On the other hand, I have heard accounts that, in retirement, O'Sensei really did "meddle" more at Hombu than is recorded, and was often treated with a sort of irritated indifference. I suppose it matters little in the big picture, but I wish I'd been around then to see for myself.
I don't think that what the Founder did was "meddling"... It was that he was the Founder and simply did things on his own say so, without consulting the organization. After all, organizations have rules and procedures. O-Sensei "didn't need no stinking rules and procedures"... it was his art. For sure it made the guys trying to create a structure that they could grow around crazy. I mean, Tenth Dans coming out of nowhere, 36 year old deshi being "promoted" to 8th Dan, just because the Founder felt like it (they were able to put the kibosh on that one).
You can see this in any organization... When Saotome Sensei started teaching we had no written requirements, no set times between ranks. You tested when Sensei thought you were ready and on whatever Sensei decided at that moment you should know. Now we have guidelines, rules, requirements, etc and Sensei, himself feels bound by them.
It's a huge change to move from being deshi to a teacher, where your role is to make happen what he says he'd like to happen and perhaps even not make happen what he'd like to happen (for his own good), to having responsibility to run an organization that is spreading world wide made up of folks who have never even seen or trained with the Founder.
It's hard to understand just how naive many of the old timers were. Hikitsuchi Sensei came to the United States and wanted to meet with the President to tell him about Aikido and his mission to spread O-Sensei's message. O-Sensei saw himself as shaping his world on a cosmic level through his efforts... how practical do you think folks like this could be? K Ueshiba had to make it "work". O-Sensei NEVER had to do that. The various teachers of the dojos run by his students formed a foundation of support and between Saito Sensei's efforts at Iwama and the group of students at the Aikikai in Tokyo, the Founder was always taken care of. But I suspect he was an irritant when it came to the work of organizing.