - price fixing - effect
on production • economically unsound - we dug up fifteen or
twenty of these objections* I think#

We wrote about three-

minute talks answering them as directly as possible* and
arranged with the leaders of the legislation in the House to
have them handed out to supporters* confidentially*

Each one

would then be prepared to take on the objection that was raised
in debate*

All that was done* but in the process and internally

within our own group we handed out a few copies so that our
people would be aware of what we were doing*
One copy was given to Prank Murphy who then, by sheer
push had become the leader and spokesman of the corn belt

He was chairman of the legislative committee*

Hirth still had the nominal chairmanship * all right*
that's what irritated Bill*

I think

Murphy, without saying anything to

us* concluded that this material we had prepared was very good

He had it mimeographed and without our knowledge had

it distributed to each member of the House of Representatives
on the morning when the House had reached limited debate*


the members of the House weren't possessed of a considerable
sense of humor* this could have been troublesome*
The debate proceeded as scheduled*

The point was reached

that someone had agreed to handle - I think it was Fred Purnell -

and he arose and delivered his speech*

The members who had

glanced through this material thought it sounded familiar,
and checked back and got it*

Then they began to nudge each

other and pass around word, and it really was hilarious for
a while*

If this kind of "ghosting” of talks weren't a

common and recognized practice, that could have been some­
thing of a scandal*

It was embarrassing as it was*

It was not as embarrassing to me as one other incident*
This was in the Senate, and it was near disaster*


Robert 5* Howell of Nebraska was a very precise, methodical
man, and not a frequent debater, but he was strong for the

Knowing his great interest in and concern over the im­

pact on consisners of any successful move to raise farm prices,
I went up and discussed the subject with him*
I discussed with the Senator, for instance, the effect
on the cost of a cotton shirt or sheet of bringing the cotton
price up to the ratio price, as we then called it*
quently was defined as the parity price*

It subse­

I discussed with him

the effect on the price of a loaf of bread of bringing wheat
to the so-called ratio price*

He was very much interested*

said, "If you like, 1*11 give you a memorandum on that*"
He said, ”1 really would like to discuss that in the

I said, "If you have no objection. It's a little more


convenient for ae to try to put myself in your place and approach
the subject that way*

I will outline it in speech form*


can do what you like with it*n
He said* "Well* that will be all right*1'
I worked out a speech on this just hitting at one point*
of trying to measure accurately the effect on the consumer of
bringing farm prices up to the level sought to be reached
through this legislation*
Washington office*
carbon copy*

I stuck a copy in the files of our

The office secretary naturally had made a

I took the speech up to Senator Howell* and he

sat and read it carefully and reread it* and he said* "You
know* this is extraordinary*

I’ve never taken a speech that

was written for me* but I find very little to change*


seems perfectly natural to me* and I think it's clearly ex­

I've been told that I can get time in the debate on

either tomorrow or the day after* and I shall use this*


shall make this speech*1* I expressed pleasure and said I was
going to give myself the satisfaction of coming up and hearing
him if I could*
I found out when he was scheduled to talk but I was busy
right up until the last minute at the office* so I took a taxi
and rushed up to the Senate about the time he had said he would
be ready to speak*

As I approached the turn going up to the

gallery* the door leading from the Senate chamber opened and

Senator Howell stepped out*

His face was flushed just as a

man's would be who had gone through the exertion of delivering
a speech*

He had books and papers in his arras*

Be was walking

toward the elevator* and I went up and said* “Well, I'm terribly
sorry I didn't get here in time*”
He stared at me for a moment as if he wanted to tear
my head off*

He finally said* “You weren't here*11

I said, f,Ho*M
He said* "I have just gone through the most humiliating
experience in my Senate career* and only by the grace of God
did it fail to be a complete disaster***
"Well," I said* "I don't understand*R
He said* "Fortunately I came over to the Senate chamber
a little early*

Senator (Earle B*} Mayfield was addressing the

I sat down and I heard him deliver* word for word*

line after line* precisely the speech you gave me«n
I said* "Senator, I jtust can't believe it*
loss to explain it*
understand it."

I'm at a

I accept your word* but I just can't

1 was lower than a snake*

I went back to the

office and Mien 1 came in Walton Peteet was just bubbling over*
Be said* "Did you hear Senator Mayfield?"
I said* wNo* I heard about him*”
"Well, sir,” he said, "He called up yesterday and said
he wanted to speak on the consumer impact of this legislation*

I was just looking through the files for some material and I
ran across a memorandum which was just precisely on that subject,
and he delivered it and it was a knockoutiI"
I said, "It knocked out a lot of people*
in immaculate conception of these things?

How did you come to

use that without asking somebody about it?”
what had happened*

Did you believe

Then I told him

Well, he then joined me in my misery* But

fortunately Howell hadn’t attempted the speech*
was delivered by another*
to see Senator Howell*

The speech

That was a close call*

I went up

I told him what had happened*

I said,

"I can’t account for my credulous partner’s activities, but
that’s what he did and that’s what happened*"

Things were

moving fast, and it's not too surprising, I guess, that we
had those kind of mixups*
I don’t remember attending the Farm Bureau annual meet­
ing on November 1, 1926, at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago* I’ve
addressed the Farm Bureau several times, and I don’t remember
making a speech on cooperation to their convention that year*
I may have*
The MeKinley-Adkins Bill was Charles L* Stewart’s bill*
It had been introduced earlier in 1926*
ed out In November*

I think it was report­

I had talked to Charlie Stewart about that*

He was with the department of economics of the University of

I had discussed many aspects of it with him*

He had

pretty much sold It to the Grange*

1 think this was attractive

to them partly because of the leadership the Farm Bureau had
assumed in the McNary-Haugen Bill*

Then, it looked as if it

were more or less self-operating - that is* it provided for
the issuance by the government of debentures to the marketers
of surplus crops*

The debentures were legal tender for payment

of customs duties on imports*

It was an attractive idea, but

it was another diversion from what we were trying to do*


diversions were annoying, but this was supported by many members
of the House or Senate who wanted to go back home to their
constituents with something*

Take Charles Adkins*

He had been

commissioner or secretary of agriculture in Illinois, so I had
known him, and I had known him particularly because he’d been
quite a farmers elevator


I’d met Charlie*

He was a junior

Congressman there - a big good-natured fellow, and a good sup­
porter of the McNary-Haugen Bin*

But this looked like something

to which his name could be attached* and it was a plausible bill*
Adkins was a good supporter of the McNary-Haugen Bill, so we
didn’t lose him*

Senator William B* McKinley I'm not so sure

I think he probably may have lined up on the final

vote, but he was not enthusiastic*
Hie Grange, of course, had the bulk of its membership
in sections of the country that were not as directly affected

by the farm distress as the Farmers Union and the Farm Bureau
sections were*

The Grange sections were Hew England* the north­

east* New York* Ohio* and that section of the country*

Zt is a

very old farm organization* relatively* and its leadership after
the first years when it was the radical farm movement followed
the normal human tendency of becoming conservative with age* In
the ,?0 ,s and *80 Ts* when they were pressing for railroad leg­
islation* and so forth* the term fipmtwy vas about the same as
Populist became later*

Under subsequent leadership* when Al­

bert Goss became the national master* they became concerned
with a broad range of economic affairs* and I think their posi­
tion was generally constructive*
of a politician*

Louis J* Taber m s something

Lou would have loved to be Secretary of Agri­

culture or United States Senator*

Be had a flair for politics*

His hand was forced* more or less*

The Farm Bureaus* many of

the cooperatives* the secretary of agriculture of his own state
- Charles V. Truax* Bill Settle of Indiana - some of those ele­
ments* particularly some of the Congressmen - had forced the
Grange*s hand a little*

They didn't regard the McNary-Haugen

Bill as theirs* although the ground swell had become sufficiently
strong so they weren't openly fighting it*

Truax had become a

member of the Committee of 22* and was quite active*

The Ohio

Farm Bureau had never been particularly enthusiastic about the
McNary-Haugen Bill.

Marvin Jones had a great deal of promise at this time*
He wasn't the ranking Democratic member of the House committee*
at all.

1 think Asvell was the ranking Democrat.

I'm not sure

but what David Kinchsloe of Kentucky outranked Marvin •
he did.

Marvin was a young Congressman at this time.

1 think
He was

thoughtful and fair and already showed the qualities that I
think were so marked in Marvin as the chairman of the House
Committee on Agriculture for such a long while.

I knew him

fairly well at that time, and knew him very well when he was

Marvin Jones and Clifford Hope made two great chair-

men, both having great considerateness for the members of the
committee who held contrary views.

They brought about a pretty

high degree of performance in those committees while they were

I've seen other chairmen who didn't do so well.

Gilbert Haugen was an interesting character.


this period he reached the stage where he had had longer con­
tinuous service in the House# 1 believe, than any other member
then in the House.

He was getting old.

He wasn't facile in his mind.

He was a Scandinavian.

He didn't change easily.


didn't acquire a position easily# but once he got it he gave itup
with even more difficulty*

I remember we got the ratio price

concept fixed in Mr. Haugen's mind so thoroughly that when the
shift to parity took place he never accepted it at all.
him it was always the ratio price in debate.


An anecdote about him illustrates his dogged “sticktuitiveness"*

Frederic P* Lee of the Senate Legislative

Counsel and I went into his office one winter- day * a. holiday#
He had the fireplace fire going in his office*

A former

Senator from Worth Dakota# Porter J* MeCumber* had just died
and the papers had just carried the story of his death#


said* "You know* Mr# Haugen# I saw that Senator McCumber died#8
He said* "Yes* that’s bad*

Be was a fine man#"

Fred said* ”Do you remember the conference on the District
of Columbia rent bill during the war* in which you were chairman
of the House conferees and he was chairman of the Senate confer­
ees, and you set a new record for a deadlock in conference?**
Haugen grimed and said# ”1 remember it very well**
Fred Lee said* ®I honestly thought that that bill would
never cos® out of conference#*
“Well*1* Haugen said* "that's right*
very stubborn man#

The Senator was a

He was as stubborn a man as I guess I ever

He paused* looked out of the window* then added# “But

he came around all right.”
Gn November 16 and 17* 1926* the Corn Belt Committee
sponsored a big meeting at St# Louis*

It was a meeting of all

farm organizations and interested people*

The theme was the

common interests of the West and South and how to express them#
I thought that was a great meeting#

It carried out the line we

had determined to follow after the defeat of the legislation*
that is to try to cement these areas in a real drive on this

There was a good deal of fire in this*

one of the highlights of the whole campaign*

It was

I think the first

public expression of the defection of the Republican farmer
from Republican ranks took place for the first time at that

All of us obviously overestimated its effects*

believed that politics would follow economic interests*
was fine as a movement for legislation*

7/e got that*



1928 evidenced the fact that there was no real defection*


wasn't sufficiently strong to impress the leaders of the Repub­
lican Party that they should choose Frank Lowden as against
Mr* Hoover*
It was a solidifying meeting*

It gave a new starting

point for the drive for the legislation with vastly more con­
fidence on the part of the promoters and* I think* considerably
more respect on the part of the those who opposed the legisla­
tion - the administration forces and others*

It was addressed

by Lowden* Kilgore, and many others*
I attended the Farm Bureau convention in December*
worked in behalf of the legislation there*


I had many friends

there who talked to me about it* and I talked to them.
About this time the possibility of Frank Lowden*s becom­
ing a candidate was being widely discussed among the farm groups*

It was obvious at the 1928 convention that Lowden and the
MeNary-Haugen Bill were closely associated*
marily work for Lowden in 1927*

I didn't pri­

I was working for this leg­

islation primarily» and I think the same thing was true of
George Peek*

I talked to many people*

I made the acquaintance

then of men who had not before been active in the farm drive
but who had been supporters of Lowden in 1920*

They were be­

ginning to come out and form themselves into the force that
made the drive for delegates for Lowden in 1928*
talking to them*

I began

I didn't seek them out because, believe me#

I had all I could do in trying to keep material prepared and
trying to assist George Peek in acting as sort of traffic cop
and oiler to keep the machine running*
up to a man*

Our drive wasn't tied

I don't think much can be found in the press of

the period to support the idea that it was tied up to Lowden
or Lowden to it*

I think we overestimated the farm discontent

and the farm opposition to Mr* Hoover*

George was confident

that Mr* Hoover couldn't become President in the face of the
kind of opposition he believed existed*
on that*

I felt less confident

Lowden never came to Washington* for example - that

I recall - to volunteer to testify before a committee*
never came down to call on Congressmen*
leadership in the McNary-Haugen Bill*


Lowden never assumed
His chief contribution#

I believe# was the effect which his support had on the coopera­
tives# particularly the cooperatives of the South*

Frank Lowden

and Judge Bingham, of course, were respected and powerful
leaders in the cooperative movement, and they had a great deal
of effect there*

But Lowden never concerned himself with try­

ing to get the MeNary-Haugen Bill passed*

I think I conferred

with Lowden about the talk he made to the Farm Bureau.
I don't know whether it was at this meeting or one the
year following that General John J. Pershing made an address*
I wrote the draft of the speech for General Pershing to deliver*
He, also, was mentioned as a Presidential possibility* and
General Dawes was mentioned as a Presidential possibility
along with Lowden.

Hoover* of course, was the marked successor

to President Coolidge • Mark Woods was the man who probably
had had more hand in making General Dawes the Vice Presidential
nominee in 192^ than any other man*

He was very close to Dawes

and very close to General Pershing, who had been stationed up
in Lincoln for a long while *

They were very close friends*

Mark had felt that we had three horses in the stable* any one
of whom might be tapped to trot the heat in 1928 - Lowden*
Dawes and Pershing were the three*

By ”We“ I mean the farm

So when Pershing was invited to address the American

Farm Bureau Federation, we wanted to make sure that his speech
was a thoughtful and Intelligent recognition of the agricultural

I don't know whether he spoke on the same program

Lowden did* or not*

My papers must show it, although after my

experience with Senator Howell I was very careful of any copies
of any speeches I might have written.
In justice to General Pershing* I must admit that he was
the hardest man to write a speech for I ever met*
do it his own way* and did*

I respect him for it*

Be wanted to
He didn't

take my speech and. give it* but he used it as a basis which he
converted over into his own speech*
There was day and night activity in January and February*
1927* getting the bill in shape*

I used to spend a great deal

of time with the Senate and House legislative counsel*
Lee was one of the ablest men I ever worked with*
starter in the day*


He was a late

Fred would move along at a moderate speed

during most of the day* but along about four or five o'clock
he'd really begin to spark*

He had young men secretaries who

had no particular objection to
were good*

working all night* and they

He had a group of young lawyers around him who had

become quite Intrigued with this problem* which was a tricky

This business of putting in legislative language soma new

concepts of this sort gave me the best lesson I ever had in the
use of words *

I used to think* as a newspaper man* that I could

express an idea in language* but I learned after I got to work­
ing with these fellows that I didn't know anything about it* It
was fascinating to sit up with them and work late into the night
trying to polish off a phrase or a clause so it would really

express what you wanted without any ambiguity, and that is not

I was constantly concerned with the legislative drafts

as well as with this business of keeping our own group in step*
It was just a continuous performance during the latter part of
*26 , *27 and *28 , up through May.
cal conventions.

Then there were the politi­

During that period it was a continuous effort,

and I can’t attach to any one day, week, or month, any particu­
lar activity.
It's just interesting to note in passing that the legis­
lation which subsequently became the marketing act of 1923 which
created the Federal Farm Board with its powers, took form early
in that year.

It was the Curtis-Crisp Bill which became the

administration bill.
Our counts in 1927 and 1928 showed that our bills could
be passed and we knew Coolidge would veto them.
when a bill is vetoed.

It's a let-down

President Coolidge*s first veto message

was long and detailed - put together out of memoranda from
Hoover and Jardine.

I wrote a point by point analysis of the

veto message on which I worked pretty hard.


Dickinson put it in the Congressional Record. There was no
chance of getting it through over the veto.

We couldn't get

enough votes.
In April, 1927* I met with Peek, Hirth, Hearst, Smith,
Thompson, and Settle in Chicago to talk over strategy.

We also

vent out to Governor Lovden*s farm at Oregon, Illinois, and sav
the governor and talked strategy over vith him*
in one of the Chicago hotels*

We reconvened

I remember that we were all very

tired and that Bill Hirth produced a pint of bourbon and ve
had a drink*

When Bill Settle came in the bottle vas standing

on the dresser*

Bill Settle vas a pillar in the United Brethern

Church in Indiana*

I had never been in his company vhen anybody

offered a drink, and being a little avare that he vas a good
church man, nobody offered him a drink*

He fidgeted a little

bit and finally he said, "What is that there stuff over there?"
Somebody told him*

Bill said, "I'm going to see what that

tastes like,” and he slashed about three inches in a tumbler
and tossed it off*

It vas obvious that Bill had tasted it

before *
I remember taking Bill Settle in the first time he’d
ever met Vice President Daves*

I forget the point which, the

General made in the conversation*

He may have expressed some

doubt as to whether the cooperatives could carry the part assign­
ed to them in the legislation, which provided that vhere existing
cooperative agencies were adequate to handle the operations,
they vers to be used*

It might have been that*

In any event,

Bill took violent exception to what General Daves said*


alvays carried a paper bag of Mail Pouch cheving tobacco, vhich
is a leaf tobacco, in his coat pocket*

When he vas deeply

interested or agitated about something, he just more or less
unconsciously kept reaching in his pocket and "mowing it away.**
He did this while he talked vith the General*

He kept stuffing

the tobacco into his mouth pinch by pinch* and kept pulling his
chin up closer and closer*
each others* faces*
he put his hand

They vere shaking their fingers in

Finally Daves leaned back and laughed and

on Bill Settle's leg and he looked up at me and

said* "You know, I like this fellow.” Bill vas a very human
On May 17 and 18, 1927* the C o m Belt Committee met in
Des Moines*

Neither Peek nor I vas there.

I think Fraak Murphy

and Bill Settle probably called that meeting*

The irritation

because the Committee of 22 was getting a lot of newspaper credit
really never broke out in friction that held the movement back*
George worked through the Committee of 22*

George* of course*

vas a dynamic figure although he vas not directly associated

any farm organization.

in this thing.

He just naturally took leadership

I think Hirth and some of the others more or less

resented that development* but they continued pulling together
to the end.

Then Hirth also resented Fraik Murphy a good bit*

It was personal antagonism and a feeling* again* that Fraak was
an interloper, that he wasn't the head of a farm organization*
Bill, in manner, reminded one of a bear with a sore ear, anyway.
He was a hard-hitter, but he vas a lone vorker.

To George's

everlasting credit* he just worked and kept them working in
pretty good harmony all the way through.

He did a superb job

in that* I think.
There always was some discontent in the Farmers Union*
Some of the units were very strongly for the McNary-Haugen.
Milo Reno's unit (Iowa) was reasonably strong for it.

Old man

John Trumbull of Kansas* John Simpson of Oklahoma - he was the
fire eater - were for it.

We had a number of them working hard.

But Charlie Barrett* who was the president through most if not
all of this period* was a very cagey old southern politician
who had seen movements come and go.

He would join you when he

thought things were going all right* but he wasn't intellectual­
ly or emotionally committed to the bill.
Bill Hirth was sort of between the two.

He was head of

the Missouri Farmers Association* and had no affiliation with
any national organization.
was a kingdom in itself.

The Missouri Farmers Association
I don't think labels are safe* but

you might say he was to the left of the Farm Bureau and to the
right of the Union.

That is a statement that Bill would prob­

ably resent very much if he were here.
In June* 1927* Walton Peteet had a stroke.

I think Walton had always been too intense in his work.

He didn't slide easily with the punches at all.
tense* hard worker.

He was para­

He was an in­

Walton was older than he appeared.

I don't

know what his ago was, but he had this stroke from which he did
not recover*

I used to see him frequently, but he failed rapid­

It wasn't too long until he died*

as well as a loss to the movement*

It was a personal loss

By that time the cooperatives

were so thoroughly committed in the fight that any one of us
could have dropped off and the thing would have rolled on*
George would have been missed more than anybody else in the out­

He was the dogged driving force that never slowed down,

never felt discouraged*

George was a natural-bora fighter*

I don’t remember meeting Dr* Kilgore in Washington on
June 17-23, 1927*

We were in constant communication, and I

suppose we did meet*

In June, 1927» Peek wrote to me that we

were practically defunct financially*
didn't have any money*

That wasn’t news*


In July, 1927, Mrs* Davis was ill*

pay didn't keep coming through on schedule*


There was no ques­

tion but what the clerical help in the organization were paid.
George Peek had agreed to underwrite the cost of the offices, and
George put up money.

I think he touched a few close friends -

Mark Woods, his brother Burton Peek, and a few others - to come
in with him and keep the offices open*
1927 as an unhappy year.

I don't look back on

After all, we put that bill through*

When the length of time involved is considered and the resources
behind it, why I think that was quite an accomplishment*


wasn't too much aware at the time of the price I personally paid.

I was asked to be the secretary of one section of the
Institute of Politics at Williamstown in August* 1927*
think Henry A* Wallace chaired that*
Butcher, and I did not go.


I recommended Harry

Butcher went*

I think it was the

situation at home more than anything else*

I think Krs. Davis

and I just decided against going up there*

She was not well*

There was no possibility of breaking even financially*


would have been an expense that I couldn’t have afforded*
wanted very much to go*
and I would divide up*

George went*


Very frequently George

If he were going, it wasn't necessary

for me to go*
Senator William E* Borah was always a tough one to

He never came along with us*

port the export debenture bill*
the nomination*

I believe Borah did sup­

He didn't support Lowden for

I remember Governor Dixon of Montana expressing

himself with disgust on Will Borah*

Borah had been one of the

group of “progressive” Senators in the Theodore Hoosevelt era*
He'd raise hell right up to the time when the question of party
regularity was raised* and then* to quote Governor Dixon* "You'd
always find Will Borah getting back behind the breastwork*" He'd
never be caught out in the open in party irregularity*
1 know that the Farmers Union was with us at the end*
Of course* we had had a number of their important state units
with us all the way through*

la November* 1927* there was a meeting of the Association

of Land-Grant Colleges*

It's significant as a bit of history*

They had a committee working on agricultural policy* and they
produced a report whichw as presented at the meeting.

I was

present when it was read and I thought it marked quite an ad­
vance in thinking for the land-grant colleges*
legislation for agricultural equality*
report in my files somewhere.

It recommended

I have a copy of that

It was a pleasing report*


recommended legislation aimed toward equalization with refer­
ence to such matters as taxation, tariff* and freight rates*
It said that a sound land policy* further improvement of credit
facilities* and unified action with respect to the surplus* all
should be provided for*

That's an abbreviation, but at least

it took cognizance of some of the problems*

John D* Black* in

the text of his book, Agriculture Reform in the United States*
remarks rather caustically that this was proper action by the
land-grant colleges but it was several years too late* that
they should have been leading in consideration, policy* and
development of programs* rather than following the procession*
Ifcat's always been the case as far as the association is con­

Individuals in the colleges* of course* have been

In that period we had quite a surprising and encouraging
lift from the National Industrial Conference Board report on
the farm problem,

I remember using it a great deal and quoting

from it.

It was in that period that the Conference really urged

business men to become awake to the need of strengthening the
farm economic structure.

As I recall it# it even referred to

the need for adequate relief legislation# which surprised us a
little coming from the other side of the fence, as we regarded
It, although large segments of business supported the McNaryHaugen Bill.
Starting early in 1928# many of the farm leaders came
down to Washington and really concentrated on the next job. The
McNary-Haugen Bill# of course# was not the same bill from start
to finish.

It was constantly being changed.

The final bill was

broadened to include not only basic commodities but all agricul­
tural commodities under certain conditions, and provided for
appropriate action - not just the export segregation and sale.
H.A. Wallace was in Washington the spring of 1928# and
he and I became a little better acquainted at that time than we
ever had been before.

I remember we played handball together

in the Young Men*s Christian Association (YMCA) court.

1 had

played a great deal of handball out In Great Tails and Helena#

Henry is quite a natural athlete - particularly at
He played handball with a great deal of force and vigor.

It wasn't his favorite sport, but he enjoyed it*

When he was in the court he played hard*

tennis# too.

He played to
He did so with

I have never played tennis with him.

1 didn’t

play tennis.

But I've watched him, and he really works*


didn't play so much for the sake of winning - I don't have
that impression - as much as he was giving all he had to it
all the time.

I'm not quite sure how we came out*

I had

played more handball than he had, but he had a great deal more
power than I had*
This I remember about Wallace at that time.

He was more

of a pleased and interested onlooker - very curious as to what
went on and how things were managed*
bit a very interested reporter.

He was like a reporter*

He seemed to exhibit some sur­

prise and pleasure at the way things were moving and the extent
of the force that was being brought to bear down in Washington*
I didn* t expect Wallace to become a man of aetion in this field
at that time.

He was a pleased and interested onlooker rather

than an active participant in those days,

I took him with me

to the Senate legislative counsel when we were sitting and work­
ing on things, and to other msetings of fee farm group.


wasn't accepting a position of leadership, but he was an extreme­
ly interested onlooker*

That's the way he Impressed me at that

I had read W* J* Spillman’s book, Balancing the Farm Out­

I had had it for a long while*
The McHary-Haugen Bill, itself, was reported in early March*

The hearings were not too long continued - a little over a month
in the House*

The lines were pretty well drawn and known.


who would oppose it wpuld be heard#

The opponents and proponents

would say pretty much the sane things they had said before* 'Oils
was a voluminous bill*

When it was presented new there was a

considerable period taken tip in going through it, section by
section* with witnesses#

1 think almost always when a bill was

Introduced in new form the Senate legislative counsel would have
a witness on to explain the provisions of the bill and answer
committee questions#

I think the questions they asked me usual­

ly were on organization and method rather than about the basic
troubles of agriculture#

1 think the committee by that time

had reached the point where it was willing to say* ”Okay, we
admit that conditions need action* and we will not take the
witnesses time going into that#”
Arthur R* Robinson from Indiana was a one-term Senator#
Of course* be was a colleague of Jim Watson's#

I recall an occa­

sion that always tickled Jim Watson immensely*

I had written a

speech which Senator Robinson of Indiana was ready to deliver#
He was quite the spread-eagle type*

Be liked to make gestures*

and he wasn't very comfortable with a manuscript*

I should say

that he had at least read the speech we gave him before he
delivered it* but he wasn't thoroughly familiar with it*
point we had really worked in a little flight of oratory#
arose to something of a peroration#

At one

As he came to that point

in his speech he marked his manuscript with his finger and he

said, "Now, gentleman, listen to this*
went on to deliver that section.

This is good," and then

When the session was over# a

few of us were assembled in General Dawes* office# and Watson
came in.

He was really slapping his thigh.

He said# "Well, did you ever hear anybody give himself
away on a speech like Artie did this afternoon?"
The Senate passed the bill by a vote which# if it could
have been held# would have been adequate to override the veto.
The vote was 58-23 on passage*
vote of 20ij.-121.

The House passed the bill by a

On May 25 the Senate voted 50-31 to override

the President's veto.

It wasn’t enough to do it*

We were seeing General Dawes constantly.

It could easily

have been that the General was in a position to report something
on the President's attitude*

While we were morally certain that

the President would veto the bill# there was always the hope that
he would not because# after all, this was a pretty substantial

After the passage of the bill when it was about to go to

the President, the General had a roomfull of leaders including
Senator MeNary in his office.
should be taken.

We were considering what steps

The conferees there agreed that by all means

Senator McNary should call on the President prior to the arrival
of the bill and, to the extent he felt he could, try to prevail
on the President to sign it.

An amusing incident occurred then*

The Washington repre-

sentatlve of the American Farm Bureau Federation was Chester

He probably wasn't wholly devoid of humor, hut he some**

times acted like it*

He was inclined to he just a little bit

pompous• Senator McNary was# I believe# either the majority
leader or the assistant majority leader in the Senate at the

When the decision had been reached that Senator McNary

would see the President on the bill, Ghester Gray spoke up and
said# "Now, Senator# if you'd like me to I'd be glad to arrange
the appointment for you with the President*B
In The Wallaces of lowai by Russell Lord, I am quoted as
saying to Peek just before the passage of the bill that this was
the last heat I was about to trot, that:
We can't dump surpluses over the sort of tariff
walls they *re rearing over the water now*
Peek replied, "The hell we can’tl}**
substantially correct*

The first part of that Is

The timing is not right*

I made substan­

tially that remark a little later# when we were all packed to go
hozae from Washington*

I think George and 1 both agreed that we

really had something to do now, that the next stage would be the
two political conventions*

I told George that the situation had

either changed greatly or at least our understanding of it had
sharpened a great deal in the United States# that a fundamental
problem was the policy of the United States which raised tariffs
while at the same time it sought to push its exports out on the
world market*

We had financed them throughout the twenties by

loans which subsequently were not repaid*

We hadn't had lend

lease at that time, and we dicta11 have Point-1|. or the Economic
Cooperation Administration (EGA) or the Mutual Security Adminis­
tration (MSA), hut it was aid, not trade, even though it was given
in the form of loans and given by the then Republican administra­

I think the total amounted to something like #11,000,000,

000, which "was not hay,f in those times*

It was a lot of money*

It seemed to me that any farm program of the future had to face
that situation*

In the 1twenties we had a real problem with

surpluses which the world was eager to get but took at prices
which fixed the prices in this country, not withstanding tariffs*
I don’t think any of us realized in the early ’twenties that the
markets that existed abroad were largely created by credits ad­
vanced from the United States - at least we didn’t realize the
extent to which that was true*

It had become clear to ms as we

fought through this last fight that that was a basic condition
that the MeNary-Haugen Bill didn’t correct*

We had problems of

readjustment in our general trading policy with other countries
of the world which really were more fundamental than our par­
ticular type of action*
George was an amazingly consistent person*

He had taken

a position, he had fought for it, and fighting for it was a habit*
George would have liked to see the Triple-A operated more mid
more In the pattern conceived in the original McNary-Haugen Bill
rather than in the adjustment of our production to meet the

markets that were available, although he accepted that as an
emergency measure - some features of it vith great reluctance*
I told him during the campaign repeatedly when the occasion came
up that as far as I vas concerned this vas finished, that, as
Russell Lord put it, this vas the last heat I vas going to trot
for the MeNary-Haugen Bill*

But ve then proceeded to get our­

selves ready to go to Kansas City and then to Houston for the
political conventions*
Herman Steen vas an old member of the editorial staff of
the Prairie Parmer* He had vritten one of the early books on
cooperative marketing in the flush of the Sapiro enthusiasm after
World War I*

Herman had become, I think, secretary-manager of

the Indiana Wheat Grovers Association - a Sapiro-type co-op vith
vhich Bill Settle, the Farm Bureau president, vas identified.
Herman had been a close friend and follower of Frank Lowden
throughout all the years*

He got active as did many of the

old-guard Lowden supporters from 1920*
quarters by that time*

They had opened head­

He knew that the farm people who had

been active for the McNary-Haugen Bill vere generally very
strong for Mr* Lovden and generally very much opposed to Mr*
We vent down in advance of the opening of the convention
in order to present our case before the resolutions committee*
In this case, as usually vas done, the men who acted as spokes­
men vere the heads or representatives of the bona fide permanent

farm organizations*

They made the best case they could*


stayed through the convention*
Bari Smith was the member of the resolutions committee
from Illinois*

Frank Murphy was a member from Minnesota*

presented a minority report*


Frank lurphy made one of the most

eloquent speeches made at that convention - and it would be an
eloquent speech in any convention - in support of the minority

It touched off a demonstration which really surprised

Of course* we had had what they called the farmers1 march

on the convention which Mark Woods of Lincoln had originally

Farmers were in attendance at the Kansas City con­

vention by hundreds* - delegates but mainly non-delegates - and
they organized a parade to the convention hall* without band just a parade*
and another*
walked by*

Some banners had been improvised* and one thing
It was* I think* quite irritating to the convention

I remember seeing Bill Jardine on the sidewalk as I
I hailed him cheerfully*

I remember this demonstration*

He wasn’t happy*
Some strange man - I never

learned his name - in the gallery* who was obviously not a farmer*
attracted attention to his position in the gallery and then he
began to act as cheerleader and led the demonstration which lasted
for twenty-five or thirty minutes following Frank Murphy’s speech*
He was probably a man who was very pro-Lowden*
big and successful traveling salesman*

He looked like a

I remember Eugene Meyer

stalking around the convention floor* looking up at this fellow

and trying to size up who he was and what was behind all that
It was a foregone conclusion both ways that Hoover would
be nominated and that the committee on resolution’s report
would be adopted, including the farm plank.

The farm plank was

on the pattern of the Curtis-Crisp Bill, ifcich provided for a
board to look into the situation and an appropriation of funds
to support cooperatives in their attempt to manage the surplus

There was no way of telling whether the farm delegates

voted for Hoover*

As I recall it, after the minority report on

that plank was rejected, the word came around from the Lowden

They were obviously certain of defeat*

I think

they, in effect, released delegates as far as Lowden was con­

No attempt was made after that defeat to put the pressure

on to hold the votes in line*

The way they vote is by states,

not as individuals.
I remember talking to Perry Howard, the Negro Republican
leader from Mississippi, about the meaning of the farm plank*
He said, "Yes, sir, that's right*

I think you’re right**

I said, "Well, now you control this delegation or you
lead it, and I assume you will vote this way.”
He looked at me as if I were crazy - which I was - and
he said, "Why, no*
the other way**

You know what the orders is*

They had very little freedom from the cotton

south in a Republican Convention*

The orders is

I think the farm states came through pretty well in sup­
port of the minority report#

The minority report was really

the key vote in the convention*
Following this we went to Houston*

We were received with

open arms there by the Democratic resolutions committee and by
the convention*

Peek and I were there# but a very large farm

delegation went down there# too# and made the same type of pre­
sentation before the resolutions committee*

The resolutions#

when they came out# were considered satisfactory*

There was

a little shaking of heads among some of the thoughtful southern
delegates about the growing A1 Smith strength*
problems on that*

They sensed some

That was the convention in which Franklin

Delano Boosevelt made his ”Happy Warrior" speech*

A1 Smith and

Joseph T* Robinson were nominated, and we all went home*
At just that time, the Illinois Agricultural Association
asked me to become their executive secretary*
tive opening*
c o m try*

That was an attrac­

It was the strongest state organization in the

The officers and many of the members were my friends,

and it was a position that offered interesting work and an oppor­
tunity to stick fairly well within one state and to set our roots

It was quite attractive# but in talking it over with George#

he and I both felt as if we had a promissory note out in this

We had gone to Kansas City and - to use the cliche - had

been rebuffed*

We had gone to Houston and the cause we’d been

- m

working for vas endorsed*

We both felt it vas important to do

what we could, personally, to sving as much of the farm support
as ve could to AX Smith*

The question X faced vas, "What are

you going to do?*1 This job vith the Illinois Agricultural Asso­
ciation vas ready and open*

X think they vould have held it for

me, probably, until after the campaign*

But I realized that a

farm organization and the officers of a farm organization had to
be very careful about the extent to which the officers partici­
pated actively and officially in a political campaign*

X also

realized that there vould be hurt feelings and soreness result­
ing from this activity*

So X told Bari Smith who vas then the

president of the Illinois Agricultural Association that X appre­
ciated the offer and the compliment, but 1 couldn’t take it,
that it wouldn1t be fair to the association to ask them to de­
fer it until after the election so I could throv myself into
the political campaign*
George Peek vent down to see John J* Raskob, who vas
chairman of the Democratic national committee*

Hugh Johnson, X

remember vas in headquarters there, so Peek and Johnson met up

They discussed the possibility of organizing a campaign

directed at the key farm states, particularly in the corn belt
and spreading out as far as Montana and the Dakotas and that

The result vas that George cams avay vith the support of

the Democratic national committee to organize an office and

conduct such, a campaign, which we estimated would cost $f?00*000.
That was big money In those days I George Peek didn't think in
little terms, and he not only came away with the promise*


said* "We'll make no commitments and we'll not turn a wheel 'til
the money's on deposit in a bank in Chicago*** which was substan­
tially what was done*


don't think they sent it all out at

once* but enough so that we had more than half of the money to
start on.

The rest of it was paid over as we went along* before

we completed the campaign, because we turned a substantial sum
of it - over #100*000 - back to the National Committee after we
had paid all our bills and were ready to close the office*
During my life up to 1920* as a matter of fact* I had
considered myself a Republican.

X played with the Republicans

in 1924 because they were the party in and we were trying to
carry an election, but that doesn't indicate how X voted either
in '20 or *2l(.. We were governed by other than farm issues in
1920* when we had the League of Nations issue* and other impor­
tant ones to consider.
Dawes in 1921)..

X did not vote for Mr. Coolidge or Mr.

I had not met DSr* Dawes at the time of the >2lj.

I was pretty fresh in from Montana.

While I certainly

voted for the state Republican ticket* I nationally voted for
the Democratic ticket in 1920 and 1924*

I was Democratic all the

way in *28 because we were actively in it.

We called our organi­

zation the Smith Independent Organizations Committee.

We set up

offices in the Transportation building there in Chicago.


think that in July, 1928, right after the convention and before
the campaign got hot, I went back to Montana and did a little
My meeting vith A1 Smith on August 13* 1928, vas quite

We vent to Albany•

There vere George Peek# Bill

Hirth, Bill Settle* Dr* Kilgore, and others*
governor's home*

We vent to the

Judge Joseph M* Proskauer vas there*

He vas

the advisor vho stayed vith A1 Smith throughout the campaign*
We met vith the governor, and he surprised us all by the liveli­
ness of his interest and the quickness of his comprehension*
This vasn’t a natural interest vith him*
pavements all his life*

He'd been on the

We vere all very much encouraged# I

think# after that meeting*

Be vas a

very likable person*

He told an interesting story on Mr* Coolidge at that
time that impressed me*

This has nothing to do vith the farm

business• He vas just talking about the campaign and his impres­
sions of President Coolidge*

Be said that President Coolidge

had come up the summer before to Paul Smith’s farm, - a select
resort place in Hev York.

He had come up vith Mrs* Coolidge

to take his summer holiday*

Governor Smith said, "Iffov, thinking

that here the President of the United States has come into my
state and I’m the governor of the state# it’s proper - and my
people told me it vas proper - that I should pay him a call# so
that vas arranged*


Nov# I got a lot of kids*

Smith and I drove over to pay our call*
Six, or seven of them vere home at the


You know, most of them had never even seen a President#

let alone meetin* him, go we piled 'em all in and we drove 'em
over there*

They took us into a room where Mr* Coolidge was to

receive us* and just 'for a kid* I thought it would be fun to
line 'em up - they're regular stairsteps in size*

So we lined

'em up here - first X, then Mrs* Smith., and then our oldest son#**
and then he went on down* "and we got them all lined up in regu­
lar stair steps, and then we stood there and waited.
the door opened*

A man threw the door open and bowed, and Mr.

and Mrs* Coolidge walked in*
Coolidge*s arm.


Mrs. Coolidge had her hand in Mr*

Mr. Coolidge came along to me and he said* 'How

do*, and to Mrs* Smith, 'How do'* ' How do'* 'How do'* 'How do**
'How do',” and Governor Smith went through the pantomime right
down to the floor* shaking hands with them. "Then,** A1 Smith
added* "believe It or not* he turned, around and walked out* That
was it.®

Smith really did have a sense of humor*

We thought that was a pretty good meeting «* came baek en­

Our office prepared a lot of material for the governor

to assist him*

He earns to Chicago* X remember* to make an agri­

cultural speech*

X sat with him for hours* and X was fascinated

by the way he went about preparing a speech*
his speeches*

He would take an outline, then he'd go over It*

sentence by sentence*

He'd say* "How do you know that?

have you got to support that?"

They didn't ghost


If it was a newspaper clipping

or something that could be copied out and typed, he*d take the
supporting and elaborating material and stick it In an envelope
- a legal-sized envelope*
There was one ease where we were quoting from a speech
Mr* William E* Borah made in the Senate in which he was attack­
ing vehemently the position taken by MS*, Hoover on relief activ­
ities at the time of one of the interior floods*

Mr* Hoover

had, according to Mr* Borah, taken the position that it was per­
fectly all right to use the appropriated funds for horses and
mules and work stock, but no appropriated funds could be used
for human beings, and Borah had made much of It*

In the outline

of the speech which we had given Governor Smith, which he ^as
tearing apart and putting together to suit himself, we had
quoted two or three paragraphs from this speech.
Borah say that?" and we assured him he did*
to see it*"

He said. Did

He said, "I*d like

So I had to go down to the public library and get

the bound volume of the Congressional Record, locate the speech,
bring It up and show it to him*

Then he had it compared •word for

word, and then he was willing to use it in his speech*

When he

was preparing the speech, Judge Proskauer, Belle Tfeskowitz, and
one or two others sat with him around a rotmd table*

*31® governor

had his coat off and in his shirt sleeves was really tearing into

He really built himself a speech*

Mrs* Moskowitz was a vigorous, portly woman with a very

keen mind*

She was very influential*

State relief work in New York*
was his secretary*
her, I liked*

She was active in his

I did not understand that she

She was very much of a gal*

What I saw of

Competent is the word that described her*

The campaign wore on*
campaign train*

I never# myself# rode on the

1 arranged for a lot of other people to meet

the candidate and travel on the train with him*
close to headquarters*

I stayed very

We were concerned with radio programs•

We learned that the early morning time was excellent radio time
for the farmers*

Five-thirty# six o ’clock radio time was excel­

lent time# and it was easy to get and relatively inexpensive*
Wefd arrange for people to appear and then we*d purchase radio

We used Senator Horris# X remember very well*

He had come

out in support of A1 Smith and was willing to campaign, for him*
I don’t remember many open defections from our ranks*
Some of the weaker farm leaders who had joined just because it
appeared to be a winning cause didn’t stand the test*


Peek could probably call the roll call man by man because this
cut very deeply with George*

A man who, for considerations

within his own state didn’t go down the line on this one was a
traitor to the cause in George’s eyes*
Hirth went along with A1 Smith*

I know Bill Settle did*

There’s no question that

I’m quite sure Charlie Hearst

Earl Smith did, I know*

Most of

them came in and took fifteen minutes* time on the radio*
lieve we had H*A* Wallace in on the program*

I be­

Henry went all the


He supported Al Smith vigorously.

Henry was active in

this campaign*
It became increasingly evident that there were forces
at work other than whether people were for or against the farm

I first spotted it in the reports from different

state leaders and representatives*

I remember one time Magnus

Johnson* who had been Senator from Minnesota - an old Non-Partisan League man - came in to report on the conditions in Minnesota*
I asked him how it looked* and he said* "Well, 1*11 tell you* It
don’t look so good**
I said* "What’s the matter?*
*Well*tt he says* "1*11 tell you*

You know* we’ve got in

our state a lot of Methodists said Baptists*
little bit* they don’t take a drink*

They don’t cuss a

They’re pretty religious

people* and they are going to vote against Al Smith**
I said* "Aren’t there any people up there that feel this
farm thing enough that they’re going to go down the line on it?
They aren’t all that way* are they?”
He said* "Well* no* I’ll tell you*
lot of Lutherans up there*
cuss a little bit*

You know* there’re a

How, some of the Lutherans* they’ll

They'll take a little drink*

are going to vote for Al Smith, all right*"

Some of them

It wasn’t a great

ground swell*

George Authier was a representative of the old Hew York

World* I’d gotten to know him pretty well in Washington*


a matter of fact, he was an alumnus of Grinnell, so I’d felt
pretty close to George*

During a campaign the Washington news­

papermen like to go out over the country and then file reports
in which they tell the papers how it’s going to go*


came into our office in Chicago about a week before the elec­

After we’d exchanged greetings, he said, "Well, Chester,

how’s it going?"

I gave him the usual routine, that the farmers

had been deeply disappointed by the President’s veto and that
they had no use for Hoover*

I told him that the Democratic plat­

form was the farmers’ platform, that A1 Smith’s pronouncements
had been entirely satisfactory, and that I felt this resentment
was going to result in big Democratic gains throughout the c o m
belt and some of the states, at least, would be carried by Smith*
He questioned me about it and he said, "Well, now, come

Give me the real low-down * How is it going to go?" Well,

a little more feebly I started the routine again, and he said,
"I know your position*
agree with you*

You can’t tell ms, so I’ll tell you*

The farmers have been hating Hoover for maybe

three or four years, five years, some of them as much as eight

Chester, they’ve been hating the Pope for a thousand
That was the sum-up of the election*

had it exactly*
what it was*

That’s my impression, too*

I think George
That’s exactly


Subsequently, Jim Farley talked to me as Roosevelt’s
second term vas coming to an end about the possibilities of
his success if he became a candidate for the Presidency* Farley
had multitudes of friends*

He’d made a good record in Washing­

I told him that I didn’t think he could do it*

I said#

"I say this very regretfully, because I admire you and think
you vould make a good President*

I don’t need to tell you that

I supported A1 Smith and did all 1 could for him*

My experience

in that campaign just convinced me that you can’t do it# and it
vould just be heartbreak if your friends tell you that you could*"
"Well#" he said# ”1 knov# but Chester# I know so many of
the people*

Actually# you have no idea how many people I knov -


They knov me*

You couldn’t sell the American com­

munity on the idea that anything but the interests of ay country
would be in my mind if 1 vere a candidate or if I vere elected* ”
I said, "I knov that*n

Then 1 told him George Authier’s

story vhich# I am sorry to say# I think is true*
he vas convinced by it*

1 don’t think

He vas very much disappointed when Mr*

Roosevelt decided to run the third time*
A1 Smith vas a shrewd political observer# and 1 don’t
think he vas kidded about his prospects as the campaign developed*
1 honestly think ve put on a good campaign*
the vorks*

I think ve gave it

One of George Peek’s - not weaknesses - but attributes

was that he was a good hater#

George Peek became convinced

throughout this farm experience that Hoover was a dangerous
enemy to American agriculture*

He made one speech which 1

just shuddered over during the campaign.

He delivered it over the radio*

He entitled it,
George gave color

to our campaign, all right*
My judgment of Mr* Hoover has completely changed in the
intervening years, though my experience with Mr* Hoover in the
McNary-Haugen campaign did anything but endear me to him or him
to me*
on him*

There was the incident in 192l|. when he asked me to call
X got the message at the Harrington Hotel and went over

to see him in his office in the Department of Commerce - not the
"new" Commerce building*

In that meeting, the question at issue

was the use X was going to make of a document X had which had
been signed by the representatives of all the farm organizations
in Washington State - cooperative and national - which was aimed
at stopping the Setcham Bill which would have done away with the
Department of Agriculture*s foreign attaches and would have con­
centrated the representation not in the State Department, where
it subsequently was lodged, but would have given it to Commerce*
In explanation of Mr* Hoover’s position, I had in my possession
at the time a photostatic copy of a letter or statement of Mr*
Hoover's in which the statement appeared that the functions of
the Department of Agriculture should cease when soil production

was complete and the crop or the animal was ready to leave the

The statement said from that time on the commodity was in

Commerce, and then became the responsibility of the Department
of Commerce*

That, to me, was an infuriating doctrine»

the photostatic copy at the time of my interview*

I had

When Mr*

Hoover raised the question, asking "Why do the farm people feel
that way?1* and "Why do you feel that way?" I told him that I
had a copy of this letter, that I believed it to be a statement
he had made, and 1 quoted it to him*

He said, "That is absolutely

I did not make such a statement*

It was made by a malinger­

er named Brown who was doing some work - largely voluntary on his
part - in connection with some governmental reorganization studies.”
I didn’t believe him then*

I haven’t the copy now*

Since I have

had an opportunity to become better acquainted with Mr* Hoover,
I’m inclined to think it would have been better to go back and
investigate the sources of that statement*

I believed that to

be true, at the time, as reflecting a view Mr* Hoover had held
back in 1921).* end that was the reason why I was willing to be
very active

on this other issue«

He said, "That is untrue,”

that that was the statement of a malingerer named Brown*
didn’t have any research organization*


If we had one, I was it,

and I didn’t have time to stop and go back and check documents*
1 suppose now if I were confronted with a situation like that, I
would take time to ask for his evidence and find it out*

But I

was a kid from the country and more or less backed up against
the wall, and I took a position and stayed with, it*

The fight

then was Hoover versus Wallace9 as I saw it, and I was on Wallace*s
side, all right*
In the campaign in *28 they gave Hoover the works*
I remember one occasion when something we had attempted in the
House of Representatives backfired terrifically*

George was

determined to have an attack made in Congress on Hoover# ex­
posing what George considered to be Hoover1s ”fraud" on the
American people*

That was the title George put to his own

He talked to Charles H* Brand# Congressman from tfrbana,

Ohio, and Brand agreed to make such a speech*
using the material George had assembled*

We worked it up,

Brand agreed to deliver

it# and secured time on a certain date in the House*
I went up to the galleries to listen to it*

George and

Brand appeared

dressed in a formal morning coat# a flower in his buttonhole# end
all prepared*

He sailed in and delivered the speech to consider­

able silence in the House until he *d gone, I suppose# about twothirds of the way through*

Congressman Theodore E* Burton of

Ohio, an elderly Congressman of considerable years of service
there - probably the dean of the Ohio delegation - arose and
asked if he would yield*

Mr* Brand# of course# said he would

Burton said# *1 hold in my hand a letter which I would

like to ask you if you wrote and signed*” He read a one or two

CUeste^ C

paragraph, letter written previously by Mr# Brand to Mr* Hoover
expressing terms of highest adulation and expressing the hope
that the highest office in the land would come to Mr* Hoover.
Burton said* ’’
'Did you write that letter?”
Mr* Brand said* ”1 did* but the conditions have
changed*1 - and so forth.

But that really did flatten the speech

Mr. Brand finished the rest of his speech hurriedly*

George and I both felt we ought to go and call on him afterward#
He was completely alone in the chamber* and as h® came out we
went up* but X wouldn't call it a very cheerful session we had*
X imagine X helped with the writing of that speech*
whether those tactics pay*

X question

But that's part of the history* That

was in that pre-1928 campaign*
The campaign was an interesting experience*
responses were pretty good* too*

X think* in some particulars*

we turned out some pretty good literature*
the McNary-Haugen campaign*
to Peek*


It was different than

We had no financial problem in this

In the beginning* $200*000 of the $500*000 was sent
George kept right at them*

We got the #500*000.


impression is that we sent $125#000 back*
This Is the way that campaign was handled* which. X
would commend to anybody who's in a similar position in the

It was due to George Peek's foresight* not mine*


and I went into a huddle on how we were going to do this and
whom we were going to get to help us*

George had had experience

la business.

We had Lewis 0* Stevenson, Adlai Stevenson’s

father, as treasurer*

I was executive secretary*


Stevenson stayed with us and worked with us in headquarters
all the time*

He was from Bloomington, Illinois*

We did

something else which I would commend to anybody who is cus­
todian of a fund*

The first thing we did was to engage a first-

class firm of public accountants*
Ross Brothers and Montgomery*

In this case it was Lybrand

They put one of their men to be

in charge of all disbursements - to keep a record of everything
and to get a voucher or an accounting on anything spent that
cost fifty cents or more - to just get the whole thing complete­
ly documented*

That took a lot of pains and a lot of following

up to get the different state officers and state headquarters
to render an accounting for the money we parceled out for them
to use.

When we got through we filed with the clerk of the

House of Representatives about as complete a report of expendi­
tures as anybody ever saw*

It was thoroughly documented*


were some discussions of an investigation to look into what hap­
pened to that fund, but it never got beyond just one look at
that report*

It was all on the up-and-up, and everything was

there *
We worked through the same men - Hirth, and Settle*
Murphy and others, - together with many new different workers*
In some esses we worked through totally new personnel*

We set

up state offices in each of the states to which we would feed
the supplies, literature from the central point - but not al­

In some cases they produced it themselves •

There were

radio programs from Chicago, but we also supported some local
radio activities in the several states*

We bought a series of

farm paper advertisements and used some space In dailies and
weeklies, and provided material, and so forth*
I*m pretty well satisfied that our associates In the
leadership of this fight, with very few exceptions, went down
the line# all right, and supported Smith*

Baruch had no con­

nection that I recall with our activities#

1 remember going

with George to call on him at the Houston convention in his
room, but it was purely a social call - reminiscences on the
part of Baruch and George Peek*

I remember George *s telling

me at the time that Baruch was a very capable boxer and still
boxed for exercise, and he certainly looked like it*
like it today*

Be keeps his figure*

He looks

The last time 1 saw him

was in St* Louis when he came out to make an address at Washing­
ton university*

I called on him at the hotel*

Of course he

shows age, but still he has his spare lean frame that he had*
George and I decided that the election was decisive as
far as we were concerned, that we would do nothing in any way
to try to interfere with the full operations of whatever farm
program the administration wanted.

It was a decision on mg

part to stay completely out of Washington during the adminis**
tration, and ltfs one I very nearly kept*
We just stayed completely away*


George made It* too*

cane through immediately*

and the farm people were willing to give it a chance*

It would

have been hopeless to come in there at that time to tackle the
MeHary-Haugen Bill again*

I, myself, was not willing to go again

on the IcNary-Haugen Bill as such*

George would have been per**

fectly capable of going on by himself*

It was a decision in

which we did not differ, that we had no place in Washington
from that time on*

I’m sure he felt* and I know I did* that the

Farm Board plan was entitled to the complete test*

I had no

great faith in it* but there was no use starting in trying to
question it before it got into action*
look about*

So George said* "Let’s

There ought to be some business opportunities we

can get into here*

I’d like to back you in any kind of business

you’d like to get into*”
anything but action*

He* himself, didn’t feel the need for

He liked to be active*

He was economically

I have never attempted to measure change or growth over
the McNary-Eaugen period*

It was ray growing conviction that

one basic difficulty in the farm situation that had to be met
lay in the United States* trading position with the rest of the

World War I had changed us from a debtor to a creditor

nation status, and the years following the end of the war in­
creased the debt the other countries owed to us*

I felt that

there would be increasing difficulties in the way of maintaining
a foreign market for all the surpluses we could produce both in
industry and agriculture* and that any fans program that was
adopted had to be part of the general national program* that
would meet some of these other difficulties* if It were to suc­

The MelTary-Eaugen Bill* by itself* which would simply

attempt to push out into the world market the surpluses that
might exist along with depressed prices at homa* would meet
increasing difficulties and* in the long, run* would not be the

This period confirmed me more and more in my conviction

that the farmers could not do this job through voluntary cooper­
atives* no matter how much money they were enabled to borrow
from the government*

I believed that before the Farm Board ex­

periment was undertaken.

