Interviewee: Marjorie Holt
Interviewer: Julian Pleasants
Date: September 18, 1997
P: This is an interview with Marjorie Holt. It is September 18, 1997. We are
talking in the oral history office. When did you decide to be an attorney?
H: In the seventh grade I had a woman teacher--which was pretty unusual back in
the dark ages--a young woman who inspired me to want to be an attorney. One
of the reasons I wanted to be an attorney was that it could lead me into the
House of Representatives. I had a crush on Thomas Jefferson and I thought
that would be neat, to serve in the [Congressional] body where he had served.
P: At this time, was it not rather unusual for a young girl to want to be a lawyer?
There were not many women lawyers in Jacksonville [Florida].
H: It was unusual, very unusual. When I started practicing in the Annapolis
[Maryland] area, two women were practicing in the whole county. That was as
late as 1962 or 1963.
P: This is in Anne Arundel County, in Maryland?
H: In Maryland, correct.
P: So even in Jacksonville there would not have been many women lawyers.
H: In our law class, there were five women and I think the total class had five
hundred people, if I recall correctly.
P: It is interesting, Chesterfield Smith said he thought there were twenty to thirty
women [in his class in 1948].
H: Well, they ignored us pretty much. The veterans were returning and they were
really serious. They were there to get an education. So the competition was
very tough. I was [already] married but I still did not see a lot of give-and-take
between the men and women in the law school.
P: Where did you live?
H: We lived in the Flavets [Florida Veterans housing].
P: Did you have children?
H: Yes, we had one daughter at that time.
P: So you were raising a daughter and going to law school at the same time?
P: Was that particularly difficult?
H: No, because everything was easy in those days. There was not so much
pressure and we were able to find people to care for her. The other mothers
who were not attending school would care for the child and my husband and I
could take turns at studying or going to class. We were going to school on the
G. I. Bill so we supplemented our income with jobs on the campus.
P: What did your husband do?
H: He was in the Engineering School but he also taught a class, a lab, and he
painted buildings; I worked in the dean's office.
P: So you were very busy.
H: We did a little bit of everything. That is right.
P: Why did you decide to go to the University of Florida Law School?
H: I was accepted at a couple of law schools, but my husband wanted to come to
the Engineering School here. He had two years of his engineering degree
before he went in the service, so he wanted to come to the University of Florida.
I was accepted at the [UF] law school and felt that it was an outstanding school,
that was why I wanted to come here.
P: Was it difficult to get into law school?
H: No, I do not recall any difficulty at all. I applied and I was accepted both here
and at Stetson [University, in Deland, Florida].
P: Did you experience any discrimination in either the admissions process or in the
H: No, I experienced no discrimination in the admissions process and if I had
discrimination in the classroom, I did not pay any attention to it. I remember
professor [Frank Edward] Maloney [associate professor of law] always seemed to
assign the most, shall I say, embarrassing cases for me to recite, so I felt a little
bit of discrimination there. Professor [George John] Miller [professor of law]
introduced me once as that rare combination of sex and brains; today that
probably would be harassment but I just blushed and went on.
P: One student we had interviewed said that one male professor had asked her to
leave class while they were discussing statutory rape. Did you have any
occasions like that?
H: No, I did not.
P: Do you remember some of the male students shuffling their feet when women
came into class?
P: What was your reaction to that?
H: Well, I do not know, I felt it was sort of a tribute. It did not bother me and I never
really felt that they resented my being there. I stayed in the top two percent of
the class and I never really suffered, I did not really think about discrimination. I
just did what I wanted to do and did not think about it. So maybe it was there
and I did not realize it, but the shuffles were there.
P: One student also recalled, when she arrived on campus, having to run the
equivalent of a male gauntlet. Did you undergo that experience?
H: No, I did not.
P: What were your favorite courses?
H: My favorite course was, of course, [one given by] professor [Clarence John]
TeSelle. I guess, [it] was everybody's favorite. The old curmudgeon was really
a pussycat, if you understood him. [Clifford Waldorf] Crandall [professor and
acting dean] taught Constitutional Law, I enjoyed that. Torts I enjoyed. I guess
I enjoyed law school.
P: Some of the stories [told] about TeSelle say he could really destroy a student
with his Socratic method. Did you experience that?
H: Oh, yes. I think everybody did. He took no prisoners. He was really tough,
but you just loved him. You had to love him because he came out of Chicago,
out of Cook County, and I think he taught us a lot, he really did.
P: You said you were in the top two percent of the class. What made you a good
H: Motivation and a lot of study. I really studied very hard.
P: How many hours a day would you study?
H: I would say four or five [hours] every evening.
P: What size were your classes?
H: I do not remember.
P: What was your impression of the dean, Harry [R.] Trusler [dean of the College of
Law, 1915-1947]? I think he was probably still dean when you were there.
H: No, I think he left. Dean [Henry A.] Fenn [dean of the College of Law,
1948-1958] would have been the next one, would he not? Maybe we went
through a little interim there, when there was no dean, and then Fenn came in.
P: Well, what was your impression of Fenn?
H: Not much. He was not impressive. He came from one of the big schools in
the North, I believe. This has been a long time, but I do not remember him
having a tremendous impact on the students. There was certainly not a strong
P: Do you recall Chesterfield Smith [president of the American Bar Association]?
guess he was not necessarily your classmate, but someone who attended law
school at the same time. What are you recollections of him?
H: I think Chesterfield was a year ahead of me. He was, sort of, everybody's idol.
We all attempted to emulate his methods of study and learn what we could about
what he had done. [William] Reece Smith [Jr.] was my classmate; he and I
served on the law review together and I really respected Reece. I though he
was an outstanding student and I tried to stay close to him and to follow what he
P: How did you assess the overall quality of the teaching you received in three
years at the law school?
H: I would say average. I think at that point the law school was probably in
something of a transition; certainly it was difficult [to cope] with the overwhelming
number of students that came in and with the maturity of the students. That
probably made a difference in the teaching methods; I found that some of them
were not really up to high standards.
P: What impact did the influx of a lot of veterans have on the law school?
H: I am sure it was a great pressure on the faculty to maintain high enough
standards to satisfy the student body. You take a lot of men who have been
through a war, they were coming back, they were serious about beginning their
lives, and they wanted the very best. They wanted a good education, of course,
we all did. This made the competition tough for the students and, I would
suspect, made it difficult for the faculty as well.
P: There was a seriousness of purpose that may have affected all of the students,
which was partly because the veterans were so serious about doing their work,
and getting out and getting a job?
H: That is right.
P: Would you say the University of Florida influenced your later life, your career?
