0:00

HAMMACK: The following interview is with former Governor Earle C. Clements. The interviewer is James W. Hammack Jr. This interview takes place on November 17, 1976 at Senator Clements's office at the Tobacco Institute, 1776 K Street NW, Washington, DC. There's a needle on here that indicates whether we're recording. Uh, I want to begin then, Senator Clements, at this session with a discussion of your decision to run for the Senate, and particularly with a remark you made at a previous interview about your concern over leaving the governorship before your plans and programs were completed. And I wonder if you would describe any understandings you may have had with Lieutenant Governor Wetherby 1:00about continuing those programs and plans when he took your place as governor.

CLEMENTS: Uh, Jim, the--I don't know that there was any, uh, discussion that Lawrence and I ever had about the continuation of those plans--of those programs, because he'd been a party to them.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: He was a lieutenant governor. And, uh, uh, none of these, uh, uh, major pieces of legislation that, uh, I wanted to see become law in our state that, uh, I didn't, uh, uh--that Lawrence didn't, uh, participate in them. Uh, there's none of 2:00them that was passed, and there's a good many foundation or pieces of foundation legislation that was passed in 1948 and again in 1950, and, uh, he was just as conversant with those plans as, uh, I was, the majority leader in the House was--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --the majority leader in the Senate was. And, uh, uh, frankly the, uh, uh, there never was one of those pieces of foundation legislation introduced until, uh, they had been explained to--and I'd say explained and, uh, sold to enough members of the House and the Senate that they were going to become, uh, the law. 3:00And, uh, it was always, uh, my thought, uh, Jim, that, uh, if you, uh, didn't have, uh, the support of the membership of the legislative bodies that it was foolhardy to offer legislation just for show. And, uh, there was not a piece of foundation legislation in those two sessions that was, uh, offered from the governor's office through the leadership in the House and the Senate that didn't become law and, uh--

HAMMACK: By foundation legislation you mean key bills related to the programs you had advocated, this kind of thing?

CLEMENTS: Well, uh, some of these things, uh, I had not advocated as a candidate. I never went into the--you're from, uh, 4:00you're from Murray, you're from western Kentucky. And I never discussed the park program.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Uh, it was in my heart, in my mind that, uh, we were going to have a--we were going to begin a park program in our state. Uh, of course there had been, um--we'd had some, uh, uh, important things in Kentucky that had, uh, become shrines, like My Old Kentucky Home, various and sundry other things of that nature. But as far as a true park operation, there was nothing there, uh, where you could, uh--tourists could, uh, have a place in which to stay when they came to see one 5:00of the wonders of our state.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Except Mammoth Cave, which belonged to the United States government by a gift from Kentuckians.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And the other one was Cumberland Falls.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: You had, uh, Natural Bridge. You had, uh, uh--a great place to go. But it had, uh, deteriorated to such an extent that, uh, the--it had very little business at that time.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: And, uh--(clears throat)--I had in my mind all the while that, uh, first park we ought to build if we--if, um, I could sell the legislature on, uh, providing the money--was to build it at, uh, what now is Kentucky Dam Village.

6:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And my reason for that was, uh, the fact that 7:00Kentucky Dam Village, uh, you could, uh--you had all of the facilities there that you could acquire from the federal government. And, uh, the--I wouldn't talk about it during the campaign. My opponent was, uh, from that area.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: So I saw no reason that, uh, I ought to talk about that and--because there were seven other--there were eight other districts at that time in the state. And it'd be, uh--each one of them would, uh, want the first park that was going to be developed.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, it was only after the primary that I discussed it with anyone. And the same thing was true of, uh, many other pieces of legislation.

HAMMACK: Well, I'm really just seeking clarification of what you meant by the term foundation legislation. Does that mean--

CLEMENTS: Well, uh, well, that's a good example of what I thought was a foundation--

HAMMACK: I see, okay, I see.

CLEMENTS: --piece of legislation. I'll give you --

HAMMACK: I think that makes it clear you --

CLEMENTS: I'll give you another one. I had, uh, been in the legislature. And I'd, uh, seen the building program, uh, of the state that was, uh, was all logrolling basis. It was, uh, whoever could get, uh, the most votes on the floor. That's where you would, uh--on the floor of the House and the Senate--that's where you would, uh, make the decision on, uh, where a building ought to be built. And, uh, the State Building Commission was organized, which put the authority in the Building Commission rather than 8:00in the legislature. And, uh, I'm, uh, happy that at this time it, uh, in substance it, uh, is still in the form that it was passed, except today it--When it was passed it was an independent body that, uh, was, uh, composed of the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, and the commissioner of finance, and the commissioner of revenue. And, uh, now it is, uh, in the Department of Finance, uh, which, uh, has changed it but very little.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But it, uh, uh--I call the state police a piece of foundation legislation. And there are a number of other, uh, items, uh, that, uh, were passed in '48 and '50. And, 9:00uh, Lawrence was a, was a participant in all of them and was a great, uh, supporter of all of them. And there wasn't any--

HAMMACK: So there wasn't any need then to discuss whether he would keep these things going.

CLEMENTS: ------(??)-------- certainly. Well, I'll tell you, uh, Jim. I'd, uh, I never tried to influence Lawrence when he was governor. When, uh, I was in the sheriff's office and, uh, one of my deputies was, uh, elected sheriff, I didn't try to, uh, run his office.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: When I left the clerk's office one of my--the deputy that I had succeeded me in, uh, the clerk's office, and I never tried to run his, uh, office, even though I was, uh, 10:00in an office adjoining when I went to the county judge's office. When I left the county judge's office, the magistrate from, uh, my home district was elected county judge. And there were very few times that, uh, I was, uh, in his office, except just to go in and pay a social call. I never attended a meeting of the fiscal court, uh, while my successor was, uh, county judge. And I never tried to run Lawrence's, uh, business. On each occasion, each one of those, uh, offices that I refer to, they were good officials. They ran a good shop. And, uh, uh, if I'd made any contribution to their knowledge, why, that was, uh, all I thought I ought to do. 11:00And, uh, I knew this: that if, uh, I was meddling with their affairs, why--or if I was around their office, uh, too much--that I would be classified as a person who was trying to run their business. And I never tried to run the business of, uh, the affairs of, uh, anyone that I had, uh, served with. And that's true of, uh, Governor Wetherby.

HAMMACK: Well, now, Senator, you're, you're aware, as I am, that you have a reputation in the state for having continued to have a great deal of influence with succeeding governors and in state politics generally. What does influence consist of?

CLEMENTS: I don't know.

HAMMACK: I think, I think there's a general impression that you may have had a great deal to, to--of advice to give or, uh, to, to governors who followed you. Is that correct or 12:00incorrect?

CLEMENTS: Well, I don't, uh, I don't think it's, uh, correct. Uh, my relationship with the governor was, uh, with Lawrence was a very friendly one. Uh, I never discussed with one piece of legislation with him, uh, upon which I offered him advice. And, uh, I heard that he was, uh, he was prepared to, uh, authorize a blanket raise on all taxable property in Kentucky.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, having had some experience with, uh, two governors who had, uh, done that, I went to Frankfort and I told 13:00the governor. I said, uh, "I understand that you're going to authorize a blanket raise on all the real estate property in, in this state. I want to give you my experience. If it has any value to you, why, uh, I think I owe it to you to tell you what it was." I said, uh, "When Governor Morrow was governor of the state, he had a blanket raise. And I don't recall just what it was, but it seems to me like it was about thirty-three and a third percent. And, uh, I was in the sheriff's office at the time. And when people came in to pay their taxes, they 14:00pay them to the sheriff. And, uh, when I'd tell them what it was, why, they would, uh, go sky high."

HAMMACK: I can imagine. (laughs)

CLEMENTS: "And, uh, they would, uh, start condemning me as if I had, uh, if the sheriff's office had been the cause of it. And I would explain to them where it came from. And, uh, they, uh--of course, you immediately transferred the responsibility for it from yourself as the collector to the governor who had perpetrated it." (Hammack laughs) And, uh, I said, uh, "Lawrence, uh, you immediately at the end of, uh, Governor Morrow's term, you elected a Democratic 15:00governor." And I said, uh, "Although Kentucky was a Democratic state, Ed Morrow otherwise, uh, had, uh, been received very favorably, save and except that one thing."

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: I said, uh, "Then, uh, when Governor Sampson was governor, I was in another office. And, uh, they would come from, uh, Governor--I mean, uh, come from the sheriff's office and, uh, quarrel and fuss with me. And, uh, if I recall that, uh, I was county court clerk at that time. County court clerk makes out the, the, uh, tax bills."

16:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: "And, uh, the sheriff sometime would tell them that, uh, 'Well, this is, uh, the tax bill that, uh, was given to me by the clerk.' Of course he was, uh, called upon to do this by virtue of an act of the governor." And, uh, I said, uh, "When they would, uh, come in, why, I'd give them the same story, that, uh--take their, their, uh, anger up to Governor Sampson. He's the person that, uh, had that blanket raise." And I said, "He didn't leave the governor's office very popular." And I said, "If you have this blanket raise, you're going to find the same thing happen to you." I 17:00think that's really the, uh, only piece of advice on, uh, his acts that, uh, I ever really gave him any advice on. Now, I can tell you one other that I gave him some advice on.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, they, uh--I don't know whether it was in, uh, January or February of, uh, uh, 1951 that, uh, I ask him if, uh, we couldn't have a meeting at Seelbach Hotel. And, uh, I named a group of people that I hoped he would 18:00ask to come. And don't, uh, get--don't expand it. Uh, because I felt free to talk before those individuals. And, uh, one of them was the majority leader of the Senate. One of them was, uh--Well, I may not remember all of the people that were there. But, uh, Emerson Beauchamp was there.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, Louis Cox was there. Uh, Herb Smith from Harlan was there. Vego Barnes was there. And, uh, I may think of some others, uh, that were there. But it was a small crowd of people. And, uh, I made this 19:00suggestion to him, that, uh, I could have done this before I left Frankfort. I could have called a special session because the, the revenue that, uh, had been raised under the tax program that, uh, we enacted, uh, in, uh, 1950, uh, had raised a good deal more money than, uh, the Department of Revenue said it would raise, and that he was going to have a very sizable surplus in, uh, uh, the treasury. And I suggested to him that 20:00if he was going to be a candidate for governor, uh, that the finest time for him--finest thing that--for him to do was to have a special session of the legislature and distribute this money, and do it at the special session.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: They, uh, they all agreed and, uh, uh, I don't recall now how many millions of dollars that, uh--of course it'd look kind of small now compared to the size of the budget for the various agencies of, uh, government. But it was a very sizable amount at that time.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: I don't know whether it was above ten million dollars or, uh, whether it was nine or whether it was twelve. 21:00But, uh, it was, uh, big money at that time--

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: --in the state budget. And it, uh, I didn't think there was but two places that, uh, really it ought to go. One was to go to the Department of Economic Security, and the other one was to go to education. And, uh, the--At the same time that, uh, I knew that, uh, sooner or later somebody'd see me in Louis-, in Louisville. And, uh, somebody would want to interview me. And, uh, so the day before we had this meeting, why, I went down to the, uh, to the, uh, Seldon Glenn who was, uh, who represented the federal government 22:00at that time, and, uh, all income tax matters and so forth were handled by Mr. Glenn.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, I went down and, uh, lodged my tax return with him and had a discussion with him about my return. And, uh, then, uh--which I was, uh, very pleased that I had done, because when the press asked me what I was doing in Louisville, why, I told them that I came down there to see Mr. Glenn and, uh, hand him my tax return. And, uh, that, uh, settled that problem.

HAMMACK: That gives us a date, then. It was February 16 or 17, '51.

CLEMENTS: (laughs) The--Uh, so, uh, had it not been for that, I think this would have gotten out.

23:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: As a matter of fact, uh, the, uh, the distinguished, uh, Kentuckian who has just retired is, uh, the, uh--as president of, uh, Morehead, uh, State University was not included in that lot that, uh--and he had been speaker of the House. But, uh, there were reasons for it. And, uh, and that is I figured that, uh, there would be, uh, some discussion about all of it going to education.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, and the Department of Economic Security was, uh, had some problems, uh, that, uh, made it, uh, necessary, as I 24:00thought that, uh, some smaller portion go to the Department of, uh, of, uh, Economic Security.

HAMMACK: I was wondering why you had urged that it be distributed to those two, in those two areas.

