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David O. McKay Diaries – “Politics – 1938-60”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Politics – 1938-60.” You can view other subjects here.

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Thur., 10 Mar., 1938:

“On this date, President Fred Egan, 1st Counsellor in South Summit Stake inquired about the attitude of the Church towards Labor Unions.  I replied that the Church has taken no action against the members of the Church joining a Labor Union, but it condemns the bitter attitude of Unions against those who do not join.

In all buildings of the Church, a man who is a member of the Union is recognized just as the one who is not a member of the Church, and the prevailing wages are paid to each.  No man who does not wish to join a Union should be compelled to do so.

As a matter of fact, personally, I would not advise a man to join a Union unless it is absolutely necessary, and when he does, to refrain from antagonism, and from committing any overt act against a brother who refuses to join.”

Mon., 18 May, 1942:

“Notes on Telephone Message to McIntire, Secretaroy to President Roosevelt

May 18, 1942 (James H. Moyle – Cordell Hull)

Subject:  The choosing of a site for the establishing of a Navy Supply Base near Salt Lake City.

People favor such a base, appreciate its strategic importance.

However, it is consensus of opinion that another site than the one chosen will be as strategic and as serviceable to the Navy, without destroying homes and making useless for agricultural purposes the most fertile thousand acres in Salt Lake Valley. . . .

Two other tracts adjacent to this equally valuable to the Navy but not so productive agriculturally.

All we ask is that operations be suspended until a more thorough investigation can be had.

Captain Carl Trexel, member of Navy Board who proposed this site. He is working under Admiral Ben Moreell.  A Lt. Thomas is also one who is insisting upon the Clearfield site.

Senators, Representatives, and leading citizens opposed the Clearfield but in favor either of the Clinton or of the Farmington site.”

Wed., 20 May, 1942:

“At 3:10 this afternoon, President G. Harold Holt of the North Davis Stake, Mr. William D. Criddle, and Mr. Nelson called to see President McKay.  President McKay being in Clearfield at the time, President Holt asked that I transmit the following message to President McKay:

‘The Clearfield thing has blown wide open.  The President of the United States has said that if they cannot put this naval base in Clearfield without local opposition, to take it outside the State.  All those who have been fighting against the establishment of this base on the Clearfield site are now opposed to the opposition and say we should give in to keep the base in the State.’

President Holt said further, ‘We are not going to commit ourselves at the meeting that is now going on in the Governor’s Board Room, that they will tell the people that they are not going to make any commitments until they meet with the property owners and the Town Board (of which President Holt is President).  A meeting with these people is scheduled to be held tonight in the North Davis Junior High School on the Highway at 8 o’clock.  We should like President McKay’s advice, and it would be wonderful if he could attend the meeting.’

At 3:40 p.m. I reached President McKay at the Clearfield Bank, Clearfield, Utah, and gave him President Holt’s message.  He replied as follows:

‘Tell them that they had better just say that we are not opposed to the establishment of the Naval Supply Base, and if those men will go with the Clearfield Delegation over the site at Clinton and the site nearer Ogden on the West side of the Road, and can point out wherein these two sites are defective, and will not conform to the requirements, then there will be nothing said.  If they do conform to the requirements, then in justice they ought to yield.

If they are determined to take the site, let them take it.

He said to take James Ellison, Criddle and anyone else whom you think will be good, with you.

He said again if they can point out wherein these other two sites are defective, then there will be nothing more to say.

Personally, President McKay said (and this is off the record, I think) that he would just as soon lose the naval base as to lose this valuable land.’

The above was repeated to President Holt at 3:55 who was attending the meeting being held in the Governor’s Board Room.

At 4:15 President McKay called from Ogden, and asked me to have either President Holt or Brother Ellison call him at Ogden.”

Thur., 21 May, 1942:

“President McKay’s conversation with Harold Holt, President of the North Davis Stake regarding Clearfield District and Supply Base for the Navy:

‘We have concluded that it will be well for Me (President McKay) to get in telephone communication with Senator Thomas, and take this stand–that the Clinton site is equally advantageous for the Navy Supply Base to the Clearfield site in accessibility to highway, to electrical power, to railroad, nature of the land, etc.  If they say they will probably expand later, we will tell them that if they start now on the Clinton site, if they need Clearfield in the expansion, then the people will not say a word.  If they say we are not patriotic, then tell them that we are in favor of the Naval Base AND ONE THOUSAND ACRES OF PRODUCTIVE LAND.’

President McKay further stated that he had asked Senator Thomas to get in touch with Knox of the Navy, to let him know that there is another site available for the Navy Supply Base.”

Sat., 23 May, 1942:

“11:30 a.m.–Took Commander Charles Dickeman and Senator Thomas to look over the Clinton Site.  Had previously called James Ellison to arrange an appointment with President Harold Holt to meet us at a designated point.  Brother Ellison was also invited to join us. Attorney Delbert M. Draper accompanied the party.”

Fri., 7 Mar., 1947:

“Elder Ezra T. Benson of the Council of the Twelve called from Washington, D.C. and reported that there is a vacancy in the U.S. Court of Claims.  There are five judges in this Court, and only four are now serving–these are all Democrats.  Marvin Jones has been nominated by the President to serve as Chief Justice.

Brother Benson then stated that he has been urged by Senator Watkins, and others to see Marvin Jones in behalf of David Wilson’s nomination for this vacancy.  David Wilson is in Washington at the present time.  Brother Benson then stated that he has been urged by Senator Watkins, and others to see Marvin Jones in behalf of David Wilson’s nomination for this vacancy.  David Wilson is in Washington at the present time.  Brother Benson said that there are 30 senators who have pledged support, and they feel if jones would recommend Wilson to the President that the President would possibly nominate Wilson as the only Republican on the 5-man court.

Brother Benson stated that there is one other Republican bidding for the post–a fellow by the name of Clark from New Jersey.  He is known to be quite radical.  He made some freak decision while in New Jersey, and fought the prohibition amendment to the constitution.  It is not felt that he will get much support from the Senate.  The Republicans are holding up confirmatio of the Jones nomination pending the President’s nomination of a Republican to fill the vacancy made by Jones.  Wilson’s supporters feel that if Jones will suggest Wilson to the Preisdent that that is about all that it will take to get his nomination.

Brother Benson further stated that no representative west of the Mississippi River is in this Court, which the supporters feel gives them another claim to the position.

Brother Benson said that they want him to see Marvin Jones personally and tell him that we know Wilson, and that he is a man of good reputation, and that he would be an honor to the Court. Brother Benson said that he did not know Wilson well enough to do that.

I told Brother Benson that I know Dave Wilson well, that he was an instructor at Weber College, that he had been Bishop of the Ogden 12th Ward, and that he had also been chairman of the State Republican group, and, further, that I know him to be temperate in his habits, honest, and upright, and that I know of nothing that would cause Brother Benson to hesitate to speak personally to Mr. Jones recommending Wilson.

Brother Benson said that he wanted to find out whether it was all right with the Church for him to make this recommendation to Jones, and that if it would not embarrass the Church in any way, then he would make an appointment to see Jones. He said if there is any change of thought on this, he could be reached either at the Statler Hotel or at Brother Marriott’s home in Washington.”

Thur., 9 Sep., 1948:

“At 8:30 a.m., Mr. Fabian, manager of the Thermoid Plant at Nephi, and Mr. Richards, Personnel Director of Thermoid Company, Trenton, New Jersey.  Discussed with me the trouble that has arisen at the Nephi Plant with the C.I.O. and A. F. of L.  They are trying to organize the 135-150 workers there, and have charged the Nephi Thermoid Company with unfair practices.  There is to be a voting Sept. 8–postponed once before because they had not met with rules according to the Taft-Hartley Law–according to which there should be a hearing to determine who should be the dominant union.  It seems that if only three men voted, and two voted in favor of the union–all the others will be bound by it.

Telephone call to Bishop [LeGrand] Richards–Told him of my conversation with Mr. Fabian and Mr. Richards of the Thermoid Company, and said I thought it would be advisable for him to go to the Stake Conference, and quietly investigate the condition at the Thermoid Company–that he could confidentially talk to the Stake Presidency and find out what the grievances of our people are toward the Thermoid Company.  These grievances then could be presented to their supervisors.  If our men will do that they will receive a full hearing and justice will be given them.”  [On the same page of the diary, a clipping from the 16 Sep. Deseret News carries the headline, “Thermoid Vote Turns Down CIO Affiliate.”]

Tues., 28 Sep., 1948:

“Just as I was leaving at 10 min. to 5 o’clock to meet Sister McKay, President [George Albert] Smith called me into the First Presidency room where Ezra T. Benson was awaiting to get the decision of the First Presidency as to whether or not he should accept a position with the Government in the Agricultural division. We told Bro. Benson to go ahead with the position, but that it should not interfere with the Thursday meeting.”

Sat., 8 Jan., 1949:

“Telephoned to Hon. Elbert G. Thomas at Washington, D.C. relative to appointment of a Federal Judge here.  Suggested John Boyden. Said several leading attorneys here look with disfavor upon appointment of Willis Ritter.”

Tues., 15 Mar., 1949:

“[Telephone call]  Judge Reeder of Ogden–Said the Legislature had granted three District Judges–one for Utah County and one for Cache County, as well as the one for Salt Lake County.  Judge Reeder said he is applying for the appointment, and wondered if I had some approach to the Governor that would help him receive the appointment–Said Nebeker is the high man; that he has been working for it, and that he, Judge Reeder, did not like to do as Nebeker is doing, that it is beneath his dignity.  I said that I would call the Governor and put in a word for Judge Reeder.

Called J. Bracken Lee, and recommended that Judge Wm. H. Reeder be appointed as Judge in the Ogden District, and that Percy Graham be appointed Road Supervisor.  Governor Lee said that Dawson had been recommended for the Judgeship and I told him I thought Judge Reeder is the best man.”

Wed., 16 Mar., 1949:

“Mrs. Reeder called from the M.I.A. Office–Said she had just returned from a trip to the Coast on Summer M.I.A. activity; that the Judge had asked her to call me and see if there is anything he can do, with respect to his appointment to the Judgeship in Ogden. I told Mrs. Reeder that I had called Governor Lee; that he didn’t make any commitment; said that Congressman Dawson had come in the race.  I told the Governor that I thought Judge Reeder is a better man–the Governor said ‘Do you?'”

Thur., 2 Jun., 1949:

“While I was absent from the office, Taylor P. Brockbank called. He is making application for position of Federal Judge of this District.  Wants me to call Senator Elbert D. Thomas and put in a word for him.  Mr. Brockbank said the field has narrowed down to Ritter, a Mason, and Boyden, a Mormon.  Brockbank feels that he is as well qualified as they.  He was informed that members of the First Presidency do not like to enter into matters of this kind.”

Thur., 6 Oct., 1949:

“4 p.m.–At his request, met former city commissioner Fred Tedesco [who] called at the office.  He asked if I could use my influence in helping him to get a tract of land just northeast of the monument on the south side of the present road.  The tract is included in the area desired by ‘This is the Place Monument’ Commission.  Mr. Tedesco things that what he would like to use this tract of land for will not in any way disfigure the landscape, but would rather be contributive to the plans the Commission has in mind.  He would like to use this land for a miniature golf course for the young people, and also a skiing place for winter.

I answered that I am not a member of the Commission; have attended only two meetings with the Governor, the First Presidency, and others relating to the purchase of that area, and that I believed I had better not have anything to do with it.”

Wed., 28 Dec., 1949:

“C. W. Holland of Idaho Falls phoned regarding his son’s getting into the U of U Medical School.  Said he would like me to use my influence with the professors up there–I told him that in the first place I had no ‘influence’ with them; that there were 300 applicants for the Medical school and there were only 50 being accepted; and in the second place that I could not get even my own grandson in.”

Fri., 16 Jun., 1950:

“I called Senator Arthur V. Watkins at Washington, D.C. this morning and commdnede him and others associated with him in the postponement of the confirmation of the appointment of District Judge Ritter.  I suggested that anything he can do further to stop the confirmation would be a favor to this State that will forever be appreciated.  I told him that I spoke from a knowledge of some things Ritter has done just recently, in addition to the charges already made against him; that he has proved himself absolutely unfit for the office of Federal Judge here in the State.

Senator Watkins then said that he had just listened to the evidence in the Judge’s case, and his judgment tells him that there is not enough evidence in the record to justify his making a fight against him; that he doubted very much that a sufficient number of the senators would support him in that fight to stop the confirmation. Said further that the case against the Judge is not as strong as many people say and that he wished that he could sit down and talk to me and show me the record.  Stated that he had personally listened to the evidence against Ritter, and the girl who was mixed up in the case was in the hospital, and the doctors refused to let anyone interview her; that he felt she was the only one who could have thrown some light on the case, but that he felt pretty sure the girl would not have admitted to any guilt.  Said, too, that Ritter had 75 people on the other side who testified that he (Ritter) is a man of high honor, fair in all his activities, etc. etc.  Senator Watkins then said, ‘I should not have appointed Ritter if I had been the President, because there are so many better men who could have been appointed, but it is my humble opinion that there is not enough evidence to justify a rejection of Ritter, and I believe the majority of the Senate would vote for him.’  Said that he had not been able to get anywhere; that he had asked for the investigation and the committee did not do the job he expected it would do, and that he was very much up-set over the whole thing.

I then said to Senator Watkins–‘What do you think of this act?–one of his competitors–John Boyden who is an honorable fellow, appeared before Judge Ritter with a case.  Ritter refused to hear the man and told him to get another lawyer.’  Senator Watkins said that he did not know how Ritter justified himself, but that he (Senator Watkins) had asked Boyden to let him have the story, and when the copy of the transcript was received and read, it didn’t look as bad as John Boyden thought it was.  I then said–‘Perhaps from the standpoint of law, but not from the standpoint of equity and right–it was unfair and discriminatory.’  Watkins said: ‘Ritter denies that there was any antagonism, and the written record does not show it.’

I then said ‘It looks as though it is all up, then.’  Senator Watkins answered ‘It is going to be impossible to stop Ritter’s confirmation, but I will still do what I can.'”

Tues., 10 Oct., 1950:

“9:30–Pres. McKay called Senator Arthur V. Watkins to say that since thinking about their conversation in the office, he thought it would hardly be wise for the Senator to carry on an independent campaign this fall and spend $2,000.00 because very few people know about the attack upon him.  Senator Watkins said many people were calling in asking about it.  He had talked it over with the Republican leaders and it is ereally a part of the whole campaign, and they are going to arrange to finance it.  Said he thought he should answer the charge that he had done more than any other man in the Senate to aid the Kremlin.  Pres. McKay remarked that the people knew his record, but the Senator did not think so.  Pres. McKay explained that he was for him and his party, but did not want the Senator to do anything that would look as though he were striking out on an independent campaign this year.  Senator Watkins said it would be tied in with the Republican fight and he thought Pres. McKay would like it when he saw it.  Said he had conferred with Brother Bowen about the campaign, that he was not going to let anybody brand him as an enemy of this country, and seemed determined to go ahead with it.”

Thur., 11 Oct., 1951:

“Received official letter from the White House, Washington, D.C. inviting me to attend a White House Conference October 22–see letter attached hereto.  Also see telephone conversations with Senators Watkins and Bennett regarding this conference–also telegram from Senator Bennett.

The White House

Washington, D.C.

October 8, 1951

Dear Mr. McKay:

From time to time White House conferences are held in order to discuss major national problems and policies with groups of leading citizens.  The next conference will be on Monday, October 22, 1951.  The conference will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day.  It will be held in Room 474 of the Executive Office Building next to the White House at Pennsylvania and Seventeeth Street.

You are cordially invited to attend.

It is planned to have the following Government officials participate:  The President, Secretaries Acheson, Lovett and Snyder, General of the Army Omar Bradley, Mr. Charles E. Wilson and Mr. Eric Johnston.

Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you can be present.  If you can come, this letter will serve as your credential.  It is not transferable.


John R. Steelman

The Assistant to the President of the United States

October 11, 1951

Dear Mr. Steelman:

This will acknowledge the receipt of your letter of October 8, 1951 courteously extending to me an invitation to attend the White House Conference to discuss ‘major national problems and policies with groups of leading citizens,’ to be held in room 474 of the Executive Office Building, Monday, October 22, 1951, at 10 a.m.

I esteem it an honor to be numbered among others invited, and will do my best to arrange my duties and appointments so that I might be present on the occasion named.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay

Telephone Message to Senator Arthur V. Watkins at Washington, D.C.

Read invitation to Senator Watkins and asked for his opinion about my attending.  He answered: ‘Well, an invitation from the White House should be looked upon as an honor, and I think you should accept.  Such an invitation here is considered just as an invitation from the King in Great Britain.

Senator Watkins then said that ‘there is just one thing I am wondering, and that is if there is anything ‘political’ about it; we are very suspicious back here.’  I answered: ‘Do you see any reason why I should not accept it’, and he said: ‘To the contrary, I think you should accept no matter what the motives may be.’

I thanked Senator Watkins for his information.

He then inquired about my health, and expressed satisfaction and gratitude that I am entirely well.

Telephone Conversation with Senator Wallace F. Bennett:

After an exchange of greetings, I told Senator Bennett that I have an invitation from the White House signed by John R. Steelman, and asked if he knew him.

Senator Bennett:  Yes.

Pres. McKay:  He is Assistant to the President.

Senator Bennett:  That is right.

Pres. McKay:  This letter extends an invitation for me to attend a White House Conference in order to discuss major national problems and policies with groups of leading citizens.  The conference will be on Monday, October 22, 1951. President Truman, Secretaries Acheson, Lovett and Snyder, General Omar Bradley of the Army, Mr. Charles E. Wilson and Mr. Eric Johnston will be the government officials participating in it.  I am calling you now to see what you think about it.

Brother Bennett:  This is the first word I have of it.

Pres. McKay:  The letter does not indicate that there is anything confidential about it, but before I answer the letter I wanted to consult you and your colleague, Senator Watkins.

Brother Bennett:  Well, I shall see what I can find out for you, or rather I’ll ask Brother Barker to find out.  I am leaving for the West in the morning.  I’ll be home a little after midnight tomorrow night, but he can get as much information as may be had, and I shall ask him to send you a wire tomorrow.

Pres. McKay:  Thank you.  So far as I am concerned I look with respect and appreciation upon an invitation from the Chief Executive.

Brother Bennett:  Well, my immediate reaction is that it will probably be used as a sounding Board to try and develop public opinion for some particular thing that they may announce at that Conference.  I do not think it is going to be the kind of conference in which you would be expected to say anything. I think you will just be expected to come and listen.

Pres. McKay:  I understand.  What do you think about my accepting?

Brother Bennett:  Let me ask Bob to dig around a little tomorrow and find out who else is invited, and if possible to see if we can find out anything at all about the program.  Now tell me again the names in the ltter.

Pres. McKay:  –Repeated names.  Remarked that Charles E. Wilson and Eric Johnston are Republicans.

Brother Bennett:  Don’t let that fool you.

Pres. McKay:  No, I shall not.

Brother Bennett:  They are part of a crowd.

Pres. McKay:  I see.  All right I shall await to hear from you.  Will you have your secretary send me a telegram or what?

Brother Bennett:  We shall call you on the telephone or send you a telegram, whichever you prefer.

Pres. McKay:  I shall be out of the office tomorrow and Saturday; you had better send me a telegram directly to my home at 1037 East South Temple Street.

Brother Bennett:  All right.

Telegram from Wallace F. Bennett, U.S. Senator:

Re October 22 conference:  Is education meeting of ninety to one hundred top men in education, business, finance, etc., to have explained present national picture by those charged with making it.  Defense production will be discussed by Wilson and Johnson; military by Lovett and Bradley; Fiscal policies by Snyder; and world politics by President and Acheson. Speakers, except President, will be open for questions after statements.  Such meetings have been held periodically in past years for Nations’ Leaders.

Robert W. Barker, Administrative Assistant to Wallace F. Bennett”

Mon., 15 Oct., 1951

“[Clare note]  Senator Arthur V. Watkins called from Washington, D.C. and said that in answer to the wire received regarding an appointment with the Argentina Ambassador, he had been successful in arranging for an interview for Tuesday, October 23 at 11:30 a.m. Senator Watkins said that he would be very pleased to accompany Pres. McKay to the Embassy; that he would have a car at his disposal; in fact, his whole office would be at Pres. McKay’s service.  Said to get in touch with him at the Senate Building (Room 442) as soon as he (President McKay) arrives.”

Mon., 22 Oct., 1951:

“Fulfilled the purpose of our visit by attending the Conference called by the President of the United States and the State Department.”  [Report attached]

Tues., 23 Oct., 1951:

“I called Dr. John R. Steelman and told him that Mrs. McKay and I should be very pleased to meet the President.  He said: ‘Well, it is not my prerogative to make appointments, but I am just going to a staff meeting, and will see what I can do.’  A fw moments later, a Miss Barrow called and said: ‘The President has appointments every hour, but if you will come at 12:15 I will see if I can get you an appointment.’

Sister McKay and I called at the office of the President (not at the White HOuse, the President’s office being under repair) at the appointed time, and about 10 minutes to 12 o’clock we had the pleasure of meeting the President of the United States.  The conversation was very pleasant.  We did not stay long because the President had an appointment for lunch with the head of the Uruguayan Government.”

Tues., 11 Dec., 1951:

“9 to 10:00–First Presidency’s meeting.  The following itens were among those considered:

(1)  Gave further consideration to the invitation received by me to attend a Conference of Religious leaders in Washington, D.C. Read to my counselors the program as submitted, which seemed to provide little or no opportunity for discussion.  I have concluded that I should not attend this conference, as I feel that very little if anything would be accomplished by my attending. (Invitation came from Robert Lovett, Secretary of Defense.)”

Mon., 17 Dec., 1951:

“First Presidency’s meeting 9 a.m.

President McKay reported that Senator Watkins would like to meet the First Presidency and get their views on the matter of the appointment of a representative of the U.S. to the Vatican in Rome. The brethren felt that President McKay might properly tell the Senator we are not going to criticize him for opposing such an appointment.

It was decided not to approach Governor at this time regarding changing Selective Service officials.  If possible ascertain what the Governor’s attitude is.  President Richards to meet the Draft Officials in response to their request for an interview.”

Sun., 27 Jan., 1952:

“While on the train this morning, read in a magazine that all the Presidents of the United States preceding Harry Truman, the present President, combined had taken from the people in taxes 248 billion dollars, whereas President Truman in his six years has taken 260 billion dollars, and still he cannot balance the budget!”

Wed., 27 Feb., 1952:

“Dr. J. Aldous Dixon called at the office to invite me to the last session of the Weber College groundbreaking ceremonies Wednesday, March 5.

I told him I would be at the meeting to be held in the Ogden High School at 8 o’clock in the evening.  He kindly proffered to send a man down to take me up there and bring me home following the meeting.  I told him that I appreciated his offer, but that I would find someone to drive me up there.

Dr. Dixon then said that the Republicans are urging him to run for Congress.  I said that his position at the College is probably more important than his going to Congress.”

Sun., 25 May, 1952:

“Dr. A. Cyril Callister called by appointment at the office.  His principal reason for calling was to ask for my advice regarding his running for Governor.  To his question, I answered:  ‘You must first get on the ticket at the Primaries.’  He said ‘Yes; that is so.’  I then said:  ‘That is your right as a citizen if you care to run.’  Dr. Callister then said:  ‘I should like to know whether the Deseret News will oppose me.’  I answered:  ‘No, it will not; it has no reason to oppose you.’  Dr. Callister then said that the Tribune will oppose him.  I then stated: ‘This is a free country, and you have a right to go after this if you wish to.’  And further, ‘It is a matter for you to decide.'”

Thur., 7 Aug., 1952:

“8:30 a.m.–Met by appointment at his request Marriner Eccles who is a candidate on the Republican ticket for the United States Senate.  Wanted to know if the Church would be against him in the campaign.  I answered that the Church takes no stand whatever in politics; that there are members of the Church who are Democrats, and members who are Republicans, and that I personally am going to treat each group fairly.”

Thur., 21 Aug., 1952:

“Council meeting

Expressed appreciation of the opportunity of meeting once again with the Council of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles.  Said that, in the words of Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, ‘It is good to be here.’  Expressed appreciation for the opportunity to join with the Brethren in prayers for Brothers Widtsoe and Bowen and for others of the Council who are ailing.

President Stephen L. Richards, in behalf of the Brethren of the Council, expressed deep gratitude to the Lord for the blessings that attended President McKay during his absence, the pride they have in his work, and the marvelous accomplishments, the reports of which they had read which had come from various sources.

I then said that I wished to acknowledge before my Brethren the fact that the Lord answered our prayers and the prayers of the Saints, that His hand was manifest on more than one occasion.  I thanked the Brethren for their united support, their prayers, and this expression.”

Fri., 22 Aug., 1952:

“8:30 a.m.–Met by appointment, at his request, Heber Bennion, Secretary of State.  He said he had heard that the Church favors Mayor Earl Glade for Governor, and favored the Republicans.

I told him that the Church takes no stand whatever in politics–there are Democrats in the Church, there are Republicans in the Church, and I am President of the Church, and so far as I am personally concerned, I am going to treat each group in fairness.

I then told Mr. Bennion that I had heard he had made the remark at a social function that he would like to have the salary made by the officials of the Church, especially that of the President.

Mr. Bennion answered: ‘Yes, that is one time when silence would have been golden.’  He then said: ‘I did tell Bishop Isaacson that the Church Authorities got more than the State officials received, and he, Bishop Isaacson, denied that.’  Mr. Bennion said further that he is sorry that he made that remark and that he understands now that the General Authorities are given an allowance sufficient to pay their living expenses.  I said: ‘That is true, and those of us who have positions and business companies, of course, have that amount augmented by the salaries paid, but that that has nothing to do with the Church allowance.  Mr. Bennion expressed sorrow for having made the statement, and has no criticism whatever of the meager amount allowed the General Authorities who devote all their time to the Church.”

Tues., 23 Sep., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  Some discussion was had regarding the speech that is to be given by President Harry S. Truman in the B.Y.U. field house, and also the speeches by candidates for the Presidency, Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson in the Tabernacle.  It has been suggested that President McKay have breakfast with President Truman and travel with him to Provo for the political meeting.  The brethren felt that I must have breakfast with the President if he requests it, that otherwise he need only to call on the President at his car and pay his respects.”

Fri., 26 Sep., 1952:

“At 7:40 this morning Senator Richard M. Nixon of California, Republican Candidate for the Vice President of the United States, called, as per previous arrangements with me, on the First Presidency.  He was accompanied by Senators Victor Watkins, Wallace Bennett, and others.  We had a pleasant 30-minute interview with him.”

Fri., 26 Sep., 1952:

“I received the following telegram today from the White House, Washington, D.C.:

David O. McKay, President Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, 47 South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The President hopes it will be possible for you to visit with him on the train between Salt Lake City, and Provo, Utah, October Sixth.  The train will leave Salt Lake City at Eight Ten AM Mountain Standard Time.  If this is agreeable to you, please confirm.  Regards.  (Signed Matthew J. Connolley, Secretary to the President)

In reply I sent the following:

Replying to Telegram of Twenty-Sixth, pleased to accept President’s invitation to visit with him on train between Salt Lake City and Provo, October Sixth.  Regards.  (Signed David O. McKay)”

Wed., 1 Oct., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  I mentioned an invitation that had come to me to send a representative to the Atomic Energy Conference in Washington October 16-17.  It was decided that the Church would not send a representative.”

Sun., 5 Oct., 1952:

“Note:  In view of the coming election, and in order to refute false statements that are being made regarding the views of the Genearl Authorities pertaining to the candidates of the political parties, I made a definite statement that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leaders are non-partisan and favor neither political party or candidate during the forthcoming election.  (See Attached Statement)

The following statement regarding the political nonpartisanship of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and urging members to exercise their franchise in the forthcoming election was made Sunday afternoon by President David O. McKay at the close of the 123rd semiannual general conference in the Tabernacle:

We are now in the heat of a political campaign–a very important election is pending; the outcome of which nationally will affect vitally not only the interests and possible destiny of this great Republic of the United States, but to a greater or lesser degree the future course of nations throughout the world–particularly of those countries who believe in the freedom of the individual citizen in contrast to the tyranny of state dictatorship.

In Utah and surrounding states contests for victory at the polls are being waged on national party lines.

It has already been reported that the general authorities of the church have held a meeting and decided to wield their influence in favor of the candidates of one of these political parties.

This report is not true; and I take this opportunity here, publicly, to denounce such a report as without foundation in fact.

In the church, there are members who favor the Democratic party.

There are members who sincerely believe and advocate the principles and ideals of the Republican party.

The president is president of the church, not favoring in this election either political party.  The welfare of all members of the church is equally considered by the president and his counselors and the general authorities.  Both parties will be treated impartially.

The Deseret News is the organ of the church, it will be equally fair and impartial in the treatment of both political parties.  This does not mean, however, that error will be condoned.  Error will be condemned and teachings and ideologies subversive to the fundamental principles of this great republic, which are contrary to the Constitution of the United States and which are subversive to the progress of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be condemned, whether advocated by Republicans or Democrats.

We are all united in admonishing the members of the church to register.  We confirm the admonition already given from this pulpit regarding that important duty.  We advocate the necessity of all members of the church showing appreciation of your franchise, your citizenship by voting and exercising your right to say who shall be your leaders.  They become our servants.  That is the spirit of the Constitution.  You hold the right–I hope we still have it–to say who shall direct this nation and who shall direct our affairs in state, county and municipality.  Everybody in Utah and our surrounding states where our people are influential should exercise this right.”

Mon., 6 Oct., 1952:

“In accordance with the invitation received from the President of the United States on September 26, 1952, to have breakfast with him on the presidential train, I had my traveling secretary drive me to the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Station.  We arrived there at the appointed hour–7:40 a.m.,–and were met by Mr. Gordan Weggeland, State Democratic Treasurer, and Mr. G. Hal Taylor, State Democratic Secretary.  The train was already in, and the crowds had gathered.  Mr. Weggeland said: ‘We have orders to bring you to President Truman’s private car.’  Upon arrival, some of the President’s officials met me–they said: ‘The President has gone out to greet the crowd.’  I waited in the private car while the President gave his usual ‘whistle stop’ talk.  Then the crowd called for his daughter Margaret.  When she appeared they greeted and cheered her.  President Truman then came in and said: ‘Oh, President McKay, you honor me in coming down!’  I thanked him for his invitation:  The President then introduced me to his daughter Margaret.  The President then invited me to come out to the platform with him to have pictures taken, stating that if having the picture taken would embarrass me for me not to do it.  I, however, accepted his invitation.

Soon the train began to move.  In the meantime, President Truman went out to wave to the crowd, and when he returned to the car, he introduced me to his private physician, Dr. Graham.  The members of the political party had retired to another car, leaving President Truman, Margaret, Dr. Graham, and me in the car.  A delicious breakfast was then served to us.

I had a very pleasant thirty minutes or so with the President, during which time, I saw the better Truman, and got a glimpse of his better nature–the cockiness was gone.  He referred to the fact that this is his last official tour before retiring, saying, ‘When I get through with this, it is my last.’  He then told me what he wanted to do; viz. to spend his time instructing the youth of America in loyalty and American ideals.  He mentioned some other men whom he would like to have join him in this project.  I commended him for this desire, and told him that I think that is just what we need.  I then gave him a few of my ideas on the subject, emphasizing the freedom of the individual; that that must be maintained at all cost.

Following breakfast, Margaret went to her room.  She didn’t come back until just before we arrived in Provo.

President Truman was interrupted soon after breakfast by one of his men who asked him to look over his notes.  He retired to another car.  During his absence one of the officials came to me and said ‘President McKay we want you to remain in the President’s car.’ He then handed me some tickets–One stating that I was a guest in President Truman’s car, and the other, stating that I was to ride with the President in the procession to the B.Y.U. Stadium.  When the train arrived in Provo, special guests were allowed to come aboard to the President’s car, some of whom came to me to shake hands with me, so I dropped my head–thinking they should go first to the President.  The President then stepped out to greet the people.  I wanted Margaret to go ahead of me, but she insisted that I go first.  As I hesitated the secret police edged over toward me and soon moved me until I was right by the President.

A reception Committee of the leading officials of the city were at the station.  They presented President Truman with a beautiful watch, which seemed to please him very much.  Numbers of the crowd broke through to shake hands with me which embarrassed me, so I moved behind the secret police.

President Truman and I rode in the front car in the procession–secret agents walked along side the car until we got out of town. Thousands were there–all the school children in the city were out. I said to the President:  ‘You probably will not see so many children in other cities of this size.’  He answered: ‘No, it is remarkable; I am glad to see them.’

At the Stadium, President Truman and I stood by the car while all the other guests took their seats.  As they were moving, President Truman said: ‘There is Drew Pearson; he didn’t look at me.’

Our names were on the chairs that had been placed on the stand–mine was the first one, and President Truman’s next, and then Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson’s.  I changed with Dr. Wilkinson, so that he would not have to pass in front of the President to make his announcements.

The meeting was opened by prayer, and Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson, President of the B.Y.U., made a very good introduction of the President.  He announced my presence first.  Eleven thousand people were in attendance–including the B.Y.U. students and citizens.

On the train, President Truman made the remark to me that he did not have hatred in his heart for any man, and said: ‘I am campaigning–that is politics.’  I had a higher opinion of him today.  I noticed in giving his talk which he had specially prepared for the occasion, he missed two pages, and proceeded to make a very favorable talk, principally in praising the candidate of his choice.  When he got through with his speech, and sat down beside me, he said: ‘I wasn’t so hard on them, was I?’

(For list of Democratic officials and Candidates whom I met during this visit–for newspaper clippings regarding the visit and speech of President Truman, and for Drew Pearson’s column commenting on President Truman’s visit with me–see attached sheets.)

Following the meeting, I walked with the President to his car and had a few moments conversation with him, and then he was driven to his train.  Just as soon as the President departed, the students swarmed around to shake hands with me.  I was thirty or forty minutes before I could get away.

Brother Richards them came for me and drove me back to Salt Lake. I arrived home at 12 noon.”

Wed., 8 Oct., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  The brethren were agreed that I should not accept the invitation to attend a three-day religious leaders gathering in Washington, D.C., October 21, called by William C. Foster, Acting Secretary of Defense.  The purpose of the conference is to acquaint the group with the status and mission of the Department of Defense.  The Brethren could not see that any good could be accomplished by attending this Conference.”

Wed., 8 Oct., 1952:

“From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.–Was in conference with Senator Arthur V. Watkins.  He asked me to meet General Eisenhower at the Union Pacific Station upon his arrival in the city and ride up to the Hotel Utah with him.  I said: ‘No, it would be unwise–I whould have to do the same for Senator Stevenson.  However, I shall be pleased to meet General Eisenhower at the office when he calls to pay his respects.’

He then asked if pictures could be taken at the time of the interview with General Eisenhower, and I said that it would be all right to have photographers there for this purpose.”

Fri., 10 Oct., 1952:

“The First Presidency greeted General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican presidential candidate.  He was accompanied by the following:

Senator Frank Carlson–Kansas

Senator William F. Knowland–California

Governor Sherman Adams–New Hampshire

Mr. Arthur Summerfield, Chairman–Republican National Committee

Senator Arthur V. Watkins–Utah

Senator Wallace G. Bennett–Utah

Congressman Dawson

Douglas Stringfellow–running for Congress

N. G. Morgan, Jr., and A. Pratt Kesler, Utah Chairman for the Republican Party

Scores of photographers were on hand and for the first 10 or 15 minutes the office was a buzz with clicking cameras.  After introductions had been made, I asked General Eisenhower if he would like to sit down for a few moments and he said, ‘Yes, I believe I would, President McKay–I should like to enjoy this atmosphere for a while.’  He then asked me to tell him about the room.  I told him about the purpose for which it is used, and then called his attention to the beautiful Circaussian walnut woodwork, pointing out the designs in the natural grain of the wood–the butterflys in the ceiling, the fish on the doors, the lions’ heads on the walls, etc.  The General was very interested.  For the next 15 minutes my counselors and I chatted informally with the guests. It was a very pleasant interview, and I was deeply impressed with the General’s sincerity.”

Tues., 14 Oct., 1952:

“At 5 p.m. President Stephen L. Richards, Brother Henry D. Moyle, and I received in the office of the First Presidency, Governor Adlai Stevenson, presidential candidate of the Democratic party. He was accompanied by the following persons:  Mayor Earl J. Glade, Rep. Walter K. Granger, Rep. Reva Beck Bosone, and Ernest McKay. Photographers were on hand to take pictures.

We had a very pleasant interview with Governor Stevenson who conversed with me regarding the unusual architecture of the office of the First Presidency, & the history of the Church in Illinois. He knew about the Temple lot and was interested in knowing how many of our people are situated in Illinois.  He said that he would like to see our people come back there.  (See newspaper clipping for statement he made in the Tabernacle about the treatment received by early-day Mormons.)

At 8 p.m. attended the Democratic meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.  President Stephen L. Richards and I were among honored guests on the stand.  Sister McKay remained at home to listen over the radio.

Governor Stevenson gave an excellent address.  Seeming to sense the sacredness of the building and surroundings (as others have done) he cut from his talk a great deal of political ‘name-calling.’ There was nothing objectionable said, and he kept his talk on a high, patriotic plane.”

Tues., 21 Oct., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  A letter was read from Senator Watkins reporting that many people feel that my presence at the B.Y.U. with Pres. Truman was an indication that I favored the Democratic party. The Brethren could think of nothing that might be done under the circumstances to let the people know that Truman being the President of the United States and having invited me to accompany him, there was nothing else to do.”

Wed., 22 Oct., 1952:

“This morning while I was in meeting a Mr. N. G. Stringham of the 30th Ward, Temple View Stake called and said that the Bishop–Brother Obray–had announced in last Sunday’s evening meeting that the people should vote to retain the present Lien Law; that there is also another law pertaining to the taxation of church property which should be voted against.  Brother Stringham said that in view of President McKay’s statement that the authorities of the Church are ‘not taking sides in politics’ he wondered about the Bishop’s statement at the meeting.  He said that after the meeting he went to the Bishop and asked him from whence came his authority to make such an announcement in meeting, and he received the answer that he had received his instructions from the General Authorities to make the announcement he had made.

Upon receiving the above information I called President Adiel Stewart, (being unable to reach by telephone Bishop Obray), and told him that I was a little concerned over a report that had come to me regarding political instructions that were given last Sunday evening by Bishop Obray of the 30th Ward to the members of his Ward; that it is allegedly reported that the Bishop said he had been instructed by the General Authorities to issue such instructions.

President Stewart said that the Stake Presidency had met with all their Bishops last Sunday morning at 8 o’clock and that he advised them to tell their people that we feel that the Lien Law is a good law and should be left as it is–that a repeal of the Lien Law would bring on an unwholesome condition and would increase our taxes.  The Bishops were cautioned to speak only for themselves, advising the people that in their judgment the Lien Law is a good law and should remain as it is.

I told President Stewart that when the Bishop said that his instructions came from the authorities that he referred to the Stake Presidency.  Also told him to say nothing to the BIshop until I take the matter up at our First Presidency’s meeting this morning.

Later–President McKay’s Answer:  [To Mr. Stringham]

I have been in touch with the President of the Stake, and find that the President of the Stake instructed the Bishop to make the announcement to which you refer, and not the General Authorities,–the Bishops were following the instructions of the President of the Stake.”

Mon., 27 Oct., 1952:

“Met by appointment at his request Mr. Clinton Vernon, Attorney General, State of Utah.  Mr. Vernon said that word has gone out–evidently from two General Authorities (whose names he would not repeat) to Presidents of Stakes to defeat him in his attempt to be re-elected as Attorney General of the State of Utah.  He has specific instances where one of the General Authorities–Alma Sonne–allegedly stated to Presidencies and High Councilmen, that he, (Clinton D. Vernon), is an apostate; secondly, that he is in favor of taxing Church property, and, thirdly, that he is in sympathy with the ‘cultists’ at Short Creek.  ‘These accusations,’ declared Mr. Vernon, ‘are absolute falsehoods.’

Clinton Vernon did make a ruling that sustained the action of the Box Elder County Attorney that the Welfare Property in Box Elder County should be taxed, but he is not in favor of taxing Church property as a whole; and, furthermore, he is not an apostate.  He was never baptized into the Church–his parents, however, were married in the Temple and were buried in their temple clothes.  His children are baptized–I think he said he has two–his wife is in the Church, and no matter what the outcome of this election, Mr. Vernon says he is not going to have any bitterness in his heart, but he would like to set himself right on the proposition.  He was going to send a letter to all the Presidents of the Stakes, but decided against that because all Presidents have not been instructed.  He has met one or two groups and explained his situation to them, and I told him to continue to meet the groups and explain his stand–and that is but fair!

I called up President William Critchlow of the South Ogden Stake, and suggested that he get in touch with Clinton Vernon and hear the latter’s side of the question.

Mr. Vernon opened his heart to me regarding not only his relation to the Church, but to his family, and his reasons for ruling on this Box Elder question.

He also said that he heard that in the Cummings Ward on October 19, 1952, it was reputedly said that a letter was read in Sacrament meeting stating that a ‘high State official running for re-election is using the Church,’ and ‘if you wish to know who he is’ said Bishop Parkinson, ‘I’ll tell you if you will come to me after the meeting.’  Mrs. Louis L. Sorenson went up and was given Mr. Vernon’s name.

I think my interview with Brother Vernon was very profitable, and I hope only good will come from it.”

Mon., 27 Oct., 1952:

“A Mr. C. E. Cobb called from Pasadena, California.  As Pres. McKay was in meeting, he talked to the secretary.  He said: ‘I am an Elder in the Church–a group of us have had an argument regarding whether Pres. McKay is a Republican or a Democrat, and we wonder if you will tell us.’  I referred to President McKay’s non-partisan statement at the closing session of Conference, and that therefore he is not proclaiming himself publicly.”

Tues., 4 Nov., 1952:

“Stayed up until midnight listening to election returns.  Members of the family called during the evening.  It looks like a Republican victory!!”

Wed., 5 Nov., 1952:

“Headlines in this morning’s paper–‘GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER WINS BY LANDSLIDE–GOP Nominee Receives 442 Electoral Votes.’  And, ‘General Eisenhower’s landslide victory, both in electoral and popular votes, was nationwide in its pattern, extending from New England down the eastern seaboard to Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, and westward to almost every state between the coasts, including California.’  In Utah:  ‘J. BRACKEN LEE and ARTHUR V. WATKINS, Triumph in Utah GOP Sweep.’  ‘It was the first presidential election year victory for the GOP in this state since 1928, except for the election of a governor four years ago.’

We were allthrilled with the News.  In my opinion, it is the greatest thing that has happened in a hundred years for our country.

Note from Secretary:  While touring the missions in Europe, President McKay made a prediction regarding a GOP victory. On July 30, 1952, the Church Section of the News ran a facsimile of several European newspapers which carried news items of Pres. McKay’s visit, and quoted from one as follows: ‘One Newspaper, tne Nation-altidende’ of Copenhage, quoted President McKay on American Politics.  The Church leader was quoted as saying: ‘I anticipate that the Republicans under all circumstances will win the election in U.S.A.; and if Eisenhower is nominated {this was published before his nomination} by the Republicans, he will win by a large majority.’

This item has been of great interest to a number of people, many of whom have called the office to call our attention to it.”

Wed., 5 Nov., 1952:

“9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.–Was convened in the regular meeting of the First Presidency.

At this meeting the Brethren all commented upon the result of the election yesterday, resulting in a sweeping victory for the Republicans.  They agreed that the change was very salutary for America.”

Wed., 5 Nov., 1952:

“I talked to Bishops Wirthlin and Isaacson regarding a letter they have sent out to Dr. Edgar Fuller, Executive Secretary of the National Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, D.C., copy of which Mr. Fuller sent to me under date of October 27, 1952. In the letter the Presiding Bishopric rather severely criticises Dr. Fuller for the remarks he made with reference to Governor J. Bracken Lee and his record concerning support of public education. I told them that I thought they exceeded the bounds of prudence in sending the kind of letter they sent to Dr. Fuller.  They acknowledged their mistake, and said they would not do such a thing again.  (I presented this to the brethren at our regular meeting Nov. 4, and my counselors felt that the Bishopric should have conferred with the First Presidency before writing such a letter.)”

Thur., 6 Nov., 1952:

“Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower,

President-Elect, United States of America

Augusta, Georgia

My dear General Eisenhower:

As one among millions, permit me to express my satisfaction and joy in your sweeping victory at the polls November Fourth.  With all my heart I congratulate you upon your having received from clear-thinking Americans such an expression of trust and confidence.  It has been truly said that ‘to be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.’

Your being placed at the head of the United States Government at the time of the present crises in our history is more than just an expression of millions of honest hearts yearning for the preservation of liberties vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States–it is a manifestation of Providential watchfulness over the destiny of this land of America.

With unwavering confidence in your integrity, courage, and leadership, I pray that Divine guidance may be yours continually as you assume the responsibility of directing the destiny not only of the United States of America but of the entire world.

God bless you!

With sentiments of true regard, I remain

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay”

Sat., 8 Nov., 1952:

“Honorable Arthur V. Watkins

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator Watkins:

I am happy over your re-election to the Senate of the United States, as I am over the National victory for the Republican party.

It is gratifying to know that the people of Utah recognize your worth as their senior representative in Congress.  I congratulate you and the State upon your success at the Polls November Fourth.

The victory of General Eisenhower and other Republicans throughout the Nation was more than a repudiation of a quarter of a century of mis-deals.  It was one of these crises in which is demonstrated the fact that ‘God still governs in the affairs of men.’

May Divine inspiration continue to guide you in your great responsibilities.

Cordially and sincerely yours.

David O. McKay”

Thur., 20 Nov., 1952:

“When I arrived home this evening I received a long distance telephone call from Senator Arthur V. Watkins who thanked me for the letter of congratulation that I had sent him, and then told me that Elder Ezra Taft Benson is being considered by General Eisenhower for the position of Secretary of Agriculture, and wondered if he would be permitted to accept the position should it be offered to him.  I said yes that I thought he would be permitted to accept.”

Mon., 24 Nov., 1952:

“Was very much pleased to read in this morning’s paper that President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower had chosen Elder Ezra Taft Benson as Secretary of Agriculture.  At the invitation of the Salt Lake Tribune, I made the following statement to be published in their paper:

I am very much pleased to learn of Ezra Taft Benson’s having been chosen as a member of the Cabinet of the United States.

I his appointing Elder Benson as Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Eisenhower has recognized true merit.  The appiontee’s high character, his unimpeachable integrity, his experience in dealing with Agricultural organizations and problems, make him eminently prepared to render efficient service to our country.”

Tues., 25 Nov., 1952:

“11:00 a.m.–Telephone Conversation With Ned Redding, Publisher of California Intermountain News, Los Angeles

Brother Redding stated that they had received the word regarding Brother Benson.  I told him I thought the appointment was gratifying to all in the Church and, as far as I could learn, to the people in Washington.  Brother Redding stated that they were going to press in a few minutes, and he desired to know if the report were true that Brother Benson would be given a leave of absence from his Church duties.  I told him this was correct.  He asked for verification of my comments which he had seen in the Los Angeles Times.  I referred him to an article in this morning’s Salt Lake tribune, which he did not have, so I made the comment that Elder Benson’s life, his high integrity, unimpeachable character, his experience as general secretary of the cooperatives, all eminently fit him to serve his country in the position to which President-elect Eisenhower has called him.

Brother Redding asked if Elder Benson did not have a call to Washington when he was called to the Twelve.  I answered no, that he had held that position in Washington when he was called to the Twelve.  He resigned from that position to serve in the Twelve. Brother Redding asked if that position had to do with farmer cooperatives.  I answered that that was right.  He commented that Elder Benson then was returning to Washington to fill a higher post.  I agreed.

I told Brother Redding that I felt that our President-elect was a good man, that it will take time to get things in shape, but that I look forward to a good administration.  Brother Redding stated that from his own experience he knows that Mr. Kefauver is giving President-elect Eisenhower his whole-hearted support, and if all Democratic leaders will do that we can look forward to a greater tomorrow.”

Tues., 25 Nov., 1952:

“3:30 p.m.–Telephone Conversation With Senator Arthur V. Watkins, Calling From Washington, D.C.

Brother Watkins offered congratulations on Elder Benson’s appointment as Secretary of Agriculture.  He said that he felt very happy abou tit, and a good deal of good would result.  All newspapers were commenting with the highest kind of praise–not one discordant word.  I replied that everyone here was delighted, the press, members and nonmembers, and a call from the coast this morning indicated that they felt the same way.

Brother Watkins informed me that Ivy Baker Priest of Bountiful had just been appointed Treasurer of the United States, that she would handle all the currency of the United States, and her name would be on it.

I stated that the outlook in Washington was very encouraging, from any viewpoint.  He said that he was grateful to God that a prophet of God was in the Cabinet, and with the exception of himself he felt that our representation in the Government was excellent.  He expressed deep humility.  I told him that being a high priest he was entitled to inspiration, that he had done a great deal of good, and I hoped the Lord would continue to bless him.  We exchanged best wishes to each other’s associates.”

Tues., 2 Dec., 1952:

“5:10 p.m.  Telephone Conversation with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson.

Bishop Isaacson stated that he had talked to Governor Lee, who asked him if he thought it was all right to appoint Ward Holbrook to a position.  He told the Governor he would talk to President McKay.

Some time ago Bishop Isaacson had told the Governor that it was felt that he was filling too many positions with Masons.  The Governor had said he was glad to hear this, that he had heard it from other sources, and he had not filled the positions with Masons intentionally.

I stated that I had known Ward Holbrook for many years.  He is a very able man.  I worked with him for years on the Centennial Commission.  He was always clear-headed and loyal, and I felt that the Governor could not do better.

Bishop Isaacson said he would call the Governor back.  The Governor’s attitude today was just fine.  He had asked if we had any other suggestions.”

Fri., 5 Dec., 1952:

“5 p.m.  Brother Fred Babbel called at the office to seek advice concerning the offer that has come to him from Elder Ezra Taft Benson to serve as an administrative assistant in his appointment by General Dwight D. Eisenhower as Secretary of Agriculture. Brother Babbel is now employed at Z.C.M.I. at a salary of $7500 a year, and he is questioning whether or not he should give up a permanent job to accept a political position, which undoubtedly will be temporary.  I said, ‘whether you accept Brother Benson’s offer or not is a matter entirely up to you.  If you would like to go back to Washington, D.C. in preference to continuing your present position at Z.C.M.I. you are at perfect liberty to do so. You must understand that that is more or less temporary–maybe a year, maybe three or four years or more.’

Brother Babbel replied ‘I understand that; but I feel that I should like to go back with Brother Benson.’  I then said:  ‘Brother Babbel, you kneel down and make it a matter of prayer and make your own decision.'”

Wed., 14 Jan., 1953:

“8 a.m.—Met by appointment Brother Henry D. Moyle and Harold B. Lee concerning political matters.  In Wyoming and effort is being bade to pass a law legalizing gambling and permitting the placing of slot machines in public places.  Governor Miller has appealed to Bishop Don P. Fowler of Cheyenne, suggesting that the bishops ask their members to write to the legislature protesting against it.  The brethren were agreed that this is the king of case were we can express our views.  It was decided when I reported this matter at the meeting of the First Presidency to call the Stake Presidents in Wyoming by phone asking them to request their bishops to be active in protesting against it.

The brethren further recommended that we have a man at the legislature in Wyoming, and it is recommended that Brother Archie P. Boyack be used in this work, instructing the Stake Presidents to get in touch with him.

In Idaho the Governor wants to pass a law against gambling.  It was felt that Brother Merrill in Pocatello, Brother Z, Reed Millar in Boise, and Brother Albert Choules of the Idaho Falls Temple might meet with Brothers Lee and Moyle and receive instructions, and then let Brother Choules work with the legislators.

In Utah someone is needed to watch things in the legislature, and Rendell Mabey has been suggested.”

Sat., 17 Jan., 1953:

“At 6:20 a.m., we boarded the train for Washington, D.C. to attend Inaugural Ceremonies for President-Elect Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

Mon., 19 Jan., 1953:

“We arrived in Washington, D.C. the forenoon of January 19, 1953.  The city was enveloped in a dense fog.  As the train moved along leisurely and carefully through the morning mist and darkness, I remarked to Sister McKay and my friends:  ‘This fog is typical of the fog that has been hanging over Washington politically for twenty years.’  Some in the group didn’t smile—evidently they were Democrats and sympathetic with the Roosevelt-Truman administration.  It seemed to me, however, to be an apt comparison.

