Home Contact Us FAQs Sitemap
Nixon Presidential Library & Museum
The Life The Times Virtual Library The Museum For Kids For Teachers For Researchers Plan Your Visit News & Events About Us Plan Your Event
VIRTUAL LIBRARY
Bradley H. Patterson, Jr. Exit Interview

Document Collections

Presidential Daily Diary

National Security Memoranda

WHSF Returned Materials

Exit Interviews

Public Papers of the President

Pentagon Papers

President Nixon's Grand Jury Testimony

Bradley H. Patterson was an executive assistant to Leonard Garment, helping him with civil rights issues and cultural affairs. Under Mr. Garment, Mr. Patterson developed his own specialty in Indian affairs. In his interview, Mr. Patterson described his involvement with planning for the Bicentennial, school desegregation policies, legislation concerning Alaskan natives, and the Nixon administrationís response to Indian activists occupying Alcatraz, the Bureau of Indian Affairs building, and Wounded Knee.

A transcript of the exit interview conducted on September 10, 1974 is available below. You may also download a scan of the original typed transcript in Adobe Acrobat PDFpdf format.

Transcript

Exit interview with Bradley H. Patterson, Jr.
conducted by Terry W. Good
in Room 182 of the Old Executive Office Building
on September 10, 1974

TWG:

Your name, as I said, came up at least once in an interview with Bobbie [Barbara] Greene [Kilberg], so I assume that you were on the staff sometime in 1971. When actually did you join?

   
BHP:

I joined the White House staff in September of 1969, around the 22nd or 23rd of September, at Mr. [Leonard] Garment's invitation and request, to be his executive assistant. I had been on the White House staff prior, in the [Dwight D.] Eisenhower years, as the Assistant Cabinet Secretary, from July or so of 1954 until January of 1961. I met Mr. Garment during 1969, in the summer. He himself came on the staff around July, I believe, of that year. I had been in government for some twenty-five years and he had been in government for about three months, so we had a symbiosis, so to speak, which we struck up. I joined him as his executive assistant in September of 1969. His area of responsibility--I helped him across the board in everything he did with one exception: later on in 1973 in the Watergate area. That I had nothing to do with; he handled that exclusively by himself. But, other than that, we shared everything, and I helped him across the board. His area of responsibility at that time (it shifted a little bit since) involved mainly civil rights: the whole civil rights panoply of problems, civil rights policy particularly; the Bicentennial; oversight over the work of the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities; some personal and individual assignments in the are of American Jewish affairs that got a little bit into some foreign policy matters occasionally. That was the general area of activity.

In the fall of 1969, an outside gentlemen whom we both respected a good deal, Edgar Kahn, brought in a group of Indian people, whom he wanted to try to have the Vice President meet and to have us meet, and we both of us did: sort of an Indian task force to review Indian matters. They had written a book under Edgar Kahn's sponsorship. This was the first approach to the Nixon White House and our first meeting with them. By delegation and by osmosis and so forth in the subsequent years I've gotten to take sort of an interest in Indian affairs. I didn't know very much about it at the beginning but have learned a lot since. Anyway, that's been an area that I've more and more specialized in, again basically under Mr. Garment's general direction, of course. As was everything I did. But that's been an area that I've given a lot of attention to in the last five years, and I'm now sort of considered a resident overseer on Indian matters here in the White House.

Nontheless, our general policy areas were the ones described; in all those years we kept things to do in that whole area. There was a shift in 1973, when the responsibility for oversight of the work of the Bicentennial Commission changed at the President's suggestion I think, from Mr. Garment to Anne Armstrong, who was then Counsel to the President. That shift, that change, was made then and has continued, and she continues to have that oversight we had up until that time. Now that area of course brings a lot of individual areas of policy, but I want to hold off on that until I--unless you want meto catalog some individual things we worked on. I don't want to--I'll wait until I--further question for that--if you want.

   
TWG: Roughly speaking then there are four or five, perhaps six, big areas; civil rights being a broad umbrella over all of them: the Bicentennial and the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities. I would tend, Brad, unless it would be incorrect, to consider the Indian activities and interests to fall under this umbrella of civil rights.
   
BHP:

That's correct.

   
TWG:

Is that how you people saw it?

   
BHP: That's how we got into it, that's how we both got into it, that's how I got into it, and it still is part of the broad umbrella.
   
TWG:

Well, before getting into some of those, let me just touch upon a few other questions; then we can move into those. You have mentioned that you were Mr. Garment's executive assistant. Was that in fact your formal and official title?

   
BHP: Yes. It was not very formal, but it was official; that was the title we agreed on, and I've used it ever since.
   
TWG: Did you people consider yourselves, and were you in fact, within the organization structure of the Domestic Council, or were you somewhat attached to it but really outside of it? Is there any way to pin you down on that?
   
BHP: Mr. Garment was part of the White House staff, not Domestic Council. I guess by osmosis I was, being his personal executive assistant, I guess I was wherever he was. So, I guess that would be technically where we were at.
   
TWG:

I've always had troubles with that because, on several occasions in the past, your names would have come up in the context of the Domestic Council interests, activities and responsibilities. Yet, I've heard on other occasions where you really were not part of that. That's why I was just trying to....

   
BHP:

I think that's right. Generally we reported to Ken [Kenneth R.] Cole and John Ehrlichman; Mr. Garment, of course, technically reported directly to the President, and on a number of occasions we did that. But, on domestic policy matters, which was civil rights--and minorities affairs, of course, were domestic policy--matters, we reported to Ehrlichman and with his assistant Ken Cole, of course. Now since Ehrlichman left [we report] to Cole de
facto. This leads us into a course of sort of being linked into Ken's work in the Domestic Council. But, very technically speaking, right now for instance the Domestic Council has an officer which watches out for Indian affairs, happens to be Norm [Norman E.] Ross; Norm and I work together. Also the Domestic Council in recent months has had an officer designated who watches out for the arts and the humanities, Tod Hullin and somebody in his office, I believe. So in a very technical sense, they cover it and we've covered it, but in terms of a real policy expertise and some background, going back some years, there's no question about it, that it was Garment and myself that had this area, and still do.

   
TWG:

In terms of the organization of this office, were there just two of you or were there others...?

   
BHP:

Initially there was one other assistant to Leonard who was here when I got here, a lady named Carol Harford. She helped him a little bit on Bicentennial and a great deal on the arts and humanities, in fact so much so that in the first three years or so of our associationship, Carol really handled the arts and humanities aspects of staff work for Mr. Garment, although I helped Carol. We worked together often. The Bicentennial sort of shifted over to me, but Carol kept on with that until she left in roughly 1971, I think, to join the staff of Wolf Trap Farm, Mrs. [Catherine] Shouse's staff. She's very happy out there. She was succeeded by a lady from the Endowment named Starke Meyer, Mrs. Cord Meyer. She's the wife of the distinguished official of CIA [Central Intellingence Agency]. Until she left; her husband was assigned as CIA station chief in London; she left in 1972, I think, to be with him.

   
TWG: She more or less picked up then from Carol?
   
BHP:

She picked up Carol Harford's work. After she left, Mr. Garment left the position vacant, so to speak, so whatever there was that was there [unintelligible], I did the work on that.

   
TWG: So for all intents and purposes the staff has only been Mr. Garment, and yourself, and these other two ladies for the....
   
