Proceedings before the Committee on Agriculture, presentation of a portrait of the Honorable Harold D. Cooley


Official Seal of the United States






Washington, D. C.

The ceremonial meeting convened at 10:10 a. m., in room 1310, New House Office Building, Hon. W. R. Poage presiding.

(The audience applauded and arose as Hon. Harold D. Cooley was escorted into the room.)

Mr. POAGE. I am going to declare this meeting in order.

The junior Senator from North Carolina has a statement to make about the chairman of our committee. I know we are all interested to hear it. Senator Scott. [Applause.]


Senator SCOTT. Mr. Temporary Chairman, I am happy to be here on this particular occasion.

I was a little bit amused at first when I was put at a seat where it said “Anfuso.” I have been before this committee many times, and I was “confused.” But, you see, they moved me up here and put me in front of the name “Hope.” So probably it is a little better situation from now on.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, and distinguished guests, it is always a pleasure for me to visit with the House Committee on Agriculture, but it is indeed a special pleasure this morning. I have been in this amphitheater on many occasions, on many programs, over a long period of years—longer than I like to admit, sometimes. It is indeed a special pleasure to be here.

As a rule, when I come over to see the members of the committee, I come asking for something. You will be glad to learn that I am not after anything today; instead, I came to present you with something that I am sure you will deeply appreciate.

In presenting the committee with a portrait of its chairman, Harold D. Cooley, I find it a little difficult to speak about the gentleman in question. It is always more difficult when you speak from the heart rather than the mind. I really would like to open up on that, because I am a farmer myself, and Harold Cooley has gone to bat for us over the years, and so has the man on my left, over here. We have been very fortunate, we feel, in North Carolina, with those two on the committee, as well as the others.

Some years ago, Thomas Edison coined a term that applies very aptly to Harold Cooley. Mr. Edison said: “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Harold Cooley is living

proof of that statement. I have seen him in a sweat many times. [Laughter.]

I say Harold Cooley is a genius because he has accomplished something few men in our time are able to do.

I have lived on a farm all my life. It is the only work I have ever known, but I certainly do not consider myself a farm expert. The opposite is true of Harold Cooley. So far as I know, Harold has never actually lived on a farm, although he has worked on farms and now owns and operates farms. But no man living today—an actual farmer or otherwise—can call himself a more efficient, more informed farm expert than Harold Cooley.

When he speaks of farm matters, he speaks with knowledge that came from a lot of time, hard work, and plenty of sweat.

I had occasion to go back down home the other day on the pretense of going to a Jackson Day Dinner—and I did—but it is the first time I had my feet on real dirt since I came up here, and it was mighty good to get back there. If you are a farmer, you know what I mean.

Today, in Nash County, he produces 5 of the 6 basic agricultural farm commodities. The only thing he does not raise is rice, and I guess that he would grow a little of that if he could get some good swampland.

Although Harold comes from the very heart of the farm section of our State, his father, the late Roger A. Cooley, was a lawyer, and a mighty good one, too. Harold's mother, Hattie Davis Cooley, died when he was only 9 years old, and his father died when he was just 16. In order to continue his schooling, Harold had to scuffle for himself—and you folks know what that word “scuffle” means, if you are a good Scotchman—and make his own way. He drove a truck for a highway gang, sold newspapers, worked as a surveyor's helper, and labored in the fields of his father's farms.

When his father died in 1916, Harold made up his mind he wanted to be a lawyer. You know, it is surprising how many people want to do something else when they are working out on the farm. [Laughter.] He made a good move, showed rare judgment. He went to Chapel Hill and talked the dean of the law school into admitting him, in spite of the fact he was a little short on credits.

Most of we farm folks have been short on credit all of our lives, and you know what that means.

Less than 2 years later, he had passed the State bar with high marks, but he was still under 21—at least, that is what he told his future wife. While waiting to get his law license, Harold joined the Naval Flying Corps. After the war, he went to Yale University and studied law there for another year.

It was almost 15 years later, after Harold had become one of the best lawyers in eastern Carolina, that his real career started. In 1934, the Honorable Edwin W. Pou, of the Fourth Congressional District, died. In a special election, Harold was named to succeed him.

I happened to have been there in the reception line at the time. Harold does not remember, because I was not in his district at that time.

Only a few weeks after he arrived in Washington, Harold realized a deep desire of many years. He was named to serve as a member of the House Committee on Agriculture. For many years he had had

unusual interest in farmers and farm problems. As a young lawyer, he had attended many farm meetings and fought the cause of rural people long before he ever held public office. When he was named a member of the Agriculture Committee as a freshman Congressman, it was the first time in 100 years that a North Carolinian had served on this important group.

At the time Harold came to Congress, the whole country was in despair. Thousands of farmers were losing their lands and homes. People had little or no money to buy the bare necessities of life and there was no market for farm products. The whole country was sick, and Harold Cooley was convinced—and rightly so—that the farmers must be lifted from the depths of the depression if our country was again to thrive economically.

Hundreds upon hundreds of complicated and far-reaching bills were handled by the Agriculture Committee that meant new hope for farmers all over the country. Out of the chaos of the depression came the Bill of Rights for farmers—that group of laws, policies, and programs that is today known as the farm program.

