On November 13, 1958, President
Dwight Eisenhower named Lewis L. Strauss to
replace Sinclair Weeks as Secretary of Commerce.
At the time of his nomination, Strauss had
already rendered distinguished public service
under three Presidents: in the Navy Department
Roosevelt, as an original member of the
Atomic Energy Commission under Harry Truman,
and as special adviser on atomic energy and
chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission under
Eisenhower. Despite that service, Strauss'
nomination stirred controversy. New Mexico
Senator Clinton P. Anderson, and others, accused
Strauss of having misled the Joint Congressional
Atomic Energy Committee on several occasions, of
distorting his role in the Dixon-Yates Affair,
and of giving evasive answers during his
confirmation hearing. His nomination was barely
confirmed by the Senate Commerce Committee (9 to
8) but the full Senate voted against confirmation
on June 19, 1959 (49-46), the first rejection of
a cabinet nominatio since 1925 and the first of
any major appointment by President Eisenhower.
The President thereupon promoted Undersecretary
Frederick H. Mueller, who was confirmed without
difficulty. Strauss' term as interim Secretary of
Commerce officially ended with the swearing in of
Mueller on June 30, 1959.
Left: Lewis L. Strauss in his office after
being named interim Secretary of Commerce.
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