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Oral History Project

John D. Lane Administrative Assistant to Senator Brien McMahon (1949–1952)

John Lane

From 1949 to 1952, John D. Lane served on the staff of Senator Brien McMahon, Democrat of Connecticut, first as executive secretary and then as administrative assistant. McMahon won election to the Senate in 1944 and sponsored the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, which created the Atomic Energy Commission and asserted civilian control over nuclear energy and weapons. Senator McMahon then chaired the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. He also served as Democratic Conference secretary. When President Harry Truman said that he would not seek another term in 1952, Senator McMahon announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president, but his campaign ended when he was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor. In these interviews, Lane recounts Senator McMahon’s brief but notable Senate career and his bid for the presidency. While on the Senate staff, Lane also came to know Senators John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Lane also served on a special presidential commission to study regulatory commissions during the Kennedy administration.


Scholarly citation: "John D. Lane: Administrative Assistant to Senator Brien McMahon,” Oral History Interviews, October 12 and December 6, 2006, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.