THE INSTITUTE OF TEXAN CULTURES
Oral History Office
SUBJECT: Union movement, S.A., 1930s
INTERVIEW WITH: Emma Tenayuca
DATE: February 21, 1987
PLACE: Her home in San Antonio
INTERVIEWER: Jerry Poyo
P: Why don’t we just begin, then, with some of your family background...where was your family originally from? When did they originally come to San Antonio?
T: Well, they came from the eastern colonies. And the eastern colonies, I think, were established about 1685, 1687. When San Antonio was El Presidio de San Antonio, established, there was need here to strengthen San Antonio. So, these families were ordered to leave the eastern colonies and came here. There were at least about 200 or so families there or more, and they had intermarried. They had intermarried French; they had intermarried Blacks; they had intermarried with... And it was a thriving, actually, a very thriving colony. I mean, there was quite a bit of trading. So, many of the people did not want to come and that was a trek of about, I don’t know, about 300 miles.
P: That’s the colony of Los Adaes you are speaking of? T: Yes.
P: So, the family you descend from is the Zepeda family? T: My mother’s family...my mother’s family. My father’s family, as far as I know, and I have not been able to look into my family. I have someone who has written me here about the name and so forth. The name originally was spelled T-e-n-e-y-u-c-a, and I’m the only one who has that “a” there. But I was raised by my grandparents...my sister and I were raised by our grandparents. The only thing that I can think is, when my grandmother took a pile of us – about three already in the family – and took us down to be baptized, that there was an error made there. Because this...and I tried to change it at one time, but there was nothing... I called my grandmother, my father, my...you know, it was, I don’t know, I was about in the fourth or fifth grade and so forth. But the name is originally T-e-n- e-y-u-c-a. Teneyuca.
P: But you use it now with an “a”?
T: Well, I mean, all my records, my school records, everything else is with an “a”. So, there’s just one spelling, but there are other people who use that name here. Now, some of them were related to us. It’s a very rare name; there’s not too many in the whole country.
P: And you don’t know whether that name was long-standing here in San Antonio, or came...
T: No, I’ll tell you what...the only thing that I can... let me see. There is a book by the name, I think...a fella by the name of Irvin. Either I-r-v-i-n or I-r-w, as the spelling. Now, this was published just about maybe forty years ago, because it was just translated. I can’t remember the title of it right now, but it wouldn’t be hard to find. But this is based on the trip of a French scientist, and it was written in French. He studied the environment, the plants, the animal, the life, and so forth. And he mentions there a tribe of Indians that have a name very much like mine.
And so, I don’t know, but I do have a few relatives on my mother’s...on my father’s...on my mother’s side...on his mother – my grandmother’s – side, and they were Quirozes.
And they lived in Laredo. And this Tio Juan Teneyuca, which was the first one that I met here, and I must have been, I don’t know, seven or eight, but they were living at Three Rivers, Texas. And there is one Teneyuca who’s living across the border now, but he was born here. And during the Depression he left here because he thought he would never get a chance. So he became a pharmacist and lives in Laredo, Texas.
Now, I’ve had some contact with those people, but not too much. All my contact has been my maternal relatives. There is a girl here by the name…I had a call from a doctor here, and he was an intern. And he wanted to know the telephone number of Lisa Teneyuca. So I said, “Look, the only Lisa whom I know is my niece, and she’s engaged to be married, and she’s at the University of Texas.” And I said, “How tall is this girl?” He said, “She’s about 5’ 7”, very beautiful black hair...” So forth and so on. She is a daughter of a cousin of my father’s. And my niece, Cheryl, has met her. But I haven’t had a chance yet to meet her.
But I did know her mother and I did know her grandmother.
My mother came from this little group here that, incidentally, you would see that...let me see there...the Zepeda’s land, so there is... Have you ever seen this book, Land Grants in the...
P: Yes. The one from the land office? Yes. Yes.
T: All right. Why they picked that land, I don’t know, but it certainly was...it’s very rocky around Helotes, Texas, and beyond there. And there’s still a cemetery there of the Zepedas.
P: In Helotes?
T: Yes. And there are some Zepedas living on that land. They may have just about thirty acres, or 20 acres, or so. P: And so, the name on your maternal side is still Zepeda, then?
T: Oh, yes. My mother’s name was Zepeda.
P: Let’s talk about your early years in San Antonio. When were you born? And tell us something about your early education.
T: Well, let’s see. I was born on December 21, 1916, which is at the end of the year, and I don’t think I ever had any birthday cake until I actually demanded it. But it was so close to Christmas, and with tamales being made...the bunuelos, fruitcakes, everything. So, there wasn’t any time to bake the cake for me.
P: It was close to Christmas.
T: Yes, too close to Christmas, and no birthday presents, either. I was supposed to wait until Christmas. But I remember that once my mother...I don’t know how old I was...but she said, “This time, I’m gonna bake you a cake.”
She made some very good cornbread and put sugar in it and also put raisins in it. And so, she says, “Here is your cake.” She was trying to please me; she wasn’t trying to fool me, so I sat down and I ate a piece of my cake. My cousins were around and said, “Stupid, that isn’t cake; it’s cornbread.” So, I’m shouting on Mom’s side, “It isn’t cornbread.”
But there were things like that. I was very close... I grew up with the Zepedas. They had fifteen; my grandmother and grandfather had 15 children, and only seven of those survived. So I knew every one of them; I knew some of my grandfather’s brothers. They were a very interesting bunch. P: Did you speak Spanish at home during this time?
P: Was Spanish still the primary language in the Zepeda family?
T: El Espanol que yo hablaba era un Espanol que los Conquistadores trajeron aqui, verdad, porque era “vide por vi; ansina por asi”, and when I went to school and started to learn Spanish, I had an awful time, because some of these teachers were not from the city or from Texas. They were from the east, you see. And they’d tell me, “Senorita, usted no sabe hablar el Espanol, verdad?” And they mixed it up with this Texas-Mex and that sort of thing. But that was the Spanish. For instance...I don’t know... “orquillas”, you know what an “orquilla” is?
P: An orchid? An orquidea?
T: No. A clothes pin. You see many of those words were not accepted into the Spanish language.
P: Those were local words?
T: Well, no, I mean they’re words; for instance: chocolate. It was quite a while before it was introduced into the Spanish language, you see. And I’ve seen very, very few absolutely good Spanish dictionaries. El Velazquez is un mugrero, okay? But now they have of Indian origin and North American, or something like that. I mean, Peruvian, and so forth and so on. They have words like that.
