We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Drew Pearson was born in Evanston, Illinois, on 13th December, 1897. In 1902 the family moved to Pennsylvania, where his father, Paul Pearson, became professor of public speaking at Swarthmore College.
Pearson was educated at the Phillips Exeter Academy and Swarthmore College, where he edited the student newspaper, The Phoenix. In 1919 Pearson, a Quaker, travelled to Serbia where he spent two years rebuilding houses that had been destroyed during the First World War.
After returning to America, Drew taught industrial geography at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1923 he embarked on a worldwide tour visiting Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and India. He paid for his trip by writing articles for an American newspaper syndicate. Pearson taught briefly at Columbia University before returning to journalism and reporting on anti-foreigner demonstrations in China (1927), the Geneva Naval Conference (1928) and the Pan American Conference in Cuba (1928). In 1929 Pearson became Washington correspondent of the Baltimore Sun. Three years later he joined the Scripps-Howard syndicate, United Features. His Merry-Go-Round column was published in newspapers all over the United States.
Pearson was a strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal program. He also upset more conservative editors when he advocated United States involvement in the struggle against fascism in Europe. Pearson's articles were often censored and so in 1941 he switched to the more liberal The Washington Post.
Pearson was a close friend of Ernest Cuneo, a senior figure in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Cuneo leaked several stories to Pearson including one concerning General George S. Patton. On 3rd August 1943, he visited the 15th Evacuation Hospital where he encountered Private Charles H. Kuhl, who had been admitted suffering from shellshock. When Patton asked him why he had been admitted, Kuhl told him "I guess I can't take it." According to one eyewitness Patton "slapped his face with a glove, raised him to his feet by the collar of his shirt and pushed him out of the tent with a kick in the rear." Kuhl was later to claim that he thought Patton, as well as himself, was suffering from combat fatigue.
Two days after the incident he sent a memo to all commanders in the 7th Army: "It has come to my attention that a very small number of soldiers are going to the hospital on the pretext that they are nervously incapable of combat. Such men are cowards and bring discredit on the army and disgrace to their comrades, whom they heartlessly leave to endure the dangers of battle while they, themselves, use the hospital as a means of escape. You will take measures to see that such cases are not sent to the hospital but are dealt with in their units. Those who are not willing to fight will be tried by court-martial for cowardice in the face of the enemy."
On 10th August 1943, Patton visited the 93rd Evacuation Hospital to see if there were any soldiers claiming to be suffering from combat fatigue. He found Private Paul G. Bennett, an artilleryman with the 13th Field Artillery Brigade. When asked what the problem was, Bennett replied, "It's my nerves, I can't stand the shelling anymore." Patton exploded: "Your nerves. Hell, you are just a goddamned coward, you yellow son of a bitch. Shut up that goddamned crying. I won't have these brave men here who have been shot seeing a yellow bastard sitting here crying. You're a disgrace to the Army and you're going back to the front to fight, although that's too good for you. You ought to be lined up against a wall and shot. In fact, I ought to shoot you myself right now, God damn you!" With this Patton pulled his pistol from its holster and waved it in front of Bennett's face. After putting his pistol way he hit the man twice in the head with his fist. The hospital commander, Colonel Donald E. Currier, then intervened and got in between the two men.
Colonel Richard T. Arnest, the man's doctor, sent a report of the incident to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The story was also passed to the four newsmen attached to the Seventh Army. Although Patton had committed a court-martial offence by striking an enlisted man, the reporters agreed not to publish the story. Quentin Reynolds of Collier's Weekly agreed to keep quiet but argued that there were "at least 50,000 American soldiers on Sicily who would shoot Patton if they had the chance."
Eisenhower now had a meeting with the war correspondents who knew about the incident and told them that he hoped they would keep the "matter quiet in the interests of retaining a commander whose leadership he considered vital." Ernest Cuneo, who was fully aware, now decided to pass this story to Pearson and in November 1943, he told the story on his weekly syndicated radio program. Some politicians demanded that George S. Patton should be sacked but General George Marshall and Henry L. Stimson supported Eisenhower in the way he had dealt with the case.
During the Second World War Pearson created a great deal of controversy when he took up the case of John Gates, a member of the American Communist Party, who was not allowed to take part in the D-Day landings. Gates later pointed out: "Newspaper columnist Drew Pearson published an account of my case... Syndicated coast-to-coast, the column meant well but it contained all kinds of unauthorized, secret military information - the name of my battalion, the fact that it had been alerted for overseas, my letter to the President and his reply, and the officers' affidavits. As a result of this violation of military secrecy, the date for the outfit going overseas was postponed, the order restoring me to my battalion was countermanded and I was out of it for good. It seems that some of my friends, a bit overzealous in my cause, had given Pearson all this information, thinking the publicity would do me good."
Pearson also became a radio broadcaster. He soon became one of America's most popular radio personalities. After the war he was an enthusiastic supporter of the United Nations and helped to organize the Friendship Train project in 1947. The train travelled coast-to-coast collecting gifts of food for those people in Europe still suffering from the consequences of the war.
In 1947 Pearson recruited Jack Anderson as his assistant. Over the next few years Anderson was able to use his contacts that he had developed in the Office of Strategic Services(OSS) in China during the Second World War. This included John K. Singlaub, Ray S. Cline, Richard Helms, E. Howard Hunt, Mitchell WerBell, Paul Helliwell, Robert Emmett Johnson and Lucien Conein. Others working in China at that time included Tommy Corcoran, Whiting Willauer and William Pawley.
One of Anderson's first stories concerned the dispute between Howard Hughes, the owner of Trans World Airlines and Owen Brewster, chairman of the Senate War Investigating Committee. Hughes claimed that Brewster was being paid by Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) to persuade the United States government to set up an official worldwide monopoly under its control. Part of this plan was to force all existing American carriers with overseas operations to close down or merge with Pan Am. As the owner of Trans World Airlines, Hughes posed a serious threat to this plan. Hughes claimed that Brewster had approached him and suggested he merge Trans World with Pan Am. Pearson and Anderson began a campaign against Brewster. They reported that Pan Am had provided Bewster with free flights to Hobe Sound, Florida, where he stayed free of charge at the holiday home of Pan Am Vice President Sam Pryor. As a result of this campaign Bewster lost his seat in Congress.
In the late 1940s Anderson became friendly with Joseph McCarthy. As he pointed out in his autobiography, Confessions of a Muckraker, "Joe McCarthy... was a pal of mine, irresponsible to be sure, but a fellow bachelor of vast amiability and an excellent source of inside dope on the Hill." McCarthy began supplying Anderson with stories about suspected communists in government. Pearson refused to publish these stories as he was very suspicious of the motives of people like McCarthy. In fact, in 1948, Pearson began investigating J. Parnell Thomas, the Chairman of the House of Un-American Activities Committee. It was not long before Thomas' secretary, Helen Campbell, began providing information about his illegal activities. On 4th August, 1948, Pearson published the story that Thomas had been putting friends on his congressional payroll. They did no work but in return shared their salaries with Thomas.
Called before a grand jury, J. Parnell Thomas availed himself to the 5th Amendment, a strategy that he had been unwilling to accept when dealing with the Hollywood Ten. Indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government, Thomas was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in prison and forced to pay a $10,000 fine. Two of his fellow inmates in Danbury Federal Correctional Institution were Lester Cole and Ring Lardner Jr. who were serving terms as a result of refusing to testify in front of Thomas and the House of Un-American Activities Committee.
In 1949 Pearson criticised the Secretary of Defence, James Forrestal, for his conservative views on foreign policy. He told Jack Andersonthat he believed Forrestal was "the most dangerous man in America" and claimed that if he was not removed from office he would "cause another world war". Pearson also suggested that Forrestal was guilty of corruption. Pearson was blamed when Forrestal committed suicide on 22nd May 1949. One journalist, Westbrook Pegler, wrote: "For months, Drew Pearson... hounded Jim Forrestal with dirty aspersions and insinuations, until, at last, exhausted and his nerves unstrung, one of the finest servants that the Republic ever had died of suicide." On 23nd May, 1949, Pearson wrote in his diary that "Pegler had published a column virtually accusing me of murdering Forrestal." The following day he wrote: "Late this afternoon I clapped a libel suit of $250,000 on Pegler". The case was eventually settled out of court.
Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson also began investigating General Douglas MacArthur. In December, 1949, Anderson got hold of a top-secret cable from MacArthur to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressing his disagreement with President Harry S. Truman concerning Chaing Kai-shek. On 22nd December, 1949, Pearson published the story that: "General MacArthur has sent a triple-urgent cable urging that Formosa be occupied by U.S. troops." Pearson argued that MacArthur was "trying to dictate U.S. foreign policy in the Far East".
Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson, the Secretary of State, told MacArthur to limit the war to Korea. MacArthur disagreed, favoring an attack on Chinese forces. Unwilling to accept the views of Truman and Dean Acheson, MacArthur began to make inflammatory statements indicating his disagreements with the United States government.
MacArthur gained support from right-wing members of the Senate such as Joe McCarthy who led the attack on Truman's administration: "With half a million Communists in Korea killing American men, Acheson says, 'Now let's be calm, let's do nothing'. It is like advising a man whose family is being killed not to take hasty action for fear he might alienate the affection of the murders."
On 7th October, 1950, Douglas MacArthur launched an invasion of North Korea by the end of the month had reached the Yalu River, close to the frontier of China. On 20th November, Pearson wrote in his column that the Chinese were following a strategy that was "sucking our troops into a trap." Three days later the Chinese Army launched an attack on MacArthur's army. North Korean forces took Seoul in January 1951. Two months later, Harry S. Truman removed MacArthur from his command of the United Nations forces in Korea.
Joe McCarthy continued to provide Jack Anderson with a lot of information. In his autobiography, Confessions of a Muckraker, Anderson pointed out: "At my prompting he (McCarthy) would phone fellow senators to ask what had transpired this morning behind closed doors or what strategy was planned for the morrow. While I listened in on an extension he would pump even a Robert Taft or a William Knowland with the handwritten questions I passed him."
In return, Anderson provided McCarthy with information about politicians and state officials he suspected of being "communists". Anderson later recalled that his decision to work with McCarthy "was almost automatic.. for one thing, I owed him; for another, he might be able to flesh out some of our inconclusive material, and if so, I would no doubt get the scoop." As a result Anderson passed on his file on the presidential aide, David Demarest Lloyd.
On 9th February, 1950, Joe McCarthy made a speech in Salt Lake City where he attacked Dean Acheson, the Secretary of State, as "a pompous diplomat in striped pants". He claimed that he had a list of 57 people in the State Department that were known to be members of the American Communist Party. McCarthy went on to argue that some of these people were passing secret information to the Soviet Union. He added: "The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because the enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer - the finest homes, the finest college educations, and the finest jobs in Government we can give."
The list of names was not a secret and had been in fact published by the Secretary of State in 1946. These people had been identified during a preliminary screening of 3,000 federal employees. Some had been communists but others had been fascists, alcoholics and sexual deviants. As it happens, if McCarthy had been screened, his own drink problems and sexual preferences would have resulted in him being put on the list.
Pearson immediately launched an attack on Joe McCarthy. He pointed out that only three people on the list were State Department officials. He added that when this list was first published four years ago, Gustavo Duran and Mary Jane Keeney had both resigned from the State Department (1946). He added that the third person, John S. Service, had been cleared after a prolonged and careful investigation. Pearson also argued that none of these people had been named were members of the American Communist Party.
Jack Anderson asked Pearson to stop attacking McCarthy: "He is our best source on the Hill." Pearson replied, "He may be a good source, Jack, but he's a bad man."
On 20th February, 1950, Joe McCarthy made a speech in the Senate supporting the allegations he had made in Salt Lake City. This time he did not describe them as "card-carrying communists" because this had been shown to be untrue. Instead he argued that his list were all "loyalty risks". He also claimed that one of the president's speech-writers, was a communist. Although he did not name him, he was referring to David Demarest Lloyd, the man that Anderson had provided information on.
Lloyd immediately issued a statement where he defended himself against McCarthy's charges. President Harry S. Truman not only kept him on but promoted him to the post of Administrative Assistant. Lloyd was indeed innocent of these claims and McCarthy was forced to withdraw these allegations. As Anderson admitted: "At my instigation, then, Lloyd had been done an injustice that was saved from being grevious only by Truman's steadfastness."
McCarthy now informed Jack Anderson that he had evidence that Professor Owen Lattimore, director of the Walter Hines Page School of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, was a Soviet spy. Pearson, who knew Lattimore, and while accepting he held left-wing views, he was convinced he was not a spy. In his speeches, McCarthy referred to Lattimore as "Mr X... the top Russian spy... the key man in a Russian espionage ring."
On 26th March, 1950, Pearson named Lattimore as McCarthy's Mr. X. Pearson then went onto defend Lattimore against these charges. McCarthy responded by making a speech in Congress where he admitted: "I fear that in the case of Lattimore I may have perhaps placed too much stress on the question of whether he is a paid espionage agent."
McCarthy then produced Louis Budenz, the former editor of The Daily Worker. Budenz claimed that Lattimore was a "concealed communist". However, as Jack Anderson admitted: "Budenz had never met Lattimore; he spoke not from personal observation of him but from what he remembered of what others had told him five, six, seven and thirteen years before."
Pearson now wrote an article where he showed that Budenz was a serial liar: "Apologists for Budenz minimize this on the ground that Budenz has now reformed. Nevertheless, untruthful statements made regarding his past and refusal to answer questions have a bearing on Budenz's credibility." He went on to point out that "all in all, Budenz refused to answer 23 questions on the ground of self-incrimination".
Owen Lattimore was eventually cleared of the charge that he was a Soviet spy or a secret member of the American Communist Party and like several other victims of McCarthyism, he went to live in Europe and for several years was professor of Chinese studies at Leeds University.
Despite the efforts of Jack Anderson, by the end of June, 1950, Drew Pearson had written more than forty daily columns and a significant percentage of his weekly radio broadcasts, that had been devoted to discrediting the charges made by Joseph McCarthy. He now decided to take on Pearson and he told Anderson: "Jack, I'm going to have to go after your boss. I mean, no holds barred. I figure I've already lost his supporters; by going after him, I can pick up his enemies." McCarthy, when drunk, told Assistant Attorney General Joe Keenan, that he was considering "bumping Pearson off".
On 15th December, 1950, McCarthy made a speech in Congress where he claimed that Pearson was "the voice of international Communism" and "a Moscow-directed character assassin." McCarthy added that Pearson was "a prostitute of journalism" and that Pearson "and the Communist Party murdered James Forrestal in just as cold blood as though they had machine-gunned him."
Over the next two months Joseph McCarthy made seven Senate speeches on Drew Pearson. He called for a "patriotic boycott" of his radio show and as a result, Adam Hats, withdrew as Pearson's radio sponsor. Although he was able to make a series of short-term arrangements, Pearson was never again able to find a permanent sponsor. Twelve newspapers cancelled their contract with Pearson.
Joe McCarthy and his friends also raised money to help Fred Napoleon Howser, the Attorney General of California, to sue Pearson for $350,000. This involved an incident in 1948 when Pearson accused Howser of consorting with mobsters and of taking a bribe from gambling interests. Help was also given to Father Charles Coughlin, who sued Pearson for $225,000. However, in 1951 the courts ruled that Pearson had not libeled either Howser or Coughlin.
Only the St. Louis Star-Times defended Pearson. As its editorial pointed out: "If Joseph McCarthy can silence a critic named Drew Pearson, simply by smearing him with the brush of Communist association, he can silence any other critic." However, Pearson did get the support of J. William Fulbright, Wayne Morse, Clinton Anderson, William Benton and Thomas Hennings in the Senate.
In October, 1953, Joe McCarthy began investigating communist infiltration into the military. Attempts were made by McCarthy to discredit Robert T. Stevens, the Secretary of the Army. The president, Dwight Eisenhower, was furious and now realised that it was time to bring an end to McCarthy's activities.
