Item SR2824_T11S1 - Oral history interview with Alan Green [Sound Recording 20]

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Oral history interview with Alan Green [Sound Recording 20]


  • 1999-05-25 (Creation)


Audiocassette; 00:30:27

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Biographical history

Alan "Punch" Green, Jr. was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1925. He got an early start in politics when he was elected student body president at Lincoln High School. He attended the University of Oregon in 1943 before enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he served as a theodylite observer in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was discharged after an injury and returned to Portland in 1945. He majored in political science at Stanford University and graduated in 1949. While at Stanford, he began dating Joan Irwin, whom he had met in high school. They married in 1949 and later had three children. He worked as an insurance salesman and later started a battery company. He was a lifelong member of the Republican Party, serving as chair of the Oregon presidential campaigns for Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, as well as statewide candidates such as Governor Vic Atiyeh and U.S. Senator Gordon Smith. He was president of the Port of Portland for two terms. President Reagan named him chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission in 1981. He was appointed as the ambassador to Romania by President George H. W. Bush in 1989 and served during the Romanian Revolution. After his ambassadorship ended in 1992, Green retired but continued his involvement in Republican politics. He died in 2001.

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Tape 11, Side 1. This oral history interview with Alan Green was conducted by Jim Strassmaier in Green’s office and home in Portland, Oregon, from April 20 to July 21, 1999. Tape 16 of the interview is missing, but the contents are reflected in an incomplete transcript. In this interview, Green discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including his memories of the Depression, his family history of alcoholism, and his early education, including his involvement in student body government during high school. He then discusses his experiences as a theodylite observer in the Army during World War II, including spending time in an Army hospital after a truck accident in New Guinea. He talks about attending Stanford University, including living in the Phi Delta fraternity house, and meeting his wife, Joan Irwin. He describes working an insurance salesman, his marriage, and starting a battery company. He also briefly discusses serving as president of the University Club in 1967 and his efforts to open membership to Jewish people. He talks about a DUI infraction in 1962, his struggle with alcoholism, and his path to sobriety, as well as his later work helping others get sober. He speaks at length about his management of various business enterprises.Green discusses his involvement in moderate conservative politics and the Republican Party. He talks about his chairmanship of the Multnomah County Central Committee, the 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, and Mark Hatfield’s brush with the vice presidency in 1968. He also talks about Wayne Morse’s defection to the Democratic Party. He speaks at length about his service on the Port of Portland, including competition with Seattle, labor issues, and other members of the commission, particularly Ed Westerdahl. He shares his memories of the Richard Nixon administration, particularly his feelings regarding the Watergate scandal and the rise of the far right. He also talks about serving on the Federal Maritime Commission from 1982 to 1988, including the confirmation process, the Shipping Act of 1985, and his social life while living in Washington, D.C. He talks about how his work on that commission was facilitated by both Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood. Green then describes serving as chairman for George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign in Oregon and his subsequent appointment as ambassador to Romania in 1989.Green speaks at length about serving as ambassador to Romania from 1989 to 1992. He talks about his confirmation, his training, and the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu. He talks about the members of his staff, living behind the Iron Curtain, and helping Romanian political dissidents become American citizens. He then talks about the new Romanian president, Ion Iliescu, Romanian political parties, and Romanian society and economy after the revolution. He also talks about traveling through Europe while an ambassador, Romania’s role in the Gulf War, and international adoption of Romanian children. He then discusses his activities during retirement, including sitting on various boards, and his involvement with the political campaigns of Gordon Smith and George W. Bush. He closes the interview by talking about his children and grandchildren.

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Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following license: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA:

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  • English

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41.8 MiB


April 21, 2020 5:11 PM

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