Commerce Cabinet Crisis XII: Charles Sawyer

Charles W. Sawyer, who took over the Commerce Department upon Averell Harriman’s departure, actually did something noteworthy as Secretary of Commerce! Specifically, when the Truman administration seized the Youngstown steel mills, it was Sawyer who was ordered to do the seizing in his capacity as head of the Department of Commerce.

Earlier in life, Sawyer had been an important figure in Ohio politics. The only post he held there was Lieutenant Governor, but throughout the 1930s Sawyer led a faction of the state Democratic Party that engaged in incessant feuding with the Martin Davey faction, leading on several occasions to GOP gubernatorial wins against a split Democratic Party. He was also US Ambassador to Belgium in 1944-45 but I suppose Belgium was under Nazi occupation and Allied military administration for the majority of that period.