The United States Army now passed information about McCarthy to journalists who were known to be opposed to him. This included the news that McCarthy and Roy Cohn had abused congressional privilege by trying to prevent David Schine from being drafted. When that failed, it was claimed that Cohn tried to pressurize the Army into granting Schine special privileges. Pearson published the story on 15th December, 1953.
Some figures in the media, such as writers George Seldes and I. F. Stone, and cartoonists, Herb Block and Daniel Fitzpatrick, had fought a long campaign against McCarthy. Other figures in the media, who had for a long time been opposed to McCarthyism, but were frightened to speak out, now began to get the confidence to join the counter-attack. Edward Murrow, the experienced broadcaster, used his television programme, See It Now, on 9th March, 1954, to criticize McCarthy's methods. Newspaper columnists such as Walter Lippmann also became more open in their attacks on McCarthy.
The senate investigations into the United States Army were televised and this helped to expose the tactics of Joseph McCarthy. One newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, reported that: "In this long, degrading travesty of the democratic process, McCarthy has shown himself to be evil and unmatched in malice." Leading politicians in both parties, had been embarrassed by McCarthy's performance and on 2nd December, 1954, a censure motion condemned his conduct by 67 votes to 22.
McCarthy also lost the chairmanship of the Government Committee on Operations of the Senate. He was now without a power base and the media lost interest in his claims of a communist conspiracy. As one journalist, Willard Edwards, pointed out: "Most reporters just refused to file McCarthy stories. And most papers would not have printed them anyway."
In 1956 Pearson began investigating the relationship between Lyndon B. Johnson and two businessmen, George R. Brown and Herman Brown. Pearson believed that Johnson had arranged for the Texas-based Brown and Root Construction Company to avoid large tax bills. Johnson brought an end to this investigation by offering Pearson a deal. If Pearson dropped his Brown-Root crusade, Johnson would support the presidential ambitions of Estes Kefauver. Pearson accepted and wrote in his diary (16th April, 1956): "This is the first time I've ever made a deal like this, and I feel a little unhappy about it. With the Presidency of the United States at stake, maybe it's justified, maybe not - I don't know."
Jack Anderson also helped Pearson investigate stories of corruption inside the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower. They discovered that Eisenhower had received gifts worth more than $500,000 from "big-business well-wishers." In 1957 Anderson threaten to quit because these stories always appeared under Pearson's name. Pearson responded by promising him more bylines and pledged to leave the column to him when he died.
Pearson and Anderson began investigating the presidential assistant Sherman Adams. The former governor of New Hampshire, was considered to be a key figure in Eisenhower's administration. Anderson discovered that Bernard Goldfine, a wealthy industrialist, had given Adams a large number of presents. This included suits, overcoats, alcohol, furnishings and the payment of hotel and resort bills. Anderson eventually found evidence that Adams had twice persuaded the Federal Trade Commission to "ease up its pursuit of Goldfine for putting false labels on the products of his textile plants."
The story was eventually published in 1958 and Adams was forced to resign from office. However, Jack Anderson was much criticized for the way he carried out his investigation and one of his assistants, Les Whitten, was arrested by the FBI for receiving stolen government documents.
In 1960 Pearson supported Hubert Humphrey in his efforts to become the Democratic Party candidate. However, those campaigning for John F. Kennedy, accused him of being a draft dodger. As a result, when Humphrey dropped out of the race, Pearson switched his support to Lyndon B. Johnson. However, it was Kennedy who eventually got the nomination.
Pearson now supported Kennedy's attempt to become president. One of the ways he helped his campaign was to investigate the relationship between Howard Hughes and Richard Nixon. Pearson and Anderson discovered that in 1956 the Hughes Tool Company provided a $205,000 loan to Nixon Incorporated, a company run by Richard's brother, Francis Donald Nixon. The money was never paid back. Soon after the money was paid the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reversed a previous decision to grant tax-exempt status to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
This information was revealed by Pearson and Jack Anderson during the 1960 presidential campaign. Nixon initially denied the loan but later was forced to admit that this money had been given to his brother. It was claimed that this story helped John F. Kennedy defeat Nixon in the election.
In 1963 Senator John Williams of Delaware began investigating the activities of Bobby Baker. As a result of his work, Baker resigned as the secretary to Lyndon B. Johnson on 9th October, 1963. During his investigations Williams met Don B. Reynolds and persuaded him to appear before a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee.
Reynolds told B. Everett Jordan and his committee on 22nd November, 1963, that Johnson had demanded that he provided kickbacks in return for him agreeing to this life insurance policy. This included a $585 Magnavox stereo. Reynolds was also told by Walter Jenkins that he had to pay for $1,200 worth of advertising on KTBC, Johnson's television station in Austin. Reynolds had paperwork for this transaction including a delivery note that indicated the stereo had been sent to the home of Johnson.
Don B. Reynolds also told of seeing a suitcase full of money which Bobby Baker described as a "$100,000 payoff to Johnson for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract". Reynolds also provided evidence against Matthew H. McCloskey. He suggested that he given $25,000 to Baker in order to get the contract to build the District of Columbia Stadium. His testimony came to an end when news arrived that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
As soon as Johnson became president he contacted B. Everett Jordan to see if there was any chance of stopping this information being published. Jordan replied that he would do what he could but warned Johnson that some members of the committee wanted Reynold's testimony to be released to the public. On 6th December, 1963, Jordan spoke to Johnson on the telephone and said he was doing what he could to suppress the story because " it might spread (to) a place where we don't want it spread."
Abe Fortas, a lawyer who represented both Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Baker, worked behind the scenes in an effort to keep this information from the public. Johnson also arranged for a smear campaign to be organized against Reynolds. To help him do this J. Edgar Hoover passed to Johnson the FBI file on Reynolds.
On 17th January, 1964, the Committee on Rules and Administration voted to release to the public Reynolds' secret testimony. Johnson responded by leaking information from Reynolds' FBI file to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.
A few weeks later the New York Times reported that Lyndon B. Johnson had used information from secret government documents to smear Don B. Reynolds. It also reported that Johnson's officials had been applying pressure on the editors of newspapers not to print information that had been disclosed by Reynolds in front of the Senate Rules Committee.
In 1966 attempts were made to deport Johnny Roselli as an illegal alien. Roselli moved to Los Angeles where he went into early retirement. It was at this time he told attorney, Edward Morgan: "The last of the sniper teams dispatched by Robert Kennedy in 1963 to assassinate Fidel Castro were captured in Havana. Under torture they broke and confessed to being sponsored by the CIA and the US government. At that point, Castro remarked that, 'If that was the way President Kennedy wanted it, Cuba could engage in the same tactics'. The result was that Castro infiltrated teams of snipers into the US to kill Kennedy".
Morgan took the story to Pearson. The story was then passed on to Earl Warren. He did not want anything to do with it and so the information was then passed to the FBI. When they failed to investigate the story Jack Anderson wrote an article entitled "President Johnson is sitting on a political H-bomb" about Roselli's story. It has been suggested that Roselli started this story at the request of his friends in the Central Intelligence Agency in order to divert attention from the investigation being carried out by Jim Garrison.
In 1968 Jack Anderson and Drew Pearson published The Case Against Congress. The book documented examples of how politicians had "abused their power and priviledge by placing their own interests ahead of those of the American people". This included the activities of Bobby Baker, James Eastland, Lyndon B. Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower, Hubert Humphrey, Everett Dirksen, Thomas J. Dodd, John McClellan and Clark Clifford.
On 18th July, 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne, died while in the car of Edward Kennedy. Pearson began investigating the case when he died on 1st September. Chalmers Roberts of the Washington Post wrote: "Drew Pearson was a muckraker with a Quaker conscience. In print he sounded fierce; in life he was gentle, even courtly. For thirty-eight years he did more than any man to keep the national capital honest."
The motivation behind most of his (Drew Pearson) crusades was his Quaker pacifism and a conviction that peoples must reach out, over governmental barriers, to aid and communicate with one another lest the horrors of the past be repeated.
In the late 1930s he had put aside his Quaker principles because of the overriding peril he saw in totalitarian aggression, and he effectively supported the Roosevelt interventionist policies and the war effort. But at war's end he became plagued with alarming visions - an America permanently militarized, the sweep of Stalinism into Western Europe, a world divided by backward-looking politicians into hostile East-West camps. He had emerged from the war years as the single most influential commentator in the world, and he determined to use that influence...
With his daily "Merry-Go-Round" column and his Sunday-night broadcast over the ABC radio network, the Pearson operation reached an audience of 60 million. The name Drew Pearson evoked the image of the ubiquitous, hyperactive news hawk, with open collar, clipped mustache, the inevitable reporter's hat set back on his head, fast-talking into a mike. So much did his public image fit the mystique of the reporter-sleuth that a comic strip based on his career ("Hap Hazard") was being syndicated in competition with Dick Tracy. No other American had ever had the eyes and ears of so many people for so long a time.
He used this unprecedented access to help what he saw as the humanitarian cause and to hurt those who thwarted it - imperialists, militarists, monopolists, racists, crooks in public and corporate life, all of whom he saw as subverters of the American system and exploiters of the poor. On the attack he was unremitting, and even when not mortally engaged, he thought it salutary that the mighty should be humbled. He often trampled upon the customary immunity granted by the correspondents of that day to the highly placed as regards their private vices, self-indulgences and eccentricities.
Upon my return from furlough, my officers were confident that I would be transferred back into the battalion. In fact, an order to this effect arrived soon afterwards from Armored Force Headquarters. I thought victory was finally at hand, when everything was upset again. Newspaper columnist Drew Pearson published an account of my case just as I have described it here. Syndicated coast-to-coast, the column meant well but it contained all kinds of unauthorized, secret military information-the name of my battalion, the fact that it had been alerted for overseas, my letter to the President and his reply, and the officers' affidavits. It seems that some of my friends, a bit overzealous in my cause, had given Pearson all this information, thinking the publicity would do me good.
Republicans who will have to pass upon the qualifications of James Forrestal for the all-important job of Secretary of National Defense have been checking into his background and have stumbled onto some highly interesting facts. Back in the first years of the Roosevelt Administration, Forrestal was exposed by the Senate Banking Committee probe for having got around a $840,000 income-tax payment by setting up a personal holding corporation. This Senate Banking probe also exposed Forrestal's banking firm - Dillon, Read & Co. - as one of the worst highbinders on Wall Street when it came to floating bad loans to Germany and Latin America. As a result of this investigation, Roosevelt set up the Securities and Exchange Commission. Now, however, Republicans point out that the head of a Wall Street house with one of the worst records of all has become head of the combined Army and Navy.
One Congressman who has sadly ignored the old adage that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones is bouncing Rep. J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey, Chairman of the UnAmerican Activities Committee.
If some of his own personal operations were scrutinized on the witness stand as carefully as he cross-examines witnesses, they would make headlines of a kind the Congressman doesn't like.
It is not, for instance, considered good "Americanism" to hire a stenographer and have her pay a "kickback." This kind of operation is also likely to get an ordinary American in income tax trouble. However, this hasn't seemed to worry the Chairman of the UnAmerican Activities Committee.
On Jan. 1, 1940, Rep. Thomas placed on his payroll Myra Midkiff as a clerk at $1,200 a year with the arrangement that she would then kick back all her salary to the Congressman. This gave Mr. Thomas a neat annual addition to his own $10,000 salary, and presumably he did not have to worry about paying income taxes in this higher bracket, because he paid Miss Midkiff's taxes for her in the much lower bracket.
The arrangement was quite simple and lasted for four years. Miss Midkiff's salary was merely deposited in the First National Bank of Allendale, N.J., to the Congressman's account. Meanwhile she never came anywhere near his office and did not work for him except addressing envelopes at home for which she got paid $2 per hundred.
This kickback plan worked so well that four years later. Miss Midkiff having got married and left his phantom employ, the Congressman decided to extend it. On Nov. 16, 1944, the House Disbursing Officer was notified to place on Thomas's payroll the name of Arnette Minor at $1,800 a year.
Actually Miss Minor was a day worker who made beds and cleaned the room of Thomas's secretary, Miss Helen Campbell. Miss Minor's salary was remitted to the Congressman. She never got it.
This arrangement lasted only a month and a half, for on Jan. 1, 1945, the name of Grace Wilson appeared on the Congressman's payroll for $2,900.
Miss Wilson turned out to be Mrs. Thomas's aged aunt, and during the year 1945 she drew checks totaling $3,467.45, though she did not come near the office, in fact remained quietly in Allendale, N.J., where she was supported by Mrs. Thomas and her sisters, Mrs. Lawrence Wellington and Mrs. William Quaintance.
In the summer of 1946, however, the Congressman decided to let the county support his wife's aunt, since his son had recently married and he wanted to put his daughter-in-law on the payroll. Thereafter, his daughter-in-law, Lillian, drew Miss Wilson's salary, and the Congressman demanded that his wife's aunt be put on relief.
Jack, Forrestal is the most dangerous man in America. Sure he's able. Of course he's dedicated. But to what? He's a man who lives only for himself. He has broken his word, turned his back on his friends. He is driven by one ambition; he has always craved to be top man - first of Wall Street and now of the United States. Any principles he has are the kind that will cause another world war - unless he's stopped first."
Ever since election day, Secretary of Defense Forrestal has been frantically painting himself a true and loyal Democrat. But there is has been frantically painting himself a true and loyal Democrat. But here is an off-the-record talk indicating the kind of men Forrestal puts in high position...
Practically all Latin America is watching the State Department to see what we do about recognizing the new Army dictatorship in Venezuela... the State Department's trigger-recognition of Latin dictators has brought forth a rash of military revolts, the latest being the Nicaraguan-inspired march against the peaceful government of Costa Rica...
Secretary of Defense Forrestal still favors his plan of sending more arms to Latin America under a new lend-lease agreement, despite the fact that new arms to Latin American generals are like a toy train to a small boy at Christmastime. They can't wait to use them - usually against their own President.
General Somoza, the Nicaraguan who has now inspired the fracas in Costa Rica, was trained by the U.S. Marines, later seized the Presidency of Nicaragua. President Trujillo, worst dictator in all Latin America, was also trained by the U.S. Marines. Unfortunately, under the Forrestal-Marine Corps program, we train men to shoot and give them the weapons to shoot with. But we don't give them any ideas or ideals as to what they should shoot for.
Back in the 1920's, Secretary Forrestal's Wall Street firm loaned 20 million dollars to Bolivia, used to buy arms to wage war against Paraguay. Some time after Forrestal loaned this money to Bolivia, the Remington Arms Co., of which Donald Carpenter is now vice president, stepped in to profit by it. Remington got a contract for 7.65 mm. and 9 mm. cartridges. Carpenter had just joined the firm when this sale was made. So Forrestal and Carpenter, once operators in indirectly fomenting war in Latin America, are now together in running American defense.
In the end, it may be found that Mr. Forrestal's friends had more to do with his death than his critics. For those close to him now admit privately that he had been sick for some time, suffered embarrassing lapses too painful to be mentioned here.
Yet during the most of last winter, when Jim Forrestal was under heavy responsibilities and definitely not a well man, the little coterie of newspapermen who now insinuate Jim was killed by his critics, encouraged him to stay on. This got to be almost an obsession, both on their part and on his, until Mr. Truman's final request for his resignation undoubtedly worsened the illness.
The real fact is that Jim Forrestal had a relatively good press. All one need do is examine the newspaper files to see that his press was far better than that of some of his old associates.
Are public officials to be immune from criticism or investigation for fear of impairing their health? If we are to withhold the check of congressional investigation or newspaper criticism from any public official, no
matter how mild, because of health, then the Government of checks and balances created by the Founding Fathers is thrown out of gear.
It was not criticism which caused Jim Forrestal to conclude that his life was no longer worth living. There were other factors in his life that made him unhappy.
Jim Forrestal died at 2 a.m. by jumping out of the Naval Hospital window...
I think that Forrestal really died because he had no spiritual reserves. He had spent all his life thinking only about himself, trying to fulfill his great ambition to be President of the United States. When that ambition became out of his reach, he had nothing to fall back on. He had no church; he had deserted it. He had no wife. They had both deserted each other. She was in Paris at the time of his death - though it was well-known that he had been seriously ill for weeks. But most important of all, he had no spiritual resources...