BHP: That's correct, that has been completely the staff; now Mr, Garment was given in April of 1973 the responsibility of Counsel to the President. Things shifted a little bit, and he had one gentleman who helped him closely, Doug [Douglas M.] Parker, and then he had, of course, the Counsel's staff, but that was a different episode that you gotta talk to him about.
   
TWG: OK. You, as you said before, were not involved in that?
   
BHP: In no way, no. I kept on in the other responsibilities, but he was....
   
TWG: Did any of his activities fall more and more on your shoulders during that period?
   
BHP:

A little bit that way, yes. The delegations became a little more general, I think. He was swallowed up, of course, in the work with the Counsel in the Summer of 1973. In the Fall of 1973 he switched again, and we came into this office, and he resumed his responsibilities as Special Assistant.

   
TWG: Well, I think perhaps we can go back and dive into some of those specific projects and responsibilities that you had. I don't know how best to approach them. Would it be better to take civil rights and cover that from 1969 to the present?
   
BHP:

Well, let me describe some of them in general terms, in these general categories. Let me begin for instance with the Bicentennial. We had, when we first looked at the situation, a commission set up by Congress in 1966, a fifty member commission, both government officials and outside officials and a small staff that was growing at the time. One of the first problems we had, of course, was the question of an exposition; the two were practically
synonymous. The question simply became what city was it going to be held in, and that was an issue which we had to deal with. Philadelphia was chosen by the President and then the real shemozzle [phonetic] began of finding out what was wrong with Philadelphia after the decision was made. Turned out some of the citizens of Philadelphia didn't like one site after another, and then the price began to climb. The upshot of it was maybe a year, or two years maybe, were wasted in this effort to try to find the right place in Philadelphia, with the citizens turning down one site after another and the amounts of money climbing and climbing. Finally the President, with some courage, as well as Mayor [Frank L.] Rizzo, with [a] great deal of courage, just faced up to it and said, "There isn't going to be an expo in Philadelphia: we can't afford it, nobody seems to want it." We called it off, deregistered it, so to speak, with the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris. But the problem [unintelligible] the great sacrifice here was the time that had been spent and now of
course we turned to: what was going to be the Bicentennial?, and where was it going to be?, and how was it going to be done?, and what the federal role was, and state and local role, and so forth. We should have turned to that a long time ago, we had been fussing with Philadelphia for so long. So, that was a sort of a problem.

The Bicentennial organization itself was a problem: what was the most effective and efficient mechanism? Fundamentally, the answer to that was "No" with the caliber of the people we had over there on the commission and on the staff--what about them? Some questions were raised particularly about the commission and some of the directorship of the staff. We had a lot of problems in that regard, a great deal of problems, and we tried to work with them. Finally we came to the point where we recommended a whole new structure, changing from a commission form to an administration with a single director. We proposed, the President proposed, something to Congress in February, I think it was, of 1972 possibly, I think that was it. It may have been February of 1973. It took a full year of fiddling with that and trying to get it through Congress; we thought it might be through in a few months, but it took a full year to get that through. Then, of course, we had to get new directions and so forth. Meanwhile time was ticking off; you don't put the Bicentennial, like a space shot, on hold--1976 and holding. 1976 kept creeping forward all the time, closer and closer, inexorably, and so all these things that were organizational shemozzles took time, time, and time. Now we finally have our organization--well, no, we haven't got it yet. We've got Mr. [John W.] Warner chosen to head up the Bicentennial, but we're still trying to get members of a twenty-five member civilian, distinguished civilian advisory committee. Until we do that, we can't have the full members of the Board of Directors, which has a lot of policy-making authority, so I guess in a certain sense it's still looping and....

   
TWG:

And time marches on.

   
BHP: Yeah, time marches on still. Now the country is beginning to wake up for the Bicentennial. There's going to be lots of things happening all over the country: counties and states and cities and at the grass roots, and that, of course, is exactly where it should be. But, it's not been a very satisfactory situation and I don't think it's had, myself, all the leadership it should have had from our side over here and from the federal executive agencies. There has been quite a bit of coordination pulling them together. So, it's been a tough business and I think there's still some tough things ahead. Of course, Anne Armstrong is now a very, very competent person and [a] better staff now [is] working. I think they're going to do what can be done, but it's still very late.
   
TWG: Has your role in this, Brad, been to be a thinker, to come up with some policy ideas and options, or are you a coordinator, or...?
   
BHP: Both. At the time we had it, we were trying to help the Bicentennial do its thinking of what direction it wanted to go in, look at the budget problems: how much money it wanted to spend, look at its priorities. We particularly drafted its legislation, legislation on the new Bicentennial administration and set that legislation in accordance particularly with Mr. Garment's thinking, which was that the Bicentennial [Commission] should not be the manager and director of the Bicentennial, but it should be sort of the program coordinator. The analogy Mr. Garment used often, I thought was very good, of a television network producer, who looks at a year--he has a year program, a year of space to fill, a year of time. He looks at the year and his staff says or the people around him or his contractors and other people on the network say, "Well, we're going to use this much: here's some movies, and here's some specials, and here's some shows here, and here's some shows there." He looks at the whole year, and he says, "This is out of whack, this doesn't--balance is lacking. You need more of this," or, "You need more of that." He doesn't manage the camera and go out on the sidewalk and make the show, but he makes the judgment that we need balance. Then he points around and says, "Now you go and fill that with this kind of a show, you go and fill that hole." We considered the Bicentennial administration that kind of a function: looking at the states, counties, cities, the Federal Government, international participation and looking at the whole year of programming, so to speak, for 1975 and 1976. Then saying, "Well now, there's some holes here. Here you are out of whack. You need balance. Here, Interior [Department], you go do this, and HEW [Department of Health, Education and Welfare] you, using your funds because we don't have very much, you fill the balance here," and in that sense make a balanced year celebration. Now that was the concept. I'm not close enough to it anymore to know whether the concept is really being applied in that way. I do know that we tried to disabuse people, and in fact did disabuse them rather promptly, and the Congress went along with us fully on this, Congress completely agreed with us: the Bicentennial was not a pot of gold which would dish out large amounts of money, or itself run programs. That concept has stuck and that's the way it still is. They have small amounts of money, sort of seed money to get things started.
   
TWG: Who were the people that you were dealing with, within the federal bureaucracy? Were there some that you might think worth naming at this point or were there so many that...?
   
BHP: Well, each agency had sort of a liaison officer for the Bicentennial. I could tick off the names of some of them, some of them changed, some of them have stayed. We first tried to help pull the agencies together in this liaison arrangement.
   
TWG: Well, you wouldn't need to name them unless you felt that your contacts with them were sufficiently frequent and significant that they warrant naming.
   
BHP:

Well, there's one I might name back on the expo issue. Let me see now, I want to be sure I do get his name--Bill.... In the Commerce Department they had a section on Fairs and Expositions. I'm sorry now: for a minute his last name slipped my mind.

   
TWG: Well the title is enough of a lead that we can run that down.
   