When the latter days of the Farm Board

found the members of the board and the Secretary of Agriculture
advocating the plowing up of every third row of cotton and other­
wise moving to limit production* it was obvious that they subse­
quently reached the sanB conclusion* themselves*
Looking back* 1 think 1 learned a great deal about the
processes by which human behavior is motivated*
more from the standpoint of technique*

Perhaps it was

I learned that it was

possible* all right* to set forces in motion vjhich would, within
perhaps two or three years time* if conditions were favorable,
start people marching in the same direction* and to do it by

wholly democratic processes of education and inspiring leader­
ship here and there to take positions at the right time.
From 192^ to 1928 was not the happiest period of my
life, but I wouldn*t call it a sad period.

I think the tough-

est period I had was in the latter end of the next four years#
when we got our little insulating wallboard enterprise in operation so that our product was first ready for market in November
of 1929.

That period was an all-time low, I think.

this period - 192i| to 1928 «• relatively happy.

I would call

I made a world

of good friends and, I think, a better reputation than I deserved
among the men I worked with for competence and the kind of work
I did.

I think I came out with a pretty good reputation among

the farm groups.

That, of course, is a satisfaction because -

believe me - they’re fine people I So many worse things could
have happened.

Supposing we had enacted the KcKary-Haugen Bill.

Supposing, for one reason or another, it had failed completely
to do the job.

Then, of course# I think I would have had real

cause for unhappiness.
I think the educational force of that campaign was of
positive value in this country.

I think among other things it

helped some in putting the spotlight of criticism and question
on the whole tariff issue in this country.

We still have too

many people who believe in high tariffs, but here *s the point.
This really was carrying the tariff concept to its logical

conclusion, seeking not just to enact a tariff and then let
nature take its course, but saying that if a tariff is good
then let’s proceed to make it fully effective and get all of
its good*

If It works for some commodities where the producers

are able to adjust their simply to the starket in support of a
price behind the tariff wall, as we put it at that time - of
course we generalized altogether too freely - if that benefit
can be secured by a well-integrated industry* why not then use
the power of government to enable the disorganized six million
farm units to take advantage of it* themselves?

1 think it

turned on the spotlight and caused many businessmen to question
it, themselves*

I think one thing stands out in the debates*

They ripped to tatters the conception that we had a laissez
faire economy, that anything added would be unsound economics*
We showed up the fallacy in believing that what had already
taken place - the tariffs, all the other subventions that
existed - and believe me, we dug them up and rang the charges
on them as much as we could - were all right, that you could
condemn some new move but believe in others which just as clearly
interfered with the free movement of goods* and the other could
be passed*

X think the campaign was good for the country*

think It was good for the farmers*
work together*

It was good discipline to

The union of the West and South really bore

fruit in the thirties*


One thing that seems clear to me is that these aren’t
isolated events or separate periods# but that an unending chain
of cause and effect runs all the way through them*

What happened

in Farm Board days clearly is a part of the unfolding pattern*
The same thread runs through them all clear on into the TripleA days and subsequently*

It’s a good idea to be careful what

you start, knowing that that is a fact*
I imagine I wanted to quit during that period many times,
but there was always the next thing to do*

I think I could

have been wholly discouraged and ready to quit if I'd played the
last card and didn’t have something I had to prepare for the
next day*s operations or a meeting to get ready for*
the case was tried in the highest court*
given, and we were through*

In 1928

The answer had been,

The record in the farm states

showed tb&m voting as they had voted before*

We could ration­

alize that the AI Smith Catholicism issue was an excuse for not
delivering those states, but we had to wait another four years
to get another President and we had to wait another two years
to get another Congress*
it at that time*

One thing I don't regret is dropping

That was the right time*

Before that there

was always an obligation to some people we were working with who
depended on us*

There was a deep feeling of confidence and de­

pendence mutually in this group that worked on this program, not­
withstanding the jealousies, the fact that leaders generally are
prima donnas - and we had a lot of farm leaders in the show*

My wife was with me in Washington during most of the
period when I was working there, and of course we were in Evanston the rest of the time*

But I was away far too much in a

period when it would have been pleasant for me# at least, to
have more time with the boys*

Certainly It would have been

easier for Mrs* Davis, and might have been better for the boys#
I don’t know - maybe not*

At any rate, being away from your

family a great deal of the time is a poor way to make a living*
Shat was an unsatisfactory part of it all*
I had an ever-present hunger to deal with some things 1
could really sink my teeth into and get in my hands - tangibles*
But on the other hand, knowing what I know now, if I were faced
with the same choices to make I think I*d make them*

I know I

could have done a hell of a lot better job than I did along the
road but in the main I would have done the same things*

It grew

inevitably out of the eight years of farm work in Montana, work-*
ing for the farm paper and in the department*

I developed an

interest in and devotion and loyalty to the farming people in
that period that made it impossible# I think# for me to do any*
thing other than 1 did in this period#

This might seem senti­

mental, but when you work with people and begin to appreciate
and admire their qualities and understand something of the trials
and the problems with which, as individuals# it's difficult to
cope# then you set in motion some momentum that’s likely to

George Peek and I looked at a lot of things in the year
after the election - kaolin properties in Texas - a number of

It took some time to wind up the affairs of the cam­

paign, to button everything up and make the reports.


down to central Illinois to look at the farm properties owned
by the Harper Sibley estate*
heir we knew and know now*

Harper Sibley himself, was the
The Sibley family owned, my impres­

sion is, fourteen or fifteen thousand acres of fine c o m belt
land in Ford County, Illinois*

It could have been bougjht at

that time for probably less than #125 an acre*
tried tbs estate out with an offer of #105*

We* I think,

I think if we had

followed it through and bought it at any figure up to §150 an
acre, it would have been a magnificent development - somthing
that could have been worked with and developed to highest pro­

Of course, it would have been an extremely profitable


This was in the period of early *29 * somewhere in


We were told that the heirs were willing to sell*


I realize it now /l95j7» it might have been that opportunities
in the investment market may have looked extremely attractive
to them, and that could have been true through most of 1929*
We finally decided not to go ahead with it*
At the same time - and this covered quite a period - we
were looking into a development of the chemical engineering de­
partment at Iowa State College, under Dr* O.R. Sweeney, where he

was experimenting with so-called farm wastes «* cornstalks*
particularly - as a raw material for the manufacture of insu­
lating wallboard and other products of that sort*

1 spent a

great deal of time negotiating with the college after we*d
seen the experiments*

I believed that the pilot plant opera­

tions indicated that it had profitable prospects*
lot of time with the college*

I spent a

It had not* as other colleges

like Wisconsin had done* developed a pattern for dealing with
patents that had re stilted from experiments and inventions made
in its laboratories*

Those things* with, others# were more or

less simultaneous*
We decided to move on the cornstalk enterprise*
corporation was set up*

A group of businessmen put a total*

I think, of $500,000 in it to begin with*
to #756,000*


Eventually it ran

Lowden was one, the Woods brothers one, General

Dawes* Rufus Dawes, and Mr*. James E* Otis * all of the Dawes
bank - and George Peek and his brother*
have been one of them*
piece of this*

I don’t know*

Baruch may or may not
Hie may have had a small

1 don11 recall that he did* although fee dis­

cussed it with him*
It was decided to acquire first a plant that had been
established at Dubuque, Iowa* by the Maizewood Products Corpor­

The name of our organization was Rational Cornstalk

Processes* Incorporated*

It became a holding company for the

first plant that we acquired which was, as it turned out, the
only one*

That was the Maizewood plant at Dubuque*

closely accessible to Iowa City and to Ames*

It was

It was built and

about ready to go, and we felt we could save maybe a year or
two by taking that over*

We could take it over without the

outlay of much money, but by the exchange of stock because the
owners of Maizewood had about come to the end of their rope*
The plant required considerable remodeling, and new equipment*
We actually produced out first carload of marketable product insulation wallboard - like celotex or insulite » in November
of 1929.
Then the bottom fell out of building and all of the insu­
lation companies, with the exception, I think, of Masonite, got
into financial difficulties - either went through the wringer
completely or were in various stages of receivership.

Some of

them were very well backed by big lumber concerns, and so forth.
The result was that there ceased to be any kind of a normal
market, only a distress market*

It was completely a buyers*

Insulation for railroad refrigerator cars, for example,

could be bought for a preposterously low price - lower than any
conceivable cost of production we could attain or, I think, any
other company could attain*

We struggled along*

I believe if

we'd bad a free market at about $30*00 or #35*00 a thousand,
which was the market whan we went into the venture, I think we

could have pulled it out and made a going concern of it in the
light of the upbuilding surge that took place in the ‘thirties*
As it was, the money ran out*

We were in process of negotiation

with Sears, Roebuck and Company, which, was a major outlet for the
produet of the plant* I met General William 1* Westervelt only
slightly then*
All of the men lost most of what they put into It*
George Peek was the heaviest investor.

Any equity I would have

had in that enterprise, of course, depended upon successful
operation, and we didn*t make a success of it*

By the end of

1932 we were still carrying on, but at a loss*

The working

executives went on half-pay and were just waiting or trying to
wait it out until there was some market*
were negotiating with Sears*

In the meantime we

We were not really contemplating

selling at that time, but Sears was beginning to take more of an
interest in It.

That was the state of affairs when President

Roosevelt took office in March., 1933*
We bad a terrific time.

1 was still living in Evanston*

1 had had to spend a great deal of time down in Dubuque* and
of course that Was a completely unsatisfactory way to live*


had had this unsuccessful operation for my facial spasm which
resulted In a condition much worse than the one I had sought to

Those were the low years, all right*

That was exactly

the state of affairs when Mr. Roosevelt came into office*

I was

for Roosevelt, all right, but I wasn*t active in the campaign*
I had all I could do with this little enterprise.
During the campaign M.L. Wilson cause to see ms fresh frcaa
New York and a meeting with Raymond Moley and Rexford G. Tugwell
and others, and asked me to work with him on the draft of a talk
that was being prepared with the expectation that Up. Roosevelt
would use it.

I spent, I remember, one Saturday with M.L* work*

ing cm the speech.

I think we got it recopied there in Chicago*

Parts of it, at least, were used*

Since the end of the McETary-

Haugen campaign, M.L. Wilson and John D* Black had been working
on the domestic allotment plan*

X had consulted with M.L*

during this time, watched him with interest, corresponded with
him some, talked to John Black and others*

The only thing X

did actively - and that was very slight - was to sit in and
talk with M*L* and work with him some on the draft of a talk
which X believe Mr*

Roosevelt was going to make at Topeka,

Kansas *
Hirth, Cavemo and others had agreed in January, 1929*
that I was the man to write the history of the McNary-Haugen

There were many people who thought X ought to do it*

never even attempted it*


This memoir I’m giving to the Oral

History Research Office represents the only attempt and, to me*
the final one*

Xn February, 1929, Bill Hirth was trying to get the C o m

Belt Committee on a sound financial basis so that he could get
somebody like me as general secretary*

X think he said some­

thing about it to me, but having had a little experience vith
that X wasn't interested*

But it does show that those vere

They had a great deal of confidence in me, and I in

X usually vent to National Farm Bureau meetings whan
they were held in Chicago*

X think X vent to the conference

on economic policy for American agriculture at the University
of Chicago in August, 1931*

1 think an old Montana friend,

E*A» Duddy, vas in charge of that*
X had met H.R. Tolley quite a bit in the department* M.L*
vas a great admirer of Tolley^*
Spillman - all of them*

X had met Tolley, Ezekiel,

Spillman vas not unlike Henry Taylor in

appearance, only a little bit shorter*
X didn’t knov him veil*

t had met John H. Commons*

X did not meet Tugvell until X met him

in Henry Wallace*s office*
X had very much of an interest in land utilization*
Olsen used to come out to talk vith me*


That goes back to Montana

Land utilization, of course, underlies much of this vhole

problem, and X was bound to have interest in it*
come vhan he vas in the BAE*

Olsen used to

He used to sit down and spend a

good deal of time talking about that*

He vent to the Equitable

life to be in charge of their real estate, or an advisor, at
least, on real estate mortgages*

In 1932 I was spending almost all my time in Dubuque,

I was there at the time of the convention*

Except for

weekend trips home, I was there continuously in that period*
During that campaign I worked with M.L. Wilson a little bit
on that speech, the draft of which he had brought to Chicago*
I was strictly on the side line during that campaign*

I had

no other plans than to make this cornstalk company work*
George took some part in the campaign - not a conspicuous part,
as I recall it*

I had only one meeting with Candidate Roosevelt

during the campaign, when I accompanied a small party of farm
leaders to call on him at his hotel in Chicago.
During the interval between Roosevelt’s election and
inauguration I talked a number of times with men who came to
see me about the probable Roosevelt choice for Secretary of

Earl Smith and Cliff Gregory were two with whom

I discussed it*

George Peek and I discussed it a number of times*

I think the first report which agitated the c o m belt farm
people was to the effect that Roosevelt intended to name Henry
Morgenthau Secretary of Agriculture, which they did not like*
Geography was one reason, and another was their complete lack
of contact with and confidence in him*
farm paper*

Be published an eastern

He was, of course, close to the President-elect*

I know that many direct protests went to 3yde Park and also
went to Hew York to Tugwell and Moley who were reported to be

actively participating in plans for organizing the new adminis­

It was about that time that 1 first heard Henry

Wallace's name suggested*
I realized later something that didn’t even occur to me
remotely at that time*

That vas that George Peek wanted to be

the Secretary of Agriculture*
avare of it*

It vas years later when 1 became

As it vas, in discussing prospects with the c o m

belt people, 1 did not talk to Mr* Roosevelt about it*
thought Henry Wallace would be an ideal selection*
had been secretary*

He came from lova*

part in this campaign*
about Henry*


His father

He had taken an active

I knov that George Peek vas lukewarm

I didn’t even dream that George and Mrs* Peek

vould have been Interested in a Cabinet position*
occur to me either for inyself or George Peek*

It didn’t

As far as my

lack of knowledge of George's interest is concerned, that may
have been just obtuseness on my part, although, it certainly
could not have been an obsession vith him or I vould have been
avare of It*

I learned later George's feeling was that he had

led the fight which, at least in the opinion of many, had laid
the ground vork and paved the vay for the defection of the farm
states in 1932*

He had the feeling he had done so at a time

vhen Henry Wallace vas completely on the sidelines as an ob­
server rather than an active participant* which was true up
until practically the end of that phase of the farm fight*


didn*t know that Peek wanted to be Secretary of Agriculture
until some time later when seme remarks he made to me made it
perfectly clear that he had resented Wallace*s selection and
that he felt he should at least have had the chance to refuse
the job himself*

I think a little promotion work at that

time certainly would have brought George Peek *s name into the
forefront of those discussed*

I have no basis for an opinion

at all as to whether Roosevelt and Roosevelt*s advisors would
have accepted George*
The report that George Peek would be called to Washington
to work in the new program started fairly early*

I think it

started in about February, although he was in and out of
Washington working on the new farm bill from December on.
was by invitation.


It seemed certain that he was earmarked

for work in the new administration*
I talked to Wallace two or three times in the interval
between election and Inauguration, and 1 was seeing farm
people who dropped in in Ghicago*
brought him back there*
during that period.

I saw M.L* on any trips that

I think I saw M.L. two or three times

I knew a great deal about what was going on

in Washington, but it was a secondary interest.

We really had

a bear by the tail in our little factory operation, and we were
trying to keep the breath of life in it with the little money
that was left.

George Peek still was the heaviest investor in

the cornstalk operation,, and X was seeing him daily*
was our office, so of course X saw him*

His office

X had lunch with him

many times at the University Club and elsewhere*
There wasn’t any question but what M*L* Wilson would be
part of the new administration*

The work: that be had done on

the domestic allotment plan drew him immediately into the circle
that was working on a prospective farm bill*
X was in Dubuque when the banks were dosed*

At that

time - the end of February, 1933 • I bad no intimation that X
was to be part of the new administration, and really no desire
whatever to be*

X didn’t think of any capacity that X would

like to serve in*

X had plenty to think about in the situation

we were in with the plant*
to Washington*

George Peek wanted me to come down

As soon as it was certain that he was going in,

he spoke to me in very general terms about coming in there with

What George really had in mind was that X would be sort

of an assistant - an alter ego - eyes and ears for himself*
What he was to do was in terms, then, of running the farm act*
all right*
Wallace had spoken to me, also, in general terms about
coming to Washington*
but by telephone*

X don’t think he talked to me in person

He had asked my advice on quite a number of

things that he was facing*

When he passed through Chicago on

his way to Washington, he asked me two things*

(Me - would X

be interested in coming into the administration in some capacity?
It was in very vagus terms*
him I had no interest in it#
It was just an inquiry*

I explained my situation and told
It wasn’t an offer of a position*

The second thing he urged me to do was

to write him personally any thoughts or suggestions I might have
for his guidance*

He was approaching his job with considerable

humility and diffidence*

I told him I would*

The only occasion I had to do that came up when the re­
port reached us that he was considering naming Charles Brand
as administrator of the Triple-A, or of what became the S?ipleA*

I remember conferring with Cliff Gregory, Earl Smith, and

one or two others about that*
from Washington to Chicago*

Cliff had brought that word back
I had had quite a little experience

with Charlie Brand, and I felt that would be a serious mistake
to put him at the head of the Farm administration*
Henry and gave the reasons why I felt that way*

I wrote

Months later

I learned that the letter hadn’t even reached him*

He didn’t

see it*
I have no doubt that George Peek asked me to came down
very shortly after he went down to Washington, but I wasn't
there for any length of time*
of it*

I worked on the farm bill very

Fred Lee and George talked to me about some provisions
I think I advised on the bill some, but I was not one

of the many who claimed authorship of the bill*

I imagine I

was in Washington in mid-March*
at that time.

I was in and out,

I may have met Jerome Frank
A first impression I had of

Jerorae was that he needed a haircut ** literally, at that time*
The Washington situation didn't become real to me in
personal terms, although. Wallace did telephone me after Peek
and Tugwe11 went in.

They were in deadlock, and Wallace was

apparently unable to break the deadlock*
the thing off center.

He couldn't get

They were completely at odds.

They were

deadlocked over the whole mode of procedure for the Triple-A,
Wilson had been assigned the job of working out a plan for

That brought into the open the issue between Tugwell,

and Peek and Brand,

Wallace was inclined to back Rex.

The plan

Wilson developed included provisions for acreage limitation.
That had no appeal whatever for G-eorge, who was still thinking
in terns of the McHary-Hau^en operation.

Wallace had telephoned

me two or three times indicating considerable distress and .
urging me to come to Washington.
come down.

George had again suggested I

1 was not, even then, considering it very seriously,

and I don’t know what the outcome would have been if M*L* Wilson
hadn’t come to see xae in Chicago*

Wilson came to see me after

enough time had elapsed following George's appointment for this
deadlock to develop.

M. L. came to me in my office in Chicago,

and he said bluntly that the thing was hung up down there and in
his opinion I Has the only one who could break the jam.

He was

as deadly in earnest as I’ve ever seen him.

They eouldn*t get

the wheat plan rolling, they couldn’t get anything started be­
cause of a disagreement over the principles of operation of the

This was after Peek was appointed*

bill was actually signed*

It was before the

In those early days legislation was

an executive function in the sense that the bills that were
drafted in executive departments became law*

The Department of

Agriculture was planning organization and planning first steps
in administration for some time, - I’m quite sure of that » before
the bill actually became law*

It was in that interval when they

wanted to get off with a running start that they were unable to
get things going at all, according to Wilson*

I have an impress

sion that it was Saturday that Wilson came to me in the office
because 1 left early in the day - about noon*

I think Wallace

telephoned me twice at the office and had a call in for me at
the house when I got home*

He was really pushing*

I am sure I went over the bill*

I don’t think Peek was

being coy when he refused the job of administrator that was
offered to him on April 5*

I think George was willing to help*

The way the bill was shaping, all the power was lodged in the
Secretary of Agriculture*

That irritated Peek*

The National

Recovery Administration (BRA) was shaping up as an independent
agency directly responsible to the President*

In this case*

all power was lodged in the Secretary of Agriculture*


was the Secretary, whom Peak regarded as a bystander in the
farm fight*

It certainly wasn’t coyness on George’s part* Be

was not anxious for that type of a job*

He was given assurance*

I’m sure* by the President that he would Have the full authority
he would need if he would come in as administrator*
To my knowledge, Wallace did not discuss with me or
Wilson the possibility of my being Triple-A administrator* When
George Peek resigned after seven months, it was then, of course*
fairly obvious that Wallace would ask me to succeed him*


man who was reported to be Wallace’s choice for the first ad­
ministrator was Charlie Brand*
There was real difference between Peek and Brand on the
one side and Wallace and Tugwell on the other*

Wallace faced a

situation in which George Peek had the very high regard of a sub­
stantial element of the farm leadership, and he was on the scene
and he was active*

Be wasn’t seeking any job, but he was certain­

ly seeking to influence what went on*

X know that he was in

contact with the President about developments*

1 think the

President gave Peek what Peek regarded as abundant assurance
that if he would accept the position he would be the administrator
in practically the same sense that Hugh Johnson was administrator
of NBA*

George told me this many times*

Mrs* Peek told George

one evening, in ray presence, that she had had inquiry made as to
their position in Washington protocol and that she had been

assured that the rank was equal to that of an under secretary ~
a Presidential appointee*

There was no question but what they

were thinking in those terms#

George was not happy about the

Wallace situation then, and never was*
M.L. was really caught in between*
tion for George Peek*

Be had great admira­

At the same time, he had been a pretty

close student of developments and with John Black had worked on
various forms of a domestic allotment measure, all based on some
form of acreage limitation*
at all*

George hadn’t gone along with this

The so-called deadlock that Wilson described to me

when he came down to Chicago actually wasn*t broken until we
organized the production division and named Wilson chief of
the wheat section*
George had no confidence in Jerome Frank and insisted oh
retention of Fred Lee*

Peek paid Lee out of his own pocket, so

in effect he tried to bypass Jerome Frank#
under the setup*

It wasn*t easy to do

George could probably have done it* but there

was present in George and in Brand as well as in those on the
other side at that time the sense of urgency and the willingness
to make some concessions in order to get the thing going*


quite sure that if George had stood on the position which he
might have taken that an independent general counsel for the
Agricultural Adjustment Administration was completely illegal,
he could have made it stick*

The organic law makes the solicitor

of the Department of Agriculture the chief legal officer for
all operations of the Department*

So there was a way George

could have made it stick If he had wanted to force an issue*
I didn't talk it over with him because 2 dicta*t realize the
significance of the differences at that time*

I realized it

in 1935> when we abolished the office of general counsel*


only that - X asked for and got Jerome's resignation, Lee
Pressman's resignation, and a number of others.

X abolished

the office, which at least straightened out a lot of difficulties
which George contended with while he was administrator*
could have made it stick*


X had no opinion of Jerome Frank or

of the office of general counsel of the Triple-A at that time*
Peek and X didn't sit down and talk about Jerome Frank in the
sense of committing a session to him, or anything like that.
But George repeatedly told me he had no use whatever for him*
X believe Jeroias Frank had been associated with one of the
legal firms that had participated in the Moline Plow liquidation,
which George had opposed*

There was some previous association

George had had with Jerome Frank, so his position wasn't purely
an Ideological one*

Xt was one of complete lack of confidence*

He not only didn't like him - he had no confidence in him*
There was some contact during the litigation and the liquidation,
of the Moline Plow Company In which George and Jerome Frank had
crossed paths*

In April i was still responsible for the operation of
the Maizewood Company,

It was the operating company of the

Cornstalks Products Corporation,

During the period I was

spending in Washington - I don’t recall how much time that
was - 1 was always pressed with the realization that 1 should
be back in Chicago or Dubuque*

It is probable that in mid-

April or the end of April I returned to Chicago*

I certainly

hadn’t gone down to Washington with more than one suitcase and
a couple of shirts*

I didn’t go down with the idea of staying*

I didn’t leave Washington with the idea that I was going to be
part of the administration*

I didn’t take it seriously until

M.L. talked to m% later in Chicago* and then I did*

That was

early May, or it might have been late April*
M.L* said that both Peek and Wallace wanted me down in

Of course, the fact was that George wanted me in

a different capacity*

He wanted me much as Fred Lee was -

directly associated with him as an aide*

When I began to take

the offers seriously, I realized that I wanted independent ad­
ministrative responsibility*

I did not want to be simply the

”assistant to”* That was certainly due in no sense to any re­
luctance to be associated with George Peek*

If I were going to

serve or continue to operate in that situation with anybody* I*d
choose George Peek*

But there were so many aspects of the farm

problem on which we didn't think and see exactly alike by that
time, that I told George, when I went down to Washington finally
with the intention of going in the show* that I preferred to
have some assigned area of responsibility and an opportunity to
develop and lead it myself*
Wallace was thinking in terms of making me responsible
for the development of the whole production program*


what M.L. told me in his opinion was the only way out of the

It was not to bypass Peek*

M.L« made it clear that he

felt and Wallace felt that if I earns in in that position %
could bring George Peek and Henry together in agreement on a

M.L. 's report to me was one of almost desperate

urgency, that they were completely deadlocked and they couldn't
get anything going*

M.L. said* "You're the only man in the

country that can bring these people together and start the
machine going*®
the situation*

I think M.L* came on his own*
Be was in the middle of it*

I think he saw

He didn't have any

more of an offer to make to me than Mr. Wallace had been making
to me by telephone*

Wallace had asked me to come to Washington

and help organize the machinery of the Triple-A for action*


don't believe he had defined a production division or a marketing
division such as subsequently worked out in the interval between
my talk with M.L. and my coming to Washington*
been discussed*

Uy salary hadn't

Wallace just had urged me to come to Washington*

George Peek wanted me to come down#

They were thinking in terms

of different responsibilities, different kinds of action. When
M.L* came 1 didn’t ask, "Who sent you?® but I’m positive that
M.L*, after spending days and nights in the middle of this jam,
had made up his mind that I could help break it*

Be came out

to talk to me personally and urge me to come down*

M.L. was

not seeking to line up with one or the other of the then fac­

He was in the middle*

H.L., in all my associations

with him, had shown considerable confidence in my ability to
get things done*

This was a case where he said unequivocally,

’’Chester, you’re the only man in the United States who can
break this thing down there, and you’ve got to do it#”
that point I had not taken it seriously#

Up to

I had evaded it*


preferred not to get into it, at least until we had played the
hand out fully on the cornstalk company#
The position hadn’t been formalized enough so that my
wife had an opinion one way or the other*

As I recall, the

only comment she made was, ’’Why don’t they let you alone?11
particularly on the numerous calls Wallace made*

"Why don’t

they let you alone?” Wallace made three calls in one day*
think it was Saturday*
the afternoon*

Two were in the office, and one was in

He asked me to come down, and explained and

repeated the situation*


I had never spent much time with Wallace.

I had high regard for him and he for me* I’m sure*
Wallace was the man to nan®*

I had felt

How I would have felt if I’d real­

ized that George was not only willing but rather expectant in
his attitude toward this secretaryship, is another thing*


quite sure that I would have seen to it that his name was con-*
sidered by the farm people who were advising on this,
have done it*

George couldn’t or wouldn’t.

I could

He didn’t even

intimate to me when he knew that farm people were coming and
talking to ms about this*

1 was naive about it*

I told him

that 1 thought that Wallace would be a natural for Secretary of

The Morgenthau thing had been in the picture, and

George even then hadn’t unbent enough to tell me that he would
like a crack at that job, himself*

If he had, 1 would have felt

like giving all the support I could to him*
tuse on that.

I was a little ob­

It didn*t occur to me until* I think, some time

after George left the Triple-A*
When I went down to Washington 1 didn’t realize the extent
of the battle between Peek and Wallace*

I didn’t have much ques­

tion but that the difficulties could be resolved and we could get

It didn’t occur to me that we couldn't break the jam*

After I got down to Washington it was fairly clear how things
should be organized*

It was clear that there should be a market­

ing division which could carry out many of the things in which

George was interested*

I think it deserved a better trial than

it ever got in the "ft?iple~A*

There was the basic problem of

adjustment of production in which I was# by that time, consider­
ably interested and which looked like the more difficult of the
two jobs*
The Issue came up in a fairly large staff meeting on the
question of whether or not M*L* Wilson should be named wheat

M.L. was the first chief to be named*

He,d been at

work in Washington on various aspects of a wheat program*
was far advanced, and the question


was how to get it settled*

In this meeting we had at least Henry Wallace and Tugwell and
Peek and Brand*

I have the impression that there were more*

I think probably Frank was there and probably Fred Lee*

I made

the report that we were ready to lead off with the wheat program
under the leadership of M.L* Wilson, and proposed M.L* for the
chief of the wheat section*

Brand spoke up in this conference

and said, "Well, now, I have sense reservations*

I like M.L.,

but this is a field about which I know something, and 1 know
very many competent people*
M.L. for the job**

I have some real reservations about

George Peek did not oppose me in naming

He didn't oppose me in any way*

He concurred and accepted

He certainly understood that this was to set the pattern for

the program*

Brand was the only one who expressed opposition*

I think George would have preferred to go along with Brand, but

he accepted and approved it and gave the program complete support*
Our wheat program was an acreage plan*

X think that was in May*

Xt was very soon after I got down to Washington*

The only pro­

gram that was in any shape to move on was wheat*

That was be­

cause a great deal of work had been done by Wilson and others
on the method of procedure with wheat*

That was a decision

that meant the Triple-A was going to be tried out along that

Xt didn't foreclose work under marketing agreements and

other devices provided for in the law, which were to be, in
part, the responsibility of the marketing division*
Wheat was the first section of the Triple-A to be approv­

X think we moved on to the cotton section next and the

com-hog section*

Cully Cob for the cotton section and A.G*

Black for the com-hog section were chosen almost wholly by
discussion among Henry Wallace, George Peek, and me*

X don't

recall that I discussed personally with Brand either Cully Cob
or Black*
X think the production area provided for in the act was
the one under which most was attempted and most was done*


think, as George Peek saw it, it was a temporary emergency

His faith and his interest rested chiefly in the pro­

cessing and marketing division*
for that division*

Peek chose William X* Westervelt

X approved the choice heartily*

General Westervelt slightly and liked him immensely*

X knew

Westervelt was quite a philosopher - a man of broad interests
- but his interests were chiefly in the processing and marketing

He was wholly with George in his appraisal of Jerome

and throughout the difficulties that grew in the first months
of George*s administration, and left with George when h0 resigned*
Hhder Wallace, the Secretary, were Peek and Brand as dual
heads of the Triple-A.

That was, I think, a crazy bit of organi­

Brand was coadministrator, and he thought of himself as

that, all right.

In talking to George 1 protested some about it,

but George wouldn’t hear anything at all about Charlie Brand*
Brand was a man who did appreciate position*

I suppose he knew

that he had been considered for administrator, so when George
asked him to come in as his deputy Brand made a condition, Ifm
sure, that they come in on an equal basis and invented the term

I remember one of the press conferences

where this was discussed and explained, and Brand told the press
quite primly that "the word »coadministrator * is not hyphenated
- it*s one word - and itfs Charles J. Brand, not Chas J. Brand*”
Newspaper style wouldn’t have permitted Chas J. Brand, anyway,
but he made it clear that his name was to be spelled out*


don't think he was ever de facto coadministrator*
Directly beneath Peek and Brand as coadrainistrators came
Westervelt and 1 as coequals «* he for processing and marketing,
and I for production*

I was the one who asked Alfred D* Stedman

to take charge of the Triple-A information division.
when I first went to Washington*

I met him

He was head of the St* Paul

Pioneer Press and Dispatch Bureau.
we look Stedman over came from M.L.

However, the suggestion that
"Sted" had followed develop­

ments closely during the interval when M.L. and a number of others
were in and out of Washington working on the legislation*

$Ey own

meetings with "Sted* convinced me that he was interested, sympa­
thetic, alert, and stood very well with the Washington press

I'm the one who talked to him about coming in.


and Wallace concurred, and he was brought into the organization*
The question of relative rank with Jerome and Stedman
never occurred to me*

Frank and Stedman had, of course, direct

access to the administrator and to the Secretary, as I did*
don't recall how the chart showed them, at all*


I regarded both

of them as service branches rather than policy branches.

We were

policy, and that was one of the basic causes of the difficulties
with Jerome Frank.

He regarded himself as a prime policy man

and not just a legal man.

My judgment always has been that you

make a mistake when you let your lawyer begin to dictate your
The decision was mine to appoint Cully Cobb, clearing it
with George Peek.

1 remember discussing it with Henry, who

took a great deal of interest in the production division.


had less interest, although of course when the appointment was

made it was cleared with George*
people in the cotton area*

I had talked to a number of

With Wallace's approval I called

Be came to Washington where we discussed it and he


He was publisher and editor of the Southern Ruralist

at Atlanta# Georgia*
Black's was more or less an appointment in desperation*
We had just a hell of a time trying to think of anybody who
really could do that job*
know him*

I had never met A1 Black - didn't

His name kept coming up*

Xowa is a leading com-hog

X talked to Henry and he said# "Well, he's so-so*

probably could do it*"


So, being under great pressure to get

started# we called A1 and he came in*

In my judgment he was

just "so-so* - or less*
One of the first things we got going were the com-hog
state meetings and then the meeting of representatives from the
leading c o m belt
came together*

states where a smaller number of representatives

I think that meeting was in Des Moines*

R* Wickard had emerged in the Indiana picture*
looked good on paper*

Ha was a farmer*


His record

Be had been a member of

the Indiana state legislature# so he had had more than just farm

It was A1 Black's recommendation that brought Claude

I don't think I had met him until he was brought in*

first impression of him was favorable*

He was appointed*


was forthright# looked the part# and had an intelligent interest
in the problem*

One of the very first things I did was to reach out for
Tolley, who was then director of the Giarmini Foundation of the
T&dLversity of Chicago*

It was approximately May 16*

got at him immediately*

I think I

I called Tolley and then I believe 1

talked with the University authorities there to get him released
to come down to Washington*

I had in mind for him the specialty

crops - the fruit and vegetables, and so forth • which presented
very difficult problems*
organize it*

He earne in with that in mind and helped

One of the first things we did after Tolley got

down was put In a call for Jesse W* Tapp*

I don’t remember whose

idea it was, but believe me - it was a unanimous choice!
agreed that we ought to get Jesse down if we could*

We both

Be was then

an economist associated with an investment firm in Hew York*
I'm sure he was making more money than we were able to offer him*
In both his case and Tolley's there was no hesitation*
came down and cut loose and went to work*


That was one of the

very early things we moved on*
It took a little time in the case of tobacco, and it
brought up one of the difficult questions we met*

The Tennessee

Congressional delegation had brought out the name of a former
commissioner of agriculture - a political leader in Tennessee*
I've forgotten his name*
to head our tobacco work*
pressed it politically*

They pressed hard for his appointment
There's no question but what they
It was political*

John B* Hutson had

sluown up.

He had been in foreign service*

X had not met him

He had been agricultural attach^in some of the Euro­

pean countries*

He had a particular interest and background in

X talked to him a number of times and finally became

convinced that if we could get Hutson named we*d get going on
some problems that were really pressing; the cigar-type tobac­
cos particularly had an immediate need for action*
Hutson named*

We got Jack

To do so X had to get Jim Farley's help*

Eriant was always completely cooperative*


He was the man named

as "special assistant to the Secretary” to handle political
clearance questions in connection with our personnel*

This was

rather a big-league operation# and in the case of the tobacco
section chief X had Kenneth McKellar and the other Senator and
all the Congressmen on my neck*
arranged to see Farley.

Xt was tough*

X called and

X told him, "Now, there are positions

here that have to be filled by the most competent men we can
get, men who are experienced and able to handle them*


best politics that can possibly be played is to make a success
of this thing - to make it go*"
He said, "Why# of course that's true*"

I explained our

He said, "Don't give it another thought*

care of the Tennessee delegation*"

And he did*

They laid off

and we named Hutson and never heard a word about it*
pened repeatedly*

I'll take

That hap­

Whenever I was really on a spot and wanted to

make an appointment without regard to polities* there never
was a case where Farley didn *t hack me up one-hundred percent.
Friant had remarkable capacity.

He was hard of hearing.

He had learned his way around Washington in connection with
early activities for the relief of drainage districts in Southeastern Missouri* Illinois - that whole area.

They were all in

a fix.

He had spent some time in Washington very actively on


Emil Sehram first came into the picture down in Washing­

ton in connection with those drainage districts*

He subsequent­

ly was a member of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)
board and then president of the New York stock exchange.


Friant took the position that it was his job to get the best
people we could get.

He used to be very proud of the number of

PhD’s we had working in the Triple-A for something like $Hf>80
a year*

Those were the days when they were a dime a dozen.

He developed this technique which worked very success­

He determined that so far as possible he was not going

to try to bring in people who weren’t the cream of the crop.
At the same time* he wanted to get along and wanted us to get
along with the people up on the Hill*

So when an applicant

for a position came in* Julian could get the letters of endrosement or approval from members of Congress quite without regard
to the political affiliations of the applicant* because it was
easy for him to phone or drop in to see a Congressman and say*
"How* here’s a fine young fellow from your district.

He comes

from a good family, apparently*

You probably know them.

We can

get him here, but we like to have our appointments known and
understood by the Congressmen and we*d like to have your endorse­
ment of him* - or words to that effect.

The Congressman was al­

most invariably delighted to have a hand in it and be in the
picture to that extent*

So Eriant worked out a very satisfactory

technique in relationship and at the same time got us good people*
A number of appointments were made in those first few
months that were political*

Smith W. Brookhart, of Iowa - a

former Senator - was a political choice*

That was a command

from the White House to which. George Peek bowed with great re­
of history*

Theodore Bilbo was one*

That was an interesting bit

Pat Harrison was the head of the Senate finance

committee and had, since the staple cotton growers lined up in
the McNary-Haugen Bill, been an awfully good friend of George
Peek’s and mine, and a good supporter of the farm program.


called up George one day and said, ttI want to talk to you about
a man*” George asked him to come down#
asked me to come in.
a classic*

George called me and

The two of us listened to Pat, and it was

Harrison started out in glowing terms describing

Bilbo as an extremely able man and a man who could be very use­
ful to us in this new program*

He said, "I*m not wholly unself­

ish in what I'm asking you to do, because as you may know,
Hubert D* Stephens is approaching the end of his term*

He's a

good Senator and we'd very much like to see him renominated

without any opposition*

Former governor Bilbo is at loose ends*

and it would be a disaster if he were to come into the pace, be*
cause the man is a vote-getter*

He’s a pretty appealing sort of

a person*"
George said* "What can he do?”
"Well,” Pat said* "there isn*t anything he can’t do*®
At that time we were being pressed to make speeches*
and none of us had time to go out and make speeches • So George
said# "Can he make a talk?

Could he get out and explain the

farm program to farm and business audiences?*
Harrison said# "Can he make a talki
people up— "

Why he can talk the

Then he paused and he said# "George, you weren’t

thinking about having him make speeches in Mississippi* were
you# or in the South?

That would never do.**

George laughed and said* "You might as well tell us what
other limitations there are*

What can't he do?

Let's get at

"Well,® he said# "I'll tell you*

There isn't anything

that fellow can’t do# but 1*11 be honest with you*

You shouldn't

put him in any position where he is responsible for handling

t don't think you should tempt him that far*

I wouldn't

do that**
George was smiling by that time*

Anything else?"

He said, "Well#, this is

"No»" he said, nthat*s all.
thing, George*

Well# there is one other

I wouldn’t put him in an office where there was

a girl around*"
We were all amused then# and Pat# too*
!,Well# we *11 think it over*"

George said#

We had already talked about

getting somebody who was competent to look at the flow of the
press news out in the country# who would select critical and
other items and comments# and so forth, and route them around
then to the affected divisions so that the men would have
sources of information coming in to them from the outside
which# in the ordinary course of business# they wouldn't get*
We were all pretty busy*

It was a bona fide job*

We thought

it was one that Bilbo could do*

It would be a detached job and

would set him off in an office*

3b had to have an assistant#

all right - a girl# that is*

We put him at that*

news# and the newspaper boys really got on him*

Bilbo was
They called

him the "Pastemaster General"*
1933 passed on*

George left*

As we got into »3^» which

was the senatorial year in Mississippi# Pat Harrison called me
one day and he said# "I'm really distressed at the way the news­
papermen have treated Bilbo*

I think he's getting a little

restless about it# and I would like to know - isn't there
something that can be found there that has dignity and more
position so he can be held here in Washington?

I don't mind

telling you that the talk's going around that he*s sounding
people out in Mississippi about coming back there."
I said, *1*11 canvass it*

I frankly don’t think of a

thing.” At that time we had a sugar program and tobaceo pro­
gram in Puerto Rico with no common point of pooling their
interests or efforts or personnel.

We had talked about having

somebody as the common denominator who would rim the operation just keep the two activities on speaking terms.

1 called Pat

and described it to him.
He was a little dubious.
but it won’t hurt to try.

Be said, "Well, I don’t know,

I’ll come down.

So I called Bilbo, and Pat came in.

You get Bilbo in.”

Both were cigar smokers.

It was:
"Howdy, Pat.”
"Howdy, Bilbo.”

Pat said, "You know, Bilbo, I’m taking

a great interest in you here, and I’ve been distressed at the
developments that have prevented you from doing the kind of
work I know you’re capable of here."
Bilbo said, "Yes, I know.

I know, Pat.

You’ve been

very kind, and 1 appreciate it, and the boys have been fine."
Harrison said, "I’ve been talking to the boys here and
they’ve got something in mind."

Then he described this position

as though it were just a little short of an ambassadorship *
really laid it on.


Bilbo was loaning on the back legs of his chair back
against the wall, puffing his cigar, very poker-faced until
Pat got through.
M m up*

Bilbo nodded,

Pat looked at him - sizing

Bilbo nodded and he said, ttThat*s certainly very fine,

but you know, Pat, I’m thinking some of running for the Senate
in Mississippi,"
Harrison said, "Yes, I've heard that*

I hope you don't

do it, because if you do I'll be compelled to oppose you*


will support Stephens*”
Bilbo said, "Yes, I understand that*

I've thought of

it, and I've even thought what I*m going to tell the folks
back in Mississippi, Pat, when you announce your support of
Huey Stephens and your opposition to me.

You know what I'm

going to say?”
Harrison said, "I have no idea.”
He said, "I'm just going to call attention to the fact
that you've spoken for Stephens*

I'm going to tell the folks

in Mississippi that of course Pat Harrison is for Stephens be­
cause with. Stephens in the Senate, Pat Harrison casts two votes.
If I'm in the Senate I assure you he'll only cast one,
that's what 1*11 tell the folks back in Mississippi*n

Then he

Pat looted at me and shook his head and said, "What can
you do with a fellow like that?”

George Peek saw to it that Brookhart had an office as
far array from him as he could be placed*

Brookhart dreamed up

plans for trade with Russia# and ’
would bring them in to George*
That was the extent of his service with the Triple-A*
Adlai Stevenson's father had been associated with George
Peek and me in the A1 Smith campaign*

Adlai had been aware of

I think I'd met him as a young man at that time*

It was

perfectly natural, I think, that he would come to the Department
of Agriculture and the Triple-A when he wanted to join up and do
something in the early days of the Hew Deal*
had come in as an assistant to George*

He had been active in

organizing young Democrats for Hoosevelt*
siderable ability*
Adlai to George*

Wayne C* Taylor

Be was a man of con­

I'm not sure but what he may have brought
That I don't know*

legal division fairly early*

Adlai joined up with the

He was assigned to work on market­

ing agreements with the fruit and vegetable section, but he
wasn't with Tolley*

Lee Pressman was assigned to that section,

too, and that didn't mean Lee Pressman worked for Tolley*
He left at the time George Peek left, or perhaps shortly
before# and went over with the alchohol control administration*
1 know that because when George left# Fred Lee also left# and
Ered went over to the alchohol control administration as head
counsel there*

Fred has told me that Adlai was responsible# 1

think# for the suggestion that they get Fred in that administra­

While I saw him rather frequently there# his work In the

Triple-A was just a matter of months.
I met Guy C* Shepard and talked with him in Evanston*
He lived in Evanston*

X went out and talked with him one

I think Westervelt wanted me to meet him*

man who knew the packing business, all right*
pleasant person*


He was a very

He was in Westervelt*s division*

Glyde L* King was in my division*
duction division*

Ha was a

He was in the pro­

Clyde King had done a great deal of market

He was a well-known name in the milk field*


milk had to be dealt with through marketing agreements rather
than in any other way, Westervelt, Peek, Wallace and 1 agreed
on Sing*

Ha was brought In*

X donft remember who invited him*

A.J*S. Weaver handled rice*

That was another hot one*

Weaver had been an economist in the Department - in the Bureau
of Agricultural Economics (BAE)«

X think perhaps he'd had

some Farm Board experience during which he*d dealt with and
worked with rice*

Joe Robinson*s brother-in-law, Grady Miller,

had been an officer in a rice cooperative in Arkansas, and
Robinson, who was the majority leader in the Senate, had let it
be known in unmistakable terms that he wanted Miller to head
the rice activity*

My inquiries in Arkansas convinced me that

Miller, whom I met, was an extremely personable, easy-going man,
without the capacity to handle that small but very difficult

X had been talking to Weaver about the problems, and X

felt that Weaver could handle it*

The Associated Press man

covering the Department then, was Sam Bledsoe.
this story.
the story.

There were a lively two or three days.
He wanted to print it.

to be cooperative.
this thing out."

Sam got onto
Sam had

At the same time he wanted

I kept telling him, nffow, I'm :
;;oing to work
I ’m not sure whether Peek was still there or

I finally did.

I went up and told Robinson that we were

really compelled to name Weaver to head this section, but that
I would like to have Miller as a field man with the particular
responsibility of maintaining liaison, working with the cooperative
groups in rice.

The story flattened out on Sam*

He really

couldn't make much out of it, though he really wanted to*


thought they had us on in a spot on that one.
The press as a whole was excellent.

Roy Hendrickson, who

had been the Associated Press man when I first went down
there, was somewhat of an embarrassment because Roy had been
following this development intimately, from before the baby was
born, really.
him a thing.

He could go around, and you didn't need to tell
It was just what you didn't say, or the way you

parried his questions.

Then he'd go to somebody else, and in

a very short time he'd have a story on what we were going to
do with a particular coiaaodity or what we had in mind.


he'd frequently print it, much to our embarrassment, because it
wasn't a real leak.

He was just a good newspaperman*

M. L*, I

think, took him vith him in Subsistence Homestead over to

It wasn*t a planned operation on our part to get

him into the Department to prevent his newspaper techniques •
I found him, when I

went back in

entrenched there in

very real authority*
George Peek and I, throughout, kept on the friendliest
of terms.

I*m quite sure ho wasntt wholly sympathetic with

what we were doing in the line of acreage adjustment, but on
the other hand he supported it and went along with it*


reason for this was the he was concentrating on getting going
with the activities that were centered in the processing and
marketing division, including the development of marketing
agreements for handling numbers of crops in ways other than
production adjustment*

The thought was to use acreage restric­

tion in the places where they would do the most good#


the way we continued after the reorganization which followed
George Peek’s resignation in December of *33* During that
period there was plenty to do, with the wheat program and the
com-hog program and the cotton program, the developing of rice
and sugar program, and activities relating to some of the special­
ty crops*

My own activity in them became greater after I became


George was driving ahead with the line of work

in which he was interested, with General Westervelt and his
staff over on that side*

He was experiencing plenty of difficulty

in it*

From the start there was the open distrust and disagree­

ment on policy vith respect to the marketing agreements between
George Peek and Mr* Brand and his associates on the one hand,
and the legal division, consumers counsel and Mr* Tugwell on
the other*

It started right from the beginning*

There vas a

personal dislike on George*s part for Jerome Frank*


from actions, I think it vas probably mutual*
My disposition vas to play out the hand that vas dealt

We had various kinds of personalities - extremely varied

kinds of personalities*

We had a terrific Job to do*

For the

period of about seven months when George vas administrator and
I vas director of the production division, I worked along, X
think, in relative harmony vith all the groups and factions*
X had a feeling at that time that probably George vould have
accomplished more if he had been a little more tolerant - had
taken the personalities as they vere and had gone ahead to try
to vork them out*

I became convinced vithln a year after he re­

signed that there vas a lot more to it than that; that it vas
more fundamental than that; and that X vas something of a Pollyanna and George more of a realist in sizing the situation up*
The Triple-A came in as a full-grovn and vigorous young­
ster among the bureaus of the Department that had been there for
a long vhile*

Oldtimers vere ruthlessly displaced from their

offices in the circle around the patio in the main administration
building of the Department and forced into quarters elsewhere*

We were not popular among the other bureaus at the time.

I re­

member old Dr. W.W* Stockberger, who was in charge of personnel*
Be was one of the displaced persons*

He came In with tears

coming down his cheeks and told about the rough way he thought
he was being treated*
chief offices there.

We tried to string out in a group the
Henry Wallace, the Secretary, wanted them

close and accessible to him*

So we really had ourselves a time

at first*
Notwithstanding that feeling, the cooperation the other
agencies - particularly the Bureau of Agricultural Economics,
the Extension Service, and William Jump, the budget officer and
executive officer - gave the Triple-A was amazing*
have been better*

It couldn't

They were doing everything they could*


BAE was very much one of those which cooperated with us fully*
Nils Olsen and 1 got along fine*

He probably would have pre­

ferred less interference with his personnel.
them right and left.

We really grabbed

You can't blame him, but he was fine.

Fred Hughes, who was the BAE's personnel and executive officer,
did everything in the world for us*
vice he did for me*

I'll mention

one big ser­

I had known him in the 'twenties.

As soon

as I hit Washington I called Feed and said, ”1 want the best
secretary you've got that you can pry loose around hate, and I'd
like to have her report tomorrow morning if she will.”

I think

the next morning was Sunday, or at least it was a holiday, as I

recall it, because nobody else vas around*
few letters on the typewriter*

1 vas banging out a

I*d gotten over to the single

office I had in the main building on the ground floor, vhen
Hiss Carol Piper breezed in*
a beret*

I remember she vore some sort of

She just took it off* gave her hair a toss - she vas

prematurely gray - hung up her hat on a eoatrack, and said*
nGood morning* Hr* Davis* I’m Carol Piper*
me over* and I'm ready to go to work*”

Mr. Hughes sent

She wa9 my secretary

for eight years* and she was a whiz*
Thinking of Miss Piper and other secretaries I*ve had*
X wonder if many people realize that a manfs reputation for
accomplishment really rests on what those girls do*

Miss Piper

gave my office* throughout* an atmosphere of friendliness and

She established a voice to voice relationship with

the secretary of nearly every member of the House and Senate with one of the secretaries or more of all of the executives in
Washington with whom we were dealing, so she *d always be talking
person to person when she called any office*

She taught me

more about running an office than I had ever dreamed of*
was true not only when X was in the Triple-A.


She went over

with me to the board of governors of the Utederal Reserve and
came out with me and helped set up the St* Louis office for me,
and stayed out there four months*

I*ve often thought how much

X owe to Carol Piper and people like her who worked with me*
The truth of the matter is, these trained secretaries like
Miss Piper have really an extraordinarily large part in a
man’s success*

Be has a warm and cordial office or he ha& a

had one, depending on the secretary*

Her telephone manner is

bound to reach and influence infinitely more people than the
principal, himself, ever talks to.

X t&ink it was really one

of the great experiences and great lifts I had - the great aid
I got out of Miss Piper*

I owe Reed Hughes and the BAE for

that one*
Without the Extension Service, the county agent system,
the production activities, the adjustment activities of the
triple-A just couldn’t have gotten off the ground the way they

They laid aside their established program to get ours
Clyde Warburton was the head of Extension at that time*

So while there was a perfectly natural resentment, X think, on
the part of some of the older bureaus at the way this brash new
outfit moved in and shoved them around, believe me, they were
c o o p e r T h a t was a very happy relationship*
Brand's office and Peek's office were side by side*
There were frequent consultations • To think that we - Peek,
Brand, and X - were in complete agreement with all of Mr* Wallace's
views would be to paint the picture altogether unrealistically*
There were constant differences that had to be adjusted*

I was

in between - definitely in between - in this operation* I was
between the two wings - Peek and Brand on the one side, and
Wallace and Tugwell on the other*

There were even differences

between Tugwell and Wallace which grew more marked as time went

The differences that I had to stand between

were more

numerous and repeated themselves more frequently than I liked,
although Henry Wallace once remarked, with a degree of detach­
ment that I wasn't able to command, that, "After all, don't you
think friction of this sort really generates energy?”
I said, ”Xt wastes a hell of a lot of energy*

It gener­

ates some, but it doesn't go to advanee the things we're after
The differences were marked*

The legal division and

the consumers counsel, which was headed by Frederick C* Howe
with Gardner Jackson as his deputy, really came in with a puni­
tive attitude and a determination to reform the business enter­
prises with which the farmers dealt - packers, grain trade, and
all the rest*

Without feeling in any sense that they were


titled to any exemptions or privileges under this act which were
improper, George felt that they were a part of the mechanism
that could be used in a program of price and income improvement*
He was very anxious to try out what could be done under marketing

We worked out an agreement with the tobacco

manufacturlng companies fairly early in the tobacco program by
which we got prompt aetion on prices, in consideration of the
fact that the growers were limiting acreage*

'The buyers really

moved in* and under a marketing agreement that Hutson worked
out with the approval of the other processing and marketing
divisions, they really brought about a change in the tobacco

1 went down with Hutson to the flu-cured tobacco

belt in North Carolina, I remember, on one trip*
the response - was electrifying#

The feeling -

We were pretty much cooped

up and concentrating on more jobs than we could get done, but
we took a few days off and went down there and visited some of
the markets*
One man we talked to in Forth Carolina was a substantial
tobacco grower#

He said he had gotten up early and driven out

toward one of his farms, and he had met a darky with a cart
loaded with tobacco, hammering his mule over the back as hard
as he could.

