Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Vernice Anderson  

Oral History Interview with
Vernice Anderson

Secretary to Mr. Edwin A. Locke, Jr., Special Assistant to the President, The White House, 1946-47; Administrative Assistant to Mr. Garrison Norton, Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation and Communications, Department of State, 1947-48; and Personal Assistant to U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Philip C. Jessup, Department of State, 1949-53.

February 2, 1971
Jerry N. Hess


[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendices | List of Subjects Discussed]

This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

As an electronic publication of the Truman Library, users should note that features of the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview, such as pagination and indexing, could not be replicated for this online version of the Vernice Anderson transcript.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened May, 1974
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendices | List of Subjects Discussed]

Oral History Interview with
Vernice Anderson

Washington, DC
February 2, 1971
Jerry N. Hess


HESS: Miss Anderson, to begin with will you give me a little of your background?

ANDERSON: Yes, I would be glad to. First let me say that I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak with you and to tell you something about my association with President Truman for whom I have the deepest admiration and respect. He was truly one of our great Presidents.

Attached is an excerpt from Who's Who of American Women containing information regarding my background. In addition let me say that both my parents were teachers and that my grandparents were sturdy Midwestern pioneers. My maternal grandfather


surveyed Nebraska when it was granted statehood. My paternal grandfather moved his family on his doctor's advice for health reasons from Ohio to South Dakota. His homestead there was later taken by the U.S. Government for use as an Indian reservation, whereupon he moved to Nebraska where my parents lived and my brothers and I were born. We attended public schools in Long Pine and Ainsworth, Nebraska, and my older brother Vincent, and I attended the University of Nebraska.

I was first associated with President Truman in the White House in 1946-1947 when I was secretary to Mr. Edwin A. Locke, Jr., one of the President's Special Assistants. (Prior to that time I had worked briefly during World War II in the office of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.) When Mr. Locke completed his assignment at the White House and returned to New York to resume his affiliation with the Chase National Bank as vice president, I transferred to the Department of State.


I remember President Truman saying, when I told him of my plans and bid him farewell, that he had started his career at the bottom in the merchandising business in Kansas City and worked up, finally reaching the White House. In contrast, I started at the White House, and had no place to go but down! (Fortunately, I do not consider this to have been the case for me.)

I spent six exciting years in the Department of State from 1947 to 1953. My initial assignment there was as Administrative Assistant to Mr. Garrison Norton, who was appointed the first Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation and Communication in March 1947. Mr. Norton's resignation was accepted by President Truman in 1948 at the same time the President nominated Dr. Philip C. Jessup as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large. (Ambassador Jessup later told me that, in the first interview Secretary Dean Acheson had with President Truman after being told he was to be


appointed Secretary of State, the President said one of the first things he wanted Secretary Acheson to do was to find some way of persuading Dr. Jessup to remain in the service of his country.)

The Washington Post, which was on Mr. Norton's desk the morning he informed me of his resignation plans, carried the announcement of Ambassador Jessup's nomination. Regarding my future, Mr. Norton suggested we inquire of Mr. Dean Rusk (who at that time was also an Assistant Secretary) as to the possibility of my joining Ambassador Jessup's staff. Mr. Rusk subsequently informed us that Ambassador Jessup was not bringing any staff to Washington from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations at 2 Park Avenue, New York, where he had served for several years.

So, in the spring of 1949, I was fortunate indeed in being selected by Ambassador Jessup to serve as his Personal Assistant. I continued in that position until the end of President Truman's


administration, when all of us who had worked closely with him and Secretary Acheson left "The" Department.

It was a rare privilege, a challenging and most rewarding experience, to have been associated with Ambassador Jessup and Secretary Acheson during that exciting period. Ambassador Jessup is a renowned international lawyer and statesman. He spent the major portion of his professional life as Hamilton Fish Professor of Law and Diplomacy at Columbia University, into which activity he interspersed a number of short and occasionally several long, periods of public service. (As we traveled the world, he was always gratified to find former foreign students serving in responsible positions in their own countries.) In 1960, Ambassador Jessup was elected a judge in the International Court of Justice (World Court) by a unanimous vote of the United Nations General Assembly. To my knowledge, he has been the only person ever


selected unanimously to serve on the World Court in The Hague. (I feel very fortunate in having as friends Ambassador and Mrs. Jessup, a delightful, beautiful lady, who has been of immeasurable assistance to him in his demanding career. I still see them on their too infrequent visits to Washington.)

In 1953 I came to the National Science Foundation as Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Foundation and as Secretary to the National Science Board. I am now Executive Secretary of the Board, the twenty-five member policymaking body of the Foundation.

HESS: All right, moving back to the time that you were in the White House working for Mr. Locke, what comes to mind when you look back on those days? Who in the White House did you work with? What assignments do you recall working on with Mr. Locke?


ANDERSON: My brief White House tour was a fascinating interlude in my life. Having been a political science major at the University of Nebraska, I was intensely interested and impressed with an inside glimpse of the White House. At that time the White House staff was very small and personal. When the President could disengage himself, on Thursday afternoons we closed our offices and watched a movie in the White House Auditorium then located in the East Wing. We were privileged also to attend the President's press conferences. Such sessions, held at that time in the President's Oval Office, were especially exciting experiences. In addition, we saw many of the distinguished visitors who came and went from the President's office. We were invited to many of the social events. We were truly his personal-official family.

The gentleman to whom I am beholden for the privilege of working in the White House is my


very special friend, Mr. Samuel D. McIlwain. In 1946 Sam was on the staff of Mr. George E. Allen, another Presidential Special Assistant. Sam is now a member of the Washington law firm of Clifford, Warnke, Glass, McIlwain, and Finney. Sam and his vivacious wife, Clarice, have been dear friends of my family for some thirty years.

My very first assignment the morning I entered on duty in the White House was to deliver a memorandum from Mr. Locke to Mr. Matthew J. Connelly, who was at the time the President's Appointments Secretary. It was in the middle of the morning for me, something like 10:30 am. but Mr. Connelly was breakfasting from a tray sent up from the Mess operated by the Navy in the basement of the West Wing. He graciously offered to order bacon and eggs for me, but I had long since had my cereal! Over coffee he told me something of the duties of his office and introduced me to Miss Roberta Barrows, his efficient


secretary, and others including Mr. William J. Hopkins, for whom I have great regard and whom I still contact occasionally for information on legislative matters in the White House.

In due time I met and enjoyed working with a number of other members of the President's staff. At that time Mr. Charles G. Ross was Press Secretary. I knew quite well the people who worked in his office, particularly Mrs. Kathleen Harney who was a dear friend of mine for many years before she passed away in 1970. Kathleen organized and maintained the Presidential statement archives. Within a matter of seconds, she could produce a Presidential quotation from a speech, letter, or message on subject. We frequently conducted business and saw socially the people in the Chief of Staff's office, including Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (USN), and especially his secretary, Miss Dorothy Ringquist. Mr. Locke also often consulted Mr.


John R. Steelman. One of my closest friends was his secretary, Mrs. Francis Morris (Donahoe). Other principal assistants to the President, as I am sure the records show, were Mr. William Hassett (who signed my farewell and transfer letter), and the Counsels, Mr. Clark M. Clifford and Mr. Charles Murphy.

