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Author: Gore, Albert, interviewee
Interview conducted by Grantham, Dewey W. Gardner, James B.
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
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Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
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Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
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Languages used in the text: English
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2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-12-31, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0321-2)
Author: Dewey W. Grantham and James B. Gardner
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series A. Southern Politics. Southern Oral History Program Collection (A-0321-2)
Author: Albert Gore
Description: 340 Mb
Description: 61 p.
Note: Interview conducted on October 24, 1976, by Dewey W. Grantham and James B. Gardner; recorded in Carthage, Tennessee.
Note: Transcribed by Patricia Crowley.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series A. Southern Politics, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976.
Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Gore, Albert, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ALBERT GORE, interviewee
    MRS. ALBERT GORE, interviewee
    DEWEY W. GRANTHAM, interviewer
    JAMES B. GARDNER, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
James Gardner and I are very pleased indeed to be able to resume our interview with you this afternoon on your farm on this cloudy but beautiful Sunday afternoon, October 24, 1976. And as you will recall, when we were speaking with you last in the late spring of this year we finished covering, fairly systematically, your public career through your House of Representatives tenure—though I think we might start with one or two questions having to do with the transition from your House career to your Senate service. And let me begin the interview by asking if you will speak a bit about the election of 1948, both about your own reelection to the House and the national election of that year.
ALBERT GORE:
As you will recall in that election Mr. Strom Thurmond, former governor of South Carolina—maybe he was then governor of South Carolina—
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I think he was.
ALBERT GORE:
—ran as an independent on, I believe he called it, the States' Rights ticket. Whatever the name of the ticket and whatever the status of Mr. Thurmond at the time—of course he later became United States senator, but I don't recall his exact status at the time; I think that he was either governor of South Carolina or had been governor—it was an anti-civil rights ticket. It was a racist ticket; it was a racist campaign, ultra-rightist in other respects too (on economic issues). It had a very important bearing in Tennessee. Now you will also recall that at that time Edward H. Crump was the undisputed political boss of Shelby County, Tennessee, which is our largest county—in fact, almost twenty percent of the population of Tennessee then and now lives in Shelby County. Crump supported the Strom Thurmond ticket, thus taking his organization and the

Page 2
many, many people who had long been affiliated with the Democratic Party but who, because of political persuasion of the Crump machine or because of political affinity with Crump and with the things that Strom Thurmond was saying, likewise left the Democratic Party. Those people have not yet returned, in the main, to the Democratic Party. They supported the George C. Wallace independent campaign; otherwise they have for the most part supported Republican candidates. For a long while they did not support Republican candidates for state offices—I'm referring to the presidential campaign. But come 1960, 1964, they began to support the candidates for governor and the candidates for the United States Senate bearing the Republican label. Then in 1970 they went overwhelmingly in this particular group for the Republican candidate for governor and the Republican candidate for the United States Senate. So far as Tennessee was concerned this breakaway of Crump and his machine from the Democratic Party in 1948 was a very significant milestone in the breakup of the preponderancy of the Democratic Party in Tennessee political affairs.
Another significant thing, later on of course, was the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., and the strife and the riots and the racial and economic polarization in the Memphis area. So '48 was a watershed; it had great importance and great bearing. Also in 1948 I believe Estes Kefauver was elected to the United States Senate here in Tennessee, and Gordon Browning (then very anti-Crump) was elected as governor of the state. So Edward Crump had suffered severe defeats in the Democratic primary, and I had a significant part in that. Other than Kefauver and Browning themselves I made far more speeches than anyone else in that campaign. As I recall I supported Browning very strongly and opposed the Crump machine by name, et cetera.

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I made forty-some speeches in the last three weeks of that campaign, so I recall it vividly. It was a turning point in the politics of Tennessee, not only in presidential politics (as I have already outlined) but also it ended the domination of the whole state by Crump. I should like to point out that neither Browning nor Kefauver carried Shelby County in 1948, but I did carry it four years later in 1952.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, your use of the figure "watershed" for Tennessee in referring to the significance of the election of 1948 seems to me to be a very apt phrase. Let's pursue that a bit further. Would you say that the reaction, the dissent and rebellion, the opposition on the part of Crump and the others in Tennessee in 1948 resulted from President Truman's civil rights program and what came to be known as "Fair Deal" proposals? Or would you think that this cleavage in the Democratic Party was the result of long-developing trends or issues? Would you comment on that?
ALBERT GORE:
I don't think you can draw the line that way. It was a part of all those things. Mr. Crump (most people called him that) was aligned with the business element in Memphis. Now he used the vote of blacks to exercise his control, but his alignments and his affinities were with the business elements. Crump himself became a very rich man in the insurance business—and maybe otherwise. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong about it, but it just happened that with all of his political power his insurance agency became a very popular and a very profitable agency, again without implying that any venality was involved. So Crump himself, both as a local leader and as a congressman, was very conservative; I mean by that he was aligned in his sympathy and in his votes with the rightist element

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in the Democratic Party. Then what Strom Thurmond had to say must have sounded very good to Crump. I do not know (and no one will ever know) just what part the victories of Kefauver and Browning in the Democratic primary had to do with Crump's defection through the Democratic presidential ticket in November. I don't think that can be underrated. Truman's advocacy of civil rights was strident. It did not comport with the views of Mr. Crump, who, as you will recall, was originally from Mississippi and oriented Delta-wise in his political views. So I think it was a mélange of all these things.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Mr. Crump's biographer, William Miller, has suggested a rather odd reason for Crump's opposition to Truman. He says that Crump opposed Truman because he was aligned with the Pendergrast machine in Kansas, [Laughter] that he led Tennessee's opposition to Truman for the vice presidential nomination in 1944. Tennessee withheld its vote for Truman after all the other states fell in line behind him. This was even before the Fair Deal. What would have caused a man like Crump to oppose Truman at that stage, before he'd really become well-known for liberal views? This opposition to a machine candidate seems rather odd.
ALBERT GORE:
I'm unable to rationalize that one. [Laughter]
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I was just wondering. The opposition appeared so early, as early as '44, to Truman on the part of Crump. I believe there had been at one time an investigation; Truman had led a Senate investigation that somehow touched one of the Crump people. I don't know whether there might have been more personal animosity.
ALBERT GORE:
There may have been, but I'm not aware of it.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Could you say a bit more, Senator Gore, about your

Page 5
relationship with Kefauver, both as he made the decision to run for the Senate in 1948 and as you may have been able to help him in his campaign? Or perhaps you thought that was not your business to interfere in a Democratic primary? So perhaps the question doesn't have very much meaning.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, Estes Kefauver and I were congressmen before we ran successfully for the Senate. We were personal friends. There was then and throughout our careers an element of competition—competitiveness, so to speak; not animosity, but competitiveness. Both of us thought about running for the Senate in 1948. Each of us knew that the other was thinking about it. We had no understanding as to which would run and which would not run. We talked about it from time to time in the cloakroom and over coffee in the dining room and so forth, and kidded about it. He decided to run and made his announcement, which meant that I could not run. But I had not decided to run, and I never thought that I really was going to do it. I was tempted to do it, but I didn't think that I was ready for it. So I don't mean to imply that Senator Kefauver beat me to the punch, so to speak, and announced surreptitiously and beat me to the draw. That was not the case. He did not consult me about his announcement, but the announcement was no surprise to me and no particular disappointment to me because I had not reached the conclusion to make the race. I did even then intend to run in 1952, if not in '48. I had then been in the House for ten years, and the time had come when I was looking for other political preferments or maybe private life. That's the choice one must take as a congressman: he either goes up or out most of the time, at least as far as the Senate is concerned or as far as the governorship is

Page 6
concerned. Some man can run for mayor in an off-year election and still be a congressman, as Congressman Fulton later did successfully in becoming the mayor of Nashville.
I did not help Kefauver in his 1948 campaign directly. I campaigned very vigorously for Gordon Browning. I did not campaign for Estes Kefauver. Number one, my political obligation and my political loyalty was to Gordon Browning. I had managed his first campaign for the United States Senate; I had served in his cabinet as governor. I admired him; and my political loyalty was there, my political obligation was there. I went from his cabinet to the Congress. Then there were two other elements: one was that I was personally attacked by a first lieutenant in the Crump machine (his name for the moment escapes me, of all times) and I was responding and retaliating for that. And another thing: one of the opponents of Representative Kefauver was a personal friend and a neighbor of mine, Judge Mitchell, who lives in an adjoining county. So I directed my fire and my efforts to the gubernatorial campaign. I must say that I was well aware that Browning and Kefauver were more or less running together, and that if I helped one I indirectly helped the other. But I did draw that line: I campaigned for Browning and did not campaign, did not make mention in the primary of the senatorial campaign. That may appear at this distance as drawing the line finely, but that's how I drew it and I've given you the reasons for it. I also knew, I should add, that the key to power, to political turnover in the state, was the governor's office, not the Senate office.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Before turning to the election of 1952, I wonder if we could ask you to recall your attitude toward and any significant positions you took during President Truman's Fair Deal, beginning with his inaugural in 1949

Page 7
and the program that he presented from time to time during the following years.
ALBERT GORE:
By and large I was a supporter. Doubtless there were issues on which I did not support him; I just don't recall. But generally speaking I was a supporter of the Truman program.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
This would not include civil rights, would it? Civil rights is an issue we doubtless will get into eventually, but since we're talking about the Fair Deal and Truman's proposals of a civil rights measure in 1949, could you comment on your position on the various items incorporated into his civil rights program?
ALBERT GORE:
I don't have the details readily at hand. The best I recall, his program had about nine or ten points in it—do you remember which?
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Ten, I believe.
ALBERT GORE:
Ten, I believe. And as I recall it, I supported either seven or eight of the ten. I advocated repeal of the poll tax; I supported all the right-to-vote legislation. I just don't recall the ten. The only one I recall specifically that I opposed was the Fair Employment Practices Commission, the FEPC as we called it. I opposed that one.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
By that time Senator Kefauver was opposing anti-lynching provisions. He seemed to think that federal legislation on lynching was not necessary, that it should be left to the states. What was your position on that?
ALBERT GORE:
The best I recall, this was one instance in which Senator Kefauver and I differed. I supported the anti-lynching legislation. Whether it was a federal or state question, I was just opposed to lynching anywhere. Unless I could see the list I really can't . . . the only one I specifically recall opposing was the FEPC. There were some others, either one or two

