Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Oral History Interview with
James E. Dodson

Clerk, U.S. Housing Corporation, 1918-33; Assistant Director of Management, U.S. Employment Service, 1933-34; with the Social Security Board, 1934-40; assisted in the organization of the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, 1940-52; Director, Office of Budget and Management, 1942-52; and Administrative Assistant Secretary of Labor, 1952-62.

Washington, D.C.
August 7, 1970
by Jerry N. Hess

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


NOTICE
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.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 August, 1972
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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



Oral History Interview with
James E. Dodson

Washington, D.C.
August 7, 1970
by Jerry N. Hess

[1]

HESS: To begin, will you give me a little bit of your personal background; where were you born and a little bit about your career?

DODSON: Well, I'm one of the few government people that was born in Washington, D.C. and really have lived here all my life. As far as education is concerned, I was well, forced to go to work at a very young age, fourteen years of age. I graduated from the eighth grade in those days. And then I followed night school at night time and I went to, oh, Strayer's

[2]

Business College and Steuart's Business College, and finally completed a course in accounting. At the same time I used to play in dance bands so that I had a daytime job, went to school for two hours, and then played music for about three hours whenever we could get a job. But this all enabled me to live, because in those days I started as a messenger boy in the Department of Labor, in the U.S. Housing Corporation, at $528 a year. So, other work was necessary whenever you could get it.

I had the good fortune though even when I started at $528 a year I was attached to the office of the president of the Housing Corporation who was Otto M. Eidlitz, who was a dollar-a-year man. I was in and out of his office. I saw some of his methods of operations and I started learning from that very

[3]

first day on. And as I always had the good fortune of being in contact with the head of whatever office I was in, I really got an education from top level operations while in low appointments. And while at one time I used to feel an inferiority complex for not having a formal college degree; after getting years of experience I decided I would not trade my years of experience for a college degree.

In 1933 I can remember having a Harvard graduate and one from the University of California working for me for $1620 a year, so I got over my inferiority complex.

I should go back and say that my first appointment was with the U.S. Housing Corporation which was charged with the responsibility during the First World War, of building housing and living accommodations plus providing transportation to the munitions factories, shipyards, and etc., for war workers. And

[4]

that corporation, well, operated at a real lively pace for the last year of the First World War and then just got really underway when the war ended. Well, they had completed about ten thousand houses and they operated the government hotels for war workers which was located on the Union Station Plaza, several other projects of that type over the country, so that it went into a liquidation phase. Having started as a messenger boy, I had been promoted several times, but I also got promotions during liquidation. I moved up until I reached the title of assistant treasurer.

When the Housing Corporation finally got down to being practically liquidated I went with the United States Employment Service in 1933. That was when the Wagner-Peyser Act was passed which provided for a Federal-state system of public employment offices. I worked

[5]

in the Employment Service until it was transferred to the Social Security Board. In other words, the Employment Service was merged with Unemployment Compensation and there was a great amount of jockeying around at that time whether the Employment Service should stay independent or be merged, and one of the arguments being that it would be submerged if it was merged with the Unemployment Service.

Well, during my employment with the Employment Service I worked as an Assistant Director in Charge of Administration and Finance. I worked under, directly under, W. Frank Persons who was the head of the agency, and I consider that he was one of the strongest administrators that I have ever worked for and I learned a great deal.

Then after the Employment Service was

[6]

transferred to the Social Security Board I received a request as to whether or not I would want to go back to the Labor Department to help organize the Wage and Hour Division. So, I went back to the Labor Department, transferred back to the Labor Department, because well, I didn't like board type of action, I liked to work for a single administrator. General [Philip B.] Fleming headed up the Wage and Hour Division at that time, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable, well, decision, to transfer back. I was the Assistant Director in Charge of Administration and Management of the Wage and Hour Division and I stayed with that until during the Second World War we moved it to New York, and Frances Perkins, then Secretary of Labor, and she asked me to stay with the

[7]

Wage and Hour Division because they were losing so many employees, and would I stay with it, and then she would give me a job in her office when she had settled the Wage and Hour Division in New York.

So, this is how I ended up in the Secretary's office and remained in the Secretary's office all the way through my work career in the Labor Department. And so I worked under all the Secretaries of Labor since Frances Perkins, with the exception of Mr. [George P.] Schultz and the present Secretary [James D.] Hodgson, although I now have an appointment in the Department as an Executive Reservist with him.

HESS: Let me ask you a few questions about that then.

DODSON: Sure.

HESS: What do you recall, what kind of men were the -- and we can't say men can we always, because of Miss Perkins, but let's start back with Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of Labor who was William B. Wilson. What do you recall about him?

[8]

DODSON: Well, he always had a reputation of being a very nice gentleman. I was just a young lad then and didn't work in his office, so I'm really not qualified to say other than in general, he had a good reputation throughout the Department.

HESS: And then serving President [Warren G.] Harding was James J. Davis.

DODSON: Well, James J. Davis, again, was a pretty nice person, and one of the most interesting things about Secretary Davis was that he was also one of the leaders of the Loyal Order of Moose, and it wasn't long before we had professional canvassers going through the Department requesting you to join the Loyal Order of Moose.

HESS: One of the requirements of the job?

[9]

DODSON: Well, it wasn't exactly a requirement, but certainly a lot of people in the Department did join the Loyal Order of Moose. I didn't join. But, again though, Davis I would say was a well-liked Secretary of Labor as far as the employees of the Department were concerned, and I'm not qualified to give anything on his policy determinations.

HESS: And he also served for President [Calvin] Coolidge and he was the first Secretary of Labor for President [Herbert] Hoover, and then William N. Doak came in as Secretary of Labor for Mr. Hoover.

DODSON: Well, Doak, and still I'm at the working level, and Doak was not as well-known at the working level as I would say that others that we've talked about, but I know nothing really of any detriment against Doak. It's just that

[10]

he wasn't as close to the employees as the other Secretaries.

HESS: Do you recall any of the plans that he may have tried to implement since he was there during the early years of the depression?

DODSON: No, I do not. The Department was fairly stagnant in those days. Immigration Service was the biggest bureau and that was still there at that time, and the Department of Labor did not enjoy any, as I recall it, any real aggressive movements under the other Secretaries and up through the Doak administration. It did not start to move until the so-called New Deal came into the picture and that would have been under Frances Perkins.

HESS: That's right. Tell me what you recall, what are your recollections of the days right

[11]

after March the 4th of 1933, the day that Mr. Roosevelt was inaugurated.

DODSON: Well, one of the things that I guess most government employees, old employees would recall, would be we had an economy act and it placed a 10 or 15 percent reduction in our salaries. It prevented both husband and wife from working and we had considerable drives to save all kinds of, oh, supply items, to even -- we got letters on Gem clips and saving that sort of thing and to check your wastebasket.

HESS: Don't waste the paper clips.

DODSON: Oh, yes. We were under constant pressure in those days to make savings. And in 1933 the relief program started and got under way and the Labor Department started to really expand because it was assigned lots of

[12]

responsibility in connection with placements on relief programs, placements into the...

HESS: PWA [Public Works Administration].

DODSON: ...the cleaning of wooded areas by young men that went into the woods, what did we call them.

HESS: CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps]?

DODSON: CCC yes. We had a lot of responsibility in connections with the CCC and in that connection and later on in years, Miss Perkins thought that the Department of Labor should have the minutes of the meetings of the CCC. She had been on the Board or committee that guided the CCC and she said there were two file cabinets of minutes that just had a world of information. If the country ever got into a problem again, why, some of that information would be valuable.

[13]

So, she assigned me the duty of trying to get that -- get those two file cabinets of records transferred to the Labor Department. They soon became valuable and the agency that had them wouldn't release them. It was then the, I believe SSA, now the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare agency that had the records and they wouldn't...

HESS: Wouldn't give them up.

DODSON: They wouldn't give them up. I don't know whether they made any use of them during the current period or not, but one thing about Miss Perkins, when she made a decision, she looked ten years ahead, "What effect is this going to have?" And this is something that I don't have a feeling happens today. And I said something about I learned a lot from W. Frank Persons who was a strong-armed

[14]

administrator of the Employment Service. I also learned an awful lot working for Miss Perkins.

HESS: How would you rate her? Where would you place her on the scale of the Secretaries of Labor that you have known?

DODSON: I would put her and Jim [James P.] Mitchell as the best Secretaries of Labor, having an unselfish feeling with regard to their decisions, but thinking what was really good for the country. And I have never worked for anyone that thought so broadly ahead in the effects of things as Frances Perkins. Jim Mitchell was a real good administrator. Now, I'm talking one Democrat and one Republican, but Jim Mitchell was a real good administrator.

And this is one thing too in general: I found out in all my career in the Department

[15]

of Labor it didn't matter who was in office, whether it was Democrat or Republican, the Department of Labor's programs in general were the same, but there would be a degree as to how far they would go or how far, well, expansion.

HESS: Could you give me an illustration?

DODSON: Well, a very simple illustration is in connection with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Maybe the Republicans would indicate that the minimum wage should be $1.40 and the Democrats would say $1.50. And it might be that we would have a little more success in getting, under the Democratic administration, a little more generous appropriation for inspectors under the Fair Labor Standards Act. But that's a simple example of when I say it's degrees. But as far as having a safety program

[16]

in industry, both parties want it, both parties recommended the legislation.

As far as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, neither party interfered as far as I know with the results of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And they were all for a good, clean Bureau of Labor Statistics. And you can go through the various bureaus in the Department and -- well, take apprenticeship, the Democrats and Republicans both have been very friendly towards apprenticeship training, and so right down the line the Labor Department in my thinking hasn't been affected by tremendous changes of policy. It's degree of what you're doing, how fast do you go along. I'll say this, that back in the Roosevelt days, and the Truman days, the Bureau of the Budget was a much tougher organization than it was in later years.

[17]

HESS: To get your appropriations through?

DODSON: Yes, to get your estimate through to go to Capitol Hill. And also the examinations on Capitol Hill were much rougher in those days of your budget requests.