Almost without exception, Harold Cooley played an important roll in every piece of legislation that went to make up the overall farm program. In every sense of the word, he is one of the architects of American farm prosperity—prosperity that has been built on a foundation of bipartisan approach to agricultural problems.

With the exception of the 83d Congress, Harold has been chairman of your committee since 1949. Whether it be here in the committee or out on the floor of the House, Democrats and Republicans alike sit up and take notice when Harold Cooley has something to say about farm legislation. They may not agree with him all the time, but they respect his opinion and judgment.

Through 20 years of hard work and experience, Harold Cooley has become the spokesman for farmers everywhere. He has learned by working closely with people of the soil that agriculture is the lifeblood of freedom and democracy. From this basic conviction, he works day and night toward the goal of producing and effectively distributing and utilizing our full food and fiber potential, especially in the backward areas of the world where hunger is accepted as a part of life.

Lesser men could rest on the laurels of Harold Cooley, but he will not. As long as there is a breath in his body, he will stand at bat for the people who dig from the soil the basic necessities of life.

As I ask you to hang this portrait of Harold Cooley on the wall, I ask every member of the committee, as well as those who visit this committee, to take it and look upon it for inspiration in your work and efforts in behalf of all mankind, all over the world. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. Mr. Present Senator from North Carolina, I want now to invite one of the future Senators from North Carolina, the Honorable Benjamin Lawrence III, to come in and unveil for us this, the portrait which is hanging here. [Applause.]

(The portrait was unveiled by Benjamin Lawrence III, grandson of Mr. Cooley.)

Mr. POAGE. Senator Scott, North Carolina has done much for this committee in the past. We expect her to do much for the committee and for agriculture in the future.

We were a little disturbed when Senator Scott, who, as Commissioner of Agriculture and who, as Governor Scott, has so often in the past appeared before this committee with a request for something—we were a little disturbed, at least, until we had the future Senator open this package over here and let us see really what you were bringing, or maybe asking, but we are greatly relieved now because I am sure that we will all agree that we have a real addition to the ornaments of the committee room.

We have an excellent likeness of our grand chairman.

This committee has probably been the most fortunate of committees of the House—certainly it has during the time that I have had the pleasure of serving in this House—in its leadership.

When I came here, this committee was presided over by the Honorable Marvin Jones, and it is our pleasure to have Judge Jones with us today. He afforded grand leadership.

I did not come on the committee until Judge Jones took the robes and deserted the Congress. That is one of the penalties of having a great man from your State. You cannot get on committees that you would like to be on, when you have a man like Marvin Jones ahead of you, because they say that he is doing enough for that State.

I did not succeed Marvin Jones. I do not claim to have taken his place. I only came on the committee when he went off

Harold Cooley was way up the line, sitting over here about where Mr. Gathings is sitting when I started at the foot of the class. I used to look up there and say to myself, “I will be happy when the day comes, when that fellow from North Carolina,” who I did not know so well then as I know him today, “is able to preside over this committee, because he does such a good job of it.”

A few years passed, and he became the chairman of the committee and I, for one time in my life, was able to point with pride to the prediction that I had made in the past as to the quality of leadership that we would then have. He gave to the committee the direction and leadership that we needed. He has continued to give that leadership, although he has swapped positions from time to time with our dear friend from Kansas, who has likewise proved himself to be one of the great and outstanding chairmen of any committee of the House of Representatives.

I think that we can this morning visually present three of the finest committee chairmen that have served the House of Representatives. We are proud to have all of you here this morning.

We are particularly proud and happy and pleased, Senator, that you and your constituents and our friends in North Carolina should make it possible for this committee to enjoy such a magnificent portrait of our chairman. We think that it is a compliment to the committee that you and your friends are presenting this portrait to the committee for the ornamentation of the committee room. We think that it is a proper and well deserved recognition of the outstanding work of our chairman, not only within this committee room but throughout the length and breadth of America and through the length and breadth of this world, for wherever people eat—and that is wherever people are—people must be interested in the actions of Harold Cooley, who has done so much to make possible a sound agriculture in the United States, without which a large portion of this world would probably find itself a good deal more hungry than it is.

I could not let this opportunity pass without also expressing some personal tribute to our chairman, because he has not simply been my chairman for a good many years—he has been probably the closest friend I have had in the United States Congress. And when you say that Harold Cooley is your close friend, you then say that the Cooley family, and it is a large and expansive clan down in North Carolina, is your friend, and that you are one of those who have been privileged to enjoy the hospitality of that great group.

I have considered myself fortunate to belong to that class.

We are particularly happy that so many of your relatives and friends are here this morning, Harold.

Somehow or another I embrace in the term “Cooley family,” a whole group of people around Nashville and Raleigh and Wilson, whether they are blood relations or not. Sometimes I have found it difficult to exactly trace all of the connections, but most of the older members of this committee have enjoyed the privilege of visiting in Nashville. To them that means visiting the Cooleys, and that means visiting with many of the friends down in Nash County. Most of us have enjoyed that opportunity, and it is a great experience.

