Gale W. McGee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Gale W. McGee
United States Senator
from Wyoming
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1977
Preceded byFrank A. Barrett
Succeeded byMalcolm Wallop
9th United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States
In office
March 30, 1977 – July 1, 1981
PresidentJimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
Preceded byWilliam S. Mailliard
Succeeded byJ. William Middendorf
Personal details
Gale William McGee

(1915-03-17)March 17, 1915
Lincoln, Nebraska
DiedApril 9, 1992(1992-04-09) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Loraine Baker McGee (died March 21, 2006)

Gale William McGee (March 17, 1915 – April 9, 1992) was a United States Senator of the Democratic Party, and United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS). He represented Wyoming in the United States Senate from 1959 until 1977. To date, he remains the last Democrat to have represented Wyoming in the U.S. Senate.

Early life[edit]

McGee was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on March 17, 1915. He attended public schools, and had planned to study law in college, but was forced by the Great Depression to attend the State Teachers College in Wayne, Nebraska, instead. He graduated from the Teachers College in 1936, and worked as a high school teacher while studying for a master's degree in history at the University of Colorado. He continued as a college instructor at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Iowa State College, and Notre Dame. In 1946 McGee received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.

University of Wyoming[edit]

Shortly after he received his Ph.D., McGee accepted a position as a professor of American history at the University of Wyoming. Soon after, he founded and served as chair of the University's Institute of International Affairs, which brought national dignitaries every summer through a Carnegie Foundation grant. Twenty-one teachers from Wyoming high schools were selected each summer to participate. For the next 12 years, the Institute brought international foreign policy thinkers such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Hans Morgenthau, and Henry Kissinger.[1]

In 1952, McGee took a one-year leave of absence from the University of Wyoming to serve as a Carnegie Research Fellow in New York with the Council on Foreign Relations, where he was assigned to research the mysteries of Soviet intentions.[1]

In 1956, because of the connections he made during his Carnegie fellowship, McGee led a group of teachers on a trip to the Soviet Union; it was the first trip of its kind.[1]

Political career[edit]

1958 election[edit]

Active in Democratic Party politics, McGee was asked to run for the United States Congress in 1950, but declined, saying he wanted to get more in touch with Wyoming and its people. In 1955–56 he took a leave of absence from the university to work as top aide to Wyoming Democratic Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney.

In 1958 McGee left the university to make his bid for the U.S. Senate, challenging incumbent Frank A. Barrett. He ran on a program of youth and new ideas. The race between McGee and Barrett attracted the attention of national party leaders on both sides. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, Senator John F. Kennedy, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, Senator-elect Edmund Muskie of Maine, Congressman Joseph M. Montoya of New Mexico, and former President Harry S. Truman came to the state to support McGee, whose campaign slogan was "McGee for Me!".[2] Lyndon Johnson pledged that, if Wyoming sent McGee to Washington, he would appoint him to the prestigious Appropriations Committee.[1] Eleanor Roosevelt even conducted a national fund-raising drive for him.[3] Barrett received assistance from national leaders as well, including Vice President Richard Nixon. McGee ultimately defeated Barrett by a margin of 1,913 votes out of a total of 116,230 votes cast in the election.[2]

He won the majority of the votes in seven of the 23 counties. These were the southern "Union Pacific" counties (Albany, Carbon, Laramie, Sweetwater, Uinta) Platte, just north of Cheyenne, and Sheridan in the north. McGee won the endorsement of the Wyoming AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) and the labor vote played an important part in the election.[2]

He became a member of the Democratic class of 1958, which was elected in the middle of President Eisenhower's second term.

Vice President Richard Nixon administers the oath of office to Senator Gale McGee, 1959.