P: So the language base is different. Yes.
T: It’s different altogether. All right. You’ve heard of him, I’m sure.
P: Oh, yes. Mario Vargas [Llosa Llorosa?]
T: Now, I’ve been reading this for a while, and it seems I can’t finish it because something comes up. But we would say here, “vientecito” – a breeze. Their suffix is different. “Vientecillo” – c-i-l-l-o, you see. And this I didn’t know. Then, there are many other words here. But, actually, I have no difficulty in reading the Spanish. It is very, very easy for me to read it.
P: So the Spanish, then, was maintained throughout the 19th century in the Zepeda family?
T: It was...it was in every family. Because I don’t think that we had...it wasn’t until the ‘30s that Spanish began to be taught in the schools – in the high schools. And there was a woman by the name of Esther Caravajal who wrote one of the first text books for the teaching of Spanish in the schools here.
P: What do you think accounts for that? For example, a lot of other groups who come – immigrant groups who come – lost their language very quickly. And, of course, the Mexican-American population is indigenous, and I’m sure that has something to do with it. But why is it that, given all of the influences and all of the prejudices against the Mexican-American population, they were able to maintain the language for as long as they have?
T: Well, if I’m...proximity to Mexico...immigration...and the fact that they feel very definitely that they have very deep roots here. Very, very deep roots.
Now, I know a girl who was born in Mexico. But her family – and I’ve met entire families like this in San Francisco – all right. The father was born in...the father had been born in Arizona. But during the Depression, they went back to Mexico. And then they returned again after the Depression. And they came just in time to get into World War II. I mean, a whole bunch of boys had entered the service.
So, you have that. You had quite a few who are repatriated and who had children. And whose sons were…all of those who claimed American citizenship and were of military age. They throw them across the border and had to go into the service during world War II.
P: Where in San Antonio did you grow up?
T: On the near west side. Do you know where Colorado and Brazos and Arbor Place are? It was in integrated neighborhood. Let me see, across the street from us was a Black family; across the tracks was another Black family; on the corner was a German family, and my mother could hardly speak English. Then, down the street from us there were a number of Mexican families. Then there was a Black family; and then there was an Italian family; there were two German families; there were the Pizzinis, and their home is still there. The Pizzinis…and they were Italian and Spanish.
They were all very, very fair; all of them were very fair – pero muy Mexicanos. You couldn’t say a bad word, you see. Their mother was such a wonderful woman. She lived until...she died when I was...after 1968.
But it was that type of neighborhood, and what really kept us together was the church – St. Agnes. I made my First Communion there; I attended catechism classes; I stayed through the...well, I was twelve years old when I was going to summer classes in catechism, so… I knew Father Lockwood. I didn’t see him; I’m sorry that I was so busy that when I returned he was a very...an elderly man when I returned, and I would have liked to see him, but I didn’t see him.
I knew Jimmy Knight and, of course, that was someone that I was gonna go down to see some time; never got to see him. You know who Jimmy Knight was?
T: He was the...what? County Clerk, or what? P: County official?
P: Did the church have a great deal of influence on you as you grew up?
T: Well, yes. When I was growing up, you had...San Antonio was in a unique position here, because you had Carrancistas, you had followers of Obregon, Maderistas, and then you had followers of the Magon brothers. And there was one place here where I used to go, particularly with my grandfather, and I went with my father quite a few times, and that was La Plaza del Zacate. That was the square, Milam Square, right in front of the San Rosa Hospital.
You could go there; this was a meeting place where contractors came to make arrangement with families who wanted to go to the beet fields or go down to the Valley to pick cotton and so forth. All right. It was also a place where you could walk around; it’s a large, quite a large plaza. I think you’ve seen it. And you could go to one corner of the Plaza and listen to someone preaching or reading the Bible; you could go to another place and you could see a group of people, one person with a newspaper reading the paper to other workers – the latest news from Mexico.
P: And the people would just be standing in a group and somebody would be reading the newspaper to them?
T: They would be sitting on the grass, sure, sure. So that...it was there that I learned la cancion de los Magonistas.
P: So this was sort of like a...just a big public plaza where people came for a variety of different activities. T: Well, there were also, if you had a little money, you could...
P: Mostly Mexican people, or different kinds of people?
T: Mostly Mexicans, yes, yes. It was the center of activity. San Antonio was more or less the center where all of these people came. There were the peasants who came...San Antonio has always been Spanish-speaking. It has always had a large Spanish-speaking population. But after World War I, or even before World War I, the development of agriculture brought lots of peasants, drew lots of peasants. And they had reason to come. I mean, great heavens, we didn’t have one president who stayed in power in that time.
They left office; they were assassinated – Madero, Carranza, Obregon, who else?
P: So, what was happening in Mexico had very, very much influence on the people here?
T: Oh, it had a tremendous affect here. Oh, yeah. This was the first place where they came, you see.
P: Now the Flores Magon brothers, then had followers here? T: Oh, yes. They had followers. Regeneracion, the first copy I ever saw – and later I realized what it was – was here in San Antonio.
P: And you first found out about their activities by going to the plaza? How is it that you became involved in labor ideas?
T: Remember this – we didn’t have radios, we didn’t have this, we didn’t have that, we didn’t have a lot of things. So, this going to the plaza and just listening, you see, you had...your theaters were beginning to open and that...they were quite influential also.
But you’d go to La Plaza del Zacate. Grandpa would buy you a cone of ice cream and you’d lick it, and then you’d go around and look. And this was a place where...well, it was always crowded on Saturdays and particularly Sundays. And where else could they have gone – these Magonistas or the others – where else could they have gone? There they could speak to a crowd; they already had a crowd. P: And you used to listen to them?
T: Well, I’d go there and, you know, I’d listen...I picked up quite a bit. I knew that the Catholics were being thrown out, the Catholic priests. And we had quite a number...and every one...we didn’t have one Mexican priest who came over to our church from Mexico. They were all Spaniards.
My grandfather was a Spaniard, but I don’t know...
He was a very conscientious, very honest man; and he was a devout Catholic, a good Democrat, but he was also a man who did something to... Remember, at that time here, ’24, the Palmer raids, the Ku Klux Klan; I think it was about 1924 when Ma Ferguson first ran for governor.