I shared the secretarial duties in Mr. Locke's office with another young lady, Miss E. Eloise Mills, his senior secretary. Mr. Locke asked Eloise and me to serve as his informal representatives with various offices in the White House. My "liaison assignments" were the Press Office and Mr. Steelman's Office.

The White House social functions we attended were true delights. I remember one time going through the receiving line wearing a new pair of shoes with sling back heels. The right shoe fell off just as I was being greeted by the President, whereupon an aide had to stop the receiving line


until Cinderella recovered her shoe, an event which amused the President!

One of Mr. Locke's special assignments was to clear for the President's signature the numerous reorganization plans which were then (as even now) being formulated by the departments and agencies for submission to the Congress. I remember neither the number of them nor the agencies involved, but I vividly remember the long hours of negotiation with interested parties and the untold revisions each underwent before it was finalized for the President's signature. All this work was centered in Mr. Locke's office, and I remember how precise the documentation and the language had to be in each plan.

Mr. Locke was also the liaison with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) headed at that time by Judge James M. Landis (former Dean of the Law School, Harvard University). This period was immediately after World War II when Pan Am (Pan


American World Airways, Inc.) had done so much pioneering in building airports in far away places and in putting American planes into operation around the world for the first time. The CAB, after careful review of all petitioners, recommended the allocation of international routes to the various competing American companies for the President's formal approval. All submissions to the White House passed over Mr. Locke's desk. We worked closely with the CAB officials and sometimes airline and aviation people. Of them all, I found Mr. Juan Trippe, then president of Pan Am, to be the most interesting and imaginative.

HESS: Mr. Locke had had a mission to China, had he not?

ANDERSON: Yes, thank you for reminding me of that. He had been a member of the Presidential missions to China, headed by Mr. Donald M. Nelson, which had performed an invaluable service to that great nation during a very critical time. (Mr. Locke's colleagues


said Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek had great respect for him; Mr. Locke in turn affectionately and reverently called the General "The Imo.")

All records of the China missions were sent to the White House in Mr. Locke's custody, to be prepared under his supervision for final transmission to the Truman Administration archives. The historians Mr. Locke engaged from Harvard University spent months working on the vast collection of documents, with the assistance of Mr. Robert Kerr, who had also been associated with the War Production Board and the China missions. I do not recall whether Mr. Kerr had been in China, but he certainly was familiar with the activities of the missions. I remember what a task it was to put the files in order, because the majority of documents filed by the Chinese clerks were under "T" for "The . . ."

Mr. Locke had a great sense of history and was most careful that an accurate record be made


of this activity. To the best of our abilities, his desires were realized. I hope that today those records are a part of the Independence Library and now available to scholars in another important era of American-Chinese relations.

HESS: And at the time that you were at the White House did you get to know Rose Conway?

ANDERSON: Yes, Miss Conway was exceptionally gracious and helpful to me, particularly considering the fact that I was a very junior member of the staff. She frequently invited me to lunch with her, which I considered to be a great honor. On these occasions she shared with me fascinating accounts of historic or humorous events involving very important, and some not so important, people whom she had come to know during her long association with the President. She was most helpful when we sought her advice on a thorny problem or when we made inquiry of her regarding a document in process.


Rose will be long remembered for her patience with the junior staff!

Since Rose returned to Independence with the Trumans, I have had occasion to call upon her from time to time, as a dear friend. In my present position I have asked several official favors of her, to which she has responded in her usual gracious manner.

HESS: When you moved to the State Department, you worked in 1947 and 1948 with Mr. Norton, is that correct?

ANDERSON: Yes, sir. When Mr. Locke resigned he asked what I would like to do--stay in the White House or transfer to one of the Executive departments. I appreciated the rare experience in the White House but decided I would like to work in the Department of State if possible to arrange.

During the period of our negotiations with various people involved in aviation, we had met


Mr. Norton, a former Naval captain then serving as Director, Office of Transport and Communications, in the Department. About the same time we had processed a reorganization plan of the Department of State establishing several new assistant secretarial positions, one of them being the Assistant Secretary for Transport and Communications. I remember telling Mr. Locke, if Mr. Norton happened to be the fortunate person to be selected for that new post, and he would agree, I would like to work for him.

Mr. Norton subsequently was nominated by President Truman for the post, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and duly appointed. He was gracious enough to invite me to serve as his Administrative Assistant. It also was a great experience. Among other opportunities, it afforded me my first trip to Europe--to attend a meeting of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) -- in the fall of 1947 in Geneva. I have since kept


in touch with Mr. and Mrs. Norton; as a matter of fact, he called on me here in my office with his daughter, Glenavie, only last week. [Mr. Norton later served as a consultant to the Secretary of the Air Force (1952-1955), Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air (1956-1959), and President, Institute for Defense Analysis (1959-1961).]

HESS: And in 1949 you became Personal Assistant to U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Philip C. Jessup?

ANDERSON: Yes. Ambassador Jessup at that time was contributing his wisdom and energies, as he had been for several years, to the noble causes of the United Nations. Ambassador Jessup had worked closely with Mr. Rusk who at that time was Director, United Nations Affairs, and later as Assistant Secretary and Deputy Under Secretary.

Ambassador Jessup's interest and experience with a world organization began in 1929 when he served as an assistant to the former Secretary of State Elihu Root, one of the early proponents of a world peace movement. The way in which that assignment came about is an interesting one.


The then 84-year old Secretary Root came to see Columbia University's president, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler. He said he was going to Europe at President Herbert Hoover's request to try to work out a formula to bring the United States into the World Court. He asked Dr. Butler to recommend "your brightest young man" to go along as his assistant. Dr. Butler promptly recommended young Phil Jessup. So he went to Geneva and, even thought the mission was fruitless at that time, Ambassador Jessup developed a deep admiration for Secretary Root and launched himself on a career which has made invaluable contributions to world peace.

Ambassador Jessup, a skilled negotiator, scholar, lawyer, and close personal friend of Secretary Acheson, made many substantial contributions to the conduct of our foreign affairs during his tour with the Department. He was deeply involved in all major developments of that


period. Among these were the drafting and signature of the German Contractual Agreements; establishment of NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, and the United States); and the many perplexing problems before the United Nations. He authored the scholarly and valuable reference document, "White Paper" on China [United States Relations with China. Dept. of State Publication 3573, Far Eastern Series 30, released August, 1949], a copy of which is there in the bookcase autographed to VA "To record my motto--Nihil Nisi Eva [Not at all unless…]--Gratefully, PCJ". It is an authoritative record of our relations with that great nation during an important transitional period for it and the United States.

His most spectacular single achievement, probably, was the personal negotiation with Ambassador Yakov Alexandrovich Malik (U.S.S.R. representative on the United Nations Security Council), which led subsequently to the convening of a Foreign Ministers meeting in Paris and the lifting of the Berlin blockade.


