INT: Fine. Do you think Eisenhower had to be quite strong, if you like, on his, you know, pursuit of Communists, in order to appease the right wing of the Republican Party?
RT: Well, Eisenhower didn't have to do very much. Eisenhower had tremendous popular support, he had tremendous support within what we call the Eastern Republican Party and all over the country with the Republican Party. He was a war hero and, you know, if you'd gone into his record data, the number of things he'd done, would have hurt him when he was Supreme Commander and so on. But he was sufficiently anti-Communist and he had with him his Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, who was strongly anti-Communist and strongly conservative.he had the support of J. Edgar Hoover. The conservative anti-Communists wing of the Republican Party was behind him, so he didn't have to do too much, as long as he didn't disavow it, but Eisenhower as a President was not exactly somebody who went out, you know, slogging.
INT: So, OK. What about McCarthy? What do you think Nixon's attitude to McCarthy was and how Eisenhower actually handled McCarthy?
INT: (Interrupts) Sorry can I just add to that. We're actually thinking particularly of the Marshall speech...
RT: Well,... Do you want me to... on...
INT: Both bits. You can talk about the Marshall speech and then in general.
RT: During the campaign, you know, talking about Eisenhower as a fighter and so on, course Eisenhower had been made by General Marshall. He was tremendously loyal to General Marshall. Joe McCarthy had attacked Marshall and the attack, if it had been couched in slightly different language, would have been much stronger, but he went overboard on it. But anyway, a lot of the people who were supporting Eisenhower, but were against McCarthy, and by the time of the '52 election not only the country, well the country was starting to divide, but the Republican Party was dividing on the McCarthy issue. There were many people who wanted Eisenhower to attack McCarthy during the campaign. There were others who were running his campaign, who were working with him in the campaign, who said, if you attack McCarthy, you're going to be defeated, 'cos McCarthy still had tremendous following and among those who were very anti-McCarthy they felt that Eisenhower had been very weak when he, in effect, appeared with McCarthy in Wisconsin and so on and then the last campaign speech, it was delivered by Joe McCarthy and so on and they felt that Eisenhower had compromised his principles, had compromised his deep friendship with General Marshall and so on. But, you know Eisenhower, we think of Eisenhower as a father figure and always a charismatic person, Eisenhower, and someday the historians will realise it, was one of the toughest, shrewdest politicians that ever sat in the White House and he wasn't going to stick his neck out just to please a few people on the McCarthy issue and jeopardise his chances. So personally he was against McCarthy, but he kept it under wraps until the campaign was over. As to Nixon, Nixon had been...
RT: And so the reports that went to Hoover and they were Hoover's notations...
INT: (Interrupts) 10121, OK.
INT: So this roll 10121. I'm just going to ask you very briefly, as you did before, just to describe what happened with the Milwaukee speech with Eisenhower having prepared an answer to defend Marshall and then that being dropped, the press being informed and then that being dropped. Could you just do that for me quite briefly?
RT: In the '52 campaign, there was great pressure on Eisenhower from some Republicans to take on McCarthy. And Eisenhower was smart enough as a politician to know that this would be a bad idea, but the pressures built up and towards the end of the campaign, when Eisenhower went into Wisconsin, which was where McCarthy came from, it was planned that he would defend, without actually attacking McCarthy, he would make a statement on behalf of General Marshall. And we all knew this. But it never came off. At the last minute, they just cut the whole thing out. And that was, I am sure,... well I know that among those who got General Eisenhower to drop that, was Tom Dooey and Herbert Brownell, who of course figured... Brownell became Attorney General, but they were the ones who were running the campaign, they really ran the Republican Party at that time. And they didn't want it and Eisenhower just bowed to them and there was a little bit of a backlash over that, but not as great as if he had attacked, even indirectly, attacked McCarthy. McCarthy had a tremendous following at that time. I used to go into his office...
INT: OK, if you could tell me about McCarthy's following then.
RT: I'm sorry.
INT: Could you tell me now about McCarthy's following?