H: Well, the law school certainly did. I never had any regrets about getting a law
degree because I felt it prepared me for later opportunities. When I talk with
young people, I always tell them to be prepared for every opportunity that
presents itself, before they need it. Be prepared. I think that was what the
University of Florida did for me, it prepared me for any opportunities that did
present themselves to me. Take rearing a family. We raised three very
successful, happy young people and I think the law school was a tremendous
help in that aspect. It taught me a lot about conflict resolution and then certainly
it was invaluable in practicing law. I felt I had a good background even going to
another state. I took the Maryland Bar [examination] because I had never
practiced in Maryland. We left right after graduation and went to Maryland. I
had not practiced there, but I had to take the Maryland Bar, and I passed it the
first time around, so I felt that our law school prepared me well for that.
It involved a universal education rather than just the state law and it certainly
prepared me for politics. I used Mr. TeSelle's training many times on the Armed
Services Committee; I was involved in arms control and in some of the
negotiations; I was on the sub-committee that met with [Egypt's] president
[Anwar] Sadat early on, before any of the other negotiations had gone on. He
was very adamantly opposed to even talking to us. We had no ambassador in
Egypt, yet we were able to talk him into warming up and meeting with Mrs.
[Golda] Meir [Israel's prime minister 19969-1974], which was the very beginning
of peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt. I think Mr. TeSelle taught me
how to do that.
P: That ended up in the [1978-79] Camp David Accords [mediated by president
Jimmy Carter between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin]?
H: Yes, it went on from there but that was the beginning. Dr. [Henry] Kissinger
[secretary of state in the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations] said we
started the ball rolling.
P: Talk a little bit about your law practice in Annapolis. You practiced law on your
own for about fifteen years or so?
H: Well, it was not that long, because I reared children for a while. I felt that was
more important, as long as they were in school. Then I was a single
practitioner and most of my practice [consisted of] small corporations, plumbers,
and engineers. I opened my office near the elementary school so I could make
the transition from child-rearing to the profession. My husband said he would
stake me for a year, but he never had to put anything into the practice. I was
successful. I did not make a lot of money. It was a low-key practice and it kept
me busy. Back in those days, of course, criminal work was all appointed by the
courts. We did not have any public defenders, so I had to do some criminal
work and I did a little bit of everything, but I handled mostly small corporations.
P: Discuss your term as supervisor of elections in Anne Arundel County.
H: That was when I began to dabble in politics, thinking maybe I had better pay
some dues. I was appointed as supervisor of elections and I made a lot of
changes in that office. I threw out all the registrations and made everybody
register over so that we would have a clean start. That was tough to do and I
got a lot of criticism for that but it turned out to be [a] very good [decision]. It
cleaned the books and gave us a new start with smaller precincts. It was
innovative and it turned out alright.
P: I suspect there was a lot of opposition to that?
H: Oh, yes absolutely. Especially for a Republican in a Democratic district. I had
to really fight for everything I got.
P: I understand the Democrats were something like four to one in that district?
P: Describe your term as the clerk of The Circuit Court.
H: Well, I was having trouble getting into the line-up with the old boys. Apparently
they felt a woman was not really qualified for a legislative job. As the kids got
older, I wanted to run for state legislature and I felt I could get into it. But I could
not worm my way into it at all. There was an old political boss, who was clerk
of court and nobody would take him on. I had practiced law and I knew the
things that needed to be done in the clerk's office. We needed to modernize the
land records and we needed to certainly step-up the assignments of cases.
There were many things that needed modernizing and he did not see it that way.
So I ran against him. Nobody thought I could beat him, but I did.
P: Was he a Democrat?
H: Yes, he was a Democrat. The clerk's office was a perfect spot to build a base of
support for anything else that you wanted to do. So it was a good job. I should
have stayed there.
P: So why did you decide to run for Congress in 1972?
H: As I told you, it had been a life-long ambition, but in the 1970 redistricting they
created a district I felt was perfect for me. I had run in that county, county-wide
for the clerk's office and so I had name recognition. They added some parts of
other counties, but it was not enough to make me feel I could not handle it. So
there was a big scramble; thirteen Democrats ran; I started very early and I got
the women organized and nobody could beat me.
P: This was in the fourth district in Maryland?
H: It was the fourth district. I t has been changed now.
P: How much money would you say you spent to get elected?
H: Very little. I did it with personal contacts. I never did have to raise a lot of
money until toward the end. [Thomas C.] Tom McMillen [All-American,
University of Maryland; US Congressman from Maryland 1986-1992], the big
basketball star, threatened me one year and then he found out he could not beat
me, so he backed off. I raised enough money then, just to convince him I could
raise money, but I never did have to raise the obscene amounts that people are
spending today. I would say from $25,000 to maybe $50,000 was the highest
amount I ever spent.
P: In all your re-election campaigns?
P: What were the most significant issues in that 1972 campaign?
H: Busing was one of the big ones; in Prince George's County, where Brown v.
Board of Education was the first case, we had to implement busing, and I am
being vindicated now. They have proven that busing did not do what they had
intended for it to do.
P: Yours was the achievement of being the first woman elected from Maryland in a
general election. How did you react to that? Did you feel that you were now in
a position to represent women, that you would bring a different view to the
H: No, I felt I was there to represent all the people, Republicans and Democrats,
men and women and everybody; I really wanted to make a difference in the
defense of the country and in economic issues, issues very important to me. I
never got women's support because I was not a feminist and I was not out-front
on women's issues. I was anti-abortion and felt strongly about a lot of issues
like that. So the feminist groups really took strong issue with me on those
matters and I never got their endorsement, but I felt I was representing the whole
district. I tried to tell them that economic welfare was the most important issue for
women, if only they would recognize it.
P: Let me ask you about a couple of your early races. In 1974, you ran against
Fred [L.] Wineland who had been Maryland's secretary of state, and this was
apparently a rather bitter campaign. What were the key issues in the 1974
H: He was or should have been probably my toughest opponent, because he was
very well respected in the state. He had been around a while and he was a very
fine person, the problem was that we agreed on the issues. He felt as I did, so it
was really tough to join the issues and really have any meaningful debates on
them. I beat him.
P: He accused you of voting against day care centers and job programs, although
he was conservative himself. Was that an issue that resonated with the voters
H: Yes, with a certain segment of them, I had to spend much time in explaining that
if you get a bad bill, even if it has one good program in it, you cannot vote for it.
I think George Washington first said that. That [the single item in the whole bill]
was no excuse for voting for a bad bill. That is one of the toughest jobs a
representative has to take on, making certain that one does not get carried away
with these beautiful titles and with one or two things in the bill that one wants.
So it was my conservative nature trying to hold back some of the creation of new
programs that cause [misunderstandings] but I was able to explain it.