But James Forrestal's passion was public approval. It was his lifeblood. He craved it almost as a dope addict craves morphine. Toward the end he would break down and cry pitifully, like a child, when criticized too much. He had worked hard - too much in fact - for his country. He was loyal and patriotic. Few men were more devoted to their country, but he seriously hurt the country that he loved by taking his own life. All his policies now are under closer suspicion than before...
Forrestal not only had no spiritual resources, but also he had no calluses. He was unique in this respect. He was acutely sensitive. He had traveled not on the hard political path of the politician, but on the protected, cloistered avenue of the Wall Street bankers. All his life he had been surrounded by public relations men. He did not know what the lash of criticism meant. He did not understand the give-and-take of the political arena. Even in the executive branch of government, he surrounded himself with public relations men, invited newsmen to dinner, lunch, and breakfast, made a fetish of courting their favor. History unfortunately will decree that Forrestal's great reputation was synthetic. It was built on the most unstable foundation of all - the handouts of paid press agents.
If Forrestal had been true to his friends, if he had made one sacrifice for a friend, if he had even gone to bat for Tom Corcoran who put him in the White House, if he had spent more time with his wife instead of courting his mistress, he would not have been so alone this morning when he went to the diet pantry of the Naval Hospital and jumped to his death.
It is an interesting speculation as to what extent Forrestal's desperation was deepened by a group of ill-assorted columnists and ideological libertarians. During his whole Government service it was implied in a continuous stream of billingsgate that Forrestal was in the Government to serve his former partners in the investment-banking business, that he was a "cartelist" and a truckler to fascism.
It is a little late to go into all that, but it is not too late to make the obvious comment that the responsibility for this abuse of a free press goes beyond the malice of gossip columnists and rests firmly on the heads of publishers who permit their newspapers to take from syndicated columnists libelous and half-baked abuse which they would not print if it were written by their own reporters.
It is not necessary to have agreed with everything James Forrestal believed or did, but it is reasonable to
insist that news and opinion regarding the acts of public men or private citizens for that matter, be held to ordinary standards of accuracy, fairness and decency.
Parnell Thomas's trial started this morning. Looking at him in the courtroom. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. I can't relish helping to send a man to jail. Nevertheless, when I figure all the times Thomas has sent other people to jail and all the instances when he has kept men away from combat duty in return for money in his own pocket, to say nothing of salary kickbacks, perhaps I shouldn't be too sorry.
Senator Brewster in 1947 was chairman of the powerful Senate War Investigating Committee. He was also the bosom friend of Pan American Airways. Brewster and Pan American wanted Howard Hughes's TWA to consolidate its overseas lines with Pan Am. This Hughes refused to do. Whereupon Brewster investigated Hughes, and, during the period when he was before Brewster's Senate committee, Hughes's telephone wire and that of his attorneys were tapped, apparently under the off-stage direction of Henry Grunewald, who admits that at various times he checked telephone wires for Pan American Airways.
Grunewald and others deny this. Nevertheless this is the conclusion which Senators are forced to arrive at. No wonder businessmen who come to Washington are worried about talking over telephones. They never know when some competitor, perhaps with the cooperation of a Senate committee, is listening in. Yet this is supposed to be the capital of the USA not Moscow.
This afternoon McCarthy sounded off with another speech on the Senate floor claiming that the Justice Department had now finished its investigation and had a complete espionage case against me. He also pontificated that I had received State Department documents from the State Department via Dave Karr, whom he described as a top member of the Communist party. McCarthy also claimed that the column today, which dealt with developments in the atomic bomb field, paraphrased a secret report and was a violation of security.
The facts were that MacArthur had wasted blood most of his career, not only in Korea. I urged the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when they testify, should show up MacArthur's glaring errors and his well-known "extravagance with his men". For instance, General Eichelberger, who commanded the 8th Army during World War II, could testify to MacArthur's shameful laxness on New Guinea and his refusal to visit the front at Buna even once.
Drew Pearson was nearing his fiftieth year and the pinnacle of his influence when I joined his staff. During my first days on the job, the senior staffmen alerted me against stumbling over established taboos: Mr. Pearson did not tolerate certain activities around him, such as smoking; he brooked no insubordination; he did not appreciate questions on how to proceed, expecting his reporters to know how to carry out his missions impossible. He could not abide air conditioning, so one must not leave open the door to his den which would let in drafts from the air conditioners in the staff rooms. No one was allowed to use, or even touch, his personal typewriter, an antique portable Corona given him by his revered father in 1922. He required little sleep and was apt to phone his reporters at any hour of the night, as the spirit moved him; I must learn to come out of a deep sleep instantly and to make a show of alertness, if not joviality, at three o'clock in the morning.
So forewarned, I approached Mr. Pearson with apprehension in the beginning. But the polecat in his lair was disarmingly mild. Sitting behind his paper-strewn desk in a maroon smoking jacket, or in the bathrobe he wore some days until noon, amid pictures and mementoes of his much-loved family, with a black cat named Cinders preening companionably in the out-box on his desk, he appeared not at all menacing. When he arose, he revealed a frame that was tall, trim and well constructed, conveying an impression of considerable physical strength. He had an impressive, high forehead under thinning light-brown hair, and a general look of learnedness that made him seem too dignified and elegant for the rough-and-tumble he in fact relished. The anguished visitor who missed the occasional glint of watchfulness in his blue eyes would likely be lulled by his soft voice, quiet manners and the peaceful gentility of the atmosphere into the comfortable feeling that he was paying a courtesy call on Mr. Chips.
Conversation with him did not flow easily. Despite his prodigious production of the written word and an experience as a public lecturer that spanned several continents and went back almost to his adolescence, he often seemed ill at ease in conversation. He could be a most gracious host, with a disciplined adherence to the ordinary courtesies, but he quickly became bored with small talk. He was a listener more than a discourses He spoke slowly and would join in intermittently when some subject sparked his interest, then would lapse into silences that could become awkward.
Drew Pearson took off the month of August 1969 for a vacation and, as had become his habit, left the office in my charge. Just a few days earlier, Senator Ted Kennedy had fallen victim to the family curse: he drove his Oldsmobile off the narrow Dyke Bridge into Poucha Pond on Chappaquiddick Island, plunging his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, to her death. Drew left behind a column to run under his byline predicting that the tragedy would dog Kennedy for the rest of his life.
I was busy mobilizing the staff to break through the thick net of half-truths thrown up by the Kennedy propaganda machine when I got a call from Luvie Pearson. Drew had suffered a heart attack. Luvie's voice was even and unruffled, calming the anxiety that welled up in me. Drew needed a few weeks to recuperate, Luvie said. She suggested that no one from the office stress him with phone calls or visits.
One night a few weeks later, I answered the phone to hear Drew's weakened, thin voice. Why hadn't I come to visit him? I hurried out to his farm on the Potomac the next day and found him sitting at his typewriter. He had a paragraph in the making about the state of medical care. "I thought I would help you out," he said, with a tone of sheepishness. I assured him we would muddle along without him. Two days later on September I, 1969, he collapsed in his garden and was dead.
Copyright © 2000-2021 Sports Reference LLC. All rights reserved.
Much of the play-by-play, game results, and transaction information both shown and used to create certain data sets was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by RetroSheet.
Win Expectancy, Run Expectancy, and Leverage Index calculations provided by Tom Tango of InsideTheBook.com, and co-author of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball.
Total Zone Rating and initial framework for Wins above Replacement calculations provided by Sean Smith.
Full-year historical Major League statistics provided by Pete Palmer and Gary Gillette of Hidden Game Sports.
Some defensive statistics Copyright © Baseball Info Solutions, 2010-2021.
Some high school data is courtesy David McWater.
Many historical player head shots courtesy of David Davis. Many thanks to him. All images are property the copyright holder and are displayed here for informational purposes only.
Drew Pearson Reflects on 45th Anniversary of “The Hail Mary”
By Paul Jones &bull Published December 28, 2020 &bull Updated on December 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm
Drew Pearson's home is filled with memorabilia from his illustrious athletic career. Among his most cherished ornaments are mementos from the play known as "The Hail Mary."
He can't believe it's been 45 years since one of the most iconic plays in NFL history.
"When you think 45 years, 'Wow, wow," said Pearson. "Am I that old actually?"
The center of the Dallas Cowboys universe.
Two Cowboys Named to Pro Football Focus Top 50 NFL Players List
Dallas Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb Hosts Youth Football Camp
Pearson will open presents on his 70th birthday on Jan. 12. But on Dec. 28, 1975, he was the gift-giver, to Cowboys fans, by hauling in one of the greatest catches in pro football history in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings.
But that iconic moment in the game-winning drive never would have happened without another incredible completion -- one from Roger Staubach two plays earlier when the offense was facing a 4th and 17.
"(Roger) said run a post-corner on Nate Wright," said Pearson. "And the last thing he said when we broke the huddle, 'Make sure you get enough for the first down.'"
Pearson had just enough yardage on the sideline snag, much to the chagrin of a Metropolitan Stadium patrol guard who kicked Pearson after the improbable first down conversion. Years later, the two had a surprising reunion at an autograph signing session in Minnesota.
"I couldn't believe it," said Pearson. "The line was wrapped around the building. I thought it would be nobody there and I finally get in there and I sit down and I say, 'Who's this guy? My security?' 'No he's signing with you. he's the security guard that kicked you. He's a hero here."
But the real hero in the NFL history books is No. 88 who executed the play that soon followed to perfection.
Although fans of the Vikings, to this day, insist Pearson pushed Wright on the 50-yard completion for the decisive touchdown.
"There was no deliberate push," rebutted Pearson. "If I pushed him he would went halfway across the stadium, OK, with our momentum and everything we had going, but after the contact, he went straight down and anyway when I brought my hands around, the ball hit my hands and it went through my hands and I was bent over and the ball stuck between my elbow and my hip and I looked down and said, 'Oh Lord. I caught the Hail Mary' and backed into the end zone."
But fear of a flag on the play did enter Pearson's mind in the moment.
"I saw this orange object out of the corner of my eye after I caught the ball," said Pearson. "And was turning going back into the end zone and I thought it might be a flag, OK, and then when I saw this orange object hit the ground, it kept rolling and it was an orange, it was actually an orange, so I said, 'I ain't ever seen a flag roll so that's got to be a touchdown.'"
It was a touchdown, followed by a move Pearson regrets -- throwing the football out of the stadium, never to be seen again. Or so he thought.
"I've signed ticket stubs from that game. I've signed programs from that game," said Pearson. "I've gotten the finger from that game but no one's ever come up to me and said, 'This is the ball!' and this guy came up to me the other day and said that. I almost freaked out. Of course, he wouldn't give it to me unless I paid a lot of money because he said he paid a lot of money for it."
But the verified owner of "The Hail Mary" ball did let Pearson touch the famous football.
"Oh yeah, I touched it," said Pearson. "I kissed it, I hugged it. I said, 'I miss you!"
Pearson said "The Hail Mary" hasn't changed his life. But being a part of that famous moment has made his life better.
"It's just given me a lot of opportunities in my life," said Pearson. "To be associated with something like that, and it could have been anybody, but I'm proud it was me."
Drew Pearson - History
In 11 seasons (1973-1983) with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson rose from undrafted free agent rookie to one of the Cowboy&rsquos all-time leading receivers, from unknown to legend. Named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, Pearson earned fame as one of the top clutch receivers in football history.
Drew Pearson was born in 1951 in Newark, New Jersey. He grew up along with six brothers and sisters in South River, New Jersey where he became an outstanding three sport athlete staring in baseball, basketball and as a wide receiver and quarterback at South River High School .
In 1966 as a sophomore Drew caught his first high school touchdown, a 60 yard touchdown from Joe Theismann. Drew became Theismann&rsquos favorite go to target leading the South River Rams to an undefeated season in 1966.
In 1967 Drew followed Joe Theismann as South River&rsquos quarterback. The 1967 Rams had an good year while only losing 2 games. As a senior in 1968 Drew led South River to another perfect record earning first team New Jersey All-State honors as Quarterback.
Ironically, Drew and Joe, of course, went on to enjoy stellar professional careers, each winning a Super Bowl.
Drew as a wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl XII, a game in which the Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos, 27-10) and Theismann as a quarterback with the Washington Redskins (Super Bowl XVII when the Washington Redskins won 27-17 over the Miami Dolphins).
Drew Pearson was inducted to the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Drew Pearson attended the University of Tulsa on a football and baseball scholarship.
After a time as a duel sport major college athlete Drew exclusively turned to football starting four games at quarterback as a sophomore.
Prior to his 1971 junior season Drew converted to wide receiver. He caught 22 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns.
As a senior, he led the run-oriented Golden Hurricane with 33 receptions for 690 yards and 3 touchdowns.
During his college career at Tulsa he caught 55 passes for 1,119 yards, six touchdowns and had a 20.3 yard average per reception.
Drew received the University&rsquos President&rsquos Award as the team&rsquos &ldquobest spirited and most unselfish&rdquo member.
In 1985, he was inducted into the Tulsa University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Drew Pearson was inducted to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 1973, Drew Pearson was signed as a Free Agent by the Dallas Cowboys, where he rose to become one of the NFL's greatest wide receivers in a predominantly run oriented era in the NFL. Drew was named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
In 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson rose from undrafted free agent rookie to one of the club's all-time leading receivers, from unknown to legend earning career records of 489 receptions and 7,822 receiving yards and 50 touchdowns.
Pearson left his mark in the post-season in league record books with his receptions (67) placing him third and his receiving yards (1,105) and touchdowns (eight) ranking him fourth all-time when he left the NFL &ndash all club records at the time of his retirement - and he caught a pass in a club-record 22 consecutive playoff games.
During his outstanding career, Drew was also named one of the Top 20 NFL AII-Time Wide Receivers, and selected All-Pro three times ( 1974, 1976 and 1977).
Drew led the National Football Conference (NFC) in pass receptions in 1976 with 58 and served as offensive captain for the Cowboys in 1977, 1978, 1982 and 1983. In 1980, the Cowboys selected Pearson as their nominee for NFL Man of the Year.
As a key leader and captain of the Dallas Cowboys Drew played a key role in getting "America's Team" to 3 Super Bowl appearances in the 1970's with a victory in Super Bowl XII in 1978. He also scored a touchdown in Super Bowl X.
Throughout his storied career, Drew caught game-sealing touchdowns. Drew is known as "Mr. Clutch" for his numerous clutch catches in game-winning situations.
1973 PLAYOFFS - 83 YARD GAME WINNING TOUCHDOWN
The Cowboys avenged a 37&ndash31 regular season loss to L.A. as two Rams turnovers in the first quarter gave the Cowboys a 14&ndash0 lead. But the Rams were able to cut the Cowboys lead 17&ndash16 by the fourth quarter.
Roger Staubach threw a short pass over the middle to Drew Pearson, and as the Rams were about to stop Pearson for a short gain, the Rams defensive backs collided and fell, allowing Pearson to scamper untouched for an 83-yard game clinching touchdown. Cowboys 27 Rams 16
1974 THANKSGIVING DAY GAME
On Thanksgiving Day in 1974, the Redskins were 8-3 and ready to secure a playoff berth with a win against the 6-5 Cowboys in a nationally televised game in Dallas.
With less than 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Washington was leading 16-3, when the Redskins knocked Roger Staubach out of the game.
Rookie Clint Longley led the Cowboys to a last minute come from behind victory, throwing a 50 yard touchdown with 28 seconds left. Cowboys 24 Redskins 23
1975 THE ORIGINAL HAIL MARY&trade
Drew scored a touchdown on one of the most famous plays in NFL history, the "Original Hail Mary&trade" reception from Roger Staubach that sealed the victory in a 1975 playoff game.
The Original Hail Mary&trade in 1975, the 1974 Thanksgiving Day Game, and the 1973 Playoff 83 Yard Touchdown last minute game winning plays were named among the Top 75 Plays in NFL history by NFL Films.
