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Interview with General W. E. Potter, January 19 1977

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Title:
Interview with General W. E. Potter, January 19 1977
Creator:
Potter, General W.E. ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
History of the Florida BiCentenial Commission Oral History Collection ( local )

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Funding:
This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

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Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Florida Bicentennial Commission' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
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FBC 001 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida



































UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

ORAL HISTORY PROJECT



INTERVIEWEE: William E. Potter

INTERVIEWER: Christine S. Galbraith



DATE: January 19, 1977




















G: General, would you please tell me your full name, for the
record.

P: For the record, then, William E. Potter, Retired Major General
of the United States Army, a resident of Florida since 1968.

G: Now, who appointed you to the [Florida] Bicentennial Commission
and when was that?

P: Governor [Claude] Kirk appointed me in December 1970.

G: Then you were one of the original members of the commission?

P: I've been on the commission since the beginning, reappointed by
Governor [Reubin] Askew when my four-year term ran out. And
I've only missed about two or three meetings.

G: Yes, sir. I am aware of that from the minutes.
Tell me, why do you think Governor Kirk appointed you to
the commission in the first place?

P: Well, at that time, I was more or less the resident [Walt] Disney
[organization] official in Florida. I'd been working around the
state since 1965 in connection with the [Walt] Disney [World]
project and, of course, became quite well known in Florida. I
knew Governor Kirk very well, since he had a great interest in
the Disney project.

G: I see. Was there any hope that the Disney project and the
Bicentennial Commission would work together?

P: We have always worked together. Even when I retired from
Disney, the company continued to support my efforts on the
Bicentennial Commission, so that there would be continuity and
action.
As you well know, some members of the commission have fallen
by the wayside. There are many new members, while there are
several of us that have been on since the beginning. It's always
good to have "old timers" around, to see that things continue
in the same way that we planned.







2







G: Right. Tell me, when the commission was first established,
there was a great deal of organization necessary. What part
did you play in that organization, the initial workings of the
commission?

P: Well, I was very impressed with the man who became our head
man, our chairman, Pat Dodson from Pensacola. Pat and I worked
very closely together in the early days of forming the commission
and setting up our policies and procedures, etc.

G: Do you remember which policies and procedures specifically that
seemed especially important at the time?

P: I guess the most important one was to settle initially whether or
not the commission would plan on the basis of a stupendous state-
supported celebration, or whether we would do what Pat and I
were very much in favor of--and everybody else also: of having
the celebration extend for some period of time and be very close
to the people in all the counties and cities of Florida. In other
words, the Bicentennial celebration would be an event of the
people rather than an event of the state.

G: Yes, as Mr. Dodson said at the very first commission meeting.

P: That's what we wanted.

G: I see. While you were serving on the commission, which areas did
you concentrate on most?

P: Well, the first areas, of course, had to be the informing of people
in the various local governments of our policy, to have the
commission become known. It's very difficult to plan the
celebration or the doing of something so many years in advance.
People have a tendency to wait 'til the day before. It was
necessary that we start our organizational process by letting
the various counties know what we thought their role would be,
to have them organize themselves to do the job (and this was a
long and frequently horrendous task, because people don't like
to do things six years ahead of time).

G: Yes. There was one proposal for a regional organization of the
state Bicentennial effort. You took that idea back to the people
around Orlando, since it's basically one big region. Could you
tell me what happened when you presented the program to Orlando?







3







P: Well, in every area of the state (as in all states), there are
people and localities which have influence--what you might call
the leadership role--in that particular area. In the central
Florida area, of course, in the east-central Florida area, Orlando
has a position of distinction because it's the biggest city and
it was the city that Disney was going to be in. All the people
in this area were interested in that effort. So early in the game,
and really at the invitation of Jerry Lyons, who was head of
all the musicians in Orlando, we started to work on a project
that would organize this area as a region, but only because it
would be difficult early in the game to bring in all the satellite
communities and the counties that surround Orlando.
That particular project stumbled quite a while, mostly
because people had the idea that when something like this was or-
ganized for a big event that there would be a necessity to raise
large amounts of monies. People don't like to have large amounts
of money raised out of their pockets. So it took quite a while
for this area involvement to get organized. Everybody who had
any influence or clout in this particular area was also involved
in other projects and asking them to do something like the
Bicentennial was imposing on them an additional burden.

G: Especially in 1971 or 1972.

P: That's right. Nevertheless, it did get going. It took a couple
of years to get it going, but eventually we had an Orlando commission
that I think did an exceptional job.