Page 8
others of his ten, but I don't specifically recall.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Well, I think this illuminates your general position. And let me push this just a bit to ask about Truman's labor program, for example, repeal of Taft-Hartley.
ALBERT GORE:
I supported that.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
His position on national health insurance and medical care?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I was the author of the first Medicare bill that passed either house of Congress, but that was after I became a Senator. I supported it, however, in the House.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I don't remember—perhaps Mr. Gardner does or you will—what action was taken in the House on Truman's health insurance proposal.
ALBERT GORE:
I don't recall.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
But your recollection is that in general you supported the administration's programs in this area.
ALBERT GORE:
That's my recollection, yes.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Do you think of other items, Mr. Gardner, that we might ask the Senator about in thinking about the latter years of his House career?
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Perhaps something on Korea?
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Yes, why don't we touch on that before we move to the election of 1952. Did your service in the House, the votes and issues that came up in the House in connection with the intervention in Korea, did this prove to be an issue?
ALBERT GORE:
I supported the Truman position, both with respect to entering the conflict, the conduct of the conflict, and the dismissal of MacArthur.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Was that a popular position in Tennessee? How did constituents

Page 9
react to that? Was there quite a bit of support for MacArthur among your constituents?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, to begin with the intervention in South Korea was strongly supported in Tennessee. Truman's firing of MacArthur was a very unpopular thing in Tennessee; MacArthur was strongly supported. So in supporting the intervention and supporting the war in South Korea I was on the popular side of the question insofar as Tennessee was concerned. In supporting Truman on his dismissal of MacArthur I was on the unpopular side.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I can't resist, Senator, before we leave the House and your service in the House, asking you—particularly because of your later identification with a position critical of American foreign policy in the 1960s—about your position in the late '40s and the early '50s on the Cold War and the way the United States was conducting the Cold War generally. We talked about your support of intervention in Korea. In reflecting back to these early years, and especially, as I say, in view of your later involvement in crucial debate involving Vietnam and American foreign policy, could you say anything about your attitudes and thinking on the conduct of the Cold War in this early period?
ALBERT GORE:
I think I experienced some contradictions. I certainly experienced some trauma of decision. If I had the history very fresh in mind, I'm sure I could elucidate more meaningfully, but maybe I can cite one or two instances. In the first place, I think the question inevitably leads to what appeared to some to be a contradiction in my support of the intervention of the war in South Korea and in South Vietnam. But before I come to that, let me say that I doubted that the Cold War was

Page 10
necessary at the time it began. You remember it was the great Winston Churchill who came to some college in Missouri and made a speech that was literally heard around the world which initiated the Cold War. It declared an end to the Allied cooperation, that is, the cooperation between Russia on the one hand and the Western powers on the other. I did not find myself at the time agreeable to the breakup of the Allied coalition. I later came to believe that I was in gross error in that attitude. If you look back at it now you still wonder which was right, and a hundred years from now there may be still a different view. Whatever the causes—there were many, including the onrush of the Cold War, the action of the Soviets in subjugating and fixing their hegemony over Eastern Europe, the threat to democratic regimes in France and Italy and Greece and Turkey and Belgium—I became convinced by these subsequent events that we had to take a firm and effective position in the Cold War. Now to what extent these things could have been avoided or mitigated without the Fulton, Missouri—wasn't it Fulton, Missouri?
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Fulton, Missouri; Westminster College.
ALBERT GORE:
—without this speech and all of the political movements that followed I don't know. That's just something that historians must later try to determine. But whether it was by original design or whether in response to the Fulton speech by Churchill and the United States' actions following, that I do not know. But whatever it was, the action of the Soviets, some of which I've outlined, led me to be a strong partisan of the Cold War. And I supported the Marshall Plan; I supported aid to Greece and Turkey; I supported U.S. rearmament. I was a strong advocate of the Cold War actions. I don't recall now one instance in which I faltered

Page 11
until, at the time John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State, I began to doubt very much and I began to question even more the probity and the wisdom of the network of alliance that he began to make all around the world, particularly in Southeast Asia and in the Mediterranean area. I began to wonder about this, and I began publicly to question it. I cannot give you the details. I remember referring at one time to one of the Asiatic pacts as being about as strong as a label on a piece of canned goods. Maybe that wasn't exactly how I said it, but I doubted the strength and the dependability of the alliances that the United States was making with small countries in Southeast Asia like Thailand and Indonesia and Cambodia.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, we'll come back to foreign policy in the Senate days.
ALBERT GORE:
I'm racing ahead.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Could we at this point turn to your election to the Senate in 1952? And would you reflect on the background of that election, including your decision to run (which you referred to earlier), the circumstances in the state, anything else that seems pertinent to you in thinking back to your very important breakthrough here and defeat of the remnant Crump machine and election to the Senate in your own right?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, as I've said, I had earlier—four, maybe as much as five or six years earlier—determined that I would make an effort to be elected to the Senate. I think it was perfectly natural that I would consider 1952, because it was at that time that Senator Kenneth D. McKellar's term came to an end. And he was quite advanced in years, and I believe had said when he ran in 1946 that he would not again be a candidate. So here was a vacancy in the United States Senate. And I had been a

Page 12
successful congressman, at least in my estimation, [Laughter] and I had planned to make the campaign in 1952, assuming that Senator McKellar survived the term (which he fortunately did). I had a great many strengths on which to make a campaign: number one, I had statewide identification. I had in 1934 managed the first statewide campaign, as I've said, of Gordon Browning and created organizations in each of the counties. Then I had gone into his administration as governor in 1937 and headed one of the departments; that gave me more state identification. And as I've said, I campaigned actively in his successful campaign in 1948.
Then during my service in Congress I became a member of the Appropriations Committee, and I was appointed to the Independent Offices Subcommittee, which handled the appropriations for TVA and the Atomic Energy Commission. So I was handling legislation that had as much importance to one part of the state as to another. And at that time every TVA appropriation bill was highly controversial. The TVA was then very popular in Tennessee and I, Congressman Albert Gore, was leading the fight for TVA appropriation bills, all of which were very important to the growth and economic development of our state. And those fights that I made were just as popular in one congressional district in Tennessee as in another. Then I handled the appropriations for Oak Ridge, for the first atomic bomb. I was one of the five people in the House who were selected on a highly confidential basis to handle in secret appropriations for the first atomic bomb. Well, this too was sort of a prestigious assignment, and it gave me an opportunity to play a key part in the development of Oak Ridge, which later became our fifth largest town. So in addition to my own congressional district—which had varied; I'd gone

Page 13
through a redistricting, and I think at the time I ran for the Senate I had previously represented twenty-five of Tennessee's counties in the House of Representatives—I had been a husbandman for the development of Oak Ridge. I had made tries for development of steam plants in west Tennessee and east Tennessee and in Memphis.
So both as a factional political leader, as a campaigner with a personal knowledge of state political structure, and as a congressman handling appropriations for many things of importance throughout the state, I was well-based to make a campaign. So I determined to make it in 1952, and started early. I had announced in 1950 that I would never run for the House of Representatives again, and everybody knew that. I'd come to the point that I had had what I regarded as a successful career in the House, and I had reached the consent of my mind to, as I've said earlier, go up or out of public life. Fortunately it was up.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
You certainly were in a uniquely strong position to challenge the Crump machine and to be successful in 1952. I wonder if you could say a bit more about the campaign itself, and about the factors which, in your opinion, enabled you to be successful.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, the strategy was carefully determined. The late Senator McKellar was a very powerful man; he was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and as such he had led in the Senate many of the battles which I had led in the House. Indeed, he was far more powerful than I. Sometimes I would lose the battle in the House, it would be retrieved by him in the Senate, and then in conference between the House and Senate he and I would work closely together to cement the victory. This was repeated several times with respect to TVA matters. So when he decided to run

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again I was not in a position to criticize the manner in which he had utilized the power of the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee. I had had critical views in that regard, because he had undertaken to dominate the policies of the TVA, to control appointments to the TVA. I had opposed this, and throughout my term as a congressman I had never recommended anyone for employment by the TVA. I had never recommended anyone or endorsed anyone for appointment to the TVA board. Looking back on it, maybe this was an extreme position. But I regarded the TVA as an autonomous agency, and I felt that it should operate in a businesslike way and be free of political interference in its administration and in its operation. I still feel that way, but maybe I was going too far. But at least I was so opposed to the efforts of Senator McKellar to dominate the TVA and to tell them where they should put a dam or when they should build a dam, where they should not put a dam and who they should employ, I so resisted that that I became an absolute antithesis to it.
So there were issues between us which I could have utilized in the campaign, those and other things that we differed on. But he had been so helpful to me in the matter of securing appropriations for TVA's expansion, and our records were so alike in that regard (his the more successful because of the power that he wielded as chairman of the committee) that I chose (both because of those reasons and because of his advanced age and the esteem in which he was held) to make no reference to him at all. Not one time did I call his name during the campaign or criticize him on a single issue. Having made that decision, I announced it at my first statewide organization with leaders. And it was discussed around the room. Some doubted that it was wise; most seemed to

Page 15
agree with it. But one young lawyer from east Tennessee, Bill Todd from Kingsport, was late arriving. He came in with some little commotion—God bless Bill, he's about six foot two and has very large feet, and he seemed to create a little commotion almost any time he entered a room. [Laughter] Anyway, just as he came in I—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ALBERT GORE:
—said, "Bill, we've been discussing here the strategy and tactics of my campaign. How do you think I should deal with the problem of my adversary, the venerable Senator Kenneth McKellar?" Right off Bill said, "I think you should say he's too old to cut the mustard." [Laughter] This created quite a deal of amusement, and there were some who fairly agreed with him. But I had to tell him then that we'd decided just not to do that at all. Later on in the campaign, you might be interested to know, Senator McKellar's friends began to emphasize his influence as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This was my toughest issue. And they were saying all over the state, "Why should Tennessee turn out to pasture the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee when we need so many things: roads, TVA dams, steam plants, various projects? The chairman of the Appropriations Committee, why should we turn him out and put a young whippersnapper in his place who'd have to start at the foot of the class?"
Well, it was my toughest issue. To emphasize this point, they suddenly began to tack on the trees and utility poles and vacant store windows a placard which said, "Thinking Feller, Vote for McKellar." Well, I found that amusing the first day or two. But I found it was repeated every time I turned a curve, and by many other people by word of mouth. I saw we had to get an answer to that. So Mrs. Gore and I came home

