Cary Reich. Rockefeller: The Life on Nelson Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer 1908-1958. Doubleday, 1996.
Nelson Rockefeller was driven in ilife to accomplish things. He gained control of Rockefeller Center from his father’s associates, led improvements at the Museum of Modern Art, increased his responsibilities as a war time bureaucrat. and led a United Nations conference. William Rusher, “National Review” publisher, theorizes Rockefeller went into politics “because it was one of the few things that resisted his approach.”
Rockefeller once explained that many wealthy people are liberals because of a guilt complex. He added “I have no guilt complex.”
As New York Governor from 1959 to 1973, New York built more bricks and mortar construction than under any other Governor in U.S. history. He expanded the State University from 38,000 students on 28 campuses to 246,000 students on 71 campuses.
As Governor, Medicaid served 45% of New Yorkers, the highest percent of state residents in the country. 55 new state parks were created The Council on the Arts funded nay projects statewide. The state government debt increased from $900 million in 1959 to $3.4 billion in 1973 plus $6.6 billion in debt accumulated in fiscal maneuvers.
Rockefeller was very anti-communist, opposed nuclear test treaties, and supported fallout shelters
Rockefeller was Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and guided post World War II policies towards Western Hemisphere countries.
Rockefeller’s grandfather was U.S. Sen. Nelson Aldrich. Aldrich supported businesses and supported high tariffs protective of American businesses. Rockefeller’s father had much inherited wealth and taught his children that their “good name was a sacred trust.”
Rockefeller attended Dartmouth, He was dyslexic which hurt some grades. Rockefeller’s thesis was a defense of his grandfather’s business dealings with Standard Oil Company. He argued companies that sold out to Standard Oil were not forced to do so and were paid fairly and generousy, He argued it legally achieved its monopoly power. He stated Standard Oil charged high prices yet did so to have funds for investments to more rapidly develop the oil industry, He received an “A” for his thesis.
Rockefeller was a member of the secretive and high prestige Cusque and Gauntler at Dartmouth. He was chosen as one of the five senior fellows whose graduation was guaranteed so they could sudy any subjects their senion year without being examined or graded Rockefeller’s father made an anonymous donation to Dartmouth Despite suspicions, the author does not believe this donation would have affected Rockefeller’s being chosen as a Senior Fellow. Rockefeller, an Economics student, spent his senior year studying. This would prove useful later in life when Rockefeller was involved with the Museum of Modern Art, deciding artowork for Rockefeller Center, and in supporting the Council on the Arts.
Rockefeller went into business for himself. He created a marketing and merchandise distribution business with two others.
Rockefeller rose in importance at Rockefeller Center. He consolidated power and was running the operations. Rockefeller was upset when Diego Rivera painted Lenin on a public mural at Rockefeller Center. Supporters of the mural rallied behind Rivera and called Rockefeller a censor. Rockefeller had the mural destroyed.
Rockefeller handled labor crises. He reached an agreement with unions at Rockefeller Center. The agreements were barely noticed by the press. He put a spirited pro-labor Anna Rosenberg on his payroll as a researcher.
The Rockefeller’s General Education Board gave grants to the Lincoln School, which was operated by Columbia University. Teacher’s College. Columbia sought to merge Lincoln with Horace Mann School. Many Lincoln parents wanted to maintain Lincoln’s independence.Rockefeller sought to resolve the conflicts He attempted to allow the merger yet let Lincoln keep its identity, its governance, and its own Board of Trustees.Columbia representatives claimed the schools lacked diversity with 39% o students being Jewish. It is noted that anti-semitism kept Jewish students out of many other prep schools. The deal Rockefeller received was one with Lincoln being preserved with an independent advisory board. Many Lincoln parents were upset with this agreement. Rockefeller had ignored the request of many parents to keep Lincoln a separate school. Rockefeller resigned due to this bitter opposition. Rockefeller was critical of what he considered subversive, left wing, communist educators who sought the discredit the anti-communist dean at Columbia. It is true one member, John Woods, who was a former communist, Many did not see the paColumbia later closed Lincoln.
Rockefeller gave copies of Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” to friends. Rockefeller urged them to study Communist methods as well as theory. He haw the methods of Lincoln School parents as an example of how “Communists wrecik free institution.”
Rockefeller visited oil fields in Venezuela in 1939. He visited local newspaper editors and oil field crews. He charmed many he met although some believed his visits were hypocritical as his family was doing little to improve the lives of local residents.
Mexican President Lazara Cardenas sought for his country to expropriate oil wells. Rocketeller met with Cardenas as a layman on behalf of the other oild companies. Rockefeller offered making the Mexican government a minority partner. Cardenas sated the issue was about national pride and not economics. Cardenas rejected Rockefeller’s plan. Rockefeller did learn the importance of honoring national pride.
President Eleazar Lopez Contreras of Venezuela wanted foreign investment in a hotel. Foreign investors would do so only if it included a casino. Contreras did not want a casino. Rockefeller saw investing in the hotel as a sign of good will. Plus, oil companies needed more hotel spaces. While Rockefeller and his family provided most of the financing, he involved investors from other il companies, including Edward Robbins, a cousin of President Franklin Roosevelt. It was also seen as important that American investors gain sympathy of Western Hemisphere countries in competition with German investors.
Roosevelt, initially through an intermediary, approached U.S. Commerce Secretary Harry Hopkins about inter-American relations. Anna Hopkins used her influence to contact President Roosevelt. It was noted that the Argentine army announced its support for Hitler. German nationals in Chile and Brazil urges for support of Germany President Getulio Vargas, a dictator, considered an arms deal with German manufacturers. The U.S. countered with sales of ships and guns to Latin American countries.
The economies of Latin American countries were suffering from being cut-off form some European markets. Rockefeller proposed the U.S. purchase surplus Latin American goods and refinancing their debts. In addition, he advocated for strong education, cultural, and scientific exchanges.
Hopkins urged for greater private investment and for protecting U.S. trade. He asked Rockefeller to set up an investment company in every Latin American country. The Roosevelt Administration established he Inter-American Trading Company to buy and distribute surplus inter-American goods.
Rockefeller had proposed an advisory committee which had not been established. Rosenberg called Roosevelt. Roosevelt agreed to establish it. Roosevelt cautioned that Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Wells had reservations about Rockefeller. Roosevelt named James Forrestal special assistant for Latin American programs. Rockefeller was not named to anything.
Forrestal had Paul Nitze analyze the situations. Nitze designed a plan of action including creating a new position, the Coordinator for Inter-American Affairs. Roosevelt chose Rockefeller from a list of three names recommended for the post. Rockefeller met Wendell Willkie, who was planning to run for President against Roosevelt. Willkie told Rockefeller to accept the post.
Rockefeller had a beginning government budget of $3.5 million for his office. He added family money to this wor While i was neve implemented, Rockefeller guaranteed loans he office offered. This was he first time an individual bonded a government program
Rockefeller’s office set up a trade and finance section and a motion picture division, John Hay Whitney, who had provided financing for “Gone With the Wind” led the motion picture division.
Rockefeller’s office surveyed Latin American resources of strategic commodities, arranged financing fo a steel mill in Brazil, studied air transportation problems, sent art exhibiis, and created documentary films to be shown throughout Latin America.
Rockefeller became a source who leaked news to columnist Drew Pearson Rockefeller also developed a relationship with and provided information to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. While the FBI was supposed to iit their wor to within the US, the FBI created a Special Intelligence Service that had several hundred agents in Latin America. Rockefeller agreed to work with Hoover and the FBI. FBI agents were disguised as part of Rockefeller’s programs.
Rockefeller was helped by Jesse Jones, the head of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation who later became Commerce Secretary in 1940. Jones was a wealthy and leading Texan owners of banks, construction companies, and lumber companies.
Rockefeller feared social disorders in Latin American could threaten trade relations. He got President Roosevelt to approve a study of al shipping options American manufacturers were full with domestic orders. Rockefeller acted to get goods shipped to Latin America.
Rockefeller’s cultural division gave out $80,000 of Federal funds for scholarships in Latin American. Rockefeller asked, and Roosevelt approved, calling these Roosevelt Scholarships.
Rockefeller issued a report on Axis infiltration in Latin America. He upset some U.S. corporate leaders whose local employees there were listed as members of pro-Axis organizations. Rockefeller asked companies to voluntarily replace their pro-Axis employees. 84% of companies voluntarily complied. One large company, General Motors, refused stating they did not consider politics in their business operations. Rockefeller threatened to make it public that they had pro-Axis employees on their payroll, General Motors then complied
Rockefeller had ads placed in the Latin American press on U.S. tourism. This was mostly pro-American propaganda. Some ads were placed in pro-Axis papers in hopes they could be bought off. This was met with some backlash Most people in Latin America could not afford such travel. There was criticism of giving funds to the pro-Axis press. Pro-American press who received no ads were upset, Su=ner Wells told President Roosevelt that Rockefeller had overstepped. Sumner wrote a leter that Roosevelt signed state all arrangements in Rockefeller’s office had to be approved prior by the State Department. From then on, plans for all programs were sent to the State Department for approval. In time, the rivalry between Wells and Rockefeller would develop into an alliance.
It was determined there needed to be a propaganda effort in each Latin American country. The Axis powers had begun theirs. Rockefeller was placed in charge of this.
Vice President Henry Wallace was interested in Latin America. He was a pro-New Dealer unlike the previous Vice President John Nance Garner Wallace, whose socialist utopianism, agrarian populism, and benevolent internationalism” as well as his “Confucian economic doctrine” had many regard Wallace as a “foremost eccentric.” Rockefeller liked Wallace and became his tennis partner Rockefeller kept Wallace updated on his operations. Rockefeller created an institute to seek to development of tropical crops that would not compete with American agriculture, something Wallace supported
Jack Whitney’s office reviewed and censured movies that could offend people in Latin American, He also stopped the release of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” as it presented the U.S. negatively.
MGM produced “The night in Rio” that included a publicity tour or Latin American for stars Dorothy Lamar and Aice Faye. Disney produced four cartoons for Latin American audiences.
Orson Welles was convinced to produce a documentary on the Brazilian Rio carnival. Rockefeller promised a subsidy against losses of $300,000. Welles upset the Brazilian government by filming in slum neighborhoods. The film was halted and never seen until 1993 as “It’s All True”.
Rockefeller and Whtney had major studios agree to produce at least 24 movies showing Latin American positively
Rockefeller had newsreels produced German newsreels showed he glory of Aryans and of German victories. American newsreels heralded he governments and militaries of Latin America.
Rockefeller’s office produced a magazine, It would reach of circulation of over 550,000. The Germans responded with an imitation magazine.
Rockefeller provided $200,000 of Federal funds o the World Wide Broadcasting Production to have the most powerful transmitter in North America in return for 700 hours annually f programming to improve relations with Latin America.
Bill Donovan was named to head intelligence operations as Coordinator of Information Donovan felt his effort had priority over Rockefeller’s operations. Rockefeller objected. Donovan stated he had a Presidential directive. President Roosevelt confirmed the Coordinator of Information had superiority. Rockefeller had Ana Rosenberg deliver a letter to Roosevelt to sign to Donovan sating Roosevelt’s efforts in Latin America were quite different from programs elsewhere. Roosevelt made some minor changes o the letter and signed it.
After Pearl Harbor, Argentina, Chile ad Brazil refused to break relations with Axis countries. Sumner Wells agreed to meet their “freedom of action”. Cordell Hull was livid that Sumner did this. here developed an ideological split between keeping harmony with the Americas versus insisting on supporting the Allied war effort.
A new agency, the Office of War Information, sought to oversee Rockefeller’s propaganda, film, newsreel, and magazine operations. Rockefeller had Henry Wallace sea on his behalf before the Office of Information presented these plans o Roosevelt. Wallace had Roosevelt sign an order exempting Rockefeller’s operations from the Office of War Information.
The Office of War Information absorbed Donovan’s office. Donovan was named to remain in charge of covert activities in a new Office of Strategic Services.
Rockefeller proposed having 100 ships made in Latin American shipyards They would be designed to handle a million tons of cargo annually. They would be built of wood instead of metals which were needed for military purposes. This was designed to boost Latin American economies, The shipyards found this idea impractical and only one vessel was made.
Mexico had zinc, lead, copper, and tin useful for military purposes. Mexico lacked an effective rail system to deliver these goods. Rockefeller’s office invested $7.5 million to improve Mexican rails.
Rockefeller sought to fight diseases in Latin America with better water, sewage, and health care. Henry Wallace supported this. Wallace told Roosevelt the U.S. needed to show it would help the poor and uneducated of the word. In 1943, $12.6 million of efforts were towards building new sewers and hospitals plus train more doctors and fight malaria in Latin America. Sen. Hugh Butler opposed these efforts, which was the beginning of conservative opposition to Rockefeller.
The U.S. embassies in Latin America were torn between being forbidden in a State Department memo from investigating political subjects while the Rockefeller office wanted information on political activities. Many large businesses were worried about sabatoge. Some feared the large business leaders were “most reactionary” in seeking to find possible enemy agents.
Rockefeller wanted the U.S. controlling its economic development efforts in Latin America. He rejected a memo that the U.S. should act “upon request” of Latin Americans.
In clashes with the Agriculture Department and the State Department, Rockefeller lost ground in influence as the food supply to Nicaragua was ceased and the food supply to Brazil was greatly reduced. The U.S. was winning the war and was less concerned about keeping Latin America in check.
Edgar Hoover informed Roosevelt about Sumner Wells’s homosexuality and drinking. Former Ambassador William Bullitt spread this news around the Capitol. Roosevelt was forced to ask for Wells’s resignation which he received.
Rockefeller, having lost his ally Wells, tried to improve his relationship with Cordell Hull. Rockefeller also sought other allies. Yet he found allies Henry Wallace and Jesse Jones were removed from their authorities.The Foreign Economic Administration over much of Rockefeller’s operations Hull resigned. Undersecretary Edward Sttettinius became the new Secretary of State. Stettinium appointed Rockefeller as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America.
Argentina, the only Latin American country to maintain relations with the Axis countries through the war was a particular problem. Nazi spies were based there who tracked Allied ship movements. Some military coups happened in Argentina. Jews were not allowed to hold key government positions in Argentina. Jewish newspapers were halted.
In 1943, the leader of Argentina, Pedro Ramirez, was threatened with the U.S seizing Argentine assets in the U.S. Ramirez agreed to cut ties with the Axis nations. A military coup ousted Ramirez. Juan Peron, an admirer of the Axis powers who believed in German style militarism, became the de facto leader behind Edelmio Farrel. The U.S. refused to recognize the Farrell government Great Britain reluctantly went along yet with concern as they consumed much Argentine beef. The U.S. offered to replace most of the lost beef market.
Rockefeller feared the U.S. image as non-interventionists would be destroyed by standing up to the Farrell-Perot government. He also feared that the U.S. criticizing them would only make Farrell and Peron more popular in the region. Rockefeller argued against punishment Argentina.
Roosevelt sought a conference that would create the United Nations. Roosevelt wanted only countries who had declared war on the Axis powers to attend Besides Argentina, this would exclude the Latin American countries of Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay. Some of these countries had aided the Allie cause and allied Allied bases to be established in their countries. The Allies did not want them to delcare war as this would have extended the range of protection needed.
Argentina stated the wanted nothing fro the U.S and asked for continued non-recognition from the U.S.
At the conference of the U,S,, U.S.S.R., and the U.K. in Yalta, Soviet leader Josef Stalin demanded Argentina be punished. Roosevelt responded by defending the people of Argentina who were stuck with bad leaders. Stalin replied “if Argentina was in this section of the world, I would see that she is punished.” Argentina was discussed no further at Yalta. The Yalta agreement set a March 1 deadline for any nation to declare war on the Axis nations in order to attend the United Nations meeting.
J.Edgar Hoover showed Rockefeller much evidence that the Argentine government worked with Axis agents. Hoover also showed communications that Germany ad Argentina were behind a coup in Bolivia and were working to undermine governments in Brazil and Chile.
A conference at Chaduepec regarding the Americans was established. Rockefeller, knowing the Mexican and other governments were unhappy with the status quo, encouraged these disgruntled countries to raise their concerns. Rockefeller was hoping the U.S. would change its policies. Peron offered to reconcile with the U.S. so long as Argentina was able to keep its national pride. Peron claimed that the collapse of his government could lead to communists taking control of Argentina The U.S. insisted Argentina declare war on Germany and Japan, fight Axis subversives, and withdraw its troops that appeared threatening along the Brazilian and Chilean borders, The F.B.I. bugged phones and restaurant tables at this conference Peron turned down this offer.
Sen. Warren Austin objected to a conference resolution that went beyond wartime. The resolution committed U.S. troops in peacetime to respond to a regional conflict if a majority of Latin American countries requested the troops. Austin stated this was against the U.S. Constitution. Austin amended the resolution to apply during wartime only, when the President had war powers, and that in peacetime a request for troops would be subject to the U.S. Constitutional process. There were concerns that Sen. Tom Connally, who was arriving later, would object to this amended resolution. Connally arrived too tired to read the resolution and said little the next morning. The resolution was approved.
It was counter-offered to Argentina that they declare war on the Axis nations and they agree to the conference resolutions on regional peacekeeping. Some participants insisted the resolution must pass only if Argentina would agree to it. Argentina responded by declaring war on Japan and on Germany :in it s capacity as an ally of Japan.”
An international conference of 46 nations arrived to create the United Nations. The U.S.S.R. wanted two of its republics, Byelorussia and Ukraine, admitted as independent conference members. To get this to pass, the votes of Latin America were needed Harold Stassen created a compromise admitting Argentina, Byelorussia, and Ukraine.
Truman was opposed to Argentina joining the U.N. yet relented on the Soviet issue. Truman insisted Argentina not sign the U.N. declaration. The Soviets then complicated the previous agreement by insisting Poland be included as an admitted nation. While the Soviets objected to admitting Argentina, Argentina, Byelorussia, an Ukraine were admitted while Poland was not.
Walter Lippman ran a column observing the Western Hemisphere had more votes than was its share of world political clout. He feared this would lead to clashes with the Soviet Union.
Sen. Arthur Vanderberg recognized that Rockefeller had put together a voting block against the U.S.S.R. The Soviet resistance to Argentina helped solidify the Latin American voting block. Henry Wallace was upset as he hoped the U.N. would unite the world rather than pit the Western nations against the Soviets.
Rockefeller admitted an anti-Soviet block was being created. He stated Argentina was the most anti-Soviet nation in Latin America.
The U.S., U.K., France, and U.S.S.R.recognized the U.N. Security Council would have the power over regional agreements. This would have destroyed the U.S.-Latin America regional agreement. Rockefeller got Vanderberg to object. Vanderberg stated he would work to kill the U.N. in th Senate if the U.S.-Latin American agreement was ended.
Rockefeller and Latin American representatives warned there were communist networks in Latin America Harold Stassen suggested that nation’s right of self-defense include mutual security pacts like the Chadutepec Latin=American pact where an attack on one is an attack on all. Rockefeller liked this. New language was added to the U/N. charter on collective self-defense in Article 51.
Rockefeller was a leading force in getting the Latin American voting block to support what he desired. When two countries in the Latin American block abstained on a vote,Stettinium was upset. Rockefeller responded he “did not intend to club the small powers into line.” Stettinium replied Rockefeller should take “more vigorous action.” Rockefeller responded “I am taking the course which in my opinion is best suited to the interest of the United State in the long run.”
Rockefeller saw Argentna’s economic was in crisis. He sent 500,000 tons of fuel oil for Argentine vegetable oil. Brazil was upset as it had been told it could not purchase U.S. fuel oil and then Argentina was offering to sell it fuel it had bought from the U.S Brail’s Ambassador to the U.S. Carlos Martins told Rockefeller they no longer trusted him nor the State Department.
Truman named James Byrnes as Secretary of State, This in part was done to appease Democratic Party leaders who realized the Secretary of State was next in line for the Presidency. Byrnes, as a former Supreme Court Justice and former U.S. Senator, had the support of party leaders. Stetinium was not seen by Democratic leaders as Presidential material.
Peron was upset by U..S reporters writing negatively about Argentina. He threatened that a “fanatic” might kill Arnoldo Cortesi of the New York Times. The U.S. Ambassador to Argentina warned that Peron “is dangerous:.Byrnes considered this “very grave”. Rockefeller agreed Peron had gone too far.
After Japan surrendered, Peron suppressed people celebrating he Allied victory with shootings and beatings.
Byrnes asked for Rockefeller’s resignation.Rockefeller gave one last speech as Assistant Secretary praising the Argentine people and their “spontaneous manifestos”. He stated he hoped these actions would lead the Argentine people to demand and create a constitutional government..Spruille Bradan replaced Rockefeller.
Braden worked to undo much of Rockefeller’s work. Braden was upset over ARgentina’s support of Nazis. Perot claimed the U.S. was interring in Argentine affairs. Perot used this as one of his issues in his being elected his country’s leader,
Rockefeller chaired the Victory Clothing Committee which accepted three million pounds of clothing sent to Europe. He also chaired the United Jewish Appeal’s non-sectarian community community raising funds for displaced Jews in Palestine.
New York City Mayor William O’Dwyer asked Rockefeller to hep Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and others in an attempt to have the U.N. placed in New York CIty. Also bidding were San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Rockefeller got his gather to purchase the land where the U.N. was constructed and then donated the land to the U.N.
The Rockefeller brothers bought Rockefeller Center from their father for the appraised value of $2.2 million. They had the Center’s debt transferred to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Charity.
Rockefeller sought to use private donations for humanitarian aid to Latin America He created the American International Association for Economic and Social Development. His father chaired it. Venezuela was threatening that its government would take over its oil industry. The aid provided to Venezuela allowed them to view the oil industry positively as altruistic.
Rockefeller bought a farm in Venezuela. He demonstrated on it how modern techniques could be used by others there.
Rockefeller reached out to Benjamin Hardy, a speechwriter in the State Department. Rockefeller spoke of the assistance his office had provided. Hardy decided this could work in Greece and Turkey. Hardy’s superiors were not interested in the idea. Hardy went to George Elsey, one of President Truman’s speechwriters, with the idea. Elsey wrote it into Truman’s inaugural speech. The Marshall Plan arose fro this would hep rebuild Europe and prevent the spread of Soviet influence.
Rockefeller favored the use of private sector and public sector partnerships. He enticed investors to work with the Brazilian government and with the Venezuelan government. Rockefeller hired Robert Moses for $100,000 to plan a superhighway between Caracas, Venezuela and La Gyaia, Brazil.. Moses used most of the money to hire trusted aides in developing a master plan.
Petty corruption was commonplace in Venezuela. The project was slowed by the project personnel’s refused to engage in payoffs. The project developed a large deficit. Rockefeller turned to his father for help nothing this was in the U.S. national interest. His father instead offered to loan him money at twice the prime interest rate. Rockefeller turned down the offer He applied for a bank loan instead.
Rockefeller created the International Development Advisory Board. Rockefeller had impressed Ambassador Averell Harriman. Rockefeller argued that communism spread amongst the hungry and economically devastated. Harriman recommend Rockefeller to lead this Board. Truman appointed Rockefeller to this post. The State Department created the Technical Cooperation Administration in pat to keep a check on Rockefeller. Averell Harriman was named in charge of foreign aide, this diminishing Rockefeller’s influence. Rockefeller resigned his post.
Rockefeller was among those was Thomas Dewey, Sen. James Duff, and others in persuading Dwight Eisenhower to run for President in 1952. Many of those urging Eisenhower to run were not happy with the conservatism of Sen. Robert Taft. Rockefeller’s uncle Winthrop Aldrich who was Chase Bank President had been a major contributor to To Dewey such hat critics called him “Chase Bank Dewey”. Aldrich saw Eisenhower as the leader of Republican internationalism. Taft, meanwhile, ran against “Eastern internationalists” like Winthrop Aldrich and John Foster Dulles.
Rockefeller tried to join the Eisenhower campaign. Tom Dewey say Rockefeller as a political amateur and kept him out of the campaign.
Rockefeller paid for a nonpartisan study of un-enacted recommendations of government improvement recommended by the Hoover Commissions. President Eisenhower recommended Rockefeller to chair the Special Committee of Government Organization. The other two committee members were Dwight’s brother Milton Eisenhower, the President of Pennsylvania State University, and Arthur Fleming, President of Ohio Wesleyan University
Rockefeller’s committee recommended creating a Presidential Commission on loyalty and security Eisenhower ignored this recommendation.
Rockefeller’s committee proposed a report on reorganizing the Defense Department. Eisenhower liked this report. Congress approved it although opponents loudly denouced it.
Rockefeller’s committee also lead to transforming the Health, Education, and Welfare Department. A Foreign Operations Administration was created, Rockefeller felt his work was done. Eisenhower insisted it was ongoing.
Rockefeller created the Government Affairs Foundation The public, as well as Rockefeller, would learn from its research.
Liberal Party leaders approached Rockefeller about running for New York City Mayor in 1953, The incumbent Vincent Impellitteri had taken over when Mayor O’Dwyer resigned in the midst of scandal to become Ambassador to Mexico. Rockefeller instead accepted an offer to become Undersecretary of Heath, Education, and Welfare (HEW).
Rockefeller hired many women in his HEW post, Rockefeller noted “they’re cheaper” to hire than men, Rockefeller stated he trusted female employees yet few were promoted. It was noted that the females hired were “smart, young, and attractive.”
AFL-CIO President George Meany was concerned that career people in he Social Security Administration were being replaced by Republican patronage workers Meany told Rockefeller the AFL-CIO did not want any of the position but they wanted to protect the career people. Rockefeller agreed to speak with the HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby. Rockefeller also checked with the AFL-CIO for their approved of a new Social Security Commission, which they did approve.
The job purges in he social security office continued though at a reduced rate, Rockefeller, though, had tried his best to ironically help a political enemy of Republicans. Rockefeller and Meany had known and respected each other, George Meany would later declare “the Eisenhower Administration, in my book, was by no means a bad time for labor” due o Rockefeller,
Rockefeller knew working with the AFL-CIO could earn him anger from Republicans. He knew working with them would hep get programs through Congress, Rockefeller also knew he someday would be a candidate.
Rockefeller discovered that of $9.4 billion in U.S. medical bills ony $1.4 billion was insured. Rockefeller proposed a private, voluntary plan to expand health insurance through a reinsurance fund set up million with $25 million in Federal funds that would insure the insurance companies against “abnormal losses.” House Speaker Sam Rayburn disliked fellow Texan Oveta Culp Hobby. The House killed a bill Republicans had thought would pass easily.
Rockefeller created a school construction program. This also was rejected by Congress.
Some Republican leaders urged Rockefeller to run for Governor in 1954. Anna Rosenberg was among those advising Rockefeller not to run. Rockefeller declined to run, Averell Harriman defeated Irving Ives by 11,000 votes, leading many to conclude Rockefeller would have been a better candidate than Ives.
Rockefeller wanted a position concerning foreign economies. Secretary Hobby had vetoed this idea initially yet saw Rockefeller’s restlessness. She then approved his taking a new position
Rockefeller was in charge of “international understanding” or “military propaganda”. Radio Free Europe was part of these operations.
Rockefeller argued against an Agriculture Department plan to send surplus wheat to the U.S.S>R. due to their poor production. Rockefeller wanted the Soviets to be embarrassed their system failed. Eisenhower agreed with Rockefeller.
Rockefeller urged inancing of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt to keep Egypt from turning to the Soviets. Egypt had purchased arms from Soviet block countries he U.S. offered and withdrew its support when Egypt recognized Mao’’s China. Egypt responded by nationalizing he Suez Canal.
