ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
Interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr.
November 14, 1995
Mr. Willens: This interview of Herbert J. Miller, Jr. is being conducted as part of
the Oral History Project of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit,
Washington, D.C. The date is November 14, 1995. My name is Howard P. Willens. I’ve known
Jack Miller for more than 35 years. We worked closely together during the period from early
1960 until December 1966. We have remained professional colleagues and personal friends
since that time. I have given Mr. Miller for his review the Interviewee Oral History Agreement
and the accompanying set of instructions and explanations. He has agreed to review them and
make his judgment at the appropriate time as to what restrictions, if any, to impose upon use of
this transcript. Jack, after that formal statement for the record, could we begin by you stating
your full name and your date of birth.
Mr. Miller: My full name is Herbert John Miller, Jr. — nickname Jack because
of the fact that I was a Jr. I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota January 11, 1924.
Mr. Willens: How did it happen that your parents lived in Minnesota?
Mr. Miller: If you want to go back fairly close to the beginning, my mother’s
grandparents immigrated from Sweden. Her maiden name was Johnson. They settled in
Columbia Heights, which is a small suburb of Minneapolis. That is where my mother grew up.
My father grew up in Heron Lake, Minnesota His grandparents had immigrated from Germany.
Part of the family lore is how grandfather spent the first year in a sod shanty on the plains of
southern Minnesota outside of Heron Lake.
Mr. Willens: So both sides of the family had been in Minnesota for at least two
Mr. Miller: Well, two generations if you include my mother, yes.
Mr. Willens: Did you have brothers and sisters?
Mr. Miller: I am an only child. In fact, I am married to an only child.
Mr. Willens: Do you have any judgments that you want to state for the record as
to being an only child?
Mr. Miller: We have effectively deprived our children of uncles and aunts. But
aside from that, it’s a lot easier being brought up by yourself, I think, than having to do battles
with brothers and sisters, based on my long observation of family life in other families that I’ve
Mr. Willens: What did your father do for a living?
Mr. Miller: My father graduated from the University of Minnesota and went to
law school. When the First World War came, he went overseas with the Hospital Unit out of
Rochester. It’s very famous, but I can’t think of the name of it right now. It’s the most famous
medical group in the Midwest. And they sent a unit overseas as a part of the U.S. Armed Forces.
He stayed overseas a year after he got out of the military, went to the Sorbonne in Paris. He
eventually came back, got into a fight with a professor about whether or not a course he had
taken was two or four hours credit, and so he never graduated from law school. That’s probably
why he was quite anxious that I graduate from law school. He then became secretary of the Real
Estate Board and then became president of the Civic and Commerce Association of Minneapolis,
known in other jurisdictions as the Chamber of Commerce. He served as president for many
years and then went with Harold Stassen as secretary of a governmental unit designed to bring
industry and jobs to the State of Minnesota
Mr. Willens: When would that have been?
Mr. Miller: That was in the ’40-’41 era, ’42. During the War, he came down to
Washington, D.C. to work with, as he would call it, old Senator Byrd of Virginia His job was to
do research and to design legislation to determine the fate of several government agencies. As a
result of his work, and of course the vote in the Senate and the House, several of these agencies,
which had been developed in the Roosevelt era, were voted out of existence. He then became
chairman of the Tax Foundation, which was a non-profit organization headquartered in New
York, with a main office in Washington, D.C., which tracked government expenditures,
government taxing policies, and generally tried to bring to the fore the various issues of tax
policy and governmental expenditures which they felt should be publicized.
Mr. Willens: When was your father born?
Mr. Miller: My father was born in 1891, or was it 1893, in Heron Lake,
Mr. Willens: He lived, as I remember, for many years.
Mr. Miller: And he went to grade school, high school, and then went with his
older brother, Uncle Arthur, commonly known as ”Mis” for misery, to the University of
Minnesota He left the University of Minnesota to go overseas in the Army. I wonder if I have
the date right. I think it was ’91; I’ll have to look that up.
Mr. Willens: -He lived into bis ’90s, as I recall.
Mr. Miller: Yes, he was 94 when he died. What I can’t recall now is how many
years ago that was. It must be about 5 or 6 years ago. His older brother, Uncle Arthur, my
number 2 son, and I went back to bis funeral in Duluth — died at 103.
Mr. Willens: So you have very good genes.
Mr. Miller: Well, the blue jeans fit on occasion.
Mr. Willens: Did your father speak often about bis interest in becoming a lawyer
at an earlier stage in his life?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Absolutely. I had no concept during high school of what I
wanted to do in life, and I went into the University of Minnesota, went into pre-law because I
didn’t know what else to do. I have an idea that my father was not upset with that decision. He
may have even encouraged it.
Mr. Willens: Did your mother work outside of the house?
Mr. Miller: No.
Mr. Willens: Had she been educated through the college level?
Mr. Miller: My mother went through high school and had 2 years of college,
and then went to work as a secretary, and then married my father.
Mr. Willens: What do you remember about your childhood in terms of your
relationships with your mother and your father?
Mr. Miller: Maybe because as an only child, I recall that they were very close,
very lovable. My father was very hard working, occasionally spent a lot of time on the road,
traveling around the State of Minnesota and elsewhere. My mother was very much in evidence,
running the house and being a-housewife and a mother.
Mr. Willens: As I understand it then, your father at some point in the early 1940s
changed his place of residence from Minnesota to Washington, D.C.?
Mr. Miller: Well, he came to Washington, D.C., I think it must have been
1943, and he commuted back and forth, and then I went in the Army in March or April, I think of
’43. I remember riding the streetcar up to Hopkins, Minnesota, and going to the Draft Board and
saying, “Here I am; I want to go.” I was 1 year and two-thirds into my 2-year pre-law at the
University of Minnesota. He had already come to Washington, I think, the prior year. So after I
went in the Army, I went out to Fort Snelling, which is the local Army post, I think it goes back
many, many years, and from there went down to Camp Barclay, Texas. My eyesight was quite
poor, so I was limited service. So I went down to Camp Barclay to go into basic training.
Having finished basic training, I was selected for some reason unknown to me to go to Officers
Candidate School. I went to Officers Candidate School and graduated as a Second Lieutenant in
December of 1943. I had a 10-day delay in route, crune back to Washington, saw my parents
who were now living on Porter Street, as a matter of fact, in an apartment.
Mr. Willens: Porter Street where?
Mr. Miller: Porter Street, right up by the Uptown Theater.
Mr. Willens: Off Connecticut in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Miller: Yes. I had a 10-day delay in route. Of course, in those days, you
got on the train, and you stood from Camp Barclay, Texas, to where you were going. And I
hadn’t seen them for a while, obviously. My girlfriend came from Minneapolis to meet with me,
and we had a few days, and then I got on the train and stood pretty much all the way back to
Mr. Willens: Going back to your pre-college years, were you educated in the
public schools in Minneapolis?