P: In your race in 1976 against Werner Fornos, he apparently counted on support
from Senator Paul Sarbanes and Jimmy Carter but that obviously was not
enough. What happened in that campaign?
H: I ran against him the first time. Fornos was also my opponent in 1972 and he was
very glib. He was frightening to me in the first race, because he was so glib,
until I realized that he was making up numbers. I started throwing them back at
him and we did alright. He was very strongly supported by the Democratic
organization and in the first campaign he had Hale Boggs campaign for him and
the speaker of the [US] house [Carl Albert] came in and campaigned for him. So
he had a lot of support then. I think the people found him out. He was really a
con-man at heart; by the time he ran in the third campaign, I think people really
knew him. That was why Senator Sarbanes and Jimmy Carter were afraid. He
had had some support from speaker John McCormack early on. He had been
involved in his life in some way, so [Werner] Fornos did have a lot of loyalties in
Washington. But all politics is local so it did not play very well in the district.
P: There was some flak about a trip you took to Korea?
H: Fornos tried to make [some] flak.
P: What were the circumstances here?
H: I was chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an organization that
discussed the issues and tried to make some contribution to Republican
platforms. As its chairman, I was invited to go to South Korea [in October
1975] as the guest of the Korean-American Foundation [Korea US Economic
Council?]. All of my staff encouraged me to go. They felt that it would be very
important for me to get that information, that knowledge. It was right after the
Tongsun Park fiasco, so Werner [Fornos] tried to tie that trip to Tongsun Park.
He wanted to play on the idea people had of Tongsun Park being a bad guy, and
the South Koreans being bad, and trying to intimidate their own people.
P: Although much of Tongsun Park's relationship was with the Democrats, was it
H: Yes, but he saw that as an issue and in fact I had gone to Korea. You know,
that stuck with me for years. I would run into people and they would say, oh,
you are the one who was mixed up in that South Korean thing, were you not? It
is really hard to overcome that, especially when the headlines [proclaimed], Holt
went to South Korea.
P: Why do you think you won so decisively in every campaign you ran? You really
never had a close contest.
H: I think it was [because of] personal contacts. You know, I have been out now
eleven years, but even today, [when] I go to the grocery store, I have five or six
people talk to me about a case, or what they need to do, and they call me all the
time. So I think it was [due to] personal contact, getting out there and knowing
the people. Being close to my district made it easier too. I lived at home. I
never moved to Washington, so I was available all the time and I worked very
P: So you put a lot of emphasis on constituent services?
H: Yes, I had a good staff. I had to stay on top of them all the time, but I felt that
was very important, to make government work for people. It should not be
necessary, but it paid off. It did work.
P: How would you spend a typical day in Congress?
H: Well, I usually left home early, to avoid the traffic going into Washington;
generally I had a 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. breakfast meeting, then we went into
committees at 10:00. So I attended the committee meetings and sometimes,
while I was on the budget committee, I had a very difficult time [trying] to attend
all the meetings. But that is one of the flaws in Congress, you can be on two
conflicting committees and vote by proxy, and it should not be. That was one of
the things I felt should be changed. Then we went into session, usually at
noon. So I tried to spend as much time on the floor as I could, because
particularly in my early years, I learned a lot by being there. We never knew
how long we were going to go. Sometimes we would be through by 4:00 p.m.,
sometimes it was midnight, and sometimes we stayed there all night, you know
that kind of thing. But generally, when we got out early, back in the district I had
something that needed attending to. Once a week, I spent time in my district
offices, meeting with people there. I had two district offices, one in Anne
Arundel [County] and one in Prince George's County.
P: How would you describe your political philosophy?
H: I guess I have to say >conservative,' because I am. I just feel strongly that we
should try to get the very best out of our dollars and that we should provide for
the needy. But we should do it in such a way that we are not wasting
hard-earned money people pay into the government. That has always
disturbed me, so I tend to be conservative. I do care about people. What I do
now is soup kitchens and all of that, to make sure that our dollars do go places.
I do not want to waste money, I do not want to spend money foolishly, although I
would love to be a liberal. That would be the greatest thing in the world, to be a
liberal. Everybody loves a liberal, but I cannot. I just feel strongly that we ought
to use everything wisely.
P: When you first went to Congress, you were appointed to the House Armed
Services Committee [ and stayed on this committee 1973-1987]. Did you
H: Yes. Gerald Ford [R-Michigan; Republican Minority Leader in the US House of
Representatives] was our leader at that time. I had the Naval Academy in my
district [at Annapolis]; we had Westinghouse, a major employer; we had a lot of
retired military and a lot of military impetus; I have grown up with that
background. The Vietnam war really inspired me to opt for it, and there was an
opening on the Armed Services Committee.
P: Were you the only woman on the Armed Services Committee?
H: No, [Patricia] Pat Schroeder and I went on it at that same time.
P: Pat Schroeder from Colorado?
H: Yes, she was a Democrat and I was a Republican.
P: What were the most critical issues you faced, while [you were a] member of the
Armed Services Committee?
H: We had allowed our military to deteriorate pretty badly. I think that was when
the Soviet Union started its build-up, when the military personnel's housing was
in terrible condition, when pay was bad. The standard of living of our military
was very bad. I served on the [Military] Personnel subcommittee and that was
one of my big concerns, trying to raise the standards of the military. Also, our
weaponry had deteriorated, so we had to modernize. I was concerned about
that too, so I also served on the Procurement and Military Nuclear Systems
subcommittee [became its ranking member].
P: What was your view on the B-1 Bomber?
H: I was for it.
P: What about cost overruns, how did you deal with those?
H: We certainly did not want cost overruns. We tried to make certain that those did
not happen. You had to really study the case. As often happened with any
low-bid contractor, we had to make certain they were not underbidding. You
know how frequently that happened in anything that we were doing. Somebody
underbid and then came back the next day and said, it will be more than the bid.
We did not realize it was going to be more. Now, one of the big problems was
that we changed our specifications after we had let the contract. We changed
our specs and made it difficult for the contractor. So one really had to study
each case. If we felt somebody was trying to cheat, or beat us out of
something then we had to be tough. [In such cases] we could take the contract
away, or refuse to pay, or whatever.
P: Well, there was an issue about the $600 toilet seats and that sort of thing. How
did you respond to the public outcry about such an expense?
H: Well, trying to explain it was very difficult. People just would not accept it. They
were really disturbed about it. Of course, it was the way that accounting was
done. If you attribute all of the costs, handling, transportation, storage, and so
on to every part, or if you have to have a better toilet seat on an airplane than
you would in an outhouse, well that made a difference. So really it was a matter
of getting the facts and explaining it. But people never accepted explanations
at all and there was waste in every department of government, in every agency.