Since it was one of his tenants, he had stopped

and wanted to talk with him#

The darky fidgeted and fidgeted

and finally he said, ’’Boss, X wish you*d excuse me#

I want to

get in there to that market while those buyers are still drunk*8
They were really paying good prices, compared to the terrible
prices they had been going through*
It was that type of operation George Peek wanted to try
out in the livestock markets and some of the grain markets#


seat a group out to one of the sore wheat spots - the Pacifle

Prank A. Theis, who had cone from Kansas

City to

be chief of the grain section in the processing and marketing
division, some attorney*, and another man in the Department,
Bay C* Miller, had gone out to the Pacific Northwest where
they did negotiate an export arrangement which tried out, to
a certain extent, the McNary-Eaugen principles*

Things like

that were going on*
The conflict arose early over what was known as the
books and records section of the agreements*

That began right

We differed with the counsel in our discussions about

these programs*

The Insistence in conference, by Frank and

Pressman particularly, on carrying the power of examination of
books far beyond the transactions that were contemplated under
the agreements which were being discussed in a very preliminary
way, was a cause of difference from the very beginning*


differences arose as soon as the processing and marketing divi­
sion was organized and we began to try to bring in the processors
to talk about the possible courses of action*

The books and

records clause came out of both the consumers counsel and the
legal division, but it was primarily a legal job*

Xt called

for opening up the books and records of the processors and all
of their affiliates and all of their subsidiaries, regardless
of whether or not they had any relationship, whatever, with the

contemplated transactions*

Any and all records and correspond­

ence would be open to the Secretary*

That did not mean that

the Secretary would examine them individually, of course*
This books and records clause formalized and became a
basis of argument and led to some real showdown fights later,
but I was involved in that*

In these earlier conferences,

George Peek was convinced - and he was correct - that one
reason he wasn't able to get going with the marketing agree­
ments was the fact that the representatives of business had
the hell scared out of them when they came into these meetings
and met the point of view that was expressed by the legal divi­

There's no question but what that was one of the factors

in George Peek's trouble with the legal division and the con­
sumers counsel*
There was a very close relationship between the legal
division and the consumers counsel*

They had the same objec­

tives and were directed by men who either assembled or permitted
the assembly under their direction of groups of people who
knew where they wanted to go and who weren't concerned with the
objectives outlined by Congress in the Agricultural Adjustment

I think we all agreed that the consumers counsel was a

good thing*

I don't remember who proposed it, but I don't

think there was any objection, whatever, on anybody *s part*
On the contrary, it was agreed that we should have an office

in there that would examine every step that the Triple-A
proposed to take from the standpoint of the consumer’s inter­
est and. would keep that viewpoint in our counsels at all times*
I remember discussing Sired Howe with Charlie Brand, who
had known of Fred for a long while*

He had rather a favorable

impression of him, and I know that Brand approved his appoint­

Fred Howe was a man of very high Ideals and very little

practical sense*

Ha was the "turn the other cheek” type*


was a well-meaning man who permitted his organization to be
loaded down with a group of people who were more concerned
with stirring up discontent than they were with achieving the
objectives of the act.

When X first told Fred that he was going

to have to give up the consumers counsel aid X wanted his and
Gardner Jackson's resignation, he was very much distressed*


arranged other employment for Fred - I forget what it was because he was broke*

I never felt personally that Fred did

anything more than just permit his office to become a rallying
ground for a lot of people who required constant watching*
George Peek and Brand very early became convinced that
Gardner Jackson was feeding stories out to Drew Pearson and
others - the columnists around there*
great deal of fun harpooning us*
one of the recipients*

They were having a

I remember Guy Shepard was

X didn't have much doubt and X know

George had none as to the source of this kind of information*

It*s a fairly easy thing to do*

The tipster who is inside an

organization is pretty sure of favorable treatment for himself
and his associates*

In return, he can participate in lampoon­

ing the people he’s out to get or doesn’t like in the Department.
It doesn’t make for harmony within an organization*


speedily grew up a lack of faith in consumers counsel from our
standpoint, and I classify myself along with George in that
Wallace was completely sympathetic with consumers counsel
and the legal division*

Henry had brought my old friend and

colleague, Paul Appleby, up from Radford, Virginia as assistant
to the Secretary*

It speedily became apparent that the placid

days when the Secretary of Agriculture could be served by one
were gone*

Paul told Henry of a young friend of his also in

Radford who ran an electrical shop down there by the name of
C* Bonham Baldwin, and so they brought Benham in*
Paul were the eyes and ears of the Secretary*

Benham and

They made the

appointments, acted for him, and they were very much in the
same group as Jerome Frank and Lee Pressman*
Jerome brought Lee Pressman in*

He had known him, 1

think, in Sew York in law circles• Alger M s s was also brought
in by Jerome*

Alger had been secretary to Justice Oliver

Wendell Holmes in the Supreme Gourt*
quite sure, when I got to Washington*

He was on the job, I’m
Alger and these others.

I think, were known as Felix Frankfurter's friends and proteges*
Lee Pressman X "believe was on the job when I got to Washington*
X know Jerome was*
I think V/allace was plenty on the side of Jerome Prank
and his associates*

This created many difficulties*

Xt was a

tough, year, and it was particularly difficult for George* The
two factions worked together, all right, but it was with great
difficulty and increasing strain, which finally led George to

X think Rex Tugwell was really the benevolent father of
the young intellectuals who gathered around in the legal divi­
sion. and consumers counsel and so forth*

M.L* Wilson got out

and went over to Subsistence Homestead, which was located in

X don't think he left because of the differences*

He was very much interested in the subsistence homestead work*
He had got the wheat program off and going*

M.L* was never

Interested In a strictly administrative operation*

He liked

For years, he'd been speculating on what could be

accomplished to make life easier and more productive for people
who would have a small acreage and get their subsistence from

So this was a natural move, X think, as far as M.L* was

concerned, although I'm sure he didn't find the atmosphere a
rest cure around the Department of Agriculture*
Xt was fast moving, but at the same time we were getting
things rolling along*

I was very much immersed, of course, in

our various adjustment contracts which involved building up a
vast machine and developing new ways of servicing it*

I saw

my first mechanical business machine check-writing operation

We installed that to grind out the checks which went

out by millions in the aggregate*
I was wrapped up in that*

It was all Interesting*

I went along with the kind of a

feeling that both sides were at fault, that they should get
in and pull together*

One of the factors in my accepting the

job as administrator after George Peek resigned was ray belief
that I could ride that double team*
I had nothing to do with Subsistence Homesteads*

I had

heard a great deal about what was going on in the bringing of
the farm credit agencies together in the Farm Credit Adminis­

I generally thought they were organizing a pretty

good show*
I went through to 1937 without much question that there
was a plan and there was a pattern for the whole thing*

I was

aware of lots of the inconsistencies, but I didn't realize that
the inconsistencies were the rule until along about 1937* after
I was out of the Triple-A*

It was my feeling that the Presi­

dent and those close to him had thought this thing through
rather completely, that the other segments were pushing toward
their objectives, and that the whole thing made sense in improv­
ing income and lifting the country out of the depression*


thought that eventually when the whole machinery was in opera­
tion we'd have a pretty well-balanced operation*

I didn't

realize then that inconsistencies# contradictions* and halfbaked plans were the rule rather than the exception*


I state this with an air of conviction* of course it is only
my opinion*

As I saw some of the developments beginning to

take place in the mid-thirties* 1 rather concluded that it was
a gay bunch of adventurers who were well-meaning but, in the
main, didn't have a consistent pattern - didn't know where they
wanted to go*
I believe more thought actually went into the laying
out of the Agricultural Adjustment Act than went into many of
the other things that were done In the New Beal - well, almost
anything else*

% know a great deal of thought had gone into

After all, we'd started work on this thing in the early

twenties, and part of the thinking and all that carried right

A lot of men had been familiarized with the problem

and had struggled with it*

The Agricultural Adjustment Act

brought several lines of thought and action together in what
was probably a reasonably effective approach*

How, I realize

there are many people who held a different point of view*
In terms of 1933* ’34* *35* the New Deal meant to me
a concerted effort to use government to the extent necessary
to pump new hope, new income and wider employment, into the

masses of the people*

That's what it meant*

a curing of the depression*

It wasn't just

After all, there was no use in

attempting to cure a depression if stability weren't thought
or in the same progaming.
voted to this*

I certainly was idealistically de­

The farm groups for years, led by thoughtful

economists, had believed that the ups and downs of the business
cycle - the price movements - were the greatest hazard agricul­
ture had to contend with*

They'd been struggling to meet it*

It wasn't hard for me to believe that if we could bring about
reasonable adjustment of the production of the crops that
periodically had gone into surplus - that is, a surplus at any
remunerative price level - and if we could use the resources
that were freed in ways that would build up the land and di­
versify production so that effort went into useful channels,
not in surplus, for our part we would make a real
toward the national welfare of the whole*


I think it would

have been impossible for human ingenuity at that time, based
on the experience ve had and what we knew, to come up with a
better program than we did*

I don't know what better we could

have done•
I know there were many down there among the contradictory
elements that made up the New Deal who felt that there were
much simpler things that could have been done*

The Cornell

school of economists, very much marked by George F* Warren and

Mr* Pearson, believed that all the -price changes were due to
the change in the price of gold, and that all that vas neces­
sary in the future vas to concentrate upon that and adjust it
as need be, and farm troubles would be at an end*

Even as fine

an economist as William I* Myers believed much of that*

He was

one of the best administrators vho ever hit Washington*


succeeded Morgenthau as head of the Farm Credit Administration*
There vere a lot of people vho believed ve vere going through
a lot of unnecessary exercises vhile there vere some simple and
magical moves that could be made that vould solve all the trouble*
I felt ve had to go at it the hard way*

I still think so*

I think, in general, this vas a period of rapid develop*
ment, notwithstanding internal strife and clash*

The history

of the period vould be a vhole lot different if the gate hadn't
been left open for the influx of a lot of people who vere not
at all Interested in the objectives of the Triple-A, but vere
interested in rearranging the social, political, and economic
pattern to suit their own ideas*

It vasn't necessary that the

Triple-A should have all the crackpots in Washington*


veren't any in other places to match in number what we had in
the Triple-A*

In recent revelations, they haven't revealed any

centers that matched ours, so far as I knov*

I still don't

think it vas necessary that they all be dumped in there on us*
I knov George Peek didn't think he vas entitled to that kind of

an array#

Believe me, if Peek could have dealt with this thing,

he would have I He couldn't have done what I did because the
Secretary wouldn’t have taken it, at all, and everything was in
the Secretary's name*

George's original reluctance on that job

I think is justified by the facts*

George did not like to go

in there under Wallace - I know that*

He had the same kind of

assurance from F.D.R. that I had when I went down in 19^3 to he
food administrator, that, notwithstanding the way it looked it
actually was to be the way he wanted it*

I’m pretty sure that

George accepted that, but it didn't work out that way*
I think Henry would have been relieved at any tins© to
have George withdraw*

Henry was a sensitive man and had not had

much experience in rough and tumble fighting*
but what this weighed on him heavily*

There's no doubt

I'm sure of that*

It really wasn't long before December that I sensed that
there was definitely going to be a change.
we'd work things out*

I kept hoping that

I saw that George was building up an in­

creasing sense of frustration, all right*

I think it was only

a few days before it happened that I realized it*
The corn-hog program of 1933*34 • the "killing of the
little pigs" - was one of the most controversial programs we got

We had asked that meetings be held in the different c o m


A meeting was held in Des Moines on July 13*

In sever­

al of the state meetings and again at Des Moines, the outlines

of an emergency program* which would tend to get at the immedi­
ate hog problem were formulated*
- a big carry-over*

There was a big crop of c o m

We had a very large hog population, and

with c o m in plentiful supply there was the expectation of
heavy breeding for fall litters on top of a heavy spring pig

The idea began to pop up in various state meetings of

adding a premium to the market prices for sows with pig and
for light-weight pigs, before they had eaten too heavily into
the com, in order to prevent the heavy flow of pork the follow­
ing winter*

Another meeting was held In the Willard Hotel in

Washington on August 10*

That was when the plan really took

We had all elements there*

We had representatives of

all of the farm organizations, of the retail meat industry*
and we had Invited representatives of the packers*
elements of the whole industry*

We had all

I was in and out of the meeting*

That meeting brought forth its recommendations which, la
form, generally outlined the com-hog program we undertook for
emergency purchase, killing idle little pigs, and so forth*
agreed to it at the outset*


I didn't anticipate that the people

would get sentimental over the killing of pigs*
had always grown pigs to be killed*

After all, we

We made a deal with Barry

Hopkins of the Federal Surplus Belief Corporation for the dis­
tribution of all of the meat from the purchased hogs to the
needy families in his relief program*

We made contracts with the

packers for the processing of the pigs end the piggy sows*
Altogether* we had buttoned it up about as well as possible*
I'm not one who's ever been moved to apologize for that pro­
gram by the chatter that arose about it*

There were a lot of

the sob sisters who said# "Wasn’t it a terrible thing to kill
the little pigs*”
We did keep a lot of c o m from being consumed* that
came in extremely handy in 1935*

There isn't any question about

Of course* that wasn't planned because we couldn't fore­


or 1936 and the terrific droughts that came about*

By 1933 the hog market had reached the stage where in Iowa you
almost had to tie a ten-dollar bill to the ear of one of the
sows before you loaded them to send them to market - to get them

The market was down*

as #1*25*

I don't recall that it got as low

I recall #2*65 at the farm in Iowa as about the low*

I'm skipping about a bit*

I was a member of the board

of the Commodity Credit Corporation*

It was pretty much worked

out in conjunction with RFC, in the RFC offices*

The Commodity

Credit Corporation then was an adjunct of RFC* with our partici­
pation through board membership and policy conferences*


later was taken over wholly into the Department of Agriculture
and became an operating arm within the Department, but it was not
a part of it in the early days*

I wouldn't call that experience

It was banking in the sense that it was lending on


At the outset we didn't conceive of the operation

as price-fixing loans* at all*
com-loan program*

We were very careful in the first

This was something on which Earl Smith* who

had come down to push for the c o m loan* absolutely insisted*
He insisted that fJj.5 a bushel was about as high as we ought
to go*

He thought we ought to have a floor under the market

and we ought to enable the farmers who could provide safe
storage to store on the farm.

He was a pretty good hog man

and good c o m man* and had good business judgment#
Our difficulties with the loan program, grew much greater*
I think, after I left the Triple-A - in the Production and Market­
ing Administration (PMA) days - because the members of Gongress
took the ball right away from the administrators and from the

They thought if $*1j5 was a good thing for a loan

figure* why #*55 or #*6o would be better*

There are always

a lot of friends of the farmer in Gongress who like to attach

their names to a bill and set the stake out a little farther
than the farm leaders* themselves* think it safe to go*


gets you in trouble because the farm leaders then are really
on the spot*

It's hard for them to go back to the farmers and

say that they had opposed Senator so-and-so *s effort to get $*13
a pound on their cotton instead of $*10*

One of the lessons I

learned was that it wasn't the farm leaders who were advocating
the most radical things that were done as much as it was the good

friends in the executive and legislative branches of government*
At first, all of the codes were turned over to the IRA.
Then those relating to food were turned back to us*
some trying times with some of them*
chick code, and John Hannah - now
State Gollege - was the manager of It*
able young man*

We had

I remember we had a baby
president of Michigan
He was an aggressive,

He really ran himself a code operation*


lined up the industry - and it was In a bad fix - and he really
made It go*

Hannah was recently president of the Association of

Land Grant Colleges*

He has just /T95^7 taken leave from

Michigan State to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense*


a very able citizen*
I didn't see Hugh Johnson very often, but occasionally*
We’d meet back and forth*

The Blue Sagle went to Hugh's head*

I don't know whether he floated it there or not, but it really
went to his head*

They had those Blue Eagle parades around the

country, and he really thought he could have had anything in the
country he wanted*

Johnson felt that if Harold lekes had moved

ahead with the public works as rapidly as he was supposed to,
and hadn't been so cautious in handing money out, that business
recovery would have been complete in a relatively short time*
The Work Projects Administration (WPA) was a shot at employment*
Business hadn't picked up the slack of employment*

I'd like to compare that situation with the little pig

pi*ogram and the restriction of acreage - the cotton plow-up.
Those were the two things* of course* that the sentimentalists
cracked down on*

They seemed to think it perfectly all right

for a manufactaring concern to plow millions of workmen out on
the street with no place to go for livelihood except charity
or some type of relief*

That was perfectly all right*

was the industry’s way of adjusting production*


They didn’t

permit their production to continue* as the farmers do* and
take It on the chin in price*

They plowed their men out right

Ve had millions of them literally walking the streets

at that time.

When the farmers made a feeble gesture in that

direction at the expense of a somewhat shorter life for some
pigs and a shorter life for some cotton plants* some ministers
and public speakers seized on that as a horrible thing*
I agree that it was a bad thing to slice production
when people were in need*

The same thing was true of housing

and fuel and blankets and clothing*

Nobody was short of food

In that period for the reason that the food wasn*t there for

There was plenty of food, and even with the best effort

and intention we didn't make any great impact on it compared
with what nature* herself, did in 193^ and 1936*
On September 30* 1933* Brand resigned*
was a signal*

Brand was there on loan from his work with the

National Fertilizer Association*

That undoubtedly

I think his resignation was

hailed with relief throughout the Triple-A, and I don’t think
George felt too badly about it*
wasn't a rest cure*

Ag in Wilson's ease, this

I think he saw they weren't getting any­

where, particularly with some of the things that were going on.
George, in the xaeantiasa, had built up a staff*
Chatfield Taylor*

Be had Fred Lee*

He had Wayne

He had Glem McHugh, who

had been a member of the Senate legislative counsel*

He was

a very able man, later vice president of Equitable Life* George
had a good little organization, and Brand, I think, realized
that he was a fifth wheel*
joke, anyway*

The coadministrator thing was a

There was a general feeling of relief when Brand

left because he had the lack of capacity which manifested it­
self in the feeling that he had to see and pass on everything
that was done*

His desk became a literal bottleneck*

When you

wanted to blast things out you almost had to use force to do it*
Yet Charlie Brand was one of the most kindly, nicest chaps you
ever saw, as I said in the beginning of the letter which I
wrote to Henry Wallace warning him of difficulty if he named

Brand just couldn't help being something of a martinet}

he couldn't help insisting, for example, that all press releases
be brought in so that he could go over it line by line.
thing had to bear his personal approval or he would pop*

He was

a well-intentioned person who really thought he was quite an

executive, but 1 don’t think he was*
X attended all the press conferences.
press conference in October, 1933#

X attended the

whieh Wallace talked

about production adjustment and said that marketing agreements
weren’t very important.

Peek, who was there, got very angry.

X think that probably was the open beginning of the end.


doubt if Wallace realized it - X don’t think it was planned
on his part but X think it was “planted" for him.
somebody led him into it.

I think

There were plenty around there who

would have been willing to do it*

I, by that time, didn’t

have too much confidence in the two men who were Immediately
in his outer office - Baldwin and Appleby.

They were beginning

to play a game then, part of whieh was to force George Peek
The dairy section, /under Clyde King, operated tinder both
the production division and the processing and marketing divi­

We had

set up sort of a butter stabilization corporation.

The Land 0 Lakes Creamery Company was one of the operators.
much X remember.


X do not recall the Land 0 Lakes loan.

X had had rather frequent contact with F.D.R.

The Secre­

tary and X would go over in case of any program we were ready
to launch.

X would accompany Wallace.

as X recall it.
wheat program.

George Peek rarely went,

We *d explain the outlines*

We did it with the

We did it with the cotton program.

We did it

with the corn and hog program.
to the President.

W© explained them, in general*

We didn't always get a chance to do much ex­

He'd talk about the program.

We learned early that

there was a choice of two courses with Mr. Roosevelt.

If you

went over there without having buttoned things up, and mentioned
alternative courses, there was a danger that he'd just grab one
of them in his teeth and you'd be led down the road half a mile
before you could catch your breath - and it might be the wrong

He was quick and gay in decisions.

very careful explanations with him.
him many times.

We always went into

George and I went to see

He was always friendly.

Mr. Roosevelt had

another place for George when he resigned, and he had another
place for Jerome Prank when Jerome got out.
This is a story of the period when George's resignation
was in the air, and the press boys were trying to corral him to
ask him about it and he was avoiding them.
some of the boys were covering it.

Felix Belalr and

George then still had some

kidney difficulties so that he had to make frequent trips down
the hall.

Our offices around the patio were not equipped with

lavatories or toilets and we had to go out in the outer corridor
to reach the men's toilet.

The newspaper men were fully aware

of that, and when the resignation story got hot they were
roosted like crows on the railing right outside of George's

I went in to see him that day.

George was talking to

me, and talking very earnestly about this.

Two or three times

he got up and started toward the door, and turned back, twisted
and fidgeted and sat down again* and got up again*

His wash­

bowl was screened by one of those brown burlap folding screens*
Finally George said, "Excuse me,” and he went back of the

I heard the rtanning water*

He finally came back at

ease and he said, "Well, that'll hold the sons of bitches*"
George said, "I think they're going to try to get you
to take this job*

1 don't know whether you ought to or not,

but I'm going to give you one bit of advice and only one* It's
advice you can follow if you will*

I say it in all dead earnest­

If you take this, you make it a condition of your accept­

ance that Jerome Prank and some of the boys around him go out*
Don't take it taxless they do*"

I didn't do it*

I still had

the idea that I could hold my own and handle them - that I could
ride that horse*

I told George later that that was a bit of ad­

vice that would have saved me a lot of trouble either way it

I could have gone in on my own terms or not have gone in

at all*

Either way 1 would have avoided a great deal of trouble*

From the time of that press conference when Henry Wallace
appeared to go out of his way to take a slap at George, I think
it was a case of George's just selecting his time to resign*
am sure that George talked to the President*


I'm sure that the

President, without consulting Cordell Hull, just flashed on the

idea and said, "George, you*ve been very much, interested in
all these questions of foreign trade* and we’ll just make
you a special advisor to the White Hous© on foreign trade*8
George had a singular optimism - he had a great optimism and I think perhaps he figured that this was the chance to
get out from under Wallace and to get out where his influence
and his voice really could be felt*
what he was going to do*

I think George told me

X know that George had made up his

mind to get out* and this* of course, was an exit for him*


think he submitted his resignation to the President, not Wallace*
I don’t think he considered himself a Wallace appointee, at all*
I think he considered himself a Presidential appointee*


was a fiction in which he had been reassured* I*m sure, by the

My appointment as War Food Administrator was a

statutory appointment, whieh was not true of the administrator
of the Triple-A*

He was definitely a Wallace appointee, and not

for a statutory job*

Everything was in the name of the Secretary*

I didn't try to maintain that fiction*
to me what it was*

It was perfectly clear

It irked George Peek • and understandably

so - that when orders and contracts were prepared* they had to
be passed through a flock of offices for initials* and finally
through him to Henry Wallace for the signature that made them

Looking back on it* I think the amazing thing is

first that ho took the job* and second that he stayed as long
as he did without bloving the situation wide open*
a lot of doggedness and a great optimism*

But he had

He vas one whof in

the McNary-Haugen fight, vas never too sure that Coolidge vouldn*t
sign the bill.
Around December 7 I vas seeing Wallace almost hourly*
There vas natural speculation about vho vas going to succeed

I think it vas discussed but not decided in my confer­

ence vith Wallace on December ?•
that one over, as I recall it.

I took a day or two to think
I knew it was a difficult 3ob,

but I vas like George, I guess - I was optimistic.

I had an

idea that I could do it.
I wanted to do a little consulting about being adminis­
trator of the Triple-A.

I wanted to talk about it at home*


don*t recall talking to M.L* about it* but it would have been
odd if 1 didn’t#

I would naturally have discussed it with M.L.

M.L. vas one of the few men 1 had talked to about the so-called
By the fall of 1933 ve had moved to 6308 Connecticut

It vas a stone house out in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

When I first moved down there during the summer I lived in a
small rented house also in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
the street vas Qakton*

I believe

We only lived there a fev months* Then

we sectored this house over on Connecticut between the Chevy Chase

Country Club and the Columbia Country Club.
and Paul Appleby lived not far away.

Benham Baldwin

I’m quite sure that be­

fore I moved from there M.L. had moved over on Rosemary Street*
which was only a block or two away*

Foster F* "Buck” Elliott,

of the BAE lived down the street a little way*

Ray and Mrs*

Miller lived next door to us* and we subsequently became very
close friends*

Ray Miller was one of the group that had been

brought into the Department after serving overseas as one of
Mr. Hoover*s commercial attaches*

A flock of them came back

when the Roosevelt administration came in*

They’d been cut

loose, and General Westervelt brought in perhaps ten or twelve
of them.

Mrs* Miller founded and ran the Little Theater*

developed that*
We saw


It was on Ninth Street in Washington*
quite a lot of Appleby and his wife socially*

We saw quite a little of Baldwin and his wife* and visited some
with M.L.

Harry Mitchell* who was on the Civil Service Com­

mission* lived over on Oxford Street*

He was from Great Fall*

We'd known him very well there*

We used to visit

with Harry and saw quite a lot of the Mitchells socially*
saw Ruth and Harry Butcher a great deal*

Milton and Helen Eisenhower*


Through Butcher we

Then as time went on* I used

to see A1 Stedman* Fred Henshaw - quite a group of them*
Socially through the Millers* we met George and Mary Holmes*
George was the head of the Hearst bureau in Washington at that


Mary Holmes was Stephen Early's sister*

There wasn’t

a lot of social activity In the sense of having free evenings
for bridge playing* or anything like that*
I used to ride to work with Appleby a great deal*
a great deal of Appleby*

I used to ride down with Appleby and

Baldwin more frequently than anybody else*

We were full of shop* always*

We used to talk

I talked with Paul a

great deal about the difficulties at that time*
with George on Paul Appleby*


1 didn't agree

George had no use for him* and

told me he was poison - to quote George*
believe him*

I saw

I certainly didn’t

I’d gone to Grinnell with Paul*

1 knew all of his history*

I knew his ante­

What X didn’t know was

how he might have begun to think during the depression in the
Radford* Virginia days*

Helen and X went out with Paul and Ruth

Appleby and their children and picnicked one time up the Potomac

1 think it was below the Great Falls* perhaps*

placid water* anyway*

We had a row boat*

It was

We discussed a number

of problems and the situations in the Department then*
As X look back on it* X think the only criticism or com­
plaint X would have had with Paul was that he was quite officious
in looking after Henry Wallace’s business*

But that’s sort of

an occupational disease of "assistants to Secretaries"*
get that way*

X remember F.M* "Scoop" Russell* who was Henry

C* Wallace’s press man and subsequently his assistant*

They all

He stayed

on quite a while*
casting Company*

He's now vice president of the National Broad­
Milt Eisenhower came in in somewhat the same

capacity - press representative and then private secretary* He
came in with Jardine• He was plenty officious*

It's an occu­

pational disease*
I don't know who was responsible for the creation of
the Program Planning Division of the Triple-A*

The reorgani­

zation, as 1 recall it, took place almost immediately after
George went out*

Tolley headed it*

nomic advisor to the Secretary*

He was an active in-and-outer

in all the planning that went on*
legislation was being drafted*

Mordecai Ezekiel was eco­

He had been so while the

He was attached to the Secretary

and I think detached from the Bureau of Agricultural Economies,
although his salary might still have been paid through the

I'm not sure how it was*

as Louis H* Bean*

He was in the same position

Mordecai was economic advisor to the Secre­

tary, but as far as the Triple-A was concerned he was in and out
of planning sessions all the time*

I don't recall Zeke as having

been active in this plan, but that does not mean he might not
have been*

I don't think that the Program Planning Division was

any one person's baby*
charts in my own office*

I know that I approved it and I drew the
It was a very considerable change*

was responsible for putting Tolley at the head of it*
been doing a good job in fruits and vegetables*

Be had

We had Jesse


Tapp who was coming along splendidly in work with the specialty

I believe possibly by that time H.R. Wellman had come

in from California to direct work with fruits and begetables •
Tolley was, to me, an extremely valued aide*
for Howard*

This was a natural

Jesse Tapp at the time was assistant director of

the commodities division and chief Of the general crop section.
That was our fruit and vegetable and special crops section*
Tolley was assistant administrator and director of the Program
Planning Division*
I had known Victor A. Ghristgau slightly ^xen he was a
member of Congress*

He had fathered the bill which 1 think

M.L. and seme others had worked out with him some time before
• the Christgau Bill - which had Impressed me favorably at the

My disposition in choosing a deputy was to find somebody

who knew his way up on the Hill*

A H I had known of Christgau

was favorable, and M.L.# whom 1 had consulted when we brought
Vic in, endorsed him strongly*
Al Stedman was not brought in to head consumers counsel.
Consumers counsel was not touched at the time of the reorganiza­

Sted had nothing to do with it.

Be was assistant adminis­

trator and director of information*
George 1. Farrell had been in extension.

He’d been one

of the western regional directors of extension.

When M.L. had

mcved over to Subsistence Homestead he had been using George
Farrell some.

We took George in as the chief of the Wheat

Section to succeed Wilson.

He wasn’t a very strong administrator.

H© was a pleasant fellow, but he wasn't particularly good*
I do not recall that Wickard was coming up and making
any sort of name for himself at this stage*
to Al Black*

He was assistant

He was number two* I think* in that division*

Jerry H* Mason had been leader of one of the dairy co­
operatives in Iowa*

He was well regarded and a pretty good

He was just a farm-trained man*

The dairy co-ops

were about the most aggressive of the cooperative groups we
had to deal with*
My first acquaintance with Charles W. Holman goes back
before 1920*

Ha had traveled out in the West some* attended

some farm meetings*

On this trip I had made down to the farm

editors meeting, I had called on him* among other farm organi­
zation leaders*

They were just starting what I think they called

the National Board of Farm Organizations* at 1731 Eye Street*
Washington D.C • I had heard a great deal about that and talked
to some of the members of it out in Montana* and I called there«
Later Holman took over as leader for the dairy groups*
known Charles Holman for a long time*

I had

Charlie was a hard tough

operator, and we needed somebody who could talk their language
and hold them in check*

Jerry Mason came in to do that job*

We had A*J*S. Weaver for sugar and rice*

We brought a

range cattle man from Colorado in - Harry Petrie*
of the cattle and sheep section*

He was chief

The commodities division com­

bined some of the old processing and marketing division*

Frank The is was one of the good young grain men from
Kansas City*

I don't knov vhy I kept getting over in the

processing and marketing division in the early days* but this
I knov*

We vere hung up on getting somebody in that division

vho could face the difficult test of being acceptable to the
grain cooperatives - particularly the aggressive Farmers Union
up in the northwest - Bill Thatcher, and others - and at the
same time a person vho actually

knev grain marketing*


The is vas the one man both cooperatives and old-line grain men
vould agree to*

1 remember calling Frank The is, whom 1 didn't

Now, this wasn't my job, because Frank came in before

George vent out*

X think Westervelt vas there vhen Frank vas

At any rate, X did call Frank The is*

over it many times*

We've laughed

He said,"! can't take it#*

X said (you knov the old racket), "Come in just for a
few days and advise us and help in getting it started**


came down vith a couple of shirts and a suitcase, and he didn't
get back home for six months*

But he vas a good operator#

X think Westervelt would have done an excellent job if
the high command - Henry Wallace and the group in the legal
office and Tugvell and the rest vho vere very active on polley
so far as the Secretary vas concerned - had been villing to let

Westervelt vas a good man in an organization*

He vas a

very genial man, had an excellent mind, and it vas good for the

morale to have hka around.

He always kept his chin up*

resigned partly because he had a very serious illness.
rushed to the hospital and frightened us all#
strain, overwork.

He was

I fchink it was

I think it may have been a heart signal,

although General Westervelt is still living


General Westervelt and I got along fine; he got along
well with everyone*

I remember the time when the heat was on,

when the feeling was getting aore and move intense as .far as
George's group and Jeroaie Prank were concerned.


Westervelt and Jero&e found themselves, to their surprise,
lined up side by side in the men's room one day*

The General

looked up and saw Jerome, and there was a moment's pause#


said, "Well, Jerome, 1 think just as Batch of you as 1 ever did,”
and he walked out*
One little development in this new reorganization that
I attached sosie importance to was the appointment of Joseph
F. Cox as chief of the replacement crops section.
was an Ohio State man, originally*

Jo© Cox

That section was charged

with the responsibility of pressing for the productive and
conservation use of a n of the so-called wrented acres® under
the contracts.
land use.

He was a missionary for conservation - good

We brought Joe in and had him. working: at that.


don't know just when he appeared as section chief, or was
f orisalized with full responsibility, but I brought him in
fairly early.

He was one of the old McKary-Haugen boys from

He's the author of a number of books on pastures and crops*

He’s an A-I agronomist*

He was a great believer in getting

grass out on the land that was being taken out of planted

It was a bona fide effort to get something done with

the acres that came out of the row crops and small grains*,
Gay Shepard carried over*

Larry Myers was acting chief

of the cotton processing and marketing section*
career man - BAE*

He was a

We had Thomas Blaisctell then as Fred HOwe’s

number one assistant*

In the annual report* Mordecai Ezekiel

is listed along with Louis Bean as economic advisor to the
Secretary of Agriculture*

Louis Bean is also listed as eco*

nomlc advisor to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration*
A lot of history is compressed in the final paragraph of the
annual report under the chapter of organization, which says:
Several men not now connected with the organiza­
tion played an Important part in the program during
the early months* Among these were George N. Peek,
formerly administrator, Charles J* Brand, formerly
coadministrator. General William I* Westervelt,
formerly director of processing and marketing, D.S*
Morph, formerly chief of cotton processing and mar­
keting section, Clyde L* Ring, formerly chief of the
dairy section, and M.L* Wilson, formerly chief of
the wheat production section*
They compressed a lot of history in that*

X don’t think we

did very well by them, myself*
I don't recall that the change in administration of the
Triple-A marked any sharp change*

We continued the effort to

develop marketing agreements and did, to some extent, develop
them particularly with reference to some of the west coast

specialty crops# to the whole milk markets* to a number of
other things*

We proceeded, during that year, with the de­

velopment and organization of the *35 cotton program*

I don't

think there was any announced or intended change In policy* 1
think the emphasis had been on production adjustment except
in George's mind*

I think the records will show that we prob­

ably did more with marketing in *31}. and *35 than wefd been able
to do in *33*

We bad developed a cotton program which was* of

course* an emergency program*
and tobacco programs*

We had developed c o m and hog

We had started our rice work*

I know

all those things were rolling in 1933 *
At that time I didn't have any drastic administrative
changes in mind*

Looking back on it* I can see where 1 picked

some cripples, all right*
fying them*

1 don't think it's worthwhile identi­

Some of these fallows just didn't have it* but

they were minor people.

Others did a surprisingly good job, and

1 think on the whole they made quite a good team*
This business, as it was between George and Henry
Wallace, became a straight out matter of negotiation on my part
with Henry*

I don't recall that ray relationship with Henry im­

proved or worsened at this stage*

I was perfectly willing to

go ahead and make a start as a unified team*

I was naive enough

not to expect any real difficulties - more than we had had*


probably thought there'd be less*

My relation to Tugwell didn't change*

Rex was operating

his own show, I believe, by that time, or If not he was getting
ready for it#

I thought that in its organization plan, the

Resettlement Administration was one of these anomalies that
shouldn’t have been permitted*

Having a man nominally under

the Secretary of Agriculture, but reporting directly to the
President, in effect having a key to the back door of the
White House, was something that

Henry was not comfortable

He didn’t like it#
It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like Tugwell as it was

that I wasn’t particularly comfortable with him#

He was com­

pletely out of place in a farm administration, in my opinion#
He wasn’t a farmer in any sense and he just didn’t have enough
grasp of operating problems to make me think his judgment was
worth a damn#

He had a brilliant mind#

1 don’t think he ever

tried to pull his intellectual rank on me#

Although I may have

forgotten some, I don*t recall any direct clashes#

I remember

times when the Secretary was out of town when I’d go to Tugwell
to get him to sign some marketing order or something of the
kind, with which he was" not in sympathy at all#
that he ever declined to sign them#

I don’t recall

There were one or two times

when it took a little while to persuade M m , but I didn’t have
too much trouble#
He could have felt that he was excluded from Triple-A
policy meetings any time along there#

I took no particular

pains to bring him in.
exclude him either.

I didn’t deliberately take pains to

I didnH care if he were there or not*

He didn't contribute anything to it*

Tugwell had a great

fascination for some of the young radical crowd around the

I think Rex was probably more responsible* -

quite unintentionally I’m sure • for building up the "cell*
that grew up in the Department* to use a word we’ve heard
used so much recently*

I think Rex had the kind of gay spirit

that said* "Bere’s a great laboratory and we can try all kinds
of interesting experiments here and see how they come out*”
Of course, that was not always in line with what we were trying
to do or what the Agricultural Adjustment Act was intended to
I don’t recall ever calling secret meetings* or anything
of the kind*

We went ahead and attempted to do our job* but I

didn’t bother to send a messenger around to tell Tugwell* ’’Come

We can’t start ’til you get here*11
The statement has been made that at one time 1 let

Tugwell cool his heels in my outer office when he came to see

I don’t think I did that*

If so* it certainly wasn’t de­

liberate * Be might have come sometime when I was busy*

I had

a very well trained office force* and believe me* I think* if
Rex Tugwell came into my office and wanted to see me* he would
come right in no matter who was in my office*

I’m sure he would*

1 certainly didn't have that type of attitude toward anybody*
My guess is that X saw less of the Paul Applebys through


X began to he aware of the faet that an increasing

amount of my tine and my attention had to be devoted to inter*
nal policing, and less and less to outside activities*

X became

aware of the fact* reluctantly, that Appleby and Baldwin were
really enjoying this business of being king-makers• They were
beginning that process and they worked on Henry Wallace at
that time*

% would say this was as the smmer grew on in

By the end of the summer it was evident that the legal
division and the consumers counsel, Tugwell, and the Secretary’s
outer office were eertainly not in harmony with what X felt we
were set up to do*

There were little straws in the wind*


was sometime about there that I became aware » and on this X had
been completely blind - that Appleby, Tugwell* Baldwin and the
others had contempt for the whole land grant college set-up and
the eounty agents, Extension Service# and other established
agencies with which we worked closely*

They were doing what

they could in little ways to split them off from the activity
in the farm program*

They definitely thought that the Fazsn

Bureau was playing too large a part in the whole set-up*


tie-up between the Farm Bureau and the Intension Service is wellknown*

It*s true that the Farm Bureau leaders were independent

individuals who weren’t particularly impressed with some of the

Intellectuals the boys had around them.

That’s true.

But I

don’t think that as early as that it became apparent that
there was deliberate effort being made to take Henry Wallace
clear away from all of his previous contacts of that sort.
That did bee one apparent a little bit later.
My associations with, the Farm Bureau were closer than
my associations with any of the other organizations.

I had*

as I explained* worked with the Illinois Agricultural Associa­

But I played it straight across the board with the farm

organizations - the Grange and all the others. Henry Wallace
started out in the same way and ended up with nothing but the
Farmers Union in his camp, because the Farmers Union was com­
pletely subservient to the administration and particularly to

That became apparent in !3> and far more apparent in

the latter part of *36. Then the break was complete in


This came about because of the growth of Henry's political

I think the boys - Baldwin* Appleby and the rest -

were feeding Henry the idea that they could build xsp in this
country, with the support of the Congress of Industrial Organi­
sation (CIO), a great political organization which would be
more than a farm organization.
CIO movement in organized labor.

It would work closely with the
They thought that the wedding

of the two would make a political force that could control this
country indefinitely.

I think Henry was led to believe that he

vas the destined leader.

I believe that marked quite a change.

I think in 1937 Henry Wallace and his successors reached the
stage where they dealt very little with the Farm Bureau, very
little with the Grange, very little with the National Council
of Cooperative Marketing Organizations.
definitely, to this attitude*
for my brief adventure in

Wiekard succeeded ,

When I came down to Washington

1943* when

I had something like two-

thirds of the Department of Agriculture assigned to me but
Wiekard was still the Secretary, the political slant was per­
fectly obvious in some of the divisions - particularly the
northcentral division*

It was present in the Triple-A*


field offices were being organized as a political force and
in spots were very much anti-Farm Bureau, anti-Grange, pro
Farmers Union*

This was true of the planners inside the De­

partment of Agriculture, all right*
Now, (1953) in the Eisenhower administration* perhaps
the cooperatives have gained ascendancy* so far as Ezra T*
Benson is concerned.

With Milton in the position of confi­

dential and influential advisor to his brother. It might be
said that the land grant colleges are very much in the ascend­
X donrt remember attending the Illinois Agricultural

Association meeting at Danville* Illinois* from January 24 to
26, 1934* with Ed OfUeal*

I remember speaking at Quincy.


don*t recall Danville.
novelty to me*

Speaking to a farm meeting vas no

I vas talking all the time*

1 don’t recall

In 193k the Export-Import Bank vas set up*
on the board*

I vas placed

I believe that I vas placed on the board instead

of Wallace by mutual agreement, that Wallace said, "You go


I*m sure ve talked it over*
I met Russ Wiggins about 1925 - something like that*

He vas vita Frank Murphy in the Gorn Belt Committee activities*
Be wasn’t in the Department*

He succeeded Stedman as Washing­

ton representative of the St* Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch*
I felt very close to him and admired him very much*
good nevspaperman and a good friend*
to Peek*

He was definitely close

Everything he wrote wasn’t pro Peek*

shots as he saw them*

He vas a

He called the

He was a good newspaperman*

I don’t

think he loaded his stories pro Peek, pro me, pro anybody else,
so far as I know*

Buss was a sympathetic interpreter of the

farm developments, because after all he’d gone through the
whole fight*

I think he was a cracking good newspaperman* He’s

managing editor of the Washington Post now /l95^7*
about to ask him to go

We *re just

on the advisory board for an activity

the Ford Foundation vould like to support*
Peek continued to consult me*
could to talk to George*

I sought every chance I

George had the same old McNary-Haugen


He always felt that way*

He never gave tap*

Import Bank was not contradictory to the Triple-A*

The Exportif Export-

Import could facilitate export movements both ways, that was

George differed sharply from Cordell Hull*


back on the history of those times when the conditions in inter*
national trade had changed, when trade arrangements between
governments on a bilateral basis were becoming more and more
the rule, I find that there was a lot of realism in George’s
point of view, although I, emotionally, was wholly for Cordell

The truth of the matter is that the world was shifting

away from reciprocal trade agreements just as it had shifted
away from beneath George's export corporation idea*
not quite so apparent and not quite so fast*

It was

Right now I don't

think the negotiation of reciprocal trade agreements is adequate
While I'd like to see the authority continued and used, I think
we've got to make a far more radical attack on our foreign trade

We've got to wake up as a nation to the fact that

we've got to give the rest of the world a chance to acquire
dollars through tirade.

If we don't, it's silly to talk about

not continuing foreign


1 admire Cordell Hall tremendously

I've got his picture and George Peekfs almost side by side up
on the wall in my room*

They wouldn't be comfortable - either

one of them - that way, now*

I remember a little anecdote*

It concerns a remark Homer

Cummings made about the changes In the Department of Agriculture •
It was the evening of a day or two after Jerome Frank and others
had left the Department.

Homer Cummings came over to me at some

dinner party we were attending and started to chuckle and said,
”1 saw Henry a little while ago, and told him, ’Well, you cer­
tainly ought to be able to fly a straight course now.


shed your right wing in Cordell Hull’s yard, and now you’re
trying to shed your left wing in mine,’"

They were trying to

place Jerome and some of the others in the Justice department.
Most of the men who were moved out of the Department in the
reorganization of early 1935 moved upstairs.

For example,

Francis 1. Shea went into the Department of Justice.
The President set up a small committee - the Industrial
Emergency Policy Committee.

I think Donald Richberg was on it

from the NRA, Mrs. Frances Perkins was on it, I was a member.
We had a few meetings and discussed problems of how to continue
and increase labor productivity, the possible plaee for annual
wage for labor, and so forth.

Not too much came of that.


this time under the direction of the White House, the National
Emergency Council and the National Executive Council were
meeting regularly.

They were two organizations composed of the

heads of all of the agencies, the only difference between them
being that the National Emergency Council was made up of the
heads of the emergency agencies, independent agencies - not

including the Cabinet members - and the National Executive
Council included the emergency or independent agencies plus
all the Cabinet members*

We had the same economic advisor

for both - that is# Winfield Riefler*
White House regularly*

We used to meet in the

You had to stop and look around for

the big brass to figure out which meeting you were in*


was no particular point to having two organisations that I
could see*

The meetings gave an opportunity to discuss gener­

al programs and policies*

It was a meeting place for the con­

sideration of common problems* and for the charting of courses*
We didn't do much charting of courses* but it was a place where
we all got together*

I don't think I took the Industrial Emer­

gency Policy Committee very seriously because I can't remember
the development in September to which you refer*
All I can remember about Victor Christgau's defection
early in *3^ is my increasing conviction that Victor was kind
of a fuddy duddy and that he wasn't a very sharp administrator*
The incidents in early 1935 were the first ones that really
brought me up short on Christgau*

I'm not sure I was so ob­

livious of the games that were going on throughout »3ij.*

I was*

of course* preoccupied* but I was aware of the fact that an
increasing portion of my time and that of the working associates
was devoted to straightening out tangles that others had created

in the Department • More and more of my time was devoted to
internal policing*

Almost every point of contact with busi­

ness and the farm groups - except the more radical of tbs farm
groups - required some going in and straightening out*

Many of

the young men we had in the Department from the beginning were
arrogant and they were offensive in their relations with the

They were creating distrust, dislike, and opposition

as far as the Triple-A was concerned*

It became pretty obvious

to me as I began to get into this books and records clause con*
troversy that the extreme provision that the lawyers and the
consumers counsel had developed, was not pushed by them wholly
In good faith, but was actually used for what might be called
sabotage purposes to prevent any agreement being reached* 1*11
tell you why I think so*

Counsel for some of the marketing and

processing groups came in to see me repeatedly with this kind
of an offer*

They said, nTou insist on putting that provision

into an order which we are asked voluntarily to sign*


phrase it in such a way that we open ourselves and any affiliates
and subsidiaries we may have to the most unlimited fishing ex­
pedition anybody in your Department might want to devise*


will agree to permit the examination of our books and records
to the full extent that's necessary to determine anything that*s
needed to be known about the operation under the marketing agree­

We just are not willing voluntarily to agree that we will.

ourselves* open up our books to the unlimited extent this clause

Put that in an order which, we can question In court

If we have to*

We're perfectly willing to let you issue an

order to us accompanying the marketing agreement containing
the broadest books and records language you can think of*B
We subsequently went to Congress to get the right to
issue such an order*

The legal division was never strong for

They wanted the processors and market agencies to sign

away the right to oppose unlimited nfishlng expeditions® on
subjects not related to the marketing agreements*

Counsel for

the processors contended that when they signed the voluntary
agreements with that elause in it* they signed away any legal
defense they might have against any kind of a fishing expedition
that might be undertaken*

I'm satisfied that there was merit

to their claim* but it was the kind of thing about which the
young zealots in the Department were able to whip up a great
aura of suspicion*

They regularly used this technique of going

to sympathetic columnists and helping develop biased articles
on the subject*

That grew very wearisome as we tried to move

ahead in negotiations*

Time after time we came up against

this complete deadlock and got nowhere with important marketing
Here is the real reason George Peek gave me for the
appointment of Brand as coadministrator*

He hadn't intended

the coadministrator business*

That was Mr* Brand*s idea*


reason George gave - and it bad validity - was that he was com­
pletely unfamiliar with the Department of Agriculture - its
way of doing business, its personnel*

Brand, whom he had known

well and favorably - going back a number of years - was thorough­
ly familiar with the field*

Therefore it seemed to George a per­

fectly logical and almost a necessary appointment at the time
when he was thinking of moving in*

He wondered whom he could

get who would be familiar with the Department, and Brand occur­
red to him*
How by the time Mr* Brand resigned and returned to his
regular employment, George had established himself in his work*
The need for Mr* Brand was much less then*

I don’t think it

disturbed George particularly when Mr* Brand left*

He didn't

need him so mueh then*
1 think Brand gave George a lot of reassurance at the
time, but he was a peculiar duck in lots of ways*

One man who

really knows a lot of anecdotes and color of this period is A1

Fred Lee knows plenty about it, but Sted is a reporter

and he saw the scene with a reporter's eye*

He would come in

with a gleam in his eye every day or so with some little story
of some incident that threw light on the personalities of the

He had a great sense of humor*

He knows about the

great fuss and fury we had over press releases*

The normal

fcMwg to do* ve felt, vas to have George Peek make the annotuacements as administrator*

In some cases, because of the legal

responsibilities of the Secretary, they vere made by the Secre­
tary and George Peek jointly*

Sometimes ray ovn identification

or that of General Westervelt vith the story vas so close that
it vas felt necessary to include us among those responsible
for the announcement, and then it began to get very cumbersome*
When Mr. Brand insisted that along vith the administrator there
always should go "and Coadministrator Charles J* Brand” that
made it even vorse*

That used to bother Sted*

Brand liked to

review all of the press releases, which caused no end of delay
and trouble*
Many things that attracted Brand*s interest and attention
vere not of relative importance*

He vas set in his ways*

He slowed things down a good
1 don‘t knov that he vas old*

He vas a queer fellov in many vays*
of humor*

He had very little sense

He bad a great sense of protocol and propriety*

There isn*t much of a sense of protocol in the Department of

I»ve always had an extremely high regard for

agriculture’s career personnel*

I think George advised vith

him during the period in which the first Triple-A bill vas
being shaped*
Biaugen Bill*

Brand had been the first architect of the McNaryGeorge had knovn of his vork although George

wasn’t on this scene when the first draft took place*


through George, I’ve an Idea he may have had some influence on

I have dealt with the genesis of the corn-hog program*
I think one of the significant meetings that was held preceded
the cotton plow-up campaign and the decision as to the form of
the first cotton program.

A meeting was held in one of the

assembly rooms In the South Building in Agriculture which
brought together the leaders in the cotton industry*


figures aetive in that meeting stand out in my mind • two
Sefaators, Ellison D* (Cotton Ed) Smith from South Carolina,
then chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and
Senator John Bankhead from Alabama who subsequently became
identified with changes in legislation affecting cotton opera*
tions; and William D. Clayton of Anderson, Clayton and Company,
the leading cotton marketing firm In the world*

That was my

first meeting with Will Clayton, though by no means my last*
Will Clayton was a very able man*

At that time I didn’t

personally like him because I had been unconsciously biased
against Will Clayton during the whole period of farm relief

Will Clayton was a strong figure, and he made an

eloquent and logical statement at that meeting in opposition
to everything we proposed to do.