G: Well, getting back to something you mentioned, money, I'd like
to explore the original funding concept for the commission and
how it got through the legislature. The system adopted finally
was to fund the Bicentennial mainly from pari-mutuel receipts.

P: That's right.

G: Do you know how this was developed?

P: Well, Pat Dodson had been in the government of Governor Kirk [as
a member of the Board of Regents and as director of administration
of the Department of Transportation]. He was well-known in
Tallahassee. He understood the legislature and how it worked.
We were very sure from past history in other states and
other places that raising money through legislative appropriations







4







was an almost impossible job. Early in the game, we had to
plan our finances and discover a way where we could do our job,
because running a commission is moderately expensive, too.
So, Pat had the idea (whether it generated in him or in
others, I don't know, but I think it was Pat's idea) we could
get our monies through the proceeds of an extra day of racing
dedicated to the commission effort. At the beginning, I thought
this was a weak reed, because over the years many people had
tried unsuccessfully to get monies by an extra day of racing. It
was a ploy that people had seen and heard and had destroyed. I
didn't think there was much chance. When it passed, I was just
amazed and highly pleased, because I could see that the commission
could do its job and support the counties in their efforts to
organize for the Bicentennial.

G: Do you know how they got it past the legislature? Were they happy
not to have taxes involved, or what?

P: Just in retrospect, I would say that the legislature would not have
funded the commission in any important way out of taxes. This
was a very interesting and possible way to do it. As a result,
the commission did receive monies, important amounts of monies.

G: Did Pat Dodson ever tell you what he did in Tallahassee to persuade
some of the legislators?

P: Well, of course, the commission was made up of legislators,
from the house and from the senate, and from lay people like myself.
We could count, I guess, on those legislators carrying the message
and assisting. Who actually did the so-called "front" work, I'm
not sure. I was not involved in that. I imagine Pat Dodson or-
ganized it and did a lot of it himself. He was a very dedicated
man.

G: Yes, he worked very hard on the commission.
Were there any alternative funding proposals considered?

P: This happened so early in the game that we didn't have to consider
them. Our major problem after our legislation was passed was
to assist the counties in raising their own funds. They didn't
have a legislature to lean upon. They had to do it out of their
own pockets or resources, which is sometimes difficult.

G: What did you do to help the people in Orlando raise money?







5







P: Almost nothing, personally. I kept very close track of what
they were doing, but I considered myself as a member of a state
commission rather than a local representative on the state
commission, if you get my point.

G: Let's follow some money all the way through. During the life of
the commission, the legislature did get into funding for the
Bicentennial Commission to some extent. Basic funds came from
pari-mutuel, but...

P: I don't think money came from any other source.

G: No other source?

P: Maybe right at the beginning. Maybe right at the beginning we
had some monies to pay for travel and that sort of thing until
the pari-mutuel money came forth, which, I think, took several
months or a year before we started to get a cash flow.

G: Once you started getting money, did anyone besides the commission
try to get hold of it? In the minutes, there was one instance
where the legislature allocated $200,000 of commission funds to
the Department of Commerce for films. I wondered if you know
anything about that, since you were on the Films Committee.

P: Well, that disturbed us a great deal. We felt that the allocation
of funds for that purpose, especially in that large amount, was
taking away from the commission its responsibility. I think I
was chairman of the Films Committee early in the game.; I could
see no way, nor could the commission, that that amount of money
could be spent or should be spent on such a project as the produc-
tion of films for the Bicentennial. So, through conversations
with Department of Commerce and others, the reallocation of that
money for purposes that you might call public relations and a
program of the use of that money for that broader purpose was
evolved.
Our production of films, I think, never came up to over
$50,000. We only had one major film that was produced. There
was one previous film that told about the commission. How that
was funded, I'm not sure. That was done more or less by Pat Dodson,
who was in public relations himself, and I had nothing to do with
that. It was an initial film that was supposed to take the place
of a lot of talk in county meetings.







6







G: In the minutes, it seems the second film was made to replace that
first one.

P: That's right.

G: Why?

P: Well, the first film had a limited purpose and was not what you
might call a long term film that could be useful not only in
the counties but in other parts of the country, especially in the
southeast. We visualized that [second] film as having some use
in attracting tourists to Florida.

G: That was the film Florida On My Mind?

P: Yeah.

G: I'd like to talk about another regional area that was very prominent.
That was Miami/Dade County, the Interama project, and Third Century
USA. They made their proposal for funding at the very first meeting
of the commission and received substantial funding. Do you remember
your initial reaction?