Mr. Miller: Yes. West High School in Minnesota It was Lake Harriet Grade
Mr. Willens: Did you have any particular interests or activities during those
years before you went to college?
Mr. Miller: Well, I was voted the best dancer of West High School my senior
Mr. Willens: What was your specialty?
Mr. Miller: Dancing, obviously.
Mr. Willens: What kind of dancing?
Mr. Miller: What they used to call the swing dance. A little prior to the Glenn
Mr. Willens: That’s coming on strong these days.
Mr. Miller: Yes. I saw that. I felt that maybe I was back in style again after all
these years. I used to play a lot of hockey as a kid. I don’t know what I did. I had a paper route,
The Minneapolis Tribune. I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning, go toddling off into the
Minnesota winter. The best part of the route was, there were some apartment houses where you
could stay warm, but even better, there was a bakery, a small bakery, and I’d stop in and buy
these fresh hot pies, eat half as I dispensed The Tribune.
Mr. Willens: What prompted you to take that job?
Mr. Miller: – I have no idea. It could have been money. It could have been a
feeling I had to do something worthwhile for a change.
Mr. Willens: Did you get to keep the money, or did you have to contribute it to
spent it, either.
Mr. Miller: Oh, no, no, no. Whatever I got was mine. I can’t remember how I
Mr. Willens: Have you kept up with many of the people you went to high school
Mr. Miller: My closest friends are the people that I met actually — Bert
McGlynn I met — we had a bicycle crash when we were about 8 years old, and not over 3 days
ago, I called him He had a heart attack. He’s down in Florida temporarily. We had a long talk
about that problem He’s in great shape. But there’s several of the boys in that group that we ran
around with in grade school and all through high school and college. Aside from Bruce
Anderson, they were all Irish Catholic, and they went to parochial schools. They went to De
Lasalle High School, while I went to West High School and the University of Minnesota But I
can go back — Carey gets a kick out of this, as do the other wives. I can go back, and that group
will be there, and it will be just as though I had never left. It’s just one of the great and
remarkable relationships. I was taking a deposition about a year ago in a case down in the west
coast of Florida So I did that, and I rented a car and drove 150 miles south, called up McGlynn,
said, “You’ve got me for dinner.” He was staying on a small island off the coast of Florida above
Mr. Willens: Sanibel or Captiva?
Mr. Miller: -Captiva Island, yes. As a matter of fact, he and I — his father had a
small bakery — McGlynn’s Bakery.
Mr. Willens: How do you spell McGlynn?
Mr. Miller: M-c-G-1-y-n-n. McGlynn’s Prize Bread. His father had entered
some of the bakery bread in a church contest and had won third prize, so thereafter it was
McGlynn’s Prize Bread. And I can remember Bert and I used to fill in in the summertime when
the drivers — I think Mr. McGlynn had two drivers. They were paid $37.50 a week. And as they
went on vacation, Bert and I would get down to the bakery at 5:00 in the morning, watch
Mr. McGlynn with the slicing machine slice up the bread and the wrapper and all of the other
pastries that he put together. And then we’d load it in the truck and go toddling off on the route.
And we got 50 percent of $37 .50 each for our weekly labors.
Mr. Willens: It sounds as though this belongs in the Lake Wobegon series of
Mr. Miller: And every weekend we would pretty much socialize together.
Mr. Willens: But you say that among your friends, many were Catholics and
went to parochial schools, whereas you were not and did not go to parochial school.
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Were these friends then basically from the neighboring houses?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I guess Bert lived originally a block from me, and then we
moved three or four blocks away. But it was essentially a neighborhood group.
Mr. Willens: Did most of the students at your high school go on to university?
Mr. Miller: You know, I don’t remember. I think the answer probably is yes, a
large percentage of them would probably have gone on to the university. West High School
exists no longer, by the way, I found out to my chagrin.
Mr. Willens: So there will be no reunion.
Mr. Miller: Well, I went to the 50th reunion, and received a notice they’re
thinking of one next year, which I intend to go to. Now when I go to the reunions, I see a few of
my old West High School pals, but the table that we sit at is all of the pals I grew up and played
around with that were in the parochial school — McGlynn and Carr and McClellan and Anderson
Mr. Willens: You went to college then at about the time that the United States
entered the war. Is that correct?
Mr. Miller: Let’s see. I graduated from high school in ’41 in the spring, and
then I started college in ’41. So I went in ’41, ’42, and then two semesters in ’43, and then I went
in the Anny in March of ’43. Yes.
Mr. Willens: What was the draft situation at that point?
Mr. Miller: I was signed up for the draft, I can’t remember whether I could
have gotten a deferment or not, but I remember deciding that — I hadn’t been called yet — I’d
better go. I can still remember the trolley ride out to Hopkins, Minnesota where the draft board
was, and I walked in and said “I’m ready; what do I do?” And they said, “Well, we’re glad to
have you.” And they were. So off I went.
Mr. Willens: What did your parents think of that decision?
Mr. Miller: I think my father was — they worried about it. I think he was kind
of glad I did, but, you know, hard to tell.
Mr. Willens: -But what prompted you to make that decision in 1943?
Mr. Miller: The war was going on. I felt that I should participate.
Mr. Willens: Had your friends been drafted by that time?
Mr. Miller: Some of them had gone in. McGlynn was off. McClellan went
off. He became a Navy fighter pilot, as a matter of fact. The others — I can’t remember where
they fit in the spectrum, but they were all either going to go or had shortly gone. I think most of
them left after I did. McClellan went first; I remember that.
Mr. Willens: Were there any reservations in your community of friends to the
United States entering the war?
Mr. Miller: No. No. I remember — oh, that’s right. I used to play trumpet in
bands around town. But I can still remember December 7. I was up in Columbia Heights with a
group of other musicians, and we were getting ready to play for a high school dance. I remember
that the door burst open and somebody ran in and said that the Japanese had bombed Pearl
Harbor, and I wasn’t sure if I knew where Pearl Harbor was. I had heard of it. So that took care
of that rehearsal. We turned on the radio. No, I recall no opposition to the United States entering
the war whatsoever. In fact, I think there was a strong feeling that we should enter the war and
stop all the nonsense.
Mr. Willens: After you went to officer candidate training school and became a
Second Lieutenant and then came back to be with your parents for a short interval, what were
your military assignments from that point forward?
Mr. Miller: Well, I went back to Camp Barclay, and I was involved in
teaching. I taught at the officers candidate school, and I taught part of the basic training courses.
That went on for a couple of months, until about, I think, March 10.
Mr. Willens: What kind of teaching did you do? What subject did you teach?