What I remember – and I wasn’t too old – I remember that my grandfather called one son, called another, and so forth. And they had a meeting at the house; asked them whether they should vote for Ma Ferguson because her husband was impeached. He had taken...he had stolen $75,000 from the University of Texas. But Ma Ferguson had taken a very strong stand against the Ku Klux Klan. So, my grandfather rallied the entire Zepeda clan to go forth. And even though, I remember... I think I was in about the third grade, or something like that, and I was told. You’re not voting for the wife of a man who was impeached.
But once she got into office, she was...I would not say...she was a good administrator. Her husband was quite corrupt. We had things like that. That was when I became aware. Now, I do remember...I would say I have a faint recollection of hooded parades or something like that. I mean, I remember something that was read by my grandfather, and it always stayed in my mind. Only 100% white Protestant Americans, you see. Oh, the Klan was very, very strong here, particularly on this side of town.
P: Would you say that those were the motivating factors that got you involved in organizing, in labor organizing? Or, what was it that got you going in that direction?
T: Remember, when you went there, when you went to the plaza, what did you see? Did a man come there alone, by himself, on Sundays? No, he brought his family. How were these kids dressed? You’d see them with overalls; sometimes they had shoes, sometimes they were barefooted. I would just go barefooted when I was a kid. So, they were different; they different from us. And then, you began to notice those things.
Then, well, my grandfather...I don’t know whether he read Spanish, but he certainly read English. Well, he would always take...the whole family took an interest in politics.
And another reason was the politics of San Antonio was a peculiar one. A name like Zepedz, Caravajal, or Ruiz, or something like that that was associated with the first colonizers of San Antonio, well, we voted – I mean, they voted – and there was always some little niche for some Zepeda or Garza or some of these in the city to hold some job, and so, the vote was just... You had the poll tax; you had a very...it was very easy, in view of how many poll taxes there were in each precinct, and so forth. I was aware of, from the way that my grandfather had talked, that there was a smell to politics there, you see - this type of politics.
P: Was your grandfather interested in labor issues as well?
T: He was very interested; he was certainly interested in civil rights, as far as Catholics were concerned. And he knew that we were, at that time, I guess, a minority and certainly a minority here.
P: What did he do? What was his occupation?
T: My grandfather was a carpenter. And then he worked in his old age, and he worked quite a few years. He worked in a lumber yard. He had his home; he was a very hard-working man. He read the paper, went to mass, went to communion, confession once a year – my grandmother couldn’t get him to go. We would all get together; cousins would say, “Grandpa’s ready to unload.”
P: (Laughs) Well, tell me about your first labor activities and how you actually got involved in them.
T: Well, there were many things that happened here that contributed to the development of my ideas. I think it would have been very hard for me to look at the situation here in San Antonio, and with the background that I had, not to have had the feelings; and then I loved my grandfather very, very much. In 1929, the Wall Street crash; in 1932, the closing of all the banks... My grandfather lost some money in one of them, and he didn’t tell anybody. The person he told, I mean...he came over to me and told me, he says, “I’ve lost everything I have.” And he was already about, I guess, 65, close to 70. So, I don’t know, I felt that had an awful effect on me. And then, I don’t know, there was also the fact, you see, there...that in that particular family, the Zepedas...my grandfather was wonderful, my grandmother. I had some cousins that I was very close to, everything else like that, but there were certain members of my mother’s family who never accepted my father. Para ellos el era Indio, verdad, y pues no lo aceptaron para que le digo, verdad? Este, cuano mi papa murio, y lo teniamos tendido, entonces todavía vivia el hermano mas joven de mi mama, de mi madre, y viene y dice, lo ve y dice, “Puro Indi.” Dijo, “Si, puro Indio.” Pero, I don’t know, I mean, to some extent there is...and I grew up with that activity, sort of an arrogance about it.
P: So there was a sense of discrimination and racism within the community itself.
T: Yes. Now, this brother of my mother’s married a girl from Mexico...who had been born in Mexico. And he would refer to her as “La India”. (Laughter) You see, it didn’t keep them from marrying and that sort of thing; it was a peculiar feeling.
P: What were the ideas that were in the air in those days? The labor ideas...socialism, anarchism?
T: Well, I felt at first that I was more of an anarchist than anything else. And this came from the anarchist movement here; and it also came from...
P: And there was an anarchist movement in San Antonio? T: The Magonistas, at one time, had about...I think they had about thirty or forty papers throughout south Texas, yes. And I remember the Wobblies, too. I know Mother Flor and Mother Jones were from here, from what I have read, so they work. Then you had some labor unions here. Not too many, but you did have railroad workers; and at that time, there were quite a number of railroad workers; and at that time, there were quite a number of railroad workers who were Mexicans. Later, after two or three years of the depression, most of the Mexicans were actually fired or retired. So your engineers...your Blacks had to fight to organize; they were allowed only as...what were they?...Pullmans.
But, San Antonio had, for instance...they have an election; they have an election this year for city officials – the mayors and so forth and so on. And next year will be the county. And my grandparents, they took an interest, but there was always some talk of politics at my grandmother’s – always. And anything new...why, the telephone was there and they’d discuss it over the phone, that sort of thing. But if you have not read anything about the Great Depression, then I think you should read something, because that was one time that the bottom fell out of your free-enterprise system. There were over - you can’t estimate – but there’s some figures that I have seen, I think, over 5000, sometimes 6000, I’ve read in books, banks that went.
P: They closed the doors. T: Yes.
P: So, there was a general sense, then, among many people that the capitalist system was collapsing.
T: Oh, yes. You had, if ever you had a situation there. You had the unemployed. The unemployed in ’32 – that was before I became active. In ’32 there were demonstrations at the state capital, demanding work and demanding relief or something or other. And here in San Antonio, what happened...the labor council here, and even now, the council now is more or less controlled by ...it’s mostly Mexican.
But there was a time here, and I don’t know how much you know about the labor movement, but one of the reasons why it’s so easy to attack the unions by this – the bankruptcy laws – is because you have absolutely...it’s not like England where you could have a general strike or anything.
You’re organized here on the basis of crafts. I can’t think at all...I don’t think I would give him any credit at all – to Gompers. These people in the cities – your skilled laborers – could always find work and, of course, the city would recognize entire union labor. And the fight against the industrial unions...they didn’t want any industrial unions, so what you had were the organizations, the Socialist Party, and so forth, organizing the IWW and many, many...for instance, leaders in the Communist Party. Foster organized the 19th strike. Elizabeth Gray Flynn would not join the Communist Party until 1937. She was a member of the Wobblies. Let me bring this book here...