In the United Nations Delegates Lounge one day at Lake Success, New York (on what appeared to be a most casual occasion but was actually carefully planned by the highest officials of the Department), Ambassador Jessup inquired of Ambassador Malik (while he was sipping a lemonade) about the significance of the omission in a cabled interview between an American newspaperman, Kingsbury Smith of International News Service, and Joseph Stalin, of the key issue of the currency question in Berlin. This, you will recall, was the initial basis for the extreme measure of the blockade, which was a very aggravating matter at that time. Ambassador Malik indicated he did not know but would inquire. At their next meeting, Malik reported that it was a significant, intentional omission. Ambassador Jessup was then instructed by the Secretary to explore the matter further with Ambassador Malik.

Hence, these extremely secret conversations,


which began on February 15, 1949, and lasted for several months, left a permanent mark on American diplomacy.

During that time we went to New York for a conversation with Ambassador Malik one day, returning to Washington on the night train for consultations in the Department the following day while Ambassador Malik no doubt cabled for instructions from his Foreign Office. Then back to New York in a few days for another conversation with Ambassador Malik, and so on. Finally, on May 5 Ambassadors Malik and Jessup shook hands before newsreel cameras in New York, agreeing on behalf of their respective governments to a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on May 23 in Paris and to the lifting of the Berlin blockade on May 11.

It was through Ambassador Jessup's intuition and skill at the negotiating table, and based on mutual professional respect, that Ambassadors


Jessup and Malik, on behalf of their respective governments, arrived at a successful conclusion to a major international problem which had far reaching effects. Ambassador Jessup was subsequently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in this event.

"Judge" and Mrs. Jessup now divide their time between their country home in Norfolk, Connecticut, and New York, where he is writing still another book about major issues before the United Nations and she is still working for various groups concerned with world peace and human rights.

HESS: And did you take a trip with the Jessups to the Far East?

ANDERSON: I took many trips with Ambassador and Mrs. Jessup to Europe, including several to the Pacific. The one to the Far East was actually around the world, from December 1949 to March 1950.

While at the UNGA (United Nations General


Assembly), in New York in the early fall of 1949, Secretary Acheson asked Ambassador Jessup to serve as his special emissary to Asia which at that time had entered a new era. Since World War II 500 million people had achieved their independence. The Ambassador was asked to visit all major capitals and interview at their posts all U.S. Chiefs of Missions in the Far East. We spent approximately a week in each major capital, "on location" so to speak, discussing the local situation and problems. At the conclusion of these bilateral talks, Ambassador Jessup chaired a meeting of a week's duration with all these ambassadors forgathered at the American Embassy in Bangkok. It was a rare, if not first, occasion when the ambassadors of an entire area had been assembled locally to discuss mutual problems of the area. It was an important and profitable meeting.

We sailed on the American President Lines'


S.S. Cleveland on December 15 from San Francisco, stopping overnight for Los Angeles passengers. We observed Christmas between Los Angeles and Hawaii, where we had a lovely day and evening at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and celebrated the New Year between Hawaii and Tokyo, and arrived in Yokohama on January 5, 1950. This sailing of the Cleveland was a special 40-day holiday cruise. There were some fascinating passengers, among them being Al Jolson and child bride #5!

I had only a few days at home to prepare for this trip. My dear mother, as always, was of immeasurable aid to me in assembling a suitable wardrobe for such a varied, busy trip.

We maintained a hectic schedule on this trip, reporting daily to the Department on conversations with local officials. There were also many delightful social occasions, affording us the opportunity to meet fascinating local residents. A friend of ours in the tobacco business, Mr. Charles


C. Vines, originally from Tarboro, North Carolina, was in several of the Far Eastern cities we visited. Through him I learned much about the region and met many "old China hands," a closely knit group of Americans who had known the "good old days" in Shanghai. He also introduced me to many interesting local residents, including Ho Chi Minh, who happened to be in Bangkok during the time of the Ambassador's meeting. (There were those who did not think this was a matter of great coincidence!)

Our first stop was Japan where we spent ten days. While in Tokyo we were guests of General Douglas M. MacArthur in his guest apartments in the Embassy compound. The Jessups had one apartment, I had an adjoining one, in a building separate from the Embassy residence. During our stay we saw some of the General, of course, and a good deal of his staff.

One night about 10 p.m., when returning from dinner, my Army chauffeur by mistake went to the General's personal residence. When our car pulled


up, the M.P.'s at the front door came to attention, clanking their guns on the doorstep. I hurriedly explained to the chauffeur that this was not my residence, but that I lived in the next building. I was horrified for fear of awakening the General, who religiously retired at 9 p.m. after an early dinner and a nightly movie. We understood from the local staff that the General never deviated from this routine, that he never dined with guests or stateside visitors, despite their rank, and that he had never broken bread with an Oriental. What is more, they told us that the General knew the name of every movie he had seen in the last five years!

While in the area, the General made available to us his personal plane, the Bataan, and his personal flight crew, headed by Colonel Anthony Story (USAF).


At General MacArthur's suggestion, we went to Kyoto to spend the weekend with General John B. Coulter (USA), Commander of the Tenth Corps. This afforded us our first glimpse of old world Japan. (Tokyo might just as well have been Passaic, New Jersey.) Kyoto was like a fairyland on Sunday morning. The beautiful temples and graceful gardens had been covered with a very white, soft snow which had fallen Saturday while we were spending a delightful evening with General and Mrs. Coulter and their staff.

The following week we went to Korea, again in the General's personal plane, with Colonel Story and the personal crew. There, we were house guests of U.S. Ambassador John J. Muccio, a distinguished Foreign Service officer, an old friend of the Jessups and mine.

While in Korea we traveled by a special train, prearranged by the Korean Government, to the 38th


Parallel. This was a very exciting trip, since we had heard so much about this arbitrary division line agreed to in 1945 by Mr. Rusk and a Soviet official for the purpose of surrender of troops. (Little did they then realize the significance it would later assume.) We lunched with the troops on the "line." We observed the interviews of soldiers who had deserted and come across from the north. It was an enlightening experience to hear about and see this action first hand.

All members of the American press then assigned to Seoul accompanied us to the Parallel. It was there that the Jessups introduced me to their good friend, Mr. Walter Sullivan, then covering the Korean conflict for the New York Times, now the science editor of that great newspaper. There were other distinguished correspondents including a charming Mr. Owen, who we sadly learned later was killed when the North Koreans invaded. During


the train ride, Mrs. Jessup, who always carried a small sewing kit, offered to replace any buttons on the coats of members of the press corps in exchange for their candid views on the Korean conflict. Needless to say, she had any number of takers from those who had spent some time in Korea and were eager to share their information and opinions with such a distinguished visitor. (Her talks with the many and diverse persons with whom she came in contact on this and other trips are delightfully and fully recorded for posterity in letters to their family, all a part of Ambassador Jessup's personal papers deposited in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.)

From Korea we continued south to our kaleidoscopic mission to Formosa (Taiwan), Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Ceylon, India, and Pakistan returning via Cairo, Rome, Paris, and London. The General's personal plane took us to our next stop, Okinawa. There his personal crew


left us, and another plane from Japan with a crew the General personally selected carried us on the next two or three stops. We later traveled by local embassy planes, one giving us a real fright in Madras when one of its two engines failed on takeoff. Only through the skill of the pilot (and the two Saint Christopher medals carried by Mr. William Gibson, the Ambassador's aide) did we escape a crash landing on the beach or on the golf course of the Madras Country Club where we had just lunched.

