The Log of “Jason” Glasscock
of His Voyage of Search
for the Golden Fleece
part 2

by Wilmer Newton Glasscock

Jan 1878 - May 1966


THURSDAY, April 26,1934

  9:15. To Mr. Rochelle’s office and show him Mr. Scroggs’ telegram. He said the papers would probably get to his desk about noon, and to come back this afternoon; this upon the supposition that the papers had arrived in the office.

    William Gibbs McAdoo served as United States Senator from California from 1933 to 1938 and as Secretary of the Treasury under President Woodrow Wilson. He was also an unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States in both 1918 and 1924.

  10:10 AM TO 10:40 AM in Senator McAdoo’s office. Met Mr. Roth, his secretary, and presented letters of introduction from Chas. M. Brown. I knew from the newspapers before leaving home that the Senator was sick. Mr. Roth asked me what he could do for me, and I responded “Nothing”; that I just wanted to get acquainted. He asked me to come in again before I returned to California. I admit I had a great big mental reservation concerning the near future when I spoke the word “nothing”.

  11:00 to noon, visited the Senate visitors gallery, using the pass which Senator Johnson’s secretary had given me. Calling the roll at 11:00 o’clock was quite a process. I got in about five minutes before 11:00. The only persons in their seats were Senator Robinson, of Arkansas, the Democratic leader, or whip, and Senator McKellar, of Tennessee, his lieutenant whip. It would seem that the majority of party leaders have the responsibility of organizing the movement of business through the chamber. Senators Johnson, of California, and McNary, of Oregon, and Norris, of Nebraska, were there when their names were reached on the first call. Senator Copeland, of New York, (who writes health articles for a newspaper syndicate, being a doctor), and Senator Black, of Alabama, (of air-mail inquiry fame?), and Mrs. Caraway, of Arkansas, did not get in until the second roll call, nor did Senator Capper, of Kansas. Finally the clerk indicated to Vice-President Garner that there was a quorum. So many had gone out directly after answering to their names that only a few were at their desks. It was a morning of chicken feed business -- passing a lot of private bills without a record vote, with unanimous consent. Garner yawned and stretched and mumbled his routine phrases rapidly. One bill was to reimburse a bondsman for $100.29 which he had paid because of defalcation [misuse of funds, embezzlement] of a postmaster somewhere in a southern state. One Senator arose to express his disapproval of such bills. But after talking back and forth with the Senator who had introduced the bill, using several minutes, he finally said he just wanted to say he did not like such bills, but would not enter a formal objection. Another bill was to reimburse some property owners who owned buildings which were damaged by the explosion of the government arsenal in New Jersey several years ago. Senator Warren Barbour, of New Jersey, was sponsor of the bill. It was originally for $25,000.00, but had been cut down in committee to $5,000.00. Two democratic senators spent much time talking around the question, but Senator Warren [Barbour] was clear in his statements and the t. d. s. [two democratic senators] yielded. Another bill was to reimburse someone for the value of some property taken by an army officer without proper requisition and payment at some time in the past. I could not determine whether it was during the Civil War (the war between the states, to Southerners), or at a later time. From the discussion it appeared for a time that someone would make formal objection to unanimous consent to passage and require a record vote; but the ebullition quieted down. Vice-president Garner reeled off his phrase about “no objection,” “unanimous consent,” and “passed,” and the clerk put two rubber stamps on the back of the bill and scratched on it with a pen. It was noon now, and I slipped quietly out and had lunch in the public part of the Senate restaurant.

  At 2:15 PM went to Mr. Rochelle’s office, but found our revised application had not yet arrived from Los Angeles. Consequently, I came back to the hotel to write these notes and to read. The air is very cool and crisp and invigorating. The wind blows from different directions at various times during the day, not like the winds in California, which, except rarely, blow from only two directions, from the west or from the north. If those papers do not arrive tomorrow I shall yell and burst, I fear.

  I have received a telegram from L. M. Maynard, Los Angeles representative of Standard Statistics Company, urging me to go to New York while here and look S. S. business over. I answer him that it can’t be done.