HESS: Were you one of those that took the Budget to -- took the estimates to the Bureau of the Budget?

DODSON: Yes, I used to, from Frances Perkins' day on. This goes for all the Secretaries. I would...

HESS: Who would you work with when you would go to the Bureau of the Budget? Now, Harold Smith was Mr. Truman's first Director of the Bureau of the Budget and he was Mr. Roosevelt's last. Did you work with Mr. Harold Smith?

[18]

DODSON: Well, you would only get to the Budget Bureau Director when you had real serious difference of...

HESS: At the lower level.

DODSON: Decisions that came out of the examining level. You see they would have a small crew of men, and some women, that would examine your budget estimates and they'd hold hearings and if you weren't happy with the results that you got at that level, then you would make an appeal, and then usually it would be the Secretary and myself that would go over and it would just be a little private hearing with the Budget Director.

HESS: Who was the first Budget Director that you worked with, do you recall?

DODSON: [Charles Gates] Dawes was the one that used

[19]

to send out the notices on the Gem clips and so forth. And then Danny [Daniel W.] Bell who had risen up from the ranks, he was a mighty fine Budget Director. It seems like the people that come up from the grassroots (and maybe I’m prejudiced because I came up that way), have a greater understanding. Now you didn’t always get what you wanted...

HESS: But at least you got it through.

DODSON: You got some kind of explanation. Now you had asked me earlier about handling the budget. In the Department of Labor the bureaus would submit their budget estimates to my office and my staff would examine them and see whether or not (and I used this term all the way through), whether it had “sales talk.” If it didn’t have sales talk, why there’s no need in going along with it. But

[20]

prior to my office appraisal of it, I'd have a little time with the Secretary and we'd just go down the bureaus in a very general way. In other words, "is this a good year to try to get some more money for accident prevention, or is it a good year to, well, expand the Wage and Hour Division?" And I'd get the Secretary's general feeling. Then, as to the amounts that would go to the Bureau of the Budget, they pretty much left that up to me. The bureau chief would have to appeal that over my head to the Secretary. And this went on all the way through, all the way to my end in the Department, even through [Arthur] Goldberg. In the years of handling the budget, I had made friends on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle, and this is what helped me with staying on with all the Secretaries and getting along

[21]

with them, because I could talk to the Republican or to the Democrat whoever was necessary, and I had a good idea what they would go for and there was no need of bumping our heads against the wall. And so -- well, I don't want to get into too much detail of that unless you want -- you ask any question you want.

HESS: That's fine. We're doing fine.

One question on Mr. Harold Smith: What kind of a man did you find him to work with?

DODSON: I think I had only two meetings with Harold Smith and I'm trying to -- I can't quite recall, but I went with the Secretary both times, and I can't recall any time getting into what might be called a real down to earth argument with any of those, because I used the philosophy and I tried to sell it to the Secretaries,

[22]

"You have to sell this thing."

HESS: You don't force it upon them.

DODSON: Yeah, the reaction is usually negative when you try to force it. And so, I used selling and I'm a firm believer that governmental administration is selling. I don't care what you're doing, you've got to sell it to the public and -- I mean if it's the Cabinet officer and he wants to do something, he's got to sell his program to the public. And the public, I mean to include the AF of L, manufacturer's association, Chambers of Commerce, and so forth. So, you're always selling in government and if you don't sell you don't last long.

HESS: On that subject, did you often have the unions coming in for conferences?

[23]

DODSON: Well, not too much on the budget, but in later years, about the last ten years I was there, they would come in to say they wanted to be helpful. Some of them could be helpful and some of them couldn't.

HESS: Who could and who couldn't?

DODSON: Well, they would have their legislative representatives come in and as they're still in office I don't want to use names, some of them are. They would have their legislative representatives come in and get a run-down from me about what our budget consisted of, our request, what the increases were for and so forth and then they would visit the Appropriations Committee people and talk with them about the budget. Well, I happened to know a couple of Congressmen on our committee disliked some of the legislative representatives, and

[24]

I felt that it wouldn't be of any good for them to visit the Congressmen, but they always wanted to go, so we cooperated, we'd give them information. And finally, it got around to the time that, let's see, oh, Goldberg, I told him I said, "It's no good for those legislative people to go up and visit these men. You've got to get somebody higher up." They would go up also and read off a statement before the committee in committee meetings, but as I say, these guys kind of had a diluted effect on some of our committee members. I said, "You've got to get somebody right at the top of the AF of L to go up there and make the presentation, then it'll mean something." So, Goldberg did visit the AF of L and he got the second man over there under George Meany, [William F.] Schnitzler, and Schnitzler went up (this was my last year),

[25]

and I'd been fighting fort this all along because I said, "You've got to get somebody higher," but also it's more important -- I won't say it's more important than getting the very top of the unions to go up and testify for the Labor Department, it's important to get your support coming from leaders in the Congressman's home district. And if we could get somebody in the Congressman's home district to call him, it meant something to the Congressman, that was more weight than getting the manufacturer's association or Chamber of Commerce, anybody, going...

HESS: Were the unions helpful in getting letters and phone calls from their home district?

DODSON: Well, we and they -- yes, they did get some.

HESS: What were the principal ways you arranged this?

[26]

DODSON: Well, I worked this more though through our regional directors and their friends.

HESS: Right in the Department.

DODSON: Yes. Of course, and I don't want to put this all on the union basis because we had a lot of support from other people at times when we went for this support, but everybody associates unions with the Labor Department. This is one of the things that Secretaries have had to say, that is it's not a department for just the unions, it's a department for all workers.

But you take a regional director for the Wage and Hour Division, for the Apprenticeship Service, Employment Service, they would know the labor people in their area. So, I might call them on the phone and say, "See if you can get so and so to get in touch with

[27]

this Congressman." Now, of course, on your Appropriations Committee as a rule you've only got about seven or eight Congressmen and if you can control your subcommittee you're 90 percent through, maybe even 95 percent through. And so, this was the way we worked it.

Unfortunately for a number of years (this goes back to the Truman administration), we had southern Congressmen that headed up the committee for the Labor Department; Judge [Malcolm C.] Tarver from Georgia, Congressman [Butler Black] Hare from South Carolina, and you just had to, on a personal basis, kind of win those people over. One time we made the mistake (we were just carrying out our duty), of investigating the Candlewick Bedspread industry in the south, we found a number of people underpaid and caused them to

[28]

pay back money due workers. Well, we caught hell at appropriation hearing time on that, and it cost us money. And then there's the...

HESS: They didn't like it, they thought it was meddling did they?

DODSON: Well, we were hitting their constituents.

HESS: The employers of the people and they were having to pay out more money.

DODSON: Yes, they were complaining to the Congressmen. This involved a couple of southern Congressmen that were in influential positions, you know, but it was something we had to do, we were just carrying out the law, but it cost us money that year.

And let's see, getting into the -- well, during the Roosevelt administration (now you

[29]

wanted some stories on that), why Mrs. Roosevelt was very active and she fostered several projects down in West Virginia for youth trying to help them. Of course, unemployment was in the picture, and she was trying to help them get trained and get jobs.

One day she called Mr. Persons direct, he was a presidential appointee, but he still was in the Department of Labor and under the Secretary of Labor, and she called him direct to come over and have luncheon at the White House. And he was quite inflated at being invited over, so he went over. They had a nice luncheon. I know the story pretty well. (That's second hand in this incident.) They had a nice luncheon and then before the luncheon was over she said to Mr. Persons, "I want you to give preference to these children on the..." (I don't know whether she used

[30]

the word preference or not, but that's what it meant), to these young people that were in her projects, that she wanted a good showing of placements.

Mr. Persons being a strong administrator and a very honest type person, he told her he said, "Our policy is to refer the best qualified worker." Well, he left the White House a little bit roughed up.

Well, then I got the other part of the story from, well, Secretary Perkins, that the request came from the White House for the removal of Mr. Persons. He had been a most successful man in getting the Employment Service functioning during the relief days when they had to do all the registering of workers and related functions. He was relieved of his duties.

I met Mrs. Roosevelt, she had been over

[31]

for lunch in the Department. She was a good friend of Miss Perkins, and we had a little dining room for the top brass. And so I had lunch one day down there with her, she could talk, she was very intelligent, but she had a little personal preference there that she carried a little far, and then it cost a man his job, fired him.

Going back to the Employment Service time, let's see...

HESS: That was from '33 to '39, according to Who's Who, right?

DODSON: Yes. Yes, that would be as good a record as any on it.

After Mr. Persons left a man by the name of [William H.] Stead took over. But then shortly afterwards we were transferred to the Social Security Board. But, I wanted to

[32]

tell you, before the Employment Service was transferred to the Social Security Board, Truman was selected -- well, first let me tell you that the Employment, U.S. Employment Service was to organize and operate a state and Federal system of employment offices. We were given four million dollars and was distributed according to population, and the states when they matched that money, would get that money and we would set certain standards and so forth for the states to operate. Well, that law was passed in the first part -- June 6, 1933 I think it was. And then the relief program came upon us and some states didn't even have an employment service and also one of our provisions for a state to qualify for this money was that they should operate a merit system and too many states had no merit system, so it was a little

[33]

slow getting going.

When the relief program came into the picture, well, we had to quickly organize what we called the National Reemployment Service and this was operated and paid for strictly from Federal funds, but it supplemented state employment services wherever they were, and where there was no state employment service, it set up a Reemployment Service so that people -- there was a referral arrangement made, and while changes were made several times we practically referred all the people to the CWA or PWA projects. They would have to be registered with the Employment Service or the National Reemployment Service and then we would refer them. Of course, if we got a job that was not in the relief program we referred them to that.

Well, now in Missouri, Mr. Truman was

[34]

selected to be the man to head up the National Reemployment Service.

And going back to show you how quickly things got under way, Mr. Persons and one aid, Walter Burr, went up and rented a room up in the Mayflower Hotel and made long distance calls all over the country, and in two days they had the heads of the National Reemployment Service agreed upon in all the states in the country. And this organization really got under way very fast. And also there was plenty of employees for -- once they got ahead and got started, plenty of people to take the jobs in the Employment Service. So, in thirty days we must have had six thousand. I know we did. Six or eight thousand people on the payroll.