They were not spending their own money. That was what made me want to
tighten it up, to see if we cannot do it more frugally.
P: How can the defense procurement process be made more efficient?
H: Get government out of it.
P: Of course government is the biggest purchaser.
H: I know, and that was a facetious remark, I did not really mean it. But what
happened in procurement was when we saw a difficulty, a problem, then the
Congress wrote a whole new list of regulations that the contractor had to abide
by. They had to send in all of these [new] reports and all of this [new] paperwork
that nobody ever read and nobody ever examined carefully, but it showed the
public that we were really doing something about a problem. I think the major
effort that could be made would be to reduce the number of requirements and
regulations placed on contractors.
P: At least, that was what the contractors said when they argued their point.
H: Yes, but that was also what I said, when I looked at it from every point. I think
you will find the military [said the same]. You go to the Pentagon and they will
tell you that this report was not required, but it was made a requirement by the
Congress, not so much by the defense department, but by the people in
Congress playing to their people back home. The difficulty with a democracy is
that you have to be parochial and partisan to get elected, so you must play to
people back home.
P: When you were on the [Military] Personnel subcommittee, what was your
reaction to the educational level of enlisted men and their training?
H: We tried very hard to attract high school graduates. When I first started, we
were not getting high school graduates at all, we were getting anybody we could.
Therefore it was important that we raised the standard of living and make it a
better career so that we could attract [better people]. I remember one day, one
of the naval officers testified before the committee that he had all of this fantastic
equipment on his ship, but that he did not have the personnel that could operate
it. The people he had were not bright enough to learn how to operate this high
technology. So during my time on that committee, I did not do it by myself, but
certainly I made a contribution towards increasing the standard of living, so the
military could attract more high school graduates and we could make sure that
they got better training. I think that was very important.
P: What were your views on the war in Vietnam?
H: Now or then?
P: Let us start with then, because in 1974 we were making our final withdrawal.
What was your reaction to that?
H: Well, by the time I was running for office I was saying that we ought to get out of
there as fast as we could. I think the way it was handled was a serious mistake.
If we were going in there, we should have won the war and then gotten out.
But in hindsight, it was a terrible mistake. There were so many people whom
we could blame. We could blame it on the people themselves. I went home
and told everyone that I went to Washington and ended the war; I did vote, every
time we had an opportunity to vote, to get out of there.
P: So you voted against President Ford's request for additional funds?
H: Yes, I think I did. As I recall, every vote was aimed at trying to get out of there,
unless there was some overriding reason I felt that we needed the funds to
protect the military we had already over there. I cannot remember how I voted
on every single vote.
P: Did you state you thought the war was a mistake from the beginning?
H: No, I would not state that. I would say, in retrospect, I think it was a mistake. I
think it could have been handled so much better. I think if we were going to be
there, if John Kennedy had decided that we were going in to win that war, I think
we could have done it. We could have held back the Communist forces, and
we could have gotten out. But that was not the way it was. We did not give
the military what they needed, to do the job. We were trying to play both ends
against the middle and so I felt it was mishandled from the very beginning.
P: What would it have taken to win the war?
H: I am not really qualified to answer that, but I do feel, and I have read so many
statements, so many books [that said] if we had been able to go in there, as
Nixon wanted to do, and really continue bombing, we could have won. That
was terrible, but if we were going to win there, we should have realized that war
was terrible. We should have made the decision, in the beginning, whether we
wanted to win or stay out.
P: What is the lasting impact of Vietnam in American history?
H: I think it represents a great big scar on American history. I think it was probably
something everybody regrets. I think we are now beginning to recognize how
valiant our young people were, those who went there and felt they defended their
country, or defended democracy, or defended something good. So I think we
have a new respect for them. But I do not think there is anybody in the country
who does not wish, wholeheartedly, that we had never done it.
P: Do you think that this so-called failure affects foreign policy decisions today?
H: Yes, I think it does. I think we are very reluctant to become embroiled in any
disagreements with another country. There is certainly a lot of thought that we
should stay out of others' affairs. I think that is good. I think that we should
think a lot more before we interfere. I think it could be a long time, before a
president can again commit our troops to any kind of disagreement such as the
P: What is your reaction to the Vietnam War Memorial?
H: It breaks my heart every time I see it, but I think it is good. I think it helps us
remember it and maybe we will not make that mistake again. If we forget about
it, then we could certainly do it again.
P: What was your view on the Equal Rights Amendment?
H: Well, I always felt I had equal rights, so I never could get very excited about it. I
voted for it.
P: I thought you had voted for it. So you did not strongly favor or oppose it?
H: No, I did not go out and make any speeches or anything like that. I felt it was
P: Let me talk a little more about this visit to [Egyptian president] Anwar Sadat. In
1973, you and other members of the Armed Services Committee went to see
him. Was this on your own, or were you requested to do so by the Secretary [of
State, Henry] Kissinger?
H: No, Kissinger opposed it at first. We were requested to go by the chairman of
the committee. It always stuck in my mind, because it was one of the most
fascinating things I had ever been involved in. It was like a laboratory of war.
We went to Israel and we went to Egypt. We saw the results of the Yom Kippur
War. We saw our weapons systems oppose the Russian weapons systems and
how they performed. It was really an education there. We were briefed by the
military on both sides as to what took place, how it all happened. So it was an
education. But Dr. Kissinger did not want us to go when we made clear our
intention to travel. He said, you get these goofy Congressmen going in there
and they are going to muddle up the whole thing, because at that point, the
[warring parties] were really trying to negotiate the settlement. They were
[meeting] out at Kilometer 101, trying to work something out. We insisted and
President Sadat was very antagonistic. We [the United States] did not have an
ambassador there at that time, so we were on our own and we sat there and
talked to him. It was amazing, it was one of the most amazing things to see
him soften up and say, do you guys really mean you want to be even-handed in
this part of the world? You really mean you do not just want to give Israel
everything it wants and dump on us? The Egyptians had just kicked the
Soviets out and they were just beginning to stabilize their country, so they were
looking for somebody to help them. I think President Sadat really wanted peace.
He was a very sensitive man, he was deeply concerned about the young people
they had lost in that war. It was just exciting to sit there and watch him change.
He had his arms crossed akimbo, with a stern look on his face; as we talked
for a couple of hours, three hours, he warmed up. [He said] do you really think
Mrs. Meir would meet with me? Do you really think there is any hope that we
can, at the top, work out any kind of agreement? That was the beginning.
P: This was in the immediate aftermath of the Yom Kippur War . Did you
then meet with Prime Minister Golda Meir? What was that [meeting] like?
