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Interview with Joel Cash Williams, November 19, 1979

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Obtaining a job with Russell

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Partial Transcript: This is November 19, Richard B. Russell Memorial Library; Sheryl Vogt and Orlean Castronis conducting an interview with Joel Cash Williams, former office staff member of Richard Russell...

Keywords: Chappaquiddick; Earl T. Leonard; Edward Kennedy; Proctor Jones; U.S. Senate; Winder, GA

00:07:52 - Russell's relationship with administrative employees

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Partial Transcript: Do you think that he took this interest in hiring all of his staff members?

Keywords: Marjorie Grover Warren; Michael Mansfield; President Lyndon B. Johnson; U.S. Senate

00:14:30 - Russell's use of the office buzzer system

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Partial Transcript: Now he didn't have the limousine until he was president pro tem.

Keywords: Coca Cola; Georgia peanuts; Jack Daniels; president pro tempore of the Senate

00:21:51 - Major issues in the early 1970s

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Partial Transcript: What were some of the issues at this time, 1970 and '71?

Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Armed Services Committee; Cambodian incursion; G. Harrold Carswell; Lamar Sizemore; Mike Mansfield; President Richard Nixon; Stanley Kimmitt; Supreme Court nominations; U.S. Senate; Vietnam War

00:29:58 - Russell's role on the Senate Appropriations Committee / Examples of staffer responsibilities

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Partial Transcript: Along this same line, are you aware of many contacts he had with the White House during 1970 about Vietnam, or any conferences concerning that?

Keywords: AWOL; CIA budget; Department of the Interior; Elliot Hagan; Fort Pulaski; GA; Georgia; Georgia Port Authority; Herman Talmadge; Richard Helms; Savannah Port Authority; Savannah River; State Department; Vietnam War; case mail

00:45:27 - Russell's support of individual petitioners / Quality of Russell's staff

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Partial Transcript: In cases in which this would pertain to an individual, say, would the Senator sometimes get involved?

Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Department of HEW; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; Elliot Richardson; Key West; O'Donnell's; Office of Education; Secretary of Defense; U.S. veterans

00:59:37 - Russell's dislike for Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Vice President Hubert Humphrey

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Partial Transcript: When you all were with him, did he make candid comments about people who were in high political circles in Washington?

Keywords: Civil Rights; President Lyndon B. Johnson; Senate cloture; perch-mouth

01:04:49 - Anecdote about Russell borrowing Senator Mike Mansfield's office / Russell's defense of the Lockheed Bailout Bill

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Partial Transcript: Going back to the activities, the Senator's--when we were on the staff, those of us who--when the Senator would go to the hospital, Proctor, Powell or Charles and I would go out there.

Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Armed Services Committee; C-5A; Drew Pearson; Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Herman Talmadge; Jack Anderson; Rohr Facility; William Proxmire; muckrakers

01:15:32 - How Russell treated lobbyists

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Partial Transcript: Was Russell's office visited by many lobbyists, and how were the lobbyists handled?

Keywords: GA; Georgia; cancer; separation of powers

01:19:03 - Deterioration of Russell's health

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Partial Transcript: You worked with him during his last year, and it's perhaps only through hearsay or recollection by others would you know of his previous performance; could you tell that his illness affected his performance very much in the last year of his life?

Keywords: Camel cigarettes; Civil Rights; Herman Talmadge; Jack Daniels; Mercer University; OSHA; Occupational Safety and Health Act; President Richard Nixon; Republic of Taiwan; cancer; chemotherapy; emphysema; pneumonia; radiation therapy

01:34:48 - 1970 runoff election between Senator Jimmy Carter and former Governor Carl Sanders

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Partial Transcript: The thing, of course, one of the things that toward the end there before he died, I went to see him--Then Governor [James Earl] Carter was--had been elected to the governorship and there was a big inauguration which was in January.

Keywords: "Cufflinks" Car; "Good Ole Boy" Jimmy; Atlanta Constitution; Ernie Vandiver; GA; Georgia; Harold Gullier; James Carter; Jody Powell; Reg Murphy; Sanders-Carter runoff

01:48:24 - Russell's proxy vote for Senator Robert Byrd

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Partial Transcript: Going back to the last days of his illness, would you say that his mind was still good--was lucid?

Keywords: Charles Campbell; Democratic caucus; Senate majority leader; Senator Edward Kennedy; cerebral hemorrhage; emphysema

01:56:29 - Russell Week celebration

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Partial Transcript: Going back almost a year prior to his death, which would have been shortly after you arrived in Washington, in February of 1970 there was something called Russell Week in Washington, in which Cox Broadcasting sponsored Richard Russell: Georgia Giant.

Keywords: Ina Russell Stacy; Modine Thomas; Patience Russell Peterson; Powell Moore; President Richard Nixon; Reverend Henry Edward Russell; Russell Research Center

02:08:14 - Russell's financial practices

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Partial Transcript: But, the day we went over to the Research Center on that Saturday for the dedication, the Senator was still in awe because the governor had sent a state trooper out to lead them over to the Research Center.

Keywords: Coca Cola; FDIC; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Georgia Pacific; Senator Carl Sanders; the Great Depression

02:15:53 - Final days of Russell's life

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Partial Transcript: I was thinking back; we were talking about the sisters and how, the relationships from a staffer watching the sisters and brothers...

Keywords: Dr. George Parkerson; Fielding Russell; Ina Russell Stacy; Pat Russell Peterson; Richard B. Russell Foundation; Walter Reed Hospital; emphysema; pneumonia

02:32:54 - Russell's relationship with President Lyndon Johnson

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Partial Transcript: Going back to the gubernatorial campaign in Georgia in 1970, you discussed a little bit about Carter and Sanders and the Democratic side.

Keywords: Earl Leonard; Georgia; Hal Suit; Robert Lee Russell; Senate majority leader; funeral of Richard Russell; pneumonia

02:42:48 - Russell's relationship with his staffers / Fundraising for the Richard B. Russell Foundation

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Partial Transcript: We were talking about his family and Bobby Russell, about the fact that Bobby Russell was almost like a son and the way he treated us, and the fact that the staffers, those men on the staff were treated almost like grandchildren or children.

Keywords: Air Force One; Finance Committee of Richard B. Russell Foundation; Lawton Calhoun; Marjorie Meriwether Post; President Richard Nixon; Walter Reed Hospital

02:56:34 - Personal influence of Russell / Final thoughts on Russell

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Partial Transcript: Thinking back about his liking to have young people around him, could you give us some insight into areas of your life in which you feel he influenced you...

Keywords: Clair Harris; Cliff Rutledge; Ernest Frederick Hollings; Fritz Hollings; Golda Meir; National League of Families; POW; President Richard Nixon; Russell Research Center; Vietnam War; Walter Reed Hospital; prisoners of war; shuttle diplomacy