Well, getting back to Missouri, Truman was made head of the National Reemployment

[35]

Service and that came under the state labor department. In a good many places the Re-employment Service operated under the state labor departments, and this is an interesting point I think in connection with your main objective.

Edna May Cruzen was then commissioner of labor for the State of Missouri and she would come to Washington from time to time. I had some authority for allocating funds for the hiring of people for the National Reemployment Service. Sitting at my desk one day, she told me, she said, "Mr. Dodson," she said, "the National Reemployment Service is going to elect Truman to the Senate."

Their policy in those days was every time they referred a person to a CWA or PWA project they received a postal card signed by Mr. Truman or bearing his name. That is what she

[36]

told me and sure enough he did end up in the Senate. I've never forgotten that conversation that we had. She's quite a -- I think her job was political too, I know it was political. And you see she was behind Truman becoming Senator.

And then when Truman became Senator I had several contacts with him, but one time we were having a little trouble and so I told Miss Perkins, I said, "I think you should go up and talk to Senator Truman."

And so she said, "All right, we'll get an appointment," and she said for me to come along.

So, I went with her to see Mr. Truman. I won't forget this because he was -- there was a sculptor there and he was sitting for his bust that was being made. He immediately told Miss Perkins, he said, "You didn't have to

[37]

come up here. If you had just given me a phone call I would have come right down to your office."

Well, anyway we talked it over with him and then on several occasions we visited him to get him interested in some things that might be troublesome as far as the Labor Department was concerned. So, he was what we -- we considered, a friend of the Labor Department.

HESS: Do you recall the subjects that you discussed with him other than the one you mentioned?

DODSON: They would always be in connection with some phase of the appropriations, but specifically I don't recall.

Oh, in those early relief days, and this is something I don't know how employees would react to today, but there was one time this

[38]

National Reemployment Service ran out of funds, we got allocations of money from Harry Hopkins. He had the big pot of gold, and we would have to go to him to get money. One payday we didn't have money to pay over six thousand people and -- but those people kept on the job and worked right straight through and we were about two weeks getting straightened out with the relief organization to get the money. And this is one of the times (a little statement of ego on my part), but I was in my twenties and in those days young people didn't do as much as they do today. Miss Perkins called up Harry Hopkins and made an appointment with him for me to see him to get the money -- to talk to him about the money. So, I felt quite elated at that young age going over to see Hopkins.

HESS: A great deal of responsibility.

[39]

DODSON: Yes. Fortunately I got the money, so the people got paid off two paydays in one. But it was nip and tuck, and, as I say, I often wonder what the present employee's reaction would be to a situation of that kind. And further, the Economy Act, when the government was in debt and not having taxes coming in, we got a cut. Now, we're constantly going in debt, but we keep raising the wages, and this just doesn't seem like good business to me.

HESS: Now did you often see Mr. Roosevelt himself?

DODSON: I -- with President Roosevelt I guess I -- well they used to have a reception for government officials at the White House once a year, and I think I went to a couple of those with President Roosevelt, while he was President. And I would be sometimes a prop on the stage.

[40]

I call it a prop on the stage. They would be having, oh, some affair, and I would just get to meet him, but as far as having any real day to day business with President Roosevelt, I didn't. I did not have it. But...

HESS: Most of the direct contacts there carried on by Secretary Perkins?

DODSON: Yes, definitely by Secretary Perkins. And then in that connection, she was very close to President Roosevelt, and when it came to naming people in the labor field, in the Social Security field, her weight was the heaviest of any I'm sure. Take Arthur Altmeyer that was made head of the Social Security Board. Arthur Altmeyer was Assistant Secretary in the Labor Department, but prior to that he was Secretary to the Wisconsin Labor Commission and she brought him from Wisconsin here because Wisconsin was a

[41]

state that always seemed to have something a little ahead in the labor field. And so she brought him in and he worked with her on the Social Security legislation while he was Assistant Secretary -- in developing the Social Security law. Then he went over to become the chairman of the Social Security Board. You see in the -- no, I think that's about all in the Roosevelt administration.

HESS: One more question on that: The Who's Who said you assisted in the organization of the Wage and Hour Division. You mentioned that earlier.

DODSON: Yes.

HESS: What were the problems in the organization of that division?

DODSON: Well, the Wage and Hour Division got

[42]

started under Elmer Andrews as its administrator. Avery nice person, but for some reason or another it didn't seem to get off the ground in making inspections. And so, in those days General Fleming was used as sort of a hatchet man for organizations that were not doing too well, so he replaced Elmer Andrews as head of the Wage and Hour Division. And then he brought in a deputy and brought me in, and of course, other people came in too, but I mean there was the three of us that really had the organizational responsibility for the Wage and Hour Division and to get it off the ground. And so one time the General came up, with a quota for the inspectors, we should have a hundred thousand inspections. This is about

[43]

a year after he was in office. He said, "For this next year we should set a goal of a hundred thousand inspections."

I took the opposite position. I said, "Set it a hundred and twenty-five thousand, a hundred and fifty, you'll get them." I had been around in some of the field offices and knew enough about some of the inspection technique that you could get what we call "windshield" inspection. The inspector would drive up in his car outside the plant, fill out the forms. .And so, sure enough, we got just about the hundred thousand inspections. But then the unions got -- I mean the union in the Department of Labor got oh, peeved about this so-called quota system because the personnel department then began to place a

[44]

lot of importance on the quota with regard to whether they got promoted or not. Well, somebody inspecting in a difficult type of industry couldn't make as many inspections as the other and so they would get into all kinds of quarrels about the quota system. And so finally a delegation came to Washington and they met with me first and then they met with the Secretary -- I mean with the administrator, which would have been General Fleming. And when they met, the General and I was present, he said, "You have a friend in Dodson here. He didn't want to go for the quota system." And so we had to de-emphasize the quota system. We didn't omit it completely, but we didn't put the emphasis on it that had been placed.

The Wage and Hour Division wasn't getting away to a good start, and the General felt that

[45]

we just had to have some coverage, and we did it that year. We did turn up a lot of violations. But on the other hand, there were a lot of sloppy inspections made. And as I say, a guy would make his quota and he'd go to the movies then. And so I never was for quotas. I said that we had inspectors, a senior inspector, and then we had supervising inspectors, you have your sergeants, your lieutenants, if everybody's doing their job you're going to automatically get the volume. And that was my position. And it more or less got around to that. But of course, you never completely divorce yourself from looking at the volume that a person is doing.

HESS: And during the time that you were a chief clerk and budget officer, I believe one of your assistants, your principal assistants, was V. Singleton Hudson.

[46]

DODSON: That's right, yes.

HESS: What kind of a man was he at that time?

DODSON: Oh, he was an excellent worker. He's dead now. He worked too hard. He was going to retire and he didn't. He should have. He died about three years ago. Hudson went to work with me in 1933 and I had the good fortune that I had four or five key people that I transferred around with me all the time.

HESS: So I noticed in going through this Official Register.

DODSON: Yes. So, I have a nucleus always when I took on a new job that...

HESS: Yes, Jesse C. Watts?

DODSON: Well, Jesse C. Watts was an old-timer in

[47]

the Labor Department. He and Sam [Samuel. J.] Gompers, who was the first chief clerk in the Labor Department. He's the son of the original Sam Gompers.

HESS: I was going to ask you about that. Samuel J. Gompers.

DODSON: Yes.

HESS: And he had been there for some time. Now he's the son of the Samuel Gompers.

DODSON: That's right. And Watts was there with Gompers and I inherited Watts, and Watts was a good worker and very sincere, but he wasn't the kind to -- well, to give too broad a responsibility. He was inclined to exercise his own personal feelings about things, but he was a good worker for me.

Hudson as I say, started in 1933 with me in the Employment Service, that was his first government job. And we stuck together

[48]

right on through and when I retired I recommended him for my job, but I was told that the White House had interceded for another man in the Department. And Secretary Goldberg informed me, he said, "I can’t give this job to Mr. Hudson. There's been some pressure from the White House." And Hudson -- we made a good team because he was a little rough, and I was as I say, the salesman type, and so he'd get rough and I could do something that would kind of, well, smooth out the roughness. And so we made a real good team all the way through.

HESS: Who were some of the other of your principal assistants? You had John R. Demorest at one time.

DODSON: Well, John R. Demorest was another one that had been in the Department for years. A very intelligent man, knew the comptrollers'

[49]

decisions, and knew just what you could do, but he asked me, he had just so many more years to go, he said, "Just don't push me, just let me work on." He let me know that he wasn't anxious to climb, but he was very intelligent, and he was a real good worker. He had charge of all of the audits and the bookkeeping and, oh, general detail work in what might be called fiscal matters. He was originally a disbursing officer for the Department.

HESS: And Benjamin R. Sherwood.

DODSON: Benjamin R. Sherwood was in charge of procurement and here was a mighty fine man, and awfully nice, and he got along very well. I don't think you'll find a person around the Department that would say a bad word about Ben Sherwood's type of operation. Now as the Department got larger and we started to grow,

[50]

and Sherwood retired, we moved a different type of man into the operation.

HESS: Now you became Chief Clerk and Budget Officer in 1942. Have you pretty well covered the duties that you had in that position during the Roosevelt administration, up until April 12th of '45?

DODSON: Yes, in summary, it was budget and general management in the Department. I have been the type of budget person that feels that budget isn't just something that you try to cut right down to the bone. In other words, be a red pencil artist. A budget should be adequate to carry out the responsibilities for which the Department is responsible for and on many times I would increase budgets as well as decrease them. And on that basis, I say with my selling approach, I was able

[51]

to get along very well.

HESS: Where were you when you heard of the death of President Roosevelt?

DODSON: I was on the streetcar going home.

HESS: What were your thoughts?

DODSON: Well, my thoughts were really, "What will we do?"

