Oral History Interview with
Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1934-41; Chief Investigator for the Truman Committee (U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program), 1941-45; Chief Investigator for the Warren Commission on Organized Crime (State of California), 1948-50; and Assistant Counsel and Chief Investigator for the Kefauver Committee (U.S. Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce), 1950-51.
Harold G. Robinson
March 6, 1971
by J. R. Fuchs
See also Harold G. Robinson Papers finding
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate
the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 October 1971
Harry S. Truman Library
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
Oral History Interview with
Harold G. Robinson
March 6, 1971
by J. R. Fuchs
FUCHS: What was your job?
ROBINSON: I majored in accounting, and at the time that I was in the FBI they used me on quite a number of, shall we call them "technical surveillances," that was the polite term.. You can figure out what they are.
My 220 pounds don't fit very good around the crossarm on a telegraph pole up there, particularly when it's icy; and an occasion came up where they called me and said the telephone man had been around, he saw the duplicate wire and they were wondering whether he suspected anything. So, I told them to go back up where I had put the jumper on and look around the bottom of the telegraph pole, and if there were footprints, there had been somebody up the pole, and if someone had been up there he'd have found it. So, they called me back and said, "Yes, it was pretty well tromped down and get over and get it out." Well, that pole had about an inch and a half of ice and sleet on it. It wasn't too bad going up, but after you get up
there you start figuring, "How the hell am I going to get down? At my discretion."
So, I wrote out my resignation. I felt that all of this work was confidential, nobody even mentioned it in any official reports of any kind. And I originally entered the Bureau as an accountant and when you put me back on accounting work where a report goes across the supervisor's desk now and then, it can probably take care of that salary deficiency that I was suffering. I was the man that nobody knew. So, they didn't quite see it that way, so I quit.
FUCHS: What year was that?
FUCHS: What year did you start with the FBI?
ROBINSON: ‘34. I ran the radio station to Hamburg, Germany. We fixed up the radio station that operated to Hamburg for a year and a half, that later became the theme of Confessions of a Nazi Spy -- no, The House on 92nd Street, that's the movie. I got fifty dollars a month from the Gestapo for serving as a sort of a double agent.
So, in any event, naval intelligence wanted me to come in and I went down and talked to them; and there was a question about my accumulated annual leave. The FBI was right at the peak of operation and they wouldn't talk about how much overtime you put in, never mind the
annual leave. So, it piled up. And the Navy said, "Well, of course, if you come in on a commissioned basis, it will be transferred; a civilian appointment is considered rather temporary in the Navy and your accrued annual leave won't transfer. I said, "It's nice knowing you fellows."
So, I went back to Justice at Ninth and Constitution and walked in to see Assistant Attorney General Tom Dodd, who is now United States Senator. I had worked on the Atlantic City National Bank cases with him years back when he was Special Assistant. Just as I went into Justice, Hugh Fulton came down in an elevator and he said, "Robby, you're just the guy I'm looking for. I hear you quit the Bureau."
And I said, "Yes."
"Well, I just got a call from Bob Jackson upstairs, the Attorney General, and I've got to go over to Capitol Hill and see some junior Senator from Missouri, I think his name is Truman or some such name as that. And where are you going to be tonight?"
And I said, "I'll be at the Raleigh Hotel."
FUCHS: How did he know you?
ROBINSON: Oh, hell yes. Fulton was a -- well, we go back
to the Associated Gas and Electric Company. Three hundred and eighty-two subsidiary companies. I analyzed one ledger account for one year and there were fourteen other agents besides me. Three hundred and eighty-two companies. You start with a transaction in the Rochester Electric and end up out in the Manila Electric, or all over. The company was put together by this accounting genius Howard Colwell Hopson. After working on it over a long period of time in the old Park Row Building across from the Woolworth Building there on lower Broadway, we submitted a report. Jake Rosenbloom who later went over with Dewey, said, "This is too big for our judicial process. In other words, I am supposed to unravel all of these corporate transactions to the point where I understand them, and then present it in a manner so that the twelve good men on that jury -- I'm supposed to communicate that to them, and it can't be done. This case is just too big for our judicial process."
He had a point. I'd hate like hell to have to be a prosecutor and try to orient the jury on what was involved in that case. It was too complicated. So, they appointed a fellow from Cravath, deGersdorf, Swaine and Wood, that big law firm in New York, named Fulton; and he came in and he called a staff meeting
of all the agents and said, "This is quite a report you've got here."
"And I'll tell you what we're going to do about it. We're just going to forget it."
And with that he threw the report over his shoulder into the waste basket. Well, there goes our labor of love for about twelve months and we were very much incensed.
He said, "Just don't get excited, here's what I'll do. I'll make you a promise. You go out and get me the answer to just one simple question. How much did he get? If you will do that then I will assure you that someone's going to end up in jail."
Well, this is Fulton's strong point. I think he's "the greatest" on cross-examination of anybody I ever knew. He'll lead you out to the end of a limb and then cut the limb off. Other Senate committees borrowed Fulton to cross-examine fellows like General [Brehon B.] Somervell. You've got to be sharp on your feet in order to be able to tackle that martinet general.
We went out and got the answer; Howard Colwell Hopson ended up in jail. We worked together on the William Fox case and the Fox Theatres case and the
Judge Davis Case; corruption in office, and the Martin T. Manten case in the First District of New York, he was convicted of misconduct in office. So, there were a lot of cases that I had worked with Hugh.
FUCHS: You as an FBI agent?
ROBINSON: I as an FBI and he as Assistant Attorney General. or a Special Prosecutor. So, he called me at the Raleigh Hotel that night, and he said, "Well, Robby, it looks promising, but there are a couple more things I've got to run out. You're going to be in town tomorrow?"
I says, "Yeah."
"Well," he says, "I'll tell you, this proposed committee is going to investigate the waste in defense spending in the hopes that by doing it concurrently with the program you can eliminate some of the waste. During the previous World War it had the Graham Committee who developed reams and reams of testimony on how not to run a war, and that's all it accomplished. But on the theory that you don't park your car by a fire hydrant when you see the cop on the corner, the fact that the committee's in being," he said, "it has its possibilities and it's not going to get into any military strategy, which was a mistake they made during the Civil War. But," he said, "Bob Patterson was a former Federal Judge in the Southern
District. We've had cases before him, he's now Undersecretary of War. Jim Forrestal of Dillon Reed, used to be with the Cravath firm, he's now Undersecretary of the Navy. I think if we get to an understanding with those two people, and convince them that this is not a witch hunt, that we want to do an objective, constructive job here, we can make it. I'm going to see them tomorrow." So, that's how this thing got started and our first effort was in camp construction. We were building camps at that time for soldiers. Manpower was short. I told General Somervell at one time (he was Constructing Quartermaster General at that time), I told him the story about the mental institution. They had a need for a storage building and they couldn't get it in their state budget, so the superintendent went through the inmates and he screened out probably ten of them that were a little more rational than the others, and then he did another screening and he picked the one outstanding out of the ten as sort of a foreman. And they started building the building and he stopped out there to see how they were going along. And the fellow who was nailing on siding, he'd dip in his apron and pull out a nail and throw it over his shoulder.
After about six or seven nails went over his shoulder, he'd get one and he'd drive it in. And the foreman went over to him and he said, "What's the idea throwing all those nails away?"
He says, "Some stupid guy put the head on the wrong end."
The foreman says, "You dumb bastard, those are for the other side of the building."
So, Somervell says, "That is what I've been building these camps with. That's what I've got." He says, "You've taken all this manpower in the country, and anybody can go down to Sears Roebuck and buy a saw and a square, not that they know how to use them, but they know how to buy them, and then he'd go over and apply for union membership and you're building camps. That's what I've been building camps with."
So, from there we went to ordnance plants and they sent me down to Memphis, Milan, Tennessee, just outside of Jackson, and about the same time I arrived in town, Investigator McTigue, I think his name was as I recall it, from the House Military Affairs Committee, arrived in town. And I called back to Fulton and I says, "Well, I don't know whether this is going to be a rat race, but this is Cliff Davis' home territory and he doesn't want any big scandal in his
FUCHS: He was who, Cliff Davis?
ROBINSON: He was a Congressman from Memphis.
Now, the Commercial Appeal was pushing. So, I said, "The way I got it sized up, I'll just mark time until they have their big clambake, Rotary luncheon and motorcycle escorts, and leave town, and I'm bound to have anything that they have and the Commercial Appeal is only too happy to give it to me because they know I'll do something with it; and if we come up with more than they came up with, then their faces will be red."
He said, "That's good strategy."
So, I sat back and the Commercial Appeal made the Pulitzer Prize for that expose.
FUCHS: The year, do you recall the year that it was?
ROBINSON: No, but I have a clip here about it. I was staying at the Peabody Hotel and had a call Sunday morning -- these are the little colorations I think that you want as to the man. Got a call about seven thirty in the morning.
I said, "Yes, sir."
"This is the chairman."
I said, "Oh, Senator, where are you?"
He says, "Downstairs in the lobby. Now, I thought it was a nice day, how far is this ordnance plant from Memphis?"
"Oh," I said, "about sixty miles up country."
"Be just a nice drive. We're going to have hearings on it tomorrow and I want to know what it looks like in the flesh."
So, I came down and we had breakfast, and started up country. As we were going along, we got talking about one thing or another, and I said something about how I liked to get out in the backyard and dig and do a little gardening here and there and he says, "You and I both Robby. You know, Margaret's got one more year at the Denver School of Music [or the Colorado School of Music, wherever she was going]. I'll get that out of the way, and just give me one pair of Headlight overalls and I'll be happy back on the farm."
He didn't want that White House. He wanted to finish his term as a Senator and go back home. So, we got out there and drove all over the project and came back.
I like to make sure that my witnesses are going to be available when the hearing starts. It's embarrassing as hell when you try to call a witness and he isn't there, he's "chickened out" or something
Well, these are all Army employees. You recently heard what happened to Fitzgerald, the cost analyst on the Navy overrun on the F-105. He isn't there anymore. The services say that they don't do any recrimination, but you're talking to a guy that saw it in its early years. They most certainly do. So, like a condemned man, you give him his last big meal. I said to these boys, "When you get to Memphis call me and I'll check you in and make sure you're going to be on deck the following morning." So, they'd call me and of course, we had to have a snort here and there, or as the Senator used to say, "A little bourbon and branch water."
And they come up to my room. Brewster and Truman went out to some affair, I believe it was. So they come back in about 9:30, 10 o'clock, and by that time the witnesses going to the execution the following morning were a little bit boisterous in my room. As Senator Truman and Brewster came down the hall Brewster is a teetotaler, he doesn't even drink coffee -- and they hear the laughter and a little noise in my room and, "Isn't that Robby's room?
Truman says, "No, I think he's two doors down the hall."
He knew it was my room. How can you hate a
guy like that?
When we started off on the Committee, there was an article that appeared that was put together by the Committee staff on the work of the Committee, and it appeared in the American Magazine. After it was published -- of course, it appeared over Truman's byline -- the American Magazine sent a check down, and as I recall it was thirty-five hundred bucks to pay for that article. Truman sent it back and said, "I didn't write it, it was written by the staff."
The American sent the check back to Truman, and said, "We published it, the people liked it, and we want to pay for it." Just as simple as that.
So, he came to me and said, "Robby, you know you've run undercover funds before, and there are a lot of times that something will come up that you want to buy information or something and you can't get it through the disbursing office, with all their regulations, so take this check and open a special account downtown, and when something like that comes up that the disbursing office bows their neck on, you've got the money to pay for it."
So, this is what I did. And then later in the war Senator Brewster and Senator Mead went to North Africa. It was during the North African campaign, they met a lot of troops and I think they wrote a
book, collaborated on it, Tell the Folks Back Home by James Mead and Owen Brewster. So, when they returned Truman put on a welcome home dinner for them at the capitol dining room. That's what happened with the check from the American Magazine; it paid for that, even though Brewster later on wasn't particularly nice to Senator Truman, particularly on the Hughes hearings and some of the other later developments.
With the change of administration it became the Brewster Committee. He ran it a lot different from what Senator Truman did. He just didn't have that sense of fair play that Senator Truman always seemed to have.
Another little incident. Bennett Clark was the senior Senator from Missouri and he had been more or less following Senator Wheeler and Editor McCormick's isolationist policy. Here was the junior Senator, coming up fast, capturing the public fancy with a National Defense Committee. Well, apparently Missouri politics got all split up, the Milligans and the Starks, and the politics in Missouri was all chopped up. They were going to have a big get-together feast and do a lot of fence mending. They asked Truman to appear. Well, Truman -- he didn't get up late any morning.
He could picture it -- you introduce the senior Senator and "blah." And then you introduce the junior Senator -- and "wow!" and he wouldn't do that to Bennett Clark, he said, "I'll appear on one stipulation, that when the Senators are introduced, they are introduced together." That's a big man.
The Committee went on a series of hearings and Fulton was always the "patsie." He always paid the hotel bills and you know, made up the travel vouchers, and he'd end up five, six, seven hundred dollars out of pocket. So he said, "Robby, you're basically an accountant, you're going to be the Committee treasurer this trip."
So, these Senators -- I don't say this critically, I say it just because it's a fact. You always get a sitting room and a bedroom for the chairman, and the other Senators have bedrooms down the hall. But when it comes to calling room service, they always come into the chairman's sitting room and they call room service from there, or that long distance phone call home, they call on the chairman's phone. So, he has to be a little bit alert to catch them doing that; and we had with us on that trip, Sam Jackson from Indiana, remember he was a keynoter at the convention one time. So I got back to Washington. And there is
another cute trick that happens. Instead of letting someone list the prorata expenses of all participants and then claim the per diem they are entitled to as an offset, they make up their own expenses accounts as soon as they get back to Washington, it goes to the disbursing and they collect their per diem, before you can claim it. Now, I don't know whether it's deliberate or not, but it's a fact, this happened. So, I made up a statement of account and I allocated these expenses out to each one, how much per diem they had coming, and went over to the disbursing office and made sure that it was earmarked. Then I went up to Senator Truman's, Senator Kilgore's, got their check for their deficiency, and when I got up to Truman, he said, "Have you got a bill there for Sam Jackson?"
I said, "Yeah." It was, I don't know, it amounted to two, three, four hundred dollars.
He said, "Well, he was on the trip as my guest." And he drew his personal check for Sam Jackson's deficiency.
Now, a little interesting sidelight. I mentioned this to Truman in one of my letters to him which I have looked for and can't find. Phil Johnson, head of Boeing, was going to fly us to San Francisco in the new Boeing plane that they had just broken out, but
because Sam Jackson wasn't a member of the Committee, he couldn't be a passenger. The result was that none of us went rather than leave Sam Jackson to make the balance of the trip by train. So, there's nothing any more monotonous than that Southern Pacific over the Cascade Summit. And all you have to do is sit there and play poker and here were the professionals. There are no better poker players than Harry Truman and Mon Wallgren and Sam Jackson. So, I was in over my head, but it was for little -- nickels and pennies; we came along to a canteen. I think the train makes about 12 miles an hour and at a canteen there where the good ladies of the different towns would be down at the station and make up sandwiches and fruit for the troops going through, you know. So I stopped off there to get a breath of fresh air, I had been playing poker all day long; and I saw these apples, delicious, a bag full of them, about a dozen, just something to chew on, to nibble on while you were playing. Well, I came in and I think Truman sat there, Wallgren across, this bag of apples was between us. 'And I don't know, Truman got three kings and so he got preoccupied with his hand, and without looking he reached down and got an apple and he took a good healthy bite of it and all of a sudden he exploded.
He said, "Who in hell is feeding me Stark apples?" I wouldn't know a Stark apple if it were to walk up and bite me, but he did. Apparently there had been political feuding between the Starks, Governor Stark of Missouri, isn't it?
ROBINSON: And he belongs to a different political faction than Truman, and he's the one that developed this Stark apple and Truman thought he was being put on. Well, those are the little things that, oh, I don't know, they just make you like the man. I think he's great.
FUCHS: You compared Brewster with Mr. Truman as far as the chairman of the Committee. What about Mead, how did he handle the Committee compared with Mr. Truman?
ROBINSON: About the same, it just continued on.
FUCHS: Do you think he was a better chairman than Brewster?
ROBINSON: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Mead is more of a human being. I've seen Mead come into town with the Committee and -- he's got the damndest address book -- made it a point to record all the addresses in his constituency. He'd spend that first night when he arrived in town, writing post cards. "Dear Jim," and have some little friendly message, signed "James Mead." Well, the guys who got them probably showed them all over
town. "Look, I got a post card from the Senator, from Chillicothe." So, this was Jim's political gimmick, but he did have a common touch with the people. I think more so than any other Senator I've seen. He'd send those post cards. Well, Jim was, oh, he was just a different kind of person than Brewster.