Sister Erza Taft Benson and her son—Reed who is a chaplain stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas—met us at the Station.  They had a special car in which we were driven to the Westchester Hotel at 4000 Cathedral Avenue where a suite of rooms had been assigned for our comfort.  A large bouquet of yellow roses greeted us—presented by President and Sister J. Willard Marriott.  In a few moments another bouquet of red roses was delivered, and, to our surprise, the card said, ‘From Dorothy and Fred,’ (Mr. and Mrs. Schulter of Trenton, New Jersey).  How Mr. and Mrs. Schulter had learned so quickly what our address in Washington would be was a surprise to us.  Evidently, they had phoned to my secretary Clare at the office, and found out where we were going to be.

That evening Ray and I attended the Inaugural Festival given in honor of the Inauguration of Dwight David Eisenhower  as the 34th President of the United States, and Richard Milhous Nixon as Vice President of the United States, held in the Uline Arena, 3rd and M Streets, N.E. at 8:30 p.m.  Sister McKay and I had tickets to a specially reserved section.  We were met at the Arena by President and Sister J. Willard Marriott, Sister I. A. Smoot, Senator and Mrs. Wallace Bennett, and Sister Robert L. Judd.

Artists from every field of entertainment—the stage, screen, opera, concert, stage, radio, television, and night clubs contributed their time and talents at this 42nd Presidential Inauguration.  Many features were excellent; some not so good.  The entertainment continued until after midnight; Ray and I left at midnight, arriving at the Hotel at about 1:00 a.m.”

Tues., 20 Jan., 1953:

“Inauguration Day of President Eisenhower

Tuesday morning we received a telephone message from President Marriott (President of the Washington Stake of the Church) suggesting that we be driven over to his house a t 9:00 o’clock from whence we would have a police escort to precede us to the Inaugural Ceremonies.  In accordance with the instructions, we left the Marriott home at about 9:30 a.m., and under police escort were driven to the reserved seats in front of the Capitol building.  With the police escort we went right through the crowds.  We were there in ample time to get the choice seats available in the reserved section.

The Program of the Inaugural Ceremonies was as follows:

Selection by the United States Marine Band


Solo—‘Star Spangled Banner’—by Marvin [Marion?] Anderson

The oath of office was administered to the Vice President-elect

Solo—‘America the Beautiful’


The oath of office administered to the President-elect by the Chief Justice of the United States

Inaugural address by the President of the United States


The most impressive feature of the entire program was President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s introductory remarks followed by his prayer appealing for the guidance of a Divine Providence that he might be able to serve the people of this country.  As soon as he bowed his head and offered that prayer a deep hush fell over that vast audience, and it seemed to me that there was truly but one heart beating in harmony with the appeal offered by the new President of the United States.

I was deeply impressed with his sincerity as manifest in this appeal to the Lord for guidance and also in his clear vision of the needs of the country as he expressed himself in his inaugural address.

The fog of yesterday had vanished, and the sunshine seemed as a manifestation of divine approval for the day was clear and cloudless, as President Eisenhower’s thoughts and opinions seemed to be.

At the conclusion of the address, we moved toward the railing near the point at which the parade would commence, and at that vantage point, sitting and standing, with plenty of robes to keep us warm, we remained for nearly five hours!  The parade started at five minutes to two o’clock and when we left at 6:45, it was still going.  We stayed until the Utah delegation came along and were able to greet Governor and Mrs. J. Bracken Lee when they joined the parade.

It was then necessary for us to go to our car (which had been waiting all this time), and were driven to our hotel where we dressed for a dinner given to us and other guests by President and Mrs. J. Willard Marriott at the Country Club.  Others who were present at the dinner were Senator and Mrs. Arthur V. Watkins, Senator and Mrs. Bennett, Ivy Baker Priest (the new Treasurer of the U.S.) and her husband, Mrs. Robert L. Judd, Mrs. I. A. Smoot, and two friends and their wives—guests of President and Mrs. Marriott—one couple from Canada and another from Texas.  The man from Canada (not a member of the Church) whose name I do not recall paid me one of the sincerest compliments I have ever received.

[Note from Clare added later:  “President McKay did not dictate this for the diary, but I feel it should be given as it expresses the viewpoint of so many people both in and out of the Church who have the pleasure and privilege of meeting President McKay.

The man from Canada said:  ‘President McKay, I am not in the habit of giving compliments to people to their face; I should rather them (the compliments) come second-hand; but I am going to tell you now what I think of you—As I watched you tonight at the dinner table, I have come to the conclusion that you have the most benign countenance, the most Christ-like attitude, of any man I have ever known.”]

We had a very enjoyable time together.

Following the dinner we were driven to the Armory at which place we had a box reserved for the Inaugural Ball.  We were accompanied by Dr. and Mrs. U. R. Bryner.  The four of us were driven from the country club to the Armory Hall where the Inaugural Ball was given, but we ran into traffic congestion—thousands of cars were lined up a mile before we got to the Hall.  We noticed ladies and gentlemen in full evening dress coming out of their cars and walking from a half-a-mile to a mile to get to the Hall.  Finally, we had to do the same, and, therefore, did not arrive at the ball until 11:15 p.m.  Many of the other Utahns had gone to the Georgetown Hall where we were told a crowd of equally great proportions had assembled also.  The Armory ballroom was so crowded that nobody could tell when dancers came on the floor or left.  Anybody could dance without embarrassment, even though he couldn’t keep step.  The ladies, however, saw their beautiful gowns and were happy; after all, that is the principal thing for which they came.  Throughout the evening solos, quartets, and other entertainment were rendered by well-known artists.  Lily Pons was one of the featured artists.  Seats in the boxes on the floor of the ballroom cost $75.00 each.

We finally left the Ballroom at about 12:30 a.m., found our car in the place previously designated, and started for our Hotel, arriving there at 2:00 a.m.”

Wed., 21 Jan., 1953:

“This morning at 9:00 o’clock we were invited to join the Senators and other Utahns at a breakfast given by Senator Arthur V. Watkins, but we had previously arranged to leave Washington at 10:00 a.m. to go to New York and visit our daughter Low Jean and her husband Russell H. Blood.  Brother and Sister Erza Taft Benson accompanies us to the station.”

Mon., 2 Feb., 1953

“From 10:30 to 11:30 this morning listened by way of the Radio to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s State of the Union address.  It was a clear-cur American speech, giving broad, general outlines of his foreign and domestic programs, and revealed an Executive who is capable of doing something about the many serious problems now confronting the country.”

Mon., 16 Feb., 1953:

“7 a.m.  Met by appointment Gus Backman of the Chamber of Commerce.  Consulted with him regarding (1) The securing the right to have an educational TV channel.  Brother Backman is in favor of having the channel, and having it under the control of the leading educational institutions—University of Utah, B.Y.U., Utah Agricultural College—and recommends the appointment of a committee to investigate its installation, and how it should be conducted and controlled.

We agreed that the Legislature should protect out right to get the channel, and recommend that the Governor appoint a committee on which would be represented the leading educational institutions and some leading citizens to determine how best to install it and to control it.

(2) We considered the Corrupt Practice Act now before the legislature.

(3) Also considered the ‘Right to Work’ bill.  We had a very worthwhile consultation.”

Mon., 16 Feb., 1953:

“Called Brother Lawrence B. Johnson, State Representative, who was in session at the State Capitol.  I asked him what he thinks of the Educational Channel the state is trying to get through.  He said that there is a chance to get another television channel in the state of Utah for educational purposes.

I said this channel would be sponsored by the University of Utah, the Brigham Young University and Utah State Agricultural College.

Brother Johnson thought there might be some propaganda attached to it but inasmuch as the BYU is sponsoring it he believed that it would take out the propaganda angle.  I suggested that a committee could be appointed to study the matter further.  Brother Johnson said he would check and see what he could find out about it and would let me know later.”

Tues., 17 Feb., 1953:

“Meeting of President David O. McKay with Representatives S. J. (Vean) Postma of Logan and Simeon Dunn of Hyrum, and Secretary of State Lamont F. Toronto, February 17, 1953, in regard to the Utah State Agricultural College.

POSTMA:  The people of Cache Valley and Logan are very concerned about the welfare of the Agricultural College.  The majority want to support President Madsen.  He is capable of handling the job.  We feel it would do the College serious damage if he were removed.  We know that removing Dean Symons was a preliminary step to get President Madsen out.  Groups have met with Governor Lee on various occasions to urge him that President Madsen is capable of doing the job.  The Governor concurred with us that board member Preston perhaps was the cause of a lot of the difficulty and ought to be removed.  He has two more years to go in his term.  The Governor himself initiated the proposal and asked our opinion as to a means of removing Preston or whether to request the entire board to resign.  We felt that Preston would not of himself resign.  In all the meetings, the governor has preferred that as a solution.  We thought he was going to go through with that, but in the meeting a week ago with the board, a reversal of opinion was taken, and, we understand, out of that board meeting came a united opinion from the Governor and the Board of Trustees that President Madsen must go.  We people in Cache Valley want to go about this in a consistent manner.  We realize that you met with the Governor and assume that you took a position in the matter.  We want to support you and do the right thing, and that is why we are here, to learn your thinking in the matter, if you have assumed a position.  A good many people in Logan called me Sunday and said, ‘We understand President McKay visited with the Governor, and whatever his judgment is, we want to go along with him.

PRES. McKAY:  My only attitude with the Governor was that it is none of my business, but I think President Madsen must not be hurt, and there should be no reflection on Brother Madsen in this matter.  I think that he should be given a reappointment and let him and the board work this out for his own interest and the interest of the school.  That is my position.  I think he will not be dismissed.  I do not know, but I think he and the board should work this out, whatever difficulties there are.

POSTMA:  The reason I invited Rep. Dunn to meet with us is because he has met with me and Senator Muir in meeting with the Governor last Friday.  The Governor implied that he feels that President Madsen must go by July 1, when the term of his present board expires.

DUNN:  That is right.

PRES. McKAY:  I think you are right on that.  Governor Lee thinks President Madsen is not an executive, and there has been some talk that Brother Madsen does not like that type of work.  My talk with Brother Madsen indicates that he would like to go on and work this out.  I think this is what he will do.

POSTMA:  That is the impression he left with me.  He did not make any statement that he would like to get out and get to into another field.

PRES. McKAY:  He did not say to me, either, that he would like to change.  Nothing should be done to reflect on Brother Madsen, because he is a great man, and he is a good man.

POSTMA:  That is exactly our feeling up our way.

PRES. McKAY:  I know there are those who would like to get him out.

POSTMA:  The students are very concerned.  Many parents have approached me and said if this is not worked out satisfactorily, our students will not stay.  They will go to B.Y.U.  My feeling is that that school can be as great an asset to the Church as the B.Y.U.

PRES. McKAY:  That is right!  How do the people in Logan know I had a conference with the Governor?

POSTMA:  Professor L.R. Humphreys was working in the board room next door.  As he came out, he said he saw you.

PRES. McKAY:  I told the Governor it is none of my business.  He said, ‘Yes, it is your business, because everything in this office is the business of the people.’  I soon found out his attitude.  I said, ‘Let nothing be done that would injure this man.”

POSTMA:  Yes, the Governor has consistently said he has a very high opinion of President Madsen as a man, but he does not feel he is an executive.  We do not feel he has had an opportunity to demonstrate his ability!

PRES. McKAY:  This should not go out of this committee:  Have you heard, as I have heard authoritatively, that this man Preston, whom I do not know, has changed his attitude, that he came here two weeks ago or three weeks ago and acknowledged, to use his phrase, ‘I have been a damn fool in fighting the Church in this matter.’  He said, ‘We need the Church up here.  We need the Church influence here.’  He said, ‘I hope the time will never come when we will not have a prominent Church man at the head of the board; and the head of this school should be a Latter-day Saint.’

DUNN:  George (Preston) has good blood.  He is a son of Bishop W.B. Preston.  He went through World War I.

TORONTO:  I have gone to two meetings, and Preston needled President Madsen all the way through, especially about the carpets in the Union Building.  In executive session, they considered what should be done about Madsen, and in this session they decided not to do anything at that time.  There is a breach between the faculty and the board and possibly public relations, between the citizens, alumni and the board.  I feel that if President Madsen resigns at this time, or if he is asked to resign or resigns on his own accord, the board of trustees will have caused such a breech that nobody will have confidence in them up there.

PRES. McKAY:  I think that he is not going to be asked to resign; neither will the board be asked to resign.  The board, as presently constituted, are appointees of the Governor.  Why should he ask his own appointees to resign?  I do not think he will do it.  I think he will fill the vacancies.  The new board will have the job of appointing a new president.  I think they should appoint President Madsen.

TORONTO:  Does President Madsen intend to tender his resignation?

PRES. McKAY:  I do not think so.

POSTMA:  He did not indicate such a thing Sunday in my hearing.

DUNN:  Last Friday, the Governor, in our visit with him, was pretty strong.

PRES. McKAY:  He thinks that President Madsen is not an executive.

DUNN:  He even said it was unanimous in the board that Madsen had to go.

PRES. McKAY:  I think that it is not conclusive.  The latest word that I received is that President Madsen can meet the board and solve the problems and go on.  I think he should do that.

DUNN:  Yes, but that is not the idea of the Governor.

POSTMA:  We took that stand with President Madsen, and asked that he even make some apologies if necessary.  I went in with the President and told him I had to bite my tongue several times.  He said, ‘So did I.’

PRES. McKAY:  He has a mind of his own.

POSTMA:  I admire him for that.

PRES. McKAY:  Yes, but the board has a mind of its own, too, so when an irresistible force meets and immovable object, you know the result.

POSTMA:  The board has taken the stand that Madsen has refused to carry our their recommendations in the case of President Nuttall and Snow College.  The board accuses Madsen of doing nothing to try to find a replacement for President Nuttall.  The state took over Snow College July 1, 1951, the board held a meeting and President Madsen submitted sex or seven names for board consideration for a man to take Nuttall’s place; and after some discussion, board member Woolley made a motion that Nuttall’s contract be renewed for another year.  A meeting or so later, the board asked President Madsen to contact Symons to see if he would be interested in taking that position.  In a board meeting a little later, President Madsen said he had approached Symons but he was not interested.  He had approached L.G. Noble about it, but he had turned it down.  Nothing further was said until last July 1, and Woolley or Preston again made a motion that Nuttall’s contract be renewed for this year in which we are now.  In November, the board asked Madsen to again approach Symons.  They knew he had turned it down once, but they wanted him approached again.  That does not look to me as if President Madsen has failed to carry out the action of the board.  He made a sincere effort; yet the board said he defiled them, he refused to do anything about it, he drug his feet.  Those minutes do not indicate that to me.

TORONTO:  I sit on both boards, and there is a different way of doing business on both boards.  The board of regents listens to the recommendations of the president and discuss the recommendations.  If the president makes a recommendation and the board disapproves it, the president will withdraw the recommendation, and the board of regents does not dictate what the president ought to do.  Now, the board of trustees rather get too far into the administrative field in advising President Madsen, and that is one of the things that is wrong with that board.

PRES. McKAY:  Yes, if the board would decide what to do and say, ‘Now, President Madsen, the administration is yours,’ it would be much better.  There is one other thing which seems to be a pertinent factor in this:  that is your executive secretary, Berntson.  Judging from what I have heard, he assumes to dictate to teachers and groups what should be done, rather than the president.  Is that right?

TORONTO:  I think he has a certain following with some of the faculty.  He has a tendency to go around the president to the board.  I believe the board is all agreed that Mr. Berntson should be relieved.

PRES. McKAY:  What does President Madsen think about it?

TORONTO:  I don’t know.

PRES. McKAY:  I have not been able to ascertain it.

TORONTO:  President Madsen is coming down, and I will ask him.

PRES. McKAY:  Do that.  It appears to me that Preston will be put back; Brother Isaacson will be put back; Mrs. Ercanbrack will be put back, some of these others will be reappointed, and that board will then function just as it is.  The board should reappoint President Madsen as president of that College.  He should be given a new executive secretary.  He should call him in, if he is President Madsen’s choice.  I thought a good deal of him when I was up there on the board.

TORONTO:  He is a good public relations man.

PRES. McKAY:  Yes, but he has not sustained Brother Madsen.

TORONTO:  That is right.

POSTMA:  I don’t think he has sustained the administration at all, Secretary Toronto.  Two years ago I was on the Appropriations Committee.  In several meetings he said the figure the Governor recommended was all right, we could get along with it.  During the last year, starting about last January, President Madsen and Director Frischknecht realized they would need a deficit appropriation in order to carry our their program for the balance of the year, and they intended to approach the board and ask their approval for a deficit appropriation.  President Madsen told me that Berntson, being secretary of that subcommittee, told them that he did not think the Extension Service needed that money.  When Madsen and Frischknecht met the board and presented their arguments, the subcommittee challenged it and said they did not need it, and the executive secretary backed them up.  They got the deficit appropriation form the Governor, some $22,000, having later convinced the Governor they needed it, through the facts.  I have the feeling that Berntson is in alliance with the Governor in his financial stand, and he just undermines the president in every move.

PRES. McKAY:  No doubt about it.  I think we should work along those lines.

POSTMA:  Can we build confidence in the board?  I wonder if the public, faculty and student body can have their confidence built up in that situation.

TORONTO:  I think President Madsen could do a lot by talking to each board member privately and telling the board members that he may have made a mistake or two, that he would like their vote of confidence, and I think the breach could be held there if the board would give him a vote of confidence and another year.

POSTMA:  If eight new faces came onto that board, I wonder if that would allay the fears of the public, faculty and student body.  If we cannot remove the cause of the difficulty, Preston, I wonder if we can offset it by eight strong people.

PRES. MCKAY:  You can’t get him off.

POSTMA:  I wonder if the entire board can be removed.

PRES. MCKAY:  You cannot do that.

DUNN:  I asked Representative White, former member of the board, his opinion about Preston.  He said, “If there was ever a devil upon the earth, it is George Preston!”

PRES. MCKAY:  Well, the remark I mentioned may have been made just as I quoted it, but it might have been because of the reappointment in the offing and he wanted to be reappointed.  I am not going to accuse him of that, however.

TORONTO:  Not too long ago I heard he went to one of the Presbyterian members of the faculty and said, ‘We have got to get together and get rid of some of these Mormons!’

PRES. MCKAY:  Well, if this repentance is true, let us give him credit for it.

DUNN:  I think Preston knows what is right.  He had a good bringing up.

PRES. MCKAY:  Well, this came to me within the last two weeks.  He said, ‘I have been wrong; my attitude has been wrong, and I am sorry I have caused lots of trouble, and I did it willfully.’

POSTMA:  I talked with President Perry within the last two weeks, and he said Preston had told him he had made some mistakes.

PRES. MCKAY:  Well, here is where we stand:  the board will be reappointed.

POSTMA:  The majority of those whose terms will expire?


POSTMA:  I know the Governor would like to reappoint some of them.  He indicated that.

PRES. MCKAY:  I am pretty sure that will be done.  That being the case, the responsibility of appointing a new president will be with the new board.  I hope, and I have reason to think, that the board will reappoint President Madsen as president.  I am sure they will not do anything that will reflect discredit in any way upon President Madsen.  There are members of the board who blame him for not cooperating, and they give specific instances, but President Madsen can meet the board and sincerely say that he wants to cooperate.  He should see that there is no interfering from the board in the administrative affairs of the school.  Whatever the board members would like him to do, they should tell him and then let him deal with the deans and faculty.  No teacher or other staff member should come around talking to the board members, ignoring him in administrative matters.  He should be given authority to conduct the school, and I think he can do it!

TORONTO:  A number of the board members have a tendency to go into the school and talk directly to the faculty.

PRES. MCKAY:  And faculty members have a tendency to go directly to the board, and the president should resent it!  I think that is what should be done.  If President Madsen would like to go into research, of course that is up to him; but now that the fight is on, surely he will not give up.  He is one of the greatest research men in the United States.  It may be that he can serve the college, state and nation better in that respect.

POSTMA:  That is the position we have taken with the Governor.  If another year under a proper atmosphere shows that he cannot administer the College, then he should be allowed to leave the position.

PRES. MCKAY:  That is my attitude, and I sincerely recommend it.

DUNN:  It is like the trouble Dr. Widtsoe had at the A.C. and at the University.

PRES. MCKAY:  I think the board, if appointed as we have indicated this morning, will not ask Brother Madsen to resign, and I think Brother Madsen should take a compromising attitude with the board, because there is antagonism now, which makes it pretty hard to give in.  Somebody must give in.  I am sure Brother Madsen will come half way.

POSTMA:  Would you care to suggest which board members we should contact?  The public has put terrific pressure on the board, and they are not satisfied with the board members in the Symons case.

PRES. MCKAY:  Is the Symons case closed?


PRES. MCKAY:  Brother Madsen told me he is a good man.  He was in hopes that Brother  Symons would stay up there on the faculty.

POSTMA:  That was the public’s wish too.  They are afraid the same policy will continue to undermine the College.  I think we have enough support in the Senate to control the appointments of the Governor.  There is a fine attitude in the majority about the College.  They want to protect the College.  This action of the Governor on the Sunday Closing bill did not win any support from the Legislature.  I think we can override the Governor’s veto today.  Frankly, a lot of us are getting fed up on supporting the Governor.  He takes such an obstinate view!

PRES. MCKAY:  Let me have another talk with one or two members of the board who are leaders of the board.  More good can be done by quietly influencing those who wield an influence than having the public enter into it, because the public does not understand all the conditions.  I believe, brethren, if we talk to the board and to Brother Madsen, that this can be ironed out to the good of the College, the good of the people, and to the honor of Brother Madsen.  My attitude is that no action should be taken that would reflect upon that great and good man.  I have confidence in his sincerity and ability.

POSTMA:  President Madsen told me that he wanted this man Kelly, head of the Survey Commission, to be his assistant and to help adopt the proposals of the Kelly Committee.  He approached the board, which the minutes will show.  The board said, ‘We favor that proposal of yours, President Madsen.  You approach him and see what arrangements can be made.’  President Madsen approached Kelly and asked him to come in for a year for $4,500.  Kelly said he could not afford to come to Utah for that.  They negotiated and settled on a figure of $6,000.  Kelly said, ‘I will come on that figure, on one condition, that Secretary Berntson be dismissed immediately.’  Madsen went to the board with that proposal, and the board voted him down on it, which is an indication to me that they want to retain Berntson.  Madsen said, ‘I saw that my hands are tied and I cannot move.’

TORONTO:  Saturday they discussed this matter, and it is the feeling of the board that Berntson has to ho, but I don’t think they will do it immediately.

PRES. MCKAY:  I asked two members of the board if Madsen could work with Berntson, and Madsen said yes.

TORONTO:  I feel, and I believe that three-fourths of the members of the board feel that Berntson has to go.

POSTMA:  Madsen said Sunday that this arrangement could be worked out if Berntson stuck to the book work and a business manager came in to handle the matters with the faculty.

PRES. MCKAY:  If the board will give President Madsen another appointment and let him choose another executive secretary and assistant, everything will work out.

POSTMA:  I hope Preston is sincere.

PRES. MCKAY:  So do I.

POSTMA:  We feel that Preston works very closely with F.P. Champ.  Many people say Preston is just a stooge of Champ.  The Governor has asked me on two occasions to go and get my advice from Mr. Champ.  I have done so.  If you have any influence with Mr. Champ, maybe this could be worked out.

PRES. MCKAY:  I have always liked him.  He was president of the board when I was up there.  I have not said a word to him about this, but I would not hesitate.

POSTMA:  We feel sure that the Governor is listening to Champ.

PRES. MCKAY:  You are right in the fact that the Governor wants Madsen out.

POSTMA:  He demanded it, Friday.

DUNN:  I think Champ appointed Preston to the board.

PRES. MCKAY:  We cannot get him off, so let us hope his repentance is sincere.

DUNN:  The Governor can get rid of those he wants to; he has done so.  He got rid of White and Stringham.

PRES. MCKAY:  I am pretty sure that the board as now constituted, or the new board, will not take any action that will case reflection upon President Madsen.  If they do, then my assurances are not correct.

POSTMA:  Possibly they won’t if the Governor will quit pressing for it.

PRES. MCKAY:  That is what the legislator said to me last night, but I am very careful about going up.  I did not think anyone knew of it.

POSTMA:  L.R. Humphreys saw you walking out, and it was just assumed that it had to do with President Madsen and the A.C….We want to work with you on this.

PRES. MCKAY:  That is my stand.  I am pretty sure the Governor will reappoint the men.  Who the men are to be appointed to fill vacancies, I do not know.  When he does make his appointments, we can see who they are.

POSTMA:  We have a pledge from the Governor that he will not submit any names without first getting Republican Party concurrence in them in naming future appointments.  If he will stay with his pledge, it will give us a chance to block anyone undesirable.

PRES. MCKAY:  In contacting board members, take the attitude that nothing should be done to reflect upon President Madsen.  Give him a chance to administer the work without interference.  There has been too much of that.  Madsen is an easy-going man, and would do nothing to hurt anyone.  That school must be upheld; it is one of the best in the country.  No school wields a better influence.  The flare-up regarding the Dean of Students surprised me very much.

May I ask you men what your attitude is on this educational television?  We have a chance to get an educational channel here in Utah, and between now and July, somebody is going to get this new channel.  The state superintendent started it.  There is opposition to that, because it will be a propaganda means.  Now, President Olpin, President Wilkinson and, I think President Madsen, head this committee who are favoring an educational channel free from advertising, free from beer, tobacco, and all that, but putting into the home a channel which would be educational to our children.  I have spoken to Gus Bachman about it.  He opposed it at first, but yesterday morning he was in favor of it.

If we can get the approval of the Legislature, the second step is the appointment of a committee by you legislators or the Governor, consisting of the leading men in the institutions; so there will be no propaganda here by the Church or by the state, let those three men, Madsen, Olpin and Wilkinson represent the educational features, three layman whom the Legislature will appoint, and one other, and let them work out the details.

DUNN:  I believe a bill has been drawn up and will be introduced, that will provide for a commission which will have the authority to deal with the F.C.C. and ask for an extension of time beyond next June, and this bill would provide for a token appropriation to start the thing out and will give a little more time.  There are members of the Legislature opposed to it.  I am one of the teachers who were under fire.

POSTMA:  There is certainly a great need for a better program on television.

PRES. MCKAY:  Thank you, brethren.  Let us keep public agitation down until we can talk to members of the board, and save Brother Madsen and the school.

Mark Peterson—February 17, 1953

Called Brother Petersen and asked him is he is acquainted with the proposal to establish in Salt Lake City an Educational TV channel.  He answered that he had read about it in the newspaper, and that one day David Wilson from Ogden came in and asked him to serve on a committee.

I then explained to Brother Petersen that they had to ask me to be chairman of the Committee, but we thought it unwise for me to act in this capacity, and that I had suggested we ask him to represent us on that committee.  I said that we must do something to utilize this force for educational improvement in our home—that we invite the tobacco and whiskey advertisements right into our home—but are doing very little to bring through the television the worthwhile, educational features into our homes.

Said that I had spoken to several senators and representatives who are now in Session at the Capitol—including Lawrence B. Johnson, S.J. Vean Postam, Simeon Dunn of Hyrum, Secretary of State, Lamont Toronto, Senator Titetjen.

Also told Brother Petersen that I had had a talk with Gus Backman who had opposed the establishment of the channel at first, because he file that the State Teaching Association was using the issue for propaganda purposes.  Now that he knows the leading educational institutions of the State—the B.Y.U.—the U. of U.—A.C.U. are heading it, and favoring it, threw a different light on it and took it out of the propaganda field.

I said that I told Brother Backman that the Federal Communications Commission had given until July 1 to get the channel, but that we have assurance that the time will be extended if necessary.  If not, we shall take steps to secure the channel if the Legislature will give some meager appropriation sufficient to make an investigation.  It is felt the Legislature of the Governor should appoint an investigating committee or commission comprised of representatives from leading institutions and other representative citizens to study the situation with a view of installing  it.

Brother Petersen then said that he will be delighted to work on this committee, and at my suggestion will be pleased to get in touch with Senators Kerr and Hopkins to ask for their interest in the project.  Brother Petersen then said that Lew Roberts is being sent to Hawaii by the National organization of the Boy Scouts, and inasmuch as he is a member of the Y.M.M.I.A. General Board, wonders if it will be all right to hold meetings in the interest of scouting in the Oahu Stake.  As M.I.A. General Board members do not go into the Mission, Brother Roberts is asking for special permission as he felt he might do some good.  I told Brother Petersen to have Brother Roberts consult President Nelson of Hawaii Mission, and if it is agreeable with him, it will be all right for Brother Roberts to contact the L.D.S. workers.

Mon., 2 Mar., 1953

“Discussed matters pertaining to the U.S.A.C. Board—the assignment of new members to the Board, and the retirement for the Board of Bishop Isaacson.  I said confidentially that is the Governor will reappoint the Board and let the Board and the President work out the difficulties for the present, that nobody will be hurt and the school will be benefited.  Further, that Brother Isaacson’s health is not good, and that he will have to resign after he has straightened out things at the College.

Brother Johnson mentioned the stories that have come out about Bishop Isaacson, and I stated that there is absolutely no truth in them; that I had received letters making apologies for what has been said.  I stated that Bishop Isaacson is fine executive, and that for the present I have in mind the good of the school—it is a good school and must not be permitted to deteriorate.

Bro. Johnson said he would hate to have anything happen to President Madsen this year.  I said that sometime during the year they could probably work things out.  Brother Johnson said that just now it would be tragic for Pres. Madsen to leave—felt that if he had a different Board it would be better for him.  Mentioned that Bishop Isaacson has two more years on the Board if he cares to remain.

(3) Bro. Johnson then brought up the Appropriation’s Bill now before the Legislature.  I said that I think everything should be done to maintain our schools.  Bro. Johnson wondered if I should call Orval Adams and ask him to get in touch with the Governor regarding the allotment to our schools.  I said that I had refrained from entering into this—that it is a matter for the State to decide.  Bro. Johnson said that his judgment is that if we had a temporary Board, and studied the bill for the next two years, then we should be in a position to know what we should do about higher education.

I said I had not given any thought to the matter, and would hare to express myself offhand.

I said I had received a call this morning from Ogden regarding the elementary schools in that district, and that I had told the person calling to contact Senator Woolley who is chairman of the Appropriations’ Committee and get his side of the question.

I told Brother Johnson that it does not strike me as a wise thing to have a Board who can tell institutions what to do; that if I were President of the U of U or Agricultural College, and the State Legislature would say to me:  ‘We are going to have a Board who will tell you how to direct your school,’ I think I should hand in my resignation.

Bro. Johnson answered:  ‘Well if you were there, we would not have to have a Board.’

Brother Johnson then asked that I think about putting both schools—U of U and U.S.A.C.—under a joint Board.

I said that I had been a member of the Board of Regents of the U of U and a member of the Board U.S.A.C., and think eventually the joint board will be a good thing; that I have always favored it, but to do it now would be critical; that I believe it could be done more effectively when the difficulties are ironed out.

Bro. Johnson then went into the appropriation for the TV Educational channel—said that three of our professors had shown the Governor some programs on this modern are business, and that the Governor was perturbed at what they had shown him, and since they are seeking $100,000 for their TV educational program, it was very unwise to bring that sort of thing before the Governor when the money can be used to much better advantage.

Bro. Johnson then said he is sure the Governor would enjoy a visit form me to talk over some of these problems.

5. Governor J. Bracken Lee called—said that he  had a ‘little brain storm’ and wanted my advice regarding the situation at the Utah Agricultural College—‘I am wondering if it would be beneficial to do something like this:  Put Thorpe Isaacson on the University of Utah Board, and Dr. Adam S. Bennion on the Utah Agricultural College Board.’

I stated that I had suggested to Bishop Isaacson that he had better ask to be released from the Board at the USAC because of his health; and that I thought it would be a good move for him; that when he gets back and can get matters moving along smoothly at the College, he could resign.  His health is not good and he should get off that Board.

The Governor then said that he thought that could be done without injuring him at all.

I further stated: ‘Now, I believe that if you appointed him at the U of U you would have to release him from that Board because of his health; otherwise it would be good move.

The Governor then said that he wished to smooth things our without injuring or hurting any one.

I told him that we appreciate his consideration.

It was agreed that I should think about the Governor’s proposal and then call him later giving him my advice on the matter.

Tues., 3 Mar., 1953:

First Presidency.

“At 8 a.m. I telephoned to Governor J. Bracken Lee in response to his request that I give thought to the advisability of appointing Bishop Thorpe Isaacson a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Utah, and Dr. Adam S. Bennion as a member of the Board of Trustees of the U.S.A.C.

I said that inasmuch as Brother Isaacson is one of the four oldest on the Board of Trustees of the College that I think it would be better for him to remain there and with the new appointees on the Board help to settle the difficulties that are now rampant between the Board, the President, and the faculty of the U.S.A.C.

I remarked further that as Brother Isaacson’s health is not very good, it may be necessary in a few months for Brother Isaacson to request a release from the Board of Trustees.

The Governor stated that he had no desire whatever to get rid of Bishop Isaacson because, he, the Governor, considers the Bishop on of the ablest men interested in the welfare of the College.

Thurs., 12 Mar., 1953:

8:30 a.m.—“Elders Harold B. Lee and Henry D. Moyle called on me this morning and reviewed what has been going on up at the Legislature, and asked if we would like them to continue to guide things for the next election, keeping the brethren informed.  I told them yes.  They asked if they might have a meeting during Conference with men whom they have heretofore contacted.  I said yes, but thought they should not attend it.  They thought probably they could coach Pres. Elggren and Brother Romney.  They felt we should start right now to get good men at the Primaries in both parties—Republicans and Democrats.  In regard to the City here, told them to let Colonel Thomas go on with his committee as a restraining influence and that they should decide now on some good men to take positions in the City Commission.

Thurs., 12 Mar., 1953:

8:40 to 9:15—Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson came in to report that the Legislature had passed the bill for educational television, but that there is evidence that the Governor will veto it.  He appealed to me to go and see the Governor, but he would not do so as he did  not want to place himself in the position of being turned down.  There is assurance from Washington however, that the limit for greeting this TV channel will not be June 1, 1953.  Brother Wilkinson said that he would see the Governor about it.

Later Dr. Wilkinson came back to report his conversation with the Governor—said that he is determined to veto the bill.

I stated that I think it is not wise for me to try to bring undue influence, or to try to influence the Governor against his own personal convictions regarding the bill.

Mon., 23 Mar., 1953:

Telephone call from Elder Ezra Taft Benson—12:30 p.m.

“Called from Chicago where he is attending a Convention.  Said he called to see how everyone is and to extend greetings.  Said he is speaking over the radio this afternoon at 2:30 o’clock—it would be 1:30 p.m. our time—that it would probably come over KUTA, at any rate on the ABC network.

Elder Benson then asked how the Brethren are, and I told him that Brother Richards is at Lake Mead and seems to be a little better.  Elder Benson then asked about Brother Bowen, and I said that Brother Bowen is gradually getting worse—that his mentality keeps up, but his body is deteriorating, and that he does not seem to care any more.

Brother Benson then asked how I am feeling and I reported that I am feeling very well—Brother Benson admonished me to take care of myself.

I congratulated Elder Benson and told him that he seems to be winning out in his work in the Agricultural Department—I told him that he has our faith and prayers, and that it would make his heart warm to hear what is said at our meetings in the Temple on Thursdays—that he is with us in our prayers.

Elder Benson then said he would try to be here for Conference and hoped President McKay would save a seat for him—I said I would see what I could do about saving a seat for him, stating that he is still in full fellowship in the Church and everyone would be happy to see him.

Brother Benson asked me to convey his love to the Brethren and Sister McKay.

I asked Brother Benson to convey my esteem and high regard to President Eisenhower, and to his associates there in Washington, D.C., especially to Mr. McKay with whom I am acquainted.  Elder Benson said he went to the Virgin Islands with Mr. McKay and that they are on a Committee together on Island matters.

Brother Benson asked me to call Sister Benson which I did immediately after concluding my talk with Brother Benson.

I extended love and the Lord’s blessing to Elder Benson.”

Tues., 5 May, 1953:

Note:  Received invitation from the Honorable John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, Washington, D.C., inviting me to attend a meeting of non-governmental organizations to be held in the State Department, Washington, D.C.  June 4 and 5, 1953.  (see attached copy of letter—original in scrap book)

May 14, 1953

Dear Mr. Secretary:

This will acknowledge the receipt of your letter of May 5, 1953 inviting me to a meeting of non-governmental organizations to be held in the State Department on June 4, and 5, 1953.

Thank you for including me among those favored to attend this important meeting at which the problems of United States foreign policy and international relations will be considered.

I hope to be able to arrange my appointments so that I may be present with you on the morning of June 4.

Sincerely yours,



The Honorable John Foster Dulles

The Secretary of State

Washington 25, D.C.”

15 May, 1953:

Telephone Calls

“Arthur Watkins called from Washington, D.C.  Said he is Chairman of the Immigration Committee, and that the President has asked Congress to pass a special immigration bill to allow 240,000 people to come into this country over the course of two years—110,000 Germans or people of German origin from the Iron curtain, 20,000 Dutch people, 20,000 Greeks, and 75,000 Italians.  Said that he spent an hour with President Eisenhower on this matter.  The President thinks if we allow these people to come in to this country, it will be an example to the South American  countries and will greatly aid in the war against communism.  The President promises that he will not repeat the request nor will he repeat the promise regarding this matter which has left him form the other administration.

Senator Watkins said that it is a pretty hard thing for him to do, but he is doing it because of his faith in the President.

The Senator said that it is a pretty hard thing for him to do, but he is doing it because of his faith in the President.  I remarked that I thought he should go along with the President.

The Senator then said that he is going to fight this foreign spending, but he believes that 240,000 people brought here over a period of two years will not hurt us; that they will be screened very closely and only the best will be allowed to come in.  Said that some of the Italians are very fine people, but they will have to be especially careful in allowing only those who are worthy to enter this country—they will all be submitted to very close screening, and if they enter under false pretenses, they will be deported immediately.

I told Senator Watkins that I did not feel to well about the Italians, but that I did feel right about the Dutch and the Germans.  All of them should, of course, be examined closely before entering.

Fri., 8 May, 1953:

Telephone Calls

“Allen Bateman, State Supt. of Public Schools.

Called him and said that I had learned only yesterday about the attitude of some of the teachers in Murray toward Labor Unions—that some of them had joined the AF of L.  Said that I immediately called Supt. Lynn Bennion, of the City Schools, to see what the trend is in the city, and that I am now calling him to see what is going on in the State.  Stated that it seemed to me a very unwise thing for the teachers to become affiliated with the labor unions.

Supt. Bateman answered:  “I thoroughly agree with you; it is very unwise and entirely wrong.  The teachers are in a state of despair because of the difficulty we are having issuing contracts for next year, because of lack of funds, and because of our inability to make some raises in salary.  The labor unions have said that the teachers are now ‘ripe for the picking, and they are going to get them (the teachers).’

I answered that the teachers will not gain anything by joining the unions—if they would only be patient a solution could be found to their problems.

Supt. Bateman said that there is only a minor group joining so far—50 out of 1000.  Said that Glen Snow of the National Association came in by air to meet with some of the people—he is meeting everywhere he can on a hurried schedule to try and talk with the people and to point out the unwisdom of their listening to the pleas of the labor unions.  Said they are doing everything they can to stop them from joining, however, that it will be impossible  to stop a few from joining up.  Said he thought what a few there are will not get very far, and that their numbers will dwindle instead of increase.

I told Supt. Bateman that his report made me feel better; that I was wondering what we could do to stop this unwise move on the part of the teachers, and Brother Bateman said he believes a great deal is being done to curtail the group.  Said he believes that too much open criticism or publicity would inflame rather than help the cause.  Said he had talked to Mrs. Petty, Pres. Of the State Teachers’ Association, to Supt. Lynn Bennion, and to Allan West, each of whom is putting forth a lot of effort to keep the situation in hand.”

13 May, 1953:

“Memorandum by Glen E. Snow Assistant Secretary in charge of lay relations of the National Educational Association, formerly President of the Dixie College, and a member of the High Council of the Washington Stake, dictated to Clare, May 13, 1953:

Said he is in Salt Lake on an official assignment from the NEA.  Has been making investigations regarding affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers (AFL) of Utah teachers.

They have met with Dr. Robinson of the Deseret News and officials of the Tribune who have promised to cooperate with them in their efforts to stop the teachers from affiliating with the AFL.  The papers have been running some very fine articles.

Said he finds in his contact with the teachers of Utah county, Salt Lake county, etc. that there is a great deal of frustration and hurt feelings, because they feel they have been unfairly treated.

Brother Snow me with the Governor this morning—PTA, School Board members, members of the NEA also met with him.  They had a long session with the Governor and they say that it is the best meeting they have had with him.  Said he also met with the Legislative Council, Louis Lloyd, and Grant Vest of the Committee of 60.  Has had conferences with Dr. Bennion (Adam S.) and Dr. Lynn Bennion.  Said he has told them that in his opinion something must be done here, if he senses the feeling of the teachers, to assure them that they  are going to get consideration.  They must be make to feel that they are not a disgraced group.  Believes that they have rendered valuable social service.  They are frustrated and discouraged, but it is not entirely because of financial matters.

Said he is interested primarily in opposing the AFL.  Said their International Secretary Irvin Kuenzli, and F.C. Snow (no relation to Glen Snow) International representative and organizer, are here putting forth utmost efforts to get the teachers to join there union.

Brother Snow says he thinks the Governor should call a special legislation.  Said if one is called the labor leaders will take all the credit for it, when all the time the NEA has been working for this very thing.

Brother Snow wants you to know that he will appreciate any help the Church can give in this matter.  If you desire to reach him you can find him at 1201 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. or c/o the Washington Stake.”

Wed., 20 May, 1953:

“9 to 10:30 a.m.—First Presidency’s meeting.

While in this meeting was called to the telephone in my private office.  Governor J. Bracken Lee was of the line.  Said he called to express to me his great confidence in Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Chr. of the Board of Trustees of the U.S.A.C.  Said he had associated with him for years of the Board, and that there is no man for who he has greater respect, and in whom he has greater confidence.  Said he would like to see him go through with his assignment on the Board—at any rate until July.  The Governor then said ‘There is only one man who can get him to do that, and that is you, President McKay.  I wish you would express to him my confidence in him and get him not to resign as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and to take charge of the Commencement Exercises at the College.’

I thanked the Governor and told him that I would do what I could with Bishop Isaacson.

Later I had a talk with Bishop Isaacson, and he read me his letter of resignation as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the U.S.A.C.  He has fully decided to go through with his resignation and will present it to the Board next Saturday—is convinced this is the best thing for him to do.

I then said:  ‘I think so, too, first, because I promised Sister Isaacson that I would urge you to do so; and secondly, I think you should resign because of your health.  Immediately following your resignation you should take a rest, go on a vacation, and be absolutely free from any worry or anxiety due either to the college or to the Church.’

Bishop Isaacson answered that he would do that provided the report of the Committee would give no implication that he is doing it under duress.

Later in the day (5 p.m.) at his request, I met Dr. Adam S. Bennion who let me read the report of the U.S.A.C. Investigating Committee.  I think it is much better than the one he submitted  yesterday.”

Wednesday, June 3, 1953:

We arrived at Washington, D.C. at 8:15 in the morning.  We went immediately to the Statler Hotel, where through Mr. Max Carpenter, Manager of the Hotel Utah, we had  a suite of rooms reserved.  In the living room were a bouquet of flowers and a dish of assorted fruits, sent to us with the compliments of the Manager, Mr. Herbert C. Blunk.

Having a few minutes to spare, we visited the White House in order to have a glimpse of it since being repaired and renovated.  We were very much pleased with what we saw with one exception and that was a large plaque hanging in one of the rooms upon which was engraved the words that ‘Harry S. Truman had renovated and restored the White House.’

Thursday, June 4, 1953:

Attended the Department of State, Division of Public Liaison National Conference on U.S. Foreign Policy.  (see newspaper clippings)

From 9 to 10 a.m.—Registration was held.

10 a.m.—Meeting.  Carl W. McCardle, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs gave the opening remarks.

The first speaker was Honorable Stanley Andrews, Administrator, Technical Cooperation Administration:  foreign aid—to foreign countries.  800,000 people involved.

2. Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs—Need of increase in defensive forces among North Atlantic organizations.  Racial barriers rapidly being broken down.

3. Walter S. Robertson, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs.  China, Japan, Formosa, Indonesia, Burma.  Problems—shortage of food, political unrest, suspicion of the West.  Only hope is in their casting their lot with the West.

4. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.—U.S. Representative to the U.N.

5. Hon. Harold E. Stassen, Director for Mutual Security.

6. Honorable John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, U.S. Foreign Policy.  Believes we can maintain economies and military strength with less money.  ‘Enough good in U.N. to justify its existence.’

7. Dr. James B. Conant—High Commissioner, West Germany.

From 9 o’clock on Thursday, June 4, when registration began until 11 o’clock that night we were constantly meeting considering international problems.  Among those who spoke were assistant Secretaries, Secretaries Dulles and Stassen.  I felt that Mr. Stassen gave what I considered one of the best presentations of the entire day, showing the standard of living particularly in Israel, Iran, Iraq, and other places.

At the dinner Thursday between 1 and 2:30 p.m., Senator Alexander Wiley talked on problems and policy.  He is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.  At a point in his address he emphasized the outstanding difference between Communism and our way of life, and he said, ‘You can summarize it in this way.  I made it in a remark to a Communist on our way home.  I said, ‘We pray.’  The Communist answered, ‘We do not pray.’  He said, ‘There you have it; that is one of the outstanding differences—atheism versus faith in God.’  He paid tribute to the President for opening with prayer at the first meeting, and he said, ‘The Chairman of our Agricultural Committee has set us all a good example in having prayer with members of his staff every meeting.’  I think that was very commendable!  (see newspaper clipping)

On Friday (June 5), we met in panels.  Those who wished to consider Far East problems met with Far East officials and technical assistants.  Those who wanted to consider the United Nations, those who were interested in the problems of Europe, etc.  I chose to attend the Far East panel where we listened to three men who had just returned from Burma, China, and Japan.  It was refreshing to hear their illustrations for they were full of the local conditions.

All in all, I felt that the discussions were very helpful.  I learned that our relation with the Latin American States is not very encouraging, and I came away somewhat depressed.  In Bolivia the Communists are right in with the government and also in Argentina.  The responsibility of maintaining our leadership in the face of suspicion in the minds of millions and hundreds of millions of people is a mighty one.  I feel that we need the guidance of Omnipotence.  The President of the United States, his Cabinet, and Congress need our faith and prayers.

While in Washington, I met Mr. Theodore F. Koop in the National Press Building–Mr. Koop is President of the National Press Club, Washington News Director of the Columbia Broadcasting Company.  He was accompanied by Mr. Pat Munroe of the Pat Munroe National News Service, Washington, D.C.

I had no time to visit with our brethren in Washington.  Sister McKay and I had breakfast with Senator and Sister Watkins, but could not accept the invitations of others.

June 25, 1953

Telephone Conversation with Senator Watkins

President McKay called Senator Arthur D. Watkins in Washington, D.C. by telephone regarding the purchase of some land for school and Church purposes in Samoa.  President McKay stated that the widow, Samanoa, had owned some land.  Some of the government officials feel that is comes under another law and therefore could not be sold to Americans and were questioning the legality of the transaction.  If it were common land, we could not but it but could lease the land.

Senator Watkins stated that he would get busy with the Department of Interior on the matter the following morning.

It was also stated by Senator Watkins to President McKay that a ‘red hot telegram’ had been received from Governor Lee that day regarding the appointment of an extra Judge for Utah.  Governor Lee indicated that as an economy measure another Judge should not be appointed.  Senator Watkins feels that Governor Lee’s economy measure was defeated with the appointment of Judge Ritter.  Another Judge should be appointed according to Senator Watkins.  Senator Watkins asked President McKay if he backed him up in his decision.  President McKay assured the Senator that he was back of him 100% with regards to the matter.”

Wed., 8 July, 1953:

“At 8:30 a.m.–Met by appointment at his request Dr. Louis L. Madsen, formerly President of the U.S.A.C. at Logan, Utah. He reviewed all the matters that led up to his dismissal as President of the U.S.A.C., read some letters from members of Committees, and then said that he would like to be ‘reappointed President of the Agricultural College.’

After listening to him state his desires in this respect, I said:  ‘Dr. Madsen, that matter is up to the Board of Trustees who meet next Saturday.'”

Thurs., 27 Aug., 1953:

Telephone Calls

1.  Called Governor J. Bracken Lee regarding the school situation.  Said he had wanted to talk to me about the whole thing, but as we had been out of town a good deal of the summer this has been impossible.  Has talked to President Clark.

Said his idea is to permit the local units to put the proposition to the local people and let them decide whether they want to pay more taxes in order to meet the demands of the school people.  Said he is willing to make a public statement.

I remarked that I believed that if he could make a statement that it would stop any irratic action tomorrow.

The Governor said there is a radical element among the teachers which of course we do not want.

He will prepare a statement and read it to me over the telephone a little later.

At 4:45 p.m.  The Governor called me at my home said in substance the following:

That he would (1) make provisions out of the present budget to give sufficient increase to the schools to take care of the increase in the enrollment for this year, which means instead of basing it on last year’s enrollment, they will base it on the current enrollment.  This will mean $400,000 to $500,000.  (2) He will call a special session of the Legislature between now and January 1, and will consider (a) the advisability of  giving increased salaries to the teachers, (b) to favor passage of a law permitting any community to vote an increase in taxes for that community in order to increase the salaries of the teachers.”

Mon., 31 Aug., 1953:

“At 7:30 this morning, Mr. Gus Backman and Mr. A.N. Johnson (retired businessman) called at the office.  (Just before I left for Europe Brother Backman had recommended Brother Johnson as one who would make a good commissioner for the city).

Since then two or three people have approached Mr. Johnson about this matter but he has refused saying that he is now retired and is going to have a rest.  It was reported to me that he just would not accept the job, and I promised that I would talk to him.  Since returning home I have tried several times to reach him, but he was out of town.  Saturday night I finally reached him and asked him to come in at 7:30 this morning.

I was delighted with Brother Johnson’s attitude.  When I talked to him about the matter, he said:  ‘If it is church call, I will accept, but my wife and I have planned to do some travelling – we should like to go back to the old country, etc.’

I suggested that he go on his trip, and later, after the ‘travel bug’ was out of his system for him to come in and talk to me again.

Brother Johnson went away happy, saying that he was glad for my ‘consideration and discernment.’

Wed., 23 Sept., 1953:

Telephone Calls

“1.  Mr. Toronto, Secretary of State (22-4721 – Ext. 206) called regarding the ‘possibility of the Governor of the State recommending to the legislature the transfer of two of our Junior Colleges.  Says he is of the opinion that he (the Governor) will not act until he has our (the Church’s) reaction to this transfer.

Bishop Toronto is calling for an appointment for Director Whetton of Snow College.

(Mr. Toronto was later advised by telephone that Conference duties would prevent President McKay’s giving this matter attention right at this time.  Will consider the matter following Conference)

Thurs., 8 Oct., 1953:

“8 a.m.  Met by appointment at his request, Governor J. Bracken Lee who took up with me matters pertaining to the controversy now raging between school officials and teachers here in the State and his attitude as Governor of the State.

He said that he knows that he has made mistakes; in the heat of argument he has said things for which he is sorry, but says he desires to do the best thing for the State and to preserve the freedom of the individual vouchsafed by the Constitution.  He is willing to contribute more money for school buildings to take care of the increased enrollment, but he is not in favor of making a blanket increase in the salaries of all teachers, particularly young girls who can now – immediately after graduation – get $2500 to $2700 a year.  He is willing to increase the salaries of heads of families if they are competent teachers.

We had a long talk on these matters, and I was favorably impressed with his attitude.  He seems to want to do the right thing.  I told him I should be pleased to see what I could do.

Our conversation lasted about 45 minutes.

Wed., 28 Oct., 1953:

“Following the directors’ meeting, I dictated the following wire to Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

‘Your Agriculture policy is sound.  Political demogogues seek to undermine your clear thinking.  Loyal citizens are with you.  Hold to your standards.  God bless and guide you!  Sincerely (signed David O. McKay)

October 28, 1953

Copy of letter received October 29, 1953 from Ezra Taft Benson, The Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, in answer to telegram sent by President McKay October 28, 1953:

Dear President McKay:

Your wire of last night is priceless!  Thank you so much for this further evidence of your confidence and your faith and prayers.

The days are difficult, but in many ways, satisfying.  We go from one emergency and one fight into another.  A nation-wide effort is now being made to discredit and defeat our plans for reorganization of the Department, particularly the Soil Conservation Service.  So far as we know, there is only one organization, the National Organization of Soil Conservation Districts, headed by one of our most vociferous foes, which is opposed to our plans.  We are moving forward and are very much encouraged.

As I dictate this letter, I assure you I have been thinking of you and all of my Brethren as you have joined together in the Temple this day.  I am grateful to you all for your constant support and interest.

May the rich favors of Heaven attend you and your good wife.  We often think of the delightful visit we had with you at conference time.