HESS: What did you know -- well you did know some about Mr. Truman at this time didn't you? You had met him.

DODSON: Oh, yes, I used to allocate the amounts of money, the number of jobs and so forth that they would have in their Reemployment Service in Missouri. But he never came to Washington that I recall while he was head of the National Reemployment Service. It was

[52]

always Edna May Cruzen that came to Washington.

HESS: What kind of a President did you think Mr. Truman would make, since you had met him?

DODSON: Well, I'm the kind that believes in letting a person have an opportunity, and I had no preconceived thoughts with what kind of a President he would make.

HESS: What do you recall of the events shortly after Mr. Truman became President, or at time Mr. Truman became President?

DODSON: Well, there was the various programs that the Roosevelt administration had started which there were questions about, just in minds of people, and this was conversational among people in the Department, what will be the reaction and so forth. Well, the reaction seemed to me, as I recall it, that everything

[53]

went along, that President Truman carried out President Roosevelt's programs, but there was one little difference that crept into the picture as things went along. You knew pretty definitely where you stood with President Truman. Now, Miss Perkins had submitted her resignation to Roosevelt and it stayed there for a long, long time. He never accepted it and it stayed there with Truman for a long time. And then it was accepted and Judge [Lewis B.] Schwellenbach came into the picture. He was Senator Schwellenbach.

HESS: What did you know about Judge Schwellenbach?

DODSON: Well, I didn't know anything about him before he came in other than he had been a Senator, and I always have a bit of question in my mind about a man who's been running an office with six people, or eight people in those days, coming in to run something that has several thousand people and a varied type of organization. And people within a department

[54]

they jockey for favor and so forth. And so I had real questions whether a Senator would make a good administrator, and my doubts were soon confirmed because the very first thing he did was to appoint what became known as the "Secret Six." And before he appointed them, he had his first staff meeting, and at that time we had the Children's Bureau in the Department. Katharine Lenroot was the head of it, she was a nationally known figure. We had the Bureau of Labor Statistics with a nationally known figure heading it and the U.S. Employment Service with a nationally known figure, and one of the first things that he said starting off that meeting, "I don't know anything good about you, I don't know anything bad." It just wasn't the right flavor. And I don't believe the staff members said a word. He talked to us for about

[55]

fifteen minutes. And then he told us he was having these six men that he had selected to come in and go through the Department. Well, as I said, they got to become known as, the "Secret Six." I don't know why the secret though, the man who was assigned to me happened to be a treasurer, or controller of a power company in the far west. He never had any real experience with governmental administration, but he turned out to be a fine man, so we had lunches together and we got along well, and not one thing was changed as far as my operation was concerned. And I don't recall of anything being changed in the Department as a result of that review, but...

HESS: What was that gentleman's name?

DODSON: Oh. I don't know whether I can recall it

[56]

or not. He was with a power company in the West.

HESS: Well, now let's see. Ike Comeaux was a comptroller of the Seattle City Light Company.

DODSON: That must have been him.

HESS: Who was studying budgetary matters.

DODSON: Yes. Well, that's the fellow.

HESS: Tell me what you recall about some of the other men. Now the -- I looked this up in the New York Times yesterday about the Secret Six, and the first man is quite a Truman administration man, Dr. John R. Steelman, who had been with the Conciliation Service for years and years.

DODSON: I didn't recall that he was assigned by Judge Schwellenbach to do anything.

[57]

HESS: According to the New York Times that I looked up yesterday, he was...

DODSON: I think that's a mistake.

HESS: Is that right? You don't think he was a member of the Secret Six?

DODSON: No, he was -- wasn't he in the Department at that time?

HESS: No, he had quit and had gone back to New York and was in public relations in New York at that time. But you do not recall. Well anyway, what do you recall about John R. Steelman? Do you recall anything?

DODSON: Oh yes. John Steelman was a good operator and a good politician, and...

HESS: Is there a difference?

DODSON: What?

[58]

HESS: Is there a difference?

DODSON: Well, you have to be a good politician too to be a good operator I guess, that's part of the requirements. John Steelman worked with my office when he was in the Labor Department, very closely, and we always had excellent relations, and as far as I know we always had -- he always had very good relations with the Secretary, Frances Perkins. And I've heard her say good things about John Steelman. On the other hand, we all realized that John Steelman was ambitious and when he resigned that was the closest kept secret I have ever known in Government.

HESS: From the Conciliation Service?

DODSON: Yes. He -- there was some thinking around there that he was disappointed he didn't become Secretary of Labor and so he resigned. And

[59]

as I say, it was a close kept secret, it was -- everything was going along as if Steelman were just going to be there all the time, the next day he left. And that was at a time, I believe, before Judge Schwellenbach was named as the Secretary, and I think he -- as I recall, some of the reasoning behind it was he resigned to show that he was available to be appointed Secretary of Labor. But it didn't turn out that way. Then he ended up over in the White House as an assistant to the President, Mr. Truman.

HESS: In the meantime he had been the Director of the Office of War Mobilization from June to December of 1946 when he came back, and then in December, on December 12th in 1946 he became The Assistant to the President and held that job throughout the administration.

[60]

DODSON: Yes. And one of the things that, well, always cropped up quite a bit was when there was a big strike, John's first love was labor disputes, and I think it was felt that strikes got into the White House before they should have gotten there. But that was his first love and he just couldn't keep his hands out.

HESS: What was the view of the Department of Labor at this time when they were in charge of labor matters, and here in the White House sat a man who stepped into such matters as this? Was the view in the Department of Labor that this was an unnecessary division of authority?

DODSON: Well, I think that the way it was exercised, and the frequency with which he got into labor disputes, the Labor Department did not favor at all, but the Labor Department did not take

[61]

a position on it. They did feel that once in awhile it was necessary for something to be said by the White House, but not to the extent that it had taken place.

HESS: Since he did step in in matters of this nature, what is your general opinion of his effectiveness in labor conciliation?

DODSON: Well, he was pretty effective. Of course, he, John was a good mediator, conciliator type person to begin with, then when he got the backing of the White House people behind him, that helped him some. But the whole thing was that labor matters, most of them are settled by time. But if there's a higher point to go to, they'll hold out until that higher point is reached, and this was one of our feelings that with the White House being so easy to get to, it was interfering with the work

[62]

of the...

HESS: The Labor Department was just by-passed then.

DODSON: Yes. Mediation, on these large national type of strikes.

HESS: Yes. Did Dr. Steelman use any particular method in his mediations?

DODSON: No, not that I know of. No.

I think that a lot of that is personality. And he was good on that, he was a great hand-shaker and pat-on-the-backer.

HESS: Well, we have...

DODSON: And he was a capable man, but just a little too anxious to get into labor disputes when he was in the White House.

HESS: There are four other men who were part of the

[63]

Secret Six. Now, according to what I got out of the New York Times yesterday, as you said the listing of Dr. Steelman may be in error.

DODSON: Now, that may not be. They may have had him in there for some advice on labor matters that got talked of only between he and the Secretary or something of that sort. I didn't get in on any of it.

HESS: Well, what the Times said, "John Steelman of New York, former Director of Conciliation, who will help in that field." That's what the Times says.

DODSON: Yeah.

HESS: Now do you recall anything about Carl Moran of Rockland, Maine?

DODSON: Yeah, he was an Assistant Secretary for

[64]

a while. He was the second man to Schwellenbach, and again he was -- if I remember right, he was a Congressman.

HESS: That's right.

DODSON: And wasn't the best administrator that we had.

HESS: He was not?

DODSON: His weakness was in administration. He was a nice type of person though, but -- well, I can't really recall specifically.

HESS: How did his weakness in administration manifest itself, just things not move?

DODSON: Yes, or either he would insist on his point of view prevailing.

HESS: All right, the next one was John Carson who

[65]

was a former newspaperman. Do you recall anything about him?

DODSON: No, he would have been with our public relations service.

HESS: He was called in to help on public relations.

DODSON: Public relations, yes.

HESS: And Edward Connelly, Federal District Attorney in the Washington Judicial District. He was out in Washington. He was a friend of Secretary Schwellenbach.

DODSON: Well, these men came and they would spend a day or so and disappear for a long time and (at least that was my experience with this one that was assigned to me), and if anything of any magnitude had occurred I would certainly have got into the picture because it would have meant some switching around of organization

[66]

and finance and so forth. And I recall nothing coming out of that Schwellenbach survey that really changed anything in the Department. Frankly, one of the things that -- this isn't detrimental to the Secretary as such, but when you get a new man appointed, too often they want to do something. So, I sometimes would say, "Here I go, turn the papers over again," but the end objective was always the same.

HESS: Did it damage morale in the Department of Labor at this time to have an inspection crew?

DODSON: Well, that was one of the worst things that happened in my career in that department. The way that he came in and introduced himself to the staff and then sent in this group of people, really nothing -- I don't

[67]

think you could find anything in the Labor Department in a way of report. It was all -- whatever they found as far as I'm concerned, was conversation between them and the Judge.

HESS: You think this was one of the low points of the period of time you spent in the Labor Department?

DODSON: As far as morale is concerned I think it was.

HESS: Well, let's just mention the other names to get them on the record. A.A. Laframboise.

DODSON: I don't know him either. I've forgotten, you see those who were all...

HESS: And they weren't there long either.

DODSON: No, as I say, they would come in and spend a day or a few hours and away they'd

[68]

go. I know when I transferred to the Secretary's office, it was two years before I felt confident in taking on a tough bureau problem with any degree of aggressiveness.

HESS: Just what is your general evaluation of Louis Schwellenbach as Secretary of Labor?

DODSON: [An indication of the thumb pointed down.] Well, of all the Secretaries that I worked for I would not put him anywhere near the top. In fact I would put him near the bottom. His administrative ability was not there and he was not backed by a good second administrative officer. What makes, I think, a department click is to have a very good man at the top that really is a policymaker, has good public relations ability, with some knowledge of administration and then be backed up by an Under Secretary who he lets run the department

[69]

on a day to day basis.

HESS: Do you recall who was Under Secretary?