In 2011, Drew was selected to join the prestigious Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. Drew Pearson was also inducted to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Drew Pearson was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021.
The player behind the success of HOF WR Drew Pearson
Drew Pearson has chosen Roger Staubach to be his presenter for his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction this August.
Maybe he should have selected Otto Stowe.
Stowe was a second-round draft pick by Miami in 1971 who went to a pair of Super Bowls with the Dolphins as Hall-of-Famer Paul Warfield’s understudy. He started five games over those two seasons, catching 18 passes and scoring three touchdowns. The Dolphins traded him to Dallas in 1973 where he was paired with another Hall-of-Fame wide receiver, Bob Hayes, in the starting lineup of the Cowboys.
Pearson signed with the Cowboys as a rookie free agent that season. A former college quarterback at Tulsa, Pearson was still in the early stages of learning how to become a professional wide receiver.
“I𠆝 only been a receiver for two years,” Pearson said. “My receiver coach in college (Tulsa) was Ted Plumb, who was a really good coach and helped me a lot. But once I got to the pros, my receiver coach was Mike Ditka. I loved Mike. He was a great guy … but he had been a tight end.
“Mike got (tight ends) Billy Joe (Dupree) and Jean (Fugett) ready, but I’m out here (on the flank). Mike used to tell me, `Just knock his head off.’ So what am I going to do? He can’t show me how to run a pass route – the out-route or the in-route. So I got into Otto Stowe’s pocket.”
Pearson knew Stowe had spent his first two seasons in Miami receiving his own education at the position from Warfield, one of the smoothest, most-polished, most-dynamic receivers ever to play the game. Warfield was one of only six receivers in NFL history to average better than 20 yards per catch in his career. He led the league with 12 touchdown catches for the Cleveland Browns in 1968 and 11 for the Dolphins in 1971.
“I knew what Paul Warfield did, and Otto came from Miami,” Pearson said. “He looked like Paul Warfield running his routes. I learned how to run pass routes from him, how to be disciplined in running those routes, how to get in and out of your breaks quickly without having all those choppy steps that you see from guys nowadays. Coming off the line of scrimmage – using your hands, giving them that shoulder … I emulated everything Otto did.”
Stowe was everything the Cowboys hoped he𠆝 be and Pearson expected him to be. In his first seven games he was having a Pro Bowl-caliber season with a team-leading 23 catches for 389 yards and six touchdowns.
“It looked to me like I was going to be behind him for a long time,” Pearson said. “He was really good at route running and he could catch anything. Luckily, we played the same position – left, right, in the slot, in motion … he perfected that motion. I watched him, studied him. He was my blessing.”
But in the seventh game of the 1973 season at Philadelphia, Stowe suffered an ankle injury. That moved Pearson up in the depth chart to No. 2 at the position behind Mike Montgomery. Two weeks later at the Giants, Montgomery pulled a muscle and also retired to the sideline with an injury, moving Pearson into the offensive huddle.
Pearson never gave the position back to either Stowe or Montgomery. He caught one pass that day and one more in his first NFL start the following week at home against Philadelphia. The Cowboys staged his coming out party the following week on Thanksgiving – a game that Stowe had circled on his own calendar. Pearson caught seven passes for 71 yards on national television against the Dolphins.
Three weeks later, in the season finale at St. Louis, Pearson turned in his first career 100-yard receiving game and scored his first two NFL touchdowns on catches of 28 and 17 yards. The following week, in the NFC semifinals, Pearson caught two passes for two touchdowns against the Rams, including an 83-yarder midway through the fourth quarter that sealed the Dallas victory.
Pearson earned his first Pro Bowl invitation in his first full season as a starter in 1974, catching 62 passes for 1,087 yards. He led the NFC with his 58 catches in 1976 and led the NFL with his 1,026 receiving yards in 1977. Pearson retired after 11 seasons as the franchise’s all-time leading receiver with 489 catches for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns.
“I just got the opportunity and stayed,” said Pearson over a cup of coffee at a Dallas restaurant. 𠇋ut it could be Otto Stowe you’re talking to right now instead of Drew Pearson.”
Revisionist history: The Cowboys, Drew Pearson and the push-off
The Vikings are playing the Cowboys in the playoffs, which means you are probably going to hear quite a bit this week about the infamous 1975 playoff game. Dallas 17, Vikings 14, on a last-second TD pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson, who in Vikings lore pushed off to gain his advantage on the play.
In a bit of serendipity, Mr. Reusse was digging through his desk just last week and pulled out a DVD copy of the game that someone had sent him a while back. We immediately popped it on our computer, and we immediately had about three people standing around our desk. We sped to the final drive, and we learned some horrifying things.
*Pearson did not really push off, in our mind. Seriously. In today's game, if Sidney Rice was called for offensive pass interference for doing what Pearson did -- hand-fighting with a d-back and slipping back for an underthrown, back-shoulder catch -- Vikings fans would be very upset. We're not saying a push-off couldn't have been called. We're just saying that 35 years of hate might have been a little misplaced.
*A better place for your anger: a scheme that had Pearson essentially in single-coverage when Dallas was at its own 50 yard line with less than 30 seconds left. The safety help was way late. Staubach gets some of the credit for looking him off left the Vikings get part of the blame for letting Pearson get in a position to make that play. Also, Pearson nearly dropped the ball. He basically trapped it against his leg. Neat.
*An even better place for your anger: On the same drive, two plays before the infamous grab (where the term Hail Mary apparently originated, by the way), Dallas faced a 4th-and-17 from its own 24 yard line with 44 seconds left on the clock. Yes, all Minnesota had to do was not allow a 17-yard play. Want to know what happened? Staubach threw a deep out to Pearson on the sideline. There is absolutely no way he was in bounds. Not a chance. He was given an incidental shove as he tried to bring the ball down. It was ruled a catch. First down.
History of the Column
Founded by Drew Pearson, “Washington Merry-Go-Round” began as a syndicated column in 1932. The provocative and often controversial column broke the story of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton and the soldier he slapped in 1943. Pearson later brought about the downfall of Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal, an ideological foe, and he denounced the witch-hunt agenda of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisc.
Jack Anderson joined the column in 1945 and took over following Pearson’s death in 1969, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1972. Douglas Cohn became his partner in 1999 and changed the column into commentary with historical perspective. He took over following Anderson’s death in 2005 and, along with Eleanor Clift, continues this longest-running syndicated column in America.
Cohn and Clift have brought a strong military, political, economic, and historical expertise to Washington Merry-Go-Round that led to significant insights such as the following excerpts from columns:
Czar Putin (3/26/14): “. . . he shares the same traits as the famous Russian czars of the past. He’s expansionist, xenophobic, and paranoid, attributes that unfortunately make him the ideal leader for the Russian people at this time in their history.”
Undermining the Military and the Nation (2/27/14): “The hypocrisy is blatant. Republican and Democratic politicians alike are effusive in their praise of the troops and wrap themselves in the flag when running for reelection. Yet, who among them believes the troops are overpaid or even sufficiently paid? Last year, 5,000 active duty families even qualified for food stamps. . . . In the end, if America continues to try to solve some of its budget problems on the backs of the people who are defending the nation, the nation will soon be at risk.”
Executive Order (1/30/14): “During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the internment of all Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast. He did so without congressional approval or consultation. His infamous Executive Order 9066 was more than wrong. It was a unilateral assertion of power that overrode our constitutional checks-and-balances system, yet instead of learning from that not-to-distant history, we, Congress, and the Supreme Court continue to stand aside as each president pushes the envelope a little farther. In the end, the executive order will prove to be a disease, not a cure – an executive order disorder.”
The Fair Tax (1/14/14): “We haven’t seen this level of income inequality since the days of the Robber Barons, early in the last century. The income tax, proposed by President Theodore Roosevelt and embraced by his successor, William Howard Taft, became legal with passage of the 16th Amendment in 1909. It was directed at this group of home grown oligarchs, and no one else. It was a tax on millionaires, and was not meant to be broad based. . . The need to fund wars and pay for government services in an industrialized country ushered in the broader system of tax collection that we see today. Somewhere along the way in that transformation, the rich now pay less than their fair share when balanced against the wealth they have gained.”
Heading for a Very Happy New Year (12/26/13): “All the scare talk from the political right about the debt and deficit dragging us down and condemning our children and grandchildren to a future of gloom and doom is nonsense. History has repeatedly proven that massive government spending during a depression or recession is the cure, not the disease, even if it means a temporary ballooning of the deficit. Then, when the economy begins to take hold, the government can take its foot off the accelerator, which is what we’re seeing now. It should be a very happy New Year.”
Minimum Wage Fallacies (12/18/13): “Workers are not asking for a gift, just a fair wage. And, once again, a “gift” from government is nothing more than a business subsidy that encourages and allows employers to pay substandard wages.”
China’s Pawn-in-Chief (12/5/13): “Whether Chinese leaders approve of their surrogate’s bizarre behavior or not, the North Koreans provide a convenient distraction every now and then from whatever China is doing. Hence, the hostage-taking, occasional shelling, and maritime provocations. But such erratic behavior may have more method than madness to it – Chinese method.”
Fines for the Rich, Jail for the Poor (11/21/13): “JPMorgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, negotiated directly with associate attorney general Tony West, and the settlement that was achieved reflects the administration’s strategy to go after big fines as a way to show the American people there is accountability on Wall Street. It’s taken some four years to get to this point. Maybe a criminal case is the next shoe to drop otherwise the lesson may once again be that if you’re rich and well connected, paying enough money can keep you out of jail.”
Zealots Are not Politicians (10/16/13): “A zealot is by nature not a politician, and while a zealot might get elected, his or her goals are very different from those of a politician. One is trying to make the government function the other wants to remake the system, and if they have to destroy it first, that’s a form of zealotry. They would burn the house down to save it.”
Could the Fed Save America (10/11/13): “The Fed is an independent agency, and it could waive the government’s indebtedness. Just like past administrations have forgiven debt in Africa, when there’s a worthy country trying to get back on its feet and struggling under the weight of its debt, lifting some or all of that debt makes everybody feel good. It’s a win-win situation.”
The Undermining of Democracy (9/26/13): “Today there is heightened skepticism about government doing anything right, an attitude systematically hammered home by the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, a wing that no longer believes in government. And such political Luddites might just convince enough Americans to believe likewise. Already, most voters have intense disdain for politicians in general, and it is only a short leap for them to give up on the system altogether.”
Isolationism Redux (9/5/13): “Paul may think he’s forging new thinking that will invigorate his party, but his ideological forbears include Taft, aviator Charles Lindbergh, who served as spokesman for the isolationist America First Committee, and Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, R- Mass., who led the fight to keep the U.S. out of the League of Nations, effectively crippling the nascent organization. . . . Isolationism is not a new argument. The extent of America’s involvement in the outside world has been debated since the country’s beginning. George Washington in his 1796 farewell address warned against foreign entanglements. Protected by two vast oceans, Americans for a long time felt protected, but that illusion has long since been shattered. What is at issue now is trust in government and our elected leaders. We were led into war in Vietnam with the dubious Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and in Iraq over non-existent weapons of mass destruction. McCain has the harder argument to make for military action in Syria given public distrust, but Paul’s followers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking he represents anything that hasn’t been tried before.”
The Two Enemy Solution (8/27/13): “Syria poses other problems, specifically the fact that the U.S. has two enemies there: the brutal Assad regime and al Qaeda rebels. . . . . Two enemies require a two-enemy solution. Following the Kurdistan example, the U.S. and its allies should carve out an area of Syria already under rebel control and establish it as a no-fly zone. . . . . The second stage of the two-enemy plan would include providing arms, food, housing, and medical care for the moderate rebels and their families. The more difficult, but essential, part of the plan would entail the expulsion of al Qaeda rebels from the no-fly sanctuary. Most recently, this concept was employed in rebel-held eastern Libya, which led to the toppling of another brutal dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. ”
Unbridled Capitalism (8/13/13): The most optimistic scenario is a modern progressive era with a rise of the reformers like we witnessed early in the last century. It will take a movement and creative leaders who understand how taxation, fairness, the rise of the Robber Barons, the depressed minimum wage – how it all ties together. After all, unbridled capitalism is not capitalism at all. It’s a rigged playing field.”
Madison and the Vietnam Rapprochement (7/31/13): “His [Pres. Obama] ecumenicalism combines the concept of the enemy of my enemy is my friend with the ideas of the father of our Constitution, James Madison, who opined that the tyranny of the majority is as bad as the tyranny of a dictator, and that a functioning democracy must, therefore, first ensure the rights of the minority. He understood that an educated and economically viable electorate was essential to free and fair elections. This is quite distant from the Wilson-Bush ideas of pure self-determination, which is why Obama works with autocrats while simultaneously encouraging movements toward Madisonian democracies, often using capitalism, free trade, and mutual defense as the openings – hence, the Vietnam rapprochement.”
Send in the Spooks (6/28/13): “We won’t see bumper stickers that say, Send in the Spooks, but this is the kind of aid that can make a difference, and is no doubt already underway. If Assad stays in power, it would be a huge setback for the U.S., and Obama must do all he can short of direct military intervention to avoid that outcome. On the other hand he must somehow help wean the moderate rebels away from their immoderate al-Qaeda Jihadist allies.”
Protect Our Uniformed Women (6/5/13): “It was an astounding admission when Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., confessed that he had advised the mother of a young woman interested in joining the military that he couldn’t in all good faith tell her it was the right career path for her daughter. McCain wasn’t faulting the military for lack of opportunity, or for gender discrimination, but for something far more basic, the continued inability to protect service women, and men too, from sexual assault, and to give those who are the victims of assault or sexual harassment a fair hearing without fear of retribution.”
The Sin Tax Sin (4/13/13): “The sin tax sin is that it only works if people sin. Now, smoking, drinking, and gambling may not be sins in the biblical sense, but they fall under the sin tax umbrella. . . . Sin taxes tend to be highly regressive, with lower income people paying much more than the better educated and better off financially. . . . The same thing can be said for the lottery. People who buy lottery tickets tend to be those who can least afford them. . . . The idea of taxing something we don’t want people to do – and then relying on the money to fund something else, however worthy – is a bit of a shell game. . . . In the end, the sin tax concept is simply wrong. It makes the government look hypocritical when school children are told of the evils of cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling, and then the government appears to sanction these activities by benefitting from them through taxation. It is the sin of the sin tax.”
Same Sex Marriage and the GOP (3/2/13): “It’s hard to think of any other public policy where attitudes have moved as quickly and dramatically as they have on gay marriage or of its impact on GOP presidential politics. A majority of Americans are now in favor of same sex couples having the right to marry, and politicians in both major political parties are positioning themselves for the next election when opposition to gay marriage will cost votes, not the other way around.”
Too Much Tea for the GOP (2/7/13): “ The last happy warrior who identified as a Republican was the late Jack Kemp, a star quarterback turned politician who championed immigration reform and opportunity for minorities and was both lauded and derided as a “bleeding-heart conservative.” Kemp served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the first Bush administration, and was Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996. . . . No one has claimed Kemp’s mantle of political ebullience and equality, and when the Tea Party emerged during the summer of 2010, the main emotion its adherents projected was anger – anger at big government symbolized by Obamacare. Railing at government is not new in American politics, but the Tea Party, egged on by Rep. Cantor and others, offered a new vehicle of expression. Fueled by an infusion of money made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the Tea Party moved the GOP so far to the right it cannot compete nationally .”
Drone Wars (1/13/13): “One thing is certain and beyond question, drones are at the core of Obama’s national security and counter-terrorism strategy. . . . The advantages are obvious. Thanks to armed drones, the top leadership of Al-Qaeda has been decimated and no Americans have lost their lives. Drones fly in, and they fly out, making it easier to engage militarily without leaving a heavy footprint and risking the lives of young men and women. Sending in troops is easy withdrawing them is hard. A reliance on drones avoids that dilemma. . . . The disadvantages are less obvious but just as real. Drone attacks no matter how carefully targeted inevitably kill civilians, usually because terrorists are hiding among them. U.S. relations with Pakistan have significantly deteriorated because of drone attacks on Pakistani territory. Then there’s the question of what happens when America’s enemies develop drones, and figure out how to beat us at our own game. That challenge is for another day for now, drones are popular as a tool of modern warfare because they’re so much better than the alternatives of either doing nothing or sending young men and women to war.”