Faithfully your friend and brother,


Ezra Taft Benson”

Mon., 16 November, 1953:

November 16, 1953

“President Lamont Gundersen of the East Mill Creek Stake and also a City Commissioner called President McKay by telephone.

President Gundersen stated that a sewer was being provided out in the southeast section of town, namely, the Salt Lake City Suburban Sanitary Sewer District No. 1.  They were appointing a bank as a trustee to the account between the people here and those in Chicago.  He wanted President McKay’s advice as to which bank should be appointed to act in this capacity.  Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Company had been considered, but inasmuch as President Gundersen and President Stewart were both Stake Presidents they feared that a question would be raised if  Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Company should be selected as the bank.  They would like to appoint a bank that would serve the people best and also protect the Church.

President McKay advised President Gundersen to appoint First National Bank as the trustee.  The First National Bank has an interest in the East and inasmuch as Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Company is strictly Mormon, President McKay felt that from both angles First National Bank would be the best to appoint in this matter.

Inasmuch as The First National Bank had not requested an appointment of this nature, President McKay stated that he would call Orval Adams and request him to make application for this appointment as trustee.”

Mon., 23 Nov., 1953:

“At 8:30 this morning I had a conference with Professor Milton L. Weilenmann, Chairman of the State Democratic Committee, also a teacher in the East High Seminary.  We discussed the proposal by the State Legislature to amend the State Constitution giving to each county a representative in the Senate.  Brother Weilenmann is of the opinion that this gives to one section of the Senate too great an advantage.  For example, Daggett County with very few inhabitants would have the same voice as Salt Lake County with the largest population in the State.  I told him I would take the matter under consideration and have another discussion with him next Wednesday morning.”

Tues., 24 Nov., 1953:

“Legislative Matter

I reported at the meeting of the First Presidency this morning that members of the Legislature are concerned about what their attitude shall be toward the proposed amendment to the State Constitution whereby there would be one senator from each county.  It is reported that Brother Lee and Brother Moyle have advocated that principle saying that the Church is back of it, and there seems to be a division of opinion among the legislators.  The Brethren were agreed that the Church should not take a position on the question, that it is the responsibility of the legislature to make the decision, and if there are any who feel we have taken a position they should be corrected.  (See Nov. 23)”

Mon., 7 Dec., 1953:

Telephone Calls

1.  Dr. O. Preston Robinson, General Manager of the Deseret News, called with reference to the paper’s report on the Governor’s message pertaining to the three Junior Colleges.

I said that whatever is reported would have to be the result of the decision of the Legislature.

I stated that confidentially when the State is ready to turn the schools back to us we are ready to receive them.  However, we do not care to be put into the position of asking for them.

2.  Dr. Aldous Dixon of the U.S.A.C., Logan, called — said that pressure has been brought upon him to make a statement that the Church will take the Junior Colleges over if the State decides to release them.

I told Dr. Dixon that the Church would not make a statement; that the Church’s attitude is that if the Legislature votes to abandon the schools, then the Church would stand ready to take them back in keeping with the promise made when the Church presented them to the State that when the State decided they no longer wanted these schools, the Church would take them back.

I said further that we do not want them to go against their own judgment.  However, if their decision is to turn them back, then the Church will take them over.

Dr. Dixon said it would not hurt the U.S.A.C. to run the Junior College at Ogden, and then have the Church take care of the other two.  However, I said I felt that if the Church took any one of them, they should take them all.”

Tues., 8 Dec., 1953:

“At 8 a.m.  Brother  Lester B. Whetton, Principal of the Snow College at Ephraim, Utah, called at the office.  He expressed himself as hoping that the Church would be able to have Snow College under its jurisdiction.

I told him, as I have told others, that if and when the State decides to return the colleges to the Church, we shall be pleased to receive them back.

Wed., 9 Dec., 1953:

First Presidency Meeting

“The following items were among many that were discussed:

However, during the afternoon, I received many telephone calls (among whom, were State Senators) regarding the transfer of the Junior Colleges to the Church.

Orval Hafen, Senator from St. George, called the office and stated that he and others would like to come to the office of the First Presidency, and receive a statement from them relative to the Church’s attitude toward the transfer of the colleges from the State to the Church.  My secretary Clare called me at home and informed me of this fact, and I telephoned to President Clark and asked him to interview the Senators.”

Thurs., 10 Dec., 1953:

“At 9 a.m. attended the regular meeting of the First Presidency.

Among some of the items discussed were the following:

1.  Discussed the Church’s taking over the Snow, the Dixie, and the Weber College.  It was the understanding of the brethren that we are under commitment to operate these schools if they are turned over to the Church by the State.

At 9:50 a.m., accompanied by Presidents Richards and Clark left for Council meeting.  At this meeting I made the following report to the brethren on the matter of the transfer of Junior Colleges to the Church:

Have been busy all week with consultations and telephone calls regarding the recommendation of the Governor to close Weber, Snow, and Dixie Colleges as State Institutions.  In all conversations I have said that our stand from the beginning was that the responsibility of closing these schools belonged to the State.  When the recommendation was made, the Legislature wanted to know the attitude of the General Authorities, the First Presidency at least, and asked to come down and ascertain the same by personal visit.

December 9 that is what they did.  Following the introduction of the bill by the Governor that these three Colleges close, a delegation from the Legislature called at the First Presidency’s office and met President Clark at 5 o’clock and he gave to them the decision of the First Presidency, which had been approved heretofore by the Expenditures Committee and by this Council.  They were told that if they were turned over to the Church, we should be pleased to operate them.  The matter is before the Legislature today December 10.

I am pleased to note that the Governor has expressed himself as being in favor of turning over all the property to the Church just as the Church turned over the property to the State, with the proviso that at any time the Church eases to use these schools for educational purposes, then the property belonging to the State reverts to the State.  He has spoken in a commendatory way of the Church School education, and said that they have assurance that the education given by the Church will be in every way satisfactory.

Meetings have been held with the Presidencies of Stakes in the Weber area and a committee from the Chamber of Commerce, and they have unanimously expressed themselves as being in favor of the Church’s taking over Weber College.”

Mon., 14 Dec., 1953:

“8:45 a.m. – At their request, had a conference with two of the State Senators — Clifton G.M. Kerr, and Alonzo F. Hopkins — regarding the matter of transfer of Colleges to the Church.

I repeated to them, as I have to all others who have telephoned or who have contacted me personally, that the attitude of the Church is that in keeping with the deed given when the Church gave the Church schools to the State, if at any time the State ceased to use the property for educational purposes, the property would revert back to the Church, and the Church has expressed itself by saying that if and when it is decided to discontinue these colleges as State institutions, the Church will accept them and continue these schools as colleges.

This is our stand and we have done nothing further, and the responsibility of closing them as State Schools rests entirely upon the State Legislature.

9 a.m. Special meeting of the First Presidency and members of the Council of the Twelve.  Arrangement of the funeral services for Elder Matthew Cowley of the Council of the Twelve was discussed.”

16 Dec., 1953:

Telephone Conversation

December 16, 1953

“I called Frank Browning of Ogden in response to a telegram I received from him regarding the Weber College situation.  I wanted to let him know exactly where the Church stood.  I stated to Mr. Browning that we would abide by the conditions in the deed to the state and if and when the state ceases to take the responsibility of the colleges as state institutions, then we stand ready to take them, and we will continue them as colleges under the Church school program.  We are not urging it.

Mr. Browning stated that he felt the people in Ogden had not had sufficient warning that this matter would be taken up in the special session of the legislature.  He felt that it would be best if the Weber College question were postponed until the regular session of the legislature next year.  Mr. Browning also felt that the Mormon people in Ogden were getting along fine with those of other religions and that if the Church took over Weber College, it would not make pleasant relationships as they had had in the past.

I reminded Mr. Browning that the representatives from their area were here at the legislature to represent the people.  Mr. Browning felt that these representatives were pledged to Governor Lee and therefore would vote as he directed.  I told Mr. Browning that the representatives at the legislature should vote according to their convictions.  The Church has no objection to the Weber College issue being carried over to the next regular session of the legislature.  I also informed Mr. Browning that I was going to tell the ministers in Ogden of our stand on the situation.

Mr. Browning suggested that I make a statement.  But I informed him that I did not think it wise for the Church to interfer with politics.

Mr. Browning stated that the Church could take over Snow and Dixie College now and let the Weber College stand until the next session of the legislature.  However, I indicated to him that I felt that the decision should be made on the three colleges together.

9 a.m. First Presidency’s meeting.  Took the time this morning to read telegrams that had been received from people in Ogden –perhaps 25 or 30 — expressing opposition to the Church’s taking over the Weber College from the State.  The Brethren reiterated their stand as previously expressed that they had said they would take the three schools – Weber, Snow, and Dixie, if and when the State ceases to operate them as State Institutions, and operate them as Church schools.  There was some discussion as to whether, in view of the fact that there is so much sentiment expressed against the Church’s taking over the Weber College, it might not be well to make it known that the First Presidency will feel all right if this matter goes over to the regular session of the Legislature.  It was felt, however, that we should first tell the Governor.  The question was raised whether or not, in view of the fact that the Governor has gone forward with the knowledge, since our announcement that we would take over and operate the schools if the State gave them up — and this is part of his general plan of trying to save money — he would not feel that we have gone back on him.  It was finally decided to ask Brother Lee to call on the Governor and have a confidential talk with him, telling him that this seems to be creating a great deal of trouble, that we are interested as we assume he is, in the peace of the community, and it would be satisfactory with us if it was postponed until the regular legislative session.  Brother Lee came down to the office at the First Presidency’s invitation.

Following the funeral services and interment at the City Cemetery, returned to the office where the First Presidency met six senators relative to the return of Weber college to the Church.

Also had appointments with the following:

President Wilkinson

Bishop Isaacson

Harold B. Lee” 

Thurs., 17 Dec., 1953:

Telephone Calls

1.  Frank M. Browning of Ogden called at 8:15 this morning.  I had a half hour’s conversation with him concerning the matter that is now under discussion and debate regarding the State’s returning to the Church the Weber College.

Mr. Browning seems to be opposed to putting this question to the people.  He wanted me to say that I am opposed to this procedure, but I said that I did not share his concern that if this question is submitted to the people it will cause strife.  Mr. Browning favors having the question of whether or not the Junior Colleges should be turned back to the Church delayed until the next Legislature.  I said that my answer as to that is that the responsibility of this question lies with the Legislature, and that my attitude is just as I have said to the Committee who called on us last evening — that if they want to submit the question to the people that it is all right.

2.  Senator Kerr.  Following my conversation with Mr. Browning, I called Senator Kerr up at the State Capitol, and told him that I had been in touch with a group in Ogden this morning — that they are very much conerened about the Weber College question being put to the people for decision.  Told him that I wanted him to know that there is no change in my attitude as expressed last evening to the group who called on us.

Senator Kerr said that Senator Hafen has investigated the matter and finds that it is illegal to submit the question to the people on the bill that has been introduced; this can be done only by constitutional amendment.

I said that the Ogden people did not want it to go through, but that my opinion stands where it was last evening.

Report given by President McKay on the Weber College situation at Council Meeting today.

The President said that the First Presidency had received numerous telegrams from ministers residing in the Ogden district and other groups making an appeal that the First Presidency use its influence to have the State continue its responsibility in conducting Weber College as a State institution.  He said that the attitude of the Church is that in keeping with the deed given when the Church gave the Church schools to the State that if at any time the State ceased to use the property for educational purposes the property would revert back to the Church, and the Church has expressed itself by saying that if and when it is decided to discontinue these colleges as State institutions the Church will accept them and continue these schools as colleges.  President McKay said that we have made the statement to Bishop Hunt of the Catholic Church regarding Weber College, and to the Governor regarding other schools, that we would be willing to accept the three if the State returned them to the Church.  He said that is our stand and we have done nothing further, and the responsibility of closing them as State schools rests entirely upon the State Legislature.  President McKay said that during this excitement about the colleges the First Presidency had received an anonymous letter from a man in Ogden who years ago was a student at the Weber Stake Academy while President McKay was Principal there.  The writer refers appreciatively to those days, and then states in substance that the night before he wrote this letter he was in a meeting with Catholic leaders in that district, that in that meeting they expressed their intentions of building a Catholic University in Ogden, to go with a big hospital with a monastery and other interests in that area, and that the present movement to have the State colleges go back to the Church would not fit in favorably with their plans.  He said: ‘I am not Catholic, though I am considered to be one, because my wife and children are affiliated wtih that Church.  I am not an L.D.S., though my parents were pioneers here in this district.  I have nothing against the Catholic Church, but I am against what is going on behind the scenes in carrying out the Catholic designs.’  He said he was writing the letter because of his appreciation of his schools days.”

Fri., 18 Dec., 1953:

“9 to 11 a.m. First Presidency’s meeting.

Some of the matters discussed:

1.  A brief article prepared by Dr. Preston Robinson, General Manager of the Deseret News, was presented.  It was regarding the Church’s taking over the junior colleges in Ogden, Ephraim, and St. George.  The statement was approved by the brethren with a slight change.

December 18, 1953

(published statement regarding schools)

Statement of

The First Presidency

Regarding the Proposed Acceptance by the

Church of Certain School Properties

During the special session of the State Legislature a delegation from that body, on Dec. 9, 1953, called upon the First Presidency to discuss proposed legislation for turning back to the Church, under the reversionary clauses of the deeds from the Church to the State, certain properties deeded to the State by the Church in 1930.  At the time of that conference the First Presidency gave to the Legislative delegation the following statement:

‘In the early 1930’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints transferred to the State of Utah, Dixie College, Snow College and Weber College.  The deeds in each instance provided that in the event the particular college was not maintained as a Junior College by the State it would revert to the Church.

‘If the Legislature now decides no longer to operate these three colleges, the Church will again take title to them and operate them as a part of its educational system.’

The foregoing statement sets out the present position and intention of the Church in reference to this matter.

Until the properties are actually turned back to the Church, thus making certain the right of the Church to operate schools in connection with said properties, the Church is not in a position to begin the expenditures of any funds with reference thereto, nor to make any commitments as to the operation of the schools beyond those already made in the above-mentioned statement of December 9, 1953.

With reference to properties owned by these colleges and covered by the Legislative Act, other than those that will be returned to the Church under reversionary clauses in deeds, the Church will be prepared to negotiate touching their acquisition in accordance with the provisions of the Act, if and when the Act shall become definitely and finally operative.

It follows that the Church must await the conclusion of any legal measures in process or that may hereafter be taken regarding the legislation.   Concerning such measures the Church takes no position.

David O. McKay

Stephen L. Richards

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

The First Presidency

Deseret News, Friday, January 8, 1954″

December 18, 1953

(published statements re: schools)

“Church Awaiting College Transfer

Negotiations Hinge on Finality of Act

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is prepared to negotiate for properties of Weber, Snow and Dixie junior colleges, in addition to those that will be returned to ‘the Church under revisionary clauses in deeds, if and when the recently-passed legislative act shall become definitely and finally operative.’

The First Presidency explained the Church’s position regarding acquisition of the colleges in a statement released Friday.

‘The Church,’ the statement explained, ‘is not in a position to begin the expenditure of any funds with reference thereto, nor to make any commitments as to the operation of the schools beyond those already made in the …statement of Dec. 9, 1953.’

Included Statement

Friday’s statement included a statement made by the First Presidency on the date mentioned.  It was explained during the special session of the State Legislature a delegation of legislators called upon the First Presidency on Dec. 9 to discuss proposed legislation for turning back to the Church, ‘under the reversionary clauses of the deeds from the Church to the State, certain properties deeded to the State by the Church in 1930.’

Transferred To State

At the time of the above conference, the First Presidency gave the legislative delegation a statement, which was repeated in Friday’s statement.  It reads:

‘In the early 1930’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints transferred to the State of Utah, Dixie College, Snow College and Weber College.  The deeds in each instance provided that in the event the particular college was not maintained as a junior college by the state, it would revert to the Church.

‘If the Legislature now decides no longer to operate these three colleges, the Church will again take title to them and operate them as a part of its educational system.’

Then came the statement Friday that the ‘foregoing statement sets out the present position and intention of the Church in reference to the matter.’

During the special session of  the Legislature state legislators voted to turn Dixie, Snow, and Weber junior colleges back to the Church at the end of the present school year.  The legislators also passed a bill withdrawing all state support from Carbon Junior College in Price.

Created Furor

Passage of the two measures created an immediate furor in Carbon and Weber counties.  Carbon residents protested the abolishment of their school.

Factions in Weber County raised a cry against what they termed hasty action on the Weber College question.  They said the Legislature moved with too much speed on such an important matter.  They held that the measure should never have come before the special session but should have been held over for the next regular session of the Legislature.

Ready Battle

Both groups set to work to take their fight directly to the people with a referendum on the 1954 election ballot.

Some petitions calling for a referendum already had been circulated Thursday in Weber County.  The group promoting the petition had set up headquarters in the Ben Lomond Hotel.

In Carbon County no petitions had yet been circulated but preparations for such a move were being made.

About 33,000 signatures, 10 per cent of the number of people who voted for governor in the last election, will be required to put either measure on the ballot.

Deseret News, Friday, January 8, 1954″

Mon., 21 Dec., 1953:

Telephone Calls

1.  President Ernest L. Wilkinson called – said the Ogden Chamber of Commerce is holding a meeting today at noon to decide whether or not they should start a suit against the State of Utah because of the Legislature’s decision to return Weber College to the Church.  Said that David J. Wilson, Howard J. Huggins and Frank Browning are taking an active interest in this matter.

Pres. Wilkinson suggested that it might be well for Pres. McKay to have a talk with these men since they are good members of the Church.

Pres. Wilkinson also suggested that since the Weber College school buildings will not revert to the Church until July, and in view of the bitterness that is engendered in Ogden, he wondered if it would not be a good thing to insure the buildings up there.

When this note was handed to President McKay, he said as to the first mentioned subject, he would not enter into the matter, but the second suggestion should be considered by the brethren.  (cm)

2.  Judge Howell of Ogden telephoned.  He would like an appointment with Pres. McKay sometime this week.  He also suggested that Pres. Wilkinson be in attendance during the discussion.  Judge Howell has been making gifts to Weber College in the past, and he has provided in his will that his library be turned over to Weber College.  He mentioned the fact that he would like to contribute $2,000 or $3,000 to the College before the end of the year.”

Thurs., 24 Dec., 1953:

At the conclusion of the foregoing appointment (with Dr. O. Preston Robinson, General Manager of the Deseret News), I met Elder James E. Ellison, Manager of the Layton Sugar Company, and Elder Harold E. Ellison, Superintendent of the Company.  We considered a letter which I had received yesterday, a copy of which is attached.

The matter was referred to the Manager and superintendent for study and investigation.  Later the following reply was sent to the writer of the letter:

‘Mr. J. Rex Mackay, President

Utah Sugar Beet Growers Association

65 East 4th South


This will acknowledge the receipt of your letter of December 22, 1953 regarding the relation of Layton Sugar Company’s alleged marketing quotas imposed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Immediately upon receipt of your letter I had an interview with James E. Ellison, Manager, and Harold E. Ellison, Superintendent of the Layton Sugar Company.  I am enclosing herewith a copy of a letter which I received from Mr. Harold E. Ellison, setting forth clearly our position regarding the items you mention in your letter.

I am leaving today for an extended trip to visit missions of the Church, and when I return I shall be pleased to do what I can to promote harmony among growers and producers interested in the sugar production in this intermountain area.

With best wishes, I remain

Sincerely yours,

s/David O. McKay

Copy of

Mr. Ellison’s letter follows:


65 East 4th South

Salt Lake City, Utah

December 22, 1953

President David O. McKay

President, Layton Sugar Co.

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

You are familiar, we are sure, with the importance of sugar beet production to the farm people of our state.  You are probably also aware that sugar beet production nationally is now reaching the point where the Secretary of Agriculture will impose marketing quotas for sale of sugar and probably be required under the law to use acreage restrictions for growers.  These circumstances will most certainly cause greater competition for local markets, which are most valuable and profitable to growers and processors alike.

As you are aware, the Layton Sugar Company has recently begun processing syrup shipped in from the Pacific Coast.  The resultant cane sugar is now finding its way to local markets and is replacing substantial quantities of beet sugar with the result that the net returns for sugar produced from beets grown by Utah producers is lower than would otherwise be the case.  The reason for this is that more Utah produced beet sugar must find its way to outside markets where shipping costs cut into returns to growers.

Knowing your interest in the welfare of our Utah farmers we are appealing to you to use your influence to help us encourage the use of beet sugar in this area and to provide for the possible shipping advantages of processing in transit for Pacific cane sugar so that this sugar can be moved on to eastern markets at the best possible advantage to the Layton Sugar Company without causing the present hardship to local beet producers.

With the imposition of marketing quotas the Layton Sugar Company will unquestionably be placed under restrictions as to the amount of sugar it can market.  We feel that you will agree with us that all of the quotas permitted to be marketed in this area by the Layton Sugar Company should be allocated to beet sugar produced in the local area, the production and marketing of which will help to support the agricultural families in these areas.

We have been advised that certain sugar salesmen for the Layton Sugar Company have been using the sales approach to merchants that the purchase of this Layton sugar is evidence of loyalty to the Church because of your association with the Company.  Several grocerymen have reported that this method has been used.  We appreciate that you do not control or have direct jurisdiction over the sales methods of employees but feel that you would appreciate knowing of the circumstances and that you would not approve such methods, especially when the practice would militate against the farm families in this area.

There are unquestionably difficult times ahead for farm people.  We assure you that we hope to be able to solve our problems with a minimum of government interference or help.  Secretary Benson is earnestly striving to bring stability to our industry and we wholeheartedly support him in his position.  It is our sincere hope however that the limited local markets available in this area will be reserved to our local people, and we are appealing to you to use your influence to help us protect these markets against the promotion of outside products which would limit or destroy this opportunity for our people to be self-sustaining.


Utah Sugar Beet Growers Association

(signed) J. Rex Mackay, President”

24 Dec., 1953:

“December 24, 1953

Dec. 26, 1953

‘President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

In answer to questions discussed in your office on December 24 regarding the production and sale of cane sugar by your company interfering with or upsetting the regular marketing of beet sugar in this Utah territory, you can rest assured that according to the history of sugar marketing in the United States the only competition for beet sugar is other beet sugars.  There is a price differential between the two sugars of ten cents per hundred weight that pretty well takes care of beet sugar receiving preference because of being cheaper.  The big difference in sugar nets comes from the fact that other producers make three to four million bags of sugar a year and consequently must sell a bigger percentage of their total production in lower netting territories.  This is one of the penalties of big production.

You will note that over the years the net return of the Layton Sugar Company has been greater than either Utah-Idaho or Amalgamated because we have been able to sell a higher percentage of our total production in higher net territories.  Of course, this is a proposition of 150,000-bag-production compared to three-million-bag-production.  Naturally Utah production should get a proportionage share of the Utah market and we do not hold that we should be forced to divide the Utah market with Idaho, Oregon, and Washington producers on a percentage basis.

The Layton Sugar Company is not pressing the sale of cane sugar over beet sugar.  The competition in this particular market for our cane sugar is C & H which is manufactured in San Francisco.  There are about 60,000 bags equivalent of C & H sugar sold a year in Utah and we feel that any of this California produced sugar we can replace with Layton cane helps the picture of Utah industry, and we are of the definite opinion that any cane sold would be sold anyway whether Layton produced it or whether C & H produced it.  Beet sugar and beet sugar sales in this area is still the main concern and effort of the Layton Sugar Company.

The imposition of marketing allotments on sugar has only to do with domestic sugar sales so that regardless of what marketing allotment is put on domestic sugar it will have no bearing on the amount of cane sugar Layton can produce and sell.  Off shore cane is controlled by quotas and the quota regulation does not control who shall process or who shall sell the resultant sugars.

President McKay, you have now been our president for a period of fourteen years, and never have we used your church affiliation as a sales point in our favor, neither have we permitted your picture or name to appear in connection with any advertising program that we have been engaged in.  It seems to me that this should be sufficient to establish our sales policies and procedures.  Let me now assure you that it is very distasteful to my sense of fair play to connect religious and business transactions.  Certainly we have made it our policy to not sell sugar on any other basis than quality and service.

We appreciate very much the chance you gave us to defend ourselves against false statements that have evidently been gotten out by our competition.  We know that you will feel assured in your own mind that we have at no time taken advantage of your church connections to give us a favorable market situation.  I am sorry to say that the same cannot be said of some of the competition which is evidence by the enclosed advertisement taken from the Improvement Era.

Yours sincerely,

Layton Sugar Company

Harold E. Ellison


Mon., 28 Dec., 1953:

Telephone Calls 

Called Ira Huggins, Ogden, Utah regarding the Weber College situation.  He said that he intended to attend the dedication of the 33rd and 43rd Wards held last evening, but his son and daughter paid them an unexpected visit and he was unable to get away.  I mentioned that I had seen David Wilson there, but did not see him following the meeting.

I then told Mr. Huggins that I am leaving tomorrow at 6 a.m. for an extended trip, and that I am concerned about the school situation in Ogden.  I said that this matter has been thrown into our lap, so to speak, and that we have not sought it.

Brother Huggins said that the Governor had said that we have, but that he did not believe it, and believed us 100%.

I told Brother Huggins that to this extent I am responsible — When the bill was introduced to discontinue Snow and Dixie and return them to the State, I stated to my associates, that it was not fair, that the Church had given the State three colleges with the stipulation that when the State ceases to use them as State institutions, the property given to the State would revert back to the Church – that if they are going to cease operating any of these colleges, then they should return the three that were given to them, and that is why later (and I did not speak to the Governor at any time) the Weber College was included.

Great pressure came upon me to say that the Church would not take the Colleges back.  I made the statement to Bishop Hunt and to others that when and if the State ceased to operate these Colleges, the Church, according to stipulation, would receive the property back, and furthermore, that it would continue to operate them as church institutions.  I made that statement to Bishop Hunt before this matter came up to the Legislature, and to others because Bishop Hunt called on me and asked, ‘What are you going to do with the property if it comes back to you?’  I answered that the schools would be operated as church institutions.  He said: ‘If that is the case, I shall take no more steps to get the property.’  This was before any of this agitation came up.

I then said that the brethren of the General Authorities had voted unanimously to sustain me in the statement that if and when the State discontinued these institutions as state institutions, that we would take them back according to the stipulation in the deed, and furthermore, that we would operate them as church institutions.

Mr. Huggins then talked about the controversies that have arisen in Ogden – how the people are taking sides, etc.

I told him that up to this time an official statement has not been made by the Church.

Mr. Huggins then said that there is a statement coming from Senators Hopkins and Kerr that they were told ‘pretty well where to vote on this thing.’  Frank Browning said that after he talked to me, he called Hopkins and Kerr and they both said that they felt they had been told that they should support the bill.

I answered that I questioned very much that those men would say a thing like that — that nobody was bound from this office, and that these brethren were told to do what they thought best, because the responsibility rested upon the Legislature, and that is where the Church stands.”

Fri., 12 Mar., 1954:

Note:  First Presidency’s Meeting

A long discussion was held on the Junior College situation.  Referred to misrepresentations that have been made during the past several months.  It was decided that a statement should be given to the Press giving the Church’s stand on the matter.  (see First Presidency’s minutes of March 12 for further detail)”

Sat., 13 Mar., 1954:

“At 7:30 this morning met by appointment at their request, Gus Backman of the Chamber of Commerce, and John F. Fitzpatrick of the Salt Lake Tribune.  They came into discuss matters pertaining to the industrial development of Utah, and of their efforts to promote the following projects for Utah:

1.  MonSanto Chemical Company of St. Louis

    (Between Mt. Pleasant and Ephraim)

    40,000,000 Cu. ft. gas.

2.  Atomic.  Announcement has been made that the Atomic Energy Commission is giving consideration to the building of four more atomic furnaces in a stepped-up quest for economical industrial power from the atom.  From a statement made by Dr. Henry Smyth a member of the Commission, it appears that the types of furnaces to be constructed are not of necessity in any way related one to the other.  For that reason, Gus Backman, suggests that it might be worthwhile to have the AEC to make one of the installations in southwestern Utah where water is available, railroad, and highway transportation could be made readily available, and unquestionably electric energy could be brought to such an installation without a great amount of trouble.

3.  Plans of Montgomery Ward Company.”

Wed., 21 Apr., 1954:

Conference with Henry D. Moyle, and Harold B. Lee

Had an hour’s session with Brother Harold B. Lee and Brother Henry D. Moyle this evening, and they reported that they have appointed a successor to Brother Elggren and the committee is functioning in the matter of trying to get good men for candidates in both parties.  They asked what their attitude should be on two questions:  first, the reapportionment of senators, and second, in regard to the junior colleges.  They want to know if they should go out and tell these people to vote for the law as passed by the Legislature, turning the schools back to the Church.  Mention was made of the fact that Ernest Wilkinson was to talk with the Governor about preparing a list of questions and answers on this subject for publication.  It was decided to ask Brother Wilkinson what had been done in this matter.

There was some difference of opinion expressed in regard to the reapportionment question but no action decided upon.

(This was reported at the First Presidency’s meeting April 22, 1954) 

Wed., 12 May, 1954:

“8:25 a.m.  President Ernest L. Wilkinson presented correspondence with Governor Lee on the Junior College Situation.  The Brethren then read and gave consideration to two suggested letters that had been prepared by President Ernest L. Wilkinson.  One of these letters was a letter addressed to the First Presidency by Governor Lee asking certain questions in regard to the attitude of the Church with reference to taking over the Junior Colleges, how they would be operated, etc.

The other letter was a suggested answer to these questions by the First Presidency in a letter addressed to the Governor.

The Brethren felt that there should be some modifications in the letters.  They decided to look over the copies that had been left with them.

At the invitation of the First Presidency President Wilkinson met with the First Presidency and made certain explanations regarding these letters.  He explained that it was necessary to submit both letters to the Governor so that he would know what the questions and answers would be.”

Fri., 14 May, 1954:

“At 10:30 a.m.  President Ernest L. Wilkinson of the B.Y.U. called and presented a redraft of a letter from the Governor containing questions regarding the Church’s attitude toward the State’s turning over to the Church certain junior colleges, also a redraft of letter answering the questions by the First Presidency.  President Wilkinson was requested to go ahead with the matter.”

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

47 East South Temple Street,

Salt Lake City, Utah

May 13, 1954

Bishop Wilbur Emory Hammaker

The Methodist Church

110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.

Washington, 2, D.C.

Dear Bishop Hammaker:

Responsive to your request regarding a statement from me as to my personal attitude and the attitude of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am President, regarding the Bryson Bill, I am happy to make the following observations:

For almost a century and a quarter the Church has lived under a principle embodied in the revealed word which the Church knows as the Word of Wisdom (a law of health) which condemns the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and hot drinks, and calls for moderation in consumption of other foods.

For this entire time this Word of Wisdom has been preached from the pulpit as constantly and frequently as any other principle of the Restored Gospel which is proclaimed by the Church.

Under these circumstances, I as the President of the Church, and also the Church as a whole, always look with favor upon any measures that will reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages.  We firmly believe that the use of intoxicating liquors is inimical to the health of all partakers and thus non-use becomes a cardinal welfare element in our whole social and economic life as a nation.

Since the advertising of these beverages under all the allurements which are now built around the advertisements, since the use of these advertisements has an undeniable tendency to increase the consumption of alcoholic drinks, particularly among the youth of the land — indeed, such must be admitted to be the purpose of the advertisements, in loyalty to our convictions, we earnestly support every proper and legal effort to decrease the use of alcoholic drinks by the people.

Therefore, I may say for myself and for the Church that we favor any legal measures that will bring about this result.

Sincerely yours,



*The Bryson Bill (H.R. 1227)

The Measure was presented by the late Joseph Bryson of South Carolina, a few months before his death.  It would make unlawful in interstate commerce alcoholic beverage advertising of all kinds.  Naturally, it would include air-borne beer and wine advertising that constitutes the most brazen and insidious attempt to induce favorable attitudes, even in the minds of children and youth, toward the consumption of beverage alcohol.” 

“Bishop Wilbur Emory Hammaker, D.D., LL.D.


The Methodist Church

        110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.

Washington 2, D.C.

Office of the President


  and PROHIBITION COUNCIL May 28, 1954.

Dear Doctor McKay:

You will be pleased to know that your statement, along with others from a notable and outstanding company of religious and social leaders made a profound impression, when I presented a score of communications to the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee on Monday, May 24th, at the conclusion of the Hearing on the Bryson Bill.  The chairman, Honorable Charles A. Wolverton of New Jersey, was moved to make unusual comments, saying among other things that nobody could be uninfluenced by the expressions of such a significant group of top-notch figures in our social and religious world.

To our surprise, there seem to be a plethora of Hearings on anti-liquor advertising Bills.  The Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee has just announced one on the Langer Bill (S. 3294) for June 21-23, 1954.  It is all-inclusive, being a replica of the Bryson Bill.  I know you shall want to send me a copy of your statement concerning the matter to be used at the Senate Hearing.  The original statement on your letterhead was handed over to the House Committee.

If you will have your Secretary write the same letter substitution in the first paragraph for ‘the Bryson Bill,’ the words ‘for the Langer Bill’, the cause will again be served.  I can think of no other changes that could profitably be made in your challenging and compelling statement.  The one slight alteration, the current dateline and your signature will fix us up for the Hearing on June 21-23, 1954.

I hope I am not becoming a nuisance.  Since these Hearings place very much of a load on my shoulders, I shall appreciate a reply at your earliest convenience.

With every good wish and kindest personal regard, I am,

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Wilbur E. Hammaker


Reverend David O. McKay, D.D., LL. D.,

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,

47 East South Temple Street,

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Fri., 21 May, 1954:

“At 9 a.m.  Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University reported to the First Presidency a conference he had had with the Governor yesterday.  Said the Governor had approved the drafts of letters that were submitted to him except that he suggests that in the First Presidency’s answer they do not repeat the questions but just give the answers.  The Governor inquired if we would have any objection to including a question regarding general vocational training, and President Wilkinson felt we could answer that in the affirmative.  It was decided to make the final writing of the letters as indicated, and President Wilkinson was asked to go forward at once.

President Wilkinson also called attention to the athletic program of the B.Y.U.  Dr. Wilkinson said that he is going to talk with the chairman of the Athletic Conference to see if it is not possible to maintain higher educational standards.  He said he had already given instructions that unless the athletes occupy the full-time that other students devote to the work he would not give them jobs.  The Brethren told Brother Wilkinson to go ahead and in the meantime try to get a reorganization in the Conference.

President Wilkinson said that he had been asked to recommend someone to go to Hawaii to take charge of the junior college to be established there.  He mentioned for this position Reuben Law, Dean of the College of Education at the B.Y.U.  He also mentioned Dr. Leon Winsor who at present is at Cornell.

Referring to the Ricks College situation, President Wilkinson said, in answer to a question as to how many of the students are graduating with the intention of teaching school, that 66% will obtain teaching jobs.  He said that these teachers when they graduate, are qualified and have made a good record; that the B.Y.U. students are certified in exactly the same way.

Further in regard to the Ricks College, he said that the enrollment has been about constant over the years.  They have about 25 more students now than they had five years ago.  His own feeling is that if we continue the College in Rexburg we shall not have many more students and if we make it a two-year college the number will be reduced.  In five years they have graduated 540 students from a four-year course.

Fri., 28 May, 1954:


Letter by Governor Answered in Detail By First Presidency

Gov. J. Bracken Lee Friday released the texts of letters between him and the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in regard to the controversial junior college question.

The 1953 special session of the legislature voted to return Weber, Snow and Dixie Colleges to the Church.  Petitions were filed which blocked the legislation and put the question on the ballot at the upcoming November election.

In answering a number of specific questions asked by Gov. Lee in his letter, the First Presidency said, ‘We trust the aforesaid answers will help to give the voters the facts they need for an intelligent decision at the polls.’

The First Presidency also pointed out, ‘The legislation to return Weber, Snow and Dixie Junior Colleges to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not suggested directly or indirectly by the Church.’

Gov. Lee likewise said, ‘I take full responsibility for the proposal – one I have consistently and publically made for a period of four years.’

Gov. Lee’s questions, as stated in his letter, and the First Presidency’s answer, as stated in its letter, are as follows:

Gov. Lee’s question No. 1:

‘In view of the conflicting representations which have been made as to the desires of the Church, will you please advise me as to whether you do or do not want Weber, Snow and Dixie Colleges returned to the Church?’

The First Presidency’s answer to question No. 1:

‘We shall be pleased to have Weber, Snow and Dixie Colleges returned to the Church, which is in a position to operate them in a first-class manner scholastically and otherwise.’

Question No. 2:

‘Will the Church be willing to pay a fair and equitable price for the properties at these institutions which have been acquired or built by the State at the expense of the taxpayers of  the State of Utah, during the time of State operation?  It is understood, of course, in accordance with the deeds by which the properties of these institutions were originally conveyed to the State, that the Church will receive back the former Church properties without cost.’

Answer to Question No. 2:

‘As to lands which have been acquired and buildings built at the expense of the tax payers of Utah since the three colleges were conveyed to the State, the Church has been legally advised by competent counsel that the acceptance of the obligation to further operate the three colleges (which amounts to approximately one million dollars per year) is a sufficient and valid consideration and price for the transfer.  Nevertheless, so as to remove any possibility of doubtful criticism, the Church is willing with respect to such property, to pay, taking into account all the circumstances, whatever price is fair and equitable.  Under the pending legislation this amount would, of course, be determined by negotiation between the State Board of Examiners and the Church.’

Question No. 3:

‘In the event the voters approve the return of the institutions to the Church in November, would the Church be in a position to carry on the regular school program for the balance of the year?  If so, will the Church, as respects the balance of the school year, continue the same faculty and other employees, pay the same salaries as have been agreed upon by the State, recognize Sabbatical leaves which have already been granted, continue the same curricula both as to day and evening schools, charge the same tuition, admit the same students and give credit to them for the work they have already done, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the three colleges continued to be operated by the State?’

Answer to Question No. 3:

‘The answer to all parts of this question is in the affirmative.  The Church will be in a position to carry on the regular school program.  Because of the fact that the school year will already have begun, the Church will consider itself bound by employment contracts which have already been entered into with all members of the teaching and custodial staff.  Further, the same curricula, including the same courses, will be continued both for day and evening schools; Sabbatical leaves already granted will be recognized; the same tuition will be charged and the same students will be admitted and permitted to continue the courses for which they originally registered, without any interruption, just as though there had been no change of operation of the schools.  It may be that in addition to the courses for which the students have already registered, additional courses may be offered so that there would be a better balanced and richer curricula, but there would be no diminution of the courses already offered.’

Question No. 4:

‘As long-term policy, would it be your intention to transform these institutions into what some have termed ‘religious seminaries,’ or would it be your intention to operate them as high-class, accredited junior colleges with a well-qualified faculty competent to meet educational needs of their respective communities?’

Answer to Question No. 4:

‘It would be our intention not to transform any of these colleges into what some have termed ‘religious seminaries.’  It would also be our intention to integrate all three of these institutions into our Church School System, and to operate them as high-class accredited junior colleges with a well-qualified faculty competent to meet educational needs of their respective communities.  Our intentions as to competent faculties can best be measured by our past performance when these same schools were previously operated by the Church.’

Question No. 5:

‘Some of the teachers are concerned as to what their retirement rights will be in the event of return of the three colleges to the Church.  Will you kindly inform me as to what retirement rights they will have?

Answer to Question No. 5:

‘We have not, of course, formulated any retirement policy for these three colleges in question nor can we be expected to do so until we know the outcome of the November election.  We would expect, however, to pattern the retirement system for these three institutions along the line of the retirement system now in effect at the Brigham Young University which, we are informed, is the most favorable retirement system of any University in the State.  The teachers at that institution in addition to having the benefits of the Federal Social Security, pay 5 per cent of their annual salary into a teachers’ retirement fund.  This 5 per cent is mateched by the Church.  The combination of the two provides a very good retirement system for faculty members.’

Question No. 6:

‘It was alleged during the campaign to obtain signatures to the referendum petition that if the three institutions were returned to the Church, veterans would not be able to obtain the same educational advantages and privileges as if the same institutions were maintained by the state.  Will you kindly inform me whether this is a correct statement?’

Answer to question No. 6:

‘The statement you report is not correct.  Veterans of World War II and of the Korean War have the same educational benefits in Church schools as in State schools.  At the Brigham Young University, for instance, the tuition and fees of veterans of World War II were paid by the government in the same way as at state institutions.  Veterans of the Korean War who desire to pursue higher education are paid certain educational benefits direct to them by the government, and may use these benefits as they see fit for tuition in either private or state schools.’

Question No. 7:

‘Would the Church include vocational education in its curriculum for these institutions?’

Answer to question No. 7:

“We answer this question in the affirmative.’

The purpose of the correspondence exchange was also cited by Gov. Lee.

‘In order that the voters of the state may be fully informed (with respect to the specified issues), I am taking the liberty of addressing this letter to you…,’ the governor wrote the First Presidency.

In its return letter the First Presidency concluded:

‘We trust the aforesaid answers will help to give the voters the facts they need for an intelligent decision at the polls, and that in particular they will resolve doubts as to the operation of these colleges, should the voters, who will exercise their right to vote as they choose, decide to sustain the action of the Legislature.’

Gov. Lee also took complete responsibility for asking for the return of the colleges to the Church.  Referring to reports the Church had asked for return of the colleges, Gov. Lee said:

‘This I know to be unture and I take full responsibility for the proposal – one I have consistently and publically made for a period of four years.’

Deseret News – Friday,  May 28, 1954″

Fri., 28 May, 1954:

(4)  I reported that I had received a letter from Wilbur E. Hammaker; also a letter from Congressman Dawson and Senator Bennett regarding letters that I had written setting forth our feelings in regard to the Bryson Bill.  Senator Bennett says that he doubts that the bill will pass this year as there are many departments and organizations that are opposed to it.”

Wed., 21 Jul., 1954:

Y.M.C.A. Building

At 9 a.m.  By appointment at their request, the following gentlemen had an interview with the First Presidency (appointment made through President McKay):  Alex F. Eberhardt, Forrest S. Walden, Reed Brinton, Holman Water, and Roger Freund, Members of the Board of Directors of the Young Men’s Christian Association.  They discussed their project to build a $1,000,000.00 Y.M.C.A. building in Salt Lake City, and explained the need for such an institution in Salt Lake City.  Mr. Eberhardt explained that in their group they have representatives of the various religious denominations in the city and community and have tried to make it a community affair.  He mentioned that several years ago they secured a site for which they paid $40,000.00 which is being used at the present time as a parking lot.  This site is located at 235 East 2nd South.  It is their desire to erect a building which would provide about 100 dormitory rooms to take care of young men coming to the city. Nationally about 20 per cent are occupied by young men who come to the city from the country to work.  They have at the present time a summer camp near Kamas where the Soap Stone Creek flows into the Provo River.  In this camp they have 14 cabins and 117 boys are now there under proper supervision.  The camp is self-supporting.  About half the young boys who go to this camp are members of the L.D.S. Church.  They charge $35 for two weeks.  The parents provide the transportation for the boys.

They stated they were considering the erection of a four-story building that would cost around $1,000,000.00 and the money was to be raised primarily by public subscription.  Mr. Eberhardt stated that the organization is entirely autonomous as far as the local board is concerned; that the local organization received no financial support from the national organization, but on the contrary contributes to the support of the national organization.  They explained that they have about $67,000.00 in the treasury toward the erection of this building.  They think it would be self-supporting.

In answer to a question by President Clark as to the proposed cost in proportion to the population, they felt that the estimated cost of this building would be less than the amount expended in other communities for Y.M.C.A. facilities in proportion to the population.

In answer to an inquiry as to how they propose to raise the money, Mr. Freund said they would appoint a group of volunteer solicitors from among their members.  It would be necessary, they explained, to raise about 80 per cent from large companies and wealthy individuals.  They explained that if the total community favors this project they would go to heads of various organizations who may not have their residence here, but who have interests here and they wanted to be able to say that the whole town is behind them in the project.

In answer to President McKay’s question as to the attitude of the public toward this proposition, Mr. Freund said that they felt it was very positive.  As to the attitude of these large corporations to which reference had been made, Mr. Eberhardt explained that the Ford Motor Company wants to know what others are going to do; that Mr. Cox of the Kennecott Company wants assurance that the whole community is interested in this development as they do not want to offend someone who might be opposed to it.  They were somewhat perplexed and did not understand the nature of our community.  They also said that Bishop Hunt of the Catholic Church is very favorable toward it.  They explained they had not started a campaign as yet for raising funds and had not suggested any amounts, but that they have communications from many of the church groups urging that they go ahead, feeling that the U.M.C.A. has a special field that it fills.

Mr. Waldon said that after the First Presidency has given the matter consideration they would like an expression as to how they feel toward the project, as with a favorable expression from the Church they could go to members of the church and get support from them.

President McKay thanked them for their visit and said that the Presidency would take the matter under consideration.”

Wed., 18 Aug., 1954:

“7:45 a.m.  — Met by appointment Elder Adam S. Bennion of the Council of the Twelve.  He reported that the Committee in charge of the Utah Educational Association, all but two of whom are members of the Church, have asked what their attitude should be in the coming convention toward the proposition of turning over Weber and other Junior Colleges to the Church.  I told him that I thought they should use their own judgment; that the attitude of the Church is plainly stated in the First Presidency’s public statement, which is that we are receptive if and when the State ceases to conduct these schools as state institutions;  that we will accept them in accordance with our agreement and, furthermore, that we will make good schools of them; that everyone should vote just as he wishes to vote.  When I presented this later at the meeting of the First Presidency President Richards agreed wholeheartedly with me.  It was felt that if we campaigned for the schools and succeeded in getting them we would have the antagonism of the non-members.

Mon., 30 Aug., 1954:

“Meeting of Group from Ogden on the Junior College situation

On August 30 by appointment at 8:45 in the morning met Frank M. Browning, W.M. Anderson, A.L. Glasman, Ernest H. Bulch, President of the Ogden Chamber of Commerce, Ira A. Huggins, and Brigham H. Robinson.  They called in regard to the question of the proposed transfer of the Junior Colleges from the state to the Church.  President McKay spent three hours with them, told them that the Church is not making an aggressive campaign to have these schools turned back; that the deed of transfer, when the Church gave the Schools to the state, states that if and when the state ceases to operate the Junior Colleges for educational purposes, the property reverts to the Church, and we stand ready to receive them, and when they do come back, we will maintain them as Junior Colleges.  President McKay told them that further than that we were not saying anything, that it would not be wise for us to do so, because if the people do turn them back to us we do not want ‘you men’ (referring to the committee who were present) and others, to say that we used undue influence to get them back.  We would rather say that you gave them back, and we want you to help us now in our Church school system.

Mr. Glasman asked President McKay:  ‘Do you want them back?’

President McKay answered him:  ‘Supposing I said that I do want them back, that I am in favor of this referendum, and you publish that in your paper, what would that do?  That would be undue influence in your favor.

He then said that our people are saying that if members of the Church vote against turning these schools back to the Church, they are not good members of the Church and will be dealt with.  President McKay answered that no member of the Church, General Authority or otherwise, will be dealt with if he votes his own convictions.  That is what we want him to do.

President McKay said that Ira Huggins was the most virulent in his attack on the bill and when asked to give an example he said that only recently inone of the wards a young returned missionary got up and said that Pres. Ernest Wilkinson had put five dollars in his hand and told him to go up there and put in a good word for the BYU and the Junior College.  President McKay answered that he would see Ernest Wilkinson and ask him about it.  He said that fortunately when he got out of the meeting Ernest Wilkinson was in the office waiting, and he faced him with this matter, and he said that that is a mis-statement; that he had not given any missionary five dollars, nor asked him to do what was reported.  President McKay said that he then dictated a letter to Ira Huggins, and asked him to please give him the name of the missionary and the ward in which he spoke.”

Thurs., 23 Sept., 1954:

2 p.m.  Met at their request with Henry D. Moyle of the Council of the Twelve, and Ernest Wilkinson, President of the Brigham Young University.  They wanted to know who should sign the statement given to the Secretary of State, and the paper setting forth the reasons why the State should discontinue Weber, Snow,and Dixie Junior Colleges, a question that must be answered in the coming election.

Dilworth Woolley will sign as Chairman of the Committee to present it to the State.

Mon., 27 Sept., 1954:

Telephone Calls

2.  President Wilkinson called from the B.Y.U. in Provo.  He stated that he had the pamphlet regarding the Junior College issue ready for print.  He had found out that they could include the statement that was signed with the Secretary of State with reference to the transfer of the colleges without incurring any additional cost.  President Wilkinson asked my permission to include this in the pamphlet.  I told him that I would have to read it over before I could decide.  President Wilkinson said he would send the material to me today in order that I may read it over and give my opinion.

I thanked President Wilkinson for the article regarding the seminaries in Los Angeles and stated that I thought I would use it in my talk.  I asked President Wilkinson for some information on seventh grade enrollment in the seminaries.  President Wilkinson stated that he would send this information to me.”

Tues., 28 Sept., 1954:

Telephone Calls

1.  Henry D. Moyle of the Council of the Twelve called me by telephone regarding the meeting to be held by District Stake Presidents at which time a discussion will be held relative to the distribution of pamphlets concerning the Junior College situation and the Reapportionment.  I told him that the Stake Presidents are not to make a campaign that Gen’l. Authorities are in favor of the Church’s taking over the Junior Colleges, nor that they are in favor of the Reapportionment plan – also that they are not to quote the General Authorities on either issue.”

Wed., 29 Sept., 1954:

Telephone Calls

“2.  I called President Wilkinson at the B.Y.U.  I told him that he had better go to Washington to fulfill his appointment with the Chamber of Commerce in that City.  He asked if I had given Brother Moyle the material regarding the Junior College situation.  I told him that I thought it had been given to Brother Moyle, and that we should have to arrange to pay for both of them some way.”

Fri., 15 Oct., 1954:

First Presidency’s Meeting

Among items discussed were:

(1) I mentioned that Brothers Lee and Moyle had talked with me this morning about the political situation in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.  In Idaho they are concerned about Taylor who is running for Congress.  I suggested that they avoid making any public statement; that they should not use the pulpit, but there is no objection to their telling presidents of stakes to answer questions.

Wed., 20 Oct., 1954:

First Presidency’s Meeting

At the meeting this morning I mentioned that I had received a telegram from the Chairman of the Republican party, stating that the committee had accepted Congressman Stringfellow’s resignation, and that President H. Aldous Dixon had accepted the nomination.  I immediately dictated a reply commending the Committee’s action, and wishing ‘success to President Dixon.'”

23 Oct., 1954:

“Re:  Junior Colleges

October 23, 1954

Mr. Frank M. Browning

1547-26th Street

Ogden, Utah

My Dear Friend:

First, I owe you an apology for this delay in replying to your letters of recent date.  Please excuse my seeming neglect.  It was not intentional.  That you might be assured of this, in acknowledgment of your second letter, I sent you the following telegram addressed to the Waldorf Hotel, New York.  I hope you received it.

‘Salt Lake City, Utah,

October 15, 1954

‘Frank M. Browning

Waldorf Astoria Hotel,

New York City, N.Y.

‘Answering letter October eleventh.  Attitude unchanged.  Church not campaigning for colleges.  Every voter free to cast his vote for State retention of colleges.  Letter following.  Kindest regards.


This note this morning, just prior to my leaving for California, is to reassure you again that there has been no change of my attitude nor that of the First Presidency in regard to the proposed discontinuing of state support for four Junior Colleges.

Simply stated the question before the people of Utah is whether they want these schools to continue as state institutions.  Every person entitled to vote should exprss at the polls his or her honest convictions regarding this important matter.  A vote cast for the State to do so is not a vote against the Church.  If the people decide that the State should discontinue its support of these colleges, then the Church has expressed its willingness to assume the responsibility of maintaining three of these institutions as Junior Colleges; but it is not conducting a campaign for the return of these schools to Church control.

The printed correspondence between Governor Lee and the First Presidency sets forth the issue clearly.  

I was glad to receive both your letters and am happy to have you call on me or write to me at any time.  I admire your ability and loyalty as a citizen and esteem you as a friend.

Cordially and sincerely,

President David O. McKay”

Thurs., 28 Oct., 1954:

“Received the following telegram from Jack M. Reed, Reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune:

‘Sa 38 RX PD Salt Lake City, Utah Oct. 28, 1954 709PMP

President David O. McKay, 168 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, California

Tribune has story from Ogden Porporting to quote your position of neutrality on Junior Colleges Question as stated by you in telegram to Frank Browning, Ogden; Chamber of Commerce would appreciate your calling me collect soon as possible at three-one-five-one-one.  Can read this story to you.  Best regards.  signed – Jack M. Reed.’