FUCHS: Do you recall your first meeting with Senator Truman?
ROBINSON: My first meeting? Not particularly.
Well, there's a little story that, I say this not to be vicious, but there's a fellow in Washington. I don't know whether you ever met him or not, Charles Patrick Clark. He affects a cape, now. Well, Charlie knew his way around Washington and he'd been on committees and Hugh Fulton had -- I forget what case it was, it was still pending in New York, but he had to finish up before he could just tear himself away to come to Washington. And on one of these earlier original meetings he just told Charlie, "Well, you know your way around here. We need a room for the Committee staff and have to order the stationery, and the furnishings."
And Charlie said, "Don't you think I had ought to do this?"
"Yeah, if that's what you think, you do it. Get all of these preliminaries out of the way, so that we can get into business without having to bother with a lot of details."
So, Charlie ordered the stationery and it came out, "Hugh Fulton Counsel, Charles Patrick Clark, Associate Chief Counsel," not Assistant Chief Counsel, Associate Chief Counsel. Did you ever see those old letterheads?
FUCHS: No, I haven't.
ROBINSON: So, nothing was done about it. Finally along about the last, the Committee was about to break up, and Truman said something about Charlie Clark, or I guess Fulton said it.
FUCHS: Clark was gone by this time?
ROBINSON: Yes. And Truman said, "What the hell did you make him Associate Counsel for?"
He said, "Me? Well, I thought you did it and I didn't want to question it."
Charlie did it on his own. He was never given that position. But this was part of getting ready for the Committee's work. He ordered the stationery and he put himself on there as Associate Chief Counsel, not Assistant Chief Counsel. Now, that wasn't discovered until -- I mean Fulton thought Truman did it,
and didn't dare question it, and Truman thought Fulton did it without knowing any reason why, and Charlie was Associate Chief Counsel all the while the Committee existed.
FUCHS: Fulton hadn't mentioned it when he first saw the letterhead, to you or anyone else?
ROBINSON: No, because he figured that this was something that Truman worked out.
FUCHS: That sounds like what I've heard. Was Clark already aboard when you joined the staff?
FUCHS: Who else was?
FUCHS: Did you know him as the Chief Investigator then?
ROBINSON: I was the Chief Investigator, despite newspaper publicity.
FUCHS: Right from the beginning?
ROBINSON: Look at the Truman Committee hearings.
FUCHS: How long had Connelly been with the staff before you came on?
ROBINSON: Oh, a week or two.
FUCHS: He couldn't have carried the title long.
FUCHS: Did he think of himself…
ROBINSON: I don't think that he ever had it. I don't
think he ever had it.
FUCHS: What were your impressions of Connelly and what was his title, in your mind at least?
ROBINSON: Do you want to stop that thing and I'll tell you.
FUCHS: Well, you can still put it in and you can take it out later if you don't like it. You might want to change it and leave it in if it's historical.
We erase the tapes, incidentally, it's just the draft and the final transcript as you want it, that is all that is saved and you can close any portion, or the entire transcript, just so it's open some day you know.
ROBINSON: Let me tell you the story and then you can decide whether it's all right to put it on there or not.
FUCHS: Well, I'd rather just go ahead and then we can cut it out of the draft if you don't like it. We'll let you decide. I'm sure I think it's all right.
ROBINSON: Senator Chandler, then junior Senator from Kentucky, was given a swimming pool, brass plumbing, fittings, racing strips down the bottom of the pool, and stuff that you and I couldn't get during that point in time, with the priorities. And this was built by some defense contractor that he had helped get defense contracts, just to show their appreciation.
So, it embarrassed Alben Barkley and he asked for an investigation. So, Fulton called me up and said, "I want you to go to Louisville and investigate Happy Chandler's swimming pool?"
Well, I did a little mental gymnastics. Senators don't request investigations of other Senators. Democrats don't investigate other Democrats. The senior Senator from a state doesn't investigate the junior Senator from the same state. I looked at Fulton and I said, "I don't know what's going on here, Hugh, but there is only one way that I cut this, and you've known me for a good many years. If I come back from Louisville, you're going to have a report on your desk that tells you all about Happy Chandler's swimming pool. I just want to make sure you want it. That's the only rule I know."
He called me the following day and said, "We're sending Matt Connelly."
Now, am I maligning somebody?
FUCHS: It's a fact, that's what happened. This wasn't written down like that and no one will know it for history unless you say it, but it's interesting. Do you have any more?
ROBINSON: I'll characterize it further. I'll say that Matt not only got the whitewash brush out, he got a spray
gun out. He had that thing just all glossed over to a fare-thee-well. He's a more politically astute type of investigator than I am. I don't know it any other way.
FUCHS: He was a "political animal," as they say?
ROBINSON: As a resident of the District I didn't have a voting franchise, and as a former member of the FBI, I didn't dare get political. And when I went with Pat Brown as his Deputy Director, I said, "Pat, you're looking at a political neuter."
He says, "That's what the job needs. I don't doubt that someday you'll tromp on somebody that means something to me politically, but when that day comes, I'll come into your office with my hat in my hand, and until that time, the Penal Code are the House Rules which will apply."
I said, "With that understanding, I'll take the job."
That's the only way I play it.
FUCHS: Well, first, do you have any other specific comments about Connelly's work with the Committee and also what do you think his principal service to the Committee was?
ROBINSON: Well, he and Bill [William, Jr.] Boyle belonged more properly up in the Senator's office, not on the
Committee. Anything that came through there that had political connotations, this should have been answered from the Senator's office; but when it was routed down to the Committee, then the Committee handled it on its merits, so Matt was more that type of a representative. And when Harry Vaughan went away to the South Pacific, Matt was pulled up there and Bill Boyle was pulled up there. I had to smile when Bill Boyle was sent down the first time for me to put him to work -- did you ever meet Bill? I think he's dead now, too.
FUCHS: He was dead before I got this job.
ROBINSON: We went out to lunch together and went over to Carrol Arms, and all I knew was that this guy was sent down to put to work on the staff, and he was from Kansas City. So, to find some basis of conversation I said, "Well, have you ever run into a guy there, a former FBI agent that I think he ultimately became the Chief of Police, Lear B. Reed?"
And Bill looked at me and he said, "I ought to know that sonofabitch, he took my job."
How to win friends and influence people. Got off to the wrong start right away with Bill Boyle.
FUCHS: How did Connelly come to be hired by Mr. Truman, do you know?
ROBINSON: I think it was pretty much a Clark influence. I think Matt and Charlie had worked on the Privileges and Elections Committee on some of these demands for recounts and election allegations. I think both Matt and Charlie were on that.
FUCHS: Did Clark just apply for a job or how did he come to Mr. Truman's attention?
ROBINSON: That I don't know. That I don't know.
FUCHS: Aside from making himself Associate Counsel, what other reflections do you have about C. P. Clark?
ROBINSON: Well, he continued to be, let's say the Administrative Officer, and -- anyway, the Senator's wives met, I think every Tuesday noon, for lunch in one of the rooms down in the Old Senate Office Building basement. They rolled bandages and one thing and another, and they did Red Cross work. That's a coffee klatsch let’s face it. So, as Charlie Clark walked down the corridor, he walked in on these ladies, and said, "What's going on here?"
They said, "Well, we're rolling bandages."
And, "Huh. How long is it going to take you to get this stuff cleared out of here? We're going to
have to have some more space for the Committee."
"Well, may I ask who you are?"
"Oh, I'm Charles Patrick Clark. I'm Associate Counsel. Who are you?"
"I'm Mrs. Thomas, the wife of Senator [Elbert Duncan] Thomas from Utah."
"Oh, great guy, great guy. Student of Chinese. He studied Chinese."
She says, "It was Japanese, Mr. Clark."
Charlie gracefully backed himself out of the room, but this was him, brash. Came down one day, Tom [Thomas F] Flynn, nice investigator, was just leaving, and one of the stenographers called and said, "Mr. Flynn, on this word here…" And Tom stopped over to correct some word on the transcript and Charlie came along and he said, "Flynn, take your hat off when you're in the office. What do you think this is a pool hall? We've got to have an entente cordiale around here."
Well, that was a good word. "Entente cordiale" went through the Committee, and a couple of days later Charlie's room was 318, he was up on a balcony, that overlooked Constitution Avenue -- and here's Evie Roberts, the wife of Chip Roberts, the former
Democratic National committeeman, Chip Roberts from Georgia. And Evie, she was quite a Washington character. She got hold of a jeep somehow. Where the hell she came by a jeep I don't know, but here she was on Constitution Avenue down from Charlie's room. "Beep, beep, beep" she was blowing the horn of that jeep, and Charlie went out on the balcony and waved at her, and I stuck my head in the door and I said, "Hey Charlie, is that what you call "entente cordiale?"
FUCHS: Do you have any more on Charles Patrick, these are good.
FUCHS: Do you have any more on Charles Patrick, I think these are good.
ROBINSON: Well, the disbursing office would make temporary advances which were kept in a little working checking account, and you made advances for your investigators so that you wouldn't have to keep running back to the disbursing office and go through a lot of red tape to get a ten dollar advance. So, then ultimately when the expense accounts came in you'd voucher them through and the disbursing office would extinguish that much of the advances. And here we were ready to turn over the Committee to Senator Mead, and the disbursing office said we owed $8500 bucks, because of a shortage
somewhere. Charlie had always run those books, and he had some of the gals with, oh, let's say pulchritude, with no brains, in his office. This was the attribute that Charlie would look for, and boy they wouldn't know a set of books or a Voucher if it was to bite them. So, we didn't want to let Mead know that there was a shortage because he'd demand an audit, properly so; and we didn't want Truman, then in the White House to be embarrassed, he was then in the Vice President's spot. So what to do.
Well, I worked sixteen hours a day running back through every expenditure that probably had been advanced as a fifty dollar advance, and then when you submitted your accounting back to the disbursing office, somebody only added it up to forty, which would leave you ten dollars off balance with the disbursing office on that one voucher. So you had to go through all the vouchers that were handled during the Committee. I finally got the whole thing reconciled so that there was no shortage. It was just sloppy, interrelation bookkeeping; but can you imagine what the newspapers would do with it? The Truman Committee $8500 short? I don't think the chairman even realized it, but there's one gal back there
that probably can tell you about it and that was Peggy Bucholz. Have you talked to her?
ROBINSON: She's still around.
FUCHS: I talked to Walter Hehmeyer in Memphis and then, of course, learned his wife was...
ROBINSON: Shirley Key.
FUCHS: Shirley Key, and so I had a short interview with her and she was pretty amusing and interesting, very nice girl.
ROBINSON: Well, I'll tell you about Shirley Key. She learned stenography on the Committee, and I was dictating a memo one time on Camp Roberts down at San Luis Obispo, and it was originally based on sloppy planning. There wasn't sufficient water supply there to sustain a camp, so that in order to bring it about you had to build a temporary dam on Charros Creek and divert the water through the Salinas River until you get a permanent dam built on the Salinas River to build up a reservoir to create adequate water supply. Well, I dictated that to Shirley, and we were talking about the temporary dam and the permanent dam and I don't know what now, three or four pages, came back to me and every time I used the word dam, she spelled it d-a-m-n.
ROBINSON: Temporary damn.
FUCHS: What did you say to her?
FUCHS: What did you say to her?
ROBINSON: Oh, I don't know, I just had a lot of fun with Shirley. She'd come up, sit at the desk, and be more or less shaking in her boots, but -- I went on their honeymoon you know. She'll tell you that.
FUCHS: You went on their honeymoon?
FUCHS: How did that come about?
ROBINSON: Well, they were going to get married and we went out to a little reception that Fulton gave up at his apartment and I asked Walter, I said, "Where are you going on your honeymoon?"
Says, We're going to New Orleans."
"How are you going?"
"Got your reservations? They're hard to come by you know."
"Yeah," and told us what the reservations were. Stupid!
I went on Sunday and tried to change the reservations -- no, wait a minute, I tried to intercept the
train and Western Union wouldn't take a practical joke, "got a war going on." So, I tried to telegraph the Monte Leone Hotel and change the reservations in the name of Mr. Hehmeyer to two single rooms and she wouldn't take that one either. So, he was going on through.
Fulton in order to work with the guy -- there was an old blast furnace at Rusk, Texas that used to make old cannon balls during the Civil War and as to its utilization in the war effort, somebody had to go look. So, he told Walter that if he wanted to go to Rusk, Texas from New Orleans, why the Committee would pay half his transportation.
So, Walter cried, "I don't want to go investigating blast furnaces on my honeymoon."
So, we were going through to Houston to investigate the concrete barges and we missed our connection at New Orleans, they slipped a sleeper out, so I got off with Franklin Parks -- have you talked to Frank Parks?
FUCHS: Our man in Washington is trying to see him.
ROBINSON: Frank Parks.
So, I took him with me to put him -- this was his first training as an investigator and we got off the sleeper and came downtown and I called the Monte Leone
Hotel and Shirley answered, and I said, "Who's this?"
She says, "I'm - I'm - I'm Shir -- Shir -- mis -- mis -- mis -- Mrs. Hehmeyer."
I said, "What are you doing up there in that room?"
And she says, "I'm -- I'm -- I'm married."
I said, "This is the house detective. Now, we got a rule in this hotel, no women allowed in our guests' rooms."
And she said, "Walter, Walter, the house detective."
So he came on the phone and after a couple of minutes he said, "Robby, you sonofabitch where are you?"
I said, "Across the street, come on down and have a cup of coffee."
So, I don't know, we drank Raymon fizzes, sazerac cocktails in the Court of the Three Sisters, and we did the Absinthe Bar I think at 9 o'clock in the morning, so all in all it was a good day. And Frank and I had to make the train connection at Houston I think at 12 o'clock that night and we're rolling into Houston the next morning, we're up in the men's room shaving, and Frank, steadying himself on the sway of
the train, looked down and he said, "Did we make that train all right last night?"
I said, 'Where the hell do you think you are right now?"
So, Walter had a camera, and here I am clowning around with Shirley, and Walter would be snapping pictures. And the result is that their honeymoon pictures are of Frank Parks, myself, and Shirley, and everybody looks at Walter and he's stopped showing them anymore. They say, "Didn't you go on your honeymoon Walter?"
FUCHS: That's pretty good.
ROBINSON: I was telling you about the distinction between the Senator's office mail and the Committee mail. So, I got a letter from the American Legion in Joplin and they are complaining about an ordnance plant that was being -- I think it was the Jayhawk Ordnance Plant -- being built at Galena, Kansas. Are you from out there?
FUCHS: I'm from Ohio originally, but I live in Missouri now.
ROBINSON: Well, Galena is across the river from Joplin there.
ROBINSON: Well, there's a creek that goes through there,
and it doesn't seem worthwhile to fill the approaches to get the bridge above high flood level in the spring, and they made them come all the way around about fifteen miles and come in the front entrance of the Jayhawk Ordnance Plant in order to go to work instead of coming in the back door. They were complaining that citizens were supposed to save rubber and conserve gas, and here you're making them drive another fifteen miles around. I didn't know what the answer was.
Number one, the letter should never have come down to the Committee. It should have been handled up from the Senator's office. So, I wrote the War Department, and I asked what the hell the answer was to this thing so that I could make an intelligent reply. And they got into how much it would cost to build the approaches and what the bridge would cost, to build a bridge across that stream so that these people could go in the back door.
And I wrote back and told them that I felt that they should contact the local project manager who could probably make known to them certain considerations which they apparently hadn't considered, which might render the reopening of that rear gate uneconomical and impractical, I suggest you talk to
the project manager, he can discuss it and all its aspects.
All of a sudden all hell broke loose. Fulton called me, "Did you write a letter stating that the rear entrance to the Jayhawk Ordnance Plant should not be opened?"
I said, "No, I didn't say that at all, I just told them to talk to the project manager out there and let him make known his reasons for not opening it."
"Well, you shouldn't have done that."
I said, "Well, do you want to argue the merits, Hugh?"
He says, "No, I've got you beat on the law. You shouldn't have taken a position for the Committee. You have no authority to take a Committee position on an issue. Never mind what the merits are. Now, Senator Truman in behalf of the American Legion Post in Joplin has been fighting for months to get that back gate opened and here you went around to the Joplin Post of the American Legion and tell them no. " He says, "Go find the Senator and tell him what you did."
So, I had to go tell the Senator what I had done
and the reasons for it. "Well," he says, "we'll get somebody to retract that letter and" -- but that letter should never have come down. If it had political overtones to it, that the Senator was fighting to get that back entrance open, it should have stayed up there. Don't send it down to the Committee to be handled on its merits. There's a distinction, I don't know whether I'm drawing it or not.
FUCHS: Yes. He was personally….
ROBINSON: Involved in it.
FUCHS: Involved in it.