As an ardent golfer I cannot refrain from recording that in playing golf in Singapore on a rare free day we learned that according to a local rule if a monkey runs away with your ball it costs the player a stroke!

We returned by air via Europe in mid-March. In five days less than three months, we had traveled 37,000 miles, 25,000 of them by air, and visited 20 countries. Near the end of the trip,


Ambassador Jessup likened himself to a worn-out piece of blotting paper that no longer makes a clean blot because it has lost its power to absorb.

HESS: The Korean conflict got underway in June of 1950, and in October of that year President Truman and a number of officials took a trip to Wake Island. Would you tell me about that trip?

ANDERSON: Yes, sir. On October 9, 1950, Ambassador Jessup told me very confidentially the President was going to Wake Island to confer personally with General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and we were to assist in preparing background documents for the historic meeting.

I thought this was a very unusual development. I knew there were problems with respect to the administration of the Korean conflict and there had been some basic military differences with the Supreme Commander on widening the war.


But for the President to go midway in the Pacific to meet the General was truly extraordinary. The following day Ambassador Jessup informed me he had been invited to be a member of the President's party and asked me to accompany him. I was overjoyed! Knowledge of the trip was to be kept highly confidential for the moment, he cautioned. (According to an AP story which appeared later in my hometown newspaper--Omaha Morning World Herald--my otherwise modest mother was said to have responded to a reporter's query as to why I was selected to make the odyssey, "I think it's because she's quick on the trigger.")

The next day Ambassador Jessup, returning from a meeting with Mr. Ross and the White House staff planning the trip, announced other details--departure time, itinerary, including the stopover in San Francisco on the return for the President's report to the Nation. Then he said, "Incidentally, I understand from Charlie that you will be the only lady


on the trip. Does this present a problem to you?" I responded that, if it were not a problem to him and the gentlemen making the trip, it was not to me. He indicated I could be most helpful in preparing the communiqué and speech and that there were adequate facilities on both Presidential planes for all persons.

The President traveled on the Independence. We were on the Dew Drop (a Constellation plane which had been readied for Governor Thomas E. Dewey, had he been successful in the Presidential race in 1948). A third plane, a Pan American charter, carried about 35 selected representatives of the news media. This plane always preceded us by about an hour, so that the press greeted us on the ground on each leg of the Journey. We understood the Wake Island meeting was then the most expensive news story in the history of journalism. The media plane alone incurred expenses of some $40,000. I am sure


even that initial cost is minuscule compared to present expenses of covering an international Presidential mission.

I will try to tell you my personal recollections of the event and not repeat information which is in the official record of the "Log of President Truman's Trip to Wake Island" compiled by Lt. Commander William M. Rigdon (USN).

There was a very distinguished group on our plane: General of the Army Omar N. Bradley (USA), Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, Special Assistant to the President; Mr. Frank Pace, Jr., Secretary of the Army; Mr. Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. Also along were several staff officers including General Bradley's Executive Officer, Colonel Willis S. Matthews (USA) (later a General Officer); Major Vernon A. Walters, an aide to Ambassador Harriman (who had served as an interpreter for both him and


Ambassador Charles E. Bohlen on many international conferences and assignments in Moscow, for he fluently spoke eight languages; and later also became an Ambassador.) Another passenger was Mr. Charles Collingwood, representing the Columbia Broadcasting System, who had "missed" the press plane. My Wake trip diary says of him: "I was quite impressed with Charles Collingwood's attire--'dapper,' my friend, Henry Brandon [London Observer], would say. He wore gray flannel trousers, plaid jacket of gray, blue, white, and red, white shirt with red tie, huge gold cuff links, blue suede moccasins, gray wool socks with blue and red side trim." This may sound like a drab attire by today's standards, but, compared to the traditional dark pin stripes of the Department, in those days it was strikingly colorful.

We left Washington National Airport at 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 12. After dinner


in flight, the gentlemen settled down to the major task at hand, drafting the President's San Francisco report to the Nation. Writing a speech by committee was quite a revelation to Mr. Collingwood! About this activity I noted in my diary: "Before we had gained altitude, Mr. Pace counted bridge-playing noses--found several; Mr. Murphy counted speechwriting noses and declared first priority."

We arrived at about 9:30 p.m. at Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base in northern California. There the President visited Korean casualties at the station hospital (whom Harpo Marx had entertained earlier in the day), while the planes were refueled. I was met by Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Cochran, wives of the Commanding and Deputy Commanding officers, who took me to the Cochran home for tea with several other local ladies and later to the Kelly's. The gentlemen went directly to the Kelly's. Colonel and Mrs.


Kelly had arrived only two days before, so they had only 48 hours in which to take furniture out of storage, unpack, order and hang drapes, pictures, and get settled in. Calling upon her years of experience in the Air Force, Mrs. Kelly achieved an end result which was most comfortable.

At that time no one was giving out any real information about the trip. Even the "X" destination of the correspondent's tickets was not identified as Wake until we reached Honolulu. Needless to say, the newspapermen were frantic. One eager reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle kept trying to pick up the slightest crumb of information. He finally broke through the ring of Secret Service men around the President and asked, "How was the morale of the men in the hospital?"

The President replied, "Perfect! Much better than yours or mine."

The correspondent was delighted that he


had been able to get such a highly successful scoop. Lacking real news, the press covered my activities and wardrobe each day in the most minute detail, much to the delight of my family.

We reboarded our planes about midnight for the overnight flight to Hawaii, arriving at Hickam Air Field at 7:30 a.m. My diary for Friday, the 13th (!), begins: "I awoke before they called me--and I must admit was a bit excited being in the center of the most melodramatic moment of the world today. We had a hot roll, juice, and coffee. Then the men donned their tropical gear for arrival. Mr. Harriman was outfitted in what he termed proper attire for one arriving with the President in Hawaii--striped Palm Beach trousers in blue, white shirt (because Ambassador Jessup objected to a blue one), a blue printed tie, brown and white spectator shoes. It was light enough to see the Island as we came in, and General


Bradley pointed out to me the Pali, the Orange Bowl Crater Cemetery, and two islands off to our left. Then we spotted Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and Pearl Harbor. Just as we were letting down we spotted a submarine (non-snorkel type), turning in the Harbor, which formed a very handsome pattern on the water. We were met by Admiral Arthur W. Radford (USN), Governor Ingram M. Stainback, Delegate Joseph R. Farrington, and other officials. Shortly Lt. Commander Dorothy Richard (USN) appeared and announced that she was serving as my local hostess. I heard Mrs. Radford and Ambassador Jessup great each other warmly, for they had met before. Mrs. Radford presented the men with leis (which the President carried--he thinks they are nice for gals.) We went to our quarters--Mrs. Lyon's home. Her son, a priest, was in Japan."

We spent the day in Hawaii planning for the conference, drafting portions of the


President's San Francisco speech, and touring the military establishments.

While in Hawaii Admiral Radford, who was the Commander of . . .

HESS: The Pacific Fleet.