H: She was anxious for him to come. She said absolutely yes. The famous
statement she made, when he [Sadat] finally got there, was, what took you so
P: What was the critical issue in trying to get peace in the Middle East?
H: Thousands and thousands of years of animosity. Land was certainly the object
that they focused on, but it was more than that. It was an animosity between
nations of people. It is really difficult [to overcome] the hatred that is there. I
have always been upset with the Saudis and people like that, who really could
have more influence in settling the Palestinians. I think if we could do that, it
would help a lot. Israel has always been antagonistic [to its neighbors]. The
Israelis are the greatest fighters in the world, and everybody fears them, so there
is just a mistrust there that goes back thousands of years.
P: What impact do you think the Camp David accords had?
H: I think the accords [represented] another step in the direction toward peace,
toward negotiating, toward communicating. That was the big problem. Like
poor Yasser Arafat, I never thought I would say that, but he tried to bring about
some agreement and then he got some goofy terrorist out there who started the
thing all over and upset everybody. Then you have Benjamin Netanyahu, so
conservative, so anxious to make sure that he does not give an inch and it is
really difficult. We had so many [critical situations] and that was the exciting
part of the service on the Armed Services Committee.
P: You were a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1968, 1976 and
1980. Whom did you favor in the 1968 convention and why?
H: In 1968, between Nixon and [Nelson A.] Rockefeller, I favored Nixon. I listened
to all of them. Mr. Reagan wooed us, that was very tempting. Mr. Rockefeller
was certainly after us, but I felt I was more aligned with Nixon. I thought he was
so ugly, it was hard to sell him. That was the year that our governor, [Theodore
ASpiro@] Agnew, was selected for vice-president. So we were right in the
middle of it, but I favored Nixon.
P: Did you see this as a critical election for the Republican party, after the defeat of
Goldwater in 1964?
H: Yes, I did. I thought that we were on the way back, that it was critical, and that
we should make absolutely sure we picked somebody who could do the job, who
was capable of handling foreign matters ably, and who would get us back on
P: Why do you think Nixon defeated [Hubert H.] Humphrey?
H: Well, I think the public wanted someone who was tough, someone who would
just get us back on an economically solid basis in this country and get us where
we are not deficit-spending so much. Economics has been the big issue during
all my years there. I think that was the biggest issue the public feared, that
Humphrey would go on with the Roosevelt programs and continue increasing
entitlements, which ate us up year in and year out, as the [entitlements] grow and
grow. So I think that was the big difference between the two presidential
candidates]. Humphrey was very likeable, but I just think the majority felt, at that
point, that we should be tougher.
P: How important was crime and the violence at the Democratic Convention in
H: I am sure it had something to do with it but I do not think it had a lot [of influence].
You are talking about an old lady here whose memory is not so good.
P: Whom did you support in 1976, president Ford or Ronald Reagan?
H: President Ford.
P: There was a very close vote at the Republican convention. What do you think
won the nomination for [Gerald] Ford?
H: He was very likeable, he was very popular with the entire Congress, because he
had served there, and those [attending the convention] were the activists who
went back into the districts and sold a candidate. I think his big mistake was that
he got carried away with that and he felt that he had to please everybody and he
had to go on. I think that is one of the reasons he did not survive [the national
election]: he had been too popular at first, so he felt like he had to please the
black caucus, the women's caucus, everybody, instead of sticking with those who
brought him. [His initial popularity] defeated him.
P: You mean in the general election?
P: Do you think Reagan hurt his cause by picking [Richard] Dick Schweiker as his
vice-presidential so-called nominee?
H: No, I do not think so. I do not think people knew Reagan. I did not. I spent
thirty minutes [with him] while he tried to convince me to support him. That was
the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. I loved George Bush and I loved
Gerry Ford and Reagan never forgot that.
P: Do you think if the Republican party had nominated Reagan in 1976, he would
have defeated Carter?
P: What about the election between Ford and Carter? What do you think was the
key issue in Carter's victory?
H: Well, as I said, I think Ford had gotten carried away with his popularity.
Certainly the pardoning of Nixon had some bearing on it; his gaffes about foreign
affairs were certainly detrimental to him. It was just a number of things. He
never had a strong, dynamic image with the press or with people. The images
the press promoted were, you know, hitting people with golf balls and falling off
the airplane, and I think that hurt him. Here Jimmy Carter was an outsider, a
fine man, who said all the right things and loved everybody.
P: How would you assess the Ford presidency? I realize he was in there for only
H: I do not think it was very strong. There again, as I said, he spent a lot of time
trying to please everybody and when you do that, you do not please anybody.
You do not please enough people to have support by the majority. I do not think
he was strong.
P: Whom did you support in 1980?
H: In 1980, when Reagan defeated Carter?
P: Yes. The struggle for nomination was between Reagan and Bush.
H: I supported Bush. That was when I made my big mistake. George Bush and I
had been friends for years and I have always admired him and respected him. I
just had the image of Reagan as an actor and I did not know what depth there
was. I did feel that Bush was a good family man. That has always impressed
me very much and so I supported him.
P: Did you realize in 1980 what dramatic changes Ronald Reagan would bring to
P: Do you see this, as historians have said, as a conservative revolution?
H: Yes, I do. We were sitting there in the House, and in prior years, by April, we
had created hundreds of new programs. Now, Reagan was able to put a stop
to that, they listened to him. What he did was dramatic.
P: What was your view of supply-side economics?
H: I supported it. Jack Kemp and I worked together, when I was on the budget
committee. I guess you read about my famous Holt Amendment, of which I am
very proud. That was exciting; Jack [Kemp] came along with his Laffer Curve
[named after economist Arthur Laffer of the University of Southern California] and
plans how we were going to cut taxes and that would make everything great. I
said, wait, if you are going to do that, you have to think about the spending side.
So we worked together on that and many Congressmen who campaigned that
year, campaigned on my amendment in conjunction with the Kemp-Roth bill.
P: This was your amendment to the Kemp-Roth tax bill, is that right?
H: No, it was an amendment to the budget of the United States [the First Concurrent
Resolution on the Budget for fiscal 1979].
P: So this was in 1978 and you called for a reduction in the budget by $21.4 billion?
H: Yes, the emphasis I was placing was on reducing the rate of the federal budget's
growth. You know, instead of just saying, let us cut out so much money, I said,
let us slow down the rate of growth of this budget.
P: That amendment was defeated?
H: It was, by Tip O'Neill [Speaker of the House].
P: What happened there specifically, how did he go about defeating that
H: Well, it was really interesting. With the help of my staff I had prepared the budget
and I took it to the floor. I did not have a lot of support at all when it went to the
floor but in talking about it, it was amazing how many people, the big spenders
on the Democrat side, said, hey, that sounds reasonable. If we could cut it back
to a 7 percent increase this year, 6 percent the next year, and 5 percent the
next year, and just hold ourselves back that way, [we could eliminate the deficit].