ROBINSON: That's right.
FUCHS: From his senatorial office.
ROBINSON: That's right.
FUCHS: Did this happen quite frequently?
ROBINSON: Well, that was the one where I had to eat crow. I really had to eat it that day, and yet I didn't commit the Committee.
FUCHS: How did Frank Parks happen to join the Committee staff? Have you any knowledge of that?
ROBINSON: No, I think he just applied and -- he's a nice guy. We were down at Houston and we were going along and he'd say, "Well, Robby, what about this?"
We went along the street and stopped at the stationery store and I said, "Buy a pack of 3 x 5
"What do you want that for?"
I said, "Buy them."
So, he bought a pack of 3 x 5 index cards, and -- I said, "Now, put them in your pocket."
It'll bulge my pocket out."
I said, "Put them in your pocket."
So, the next time he'd ask a question, "Well, why would they do this or that," I'd say, "Well, take one of those cards, write down that question, put it over in this pocket."
So every time he'd ask a question, and he was sharp enough to start asking questions, I'd make him make out a little 3 x 5 card, and finally the cards got transferred from over here to over there. And he had a pack of them; and I had to go on through to -- where the hell did I go. Las Vegas, Basic Magnesium. I got on the train and I said, "Well, you're all set Frank."
"What do you mean I'm all set? You're going to leave me?"
I says, "Yeah, that was the understanding that I would go on to Basic Magnesium."
And he says, "Well, who's going to write the report?"
And I said, "You are."
He said, "What do I know about it?"
I said, "It's simple Frank, every time you bring out one of those 3 x 5 cards, and you get the answer, write it down, put it in your other pocket. When you've got no more cards, go back to Washington and write your report."
And he did, and he did a hell of a nice job.
FUCHS: What did you say you were going to do at Las Vegas, I….
ROBINSON: Basic Magnesium.
FUCHS: Oh, what was that now?
ROBINSON: That was the Magnesium Electron process that Imperial Chemical Industries had introduced in England. They sent Dr. Charles and Dr. Fisher over on a sub with all the plans and specs and it's kind of mysterious what the hell happened to that sub on the way over but it never got here. And they sent them over the second time, and these guys were really "gun shy." So, I arrived out there and I suggested to Fulton, "Shirley Ferrand, her dad owns a drug store in Las Vegas, well, Shirley would like to get home and see her folks and I would like to have some stenographic assistance when I get to Las Vegas without hiring a public steno. Why don't you pay Shirley's
fare one way? She can get home, and in return for that she'll do whatever steno work I have to have in Las Vegas."
"Fine. Where are you going to be staying?"
"I don't know, send my mail in care of Shirley, I'll pick it up from there."
So, I checked into the El Cortez Hotel, and two of the people that I wanted to talk to were Dr. Charles and Dr. Fisher who were living out in the Boulder City Hotel; and we got some very arrogant Cleveland people from Basic Refractories as prime contractors. Who the hell was the head of that, Howard Eels, I think his name was, and he might know about building firebrick, but didn't know much about making magnesium out of magnesia. So, he more or less took the attitude, "Well, by God, if I'm going to be responsible for this project, it's going to be built the way I say it's going to be built."
And the British technicians say that, "If we are going to be responsible for magnesium coming out of the end of the line when we turn the switch, it's going to be built the way we say it's going to be built."
So, there you have it. And the proud Britishers were just about ready to pack up and go home. So, I called them, and -- what the hell do they know about Senate committees. They don't have such things in England. So they called Defense Plants, who called the FBI, who sent a good friend of mine (Jay C. Newman from Salt Lake City), down to Las Vegas; and they came to the Cortez Hotel and they said, "This guy Robinson?
"Yeah, he's up in 302."
"How long has he been here?" And they told him. "Does he get any mail?"
"You mean he doesn't get any mail?"
So, they couldn't get a line on me at all. So they "Referred it on Completion" back to Washington to do some work to see who the hell this guy Robinson was that wanted to talk to these British technicians. And they talked to Truman and Truman laughed, and he said, "You go back and get the Director to check his files, he's a former FBI agent."
FUCHS: That's pretty good.
How did that investigation come out?
ROBINSON: Well, you see magnesite, it's a rock, you take it from Gabbs, Nevada and put it in an electrolytic process; but if anything should happen, a power interruption during the process, these electrolytic cells chill and you can't break them out with a rock hammer, you've had it. So one important thing was not to have an interruption from any source of power failure. So, they went back from Henderson to Boulder and built another highline coming in, so that you've got an auxiliary highline coming in in case something happens to one, you could still have continuity of power. And the engineering boys got together and they designed an alphabet that was Chinese red on a field of cream white, "Basic Magnesium." And they went back and hung one of those signs on every one of those highline towers.
So, I said, "Well, don't you realize any guy that comes over and wants to do a little sabotage, he's not going to have much trouble finding out which line goes to Basic Magnesium?"
So, boy, those signs came down out there. They spent four days designing them. So then McNeil, the housing contractor, was going to build demountable
houses with desert coolers. Well, they stick up like sore thumbs out there in the desert, those semicircle things. So, they wanted to get a little esthetic color in there, they were going to start over here with the greens and in through the blues and this was the predominant color in that particular segment so it would take some of the plainness and drabness away. I said, "If they ever come over in a plane and they want to know where Basic Magnesium is, just look for a rainbow in the desert and you've got it."
So, boy, that project stopped. So, then the boys in the engineering division, Las Vegas being what it is, they come in in the morning and they have spots on their suits. They have these carbon tetrachloride fire extinguishers or something, whatever it was, and they used fire extinguishers to take the spots off and a couple of them were found empty. So, they had a project manager out there that -- he was an old fogey -- he would time how many minutes the secretaries took to go to the ladies room. One of these schoolteacher types, you know, and he didn't like workers using those fire extinguishers to clean the spots off their suits. So, they went out and he
took a piece of bale wire and he put it around the handle and wired it to the racks. So, I went during a weekend to see my aunt in Hollywood and she came in Saturday morning and she said, "Look what happened last night. Basic Magnesium burned down."
Apparently one of these butane heaters started it, and they couldn't get one of those goddamned fire extinguishers off the wall. They had them all wired on and with that wind going across that desert it just ended up in the charred remains, along with my briefcase plus three weeks of investigative notes. Mr. Howard Eels came out, he looked at the charcoal that was left: "Well, let the Truman Committee find something in that." That was that.
FUCHS: Did they build it back up then?
FUCHS: Was that the name of it, Basic Magnesium?
ROBINSON: Basic Magnesium, Incorporated. It's at a place called Henderson, it's in between Vegas and Boulder.
FUCHS: Mr. Halley.
FUCHS: Yeah. What do you remember of him?
ROBINSON: Very much. You see, he was part of the original backfield. There was Fulton, Halley, and myself;
and I came out to California because there was a client out here that owned the Idaho Maryland Mines in Grass Valley and the second largest gold mine to homestake, and it didn't make much sense to dig gold at Grass Valley and bury it at Fort Knox. So, under Order L-208, they closed the gold mines. War Production Board order. It was the only industry that was ever put out of existence by a bureaucratic administrative order, later declared unconstitutional, but this was too bad.
FUCHS: And they closed the mine up.
ROBINSON: So, this McBoyle came back to Washington to see about, number one, reopening his mine and he also had a process for making magnesium out of serpentine. Well, serpentine is the footwall in the gold mine. It's the hanging wall and if you won't let them take the quartz out that contains the gold, let them take the footwall out. Use the same ball mill, and he had a research laboratory, Twining Laboratories, in Fresno that was actually processing serpentine and making magnesium out of it. Well, I knew about magnesium because the Hansgirg process that Kaiser had, the diamond alkali, the ferrosilicon at Ford, the Dow Chemical
at Velasco and at Freeport, Texas. So, I knew all of the different magnesium processes, and I knew their weaknesses and this new process appealed to me. But we sent it over to the War Production Board and they said, "It can't be done."
I said, "The man is doing it. Will you at least look at a pilot plant at Fresno, California where they are doing it and based on that, then make a decision?"
So, Dr. Clyde Williams of Battel Institute happened to be in the War Production Board and he saw a diffraction x-ray picture that I sent over there, and he said, "What is this?"
"Oh, I don't know, some fellow out in California claims to have a way of making magnesium."
"Well, apparently he's developed a new and synthetic mineral. I want to know more about this."
At this time the war was over, we were not making incendiary bombs any more. The man had it. The only civilian use for magnesium at that time was the housing on a vacuum cleaner, the Hoover vacuum cleaner. So, I recommended he protect the process patent-wise and button it up and not get into this shake-down of excess plant capacity with no civilian use
for the production. So, later on MacBoyle became a client of the firm. I talked the old Occidental Hotel into letting me take the two top floors and make offices out of them.
FUCHS: You're speaking of what firm now?
ROBINSON: Fulton, Walter and Halley. So, then I came to California in '47. We did that in '45 when Truman went in as Vice President, and I came to California in '47, after MacBoyle had a cerebral hemorrhage and I came out as his business manager. He had race horses. He had a winery at Fountain Grove, at Santa Rosa, and a private airport, private Lockheed Lodestar plane. I was his business manager and later on was guardian of his widow. I have just finished selling the last piece of real estate, since 1947.
FUCHS: My gosh.
ROBINSON: What was the point I was going to make?
FUCHS: We started about Halley and….
ROBINSON: I was up at the winery in Santa Rosa and Governor Warren had a Commission on Organized Crime in California. He had five of them. But the one that captured the public fancy was this Commission on Organized Crime with the Mickey Cohens, the Jack Dragnas, and we caught members of the former Attorney General's staff trying to set up a punchboard
and slot machine racket in the state. That's why Pat Brown wanted me to come in; to restore public confidence in the Attorney General's office in that particular section.
I went on as Chief Investigator for Governor Warren's Commission on Organized Crime. The fellow that had it was my former Agent in Charge in Birmingham, Alabama in the FBI And at that time you recall, Truman and [Alben W.] Barkley were running against [Thomas E.] Dewey and Warren and it was supposed to be a shoo-in. So, John Hanson, my former chief, began to get some irons in the fire, and he made a commitment to go with the Thoroughbred Racing Association and he has all the western tracks for the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau now. But he had to go up and tell Warren that he was quitting as chief investigator and Warren said, "Well, John," he said, "I think you're letting me down."
And John said, "No; let's get the record straight. Remember the Dewey-Warren team that was going to be a shoo-in? Who's letting who down? You let me down, Governor. I figured you were a lead pipe cinch to make it."
"Well," he says, "I don't want the public to get the idea that the Crime Commission is breaking up."
And he says, "I got a fellow to step right in there without a ripple."
He says, "Robinson."
He says, "Well, who is Robinson?"
"He's the guy that just got you the conviction up in Ukiah on this slot machine racket."
"Oh, well, send him in. Send him in."
So, John started to leave and when he got to the door he turned around and he said, "Well, Governor, I think there is one thing I ought to tell you about Robby before he gets up here. He just got through being Harry Truman's Chief Investigator."
And Warren said, "If he's good enough for Truman, he's good enough for me."
So, that's how those two got along.
FUCHS: Very interesting.
ROBINSON: So, I went on as Chief Investigator in '48 and we did -- for two years out here what this junior Senator from Tennessee planned when he introduced Senate Resolution 202, to investigate organized crime in interstate commerce. Well, he wanted to do what Truman did and he went up to steal Fulton. He wanted Fulton to take over the counsel's job.
Fulton said, "As far as Government service is concerned, I consider that I have made my contribution and I've got this law firm here in Rockefeller Center and it's going along good, and I just don't feel that I want to make any further contribution to Government service; but the other member of this backfield is the junior partner here, Halley. What's wrong with him?"
So, Halley said, "Well, I don't know anything about organized crime, but the other member of the backfield is out in California and he has been doing that very thing for two years. Now, if he'll agree to come back, I'll take the counsel's job." So, they had to work with Warren and Warren released me back in 1950 and I went back and took the [Estes] Kefauver job on the...
FUCHS: What was your position with the committee staff?
ROBINSON: With what?
FUCHS: What was your position with the committee staff of the Kefauver Committee?
ROBINSON: Kefauver. I was Assistant Counsel, not associate, Assistant and Chief Investigator.
FUCHS: How long did you stay with them?
ROBINSON: Until Pat hired me in -- that was 1950, oh, I'd
say I came back out here in the middle of '51 to take over as Deputy Director of the Department of Justice of California.
FUCHS: Our man in Washington found a booklet that was about the Truman Committee and they had that Connelly took over as Executive Assistant to the Chairman after Clark left, but then they have in there that after Connelly left, you became Chief Investigator in Connelly's place on April 1, '44; and yet it doesn't make clear when Connelly took over as Chief Investigator and we wondered if -- that's why I asked before if you knew when he served as Chief Investigator.
ROBINSON: Yeah, I can tell you. You know this is a little bit hard to -- I went down to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and I got the Superintendent of Documents all steamed up. I says, "You know, how much money is there in safe deposit boxes throughout the country by hoodlums?"
"Oh, I wouldn't have any idea."
"Oh, a lot of it." I said, "Those are those nice bills you print up and they can take them, tuck them away in a safe deposit box." I said, "You know, those are the guys that we are going to be interested in
this Kefauver Committee, and I think we're entitled to have worthwhile credentials."
He said, "I quite agree with you."
So, we concocted that, printed just like the dollar bills are printed and every congressional committee since then has used the same … [Mr. Robinson, at this point in the interview, displayed an identification card used when he was Chief Investigator for the Kefauver Committee.]
FUCHS: Is that right?
"U.S. Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Harold G. Robinson, Chief Investigator." Very nice, you started that, huh?
Back there in the Truman Committee they were a little penurious giving appropriations to any Senate Committee, when they throw fifty thousand dollars to some committee that some Senator has a pet project -- it in effect says, go ahead, appoint your political hack attorney and get about your business. Well, Truman just didn't go that route. He didn't ask Fulton what his politics were and he didn't ask me.
And when I took on Jim Curley he was right in there with me and you know who Jim Curley was.
FUCHS: The Mayor of Boston.
ROBINSON: He had this Engineer's Group. Anybody that came down from Jim's bailiwick would just go over to the Engineer's Group, and they'd redesign your project or do a lot of shuffling of papers, and charge you a fee for it; and then they'd present it to the War Department and you'd get your contract.
FUCHS: What was the Engineer's Group?
ROBINSON: It was a shakedown. Do you want it in plain, unvarnished language, that's all it was.
FUCHS: Where were they headquartered?
ROBINSON: Back of the Mayflower Hotel.
FUCHS: Who were they supposed to be?
ROBINSON: Oh, they had a bunch of high-sounding names, but it was basically Jim Curley, and he was convicted of it. Did time in Danbury Reformatory, or prison, there at Danbury, and I don't think he was out when they re-elected him Mayor, was he? Wasn't he still in prison when they re-elected him Mayor?
FUCHS: I believe so.
ROBINSON: Yeah. You say there is a volume of published reports back in the Library. That will show you who was the Chief Investigator, right from the outset of the Committee.
FUCHS: Yeah, well, we used this little booklet that was published. I haven't seen it but the man in Washington has and he couldn't reconcile some of these things, so he asked some questions of one of the other people. For instance he said Mr. Connelly resigned from the Committee on December 1, '44 "after a four months leave of absence, according to the booklet of 1946." He was wondering if this leave of absence was taken to assist in the campaign. Do you recall anything about that? Apparently he was on leave of absence from about August to December 1, '44 when he resigned.
FUCHS: Well, I realize it is hard to try to remember the details.
ROBINSON: When you get an appropriation from the Committee back in those days, you didn't use it to pay salaries. You'd call up some agency, and work out an arrangement whereby they'd pick up one of your employees and assign him back.
FUCHS: Who were you assigned to, initially?
ROBINSON: Admiral Land, Chairman of the Maritime Commission. I was an examiner in Admiral Land's office, and assigned back. That's why it's so confusing to go to established
payroll records and find out when I started getting paid as Chief Investigator, because all of my checks came out of the Maritime Commission.
FUCHS: Do you recall about how long you were, ostensibly, in Admiral Land's office? I'd heard that, initially, when the appropriation was so very small, that Hugh Fulton was getting a great proportion of it as his salary, that quite a few of the staff members were assigned to other agencies. I had no idea where you did serve or were assigned. You don't know how long you were assigned there?
ROBINSON: Oh, I have a letter from Admiral Land when I finished up. What I did, and this is all jumbled up here, but I took that -- this is one of the prospectuses that Kaiser submitted in connection with the steel plant, I think. Additional steel producing facilities data. Well, here's a couple of pictures, we'll just take a glance on through. I guess that you can recognize -- that's the guy that had the shoot-out on 102nd street, and the fire department set fire to the apartment with a gas bomb and…
FUCHS: What year was that? I don't have any memories of that:
ROBINSON: I don't know.