ANDERSON: Yes. Admiral Radford, the ranking military officer, hence our host, arranged the tour. We accompanied the President to Tripler General Hospital and on a launch tour of Pearl Harbor. The party then went by automobile to Scoffield Barracks and Wheeler Field. During the motorcade a military policeman suddenly pulled up beside us and asked Commander Richard if Miss Anderson were in that car. Our escort officer acknowledged my presence, whereupon the policeman said, "Ambassador Jessup wants to see you immediately at headquarters." I transferred to the MP's car, who drove me at breakneck speed to Pearl Harbor.


When I presented myself to the Ambassador, he said, "Vernice, what are you doing here? I thought you were with the President inspecting the military posts." I replied that I had been only moments before until I had received word he wanted to see me. His response was, "I simply asked a short time ago where you were, because I wanted to tell you we had arranged for someone to take you dancing tonight at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel." This proved to be a most delightful evening.

We departed for Wake about midnight, arriving there just at dawn. Again from my diary: "Saturday, the l4th--Mr. Rusk awoke 'Miss Wake Island' at some 6 or 6:30 a.m. I was the last one up and last one to have breakfast--banana, eggs, toast, bacon, and milk. I was real thrilled, although calmer than when I left Washington. I wore a toast brown shantung suit with PCJ's favorite blouse, green striped with button down collar.


I was wearing my gorgeous lei of white pakake flowers tied with white ribbons which Delegate Farrington had presented to me prior to departure. The sun was just peeping through when we spotted the coral atoll on which we were to hold this historic meeting. It is one of three small islands, in the shape of a horseshoe. Wake has a lagoon in the center. There was much more vegetation than I had expected--a green bush of some sort.

The time was all the more confusing at that point, because we had crossed the International Date Line, thus getting two Sundays. Furthermore, we discovered that Wake Island had two hours of daylight saving time making calculation of time in Washington difficult if not almost impossible.

Incidentally, we were told that for the overwater legs of our trip the Navy had stationed ships at regular intervals, presumably for both


rescue and communication purposes. Now, satellites make such unnecessary. Also on the Fairfield-Honolulu leg, we were escorted by B-29's rushed to the West Coast from the air base in Montgomery, Alabama.

Again at Wake we landed just ahead of the President. General MacArthur and Ambassador Muccio had arrived the evening before, and were on the field awaiting the President in the early morning sunlight.

As we looked out the plane window I asked Ambassador Jessup, "Is there anyone on the ground we know other than the ubiquitous press?"

He replied, "There's an Air Force Colonel who I don't think is waiting for his Commander-in-Chief." He was referring, of course, to Colonel Story, the General's pilot, who had flown us when we were last in the Orient.

The President and the General, after a brief runway greeting and introduction of


respective official parties, were driven in a 1947 Chevrolet, the only car on the island, to the residence of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (forerunner of Federal Aviation Administration) maintenance manager for the air facility at Wake Island. There they held about an hours private conversation over coffee. The rest of us were transported in an antiquated Pan Am bus, perhaps half a mile, to what was the isolated control building at the end of a very long runway. While waiting for the President and the General, we inspected the facilities, unpacked our documents, and prepared for the historic conference that was about to begin. I soon discovered my typewriter had not been unloaded and had to ask the bus driver to return to the plane to fetch it.

The building where the conference was held was a small wooden one, freshly painted green, with two entrances. The single medium-sized


room had been cleared out or was new. It also had been freshly painted. Five small folding tables had been pushed together to form a long oblong conference table surrounded, I believe, by folding chairs. These represented the sole furniture in the room. Off this room was a small bathroom and at the rear exit a small porch area separated from the main room by a swinging half door. On this porch area, which was about the size of a small closet, were a few chairs and two small tables on which we happily found cold fruit juices, water, and fresh fruit.

When the General and the President arrived, about 7:45 a.m., there was a flurry of confusion as to who was to sit where. Since no one instructed me where to sit, I simply receded into the background into the small rear anteroom where the refreshments were and where the gentlemen had earlier taken my typewriter on


which the communiqué was to be typed. Mr. Ross had announced earlier that immediately after the conclusion of the meeting we would prepare the communiqué at that site, he would then secure the approval of the President and the General, and then he would go to the press headquarters in one of the hangars and would read it to the press corps. I assumed the small anteroom was where I was to work later, so I simply sat down awaiting my next assignment.

After the conference got underway, I looked out the door with the naive notion of taking a stroll on the coral reef, only to find Marine MP's with carbines and walkie-talkies posted every six feet around the building as well as Secret Service men stationed at strategic points. Then I knew I could not escape for even a short walk, although it would indeed have been welcome after our long journey. So I sat down on one of the three chairs in the small anteroom. With


my secretarial training and experience, the most normal and logical thing for me to do to pass the time was to record what I heard. Such action was in no way intended to be without the knowledge of those present. I thought everyone knew I was there. I knew all the participants, members of both the President's and the General's parties. I had greeted most of them earlier and had been very much in evidence just prior to the formal portion of the meeting.

At the conclusion of the conference . . .

HESS: How complete were the notes you took?

ANDERSON: They were quite complete. I did not start the very instant the meeting began. There were some general introductory remarks on both sides. But when I realized that I could not leave the premises, that we were settled in for some time, and since I was there with pad, pencil, and typewriter ready to assist with the


communiqué, the natural thing for me to do was to write down what I heard. And that is what I did.

In attending United Nations and other international meetings with the Secretary of State and Ambassador Jessup for many years, it had been my experience that every piece of information was useful to someone, though unanticipated at the time. In our reporting back to the Department while abroad or at the U.N. in New York, we were frequently surprised to find that the most insignificant bit of information turned out to be an important missing link to the responsible Departmental desk officer.

The conference itself was a memorable event. During it the General made a number of surprising statements. For example, he said that the Eighth Army could be withdrawn to Japan by Christmas. Then there was his incredible statement, later very controversial, that the Chinese Communists


would not intervene by coming from the north across the 38th Parallel.

The meeting lasted about two hours. At the conclusion a joint consultation was held among all concerned with respect to the communiqué intended to inform the American public immediately of the understandings reached at the meeting. The President outlined the major items to be included in the communiqué. The General added a few items. Then General Bradley, Ambassador Harriman, and Ambassador Jessup, with the assistance of Mr. Ross, dictated to me various portions. I typed each segment from their dictation, and these were assembled in a very rough copy. This draft was then taken to the President and the General, who were still in the building, for their preliminary clearance.

It was during this interval that I spoke to the General and he made the remark which Brigadier General Courtney Whitney attributes to him in his


book. I thanked the General again for his hospitality to us during our visit to Japan earlier in the year and told him how grateful we had been for Colonel Story's fine escort services to us in Japan and Korea. So you see, my presence at the meeting was not unknown to the General.

I then retyped the final version of the communiqué and it was taken to the President and the General for their formal clearances. As soon as we all could collect our papers, and I my typewriter and supplies, we were driven in the antiquated bus back to our planes. The President had left the building immediately to rest briefly at the home of the local Pan American manager. General MacArthur departed about an hour later and joined him at this location for another private conversation of about a half hour. Then they came to the runway.