P: The allocation of state funds is a subject that could be talked
about a great deal. We felt that every part of the state had a
right to have some proportion of the funds that were raised to
assist them in their initial efforts. The funds that were allocated
to the various counties in the beginning were based upon their
population, which meant the larger counties would get more than
the other counties. Those monies were dedicated to administrative
uses and had to be counterparted equally, 50/50, by funds raised
by the counties themselves. That's one of the things that we were
very particular about. It wasn't until later in the game that
funds were allocated to projects. Initially, our funds were used
for organization and administration.
We felt that Third Century and Dade County, but especially
Third Century, had done an enormous amount of work in Washington
and spent a lot of money to prepare their proposal for the national
Bicentennial. Because of that work, Miami was mentioned in the
federal legislation as one of the four cities that would be key
cities in the celebration of the Bicentennial. This later sort
of fell by the board, because each one of these cities came up
with projects that were enormously expensive, enormously expensive,







7






and the key city feature sort of fell by the board. Boston,
Philadelphia, Miami: none of them were able to produce the funds
in house to do their job. Nor would the federal legislature give
them the enormous amounts that were required.
If you read it, you will find that the efforts of Dade County
were very much in the state legislation. We felt, and we held to
it, that Dade County had a right--from legislation and from their
work--to have a larger proportion of the funds than the population
of the area, under a normal allocation procedure, would have
required.
There were a lot of arguments about this. Frequently, we
were questioned by people in other areas why we were giving this
money to Dade County. Our reliance was totally on the intent of
the legislation that this should happen.
I don't think Interama got any direct allocations, except
from Third Century. I think that those were repaid, but I'm not
sure about that.

G: Bicentennial funds were given to Third Century?

P: Yes. They gave some to Interama. Then I think that Interama
repaid those funds. I was also a consultant on Interama at the
time, until it became defunct, and remember something about the
arguments with and about these funds that Third Century allocated.

G: What kind of consulting did you do for Interama?

P: Management mostly. It was only for about a year.

G: Not in project development or anything?

P: Management, advice to the chairman and to the commission, that sort
of thing.

G: How would you characterize the working relationship between Third
Century and the commission?

P: Superb! They were always thoroughly prepared. They knew what
they were going to do. Their organization was substantial. They
did raise a great amount.of local funds. I admired their efforts.
They were dedicated, from the beginning.

G: Yes, it comes through in the minutes. Do you think sometimes they
were better prepared with their presentations than the commission
was to hear them?

P: Sure! Sure, there was no question about that whatsoever. [Interruption].
















G: What factors do you think were responsible for the collapse
of Interama?

P: Lack of support by the local community.

G: By Miami?

P: Miami, Dade County, etc. There were people in great leadership
importance in that area who never got behind it. It probably,
of all the things that have happened in our state, has the worst
history of failure of any project that has ever been advanced.
It has been suggested since, I think, the late twenties, at least
the early thirties, and has had several starts. Every time it
fell on its face.
This time Interama was nicely organized,beautifully organized,
and did a very thorough job of going from the initiation of the
project, hopefully, through to completion and production. If
there's anything that Miami needs, it's an important vistor
attraction. The philosophy of Interama filled that. We were
within months of getting off the ground, when the money market
turned around and we were unable to sell bonds. That would still
have been possible if the local community had been with us. They
were not, the power structure.

G: Did the local community actively oppose Interama, or were they
just indifferent, or what?

P: They actively didn't support it.

G: How did the collapse of the Interama project affect the commission?

P: I don't think in any way whatsoever, because the leadership in
Miami for the Bicentennial was Third Century. While Third Century
changed its leadership once or twice, basically it was strong, and
it was able to carry on and do its job--and, I think, do it
beautifully.

G: Then the commission wasn't hurt?

P: No.

G: Was the Bicentennial effort hindered in any way?

P: I don't think Interama would have been ready for the Bicentennial,







9







anyhow. We would have been able to celebrate the Bicentennial
at Interama by impressive ground breaking and some buildings
coming up and it could have been a relic of the Bicentennial.
I didn't mind the idea that it wouldn't be completed, as long as
it was a child of the Bicentennial.

G: I see. Beginning with the Tower of the Sun?

P: All that.

G: There were a lot of other projects, too. We've already discussed
films, somewhat.

P: Films was a public relations effort to give widespread knowledge
of the Bicentennial. I don't think, and I never did think, that
we would consider it as an important product of the Bicentennial.

G: Well, was your publicity effort successful, do you think?