FUCHS: Is this the same? Except the date on the back there isn't it -- this is 1937 here, "alleged kidnappers" this is though. Were you involved in that?
ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah. That's the Nazi spies I rounded up on the radio. These are some of the more….
FUCHS: Was there a book written on that house on 92nd Street?
FUCHS: Who wrote the book?
ROBINSON: Damned if I know, but it was interesting to us as it was to anybody. Incidentally, you met -- is it Fred Canfil, the marshal?
FUCHS: I know who you mean, he's dead now, of course.
ROBINSON: Is he dead?
FUCHS: Yeah, been dead before I even got into this.
ROBINSON: Up at Richland, Washington -- that isn't the name….
ROBINSON: Hanford. Big, big secret. It was a joke.
"What were you doing up there?"
"Well, we are making travel luggage for Eleanor."
Nobody knew what they were doing. So it seems that General [George C.] Marshall and Truman, who had
great respect for each other, had a more or less secret agreement that they wouldn't ask too many questions about Hanford for the time being. Fred Canfil takes off for Hanford, and he's going to do a little poking around up there and he just about gets to drive around the outside perimeter and the security forces brought him to the office for a little questioning. The next thing you know Marshall heads up to Capitol Hill with his briefcase and he told Truman, he said, "I thought you weren't going to ask any questions about Hanford?"
Truman replied, "Yeah, why?"
And he said, "Well, a man who claims to be one of your staff, Fred Canfil, is up there poking his nose in."
So, Truman called Canfil and told him to get the hell back to Missouri.
But this house on 92nd Street -- we didn't even know the atom bomb at the time this radio station was operating. But when the picture was made, it's got the atom bomb, it's got a guy that has a photographic mind and he went back to Germany and he reproduced the blueprints for the atom bomb.
FUCHS: This is the fictionalized version.
ROBINSON: Not altogether. Herman Lang who was one of the suspects, worked with the Norden bombsight people at Lake Success out on Long Island and he did have this photographic mind; and we prided ourselves that they might have the Sperry bombsight, but they certainly don't have the Norden. And so Herman Lang went back there and out of his photographic mind, he reproduced the whole prints for that Norden bombsight for them. Now this was a fact, but we just adapt that to the atom bomb.
FUCHS: I see. How did you happen to get into that so far as -- did you set it up for the Germans? The radio station?
ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah. I lived at Belrose, Long Island and they had sent a guy out to -- oh, I guess he spent a week horsing around trying to locate a place to set up his radio station. The agent in charge asked me, "You live out on Long Island, how about you locating a spot?"
Well, I did, on a little rise overlooking Centerport Harbor, in the "line of sight" right to Hamburg, Germany.
FUCHS: This radio station was supposed to be set up as a local station? Is that the information that they
were giving out?
ROBINSON: This fellow that was sent over was to find somebody that was true to the fatherland, that would act as a relay for the intelligence that was being picked up by these fellows in the New York area, and they would pass it to Bill and Bill would come out to the cottage with it. He'd translate it into German, we'd encode it and we'd cut on a transmitter and whishhht. When they sent Bill over, they liked to get a naturalized citizen, he's not as guttural, he blends into the area a little bit better than sending a raw Dutchman over, and that's what Bill was.
FUCHS: What was Bill's last name?
ROBINSON: Siebold. Officially he was Harry Sawyer, but we thought he was more of a Trojan horse dropped down in our midst to find out what we were doing more so than -- you know. He had Leica negatives in the back of his watch which on a blowup there was about five or six fully typed pages, 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of his instructions. We told him to go ahead and we'd stay with him. Well, one of the things was to locate this guy that would operate a radio station for $50 a month, that was me. They sent him over with
a copy of All This and Heaven Too by Rachel Field, to make sure that we had the same edition here that they were using in Germany. You take the day of the months, the number of the month, and you'd add 20. For instance, today is March the 6th, 3 and 6 is 9 and you add 20 and it would go to page 29 in All This and Heaven Too and the last three letters on that page are n-r-y. Those are his call letters for today. Cut your transmitter on "NRY calling, NRY." They'd check their code, you got it right, the three call letters for today are NRY, so they'd come back, dit da, da da, da dit da, dit, AOR coming back to you. And you could pass on whatever message you had. One of the things that they asked us to do was to send the weather report. They were getting ready for the invasion of Britain. They were plotting world weather conditions. So, we'd go into NAA in the morning, the Naval Observatory in Arlington and pick up the Naval weather broadcast, and then when Bill came out, maybe we're on in the afternoon, and we'd garble it. We don't send it as it was actually given, the same as a lot of the other intelligence. We'd clear it with G-2 and ONI and screw it up and that's it. So, we didn't want them in the position of picking up a copy of the New York Times and have the
official weather forecast in there different from what we told them it was going to be. So, that's when the weather forecast disappeared out of your daily newspapers, when we were sending it. So…
FUCHS: Did it stay that way for the war then?
FUCHS: Very interesting.
ROBINSON: I got some other stuff here from -- oh, here's where we go into Liberty ship fractures. This is one of the things the Committee -- and the dateline on this is April 25, 1944.
FUCHS: You were assigned to that investigation?
ROBINSON: Yeah. Yeah. See, this steel plate was a welded type of construction, whereas in the older ship construction, you had rivets and the ship could always work, there was always enough -- a little play in those rivets to give it opportunity to work, but not with weld. You annealed the edge where the welding torch went down and you changed the molecular makeup of that steel plate along the edge where you welded it, and then when you get up to the front it just didn't come together, and you use jacks and you pull it together and you weld it. Well, what have you done? You've sealed up a lot of stresses in that ship that you don't have in riveted ships, and the chances
are you put it in the Alaska run right away where it gets into the sub-freezing weathers; the steel contracts which just accentuates the pressure, the torques, that are sealed up in that hull. What's going to happen? Break in half, so…
FUCHS: Did anyone foresee this, or did they just think they had to take the chance?
ROBINSON: We got a lot of ships that they needed in a hurry. Yeah, they nicknamed it "Kaiser Sir Launch-a-Lot."
FUCHS: Do you have any idea how many were lost through such factors?
ROBINSON: Oh, I would say about -- this news clip states "crackup of eight Liberty ships in the last twelve months." Well, that, that's peanuts. There were problems with fifty or sixty of them. Incidentally, while you're out here -- did you drive up?
FUCHS: Yes, sir.
ROBINSON: Remember coming across Carquinez Bridge?
FUCHS: I believe I recall it, yes. I was watching the highway so that -- I seem to, yeah, just where is that now?
ROBINSON: You pay 35cent toll.
FUCHS: Yeah, yeah.
ROBINSON: Well, when you go back, instead of going all the way back to Carquinez, there's a cut-off (I'll mark it on the map for you), it's very interesting. And it takes you over, and you go across Martinez-Benicia Bridge and down through Walnut Creek and you come in about the same way down in the Bay area. But it takes you by the mothball fleet. Did you ever see a mothball fleet?
FUCHS: No, I didn't.
ROBINSON: Ship after ship, in a row. Row, after row, hundreds of ships, and you drive by them, if you go the way I…
FUCHS: I'll have to see this.
ROBINSON: It's interesting to see.
FUCHS: Are you close enough there to take pictures?
ROBINSON: Oh, yes.
FUCHS: You probably can't stop there though.
ROBINSON: Yeah, you can. Not after you get on the bridge approach, but before you get there.
FUCHS: What kind of ships are these?
ROBINSON: Oh, there's Victories, C-2s, all kinds, mine-sweepers.
FUCHS: Are they keeping them in pretty good shape?
ROBINSON: No, I don't think so, they're just rotting
there. You see, Benicia at one time was the capitol of California. Surprised, huh?
FUCHS: Yeah, but I thought there was another capitol. Maybe that was of the Bear Flag Republic.
ROBINSON: San Jose. San Jose at one time, but Benicia -- it had a natural advantage, your tidal action coming in through the bay of salt water, stops at about Benicia, your fresh water coming down Sacramento, San Joaquin, the American, this is about where they meet. So that back in the sailing vessel times, it was to the advantage of the captain to find a place to tie up in fresh water where the barnacles would drop off. They wouldn't have to go into drydock to have the bottom scraped. You know, Benicia was the first fresh water point that you could get to out of the Bay salt water. This became a bustling shipping port. At one time it was the capitol of California. That is where they've got the mothball fleet right at Benicia, in the last of the fresh water.
FUCHS: They are in fresh water then.
ROBINSON: Yes, substantially so.
FUCHS: What about Martinez, wasn't that the name of a Committee member?
FUCHS: Martinez, wasn't there a Committee staff...
ROBINSON: Jose Martinez.
FUCHS. Yeah. What about him? Do you have any recollections of him?
ROBINSON: He was Senator [Dennis] Chavez' secretary, and those Spanish people, they had New Mexico locked up lock, stock and barrel. Chavez was Senator for a long time. Joe -- his wife, a wonderful person, she died of multiple sclerosis, I think. Joe wanted to come on the Committee and he spoke to the Senator about it, and the Senator sent word down to see if I couldn't find a place for him. So, I said, "Well, fine, Joe. It's a very simple thing, you come on and we'll fire Mary."
He said, "You what?"
I said, "We can't have husband and wife working on the same committee, you know, so you come on and we'll fire Mary."
"No, no, that isn't what I had in mind."
I said, "Well, straighten it out, you can cut your cake whichever you want it."
So, I guess he sold his wife on the idea and she resigned as file clerk and Joe came on. And I took Joe out on his first investigation over to Philadelphia where the temporary offices of the Maritime
Commission had been decentralized and moved over to Philadelphia. Joe was telling me -- number one, Louis XIV or whatever the -- Ferdinand the something, he lisped, so Martineth. You said Martinez, you pronounced the "z."
ROBINSON: It's “th" Martineth, because King Ferdinand lisped and he changed the whole Castilian language so he wouldn't be conspicuous. So, Fernandith, Martineth, is “th."
FUCHS: Oh, is that right?
ROBINSON: So his lisp wouldn't be conspicuous. So, Joe was telling one time about -- we were at the Carroll Arms on Friday I think, and he was cutting into a steak, and I said, "Hey, Joe, do you know what day this is?"
"Yeah, Friday, why?"
"Well, steak, on Friday?"
"Oh, well, Robby, you just don't understand. You see, in New Mexico before the advance of refrigeration, we had no bodies of water, we had no seafood except what's imported and then we have no way to keep it after we get it there; so, this is one of those very unusual situations in the United States where
the Pope had given us a special dispensation. In New Mexico we don't have to eat fish on Friday because you can't get it."
I said, "Look Joe, you're not in New Mexico, you're in Washington."
"By God, I'm still a citizen of New Mexico."
This was his rationalization. "I'm still a citizen of New Mexico." So, Joe pointed out that most of the law students in New Mexico are admitted to the bar, if you're a graduate of a state university, it's a sort of reciprocity. He was having trouble getting admitted and they insisted that he take the bar exam and come in the same like anybody else. So, I wrote a letter and I planted the flag all over the landscape that he was doing a vital -- oh, the bill was that on military service they would grant you admission to the bar in return for your military service in lieu of taking the bar exam. And I planted the flag how vital a work he was doing and how essential to the defense efforts and they let him in. And do you know Joe became Attorney General of the State of New Mexico? And I wrote the letter to get him admitted to the bar.
FUCHS: You don't think this is why he wanted to come on the Committee, do you?
ROBINSON: I don't know.
FUCHS: I wonder why he wanted to leave Senator Chavez.
ROBINSON: Could have been. Could have been. There's a Herb [Herbert N] Maletz that's still…
FUCHS: What do you know about him?
ROBINSON: He went down to the Justice and I understand he's going great guns down there.
FUCHS: How did he happen to come to the Committee, though?
ROBINSON: Damned if I know. Damned if I know.
FUCHS: He was just with them a little more than a year and then went to the Army.
FUCHS: Do you have any recollections of Herb that might be of interest? Did you work on any investigations with him?
ROBINSON: No. He had the housing and I stayed away from that.
FUCHS: What kind of a man was he?
ROBINSON: Herb? He was a good, conscientious, little, young fellow, eager beaver. Had one habit, he liked to chew his fingernails, get excited and boy, he'd have them down to his first joint if you'd let him. But he's a good conscientious worker.
One fellow that we ought to mention is Bob
[Robert L.] Irvin.
FUCHS: Yes, I was wondering about Irvin. What was his background?
ROBINSON: Oh, I think he -- well, if I were to speculate I'd say as a graduate of the University of Michigan, which is where Fulton made Phi Beta in his junior year, Bob would have a certain appeal to Fulton. Bob is now legislative representative to the City of Long Beach.
FUCHS: Have you any anecdotes about him or any particular cases that you recall he worked on?
ROBINSON: Well, he went over to the Carnegie plant at Irvin, Pennsylvania, on these fake steel plate tests, and he knew before he went in there where the inspection record was kept and who kept it. So, all he had to do was to wait on a tour of the plant until he got to that point, and grab it. And this is what he did, and when that happened the fat was in the fire. So, he came back, but they raised hell because he was in there on a phony pretext, that he came for a tour of inspection, and he ends up as an investigator. They didn't like that. But he came back, they gave him a visitor's pass you know, to protect the security he had to sign in, and they gave him this big badge
to wear. He came parading through the Committee one day and he said, "Let this remove all doubt," the badge, "Irving Works." "Let this remove all doubt." But it was interesting, he was horsing around Washington there with Colonel [Harper] Knowles on some steel lobbying, and finally he went back to Detroit and he was going to go into law practice and I guess it was a hard thing to get into.
But he had guts enough. He took his wife and two kids, at that time, piled them in the car, came all the way across the country, and he started up at Seattle. He went into the Chamber of Commerce and says, "My name is Bob Irvin. I was an investigator with the Truman Committee, graduate of Michigan School of Law, and I'm just wondering if you, or some one of your members of the Chamber, has need of a man of my capabilities."
Well, when he didn't make out, he went to Portland, then San Francisco, then Los Angeles, then to Long Beach. They said, "Hell, we're setting up a Governmental Affairs Bureau in the Chamber here. Would you be willing to head that up? You know the Federal legislative procedures, all you've got to do is get some familiarity with local and state,
and this ought to be simple."
"Yeah," Bob thought it would bring him in touch with fellows like Don Douglas and some of these other big shots, and this is what he wanted to do was to make contacts. So, he decided to pull that and then the first thing you know he got mixed up in this tidelands, with the Long Beach tidelands battle. He went back to Washington and he called the White House and the President's secretary, Matt Connelly, he said, "Well, be here at nine o'clock tomorrow morning, Bob."
So, Bob went back and he had a lot of representatives of the Chamber with him, all Democrats. Bob was Republican and they said, "By God, the only Republican in the group, and look, he's the only one who can make the White House."
But, Bob's a great guy. So, when they went back on that trip, they talked to [Senator Homer] Ferguson, they talked to [Senator Owen] Brewster, and Bob gave them a sales talk on this -- some Federal bill relating to tidelands. Ferguson says, "Well, that's all right, Bob, you make a good argument, but I'm opposed to it."
Brewster said the same thing. So the group said, "Well, our legislative representative back
here hasn't been doing his home work. How would you like to represent the City of Long Beach?"
So, Bob has appeared up here in Sacramento on tideland's bills and he's considered quite an expert now. He's a good boy.
FUCHS: He's the legislative representative of the City of Long Beach?
ROBINSON: That's right. I suppose he does business as a public relations consultant or something.
FUCHS: You mentioned Colonel Knowles, wasn't he...
ROBINSON: Harper Knowles.
FUCHS: I don't know, was it, what…
ROBINSON: Colonel Harper Knowles.
FUCHS: Harper Knowles. Just who was he?
ROBINSON: Well, he was liaison from the Army who was supposed to get you in where you wanted to go, and arrange for plane transportation if necessary, and -- he was military.
FUCHS: And then he stayed in Washington and had some other position that you spoke of?
ROBINSON: No, he was assigned out of the Pentagon.
ROBINSON: He would compare to Abbott and Tolan as relates to the military.
FUCHS: What were your impressions of Abbott and Tolan as Navy liaison to the Truman Committee?
ROBINSON: Oh, we got along fine. Got along fine. They weren't kidding me. I got to the point I wouldn't tell them what I was after until I found it myself, because I know if they found it first I wouldn't get it. It was one of those things.
FUCHS: Any specific examples that would be of interest?
ROBINSON: Oh, not that you could put your finger on. I would raise hell about it if I could; but -- no, they are good guys.
FUCHS: Do you have any anecdotes about either one of them, such as you've been telling?