Now, John W. Gibson was a special assistant.

DODSON: Yes. Well, he was Assistant Secretary under Frances Perkins. Well, she had picked him, but I don't think he had reported for office. You see at one time we had only just an Assistant Secretary from the AF of L, and the CIO was always thinking that they should have somebody in, and Johnny Gibson came from the CIO. And Miss Perkins had picked him, but he did not report until after she retired and they may have brought him in first as a special assistant. And then he was made Assistant Secretary.

But, let me tell you this about Judge Schwellenbach, because this gets right into top administration. At this particular time we had --

[70]

the Republicans were in control of Congress and Congressman [Frank B.] Keefe of Wisconsin was chairman of our Appropriations Committee, one of the biggest men in the Congress, six foot five or something like that and had the loudest voice. He and Schwellenbach did not get along and Keefe had been a prosecuting attorney before he came into office -- I mean came into Congress. Edgar Warren who was head of the Mediation and Conciliation Service, or U.S. Conciliation Service, under Schwellenbach, had the misfortune of having been associated as a member of a bookshop that was communistic.

HESS: The Cooperative Bookshop?

DODSON: Yes. And his card was in the file and so forth, and Keefe was red hot against anything that was communistic, so when we came up for appropriation one year he just lit right

[71]

into Warren and gave him a grilling and cross-examination and he got out of Warren a statement about the government employee should have the right to strike. And this put Warren -- Warren wasn't too wise at that point, and he -- I'm trying to think of the exact words. They should have the right to strike, he didn't say they should strike, but it was a qualified having the right to strike. And this got Keefe, and then Keefe got these investigators digging around, and brought out the bookshop business and so he was, oh, really mad as a hornet about Warren being the head of the Conciliation Service. So he -- that year I knew what they were going to do having worked with them for years, and Keefe said, "I'm not going to give you but a dollar for appropriations, for the Conciliation Service."

So, I got with Schwellenbach and I said to Schwellenbach, "You had better have a luncheon with Keefe."

He said, 'All right, you arrange it."

[72]

So, I arranged a luncheon, and got Keefe to come down to Schwellenbach's office and I was a party to the luncheon, and when Keefe walked in the room, the very first thing he said to the Secretary, "I'll tell you what you got to do, Mr. Secretary, you got to fire that man Warren." That's how our luncheon started.

HESS: Off to a great start.

DODSON: Oh yeah. Well, I don't think Secretary Schwellenbach said twelve words during the luncheon. I was sure glad when that one got over. Then Keefe went further with it and they actually had like an inquest on the Hill before the full Appropriations Committee. And they had Judge Schwellenbach, they summoned him up there, and I went along with him, but they had me stay out of the room. They wouldn't even let me in the room, so I

[73]

don't know what went on in the room. But later on Keefe says -- now I don't want to put this on the record. Cusswords were used back and forth. Neither man -- here I am in the middle, both men were cussing at each other and calling each other all kinds of names. Well, that was the roughest time I ever had on appropriations. But anyway, Schwellenbach stuck to his ground and Edgar Warren stayed on the job. The House passed a one dollar appropriation for the Department and I couldn't get any increases. I think it was that year I couldn't get any increases at all for any of the bureaus, but Keefe did go along with eliminating some restrictive language. The kind of language that restricted an appropriation like, "Not more than three hundred thousand will be spent for salaries in Washington." That's all that

[74]

I could get out of him. And well then we had to go over to the Senate and fight the battle over there to get the appropriation for the Conciliation Service restored. He couldn't by law not appropriate something, so he appropriated one dollar. In the Senate, we got some money restored and then in conference we ended up with some money, but was certainly the roughest grilling that I ever had, and also all during that time of the Republicans being in control in Congress and having Democrats downtown, it's rough.

HESS: Yes, that was the 80th Congress.

DODSON: Yes.

HESS: Yes that election was in '46 and that held through until the election of '48, that was the 80th Congress that the Republicans controlled.

[75]

DODSON: Eventually though Keefe -- I mean Warren, left and went to teaching school out on the West Coast as I remember. But we sure had a rough time. I know I had a couple of years where it was really rough in trying to get funds. And he'd hold hearings for that little department for three weeks. Sometimes I'd have to sit up there for three weeks and he'd go through every bureau's appropriation with a fine-toothed comb. And I will say this for Congressman Keefe, he got to know the Department of Labor as well as anybody.

HESS: In the New York Times yesterday, I noticed a statement by Mr. Schwellenbach at the time that he came down as Secretary of Labor, that he knew nothing about the Department. Why in your opinion was he appointed Secretary?

[76]

DODSON: Well, I don't know why. Sometimes I think it's a crony sort of business, and I'll give you an example of that. I had sworn in a number of the top officials. I had authority to swear them in in the Department. In those days they didn't make such a grandiose show of it as they do today, and so when Judge Schwellenbach was appointed I wasn't asked to swear him in. He was going up to the Capitol and I think he was being sworn in by Senator [Sherman] Minton, which is another buddy. He was a former Judge too. Here was two Judges, parties to the swearing in. But they learned after he had been sworn in it wasn't legal, Senator Minton didn't have the authority to swear him in. And so when Schwellenbach came back to the Department, his -- the young lady over in the office, came over and said, "Mr. Dodson, bring your Bible

[77]

over, you've got to swear the Secretary in."

And so, I swore him in with Gladys Birch present, that was the only one. That was the lady from his office. And so I swore him into office and this was all kept quiet. As far as the press releases and all he was sworn in at the Capitol by another Senator, but I say that I had the feeling that it was all some kind of crony proposition. The President must have been a good friend of Schwellenbach's.

HESS: President Truman and Senator Schwellenbach both came to the Senate at the same time in 1935.

DODSON: Yes, I see.

HESS: They were in the same class as it's called, or they were "freshmen" together in that class.

[78]

DODSON: Well, he certainly showed in his operations, that he was not really qualified to run the Department.

HESS: Another of his special assistants at that time was Robert C. Smith.

DODSON: Yeah, he was personnel director and had ambitions to become something higher. And Bob Smith went to Judge Schwellenbach one day and said to the Judge, "I'm ready to take on higher duties."

Judge Schwellenbach did not give him any higher duties. So then he evidently looked around for other employment and he got an offer from the Pullman Company in Chicago, personnel director and labor relations man. So, he went to the Judge again and he told him, "I've got a higher offer and I want to know what's going to happen."

[79]

They tell me that the Secretary jumped up and shook his hand and congratulated him. So, that was the end of Bob Smith, but he was a pretty nice young man personally, but awfully officious and he felt very strongly his responsibilities. I had problems with him all the time.

HESS: How about Louis Sherman?

DODSON: Louis Sherman was in the solicitor's office and then he moved down to become, I think, a special assistant to Dan [Daniel W.] Tracy if I remember right. Dan Tracy was the AF of L Assistant Secretary, and for years there was just Dan Tracy and myself and the Secretary. That was all the top brass in the Department. But Lou Sherman came down to be assistant, but he had been in the solicitor's office. Lou Sherman was a very intelligent

[80]

attorney and the Davis-Bacon Act which set the rates of pay on Government construction work, was practically administered by Dan Tracy, and he needed an aid and Lou Sherman helped him on that.

HESS: What were some of the problems that arose between yourself and Mr. Smith?

DODSON: Well, one was that when I was transferred from the bureau -- well first off when I was transferred from Social Security back to the Labor Department, Mr. Smith had nothing to do in recommending me or anything of that sort. Now I had made known that I wasn't too happy in the Social Security Board, but as I said before, I didn't get my transfer from the personnel office -- or any request from the personnel office, I got it from the Brookings Institute. But after I got back on the job

[81]

Smith called me and said that he was so glad to see me back in the Department and so forth. Well, he would question certain things about bureau programs which were strictly outside of the personnel director's responsibility, and he would also use the classification -- the job description, as a basis for either curtailing or expanding some responsibilities. And so it got to be known around there, "Don't make a move without calling Smith," and so he just generally created an atmosphere around himself as throwing his weight around too strong. And it would be a number of instances, but well frankly, Miss Perkins said to me one time she said, "Mr. Dodson, I want to get you more money, tell me how I am to do it." She said, "Mr. Smith will never do it for you."

And so I told her, I said I wasn't sure then that I wanted more money. I was a Civil

[82]

Service worker. I was afraid to advance too high, and all my training was Government and I didn't want to get myself into a position where I might be relieved if the administration changed. So, that time she let it drop. But then again she said, "Now before I leave here I'm going to get you more money." And so she pinned me down pretty much, so I told her to go down and see Warren Irons at the Civil Service Commission, he'll tell her what she has to do. But this is -- I guess to characterize Smith in a -- Bob Smith in a sentence, would be that he was very much for Bob Smith, and if he thought you were in his way, he didn't do anything to help you, might even go farther.

HESS: And one other special assistant was Albert Abrahamson.

[83]

DODSON: Yeah. Well, he was a special assistant to Moran if I remember right and just handled special jobs. I don't think he had any area of real responsibility. Now, there's one that you missed in there in the Schwellenbach administration is Keen Johnson. Did you pick that name up?

HESS: No. I think I -- I remember seeing it in the book.

DODSON: He's a former Governor of Kentucky and he came up to be the Under Secretary, but he was strictly a politician. Everything was done on a political basis first.

HESS: So, what Mr. Schwellenbach needed was a good second man to really run the Department and he did not have that did he?

DODSON: No, unfortunately. I did a good bit of

[84]

it through the budgetary device, because as I say, the budget has to be adequate to carry out the responsibilities, but we were very short of what you might call broad thinking administrative type personnel for a number of years. In fact, it did not come into the picture until Jim Mitchell came in and brought in "Jock" [James T.] O'Connell.

HESS: While the period of the Truman administration is known as a period of strife and strikes -- strikes started in in 1945 and ran all the way through to the big steel strike of '52 -- did you have any particular involvement in the...