BHP:

Commerce, you see, and particularly this gentleman, [a] very fine upstanding guy, who had his axe to grind but he ground it well, he was a real professional in his business. I'll think of his last name in a second. They were pushing the expo idea, they felt that the Bicentennial without an expo was [like] an automobile without an engine, it just wouldn't go anywhere. It had to have an expo, and as I say, that really sort of really took us off the track after two years of wasted time, but they pressed their position well and expressed it well at the time. We worked in the Commission, of course, with Chairman [David J.] Mahoney and prior to him, Chairman [John E. Wallace] Sterling. Sterling's staff man was a fellow named Mel [Melbourne L.] Spector; I believe he's since retired from the State Department. Mahoney brought in a fellow who really, to be quite candid about it, was a disaster. He was a fellow named [Jack] LeVant. He was a personal associate of Mahoney's an older man, and Mahoney looked up to him sort of in a way, even though he was his subordinate. LeVant knew nothing about how to run anything, particularly how to run a government institution, and finally left under fire, a very strange series of, whole sad situation, but mucked up the staff for quite a while. Then finally we got a new man, Warner, and now better staff leadership. Staff below the top leadership was really quite competent, a really very energetic and enthusiastic group of people and still is, but they never were given very much direction.

Now turning, let's say, to civil rights. There are several general areas of civil rights policy; let me mention a couple of them. Of course the major outstanding question in civil rights in the Nixon administration has been [unintelligible] a question of school desegregation. Mr. Garment's principal role in the civil rights policy area has been the work he has done in this area. This began particularly in January or February of 1970 when the issue began to get quite--a hot issue, court decisions beginning to come and the Supreme Court being still silent on the matter, had not yet spoken about the busing question particularly. Federal district courts and appellate courts were tending to give slightly different opinions, pointing in different directions. Congress was getting unhappy, a lot of speeches in Congress. [The] Vice President was on the point of making a very tough and hard-hitting speech. The President in effect then said, now just everybody wait a minute; I want to take a careful look at this whole question. The Vice President was asked to cancel his speech, and he did, and Mr. Garment was asked to do a careful policy study.

It was interesting to me always to think back on this, the assignment wasn't given to Justice, to [John N.] Mitchell and it wasn't given to [Robert H.] Finch in HEW. It was given to Garment here in the White House staff as a
typical, archetypical, White House assistant, I've always felt, the kind of gentleman who fits the description in the [Charles E.] Merriam Report of 1937: a fellow who works quietly, emits no public statements, possessed of great physical vigor and a passion for anonymity. That, of course, was a good description of Mr. Garment, of how he handled this role, [a] very sensitive, tough role to handleand he did it.

Well, we reached out. I helped him a little bit on this, he did the principal work, he was assisted by one gentleman on the outside whom he respected a lot, Doug Parker. We reached out, we reached out to civil rights leaders, we reached out to sociologists and educators, we reached out to lawyers, who did particularly careful legal analyses of the whole situation. In two months, it took him about two months, Mr. Garment produced a report for the President, I wouldn't say a report actually--it was a black notebook with sixteen tabs, [a] very thorough study. We particularly got ourselves acquainted with the work of the HEW people in the Office of Education under what is known as Title IV, which was sort of a technical assistance to school districts. That work and the competence of the people over there impressed us and laid the groundwork for the later proposal of the special assistance program to the school districts under threat of sudden desegregation and that was the program that emerged as the school assistance program. Well, Garment  made this report to the President. In your interview of him you should get much more detail, as [he was] much closer, of course, as to how this was all done. It was a masterpiece of [unintelligible] and was given to the President in March of 1970.

I remember one of the things we reached out for was a description of how certain communities in the country were handling this problem. I think it was through Postmaster General [Winton M.] Blount--interesting of how the ways of research lead one--"Red" Blount introduced us to a group of people who had come to see him from Greenville, South Carolina. The gentleman whose name most sticks in my mind was a very distinguished--I think he was a banker down there, named Brown Mahon. We met late one night in "Red" Blount's office, talking with Brown Mahon and the people, I believe he had some ministers and other businessmen, three of them I think. We brought them over here for dinner in the White House Mess that night, and we heard their story of how they handled the whole problem in Greenville, South Carolina, which was under a sudden court order to desegregate completely. They decided, as I remember, that, rather than desegregate just the way the court said--which would be [unintelligible] completely it may have been only partially that certain schools desegregated--they decided that would simply have a lot of highly black schools, which would be "white flight". They decided to desegregate their whole town in having a busing arrangement where the whole town was 80% white and 20% black and divide the proportion equal: every school in town would be the same proportions. You wouldn't have this problem of "white flight" and many more black students in one school and many fewer in another. They had a town-wide, city-wide busing arrangement, and they concocted it themselves, they did it themselves. They had ministers and the businessmen and the bankers and the leading lights of the town members of Greenville, South Carolina, and they put it into effect. Then they explained it to the town through the newspapers and through the pulpits and so forth. They explained it to the schools, and they coached the teachers and then there was a--really organized their city so the thing went smoothly. They did it, they pulled it off, and it has gone quite smoothly.

Well, we saw this example of citizen leadership and had several meetings with them, talked to them on the phone, corresponded with them and so forth. This became a major part of Mr. Garment's recommendation to the President, namely the importance of working with intelligent local leadership, local leadership which may in their hearts have been opposed in the South, as many of them were, to the whole idea of desegregation and busing but who could see this court saying they've got to comply with the Constitution. [Local leadership] saying, "Look, the future of our city is at stake and we don't want, or our state is at stake, and we'll set our sights higher than our immediate, than our inner prejudices, and set our sights on the future of our community, on the future of education in our community and our state. We'll take a big deep breath, and we'll do the things that are required by
the Constitution and show real statesmenship." Well, out of this grew the formation of Citizens Advisory Committees in seven, in six of the seven states--Texas was the one that did not. The President even went down to I believe New Orleans, took a trip down there and met with the leaders, the chairmen and vice chairmen of these six committees. I believe in each case a committee was formed and had a meeting of the President here in Washington, and they all met together down there in New Orleans, I think it was. Anyway, this was a key part of the strategy of this administration: to help encourage local statesmanship to accept and work with the school desegregation requirements of the courts.

Well, as I say, out of this memorandum of Mr. Garment's came the March 24, 1970 school desegregation statement of the President, a lengthy statement, the first policy examination of this question that any President has
made. I believe a Cabinet committee was formed under the Vice President's chairmanship The emergency school assistance program was put together, and Congress voted it in on an emergency basis. Then these state committees were put together. All of these grew out of this kind of research and leadership and initiative that Mr. Garment had put together in this report in 1970 and was a major effort, [which] continued for another year or so: all the follow-up and the legislative follow-up and the hearings and the conference reports. He did some legislative liaison, which was unusual for this office, so we were very deeply involved in the Indian-Taos Blue Lake thing, as Bobbie [Barbara (Greene)] Kilburg told you. We got very heavily involved in legislative liaison on that bill, because it was a follow- up on the President's message. So that was a great, a major initiative we took on, and it was the principal consumer of time, of Mr. Garment particularly, for the year or so, two years beginning January 1970. Later on, Ed [Edward L.] Morgan and later Dana Mead had more to do with school desegregation, but that came more in 1971 and 1972.

   
TWG: I was going to ask you about that. I have also talked with Ed Morgan and Jim [James B.] Clawson, his assistant,...
   
BHP: Right, right.
   
TWG: ...and Jim particularly evidently did an awful lot with these Citizens Advisory Committees,...
   
