Born:  August 1929
Tyler, Texas

Died: February 16, 2012

Summary by
John Vanderstar

Interviews Conducted by
John Vanderstar, Esq.

Harry C. McPherson, Esq.

Oral History Text & Documentation

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Oral History Summary


Area of Practice Legislative and Federal Affairs
Since joining the firm in 1969, Harry McPherson has represented and counseled businesses, non-profit organizations, foreign governments, and individuals on a wide range of matters before the Executive Branch, the Congress, regulatory agencies, and other public bodies.

Significant Accomplishments
Managed and achieved passage of legislation that will, for the first time, privatize a major government sponsored enterprise.
Represented the interests of more than 2500 Czech-Americans in obtaining compensation for the seizure of their assets by the Communist government of Czechoslovakia. The final settlement was for over eighty cents on the dollar.
Represented oil and gas wildcatters and developers from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, in tax legislative battles.
Obtained government approval for the merger of two international airlines.
Represented one of the major, television networks in the successful struggle to repeal the “financial interest and syndication” rule — the so-called “fin-syn” rule.
Helped one of the nation’s largest foundations work out a plan for the orderly distribution of its assets and earnings, avoiding major IRS penalties.
Represents the principal mutual fund association.
Counsels the Government of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C. with other firm attorneys and consultants.

University of Texas Law School, LL.B., 1956
University of the South, Sewanee, B.A., 1949

Other Professional Experience
Mr. McPherson served as Counsel, then Special Counsel, to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965 to 1969. Previously he had served as Assistant Secretary of
State for Educational and Cultural Affairs; and Deputy Under Secretary of the Amy for International Affairs. He was Counsel to the U.S. Senate Democratic Party Committee, the key legislative policy organ on the Senate side for the Democratic Party.

Board Memberships and Affiliations
Served as general counsel to the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in 1976 to 1991, having previously been Vice Chairman of the Center
Served as president of the Federal City Council, a civic organization of business, professional, and cultural leaders in Washington, D.C. from 1983 through 1988
Currently President of the Economic Club of Washington
Appointed by President Reagan, to serve as vice chairman of the United States Cultural and Trade Center Commission, which planned a 600,000 sq.ft. facility in the Federal Triangle
Appointed by Presidents Bush and Clinton, as a member of the 1993 U.S. Base Closure and Realignment Commission
Served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center, Smithsonian Institution from 1969 to 1974
Member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1974 to 1977
Chairman of the Democratic Advisory Council of Elected Officials Task Force on Democratic Policy from 1974 to 1976
Commissioner of The President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island in 1979
Served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Foreign Affairs and the Publications Committee of  The Public Interest

Author of “A Political Education”, first published by Atlantic-Little Brown in 1972, republished by Houghton Mifflin in 1988, and published again in 1995 by the University of Texas Press. He has written many articles on foreign policy and political issues for the New York Times, Washington Post, and other journals.