CLEMENTS: Well, well--Well, they were in greater need.

HAMMACK: I see.

CLEMENTS: And the more--if you had a session, and the more things that you had involved in it, the more difficult it would be to, uh, give to education, give to the Department of Economic Security that money. Uh, if you opened it wide, uh, if you had it wide open, why, there'd have been very little going to education and education, the Department of Economic Security were in greater need for that revenue. And, uh--

25:00

HAMMACK: Was this also an opportunity in regard to education to help get for education, uh, more money and land, with the problems you had with KEA in the past?

CLEMENTS: No. Nobody--I'm telling you for the first time that, uh, that, uh, I had--that I participated in it and initiated in it.

HAMMACK: Well, no, I was, I was wondering though if it was a matter of personal gratification to you that you were able to do something more for education than you had been able to while you were governor.

CLEMENTS: No, it, uh--I wouldn't say that, uh, that. You--the money was there.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: I knew in November. I could have called a special session in November and, uh--

HAMMACK: Oh, I see.

CLEMENTS: I could have called it because I didn't leave there until the twenty-seventh of November. I could have done it and, uh, had that special session at that time. But, uh, I thought it was, uh, improper for me to do it, just as 26:00I was leaving. And, uh, I don't think their decision was any different than, uh, what mine would have been if I had done it in November. Uh, Bill Herzog was, uh, probably had, uh, one of the best minds of anybody on, uh, making the determination on, uh, what revenue was going to be. And of course they always, uh, put it lower than they thought it was going to be. And, uh, and, uh, when they gave me the figures that the amount of money that this would raise, I thought then it was, uh, lower than it, uh, uh, a lower figure than, uh, it would produce. But it's always, uh, the Department of Revenue's, uh, uh, decision on a general basis that they'll 27:00underestimate the revenue rather than overestimate the revenue for the simple reason that, uh, in our constitution you can't exceed the expenditure by more than five hundred thousand dollars.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And that is still in the antiquated, uh, constitution that, uh, we have in the state. It'd have been fine if when they passed the rubber dollar bill of, uh, on the salary basis, if they would have, uh, applied that generally. Uh, but, uh, they did not do that. But, uh, I thought it was, uh--I thought it was important to the schools and to the 28:00Department of, uh, Economic Security and I thought maybe that, uh, I might be the--if I had that meeting with them it might, uh, trigger it. And it might be of, uh, uh, important to Lawrence. And I think it was important to him. He had, uh, no strong opposition that year in the Democratic primary as, uh, I think the record will show.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, a, uh--And, uh, I think Lawrence made a good governor. I think he made an awful mistake in, uh, that blanket raise. And, uh, of course I think the--his candidate for governor paid the penalty--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --uh, for that. And he was defeated. And 29:00all you need to do is just go to the counties that, uh, where except for the blanket raise his candidate for governor would have, uh, won those counties.

HAMMACK: --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: He did--I think it was one of the keys, yes.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh. Uh, did you ever consider supporting anyone other than Wetherby for governor in 1951? The reason I ask that--I've been, as you know, going through the newspapers of that period. At the time that you were considering and the newspapers reporting that you were considering running for the Senate, some legislators, according to the Courier-Journal, during the period there in 1950 were speculating that you might support Withers for the governorship in '51. Was any, uh, was any substance to that?

CLEMENTS: Not a bit. Not a bit, uh--

30:00

HAMMACK: One reason I wanted to ask because of the newspaper report.

CLEMENTS: The best, uh--The best, uh, proof of that is, uh, what I just told you.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: About, uh, my going to, to Louisville, and had that meeting. And, uh, as far as I know, that that special session had never been suggested.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And um, I'm telling you for the first time now that I've ever told about that meeting that was held.

HAMMACK: Oh. Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: And as far as I know, I've, uh, never had anybody come to me and say that, uh, one of the members of that, uh, group that was in attendance ever told him that it was my idea.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: Which I've always been very glad for, because the person who should have, uh, should have had the credit for it was 31:00the person who called the special session. That was Lawrence.

HAMMACK: Well, just, uh--

CLEMENTS: And, uh, and he and I never discussed it until we were sitting in the--what they call the governor's suite at the Seelbach Hotel.

HAMMACK: Oh, really? Had you not told him what the purpose of the meeting was going to be?

CLEMENTS: No, sir, nor none of the others that, uh, I'd asked him to invite.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh. Well, that's interesting. That, that's important, too, I think, and is an indication of how things sometimes get done in the state. It's not simply one man but a number of people contribute to these things.

CLEMENTS: If it had--If it had ever gotten out, it would have diminished his stature considerably--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --and it would have also indicated--[telephone rings]--uh, that I was 32:00running the governor's office.

[Break in recording]

HAMMACK: You must have considered a number of things in running, in deciding to make the race for the Senate, uh, Senator Clements. And among those certainly must have been some analysis of what kind of opposition you would face --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: Well, Jim, I did not want to run for the Senate. Uh, I first, um, tried to get Garrett Withers, who I had appointed to the Senate to fill Barkley's, uh, vacancy, and, uh, he, uh, was very positive in his views that he would 33:00not run. And, uh, the reason that I didn't want to run for the Senate--uh, my first thought that I had an obligation to the state to fill out my term.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, and in addition to that I had, uh, uh, some other plans but--business plans.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, had I served my term, why, uh, I would have followed the, the plan that I had about, uh, being in business. But, uh, the only candidates that, uh, showed up 34:00on the horizon were people that I thought that, uh, would not, uh, fit the job. I wasn't sure that I'd fit it. Uh, but, uh, when, uh, nobody came on the horizon, and here I was as the titular head of the party, as governor, uh, it's very similar to the position that Wendell Ford took.

HAMMACK: Oh, really?

CLEMENTS: Wendell Ford did not want to run for the Senate.

HAMMACK: Yes, I knew he wasn't anxious to.

CLEMENTS: Well, I was in the, I was in the same ship, except that I'd made no pronouncements like he did.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, where he had, uh, tried to get Governor Carroll to run and tried to get, uh, maybe some others that, uh, I don't know about. But, uh, I do know that 35:00Wendell did not want to run. But he was in the same position I was. He was the titular head of the party. And, uh, and, uh, came down to the fact that, uh, if he was going to elect somebody, why, he was going to have to be the candidate himself.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: That's when he became a candidate. And I was in somewhat the same shape. The, uh--you had longer to wait at that time than, uh, uh, Senator Ford had, because the primary was in August back at that time. And, uh, now the primary is in May.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And so he had to make a decision faster than, uh, I made it. Uh, but, uh, I finally decided that, uh, I guess from a purely political standpoint of your being the titular head of the party and, uh, but if you couldn't come up with somebody better, well, you better do your duty to your party. And, uh, I finally, uh, decided to run. Uh, 36:00as far as organizing--

HAMMACK: Well, let me interject a question here.

CLEMENTS: All right.

HAMMACK: Were you serious a moment ago when you implied that you had, had self-doubts about your suitability for the Senate position?

CLEMENTS: Well, you know that, uh, I'd been in the House.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, I wasn't certain that I would, uh, fit that august body over there. Besides, I was really interested in, uh, a business venture that, uh, had great prospects for me.

37:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, it, uh--And of course, uh, you're always interested in, uh, bettering yourself, uh, financially and otherwise. And if I'd have, uh, served out the term, why, I would have never been in Washington. I would have, uh, I would have, uh, stayed on the, the soil that was nearer and dearer to me than any other, and that's the state of Kentucky.

HAMMACK: Then you not only did not want to run in 1950, you didn't have ambitions to run for the Senate at any time. Is that correct?

CLEMENTS: Well, that's the only time that, uh, uh--that's the only time that the decision would have had to have been made, would--

HAMMACK: I see.

CLEMENTS: Made in 1950.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh. Um, let me then again ask about the 38:00organization of the campaign. Did--there were indications in the paper that you began preparing your campaign even before you had filed your papers and announced formally your candidacy.

CLEMENTS: Any candidate does that. And if he don't do it, he, uh, he misses a great opportunity. Uh, it's just like the campaign when I ran for governor. I was, uh, not keen about running for governor. I told you, um, on, uh, previous, uh, interviews, uh, about, uh, after I'd been, uh, encouraged 39:00by a good many people and, uh, Waterfield and I had been such close friends that, uh, I--and I thought that, uh, I'd kind of made up--practically made up my mind that I was going to run--I tried to consolidate our forces that I'd run for governor and he'd run for lieutenant governor.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: I'm sure you recall that, uh, I gave you that discussion in--

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: --in, uh--or that, uh, in some detail.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, I think nobody would, uh--I think Harry Lee would verify that. Uh, if you've interviewed him and ever asked him, why, he would, uh, verify that, uh, statement that I made, uh, to you about the effort that we might join together. 40:00Uh, but, uh, I didn't announce for some time after that. I didn't announce until, uh, I'd, uh, probably seen, uh, two, three hundred people.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Maybe more than that in, uh, various parts of the state and, uh, you know, a person that you talk to that's an old friend, political or personal, uh, make him aware of, uh, what you're planning to do, uh, he will feel more a part of the campaign than if you just announce and then come and 41:00see him.

HAMMACK: I see.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, I think that's, uh, true of, uh, of any candidate. Uh, particularly where he's, uh, going to have, uh, tough opposition. And particularly at that time in our state. It's a, it's a different situation today when people can go out and use the television.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, put on a blitz campaign. Uh, they build their strength from that. Uh, back at that time--that's, uh, twenty-six years ago--back at that time, why, the media was not the strong force politically that it is today. And, uh, there were people that I needed to go see, whether they were in, uh, 42:00on the Big Sandy River or whether they were, um, in the Second District. I must admit that I did not go to anybody in the First District. I did talk to a few people that were from the First District.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But it was always, uh, someplace other than in the First District.

HAMMACK: Why was that?

CLEMENTS: My opponent was from the First District and, uh--

HAMMACK: Well, that would've been the gubernatorial campaign.

CLEMENTS: Yes.

HAMMACK: Yes.

CLEMENTS: Yes. And, uh, the, uh--but as, uh--when I ran for the Senate I used the telephone a lot--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --because, uh, I would say that, uh, uh, nine out of ten people that I talked with, uh, that, uh, I wanted to touch base with, I talked to them by telephone, for the 43:00simple reason that, uh, you had to be--You had to be governor. And, uh, it was only after I announced that I ever got, uh, out of the governor's office. Uh, there were some people that, uh, I talked to and asked when they were coming to Frankfort--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --would it be convenient. And, uh, they would find a convenient time, and you'd have an opportunity to talk to them there. And, uh, I would say that the campaign was organized in that way. And you had, uh--wasn't anybody in state government that wasn't for you, save one.

44:00

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And that the, uh--They were all, uh, helpful in the campaign. There's a lot of people come to the commissioner of finance, and they come to the highway commissioner, come to other officials on normal business. And not that I ever asked them to do it, but it's, uh--Anybody in government, sooner or later he becomes what, uh, some people term as a political animal.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: I don't, uh--and that's not said disrespectfully.

HAMMACK: No sir, I don't --

CLEMENTS: But, uh, he, uh, if he's with somebody who's, uh, uh, that he has, uh, some, uh, close relationship with, why, he'll 45:00just, uh--he'll express his views, uh, to him. And of course, a lot of people at that time came to Frankfort, as they do now.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, you had, uh, somewhat of a built-in organization. We had had a, I still think, a constructive tour of duty as governor. And, uh, not that you satisfied everybody, but, uh, the average citizen, unless he's angry about something personally, he'll evaluate, uh, one's, uh, tour of duty, uh, I think fairly, reasonably, as 46:00he sees it. Uh, the, uh--And in that campaign, in the fall campaign, why, I would imagine that the, the, the strongest opposition I had was, uh, the national opposition. That is the--you had had, uh, some raise in taxation federally.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: You'd, um, still had, uh, some of the agencies of federal government that were not very popular.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, you had had, uh, uh, a tax, uh, raise upon, uh, the takeout with reference to, uh, payments by the 47:00worker that went into effect in October of that year. And a, and a survey that was made that year that, uh, even though my opponent was, uh--Judge Dawson was probably the, uh, had a background and record of being, uh, maybe stronger against labor than, uh, maybe any prominent figure in Kentucky. And, um, in the survey that was made, so many, uh--it was, uh, really a surprise to me when, uh, labor was, uh--The male force in labor was, uh, 48:00was, uh, very much for me, but you'd find, uh, in the survey that was made--wasn't made by me, but it was made, uh, by others, uh, that, uh, I guess paid for it themselves. But, uh, they showed me the results of the survey. I didn't know anything about polls at that time.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And it, uh, I think it was made, if I recall made by the labor movement.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: That they'd find that, uh, the husband would, uh, have voted for me, and then his wife had voted, uh, the other way. They'd voted against Washington.