P: Yes. I forget how many films were shown by local television
stations. We had several films and we had little things that
would go on radio, records, and that sort of stuff. I think
millions of people were apprised of our efforts through the film
and the news clips and all that.

G: The "Action '76" program was really meant to involve every
community?

P: Yes.

G: How were you involved in the origination of that program?

P: Oh, I can't say I remember involvement as far as generating the
name. I think the Action '76 idea was an idea that would involve
people to celebrate the Bicentennial. I had a complete rejection
of the philosophy that the Bicentennial would be celebrated by
parades and fireworks and impressive speeches by politicians. That
I rejected right at the beginning. Pat was very much with me, as
were the other members of the commission. The Bicentennial effort
had to have an end result, solid things having been done: parks,
buildings, that sort of thing.

G: Getting back to some of the individual projects of the commission,







10







such as the traveling exhibit, were you involved in the development
of this project?

P: Only on a voting basis. The idea came from others, [Professor]
Blair Reeves [of the architecture faculty at the University of
Florida] and others on the commission. We had great presentations
made to us. It went through a traumatic childbirth period.

G: What was that?

P: Well, creative people have a tendency to come up with things that
are extraordinarily beautiful and extraordinarily expensive, much
more than an initial budget we'd come out with. So the commission's
activities after the initial presentations was to get subsequent
approvals to reduce projects to fit within a money area that we
had allocated. I forget how much, but it was something like $100,000.
It had to fit within that as a total project.

G: Right. Was the final result worth the money spent on it?

P: I think so. The man who eventually became in charge of traipsing
it around the state reported good crowds. The problem was to find
the proper place to put it.

G: I see.

P: And to get the local community to get off their duffs, and see that
people knew that it was coming. [So they would] get out there and
look at it. I think it was worthwhile, yes.

G: One of the more thoroughly historical projects was the [Bicentennial
Floridiana] Facsimile Series.

P: I think that's great. That was [Dr.] Sam Proctor's project. [Dr.
Proctor is Distinguished Service Professor of History and Social
Sciences, University of Florida]. It just indicates how one man
can dedicate himself to a project and see that it happens.

G: You say it was Dr. Proctor's pet project?

P: That's right. It was an enormous project. I forget how many books
were produced.

G: There were twenty-five.







11







P: The books were out-of-print things that had to do with the history
of Florida, things that are extraordinarily valuable and should
not be allowed to disappear. As a result of his efforts and more
or less his efforts alone--he recruited the writers and the
historians to do it--these enormously important books are available.
They are in libraries of the universities and schools. That part
of the history of Florida will continue to be available.

G: Another historical one is the Bicentennial Trail. Did you
make any suggestions for inclusions?

P: Rarely. Rarely if ever. That was a project of Ney Landrum. The
Bicentennial Trail really was a trail where the history of Florida
could be seen by people who come to our state.

G: You would consider this...

P: A worthwhile project. You've seen the book.

G: Yes, sir. I have a copy of it.

P: The sub-title, I think, is very good, A Heritage Revisited.

G: Do you think Florida has a heritage really worth preserving?

P: Well, one of our problems right at the beginning is that Florida
had no part in the revolution.

G: Well, we had sort of a negative part. [The British colonies of
East and West Florida did not join the American Revolution].

G: The people in St. Augustine, what was their attitude toward the
commission? Did they cooperate?

P: Well, the people of St. Augustine had at least as imaginative a
plan as did Third Century. They had more of a foundation upon
which to work. In other words, they had the history of Florida
and partially of the United States right there in their hands.
They had done over the years a great deal of renovation of the
fort [Castillo de San Marcos] and other things that existed at
the time of the Spanish and the English.
Their plans, also, were too extravagant for the commission
to fund. They did want a disproportionate share of our monies,







12







at one time. They finally realized that we had a duty to the state
and not just to Miami and to St. Augustine.

G: Well, what kind of friction did it cause when the commission had
to reduce their funds?

P: The friction was the same kind of friction that you perhaps have
had in yourlife when you went to your parents and wanted an auto-
mobile and got a bicycle. You pled like the dickens for your
automobile. You finally settled for the bicycle. In their case
we just had to act as an agent that said, "It's a fine idea, but
we don't have the money to do all of the things we want."
Of course, the Jacksonville commission supported St. Augustine,
also, I think, with funds.

G: Yes. In the minutes at one point, the Jacksonville commission
offered--since they didn't need funds for the commission--to donate
theirs to St. Augustine. Was an event like that extraordinary
or was everyone asking for money?