P: Rebel Voices? T: Mmmm hmmm.
P: Now, what role did the CIO play here in San Antonio in the ‘30’s?
T: When was the CIO organized, see? When was it organized? See, that’s another thing. There was an industrial – it was a CIO, Committee for Industrial Organization. Finally – I think it was about ’35 – before there was a convention of the AF of L that the CIO ...that the...let’s see, who were they...Amalgamated – Hillman, Dubinsky, Lewis, and a couple of others who walked out and formed the Committee for Industrial Organization. And so, actually you do not...what came in before the CIO was the NRA – National Recovery Act...NIRA and then NRA, NRA, yes. Now, what did the NRA do? The NIRA do? I mean, it gave workers the right to organize, and it set the minimum wage – the first minimum wage, I think, no. The workers were too hard...the workers had the right to organize, and it was under that concept that the cigar workers went out on strike here in San Antonio. And, unfortunately, many of these strikes were spontaneous strikes, where the workers just walked out.
P: There was no cigar makers’ union, as such?
T: No, no, no. And this guy, Finch – F-I-N-C-K – this guy here was a devout Catholic. I don’t know where his father is, whether he’s up above or down below somewhere, but he was a louse.
P: How did you get involved? Were you involved with the cigar strike?
T: Oh, yes. Well, I had become very, very interested in the labor movement. I mean, I had...first there were the anarchistas and so forth. And then you had, also, the influence in the CTM [Confederacion de Trabajadores de Mexico]. Do you mind if I smoke? Let me see, I have a cigarette here. I have, I mean, from about a pack and a half a day, I’ve gone to about 3 or 4 cigarettes a day, which I think is marvelous. Will the smoke bother you?
P: No, it doesn’t bother me at all.
T: The salvation of all those who were hungry...and there were many. And what I saw here...it’s only recently that I have been able to talk about some of the things that I saw here. I mean as far as poverty – because it was just too difficult.
So, the cigar strikers were among the first...they were women. It’s peculiar; it’s the women...I mean, COPS women...it’s the women who have led. And I just have a feeling, a very strong feeling, that if ever this world is civilized, that it would be more the work of women. I don’t know how they are faring; I just read...and the woman who has made it up for vice-president, or something like that – making more than her husband – and that their fatigue, you see, is coming home to children, so forth, taking them...
P: The dual role.
T: The dual role; it’s difficult. And I don’t think that women will ever be completely and totally free – or any of the minorities – until you have socialism. And you don’t have this, what you have in Russia; I don’t know. I mean, what could you expect of a country that was governed by an absolute monarch that had no history of democracy, where the...if there is, what is it, KGB, or whatever it is...if they had one now you could imagine the spies. You cannot expect...and besides, Russia is not 100% European. She’s European and Asiatic. And I don’t know what they can expect; this idea...democracy and so forth and so on. Who are the democrats? Who are the democratic countries? A handful of Europe; and, damn if they haven’t been the worst exploiters – England, Spain, see – so I do not look upon Europe to give us anything historical. They’re bogged down in a mess themselves. And look, it was not the Black, the savages or the Indians who brought about a government such as the Hitler regime. It was a modern nation of philosophers, musicians... So, I cannot look at this time, I cannot look upon...I think after four, almost five hundred years of European domination that this next period would be one of revolt against European domination. And there are lots of lives being lost in Nicaragua and these other places.
T: It was only in France where they obliterated the ruling class. You still have people with titles, but they don’t get any money. In England, they accommodated themselves.
So, every country would have a different type of adjustment to make. As far as communism, with dictatorship and proletariat and all that sort of thing, I don’t know. I read the XXXXXXX in 1939, when Russia and Stalin signed this agreement with the Nazis. What he was doing is plain politics and nothing else. And he made the statement...and he was retiring, no question of it...he made the statement, “Well, they want to fight, let’s see what kind of fighters you are.” But I don’t know; I became very, very interested.
I read quite a bit. I would say I read, well, I didn’t read all of Das Kapital, but I read that and Price and Profit, Wage, Labor & Capital, so I had an idea of how capital was made; how it was used, and so forth and so on. The way the injunctions were used after the hatters, people who didn’t even know the history. The hatters, where was it? It was in Boston some place, in Connecticut, I think it was – the hatters’ strike. And the injunction was used, “If you’ve been cheated – trade.” You could have, of course...that really just broke up the unions there. So the labor movement here in San Antonio, it’s had a different history. And then you had the group, such as the Greenes, the Gompers...as a matter of fact, they looked upon the incoming immigrants as competitors for their jobs. And you couldn’t have a great industrial movement. Look what’s happened to unions today.
P: Now, with the pecan shellers, you said it was a spontaneous movement.
T: Well, let’s say that the workers had had quite a bit of experience here. They were influenced also by the CPM, the union. And there, that union came under Toledano; I don’t know if he was a socialist, and that Carrillo also; I just don’t know. If you read the beginning of this type, of this little thing here, you cannot find a clearer description of the role of the socialist than we have made certain gains, and this is it.
And these socialists have prominent positions in certain places, and so forth and so on, as a result of the struggles of the workers. But there, the question was always one of land, and it wasn’t tackled in Mexico until the time of Cardenas. And it wasn’t tackled in Cuba until Castro. So, it was always called communism – this is communism, etcetera. But the first three pages of this – just how – and the split between socialists and the communist... I don’t know who...you will find this in every country...and I thought it might be just in the United States.
Roosevelt – the first Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt – he had a liberal approach; he was an imperialist, but he had a liberal approach. There were many people in Minnesota, in Wisconsin, who were Germans and who had been socialists in Germany. And they wanted...they were interested in pushing for labor and establishing a labor party and so forth. You go to the socialists, “No, this is a worker’s organization.”
They would not cooperate. They didn’t cooperate until after Berger was elected to Congress. He was not seated, and then they started. You had this factionalism all the time.
P: Did you have that in the local movement, here in San Antonio?
T: You did not have it in a local movement; you did not have...when I say the local movement, I will refer to the Workers’ Alliance. This was the organization which I joined as a...and I undertook, we undertook, the...it was a national organization, and that’s the one instance that the socialist and the communist got together and formed one organization. That’s the only time. So, that was a Workers’ Alliance; it had a program – work, public works, etc. It fought for WPA; CWA came in before I was active, but Civil Works Administration, WPA, Public Works Administration, CCC, etc. And what we did...and also there was the relief, and the relief that came to us was of some benefit to the farmers because they bought the surplus products. So, there was a program there. Many people had been critical of it, and so forth.