DODSON: I didn't have particular involvement because you see in my particular capacity of being administrative officer, why, I did not get into the actual, oh, strikes or operating type problems with an individual company,

[85]

plant or union. I do recall that there was a slew of them, and of course, we had to carry over the War Labor Board in the picture there. And going back to the Roosevelt administration -- I don't know how -- this is going to mess you up a little bit.

HESS: That's fine, that's all right.

DODSON: Miss Perkins could have had the War Labor Board in the Department of Labor, but again with her vision of looking ahead, she said it should not be in the Department of Labor because the War Labor Board people will have to crack the whip, and she said Labor Department people shouldn't get used to a climate of that sort, so therefore, she recommended to Roosevelt that the War Labor Board be separate. And I think she just about picked all the names of the people that went on the

[86]

War Labor Board. Roosevelt relied upon her. She was also the contact with the White House for -- like the National Labor Relations Board, these independent labor agencies that did not have direct access in those days to the White House. And so she really in a sense was the mouthpiece and presenter of problems of those independent labor organizations, Railway Mediation Board. There was very close working relations but this is something people don't really understand.

HESS: There was always a great deal of talk about getting the NLRB in the Department of Labor.

DODSON: It was at one time. And then it was transferred out. And then while I was there, some of the people of the National Labor Relations Board wanted to come back to the

[87]

Labor Department, but for housekeeping purposes, that meant the budget, finance, and that sort of thing. And so I worked with some members of the War Labor Board, but it passed out, it didn't materialize. And then there was some people later on wanted to get the Immigration Service back into the Labor Department. Miss Perkins was very glad to get rid of the Immigration Service. You could -- there was one office right within two or three doors of her office that was kept for Congressmen's assistants to come down. They'd come down and want to get relief for somebody, and it was a case of where so much attention had to be paid to these requests, because they came from important people, and too much time was taken up. And so when the Immigration Service left the Labor Department there wasn't any tears shed. Several

[88]

people thought it ought to come back to the Labor Department. This was back, oh, ten, twelve years ago, but there was no effort made on the part of the Labor Department to get it.

HESS: We're coming down to the end of this reel of tape.

All right, sir.

DODSON: Well, one of the things I recall in the Truman administration was that, I think I said earlier, that people knew where they stood, he talked plainly, and during his administration Assistant Secretaries were known as the "Little Cabinet" and there wasn't so many of us in those days and so the Little Cabinet would have meetings and it made you feel that you were really a part of the -- of the top government and...

[89]

HESS: Who else served on that Little Cabinet at that time?

DODSON: Well, all the Assistant Secretaries for all of the departments. But take in those days, the Labor Department, why, we had no more than three Assistant Secretaries. And you take even the other larger departments wouldn't have but very few, so you had a workable group that you could get together, and we even had a social organization going among the Assistant Secretaries where we got to know one another and this sort of thing. But the main thing I have in mind is that we were referred to as the Little Cabinet and it gave you a little feeling of importance, whereas, I feel now that Assistant Secretaryships are a dime a dozen and so they've lost their prestige to a great extent.

[90]

But when Truman, just before he left office, he had a dinner at the White House for the Little Cabinet and so we were all invited there and we had the gold service treatment, and this happened to be the night Margaret Truman was making her debut with -- on TV with the comedian...

HESS: It slips my mind.

DODSON: It'll come back to me. And he had -- while we were in sort of a U shaped arrangement, he had TVs all around. So, we had a very lovely dinner, and a sociable kind of time and when the hour for the TV show came on, why, we were all quiet and watched the show. It was Milton Berle. And we watched the show and afterwards we had conversations with him, and then he greeted us -- I mean bid us all good night and had some words to say to each of us.

[91]

And this is another thing: Mrs. Truman in office, I really feel conducted herself very, very well. And at that time at one of the affairs for officials, I took my daughter and oh, she was maybe nineteen years old then and so when I introduced her, Mrs. Truman just took and talked to her for a few minutes and held up the line, was very nice. And it wasn't this sort of patent medicine greeting that you get, it was more of the personal type of -- like you knew them. And this was the same thing with Mr. Truman. So, we gained a very good impression. My daughter was quite flattered about the attention that she got.

I don't know whether you've got down on your list the name of Dave Stowe?

HESS: Well, he's one of our White House staff members.

[92]

DODSON: Yes.

HESS: Tell me about Mr. Stowe.

DODSON: Well, Dave Stowe originally started in the Employment Service in North Carolina, and I had sort of the same relationship with him in a sense, I had some responsibility for allocation of funds and so forth, as I did with the State of Missouri. And Dave was, oh, he was smart, a good administrator and a tough operator. Then he transferred up to the Bureau of the Budget and he became the examiner for the Department of Labor's estimates; all labor estimates and social security estimates. He was about the toughest examiner we ever had, but everybody liked Dave. It's the way you go about the job. And this is what I meant when I said earlier, we had tougher reviews during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations than any of the others. Well, government was

[93]

getting larger and the budget staff could not get sufficient operational substance in their minds of government agencies, so they went to formulas, and the easiest way to build up an appropriation is to put it on a formula basis because you should be better able to present the items that go into that formula than they are to break it down. They didn't get around to the offices to check up. Now during the Truman administration and Roosevelt administration, the estimators would visit the Department. They would go through and see some of the operations and they had more than just a desk knowledge of what was going on and, well, the toughest budgetary times I went through was really Roosevelt and Truman days.

HESS: Did you ever have occasion to work with Mr. Stowe after he moved over to the White House?

[94]

DODSON: Yes.

HESS: He worked with John Steelman first and then he was an administrative assistant on his own.

DODSON: Yes. At one time the Bureau of Labor Standards of the Department, wanted to get authority to have a National Conference on Safety, prevention of accidents in industry, and the chief of that bureau had presented a program to Schwellenbach and he wouldn't go along with it. And so, he came to me and said, "What do we do about this," because I thought it was a good thing and he knew I did, so he said, "What will we do about it?"

Well, I said, "We'll have to find some way to get a copy of it over to Mr. Steelman."

So, through Dave Stowe I got the copy to Mr. Steelman; the Executive order came out creating the National Safety Conference,

[95]

and so the Secretary had to go along with it. Now, another thing that we had at that time was this President's Committee on Employ the Handicapped. It was created as sort of an independent outfit, but was housed in the Labor Department and we did certain housekeeping work for them, but there was always problems of Labor Department's responsibility in connection with it. And some of our people really wanted to administratively control the committee. So, there had to be a rewriting of that Executive order. (It was either an Executive order or a regulation.) And so, again, I worked with Dave Stowe on working up words which I thought was fair to the Labor Department and to the President's committee. And so for a number of years Dave Stowe and I, on the birthday of the President's committee used to get invited to it because we had

[96]

engineered some -- with results through John Steelman, who was eventually -- who was the last one to say something, I guess, in the way of recommendation to the President within the White House.

But Dave Stowe was a very knowledgeable person, and by gosh he didn't go for these formulas whole hog. But in later years the formula got to be prevailing and when you are taking nine million applications for unemployment insurance and then their renewal application (they come in every week or every two weeks), and then you say it takes five minutes, all you've got to do is add a half a minute on or a quarter of a minute, and you had a good safety factor in your estimate. And this is the way an awful lot of things come out of Government today. Now I grant you, you've got to have something of

[97]

that sort, but that, without having some basic knowledge of the operation, enables the bureau that is making up the estimate to be in a much stronger position to put over its estimate than the people who were trying to tear it down.

HESS: Do you recall if Admiral Ross T. McIntyre was connected with the Employ the Handicapped Committee?

DODSON: Yes, he was the head of it for a long time.

HESS: Did you have any dealings with him?

DODSON: Yes, I always presented their budget, or at least it went to the Budget Bureau and to Congress, just the same as any other bureau. So part of our procedure was to have a little dress rehearsal in the office before we went up to Capitol Hill. Because of my visits up

[98]

there I would know what questions were bothering the committee members and we'd rehearse what position we were going to take, so it was like a football coach getting the team geared up.

HESS: Well, one of the important laws that was passed during that period of time was the Taft-Hartley law in 1947. What was your opinion of the Taft-Hartley law?

DODSON: Well, again being in administrative positions, I'm not a real good person to answer your questions on that. I did observe a lot of discussions and all. It wasn't in my real field of responsibility.

HESS: During the period of time that you were there did you ever have very many occasions to work with some of the major labor leaders, John L. Lewis, Phil [Philip] Murray, and William

[99]

Green and A.F. Whitney?

DODSON: No, I wouldn't have worked directly with them. My direct working relationships was usually with the legislative representatives and that was giving them information with regard to budget requests. I do know that Frances Perkins worked with -- I was the observer one time of a conference or a discussion that she was having with Lewis, and she talked very plainly to him.

HESS: What was the occasion, do you recall?

DODSON: Well, there was a strike going to come off among the coal miners and she just told him plain, she said, "You and the mine operators get together and you both profit on this. Now why don't you both stop it?" And he had great respect for her and when Miss Perkins left, with all that was said about her, they

[100]

had a dinner for her at the Mayflower, the head of the AF of L and the head of the CIO (they were both separate in those days), they couldn't say enough good things about Miss Perkins.

HESS: Now you mentioned the legislative representatives of some of the organizations, did you ever work with Andrew J. Biemiller of the AFL-CIO?

DODSON: Yes, a former Congressman.

HESS: Former Congressman from Wisconsin I believe.

DODSON: Yes, I think you're right.

HESS: Is he an effective legislative representative?

DODSON: Well now, as far as before the Appropriations Committee, no.

[101]

HESS: What was his stumbling block?

DODSON: Well...

HESS: Why did he fail to perform effectively?

DODSON: I think he was too direct, too demanding, too pushy.

HESS: Yeah.

DODSON: He didn't sell.

HESS: Now Lewis Schwellenbach died on June 10th of 1948. What do you recall about the search for a replacement for Mr. Schwellenbach?

DODSON: Well again, I wasn't in on the search for a replacement for Mr. Schwellenbach, and I really don't know anything, that is something that was handled strictly politically, and I wasn't in really the political field. I

[102]

was supposed to be the career Assistant Secretary and I was not in on it, but then he was succeeded by Maurice Tobin wasn't he?