Mr. Miller: Military discipline, first aid practices, the hierarchy of the Anny,
history of the Anny.
Mr. Willens: Were you looking for a more active role in the service, or was this
something that you wanted to do?
Mr. Miller: No, I was just in a replacement depot. I was going to be shipped
out. The only question was when. But anyway, so the 10th of March, as I recall, ’44, I packed up
and got on a train and went off to California and stayed at Bakersfield. I remember I had a
weekend off and I went down to San Francisco for my 2 days. I found an old trumpet which I
paid $12 for, and that traveled with me the rest of my Anny career. Then I went down to
someplace near the Golden Gate and got on a Dutch freighter. We were supposed to go over in a
convoy of Liberty ships, but one or more of the Liberty ships had broken down. The Dutch
freighter was considered fast enough, so they thought it would be safe, they said. So off we went
Mr. Willens: Who? When you say by yourselves, you were part of a unit at that
Mr. Miller: A single ship. And there were a bunch of replacement officers on
it. It wasn’t a big ship. And we pulled into Noumea for a day, didn’t get off the ship.
Mr. Willens: Noumea is where?
Mr. Miller: New Caledonia And then landed in Milne Bay, New Guinea
Mr. Willens: Had you known your destination was New Guinea?
Mr. Miller: -You know, I don’t remember. My guess is I probably did.
Mr. Willens: What was the status of the war in the Pacific at the time that you
arrived in New Guinea in or about March of 1944?
Mr. Miller: Well, let’s see. We must have landed there at the end of March,
beginning of April, ’43. What was the status? Well, I’ll tell you what the status was in New
Guinea. They’d had a big battle with tremendous U.S. losses at Lae, New Guinea In fact, there
was a huge cemetery there, and it was named after the U.S. general in charge of the troops,
Eichelberger, they called it Eichelberger Square. Going up the coastline of New Guinea, what
was the city, settlement, was it Hollandia, or is that further up? But anyway, as you flew up in a
DC3, you would fly at a fairly low level Oh, Finchhaven.
Mr. Willens: How do you spell Finchhaven?
Mr. Miller: Finchhaven. Auf Deutsch
Mr. Willens: F-i-n?
Mr. Miller: Yes. F-i-n-c-h haven, h-a-b-e-n or h-a-v-e-n. But the Japanese had
a large number of troops in Finchhaven. This was part of the MacArthur strategy, you know,
take one part and then skip and go further on up. Yes, that right. Finchhaven. And we would
come close to Finchhaven, we would go quite high up because the enemy aircraft guns were
there. And the next stop would be Hollandia, where MacArthur had his headquarters for a time
before he went on to the Philippines. After the replacement depot in Milne Bay, I went to Lae,
where I became an adjutant of a 250-bed station hospital. Subsequently, I went up to Biak,
which was a small island in the center of Geelvink Bay. It was all coral and was in effect one
great big airstrip. You could take a grader out and grade the land. It was all coral. And you’d
have yourself a perfect airstrip. I can remember watching the B24s and the P38s. The B24s
would load up with bombs, and they’d start at the very end of this long runway, and they would
go along, along, along, and they’d take off, and then they would drop out of sight. They went off
a cliff, in other words, and they were so heavily loaded they’d drop off of sight. And then way off
in the distance, you’d see them pull up. They were conducting bombing raids.
Mr. Willens: That was still while you were in New Guinea. These locations
you’ve mentioned were all in New Guinea?
Mr. Miller: In New Guinea, and they’re conducting bombing raids on the
Philippines from Biak. Well, I forgot about that. Before I went up to Biak, I was over on
Mr. Willens: Goodenough Island.
Mr. Miller: Aside from the scrub typhus and you never knew what was in the
weeds, it had a beautiful sand beach with palm trees. I was assigned to a general hospital there
for a period of time.
Mr. Willens: Why was it that your assignments were at hospitals?
Mr. Miller: Because when I graduated, I was Second Lieutenant — Medical
Administrative. Because of my limited eyesight, they put me in with the medics.
Mr. Willens: While you were engaged in these operations, were the Japanese
trying to interfere?
Mr. Miller: Well, Milne Bay and Lae were cleaned by then. Goodenough
Island, there may have been a few of them in the jungle, but they were no problem Up in Biak, I
can remember taking an ambulance — I was with the Aviation Engineering Battalion at that stage
of the game, not a hospital. A friend of mine was Red Cross, and they had an extra refrigerator
which was worth its weight in gold. I mean, that was the status symbol, the Cadillac of the age.
To make a long story short, I set out late at night in my ambulance, and I got the refrigerator in
the ambulance, and I’m driving home. The Japanese had one or two aircraft, and because the
sound of the engine, they were nicknamed ”Washing Machine Charlies,” and they would come
over and drop a few bombs on Biak and be on their way. And I can remember driving down the
road and the air raid sirens went off. I stopped, and I could hear this plane, and I said, to hell
with it, and just kept right on going. I had too valuable a cargo with the refrigerator.
Mr. Willens: If the pilot had only known.
Mr. Miller: And then from Biak, I went back to Lae. I went from Milne Bay,
Goodenough Island, to Biak, and went back to Lae, where I joined a 250-bed station hospital. I
was put in charge of putting the whole thing in crates and boxes and what have you.
Mr. Willens: Putting what whole thing?
Mr. Miller: The whole hospital unit. Because we were going from there to the
Philippines. I was in charge of the move, and I remember they had a tremendous supply of beer,
U.S. beer, canned.
Mr. Willens: The hospital there.
Mr. Miller: Yes. Well, it was there, some depot someplace. To make a long
story short, I crated up I don’t know how many cases of beer and put it along with hospital
equipment. We landed and got off at Manila and went down about 40 miles south through
Batangas, where we staged in a new Bilibid prison. There’s an old Bilibid prison, and there’s a
new Bihbid prison.
Mr. Willens: -What’s the word you’re using?
Mr. Miller: Bihbid. B-i-1-i-b-i-d. And it was a prison. But we took it over,
and that was our staging area while we waited for our next assignment. I can remember when I
was in charge of the unloading, and these 2-1/2 ton trucks would drive up, and I was out there
with 50 Japanese prisoners by myself with a 45-cahber pistol, and started at 1 :00 in the morning,
and I kept thinking, 50 Japanese, and I’ve got how many shots here? This doesn’t seem fair to
me. But anyway, we got it all unloaded, including the beer. I was the most popular man in the
outfit, obviously, because I knew where the beer was.