P: This was under the NIRA? Under the NIRA, NRA?
T: No, no, The NRA; the NIRA, National Investor Recovery Act; that was clearly stated, the right for the workers to organize.
P: This was the impetus? This is what got the Workers’ Alliance moving?
T: It got the Workers’ Alliance; this was Roosevelt. And the Wagner Labor Relations Act came into effect. Right now, the National Labor Board, the TALT Law, it was amended. And so, you had an organization right here in San Antonio – the Farah Manufacturing Company. I don’t know how many times the Labor Board wrote against the Farah Manufacturing Company. And, incidentally, the Farah Manufacturing Company was among the ten on Fortune magazine. They had a huge profit in 1968, and at the end of 1968 they were already on strike. Well, they closed shop. The workers were out on strike for at least about a year and a half or two. P: It was here, in San Antonio?
T: Here in San Antonio, yes. That would give you an idea of how the powers that be, here in San Antonio, had fought labor; so when you went out to meet those powers, then you had to have guts. And perhaps that, I might say, that perhaps I escaped any injury and so forth because I was quite young; I was a citizen; I had an Indian name... It’s peculiar; there was an article written by a fellow whom I knew here. Do you have any connection with the...or have you met any members of the newspaper guild?
P: Which newspaper?
T: Well, it’s only the Light, I think, that’s organized. The Newspaper Guild.
P: No; no, I haven’t.
T: All right. I knew a fellow by the name of Allen Turner here, and he’s written some very good articles on the Starr County, which is one of the poorest. This guy Manges, owns about, I think, about 80% of the wealth that is underneath the ground – the mineral deposits and so forth. It’s hard to buy land. You have, possibly...this is why I feel that you need a study, an intense study, of man and resources before you actually plan to come forth with a program. And it has to include bilingual education.
P: Apparently, what I’ve been able to read about you and the activities in the 30’s, there was a tremendous amount of repression here in San Antonio against the labor movement. Was this something that was orchestrated?
T: If you read something...and I wish somebody, someday, from somewhere, would come in here and write the history of their struggles, and so forth and so forth, but they do not.
Any effort of the Mexican workers to organize was met with brutal force, from the very beginning. I saw...there was a fellow by the name of West, and his brother now is a big shot here...West was elected sheriff here. The second time that the workers...the NRA gave them the right to organize and they didn’t even go; they didn’t even want the American Federation of Labor. But then the Union sent out a representative. Like I said, they were organized and joined, and what they had, I think, was to make it a CIO union or something like that. There was no CIO yet, but they did not want to affiliate to the Trades Council here. P: AF of L?
T: To the AF of L, yeah.
P: So what you had, essentially then, was AF of L here locally, and that was it?
T: You had an AF of L; you had a carpenters’ union; you had a welders’ union; you had plumbers’; all in different unions. And those unions benefited tremendously from the work that we did in getting more projects here. Because as a result of the pecan strike, you had the Apache Courts and housing – public housing. You had a lot of money that came here.
They reopened El Paseo. All of that...the Arneson Theater. Arneson with WPA. All right. He wants you to send a message to... We would visit him about once a week and say, “We want more jobs for our people.” And then we would go to the WPA offices and take people. First they permitted aliens or non-citizens. Then, they decided that it would be only citizens. So, as soon as one youngster in the family reached an age, why, we went down there and took him and got jobs for them. And it’s this...it was this that opened up. This demanded an organization that opened up the trade spots. There weren’t too many carpenters, but the carpenters’ union; the welders’ union; the brick layers’ union. Now, the electrical workers’ union met here; other unions. I think you would still find that they are primarily Anglo-American.
P: What was the attitude of those unions – AF of L – towards the Mexican organizing?
T: Well, this is the thing: they gave us some type of support, but after I became a Communist, they didn’t give any support whatever. But nevertheless, most of my work...I didn’t join the part until after 1937, about ’39, when I got married. But, in XXXX carriers; we gave them help in organizing; and in fact, you have then, if a worker...a Mexican worker was...let me see, do I have this. I just wonder if you have a copy of this... Have you read this?
P: No, I haven’t.
T: All right. You will not find it; if it’s in the library, you will not be able to check it out. It would probably cost you about $25 or $30 to get it now. But if you can, if you can get it for your library... Now, let me see if I can find some of this in here. Living conditions [Reading from text]... “Some idea of the living conditions of the pecan workers came from the fact that only 60, or 12%, had running water in their homes. Only 9% had inside sanitary toilets, while 39% had old-fashioned pipings. The balance had outdoor toilets – either of the sanitary quick- type constructed in large numbers in recent years by the WPA labor, or with the cesspool connections. Lighting facilities were equally poor. Only 25% of the families had electric lights. The other 3/4 used kerosene lamps.”
But that isn’t the worst part of it; health, look at health. 1938 was the hardest year because by that time the Depression had really struck every city, every place.
[Reading from text] “Beet workers were the aristocracy among the Mexican farm laborers, earning an average of $4.90 per person, per week. Average family earnings for a job in beet work amounted to $260, compared with only $69, per job, in cotton. This is partly explained by the fact that the average beet job lasted 189 days, compared with only 60 days. It may be pointed out that ’38 was an unusually bad year for the agriculture workers, particularly in cotton where reduced acreage and a short crop made picking conditions poor.” This will give you an idea, “Some conception of the wages paid in recent years to a majority of Mexican laborers, outside the pecan industry, can be gained from the following estimates, wages of unskilled laborers in San Antonio made by a WPA official in 1938.
Garment workers averaged $3 to $4 a week under the Handwork System which was a prior use to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Most of those who were still employed after the act became effective earned $11 per week, provided they had full-time employment. But work is very irregular in many of the garment factories.
“Part-time domestic servants earn $2.50 per week, plus carfare and lunches. Sales girls earned about $6 weekly.
The few Mexicans who were fortunate enough to find jobs in the cement plants and packing houses as unskilled laborers on construction work usually earned about 25 cents an hour.
Gardeners earned about $2 per week, and proprietors of home laundries were fortunate if their net income were more than $3 a week.”
But that is not the worst. The better jobs in San Antonio are held...they didn’t take...this survey did not find enough people in blue-collar work jobs, or anything like that, to be able to make any type of analysis. “The better paid jobs in San Antonio are held, in the most part, by the white Americans of European stock. Mexicans are usually found doing poorest-aid, unskilled or semi-skilled types of work in which there is little opportunity for advancement, as the following summary of a Mexican worker’s experience shows.