First Senate term[edit]

After his victory McGee was appointed to the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee and Senate Majority Leader Johnson kept his promise and appointed him to the prestigious Appropriations Committee. McGee and his fellow Senate freshmen, Thomas J. Dodd and Robert C. Byrd, were the first freshmen ever to receive such an appointment.[4]

The confirmation of Lewis Strauss (1959)[edit]

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated Lewis Strauss to serve as Secretary of Commerce. Previously, Strauss had served in numerous government positions in the administrations of presidents Truman and Eisenhower. At the time, the 13 previous nominees for this Cabinet position won Senate confirmation in an average of eight days.[5] Because of both personal and professional disagreements, Senator Clint Anderson took up the cause to make sure that Mr. Strauss would not be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Anderson found an ally in McGee on the Senate Commerce Committee, which had jurisdiction over Mr. Strauss' confirmation. During and after the Senate hearings, Senator McGee had charged Mr. Strauss with "a brazen attempt to hoodwink" the committee.[5] After 16 days of hearings the Committee recommended Mr. Strauss' confirmation to the full Senate by a vote of 9-8. In preparation for the floor debate on the nomination, the Democratic majority's main argument against the nomination was that Mr. Strauss' statements before the Committee were "sprinkled with half truths and even lies ... and that under rough and hostile questioning, [he] can be evasive and quibblesome."[5] Despite an overwhelming Democratic majority, the 86th United States Congress was not able to accomplish much of their agenda since the President had immense popularity and a veto pen.[5] With the 1960 elections nearing, congressional Democrats sought issues on which they could conspicuously oppose the Republican administration. The Strauss nomination proved tailor made.[6]

On June 19, 1959 just after midnight, the Strauss nomination failed by a vote 46-49. At the time, It marked only the eighth time in U.S. history that a Cabinet appointee had failed to be confirmed.[7]

1960 Democratic Convention[edit]

From Harper's Magazine:[8]

With Kennedy only eleven votes short of the nomination, Ted Kennedy approached the Wyoming delegation, where Kennedy was known to have eight and a half solid votes, Johnson had six, and one-half vote remained loyal to Adlai Stevenson. Suddenly one of Wyoming's leaders broke away from a frantic huddle with Ted Kennedy, hopped on a chair, and held up four fingers to the delegates. "Give me four votes!" he begged. "We can put him over the top! Please give me four votes!" Hastily the Wyoming delegates decided to write themselves a footnote to history. Chairman Roncalio proudly spoke of the honor that was his as Wyoming cast all fifteen of its votes for John F. Kennedy. In the roar greeting the announcement, I kept my eyes on the man who had begged for four votes. He was jumping up and down, slapping a beaming Ted Kennedy on the back, apparently beside himself with joy. I recognized him as our old friend Senator Gale McGee.

Relationship with President Kennedy[edit]

By nature of their service together in the Senate, Senator McGee continued to enjoy a good relationship with President Kennedy while in the White House. President Kennedy provided a recorded tribute to Senator McGee for a dinner in the Senator's honor in Wyoming in July 1963. President Kennedy referred to him as "an old friend", and "an asset and a leader in this country."[9]

As part of a nationwide tour in September 1963, President Kennedy made a stop in Cheyenne,[10] and then boarded a smaller plane for the flight to Laramie. Senator McGee, as is protocol for a United States Senator, escorted the President in his travels throughout Wyoming. In a video of the President's tour (at the 4 minute, 50 second mark), Senator McGee can be seen disembarking with President Kennedy upon arrival in Laramie.[11] President Kennedy then delivered remarks at the University of Wyoming.[12]

Food Marketing Study (Public Law 88-354)[edit]

McGee had concerns about falling cattle prices and that large chain drug stores were engaging in unfair practices with large meat processors at the expense of western cattle farmers.[13] He felt an investigation was necessary to assess the "complete change" that had occurred in food marketing since World War II. He said the Commission should establish what, if any, "is the relationship between the phenomena of the food chain store and the increasing cost squeeze on the farm front."[14] On April 26, 1963, McGee introduced S J Res 71 which authorized the Federal Trade Commission to conduct an investigation of purchasing, processing, marketing and pricing practices of large chain stores to determine whether there may have been any violation of antitrust laws. Special emphasis was to be given to why a sharp drop in meat producers' income since January 1963 had not been reflected in consumer prices, which had generally remained level since a rise in 1962.[14]

On July 3 President Johnson signed S J Res 71 into law (PL 88-354). The fiscal 1965 supplemental appropriations bill (HR 12633–PL 88-635) provided $700,000 to start the Commission's studies.[14]

Mr. Johnson July 14 appointed the five public members of the Commission on Food Marketing. They were: William M. Batten, a Republican, president of the J. C. Penney Co.; Albert K. Mitchell, a cattle producer and Republican National Committeeman from New Mexico, former president of the American National Livestock Assn. and a member of several advisory committees to the Secretary of Agriculture; former U.S. Rep. J. Fred Marshall (D Minn. 1949-63), a farmer and former state director of the Minnesota Farm Security Administration (1941–48); Elmer R. Kiehl, a professor of agricultural economics, former dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri and member of the advisory commission to the Secretary of Agriculture; and Marvin Jones, of Texas, former Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Claims (1947–64), a Democrat, who was named Commission Chairman. Jones resigned as chairman Sept. 1 and President Johnson Sept. 17 appointed Phil S. Gibson, former chief justice of the California Supreme Court, to replace him.