Mr. Willens: When did that transfer from New Guinea to the Philippines take
Mr. Miller: Let’s see, I woke up on September 6, 1995 —
Mr. Willens: 19 —
Mr. Miller: And realized that 50 years before, on September 6, it would be
September 6, 1945, I stepped off a landing ship tank onto the shores of Yokohama Harbor. I
realized that in 1995 it was 50 years since I landed on the shores of Japan. I began to realize I
might be a little old, because my mother did not carry me off the ship in her arms. That was four
days after MacArthur had signed the peace treaty on September 2. So if that was September, we
went from Batangas to a port, southern port, I forget the name, in the Philippines, loaded up, and
there was a flotilla of 54 LSTs. And we hit one of the biggest typhoons that had ever been
encountered when we were going past Okinawa I still remember those damned ships would go
down, you could see 360 degrees of water, nothing else, and they’d come up and they’d be
bobbing. I remember one poor guy had appendicitis, and he had to be transferred from one LST
to another at the height of the storm I thought the guy would be crushed between the two ships,
but fortunately we got him on board, he was operated on and he was fine. There was another
time when a heavy piece of equipment down in the hold broke loose and was rolling around. We
thought it was going to go out through the side of the ship. Some guy grabbed a chain, and we
finally got it fixed. So the quarters were not very plush, to say the least.
Mr. Willens: How long had you served in the Philippines then?
Mr. Miller: Well, I’mjust trying to remember. I remember I was in the
Philippines listening to the radio, and I remember hearing about the death of Roosevelt. A more
vivid recollection: I was lying, listening to the short wave radio, and they announced the atomic
bomb had been dropped. And I thought it was propaganda. I thought it was absolute nonsense. I
paid no attention to it.
Mr. Willens: Was that a view that was shared?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Whoever heard of a bomb that big? That’s ridiculous. But
we all figured that one way or another, we didn’t go to the Philippines for a joyride, that we were
going to end up one way or another going into Japan or Okinawa
Mr. Willens: Was it your expectation at the time you moved to the Philippines
with your unit that there would need to be an invasion?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes.
Mr. Willens: Of Japan and that you were going to be part of it?
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes. No question about it. That was the whole focus.
Mr. Willens: How did the superiors in the unit deal with this? I mean, was there
any discussion of what the strategy was and when this would happen?
Mr. Miller: -No. I can’t remember any discussion about it at all. We went
through a routine over there, getting ready. How do you handle bodies coming in, and all that
kind of stuff?
Mr. Willens: Do you have any recollection now of the projections of injuries that
were being discussed at the time?
Mr. Miller: I have no recollection of that at all.
Mr. Willens: Were the Philippines secure when you arrived there?
Mr. Miller: Yes. On Biak, it was fairly secure, but I participated and almost
shot one of my own men, as a matter of fact. I went around the comer, and here was this
Japanese soldier, coming out of the jungle. So I held a gun on him And somebody started
running out of the woods, and I thought that might be another one, and fortunately I did not fire
because it was another soldier. So he came up and we held this guy and called the MP.
Afterwards, the MP came back and said, “You know, you ought to be more careful” I said,
“Why is that?” He said, “He had a hand grenade hanging between his legs. He could have blown
all of you up.” So — the luck of the Irish And then I remember I went out one night and got a
bulldozer. I’d never run one before. Scraped off the coral, so we could move the hospital from
one part of Biak to another.
Mr. Willens: This is New Guinea now?
Mr. Miller: The Aviation Engineering Battalion. And I found a dump truck.
They had a big quarry where they ran all night long with lights, and anybody with a dump truck
would just get in line and load up with coral, then I’d come back and dump it and then I’d spread
it out and kind of level the area I remember the next day I was out there and we were noticing
some people who were further down, had actually put up some building, and they started sniping
fire from the mountain. So the Japanese were lurking around in there, but they were not
organized, they were not a fighting force.
Mr. Willens: That was in New Guinea, or that was in the Philippines?
Mr. Miller: No, this was on Biak.
Mr. Willens: Biak in —
Mr. Miller: In New Guinea.
Mr. Willens: In New Guinea And in the Philippines, did you have similar
encounters with the Japanese?
Mr. Miller: No. Well, of course, the Philippine people were certainly glad to
see us. But by the time we got there, whatever pockets of Japanese resistance, at least around
where we were, were long gone.
Mr. Willens: When did you come to realize that the war was coming to an end
and that you would go into Japan as part of an occupying force?
Mr. Miller: Well, when they dropped the second bomb, and then I became
something of a believer. And let’s see — the peace treaty was signed September 2 on the
Missouri, and I think the cease fire was sometime in August, was it not, in ’45? And it was about
that time that we started packing up. I can’t remember how long we were on the LST. If we got
there September 6, we probably must have been moving 10, 15 days, so it was sometime after the
cease fire and before the peace treaty was signed.
Mr. Willens: Did you have a fixed tour of duty, or was there some prospect that
you could go home at the conclusion of the war?
Mr. Miller: -Well, when we got to Japan, we staged on a plateau outside of
Yokohama. And I remember another typhoon hit, just blew everything to pieces, and I found an
ambulance rocking in the breeze at 2:00 in the morning, and I climbed in that. I had a wonderful
sleep. But it was a total mess the next morning. And Japan itself — you talk about devastation. I
got a jeep and drove from Yokohama to Tokyo, which as I recall was about 40 miles. As you
drove along, as far as you could see on either side you’d see nothing but rubble and an occasional
chimney. Just total devastation. There was one large building that survived, how or why I have
no idea. I remember driving past, and there was this long line of Gls waiting to get in, and I
couldn’t figure out what it was. It turns out it was a house of ill fame. The luck of the draw, I
guess. But you got over to Tokyo, and MacArthur’s headquarters was in the Daichi Building, but
you had the Emperor’s Palace and grounds, which was a fairly substantial piece of real estate.
And, of course, right around there, there was no bomb damage because the orders had been given
not to bomb the Emperor’s Palace. Apparently they wanted to make sure that the Emperor
survived to be helpful, I assumed, during the occupation. A famous hotel, what was the name of
it, was fairly close to the Emperor’s Palace. Who was the famous architect?
Mr. Willens: Japanese architect?
Mr. Miller: No, no, back in the United States. If I could think of his name.
The architect — he designed several famous houses in Minnesota, I know, and through the
Mr. Willens: Frank Lloyd Wright.
Mr. Miller: Yes. Frank Lloyd Wright. But he had designed the Imperial Hotel,
which was as I recall not far from one of the borders of the Emperor’s Palace, and I remember
having lunch there later on.
Mr. Willens: What were your duties in Japan as part of the occupying force?
Mr. Miller: Once we got rolling, we went up to Iramagawa, which was the
former Air Force Training Academy. There were actually wooden buildings there, and we set up
a 250-bed station hospital there. I was at that stage the adjutant of the hospital and in charge of
running the hospital — all the various duties, making sure that the patients were brought in, were
treated, and handled all the paperwork, head of staff.
