Gordon Gray Papers
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.
Less than one linear foot (about 1600 pages).
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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.