BHP:

That's correct, that's correct, that's correct.

   
TWG: ...traveling down there and visiting with them. Did you do any of that traveling?
   
BHP:

No, I didn't do that. That was sort of a Clawson project. Then [Robert T.] Mardian came over here briefly; he was sort of executive secretary to that Cabinet committee that Mr. [Spiro T.] Agnew chaired. So he and Clawson handled those state committees particularly. Garment helped find the people who worked with Brown Mahon actually on the phone. I remember one Sunday coming in here working all night, practically, in getting people, calling different places and civil rights leaders. There were black and white people, those committees were biracial committees. But once they got them set up, Mardian and Ken [Kenneth W.] Clawson, not Ken,...

   
TWG:

Jim.

   
BHP: ...Jim Clawson did do a great deal of work on that and slowly phased out of a policy area into an operational area, and so our role became less. Garment has always stayed with the policy areas, and operations have gone out to other places.
   
TWG:

That clears up that mystery for me.

   
BHP:

Yeah. Then we had a policy switch, then I think Morgan and later Dana Mead took over on the policy side also. A lot of it drifted into their hands, but Garment had the original responsibility. Then the next major thing he did.... Of course, the follow-up of that continued for some time, for several years, of course.

Now the next major thing he was in the civil rights area was fair housing. In this case he worked a little more closely with the Departments. In the school desegregation thing I think he really worked mostly within the White House staff and with these other contacts that I had mentioned. Fair housing he worked quite closely with [George W.] Romney and Mitchell and to some extent with GSA [General Services Administration] on a statement on housing policy. That was the June 11, 1971 Presidential statement, and that was another major project that Mr. Garment [unintelligible]. He put [it] together in the same style and with the same research and careful behind-the-scenes work and examination of policy options and so forth. The President issued that statement on housing policy.

   
TWG: Before you go too far, Brad, your references to these have always begun with the pronoun "we". Is it correct to assume that your input into these activities was equal or was a major portion of the final product?
   
BHP: I would say no, I wouldn't say a major portion. I think on these two exercises, they were predominately Garment's and my input was 25%, something like that.
   
TWG: Now don't be self-effacing.
   
BHP: No, but I helped him in a lot of the research and a lot of, particularly working with Brown Mahon, worked on that. [On] the housing thing [I] did a piece here and a piece there, but the product was primarily his.
   
TWG: OK.
   
BHP: When we got the Bicentennial, for instance, I guess my role there was more like 80% and his was 20. On Indians my role has been more like 90% and his was 10 in terms of time, man hours. Obviously he came in on the key points, and he was in every case my supervisor, but our division of time, as I'd say, was roughly in that range.
   
TWG: OK, that's one of the things I was hoping to get some feel for that. Well, excuse me for interrupting.
   
BHP:

That's alright. I think there were some small things we got into and got out of. Sort of strange in the way assignments came whizzing in and whizzing out. One of the smaller ones was Spanish-speaking [unintelligible]. I'll
pass a little bit of a value judgment here: that was really handled [in a] very poor way here in the White House. It was passed around back and forth to one set of hands and another, and it was really very unhappily the way
it sort of bucked around. It is now in Mrs. Armstrong's very competent hands, and she's got some staff people helping her. For a very brief period of about two months it was in our hands. We tried to do something about it and began to look at it, but then it got switched again; that one's really been kicked around.

The other one was the problems of the aged. For a brief period that was also in our hands, and we spearheaded a couple of option papers, particularly around the time of the President's speech in Chicago to the American
Association of Retired Persons. We did two option papers: one on Medicare and one on inspection of nursing homes. It was interesting that both of them got shot down by OMB [Office of Management and Budget] and [John D.] Ehrlichman, but then the President left for his speech and the speechwriter got on the plane with an empty briefcase. At the very end [he] said, "Look, what am I going to put in my briefcase? I've got to work on this
speech." They gave him the option papers and said, "They have no status, they weren't approved, but you might want to have them as background." Evidently on the plane he took the one on nursing homes, took a look at it, and must have mentioned the subject to the President. The President has a 92 year old aunt in the nursing home somewhere in California, and he lit onto it and said, "I want to have federal licensing of nursing homes." [He] put that in his speech, so we heard the speech given and our option paper suddenly came to life.

   
TWG: That reminds me, I think I interviewed Vicki Keller, and she talked about that and Mr. [Harry S.] Flemming's work on this.
   
BHP: That's right, that's right. Now Flemming came along a little later, I think, on this.
   
TWG: OK.
   
BHP: This was prior to that, but it was right around--just prior to the speech in Chicago was when we had [it], and then Flemming took it over and Vicki....
   
TWG:

Again, you were in the policy evolution stage of it.

   
BHP:

Well, then they took over the policy evolution too. It was one of those things that was sort of kicked around also. For a brief period we were in it, and right at the time we were in it and had those papers and, as I say, had that interesting experience. Now Indian affairs: we've been in it from the beginning and have had it ever since. This, of course, I have spent a great deal of time. It's sort of like growth into it; I'm no anthropologist or expert in it. Of course, we had many interesting experiences in this area; I don't want to take too much time in detail. One of the things--well, many things we're very proud of, we're proud of all our years here and the things we were able to
do. I think in Indian affairs one of the things we are proudest of is our role in the President's message of July 8, 1970. At that time the Vice President's office was active in that, C. D. [Clarence D.] Ward, and Bob Robertson. Then Ken Cole, in fact, asked us to take it on and wrap it up as a single staff office responsible to him. We did that and pulled it all together, and then Lee Huebner, the speechwriter, wrote it up as a message. I briefed him on it, I remember, and then I had to go, strangely, for my son's wedding in Norway, overseas, people waiting over there, so I was away when the actual message was given. It was all put together pretty well before that. That led the way, it took a tremendous initiative and gave us a target and sort of guidelines which are still existing and our charter all during the Nixon administration. Legislation was developed in consultation with Indians, of course, and so this has been a matter of great leadership that he took. Indians are very proud of it as well as we.

One of the next major areas in policy development in Indian affairs was the Alaskan Native Claims Bill. That was one thing that had not been mentioned in the message but at the very end of 1970 it came to our attention as an
uncovered area. What was our position on this bill? We had sent a bill routinely up there in 1969. I think it came out of Arthur Burns's office when he was Counselor here. Nobody in civil rights area really looked at it, and they didn't do any consultation with Indian people; they just sent the bill up there. Interior [Department] and Arthur Burns's people put it together. Well, Indian people began--we got some signals from Indian people in Alaska: they really would like to have, did we really mean that bill, could we take another look at it? At the very end of 1970 we got a word changed, one word changed in the President's State of the Union follow-up message. He issued a message the day after the State of the Union message in 1971 in which he said, "There will be a bill, instead of "the bill" for Alaskan Native Claims. That was a signal we were going to take a look at it, and we did take a look at it. OMB shook its head and said, "Oh, you don't want to open up that whole bloody battlefield again," and we said, "Well, maybe we do," because we hadn't known anything about it and hadn't participated in it and
furthermore nor had any Indian people. That was the point. The President's message in 1970 said, "We will consult Indian people about the things that affect them." There were no consultations, even in Interior,  no
consultations.