ROBINSON: They came up one day with a most unusual Naval communique. I don't know whether this was something that they cooked up or not, but they claim it was an actual communique. There was someplace in the South Pacific where safe harbor was up through this coral atoll and there was an opening, then you'd go through it to where it was safe, it's like a breakwater; and to protect that, they put a coast artillery regiment down on the point to guard against any attack. And sanitary facilities being what they are, they put outhouses down along the shore. And this is the only
sanitation they had. So, it got to the point where some destroyer commander, you know -- you can almost see them ripping up through that channel with the field glasses to see how many of the coast artillery outhouses they had bowled over with the wake. Now, this communique they came up with one day said, "Tests at BuShips [Bureau of Ships] have established a speed of [what is it] six knots, through 'X' channel, was deemed adequate to properly flush the Army installations on shore. Speed in excess of this will not be tolerated." I can just picture those destroyer commanders seeing…
FUCHS: What about General Lowe, Frank Lowe?
ROBINSON: Nice guy.
FUCHS: You must have some memories of him that would be of interest, humorous or otherwise.
ROBINSON: No, I never got that close to him.
FUCHS: How did he happen to be assigned to the staff?
ROBINSON: Because he was a friend of Senator Brewster's. Now does that answer your question?
FUCHS: Didn't know that.
ROBINSON: Both came from Maine.
FUCHS: He's just a name to me, I know very little about him. I know we have the information he was assigned
to the staff from the War Department.
ROBINSON: Oh, we have another one on the Committee too, Haven Sawyer. Have you got his name there?
FUCHS: I have his name, but I don't have anything about him. Served as an investigator on the Committee staff from March 16, '42 to September 17, '46. Who was he?
ROBINSON: A friend of Brewster's.
So, one of the things that was of great interest to Maine was logging, timber. So, suddenly Haven takes off on a trip through Maine and got over into Canada, and he's running around and writes a report. "Now Maine is noted for its bigger stand of trees or for its stand of bigger trees." I don't know, some kind of double talk.
I said, "What the hell is this all about?" And I says, "Who gave you permission to go over to Canada? What in the hell do you want to do, have the State Department on our backs? Did you clear?"
So. I don't know, he got called back in a hurry, but he was one of the problems. You have them on every committee.
FUCHS: Do you know of any other investigations he served on?
ROBINSON: Oh, he always managed to keep himself busy even if it was adding up the numbers in the telephone book. What the hell purpose it served, I don't know. I never assigned him any, let's put it that way.
FUCHS: Wilbur Sparks was on the Committee from October 10, '41 and my note says, "He was placed in charge of the Committee staff office in April '44 and appointed Chief Investigator in October '45." What do you remember of Wilbur?
ROBINSON: Well, he replaced me with Fulton, Walter Halley. You see I was the manager of that law firm's Washington office and then when I came to California, Wilbur took it over. Do you want to know how he got on the Committee?
ROBINSON: He came from Missouri. Does that answer you?
FUCHS: Was he a good investigator?
ROBINSON: Wilbur was a hell of a good investigator, yes.
FUCHS: He didn't present any problems then?
ROBINSON: No. That's another little -- speaking of that, his wife's name was Ibbianne. So, Hugh one day was writing some letter and the secretary brought it back and said that he had misspelled Ibbianne, and Fulton said, "Anybody that's got a name like that
deserves to have it misspelled, let it go the way it is."
On this Basic Magnesium -- was it Basic Magnesium? Yeah, they had a guy out there collaborating, Major C. J. P. Ball, MP; FAS. So, I wrote this memo and it's going across Fulton's desk and he looked at it and he said, "What the hell is all of this garbage? Major, is he in the military?"
And I said, "No."
"Huh," he crossed that off. "C. J. P. Ball, FAS -- what does that mean?"
I says, "Fellow of Academy of Sciences or something."
"To hell with that. What is MP, Member of Parliament? Ah, throw that out. What the hell is he doing with three initials, C. J. P." A guy can get along with two," so he takes one more initial out. He says, "Write that up as just C. J. Ball." And he turned around and Bill Russell, Jr. was sitting there and he said, "What the hell you got a junior tacked onto your name for?"
Well, Bill for no reason at all, just to be defensive, he says, "What the hell do you go around as 'Hugh A. Fulton' for?"
Hugh says, "What the hell do I do that for? Hereafter any correspondence emanating from this Committee will be signed Hugh Fulton." Just took his middle initial away.
This guy gave him as -- whoever it was made him that, Major C. J. P. Ball, FASMP -- "Well, that's the guy's full title, and I gave it to him."
"You're all nuts. What the hell, he's not in the Army now," keeps crossing out and it ends up by him taking the A. out of his own name.
FUCHS: Who was Russell that you mentioned?
ROBINSON: Oh, he was a counsel on the Committee. And incidentally, there's one guy that I don't know that you've got it down on there, it's Samuel B. Stewart.
FUCHS: I had the name, but a note to ask you about it because we don't have anything on him. Who was he?
ROBINSON: Sam is a Mr. Brilliant. He's another Phi Beta Kappa like Fulton. He was with the firm of Blake, Voorhees & Stewart in New York; and Hugh brought him down, not as a regular staff member, but to handle one thing, and thank God he didn't give it to any of the rest of us, and that was the renegotiation of Government contracts. That is rough! That's a wilderness that you can't find your way in and you
can't find your way out of it. Sam handled it and he did a brilliant job on the renegotiations.
FUCHS: About what year did he come down?
ROBINSON: Oh, he was there all the while during the Committee. And he came to California to handle a case for the Bank of America against the Federal Reserve Bank arising out of the People's Bank of Lakewood Village. It was a test case and we were associated with them after we started the law firm in Washington; and I'm the guy that walked in and served the subpoena on all the Governors of the Federal Reserve Board. I got them at their meeting and we could hand out papers to all of them. There was a little resentment when Sam went into the Bank of America. They are a little bit provincial. They think you've got to graduate from Stanford or Cal, or be a Native Son of the Golden West in order to come up in the Bank of America. And who's this carpetbagger from back east on this People's Bank of Lakewood Village? Well, Sam ends up General Counsel, head of the trust department, and he's now President of the Bank of America. That's the kind of guy that Fulton picked to handle the renegotiation for the Committee, great guy.
FUCHS: Did you say where he graduated from?
ROBINSON: I can't -- it's University of Michigan I'm sure.
FUCHS: Anything in connection with any of the…
ROBINSON: He's the one that put that public declaration in the paper when they burned the Bank of America down in Santa Barbara the other day.
FUCHS: I read that.
ROBINSON: This was Samuel B. Stewart.
FUCHS: Do you remember anything about any specific renegotiations that he was involved in that you might discuss?
ROBINSON: No, I didn't get that close to him. That was all up in the calculus, higher mathematics, department.
FUCHS: That was a pretty good letter, I read that.
FUCHS: That Stewart put in the paper for the Bank of America.
ROBINSON: Damn right it is. He's a great guy. I think one thing that he's got that stands him in good stead, if he's in a room talking, you don't have to ask him what he said. Wham, he's got one of those commanding, penetrating, not annoying,
but a forceful type of "I'm the boss" voices. I don't know how to describe it to you, but Sam Stewart could be three rooms away and I'd know he was there. It's that voice that he's got.
FUCHS: What about Donald Lathrom? Do you recall him?
ROBINSON: Oh, forget it.
FUCHS: Forget it, why?
ROBINSON: Well, he ended up married to Smith, the moving man's daughter, and the last time I saw Don he was driving a cab in Oakland, on the bottle.
FUCHS: Oh, is that right?
FUCHS: Well, we noted that he resigned on August 31, 1944, and we wondered if he might have done that to serve in the campaign in some way when Mr. Truman was running for Vice President. Do you have a memory of that? Or was it just coincidental that he resigned then and probably because Mr. Truman was going to be leaving.
ROBINSON: No, he would, because Smith is quite a political bigwig in the District, and Don more or less fitted in that pattern. I think he probably went over to the Democratic National Committee. This would probably be where he would go.
FUCHS: George Meader became Chief Counsel when Hugh Fulton resigned Do you have recollections of George? He had been there about a year as an Assistant Counsel.
ROBINSON: I think Rudy took over didn't he?
FUCHS: That's right. He was named Executive Assistant to the Chief Counsel. He had been an assistant counsel and then Rudy [Rudolph] Halley, you're right, succeeded, of course, Fulton, and Meader took over as Executive Assistant in place of Halley. Do you have any memories of him? He was later Chief Counsel, after Halley left.
ROBINSON: I do remember one little incident. He wrote the report on barges. And it went up to the Senator's office for review and George took some argument that the War Department had made, and he said, "This is indeed a nonsequitur."
It came back to him with a marginal comment by Truman, "Put that in English."
That again was the man.
FUCHS: Yeah, that was good.
ROBINSON: "Put that in English." You know most of the stuff that we wrote for Truman had to be triple-spaced. You knew that.
FUCHS: I didn't know that; why was that?
ROBINSON: He had vision trouble and I think he had a slit in each glass to more or less fix his vision. They say it was a roving vision. So, this is why he didn't come over too good on TV, if he was reading. If he was going off-the-cuff, ad lib, this is different.
FUCHS: Yes, that's what I've heard before. Do you have any more memories of Fred Canfil?
ROBINSON: Oh, he was just a marshal, that's all.
FUCHS: He was subsequently made a marshal; but he was appointed Investigator on the Committee staff on June 1, '42 and resigned January 31, '44, according to our information.
ROBINSON: Let's say he was the errand boy for the Senator back at the Missouri office, and we didn't see much of him in Washington, except when he took off on one of his independent jaunts up to Hanford, for instance, or something like that. We'd get echoes of it.
FUCHS: How did the Hanford plant first come to your attention at the time that Mr. Truman then made his agreement to lay off? Do you recall?
ROBINSON: Oh, this was a very productive area, cherries,
fruits. That was a very, very productive area as far as tree fruits. And you come bulldozing those damn things out to build a big plant in there, that's going to cover area after area; well, you're bound to get some farmers that raise hell because you are trying to steal their land. And it started as early as that. There was nothing that we could do to find out "what the hell you are going to use it for." So, after Marshall made the request, why, we just agreed to back off and say nothing.
FUCHS: Do you think that Mr. Truman knew of the mission of the Manhattan Project and these plants, prior to his becoming President?
ROBINSON: Whether he knew specifically what it was going to be, he was made aware of the importance of it, I'm sure of that. He had a lot of confidence in Marshall.
FUCHS: There was another investigator named William S. Cole. Do you recall him?
ROBINSON: Who? Cole?
FUCHS: Appointed rather late, April 15, 1943, according to this booklet that was printed by the Committee in October of '46, and he's supposed to have still been there, so that would be a little over three years.
ROBINSON: That's beyond my time, '46.
FUCHS: Yes, but he was supposed to have been there from '43 on, April 15, '43. Maybe you didn't come in touch with him.
ROBINSON: Have you got Mr. Goodman on there?
FUCHS: No. Who was he?
ROBINSON: Ezra Goodman.
FUCHS: No. He doesn't seem to be listed.
ROBINSON: He's the desert rat, the desert poet, Ezra Goodman. And I don't know how the hell he came on the Committee, but he was married to McMillan the polar explorer's widow. Remember there was a McMillan who was a polar explorer. Well, he was married to his widow, and they lived over close to the Capitol Office Building. And he got underfoot, and finally they came up with some kind of a project over in the Library of Congress to research what was done during World War I and buried him over there in the Archives of Congress. What a character. As long as he was kept out of my way I didn't care. So, we had a reception one night and his wife said, "These are all your friends on that Committee and you're going to have to pitch in help doing some of the chores around here."
And, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, only too happy to,
only too happy to."
So, he disappeared for a hell of a long time. So, after a couple of hours he came back and she says, "Now, you were going to help getting the appetizers and one thing and another ready for this group of your friends that are coming, but the minute I ask you, you disappeared. Now, where have you been?"
He says, "Well, you told me to make the canapés, cut the little round pieces of toast didn't you?"
And I said, "Yes."
"Well, I just went over to the Library to get my compass."
FUCHS: Did he tell you this?
ROBINSON: She told us that.
Here's Admiral Land's letter.
FUCHS: November 17, '44.
ROBINSON: You notice how he addresses it?
FUCHS: "Chief Investigator, Special Committee Investigating National Defense Program." And you were carried on the rolls of the Maritime Commission until that date. "We are considering your letter of resignation from the rolls of the Maritime Commission effective November 15, '44." You were carried on there the whole time.
ROBINSON: Until he was elected Vice President.
FUCHS: Why did Fulton never become an aide to Mr. Truman and did he have aspirations of being an aide to the President?
ROBINSON: I think he would have liked to. It was a hell of a misunderstanding.
I got a notice from Fulton to prepare a list for mailing announcements for the opening of the law firm. I made the list, everyone of the associates in the firm, the New York office, they made up the lists, and you purged the duplications out, and you got your mailing list finished. You got your announcements engraved. Mr. Truman was then Vice President. By the time you get your announcements printed and some mailing service gets them all addressed and you end up with a slug of them like this, you take them over to the post office. This happened at about 5:30 one night; Roosevelt died the following morning. Now, the correct name of the Committee was Senate Committee Investigating the National Defense Program, not the Truman Committee. But merely for brevity's sake, they engraved the announcement, that "Hugh Fulton, former Counsel of the Truman Committee, announces the opening of an
office for the practice of law, Fulton, Walter Halley, Rockefeller Center, Southern Building, Washington, D.C." People were with one hand looking at the news of Roosevelt's death, and they are looking at this opportunist that's moving right in to practice law under the guise of being the former counsel for Truman. There were some of the palace guard that pointed that up, overlooking the fact that Fulton, when the news of Roosevelt's death got out, went out and met Truman enroute to Washington, at Harper's Ferry, picked up the B&O at Harper's Ferry, and rode back into Washington with him, and was with him when he got off the platform at Union Station. That's all I know about it. There was a close bond and so somebody in the palace guard got their ax out and that was it. And I'm sure that it was that announcement, but this couldn't have been preplanned that way, nobody knew that Roosevelt was going to die at that particular moment, and if it hadn't been for the two coming in conjunction with each other, nobody would have thought about it.
FUCHS: You don't think that Truman would have taken offense if he had just still been Vice President? In other words, if Roosevelt hadn't died, that Truman as Vice
President wouldn't have been offended by Fulton putting this on his announcement.
ROBINSON: Yeah. Yeah.
FUCHS: It was just the fact that he became top dog and...
ROBINSON: It looks as though somebody's an opportunist here, and they just fell together, but it wasn't deliberate I can assure you.
FUCHS: Did you ever talk with Fulton about this?
ROBINSON: Oh, I don't know, I may have at the farm. He's probably one of the best friends I ever had. I spent from January 15th to Labor Day in St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco, got racked up in an automobile accident; and one day Fulton called up and he said, "How are you doing?"
I said, "Fine."
"Got a nurse?"
I said, "Yeah, got a corpsman here."
"Put him on." The guy on the phone and he said, "How near is the nearest TV distributor to the hospital?"
The nurse said, "Oh, I guess there's one about three blocks away."
And, "They have TVs for rent?"
"I want one in that room within 24 hours. Put Robinson back on."
Why, the nurse looked at me and said, "Who the hell is that guy?"
I said -- well, hell, he paid more rent on that damn TV set than what he could have bought it for.
FUCHS: Who was the Walter that was in your law firm?
ROBINSON: Walter Halley. Oh, that's an old -- Hank Walter, Henry Walter. Fulton, Walter & Halley. It was Fulton & Walter at first and then Halley came in. I don't know how they got together.
FUCHS: You say it was in the Southern Building, not…
ROBINSON: When we first started.
FUCHS: Then you went to the Occidental Building.
ROBINSON: Then I went down and talked to them and I said, "You've got a maintenance problem here. Let us take over the top two floors. All you're doing is renting them out to Congressmen for an all night poker game now, and there's no revenue out of it. So, we'll catch up with all that maintenance and refurbish the whole two top floors;" and this was what Fulton, Walter & Halley offered.
FUCHS: You were the office manager there?
FUCHS: What about Hendrick R. Suydam?
ROBINSON: Oh, I didn't have much to do with him.
FUCHS: There's another investigator, Marion G. Toomey.
FUCHS: Marion G. Toomey, listed as investigator from May 12, ‘41 to October 8, ‘44.
ROBINSON: She was a secretary at Fulton's office.
FUCHS: But they listed her as an investigator. I wonder why.
ROBINSON: Oh, I don't know, maybe that's in order to get her started. They do a lot of funny things.
FUCHS: Agnes Straus Woolf is the last one I have.
FUCHS: Agnes Straus Woolf. Do you recall her?
FUCHS: She didn't join the staff until November 1, '43. What's your first clear recollection of Mr. Truman?
