Truman Library, Spingarn papers, FTC International

Memorandum for the File by Federal Trade Commissioner Stephen J. Spingarn


I had lunch at the White House today with Charlie Murphy and Bob Dennison and we discussed the oil report. While at lunch, Murphy showed me a Special Estimate prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency (SE–28, of May 8, 19521) containing (without recommendations) CIA’s estimate of the effect to be expected from publication of the report, i.e., its effect on other countries and our relations with them and its possible use as a propaganda theme by the Soviets. This estimate, which was classified top secret, takes a very serious view of the effects of publication. Murphy also showed me a letter of May 22, 1952 from General Smith,2 classified secret, containing Smith’s specific suggestions as to what passages of the report should be deleted if it is to be published so as to minimize repercussions abroad and Soviet use of it. From a quick reading of the letter, it was impossible to tell what was involved in these deletions without squaring them up against the report, but Murphy told me that generally they represented the elimination of material with respect to acts of skulduggery by the oil companies in dealing with other governments.

Murphy told me that he had had a number of calls from the Hill about the report, including calls from Senator Hill and Senator Hennings.3 Murphy said that Hennings was angry at State for not [Page 1275] replying to a letter of his asking why they were holding up release of the report. Murphy understands that State is replying today telling the Senator that they had communicated their views to the Federal Trade Commission on April 25,4 but that Federal Trade Commission had taken the matter up with the President and the matter was, therefore, out of the State Department’s hands. I gather from Murphy that Senator Hill thought there might be some value in publishing the report at this time.

Murphy said the President had talked to Secretaries Acheson and Lovett about the matter at lunch yesterday but apparently inconclusively or at least he has not made his mind up yet. With the approval of the President, Murphy is to talk to Lovett further on this.

Both Murphy and Dennison questioned me at some length as to Federal Trade Commission’s reasons for making the report and the purposes which it was expected to serve.

Murphy told me that he felt he would have to go into the matter very carefully and said that he planned to hold a meeting on this with people from the interested agencies, which he would ask me to attend. Because of his heavy workload, he did not expect to be able to do anything further on the matter this week.

Upon my return to the Commission after lunch, I gave Chairman Mead the substance of the above information.

S[tephen] J. S[pingarn]
  1. Supra .
  2. Not found in Department of State files or at the Truman Library.
  3. Senator Joseph L. Hill (D.–Ala.) and Senator Thomas C. Hennings, Jr. (D.–Mo.).
  4. For Secretary Acheson’s letter of Apr. 25 to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Mead, see p. 1261.