HAMMACK: Oh, really?

CLEMENTS: They, uh, because, uh, in, uh, these, uh, taxes went 49:00into effect in October. Uh, it, uh, lessened the paycheck.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And the first one was the fifteenth day of October.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, then the second one was just before the election, was the first day in November.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, they had, uh, less money to take to the grocery store.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: And, then--

HAMMACK: --------(??).

CLEMENTS: So it's very interesting to me. It, uh--but of course the contest was over a little late to discuss the matter at that time, because the members of both party had voted for the tax bill.

HAMMACK: Yeah. These were postelection surveys.

CLEMENTS: Yes.

HAMMACK: Then.

CLEMENTS: Yes.

HAMMACK: A moment ago, uh, in, in mentioning, uh, that you 50:00ran into more national opposition than opposition to you, I thought at first that you were implying that there was opposition to you from national Democratic leadership in some form. But you're not talking about that.

CLEMENTS: None at all.

HAMMACK: You were talking about people voting against the national administration rather than against your record as governor.

CLEMENTS: Well, it was, uh, some of these agencies in the government that were, uh, uh, later phased out.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, OPA was in existence, you know and--

HAMMACK: Right.

CLEMENTS: Uh, the--and this tax rise, uh, if the tax had 51:00gone on on the first day of November instead of the first day of October--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --why, they would have gotten the--they'd have gotten it, uh, fifteen days after the election. (laughs)

HAMMACK: Well, that's clear. I just wanted to be certain that anyone listening to this tape would understand clearly that you weren't talking about opposition to you from national Democratic leadership.

CLEMENTS: Oh no, none at all.

HAMMACK: Uh, the--Aside from the problem with KEA during your administration, did you sense any other particular group that was opposed to you as governor?

CLEMENTS: Oh, I don't know. I'm sure there were, uh, small groups. Uh, but, uh--

HAMMACK: I guess what I'm asking is could this have been the --------(??)---------- most anticipate you might have a problem?

CLEMENTS: KEA--you mean KEA?

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Oh, no. No I didn't, uh--I was, uh, satisfied that, uh, the, uh, there'd be some erosion.

52:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Wasn't any doubt in my mind that there'd be some erosion. But, uh, the, uh--And there was some erosion. No question about that. And, uh, I'm not sure some of that erosion didn't carry over 'til 1956.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But, uh, they, uh--it really wasn't, uh, the KEA as it--The KEA as a body, uh, did not cause that trouble in, uh, 1950 at the legislative session. It was really the president of the KEA and a former superintendent of public instruction from Harrison County. Uh, they came by the governor's office, uh, uh, prior to the submission of the budget. And, uh, they, uh, wanted 53:00to know what was in the budget, uh, going to be in the budget for education. And I said, "Well, it's, uh, it's--What's going to be in the budget for education is going to be what can be done out of the present tax structure." And, uh, I said, "There will be more money going to education after we pass a tax bill." Well, they said, uh, "Won't you wait and, uh, and, uh, present the budget after you've, uh, introduced the tax bill?" And I said, "No, I'm not going to do that." I said, "We're going to pass this tax bill 54:00if I--if there are enough votes in the House and the Senate to pass it. And then we'll take up the taxation. And that will permit a supplemental for education."

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, I thought they were at least, uh, slightly friendly to it. But, uh, before that day was out, why, uh, uh, they issued a statement, uh, denouncing me and, um, saying that it was the same, uh, going to be the same figure that, uh, based on the present taxation. And, uh, uh, then, uh, that led later to the, the gathering of, uh, the educational 55:00group, who spent some time in Frankfort.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir. Um, well, then in April of 1950, the time when you were considering your decision to run for the Senate, I believe the KEA elected as president Eliza Clark, who had been one of the leaders of that protest movement.

CLEMENTS: Oh, yes. She's from eastern Kentucky.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: As I recall, from Greenup County.

HAMMACK: Did that give you any concern about what, uh, about a negative vote from schoolteachers in Kentucky or did you still ------(??) primary leadership ------(??)?

CLEMENTS: No, oh, I was convinced that, uh, it would, uh, bring about some erosion. But I didn't think the erosion, erosion, uh, uh, ought to be taken into my consideration as being titular head of the party and, uh, not winning the Senate race.

HAMMACK: I see. Uh, you indicated to me earlier that 56:00though the papers were speculating rather freely that Waterfield might enter the Senate race against you that you weren't aware of any such interest on his part.

CLEMENTS: Uh, it, uh, if it was, uh, published in the paper, uh, I don't recall it, Jim.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, um, uh, I gather from what you say that it was in the paper.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir, there were a whole series of articles that were speculating on this.

CLEMENTS: Uh--Well, I, I just don't recall them. But, uh, the--If it was in the Courier, why, it really, uh, didn't register 57:00with me.

HAMMACK: Well, obviously you can't speak for, for Governor Waterfield's interests in this case.

CLEMENTS: Oh, no. Oh, no. No.

HAMMACK: I just wanted to find out primarily whether that, that support had affected your decision to run.

CLEMENTS: If, uh, I have no, I have no, I have no recollection of, uh, Harry Lee considering the race--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: for the Senate.

HAMMACK: Obviously, uh--

CLEMENTS: If, uh, if there had been a, uh, a candidate that, uh, I thought could win the fall election, I'd have served out my term as governor.

HAMMACK: (laughs) Yeah.

CLEMENTS: That is that, uh, that desired to run and, uh, I thought would, uh, win the election.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Because, as I told you previously, I really had, uh, made, uh, arrangements to serve out my term and, uh, accept a 58:00business, uh, assignment.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. Uh--I don't really know whether this is an appropriate question or not, but--

CLEMENTS: Well, ask it, and let's see. (laughs)

HAMMACK: I'll ask it anyway. It may reveal my ignorance more than anything else. I was wondering though whether you made any contacts with, uh, people in the Truman administration or others in Washington as to what their reaction to your race for the Senate might be.

CLEMENTS: No, I did not. Did not.

HAMMACK: That kind of thing wasn't necessary.

CLEMENTS: I never, I never talked to the president until, uh--I never approached the president. And, uh--with reference to it. I--First 59:00time, um, I ever tried to approach the president was, uh, in my race for governor.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, and then it was only after the primary.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir. Uh, the primary race for the Senate went very heavily in your favor, of course, as did ultimately the general election. During the general election campaign against Judge Dawson from Louisville--isn't that correct?

CLEMENTS: Yes. Well, he was originally from Logan County.

HAMMACK: Oh, was he?

CLEMENTS: Yes. He was from--he was originally from Logan County and, uh, then he, uh--I don't know which one of the, uh, 60:00southeastern Kentucky counties that he moved into, and, uh, was, uh, practiced law there. I don't know whether it was Harlan or whether it was Whitley or Bell. Maybe it was Bell County. But one of the southeastern Kentucky counties.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And it was from there that he went to Louisville.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir. Well, I've been trying to analyze some of the points that were raised between the two of you during that campaign. And, uh, there seemed to be very few major issues, actually. There was--you talked about the Korean War a number of times.

CLEMENTS: Just --

HAMMACK: And you emphasized particularly your liberal stance as opposed to his conservative stance, referring to him as an Old Dealer rather than a New Dealer and this type of, of thing. And then of course you made some defense of your gubernatorial administration, which would--you 61:00would have to do.

CLEMENTS: Which he criticized.

HAMMACK: Yes, which he criticized in a sort of scattered fashion, as far as I can tell, various parts of it for one reason or another. But, uh, were there any issues that you considered really important to this campaign? Or was it primarily a matter of personalities and organization?

CLEMENTS: I think, uh, you put your finger on it. It was organization. And, uh, he ran more against, uh, the Democratic Party and the hierarchy at Washington. Uh, although I would say that there was as much emphasis or more emphasis put on that than there was on the weakness of the state administration.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. Uh, so then it wasn't, uh--there weren't any really emotional issues that you feel running through the state during this 62:00campaign, I gather.

CLEMENTS: No. I don't, uh, I don't think so. Uh, I don't, uh, recall that there was, uh--

HAMMACK: I couldn't detect any of that in the things I was reading about it. But, uh, I was wondering whether you had sensed anything of that sort.

CLEMENTS: No.

HAMMACK: Incidentally, in, in talking of, of Dawson as conservative, Old Dealer, and presenting yourself as a liberal, what did liberalism mean to you at that point? In what sense were you--did you consider yourself a liberal?

CLEMENTS: Well, I was, uh, following the pattern of, uh--that I believed was sound. I thought the Roosevelt administration had, uh, probably saved, uh, this country from revolution. I think the New Deal, 63:00uh, while you would have hated to have seen it going on permanently on that basis, that, uh, we had, uh, even though you have, uh, uh, nearly eight million people out of work today, uh, we had a smaller population in 1932 than we have now. And if my memory serves me correctly, we had about thirteen million.

HAMMACK: Uh, that sounds about right. I'm not--

CLEMENTS: I say I think it was something like thirteen million that were unemployed. And, uh, you know it, uh--much has been said about the, uh, fiery, uh, vocabulary of, of, uh, Huey Long.

64:00

HAMMACK: Yes. (laughs)

CLEMENTS: But, uh, it was at a time that, uh, somebody, uh, like that could have nearly started a, a rebellion in this country. Take, uh, that thirteen million at that time, I guess would be something like twenty odd million now.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Twenty odd million, uh, people, uh, if the average, uh, family of three--and I think the average at that time was above three, probably is no more than three at the present time.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: It, uh, may be more. Family statistics I'm, uh, not familiar with.

HAMMACK: Well, the family sizes were higher on average then than now.

CLEMENTS: Higher at that time. And, uh, you just take, 65:00uh, thirteen million and, uh, multiply it by four in a family. You can see what percentage of the people were in great distress.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And you could have had a rebellion. Uh, Hoover had a soup line. And, uh, while, uh, President Roosevelt, uh, ran on a platform, uh, I can remember a speech that I heard him make in Pittsburgh on radio. First time I ever heard a president on radio. And it was, uh--that speech was made in the Pittsburgh ballpark. And, uh, had a little bitty radio. But, uh, it had, uh--I don't recall whether it was earphone or not. Anyway I --

HAMMACK: Oh, really? Battery-powered probably. (laughs)

CLEMENTS: --heard the speech. And I thought it was a great 66:00speech. I was tremendously impressed with it. It was made in 1932 when I was in the clerk's office. And, uh, I was a dedicated Democrat and, uh, naturally was, uh--uh, my blood pressure would rise as, uh, he would, uh, reach a crescendo here--(Hammack laughs)--and one there. And he had, uh, great speaking talents. He was a short sentence man who could, uh, touch heartstrings, you know, when he, uh, meant to. And I can hear him now say that, uh, "We'll introduce--we'll, uh, reduce the cost of government by 25 percent." (laughs) And, uh, of course, uh, that was not possible at that time because when he was faced with 67:00the, uh, decisions that were to be made by the president himself, he, uh, saw the condition of the country, and he immediately went from the soup line to a work program.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, every able-bodied, uh, person in this country either went to work on, uh, if he wanted to work, on two programs he had. The PWA, that was a joint operation in, uh, building where the, uh, 45 percent paid by, uh, the local government or the federal government--I've forgotten which--it was a forty-five--

68:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --fifty-five program--

HAMMACK: Yes.