ROBINSON: I would say he's the type of guy that irrespective of what his TV image was or what he sounded like over the phone, if you could be in his company for ten minutes -- he tells you to go out and climb that flagpole, you'd go out and make a goddamn good effort at it. He's just the kind of guy that inspires confidence,
that's all. You can't do anything else but give him the best you've got.
FUCHS: How did then General [Harry] Vaughan, as you remember, come into the Committee activities?
ROBINSON: I didn't particularly care for Vaughan. He kept out of my way up in the Senator's office and I was just as well satisfied. That's where he hung out.
FUCHS: Did you have a chance to observe Mr. Truman's contacts with the other Senators on the Committee in any way, such as in the "doghouse?"
ROBINSON: Oh, yeah. There was another point that I think you ought to be aware of. In connection with the critical materials, when I got into magnesium, on aluminum for instance. This guy Fulton was no respector of persons in the sense that nobody awed him. He had Jesse Jones up there, the head of the RFC, and Jesse didn't get up late any morning, he's pretty sharp. "Well, Mr. Jones on this contract with the Aluminum Company of America in the construction of these plants, in the event that they default what redress does the Government have?"
"Well, I don't think the contract specifically recites it, but certainly, the Government would have an avenue of redress at law."
"Mr. Jones, I'm asking where it is in the contract."
And, "Well, there are a lot of things, Mr. Fulton, that go on and you reach an understanding during your negotiating period that you don't actually phrase in so much English in the contract when it's finally drafted, but you've arrived at that understanding during your negotiating."
"Mr. Jones, in the event it became necessary for the Government to sue the Aluminum Companies of America what is there in that contract that makes it possible?"
"Well, Mr. Fulton, in that case we would probably look around and get some nice young smart lawyer like you."
"Thank you for the compliment, Mr. Jones, now will you answer the question?"
I mean this is murder, this is murder. The guy that you can't back down. I think that this was his strong point.
We did have the rubber report. Suddenly Mr. Barney [Bernard] Baruch was appointed rubber czar and all he did was come up and take what the Truman Committee had and go from there. And he writes a
report, and everybody's heard about the Baruch report, but nobody had looked at the fundamental basis for it, which was the Truman report. Were you aware of that?
FUCHS: No. I wasn't aware of it in that connection. I know that there was a report and I was wondering who worked on that investigation for the Committee.
ROBINSON: Oh, it was general, everybody had a little piece of it. Maletz had a piece of it, I guess Peter Ansberry -- do you have his name down there, Peter Ansberry, III?
ROBINSON: You haven't got up into our uppercrust.
FUCHS: Who was he?
ROBINSON: Oh, he was a rich guy from Washington somewhere.
FUCHS: Who brought him on the Committee?
ROBINSON: I don't know.
FUCHS: I have heard the name. I didn't have him on this list.
ROBINSON: Yeah, he was a pretty good guy.
FUCHS: Did you get involved in the Navy tanklighters program with Higgins?
ROBINSON: Yes. With Andy Higgins?
FUCHS: Do you have any comments about that or anecdotes?
ROBINSON: Well, when we started in on our tanklighters -- this guy Higgins was remarkable. Insofar as production genius, I think he's got more on the ball than, Kaiser, as far as the innovations and -- he had got these tanklighters and all they are is a box with a drop front. They're out here in some high-pitching swell and you're taking those General Sherman tanks off the deck of some transport, and you're dropping them into that lighter. Well, supposing you don't get it spotted exactly center, you can't move one of those tanks sideways, or you can't jockey it forwards and backwards and hope to get it over there. You go with what you've got. So, this Lake Pontchartrain down there, he'd have these Navy novices come down, junior lieutenants, for training on these tanklighters. Well, he had a bunch of telegraph poles cut off at the surface of the water and back here was a ramp and he'd send some junior grade lieutenant come gunning down that Lake Pontchartrain and hit the skid, and that tanklighter would go up in the air, and it would come to rest right on those cut off telegraph poles. So, you get somebody to come up and lift it off, but by
the time you get back into shore with that lieutenant junior grade, he's white, if he's not completely sick.
Then right across the lake there's a series of steps, concrete steps, I don't know, it's from some open air arcade. You come down to the water's edge and you take this tanklighter and you gun it across and you'd run up these steps with it. And Andy finally looks at you and says, "Well, have we convinced you not to baby these things? They don't like babying." So in, what was it, Iwo Jima, Saipan,, or one of them, you put these landing crafts and you put these ducks, you know, these caterpillar things that go up on the beach and they can swim and they can go on land. I think they call them alligators, weren't they? They got the treads...
FUCHS: I think there was another term for them, I can't think what it was though.
ROBINSON: Well, they had them commingled and it was an amphibious landing. Well, the landing craft, these alligators or whatever it was, they get to this little coral reef and with their traction they went right up over it and right into the beach, whereas the landing craft which had to slow down in order to keep the alignment. They didn't want to get
out ahead of these alligators, and as a result they didn't have speed enough to go over this coral reef, whereas if you had operated with all landing craft in there and they could have set their own speed, they would just bounce up and over that. They would have had enough momentum to go up over the coral reef. So it was one of the major casualties of war and everybody was laughing at the Higgins landing craft, but I heard him explain why it happened. They called back and they said that the BuShips were wedded to a keel type ship, they couldn't think of a ship as anything else but a keel, and that's where you start, then you go from there. And they had a couple of tanklighters and the Committee kept goading the BuShips to get into a test actually to resolve this thing down off Norfolk, and you use your BuShips lighter and we'll use the Higgins.
So, then they called back and they says, "Well, I don't know, in order to get a General Sherman tank and go through all the red tape we've got to go through to get all the papers from the Army and get it on a loan, and get it down to Norfolk -- it will take us three or four days of paperwork to get it from the Army over. Now, would you conduct the tests with the
equivalent weight of railroad rails or I-beams?"
"Oh, we don't know, but they claimed that the weight is the same, what difference does it make?"
And, "We'll call Higgins. We'll call you back."
We called Higgins in New Orleans and he said, "Not by a damn sight. Can't you see what they are doing -- they are getting the center of gravity down. Hell, you swing a tank on me, I'll load it, and if you've got to swing a tank aboard mine, swing a tank aboard them and see what the hell they do. They want to get the center of gravity down, because by the time you get that keel in the hull type ship that they were using for a lighter, and then a Sherman tank on top of it, you've got a hell of a lot of sway there. But with the Higgins lighter, it's down inside and your center of gravity is almost water's edge. So, no, you've got to run the tests with a tank."
So, they got down there and the Higgins lighter ran out, picked up its tank and the craft was back in, and they were standing on the shore watching the Bureau lighter flounder and the crew is right along the rail ready to go over the side in case they did; because they've got marks with lines on the deck and when you're out there swinging that tank over the side of
that ship you're supposed to line it up with these lines on the deck, if you get it one way or the other it becomes a big factor on that lighter. It doesn't make any difference on the Higgins. Oh, he -- Higgins was called in on the -- let me call it the Manhattan project, they had some sort of a graphite disk that they had to process. They didn't know quite how to do it. He did it for them. They were getting ready for the invasion of Normandy and the Germans had taken old railroad rails and embedded them along the beach. They put these railroad rails at various positions along the beach, so if you attempted to go through with any type of a ship, you would tear it to pieces before you'd get through. They had a problem to get through those. They called Andy Higgins in, and he says, "On the bow of the lighter, take a piece of cold rolled steel, about an inch and a half bar, and put it on the front of the lighter, and we'll put it something like that, and we'll tie it to the hull up here, sort of like a snow plow. Use inch and a half cold rolled and a power bender and supports to fasten it to both sides of the lighter.
They said, "Get the specifications together and we will have contract procurement review them to write
the specs, and ask for bids."
Higgins says, "You'll do no such silly goddamn thing. Now, those things can be fabricated on-site, right over there and I don't need any part of it; but you don't go giving us any contract on bids, it's my idea. Get about it with a power bender, and a forge over there and get started knocking them out."
Well, the result is that you could go in with such a speed on this damn thing that something has got to give, and you just ram those things and separate them. And this was Andy Higgins.
Well, here's another little incident that comes to mind with Truman. On the camp and cantonment investigation, I went down to the Contract Advisory Board and they decide as to which contractor was going to get what contract to build which camp. This was quite a process, you know. I want to know some of the details. How do you go about getting the contractor to build a particular camp? This was my first experience. I called up and I set up the appointment. Two o'clock tomorrow afternoon. Well, I go down and they usher me into one of these high ceiling panelled conference rooms, with a long library table, and up at the end is some major general
with a walrus mustache and gold braid until there's no more sleeve -- he sits up there like the grand beagle, you see, up at the head of the table; and all down here is all the rest of the scrambled eggs and here's the witness chair. This is the one they usher you into. "Now go ahead and ask your questions."
Well, I came back up on that Capitol Hill and I was spitting mad. That's the first time I got that star chamber treatment and I didn't like it. And I went up and I told the chairman, I said, "Look, I know what you think about the War Department, but they can sure pull a guy through the keyhole."
And he says, "What are you talking about?" I told him what had happened. And he says, "I know Robby. I know. But have you ever been down on the beach and you watch the surf as it comes in and a wave will come up until it gets refusal, then it backs off, and the next wave comes up just a little bit further until refusal, and then backs off, that's what we've got to do here. And the measure of how far we're going up will depend upon the amount of public support that we muster, and you're going to be on this Committee long enough to see it running
at flood tide, Robby."
FUCHS: Very good.
ROBINSON: And that's the way it happened. We got to the point to where you go down and ask the War Department something and they didn't dare refuse to give it to you.
FUCHS: Did you come in touch with Eddie Locke to any degree?
ROBINSON: He went down to the White House, he was War Production Board. Yeah, great guy. Great guy. No, only as related to any contact with the War Production Board.
FUCHS: He was Nelson's, Donald Nelson's liaison.
ROBINSON: He was a good lawyer.
FUCHS: You don't recall any more specifics about…
ROBINSON: They pulled him down to the White House. He was a presidential advisor wasn't he?
FUCHS: Yes. He succeeded Nelson.
FUCHS: What about Captain Kennedy, superior to John Abbott and John Tolan?
ROBINSON: Oh, he was Navy. Yeah, he would go along on the junket if it had anything to do with the Navy, but this is about all. He was there.
FUCHS: Did you ever hear any disagreement between Matt Connelly and Hugh Fulton?
ROBINSON: Boy, you can ask them can't you?
I've heard Fulton say, "Keep that s.o.b. out of my way or I'll fire him the minute I look at him." Now, do you want to go further than that?
FUCHS: I would like to know why would he make such a statement.
ROBINSON: I guess he just didn't trust Matt. Matt was an angle man, and Washington's full of them, and Fulton is just sharp enough to see through them.
FUCHS: Any specific examples that might come to mind?
ROBINSON: Oh, I could, but what point would we serve?
FUCHS: The only point is…
ROBINSON: Let's say this, that there was no rapport between Connelly and Fulton and Connelly says, "Keep him out of my way or I'll fire him."
FUCHS: You mean Fulton said that.
FUCHS: Now, well we are trying to develop the character of these people for history and how much of an influence they actually were and who was the man that really did the job and that's the only point that's served, it's not to dig up dirt on anyone. We're not
really after kudos or lambasting, so to speak, brickbats or roses, we just want to get as much of the fact into the record. I'm not writing anything, of course, it's just for historians.
ROBINSON: Well, as an illustration. I told you about the difference between the Committee's books and the disbursing office and I ran it out as to where it was, and it developed that there wasn't any shortage. Matt had a couple of trips that he had gotten advances on and he hadn't submitted his expense account. This had gone on for -- I think the advances for making the trip were made and here eight months later he hadn't submitted his expense account because he abused the established procedures. You are permitted a certain amount for car hire. You are permitted a certain amount for steno hire, but these are maximums, it doesn't mean that you've got to have a car every day or you've got to have a steno every day. So, whatever it was that Matt could load in there he loaded in day after day. Just belly up to a bar and you spend a lot of money you can't account for, and you've got to come up with something. And I'm sure that that's why he hadn't submitted these expense accounts. He didn't know how the hell to account
for it. And Peggy Bucholz, who was taking over the books, and I showed her where the differences were. I said, "Get Matt to submit those accounts and you'll clear these particular items up with disbursing." And every time I saw her I'd say, "Matt send the accounts up yet?"
Matt's down in the White House now. And she says, "The last time I talked to him he said he'd get some figures down on paper and send them up; he wouldn't guarantee them."
Now, if I were in the White House this is the last thing I would do even if I had to stand and foot the bill with my personal check. I wouldn't submit any phony account back from my position sitting in the White House. Maybe I'm a little different, I have a little different principle. That's the last thing in the world I would do.
FUCHS: Why do you think he…
ROBINSON: They were phony. I never saw them, all I know is what he told Peggy, that he'd cook something up. Peggy Bucholz will tell you that one.
FUCHS: Why do you think he ended up in the White House? Why did Mr. Truman have this great rapport with Connelly, if you want to use that term?
ROBINSON: Matt, when you first meet him -- he's got a nice family -- I understand his first divorce -- he's got a couple of lovely kids and he's a personable guy. There are a lot of points about Matt I kind of like as a friend, as a neighbor, I just don't like his modus operandi, that's all.
These were common labor. Anybody that could tie reinforcing rod together and pour concrete… [Mr. Robinson at this point in the interview referred to his scrapbooks and an item in one of them recalled to his mind the concrete barge program of the Government in World War II.]
FUCHS: …were used to build the concrete barges.
FUCHS: Where did they build them?
ROBINSON: They built some on the West Coast here and they built some in Savannah and they built some at Houston.
FUCHS: Were they a real success?
FUCHS: Why not?
ROBINSON: For instance the ones at Savannah -- a guy says, "Oh, don't tell me how to pour concrete." Here's where you set up test panels and you get your slump right so that you get the proper drop to that cement when you pour it. "Don't tell me how to pour it." Well, he didn't set up any test panels and the result is that when you stripped the forms away there were holes in that barge that you could drive a Ford
automobile through, where the concrete didn't slump and they had to patch it. And the one down at Houston -- they were built on San Jacinto Bay which is an offshoot of the Houston ship channel -- and with a strong offshore breeze, why, you'd see the mud flats out there, and this fellow, H. G. Cockburn, he had the contract to build the barges. And I said, "Mr. Cockburn, the problem, the thing that's puzzling me is when you get them built how are you going to get them to open water?"
He says, "You read my contract?"
I says, "No."
He says, "You won't find anything like that in there. It's the Government's problem as to how to get them to open water. I'll build them and I got a contract to build them."
FUCHS: How did they?
ROBINSON: I don't know but what they're still there. I came away.
FUCHS: Well, did you have an investigation of these?
ROBINSON: Oh, yes. This is Senator [Joseph H.] Ball, Senator [Harley] Kilgore and myself on the deck of one of them. This is all reinforcing -- this will all be enclosed in concrete before they get through. [This reference and succeeding ones are to photographs in Mr. Robinson's scrapbook.]
Well, here's Truman.
FUCHS: Did you set in on any hearings, open hearings, or executive session hearings?
ROBINSON: Well, hell, I had the agenda, I made up the list of witnesses as to who to call next and how to develop the testimony.
Here's Wallgren and Truman and Fulton when we went to Salt Lake City for the Geneva Steel, Mon Wallgren and Truman.
FUCHS: What was that investigation?
FUCHS: Geneva Steel.
ROBINSON: Plant layout.
Here's the movie industry, exhibition contracts, anti-trust case, that was in my younger days.
What the hell was this one? That's Truman's writing.
FUCHS: I haven't ever seen that.
ROBINSON: That isn't in the Committee files?
FUCHS: Well, I haven't been back to Washington to go through those files, I'm sure it is.
ROBINSON: That's his writing. If you ever want that, you know where it is.
FUCHS: What are you planning on doing with your papers
and your scrapbooks ultimately?
ROBINSON: One of these days when I get around to -- here's a hearing in process. That's [Carl A.] Hatch, Fulton, Kilgore, Truman, Wallgren, oh, I'm around here somewhere.
FUCHS: Anything that comes to mind about Mr. Truman's conduct in the hearings that might be of interest either in cross-examination or the way he handled them? Of course, I imagine Fulton did most of the cross-examining.
ROBINSON: Oh, sometimes it was kind of dramatic. When Fulton was going after Jesse Jones that time on the aluminum contract. I know Truman got goddamn annoyed. And he stepped up and he said, "Mr. Jones, all I know is I'm from the country, I'm not a lawyer even, but I want you to understand I can read English and I can't see anything in that contract that protects the Government."
And then he'd come in with a blast when you needed a final clincher. The day that we had Wolf Creek Ordnance Plant, I had a bunch of witnesses testify as to nepotism and the chief accountant, he says, "You know, Senator, I think that I had ought to own up to the fact that my father's on the project
"Yes, and what does he do?"
"Swats flies," he says, "that's not true when they go to the ceiling."