RT:McCarthy had a tremendous following and it would have hurt Eisenhower a great deal. But the following was amazing because it just wasn't political people and so on. I used to see go into is office and there'd be boxes and boxes of mail and a lot of that mail had money in it and I remember once he was just sort of fishing around, you know, the staff took care of it, and he, mail with cheques, and he just put aside, and there was one letter from a twelve year old girl and she'd sent him thirty seven cents and McCarthy was a very sentimental man, he almost cried! But he had this kind of following and they were people who would, at that time, who would just sort... I mean, he was the saviour of the country.
INT: OK, now what was Nixon's attitude to McCarthy?
RT: Well, Nixon's attitude towards McCarthy was sort of ambivalent. Nixon went into the Senate, he was sworn in in January of '51. That was the height of McCarthy's Communist fighting reputation and so on. Nixon was a Communist fighter too. He didn't want to compete with McCarthy, so he said, well, in the Senate, I am going to devote myself to domestic issues and the economy and this and that. But of course he still got involved. Nixon and McCarthy were diametrically opposed personalities. Nixon was a very intern person. McCarthy was a, you know, slap you on the back, easy-going Irishman, the kind of guy you'd like to go out and get drunk with, you know. He was... Nixon would nurse a drink for a whole evening. I once gave him a big dinner and the whole evening long he sat with one drink, at which point I started to have suspicions about him and they were completely different. And they clashed as personalities, they clashed in their approach to politics, they clashed the way they operated. Nixon was very careful what he said and so on, McCarthy would shoot off his mouth. And Nixon knew that he was going to be sort of in the public mind, be sort of a twin or a buddy McCarthy and he didn't want it and so he stayed away from McCarthy in those, in that year and that was a crucial year '51, after all '52 was when he was nominated for the Vice Presidency, '51 was when McCarthy was going all round the country speaking and there were hearings and so on. And they kept apart very much and Nixon made his remark, without mentioning McCarthy, but it was obviously aimed at McCarthy, where he said that when he went after the Communists, he went after them with a rifle, whereas McCarthy went after them with a shotgun, where others, he said, went after them with a shotgun and you should go after them with a rifle and just pick off, you know, not just blast away. There were a lot of very strong anti-Communists who were a little disappointed with Nixon for the position he took on McCarthy, but he stayed away as much as he could. and as I said, personally, he didn't like him, which was very funny. A lot of people in the press didn't like Nixon and the press was fighting McCarthy, but reporters who covered McCarthy oh well all liked him, they liked him. This wasn't reflected in their stories, but personally they liked him.
INT: Is that OK? We'll just wait for this to go by...
INT: So, can you just give me a thumbnail sketch of McCarthy, as a personality and his commitment to that anti-Communist crusade.
RT: Well, Nixon is a very hard man to sum up. I've tried and tried...
INT: (Interrupts) I was asking the question about McCarthy, sorry.
RT: I was moving into...
INT: Sorry, OK.
RT: As I said, Nixon was a hard man. In some ways McCarthy was a hard man to sum up. His public image, you know, was as a fighter and rough and tough and so on. Actually, personally, he was an easy-going guy. Drank a little too much, he was a very sentimental person, very sentimental. He was the kind of guy who'd tears would come to his eyes when watching the flag being raised. He was a very patriotic man. He'd gotten into the anti-Communist fight almost by accident. He had to deliver a speech and one of the reporters who was friendly with him, the bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune, was very friendly with Joe and also somebody who'd written a great deal about Communism and so on, wrote him this speech. And it was a speech, the kind of speech that was given many times all over the country. For some reason, the State Department decided that they were going to take this one on and by taking it on, they made McCarthy. Now when McCarthy started out, he knew very little on this subject.he'd got most of his education in the public eye, which is no way to get an education on something as touchy, as sensitive as this. But he was sincere in his anti-Communism, I mean, people tried to say, oh he's all a phoney, no he was very sincere on it. But he had to learn and as he moved along a whole bunch of people who'd been in this fight for years, myself included, were kind of dragged in to straighten him out, to give him material, to... But he was the kind of a person, you know, you'd give him material and so on, but somehow it would get sort of confused or mixed up and the famous speech he delivered before the end of the campaign, the one in which the...