Before departure the President presided


over a brief runway ceremony awarding a fourth oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished Service Medal to the General, and the Medal for Merit to Ambassador Muccio, our Ambassador to Korea, who had accompanied him. The citation read "…for valor and courageous devotion to duty and superlative diplomatic skill..." As soon as the ceremony was completed and the photographers had taken their last "one more," we said our farewells and took off in our respective planes.

Once aloft, we caught our breath, had a bite of lunch, and then General Bradley spoke to us. The thrust of his comments were that this had been an extremely important and historic meeting. He indicated that some of us may have been surprised at some of the things we had heard, and, truly, it had been a very enlightening conference for all. He proposed that immediately all of us write our impressions, recollections, and


understandings of the meeting to the last detail and to the best of our ability. He agreed he would then make a composite record of this event for the official record.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thus having spoken, we all sat down with pad and pencil in hand and began. Since I was the only one lucky enough to have a typewriter--my world traveled portable which still serves me well, thanks to the Royal Company--I started typing my shorthand notes. They were quite complete, but not absolutely verbatim. Ambassador Jessup dictated to me his quite complete notes, which I typed also before we landed in Hawaii.

General Bradley in due time collected all these notes, including those of the people of ambassadorial and secretarial stature (Ambassador Harriman, Secretary Pace, Secretary Rusk, and Ambassador Jessup), and the junior staff


(Colonel Matthews, Major Walters, and me). Major Walters, an expert in international forums, has a phenomenal memory. It was incredible in comparing our notes later to find that entire paragraphs which he wrote from memory after the meeting were identical to my notes written in shorthand during the meeting.

HESS: Did you tell General Bradley that the notes you were working from were stenographic notes you had taken?

ANDERSON: At the beginning of this exercise we all revealed what type of notes, if any, we had taken. Ambassador Jessup had followed his usual habit of making rather extensive longhand notes. Everyone knew mine were in shorthand. It was when we started to discuss our impressions of the meeting and our notes that General Bradley asked us not to discuss the event until we had written out our notes.


We worked steadily aboard the plane on our notes and the San Francisco speech. We then had dinner and arrived, exhausted, in Honolulu about 10:30 p.m. local time.

HESS: Before we move on, I want to read the excerpts from Courtney Whitney's book, MacArthur, His Rendezvous with History. This is found on pages 391 and 392:

Evidently the administration's strategy at Wake Island was to attempt to make MacArthur little more than a political pawn from the start. I was as puzzled as he was when Press Secretary Ross showed such anxiety at the sight of Colonel Bunker starting to take notes on the conferences. In retrospect it seems to have been their plan at the time to maintain full control over every means of recording the conference. Neither of us realized until later that Bunker had very nearly upset this plan. We gave no thought to it, however, until months later when General Bradley sprang the surprise in an apparent effort to discredit MacArthur.

He produced sketchy "notes" of the conference which were alleged to have been surreptitiously taken. Without our knowledge, a secretary had evidently been placed behind a partially open door to the conference room. This stenographer, lurking behind the door, could record only what


she could hear through the small opening and what she could see by peeping through the keyhole, with the result that her account of the conference could at best be sadly inadequate. MacArthur did not even know of her presence, and when she made an appearance after the conference, he looked up in surprise and said, "Where did this lovely lady come from?" I'm sure that had he known that she was there to record the proceedings he would have been delighted to suggest that the young lady be seated at the conference table, where she could prepare an accurate record, without undue strain upon her eyes and ears.

But you do not feel that you were "lurking" behind the door and "peeping" through the keyhole?

ANDERSON: No, I certainly was not. I sat in an entrance area, as I said, with a swinging slatted door. It was only a half door opening in the middle. While at this location, I had spoken to General MacArthur and members of his staff: General Whitney, Tony Story, and the General's personal physician, Colonel C. C. Canada. I remember discussing with Colonel Canada the type of injuries which were most prevalent at that time in the Korean conflict. He stated that the percentage of head injuries had


increased greatly since we visited Japan and Korea in January, a fact he considered quite significant. Both Generals MacArthur and Whitney were quite aware of the fact that I was there.

HESS: One other point: General Whitney says that he was unaware of General Bradley's notes. And I believe in the introduction to the notes that we have, General Bradley has said that a copy was sent to General MacArthur.

ANDERSON: That is correct. May I complete the historical account? When we returned to the United States, General Bradley prepared the official record of the meeting. It was circulated in draft form for the clearance of the participants before being typed in final form by General Bradley's secretaries. Since it was a top secret document, a very limited number of copies were made, each one, of course, being numbered and controlled. Five copies were sent


to General MacArthur and the record shows that since it was a privileged, top secret document it was signed for personally by his aide. This was all accomplished in a matter of not more than ten days following our return to Washington.

General Bradley later clarified this matter for the public record in his letter of May 2, 1951, to Senator Richard B. Russell, Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee, transmitting the "Substance of Statements Made at Wake Island Conference on October 15, 1950" compiled from notes kept by the conferees from Washington as follows:

Dear Senator Russell:

The following information on the preparation of the notes for record on the Wake Island Conference between the President and General MacArthur is furnished you in accordance with your request.

Several of those present kept notes in longhand of the principal points covered and of the statements made. In addition, Miss Vernice Anderson, Mr. Jessup's secretary,


sat in the next room and took down such parts of the conversation as she could hear. Actually, she was able to get a large part of the conversation.

In order to have a record of the conference for our files, on the return trip we took the notes of all those concerned and consolidated them into a summary which was labeled, "Substance of Statements Made at Wake Island Conference." This summary was made up from the combined notes of Mr. Jessup, Mr. Harriman, Mr. Rusk, Colonel Hamblen, Colonel Matthews, Miss Anderson, and myself.

In addition to those shown in the summary as present at the table, there were others in the room including General Whitney of General MacArthur's staff, and Colonel Matthews, my executive officer.

Five copies of this report were forwarded to General MacArthur on the 19th of October, and a receipt for them was signed by General MacArthur's aide on October 27, 1950.

To my knowledge, since that time we have received no information from General MacArthur, or his headquarters, that would indicate any nonconcurrence with the record of the conference.



Secretary Acheson, in his inimitable way, recorded these events in his Present at the Creation as follows (pages 456-7):



When the President told me of his intended pilgrimage and invited me to join him, I begged to be excused. While General MacArthur had many of the attributes of a foreign sovereign, I said, and was quite as difficult as any, it did not seem wise to recognize him as one. It was agreed between us that what the President might need from the State Department could be furnished by Ambassador Muccio, Dean Rusk, Philip Jessup, and Averell Harriman, all of whom would be there. I had not been consulted in arriving at the decision to hold the meeting and offered no suggestions after it had been made. The whole idea was distasteful to me. I wanted no part in it, and saw no good coming from it. I could not then or now explain this strong presentiment, beyond the conviction that talk should precede, not follow, the issuance of orders. The latter only befogs them. So I contented myself with seeing the President off on October 11 and welcoming him back on the eighteenth.