Mr. Willens: You treated all the U.S. military personnel?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Handling all the military personnel that had problems. Then
because we were adjacent to a major airfield, we were transferred from the Army to the 5th Air
Force, and officially assigned and in fact became a part of the 5th Air Force. The 5th Air Force
was flying out of that airstrip.
Mr. Willens: Were you a First Lieutenant or Captain at that point?
Mr. Miller: Let’s see, I was a First Lieutenant by then.
Mr. Willens: Did you have dealings with the Japanese people in the course of
your duties in Japan?
Mr. Miller: A fair amount, as a matter of fact.
Mr. Willens: How did that come about?
Mr. Miller: Some of it was social. Sometimes in my duties as an adjutant, I’d
come into contact with Japanese businessmen. We’d buy supplies of various types if we couldn’t
get them through the Army.
Mr. Willens: What are your recollections now of those encounters?
Mr. Miller: . Hm?
Mr. Willens: What are your recollections of the Japanese that you met at that
period of your life in terms of the War and their reactions to the peace treaty?
Mr. Miller: The Japanese people, it was very strange, because I had, and I
suppose because of propaganda, Pearl Harbor and the like —
Mr. Willens: I was asking about your dealings with the Japanese and your
recollections today of them and their attitudes toward the peace treaty.
Mr. Miller: I had developed a real hatred for the Japanese, and yet when I
arrived in Japan and after I had dealt with them and gotten to know individual Japanese, I became
very impressed. They have a tremendous work ethic. They were very, very hard workers. The
ones I dealt with were absolutely trustworthy, contrary to what I’d been taught in the Army. I left
with a very high opinion of the Japanese people. I was over there — let’s see, I got there in
September, and I think I left for the States the following August, so I’d spent a fair amount of
time and I’d met quite a few of them, and I was very, very impressed.
Mr. Willens: Did you enjoy the kind of organizational and management work
that you did while you were in the service?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know whether I did or not. The job was to be done, and I
just can’t remember whether I did or not.
Mr. Willens: Well, let me put it another way. Did you come away from the
military service thinking that you had some management skills that might help you develop a
career in civilian life?
Mr. Miller: I’ll tell you what I did come out of the military with. I came out of
the military with a confidence.(perhaps misplaced) that I was equipped to handle most anything
that I decided to go into. Because even though it was the military, there was a substantial amount
of discretion, particularly when I was the adjutant of this hospital, and in terms of running things
and making it go and being responsible to the commanding officer for seeing that there was
enough supplies and enough food, and we had sufficient personnel and the right personnel, the
right equipment and that the buildings were secure and all of that. I did develop one additional
thing I must tell you about. Christmas was approaching in 1945, and back in Minnesota my
mother and father always used to have ”Tom and Jerrys” at Christmas time. Sort of a milk
punch So when I had left Lae, in addition to the beer which now was all gone, I had also had a
crate or two of dried ice cream mix, which you were supposed to use in an ice cream machine.
Of course, we had a whole Liberty ship of dried ice cream mix but no ice cream machine. So I
brought some of those tins along, and they ended up in Japan. And while there, Christmas was
approaching, and the spirit was upon me, and it looked like we might have some snow like
Minnesota days, so I got some of the ice cream mix out, and I got some grain alcohol, pure
alcohol from the hospital supplies, I’m sure illegally, and mixed it up with water and the ice
cream mix, and I developed what was known as Miller’s Mongoose Mill(_ We had a Christmas
party at the hospital with Miller’s Mongoose Mill(, and all I can remember at the conclusion of
the party, I went to walk out the door of the quonset hut and I missed it by three feet. It was a
magnificent party. I don’t know what other reputation I gained, but I was well known because of
Miller’s Mongoose Mill(.
Mr. Willens: There were no fatalities or serious injuries?
Mr. Miller: No fatalities. Many good times, however.
Mr. Willens: How did it happen that you were discharged? Did it just come to
the point where you had completed your tour?
Mr. Miller: No. They had a point system I forget how it worked. It
considered the years, months overseas, and married, age, the whole bit. But my time to go back
came in August 1945, and I ended up on a large troop ship —
Mr. Willens: August 1946?
Mr. Miller: August 1946, yes. And I was assigned the rather crummy duty of
sanitation officer of the ship going home. And I met an Air Force pilot that was being, shall we
say, repatriated, and we were chatting, and over the loudspeakers came a voice that said, “Radar
officers needed on the bridge.” So I turned to this new-found pal, and I said, “You’re a fly boy.
Ever seen a radar unit?” And he said, “Yes, I’ve seen one.” And I said, “Well, let’s go apply.” So
we went up to the bridge, talked to the captain, and he said, “Well, the radar set is right over
there.” And I said, “Is there a book?” And he said, “Oh, yes.” So between the two of us, we
figured out what it was, so he and I became the radar officers for the trip home, which was a lot
better. The only problem is when we spotted some blips on the radar, and my pal wasn’t there, I
didn’t know what the hell they were. They turned out to be friendly ships, I might add, the war
having been over for some time. But I can still remember watching that radar screen as we were
coming into Seattle, so we must have come into Puget Sound. And it was outlying, and the
captain said, “Well, now where are we with respect to land?” and I said, “Buddy, you’d better
start looking out the window.” So then we landed in Seattle, and I got on a troop train and rode
from Seattle to Washington, D.C., actually to the Army base outside on the road to Baltimore,
where I was discharged. And I got a cab, and I went to where my mother and father were living.
They had lost track of me in the course of my long travels. So about 5 o’clock I walked in and
said, “What’s for dinner?”
Mr. Willens: They were surprised?
Mr. Miller: They were. It was a nice reunion. They were very happy to see
me, obviously, and I them But on the troop train coming across the plains I bought a magazine
which said that the schools were really jammed up, loaded with returning veterans. And they
gave a list of some of the schools that still had vacancies, and one that I’d never heard of was
George Washington University. So I tore the page out, and the next day I looked in the phone
book, and my dad drove me down and I applied to George Washington University.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any reservations about not going back to Minnesota?
Mr. Miller: Oh, I was going back to Minneapolis. I thought I would stay with
my folks, go a semester or two, and then I was going to go back to the University of Minnesota
and finish up and go to law school. Again, because I didn’t know what else to do. Trying to
avoid honest work, probably. So I started at George Washington and, as many people coming to
Washington do, I eventually graduated. I had a combined course. I finished. I got an
undergraduate degree in 1948, I guess, and a law degree in 1949. Everybody wanted to know
how I was so smart I could go through law school in one year. And I said, “Very simple; all you
need to do is go full time and have the university treat your freshman year in law school as your
senior year in college.”
Mr. Willens: And that program was available then for returning veterans?
Mr. Miller: Yes. And that’s how I have the BA in one year and the LLB in the
Mr. Willens: Having recalled some of your military experiences today for
perhaps the first time in a long time, what influence do you think your military service had on
your subsequent career or your general attitudes toward life?