I called Brother Reed and reiterated the stand that the First Presidency has taken regarding the transfer by the State of the Junior Colleges to the Church (see pamphlet attached).  Other than the pamphlet containing a statement issued some months ago in answer to a series of questions posed by Gov. J. Bracken Lee, I have not approved of the distribution of campaign pamphlets through church channels.”

29 Oct., 1954:

M’Kay Denies LDS Drive For Colleges

Tells Ogden C. of C. Pamphlets Issued Against Instructions

Special to the Tribune

OGDEN, Oct. 28 – David O. McKay, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thursday assured the Ogden Chamber of Commerce that the church is not campaigning for transfer of three junior colleges to the church.

President McKay, in reply to a message from the Ogden chamber, said that the church had made clear its position on transfer of the junior colleges in a statement issued some months ago in answer to a series of questions posed by Gov. J. Bracken Lee.

The questions and their answers, which have been circulated in pamphlet form, say that the position of the church is that it is not seeking return of the institutions, but will accept and operate them if state support is withdrawn.

Aside from this, any distribution of campaign pamphlets through church channels ‘was done directly contrary to my instructions,’ President McKay told the chamber.

‘Attitude Unchanged’

‘The Attitude (of the church) is unchanged,’ President McKay said in a telegram to Frank Browning, member of the Ogden Chamber of Commerce committee on Weber College Campaign.

‘The church is not campaigning for the colleges.  Every voter is free to cast his vote for state retention of the colleges.  This election is to determine whether the people of the state of Utah desire the state to continue to support the junior colleges.  Only if they determine not to will the church be willing to take over and continue the colleges’ (Weber, Dixie and Snow).

Release Authorized

President McKay’s message was released by Bernie Diamond, manager-secretary of the Ogden Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Diamond said he was authorized by President McKay to release the telegram in a telephone conversation with the church president Thursday.

Mr. Diamond said President McKay’s reference to campaign, pamphlets was in response to the following message sent to him Wednesday night:

‘Pamphlets in support of transfer (of colleges) have been mailed to residents under postal permit of some stakes and delivered by ward teachers.  Much mis-information and many erroneous rumors are circulating concerning the church position on junior colleges.  May we quote your telegram to Frank Browning?  We believe this is urgently needed to stave off controversy rapidly building up in this area.’

President McKay telephoned Thursday to authorize the requested release.

‘We are gratified,’ Mr. Diamond said on behalf of the Ogden Chamber of Commerce, ‘that President McKay has again clarified the church’s position.  The Ogden chamber has attempted to conduct this campaign on a high level, keeping the church strictly out of the campaign because we have felt that the only question as President McKay put it, is to determine whether the people of the state of Utah desire to continue                         to support the Junior colleges.

‘We appreciate the generous offer of the church and its willingness to stand by to finance and operate these colleges if the state is unable to continue them.  We hold firm to our position that this involves a broad question of public policy in education which merits the most serious study and this was not given to it.’

Contacted by The Tribune Thursday night in Laguna Beach, Calif., President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ reiterated the church’s official stand on the junior college transfer issue.

‘If and when the state ceases to support the junior colleges,’ President McKay said, ‘the church will resume jurisdiction and continue to operate them as junior colleges.’

The church leader said distribution of one pamphlet listing questions and answers on the issue between Gov. J. Bracken Lee and the LDS First Presidency had been authorized for distribution through church channels.

He stressed, however, that distribution of any other pamphlets ‘purporting to give church advice to vote any particular way concerning the junior college transfer issue is contrary to instructions.’

The Salt Lake Tribune – Friday, October 29, 1954″

29 Oct., 1954:

“October 29, 1954

Pamphlet Regarding Junior Colleges










May 14, 1954

The First Presidency

The Church of Jesus Christ

of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah


As you know, the required number of voters of the State, by the filing of a petition, have placed on the ballot for the coming November election the question of whether the action of the last Legislature in authorizing the return of Weber, Snow and Dixie Junior Colleges to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, should or should not be sustained.

I am advised that during the campaign to obtain signatures to the referendum petition it was represented that the plan to return the Junior Colleges to your Church was requested by you.  This I know to be untrue and I take full responsibility for the proposal-one I have consistently and publicly made for a period of four years.

I am also advised that in some parts of the State it was represented that The First Presidency wanted these colleges returned to the Church, whereas in other parts of the State it was represented that The First Presidency did not want these colleges returned.  It was also represented that the return of these colleges would constitute a gift by the taxpayers of the State of Utah to the Church, of property having a substantial value.  It was also asserted in some quarters that if the action of the Legislature should be sustained, many members of the faculties of said colleges would be immediately discharged, the salaries of others would be reduced, and that the curriculum of the various institutions would be sharply curtailed and modified.  Finally it was asserted in some quarters that as a long-term policy the colleges if returned to the Church would be operated essentially as ‘religious seminaries.’

In order that the voters of the State may be fully informed with respect to these and other representations I am taking the liberty of addressing this letter to you and would be greatly obliged if you will be kind enough to answer the following questions:


1.  In view of the conflicting representations which have been made as to the desires of the Church, will you please advise as to whether you do or do not want Weber, Snow,and Dixie Colleges returned to the Church?


2.  Will the Church be willing to pay a fair and equitable price for the properties at these institutions which have been acquired or built by the State at the expense of the tax payers of the State of Utah, during the time of State operation?  It is understood, of course, in accordance with the deeds by which the properties of these institutions were originally conveyed to the State, that the Church will receive back the former Church properties without cost.


3.  In the event the voters approve the return of the institutions to the Church in November, would the Church be in a position to carry on the regular school program for the balance of the year?  If so, will the Church, as respects the balance of the school year, continue the same faculty and other employees, pay the same salaries as have been agreed upon by the State, recognize Sabbatical leaves which have already been granted, continue the same curricula both as to day and evening schools, charge the same tuition, admit the same students and give credit to them for the work they have alread done, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the three colleges continued to be operated by the State?


4.  As a long-term policy, would it be your intention to transform these institutions into what some have termed ‘religious seminaries,’ or would it be your intention to operate them as high-class, accredited junior colleges with a well-qualified faculty competent to meet educational needs of their respective communities?


5.  Some of the teachers are concerned as to what their retirement rights will be in the event of return of the three colleges to the Church.  Will you kindly inform me as to what retirement rights they will have?


6.  It was alleged during the campaign to obtain signatures to the referendum petition, that if the three institutions were returned to the Church, veterans would not be able to obtain the same educational advantages and privileges as if the same institutions were maintained by the State.  Will you kindly inform me whether this is a correct statement?


7.  Would the Church include vocational education in its curriculum for these institutions?

Concluding Paragraph

I am confident that any information you can supply in answer to the foregoing questions will be helpful in quieting rumors and providing facts on which the people can base their vote in November.

Sincerely yours,

J. Bracken, Lee




May 21, 1954

Hon. J. Bracken Lee, Governor

State of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Governor Lee:

We acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 14, 1954.  As you state, the legislation to return Weber, Snow and Dixie Junior Colleges to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not suggested directly or indirectly by the Church.  Over three years ago you addressed a letter to us asking what the Church would do in the event the State discontinued operation of these three institutions.  We replied that under the deeds of conveyance by which these colleges in the 1930’s were ceded by the Church to the State, they would revert to and be operated by the Church if the State discontinued their operation.  In response to a similar inquiry by you last year we gave the same answer.

In order to obviate any misunderstandings which you report are current, we answer specifically the questions set forth in your letter as follows:


We shall be pleased to have Weber, Snow and Dixie Colleges returned to the Church, which is in a position to operate them in a first-class manner scholastically and otherwise.


As to lands which have been acquired and buildings built at the expense of the tax payers of Utah since the three colleges were conveyed to the State, the Church has been legally advised by competent counsel that the acceptance of the obligation to further operate the three colleges (which amounts to approximately one million dollars per year) is a sufficient and valid consideration and price for the transfer.  Nevertheless, so as to remove any possibility of even doubtful criticism, the Church is willing with respect to such property, to pay, taking into account all the circumstances, whatever price if fair and equitable.  Under the pending legislation this amount would, of course, be determined by negotiation between the State Board of Examiners and the Church.


The answer to all parts of this question is in the affirmative:  The Church will be in a position to carry on the regular school program.  Because of the fact that the school year will already have begun the Church will consider itself bound by employment contracts which have already been entered into with all members of the teaching and custodial staff.  Further, the same curricula including the same courses, will be continued both for day and evening schools; Sabbatical leaves already granted will be recognized; the same tuition will be charged and the same students will be admitted and permitted to continue the courses for which they originally registered, without any interruption, just as though there had been no change of operation of the schools.  It may be that in addition to the courses for which the students have already registered, additional courses may be offered so that there would be a better balanced and richer curricula, but there would be no diminution of the courses already offered.


It would be our intention not to transform any of these colleges into what some have termed ‘religious seminaries.’   It would also be our intention to integrate all three of these institutions into our Church School System, and to operate them as high-class accredited Junior Colleges with a well qualified faculty competent to meet educational needs of their respective communities.  Our intentions as to competent faculties can best be measured by our past performance when these same schools were previously operated by the Church.


We have not, of course, formulated any retirement policy for the three colleges in question nor can we be expected to do so until we know the outcome of the November election.  We would expect, however, to pattern the retirement system for these three institutions along the line of the retirement system now in effect at the Brigham Young University which, we are informed, is the most favorable retirement system of any University in the State.  The teachers at that Institution in addition to having the benefits of the Federal Social Security, pay 5% of their annual salary into a teacher’s retirement fund.  This 5% is matched by the Church.  The combination of the two provides a very good retirement system for faculty members.


The statement you report is not correct.  Veterans of World War II and of the Korean War have the same educational benefits in Church schools as in State schools.  At the Brigham Young University, for instance, the tuition and fees of veterans of World War II were paid by the Government in the same way as at State institutions.  Veterans of the Korean War who desire to pursue higher education are paid certain educational benefits direct to them by the Government, and may use these benefits as they see fit for tuition in either private or State schools.


We answer this question in the affirmative.

Concluding Paragraph

We trust the aforesaid answers will help to give the voters the facts they need for an intelligent decision at the polls, and that in particular they will resolve doubts as to the operation of these colleges, should the voters, who will exercise their right to vote as they choose, decide to sustain the action of the legislature.

Faithfully yours,

David O. McKay

Stephen L. Richards

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

The First Presidency”

Mon., 1 Nov., 1954:

“At 5 p.m. returned to the office.  Learned from my secretary that the telephone had been ringing almost continuously throughout the day — newspaper reporters, individuals, the associated press, etc. had called for information regarding the political issues of the day — the transfer by the State of Junior Colleges to the Church; the reapportionment, etc.”

2 Nov., 1954:

LDS Stresses ‘No Stand’ On Revamp

Letter Blocks Moves To Align Church With Either Faction

A letter stating that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken no position on the proposed constitutional amendment on legislative reapportionment and that no one is ‘authorized to align the church with either side of the controversy’ was made public Monday.

The letter, signed by the members of the First Presidency follows:

‘We acknowledge receipt of your letter under date of Sept. 1 soliciting an expression of our attitude with reference to the so-called reapportionment question.

‘We advise you that we have consistently made the statement in response to inquiries on this subject that the church takes no position with reference to it.  It is regarded by us as a matter for the determination of the voters of the state, and no one is authorized to align us with either side of the controversy.

‘Trusting that the foregoing will be sufficient answer to your inquiry.’

The letter was signed by President David O. McKay, Stephen L. Richards, first counselor, and J. Reuben Clark Jr., second counselor in the First Presidency.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Tuesday, November 2, 1954

November 2, 1954




News Staff Writer

A proposed Constitutional amendment and two junior college issues were overwhelmingly defeated by Utah voters Tuesday.

The three defeated issues called for (1) a Constitutional amendment to reapportion the Utah Legislature, (2) the transfer of three junior colleges from state control to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and (3) the discontinuance of state support of Carbon College.

Unofficial returns from 963 districts out of 1,008 show that 137,957 Utahns voted against reapportionment while 75,488 voted for it.

On the junior college transfer issue, 130,247 votes were cast against it and 85,212 for it.

Voters defeated the Carbon College issue by casting 166,747 votes against it.  Only 46,816 votes were cast for the referendum issue.

Weber County residents lined up heavily against the three measures.  Unofficial returns show that 23,525 votes were marked against the reapportionment measure and only 5,132 for it.  The junior college transfer question drew 22,801 negative votes with only 5,908 for it.  The Carbon College issue brought in 24,326 votes against and 3,823 votes for it.

Commenting on defeat at the polls of two proposals to take four colleges off the hands of the state, Gov. J. Bracken Lee said it was what he expected.

‘Any time you have great effort being made to put over one side of an argument without anyone taking the other side it is almost a cinch to go over,’ he declared.

‘I think if the junior college issue had been fought through from both sides the results might have been different,’ he said.

Refusal to drop Carbon College and return Weber, Dixie and Snow Colleges to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ‘certainly will bring about higher taxes,’ he warned.

‘The Legislature can’t help but feel that the people would rather have these things and pay more taxes.  I fought my heart out to cut down taxes, but if the people want to hurt themselves, why should I fight them,’ he asked.

He said he still is convinced that the best interest of the state would have been to go through with what the Legislature asked.

If the voters had decided for the three issues these changes would have been made:

(1) The Constitution would have been amended to provide for a State Senate of one senator from each of Utah’s 29 counties and a House of Representatives of 75 members.  At present Utah has 23 senators and 60 representatives.

(2) Three junior colleges – Weber, Snow and Dixie – would have passed from state control to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(3)  Carbon College would have lost state support and would have ceased to exist as a college.

Deseret News – Wednesday, November 3, 1954

Voting Results for Utah in Capsule Form

Here are the unofficial at-a-glance totals in Tuesday’s general election:

U.S. Congress, First District

(487 of 523 Districts)

Henry Aldous Dixon (R)…54,821

Walter K. Granger (D)…47,367

U.S. Congress, Second District

(476 of 485 Districts)

William A. Dawson (R)…89,603

Reva Beck Bosone (D)…67,194

Reapportionment Amendment

(963 of 1,008 Districts)



Junior College Transfer

(963 of 1,008 Districts)



Carbon College


(963 of 1,008 Districts)



Supreme Court

(963 of 1,008 Districts)

George W. Worthen….148,864

Delbert M. Draper Sr…82,403

District Courts

First Judicial District

(81 of 89 Districts)

Judge Lewis Jones……..11,809

M.C. Harris………………5,611

Second Judicial District

(171 of 172 Districts)

John Wahlquist…………23,003

John A. Hendricks……17,185

Third Judicial District

(364 of 366 Districts)

Judge Clarence E. Baker..64,651

Mark S. Miner…………….37,442

Fourth Judicial District

(114 of 163 Districts)

Judge R.L. Tuckett……….16,731

Ray P. Dillman………………9,361

Sixth Judicial District

Judge John L. Sevy Jr……..3,088

Ferdinand Erickson…………2,185

Deseret News – Wednesday, November 3, 1954

November 9, 1954

Re: Pamphlets distributed during Recent


November 2, 1954

Dear President McKay:

This letter is not meant to be antagonistic.  I have an honest curiosity in my heart to find out where certain literature came from.  I am enclosing the first page of the pamphlets in question.  Quite a stack of these political papers were given to my husband to distribute throughout our Ward (Hillcrest Ward, Grant Stake) by Bishop Ralph A. Trane.  Bishop Trane said he got them from the Stake.  But where did the Stake get them?  Are they actually sent out by our Church?  And if so, then the article in the paper to the effect the Church was taking no sides is fallacious.

About a week after these were distributed I viewed a TV program on which a fellow whose name I do not recall showed these particular pamphlets and stated emphatically that the Church did not send them out and that they were in no way connected with the Church, and then he reiterated that the Church was taking no stand one way or the other in politics.

I would like very much to know where our Stake got them, and why the Stake is ‘meddling’ in politics if it is against the policy of the Church to do so.

I sincerely hope you will accept this letter in the spirit in which it is written, for I intend no harm to anyone by it; it is written only because I want to know the truth and I know I will get the truth from you.

Very sincerely yours

/s/Mrs. Wm. J. Brooks

Mrs. William J. Brooks

November 9, 1954

Re: Pamphlets distributed during

Recent Election

November 9, 1954

Mrs. William J. Brooks

1061 East 33rd South Street

Salt Lake City 15, Utah

Dear Sister Brooks:

It has not been possible for me to answer the many letters that have come to me prior to, and following the recent election.  Public statements that have been made should be sufficient to answer perplexing questions that have arisen because of the enthusiasm of  proponents and opponents of the current issues.  Yours, however, seems to have been prompted by ‘an honest curiosity in my (your) heart to find out where certain literature came from’ so I take the opportunity to dictate a brief reply to answer that ‘honest curiosity.’


Letter of Governor J. Bracken Lee and Answer of the First Presidency of the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Proposed Return of Weber, Snow and Dixie Junior Colleges to the Church.

Early in the campaign, it was agreed by proponents and opponents to this question that as a matter of information this letter should be sent out to the people of the State of Utah who, knowing the issues, could vote intelligently upon the question.  The Education Department of the Church assumed the responsibility of printing and distributing this pamphlet.


Statement in Support of Proposed Return of Weber, Snow, and Dixie Junior Colleges to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This is a statement, as I was informed, that was required by law to be presented to the Secretary of State, as also was the statement setting forth the reasons why the Junior College should not be returned but continue to be under the direction of the State.  This was signed by Republicans, Democrats, Mormons and non-Mormons.

No objection was offered to the Committee’s sending copies of this statement to the electorate.  They did it on their own responsibility, and individuals contributed to the expense of printing and distribution of this pamphlet.

When the First Presidency learned that a paragraph was heading the letter of Governor Lee and the Answer of the First Presidency stating that the General Authorities wanted a vote in the affirmative, and, further, that Stake Presidents and Bishops were sending out a letter accompanying the second statement, word was sent out through the Twelve, and also to Presidencies of stakes directly, that no such letters should be sent out.  The paragraph was taken from that first pamphlet, and letters that had been printed were not distributed.  Furthermore, instruction was given to the Twelve and as far as immediately convenient to Presidents of Stakes that the pulpit should not be used by Presidents of Stakes or Bishops of Wards to try to influence the people how to vote.


Constitutional Amendment on Reapportionment.

Early in the campaign the First Presidency was asked regarding the Church’s attitude on this important question.  We replied that this is a problem upon which the people themselves must express their own opinions.  All Church officials, general and local, were left free to vote their individual opinions.

Unfortunately, a pamphlet ‘prepared and distributed by a Citizens’ Committee for Reapportionment of the Legislature’ was distributed through Church channels.  I say ‘unfortunately’ because such distribution through Church channels implied that the Church was taking an active part favoring the proposed amendment.  This was not the case.

Sincerely yours,




Mon., 28 Feb., 1955:

“9 a.m.  Received a courtesy call from the Honorable John H. Stambaugh of the personal staff of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Mr. Stambaugh has to do with public relations, and with the guiding of some of the legislation through congress.  He is also assistant to Clarence E. Randall, President of the Inland Steel Co., and a special consultant to President Eisenhower.  His visit to the West is primarily to acquaint the people with the President’s foreign economic program.  He is also scheduled to speak to Rotary Clubs in Salt Lake, Ogden, and Boise.  He was accompanied by a Mr. Lang of Salt Lake City.

I had a very interesting interview with Mr. Stambaugh.  We discussed President Eisenhower’s foreign and domestic policy, and particulary the sincerity of the President and of the men who surround him.  The Honorable John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, was especially mentioned and commended for the work he is doing.

I informed Mr. Stambaugh of the Church’s school project in the South Pacitic; how members of the Church are working on the building without pay.  He said:  ‘That is unusual for this day; that is the pioneer spirit that changed this valley from a desert into a garden.’

I asked Mr. Stambaugh to convey my best wishes to President Eisenhower.”

March 3, 1955

Telephone Call from Senator Wallace Bennett from Washington, D.C., March 3, 1955.

Reported that Mr. John H. Stambaugh of President Eisenhower’s personal staff, who recently visited me at my office, had reported how much he enjoyed his visit, and expressed deep appreciation for the courteous treatment he received.  Senator Bennett said that he is sure that he has delivered my personal message to President Eisenhower.

Senator Bennett then said that they have the final report of the arrangement with the Department of State and Department of Army to the effect that they will transport the Choir at the expense of the government in and out of Berlin–from Hamberg to Berlin and to Frankfurt.  A special train will be furnished.  They have approval to transport 500 persons, and it is suggested we ‘lay low’ for a few weeks, and then tell the persons in charge that there will be 700, and they are sure no objections will be offered to transport the extra number.

I expressed appreciation to Senator Bennett and said that this news has come at the right time, because we had some rather discouraging news today.

Brother Bennett then asked if they should make a public announcement in Washington about this matter, or if it is preferred that nothing be said.  We agreed that it would do a lot of good to make the announcement back there.  Brother Bennett said the State Department is going to make maximum use of the Choir to propagandize American culture, etc., and then will give newspaper publicity and make arrangements for appearances of the choir during their visit to West Berlin.

I asked Brother Bennett to extend our appreciation to the committee, and he suggested that we write a letter of appreciation to the lady who had handled the matter for him.  Brother Bennett will send her name and address to us.

Brother Bennett further reported that President Richards had come to Washington, D.C. to talk about the missionary draft problem, and that he now wishes to report to me that they have a letter from the Assistant Secretary of Defense, saying that the Department of Defense would interpose no objection to the amendment it offered, which means that we have the approval of the Selective Service and that of the Department of Defense.  If we get both the Selective Service and the Department of Defense to amend the law there will be no question as to the status of our missionaries, and as soon as they are called, they will be recognized as minister of religion.

I congratulated Brother Bennett on the excellent service that had been rendered in this regard.  

Brother Bennett then said that Brother Richards has a copy of the language that will be offered in proposing the amendment.” 

10 Mar., 1955:

“March 10, 1955

Report given by President David O. McKay

at Council Meeting,

Thursday, March 10, 1955.

President McKay said he received a very warm personal letter from President Eisenhower; that when Mr. Stambaugh, President Eisenhower’s personal representative, was here, he was granted an audience by President McKay, a young man by the name of William Lang having brought him in.  It was just the usual courtesy call.  As he left President McKay said to him, ‘Give my kind regards to President Eisenhower.’  He evidently did, and probably made a complimentary reference or two, and as a result President McKay received a personal letter from President Eisenhower expressing appreciation of the loyalty and of the encouragement which President McKay sent through Mr. Stambaugh, his personal representative.  President McKay appreciated the letter very much.

Mon., 14 Mar., 1955:

“Letter to Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Following my meeting, dictated a letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower in answer to the one he sent me a few days ago.  (see copies of letters following – original in scrap book.)  (Also see letter to Mr. John H. Stambaugh, Pres. Eisenhower’s aid)  (see Feb. 28, 1955 for account of Mr. Stambaugh’s visit to Pres. McKay)  Left the office at noon at which time I left for home.  After a short rest, drove up to Huntsville to attend to matters up there.

Photostat copy of 

Original letter from

Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower March 14, 1955

(Original of following letters

in Scrap Book)



March 7, 1955.

Dear President McKay:

Upon Mr. Stambaugh’s return to Washington he told me of his interesting visit with you.  He also conveyed to me your expression of confidence in the Administration and your personal good wishes.

In the midst of the pressures and tensions that abound in governmental life, it is especially heartwarming to receive such an unexpected message as yours.  I am deeply grateful.

With warm regard,


Dwight D. Eisenhower

President David O. McKay,

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

47 East South Temple,

Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

March 14, 1955





Dear Mr. President:

Your very kind letter of March 7, 1955, the writing of which is prompted by your Mr. Stambaugh’s report of his recent visit to the office of the First Presidency of the Church, made me very happy.

It is the unexpected, the unanticipated favor that makes the deepest impression, either in giving delight or of deepening one’s sense of responsibility.  Such was the effect of your letter upon me.

I can at least partly realize the constant stress and strain to which you are subjected daily, yes, hourly, as you perform the arduous duties of your high office.  Your personal letter, therefore, is not only appreciated but highly prized.

I was most favorably impressed with Mr. Stambuagh–a keen observer, a true gentleman, a worthy representative for the President of the United States.  I am grateful for his having conveyed to you my message of confidence and profound respect.

Daily in our family devotion and weekly in the Council Meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve, we express gratitude for your leadership and true statesmanship, and earnestly invoke Divine Guidance to attend you always.

With sentiments of high regard, I beg to remain

Loyally and sincerely yours,



President Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.

March 14, 1955



March 7, 1955

My dear President McKay:

I simply can’t tell you how much I enjoyed meeting with you while in Salt Lake City.  (Feb. 28, 1955)

All of us here are most appreciative of the fine expression of confidence and good will you indicated for our President and his program.  I must say, though, that this does not surprise me in view of the traditional philosophy you and your people have evidenced by being in the forefront always of the American spirit of enterprise and initiative.

Please accept again my deep thanks for the courtesy you extended to me.

Sincerely yours,

John H. Stambaugh

(of the Personal Staff of Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower)

President David O. McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of

  Latter-day Saints

Church Office Building

47 E. South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

March 14, 1955





My dear Mr. Stambaugh:

Thank you for your kind letter of March 7, 1955 and also for your thoughtfulness in having remembered to convey to the President my message of confidence and good will.

President Eisenhower, in response to the true nobility of his great nature, was gracious enough to write a personal letter, informing me that you had mentioned our conversation regarding the statesman-like quality of the present administration.

Again, ‘thank you’ for your much-appreciated visit, and for your great message given the next day to Rotary.

Your visit left a very favorable impression for you personally, and for the present administration in the White House.

With kind personal regards, and best wishes,

Sincerely yours,



Honorable John H. Stambaugh

The White House

Washington, D.C.”

Sat., 9 Apr.,, 1955:

“Received a letter dated April 9, 1955 from the Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States, inviting me to an ‘informal stag dinner’ in the White House, May 9, 1955.  (For copy of letter see April 15 on which date President McKay sent a letter accepting the invitation)”

Fri., 15 Apr., 1955:

“Note:  Invitation from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to attend ‘an informal stag dinner at the White House’

On April 9, 1955, I was very much surprised to receive an invitation from President Dwight D. Eisenhower inviting me to an ‘informal stag dinner on the evening of Monday, May ninth.’

Today I dictated a letter to President Eisenhower accepting his invitation.  (see photostat copies of letters following)  (Also see May 7 to 12 for an account of President McKay’s trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the ‘stag’ dinner at the invitation of President Eisenhower – also President McKay’s letter to President Eisenhower following his return, and Ezra Taft Benson’s letters)

April 15, 1955

Photostat copy of letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower

(original in scrap book – 1955)



April 9, 1955

Dear Dr. McKay:

I wonder if it would be convenient for you to come to an informal stag dinner on the evening of Monday, May ninth.  I hope to gather together a small group, and I should like very much for you to attend if it is possible for you to do so.

Because of the informality of the occasion, I suggest that we meet at the White House about half past seven, have a reasonably early dinner, and devote the evening to a general chat.  White I am hopeful that you can attend, I realize that you already may have engagements which would interfere.  If so, I assure you of my complete understanding.

I shall probably wear a black tie, but business suit will be entirely appropriate.

With warm regard,


P.S. As a personal favor to me, would you keep this reasonably confidential until after the event?

Dr. David O. McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

April 15, 1955

(Photostat copy of President McKay’s letter accepting President Eisenhower’s invitation)

April 15, 1955

My dear President Eisenhower:

This will acknowledge the receipt of your kind letter of April 9, 1955 inviting me to attend an informal stag dinner at the White House, May 9, 1955 at 7:30 p.m.

Deeply conscious of the honor this recognition conferes upon me, I accept gratefully your gracious invitation, and shall look forward with joyous anticipation to the privilege of meeting you again in person and as President of the United States.

Sincerely yours,


The Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.”

Sat., 7 May, 1955:

“Left this morning via Union Pacific Streamliner for Washington, D.C. to attend ‘Stag dinner’ at the White House in response to an invitation from President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Sister McKay accompanied me.

All the children came to the station and paid their respects for ‘Mother’s Day’ to Sister McKay.”

May 7 to May 12, 1955:

“May 7 to May 12, 1955.

Report on Trip to Washington, D.C. to Attend ‘Stag Dinner’ as guest of Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States.

Saturday, May 7, 1955

Sister McKay and I were at the Union Pacific Station early this morning.  All the children were there, and presented to Sister McKay a corsage of flowers and their loving wishes for Mother’s Day as on that day we shall be enroute for Washington, D.C.   Franklin J. Murdock of the Church Transportation Department and Mr. Griffin of the Union Pacific were also present.  They had reserved for us a drawing room on the best train that runs between here and Chicago.

Sunday, May 8, 1955

When we arrived in Chicago, we were met by our daughter Lou Jean and her husband, Dr. Russell H. Blood.  The drive to their home on Michigan Boulevard was most beautiful.  Later we drove back some distance toward town to a hotel, and had dinner.  We returned to Chicago just in time to board the Baltimore & Ohio train at 4:15 p.m. to Washington, D.C.

The landscape in Chicago is beautiful — trees in early bud, flowers blooming on the highway, bright sunshine.  Every moment of our visit there was delightful.

Monday, May 9, 1955

We arrived in Washington, D.C. over the Baltimore & Ohio at 8:40 this morning, and were met at the station by our grandson, Russell M. Blood, President J. Willard Marriott of the Washington Stake, Sister Ezra Taft Benson, Union Pacific officials, and newspaper reporters.

President Marriott had reserved a suite of rooms at the Hotel Shoreham, one of the leading hotels.  When we arrived there we found a beautiful bouquet of carnations, sent with the compliments of the Management, and two dozen long-stemmed red roses from President and Sister J. Willard Marriott.  Later we received a basket of delicious fruit from a Mr. ___ Hamilton, who has just been elected President of the National Retailers Association.  He saw me as I passed through the lobby of the Hotel, recognized me, and then sent this lovely fruit to us.  I tried to contact him personally two or three times but was unsuccessful, so contented myself by putting a note of thanks under his door at the Hotel.

***When we left Salt Lake, the dining room stewart came to our drawing room and introduced himself.  He stated that he had a telegram from Mr. Arthur E. Stoddard, *President of the Union Pacific, asking us to have dinner at his expense on the diner.  Later, another telegram came from Mr. Griffin of the Salt Lake office of the Union Pacific inviting us to have breakfast and lunch at his expense.

(*Later on May 17, 1955 – President McKay sent a telegram thanking Mr. Stoddard for his courtesy.)

Monday Evening – Dinner at the White House as guest of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  (See letter of invitation from Pres. Eisenhower and Pres. McKay’s acceptance following)

At 7:30 p.m. Brother Ezra Taft Benson (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture) called for me at the Shoreham Hotel, and we drove to the White House where we were received very graciously by President Eisenhower who was then meeting his guests as they arrived, twenty of whom had been especially invited by President Eisenhower.

As I greeted President Eisenhower, I expressed appreciation of the honor extended, and he said:  ‘It is an honor to have you with us.’  A little later, he said to us all — ‘The way we do it here is for each of you to introduce yourselves and get acquainted.’  so we stood around as a group and had general conversation with each other as the servants passed the refreshments.  The waiter served me with tomato juice.  There was no excessive drinking on the part of anyone — it was just a social hour with appetizers – hors d’oeuvres, tomato juice, gingerale, and bourbon for those who wanted it.

When the guests had all arrived, President Eisenhower said:  ‘I should like to take you up to my private suite.’  We accompanied him to a particular room where he had displayed all his souvenirs and presents from countries from all over the world.  Among them was a jewel-studded Scimiter (a saber used chiefly by Arabs and Persians) from one of the Far East countries – it was set with a large diamond and other precious jewels.  President Eisenhower happened to be by my side while I was examining it, and he said to me, ‘Now these jewels are not first class; they are genuine, but not the very best – that diamond is large but the cut is not of the very best.’  However, the jewels were brilliant and beautiful to see.

After a very pleasant fifteen or twenty minutes in this room, President Eisenhower said:  ‘Now I should like you to go up into the ‘Abraham Lincoln Room.’  In that room there stands the bed which was made especially for President Lincoln who was a very tall man — an old-fashioned bed with a large, beautifully carved headboard.  There was no canopy as is common with so many old-fashioned beds.

As we approached the window in this bedroom, President Eisenhower said:  ‘This is where President Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation.’

Following a very interesting few minutes in this room, President Eisenhower said:  ‘Now we shall go to the Blue Room for our dinner.’

As we came through the hallway, a secretary approached with the plan of the table and the place where each would sit.  As I came, he said:  ‘President McKay, your place is just opposite the President’s.’  (This seat, directly across from the President of the United States is the honor seat).  (see following for names of guests and drawing of seating arrangement)

Just before we took our seats, President Eisenhower came up to me and said:  ‘President McKay, your seat is just opposite mine, and just before we take our seats, I should like to have you say grace.’

Following grace, President Eisenhower sat down, and after all were seated he said:  ‘At each one’s plate there is a knife especially prepared for this occasion, but there is an old saying that you mustn’t give a piece of cutlery as a present unless the one to whom you give the present gives something in return, so you will find that a penny has been attached to the note with the knife, and you may give that penny back to me.  I was afraid each of you would not have a penny, so I have given that to you.’  So each of us passed a penny to President Eisenhower.

Then dinner was served, and the usual dinner conversation ensued.

The gentleman on my left (whose name I do not remember) immediately asked just what my ideas are regarding a sentence I used in offering grace pertaining to the freedom of the individual — this sentence evidently intrigued him.  Three-fourths of my conversation was with him on the doctrine of the necessity of individual effort in securing happiness in this life.  I told him of our doctrine of free agency,etc.

From 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., the President entertained us with his experiences as a General and his acquaintance with such men as Sir Winston Churchill, General Patton, and other international characters.  He also commented on national and foreign policies, and the guests asked questions regarding the government and the effect of certain policies on the future.  I asked about Formosa and the effect of cessation of hostilities.  President discussed these matters with us, all of which, of course, is not to be quoted because this was just a social evening.

President Eisenhower proved himself not only a genial, but a brilliant host, and he seemed to be at his very best this evening.

As the time wore on, I was a little concerned for fear the President would become tired, but he seemed interested, and did not want us to go.  It was 11:20 p.m. before he arose and said:  ‘Now, President McKay, I will escort you to the door,’ and then he said to the others, ‘If you will all come to the door I will say good-night.’  I was the first one to whom he said good-night, saying, ‘It was very gracious of you to come this long distance, President McKay, and I appreciate it.  Remember me to your associates out there.’

And thus ended one of the most inspiring evenings I have spent, not only because of the brilliance of our host, and the courtesies he extended to me throughout the evening, but aside from all that, just to be present in the White House is an inspiration!  As one contemplates that from the days of Washington to the present time, the power to shape the destiny of the world has rested with the President of the United States, his soul is full of emotion.  I appreciated, as never before, that Washington, D.C. is the capitol of the greatest country in the world, and to be there in the White House as one of the honored guests of the President of the United States was thrilling, and an experience of a life-time.  (see newspaper clippings following).

7 May to 12, 1955:

“May 7 to 12, 1955


On A Visit To The White House on May 7 to 12, 1955

And At The First Presidency Meeting

Friday, May 13, 1955

President McKay reported a very successful trip to Washington, D.C.  Said he did not get very far, however, with the Tahitian situation.  Spent an evening with President Eisenhower in the White House, which was a most delightful occasion.  There were doctors, lawyers, and newspaper men there; also Brother Benson, Secretary of Agriculture.  President McKay received very courteous attention.  The President, after greeting the guests, said, ‘Gentlemen, enjoy yourselves and get acquainted.’  The waiters were around with trays of drinks, but there was no excessive drinking.  It was a very refined, dignified group of men.  President McKay spoke of his experience as follows:

‘After the greetings, as they were filing in at 7:30 in the evening, President Eisenhower took the group up to his own private rooms and there they saw his trophies and gifts from various countries, a very interesting room.  Among the trophies was a scimitar, studded with diamonds and other precious stones.  He said as he pointed that out to us, ‘Those are not the best jewels; they are genuine but they are not the best.’

‘Now, he said, I will take you up to the Lincoln room.’  The Lincoln bed was specially made for President Lincoln because he was so long.  The table near the fireplace is the one on which the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.  That was very interesting.

‘Then he said, ‘I will take you to the Blue Room.’  President Eisenhower mentioned something when we were in the Lincoln room which I missed — about Hopkins — had put something of his own on Lincoln’s bed and it was there when President Eisenhower came in.  I was a little too far away to get it; there was laughter.

‘The house is in excellent condition.  It is spic and span and as orderly and elegant as any palace, or more so, that I have been in.  I think it is the greatest center of the world today.  Then he said, ‘Now, we will go down to dinner.  As we walked down, Ezra (Brother Benson) said, ‘This is the first time I have ever known him to do this–‘ taking them around to his own room and upstairs.

‘We had been shown our places as we went in.  I was walking around to the end of the table to go down to my place and I saw the President say something to Brother Benson, and then he came immediately and said, ‘President McKay, we would appreciate it if you would give a blessing tonight, if you have no objection.’  I said, ‘Thank you.  I will be glad to.’  He came right out afterwards and said, ‘Thank you!’ right loud.

‘After that it was just a pleasant social chat, a regular social dinner, excellent dinner.  The man on my right started a conversation.  He said ‘You mentioned in your grace the freedom of the individual.  Is that fundamental?’  I said, ‘Next to life itself.’  He was a Presbyterian by training.  He said, ‘They crowded me so much I have finally left churches,’ but he said, ‘I believe in that freedom of the individual and developing oneself.’  I said, ‘That is fundamental in the Mormon Church.’  So he monopolized all my time.  He said, ‘Perhaps I should excuse you so that you can speak to the gentleman on your left.’  But it was an outstanding experience.

‘President Eisenhower was at his best.  He looked fresh and fine and his mind was active.  I have never listened to a more gracious host anywhere; he was real brilliant.  He talked politics, Russia; finally we got over to Formosa and what is best to be done.  He does not want to do anything to bring on another world war, but he said we have to maintain Formosa.  I asked a question which brought this out, — that if the Chinese on Formosa can now go back to the Mainland.  He said that means that we would have to do all the fighting if anything comes on, but he said we must maintain them as nationalists in case anything comes on in Korea, or over in Indo-China — you would have these as a buffer.  President McKay said he thought he made a faux paux, that they had been there from 7:30 until 10:30, and the President almost continually telling about his experiences in the army, with Patten and other generals, and with Churchill.  He said that of course everything there was off the record.  Someone said that these were interesting things that the people should know.  He said, ‘You cannot write these things in books; these intimate things might be misinterpreted.’  President McKay said they were very enlightening insights into the character, especially of Patten; that he was a different man entirely from what President McKay had pictured him.  He was very emotional, but did use blasphemous language.  For example he came up to President Eisenhower one time.  Patten happened to have ten or twenty majors in his division.  He said, ‘These majors are no good; they ought to be out; I would like to have them all out and have ordinary men.’  General Eisenhower sent a cable to some high official and said, ‘I would like to have authority to change the group of majors in the entire division,’ and it was granted.  He called Patten and said, ‘I understand you have majors under your command that you would like to get rid of, and I have authority to change them.’  ‘Oh Well,’ said Patten, ‘There is one with whom I had a little disagreement, but that is all right again.’  He did not want any of them changed.  The President said that was typical of Patten; he would get emotionally unstrung and time and again, so President Eisenhower said, ‘I had to put him straight; in fact, he came to me once and threw himself on my neck and blubbered and said, ‘You have been my savior so many times.’  Another officer came in and he still stayed on my neck.’  His personal references to Prime Minister Winston Churchill were intensely interesting.

President McKay said that at 10:35 or about 10:40 he thought it was time for the guests to go, so he very graciously, he thought, suggested, ‘We have had a most memorable evening, an opportunity rarely given to anybody, but we must consider the health of the President.’

President McKay was not sure whether that is when he said ‘Brother McKay’ or ‘President McKay.’  He said, ‘Now, President McKay, there is no indication of weariness anywhere, and when the time comes the President arises.’  So at 11:30–he did not arise until about 11:30–he was interrupted twice and those present arose when he arose.  President McKay further said:  ‘When he arose he walked over to me and he said, ‘Gentlemen, I will see you at the door.’  As I expressed appreciation, he was gracious enough to thank me for coming such a distance, and said, ‘Remember me to your associates.’  I said, ‘They will be pleased to get it.’  All in all, I think it was a very memorable occasion.  Now, the purpose of it, so far as I could determine is two-fold:  First, he would like to feel the pulse of the nation.  I think it is an opportunity for him to meet prominent men.  He has held two or three of these before.  And secondly, for them to get better acquainted with him.  I could see no other political reason.  It was just an opportunity to let people see the White House, and feel the spirit of the Administration.  There was not any special program advocated during the evening, except he did, during the conversation, establish his policies:  for example, on Formosa, and the result of the Indo-China affair; and he expressed his opinion of Nehru and Lai.  His opinion of Nehru ws that he is not so strong as he would wish.  Lai is a shrewder man.  He respects Lai’s ability.  I always had a high opinion of the President but I came away with a higher opinion of his sincerity and his statesmanship.  He does not pretend to know everything.  ‘There is no man who knows everything, we all make mistakes,’ he said.  He wants to save this country from war.  I was thrilled with it, just to be there in the headquarters of the Nation which Destiny has placed at the head of the world.’

May 7 to May 12, 1955

List of Guests

STAG DINNER, 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 9, 1955

1.  The President

2. Edward F. Arn, Esq.


Arn & Mullines

Beacon Building

Wichita 2, Kansas

3.  Robert E. Barbour


Barco Corporation

152 Market Street

Paterson, New Jersey

4. Dave Beck


International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs,

Warehousemen & Helpers of America (AFL)

100 Indiana Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C.

5. Ezra Taft Benson

The Secretary of Agriculture

Washington, D.C.

6.  Brig. Gen. Anthony J.D.Biddle

Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Department of the Army

Washington, D.C.

7.  Robert B. Choate

Publisher & General Manager

The Boston Herald and Boston Traveler

80 Mason Street

Boston, Massachusetts

8. John Charles Daly

Vice President

American Broadcasting Company

7 West 66th Street

New York 23, N.Y.

9. Colonel Robert L. Schultz

Military Aide to the President

The White House Office

Washington, D.C.

10. Col. Andrew J. Goodpaster, Jr.

Staff Secretary

The White House Office

Washington, D.C.

11. Nicholas Kelley, Esq.


Kelley, Drye, Newhall and Maginnes

70 Broadway

New York, N.Y.

12. Dr. James R. Killian


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

13. Dr. David O. McKay


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

14.  Charles G. Mortimer, Jr.


General Foods Corporation

250 North Street

White Plains, New York

15. William S. Paley

Chairman of the Board

Columbia Broadcasting System

485 Madison Avenue

New York 22, N.Y.

16. George H. Rockwell

Trumble-Down Dick Farm

Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

17. Major General John T. Sprague


Lowry Air Force Base

Denver, Colorado

18. James M. Symes


The Pennsylvania Railroad Company

Suburban Station Building

1617 Pennsylvania Boulevard

Philadelphia 4, Pennsylvania

19. The Honorable Charles P. Taft


Headley, Sibbald and Taft

First National Bank Building

Cincinnati 2, Ohio

20. John Hay Whitney

J.H. Whitney & Company

630 Fifth Avenue

New York, N.Y.

21. General Howard Smith

Roger Smith Hotel

Washington, D.C.

May 7 to 12, 1955

Secretary Benson writes to First Presidency concerning ‘stag dinner’ at the White House, Washington, D.C. May 9, 1955



May 11, 1955

Dear Brethren:

President David O. McKay and Sister McKay left here for home last evening.

It has been a real blessing and a joy to have them with us, even for a brief period.

I am so grateful that President Eisenhower had the opportunity of getting better acquainted with President McKay.

I have had the privilege of attending several of the so called Stag Dinners at the White House.  This one was the most extended in point of time that I have witnessed and I feel sure it was because the President enjoyed so much his visit and association with President McKay.  It was a small group of some 12 people.  President McKay was seated immediately across the table from President Eisenhower, who asked him to offer the opening prayer.  I don’t know when I have been more deeply impressed with a prayer at a dinner than the one which President McKay gave and I’m sure that everyone there was deeply touched.  President McKay, of course, will fill you in on the details but because of his modesty he would probably not refer to the impression which the prayer seemed to make on all of us present.

It was a real blessing for Sister Benson and the children and me to have President and Sister Mckay at our home for a brief period.

May our Heavenly Father continue to preserve them in health and strength for many years to come and may these same blessings be extended to his devoted counselors.

With warm personal regards and best wishes,

Faithfully, your friend and brother,

President Stephen L. Richards

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

May 7 to 12, 1955

Secretary Benson writes concerning ‘stag dinner’ at the White House, May 9.



May 13, 1955

Dear President McKay:

You would have been pleased could you have heart the comment made by the President this morning in our regular Cabinet meeting regarding the dinner and your participation in it.  He indicated it was one of the most pleasant evenings he had ever spent and that you were the life of the party.  He paid you a very high tribute which, of course, was most gratifying to me.

Again, thanks for coming.  I hope you have reached home safely.

My wife and family join in love and affectionate greetings.

Faithfully yours,

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

May 7 to 12, 1955

January 5, 1961

Dear President McKay:

In checking through some office journals I came across the attached items for May 9 and 10, 1955, referring to your visit to Washington.  It occurred to me that you may find them of some little interest.

I was delighted to learn in New York City last week that you plan to dedicate the new Chapel in Palmyra.  I had hoped to have the pleasure of attending but have now received an appointment to attend the New York Stake Conference at Short Hills, New Jersey.

I know that your time is very limited, but I have been hoping that it might be possible for you to stop off in Washington, for an hour or so at least.  During this time, you might pay a last visit to President Eisenhower before he leaves office.  I have good reason to believe that the President would welcome such a visit.  Please do not feel obligated in any way as I know the trip East will be a strenuous one, and we are all hoping and praying that Sister McKay will be able to accompany you.  

With affectionate greetings.

Faithfully yours,


President David O. McKay

The Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah


Original in 1955 Scrap Book

May 7 to 12, 1955

Excerpt from Ezra Taft Benson’s Journal

Monday, May 9, 1955 Washington, D.C.

I went to the railway station early this morning intending to meet President David O. McKay and his wife only to find that the railroads are running on Standard Time.

I had a conference with the President at the White House at 10 o’clock today where I discussed several important matters including pending sugar legislation which presents a very serious problem.  We have not been able to reach an agreement with the State Department.  The position which I have taken I feel is the minimum which we should accept in the interest of our domestic producers.  The President accepted at least two new recommendations which I made to him this morning, one that domestic growers must have some relief this year and secondly, from a long-time standpoint they should share in any increase in the domestic market due to population increase.  Later I conferred with Dr. Gabriel Hauge regarding the same matter and urged that the White House Staff do all they could to assist us in concluding conferences and recommendations which the Administration might submit to appropriate committees on the Hill.  Flora joined me at luncheon at the office after we learned that President and Mrs. McKay were unable to join us because of their desire to meet with their grandson.  At 2 o’clock with my wife, we went to the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the Capitol where I received the award from the Freedom’s Foundation of Valley Forge; it was a very impressive ceremony and I responded briefly.  This evening I called President McKay at the Shoreham Hotel and together we went to the off the record Stag Dinner at the White House.  It was a very lovely affair, attended by some 12 guests.  President McKay was seated immediately across the table from the President in the State Dining Room.  I was seated second from President McKay’s right.  Before taking our seats the President asked President McKay to offer prayer, which he did in a most dignified and impressive manner.  Everyone was apparently pleased with the lovely prayer which he offered.  Following the dinner we visited together in the Red Room, having previously visited the President’s quarters prior to the starting of the dinner.  Our informal chats in which President McKay and I were in the immediate circle with the President lasted until well past 11 o’clock.  This is very unusual for these dinners, as they usually break up about 10 or 10:30.  President McKay, at 10:30 suggested probably we should not impose further on the President’s time.  The President very kindly informed him that this was one function in which the President must make the move for adjournment.  In all, it was a very delightful occasion and President McKay seemed over-joyed at the opportunity which he referred to as ‘one of the great highlights of his life.’  I took him to his hotel where we arrived just at midnight.

Tuesday, May 10, 1955:

Cloudy in A.M.  Partly cloudy in P.M.  Maximum temperature, 70 degrees; minimum temperature 54 degrees.

Spent most of the day in conferences and interviews at the office.  At 3 o’clock I left the office to join President and Mrs. McKay and family at home where the press had requested that we submit to a photograph.  After this was done I had a very personal visit with President McKay after which we took them for a brief ride through Rock Creek Park and then to their hotel where we continued our visit and bid them goodbye as they gave us the lovely roses and carnations which they had had in their room.  They left later this evening for home by train.  It was a great pleasure to visit with them and a great pleasure to have them in our home and to be associated with them.

Original in 1955

Scrap Book

May 7 to May 12, 1955

President McKay writes letter to Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States, expressing appreciation for the privilege of being his guest in the White House on Monday, May Ninth, 1955.

May 16, 1955

Dear Mr. President:

The purpose of this note is to try to express to you not only appreciation but gratitude for the privilege you gave me to enjoy one of the most memorable evenings, if not the most memorable evening of my life — Monday, May Ninth, 1955.

Ever since I met you in the office of the First Presidency and in the Salt Lake Tabernacle during your campaign for the Presidency of the United States, I have held you in high esteem because of your sincerity and nobility of character.  It made me happy, therefore, as one of your guests to observe again that back of your graciousness as a host is a true leader who, as the psalmist says, ‘Walketh uprightly, worketh righteousness, and speakest the truth in his heart.’

But in addition to the inspiration of the evening, I was impressed as never before with the responsibility carried by the President of this great Republic who, since Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and to-day, holds the power to shape to a great extent the destiny of Nations.  Just to be a guest in the White House is to make clearer this realization.

May kind Providence continue to protect and to guide you always!

Sincerely yours,


President Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.

May 7 to 12, 1955


News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a dinner guest Monday night of President Eisenhower.

He attended one of the famous White House stag dinners along with some 20 other U.S. leaders.  The complete list of guests was not released by the White House because they are considered to be there at the President’s ‘personal’ wish.

On Monday President and Mrs. McKay visited a grandson, Russell M. Blood, who lives here.  The McKays expect to return home Tuesday evening.

On their arrival at the capital Monday, the McKays were met by Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson.  They are returning to Salt Lake City to meet Friday with Prince Tungi of the Tonga Islands.

Deseret News – Tuesday, May 10, 1955″

Friday, May 13, 1955:

Telephone conversation with Elder Henry D. Moyle:

President McKay told Brother Moyle that he had a note from Clare stating that a Mr. Morgan W. Lewis, Jr. desired to have an appointment with him.

Brother Moyle told President McKay that Mr. Lewis was County Attorney of Summit County.  Mr. Lewis had come to Brother Harold B. Lee’s office today seeking advice.  Brother Lee had called Brother Moyle into the conference.  Brother Moyle thought Mr. Lewis should tell President McKay of the situation that exists up in Summit County, in Park City.  Brother Moyle and Brother Lee didn’t feel that they could speak for the Church on it.

President McKay asked Brother Moyle how the Church was involved in the matter.

Brother Moyle stated that Mr. Lewis is a good member of the Church.  He is the County Attorney, and he has come for advice.  The matter is not only involving Park City and the Stake, but people from Salt Lake City are going up there.  Park City is becoming a pool of vice.  There are no end of cars parked there from Salt Lake driving people to those houses, parking all night and bringing them back in the morning, even taxi cabs.  Brother Moyle stated that it was their opinion that the County Attorney needs help, but they didn’t know whether that would be President McKay’s judgment or not.  Brother Moyle felt that it would be pretty hard to turn the boy down and say we are not interested.  The County Attorney has been fighting this fight for four years alone and has not succeeded.

President McKay asked Brother Moyle how he thought the Church could help.

Brother Moyle mentioned the horse-racing problem down in central Utah, and that they had a man go down there.  Brother Moyle stated that he paid this man, and he helped the County Attorney prosecute those cases.  Brother Moyle didn’t know whether or not we would want to get into this business on the same basis.

President McKay stated that he thought we should do anything we could to clear it up.

Brother Moyle stated that this County Attorney from Summit County is a young man who is fearless.  The County Commissioners had been in to see Brother Lee before and told Brother Lee that they were back of the attorney but their funds were limited.

One of the problems is this:  This young man goes out and gets the evidence, but the sheriff goes out and brings in a jury that acquits them.  He has done a remarkable job, and now has come to the end of his rope.  He is not discouraged and might succeed if he had a little help.  He has been out of law school four years.  The fact was mentioned that possibly the Church could help pay for a man to go up and help him.  Brother Moyle stated that the man selected could appear on the County Commissioners’ record as in their employment and receive part of his compensation from the County.  The County doesn’t have the funds to pay the full amount.  Brother Moyle said:  ‘He did not ask us to help him, he just came in to tell us the facts.  He feels that his job is tremendous.  He mentioned that he would like to have a blessing.  He seems to be a very fine boy, and just from the short acquaintance I was impressed with his ability.  He is certainly taking a licking.’