So, we opened it all up and we found lots of issues that hadn't been looked at: the land issue and money issue. Then we worked closely with Don [Donald R.] Wright, who was the President of the Alaskan Federation of Natives, who came down here from Alaska and spent a lot of time with US* We worked with Interior people, although we were hard put to it to find people in Interior who knew very much about it. BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] people with Morrie [Morris] Thompson, a little better. He was the Special Assistant to Secretary [Rogers C.B.] Morton at the time, he's now Commissioner of Indian Affairs. We had a hard time looking in BIA for an Alaskan expert. We worked closely with Don Wright, and the Vice President's office got into this, and we redid that bill. In the process we developed a major policy issue, and we found ourselves tangling not only with OMB but with Interior. Taking a much more forthcoming position than either OMB or Interior wanted, but considerably less than the Indians wanted, so it was a compromise position that we set out. We decided that that was an important enough issue to take to the President, so we took it to the President, via a long memo to Mr. Ehrlichman and then a key meeting in Mr. Ehrlichman's office, with Morton, Don [Donald B.] Rice, Garment and myself and some others. Bobbie was there. I went over the whole issue, sort of spread it all out orally and had gotten about two-thirds of the way into the presentation when Ehrlichman said, "Well, I have spoken to the President about this and he thinks he wants to stay," as I remember him saying, "in the same forthcoming position we are in on Indian Affairs. He wants to stay right there." At that point Secretary Morton said, "Well, hell, let's make it forty million acres and a billion dollars," which was roughly the position we had been taking. Exercising my habits as former assistant Cabinet Secretary, I had my pen busy. I took this down in a memorandum and within a half hour of the meeting had a memorandum around to all participants saying, "This is what it is going to be," and it was. We stuck with it. Interior tried to welch on it in another couple of weeks, and Ehrlichman said, "You're not welching on a decision made in my office," and instructed them to redraft the bill (now we were doing the actual draft). It was some painful processes but again, in close consultation with Indian people, the bill was ready. They would object to some things, and we would say, "No, the President's decision is as it was." There was some back and forth on some details, but we finally put a bill together which was the basic decision which Mr. Ehrlichman had made in his office based on the general conversation he'd had with the President. So we had Don Wright into the President's office and the President met Don and had a brief conversation. Then Don went out on the West Terrace briefing room and praised the bill, even though the Indians' position was 60 million acres. He praised the bill and our work on it, said he was going to fight for a little bit more in the Congress, but he accepted it. That was considered a real step forward: to have the Indian leaders themselves finally say, "This is a bill we have worked together on." It turned out that Congress bought exactly the bill we proposed, very little changes. [Henry M.] Jackson had had his own bill up there, and there were the bills in the House. Then we did a lot of legislative liaison, which is a little bit unusual for this office, but we did it, and the bill passed. In December 1971 the President signed it and telephoned a message to the Alaska Federation of Natives then meeting in convention in Alaska, announced that he had signed it that afternoon. So that took a whole year of work, all during 1971 and mostly on my part, some on Garment's part, but mostly I carried that ball.

But I'll make a little bit of evaluative comment: it showed me, it opened my eyes a little bit to the occasions when occasionally the White House staff has to tangle with OMB. The career people in OMB really dragged their feet on this matter, really tried to use unbalanced, unfair data, tried to use it in an unfair way, tried to buttress their case with biased arguments. I was surprised to see OMB get itself onto that position.

   
TWG: These were the career people?
   
BHP: These were career people in OMB, yeah. We had to drag them to Mr. Ehrlichman's doorstep.
   
TWG: As you say, I had not heard anyone else....
   
BHP:

Well, as I say I was familiar enough with the issues so I can say that and back it up. They used data--we were trying to figure out the value of the lands. OMB was trying to put a very inflated value on the value of the lands and they would say, "Here's an oil lease over here, and it was $18.00 an acre," or something like that. That was the very high end of the scale, they took the highest figure they could find and multiplied it by 40 million and came up with a very scary figure of how much money we were handing away to the Indians. When you really took a careful look at it, you found they were dealing from the high end only, instead of an average end.  Nobody knew what's under those 40 million acres; nobody knows now. To make an estimate based only on figures way out on one scale throws the whole calculation off. So we went back to the people in Alaska and found out what the averages were, instead of the high end. Well, we found that kind of argumentation all the way through, I'm sorry to say. Anyway it was just one example of where.... In the end [the] White House has to assert what it's doing and assert the basic policy of the President and even occasionally take OMB and push it in the direction of the President's policies, when they ought to be, it seems to me, listening and leading, rather than being pushed. Anyway, that's what happened.

That bill is now an historic act of Congress and of the executive, and it is changing the face of Alaska and of Indian affairs, because this is the last great White—Indian settlement in American history. All the other settlements were in the nineteenth century, were settlements growing out of war and battles and treaties made at the conclusion of those battles. We're still trying to untangle through the Indian Claims Commission the unfairness and the
arbitrariness of the treaty decisions. This was our last chance. We weren't going to have a war in Alaska. The question was "Who owned Alaska?", and the Indians were challenging in courts: they were claiming 360 million out of Alaska's 370 million acres. They could well have taken twenty years to take all those claims through the courts. They might have won a lot more than 40; nobody knows how much they would have won. A settlement was made by an Act of Congress, which, of course, is a much prompter way to do it, and under the stimulus of oil exploration, obviously we had to get a settlement. It had been an issue that was put off, it was put off when Alaska was discovered, it was put off when the [William H.] Seward sale from the Russians, it was put off from statehood. Everybody just put it off: "Indians, we will deal with you later," until finally they couldn't put it off any longer. But, as I say, it was an example of where occasionally the White House itself has to state the President's policies, get them and state them, and we did. As I say, it is an historic measure and the last great White-Indian settlement in American history, and done in a really statesman-like way, which we are very proud of.

Then, of course, in the Indian affairs you had--the three most painful problems we had were the examples of Indian militancy. It began right away. I believe it was in the Fall of 1969 that a group of twenty or thirty or so Indians took over Alcatraz. This caught the imagination of the country; it was one of the early occupations: took over Alcatraz, how about that! They erected signs and painted banners, and it was obviously purely a demonstration, it was purely a PR [public relations] thing. It wasn't territory, it wasn't land, it wasn't Alcatraz, as such, and what was going to happen to Alcatraz. The whole thing was symbolism from beginning to end, and the people who were there knew that, although they never said so--they talked about building a university on Alcatraz--and we knew it. The important thing was we both knew it. We both knew we were dealing with symbolism, and both knew we were dealing with PR, very skillfully managed PR. The tourist boat would go out, and the Indians would shoot an arrow at the tourist boat. It was all expertly managed symbolism and the press went wild about it, particularly the San Francisco press. There were two million people every day looking at this little bunch of people, and, of course, they had Thanksgiving Day dinners with Pilgrims and Indians, and [they] erected teepees, and it was just tailor made for all kinds of PR stuff. Jane Fonda was there, and Ethel Kennedy was involved, and it was--all the folks of the Jane Fonda type were all on this thing too.

Fundamentally it was a question of our response: were we going to kick them off, or what were we going to do? I won't go into all the details. I will in a subsequent interview if you want, it takes a long time. But in a word we used, our policy was restraint. Kent State had just happened that Spring in 1970, and it could very easily happen again. Jackson State happened right after that. You could have the law enforcement in such [a] way that you could have a Kent State out there in Alcatraz, and we just didn't think people would stand for that, with killing Indians. We['d] done enough killing of Indians in the last two hundred years and we weren't about to do any more. Our policy was restraint and negotiation and talk and try to work out some alternatives, and so forth. It turned out that negotiation went on for a year and a half; meanwhile the Indian thing sort of disintegrated, because when you have merely a symbolic step, you don't have the substance and the stick-to-itiveness, even among the crusaders themselves. It finally disintegrated into just a matter of petty crimes and squalor, and then the marshals moved in [and] took them off. The newspaper editorial--even the newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, for instance, supplied the Indians with a generator to show the press's interest. Not letting the issue die, they actually stuck a finger in it by supplying the Indians with a generator, the Chronicle did, so then they could continue to keep the thing alive and the lights going and the lighthouse going, and the Chronicle could continue to write about it. Finally even the Chronicle lost interest, lost the support. The whole thing degraded, which is true of activism, which has only PR but no substance, but it took a year and a half. It degraded into nothing, and we took them off and then very wisely brought the photographers in the next day who took pictures of the squalor and degradation that they left behind and that the papers [unintelligible].

So we thought we learned our lesson: to handle Indian militancy, you recognize it is symbolism from beginning to end, some reality but mostly symbolism (which has a reality of its own), and you handle it with a great deal of care. We never got any instructions from the President one way or the other on Alcatraz, that I know of. Obviously I think he must have sympathized with our approach or he would have instructed us otherwise. We felt we had to support what we did, of course. The next was a little harder. This was the BIA, the occupation of the BIA building, the so-called Trail of Broken Treaties that came to Washington, saying they were coming to negotiate and to talk about broken treaties. They really came, of course, to cause some mischief. They said they were going to be meeting on the Sylvan Theatre, so some of us figured they might try to take over the Washington Monument, or something like that. They never got to the Sylvan Theatre; they got into the BIA auditorium, and that was a target of opportunity, and they never left it. That was just the day before the election, the day of the election in 1972. That was a little more hairy, because you really were dealing with three or four hundred people, right under the nose of the government in Washington. They had Molotov cocktails, they had arms, and they had really barricaded that place. Any use of police power to evict them would have been a holocaust. The place would have gone up in smoke; the whole building would have been lost, everything in it. [They] had gasoline up there, and many lives both of policemen and of Indians--there were lots of little Indian kids, they had two or three nursery schools going in the building for little kids.

Restraint here looked even more like capitulation, but again restraint was the rule. We got our instructions from [Egil M.] Krogh and Ehrlichman. I was there that night when the decision was made and called Krogh myself, and he said, "Don't move in; tell the police to go home," and I did. Then Ehrlichman called, we got word from Ehrlichman, he said, "Wait a minute now, we better get those people out of there." I said that Krogh had just given me different instructions. Please give me one single set of instructions. I'm here where the action is; you fellows make up your minds--what are you going to tell me?" An hour later we finally got word that the instructions were as they had given them to us; the police had gone home by that time anyway. The original instructions through Krogh were correct, and the Attorney General was going to take the matter to court.

That turned out to be a mistake, because the thing we were able to do in Alcatraz, and went in Wounded Knee, both, later--we never went to court, because courts tend to impose deadlines. Deadlines in a situation of symbolism and PR simply do nothing else but escalate everything: escalate tempers, escalate expectations, escalate the press, TV cameras all standing around to see what's going to happen after the deadline. So going to court turns out to be the wrong way to handle a militancy situation like this. Well, they went to court and, of course, the court said, "By such and such a time you're to be out." That was appealed, but deadlines kept piling on. One deadline would be appealed or be struck away and a new deadline would be set. The whole weekend was one of deadlines and, every time a deadline was mentioned, they piled the cans of gasoline higher and the TV cameras would be more and more.... That was exactly what the Indian leaders wanted, because my contention [is that] they are nihilists with no real cause--the AIM [American Indian Movement] people, [Dennis] Banks and [Russell] Means--only targets of opportunity, and there are lots of targets of opportunity. They're spending quite a time since making, exploiting--but they're absolute nihilists. This was guerrilla theatre to the nth degree, but still the way we played it was restraint. We had negotiations then on Monday night, Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday, and they

finally got out on Wednesday or Thursday. Now there're lots of details about what happened and bus fare home and so forth, those issues which were aired in Congressional hearings. We were quite convinced that any assault, police assault on that building would have been, say, we would have lost the entire building and every piece of paper in it. They did swipe some files, many of which have now been found and sent back, but we would have lost the whole building and quite a few people dead.
   
TWG: You were the key man [unintelligible].
   
BHP:

I was there. What happened was, that afternoon (it was a Friday, a Thursday afternoon) they wanted to talk to Ehrlichman and wanted to meet with Ehrlichman. The instructions from Ehrlichman's office to me by Tod Hullin were, "Patterson, you represent Ehrlichman." So I said I'd meet with them, and the meeting I expected to be in the afternoon, 3:30 - 4:00 and so forth. Finally I got a call from Harrison Loesch which said, "Well, the meeting isn't going to be in the afternoon. The meeting's going to be in the evening at eight o'clock." You may not believe this, but I'll have to state it for history and I'm glad I'm doing so. I didn't know until I got--nobody bothered to call me and tell me--I didn't know until I got to the Interior Department building, the BIA building, of course, was a block away. At eight o'clock I walked into the Interior building for this meeting. I didn't know then that the BIA building had been occupied. Nobody called me up and said, "Patterson, we've got a different situation on our hands; you're walking into a peck of trouble." Nobody ever told me, I drove down there, parked my car, came to the meeting at eight o'clock, and they said "Did you know the building was occupied a block away." Then I was confronted, otherwise I would have been in touch with the White House people and Krogh. Garment was in New York at the time, or he was away, so it was a really very hairy situation. Then we handled it that night by calling Krogh and getting instructions.

   
TWG: Well, I won't pursue that because....
   
BHP:

I'd be glad to do it in more detail.

   
TWG:

Fine, at some later date, Brad.

   
BHP:

Now the third was Wounded Knee, and again that's a lot of detail, but again we handled it the same way. Again there were demands for immediate action. It was very confused because it was Indian vs. Indian. You had some Indian militants of, the tribal ones, who wanted to go in and knock those guys out of there. Of course, the marshals were asked for, Interior asked for help from the marshals and FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation]. That again was the same kind of a situation, the same old questions and the same guys, the players in the play. In all cases it's been Means, Banks on the one hand, and Garment and Patterson on the other. Joe [Joseph T.] Sneed was set up in his office where the meetings were held, and I have full notes of all those meetings which I'm sending on to the Nixon files. They're all in shorthand, but they're there. I think the President knew about this and probably through Ehrlichman or somebody passed instructions back that--again I think he supported the restraint which we showed. We did show restraint. Here, two Indians were killed. There were sometimes thousands of rounds a night exchanged here. Two Indians were killed, and one marshal was wounded from the waist down, a surprisingly small number of casualties compared to what it would have been.

We made some contingency plans for heavy occupation and invasion, but they weren't used. They would have involved tremendous amounts of force by military people. We looked that contingency in the face and said, "No." Furthermore, it would have required a declaration by the President, him signing a piece of paper authorizing the military to do this, and I don't think anybody was about to put that kind of a piece of paper in front of him. So negotiation, negotiation of all kinds: up and down, in Washington, some of the time out in Wounded Knee; negotiators: [Ralph E.] Erickson, [Dale K.] Frizzell, all kinds of negotiators; back-stop team here: [John C.]
Whitaker, Sneed, Garment, Patterson, so forth. All those are details I can go into subsequently. In the end, in the end interesting: all symbolism, the whole damn thing symbolism, marvelous symbolism. When those guys picked Wounded Knee--what a place! But in the end a symbolic solution for a symbolic occupation. The solution was to send five White House negotiators out to Wounded Knee, orout to the.... That was the symbolism, symbolic move on our part that broke it, and they agreed to lay down their arms, and so forth.

By this time, of course, the press had gotten a little jaundiced, I think, and they, and that would.... See, the symbolic, the guerrilla theatre depends on the press, absolutely depends on the press. The press, like the Chronicle example in Alcatraz, begins to wane, and the interest begins to wane, the press begins to say, "Wait a minute. We're being had here, we're being used." The operators of the guerrilla theatre realize they have to shut down. Well, that's what happened in Wounded Knee a little bit, the press began to say, "Hey, wait a minute! This is, they're putting on a show for us; we're part of the show." They were beginning to say, "Maybe we are being used." Someone wrote an article later on and said, "Bamboozle me not at Wounded Knee." The press really was, in later months, engaged in a great deal of self-criticism over this, realizing they had been used, full and completely. But it was a recognition of this and the slackening of interest among the Indian occupiers and the third-world types who were joining them. The restraint we had showed and so that ....

interest begins to wane, the press begins to say, "Wait a minute. We're being had here, we're being used." The operators of the guerrilla theatre realize they have to shut down. Well, that's what happened in Wounded Knee a little bit, the press began to say, "Hey, wait a minute! This is, they're putting on a show for us; we're part of the show." They were beginning to say, "Maybe we are being used." Someone wrote an article later on and said, "Bamboozle me not at Wounded Knee." The press really was, in later months, engaged in a great deal of self-criticism over this, realizing they had been used, fully and completely. But it was a recognition of this and the slackening of interest among the Indian occupiers and the third-world types who were joining them. The restraint we had showed and so that ....

Then I was the head of the negotiators that went out there, and that was an interesting adventure: going out there under the pine boughs. First you had to go to the tribal chairman, who was mad because we were coming out on a reservation dealing with a group of dissidents. Then we had to go out and deal with the dissidents. Banks and Means weren't there, but their whole supporters were there, and we were surrounded by about two hundred of them. It was a peaceful meeting, but, you know, we could see all the AIM types around there. However, there were a lot of marshals around, too. We were harassed and harangued and yelled at for two days, but we maintained our good humor and our willingness to listen and sat there under the sun and listened. It was a little hairy; however, it was interesting. I remember Mr. Garment saying, "Don't go out there and act like an Indian, you know, put on a lot of feathers and make a fool out of yourself." As a result I wasn't going to do this. Just around that time some bad things were breaking here in Washington, I think some Watergate exposures were coming up. This was May of 1973. Then all of a sudden the papers came out with pictures of this old Indian chief escorting me by the hand. He grabbed my hand and hauled me across the field, me and my briefcase and him in his feathers. It turned out that was one of the more favorable pictures of the Nixon administration right around that time, in May of 1973. It was a guy willing to listen to the Indians, and I think that--turned out it was a help, rather than came out on the negative side.

The aftermath of that is still going on, of course, the trials, the felony trials. What they didn't do in the occupation of BIA: they didn't have any witnesses and they didn't have any trials, except for a few people whose--those documents were found. But in Wounded Knee they've had felony trials. Now we don't know--in St. Paul the case is just going to the jurors, so we're not sure how it's going to come out.

So in these three instances where we had really some time of testing we feel, Leonard and I both feel, that the restraint we showed was the right thing. We felt it had the President's approval or we surely would have been told otherwise. We felt it was the right thing to do, the way to handle something which is all symbolism and almost no substance, where the symbolism becomes the substance, and it's guerrilla theatre from the word go. To do the wrong thing just elevates the guerrilla theatre from side stage to center stage and elevates the attention of the nation even more. It's a very hairy situation in all three cases, which we are convinced we did the right thing on.

   
TWG: I've spent more than the hour I promised that I would limit myself to, Brad, and I hope you'll forgive me for that. I'll try and wrap up. Are these the major areas?
   
BHP:

Yes, there's lots more in the Indian business, of course: pieces of legislation and the reorganizations and so forth and problems of BIA going up and down, but that's the most of the Indian.... There's a great deal of time been spent on these things. Now the other areas of our policy activity, there have been a lot of miscellaneous things. We're involved in--I'll try and remember some of them. They're not as bright in my mind as, they don't come to mind as rapidly as I would expect. They are all in our files and records, which [unintelligible].

   
TWG: That was my next question: to what degree are your inputs and your responsibilities documented in your files? Would we be able to track you with a fair degree of accuracy?
   
BHP: Well, it might be a little difficult. I wrote a lot of, tremendous amount of letters and papers, and I haven't really--I guess I'm not as historically-minded as I should be. I didn't put my name on all of them, so lots of things--Garment did all the signing except in later years on Indian affairs; he gave me signing authority, so I had my own signature.
   
TWG: Well, if there were only two of you in the office that were generating paperwork it shouldn't be too difficult.
   
BHP: That's right. I would say the percentages I gave: paperwork on the Bicenntenial was 80-85% mine, paperwork on Indians was 90-95% mine, paperwork on school desegregation was about 25% mine, and fair housing about 25% maybe, or less. That would be a rough guess.
   
TWG: Well, that's a good guideline, and it will clear up, I know, a lot of mysteries. Your willingness for an opportunity to interview in subsequent years I think would....
   
BHP:

Oh yes, I'll be glad to go into these things in detail in subsequent years and can do that at your request.

   
TWG:

Who has been your secretary or secretaries through these periods of time?

   
BHP:

Well, let's see it began with.... We really used the secretaries, usually two or three secretaries in the office, and we used, all of us used all of them. Let's see, the first when Mr. Garment came in was Dolores....

   
TWG: Well, last names aren't terribly crucial. Once we get just one part of that name we can trace it.
   
BHP:

Yeah, but I should have the last name; gosh, my memory is so foggy. Dolores was the first girl and Jean Robinson, was number two. Then Dolores left and Jean became number one. We had, well, let's see, there was another girl who came in. There have been a succession of them: Ginger [Virginia M.] McGann was secretary for the last several years of mine; in 1973 Jean was ill [and] Eleanor Connors took her place. On that very sudden day in 1973 when Garment switched over, everything got switched. We had to move the office, he had a new assignment, a new secretary all in one day. Now Linda Hagge is secretary; Jean retired in June. Jean's here in town - she'd be somebody you might want to interview, Jean Robinson.

   
TWG: I have talked with her off and on during those years she was here, so at least I know who she is; she may not remember me. Where might we, how might we contact you let's say in subsequent years? Do you have any sort of a permanent mailing address?
   
BHP:

My permanent address is in Bethesda, Maryland. It's 6705 Pemberton Street, Bethesda, Maryland, 20034. Home phone 301-320-5840. I have indicated interest in staying here at the White House, so I may stay here, I'm not sure. I do expect to stay in government.

   
TWG: That touches on these very general questions. I think that you've done a very good job of....
   
BHP:

One thing comes to mind I guess I should indicate. In the civil rights area, one activity which took a great deal of time--I forget the exact dates but they are in the files--was the Black Caucus. They wanted to see the President. and finally, after some hitches and stalling and so forth, he finally said, "Come on in." So they came in, [they] had 62 requests--it's interesting because they recently came to see President [Gerald R.] Ford--they had 62 requests on their minds. They presented a paper with all 62.

We spent then about two or three months going through, at Ehrlichman's request and with OMB, every one of those 62 recommendations. We farmed them out to the agencies and we had written responses to them, we reviewed them through OMB and George Shultz. Some of them had some policy questions which we had--I think we took some to the President. Then finally we wrote a letter back, which the President signed, to the Black Caucus. That was a three month exercise in high gear between this office and OMB. Showed OMB working at its best in this case, as I gave you one example of, as you might call it, at its not so best. In this case OMB at its best working with the agencies, arm in arm with us, very close collaboration: Garment and Shultz and myself and [Arnold R.] Weber. Arnie Weber was the guy who really put this together. The four of us really put this whole exercise, we gave it a hell of a lot of man hours and then came back with a very careful lengthy response preceded by a letter from the President, followed by a letter from Shultz and then a black book with 62 tabs in it, giving all our detailed answers. Facts, figures, why we could do this, or couldn't do this and so forth. Of course this was getting close to the election time in 1971 or 1972, and the Black Caucus had a big press conference and said, "Well, it ain't good enough." But at least it was a very careful conscientious effort.

Another thing we did was the Urban League: a major meeting with the President in December of 1970--I believe it was 1970, could have been 1971; the records will show which it is--with Whitney Young. He brought in his top people with the Urban League and they had certain things on their minds. Particularly they wanted to do some contracting for the government, doing some things for the government, which only the Urban League could do, with its accessibility and credibility in the black community. The President agreed thoroughly with Whitney Young on this, had a very cordial meeting. [The President] opened the meeting by saying, "How many of you folks ever been to [the] New York office of the Urban League?" It was a meeting with about 2/3 of the Cabinet; they sort of blinked their eyes a couple [of] times and allowed as how few of them had done so. The President said, "Well, I've been down there," andthe meeting took off from there and went up. So the President said, "I'll make a review of this, Whitney, and we'll look around the government for some things which we'd like the Urban League to do."

Now our office got that assignment, and we had a paper on that subject around within half an hour of the meeting. We followed that up and found twenty-two million dollars worth of contracts for the Urban League. Whitney said at the end of the meeting, "Mr. President, I want to phone you up thirty days from now in January. I want to call you up on the phone. Will you talk to me?" The President said, "Yeah, I'll talk to you".  [Young said,] "I
want a status report, progress report," so we knew we had a deadline. It happened: he called him up, the President took the call and told him about the twenty-two million dollars and shortly after that he [Young] was drowned in Nigeria. But that was a very fruitful and helpful exercise involving a hell of a lot of work inter-agency, around all the different agencies. I did most of the work on that. Of course, Leonard spearheaded it but we a--it took a lot of time. That kind of project, ad hoc kinds of things we worked on all the time.

   
TWG:

And that type of thing will surface in your files?

   
BHP:

That's all very thoroughly covered in the files, both of those things.

   
TWG:

Good, good. Well, I'm very encouraged. Based on what you've said, your files are going to represent and reflect your activities, Brad, and that's so crucial to us. After we've had a chance to go through them, then we can come back and touch base.

   
BHP:

I'll add one other thing. I know you are short of time, but I'll add one other thing. One of the things that's [unintelligible] us most of our time in the last year has been a basic policy cleavage on the problem of equal employment opportunity. Now here you have the problem: the President said, "No quotas." You have on the one hand the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] people, first chairman Bill [William H.] Brown and now chairman John Powell, generally feeling, tending to believe that what we need to do with state and county and federal merit systems over which we have some control is to lean over backwards. To compensate for the years of discrimination by leaning over backwards, particularly when you've given a test and you have a result of a group [of] equally qualified people, you take the equally qualified and you lean over backwards to take the minority people. On the other hand the Civil Service system says, "Nobody leans over backwards. You do it strictly according to the merit, or you destroy the merit system." Now we have instructions which had to be issued to state and local governments on this question: "What would we do when you have been found in violation, what is the remedy that we will use?" As I said, EEOC wanted to use a very stiff remedy, and Bob [Robert E.] Hampton said, "You must stay within merit principles," and the President said, "No quotas." Orchestrating this one has caused a great deal of tough intellectual work, and I did this almost all by myself. Garment entered at the crucial moments and played the crucial role, of course, as he should.

We were able to get two instances--one a year ago and one a couple months ago, both of which took months to resolve, particularly the earlier one. We resolved this issue and got a statement which they could all agree on, and the statement is in the files as the statement of March 23, 1973, 1 think it was, in which this was resolved. Then the question came later, one issue was the issue of [the] Sacramento County letter. The Sacramento County Commissioners wrote us a letter and they said, "Look, we want to have a minority preference ratio in Sacramento County. We want to hire two blacks to one white or two minorities (Spanish-speaking) to one white. We think this is a great idea, don't you?" The EEOC people out there said, "Yeah, a great idea," and the Civil Service regional people said, "No, it's against the law." That came back as a follow-up to the March 23 statement. Well, now we had to work on the letter to Sacramento County; would you believe that that took a year? From June 1973 when they asked us the question to June of 1974, meetings around this table here in my office trying to get--finessing issues, partly a compromise, partly a finesse, but partly a very useful back and forth on this whole question of equal employment opportunity and the remedies to be used. That got worked out also, but it took a lot of behind the scenes effort.

   
TWG: Well you, to be sure, have been involved in some very important policy matters and in carrying those out.
   
BHP: That's what we tried to do, which is a typical White House role. The job we do, behind the scenes, quietly, checking with the President when needed and trying to carry out what we believed were his policies and his wishes.
   
TWG: Was your background law?
   
BHP:

No, no. Philosophy, University of Chicago, philosophy degree and degree in social thought. I was the first degree winner in a program called the "Committee on Social Thought" in 1943. I've been in government since 1945.

   
TWG: Well, just the way you presented some of this information led me to believe you had either a very firm background in law--yet I can see in some of the things you've said a philosophical approach to many of these problems.
   
BHP:

I somehow, strangely had some kind of an affinity for lawyers. I worked, of course, as Max [Maxwell M.] Raab's deputy and then worked with Morey [Morris I.] Liebman, the distinguished lawyer who was the Chairman on the Advisory Committee on OEO, of which I was executive director. Then of course, with Garment. I consider myself a graduate of the Garment law school. [Laughter]

   
TWG:

Well, I can't thank you enough for this. It's been very enjoyable for me and I look forward to another opportunity too...

   
BHP:

Fine, fine.

   
[End of interview]
Documents

 

Home Contact Us FAQs Sitemap

The Nixon Library and Museum is part of the Presidential Libraries system administered by the National Archives
and Records Administration
, a Federal agency. View our Privacy Statement. View our Accessibility Statement.