The President and General MacArthur spent between two and a half and three hours together, from approximately six-thirty in the morning to a little after nine. For half of that time they were alone. The President has written his recollection of the talk. We were soon to get an intimation of the General's; it bore out my worst forebodings. The discussion that followed with colleagues present was more immediately and fully reported--more fully, due to a circumstance that was later to cause the proverbial tempest in a teapot. Miss Vernice Anderson, Ambassador Jessup's secretary, was waiting next door to the conference room to


help with the communiqué. The door was open and the conversation audible. Having nothing to do and knowing that a memorandum of conversation would be worked out on the way home, she took stenographic notes. When this became known at the hearings on General MacArthur's relief, charges were made that it was akin to "bugging" the conference. This was utter nonsense.

In the large meeting the General expressed optimistic views that the end of the fighting was close (he had told the President probably by Thanksgiving and that our troops, except for two divisions, could begin withdrawal from Korea by Christmas) and that the Chinese would not intervene. If, however, they should do so, not more than fifty to sixty thousand could cross the Yalu, and they would be slaughtered if they attempted to go south. The party returned full of optimism and confidence in the General. The President's speech two days later in the San Francisco Opera House exuded both. In explaining his journey to Wake, he concluded: "I also felt that there was pressing need to make it perfectly clear--by my talk with General MacArthur--that there is complete unity in the aims and conduct of our foreign policy." That perfect clarity did not outlast the month.

HESS: And on the trip back from Hawaii I believe the speech was written for delivery at San Francisco?

ANDERSON: It was completed on that leg of the trip, having been reviewed finally by the President with


his advisers following dinner the previous evening in Hawaii. Some work had been done on it en route to Wake and our first stop in Hawaii, as I said earlier.

We departed from Hickam Field at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, October 16, arriving in San Francisco at 5 p.m. The President was greeted by the Vice President, who had been on a West Coast speaking tour; Mr. Elmer E. Robinson, Mayor of San Francisco; my friends, Messrs. Connelly and Donald Dawson of the White House staff; and Mr. George A. Killion, President American President Lines, former Treasurer of the National Democratic Committee, and also a personal friend of mine. There was the usual exciting drive with a cavalcade of cars escorted by motorcycle policemen with screaming sirens to the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. One incident on that trip caused a flurry of excitement. When we crossed Grant Street in the center of Chinatown with throngs


of people on each side, the cavalcade came to a screeching halt. Secret Service men leaped from their cars, motorcycle policemen encircled the President's car. What happened apparently was that the Mayor of Chinatown, whom the President knew, had stepped into the street and waved. Fortunately, a Secret Service agent recognized him and stopped the cavalcade so that the two gentlemen could greet each other!

We arrived at the Fairmont, where the second floor had been completely reserved for our party. Having been preregistered, we were escorted directly to our rooms. That evening following dinner the President reviewed the final text of the speech with his staff and advisers. Fortunately, I was free to spend the evening with my brother, Kenneth, and friends who live in the Bay area.

Tuesday evening we drove again in a motorcade from the Fairmont to the Civic Opera House, where the President at 8 p.m. delivered his


optimistic report to the Nation before a capacity audience of some 3,500. He was introduced by the Mayor, as were the President's principal advisers who were seated on the platform. I remember what a resounding ovation General Bradley received. He later remarked humbly to me: "There must have been some of my soldiers in that audience." General Bradley's introduction was followed by that of Mr. Rusk, who received only a polite applause--at that time he was still relatively unknown. Subsequently, when we were in the air again, Mr. Rusk said he would arrange in future introductions to precede General Bradley.

Immediately following the speech, we motored to Mills Field where we reboarded our planes for the overnight flight to Washington.

The following spring, when problems and differences continued to persist, the President reluctantly decided it would be necessary to


relieve General MacArthur of his command. At that time a number of questions were raised regarding the Wake Island meeting--the understandings reached between the President and the General, the statements the General made at the meeting, General Bradley's official account, and my notes.

It had been quite clear from the beginning of the conference that I was present. The members of the press covered the meeting in great detail. Lacking real news each day prior to the actual meeting, they reported in newspapers across this land what I was wearing, where I went, and what I did. For example, the October 16 issue of both the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune, which were in my room upon arrival at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco--beside a gorgeous white orchid, the sender of which I know not to this day--carried photographs of Ambassador Muccio presenting a lei to me at Wake Island.


My participation in the meeting was again covered in the press at the time of the MacArthur recall. On both occasions I received many clippings from friends, and nonfriends, across the country who read articles in their local papers. I was heartened by an editorial in The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Florida, on May 5, l951, a portion of which reads as follows:

A relatively obscure Government secretary in Washington circles, Miss Anderson was thrust into just such a situation, and because she was ready when the challenge came, because she was loyal to a skill and a craft, some day she is going to be something more than a good stenographer.

HESS: On the trip back from Wake Island, did any of the people who were there express their views of General MacArthur or the way he conducted himself at the meeting?

ANDERSON: We were all most impressed with the General's dignity, command, and charm. He was


certainly one of the most captivating persons whom it has been my privilege to meet. He was a very self-confident, self-assured person. He was entirely certain that he was handling the Korean situation in precisely the right manner and that he was conducting this exercise. . .

HESS: Police action.

ANDERSON: Thank you, police action, in the only right and proper way. He was confident that it would terminate soon. We were surprised, as I said, at some of his statements.

HESS: What is your personal opinion? Do you believe that he should have been dismissed in April of 1951?

ANDERSON: It would be presumptuous of me to pass judgment on such an important issue. From what I understand of the circumstances, since it appeared that he did not follow all instructions


from Washington, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his Commander-in-Chief, it would seem to me that the President had no alternative.

HESS: Do you recall your feelings or impressions that June in 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea across the 38th Parallel, a spot that you had been standing upon not too many months before?

ANDERSON: We were shattered, of course, because we knew when we heard the radio report that we were the victims of a full-scale invasion.

I knew that it was an exceedingly grave matter. I had been close enough to the negotiations in the U.N. to know that this meant nothing but enlarging the conflict, and it was the beginning of so many larger problems, unfortunately.

We had been there only a short time earlier. We had seen soldiers in caves used as trenches. We had seen soldiers standing guard on both sides


of the so-called line which oftentimes separated brothers. We had witnessed interrogation of prisoners.

This was of great personal interest to me because my brother, Vincent, had been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. After making the death march in Bataan in the Philippines, he was taken to Manchuria where he was kept under the most trying conditions until Japan surrendered.

HESS: What other major events come to mind during the time that you were with Ambassador Jessup?

ANDERSON: It was such an exciting and fast-moving period in world history that it is difficult to pinpoint only a few. The kaleidoscopic mission around the world which I have reviewed earlier was certainly a most challenging and rewarding period.

While working for the Ambassador, we attended many U.N. General Assembly sessions and Foreign


Ministers' meetings in New York, Paris, and London. We were in Berlin several times. We went to Europe so frequently that I kept a small bag of cosmetics and essential clothing packed, because we frequently left on 24 hours' notice. In fact we were in London and Paris so frequently that I memorized the combinations of the safes in the Ambassador's offices where we stored our classified cables and documents overnight and in Paris often enough to have my hair "highlighted" at Alexander's most of the time. It was a very fascinating and unforgettable period for me personally.

Many single events are memorable. A dramatic one which comes readily to mind was the day we had tea with General and Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek in their gorgeous mountain villa on Formosa. A former student of Ambassador Jessup, then a high Formosan official, served as interpreter. The beautiful Mrs. Chiang, of course, expressed herself in perfect English.


HESS: What is your evaluation of Secretary Acheson?

ANDERSON: I am convinced that he was one of the greatest U.S. Secretaries of State, if not the greatest. He was an ideal statesman in every way--articulate, intelligent, dedicated, charming, urbane, and a very warm human being. We spent many an hour with him in official meetings, as well as en route to and from international meetings. He and Mrs. Acheson are delightful, fascinating, and enthusiastic people. Together they made a great contribution in a most delightful way. They, as well as the Jessups, have been devoted citizens who have given a very large portion of their lives to their beloved country, and, through that service, to the larger community of nations.

HESS: What do you think of the Truman administration?

ANDERSON: I think the Truman administration was one


when momentous decisions were made for both this Nation and the world, and I feel confident that history will prove they were the right decisions.

HESS: What in your opinion are President Truman's major accomplishments during his administration?

ANDERSON: It is difficult to pinpoint one or two items. I believe history will prove that President Truman was a truly great President. He fell heir, unfortunately, to enormous postwar problems. He was required to make many major decisions, for example, the use of the atomic bomb. He was a man who acted, based on the best information available to him at the moment. He was always his own man in the Presidency. He was a most courageous and loyal person. He handled all matters requiring his decision, especially the Korean conflict, with great resolution. I am confident he


had the best interest of this country and the general welfare of all citizens in mind at all times.

HESS: What is your estimation of President Truman's place in history?

ANDERSON: I think he will be remembered as a noble person and an eminent President.

HESS: Do you have anything else to add concerning the time you spent in the White House, the State Department, or the Wake Island trip?

ANDERSON: Not at the moment unless you have additional questions.

HESS: No, I don't think so.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to add my faint mark in the sands of time, as a token of my respect and warm regard for President and Mrs. Truman.


HESS: Thank you, ma'm.

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendices | List of Subjects Discussed]


Appendix I: Substance of Statements Made At Wake Island Conference on October 15, 1950, compiled by General of the Army, Omar N. Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GPO, Washington, D.C., 1951 (Truman Library Book Collection, DS918 B7)

Appendix II: "A Stenographer Who Was Loyal to Her Craft," The Florida Times-Union, May 5, 1951, p. 4 (material subject to copyright, not reproduced herein)

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendices | List of Subjects Discussed]

List of Subjects Discussed

    Acheson, Dean, 3-4, 5, 18, 23, 58-59, 70
    Allen, George E,. 8
    Anderson, Vernice, background, 1-4
    Anderson, Vincent, 2, 68
    ANZUS Treaty, 19

    Barrows, Roberta, 8
    Berlin blockade, 1948-49, 19-22
    Bohlen, Charles E., 35
    Bradley, Omar N., 34, 39, 49, 51-58, 63, 64
    Butler, Nicholas Murray, 18

    Canada, C.C., 55-56
    Chiang Kai-shek, 13, 69
    Chiang Kai-shek, Madame, 60

      American War Production Mission to, 12-14
      White Paper on, 1949, 19
    Civil Aeronautics Board, 11-12
    Cleveland, U.S.S., 24
    Clifford, Clark M., 10
    Collingwood, Charles, 35, 36
    Columbia University, 5
    Connelly, Matthew J., 8, 61
    Conway, Rose A., 14-15
    Coulter, John B., 27

    Dawson, Donald S., 61
    Dew Drop, U.S. airplane, 33

    Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, California, 36-37
    Far East U.S. Missions, Ambassador Philip C. Jessup’s tour of, 1949-50, 22-30
    Farrington, Joseph R., 39, 42
    Florida Times-Union, 65

    Gibson, William, 30

    Harney, Kathleen, 9
    Harriman, Averell, 34, 38, 49, 52, 58, 59
    Harvard University, 11, 13
    Hassett, William D., 10
    Hawaii, visit of President Truman to (Wake Island Conference), 38-41
    Ho Chi Minh, 25
    Hoover, Herbert, 19
    Hopkins, William J., 9

    Independence, Presidential airplane, 33
    International Civil Aviation Organization, 16
    International Court of Justice, 5-6, 15

    Japan, visit of Ambassador Philip C. Jessup to, Far East tour, 1950, 25-27
    Jessup, Philip C., 3-6, 17-32, 39, 40, 43, 48, 49, 52, 53, 58, 59, 68-69
    Jolson, Al, 24

    Kerr, Robert S., 13
    Killion, George A., 61

      Communist attack on Republic of, 1950, 67
      Jessup, Philip C., Mission to, 1950, 27-29
    Kyoto, Japan, 27

    Landis, James M., 11
    Leahy, William D., 9
    Locke, Edwin, 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16

    MacArthur, Douglas, 25-27, 29-30, 31, 43-51, 54-60, 64, 65-67
    Mcllwain, Samuel D., 8
    Malik, Yakov A., 19-22
    Marx, Harpo, 36
    Matthew, Willis, 34, 53, 58
    Mills, Eloise, 10
    Morris, Francis, Mrs., 10
    Muccio, John H., 43, 51, 59, 64
    Murphy, Charles S., 10, 36

    National Science Foundation, 6
    NATO Treaty, 19
    Nelson, Donald M., 12
    New York Herald Tribune, 64
    New York Times, 64
    Norton, Garrison, 3, 4, 15-17

    Omaha World-Herald, 32

    Pace, Frank, 34, 36, 52
    Pan American Airlines, 11-12

    Radford, Arthur W., 39, 40
    Richard, Dorothy, 39, 40
    Rigdon, William M., 34
    Ringquist, Dorothy, 9
    Robinson, Elmer E., 61
    Root, Elihu, 17-18
    Ross, Charles G., 9, 32, 46, 49, 54
    Rusk, Dean, 4, 17, 29, 34, 41, 52, 58, 59, 63
    Russell, Richard B., 57

    San Francisco Chronicle, 37
    Smith, Kingsbury, 20
    Stainback, Ingram M., 39
    Stalin, Joseph V., 20
    Steelman, John R., 10
    Story, Anthony, 26, 27, 43, 50, 55
    Sullivan, Walter, 28

    Trippe, Juan, 12
    Truman, Harry S.:

      accomplishments, evaluation of, 70-72
      Anderson, Vernice, bids farewell to as State Department employee, 3
      Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, visits wounded veterans, 1950, 36-37
      Jessup, Philip C., regard for, 3-4
      San Francisco, return to, after Wake Island Conference, 1950, 61-63
      Wake Island Conference, attends, 31-33, 40, 43-47, 49-51, 59-60

    United Nations:

      Berlin blockade, 1948-49, and negotiations re, 19-21
      Jessup, Philip C., appointment to World court by, 5-6
      U.S. Mission to, 4
    University of Nebraska, 2, 7

    Vines, Charles C., 24-25

    Wake Island Conference, 1950, 31-60, 64-66
    Walters, Vernon A., 34-35, 53
    War Production Board, U.S. Mission to China, 13
    Washington Post, 4
    White House:

      Oval Office, 7
      press conferences, 7
      social functions, 10-11
    Whitney, Courtney, 49-50, 54-58

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