CLEMENTS: --at that time. And, uh, that was, uh, that work was done by contract. And, uh, as I recall, uh, the going wage was paid for that work. And, uh, uh, we built a schoolhouse in, uh, our county at that time by that joint program, the division of fifty-five/forty-five. And the rest were on WPA. And of course the, uh, welfare program costs, uh, far more today than WPA cost.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, the little county that I was in, uh, that I--was home to me then. It's home to me now. And I've, uh, it's been my home base all of my life. That's where I'll go back to be buried one of 69:00these days. I hope it's not tomorrow. (Hammack laughs) But, uh, we had over twelve hundred people in the little county that only had about sixteen, seventeen thousand people in it that were on WPA. And we never raked a leaf, we never dug a ditch. Everything we did was on construction.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, but it was, uh--it fitted a need at that time. And, uh, I thought the president was very courageous to establish it. And, uh, it, uh, wasn't accepted everywhere as it was in, uh, our little county. Uh, there was some little problem about it in 1933. I went in the county judge's office in 1934 and for nearly eight years, uh, we had a, 70:00a--we had a fine program that a less understanding president would have never put into effect. And, uh, many fine things were done in the Roosevelt administration. They, uh--sometimes they got credit for things that, uh, they didn't do. Uh, they got credit for the Home Owners', uh--

HAMMACK: Oh, the Home Owners' Loan Corporation?

CLEMENTS: Yes. Which was passed under Hoover.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: The, uh--But, uh, the, uh--I'm thinking maybe we're getting off track. But, uh, while you're at it--

HAMMACK: Well, I think--

CLEMENTS: --the, uh, thing that, uh, saved, uh, the farmers of this country--and you know between '29 and, uh, 1933, many farmers lost 71:00their farms. But, uh, one of the great things that, uh, Roosevelt did was in, uh, sponsoring and, uh, pushing through in that hundred days the Commissioners Loan Act. Let's see. Maybe I don't have, uh, the name right. Uh, anyway it was a second mortgage.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, it--It was practically an underwriting to the banks of the first mortgage.

HAMMACK: Right.

CLEMENTS: Commissioners Loan Act. I believe that was, uh, it. And, uh, I don't know a farm in, uh, our little county that, uh, was lost after that was passed.

HAMMACK: Hmm.

72:00

CLEMENTS: And, uh, same thing was true, uh, uh, through the country.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Farmland remained in the custody of the titleholder.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. Well --

CLEMENTS: That took place in Kentucky. That took place in Iowa. That took place all through agriculture.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir. Uh, well, I guess that's pertinent to the question that I asked, which had to do with in what way you considered yourself a liberal. I gather that you were essentially a New Deal type liberal--

CLEMENTS: I was.

HAMMACK: --supported the--

CLEMENTS: Uh, yes I was. And, uh, and, uh, frankly I, uh, was raised in the Democratic cradle.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, my father was a, a strong Democrat and, uh, he had a great impression on me. He'd, uh, been in 73:00public life. He was, uh--I guess maybe that, uh, through him, uh, came my early interest in highways. Uh, I guess the first job that, uh, he had off the farm was, uh, road commissioner--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --of the county. Called them road engineers, but he wasn't an engineer. But he was a--anyway that was the title--

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: --that it carried. And, uh, he impressed me with a lot of things as a kid, you know, about, uh, how you keep water--don't keep the water on the high side of the, the road, but, uh, when it's high over there, take it, uh, with a culvert over to the low side of the road. (Hammack 74:00laughs) And, uh, I guess, uh, I was probably over twelve, fourteen years old when I used to ride with him. And, uh, he was in public office at that time. And not as road engineer but he was county judge. And, uh, but he'd tell me these things. When that bridge was built. What needed to be done about this road.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Of course the finances didn't permit you to carry out all of your desires.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, but, uh, I've been a road, road enthusiast all my life. Uh, from, uh, boyhood you might say.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. One thing that the New Deal introduced, along with these various, uh, social and health programs, was a degree of 75:00deficit spending in government that we hadn't had to that time. And that's gotten involved in the liberal-conservative kind of, of phraseology. What was your attitude toward deficit spending and huge federal budgets and this kind of thing?

CLEMENTS: Well, I, frankly, uh, I guess I'm a conservative in that field.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, I think the debt that, uh, we're accumulating and the philosophy that some people have in, uh, saying, "Well, uh, who do we owe it to? We just owe it to ourselves," uh, can, uh, lead to great problems in this country. Uh, 76:00around the turn of this century you, you had the first billion-dollar budget.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: In this nation. Today it costs thirty-five, uh, times that much to carry the debt.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, while I realize that, uh, the--in time of an emergency, in time that your, your property, your population, is endangered, uh, by an outsider, that, uh, no debt is too high to pay for your defense. But, uh, I think we--and I've thought it, 77:00uh, for a long time--that, uh, we ought to pay as we go except in times that our country has to be defended. We have, uh, gone in debt in some of the most prosperous years in our history.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Which I've thought was a mistake and I think now it's a mistake. I don't know when you're going to reverse it. Uh, and, uh, I want to be very frank about it. I don't think either party wants to reverse it. They just want to talk about reversing it.

HAMMACK: Something both of 'em do. (laughs)

78:00

CLEMENTS: I say want to talk about reversing it. Uh, personally I have, uh, been very fond of, uh, Congressman and later Vice President and now President Ford as, uh--who as a congressman was, uh, very strong on his fiscal, uh, responsibility as he would call it. And lo and behold, and, uh, and, uh, so was President Nixon. But the greatest increase in our budget deficit has come in the last year--eight years than, uh, any other eight years in the history of the nation.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, staggers, uh, staggers the imagination--that is my imagination--to 79:00think that we can continue on in, uh, this kind of financing. You know, uh, wouldn't hurt how strong a fellow was that, uh, could lift, uh, talk about a person who could lift a mountain. Well, this mountain is getting so big that, uh, it's a question of whether the government can lift it.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: When you think in terms of seven or eight hundred billion dollars, it, uh, staggers--Maybe my imagination is not broad enough, but it sure staggers the imagination that I have.

HAMMACK: Well, I think that's part of the reason the general 80:00public doesn't get more concerned about this, because it can't comprehend that much money.

CLEMENTS: It'll be, uh, if, uh, if there's no shift made in it, no reversal of policy, uh, you'll have figures that, uh, nobody's ever dreamed about before financially. And that's trillion.

HAMMACK: I, I gather that your economic attitude toward government budgeting hasn't changed much over the years.

CLEMENTS: Never has changed.

HAMMACK: This kind of attitude still applicable then in the 1950s.

HAMMACK: Well, a good example of that, uh, uh, Jim--when I was, uh--You know, the county judge of, uh, under our system of operation in Kentucky is the fiscal officer.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Of the county. And, uh, fiscal court, uh, in 81:00most counties in the state is the body that, uh, determines the fiscal policy.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: The county judge is just the chairman of the court.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, we owed, uh, in our county, when I went in the county judge's office--I may have said this to you before on, uh, some of our interviews.

HAMMACK: Well --

CLEMENTS: But, uh, we owed, uh, many times our yearly revenue--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --in outstanding warrants. And, uh, I wouldn't have run 82:00for the county judge's office if it hadn't been for the fact that we were adding to our debt every year, and the last time our county had been out of debt was when my father was county judge.

HAMMACK: Is that right, been that--?

CLEMENTS: And, uh, the, uh, it was, uh--I don't know whether you'd say it was a challenge. But, uh--or whether you want to do something that your father had been successful at, except the debt wasn't as big when he went in the county judge's office. And, uh, we started on a paying you--pay as you go operation and have something left at the end of the year that could apply to that deficit. And more than half of it was, uh, paid. You know, you can pay the last half off, uh, in less time than you can pay the first half, 83:00because you don't have--the interest payments are not as large. And, uh, we paid more than half of that debt in the eight years I was county judge.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And my successor wound it up in, uh, six years. So it took fourteen years to get rid of that debt.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And of course, uh, uh, this time in life, why, you have, uh, the Budget Act, and I presume there is no county other than, uh, where there has been a bond issued by the public approval that any county in our state is in debt. But the first year I went in the county judge's office, 84:00uh, the--we did not have a Budget Act in operation at the time at the state level. And, uh, but, uh--I asked the court if, if, uh, they wouldn't support a budget. I'd like to name a budget committee. And, uh, I would not serve on it. But, uh, but we, uh--unless they wanted me to. And, uh, that we get, uh, two prominent citizens that, uh, we could, uh, get to go over the records, records of the past. And, uh, following that, why, we had a--submitted a budget. 85:00And the budget was well within the, uh, the tax revenues that we could anticipate. And we lived within that budget. And it was that year that the legislature passed the Budget Act.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh--(clears throat)--that's, uh--I think that's, that my views on, uh, living within your income has never changed.

HAMMACK: Hmm.

CLEMENTS: And I thought the federal government ought to live within it. I've, uh, I guess I'm not as much an internationalist as, uh, some people are. I think the foreign aid bill has been a drain on this country. I don't mean that 86:00there aren't times that, uh, federal aid isn't important. But, uh, we spend it all over the world. And you don't, uh--I never, I never found any country that became our friends on account of the money they received from this country.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. Don't think you can buy.

CLEMENTS: You can't buy friendship with money.

HAMMACK: --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: Can't. Can't.

HAMMACK: Uh, what was your position then on the Marshall Plan and the Truman programs for the recovery of Europe, this type of thing --------(??)----------?

CLEMENTS: Well, the Marshall Plan, uh, Marshall Plan was, uh, in operation before I came to the Senate.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Uh, I can understand a--the views behind it. Uh, 87:00and the countries that we saved in Europe have been among our greatest problems.

HAMMACK: In what sense?

CLEMENTS: Well, I'll, uh, give you one example. Israel was created by three countries: France, Britain, and the United States.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Their obligation was just as great in France and just as great in, uh, Britain as they were in this country. Today there's only one supporter of those three of Israel.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: That's the United States. They, uh--I don't, uh, say 88:00that the United States is not, uh, correct in living up to their obligation. But it's, uh, it's a tragedy that, uh, the other two governments haven't lived up to theirs. We've, uh, prided ourselves so long as being the richest nation in the world and, uh, we are a rich nation. We've, uh, squandered a lot of our resources. Isn't any doubt in my mind about that. The fact that, uh, there's a lot of metals that, uh, we had in this country we don't have today. Dependent on, uh, imports. The, uh, was a time, you know, that, uh, we didn't have to get any oil from anybody. We had 89:00it in this country and we've squandered it. Won't be long until, uh, we'll be totally dependent. Well, I won't say totally but, uh, uh, our dependence increases by percentage every twelve months. And, uh, there are two places that the oil can come from. And, uh, there's great oil, uh, in Canada. There's great oil in Mexico. And, uh, we spend more time on, uh, Africa and other areas of the world. And, uh, when, uh, when these, uh, three countries--those two countries ought to be the closest 90:00allies we have.

HAMMACK: --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: Is that the end of it?

?: Please turn tape to side two.

[Break in recording]

HAMMACK: There we go. We'd been talking before we took a break about your basic political philosophy, Senator Clements. And we, uh, mentioned your attitudes toward the New Deal and your, your opinions regarding it. And I have some other things listed here that I think we might discuss in terms of fundamental philosophies. One might be your attitude, your basic attitude, toward, uh, farm problems in the nation, and such innovations as soil bank programs, price supports, and other forms of governmental support or regulation or whatever the proper term 91:00would be in your opinion for agriculture.

CLEMENTS: Well, at the time, uh, I was in the House and on the Agriculture Committee, and in the Senate, and, uh, finally I got on the Agriculture Committee, uh, as well as on the Appropriations Committee. Uh, we had a great excess of farm products grown in this country.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, of course to protect --------(??)---------- why, I naturally supported the soil bank program. I supported all legislation that, uh, dealt with the, the support of, uh, uh, the agricultural use of water, uh, which had its beginning under Roosevelt. The, uh--there was 92:00support for the construction of small lakes--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --small dams--

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: --and ponds. Uh, there was support, uh, that was given to agriculture. And, uh, when I say agriculture, the timbers agriculture, the, the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] camps were established. And, uh, in our county we, uh--wasn't much timber in our county. Practically all of the work of the CCC enrollees, uh, was in conservation on agricultural land.

93:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: They, uh, and, uh, with that background and seeing the value of it, I supported, uh, those kind of programs when I was in the House. And, uh, particularly, uh, price supports. Because you weren't going to get, uh--you could do all the other work you wanted to on the farm, but unless there was a guarantee that the price wouldn't go below the--the product wouldn't go below what it cost to raise, uh, the farmer couldn't make a living--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --at the prices that existed at that time. Now it, uh, enhanced the, the, uh, return to the farmer. Uh, 94:00and even, uh--and with that, of course, the government, uh, had to build storage to take care of the surplus.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, that brought about the passage of, uh, Public Law 480, which, uh, authorizes the sale of, uh, of, uh, that time of, uh, farm commodities that were in surplus to other countries in the world. And they were sold on the basis of, uh, counterpart funds to needy nations. And you often, uh, hear people say, "Well, what are counterpart funds?" They paid for it with money that could only be spent in their country.