Truman angrily said, "That doesn't make you any different than these other chiselers."
FUCHS: Do you recall anything of the Corrigan, Osborne, Wells case?
ROBINSON: The who?
FUCHS: Corrigan was a Navy commander or something in the Navy.
ROBINSON: Oh, yes, I think that came a little after.
FUCHS: Did you feel that your liaison with the Navy was better than that with the Army or visa versa, or about the same?
ROBINSON: Did I what?
FUCHS: Your liaison, did you have better liaison with the Navy than with the Army or do you think they were about the same. Did you get more obstructionism from one outfit than the other?
ROBINSON: They were about the same.
FUCHS: Were you ever involved in any of the speechwriting for Mr. Truman as Senator or Chairman?
ROBINSON: Well, we'd put speeches together for him once in awhile.
These are Milan, Tennessee. You asked me what the date of it was, November 14.
ROBINSON: And Brewster. This was the morning after he said, "Isn't that Robinson's room?"
Senator said, "He's two rooms down the hall."
FUCHS: Interesting, these local press, local papers. We wouldn't have -- we have a big picture collection, of course.
ROBINSON: Oh, here's the House committee that whitewashed this thing.
FUCHS: They did whitewash it?
ROBINSON: Oh, yeah.
I don't know. Oh, here's the House committee, and here's yours truly.
FUCHS: Did any of the Senators on the Committee impress you as prima donnas? Did any of them seem to be wanting to turn it into a "committee on the conduct of the war" if they could?
ROBINSON: No, but -- oh, here are some of these characters you have been asking me about. There's Brewster. This was in the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. This is Mrs. Fulton, Fulton, Neal Helm, who was a great friend of Senator Truman's, from Missouri. This is
a fellow and he's heir to the Cannon Towel…
FUCHS: That's Lew Barringer, isn't it?
FUCHS: Isn't that Lewis Barringer? That looks like Lew Barringer.
ROBINSON: Is he tied up with Cannon…
FUCHS: Well, he's a cotton broker, but his chief account is the Cannon Mill. He handles all the buying of...
ROBINSON: That's the one.
FUCHS: That's all he does now, the buying of the cotton for Cannon Mills.
ROBINSON: I knew he had something to do with Cannon Mills.
FUCHS: Yeah. Well, he's very wealthy. I've interviewed him, he's got his eyes closed, he's…
ROBINSON: Marion Toomey. That's Colonel Woods.
FUCHS: Colonel Woods. I don't know who that was.
ROBINSON: One of the liaison from the Army.
ROBINSON: Yes. And there is Senator Truman. This gives you an idea what the hell those concrete barges looked like. Kind of big, huh?
ROBINSON: And it has to be a monolithic pour. Once you start, you keep going. This is how it looks when
they finish it.
FUCHS: That's a good job.
Did you say who Thomas Flynn was?
FUCHS: Thomas Flynn.
ROBINSON: Oh, yeah, that's the guy that Charlie Clark caught with his hat on, "Entente cordiale, Tom. What do you think you're in, a poolroom? Take your hat off."
FUCHS: What was Flynn's job?
ROBINSON: An investigator. He handled the Detroit war contracts. There's Senator [Homer] Ferguson.
Here's your Liberty ship fractures, one of them -- yours truly, Fulton, Kilgore, Hatch, and a Liberty ship.
FUCHS: Who seemed to be closest to Mr. Truman of the Senators on the Committee?
ROBINSON: He personally liked, he was a great friend of Mon Wallgren's. He just really liked Mon and Mon liked him.
I got to Geneva and that was a plant that was built by the United States Steel. They at that time, they took the blast from, I think Bethlehem, and they took the open hearth from some other design,
and they took the best of all of the United States steel empire, the best part of each facility, and they incorporated it in this Geneva Steel plant. And they had about six different site plans so that as the material arrived on the site you didn't have to haul it up hill to the point of use, take advantage of the grades, and it was laid out beautifully.
So, they arrived in town and I said, "Look, if you want to reach for it I can give you a little equipment rental, that looks bad; or I can give you a little nepotism maybe, but it's out of all proportion. I think basically, fundamentally, this is a well-designed project. But if you want to reach for it, I can give you a little nit-picking here and there, but it would be out of context."
"Oh, well why don't we have just a tour of inspection?"
So, the next day we had a tour of inspection and Wallgren came through with his Cadillac from the State of Washington, and he was driving. And after our inspection we got in Wallgren's Cadillac. There was Fulton, Wallgren, Truman and myself, and we start
down the pike for Las Vegas and -- had lunch and about three o'clock came up a rain. Did you ever get caught in a desert flash flood?
FUCHS: No. I've seen the water come down those dry arroyos but...
ROBINSON: Well, you just sit there and suddenly the road drops out of sight. You don't know where the hell it is. You got a whole big little lake of water out here and you proceed further at your peril. So, you just sit there in a little, big pond of water and wait for the rain to stop and the flood to go down. And here's Truman and Fulton and myself sitting there in the middle of a desert flash flood. We finally get to Las Vegas and Mon Wallgren who used to be National Billiards Champion -- did you know that?
ROBINSON: And he loves to gamble. He don't care what it is, faro, roulette, black jack, craps, he'll play them all. But Truman, he'll duck about nine o'clock. He goes to bed with the chickens and Wallgren keeps bouncing.
So they got a call to Wright Engine at Patterson Field. The hearings were coming up and they had to get back. So -- you asked about General Lowe, well,
I'll give it to you. They called Washington and they told General Lowe that they have got to get from Las Vegas to Patterson Air Base and Wright Field, where is it, Dayton isn't it -- yeah. And he should arrange for transportation by plane.
So, the next morning I drove them out to the airport, Las Vegas airport, and we sat and we sat, and we sat, no plane. So, we got on the phone, "Get General Lowe on the phone." So, he reported back that they took a plane out of Los Angeles, Long Beach Command and it's enroute to Las Vegas and that's all I can tell you. So, we sat, and we sat, and we sat, and "Get General Lowe on the phone again."
So, this time he gets back, he says, "Was that Las Vegas, Nevada or Las Vegas, Arizona? Your plane is in Las Vegas, Arizona (or Las Vegas, New Mexico, or wherever the hell it is)."
So, Truman blew his top: "Stupid, stupid."
So, they decided that they would send another plane out of Long Beach to pick them up at Las Vegas, Nevada and fly them to Las Vegas, New Mexico where they would pick up their plane to Dayton. And they are all standing there at the airport, here's this barnstorming plane, came in out of Long Beach, it had
"Snafu Airlines" and Wallgren said, "That's the most appropriate goddamn thing I've seen all day, Snafu Airlines."
You know what that is don't you? Snafu?
ROBINSON: Situation normal all fouled up. That's General Lowe, didn't know the difference between Las Vegas, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada.
So, then Wallgren said, "Well, Robbie, will you take my Cadillac and go on through and I'll pick you up at the Ambassador in Los Angeles, and put my Cadillac in the garage there at the Ambassador; but in going through, I more or less promised Edgar Kaiser that -- they're going to roll the first steel ingot at Fontana and I told him that I would be there." So, I got into Wallgren's Cadillac and I drive on through San Bernadino and I got to Fontana and I stop. Chad Calhoun and Tom Price and Kaiser were there. I explained what the hell had happened, that Wallgren had to go back to Patterson Field and I'm driving his Cadillac on through and I was told to stop and express his regrets. And they said, "Oh, no. No. These guys have been waiting for company to roll that first ingot for, and you're going to be
So, we go in . All the Kaiser dignitaries, and little Willie here, and we go up on the gallery and here are these guys down here with a great big red hot steel ingot and boy, they're sweating, stripped to the waist, and they're looking up, "Who the hell's this bastard that we've got to put this show on for anyway?
But I could have cared less about the whole damn thing, but if anybody wants to know who Kaiser rolled his first ingot for, here he is.
FUCHS: Pretty good.
Who made the assignments of investigators to particular investigations?
ROBINSON: It was pretty much in category. Of course, Fulton could jump and make any assignment he wanted. Oh, for instance if you had housing, that would automatically go to Maletz because you know he was handling housing. Their subjects changed from time to time; but the one thing that I raised hell about, the tendency back there (and this is a Washington tendency, let's face it), they have certain stock responses. I've seen it now, when I correspond back there, I get annoyed by it. You write about some waste or inefficiency on some project, and you get a letter back,
"Thank you for your letter of March 6th. You may be assured that your comments will receive the careful attention of the Committee. Signed very truly yours." Now this gets the desk clear. You're never going to make any cases, but you've got a clean desk. I told these guys, I said, "When I come in this office and I see a clean desk, I'm going to be suspicious. Now, you write back and you encourage that guy, now if you know the particulars on this thing, let's have them. This is the way you make cases. You've got to raise them from a pup. Brush them off and you're not going to make a record on this Committee. This man has good intentions if he takes the time to write."
During the war we had an agent that just came out of training school. We had to keep him close to headquarters until he got himself located in an apartment and knew how to get to Brooklyn and get back without getting lost on the subway. We gave him something to do. We sat him out in front and so these people come in. "I live next door to a family over there in Brooklyn, they eat German rye bread and they speak German at the dinner table, they are spies, so help me."
Well, who's going to condemn the guy. He meant
it in good faith. And you can't insult them.
ROBINSON: So, you courteously take their information. You write out the memo. Then it goes back to file, and the file clerk makes up a 3 x 5 card. "Willie Hassenpfeffer: See memo such and such a date. Neighbor complains engaged in espionage." So, you pull the memo, it's non-specific. But that 3 x 5 card goes into the file. And another week another guy comes in, now he tells you something else about Willie Hassenpfeffer. Another memo, another 3 x 5 card, then after that 3 x 5 cards gets about six or seven of them, all of which don't add up individually to a hill of beans, but makes it by sheer numbers, it's worth a cursory look. That's how you make cases.
FUCHS: And this sort of thing evolved in the Truman Committee, where you…
ROBINSON: If I saw a guy with a clear desk, I'd check him. Really I would. And they'd do it, they'd give me the brush. Form letter three or form letter five. I taught a course under O. W. Wilson in the School of Criminology, and he was the fellow that was taken back as the Chief of Police of Chicago, O. W. Wilson, great guy. He says, "What text are you going to use?"
I says, "The only text I've seen are O'Connell's, tells you how to make a detective out of a traffic cop.”
"That's not what I want."
"I can't find any and that one won't work, so I'll write my own lectures."
I told these fellows that came in, I say, "Now there are two kinds of intelligence. I, the lower case i, and the capital I. Number one, you've got to have it or you're wasting your time taking this course. The other kind, I'll tell you where to go get it."
I tricked them. Somebody says, "How about taking notes?"
"Oh," I says, “yes, some instructors tell you that you keep your margins in a certain way, put so much on a page, and they collect them every now and then only to see whether they are getting through to you. This is for their use. If you learn to be an investigator I'll tell you that taking notes is an important part of it. Now, I don't care whether you take them on the inside of a matchbook or whether on the back of a laundry ticket, take notes. And I have nothing more to say than that. How? Why? That's up to you."
So, the next week I came to class. And I said, "Now today we've got a hypothetical case. You're an investigator for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. You're home, it's seven o'clock one night. You get a call from the South San Francisco yards, the watchman on gate number two. He came on and had been mortally wounded. So, you hurry it over there and you got in a call for the ambulance, and while you're waiting in the yard for the ambulance, he's told you he came on duty at five o'clock, heard a noise over on track number so and so. Went over there and he found L&N car number so and so, the seal broken. Guy jumped out and he gave a complete description. A couple of seconds later another guy jumped out, and another complete description. And I take them on a hare and hounds chase all through those South San Francisco yards from track 32 over." I said, "About that time the watchman gave a gasp and he died before the arrival of the ambulance. I'd like to have you take paper and pencil and write out what he told you."
"Now, Mr. Robinson, we didn't know that this was going to be a test."
I said, "You didn't know that watchman was going to
die either, and we had a little discussion last week about taking notes. I hope if nothing more, I've fastened that firmly in your mind."
I got about seven different versions of that.
On another occasion I told one of our Special Agents that while in Berkeley on official business that afternoon. he was to come into Room 102, California Hall. "I'll be lecturing and you just walk in and talk to me in subdued tones and finally I raise my voice to you and you raise your voice to me, and I order you out of the room, and the whole tableau shouldn't take more than thirty seconds."
And we're right in the midst of a lecture and in walks this joker and this little tableau is enacted and I finally told him to leave. "You have no business here." So I sent him packing. I said, "You people remember that man that got in a rather sharp discussion with me?"
"Well, we've had discussion about physical descriptions, you had thirty seconds to watch that man, and I'm sure your attention was attracted to him because I made sure that it was. I'd like to have you
write out his description."
On the last day of the exam, you're supposed to submit your examination questions and...
FUCHS: The last day of the course?
ROBINSON: Yes. The registrar mimeographs them, puts them in a sealed package so nobody gets an advance "look see" and the instructor goes to the registrar's office. I don't know if they keep them in the safe or not, but you get your package of questions and your books that you're going to use for answering, and you come back up to your lecture hall and you pass out the exams and here the students are all sitting there and as Red Skelton would say, "These kids just don't look right to me." You know, the last day of their final exam and they are grinning. So, they couldn't contain themselves any longer and one of them came up, he says, "Mr. Robinson, you taught us surveillance, were you aware of a Chevrolet, blue, 1955 sedan, plate number so and so following you this morning?"
I said, "No, I was driving along otherwise preoccupied, clear conscience, I wasn't suspecting a tail, why?"
"Well, this was the last day we had to get hunk
with you. We picked you up at the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge. You want to know your movements from that point on?"
They trailed me to the registrar's office to pick up the examination forms, up to the lecture hall. They had a complete dossier of everything I did from the time I came from the San Francisco side of the bridge.
Well, to me that was the most rewarding thing that they could have done. They had one day to get hunk with me and they got up early and got over to San Francisco to put a tail on me. They'll make out.
FUCHS: Pretty good. You say they got hunk with you? What was that?
FUCHS: About how many did you have in your class?
ROBINSON: Thirty-six and they were made up of rich men's sons, the beatniks, so-called, the GI program, and the exchange students. I had a fellow from Pakistan, and another one from India, I think it was, several foreign students. But with about three or four lectures I could almost go down the line and pick them
for you as to which will...
FUCHS: Which ones were going to succeed?
ROBINSON: Which ones will get the high grades through actual hard work. The exchange students are the most conscientious, after that comes the GI bill, and down at the bottom of the list you can put the pampered rich men's sons who are there to goof off. I don't know.
FUCHS: Did you come in touch with Victor Messall?
ROBINSON: Oh, God, that's pathetic.
FUCHS: Well, he left Mr. Truman right about the time he set up the Committee. How would you have come in touch with him?
ROBINSON: Oh, I was in his office one night (I don't think he's aware of it), and I was completely revolted.
FUCHS: By what?
ROBINSON: Big framed autographed pictures of…I hate a phony, and I'm not calling Vic Messall a phony, but he certainly acts like one. Playing on friendship, to commercialize on it. If I can't make a living in any other way on my own qualifications, I'm not going to trade on somebody's friendship.
FUCHS: He became a public relations man, I guess, lobbyist so to speak.
ROBINSON: Well, let's face it, he was a lobbyist.
ROBINSON: We call them legislative advocates here, but they are still the garden variety lobbyist.
FUCHS: Do you know who this Harry Toulmin was that wrote this book about the Truman Committee, Diary of Democracy? How that came about?
ROBINSON: No. I have a copy of the book though.
FUCHS: I wonder what his interest -- how he happened to get in on that. Did you know him in any other relationship?
ROBINSON: No. I know Frank McNaughton and Walter Hehmeyer that wrote the other one, but -- doesn't the frontispiece of Toulmin's book indicate that?
FUCHS: Not as to who Toulmin was or how he got interested in writing a book on the Truman Committee.
Well, is there anything more you can think of that might be worth putting into the record, anecdotes or any summation, your views of the Truman Committee work or of Mr. Truman?
ROBINSON: Oh, I got down to a group in the Peabody Hotel I think. Have you ever met this Neal Helm, "Waco"
they call him?
FUCHS: I've met him.
ROBINSON: Have you? He's a banker or something and he's got a...
FUCHS: I've met quite a few of his -- is he the one from -- that used to be from Caruthersville, now in St. Louis?
FUCHS: I think I met him.
ROBINSON: And then there was a Dewey Short from out there wasn't there?
FUCHS: I think he's there, I'm not sure. There was a Dewey Short; I've never met him.
FUCHS: He was a Representative.
ROBINSON: Well, Waco was down in Memphis and I don't know, Truman knocked off early, went to bed and he says, "Take care of Waco." to me; and then he told Waco, "Take care of Robby." And to be frank with you we both needed guardians, but -- boy it was on the town that night.