We are, therefore, especially happy to welcome all of the group of your relatives, your neighbors, and your friends, Harold, who are here this morning. We feel that you folks are a part of this agricultural group. We like to feel that we are a part of your Nash County group.

I have been attracted to Harold Cooley because of his fine personal traits, as well as his intellect. You folks all know of Harold Cooley's ability. He can walk in here, and with apparently no study of a proposition, know more about it than any of the rest of us who have spent hours seeking to learn something about it, and he can more clearly describe and explain the legislation that comes from this committee than any man with whom I have ever served on the committee.

Those are worthwhile traits. They are the attributes of greatness, and Harold Cooley has them in abundance.

But he also has the attributes of friendliness, the personality to endear himself to each of us as an individual.

It is probably even more on that basis, Senator, that we appreciate this splendid gesture from North Carolina than even upon the basis of his official record, brilliant though it is.

I now want to recognize a great member of this committee, one who has served continuously on the committee longer than any other man and who has been here during the tenure of Mr. Cooley as a member of this committee. I want to recognize our friend, Clifford R. Hope of Kansas. [Applause.]


Mr. HOPE. Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, members of the committee, and friends of Harold Cooley, I can assure you that it is a great pleasure to me to have a small part in this program and an opportunity to say something on this occasion.

I presume that I am speaking as representing the minority. That is a custom we have around here, and a very good one, I think, that the majority and the minority must each have an opportunity to express themselves, no matter what question may be up for consideration.

I am sure, however, that all of us on the committee—I am sure everyone here—agrees that this is a matter on which there is no minority and no majority. We are all happy to be here today, to be present when this great honor is paid our distinguished chairman.

We are proud, as members of the committee, to be here when this portrait, this splendid portrait of our chairman, is presented to the committee.

I understand that it is a gift from his friends, associates, and neighbors in North Carolina, many of whom are here to day. I am sure that they are very proud, as we are, of the chairman of this committee, and they may well be proud, because Harold Cooley is a man of many distinguished qualities.

First of all, he is a great lawyer. Of course, we have a lot of lawyers on this committee. I do not want to get into a discussion of who is the greatest lawyer on the committee, but everybody recognizes, I am sure, that Harold Cooley is a great lawyer in any company in which he finds himself.

We had a member of this committee once, Cap Carden from Kentucky, who in defining his occupational status on one occasion, said that among the lawyers in Kentucky he was considered a great farmer, and among the farmers he was considered a great lawyer. [Laughter.]

But Harold Cooley is considered a great lawyer among the lawyers. And I know of no greater compliment that any lawyer can receive than to be considered as a leading member of his profession by others who are engaged in it and who are his competitors as well as his associates.

Harold Cooley is also a farmer, and he is recognized among the farmers as being a great farmer also.

And he is a great orator, with a golden voice, as all of us who have been associated with him in any capacity know.

Of course, he has become a great legislative leader during the time he has been in Congress, and a great chairman.

I also think he has another gift, although in this capacity he may not be as well known as in the others. He is a prophet and a seer, as I can say from experience. I well remember a year or two ago, when I was down in North Carolina, he was called upon to present me to an audience. He said a lot of nice and very largely undeserved things about me, and then proceeded to introduce me as the “temporary chairman of the Committee on Agriculture.” [Laughter.] The worst part of it is that he was right, and I am now the ex-chairman and he is the chairman; how permanent I do not know.

Harold Cooley came to this Congress at a time when agricultural legislation was of the utmost importance and, with the exception of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929, and the Triple A Act of 1933, he has been here and has participated in the consideration of all of the hundreds of legislative matters in the interests of agriculture that have been before Congress during the last 20 years. His imprint

will be found on all of it and his influence has had something to do with the form in which it was finally enacted.

And may I now speak of Harold Cooley as an associate on the committee. I think here in Congress and especially on the committees we come to know men better than we know them in almost any other association. Working together, as I have, with Harold Cooley for 20 years, I feel I have come to know him very well.

My position as chairman of the committee, when I occupied that position, was made infinitely easier by the fine cooperation which I had from Harold Cooley as ranking minority member. And during the time that he has been chairman and I have been the ranking minority member, my position in that capacity has been easier and more pleasant because of his kindnesses and courtesies to me.

We are living now in a great period in the world's history, a time of tremendous changes. I suppose that in no field are there greater changes taking place than in the field of agriculture. That means that any of us who have any responsibility for agricultural legislation must keep up with those changes and must be on the job constantly to be sure that agricultural legislation is kept up to date, and it does have to be kept up to date if it is going to do the job that we expect it to do.

In Harold Cooley we have a man who is not only a great legislator and a great chairman but a man who knows the thoughts and the feelings and the wishes and the desires of the people who live on the land and who, by reason of that knowledge and of his innate ability, has not only become a great legislator and a great chairman but a great and inspiring leader of all of those who speak for agriculture in this country. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. We would like at this time to recognize the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, the Honorable John McCormack, who has always given this committee effective support when and where it was most needed. [Applause.]


