Following are excerpts from websites about Charlie's career:


Oral History Interview with Lewis T. Barringer

Longtime personal friend of Harry S. Truman and treasurer for his 1944 Vice-Presidential campaign.

Memphis, Tennessee

April 15, 1969

by J. R. Fuchs

BARRINGER: It was through Senator Bankhead that I became acquainted with the Legislative Counsel for the Senate. In that connection, Mr. Charles S. Murphy, who was on the staff of the Legislative Counsel handled agricultural legislation.

FUCHS: Did you bring Mr. Murphy to Mr. Truman's attention?

BARRINGER: I did. When the Republicans had control of the 80th Congress, Senator Taft, who was chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee, had discovered in his working with the Legislative Counsel's office that Mr. Murphy was a most competent person. I observed that Senator Taft was so frequently calling on Mr. Murphy for such a substantial portion of his time that I figured that if Mr. Taft needed the services of anyone to the extent that he was using Mr. Murphy, that he should have sought out a

Republican; and I saw no reason for a good Democrat having to put up with so much Republican indoctrination, that I put in a plea to Mr. Truman that he should find a spot somewhere for Mr. Murphy. The result being that after several months, Mr. Truman placed Mr. Murphy in his office at the White House.

FUCHS: To your knowledge did Mr. Truman know of Mr. Murphy to any degree before you called him to his attention?

BARRINGER: Yes, Mr. Truman knew Mr. Murphy quite well. Anyone who was as active in legislative matters as Mr. Truman experienced continuous dealings with the Senate Legislative Counsel's office.

FUCHS: Were you in a position to make an observation as to the influence and position of Mr. Murphy in the White House, say as in relation to some of those who received more notice, such as Clark Clifford?

BARRINGER: I'll say this for Mr. Murphy, that whoever Mr. Murphy was working for, Mr. Murphy always tried to put that particular person's interest ahead of his own and he tried to do exactly what that particular person desired. And now, that's been the whole thing there. Mr. Murphy, you and I know, wanted to do just the best that Mr. Truman wanted done and Mr. Truman knew that.

FUCHS: One reason I mention this is, as I'm sure you know, certain writers have said that with the exception of Clark Clifford, all the Truman staff, administrative assistants, special counsels, and so forth in the White House, were rather second-rate and I just wondered how you felt about that.

BARRINGER: There's no truth in it and I think that proof of it lies in a recent situation in which Mr. Johnson, that's President Lyndon B. Johnson, exercised when he knew that he was not going to run for re-election as President of the United States. Before any announcement was made, Mr. Johnson transferred Mr. Charlie Murphy, who was chairman of the CAB, to the White House for the purpose of handling all transitional matters of turning over the Lyndon B. Johnson administration to the Republicans. I do not know of any situation under which more expert knowledge is essential than when a President turns over the termination of his term to an incoming President. Mr. Johnson had observed Mr. Murphy over many years prior to his appointing him as Under Secretary of Agriculture, and then placing him in the chairman's job at the Civil Aeronautics Board. So, I don't know of any greater responsibility as well as confidence that could have been placed in a man as Lyndon B. Johnson placed in Charles Murphy; because in turning over the files of one administration to another there are so many incidents that could come out of such a situation that they would be hard for the President to live down. I don't believe Mr. Johnson would have put anyone into that job that he figured was not of the highest caliber in every way. Further on that matter, I've heard remarks by people in high positions of government, state that they had never seen a smoother transition from one administration to another than that handled by Charles S. Murphy. And you know, I have heard a lot of folks say they couldn't understand this thing, for Mr. Murphy could just go to any law firm that he wanted in Washington and go into partnership with any law firm there. That's his caliber.

FUCHS: Now, I don't know how much knowledge you have of his activities as Under Secretary of Agriculture. Do you have anything that you might either criticize or laud about his work there?

BARRINGER: Mr. Murphy undoubtedly was one of the best administrators that has ever been in the United States Department of Agriculture. I've never talked to anybody anywhere that will admit that Mr. Murphy's not the top administrator that has ever been in there. And I understand, also, in talking to people acquainted with airline operation, and they say that Mr. Murphy put more patterns of essential handling of matters before the Civil Aeronautics Board than anyone else has ever done. In other words, it goes back to prove that he is a fine administrator of Government affairs and I think that if you had to pick out an administrator, people who have dealt with Charlie Murphy would put him tops anywhere.