So, the following night was the Traffic Manager's Association convention, of the different railroads. They wanted Truman to come in and speak and he wanted me to come along because at that time this Milan
Ordnance Plant was in the works. So, they asked me if I would introduce the Senator. So, I got up and I said, "Well," I said, "there's an old legend that has it that when a Greek lady gives birth, the first place she kisses the newborn baby sets his destiny. If she wants a philosopher, she's going to kiss him on the forehead. If she wants an orator she will probably kiss him on the lips. If she wanted a singer, she'd kiss him on the larynx." I said, "This next gentleman, I don't know where his mother kissed him, but he's been one of the finest chairmen we've ever had."
Truman saw me afterward. He said, "You little stinker." He got a kick out of it. He didn't object to it.
FUCHS: That's pretty good.
Well, that's about all I have; if you have some other anecdotes they are real welcome.
ROBINSON: Have you seen [Jack] Shelley and Warren?
FUCHS: No, I haven't sir.
ROBINSON: Well, now they all come in in a later chapter I think.
FUCHS: Is that Jack Shelley up here? He was in the '48 campaign in the politics out here, is that right? I
had never heard of him until I came out here.
ROBINSON: Well, before he got into politics as a Congressman Jack used to be active in labor. He was a labor secretary of some kind. I forget what craft it was. But Jack's wife was a terminal cancer patient, I think, for years and everybody more or less felt sorry for Jack. And there was some affair up in the Fairmont Hotel and Truman was speaking, and Truman took a little rose out of his boutonniere and looked at Jack Shelley's daughter and -- he was aware of Jack's wife -- and he told the little girl he says, "Now, I want you to take this home to your mother and you tell her Senator Truman sent it to her." He gave her a little rosebud out of his buttonhole.
FUCHS: That's very nice. Did Mr. Shelley and Truman become acquainted at that time or…
ROBINSON: Oh, yeah.
FUCHS: Or had they been acquainted earlier?
ROBINSON: Oh, before he was ever Congressman.
ROBINSON: Mrs. Shelley long since died and Shelley has married his former secretary, but this is back at the time when everybody more or less felt sorry for Jack because they knew his wife was hopelessly ill with…
Well, I don't know. When are you going to get all that transcribed?
FUCHS: Well, we're going to do our best.
Mr. Robinson, I think we might finish up with my asking you to give a little background so that people know just where you came from, and where and when you were born, and where you were educated, and so forth, down to the time you took your job with the Truman Committee. We usually start this way, but you and I just started talking and we turned the recorder on.
ROBINSON: New Haven, Connecticut, graduate of Northeastern University of Boston, degree of bachelor of commercial science, majored in accounting.
FUCHS: What year did you graduate?
FUCHS: And you were born about 1907?
ROBINSON: Yeah, I've been around a long time.
FUCHS: You are holding your years very well.
ROBINSON: I keep active and right now we're getting a Grand Jury Association of California organized. I'm vice president of it. I served on the 1965 County Grand Jury, and in California it's a little bit different
probably than what it is in other areas. We had two functions: The indictment function on all felony indictments; and then we have what we call the "watch dog" function where you review and analyze all county agencies, budget-wise, operationally. So that this is the citizen's avenue of protection against inefficient, ineffective county government. They handed me the Veteran's exemption investigation where it got to be a way of life You were stupid if you didn't apply even though you committed perjury in applying. Well, we couldn't sample them all. We had thirty-one thousand of them there in this county. So I says, "Give me all over $5,000 assessed value, which would be a $20,000 house. You assess it at twenty-five percent of fair market. With $5,000 he's entitled if he's married to up to $10,000 in property before he loses that exemption. Well, this only leaves him $5,000 on top of the house for the motor boat and the cash value of life insurance and the savings and loan accounts he's got. It doesn't take much to get up to that $10,000 figure. So, of 1,480 samples we sent a questionnaire asking various categorical questions, you answer under the pains of perjury. You might go into the assessor's office and lie until you're blue in the face, but when you hear
the grand jury inquiring, you don't play around with that too much. So, all we had to do was compare what they told us and they told the assessor and out of 1,480 we recommended the suspension and disallowance of the exemption of 1,230 of them. The result was that the Veteran's exemption the following year dropped to less than 18,000. People just didn't dare go down and file if they weren't entitled to it.
There's a move afoot to more or less eliminate the grand jury. And God forbid if they do. I put together a little memo for the Association and if you like to read about those things I can give you a copy of it. You can take it along with you.
FUCHS: Okay. Thank you very much.
ROBINSON: You haven't asked me about where I -- I guess it was early pioneer or early senility, one or the other. I ran politically in 1954.
FUCHS: You say you did run politically in '54?
FUCHS: For what?
ROBINSON: State Senate.
FUCHS: Oh, did you?
ROBINSON: Yes, I ran against Richard Dolwig in San Mateo County.
FUCHS: And you ran under the Democratic ticket?
ROBINSON: Yeah. And I made a mistake, I cut off all the Third House money. You know what the Third House is, don't you?
Well, we have the Senate, we have the Assembly and then we have this Third House, that's where Jack Shelley belongs to is the Third House.
FUCHS: The lobbyists.
ROBINSON: That's right.
FUCHS: And you cut all that off?
ROBINSON: I cut it off. My slogan during the campaign was, "No Lobby With Robby." And that cuts off Third House money anytime.
FUCHS: "No Lobby With Robby?"
ROBINSON: That's right. That's me!
FUCHS: Yeah. "No Lobby With Robby."
ROBINSON: So, that little adventure cost me I guess about twelve, fourteen thousand dollars. But, it's something I think that every citizen should have, the experience of running for office whether they make it or not. I could live in San Mateo for the next fifty years and I wouldn't meet the number of people I met in the six months that I was running down there for the State Senate. And I wasn't running against an incumbent,
the man that was there was the Assemblyman. He wanted to step up to replace an old dean of the Senate who was retiring, Mr. Parkman. So, that at least it wasn't an incumbent Senator that I was running against.
So. I took him two to one from Westlake, San Bruno, Milbrae, Burlingame, down to San Mateo; then he came up out of Menlo Park, Atherton, the swank Hillsboro, the uppercrust, the Republican strength. Plus, Mr. Eisenhower ran that year, 1954. And he rode Mr. Eisenhower's coattails and diluted the strength that I had picked up on the northern end of the county, so that he got in.
FUCHS: Was this '52?
FUCHS: You mean Ike ran for President?
ROBINSON: Oh, '56. '56. I'm sorry. '56.
FUCHS: Oh, yeah, well that helps, him.
Well, you had the experience, you enjoyed it.
ROBINSON: I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. In fact I still go down -- I went down the other day to go over these grand jury bills. So, I'm still well-known around there.
FUCHS: Thank you very much.
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
List of Subjects Discussed
Abbott, John, 71-73, 101
All This and Heaven Too, 59
Aluminum Company of America, 91-92
American Legion, 33
American Magazine, 12, 13
Ansberry, Peter, 93
Army camps, construction of, 7-8
Associated Gas and Electric Company, 4-5
Atlantic City National Bank, 3
Ball, Senator Joseph H., 106
Bank of America, 78, 79
Barge program in World War II, 105-107
Barkley, Alben W., 22, 47
Barringer, Lewis T., 111
Baruch, Bernard M., 92-93
Baruch report, 93
Basic Magnesium, Inc., investigated by the Truman Committee, 37-43, 76
Battel Institute, 45
Blake, Voorhees, and Steward, 77
Boeing Aircraft, 15
Boston, Massachusetts, 51
Boulder City Hotel, 39
Boyle, William, Jr., 23-24
Brewster, Senator Owen, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 70, 73, 110
Brown, Governor Edmund "Pat", 23, 47, 49
Bucholz, Peggy, 29, 104
Calhoun, Chad, 116
California, 44, 45, 46
Robinson, Harold G., as Deputy Director for the Justice Department of the State of, 50
Camp Roberts, California, 29
Canfil, Fred A., 55-56, 82
Chandler, Senator Albert B., 21
Charros Creek, California, 29
Chavez, Senator Dennis, 64, 67
Clark, Senator Bennett, 13
Clark, Charles Patrick, 18-19, 50, 112
on staff of Truman Committee, 25-29
Cleveland, Ohio, 39
Cockburn, H. G. , 106
Cohen, Mickey, 46
Cole, William S., 83-84
Commercial Appeal, 9
Concrete barge program in World War II, 105-107
Confessions of a Nazi Spy, 2
Connelly, Matthew J., 24-25, 50, 53, 70, 102-105
Truman Committee, on the staff of, 20-23, 24
Corrigan, Osborne, Wells case, 109
Cravath, de Gersdorf, Swaine, and Wood (.law firm), 4
Crime, investigated by Governor Warren's Commission on Organized Crime, 46-48
Curley, James Michael, 51-52
Danbury Reformatory, 52
Davis, Clifford, 8-9
Democratic National Committee, 80
Denver, Colorado, 10
Dewey, Thomas E., 4, 47-48
Diary of Democracy, 126
Dillon Reed, 7
Dodd, Thomas, 3
Dolwig, Richard, 132
Dow Chemical, 44
Dragna, Jack, 46
Federal Bureau of Investigation, 40
investigates Associated Gas and Electric, 4-5
Federal Reserve Bank, 78
and Robinson, Harold, G., 1, 2-3
Ferguson, Senator Homer, 70, 112
Ferrand, Shirley, 38
Field, Rachel, 59
Flynn, Thomas, F., 26, 112
Ford Motor Company, 44
Forrestal, James V., 7
Fort Knox, Kentucky, 44
Fox Theaters, 5
Fox, William, 5
Freeport, Texas, 45
Fresno, California, 44, 45
Fulton, Hugh, 8, 18, 19-20, 22, 30, 38, 43, 46, 48, 51, 54, 75-76, 77, 78, 81, 91-92, 102, 107, 108, 110, 112, 113, 114, 117
Associated Gas and Electric Company investigated by, 4-5
Fulton, Walter, and Halley (law firm), 46, 75, 87, 89
cross examination abilities, 5
and Robinson, Harold, G., 3-4, 5-6
and Truman, Harry, 86-89
Gabbs, Nevada, 41
Galena, Kansas, 33
Germany, 2, 56, 57
Goodman, Ezra, 84-85
Graham Committee, 6
Grass Valley, California, 44
Halley, Rudolph, 43, 46, 49, 81
Helm, Neal, 110, 126-127
Hamburg, Germany, 2, 57
Hanford plant, Hanford, Washington, 55-56, 82-83
Hanson, John, 47, 48
Hatch, Senator Carl A., 108, 112
Hehmeyer, Shirley Kay, honeymoon of, 29-33
Hehmeyer, Walter, 126
Henderson, Nevada, 43
Higgins, Andrew, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98-99
Hopson, Howard Colwell, 4, 5
House Military Affairs Committee, 8
The House on 92nd Street, 2, 55, 56
Houston, Texas, 31, 32, 105, 106
Idaho Maryland Mines, 44
Imperial Chemical Industries, 38-43
Irvin, Pennsylvania, 68
Irvin, Robert L., works for the Truman Committee, 67-71
Jackson, Robert, 3
Jackson, Samuel, 14, 15, 16
Jackson, Tennessee, 8
Jayhawk Ordnance Plant, 33-34
Johnson, Phil, 15
Jones, Jessee, 91-92, 108
Joplin, Missouri, 33
Kaiser Aluminum, 44
Kaiser, Edgar, 116
Kansas City, Missouri, 24
Kefauver Committee, 48-49, 51
Kefauver, Senator Estes, 48, 49
Key, Shirley, honeymoon, 29-33
Kilgore, Senator Harley, 105, 112
Knowles, Harper, 67, 71
Lang, Herman, 57
Las Vegas, Nevada, 37, 38, 40, 42
Liberty ships, an investigation of, 60-61
Library of Congress, 84
Locke, Edward, 101
Long Island, New York, 57
Louisville, Kentucky, 22
Lowe, General Frank E., 73, 114-115, 116
McNaughton, Frank, 126
Maletz, Herbert N., 67, 93, 117
Manhattan Project, 83
Manilla Electric, 4
Manten, Martin T., 6
Maritime Commission, 53, 54, 64-65, 85
Marshall, General George C., 55, 56, 83
Martinez, Jose, as a member of the Truman Committee, 63-66
Mayflower Hotel, 52
Mead, Senator James M., 12, 13, 17-18, 27-28
Meader, George, 81
Memphis, Tennessee, 8, 9, 11, 29
Messall, Victor, 125-126
Milan Ordnance Plant, 127-128
Milan, Tennessee, 8, 110
Missouri 3, 13, 56, 75
Monte Leone Hotel, 31
Naval Intelligence, 2-3
Naval tanklighters, 93-94, 96-99
Nelson, Donald M., 101
New Mexico, 64
New Orleans, Louisana, 30, 31
New York City, New York, 4, 6, 18, 57-58
New York Times, 59
Newman, Jay C., 40
North Africa, 12
Park Row Building, 4
Parks, Franklin, 31, 32, 33, 36
Patterson Air Base, 114, 115, 116
Patterson, Robert, 6-7
Peabody Hotel, 9
Peoples Bank of Lakewood Village, 78
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 64, 65
Price, Tom, 116
Printing and Engraving, Bureau of, 50
Raleigh Hotel, 3, 6
Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 91
Red Cross, 25
Reed, Lear B., 24
Richland, Washington, 55
Roberts, Charles, 26-27
Roberts, Evie, 26-27
Robinson, Harold G., 110
Associated Gas and Electric, investigated by, 4-5
Rochester Electric, 4
background of, 130-134
California, as Deputy Director for the Justice Department for the State of, 50
Federal Bureau of Investigation, works for, 1, 2-3
Fulton, Hugh, works with, 3-4, 5-6
Gestapo, as a double agent with, 2
Justice Department of the State of California, as Deputy Director of, 50
Kefauver Committee, as Chief Investigator for, 49, 51
Liberty ships, investigated by, 60-61
ordnance plants, visits, 9-10
School of Criminology, as an instructor for, 119-125
Truman, Harry S., visits ordnance plants with, 9-10
Truman Committee investigation of Basic Magnesium, Inc., 38-43
United States Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate commerce, as Chief Investigator for, 49, 51
War Department, problems in investigating, 100-101
[Governor] Warren's Commission on Organized Crime, 46-48
Rockefeller Center, 49
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 55
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 86, 87
Rosenbloom, Jake, 4
Rusk, Texas, 31
Russell, Bill, Jr., 76
St. Mary's Hospital, San Francisco, California, 88
Salinas River, California, 29
Salt Lake City, Utah, 40, 107
San Francisco, California, 15, 88
San Jacinto Bay, 106
San Luis Obispo, California, 29
Savannah, Georgia, 105
Sawyer, Haven, 74-75
Shelly, Jack, 128-129, 133
Ships in moth balls, a discussion of, 61-63
Short, Dewey, 127
Siebold, Bill, 58
Somervell, General Brehon B., 5, 7
Sparks, Wilbur, 75
Stark, Governor Lloyd C., 13, 17
Stewart, Samuel B., works for the Truman Committee, 77-80
Suydum, Hendrick R., 90
Tanklighters, a discussion of, 93-94, 96-99
Tell the Folks Back Home, 13
Thomas, Senator Elbert Duncan, 26
Tolan, Representative John H., 71-73, 101
Toomey, Marion G., 90, 111
Toulmin, Harry, 126
Truman, Harry S., 9-10, 15, 16-17, 47, 48, 51, 55, 81-82, 83, 86, 90-91, 104, 107, 108, 113, 114, 127-128, 129
Fulton, Hugh, relationship with, 86-89
Truman Committee, 48, 50, 52-53
Basic Magnesium In c., investigated by, 37-43
and Boyle, William, Jr., 23-24
and Clark, Charles Patrick, 25-29
and Connelly, Matthew, J., 20-23, 24
and Irvin, Robert L., 67-71
and Lathrom, Donald M., 80
and Maletz, Hubert N., 67
and Martinez, Jose, 63-66
purpose of, 6-7
and Sawyer, Haven, 74-75
and Sparks, Wilbur, 75
and Steward, Samuel B., 77-80
Twining Laboratories, investigated by, 44
United States Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, 51
United States Steel, 112
Vaughan, General Harry H., 24, 91
Wallgren, Senator Mon C., 16, 107, 112, 113, 114, 116
War Department, 52
War Production Board, 44-45, 101
Warren, Governor Earl, 46, 49
and Commission on Organized Crime, 46-48
Washington, D. C., 14, 18, 44
Western Union, 31
Wheeler, Senator Burton K., 13
Williams, Clyde, 45
Wilson, O. W., 119
Wolf Creek Ordnance Plant, 108
Woolf, Agnes Straus, 90
Wright Engine, 114
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