President McKay asked if Brother Moyle had someone in mind to assist him.  Brother Moyle mentioned the name of Woodrow White.  He is a good member of the Church.  He didn’t know whether he would do it or not.  He is a very clever, brilliant lawyer.  Brother Moyle stated if we could get him to go up there, he thought that would be going just as far as possible.

President McKay asked Brother Moyle to make an investigation and then to call him back.”

Mon., 26 Sept., 1955:

“Sent a telegram to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Fitzimons Army Hospital, Denver, Colorado expressing assurances of our faith and prayers for his speedy recovery from a heart attack suffered a day or two ago.  (see newspaper item regarding this following)

Later, under date of October 1, 1955 received an acknowledgement of this telegram from Mrs. Eisenhower.  (see following copy of her letter – original in 1955 scrapbook)

September 26, 1955

President McKay sent the following telegram to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Fitzsimons Army Hospital, Denver, Colorado.  President Eisenhower had suffered a heart attack.

September 26, 1955

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Fitzsimons Army Hospital

Denver, Colorado

Dear President:

Personally and in behalf of the entire Church I send you assurance of our faith and prayers for your speedy and complete recovery.  Our country and the world need your guidance and wisdom.


David O. McKay

President of the Church of Jesus

Christ of  Latter-day Saints

On October 3, 1955 the following message was received from Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower:

The White House


Denver, Colorado

October 1, 1955

Dear Dr. McKay,

Thank you for your message of good wishes for the President’s speedy recovery.  It means a great deal to the President and me to know of the thoughts and prayers of the members of your Church.

Mamie Doud Eisenhower

On October 23, 1955 United States Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge called at the office and after the usual introductions, said:  ‘Now, I have come at the personal request of President Eisenhower.  He had heard that I was coming to give a talk in Salt Lake City, and he telephoned me in New York and said:  ‘I wish you would call on President McKay and express personally my gratitude for the prayers offered for my recovery by the Church, and extend to him my personal greetings and appreciation.’  Then Ambassador Lodge said: ‘I am pleased to have this opportunity of meeting you for my own sake as well.'”

Wed., 28 Sept., 1955:

Telephone Conversations

September 28, 1955

Senator Arthur v. Watkins called me by telephone today regarding the case of Falzapore Granese, an Italian.  Senator Watkins had received a message on this case from President Harold I. Bowman, President of the Spanish-American Mission, San Antonio, Texas.  Mr. Granese was a Catholic Priest who has been converted to the L.D.S. Church.  He married a girl who is a member of the Church.  She had been a Catholic.  The Catholic Church authorities are trying to have this man deported.  The matter is quite urgent inasmuch as it is indicated that the Sheriff of the county is about to arrest this man and give him a bad record.  Senator Watkins wanted to know how far we desired him to go on this case.

I told the Senator that I recalled seeing something in some accumulated correspondence which probably pertained to this same matter.  I told him I would look this material up and that I would like to discuss the matter with my two counselors.

Senator Watkins stated that he would like to know about this matter as soon as possible in order that he could call Washington and try to get the Immigration Authorities to hold up any action.

Senator Watkins also stated that he would like to have an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss the situation here in the State politically.  I told him that I would make an appointment with him as soon as possible.

Later I phoned to Senator Watkins and read to him letter of  July 28, 1955 from President Harold I. Bowman and our reply thereto regarding the Falzapore Granese case.  I told Senator Watkins that this is all we know about this man, and that they had better hold the man here until we know more about him.  Senator Watkins said that he would call the Immigration officials and do what he could for this man, but if they deport him and he got into Italy, they would never let him out.

(see next page for letters pertaining to this case.)

September 28, 1955

August 8, 1955

President Harold I. Bowman

Spanish American Mission

519 West Ashby Place

San Antonio, Texas

Dear President Bowman:

Your letter of July 28th regarding an unnamed Catholic priest has been received.

We do not understand your statement:  ‘The Catholic Church will not give him his citizenship until next June.’  Of course, you understand that the Catholic Church does not grant citizenship to aliens, but the government of the United States.  That is, of course, controlled by Federal law.  If he has any question regarding steps that should be taken in order to acquire his citizenship, he should consult some competent attorney.

We know nothing about this man except what you have written, but we might say to you that we have had unfortunate experiences with persons, ex-priests or near priests, who have joined the Church.  Usually they are men of intelligence and ardor and apparently sincere, but sometimes these people remain in the Church long enough to go to the temple and then become discouraged or disheartened, or whatever it may be, and go back to the Catholic Church.

We think that your local officers should be most cautious and careful in their dealings with this man to be sure that he understands just what the effects will be if he comes into the Church and then is excommunicated from the Church for some reason.  You will also have in mind what the effect can be on our Church and those who come in contact with him and come to place reliance in him.

Faithfully yours,


/s/ David O. McKay


/s/ Stephen L,. Richards


/s/ J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

The First Presidency

September 28, 1955


Office of Spanish American Mission

    519 West Ashby Place  Telephone Plaza 5–7821

San Antonio, Texas

  July 28, 1955

Office of the First Presidency

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brethren:

We have a Catholic priest that came into this country as a student, under the auspices of the Catholic Church two years ago this coming September.  He has a special training in Greek, Hebrew and Latin.  He is teaching these subjects here in San Antonio in the Catholic schools.  The Catholic Church will not give him his citizenship until next June.

He has become very interested in our Church, first through one of our lady members, whom he loves very much, and who will have nothing to do with him unless he becomes a member of the Church.  But after studying, he seems to be very sincere in his interest.  He is very desirous of breaking with the Catholic Church, but fears to do so until he gets his citizenship.

Should we try to help him do this, and if so, could we be supplied with the information we should work under?

He is really an intelligent man.  I have not investigated him too closely until I get your reaction.  Our district president feels that he could be a great asset to the Church.

Sincerely your brother,

/s/ Harold I. Bowman

Harold I. Bowman

Mission President

Fri., 21 Oct., 1955:

“2.  Secretary of Agriculture – Ezra Taft Benson – called from Washington, D.C.  Wanted to know if Ambassador Lodge had called – that it was President Eisenhower’s desire that he (Ambassador Lodge) call personally on President McKay and express his personal appreciation for the prayers that had been offered in his behalf.  I told Elder Benson that Ambassador Lodge had already been in touch with me and that I had made an appointment for Sunday afternoon.”

Sun., 23 Oct., 1955:

“Spent the morning hours at the office attending to special matters.

At 4:45 p.m.  In accordance with appointment made by telephone, Oct. 20, call from New York, I received at the office Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.  He was accompanied by Obert C. Tanner, and Dr. O. Preston Robinson of the Deseret News.

After the usual introductions, Ambassador Lodge said, ‘Now, I have come at the personal request of President Eisenhower.  He had heard that I was coming to give a talk in Salt Lake City, and he telephoned me in New York and said:  ‘I wish you would call on President McKay and express personally my gratitude for the prayers offered for my recovery by the Church, and extend to him my personal greetings and appreciation.’  Then Ambassador Lodge siad:  ‘I am pleased to have this opportunity of meeting you for my own sake as well.’

We had a very cordial and interesting conversation for thirty minutes.  I told him that I had heard him speak at a conference called by Secretary of State Dulles in Washington, D.C., June 3, 1953.  I also said that following that Conference, I visited the United Nations Building in New York.  Ambassador Lodge exclaimed: ‘Were you there?  The next time you come to New York, I want you to promise to call on me and let me personally conduct you through the United Nations Building; now please make that a promise!’  I thanked him, and agreed that I would do it.

Deseret News photgraphers were on hand and took pictures.

At 8:15 p.m. Ray and I attended the United Nations meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle at which Ambassador Lodge was the guest speaker.  He gave a very good talk on Peace which was carried on national radio and television hook-ups.  There was really nothing new in his remarks about the United Nations.  He thinks it is a means to establish peace.  He made one good point:  That the United Nations is a means of forming public opinions.  It is impossible for the population of Nations to meet together, but the United Nations furnishes an opportunity for the leaders of Nations to meet and they go back and shape the opinions of their constituents.  Sister McKay brought up the point – ‘Yes, but they go back and lie.’  I answered that that was true about the Communist leaders, but the others go back and present the truth as far as they can.  The question is whether the good they do is worth the expense of this large organization.  However, I believe that it is a step in the right direction.”

Thurs., 27 Oct. 1955:

“Dr. H. Ray Hatch – Accepting position as U.S. Senator from Idaho.  Dr. H. Ray Hatch called from Idaho Falls, Idaho.  He stated that he has been asked to take the place of one of their United States Senators from Idaho.  He personally felt that he could do a great deal of good in this position.  However, he asked my advice regarding this matter.  I told him that I thought it was a splendid idea.  He asked me to call President Cecil E. Hart of the south Idaho Falls Stake and tell President Hart that I had no objection to Dr. Hatch’s acting in this capacity.  I said that I would place a call immediately to President Hart.

Later in the day Dr. Hatch called by telephone again and stated that the question had come up regarding his physical condition.  He stated that he had passed a very rigid physical examination today, and therefore, this would not hamper him in accepting the position.  I told Dr. Hatch that I had placed a call to President Hart but as yet had been unable to contact him.

The next day – Friday, October 28 – I finally contacted President Hart by telephone and talked to him regarding Dr. hatch’s accepting the unfinished term in the United States Senate of the Senator from Idaho.  President Hart stated that Dr. Hatch’s wife seemed to object to him accepting such a position because she was worried concerning his physical condition.  I told President hart that I thought it would be an excellent thing for Dr. Hatch to be a member of the U.S. Senate.  President Hart stated that there would, of course, be opposition.  I stated that I had told Dr. Hatch that there would be opposition, but that I felt that he should go ahead.

Wed., 28 Dec., 1955:

Telephone Conversations, December 28, 1955, Wednesday.

Elder Henry D. Moyle called the office regarding the matter of having public liability insurance at the Los Angeles Temple in California.  After a short discussion, it was decided that inasmuch as all types of people are viewing the temple, it would be safer for the Church to have this insurance as a protection in case an accident did happen in the Temple as the various groups were going through, or in the event someone deliberately went into the temple with intentions of suing the Church, etc.  Brother Moyle said that he would follow through on this matter.

Brother Moyle also brought up the matter of President Alonzo F. Hopkins’ (Woodruff Stake) running for Governor of Utah in the coming election.  President McKay said that he was already aware of the possibility of President Hopkins’ running for this office from another source.  Brother Moyle stated that inasmuch as Bishop John S. Boyden, Yale Second Ward, Bonneville Stake, was also running for this office, it would not be a good thing if a third person stepped in between them.  They are both good men.  Brother Moyle feels that John Boyden has the upper hand on the election at the present time.

Brother Moyle stated that he had just spent two hours with President Hopkins, and had told him of his chances to be elected when running against John Boyden.  Brother Moyle had also told President Hopkins that being a Stake President, he should talk to President McKay before running for this office.  President Hopkins’ wife is not desirous that he run for the position of Governor.”

Fri., 13 Jan., 1956:

“8:30  a.m. – Met President Alonzo F. Hopkin (President of the Woodruff Stake) by appointment at his request.

He wanted to know if there would be any objection on the part of the First Presidency if he accepted the nomination to run for Governor on the Democratic ticket.

I told him he had every right to exercise his rights as a citizen and that there would be no objection on the part of the First Presidency if he accepted such nomination.  (See December 28, 1955 for Henry D. Moyle’s conversation with Senator Hopkins)

Mon., 23 Jan., 1956:

“At 10:30 a.m. President Cecil E. Hart of the South Idaho Falls Stake came in and explained to me an apparent conflict that has arisen politically in Idaho in the fight for the United States Senate.  Dr. H. Ray Hatch announced his candidacy several months ago, and I approved of his going out for the nomination.  In the meantime Dr. Ray J. Davis, Instructor at the Idaho State College, Pocatello, Idaho, expressed his desire to run for the Senate.  It was offered to Dr. Davis before Dr. Hatch had announced his intention to run; however, Dr. Davis said he could not run because his wife was dying with cancer.  After Dr. Hatch had announced his candidacy, Mrs. Davis passed away, and then Dr. Davis said, ‘I am now ready to run.’  However, it was too late to have Dr. Hatch withdraw; indeed it would be a dishonorable act for him to withdraw at this late date.

I told President Hart to tell Dr. Davis to wait for some other time to run for a political office.

We have a letter from Dr. Davis, and when we answer it we shall tell him the same thing.”

Thurs., 26 Jan., 1956:

“Telephone Conversation with Senator Arthur V. Watkins, Thursday, January 26, 1956.

Senator Watkins called me by telephone.  He stated that there was a problem pertaining to the mass meetings at which delegates are to be elected to the various county and state conventions for political purposes.  These meetings are beginning to be held in Utah.  Monday the Republican Party will hold this meeting in Utah County.

Senator Watkins stated that three years ago the Church sent out information to all Church leaders to have them tell their local people to take an interest in both Republican and Democratic meetings and vote for the people that ought to be elected.

It was further stated by Senator Watkins that the people do not attend these meetings and certain people can take control because the public is not represented to elect proper delegates.

With further reference to the incident three years ago, Senator Watkins stated that the information sent out from the Church brought very good results.  The State of Utah gained a good reputation throughout the country as being interested in these political affairs.

Very short notice has been given regarding the mass meetings to be held in Utah County.  It looks as though this might have been planned that way.

Senator Watkins asked me if word could be sent to the stake presidents and bishops regarding the meeting in Provo and other mass meetings to be held in order that proper delegates may be elected.  He would like the same program to be carried out this year that was carried out in 1955.  Certain people in Utah could undo some of the good work that has been done.  The mass meeting is to be held in Salt Lake County, February 6th.  Dates have also been set for the various other counties throughout the state of Utah.

I thanked Senator Watkins for calling me and told him that I would see what could be done regarding this situation.

Senator Watkins said that in 1952 even the ward teachers had contacted the homes and that this service by the Church at that time was one of the finest things in a political way that the Church had done.  No one could criticize this move by the Church.  I told Senator Watkins that I wished I had had this information an hour earlier, but I would do what I could at this late hour.  Senator Watkins stated that he had tried to get the call through earlier in the day, but had been unable to get the connection through.

Immediately after my conversation with Senator Watkins, I called Brother Harold B. Lee’s attention to the excellent work that was done three years ago by the Committee appointed to get the citizenry of the State of Utah out to the conventions held for both parties.  I asked Brother Lee if we could do the same thing this year, because word has been received that certain forces inimical to the present administration are heavily at work.  Brother Lee said there is not much time left to do anything because the meetings are to be held soon.  I said the first meeting is to be held in Provo, on Monday.  Brother Lee said that we have not appointed a chairman to succeed Brother Junius Jackson who succeeded Brother A. Lewis Elggren.  Now, both of these men are on missions.  I asked Brother Lee to get on the telephone and call the stake presidents and have them call their bishops, and the bishops could get in touch with the members of their wards and urge them to attend the mass meetings on both tickets.  No one could criticize us for taking this step.

Thurs., 16 Feb., 1956:

“Visit of Adlai Stevenson

At 2 p.m. President Stephen L. Richards and I received in the office of the First Presidency Mr. Adlai E. Stevenson, Democratic Presidential aspirant.  He was accompanied by Mrs. Edison Dick, Chicago co-chairman of the National Stevenson-for-President Committee, Roger Tubby, press secretary, William Blair, Jr. Executive Assistant, Harry Ashmore, Assistant to Mr. Stevenson, William Wilson, TV man, Dennis Stock, Photographer, and Carroll Evans, secretary, also State Chairman Milton L. Weilenmann, National Committeeman Rawlings, and Salt Lake County Chairman, A. Wall Sandack.

Mr. Stevenson talked about the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir’s tour of Europe last Fall, and about his visit here in 1952.

(see newspaper clippings about visit to Salt Lake City)

Because of his departure for Los Angeles, California, President McKay was unable to attend the meeting in the Assembly Hall tomorrow evening, at which Mr. Stevenson will be the speaker.  Mr. Stevenson was so notified.”

Thurs., 1 Mar., 1956:

“This evening sent the following telegram to President Eisenhower following the address he delivered to the Nation regarding his decision to run again:

‘President Dwight D. Eisenhower,

The White House

Washington, D.C.

An honest, frank statement impressively presented  — Thank you, and God bless you!

Signed – David O. McKay

In answer, President Eisenhower sent a letter, copy of which follows.

March 1, 1956

See telegram sent by President McKay on foregoing page.



March 3, 1956

Dear President McKay:

Of all the messages that have crossed my desk in the last few days, none pleased me more than yours.  I am grateful that you approved of the decision that I made, and appreciative always of your thoughts and prayers.

With warm regard,


Dr. David O. McKay


Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints

47 E. South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Tues., 6 Mar., 1956:

“11:30 a.m. – Attended Expenditures Committee Meeting.

11:30 a.m. – Met by appointment at his request President Ernest L. Wilkinson of the B.Y.U.  The following items were discussed:

1.  I consulted him about a successor to Dr. Reuben D. Law of the Laie College.  We concluded that probably we had better make further inquiry of the members of the Board of the College, and that I should get in touch by telephone with President Clissold, and get more facts concerning conditions there.

2.  President Wilkinson reported that he is being urged to run for Governor.  I suggested that he had better not encourage this suggestion as he is needed where he is with the B.Y.U., especially at the present.

Fri., 23 Mar., 1956:

“First Presdiency’s meeting

Comments by President McKay on Economic Conditions:

President McKay voiced the sentiment that, if present trends continue, there will not be anything left for stockholders of corporations, that labor and taxes are consuming everything these institutions can make.  He feared that the support the Government is giving to labor unions is leading to a condition where there will be nothing for stockholders.

Wednesday, June 13, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Senator Arthur V. Watkins at Washington, D.C.

I called Senator Arthur V. Watkins, and told him that on July 9, 1956 Elder Henry D. Moyle of the Council of the Twelve will be at Lima, Peru, and that we are thinking of organizing a Branch at Lima with a view of eventually opening up a Mission there.

I further said that we think it would be well for Brother Moyle to meet the American Ambassador, and that I had called him to consult him (Brother Watkins) to see if it would be proper and advantageous to the Cause if the U.S. Secretary of State could ask that the American Ambassador receive Brother Moyle, and probably have him introduce Brother Moyle to the Foreign Minister while he is in Peru.

Brother Watkins said he could see no reason why that could not be done.  I said that I had found it very advantageous while on my travels in the different countries to meet the various ambassadors, and that the State Department had rendered a valuable service to us.  Now that we are going into a new country in South America, we thought it would be well to start right at the head.

Senator Watkins answered that he thinks there is no better way to start.  Said that Secretary Dulles and his department had been very gracious and willing to help us in the past, but that right now with President Eisenhower being ill he is a very busy man.  However, he will call the office of the State Department and then get in touch with their man in Peru who will push the matter on that end.

I told him that we would leave the matter in his hands, and that I would call Brother Moyle at Lima, Peru and ask him to be prepared to meet the Ambassador.

Wednesday, June 13, 1956.

Telephone Conversation with Elder Henry D. Moyle, Salto, Uruguay, (Brother Moyle touring Uruguayan Mission), Wednesday, June 13, 1956.

I first inquired from Brother Moyle how Brother Frank Parry is, and he said that Brother Parry will be home in Seattle, Wasington, today.  I asked him when we could expect Brother Parry in Salt Lake City.  Brother Moyle stated that he did not know, but that Brother Parry’s wife’s funeral will be held in Seattle next Saturday.  I asked him if the girls had come with Brother Parry, and he said that they had remained in Uruguay, and Brother Parry had come home alone.

I asked Brother Moyle when he would be in Peru, and he said around the 6th of July.  I told him that we had contacted Senator Watkins and asked him to have the United States Secretary of State send word to the American Ambassador in Lima, Peru to arrange to introduce Brother Moyle and Brother Frederick S. Williams, (now with the South American Research and Develpment Corporation, Plaza San Martin 986 Oficina 30, Lima, Peru), to the Foreign Minister in Lima, at which time Brother Moyle could present an official application for permission to carry out our missionary program.  I told Brother Moyle that we would leave this matter in his and Brother Williams’ hands.  I said that we are not to send missionaries to Peru until he (Brother Moyle) obtains permission from the Foreign Minister to organize the Branch.  I again said that we would leave this matter entirely in his hands and await his judgment.

I told Brother Moyle that the same holds true in Santiago, Chile and that he is to look over the situation and make such organizations and recommendations that he feels by inspiration should be made.  We shall await his judgment and recommendations.

I gave the love of the Brethren to Brother Moyle.  I also mentioned the fact that Brother Richards is better.  He and Sister Richards will go up to their lake at the end of this week to completely recuperate.

Mon., 18 June, 1956:

4 p.m.  Brother Oscar W. McConkie, Jr., member of the University Stake Presidency, called at the office.  He stated that he had been asked to run for the United States Congress on the Democratic ticket against William A. Dawson.  In view of the fact that Brother McConkie holds an important position in the Stake, he wondered if the Church would have any objection to his accepting the nomination.

I told Brother McConkie that he has my permission and my blessing if he cares to accept this nomination, that there would be no objection so far as his Church position is concerned.”

Wed., 18 July, 1956:

Note:  By telephone message, through my secretary Clare, gave permission for Royal K. Hunt of our Legal Department to accept the candidacy for election to the Utah State House of Representatives under conditions as set forth in his letter of July 17, 1956, wherein he states ‘It is my intention to so arrange matters that the conflict (with duties as one of the Church lawyers) would be kept at a mimimum, Brother Snyder to make such pay adjustments as are deemed necessary.'”

Fri., 20 July, 1956:

Note:  Church Titles or Positions Must Not be Used in Connection with Politics.

At the meeting of the First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric this morning a letter was read by President McKay which was sent to him by a Provo City Councilman, indicating that the Stake Presidency and High Council of the East Provo Stake had gone on record, recommending the candidacy of a certain individual for a political position.  An objection was raised by the individual to whom the letter was written.

President McKay indicated that persons holding responsible positions in the Church should not use their title in connection with such recommendations, but may do so as a citizen of the community.  (See letter from Philip Perlman, only non-member of the Church of the Provo City Council – 1956 letter file)

Thurs., 26 July, 1956:

“At 11:30 a.m., met by appointment, arranged through Elder Richard L. Evans and Brother Marion Hanks of the Seventy’s Office, Mr. Walter Reuther, President of the United Auto Workers, and Vice-President of the AFL-CIO.

The following were present during the interview:

Elder Richard L. Evans

Elder Marion Hanks

Dr. Sterling McMurrin of the U of U

Dr. Homer Durham and Dr. Lowell Durham of the U of U

We met in the office of the First Presidency.

I enjoyed my visit with Mr. Reuther very much.  He seems to be a very able leader, a true gentleman, a man of noble character.  He loves his home.  He was accompanied by his wife and three children of whom he is very proud.  He is temperate — neither smokes nor drinks.  He is in Salt Lake City on vacation.  Has listened to the Salt Lake Tabernacle broadcasts, and was desirous of visiting Temple Square.

While we were visiting together, Dr. McMurrin made the remark that Mr. Reuther maintains the ideals of the Mormon Religion; that he did not see why he is not a member of our Church.  I answered: ‘He lacks one thing, and that is baptism by immersion.’

I commended Mr. Reuther for his stand against Communism, and its infiltration into the ranks of the Unions.

Later:  – Notes by Clare, secretary to President McKay:

Elder Richard L. Evans called by telephone and said that he was greatly impressed with President McKay during the interview with Mr. Reuther.  He said:  ‘President McKay knows just the right thing to say at these conferences – he impresses these important visitors with his great humility, dignity, and naturalness.’

Brother Marion Hanks also expressed his opinion of the interview — He said: ‘It was wonderful the way President McKay talked to Mr. Reuther.  His mentioning Mr. Reuther’s stand against communism, etc. was very timely.’   He then said:  ‘Mr. Reuther made the following comment about President McKay following the interview with him:  ‘I doubt that another generation will produce a character like that.'”

Mon., 30 July, 1956:

“7:15 a.m.  Met by appointment Mr. John F. Fitzpatrick, and Brother Gus Backman of the Chamber of Commerce.

The following matters were discussed:

(1)  As members of the Newspaper Agency Corporation, they considered with me how best to improve the Editorial policy of the Deseret News, especially as to the number of pages needed on certain days.

(2)  Mr. Backman presented the advantages of the great inter-state highway and suggested that wherever the Church can keep down objections to it, it would be a good thing.  Some local conditions may be interfered with, and local people may object to it, but we shall have to take it for its benefit to the country as a whole.

(3)  We discussed the advantages offered by the Sperry-Utah Engineering Laboratory, Sperry Gyroscope Company (Division of the Sperry-Rand Corporation.)  They are greatly interested in obtaining the affiliation of Utah boys with their company.

(4)  The possibilities of the utilization of coal are excellent – not just for fuel but for the chemicals that may be extracted from it.  He expressed the opinion that we should hold on to our coal properties here in Utah.

(5)  Brother Backman discussed with me the matter of undertaking the proposed survey and preparation of the evacuation plan as proposed by the Federal Civil Defense Administration.  Due to the fact that our Church organizations have been developed as a complete entity under a well conceived plan to provided relief in the event of any type of disaster, and in all probability would not fit into a program of the type to be developed by the F.C.D.A., it is the opinion of the General Authorities (in which Mr. Backman concurs) that the expenditure of federal and state funds for the development of the plan would not be justified.

I reiterated the position which has always been taken by the Church — that in the event of a disaster in the State of Utah, and the State Civil Defense was called on to meet the emergency that all of the facilities of the Church’s organizations would be made available to the State Council immediately.

Brother Backman was authorized to so advise Mr. Leonard A. Higgins, Director, State Civil Defense Council, 207 South Main Street, and he in turn will tell Mr. Batson of the Regional Office of this decision so that the funds that have been earmarked for the Utah evacuation program may be reassigend to some other State or project.”

Wed., 1 Aug., 1956:

“4 p.m.  Senator Arthur V. Watkins, called at the office, and had over an hour’s consultation with me.  His consultation principally had reference to George D. Clyde’s fitness for the governorship of Utah for the next term.  Said Brother Clyde is particularly adapted for that position in view of the passage of the Upper-Colorado Water Bill, Clyde having been an influential factor in the passage of that bill.  He is eminently qualified in Senator Watkins’ opinion.  When he was in Washington in the interest of the Colorado Water bill he presented his facts and answered questions in an admirable way.  He is an engineer of note.

Also spoke about the sincerity of President Dwight D. Eisenhower — he is a great President and has the interest of the people at heart.  Physically he looks and feels very well.

Thurs., 2 Aug., 1956:

“9 a.m.  In accordance with an appointment at his request, I met Senator Wallace Bennett, United States Senator from Utah.  I took him into the meeting of the First Presidency so that he might also make his report to my counselors.

He discussed general matters pertaining to political affairs of the country.

Tues., 7 Aug., 1956:

10 a.m.  – Ted Cannon, reporter for the Deseret News, came in to check on an AP story out of Idaho that a letter had been received by President McKay in which it is charged that the Church authorities in Idaho are intervening in Idaho politics with respect to the present contest for United States Senator.  I told Brother Cannon that I had received a letter from ‘Elder Herbert R. Larsen’ of Rexburg, Idaho – a member of the Church, and a recent member of the staff of Ricks College, making such charges, I told him that he may issue a statement as follows: ‘that we have had nothing to do with this matter; that we have in mind only the securing of good candidates on both tickets, and people are free to vote for their own choice in accordance with their best judgment.’

Tuesday, August 7, 1956


In reference to a report that a group of Church leaders is sponsoring a particular candidate in the Idaho political campaign, President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tuesday issued the following statement:

The First Presidency has nothing to do with Idaho politics.

‘Whatever organizations have been set up under the auspices of local Church authorities have been done with the view of securing good and able men as candidates for office in both parties, and for the purpose of urging all citizens, men and women, to vote according to their convictions.’

Deseret News – Tuesday, August 7, 1956″

Mon., 27 Aug., 1956:

“7:30 a.m.  Met by appointment at his request Senator Arthur V. Watkins.  He discussed first the question of the location for the new Federal Building to be erected here in the city.  He said  he had learned that I was very much in favor of the site between Main and State Street, north of North Temple.

I told him I thought it would be a very suitable place for the Federal Building and that I should be in favor of helping the Government to secure the necessary acreage.

I expressed myself as feeling that the location named would be preferable to either of the other sites proposed, provided there will be ample space for buildings and parking.  However, I said:  I think the site chosen should be one that is most propitious for the present and future needs of the city and county.

The second point discussed was the need of arousing the voters of the State of Utah to get out to cast their vote in the coming elections.”

Tues., 28 Aug., 1956:

“At 8 o’clock this morning Brother Henry D. Moyle came into the office and stated that he was very much worried over the political situation here in Utah.  I said that there is one thing we can do, and that I had already promised Senator Arthur V. Watkins that we should use all the channels of the Church — the Priesthood quorums, Auxiliaries, etc. to urge the people to get out and vote for the men of their choice in the Primaries.

Brother Moyle said:  ‘What do you want me to do?’  

I answered that he should go ahead as he had done three or four years ago when we urged everybody to get out and vote — that this is legitimate as we are not urging the people to vote the Democratic or Republican ticket, but rather that they get out and vote for good men whatever party they may belong to.

Later, Elders Harold B. Lee and Henry D. Moyle called at the office and presented letters of instruction they are sending out to the Bishops of Wards and Stake officers urging them to get their people out to vote at the coming Primary elections.  I approved of the letters they wish to send.

I also called Dr. A. Preston Robinson, General Manager of the Deseret News and asked him to cooperate with Elders Harold B. Lee, Henry D. Moyle, and Adam S. Bennion who have been appointed as a committee to head the Church’s efforts to get our people out to vote.  They will want editorials and daily articles carried in the Deseret News.

Dr. Robinson said that the paper has already planned their campaign just as they did before, and will be pleased to cooperate with these brethren.

I told him that we are facing one of the most important elections in the State and in the Nation, and that we must urge our members to get out and vote.

Dr. Robinson will meet with the committee and make plans for their newspaper articles, etc.”

Tues., 4 Sept., 1956:

Telephone Calls

“1.  Secretary of Agriculture – Elder Ezra Taft Benson – called from Washington, D.C. regarding his recommending at the request of Senator Arthur V. Watkins George Dewey Clyde who is a candidate for Governor of the State on the Republican Ticket.

September 4, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Honorable Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 4, 1956.

Honorable Ezra Taft Benson, United States Secretary of Agriculture, called me by telephone from Washington, D.C.   Brother Benson stated that he had received a telegram from Senator Arthur V. Watkins asking him for a statement regrarding George Dewey Clyde as to his ability as an administrator, and also to confirm a statement that Mr. Clyde had been offered a position in Washington, but that he had declined stating that he could better serve the people of his State by working on the Upper Colorado River Project.  He also wanted Brother Benson to confirm that he knew Mr. Clyde, and that he is a Republican.

Brother Benson stated that he had called Brother Harold B. Lee today, and told him that he had drafted a wire giving a factual statement regarding the background of Mr. Clyde without endorsing him for any political office.  Brother Lee and Brother Benson had concluded that they should get my judgment as to whether or not the sending of this draft would reflect upon the Church.  Brother Benson was told that the letter which had been sent out by the Bishops had apparently boomeranged, but those who have been critical feel that it may do more good than harm.

Brother Benson said that George Dewey Clyde was employed in the Department and he could send a factual wire to Arthur V. Watkins simply indicating that he knew him, and then give the record so far as the department is concerned.  Brother Benson stated that he had a draft of the wire before him and he would read it to me.  Brother Benson desires to do the thing that is best for the Church.  Brother Benson also stated that generally speaking he has refrained from subjecting himself in these Primary elections.

I told Brother Benson that I could see no objection to his sending a wire giving information about any person without casting any reflection upon the Church.  Brother Benson then read to me the draft of the wire he had prepared.  It pertained to the ability and experince of George Dewey Clye.  He stated that they had been students together at U.S.A.C. and that Mr. Clyde was later Dean of the School of Engineering at this school.  Brother Benson has known him as a man of intellect.  He then gave a report of the Soil Conservation Department in which Department Mr. Clyde worked.  In 1945 Mr. Clyde was a fulltime employee of the staff of the department.  In 1953 he was promoted to Director of the Engineering Division.  His promotion was fully earned and merited by his excellent work.  Brother Benson stated further that shortly after he became Secretary of Agriculture Mr. Clyde was considered for a high position in the department, but at that time Mr. Clyde declined stating that he could better serve the people of his State in connection with the Upper Colorado River Project.  About this same time he was recommended for U.S. Commissioner of Reclamation.  It is stated that Mr. Clyde did more for the Upper Colorado River Project that any other man, with the exception of Senator Watkins.

Brother Benson then asked me if I thought there would be an unfavorable reaction from Senator Bennett about his above statement in connection with Senator Watkins.  I told him that it was the truth, and I could not see how it could reflect in any way upon Senator Bennett.

Brother Benson stated that he would go ahead and send this reply to Senator Watkins.  He stated that he would not make any reference to our conversation.  I advised Brother Benson to send this reply to Senator Watkins as a straight reply.  He can then use it as he pleases.

Brother Benson asked if this would do more harm than good, and I told him that I can’t see how it could.”

Thurs., 6 Sept., 1956:

“10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Council meeting in the Salt Lake Temple.  At this meeting I reported that last Tuesday morning Elders Harold B. Lee and Henry D. Moyle called regarding political conditions here, and as a result of their conference, it was felt that one thing we could do now was to urge our people through all our organizations, stake, ward, quorum, and auxiliary, to use their citizenship rights and come out and vote in the primary, and also in the November election.  It was decided to use practically the same organization we had three and a half years ago, with such beneficial results, and recommended that Brother A. Hamer Reiser succeed Brother Junius M. Jackson as head of the organization of stake presidencies throughout Salt Lake County, and put into motion the organizations that we had at that time.  Upon my authorization, Brothers Lee and Moyle spoke to Brother Resier, who accepted the appointment and indicated the desire to use the same organizations heretofore used.  He was told to go ahead and complete the organization and make effective the instructions of the Brethren to reach every voter in the Church and out of the Church, if it can be done, between now and the primary, and have our Church members vote.”

Fri., 7 Sept., 1956:

“4:35 p.m. Discussion with Roy Simmons (Banker) with Lockhart Finance Company, City.  He resides in Layton, Utah, and is a director of the Bank of Utah, Ogden, Utah.  Accompanying Mr. Simmons were Clifford Ashton, attorney with firm of McCarthy, Ashton, etc. and Lane Adams who made the appointment.

The purpose of their visit was to discuss Ezra Taft Benson’s telegram giving a recommendation of George Dewey Clyde.  They are not in favor of Benson’s having done so.  I told them that I have nothing to do with the matter, that if Orval Adams wishes to call Brother Benson and talk the issue over with him, he is perfectly free to do so.

Telephone Conversations

1.  Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson – Called regarding the Benson telegram giving a recommendation of George Dewey Clyde — see following notes.

2.  Telephone call to Senator Arthur V. Watkins regarding George Dewey Clyde. – see following notes.

September 7, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Friday, September 7, 1956.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson called me by telephone and stated that Governor Lee was terribly upset because he had heard that Brother Ezra Taft Benson had sent at Senator Arthur V. Watkins’ request a telegram concerning his knowledge of the experience and background of George D. Clyde, Republican gubernatorial nominee for Governor.  He had heard also that they are going to use the telegram in their political campaign.  Bishop Isaacson stated that he hated to see Brother Benson get mixed up in this thing.  Bishop Isaacson and Bishop Wirthlin had been asked to go on television, but they had refused.  Bishop Isaacson said that he had not seen the telegram which Brother Benson had sent, but the Governor’s office told him what they heard of its contents.  He also stated that the Governor’s office had wanted to talk to me, but they had called Bishop Isaacson when they could not get in touch with me.  Bishop Isaacson felt that Senator Watkins should not bring Brother Benson in on this deal.  Bishop Isaacson said that they are going to try and get Brother Benson to send a telegram endorsing the character of Governor J. Bracken Lee.  I asked Bishop Isaacson where I could get in touch with Senator Watkins.  He stated that he did not know where he was staying.  I told him that I would get my secretary to get in touch with Senator Watkins for me.  Bishop Isaacson stated that the Govenor’s Office wanted to talk to me.  He feels that if this telegram is used it will hurt Brother Benson and hurt the Church.

Bishop Isaacson stated that D.A. Skeen is one of the master minds of this Clyde campaign.  I asked him what he is the master mind of.  Bishop Isaacson said that he is the man that made that deal with Bishop Richards, and that he has caused a lot of trouble.  Bishop Isaacson also stated that the letter Brother Richards sent out to delegates has caused a lot of trouble.  I told him that I could see how it would in view of the stationery he used.  Bishop Isaacson said that they had wanted him to see Brother Richards about this letter, but he had refused to enter into it.  Bishop Isaacson feels that when a Church Authority signs his name to something, it is used, and that is what they are going to do with the Benson telegram.  He feels that the telegram is going to be broadcast over the state.  I told Bishop Isaacson that Brother Benson has a right to send a telegram giving the facts concerning an individual.  Bishop Isaacson said that he feels that it is going to do Benson a grave injustice.  It will do Watkins and Clyde good.  He stated again that the Governor is disturbed about it.

I told Bishop Isaacson that I would get in touch with Senator Watkins before calling the Governor’s Office.

Telephone Conversation with Senator Arthur V. Watkins, Friday, September 7, 1956.

I called Senator Arthur V. Watkins by telephone.  I located him at the Republican Headquarters, Hotel Newhouse, Salt Lake City.

Senator Watkins stated that he had just heard that it was my 83rd birthday anniversary tomorrow.  He desired to express his appreciation and expressed the hope that I would yet have many years ahead of me.  I thanked him for his kindness and loyal support.

I told Senator Watkins that I had a note on my desk from my secretary to call the Governor’s office, and that I surmized from what I have heard from another source that it is a protest against the publishing of what they say is a telegram sent to Senator Watkins by Brother Benson, and they think if the secretary injects himself into this matter by sending this telegram about Mr. George D. Clyde that they will send a wire back to Brother Benson asking him to send one commending Governor Lee.

Senator Watkins stated that he had sent a wire to the Secretary of Agriculture asking him about Clyde’s work in the Department of Agriculture, and if he had a knowledge about his background.  Some had tried to say that Clyde is not a Republican.  He knew that Brother Benson had known him as a Republican and had known him since school days.  He stated that Brother Benson was not urging anyone to vote for Clyde, but he merely gives his record as a good administrator.  Senator Watkins felt that Brother Benson discussed this move with the White House before he sent the wire.

Senator Watkins stated that the move Governor Lee had made by charging the Federal Government for illegally using tax money for the purpose of foreign aid could just as well have been done after the election.  But he had done it now and it would, therefore, affect a lot of the border states, or what are termed the ‘close’ states.  Senator Watkins felt that the boost the Governor gave to the people who are fighting the present administration might be the difference between carrying these border states and in not carrying them.  Senator Watkins stated that this wire regarding George Dewey Clyde is just information regarding him because for many years he has been in the Soil Conservation Service and that the Department of Agriculture could easily answer to questions as to his qualifications, etc.  Senator Watkins said he did not think that Brother Benson actually took the matter to President Eisenhower before he sent this wire, but he felt that he had discussed it with the President’s staff.

Senator Watkins felt that Brother Benson would be very embarrassed to send any endorsement of Governor Lee.

I told Senator Watkins that this was a free country and Brother Benson could send the wire if he desired.

Senator Watkins said that the wire is not as good as he would have liked.  Brother 

Benson was not asked to say anything about Clyde, but just to give a record of his work in connection with the Department of Agriculture, etc.  Senator Watkins stated that he would not have entered into this Primary Election if Governor Lee had behaved himself.  But Governor Lee had said that he was voting for Eisenhower as the lesser of two evils.

I told Senator Watkins that this was a matter between him and Brother Benson, and the Church has nothing to do with it.

I told Senator Watkins that I had been asked to call the Governor’s office but that I had wanted to talk to him first.  Senator Watkins asked if it was the Governor himself who had asked.  I told him that I thought the call had come from the secretary of Governor Lee.  I told Senator Watkins that if there was anything further after I talked to the Governor’s office, I would call him back.

I told Senator Watkins that I was going into meeting now, and that I would call the Governor’s office after my meeting was over.

Senator Watkins left the phone to get a copy of the wire Brother Benson had sent.  When he returned to read it to me, I told him that I had already been advised of its contents.  (see newspaper clippings and visit of Ray Simmons and Clifford Ashton — September 7, 1956.)

Friday, September 7, 1956


Sen. Arthur V. Watkins, who Wednesday issued an appeal for Utah Republicans to support George D. Clyde for the party’s gubernatorial nomination in next Tuesday’s primary contest with Gov. J. Bracken Lee, Friday released a copy of a telegram from Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson regarding Mr. Clyde’s background.

The telegram, Sen. Watkins’ release stated, was in response to a telegraphic inquiry on the cabinet member’s knowledge of Mr. Clyde’s experience and background.

Students at USAC

‘Regarding the ability, integrity and experience of Mr. Clyde,’ Secretary Benson’s reply stated in part, ‘we were students at the Utah State Agricultural College where he was later dean of the School of Engineering.  Through the years I have known him as a man of integrity, high moral character, an excellent administrator and a Republican.

‘I have asked for a brief report from the Soil Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture where Dean Clyde served from which I quote:

‘…His services both as a consultant and while a full-time employee of the department were outstanding.  His promotion to the highest position for a professional engineer in the Soil Conservation Service was fully merited and earned by his excellent work.’

Considered for High Posts

‘Shortly after I became secretary of agriculture,’ the telegram continued, ‘he was considered for a high administrative and policy position in the department.  At that time he declined to accept the position here to serve as commissioner of interstate waters for Utah and director of the Utah Water and Power Board.’

The Salt Lake Tribune, Saturday, September 8, 1956″

Sun., 7 Oct., 1956:

“2 to 4 p.m. – Closing session of Conference.  I presided and conducted, and also delivered the closing address.*  (see statement regarding voting)

*’I wonder if we free born Americans appreciate what it is to have the right to vote our choice of those who are to rule over us — no, thank heaven, not to rule over us, but to serve us in the service of the government.  For you, the electorate, are the rulers in this great Republic.  ***We ask, we plead that every member of the Church go to the polls in November and cast your vote for the men and women whom you wish to occupy the offices named.  Now you choose, and choose wisely and prayerfully, but cast your vote.”

Tues., 23 Oct., 1956:

4:30 p.m.  Senator Arthur V. Watkins called at the office.  He is very much worked up over the falsehoods he claims Governor J. Bracken Lee has been circulating, and has decided to speak over the radio tomorrow night at 6:30 and at 10 p.m. over television, answering Governor Lee.  Senator Watkins said that he is almost prompted to sue the Governor for libel.  The Senator seems quite secure in his feelings that Lee’s actions will not defeat the Republican candidate.  I expressed concern over the ‘split’ Governor Lee had caused in the Republican party by running as an independent.”

Fri., 26 Oct., 1956:

“10 to 11 a.m.  Governor J. Bracken Lee called at the office by appointment at his request.

He said he would like to ‘bare his heart to me’ and give his reasons for running as an independent candidate for the governorship.

He told at length the history of the Primary election and instances in which he thought he had been misrepresented, but his reasons for coming out as an independent he has already stated in public.  (See following newspaper clipping)  He said he thinks the issue now is between him and Clyde and not between Romney and him as I fear.

I told the Governor that I had supported him as Governor; admired his integrity, and especially his honesty in keeping his word.  I cited an instance wherein he had kept his promise to me on a civic matter.  ‘But,’ I said, ‘I was deeply grieved when you impuned the integrity and honesty of President Eisenhower as reported in the press when you made a public appearance in New York.’

Governor Lee said the press misrepresented him on that occasion; that he did not in his heart ever impune President Eisenhower’s integrity.

I told Governor Lee that I thought he could not be elected as Governor.  I did not give him any encouragement, as I am sorry he has taken the stand he has.

Governor Lee assured me of his confidence in me, because, he said:  ‘You are not a politician, but a Churchman.’

We parted good friends, and later in the day he sent me the following letter, with clippings enclosed relating to his attack upon President Eisenhower.  (see following)

Following my consultation with Governor Lee, I attended the Brigham Young University Board of Trustees meeting.

While in the meeting was called to the telephone to answer a courtesy call from Ex-President Harry S. Truman.

Mr. Truman expalined that he had had a very busy schedule during his stay in Utah, and that at the moment he was at the Airport and would board the plane for the East within a few moments.  Said he just wanted to call to say hello and to extend his best wishes and greetings; that he remembered with pleasure our most pleasant visit on the train between Salt Lake and Provo when he spoke at the Brigham Young University a year or so ago.

I thanked him for his taking the time to call me; that I was just out of meeting, and had been unable to get to the phone before.  (Mr. Truman had called several times through Mr. Weileman, Democrat Chairman in Salt Lake)


          Office of the Governor


J. Bracken Lee


October 26, 1956

Dear President McKay:

In line with our conversation this morning, I am enclosing the newspaper clippings that pertain to the remarks attributed to me as to whether or not President Eisenhower would run for a second term as President.  Although one of the newspaper items states these remarks were made at a luncheon address to the New York Rotary Club, the fact is that they were made in a press conference immediately following my luncheon address.

At that time I made these remarks I had no intention of impugning the honesty or motives of the President, as I pointed out later after Senator Watkins criticized my remarks on the floor of the United States Senate.

There was nothing critical in the remarks I made at the time the reporters interviewed me as my Assistant can also attest as he was with me at that time.  As a matter of fact, I described the President’s action as good politics — something I would have done myself — because it did afford him continued leadership both in Congress and his party.

The criticisms I have made of the President’s policies in government have never been based on personal matters.  I have said on many occasions that I believe that the President is doing what he honestly feels is right.  On the other hand, I have said my own criticisms were based on what I honestly think is right.

After you have had an opportunity to read and study these clippings I would be happy to discuss this matter with you further, or at least hear from you as to your reactions to this.

Sincerely yours,


President David O. McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

43 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Wed., 31 Oct., 1956:

“8:30 a.m. – Met by appointment at her request Joan Lee, daughter of Governor J. Bracken Lee.

She wanted to know if the rumor is true that the Church is sending out a letter asking people to vote against her father.  She said her father had received word that that is what is taking place.

I told her that she may tell her father that there is no truth whatever in this rumor; the Church has sent out letters urging people to get out and vote for the man of their choice, but no instructions whatever have been given as to how to vote.”

Wed., 7 Nov., 1956:

“Nevada Papers During Election

A Mrs. LeRoy Goodwin, of Ely, Nevada called at the office.  She brought with her a clipping from a Nevada paper showing a picture of President McKay and quoting from him on Unions, etc.  This had been used as a political ad in the Nevada papers.  Mrs. Goodwin thought that President McKay should be advised of this.  She was informed that Pres. McKay had not given permission for his name and picture to be used.  He was unaware of this until a day or two before the election when someone sent him a copy of the ad.

Mrs. Goodwin was informed by the secretary that President McKay had had nothing whatever to do with this propaganda used by these political people.

Wednesday, November 7, 1956

November 7, 1956

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

White House

Washington, D.C.

Congratulations.  People at home and abroad are blessed by your re-election.  God bless and guide you as you continue to serve our country and mankind.


David O. McKay

Wednesday, November 7, 1956



November 17, 1956

Dear President McKay:

I cannot tell you how deeply touched I was to receive your message of felicitations on my re-election.  I appreciate greatly your friendship and support, and know that your prayers will strengthen and sustain me in these difficult days,

With warm personal regard,


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dr. David O. McKay

President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Fri., 9 Nov., 1956:

“11 a.m.  Bishop Thorpe Isaacson of the Presiding bishopric reported to me a remark that had been made concerning his political support of a certain candidate.  Bishop Isaacson said there is not a ‘word of truth in the statement that has been made.’

Fri., 16 Nov., 1956:

3:30 p.m.  Senator Arthur V. Watkins called at the office.  He reported that he is going to Hawaii on a mission for the government, because it seems that the Communist influence down there is becoming a source of worry and threatening to control the political situation there.  The committees of Congress are going down there to investigate.

We also discussed the matter of the site for the new Federal Building here in Salt Lake City.  Three sites are under consideration — one on North Temple  – one in town, and one at Ft. Douglas.

Senator Watkins said ‘Let’s hold the matter off for further consideration.’

While I was in conference with Senator Watkins, Brother Ralph E. Woolley of Honolulu, Hawaii accompanied by elder Adam S. Bennion, stepped in to my office to say hello and to extend greetings.

They have a matter pertaining to the School in Hawaii, but Brother Woolley will explain it to Brother Bennion who will take the matter up with me next Monday or some other time convenient to both of us.”

Tues., 20 Nov., 1956:

Tuesday, November 20, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Mr. Harold Fabian, Tuesday, November 20, 1956.

Mr. Harold Fabian stated that he would attend a meeting tomorrow with the County Commission about the Sugar House Park.  Mr. Fabian stated that he had talked to me last spring regarding the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.  He stated that Mr. Horace A. Sorensen of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers was in favor of making a Pioneer Village out of the entire Sugar House Park area.  I told Mr. Fabian that I did not feel tha this would be the right thing to do.  Mr. Fabian said that the committee also felt that it would be wrong to have a Pioneer Village covering this entire area.  Mr. Fabian further stated that they had submitted a plan to the joint comissions last spring before he went to Jackson Hole, which he supposed had been filed.  When he returned, he found that the plan had been held up.  In the plan the Committee has provided space for a Pioneer Village, but the Sons of the Pioneers want the whole area.

I told Mr. Fabian that I had tried to encourage the sons of the Pioneers to go up to the ‘This Is The Place’ Monument area, which would be very suitable for their purposes.  Mr. Fabian said that Jimmy Hogle had told him that Mr. Giles had said that the Church was going to make a big park of the area near the ‘This is the Place’ monument.  I told Mr. Fabian that the Church would not do that.

Mr. Fabian said that he did not want to encourage anything that would not be beneficial for the city.  The plan the committee has made proposes a recreational and cultural development.  It includes a beautiful stadium and art building and all sorts of cultural things.  I told Mr. Fabian that I was aware of the feelings of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers, but I felt that they could obtain other areas more suitable in the city for their purposes.  Mr. Fabian feels that to place this whole area in a Pioneer Village would take away from the purpose they have in mind for this area.  The committee is united in their feelings.

I told Mr. Fabian that as a Church we have not taken a stand on this matter; that I am speaking now as an individual, and that Mr. Sorensen knows my ideas.  I also told him that my brother-in-law, Joel Ricks, knew my feelings on this matter.  I have also told my brother-in-law that they should make their village near ‘This Is the Place’ monument.  They object to this location stating that it is away from the highway and no one would go see it, and I answered that tourists will drive any distance to see something worthwhile.  I mentioned Disneyland near Los Angeles.  It is not on the main highway to Los Angeles, but tourists drive miles to see it.

Mr. Fabian stated that he has to attend a meeting on this matter tomorrow, and that he wished to talk to me before attending the meeting.”

Mon., 3 Dec., 1956:

“At 10 a.m.  Called Dr. O. Preston Robinson into my office and expressed to him my great displeasure at the leading editorial which appeared in the Deseret News last Saturday, finding fault with the President of the United States.  I stated to him that there was not one constructive suggestion in the editorial.  (see copy of editorial following on December 4, and also telephone conv. with Elder Mark Petersen on Dec. 4.)

Tues., 4 Dec., 1956:

December 4, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Elder Mark E. Petersen, Tuesday, December 4, 1956.

I called Elder Mark E. Petersen by telephone.  He had just returned from attending a stake conference in California.  Brother Petersen asked me about my trip to Florida, and I told him that I had had a great trip; that it was interesting and successful in every way.

I then told Elder Petersen that when I returned home Saturday night, my attention was called to the leading editorial in the Deseret News.  Brother Petersen stated that he had not seen this editorial as yet.  I told Brother Petersen that I should like to talk to him about it, that I had called Dr. O. Preston Robinson in to my office yesterday and had talked to him about it.  In my conversation with Dr. Robinson I told him that the editorial was unfit for the Deseret News.

Brother Petersen inquired as to the subject of the editorial, and I told him that it was an editorial criticizing the President of the United States.  He stated that he was amazed.  I told him that I was greatly grieved, and that this is the last thing we ought to be doing.  I also stated that there is not one constructive thought in the whole editorial.

Brother Petersen stated that in a meeting recently, Frank Browning had mentioned that some little criticism ought to be made.  However, Brother Petersen had not taken it seriously as so little was said about it.  He was surprised that anyone else had taken it so seriously, and I answered that it was a very unfortunate leading editorial.