He was dispassionate about it,

but it was an extremely able presentation*

As has happened so

many times in my experience with some of these people whom I
had subconsciously or perhaps consciously classified as enemies
during the period of the farm fight, I subsequently developed

an enormous admiration and affection for Will Clayton*


this was my first meeting with him*
His words, whether of wisdom or warning, simply fell
on the desert*

They didn't affect the meeting*

The decision

that was reached really came from the ground swell of cotton

I don't mean that Cotton Ed was enthusiastic for the

details of the cotton plow-up program, but he was for doing
something that would raise the priee of cotton*

Clayton, of

course, I think would have welcomed an improvement in the mar­
ket price of cotton*
low price*

It was no advantage to Clayton to have a

He was really passionately a free enterprise man*

He believed that all types of government interference, including
tariff and other subventions to which we were accustomed, were

I think we all regarded him as reactionary, although when

you came to grips with the fundamental question - this position
of the United States in world trade - it was Will Clayton who
was the progressive and advanced thinker*

Many of the rest

of us at that time either didn't see or didn't shape our actions
to conform to the facts*
I got to know Jesse Jones very well in these early years,
and I knew him thro-ugh the entire period*
were two powerful men from Houston*
Each went his own way*

Clayton and Jones

Both were strong figures*

I don't think there was any affinity

other than geographic as far as Jesse Jones and Will Clayton
were concerned*

Jesse Jones' entire operations in government,

from the day he want on the HPC board by Mr* Hoover’s appoint­
ment until the day he left the Cabinet, were doing things that
Will Clayton would not have countenanced in tbe way of govern#
sent interference with private operations*

I don’t mark the

two as having been particularly divergent in views* but they
were not similar in any respect except physical stature and
the fact that each was a strong man accustomed to doing big
things in business - big operators*
This meeting is on record in the Department files*


was the first of the big meetings at which the problem was
thrown out on the table and no holds barred*
talk about it and discuss it*

Everybody could

I don’t recall that we had a

similar meeting with our wheat program*

Work had been going

on very quietly - conferences and so forth - under M.I»*’s
leadership prior to my coming to Washington*

I do not recall

that we ever had a wheat meeting similar to the meetings we held
for cotton and for the com-hog program*

Wheat seemed to be

an easier crop to deal with than either of the other two*


would rate the com-hog program as the most difficult, cotton
the next, with wheat presenting the least difficulties*
equalization fee application in the
gram was extremely difficult*


case of the com-hog pro­

I suppose more than eighty per­

cent of the c o m crop was consumed in the country where it was

It did not pass through the kind of a commercial opera­

tion, in the main, which gave an opportunity to collect the

equalization fee at a narrow commercial point - narrow in the
sense that yon could collect on a mass of the product from (mo
firm which handled it* as you could in the case of wheat which,
in the main* had to pass through commercial channels and final*
ly was milled before it reached the consumer*
was true with cotton*

The same thing

It certainly wasn*t true of corn*


bining c o m and hogs and then collecting the processing tax
for the program on the hogs at the processing point was diffi­

The collection of the funds on which to operate was more

difficult in the case of com-hogs than it was in the case of
either of the other commodities*

What 1 term "equalization fee"

the law called "processing tax**

Ifm going back to the McHary-

Haugen terminology*

Cotton moved so largely in export that

there was difficulty there*

At that time in excess of fifty

percent of the crop was exported*

it had been as high as sixty

So it presented many difficulties*

But both the wheat

and the cotton programs were relatively simple compared with the
com-hog program*
Daring the twenties the c o m belt people were much more
interested in farm relief legislation than the southerners* That
was not true during the thirties when we were in operation*


think we had perhaps more enthusiastic and more nearly unanimous
support among the cotton and tobacco fanners than we did from
any other group*

The support came from both large and

cotton and tobacco farmers• Tobacco farmers usually are small*
I felt that the South had a peculiar problem in that at
that time the majority of the farmers - heads of families depend­
ing solely on farm production for- their income - in the United
States actually lived in the twelve or thirteen states that
produce cotton*

There was a concentration of people dependent

on that one crop which, no matter how the pie was cut or divided#
Insured a general low standard of living*
reasons for that*

How# there are other

At that time# and still in the main today#

cotton was a manually produced commodity*

Tobacco was# too# but

cotton presented more difficulty# really# in reaching and sup­
porting the price than tobacco did*

Tobacco is what might be

called a luxury item# and the cost of the tobacco# itself# is
not too important to the final consumer of the cigarette# pipe#
or cigar tobacco*
crops to deal with*

It technically was one of the most difficult
I don*t know where I would rate tobacco

with the other three crops*

It was easily the most complex of

all of them# as far as its handling and production control and
adjustment was concerned# because of the great variety of kinds
and types of tobacco and the great diversity of its use*


kind of a program that would work with the cigar shadegrown
tobacco of Connecticut# for instance# wouldn’t work with the
dark tobacco of west Kentucky or west Tennessee*

We were ex­

tremely fortunate - it was a great stroke of luck - that we got

J.B. Hutson to handle that tobacco program*
I think I was far more concerned than Jerome Frank or
the rest of his associates over the actual welfare of the
cotton farmers# right down to the day laborer whose lot was
much worse than the sharecropper^*

The sharecropper became

the rallying cry of many of the boys from the pavements who
wouldn’t have known a sharecropper when they saw one*
deeply concerned with their actual welfare.

I was

The point I made

is that the size of the pie that is going to be divided has
to be increased*

That was the thing we were after*

There was

no magic# without doing that# by which the lot of the laborer whether a sharecropper or a day laborer - could be improved in
the cotton states*

That not only meant that prices should be

This is the fundamental thing that has never been

emphasized enough*

It meant a diversification in the use of

resources, both human and material, in the South*
solutely required.

That was ab­

It also put an urgent emphasis upon the

necessity of developing in the South more employment opportun­
ities than those that were available in agriculture* The point
was that throughout that period# agriculture had been made the
shock absorber for industrial unemployment*

When people can’t

get jobs in cities# the normal flow of surplus population
from farm to city is forced to come to an end*

Or if people do

to the city# they walk the pavements and are dependent on

charity or relief for their maintenance*

In the Triple-A days

I became convinced of something I’ve emphasized more since,
which is that a very large part of the farm program doesn't
have its roots in farming at all or in the conditions of mar­
keting and farm crops*

It has its roots in the general indus­

trial picture - the extent and certainty of employment oppor­
tunities in the city*

®his is a vast complicated thing, and

it couldn't be simplified quite as much as some of the intel­
lectually and politically minded boys tried to simplify it*
It just isn't that simple*
I don't believe I ever met Nicholas Roerich personally*
There's a man in Berkley, Knowles A, Ryerson, to whom the name
Nicholas Roerich means a great deal*
a name to me*

Nicholas Roerich was only

I heard gossip around the Department which linked

Roerich and Mr* Wallace*

It was later referred to as evidence

of Henry's mystical qualities and interests, and so forth, but
I know nothing about it at all*

I never talked to Wallace about

The feeling was that it was sort of a "wacky" deal*

don't know anything about it*


It was*one of the kind of things

that gossip branded as queer, but 1 absolutely know nothing as
to the facts on that*
In ECA Ryerson has been chief of mission, I think, in

I know he was stationed in Thailand*

whether he was chief of mission or not*

I don't know

I suppose he was*


Thailand he met some people who linked Roerich with Russia and
referred to present activities of Roerich as being tied in with
the communist apparatus*

It wasn't definite and clear, but it

was just enough to indicate that in Ryerson’s mind, as of today
/T9527 he is inclined to think there may have been that connec­
tion then* although I question very much whether it was in his
mind at the time*
I know Appleby knew of Roerich and I know it concerned

I’m sure he referred to it to me*

My impression is that

Paul was not sympathetic with Henry’s ties with Roerich*
1 had an opportunity to read what purported to be copies
of the Roerich-Wallace correspondence* better known as the
“Guru Letters** but I didn’t read them*

I have never seen them*

I didn’t so much run from this business as I didn’t run for it*
I had plenty to do, and I didn’t go out of my way to inform my­
self about it*
I remember somewhat the tussle I had with Senator Harry
Byrd in the early summer of 193^ over changes in the Triple-A.
I don't know whether it was very much of a tussle*
and talked with him about it*

I went up

Senator Byrd was very courteous

in listening to my explanation of what we wanted to do with the
marketing agreement sections of the Trlple-A Act, but he was

Of all the men in the Senate from states in which farm

programs were really somewhat extensive, I think Byrd was most

consistently against us and was not Interested.
mercial operation was that of apple grower.

His own com­

Obviously* we had

no particular program for apples* and even if we had developed
such a program I'm quite sure Senator Byrd would not have been
a cooperator.

He was always on the up-and-up and on the level.

He'd tell you exactly what he thought.

I told him the reasons

why we wanted our marketing agreement amendments.
made a logical story.

I think they

I think possibly they even softened his

opposition* somewhat - that is* it didn't become a life and
death matter with Senator Byrd.

I remember the long-continued

operation in trying to get amendments to the marketing agree­
ments act.

Byrd was vocal in his opposition.

But it was not

something I would have recalled if I hadn't been reminded of it.
I don't think the fact that on June 19* 193h* Tugwell
was named first Under Secretary of Agriculture was as irritating
to me as it was to Secretary Wallace.
velt's idea.

I think this was Roose­

M.L. Wilson's appointment as assistant secretary

was unanimously accepted within the Department.

I qualify it

because to say that it was unanimously accepted outside the
Department is taking in a lot of territory.
qualification beyond that.

I had no particular

Among the people with whom I was in

contact* anything that brought M.L. back into agriculture and
the Department, putting him in a position to touch policy* was

I think Secretary Wallace sensed then what he became

convinced of later, that this business of having as right-hand
man somebody who maintains an open and direct connection with
the President is not good.

It’s poor organization.

was interested in many things.
tration bored him*
my judgment.


I ’m sure the routine adminis­

He was almost no administrator at all, in

He had to be an administrator when he took ad­

ministrative responsibility in Resettlement, and so forth, and
I think he made a mess of them.
Rex Tugwell is one of many men I knew in the course of
government who were brilliant idea men and who have, I think,
great value.

But their value is impaired and they become a

positive menace when their idea generation is saddled with ad­
ministrative responsibility and responsibility for fronting a
program with the public.

I have known many men - and some good

friends of mine - who should have been kept in that capacity
instead of being made administrators or executives.


3n June, 1934* the Federal Farm Bankruptcy Act was passed.
The situation had been bad in the northern Great Plains and
some of the c o m belt states, particularly.

There was system­

atic resistance to sheriffs sale«, and so forth.
something that originated in the Triple-A.

It was not

It was a move treat­

ing a symptom with which, as I recall it, I was personally sympa­

I believe the Senators and Representatives from North

Dakota thought of that legislation.
Marvin Jones was an able and sympathetic operator on the

He was a little lukewarm personally on some aspects of

the farm program in


and 193^*

In those '‘hundred days”

when legislation was being rushed through Congress after it had
been worked out in the Executive branch, there was a closeworking arrangement between Congress and the Executive.


Executive led, fixed policy, and Congress followed it through
without very much question.
on that.

Marvin was an excellent operator

I had the highest regard for Marvin as a chairman of

the House Committee on Agriculture.

He and Cliff Hope repre­

sented two of the best and most effective chairmen in ay ex­

Their chairmanship in each case was marked by the

utmost considerateness for minority points of view, which kept
the committee on its toes and interested, so that you’d go to
a meeting of the House Committee on Agriculture and you’d be
almost certain to have a solid bank of members in attendance.
Marvin Jones surely initiated one idea, and hung to It
like a puppy to a root.

That was an amendment which appropri­

ated thirty percent of the customs revenues to the disposition
of agricultural surplus - Section 32.
gest it to Marvin.

I certainly did not sug­

As far as I know, Marvin originated the idea

and pushed it, and it was a very useful device for supplying

We had little opportunity to use the total amount in

export sales, which was Marvin's original idea, but it became
extremely useful in increasing domestic consumption in different
ways* which was disposition of surpluses.

When I was in the

Department it wasn't used as broadly as it was later, but we
started the distribution of school lunches and things of that

I'm not sure but what we had to go to Marvin and get a

little amendment made in Section 32 to do that*

I'm not sure

but what the first draft really provided only for export* I'm
not sure*

We had that broadened, and that was done before I

left the Department*
There may have been other cases of his initiating ideas*
Marvin Jones was by no means a sterile individual.
mean to imply that*

He was a good leader*

helpful in his suggestions*

I didn't

Marvin was always

Be was a good man to sit down and

bounce the ball back and forth with*

When you're formulating

or considering programs, it is extremely helpful to have a man
like Marvin Jones to sit down and talk with*
formed as a New Dealer*

He was not a Jerome Frank type New

Dealer, or anything of the kind*
realism in him*

Be had a real streak of

The term "Hew Dealer” as a classification has

grown to connote a long-hair.
term of reproach*
what it says.

He certainly per­

That's the way it's used as a

Really, to me, the New Deal meant precisely

It was an attempt to make use of the powers of

government to relieve serious maladjustments that had developed

and to induce# at least I thought, a measure of stability in
the economy which had been lacking*

It didn*t mean to me what

it generally means now * that is, somebody who wanted the govern­
ment to move in arid take everything over and run it*
sense, Marvin would not have been a Hew Dealer*

In that

Prom the stand**

point of his part in the developments of the thirties, Marvin
Jones was a Hew Dealer in the sense that the term was generally
used then, I think*
In August 1 spoke at a state fair in Des Moines* and 1
swore then that I*d never speak at a state fair again, although
I did on one


two occasions*

It was an impossible thing* They

were very courteous, hut no one should ever try to compete with
the harness races and the hot dog venders*
to the state fair to hear speeches*

People don*t come

I apprehended this, but

the pressure from Charlie Hearst and others was very great*
Iowa was my native state*

I arranged what I thought was a

pretty good speech - not too long*

They sat and listened to it

reasonably well - much better than the crowd did subsequently
when I flew to Great Falls, Montana, to speak at the northern
Montana state fair*

For the sake of any who may be tempted

hereafter, I would advise them not to aecept invitations to
address a state fair*

I don*t think that address changed the

course of history at all*

ItTs a poor place to make a speech*

In the three volume work of the published Roosevelt
letters there is a letter from M)R to Henry Wallace, dated

September 8, 193^» that says:
Dear Henry,

I think very decidedly that this is
apparently a straight out-and-out agricultural
fight* You, or if you cannot go, Davis, ought
to make an effort to appear in that district
before election day. Will you handle it?
Always sincerely,

Apparently Wallace had told FDR that W*R* Dunlap,
who had been assistant secretary of agriculture about 192hf
was running against Representative Tfell G* Underwood in Ohio
on a platform of opposition to the Hew Deal farm policy*
FDR was suggesting that I ought to go out and get
into the political fight on behalf of the Hew Deal*
not go*

I did

I really don't remember anything about being asked

I wouldn't have been tempted to do that*

I think it

would have been a perfectly proper thing for Henry Wallace to

A cabinet member is a member of the President's political

On September 27, 193k, Roosevelt reorganized the 3JRA*
Johnson resigned on the 25th of September, and the NBA was
placed under Donald R* Rlchberg*

I recall that I served on a

subcommittee with Ickes, Richberg, and Perkins, because I attend­
ed several meetings of a small group like that in which we were
dealing with this whole problem of productivity and sustained


Toward the latter days of our activity we concen­

trated pretty much on studying the possibilities in the annual
wage In industry - in the construction business and other lines
- so that instead of labor*s trying to get the highest
wage for the minimum of production* it would be encouraged by
security - by having an annual wage - to seek continuous high
a report*

We gave a great deal of thought to that*

We made

So far as I know, it never saw the light of day*


don*t know #iat happened to It*
I remember the meeting on January 22, 1935* a night meet­
ing at the White House with F*B*R.
much of a factor*

WRA had ceased to be very

It had flattened out*

■why Johnson resigned*

I don’t know personally

The 1IBA had collapsed.

It was a disappoint­

ment to Johnson, who had thought It a great thing.

Looking back

on it I would be more inclined to put the question as, ”Why
hadn’t he resigned sooner?”

Johnson was a msn-on-horseback

Be felt right at hone in his role In the period when you

wanted to beat the tom-tons said stir up parades and dash across
the scene in a flamboyant manner*

But when It came right down

to the steady business of slugging something out and getting It
done, lie was not at home*

I think people had generally lost

confidence in HRA and Johnson*

I would express it more as*

"Why hadn’t he resigned before he did?”
on the Washington scene*

I think, as George Peek did, that

Johnson was drinking heavily.

It ceased to be a factor

There was a little corps of

devoted and almost fanatical admirers of General Johnson’s who
probably created the atmosphere which led him to stay on as
long as he did*

I remember one of the boys - a newspaperman

named Paul Anderson - committed suicide about that time •
This was not ay first contact with Frances Perkins ♦ I
had attended a number of meetings with her*

I remember one tras

when I was asked to attend a Cabinet meeting, when neither Secre­
tary Wallace nor Hex Tugwell was available, in order to report
on some phases of the agricultural program.

Mss Perkins showed

a keen interest in and a measure of mild astonishment at the ex­
planation of some of the things we*d been doing, because I imagine
that she ’d been impressed with some of the bad things said about

It was quite heartening to me*

I remember very distinctly

that she was the kind of a listener who brought out the best in
the person who was doing the talking*

She is a very able person.

I remember a dinner party at her home one evening at
which Mrs. Davis spilled the wine on the tablecloth and I think
down Mss Perkins* dress*

That is probably one of the most vivid

recollections of Washington my wife has*

Both of us carse away

with profound admiration for the way Miss Perkins carried it
off, so that it was done in a moment and everything proceeded

She was a competent person.

She was devoted to Presi­

dent Roosevelt, yet at the same time I had a feeling that she
was a stout advisor.

I don*t believe, from what I saw of her,

she would have hesitated to express an opinion even if it were
contrary to the position the President had taken#
about that.

That's the feeling I had*

I don't know

She's a person in her

own right*
S« Clay Williams was the opposite number in the adminis­
tration of WBA for some time, and I had quite a lot to do with

He was president, then board ehairaian of the R.J. Reynolds

Tobacco Company in Winston Salem* Horth Carolina*

He was a very

able raan* He had one little trait that was amusing*
a great big fellow.

Clay was

Winston Salem is a Camel cigarette town*

The Reynolds Tobacco Corapany has made many people wealthy, and
the leading families in Winston Salem are, in one way or another*
tied in with the Reynolds Tobacco Company*

He is on the Gordon Gray newspapers.

My older son lives
I've visited the

to m since many times, and when I state that it's a Camel ciga­
rette tom, that's what I mean*

When Mrs* Oavis goes there she

carries any brand of cigarettes she has loose in her bag so it
isn't conspicuous that she isn't taking them out of the Camel

Clay Williams would come into my office - and I'm sure

he did this all around Washington - and he'd pull out a package
« always just opened - of Camel cigarettes*
chain smoker*

He was almost a

He'd light one* When he'd leave the office, he'd

leave the package on your desk*

It was always left behind him*

I don't know where he carried all tbs packages he distributed

around Washington, but he had them.

Clay was sort of a liquidator*
liquidating stages of the 33RA*

I mean, it was in the

I had dealt with him quite ac­

tively in *33 and early *34 when we were developing a cigarettetype tobacco program*

I negotiated with him in a very tough

series of meetings when we were trying to work out a contract
which would commit the tobacco buyers - tbs tobacco companies to go in the market and take the
a certain minimum price*


crop, and pay for it at

They were asked to do this in consider­

ation of the agreement of the producers not to burden the market
with excess surpluses; the agreement on the growers* part to
hold acreage within bounds*

The bright or flu-cured tobacco, and

the burley tobacco are the two principal types which go into the
making of American cigarettes*

They*re not the only types, but

they*re the two that provide the bulk of the tobacco in the

It was perfectly obvious that if the growers were

assured a price considerably higher than the prevailing prices
on the 1932 crop, the response in production could create a bur­
den that the tobacco companies would be unwilling to assume*
Normally they carried something like a three-year stock, aging
in warehouse.

If they were required to extend that to four years

supply or more, it would be something they wouldn’t undertake*
But as long as the growers, on one hand, were willing to go into
a program of restraint on production, the tobacco companies were

ready to move, themselves, to provide a better rnrket*

We bad

a great deal of books and records discussion in those oases, too*
I imagine Tugwell wanted to attend the International
Institute of Agriculture in Rome in September, 193k-* with Paul

There *d be no reason why he couldn’t place himself

or anybody he wanted to on the American delegation to the meet­

Being a delegate to the International

culture meant less than it had meant before*

Institute of Agri­
When the International

Institute of Agriculture was first established, students of farm
affairs had great expectations ssad great hopes for it*


Henry 0* Taylor had the rug jerked out from under him in the
Bureau of Agricultural Economics, there was not a very long
gap, as I recall it, before he became the permanent American
delegate there*

I talked with Henry Taylor many times about it

in the period before he went*
might do*

He had great dreaas of what it

You don’t hear very much about it now ^195>j7 since

the growth of the specialized agencies connected with the United

It just hasn't amounted to very much*

Tugwell wanted to go, probably*
on his part*

I think that

I know of no sinister motive

I think he wanted to go, and I can’t think of any

reason why an Iftider Secretary of Agriculture wouldn{t have been
a good selection*

As I remember, both Paul and Hex wanted to

make the trip - wanted to go over there*

They returned in Hovember, and it was rumored that Tugwell

was leaving the Department*

I think it’s true that my relation­

ship with Appleby had deteriorated badly in 193k•
that people had been talking to me about him.

% don’t recall

My ora. experiences

indicated that there was a well-organized although In fo rm a l
group within the Department of Agricultures mainly centered in
the Triple-A - in the legal division* the consumers counsel,
and the Secretary’s office - which was planning and trying to
instigate policy moves that in my Judgment were not intended
when Congress enacted the Agricultural Adjustment Act.

It was

during that period that I became convinced that a lot of it
centered in Appleby and Baldwin in the Secretary’s office*
That was something which George Peek had contended from the
beginning but which I had discounted before that, both out loud
to him and in my own mind*
In retrospect I would say Victor Christgau was the nan
in the Triple-A top executive organization on whom these people
depended and with whom they probably were in frequent consults*

I don’t think that had clarified in my own mind at that


I had become increasingly convinced that Vic was not an

effective executive by that time*

An effective executive is

somebody who will take an assignment and see that it’s neatly
buttoned up and completed and will follow through getting things
done that need to be done and do it effectively*

If I were to

personalize it I’d point to Jesse Tapp as a top-flight esscutive*

He’s one of the most effective administrators I ever had ex­
perience with*
I think there were a number of cases where decisions by­
passed roe and went to the Secretary*
uous importance*
was attempted.

They were not of conspic­

I think there were many more cases where it
I had a pretty good group around i&e*


were two young men as assistants - William E* Byrd, Jr*» and
Prank A* Brown - who had their ears to the ground fairly well#
'Then there were many others - one or two men in the solicitor1s

John P* Wenchel was liaison between the solicitor's

office and the general counsel*s office*

When he left the

Department he became chief counsel for the Bureau of Internal

He’s now retired from government and he has soiae

consulting business or practice in Washington now ff"l953_7*


the conditions that developed in the legal division of the
Triple-A leading up to the so-called purge and all that period,
Wenehel1s report would be invaluable,. I would think.
would catch things that would puzzle him.
and Tapp*


There were Tolley

It was a situation that at that time concerned and

worried some of these x&en more than it did me*
particularly concerned about formalities*

I was never

I was concerned

about getting things done, and unless a development interfered
seriously with that I wouldn’t have been particularly uneasy
about it*

However, conditions were getting worse all the time*

By January of 1935 I estimated that about ninety percent
of my energy and time was required for internal policing and
keeping ith.i-nga on the track inside the organization*
hard way to make a living#

it was a

I think most men who carry responsi­

bility will find that their subconscious doesn*t go to sleep
when they want it to*
that fall.

I walked the floor, all right, during

% wife says that is no figure of speech.

I remember the Farm Bureau convention in Efashville*
December 10 to 12, partly because of the bitterly cold weather
that hit at that time.

I had a room in the Hermitage Hotel, I

Both mMr* Nashville hotels front the public park which

is a square in the center of the city.
very crack of dawn.

I had awakened at the

To people from the North, a trip down to

Nashville was a trip to the sunny South.
window on a wintry scene.

I looked out of the

I saw an old man with an overcoat

on and his coat collar up, a muffler around his ears, and high
wool socks under boots clear up to his knees, with mittens on,
walking around the fountains; in the park and carefully knocking
off the icicles that hung down one foot, two feet • enormous
icicles I

It was bitterly cold.

33iis was an aspect of fcfta

sunny South that I hadn’t expected.
It was a good Farm Bureau meeting.
particular fireworks.

There might have been sone.

wore represented there, of course.

I don’t recall any
All crops

I don*t think the cotton

problem was acute s that it had aay manifestations that looked
like trouble at that time*

Manifestations of it in private

conversation weren’t too apparent to me*

We bad, of course#

proceeded about half way into the ’31}.-’35 cotton contracts at
that time*

I think we had had a minimum of difficulty with it*

I don’t recall any particular problem*
©tare was an increasing concern, even as early as that,
an the part not only of P a m Bureau leaders but of cooperative*
Grange, and other farm leaders over what they felt was an in­
creasing tendency on the Secretary’s part to be associated in
his thinking and talking with, the men making up the group «
it’s hard for me to classify the group I mean - the TugwellFrank group in the Department*

Sfcnry Wallace’s closest friends

and associates prior to his becoming Secretary of Agriculture
and in his early months as Secretary had been Cliff Gregory and
the mid-west farm leaders who had stood shoulder to shoulder
with his father during his administration as



this time it had become apparent to them that Henry was much
less comfortable with them; he sought their counsel less fre­

Many of them during that period spoke to me about it

with considerable concern*

That had developed by that time*

As one result they probably moved closer to me, although
it was a little difficult to do that*

I had always had close

relations - friendly relations - with them going back to tay first
meetings with them in the twenties*

There was free consultation

but not exclusive consultation*
moved closer*

So I don’t know that they

I think the fact vas that over in our shop,

and in some of the other old branches of the Department* they
felt more at home than they did around the Secretary’s office*
The Farm Bureau leaders had a feeling that they vere
being kept out of Wallace’s office*

They had a feeling that

vhen they were with Benry, Henry vas less frank and less com­
fortable in their presence than he had normally been*


possible that Wallace vas trying to even things out so that he
wouldn’t be closer to one group than to others, and I don*t have
the slightest doubt that Henry could have believed, too, that
that was the motivation*

But that certainly wasn't the whole

During the fall of !3i| John L* Levis was the head of the
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)*

He vas very ambi­

I grew to believe, although I didn’t try to get actual

evidence and I didn’t question people about it, that Paul,
Gardner Jaclrson, and some others in our organization vere seeing
quite a little of Levis and people associated closely vith him*
I felt, at the tiias, that one of the things being promoted arid
being fed to Henry Wallace in judicious doses vas the thought
that it vas going to be possible to develop a tie-up between
labor, as represented by CIO, and discontented elements in agri­

I felt that Henry vas being led to believe that vas a

political fore© which, would back him for the Presidency, and
that by fits and starts Henry was beginning to rationalize in
terms of high-minded social action and so forth, the course he
should take in the Depaarfaent of Agriculture • I just had a
feeling that that was going on*

The symptoms of political

maneuvering were beginning to be there in the fall of *3b+


think that Henry had fits and starts on it, but I believe the
group was consciously woj&ing to that end in the Department*
Wallace could be moved by other men*

To a greater or lesser

extent that 's true of every man, I think, and particularly of
a man in a high office when there aren't enough hours in tha
day to see all the people he'd like to or all who want to see

It's possible for a group immediately surrounding a man

to create a climate in which perspective gradually shifts* The
higher the office, the more likely that is to take place* I
think that was true of Henry Wallace, although it was also true
of Hr* Roosevelt and it's been true of every President I've

Those things

do happen*

Prom that particular point of view, ay office was not on
the inside with the Secretary*

It could be said in fairness,

perhapsa that my own thinking was conditioned, through prefer*
ence and inclination, by the doers, the operating men, although
I was on good tewas with the planners aid used them*

My own

disposition was to feel more at home with the men like Hutson

and Tapp and others who were capable of talcing a problem and
coming up with a course of action designed to solve or at least
ameliorate the condition of which the problem was a symptom, and
getting things done with it*

So I suppose I had my own nucleus

there that problably conditioned my thinking, too*
The doer has to have a good deal of the planner in him or
he isn't much good*

He is a planner who has that sense in choice

of means that is likely to secure an intended result*

In my case,

the results sought were the results set forth in the Agricultural
Adjustment Act*

I didn’t mean the term "planner” disrespectfully*

Tolley was, I think, more at home in planning than he was in the
execution of plans, but he combined both qualities very well*
We could take a man like Ezekiel and throw problems in his lap
and he would come up with something*

We didn’t always adopt

what Zeke would recommend, but he would come up with something,
and it had value*

There1s a great place for them*

is a necessary part of any organization*

An idea man

The trouble comes when

the idea men reach the point where they have the last word on
policy and action, because frequently they lack the experience
and the balance to secure good public administration*
be the same thing in a business office*
have, and to have right close to you*

They’re wonderful to
They’re able to generate

ideas faster than you can assimilate them*
will be good*

It would

Many of the ideas

But if the idea men at the same time have the

power to move in action with those ideas they ’11 often get you

into trouble.
Ik December I wasn't thinking of quitting#

On the other

hand, I don't think I was averse to the circulation of the idea
that I might.

I didn't deliberately plan it, or anything of the

Some recognition of the advantages of holding a stick

over Wallace^ head to do something and of getting things lined
up so if I wanted to quit I*d have a job waiting for me was
probably in my mind, but I wasn’t fishing for another job. As
a raatter of fact, the decisions that precipitated action in
early '35> came about within a very short space of time, as a
result of what sight be called a nlast straw” type of situation
that developed.
I don’t remember when 1 first met Dr* Will W. Alexander.
Ee*s associated in my mind with Farm Security.

I probably met

him if he was knocking around the Department very much at that

Undoubtedly I would have met him*

Generally ay impression

of Will Alexander was a favorable one, but I don't recall the
first meeting.
X may have had seme discussions with Roosevelt about an
international cotton conference leading to an international cot­
ton agreement*

I don*t recall them, however* We really got

more interest and action, of course, on an international wheat
conference than we did cm an international cotton conference*
I favored an international wheat agreement*

I wouldn*t know

who did the best work on behalf of this in the Department.


dan*t recall the extent to which Ezekiel may have been active
on that*

Some of the people in the Office of Foreign Agricul­

tural Relations (OFAR) were very active in it*

Leslie A*

Wheeler was active, Loyd V. Steere, and “unless I’m mistaken,
more of the impulse cease from that office than from anywhere

Henry Taylor might have been interested in that from

outside point of view*
agricultural work abroad*
at Warsaw*

Steere was one of the pioneers in
Hefs now January, 19f£|7 stationed

He has ^ust left India.

I remember that the Pacific Northwest wheat situation
was one of the more critical of tbs wheat picture*

Sbey had

an extraordinarily large portion of the exportable surplus *
It was not readily marketable*

There was a somewhat different

type of wheat there than would move east for the customary mill­
ing blends*

To the extent that a place could be found for it

abroad, I was in favor of cooperation In any move of that sort*
Dewey C* Dorman I remember as an old Non-Partisan League leader*
I had met him in Montana and North Dakota vftien he was an active
organizer for the lTon«Partisan League, but I don’t remember
meeting with him on the Pacific Northwest wheat problem*


talked to Lewis Schwellenbaeh, a Senator, about that situation
a number of times*
number of times*

I net Congressman Walter Marcus Pierce a
He *s the same Pierce who subsequently became

governor of Oregon*

My only recollection of meeting Dorman

at that time - except that I have a very clear picture of him
in my mind - is that we had sort of a retailon*

I hadn’t heard

of him for years, and it was sort of interesting to see him
show up again in this other context*

But that was a specific

problem that needed handling* all right - that Pacific lorthwest wheat problem*

If they had come in with me and we had

had the resources and there h&dLbeen an opportunity to move it
about at some price which would have absorbed some of the loss
out of our Section 32 funds, or otherwise, I would have favored
it, I imagine*
1 don*t have all the annual reports we put out in the
Triple-A in my possession*

The only reason 1 happen to have

this one (19335* is that Fred Henshaw, a young man who had been
in our AAA information division* Is now with us here in the
Ford Foundation*

Fred had this copy which he helped write, and

he brought it to me just the other day /January, 195^7*


don’t have an enormous number of ex-Department of Agriculture
personnel in the Ford Foundation.

Tolley is our Washington

consultant or representative, and M.L. Wilson is now in India
for us*

Wilson’s biography ought to be a particularly appealing

one because he didn’t push himself out in front on the stage, in
a period when he set in motion a lot of forces*
Fred Henshaw here*

Then we have

then, of course, we’ve drawn Douglas

Ensainger out of the Department • Appleby, at Syracuse Dnlversity, heads the Maxwell School devoted to public administration*
Chester Bowles and Ensminger had been very keen for Appleby as
the man to meet a request which had come from the government
of India * from Prime Minister Nehru and the Minister of
Finance, Mr* Deshmukh*

Mr* Deshmukh is one of the strong and

capable men in the Indian ministry*

They wanted some advisor

to take a look at their situation and advise them as to steps
that might be taken to improve the quality of their public ad­

I approved the designation of Appleby, and he's

over there now ^9327*

I notice Chester Bowles* resignation

as ambassador was accepted yesterday /January 9* 19337• Bowles
has made an excellent ambassador to India*

Earlier* Bowles

had asked our New York office what we thought of Paul Appleby
as the chief of Point-!}, mission in India* and I had advised
against it*

But this seemed to be a specific field in which

Paul could render a good service, and it looked all right to

But I didn’t go out and pick him*

He was chosen largely

on Ensminger1s recommendation growing out of his talks with
Bowles in India.
1 haven’t had much contact with Paul since ’35.

He was

the son of a Methodist minister and showed a strong moral strain
in college.

I think Paul had a tendency to look after the

morals of his fellow citizens, all right*

There was a good deal

of the witch-burning Puritan in Paul,

But, to go back to Magnus

Johnson in Minnesota, he wasn*t above cussing a little bit and
taking a little drink, and so forth*
I was having almost daily conferences with Wallace in
January, 1935*

I expressed myself several times to Wallace

about Appleby, but the time that sticks in ray mind most clearly
was incidental to the request that I be given the green light
to discharge a number of men, and clear up the conflict that
had developed in the AAA,

That was in February#

I don*t re?

member a conference with Wallace on January 18, 1935» particu­
larly, although I think I expressed concern to Henry several
times about Paul.
bury the axe.

Henry*s attitude was that we should all

He often said that friction generates action and

energy and that’s probably a good thing.

I would point out

that it can be carried too far; pacing the floor at night is
a little too high price to pay*

But at that time and up until

the incident of the legal opinion on the


cotton con­

tract came up, I was perfectly willing to continue to try to
get along.

1 had expressed myself to Henry, however, about

I remember that Wallace, Tolley, Wilson, Tugwell* and I
met on January 2l|, 1935 and began to diseuss the regional organi­

zation of the Triple-A,

The books and records difficulty was

I think the way the books and records clause came into

-S e e ­

the picture particularly at this juncture was that we were at
that time working on amendments to the marketing agreements
sections of the Triple-A*

What I wanted was legislative author­

ity conferred on the Secretary so that he could issue orders
incorporating the appropriate Books and Records power so that we
would not have to go to the processors, whose cooperation we
needed to make the marketing agreement work, with the demand
that they sign a voluntary agreement which signed away their
defenses - as they contended it did - against abuse of the right
to examine books and records • By that time the counsel for the
processors bad reached a point where they were saying, ttWe,re
perfectly willing to go ahead with your program*

We*re perfectly

willing that you should issue a marketing order that gives you.
the right to examine anything anyone wants to*

But don’t ask us

to agree voluntarily to an unlimited right to go into our files,
books and records, because we want to preserve our legal rights
in this thing - our legal rights to resist fishing expeditions
through our books and records that are made with some totally
different purpose in view than to determine whether we are acting
legally and appropriately in carrying out the provisions of the
marketing agreement*"

I accepted that point of view and worked

hard to get that legislation adopted*

In that connection, we

had a good deal of debate about the Books and Records clause*

From the very beginning the processors had contended that

the Secretary*s right to examine books and records should be
subject to materials and information relevant to the subject
at band - to the operations sought under the agreement*

I can

illustrate that by an extreme ease which I think started more
alarm among the processors than anything else* We were consider*
ing a marketing agreement with some of the fruit processors canners - on the Pacific Coast * It might have been some other
of the marketing agreements*

lEhe Books and Records standard

provision, which the legal division was supporting, was unlimited
in its scope*

One of the prospective parties to the marketing

agreement in California was an affiliate of the Libby packing
company (Libby, McNeil and Libby) * The question was raised in
one of our discussions as to whether the language of the market*
ing agreement •» if Libby became a party to it and signed it •*
gave the Department of Agriculture the right to seize the bocks
and records of the meat packing affiliate in Chicago and else­
where and to conduct any kind of an expedition into the books said
records the representative of the Secretary might desire*
answer had to be, "Yes, it did#*


Of course, that sent cold chills

up and down the back of every processor in America*

It was,

from that time on, just useless to talk about a voluntary marketing agreement with that paragraph in it, although we kept pressing
for them*
This deadlock led us to decide on a course which seemed
to me to give us the green light to go ahead, and at the same

time to give us ©very protection that we were entitled to against
abuse of the powers which such, a marketing agreement would confer
on the processors • We asked Congress to enact amendments that
would, among other things, authorize us to issue orders in con­
nection with marketing agreements stipulating the "unlimited
right to examine the books and records of the participating busi­
ness firas.

They would accept that*

There never was any opposi­

tion to a books and records clause that would give the Department
authority to go into the books and records to the fullest extent
necessary to throw complete light on the operations under the
agreeiaents, so that there would be no veil drawn over the opera­
tions under the marketing agreement*

They were perfectly willing

to operate on that basis of mandatory orders because, as they
expressed it to us* they had not signed away by contract the
right to go into court to resist any invasion of thair rights
which they considered unlawful*

For example, they would resist

an examination into the profit structure of one particular pack*
ing carapany under the guise of relevance to the operation of a
canning affiliate*

The case cited Is an extreme case, but it

the one where the representative of the general counsel’s

office - I think it was Pressman - had said* *Why, of course the
right would exist under this to go anywhere you wanted for infor­
mation you felt you would like to have.®

So that was one of the

amendments I was trying to get in the section of the Triple-A

lat/ relative to mrketing agreeiaents*
I donH remember going to see the President with Wallace
on January



It was always possible on anything that

cane up to arrange an appointment with President Roosevelt*


did it, perhaps, aosjetisnes more frequently than we needed to*
I think this aeeting was the kind of a thing that was important
so that the President would -understand the respective points of

I1® really not sure where Wallace stood on this*

I think

that throughout the early stages when George Peek was there, he
was wholly backing Jerosae Frank* At this stage I*m not sure
where Henry stood*
point of view*

On this question I believe he supported say

At least, I was doing the best I could up on

the Hill to get it passed*

I think he supported the position*

all right#
I don't recall having any strong objection to the region­
al rather than the conniodity approach to the Triple-A administra­

I liked the old coajaodity sections pretty well, but we had

developed a lot of field operations «• sany cutting into the saa©

I think the regional approach, where we could give

aajor emphasis in one coimaunity to the laost important crops but
at the sarse time look after the others, impressed me as efficient

I didn’t originate it but I supported it*

an affection for the old cozarao&ity sections w© ted*

I hoi

It was a

neat administrative arrangeiaent, but it did have disadvantages*

In a rcixed farming state where there were whsat, tobacco, c o m
and hogs, soae rice, soae sugar beets, there were advantages
to the regional program.

You could weigh them and come out-

supporting that reorganization*
T hese meetings in January, 193 5>» didn*t lead to the farm
act of early 1936 so mutch as the Hoosac Mills decision did.
That was the decision of the Supreae Court which invalidated
the processing tax*
Late in January, 1935» X took a field trip in the South*
I returned shortly after February 1*

Without consulting records

not readily available to me here I cannot tell you the exact
date, but I am of the opinion that I sot to my office in Washing­
ton on Saturday vchich would have been February 2.

I was immedi­

ately confronted by a de velopxser.t which was the izasie&iate cause
of the "purge” - as some of the newspapers called it at that
time - the enforced resignation of Jeroroe Frank, Lee Pressman,
and a number of others from their posts in the AAA, and the abo­
lition of the general counsel’s office*

It was all but a fait

accompli when I ~ot back to the office*

A telegram had been

sent to all of the state cotton administrators telling thera that
a new legal o pinion was about to be issued by the Department
w hieh would give a new interpretation to Section 7 of the 193^-35
cotton contract.

As I recall it, the telegram was actually sent

out by Paul Appleby in the name of the Secretary, during zny

absence • Victor Ghristgau, who was acting administrator while
I was away, had passed on It and approved it*
approved it*

I would not have

I did not know a d a m thing about it until I got

to the office after say trip*

Christgau couldn’t have been under

any Illusions at all about whether or not I would have approved
To fill this in, and without conslilting any aids to oemory
that would help me f i z dates and the sequence of events more
clearly* let me tell what happened*

The morning I returned to

sy office, which I think was Saturday, February 2, -ay first
appointment was ■with William E* Byrd, Jr. , who was one of say

I reviewed with him developments during my absence*

just as I customarily did with him. Miss Piper, and Erank Brown,
the other assistant, to catch up on what had happened*

HQne thing happened here while you were gone that has me



I don’t know anything about it, although perhaps you

A telegram went out frosi Appleby to the state administra­

tors in all the cotton states telling them to stand by for a
legal opinion relating to the


would have far-reaching consequences*
refers to*

cotton contract, which
I don*t laiow what that

Perhaps you do**

I had no knowledge of it, so I immediately asked that
someone get busy and locate a copy of the opinion, of which I
had, at that point, heard nothing whatever*

At that tine I’d

talked to nobody escept Byrd,

I had never heard of it*

known nothing of it on the trip*

I had

I had not heard of it in the

Bill Byrd called this to my attention the first time*

I don’t recall what the date of the telegram was in relation to
my trip, but nobody I saw in the field had seen or heard of it*
It didn't bring me back to Washington,

I had finished jay trip

and I came back in, and Byrd called it to my attention for the
first time*

He hadn’t seen it*

He didn*t know what it was*

With some difficulty we finally secured a copy of the draft of
the opinion, which I read*

Then 1 really blew my top*

The opinion held, in effect, that all tenants on land
covered by the 193k-35> cotton contracts must be kept in the
same tenant relationship throughout the life of the contract
as had e existed when the contract went into effect.

It sought

to freeze the 1933 relationships for the life of the two-year
contract for 193^-35 * a contract that had already be*n in effect
for half its term under a totally different interpretation of
that clause*

didn’t say anything to the people in the office about

it, but in reading tike opinion it became perfectly clear to me
that if the Department went through with the line of action that
would result from accepting that legal opinion, Henry Wallace
would be driven out of the Cabinet without any questi on.
just that seriousI

It was

After I ’d satisfied myself as to what the

impact would be, 1 did walk the floor & bit on that one*
On Friday, February 1st, CongressKian ¥* J* Driver of
Arkansas and J.F* Tompkins, former president of the Arkansas
Farm Bureau Federation, brought In to see Wallace eight mem*
bers of the Arkansas Farm Bureau to complain regarding the
proposed interpretation of Section 7*

So the wire had gone

out two, three, or four days earlier#

In that period I re*

member more conversations I had with Senator Joe Robinson
than those with Driver, although I remember meeting Driver*
I remember J* F* Tonrpkins and a group of others coming into say
office during that period after the telegram had been sent*
They left Wallace for a conference with Calvin Hoover, Appleby,
and Christgau*

They conferred with Christgau instead of me

because I wasn’t there on Friday, the 1st*
I didn’t do anything iasmediately after hearing the news*
During feat day I thought about it.

The men with whoa I talked

when I had made up isy mind that this was it, and that I was going
to do

sok © thing,

were Secretary Wallace, Seth Thomas, the solic­

itor, and M* L* Wilson*
the thing#

I talked to thea after t had slept over

I talked over the line of action I was going to take

with only those three people - Wallace, Seth Ehozaas, and M« L.

Hot even ray office - Bill Byrd, Frank Brown, and Carol

Piper - nobody knew what I had discussed*
When I made the appointment to talk with Henry Wallace,
I asked that we iseet outside of his office*

That might have been

on Saturday, February 2.
my mind,

It hadn’t taken me long to rake up

^his really sot the trigger off*

taken nor© time than that*

I thought I had

I asked Henry to meet me*

h.fa there was a critical situation*

I told

I was careful not to talk

with M m where Appleby would be advised of what I was trying
to do,

It would have been 'unlikely, I think, that I called him.

by telephone for that reason, because Appleby would have been
in on the conversation.

If Calvin Hoover bad dropped in about

that tiae, I might have asked hin to make the appointment for
me, but I did not discuss any contemplated action with Calvin
at that- time*

It’s possible that I just asked him to ask

Wallace if he could meet with me*

I don’t remember.

don’t remember how I made the request.

I really

But at least I got word

to Henry that I wanted to see him and I wanted to talk to him
outside his own office*
Efe came over to a little side room adjoining my office.
It was to the right of my office, as you entered it.

By this

time, of course, the office was over in the South Building.
were on the earner.


To come into my office normally you’d go

through the reception room where Bliss Piper and Byrd and Prank
Brown were*

I asked the Secretary to come into this side room,

and I left my office and went in and talked to him.
took us some time to get a copy of the opinion*
likely that it would have been in the afternoon.

I know it

I think it quite
I told him

I felt I couldn’t continue to live in a situation such, as we
had in tbs Department*
I dictaTt take the approach "with the Secretary that I
wanted to quit*

I undoubtedly told him the conclusion I had

reached, and said that here was a telegram sent into the field
under his name proposing a course of action ufoich had not been
cleared or even discussed with me, and I assumed it hadn't with
hisi - which vas the fact*

I said, nIf the ruling vere applied

to the state of Iowa, and if w& had a two-year contract which
had been in effect one year, and it vas proposed now that In
respect to this corn-hog contract applicable to Iowa that ve
Bake a retroactive determination# under the guise of a legal
opinion, that the tenants on an Iowa f a m who had been tenants
as of the tote the contract started - approximately one year
earlier - had the legal vested right to remain on that farm as
tenants for the life of the contract, what would you say?”
Be said, 11I'd say it vas crazy*

It's an utterly impos­

sible , impractical thing*9
I said, "Think how much worse it is when you project
that Into this explosive southern situation•”

S3y own course

of thinking vould probably have led me to say to Henry, "How,
what's the motivation?

You knov as I knov that this vas not

intended by Section 7; it was thoroughly understood with the
legal division and consumers counsel just what vas intended,

nobody* s fooled about that,

This is not what was intended, and

it’s a tortured interpretation of the language to hold so*


this goes into effect, it will set off forces that will drive
you right out of the Cabinet*

You won’t be able to stay*11 I

think Henry, at that tin©, agreed with me.

I’m sure he agreed

with me for a period of hours, anyway* I know I told him that*
I talked to him two or three times during the course of
this, in idie interval between this time and the action*
to him after I had talked to Seth Thomas, the solicitor*

I talked

I think say own idea of what had to be done jelled before I talk­
ed to Wilson, it certainly didn’t jell in the form of a determi­
nation until I had EUL.’s advice and counsel on It*

It would

have been my normal disposition to talk to M.L* before I talked
to Wallace*

Perhaps I did tails to Henry in a preliminary way

at first, and then I think I talked to him again over the week**
end or sometime*

I got to Wilson Just as soon as I could*


got to Set Thomas by going out to his home in the Hoosevelt
Hotel on Connecticut Avenue*

I’m not sure*

It was either on Saturday or Sun­

I have no record here as to the tine*


might be wrong as to the sequence, but before I finally made up
iny mind on what I was going to recommend finally to the Secre­
tary - before it was clear in say sdnd what I wanted to recomaend *
I talked to both the solicitor and M.L* Wilson*

In this conversation with Wallace, I said very little else*

It’s possible that I said something about quitting*
received a definite job offer*

I bad not

Prom time to time I bad had

several offers of jobs but 1 had no job in mind at that time*
I did have a fairly definite job before me in 1936 when I
finally left the Department*

I had a job then that I could

have gone into, but that was not before me at this time*


could easily have said something about Tapp and Appleby, be­
cause I discussed Appleby and Baldwin with the Secretary at a
subsequent meeting during this interval*

I may have referred

to them at this meeting, but the particular thing I said to
Henry about Appleby and Baldwin came mien I had made tip s£r
mind, and named to him the men I wanted to ask to resign*
I made comment on Appleby said Baldwin at one of our meetings
in this connection, but that was not at this first meeting*
It took place later in a talk I had with him in his own office*
John D. Black had gone to Harvard at this time*
recall just exactly when J*D* made his move*

When I first knew

him he was associated with the TSaiversity of Minnesota#
went to Harvard*

I consulted Black many times later*

recall that he was in this picture, at all*

I don*t

Then he
I don11

I didn*t know that

Black Tsrrote a letter to Wallace saying how alarmed he had be­
come over an impending crisis in the Triple-A and suggesting to
Wallace that he do everything he could to

keep roe from quitting,

and referring primarily to a milk situation in Boston*

We were

having trouble constantly with the milk agreements*
very tough ones


They -were

difficult ones to handle because of a tough

combination of circumstances*

There was organized labor in the

milk-drivers union, which fixed costs*

There were the milk pro-

ducers, operating through a cooperative, whose disposition was
to deal with the milk distributors and labor on the basis of
conceding whatever was necessary to keep the flow of milk going
through the normal channels, in order to secure their own maxim m returns*

We had that kind of a situation all the time*

resulted in every marketing


agreement we put into effect In a

milk shed being a compromise, in order to get any action» That
was a condition - it wasn*t a theory*

There were many elements

of discord In the picture*
I don’t think my mind was on a radio talk that 1 made on
February 2 on the Farm and Some Sour, on the part young people
take In rebuilding agriculture*

The Farm t*r%A Borne Hour was at

I doubt if my mind was on it*
One early morning after one of those nights when I walked

the floor, it became fairly clear to me what we had to do*


was in the interval between my first and final talks with Henry
Wallace that this took place*
After February 2 I certainly lost no time in getting hold
of M.L* Wilson and talking to him., but honestly, I ean*t even
remember where it took place* It’s possible that I walked over

to his house that night.

You*d think one would remember at a

time like that Just what happened, and I undoubtedly did for a
time, hut other things have crowded it out*
back to try to think of that*

I never have gone

I’ve frequently regretted that#

while it was fresh, I didn’t dictate a record of events, hut I

It’s possible that I didn’t see 1*L* until Sunday or


I know over the weekend, at least, if not Saturday

afternoon, I talked to M.L*, and I may have talked to him more
than once*
1 had a very long talk with Paul Appleby, but that took
place after the action had been taken rather than before*


certainly didn’t disclose to Paul or anybody else what I pro*
posed to do, except to M*L«, Seth Thomas, and Henry Wallace*
session with Paul was a very long one in my home on Connect!*
cut Avenue after the resignations were In and the related actions
taken, in which I tried to reason with him and tried to sake
clear the enormity of his offense as I saw it*
of mind and I know the approach I took there*

I know say frame
It would have

been, ”Why in the hell did you send this telegram out?"


might have been that - Just querying into It* But at that time
I’m sure I did not intend to do more than warn the Secretary
about Appleby*

I felt that, after all, Appleby was definitely

the Secretary*s man*

2e was not my man, although I think per*

haps as a part of budget operation he may have been carried cm

the Triple-A payroll.

I thought I had no authority in Appleby*s

and Baldwin*s case, and I felt I did have both authority and
responsibility in the case of the others•
liy mind was not made up about what I wanted to do when
I heard from Byrd

about this telegram.

I had to wait until 1

read the legal opinion and got the copy of the telegram that
went out.

X went alone to talk to Seth Thomas» Wallace may

have talked to him separately, but I went alone to his home
and went in and discussed the legal situation in the Department*
I think that was on Sunday rather than Monday.

I went to his

apartment in the Roosevelt Hotel and talked at length with him
and got cleared up in. my oim mind some aspects of the course of
action I wanted to follow.

I would place it on Sunday, because

when I went to Wallace 1 was completely clear in my mind on the
course to take with respect to the legal division*

I wanted to

find out ^whether Thomas would be ready and willing to take over
the legal responsibilities in the Department on a day’s notice
or less*
while ago*

He said yes*

He said it should have been done a long

I hadn*t been aware of this at the beginning of the

AAA, but the solicitors office had always held that the whole
legal division, general counsel setup, was itarelf illegal*


had bead it mentioned, and that*s the reason wby I felt when %
went to Thomas that we had here a good reason for doing what 1
was going to propose*

1 hadnft bean aware of it, for example,

when George Peek was in his difficulties with Jerome, because
if I had been quite clear on that I might have advised George


Thomas and Wenchel* his deputy, were both quite

clear that the organic law creating the Department of Agricul­
ture unqualifiedly placed the responsibility for all legal
activities of the Department under the solicitor, and made him
the legal officer* and that In setting tip an independent general
counsel in the Triple-A we were not complying with the law*


think the solicitor and the regular lawyers In the Department •
all of them - had watched the developments in the legal division,
watched the growing disposition of the legal division to direct
policy rather than confine themselves to legal advice and action,
and they, Ifm quite sttre, figuratively gave three cheers over
the prospect of getting Jerome Frank, Lee Pressman, and some of
the others out of the Department*
on that score*

So 1 was completely reassured

There wouldn11 be any hiatus*

The legal division

function would be taken over by the solicitor, and that could be
done without causing a ripple of disturbance in the operation of
the Triple-A*

And a lot of free-wheeling young lawyers would

be subject to Department discipline they hadn’t had before*
As I recall M.L*, he was pretty grave about the situation*
He had felt that things were moving toward this inevitable kind
of a climax perhaps more clearly than I had, and assented to the
course I wanted.

I don’t mean he recommended it*

to dissuade me or modify it in any way*
that’s what I had to do*
than anything else.

Hie didn’t try

He said he guessed

I just wanted his moral support more

T&rbil Tuesday morning when the repercussions began to
sound around there, my own office staff didnTt know what was
going to happen*

Nobody, outside of the people 1 had talked

to, knew that anything was up*
On Monday morning, February 4* 1935* 1 talked with
Wallace and Seth Thomas regarding the history of Section 7 of
the cotton contract*

I didn’t particularly remember anything

about that conversation.

I don't think any question was raised

about the legality or the meaning of section 7 at that meeting.
I asked Seth Thomas about the proposed opinion as against the
Interpretation we had given during the first year of operation*
Wallace and I talked alone on Monday*

I don’t know if

Wallace required any convincing that something had to be done*
He certainly didn ’t give any evidence in my first talk that he
regarded the situation lightly.
"What can we do?”