Debt Ceiling Solution (1/7/13): “However, another constitutional path is more inviting, and it revolves around three other constitutional clauses: Article I, Section 8, Clause 2: “[The Congress shall have the Power] to borrow Money . . . Article I, Section 8, Clause 5: [The Congress shall have the Power] to coin Money . . . Article I, Section 9, Clause 7: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law . . .” Not all constitutional clauses are equal. In this instance, Clauses 2 and 5 are pointless without Clause 7 because there is no reason to borrow or print money other than to spend it. That is where Clause 7 comes in, and when employed alone, it clearly incorporates the obviously subordinate Clauses 2 and 5. . . .If an appropriations bill is subject to further borrowing or printing authorization, it must include such language in the bill. In the absence of such language, the Treasury has no choice but to comply with the law. It must fund as directed. As a result, an appropriations bill includes the tacit authorization for the Treasury to borrow and/or print money because it would have no other means of complying with the law if the Treasury is empty.”
Blame the Founding Fathers (12/26/13): “It’s popular to blame Congress for the fiscal cliff fiasco, but its members are operating within the system handed down by the Founding Fathers, and while it is a laudable system, it has flaws, and those flaws are on display. . . . Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution is the culprit: “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings . . .” And both the House and Senate have taken full advantage of that freedom. . . . There is no mention of a filibuster in the Constitution, but the Senate has adopted the right of filibuster to the point where it is invoked so routinely that bills are filibustered just to annoy and slow down the majority. . . . In both bodies, committee chairmen assert near-dictatorial rule, bottling up bills they because the rules let them. In the current debate on gun safety and regulation, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has decreed there will be no gun control legislation. And unless he bends to public pressure, he can make good on that pledge. . . . The Founding fathers assumed all members would vote on all bills, that there would be compromise, and that reasonable people would come together. What we have today are solid blocs of ideological opposition, particularly in the House where the Tea Party has terrorized Republicans to do its bidding by threatening primary challenges from the right. . . . It is time to fix the rules or fix the Constitution.”
Pre-New Year’s Predictions (11/23/12): “Fiscal Cliff: This is a non-news story. It will not happen. Patch-work legislation will kick the issue over to next year. Stock Market: We expect it to take off, fueled by latent housing demand, an end to fiscal cliff speculation, falling unemployment, the best holiday retail season since the beginning of the Great Recession of 2008, and the continued benefits from federal stimulus spending. . . . . Society: Same-sex marriage will continue to be passed by increasing numbers of state legislatures.”
Hoover v. Keynes (5/12/12): “The just-released September unemployment rate of 7.8 percent – the lowest in four years – was anticipated a year and a half ago in our April 6, 2011 column.”
Materials & Resources at Other Institutions
A principal repository for the study of Drew Pearson. Much of Pearson's estate of documents and broadcasts were donated to this library. Included in the collection are no less than 889 audio tapes for Pearson radio broadcasts for the period 1955-69, as well as 82 film titles, and myriad documentation reflecting Pearson's career as a journalist. Request copies of the finding aids for these materials. For a "Drew Pearson Oral History Interview" (pdf file, April 10, 1969) conducted by Joe B. Frantz, see "Oral Histories" page of the LBJ Library Web site. In the LBJ Library Manuscript Archives are a series of Pearson radio scripts (with finding aid) for his broadcasts representing the 1930s-1960s. See also Washington Merry-Go-Round World of Drew Pearson: An Exhibition at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum, April 4 - September 27, 1987 (Austin, Texas: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, 1987) for books, drawings, lecture flyers, manuscripts, newspapers, paintings, photographs, radio and television broadcasts, and other materials by and about Pearson.
Washington D.C."Columns and Columnists." Record Group 216, boxes 336, 557-558. Includes information on Drew Pearson columns during the 1940s. This collection also includes approximately 350 ABC audio sound recordings of 15-minute radio broadcasts by Pearson numbering approximately 350 items spanning May 13, 1945 to December 28, 1952. Items are typically titled simply "Drew Pearson" on 3 x 5 cards with times of broadcast noted.
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. This collection includes materials Drew Pearson donated to the Library of Congress in 1948, with additional items given to the collection in 1966 by David C. Mearns. The materials include 55 items in either English, French, or Italian spanning 1947-1952. Users can search the catalog using the keywords "Drew Pearson."
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Paul Martin Pearson papers. Paul Martin Pearson (1871-1938), father of Drew Pearson. A checklist of materials available for Record Group 5, approximately 20 boxes. Includes biographical and genealogical material, correspondence (1905-1938, 20 folders), writings, Chautauqua material (1919-1930s), Virgin Islands material, memorabilia, and miscellaneous items. Specific Drew Pearson materials include: memorabilia pictures taken for use in articles written in the early 1920s autograph album on occasion of testimonial dinner given to Drew Pearson in Swarthmore, Pa., April 16, 1948 eulogies on the death of Pearson in 1969 and autobiographical articles from The Saturday Evening Post. Users can search the catalog using the keywords "Drew Pearson."
Truman Presidential Museum & Library. The papers of Mara focus on his service as President Truman's Assistant Military Aide from 1949 to 1952. A large portion of the collection relates to Drew Pearson, who as a columnist was frequently critical of Vaughan and the Truman Administration. "Much of this is background material (some of it apparently written by Pearson) on Pearson and his associates, transcripts of radio broadcasts and pamphlets criticizing him, and correspondence and memoranda relating to him."
Editor's Notes: The material which follows is from two distinct sources. In 1952, an unknown SSA official interviewed John Corson and produced a brief set of notes of this interview. These notes follow immediately. In March 1967 the SSA Historian, Abe Bortz, conducted a formal oral history interview with Mr. Corson. Unfortunately, the first reel of tape from that conversation was ruined and the material was lost. Consequently, the oral history fragment which remains is incomplete and begins in mid-stream. It also ends abruptly at what may not have been the conclusion of the interviewing sessions.
Interview Notes, John J. Corson, January 7, 1952
Murray Latimer was the first Director of the Bureau-from December 15, 1935 to September 1, 1936. (Note: The record I have which may not be too reliable makes Latimer Acting Director, RCP) Latimer divided his time between OASI and RRB which was then located in Washington. Alvin David was one of his assistants.
Joe Fay and Frank Fleener were in the first operating unit--the beginning records division. The original idea was to have two operating units--a Records Division and a Claims Division. Way was to be Chief of the Records Division, Beach originally was the number 2 man and Fay was in third place. It became apparent very soon that Fay was the operating man that the Bureau needed. Corson talked about his difficulty in getting him in the first place. Way was shelved and Beach was transferred to the Field organization which was probably a blow for him at the time. The first members of the Board were J. G. Winant, Chairman, Altmeyer and Vincent Miles. The resignation of Winant created a Republican vacancy. Latimer was proposed as a Republican from Mississippi. His appointment was turned down because "there were no Republicans from Mississippi." Henry P. Seidemann was either Director or Acting Director following Latimer. (Note: The records say Director from September 2, 1936 to February 28, 1937. May be questionable. RCP) Not the type of man the Bureau needed at the time. Appointment made in order for a E. J. McCormick to become Assistant or Deputy Director.
Winant wanted to have Corson appointed Bureau Director in 1937. Miles voted against it and the appointment was not made to keep the Board from being split. Leroy Hodges became Director instead. He was being considered at the time for the position of Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization. He would have been a good Commissioner. He was not the type of man to run the Bureau in its fluid state at this time. Corson in the meantime served as Assistant Executive Director of the Board (Frank Bane was Executive Director) and was also assistant to Hodges.
Hodges served from March 1, 1937 to February 8, 1938 when he was very glad to leave the Bureau, becoming the Virginia State Comptroller.
Rodger Evans was the Assistant Director who opened up the field offices. He was with the Bureau on a contract basis. G. R. Parker took over the job when he left.
Corson became Director in March 1938 and served to December 19th when he became Director of the U.S.E.S returned to the Bureau in May 1943 to May 1944.
He considered the John Doe episode an interesting one. It broke in a column by Drew Pearson while Corson was in San Francisco. One of the first Director's Bulletins was on John Does and somehow or other a copy was slipped to Pearson. For about two months Pearson pounded that subject at least once a week. Congressional committees were becoming interesting. McNutt, newly appointed head of FSA, was worried and the Advisory Council considering social security amendments very possibly might have been influenced by this evidence of administrative problems.
Another time when Corson was on the West coast, Baltimore newspapers published a story about an American Legion Post Party of Candler employees which was raided by the police. Reaction in Baltimore was bad and several suspensions were necessary to Corson's regret.
Corson mentioned the troubles in the early days with the union grievance committee. The chairman was a girl whom Fay probably remembers because of all the trouble she caused him. This committee made representations to Congressional committees, and to the Board, and created quite a stir.
Looking back on the 1939 amendments Corson recalled no particular problems but the Bureau must have looked upon them as big at the time but they were taken in stride.
The difficult years were the early years involving the establishment of the records operation and the field office organization. There were a number of squabbles with the machine companies when the system was being devised and purchased--Remmington Rand in particular.
The Bureau opposed the change to quarterly reporting. It was BIR that forced it through.
In the early recruitment days a lot of deadwood came from the first field office registers. Some of these people remained with the Bureau for a long time. However, many very good people, a lot of them college graduates, were brought in at grade 3, some of them as personnel assistants. They grew up and developed with the Bureau. Some of them were Ross, Murray, Branham, and Ball.
The big OASI problem is its tendency because of its tremendous size to routinize until it becomes inflexible. It is like a locomotive when once it gets started it can't get shifted. Management has to find some way to keep it a flexible instrument.
Corson suggests that we might do something with Bureau romances he also suggests that we also do something pictorially about Washington headquarter office buildings. There were 4 locations before move to the Equitable Building: 1712 G Street, 1724 T Street, the Potomac Park Apartments and 19th and Pa. Avenue. Corson talked a little about his personal difficulties in obtaining staff. Pogge was reluctant to come to the Bureau from Accounts and Audits, so was Mike Shortly, who was finally practically ordered by the Board. McKenna was persuaded to be Assistant Director with somewhat less difficulty. Bartlett was in General Counsel and had to be persuaded to be a Bureau administrator.
Another Episode Corson recalls is a question from the Senate Appropriation Committee (Jimmy Byrnes) as to why we "hired 17 Pinks". He wanted them dismissed. On investigation we found that the 17 people had worked for the FBI as finger print classifiers, had organized a union and had been fired for this. There was nothing wrong with them and the Bureau kept them.
Corson often kids Jim Tully about the time the Union insisted that he be fired as Chief of the Claims Section because he was unreasonable and discriminated against members.
HISTORICAL INTERVIEW WITH JOHN J. CORSON
We were still on some of the organizational problems of an organization of this nature beginning with a new program. Were there any others that you recall in this period as Executive Director? Perhaps it was in a major or minor crises, I mean was the election, for example, anything?
As I think back, let me just enumerate, I think I can enumerate four problems that were more or less significant. One was the problem of Vince Miles and this was closely related to the second problem of the relationship with the Congress, which grew in considerable part out of the problem of civil service status being required for appointments to the Board. This was related in part also to the organizational problems. An this came a little later, in the sense when we established the field offices of the Bureau of Old-Age benefits then, this meant that in every Congressman's district, or many Congressmen's districts, office were being established, appointments were being made, and they were interested.
This gave us an added dimension of this congressional relations problem.
I remember one incident in this connection. I had a good deal to do with the appointments to the original field offices--this was while I was still Assistant Executive Director--because the Board was approving all of those appointments and I was receiving the recommendations from the Bureau and I was taking them to the Board and getting the Board's approval. I remember one day I went to see John Winant with a list of recommendations for the New Hampshire field offices--he having been Governor of New Hampshire and having been the Republican Governor of New Hampshire. He looked at the list and he said somewhat in frustration after looking at them, "I don't know any of those fellows I don't know how good they are." And he thought for a moment and he said, "I'll tell you what you do. He said, "You go up and see Fred Brown and if he says they are all right, they are all right with me."
Now the significant part of that was that Fred Brown was the Democratic Senator from New Hampshire who had been the preceding Governor to Winant in New Hampshire. Well, I always thought this was an illustration of Winant's tactic. There was no partisan politics in him. There he was as the Republican Governor. It had never entered his mind for a moment to build up Republican support in New Hampshire for himself personally by these appointments. It just never entered his mind. He wanted to know if they were good people. He liked Fred Brown as an individual he had confidence in his judgment. And his advice to me was, "you go up and see Fred Brown."
That certainly speaks well of Winant.
Well, Winant was a superior person.
I think you had mentioned something about . . . was the election any sort of a problem?
The election was a problem. But the election was a problem that was related to still another and that was the Supreme Court problem. Both the election and the fact that the Social Security Act, both the provisions with respect to unemployment compensation and with respect to old-age benefits were being tested before the Supreme Court, gave a great uncertainty to the Social Security Board. It was difficult to recruit people at a time when you didn't know whether the Act was going to be held constitutional and whether the agency, hence, would survive. Particularly, this came at a time after the National Recovery Administration had been declared unconstitutional, and an agency which employed several thousands of people had been disbanded in a very great hurry as a consequence of this declaration of unconstitutionality. Well, those of us who were in the Social Security Board wondered if our fate would be the same. And when we were trying to recruit people, those who had jobs thought a second time--as to whether they would come with the Social Security Board. It was an uncertain thing at that time.
I suppose Bennett was one of those, wasn't he?
No, Jim Bennett was on leave at the time. Jim was on leave from the Bureau of Prisons. He had not uncertainty. I don't know, Jim might have stayed with the Board and transferred permanently--although I don't recall there ever being any talk even of his doing this. We didn't really, as we look back, didn't need Jim Bennett. He was awfully good and I think he is a great civil servant as he's proved in later years but Bill Mitchell was Jim Bennett's really right arm at that time and Bill Mitchell proved himself quite capable of following on when Jim went back to the Bureau of Prisons. The one other-
The election. During the election of '36--that's really between March of '36 when I came there, and November--there was great uncertainty as to whether if a Republican candidate was successful social security wouldn't be repealed and repealed promptly. Alfred Landon who was the Republican candidate, had said that that's exactly what he proposed to do if he were elected. Well, this again added to the uncertainty of all of us. As I look back, I think that really we were so enthusiastic really about what we were doing. We thought it was so important that while we at times had some concern, we never really let it bother us much.
Was the problem that of the bureau field office representatives and the region a major problem or was this something to come when you moved over to the Bureau?
Oh no, it was a problem before I moved over to the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance. It was a problem that I was much involved in as Assistant Executive Director for the reason I stated earlier, that in my relationship both having to prepare materials for the Board and having to see to it after the Board acted that there was action in accordance with what the Board had directed, I was involved in most of those appointments in one way or another. I was involved earlier in the definition of the regional boundaries, for example, the setting up of the regional offices. I was involved in all of those administrative actions. I say involved, I wasn't the person who was making the decision I was just preparing some of the recommendations and presenting the pros and cons to the Board members--usually in meetings, but often in discussion with them as they wished. I was involved in most of them, but that was well before I went to the Bureau of Old-Age Insurance, as it was called by the time I went there.
Is that a built-in inevitable problem? I mean particularly technical lines that supposedly go between the Bureau and its representatives in the field and the fact that you have regions where the representatives from various bureaus and the problems of who really supervises whom? And--
Well, let's make two points. The first point would be that I thought you were saying you said was this a built-in problem was my participation in it a built-in problem? My participation in those decisions was the greater because the Board in these years never really had confidence in the people who successfully headed that Bureau. And as a consequence they were really relying on the Executive Director's Office, of which I was part, to exercise a close surveillance and give them some assurance that things were going the way they should go. That is an unfortunate administrative situation whenever it exists. Now, what was needed was someone in the Bureau Director's job who had the confidence of the Board, and that was lacking for that period of years.
