Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Gordon Gray Papers

Dates: 1946-1979.

Assistant Secretary of the Army, 1947-1949; Secretary of the Army, 1949-1950; Special Assistant to the President, 1950; Director, Psychological Strategy Board, 1951.

The papers of Gordon Gray at the Harry S. Truman Library are copies of original documents in the custody of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina. They consist of correspondence, memoranda, articles, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, hearing transcripts and other documents mostly pertaining to Grayís work as the Director of the Psychological Strategy Board. The collection also documents Grayís service as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commissionís Personnel Security Board during the investigation of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

See also Gordan Gray Files and Gordan Gray oral history interview

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one linear foot (about 1600 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Gordon Gray has donated to the U.S. government his copyright interest in all writings in this collection. Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller (1981).
Updated by: Nathan Troup (2005) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1909 (May 30)Born, Baltimore, Maryland
1930A.B. degree, University of North Carolina
1933LL.B. degree, Yale University
1934Admitted to the New York Bar
1935-1947 President and publisher of Piedmont Publishing Company, Winston-Salem Journal, and Twin City Sentinel; also operator of radio station WSJS
1936Admitted to the North Carolina Bar
1938 Married Jane Boyden Craige (d. 1953)
1938-1939 President of the Young Democratic Clubs of North Carolina
1938-1942 Member of the North Carolina State Senate
1942-1945 Served in U.S. Army
1946-1947 Member of the North Carolina State Senate
1947-1949 Assistant Secretary of the Army
1949-1950 Secretary of the Army
1950 Special Assistant to the President of the U.S.
1950-1955 President of the University of North Carolina
1951 Director of the Psychological Strategy Board
1951 Chairman of the Commission on the Financing of Hospital Care
1953-1954 Member of Presidentís Committee on International Information Activities
1954 Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commissionís Personnel Security Board
1955-1957 Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
1956 Married Nancy Maguire Beebe
1957-1958 Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization
1958-1961 Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
1961-1977 Member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
1961-1969 Chairman of the Board of Piedmont Publishing Company
1969-1975 Chairman of the Board of Triangle Broadcasting Company
1975-1982 Chairman of the Board of Summit Communications, Inc.
1982 (November 26) Died, Washington, D.C.

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Gordon Gray span the years from 1946 to 1979. Gray had a long and distinguished career as a government official, publisher, and educator. Gray's papers are largely concerned with his career in government, where he served as Director of the Psychological Strategy Board and Chairman of the Personnel Security Board of the Atomic Energy Commission. Gray's papers at the Truman Library are copied from original documents in the custody of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina.

A graduate of the Yale Law School, Gray began his professional career as an attorney with a New York Law firm. In 1935, however, he returned to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to practice law. At approximately the same time, he acquired financial interests in the publishing and broadcasting fields. As operator of radio state WSJS and publisher of the Winston-Salem Journal and the Twin City Sentinel, Gray eventually abandoned the legal profession. From 1938 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1947, he was a member of the North Carolina State Senate.

During the Truman years, Gray was Assistant Secretary and later Secretary of the Army. He resigned in 1950 to accept the position of president of the University of North Carolina. However, he remained in Washington, D.C. to study United States foreign economic policies as a special assistant to the President. Also, during his tenure as president of the University of North Carolina, he was director of the Psychological Strategy Board. In the Eisenhower administration, Gray held positions on several committees and boards including the Atomic Energy Commission's Personnel Security Board.

The Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) was established by Presidential Directive of April 4, 1951 "to authorize and provide for the more effective planning, coordination, and conduct, within the framework of approved national policies, of psychological operations." The founding Presidential Directive instructed the PSB to report to the National Security Council "on the Board's activities and its evaluation of the national psychological operations, including implementation of approved objectives, policies, and programs by the departments and agencies concerned."

The Psychological Strategy Board succeeded the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, which had been established during World War II to coordinate the Government's psychological warfare efforts. During the Truman Presidency, the PSB, in addition to its inherited coordination role, conducted planning for psychological operations undertaken by its constituent agencies. It did not conduct operations of its own. After leaving the Psychological Strategy Board, Gray would serve on a number of committees during the Eisenhower administration.

In 1954, the Atomic Energy Commission created a special panel to hold secret hearings to decide if nuclear physicist Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was a security risk. The Personnel Security Board of the Atomic Energy Commission, chaired by Gordon Gray, met from April 12 to May 6, 1954. The board investigated and later found Dr. Oppenheimer loyal to the United States, but did not grant him security clearance.

Gray's papers are organized into one series, a Subject File, containing correspondence, memoranda, articles, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, hearing transcripts and other documents mostly pertaining to Gray's work as the Director of the Psychological Strategy Board and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission's Personnel Security Board during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Included in the correspondence and memoranda are personnel matters within the Psychological Strategy Board, discussion of whether Gray would remain at the University of North Carolina or accept another position within the government, and the case of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. The hearing transcripts concern the case of Dr. Oppenheimer. The scrapbook included with the papers contains newspaper clippings about Gray's career in the North Carolina State Senate, his interest in radio station WMIT and other civic activities in the Winston-Salem area.

A cross reference sheet in the collection refer to eight scrapbooks that have been transferred to the Library Scrapbook Collection. These scrapbooks are copied from originals in the custody of the Southern Historical Collection of the University of North Carolina. They contain newspaper clippings, correspondence, and other items relating to Gray's career in government and business, roughly spanning the period from 1946 to 1958.

More information about Gordon Gray and the Psychological Strategy Board can be found at the Truman Library in the papers of Harry S. Truman, especially in the National Security Council Files, the Psychological Strategy Board Files, and the Confidential File. Gray's office files as Special Assistant to the President in 1950, when he was working on the "Dollar Gap" problem, are also available at the Library. Also of interest may be the Oral History interviews of Gordon Gray and Philip Trezise.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-2 SUBJECT FILE, 1946-1979
Correspondence, memoranda, articles, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, hearing transcripts and other documents. Arranged in alphabetical order.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST
    SUBJECT FILE, 1946-1979

Box 1

  • Leave of Absence from the University of North Carolina, 1951
  • Memoranda Concerning the Papers of Gordon Gray, 1974-1979
  • Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1950
  • Oppenheimer, Dr. J. Robert - Correspondence Relating to Case of, 1954
  • President Truman - Psychological Strategy Board, 1951
  • President Truman - Psychological Strategy Board, 1952
  • Psychological Strategy Board - Chronological File, August - October, 1951
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Psychological Strategy Board - Chronological File, November - December, 1951

Box 2

  • Psychological Strategy Board - Memoranda, 1951- 52
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Psychological Strategy Board - Memoranda, 1953
  • Psychological Strategy Board Ė Newspaper Clippings
  • Scrapbooks

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