So we picked up enough [votes] to pass it. I think there were 202 [votes] for it.
When Tip saw that it was passing, man, he went crazy and he got [Majority
Leader] Jim Wright down there to work the floor; then finally Tip came down on
the floor himself and he changed two votes and it was defeated. They were very
much afraid of me after that. Jimmy Carter was afraid of me and that was a
thrilling, exciting experience.
P: The Wall Street Journal has referred to you as "the spearhead to the Republican
alternative to government spending."
H: Well, what had happened in the past years, and what encouraged me to go forth
with that budget, was that the Democrats [usually] provided this big spend,
spend, spend budget. Then the Republicans came along and said no. They
just voted no, but they would not offer anything else. So I said, why do we not
offer an amendment which will say what we want to do? I could not get
anybody to agree, but I went ahead and did it. I do not know what would have
happened if it had passed, but I think it would have really started us in the right
direction. That was what some of the Wall Street Journal editors thought too.
After that, the Republicans kept offering some proposals, so it made for a
P: What was your view of Tip O'Neill as speaker?
H: I loved him. He was loveable. He was a typical old Boston politician and he
was a true-blue Democrat. We did not agree on the issues at all, but I really
loved him. He always called me Darling.
P: What about Jim Wright, should he have resigned?
H: Yes, he should have resigned a long time before he did.
P: How about Tom Foley as Speaker?
H: Tom was a gentleman, a very fine person, I respected him very much.
P: I know you are not a member of Congress but I still would like to get your view of
Newt Gingrich as speaker.
H: Well, I think I served two terms with Newt. At first, Newt came on too strong.
The first time I ever heard from him was when we were in Kansas City or Detroit,
at one of the conventions, and he was running in Georgia. He called me and
offered to come and participate in some of the activities. I think I was on the
platform committee. I cannot remember now what I was doing, but I was doing
something he thought if he came and worked out there with me, it would help
him. I told him to stay in Georgia, and run, and do his work down there. He
irritated me at first, but I think Newt has really grown.
We have a very moderate representative now, [Wayne T.] Gilchrest, who is an
environmentalist, a really fine person, but he is on the liberal side, and even he
really talks beautifully about Newt Gingrich. [Gilchrest] said [Gingrich] is
intelligent, fair-minded, and he will sit down with people who have an opposing
view and discuss it and get the facts. That is the praise I hear from a lot of
people whom I know and who are still in Congress. He did, he came on too
strong early on, but I think he has mellowed, I think he has learned his lesson. I
do not know how effective he will be. He had to be a tremendous force, to pull
off that Contract With America and to influence the election of a great number of
people that year.
P: What was your view of the Contract With America?
H: I agreed with it.
P: What happened between 1994 and 1996, when it appeared the Republicans had
not only gained control of the Congress, but looked like they would gain control of
the White House? Why did they not do so in 1996?
H: I think somewhere in the psyche of the American electorate, there is a desire to
have some checks and balances. And George Bush says, to this day, if he had
been elected [in 1992] we would not have gotten a Republican Congress. I do
not know where he gets that information but I do feel that it represents some
desire not to give too much control to one party or to one body of thought.
P: In 1976 you edited [the book] The Case Against the Reckless Congress. What
impact did that have?
H: It was helpful to a lot of candidates who used it throughout their district. I do not
think it had a lot of impact but I have seen it quoted. It was a body of thought,
[outlining] how we could avoid continuing our profligate spending, how we could
defend ourselves, and what we were doing to education. It had a lot of our
views in it. It probably will be helpful in the history of the development of the
P: One case in point was the federal bailout of New York City. You were
obviously very much opposed to that. Explain your point of view in that
H: If I recall correctly, I think the main thing was I felt that they had not made enough
changes in their operation to make it worth while. I guess I was proven wrong,
because they seem to be doing pretty well now, but I think we did require a lot of
changes in their operating methods. I felt the same way about Turkey. A lot of
people got upset with me, because I voted against Turkey every time they were
not doing things right.
P: You introduced the housing bill that implemented the National Homestead Act.
Would you explain what that was?
H: This occurred right after big industries in a couple of areas of the country had
gotten in trouble. Boeing Aircraft was one such example of an industry in
trouble. Westinghouse was in trouble. As a result, a lot of people had lost
their [jobs and their] homes. FHA, VA loans, administered by the federal
government in some of the local jurisdictions had taken houses over through
foreclosure; so I think we had 80,000 units sitting around doing nothing, creating
hazards in their communities, and not paying taxes. So I thought, why not let
people go in there and refurbish them and get some kind of equity in these
houses. Of course, we needed some regulations, some rules, to work this. I
received a lot of support from Joel Pritchard from Washington [state], because he
had a problem in his district. We passed it. HUD [Housing and Urban
Development] was opposed to it when we introduced it, but now, they say, it is
one of their most successful programs. It has put these lands and houses back
in the hands of people and back on the tax rolls.
P: One great constitutional crisis was the resignation of Richard Nixon. You were
in the House at the time. If it had come to a vote, how would you have voted?
H: I would have had to vote for him to resign, or for impeachment, after we heard
the tapes and saw the extent to which he had gone [to conceal things].
P: At one point you referred to him as a tormented man and publicly asked him to
step down. Do you see him, in retrospect, as a criminal, as a disgrace to the
presidency? How do you view Nixon and Watergate?
H: No, I do not see him as a criminal. I see him as having a flaw that destroyed
him. I think he was brilliant in so many ways, just brilliant. But he had some
sort of a driving force that made him feel he had to control everything. I just
never could imagine why he felt there was any reason to have somebody break
into the Democratic headquarters. It was the whole way that it was handled. If
he had fired everybody who was involved, or if he really tried to straighten it out
instead of just continuing to try to control it, that would be one thing, but whatever
that flaw was in his makeup, just drove him to control it and cover it up.
P: So the real issue was the cover-up?
H: Yes, I think so. And what it brought out about his nature. Some of the tapes,
there was bad language in there. It just gave him not a good image. And here
Bill Clinton can do anything in the world and get away with it. If there was ever
a Teflon president he is it. But that is because he is likeable. Nixon was not
likeable. [Nixon] had that awful look. As I said the first time I saw him, I
thought, we will never sell this man, he was not likeable.
P: Nixon was not very good at interpersonal relationships and social courtesy was
H: That is true. He was not. He was a nice person too. He took us up into the
private quarters in the White House many times, he tried to be nice, and his wife
[Pat] was as nice as she could be; she was wonderful. The girls were pleasant
too, but he just had that cold attitude that did not endear him to anybody.