Rockefeller saw spreading nuclear power as boosting the U.S. image.
Rockefeller had a landscape architect look at Eisenhower’s new home near Getysburg, Pa, Rockefeller donated several trees and flowers. Eisenhower was grateful.
Rockefeller also purchased, for $35,000, the table, chars, and carpet Eisenhower had in London while planning D-Day and then gave it to Eisenhower. Rockefeller also gave Eisenhower $2,5000 to produce a Presidential Medal to give to Winston Churchill.
Rockefeller helped create a Civil Defense exercise to demonstrate the idea that the U.S. could receive a nuclear hit and continue operating. Eisenhower thought this was a strange idea.
Rockefeller helped Eisenhower propose that the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. be able to verify each other’s armaments. The world view tended to be that the U.S.A. was supporting disarmament while the Soviet Union was a closed society preventing disarmament. A Western Europe poll found 69% surveyed believed Eisenhower was working toward peace and 47% thought the Soviets were working towards peace.
Rockefeller attempted to gain the favor of Vice President Richard Nixon They both were anti-communists who feared communist colonization.
Rockefeller proposed creating an International Development Authority. It would cost $1 billion. Rockefeller also prosed an idea from his aide Henry Kissinger to create a mobile ready force to handle small wars before they became big warns, This would have cos $4 billion to create over a year and a half and then almost $2 billion afterwards, Rockefeller argued the U.S. had a $3 billion Federal government surplus with a projected $6 billion surplus the next year, Eisenhower never acted on these recommendations,
Rockefeller resigned Roscoe Drummond observed Rockefeller “had no well defined area of policy responsibility...he was so busy accomplishing so little that it was ime to step aside.” Rockefeller stated “I’ve learned one thing.you cant have influence if you haven’t been elected.” Rockefeller still chaired the President’s Advisory Commission on Government Operations.
Henry Kissinger in 1957 published a book describing the U.S. being in a position for a limited nuclear war was “our most effective strategy.” Rockefeller agreed that the U.S. could win a nuclear war
Jud Morhouse was New York state Republican Chairman. He was neutral between fighting factions so was a consensus choice to lead New York Republicans. Morhouse developed a public relations effort that got his comments into early parts on columns on political events. Morhouse approached Rockefeller about running for the U.S. Senate. Rockefeller stated he had no interest in being a legislator. Attorney General Jacob Javits was recruited to run instead. Morhouse then though Rockefeller would be a good candidate for Governor in 1958.
Governor Harriman appointed Rockefeller to chair a Temporary State Commission on a Constitutional Convention. Harriman believed his fend Rockefeller would never use the position as a springboard to run against him.
Morhouse advanced Rockefeller for Governor. Morhouse did this as risk to his political future as he was supposed to be neutral Tom Dewey thought Rockefeller “couldn’t get elected dog catcher” and suggested that Rockefeller work his way up to running for Governor.
Former U.S. Rep, Leonard Hall led in early polls for the Republican nomination. Assemblyman Malcolm Wilson, a conservative legislator known for being effective, endorsed Rockefeller and campaign for Rockefeller. Wilson was able to secure support for Rockefeller from many low populated conservative county leaders, not because they liked Rockefeller, but because of the funding Rockefeller would provide to his campaign and to the Republican ticket.
The “National Review” was critical of Rockefeller’s liberal politics which it labeled “Rockefeller Republicanism.”
Rockefeller’s wife, Mary Clark Rockefeller, was asked about her cousin Sen. Joseph Clark, a Pennsylvania Democrat She replied she had “respect ad esteem” for him yet :he flew the coop.”
Rockefeller asked Malcolm Wilson to be his running mate for Lieutenant Governor.
Democrats tried to make rent control an issue. While Rockefeller had not spoken on this issue, Democrats noted how some Republican legislators wanted to get rid of rent control.
Rockefeller was elected, expanding his Republican base to anti-DeSapio Democrats, New York Post readers who read many pro-Rockefeller articles, and by running well among Jewish Democratic and independent voters.