The five Senate members of the Commission, named by Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D Mont.) July 1, were: Sens. Warren G. Magnuson (D Wash.), Commerce Committee chairman, Philip A. Hart (D Mich.), Thruston B. Morton (R Ky.), Gale W. McGee (D Wyo.) and Roman L. Hruska (R Neb.). The five House members, named July 7 by Speaker John W. McCormack (D Mass.), were: Reps. Benjamin S. Rosenthal (D N.Y.), Catherine May (R Wash.), Glenn Cunningham (R Neb.), Leonor Kretzer Sullivan (D Mo.) and Graham Purcell (D Texas).[14]

1963 railroad strike[edit]

In 1963, Congress acted for the first time in peacetime to impose compulsory arbitration in a major labor dispute. President Kennedy sent Congress a bill to submit a dispute over the railroads' attempts to eliminate "featherbedding" to the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was to impose an interim solution binding on the parties for two years.[15]

During Congressional consideration of the President's legislation, McGee offered an amendment to remove these less controversial questions from arbitration and make the Senate bill conform with the House bill, thereby expediting passage to avoid the strike. Congress on cleared the bill on August 28, 1963 that created a seven-member board to arbitrate the major issues in the dispute and prohibited the railroads from issuing "anti-featherbedding" rules. The arbitrated settlement was imposed for two years, and no strikes or lockouts were allowed during that time. The President signed the bill into law (PL 88-108) six hours before the strike was to begin on August 29, 1963.[15]

1964 election[edit]

Republican leaders in Wyoming were singularly focused on defeating McGee for re-election in 1964. Republican Congressman William Henry Harrison ultimately decided not to challenge the incumbent Senator. The remaining candidates for the Republican nomination did not offer stark differences between them, only their degree of attack upon McGee.[16]

McGee took advantage and concentrated on discrediting the state Republican Party and promoted McGee's specific contributions to particular areas of the state, especially given his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Counties thought to be steadfastly Republican, such as Big Horn County, wound up supporting both the re-election of President Johnson and Senator McGee. The town of Lovell, never known to support a Democrat, gave Senator McGee 123 more votes than it gave President Johnson, 145 more than it gave McGee's opponent, John Wold. Lovell had been the beneficiary of thousands of dollars in Area Re-development Loans. It was located close to the Yellowtail Dam, the State's most recent large reclamation project, and just before election learned that its interstate access road had been designated a federal highway.[16]

Another important factor, like it was in the 1958 election, was organized labor and the State's right-to-work law. The 1964 election found labor organized for political action in virtually every county in the state, most particularly in the pivotal counties of Natrona and Fremont, and the key Democratic counties of Laramie, Albany, Carbon, Sweetwater, and Uinta. Organized labor distributed 23,000 bumper stickers with the phrase, "Poverty Lurks in Right-to-Work." [16] Mass media, TV, radio and newspapers played its greatest role yet in a Wyoming campaign. McGee's campaign released a 30-minute documentary, "This is Gale McGee" in the summer and it was broadcast on all local TV networks and was the single most effective use of the medium Ultimately, McGee won reelection over Wold by a margin of 16,397.[17]

Second Senate term[edit]

He strongly supported President Lyndon B. Johnson's views on the Vietnam War. On March 6, 1965, CBS News aired an hour-long TV special titled "Vietnam: Hawks and the Doves" that featured a debate between McGee and Senator George McGovern for the full hour. It was moderated by Charles Collingwood. Hanson Baldwin of the New York Times and former Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (1963–64) Roger Hilsman also participated. During the debate, McGee called for "planned escalation;" Baldwin contemplated massive bombing campaign and a naval blockade of North Vietnam. It appeared that Hilsman agreed that troops should be sent, but didn't think it would make a difference. McGovern was all alone in arguing against military intervention.[18] At the conclusion on the debate, Collingwood summarized that McGee was a "hawk" on Vietnam, McGovern a "dove" and Hilsman was a "chicken hawk."

Also that year, after over 10 years as a member of the Appropriations Committee, McGee was named chairman of the Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee.[19]

In March 1966, McGee was appointed to the Foreign Relations Committee where he would serve until 1967 and then was reappointed in 1969 and served until he left the Senate. He believed in the policy of containing communism, and his pro-military views were accented by his firm support for foreign aid. Johnson strongly considered appointing Senator McGee to be Ambassador to the UN after the resignation of Arthur Goldberg.[20]

In 1968, McGee wrote The Responsibilities of World Power, which warned against isolationism and urged the United States to accept its power and position imposed upon it in the aftermath of World War II. The book further argued that the U.S. had a responsibility to be a Pacific power, to act as a counterweight to China, and to support free nations in their efforts to remain nonaligned or western allies but not to fall into the Communist fold. The work was nominated for a Woodrow Wilson Foundation award.

United States Senate Committee on Civil Service (L-R): Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK), Ranking Member Hiram Fong (R-HI), Chairman Gale McGee (D-WY), Ralph Yarborough (D-TX), Jennings Randolph (D-WV), and Frank Moss (D-UT).

In 1969, McGee became chairman of the Post Office and Civil Service Committee. As chair this Committee, he fought for greater equity in pay and benefits for those federal workers. He was also directly involved in the passage of the Postal Reorganization Act which was influenced by the U.S. postal strike of 1970, the largest wildcat strike in history. The Act abolished the then United States Post Office Department, which was a part of the cabinet, and created the United States Postal Service, a corporation-like independent agency with an official monopoly on the delivery of mail in the United States.

Voter registration by mail[edit]

In 1972, McGee introduced S. 352, which would allow eligible voters to register by mail in federal elections. The bill would establish a new Voter Registration Administration as part of the U.S. Census Bureau to administer the registration program. Under the procedure, postcard forms would be mailed to all postal addresses and residences, and the cards would have to be returned to local registration agents no later than 30 days before a federal election. Processing of the forms would be paid for by the Voter Registration Administration. McGee believed and argued that existing methods discouraged registration citing the fact that 62 million people did not vote in 1972 election, nearly half of all Americans eligible to vote. Opponents believed that the proposal would destroy the two-party system, lead to increased fraud, and cost too much to implement. The Nixon Administration formally opposed the bill citing the potential for fraud and cost but McGee's committee reported the bill with only Hiram Fong, the Committee's ranking Republican member, opposing. During floor debate In spring 1973, the bill was filibustered for almost a month. The 13th successful cloture vote since in the Senate came after two earlier attempts to terminate a four-week filibuster on the voter registration bill (S 352) failed. Had the May 9 vote also fallen short, McGee had warned opponents of S 352 during floor debate that not only would there have been another cloture vote, but "if necessary there'll be another and another and another." The nearly 100 per cent attendance for the May 9 vote, plus three switches in favor of cloture on the third try, gave the cloture motion the necessary two-thirds vote. John C. Stennis (D Miss.) was the only senator to miss the vote. Earlier efforts to shut off the talkathon on the bill failed by two and three votes, respectively. The April 30 vote was 56-31; the May 3 vote was 60-34. On May 9, cloture succeeded by a one-vote margin, 67-32. Two Republicans and one Democrat switched from opposition to support for cloture on the May 9 67-32 vote. The Republicans were Robert T. Stafford (Vt.) and Milton R. Young (N.D.); both had voted against cloture on the two previous cloture motions. The Democrat was Russell B. Long (La.), who opposed cloture on the May -3 vote. In addition, supporters of cloture gained four of five new votes of members who did not vote May 3: Alan Bible (D Nev.), Mark O. Hatfield (R Ore.), Joseph M. Montoya (D N.M.) and William B. Saxbe (R Ohio). John Sparkman (D Ala.), one of the other two members (along with Stennis) who did not vote May 3, cast the only additional vote against cloture. Final passage of S. 352 was successful on May 9, 1973 by a vote of 57-32. The legislation died after the House failed to take action on the bill.[21][22]

1970 election[edit]

McGee's bid for reelection in 1970 was targeted by Republicans as one of the top seven races in the country. Republican leaders recruited Congressman John Wold to again take on McGee, despite Wold being trounced by McGee in the 1964 election.[23]

McGee faced a primary challenger for the Democratic nomination because of McGee's support for continued military action in Vietnam. McGee won nomination overwhelmingly by 24,508 votes.[23]

McGee again promoted his seniority in the Senate and his committee assignments (Appropriations, Foreign Relations, and Post Office and Civil Service) that benefited the State. To charges that he was a big spender of federal monies, he pointed out that he helped bring over $349 million in federal aid to Wyoming in the previous year and that if that was big spending he was "for it." [23]

Vice President Spiro Agnew supported Wold's campaign but never specifically mentioned McGee by name. The Denver Post chided the Vice President for speaking against McGee considering it was McGee who helped Nixon solve a major postal strike and continued to support military action in Vietnam. The same newspaper reported that in 1969, McGee voted with the Nixon Administration 69 percent of the time and 24 percent against, while Wold only supported the Administration on issues 49 percent of the time, and opposed 28 percent.[23]

McGee won re-election receiving 67,207 votes to Wold's 53,279. McGee won eleven of the 23 counties he picked up in 1964 but added for others and increased his margin of victory in Natrona County, Wyoming – a moderately strong Republican county and Wold's home base. McGee continued to have strong support of organized labor, carrying big margins in the southern "Union Pacific" counties.[23]

Third Senate term[edit]

In his third term he continued to be a leading member of the committees on which he served. He was Chairman of Western Hemisphere Affairs subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee.

McGee was a voice of moderation in the affairs of the Watergate scandal and the impeachment proceedings of President Richard Nixon. Against the wishes of many of his constituents, McGee stood on principle and fought hard for positions unpopular in Wyoming in support of gas rationing and the 55-mile per hour speed limit in the era of the first Arab oil embargoes.

Protection of bald and golden eagles[edit]

In his third Senate term, McGee gave up the gavel of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee to become Chairman of Agriculture, Environmental and Consumer Protection Appropriations Subcommittee. He would remain Chairman of that subcommittee until he left the Senate. At an August 1971 hearing held by McGee's subcommittee, a Wyoming helicopter pilot testified that sheep ranchers paid him to fly near eagles which they killed with shotguns. About 500 bald eagles were destroyed in this manner, the pilot said. The Wyoming Woolgrowers Association had claimed that 8,000 lambs were lost to eagles annually, and the group's president declared he had seen eagles kill grown sheep and antelope. Conservationists disputed the figures and said that eagles seldom touched lambs unless they were already dead. A University of Montana study of prey items collected from 40 golden eagle nests over a three-year period found evidence of only one dead lamb and one dead sheep, with no proof they had been killed by eagles. In October 1972, Congress approved legislation strengthening the penalties imposed for violations of Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940.[24]

27th U.N. General Assembly (1972)[edit]

A long-time supporter of the United Nations, McGee was appointed by President Richard Nixon to a four-member congressional delegation to represent the United States at the United Nations' 27th General Assembly in 1972. His chief assignment at the Assembly was to get the United Nations members to agree to lower the U.S.'s share annual dues from 31 percent to 25 percent - a difference of $13 million. Both the House and Senate had already passed measures to limit the United States' contribution to the U.N. But each country's share is ultimately decided by a majority of the 130 member nations. Through the efforts of McGee, along with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. George Bush, the U.N. assembly approved the reduction, with 80 nations voting to support the resolution.[25][26]

"Champion" of Congressional recess[edit]

In 1965, Senator McGee began calling for a mandated August recess for Congress. It was not until 1969 that his idea gained enough support amongst his colleagues that they gave it a test run - the Senate recessed from August 13 to September 3. Finally, on August 6, 1971, as mandated by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, the Senate began its first official August recess. The account from the Office of the Senate Historian [27]

Give Us a (Summer) Break![edit]

August 6, 1971

"How shall we modernize Congress, and update the machinery of democracy?" asked Senator Gale McGee in 1965. His answer? An August recess! In fact, Gale McGee should be remembered as the champion of the summertime break.

From 1789 until the 1930s, Congress convened in December, stayed in session for five or six months, and then adjourned sine die. Occasionally, the demands of war kept Congress in session longer, but generally senators agreed with Vice President John Nance Garner who famously proclaimed, "No good legislation ever comes out of Washington after June." By the 1950s, however, the schedule had changed. In 1956 Congress adjourned on July 27—marking the last time the Senate adjourned before the first of August.

Gale McGee was not the first senator to propose a summer break. In 1959 Margaret Chase Smith warned of the Senate's increasing workload. It creates disorder, she complained, as well as "confused thinking, harmful emotions, destructive tempers, unsound and unwise legislation, and ill health with the very specter of death hanging over Members of Congress." If that sounds dramatic, keep in mind that in the 1950s senators died in office at a rate of about two per year. Smith proposed an annual break from August to October, but the Senate ignored her words of caution.

By the early 1960s legislative sessions had crept well into autumn. In 1962 the Senate met from January to October with no recess. In 1963 it convened in January and adjourned in December with no break longer than a three-day weekend. Majority Leader Mike Mansfield complained that he no longer recognized his wife during daylight hours. "It is time to stop kidding ourselves," Gale McGee exclaimed. It's time to face the "facts of legislative life."

Repeatedly, McGee called for a summer recess, and each time the idea split the Senate along generational lines. Older senators preferred the traditional system of doing business--come to Washington in January, complete business by summer, and go home. No need for weekend trips or state work periods. Senators had plenty of time to deal with home-state business and reelection campaigns. But younger senators, facing the realities of the modern Senate, wanted a designated six-week summer recess to allow them to plan family vacations and reconnect with their constituency.

By 1969 McGee had gained enough support for a test run. The Senate recessed from August 13 to September 3. Young reformers gleefully left town, while older members grumbled. "There's too much work piling up," snarled one. "Now we'll be here till Christmas!" Come September, the reviews were mixed. It certainly was "no vacation," insisted George Aiken of Vermont, who discovered that his Senate work followed him home. But even critics acknowledged that the break provided useful opportunities to connect with constituents. "The feedback you get while hitting the fish fries ... gives you a totally different feeling than you get in Washington," confessed Indiana's Vance Hartke.

Finally, on August 6, 1971, as mandated by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970, the Senate began its first official August recess. Thanks to the persistent efforts of Senator McGee and his allies, the Senate could finally prove Vice President Garner wrong. Good legislation can come out of Washington, even after June--if the Senate gets an August recess!

Candidate for Director of Central Intelligence (CIA)[edit]

A July 10, 1975 memo from then White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld to President Gerald Ford listed McGee as one of many potential candidates to be Director of Central Intelligence. Rumsfeld listed "pros and cons" of each candidate (including George Bush, Lee Iacocca, and Byron White and others). The memo thought McGee was a strong defender of the intelligence community, respected within the foreign affairs community, and well-regarded for his independence. On November 4, 1975, William Colby was replaced as CIA Director by George Bush in a major shakeup of President Ford's administration termed the Halloween Massacre.[28]

1976 election[edit]

In his 1976 bid for a fourth term, McGee was defeated by Republican challenger Malcolm Wallop, who ran an expensive television advertising campaign attacking McGee for, among other positions, his opposition to state right-to-work laws, and problems with the U.S. Postal Service, based on McGee's chairmanship of the U.S. Senate committee overseeing the Postal Service. The margin of defeat was almost ten percentage points.

United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States[edit]

After his defeat by Malcolm Wallop, McGee was nominated by President Jimmy Carter as United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States. After approval by the Senate, he was sworn in on March 30, 1977 at a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room in the White House by Judge John Sirica. His former colleague from the U.S. Senate, Vice President Walter Mondale, was in attendance as were former U.S. secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and William P. Rogers, former United States Ambassador to South Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker, Under Secretary of State Warren Christopher, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and senators John Sparkman and William Fulbright.

During his tenure, McGee headed the U.S. delegation to four OAS assemblies and lobbied for the successful approval of the 1978 Panama Canal Treaty.

Life after public service[edit]

In September 1981, McGee formed Gale W. McGee Associates, a consulting firm specializing in international and public affairs activities. The firm offered a broad range of political and economic services to both domestic and international companies with a special emphasis on developing new business opportunities with the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.

McGee later served as president of the American League for Exports and Security Assistance, Inc. in 1986

He was a senior consultant at Hill & Knowlton, Inc. from 1987 to 1989;

He was also president of the consulting firm of Moss, McGee, Bradley, Kelly & Foley, which was created with former U.S. Senator Frank Moss.[29]

Indochina Refugees[edit]

In September 1985, Secretary of State George Shultz asked McGee to serve on a panel headed by Robert D. Ray to review U.S. policy towards Indochinese refugees. In the wake of the 1975 collapse of the South Vietnamese government, more than 1.6 million Indochinese people had become refugees. The panel issued recommendations in 1986.

Personal life[edit]

McGee married Loraine Baker in 1939 and together they had four children: David, Robert, Mary Gale and Lori Ann. Senator McGee died on April 9, 1992, in Washington, D.C.[30] He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Congressional recognition[edit]

In January 2007, the Wyoming congressional delegation introduced federal legislation (H.R. 335, S. 219) to rename the U.S. Post Office in Laramie, Wyoming as the "Gale W. McGee Post Office." The United States House of Representatives passed the legislation by voice vote on January 29, 2007. The United States Senate passed the legislation by Unanimous consent on February 7, 2007. The President signed the bill into law on March 7, 2007.[31]


  1. ^ a b c d Oral History Interview with Ambassador Gale McGee, The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, December 9, 1988 [1]
  2. ^ a b c The 1958 Election in Wyoming, Herman H. Trachsel, The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1, Part 2 (Mar., 1959), pp. 363-366
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2008-10-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2011-12-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ King, L., "My Hero LBJ", Harper's Magazine, October 1966, 59-60.
  9. ^ "President's Tribute to Senator Gale McGee, Taped for Replay at a Dinner in Wyoming, 9 July 1963". JFK Library. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Remarks Upon Arrival at the Airport in Cheyenne, Wyoming, 25 September 1963". JFK Library. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Trip of the President, September 24-28, 1963". JFK Library. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Address at the University of Wyoming, 25 September 1963". JFK Library. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  13. ^ The Congressional Record, May 18, 1965 p. A2472
  14. ^ a b c d "CQ Almanac Online Edition".
  15. ^ a b "Congress Imposes Settlement in Railroad-Labor Dispute." In CQ Almanac 1970, 26th ed., 01-165-01-166. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1971. [4]
  16. ^ a b c The 1964 Election in Wyoming, John T. Hinckley, The Western Political Quarterly Vol. 18, No. 2, The 1964 Elections in the West (Jun., 1965), pp. 523-526
  17. ^ The 1964 Election in Wyoming, John T. Hinckley, The Western Political Quarterly Vol. 18, No. 2, The 1964 Elections in the West (Jun., 1965), pp. 523-526
  18. ^ The Search for Peace in Vietnam, 1964-1968, Lloyd C. Gardner, Ted Gittinger, 2004, p. 104
  19. ^ Committee on Appropriations, UNITED STATES SENATE, 1867–2008, 110th Congress, 2d Session Document No. 14 [5]
  20. ^ "LBJ Library 12504 GALE MCGEE 12/9/1967 11:00A WH6712.01 PNO 4". Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  21. ^ "Senate Passes Bill Allowing Voters to Register by Mail." In CQ Almanac 1973, 29th ed., 726-30. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1974. [6]
  22. ^ "Postcard Voter Registration." In CQ Almanac 1976, 32nd ed., 517-19. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1977. [7].
  23. ^ a b c d e The 1970 Election in Wyoming, John B. Richard, The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1971), pp. 362-368
  24. ^ "Bald Eagle Protection." In CQ Almanac 1972, 28th ed., 06-743-06-744. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1973. [8].
  25. ^ U.S. Drive on to Lower its Share of U.S. Budget, Associated Press, October 4, 1972
  26. ^ The U.N. Onward & Upward, column by Senator Gale McGee, June 3, 1973
  27. ^ "U.S. Senate: Give Us a (Summer) Break!".
  28. ^ July 10, 1975 Memorandum to the President from Donald Rumsfeld, Ford Presidential Library [9]
  29. ^ University of Wyoming (1997)
  30. ^ "Gale McGee, 77, Wyoming Democrat in Senate 18 Years". The New York Times. 10 April 1992.
  31. ^ []

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Wyoming
(Class 1)

1958, 1964, 1970, 1976
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
U.S. senator (Class 1) from Wyoming
Served alongside: Joseph C. O'Mahoney, John J. Hickey, Milward L. Simpson, Clifford P. Hansen
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization of American States
Succeeded by