P: What is the significance of Watergate in American history?
H: I think it had a tremendous impact on journalism. Certainly it got the press into
investigative reporting, which is one of the worst things that has ever happened
to us. So that was one impact of it. I think there again, it is a blot, pretty much
like the Vietnam War. It was a terrible mistake, that drove a president out of
office, a president of the greatest country in the world.
P: Why have there not been any campaign spending reforms? There was of
course, the Campaign Spending Act of 1976, but that apparently has done very
H: I do not know how you reform [campaign spending], I really do not. One tries to
do something and it seems to make things worse. If you have dishonest people
and people are going to be bought, they will do it, they are going to find a way to
do it under the table. [It may help] if we put a limit on the amount of money
spent, but that has been found unconstitutional. So I just do not know how to
turn it around. Now, I always felt I might take any money that anybody wanted
to contribute, but that did not mean I was going to do anything they asked me to
do. Anytime I got a check in a letter that said, here is $1,000, will you see if you
can get me an appointment with so-and-so, I sent the check right back. I told
the [sender] forget that, I would try to help with whatever the problem was, but I
did not want any quid pro quo, or anything connected with [my efforts] at all.
And there are so many areas. The general public does not understand that
most people support you because of your views. And you already have your
views, you had already decided you are going to do something, and that will
attract supporters. Acting in accord with your views is going to please them
and then they are going to keep supporting you.
I can use as an example the American Medical Association, or whatever their
political organization is. They always supported me overwhelmingly. The first
time I ever went to them, and told them what my views were about government
relationships, they said you are like a breath of fresh air. So they supported me
from then on and they never told me how to vote. I voted how I wanted to.
Sometimes I voted against them and sometimes I voted for them. But I always
took their money because it helped me get elected.
P: What was your view of Spiro Agnew as Governor?
H: I respected him. I thought he was a good governor. I do not remember
anything dramatic he did or any changes he made, but I thought he was a good
governor. When he went to Washington, I supported him. The day before he
resigned, I was telling somebody, this man was a great man, I do not believe he
would do anything wrong. Then the next day he said he had taken the money
and he was quitting. But he was not impressive. He had been a county
executive of one of our counties and he had done a good job there. He was
elected as governor almost by default, because George Mahoney received the
Democratic nomination and he was not acceptable. He ran on the premise that
your home is your castle, or something. So that was how Agnew was elected
and I think he was doing a good job as far as governors go.
P: But apparently he was accepting bribes the entire time he was in the governor's
H: Yes, and in the county executive office.
P: Did that not leave sort of a stain on the state of Maryland?
H: And on the Republican Party. Every time we pulled ourselves up a little bit,
we would get shot in the foot with [Barry] Goldwater or Nixon or Agnew.
P: Was the punishment for Agnew sufficient, a resignation and a fine and
H: Yes, I would think so, because I cannot imagine a Vice-President of the United
States taking a bribe, can you? I should not ask you, but you know, it boggles
my mind to think here people have placed all that confidence in him and he
betrayed that trust to that extent. So I think getting kicked out of that office was
probably as bad a punishment as anybody could get. If you executed him, it
would probably have been a relief for him; and it would not do to put him in prison
for the rest of his life. He certainly was not going to do that to anybody again.
He was disgraced. I am sure nobody would have anything to do with him,
except Frank Sinatra.
P: Were you ever discriminated against by your colleagues in the House?
P: Could you give me some examples?
H: Well, as long as I was a lady and friendly and working along with them everything
was fine. But it is hard to describe what happened every time I started to push
for something. When one tries to lead the way, they always want to push one
back. I will give you an example. I was in line for the ranking Republican on
the Budget Committee and all during the year I was told by the leadership, by
John Rhodes [R-Ohio], who was our leader at that time, it would be my turn to
become ranking member on the Budget Committee the next year. There was a
term limitation too, one could only stay as chairman for two years. The guy who
had been on there [for two years] should have gone off. Well, they would not let
me become the ranking member on the Budget Committee. I did not raise cain
about it because I did not particularly want the job, but it did upset me; I felt that
was extreme discrimination.
P: Is that why you left the Budget Committee?
P: Were there any examples of sexual harassment?
H: Yes. Well, what do you call sexual harassment? How do you define it?
P: That is difficult to define. My position has always been [to define it as]
unwanted, untoward sexual advances toward a member of the opposite sex.
H: Certainly there were, yes, many.
P: Was it difficult to be a woman in Congress?
H: No, it was wonderful. i enjoyed it very much and I felt that I made a contribution.
The sexual overtones did not bother me at all. I just fluffed it off and went my
P: Many historians describe Congress, literally, as an old-boys club.
H: Well, it is. I think it is, but I also think I fit in. I think I was able to work with them
and they respected me. I believe I had the respect of Democrats and
Republicans and I felt very comfortable there. Of course, always, whenever you
have men and women, I think you will find [harassment].
P: How many women served with you in Congress?
H: I think there were eleven. Five of us went in together, in 1972, the year I was
elected. In 1973 it was Pat Schroeder [Democrat from Colorado], Barbara
Jordan [Democrat from Texas], Yvonne Burke [Democrat from California], and
Elizabeth Holtzman [Democrat from New York].
P: What was your view of Barbara Jordan, who was a very articulate black
Congresswoman from Texas?
H: She was a great lady. I used to spend a lot of time with her on the floor. You
know, we did not agree on the issues, but still I felt she was very reasonable and
she was a great lady. Certainly I envied her ability to speak; she was wonderful.
P: Did you serve in the House with Barbara Mikulski?
P: What is your view of her. She is now the United States Senator from Maryland.
H: Barbara and I always got along. We were friendly and I would say we are
friends but I certainly do not agree with her at all; I do not agree with her
approach to the issues. I do not agree with her position on the issues.
P: I would just imagine you would be almost totally different.
H: We are. I remember once we spoke to a group, the two of us, and I heard more
people say, what a contrast.
P: In dealing with all of these committees, did you feel you were given the
opportunity to take leadership on issues and to present your point-of-view?
H: Yes, I did. And they were very generous in letting me serve in places I wanted
to serve. For example, the Office of Technology Assessment, where Senator
[Ted] Kennedy [D-Massachusetts] was the vice-chairman, alternated each year
between the House and the Senate. Kennedy tried to pack the committee with
his people, his former staff people, who had his views on the health issue. I
took him on and he backed down. Later, I resigned from that committee.
P: Why did you never run for the United States Senate?
H: I did a poll when [Paul] Sarbanes ran, I believe it was in the second year of the
P: In 1982?