P: If we had an annual budget of a half million (it varied around
that figure), the requests would be one or two million from the
various parts of the state. We had a committee, first headed by
Dr. [Charles E.] Perry [of Florida International University] and
later by Hal [Harold W.] Stayman. It was their job to recommend
to the commission how the money would be allocated and which of
the proposed projects could get monies.

G: Did anyone ever try to use their influence to affect the decisions
of the commission members?

P: Oh, if I gave you a no to that, you'd know that I wasn't telling
you the truth.

G: Yes?

P: But that influence on members of the commission only resulted in
whatever project it was having a spokesman who could tell about
the project. A large part of the commission meetings had to do
with listening to local entities.

G: Yes.

P: We listened and we did what we could.







13







G: For example, what kind of lobbying did the St. Augustine group do
outside the commission meetings?

P: I really don't know. I don't think they ever missed a meeting.

G: Not very many. No.

P: No. I don't think they ever missed a meeting.

G: Did they ever come to you outside the committee?

P: No. They had one or two commission meetings in St. Augustine which
were beautifully organized. You've just got to give credit to
the people in St. Augustine who put their backs to the stalled car
and made something happen. Some things did happen in St. Augustine.

G: Yes. Mr. Malcolm Stevens.

P: Malcolm Stevens, especially.

G: Very active. Now another aspect of the commission's work was
the staff work. In five years there were four different executive
directors. [N. E. Bill Miller, Don Pride, Shelton Kemp, Dr.
William R. Adams]. That's quite a turnover.

P: Yes.

G: Why do you think that was?

P: Well, I'd rather not go into that in detail. There was a great
deal of politics involved in one aspect of that.

G: What kinds of politics?

P: Well, at one time, one of the heads of the staff and his people
under him had a great deal of friction. The commission had to
get in the act and reduce that friction to produce a smooth-
running organization.

G: Which one was it?

P: Oh, you can find that out somewhere else. I do want to give a
great deal of credit to Bud Housner who was in charge of having







14







the travelling exhibit scheduled around Florida, accompanying
it, setting it up, seeing that it worked, providing for its
maintenance and staffing. He did a great job without any financial
remuneration except his expenses. It was an enormous job. I
give him just as much credit--in a different way--as I do to Sam
Proctor and Blair Reeves for their work.

G: Okay. Now the commission is composed of twenty-eight members,
some of whom don't always come to the meetings.

P: That's right.

G: So who really runs the commission?

P: Well, I think that Dr. [Bill] Adams has done an extraordinary
job.

G: As executive director.

P: As executive director. And Lieutenant Governor Jim Williams is
one of my favorite people in the state. They've established a
very fine working relationship. It works just like any corporation
should work. The executive staff receives information, analyzes
information, prepares recommendations to the committees first.
Then the chairman of the commission is able to make the presentation,
make the decisions when there's dissension--though there's rarely
much dissension. It's especially difficult during the time that
Dr. Adams has been executive director, because we're going through
our dissolution.

G: Yes.

P: When he came in, there had to be thoughts in people's mind that
our dissolution was not too long in the future. I think we can
keep going 'til 1986 or something like that, but we're working
towards getting dissolved by the middle of this year.

G: Yes. Someone told me the final report is 1984.

P: Well, it'll be before that.

G: I certainly hope so.

P: As a result, we have a hard time getting a quorum.







15







G: Yes, the minutes indicated some changes were requested in the
quorum setups. Was that always true? Were there always quorums?

P: No. You see, we have a thing in Florida called the regular sessions
of the legislature besides the regular sessions which start in
April and continue through June or something like that. During
the time that the commission's been in existence, the activity of
legislators has been long before and long after. Committee
meetings are held before the session is in session and, as a
result, legislators had a hard time making the meetings.

G: Yes. Well, the meetings were held all over the state and the
legislators had to be in Tallahassee part of the time.

P: And also in their home offices.

G: Yes.

P: They have a job to do.

G: Did the legislative members in the commission do a lot of work
on the commission outside the meetings?

P: Some of them did. [Representative A. H.] Gus Craig [of St.
Augustine] did quite a bit.

G: What did he do?

P: Well, he was the lead man behind development of the use of that
$200,000 to produce brochures, out-of-state advertising, funding
the film that my committee was in charge of. There were several
others that were regulars at the meetings.

G: Are you talking about legislators now?

P: Yes.

G: Well, which others really worked hard?