“Pedro Gomez, 25, is the principal worker in a family of ten which has a total income of $510 in 1938. Pedro earned $7 per week as a handy man in a paper box factory during the entire year. In the fall, Pedro applied to the WPA for a job. Turned down because he already had a job, he offered to quit his work in the box factory to take a WPA job, to the dismay of the social worker who interviewed him.
He maintained he could at least have learned cement- finishing or stone masonry on WPA, he said, while in private industry Mexicans are never advanced to a better job, no matter how good they are. ‘I’ve been working in the factory for three years and I work hard never missed a minute, but I’m still getting the same pay, and always will.’”
There is even worse.
Who were the people here? Now the Workers’ Alliance organized the unemployed. And there were lots of unemployed. There were people who were coming back. Now, the Mexican workers...and these were all people...about 60 to 70% - 60% or more, let’s say – were people who had come here in 1910, from 1910 after the first uprising in Mexico.
And they had no skills; these were people recruited; these were people who were peasants. The work that they fitted into was agriculture. They worked here in San Antonio. They worked here during the winter months, and they shelled pecans and this is the way they lived. They made a bit of money there, and then about March or April – sometimes earlier – or May, then they’d start getting on the trucks and going to the Valley. They’d start here, some of them would go to Colorado and wind up in Michigan in the beet fields. If they had a good year, they would come back.
They would buy a little piece of land and then start building little shacks.
I could talk to you about people who live not too far away from here. They are people who were born here, that were born in Floresville, and they went there every year to pick fruits – strawberries and so forth and so on.
Every year, every summer – the father had a job – he would leave the job and then go back in there and go with them and take his whole family. And these are girls about 35; they’re under 40.
P: So the Workers’ Alliance, then, was dedicated to... T: The Workers’ Alliance was an organization for the unemployed. And I think it did a tremendous job, because all of the housing projects that are here are due to the
Workers’ Alliance. All of the jobs – La Villita, the Paseo del Rio – all of that work was work...the Arneson Theater... P: Where did this emerge – the Workers’ Alliance – you said it was a national organization. Who organized it, who put it together?
T: I told you; they were organized by the Communists and Socialists. And we had a branch here; I think we had more than 10,000 workers, but we had committees that went to the WPA. We had our meetings every Sunday.
P: And it was a meeting of this Workers’ Alliance that set off that...
T: All right, wait just a minute. If you read this book, you will find out those unemployed workers...at least about 90% of the unemployed were also pecan shellers. So, it wasn’t hard when the salaries were...I think they were making 5 and 6 cents. Six cents for wholes and for halves; it was either 6 or 7, I can’t remember. And then what they did was lower it down a penny, and that’s when the Workers’ Alliance started.
P: So it was the Workers’ Alliance, then, that came to their support?
T: That’s right. It was we who organized. There again, you see the work of your Communist Party. I was removed; because I was a Communist, I was removed from leadership of the Workers’ Alliance of the CIO. And by the time that my ex-husband, Homer, who was the secretary of the Communist Party, had met with Henderson – Henderson who was the organizer for the United Agricultural Packing and Allied Workers of America. It was a new union formed under the CIO. By the time he got here, they already had a statement to remove me from the leadership. I did not protest or anything, but I continued to write every circular.
I continued to work with the committees, the strike committees and so forth. We had no trouble whatever, until after I left. Then there were strikes; there were spontaneous strikes. You don’t have those if you have a good organizer. If I had to give any credit to myself, I would say that I was a darn good organizer, and if I did it was because I read the works of the...I read quite a bit about the anarchists’ organization.
The Wobblies could come into a town and establish free speech. They’d bring in...one would come by railroad then – ride the rods and so forth and so on – they they’d come into a town. They had one group that would go out. That group would be arrested. They’d get another group to get up and speak, and then another group would fill the damn jail. And you had lawyers there.
Right now, I am amazed; I am surprised; I am disappointed by the intellectuals of America. They don’t know how to answer this question. First, they don’t know how to answer the question; spending too much money on projects and so forth and so on for the poor, for building up; for cleaning up the air, for cleaning up the water.
They don’t know how to answer that some of the young leaders have been spending too much money; we’ve been spending too much money on armaments. We haven’t had any peace since World War II. We had troops in Korea, Vietnam, South American, Europe. We cannot continue to do that. And here, I don’t know...I was reading this morning’s paper. Why covert actions? Why actually apply and make the policy of our country a terrorist under people such as [North] and Poindexter, where we had actually...some of the revelations are amazing. There was some Lebanese, some high Lebanese, said, “Just leave us alone for a while; get out of here.” Did you see that?
P: No, I didn’t see that.
T: So this man has brought our country to the bottom, and many people think that he’s being crucified by the press.
But anyway, you could not think of the pecan workers without the same kind of thinking of the unemployed, because this was the only organization that gave them something to eat here; that gave them jobs. So you had...let me see if it’s here...just a minute.
Somebody found a piece from 1934 and I had it here; I’d cut it out. Let me see, it’s an old, old paper. And it gives a picture...that’s another thing. I haven’t been about to organize all my...I cut it out of that paper, and I threw the other paper out...
[Recorder is turned off for a while]
p: What is it that motivated you to become formally affiliated with the Communist Party? Was that something that many people were doing, the labor activists here?
T: Yes, it was the Communists, actually, the Communists who built the CIO and then were thrown out because of this very narrow type policy. In the Workers’ Alliance we had Anarchists, we had one or two Socialists, and one of the Socialists became our secretary – a fellow by the name of Chavarria. All right. If I had sat down and said, “You’re a Socialist; you’re an Anarchist...” You do not...you set objectives for immediate objectives and strategy. I don’t know, I am given credit for having started this movement here, and I think I mentioned the women here have followed through with COPS. It’s wonderful; I’m happy I’m given credit if they want to give me credit, and if they don’t, I’ll stay home and read. (Laughter) It doesn’t matter to me; I didn’t keep one piece of paper or anything, because I never gave it any importance.
When I left here, about ’48, ’49, I couldn’t have gotten a job; I couldn’t obtain a job; I couldn’t do anything. None of the unions would have...although they sought my help when they got out on strike – laundry workers, cement workers, etc. Again, I continued to help, but I just didn’t...I felt, well, what mischief.