Page 16
one Saturday night after a hard day of campaigning, and she cleaned off the kitchen table and made a pot of coffee and said, "Well Albert, sit down here. Here's the pencil, here's the paper. I'll get a pencil and paper. We've got to get an answer to this placard." So we wrote doggerels and rhymes and riddles, and finally came to one that we thought would work. So we got our country printer up early the next morning, even on Sunday, and ran a bunch of placards answering that of the opposition. And on Monday morning my friends started fanning out over the state. And wherever they found one of those "Thinking Feller, Vote for McKellar" placards, they tacked one just beneath it which read, "Think some more and vote for Gore." [Laughter]
This had its effect; it created such amusement that in some counties the supporters of Senator McKellar went around and pulled theirs down. And the people driving through the state would often stop and take down both. I was later speaking in Chicago, and the man who introduced me told the story and said he had a pair of those placards on the wall in his office. It had a little humorous twist to it. It was very effective, and later on as I would make speeches over the country I would sometimes tell that story, and say that the people did vote for me after that mark of poetic genius. Thereafter, I always voted for federal aid to education. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did you have a good organization for that campaign?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, I did. I'd been working at it for a long time. I drew heavily upon the friends and acquaintances growing out of the campaigns I had managed and in which I had taken an active part. Even when I started I had friends in every county, and I built upon that. Yes, I had a good organization. It was not a money organization in many ways.

Page 17
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
The reference to money, Senator, leads me to ask a question about financing campaigns. Nowadays, as you know, money is a critical consideration, and lots of money. Could you comment on the amount of money required, and how imperative it was in 1952 to have enough money to run a statewide campaign?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, it's always there. You never have enough—I mean, I never had enough. I think my total campaign in 1952 was about $50,000. That's now inadequate for a commercial. That's about what I spent. I do not know what amount was spent in the campaign of Senator McKellar—I daresay considerably more than that.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Isn't there a significant difference between your campaign in 1952—the financing of it—and your campaign in 1970, though, in that in 1952 I suspect you had little worry in the general election. Your problem was the primary, was it not?
ALBERT GORE:
Entirely, entirely.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I had understood that perhaps one reason that you might not have had as much problem with finances is because you were such an able manager of your own campaign and of the use of money, that some of the other candidates in Tennessee were not as thrifty or wise in their use of money. The Kefauver campaign organization could run through an amount of money much quicker with less results. Did this make a lot of difference? Was there a great difference in campaigns as to how much money was needed by a particular candidate or organization?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I suppose that played its part. Necessity being the mother of invention, some of this frugality on my part was not by choice.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Did you keep tight control over your own campaign?

Page 18
ALBERT GORE:
Yes indeed.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Or did you delegate a lot of this?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes indeed. Incidentally, it was as a result of that campaign in 1952 that the Supreme Court of Tennessee handed down a decision making the candidate responsible for the expenditures of his political lieutenants. Senator McKellar was later sued for debts incurred by his supporters, members of his political organization. And as I recall this case went all the way to the Supreme Court. I was always aware throughout my political career that there might be financial liability in the campaign, so I guess in my customary precaution in the handling of the finances I did exercise surveillance or control over expenditures to a considerable extent.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
What sort of statewide organization did you have? I understand that candidates would have, say, a county manger; others had committees in the counties rather than a single manager. What sort of organization did you have? Were there levels, congressional managers or committees? What was the advantage of a committee over a single manager, or the other way around?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, it largely depends upon the political situation in a particular county, and your availabilities. I had a statewide committee, with a chairman. Then I had a committee in each congressional district, with a chairman. When it came to the county level it was about half and half. One man or one woman was the manager in a county, or a committee of three or a committee of five. It depended upon the situation in each county.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I understand that the use of committees was a fairly new sort

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of organization technique, that the Crump organization had specific managers, I believe, most of the time and not the committee form. I believe Kefauver used it.
ALBERT GORE:
It was not new to me. I had both in my congressional campaign.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I was interested in talking about Senator McKellar. What was it that made him so vulnerable? Was it just his age in '52? What about the Crump machine? Did it not bring out the vote as it had in the past? I believe in '46 McKellar had not even visited Tennessee and yet had won reelection. Why could he not pull it off in '52? You were not overly critical of him. You campaigned on a rather positive approach. What made him so vulnerable?
ALBERT GORE:
[Laughter] I didn't discover he was so vulnerable. [Laughter]
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Until afterwards. [Laughter]
ALBERT GORE:
It took all I could do and all the campaigning and organizing and financing I could amass to pull off a victory. He was deeply entrenched all over the state.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Was it then a matter of organization, of your ability to organize and counteract the Crump machine? I was wondering what made the difference in '52.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, he was of course advanced in years. But you will recall that Browning lost a great deal of favor in the state after his election in 1948. He suffered severely after that. And wasn't it 1950 that Crump regained control of the state?
JAMES B. GARDNER:
He didn't regain the governorship until '52, the same year you ran, when Frank Clement was first running. But he had made a number of gains in Shelby County.

Page 20
ALBERT GORE:
So lest it appear easy, remember at the same time I was winning against the Crump-McKellar group (and Crump and McKellar were closely aligned), McKellar largely handled organization matters outside of Shelby. In east Tennessee, for instance, it was largely the forces of Senator McKellar that wielded the power in the various counties. So despite the fact that I was winning in 1952, the same forces were winning the governorship. So it was not as easy as it might appear.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
You yourself suggested earlier that in '48 you thought that the governorship was perhaps more important than the Senate seat in defeating the Crump machine. Some observers at the time thought perhaps Crump in '52 had decided that he would perhaps sacrifice McKellar if he could just regain the statehouse by electing Clement to the governorship. Did you see any lessening of effort on the part of the Crump machine in '52 in the Senate race? Do you think they in any sense gave up on McKellar because of his age?
ALBERT GORE:
No, they fought very hard.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Along this line, Senator, did you run a race in the primary that was quite separate from that of Governor Browning?
ALBERT GORE:
Oh yes; I ran my own.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Some people suggested at the time that there was some sort of rift between yourself and Governor Browning, that he had wanted to run for the Senate in '52. Did you know of any aspirations that he had? Was there any problem between the two of you?
ALBERT GORE:
There was a time when he did wish to run for the Senate in 1952. There was some inside competition between us. Later, however, his primary interest—in fact, his almost sole interest—was to retain the power of the governorship, as against the desire of the Crump machine to

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regain it. So the competitiveness between Governor Browning and me as to which would run for the Senate, though quite real in '50 and '51, vanished pretty well by the early part of 1952.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Did Browning's weaknesses in Tennessee—it appeared that he wasn't quite the organizer; I know there were some problems in Shelby County with the election commission appointments, with some controversy over whether he was favoring one group or another—did Browning's administration cause problems for the anti-Crump group in the state? Did the disaffection with Browning cause you problems?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, my identification with Browning helped more than it hurt. Of course there were instances in which it was hurtful.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
What about Kefauver's presidential bid in '52? I believe you supported him in that bid?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes I did.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Was there any connection between those races? Was there any feeling that if Kefauver could get the nomination he would help the other anti-Crump candidates? I know Browning's race became tied to the presidential race. He was a strong supporter of Senator Kefauver, and I guess the '52 convention hurt Browning considerably when he backed Kefauver all the way.
ALBERT GORE:
I didn't go to that. I deliberately did not go to that convention.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Aware of the problems?
ALBERT GORE:
Aware of the problems, yes. I was primarily interested in my race for the Senate. I chose to stay out of . . . Chicago, wasn't it?
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
What time did the primary elections occur that year?
ALBERT GORE:
In August.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Following the convention?

Page 22
ALBERT GORE:
Yes.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
The convention was in late July.
ALBERT GORE:
And Governor Browning was severely hurt by that convention. I was not hurt by it. I remember I was campaigning in Woodbury when the most controversial things were happening, and I kept campaigning.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Mr. Gardner, are there other items connected with this very significant race the Senator won in 1952? If not, I think we'd like to turn to your committee assignments in the Senate—they're fairly extensive, as you know—and simply ask you to tell us what you can about your work on those committees, your contributions, and issues that were significant, even though in some cases this may take us over some years—over eighteen years, to be exact, and in others not over such an extensive period. We'll begin with the District of Columbia Committee, which you served on from 1953 to 1955. Do you have any observations to make about service on that committee? We realize that this is onerous in the sense that we're asking you to comment on things that happened long ago, and sometimes committees that were not all that important, perhaps.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, it's usually a freshman who is assigned to the District of Columbia Committee. I did not find it very attractive, mainly because it did not deal with issues important to Tennessee. However, I found it interesting, because by serving on the committee I became familiar with the problems of a large urban area. I became familiar with the problems of administration, problems of urban America with which I had had little association in my congressional district or in the problems of my district or things in which I was primarily interested. I had become knowledgeable

Page 23
about urban problems, housing, redevelopment, and urban renewal as a congressman; nevertheless they had not been immediate. But they became very immediate to me through my service on the District of Columbia Committee, for Washington was then large and was soon to be an even larger city. I don't recall specific issues.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Another of your first committees in the Senate was the Public Works Committee, on which you served, I believed, from 1953 through or to 1957. Could you comment on your service on that committee?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, it was by my membership on that committee that I achieved one of the most (shall I say) notable events of my career. The Public Works Committee handled legislation in the Senate for the TVA, for public roads, for reclamation, interior problems, environmental problems. So I learned a great deal about the problems of our country and the problems of our society by my service on that committee. It was a wonderfully educational experience. And then I was appointed chairman of the Public Roads Subcommittee. I introduced in 1956—no, I introduced earlier—the Interstate Highway Bill, I believe in 1954. And it was in 1956 that that bill finally became law. For most of two years my principal interest in the Senate and in the country was holding hearings, visiting, making observations of the highway problems, and fighting the battle in the committee and later on the floor of the Senate and in conference with the House to bring the enactment of the Interstate and National Defense Highway Bill—or to give it a short name, the Gore Bill—in 1956. I was elated when it finally passed and President Eisenhower signed it into law. It initiated the largest public works program in the history of the world, which is not even yet quite completed.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Another of your committees, a committee on which you served for

Page 24
sixteen or seventeen years, was the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, which you first served on I believe in 1954. What about your service on that committee?
ALBERT GORE:
I said earlier in this interview that as chairman of the Independent Offices Subcommittee—at least as chairman of a subcommittee that handled TVA, and I think this was a subgroup of the Independent Offices group—I handled appropriation bills for the TVA and for the Atomic Energy Commission. As a result of that I had become as intimately acquainted with nuclear energy problems as a layman could become. So after election to the Senate it was but natural, I think, that I would wish to be assigned to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, furthering my interest and my opportunity both to serve and to benefit politically because of Oak Ridge being located in Tennessee. So I found my work there very intense. I was a strong champion of nuclear energy, nuclear power. I was a co-author of the first nuclear power bill; it was called the Gore-Holifield Bill. Congressman Chet Holifield of California, who was then chairman of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, introduced the bill in the House, and I introduced it in the Senate. And I succeeded in passing it in the Senate. So my role in legislation in advocacy of nuclear energy and the development of nuclear power, the development of nuclear submarines and of nuclear carriers was an interesting experience, an engrossing experience. I was enthusiastically involved in it, and I think (without being a braggadocio) that I was influential in numbers of developments in this field, including later being a delegate to the disarmament conference and a delegate to the United Nations. I negotiated as delegate to the United Nations the agreement on outer space between the Soviet

Page 25
Union and the United States. This was later on, but I think it followed in the wake of my service on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I was thinking as you talked about the way in which service on this important committee might have contributed to your increasing interest in foreign affairs, in foreign policy. You've just mentioned some ways in which that indeed was the case. Mr. Gardner, do you have questions relating to the Atomic Energy Committee?
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I was just wondering if you'd like to comment on your role in the Dixon-Yates controversy, which I believe came before and then during your first years on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy? To what extent did your leadership in the Senate debate on the Dixon-Yates contract, another provision of the Atomic Energy Act, what role do you think that played in your getting this appointment? The appointment came in late 1954, after the midterm elections, but actually before the Democrats regained control of Congress in '54.
ALBERT GORE:
I'm not sure that that had any particular bearing on my assignment to the committee. My leadership in that fight was more or less a happenstance—and yet I don't suppose it was either, because I was so full of the TVA issue, so wrapped up into the enthusiasm and support of the Tennessee Valley Authority and my opposition to the private power industry in America, and the many attempts to destroy TVA and to grab portions of the Authority. So when the Dixon-Yates issue came along it was not necessary for me to do a great deal of detailed study and research, because as I say, I was full of it.
I remember when I kicked off the national fight about Dixon-Yates. Late one afternoon I rose in the Senate without expecting to speak for very long, without any text, without any plan to make a full-dress debate.

Page 26
But my enthusiasm grew as I listened to the melody of my voice [Laughter] and as others joined in. I remember one of the most enjoyable exchanges in my whole career in the Senate was with Senator Hubert H. Humphrey on this. To make a long story short, that speech terminated some seven hours later. [Laughter] And when it was terminated Dixon-Yates was a national issue. Later I often cited that as an example of the power of debate and free speech on the floor of the United States Senate. I galvanized that issue by one speech into a national issue. It also touched off the longest continuous filibuster in the history of the Senate. I would have to review all the details. I think it was as a part of this battle that I brought passage of the first nuclear power bill. I was freewheeling [Laughter] in those days, and swinging from the floor.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Senator Kefauver, I understand, was also interested in the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, and in fact inquired of Senator Lyndon B. Johnson if there might not be an opening on the Joint Committee in '54, that it would be a great help with his constituents, that it was a vital issue to Tennessee and was something he was also interested in. Yet when the opening came up, Senator Johnson chose you over the senior senator from the state. What do you think was the reason for this? Was it simply a reflection of your own involvement and the concern of the Democrats to continue with perhaps the most prominent leader of the Dixon-Yates fight because the fight was not yet over—you continued it in the Joint Committee? What do you think was the reason? Did Kefauver get along well with Senator Johnson?
ALBERT GORE:
No, he didn't get along with the Senate leadership, any of the Senate leadership at that time. You will recall (I'm not sure) that Scott W. Lucas was leader, I believe, at the time.

Page 27
JAMES B. GARDNER:
He had been defeated.
ALBERT GORE:
In '54?
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I believe before '54, because Lucas had opposed Kefauver's presidential nomination in 1952 in retaliation for his own earlier defeat.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, that's correct. So I guess Johnson had become Democratic leader. I know that Senator Lucas was very much opposed to Senator Kefauver, as was Harry Truman. And I think there was not a good equation between Senator Kefauver and Senator Lyndon Johnson at the time. There was a very good equation between Senator Johnson and me at the time. And I suppose because of that and then because of my experience in the House and my identification with the nuclear energy issue, with the TVA, with power, with energy, the whole category of legislation, I had been closely identified with it and Senator Kefauver had not. Now this may have played a part; I can't tell you now what brought it about, but I won it.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Pursuing the same sort of thing, I understand that in 1955 Senator Kefauver wanted an investigation of the Dixon-Yates contract through the Judiciary Subcommittee on Anti-Monopoly. But yet he was blocked again on that. The Democratic leadership just didn't seem to be too interested in Kefauver's investigation. Yet I understand you had some role in persuading the leadership to let Kefauver set up this panel that eventually was important in exposing a conflict of interest in the contract negotiations.
ALBERT GORE:
I favored it; I favored it and did support Senator Kefauver in that. And he rendered a very notable service.

Page 28
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Wasn't it unusual for the junior senator to have this much influence, that he had to help the senior senator from the state?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, there were unusual features. Senator Kefauver was not the usual type of legislator. Senator Kefauver was in many respects a public relations senator. He was a national figure; he personalized or epitomized many popular causes. And because of the renown he achieved, and also because he seemed to eschew the daily give-and-take of legislation, he was never particularly popular with his colleagues in the Senate. To put it in common parlance, he was never exactly a member of the Senate club. I was more inclined to do the day-to-day chores. I was regularly in attendance to committees and on the floor of the Senate, and frequently in debate. I don't think I was ever a full member of the inner club, but I was a member of the Senate club—if that explains some of the differences.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Your position in this regard, Senator, strikes me as having been very similar to that of Hubert Humphrey in that period.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I'm not sure it was similar. He was more loquacious than I. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
But did he not make his way into the club, perhaps not the inner club, despite the fact that he had been critical of some administration positions such as civil rights?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, he was longer in gaining admission to the club, but he finally became a member of the inner club, which I didn't. He was longer en route, but he succeeded more than I. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
He went farther, eh? [Laughter]
ALBERT GORE:
Yes. By then my maverick tendencies had come to assert themselves.

Page 29
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
So to pursue that a bit, you two perhaps reversed roles. He was more a maverick in the beginning and you more near the end of your career.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes. And he wound up as a strong supporter of Lyndon Johnson, and I wound up as an opponent of Lyndon Johnson. As of then that affinity or non-affinity with Lyndon Johnson determined whether you were a member of the inner circle or whether you were not. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Mr. Gardner, anything further on the Joint Committee? Why don't we ask you about the Rules and Administration Committee in 1955 to '56.
ALBERT GORE:
Frankly, I don't remember very much about that, except there was a question of an investigation of . . .
JAMES B. GARDNER:
In 1956, a proposal to investigate lobbying.
ALBERT GORE:
Lobbying, yes. That's the only thing I remember of dramatic content as a result of my service on that committee. And that was not a happy experience. I wanted a thorough investigation, and I was selected as chairman of a subgroup to conduct such an investigation. But I soon found that a majority of the committee had no intention of having such an investigation, and I resigned as chairman.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
What about the Senate leadership on this particular issue? I understand that Lyndon Johnson was not particularly interested in a very thorough investigation—and that the Republicans weren't either—in an election year of contributions of oil and gas lobbies.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, Lyndon wasn't. Throughout his political career he worked hand in glove with the oil industry, and of course he was not in favor of a thoroughgoing investigation. I've forgotten who the Republican members of the committee were, but I know he appointed Senator Clinton P. Anderson

Page 30
and Senator John McClellan. And without getting critical of either, you know their identification as far as special interests in the oil lobby is concerned.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Wasn't that a rather ticklish subject with the 1956 presidential election coming up? Were they just afraid you'd be too honest in pursuing the lobby . . . ?
ALBERT GORE:
Oh, I don't know whether honesty [Laughter] entered into it. The majority of the subcommittee was determined to deal with this lightly, and I didn't agree with it. I continued to serve on the committee, but the best I recall only two of us filed a minority report, and that was Senator John F. Kennedy and myself.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
This was in a presidential year, and we'll talk about that later, I suppose. Do you think this helped your image nationally, that you were interested in investigating lobbying, that you had been blocked by the Senate leadership in your endeavors? The image of the white knight, would that have helped you nationally, say in terms of the vice presidential nomination in '56?
ALBERT GORE:
If I had had a majority of the committee who would have supported me, I was determined to have a thorough investigation. And had I been able to conduct a thorough investigation the outcome of the 1956 convention might have been very different, in terms of the vice presidency or the presidency. There was an issue on which I could ride, but Lyndon Johnson tied my hands. That's putting it briefly.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
That's sort of what I had thought.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Another of your committee assignments, Senator, for one term—

Page 31
or at least for two years—was the Joint Committee on the Library. Do you have any recollection of service on that committee?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, but not in detail. I learned of the organization of the library, the structure of its very great activities. I was intensely interested in it. Even today I'm assigned a desk at the Congressional Library. I did some of my writing there after I left the Senate. That's about all I recall of that.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did that service and that early interest in the Library of Congress lead you to any thought about the need for a more systematic policy in preserving and protecting public papers of the president, vice president, senators, members of the House, the judiciary?
ALBERT GORE:
It may have, but my memory doesn't fix on anything in particular.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Well, let's turn to a committee on which you served longer, the Interparliamentary Union. What was your work in that capacity?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, the work on that was not legislative. This was the source of a great deal of international education, a good many trips; some critics call them junkets, and I suppose in the strict sense that was an apt term for it. But almost annually after adjournment of Congress during my service as a member of that group, Mrs. Gore and I would go with a few other delegates to a conference in some part of the world for a week or such, and en route we would stop at other places. It gave me an acquaintance with other nations, with world affairs. It was very educational and very helpful to me. I don't think the Interparliamentary Union has ever achieved anything other than a broadening of contacts, of education and more understanding one with the other. Even this

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is a worthy purpose. But it never was and is not now an organization that achieves immediate and practical and climactic results.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Would you say that it contributed to your growing interest in foreign policy?
ALBERT GORE:
Oh yes, oh yes indeed. It not only contributed to my growing interest, but, as I've said, my knowledge and my limited understanding on international affairs.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Very good. Moving to a more significant committee insofar as your length of service and contributions perhaps, what about the Finance Committee, on which you served from 1957 to 1970, a long period on a very important committee? Could you reflect upon your service on that committee?
ALBERT GORE:
Oh yes, I have many specific memories of that. I wanted on this committee as soon as I arrived at the Senate; of course the freshmen couldn't be assigned to that. I had chafed at my inability as a congressman to have very much influence on tax legislation. The Ways And Means Committee then, as now, had jurisdiction over tax legislation, and the House of Representatives had a rule which was followed whether in Democratic or Republican administrations, of considering tax bills—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
ALBERT GORE:
The Gag Rule in the House, by which all tax bills were considered, was a rule which prohibited the offering of amendments to a tax bill. Only one amendment, as I recall, could be offered to a tax bill, and that was reserved to the minority side of the committee. So though I was anxious to achieve amendments

Page 33
for tax reform, not one time in fourteen years in the House was I ever permitted to offer an amendment to a tax bill, or even to vote for one except for one that a member of the committee had offered. So I was very frustrated in my desire to work for tax reform in the House of Representatives.
Upon election to the Senate I immediately asked to be assigned to the Senate Finance Committee, for the avowed purpose of working tax reform. But I had great difficulty gaining an assignment to that committee. By then Lyndon Johnson was a very powerful leader in the Senate, and as far as he was concerned Albert Gore was wrong on the oil depletion allowance. [Laughter] And if a Senator was wrong on the oil depletion allowance you can imagine with what reluctance the Senate leader, Lyndon Johnson, would assign him to the committee handling tax legislation. So I had difficulty in gaining admission to that committee. But eventually, by hard work establishing myself with my colleagues in the Senate and also with some seniority, I was assigned to the committee. I raised a lot of controversy, had a great deal of enjoyment, but also I created a great many enemies.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Thinking back over those fourteen years on that committee, could you summarize your contributions or the areas of your greatest interest and involvement?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, the Senate Finance Committee handles several things other than tax reforms: international trade was one, Social Security was another. It was because of my membership on that committee that I had the opportunity to introduce and to bring to passage in the Senate several international trade matters, the whole reciprocal trade program, for instance. I was a delegate to the International Conference on Trade and Agreements two or three times in Geneva. So as a member of that committee, and because

Page 34
of my interest in the subject, I guess it would be fair to say that I became the leading advocate of international trade in the Senate. It was because of my membership on that committee and my interest in social legislation that I was the author of a number of amendments to the Social Security law, that I was the author of the first Medicare bill to pass the Senate. There are other things, revenue collections affairs and others that the Senate Finance Committee handled.
My most controversial work, I suppose, was in the field of tax reform. At the time I was assigned to the committee it was almost an unheard of occurrence—in fact, it hadn't occurred for many years—that the Senate Finance Committee was defeated on an amendment to a bill on the floor of the Senate. It was a kind of closed shop, and the committee's bills and positions on amendments was almost ipso facto adopted in the Senate. Well, I proposed to alter all that, because the majority of the Senate Finance Committee when I was assigned to it, and throughout my tenure on it, was an ultraconservative group closely aligned with vested special interests. Most of my amendments received only about four votes in the Senate Finance Committee, with eight against them. But I think my legislative gun has twelve marks on it. I defeated the Senate Finance Committee twelve times on the floor of the Senate. Some of my colleagues on the committee became a little ruffled at it, particularly the chairman, Russell Long. But I went in and represented the spirit of tax reform, the movement of tax reform. I was its principal spokesman. And a majority of the Senate came to be aligned with me, as did much of the public sentiment in the country. I became nationally known as a champion of tax reform. That was in the form of percentage oil depletions and many of the so-called loopholes. I need not

Page 35
trouble you with recalling the details of the many, many fights waged there.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Let me interrupt to ask if you have any strong feeling today as to the most desirable tax system that we could adopt. That is, what kind of tax reform do we need today?
ALBERT GORE:
Well Doctor, we'd better set a new day for that and have a [Laughter] new recording.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
The purpose of my question is to ask, really, if you feel that the kinds of proposals you had in mind back in the 1960s and earlier are still needed in many cases?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, and many of them are in the Democratic platform today.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
As an outspoken proponent of tax reform, didn't you have some disagreement with the Kennedy administration, when Kennedy proposed a tax cut and you suggested an increase in the personal exemption? I understand that there was some disagreement between you and the Kennedy administration generally on economic matters, that you did not agree with his selection of the Secretary of the Treasury, that sort of thing, that there were some real problems over economic policy.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, President Kennedy and I served together in both the House and the Senate. We had been personal friends. My wife and his wife were warm friends. In fact, Mrs. Gore and I were two of a small party one night when young Congressman Kennedy was the odd young man and Jacqueline Bouvier was the odd young woman, and they hadn't met before. There was some evidence of interest even that night. [Laughter]
So we were friends, and I had to a considerable extent forged the economic issue on the floor of the Senate on which Kennedy ran for the presidential nomination and for the election.

Page 36
I was active in his campaign. And after his election I discovered that he was going to appoint Douglas Dillon as Secretary of the Treasury. He was right out of Wall Street then. I strongly disagreed with that. Now, on the specific question about which you inquired, Kennedy had wanted to stimulate the national economy, and obviously stimulation was in order. And one of the ways to stimulate the national economy was through fiscal affairs; another was monetary. But he appointed the wrong man to use democratic monetary policy, so it was principally fiscal policy: governmental expenditures to stimulate the national economy. Now there are two ways to provide for governmental expenditures: one is tax cuts, which means you take it away from the treasury and leave it in the hands of those who otherwise would pay taxes. Or you proceed to continue with the existing taxation, but appropriate those funds and perhaps others, or some of those funds, for expenditure. I went out to see Kennedy. We had a very long discussion. He asked me to come out to his home in Georgetown—this was before he was inaugurated—to pass the evening so no one would interrupt us. So we had at it for about two hours, this whole question of economics for national administration: fiscal policy, monetary policy.
Then later on when this particular issue of tax reduction was under consideration I remember going to Mrs. Roosevelt's funeral at Hyde Park. President Kennedy had flown on Air Force One and another delegation had flown on, I believe, maybe two other planes. We all landed at, I believe, West Point, the nearest airport to Hyde Park where large planes could land. At the home, before the ceremonies, President Kennedy and I met; he sort of plucked me aside and said, "What do you think I ought to do about tax reduction?" I said, "Forget it." Well, he wasn't ready to forget it,

Page 37
and this led to an extended conversation. I saw a larger and larger line forming to shake hands with the President, and I became a little nervous. But he wanted to talk. Anyway, I finally just said, "Mr. President, so many people are waiting to see you; maybe we can get together later." So I just excused myself. It was a little embarrassing to break myself away from the President, but after all [Laughter] it's like being at a telephone booth when you've got twelve people waiting to use it and you have a good long chatty conversation with someone. Anyway, after the funeral, we were out at the airport, everybody on the plane, and our plane was held up. And we were waiting and waiting and waiting; no one knew why. Of course we couldn't take off until Air Force One took off. Then I noticed a car coming across the field. It came up to our plane, and the door opened. Apparently someone came in at the front of the plane and said, "Is Senator Gore a passenger on this plane?" I said, "Yes, I am he." He says, "President Kennedy would like you to ride back with him on Air Force One." I turned and bowed deeply to my colleagues on the plane, and they gave me the horse laugh. [Laughter] I went and boarded President Kennedy's plane, and he and I discussed the merits and demerits as we saw them between governmental stimulation by way of appropriated funds or by way of tax reductions. I'll not review that whole issue for you, but I have a chapter in my book Let The Glory Out which deals with that subject, where I outlined with considerable detail my views of the much greater merit of expenditure by way of appropriating funds through the specific areas of need rather than by tax reduction, which usually gives relief where it is least needed.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, could we turn finally among your committee duties to

Page 38
the Foreign Relations Committee, on which you began your service in 1959 and continued throughout your Senate career?
ALBERT GORE:
We can turn to that if you'll let me bring us down a little refreshment.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Very good. We'll pause. [interruption]
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I suppose that as a counterpart or as a result of my interest in international trade, my interest and acquaintanceship with international affairs as a result of my work as a member of the Interparliamentary Union, and as a result of my association with Cordell Hull, and because of the importance of the war and peace and my extreme interest in it, I earnestly sought membership on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Strangely enough, by my membership on that committee and my knowledge of the affairs of southeastern Asia, particularly Vietnam, I became very much opposed to our prosecution of the Vietnam War. And this was one of the issues which ultimately led to my retirement from the United States Senate. As you know, Tennessee like all the other southern states, except more so, has been supportive of all wars. [Laughter] As I said one time in a debate, as far as Tennessee is concerned, "Just show us a war and we'll fight it." The Volunteer State. The whole South, as you know, has been prone towards violence. After all, slavery is an act of violence of a person on another person. The extreme rightist philosophy which many leaders in the South, both Democratic and Republican, have is in essence a spirit of violence. There are more firearms in the South; the statistics used to be that there were more murders in the South. We are a hot-blooded people. I'm trying to speak objectively and analytically about it; I'm sometimes

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hot-blooded myself. Maybe I have some of those tendencies.
But in any event, the popular support of the Vietnam War was perhaps as strong in Tennessee as in any state in the union, and yet I was at least one of the leaders in opposition to it. This created a reservoir of antagonism toward me on this issue, which was quite sincerely held by many fine citizens with laudable motivations. They genuinely and sincerely believed that my questioning of the advisability and execution of the war in Vietnam and of the bombing and invasion of Cambodia was a lack of patriotism. So this was certainly one of the very fundamental questions, along with civil rights, which built a reservoir of antagonism toward me that played a very strong part in my ultimate retirement from the Senate. However, after saying that, please understand that I treasure my service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee more than that of any other committee, including Finance. Though I am proud of the interstate highway system, proud of the role I played in Social Security reform and the enactment of Medicare, international trade and fair policies of taxation, nevertheless I'm proudest of all of the role I played in opposition to the Vietnam War.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, if I may interrupt, I believe it might focus your thinking about your service on the committee if you could suggest the road that led to your criticism of the Johnson administration in particular and the Nixon administration as well later, insofar as its Vietnam policy is concerned. I think, for example, that you advised President Kennedy not to become so involved in Vietnam, to be careful about that issue. So I wonder if it might help us here if you could go back and reflect on your developing fear and anxiety about American policy in the

Page 40
Far East.
ALBERT GORE:
Now this has been a long development, and it's been a long time ago. As I recall it—and there may be other instances—my first criticism of our role in Vietnam arose out of the visit that I made to South Vietnam. We had a long visit with Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem, then president of Vietnam.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
What year was that?
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Was it '59?
ALBERT GORE:
I'm trying to identify it. I believe it was '59, either '58 or '59. I believe it was '59. And then Madame Nhu, the sister-in-law of Ngo Dinh Diem who later became world-renowned, invited us to dinner. And I began to have doubts about the regime there, about our involvement there. I remember I became very critical of a tactical program of establishing strategic villages in the Vietnam highlands, largely in an unpopulated area except for the roaming Montagnards. And the United States was financing largely all the things in South Vietnam, almost entirely if not entirely financing the establishment of strategic villages. I remember now seeing a bamboo fence around the village. This was supposed to be protection against the North Vietnamese, against the Vietcong. I saw several of these strategic villages. I can recall now being shown around one of the villages. And the village was really a newly-established, inhabited area out in the mountains. And the Diem regime would conscript people and families from the cities, from Saigon for instance, and force these people to go out in these strategic villages and live. And they were supposed to be, as I understood it, buffers to infiltration of the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong, whichever. And

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I remember that in being shown around one of these villages I was told that here was a spot that the peasant's cow had brought forth a new calf, had given birth to a new calf. A tiger had leaped this bamboo fence and grabbed the calf and leaped back over the fence and made away with the farmer's baby calf. Well, I remember it struck me as being quite unusual that we were furnishing the money in a war of tanks and planes and massive armor to establish a strategic village out in the jungle protected by a bamboo fence which a tiger could leap without benefit of power or lead or gasoline and make off with a calf. It seemed to me to illustrate the insecurity and the futility of this whole tactic. And they were felling these huge trees, three, four, five, six feet in diameter, clearing the ground to conscript these people who, I was convinced, wanted no part of it to go out and live in this jungle to be a foil to infiltration. And they would fell the forest and build many airstrips for small planes to land at these strategic villages. It seemed to me to be unrealistic.
And then I had another eyewitness observation. Of course our route was well mapped out for us, and I wouldn't have gone if it hadn't been, but it was mapped by those who were strongly in support of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam policy, the policy that was being followed. And here was a field; I remember it was on the right, and I was sitting on the right in the back seat. And these peasants, oh maybe forty or fifty of them, were hoeing.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
ALBERT GORE:
There was a thick infestation of weeds in a field; I've forgotten whether it was corn or cotton or flax or what it was. Anyway, there were more weeds than the cultured plant. And they were chopping vigorously

Page 42
at these weeds. And after we passed I leaned over and looked out the back window, and they were all throwing their hoes down on the ground in disgust. [Laughter] So this illustrated to me that a show was being put on for us. And the longer I stayed the more I realized that there was something synthetic, something deceptive about this whole operation, and I became harshly critical. Remember this was in the early stages of our involvement in the war. And I did go to President Kennedy after his election and say that in my view our national security was not involved there, and that if it were we were allied with a weak and a corrupt regime, an authoritarian dictatorship that demonstrated no regard for human rights or civil rights or individual dignity. Well, with this beginning I developed a questioning, and formed a very critical point of view. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee I was entitled to the secret information available. One man who gave me unstintingly—insofar as I could tell from the stand of security information—was the head of the CIA, Dick Helms. Ultimately, after the Pentagon Papers were released, I found little new in them. They did, however, show that Helms had been the most accurate adviser of both the President and the Senate on the question of aid to Vietnam.
[text deleted]
I think the event that confirmed me as to the deception involved in the whole policy, the misconception, the misleading leadership that we had had, the falsifications, was in an investigation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. It fell to me to interrogate Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defense. And I became convinced beyond any question in my mind that he had deliberately sought to mislead the Senate Committee and mislead the country. I became convinced that there was no attack on the second

Page 43
night. I became convinced that in the first instance there was some sort of an attack but it was not unprovoked, that in fact it was provoked, that the very presence of our task force there was intended to provoke. So there appeared to me a scheme of deception, of deliberate establishment of incidents to inflame the people and to justify intervention in the war. Well, after having become convinced of this, which conviction was supplemented with almost every issue of confidential information that I had from Helms and such other sources as I had, I came to have an emotional, a very strong commitment against it, and particularly when so many United States men were losing their lives and many, many more people in Southeast Asia were being slaughtered in this cause that I considered unjust and unsound and unneeded, unjustified, unwarranted. I became immune to the criticisms that my position was steadily bringing to me. The issue seemed to me to transcend in importance my own personal political fortunes, so I became a very strong opponent of the war. And I was one of those—in fact, I think I can say that I was the deciding influence—that persuaded Senator J. William Fulbright to lead—I forget the authorization of the committee—the committee to hold the investigation of the Vietnam War. And if you will recall, it was only this investigation that made opposition to the war respectable. It was this investigation which, in my view, saved the country from the mistake of invading North Vietnam, which the Chinese had said would be the cause célèbre which would cause them to enter the war. So though it can't be established, I nevertheless then held the view—and I still hold the view—that this investigation of the Vietnam War by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which I was one of those who sought and had the deciding vote to bring about, may have saved us from the

Page 44
cataclysmic mistake of a war with China.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, would you comment on your relations with Senator Fulbright?
ALBERT GORE:
I was in the House, having had one term, when the young congressman named Fulbright came from Arkansas, the former president of the University of Arkansas. We didn't particularly develop a warm friendship then. We were congenial and played a little handball together; it was entirely friendly, but we didn't develop any warm equation. He soon achieved some prominence in the House of Representatives. He offered some resolution, I don't recall exactly its contents now, but it passed and became a nationally-renowned action.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Would that have been the UN resolution?
ALBERT GORE:
I just don't recall. I just remember it was in the field of foreign affairs. I remember he offered a resolution that attracted a great deal of publicity, favorable publicity, and it was passed. Our friendship really developed on the Vietnam issue. Rather generally he supported my views, and rather generally I supported his on the Foreign Relations Committee. Both of us were interested in international trade, both interested in the United Nations, both interested in international cooperation. And then ultimately both of us questioned the use of force as the principal arbiter of international differences. And then in Vietnam, the cause célèbre of that particular philosophy, we shared opposition to it. I found Bill Fulbright an intellectual, an inquisitive, curious man who perhaps was prepared to see the other side, one of the most probing men I served with in the Senate, and one I, for the most part, followed closely—not always.
Sometimes he was practical. For instance,

Page 45
as a lawyer and as a scholar and as an elector he thought civil rights legislation had a great deal of merit. He opposed it all, nevertheless. His rationale was that on that subject he had to represent the majority sentiment. Unless he did so, then some rightist so-and-so would replace him who would be wrong on everything. So he had to compromise on some things to be in the United States Senate and thus be able to achieve broader and, in his view, more worthy purposes. So he had a practical turn of mind, a realism, as the Kennedys would describe it, a pragmatic attitude about politics and public service. But overall a very honest man. He was nice enough to admit when he was voting contrary to his convictions for political purposes. He didn't stoop to that which I saw so many stoop to, to try to find extreme ways to rationalize an erroneous position. Bill Fullbright would just admit or air his position, but justify it on the basis of political pragmatism.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
What about the Dominican Republic, the intervention in the Dominican Republic? Did that cause you anxiety?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes. But I was not as well informed on that as I should have been. I don't recall now the exact circumstances, whether I was away from the Senate doing something else at the time. For a while I was persuaded by the evidence that the White House put out on that. I later became disillusioned; it was a very ugly affair. But at the time I did not share that view.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Mr. Gardner, do you think of other points we should ask the Senator about in connection with foreign policy? It seems to me, Senator Gore, that in the limited time we have remaining we might ask you to comment on two or three large areas, such as civil rights, and your attitudes

Page 46
and positions and the way you perhaps evolved in your thinking about that issue, and then in addition to that perhaps two or three of the campaigns that we have not touched on.
So could we lead off with civil rights, a touchy, difficult question for a southern liberal to grapple with. Would you speak to that question?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, the civil rights movement began while I was still a House member. The champion of civil rights, as far as the government was concerned, the main leading role was Harry Truman. And as I said earlier in this interview, he had ten points in his program, and I publicly supported either seven or eight of the ten. At the time I ran for the Senate the hottest issue of his ten points was the FEPC, the establishment of the Federal Employment Practices Commission, and I opposed that. And because of my opposition to that and because of—well, there may have been other things—but as I recall it civil rights as such was not an issue in my campaign for the Senate. Now you will perhaps recall that the late Senator McKellar was in some respects a very liberal man himself. Now he later became aligned with some elements which I would call reactionary interests, and the fact that he was a very powerful man in securing appropriations for any number of things which interested private interests very materially meant that he pretty generally had the support of the business element of politics. But on many things concerning social justice he was a liberal man; on legal issues, as I recall, he had a liberal orientation. He was an able man to begin with, a good lawyer. He had almost a hundred percent record with labor; had a good labor record. I don't remember how he stood on those ten points of President Truman; I just don't recall. But he never played the demagogue on civil rights issues. He

Page 47
didn't demagogue against me. So whether to his credit or mine or my discredit I don't recall, and you might make a case either way, but civil rights did not emerge as an issue in my 1952 campaign.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did it emerge soon after the Brown decision in '54, and the second decision in '55? How soon after those decisions did you really begin to feel that here was an issue that was going to affect you as one of the senators, that really had to be dealt with?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, as a lawyer of limited experience and not particularly prestigious training and qualifications, I nevertheless realized that the Brown decision had very far-reaching import. But strangely enough, it was slow to sink in. People just didn't believe it could happen here. It was just one of those Supreme Court decisions that would go away or be modified. How it was going away no one seemed to stop to rationalize, but it just was not going to happen here, in the mind of the public. So civil rights did not become a real hot issue ipso facto after the Brown decision. This developed rather slowly. You remember then there was still the string of decisions, the University of Texas decision which brought the issue still closer home. In this case of the University of Texas, that decision was written by Fred M. Vinson, formerly a southern congressman. He had been in the inner circle of the Congress. I remember after this decision I heard Vinson—George was his first name—
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Wasn't it Carl?
ALBERT GORE:
Carl Vinson, yes, a powerful and full-blooded southern congressman, say at a meeting at which this decision was discussed and Fred Vinson's authorship of the decision, Carl Vinson said, "Boys, this is it. This is it." This, as you will recall, dealt with the right of a black to attend

Page 48
the law school. At first, as I recall, he was allowed to sit outside of the door and listen through the door.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I think that was the Oklahoma decision.
ALBERT GORE:
Was that the Oklahoma one? I believe that was the Oklahoma one. Anyway, one decision after another, this developed. But it was brought home to the South gradually through one decision after another, and then by the attempts to implement the decision.
MRS. ALBERT GORE:
I can tell you what catapulted it into a political issue was the Southern Manifesto.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Mrs. Gore, let me welcome you to our circle and invite you to comment when you will. But I was thinking about the Southern Manifesto and the fact that the Senator was one, I believe, of three southern senators who failed to sign that Manifesto. Could you tell us a little bit about your reasons for not signing it?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, first let me deal with the background. And it isn't that we failed to sign it; three of us refused to sign it. Now Lyndon Johnson didn't sign it; he was majority leader at the time and, as you will recall, closely aligned with the South and with the southern senators. In fact, it was a block of southern senators that brought about his selection as majority leader. Whether it was by his request or because of their regard for his position as majority leader I never knew—I was suspicious that it was by design and his own initiative—it was never presented to him to sign or not, so he was never in the position of having to refuse signing it. I had read it as it was published, and I thought it was the most spurious, inane, insulting document of a political nature claiming to be legally founded that I had ever read. And there

Page 49
was a good deal of speculation in the press and in the Senate vocally about whether or not all southern senators had signed that or would sign it. Strom Thurmond first initiated it, but he was not a man of a great deal of stature in the Senate, then or ever, so they inveigled Walter F. George to become involved, and that gave it a great deal more prestige. Then Richard B. Russell was inveigled into involvement. It became a powerful political pressure throughout the South to denounce the Supreme Court decisions and to assert state rights as superior to Supreme Court decisions. This was the thrust of it, that the Supreme Court action was null and void if in fact a state of the United States chose to ignore it. It was either unionism or secession all over again as far as principle was concerned.
Well, quickly most of the southern senators signed it, after Walter George and Dick Russell became signatories and advocates of it. I was one of the fellows who had not been approached. So one day I was on the Senate floor and Strom Thurmond came over to my desk. I was standing for some reason; whether I was seeking recognition I don't recall. I was standing; my desk was beside the aisle. And he came over and brought this Southern Manifesto. And he bared the sheet with nearly all of my southern colleagues' signatures and says, "Albert, we'd like you to sign the Southern Manifesto with the rest of us." I said, "Hell no." And I happened to look up, and the whole southern press was in the press gallery. Evidently they had been alerted that this was going to be presented to me in broad daylight on the floor of the Senate. [Laughter] So with words with such vehemency that I'm sure they could hear it in the Senate gallery, I said, "Hell no." I don't remember the circumstances of it being presented to Senator Kefauver, but he too refused to sign it, and so did

Page 50
Ralph Yarborough of Texas.1
But Lyndon heeded that one way or the other, but never did anything.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Did the Southern Manifesto or the civil rights question become an issue in your reelection campaign?
ALBERT GORE:
In '58?
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Yes.
ALBERT GORE:
Yes. The late Governor Prentice Cooper ran against me in the Democratic primary, and this was his principal issue. He had a copy of it.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
How did you deal with that accusation or that issue?
ALBERT GORE:
I don't recall. I think I used a little wry humor and ridicule, along with denouncement of this spurious legal document: that I wasn't prepared to have another Civil War, that both of my grandfathers had engaged in that conflict quite unsuccessfully and I was not prepared to do so.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I suppose you also had to deal in '58 with the 1957 civil rights legislation. That was another problem, wasn't it?
ALBERT GORE:
Which I had supported.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Which you had supported. Did that involve a different tactic, or how did you deal with that?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, the whole thrust of the Manifesto was the civil rights issue. And I was branded as a civil rights supporter, which I had been—all except the FEPC, so far as I recall.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I understand that in that '57 legislation one of your primary interests had been voting rights legislation. Wouldn't that have been an important difference? Rather than broad

Page 51
civil rights support, your emphasis, I understand, was on voting rights, which was a shade different. It didn't involve quite the challenge to southern society that some people suspected.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, it did in some states. It didn't in Tennessee because . . . well, Crump had built his power on black votes, on controlled black votes. But blacks were voting in many parts of Tennessee, in most parts of Tennessee. Many of them at that time were still voting Republican. But voting rights was a defensible position. You could feasibly go before most any audience and defend the right to vote, which I did.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Was Tennessee that much more moderate than other southern states?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, it was.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
How do you account for the moderation?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, largely because of the prominence of Crump. He had built his power on the black vote. Maybe it was extreme: there were stories of him hauling them from Mississippi and voting, some of them, thirteen times. But here was the most influential political leader in the state building his power on the black vote. If Memphis could do it, why couldn't Nashville do it? Why couldn't they vote in Carthage, Tennessee, in the Democratic primary? For a long time we had one man here, one black who voted in the Democratic primary. But over a period of years . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
ALBERT GORE:
Of course as I said (to rush on ahead) earlier, the cataclysmic event that polarized politics, particularly in the western part of our state and more particularly in Memphis, was the garbage workers' strike, King's assassination and the political strife that followed, the destruction of the economic vitality of downtown Memphis, the movement of people

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to the suburbs. This was the culminating thing in the switch of the blacks to the Democratic Party, and the switch of many whites in the opposite direction.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I had understood that in 1964 some black leaders were not opposed to you but were perhaps indifferent, because they didn't quite understand your position on the 1964 civil rights legislation.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I voted against the 1964 civil rights bill. I thought it was an extreme vestment of power, more than the circumstances warranted. I may have been in error in that view. That was my view, and I opposed it at the time. Some of the black leaders, whether they actually opposed me—I guess some of them did, others just boycotted my campaign. And there was a decided falloff in my support as a result of that. It's understandable. They were very much involved in that legislation. It was a very fundamental statute. And many teachers, I remember, offered to submit legislation that would help with a particular amendment that I had offered in committee. I don't remember the details of these issues; it's been a long time. Yes, there was a boycott of my campaign by a number of blacks.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I thought it was rather interesting that in '64 Ross Bass was also running for the Senate for Senator Kefauver's unexpired term. But he had voted for that bill in the House, and in the South in the '60s you would think there would have been much more opposition, more agreement with your position of more restraint on that sort of thing than the position that Bass took, such a pro-civil rights stance. The persistence of moderation in Tennessee throughout the '50s and in the early '60s seems to have been rather significant.

Page 53
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, it was dealer's choice in those days. I think Bass had signed the Southern Manifesto. [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I think he had.
MRS. ALBERT GORE:
He did both. So if he called it back . . . [Laughter]
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
How about your position on the voting rights bill in '65, and the housing bill in '68?
ALBERT GORE:
I supported both.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
I thought you supported both. Mr. Gardner, do you think of any other points in this broad area of civil rights that we should ask the Senator?
ALBERT GORE:
I think I voted for all of the bills except FEPC and the 1964 bill.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
We hear it said now—this is a bit peripheral—that civil rights is not a volatile issue in the mid-'70s in the way that it was in the mid-'60s perhaps or in the 1950s. What is your thought about that? In other words, that southern political leaders have in a sense been emancipated or released from having to confront this issue.
ALBERT GORE:
I think generally speaking that is true. They no longer sit in in restaurants; no longer is anyone standing at the schoolhouse door as George Wallace did; no longer is there Lester Maddox with a baseball bat.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Or real opposition to things like voting rights.
ALBERT GORE:
None to voting rights, as far as I can tell, except that in Mississippi you wouldn't get Senators John Stennis or James Eastland to vote for a voting rights bill.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Mr. Gardner, I wonder if we could ask the Senator to comment on two or three of his campaigns that we have not touched on. The '58

Page 54
one: now as you think back over your career and the election campaigns that you were in, is there anything about that '58 reelection campaign that has unusual significance or that needs clarification?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I think that the '58 campaign demonstrated that civil rights alone was not a sufficient issue to dominate a Tennessee primary. Now, when you add to civil rights Vietnam and falsification of the issues, and tie those to the additional Republican votes in the state, then you have a majority. But within the Democratic primary civil rights alone—and it was proven by the '58 campaign when that was the principal and just about the sole issue former Governor Cooper, with the support of the Crump machine, raised; he didn't run a very good race . . .
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I was going to jump back a minute to something before '58. This is not a state campaign, and we've mentioned some of the state campaigns in passing and some of the issues.
I think that one thing that would be interesting to talk about in this interview is 1956 and your bid for the vice presidential nomination. What was happening in Tennessee? All of a sudden there were three people that looked like they might have some chance for the vice presidency. What was your position?
ALBERT GORE:
It wasn't all of a sudden. That situation existed, it came into being with Governor Frank G. Clement's prominence and with his courageous action on the civil rights issue with respect to Clinton, Tennessee.2 One of the bravest things that any leader in our state ever did: he sent the National Guard not to stand in the schoolhouse and beat them out, but to escort them in. This gave him very great prominence in the country, and justifiably so. He was an eloquent and handsome young governor who had taken a position with which the whole nation could associate and identify.

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So with the power of the office of the governor, which carried with it the power to select the delegation to the national convention—and I recall he was keynoter—here was a man prominently mentioned as a choice for vice president. Then there was Senator Kefauver, who had made the strong campaign for the presidential nomination in '52 and who was again a strong candidate for the presidential nomination. And he had repeatedly said that he was not a candidate and would not be a candidate for vice president. Well, by then with the degree of prominence that I had achieved as a senator and with the stronger support that I had than either Kefauver or Clement among the congressmen and the senators of the Democratic persuasion, I too was prominently mentioned as a likely vice presidential selection.
Thus it hung when suddenly, after having achieved the nomination for president, Adlai Stevenson announced that he would make no recommendation but leave the selection entirely to the convention. This, as you will recall, was at an evening session, and the vice presidential nomination was to be made the next day. So the ring was open, the choice was free: do you get in or do you not? So I decided to toss my hat in the ring. Later Senator Kefauver decided to seek the nomination himself, so did Kennedy, so did others—Hubert Humphrey, I've forgotten all of them. There were many of us who [Laughter] said, "It's free for all; let's get in." So that was the spirit in which all of us got into the contest. It was one night you get in. I remember I went to see Sam Rayburn about midnight. He was for me; Mike Monroney was for me; many leaders of both House and Senate were for me. And it was very close; it was very close. In fact, with just a very minor turn, say of one man, on that second ballot I would have been nominated. But that's

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a long time ago. It was a lot of fun.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
What went on in Tennessee, in the Tennessee delegation, that they decided to support you rather than Senator Kefauver? I know there was a resolution that they would support any Tennessean with a chance for nomination to national office. How did they decide? What swung the Tennessee delegation to support you rather than Senator Kefauver?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, just as I had the support of more congressmen and senators outside of Tennessee, not only in this matter but in other matters, than Senator Kefauver had, more of the politicians in the delegation were favorable to me than to Senator Kefauver. Now even more of them were favorable to Governor Clement, but by then he had backed away. He was a candidate for the vice presidential nomination so long as it was to be chosen by the presidential nominee. Once it was thrown open to the convention he decided not to try for it. So then it was a choice for the delegation. And I had announced; then later Senator Kefauver had announced. But by then the people were [Laughter] sleepy in the wee hours of the morning. And so come the next morning at convention time, why, there were two Tennesseans who were candidates, not three. I was preferable to the majority of the delegation. But we worked out an agreement that if I could not be nominated then I would support Senator Kefauver. He was not involved in that decision; I was involved in it. And as a result of that commitment on my part the whole delegation voted for me. And when on the second ballot Texas left me and went to John F. Kennedy in order to keep Kefauver from getting it, I switched to Kefauver and gave it to him. It was a fast ball game, [Laughter] I'll tell you. In any television show when they want to review past conventions

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there's no more dramatic incident they show than that. It was a very wild [Laughter] thing, and I came very close to being nominated.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Did you have a better relationship with Governor Clement than Senator Kefauver did? What sort of relationship did the three of you have, three very prominent politicians, national politicians in this period?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, the answer to your question is yes. There was always a warm feeling between Clement and me. Now whether he ever voted for me I don't know, I mean in the primaries; I just don't know. But he never actively opposed me, nor did I ever actively oppose him as far as I recall. I don't believe I did. We had a good personal equation. We were not of the same political faction, but he and my brother-in-law were the closest of friends.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
ALBERT GORE:
He and my cousin Casey Pentecost, who was in political life, were the closest of friends. A number of members of my own family were very closely aligned with Clement. I admired Clement, particularly his action in Clinton, Tennessee. I thought he was a progressive governor. I got along with him; I got along with him. He was never my champion, nor was I his particularly, but we had no antagonism between us. I think there may have been a modicum of antagonism between Kefauver and Clement.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
I was thinking about you and Senator Kefauver. I've noticed the ads in the senatorial campaign this year with Senator William Brock and Senator Howard Baker together, Senator Baker endorsing and campaigning for Senator Brock. Back in those days you didn't do that sort of thing, did you?

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ALBERT GORE:
Oh yes, in the general election we did.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Well, but in the primary. Was there much support in the primary? Didn't you usually avoid that sort of involvement?
ALBERT GORE:
Yes, that's true. But this Baker and Brock alignment you see now, this is in the general election.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Why was there no support? Why did you not support Senator Kefauver and he not support you in the primary race? You were essentially of similar faction, the same factions, similar voter support. Why was there this reluctance to support another of your fellow senators?
ALBERT GORE:
What do you mean, public support?
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Public support, open endorsement and that sort of thing.
ALBERT GORE:
Well, rather generally senators and congressmen in Tennessee avoided involvement in other primary races. This was not confined to me.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
Why?
ALBERT GORE:
You take in my campaign in 1952. Well, Senator Kefauver was running for president then; he didn't want to get involved in a primary campaign between Senator McKellar and me in Tennessee. It's just the better part of political wisdom to avoid injecting yourself into other people's battles.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
He did occasionally. I think he supported Browning in that particular race; perhaps the reason was because of the problems in the '52 convention. And later he supported a gubernatorial candidate, maybe Rudy Olgiati, although I'm not exactly sure. There was some support occasionally. There seemed to be so much independence in Tennessee politics: no statewide party organization, no coalitions or whatever, just so much independence.

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ALBERT GORE:
Well, at least I was always independent.
JAMES B. GARDNER:
And Senator McKellar had usually endorsed, the Crump machine had traditionally endorsed their own candidates.
ALBERT GORE:
But that's not the only way in which I was independent. I've always had a large—
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
We've been going a long time, Senator Gore.
ALBERT GORE:
A pleasant Sunday afternoon.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Well, it's certainly been illuminating to Mr. Gardner and me. I wonder if we could ask you just one or two broad questions about your impressions of the way the system works. You have had a long and distinguished career in the state and the national government. We hear a lot of criticism of the flaws and inadequacies in our system. What is your thinking now about the way our national government works?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, I believe it was Winston Churchill who said something to the effect that democracy was the worst form of government, except any other kind that anybody had ever thought of. Ours is not a perfect system. There are many miscarriages of justice. It has many faults, the worst of which in my view is the dependence of our electoral system upon private money. But overall I find a greater measure of freedom, opportunity, equality, justice in this country than in any other. Well, there may be some minor exceptions like Sweden and Switzerland; I don't know the details of those systems. There's a great deal of freedom, equality, and justice in Great Britain, in some respects I'd daresay more than here but in other respects less; less social equality there than here, despite our racial problems.
So overall—and I've been to many parts of the world, most parts of the world; I'm constantly now

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visiting and doing business in many parts of the world—I find this country of ours superior to all others. This system doesn't work quickly or always effectively or justly, but it's the best; it's the best. I would work some changes; I would reform the system. I was a liberal advocate of change in many respects for several years, and brought about some changes which I'm proud of. But I wouldn't change our system in its entirety for any other system in the world in its entirety. There are some characteristic features of other societies that I would like to graft into our system, to plant in our system. I think our system can be improved; I know it can. It must be. I say must be because freedom and democracy were planted into it. Our system was the shot that was heard round the world. It started one revolution after another, one democratic achievement after another around the world. It's still the harbinger and the beacon of hope for most of mankind. But with the spread of weapons and the use of power and explosives—much of which we've furnished, I'm sorry to say—democracy has been snuffed out in one country after another. And I'm not sure that it's the wave of the future anymore. It's the system that most people aspire to, but when met with brute force, dictatorship has won in one country after another. So I think we must constantly try to improve ours. We have the greatest system in the world, but in order for it to endure, at least to be assured of enduring, we must constantly seek improvement, modification, and broader-based freedom, equality, and justice. There is too much disparity between the affluent, the privileged in our society, and the mass of our people. But I'm happy to note my son's election to Congress at an age one year younger

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than when I first went. Since he starts one year earlier, maybe he'll go one step higher.
DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Senator, I think that's an appropriate point at which to conclude this long interview. And Mr. Gardner and I want to thank you very much for your cooperation and for the information and illumination that you've provided. I think that you have contributed what will be a historical document of real importance. And we also are grateful to you and to Mrs. Gore for your hospitality.
ALBERT GORE:
Thank you.
END OF INTERVIEW
1. Ralph Yarborough was not actually elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas until after the initial controversy over the Southern Manifesto in March 1956. He took office after winning a special election in 1957 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Price Daniel in 1956. Thus Gore, Kefauver, and Johnson were the only southern senators who did not initially sign the Manifesto in 1956. Yarborough did, however, become a prominent voice in the Senate in the late 1950s for moderation on civil rights, joining Gore, Kefauver, and Johnson to resist the more extreme demands of their southern colleagues.
2. The Clinton, Tennessee, racial integration dispute did not actually develop until September 1956 after the August Democratic National Convention in which Clement played such a prominent role. The Tennessee governor's prominence and moderate image on civil rights were more clearly related to his rejection in January 1956 of demands by pro-segregationist groups that he call a special session of the state legislature to enact legislation to protect segregation.