Interviews:

Brownell,
Herb

De Toledano,
Ralph

Eisenberg,
Frances

Goldstucker,
Eduard-1

Goldstucker,
Eduard-2

Kinoy,
Arthur

Lardner,
Ring

Nowak,
Jan

Robeson,
Paul

Service,
John

Swearingen,
M. Wesley



     
   


INTERVIEW WITH HERB BROWNELL

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INT: Now moving right on to the 1952 Presidential election campaign. How important do you think the issue of domestic subversion was in that campaign?

HB: In 1952, as you can well imagine from what we've been saying, the issue of how to fight the aggression of the USSR was a major issue and it was taken up by both Republicans and Democrats as being a major issue and I think that both parties tried to outdo the other in explaining how anti-Communist they were.

INT: So there was a degree of the anti-Communism being a bi-partisan issue in that campaign?

HB: Yes, and in the case of the...

INT: Could you repeat that back into the question so that I can use it, thanks.

(Interruption)

INT: Fine, so could you tell me and repeat this back to me as well in the answer, whether you think that the issue of domestic subversion, anti-Communism was a bi-partisan issue in the 1952 election?

HB: In the 1952 election, there was sort of a culmination of the events of the past four years. Such as the Hiss trial and the Judy Koplin trial and the catching of the spies on Long Island, all these things that had stirred up public opinion in this country and people demanded a programme to further combat the Communism spread in the United States. On the Republican side, this was done rather effectively by Eisenhower, because he had just come from his commanding of the NATO forces and had dealt so extensively with the Russians, both in the War and in the post-War period, so when he spoke out, saying that there was this danger, people accepted it unreservedly and Stephenson, the Democratic candidate, did not challenge that point of view. But he was not as effective, I would say, in that because he didn't have the background of experience that Eisenhower did and people did not therefore give as much weight to his speeches on that subject. Nevertheless, he saw the significance of the issue and he stressed it.

INT: Did Eisenhower ever speak to you about his fears about how real the threat was?

HB: Eisenhower, of course, that is the time when I got acquainted with Eisenhower, was during the '52 campaign. I'd only known him slightly before then and in the course of it and in the rush of the events, such as you have [clears throat] during a political campaign, I gradually picked up here and his views and he sort of solidified my views that there was a world-wide effort by the USSR to subvert democratic countries all round the world, including the United States and that we had to develop a programme in this country to combat that.

INT: And were you aware at all of the sort of measures he was advocating to deal with this?

HB: The measures that he advocated to deal with this domestic subversion did not all come out during the campaign. They gradually developed after he was in office and so that I was not aware during the campaign as just how he would go about developing it.

INT: Fine. Now, in that '52 election campaign, how important do you think it was to Eisenhower to be successful, to be strong on anti-Communism?

HB: I think that he made it plain when he ran for President at the time in 1952, Eisenhower, that he considered this a major issue for the American people to consider and because of his background in the War and in post-War Europe, they listened.

INT: Fine. And in his selection of Nixon as running... as running mate, how important do you think was Nixon's strong record on anti-Communism to Eisenhower in his choice of him?

HB: When it came to the selection of a Vice President in that '52 campaign, Eisenhower more or less left the choice up to Republican leaders and there is no doubt that while he finally approved the selection that they recommended, there is no doubt that a major factor in the selection of Nixon was his anti-Communist activities, especially his successful exposure of Alger Hiss. He really had brought to the attention of the American people in a way that nobody else had up to that time, some of the dangers that existed as to subversion in the this country.

INT: So how important would you say was the Hiss case to Nixon's career?

HB: I think the Hiss case made Nixon. I don't think he would ever been selected as Vice President to the Presidential candidate without that, because he really would have been just another Senator.

INT: Fine. Now what do you think Eisenhower's attitude was to McCarthy? Did he like him, you know?

HB: No, he detested McCarthy right from the beginning and...

INT: Can I start you again a sec. Eisenhower detested McCarthy...

HB: , when we get down to Joe McCarthy, Senator McCarthy and Eisenhower, it's such an interesting story to me, because I know from personal discussions with Eisenhower that right from the beginning, he detested Joe McCarthy. I think he first learned about McCarthy from his brother, Milton Eisenhower and he right away recognised that McCarthy was a dangerous kind of person, because he was so reckless in his statements and that anyone who got in his way was likely to get hurt. He was very ambitious and, as it later turned out, McCarthy after he gained a public following and decided he wanted to be President and he was a first class demagogue and Eisenhower just couldn't stand that type of person.

INT: Do you have any recollections of what Eisenhower actually said about McCarthy, about how to deal with McCarthy?

HB: Do you want to repeat that?

INT: I was just wondering whether you remember what Eisenhower might have said about you know how he was going to deal with McCarthy.

HB: Yes, well I sort of got in on the ground floor of Eisenhower emotional reaction to McCarthy, because I had dropped out of the Republican after Eisenhower was nominated as President. I thought I'd done my job and then he, Eisenhower had that experience of going into Wisconsin and he dropped out a line from his speech a praise of General MacArthur at the request of the Republican leaders in that state, so that he wouldn't antagonise McCarthy. And, he was roundly criticised for that, because it seemed to indicate that he was influenced by McCarthy. When he asked me to come back into the campaign, the reason he gave for it was that he was very dissatisfied with the way the campaign was going, that the Republican leaders who were managing the campaign had taken advantage of the fact that he was a neophyte in the political arena and they made all the arrangements without consulting him, including the arrangements for him to go up into Wisconsin and that he had protested at that plan, because they didn't want to go into McCarthy's territory. But he wasn't sure enough of himself as to what his proper role was as a candidate, vis vis the party organisation for him to actually put his foot down, refuse to do it. But it festered in his thinking and he got very upset about it and he calledme out the Middle West, where he was campaigning and told me that this is what had happened to him and he didn't like it and he wasn't used to being treated as an automatothat way and that he needed somebody who would look out for him. And would I... and the way he spoke, it was almost a command - go into the New York headquarters and look out for his interests the rest of the campaign, which is the way I got back into it and of course, I changed my whole career. But it was all based on the fact that he was so upset about the McCarthy incident that he decided to protect himself and not let it happen again.

INT: Right. That was great, thank you, OK.

(END OF CAMERA ROLL #10117)