And I was beginning to miss more and more meals, so...I’ve come from a family of eleven; I was one of the oldest. I couldn’t get a job, I couldn’t help, I couldn’t do anything, so I left San Antonio. I went to San Francisco and stayed there for twenty years, and to my surprise, I return and I find myself some sort of a heroine.
Well, I’ll tell you the truth... If I had not been...one of the first things that threw me into the limelight is this nomination for the Texas Hall of Fame. (Laughter) And I sat right here and talked to a woman from Austin, and I said, “I don’t want to go down.” She said, “You’ve got to come down.” I talked to her over the phone just a couple of days ago because I told her I was going to the hospital. And I just wondered whether I should have or not, because if the principles of labor...if the principles are gone on which this country are based...if they cannot be recognized by the modern generation and carried on...
It was wonderful that I was born at the time I was born – I mean when there was activity with the Ku Klux Klan, and so forth. And I had a priest who was born...I think he was an Englishman – I don’t know whether he was born in Canada or England – but he had seen some of the work there and antipathy towards Catholics when he was a convert. I remember our catechism class...and it’s speaking about the... Were you raised a Catholic?
T: Well, I remember one of the stories. He tried to tell us, tried to teach us that we were living in a Protestant country, and I think it was Boston or a Massachusetts city...I mean, a city in Massachusetts. And it was a Catholic worker who came over...was foreign born...who came over and confessed to the priest that he had stolen some things and he wanted them returned. He was...the priest was arrested, and when he wouldn’t reveal the name of the man who had done the robbery, he was jailed. At that time, it seemed that there were a bunch of men – civil rights advocates – who rose up to defend him, and he was freed. He told us about that...
P: And when was that?
T: Oh, I guess when I was about...I was in catechism; I was in catechism before I was six until, as I told you, about twelve or thirteen. Then, let me see...what else was there that he told us; there was something else. There was a letter written by the nuns from Louisiana who...before the Louisiana Purchase, and it was written to Jefferson and it asked specifically, “What guarantee do we have that our religious rights will be defended?” And he wrote just a short, little note saying, “Your rights are defended under the First Amendment to the Constitution.” You will find this letter published in some of the books in Catholic readers, Catholic histories.
So we haven’t always had...and the Irish had a heck of a time...
P: After the activities in ‘38, ‘39, did you make it a conscious decision to retire from labor organizing?
T: No, it was forced on me because I couldn’t find jobs, so I left and...
P: You left in ’48, you say? T: About ’48 or ’49.
P: What did you do during the period 1940 to ’48? Is that when you were just looking for work?
T: Well, I was doing...I held a job here for a while; I held another job; these were very poor-paying jobs. I wanted to go to school; I went to school here for about a year and a half at night, and yes, I told you, the organization continued.
P: Through the '40's:
T: Oh yes, absolutely. There were laundry workers who tried to organize; there was cement workers; there were petitions...whatever I could help and whatever I could do. And I had quite a...there was quite a mass basis here at that time, and some of those workers who were in the strike and went with it and worked with the Workers’ Alliance...some of them went down to organize the onion workers, etc. They desegregated a theatre, asked for classes at school, classes at night to learn English and so forth.
So, there were some valuable experiences there. But you don’t stick to one party or try to part...I never did it and... How do I feel about the Communists? I would like to see a history...not just of the Communists but of the Left Wing movement and its narrow, factional, sectarian approach. P: Did you know some of the communist leaders at the national level?
T: I attended one convention, that was all. The woman for whom I had the greatest admiration was, of course, Elizabeth Girdy Finn. The man for whom I had the...was not Browder, who was the secretary, but was Foster – William C. Foster.
So, these were...and then along with those heroes whom I did have – women heroes – Mrs. Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Babe Diedrickson – I clutched a dime and went down to see her play. (Laughter) I got in through there and I went with a girl and we had to...we really had to talk because we had a dime, I think we had to pay ten cents to get in. But that, to me, if I’d ever been able to see Babe Ruth...I was still a ball player fan.
P: What about your husband? What influence did he have on you during that period?
P: ...if that’s not too personal.
T: Well, no; we’re different persons all together. He was one of these inflexible Communists. He would not make an allowance for anything. He didn’t have a sense of humor; my background was absolutely different from his. I understand...I don’t know, he died before 1968. The last time I saw him was in 1945, right after the war. I think that he got a taste of the bureaucracy and the dictatorship in the Communist Party. He was the secretary of the party and he was...
P: At the national level?
T: No, state. And he was a good organizer, a good theoretician, everything else. But, listen, do you want to stop now? It’s all right with me.
P: No, I’m fine.
T: He was very, very inflexible when it came to...very inflexible. But anyway, what happened here was, he received his orders from the draft board to go down and register.
And instead of going down and registering, what he did was he joined the Merchant Marines and went off to New York, in the hopes that he could stay here on the coast and work.
You had an organization of seamen on the east coast that was absolutely tops and they were progressing, and so forth and so on. And then, everything is lost. You organize the auto workers, and that is lost. So, when he did that, the Communist Party had already changed his line, so without notice or anything, he was expelled from the party. “You should have gone down because Russia had been attacked.”
So, that was quite a blow to him. He stayed in the Merchant Marines, and then he got out and I saw him when he returned to San Antonio. And that was the last time; I was in a hurry, he was in a hurry, and that was the last time I saw him. But I would say that the relationship from the very beginning was not...and maybe, perhaps, I wasn’t ready for marriage, either; that was something else.
Well, he kept on trying; I think he was married because he was marriage sick, but I never...he was married a first time, second time, third time...he had four marriages. But he died quite young. He developed a heart condition, and this is sort of amusing to me because I talked to this person who lived in Los Angeles where he worked and where he married and said he was a wonderful husband. They had no children and there were two...the woman he married had two children and was very, very nice, and she kept that garage cleaner than my garage (laughter), and I just thought maybe that was the trouble. But, I just got to know...it was a marriage of tremendous passion and so forth.
I had problems, too. I’d been fed cod liver oil, I’d been fed goat’s milk, and so forth, so I would never get TB, and then I did get tuberculosis. But I don’t think, I don’t know, as I look back, it was... I was growing up in a certain way. It was a long time before I could get him out of my mind. But, I don’t know, I could look back and some of the humor...some of the things that I considered humorous, well, he didn’t even see it. (Laughter)
P: I want you just to perhaps evaluate the change in American society since the time when you were active...the discrimination, the problems of the ‘30’s to today, with regard to the Mexican-American community. Do you think that there has been significant, substantial change? Is there hope for a future, or does the basic economic system we operate under cause a long-term problem for us?