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Chairman, my colleagues of both branches of the Congress, my good friend Harold Cooley and his loved ones, and ladies and gentlemen, I was not aware of the fact that I was to make any remarks until I arrived here this morning, and I noticed the typewritten program. However, I am very happy that I am called upon and I appreciate it very much, because there is no one I have met in my journey of life that I respect more than I do Harold Cooley.

In making these few extemporaneous remarks, I appear not only as one who is a friend of Harold Cooley—I speak not only as a friend and a colleague, not only representing the leadership in the House, but I also represent that great agricultural population of my own district.

Down through the years since I have been in Congress, I have loyally supported Marvin Jones and Harold Cooley, and on most occasions Clifford Hope, because quite frequently I found that his views on agriculture and my views were the same.

Harold Cooley is not only a great representative of the people of his district and his State and of agriculture of our country, which is one of the great backbones of our country, but he has a national outlook. Harold Cooley is not one with a sectional viewpoint.

He sees this great country of ours, 48 States constituting the Union with their different problems. He recognizes, he sees 160-odd-million people, farmers, workers, consumers, businessmen, professional men, but all Americans.

And he recognizes that there are at times trying problems legislatively, but he is always attempting to solve them in the best interests of our country.

He recognizes there is no segregation of one group of Americans against another, sectionally, economically, or otherwise.

I have heard him on the floor of the House speak for the workers of the country as well as the farmers of the country.

As leader of my party since 1940 in the House, I could always rely, as could the other leadership, on how Harold Cooley's understanding mind, when legislation came up in the House of great import to a large segment of our people who were not of the soil, and Harold Cooley approached the consideration of those questions affirmatively and not from the angle entirely of the best interests of agriculture alone, but of agriculture moving in with the worker, for example, and the final solution for the best interests of our country.

I could talk for an hour, a day, on Harold Cooley, as could everyone else.

The people of his district are justified in feeling proud of Harold Cooley.

The man in Congress, or any other public position, who renders service honorably and trustworthily, reflects credit upon the people of his district and that inures to their benefit and to their justifiable feeling of pride.

Congressman Harold Cooley is a credit to the great State of North Carolina, which has contributed so much to the progress of our Union—a great State which, with the other Commonwealths and States of the Union, have made this Nation of ours the great country that it is.

It is the men like Harold Cooley, serving in the Congress and elsewhere—but he in this body and on this committee, as chairman—who have made marked contributions towards what we have today.

It is the men like Congressman Harold Cooley that are going to save what we have today. And no forces of evil or viciousness will be able to destroy or defeat the desire of men like Harold Cooley—men and women represented and symbolized by the mind of Harold Cooley, in their desire and their determination to be free men and free women under God and under law. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. A moment ago I suggested that we were honored to have with us today a man who long occupied a seat at this rostrum, but who has not been here for quite some time. He is now wearing the robes of the judiciary, but he is nonetheless interested in agriculture.

We would like to have a word from our former chairman and that great friend of agriculture and great American, Judge Marvin Jones. [Applause.]


Judge JONES. Mr. Chairman, fellow workers, looking over this committee brings back a flood of happy memories. When the work-day is over, the hardships are forgotten and only the happy memories remain. I would like to name a few of them, but I have not the time. I see some of the ones that I worked with around here for a number of years, but I feel sort of a kinship with everyone who serves upon this great committee, because in my book it works upon the problems that are the closest to the heart of America of any problems that we face.

Man came from the soil and, when the scepter falls from his nerveless grasp, he goes back to the soil.

And throughout all history, those who come close to the soil, those who get the products, which are the basic wealth of this whole country, from the soil, are the ones who have lived closest to nature. That is true through all history

You can go back into the old markings on the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers and see the markings of an ancient civilization that was fabulous until it forgot the importance of the soil and the products of the soil.

And the Land of Canaan that is spoken of as the “land of milk and honey”—“the promised land”—what is it today? It has neither milk nor honey because it forgot to preserve the products, or the ingredients, of the soil which produce the products.

For that reason I think the work of this committee and the work in reference to the soil and all of the interrelated things are tremendously important in the economy of this country.

I have heard it said many times that we are subsidizing the farmers. I always took issue with anybody who presented that view, because the farmer is way off over yonder. He is unorganized, in the main. There are a few organizations, but the individual farmer remains an individualist.

The other groups, if you may term them “groups”, have a closer voice and through a longer period of years have secured certain privileges in a fine, free country, and they have looked to the Federal Government to handle many of their problems.

I always took the position that what we did was merely making restitution.

I have always thought that one of the chief glories of the Constitution is the fact that you cannot take the shirt from the back of the ragged street urchin without either securing the lad's consent or paying him for the rags. And through processes we took away certain things and we simply made restitution.

We do not claim—no one who thinks claims—that there is any one group that is important, the most important group in this country, but because of the lack of publicity and the avenues of information we sometimes are inclined to overemphasize.

I would not discount the importance of industry, but agriculture and industry are the twin evangels of modern civilization, and neither can permanently prosper without the other.

Through a long period of years it was my privilege to have a rich friendship. I had a great admiration for Harold Cooley.