I stated to Brother Petersen that my thought in calling him was to see that Dr. Robinson submits these editorials to the committee before publishing.  Brother Petersen stated that the Committee meets regularly, and that he is supposed to submit them to the Committee before publishing.  However, they have not submitted every editorial, but that they should submit all important editorials.

I said that I thought I should let him know what had happened, and Brother Petersen said that he would talk to Dr. Robinson.

I mentioned further that the President of the United States would be grieved if he read this editorial, and it is possible that somebody will send it to him.  I stated that maybe we should send a note to the President, however, that I would leave the matter in his hands.

December 4, 1956

(See tele. conversation with Mark E. Petersen regarding this matter)



President Eisenhower’s three recent moves – appointment of a Hungarian relief coordinator, raising the quota of Hungarian refugees to 21,500 and supplying Europe with 500,000 barrels of oil a day – are symptomatic, it must seem to many Americans, of an, unfortunately, slow reaction to the present world crisis.

For the world’s richest nation, our performance in helping Hungarian refugees and in getting help into that country has been up to this point unduly slow – despite the fact that Americans as a people have shown themselves anxious for quick help.

For that matter, for a nation that thinks of itself as the Free World’s leader, we have been slow in developing this leadership these past few weeks.  But this question is, What was the nature of the advance planning done upon which present actions can be based?

What of President Eisenhower himself?  He spoke on foreign policy with conviction and courage just before the election.  But until today’s announcement the President has displayed little enough personal leadership during the past month, particularly for a man re-elected largely because of the leadership he had shown in world affairs.

The extent of leadership is not easy to determine in big, complicated problems like those involved in the two major crises.  But in the by-products of those crises, our tardiness and indecision of action becomes more clearly apparent.  For example:

1.  There has been a Hungarian refugee problem for almost a month.  Private agencies such as the International Rescue Committee and the Red Cross went into action almost immediately.  But only now had the government seen fit to take an official hand.  Moreover, while other countries have been absorbing refugees by the thousand, we brought in a highly publicized few hundred.

President Eisenhower opened the way for 5,000 refugees promptly enough, but since that time it has become apparent that far more Hungarians are escaping to freedom than had been anticipated.  Immigration authorities say present laws give authority to bring in unlimited numbers.  Eventually, many more will be brought in.

Why must we have waited this long?  We should have been leading all along.  Why shouldn’t the land of freedom stand forth as the leading hope for freedom instead of tangling itself up with red tape, delay and indecision?

2.  Russia, with blood still on its hands, is successfully managing to divert some of the bitterness and hatred away from itself and toward us.  Newsmen leaving Budapest at the last moment have said that next to Russia, the U.S. is most bitterly denounced there, for not coming to Hungary’s aid.  The Communists are stirring up the feeling that the U.S. incited the rebellion and then left the rebels high and dry.  Radio Free Europe has even charged that the Reds broadcast, in RFE’s name, the news that Western troops were massing to come to Hungary’s aid.  RFE, a private organization, has spoken out, clearly stating its past and present policies.  The State Department has said not a word.  Real leadership would not remain silent on this matter.

3.  The feeling persists that Anthony Eden will not return as prime Minister of Britain when his three-week rest vacation is over.  One reason for that feeling is the belief in Britain that President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles will not work with or support him longer.  It is said that the President refuses to talk to Mr. Eden by telephone.  The implication is that he is so angry that he is determined that Eden shall fall from office.

We do not believe the President is that small.  We believe he must at least have asked himself what would be Britain’s position after Eden fell.  Chances are great that the government would go to Labor, under the influence of U.S.-hating Aneurin Bevan.  There is no prospect at all that a man more co-operative than Eden would go into the Prime Ministership.  Real leadership would not allow Britain to drift along in uncertainty as to our policies, and feeling that personal vindictiveness is guiding those policies.

These are only smaller manifestations of the great challenge of these times.  The challenge is that, despite the danger, the plasticity of the present situation makes possible lasting, principled solutions to old problems.  But these solutions demand the best kind of leadership of which America is capable.

Deseret News – Saturday, December 1, 1956″

Mon., 14 Jan., 1957:

“7:15 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.  Met with Mr. Gus Backman at his request regarding civic matters.*  

*Mr. Backman told me confidentially about the attitude of some of our non-Mormon friends here in the city who are rather jealous, apparently, about the fact that nearly all of our civic matters in the city and in the state and in the nation are now controlled by members of the Church, –our city government particularly under the police force, our state government, the Governor and a majority of the legislature, and nationally, all of our senators and representatives are members of the Church.  Some who are not sympathetic with us are spreading the rumor that we are trying to push Mormonism down their throats, that the Chief of Police is a little too energetic in enforcing the law in clubs and other places.

I told Brother Backman that certainly he would not wish us to tell the police to ease up on the enforcement of law.  Brother Backman said, ‘No, you could not do that.’  I asked Brother Backman to use his influence to assure them that the Mormons are not going to try to force our religion on anyone, but we are just simply wanting to obey the law and do our duty.  I felt that perhaps we can influence some of our Gentile friends to satisfy some of those who are jealous and assure them that we are not going to take advantage of our position.  (See Council Minutes, Jan. 17, 1957)”

Tues., 22 Jan., 1957:

Tuesday, January 22, 1957.



January 22, 1957.

Dear President McKay:

Ezra Benson passed on to me your kind message of good wishes.  As I begin the second term in this office, I am more than grateful for your prayers for the success of the Administration.

With warm regard,


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

President David O. McKay,


Church of Jesus Christ

   of Latter-day Saints,

47 East South Temple Street,

Salt Lake City 1, Utah”

Tues., 29 Jan., 1957:

“12:45 to 1:00 p.m.  – Met by appointment at his request, President George W. Romney, Detroit Stake.  This was a courtesy call.  President Romney left with me the manuscript of the address that he delivered before the Annual Convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association in San Francisco, January 28, 1957.  This address was on the subject:  ‘A Still Greater Struggle Is Necessary.’  (Talk is in the file.)  President Romney said that perhaps he had put his neck out in this address.  In his remarks he referred to the increasing power of labor and unionism, and the neglect of the manufacturers.  President Romney is occupying a very important position now in the industrial world.  I thought maybe President Romney was going to tell me that he thought he should be released from the presidency of the Detroit Stake because of his great responsibility in the industrial world.  I mentioned this to him, and President Romney said ‘No’.  He said that he never will ask for such a release; that the Church comes first with him.  He said this with such emphasis that I am sure it came from his heart.”

Mon., 11 Feb., 1957:

“8:30 a.m.  Met by appointment at his request Mayor Adiel Stewart.  He wanted to know if the city fathers are moving along the right line in trying to clean up the city of lawbreakers, especially with regard to the dispensing of liquor through private lockers by some of the clubs here in the city.

I told Mayor Stewart that we not only approve but consider it their duty to enforce the law.  I further said that I think Chief Cleon Skousen is the best Chief of Police we have had for many a day, and that he is doing what he thinks is right, and that he (Mayor Stewart) should uphold him in what he is trying to do.

Tues., 5 Mar., 1957:

Telephone conversation with President Ernest L. Wilkinson, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, Tuesday, March 5, 1957, 8:55 a.m.

President Ernest L. Wilkinson, of the Brigham Young University, called me by telephone.  To my inquiry regarding his health he reported that he is very well, is getting stronger day by day, and is much, much better.  I told him that he does not realize how fast he goes and I advised him to be careful, and he said that he is trying to guard his health.

President Wilkinson said that there are rumors that he is going to have some difficulty before the Legislature with regard to the Eminent Doman bill.  He feels that he might need my help and, if necessary, would like me to write a letter to Senator Orval Hafen.  If he needs my help, President Wilkinson will make a draft of the type of letter he wishes and get it to me.  He feels that the bill will come up tomorrow.

I told President Wilkinson that I had tried to keep away from all this business, but it has been impossible.  I mentioned to him further that I had heard a report that the Church, and especially the President of the Church, are being accused of every ill that has come to the Legislature.  I indicated to President Wilkinson that if he could get by without a letter from me it would be wiser.  He said that if he found out during the day that B.Y.U. is in grave danger of losing out, he will deliver to me or to my secretary a draft of a letter which would be suitable for me to send to Senator Hafen of the Senate.  

Wed., 6 Mar., 1957:

Wednesday, March 6, 1957.

Telephone conversation with Ward C. Holbrook, Member, Public Welfare Commission, State of Utah, Wednesday, March 6, 1957.  Mr. Holbrook is also the Stake President of South Davis Stake.

I called President Ward C. Holbrook by telephone in response to a letter he had addressed to the First Presidency, March 4, 1957, regarding the passage of Senate Bill 18, which is known as the Divorce and Marriage Counseling Bill.  I mentioned to President Holbrook that I should have called him before this time regarding this matter, and I asked him what we could do to help this bill pass.

President Holbrook stated that the bill had passed the Senate unanimously.  They had been worried about the bill passing inasmuch as the Senate had held it up for so long.  He also said that they had amended the bill some, but he felt that they had not hurt it too much.

I mentioned the fact to President Holbrook that I felt that the waiting period before obtaining a divorce would be helpful in giving the couples time to think things over before obtaining divorces, and the second factor will depend upon the people who counsel the couples.

Brother Holbrook said that the bill has gone now to the House.  There are only a few days left before the Legislature closes.  They rather anticipate that things will not be so favorable there, and it is materially lawyers that will fight the bill.  He stated further that the bill had been discussed with the Governor before it was introduced, and he indicated that he was very much in favor of it.

I made the statement to President Holbrook that we favor anything that can stop divorces.  President Holbrook said that Illinois had passed such a law two years ago, and there is a statement by one of the chief attorneys in that State in the December American Bar Journal that the waiting period, plus counseling, has dropped the divorces one-third in that state.  Good results will come from the bill.

I assured President Holbrook that we favor the bill and wished him success in his endeavors to get this bill passed.

President Holbrook thanked me for my call and said that they appreciated our interest greatly.”

Tuesday, April 16, 1957

Telephone Conversation with Dr. O. Preston Robinson, Deseret News, Tuesday, April 16, 1957.

I called Dr. O. Preston Robinson regarding the two highway projects in Salt Lake City, the widening of the 7th East Street and the new Freeway planned in the West part of the city.  Dr. Robinson stated that the 7th East highway project is progressing slowly.  The problem at the present time with the Freeway in the West part of town is the inter-changes they are trying to work out.  Then Dr. Robinson stated further that it was a big project and would help to get the traffic into the city easier and will speed up the travel.  It is his understanding that the 7th East highway will eventually extend to the point of the mountain.  However, at the present time there is some difficulty with land problems beyond 21st South Street.

I told Dr. Robinson that I think a favorable comment from the Deseret News on the highway problem at this time would be a good thing.  Dr. Robinson said that he would look into the matter.

I stated that there have been some difficulties on the West side of town because the proposed highway would interfere with some of our meeting houses, but that it is my feeling that since meetings concerning this matter have been held in the area, these difficulties have been cleared up.  Dr. Robinson stated that the Road Commission has also hired a new man from the East, and they seem to have the work under control.  Dr. Robinson says he is of the opinion that the new roads will help the city develop as it should.

I repeated again to Dr. Robinson that I thought it would be a good thing for the Deseret News to help this project along by printing something favorable.

Tuesday, May 21, 1957


    Wednesday, May 22, 1957

  9:45 a.m.

Present:  Presidents David O. McKay, Stephen L. Richards and J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Oakland Temple Property

President Richards reported that there is movement in Oakland to condemn the temple property for the building of a public high school, and that he had talked with Senator Watkins, who said he knows Senator Knowland and at the first opportunity would talk it over with him and see if Senator Knowland could legitimately approach his father, publisher of the Oakland Tribune, and see if he could quietly advise the school board and the citizens committee to forego this action.  The temple property is the first preference of four properties.

Wed., 12 June, 1957:

“First Presidency’s Meeting

Oakland Temple Site

President Richards reported that he has confirmation in writing that the temple property in Oakland will not be sought as a site for a high school; and that he has asked Senator Watkins to convey to Senator Knowland an expression of appreciation for the assistance he seems to have rendered.  This action was ratified.

Later President Richards reported that in a telephone conversation wtih President Stone of Oakland-Berkeley Stake (who had called him) he gained the information that announcement had been made that the school board would no longer consider the temple property as a site for a school.

Wed., 21 Aug., 1957:

Telephone calls

“(2) Elder Ezra Taft Benson called regarding placing Mrs. Eisenhower’s name on the list of those to be prayed for by the First presidency and the Twelve.  (See the notes following for telephone conversation.  Also, see letters from President Eisenhower and Elder Benson and reply by President McKay.)

August 21, 1957

Telephone conversation with Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, who called from Washington, D.C.

Brother Benson:  President McKay?  Ezra Taft Benson.

President McKay:  Glad to hear you.

Brother Benson:  How are you?

President McKay:  Very well, thank you.  Hope you are well.

Brother Benson:  Just fine, thank you.  I had a half hour with the Chief Executive this morning.  As you know, his wife has been in the hospital now for a number of days.  She was admitted to surgery and I could tell that he is quite anxious about her and she apparently is somewhat discouraged.  I know it would give him a great uplift and it would be a great blessing to her if her name could be put on the roll for tomorrow.

President McKay:  Please give to him our best wishes, our prayerful wishes for her speedy recovery – and give him the assurance that at 11 o’clock tomorrow Mountain Time, the First Presidency and the Twelve will offer a special prayer in her behalf.

Brother Benson:  I will be very happy to do that.  I shall put it in a little note to him this afternoon.

President McKay:  If you will please.

Brother Benson:  I think it will be a great blessing to him and to her also.

President McKay:  Well, we shall just be glad to do it.  And thank you very much for calling our attention to it.

Brother Benson :  Wish I could be with you tomorrow.

President McKay:  I wish so, too, and I shall carry your best wishes to the Brethren.    

Brother Benson:  I shall appreicate it.  How is Sister McKay?

President McKay:  She is pretty well, thank you.  Remember us to Sister Benson.

August 21, 1957



August 22, 1957

Dear President McKay:

Ezra Benson has told me of the prayers that were offered today by you, the Counselors in the First Presidency, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for Mrs. Eisenhower’s speedy and complete recovery.  Both of us are tremendously touched by your thought of her.

I am delighted to be able to tell you that Mrs. Eisenhower’s progress has been completely satisfactory to her doctors, and that she looks forward to a relatively early release from the hospital.

With deep gratitude and warm regard,


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dr. David O. McKay


Church of Jesus Christ of

    Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City 1, Utah


August 21, 1957

August 26, 1957

My dear Mr. President:

It gave me great satisfaction to learn from your letter of August 22, 1957, that Mrs. Eisenhower’s health has improved and that she is soon to be released from the hospital.

Please be assured that you and Mrs. Eisenhower have our continued faith and prayers.

With best wishes and high regard,

Sincerely yours,


Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.


August 21, 1957


1907 Quincy Street, N.W.

    Washington, D.C.

August 26, 1957


Dear President McKay:

You have ere this heard from the President but you may find interest in the attached letter.  I would appreciate your returning it after you have finished with it.

As the President was leaving Cabinet meeting Friday at noon he whispered to me that his wife had taken a turn for the better Thursday evening.  I have no doubt that the prayers offered in the Temple were heard by our Heavenly Father.  I am grateful to you and the Brethren, as I know the President is, for your kind consideration.

With prayerful wishes for your welfare.

Faithfully, your brother,

/s/ Ezra Taft Benson

President David O. McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of 

Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah


August 21, 1957



August 22, 1957

Dear Ezra:

Last evening when I went out to Walter Reed I took along your note of yesterday.  Mamie and I are both deeply touched by the prayers offered on her behalf by President McKay, the Counselors in the First Presidency, and your associates on the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The next time you talk to President McKay, won’t you tell him of our deep appreciation — and also that Mamie’s progress has been splendid and to the doctors’ complete satisfaction.

Our thanks, too, to all the members of the Benson family for your thought of us.


/s/ D.E.

The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson

The Secretary of Agriculture

Washington, D.C.

P.S.:  On second thought, I shall write to President McKay myself.

August 21, 1957

August 28, 1957

Dear Brother Benson:

This will acknowledge the receipt of your letter of August 26, 1957, with which you enclosed a personal letter to you from President Eisenhower.

Sister McKay and I share your joy in President Eisenhower’s report to you that ‘Mrs. Eisenhower’s progress has been completely satisfactory to her doctors, and that she looks forward to a relatively early release from the hospital.’

I shall so report to the brethren at our meeting tomorrow.

I have received a personal letter from the President which I prize highly.  He is a noble man and a great President.  I admire him, and know that he is motivated by loyalty to this great country in every official recommendation he makes.

With kindest personal regards and prayerful wishes for your continued success, I remain




Honorable Ezra Taft Benson

Secretary of Agriculture

Washington, D.C.

Letter from President Eisenhower is enclosed herewith.


Sun., 1 Sept., 1957:

“I tried to get in personal contact with President Eisenhower through his secretary,  Mr. James C. Hagerty; but all offices were closed and the operator could not, or would not, give me either private number.

Inasmuch as the matter about which I wanted to see the President was very urgent, I concluded that I should secure passage on the plane the next morning.

(I noticed in the newspapers that President Eisenhower had scheduled a press conference on Tuesday morning and that on Wednesday morning he would leave for a long delayed vacation.  This necessitated my leaving on Monday before I could make a personal appointment with him.  It was rather a risky thing to do, to even hope to have a conference with the President on that busy day, Tuesday, but I felt imprssed to run the risk.)

Consequently, we made arrangements to leave for Washington, D.C. the next morning.”

Mon., 2 Sept., 1957:

“8:45 a.m. – Sister McKay and I boarded a United Airlines plane for Washington, D.C., via Chicago.  Our non-stop flight to Chicago was without incident, but very pleasant.

During the two-hour lay-over in Chicago we telephoned our daughter LouJean at Great Lakes.  She was very much disappointed that we had not sent her word that we were coming so that she could have met us.  However, we purposely refrained from doing so because we did not want her to drive the 75 miles to the airport and 75 miles back to her home for such a brief visit.

Enroute from Salt Lake to Washington we were treated with every courtesy by airline officials who met us at each port and rendered every assistance within their power.

7:30 p.m.  – Arrived in Washington, D.C.

By telegram we had reserved rooms at the Marriott Hotel.  We were met most cordially by Mr. and Mrs. J. Willard Marriott and Mr. and Mrs. Barlow (manager), who, with others, conducted us up to a suite of rooms on the 5th floor.

President Marriott deserves a great deal of credit for his success in the financial world and in his presidency of the Washington Stake.  This new hotel-motel enterprise is one indication of his success.  A thousand persons can find accommodations per night here in this four-million dollar modern hostelry.”

Tues., 3 Sept., 1957:

“At 8:15 a.m. I tried to get in contact with Mr. Hagerty, the White House Press Secretary, but was informed that he was in conference with President Eisenhower preparatory to his press interview.  With the assistance of several secretaries I finally got in touch with Mr. Stevens, the appointment secretary.  As soon as President Eisenhower learned that I desired a conference, he granted my request immediately and scheduled an appointment at 11:30 this morning.

The interview was entirely successful and satisfactory.  The President shows the marks of the weighty responsibility which he carries.  I was deeply impressed by the remark he made with reference to the responsibility of his office.  He said that he could not carry it without ‘aid from On High’.  I took occasion to tell him that we are thankful that we have a man in the Presidential chair who believes in and appeals to that Higher Power.

Following the conference with the President, we drove over to the office of the Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, and as my visit to the President deeply concerned Brother Benson, I told the latter what we had in mind–that it must be clearly understood that Brother Benson’s first duty is to discharge faithfully his duties as Secretary of Agriculture and to do nothing that would weaken the President in carrying out Government policies.

However, if any change is contemplated in his office, we should like to be informed before the October conference.

At the First Presidency’s meeting on September 5, 1957, President McKay reported the following on his visit to President Eisenhower:

‘President McKay reported conferring with President Eisenhower at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday September 3, 1957 on which occasion the proposed reorganization of the Y.M.M.I.A. was explained to President Eisenhower, including the plan of the First Presidency to use Ezra Taft Benson, if he can be spared from the Government.  President Eisenhower stated that after the first four years Secretary Benson told the President that he could have his resignation at any time, and the President responded that he would be pleased to have him remain, but that he was free to follow his own wishes.  He paid tribute to Ezra Taft Benson saying, ‘There is no more honest man than Ezra.’  President Eisenhower said that there is one man who can take Ezra Taft Benson’s place, if he (The President ) can get him, and then said the matter of leaving the Cabinet is ‘for Ezra to decide.’  After the interview, President McKay talked with Brother Benson and informed him, repeating that the responsibility for making the decision is entirely his.  President McKay also informed Brother Benson, ‘We want you to be loyal to your position here, loyal to the government and to the President, but if he can spare you, we would like to use you, and if not, we will do something else.’

(see September 12, 1957 for a note regarding a telephone conversation with Elder Ezra Taft Benson regarding the above matter.)”

Telephone conversation with Mr. Gus Backman, Chamber of Commerce, Salt Lake City, Monday, September 9, 1957.

President McKay:  Thank you and that sweet wife of yours for those lovely roses you sent for my birthday.  It touched my heart.

Gus Backman:  Oh, thank you!      

Litton’s on North Temple are building a new plant.  Dr. Norman Moore, Vice President of Litton Industries in charge of operations, and Mr. Vincent Carver, Utah Manager of Litton who will operate the new unit, have expressed a desire to meet you.  They would like to meet you sometime tomorrow afternoon, any time at your convenience between 1 or 2:30 o’clock.

President McKay:  I should be delighted to meet them.  Would 12:30 be all right?

Gus Backman:  That will be agreeable, I am sure.

President McKay:  I shall wait for you.  Thank you, I should like to meet them.”

Thurs., 12 Sept., 1957:


This evening Elder Ezra Taft Benson called me from Washington, D.C. and reported that President Eisenhower would like him to stay in the Cabinet for at least a year.  I advised him to stay and assured him that the First Presidency would arrange its affairs accordingly.  I also told Brother Benson that if President Eisenhower wants him to stay longer that he should give him the assurance that he will stay.  (see Sept. 3, 1957 for notes on my trip to Washington regarding this matter.)”

Tues., 12 Nov., 1957:

“8:30 a.m.  Received a courtesy call from Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts.  He was accompanied by Milton Weilenmann, local Democratic leader, who says John Kennedy is the next Democratic presidential candidate.

Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Catholic Church.

I enjoyed my visit with him, although not too much impressed with him as a leader.


Massachusetts Foreign Relations

Labor and Public Welfare


        Washington, D.C.

      December 16, 1957

President David O. McKay

L.D.S. Church Offices

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

Back in my office, I wanted to drop you a note to tell you what a privilege it was to visit with you during my recent trip to Salt Lake City.

I immensely enjoyed visiting your state and the many grand people and new friends I met there; and hope to have another opportunity to go to Utah in the not too distant future.

Many thanks for your wonderful hospitality.

With every good wish.

Sincerely yours,

John F. Kennedy


Tuesday, November 12, 1957

Meeting of President McKay and Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts, as reported by Joseph Lundstrom of the Deseret News, who was present at the conference.

They greeted each other.

President McKay said, ‘You are younger than I thought.’

Senator Kennedy answered that there were a number of younger senators now, since the War.  He mentioned Senator Church of Idaho as an example.

President McKay said he saw by the papers that 4,000 Democrats turned out for his speech the night before.

Senator Kennedy answered that it was a very enthusiastic crowd.

President McKay said, ‘The Republicans must have been in hiding,’ and everyone had a good laugh.

President McKay pointed out some of the oddities of the wood panels in the room, then everyone sat down at the table in the First Presidency’s Board Room.

President McKay explained briefly the setup of the Church, with a First Presidency of three men and Council of Twelve.

The two men then discussed the outlook for peace.

‘We are making too much of this science thing,’ President McKay said.

Senator Kennedy agreed, although it was not to be underemphasized.

‘Prospects for economic development of Russia are far more serious for the United States than the race for missiles,’ he said.

President McKay then asked him his views on the breakup of Russia.  ‘Would the system break up first, or would it have to come to a clash of arms?  Khrushchev has now the same position as Stalin.  Can he hold it?

Senator Kennedy answered that it would not much matter whether it was Khrushchev or someone else.  The Russian policy of pushing outward through the use of the Communist Party would continue.  As for Communism breaking up, it did not seem likely, since there was no alternate system to replace the Communists.  While Khrushchev might go, the policy of increasing their power will continue.  Communism represents a counterattraction to the poverties suffered by the peoples of Africa, Asia and the Far East.

President McKay said he could not see how the system could continue to last.  ‘They are fundamentally wrong.  Free agency is inherent in every individual.  Rule by force has been fought against by men throughout history.’

Senator Kennedy:  ‘Yes they have the power to continue.  Their prospects for the immediate future are bright.’

President McKay:  ‘I have hoped for 20 years that they would break up, and I do not see how they can last.  It is just wicked to dominate men that way.’

Senator Kennedy asked if there were Church members living in Russia.

President McKay answered that there were some in East Germany and in other Communist dominated countries in Europe.  He mentioned the Russian journalists who came through Salt Lake City two years ago and told how he had questioned them regarding freedom of worship in Russia and eastern Germany.  The Russians maintained they had freedom of worship, but when President McKay cited a cast in eastern Germany and Czechoslovakia where Church members had been denied the Book of Mormon, the Russians answered, ‘Well, that is their country, not ours.’

‘It is just wrong.  There is no freedom and people will rise against it, but I hope we can avert war, ‘ said President McKay.

‘It will be interesting to see if Islam and Communism can make any adjustment in the Middle East,’ commented Senator Kennedy.

‘They will break sooner or later.  It is a fundamental principle of civilization that men will be free.  They cannot oppose these principles of God.  Man will be free,’ said President McKay.  They cannot crush their people always,’ he added.

Senator Kennedy answered:  ‘Your statement that men will be free is one we should take to all the world.’

He mentioned that a very serious threat to the free world would be the death of Nehru of India.  If he should die, and India were to turn Communistic, it would have a tremendous and profound effect on the peoples of Asia and Africa, and would form a China and India block which could be very dangerous.

The meeting then broke up, and Senator Kennedy called on Senator Moyle for a few minutes and then left to catch an airplane.”

Thurs., 12 Dec., 1957:

Letter from Elder Ezra Taft Benson Re:  letter to President Eisenhower

I reported at Council meeting this morning that I had received today from Elder Ezra Taft Benson a letter with which he enclosed a copy of a letter he had received from President Eisenhower.  The President of the United States had sent a letter of acknowledgment to ‘Dear Ezra’ in which he expressed appreciation of the quotations furnished by Brother Benson to the President of the United States from the Book of Mormon regarding this land, ‘choice above all other lands.’

I stated that we had not had time to read all of the quotations sent by Bro. Benson to the President of the United States, but the President of the United States expressed appreciation for those quotations which give assurance that this land will be protected if we keep the commandments of the Lord.

Pres. Clark commented that President Eisenhower had signed the note to Brother Benson as ‘D.E.’ which he felt was an indication of particular intimacy.”

Fri., 3 Jan., 1958:

“7:30 a.m. – By appointment at their request, I met Mr. John S. Boyden, Vernon Romney, former chairman of the Republican Committee, George Nelson, and Albert R. Bowen.

I gave them my permission to go ahead and try to get Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson appointed to the Supreme Court at the first vacancy that might occur.”

Sat., 4 Jan., 1958:

“This morning I had a conference with Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson who reported his visit with Governor George Dewey Clyde about the building of Junior Colleges here in Salt Lake County.

He said that the Governor said that what is proposed by the State is the erection of a Trades Junior College, but that he, the Governor, sees no objection to the building of a Church Junior College if the Church thinks one is needed here.

After the above discussion, we took up the question of Dr. Wilkinson’s seeking an appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.  An important phase of such an appointment would be the favorable consideration by Senator Watkins, who, President Wilkinson thinks, is not in favor of such an appointment.

Brother Wilkinson also mentioned the request that had been made for him to seek the nomination for Senator in opposition to Senator Watkins.  I said, ‘Well I shall tell you this much, and only this much:  That if they do nominate you for Senatorship, we shall give you a leave of absence from your present position while you run, and let you have your freedom to do as you wish, and you will not lose your position as President of the Brigham Young University.'”

Tues., 11 Feb., 1958:

Tuesday, February 11, 1958



February 4, 1958

Mr. David O. McKay, President

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

Dear Mr. McKay:

At the request of the President of the United States, I am inviting you to attend a National Conference on ‘The Foreign Aspects of U.S. National Security’ to be held in Washington on February 25.

The purpose of this nonpartisan Conference is to discuss the requirements of U.S. foreign economic policy–with emphasis on partnership with the developing nations of the Free World–and then to explore means of conveying to our citizens a fuller flow of information about these requirements.

The Conference will take place at the Statler Hotel in Washington, D.C., commencing at 9:30 a.m., and will conclude with a dinner meeting at which the President of the United States will be the speaker.

The President’s request for such a meeting of distinguished private citizens and leaders of national organizations represents a call to action on a matter of utmost national importance.  I am confident that the responsible leaders of the American community will wholeheartedly respond.

It would be helpful in facilitating Conference arrangements if you could send your response to me by wire and then forward the enclosed card.

Very sincerely yours,

(Signed) Eric Johnston

(The original letter is in the scrapbook)

Tuesday, February 11, 1958

President McKay sent the following telegram to Mr. Eric Johnston:

February 11, 1958

Mr. Eric Johnston

White House

Washington, D.C.

Answering your letter February 4, I accept your invitation to attend National Conference February 25.

David O. McKay”

Thurs., 20 Feb., 1958:

“Decision Not to Attend a national Conference on Foreign Aspects of US National Security at request of President Eisenhower (see February 11, 1958 for copy of letter from Eric Johnston who sent invitation)

Copy of telegram to Mr. Johnston:

‘Mr. Eric Johnston,

The White House,

Washington, D.C.

‘Doctor advises cancellation of trip to Washington, D.C.

/s/ David O. McKay.'”

Fri., 7 Mar., 1958:

Friday, March 7, 1958





    March 5, 1958

Miss Clare Middlemiss

Secretary to President McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Miss Middlemiss:

As I reported to you by telephone I am making a trip to the San Francisco and Bay Area the end of this week to contact various electronic firms in an effort to interest them in establishing plant facilities in Salt Lake City and general area.

Over a period of time many outside firms have questioned the interest of the L.D.S. Church in acquiring new industries for our immediate area.  Those of us in the Chamber of Commerce know of the sincere desire of President McKay to improve the economic climate of our area and to provide all possible assistance to responsible firms who may estabish plants here.

It would be of material assistance to me and to our Chamber if the President would address a communication to me outlining some of the following points:

1.  The L.D.S. Church is vitally interested in the welfare of their people.  They are also vitally interested in the welfare of the various communities in the State of Utah.

2.  The L.D.S. Church recognizes the importance of employment opportunities for our people and particularly those who have been trained in our schools.

3.  It is recognized that communities must be progressive and avail themselves of the opportunities afforded by new industries interested in the development of products which may improve our standard of living and aid our national defense efforts.

If you will bring this letter to the attention of President McKay and let me know his reaction or let me have a letter from him covering the general scope as outlined above, I should be very grateful.

Very truly yours,

E.H. Azbill, Manager

Industrial Department


Friday, March 7, 1958

March 6, 1958

Mr. E.H. Azbill, Manager

Industrial Department

Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce

P.O. Box 329

Salt Lake City 10, Utah

Dear Mr. Azbill:

It has come to my attention that you propose making a trip to San Francisco Bay Area to contact various electronic firms in an effort to interest them in establishing plant facilities in Salt Lake City and surrounding area.  My secretary, Miss Middlemiss, informs me that in times past many outside firms have questioned the interest of the Mormon people in acquiring new industries for this immediate area.

Of course, this is a false conception of the motives and ideals of the Church leaders who in reality encourage the establishing of any worthy enterprise that will contribute to the economic and moral interest of the communities of the State.

The presence of ‘Ironton’, Geneva Steel, Thermoid Company, Thiokoe, are thriving evidence of this fact.  Government installations west of Ogden, south of Ogden, at Tooele, and other places refute the charge that the Church looks with disfavor upon industry coming into this State.

We shall be pleased to join the Chamber of Commerce in bidding welcome to our State reputable and stable companies.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay



Monday, April 7, 1958.

Telephone conversation with Mr. Gus Backman, Monday, April 7, 1958.

Gus Backman:  Hell, President McKay, how are you?

President McKay:  Oh, I like that voice.

Gus Backman:  Good, well, I was just telling Clare I wished Conference had gone over two more days.   You looked better at the end than at the beginnning.

President McKay:  That is ture.

Gus Backman:  Yesterday when you closed that session you had never been better.

There are four or five things I would like to get your opinion on.  In the first place, there will be a vacancy in the Supreme Court of the United States before long.  Arthur Watkins will be in to visit you.  We have made a very careful analysis of Ernest Wilkinson and nobody could be better than that fellow.  That man has a good intellect, his background is remarkable.  Arthur offered two names unless he is going to promote Wilkinson.  If you could mention this to Arthur Watkins.  Everybody wants him, he would make a great man in guiding America.

President McKay:  I talked to Arthur Watkins within the last thirty minutes.  I have suggested to Clare that we shall meet him Wednesday morning.

Gus Backman:  We are going to have a difficult time on the United Fund because of the recession.  All of our agencies are going to have a hard time to get the money.  So I discussed getting a man who would be recognized as a leader who has access to all of the corporations, George Eccles.

(Bro. Backman then discussed a few city and county matters to which he is giving attention at the present time.)”

Wed., 9 Apr., 1958:

“Telephone conversation between President McKay and President Ernest L. Wilkinson of Brigham Young University.

President McKay:  What did you understand about what I told you, and what was your request regarding the Senate?

President Wilkinson:  You told me that you wanted to think it over, and you wanted to see me before you left.

President McKay:  No.  You asked if you could have what?  Was it that if you should decide to run could you have a leave of absence during the election?

President Wilkinson:  Yes, that was the question.  You say you answered it in writing?

President McKay:  Then what did I tell you?

President Wilkinson:  You said you would be inclined to say ‘No,’ but you would talk it over with your Counselors.

President McKay:  Just now, you mean?

President Wilkinson:  When I saw you a week ago Monday.  You said you would see me before you left.

President McKay:  I have talked it over with them, and they look with disfavor upon your getting a leave-of-absence.  If you run, it makes your present position secondary to the Senate.

President Wilkinson:  What do you think?  You are telling me what they think.

President McKay:  I think it would make your present position secondary to the Senatorship.

President Wilkinson:  Knowing that you are going to be away six weeks, I want to know what your views are if some situation arises…

President McKay:  I am afraid that if you enter into this campaign (although it is your right and privilege to do so), it is going to make it more difficult for the present incumbent.  As you know, I am afraid this is a Democratic year.  I should feel better if you would not run.

President Wilkinson:  I have always followed your advice in the past.

President McKay:  You are in such a responsible position now, and we have our school–the greatest in the country.  I feel that for you to get out and try that, and especially if you did not get it, it would lessen your dignity.  I should rather you would not run this year.  But I should like you to run for the other office (the U.S. Supreme Court).  There is no chance on the other; tell them you are not going to run.

President Wilkinson:  Well, if that is your judgment, as well as the judgment of your Counselors, that means a lot to me.

President McKay:  Personally, if you wanted to make the run within the Party, and then received the nomination, I am in favor of giving you a leave-of-absence after you have the nomination, but my Counselors are not.  They think if you did that we ought to release you.  I shall not think that at all.  In view of that, I think it would be best not to do it.  If you did not make it, it would hurt you.  I would not stand for that.  In view of the doubt as to the outcome this year, I believe if I were you I would not do it.  I joined with the others in saying that we would not give you a leave-of-absence because if people hear of it in the meantime, then that means that the Presidency are against Watkins.  You would have to let the people know that you were given a leave-of-absence.

President Wilkinson:  Well, I should not want to put you in that position up there.

President McKay:  That is what they would do.

President Wilkinson:  I should not want to put anyone up there in a position like that.  If any change in the situation develops while you are away, whom should I see?

President McKay:  Well, you had better see the two Counselors.  I would see them both together.

President Wilkinson:  Thanks very much.

May I just take a minute to tell you about a situation regarding President Arial S. Ballif before you leave for New Zealand.  He was on our faculty and was Dean of the Summer School before he left.  I promised him in writing that his salary would not be decreased when he came back, but that we would give him some other responsible position at $1,000 more than when he went away because salaries have increased that much here, and that the Summer School position would not be open, but I gave him other alternatives.  He immediately sent that letter to President Richards protesting that he would not have the same position when he returned.  President Richards had not promised him any position of any kind.  He had left it entirely up to me.  In view of the fact that Brother Romney is his brother-in-law, and he is going to New Zealand, they will see each other there.  Brother Romney understands the situation entirely and thinks I am completely right in it.  President Ballif will undoubtedly talk to you about it when you are down there so I thought you ought to know about it.  We are more than keeping our commitment to him.

President McKay:  Yes, thank you very much for telling me about it.

(see President Wilkinson’s conversation with President McKay on April 11, 1958.)”

Fri., 11 Apr., 1958:

Telephone conversation with President Ernest L. Wilkinson, B.Y.U., Friday, April 11, 1958.

President Wilkinson:  Hello, President McKay.  I shall only take a minute of your time.  You were kind enough to call me day before yesterday.  You caught me in someone else’s office, and I though that perhaps my conversation did not sound intelligible.

President McKay:  I surmised it.

President Wilkinson:  May I just say very quickly that unless there is a complete change in the situation, I am not going to run for the U.S. Senate.  I should say very frankly, however, that I am making that decision, not only because of your advice, but because I really think that probably I can do more good here than if I am elected to the Senate.  I have come to that conclusion after praying and long thought, and I am being a little presumptuous in thinking I should have a good chance for the Senate.  The Democratic State Chairman and others in the State tell me I can easily win over Watkins.  I am not doing it because I think I would be defeated.

President McKay:  Well, I appreciate what you say.

President Wilkinson:  Of course, on the other hand I know of the vissitudes and the uncertainties of politics.  No one can be sure of anything.

President McKay:  You have a right in your position to make a decision to be a candidate in that party for the nomination, but I can see that if the announcement is made that you have permission to have a furlough during your campaign, it will be an implication that the Presidency is supporting you over Watkins.  Already it came back to us, yesterday or the day before, but you have that right.  

President Wilkinson:  What came back to you?

President McKay:  That the First Presidency would give you a furlough to make your campaign for the Senatorship.

President Wilkinson:  I do not know how that could get back to you.  The First Presdiency never said that, and I never mentioned it to a soul.  I got a report that Senator Watkins said that I have a paid agent throughout the State for my candidacy.  I have talked to no one but those who have come here.

President McKay:  What I said now came through that source.

President Wilkinson:  It makes me just indignant.  I have not gone out for a number of reasons.  While I have been on the job I have not gone out and done that.  There is not a single word of truth in it.  People have come here, and I have given them no encouragement of any kind.

President McKay:  That is not the first time that an untruth has come from that source.

President Wilkinson:  I am just onery enough that I should like to do something about it.

President McKay:  That is your right.

President Wilkinson:  I cannot keep people from going out and misrepresenting, but I want you to know, and if you get an opportunity in the future, you will correct it, because there is not one single bit of truth in it.  That reminds me of one other thing.  With respect to the Supreme Court matter, there is no opening at present, but having been in Washington as long as I was I know that the time to get an appointment of that kind is not after a vacancy is filled.

President McKay:  I have said to my associates that I should like to have you on that Supreme Court.

President Wilkinson:  There are two Supreme Court members eligible for retirement very soon.  The Senator can get commitments in advance.  Maybe in view of this untruth that has been said about me, the Senator would not be at all friendly.

President McKay:  I am going to tell you right now in confidence that I mentioned that to the Senator the other day.  He is not favorable because of so many appointments from Utah, not because of any feeling against you, but because there are so many judgeships from Utah.

President Wilkinson:  That is senseless.

President McKay:  I spoke to both Senators and told them that we should like to have you.

President Wilkinson:  What was the viewpoint of the other Senator.

President McKay:  He did not say anything.

President Wilkinson:  Well, frankly, I think that is just an excuse.

President McKay:  I want to tell you that Gus Backman called me up and stated that he wanted you.

President Wilkinson:  I did not know that Gus knew anything about it.  I just want you to know that I haven’t done any talking.  I could not prevent people from coming here to try to get to see me.  I do resent those untruths.

President McKay:  I shall see you when I come back.  We are leaving now.  Good-bye.”    

Friday, June 6, 1958



June 16, 1958

Dear President McKay:  

The Vice-Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, Jack Stambaugh (who used to be in the White House, as you probably know) has forwarded to me the interesting article regarding the building, in New Zealand, of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is indeed an inspiring story of the result of vision and hard work–and I am sure the church will contribute much to the religious and educational life of the people of New Zealand.

With warm regard,


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dr. David O. McKay


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

(original in President Eisenhower scrapbook and letter book)

(see copy of President McKay’s answer to President Eisenhower following)

Friday, June 6, 1958


  Washington, D.C.

July 7, 1958

Dear President McKay:

This note is simply to tell you how much I appreciate the final paragraphs of your letter of June thirtieth.  The frailty in human nature of which you speak is doubly unfortunate when it brings near personal tragedy to such an honorable man as Sherman Adams.


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

(original letter is in scrap book)

This letter will also be repeated in July 7, 1958

as it pertains to the time of the incidents spoken

of above.

June 30, 1958

Dear President Eisenhower:

It was gracious of you to dictate your letter of June 16, 1958 stating that your attention had been called by Mr. John H. Stambaugh, Vice-Chancellor of Vanderbuilt University, to an ‘interesting article regarding the building in New Zealand’ of a college and temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  An interesting phase of this remarkable accomplishment is that approximately one-third of the cost amounting to several million dollars was contributed in donated labor by the local membership.

Thank you for your favorable reference to it.

May I take this opportunity, Mr. President, to commend you on your magnanimous and, I think, just attitude toward your Mr. Sherman Adams.  The ‘hue and cry’ that some Republicans as well as some Democrats are raising about this affair, emphasize the fact that there lurks in human nature a morbid sense of rejoicing at another’s mistake or failure, and a willingness to give him a push downward instead of offering a helping hand.  Emerson refers to this trait as follows:  ‘An accident cannot happen in the street but the bystanders will be animated with a faint hope that the victim may die.’

All fair-minded citizens will commend you for your fair and considerate attitude, and admire your nobility and courage.

With kindest regards and best wishes,

Cordially and sincerely,

David O. McKay


Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.

(this letter repeated again on July 7, 1958)

Mon., 7 July, 1958:


Sent letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower regarding the Sherman Adams case which is making headlines (see copy following – also copy of President Eisenhower’s answer sent a few days later)  (newspaper clippings giving brief information regarding the Sherman case also follow)

July 7, 1958

June 30, 1958

Dear President Eisenhower:

It was gracious of you to dictate your letter of June 16, 1958 stating that your attention had been called by Mr. John H. Stambaugh, Vice-Chancellor of Vanderbuilt University, to an ‘interesting article regarding the building in new Zealand ‘ of a college and temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  An interesting phase of this remarkable accomplishment is that approximately one-third of the cost amounting to several million dollars was contributed in donated labor by the local membership.

Thank you for your favorable reference to it.

May I take this opportunity, Mr. President, to commend you on your magnanimous and, I think, just attitude toward your Mr. Sherman Adams.  The ‘hue and cry’ that some Republicans as well as some Democrats are raising about this affair, emphasize the fact that there lurks in human nature a morbid sense of rejoicing at another’s mistake or failure, and a willingness to give him a push downward instead of offering a helping hand.  Emerson refers to this trait as follows:  ‘An accident cannot happen in the street but the bystanders will be animated with a faint hope that the victim may die.’

All fair-minded citizens will commend you for your fair and considerate attitude, and admire your nobility and courage.

With kindest regards and best wishes,

Cordially and sincerely,

David O. McKay


Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.

(see June 6, 1958 for Mr. Stambaugh’s visit to President McKay)

Monday, July 7, 1958



July 7, 1958

Dear President McKay:

This note is simply to tell you how much I appreciate the final paragraphs of your letter of June thirtieth.  The frailty in human nature of which you speak is doubly unfortunate when it brings near personal tragedy to such an honorable man as Sherman Adams.


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dr. David O. McKay


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

(Original letter is in the scrapbook.)

(see June 6, 1958 for item regarding Mr. John H. Stambaugh’s visit to Pres. McKay)”

Tues., 8 July, 1958:

“Conference with Brother Hugh B. Brown who explained that he had been invited to give the keynote address at the Democratic State nominating Convention next Saturday at the Rainbow Randevu, and asked if it would be in keeping with the policy of the Church and his office as an Apostle to accept the invitation.

I said that since some think we are one-sided in politics (having a member of the Twelve as Secretary of Agriculture during a Republican administration) it might be a good thing for him to accept this assignment and let the members of the Church know that both political sides are represented in the Church.”

Mon., 14 July, 1958:

“9 a.m.  Special meeting of the Twelve

I met, according to my call, all the General Authorities of the Church who are in the city at 9 o’clock this morning.  President Clark, who was not feeling very well, asked to be excused from this meeting.  President Richards is absent in Yellowstone.

The following is a brief account of what was discussed at this meeting:

1.  To let the Brethren know how the First Presidency stands regarding the proposed site for the new Federal building on North Temple; that they should understand that the First Presidency are united in favoring the North Temple site for the Federal Building.  I then read to them a quotation from the First Presidency’s letter to Senator Watkins soliciting his aid in the matter.

2.  I told the Brethren that it is not a question of right or wrong as in grammatical construction, but that it is a question of right or wrong as in rhetoric when a statement may be better or worse, but the main point is that we should as General Authorities be united.

The Brethren left the room 100% united on the question.

Sat., 19 July, 1958:

“9 a.m.  Met by appointment at his request Dr. and Mrs. O. Preston Robinson.  We held a discussion regarding the Middle East crisis, and the sending of armed forces by the United States and Great Britain to Lebanon.  Dr. Robinson repeated the story of his personal visit to President Gamal Abdel Nasser when he traveled to the Middle East a year or two ago, and of his (President Nasser’s) negative attitude toward Communism; that he was not in favor of the Communists.  Dr. Robinson thinks if the United States had helped Nasser wtih money for the dam, he would not have turned to the Communists.

I asked Dr. Robinson if he really felt that President Nasser was sincere – that a real Communist will lie, steal, or go to any length in order to carry out the fundamental idea of Marx which was this:  that negotiation with the Capitalists is of no use and the only way to deal with them is to exterminate them, and to be ruthless in achieving that end.  I said you do not know but what Nasser was deceiving you.  Dr. Robinson said, ‘No, I think not, because they have outlawed Communism in Egypt, and only recently have executed two men because they were communists.’

I said to Dr. Robinson, ‘Without saying anything to anybody, excepting to Elder Mark E. Petersen who is Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Deseret News, I think it would be worthwhile for you to go back and meet Ezra Taft Benson and tell him what you have told me.  Let nobody get the idea that you are presuming to ‘steady the ship of state’ but that you may have something which will reveal a side of Nasser which Dulles has not revealed to the President.  You go to Mark Peterson, without disclosing the fact that we have had a conversation, present to him your ideas, and if he, as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Deseret News, thinks it is worthwhile, you may go at once, and I shall make arrangements for you to have a conference with Brother Benson, and it is up to him after that.

While they were still in my office, I got in touch with Brother Benson by telephone and told him what I had told the Robinsons.  I told him that I thought it was worth while for Dr. Robinson to have a conference with him, and Brother Benson expressed himself as feeling the same way.  Brother Benson said he would arrange for a meeting with President Eisenhower.

Later in the day Brother Robinson called me at home and reported that he had seen Brother Mark E. Petersen who agreed that it would be worthwhile for Brother Robinson to go back and meet Brother Benson Monday morning and get that side of the question at least to President Eisenhower through Brother Benson.  Evidently, following our telephone message to Brother Benson, he went to the White House and told President Eisenhower of our conference, and the following copy of a letter from President Eisenhower indicates that he is giving consideration to the matter.  (see also newspaper items about the crisis in Lebanon and a report from Dr. O. Preston Robinson, July 22, from Washington, D.C.)  (Also see telephone call from Ezra Taft Benson July 23)

July 19, 1958


July 19, 1958.

Dear President McKay:

Ezra Benson has just telephoned to me your message.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your approval of the action I felt it necessary to take in Lebanon and for the inspiration of your prayers.  It is good to have such understanding and friendly support from one whom I respect and like so much.

With warm regard,


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

President David McKay

(Original letter is in the scrapbook.)

(The above message referred to is contained in consultation with Dr. O. Preston Robinson July 19, and telephone message from Ezra Taft Benson July 23)”

Tues., 22 July, 1958:

“Telephone conversation with Dr. O. Preston Robinson, Deseret News.

(Dr. Robinson called from Washington, D.C.)

Dr. Robinson:  I apologize for getting you out of meeting, President McKay.

President McKay:  That is all right.

Dr. Robinson:  I want to tell you that Sister Robinson and I had a forty-five minute talk with President Eisenhower today, and Brother Benson and Sister Benson were there too.  We had a most interesting discussion, and he concurred with many of our ideas and asked us to present to him a memo which he will follow up, and also asked Brother Benson to arrange for us to see Mr. Dulles afterwards so that is in process now, but I thought you would be interested in knowing.

President McKay:  Yes, I am very glad that you called.  Congratulations!

Dr. Robinson:  Well, if it had not of been for your influence, of course, we couldn’t have seen him, but we took the opportunity of expressing your love and best wishes to him, and he was very grateful and asked that we return them to you and express his.

President McKay:  Thank you.

Dr. Robinson:  We will give you a full report when we get back, but we think it has been very worthwhile.

President McKay:  All right.  I am very glad.  I felt well over the appointment–we have done what we should have.

Dr. Robinson:  Well, I am glad.  We are certainly glad we talked to you about it and it has worked out as it has.  He gave us forty-five minutes which Brother Benson says was one of the longest ones he has extended to anybody, so we felt that he was interested in what we had to say.

President McKay:  Yes.  All right.  Thank you and congratulations.

Dr. Robinson:  Thank you very much.

President McKay:  All right, good-bye.

(see July 23 for the call from Ezra Taft Benson on this matter.)  See also copy of letter from President Eisenhower July 19)”

Wed., 23 July, 1958:

3 p.m.  Received telephone call from Ezra Taft Benson regarding the visit of Dr. O. Preston Robinson to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the Lebanon crisis.  (see following notes of conversation — see also July 22 and July 19 on this matter)

Wednesday, July 23, 1958.

Telephone conversation with honorable Ezra Taft Benson, Wednesday, July 23, 1958.

President McKay:  Brother Benson?

Brother Benson:  President McKay, how are you?

President McKay;  Very well, thank you.  Hope you are well?

Brother Benson:  I am just fine, thank you.  I wanted to report to you briefly regarding the visit to President Eisenhower.  You will get more details from Preston Robinson when he gets home.  I understand he left at 2 o’clock, our time, this afternoon.  I think his trip was worthwhile, President McKay.

President McKay:  Thanks.  I am glad to hear that.

Brother Benson:  I arranged for the appointment with the President.

President McKay:  Good.

Brother Benson:  Sister Benson and I accompanied Brother and Sister Robinson to the President’s office.  We spent about forty minutes with him, and we arranged it so that Brother Robinson did practically all the talking.  We had pretty well reviewed the situation before we went in, and the President was obviously very favorably impressed.  He has a remarkable grasp of the whole situation which, I am sure, impressed Brother Robinson as it did me.  President Eisenhower has a very sincere desire to get at the basis of a settlement and to work out a plan that will win the friendship of these Arab nations, and so I think Brother Robinson’s report of his experience helped to confirm some of the feelings which the President has had but for which he has not had full support among some of those consulting with him.

President McKay: I see.

Brother Benson:  I think our views tended to strengthen his hand; strengthen his convictions in the matter.

President McKay:  Good.

Brother Benson:  Now, President Eisenhower asked this:  If Preston would be willing to prepare for him a memorandum outlining the problem as he sees it, and also his recommendations as to what might be done to solve those problems.  Of course, we readily agreed to do that.  We saw the President, by the way, yesterday at a quarter to twelve until twelve-thirty, and then yesterday afternoon Brother Robinson worked on the report–the memorandum, and I went over it with him late yesterday afternoon.  We had it typed this morning here at my office, and I transmitted it to the President so it would reach him today about noon.

President McKay:  Well, that is good work.

Brother Benson:  The President suggested to me that I try and arrange for Dr. Robinson to see John Foster Dulles if I thought it would be advisable and it could be done.  So I arranged for him to see Mr. Dulles at 12 o’clock today.  I did not see Dr. Robinson after that because I had to go to a luncheon at the White House where the President was host to the President of the nation of the Republic of Ghana.  They gained their independence, you remember, about a year and a half ago.  I had a chance to visit with the President a little while I was there, and he had received the memorandum, and I had also sent to him before our conference, some material on the Middle East situation, including an editorial form the Deseret news which I had planned to send even before you called me about Brother Robinson which I think is the best editorial I have seen on the subject.  That editorial plus a by-line article from the Deseret News written by Preston plus that little booklet of Preston’s, ‘Must We Lose the Middle East’ or whatever the title is.  Now, I sent those ahead of our appointment with the President.