P: Well,[Secretary of State] Bruce Smathers has been--of course he's
not a legislator. He's been quite loyal in coming to the meetings.
[Senator] Lori Wilson several times has come to meetings, even
in rather inaccesible places. [Representative] Dick Bachelor has
been rather loyal in coming to meetings. Senator [Jim] Glisson







16







[of Eustis] frequently appears. In the early days [Representative
Joe Lang] Kershaw showed up, when he was on the committee.

G: How were these people active for the commission in the legislature?

P: I presume that they supported us thoroughly in our requests for
budgets. Senator [Alan] Trask also has been very loyal.

G: Yes. He was the original chairman of the legislative committee.

P: I think so, yes.

G: Now let's see if you could do some general evaluation of the
Florida Bicentennial effort for me. I would appreciate it. Do
you think the commission did a really good job?

P: Well, I know this, that many members of the commission were
dedicated to the effort. All you have to do is look at the minutes
of the meetings and the people who were there and you can pick them
out, those that were dedicated. Of course, Sam Proctor had to leave
the commission. That doesn't mean that he didn't continue to be
active. Without that dedication, we couldn't have done our job,
because we had considerable sums of money that were available to
us that we had to administer and allocate.
One of my goals was to make sure that when this commission
was over, that our books were not only auditable but that the
things that they could discover would be minuscule. I did not
want any questions whatsoever that the funds of this commission
had not been properly used. We worked on the basis of utilizing
state forms to put in for expenses and we stayed within, as far
as the requests for money were concerned, those rules that said
that you could get this much for a hotel, and this much for travel
and so on and so forth. I never put in a bill for expenses in
the whole time I was on the commission to the commission itself.
It would have been very easy for this commission to be
highly political; it was not. It was not. It set its goals in
the first and second, third, fourth meetings as to the way we
thought this should be run and that's the was it was run.

G: You maintained those goals.

P: The counties did do their jobs. They were recruited. Our
staff visited them. We developed forms where they could say what
they were going to do in great detail and we examined those forms,








17







especially in Dr. Perry and Hal Stayman's budget committees.
I feel that we did all we could to see that the celebration
was statewide and that it was a people's program and it was not
fireworks, and parades, and speeches. There are some end results
like the trail and the books, the travelling exhibit. Senator
Williams made sure that the archives, the philosophy of the
archives, was well represented. He made sure that those things
that were proposed for the excavation of Florida's past history
and the restoration of buildings were in fact real and was just
not somebody's local idea.

G: This was W. Robert Williams, Director of the Division of Archives,
History, and Records Management?

P: Yes, Bob Williams. He was a very dedicated man and knew what
he was doing. He's a great archivist. I was always not only
pleased, but sort of thrilled with the way this commission worked.
I was more and more pleased that it was not a political organiza-
tion.

G: I don't know if you know, but can you compare the Florida commission
with the activities of Bicentennial commissions in other states?

P: I do know that many times we were told that our program in Florida
should have been the model for almost every state. I know that
Texas was very active. I suppose other areas were very active,
but many times we received accolades from the federal commission
as to the way we were going about our business, our goals, and
how we accomplished them.

G: Yes, Mr. Swinehart, in particular, commended the commission
during several meetings.

P: Which, of course, was very good for our egos.

G: Was Florida very active on the national scale? You said that
Dade County lobbied extensively in Washington. Did the Bicentennial
Commission work in Washington?

P: I know that Pat Dodson and maybe others did go to national or
regional meetings. As far as our being involved in what the
national program was, probably not too much. We were pretty
busy in the state.







18







G: Was there any attempt to influence the national program through
the congressional delegation?

P: I don't think so. Not as far as I know, anyhow.

G: You mentioned that Walt Disney World supported you on the
commission and that even after you left Disney, they continued
to give you support. What kind of support?

P: Paid for my expenses.

G: Did Disney lend any of its technical facilities to the commission?

P: Disney was pretty involved in its own celebration, which was
basically the parade. Also, Disney was very important in New
York in the fireworks when the big ships came in. I know they
made appearances before the national commission with suggestions.
So, their job was national, as Disney is, rather than purely local.

G: Well, I think that's about all the questions I have. Is there
anything else you would like to put on the record.

P: No. I'm very pleased to have been a member.

G: Well we're very pleased to have you talk to us in this oral
history project and you understand that this will be transcribed
and used in our final report?

P: And edited, I hope, too. Oh, well, that's fine. I'd like that.

G: We have your permission now?

P: Yes. You have my permission to use any information that I have
given you.

G: Thank you very much. I really appreciate your talking to me and
being so helpful.