You know, I talked to somebody from Nash County, and they told me that in the early days there never was a tow-headed kid of less promise than Harold Cooley wandering around down there in the little town of Nashville. [Applause.]

I thought, when I was listening to Senator Scott pay tribute to him a while ago, that when a boy who did not have the advantages of wealth, whose parents, unfortunately, left him when he was young, when a boy of that type can so develop himself by sheer merit as to accomplish the wonderful things that he has accomplished, there is no limit to the opportunities that this fine and fruitful land affords. That is one of the fine things.

You know, if one man owned all of the land in this country, we would have a monarchy—an absolute monarchy and constant tyranny.

If only a few people owned the land we would have an aristocratic despotism.

The only way a free country can remain free, the only way a democratic country can retain that liberty, is by having a diffused ownership of the land, because nobody can live without it. This is essential to life.

I want to say this about Harold Cooley: I think he is as typically American as any man I have ever known. He is a symbol of the belief in liberty, equality, manhood, fair play, and freedom, from every form of new and old world caste and privilege, and from the tyranny of wealth and of birth.

Now, when he came up here I had never seen him before. I was on this committee with August and all of these around here. I thought that he was one of the best looking men I ever saw. [Laughter.] I did not know anything else about him, but I found after I learned to know him that he was intellectually as big as any man.

My grandmother was one of the Gastons of the Carolinas. She told me some of the things that I needed to know when I was a youngster. She told me of the qualities that make a man and without which no one can be a man, without going into the subject of courage, integrity and industry and ability and fairness, and a number of other things—all of which our friend possesses to a superlative degree.

He is a man of magnificent qualities. The more I served with him, the more I learned to admire him.

I do not blame these people for having such a high regard for him.

You know, as I said, agriculture and industry are twin evangels.

I believe in measures and not in men. I believe in principles and not in men. Well, now, again, you have to have coordination.

The same principles that we live on, we have lived on through these years and will live on forever, were planted in the hills by the Almighty. They never come to life until some man breathes into them the breath of life. The principle of the radio and the telephone and all of those, they were here at the beginning, but it took, some human being to breathe the breath of life into them.

For that reason I have appreciated not only Harold but all of the other members of the committee. It is that they keep breathing into life these wonderful principles.

I heard Champ Clark say, when he was Speaker of the House when I came to the House, that there were a good many criticisms leveled at the Congress. He chuckled in the cloakroom one day, and said—he repeated it later on the floor of the House—that there are not a thousand

people in the United States that would not come to Congress, if they could. He said that there are a lot of people who say that they would not, and a lot know they could not, and therefore they would not try, but he said it is a great honor to be the official spokesman of 300,000 or 400,000 people in a great, free country.

I compliment every member of this committee, the Senators who are here, and the people who helped select them. I congratulate you, Harold, and wish you the most and the best of everything that is worthwhile, from now on and in the future. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. We have a number of distinguished guests here today. We have one Member of the United States Senate, whom I am now going to recognize—we cannot recognize everybody who has attained distinction, this morning, but he happens to have been a Member of the House, and I want to remind him, now that he is back in the House, that the rules of the House and not of the Senate are applicable this morning. I will therefore recognize for 1 minute the only man that I can remember who ever went on the floor of the House and give Chairman Cooley a whipping on an agricultural bill. [Laughter.]

I want to recognize another good friend of agriculture, and a great statesman, the Junior Senator from Tessessee, our former member, Senator Albert Gore. [Applause.]


Senator GORE. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Congress, distinguished guest, members of the Cooley family, ladies and gentlemen, upon leaving the House and going to the Senate one develops new proclivities. I suppose that Bob is prompted to impose upon me this tyranny of the House rules because he remembers that last year I was accused of leading a filibuster for 13 days and nights.

Upon learning this morning of this occasion, I dropped everything and came here because I wanted to join you, the friends and the loved ones of Harold Cooley, to pay tribute to a great, sincere, and devoted public servant.

Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. There is another Senator who was also one of our colleagues in the House, and with whom we have all always worked in greatest harmony, who is especially well known and beloved of many of the audience here. I want Senator Ervin to have a word, if you will, Senator. [Applause.]


Senator ERVIN. Mr. Temporary Chairman, relatives and friends of Harold Cooley, I have now saluted everybody present. [Applause.]

It is rather a dangerous thing, as Albert Gore intimated, to call on a Senator and give him an opportunity to have an audience.

When I left the House and until I got to the Senate and watched the filibustering process, I was a laconic individual, but now I have been “corrupted” by the other Senators. [Laughter.]

It is a great pleasure for me to be here today and to join in paying honor to a schoolmate. Now, if I were to tell you how long I have

known Harold Cooley, and then you would look upon the evidence of youth which appears upon his face and is reflected in that picture, you would think that I was an unmitigated liar. [Laughter.] But if you honestly believe in what I could say about the length of my acquaintance with Harold Cooley, you could readily understand how it is that my wife's solicitude for my welfare has prompted her to join the North Carolina Society for the Preservation of Antiquities. [Laughter.]

