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    President Eisenhower appoints Clark Clifford a commissioner of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Commission.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower: Signed Presidential Appointment also Signed by Acting Secretary of State Herbert Hoover, Jr.
    -November 9, 1955. Washington, D.C. 21.75" x 17.75". Framed to 32" x 27".
    -To: Clark M. Clifford.
    -Some toning on the paper seal, else fine.

    This official State Department document appointing "Clark W. Clifford, of Maryland [as] a Commissioner of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission" is signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Acting Secretary of State Herbert Hoover, Jr. Born on Christmas Day 1906, Clark Clifford was in his 92nd year when he passed away on October 10, 1998. An attorney who served in various capacities for four Democratic Presidents-Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter-he ironically received this commission from the Republican successor to FDR and HST, which is also signed by the son of FDR's political opponent, Herbert Hoover. This commission is truly an unusual historical item in fine condition.

    More Information:

    The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.


    Unbelievable FDR-Related Item from the Estate of Clark M. Clifford, Esq.: A one of a kind item, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appoints Clark M. Clifford a "Commissioner of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission," signed by Ike as President, and co-signed by Herbert Hoover, Jr. as Acting Secretary of State (the ironies abound in the appointment of the Democratic stalwart Clifford to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission; the appointment made by the first Republican President in the twenty year period that followed FDR's 1932 election landslide against Republican President Herbert Hoover, the father of the Acting Secretary of State who also signs the document), November 9, 1955, Washington, D.C. The official document, with the Seal of the United States of America, reads: "Dwight D. Eisenhower/ President of the United States of America./ To all who shall see these presents, Greetings:/ Know Ye, that reposing special trust and confidence in the Integrity and Ability of Clark M. Clifford, of Maryland, I do appoint him a Commissioner of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission, and do authorize and empower him to execute and fulfill the duties of that Office according to law, and to have and to hold the said Office, with all the powers and privileges thereunto of right appertaining, unto him the said Clark M. Clifford, during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being./In testimony whereof, I have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed./ Done at the City of Washington this ninth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eightieth./ Dwight D. Eisenhower/ By the President:/ Herbert Hoover, Jr./ Acting Secretary of State."  A truly magnificent piece from the estate of the late Clark M. Clifford. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission was established by Congress in 1955 in Public Law 84-372, and Clark M. Clifford was one of the Commission's charter members appointed by President Eisenhower. Joining Clark M. Clifford as charter members of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Commission in 1955/1956 were Irving M. Ives, Senator from New York, Clifford P. Case, Senator from New Jersey, Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator from Minnesota, Herbert H. Lehman, Senator from New York, John W. McCormack, Representative from Massachusetts, Eugene J. Keogh, Representative from New York, Katherine St. George, Representative from New York, Paul F. Schenck, Representative from Ohio, Francis Biddle, former Attorney General and first Chairman of the Commission, Anna Rosenberg Hoffman, of New York, and James H. Rowe, Jr., of Montana. The Commission's guidelines invited prospective designers to look to "the character and work of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to give us the theme of a memorial that will do him the honor he deserves and transmit his image to future generations." Designs for the Memorial were abandoned twice, and it was not until 1978 that the present design (by Lawrence Halprin) was approved. Ironically, a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, would make the initial appointments to the FDR Memorial Commission, and another Republican President, Ronald Reagan, would authorize the appropriations for the construction of the Memorial in 1982. Groundbreaking did not take place until 1991. Construction did not begin until October 1994, nearly 40 years after the Commission was established. Lawrence Halprin's design of combining water, natural landscaping, sculptures and FDR quotations carved in granite walls seek to depict not only each of Roosevelt's 4 terms of office, but also depict themes in Roosevelt's private life. It was not until May 1997, the year before Clark M. Clifford's death at the age of 91, that the FDR memorial finally took its place in Washington, D.C., alongside other Presidential memorials. In addition to its major design by Lawrence Halprin, the FDR memorial incorporates the work of prominent American artists Leonard Baskin, Neil Estern, Robert Graham, Thomas Hardy, and George Segal, as well as master stonecarver John Benson. What follows is an excerpt from Mr. Clifford's obituary in the October 11, 1998 New York Times by Marilyn Berger: "Clark Clifford, Key Adviser to Four Presidents, Dies, New York Times, October 11, 1998. Washington - Clark Clifford, the silver-haired Brahmin of the nation's political establishment who advised presidents across half a century of American history, died Saturday morning at the age of 91 at his home in Bethesda, Md.  A secretary of defense for one president, friend and confidant of three others, Clifford frequently played the role of capital wise man in inner-sanctum crises,helping President Harry S. Truman find peace with labor and warning President Lyndon B. Johnson about the folly of the Vietnam war. With a gentle drawl and an insider's run of the halls of power, Clifford was consulted as well by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter, bridging the nation's postwar political era until he ran into legal troubles in high-finance brokering. For all the roles he played in presidential history, Clifford faced a rigorous ordeal in his final years, insisting on his innocence to the end as he faced charges of fraud, conspiracy and taking bribes in the biggest banking scandal in history, the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. It was only earlier this year that Clifford and his law partner, Robert A. Altman, reached a $5 million settlement with the Federal Reserve Board, after federal prosecutors had whittled down the case against them. Altman had been acquitted in 1993 in New York state court of charges of bank fraud; indictments against Clifford had been set aside because of his failing health. Clifford considered his role in extricating the United States from what he called that "wretched conflict in Vietnam" to be his finest moment; the day he was indicted and fingerprinted like a common criminal, he said, was "the worst." Few people in Washington, let alone Clark Clifford himself, could have imagined so inglorious an end to so glorious a career. From the time in World War II when he went to Washington as a naval aide to Truman, Clifford was a highly respected lawyer and public servant about whom scarcely an unkind word was ever uttered. He was a symbol of elegance – 6 feet 2 inches tall, trim, wavy-haired, his french cuffs always a ½ inch longer than the sleeves of his impeccably tailored double-breasted suits. There were a few who saw in him a little too much smoothness, a touch of the riverboat gambler, perhaps. But to most people who knew Clifford, he was a symbol of probity, even a legend in his own time. Except for Spiro Agnew and a lone article in Ramparts magazine, nobody had a bad word to say about him in public, at least not until the BCCI scandal./Counsel Given to Four Presidents/Whether in The White House or in his law offices across the street from The White House, Clifford was the man politicians and business leaders turned to for advice. Johnson, beleaguered by the Vietnam War, turned to him to be his secretary of defense, and Carter called on him to be a White House adviser. Kennedy asked him for legal help and put him at the head of his transition team, and Truman appointed him special counsel. Few people in government were as familiar with as many of the nation's problems as Clark Clifford. He helped articulate the policies for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. He wrote the basic legislation establishing the CIA and the Defense Department. On the domestic front, he wrote some of Truman's most important speeches and helped keep labor peace in the postwar period. With a thriving private law practice, Clifford liked to think of himself as a bridge between business and government. But he was more than that. Like many lawyers who made up the Washington establishment, he advised corporations on how to navigate their way through laws and regulations. For each new client he had the same well-rehearsed speech that he offered to one of his first clients, Howard Hughes. As Clifford recounted it in his memoir, Counsel to the President (Random House, 1991), he said his firm had no influence and would not represent anyone before the president or any of his staff. "If you want influence you should consider going elsewhere," he would tell prospective clients. "What we can offer you is an extensive knowledge of how to deal with the government on your problems. We will be able to give you advice on how best to present your position to the appropriate departments and agencies of the government."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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