The second problem of the organizational problem of when they established the regional offices, as to the organizational lines of responsibility from the headquarters, from the Executive Director to the Regional Office, and from each of the Bureaus--Unemployment Compensation, Public Assistance, and Old-Age Insurance--to the Regional Offices this is a very typical organizational problem. Being very typical makes it none the simpler. The Regional Director was established with the thought that he was the representative in the field of the Board itself, and the Board as communicated through the Executive Director, that the Regional Director was essentially the equivalent of the Executive Director in his whole region. Each of the Bureaus had their Regional Representative in the field and each of the Bureaus, naturally enough, felt that they had a specialized enough set of problems out there that they must have their own person to take care of the matter and that that person should not be interfered with by the Regional Director who was not a specialist in that particular field.
Now where is the conflict?
The conflict is between the specialized Regional Representative of the Bureau and the Regional Director who was a generalist and who at times not having much to do at times, tended to involve himself in each of the areas. Now the Regional Director, as I think time has shown, was more useful in the programs where you had Federal-State relationships, as for Unemployment Compensation and Public Assistance and he was often helpful in the dealings with the State governments, and particularly with the Governors. Now, in part, this was what the Regional Directors were chosen for. They were more often people who had had some political orientation and some political acquaintanceship in their regions--notably, Judge Dill in Philadelphia who had been a candidate for Governor in New Jersey. Ed McDonald, who was Regional Director in Oklahoma City--yes, in the Middle West region, I forgot where the headquarters was in those days-- he had come from Arkansas. Yes, I guess the headquarters were in Kansas City.
In the very beginning days most of us--the other typically political Regional Director was Anna Rosenberg im New York City. In the very early days in 1936 and early '37 many of us looked down our nose on these politicians that had been brought in as Regional Directors. We tended to discount their capabilities. And we tended to place more confidence in those Regional Directors who had some professional association in one way or another with social security. Well, as you look back, perhaps the most effective Regional Director of all was Ed McDonald who was an avowed politician and very effective as a politician. He was very helpful to the Board in his capacity to deal with the Governors and to get concurrence on the things that we felt needed to be done in those days. It was illustrative of the kind of function the Regional Director could and did perform.
So that well, then, of course, some of the others I guess--were the lines as clearly drawn?
No, the lines were never clearly drawn and it was a good deal of working relationship that varied from one region to another. It was a working relationship between the Bureau Director and the Regional Director and the Bureau's representative in the region and then the third piece of that triangle was the relationship between the Bureau Director and his Regional Representative. It depended a good deal on the willingness of the Bureau Director and the Regional Director to work effectively together.
So, it wasn't an organization at one time really. It was-
It's a very traditional organizational problem. You have it in many, many organizations. It's primarily one of personal relationships in the end as how it works. We had a Regional Director later in Boston who was intolerable. John Hardy was a cruel politician. We was a very small man and he wanted to be a big man. He wanted to be a Regional Director in every measure of the position and as a consequence, he felt he had to interfere in the activities of each Bureau. He had to substitute his own judgment no matter what the decision was. Well, as a consequence, I don't believe any of the Bureau Directors got along with him. I think I could claim that while I was a Bureau Director I got along with the Regional Directors reasonably well--in fact, at times very well. I never could get along with John Hardy he was in my mind a very small man that one couldn't deal with. He simply had to have a position of power that no one challenged. If anyone wanted to do anything without getting his particular approval, why he had trouble.
Anything else in that period you would like to go to or shall we go on from there?
Well, in the early period while I was Assistant Executive Director, I think there is one note I would like to add. Looking back there were two people in minor positions--not so minor--but who were most influential and who contributed a great deal. One was Maurine Mulliner who served as Secretary of the Board, and was a most efficient Secretary, and who had the confidence of the Board members implicitly. They thought very highly of her abilities and she worked very effectively with everyone. I have never seen a Board secretary that was really both understanding, got along very well with the Bureaus, but also had the confidence at all times of the Board members. She was a great influence--a very steadying and balancing influence in those days.
I notice she kept informal notes which are quite helpful because the Board minutes are very, very brief and hers are very helpful. You were going to mention somebody else?
The other person was, of course, Wilbur Cohen. Wilbur Cohen when I first went to work there was about 24 years of age and was a very young and already-informed fellow. He was assistant to Altmeyer in a position ranking well down in the hierarchy in those days--probably receiving a salary, I would venture to guess, that was maybe $3,800 or $3,200 a year.
That's pretty close I think.
His influence was from even the earliest days way beyond whatever rank he held. His influence was great for several reasons. He was a keenly intelligent person, but personally was just so liked and effective in his dealings with people throughout that whole agency, that he had an influence way beyond most of the people at higher ranks. It was never an influence that was built on his closeness to the Board members it was just out of his own personal qualities. He had a great influence from the very early times.
I can--shall we then go on to the--how did you happen to move over to be the Director of the Bureau?
I have said that for a period of time the Board did not have confidence in the Director of the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance. There was a time after Murray Latimer left when Henry Seidemann was Acting Director and they still didn't have confidence in the effectiveness of the management of that Bureau. I have said that I was drawn into the problem by virtue of the fact that much of the materials that came to the Board for decision came through me, and I was supposed to inquire into them to satisfy the Board, so that they had a full understanding of what they were approving. At the time in 1937 when Harry Seidemann-
When Henry Seidemann left.
In looking back it was an interesting little incident. The Board met--Vince Miles was still a member of the Board- met and elected me Director of the Bureau and I was told that this subsequently was a 2-to-1 vote because Vince Miles was proposing that they should appoint as Director a fellow named Edward J. McCormick, who was a political protégé of Senator McKeller. Ed McCormick was a capable enough guy, sort of a heavy-handed fellow. His military title of Colonel was reflected in the way he dealt with people. He was an authoritarian of sorts, but he did not have the confidence of either Winant or Altmeyer and they could not accept him and Vince Miles could not accept me. It was essentially an impasse. But at one particular moment in time, the Board did elect me Director of the Bureau and they communicated this news to me and I was, of course, delighted. I was very young and this was a very big job and I was very proud. For about a week the matter stood that I was to become Bureau Director as of a certain time in the future when Mr. Seidemann left. He finally left. I was in that week John Winant called me in and, literally with tears in his eyes, explained that they felt that they would have to withdraw this offer to me of becoming Bureau Director---that political repercussions as a result if Mr. Mile's opposition were such that they just didn't think they could go ahead with it. And Winant actually broke down and cried about it. I was so sorry for him that I--well, it was a great disappointment but I was more concerned about him at the moment than I was about myself.
But, then they found Leroy Hughes. This is interesting little incident in that during this time when they left they had to look somewhere else. And they weren't having much luck finding someone that they were willing to appoint. And one evening, John Winant went to a dinner party where he sat with Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, and Frances Perkins told him that she had just succeeded in getting a very able man from Virginia to accept the job as Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization. John Winant said, "Well, who is that?" She told him of a fellow named Leroy Hodges who had been prominent in Virginia. The next morning Winant came in to see Frank Bane. I happened to be there at the time, and he said to Frank Bane--he told him what Miss Perkins told him the evening before--and he said, "Why haven't you told me about this fellow? If he's good enough to be Commissioner of Immigration, he's good enough to be Director of the Bureau of Old-Age Benefits, and we've been trying so hard to find someone." Frank Bane said, "yes, I know him well." As indeed, both Frank Bane and I knew him personally and both respected him highly. Frank Bane's reaction was that, "Certainly I knew him, but I don't recommend my personal friend just because they're my personal friends." If he's this good why shouldn't we have him instead of Miss Perkins? The net of it all was that John Winant asked Miss Perkins if she would forego appointing him as Commissioner of Immigration, if he could come as Director of the Bureau of Old-Age Benefits. And he did agree to come as Director of the Bureau of Old-Age Benefits, and I guess in about March of '37 he came up. It was an unfortunate appointment as it turned out. Leroy Hodges was a fine person, but Leroy Hodges was not a successful Director of the Bureau. I served for a time--which again looking back was an unfortunate circumstance. Leroy Hodges asked Frank bane if I could serve as his (Hodges) Assistant in the Bureau, and I served part time as his Assistant and part time as Franks Bane's Assistant.
That's certainly anomalous.
It was an anomalous arrangement and it was unwise as I look back. It put me in a very embarrassing position that if I sat in a meeting, as often happened, with the Bureau of Old-Age Insurance and we talked about problems and we talked about what we could decide and I was convinced then that this was an unwise choice that this was a choice that the Board would not look with favor on, then I was put in the position of going back on the other side of the street. Actually, their offices were behind us on F Street when the Board's offices were on Q Street. And receiving the recommendation in which I had participated in the Bureau and recommending against it to the Board and this was a very unfortunate position. We should have known it but we didn't. I think in conscience I can say I was trying to be helpful by working with Hodges, but after a time I lost Hodge's confidence because I was in the position of turning down some of his recommendations in my position as Assistant Executive Director, or, recommending to the Executive Director that they turn them down. It was a very unpleasant period the latter part of that year. Leroy Hodges, who was a fine person and a capable man, I'm sure did not enjoy the year. He did not do well as Director, and I think he was very happy when he was appointed State Comptroller in Virginia and went back to Virginia in that job. Then I was elected by the Board as Director of the Bureau.
By that time Mr. Miles was gone.
By that time Mr. Miles was gone and Miss Dewson was on the Board. There is an interesting letter--I don't know where it is any more, but Molly Dewson--I think Arthur Altmeyer gave me this letter. At this particular time-
I know she had high praise for you as Director.
Well, this was the thing I sent you.
Which came from part of her sort of autobiography which she had deposited at the FDR Library.
Was this the letter in which she wrote to Senator McKellar?
Well, there was a letter that she wrote to Senator McKellar. I think it might have been another Senator, but there's some Senator who objected to the Board appointing this young and inexperienced man as Director. And, she wrote a letter in which she said something to the effect that "Sure he's young, but he's got more ideas than any 10 men that you'll recommend." She really stood up to her guns. Maybe it was to Franklin Roosevelt. A memorandum to Mr. Roosevelt responding to complaints that he had gotten because they had elected me Director of the Bureau.
She had rather good relations with F.D.R.
She had very good relations with F.D.R. She was a close friend of Mrs. Roosevelt. She knew them both and had known them. Molly Dewson had been interested for a long period of time in causes. Long before the Roosevelt administration she had been interested in problems of juvenile delinquency and problems of mental retardation and she had been actively interested in the National Consumers' League and things of this sort. In these associations she had gotten to know the Roosevelts personally long before the administration, and she was always active in Democratic politics. She just loved Democratic politics. She enjoyed it immensely. She was a wonderful person.
When you took this job on, I presume you knew what a--
Really? You had been associated--
I had been too close to it. I had been close enough to it so that I knew pretty well some of the headaches, but I was also I guess so young that I wasn't smart enough to think it was such a big job that I should get scared by it. I really wasn't, looking back, I sometimes think to myself, "Why didn't I really get scared?" but I must admit it must have been youthful naivete that I didn't have that reaction.
But looking at those about 3 years--'38, '39, '40, and '41--4 years. What would you say were the major problems that you faced and had to overcome?
Well, basically, they were administrative problems. We were in bad shape when I went into the Bureau. I say we were, I mean the Bureau was in bad shape. It was in bad shape in the sense that it was way behind in a number of operating problems. We were in bad shape in Baltimore in the sense that we had this John Doe problem.
Yes, I wanted to ask about that.
This was a very serious problem. We recognized we had it. It became much more serious later when Drew Pearson attracted attention to it and tried to--I say tried to, but indirectly at least, he destroyed the confidence of a good many Americans in the integrity with which we were maintaining those records. Actually, they were being done as well as they humanly could be done. But there were, in those days, employers who were simply not accustomed to reporting social security account numbers, and then many of them reported the wages of individuals who worked for them without the account numbers. And as diligently as we tried, we couldn't get the account number.
We were talking about the John Doe and the Mary Turner Doe problems.
That was a major problem in the Accounting Operations Division of the Bureau when I came in. We were behind, I was saying, and that was an illustration of it. We were also behind at this stage in the claims activity we had gotten badly behind.
The Bureau was located in the Potomac Park Apartment Building in Washington. And there was time when we had claims that had been received in the field offices that had been sent into Washington and they were piled on top of file cabinets 3 feet deep that we hadn't been able to keep up with. This was really a problem of just administrative ineffectiveness. We simply hadn't--as the job had grown, we hadn't been able to build the procedures in the organization fast enough and well enough to keep up with them. Our problem was to catch up and at the same time so improve our organizational arrangements and our procedures that we could do these kinds of things, like processing a claim, more promptly, more efficiently, we could get our production up, up substantially, and so catch up even as the load of the number of claims received each day was increasing. The problems that we had in those days were predominantly these administrative problems--organizational and procedure problems.
Simultaneously, the third problem was the building or our field organization. This meant opening additional offices as the volume of claims increased and of staffing those offices, but particularly as we talked earlier, of training these people so that we had some assurance that the field offices in California were doing essentially the same task as the field offices in Pennsylvania and that they were doing equally well. We spent a great deal of money on training.
Was this because you lacked personnel in part?
No. We were able to keep up with the recruitment of personnel because, after all, in those days personnel was not scarce. There was still a great volume of unemployment. But it was the problem of getting competent and trained personnel that could really do the job more effectively because the load was gradually increasing. And our task-
Yes, we knew pretty well that it would increase and we had our estimates developed pretty exactingly as to what we should expect. But it simply was a problem of administrative effectiveness in the whole Bureau. My task really, from March of '38 well up to 1940, was one simply of improving bit by bit and piece by piece the administrative practices of the Bureau, and we worked hard at it. That was the particular contribution I think I could claim during those times was the emphasis on the administration.
Now during that time there also came the 1939 Advisory Council. And the 1939 Advisory Council came at a time when one of the big issues was, "Should we commence the payment of the benefits earlier?" because there was a certain impatience growing up in the country. They had heard about social security and social security was a good thing, but the only benefits that were being paid in 1938 were very minimal benefits to people who died and had made contributions and essentially there was a return of their contributions. We weren't really providing security in any fashion at all. And that benefits which were the monthly benefits that might be expected to give security to people who retired weren't scheduled to commence until January 1, 1942. As a consequence, in the Social Security Advisory Council of 1939 the big issue was "Should we pay benefits earlier?"-- the public demand for some production. Social security was a nice dream but it wasn't doing anything. Here we'd been talking about it now for 3 years but, moreover, we'd been collecting contributions for 3 years and there was great debate as to "Can't you get going, can't we actually start paying benefits?" That was related to the administrative effectiveness of the Bureau, as the Bureau has now gotten to a point that it can start paying benefits, that it's got its machinery in such shape. And my task between March of '38 and the fall of '39 when this Council was (meeting) was to get this Bureau in such shape that we could say with assurance, "Yes, we can handle it. We can handle it January 1, 1940," which was really quite early.
I remember appearing before the Advisory Council on more than one occasion, two or three occasions, in which I would be quizzed very exactingly, "Why are you so sure you can do this?" They were influenced by the publicity that had come out about the John Doe accounts, and they were questioning whether we were capable of doing it. We had to prove that the organization and machinery of the Bureau was adequate now to take this job on.
Where was the whole problem of decentralization which followed that earlier Hopf report? You were delaying it all this period.