When I was appointed to the Senate last June, I was asked by a newspaperman what I knew about agriculture. I was at that time so close to and associated with the administration of justice that I adhered to the truth, and I told him, “virtually nothing.” I told him, however, I thought I could vote right on all agricultural problems that might confront me in the Senate because we had two preeminent experts in agriculture, Harold Cooley and Kerr Scott.

Now, when I got on the campaign with them this past fall, I did not want to be left out on the agricultural vote when it was divided around—I wanted to stay somewhere in the neighborhood of parity with them. [Laughter.] So I made a claim, which no one has ever disputed or, in fact, contradicted in any way—I said that I had sowed more wild oats and raised more cain than any other farmer in North Carolina. [Laughter.]

Clifford Hope alluded to the fact a while ago that Harold Cooley was both a lawyer and a farmer.

We had a man down in North Carolina who had a license to practice law and a license to practice medicine. The doctors called him “Judge,” and the lawyers called him “Doctor.” And it is said that when one of his clients became his patient, that he rendered him a very necessary service by drawing his will. [Laughter.]

I want to bear witness to the fact that Clifford Hope told the truth, however, when he said that Harold Cooley occupies a very unusual position, being recognized as a farmer by the farmers, and a lawyer by the lawyers. I can bear witness to Harold's prowess as a lawyer.

He and I sat at the feet of Dean McGehee, Professor McIntosh, and Professor Winston in the law school at the University of North Carolina more years ago than I would like to admit. And I have had the opportunity during the years as a trial judge and also as an appellate judge to know something about Harold's capacity as a lawyer.

He is, and has long been, recognized as one of the great trial lawyers of North Carolina.

I like to pay tribute to Harold Cooley, however, as a friend. I have watched his progress through the years with increasing admiration and affection. He is a great citizen. He is a great Congressman. He is a great chairman of the Agriculture Committee. He is a great American. He is a great friend.

I rejoice in being here today, and in saying that I know no one of my generation who has rendered any finer service to the people of his district, the people of his State, and the people of his Nation. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. It is now my hope to recognize a number of the members of the North Carolina delegation who are here, and I would like, if you would care to do so, to have you give us some expression. I believe that next to the “old gentleman” who sits here on the

rostrum, Carl Durham is the next ranking member of the North Carolina delegation. [Applause.]


Mr. DURHAM. Mr. Temporary Chairman, Mr. and Mrs. Cooley, and Members of the House, I looked around to see if my senior member was here, but I do not see him, so I will take credit for being the next senior member.

It gives me a great deal of pleasure this morning to be present here on such an occasion as this.

This ceremony reminds me of the days—although he would not tell his age—when I remember both Sam and Harold coming to college as freshmen. I remember when they used to come down the street, and we had about the only drugstore in town, and the lawyers decided all of the problems in the world at that place.

Most of them in those days wore these college-type shoes, with holes in their socks.

Sam roomed across the hall from me, and he debated one question or the other all night. Harold was quite a debater then, as well as now.

Harold has retained two qualities all of his life, that is, when he came to college he was one of the best debaters in college and he was considered the best looking man in college. He has retained both of them. I think that is another thing we should add to his glories.

Harold Cooley, or course, as we all know, has done an outstanding job, not just for his own State but, as our majority leader said, a job for the people of the United States; and not only the United States, but his influence has been felt outside the continental United States.

The measures that he has sponsored with his great ability now stand as a bulwark of laws, which have protected the farmers of this country and also provided for us food and other things necessary for our life.

I certainly am not going to take up any more of your time, but Harold, God bless you, and Mrs. Cooley, with a long and successful life. [Applause.]


Mr. DEANE. Mr. Chairman, Harold, and friends, we could stay here all day and salute Harold. I know this event must warm his heart as has no experience that has happened to him since he came to the Congress.

With your host of friends here, Harold, we in North Carolina, your host of congressional colleagues salute you on this significant day. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. I believe that possibly we get to a point where several of you came in at about the same time, so we will next present Congressman Hugh Alexander. [Applause.]


Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. Chairman, colleagues, members of the Cooley family, and his friends, it is a real heartwarming privilege to be here on such an occasion to do honor to such a great man and to such a great friend.

I am not going to try to say or to repeat any of the fine things that have been said, but only to say this: that as a freshman Congressman here in the 83d Congress I could always go to Harold Cooley about any matter and get the best advice that a young man could ever expect or hope to have. And in my desperate plight, when the weather was hot and the political air still hotter, I had only to call upon my good friend, Harold Cooley, who was so gracious, who came and visited and spoke throughout my district.

For all of the many fine things you have done, Harold, I wish to congratulate you and your many friends, and to wish for you and your loved ones the very best in the future. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. We would now be happy to hear a word from Congressman Jonas. [Applause.]


Mr. JONAS. Mr. Chairman, Harold, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased at the opportunity to participate briefly in this grand ceremony.

We have heard many fine and complimentary things said about Harold Cooley this morning. I wish to associate myself with all of those remarks.

The thing, however, that impressed me more than anything else that has been said today was the comment of the majority leader, Mr. McCormack. He said that when the record is written, Harold Cooley will be remembered not as the spokesman of any narrow or special group but will be recognized as having had a broad-gaged point of view with respect to the problems confronting our country.

