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Letter to Senator Johnson on the Nomination of Leland Olds to the Federal Power Commission.

October 04, 1949

[Released October 4, 1949. Dated October 3, 1949]

Dear Senator Johnson:

Your Committee is considering the nomination of Leland Olds to be a member of the Federal Power Commission. Because of the nature of the opposition that has been expressed to his confirmation, I would like to take this means of emphasizing the great importance which attaches to this nomination as a matter of the public interest.

The decision on this nomination will have an important influence on the future effectiveness of the public regulation of the great interstate public utilities in this country.

Mr. Olds is a nationally recognized champion of effective utility regulation; his record shows that he is also a champion of fair regulation. He has already served two full terms as a member of the Federal Power Commission. In this capacity he has served ably and loyally in regulating the basic power and gas industries. The quality of his service is attested by the witnesses who have appeared in his behalf before your Committee. These witnesses represent millions of people throughout the Nation including labor, agriculture, municipal officials, state regulatory bodies, educators, and experts in the utility field.

However, Mr. Olds has also made enemies during his service on the Federal Power Commission. The powerful corporations subject to regulation by the Commission have not been pleased with Mr. Olds. They now seek to prevent his confirmation for another term. It would be most unfortunate if they should succeed. We cannot allow great corporations to dominate the commissions which have been created to regulate them.

I am aware of the efforts that have been made to discredit Mr. Olds before your Committee. Nothing has been presented in testimony there which raises any doubt in my mind as to his integrity, loyalty or ability. Much that has been said about him is largely beside the point. The issue before us is not whether we agree with everything Mr. Olds may have ever said or even whether we agree with all of his actions as a member of the Federal Power Commission. The issue is whether his whole record is such as to lead us to believe that he will serve the Nation well as a member of the Federal Power Commission. I believe that he has provided us with the answer to that question beyond any reasonable doubt during his two terms on the Commission where he has labored diligently in the service of all the people and has earnestly sought to protect the public against the narrow interests of special groups.

I feel sure that you will agree with me that the nomination of Leland Olds should be confirmed. I hope that you will call this letter to the attention of your Committee and, in view of the great importance of this matter, I am sending a copy of this letter to the Vice President with the request that he bring it to the attention of the Senate.

Very sincerely yours,


[The Honorable Edwin C. Johnson, Chairman, Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, United States Senate]

Note: The renomination of Leland Olds as a member of the Federal Power Commission was rejected by the Senate on October 12, 1949 (Congressional Record, vol. 95, p. 14357).

Harry S Truman, Letter to Senator Johnson on the Nomination of Leland Olds to the Federal Power Commission. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230128

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