President McKay:  I see.

Brother Benson:  And when we got there we found that he had read them.  I marked them ‘Personal’ and ‘Confidential’, and at that time we had not received a confirmation of our appointment, but in my memo I said, ‘anticipating and hoping that we will see you tomorrow, I am sending you these materials.’  And later we got the appointment.  When we got there, we found he had read them which indicates his interest and his appreciation.

President McKay:  Well, that is fine.

Brother Benson:  President Eisenhower asked us to convey to you his love and greetings, and his appreciation, so I believe this effort has been worthwhile.  When I talked to the President today, it was quite apparent that he, too, felt the time was worthwhile from his standpoint.

President McKay:  Well, thank you very much, Brother Benson.  I felt impressed that it would not do any harm, and that it might do some good toward allaying the trouble that we have.

Brother Benson:  You had the right impression I am sure, and I hope it will bear fruit.  Now, the President indicated to us (and of course we cannot repeat this publicly) that he would be willing to see any of the leaders in the Middle East.  He would do anything that was right at all to try and improve the situation.  Since I placed this call to you, on the ticker which comes to my desk every hour or so, I notice that Mr. Khrushchev has agreed conditionally at least to attend the Summit meeting on the Mid-east situation of the United Nations Security Council, that meets here in New York.

President McKay:  Well, that is good.

Brother Benson:  It starts next Monday, so that is somewhat hopeful.

President McKay:  Oh, that shows that he doesn’t want to have any serious trouble.

Brother Benson:  That is right.

President McKay:  You are right.

Brother Benson:  So I think some good has been done, and I want to thank you, and I know that President Eisenhower would personally if he could.

President McKay:  Thank you very much Brother Benson.  That makes me very happy.

Brother Benson:  I was very pleased with Brother and Sister Robinson’s performance here, and Sister Benson and I enjoyed being with them.

President McKay:  I should like to report to you that this morning while I was in conference here one of the reporters came over from the news.

Brother Benson:  Yes.

President McKay:  He had heard something about Brother Benson’s going back.

Brother Benson:  Yes.

President McKay:  And he was going to give it publicity, and I told him not to do it.

Brother Benson:  Well, I think that is probably wise, although we did clear with the President that it would be all right to announce that he had had the Conference with the President.  You see the President releases his appointment list unless it is something highly confidential.

President McKay:  Well, that is all right–it should come from that source.

Brother Benson:  That is right.  It would be all right for Brother Robinson to indicate he had had the appointment.

President McKay:  That is all right.

Brother Benson:  But he could not discuss the subject of the conversation.

President McKay:  No, that is all right then.

Brother Benson:  And I also saw Brother Pierce Brady.

President McKay:  Good.

Brother Benson:  I spent some time with him on this question of the location of the Federal Building and helped to arrange for some appointments.  He saw all of the Utah delegation.  He feels the thing is well in hand, and I think he left last night.  He said he would be in touch with me when he thought I could do anything further to be helpful.

President McKay:  That is good.  Thank you very much, and congratulations on your success.

Brother Benson:  Thank you and the Lord bless you.

President McKay:  Thank you.  Good-bye.

Brother Benson:  Good-bye.”

Wed., 30 July, 1958:

“11 to 11:25 a.m.  Dr. O. Preston Robinson came in to give a report on his visit with President Eisenhower and also to John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State regarding the Lebanon uprising, and Nasser’s attitude toward Communism (see notes following)

Wednesday, July 30, 1958

(Dr. O. Preston Robinson’s report on visit to President Eisenhower).

On July 30, 1958, I made a brief report to President McKay on the visit Sister Robinson and I, in company with Secretary and Sister Benson, had with President Eisenhower in Washington on the morning of July 21st between 11:45 and 12:30 noon.  I told President McKay of the cordial way in which President Eisenhower received us and reported his expression of best wishes which he asked us to convey to President McKay.

At the outset of our interview, President Eisenhower said he was most interested in receiving our views on the critical Middle East situation and indicated that often religious people were able to get information which others could not obtain.

I told President Eisenhower briefly about our meetings with Middle East leaders, particularly President Gamel Abdel Nasser, in 1954 and again in October, 1957.  The President was most interested in our impressions of Mr. Nasser and in our opinions as to his objectives.  I emphasized my convictions that Arab nationalism is a powerful force to which we should be sympathetic and that the Moslem people, including President Nasser, fear and resist Communism.  They have accepted help from the Soviets only after attempting and failing to obtain help from Western nations.  Due to recent and present political domination by Western nations in the area and because of the West’s extensive economic interests, the Arabs are suspicious of Western intentions and fear the Americans are attempting to replace the British and the French in control of the area.  This rear, plus the creation and existence of Israel, are the chief reasons why anti-Western feeling runs so deep in the Middle East.  For an Arab to be pro-West in that area now is almost treasonable.

Despite this anti-West sentiment, there is a deep reservoir of respect and admiration for Western and particularly for American ways of life and for the American form of government.  This reservoir needs to be tapped in order to reverse the present drift which is leading this area ever closer to Communist domination.

I reported to President Eisenhower that President Nasser had told us that his country and other Arab countries would resist to the bitter end outside domination from any source.  However, he told us, if they must be dominated, they would rather be dominated by the United States than by Russia.  I also emphasized the fact that President Nasser had expressed a sincere desire to talk face to face with President Eisenhower, provided such a conference would not be humiliating to his country nor would in any way threaten his country’s sovereignty.

President Eisenhower responded most favorably to this comment and stated that he would like to talk with Mr. Nasser provided, of course, that he could do so without embarrassing our allies – the British, the French, and Israel.

President Eisenhower was keenly interested in what we had to say.  He was courteous, gracious and extended the interview fifteen minutes beyond the prescribed time.  At the close of our conversation, he re-emphasized his opening observation that he was most interested in getting the opinions and impressions of an honest man who had no ulterior motives other than the welfare of the United States.

President Eisenhower asked me to submit my observations and recommendations in a brief report.  He said that when he gets things in writing, he can make sure that they are adequately followed up.  He also suggested that I have a talk with Secretary Dulles.    This interview was arranged and I talked briefly with Mr. Dulles the following day, Wednesday, July 22nd.

O. Preston Robinson

General Manager

Deseret News Pub. Co.

Thurs., 21 Aug., 1958:

“7:45 a.m. – Brother Fred Babbel, formerly secretary to Ezra Taft Benson, and presently employed by the Marriott Restaurants in Washington, D.C., called at the office to extend greetings and best wishes.

Note by secretary:  Brother Babbel related a few remarks that had been reported to him concerning President McKay’s visit with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955.  (see copy of notes Brother Babbel left with the secretary)

Thursday, August 21, 1958

Dear President McKay:

Your secretary felt you would be interested in the following account and suggested that I write it so you would become familiar with this happening in case you had not previously known of it.

After your visit in the White House with President Eisenhower as his dinner guest, the following morning Mamie Eisenhower phoned Sister Flora Benson and remarked:  ‘Flora, I just wanted to call you this morning to let you know that my husband was profoundly impressed by President McKay.  After he retired last night he spent most of the night talking to me about this singular and enjoyable experience.’

Then Mrs. Eisenhower said:  ‘Flora, we know that you folks pray for us every day and we wanted you to know that we feel of the strength which comes to us through those prayers.  In fact,’ she continued, ‘we frankly don’t know what we would do without this strength.’

In my association with Brother Benson many evidences of President Eisenhower’s deep spirituality have come to my attention.  I feel the Lord is honoring the prayers and petitions of the Saints and their leaders in behalf of our Chief Executive and those associated with him.

With affectionate regards.


/s/ Frederick W. Babbel”

Tues., 23 Sept., 1958:

Telephone Calls

1.  Senator Arthur V. Watkins called to say that Vice-President Richard Nixon will be in Salt Lake City October 16.  The Republicans would like to use the Tabernacle for a meeting for Nixon.

Later, upon consultation with his counselors, President McKay decided that we could not let them have the Tabernacle for this purpose; that the Church had never before turned the Tabernacle over to a Vice-President; that they had given it for the use of a President of the United States.

2.  Milton Weileman, Chairman of the Democratic Committee, called and asked for an appointment for David King and for him to discuss the political talk that had been given by Ezra Taft Benson last Monday evening in Salt Lake City.  (see Sept. 24 for visit to Elder Benson in LDS Hospital)”

Wed., 24 Sept., 1958:

“7:30 a.m.  Visited Elder Ezra Taft Benson in the LDS Hospital where he has been confined for the past few days for a check-up.  He suffered a gall bladder attack last Monday evening while delivering an address in Salt Lake City.

Brother Benson seemed to be feeling very well.  He said that the doctors are calling at 10 o’clock this morning to release him.  He said that they had found that there was nothing wrong with his heart; that he had suffered a gall bladder attack; that the stone had passed through and that he is now all right.

I mentioned to Brother Benson that he had ‘stirred up’ the democrats in giving his talk the other evening.  He asked me if I had any objections, and I told him that he could do nothing else since he is US Secretary of Agriculture.  Brother Benson said that he had forty appointments ahead of him, and that three fourths of them are non-political.

I told him to go ahead, and congratulated him on the success that he is having with the farmers.

Telephone conversation with President Wilford W. Kirton, Jr., University Stake.

President Kirton:  Hello, President McKay, this is President Kirton.

President McKay:  I have just received an anonymous letter stating that — ‘Mr. Kirton has sent letters to every member to vote for Dawson and Watkins because they are good Church members, etc.’

President Kirton:  I would like to know where that information has come from because I have not sent out letters like that.

President McKay:  It is just surprising.  This person isn’t brave enough to send his name, but he mentions the Twelfth Ward.

President Kirton:  I can assure you without question that the accusation is not so.

President McKay:  Well, isn’t that surprising?

President Kirton:  Now, President McKay, let me say this:  In the last primary election one of my law associates in my office, Bishop Ben Rawlins of my stake was running on the primary ticket for the State Legislature.  On my legal stationery I wrote a letter recommending him as a law associate, and that was sent to a number of people within our legislative district which is part of our stake, but this did not mention anything about the Church.  It was just recommending a fellow lawyer for the Legislature, but I have never sent anything out about Representative Dawson or Senator Watkins whatsoever, and I have made no official pronouncement on it either.

President McKay:  I wanted to confirm it.  I did not think you would do this.

President Kirton:  Frank Moss and David King are just as good Mormons–they are even better.  I should like to know who wrote that because they are absolutely wrong.

President McKay:  I do not pay much attention to these anonymous letters, but I just wanted to get it from you.  If it comes up again, I shall tell this person his statements are false.

President Kirton:  Without question President McKay it is not so.

President McKay:  Thank you very much.

President Kirton:  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 24, 1958.


University Stake Presidency

    Salt Lake City, Utah

    September 26, 1958

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

Yesterday morning you telephoned me regarding a letter written to you stating that I had sent a letter to the membership of our Stake endorsing Senator Watkins and Representative Dawson and particularly stating that I endorsed them because they were good Church members.

I am enclosing to you, herewith, a copy of the only letter that I have ever sent out in the Legislative District in which I reside.  Mr. Rawlings is a member of our law firm and also is one of the Bishops of my Stake.  I felt that I was judicious in the drafting of this letter which was not sent to all members of the Stake, but only to approximately 500 homes.  I sincerely feel that Mr. Rawlings is a capable young man and deserving of support.

This is the only letter or any communication of any kind which I have made.  I have not stated anything with regard to Senator Watkins or Representative Dawson.  Further than this, I have made no oral statement whatsoever with respect to either candidate.  I know Representative Dawson, both professionally and as a member of the West 12th Ward over which I used to preside as Bishop.  Last year when my Second Counselor in the Stake Presidency, Oscar W. McConkie, Jr., was opposing Representative Dawson, he invited the Representative to sit on the stand with him in the Stake Conference of our Stake immediately preceeding the general election.

I trust this will be a complete report regarding the matters of which you inquired and if you have any criticism or suggestion to make, I shall, of course, welcome the same.

Very truly yours,

University Stake Presidency

Wilford W. Kirton, Jr.



Wednesday, September 24, 1958.

Lowry, Kirton & Bettilyon

    Attorneys At Law

  519 Boston Building

  Salt Lake City 14, Utah

To Friends and Associates of Legislative District 2:

I am happy to take this opportunity of introducing to you, Ben E. Rawlings, a candidate for the State Legislature on the Republican Ticket in the September 9th Primary.  We have been associated together for the past several years in the practice of law.  During that time, he has also served as general counsel for the State Tax Commission and, more recently he has served as an assistant to the State Attorney General.  In these various capacities, he has received a unique experience in gaining an insight into State and local affairs.  These experiences have likewise afforded him considerable experience in preparing and advising on proposed legislative matters.

He has announced his intention to terminate his services with the State of Utah, so that he will have more time to devote to the private practice of law.  However, I am convinced that he is in a position to render a valuable service to the people of our District.  His knowledge of present and existing problems, combined with the training and experience he has received from public service, equip him well for the task of advocating sound government for our times.

In addition to our professional association, we have worked closely together in Church service.  I recommend him to you as one who has acquitted himself well during his service as one of the Bishops of the University Stake.

I am very happy to recommend Ben E. Rawlings to the voters of Legislative District No.2.  I endorse him without qualification, and feel that he will represent us with dignity, and with a fearless determination to advocate the best possible government for our people.  I urge one and all to support him.

Very truly yours,


Wilford W. Kirton, Jr.


Tues., 30 Sept., 1958:

Tuesday, September 30, 1958.

“Telephone conversation with Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 30, 1958.

Brother Benson:  I was at a luncheon today, seated beside the President over at the White House, and he whispered to me that he was writing me a note inviting the Tabernacle Choir to sing in the White House Sunday evening.  I had approached him earlier at the suggestion of Robert R. Mullen who is representing the Church here in helping to arrange the tour of the choir as you probably know.

President McKay:  Yes.

Brother Benson:  And Mullen had asked me on behalf of the church if I would speak to the President about it.  I wrote the President a memo and then later spoke to him and I did have an acknowledgment saying that while October would be a busy month, he hoped he might be able to have the pleasure of hearing them, and today was the first affirmative word I have had from him, and he said he would follow it with a note.

President McKay:  That is fine.

Brother Benson:  But he said he was definitely making plans to have them at the White House the evening of the 26th.

President McKay:  October 26th?

Brother Benson:  Now, that is the time that was suggested I think by the Choir officials and Robert Mullen.

President McKay:  Yes.

Brother Benson:  They are going to broadcast from the chapel here that morning, that is the Sunday morning.

President McKay:  Yes.

Brother Benson:  And I think they sing also in Constitution Hall here on Saturday.  Either Saturday or Monday, I am not sure which.

President McKay:  Yes.

Brother Benson:  But anyway Sunday evening is free.  And I have a note here from Bob Mullen today in which he said that they have reserved Saturday afternoon for sight-seeing.

President McKay:  This will be Sunday evening at about what time?

Brother Benson:  Well, I do not know the exact hour until I get the memo from the President.

President McKay:  I see.

Brother Benson:  He would have to check with someone on his staff who is working out the details.

President McKay:  That is lovely.  I thank you very much for calling me.

Brother Benson:  I though you would like to know as far in advance as possible, and as soon as I get the details I will either give them to Mr. Mullen or send them on direct to you or both.

President McKay:  I shall appreciate it very much.

Brother Benson:  All right, Brother McKay.

President McKay:  Thank you.

Brother Benson:  How are you feeling?

President McKay:  I am feeling very well today thank you.

Brother Benson:  Oh, that is fine.

President McKay:  How are you?  All right?

Brother Benson:  Just fine.  I hope Sister McKay is feeling better.

President McKay:  She is better.  Yes, thank you.

Brother Benson:  Give our love and blessings to her.

President McKay:  I gave them to her the other day, and she sends hers to you and Sister Benson.

Brother Benson:  Thank you very much.

President McKay:  Now, I received your letter the other day.  I do not know whether I shall be in California when the President is there or not, but I should like to.

Brother Benson:  Well, I do not know that he has finally decided yet, but he told me today he was definitely going to the National Corn Picking Contest which I have been urging him to attend which would be on the 17th, I believe, of October and then will probably go on to California.

President McKay:  I see.

Brother Benson:  And I don’t know what the details of his plans will be.

President McKay:  Well, thank you very much Brother Benson.  I am very happy to get this word.

Brother Benson:  All right,  President McKay.

President McKay:  Good-bye.

Brother Benson:  Good-bye.”

Sun., 12 Oct., 1958:

“8:30 a.m.  Greeted and shook hands with Elder Robert Wright who just returned from the Swiss-Austrian Mission, and also with his twin brother, Elder Richards Wright, who returned from the British Mission a few months ago.  These young men are a credit to the Church and their family.

9:30 a.m.  Went over to the Tabernacle to listen to the regular broadcast of the Tabernacle Choir.

Before attended the Choir Broadcast, I met at the office Elder Ezra Taft Benson where for twenty minutes he consulted with me about his work in Washington.  He brought to my attention a copy of the Washington Farm Reporter (Report No. 839) of October 4, 1958 in which some statements regarding ‘Mr. Benson’s remarkable political come-back’ – that in New York there is ‘considerable interest in Benson as a potential Republican presidential candidate for 1960.’

In our conversation I said to Brother Benson ‘Do not seek the candidacy; let them come to you and if they do, we shall consider it.’

Brother Benson then said that President Eisenhower has invited the Choir members to sing at the White House during their Concert tour of the East and Canada, but there will not be room for the whole of those to sing before the President in the White House.”

Thurs., 16 Oct., 1958:

5 p.m.  Received a courtesy call from Richard M. Nixon, Vice President of the United States.  Mrs. Nixon, Senator Watkins, Governor Geo. Dewey Clyde, Mayor Adiel Stewart, photographers and many others were present for this interview.  We had a very interesting conversation with Mr. Nixon.  President Richards and Clark, who were also present, joined in the conversation.  (see newspaper clipping regarding this interview following)  (see copy of letter from Richard Nixon).

Later David W. Evans of the Evans Advertising Agency, who was present at the interview, suggested that I send an autographed copy of the Book of Mormon and also of The Articles of Faith to Vice-President Nixon.  I answered that I would do that if it would be acceptable to Mr. Nixon.  As I am entering the hospital tonight for eye surgery, this matter will have to be attended to later.

Thursday, October 16, 1958.



December 12, 1958


Dear President McKay:

This is just a note to thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending me copies of ‘Book of Mormon’ and ‘Articles of Faith.’

At the time Mr. Christiansen wrote and informed me that the books were forthcoming, he also advised me of the fact that you were about to enter the hospital for an eye operation.  I trust this was completely successful.

These books will be valued additions to my personal library, especially so because you were kind enough to personally inscribe them.  They will serve to remind me of my very pleasant meeting with you and other members of your faith when I was in Salt Lake City recently.

With every good wish for Christmas and the New Year,


/s/ Richard Nixon

Mr. David O. McKay, President

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

(Original letter is in the scrapbook.)

Sun., 26 Oct., 1958:

Sunday, October 26, 1958



November 1, 1958

Dear President McKay:

I shall not apologize for this long delay in writing you regarding the appearance, last Sunday evening, of the Mormon choir at the White House since I know you fully understand the full schedule that I have had.

But I do not want another day to pass without expressing to you, and through you to the members of the Choir, the warm thanks of Mrs. Eisenhower and myself, and of our guests of the evening, for a most enjoyable and memorable evening.

With personal regard,


/signed/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Mr. David O. McKay


Church of Jesus Christ of

 Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

(Original letter is in the scrapbook)

Sunday, October 26, 1958.

November 3, 1958

Dear Brother Benson:

Thank you for your note of October 27, 1958 and for the clippings enclosed therewith concerning the Tabernacle Choir.  Thank you also for your telephone message from the White House.

We rejoice with you in the phenomenal success of the choir on this American Tour.

With kindest personal regards and all good wishes,


David O. McKay


Honorable Ezra Taft Benson

1907 Quincy Street, N.W.

Washington 11, D.C.”

Fri., 31 Oct., 1958:

Later, Clare reported that Mr. Donald McLayne of the Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California had telephoned in Cecil B. deMille’s behalf for a statement from me on the Right to Work issue.  This call had come through Chief Cleon Skousen who was informed that I was recuperating from eye surgery and would, therefore, be unable to prepare the statement.  When Mr. McLayne was informed of this fact, he left the following message for me:

‘Give the President Mr. deMille’s very best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.  And although he won’t remember me, (I met him once), please add mine.’

Thursday, November 13, 1958

President McKay made the following report:

. . . .

President McKay read a letter he had received from President Dwight D. Eisenhower in which he expressed warm thanks on behalf of himself, Mrs. Eisenhower, and their guests at the White House for ‘a most memorable and enjoyable evening’ given them by the Tabernacle Choir.

President McKay also said that he had received a letter from Mr. Arthur Hayes of Columbia Broadcasting System, in which he expressed appreciation for the appearance of the Tabernacle Choir at the luncheon meeting of CBS affiliates convention held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.


President David O. McKay Dec. 17, 1958

Laie, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii

Please give my greetings to all assembled at the dedication of the

Church College of Hawaii.  This splendid new campus, built by

the faith and work of your Church members, adds much to the

resources of the Hawaiian community.  I am sure that the young

people who study here will be forever inspired by the devoted

example of their many benefactors.  Congratulations and best


(Signed) Dwight D. Eisenhower


  United States of America

December 23, 1958

Dear President Eisenhower:

Your telegram of December 16, 1958 conveying congratulations and good wishes on the completion of the Church College of Hawaii was the crowning feature of impressive Dedicatory Services at Laie, Hawaii, December 20th.  The Governor of Hawaii, the mayor of Honolulu, the President of the University of Hawaii, other distinguished guests, and 2,000 others in attendance were thrilled when I read your message.

In behalf of the First Presidency, the Church Board of Education, and all others honored by your graciousness, I express grateful appreciation of your thoughtfulness.

Please accept our love, loyal support, and prayers for God’s guidance to continue with you in your great responsibilities as President of our Beloved Country.

Kindest regards and Season’s Greetings.


David O. McKay

The Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.”

Fri., 16 Jan., 1959:

“Friday, January 16, 1959.

Telephone conversation with Congressman H. Aldous Dixon, Washington, D.C.

Congressman Dixon:  President McKay, this is Aldous Dixon.

President McKay:  Good, I am glad your conscience is still active.

Congressman Dixon:  It was in December when I was going to call you, but then you went to Hawaii before I got on the ball again.  I have been called to go to New Delhi, India, and I shall come back by way of Japan and Hong Kong.  If there is anything I can do for the Church there, I would be glad to do it.

President McKay:  When you are there at Hong Kong, please call on President H. Grant Heaton.  Without telling him that I asked you to do so, would you keep your ears open on the new projects he has.

Congressman Dixon:  What is his name?

President McKay:  President Heaton.

Congressman Dixon:  Oh yes — on the new projects he has.

President McKay:  Yes, but don’t tell him that I have mentioned them.

Congressman Dixon:  I understand.

President McKay:  He is so thoroughly inspired and so enthusiastic over the people who are coming in and his desire to bless them that I am afraid he is losing his sense of proportion.

Congressman Dixon:  Well, then I shall report back my opinion when I get home.

President McKay:  Will you please?

Congressman Dixon:  I will be home in two weeks.

President McKay:  Oh, that is just fine.  I am so glad you are going there.

Congressman Dixon:  Well, I shall sure be glad to do it President.  I am going there an an agent of the Agricultural Committee to see if we can help further on this exchange of foods and sale of foods — our surplus foods.

President McKay:  Well, I know Brother Heaton will be very pleased to meet you.

Congressman Dixon:  I have been in conference all morning with Mr. Franklin G. Floete of the General Services with whom you made that contract for the Federal Building in Salt Lake City.

President McKay:  Oh, yes.

Congressman Dixon:  I have been working for a Federal Building for Ogden.  Mr. Floete sends his love, and he says there is something divine about you.  He is not a very religious man, but he said he could feel this about you.

President McKay:  That is very kind.  I wish you would extend to him my kindest personal regards and thank him for what he has done for us regarding the site for the Federal Building here in Salt Lake City.

Congressman Dixon:  I will sure do it.

President McKay:  Tell him I was delighted to meet him personally.  He impressed me deeply.

Congressman Dixon:  And I will thank him for coming out personally.  Well, I will do that.  Is there anything else you can think of?

President McKay:  Well, you have my best wishes and prayers for a successful trip.

Congressman Dixon:  I will stop at Frankfurt.  I will give them your greetings there if that is all right?

President McKay:  In each case, I wish you would call on our presidents of missions and extend to them our greetings.

Congressman Dixon:  Now, President if there is anything I can do to help the Church, you know that I will always do it.  Give me a ring or have someone do it.

President McKay:  Thank you, will you please dictate a memorandum tomorrow to your secretary and just give some idea on your itinerary, then we shall know about where you are on certain dates.

Congressman Dixon:  All right I will do that.

President McKay:  Thank you very much for calling.

Congressman Dixon:  Well, it thrills me to hear you.

President McKay:  Love to Sister Dixon.

Congressman Dixon:  The same to Sister McKay and all your lovely family.

President McKay:  Thank you very much.  You have made us very happy.

Congressman Dixon:  All right, good-bye.

President McKay:  Good-bye.”

Wed., 21 Jan., 1959:

11:30 a.m. – According to appointment at his request, I met in my private office the Honorable George Dewey Clyde, Governor of the State of Utah.

I congratulated him on his message given before the State Legislature.

The Governor then talked to me about 1) Education.  He believes that we should have courses of study that would terminate at Junior College level, or two years of University, and that the courses given should deal with the practical phases of life–engineering, technology, etc.  Thus, having training in practical subjects, our young people would be equipped to take positions and earn their own livelihood instead of going on to the University and spending two or more years in study without any specific goal and then when graduated be unfit for any kind of job.  The training, he repeated, should be of such a nature that it would terminate at the second year, and they should be so trained that they would feel that they were successful and could earn their own living.

In this line of thinking, the Governor said that the Weber College (a Junior College) would like to add two more years so that they will be a four-year college.  If the bill were passed, there would be four universities in the State of Utah–University of Utah – Utah State University – Brigham Young University, and Weber College, the courses given in which all are more or less general in nature.

Weber College, now a Junior College, emphasizes the practical phase of education referred to, and Governor Clyde is in favor of keeping the school for the present, as a Junior College emphasizing the practical phases of education — courses in technology – so that a student may major in one of these practical lines, and after completing his Junior College may go into the fields of technology and feel that he is successful.

I asked the Governor:  ‘Can you now authorize the addition of two years to Weber College to be effective probably five years hence so that some of the students who enter Weber may continue to their third and fourth years in College if they desire?’  The Governor answered, ‘Yes, I believe we can.’

2).  Welfare Work of the State

The Governor believes in taking care of those who are in need.  It now costs the State about $75 a month for each recipient.  They are now contemplating introducing a bill which would bring this amount up to $100 a month.  The Governor feels that this increase to $100 a month will probably be an inducement for many who do not need Welfare to make application for the State to take care of them.

The Governor is against this bill, because many who do not need welfare will sell their homes, putting the money in someone else’s name, and then ask the State to take care of them.

3).  Coordination Committee for Higher Education

The Governor believes it will be helpful to him as Governor, in arriving at a more equitable distribution of funds to the schools now receiving appropriations, bienially, to have a Coordination Committee.

My only comment on this was:  The value of such a committee and the danger of such a committee will depend wholly upon the powers granted to it.  In no way should such a committee interfere with the present Regents of the University of Utah or the members of the Board of Trustees of the Utah State University.  Rather it should be an advisory, and not a functional committee.

Other points were considered, but they were more or less of a general nature.  One, for example, was the introducing of a bill in the legislature to repeal the present Right to Work Law.  Another was the Sunday closing law.

Fri., 6 Mar., 1959: 

“1:50 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. — (see next page for letter of thanks from Senator.)

The First Presidency received a courtesy call from Senator and Mrs. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.  He was accompanied by Mr. Milton Weilenmann.  This meeting was in the Office of the First Presidency.  (see newspaper clippings.)  Mr. Kennedy seems to be a very fine young man.  His recent remarks regarding his belief in separation of Church and state are contrary to what the Catholics want.

Friday, March 6, 1959.

John F. Kennedy Committees:

Massachusetts Foreign Relations

Labor and Public



      Washington, D.C.

        March 18, 1959

President David O. McKay

The Church of Jesus Christ

of Latter-day Saints

Church Office Building

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

Mrs. Kennedy and I were deeply honored to have the opportunity to visit with you while in Salt Lake City.  Throughout our short stay the hospitality of all the people of Salt Lake was boundless.  It was very kind of Apostle Brown to join us at the luncheon.

The work of your church and its people in Utah, the United States and throughout the entire world is, indeed, edifying.  Its devotion to principle is a firm bulwark against any encroachment by the godless enemies of western and christian civilizations.

Again, my sincere thanks for your kindness.


(signed) John F. Kennedy


(Original letter is in the scrapbook.)

Friday, March 6, 1959

Telephone conversation between President McKay and Honorable Ezra Taft Benson, United States Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Brother Benson:  Good morning.  How are you?  This is Brother Benson in Washington.

President McKay:  Yes.

Brother Benson:  I just wanted to tell you of two developments in Israel that may be of some interest.  I would also like to get your counsel.

We are opening an office for the Department of Agriculture in Israel.  We are sending a young man to serve as our agricultural representative.  He will be closely associated with our Ambassador, and he is just leaving this week.

Secondly, Mr. Eban, who has been the Israeli Ambassador here in Washington from Israel, is just retiring and returning to his country — we understand to stand for election for parliament over there and possibly to become a cnadidate to succeed the present prime minister Mr. Ben Gurion.  Mr. Eban has been very friendly to me personally here.  when Brother Lee came through here, I arranged for Mr. Eban to arrange his travels.  He has invited me to luncheon with him the first of next week.  If there is anything I can do to be helpful to the Church, I shall do so.  He will probably raise the question regarding the Church, and I wanted to check with you.  I shall, of course, tell him of our plans, which he is familiar with, to open an office in israel.  He has encouraged us.  He may ask whether or not the Church is considering opening a mission in that country.

President McKay:  No.  If I were you, I should give no encouragement for the time being.  The Arabs are opposed to the State of Israel.

Brother Benson:  The situation has improved considerably.

President McKay:  I would not give him any encouragement on our establishing a mission there.

Brother Benson:  I shall not mention it then.  I shall stick to the agricultural work.  Of course, I do plan to keep in touch with him.  He has aksed that I do so.  If the time comes that he can be helpful to us, I think we have a friend in him.

President McKay:  How is Mr. Dulles?

Brother Benson:  I just came from Cabinet and the President made a report this morning that things are very encouraging.

Presidetn McKay:  That is good.

Brother Benson:  The President was pleased.  The treatments — gold treatment and X-ray treatment — have given good results.  The President was quite optimistic.

Secretary Dulles was very pleased to have your greeting and blessing extended to him.  I told him that you Brethren would be praying for him in the Temple.  It pleased him.  He could hardly hold his emotions.  I am sure it has helped a great deal.

I hope you are well.  Sister Benson joins in sending greetings to you and Sister McKay and all the Brethren.

President McKay:  Success to you and also to the man who will be representing the Agricultural Department in Israel.”

Sat., 7 Mar., 1959:

“8 a.m. — Appointment with Governor George D. Clyde.

We discussed the following matters:

1.  Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson’s earnest desire to be reappointed to the Board of Regents of the University of Utah.  I suggested that the Governor have another conference with Bishop Isaacson and explain to the Bishop why he is not to be reappointed.

2.  The vetoing of the Sunday Closing bill.*

3.  The biennial budget now before the legislature.

Note:  We did not mention the Civil Rights Law.

*I was interested in Governor Clyde’s defense of his veto on the Sunday Closing Bill.”

Friday, May 8, 1959

Telephone Conversation with President Ernest L. Wilkinson, of the Brigham Young University — Re:  Musical Production ‘Sand In Their Shoes’ and Labor Union troubles.

President Ernest L. Wilkinson called from the Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, and reported that they are having a labor union problem in connection with the orchestra for the musical play ‘Sand In Their Shoes’ soon to be produced by the Brigham Young University in Provo.

He reported that there are 15 B.Y.U. students who are in the University orchestra who belong to the Musicians Labor Union.  Nine of these students are performing in the orchestra working toward their credits in their musical courses at the B.Y.U.  The Union has taken the unjustifiable position that since these students are members of the Union that they must be paid, not only for the performances of the play itself, but also for the rehearsals.

This will work a hardship on the B.Y.U., because they cannot afford to pay these wages.

President Wilkinson said that he had talked to Otto Wisely who is the head of the Industrial Commission of the State of Utah.  He is not a member of the Church, but is friendly to us.  He thinks the stand the Union is taking is ridiculous.  He has the suggestion that if one of the Brethren of the General Authorities would just drop a broad hint to the Union that if they are going to interfere with the B.Y.U. in this respect, which is a Church organization, the Church might not be as sympathetic to the Salt Lake Symphony orchestra (a union orchestra) in letting them have the Tabernacle for their concerts.

President McKay:  ‘I would not make any threats such as Mr. Wisely suggests.  You should stand upon what is right.  We shall not recognize the Union in this unreasonable demand — if they want to take action, we shall then take the action that is necessary.  If they want to take those nine students out of their Union just because they are working toward their musical credits; that is up to them, but we shall not make any threats to them; just stand for what is right.'”

Fri., 12 June, 1959:

“At 7:30 a.m. – Met by appointment, at his request, Governor George Dewey Clyde.  He was right on time, and said that he appreciated the opportunity to meet with me this morning.

Co-ordinating Council for Higher Education

Governor Clyde presented, first, the question of a Coordinator’s Council for Higher Education – a State appointment.  He wanted to know if he could use Dr. William F. Edwards, Financial Secretary to the First Presidency, as Chairman of this Council.  I remarked that I knew that he was instrumental in organizing that Council, and the Governor said, ‘Yes that is true.’  I called attention to the fact that we are putting a lot of work on Dr. Edwards, and asked Governor Clyde how much time this appointment would require.  He said he didn’t know whether it would be the Governor’s prerogative to appoint the Chairman or whether the Committee will choose the Chairman.  In either case, he said he thinks it is likely that Dr. Edwards will be made Chairman, and that they will probably meet once a month.  I told the Governor that I would have a meeting with Dr. Edwards next Monday and let the Governor know.  (Later, Dr. Edwards reported it would be to our advantage for him to serve on this important committee.)

Committee on Aging

The second matter he presented related to the State Committee on the Care of the old people of the State.  The Governor said:  ‘Here again I should like to come to the Church — we should like to have Sister S. Spafford to help on this Committee.’

I read to the Governor the telegram that had come from Arthur S. Flemming, Secretary of the Deparment of Health Education and Welfare in Washington, D.C. appointing Sister Spafford a member of the National Advisory Committe for the White House Conference on Aging to be held in Washington, D.C., January, 1961.

I then remarked: ‘Governor Clyde when Sister Spafford told me of this appointment, I cautioned her not to be placed in a position where she would become overburdened because of her great responsibilities in the Relief Society.’

I gave the Governor permission to call Sister Spafford and talk the matter over with her.  (Later, Elder Delbert Stapley was asked to confer with the Governor on this matter, and it was decided for the time being that Brother Stapley will act as Chairman of the Committee on the Care of the Aged so long as it is not too burdensome.)

Prison Conditions

The third item the Governor brought up to me was Conditions at the Prison.  He has in mind the appointment of a chaplain.  I told him that I am not informed as to just what our relation is at the prison.  I am told that we have a Mormon Chaplain out there who is not satisfactory.  The Governor said the State is paying this chaplain $100 a month.  The Governor said he would make further inquiry as to what relation the Church has to the Chaplaincy at the Prison, and let me know, at which time we shall discuss this matter again.

Sat., 19 Sept. 1959:

“Saturday, September 19, 1959

MEMORANDUM September 21, 1959

To: Miss Clare Middlemiss

From: O. Preston Robinson

This morning, September 19, at 8:30 a.m., I met briefly with President McKay in his office.  We discussed the forthcoming city elections and I asked him to express his point of view regarding the nature of our city government.  During the past months, a concerted effort has been made to set machinery in motion to effect a change from the present commission form of government to a mayor-council form of government.  The recent legislature passed a bill specifically allowing the citizens of Salt Lake to make this change if they so desire.  Currently, the business community, the Chamber of Commerce and both newspapers have backed this change.

My Board of Directors unanimously approved a policy for the Deseret News to back this change of government actively on its editorial page.

President McKay agreed that this change should be made in our city government and expressed his hope that the Deseret News would continue to encourage this change.

We also briefly discussed specific candidates for the office of mayor as well as for the two commission posts which are to be filled this fall.

Fri., 8 Jan. 1960:

Telephone Call

Re:  Tabernacle Choir

Brother J. Willard Marriott called by telephone from Florida regarding the Tabernacle Choir’s participating in a dinner for President Dwight D. Eisenhower – A Republican fund-raising dinner–see notes following.  (see also copies of letters regarding this function.)

January 8, 1960

(Mr. J. Willard Marriott called early in regard to the Choir participating in Republican fund raising dinner)  (see copies of letters following)

(Conversation between Mr. Marriott and President McKay at 12:15 noon)

Bro. Marriott: ‘Hello’

Pres. McKay:  ‘Brother Marriott!’

Bro.  Marriott:  ‘Yes’

Pres. McKay:  You are right on the dot!’

Bro. Marriott: ‘Well, I thought you would be going out to lunch and I did not want to miss you.’

Pres. McKay:  ‘I think it is better if we do not get mixed up with this Republican entertainment in any way.  We can pay tribute to the President, but you can see the difficulty in this.’

Bro. Marriott: ‘Yes’  I understand there are some politics involved.’

Pres. McKay:  ‘That political element would prevent our doing what we would like to do.’

Bro. Marriott: ‘Well, I am glad I had an excuse to call you.’

Pres. McKay: ‘I am glad, too.’

Bro. Marriott: ‘I am glad to hear your voice.  Take care of yourself.’

Pres. McKay: ‘You do the same.’  ‘I’d like to see you.’

Bro. Marriott: ‘I’ll call in next time I am in town.’

Pres. McKay: ‘Will you please.  The Brethren send love and confidence.’

Bro. Marriott: ‘Give them my love and the same to you.’

Pres. McKay: ‘So does Sister McKay.’

Bro. Marriott: ‘Give her our love.  We hope to see you before long.’

Pres. McKay: ‘Good bye.’

January 8, 1960

January 4, 1960

Mr. Richard L. Evans

Church Music Committee

Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints

47 East So. Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Mr. Evans:

As requested during our phone conversation today, here are the details of the SALUTE TO EISENHOWER dinners, as discussed.

There will be about 75 dinners in different sections of the country, with an audience of probably 110,000.  The purpose of the dinner is to salute the President and recount the achievements of his administration and of course the final speech will be made by the President, himself.  He will be in attendance at the dinner in Los Angeles where 7,000 are expected.  The purpose of the dinner, besides the Salute, is for the raising of funds for the local and national Republican campaigns for the coming year, by selling the tickets to the dinners for $100 in some places and for $50 a plate in other places.

The Choir would be used on a closed circuit television show which would be carried over private telephone lines reserved for the purpose and delivered only to the dinners as scheduled.  It would be my plan, as producer of the closed circuit television show, to ask the Choir, in lieu of an invocation, to sing THE LORD’S Prayer and possibly one other number, and then at the end of the program after the President had finished speaking, to possibly lead us all in the singing of GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Ther would, of course, be an announcement made to indicate that the appearance of the Choir was as a mark of respect and a salute for the great job done by President Eisenhower and his administration and not, of course, a political endorsement of the Republican Party, if this is desired.

I am quite certain that the entire program will be an exciting, dignified demonstration of respect for the great job done by President Eisenhower and his administration and I am sure that the entire tone of the closed circuit production could be beautifully established by your magnificent organization.  I sincerely hope that it will be possible and that we can work out production details in the very near future.

The dinner is set for Wednesday, January 27th and the President himself will speak from Los Angeles, the Vice President will speak from Chicago.  Pick-ups will be made of other important dignitaries from Cleveland, Houston, Portland, Oregon, Boston and Detroit along with Los Angeles and Chicago, of course.  This will be, as far as I can find out, the largest closed circuit show ever attempted and I sincerely hope that the Choir will be part of it.


George Murphy


January 8, 1960


January 7, 1960

President David O. McKay


Dear President:

I passed on to Mr. Murphy, Vice President of Desilu Productions, our regrets in not being able to participate in the closed circuit television presentation on January 27 ‘honoring President Eisenhower,’ which is in fact a Republican fund raising dinner.

He ingeniously came back with the proposition that they wanted to use the Choir for the singing of the Lord’s Prayer and perhaps one other song as an ‘invocation’–the implication being that surely anyone in the Church would be happy to offer an invocation for any occasion on which the President of the United States would appear.

I did not give him further encouragement, but I bring this point of view to you in case you feel we should reconsider.  If we were to do so, it would be necessary to do so within a day or two.

Mr. Murphy was in Washington when I talked to him by telephone Wednesday and in Detroit at the Ford Motor Company Thursday when I talked to him, and will be back at the Desilu Studios in Hollywood Friday, and apparently is moving in high government and industrial and political circles, as well as in top-level radio and television production, and seems to be a person of some considerable stature.


Richard L. Evans

P.S. I think the matter is settled, unless we feel it wise to reopen it.



Tues., 26 Jan. 1960:

“9 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.  

Among other matters discussed were:

(1) The desire, submitted by Bishop Oscar McConkie, Jr., of Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts (presidential candidate for the Democratic Party), to meet me.  The Senator will be in Salt Lake City Saturday, January 30.  Brother McConkie asks if a meeting can be arranged for 11:45 or 12 noon.  I stated that I had an appointment with the children of my family in Huntsville for which I am planning to leave at 9:30 Saturday morning and that I would return about 4 p.m.  It was decided that effort be made to arrange for a meeting of Senator Kennedy and my counselors and I either before 9:30 or after 4 p.m.

Later, at the request of the persons handling Senator Kennedy’s tour, the appointment was set for 5:15 p.m.

Sat., 30 Jan. 1960:

“5:15 p.m.

Received a courtesy call from Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, condidate for presidential nomination.  President Clark and President Moyle were present at this meeting.  Those accompanying Senator Kennedy were:  Mr. John Rice, local attorney, a member of the Catholic Church, and who has been a Democratic delegate at Washington; Mr. Laurel J. Brown, of West Jordan, Salt Lake County Democratic Chairman; F. Briton McConkie, and Oscar W. McConkie, Jr.; Stephen P. Smoot; DeMar M. Teuscher, Deseret News Reporter, and his wife; and Ray G. Jones, Staff Photographer for the Deseret News.

We have a very pleasant interview with Senator Kennedy, talking on various domestic and international subjects.  I was very much impressed with him, and think that the country will be in good hands if he is elected as he seems to be a man of high character.  He comes from a home where he has received good training, and his father, a wealthy man, has seen to it that the children have had to work and take responsibility.

Our interview lasted for nearly an hour, following which my counselors and I chatted for 20 minutes or more.  (see newspaper clippings following)”

Thurs., 4 Feb. 1960:

“8 to 8:30 a.m.

The First Presidency had an interview with Governor George D. Clyde, at his request.  The Governor reported his visit with other governors with President Eisenhower and others on Civil Defense projects, having particular reference to air-raid shelters from atomic and hydrogen bombs and fall-out from such bombs.

Governor Clyde’s report was not a very encouraging one as to the improbability of an attack.  The entire hour was occupied entirely with discussing the necessity of securing bomb shelters, not only in government, but in our own Church buildings and in private dwellings.  Steps will be taken not only by the government, but by other organizations and by the Church to have bomb shelters in new buildings that are being erected.”

Mon., 8 Feb. 1960:

“Telephone Calls

1.  Walter Stevenson of Ogden, Utah called regarding whether or not he should accept the suggestion of Ezra Taft Benson and H. Aldous Dixon to run for Congress — see notes following.

Monday, February 8, 1960

Conversation between Mr. Walter Stevenson of Ogden, Utah, and President David O. McKay regarding Ezra Taft Benson and H. Aldous Dixon’s suggestion that Mr. Stevenson run for Congress on the Republican ticket.

Mr. Stevenson:  ‘I wanted to talk to you about my running for Congress.  We have some problems at home with sickness.’

President McKay:  ‘What do you mean by ‘sickness at home’?’

Mr. Stevenson:  ‘Effie is not well.  She has been sick for some time.  We’ve had trouble with one daughter.  She is a spastic and is under the care of a psychiatrist.  I told Brother Benson and Brother Dixon that.’

President McKay:  ‘The sickness is there anyway.  It is no excuse.  You would have to take care of that just the same.  I should like to see you run and make it.  I would not hesitate a minute.’

Mr. Stevenson:  ‘Do you think, then, with those problems it would not be too much of a handicap?  We had a son in the French Mission.  He has come home ill.  It is an emotional upset.  If you think I should run, I shall do it.  I am not too anxious, but they seem to think it is my duty.’

President McKay:  ‘We want a good man back there.  If we have you, we shall have a good man.  However, you know more about your home conditions than I do.  I had not heard about your son.’

Mr. Stevenson:  ‘Yes, he got a pain in his stomach and was in a hospital in Paris for a month.  He had an operation and they could not find anything wrong.  They think it is just emotional trouble.’

President McKay:  ‘Did they operate on his stomach?’

Mr. Stevenson:  ‘Yes, the French doctors thought something was wrong with it, but there was not.  It is just a matter of nerves.  We hope he will soon recover.  Thank you, President McKay.’

President McKay:  ‘You had better look into the matter of whether or not you should run for Congress and make your own preparations.’

Mr. Stevenson:  ‘That will be fine.  Thank you.'”

Tuesday, February 23, 1960

Telephone conversation with Honorable Ezra Taft Benson

Elder Benson:  President McKay, I feel in need of your judgment and counsel on a matter that is very important to me and to my work.  I wonder if it would be convenient for you to see me any time Saturday or Sunday, March 5th or 6th?

President McKay:  I’ll make it convenient.

Elder Benson:  I don’t want to interrupt your plans but I would like to come out.  I may have my older son, Reed, with me.  It is a matter regarding my work here and also my work in the Church.

President McKay:  May I look up my appointmnents and call you back?

Elder Benson:  I can call you back, or can I hold the line for a minute?

President McKay:  I think you had better come on Saturday, March 5.  What time would it be?  Say 8:30?

Elder Benson:  Well, the plane service isn’t too dependable.  I will be in New York—

President McKay:  Make it 9 o’clock.

Elder Benson:  Fine, we will make it nine o’clock.  If I can’t make it I will let you know.

President McKay:  Alright, we will be in town.

Elder Benson:  Good, we will look forward to seeing you.

President McKay:  Goodbye.

Elder Benson:  Goodbye.”

Sat., 5 Mar. 1960:

“2:30 p.m.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson and his son Reed called at the office by appointment previously arranged by telephone call from Brother Benson at Washington, D.C.

They entered into a two-and-a-half-hour discussion with me on national political affairs, especially on questions pertaining to candidates for the presidency of the United States.

I made no commitments, but advised that they watch the political trend between now and April Conference.  Reed then asked the question (having in mind the suggestion that has been made that his father run as a candidate for presidency) if there is anything that he could do or say that there might be other candidates considered besides the Vice President on the Republican ticket.  I answered, ‘You must never mention this – let the political leaders get together and make the suggestion, but do not let it come from you; you may acquiesce, but let them do the suggesting.’* (See over)

Following this consultation, I left for the hospital.”

Sat., 5 Mar. 1960:

“On March 8, 1960 received a letter from Brother Benson, a copy of which follows:

Washington, D.C.

‘Dear President McKay:

It was a real honor and pleasure for Reed and me to enjoy our association with you on Saturday.  Thank you so much for the generous amount of time you gave us and the counsel and instruction which you offered.  We will be happy to watch developments carefully, as you suggested, in the hope that we may have, as you indicated, the answer in a week or so, and in any event, by the time of April Conference.

We do hope that Sister McKay is continuing her improvement.  We all join in sending our prayers in her behalf.  May the rich favors of Heaven continue with you and yours.

Faithfully and sincerely your friend and brother,

/s/ Ezra Taft Benson

(see Wed., April 6, 1960)”

Sun., 20 Mar. 1960:

“8:00 a.m.

Left the hospital for the office.  I found on my desk two important letters – the first one I looked at was from the President of the United States (President Dwight D. Eisenhower) expressing his and Mrs. Eisenhower’s sorrow over the illness of Sister McKay, and sending their best wishes for a ‘rapid recovery.’

Sunday, March 20, 1960



March 16, 1960

Dear President McKay:

Secretary Benson was in my office this morning and during the course of our conversation told me of your wife’s illness.  I am deeply sorry that she has had to be hospitalized and I hope you will convey to her the best wishes of Mrs. Eisenhower and myself for a rapid recovery.  I assure you that both of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

With warm personal regard,


Dr. David O. McKay


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

Sunday, March 20, 1960

March 21, 1960

My dear Mr. President:

Mrs. McKay and I are truly grateful for your very kind letter of March 16, 1960, expressing your and Mrs. Eisenhower’s sorrow that Mrs. McKay has had to be hospitalized, and assuring her of your best wishes and prayers for a ‘rapid recovery.’

Yesterday we had word that the entire British Mission would be fasting and praying for Mrs. McKay.  In acknowledgment, a cable was sent saying that all our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, (thirty-five in all) would unite with them.

In the blessing given to Mrs. McKay at 1:30 p.m. that day, it was mentioned that your and Mrs. Eisenhower’s blessing was also included with that of the blessing of the First Presidency and the Twelve.

I am sure the mentioning of all who combined in that Divine Petition gave to our wife and mother immediate comfort and consolation.

This morning (the 21st) the nurse reports ‘a good night’s rest, and alertness and improvement.’

Mrs. McKay joins in expressing to you, President Eisenhower, and Mrs. Eisenhower, deep gratitude for your ever-to-be-cherished, thoughtful remembrance.


David O. McKay

Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.

Wed., 23 Mar. 1960:

8:30 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.

At the first part of our meeting we met by appointment Brother George Romney, President of the Detroit Stake, and Sister Romney.  We had quite a long discussion with President Romney.  He explained the economic and political plight of the State of Michigan which has resulted from the corporations of the state and the labor unions economically and politically having arrived at a point of deadlock causing paralysis of political and economic effort affecting them and the citizens at large.  He stated that this situation brought about the organization of the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ group as a means of bridging the gap.  He also said that he had for some time conferred with Walter Reuther to discover his fundamental purposes and interests in the hope that some basis for cooperation could be discovered.  In the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ organization people from all walks of life and all political parties are brought together to realize the superior obligation of citizens in the hope that they can influence both political parties.  Both Republican and Democratic parties have endorsed the movement.  He said that Vice President Nixon and others have come to him and urged him to seek election as Governor of Michigan.  This he has declined and also the urging that he run for United States Senator from Michigan which he has also declined.  He declined, he explained, because he felt that he had the primary obligation to the citizens group, and, second, he had an obligation to the American Motors of an exceptional nature, and, third, that he would rather not have public office, if it required that he become obligated to the corporations or the unions.

He then explained the continuing and growing concentration of power in the unions and the corporations has intensified economic and political conflict in the country and both economically and politically is preventing the people of the United States from having the benefit of the teamwork and political understanding which he thinks is the basis of American fundamentals and necessary for our strength.  The ‘Citizens for Michigan’ group organized a panel consisting of ministers, three Catholic priests, Protestant ministers and Jewish Rabii.  These men are close to Walter Reuther and they say that Reuther is not sure of himself.

President Romney has had several conferences with Mr. Reuther and finds that he is concerned about the same things as concern President Romney.  Reuther indicates that his growing concern is that the conflict mentioned above could so weaken America to the point where the Russians would succeed in their objective to defeat us around the world economically.  It is his view that Kruschev has decided that it is not necessary to defeat us in a military way because they can out perform us economically around the world.  He expressed himself as concerned about the increasing tendency to concentrate domestic activity into the hands of the Government.

Then followed a lengthy discussion about President Romney’s part in the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ organization.  I told President Romney that his influence should be held for the good of the United States, not as a Republican to head that committee or to head his industrial empire.  President Romney said that Vice-President Nixon has talked to him and wants to see him after he gets back from April Conference.  I said:  ‘Now, undoubtedly you are a leader and have great influence over this association for Michigan and particularly in Detroit.  It has been non-political including Democrats and Republicans and they are supporting it.  Nixon sees that you exert that influence.  He would like to use that influence for the purpose of perpetuating the Republican ideals in the next election.’  President Romney answered, ‘That is right.’

I told Brother Romney that we appreciate very much what he has done, and the inspiration he has received and that we pray that it will continue.  (for further details of this conversation — see minutes of the First Presidency for this day)”

Wed., 6 Apr. 1960:

“3 p.m.

Met in my private office by appointment at his request Elder Ezra Taft Benson who discussed with me again the matter of his running for the presidency of the United States.  I told him that there is no change in my advice as given to him on March 5, 1960 when he called; viz., that the pressure for this candidacy must come from outside groups, and not from him nor from his son Reed.”

Fri., 8 Apr. 1960:

12:15 to 1:10 p.m.

Chief of Police Cleon Skousen (just recently dismissed by Mayor J. Bracken Lee) called at the office, and gave me some pertinent facts pertaining to the controversy between him and Mayor Lee.

My confidence in Chief Skousen is absolute!”

Mon., 25 Apr. 1960:

“11 to 11:10 a.m.

Mr. Alfred I. Biorge, President of the Controls Engineering & Distributing Company, 1150 East 5th South, City, and Mr. Donn E. Cassity, Attorney at Law, 404 Kearns Building, Salt Lake City, called at the office and wanted to know if the Church would have any objection to former Chief of Police Cleone Skousen running for Governor of the State.

I said that that is a political matter; that every citizen has a right to seek nomination for any office that is available.

They mentioned an aspirant who says that he has $75,000 to spend for the nomination, and I said that that would be folly to let Governor Clyde and Brothers Skousen run for the same office and split the Mormon vote, and let this man come in.  They said that he (this aspirant) is a Democrat, and I said ‘Well, that is a different matter.’  Clyde, one of the county commissioners, and Skousen will be aspirants for the Republican nomination. 

I said that the Church has no objection to Skousen’s running for nomination – that he has a right to come out if he chooses to do so.”

Wed., 27 Apr. 1960:

“11:25 a.m.

Received a courtesy call from Mr. William Blair, head of the Washington Bureau of the New York Times.  He was accompanied by Mr. Ted Cannon of our Church Information Bureau.  Among other matters discussed Mr. Blair tried to get me involved in national nominations.  I told him that I had not met Senator Lyndon Johnson when he was in the city last Saturday.  Mr. Blair favors him.  I spoke favorably about Senator John F. Kennedy and also Vice-President Nixon, but could not say anything about Senator Johnson as I do not know much about him.  Mr. Blair is a close friend and admirer of Elder Ezra Taft Benson.”

Wed., 1 June 1960:

“8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency was held.

Invitation to Confer with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C. on Chilean Relief.

At the meeting this morning, I read a telegram that I received last evening from President Eisenhower in which he asks for a representative to be sent to the White House Thursday morning to meet the President and General Gruenther, President of the Red Cross to discuss how best to coordinate voluntary assistance to the people of Chile.  (see copy of telegram following) – also copy of our reply thereto.

After a brief discussion, it was decided to ask Elder Marion G. Romney, to come into the meeting of the First Presidency.  Upon his arrival I informed him of the desire of the First Presidency that he represent the Church at the conference with President Eisenhower in Washington, D.C.

Brother Romney accepted the assignment and reported that antibiotics, blankets, clothing, rugs, and shoes to a wholesale value of $26,545 have already been sent to Chile.  He also reported that 690 pairs of light weight overalls, 15,000 mittens, 3,070 boys cord trousers, and 200 for girls are in the warehouse packed and ready to be sent and that these total a value of $14,000 at wholesale prices.

Brother Romney reported, also, that he had talked with President Vernon Sharp, of the Andes Mission in Chile, and Brother Sharp explained that the materials sent through the Red Cross clear customs and avoid difficulties.  President Sharp and the missionaries will take care of distribution and the agreement has been reached that members of the Church may receive the materials directly from President Sharp and his staff.  Brother Sharp is in touch with the government daily and will keep the government informed about the materials being sent and their distribution.”

Mon., 6 June 1960:

“11 a.m.

Received a courtesy call from United States Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.  He was accompanied by Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson.  He impressed me as a good man, and one who is favorable to the Mormons.  Senator Goldwater thought it would be a wise thing to have Brother Benson come home as he fears he is going to be embarrassed by both the Republicans and the Democrats.  I told the Senator that some time ago the Church had a good place for Brother Benson if he felt to come home at that time.  This information was conveyed to President Eisenhower so that he might have an excuse to release Brother Benson if he deisred to do so, but President Eisenhower felt that he needed Brother Benson’s services, and did not feel to release him at that time.’

Monday, June 6, 1960

Letter received from Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson:  (For original correspondence, see Scrapbook  – Visits with important people.)

      June 8, 1960

President David O. McKay

Building Re:  Senator Barry

      U.S. Senator – Arizona

Dear President McKay:

I know it has been your privilege to meet many wonderful people from the highest to the least, the rich and the poor, presidents, rulers, and probably many of the most prominent individuals.

Monday, when you were kind enough to meet Senator Goldwater, of Arizona, he was very greatly impressed.  After we left your office, he stated he had looked forward to meeting you for many years, and he could not remember ever having met a man with whom he was more deeply and reverently impressed and of whom he thought more.  He was very humble and grateful, and truly appreciative, for the few moments he spent with you.

He like many others all over the world have been very friendly and very favorable toward the Church because of you.  Your willingness to meet men from different parts of the land has done much for the Church, more than we will ever realize, and at the same time, it has been a great blessing to these folks.

Monday when you met Adeshir Zahedi, Ambassador from Iran, he came to my office because he was very thoughtful of me in Iran when I was sick.  He recently sent me a very personal letter and an invitation and sent me a beautiful Persian rug.  While he was at the college, I took a keen interest in him because he was a brilliant young man and a very humble and clean young man.  He neither smokes or drinks, and he, too, was so greatly impressed in meeting you.

We are all so thankful to you for all you that do for us.

Senator Goldwater, in my opinion, is a very capable Senator.  We have developed a very fine friendship.  He has invited me to Washington many times.  We keep a constant correspondence, and I am sure he is a highly regarded Senator among his colleagues.

Personally, I shall feel indebted to you as long as I live, and all my efforts, my work, and my accomplishments, be they small, are largely due to the encouragement, the loyalty, and the friendship and love I have received from you.  I haven’t the words to express to you how that has made me feel and what it has done for me.

Truly, the example you set for us is a stimulation and an inspiration, and may our Heavenly Father preserve you and bless you for many, many years to come, because under your great leadership, the Church is experiencing a truly golden era.

With kindest personal regards and love to you now and always.

Affectionately your brother,

/s/ Thorpe B. Isaacson

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson


Tues., 7 June 1960:

“8:30 to 10 a.m.

The regular meeting of the First Presidency was held.  At this meeting we considered a statement proposed to be made public explaining the precautions to be taken in the widening of North State Street to preserve the trees, the rock wall, and the Eagle Gate, and to mention the present work being done under the direction of Architect George Cannon Young and the special committee of the descendants of Brigham Young for the restoration of the Beehive House was read.  It was explained that the statement is intended to allay the concerns of people who are opposing the alterations of North State Street.  (see newspaper clipping following)

We also read Elder Marion G. Romney’s written report of the conference he attended at the White House in Washington, D.C. at the call of President Eisenhower in a telegram to me last week (see June 1) in which he asked me to send a representative to attend a special meeting with him and General Gruenther, President of the American Red Cross to consider matters pertaining to relief for Chilean earthquake victims.  Later, we invited Elder Romney to come into our meeting, and at our request he supplemented the report with additional explanations and information.  After discussion it was decided to have prepared a letter to Stake Presidents and Bishops, giving instructions about receiving contributions from our Church people for the aid of Chilean relief sufferers, the contribution to be made through regular church channels.  (see copy of letter following approved June 8 to be sent to Mission Presidents, Stake Presidents, and Bishops).  (also see newspaper clipping)

Brother Romney handed me a letter copy of which follows bringing greetings to me from President Eisenhower:

‘June 4, 1960

‘Dear President McKay:

At the meeting in Washington, I had just a moment to speak to President Eisenhower…After greeting him, I told him that I brought to him your best regards.  His reply was, ‘That’s fine.  Please give to President McKay my regards.  He is one of my very best friends!’

Sincerely yours

/s/ Marion G. Romney

Tuesday, June 7, 1960


        Office of the First Presidency

  Salt Lake City 11, Utah

      June 7, 1960

To Mission Presidents, Stake

Presidents, and Bishops: Re:  Chilean Relief

On Thursday, June 2, representatives of organizations voluntarily contributing relief to the people of Chile who are suffering so terribly as a result of the recent earthquakes met by invitation at the White House, briefly with President Eisenhower and at great length with General Gruenther, president of the American Red Cross.  (At the request of President Eisenhower, the Red Cross is undertaking to coordinate the efforts of the volunteer relief organizations.)  From the report of our representative who attended the meeting, we quote:

The purpose of the meeting seemed to be twofold:  1) To exchange information between organizations and agencies rendering voluntary relief to disaster victims in Chile, and 2) to appeal to these agencies to increase and continue such aid, particularly in the form of cash…

The various agencies represented at the meeting told of what they had done.  We had done as much as any of the others reported they had done except the Catholics and the Lutherans…

There is much uncertainty and confusion as to just what the situation is in Chile.  It has been estimated that 50,000 houses have been rendered uninhabitable … Administration of available relief is no doubt in a state of confusion.  The Chilean Government was of course unprepared…

Each of the organizations represented at the meeting is sending supplies to its own representatives in Chile and will continue to do so…

The big plea is for cash.  This was explained by both General Gruenther and President Eisenhower…

President Eisenhower said his purpose was to thank the people represented by those present at the meeting for their contributions; he also said that he was a ‘violent believer in voluntary giving,’ and that ‘the more we permit government to do, the more we are in danger of losing what we stand for.’  He closed by saying, ‘It is wonderful to see America rise up and voluntarily coordinate in giving.’

In accordance with the purposes of the meeting, the Red Cross has adopted the following as the statement for making general appeal: ‘Give to Chilean relief through Red Cross, your church, or CARE.’

In harmony with this suggested procedure, we shall appreciate your counseling Church members to make their contributions to this most worthy and laudable purpose through the Church, using the same Church channels as when contributing fast offerings and other church welfare donations.

Contributions by Church members will be sent to Chile from the headquarters of the Church.

Sincerely yours brethren,

David O. McKay

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Henry D. Moyle

The First Presidency”

Tues., 21 June 1960:

12:30 to 1:10 p.m.

Conference with Cleon Skousen who called at the office regarding cancellation of his speaking appointments in ward houses on Communism, etc. during his political campaign for Governor of the State.  President Moyle came in at my request regarding the advertising that has been done by Brother Skousen’s campaign manager.  It was agreed that Brother Skousen will tell his manager not to advertise that he (Brother Skousen) will speak in ward buildings whether or not his speeches are non-political.  However, I stated that Brother Skousen will not be denied the privilege of conducting one of the classes with the missionaries at the Mission Home.”

Fri., 22 July 1960:

“Telephone conversation between Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, and President David O. McKay.  Brother Benson called from Washington, D.C. regarding the presidential nomination.

Pres. McKay:   Hello.

Bro. Benson:   Hello, President McKay, this is Brother Benson.

Pres. McKay:  Glad to hear you.

Bro. Benson: It is good to hear your voice, how are you?

Pres. McKay: Very well, thank you.

Bro. Benson: That is good.  You are standing the heat out there all right are you?

Pres. McKay: All right, but we are getting out of it when we can.  It is terrific!

Bro. Benson: We are having the best summer we have had since we have been back here.

Pres. McKay: It frequently happens that way.

Bro. Benson: Yes it does.  How is Sister McKay?

Pres. McKay: She is getting better, thank you.

Bro. Benson: Oh I’m glad, give her our love will you?

Pres. McKay: Thank you.

Bro. Benson: I wonder if you have any counsel for me as we approach this convention in Chicago.  I am going out on Monday morning.  They have been busy writing the platform this week, as you know.

Pres. McKay: Yes, I was in touch with one man yesterday who is there.

Bro. Benson: Brother Wilkinson is there from Utah.  I don’t know if we have any other Latter-day Saints there or not.  I have three members of my staff there offering technical help.  I am going out, I think, on Monday to stay through the convention.  I am quite hopeful that they are going to come out with a rather sound plan on Agriculture — although I think it will be rather general, the details to be filled in maybe during the campaign.  There is still considerable interest in the Governor of New York, Nelson A. Rockefeller.

Pres. McKay: So I notice, and I am happy about it.  He has made a slip or two recently.  I was sorry to see that.

Bro. Benson: I think he has been a little bit liberal in one or two things he has said, and I have told him so.  I am under considerable pressure to indicate who I think would stand the best chance of defeating Senator Kennedy of the Republicans.  I have been seriously considering making a brief statement that I feel that the Governor of New York would stand the best chance.

Pres. McKay: I think you are right, and I am with you!

Bro. Benson: I am glad to hear you say that.  I don’t know that he has much of a chance, but I think there is a long-shot chance he may possibly win the nomination yet.  But most people think that Nixon has it pretty well sewed up.

Pres. McKay: Yes, that is the general idea.

Bro. Benson: But there is apparently a growing sentiment in a draft for Rockefeller.  It is too bad he withdrew last December.

Pres. McKay: Yes, it was the mistake of his life.  I believe if he had not done that he could get the nomination.

Bro. Benson: Yes, I think there is no question about that, President McKay.  But, he did withdraw.  Now it is a question of whether or not there will be enough sentiment developed to draft him.  They are after me to try to help persuade him.  I think they think I have more influence with him that I do.  They want me to help persuade him to run on the ticket as second man.

Pres. McKay:  Oh no, I think that would be a mistake.

Bro. Benson: I think the best thing to do is try to get him in first place.

Pres. McKay: Try to get him in first place.  If he cannot do that, then it will be up to him.

Bro. Benson: May I read to you the brief statement I had in mind of making?

Pres. McKay: All right.

Bro. Benson: This is the statement:  ‘Having traveled possibly more miles in the United States than any other Republican in the past seven and one-half years, I am convinced that Governor Rockerfeller would stand the best chance of defeating Senator Kennedy.  The Governor would pull heavily from Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, and I strongly believe he would win.  Although in some areas I feel Governor Rockefeller may be somewhat too liberal, he is devoted to our basic American concepts, and would make a great president.’

Pres. McKay: That is very good.

Bro. Benson: If there is any question about any of it I would like to know.  I hadn’t, at first, thought to say anything about my own travels.  I was going to start out this way:  ‘Of the prospective Republican presidential candidates, Governor Rockerfeller would stand the best chance of defeating Senator Kennedy.’

Pres. McKay: No, I hardly think I should do that.  I think your statement is right just as you have it.  You are just stating that you have had a chance to get the sentiment of the people.  So the first statement you read is better than the last one.

Bro. Benson: I am particularly concerned that there be no unfavorable reaction on the Church.

Pres. McKay: No, I don’t think it will.

Bro. Benson: This doesn’t speak out in opposition to the Vice-President.  It just indicates what I think about his chances if he were nominated.

Pres. McKay:  I think that is all right Brother Benson.

Bro. Benson: I don’t know just when I shall release it, President McKay.  I may release it this afternoon for the morning papers, or, I may wait until Saturday for the Sunday morning papers.

Pres. McKay: I think Sunday morning would be a better time.

Bro. Benson: It might have an influence on a greater number of delegates if it came out earlier.  Of course, I think maybe Sunday morning will be the best as there are no afternoon papers on Sunday.

Pres. McKay: I think so.

Bro. Benson: I appreciate your judgment on this President McKay.

Pres. McKay: Thank you for calling.

Bro. Benson: I hope you get a little relaxation this weekend.  Get away from the heat if you can.

Pres. McKay: I am just leaving now.

Bro. Benson: Peace be with you!

Pres. McKay: Thank you.  We join in sending love to you.

Brother Benson: Thank you, goodbye.”

Tues., 16 Aug. 1960:

“8:30 a.m.

By appointment made by me, Congressman David S. King called on the First Presidency.  He described his responsibilities and opportunities in Washington as a great challenge, and as presenting many grave problems.  He briefly reviewed his assignment on the Science Committee, and reported the estimate that the scientific knowledge of mankind had doubled during the thousand years of the Dark Ages; that by 1900 scientific knowledge had doubled every twenty years, and since World War II, scientific knowledge has doubled every ten to fifteen years.  The task of compiling and cataloging scientific knowledge now is in itself staggering, Brother King stated.

We discussed the importance and necessity of the United States holding firm and unyielding in its position against the international adversary.  Danger in the present world conditions was mutually recognized.

I stated that it is our duty to emphasize spirituality, and to let the world know that it is time to emerge from the animal to the spiritual plane; that this is now the mission of the Church.

Brother King said that his visit with the Brethren is the highlight of his trip home, and he asked to be given opportunity to assist in any way he can.”

Tues., 13 Sept. 1960:

Senator Kennedy Party

I reported to the brethren that Senator Kennedy, Senator Moss, Congressman King, and their party will be in Salt Lake City Friday, September 23rd between 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m., and that a request had come to me that they would like to meet members of the First Presidency.  I stated that I had said that I should be glad to meet the party, and invited my counselors to be present if they wished so to do.

Political Meeting in Tabernacle

I said that protests are coming to permitting the use of the Tabernacle for political meetings.  We considered the part to be taken by the brethren of the General Authorities in the political meetings.

It was decided that individual members of the General Authorities may attend these meetings as they please, but that they be advised to take no part.

I stated that I had advised Elder Hugh B. Brown not to participate by offering prayer or by introducing the speaker.  It was suggested that Elder Ezra Taft Benson refrain from participating in the campaign.”

Thurs., 15 Sept. 1960:

‘Thursday, September 15, 1960

To: Miss Clare Middlemiss

From: Ted Cannon

Re: Columnist Drew Pearson’s Visit with President McKay

Date: Sept. 15, 1960

At 4:30 P.M. Thursday, Sept. 15, 1960, President McKay received in his office Drew Pearson, noted Washington columnist and author, whose column appears daily in the Deseret News.  Mr. Pearson was in Salt Lake to address the annual convention of the Utah Municipal League.

After exchanging greetings, President McKay said he had been anxious to meet Mr. Pearson for many years, and particularly at this time to thank him for the splendid article by Jack Anderson, former Salt Laker and Mr. Pearson’s associate, which appeared in the column at the time of President McKay’s recent birthday.  The President said, laughingly, that he was glad Mr. Pearson was way on vacation at the time so that Jack could run the story.  Mr. Pearson said that he and Jack had talked about the article many times, and that he (Pearson) said that he would like to do the article himself after visiting President McKay, but that he had finally yielded to Jack who said he felt a particular pride and interest in the subject, being himself a Utahn and a member of the Church.

The conversation continued most pleasantly and cordially, as Mr. Pearson asked the President about the Huntsville farm, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and other personal matters.

They talked also (off the record) about politics and the present presidential campaign.  President McKay said he had met Mr. Kennedy on two occasions, once before he was a candidate for president and once since, and that while he seemed to be a very brilliant and able young man, he felt that he was somewhat lacking in maturity.  He said he had met Mr. Nixon personally, and he felt he had had more experience in world affairs and other fields than any other vice president in the country’s history.

Mr. Pearson said he had known President Clark for many years, since he was with the State Department in Washington, and that he felt he had made a great contribution in cementing good relations between this country and Mexico.

In response to the writer’s questions, the President told about some of his recent travels and activities, and said he was looking forward to going to London in February to dedicate the new London Chapel.

Following the interview, Mr. Pearson said he considered it a great privilege and honor to be received by the President, whom he had always considered one of the nation’s truly great men, and that after meeting him he was more than ever impressed by his great strength of character and spirituality.  (Mr. Pearson himself is a Quaker.)

He said several times how much he admired the Mormon people, as he had had occasion to meet and know them in the course of his work.”

Wed., 21 Sept. 1960:

Telephone Calls

1.  While at my apartment at the Hotel, talked to Ezra Taft Benson in Washington, D.C.  Told him that we do not want him to enter the political campaigns this Fall.”

Fri., 23 Sept. 1960:

8:30 p.m.

Attended the Democratic meeting in the Salt Lake Tabernacle where Senator John F. Kennedy was the guest speaker.  President Henry D. Moyle accompanied me.  (see newspaper clippings regarding this meeting)

On September 25, 1960, I received a telegram of appreciation from Senator Kennedy, a copy of which follows:

‘Washington, D.C.  1960 Sep. 25 11 a.m. 1960

President David O. McKay, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

I want you to know that I appreciate more than words can express your many kindnesses to me during my recent visit to Salt Lake City.  Kind regards.  /s/Senator John F. Kennedy.’

The next day, Senator Kennedy sent Sister McKay two dozen beautiful roses.  Sister McKay thanked him in a letter dated, a copy of which follows.

Friday, September 23, 1960

November Return – Win or Lose

JFK to Revisit Pres. McKay

Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) promised President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Friday that ‘win or lose’ he’d visit Utah again in late November.

And, said the senator, next time he’ll make a special point of visiting Mrs. McKay.

Sen. Kennedy made the promise during a 15-minute meeting with President McKay at the church offices, 47 E. South Temple.  It came after President McKay said his wife would have been present to meet the senator if she had felt better.

‘I appreciate that,’  Sen. Kennedy said.

‘I can say this – she is a woman of good jugment,’ President McKay said.

He promised the presidential candidate that the church would support him if he were elected.

Sen. Kennedy asked if President McKay’s view of the world situation had changed since the last time they met.

‘After hearing Khrushchev at the United Nations this afternoon – I don’t know,’ the LDS Church president said.  ‘We need good steady men to take care of him and his cohort in Cuba.’

There are more good people in the world than there are bad, and most men in high offices are of high ideals, President McKay said.

Sen. Kennedy said he felt that Africa was an area of the world where the great problems of the future are.  He termed the area critical.

‘It is one of the great problems, but no problem is impossible to solve,’ President McKay replied.  ‘The only danger is that some irresponsible man like Khrushchev might start a conflagration in the world.  But I have confidence in America and its ability to take care of itself.’

‘We all share that view,’ Sen. Kennedy replied.

President McKay said America must maintain its ideals, for they are right.  Character is higher than intellect, he said.  American stands for what is good and true in manhood and the Communists do not, President McKay said.

Henry D. Moyle, second counselor in the LDS First Presidency who also met with the senator, commented that Sen. Kennedy appeared to have lost some of his gaiety from the campaign.

‘I left some of it in the four states we have been in the last few days,’ Sen. Kennedy said.  ‘It is a very great challenge to be a party’s presidential candidate.’

Earlier, Sen. Kennedy told President McKay that a baby was expected, so his wife could not travel.  President McKay extended his best wishes.

When Sen. Kennedy entered the church offices some 300 persons were on hand, but by the time he left the crowd had grown to more than 1,500.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Saturday, September 24, 1960″

Mon., 10 Oct. 1960:

“Returned to Salt Lake at 4 o’clock, and went directly to the office where I received a courtesy call from Vice President Richard M. Nixon, Republican candidate for President of the United States.  Elder Ezra Taft Benson made the introductions.

I first met Mr. Nixon when he was a candidate for Vice President at the Church Offices September 26, 1952.  I met him again on October 16, 1958 when he called at the Church Offices with Mrs. Nixon.

The following were present at this interview:  Mrs. Nixon, Mr. Fred A. Seaton, Secretary of the Interior, Governor and Mrs. George D. Clyde, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace F. Bennett, Mr. and Mrs. A. Walter Stevenson, Mr. and Mrs. Sherman P. Lloyd, Lamont F. Toronto, Secretary of State, Walter L. Budge, Attorney General of Utah, Jaren L. Jones, Republican National committeeman, Dorothy Stevenson, Republican National committeewoman, Vernon Romney, State Chairman, Republican Party, Mrs. Helen H. Brown, Vice Chairwoman for State Republican party.

President Henry D. Moyle, Elder Harold B. Lee, Elder Marion G. Romney, and Elder Howard W. Hunter were also present.

In addition, there were TV and Radio reporters who were accompanying Vice President Nixon on his tour – also the local press and radio reporters.

I had a very interesting 45-minute interview with Mr. Nixon.  (see newspaper accounts of the interview and of the visit to Salt Lake and meeting in the Tabernacle following)  (Also see note over by President McKay)  (Also see Oct. 19 for letter from President Eisenhower) and (also letter from Fred A. Seaton)

5:20 p.m.

Following interview with Mr. Nixon, Elder Richard L. Evans came into my private office for a brief consultation.

7:30 p.m.

Attended Republican meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, at which Vice President Nixon was the guest speaker.

10 p.m.

Returned home from the Tabernacle

A very taxing day — retired with much weariness!

Nixon Visit

On Thursday, October 13, President McKay reported to the brethren that he had received a good many letters finding fault because he had wished Vice President Nixon success in his campaign.  He said that when Senator Kennedy was here, many letters were also received by his office claiming that the Church had turned Democratic.  The President felt that the meetings held in the Tabernacle by both candidates were very satisfactory.  He said it is now up to the people to vote their choice.”

Monday, October 10, 1960




The white-haired man suddenly became very earnest…’The important thing is the dignity of man…’America must be aggressive in promoting its ideals of freedom, justice and spirituality…’

The dark curly head of the younger man nodded in vigrous assent.

‘I agreed with you perfectly,’ said the Vice President of the United States to the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Church Office Visit

The two, Richard M. Nixon and President David O. McKay, hit it off famously during their 45-minute chat in the Church office building.  The vice president and his party paid a courtesy call there after his arrival Monday afternoon.

Up to that point the conversation had been light-hearted with the 87-year-old Church leader appearing to be just as alert and witty as the man 40 years his junior.

The small crowd, mostly news, TV and radio men, seemed to enjoy the good-natured exchanges of the two, with frequent interjections from others in the group.

It was a somewhat noisy group until the Church President began to speak of the need for spirituality in solving America’s problems.

Then a hush descended, as the group listened intently.

Must Promote Ideals

‘The vote in the U.N. yesterday shows that many nations are undecided which way to go,’ said President McKay.  ‘We must prove to them that we have something the Communists have not.  We must be aggressive in promoting our ideals abroad.

‘We want a man who can succeed President Eisenhower in this regard.  Can you do it?’

‘I can be aggressive without being belligerent,’ the vice president replied.  ‘We must not descend to the same level as Mr. Khrushchev.  Too often we argue with the Reds on their own terms, such as military power, rockets and so on.  We don’t emphasize our greatest advantage — freedom.’

Extend Freedom

The vice president went on to say that it isn’t enough to just defne our own freedom.  ‘We must be on the offensive to extend freedom to the rest of the world.  A static defense, alone, would be disastrous,’ he said.

During the interview, President McKay, speaking as a Republican, said to Vice President Nixon:

‘I sat by your competitor in this office a few weeks ago and told him that if he were successful we would support him.  In your case I’ll say we hope you are successful.’

The conversation between the two men jumped from one subject to another — the rain, how well Mr. Nixon looked, the vice president’s opportunities to participate in great decisions.  Mr. Nixon’s geneology, and the fact he has many relatives in Utah.

The vice president recalled that while he was a member of a college debating team 

he stayed at the Hotel Utah.  ‘It was during the depression and we had little money, so the management let us have a room for a dollar a night,’ he said.

He commented that it is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.

‘It’s solidly built,’ said President McKay.

‘Just like the Republican Party,’ quipped Mr. Nixon.

At one point, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, interjected to point out to Mr. Nixon that ‘this man speaking to you is one of the greatest examples of spiritual courage in the world.’

He told how the Chruch President had presided over three days of General Conference and then Monday had driven through the storm from his home in Huntsville.

The vice president complimented President McKay on being able to do all this ‘at your age.’

‘In our household, the words ‘at your age’ are banned,’ said President McKay with twinkling eyes.

Deseret News – Tuesday, October 11, 1960

Monday, October 10, 1960



‘The statement in the press is correct but it isn’t the way President McKay meant it,’  Miss Clair Middlemiss, secretary to President McKay, told the California Intermountain News today in response to the question, ‘Did President McKay endorse Vice-president Nixon for the presidency as reported in the nation’s press today?’

Miss Middlemiss said President McKay did say to Nixon as reported in the press that he had pledged his support to Democratic nominee Kennedy if he should be elected, but ‘today, I say, we hope you are successful.’

President McKay is modifying this statement in the Deseret News today, Miss Middlemiss reported.  He wants it clarified that he was speaking ‘as a personal voter and as a Republican’ to the Republican candidate of his party.  He said he was not speaking for the Church, when he told Nixon ‘we hope you are successful.’

Miss Middlemiss said the President as leader of the Church has remained entirely neutral.  ‘He sat on the stand at the tabernacle ten days ago when Senator Kennedy spoke there and he attended the tabernacle meeting yesterday when Vice-President Nixon spoke.’

President McKay said during his unprecedented 45-minute interview with Nixon in the Church Office Building that no Vice President ‘since our country was formed has had an opportunity to deal with so many important national affairs as you have under President Eisenhower.’

President McKay praised President Eisenhower’s leadership in the ideological fight with Communists and added: ‘We want a man to succeed President Eisenhower who can carry on his policies.’

The interview began with presentation to the candidate of a genealogical chart showing him to be an eighth cousin of J. Reuben Clark, Jr., First Counselor in the First Presidency, and of Mary Todhunter Clark Rockefeller, wife of Gov. Rockefeller.  ‘The chart showed their descendance from William Brinton and Ann Bagley in colonial Pennsylvania.

In attendance for the tabernacle address of Nixon with President McKay was Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson.  A partisan crowd of 8000 was present.

A like crowd, only Democratic in leanings, filled the tabernacle previously to hear Senator Kennedy.  President McKay and Second Counselor Henry D. Moyle were present on that occasion.  Senator Kennedy also had an interview with President McKay in the church offices prior to the tabernacle meeting.

California Intermountain News – Thursday, October 13, 1960

Monday, October 10, 1960




Vice President Richard M. Nixon said Monday he would deal with the Communist challenge aggresively but not belligerently if he is elected president.

He gave this assurance to President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a 45-minute visit with the church leader and his associates in the church offices.

The vice president, Mrs. Nixon and members of his party called upon President McKay soon after their arrival in a driving rain to be greeted by 500 drenched but cheering supporters at the Salt Lake Airport.

Despite the rain, the presidential candidate mounted a plane loading ramp with Mrs. Nixon holding an umbrella to greet the crowd.

He commented that such an enthusiastic reception under such adverse circumstances indicated that ‘we will carry this state without question.’

‘But I am not going to keep you her.  We will need every vote and I don’t want any of you to catch penumonia,’ he added.

Proceeding immediately to the offices of the LDS Church after he was escorted to the Hotel Utah in a motorcade carrying party leaders, candidates and a colorful group of ‘Nixon girls,’ the vice president was greeted by President McKay, Pres. Henry D. Moyle, second counselor in the First Presidency, and several other general authorities of the church.

The discussion on Communism was prompted by a remark of the church leader that various distinguished visitors had concluded that Salt Lake City and Utah had a quality of spiritualism inherited from the pioneers.

Mr. Nixon replied that the great problem in the world today was to ‘maintain things of the spirit when there is so much materialism.’

He declared that in a world of change and emerging new nations, ‘it is not enough to protect our own freedom, or the dignity of man of this country alone.

‘We must extend it,’ he continued.  ‘In this changing world we will lose if we stand still.  A static defense would be disastrous…We can’t sit back and say we will try to keep what we have.’

President McKay noted that the United Nations proceedings suggested that a number of new nations are sitting back, waiting to see what is to be the outcome of the Communist-free world struggle.

‘And we,’ Mr. Nixon interrupted, ‘must prove that we have something which communism hasn’t got and will never have.’

Commenting that President Eisenhower has been doing that very thing, President McKay asked Mr. Nixon if he could carry on.  The vice president replied that he would do his best, that he would be aggressive but not belligerent.

‘I believe,’ President McKay went on,’ that no vice president since our country was born has had the opportunity of dealing with problems, national and international, that you have had under President Eisenhower…

‘And that,’ Mr. Nixon broke in, ‘is to the credit of the President.’

Jaren L. Jones, Republican national committeeman, interrupted at this point to suggest that President McKay be permitted to complete his comment.

‘I thought,’ he said to the church president, ‘you were going to say that this experience was excellent training for the presidency.’

‘If I didn’t say it,’ President McKay remarked, ‘I thought it.’

After telling the vice president that ‘people here wish you well,’ President McKay added:

‘I sat next to your competitor recently…I told him that if he is successful we would all support him.  And I say to you, I hope you are.’

Mr. Nixon told the church president that ‘we intend to win, but it will be a close fight.’

President McKay started a discussion on water by describing the day and the rain as ‘glorious.’  Mr. Nixon replied that anyone from the west, including his home area of southern California, felt that way about rain.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson broke in with the remark that inasmuch as ‘Republicans are being blamed for the drought we can take credit for the rain.’

Informed by National Committeeman Jones that geneological records showed Mr. Nixon had many relatives in Utah through descent from William Brinton, a Quaker of Chester County, Penn., the vice president expressed the hope that ‘my relatives vote for me.’

Mr. Jones explained that Mr. Nixon and J. Reuben Clark, Jr., first counselor in the First Presidency, were tenth generation descendants of Quaker Brinton and were therefore one-eighth cousins.

Greeting the vice president and his party at the airport and accompanying him on the visit to the church offices were Gov. George D. Clyde, Secretary Benson, Sherman P. Lloyd and A. Walter Stevenson, GOP candidates for Congress, other party candidates for state offices, and Joseph L. Wirthlin, presiding bishop of the church.

Accompanying Mr. Nixon, in addition to his wife, was Secretary of Interior Fred A. Seaton.

With President McKay during the visit were Pres. Moyle, Harold B. Lee, Marion G. Romney and Howard W. Hunter, members of the Council of Twelve apostles, and several other church officials.  Pres. Clark was confined to his home under orders of his doctor.

Heading the welcoming delegation at the airport were State Chairman Vernon Romney, party candidates National Committeeman Jones, and many other officers of the party organization and its auxiliaries.

The motorcade traveled from the airport to 4th South and Main and up Main Street to South Temple.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Tuesday, October 11, 1960″

Fri., 14 Oct. 1960:

11:20 to 1 p.m.

Went over dozens of letters that have come objecting to the statement I made to Nixon that I wished him success.  (see copy of letter sent to some of them)

Friday, October 14, 1960

October, 1960

Mr. _________


Dear ________________:

Answering your letter of __________________, I am instructed to say for President McKay that ‘Vice Presdient Nixon is the Republican nominee for President, and as a Republican I wish him success.

This should not be interpreted as a Church endorsement of Mr. Nixon.

‘Members of the Church who favor Senator Kennedy should, of course, feel free to express their choice.’

Very truly yours,

/s/ Clare Middlemiss

Secretary to:

President David O. McKay

Wed., 19 Oct. 1960:


Received a nice letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in which he commented upon the visit to the office of Mr. Fred Seaton, Secretary of the Interior, and of his report to the President.  Mr. Seaton accompanied Vice President Nixon when he made a courtesy call to my office.  (see copy of President Eisenhower’s letter and of my reply thereto following) (also see copy of letter from Fred Seaton following)

Wednesday, October 19, 1960



October 15, 1960

Dear President McKay:

I have just had a message from Fred Seaton who, as you know, is travelling with the Vice President.  The comments that Secretary Seaton relayed to me are so generous as to be almost overwhelming.  As always, I am deeply appreciative of your confidence and support.

I hope you are feeling fine, and I was, of course, delighted to read in the paper of your endorsement of the Vice President.

With warm regard,


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dr. David O. McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of 

Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

Wednesday, October 19, 1960

October 21, 1960

My dear Mr. President:

It was very gracious of you to send to me your letter of October 15, 1960.

I was pleased indeed to meet Mr. Fred Seaton on the occasion of Vice President Nixon’s recent visit to the office of the First Presidency.  Indeed, I am glad to meet any one who is closely associated with you in the present critical period through which our country is now passing.

I admire you personally, have full confidence in your leadership, and pray constantly that your nobility of character and true statesmanship will constantly merit Divine guidance.

I prize your letter and cherish your friendship!

Mrs. McKay joins in appreciation and warm regards.

Sincerely yours,

/s David O. McKay

The Honorable Dwight D. Eisenhower

The White House

Washington, D.C.”

Wednesday, October 26, 1960

To: Clare Middlemiss

From: Ted Cannon of the Church Information who accompanied Mr. Cahn

to President McKay’s Office

Date: November 1, 1960

Re:  Interview of Robert Cahn with President McKay

On Wednesday, October 26, at 8:10 a.m., President McKay received Robert Cahn of Arlington, Virginia, a staff writer for the Saturday Evening Post, in his office.

Mr. Cahn explained that the POST is carrying a series of articles on the various states of the Union, pointing up their present and future trends and prospects, and that he had been assigned to do Utah, and was now concluding a month’s visit during which he had traveled over 3,500 miles and talked to hundreds of people.

He asked President McKay what he considered the state’s greatest material need at this time, and the President answered:  ‘The development of our natural resources — particularly water.’  The President sketched the history of the state and pointed out how the economic face was gradually changing from one based almost wholly on agriculture to one which included many industrial developments — particularly steel.

Asked if the Church was opposed to or saw dangers in this change, he said no, that on the contrary, the Church favored any new industry or development which would build up the state and help its economy, and he pointed out that these new industries not only bring many fine people here, a number of whom have joined the church, but that it also provides many jobs and payrolls for our people already here.

Told that the U.S. government is now the largest single employer in Utah, the President said he was surprised to hear this, and did not think it was a sound situation.  In answer to another question, however, he said he thought the government should continue its explorations and investigations into the space area.  ‘Man first conquried the land, then the sea, and then the air, and it is only natural and proper that he should now extend his knowledge into outer space’, he said.

Asked if he thought the ease of modern living and the increase of leisure time was adversely affecting Utahns today, the President said he didn’t think so — that Church members, at least, generally found plenty of beneficial activity for their spare time, and that many in the rural areas worked a full-time job and then, with the benefit of modern machines and methods, successfully operated farms as well.

He recalled his own boyhood on the farm and said he still likes to get up to Huntsville whenever time permits — in fact that he had been there only a couple of days ago.  He said he was sorry the doctor would not let him ride his favorite horse, Sonny Boy, any more, but that he was looking forward to hitching him to the sleigh when winter comes.

The President as usual was most gracious and interesting, interspersing his answers and remarks with many humorous anecdotes and quotations, and Mr. Cahn after leaving said he had never met a more interesting person and that this interview was the highlight of his month in Utah.”

Thurs., 27 Oct. 1960:  

“Visit from Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice presidential candidate for Democratic Party

2:30 to 3:15 p.m.

Received a courtesy call from the following:

Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas, the vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party

Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington, the national party chairman

Senator Frank E. Moss of Utah

Mrs. Lucy Redd, National committeewoman

Willaim T. Thurman, Democratic State Chairman

Calvin W. Rawlings

Kathleen Meikle, State Democratic, Co-Chairman

Mr. William A. Barlocker, Democratic candidate for Governor of State of Utah

Senator Johnson and I, for 40 minutes, discussed matters pertaining to the younger generation, both of us agreeing that the young people are as sound and patriotic as older generations, and far better prepared to face the problems of life.  I quoted the following to Senator Johnson:

(see over)

In our conversation Senator Johnson inquired about the missionary system, and then talked about his ranch in Texas, inviting me to visit him sometime at his place.

I thoroughly enjoyed my conference with Senator Johnson and the others, and felt that Senator Johnson is a very fine person. (see newspaper clipping following)

Thurs., 3 Nov. 1960:

“9:30 a.m.

Received a courtesy call from the Honorable John H. Stambaugh, Vice Chancellor of the Vanderbuilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and special consultant to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  I met Mr. Stambaugh once before when he called at my office on February 28, 1955.

Dr. Stambaugh said that he brought President Eisenhower’s greetings; that President Eisenhower had instructed him not to leave Salt Lake City without paying his respects to President McKay and the First Presidency.  He commented optimistically upon the prospects for the election of Vice President Nixon, whose campaign he is assisting.

Mr. Stambaugh reviewed briefly his having been a speaker last evening at the Brigham Young University and expressed satisfaction with the spirit of the young people whom he met.  He reported that the senior students at the Vanderbilt University had been given opporutnity to express a choice as between 1) having a job with assured security on a living wage; 2) a better job, but with reasonable security; and 3) without security, but with opportunity to be productive and to have the rewards for risk taking — and that 68% selected the third choice.

He commented upon the attitudes of people who advocate doing what the Communists are doing and said that ‘the minute we mimick the Communists, we lose the battle.’  He left a copy of an address he gave on the subject of how democracy dies when the people become apathetic.

Dr. Stambaugh said he was impressed by the dormitories of the Brigham Young University and by the cost of their construction.  He also expressed his interest in the University and its student body, with special interest in the fact that the students come from all parts of the world.  

He described a plan being considered at Vanderbilt to have branches of the university in Latin America, in Pakistan, and in other places where students can have one semester of study.  The courses and advanced work in the economic development of backward nations are being emphasized.  He expressed admiration for the missionary system of the Church, and for the opportunities which the young people have.

He described the graduate courses and schools of Vanderbilt University and mentioned especially the department of  interdenominational religions in which Jewish and Christian scholars offer courses.  The University hopes, also, to have an Islamic scholar and also a Catholic scholar if the University can choose him free of the dictation of the local bishop.  He said that the University has a liberal arts college, a school of medicine, school of law, school for the ministry, as well as advanced courses in science and humanities.

He recommended a book on ‘The Freudian Ethic’ by Richard LaPiere of Stanford.  He expressed his appreciation and admiration of President Eisenhower, and also his opportunity to meet with the First Presidency.  He said, ‘It does something to me every time I come into this building.’

I asked Dr. Stambaugh when he returns to Washington to give President Eisenhower my love, and I said, ‘and note that I use the word ‘love’.’  President Moyle, who was present during the interview, expressed interest in the courses offered at Vanderbilt, and Dr. Stambaugh said that he would be pleased to send a copy of the catalog to him.

I gave directions to have a copy of the Book of Mormon delivered to Dr. Stambuagh at the hotel before he leaves the city by air this noon.”  

Tues., 8 Nov., 1960:

This evening, Sister McKay and I watched the television for returns of a very exciting National and Local election.  At nearly 11 p.m. when we retired, it was pretty much decided that Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts had been elected President of the United States, and that Vice-President Richard M. Nixon had lost the Presidency to the Democrats.  Also that locally, Governor George D. Clyde had been re-elected on the Republican ticket, defeating his Democratic opponent, William Barlocher.  (see newspaper clippings following)

Letter from President Eisenhower (note by cm)

Following the outcome of the election, President McKay received a letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower pertaining to message Pres. McKay sent to President Eisenhower through Jack Stambaugh.

Tuesday, November 8, 1960



November 14, 1960

Dear President McKay:

The chancellor of Vanderbilt University, Jack Stambaugh, has given me your recent message.  I am, as always, touched by your thought of me.

With the hope that you are in the best of health and spirits, even though the election returns were disappointing to you — as of course they were to me, and with warm personal regard,


/s/ Dwight D. Eisenhower

President David O. McKay

The Mormon Church

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Wed., 9 Nov. 1960:

“I sent congratulatory telegrams to the following:

President Elect John F. Kennedy

Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

‘Congratulations!  During epoch-making events ahead, may a united Nation sustain you in maintaining the constitutional freedom of the individual as opposed by present-day communistic idealogy.  God bless and guide you!  Sincerely.’  /s/ David O. McKay”

Thurs., 10 Nov. 1960:

“8:30 a.m.

By appointment made through me, Senator Wallace F. Bennett met with President Moyle and me.  He reported that he is going to Europe in a couple of weeks with the congressional committee on atomic energy to see United States bases in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey.  He expects to be in London on Sunday, Nov. 27.  We invited him to attend the conference in London that Sunday, and if he has time, to attend the tax hearing on the London Temple the following day.

Likely political appointments and alignments in the light of the election were briefly reviewed.  Evidence that the organization of Catholic voters had some effect upon the election was mentioned.  Senator Bennett commented on the observation that the farm states which were expected to be critical of Brother Benson’s farm policies went Republican, seemingly in repudiation of Senator Kennedy’s farm policies.

Senator Bennett also said that he is beginnning now to seek re-election himself, and that he expects that his opponent may be David King, and that there is some reason to expect that Mayor Lee will seek the office as an independent.

Senator Bennett said the tax exemption matter for contributions to missionaries will be sought by application of a man named Scott, and that within a few days the application will be helped through the proper channels on the advice of Mr. Faux and Mr. Glasman in the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Senator Bennett said that he desires to be as useful as possible to the Church, and that he will be pleased to do anything the Brethren desire.”

Tues., 15 Nov. 1960:

“4:30 p.m.

Conference with Elder Mark Petersen regarding Allan Howe, Chairman of the Young Democrats of Utah who has been excommunicated and now re-instated by baptism.  He is going to Washington, D.C. and would like to go in full fellowship in the Church.  After discussing the matter, I told Brother Petersen to bring the case up at our Council meeting next Thursday.”

Wed., 23 Nov. 1960:

“Wednesday, November 23, 1960


By Joseph T. Bentley and Ernest L. Wilkinson

On November 23, 1960, at 9:30 a.m. Joseph T. Bentley and Ernest L. Wilkinson had a conference with President David O. McKay at which the following decisions were made:

3.  Request from Democratic Committee of Utah County to Examine School Records

President Wilkinson reported that a delegation from the Utah County Democratic Party had visited him on November 21 complaining about certain BYU students voting.  This Democratic Committee had thought that many of these students were domiciled elsewhere and therefore did not have the right to vote in Utah County.  They had requested of him that he make all records of the University available to determine what statements they had made to the University as to their permanent residence.  President Wilkinson reported that he had discussed the same with President Moyle and that President Moyle had objected to it seriously and suggested that the Democratic Committee write to the First Presidency for permission.  President Wilkinson informed him that presumably a letter would be coming to him from the Democratic Committee of Utah County.

Wed., 30 Nov. 1960:

“Wednesday, November 30, 1960

Report of a conversation with President Ernest L. Wilkinson who telephoned from Chicago regarding Attendance of Elder Delbert L. Stapley at a meeting of Universities in St. Louis, December 11-13 and success of the meeting held in Chicago honoring Elder Ezra Taft Benson.

President Ernest L. Wilkinson called and said that the Brigham Young University has been invited to attend a meeting of representatives from 20 universities, 10 or which are large State Universities from Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, among which the B.Y.U. is one of the largest.  It is the first time that the University has been invited to attend such a meeting.  The purpose of the meeting is to study fund raising methods, and other overall managerial problems.

President Wilkinson said that he had talked to Elder Harold B. Lee with respect to the desire he has to have a member of the Executive Committee attend, and he suggested that since Elder Stapley is on budget committee, it would be very helpful to have him attend this meeting, because more and more they are having to meet financial problems at the College.

The meeting will be held in St. Louis on December 11-13.

I told President Wilkinson that I would give consideration to the matter, and he said that he had already talked to Elder Stapley about it, and that he, Elder Stapley, would talk to me.

President Wilkinson then said that he had attended the dinner in honor of Elder Ezra Taft Benson given during the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago.   Elder Harold B. Lee was a speaker.  He talked about the Calling of an Apostle — and said he gave one of the finest talks he has ever heard.  He talked on the special mission of a member of the Quorum of the Twelve to testify to the divinity of Jesus Christ, and said that while Brother Benson had an important governmental position, he was now coming home to a much more important position.  Elder Lee was tactful, but firm about it, and there were 300 prominent persons present.

Brother Benson responded in a similar vein and said that while he had enjoyed his position, he knew he was going back to something more important.

It was a real missionary meeting among prominent people.

I said how happy I was over the success of the meeting, and stated that I knew that he, President Wilkinson, had also given an excellent talk.  He said that the talks given by the Brethren were far superior to his, and that he was proud of them.”

Wed., 7 Dec. 1960:

“Wednesday, December 7, 1960



December 14, 1960

Dear Ezra:

The day you wrote to me concerning the invitation from Dr. Olpin to participate in the celebration of Founder’s Day at the University of Utah, I signed a letter to him expressing my regret that I could not do so.  A copy of that letter is enclosed.

Won’t you please assure President McKay that I am personally exceedingly regretful that I cannot answer in the affirmative any request in which he joins?

With warm regard,

As ever,

/s/ D.E.

The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson

The Secretary of Agriculture

Washington, D.C.”

Thurs., 15 Dec. 1960:

“3:50 p.m.

Elder Delbert L. Stapley came in and read to me a letter of encouragement and admonishment he is sending to Brother Stewart L. Udall who has just been chosen by President Elect Kennedy as U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

In his letter, Brother Stapley congratulated Brother Stewart on his appointment, and beseeched him to be loyal and true to the Church as he takes up his important new assignment in Washington, D.C.  I told Brother Stapley that I would not change a word of his letter; that I thought it would do a lot of good.  As Brother Udall is from Phoenix, Arizona, Brother Stapley is well acquainted with him and his family.”

Wed., 28 Dec. 1960:

“Wednesday, December 28, 1960


DECEMBER 28, 1960

Pursuant to an invitation from President McKay, I met with him and Governor Clyde at President McKay’s office at 8:00 a.m.

President McKay opened the meeting by telling Governor Clyde that we would like to just confidentially and informally discuss certain mutual financial problems relating to the financing of the BYU on the part of the Church and the financing of USU, the U of U and other institutions of higher learning on the part of the state.  He told Governor Clyde that if the Governor thought this was none of our business he should say so.

1.  We discussed budgets which the institutions of higher learning in the state had requested.  For operating budgets the University of Utah had requested an increase of 54.6%, Utah State University 40.8%, the junior colleges 47.3%, or an average of  48%.  With respect to these requests, the Coordinating Council had recommended that the University of Utah receive an increase of only 16.7%, Utah State University an increase of 24.7%, the junior colleges 25.1%, or an average amount of 20.9%.

I informed the Governor that I had requested for the BYU an average increase of only 8.9% and that the Budget Committee had trimmed this to 7.4%.  The Governor said that he thought we would be well pleased with what he would recommend for the budgets of the other institutions because he intended to cut under the amount recommended by the Coordinating Council.

The Governor also pointed out that one of the difficulties he was having was that over the last several bienniums the state institutions of higher learning had received an average increase each biennium of about 20% and that now they pretty much assumed that this increase was to be automatic each biennium.  He knew that this could not continue.

2.  With respect to teachers’ salaries, President McKay pointed out that teachers’ salaries he knew in the past had been altogether too low, but that he thought they were now about where they ought to be and he hoped some way could be found of stabilizing them.  The Governor and I both agreed.

I pointed out, however, that a committee appointed by President Eisenhower had recommended that the salaries of school teachers be increased 100% by 1970.  The Governor in turn pointed out that the National Education Association was proposing that they be increased that much by 1965.  It was felt by all that this would be unreasonable, and in Utah would tax our resources altogether too much.

The Governor stated that with respect to both budget increases and salaries he was constantly urged that institutions in other states were raising budgets and salaries and that therefore we should get in line.  The Governor said that he had urged that just because others were doing it was no reason why Utah should do it.  We all felt that the line had to be held somewhere.

3.  With respect to building programs for state institutions, the Governor commented that he thought that the time had come when before new buildings were authorized or constructed they would have to be justified on the question of whether present buildings were fully utilized.  I told him in this connection John Fitzpatrick, former head of the Tribune, had informed me that he understood there were some periods during the afternoon when buildings at the University of Utah were utilized to the extent of only 15%.  The Governor said he had seen one study showing that they were utilized to the extent of only 11%.  The Governor commented that he was going to recommend to the legislature that the State Building Commission have authority to continuously conduct utilization studies of the different institutions; that it was apparent that the institutions themselves could not be relied upon for accurate utilization studies.

4.  As respects enrollments, the Governor thought that the new Coordinating Council had done a good job in trying to get accurate enrollment figures and that if this Coordinating Council were given a little more time it would come up with some very constructive studies.  I agreed with him and suggested that he ought to by all means give the Coordinating Council full support.

5.  I informed the Governor I understood some were suggesting a junior college for Provo.  he said he had not even heard such a suggestion and he did not think at the present time the state could justify any new junior college anywhere.

6.  I informed the Governor I had been critical of academic monies used by other institutions of higher learning for athletic purposes.  He said he was aware of that question and was trying to work it out but that they had not been using as much money for that purpose as he thought they had been using.

7.  Finally, I recalled to Governor Clyde that he and I had talked with respect to the recommendation of the Chamber of Commrce in Provo that University Avenue be extended northward, in which event some land of the Vocational School as well as of the BYU would be needed for that purpose.  I hoped that he would continue in his opposition to such a plan.  Governor Clyde said he hoped we could work that out locally, that he did not think the people locally should be told from Salt Lake just what they should do.  I told him I thought we had pretty much agreed on a compromise route, and he said he was happy about that.

Ernest L. Wilkinson


P.S. After the above discussion, President McKay said he had some other matters to take up with the Governor, and I left the conference.