I recall a toast attributed to one of the speakers on the occasion when New Yorkers were celebrating the evacuation of the British troops following the surrender at Yorktown. They had a great celebration in New York that night.

Governor DeWitt Clinton was the host at a victory banquet. George Washington was present. A number of toasts were given, but the one that has always impressed me was spoken by an unnamed person who said, in effect: “May we become one people, and in our close union guard the temple we have erected to liberty.”

He did not express any hope that we would become spokesmen for agriculture or industry or labor or any other segment of American life, but that in the years ahead we would think of ourselves as Americans, period.

I hope, Harold, that when I have completed the term of my service here that the people in my district will be able to say, as your people say of you, that I tried to represent all of the people and not one

particular group. I think it is a wonderful tribute that has been paid you today, and I would like to join all of your host of friends in wishing you long life and continued success in every endeavor. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. We will next hear from Congressman Fountain. [Applause.]


Mr. FOUNTAIN. Mr. Chairman, friends, I think by now I can assure those of you who are sitting out in the audience that this is not a filibuster.

There are many fine things which I could tell you about our friend Harold Coolery which reflect credit upon him and upon the people he represents.

Harold and I represent districts which are separated at a number of places by the tracks of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Offhand I can think of four towns in our respective districts which are represented by both of us.

Harold Cooley has been a friend to me, before I came to Congress and since I have been here. I am happy to join all of you who have spoken here today in the tributes which you have paid to him.

I have seen him in action in the courtroom. I have seen him in action in his home, on the street, and in many other places. I can assure you that the things which have been said here today about Harold Cooley are deserving.

I know that the memory of this occasion, Harold, is something which you will always hold near and dear to your heart.

I should like to say, may the tie that binds you to all of us, and us to you, ever remain stanch and true. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. We will next hear from Congressman Shuford. [Applause.]


Mr. SHUFORD. Mr. Chairman, Harold, Mrs. Cooley, and friends of Harold and Mrs. Cooley, I come from the western part of North Carolina, quite far removed from Nashville; in fact, I might say that in miles my hometown of Asheville is closer to Washington than it is to Harold's hometown.

However, in western North Carolina we recognize Harold Cooley's ability. We appreciate him for what he has done for the farmer and what he has done for North Carolina.

Harold has been a very close friend of mine since I have been in the Congress. I also appreciate what he has done for me.

I was in college with Sam Ervin and Harold Cooley. I knew then that Harold was going to progress far. That observation and hope of mine at that time has been well proved.

I thank you very much for the privilege of being here this morning. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. We have deeply appreciated the fine things that have been said by the Members of Congress and our friends who have been here. I know that every member of this committee would like to have the opportunity to express his feeling for our chairman, but I think we owe it to the good friends who are here not to impose that upon them. The members will have the opportunity to express their feelings to the chairman as the months go on. So I assure you that we will extend no further congressional privileges this morning.

We would not, however, want to bring this occasion to a close without at least presenting, and I will ask them to stand, the fine friends who made this picture possible—those who paid the bill.

Among them are Mr. C. J. McGinnis, of Raleigh, N. C., Wake County; Mr. Jerry Wood, of Siler City. [Applause.] Mr. F. J. Boling of Siler City. [Applause.] Mr. Glenn Gilmore of Julian, N. C. [Applause.]

Please stand up and let us all see you.

That is mighty fine. We are mighty glad to have you here.


Mr. WOOD. Mr. Chairman, I happen to be the “Wood” part of this little organization. I hail from Siler City, which is located in the heart of Harold's Fourth Congressional District.

Our principal source of income is poultry.

I shall never forget appearing before this committee when you were presiding as temporary chairman, Mr. Poage. We were appearing here in the interests of an appropriation for a disease that was ravishing our poultry industry in North Carolina. I shall never forget your remark.

Mr. Poage said:

This request is unusual to me, because in Texas we raise bigger poultry than you do; we raise more poultry than you do; and our poultry never gets sick.


I am sure that I speak on behalf of Harold Cooley's constituents in the Fourth Congressional District of North Carolina in saying that we are so happy to bring this great man to Washington and we are so proud of the work that he has done, and appreciate the cooperation of your committee. I am sure that has meant a lot to him.

And in presenting this portrait, I am sure that I speak for his constituents in saying that it is presented as a tribute for his great work.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Mr. POAGE. Mr. Wood, I do not know that we can do anything about the comparative size of Texas and North Carolina poultry. I cannot help it that Texas makes everything a little bigger, but I believe that as chairman of this committee, Harold Cooley will minimize the sickness of your chickens. [Laughter.]

I am not going to undertake to even present all of the friends and relatives who are here that we would all like to have presented, because we are going to adjourn in a moment and have an opportunity to personally meet those who are here.

I think before we adjourn that I would like for Mrs. Harold Cooley to just stand up. I see his sister next there. [Applause as they arose.]

And I want Mrs. Sanders to stand up. [Applause.]

I want Horace Cooley, a brother of our chairman, to stand up. [Applause.]