His attitude was more like,

I told him in this Monday’s talk when he and

I talked alone that if he*d be willing to just stay out of It
and let me handle it, I*d be delighted to handle it*

When we

discussed details, I named a few of the key men I felt had to go*
Those I named, as nearly as I can recall, do not add up to the
sum total of those who left, by any means*

I named Jerome Frank*

It was under his general shelter that a cluster of trouble-makers
had assembled*

While in personal talks with me Jerome would

apparently be cooperative, the actions In his department which

I would call completely disruptive and disloyal could not have
been taken without his approval*

He was a part of it*


could not have bean taken without his knowledge aad approval*
He was the head and heart*

Lee Pressman was active, aggressive*

He -eras considered the number two man in the general counsel’s

I was determined that I didn’t want to have anything

more of him*
fhe two men in the consumers counsel whose resignations
I asked for were the head, Kred Howe, and Gardner Jackson*
asked for Fred Howe1s resignation for the same reason*


la his

case, I think more or less innocently, he was Sheltering a group
that were bad medicine in the Department, in my opinion*


were without any sense of loyalty, whatever, as far as the Agri­
cultural Adjustment Act or its administrators were concerned*
In the legal division I named Erancis M* Shea who was the head
of the opinion section*

I told the Secretary, also, that I was

not going to continue with Christgau as chief administrator, at
all, that I proposed to handle that in a little different way*
I did not say to fire Christgau*

I don*t think I named any

One or two others were discussed*

There was a young

woman named Margaret Bennett who had been very active in this
and other moves in the legal division*

Another name was Victor

Eofcnem in the legal division whom we discussed.

I expressed

the hope that.they'd get out.

I figured that if we put an end

to the independent legal division and dismissed the general
counsel and his chief aide and if we brought in some responsible
and objective men to head consumers counsel, that we could shake
the thing down to manageable proportions.
I said, "You've got two men in your own office, Henry,
that if I had the authority and they were mine I'd fire them,

That's Appleby and Baldwin."
He made a remark which I think he subsequently had forgot­

ten, because it broke into print in some form within the last
two or three years in connection with the Hiss matter.

I had

been asked whether I had any idea that some of the men in the
legal division and consumers counsel might have been members of
the Communist Party.

I said that there was only one time that

I recalled during this period when the word "communist" was even
mentioned, and that was at the time of this conversation with
Henry Wallace.
He said - what seemed non-seauitur - "Chester, I Just
can't go along with the communists.

They don't believe in God."

That subsequently, in view of later developments, took on some
meaning for me.

I didn't ask for Alger Hiss' resignation.

Alger was then

on leave with pay to serve the Senate munitions investigation
committee. Bert Wheeler, Senator from Montana* had telephoned
me sometime before saying that they were operating with small
appropriations and asking if I would be willing to give them
some help from our legal division*

He asked directly for Alger

Hiss and I said# ”Let me check and see*”

As a matter of routine

1 cheeked with the general counsel*a office* and they were agree­

X Imagine I talked to Henry Wallace * and we approved the

loan of Hiss to this Senate committee. How* one of the things
I discovered when 1 cams back and saw this legal opinion was
that Alger Hiss had initialed it#
X don’t think he did*

1 don’t mean he drafted it*

He had come down and he had approved it*

Xt sticks in my mind that Margaret Bennett was mentioned in
gossip at the time# as the original drafter of the opinion*
I’m not sure about that*

X didn't care*

In Hiss’s case, it

was a shocking thing to me to find his Initials on that opinion*
because when we drafted the 1934**35 contract we were deadlocked,
I think, for a period of six weeks In drafting the contract be­
cause of this difficult question of protecting to the maximum
practicable extent the interests of the tenant in the very
drastic reduction in acreage that we were making• W$ held up
and held up* under the pressure of time* while X held daily
conferences with Cully Cobb* Oscar Johnson, Hiss representing
the legal division* and someone from consumers counsel*

X don’t

know whether Calvin Hoover was in on them*
in and out on that situation for sane time*

^e had been sort of
He didn’t c o m into

the Department actually, as 1 recall it, to work with me as
consoaaers counsel until after the Howe dismissal*

Alger Hiss

was so clear in my mind because he participated in all the dis­

When we finally worked out section 7* it was agreed

that it was the best compromise agreement we could get*

At no

time in the discussions did Alger M s s even suggest or recommend
that a provision should be inserted In the contract which would
require the contract signers to assume a legal liability for
retaining on the farm in status as tenants the identical tenants
who were on the land when the contract went into effect*
If anybody in the Department had reason to know what was
Intended by the language in section 7* it was Alger Hiss who
helped draft it and who signed it and who had sat for six weeks
in the discussions*

So I was compltely astounded when I found

his initials on the list*
This was the contemporary view of Alger Hiss among the
operators in the Department * Alger Hiss was in the Department
when I got there*

He was a lean, hungry-looking, eager young

fellow who impressed me as too busy to get his hair cut, cr take
time off for anything but work*

From lay 1933 to the return from

my trip In the field, I had seen and worked with Hiss I think more
closely than any other man in the legal division, because he was

assigned to the production division*
of his work with us*

I think he did the bulk

He had been a tireless worker and apparent**

ly intellectually honest and eager to cooperate*

I’ve thought

back over it many times* and I don*t think I saw any evidence
of what I considered intellectual dishonesty until I found his
initials on this particular legal opinion*

BSy associates and

I in the operation of the Triple-A didn't consider Alger Hiss
as one of the trouble -making radicals in the Department * He
wasn't so regarded by the operating crews, so far as I knew*
So as soon as I could get time after the fifth of Febru­
ary, I called Hiss and asked him to com© down and see me*


said, "Alger, you know as well as I do that that was a dishonest
legal opinion*

Why in the hell did you put your

it and approve it?

initials on

Of all the men in the Department, you were

the one who knew it was a dishonest opinion*1*
He said, ”It can be interpreted the way that opinion
proposes to interpret that language•"
I said, "Of course It can if you want to torture language,
but you knew damn well it didn*t intend that*
every meeting we had*
for a full year.

You sat through

You knew how we*d administered the contract

Why in the hell did you do it?

I want to know.8'

He got a little stiff and he said, "If you are calling
that a dishonest legal opinion* are you asking for my resignation?11
I said, "Ho, I'm not*

I'm just serving notice on you

that you* 11 never get a chance to do anything of that sort again,

because we1re going to get this thing under control in the De­

I’m giving you a chance to tell me why you did it,

because yon knew what was intended, as you know what the language
really says.”

There was no satisfactory conclusion to that*

The one thing that surprised me at the time and in the
week or two that followed before Hiss resigned was the amount
of space the papers gave to Alger Hiss*

I’d never thought of

him except as a routine operator in the legal division, and yet
it seems to be fairly clear from the amount of attention that
was concentrated on the question, "Would Hiss resign?” that
there were a lot of people who thought of him in much different
terms around Washington.

"Was Hiss going to resign or was he

That speculation was running through, the papers for days

after the rest of the men had resigned*

I don’t know the answer#

I know I left the Txdple-A without ever having had a satisfactory
answer to this thing*

He either was the smartest operator on

earth or else we were all completely blind and dumb*
I had been told that a record was being built up against
Tapp and Tolley by Appleby and Prank*

It’s so easy for an un­

scrupulous observer Inside an organization to pick out isolated
actions, meetings, contacts, and so forth, which, given a slight­
ly sinister twist, make awfully good copy for columnists of the
sort Washington has developed and had developed at that time*
I don’t recall what the evidence was*

I had been told - some of

our people had learned - that a group of these people were in
the process of building up a record on some of the key men in
the Triple-A*

Tapp and Tolley were only two.

driven some others to resign*

They’d already

Poor old Guy Shepard was one*

only crime, I think, was the fact that he had worked for
a packing company*

Gardner Jackson made Shepard his partieu*

lar target*
There was one other time during that period in which- the
term “communist” was used*

That’s when Paul R* Preston, * 6

was in charge of mails, records, files, and so forth, in the
Department* came -to me about this time * early in 1935 - and
asked me if 1 had ever had any reason to suspect that Gardner
Jackson was a comaunist*

0a said that there had been some com­

munications and contacts and some mail passing through that
seemed to him to indicate that very clearly*

The only thing I

did about that was to ask the head of the Department’s secret
service, Mr. C.T# Forster, to pick up Jackson’s files*


was the day after I had asked for and received Jackson’s resig­

But 1 was a little late on that*

When Forster got to

it - the night of the day I spoke to him - the files were gone*
There was nothing to look at*

Jackson had cleaned them out*.

I don’t know whether there’s anything to it, or not*
I have just mentioned this to one other person*


when Drew Pearson called me by telephone one day in St Louis at

the time when the Hiss affair really began to look serious for

Pearson was calling to ask if I had had any idea at the

time that Hiss might have been a member of the Communist Party*
I told him I had not*

I said, "The only man in the organization

to whom that term was applied in inquiry or anything else# so
far as I heard it* was a buddy of yours and that was Pat Jackson*n
I did that simply beeause it was Drew*
end of the telephone a little bit#

He sputtered at the other

I have no evidence to support

that, or anything of the kind*
That shows how little the term "communist” was used or
thought about at that time*
sions that I heard*
coming down*

That wasn’t a part of any discus­

I remember in retrospect Dr* William Wirt's

He reported on conversations he had had a chance

to listen in to which led him to the conclusion that there was
a bunch of eager young communists around there*
ed such a cocktail party*

1 never attend­

1 did become convinced that there

was a group here that penetrated every department in government,
a tireless group that when offices closed would meet at cocktail
parties* and so forth* which was very eagerly planning to speed
the shakedown of society in order to build it up in a way that
suited them better*
In my conversation with Wallace on Monday* he gave un­
qualified agreement and approval to letting me handle it*
gave it that day*

Now* we may have had a later meeting*


don*t know*

He certainly didn’t express any opposition to it*

I don't remember testifying on the Hill on Monday afternoon,
February i).* I testified pretty frequently*

When I talked to

Wallace and had this conversation which I have related, it was
a question of who would have to go*

X had named two others

whom 1 had felt should go but hadn*t included on my list*


had asked what could be done and I said, ”You just let ms
handle it, if you will.* He certainly didn't say, *I*m not
going to let you handle it," or anything of the sort* I never
had the slightest question after my first talk with Henry in
my office, before I'd proposed any remedy, that Wallace was
not alarmed by the situation.

I had no idea that he would raise

any serious objection to handling it*

1 might have called

Wallace that night to get final affirmation and to say, **lf you
haven *t changed your mind, this is what I'm proposing to do. ”
I'd already laid it on the line to him and had had no holding
back, as far as I can recall it, on Henry's part*

1 learned

later that Henry changed his mind about it in a very few days*
Tugwell was away*

It isn't that I didn't know he was

away, but that hadn't been in my calcillations on timing this

I didn't think about it at the time, at all, but I

realized during that day that they were making tremendous
efforts to get a hold of Rex Tugwell in Florida and get him
up to Washington*
to leave town*

I recall that X had known that he had planned

That didn't make the slightest difference in my

actions • Whether Rex could have changed events if he had been
there, either by appeal to the Whit© House or by Influence over
Wallace, I don’t know*

I don't think he would have influenced

Wallace at that time, because I think Wallace had had enough of

Whether he might have brought an order from the White

House - a stay

of action - I don’t know*

I don’t think we had the press conference on the day of
the resignations*

I think we had it the day afterward*


got the whole transcript of the press conference somewhere* I’d
almost be ashamed to produce it*

Really, looking back on it, I

find it was an awfully lame affair*
candid about it*

We weren’t completely

Stedman had insisted that the thing to do m s

to meet all questions head on and 1 had agreed*

It must have

been the day after, because Jerome Prank didn’t finally capitu­
late and come in with his resignation until about six o'clock
on Tuesday the 5th, prior to the press conference*
On Tuesday I had a number of Interviews with people in
the Department that were Important*
with all of the leaders*

I did not have interviews

I talked with Jerome, Lee Pressman,

Tolley, Wenchel - who was the representative of the solicitor’s
office assigned to the legal division ~ Christgau, and all of
the flood of people I could see who were coming in to express
their point of view on what had taken place*

I saw all 1 could

see of these people, but there was nothing significant except
in the important interviews*

Jerome didn't Impress me as par*

ticularly surprised, but he asked why and I told him I had just
reached the breaking point* that there* d been this continuous
strain of attempting to police host13a and embarrassing activ­
ities within the Triple-A, and that 1 was abolishing the legal
division and transferring the leadership and the legal load to
the solicitor where it belonged*

I said I wanted his resigna­

tion and I asked him to get Pressman’s for me*

Be pressed for

my reasons and I said* "Well, 1*11 tell you* Jerome# in brief .
How, we’ve worked together quite a bit*

I've had a chance to

watch you and I think, whether you realize it or not* youfre
just a damned revolutionary*

You*re just using the Triple-A

in every way you can to stir up all of the forces you can to
political and other action*

It’s not in harmony with the in­

tentions of the act* and the Secretary has agreed that it*s
got to end and that this is the way to do it*3
He left ray office* and of course that's when the fever­
ish activity to reach Tugwell started*

It wasn’t until six

o*clock that he came back in and said he had misplaced the
resignation form I had handed him and asked me if 1 had another

Then he signed it and gave it to me*
In the meantime* Lee Pressman had come In* as soon as

Jerome had spoken to him*

Lee Pressman’s was a surprising

He came in and he said* "Well, sir* I think you've done

just exactly the right thing.
ought to be taken*

You've taken just the course that

The thing that's amazed me is that you haven't

done it before.

But what I want to ask you is, why me?

I been cooperative?


Haven*t I been carrying the load around here

and doing everything possible?

I think the action you*re taking

is all right, but I just ask you not to include me.

I don’t

think I belong in it.”
It was a very disarming approach, and if I hadn’t had
one interview before it I might have been disposed to listen
to it.

Tolley had come in to see me early and he had expressed

great satisfaction over what had been done, but he said* ^Chester,
why Lee Pressman?

After all, he’s carrying the litigation that

we’ve got on some Important cases under marl®ting agreements*
I think it’s just going to disrupt things terribly to get Lee

Why can’t you let him stay and let that carry on and then

look at it later?"

I was not in a position to say yes or no,

but I had great respect for Tolley’s judgement.
Almost immediately on the heels of Tolley’s visit, Wencbei
came in.

He seemed to be extremely happy over what he had haard,

and he came in to particularly warn me about Lee Pressman.
said, "2fow, I don’t know what’s going on.


I’ve heard some

rumors that there may be a drive on to get you to relent in Lee
Pressman’s case.

I want to tell you that I’ve watched this thing

around here, and Lee Pressman is more nearly the heart and center
of the whole thing than Jerome or anyone else you can put your
finger on.

Don’t weaken on that.”

Pressman came in shortly after that# so I told him, What

say may be entirely true, but after all I’m just basing

my judgment on what I have experienced and what I've seen and
on the company you*re keeping*

As far as Ifm concerned, you*re

I felt awfully sorry for Fred Howe*
tears in his eyes*

He came in with

He said, *1 knov yourve had a lot of trouble,

but my God! this is a blow to me I*

I told him that I felt his

responsibility for consumers counsel had been pretty badly neg­
lected# that he*d let a lot of boys run away with the show and
didnrt have any control over it at all*

I said that he had to

go out of consumers counsel but that 1 would try to find other
employment for him so that he would not be affected personally
and financially*

Fred was broke*

We did arrange some continuing

employment for Fred, but we got him out where he dicta* t have a
lot of boys clustered under him*
Christgau bothered me a good deal because £ liked Tie*
I felt that hefd been completely stupid in this thing*
about the worst I thought about him*


X asked the jury of his

peers to go In another room and just sit down and then come in
and tell me what they thought about Christgau * what he had done*
There were Tolley and Tapp and Stedman*
D.B. Trent was still there*
zation in *34*

I donft remember whether

He had been there under the reorgani­

I think perhaps he’d gone by this time*

Be never

worked out very well*

We had two major divisions - one the

program planning and the other commodities operations*
had been the head of commodities operations*
or six in the conference on Christgau.
the ones I can think of*
Christgau*s case.


There were five

Those listed above were

I told them to go in and just take

They knew the facts*

They knew what had

happened, and they*d had a chance to work with him*

The ques­

tion X wanted answered was whether X could continue him as
chief deputy or not*

I think some of my important commodity

section chiefs were in that meeting, too*

They came in with

the unanimous recommendation that I retain Vic if he wanted
to stay, but not as deputy administrator.
and told him that was the decision*

So X called Vic in

How, whether this was on

this day or the day following, 1 don’t know*

There was no

effort made on his behalf by any of the group who went into
this meeting.

There may have been from other quarters•

I don’t

Xn my talk with Vic X said, "How, it’s incredible to me
that this thing could have been done innocently by you, letting
this legal opinion get by you.

I’m willing to give you the bene­

fit of the doubt and just think you were just damn dumb and that
was all*

But you’re not going to be In a position to do it again*

I wouldn’t feel safe to leave you In charge*

I’m not in the

future going to continue you as the chief deputy administrator*

You can work out, if you want to, 3one function in the depart­
ment, but I can’t leave you in charge when I’m out of the office,
I can’t depend on you*”

My recollection is that he resigned

shortly thereafter*
1 don’t think Gardner Jackson came in to see me*
might have, I don’t recall*
a little hit,
with Rotnem*


I think 1 talked with Rotnem quite

I think I had a very unsatisfactory conference
He was combative in his attitude*

1 don’t recall

that X really intended to do more in his case than just admonish
him because 1 don’t recall whether I put him on the primary list
or not*

But he was combative and hostile in his attitude* and

so 1 think the agreement was, "Well, get the hell outl"

I think

that’s what we did about Rotnem,
X think the press conference was the biggest one we ever

I think we had a lot of people there,

S, Allen of Pearson and Allen, coming in late*

I remember Robert
Be hit the

back row of people standing just like & plunging fullback,
plowed his way up two-thirds up, as near as he could, and com­
menced shouting at the Secretary about what gives here?
is all this about?
all to be seated,


The press conference was too big for them
Xt was in the Secretary’s office,

Wallace mid X had talked about it, with Stedman sitting
in coaching.

We’d agreed on the line to be followed* and that

was that the action was taken for greater harmony and more

effective administration, that these men, after ail, were not
particularly farm-minded men and that it was felt that we would
have greater harmony and more effective action if we could have
men that were more directly concerned with the farm problem than

Jerome it centered upon particularly*

As you look at

the transcript of that conference* it’s quite a record of answer­
ing questions and saying nothing*
that it faced the issue*
talk to us*

What it did accomplish was

It gave the press a chance to come and

We didn’t really* as 1 recall it, get into the


We glossed over the situation and played down the

significance of what was taking place* as far as we could*
I don’t remember when Bex Tugwell returned*

1 don’t

remember his trying to iron out the business of attending Triple A meetings*

There certainly was no bar to him at any time*

These actions I’m dealing with hadn’t been taken at Triple-A
On Sunday, February 8* I had a conversation with Appleby
that lasted most of the day*
Be came to my house.

It was sort of an agonizing affair*

Paul was in some distress* all right*

talk was chewing over and over the same ground*


There was no

apparent strong defense on Paul’s part* and nothing much you
could get hold of out of our talk*
where on It*

I think we got exactly no­

Appleby had sent out the telegram*

It was perfectly

obvious by that time that Paul was a good deal of a conniver*

That was the reason I dicta*t want him to go to India as the
chief Point-lj. awaa.* I don’t know Paul’s present inclinations
or disposition* but there’s an explosive situation over there,
and I wouldn’t Inject the Appleby of 1935 Into that situation
for anything on earth*
you could do*

It would be the last thing on earth

I don’t think the Appleby of *35 could have got

clearance for it*

I don’t know*

Once or twice I have emphasized the fact that what X
depicted as Henry Wallace’s attitude was Henry Wallace’s atti­
tude then# at that time*

I learned later that he changed his

That came about when months or possibly a year or two

later General Westervelt sent me a copy of a letter from Henry
Wallace to Jerome Frank which sounded enough like Henry for me
to believe he had written it*

In the letter he apologized al­

most abjectly and expressed the deepest regret over action which
he felt was a mistake*

Hals was written, as I recall it, within

a few weeks after February 5th*
An effort was made immediately to place Jerome Frank In
the Justice Department, without success*

I thought he went to

RFC and then to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC}, and
then he got the federal judgeship.

I think I may have heard

some attempts to bring him back into the Department, from time
to time.

I think there was talk of bringing him back In as solic­

I think that was the gossip*

1 don’t recall.

1 didn’t

thlnk they were going to be able to do it or would do It,
don’t think it impressed me too much*
they’d do it*


X just didn't think

X can see where some friends of Jerome and people

with a sympathetic ideology would love to have brought about
such a thing* but X didn’t think they’d be able to make it

X didn't take It seriously*
There is no truth

to the statement that one of the

reasons Prank was fired was due to the machinations of Howard
Tolley, that Howard Tolley drove the wedge between Christgau
and me and was responsible for getting rid of the whole bunch,
that he was leaking to the Kiplinger news service and that his
real plan was to make me Vice President or President* Certainly
nothing of the sort ever occurred to me, or X never heard any­
thing about it*
could be heard*

That sounds like the kind of moonshine that
X think X could probably guess the authorship

of that statement*

Tolley really isn’t that kind of a person*

Tolley had no knowledge, whatever, of this thing*

This hit

Tolley with as much surprise as it hit Jerome Frank*
no question about that*

X didn’t discuss this with Tolley*

Tolley is a tolerant individual*
Gardner Jackson*


That statement sounds like

That's exactly what it sounds like*


just the kind of stuff he dreamed up and passed out*
Once or twice In Pearson’s column there were references
to my ambitions and what X proposed to do*

I don’t recall all

of them*

Well* they did mention me once in connection with

that very job - the Vice Presidency - derisively*

The other

one was a job they cooked up vith Sears Roebuck and Company*
which did develop subsequently into an offer*
had not developed at this time*
at a U *

It certainly

Xt vas not in the picture*

There vas a bona fide offer made In the strainer of

1936, but it vas not made in *35*

Absolutely notl

The best evidence on the time that offer vas made vould
be Westervelt*

He’s the man vho brought General Robert E* Wood

and me together at the Army and Navy Club in the summer of 193&
on my return from Europe*

X listened to vhat they had to say

and then subsequently told General Westervelt that I felt very
much that I wanted to continue in public service* that while the
opportunity to go on the Federal Reserve Board didn’t mean as
much financially as vhat he van talking about* it vas more my
kind of operation*
1 can speculate on why such terrific emotion was generated
by this episode*

Here had been an unfolding conflict extending

through the years, vhlch reached a sudden and dramatic turn and
affected some people vho vere riding high* vide aad handsome*
I’m not surprised there vas emotion about it*

Then if a wider

range of speculation is permitted* if it is a fact that some of
these people vere in an underground Communist apparatus in
Washington* it’s obvious that it had significance far beyond

anything I thought at the time*

X didn’t talk about this very

I think the only time X really had a sense of the deep

emotion that might have existed vas when Bussell Lord sent me
the draft of the chapter on the purge in his book The Wallaces
of Iowa. The first draft vas as completely off the beam as any*
thing that's ever been written.

Bfe asked me to comment on it*

and I wrote him and told him about it.

He adopted some of my

language - most of it, 1 think - in his revised chapter* When
the galley proofs were out for advance review* a friend of
Jerome's on one of the Hew York papers hustled it over to him
and he moved very promptly to advise the publisher * who in
turn yanked Russell Lord in there in a hurry - that to use the
term "dishonest legal opinion”* as 1 had done, with a respected
member of the federal bench was direct libel and he was going
to soek the publisher* Russell Lord* and me with a libel action
for a specified sum of money * X forget what it was - if they
published it.
- surprised me.

The violence of his reaction shocked me a little
X had been inclined* myself, to consider that

this was last year's crop and go on with this year's* and I
hadn't paid a lot of attention to it*

Paul A* Porter had sort

of had a leg in both camps in this thing*

He was a very bril­

liant operator, and had been so useful in riding the diverse
elements in the cotton picture that X had made him an executive
assistant* taking him out of the press division*

When Rpank

was appointed to the bench, Paul phoned me that the bunch were
giving Jerome a dinner and suggested that I file a telegram,
which I did,

I had no rancor in Jerome Frank's case*

If I'd

brooded over this thing, 1 could have worked up quite a heat
about it, but I didn't.

The fact that I don't remeaber these

things dearly indicates that I haven't gone back in my mind
and tried to recreate what happened.

I've soma times wished

I'd acted on George Peek's advice and not accepted t&e job un­
less I could have accepted it on a basis of complete reorgani­
zation of personnel.

But it took a long while to let me see

what the situation was.
After the purge X didn't have to pay so much attention
to conflicts going on inside and could concentrate more on woxk.
It eased things a great deal.

The consumers counsel was fully

as effective as it ever had been in representing the consumer's

It was less interested in internal politics than it

had been before*

As X recall it, the first man X asked to take

Fred Bowe's place was Thomas C. Blalsdell,

Tom had been assist­

ant to Fred Bows earlier# and X believe he had gone over to SKA
with Mrs, Mary Ruoaey, who was consumer’s representative in SEA.
X asked Tom to come.

He felt he couldn't shift back.

He was

well intrenched and they were depending on him there,

X then

asked Calvin Hoover, who had been more or less in touch with
what had gone on in consumers counsel.

He was an economist at




F e b n ?a r y 1 > 1 9 .6 4 -

Oral History Research Of flee,Columbia University
Attentions Louis M.Starr,Director

f r o m :



kf ip




/ 20 new pages ( J89 to 409 inclusive) to
/ replace
pages (589 to 425 inclusive)
I in original manuscript.
’Purposes to eliminate repetition and excess



h , , m M '£




q f



vv<4i«^u A tv*

S / f e 4 _ ~



There were advantages to the regional program in states where numerous cash crops
were being dealt with— .wheat,cotton,corn and hogs,tobacco,rice,sugar beets and cane,
and others. We weighed them and came out supporting the regional form of organization.
These meetings being held in January,1955>did not provide the impulse lead­
ing to the farm legislation of early 195^; that came from the Supreme Court decision
in the Hoosac Mills case which invalidated the processing tax.

Late in January,1955»I took a field trip into the South,returning on the night
of Friday,February l,or the morning of the second. Without consulting records not
available to me here I cannot tell you the hour,but I was in the office early on
Saturday morning,February 2. I was immediately confronted by a development which
was the immediate cause of the "purge",as some of the newspapers called it at that

that is,the enforced resignation of Jerome Frank,Lee Pressman,and a number

of others from their posts in the AAA,the abolition of the office of AAA general
counsel,and the transfer of the AAA legal division to the office of the solicitor
of the Department of Agriculture.
The action that precipitated the "purge" was all but a fait accompli when I
got back to the office. In my absence a telegram had been sent to all of the state
cotton administrators telling them that a new legal opinion was about to be issued
by the Department which would give a radically changed interpretation to Section
7 of the


cotton contract. The telegram had actually been sent out by Paul

Appleby in the name of the Secretary,during my absence. Victor Christgau,the
deputy administrator and acting administrator while I was away,had passed on it and
approved it. I knew nothing whatever about it until I got to the office after my
trip,but Christgau couldn't have been under any illusions at all as to my position;
he knew I would not have approved it.
To fill this in,and without consulting any aids to memory that would help me
fix dates and the exact sequence of events more clearly,let me tell what happened.
On the morning of my return to the office,February 2,my first appointment was with
my assistant,William S.Byrd Jr. I reviewed with him the developments during my


absence, as I customarily did with him,Miss Piper,and Frank Brown,the other assist­
a n t s be brought up to date.
Syra told me at once about the legal opinion. He said,wGne thing took place
of which we've just heard by grapevine,and it has me puzzled. None of us in the
office knows anything about it,but perhaps you do. A telegram went out from Appleby
over the Secretary's name to the state administrators in all cotton states telling
them to stand by for a legal opinion relating to the 195^-55 cotton contract,which
will have far-reaching consequences. I don't know what it refers to,though perhaps
you do."
I had no knowledge of it,so I asked him to locate a copy of the opinion as
soon as possible. At that time I had talked to no^bne except Byrd,and I had heard
nothing of it while in the South. I don't recall the date the telegram bore,but it
must have been sent out quite recently for nobody I had seen in the field had men­
tioned it. This was not,as you suggest,what brought me back to Washington. I had
finished my trip,so I came back in.
When the opinion $as located and I had read it,it was perfectly clear that
if the Department went through with the line of action that would result from it,
the consequences would be far-reaching and serious. For one thing,I was sure that
Henry Wallace would be driven out of the Cabinet without question. After I had sat­
isfied myself as to what the impact would be,I knew I should check with the Secre­
tary as soon as possible. After that,I wanted to talk the whole situation over
with the Solicitor of the Department,Seth Thomas,and with M.L.Wilson.
It seemed advisable to confine my consultation to those three until the
course of action could be determined. Normally nothing was withheld from those
in my inside offlcf— my secretary Carol Piper,Bill Byrd,and Frank Brown— but in
this case no one but the Secretary,Seth Thomas,and M.L.Wilson knew from me what

vt&s going on or that any action was pending until I had called for the
signations on Tuesday,February


Before following the sequence of events further,the interviews,and the actions
that were taken,it is necessary to take a closer look at the legal opinion itself,
and the meaning and history of Section 7 of the 1954-55 cotton contract to which
the opinion proposed to give a new,revolutionary interpretation.The opinion held,in
effect,that all tenants on land covered by the 1954-55 cotton contracts had legal
right under the contract to the identical tenant relationship throughout the twoyear life of the contract that existed when the contract went into effect. It sought
to freeze the 1955 relationship throughout the life of the succeeding two-year con­
tract,a contract that had already been in effect for half its term under a totally
different interpretation of that clause.
It is important to look back at the time in 1955 and 1954 when we were ham­
mering out the details of the 1954-55 contract.Toward the end of the drafting: period
we had been deadlocked,with meetings at least daily,for about six weeks because of
this difficult question of how to protect to the maximum practicable extent the inter­
ests of the tenants i$ the drastic reduction of acreage we were making. We held up
issuance and approval of the contract notwithstanding the pressure of time to get
the contract out in the field,while I held daily conferences with the group concerned
with the drafting,including Cully Cobb and associates of the Cottin section,Oscar
Johnson of the cotton financial office,Alger Hiss representing the legal division,
Paul A.Porter,my executive assistant for cotton,
representatives from the office of consumers counsel,the Information office,and others
•who were in and out. I don't recall whether Calvin Hoover attended regularly. He had
examining the cotton operations for some time,but did not come into the AAA to work
with me as chief of the consumers counsel office until after the Howe dismissal.
Alger Hiss participated in all of the discussions.
When we finally worked out Section 7 it was agreed by all hands that it was
the best compromise agreement we could get. At no time during the discussions did
Alger Hiss ever suggest or recommend that a provision be inserted

to require

the contract signers to assume the legal liability to retain on the farm in status
as tenants the identical tenants who were on the land when the contract went into
It is also important to bear in mind that well over a million cotton

producers had voluntarily signed the 195^-55 cotton contract,and the provisions of
Section 7 had been presented and thoroughly explained to them by representatives
of the Department of'Agriculture before they had signed. I will not attempt to ex­
plain here in detail the provisions of the section; suffice it to say that its mean­
ing was clearly understood and not publicly questioned during the sign-up campaign,
or in the first year of operations under the contract. In effect,while SectiQn 7
sought to maintain on the farm with minimum displacement's many cotton workers as


in 1955>no contract signer understood it to require him to retain as tenants the
same individuals as had been there in 1955 * Had such an interpretation been placed
in the beginning
on the section/as was now proposed,there would have been no sign-up. I maks this
explanation in order to make it clear why I read the new opinion,when we had se­
cured a copy,with amazement and alarm.

When I made the first appointment to see Henry Wallace,! abked that we meet
outside of bis office. As I recall,it was on the afternoon of my return,February 2,
after I had read the opinion. I was careful not to talk with him where his assistant,
Paul Appleby,would learn what I was trying to do. It would have been unlikely that
I called him by telephone for that reason,because Appleby would have been in on the
conversation. If as you suggest Calvin Hoover dropped in about that time I might have
asked him to make the appointment for me,but I did not discuss any contemplated
action with Calvin. It is possible that I asked him to ask the Secretary if he could
meet with me.ftPlease let me explain that in the years that have intervened since
then I have given little thought to the events of that period. Even if I had time
now to check and fill in my recollections of the"events afc'teagEfo-fforjro-d,I doubt if
I have helpful records at hand. All official papers were left behind in the Depart­
ment of Agyiculturej I kept no diaryjand even the scrapbook volumes my secretary
kept are in the Department of History of the University of Missouri. As of now I
can only relate the events as I recall them,aided,of course,by my interviewer’s
surprisingly detailed card index of questions and suggestions. However,I look back
with regret that I did not at the time dictate the running story of the events of
early February,1955*

But to get back to the narrative. The Secretary came over to the South building
where the AAA offices were,and I met him in a little side room adjoining my office.
There we had our talk. I told him of the telegram and its probable effect,and I
believe made it clear that I couldn't continue to live with the situation that had
developed in the Department.
I did not take the approach with the Secretary that I wanted to quit,as you
suggest. I told him that the telegram sent to the field over his signature proposed
a course of action that had not been cleared or even discussed with me,and I assumed
that it hadn't been with him,either—

which was the fact.I said,"If the same ruling

were applied to the state of Iowa,that is,if we had a two-year contract which had
been in effect one year,and we proposed to make a retroactive determination under
the guise of a legal opinion

that gave tenants on the Iowa farms who had been

as of the date the contract started—

approximately one year earlier—


vested legal right to remain as tenants on the respective farms for the life of
the contract,what would you- say?"
He said,"I'd say it was crazy. That's an utterly impractical,impossible thing."
I said,"Think how much worse it is when you project that into the explosive
southern situation." I went on to ask,"Now,what*s their motive. You know as well
as I that no such thing is intended in Section 7j it was thoroughly understood
with the legal division and consumers counsel just what was intended,and they
agreed to it and approved it before we took the contract to the field.} nobody's
fooled about that. This is not what was intended,and it's a tortured interpreta­
tion of the language to hold so. If this goes int© effect,it will set off forces
that will drive you right out of the Cabinet. You won't be able to stay." I
think Henry,at the time,agreed with me.
In this first conversation with the Secretary not much else was said.We agreed
to think the situation over and meet on Monday.We did not discuss ay quitting the
job.There was not the slightest trace of "either that,or else* * " in/or the
subsequent talks we had before the action was taken,nor ,in factjat any time dur­
ing my connection with the office.

That,in general,covers our preliminary talk. Over Sunday I talked with Solicitor
Seth Thomas,and with K.L.Wilson,and by Monday I was clear as to the course I v/ould

After the first talk with the Secretary I lost no time in getting hold of M.L.
Wilson,ana talking with him* The reason for this will be clear to anyone who has
read my oral history to this point. For over 20 years he had been father confessor,
adviser and friend. He had guided me in the most critical decisions I had faced
during that period. M.L. was very grave about the situation. He had seen that things
were moving toward this inevitable climax perhaps more clearly than I had,and he
assented to the course I wanted to take. I do not mean that he recommended it. He
did not try to dissuade me or to modify it in any way. He said he guessed that was
what had to be done. I came away feeling that I had his moral support,and I guess
that was what I wanted more than anything else.

I went alone to talk with Seth Thomas,the Solicitor of the Department,on Sun­
day. Our meeting was in his apartment in the Roosevelt Hotel. We talked at length
about the legal situation in the Department,and I got clear in my mind on some aspects
of the action I wanted to take. First I wanted to find out whether the Solicitor
would be ready and willing to take over the AAA legal responsibilities in iiis
Department on a day's notice or less. He said yes. He said it should have been done
a long time ago. I hadn't been aware of it at the beginning of the AAA,but the sol­
icitor's office had always felt that the whole legal division set-up under the
general counsel was itself illegal. I had heard the question raised by men in the
Solicitor's office some time before this,however,and I felt when I went to see
Seth Thomas

that there was good legal reason for doing what I was going to propose.

But I hadn't been aware of it,for example,when George Feek was having his diffi­
culties with Jerome. If I had been I might have advised George differently.Sol­
icitor Thomas,and John P.Wenchel,his deputy,were both quite clear that the organie
law creating the Department of Agriculture unqualifiedly placed the responsibil­
ity for all legal activities in the Department upon the Solicitor,and that in
setting up an independent general counsel in the Triple-A we were not complying
with the law.
I am sure that the Solicitor and the regular lawyers in the Department— all of
them_had watched the growing disposition of the legal division of the AAA to

direct policy rather than confine itself1 to legal advice and action,with alarm.
They had watched other developments under the general counsel with uneasiness,and
I am sure that they,figuratively,gave three cheers over the prospect of getting
Jerome Frank,Lee Pressman,and some of the others,out of the Department.
So I was completely reassured on that score. There wouldn't be any hiatus. The
legal function would be taken over by the Solicitor without causing a ripple of
disturbance in the operation of the Triple-A. And a lot of free-wheeling young
lawyers would be subject to Department discipline they hadn’t had before.
At some time during this period and before action was taken on Tuesday,I talked
with Secretary Wallace and Solicitor Thomas together regarding the history of
Section 7 of the cotton contract,and the validity of the proposed opinion as
against the interpretation given during the first year of operation. The Solicitor
was emphatic in his judgment that the proposed opinion was unjustifiable and un­
reasonable, and that the consequences of attempting to apply it to the 195^-55
contracts would be as serious as I had represented. If the Secretary had any
doubts on the matter,he did not express them at that meeting.

Secretary Wallace and I were alone when I recommended the course to take. That
meeting was on Monday,February 4,just the two of us in his office. He did not re­
quire any convincing that something had to be done. He certainly did not give any
pvidence in any of our talks that he regarded the situation lightly.His attitude can
be described as one question,"What can we do?" In this meeting I told him that if
he were willing to stay out of it,and let me handle it,I would be delighted to
do it. When we discussed details,I named a few of the key men I felt had to go.
Those I named to not add up to the sum total of those who left,by any means.I
named Jerome Frank. It was under his general shelter that a cluster of trouble­
makers had assembled. While in personal contact with me Jerome had apparently been
cooperative,the actions in his division which I called disruptive and disloyal
could not have been taken without his approval.He was part of it. He was the head
and the heart. Lee Pressman was active and aggressive. He was considered the
number two man in the general counsel's office. I was determined that I did not
want any more of either of them.

The two men in the Qonsumers Counsel whose resignations I asked for were
the head,Fred Howe,and Gardner Jackson,his assistant. I asked for Fred Howe's
resignation for the same general reason that applied to Jerome. In his case he
was sheltering,more or less innocently I believe,a small group of men who were bad
medicine,in my opinion.They had no loyalty whatever to the Agricultural Adjustment
Act or its administrators.
In the legal division I mentioned Francis M.Shea,who was head of the Op­
inions section at the time. I also told the Secretary that I was not going to
continue Victor Christgau as deputy administrator if the heads of the important
operating divisions of the AAA backed me up; I proposed to handle that problem in
a little different way. I did not recommend firing Christgau.
I do not recall that I mentioned any others in my specific recommendations
for dismissal,although others were discussed as we went along.There was a young
^oman in the legal division who had been very active in this and similar moves
in the legal division. Another we discussed in the legal division was Victor Rotem. I expressed the hope that they would get out. I figured that w hen we put an
end to the independent legal division and dismissed the general counsel and his
chief aide,and when vie brought in responsible and objective men to head Consum­
ers' Counsel,we could shake the tiling down to manageable proportions.
At the conclusion of this talk I also told the Sgcretary,"There are two
men in your own office,Henry,who are in this up to their necks,and if they were
working under me and if I had the authority,I would fire them too. They are
Appleby and Baldwin." The Secretary made no direct reply to that suggestion.
In this conversation with the Secretary he gave unqualified agreement
and approval to the action I outlined. He certainly did not express any opposi­
tion to it. Cur conversation dealt mostly with the aestion of who would have to
go. He had asked what could be done,and I had told him,"You just let me handle
it,if you will." He most certain^ did not say "I do not want you to handle it,"
or anything of th€ sort.I had no doubt since our first conversation in my of­
fice,before I had proposed any remedy,that he was seriously alarmed by the sit

uation. I had no thought that he might object to my handling it,and he did not.
In mis,our second,talk I had laid it on the line and there had been no holding
back on Henry's part. Months later I learned that after the action had been
taken and the reorganization completed,He did change his mind,and I have never
had the explanation why.

On the following day— Tuesday— I had a number of ixnpoiibant interviews,
leading off with Jerome Frank/Fred Kowe,and then as fast as I could see them a
flood of people who came in to ask questions or express their points of view on
what had taken place.

I will start with Jerome,with whom I began the day. He did not impress me
as particularly surprised,but he asked "why?" and I told him that the 1-^gal opin­
ion which I called "dishonest" had brought us to the breaking point; that I had
been under the continuous strain of policing hostile and embarassing activities
within the Department,the AAA,and that to end them we were abolishing his office,
that of general counsel,and transferring the legal divisiori to the office of the
Solicitor where it belonged. I told him I wanted his resignation,asking him at the
same time to get Lee Pressman's for me,too,and I handed him the resignation forms.
He pressed me for my full reasons,and I recall saying,"Well,I'11 try to
make it brief. We've worked together for a long time.I've had the chance to watch
you,and I think you are an outright revolutionary,whether you realize it or not.
You are using the AAA in every way you can to stir up all the forces you can
bring to bear in favor of political and other action t°ward the ends you seek,
which I am quite sure by now are not the ends sought in the Agricultural Adjust­
ment Act.Some of your goals do not fall within the intentions of that Act. The Sec­
retary has agreed that it has to end,and that this is the way to do it.”
He left the office,and of course that is when the feverish activity to
reach Tugwell started. I will discuss that a bit later. It wasn't until six
o'clock that afternoon that he returned to say he had misplaced the resignation
form I had given him,and asking if I had another. This he signed and gave to me.

In the meantime Lee Pressman had come in,as soon as Jerome had spoken to
him,and he took a surprising tack. He said,“Well,sir,I think you've done exactly
the right thing. You've taken just the course that should be taken* What amazes
me is that you haven’t done it before. But what I want to ask you is,why me? Have­
n't I been cooperative? Haven't I been carrying the load around here and doing
everything possible? I thinl the action you're taking is alright,but I just ask
you not to include me. I don't think I belong in it."
It was a disarming approach and I might have been disposed to listen to
it except for two interviews that had jmst preceded it. Howard Tolley had dropped
by early to express satisfaction with what had been done,but to ask,"Chester,why
Lee Pressman? After all,he's carrying the litigation in the important cases over
marketing agreements. It will disrupt things terribly to let Lee go.Why can't you
let him carry on for the present,and take a look at it later?" I had told him I
would think about it,for I had great respect for Tolley's judgment.
Almost immediately after he left,Phil Wenchel came in. He was the assist­
ant solicitor,and the liaison between the Solicitor and AAA. He was happy over
what he had heard,but he came in especially to weam me about Lee Pressman. He said,
"Some rumors are going around of a drive to get you to relent in Lee Pressman's
case. I want to tell you that I have watched this thing closely,and Pressman is
more nearly the heart and center that Jerome or anyone else you can put your finger
on Don't weaken on that."
I called Pressman in shortly after that and told him,"What you say may
be true,but I'm basing my judgment on what I have experienced and seen,and on the
company you keep. As far as I'm concerned,you're out."
I felt very sorry for Fred Howe,who came in with tears in his eyes.
He said,"I know you've had lots of trouble,but my God,this is a blow to mel"
I told him I felt that his responsibility for Consumers Counsel had been wholly
neglected; that he had let some of his subordinates run away with the show and
did not control it at all. But I told him we would try to find another place for
him so thst he would not be affected financially. Fred was broke. We did arrange
continuing employment,but not with a bunch of conspirators clustered under him.

Christgau's case bothered me a good deal because I liked Vic. The worst
I thought of him was that he had been stupid. I wanted help on this,so


a "jury of his peers" to talk it over in the conference room then come back and
tell me what they ^hought should be done about him. There were Jesse Tapp,Howard
Tolley,Al Stedman,and I think some others who were heacs of important commodity
operations. Stedman was chief of the Information office,and knew what v/as going
on in all of the AAA. You ask about D.P.Trent. He had come in under the earlier
reorganization to head the Commodities division,but I think perhaps he had gone
by that time. There were six or eight men in that conference. They knew the facts.
They had worked with him,and they knew what has happened in this case.The ques­
tion I wanted answered was whether Vic Shj-istgau ghould be continued as deputy,
administrator. They returned with the unanimous recommendation that I retain
Vic if he wanted to stay,but not as deputy administrator. So I called Vic in and
told him that was the decision.
In my talk with Vic,I said,"It is incredible that letting this legal
opinion get by with your approval was an innocent act on your part>but I am
willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and conclude it was an act of stup­
idity. 3ut you can not be left in position to repeat a thing like that;I wouldn't
feel safe to leave you in charge when I am away. If you like you can work out
some other function in the AAA,but you're through as deputy administrator."He
resigned shortly thereafter.
Gardner Jackson did not come in to see me. I talked with Victor Hotnem,
a somewhat obscure figure in the legal division,at some length,but it was unsat­
isfactory. I had not intended to do more in his case than admonish him,but he
was hostile and combatative,and the agreement was "get the hell out",and that's
what ‘Rotnern did.
I did not ask

Alger Hiss to resign. Alger was then on leave with pay

serving the Senate Munitions Investigations committee. Burt Wheeler,Senator
from Montana,had telephoned me some time before sajraggthat they were operating
with small appropriations,and asking if we could lend tnem some help from our

legal division. He asked directly for Alger Hiss,and I said "Let me check and see.”
I cleared it with the general counsel's office,then I talked to the Secretary about
it,and with his consent we had approved the loan of Hiss to this committee.
But one of the things I discovered when on my return I read the legal
opinion was that Alger Hiss had initialed it. As far as I knew he had not drafted
it. Vfoyd abound the office was that Margaret Bennett had done the actual drafting.
The significant thing was that Alger Hiss had come down from his office on the
Hill and bad approved the opinion. It shocked me to find his initials there.If
anyone in the Department had reason to know what the language of Section 7 m eand
and was intended to mean,it was Alger Hiss who had participated in the discussion
of it for weeks,who had helped draft it,who had approved and signed it.
I'll give you the contemporary view of Alger Hiss as the operators in the
AAA knew him. He was already in the Bepartment when I arrived in May,1955*and he
was assigned to the production division when it was set up shortly thereafter.
He was a lean,hungry-looking,eager young man who seemed too busy to get his hair
cut,or take time off for anything but work. Prom May,1955 >to the day he reported
to the Senate Munitions committee in lit'e 195^- or early 1955 I had probably seen
and worked with Hiss more than any other man in the legal division because he did
the bulk of the work in the production division where I started.I've thought back
over it many times in view of later developments,and I'm sure I saw no evidence
of intellectual dishonesty until I found his initials on that legal opinion.He had
been a tireless worker,apparently straightforward and eager to cooperate. My assoc­
iates and I did not consider Hiss as one of the trouble-making radicals in the AAA.
So as soon as I got time after the fifth of February I called Hiss and
asked him to come in to see me. I opened up with,"Alger,you know as well as I do
that this new Section 7 interpretation is a dishonest legal opinion. ¥hy in hell
did you approve it? Of all the men in the legal division you are in the best pos­
ition to know that it is dishonest."
He said,"The language can be interpreted the way the opinion proposes."
I said,"Cf course it can if you want to torture language,but you know
damn well it doesn't mean that and was never intended to.You sat through every

meeting we had. You know how the contract was explained to thg producers,and how
it has been interpreted for a full year. Why in the hell did you do it.I want to


He got a little stiff,and said,nIf you call that a dishonest legal opinion
I suppose you are asking for my resignation.*
X replied,"No,X*m not. I'm just serving notice on you that you'll never
get a cnance to do anything like that again,because we're getting things under con­
trol in the AAA.I'm giving you the chance to tell me why you did it." That was
about the conclusion. He did resign shortly afterward,as did quite a few others in
the legal division,including John Abt and,of course,Lee Pressman,who along with
Hiss were publicly identified with the Communist party.


x v

The one thing that surprised me most at the time and in the week or two
before Hiss resigned was the amount of space the newspapers gave to Alger Hiss. I
had never thought of him except as an able lawyer in the legal division,yet it
bfcame clear from the attention that centered on the question,"Would Hiss resign?”
that there were many people around Washington thinking of him in much different
terms. "Was Hiss going to resign,or was he not?" That speculation ran through the
papers for days after the rest of the men had resigned. I know I left the Triple-A
without knowing why there was all the furore about it. He was either the smartest
operator around,or else we were all completely blind and deaf.
Now that communism in the Department of Agriculture or elsewhere in gov­
ernment has been mentioned,it may be well to clear up any question there may be on
such contemporary views on the subject as I remember having then. Bear in mind that
the United States had just resumed diplomatic relations with Russiaj that far-off
country appeared to have enough troubles at home to keep the Hu#£ians busy there;
Hitler's rise was causing uneasiness,but we were trying to work out serious dom­
estic problems,and while some people may have sensed that World War II was just
over the horizon I am sure most of us were not aware of it.
Looking back,I remember just three times when I heard Communism in the
United States mentioned seriously,once before and twice during the period in


we have been discussing.
The first time was when Dr.'.ri Ilian Wirt who was,I believe,an educator

from Indiana who had come to Washington in some connection or other,released his
"exposure" of radical left-wingers,possibly communists,in government departments,
including Agriculture. He reported conversations he had listened to at cocktail
parties and other social gatherings which had led him to believe that a bunch of
eager young communists had invaded Washington,many of them in the Department of
Agriculture. Part of what he said was:.not altogether new to fee,although it became
clearer as time went on. I began to realize that there were many tireless men most­
ly n§w in government who constituted a loose,informal group drawn together,I felt,
by affinity of ideas,who did enjoy meeting at cocktail parties and the like where
they enthusiastically discussed ways and means to speed the shake-up in the exist­
ing order to get rid of aspects they did not like,and to build one that suited
them better. But I did not then associate them with with communism or communists.
One time the word "communist" was used during the February shape-up in
the AAA was when Paul R.Preston,who was in charge of mail and files in the AAA,
came in t° ask Ee if I

any reason to suspect that Gardner Jackson was a com­

munist. He told me that some of Gardner's communications,mail,and contacts seemed
to indicate he may have had some such connection. The only thing I did about that
^as to ask G.T.Forster,the head of the Department's secret service,to pick up
Jackson's office files. That was the day after I had received his resignation.
But I was a little late on that. Forster moved the night I spoke to him,but the
files were gone. There was nothing to look at.
I have mentioned this to just one other person. That was some time in the
mid-forties when Drew Pearson called me by telephone in St Louis at the time when
the Biss affair was beginning to look serious for Alger.Pearson asked me if I
had had any idea in 1955 that Hiss might have been a member of the Communist
party. I told him I had not. Then,to get a rise out of him,I said,"The only person
I heard mentiiongd in that connection was a buddy of yours— Pat Jackson. I had an
inquiry about him." He sputtered a bit at the other end of thg wire. I have no
evidence to support that,and never did have.

The other time the term "communist” was mentioned was in one of my
conversations with Secretary Wallace. It was when we were discussing some names
of men to be asked to resign. At one point he looked off in the distance,and after
a moment said in the sort of "thinking aloud" manner he sometimes used,"Chester,
I just can't go along with the Communists} they don't bglieve in God."
In fairness to Henry,I can report that he has forgotten that he made this
remark. In fact,in a telephone talk with him in the late 'forties he assured
me he had never said it,and asked me to issue a denial of it in connection with
a story that appeared in an obscure publication before he called me.
To dispose of the question whgther suspected suspected communist affiliatons
played any part in the resignations in 1955*let me say,they did not. As to whether
they contributed anything to the widespread interest and emotion over the dismis­
sals,one can only speculate. If it is a fact that some of these people were in an
undgrground apparatus in Washington,it is obvious that it had significance far
beyond anything I realized at the time.

Before closing the book on "the purge" and turning to other matters,a num­
ber of incidents or observations have been called to my attention by my interview­
er,Deane Albertson,listed on his apparently endless supply of reference cards.The
relevance of some of them to what we have been discussing is not clear,but what I
say may supplement,or support,or contradict what has been said in other Oral Hist­
ories of the period,so they may have pertinence I am not aware of. V/hat follows for
the next few pages may be lumped together as a series of aftermath or sidelights,
with no thought to cohesion or order.
As to Hex Tugwell,and his part in this. He was in Florida at the time it
broke. It isn't that I did not know he was away,but his absence had nothing to do
with the timing of events. I did not think about it at the time,but I was told dur­
ing the day of action that his friends were trying desperately to get hold of Rex
and get him back to Washington. Whether he could have changed events had he been
there,either by appeal to the White House or by influence over the Secretary I
do not know.I think he would not have influenced Henry 7/allace at that time.

Whet her he might have secured an order from the White House— a stay of action—
I do not know.
I do not know when Rex Tugwell returned to Washington. I do not recall
any difficulty about his attending AAA staff meetings,therefore cannot confirm re­
ports of current activity on his part to iron them out. There certainly had been
no bar to his attendance at any time. The actions we have been discussing were not
discussed or taken at AAA staff meetings.
The only direct contact I had with Paul Appleby during that period was the
meeting on Sunday,February 10,at my home—

a meeting that lasted much of the day.

It was an agonizing affair,distressing,I am sure,to both of us. We kept going over
the same ground again and again. Paul had sent the telegram,had participated in
the plans of the group which decided on and drafted the rgvised interpretation of
Section 7*and I wanted to find out "why?"