FUCHS: I'm sure you know of the recent decision by the Nixon administration to rescind some of the route allocations that the Johnson administration made in its last days. Do you have any observations about that situation?

BARRINGER: I would say that the Johnson decision was strictly political and that it was a wide departure from that which was recommended by the Civil Aeronautics Board.

FUCHS: Then you feel there is justification for President Nixon's action in this case?


FUCHS: Did your path ever cross that of Clark Clifford who, of course, was from St. Louis originally?

BARRINGER: I saw Clark frequently, but had very little in common with him.

FUCHS: Do you know how Mr. Truman looked upon the performance of Clifford both as his counsel and then subsequently in the various jobs he has held, and as a lawyer?

BARRINGER: I think he had considerable respect for him. However, I noticed that he had not been called in for preparing many speeches for him since he left office.

FUCHS: Why do you think that's so?

BARRINGER: I think that he called in writers who worked on ideas which were more in keeping with Mr. Truman's. I think that one reason that Mr. Murphy has been so highly regarded by Mr. Truman since Mr. Truman left Washington, is that anytime he called on Mr. Murphy to help him on a matter it was always done with the idea that it followed as near as possible Mr. Truman's own wishes and desires.

FUCHS: Then your implication is that this might not have always been so with Mr. Clifford?

BARRINGER: I think that's true.

FUCHS: What about David Lloyd? Did you know Mr. Lloyd?

BARRINGER: Mr. Truman had considerable confidence in Mr. Lloyd.

FUCHS: Did you regard him as a first rate administrative assistant, first rate man in the White House?

BARRINGER: He was but he was not in the Charlie Murphy class. But he was certainly a most trusted staff member and he was entitled to that recognition, and I think that everybody felt that he always put his job first.




Oral History Interview with

Stephen J. Spingarn

Attorney, U.S. Treasury Dept., 1934-41; Asst. to the Attorney General of the United States, 1937-38; Special Asst. to the Gen. Counsel, Treasury Dept., 1941-42; Comdg. Officer, 5th Army Counter Intelligence Corps, 1943-45; Asst. Gen. Counsel, Treasury Dept., 1946-49; Alternate Member, President's Temp. Comm. on Employee Loyalty, 1946-47; Dep. Dir., Office of Contract Settlement, 1947-49; Asst. to the Special Counsel of the President, 1949-50; Administrative Asst. to the President, 1950; and Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, 1950-53.

Washington, D.C.

March 22, 1967 (Fourth Oral History)

March 22, 1967 (Fifth Oral History)

By Jerry N. Hess

Many references to Charlie Murphy's career in Trumann administration.




Oral History Interviews with

Charles S. Murphy

Former staff member in the office of the legislative counsel of the U.S. Senate, 1934-46; Administrative Assistant to the President of the United States, 1947-50; and Special Counsel to the President, 1950-53. Subsequent to the Truman Administration Murphy served as Under Secretary of Agriculture, 1960-65; and chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, 1965-68.

Interview Transcripts

May 2, 1963 | June 3, 1963 | July 24, 1963 | May 21, 1969 | June 24, 1969 | July 15, 1969 | July 25, 1969 | May 19, 1970

C. T. Morrissey and Jerry N. Hess

Huge amount of material about his career in Trumann's administration.




Profile of Charles S. Murphy


Brief profile :

Administrative Assistant to the President, 1947-1950

Special Counsel to the President, 1950-1953

Personal Papers : see Personal Papers and Organizational Records

Oral History : Charles S. Murphy

Biographical sketch :

1909 (August 20) Born, Wallace, North Carolina

1931 A.B., Duke University

1934 LL.B., Duke University

1934-1946 Worked for Office of Legislative Counsel, U.S. Senate

1947-1950 Administrative Assistant to the President

1950-1953 Special Counsel to the President

1953-1961 Worked for Morison, Murphy, Clapp & Abrams Law Firm

1957-1960 Counsel to Democratic National Advisory Council

1960-1965 Undersecretary of Agriculture

1965-1968 Chairman, Civil Aeronautics Board

1968-1969 Counselor to the President

1969-1979 Worked for Morison, Murphy, Abrams & Haddock Law Firm

1969-1981 Board of Directors, Harry S. Truman Library Institute

1979-1983 Worked for Baker & Hostetler Law Firm

1983 (August 28) Died, Anne Arundel County, Maryland


We are FLamily

Jake Lamkins