95:00

HAMMACK: Oh, I see.

CLEMENTS: Now any, anything, any time that, uh, they had some product in their country that you could buy--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --with counterpart funds, why, you could buy it. And that 480 law is still on the statutes today. That's where the, the needy countries of this world today, uh, buy a considerable amount of the farm produce on counterpart funds.

HAMMACK: It really puts it almost on a barter level, doesn't it?

CLEMENTS: Well, it's, uh, it's the--it could be classified as that. And then, you know, there is a--I don't know whether it's in the statutes now or not, but, uh, we did a lot of barter work.

96:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: A lot of barter work done, uh, back in the time that I was in the Senate.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh. Uh, so you consider the price supports parity business the key to the farm--

CLEMENTS: Well, there are a lot of things that, uh, might be key. It's a combination of a lot of things have become the key.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: It's like a house that's got, uh, four doors and all have a different lock. (Hammack laughs) It, uh--you can get in in many different ways, but, uh, if, uh, some of the in-, inside doors are locked, why, you may have to use all your keys to open up the entire house. But I think price supports are important, regardless of the fact that, uh, we've had a secretary of agriculture that, uh, wanted to get rid of price supports. But, uh, I think it means something. I don't think you'd be raising as, uh, much produce in this country today 97:00if you didn't have some support for it. Well, take tobacco for instance.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Tobacco is, uh--there's very little of it's ever been grown in our county in my time. I think maybe now that, uh--I think I saw an article in the paper the other day there's only six acres of tobacco grown in our county last year.

HAMMACK: Oh, really?

CLEMENTS: Well, the, uh--But, uh, a lot of our ridge land in our county has a good deal of sand in it, especially as it's closer to the river. And naturally, it will erode. We had a very smart county agent came to our county by the name of Hub Gayle. And he did a masterful job in encouraging people on that, uh, hill land--

98:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --to quit growing tobacco and start growing bluegrass, growing fescue.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Growing, uh, timothy, growing all types of grasses. And, uh, it went a long ways toward producing a, a cattle country.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And cattle roam those hills today. They know more about handling the soil. And some of those hills today are, are planted to corn, uh, around the hill to where it won't wash like it used to. And then, uh, when that corn is, as we used to say shucked--now they say picked--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --'cause they used to do it by hand, and now they do it by the corn picker. Uh, as soon, soon 99:00 as--

HAMMACK: It shells it right there in the same picker.

CLEMENTS: Right. The picker leaves the cob in the field.

HAMMACK: Yeah, that's what I thought.

CLEMENTS: And then they'll, uh, they'll take that ridge land if it's got, uh, uh, too much fall. They'll, uh, they'll disc it immediately when they get through with it. Cut the, uh, the stalks. And, uh, that'll help stop erosion. And on those hills they'll put a cover crop on it.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And if they get the cover crop on in time, they pasture for it through the very, very late winter or the--if not, in the early spring. And, uh, they would turn it under and, uh, put it back in corn if they wish to do. But of course, uh, now they'll take that, uh, uh, 100:00that field and they'll use, uh, uh, weed killer on it and go in there and plant the corn right in, uh, in the grass that they've killed.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Consequently it has had cover all winter, and there's been no washing on it.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, no, I, I think it, uh, I think it would be great if, uh, we could, uh, know in advance that, uh, we were going to have no surplus. But shortage is a problem that we're not accustomed to. And, uh, I think you'd find a very dissatisfied, uh, agricultural family in this country if they didn't know that it was supported up to a given price. 101:00And, uh, the price of, uh--the price is, uh, determined on, uh, what the cost is, what it cost them to raise it.

HAMMACK: In terms of basic attitudes then you never were an adherent of free trade --------(??) was the idea of leaving agriculture to exist in a free trade market, but instead favored government aid to agriculture.

CLEMENTS: Well, we can get along without a lot of things better than we can get along without food. (Hammack laughs) And, uh, although they have many substitutes that they've developed, they have to have some grain before the substitute can be made. They--if they don't have grain of course, uh, they've found that they can use, uh, cottonseed oil. And, uh, but, uh, that comes from the soil. 102:00 Soybeans, that comes from the soil.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Butter. Without, uh, grain to feed the cattle, why, you couldn't, uh, you couldn't, uh, produce it. And, uh, this year is a good example of, uh, even though the corn crop in this, uh, uh, nation is bigger--I think it's the largest corn crop that we've ever had--but think about, uh, the people in the drought-stricken sections of this country. A good example is Minnesota.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: Minnesota has had a, a very harmful drought in their state. And, uh, while, uh, they're not cured by this, they're 103:00helped by price supports anyway.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: They know that whatever they raised, there is some protection for 'em in this kind of a year.

HAMMACK: It sounds as though you approached agriculture from the basis of two main concerns, one being to ensure a food supply in the United States and the other the farmers, the farmer himself, his income and livelihood.

CLEMENTS: That is correct.

HAMMACK: That a fair statement?

CLEMENTS: That is correct. And, uh, there's, uh--even in the, uh, in some of the years without, uh, the price support program we wouldn't have been able to have produced the food that have 104:00gone to needy countries over the world. It is unfortunate that, uh, uh, it don't always reach the people that need it in those countries. Uh, I'm talking about a hundred percent. Uh, but anyway it, uh, reaches--a high percentage of it reaches people in need.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: One of the big problems, uh, about, uh, when, uh, great, uh, amounts of rice and corn and wheat, oats and other grains that are shipped, uh, back some years ago they were foreign, some of those things were foreign to the people. You take the Japanese. Uh, they never used any corn. They used 105:00rice. It has been an educational program. And there's much corn that is used today in Japan, there's much corn that is used in enlightened areas around the world, and, uh, the same thing is true of, uh, many other of our farm products.

HAMMACK: Uh, so then the ability to supply food to other areas of the world forms a third area of concern in your attitudes--

CLEMENTS: That's right.

HAMMACK: --towards agriculture.

CLEMENTS: Yes. I--you know when, uh, you help feed a hungry person, you've lived--you, you're really kind of living by the Golden Rule.

HAMMACK: Probably affects, probably affects your foreign relations with those countries 106:00too --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: No question about it. It's a lot sounder program than to give them money and make them be your enemy.

HAMMACK: (laughs)_ Well, that brings us back to the subject we were at when we were discussing--specific subject we were discussing at the time --------(??)----------, and that was your basic attitudes toward American foreign policy. Again, I'm interested in basic attitudes because I think it'll help historians of the future to understand some of the things you supported and did not support or the positions you took in the Senate.

CLEMENTS: Well, we had, uh--When I came to the Senate, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee was a fine person. His name was Theodore Green. He was one of the elder members of the Senate. He was from Rhode Island. And, uh, he was a sound businessman. He had compassion. And, uh, 107:00I don't recall if Theodore Green, uh, when he, uh, brought out a piece of legislation that dealt in this field, and it had been studied by everybody on that committee, and he had some strong people on it. Walter George was on it.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, he, uh, retired from that committee, retired from the chairmanship of that committee when he felt like that, uh, his age was, uh, maybe--Well, let me, let me phrase it another way. He felt like it was an assignment for a younger man. 108:00Because, uh, Senator Green then was in his eighties. And, uh, that's when Bill Fulbright, who was, uh, not second on the committee, but Walter George was second on the committee, but Walter George was the chairman of finance. And a person couldn't be chairman of two committees.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And Bill Fulbright was the third member, and he became, uh, the chairman and served longer than, uh--I don't know whether somebody served longer as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee than, uh, Bill Fulbright or not.

HAMMACK: Not in recent times, I don't think.

CLEMENTS: Well, not in my--not in the time that, uh, uh, I had, uh, any, uh, readability--

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: --and interest in what was going on in Washington. And, uh, Bill Fulbright--I guess I was a little more concerned about 109:00following Bill Fulbright all the time than I was about following Theodore Green and Walter George. They were both sound businessmen. They understood finance. Uh, Bill Fulbright, uh, was a Rhodes Scholar, president of the University of Arkansas, quarterback on their football team. We've, uh, been great friends, and we're great friends now. He's, uh, he was defeated, uh, in Arkansas. Uh, he's, uh, practicing law here in town at this moment. But, uh, he never could work out with the administration, whosoever it may be in a position 110:00of leadership, whether he be Democrat or Republican, uh, to get a unified position like, uh, Theodore Green could, which put him in controversy with the leadership, sometimes in the Senate as well as, uh, the White House. And, uh, I wouldn't say he was always right or he was always wrong. I wouldn't, uh, say that I voted--I didn't always vote with him. I didn't --

HAMMACK: What did you mean? A moment ago you said that you were more interested in following Fulbright than Green.

CLEMENTS: No. Green rather than Fulbright.

HAMMACK: Oh, I'm sorry.

CLEMENTS: There was never any, never any problem about, uh, my following Theodore Green. He was as thorough a man as, uh, I know. Unless it was Carl Hayden from, from Arizona.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: And Walter George from Georgia. And Dick Russell from 111:00Georgia. They were--rarely did any one of those people ever bring a bill to the floor. All be questioned, but not often changed. Uh, Bill Fulbright very often bring bills to the floor. The chairman does more work on them than anybody else. And, uh, Bill had very strong views on a lot of things. But he had, uh--He had great support. Don't, uh, let me leave you under the impression that he didn't have great support. And if events have proven there were times that he was, uh, uh, not supported, maybe hindsight has, uh, showed that he was, 112:00uh, he was right. But, uh, one of the things that, uh, made him more antagonistic to more people--he was one of the strong supporters of the Tonkin Bay resolution.

HAMMACK: On Vietnam.

CLEMENTS: Yes.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, then he spent his time trying to bail himself out. He was, uh, probably one of the--and, of course, I was out of the Senate at that time.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: But he was, uh--it was, uh, characteristic of, uh, Bill Fulbright's position as chairman of that committee even when I was in the Senate.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. Uh, and of course we had very difficult foreign problems at the time you were there. We had the 113:00Korean War situation and the Cold War situation in Europe.

CLEMENTS: Well, there were--

HAMMACK: Had, uh, communist scares at home and this type of thing. I was wondering what your attitude was towards the Korean War, and toward the Cold War generally--

CLEMENTS: Well--

HAMMACK: --at that time.

CLEMENTS: Well, I'm, uh, not smart enough to--and I don't know of anybody else that is--to do any more than make a judgment. Uh, only history will tell whether we've been, uh, spending too much time on worrying about the communists instead of worrying about ourselves. But in Korea, Truman took a strong position on Korea. And, uh, he was concerned about, uh, the communist, uh, uh, Chinese, 114:00uh, taking both North and--what turned out to be North and South Korea. And, uh, he went in there and, uh, didn't, uh, fight as, uh, as, uh, unpopular a war as, uh, as the Vietnam War was, which is the most unpopular war that this country has ever engaged in.

HAMMACK: By far. Yes.

CLEMENTS: Uh, but, uh, Truman, uh, was involved in, uh, some of the settlements that were made in, uh, Europe. The major settlements. And if we made mistakes, they were made, uh, uh, early when, uh, Roosevelt was president. And in hindsight I don't 115:00think anybody would, uh, question the fact that, uh, uh, that Churchill was right when he said that we ought not to cross the channel, but we ought to go up on the underbelly--that is, go up through from the Mediterranean. And, uh, if you'd gone up through the Mediterranean, Poland probably would be an independent country today, and Czechoslovakia would be an independent country. And, uh, you wouldn't have ever had the takeover by Russia of these countries. But anyway, our government took the opposite position.

HAMMACK: You're suggesting that the better plan would have been to drive more through --------(??)---------- cut off things across the Poland and Czechoslovakian 116:00area.

CLEMENTS: And you never would have separated Germany had you done that. Uh, but, uh, you know it's, uh, it's mighty easy to be a one--a Monday morning quarterback.