He said nothing that explained or de­

fended his part in the affair. Cur talk got us exactly nowhere. Let me repeat here
what I've already made clear. At no time had I intended to do more in Appleby's
case than to warn the Secretary. He was definitely the Secretary's man,though I
think perhaps as a budget matter he was carried on the AAA payroll. But I had no
authority in Paul's case,and I felt I did have both responsibility and authority
in the case of the others.
Our talk did nothing to dispel?.my conviction that Paul Appleby had devel­
oped into a potent wire-puller on policy and personnel matters within the AAA.
That was the reason why,later,I hadn't wanted him named as the chief Point-4
man in India.I do not know Paul's present inclinations of disposition,butrtherel’s
an explosive situation in India,and I want to see the Appleby of 1935 injected into
it. In fact,I do not think the Appleby of 1955 could have got clearance for it.
As to the press conference,we held that on the tfay following the resigna­
tions. I have the transcript somewhere. Looking back I can see that it was a very
lame affair. We weren't completely candid about the situation,although Al Stedman,
the AAA press chief,had insisted that the thing to do was to meet all questions
head-on. Russell Lord^xcellent book,"The Wallaces of Iowa," describes the conference
at length,and quotes freely from it. It was the largest press comerence ever ueld

-•4U>in connection with the AAA; a lot of reporters were there who didn't ordinarily
show up; the Secretary's office could not hold them all.I remember Bob Allen of
the Washington Merry-Go-Bound came in late. He hit the back rows of standing
people like a plunging fullback,plowed his way up as far as he could,and commenced
shouting at the Secretary,"What gives here? What is this all about?”
Secretary Wallace and I had talked it over before the conference began,
with Stedman sitting in coaching. We had agreed to follow the general line that
the action was taken for greater harmony and more effective admini§trationj that
these men,after all were not particularly farm-minded; that our job could be done
better and with much less conflict if we had men to work with who were more dir­
ectly concerned with the farm problem than Jerome,for example.
The questions as they developed centered especially on Jerome. As one
looks over the transcript of that conference it is quite a record of fielding
qaestions and saying as little as we couldjtfhat it did accomplish was to give the
press a chance to ask questions,which dealt with personalities rather than spec­
ific issues. I believe no one referred to the cotton contract interpretation
which had triggered the reorganization.
Now to more of the aftermath. An effort was immediately made to place
Jerome Frank in the Justice Department,without success. He first went to the
Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC),and then to the Securities Exchange
Commission (SEC). Then he was appointed to the federal judgeship. I think I may
have heard of some movement to bring him back into the Department of Agriculture
as Solicitor,but it got nowhere. I think no one took it seriously except a few
of Jerome's friends.
Some time after his appointment to the bench I received from Russell
Lord the galley proof of the chapter,"The Purge" from his forthcoming book,
"The Wallaces of Iowa." That draft^completely off the beam. He asked me to com­
ment on it,which I did at some length. He adopted some of my language in the
revised chapter. When the revised proofs were out- for advance review,a friend
of Jerome's on one of the New York papers rushed it over to him,and he moved
very promptly to warn the publisher (who in turn got Russell Lord in immediately)

that to use the term "dishonest legal opinion" in connection with a respected
member of the federal judiciary was direct libel,and that he would file libel
action against the published^,Bussell Lord,and me if it were published. The
chapter was revised,but it is still a pretty good report on what happened and
The violence of Jerome's reaction surprised me a little. I had been
inclined to consider what happened as last year's crop,and to go on with this
year's .
You ask about the telegram I had sent Jerome upon his appointment as
federal judge. That was done at the suggestion of Paul A.Porter. Paul,in a way,
had a leg?in each camp at the time of the "purge." He was a brilliant,effective
operator who had been so helpful in helping bring together the diverse elements
in the cotton picture that I had made him an executive assistant,taking him out
of the information division. He was a lawyer as well as a newspaperman. When
Jerome xvas appointed,Paul 'phoned me that a bunch of his friends were giving him
a dinner,and suggested that I send a telegram,which I did—

a Kipling quotation

which Pussell Lord quotes in full in "Wallces of Iowa."
I felt no rancor in Jerome Prank's case. If I had brooded over this thing
I suppose I could have worked up some heat about it,but I didn't. The fact that
I do not remember clearly some of the things you bring up indicates that I haven't
devoted much time to mulling over what happened. However,at times I have wished
I had taken George Peek's advice,and declined to take the administrator's job
except on the basis of a complete reorganization of personnel. But it took me
quite awhile to see what the situation was.
After "the ppstge" I could pay less attention to inside conflicts,and
could concentrate more on work. It ^ased things a great deal. The Consumers
Counsel was fully as effective as it had ever been in representing consumer in­
terests. It was less interested in internal politics than it had been before.
I first asked Thomas C.Blaisdell to take Fred Howe's place. Tom had been assist­
ants? to Fred earlier,but had gone over to NRA with Mrs.Mary Humsey,its consumer
representative. Tom fslt he could not shift oack. I then asked b a l v m Hoover,
the* economist from Duke University,who was familiar with the work of Consumers


While I consulted with John B.3lack of Harvard many times I was not
aware that he had written a letter to Secretary Wallace at this time saying he
had become alarmed over an impending crisis in the AAA,and suggesting that the
Secretary do everything he could to keep m e from quitting. You say his letter
referred especially to the milk situation in Boston. Doctor Black may well have
written such a letter. We were constantly having trouble with the milk agreements.
They were difficult ones to handle because of a combination of tough circumstances.
Organized labor in the milk drivers’ union was a factor that largely fixed dis­
tribution costs. The milk producer cooperatives placed maximum returns to the
dai^r farmers in their milkshed as first consideration,and were disposed to
deal gently with the milk distributors and labor in order to keep milk flowing
in normal channels without interruption. We had that situation to face all the
time. It resulted in compromise over every marketing agreement we put in effect;
without it there would have been no agreements. That was a condition,not a theory.
There were many elements of discord in the picture.
Taking up the next question: there is no truth to the claim you report
that the real reason Jerome Frank was fired was the scheming of Howard Tolley;
that Howard drove a wedge between Christgau and me; that he was responsible for
the dismissals; that h8 was feeding mi_dtleading information to the Kiplinger Service;and,most ridiculous of all,that his real plan was to maneuver me into some
political position,vice-president,for example.
There is no basis in fact for such a report. It is pure moonshine,and
I can guess its authorship. The statement sounds like Gardner Jackson. It's the
kind of stuff he dreamed and passed out. Howard Tolley was not that kind of a
person. He had too much constructive work to do. As to responsibility for the
"purge",I can tell you that he had no advance knowledge of what happened.The
action taken hit him as a surprise just as it hit Jerome Frank.]J&id not dis­
cuss it with him at any time prior to the resignations.Above all,Tolley was a
tolerant individual.He could get along with conflicting interests if anyone

while "this frivolous charge against Tolley never reached me,on the other
hand I had been told many times that a record was being compiled by Appleby,Frank,
and those close to them in the Department,to be used against Tapp,Tolley,and

a record of isolated meetings,contacts,etc.,which taken out of context

and given a sinister twist,could be slipp®d out to certain newspaper columnists
far use as occasion arose. Tapp and Tolley were only two of the targets. Others
had already resigned. Poor old Guy Shepherd was one. His crime was that he had
been a meat packer.Gardner Jackson made him a particular target.
Once or twice in Drew Pearson's column,the "Washington Merry-Go-Round”,
reference was made to what I proposed to do on leaving the Department,and to
alleged political ambitions. I don't recall.of them. One had mentioned me—

for the office you mentioned— the vice-presidency. Another Pearson

column reported that I was leaving the Bgpartment for a 00,000-a-year job with
Sears Roebuck & Company. At the time no m ention of a connection with Sears had
ever been made. Over a year later a bona fide offer was mad# to on behalf of
Sears,though not for that kind of money. General Westervelt brought General
Robert 2.Wood (Sears board chairman) and me together at the Army and Navy Club
in Washington in the summer of 1936 after the Soil Conservation & Domestic
Allotment Act had been passed,I had completed a trade study trip in Europe for
the President,and was ready to leave the AAA. I was interested in what they
said,but subsequently told General Westervelt that I wanted to continue in
public service,and that while the opportunity to go on the Federal Reserve 3oard
did not mean as much financially as what he had proposed,it seemed more approp­
riate for me.

In describing my meetings with Secretary Wallace,and the agreements
we reached and carried out during that first week of February,1955 >I have em­
phasized the fact that what I depicted as his attitude was Henry Wallace's
attitude then,at that time. I have reason to believe that he changed his mind
later,although I have not had a good opportunity to discuss it with him,and can
only relate the information that came to me a year or so after the "purge."
General Westervelt sent me the copy which had come into his possession of a
letter Kenry had written Jerome within a few weeks after February,1955


he expressed unqualified apology and deep regret over the action we had taken,
which he felt was a mistake.

During the remainder of my year or more in the Department of Agriculture
I was not aware that the events of that month had affected my relationship with
Secretary Wallace in any way. We worked together closely in harmony to secure the
needed amendments to the Adjustment Act,and then,after the Hoosac Mills supreme
court decision,to secure enactment of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment
Act as the basis for continuing operation. That cooperation was necessary. He was
Secretary of Agriculture,and the law was operated and continued to be operated in
his name. While we continued to b£ friendly and cooperative,we were probably not
as sympatico as before. I think that was due t° the fact that he was beginning to
show signs of the pressure to lead him into political activity on his own behalf.
You could see the signs though he resisted the pressure very manfully,I thought.
By political pressure I mean the constancPwork that was going on around Henry
to convince him that he was the Messiah for the under-privileged,and t^at
role and along that route a glorious political future lay before him.


That*s what I mean by political pressure.

1 always thought

the two boys right in his own office were the most active pro­
moters of this - Appleby and Baldwin.

I think in late *35 aad

early *3& it became fairly obvious in his beginning to detach,
himself from the men who had been close to him in the past*
That had been going on.

The pressure had been on to put the

wedge in between the Secretary and the Farm Bureau, the Ex­
tension Service, and the land grant colleges.

They were, as I

saw it, necessary and important partners in the operation we
were doing.

In *35 Wallace tended away from those organiza­

tions and more toward cooperation with the Farmers Union, which
I am quite sure they thought of as the farm organization which
would be built up in very close cooperation with the administra­
tion - not only in the Department of Agriculture, but generally.
There was a constant effort to get the A M amendments

The chief thing we were seeking was the power to license

and order rather than to operate on voluntary agreements.
had difficulty over the books and records clause.

We had

We had insist­

ed that the processors and manufacturers accept that voluntarily*
They just wouldn*t do so because they elaimed they were signing
away legal rights they might otherwise exercise in determining
to what extent the search of their books and records might go*
They were always willing to go to the fullest extent necessary
to determine whether the operation was conducted according to the

agreement said to check all of the offsets of that operation*
They were not willing, however* to agree* themselves, to an
•unlimited right to go into their "books and records*

On the

other hand* they said it was perfectly agreeable to them, if wa
would put them under license* order them to do these things*
and then to the

extent that they felt a search of books and

records was improper, they could resist it, under the law* and
let the law determine what the rights were*
In. trying to get that through* it was a lot more diffi­
cult to convince members of Gongress that it wasn’t some
sinister attest to override private interests than it was to
convince the manufacturers* who had been harrassed on this ques­
tion and now saw in this a way in which we could get going on
the attempt to stabilize some of the commodities*
sake so much trouble *

They dictet't

On first reading* it just looked like a

God-awful extension of federal powers over private business*
That, of course, was the basis of Senator Byrd’s opposition
during that period*

It wasn't so bad*

He fought the amend­

ments* but that* of course, was his perfect right*

I’d see

him occasionally and we discussed it*
1 recall the delay in getting the amendments out of the
Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Senator Smith - Cotton Ed -

in particular was slow to move on that one*
see Cotton Ed*

I used to go up to

^e always was very friendly to me*

I'd appeared

before M s committee almost endlessly# and vould sit beside

le was very bitter about wb&t be considered the insulting

attitude of the administration in ignoring M m aid overlooking

Be was at that time - or claimed to be - the Senator with

tbe longest continuous record of service in the body*

lie would

say, "Davis, what they do to me they wouldn*t do to a dog," and
then he’d go on and tell it* We used to sit in M s office*


loved to quote poetry and he loved to quote from the classics*
He had had a good classical education.
or he could give you Latin*

He could give you Greek

Since I had had a little of each#

I’m satisfied he did them correctly*

It wasn’t just mouthing*

Robert "Bobbie" Burns was one of M s favorites*

Ha loved to

put M s feet up on the radiator - I’d put mine up beside M m and then he’d talk poetry and quote from the classics and relax*
Now this was a perfectly trivial thing, but I think
Cotton Ed warmed up more as a result of one little thing that
happened during the hearings on the amendments*
fying and was seated on his left*

I’d been testi­

He was at the head of the

Senators would come In and out, and sometimes when they

were really interested in what was going on they’d ask that the
witness just hold up until they could return, saying that they
had to go and check in at some other committee meeting and record
their presence there and would be right back*

Some of the more

important agricultural Senators like Senator Arthur Capper and

Senator Fetes? Horbeck felt they had the
it was granted*

to ask that* find

So we hit one of those pauses*

was sitting beside me and we were chatting.
tobaeco chewer.

Senator Smith

Ha was a voracious

He just worked at it all the time*

This day

when we hit the pause I leaned over and I said, "Senator* this
is pretty dry work*

Will you give me a chew of your tobacco?"

He beamed and took out a plug, and I cut off a piece and took
it, and we used the same cuspidor and worked at it until the
Senators came back*

1 think he always liked me a little more

because of that*
I had chewed tobacco before, out in Montana when I*d
go fishing and hunting*

Smoking isn't so much good outdoors*

You can’t smoke a cigarette*

So I* along with everybody else,

used to stick a piece of chewing tobacco under my lip and go to
work on it*
I don't know*

I think the Senator felt that was the human touch.
Anyway, the amendments got out*

I don*t know

whether that had anything to do with it or not*
I think the following report from Orville Merton Kile *s
book, The Farm Bureau Through Three Decades, is double-jointed?
Davis told of a mysterious agricultural industries
conference whose makeup was secret and unidentified,
and it was stirring up publishers of weekly and
daily newspapers by threats that Triple-A amend­
ments would deprive news publications of advertis­
ing revenues*
I suspected some people of spreading a story that the processors
were going to withdraw advertising if the amendment was passed*

I don’t ever recall talking to Kile, and. I certainly didn’t say
anything of the sort in a Senate or House hearing*

As a matter

of fact, the processors with whom we were likely to deal were
the earners who dealt with the specialty crops out in the West*
the meat packers because we were always trying to

find some

way to handle meat that would be a simpler way than the old comhog program, and then, of course, sugar and tobacco*

There was

no relation between the debate over the Triple-A amendments and
the march on Washington on May llj. of Farm Bureau farmers*


not sure but vshat the Bankhead amendment was coming up, but that
had never been incorporated as a part of what we in the Department were fighting for*
quotas on cotton*
our own program*

I never liked it*

That put marketing

But that was not incorporated as a part of
That was Senator Bankhead’s baby*

This march on Washington was not on behalf of any amend*
ments or any particular legislation*

It wasn’t Farm Bureau*

It wasn’t asking for any­

It was Cully Cobb*

I remember

very distinctly Cully came In and he said, "You know. Chested8
* he has this Georgia accent - "the people from the cotton
states would like to send some folks down to Washington just to
corns down there to call on the President, call on the Secretary,
call on you, call on the others, just to express their appreci­
ation of what’s been done for them, and not to ask for anything,*1
That was the genesis of the so-called March on Washington*


wamed Mr* Cobb that the

thing vas loaded vith dynamite* but

as it vas presented and conceived it wasn’t nearly as big as
it finally turned out to be.

The bulk of it vas in the South,

and Cobb vas the grand commander of it*
I remember the occasion very veil#

We at least arranged

to have Constitution Ball* where different men in the agricul­
tural administration addressed them*

The Secretary spoke*


We arranged to have them all call on the President* and

believe me* that drove the secret service men white-headed.
They arranged that the President would greet some of the leaders
in the downstairs reception room* said then the portico vould be
thrown open which looks out over what really is the front of the
White Bouse - the side opposite Pennsylvania Avenue* looking out
on the elipse * and the farmers who vere not selected to greet
the President up on the porch and in the reception room vould be
massed out there, and he*d speak to them*
vas a lot of people*

They did* but that

I donft remember hov many*

There must

have been a thousand of them but I don*t think that there were
as many as three thousand*

Z talked to Boosevelt before about

it* and told him precisely vhat it vas conceived to be*


vas not a march on behalf of the Triple-A amendment *
Cully Cobb is quite an amazing person*
lucrative printing business*

X don’t think he’s any longer in

the newspaper or farm magazine business*

Is has a very

He prints large jobs*

like telephone directories• He's doing very well.

Cobh just

said that the boys wanted to come in and they wanted to say
thank you, and that's all they wanted to do.
paid their own way.

Most of them

A lot of these fellows had plenty of

I'm sure Cully Cobb*s psychology was that nothing could

be more calculated to impress Congressmen than a bunch of farmers
coming down, not asking for anything but just coming down to say,
^hank you for what you done.”

I know it worried me because t

didn't know to what extremes these people might go.
ment didn't pay their expenses down there.
nothing in particular

to do with it.

The govern­

The Barm Bureau had

The Farm Bureau, while

it's reasonably strong in the South, is not entrenched there.
Its strength is really in the northcentral states and in the

It wasn't the Farm Bureau.

sections boys had a lot to do with it.
Cully Cobb is quite a fellow.
deep south accent.

I think that the cotton
It was primarily cotton.

He's a tall lank Georgian with a

I don't know that Cully originated the idea,

but Cully was certainly the man who spoke to me*

So far as I

know, Cully was the Washington end of the march on Washington.
Plenty of enthusiastic cotton people in the South picked it up
and went ahead.
had been done.

They were appreciative.

They credited the Triple-A for it probably be­

yond what the Triple-A merited.
the picture.

They thought something

Many factors were at work in

At the time, the Soil Conservation Service’s coming back
into the Department had no effect on me*

It belonged there*

don’t knov that it made any impression on me*
able interest in vhat they vere doing*

I had a consider­

I had vatched the devel­

opment vith interest because the need for it vas apparent*
return didn’t mean a thing to me*



After the Hoosac Mills decision

throving the processing tax out* it achieved prominence*

We vere*

through the replacement crop section and otherwise, working for
the constructive productive use of land taken out of these cash

While this premised to have - and since has had - an

indirect influence in moving the South* particularly* tovard
livestock* thus indirectly creating more competition for the
northwest, it still vas the thing to do* and ve had been working
on that*

The Soil Conservation Service vas approaching it from

another angle*

I had studied some* during that period - although

I may always be a little wrong as to just when the timing vas the model state lavs for soil conservation districts* which vas
the keystone of the arch of the Soil Conservation Service*
vas quite interested in it*


M.L. was one of the men vith whom

I discussed those uniform state lavs*
The Resettlement Administration’s being set up outside
the Department didn’t have any effect on me* but it just struck
me as terrible organization*

It irritated the Secretary*


vas still more and more this business of having an under secre­
tary vho has outside responsibility and vho reports directly to

tha President* which is not good organization*
that Tugwell directly was on my back*

I never felt

ly chief complaint about

Tugwell was that he was the shelter for a lot of fellows who

3e never was offensive personally or officially*

never went after me*


He never attempted to interfere much

directly that I saw, and I certainly didn’t attempt to inter­
fere with him*

He was extremely pleasant*

In some respects

it was easier to go to Tugwell when he was acting Secretary
and get things clear than it was to get by the outer guard in
Henry Wallace's office*

It improved some after Beanie Baldwin

got out of that office*
Jim LeCron and Milo Perkins had come in as assistants to
the Secretary*

I don't think that made things any easier for me*

X think it didn't make a great deal of difference, although I
believe Tapp and Tolley - some of the boys who had more to do
with them in getting an order or an agreement or some document
cleared than X did - felt that Peifeins was a good man to woxfc
with and through, that he could understand and did understand*
X had that feeling myself*

If I pushed for direct access to

the Secretary, X could get it*

I'd just simply say, "I've got

to see him,” and there certainly was no closed door on Henry's

Those under me might have preferred to deal with Perkins

or with Jim LeCron rather than with Appleby*

I have that impres­

Around a Secretary's office things become specialized,


Perkins may have been one who was doing more with the

Triple-A as time went on.

I'm not quite sure about that*


have an idea the boys who were doing the clearing - the deputy
administrator* the heads of the important divisions - sought
to find the way they could get to the Secretary with the least
delay for approval of these documents which were numerous*


had to keep them flowing or they began to back up on you*


had no more trouble with the administration of Triple-A such as
1 had had with Victor Christgau*
Nils Olsen was replaced by A.&. Blaek in the BAS*
think that was due to two things*


t think Nils was more in the

old tradition of BAE, and I think about that time he had m
opportunity to go with the Equitable Life Assurance Society at
a pretty good salary and in woife which he could do*

1 may be

mixing up cause and effect, but I’m inclined to think both were
in the picture*
keep A.G-. Black*

There was certainly no desire on my part to
His training was in economies rather than in
I hadn’t thought of it sinee*

In view of the

fact that the Triple-A was working so closely with the BAE and
making use of BAE personnel to a very large extent, the chances
are the move appealed to me from the positive side, too*
However, Olsen had always been cooperative*
difficulty with Olsen*

Olsen had been extremely sympathetic and

helpful throughout the McNary-Haugen fight*

t had never had any

Not so much the

Triple-A, as such, but some of the developments within the
Department which he'd been observing* I think* didn't please

Olsen was shocked at some of the activities of men who

were stationed in the Department of Agriculture and in the

This was true of a good many of the old-timers in

the Department of Agriculture*

They felt that this was strange

behavior in a staid old Department.

I think most of the old-

line bureaus would gladly have been spared the activities of
the Triple-A*
I made many mistakes in the Triple-A time* but I think
one of the mistakes I would not repeat if 1 were doing it over
was bringing Black in on the job*

The respect I had for a man

I'd never met - which was the case when we asked him to come
in - was the respect for his position*

Be was head of the

farm economics department at Iowa State College at Ames* and
thatrs the leading com-hog state*

Just sitting in Washington

and looking at it from a distance* when we were hard-put to it
to get somebody there* he looked fine on paper*

Much of this

is information or reports that came to light afterward*

Be had

a leg in both camps* but he leaned more heavily toward the
group of leaders which I dismissed from the Department*

Be was

very sympathetic with Frank and the others all the way through*
In retrospect* I think his selection to go to the bureau - while
it pleased me to get him out of the Triple-A - was a calculated

move, all right, on the part of those 'who wanted M m in the BAE.
They felt it was more important in the long-run to have him
there than it was to have him stick in the Department*


of my associates such as Tolley and Tapp and others with whom
I counseled felt that we were losing much, in losing Black as
ah operator in the Department*

X don't think, myself, that

Black is very heavy either as an economist or as an administrator*
While the com-hog program was being run, Wiekard was the
man to whom the field reported* probably# more than anyone else*
It's my impression that Wickard did well in this position*
had some able state directors*


In the main, that was a pretty

smooth operation.
In June, 1935# Harry Hopkins and X went back to Grinnell*
Grinnell gave me my first honorary degree, and X am not sure
but what it was Harry's first*
out of it*

X know he got a great thrill

X didn't go with him*

X saw him there*

X had

mors time with him there, really, than we found together in

We sat around on the steps and talked*

course, quite a thrilling occasion for both of us*

It was, of
Pearl dug

out of her books and gave me yesterday /January 18, 19537 the
1912 college annual or yearbook with many pictures of Harry
Hopkins in it*

He was a member of that class*

I think he looked

more like the Harry Hopkins of 1935 in those college pictures
than nearly anyone else you could pick*
change much*

He didn't seem to

In July, 1935* I had no definite thoughts about staying
with the Triple-A for a long time, at all*

I wasn't thinking

about anything else but doing the job I was doing*
operating, I thought* pretty well*

things were

While I hadn't thought much

about it, I certainly had never thought of the government ser­
vice as a permanent career* at all.
pretty active bear by the tail*

All those years I had a

I wasn't thinking much of any­

thing else but how I was going to handle him*

Certainly that

summer of *35 wasn't marked at all In my mind as an unhappy

When the processing tax was brought into question*

there was nothing particularly new about that*
enough to believe it would be upheld*

I was naive

I felt it should be up­

I may have testified In favor of the Bankhead-Jones Act*
I don’t know*

I certainly wasn't opposed to it* but it wasn't

directly my baby.
Section 32 was a very useful amendment*

There hadn't

been too much income from it* and 1 thought it was supplemented
at that time by direct appropriations * That was Marvin Jones'
baby* In so far as 1 know*

It was always close to his heart*

He was the first man who ever mentioned It to me* and so far as
I know he thought it up* himself*

I think it's been an excellent

thing* particularly since it was broadened to permit its use for
distribution of surpluses domestically as well as abroad*


was a vestige of the old MeUary-Haugen Bill in using customs for
revenues instead of equalization fees* as we called it then*
Marvin had studied all that legislation and had been a part of

I’m inclined to think that originated with him.

The State

Department didn’t like it at all, but there were so many con­
tradictions in the Washington scene - and always are - that this
was a minor irritation* I imagine, to Cordell Hull*

I don*t

think it was a major one.
We were interested in the cotton program because of wh&t
was emerging*

The ,34~,35 contract had m m its course*


Bankhead had the Bankhead Bill* and we were beginning to have
sons troubles on the cotton loan due to the pressure of Senators*
particularly, trying to press for high price-fixing loans, while
we conceived of the loans as being floor loans - market support
loans but not price-fixing loans*

It was during that period

that we had some real difficulties attempting to avoid these
price-fixing loans on cotton*

Then we had, of course, the

Bankhead Act for market quotas* which we did not originate and
which X never liked.
According to newspaper reports, I threatened to resign
if the cotton-whsat bloc in the Senate succeeded in getting
high loans on these commodities*

The next day the newspapers

carried the quotation from me of "bunk**

That story was written

by Bob Allen, and it can be concluded that lt*s bunk from the outset

I never came to anyone and said* "Iha going to resign if X
don’t have this or I don’t have that.”

I’m sure I never did

We had trouble here* and it was a basic difference.


von one fight vith Mr. Roosevelt on this* in the face of a lot
of political pressure from the South*

This just Illustrates

that most of the illogical and radical steps in farm legisla­
tion don’t come up as a result of calculated moves on the part
of the farm leaders* the farm organizations* or generally the
people working closely vith them, but they’re due to some man’s
political interest which leads him to say* "Well* now* if a
ten-cent loan on cotton is a good thing* thirteen cents vhieh
is the market or a little above vould be that much better,” He
cosies out vith a proposal vhich puts the farm leaders completely
on the spot*

It’s hard to go home and say* nWe ’re opposing

Senator Bankhead*s proposal for a thirteen-eent loan on cotton*”
when all the other cotton Senators and Congressmen are support­
ing it.

It really puts farm leaders on the spot*

Ed O’Neal

has seen a great deal of that* beeause Bankhead came from his
state and Bankhead vas one of the most productive in that line*
Even among cotton Senators* Bankhead vas a political type of

He vanted to crovd Cotton Ed out of leadership*


vanted it to be "Cotton John" Instead of "Cotton Ed", and he
just about did it* too*
Cotton Ed* of course* vas vholly for the use of the loan
to support prices as high as they vould go*

They bought the

loan should be at the market at the time the loan went on so
any deeline could be prevented, so that the only way cotton
could move, if it moved any way at all, would be up#

It's my

conviction that some of these men in Congress had more than an
altruistic interest in the price of cotton#

I'm satisfied

that at least three or four of them held “long interests’* in
the cotton market, and were willing to use the introduction of
a bill or the reporting out of a bill, or a speech, for the
sake of its effect on the market#
thing in all this period,

That was a very complicating

I know that’s serious# but it's true*

It's true#
1 think it was at approximately this time that Oscar
Johnson and 1 went to see President Roosevelt.

It was a case

where we had the power to fix the loan rate on cotton#

The old

loan rate of, I think, ten cents was about to expire# and my
recollection is that the drive in the Senate was for a mandatory
thirteen-cent rate on cotton#

We did not want the cotton to be

locked up in government possession*

We wanted the cotton to

We wanted to hold the farm income up as well as possible*

We wanted to accomplish that*

Throughout the early days of the

Triple-A the sole thought was to secure that balance between
production and consumption for demand that would result in the
so-called parity price, or approximately the parity price* for

We didn't want to do that by passing & law saying that

cotton couldn’t be traded In at leas than thirteen cents* for
example, assuming that was the parity figure*

We didn*t want

to accomplish it by having the government say* "We *11 lend you
parity on your cotton*" which would mean the cotton would all
move into the government warehouses until the price
to the point where it could be sold*

moved up

What we wanted was a floor

loan* and then to let the market operate under market factors*
We were anxious to secure the adjustment in production that
would support it there* but we wanted the cotton to move to con­
sumption and not pile up and overhang the market*
That’s when we first worked out and tried the device
which* I think* in a very small and practical way used the prin­
ciple which Secretary Charles F* Brannon subsequently made the
basis of his so-called Brannan Plan*

In order to meet this

drive* we worked out this kind of an arrangement*

We would con­

tinue the loan at ten cents - or it may be that we proposed to
the President that we*d make It an eleven-cent loan - I’m not
sure just what we did - which was* if it were ten cents* about
three cents below the market*
been about two*

If it were eleven* it would have

The market may have been a little less than

thirteen cents at that time*

We told the President that then

we would agree* instead of making the outright loan for the full
amount, to make up to the cotton farmer who sold his cotton the
difference, if his sale was for less than the parity figure* on
the day that he sold it*

If the average of the ten spot markets


"• —

for cotton at time of sale was less than parity, we would pay
the difference up to and I think not to succeed two cents a
pound, something like that*

That was the deal that was made*

The President agreed to it, not withstanding the great pressure
for a thirteen-cent loan, which was, at that time, at or above
the market*

I’m not sure*

It was reported to one of the aforementioned Senators
the afternoon of the day we saw President Roosevelt that he’d
agreed to support our plan instead of the plan the Senators
were pushing*

Paul A* Porter is the man who told this Senator

what the arrangement was, and Paul Porter’s report to me was
that the Senator paced the floor of his hotel room aad just
literally seized his hair and shook It and said, "I'm ruined!
I’m ruined 1*

I don’t think he was ruined, hut I think he had

to forego a profit that he thought was a certain one on cotton
options he was holding*
Oscar Johnson and I went to see President Roosevelt about

It was a matter that required decision immediately*


wanted to outline our plan, but the President characteristically
started doing the talking and our time was up for the limited
appointment we’d been given before we’d had a chance really to
get into this*

So Oscar Johnson really pounded the desk and

said, "Now, we’ve got to tell you this," and then we went ahead
and the President listened*

It made sense to him and he agreed*

But we had to do some insisting to be heard, even, on the thing.
President Roosevelt loved to take the ball whan you had a confer­
ence with him and talk your time out.

He stayed put on it with­

out any wavering that year, but we lost the fight later on*
This thing is really very important as a principle in
the operation of the Triple-A*

It shows a basic difference in

The first of the commodity loans made was on com.

The corn belt people had thought this thing out very carefully,
and they had figured that a forty-five cent loan on c o m Was
right, that that would give safe insurance in the form of a
floor tinder prices, it would permit c o m to move to consumption
and not lock it all up by putting the loan price at or above
the market.

When sure that they weren’t going to lose anything,

the natural disposition of the farmers was to put It in storage
and gamble on a rise, because they were protected on the other
The responsible farm leaders, themselves, felt that mod­
erate below-the-market loans was the right principle to follow.
It was the political leaders who saw the short-term political
advantages of higher market prices.

That's why we began to get

ninety-cent loan plans on wheat and there was the threat that
all those things would be accomplished by law - the fiat of law
- and would be taken out of the hands of the administrators to

That was in this period*

I vas elected president of the Federal Surplus Commod­
ities Corporation*

That vas evidence of the trend away from

RFC and tovard the Department operations*

It vas one of tbs

branches of the Commodity Credit Corporation*

It vas just an

I don*t remember being more tense In the fall of 1935 #
and I don't identify any particular development vith the fall
of '35*

I remember several things vere coming on*

For instance,

some of the northeastern Senators m & Congressmen - not tbe
farmers - vere pushing this potato

control act* vhich of course

vas a hot potato and it seemed to me utterly unworkable under
the principles they proposed ve should follov*
posing it all X could*

I remember op­

That vas one development in the fall of

It vas in the fall of *35 * also, that ve had one of out*
policy conferences at Kt* Weather* September 20* 21* and 22*


vas composed of the top-flight people in the Department* in­
cluding some of the old Department*

Tolley attended this meet­

ing as head of the division of program planning*

The press gave

a good deal Cf attention to the order ve sent out barring politi­
cal solicitations from farmers or the use of our organization in
polities* at all*

In speeches and newspaper releases in this

period 1 defended the farm program and at the same time tried
to do everything I could to get a favorable understanding of
the operation of the farm act*


In December, 193$, 1 went out to Sacramento to speak at
quite a large meeting and a hostile meeting because the men who
attended the meeting in the state capital represented the
specialty crops in California*

We were at that time working

pretty hard on the reciprocal trade agreements, and there was
great opposition*

1 attempted to defend the whole picture, 1

met my brother Frank there*
the train*

X was expecting him to meet me att

He had written that he would*

in Kern County at Bakersfield*

X hadn*t been out to California

I went out there again in *36 .

first visit to California*

He was then living

I think that was my

X know X hadn't visited California

before I became Triple-A administrator* and I don't think I
visited the state at all until this time*

X recall our pre­

occupation at this meeting with the specialty crops* particularly
their concern over the tariff adjustments that were being proposed*
It was grand to see my brother*

X remember being very much sur­

prised at how fat he had grown*

We were all thin*

How I under*

stand it perfectly* because I weigh now about what he did at that
It was very interesting to attend the national corn-husking
contest in Indiana*

That's an amazing thing*

That was in Novem­

ber* 1 imagine* 1935 * We had an estimated crowd of 100*000 * %
to that time it was certainly the biggest crowd of people X had
ever seen*

There was a picture taken of me congratulating the


He vas a good kid*

I have a picture taken of Henry

Wallace, Cliff Gregory, Dean Skinner of Purdue, and myself*
January 6 , 1936, vas a day of great disappointment*
That vas the day the Supreme Court ruled, invalidating the
processing tax of the Triple-A.

X remember clearly the flash

coming in and a hurried meeting of the chiefs*

X vas in my

office vhen ve got the bulletin, and later the whole story*
X vas really very much surprised and, of course, disappointed*
X felt the case had been ably handled so far as X knew - so
far as ve vere concerned*
It's an odd thing*

The man who wrote that decision,

Oven J* Roberts, vas, X think, quite pleased vith it at the

X think today he's not so pleased vith it*


interesting thing is that in the meantime Owen Roberts and I
have become good friends*

We have quite a number of mutual

interests ranging all the vay from soil and vater management
problems to the vhole problem of an international order - some
vorld organisation - without ’
which we 're going to have continued

It's a subject to vhich he's devoted much of his later

Then, he's on the board of the Fund for the Advancement

of Education - one of the independent agencies supported by the
Ford Foundation to handle its activities in the field of formal

X really adnire him very much, but I didn' t think

much of him that day*

There *3 no question but what that was an

honest opinion on his part*

I think that as he's reflected

over the thing, just a few things he's said have led me to
think that he may not feel quite so cocksure that he was right*
I felt then and feel now that he could just as well have ruled
the other way on the thing*
It meant, of course, the issued!ate reeasting and reorgani­
zation of the Agricultural Adjustment Act*

I remember the meet­

ing when Marvin Jones, Cotton Ed Smith, Wallace* Earner Cummings,
and I were called to the White House by the President on Jfeauary

6 * I can't describe it*

I remember Roosevelt reading the opinion

and Homer Cummings reading Justice Harlan Stone's dissent*


don't know whether the decision was reached at that time as to
the form the new legislation should take, but I think it was
agreed we'd move immediately to recast the law so that we'd con­
tinue as a going concern*

It's my understanding that it was

agreed then to go right ahead*

It didn't mean the end of the

Triple-^ because we had so much beside that activity going on*
I remember distinctly when the idea was first suggested
to me that we make soil conservation the objective*

This idea

was first raised by two newspaper men who came in to see me Felix Belair and Russell Wiggins*

Felix Belair was with the

New York Times and Russell Wiggins with the St* Paul Pioneer
Press and Dispatch - he's the man who succeeded Stedman*
came in to see me*


Of course, these boys knew the Triple-A

operation as well as if they*d been in the department•
been covering the activities*

They ’d

They knew that we had placed a

great deal of stress on the use of the so-called rented acres that was the term that we used in some of our commodity contracts
• for soil-building purposes*

They just made the proposition -

made the suggestion - HWhy don’t you make this your objective
and put your emphasis on the positive use of land for these

You’ll have to have appropriations, but go out with,

authority to secure the adjustments by encouraging the use of
a portion of the land for soil-building purposes*

‘That will

have its incidental effect on the concentration of land use on
cash crops where the full use of acreage isn’t needed.”


didn’t take very long to get the law whipped up In that shape*
As far as I know, it was their Idea*
If they’d thought this all up by themselves*

I didn’t ask them
The press that

covered the ©apartment were always close and, in the main, very
kind to me*

These boys were representative of the best*


was nothing strange about it - that they’d come in with an idea
- because they were free to do that all the time*

I’d hate to

admit how many good ideas for which 1 got credit were proposed
by the boys from the press gallery*
tinctly, and I dicta’t question it*
generating it*

Either one was capable of

How, maybe somebody discussed it with them before

they came to see me*

This is one I remember dis­

I don’t know*

It was so soon after the

sixth that they earns to see me that I was still in a stunned
I’m inclined to think that we would have arrived at the
same place, probably*
it was a natural*
placement section*

It might not have sparked in my mind* bat

Joseph F* Cox had been head of our crop re­
He was always pressing for it*

X thought

for a while there that every time I opened my office door he*d
fall in*

He was right there*

Others* too* recognized the

importance of the constructive use of land for soil-building
purposes as an important part of a program*

X have


that in some way we would have come out at about the same
place *
I don’t remember the Farm Bureau board of directors
meeting on January 9» 193&, at the Baleigh Hotel*
was his idea*

He was general counsel*

I knew Donald

X would doubt that it

X would doubt* for example* that he had any con­

tact with the two newspapermen*

Kile in his book says that

Kirkpatrick* Fred Lee, Noel T* Dowling of Columbia* O’Neal,
Sari Smith and X worked it out and sold it to Marvin Jones*
The only thing that bothers me about that story is the Fred
Lee part*

Fred was no longer in the Department*

He* I’m in­

clined to think* was still counsel for the alchohol control
board when he left there to open up his own private practice*
Noel Dowling was a professor of law at Columbia University and
a close friend of Fred Lee(s* and had formerly been in Senate

legislative counsel*

I remember consulting Dowling at that

time, probably# and I certainly remember working with him on
some legislation*

Fred and I had been called in on it*


would be more inclined to think that we worked primarily with
the solicitor’s office, our own legal division there*

Xf the

Farm Bureau played any large part in the Soil Conservation and
Domestic Allotment Act, it

has skipped my mind*

They were

very much concerned with getting this thing straightened out*
and they certainly supported it all the way through*

I’m skepti­

cal as to Kile’s statement that they played the leading role in
its development*

They certainly were a powerful factor, as they

were all the way through, in support of the Tripled and in get­
ting the law passed*
After the invalidation of the Triple-A, unscrambling idle
processing tax was quite a problem*

X remember the conferences

we had with the treasury on what should be done with the taxes
that had been collected*

Worgenthau*s position differed from

X think Morgenthau!s position was that the money had to

be given back to the processors from whom they were collected*
Ours was in favor of a windfall tax that would recover all the
back payments from them so they wouldn’t get to keep the money*
Wallace would have been very strong for the recapture so it
couldn’t serve as an Income windfall to anybody*


never had been sympathetic with the processing tax*

On the

other hand, he wouldn’t have favored a windfall to anybody, X

don't think*

I don't recall what ho did do about it*


of course, was in and out of counsels all the time*


wouldn't he any question about his interests, also*

I don’t

recall any difference of opinion there*

We had to seek to find

a way to recapture that money so that it wouldn’t be repaid to
processors who had already passed It on in added costs to the
consumer or taken it out of the producers* as the case might

You could never tell which happened*
I don't remember just how they worked it out, or whether

it was irorked out*

I don't recall that there was any great

lobby centered on Washington to try to get that money*

I think

the problem was more to find a practical way in which that end
could be accomplished, because most of the large processors, as
I recall it, who came in to discuss the problem were quick to
acknowledge that they didn’t want the tax income* that it was
already covered In their business*

I don’t recall that we had

to contend with a lobby or any pressure In favor of retention
of the money*

X Imagine that any business enterprise that had

been hard pressed would have secretly hoped they'd be permitted
to keep the windfall, but X don’t recall any open activity on
it at all at that time*
I don’t recall that Howard Tolley was called back from
the Pacific Coast on January 10*
was gone*

I don’t even recall that he

X don’t remember who recalled him*

I'd worked with

R.M. "Spike” Evans long before that*
imagine, in *33 #

Spike Evans I*d met, I

was chairmm of the com-hog comit tee

for Iowa, and I was in his office repeatedly In Des Moines*


Secretary called Hint to Washington to be one of his assistants
about that tints*

Spike was an affable and pleasant gentleman*

He’d been with the Triple-A as a state man*

He was head of the

Iowa committee*
The intention of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allot­
ment Act was to divert land from cash crop production to soil
building and constructive uses*

We still kept the adjustment

Idea where the crop was in too great supply and the prospect
was that more land would be devoted to a particular line of pro­
duction - wheat, cotton, some other large acreage crops - than
the market needed or could absorb at the parity price*

The ob­

ject was to put the emphasis on getting that land shifted to
uses that were soil building and soil preserving*

The Supreme

Court decision hit the tax from which we got the money*
alternative was to turn to the treasury for the funds*


in the long run it was just as justifiable one way or the other*
At the time, X didn’t think so*

1 had been brought up to think

that each, commodity ought to pay the costs of its own stabiliza­

That grew out of the McITary-Haugen legislation*

think I consciously changed my mind at this time*

I don»t

I still think

the processing tax was right*

But, on the other hand, to justify the original Triple-A

or the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act* they mast
be held to serve a public purpose*

I think the public purpose

was served from the standpoint of enabling a large section of
the economy of the United States to stabilize its operations*
That was pretty difficult when there were six million units
operating independently without a nerve center in government
and the use of some government powers to assist them*

In my

judgment it had proved to be impossible to do what needed doing
solely through voluntary action uncoordinated by the government*
All the way through, my contention had been that the Triple-A
was serving its purpose of soil conservation and the building
up of the ultimate productivity of the land*
I made a talk In 1936 at Northwestern University*

It was

entitled "The Grass Revolution0* and pointed out what had been
accomplished under the Agricultural Adjustment Act in putting
grass on acres that had been subject to erosion and soil loss
when they were being used for sorry and unproductive crops of
cotton and corn*

It was a pretty good speech*

wrote it for me - Francis Flood.

A good man

Francis worked that out* and

he did an awful good job of it*
Hugh Bennett and the soil conservation people didn't like
the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act* at all*


felt that we were coming in and stealing the child out of their

It was their responsibility*

They were operating through

the soil conservation districts to bring about developments on
a watershed or soil district unit basis rather than a one-farm

They were very single-minded about it*

They had a

missionary zeal for it which still exists in the minds of the
hard corps of operators in the head office and out in the field*
They were doing, and have done, an excellent job*

They, perhaps

more than anybody else, were responsible for spreading the view
- and they did it in all honesty - that we were just simply
reaching out acid grabbing soil conservation as 4 prop to go
ahead and do the thing we had set out to do originally in the

That was true, except as to the motive.

We had al­

ways felt that this was an important, even though collateral,
objective of the Triple-A*

It marked an advance In our think­

We were kicked into it by the Hoosac Mills decision, but

it was an advance in our thinking in my judgment.
Outside of Hugh Bennett and his associates, 1 don*t re­
call that we had any particular hassle within the department
about it, but there was that ideological difference there.
Hugh didn’t want to be messed around with us at all.

Be came

in to see me and we talked about It*

Hugh was very possessive

about the Soil Conservation Service*

!efd stayed with the idea

in the Department from the time when he was a lone voice crying
in the wilderness*

Be had hammered away at it*

the original legislation.

He had proposed

Be had got his Soil Conservation Ser­

He was moving with it*

Be felt that we were dragging M m

into politics and everything else that was bad*
reassure him*

I tried to

Aside from very proper protests within the De­

partment, so far as 1 know the Soil Conservation Service and
Hugh Bennett never did anything to hamper the operation of the
Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act.

I think subse­

quent developments may have shown that his fears were justified*
After the next reorganization Mxich created the Production and
Marketing Administration, there was plenty of evidence that it
was moving into a political arm.
That is something that I tried to guard against.

So far

as I know, we were clean as far as the Triple-A was concerned.
I remember once when we were asked - the message was relayed* I
think, through Jim Parley1s office through Julian Friant who was
a special assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture put in to
act as the political liason with Mr. Farley - to rush out checks
to one state, and in particular to one Congressional district,
prior to an election that was being contested there.
have been the f3i|. election*
declined to do It*

That would

We were put tinder pressure and we

When I explained the circumstances to Farley,

nothing further was heard about it.

The circumstances were that

we had the payment set up in a normal and a routine manner, and
to disturb that to suit any political purpose could well be

Once you open the gate, you know, you just cantt stop

doing that in all cases.

While we were charged, from time to

time, with having gotten payments out, or something, with aa
election time In view, so far as I know that never happened*
So far as I know, that didn't happen intentionally, but co­
incidentally it cottld happen.

In some cases the checks might

have com© out before an election because» vith the size of
that operation and the number of individuals who were receiving
those checks* it was a pretty constant operation*

That was the

only timo that I remember that anybody asked us to do that# and
it was an eastern state - not a southern or western state*


don’t remember which one it was* but it was not one of the
large agricultural states*

It might have been Maryland*

I don't know who wrote the Soil Conservation and Domestie
Allotment Act*

I think Mastin (?* White - who succeeded Seth

Thomas as solicitor - and his group had the final say about it
and cooperated in its drafting*

1 know 1 sat in on it*


would have been a perfectly normal thing to have recalled Kt*ed
Lee to work with us, but I don't know whether we did*

Fred Lee

for years had been head of the Senate legislative counsel*


my experience, he's the best draftsman I have ever worked with*
Fred might have been called back an that*
would have come*

I don't remember*


Whatever his feelings might have been over the

George Peek episode - he was completely devoted to and loyal to
George Peek - Fred would always take time to counsel when 1
wanted to call him about anything*

January* 19S^*

That 's true as of today

I don’t recall who named It* at all*
oped in conference*

Nobody said, "You take this and name it*®

It was developed In conference*
original suggestion*
it that*

I don’t know who made the

I think we probably just started calling

Domestic Allotment was a well-known name*

went back to 1928 or before*
vation was well known.

I think It devel­

It was well known*

It really

Soil Conser­

It was a perfectly normal and natural

TJaquestionably, M.L. Wilson was consulted on this thing*
The bill weus passed and signed on March 2, 1936# and

that marked substantially the end of my service as Triple •A

1 was tired, for one thing*

I had been telling

myself that I would see this thing through until we got the
bill passed# and then I’d take a little rest and look around*
This Hoosac Mils decision and the activities there marked a
new stage# a new day*

We’d finished one chapter*

I’m quite

sure that the idea of fixing a date to leave began to take
shape in my mind after the Hoosac Mills decision*

I began to

think in such terms as, ’’Well, now* I’ve got this responsibility
of staying here until we get that done*”
lly mother didn’t die until after that*

It was the fall

of ’36 , after I had become a member of the board of governors
of the Federal Reserve System*
first stages of organization*
I’d hunt another scene*

I wanted to stay through the
Then I was beginning to think

I*d left sore spots, of course* around the Department by
all these things*

You can’t operate actively and in some cases

aggressively in a Department without having people around who
would be happier if you were not there.
lished about all that I could.

I felt I had accomp­

My old friend Paul Appleby

would have been extremely happy at any time after the purge to
see me out of there* 1 know*

I think that was true generally

of the boys surrounding the Secretary*

X think that would

have been true of LeCron, certainly of Baldwin* I think also of

It was true of Wallace*

There was this growing feel­

ing that the next stage of Henry Wallace*s life would be definite­
ly political rather than agricultural*
all this time*

That had been growing

They were taking Henry up on the mountain and

showing him the wealth beneath* but Henry hadnH bought it*
There were signs* however* that lie was unconsciously shifting
his direction*

He was no longer personally consulting people

like Cliff Gregory, Earl Smith* and others who had been his
friends in the early days.

He was consulting more and more* X

think* Bill Thatcher of the Farmers Union grain cooperative

He was becoming a power*

I think James G. Patton

was beginning to emerge as a handyman around the Department*
I think the feeling between the Extension Service and the I m d
grant colleges and the Secretary's office was less cordial than
it had been*

I wasn't aware of any change in my relationship with

Wallace • Sometime daring this period I had seen what pur­
ported to be a copy of the letter he had written Jerome Frank
within a matter of weeks - a very short period - after he was

It was shocking to me*

It surprised m

Henry and I have never discussed that*

a great deal*

After the reorganiza­

tion following the purge was complete* I don’t recall that he
and 1 ever sat down and retraced our steps* with his saying*
"Chester, we handled that wrong, ” or "We should have done other­
wise •*

1 don’t think we ever discussed it*

uncomplimentary to me only by inference*

Shat letter was

It took the position

that a tragic mistake had been made for which be felt not only
regretful but deeply apologetic*

That did shock met

At the

time I found it hard to believe*

But it wasn’t a case where I

would want to go to Henry and say, ’’Look, what goes on?” because,
after all* it was his right to change his mind*
his mind if he wanted to.

He could change

I don’t believe that Henry showed any

evidence of a lack of confidence in me during that period*
don’t recall that he did.


I think we worked hand and glove in

the period folloving the Supreme Court decision*
While some of the drifts in the Department which have
been described were part of the scenery of the time* I think my
major consideration was that after all, I’d been there; I’d gone
through the exciting and productive years of this organization*
A lot of the bloom had worn off of it.

It was just then going

into tla© administration of a different act*

1 found ayself

thinking more and more, "Well, this vould be a good time


change your scene and tackle something else."
There wasn’t any clean-cut decision to leave the Depart­
ment in 1936 such as my going to Wallace and saying# "I want to
resign** or Wallace coming to me and saying* ”1 want you to re­

As soon as ve got the Soil Conservation and Domestic

Allotment Act on the books and got things moving toward its
administration* the suggestion vas made that I make a trip to

% don't knov whether that came directly from the Presi­

dent or indirectly* but the chances are it came indirectly*


think that also vas probably motivated by friends who vanted me
to take a rest*

1 moved right from the reorganization work to

plans for the trip* which vas a very interesting and pleasant

Mrs* Davis and I left in the middle of March*

resign before I vent to Europe*

1 didn't

I had seen what had happened

to Peek* but 1 didn’t have any of that feeling at the time*
There probably vas something of it in this picture*
I'm quite sure that Russ Wlggln vas the first one that
raised the question in my mind whether I vould like to be a
member of the board of governors of the federal Reserve System*
It hadn't occurred to me because 1 felt at the time that f prob­
ably knew less about the Federal Reserve System and its operations
than any man in the country.

It vas interesting*

It was an

interesting suggestion and a new field*

I carried that with me

in lay mind on the European trip.
On my return 1 resigned, all right* and 1 was completely
happy about the change•
point in the work*

1 thought I had come to a good stopping

It was in good shape to go on.

However* X

am sure there were plenty of people in the Department who looked
on my departure with relief*
My operating relationship with Wallace was still good*
I had the feeling that we were not as close as we used to be*
I was classified in Henry* s mind more or less with the group
that was being left behind* as far as he was concerned*


didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back on It X
don’t have much doubt that there had been a great deal of discuss ion about it and that my recommendation commended itself to
some of the policy people close to Henry as a good way out - and
it was certainly one that pleased me*
t talked to the President at the time he broached this
new appointment*

X had not talked to him about leaving the

'Triple-A, but the discussion X had with the President was in
terms of my having completed at least a clean-cut section of the
life of the Triple-A*

I don’t think it would have concerned me

much if I had known there were plans to try to open the gate
and let me get out of the corral.

The trip to Europe sounded awfully good.

to Europe.

It wouldn't have bothered me
X had never been

X submitted a report to the President on the market
situation as it appeared to me in relation to tile agricultural
export situation*

That really vas a matter of considerable

interest to me and to most other people In the Department at
that time*

We vere working, on one hand, cooperatively vith

Mr* Hull on his reciprocal trade agreements*

X used to sit

on some of the advisory groups on commodities over in the State

At the same time, ve vere carrying on a domestic

program which vas not in all respects harmonious vith Mr. Hull*s
plan for multilateral freedom in trade.

Xt raised interesting

problems, and X was glad to get a first-hand viev and talk to
some of the people in Europe about it.
The only steps vhich vere taken vhich might have been
calculated to find me a dignified and satisfactory exit from
the Triple-A vere the suggestion that somebody * X think Henry
Wallace - made to the President that X vould make a good agri*
cultural representative on the reserve board, - and the European

Those two things - although the first man who mentioned

the reserve board thing to me vas Buss Wiggins*

X think Mr*

Stedman, probably, vho vas a close friend of Buss Wiggins, may
have picked up the report about the same time and talked it
over vith me*
Tolley was certainly my recommendation for taking over
the Triple-A*

In so far as the Secretary regarded my advice,

he vas hand-picked.

X think Wallace had a high regard for Tolley*


Wallace's standpoint, lie vas preferable, perhaps, to

Tapp vhom 1 regarded very highly as an executive.

Still, Tolley

had been the senior and he out-ranked Jesse Tapp in the TripleA.

I think Howard vas the right selection although in some

respects It vasn't a kindness to him,

1 think Howard is a very

good general economist in general, as veil && a good agricul­
tural economist*

X think he has good program sense, good balance,

but he isn*t too much at ease as an administrator or as an exec­

X think it vas a tough job for Howard, and X think when

he vas given the opportunity to r8turn to the Bureau of Agricul­
tural Economics as its chief he vas much more at home*

From all

I’ve heard, he gave the Bureau of Agricultural Economics excel­
lent direction and vas one of the best chiefs the bureau has had*
X arrived in England about the l6th of March*
slow trip*

We took a

We took a freighter vith a limited passenger list*

It put out at Baltimore*

Its name vas the City of Havre* Xt

vas one of these leisurely, delightful ships, and it vas restful
going over*
One of the highlights in Europe vas an interview vith
Hjalmar Schacht*

X met him in Germany*

The interview vith

Benito Mussolini vas a very interesting one*

The State Depart­

ment had discouraged any attempt to meet Adolf Hitler*

While I

talked vith Hitler’s minister of agriculture and a number of
prominent Nazis, the analysis Schacht gave of Genaany's position

with respect to dollar exchange and its gold reserve was one of
the clearest statements of the problem which the tftiited States

The problem of the United States was to get away from

its debtor psychology and over into recognition of the fact
that we*d either have to continue to give means of payment if
we continued our export business, or we would have to give the
other people an opportunity to trade us goods and services in
much larger quantities than before*

Sehacht made it clear that

they had a great many commodities in surplus which the Tfcited
States might use* and they had great need for our cotton and
certain other agricultural exports - but cotton In particular*
Be made It clear that the dollar price of the cotton wasn’t t&e
important thing - It was the opportunity to exchange goods* They
just didn’t have the gold and they didn’t have the dollars to buy

Be was quite analytical in tracing our tariff history*

and assigned to our course a great deal of responsibility for
the development - and he saw it the necessary development - of
autarchy in Germany*
Mussolini’s was an extraordinarily interesting meeting*
I remember that distinctly*
the height of his power*
phrases - greetings*

I saw him alone*

I had practiced tip on one or two Italian

After that 1 was through, with Italian* and

I wasn’t too sure about his English*
no interpreter*

He was right at

Sobody was with me*

I had

Our ambassador to Italy was then in the tfcited



charge was Alexander Kirk, who subsequently has

had a considerable diplomatic career*

He was the scion of the

Kirk soap family, and a delightful, accomplished diplomat, all

He took me to the courtyard where the guard stopped us*

Then hs was required to drop me, and I passed from hand to
hand to the entrance of the big room*
very bare*

And it was a big room -

I marched down one side of it* and Mussolini arose

and gave me the salute, and I shot my Italian greeting to him
and he smiled and he said, "Good morning*
Then I sat down*

I*m happy to see you**

He spoke in fluent and excellent English*

had no difficulty in comprehending anything I said*
interested in the American political scene*


He was very

fhat was before

either of the conventions, of course* and that was $&?* Roosevelt’s
first opportunity for re-election*
was the second*

Se>*d run one heat* and this

It then looked as if Alfred M* London of Kansas

would be the Republican nominee*

Ve discussed it freely and I

told him what 1 thought the election prospects were as they
looked to me, that I thought the Republicans would nominate
Landon and would have nothing very clean-cut or definite to
offer as against the Roosevelt program, as a result of which
they wouldn’t get many electoral votes*

He nodded and he said*

wYes, that squares tdth my reports from the United States*
think the Republicans are very inefficient” - about which I
chuckled a little*


I vas very much Interested is the signs of growing mili­
tarization, but not vorried about it as much as the times
warranted, however.

Hitler had just reoccupied Idle Rhineland,

and Germany vas full of military signs.
before I came to Italy*
ning to grow.

1 had been in Germany

The clouds over Spain vere just begin*

I brashly questioned him about Spain, and report*

ed this country's great interest in peace and the maintenance of
peace * in going through this period vithout war.
talk me on peace*

He could out*

He vas very peaceful.

The Ethiopian affair vas on then.
the night Mussolini addressed it.

We attended an 11adunata*,

Addis Ababa had fallen, but

official vord was not released to the Homan people until they
vere all ready for the big celebration * the adunata. Mrs. Davis
and I vere in a shop a day or tvo after I'd seen Mussolini*
We'd seen the pope after our interviev vith Mussolini.


really had a big day - a private audience vith the Pope, too «
a charming person.

Hy wife vas hot Catholic*

She's just as

middle*vestem Protestant as anybody could be, although she
doesn't work at the church very much.

We had friends vho were

high in the Catholic Church that volunteered to arrange it, and

It vas pleasant.
On the day following that ve vere in a shop about four

o'clock in the afternoon.
the city.

Whistles and bells began to sound in

The shopkeeper, just without apologies or anything

else, said, "Shop's closed.“

Then ve went out, and everywhere

they vere putting up shutters on the shop windows, and people

were beginning to stream toward the Venice Palace - Palazzo
Venezia - there where the big meeting was to be*

We got eaught

in the biggest crowd I ever saw, with one exception*
think Ifve seen one a little bigger.

Later I

It was five times as big

as the crowd at the corn-husking contest*

It looked to me as

though a half million people were packed into that square and
in the streets and avenues going to it*
We heard his speech.

It was quite a time*

Of course# ve spoke English*

We were

caught in the middle of that big crowd# and English was not a
popular language in Home at that time*

There was a lot of

Henry Taylor wasn’t there*
him there*

Taylor was back home*

Clyde Marquis had succeeded
The Farm Foundation had been

established or was then being established* I*m not quite sure*
Bat Henry Taylor had returned and Clyde Marquis was there*


saw him and his wife*
It was an extremely interesting and pleasant trip*
was restful except that it was all official*
little chance to cut loose and be free*

There was very

We had a delightful

motor trip which took us from the Hague to Essen*
into Berlin by train*

Then we went

Then we left Berlin by automobile and

drove to Vienna* Prague, and Budapest*
by train*


Then we went on to Borne

Crossing Germany* Czechoslovakia* Austria* and seeing

something of Hungary was an excellent experience - extremely

I think one of the clearest impressions I got was

of the economic crime of dividing a country which makes an
economic whole, for political reasons*

^he old Dual Monarchy

with Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary had made a country
in which manufacturing had developed in one part, mining* timber*
and so forth pretty much in another* and agriculture in the

In Austria they were complaining that the Hungarians

were converting some of the breweries in Budapest into textile

When I got to Hungary they were complaining that the

Austrian* were trying to grow wheat on top of the Alps*
that kind of a deal*

Of course, it was very unstable economically.

It was a grand trip*

When I got home* the federal reserve

matter had been pretty well set with the President*
to him*

It was

I reported

He expressed the hope that I could arrange to make a

few speeches on the trading situation, in Europe*

I did so*


was at St* Paul when I received the telegram telling me that
the President had sent my name to the Senate for appointment to
the board of governors*

The President had talked to me about It,

and 1 had expressed interest in it*
the speaking trip*

Then 1 had skipped off on

1 was still administrator of the Triple-A*

A commentator's column on June 2 said that I would
accept & $f>0,000 job in Chicago*
there wasn't anything to it*
and Allen1s statements*

It was like a good many of Pearson's

They were dug up by somebody with a

pretty strong policy angle*

It was in Drew Pearson’s column*

I rate them about seventy-five

percent wrong.

There was nothing to that, though it was a great

But X did have, at that time# the offer from Sears# Hoe*
buck and Company to go with them in an executive position* which
at least had the opportunity in it of advancing to and beyond

This was before X left Washington but after my return

from Europe before X left on the speaking engagements.
General Wood who was then president of Sears.
he*d become chairman of the board then.

X met

I don't think

With him X met General

Westervelt* who was assistant to the president in charge of
their production operations.

We met in the Army and Navy Club

and sat and discussed the opportunities at some length.

X re*

member very clearly what was in my mind in preferring the federal
reserve and rejecting this opportunity* which wasn*t an offer of
a $50,000 a year job but nevertheless did have the promise of a
great deal more money.

Sears* of course* as one of the leading

mail-order firms* was developing an enormous and a successful
chain store operation with retail outlets.

Like the other chains*

it had legislative problems - not* perhaps* in Washington so much
as in some of the state capitals.

But still it had a very broad

While nothing was ever said to me to indicate any

interest whatever in capitalizing on any acquaintance or standing
X might have in Washington# it was in my mind that the move to
any concern - any industrial or business operation - which had

any interests ox* problems in Washington, vould carry vith it
an obligation for me to do vh&t I could as the need and oppor­
tunity developed, to vork on their problems there as veil as
someplace else*

It vas distasteful to me# and still would be#

to go into a situation where 1 vould more or less cash in on
experience and acquaintances I'd acquired at the publie expense
for a private operation or for my own advancement*

It vas jnst

a little distasteful# and the Federal Beserve spot wasn't*
I told General Wood and General Westervelt that in all
ways I felt this Federal Beserve offer vas just made to order*
It involved approximately fifty-percent increase in Income# and
I had gone in debt# in part on my insurance# while 1 vas in
Washington# as people do*
you*re doing*

You don’t pay any attention to what

I vieved it as a leisurely opportunity to sit on

a dignified board and learn something about which X vas not in­

The fact was that it looked like an awfully good place#

and it proved to be.

It really vas a wonderful experience -

fifteen years vith the Federal Beserve*
This is one thing of vhich 1 vas reasonably sure*


the Federal Beserve had not been responsible to the extent most
of the farmers of that period believed it to be for the deflation
in *20 and ’21 , nevertheless I felt convinced that it vould be
possible to contribute something toward safeguarding against a
situation like that in the future*

1 felt that I could interpret

and understand the agricultural interests in this# if nothing


So altogether it looked like & good deal* and I told

General Westervelt and General Wood that 1 appreciated their
offer very much, tout this* if it came my way* was what I was
going to do.

That was the outcome.

They were very pleasant.

I talked to my wife about these openings* and I talked
to her about my own preference for the Federal Reserve. At
that time* she agreed with me.

We've had a fairly close asso­

ciation with Sears since then.

I was president first and then

chairman of the board of a national society - Friends of the

It wasn't founded until 193&*

I helped get Edward <7*

Condon (one of the Sears executives) Interested in Priends of
the Land* and he succeeded me as president Mien I subsequently
became chairman of the board* so I was very close with Ed Condon.
Russell Lord* Louis Bromfield* and Dr. Charles Holzer
were the three who came to see me in Washington before t left to
go to St. Louis.

That would have been around 1940•

$hey told

me they had founded this society which aimed to hold before the
American people - and particularly the people in the cities who
weren't exposed to the problems of conservation and land manage­
ment that the people are exposed to out in the country - the
importance of handling our land and water so as to preserve its
productivity for the future and actually enhance it.

They told

me their plans to form local chapters* and their arrangement
for the new magazine - a quarterly - The Land, which Russell

Lord vas to edit*

I counseled vith them some about possible

ways of financing* which of course is always a big problem in
such an enterprise.

Then I shortly after moved to St, Louis,

They cams to see me in St* Louis about bringing their
annual meeting to St* Louis, perhaps in the vinter of *ij.l«’i}.2»
It vas very early*

I helped organize loeal cooperation*

held their meeting there*

It fascinated met


It vas a very

interesting proposition*
I donrt think 1 vas elected president of friends of the
Lend at the St, Louis meeting, but shortly after that I was* Dr#
Holzer, vho had been president, vas failing in health a little
bit and vas tremendously busy*

la practiced at Gf&llipolis, Ohio

He vas very busy and wasn’t able to do more than just give a
little local attention to the Soeiety in Ohio, so I became pregi

Then subsequently, when Sd Condon became interested, his

contacts vere such that he vas much more effective than I In
money raising and bringing dependable support back of SWLends
of the Land*

I agreed to be chairman of the board if Ed would

come in as president*
In the late •fyO*s*
succeeded me*

I resigned as chairman of the board only

William C* Bailey of Clarksville, Tennessee,

He’s one of the leading agricultural bankers in

the country, and a few years ago was president of the American
Bankers Association*

He’s a man vho has done so much through

his bank to build up income and safeguard the land around there*

I resigned completely from the Friends of the Land when
I came to the Ford Foundation, and from every other organization
to which I belonged*

So many of them were prospective appli­

cants for support from the Ford Foundation that it seemed like
a good idea to get completely off all of them*
Referring back to the Sears connection# my younger son
Norman, who had been five years in the army, came out and finish­
ed college work at Columbia Dhiversi ty*

He had quite an active

Social sense and was interested in political science, economics,
and sociology*

Norman had taken all the Spanish he could get,

and he felt he wanted to get into Latin America*

I spoke to Ed

Condon one day, knowing that Sears was expanding their activities

Ed asked me to have Herman come to Chicago to interview

their personnel officer*

So Homan became a Sears trainee# and

subsequently after one of their aptitude tests they tagged him
for their public relations work.

He is now directly in Ed

Condonfs organization in charge of six western states*
had a close contact with Sears*

So we*ve

Norman *s work takes him into

the fielfe that closely parallel my own early work in agriculture*
He represents the Sears Agricultural Foundation which supports

Four-H and Future Farmers Club projects, mid many

other farm development activities*

I believe he is doing good


During these years Mrs* Davis and 1 saw a great deal of

Eddy Condon and other Sears people*

They told her various things

about what I would have become if I had stayed with Sears*


think she*s quite forgotten everything else except my wiring
her from St* Paul at the time my name had gone to the Senate*
I communicated with her there and said, "This is it.” She
thinks that’s all the advance notice she had, but I recall
that we had discussed it and she agreed that the thing to do was
to go along with the Federal Reserve position*
X don't itxink there was a policy difference between
Wallace and me about the operation of the Triple-A*

The differ*

ence X was beginning to sense was the degree of warmth or cold­
ness X might have shown to some of the trend which X was beginning
to feel pretty definitely were leading Henry into the political

X had never thought of Henry Wallace as being politically

motivated at all in the sense of having any personal political
ambitions or plans*

X*d never thought of him that way*

group surrounding Henry did*


It is perfectly proper that they

should, but X don't think X was particularly helpful and X cer­
tainly wasn’t particularly sympathetic with the movement to
organize a militant farm group tied in with a militant labor
group to build a new political party or to control a political

X just wasn’t interested in it*
Tolley, Tapp, and J.B. Hutson were the ablest of the top

men In the Triple-A at the time X left it, in my judgment*


have brought In somebody to succeed me would have been unthlhk-

able to


Perhaps at that time they preferred Tolley to me*

they may have thought that Volley would be a little bit easier
to handle than 1 When it came to a situation ^faere they wanted
to make use of the agricultural machinery in a political opera­

1 don't know*

I don’t think he would have been easier*

I think Howard*s what you*d call easier going, a little bit*
than I am, but he’s not obtuse* by any means*
he would have been easier*

I don*t think

I’m pretty sure the historian will

be correct if he says that there were willing hands to help in
my getting out of the Trlple-A, all right* but it didn’t anger
or irritate me any because I wanted to get out* too*
all right*

fhat was

We had gone through a very definite stage with the

Triple-A, stayed with it until we had entered the new one* got
the law* got the organization started* and then it was a kind
of a case of "Here’s where I came in.”

I*d been around*

I don’t

mind admitting that the Federal Reserve looked extremely inter*
esting to ms as a chance to get into a field and really learn
something about unknown land*

X didn’t know anything about it*

About the only contact I had ever before with the Federal
Reserve was in Montana whan I was editor of the Montana Fanner,
Dr* Adolph C* Miller, a member of the Board from the beginning
and a former head of the economics department at the University
of California* came to Great Falls for a meeting and the bankers
arranged a dinner for him*

I* with many others* attended and

listened to him*

MJr subsequent impression of that meeting was

of a man sitting up there twenty feet high above the rest of the
people and talking to us*
he wasn't*

And he isn’t that way, and Ifm sure

He was just sitting on a little dais at the dinner

It seemed so remote and untouchable - a completely dif­

ferent world from the one I was operating in - that the years
had led me to think of the Federal Reserve as a very lofty
ivory-tower kind of a proposition*

The board members are really

very human fellows, but here’s the point*

Most people# including

all the bankers* practically# know very little about central

It’s just something that it*s easier to think of as

off, remote and removed, but the men in it of eourse are quite
a human lot of fellows*

I’ve never been associated with nicer

people in my life than I dealt with in the Federal Beserve*
Marriner S. Eecles was chairman*
Atlanta, Georgia, was vice chairman.

Honald Hansom, of

Mencowicz S* "Matt”

Szymczak was a charming man of Polish ancestry*
over from before -me reorganization of *33*

He was a carry­

Matt had been comp­

troller of the city of Chicago under Mayor Anton Cermak*


was John £* McKee, who had been chief examiner for the HFC, and
a man named Ralph Morrison who never attended meetings and who
resigned, t believe, at about the time I came on*

He had been

appointed under pressure of the Texans - particularly John 1 *
Garner - and he had taken the job thinking it was one of those
jobs which would permit him to stay on in Texas and not move up

to Washington*

3© owned one of* the big hotels in San Antonio*

He held the membership Tor months without attending* and then

Chester Morrill was secretary of the Board*

I came back from the speaking trip and took office*


had our office in the Washington Building at Fifteenth, and Hew
York avenues in Washington* at that time* just diagonally across
from the treasury*

The Federal Reserve building wasn*t finished

until October of *37*
lovely building*

It was then under construction,

Xtrs beautiful as well as imposing*

It*s a
With the

exception of the board’s quarters which, are very imposing and
the marble corridors, the work offices are very businesslike*
It's a very comfortable building*
This board was not an old board when it was named* but
age creeps up on it*

It was an interesting crowd*


Eccles was a very brilliant* interesting person*
President Roosevelt and some of his associates asked me
if it would be possible for me to direct the agricultural phase
of the 1936 campaign,

I agreed to do that*

On June 27 * 1936*

the President conferred with Bill Settle and me at the White

I had brought Bill Settle in*

As I look back on it*

from my standpoint* the most fortunate outcome of the summer was
the fact that I was able to give some direction to that campaign*
and throughout the campaign carry on my full duties with the
Federal Reserve* and no newspaperman, so far as I know* ever
referred to it*

I have never seen any reference to it*

I was

a Presidential appointee, but I don*t believe the members of
the board of governors have any business to get into political

I wasn't then enough of a Federal Reserve man to

I was just coming in*

My record of attendance at the

board meetings was perhaps the best of any at that time*


made it very much of a point to attend all the meetings and
learn everything X could*
1 don*t remember conferring with Roosevelt again on July

1 , with Aubrey Williams*
with the campaign*

Xt undoubtedly had something to do

The newspapers said it was about the drought.

We had had those two drought years of *34 and *36 *
of *34 was terrific*

The drought

Then in *35 we had some relief - there was

not quite such low rainfall - but then *36 hit again*
edly had a continuing interest in that*

X undoubt­

We*d had some enonaous

operations * We*d had the livestock purchase plan, which we ran
in *34 and *36 *

I have described the pig-buying program • On

this drought relief program we set a scale of prices for the
purchase of cattle, sheep, hogs, and even goats for Texas and
the Southwest*

Water holes were drying up*

We were pushing

WPA to do everything it could to build small water holes# reser­
voirs, and all that*

In spite of everything we could do> we were

up against an enormous job of feed production*

Something had to

be done to provide some outlet fbr cattle that just couldn't be
fed or watered on their ranges or farm land*

We shipped cattle

into pasture all the way from the northcentral states into

Florida - as far as that - to try to arrange temporary pasture*
We had a big battle with the northcentral and western governors
over the prices we would pay in the cattle and livestock purchase

There was the short-range against the long-range inter­

They wanted to get the price up high* and they felt that by

doing so they were serving the interests of their state*


wanted to hold every head of livestock out there that could be
carried through, and we knew that if we got the price up to a
point that was remunerative or attractive, there was no question
but what they*d oversell and the economies would be clear out
of balance*

So we thought that out and hit what we thought was

a pretty good level in prices*

They weren*t low enough to be

unfair to the farmers and stockmen* but still were not high
enough to induce them to liquidate if they had any possible
chance of carrying through.

All that had gone before, and so

unquestionably we talked about drought relief*

concern until 1937*

That was of con­

Bill Settle is the man I recom­

mended to head the Agricultural Committee for Roosevelt, in 193&,
which he did*
in August I called Marvin Jones and asked him if he would
help handle the western campaign headquarters, in Chicago* Farley
wanted Jones and me to rim the campaign headquarters at 166
Jackson Street*

Bill Settle was the head*

I brought Paul Porter

Paul had been executive assistant to me in the Triple-A* and

was a very keen and facile newspaperman*

X brought Henry Jarrett

in, who had been in the information section of the (Triple-A,
He «as in charge of the Washington office*

It was just a half

block from the Washington Building, the Federal Reserve head*

I've forgotten the address*

We wanted Marvin in

there to give direction and stability and to maintain contact
with the members of Congress and the Senate - throughout those
It was a much less expensive campaign than we had con*
ducted for Al Smith*

I think our total spent in the agricultural

campaign probably didn't exceed $100,000 or #125 ,000, and that's

We concentrated particularly on printing and distributing

small flyers*

We tried to make them single-fold, and just the

right length to go in a legal-sized envelope*
to illustrate them*

We got John Baer

He had served one term as Congressman from

North Dakota baek in the Non-Partisan League days*

I first knew

John when he was the cartoonist for the Non-Partisan Leader out
in North Dakota*

I'd seen a lot of his work, and 1 had met John

frequently in the Triple-A days*

John, In the meantime, had come

to Washington and was the cartoonist on a labor publication* He
had a simple way of personalizing an issue*

He drew the selfish

interests for trade as the man with the big silk hat, the big
diamond, and all that*

We engaged John to do the single U n a

drawings that we used to liven up and illustrate these leaflets*
For a little money we could get thousands of them*

We tried to

make them short enough to read*

Same of the booklets got too

On the whole I think they vere effective* but if there

had been no campaign the results* I think* would have been about
the same*

I vas glad when it vas through.

One of the particular things that 1 suggested that really
had a lot of pay dirt in it and wasn’t hard on anybody else ex­
cept him was this five-thirty broadcast we got Paul Porter up to
do every monring*

He *d catch the farmer hour at dam*

We real­

ly got a surprising number of farmers for a fraction of the cost
of an evening program*

They*re up for breakfast at that time,

and they turn the radio on* too*

Paul would get up and grumble

and travel down to the radio station* but I think he liked it*
So* altogether it was kind of a gay time* but i did not spend
much time in the political office*

I didnH go to Chicago* but

I did work closely with that office*
In the meantime* I was studying all 1 could about tbs
Federal Reserve and was becoming quite familiar with it*


of the first things I was able to do there was to help recruit
new* fresh blood for membership on the boards of the 12 Federal
Reserve Banks and their 2lj. branches*

There had been a complete

reorganization of the board of governors after the Banking Act
of *33 * and again there had been changes in f3 £>* The board of
governors by statute names three of the nine directors of each
Federal Reserve Bank* and names the public members of each

branch board*

There were numerous vacancies*

It was something

that X could do and it hadn't interested the others very much,
so they put me on the personnel committee and X spent a lot of
time recruiting men to go on these boards*

The board agreed

without any dissent to the concept that every bank and branch
board should at least have one top-flight farmer or livestock
man - a man who had no major interest except agriculture*


was done, and is still being done.
X made more speeches than most of the other board members
did in answer to invitations*

It gave me a chance to get acquaint­

ed with the organization throughout the country*

They are a

wonderful group of people* and I enjoyed that very much*


real interruption to that came in Slay of 19it0 when President
Hoosevelt established the National Defense Advisory Commission.
Mrs* Davis*s parents continued to live in Montana*


didn’t go back to Montana In June, 1937# for the purpose of
becoming Chief Eagle Cloud of the Blackfoot Indian tribe*
just happened while I was there.


It wasn’t an awfully important

The Blackfoot reservation was right on the Great

Northern Railroad*

The Glacier National Park development was

there and did quite a tourist business, so adoptions aren*t a

I’ve lost my certificate, which was burned on buckskin.

It was an eagle on a cloud.

The cloud looked like a big Idaho

I*d previously been adopted by the Gros Ventres in

Montana, and had been invited to become a member by adoption
of the Assiniboine Sioux at Fort Peck Reservation, but by
negotiation idth my sponsor I got that shifted to my older son,
who was fascinated by Indian history and Indian lore*

So, with

M.L. Wilson and Nils Olsen as interested onlookers, we witnessed
the induction of my young son out on the prairies there, out of
Poplar, Montana, one summer day*

they made an all-day celebra­

The two that were adopted were my boy and then his friend

who was the son of my sponsor, Lone Warrior, the chief farmer
on the Fort Peck Reservation government Job*

Those two boys

were adopted, and they had quite a time of it*
1 really sought to keep clear away from the Department*
I remember in 1938* I think it was, Jesse Tapp and Francis
Wilcox came to see me and reported some developments there which
made it obvious to them that some people in the Department were
then gathering a record and really making a drive to force them
out of the Department, or at least to make things so unpleasant
they'd leave*

It was in the late summer of early fall when

Bussell Smith, who was then executive vice president of the Bank
of America, came to see me in Washington*
proposition of coming to California*

He felt me out on the

They needed a man to organ­

ize and direct their agricultural credits which were very extens­
ive and very complicated*

I told Russell Smith that I wasn’t

interested, myself, and that I didn't feel that I could do the

best job for them but I knew the man who could*

Whether I had

talked to Jesse just before or after, 1 knew that he was unhappy
in the Department*

I told him about Tapp who, in my opinion,

was the best man I knew to do the kind of a job they had in mind*
Russell Smith on that trip saw Tapp and talked with him*


Tapp subsequently went with the Bank of America* and 1 think it
was in that fall sometime - no, it was shortly after the lew
Tear in 1939*

He’s now one of the top four or five men in the

Bank of America*

He's been an almost spectacular success*

kept his interest in and contacts with agriculture*


He's been

active in every way he could to promote constructive banker
interest In agriculture•
On October 16, 1938* Spike Evans took over the Triple-A
and Tolley shifted to head the BAS*
much about that shift.

1 have never thought too

This last week ^January, 195.37 in Wash­

ington I spent an evening with Howard*

How the subject came txp

I don’t recall, but I think he left the Triple-A with great re­
lief to rejoin the BAE, all right*

I don’t remember much about

I’m just not disposed to look backward*

I discouraged

throughout * right from the beginning - people coming to see me
from agriculture - the old Triple-A crowd*

The other boys had

the responsibility, and I certainly didn’t want to be sitting
there looking over their shoulder while they did it*
couraged contacts*

So I dis­

While the occasional meeting I’d have socially

with, men in the Department was pleasant, I was probably as re­
mote from their activities as if I’d never been in there.


haven’t talked to Tolley about this thing nor to anybody els®.
I think that undoubtedly was another maneuver of the inside
group there with the Secretary.

Beanie Baldwin had moved over

to Farm Security at that time*
On November 20, 1939* Wallace, Hull, and I spoke at a
Farm Bureau convention in Sew Orleans.
significant speech I made then,

1 thought that was a

it was a big meeting*

I shared

the program with Elmer Thomas, who was a rampant Inflationist*
They had put him on first* and I followed.

If any two speeches

had been planned as diametric opposites, those were the two.


remember it just for that reason.
I wasn’t too happy about a third term for President

I think it was in along about 1937 that I began to

be convinced that there wasn’t a master blueprint in the New
Deal - that it was lacking - that it was a case of a leader with
the very best of intentions making use of whatever means and
devices he could to continue pretty gay experimentation with
lots of forces that were not ordered in his mind.

That feeling

grew on me through the years although I voted for Roosevelt for
the third term - but not by any means with the same enthusiasm
I felt in 1936.

I don’t know the reason why Graver B. Hill replaced Harry


I knew them both.

Of course, Grover was Marvin Jones*

very close friend and devoted admirer • a man who always could
be depended upon to cheer the low in spirit.

He was a good

story teller, an excellent fas with livestock people*
used him frequently in our program in that capacity.
man with a lot of horse sense.

He is a

I think Marvin*s great interest

in Grover perhaps advanced him farther than he would have been
advanced* otherwise*
1 don’t remember the hassle Wallace got into with the
Farm Credit Administration.

I doh*t recall being brought into

or having interfered with affairs over there, at all*
Since I left the Department two different trade associa­
tions offered me jobs.

These associations were concerned with

the purchase and manufacture of farm-grown commodities*


jobs were of the sane general type, and involved representation
in Washington.

That didn*t appeal to os*

I liked rtcj work*


did like that Federal Reserve job*
I don *t know why Claude Wickard replaced M.L* Wilson in
March of 19^0, except that M.L. was not an active political
prop for anyone and Claude Wickard was perfectly willing to en­
gage in political activity*

I think there*s an unfolding pattern

through these years that wasn*t plotted and planned by Henry

fhere was a growth of the movement to build up politi­

cal forces back of him looking toward the Presidency*

I think

M.L. might have been perfectly amenable to it outside of office

hours • outside of the operation of his office - but I think
that M*L*’s conception of the Department of Agriculture wouldn11
permit any part of it to be used for political purposes.*
When I was in the Triple-A, Wickard was entirely in

When we made the shift to a livestock division,

there was quite a lot of push to advance him into the top
place in it*

We chose Jerry Thome, who was a career econo­

He had been in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics# and

was an excellent livestock economist*

Jerry Thome was pulled

from the Department by an offer he couldn’t decline - it was too
attractive - to go with Tom Wilson in Wilson and Company.
been close to the top in their operations*


But so far as X

know, Jerry’s kept out of Washington - I hasten to add*

I don’t

think I ever saw him coming to Washington on any of their operations* though he may have.

X tried to blast him loose to be the

meat man in the food administration, later, but he did not want
to come back*

Claude was boosted for that job* but didn’t get

1 thought Thome the better man at that time.
Claude had had more training in the political field than

any of these other men*

Claude had been state senator in Indiana.

When you are in the state senate in Indiana, you are in a post­
graduate course in state politics.

Indiana takes her politics

They've played it for a long while, and played it very

So Claude knew his way around, politically speaking, and

had a totally different upbringing in that respect than Wilson,
who understands human behavior pretty well but has always shied
away from anything that looked like a political activity.
On lay 28, 19^0, I became a member of the National Defense
Advisory Commission and served for the next year*

The reason

for our appointment was never discussed with any of us - at
least it wasn’t with me - until the appointment was made*


might have had a telephone call from the President simultaneously
with its announcement in the papers.
period there.

It opened up a very active

Space in Washington was at a premium.

We had no

place to operate so my associates agreed to take the principals
of the defense commission into the new reserve board building.
We did make make room for them there, and we kept some of them
there a long while, much to the discomfort of some of the old
department heads and some of the board members * but they were
patriotic and courteous about it all.
This does have a very definite relationship to 'lj.3 , but
I don’t think 1 can give a play-by-play account.

1 again caHfd

Paul Porter, first, and Ken Galbraith, to assist me.
course, was then not as well known as he is now*

Een, of

X called Jack

Stetson, George Livingston, and then drew heavily on the Depart­
ment for some of the junior staff men we used.
very large staff*

1 didn't have a

I don't think it got as big as twenty or

It could be considered that large if the men are counted

whom I drew from M E for spot investigations and the like*
At any one time I might have had that many, but the half-adozen principals were the chief ones*
times to get others*

I tried at different

I tried to get Cliff Gregory to come


He was beginning to show signs of illness and wouldn’t


I wanted him, as I recall it# to look after the whole

job of procurement or representation of agricultural needs
along with military and other civilian needs in claims on

He couldn’t come*

My chief interest at that time was to create the nucleus
of an office which could, if developments were unfavorable and
we came into war, be readily expanded into a balanced and well*
planned food administration*
one we had in World War I*

It would be different than the

While I had people studying the

setup in World War I, there was no attempt to cast it back in
the same mold*
or worse*

There was no thought of whether it was better

Different times and different conditions require dif­

ferent organization, different actions, different remedies* The
main thing I wanted was to make sure that provision was made for
an organization that could assist the harmonious development of
a food administration - harmonious in this sense*

Hot that

people don’t differ, but harmonious in the sense that actions
with respect to price, actions with respect to actual marketing
and distribution, and actions in production were harmonized so
that they made sense as a whole and didn’t run off in different

I remember the first meeting of this group on May 30 ,
19i{.0. We mat in President Roosevelt’s office - said we met
frequently thereafter in his office*

Then we adjourned across

the street to -Hie room temporarily set up for our use in the
old State* War, Navy Building*

We moved over there where they

had a battery of cameras and moving picture lenses, and so
forth, and were seated, and wasted a lot of time On that* That
didn’t give me the tip-off as to what this thing was because
we moved immediately from there over to the Federal Reserve and
began to make plans, with a constantly moving goal*

It was

difficult for Mr. Roosevelt to talk in terms of a definite goal,
and under the circumstances it is understandable why.

We didn* t

know, sometimes, whether we were talking in terms of a 200,000
army or a 2,000,000 army, to begin with*

It was very difficult.

That and the early subsequent meetings impressed me as
the most disorderly affairs I’d ever had anything to do with*
No preparation was made for keeping minutes* no preparation
made for a record, no preparation for a chairman, and to the
very end F*D.R. resisted the designation of any chairman*


fill the need for a presiding officer, and in order to meet the
White House feaa? that William S. Ihudsen would emerge as the
strong man here (I understood that he didn’t want Khudsen to
be chairman), we arranged for a time that we’d rotate the duty
of presiding.

At my insistence, they agreed to let me bring in

Robert K* Thompson, who was assistant secretary to Morrill and
whom I had taken on as what might be called my executive assist­
ant in this Job, to keep a record for the minutes*


they organized and took care of it*
One of the most surprising characters I met during that
period was William McReynolds• He’s now dead j/l95>l7*
a lank, long, lean chap who loved power.
conception of this commission*

He was

Mac had a peculiar

His whole operation in there was

a surprise to me because he was reputedly one of the best opera­
tors in Washington - a career man in civil service - one of the
best known and informed men - but his conception of what this
commission should do was peculiar*

His conception was that

here would be a group without a head which would meet and talk#
As advisors under the executive order, it could only advise the
Council of National Defense, which is a World War I statutory
creation composed ex officio of certain Cabinet members, whieh
never met as a council of national defense*

Yet, almost immedi­

ately the jobs that came on us were priorities, contracts*
letters of intent, and operating decisions and actions of that
We had the finished products division under Khudsen *>■
I don't remember what it was called - we had raw materials under
Edward R* Stettinius, price under Leon Henderson, the consumer
under Harriot Elliott, transportation under Ralph Budd - I’m

not mentioning then, in any sense in the order of Importance *
labor under Sidney Hillman, and I represented agriculture*


spite of all tho inadequacies of organization and the handicap
of Bill MeReynolds, I think that they got a lot rolling in the
way of contracts and expansion of plant*
ly chief concern aside from the food problem was decen­
tralization of the defense effort*

I was motivated, in part, by

the agricultural implications of it - but only In part# bacause
nationally I was convinced it was the right thing to do*

I hoped

the nation would avoid the concentration in one-third or a
quarter of the United States of the whole manufacturing effort
that would be Involved in a major war*

I preached and urged as

hard as 1 could on the comission the spotting of these plants
in places where materials and labor supplies could be drawn upon
without tax on the transportation system*

I wanted them to be

in places where employment could be brought to labor# and materi­
als could be used where they were*
We had a number of real differences on that*

I suppose

the most conspicuous was the one when I felt It necessary to go
directly to the White House before we got it settled*

It was

about the question of whether Muscle Shoals should be used in
the war effort*

Mr* Knudsen was a great big kindly chap*


come up the production line with high respect for management in


Say that it was agreed to establish a large synthetic

ammonia plant to be operated by the American Cyanamid or by
Allied Chemical or by DuPont or somebody else, * the management
would always come up with a proposal to locate it in a certain
spot in western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky and southern
Ohio that could be covered by a quarter of a dollar on a Rand
McNally atlas map*

I would question it and Knudsen would say,

’’Well, but that's where these men want to put it.”
I’d say, "Is that right?"
"Well," he’d say, "you don’t want to tell them to put a
plant where they don’t want to put it, do you?"
I’d say, "Sure we do*

We can’t put all this thing right

in one section*"
It revealed one of the startling weaknesses, I thought,
in our whole interwar setup - the fact that the Bhited States
army had almost no skills in chemical engineering, at all*


they did have were located at Wilmington, Delaware, or at places
like that in tbs DuPont or some other organization*

When we’d

try to call on the military for advice, we’d get some perfectly
ridiculous responses*

A major would come down who was in DuPont,

who would discuss the question of a plant location with you, and
it would be pretty difficult for him to have a free and independ­
ent voice*

From the standpoint of management, it is perfectly

true that if you concentrate your plants in reasonably close
proximity with a central core you can i*un your shops more effi­

It’s true, also, that they had had experience with the

coke mad© from eastern Kentucky and West Virginia coal for the
production of synthetic ammonia* and were not familiar with
other cokes or ingredients.
The point

came up in this Muscle Shoals thing that here

the government in World War I had invested an enormous sum of
money in synthetic nitrogen plants and power*

When the question

arose in the commission as to where we would move to secure the
several hundred thousand tons of additional nitrogen capacity
that they thought at that time they needed* there was in Mr*
Knudsen*s office and almost as much in Mr. Stettinius* office a
willingness to accept the industries* point of view that outside
of some minor experimental operations there should be no develop*
ment at Muscle Shoals run by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA),
That was selected as one of the case studies of governmental
operation by Harold Stein and his crew.

I*ve never even read

their report* but he told me about it and Ken Galbraith spoke
to me about it, so 1 know it was written up.

It was probably

highly colored from the standpoint of the conflict*

la that

particular case, it came down to a point where Khudsen wouldn*t
budge and 1 wouldn’t budge, and I went over to Roosevelt with
the issue just at the time when they were about to place the

authorizing the expansion of these plants* omitting

Muscle Shoals*

That was late fl|.0 and early ,l|.l* I moved out

of there in April*

This thing had been going on for quite a

while. We had another case where they wanted to locate one of
those plants at Portsmouth, Ohio.

We got it in western Kentucky

clear at the other end of the state.
I use nitrogen as the test in this business of decentrali­

There were many other plants in which this issue came

la nitrogen# they wouldn’t even agree that natural gas had

any possibilities in the manufacture of synthetic ammonia.


the president of Commercial Solvents came to see me - he had
been a friend of mine since the cornstalks days - he said* **At
Sterlington* Louisiana* we’re blowing pure hydrogen into the
atmosphere as a result of a carbon black operation we’re running

That stuff can be turned into the manufacture of syn­

thetic ammonia with the least cost of any nitrogen operation.1*
We couldn’t find a chemical engineer in the array or the army
group at that time who was willing to make a trial on it*
Subsequently* ammonia production was scattered all over
the United States - the west coast and the mid-west.
they didn’t have enough.

Even then

The lowest cost and most satisfactory

operations were those by the Lion Oil Company in 11 Dorado,
Arkansas, and this one at Sterllngton, Louisiana.
was a satisfactory operation.

Muscle Shoals

It wasn’t the lowest cost* by any

means* but it was a satisfactory operation.
They even went to the point on the Muscle Shoals thing of
saying, "You can’t get the talent to design the plant.8


other companies had gotten a corner on the talent*

We got

Harry Curtis, who is now one of the members of the TVA Board*
He was called in from the University of Missouri* where he was
dean of engineering*

He had been all through the early days

of the Muscle Shoals thing* and had designed plants*
him with other consultants to design that plant*
all right.

We got

It*s worked

That story*s all documented and written*

We had a lot of difficulty trying to gain ground for the
idea that the defense effort had to be decentralized*

Of course*

the real decisions and the real orders that placed industry all
over the country took place when the war effort got well under­

But we mad© the record there at that time.

Maybe we didn’t

do anything more than that*
In. October I set up an Informal conference group apart
from the National Defense Advisory Committee for my own end of
the show* just as I Imagine Hhudsen did for his or Henderson did
for his*

However* I think at that time that we reached an agree­

ment with the Department of Agriculture to use the same one that
agriculture had.

A good deal of that is documented in ^Ninety

Days,* the memorandum I wrote to summarize the War Food Adminis­
tration experiences in 19^3*

This covers both periods*

% story

back to the winter of *!j.O~*lj.l, and It relates the two to­

gether, and they belong together*
I have a copy of a letter written to the President on
larch 6* 19^1, recommending the establishment of the Office of

Pood Supply.

I also have M s reply of March 19*

In. my docu­

ments there are references to the agreement to use the same
industrial advisory group, although I had groups of advisors
on the peculiar problems I was working with such as on plant
locations and all that*
I recommended that an Office of Pood Supply be set up
in the Department of Agriculture, after pointing out that It
could be done that way or as an .^dependent agency*

On balance,

it seemed to me that this preliminary work should be organized
In the Department*

We had two choices • One was in the agricul­

tural division of the defense commission, and the other over
in the Department of Agriculture*
doing the job*

Neither of them was then

The purpose of my memorandum was to vrge that

this office be created, that it could be established


as a division within the Department with bureau status or it
could be coordinate with OPS, which really grew out of the de­
fense commission.

I became irritated with this in the fall of 19^°* and
became increasingly so*

As time went on it was perfectly appar­

ent that they were really walking off and leaving the National
Defense Commission without any attempt to pull up the stumps or
anything else*

My decision to resign followed my resignation

from the Reserve Board and my decision to go to St* Louis*


was carrying on as a member of the board while I was also acting

as a member of tbs Defense Commission.

own office on the board.

I was operating from

While I had assistants who were

carrying on the work* I was attending board meetings regularly.
The Commission functioned there in the board building.

Shat was

all right as long as it appeared that we were going somewhere,
but when in early 19ljl the President indicated that he’d talked

Wickard and Wallace and that they agreed that there was no

reason for doing anything like setting up an office of food
supply and really going to work planning this operation *■ his
r e p l y was that that would needlessly alarm the people - it be*
came apparent to me that I had no chance to do anything.


were coming to me all the time as a member of this defense com­
mission who was supposed to be working on these problem all
the time* and X didn’t really have anything to do with them and
no more chance to do anything than anybody else did.

It was

one of those situations that I was trying to get cleared up.
Claude Wickard was then Secretary of Agriculture.

I had

put this thing up and tried to get Wickard to go along with me.
In order to make it thoroughly palatable* I weighted my recom­
mendation for the Department rather than for any other way* be­
cause the job had to be done.

I felt that It was almost criminal

to go along here and let the preparation for food, food distri­
bution* farm labor » all these things ** lag so far behind the
other parts of the military preparation*

I talked Informally to

Wickard never talked like a man who had the say.


talk to Wickard and he’d say, ’’Well, yes, thatfs all right,
donTt know what the Boss (F.D.R.) thinks about it*
He’s that way*


I don’t know**

I think Claude always felt that I was somebody

on the outside maybe maneuvering to get something away * trying
to take something away from the Department*

That *s the reason

I weighted that so heavily in my recommendation - to do it all
in agriculture, but for God*s sake, to get it done somewhere 11
Then when I got the President* s answer to that one, it
was about the time that the chairman of the board of directors
of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, William T* Nardin, com­
pletely out of the clear sky called me and told me that at the
next meeting of his board, unless I stopped them, they intended
to present my name for president of the Federal Reserve Bank of
St* Louis*

William McC* Martin*s term as president was due to

expire April 1*

While he would carry on, the situation had been

a tough one. In a way, because the board of the St. Louis bank
had previously elected a man they had brought In as first vice
president, a man named Guy Hitt, who had been a small country
banker over In southern Illinois and had been on the board of
the St* Louis bank representing the small banks*
ed him president*

They had elect­

Under the statute the board of governors

shares the responsibility and must approve the selection of a
president, and our board, with me taking an active part in it,
had voted to turn him down because nobody on our board felt and it was true of many people in St* Louis - that the man was
an adequate choice for the presidency*

So I’d already had that

complication in the thing* and I had voted along with the others
against their choice*
When Hardin called me on the phone I said that Ifd never
dreamed of it* that I felt on principle members of the board
should not seek or encourage any Federal Reserve Bank to elect
them, that they ought to settle down where they were and be
satisfied with it*

I didn’t know whether there was anybody

else being considered for the job*
St* Louis*

That was up to the board in

I had nothing whatsoever to do with it*

bring any pressure to bear*

I didn’t

You can always encourage advance

consultation - and It’s better to do it - with the board of
governors* because both of them are parties to the selection of
a president, so that they move on someone with the full know­
ledge that he will have the board’s approval*

How* thatrs what

weTve always done*
It had been known for years* I suppose* that there would
be an opening in St* Louis*

While sixty-five is the normal

retirement age fixed in the Federal Reserve System* the presi­
dents statutory term is five years*

They do not permit the

election and qualification of a man after the age of sixty-five,
but if he is sixty-three or sixty-four when he*s elected he may
serve out his term*

Bill Martin had passed the age of sixty-five

before his term expired In April, so it was known that there
would be the vacancy there*

I think they must have elected Guy

Hitt at least no later than their February meeting - possibly
at their January meeting*
I did not know whether anyone else was being considered
at that time for the presidency of the Federal Reserve Bank of
St* Louis*

I have not learned since that anyone was seriously

considered* at all*

Guy Hitt certainly had been, some months

Miss Piper, my secretary, of course, was on the phone

on every telephone conversation I had, and I have seen the
transcript of my talk with Hardin*

Of course, it isn*t wholly

complete, but it's a full report of it*
I can explain how the resignation from the Federal Reserve
Board and the situation that had developed in the agricultural
section of the Defense Commission were interrelated*
precisely how they were related in my own mind*

I can show

The position

on the board of governors was wholly satisfactory*

The com*

panionship was excellent and the work was interesting*

I had

bought my home in Washington, and I fully expected to stay*


was not wholly out of debt# but I was more nearly solvent than
when I left the Triple-A.

Then came the Defense Commission, and

I had thrown myself into that as hard as I could*

1 felt, to

have real significance, it must be at work on this question of
the fora of organization that would handle food and fibre when
the war came - that is, how the product of the farm could be
handled in war time should be under study and the nucleus of an
organization that could be expanded to become a war food adminis*

tration should be in being just as soon as ve could get it*
My point in the propositions I put up to the President
at that time vas this*

If he felt that there was any real

service I could render - anything that needed doing in this
food problem in relation to war - why then I was perfectly
happy to stay and do it*

On the other hand, if it were going

to continue as it was continuing* I did not care to continue in

The division was operating in an atmosphere of dissolution

so far as the Defense Commission was concerned*

The Office of

Production Management (0PM) had been set up as a result of a
very hasty decision which put Bill Ehudsen, Sidney Hillman# the
Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy as the legs - as
the President called it - of a four-legged stool*
dealing with the problems of industrial production*

That was
Nothing co­

ordinate with what they were doing for the Industrial end of
the war was being done with respect to agriculture • Ifor point
was to try to smoke the President out and find out what his in­
tentions were, so Z went to see him with two memoranda*
One memorandum repeated in barest skeleton form the recom­
mendations as to what should be done that I had given him in memo­
randum form before*

The second memorandum just put this question

up * if there was Important work he wanted me to do in connection
with the war effort, l*d be happy to do it*

Otherwise, I told

him# I had been Informed that on the day following the board
meeting in St* Louis would be held, and unless I stopped them
the board would elect me president and I was disposed to take it*

The President said, ”1 hate to see you leave, but on the
other hand I think there*s perhaps a lot you can do out in St*
Louis •”

So it was an obvious thing to do*

This was in early

I resigned from the Defense Commission on May k*
This is v/hat brought me into the position of paying the

President this call*

When Mr# Hardin called E&e, I told his

there were three people I needed to consult before I could even
tell M m *

I told him that if 1 had to answer him right then,

ay first reaction would be to say no*

My first reaction was

that it’s a bad precedent to pull members off the board to be
presidents of the Federal He serve Banks*
it didn’t appeal to me*

From that standpoint,

I said, "As I just talk to you, of

course it occurs to me that it would be an awfully good escape
from this Washington tangle that I’ve got in on the Defense

It would be just made to order*

If there isn’t

something I’m needed for, why this Is a way out of what looks
to me like a kind of a bad mess*

I went to talk to three people*

I want to talk to my wife, I want to talk to Marriner Secies,
and I want talk to the President, because I have this Obligation*
If there is an obligation on the Defense Commission, I want to
find out how much of an obligation it is*n
I talked to Marriner first, because Mrs* Davis was out
at a cocktail party*

I first called Marriner and told him and

he said yes, he’d just had a call from 3111 Hardin - they were
very close friends • Marriner laughed kind of dryly and said,

"He really told me something.”

Hardin is a hardboiled chap.

What he told me he told Marriner was* "How, look* you son of
a bitch* I'm putting a man up to you tomorrow, and I'd like to
see you turn him down I We're proposing to elect Chester Davis*
and I'd like to see you turn him downl*

Well* I talked to

Marriner said he had told him he realized that 1 was

in something of a pickle in defense activity and he didn*t
blame me if I took it.

He was good enough to say he hated to

see me go.
I didn't want to resign from the Defense Commission
without finding out whether the President wanted me to continue
the work or not.

I had the feeling I didn’t want to sit in

Washington and see things go ahead the way the President indi­
cated they were going to go ahead, that everything was all for
the good in the best of all possible worlds, and nothing more
needed to be done* and all that.

That tone was in his reply to

Perhaps it wasn't logical, but it was nonetheless absolute­

ly clear in my mind that I wanted to get out of there* unless
there was something to be done.
it and not be bothered.

I wanted to get clear out of

You can't sit there within rifle shot

of the Department of Agriculture without people from the outside
coming in to see you* particularly with the part 2 had just
played in some of these things * plant locations* and all that.
You couldn't say* "I'm sorry, I just can't talk to you about it.*
You'd be drawn in, in spite of everything.

I don't think l’d say that I was in any serious differ***
ence with Wiekard*

I was pressing for action Wiekard wasn't

willing or ready to take*
whole food question*

I wanted a balanced approach to the

Wiekard didn't want to do anything that

ran any chance of being out of harmony with what the President

He hadn’t had the green light from the President on

Wiekard, in my book, was a small-time politician caught

in there in a tough job*

I don't think ha ever did a damn

thing in that job, myself *
But that's none of my problem*

I wasn’t sitting over

there tearing my hair over whether Wiekard was or was not run­
ning the Department*

The point was that I didn't feel that I

was getting any support or cooperation in driving to get an
office of food supply set up*

Claude Wiekard undoubtedly felt,

and I felt that James McCamy, who was one of his assistants,
and Milo Perkins felt, "Now, the sooner we get this fifth wheel
out of the way here, this agricultural division of the National
Defense Commission, why then we can go ahead and plan and handle
things In our own way.”

On the other hand, people who were

meeting with the Department from agriculture and industry to
talk about the prospective problems in the war found nobody over
there who was really doing anything about it*

At least, that

was the picture I was getting*

There was then no such job as war food administrator*



would have loved to help do the planning work at that time* or
to have a hand in it*

I was perfectly willing that the work be

done over in Agriculture • I felt that I could be of some help
to them*

I wanted to have a hand in that*

The thought of being

war food administrator was not in my mind then*

Hinder the cir*

cumstsnees that existed with divided authority I would not have
wanted it* but even when it hadnft gone to the point it got to
later I would not have wanted to be war food administrator*


thought, **Here*s a clean-cut proposition and you have no author­
ity to deal with the elements that must be dealt with in harmony
if they’re going to produce the results needed#" Price and quota
or ration systems that might be necessary to deal with and pro*
duction were all parts of the same picture*

1 was then urging

that title advance planning for that should be underway, and was
getting no real encouragement or support in the Department*
It could have been that Wickard was afraid of me ad­

I was the head of the Triple-A when Wickard

was an obscure operator* but* still* all the time our relations
had been good*

As far as Claude and I* personally* were con­

cerned* our relations could be heart-to-heart good outside of
the official contacts * for instance, if we*d been out attend­
ing a corahusking contest or out on a fishing trip or at Mt*
Weather or someplace like that - out of the office and away
from the brass around him*
good fun.

He tells a good story and is a pleasant person* fhare

was no rancor there*

Claude Wickard is good company -

The answer to why I cams back to Washington in 19^3
won1t be found in this period*
would encourage me to come back*

There’s nothing in this that
As a matter of fact, in 194-3

I thought I had turned the food administration job down in my
letter to Byrnes.

I don’t care much about what a historian

aid say about my returning to Washington In 1943*
to relate just what I felt in 1941*

I’ll try

1 felt that the National

Defense Commission was a mess and rapidly getting worse*
was disintegrating.

It was dying on the vine*


An attempt was

being made to carry forward industrial planning for war through
the Office of Production Management, and I had thought we bad
a mandate to forward the development of a plan for food if war
came comparable to the plan that was being developed for Industry
I had done a good deal of spade work with these men I had around

In particular, I wanted to get Agriculture to push on the

reins a bit*

They had the organization*

They had the economists

the statisticians, all the records*

If I needed anybody, I had

to draw on Agriculture to get them.

I had pushed and talked

and worked on it, and then my little interchange of letters In
March with the President had brought

most unsatisfactory re­

The Federal Reserve Bank offer was quite coincidental,

but very timely from my standpoint • so timely that within two
or three days I had accepted it*

I had my talk with Marriner*

I had told Mrs* Davis just what the proposition was, and

she bad said, "Let's get out of here.
you down


It’s just about to kill

Why don’t we get out?*

Then I went to see the President,

Be flashed the two

memoranda that I gave him and said, '’Chester, I hate to have
you leave.

Don’t you ever resign from the Defense Commission*

We need you on that*
you in St* Louis*
to do in St* Louis*

But you c m come back in or we can consult

There1s probably very important work for you
I think you can do us a lot of good out

I think maybe on the whole that’s a good thing*"
There wasn’t any question in my mind*

called Ifardin*

I went out and

I had previously told him that I would come

only if the vote were genuinely unanimous * So I moved to St*
Louis and* the month following, resigned by letter from the
Defense Commission*
I don’t think the men then active in the Department were
completely frank with me*

They didn’t want me in the picture*

I think If it had been somebody else over there in the Defense
Commission they would have felt the same way*
X resigned on the fyth or 5th of May, as soon as I caught
my breath out in St* Louis*

The President set up a little part

of what I had suggested* under Wiekard* but he had price and
rationing over in one shop and he had this other under Wiekard*
Some time later I had a communication from Henry Wallace
indicating something that I didn’t know about*

He said:

If you are approached authoritatively on being
Pood Administrator under Claude* please do not

turn It down without giving ms an opportunity
to talk to you about it.
That was November 19, 19^2*
would have turned it down.

The post was not offered.


I have a pretty deep-seated feeling

against back-tracking# against going back to pick up once again
something that t had done before*

It rarely works*

I don't

like it*
I have another feeling, too.

That Is that you're likely

to get better service in any task, suck as the Secretary of Agri­
culture Ezra T. Benson now faces, if instead of calling back to
Washington some old hacks who've had all the bloom rubbed off of
it for them, you get hold of men who are coming tip, to whom the
operation is a thrill and a challenge.

It's a mistake to keep

calling the old repeaters back all the time*
I didn’t know anything about the memo from Roosevelt to
Byrnes dated October 22, 19lj.2, in which Roosevelt agreed that
food should be coordinated# that there should be a food coordi­
nator in the Department of Agriculture# suggested Lehman, and
went on to says
He could not fix prices, wholesale or retail,
without the consent and approval of you and
Henderson. I've had no word on this from Don
Nelson. Keep these papers until the thing
comes to a head further*
X wasn#t concerned with and wasn't following those
closely then.


X did have, sometime prior to the call X got there*
some telephone conversations vith Don Nelson vho indicated
that he had some important job for me in the War Induction

Be vanted to knov vhat X thought about it* and X told

him I didn’t think much of it*

I didn’t vant to do it*

didn't go into details as to what he had in mind*
didn’t vant to return*
William I* flyers*


X said X

I think I say all this in my letter to

He had indicated that* if necessary* he would

pull in the White House to get a little more reenforeement in
getting me down there*

So actually when I was called down to

Washington to see the President, X had an idea that this was
just Don Nelson carrying out his threat*

X knew that the War

Food Administration - the Food Production Administration and
the Food Distribution Administration * had been created*


vas back in December of 19i}.2*
Some months after my resignation as War Food Adminis­
trator, X summed up the story of my call to Washington and ay
resignation* in a letter to Dean William
12* 19^3*

X, layers dated October

To save time and repetition I’d like to include that

letter in this record, and refer to it as X go along*
General Watson’s office in the White House had
telephoned me in St* Irouis on March 18 asking me to
be in Washington to see the President at noon, Satur­
day, March 20*
X went to Washington and saw the President but X saw Byrnes

I don’t remember any more about my conversation with

Byrnes referred to on page six of my letter to Bill Myers*


went back and talked to Byrnes later, and our talk then was more
in detail and it was re assuring*

I’m sure Byrnes was sincere

when he said, "How, I don’t want to be in this thing, at all*
I want to be helpful to you*

You come and call on me for any­

thing, but any decisions you make that are agreed on with the
Price Administrator, Prentiss Brown, won’t come to my office at

That was clearly my understanding with the President,


Whenever the food administrator and the price adminis­

trator had agreed on a course of action, that was to settle it*
My road was to be direct to the President, but Byrnes was there
to adjust cases of difference with the Price Administration*
This is how I figured we could make it work*


Brown and I figured that neither of us wanted the job we had
and neither of us wanted more power*
Brown was excellent*

ly relationship with

We agreed that we would have our staffs

meet jointly with people who came in with common problems, in­
stead of dealing with them In separate interviews which kept
them running back and forth from one end of Washington to the

When people came In and we were dealing with a problem,

if conferences were arranged by one the other would be asked In,
and vice versa*

So while we were operating under what we both

agreed was a bad setup with authority divided between us we
decided we’d make It work by hearing things jointly, deciding

things from the same record as far as possible* and whenever we
were required to see somebody and it was important# to see them

We set out to make it work*

The only case in which

Byrnes had jurisdiction, both he and the President said, was
when Prentiss Brown and I couldn't agree*

®e set up a mechanism

by which we would work out our problems together*

Be, with

price in mind, and I, with whatever my responsibilities were in
mind, would move up on a problem together by close coordination*
In trying to discuss with Jimmy Byrnes how this thing
would work as they contemplated it, I pointed out that It was
bad organization to set up within the Department of Agriculture
an administration reporting directly to the President and with
two-thirds of the personnel of the Department turned over to

This was what was proposed*

Everything the new adminis­

trator wanted would be turned over to him without regard to the

When I said, ’’Wiekard would resign, or should,* the

President told me that he would depend on the fact that the
Secretary of Agriculture sat on numerous international boards British and others - and that he thought Claude liked the
Cabinet position too well to give it up*
he'd be all right on that*

He said he thought

This was in my first talk with the

President, when I was trying to discuss it*
The first person I talked to after I came back into
Washington was Wiekard*

I talked to Roosevelt on March 20, 19^3*

U fJk> u f

I talked with the President*

I talked with Byrnes*

the story that I could out ot them.

I got all

Then they asked me to take

a look at an executive order that was in drafting (page seven
of Buyers* letter)*

Marvin Jones had been brought in to act as

Jimmy Byrnes * advisor on food*

Be was on leave of absence

from the Court of Claims, and when I talked with Byrnes, urged
that they appoint Marvin Jones to

be Food Administrator*


was already right on the job*
On page seven I wrote:
I went over the tentative draft of the proposed
Executive Order Ho* 9322 with .Judge Byrnes, Rosenmann,
and Marvin Jones, and made one or two suggestions* I
could not get very much interested in its details; the
fundamental make-shift defectiveness loomed too large*
The make-shift defectiveness that I had In mind at that tin©
particularly was this improvisation within the Department of
then foresee*

What actually developed was something I did not
I hadn’t worried that others close to the White

House would assume and take over all of the policy responsi­
bilities, regardless of whether Prentiss Brown and I had agreed
on something or not*
actually happened*

I hadn’t feared that, and that’s what
I was afraid of this perfectly God-awful

arrangement in the Department of Agriculture*

That was what

worried me, and that was the burden of my letter to Byrnes*
(Appendix KE M of Myers letter)*
I went on to Chicago from Washington on March 21, and
flew back to St* Louis on Monday, March 22*

Then I got a

U fJk> u f

letter off just as fast as I could*

The reasons I gave in my

letter to Byrnes on March 23 were largely centered around the

That seemed to me to be the basic defect*

1 don’t recall anything in particular that I had in mind
when I used the phrase "the Secretary and his friends" in the
sixth paragraph of my letter to Byrnes*

Host of the Department

of Agriculture was to be turned over to the Food Administrator*
and he could have anything else he felt he needed and he asked

It was hardly conceivable that some of those wouldn’t be

headed by people who had been brought in by Claude, who felt
their loyalty ran to the Secretary rather than to a new man
who was brougjht in*
that way*

You can’t build much of an organization

That objection loomed so big in my mind that scans of

these other things didn’t Interest me much*
I went to bed feeling pretty good after I wrote my letter
to Bymes on March 23*

I thought that my telegram and my letter

were strong enough to convince Bymes that I shouldn’t undertake

1 gave all my reasons and then I went on to says
I am not seeking to run out on you or to dodge
a tough assignment* There are other complications
in the split authorities in the field of farm prices
and manpower which I think are general handicaps to
the present Food Administrator# but I haven’t raised
them because the factor I have discussed is so packed
with trouble that the others seem relatively easier
to get along with*

That’s about as strong as you can make It in time of war*

On llarch 2k I wrote to Eccles that I would have to leave
it to fate; that 1 had asked to be excused, but that if 1 were
called I’d do it#
I’ve had doubts in the years since June* 19^3 * since
that period - whether I shouldn’t have behaved like a soldier
and taken what came regardless of how tough and impossible it

I haven’t accepted that as valid*

I’ve rationalized the

Food Administrator’s fiasco as having accomplished at least one

I think it made Marvin Jones’ job as ay successor a

great deal easier than It would otherwise have been*

I think

they treated Marvin with considerably more respect and care
than they did me*

At any rate* it didn’t work; it blew up as

I'd told Jimmy Byrnes it would blow up, although it blew up for
somewhat different reasons than I had thought*
Claude Wiekard was really a cooperator*

There never was

a single incident that arose to embarrass me that came from
Wiekard or anybody that was motivated by loyalty to Wiekard*
that I know of*

He played ball one-hundred percent*

Byrnes telephoned me early Wednesday morning* March 2fy,
to say that the President had talked with Wiekard and that the
story of the change was already being talked around Washington*
He insisted that the White House would have to make a formal
announcement not later than Thursday - that was the day following*
I asked him if he and the President had considered my letter* Be

said it was too late for that - ths question now was when I
could get there.

As a matter of fact, what be said was a great

deal more emphatic than that*
hell with the letterl
story’s out*

la his own style he said* "To

You can’t back out of this thing*

Everybody knows it in tom*

firmed tomorrow.


It’s got to be con-

The question is when you can get down here**

So I told him and came down*

1 called Jesse Tapp after my

arrival and asked him to Join me*
I talked to Wickard on Sunday* March 28*

Wickard said*

"I’ll come right down to see you**
I said, "So* it would be much better if I’d slip out to
the Westchester and see you*8

This was to be a quiet talk*


went out and saw Wickard and visited with him and Mrs* Wickard
for a while*

Then Claude and I went into another room*


are* as nearly as I can remember, the significant parts of our
Claude opened up by saying* “Well* this is quit© a move,**
and he asked me if I thought he should resign*

He said* ”Do

you want me to resign?” - put it to me that way*
but 1 knew that question had been discussed*

2 said no,

I don’t mean to

imply that the President ever said, "Chester* if you want it
you can be Secretary,” but I had discussed it with him from
Wickard’s point of view and he had said* "I think Wickard will

I said, "No, as far as I’m concerned, I can’t be#
couldn’t be, won’t be Secretary - wouldn’t want it**
sincere in that*

I didn’t want it*

I was

That’s the kind of a job

that if you take it you’re getting right into the middle of a
political life*

It would have involved resignation from the

Federal Reserve Bank, and at my stage of life I’d rather be
president of a Federal Reserve Bank than I would a member of
the Cabinet*

I told Claude that as far as I was concerned

somebody had to be Secretary of Agriculture, and It might just
as well be he as anybody else*

That’s precisely what I told

I wasn’t particularly complimentary*

"You’d be my pick," or anything*

I didn’t say#

I said# "Somebody’s got to

be, and as far as I’m concerned it might as well be you as any­
body •n

I thought it was awfully tough on him*

I’m not trying

to demean him at all when I state that he seemed grateful for
what I said*

From that time on# in the short time I was there#

I don’t recall a single request I made of Wickard that wasn’t
complied with*

We probably had some difference, but I don’t

recall any major differences*

My troubles didn’t come from

Wickard took this like a man whose wife wanted very much
to stay in Washington as a Cabinet wife.
he took it*

It’s human*

That’s just the way

I’ve seen a lot of them*

We talked

at quite some length about the thing - not details# because I


hadn*t gotten into it*
I wanted.

He assured me that he would do anything

I think he raised the question as to representation

on the Combined Pood Board, and a few things of that sort.
I went back and called Tapp,
repeatedly during that period.

Marvin was right in the white

Marvin was quite encouraging.

this go.”

X talked to Marvin Jones

He said, "We *11 make

There was no intimation at that time that the group

would move in with major policy questions for decision at the
I-Jhite House, and then through Byrnes would communicate them to
Prentiss Brown and me*
It looked fatal to me in advance*

A division of loyalty,

I had feared from splitting the department down the middle,
didn' t have a chance to develop.

On the contrary, the-coopera­

tion and the support I had from the department left nothing to
be desired.

I’m referring to the old department people,

think Roy Hendrickson was anxious for power.
to make some shifts there.


We inevitably had

Ralph 01mstead was one of Roy

Hendrickson*s boys - a boy who had raoved up fast and gained a
lot of power in the department.

We hadn*t been on the job for

very long before we thought that he needed a lot of watching,
all right*

Those things are sort of unpleasant to go back into.

They moved so fast*
One thing 1 found here gets back to the same 1935 theme.
The Resettlement Farm Security Administration was one of the
agencies that was transferred to the War Food Administrator,

and Beanie Baldwin was the head of it.

Coincidentally, one of

the things that was in the worst mess at that time was farm
labor supply for the war crops*

Two things were happenings

Congress was at the boiling point because of failure to liqui­
date some of the cooperative experiments that had been set up
and which were not succeeding and were, on the contrary, a
pretty bad mess*

Marvin Jbnes had been one of the most violent

critics on that point, insisting that In good faith they had to
do what they’d promised to do and start liquidation of some of
these experiments that had developed under Tugwell and later
under Baldwin*

One of the first things that hit my eye as

unsatisfactory when I got in was farm labor management that
had been turned over to Farm Security to handle*
I called in Jay Taylor from Texas to handle that*


was a fast-moving, soft-speaking lad who got on top of the farm
labor problems in a hurry after it had been removed from the
Farm Security Administration*
I was pretty sure that I didn’t want Baldwin continued
In charge of the FSA* and told him so*

I should have known

better, because the next morning the White House messenger
brought a note in F.D.R. *s handwriting*

It said, "lake no

move whatever affecting Benham Baldwin until you’ve cleared it
personally with me*11 But Baldwin resigned shortly thereafter*
In the gjplinger Hews Letter of March 27, 19^3, the

analysis is correct as to the intrinsic powers over food*
There obviously had been no real change in powers*

I assume

now that the President may have told Wickard that he had all
the authority and the Presidential support needed to make a
success of the job when Wickard went in*

That, of course,

was the situation as it was presented to me.
Ibis Kipllnger letter I think overlooks one thing*
The letter says?
Whether or not Davis succeeds as Food Administrator
depends mainly on how well he manages to get along
with Brown and the hew PA, or* if he can't, on
whether he later gets real authority over prices*
Of course, one of my fundamental criticisms of the setup there
was the fact that it split off into different segments parts
of the authority which should be handled as a unit if there
was to be a successful food operation*

As it turned out, my

difficulty wasn't in getting along with Prentiss Brown, but
lay in the fact that neither Prentiss Brown nor 2 had policy­
making authority in our own fields*

We never had any real

difference at all, but it wouldn’t have made any difference
if we had*

Decisions were made in Byrnes* office to a small

degree, but when Fred M. Vinson came in as economic stabilizer
and Jimmy Bymes moved up to still another layer in the Office
of War Mobilization (OWM) * we found that neither one of us had
any authority that amounted to anything*

We couldn't make de­

cisions even when we agreed, which was the fundamental reason

why I left Washington*
On the whole, I’d call this Kiplinger letter a good

I'm not commenting now on the personal parts of

It's a good analysis of the situation*

wrote that was Oresti Granducci*

The man who

Be was one of the tough#

accurate agricultural reporters in Washington*

I don’t re­

call haring read it at the time, but looking back on it the
article is accurate as to its analysis of powers*

As to its

prediction of difficulties# of course history proved him right*
An executive order of April 23 gave coequal powers to
Wickard and me*

As I recall, it came about because much Of

the statutory law - acts that had been passed from time to
time - were expressed in terms of the Secretary*
to move without

In order

having to rewrite all the law and write "food

administrator" in and without making it necessary for the food
administrator to go to Wickard*s office and get something
signed every time anything was done, the solicitor's office
worked that up and cleared it# and the President signed it*
Robert H* Shields was then the solicitor*

What it simply did#

of course, was carry to its logical conclusion the totally
illogical arrangement we had*

It was an impossible setup,

but that never bothered President Roosevelt*


or contradictions never bothered him at all*

Sis left the

stumps of the old national Defense Commission sticking up

around. Washington after they*d moved on to other forms of

Nothing was ever wiped off and cleaned up,

I really don* t recall the "Wiekard Plan* for incentive
payments to farmers on vital crops.

It sounds a little like

the big program the President subsequently announced - again
without consulting either the price or food "authorities'1 «*
to put a billion and a half or two billion dollars a year
into payments either to bring about a rollback in the sta­
tistical price of food or to prevent food prices from rising
by payin~ a portion of the price out of the Treasury instead
of in the marketplace,

Overemphasis on the statistical price

of food was one of the problems I faced with the OPA and with
Benjamin V, Cohen and some of the others in the ¥hite House.
The two men in the ¥hite Eouse 1 think of as exercising policy
power without public responsibility were Ben Cohen, who had
been around Washington and the White House since 1933* a team­
mate of Thomas G, Corcoran in the early days, and this boy
Edward P. Prichard.
Prichard was one of the brilliant younr? men, a graduate
of Harvard Law School, who was In the White House, In effect,
I think, as liaison between the Congress of Industrial Organi­
zations (CIO) and the President.

In practice, he had much more

authority over food policy than I did while I was there.


in the White Eouse, having access to those who had access to

the President if not actually exercising it himself, he could
cook up programs, policies, decisions which - particularly
after Fred Vinson came in - were as good as edicts*

We had no

chance even to discuss them*
I stress Bafter ¥inson came in” because matters were
relatively workable while Byrnes was our primary point of con­
tact, but that was only for a short time*
In, it immediately became unworkable*

After Vinson came

I got along with Byrnes

up to the point of that last final discussion.
along with Vinson because of Vinson.

I couldn’t get

The situation was this*

Without consulting any of the people around Washington as far
as I could find out - Don Helson hadn’t heard about it, I know
Prentiss Brown hadn't heard about it, I hadn*t heard about it
- the President appointed Vinson, took him off the Court of
Apple als, I think* and named him as economic stabilizer, ele­
vating Jim Byrnes to a new office which he created, the Office
of War Mobilization*

Subsequently another word was added and

it was known as the Office of War Mobilisation and Reconversion
(0W15R). When that was done and Vinson moved in, any pretext of
consulting us was dropped*

There wasn’t even the fora.

This led me, in the last discussion at the White House
I refer to in my letter to Willian layers, to say, ”If Vinson is
going to exercise the authority, then make him the Pood and
Price Administrator and then let us have two divisions - a

C k A ,^

price division and a food division*

®hen you*d hav© a setup

that squares with the facts# because that’s the way things
are being run*"
I got off on Vinson in relation to Prichard#
was a Kentuckian,


After Vinson came in, his Influence and

actual power was very much Increased*
The last meeting referred to on page eighteen of my
letter to Myers# is the meeting on the afternoon of Jone 16*
I believe we were in Byrnes* office two and a half or three

It was really a tough one*

and I*

Th© President wasn’t there*

there were Bymes, Brown#
It was In Byrnes* office

in the executive wing, the east side of the White House*
The third paragraph on page eighteen of the Myers let*
ter starts with this sentence: "A full narrative of our discus­
sion would be altogether too long**

1 can#t add to that*

Before I went over to the meeting that day I had drafted my
letter to the President# and I carried it with me as I went
Into the meeting*

1 wanted to make an effort to get back to

the original understanding we had had# if possible - that
where the Price Administrator and I Were in agreement on policy
or program, we had authority to go ahead - that was the original
direction from the President - without having to clear every
order# every action, with Vinson*

I wanted an end to this

business of having decisions made up the line without consulting

either one of us as to what was done*

But at the meeting

talk went round and round on the same thing* getting nowhere
at all*
It wasn’t a particularly acrimonious meeting;
it must have grown very irritating to Jim Byrnes*

I think

I said at

this meeting that the President had assured me of direct re­
porting and direct access to him at all times* and I saw no
alternative except to go to the President and lay it on the

I’m quite sure that Jim Byrnes made up his mind I was

not going to go to the President at that time* because the
President did not call me although, my letter to him asked for
an opportunity to discuss these questions with him.
I only wrote that one letter of resignation.

I think

I probably wrote it out longhand, worked it over, and then
gave it to my secretary to type*

This letter was on my mind

and on my desk for several days*

The decision to deliver it

came after this meeting convinced me that short of the President
there was no possibility to get a workable arrangement here*
This letter is dated June 16, 19^3* and is In Appendix H of
my letter to Myers.

It wasn’t precisely a letter of resignation.

I said:

Sometime at your convenience I should like to
discuss fully with you the future direction of the
food program. After I have completed two under­
takings I should like to be relieved of my present

I named the two unfinished jobs*

X said:

These major programs should be well shaped up and
under way before the middle of July*
Two main causes have brought me to the reluctant
conclusion that I will not be able to serve you
satisfactorily in ray present capacity:
Then I gave the two reasons that are set forth in the letter*
I said that Ird like to discuss the food situation with
him, and then I would like to have the opportunity to complete
two undertakings*

Then I asked to be relieved of my responsi­

I didn’t say* "unless we work out satisfactory arrange­

ments •*
It was twelve days before I heard from the President*
The meeting with Byrnes* Brown* and Vinson, was on the sixteenth*
which was the date of my letter*
on in those twelve days*

I had no idea what was going

'The only discussion that 1 can recall

1 had with someone close to the White House was a half hour or
so spent with Harry Hopkins*

Ho, there was another*

Prank C»

Walker asked me to talk with him, and we discussed the situation
at length*

ffrom the beginning of the President's administration

he had been a close advisor of President Roosevelt's and had
been in and out of important positions there*
Postmaster General*

He was then

Harry Hopkins and 1 had a long talk about

Harry was* I think* anxious to see me stay* as was Frank

Walker* and both of them were anxious to avert any further
difficulty in the food front*

They were very sincere about it*

They were sympathetic, but they were more or less helpless*
lii the meantime, the President had made that announce­
ment that gave the signal that the administration policy would
be to go into food subsidies up to the extent possibly of two
billion dollars*

About two weeks or so - perhaps less - prior

to the President*s announcement, the same plan had been publicly
advocated by CIO and I think AFL leaders both*

It was a labor

union plan*
I didn’t have any trouble with Wickard that I recall*
I don’t think he was close to Vinson and Byrnes*
that he was antagonistic to them*

I don’t mean

1 regarded him as out of the

He wasn’t particularly active at this time*

I think

Wickard was actually quite sympathetic with ms in the diffi­
culties I was having because he had had somewhat similar ones*
He had been a figurehead in food*

He had had no authority*

didn’t hurt him particularly to lose the


vestige of authority

to me, and then he promptly could see - as everybody else could
see - that I had no authority either*

ITm sure he wasn’t trying

to get me out of there# and I don’t know that he would*
think he’s that kind of a man*

I don’t

1 don’t think Wickard had any­

thing particularly to gain by getting me out*

He had had his

shot at it, and the whole Department, in effect# had been taken
away from him - a situation which I had not approved*

I don’t

think the historian is going to be much concerned with Wickard
right at that particular juncture*

He was not in the picture*

The crux of the matter was precisely this*

They were

announcing major food policy and carrying it right down to
minor operating decisions.

^They” refers to Vinson and Bymes•

Although Bymes had moved on to other things# he was still
nevertheless in the picture*

Roosevelt was making snap deci­

sions and they were carrying them out, as perhaps good lieu­
tenants should*

X think that*s what the historians will he

concerned with*

He made decisions on the basis of Information

from a group that was politically-minded*

They were politically-

minded in the sense that they felt - and I think truly - that
Roosevelt’s political power In the country really rested around
the hard core of the labor unions and what they could do*


keep bringing them in because the point of view the administra­
tion took was the point of view being advocated by both the
major unions, but particularly by the CIO*

They had a great

deal more to say about food policy than anyone in the food ad­
ministration did*
I didn’t know when 1 would get President Roosevelt’s

It came on June 28* (Appendix I# Myers letter).

hadn’t called me over to see him*
an appointment, either*


I didn’t call and ask for

I sent the letter, made my request,

and then after that it was in the President’s hands*

I had

asked directly for an appointment to see the President in iny
previous letter*

If the President wanted to discuss it with

me, the move was up to him*
letter to the President*

Byrnes and Vinson didn't give my

I had handed it to a uniformed guard

as I left Byrnes* office after the June l6th meeting, and asked
him to get it to tbs President as soon as he could*
him all right.

It reached

Obviously that letter Irritated the President*

His reply shows a lot of feeling*

I*m sure he didn*t draft it*

but at the same time I think It reflected his irritation over
the situation*

I don*t know whether I blame him much*

He *d

had plenty of trouble on the food front*
Now I go back to 19^0 #■*1^.1, I still contend that all of
this trouble could have been avoided if he had, at that time*
peimitted plans for a balanced food administration to be drawn
that could be thrown into operation when we moved into war*
with sufficient powers to give management to the nation's food

It could have been done*

There might have been other

troubles and more • I don’t know » but this type of trouble
could have been avoided.
I didn*t attend the Hot Springs food conference (May 18*
June 3).

I saw Claude Wiekard frequently.

I am sure I dropped

in to see him before I left Washington and said* "This is it,”
or something.
be said*

I had a press conference*

There wasn't much to

I was asked whether I was going to reply to the Presi­

dent's letter.

The implication In the question was, "Are you

going to blow off now and really undertake to fight this out?"

I said that I was not#

I turned the question along this line -

"That would be taking on a little too great odds, wouldn’t it?*
- something of that sort.
Ba retrospect I’m glad of one thing.

Two of the national

magazines asked me to write my story of this period.

In retro-

spect I’m glad 1 didn’t do it.
I wrote the letter to Bill Myers because, in the first
place# he asked me for the story of what happened.

I thought

I’d like to put down some of the events and developments for
my own record and for a few of my friends in the Federal Reserve.
1 didn’t circulate It further than that*
I had nothing to do with choosing Marvin Jones as my suc­

It was a good choice*

1 think Marvin was as nearly

heartbroken as anybody when I resigned.
knew he would be selected.

I don’t know that he

Marvin’s a good soldier, and he’s

a pretty calm personality with a world of political experience,
and the give-and-take of adjustment that you get in politics*
I think perhaps the one contribution I made as Food Administrator
was to secure a better situation for Marvin Jones to operate in
than he would have had otherwise*

I’m sure of that*

1 think

they were very careful to consult Marvin, from there on* about
things that were done about food.

I’m not too stare that they

always did, but in any event Marvin was able to ride that, horse.
1 think I gentled him a little*

I’m not sure.

The question I’ve had since then has been, “How, should
I have stayed through like a good soldier in the ranks without
questioning any of these things?"

That I don’t know*

There is a similarity between the situation I ran into
with regard to the lawyers in OPA and under Vinson, and that
with Jerome Prank in the AAA*
policy and grabbed power*

The bright boys got over into

They had entrenched themselves, and

there was an informal but very close line running from OPA to
the White House.

They had their connections in other depart­

ments with these bright young planners who enjoyed making the
power behind the scenes, although they didn,t appear in public
as possessing any responsibility at all*

The names were not

known and not heard of, but they were extremely active in this
time • They really had a pipe line to the White House and they
were entrenched there*
When Fred Vinson came in, it was impossible for me to
operate - at least as I saw It then, and I’m pretty sure I’d
see it that way again*

I had public responsibility but no

I had

very little contact with Wallace during this

Wallace, I think, was sympathetic*

I know he was,

although I had practically no personal contact with Henry during
the three months I was down there*

Tolley was busy in Hot Springs.

I brought back Tapp*

Hutson was in the Department, but was very active with a®#
Hutson is another Kentuckian, and when Vinson cams in he
pulled Jack over to him*

Jack worked very closely with

I think Jack would have been Vinson’s personal

choice to handle the food job*

Some of my associates - I

don't need to name them - felt that Jack had gone over to
the Vinson group pretty completely in the latter end of the
ninety days*

I don’t know*

t haven’t seen much of him since*

I had one talk with Jack*

That was after his resig­

nation as an assistant to Trygve Lie in the TMited Nations*
Jack had an experience there that was reminiscent of mine be­
fore, only on an international scale*

His was surrounded by

personnel in the Secretariat with no loyalty whatever and
following in this case, according to Jack, the straight com­
munist line*

Jack knew it*

They really tied him up in a

1 spent an evening sympathizing with him genuinely,

because I know something about how he felt, all right*


the fact that I haven’t seen much of Jack isn’t due to avoid**
ance, at least on my part*

It’s just because our lines haven’t

My lines with Tapp have crossed*

I saw Jesse Tapp a

good deal because he was in the banking field and was working
on agriculture in the banking field as I was*

X didn’t see

Howard Tolley during the period in which he was head of the

Economics and Marketing Division of FAG*

During that period

I don’t recall that I saw Tolley at all*

I saw Hutson, as 1

recall, only on this one occasion*

So my statement that I

haven’t seen much of Jack in recent years has no significance*
I haven’t seen much of them except I continued to see Jesse

We’d be in the same meetings, from place to place*
We’d never unpacked while we were in Washington*

had an apartment at the Shoreham*
clothes, and personal effects*


We had moved just our

I remember most of them were

stored in a large wooden chest which the maintenance boys at
the bank had made up for me*

We could pile a great deal in

It stood beside our beds in the bedroom and it never

was unpacked in Washington*

We just left things In there,

because after the first ten days, I told Mrs* Davis that we
shouldn’t unpack because it looked like this thing wasn’t
going to last*
Appleby during this time was Tinder Secretary of Agri­

I didn’t get an trouble from him that I know of*

I can’t imagine that there was any great sympathy or love
between Appleby and Wickard*

I don’t recall seeing Paul

during that period*
There were two other contacts I had with the govern­
ment, later*

I went on the board of the Office of War Mobili­

zation and Heconverslon (OWMR) as a public advisory member for
John W* Snyder*

I think It was ’It6*

John Snyder was then in

that office, and that was before he went to the Treasury*
Then President Barry S* Truman asked me to be chaiman of
the Famine Emergency Committee in *i{.6*
John Snyder was a friend from St* Louis*
when John one day stopped me on the street*

I remember

He was a vice

president of the First National Bank of St* Louis# diagonally
across the street from the Federal Beserve Bank*

He told me

he had had a call from Barry Truman who wanted his advice as
to whether he should permit his friends to put his name be*
fore the Democratic Convention for Vice President# and John
said he was advising him against doing it# that he felt he
was doing fine in the Senate# there wasnft any chance for
him in this Vice Presidency# and John said he was disposed
to advise him against it*

I had seen quite a lot of John

Snyder in St* Louis and during the war when he had been head
of the Defense Plant Corporation*

John# himself# at that time

had a good deal of the same problem that I had had*
asked me to go on his Board# t realized that*
R* Nathan as the head of his economic group*

Ihen he

Be had Robert
He*d inherited

So I was giad to go on - more beeause John wanted me to

than any other reason*
The other was the Famine Emergency Committee*


gave me the only real close personal contact with Herbert
Hoover that I ever had*

He was named honorary chairman*


was chairman.

W© did have quite an operation.

Mr. Hoover

agreed to visit many countries abroad and report on the food

He turned in a wonderful report* all right.

Those were the only two subsequent activities in the govern­
ment that I was in, that I recall.
I had frequent meetings with Truman during the time
I was on the Famine Emergency Committee •

I had known Harry

Truman since he first went in the Senate - not closely* but
just casually.

I had met him when he was a very freshman

Senator In Edwin A* "Efed” Halsey’s office.
tary of the Senate.

Halsey was secre­

From my first meeting I don’t think I

expected great things of Senator Truman.

I don’t think any­

body else did.
The satisfaction I got out of the Federal Reserve Bank
of St. Louis was due to the work we got started in that district
activating the bankers to use their influence to develop more
productive uses for the resources* human and material* in their

We really got something going.

In cooperation

with state bankers associations and with land grant colleges
and the soil conservation services, we’d organize a series of
regional meetings.

We’d study case histories of farms where

the production records had been kept before and after a com­
plete program of land and water use had been put into effect.
It’s amazing what the records showed.

The increased productiv­

ity after the land had been put to its best use in a way that

sufficient within a relatively short period of time to repay
the capital investment and still leave a substantial contri­
bution to the income to the farmer,

1 mean that you could

take the actual increase in physical volume of production
and apply it to your capital investment and pay it off in
four# five, or six years, and do it with only a fraction of
the increase# and without taking wartime prices into account.
In our calculations we applied the average »3£-»39 price level
to the physical increase in production.
strate this in all the states.

We were able to demon­

There are not too many farms

where they had a comprehensive series of records before and
after these programs were put in effect, but some always could
be found.

We found records covering all types of farming im­

provements - getting organic matter in the soil, terracing
and contouring where it was necessary, realigning the fences#
taking the hilly land out of row crops and putting it into
permanent pastures# getting livestock going.

We really made

an amazing showing demonstrating that people couldn't afford
not to do that kind of business and the bankers couldnH afford
not to back up the good farmers with credit.

Many of the bank­

ers were slow to realize this because it’s easier to invest in
commercial paper and bonds, and so forth# than it is to get out
and work one of these plans.
enjoyed that work very much.

I think we had some effect, and I

On my birthday, November 1?, 1950, Paul G. Hoffman
called me from Pasadena*

He had just agreed to become presi­

dent of the Ford Foundation, and said he wanted me to come
with him as associate director of the Ford Foundation*
was a complete shot out of the blue*


He told me that he had

talked to Bob Hutchins at the University of Chicago and Bob
hadn't given his answer yet# but the two he wanted to start
with were Bob Hutchins and me*

Sometime later - perhaps a

week or ten days later - after I had consulted xdth my own
board of directors in the Federal Reserve Bank of St* Louis
and with the Board in Washington - particularly Thomas McCabe
- i told Paul I would be delighted to tackle this one*


I moved out early in 1951 to Pasadena*
The one thing in my life that I'm most proud of# I
believe# is the work I did as president of the Federal Reserve
Bank of St* Louis in extracurricular activities*

I'm not

only proud of the work with agricultural resources, but also
the collateral efforts to bring about a better understanding
on the part of the commercial bankers of the principles of
fiscal monetary policy and central banking*

I think perhaps

that will have more enduring effect in the lower Mississippi
valley than what x have done on the national scene*

In my life I liked least trying to make that insulating
wallboard operation stand up in the depths of the depression*

We didn‘t get into production until the end of November in *29*
and we continued on until 1933*

fhat was the all-time, low*

Chester C. Davis - Index

Adkins*, Charles, 222
Alexander, Will ¥*, 380
Allen, Robert S., 4l6, I4.37
Alvord, E. C*, I63
Anderson, Paul, 369
Andre sen, August Herman, 66
Appleby, Paul, 63, 72, 85, 314, 327, 332-333, 343-344*
361, 372-373* 377, 383-384, 389-390, 392-393,
396, 398, 403, 407, 417-418, 424, 432, 457, 532
Aswell, James B., 207*224
Authier, George, 253-254
Baer, John, 479
Bailey, William C#, 471
Baldwin, C. Benham, 314, 327, 332-333, 343-344, 373, 396,
399, 403, 424, 432, 457, 484, 518
Bankhead, John, 354* 428, 437, 438
Barrett, Charles, 161, 233
Baruch, Bernard H., 169-170, 189-191, 193, 196, 212-213,
261, 269
Bean, Louis E., 334,. 339
Belair, Felix, 328, 44^-447
Benger, E. B», I44
Bennett, Eugh, 452-454
Bennett, Margaret, 402, 404
Benson, Ezra T., 345, 508
Benz, Peter Jerusalem, 67
Bilbo, Theodore, 296-300
Bingham, Hiram, 171, 187, 207-208, 228
Black, A, G-., 289, 292, 433-435
Black, John B., 106, 236, 272, 282, 396
Blaisdell, Thomas C., 339, 422
Blalock, U* B., 209
Bledsoe, Sam, 195-196, 303
Bole, William, 100
Bone, Scott, 77
Borah, William S., 235, 25l
Bowles, Chester, 383
Bradfute, Oscar, I83, 189
Brand, Charles H,, 258-259
Brand, Charles J*, 104, 105, 154, 157, 159, 163 , 278,
279, 281-282 , 288 , 289, 290 , 305, 308-309 ,
325-326, 339, 351-353
Brannan, Charles F«, 440
Bromfield, Louis, 470

Brookhart, Smith
296, 301
Brown, Prank A,, 374, 390, 392, 393
Brown, Prentiss, 510-512, 517, 519, 522-523
Bryce, James, Lord, 71
Buckley, Oliver Ellsworth, 44
BudcL Ralph* it90
Burton, Theodore E., 258-259
Butcher, Harry, 193-191}., 235, 332
Butler, William, 155-156
Byrd, Harry, 361-362, 425
Byrd, William E., Jr., 37k, 390-393
Byrnes, James P.. 191, 212, 506, 508-515, 517, 519,
522-52^, 527, 528
Capper, Arthur, 211, 426
Cardon, P. V., 109-110
Caverao, Xenouhon, 188, 272
Christgau, Victor A*, 335, 349, 373, 390, 392, 402,
lp.1, 414-416, 109, 433
Christie, George Irving, 104
Clark, George A., 66-67
Clayton, William D., 354-356
Cobb, Cully, 289, 291-292, 404, 428, 431
Cohen, Benjamin V*, 521
Commons, John R,, 273
Condon, Edward J., lj.70-ij.73
Coolidge, Calvin, 154, 155, 157, 17k* 177, 201, 20k,
208, 230 , 2i|J0, 2i(.9-250
Corcoran, Thomas G,, 521
Coulter, John Lee, 154, 109
Coverdale, John A,, 200
Cowles, R. A., 172, 205-206, 207, 211
Cox, Joseph P., 338-339, W
Cresap, Dwight, lij.9
Crisp, Charles R., 207
Cummings, Homer, 348, i|i|-6
Curtis, Charles, 207
Curtis, Harry, 495
Davis, Mrs, Chester C*, 27, 37* 43, 80, 87-88, 97, 110111, 120, 122, 123, 166, 170, 234, 235, 266,
286, 369, 465* 470, I1.72-I1.73, 502, 506-507
Davis, Chester S,, 74-75, 138, 482
Davis, Prank, 8, 16, 26, 444
Davis, Harriet, 8, 36, 37-38
Davis, Ida, 8-9, 10, 38, 76-77
Davis, Lewis, 8, 9, 10, 27, 38, 76-77
Davis, Norman Hall, 472
Davis, Philip Hare, 42
Davis, William &., 2-6, 8, 11-17, 25, 36, 38

Davis, lors. William H,, (Eva Johnson), 3-4, 6, 10, 12,
16-17, 19, 25, 36, 38, ifl, 76-77
Dawes, Charles C-., 177, 201, 210, 211, 213-215, 228,
231-232, 2I4.O, 269
Dawes, Rufus, 269
Deshraukh, Ramrao Kadhaorao, 383
Dickinson, Lester J., 195, 230
Diehl, Oscar, 39
Dison, Joseph M., 53, 111-121}., 134, 136-137, 138, 140,
146, li|.8, 150, 153, 163-164, 174-176, 235
Donnelly, Charles, 1?8
Dorman, Dewey C«, 381-382
Dowling, Noel, i4i}.S—I4J4.9
Driver, ¥. J,, 392
Duddy, E. A., 273
Dunlap, W. R., 3&7
Eccle's, Marriner S., 475, 476, 502-503, 514
Eisenhower, Dwight D«, 112
Eisenhower, Milton S., 332, 334, 345
Elliott, Harriet, 490
Ely, Richard T., 156
Snsainger, Douglas, 383
Erickson, John -3., 175
, £^>1, l^.o3
JSzekiel, ^ordecal, 273, 334, 339, 379, 381, 450
Parley, Jataes A., 255, 294-295, 454, 478
Farrell, George S., 335-336
Field, Mrs. Frank E» (Pearl Davis Gannaway), 6-7, 17,
27, 36-41, 47-48, 77
Flood, Francis, 452
Forster, C. T ., 4o8
Frank, Jerome, 279, 282-283, 288, 290, 291, 305, 311,
314, 315, 328, 329, 338, 348, 359, 376, 388,
389, 399-402, 407, 411-413, 417, 418-419,
421-422, 434, 458, 530
Frankfurter, Felix, 315
Fraser, Lynn, 103
Friant, Julian, 294-295, 454
Galbraith, J* Kenneth, 363, 487, 493
Gannaway, Charles E., 7, 39-4l, 4°
Garberson, J. H., 77-78
Gilbert, Bruce, 15
Goss, Albert, 223
Gotch, Frank, 68
Granducci, Oresti, 520
Gray, Chester, 215, 241
Gray, Gordon, 74
Gregory, Clifford V., 104, 274, 278, 376, 457, 488

Griffin, Harvey, 86
Guard, Sam, 152
Hall, Bob, 69
Hall, James Herman, 52, 59-63, 65-66, 71, 72-73
Halsey, S d w i n A., 534
Earalin, George, 70
EaKBaill, John, 193* 197
Hampton, Uncle Saa, 95-96
Hannah, John, 321}.
Harding, Warren Gf, 139-141
Harrison, Pat, 195-196, 296-300
Haugen, Gilbert N., 156, 159, 211, 224-225
Hayes, Glen, 152
Hearst, Charles, 160, 230, 252, 366
Henderson, Leon, 490, ij.95* 508
Hendrickson, Hoy, 303-30i|517
Henshaw, Fred, 332, 382
Hill, Grover B,, 484-485
Hillman, Sidney, 491, 501
Hirth, William, 160, 172, 185-188, 198, 217, 230-231,
232, 233, 249, 252, 260, 272
Hiss, Al;~er, 58, 314, 403-407 , 409
Hitt, Guy, 493-500
Hoffman, Paul G., 54, 536
Hollenback, B. D., 178
Holman, Charles W«, 336
Holmes, George, 332
Holzer, Charles, 470-471
Hoover, Calvin, 392-393, 405, 422-423
Hoover, Herbert C., 139, 142, 154, 157-158, 164-166,
205, 207, 208-209,226, 228, 230, 243, 245,
251, 254, 256-259, 533-534
Hope, Clifford, 66, 224, 364
Hopkins, Harry, 62-63, 83, 85, 321, 435, 525
Hopkins, Home, 62
Houston, David ?*, 103, 140
Howe, Frederick C., 309, 313, 402, 4l4
Howard, James R.> 160, 183
Howard, Perry, 245
Howell, Robert 3., 218-221
Hughes, Fred, 306-308
Hull, Cordell, 329, 347-348, 437, 461, 484
Hutchins, Robert M», 66, 536
Hutson, John B., 293-294, 310, 359, 378, 473, 48?, 531-532
Iekes, Harold, 324, 367
Jackson, Gardner, 309, 313, 377, 402, 408-409, 416, 419
Jardine, William M., 178-179, 204, 208, 230, 244
Jarrett, Henry, 478-479

Jewett, George, 149, 150-151, 159, 161, 162, 178, 181
Johnson, Ernest, 166-16?
Johnson, Hugh S., 35, 134, 168-170, 190, 247, 324,
367, 368-369
Johnson, Marquis, 253
Johnson, Oscar, 404, 439, 441
Jones, Jesse, 355-356
Jones, Marvin, 224, 364-366, 436-438, 446, 448* 4? 8479, 485, 512, 514, 517, 518, 528
Jump, William, 306
Kilgore, Benjamin W#, 189, 203, 209, 226, 249
Kinchsloe, David, 224
Kins, Clyde C., 302, 327, 339
Kirk, Alexander, 464
Kirkoatrickj Donald, 448
Knudsen, William S., 489-493, 495, 501
Landon, Alfred M«, 464
Lawshe, Ben, 104
Leavitt, Scott, 155, 159
LeCron, James, 432, 457
Lee, Frederic P., I63, 225, 229, 278, 282, 284, 288,
301 , 326, 448-449, 455
Lewis, George M., 117-119, 121
Lewis, John L,» 377
Livingston, George, 48?

Lloyd;-- 106
Lord, Russell, 421, 470
Lowden, Frank 0., 171, 186-187, 203-204, 208, 226-228,
231-232, 243, 245, 269
MeCamy, James, 504
MeClung, Ray, 161
McCormick, Will, 129, 145
McCumber, Porter J«, 225
McHugh., Glenn 3., 156, 326
MeEeliar, Kenneth, 294
McKinley, — — , 19
McKinley, William B», 222
Mcllrath, George, 50, 51
McKee, John K*, 475
McHary, Charles L., 156, 211, 240-241
McReynolds, William, 490-491
Macy, Jesse, 70-71
Marquis, Clyde, 456
Martin, William McC*, 498-499
Mason, Jerry, 336
Matson, — — , 68
Mayfield, Ssrle £*, 220
Meyer, Eugene, 141-144, 244

Mi Her, Adolph C., 474-475
Miller, Grady, 302, 303
Killer, Ray C., 311* 332
Mitchell, Harry, 332
1-iltchell, James, 170-171
Moley, ISaysrond, 272, 274
Mondell, Frank w., 141-142, 144

Montgomery, Don, 423
Morgenthau, Henry, Jr., 274* 449
Morrill, Chester, 104-105, 168, 476
Morrison, Ralt>h, 475-476
Moser, C. 0., 189, 209
Moskowitz, Belle, 251
Murph, D. S., 339
Murx>hy, Donald R., 106
Murphy, Prank
159, 160, 172, 185-186, 188, 192193* 197-198, 217, 232, 244, 260, 346
Mussolini, Benito, 462-465
Hyers, Larry, 339

Myers, William I., 319, 509, 510, 528
Hardin, William T., 498-500, 502-503, 507
Hathan, Robert R., 533
Helson, Donald, 508-509, 522
Uolan, Phil, 168, 169
Horbeck, Peter, 69, 427
Horris, George a., l4&, 207-208, 252
Olrastead, Rainh, 517
Olsen, Mis, 145, 273, 306, 433-434
O'Heal, Edward A., 160, 183-184, 194, 438, 448
Otis, Janies
O'Toole, Donald L., 66
Parker, Bob, 137-138
Patrick, Hugh, 22-23
Patton, James G., 457
Payne, Charles ^*, 70-73
Pearson, Drew, 313* 319, 4^8-409, 419, 46?
Peek, Surton, 193* 234* 2o9
Peek, George, 31-32, 33* 35, 56-57, 95, 134* 159* 162,
165, 166-173&* 177, 179, 180-182, 186-188,
190-193* 195* 197-199, 201, 205-206, 211-216,
230, 232-233, 234, 235* 241-243 , 246-248,
249* 252, 255-256* 258-262, 268, 269, 271,
274* 275-292, 296-298, 301, 302, 304-305,
30 8-310, 312-316, 319-320, 326-331, 333, 339,
340, 346-347, 351-353, 368, 373, 388, 399,
458, 459
Peek, Mrs. George, 167-168, 216, 275, 281

Perkins, Frances, 348, 36?, 369-370
Perkins, Eilo, 432-11.33* 45?» 5$4
Per-chin;", John J*» 228-229
Peteet, Walton, 171, 186-188, 193* 199, 208, 216-21?,
220 - 221 , 233-234
Petrie, Harpy, 33©
Pieres, Walter Marcus, 3$1
Piper, Carol, 307-308, 390, 392, 393* 500
Pius XI, 465
Porter, Paul A*, 421, 441» 478, 480, 487
Pressman, Lee, 283, 301, 3U, 314* 315, 38?, 389* 400,
402, 411-414
Preston, Paul 3,, 408
Prichard, Edward F*, 5*21-523^
Proskauer, Joseph
249, 251
Purnell, Fred S.. 211, 21?
Ransom, Ronald, 4?5
Raskob, John J., 247
Reno, Milo, 233
Reynolds, Arthur., 6
Reynolds, Georgs !•£., 6
Richberg, Donald, 348, 36?
Kiefler, Winfield, 349
Roberts, Owen J«, 44S>**446
Robinson, Arthur 3., 239-240
Robinson, Joe, 302-303, 392
Boerich, Nicholas, 360-361
Roosevelt, George, ?8
Roosevelt, Franklin D«, 63, 2?l-2?2, 2?4, 27£, 2?6,
281, 316, 320, 327-330, 362, 366-370, 360,
388, 429, 438, 439-442, 446, 459, 460-4^1,
464* 467, 476-47?, 484* 439, 493, 496, 498,
501-503* 506-512, 514-515, 518-528
Rosemaan, Samuel, 512
Rotnem, Victor, 402, 416
Russell, Charlie, 90
Russell, F. M., 333-334
Russell, J. Stuart, 85
Ryerson, Snowies A., 360-361
Sanders, John, 75
Sapiro, Aaron, 127, 207-208
Schacht, Hjalnar, 462-463
Schrain, Sail, 295
Schwellenbach, Lewis, 381
Sears, Henry, 80, 83
Sedgwick, Ellery, 62
Selvidge, 3, A., 1?2
Settle, Wliliaa, 160, 1?2, 18?, 203, 223, 231-232,
243, 249* 252, 260, 476, 478

Shea, Francis H.,. 402
Shepard, Guy C., 302, 313, 339, 4*>8
Shields, Hubert H*, $20
Silver, Gray, 162-163, 165-166, 176, 183, 19k, 200,

Sisson, John, 233
Srdth, Alfred S., 247, 249-255
Saith, Sari, 160, 172-173, 182, 184-185, 189, 207, 230
244, 2k7, 252, 274, 278, 323, W , 457
Sffiith, 2111 son D., 354-355, 425-427, 438, 446
Saiith, Bussell, 482—483
Snyder, John W., 532-533
Spillsan, W. J., 106, 273
Stasp, Sir Josiah, 177, 201-202
Stanley, Mary, 18
Stealey, C. L., 209
Stearns, Frank, 155
Stedman, Alfred D«, 290-291, 332, 335, 352-353, 3?4,
411, lak> U 6, 461
Steen, Herman, 243
Steere, Loyd ¥*, 381
Stein, Harold, 493
Stephens, Hubert D,, 296, 300
Stettinius, Edward R., Jr., 490, 493
Stevenson, Lewis 3., 259, 301
Stevenson, Adlai, 112, 301
Stewart, CLarles L., 221
Stewart, Ssauuel V«, 103
Stockberger, V.!. w,, 306
Stockton, s. L., 151-152, 155
Stone, Alfred, 195-196
Stone, Harlan Fiske, 446
Stoops. J. D«, 52
Strawman, C. N., 149
Sutherland, E. II., 108
Sweeney, 0. E., 268
Szymczak, Meneowiz S., 475
Taber, Louis J., 223
Tapp, Jesse W., 293, 334, 373-374, 379, 396, 4S7-408,
414, 432, 435, 462, 473, 482-483, 515, 517,
Taylor, Henry C*, 106, 139, 140, 145-148, 150-151, 159
372, 381, 466
Taylor, Jay, 518
Taylor, Wayne Chatfield, 301, 326
Thatcher, Milliard, 337, 457
Theis, Frank A., 311, 337
Thomas, Slzoer, 484.

Thomas, Seth, 392, 395, 396-4-01
Thompson, Robert K*, 4.90
Thompson, Sam H., I60, 172-173# 176, 182, I83* 189# 194-195, 204,215, 230
Thorne, Jerry, 4.S6
Tolley, Howard K*, 273, 293, 301# 334-335, 37k* 379,
382, 384., 4*>?-4£>8, 411* if!3, k*k» 419, 4-32,
4-35, 443, 4.50, 461-462, 473-474, 483-484,
Toxakins, J. F,, 392
B. , 414--4-15
Truax, Charles, 223
Truiaan, Harry S#> 533-534
Trumbull, John, 161, 233
Tugwell, Rexford G., 272, 273, 2 7 k , 279, 281, 288, 305,
309, 315, 337, 3^0-342, 362-363, 372, 376,
384, 4-10-412, 417 , 4-32, 518
Turner, George, 68-69
Turner, Stanton, 68
Underwood, Sell
Vinson, Fred M., 519, 522-523, 527-528, 530-531
Walker, Frank C., 525
Wallace, Henry £,# 57, 105, 14-0-14-1, 183, 208-210, 215,
235, 237-238, 252-253, 275-282, 284.-292, 302,
306, 308-309, 314--315, 320, 327, 329-331, 337,
340-341, 3.
42, 344-346, 348, 360-362, 366-367,
376-378, 380, 384., 388, 391-399, 401-404, ¥>9412,
416, 418, 423-424., 431-4-32, 446, 44-9,
4-57-462, 473, 484, 14-85, 4-96, 507, 530, 532
Wallace, Henry C.» 57, 105, 131, 138-141, 14-7-14-8, 150153, 158, 159, 160, 161, 163-164, 166, 176, 258
Walsh, Thomas, 174
Warburton, Clyde, 308
Warden, Oscar M*, 86, 100
Warner, Frank, 197
Warren, George F*, 318
Watson, Jaroes S., 213, 239-240
Weaver, A. J* S., 392-303, 336
Welliver, Judson C., 157-158
Wellman, H. Zl., 335
Wenchel, John P., 374-, 4-00, 411, 413
Westervelt, Williara I*, 271, 289-290, 302, 304, 337*
339, 353, 418 , 420, 4-68-470
Wheeler, Burton K«, 111, 113-114, 200, 4^4
Wheeler, Leslie A*, 381
White, Mastin C-., 4-55
Wickard, Claude H., 292, 336, 345, 435, 4-85-4-8?, 4964-97, 504-505, 507, 511, 513-517, 519-520, 526-528

Wigglns, Russell, 198, 346, 446-447, 459* 461
Wilcox, Francis, 482
Williams, Carl, 104
Williams, S, Clay, 370-371
Wilson, H. L., 20, 38, 57, 73, 75, 79, 81* 82-83* 86,
94-96, 106, 110, 116-121, 145, 149, 150-151,
153, 155, 159, 272, 273, 274, 276, 277, 279282, 284-285, 287-289, 291, 303-304, 315, 326,
331, 335, 339, 356, 362, 382, 384 , 392, 395,
397-400, 431, 456, 485-487
Wirt* William, 409
Wood, Robert 1., 420, 468-470
Woods, Mark, 211, 228, 234