Of course, I do not have to introduce to this group here our committee clerk. I think that most all of us know that probably the one who did most of the work in connection with this occasion, and has been doing a good deal of the work of the committee for a long time, is Mrs. Mabel Downey, the sister of our chairman. [Applause.]

Then I see that Roger is back there. [Applause.] That is Roger Cooley, Harold and Madeline's son.

Where has Mrs. Lawrence gone? While she is coming back in, Ben Lawrence, will you not get up? [Applause.] Ben is the son-in-law and the father of Benjamin Lawrence III, who you met a while ago.

This is Mrs. Ben Lawrence—you met Ben Lawrence III. [Applause.] And Mrs. Strickland, Harold's mother-in-law, is here. [Applause.]

I know that there are a lot of others who are close and dear. They should all be introduced, but if I attempt to go much further I am going to have to cover too much territory. So may I merely thank all of you for the part that you have had in making this a big day for the Agriculture Committee of the House. We all appreciate it.

And speaking for my colleagues on the committee, I want to say to our chairman and to his friends that we consider this a great day and a day that we will long remember and long cherish.

I know that Harold's sisters have prepared a reception for all who are here. It will be in room 1304, which is down at the other end of this hall, the Public Works Committee room. You are all mighty welcome, just as quickly as we can get down there. [Applause.]


Chairman COOLEY. Let me take the gavel for just one moment. My obituary has been read in elegant fashion, but I would not want you to leave this committee room without giving me one brief moment of your time.

First, I want to thank Bob Poage for closing the speeches before he recognized my mother-in-law and my wife. [Laughter.]

I want from the depths of a very grateful heart to say that this occasion was a complete and utter surprise to me. As a positive proof of that fact, I need only call attention to the fact that I have on a white tie, and I would not have worn a white tie if I was going to have my picture taken.

It was a thrill to see all of my friends here.

I shall not attempt to make a speech, but I do want to thank Jerry and C. J. and Jack and Glenn Gilmore and all of the other friends who are responsible for having presented this portraint to this committee.

There is only one former member of this committee who could possibly know just how I feel at this moment, and that is Marvin Jones. I recall when this beautiful likeness of him was presented to us in this committee room, and the Judge, for the first time in his life,

was too filled with emotions to even speak, as he might have spoken.

I want to say to Marvin Jones that I am glad to hear him say publicly that he remembers when I came on this committee. The truth of the business is I sat down there, Lester, where you are sitting, for 4 long years, and I could not get recognition. I did not know that he knew that I was even on the committee. [Laughter.]

I want to say one other thing, that finally I moved on up. And just the other day, Marvin, I said to these young members of the committee that I was going to return to the rule of Marvin Jones, and see to it that none of them were recognized until they had been here at least 4 years. [Laughter.]

But to you, my friends who are here from home, I want to say that I am more than delighted to see you. I want to say that I have heard Kerr Scott make many speeches, and John McCormack make many speeches, and I have heard Clifford Hope make speeches, and my colleagues in the House and the Senate, but I know that better speeches have never been made than were made this morning. [Applause.] They were all excellent speeches.

You know that I am saying that facetiously.

I do want Cliff Hope and my colleagues over here to know just how much I appreciate their friendship. I want to say to you that Cliff and I have been in this room, Marvin, for 20 long years together. Sometimes he is the chairman and sometimes I have been the chairman, but only on one single solitary occasion have we ever had a partisan vote in this committee room—only on one occasion. He and I—Cliff and I—have seen eye to eye through all of the years on just about every major bill that has been presented to us for our consideration. That is the spirit with which this committee has operated through the years.

I want to conclude by again saying that with great humility I do acknowledge all of the kind, flattering things which have been said concerning me. I know that Mrs. Cooley and my little grandson over there and all of us are very grateful to all of you for this grand occasion. [Applause.]

(The ceremonial meeting concluded at 11:40 a. m.)

Proceedings before the Committee on Agriculture, presentation of a portrait of the Honorable Harold D. Cooley
Proceedings before the Committee on Agriculture. Presentation of a portrait of the Honorable Harold D. Cooley, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, United States House of Representatives. Washington : U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1956. 18 p. 24 cm. (84th Cong., 2d sess. House document no. 402)
Original Format
Local Identifier
E748.C82 U5
Location of Original
Joyner NC Stacks
This item has been made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Researchers are responsible for using these materials in accordance with Title 17 of the United States Code and any other applicable statutes. If you are the creator or copyright holder of this item and would like it removed, please contact us at
Preferred Citation
Cite this item
Materials on this site may include offensive content, which does not reflect the opinions, values, or beliefs of ECU Libraries. Public access is provided to these resources to preserve the historical record.
  • This item
  • Proceedings before the Committee on Agriculture, presentation of a portrait of the Honorable Harold D. Cooley Proceedings before the Committee on Agriculture, presentation of a portrait of the Honorable Harold D. Cooley
  • My Collections Login

Contact Digital Collections

If you know something about this item or would like to request additional information, click here.

Comment on This Item

Complete the fields below to post a public comment about the material featured on this page. The email address you submit will not be displayed and would only be used to contact you with additional questions or comments.

Comment Policy