Eisnehower Library, Dulles papers, “Bricker Amendment”

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Attorney General (Brownell)

The Secretary telephoned Attorney General Brownell to inquire about the Bricker Resolution and said he gathered things were not going so well. Brownell said that his negotiations had broken off, that Bricker was willing to concede Section 3 but not any part of Section 2 (the “which” clause). The Attorney General said he had received a call from Knowland’s office that the Republican Conference would meet next Tuesday1 and wanted Bricker and him to appear and argue it out before the group. The Secretary said Knowland had told him of this last night.

The Secretary said that he had tried to explain a little about the situation to Knowland but he did not seem to understand about the “which” clause. Mr. Dulles said he was afraid that Bricker was a prisoner of the little Bar Association group.

Mr. Brownell said he thought the way out was to get someone like Knowland or Taft to propose a constitutional amendment of his own which the President could throw his strength behind. The Secretary said that Bricker had had his chance to get under the umbrella but that he had thrown his chance away.

The Secretary said we could not get any great mass of public opinion in support of a constitutional amendment which took us back to the days of the Confederation.

The Secretary then asked Mr. Brownell if he had ever spoken to the Democratic leaders on Saturday, that we have to move on that. The Attorney General said he hadn’t had an opportunity and asked the Secretary why he didn’t go ahead and do it.

  1. June 30.