HESS: That is correct and Maurice Tobin came in about August which was shortly after the convention. Of course, that was a very important year, that was the year of the '48 election and Mr. Schwellenbach died -- actually the President was out in the West on a campaign trip, the pre-campaign swing through the West, at the time that he heard of Secretary Schwellenbach's death. And then was the time of the convention in Philadelphia when Mr. Truman was again picked to head the party and then in the following month, on August the 13th of 1948, Mr. Tobin was sworn in. What kind of a Secretary of Labor did Mr. Tobin make?

DODSON: Well, Tobin right from the beginning, his

[103]

personal appearance was really great, and his speechmaking ability was great, and he immediately started to build up the morale in the Department, right from the very beginning. He made just the reverse kind of an entree that Schwellenbach did.

HESS: Did the Democratic Party place too many demands upon him for personal appearances?

DODSON: That's my opinion, because I got to working very closely with Secretary Tobin and Tobin would be requested, oh, so many times, to appear before groups because he was an excellent speaker, excellent appearance, and the Democratic Party was always placing demands on him. I told him at one time he was going to injure his health because he had an awful cough and I said, "You're exhausted because when you get exhausted, why, you get to that coughing stage,"

[104]

and the demands were so great that sometimes I would have to conduct business with him at breakfast at his apartment, because...

HESS: He wasn't going to be in the Department later in the day, is that right?

DODSON: Well, if he was, there were other appointments and problems, and in one sense the administrative problems did not loom as great as we'll say labor and political problems did, so that in order for me to get some advice and guidance on problems I had, he would invite me to have breakfast with him. And so, I had that on several occasions in his apartment. And he actually started the Department again on the upgrade.

HESS: After the Schwellenbach era.

DODSON: Yes.

[105]

HESS: During the campaign trip that Mr. Truman took in June, during a speech that he made in Los Angeles he referred to the Labor Department, and he said that he would like to restore it to its former stature and he specifically mentioned that he would like to have the U.S. Employment Service and the Conciliation Service moved back into the Department. So, there were moves at various times to move some of these (we discussed this a minute ago, but I don't think we discussed these two particular ones). There were moves afoot all the time during the Truman administration to rebuild the Labor Department to what it had been, correct?

DODSON: Yes. The Employment Service did come back to the Labor Department. The Conciliation Service never came back. Now Judge Schwellenbach could have had the Conciliation Service back in the Labor Department, but the Congress

[106]

qualified it "for housekeeping purposes." He wouldn't take it for housekeeping purposes, but I think he made a big mistake because you can do an awful lot through the housekeeping end if you do it right.

HESS: And then I believe that Michael J. Galvin was the Under Secretary of...

DODSON: Yes, Under Secretary under Tobin.

HESS: Under Tobin.

DODSON: Yes.

HESS: What kind of a gentleman was he, how effective was he, what were your relationships with him?

DODSON: Well, he was the Under Secretary and I did report a lot of the things to the Under Secretary. This is true all the way through, whenever we had an Under Secretary. On the other

[107]

hand, I always had the open door to go direct to the Secretary if I felt it necessary to. And Galvin was really a nice man to work with. You might not always agree with...

HESS: With what he had to say.

DODSON: What he had to say, but he was a real good person to work with and you could sway him, you could get him to change his mind some. He came from New England, as I remember, and a former Congressman I believe. And I would say that people in the Department, in general, liked Galvin. They did not always agree with his business point of view.

HESS: Did most of the people in the Department like Mr. Tobin?

DODSON: Yes. Yes, very much.

HESS: And going through the Official Register,

[108]

another name that my eye landed on was Philip M. Kaiser, who was the Director of the Office of International Labor Affairs.

DODSON: Yeah, and he became Assistant Secretary in charge of it and they created the assistant secretaryships. Philip Kaiser succeeded Dave [David] Morse. Dave Morse is -- I think he still is today, head of the Labor Conference in Geneva. And Phil is a smart young man and I think did a good job in there. He had a tough one to follow in Dave Morse because Dave Morse was excellent in his job and -- but on a whole our international labor affairs went along pretty good -- I mean went along good under Phil Kaiser. He's over in London now, by the way.

HESS: He was Ambassador to Mauritania and Senegal for a little while.

DODSON: He's gone with the Encyclopaedia Britannica,

[109]

he's in charge of their London office. I happen to know that -- well I won't put this on tape.

HESS: And in 1952 you became Administrative Assistant Secretary of Labor, correct?

DODSON: Administrative Assistant Secretary.

HESS: Administrative Assistant Secretary. Administrative Assistant Secretary of Labor. Now you held this position for the rest of your time, is that right?

DODSON: Yes.

HESS: Now this brings up the interesting subject of the necessity of having a permanent administrative assistant who is going to remain in the Department through all the political changes. What is your estimation of the value of having someone in a position of this nature? To help in transition?

[110]

DODSON: Well, I think if the job is carried out the way it was contemplated when it was set up, it's a valuable job. For example I would be the only one carried over of the top staff. Now, in later years as we increased top staff, the Under Secretary in the Labor Department has had an assistant, that's Millard Cass now, and he is Civil Service and he's been carried over, so there's really only two people on the Secretary's floor. And I would be the one -- Millard Cass is more on special assignment type of operations, but as far as having a responsibility for running the Department, the Administrative Assistant Secretary would have that responsibility. Now, when a new Secretary comes into office, there's a lot of guidance he can get, not so much on the -- some of it has some political vein, because some of these people come in and feel they can throw their

[111]

weight around and the first thing you know, why, you get yourself in trouble. So, you have to try to put a -- well some guidance into the picture. And one transfer we had, the Secretary wanted to do things which money wasn't appropriated for, but he wanted to do them and I'd tried to explain to him the Comptroller General wouldn't go along with this and he'd get into hot water with the congressional committees. And so he kind of accepted that at that time. And then we had another meeting a month or two later and he pointed his finger at me, he said, "Your job is to find the money."

Well, I thought, "My gosh, this is getting pretty rough," but that Secretary and I became the best of personal friends before he left. But it took some period of time of guidance and for him to see that what I was trying to do was to be helpful, but yet not get him in a tough

[112]

spot. But there's definite need in a department for somebody strong to stay on there, because you have bureau chiefs that are ambitious, and you learn from staying there how they might try to go around and engineer certain things. So, you can tip the Secretary off to some of these things, and so that he will be on the lookout, to be a little guarded.

So, before Goldberg became Secretary I had made it known during Mitchell's administration I wanted to retire and Mitchell said I have six more months to go and he said, "Oh, come on, stay on Jimmy, for the next six months anyway." Well, I knew if I stayed on for him that the incoming one wanted me to stay on I'd have to stay six months.

So, evidently Secretary Mitchell told Mr. Goldberg that I was thinking about retiring and, oh, a month before he took office, he

[113]

called me up to his law office and started talking to me and said, "You forget about retiring." And we went over all the whole Department and all, and this is more or less in answer to your question, about the value of this, so I'm sure I was of real value to Arthur Goldberg, and before the six months was up, why, he had worked on me and on my wife. My wife is my second wife, and her husband died at forty years of age, and she didn't want another heart attack, and I work hard when I work. She was after me to retire. And so he worked on me and so I stayed on another six months and then I left after one year of Arthur Goldberg's administration.

HESS: Were there times during the Truman administration when you would go in to see Mr. Truman personally on business?

[114]

DODSON: Only when he was in the Senate. Steelman and Dave Stowe at the White House. It would be the Secretary that would go to see the President.

HESS: And then you mentioned they were quite helpful in the different times when you would go see them.

DODSON: Oh, yes, we engineered several things that I'm sure were helpful to the Department. This Handicapped Committee thing is still going on, the safety thing, I think, is still going on.

HESS: Did you ever work with Mr. Truman's Special Counsels who were Clark Clifford and Charles Murphy?

DODSON: No, I've just met them, that's all.

HESS: When you would go you would work through Steelman...

[115]

DODSON: And Stowe.

HESS: Okay. What do you recall about the period of the transition from the Truman administration to the Eisenhower administration?

DODSON: Well, we had been -- it meant a lot of work in my particular area, and also again, this gets to the point of being helpful to the incoming Secretary. The Truman budget had gone up on the Hill, and we had hearings on the Truman budget. And when Mr. Eisenhower came in, he wanted to effectuate some economies. Then we had to make up what we call the Eisenhower budget which was readjusting the whole budget and then to go again on the Hill for hearings. It didn't affect us too much, but we lost a few dollars I think from the Truman -- President Truman's budget, but not a great deal. But the thing that happened was that Ike's budget for the whole Government was cut down so much

[116]

we went into unemployment. And before that year was out, we were asked, in along in the end of April, to start spending next year's money which hadn't been appropriated, but we were given special authority, monies for equipment, supplies and so forth to try to generate employment. So, the Truman budget couldn't have been too far off, because before we got through we were spending as much money by advance spending.

HESS: He was somewhat more realistic than the Eisenhower budget then?

DODSON: Well, I think so. I think so because of the fact that they had to start up another advance spending program, which is unusual. I've never known it before and I haven't known it after.

HESS: How soon after the election in November

[117]

when General Eisenhower was selected, or elected, over Adlai Stevenson did the Eisenhower people start to show up in the Department?

DODSON: Well, it wasn't long.

HESS: Who came in, did Mr. [Martin P.] Durkin, was he appointed then?

DODSON: Durkin came in and he brought in Lloyd Mashburn as Under Secretary. He came from California. And Martin Durkin showed up pretty quickly, and the Assistant Secretaries were all picked. It wasn't too much of a lag there as I remember.

HESS: Did Sherman Adams have anything to do with the transition over there in the Department?

DODSON: Oh, Sherman Adams took Steelman's job, only stronger so. And he started issuing,

[118]

well, some statements and regulations. I can't remember specifically, but one time during, we had sessions at the budget, and he called a session of all of the top administrative people, in the White House, and gave us a pep talk on savings and so forth and so on. That was the closest that I think the White House ever came into really day to day administration of the departments. Now, I think maybe they're getting into it now, but in the old days, the Sherman Adams day was the closest to trying to really get into day to day administration.