FRIDAY, April 27, 1934

  Sat in Mr. Rochelle’s office from 10:30 until 11:30. His desk was heaped with files and he engaged in an endurance interview apparently. When I got to him he said our papers had not yet arrived. I asked him whether he could not presume they had arrived and had gotten hung up somewhere by inadvertence, which would justify an inquiry on his part. This he did by telephone, and within five minutes he told me that they had come in this morning and were being passed through the usual channels, and to come back later at any time I wanted to. I told him I would be back this afternoon.

  Upon returning to the hotel I found that Richard C. Kaiser had arrived from New York during the forenoon, but the clerk said he had gone down town. I guessed he had gone to the Washington L. & T. Co. to see Mr. Baden.

  1:20 PM. While writing these notes in my room Mr. Baden telephoned that Mr. Clapp was there and wanted to meet me, and would I come right down and talk with them about the Meyer, Kaiser and Jonas matters; that Mr. Clapp was going to the hospital tomorrow and would not be available again soon. This I did, but Mr. Clapp did not remain after we had exchanged greetings and chatted a moment. Mr. Baden said Kaiser had been there and they wanted my frankly expressed opinion as to what they should do. We talked for over an hour. I went back over the same reasoning which I had presented on Tuesday, that is, that if they took the properties by foreclosure they would have to pay the taxes, forego interest, bear expenses of ownership, including local supervision. I outlined the problem of grape growers, including the care of the vineyards for a year, then the hazards of the seasons, weather and marketing. I pointed out that, in my opinion, if he could get these men to care for the properties reasonably well, and pay the taxes, they would be far better off, even though they might not get any interest. And, if they could get some interest that would be so much to the good. I told him that according to my information the members of the Meyers group had no money at all, except as they produced it from the grapes; that Kaiser and Jonas did have groups of men back of them; that Kaiser’s men had put up money within the past few days for taxes, but I did not know about Jonas’ syndicate, but I thought his taxes were delinquent. However, I said, my general view is that these properties should be viewed as a whole, not separately, be reason of the water problem. I promised Mr. Baden that when I returned to California I would make a sort of bird’s eye view of these three properties and of their relation to each other, and particularly the water, and write to him. He asked me pointedly whether if they did take the lands over would we act as their local agent for supervision and management. I responded that we would be willing to do so. And I promised to send him a copy of our Tax Calendar so he could keep the important tax dates rightly in his mind.

  4:00 PM. To Mr. Rochelle’s office, and found his desk still heaped with files and him preoccupied, although I observed our papers there, and that he had been looking through them and placing markers for ready reference. He asked me to come back tomorrow forenoon. I asked him to fix the time. He said, “Oh, in the middle of the morning.” I queried, “At 9:30?” “Too soon, make it 10:30,” he replied.

  Found Kaiser in the room when I returned to the hotel about 4:30. He told me of his visit to the Washington L. & T. Co. before noon; that Mr. Baden had told him I had not hurt his case any. Kaiser has been in New York to make arrangements with the management of the Waldorf Astoria hotel to refer business to his Town House in Los Angeles. He is here to make the same arrangement, as well as to see Mr. Baden. We have dinner together in the evening. After dinner I take a long walk north on Connecticut Avenue; that is, it seems long because a stiff cold north wind is blowing. The weather man predicts there may be a frost tonight.

SATURDAY, April 28, 1934

    Axel B. Gravem was the Rhodes Scholar from the Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley in 1918. He also won the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament in 1919.