Mr. Miller: I think it gave me an opportunity to prove to myself that I could
fulfill jobs assigned to me, a varying number of jobs, I might add. And it gave me a sense of
confidence that I had sufficient experience and had dealt with people above me, below me, that I
–1 wouldn’t say that I was all confident — but I thought that I could handle any situation that
Mr. Willens: Having seen the devastation in Japan, did you come away with any
views about the war and the use of military weapons such as the use of the atomic bomb under
Mr. Miller: Well, I have watched with some dismay this controversy that has
developed trying to second guess the use of the atomic bomb and the efforts by the Smithsonian
to put out what I considered ahnost an anti-U.S. propaganda piece, which fortunately didn’t work.
But I can tell you as one who was over in the arena, and knew that Japan was my destination, at
least by the time I got to the Philippines if not before, that I have no contrary feeling at all that the
absolutely correct decision was to drop the bomb. I know that it killed all kinds of children,
women, and non-combatants, but looking at it from a personal standpoint, they did start the war,
and my buddies would be subject to being killed in huge numbers if we were forced to invade
Japan. And dropping those bombs, whatever people will ever say, did away with the necessity
for an armed invasion, which would have cost, I mean there would have just been tremendous
losses of U.S. troops. Because when you got to Japan, everywhere you looked around, you could
see pillboxes, and the people were just fanatic soldiers, that’s all there is to it. We had already
lost enough U.S. soldiers, and it would have just been a devastating experience. So I have no
hesitancy whatsoever in saying that dropping the bomb was the correct thing, and if I had to do it
myself, I’d pull the trigger in the same situation. That may run counter to The Washington Post
and some of the other publications that questioned this, but not in my book.
Mr. Willens: While you were in law school at George Washington during the
1946-1949 period, did you anticipate that you would be practicing law in Washington?
Mr. Miller: I always felt I’d go back to Minneapolis. I liked Minneapolis. My
closest friends were in Minneapolis. In fact, after I’d been practicing 2 or 3 years, I went back to
Minnesota and talked to several of my friends who were practicing law to see about the
possibility of relocating to Minnesota, but decided after the conferences that my practice was
more interesting than theirs and I’d better stay where I was.
Mr. Willens: Did you enjoy law school?
Mr. Miller: I guess I probably did. I certainly have no — the only thing that
surprised me about law school was one afternoon we were on the top floor of a class and the roof
collapsed. I remember this poor guy who’d been an infantryman over in Germany, and he just
went all to pieces, he just was a quaking hulk, as though the war had started all over again. He
just lost it totally. But some people were hit by falling plaster, but aside from that, no problem
Mr. Willens: Were there any courses you particularly enjoyed or disliked?
Mr. Miller: You know, it’s been so long I can’t honestly say. I did enjoy
constitutional law. I very much enjoyed that.
Mr. Willens: As I understand it, your academic standing was excellent.
Mr. Miller: • Well, I don’t know if it was excellent. I was Order of the Coif. I
remember that. But where I stood in the class, I can’t remember.
Mr. Willens: How about the law review experience? Did you enjoy the writing?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I was on the law review, and I remember writing an article
that had something to do with taxation. Oh, that’s right, I was thinking that I wanted to become a
tax lawyer. And I picked out some arcane tax issue and wrote an article about it and was quite
proud of it until I read it 2 years later and wondered what I was doing. But the luckiest thing that
ever happened to me is that I did not become a tax lawyer, because I have on occasion of
necessity had to parse through some of the parts of the Internal Revenue Code, and I wouldn’t
wish that on anyone. I think tax lawyers earn their money more than any lawyer.
Mr. Willens: By this point in your career, had you formed any political
allegiances to one political party or another?
Mr. Miller: I always considered myself a Republican. My father was very,
very interested in government and always felt that the Republican Party was the party that had the
proper interests of the government at heart as distinguished from some of the others. And I used
to listen to my Uncle Arthur, who I remember created quite a stir when his bank (he was vice
president, trust officer of a bank in Duluth), and they moved to a new building and the order
came out, you may not put any pictures on the wall. And he promptly went out and got a
hammer and nail and he hammered up his autographed picture of Herbert Hoover. And a great
controversy ensued, but the picture stayed up.
Mr. Willens: I gather then that Uncle Arthur was a Republican also.
Mr. Miller: Uncle Arthur was a very strong Republican.
Mr. Willens: .Did you have any contemporaries or family members who were of
another political persuasion?
Mr. Miller: I’m trying to think. No.
Mr. Willens: This may be a case where silence —
Mr. Miller: No, and I probably wouldn’t admit it if I could remember.
Mr. Willens: When did you begin interviewing for a position with a law firm in
Mr. Miller: Well, I had finished. I had all the credits I needed to graduate by
the end of the spring term, but I had to go through the summer session to fulfill the residency
requirement. I also took the bar that spring or summer, I forget when it was, and passed, so the
latter part of the summer session I was obviously interested in finding employment. One of the
main reasons was that I had become married to my Texas girlfriend, who supported me working
for Colonel Teague, a member of the House of Representatives from Texas.
Mr. Willens: How did you happen to meet Carey?
Mr. Miller: My mother and father had rented Joseph Patrick O’Hara’s house,
37th Street in Washington, D.C. He was the Congressman from the southern part of Minnesota.
Mr. Willens: You said they had rented his house .
Mr. Miller: Yes. They rented it one summer, and it just so happens my mother
and father (I wasn’t around) got to know Dr. & Mrs. Young, whose daughter was Carey
Kinsolving, who I later married. So when I arrived back, knowing everyone was anxious to meet
this strange soldier who had been wandering the highways and the byways, and I met Carey for
the first time, and we hated one another. I was interested in a nurse that I had met over in Japan
and had planned to marry her.- She lived up in Long Island. But that didn’t work out, so the next
thing I knew, Carey and I got engaged, and we got married. And I have a picture of the night I
graduated from law school, sitting in a chair holding a bottle to the mouth of my firstborn, John
Kinsolving Miller. I didn’t make my own graduation.
Mr. Willens: While you were in law school?
Mr. Miller: Yes. That was my graduation night.
Mr. Willens: So you were married then within your first year of returning to
Mr. Miller: Yes. We were married in– don’t tell Carey I can’t remember — we
were married in 1948. Yes. I graduated in 1949. Yes. Married in, no, we were married in 1947.
Mr. Willens: We’ll go off the record, and you can reflect on this.
Mr. Miller: No. We were married in ’48, that’s right.
Mr. Willens: And John was born in 1949.
Mr. Miller: John was born in ’49.
Mr. Willens: What were the procedures then for interviewing with law firms?