T: I would say that the times are absolutely different. Unfortunately, American history books, especially at the high school level...and I examined about three of them here in 1968, I haven’t examined any since then. But they were not analytical. They were not critical. You will find history books that will tell you we still don’t know why the Depression occurred – a world-wide Depression. England went on the bill. Certainly, World War I had a lot to do with it. Why did we have a World War II? The unbearable, actually, the unbearable load or money that Germany had to pay us, which actually stripped their economy. Germany never had what you would call a true democratic society.
The influence of the military there was always predominant. And the Kaiser could veto any bill that was passed by the Reichstag. So, you can understand, being a proud people, so forth and so on.
I think your minorities...it would be difficult to say that minorities have not advanced. You will find quite a few members of the state legislature, a few senators, but quite a number who are Mexican. You will find a number who are in the Senate. You will find a lot of Blacks. But, again, you have a split there; you have a split.
You have quite a number of Negroes in the Republican Administration. You even had an Indian. God, how generous can these Anglo-Americans be? This fellow was an intelligent guy, but not too...not a diplomat. So, he was asked, “Well, what are the conditions?” I mean, this...had an Indian there explaining very bad conditions on the reservation, and so he says, “It is, that’s what Mr. So and So says.” He was Italian. (Laughter) I don’t know how long he kept his job.
But you have a generation that enjoyed the post-war prosperity; there were all kinds of jobs and everything else available. You have an economy here...remember, ours was a commercial civilization. We would sell soup spoons or spoon holders anywhere. There wasn’t any problem or machine or anything that we could not apply to ourselves. In that respect, we are a marvelous nation, and I have expected my country, your country, to become the scientific Athens, but I don’t think that will be the case. They have been diverted into the same type of thing that Hitler was diverted to. Socialism doesn’t penalize you; it does have an appeal. So the Nazis call it social-Nazism...what was it?
P: National socialism.
T: National socialism. I think that the situation now is...you have a stronger element in the light now than you had before. And it’s better organized; it has a lot of money. And just the fact that these things happen, and that man in the White House still stands there and gets up and makes a speech, “Well, the big show is yet to come...
The fact that he stands there and makes that type of statement when he’s undermined; when he has almost, I would say, substituted covert actions for state diplomacy and made members of...many people of the United States still think he is being crucified by the press. Our background doesn’t give a lot of people ability to analyze and to look upon this as another awful scandal. In two years we removed one president without firing a single shot, and I am very proud of that.
But this guy, you take the arrogance of that guy, Reagan: “Talk between the president and me is confidential and it can’t be told.” Lying, I don’t know. I once read that people from...among those graduates at West Point you wouldn’t find any liars and cowards: you get Poindexter; you got North. I mean, these guys filled their minds that covert actions, terrorism – the same type that we’re trying to fight – this is going to solve the problem. You’ve got very difficult problems; as far as nationally, we have seen a state of existence down in our country when all...we used to get revenue funds.
I’ve paid income tax; I didn’t pay any last year because I didn’t work much, but monies going to the...tax money will be returned for... All right, my water bill... I don’t use that much water, even a bath every night, the flushing of toilets...it wouldn’t amount to that. All right, but you have it separated now. And so, my bill here alone...when I have the children here it’s been different, but it’s very high; very, very high. And I have a fixed income. I also have a lien on this house. It’s going down quickly, but I built a room in the back, so the two boys can have their own rooms.
But as far as...there has been a cut down in whatever type of medical services that are given to children of tenant farmers...not tenant farmers, but farmers in the south. Most of the babies in a certain place in North Carolina are still delivered by midwives. But these are women who report to clinics and so forth and are with the women and so forth; and this type of thing so needed is being cut.
We have, I think it was about 27,000 homeless people in New York alone. Why do we have these? Has the money that we have in all the tax credits, the taxes that we haven’t been imposing so that business could really take the initiative and tackle the recession. We’ve been throwing millions of dollars into this Star Wars. We do not have an adequate housing problem. So far, only one bill has passed and that is the Clean Water Act, and that is signed. I think it’s about $20 billion. This is a start, but how much will we get done in this week, and what is going to happen?
What about the unemployed?
He has spoken about retraining, but where in the mischief are those programs? He’s noting but a bag of hot air. Hollywood, you could have done better. (Laughter) So, your minorities, yes. Your minorities are going to suffer, I think. Look at the attitude towards the migrants who come here. I could see and I could show you documentation...Carter permitted 300 to come into the Valley and work – pick melons or something. 1954 under...it was under Truman...it was before that. The beet fields were ready to be worked; this was in El Paso. What was it, grape? Grape-Sugar Company of Colorado, Colorado Sugar- Grape, or something like that.
Because of the fact that there’s been so many repatriations, the government of Navasanaca, communist, kept wanting to place soldiers to keep the Mexican workers from coming in. The sugar owners, owners of the fields, they had cars already, trains, to carry the workers out there.
There was a guy by the name of Cortez, an uncle of this guy, Ernie Cortez, who wrote a letter. He was a member of the LULAC here. He criticized, mildly, Truman. He said, “We are trying to stabilize conditions here, and you are not helping us.” This is his idea. This was Cortez’s idea and many of the LULACS. And I worked with them, and I know that he felt if you washed your neck and you dressed and you could speak good English, then you would be accepted. So, I would say that for the next two years, I don’t know what to expect, I really don’t.
This scandal, how far, how deep it will go; I don’t think Mr. Reagan will be invited to any conferences in New York. So, I would say that your minorities during this period...Blacks, Indians. But where are the intellectuals:
Where are the Clarence Darrows? You know who Clarence Darrow is? Where are all of those writers who went out and picketed when Sacco and Vanzetti were put in jail? You see, we do have a big movement against war. Against nuclear war, in particular. But I just don’t know. I think that I might be...if I could see in the future somebody who could take the presidency and have a knowledge of the program... I would hate to see another Carter or another movie star, because they don’t know foreign policy; they don’t know history. I don’t know whether...I’m not gonna get pessimistic, but then, I really don’t know.
What are the feelings of these people in Nicaragua? What are the feelings of these people...Cuba has already said that if the United States invades Nicaragua that they would come in. What about the situation in Lebanon? That’s explosive. You don’t know what’s going to happen there, from day to day. So, I just don’t know.
Speech from http://digital.utsa.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15125coll4/id/1172/rec/5.