HESS: How would you evaluate the success of that transition in 1953 from Truman to Eisenhower?

DODSON: Well, it was a little rough because they picked Durkin, being strictly a labor leader, which was against all of the thinking of all

[119]

Secretaries that had been in there, as they expressed it to me, that the Department was an organization for all workers and not just labor unions. And Durkin and Mashburn, the Under Secretary, came from the plasterers -- lathers and plasterers union, and it was not too good a start. It was too pro-labor that came into the Department all at one time.

HESS: Did that represent somewhat of a misunderstanding of the role of the Department of Labor among the Eisenhower people who were coming in?

DODSON: I would think so. I would think so.

HESS: Did that attitude change?

DODSON: Well, yes, it changed not during the Durkin administration, he was only there about a year when he died. Durkin was a very nice

[120]

gentleman and was easy to get along with, and the funny thing about it (this was very unusual, all Secretaries of Labor have worked ungodly hours), but Lloyd Mashburn at 5 o'clock cleaned off his desk and left. I mean Durkin and Mashburn.

HESS: Both of them?

DODSON: Yeah, they worked 9 to 5. And it was really funny because, good gosh, the other Secretaries had spent evenings, Saturdays, all kinds of time. And Miss Perkins actually one day talking with her, she said she had so much reading material to keep up with things that she took a glass of cold water to her bedside with her, not for drinking, but to wipe her eyes out to keep them open.

HESS: That's dedication isn't it?

DODSON: Oh, she was really dedicated. She was a

[121]

good honest person.

HESS: Now, one personal question: In 1953 you received the Distinguished Service Award from Secretary of Labor at that time, Mr. Durkin. What were the acts that you received that award for?

DODSON: I'll have to read.

HESS: Reading it off the wall, is this the one?

DODSON: The citation on the award says, "For -- oh, beg your pardon, this is the wrong...

HESS: This is the one from Mitchell.

DODSON: The citation on the award says, "For his exceptionally able leadership and direction of the Department's Fiscal and Management Affairs and for his many achievements in behalf of the employees," and it's signed by

[122]

Martin Durkin.

HESS: And this one from James Mitchell is 1961. Would you read that one?

DODSON: "For his outstanding contributions in the preparation of the Department's annual budget, and for his skillful leadership in coordinating its presentation and in promoting understanding of its significant features in the Congress."

HESS: Now, what is your evaluation of his replacement Mr. Mitchell? And I think you mentioned earlier that you had a very high opinion of him and rated him along with Miss Perkins, is that right?

DODSON: Yes. Secretary Mitchell was a very good administrator and was easy to work with and made friends, made lots of friends for the

[123]

Department. Its public relations and the public eye increased I think tremendously during his administration. He was always for seeing new things and constantly having meetings in his office, going over possibilities of new programs and expansion of current programs in the Department.

HESS: And just briefly what is your opinion of John Kennedy's Secretary of Labor, Mr. Goldberg?

DODSON: Arthur Goldberg was well received in the Department, well-liked by everyone and was very valuable to the Department, probably more so than anyone else, in developing a good public relations program for the Department of Labor.

HESS: Today do you see any changes that should be made in the Department of Labor to improve its

[124]

functions, to improve its service to the country?

DODSON: Well, of course, I'm not in too good a position, having been retired for some eight years, but what I have, gathered, and this is not related totally to the Department of Labor, the top staffs of Government have been increased to an extent that it doesn't move as fast or as direct as it should, and very often the end product gets diluted by some theoretical thinking rather than by people who have had practical experience in the operations. In short, I often have said this: "There is too many Mexican generals in the Government today."

HESS: In your opinion what are the major accomplishments of the Truman administration?

DODSON: Oh, I think in carrying out the New Deal, many things such as principally in my mind, the

[125]

Social Security program which developed the various programs for helping the -- well, not only the poor and needy, but those people who had hardship in losing a job, it made a temporary stopgap and it certainly is a help to the economy for an income to be coming in when a factory is closed down or a large number of people are unemployed. Now, in the foreign relations field I think, however I'm not qualified to talk in detail on it, I think that some of the things that he did in the foreign relations field, or his administration, have certainly been an asset to the country.

HESS: What do you think Mr. Truman's place in history will be? Just one or two hundred years from now how will historians and members of the general public see Mr. Truman?

DODSON: I've said over the years that Mr. Truman will

[126]

be rated as one of the better Presidents. I think he accomplished a lot.

HESS: Do you have anything else to add on Mr. Truman or on the Department of Labor or on your duties?

DODSON: No, I don't believe I have. Oh, this is something that's just a side issue, and it may have a little...

HESS: That's good, that's a lot what oral history is.

DODSON: Well, all through the years -- I say all through the years, at least through the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, tuxedos were acceptable at the White House. When President Eisenhower came into office it was fulldress. And I know the first reception I was invited to it was hard to find a place

[127]

to rent a fulldress suit around Washington, they were all taken up. And that sort of pomp and circumstance took place all the way through the Eisenhower administration.

Another factor that took place in the Eisenhower administration was that they started steps to remove the Administrative Assistant Secretary from Civil Service and to also make him a political Assistant Secretary and I was the -- one of the people, or one of the persons that would have been affected, but they were not successful. Congress wouldn't stand for it.

HESS: All for one day?

DODSON: I think so unless you've got any questions.

HESS: That's about it.

Thank you very much.

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


List of Subjects Discussed

    Abrahamson, Albert, 82
    Adams, Sherman, 117-118
    Altmeyer, Arthur, 40-41
    Andrews, Elmer, 42

    Bell, Daniel W., 19
    Berle, Milton, and TV program, 90
    Biemiller, Andrew J., 100-101
    Burr, Walter, 34

    Candlewick Bedspread Company, 27
    Carson, John, 64-65
    Cass, Millard, 110
    Civilian Conservation Corps, 12
    Comeaux, Ike, 56
    Connelly, Edward, 65
    Cruzen, Edna May, 35-36, 52

    Davis, James J., 8-9
    Dawes, Charles G., 18, 19
    Demorest, John R., 48-49
    Doak, William N., 9-10
    Dodson, James E.:

      biographical data, 1-7
      and budget requests of the Department of Labor, 17, 19-21
      as Chief Clerk and Budget Officer, summary, 50-51
      Department of Labor, views on, 124
      Distinguished Service Award, receives, 121-122
      Governmental administration as "selling," theory of, 21-22
      Hopkins, Harry, meeting with, 38
      Perkins, Frances, relationship with, 81-82
      Permanent administrative assistants, views on, 109-112
      and President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, writing of Executive order on, 95
      and Schwellenbach, Lewis, estimation of, 68-69
      and Schwellenbach, Lewis, swearing in, 76
      Tobin, Maurice, estimation of, 102-104
      Truman, Harry S.:
        dinner with, 90
        and "Little Cabinet," 90
        meetings with, 36-37, 91, 113, 114
        and Wage and Hour Division, 42-45
    Durkin, Martin P., 117, 118-120

    Eidlitz, Otto M., 2
    Eisenhower, Dwight D., and "full dress" rules at White House social functions, 126-127

    Fair Labor Standards Act, 15
    Fleming, Philip B., 6, 42, 44

    Galvin, Michael J., 106-107
    Gibson, John W., 69
    Goldberg, Arthur, 20, 24, 112-113, 123
    Gompers, Samuel J., 47

    Hare, Butler Black, 27
    Hopkins, Harry, 38
    Hudson, V. Singleton, 45-46, 47-48

    Immigration Service, removal from Labor Department, 87

    Johnson, Keen, 83

    Kaiser, Philip M., 108-109
    Keefe, Frank B., 70-74, 75

    Labor Department, reorganization of, 105-106
    Labor unions, role in Department of Labor budgeting, 22-27
    Lenroot, Katharine, 54
    Lewis, John L., 99
    "Little Cabinet" (Departmental Assistant Secretaries), 88-90

    McIntyre, Ross T., 97-98
    Mashburn, Lloyd, 117, 119, 120
    Minton, Sherman, 76
    Mitchell, James P., 14, 112, 122-123
    Moran, Carl, 63-64
    Morse, David, 108

    National Reemployment Service, inception of, 33-34
    New Deal program, inauguration of, 11-12

    O'Connell, James T., 84

    Perkins, Frances, 6, 7, 12-14, 30, 36, 40, 81, 82, 85-86, 99-100, 120, 121
    Persons, W. Frank, 5, 13, 29-31, 34
    President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, 95-96, 97

    Roosevelt, Eleanor, 29-31

    Schnitzler, William F., 24-25
    Schwellenbach, Lewis B., 53-55, 66, 68-69, 70-73, 75-78, 94
    "Secret Six" in the Labor Department, 54, 55-57, 63, 66-67
    Sherman, Louis, 79-80
    Sherwood, Benjamin R., 49-50
    Smith, Harold, 17, 21
    Smith, Robert C., 78-79, 81-82
    Steelman, John R., 56-63, 94
    Stowe, David, 91-96, 114

    Tarver, Malcolm C., 27
    Tobin, Maurice, 102-104, 107
    Tracy, Daniel W., 79-80
    Transition from Truman to Eisenhower administrations, 115-117, 118-119
    Truman, Harry S.:

      and daughter of James E. Dodson, meeting, with, 91
      estimation of, 124-126
      "Little Cabinet," dinner with, 90
      and the National Reemployment Service in Missouri, 34-35
      Perkins, Frances, meets with, 36-37
      and sculpting of bust, 36
    Truman, Mrs. Harry S., 91
    Truman, Margaret, and Milton Berle's TV program, 90

    U.S. Employment Service, 4-6
    U.S. Employment Service and state employment services in 1933, 32
    U.S. Housing Corporation (World War I), 3-4

    Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor, inception of, 41-45
    Warren, Edgar, 70-71, 73
    Watts, Jesse C., 46-47
    Wilson, William B., 7, 8

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