  Kaiser has arranged for an especially early appointment with a lawyer, Axel B. Gravem, a junior member of the law firm of Tilson, Frodel, Stanley and McCuen, having offices in the Shoreham Building. Kaiser is trying to figure out a way to get his Town House refinanced through the RFC. In New York he arranged with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for delay in the foreclosure. Gravem has been recommended to him as an expert in handling matters with the RFC. Kaiser invited me to go along with him, as his business was not a terrible secret, he said, and I might pick up some ideas from the conversation. We found Mr. Gravem to be a Native Son of California. He has been in Washington two and one-half years, the first year and a half with the legal department of the RFC, but the past year in private practice. He is young, lean, keen and frank. As to Kaiser’s business he says there is no way to get a direct loan; that he must find a vehicle, that is, a mortgage company which will first make the loan, then use the Kaiser loan as collateral with the RFC; that only six months loans will be made by the RFC, but it is the expressed policy to renew them up to three years; that the presumed temporary life of the RFC must be kept in mind, he said, but it is his view that the ultimate life of the RFC cannot be foretold yet. On my behalf Kaiser asked the question whether the RFC would rather buy the preferred stock of a solvent but temporarily embarrassed insurance or trust company, or of one that is in bad shape. “One that is solvent, of course,” he replied. “That brings up quite a question,” he added, and went on to say that among the officials of the RFC there had been differences of viewpoint on that very thing. Some held that the RFC was purely a relief organization, and others held more to the view that it is a lending institution. It was his opinion that the more conservative view would prevail, but it had not always done so. This throws light on my problem, and I will keep these two viewpoints in mind, and use them separately and together, from time to time, as may seem necessary or desirable.

  10:45 to 12:10, interviewing Mr. Rochelle. He was working on our papers when I came in. We talked about Texas and mutual experiences in railroad work for a while; then I asked him for a man-to-man statement whether he thought our case would be advantaged by a Washington attorney. He said, “No, not as long as you are here.” Then I told him I had left California with the idea that so far as I was concerned I could attend to the business here within two or three days; that I had put only $100.00 in my pocket when I left; and asked him whether he and the other men would not give me the breaks on the time element. He nodded and said, “Surely,” but added that I could not expect to get action on a matter of this kind short of two or three weeks. Of course, that remark was discouraging to me, but I am here, and I shall work and push on. Mr. Bowen had made a somewhat similar remark earlier in the week, but I only heard it and did not entertain it. Mr. Rochelle remarked that some people think political influence is a factor, but so far as the examining division is concerned he said that is not true. He could not speak for the Directors, he said, but he did not see how they could pay any attention to that either. I replied that I had pride in working this business out on its merits wholly, and I considered that the application or a modification of it, should be approved on that basis. (Of course, I have definitely in mind some possible later move.) Thus Mr. Rochelle and I have established a good understanding between each other.

  Then he and I agreed upon the additional data which he must have. I persuaded him to not require an entirely new application made up according to his fullest desires. Then I came back to the hotel and sent telegrams to Mr. Stidham to send on these additional statements and papers, which are:

  1. Detailed statements of receipts and disbursements, separately for each of past five years, showing title and trust departments separately and combined total, taken from office analysis sheets, followed by separate recapitulation sheet.
  2. Copies of annual reports to State Insurance Department for past five years. Only 1933 copy to be in full, but former years copies to cover from page 1 to and including Underwriting and Investment Exhibit.
  3. Certified copies of articles of incorporation, by-laws and resolutions of board of directors authorizing making of the application to RFC.
  4. Certified copies of current licenses from State Insurance and Banking Departments.

  Well, this means days more here. Kaiser urges me to let him lend me some money. I accept $60.00 and write to Mr. Stidham to see he is reimbursed. I believe I will go up to New York on Monday morning and be back Tuesday evening, and somehow justify the expense. It might round out the educational side of this experience!

  Kaiser phoned to Mr. Baden for a stenographer to come up and take down a statement regarding the Verdemont properties. When the young man comes, Kaiser has maps and papers spread over both beds and the other furniture, and he dictates while walking back and forth across the room. The young man is quite inexperienced as a stenographer, and the words and phrases are strange to him, so it goes slowly. Kaiser asks to have it submitted to me for correction before it is finally given to Mr. Baden

  This is Saturday night. Kaiser goes to the railroad station at ten o’clock so as to go to bed on the B&O train which leaves at midnight for Pittsburgh. He will leave Pittsburgh at 1:30 Sunday afternoon, I believe, on the T&WA plane for Los Angeles. He tells me he will be in our office in San Bernardino on Tuesday and will tell them that he saw me. My job here keeps my mind working, but I would surely like to be home over Sunday. I wish I had gotten the privet hedge trimmed before I left. Now it must look like a horse’s hair in early Spring.

Apr 22-25, 1934
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