Well the Harry Hopf report was a report that really had to do with the Accounting Operations Division. We had regional offices and we had to centralize the process of the receipt of claims and to a degree the processing of the claim in the field, but we were still handling all of the keeping of the records in Baltimore and, at that time, we were planning to handle all of the processing of the claims once the claim had completed in the sense that all of the proofs were assembled in the field. Then it was sent to Washington for adjudication and for the actual certification of payment. That was our contemplation in all of '39. Harry Hopf came along with the recommendation that this would be so big a job that it would be too big to do centrally. He proposed that we decentralize the Accounting Operations Division into 12 separate record-keeping processes. There were many of us that never could agree to this idea. Hopf was quite experienced and well-respected management engineer but there were many of us, including myself, that never thought this was a feasible idea. The problem was that a worker who might live in one region for a couple of years and move to another region and then move still to a third region, how would you keep his record up-to-date? We might have three records for him and never know that we had three separate records for him and never know that we had three separate records for a man now living in a fourth region. We felt that the centralization of the record-keeping system was essential. Harry Hopf prevailed to a degree in that it was agreed that they would set up within the Candler Building a number--I forgot whether they set up all 12 or whether they set up sample regions--in which they kept the records separately for separate regions. Then there was at one stage a proposal--and I suspect this was the only matter on which Frank Bane and I ever disagreed vigorously--at one stage after these regional operations had continued within the Candler Building for a period of some months, Mr. Parker, who was the Regional Director in Region IV, located in Washington, went in to see Frank Bane without telling any of the rest of us he was proposing to do this and convinced Frank Bane that we should take the regional operation for Region IV from the Candler Building in Baltimore, and we should establish it in Washington under the direction of the Regional Director. Frank Bane simply wrote me a memorandum telling me as Director of the Bureau to see to it that this was done. This was the one time we really had a very unpleasant difference of opinion. I felt this was quite premature I thought that the evidence was strongly opposed to this and in the end I prevailed. I have forgotten precisely how, but-
I think they kept delaying the effective date of the change until finally it was just dissolved.
Eventually, I think I succeeded in getting the Board to approve a recommendation that we abandon the regional setups and merge them again into a centralized setup, as it is even to this day. I have forgotten the sequence there, but it seems to me after a period of maybe a year while I was there as Director, we continued on these regional setups and then probably some time in 1939 we took the bull by the horns and faced up to the Board and made the recommendation that we abandon this. And by this time we had gained the confidence of the Board, and I think it is the answer to the question why they accepted it. We had sufficiently gained the confidence of the Board that we knew our business. I'm talking now about the Bureau staff because in those days we had a first-rate top staff there, and they had confidence in the group of us. There was Oscar Pogge, by this time, and Mike Shortly was Assistant Director for Field Operations, and Joe Fay was, of course, Assistant Director for Accounting Operations, even as he is now, and there was Merrill Murray. I guess I've forgotten who the fifth one was.
Division of Program Analysis.
Well, we called it the Analysis Division in those times. But, in any event, we had built up a sufficient confidence on the Board in our administrative practices that they were accepting our judgments pretty regularly then. It was then that we were able to get rid if these old Accounting Operations regional setup.
How were your dealings with other Bureaus or with other agencies, Government agencies?
Over the years, and even before I became Director of the Bureau, I was involved in the relationships with the IRS. It was then known as the Bureau of Internal Revenue. And the Bureau of Internal Revenue received the tax returns and we were always dependent upon getting the tax returns through the collectors' offices, the Collectors of Internal Revenue in the several regions of Internal Revenue. This was difficult. In the early days there were some Collectors' offices that were efficient and processed returns relatively promptly. There were others in which they would be greatly delayed and we would have a very uneven flow of work in the Accounting Operations Division--and it was quite irksome. I was often in the position of going to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and talking with--there was an Assistant Commissioner named George Schoeneman who subsequently was an assistant to President Roosevelt in the White House, a capable operator. But, after all, the Bureau of Internal Revenue was an old established governmental agency and we were a young upstart and when we said it was urgent that they do something, they might or might not do it. They had other important problems to deal with and they didn't always pay attention to us. It was a frustrating experience, but gradually this became better and we worked on it for a long period of time. That was the principal relationship. Our relationships within the social Security Board--we had with the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, the Bureau of Public Assistance--we had relatively few relationships. There were not a great deal that came in the way of the common problems, but we got along very well with them. I suppose at times we had problems with the Bureau of Business Management that had the personnel problem and we were the big client for them because we were dong most of the recruitment. After all, by this time the Bureau of Old-Age Insurance had represented almost 80 percent of all the personnel.
Did that pose any additional problems, being really the giant in that?
It did, it posed a real problem. I guess it posed a problem psychologically for us because we thought we should have preferred attention. But also we were many times asked to conform with practices that really fit the other Bureaus better. Moreover, ours was a different kind of an operation and this was the problem that we were confronted with in the regional offices. Ours was an operating problem. It went to the question of the detailed procedures, about how you fill in a particular form in a field office in let's say Worcester, Massachusetts. This was a very different problem than the relationships with the State government in Public Assistance. The Regional Director, who was a generalist and who knew relatively little of the detail in any of the programs, could deal with the Governor better than he knew anything about the handling of this detailed procedural problem. We felt that often he got his fingers in the machinery.
How about with the Board or with Congress programs, how were you relations?
Our relationships with the Board during my day I think were almost ideal.
Do you think this was because of your own previous experience?
I had known the Board and I had worked more closely with them then most of the Bureau Directors, so I had gotten to know them very well but during this particular period of time my personal relationships with Arthur Altmeyer, and to a degree with Molly Dewson, to a lesser degree with George Bigge who are close, were friendly, and I think there was always a great deal of mutual confidence.
Of Course, Arthur Altmeyer was the greatest influence in the whole of the social security program, and he and I had worked together by this time now in three agencies. Ours was, in those days, a relationship in which I clearly looked up to him as a superior whom I greatly admired. In more recent days we've become very close personal friends, more since--and partly before I left because we lived not far apart. We used to play golf together my wife and I played golf with him a great deal. But in the days when I was Director of that Bureau, our relationship was more of one of a younger man looking up to an older man with a great respect rather than close personal friends of more equal status. In later years we became much closer personally and saw a great deal of each other, but that was much after I really left the Bureau. In those days, though, I think I had his confidence and he put a great deal of confidence in me, and this made for an almost ideal working relationship. If I came into the Board with a recommendation, it was usually assumed that it was a considered recommendation and they usually approved it. They'd make me justify it and they'd make me argue for it, and there were times when they didn't agree with me but I think the relationship was almost ideal in those years because of this mutual confidence that we had.
As the Bureau grew and became so much a portion of the whole Board and with the organization of the Federal Security Agency, was there a tendency too for the Bureau to become much more autonomous in many of it's---or is that due also to the experience that you acquired to--
There were at least three factors. One was the experience I acquired as an individual and the confidence I think I built with the Board. That tended to make me operate a little more autonomously. Secondly, there was the location--this was in the latter part of the tenure as Director, after I came back from the Bureau of Employment Service, or the Bureau of Employment Security. At that time the Bureau was located in Baltimore. The headquarters of the Bureau was in Baltimore, I actually lived in Washington, and had an office in Washington, but also had an office in Baltimore and spent about at least half my time in Baltimore, commuting back and forth.
Earlier, the headquarters of the Bureau had been in Washington. Up until the time I went to the Bureau of Employment Security, the headquarters was in Washington. The separation, the movement over to Baltimore, tended to make us autonomous. A third factor was a personality problem which was when Frank Bane left--which was in 1939, some time after I'd been Director of the Bureau about a year I guess. Yes it was about--well, even more than a year-
I thought it was in '39. Well, you're probably right. I remember I was in Cape May, New Jersey, on vacation when he called me up and told me he was going to leave. I thought it was in '39--but in any event, when Oscar Powell came in as Executive Director, I guess it was partly a personality friction between him and me, but I had no respect for him. I'm not sure he had a great deal for me, but I had none for him and I found it very difficult and unpleasant to work with him.
So you kept more and more to-
Mr. Corson : It made for more and more autonomy. I just
insisted upon taking problems directly to the Board and I wasn't going to be governed by what Oscar Powell had to say about them. I didn't think he had much to contribute to them and I simply--I'm sure I made it difficult for him, but I thought he was making it difficult for me. It wasn't at all a pleasant working relationship. This was particularly true the year I came back from the Bureau of Employment security, and I suspect was a significant factor in my eventually leaving there and going to U.N.N.R.A. I found it difficult and unpleasant to work with him.
I was saying that I noticed when the Federal Security Agency set up, it took the major portion of the personnel office. At the same time did that permit you a little more leeway in the recruitment and selection of personnel?
I don't think so. In those early days when the Federal Security Agency was first set up, we found it a handicapping problem. We mistrusted, or we distrusted, Paul McNutt. When he first came in, we were satisfied that he was a politician and he was going to use our office for political ends, and we lacked confidence in him. We felt that in the relationship with the offices around him that we had no particular confidence. It was a matter of divided loyalties. We were loyal to the Social Security Board and the Social Security Board still existed, but in a degree it had been superseded by Paul McNutt. Paul McNutt, as a consequence, was claiming authority to make some of the decisions that we had been accustomed that the Board would make. Well, suppose in part it was growing pains, but it was an unpleasant period. There was one particular incident, a very minor incident in retrospect, but illustrative. One of Merrill Murray's staff members, a fellow named Willard Smith, who was a vital statistician really, he had a plan for reporting death notices as a basis for our getting forward knowledge of claims we should pay. He wanted to appoint to his immediate staff within the Analysis Division of the Bureau a fellow who was a registrar of vital statistics in Kansas. This matter was considered -- it was brought up to me by Merrill Murray as a proposal, and I was not at all convinced that we should do it. In the meantime, without my knowledge, Willard Smith had been invited over to the Secretary of War's office - then Woodring, George Woodring, I think his name was - from Kansas. George Woodring had been in politics in Kansas and he knew this registrar of vital statistics and he invited Willard Smith over there to tell him what a fine person he was and how much he'd appreciate it if he was appointed. Willard Smith had, I guess with the best of intentions, made something of a commitment. Then, by chance, or I guess by political design, Woodring had called Paul McNutt and told him that he (Woodring) was interested in this appointment he was glad they were going to appoint. Paul McNutt had essentially said over the telephone, I gather as I look back, "Sure, I'll see to it that this is done." In the meantime, this was brought up to me without my knowledge of this political background and I was just convinced -- I didn't know the man and it wasn't a question of I liked or disliked the man - it was a question of I didn't think this particular activity warranted the adding of a member to our staff. So, I denied it, - I would not approve it. Well, with this I was encountered with a major political crisis because Mr. McNutt interpreted this as meaning that I was personally affronting him and when he had made a commitment to the Secretary of War that I was refusing to make the appointment. There was a period at this particular time in which Mr. McNutt directed Arthur Altmeyer to dismiss me as Director and it was only because Altmeyer again was a man of such stature and such backbone, he simply said he wouldn't do it. I never knew this again until long afterward. Altmeyer wasn't the sort of person who would tell me that this was what he was doing, but he did otherwise, I would have been out of a job.
McNutt was in the difficult position of a man who was running for the presidency, and a man who's running for the presidency when he is in public office is vulnerable to all sorts of political pressure. He has to accede to the favors that are wanted by the politician from Kansas. He needs the support of anyone who's prominent in Kansas and can possibly carry that State for him. So, McNutt was in a difficult position.
McNutt had a deputy in Wayne Coy who was a man of much greater capabilities than McNutt, a man of much broader and much greater integrity than McNutt. McNutt, it must be said, was not a man of integrity McNutt was petty in many ways. I worked right closely with him and at later times, he personally asked me to be Director of the United States Employment Service. Then after I'd been there a year or so, he personally asked me to stay there when I refused and left and went back to the Bureau of Old-Age Insurance.
So after a bad start, I gained his confidence to that extent as reflected by those actions and I came to know him pretty well. I saw a good deal of him, worked pretty directly with him particularly when he was the War Manpower Commissioner and I was Director of the United States Employment Service. But I never respected him. He was a politician and not a great one. When I say politician, I don't mean to deprecate all politicians. He was one who allowed his selfish political interests to guide his policy determinations and his administrative actions to a degree that I just don't think is befitting in a public official.
In that connection, Mr. Corson, were there other pressures of a similar nature as you were making important - either -
In the early days in the Bureau of Old-Age - that is, in my experience, '38, '39 and '40, but I guess particularly '39 when we knew that benefits were to be paid as of January 1, 1940, then we were increasing our field offices and building up our field staff pretty rapidly. In this days there were political pressures. They were not great though. By and large and moreover, the Social Security Board met them with integrity, they stood up. When the Congressman or the Senator would insist upon our appointing a person that we thought was not qualified, if I recommended against it, the Board would usually back me up. There were two States in which we had great difficulty, in which the political pressures were greater and to which we succumbed more often than anywhere else. They were Tennessee and Mississippi. In Tennessee, we had the difficulty that in the House Ways and Means Committee - Jere Cooper, who was a very prominent member of the Committee in those days and a very influential member of the House Ways and Means Committee that passed on our legislation. He took a quite possessive attitude toward the appointments in Tennessee, meaning that he really took the position that, "Well, these are my offices and I'll tell you who'll work in these offices." We had to make a number of appointments in Tennessee that we didn't want to make. In Mississippi, we had somewhat the same problem because Pat Harrison, the Senator from Mississippi, was then our Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Was this under Mrs. Ellen Woodward, too?
I was thinking--(Intermission indicated here - nothing on tape.)
He's gotten to become a very distinguished fellow with his white moustache, and -
I think we were talking about the two States that gave you the most difficulty.
In Mississippi we had difficulty because Senator Harrison was the Chairman of the Finance Committee and he expected a certain consideration of his recommendation in Mississippi. This was reinforced by the fact that Mrs. Woodward, when she became a member of the Board, was in a position to enforce his request, but she had her own. She expected the right to really approve the appointments even in the clerical grades in the Mississippi field offices. This made it difficult. We were trying hard in those days to develop what we thought was truly a career service in which people would be promoted sheerly on the basis of their own demonstrated competence. We were trying to promote people when vacancies occurred from one office to the other on the basis of their competence, and this meant often times moving a person from one State to another. It was very difficult ever to move anyone into the State of Mississippi or the State of Tennessee, because if there was a vacancy in either of those States, the political forces insisted that we promote people from within Tennessee or appoint new people that were residents in the State of Tennessee.
Was confidentiality much of a problem in those days - that is, agencies asking for information - or even outsiders -
This is the confidentiality of the data on the application for a social security number. Well, we started out with the origin of the problem which lay in the fact that when we went through the process of registering everybody and giving them a social security number, we promised by all that was holy that this data would be used for no purpose other than the administration of the Social Security Act. There were reasons for doing that at that time. There were fears that we would make this information available to employers and that employers would blacklist certain employees -- maybe even for no more severe reason than their age, that employers would refuse to employ them because they found out from their social security records that the person was over 45 years of age. For these reasons and others, we promised by all that was holy that we would never reveal any of the data given on the social security record. There was an order issued by the Board in the very early years, Administrative Order No. 1, in which we promised that this should never be revealed under any circumstances.
There was continuing pressure. The most notable cases, or the ones that stick in my mind, are the ones in which a local police department would seek information as to the whereabouts of someone whose social security number had been found and was thought to have been involved in some crime. In those days there were, as I recall, one or two instances of actual murder where somebody was suspected of murder and one clue that the police department claimed they had was the social security number, and we were supposed to reveal all we knew about him from the records. The FBI itself pressed this kind of claim on us at times and, and for a period of years, we withheld any divulging of data.
There came an instance, as I recall, in which the State welfare Agency sought such information and there, as I recall, we accepted the policy that where it was for the administration of the Social Security Act, the public assistance provisions of the Social Security Act, we were consistent in the interpretation of our pledge if we made available the information to the State Welfare Agency. I gather really that since my day this has been relaxed considerably but this was a persistent problem - not a major problem I would say in those days, but a persistent problem.
What about internal problems such as union problems on the race issue?
We had them. We had such problems, but they were not major. We had a very active CIO Union among our employees in the Accounting Operations Division in Baltimore, and there was a period of time - I suppose it was in 1939 - when they were very aggressive and were making substantial demands as to employment practices. For example, one that I recall was they were demanding that we dismiss all employees when the temperature got over a certain degree. We debated whether it should be measured by the wet bulb thermometer or a dry bulb thermometer. These were very vigorous debates. There were times when the Union would appeal from Joe Fay's decisions, and on one or two occasions they insisted upon taking their issues directly to the Social Security Board. But there were not many as such. In looking back, it was an irritant at the time but not of major consequence.
The racial issue was one that grew out of these Union discussions. The question as to - not whether we should appoint Negroes to positions because we always did this. We had a good many Negroes on the staff of the Accounting Operations Division from very early days. As I recall, we had a good Negro Economist on the staff of the Analysis Division quite early in the history of the Bureau. We had a number in the Adjudication Staff of Adjudication. The Adjudication Staff when it grew up it, too, offered some problem of employee relations. There were, as I recall, a Union mayor that - they were concerned about such as issues as the number of claims they were expected to handle in the day's time - the workload. There were a number of fellows that were quite active in the Union who were aggressive Unionists and, subsequently, we were confronted with the fact after World War II came on - the concern about Communists in Government started to show up. We were confronted with the fact that a few of these - I emphasize a few of them - had turned out to be card-carrying Communists. But this didn't really bother us at the time. They were irritants but they were not problems of major moment.
What else? What others would you consider looking back that we haven't mentioned? How about with the public? Very much of it -
The problem of the public was a continuing one. We had to continually build up an understanding on the part of the public. Bear in mind we haven't talked much about it because I think it is fair to say that in this particular period the building of the administrative structure and the administrative organization was important. But this was the period during which also we were preparing the amendments that did start benefits in 1940, and that was a major step forward and that was the period in which survivors insurance benefits were designed, and that was a major step forward. So that we weren't just concerned with administration. When those amendments came through, a major element in the decision of the Advisory Council for recommending those and then the acceptance by the congressional committees was the ability of the Bureau to administer because it must not be forgotten that throughout all of this period, from the time the Bureau was first started, there were grave doubts that you could administer a system like this, - that it was too big. It required too massive an operation of hundreds of thousands of detailed actions. There is a notable memorandum somewhere, in which Harry Hopf wrote, the Board would just be flooded by little pieces of paper that would inundate the Board. Have you seen this one? Well, this was illustrative. There was a strong feeling and it was quite doubtful that an administrative organization could be build that could handle this job.
It didn't have much of the precedent here -
There wasn't much of a precedent. We brought Sir Henry Davidson over from Britain. He was a friend of John Winant's and John Winant had known him at the ILO. He was asked to study the problem and he advised that this was a problem that just couldn't be administered it was too complicated that the individual wage records for each of the millions and millions of people couldn't be kept. There was a substantial doubt as to whether it really could be effectively administered. The early years went through the periods of Latimer, Seidemann, and Hodges when there were considerable administrative difficulties. And in the first year I was there, we had our problems. I think we were making progress in those days, but we still had our problems. It was in 1939 that we had to prove that we could administer a program of this sort. We really had to prove it first to the Advisory Council and then to the Congress.
Did you appear yourself before the Congress?
Yes as I recall I did. I recall more clearly having appeared before the Advisory Council on a succession of occasions. Arthur Altmeyer always carried in his day the legislative burden. He was the one who did the bulk of the testimony before Congress, but I'm pretty sure as I recall that I appeared as well in those days.
Did you have any sort of a job trying to inspire confidence by going out and making speeches and meeting with business groups and other organizations.
Yes, by 1939 I guess I was doing a good deal of this. But we were also bringing a lot of people in - particularly some of the insurance people, some of the business comptrollers. We brought them down and showed them through the operations, and convinced them by showing them that we had really developed a capability for administering the Act. And this was why we had a good many salesman working for us as a consequence.
Reinhard Hohaus of the Metropolitan who had a great following in the insurance industry. We had convinced him by bringing him down and taking him around and showing him that really we had the thing under control. He was a great evangelist for us from then on. He was a very complimentary spokesman in our behalf.
Were there any others that we haven't covered?
I'm sure that there are, but I don't remember what they are. How much more time do you think you've got?
It's up to you. Are you almost finished? You tell me when you want to quit.
I've got to dictate one note before my secretary gets away because I'm not going to be here tomorrow.
I don't think we have much more.
(Could you come in and let me dictate one note that you could get out tomorrow.
The only other problem I thought may be you could have some - that is, it would be when you returned and that of the turnover you had in the Bureau during the wartime. Since the program probably was certainly not of the -
During the war we lost a goodly number of people. It never was serious as you look back. We were more concerned about it at the time because it is always hard to lose people that you really thought were very good. But as I look back, I don't really think it was serious. It was costly in this sense, that during the years 1939, '40 and '41 we had recruited a very considerable number - I would say in the magnitude of 250 maybe-- college graduates. We had an extra effort to get able young college graduates and we'd invested a lot of money in training them, because in those days we used to bring them in from our field offices - these people were recruited as what we called Claims Clerks and they went to work in the field office at Grade 3. Bob Ball, the present Commissioner, was one of them. Then we would bring these people to Baltimore for, as I recall, 3 weeks training. This was part of the problem of trying to take a group of disparate people brought from all sorts of backgrounds and give them a common understanding of what social security was. We invested time and money in recruiting and training these people, and then the war came along in 1941 and '42 and just took those people, right and left. They were young, they were right at the vulnerable age for the draft, and we lost a great many of them. This was costly at the time and many of them never did come back but we had to expect that and while we thought it hurt at the time, as I look back, I don't really think it was quite as major as we then thought. When I came back from the Bureau of Employment Security, I think it was in May of 1943 - April? - well, I had been in Mexico for a period of several weeks or a couple of months helping the Mexican Government set up their social security system.
After I left the Bureau of Employment Security, I went to Mexico and then when I came back, I went back to work with the Bureau. We had a psychological problem in part. All of those fellows, by that I mean the Assistant Directors, had sort of moved up and filled in for me while I was gone, and then I moved back in and sort of subordinated them all again. We got along well we got along famously because it was a very agreeable working group in those days, I think the others thought so as I did. But I was essentially, and Oscar Pogge particularly who had carried the responsibility on his own shoulders for over a year - I was subordinating him to a second role so that a year later, little more than a year I guess, when I was invited to go to the UNRRA and I was essentially stepping out again and asking Oscar to take over and each of the other fellows to move up in turn. When I had been in UNNRA a while, I just didn't feel that I could, in clear conscience, come back and ask them all to stop back again. That was another major reason why I didn't go back to the Bureau it was for no disaffection with the Bureau because I never enjoyed anything any more than the years I spent there.
Well, looking at that other period briefly, the service that you had with Employment Security. How would you summarize that?
Well, it was a much less satisfying experience.
You still have some of the carry-overs from the change? Persons-
Some of it was a very trying job. I became Director of the Bureau of Employment Security on December 1, 1941. December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor. December 19, as I recall the date, the President of the United States sent a telegram to every Governor asking him to turn over his State employment service to the United States Employment Service for - he did not say the duration of the war he left that quite indefinite, but for the effective prosecution of the war. The only reason that the Governors were willing to do it was because in the pressure of this emergency, within two weeks after Pearl Harbor, they couldn't very well refuse. They didn't like the idea, but within the period from December 19 until shortly after January 1, we made arrangements to transfer 35,000 people from 48 different State payrolls over on to the Federal payroll. And in January of 1942 we were not operating well, but we were operating as a Federal agency and it was an awful tough job because we had a group of people of divided loyalties, despite the fact they were now getting their check from the Federal Government whereas they had previously gotten their check from the State government. It didn't change their loyalties that quickly, and they were really part and parcel to the old State unemployment compensation agency in each State. While we were trying our best to mobilize them into an effective and integrated national employment service, we had our difficulties doing it. We worked awful hard at it as I look back moreover, we were going through a period when the demands of the war were growing by leaps and bounds.
Our problem was in terms of we had shipyards in Portland, Oregon, and we had aluminum plants in the State of Washington, and we had shipyards in Norfolk, Virginia, and we had defense plants here, there, and everywhere and they were just screaming for more workers. While the employer can say he doesn't need the employment service in time of peace, when there is a surplus of labor, he needs it badly in time of war when there is a scarcity of labor. And we were being criticized, and criticized partially for failing to produce the workers that were needed for defense plants. We were handicapped in the war effort because of our ineffectiveness. This was a very trying situation.
How did you happen to come to take over this job? I know you mentioned earlier some of your dissatisfaction with the existing situation there, but how did you happen to move over to Employment Security?
It has a very simple answer - by the insistence of one person--Arthur Altmeyer. We had gotten -
He was the Assistant -- wasn't he?
Well, it was still under the Social Security Board, and despite the fact that the War Manpower Commission had grown up and the Employment Service was also working very closely with what was then known as the Office of Production Management. This was the predecessor of the War Production Board - and Sidney Hillman. The Office of Production Management was headed by two men, not one, two, William Knudson of General Motors fame and Sidney Hillman. The Employment Service was essentially Hillman's operating arm, and Hillman was being quite critical of the management of the Employment Service. And Ewan Clague who was then Director, was being criticized for not being an effective administrator. Ewan Clague is very able and he is basically a statistician, as he has been for years, and now in the Bureau of Labor Statistics and very successful as Commissioner of Labor Statistics. He never was a very effective administrator. And the Employment Service was being criticized and the Social Security Board indirectly, since it was under its leadership, was being criticized and, hence, Altmeyer was in the position of having to find some solution for this problem. Altmeyer talked with me a succession of times saying that the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance now is in pretty good shape, that it was operating smoothly, and that I should move over and become Director of the Bureau of Employment Security. I was in the position of saying, "Yes, I can understand that the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance is operating smoothly enough but we still have our problems and, moreover, why am I the guy that has to go into the Bureau of Employment Security?" He kept pressing and eventually McNutt himself, as I mentioned earlier, reinforced him. He asked me to do this and I acceded to an assignment that I never was enthusiastic about.
It was a very difficult assignment. I think we made some progress in the --- about 18 months that I was there, but I never got the satisfaction out of it that I got out of the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance. It is in many ways a much more difficult administrative job, difficult primarily in the sense that in Old-Age and Survivors Insurance in my day there was very little interference from the constituent groups. Oh yes, organized labor was interested and would support us if we turned to them for support. But nobody bothered us. They weren't prying into our affairs and insisting that we take actions of one sort or another. And we were quite free to develop our plans and go about our business with considerable freedom, particularly when we were over in Baltimore separated from the Federal Security Agency and separated from the Social Security Board. We gained a freedom that was quite substantial and I think very desirable. This is a philosophy of organization. I would say you always break up any organization into small component parts and give each part as much freedom as you can. That is substantially what we had in OASI in the period of the particularly 1940, when we had really gotten to the point where we were accepted in the sense that we had now gotten our administrative problems pretty well under control and we gained a confidence of people.
With B.E.S. we didn't have any of this, we had to earn it all over again. And moreover, with the State agencies that were not really loyal to the Federal agency, I spent a good portion of the year 1942 tramping all over this country bringing together local employment office managers and the regional people - sitting down day by day talking about, in a whole series of conferences what we were trying to do, why we were trying to do it, --trying to gain a certain acceptance of the Federal leadership and acceptance of the program that we were trying to carry out. We are simply saying to them, "Now, here's what our plans are and we want you to react tell us, are these practicable?" We were trying to build up their participation, their confidence. And we made progress, but we had to do it another 5 years before we had really gotten it to the point where OASI was in 1941.
Moreover, the times were so tough. The pressure of the war problems were so great that you didn't have time to build a nice, clean, pure administrative machine. You just had to do the job and work on this problem of integration when you could. It was real tough, and then on top of that, with the development of the War Manpower Commission. The War Manpower Commission was supposed to mobilize all of the agencies of the Federal Government that were concerned with manpower, but the principal one was the Employment Service. This was a little bit like the problem that you spoke of earlier when the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance was 80 percent of all the Social Security Board. Well, the United States Employment Services was 80 percent of all of the War Manpower Commission. If the War Manpower Commission wanted to get anything done, they got it done through the Employment Service. So this meant another pressure, but the War Manpower Commission also tended to disintegrate the Employment Service, tended to tear it apart in pieces. Here was a specialized division concerned with agricultural problems here was another division concerned with industrial problems and here was another division concerned with training. It tended to disintegrate the Employment Service. But when they built the War Manpower Commission all around and on top of the Employment Service, it offered me the opportunity to go back to OASI that I welcomed. I was asked to stay. Mr. McNutt made a personal request that I stay and as I see now, he even offered to dismiss my superior those days, and as quickly as he could, if I would stay. He was never explicit on that but I now recognize that that's what he was saying and eventually he did dismiss him and had to find somebody else. I was getting no particular satisfaction out of it and I was perfectly happy to leave it to others and go back to OASI.
Why Drew Pearson belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, who served as vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1989, explains what makes Cowboys great Drew Pearson, who joined the team as an undrafted college free agent in 1973, deserving of a bust in Canton.
I admit to having mixed emotions when I learned who had been chosen for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Centennial Class of 2020.
As excited as I was to see one of my favorite former players, safety Cliff Harris, tapped for induction, I was crushed that another Dallas Cowboys legend had fallen short in the selection process.
So I was overjoyed on Tuesday to learn that player, wide receiver Drew Pearson, took one giant step toward induction with his selection as the senior finalist for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2021. While Pearson is not quite there yet, there is now a clear path for one of the game's greatest wideouts to get his due.
Pearson still needs 80 percent of the votes from the Hall's 48 selectors to be inducted. It is not a lock, but history shows us the odds are in Pearson's favor, with 17 of the past 19 senior candidates nominated between 2009 and 2019 passing with flying colors. The lone exceptions in that span were defensive end Claude Humphrey, who was ultimately chosen in 2014 after being rejected in 2009, and guard Dick Stanfel, who was ultimately selected in 2016 after failing to be inducted in 2012.
The well-deserved respect the Senior Committee has earned goes a long way toward influencing voters, as evidenced by the committee ultimately helping players like Humphrey and Stanfel earn induction.
I'm hoping the same weight is given to Pearson's nomination over several other outstanding senior candidates, including the late Ken Riley and Chuck Howley, one of my favorite former Cowboys who remains the only player from a losing team to win Super Bowl MVP honors (in Super Bowl V).
But just don't take it from the Senior Committee (for whom I served as a consultant this year, along with fellow Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau). Take it from me.
As a scout, there's a special pride in unearthing a college free agent who shows they belonged at the top of what would have been their draft class. Pearson falls under that umbrella, along with Harris in 1970. If Pearson joins Harris in Canton, he would make me only the second executive in NFL history, besides Paul Brown, to sign two undrafted college free agents who went on to reach the Hall of Fame to the same roster.
In today's NFL, we would have drafted Pearson out of Tulsa via New Jersey, where he was a high school quarterback following in the footsteps of Joe Theismann -- or "Theesman," as Pearson knew him back then.
The late, great Dick Mansperger was among our scouts who had Pearson squarely on our radar. But in 1973, we figured we didn't have to invest the draft capital at the receiver position, where so much talent was readily available after all selections were made. How times have changed.
After Drew drove his Volkswagen stuffed with personal belongings from Tulsa to Dallas, I suggested he live in an apartment complex across the street from where Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach would do his offseason training. I'm not sure Roger ever caught on as to why Drew was always there whenever Roger wanted a partner for throwing sessions.
The personal chemistry between Staubach and Pearson was on full display in 1975, when they connected on a Hail Mary to win our playoff battle with Minnesota. That chemistry helped Drew make the 1970s All-Decade Team, a squad so elite that all but one first-team member is either in or headed toward the Hall for induction. That member -- Drew -- is a fantastic all-around talent who averaged a healthy 16 yards per catch on 489 catches. Compared to what today's receivers put up, Drew's yearly totals would reflect a secondary wideout, but they were among the league's best in his prime years, between 1974 and '79. His legacy continues to this day in Dallas, whenever a special rookie wide receiver is given Drew's No. 88, to try and follow in his giant footsteps. Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant have met the standard in the past, and 2020 first-rounder CeeDee Lamb is the next to try.
Fittingly, Dallas and Pittsburgh, one of the Cowboys' great historical rivals, are set to play each other in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game. I'm hoping CeeDee, the Cowboys organization and yours truly are there in person to see Pearson let the same tears of joy run down his face, when he sees his bust unveiled, that he did on Tuesday when learning he was on the cusp of receiving the famed knock on the door from Hall of Fame president David Baker on Feb. 6, 2021, after the vote for the Class of 2021 is conducted.