Was there any kind of organized program at the law school, or was it left up to you to establish
contact with possible employers?
Mr. Miller: The law school had a placement office, and I can’t recall
specifically, but I’m sure I went there to see what was available. Somebody had expressed a need
for a lawyer from the Kirkland, Flemming, Green, Martin & Ellis, their Washington office. I had
met a guy who was a little bit ahead of me in law school named Charlie Cutler. So I found out he
was with the firm, so I called him up, said, “Mr. Cutler?” And he said, “Who are you kidding,
Miller?” To make a long story short, he was working there. So I went down, and it was a
Washington office of a big Chicago firm, and they did primarily communications work because
the guy running the office was Louie Caldwell, who was the first General Counsel of the old
Federal Radio Commission, which was the predecessor of the Federal Communications
Commission. So I went down and interviewed with some of the people there, and they offered
me a job. We were over in the Press Building. And I think my starting stipend was $250 a
Mr. Willens: You accepted that offer without interviewing at other law firms?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I can’t recall interviewing anyplace else.
Mr. Willens: Did you have any particular interest in the communications field?
Mr. Miller: I just wanted a job.
Mr. Willens: How many years ahead of you was Mr. Cutler?
Mr. Miller: I don’t think he was more than 6 months or so. Maybe a year. I
think we were about the same age, but I think he’d gotten into law school before I had.
Mr. Willens: About how large was the firm at the time you joined it?
Mr. Miller: The firm I don’t think had more than maybe eight lawyers, seven
lawyers. Kelly Griffith did communications work, but common carrier type, and later Hammond
Chaffetz came down —
Mr. Willens: Came to the Washington office from Chicago?
Mr. Miller: Came to the Washington office from Chicago and would spend a
fair amount of time there. But Jack Flo berg was there for some time after he’d served as an
Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He was out of the Kirkland firm in Chicago. I think he also
served on the Atomic Energy Commission. But when I started, one of the reasons they needed
some help, as I recall, was that Eleanor Patterson had owned the old Times Herald. It wasn’t a
corporation at all, she just owned the newspaper outright. And Charlie was working on that. So
I went to work on various issues, because we were representing the estate which was running the
newspaper. She had left the newspaper to the so-called seven dwarfs, Frank Waldrup, oh, God,
I’ve forgotten the names, but seven of the executives of the newspaper. When she died, she left
the newspaper to them And they were running the newspaper, and I forget who the executor
was. But in the process, we started to do a lot of work on the estate and a lot of work on the
newspaper. I got involved in libel work and other newspaper issues. My participation on the
communications side of the firm was fairly limited. I remember getting into arguments with
Russ Eagan on how an FCC case should be handled in the Court of Appeals and things of that
nature. But generally I did non-FCC work.
Mr. Willens: What is your recollection now about the State of Washington law
practice at the time you came out of law school and joined Kirkland & Ellis?
Mr. Miller: When I started to practice, obviously the legal community was
substantially smaller. The big law firms were small by today’s standard.
Mr. Willens: Which were the so-called big law firms?
Mr. Miller: Covington Burling certainly was one of the bigger firms, and, gosh,
I can’t remember. I’ll have to go back and look at Martindale & Hubbell from those days. There
were a lot of smaller law firms, around two, three, four people, sometimes solo practitioners.
The District Court was much smaller, and I don’t want to say more accessible, but the practice
seemed to be much less formal than now. It was a more sociable arrangement. I mean now there
are thousands of lawyers that -have never met one another. But, for example, if you got into
litigation, pretty soon you would know pretty much who the litigators were because you’d see
them down in the courthouse, run across them in depositions or cases. You didn’t have the
number of administrative agencies that you have now. You had of course the ICC, the FCC and
the SEC, but all of the specialties in practice, such as the EPA and what have you that now exist,
did not exist in those days. The need for lawyers was substantially less.
Mr. Willens: You’re saying the need for lawyers familiar with the federal
government was less than it came to be, or that the need for lawyers generally —
Mr. Miller: Well, sure, a lot of the practice, it wasn’t true of myself, but a lot of
the practice in those days was representing the local bank, and those firms were the ones that
were looked upon as having the prize clients and representing the local businesses. I mean the
federal government representation as such was not what it is today by any manner of means.
Mr. Willens: Was there a line of demarkation between the so-called local firms
on the one hand and firms specializing in practice before the federal agencies on the other hand?
Mr. Miller: I don’t know. That probably had developed to a certain extent. I
mean, the firm I was in, practically all of the lawyers in it were communications lawyers, and
there were other communications firms around town, and that was their legal arena, if you will,
their area of sociability. The FCC bar would have an annual picnic, for example, and that was
where all the FCC lawyers would practice. And I assume that may have been true of other
agencies, but not that I saw, because I didn’t participate in it.
Mr. Willens: What was your sense about being part of a Washington-based
office of a Chicago law firm?
Mr. Miller: As I got more into the practice, I didn’t like it, because I thought I
would like to have more of a say and participation in how the firm was run and the like, although
the firm I thought was run very well.
Mr. Willens: Was it your sense that most of the critical management decisions
were being made in Chicago?
Mr. Miller: Yes. Absentee control was not to my liking.
Mr. Willens: Did that change to any respect when Hammond Chaffetz came to
Mr. Miller: A little bit, but while he had an office in Washington, still a great
deal of his time was spent in Chicago. He represented Standard Oil, and every so often he would
appear, but he was not a full-time resident of Washington. But the practice of the firm began to
change with representation of The Times Herald.
Mr. Willens: How did that client come to the firm, if you recall?
Mr. Miller: I think Sissy Patterson had some kind of relationship, I can’t
remember what it was, with Colonel McCormick, who had started the Kirkland firm, by the way,
and also of course, owned The Chicago Tribune. And I think that’s how that whole
representation came to pass. And I know representing The Times Herald was a very exciting
proposition. We did a lot of libel work. We’d get calls late at night, have a story read to you for
libel coverage, and the like. It was a fun client.
Mr. Willens: You have made available to me a list of cases in which you
participated during your first several years of practice, and the list includes many cases involving
The Times Herald. Did you have an interest in becoming a litigator at that stage of your career?
Mr. Miller: -I can’t say that I did, but I must have, because I did it and enjoyed
it. I enjoyed libel work very much, including going to court on it.
Mr. Willens: Did many of the libel cases actually go to trial?
Mr. Miller: No, if they had a good case, it would be settled. I’m trying to
remember if any actually did go to trial. Oh, I remember one — the Feld Brothers. Kelly Griffith
tried that one, and that went to trial, and there was a finding for The Times Herald. I remember I
participated in a firing dispute. Tina Maranzano sued The Times Herald on the grounds that she
was fired in violation of her union contract, and I remember participating in that trial.
Mr. Willens: What did you enjoy about the trial work?