HAMMACK: Oh, certainly.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, and, uh, I was not in the confidence of, uh, Mr. Roosevelt. I was in the State Senate in Kentucky. (both laugh) But, uh, I'm sure that, uh, he wasn't as strong physically at that time as he had been earlier in his life. You know he didn't last long after that. He lasted long enough to run for president again in 1944 when he was a much, uh, less strong person. I didn't realize that, uh, that, uh, Roosevelt was, uh, in the weakened condition he was 117:00until I was sworn in in, uh, January of 1945. And, uh, Roosevelt looked like a skeleton. He didn't appear before--he didn't--he wasn't sworn in at the--for his fourth term at the Capitol. He was sworn in on the portico up in the Rose Garden. And, uh, only the invited people could be in there. And that's members of Congress and the members of, uh, of, uh, the embassies. And it was a reasonably small crowd.

HAMMACK: He simply wasn't strong enough to place, uh, an inauguration at the Capitol, you think?

CLEMENTS: Well, he wasn't strong. Uh, this was his choice to be sworn in there. And, uh, his son James was 118:00with him. And, uh, it's the first time that I had ever seen him--And to realize how dependent he was upon somebody else, uh, to put him there--uh, was on the porch. He came out, pushed out in his wheelchair. Jim Roosevelt, uh, his eldest son, helped get him up out of that chair and hold him while he was strapped to that podium.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, he never left being in position that he could, uh, catch his father--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --should, uh, he weaken one way or the other. It was a very short, uh, statement he made. Uh, impressive. 119:00But if you were close enough, you recognized how weak he was. You know it was just a matter of a few months until he passed away at, uh--

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: --Augusta.

HAMMACK: Did this appearance cause discussion among congressmen like yourself about how soon--

CLEMENTS: Oh, certainly. Especially those who had, uh, never seen him before.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh. Yeah, I would imagine it would be a shock.

CLEMENTS: Except they'd seen his pictures, you know.

HAMMACK: Yeah. Because people weren't permitted to see how--his physical condition.

CLEMENTS: It was well protected. Uh, of course he, uh, uh, he had leg problems before he came to the presidency.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, I'll say to you frankly he was president a good long while before I knew that, uh, that he had to have help. I saw him sitting down or I saw him taken when he was standing up.

120:00

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: But, uh, he couldn't get up without help.

HAMMACK: Yeah. Of course we know that now. But as you say, at that period, pictures and things that you were shown, what you were permitted to see --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: Right. I had never seen him face to face. And, uh, I was at the White House, uh, a few times, uh, in 1945 and, uh, had an opportunity to chat with him. Uh, he was stronger-looking when he was sitting behind that desk than he was when he was standing up there and you, you saw him on a damp, uh, cloudy day.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: But, uh--

121:00

HAMMACK: Did you and others begin preparing in your minds for the prospect of Truman succeeding to the presidency?

CLEMENTS: Of course.

HAMMACK: What was the reaction --------(??)----------?

CLEMENTS: Oh, I don't mean it, uh, I don't mean that you discussed it, uh, in any open way.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, but, uh, sit down with, uh--when Frank Chelf and myself were there together--we were the two freshman members of our delegation.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, it was a shock to him just like it was to me to see him in that frail--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --what appeared to be a very frail condition. His voice didn't ring to us. Of course he had a microphone. But it didn't ring to us like I'd heard it so many times on the radio.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: He had one of the best radio voices I think I ever heard.

HAMMACK: I think so, too. I, I've heard recordings. Of course, I --

CLEMENTS: Um-hm. Um-hm.

HAMMACK: Because I was--I heard him as a child but don't 122:00really remember that kind of quality in his voice. But I do see it come through in newsreels and, and recordings and this kind of thing.

CLEMENTS: I'll tell you it, uh, unless you was already mad at him, why, you'd want to go up and tell him he was the greatest. (both laugh)

HAMMACK: Uh--

CLEMENTS: And he was a great man. Isn't any question about him being a great man.

HAMMACK: Well, certainly historians share that opinion. They take these polls indicated(??) to survey historians about the greatest American presidents and this kind of thing. Roosevelt always stands near the top of the list.

CLEMENTS: I think as, uh, time goes on--I say it's, uh, hindsight is a lot better than foresight. I can well remember that, uh, the disturbance that was in the minds of the people--and I guess I qualify as one of those--at, uh, Truman succeeding him. 123:00But it, uh, shows what a person who has integrity and, uh, who's a good student and who's got good common sense and who's frank, uh, can do. Uh, there was consternation in this country when, uh, Truman became president because--I mean became president. I guess nobody had any more--was shocked more by it than Truman himself, thinking that he was taking on that chore.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, but, uh, I don't, uh, I cannot say that, uh, Truman grew in stature. I cannot say that, uh, of 124:00those seven presidents that are up there on the wall--I cannot say, and I've been asked many times when people would look at them, say, uh, "Did you know all of them?" I said, uh, "Well, not intimately. I've known a good many of them intimately." They ask you, uh, who was the best president. And I said, uh, "That's a matter that'll be left to historians." If you, uh, rephrase the question and ask me who I think historians will say is the greatest president of the lot, my judgment is they'll say Harry Truman.

HAMMACK: Why is that?

CLEMENTS: That, uh, that --

HAMMACK: You, you've got Roosevelt through Ford on the wall up 125:00there that we're talking about.

CLEMENTS: Roosevelt through Ford. And, uh, the things that, uh, brought, uh, great unpopularity to Truman were little things that amounted to nothing, uh, to historians. They amounted a lot to, uh, the foul language that he used--(Hammack laughs)--in describing somebody that, uh, so many people said that's not becoming of a president.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: I don't know whether, uh, you'd like this on tape, but you don't, uh, have to leave it on there if you don't want to. You can cut it out.

HAMMACK: Certainly.

CLEMENTS: When, uh, he called a certain person in, uh, this town a revolving son of a bitch. (Hammack laughs) And he didn't, uh, and it was carried in the press in that language.

HAMMACK: Well, it's been written in history books in that language 126:00too.

CLEMENTS: And--in that language. And, uh, well, frank, frank speaking, you know, or what is it? What's the book that Miller wrote? Uh--

HAMMACK: Uh, Plain Speaking.

CLEMENTS: Plain Speaking. Uh, they're in it. And, uh, historians won't pay attention to that. But they, they'll judge him on the larger things that he did.

HAMMACK: Yes.

CLEMENTS: They'll, uh--historians will, uh, commend him for the Marshall Plan.

HAMMACK: Right.

CLEMENTS: It took great courage. And it, uh--he had an able person, uh, to deal with it, and that's General George Marshall.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, they'll judge him on, uh, how he handled, uh, the Greek-Turkish matter, which has only lately, uh--

127:00

HAMMACK: The Truman Doctrine, yes.

CLEMENTS: Yes, uh, it's, uh, it, uh--It hadn't been nurtured, I guess is the reason, the breakdown in the thing. But there was no breakdown in it during Truman's term. And it was Truman's doctrine. They'll judge him, uh, on the courage that he had to move into Korea and take the responsibility for it. Historians, in my judgment, will.

HAMMACK: Yes.

CLEMENTS: Unless this thing that's going on now with, uh, Korea, South Korea, with, uh--which is, uh, disturbing to me and I'm sure it's disturbing to many people in this country. That, uh, when you do all you have done for a country to have them, uh, uh, not create a democratic government.

128:00

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: To me, that's worse than the bribery that they're charged with. Uh, here you, uh, lose many a fine American boy to help a country and establish a democracy. And here you have, uh, a one-man government. It's all been done by the present president of that country. And, uh, the, the big things in Truman's, uh, presidential career were things he gave thought to. The little things like, uh, when he used bad language for a president and, uh, got quoted on it, and when he used a 129:00little bad language, uh, to the--Mr. Hume, the, the critic here in town that, uh, disparaged, uh, the singing talents of his daughter--why, he used, uh, some, uh, language that people thought that a president oughtn't to use. And, uh, when he went out of the presidency his popularity standing, uh, his rating, I may say, was, uh, not high. Uh, one of the great things I thought Truman did was when he had a divided court. Supreme Court was a badly divided, uh, court. They were fighting each other. And 130:00he named a Kentuckian as chief justice.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: He named, uh, uh, Fred Vinson. And it wasn't long until, uh, the court operated without fights. The, uh--Didn't mean they all voted alike. But it was a well--orderly body that, uh, you didn't get, uh, uh, one member fighting another. Everybody had their day in court.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: I'm sure in their, uh, uh, quiet discussions of, uh, matters before the court. But he--in Fred he had a, he had a tougher member than any other member that was on that 131:00court.

HAMMACK: Do you think this was Vinson's principal contribution to the court perhaps? Or perhaps the principal reason Truman appointed him? I, I'm not sure how close you were--

CLEMENTS: I think that Truman--I think--

HAMMACK: --to Vinson. But the reason I'm asking is, you know, some historians have been critical of that appointment. They--

CLEMENTS: Well, I'll tell you, the court operated--There was more respect for the court after Fred was named. And there--it was, uh--the respect was eroding some, the fights within the court.

HAMMACK: Are you talking about respect primarily here in Washington on Capitol Hill? This kind of thing?

CLEMENTS: Yes. Yes, I'd, uh--Fred was a--He was a very positive person. Uh, I don't know. I may have told you in another interview that, uh, one of the greatest stories that, 132:00uh, that Barkley used--did I ever tell you that story?

HAMMACK: I don't, I don't know. Let me hear it from you and I'll tell you.

CLEMENTS: Well, uh, one of the great stories that, uh, is, uh, credited as a Barkley story--and that is that, uh, "You haven't done, uh, much for me lately."

HAMMACK: Yes. Yes.

CLEMENTS: Well, that was a Fred--that's a happening of Fred Vinson in his life.

HAMMACK: Oh, really?

CLEMENTS: Oh yes. He's, uh, he, uh--He was in the Congress. He heard that an old friend of his out there was not for him.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, Fred had a little Indian in him. And, uh, Fred went up to him and he said, "You remember 133:00what you told me on the battlefield, that I'd saved your life?" Said, "Yes, you did." He said, "You remember when a member of your family wanted a post office at such and such a town in my--in the congressional district I represented?" He said, "Yes." He said, "You remember that, uh, a member of your family got the appointment." He said, "Yes." Well, he said, uh, "And you're against me." He said, "Yes. Yes I'm against you." He said, "Well, would you mind telling me why?" He said, "You haven't done anything for me lately." (both laugh) But, uh, whenever you hear that story told, uh--Fred wasn't the great storyteller that, uh, Barkley was. Barkley I think is one of the great storytellers, uh, uh, that he could take a, he could 134:00take a story and, uh, illustrate a point. And especially when he was talking about the New Deal.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: And there's no greater defender that this country--and there's no, no more effective person to discuss the New Deal than Alben Barkley was. The, uh--and, uh, he'd gone through it. He'd been, uh, majority leader of the Senate--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --through all the days of the, uh, most all of the days of the New Deal.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, uh, he could take that story and he could drive his point home with it, just like he could with many stories that he told. Just like Sam Ervin.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, Sam Ervin was, uh--when he was a, a member 135:00of the McCarthy committee. And, uh, I think if, uh, Sam Ervin was here he would, uh, tell you that I might have had a little something to do with him being the--on that committee. Uh, it's awful hard to get three members of the, uh, uh, on the Democratic side that didn't have legitimate reasons why they wouldn't serve, because many of them had, uh, been highly critical of Joe McCarthy on the floor.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh--

HAMMACK: That's one thing I wanted to ask you about--

CLEMENTS: I say--

HAMMACK: --sometime in the future is how --

CLEMENTS: I'll tell you right now if you want.

HAMMACK: --------(??)---------- you and Johnson both ------(??)------

CLEMENTS: You want me to tell you how these, uh, members were picked?

HAMMACK: Yes, if you would.

CLEMENTS: Well, uh, the first person that Johnson went to to 136:00serve on the committee was Walter George, who was chairman of the Finance Committee, and probably one of the most influential members of the, the Senate, and, uh, ask him if he'd serve. He said, "I'll serve if Gene Millikin will serve." Gene Millikin was a member from Colorado and a fine lawyer--so the lawyers said--and a fine person. And, uh, Bill Knowland was the majority--was the leader on the Republican side. And, uh, at that time the Republicans--I believe the Republicans had a majority at that time of, uh, two. All the time I was in the Senate, uh, one side or the other had a majority of, uh, two. Uh, four of those years the Democrats had it and two of those years the 137:00Republicans had it.

HAMMACK: A little less comfortable edge than now. (laughs)

CLEMENTS: Well, oh, yes. It, uh, and, uh, the, uh--But better working arrangement, uh, at that time with the White House. You didn't have many vetoes but you worked out the legislation before it went to the White House.

HAMMACK: Oh, I see. That sounds as if took a pretty--took a good bit more careful preparation.

CLEMENTS: Oh, yes. And, uh, the--Gene Millikin, first time that I knew that he has a--had a physical difficulty. I knew he walked a little stooped. But he had an arthritic condition and some other problems with his, uh, spinal column. And when Bill Knowland, uh--when Johnson told, uh, Bill Knowland that, Bill Knowland went to Millikin. And Millikin told him that he would love to 138:00serve but he wasn't physically able to serve, and that his time in life was very short. And he did die soon after this--that session. And, uh, Walter George--I'm just giving you my judgment now--Walter George didn't think there was but one other, one person on the Republican side that had his stature. (laughs)

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, when Gene Millikin, uh, declined serving, Walter George immediately declined.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, so then, uh, uh, Bill Knowland, uh, got three people to serve that had, uh, not been involved with Joe on the floor, pro or con.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: He got Arthur Watkins from, uh--who was a lawyer, uh, 139:00from Utah. He got Frank Carlson from Kansas. And he got, uh, Francis Case from South Dakota as his three members.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, Lyndon, uh, prevailed upon Ed Johnson, who was a very strong man, not a lawyer. As a matter of fact there wasn't but one lawyer on the Republican side, and that was Arthur Watkins, who became chairman on account of his party. And, uh, they were in three--now I'm sure that that was the year they were in the majority.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, if not you had a Republican president and, uh, and, uh, it was only right, even if we had the 140:00majority, it was, uh, only right and proper that, uh, uh, Joe's, uh, party have the chairman. And, uh, Ed Johnson, as I say, wasn't a lawyer. He was a former governor of, uh, Colorado. And then after he left the Senate he went back, was elected, served another term as governor of Colorado. He was a strong individual and he was chairman of the Committee on Commerce. Used to be the interstate and foreign commerce as it is in the House. But it, uh, it's what is now the, the Commi-, the Commerce Committee in the Senate. And then John Stennis, uh, who was a former judge in the, uh, was on the appropriations--I mean on the Armed Services Committee. And he agreed 141:00to serve. And, uh, Johnson said to me one day, said, uh, "I just, uh, I'm at a total loss of, uh, where we're going to get the third member." And I said, "Well, you've got a, a very young member in the Senate, uh, that has held every judicial position from police judge to the, uh, membership on the Supreme Court of his state. Hasn't been here for many months." But, uh, he said, "Now who's that?" I said, "Sam Ervin." "Oh," he said, "he hasn't been judge of all the courts." I said, "Yes, he has." He said, "How do you know?" Well, I said, uh, "You remember when his brother who was in the Congress and took his own life 142:00and Sam came and by--been nominated by the committee of that district and served out his time but wouldn't run again?" "Well," he said, uh, "yes, I did know that." "Well," I said, "he has held every judicial position in the judge's field in his state."

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: "And he came to the Senate from the Supreme Court of his state. And, uh, from the legal standpoint I have an idea that he can give, uh, have more judicial background than, uh, all of the other five put together." So he, uh, 143:00he called him over to G23, which is on the third floor of the Capitol on the Senate side. And, uh, he told him what they, what they wanted with him--we wanted with him.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Maybe I should say what Johnson wanted with him. And, uh, he said, "Well--" And Lyndon asked him. He said, uh, "Any reason you couldn't serve?" "Well," he said, "I don't know." He said, "I remember somebody writing me something about, uh, this thing. And I answered that letter. Uh, and I don't know whether that letter would disqualify me or not." So he sent over to his office to bring that letter over 144:00there. There wasn't anything in it--it was all those if this, if that, if something else, you know.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, the question was put to him: "Well, uh, could you give, uh, Senator McCarthy a fair and impartial trial?" "Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I would--I wouldn't sit on anything that I couldn't do that."

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And he became the third member on the Democratic side. Now, what, uh, led me from Barkley's stories to Sam Ervin--Sam Ervin is one of the--First thing, he's a fine citizen and a great American. Uh, I guess he didn't vote, uh, always with 145:00any person that was in the Senate.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: I know there are times that, uh, he voted differently.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: He voted differently on, uh, racial matters.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But he was raised further south than I was. And, uh, not that I was a great sponsor of the civil rights bill. I always believed that the Constitution ought to be read for all the people, what I thought it was meant to do. And, uh, but, uh, Sam Ervin--you ask him a question and he'll tell you a story about Uncle Bill that lives over in such and such a county--(Hammack laughs)--in North Carolina. And it'll be right in point with the answer.

HAMMACK: That's a remarkable talent.

CLEMENTS: Question. Oh. It, uh, was--When, uh, Joe had 146:00defeated, uh--I mean he had, uh, punished Arthur Watkins, he browbeat him all through the--his, uh, reading of his paper.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. I've read something about that event.

CLEMENTS: Oh. He, uh, did. He did Frank Carlson the same way. And Francis Case, uh, he'd beat these other fellows so much. Well, Francis Case started talking about a compromise. It was the Flanders resolution.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, so--(laughs)--he never discussed--he never questioned Ed Johnson but once or twice. He was a tough Swede, and he was straightforward. He'd answer you with one word or half a dozen.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

147:00

CLEMENTS: And, uh, very pointed, and very direct. (Hammack laughs) Then, uh, when he got to Stennis he, uh, questioned Stennis and, uh, abused him. I never saw a redder face on the floor of the Senate than Stennis was in those, uh, when he would, uh, yield to McCarthy to ask him a question. And, uh, really I--my feeling went out to him because I knew he was just as angry as he could be, but he was a gentleman, and he was trying every way to conduct himself as the gentleman that he was.

HAMMACK: --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. But when it got 148:00to Sam Ervin, he was the last, uh, member to speak. Present his views. And, uh, when, uh, Senator McCarthy asked him to--if he would yield for a question, he said, "The senator from North Carolina will not yield to a question until he finishes his very, very short statement." I wouldn't say this is verbatim, and if it was verbatim I wouldn't say that it wasn't changed in the record, but--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But, uh, he asked him two or three times. And each time he got the same answer, that the senator from North Carolina will not yield to the senator from Wisconsin till he finished his short or brief, uh, statement. And when he finished, why, he, uh, let, uh, Senator McCarthy know that, uh, he was, 149:00uh, open for any questions. He asked him a question and, uh, he went up into the mountains of North Carolina and, uh, he told a story about, uh, some fellow. It was right in point with the question that Joe asked. And that was his answer. And Joe got, uh, two or three of those and, uh, he left the floor. (Hammack laughs) And I may be wrong about this. Uh, my opinion is that, uh, Joe never returned to the Senate floor. The abuse that Joe McCarthy heaped upon the members that day probably was the difference between him being censured and not being censured.

150:00

HAMMACK: --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: I would, I w-, I would believe that, uh, it, uh--if he hadn't abused the members of the Senate that he might not have been censured.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. What was your attitude toward McCarthy?

CLEMENTS: Well, I thought he--

HAMMACK: In those years.

CLEMENTS: Well, uh, we had a good, uh, speaking relationship. Uh, that's about all.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. He wasn't one of the people that you worked with on any consistent basis, I gather.

CLEMENTS: I don't know that, uh, he and I worked on anything together.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: It was purely a relationship of, uh, of, uh, one person that, uh, you'd have preferred to having a relationship with somebody 151:00else.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Of course mine went back to the time that he, uh, had that photo of, uh, I don't know what you call it, uh, you photographers call it where you fake a picture.

HAMMACK: Yes, I know what you're talking about.

CLEMENTS: What do you call it? Uh--

HAMMACK: It's one picture transposed onto another.

CLEMENTS: That's right.

HAMMACK: I'm not sure what the exact term is.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, in the race that, uh, that involved Millard Tydings.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, he defeated Millard Tydings with that picture of the fellow that was on the communist, uh, the Daily Worker.

HAMMACK: --------(??)----------. Yeah.

CLEMENTS: And had him on there as if it was--and that was--

HAMMACK: Browder I believe was the one the picture was.

CLEMENTS: Might have been. Might have been. I've, uh, forgotten. I never was a reader of the Daily Worker. (Hammack laughs) And, uh, but, uh, then he went to West Virginia on 152:00the line, you know--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --of, uh--not very far from, uh, Maryland. And he made that speech about the more than a hundred communists were in the State Department.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: But he never named one.

HAMMACK: Right.

CLEMENTS: He never named one. But he'd had, uh, the, uh--Communism was a bad word at that time.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And it's not a form of government that, uh, I'd want to support. (Hammack laughs) But, uh, at the same time it, uh, uh--you could use it, as Nixon did, uh, in his race against Jerry Voorhis when he made a communist out of Jerry Voorhis. Jerry Voorhis, uh, wasn't any more communist than, uh, you are, 153:00Jim, or Earle Clements is. Uh, Jerry Voorhis was a very decent fellow. But he made a communist out of him because of one vote. We had a communist member of the Senate--of the House. And, uh, he was from New York. And I'm satisfied that most members of the House at some time or other voted, uh, the same way as this fellow, but not on his account.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Because they voted their sentiments and, uh, happened to be a sentiment that he, uh, favored, too. And, uh--

HAMMACK: Perhaps it would be better to say he voted their way. After all you only had three choices. You can vote yes or no or abstain.

CLEMENTS: Yes. Yeah.

HAMMACK: --------(??)----------. (laughs)

CLEMENTS: Well, uh, you don't abstain. You just absent yourself. But, uh, you don't know how a fellow is going to vote. But he found a couple places, uh, couple of bills, 154:00and singled them out you know as, uh, how Jerry Voorhis--and I never did look them up to see whether I voted, uh, that way or not. If I did, in, uh, Nixon's eyes I guess I'd have been a communist too. But there'd've been a lot of communists in the, uh, the Senate that, uh, if, uh, if it was determined by whether or not they'd ever voted the same way as this fellow voted on a bill. Uh, the, uh--and the same way he did with, uh, Helen Gahagan Douglas. He didn't say she was--He didn't call this fellow a communist. He talked about the communist and this fellow voting with him.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, it's like Helen Gahagan Douglas when she was 155:00his opponent in the Senate race when he ran after he'd been in the House. Uh, I don't know anything about her private life. Her reputation is far better than his. But, uh, he talked about Hollywood, the strange ways of men and women in Hollywood.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, in the eyes of the public, why, he, uh, near made her out in the eyes as--I guess as a lady of the night.

HAMMACK: Guilt by association approach.

CLEMENTS: Well, uh, sure, sure, it was about that. But, uh, the treatment that Joe gave the members I think really tipped 156:00the scale. And I may be wrong, but this is just one person's judgment.

HAMMACK: Yeah. Um, did you discuss, or did Johnson discuss with you other--that Democratic members who might be selected for that committee besides Ervin?

CLEMENTS: Oh, yeah. We went over the list. And, uh--

HAMMACK: I was wondering --------(??)--

CLEMENTS: If you go to people who were eminently qualified as far as their, as their background was concerned, uh, one able member of the body was, uh, Tom Hennings.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: He'd been a prosecutor and, uh, was a fine lawyer. And, uh, but he had, uh--he'd made some of the strongest speeches against, uh, Joe McCarthy on the floor of the Senate. 157:00You lose him. Bill Fulbright was the same way. There was any number of people that were on the, the Democratic side that, uh, had great ability. But, uh, they had, uh, made their position well known and, uh, they couldn't have given him, uh, a fair trial and, uh, I say a fair trial.

HAMMACK: I was wondering what consideration--yeah, I was wondering what consideration --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: Well, they had the same problem on the Republican side in reverse.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: They had, uh--they didn't have the three most qualified, uh, uh, jurists on that side. Because so many of them had, uh, had expressed themselves in defense of Joe.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And they weren't, uh--they disqualified themselves. They couldn't, uh, 158:00they couldn't be fair in it.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: They were biased. And on Joe's side.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And it was a, it was a, it was a difficult job for Knowland and, uh, Johnson to find the three people that were as fair as those six people were. And only one of them ever waffled. That's Francis Case.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh. I don't imagine --------(??)----------.

CLEMENTS: And that wasn't much of a waffle.

HAMMACK: Yeah. I don't imagine that was the kind of committee assignment that you had people beating down your doors wanting to serve in any case.

CLEMENTS: Oh, I would imagine there were people on the Republican side and on the Democratic side both that, uh, that had, uh, strong and expressed views. They'd have been glad to have been named. But they couldn't have, uh--there wasn't any way that, uh, 159:00either Knowland or Johnson could name them.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Because, uh, uh, neither one of them wanted to name anybody who had, uh, they were convinced that couldn't give a fair judgment based solely on the resolution.

HAMMACK: McCarthy had created great problems for the Republican leadership because of his activities, I know. Did, did McCarthy's activities create any problems for you and Johnson as members of the party leadership?

CLEMENTS: Uh, uh, Joe had some fine friends on the, on the--That is he had some, uh--Well, they were fine people. And, uh, they worked harmoniously with Joe.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh, they were on committees with him. And, uh, they had some respect for him. And, uh, might have had, 160:00uh, some, uh, comparable views. Uh, he and, uh, he and John McClellan were on the same committee. And, uh, as a matter of fact, uh, one of them was chairman when the Republicans were--that was the Investigations Committee.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: That, uh, Bobby Kennedy was the--(clears throat)--counsel to it at that time. That was before his brother was named, uh, was elected president. And, uh, the Kennedys and Joe were very close friends. And, uh--

HAMMACK: Well, McCarthyism is a word that has something of a bad connotation these days. But the atmosphere was entirely different then. I don't think any--

CLEMENTS: Uh, and they--but, uh, Joe was, uh, chairman of that 161:00committee for two years. And McClellan was chairman the other four years when I was in the Senate. And, uh--

HAMMACK: This was the Senate Investigating Committee.

CLEMENTS: Yes. And, uh, John McClellan was just as much against communism as, uh, Joe McCarthy. But, uh, John's was, uh, based upon--well, it was integrity to John. I don't think John McClellan would falsify anything to you or anybody else. I think he's, uh, as straight as he can be. And, uh, but he and Joe worked pretty close together, one as chairman, the other one as ranking member on the other side, through until Joe left the Senate. And, uh, but it was, uh, it was an interesting period. Uh, but one of the things that, uh, I 162:00think is, uh, is important to say--when time came to vote, it, uh, it was either a loud no or a loud yes. Wasn't any--I mean an audible.

HAMMACK: Yeah.

CLEMENTS: Say audible no or yes. And I don't recall the vote. Uh, it's what it was. But it was, uh, it was sizable. And, uh, there were a good many Republicans, uh, voted to censure him. And the resolution was a Republican resolution.

HAMMACK: You hadn't had any direct confrontations yourself with McCarthy then while you were in the Senate.

CLEMENTS: We never did have. Uh, we just had no close association. I was just another member of the Senate to 163:00him, and he was another member of the Senate to me. And you had, uh--I was never on a committee with him. We had, uh--And, uh, I was not a, I was not a, a night gadabout. And, uh, I had a pretty girl to go home to at night.

HAMMACK: (laughs) Uh, one of the things that you mentioned a moment ago in passing that I wanted to go into just a little bit further was the question of civil rights. It's--I think the roots of the present-day civil rights for blacks movement and women's rights movement both probably had their roots from the--first in the New Deal period and then substantially in the Truman period. And you mentioned a moment ago that one of your basic attitudes on this 164:00was that the Constitution was written for all Americans. Uh, could you elaborate a little bit on your basic attitudes toward civil rights and women's rights and this type of thing?

CLEMENTS: Well, you, you mentioned Truman. Uh, Truman, uh, probably more than--he was probably the--made the strongest statements to the Congress on civil rights, and the first one that made them that strong.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And he couldn't pass it. Uh, it was not passed, uh, the first, uh, uh, bill that was passed--I'd rather tell you this without, uh, going into a lot of detail.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: There's never been a civil rights bill--[telephone rings]--uh, that was 165:00passed that didn't have Johnson's input into it.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And he modified the civil rights bill under Eisenhower, and it was actually a Johnson modification.

HAMMACK: Was Earle Clements a part of those modifications?

CLEMENTS: Well, I was there. (Hammack laughs) I was there, at, uh, the, uh, but, uh--Johnson was a master at, uh, taking Eisenhower's legislation and, uh, modifying it to improve it. And improve it to the benefit of, uh, his own party.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And you know how far he went in 1965 and 166:00'64 and five.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: Especially in '65.

HAMMACK: Yes, in '65.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, the, uh--But he was always--Uh, he--when he first came into the Senate he couldn't have, uh, sponsored that legislation and been reelected in Texas. But his heart was there.

HAMMACK: Um-hm. Certainly the attitude of everyone in the country has changed enormously as a result of Johnson's position in the sixties, uh--

CLEMENTS: Oh, sure. Sure. No question about that. And, uh--But anything, whatever has been done with reference to equality between races, Harry Truman pronounced it as plain as he could, as anybody ever did, when he was, uh, president when he spoke to the 167:00Congress.

HAMMACK: Well, I think that's one of those things along with the Marshall Plan and other things you mentioned a moment ago that has established his position in the eyes of historians and current generation.

CLEMENTS: That's right.

HAMMACK: Truman has become very much a hero these days.

CLEMENTS: Well, it, uh--I tell you, he has a right to be. And historians will say that too in my judgment. Isn't but one thing, uh, uh, Jim, that, uh, will ever tarnish it in my judgment. If we ever have an atomic war, it will tarnish Truman's historical record. He dropped the first bomb.

HAMMACK: Dropped the bomb over Japan.

CLEMENTS: Yes. And if I'd been Truman, I'd have done the same thing as Truman did. It's a question of, uh, whether you were going to lose a hundred thousand, uh, and whether 168:00you could have ever taken Japan without losing more people than that is questionable to me. Or whether you'd just, uh, use a couple of bombs.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, take the lives of that many Japanese. And if you have a choice, it'd have been my choice.

HAMMACK: I see.

CLEMENTS: Uh, that's what war is is: uh, you have a cause and you're fighting for victory. And, uh, we didn't attack them. They attacked this country. And, uh, it was a great thing for this country that, uh, Roosevelt had taken all the steps he had to prepare this country.

HAMMACK: When you mention fighting for victory, does that mean that 169:00you're not generally favorable toward these limited wars as in Korea and Vietnam?

CLEMENTS: Well--

HAMMACK: I mean the idea of limited warfare, not specifically those wars.

CLEMENTS: If I had been president, uh--which I was, uh, never capable of being--uh, and they said that about Truman, that he wasn't capable of being, but, uh, he made a great president. Uh, I don't mean by that that I think I would have been a strong president. But, uh, Truman was concerned about the communists. He was concerned about, uh, what was, uh, going to happen in all of Southeast Asia.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, of course it was not the Russians, except 170:00at that time, why--If China had taken Korea, why, then you might have had, uh, not China taking Japan but, uh, the Russians taking Japan. They'd, uh, gotten a few islands from them in the settlement, you know, after the, after the Second World War. And I think they still own them, still control them. But, uh, I'm convinced of one thing: that Truman thought it was the right thing to do in Korea. And I think historians, uh, will, uh, say that Truman was right with reference to MacArthur. Uh, MacArthur was a military hero. There, uh, can only be one commander in chief. The commander in chief is not the 171:00general officer of the Army. He's the president of the United States.

HAMMACK: Did you agree with that position at that time?

CLEMENTS: Absolutely. Yes, I agreed with it. I think one of the--(clears throat). I think the best, uh, evidence of, uh, that I could give you of what, uh, happened in the McCarthy--in the, uh, MacArthur hearings--They were chaired by a person that, uh, had his military idol was MacArthur. That was Richard Brevard Russell, who was chairman of the Armed Services Committee. And MacArthur was 172:00really his hero. He chaired those hearings. And he wrote, uh, with the consent of the membership of that committee, he wrote the report. And it defended Truman. But I think Dick Russell had, uh, one of the fine minds that I knew of people that I knew in the Senate. And, uh, there was no one that had, uh, stronger support of a greater number. More people, uh, looked to Dick Russell than, uh--I don't mean by that that he ran the Senate.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But, uh, the job of the whip or the assistant leader, whatever you may want to call him, when, uh--He's a t-, 173:00he's a tabulator of what your position is votewise. And, uh, you sit down and talk to Dick Russell about the bill. He said, "Yes, I'm, uh, going to support it," or, "I'm against it." You could just mark there was about fourteen members that was going to vote just like that, uh.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Uh--

HAMMACK: Well, that was a substantial bloc, of course.

CLEMENTS: Yes. More than anybody else, uh, except I've seen times when, uh, Johnson as the leader would have more votes than that.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But, uh, when you, uh--You had a bigger start in 174:00numbers when you found out how Dick Russell was going to vote on the legislation--

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: --than any other member.

HAMMACK: Was that usually where you started your tabulating?

CLEMENTS: Well, you just sit down in the cloakroom, you know, and, uh, visit. And you--and he was very kind to me. He probably was the cause of, uh, the initial cause of my going on the Policy Committee to succeed Chapman. And, uh, that was, uh--I'd been there about five months I think when going on the Policy Committee.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: And, uh, first person that said anything to me about going on the Policy Committee--it shocked me when Dick Russell came in the office and, uh, and he just, uh, stated very frankly, you 175:00know, "With Virgil leaving we've got a vacancy on the Policy Committee." And he was just frank to say that, uh, "If, uh, if the committee wanted you to replace Virgil, would you accept it?" Just about that blunt.

HAMMACK: Uh-huh.

CLEMENTS: Of course my--I went all around the fence. I said, "I've only been here a few months. And, uh, Virgil was here two years when he went on. And, uh, wouldn't you be making a mistake? Wouldn't you be making a mistake with the older members?" He said, "No, I just asked you a question." I said, "Yes. If, uh, I was named, why, of course I'd serve." But, uh, even at that moment I'd 176:00been there long enough to know the strength of, uh, Dick Russell--

HAMMACK: Hmm.

CLEMENTS: --among the membership. And, uh, so the next day, why, the majority leader came by. And he asked me about the same questions that, uh, Dick Russell did. And, uh, I gave him about the same answer. And the next day, why, I was named to the Policy Committee.

HAMMACK: Hmm. Well, had you known Russell well prior to that time, or--

CLEMENTS: No. I'd not known him well. I knew who he was. And, uh, I was, uh--Oh, I'd met him. I met him when I was in the House. HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: But, uh, from what I'd heard about Dick Russell, and 177:00what I'd seen about Dick Russell, I had great respect for him.

HAMMACK: Yes, sir.

CLEMENTS: And if Dick Russell had been raised as far north as Kentucky, Dick Russell would have been president of the United States. But, uh, you couldn't be nominated in the Democratic Party and have come that far south. But here now you have, uh--

HAMMACK: ----------(??).

CLEMENTS: --one elected to the presidency from the same state.

HAMMACK: Yes.

CLEMENTS: But you've got a different condition today than you had when Dick Russell was in the Senate.

HAMMACK: Due a great extent to those civil rights bills that Johnson promoted.

CLEMENTS: Of course. That's correct.

HAMMACK: That you mentioned.

CLEMENTS: That's correct.

HAMMACK: Well, did you have any inkling then or later as to why Russell selected you for that particular question about being on the Policy Committee?

178:00

CLEMENTS: Yes. It, uh--There were too many people that were seeking it that they didn't want on there. And the excuse for naming me was that I was just taking one Kentuckian that was taking the place of another Kentuckian.

HAMMACK: Who assured them that you were a, a fine man to serve on that committee?

CLEMENTS: Well, I'm not sure that anybody did. They were looking for an excuse. They were looking for a way out. Herbert Lehman wanted on it.

HAMMACK: Um-hm.

CLEMENTS: Paul Douglas wanted on it. And how many more I don't know. But, uh, they were two that, uh, I knew wanted on there, because they got mad when they didn't get on two years before that. And, uh, my relationship after that was always good with Governor Lehman, and always good with Paul Douglas.

179:00

HAMMACK: Was that really the beginning of your move toward a leadership position in the Senate? The policy body?

CLEMENTS: Mm, I don't know. The, uh, the majority leader, the leader--the minority or majority leader, uh, can have a good deal of effect on, uh, who his assistant's going to be. But, uh, Dick Russell was very strong for me. And Johnson was. And, uh, Johnson and Dick Russell were very close. They, uh--And there wasn't any opposition to Johnson at that time. Wasn't any opposition to me, either.

HAMMACK: I'm about to run out of tape again. Let 180:00me suggest that that might be a good place to--

[End of interview.]

Search This Transcript
SearchClear