H: I believe in 1982, I had Dick Wirthlin [Republican pollster] do a poll in Maryland,
because I seriously considered then running for Senate. If you recall, Reagan
was doing his austerity tightening, so the economy was very bad, and that would
have made it tough to win. Dick Wirthlin said, if I got every vote in Maryland
that any Republican had ever gotten, I could get 51 percent of the vote. But I
had reached the point in my career when I felt very comfortable in the House; I
had a safe district; I was enjoying it; I felt I was making a contribution there. So
I decided against it. Sometimes I regret that I did not run against [Barbara]
Mikulski, in her first term.
P: She would have been your opponent, had you gotten the Republican nomination,
H: No, it would have been [Paul] Sarbanes, that was the year he was running, and
he would have been very tough. I think when Mikulski ran the first time for the
seat, not as an incumbent, I would have had a better chance. That year the
economy was better, but then I was afraid I might win. [Laughter]
P: You had a very interesting program called "operation latch key." Explain what
that was about and how you got involved in that.
H: I guess I got involved in politics through education, through the PTA. I held
every office in the PTA and was always involved in it, so I had always been
interested and concerned about children. We have a blue-collar area in this
county, where a lot of children were being left at home after school, with parents
working. I cannot remember this clearly, but somebody had started a
foundation to encourage local governments to provide funding to keep teachers
in the school in the afternoons. If we could keep some of the teachers in the
school, then children could stay in school, play on the playgrounds and do things
in school, rather than go home to let themselves in the house with their own key.
We had a very successful pilot program in that part of my county. It still goes on
in some of those areas but it has not been an overwhelming success there. So
that was "operation latch key."
P: Let me ask you some foreign policy questions. How would you rate Henry
Kissinger as secretary of state?
H: I think he was very effective.
P: How important was SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) in ultimately leading
to the end of the Cold War?
H: I do not think it had a lot of bearing on ending the Cold War. I think what ended
the Cold War was that we convinced the Soviets they could not out-arm us and
their economic necessity became such that they had to back down. I think
[Mikhail] Gorbachev came along at that time [became secretary general of the
Communist Party in the USSR in March 1985, following the death of Konstantin
Chernenko] and he was willing to lead in that direction [backed down from the
arms race]. We had to be very, very careful in our arms control efforts, because
the [Soviet Union] always managed to get the upper-hand on us, to out-do us, to
convince us to do away with something they themselves were not doing away
with. I felt it was important to keep us talking. If we kept talking and kept the
negotiations going, then at least we knew what each of us was doing. I never
felt the [negotiations] were really effective in accomplishing a lot.
P: So you would say that the Reagan defense spending, Star Wars and all of that,
to some degree, bankrupted the Russians? They could not keep up with us?
H: Yes, I think that was it. They realized that Communism had failed, it had really
failed, and there was no point in their attempting to build a strong military to
convince us, when they could not afford even what military expenditures they
had. During the Carter years it became so evident. During the Carter years
they thought they could get away with things. That was when they moved into
Afghanistan making their under-seas moves, many Soviet submarines were seen
entering the Atlantic waters around Bermuda. The Soviets were apparently
planning a buildup in the Carribean. They were attempting to come at us
through Grenada. We had seen a White Paper prepared by the Soviets in
Somalia before their expulsion from that country by President Siad Barre. The
paper indicated that the Soviet plan was to establish a path across Africa and
across the Atlantic to the entry south of Grenada, working with the Cubans to
establish a strong foothold in the Carribean. Then, when Reagan started the
build-up, they started backing down, then backed down some more. I think
they realized at that point there was no way they were going to be able to
out-arm us or fake us out even into thinking that they were out-arming us. So I
think that was what broke the camel's back. I do not want to sound as if I do not
think the treaties were worthwhile, because I do, I really do think they were. I
think they started people thinking about how to back down from some of those
build-ups of weaponry.
P: What is your assessment of Jimmy Carter's foreign policy, where he tended to
have the human rights as the key?
H: I think he failed totally in foreign policy. He was too good. He trusted
everybody. He was a wonderful man and he wanted to love everybody and he
felt that was going to make everything good. But it did not and people lost
respect for him, around the world. They really did not respect him as a leader.
That worked to our detriment and then he hurt us terribly when he cut back on
the military. I think there he hurt us terribly.
P: What about the Panama Canal treaties ?
H: Now, the [Panamanians] do not want to get out of it. I was opposed to that
because I felt we should keep our influence there. I thought it was important
that we get along with the [Panamanians]. We ought to work to their advantage,
but nonetheless I felt we should continue some involvement there.
P: What about his energy policy? He said he wanted to make a war on energy and
cut back thermostats and go to alternative fuels?
H: I think that was a failure. That was when we created the federal Department of
Energy was it not?
P: That is correct.
H: And that was a big mistake. I think that just meant more spending for creating
nothing. My attitude always was that we should try to develop more sources of
energy. I was a great fusion freak and I still feel that someday we are going to
make enough break-throughs there that we are going to be able to produce
enough energy to create fusion so that it is cost-effective. But I thought what he
was doing was just nit-picking and really did not amount to a lot.
P: Let me ask you a little bit about the [Ronald] Reagan administration and some of
his decisions. The firing of the PATCO Union, the air traffic controllers. What
was your reaction to that?
H: I was glad he did it.
P: What impact do you think that had on his presidency?
H: I think people applauded him for standing firm. Maybe not all the people, but a
majority of them, feel that when somebody is doing a key job, as serious as that
one was, they should work with management, to make certain that the job
continues at all times.
P: What was your view of his appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme
H: I applauded that. I thought she was a good choice.
P: What about his appointment of Anthony Scalia to the Supreme Court?
H: I approved of that. They do change after they get there. [Laughter]
P: What about the sending of troops to Grenada?
H: I thought that was worthwhile. Talking to the people who came back really
convinced me that it was a worthwhile effort. We went in there and saw the
remains of the Cubans involvement there. The students we had there were
deeply concerned too, so I think it was a worthwhile effort.
P: Why did you choose not to stand for reelection in 1986?
H: I guess I was tired. One does burn out. One goes over the same issues, over
and over, every year. You know what everybody is going to say, how they feel
about things; you keep fighting. You feel you are doing some good. Then
suddenly one day you wake up and you think well, maybe it is time to let some
younger people take over and carry this burden for a while.
P: How would you like your service in Congress to be remembered?
H: I would like it to be remembered as having made a contribution to the economic
well-being of the country and to its safety. I did make a contribution in
improving the economic situation of this country and the situation in the world.
As United States is the leader of the free world, I think I made a contribution
there as well.
P: Thank you for your time. This concludes the interview with Congresswoman
[End of the interview]