Mr. Miller: What did I enjoy about the trial work? I guess the opportunity to
explain the rectitude of your client’s cause.
Mr. Willens: Anyone in particular?
Mr. Miller: But I also enjoy research and making sure from the law standpoint
that I know as much as there is to know as to the procedures and to the substantive law. I find
that very important. I find that important to this day.
Mr. Willens: When did you develop the habit of reading the advance sheets on a
Mr. Miller: Gosh, I can’t remember, but it had to have been early on. Still do.
Mr. Willens: Do you encourage your partners to do likewise?
Mr. Miller: I don’t have to. They don’t want me to call up and say, “Say, I just
read a Court of Appeals case that fits right into your situation.” They want to make sure they can
say they read it first.
Mr. Willens: .Some of the other clients that are referred to in the list of cases are
the American Oil Company and International Harvester. Do you have any recollection of any of
those individual clients or matters involving them?
a finders fee.
Mr. Miller: Let’s see. International Harvester. Oh, that was a suit I think about
Mr. Willens: It is. Let me give you the copy of this list of significant cases.
Mr. Miller: Oh, I’ll tell you. One of the best cases that I ever had was the
Hush-A-Phone case. This involved a device which in effect would cup over the telephone
instrument so you could have a private discussion. I think there was an 8-year battle before the
FCC where Hush-A-Phone, which was owned by an individual who at the time I got to know
him was probably pretty close to 90. A one-man operation. He had a secretary, I think. Arrayed
against him was AT&T and all of the Bell systems, who said that the Hush-A-Phone couldn’t be
used because it violated the foreign attachment tariffs of the telephone companies which had
been filed with the FCC. So Kelly Griffith handled the case over at the Connnission, and as I say
I think it took 8 years, and the Connnission ruled that foreign attachment provisions were valid
and the companies could refuse to permit this device to be used on their telephones. So we
appealed, and Kelly asked me to write the brief, and I came up with an antitrust issue in effect
along the concept of a tie-in sale. By using the telephone instrument, you can’t bar an
independent device produced by somebody else. Then the Connnission also found there was
some degradation in service by the utilization of this Hush-A-Phone. To make a long story short,
I went up and argued the case in the Court of Appeals, and against me was the United States of
America, the FCC, the U.S. Independent Telephone Association, and Hugh Cox from Covington
& Burling was there. All I can tell you is that when I got up to argue, the three judges descended
upon me like I was dead meat. By the time I was finished, I must have been bleeding visibly. I
remember walking away thinking, well, if there was ever a loser of a case, this is it. I walked out,
and my pal, my client was in the audience and visibly disappointed, as was I, and I said, “Well, I
tried, but I think we can write this one off.” But 3 months later, I got a call from the clerk’s
office. The decision was down. I said, “Which way did it go? And he said, “Reversed.” I said,
“Come on. Quit kidding me.” He said, “No, it’s reversed.” And I said, “You mean Hush-APhone
won?” He said, “Yes.” So I roared. I got into a cab, went down and got the opinion, and
it was just a total victory. On the basis of that, I drafted a complaint. There’s a cause of action
created under the Federal Communications Act for damages of common carriers to act illegally,
and I had a complaint against AT&T and all the Bell system Then there was a suggestion,
maybe we better let them know before we file it. We had the case on a contingent fee basis. To
make a long story short, finally there was a settlement, and I remember Burke Marshall carrying
over the check, which I graciously or ungraciously accepted, and to this day he calls me “Miller
the Blackmailer.” But I can still remember the General Counsel of AT&T and three of his
sidekicks came in to negotiate with me about what the foreign attachment provision could say. It
was quite an experience for a young guy. I enjoyed it very much
Mr. Willens: You were still an associate at the time you argued that case, were
Mr. Miller: Oh, yes.
Mr. Willens: When did you become a partner?
Mr. Miller: I don’t remember now.
Mr. Willens: .I think about 1958 or thereabouts, and this case is referred to as
being a 1957 case. It’s unclear whether it was resolved that year or not.
Mr. Miller: Just by way of history, subsequent to the Hush-A-Phone case, the
Court of Appeals decided the Carterfone case, and it is on the basis of the Carterfone case and the
Hush-A-Phone case that all of your computer interconnections with the Bell system line, all of
that is an outgrowth of those two cases.
Mr. Willens: Is that right?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Willens: Do you remember who the judges were on the Court of Appeals?
Let me give you a list of the members of that court going back several decades and see if that
refreshes your recollection.
Mr. Miller: Well, I think Judge George Washington was on the panel. Would
it be easier just to look in the book?
Mr. Willens: It might be. While you have that list in front of you, did you
appear on fairly regular intervals before the Court of Appeals? Taking the period of your life
before the Board of Monitors, in your initial years from 1949 to —
Mr. Miller: I don’t know. I’d have to look that up .
Mr. Willens: I’mjust wondering whether you —
Mr. Miller: Oh, the next case was — oh, I think that’s the one that Charlie
Cutler was appointed and he got busy on something else and I worked out a theory. He argued it,
but the case was reversed, Jaffke v. Dunham.
Mr. Willens: Which case were you just talking about?
Mr. Miller: I was talking about Glenn v. Reed. I can’t remember offhand what
that case is. No, that’s not the case I’m tbinkinp; of. I don’t even remember that case, frankly.
Maranzano I don’t know, I’d have to look. I think I argued that one.
Mr. Willens: Many of the cases listed in these materials do pertain to
proceedings in the trial court. I was wondering whether based on your experience over the years
in Washington you had some views about individual members of the Court of Appeals before
whom you practiced or with whom you had professional relationships that you could contribute
to the historical record.
Mr. Miller: Well, I know some of the ones certainly that were held in high
esteem Judge Stephens, Judge Edgerton and Judge Prettyman.
Mr. Willens: Did you know those individuals on a personal basis?
Mr. Miller: I knew them I didn’t know them well, but I certainly knew them
Whether I appeared before them or not, I don’t know. But I know that for Judge Prettyman and
Judge Edgerton, I always looked upon any opinion they wrote as being very good.
Mr. Willens: What attributes did they bring to the bench that you recall valuing?
Mr. Miller: They could analyze the facts and the law and put it out in an
opinion that made you believe that the way they’d gotten there was the correct result. That’s a
longhand way of saying it. But I mean, you were impressed with the fact that they were good
Mr. Willens: And would they operate in a way that suggested to you that they
were proceeding without any particular political or other bias in addressing cases?
Mr. Miller: I can’t remember having any concept that either of those two were
politically motivated. I am sure I argued a case before Bennett Champ Clark, but I don’t have an
impression of him
Mr. Willens: .How about some of the other names?
Mr. Miller: Proctor I do not. David Bazelon I have a strong impression of.
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT