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Chapter 6 of The Atlanticists: A Story of American Diplomacy

by Ken Weisbrode

Reactions to the decolonization—secretaryships of Acheson and Dulles—effects of Wristonization and McCarthyism— retirement of the first generation of foreign service officers

VIETNAM AND, to a lesser degree, Algeria, would have much unhappier endings than the European Defense Community. As one would expect, EUR generally opposed the wishes of Americans, including Franklin Roosevelt, to promote the quick decolonization of the European possessions in Asia and Africa after World War II. Its case became even stronger as the Cold War progressed in the 1950s: No longer was it a question of the viability for self-government of the various independent movements and the extent to which an apparent rush to decolonization would upset important constituencies in Europe; by now there was also a life-or-death struggle with the Soviet Union (and China) for the souls of millions of fence-sitters, many of whom seemed sympathetic to Communism and to Communist-inclined independence movements. The irony in all this was not lost on the British, whose files are full of hand-wringing over contradictory American attitudes. Ivone Kirkpatrick wrote to his friend Roger Makins in November 1955: “It is of course an old anomaly that the unthinking anti-colonial Americans should be admonishing the civilised nations to lay down sovereignty and abandon nationalisms—whilst they excite the barbarians and cannibals to nationalism and imperialism.”1 But most people in EUR were hardheaded: Third World nationalisms were not to be condoned if they set themselves against Europe. Few in EUR called for the preservation of colonial empires, but many were confirmed gradualists—and the more gradual the better—even though this position put them at odds with their colleagues in other bureaus, particularly Far Eastern Affairs (at least before the McCarthy purges).

The resistance to decolonization, either passive or, where Communists were visibly involved, active, carried tangible and intangible costs the United States seemed unhappy to have the Europeans pay by themselves. Prolonged anticolonial struggles would ultimately imperil the commitment to the security of Europe, particularly for France. One officer who took the problem especially seriously was the man who replaced Chip Bohlen as the department’s counselor, Doug MacArthur, who appeared earlier in the Vichy drama. He remained known for his French expertise, having won the trust of Ambassador Caffery while also getting along with most of the latter’s detractors. Only one other person, besides Caffery’s protégé Doc Matthews, was reported to succeed in doing so in French affairs, and this was a popular foreign service character right out of a Noël Coward play, Elim O’Shaughnessy. A second-generation diplomat, Elim, also known as “The Turtle,” acted the part of the striped-pants man better than almost anyone, with affected accent, “protruding fish eyes,” long cigarette holder, elegantly tailored suits, and lank hair. He did it so well, in fact, that he failed his foreign service oral exam several times until he was told the reason: He did not present a sufficiently American appearance. So he moved to St. Louis and got a job as a gas station attendant. The result was mixed: O’Shaughnessy was admitted to the foreign service but had not changed much. However, a visitor to the St. Louis gas station later noted that nearly everyone there used a long cigarette holder.2

In any event, having barely weathered the EDC crisis, the intense MacArthur had “gone native” following a few trips to Asia, describing, “with throbbing voice, glowering looks, and with minatory overtones,” America’s NATO allies as “millstones around our necks.”3 For the time being, however, the United States had “swallowed its scruples” and instead urged Europeans to do all they could to prepare their colonies for viable self-government.4 It was the beginning of another period of ambivalence toward Europe and the countries soon to be labeled “Third World”—an ambivalence bred of the incompatibility at one level between the morality and necessities of foreign policy, a choice that did not seem so stark in Europe itself thanks to the successes of the Marshall Plan, and, on another level, between the conflicting strategic imperatives of deterrence and containment. Where NATO was ill disposed to fight directly (that is, on the European continent), it had to resort to what seemed to be a limitless arms buildup; yet where the United States and other European states decided they must intervene (that is, beyond Europe), deterrence functioned in reverse: namely, interventionists were deterred by the risk of what came to be called “escalation” in the act of containing, rather than defeating, the Communist threat. Here, too, diplomats stood more frequently behind the soldiers. As the 1950s wore on, then, the temptation among both groups to cloak ambivalence in moral self-righteousness rose considerably. No doubt it caused a good deal of grief for EUR and its European counterparts, especially when their careers advanced by virtue of their close ties to one another. British undersecretary of state Douglas Dodds-Parker chided Makins, by now the latest in a string of highly popular postwar ambassadors to Washington, that much of America’s own history and practices south of the Mason-Dixon line, as well as abroad, “reminds me of the great American children’s game of Cowboys and Indians, or what my—and perhaps your—half American children refer to (at least in the absence of their mothers) as Cowboys and Americans.” He went on to lay blame on a popular source:

Hollywood’s up-to-date glorification of sex, violence and alcohol, have in my personal experience in the past twenty-five years done more to eliminate the horrors of colonialism than any other single factor. They have more than offset the century of endeavor by Christian missionaries with the sole unfortunate effect that the locals are unable to distinguish between a European and North American skin pigmentation now that the indigenous Americans have been virtually eliminated…. All this is largely irrelevant to the pure doctrine of anti-colonialism as preached by the keen and semi-initiated.5

Makins would go on to serve in Washington right up to the eve of the Suez crisis. The timing of his departure was fortuitous, at least for him, but not for his large band of American fans, to the growing annoyance of his superiors.6

Gradualism would be put to rest, if not in the jungles of Vietnam, then in the warm waters of the Nile. The Suez crisis of October 1956 capped a difficult three years during which the United States was forced to take a stand against its British and French allies and, ironically, join with the Soviet Union and its incipient client, Gamal Abdel Nasser, right on the heels of the violent Soviet crackdown in Hungary. If the failure of the EDC was seen as a tactical victory but a strategic defeat for the Soviet Union, Suez appeared to signify the opposite for the West. In France, bizarrely, flags flew at half mast, but for the victims of the Hungarian crackdown, not for Suez. “The French are jubilant,” wrote the wife and daughter of diplomats, Susan Mary Patten, later Alsop: “[they] don’t care two pins for U.N. or world opinion, and are united in applauding the landings.” “But,” she added, “we talk Suez constantly and NATO is in pieces…. Bill [her husband] and I are for Eden and disgusted by the smugness of the Administration. Who forced Nasser to nationalize the canal? Dulles, of course.”7

Two things resulted: It became clear to even the most romantic latter-day Victorians that “empires [were] going out of style”—everywhere; and that almost no place in the Third World, even the vital Suez Canal, was worth a schism in the Alliance. After it was all over, the Europeans still knew that “we loved them.”8 Next, sanctimony toward the Third World would give way to redoubled attempts to cultivate direct ties to those blowing in the winds of change, especially in the Middle East, where President Eisenhower was said to prescribe more “molasses, not starch.”9 But the problems of decolonization continued to rest precariously upon widening cracks in the bureaucracy. Subsequently, it was not unusual for young foreign service officers, and others, to begin to wade directly into the internal politics of such places, much as they had done a decade before in Europe.10 EUR then spent the rest of the 1950s mending fences, while the fence-sitters continued to waver—only now it would become harder to play the Europeans and Americans off one another. As the British journalist Henry Brandon confided to his journal, the synthesis of two competing orientations—of “those who believe [foreign policy] must revolve around the Atlantic pact” and “those who believe that [the] US must pursue a strong anti- colonial policy”—was only temporary, with the result of “say[ing] we need to preserve the alliance in Europe and play the rest by confusion.”11

In the end both the EDC and Suez crises seemed to be brief setbacks with their own silver linings. Both shored up the power of EUR against would-be rivals. The only major negative side effect, at least in Europe, was the decision taken by the French to develop an independent nuclear force, although that probably would have happened anyway.12 The West Germans would rearm and join NATO as full members in 1955. The Middle East would grow more divided by the Cold War but would not divide the West again until the 1970s. Decolonization would proceed, by fits and starts, and with further crises, but also would not, apart from Vietnam, pose serious challenges to Atlantic solidarity. By the end of the 1950s, the Alliance was without a doubt in fine shape; and so too were the prospects for European integration, now that Europe’s anticipated economic boom had arrived. The people who ran EUR took conscious advantage of these crises much as their predecessors had during the war and their successors would after the nadir of the 1960s. They had been sufficiently “infiltrated” by integrationists at this point to succumb to the allure of the European project; even Livie Merchant and Ted Achilles were now nominal supporters.13 But so too were the integrationists brought around to the idea of an Atlantic Community and to NATO as its central pillar. Moreover, as will become clear in the next chapter, there were by now several important nongovernmental support groups that had come into existence, each promoting similar agendas.14 An important constituency had taken root, of course diverse and variable, but with significant reach into officialdom. It embedded a certain idea of the American commitment to Europe—both military and political—so well that it came to be taken for granted by most opinion makers. It was a surprise to very few of them, for example, that President Eisenhower rejected out of hand Charles de Gaulle’s proposal of a transatlantic triumvirate in 1958.15 Such a thing was no longer conceivable, just as going it alone would be unthinkable after Suez; and from then on, at any rate, personalities seemed to count for less. “It was clear,” according to a later account, “that de Gaulle did not believe that Eisenhower understood what he was talking about.”16 Institutions and collective arrangements, however nascent, mattered most of all.

THERE WERE, ALAS, two more crises to weather. The first was the collapse of State Department morale at the hands of Joseph McCarthy. The second was something few people remember today, but it was on everyone’s mind in EUR at the time: the folding into the foreign service of many of the Marshall Planners and other personnel in a process called “Wristonization.” The name derived from the plan of Henry Wriston, president of Brown University and head of the commission that prescribed the personnel changes. EUR survived both ordeals, not without some pain, but again, better than any other section of the department and in a manner that once again brought out its talent for transforming crisis into opportunity.

Some saw Wristonization as redemptive. “I believe that this new committee which has been set up under Dr. Wriston… may be productive of good effects,” Bob Murphy wrote to Jimmy Dunn in March 1954. “I feel reasonably confident that the low point has been passed for the Service.”17 He spoke too soon. Most people in the department reacted to the wholesale entry into their ranks of so many unwashed with a distaste that had not been seen since the days of the Rogers Act. Many of the “Wristonees,” as they were called, had served in the army or in the occupation, and none had taken the foreign service exam, which remained highly competitive, with only 18 percent having passed the written test in 1948–1950.18 Many of the newcomers, as it happened, were economists or administrative experts. They were depicted, in other words, as impostors and enthusiasts, “imbued with an evangelical zeal” and lacking the formation and common experience of the line officers.19

The postwar reforms did not stop there. In 1949, the latest in a series of State Department reorganizations finally completed the last of the great mergers—that of the department and its civil service employees, whose ranks and pay scales had risen substantially during the war, whereas the foreign service had shrunk badly, apart from the establishment of the Auxiliary Foreign Service. Now there would be a single foreign service with one exam, one set of promotion standards, and one large bureaucracy, with a continued effort at greater coordination, at least in theory, between operations and policymaking.20 The results were not altogether negative, but they were no doubt disorienting. George Kennan regarded it typically as the “final liquidation of the old Foreign Service we knew.”21 In a long colloquy with Wriston reprinted in the Foreign Service Journal, he noted that when he had joined, “one could rely on the uniformity and stability of the conditions in which, from then on, the competition for advancement and recognition would proceed.” Lest there be any doubt, Kennan added, “These hopes and expectations, as experience was to prove, were largely unfounded.” He went on to bemoan the further decline of the diplomatic corps, attributing it alternately to Wristonization and the ingrained incapacities of his country, which he noted, quoting Jules Cambon on democracies, would always “have diplomacy” but never “diplomatists.” Wriston responded in kind. “Some, [Kennan] says, ‘would think it more important to have 25 really superior officers than to have 2,500 mediocre ones.’ Would he object to 2,500 superior officers, or is he convinced the American democracy could not produce—or use—so many?” Wriston’s plan was meant to provide them. For his part, Paul Nitze, in one of his few instances of agreement with Kennan, termed the Wriston report “dishonest in its facts, illogical in its reasoning, politically biased in its tone.” He was not the only one to say so.22

It was a curious coincidence that the man Dulles charged with implementing these changes was none other than Kennan’s old Moscow colleague, Loy Henderson, who had reemerged from his Middle Eastern exile to become deputy undersecretary. He initially opposed the recommendations of the Wriston report, but he enacted the mergers with all the meticulous fairness he could muster and would leave behind a long legacy of admiration in the department, despite being disliked in some quarters. “There were two State Departments in those days,” recalled Jake Beam’s wife, Peggy, “one under Henderson and one under Bob Murphy.”23 In general, however, the diplomats fell in line behind the reforms. As with the Rogers Act, they claimed there was little to fear from amalgamation: The department’s mandarins retained most of their power, at least over policymaking. Their “grip” on the personnel process and on their department, at least as seen from the outside, remained firm.24

The 1950s was a volatile decade for the State Department despite all outward appearances of conformity and consolidation. General Marshall, who became secretary in 1947, brought a long-overdue sense of order and pride to a war-weary group of bureaucrats. He and his deputy, Bob Lovett, brought the department into policymaking to a degree it had not had seen, arguably, since the days of Herbert Hoover, and probably even beyond that.25 That position was cemented by Dean Acheson, later regarded as among the most formidable secretaries of the twentieth century, despite the considerable hostility directed against him at the time, which had more to do with the Republican insurgency in the Congress and the press against President Truman than with Acheson’s direct mishandling of either.26 In the words of British ambassador Oliver Franks, whom Acheson reportedly saw more often than all other ambassadors combined, the secretary “combine[d] an eighteenth-century style of personal taste with the moral conscience and austerity of a seventeenth-century puritan…. He is profoundly American in this regard.”27 Likewise for Acheson, Europe remained the supreme prize of the Cold War. Moreover, Acheson had established a relationship with the president that was closer, perhaps, than any other before or after him. Harry Truman relied upon him entirely, and with few exceptions, deferred to his judgment.

For those in EUR, then, it was the best of all possible worlds: They had a brilliant and engaged boss who not only had the full attention of the president but also cared deeply about their part of the world and viewed its problems more or less in the same way they did. Acheson did not always use the bureaucrats as much as he could have; they were, in his lawyerly mind, primarily aides for deliberation, that is, “second chairs.” Perhaps this was also because he made very few of his own appointments. With the exception of his counselor, Philip Jessup, almost all the senior officials, including his deputy James Webb and the assistant secretary for European affairs, a former Merck executive, George Perkins, were appointed to satisfy either Truman or some member of Congress.28 Apart from Webb (to whom Acheson was not close), most proved amenable and supportive, particularly Perkins—even though he was a registered Republican.

Few senior members of the department would survive the transfer of power in 1953. John Foster Dulles was a different kind of lawyer, corporate and more ostensibly methodical. Whereas Acheson strove to evoke the views of others in order to maneuver them into sharing and enforcing his own, Dulles simply kept all but the most trusted people away.29 And whereas Acheson, the son of an Episcopal bishop, let his core principles show only in moments of exasperation or—as will be seen in the next chapter—crisis, Dulles, the Presbyterian elder, wore his on his sleeve almost all of the time. The French diplomat and later foreign minister Maurice Couve de Murville, a Calvinist himself, noted the distinction:

I would say that the two men were almost exactly the opposite. First, in their behavior. While Acheson … is… very British… in the way he speaks and the way he behaves… [h]e’s a little difficult, of course…. He has certainly a sense of his intellectual and social superiority…. Foster Dulles was very different because he was much more simple. I wouldn’t say more modest, because I don’t know. But the appearance was more modest. Probably he was, just as much as Acheson (and that is not critical; it is normal), convinced that he was right…. But he showed his conviction in a different way…. [I]t is very much the difference between an Episcopalian and a Presbyterian… [b]etween…, in England, you would say an Anglican and a Nonconformist.30

It is amusing to think of Foster Dulles the schoolboy debating whether Washington or Lincoln was the greater president: “A man’s right to honor,” he said, “rests on two things: his character and his achievements, and it seems to me that Lincoln excelled Washington in both these respects.”31 The diplomat Coburn Kidd suggested that times called for nothing less: “[W]hen [Dulles] tells a Life reporter that we were ready ‘to smite them hip and thigh’… [t]hat is not optimism, but a cheerful lucidity of purpose in taking on the Devil…. This is what, I feel, is at bottom wrong with Kennanism: it is not tough enough to be Machiavellian; it is an artist’s conduct of diplomacy, and diplomacy is too serious to be treated as an art.”32 And yet Dulles seemed, unlike Acheson, willing to alter his views if a better argument presented itself. His mind was at once more recalcitrant and less fixed than his predecessor’s.

As the grandson and nephew of secretaries of state and a foreign policy authority in his own right since the 1920s, Dulles was seen as having been born to the position, in contrast with Acheson, who came to Washington as part of the Frankfurter migration, and despite becoming a leader of the “little hot dogs,” never really fit in fully with the permanent bureaucracy until he made it to the top. Dulles was always the heir apparent, although Eisenhower was reported to favor McCloy for the job and only chose Dulles after having been persuaded by General Clay that Dulles would have an easier time with Congress, particularly with Senator Robert Taft.33 Accordingly, Dulles entered into office with a clear sense of how things should be done, even though, again in contrast with Acheson, he had never previously held any formal office in the department.34

His relationship with the president was also very different from the one Acheson had with Truman. If the latter was an almost textbook study of the bond between lawyer and client, the former was more akin to a good cop–bad cop pantomime. For by the time he was “drafted” to the presidency, Dwight Eisenhower was far more surefooted than Harry Truman ever could have hoped to be in 1945. He was also a good deal more devious. In crafting his so-called hidden hand presidency, Eisenhower almost always let others take the credit, and the blame, for the administration’s actions. The histrionic Dulles was practically typecast for the part of foreign policy guru; yet there is little sign that he ever let himself forget who was in charge. This put the State Department in an odd position. The bureaus were consulted far less than they had been under Acheson; often they claimed to be embarrassed by Dulles’s speeches and his obsequiousness toward members of Congress. Their interactions with the hatchet men of the front office—hired to appease Senator McCarthy and his backers—were unpleasant, to put it mildly. Yet with regard to Europe, the advent of Dulles did not present an altogether unhappy prospect. Dulles was personally closer to Monnet, for example, than Acheson had ever been, and was regarded by EUR especially as a dyed-in-the-wool Europeanist.35 By his own account, Dulles’s closest affinity was to France, but he was also very experienced with Germany from his service on the Reparations Commission after World War I, when he became known for his lenient stance on payment conditions. Throughout the 1920s, Dulles worked extensively on German banking and other industrial cases.36

At the top of the list of the few people to whom Dulles listened regularly as secretary were Livie Merchant and Bob Bowie. Doug MacArthur, as already noted, was his counselor, and he enlisted David Bruce, a loyal Democrat, to be special representative to the EDC negotiations and to the Coal and Steel Community37 But almost everyone else from the Truman years, including the “Thursday lunch” group of Marshall Planners—Paul Nitze, Linc Gordon, Dick Bissell, Harlan Cleveland, and nearly all the rest—were cast to the political wind.38

EUR, however, survived the purges. Hugh Gibson, Joe Grew, Norman Armour, and Doc Matthews were called upon to pass judgment on ambassadorial appointments, and Matthews, as already mentioned, selected Merchant for the job of assistant secretary. Dulles pointed out in the same breath that Merchant was a “solid Republican” and that he, Dulles, would never let EUR be run by anyone who was not a fully trained foreign service officer. Merchant, for his part, replied, “In all my life no comparable bolt ever came from so blue a sky.”39 Merchant became assistant secretary for Europe for the first of two tenures that lasted, apart from a two-year interruption in 1957–1958, until the end of the decade. Together with MacArthur and Bowie, Merchant formed a European triumvirate that went by the name MacMerBo. It was immortalized in the following ballad by a deputy, Phil Trezise:

High Noon in Abazu or Robert R. Bowie Rides Again

Breathes a man with pulse so slow
As not to feel an inner glow
When scribes recount and bards sing, O The ancient glories of MacMerBo?

Whose memory’s so far arrears
As fails to call back from the years Those stirring days when ‘gainst the foe Stood ranged the phalanx, MacMerBo.

When marched this tiny, happy band With vision of a Promised Land Each day into the Secretary’s sessions Prepared to put the harder questions,

Control of arms, aid for the Indian,
Think twice of Matsu, hear out the Russian.

No cause so long, no hope so slight MacMerBo ne’er eschewed the fight.

So welcome, Bowie know our esteem Even while off in Academe

Tell us, though, do thoughts e’er go Back, back to times of MacMerBo?40

But the times were not so happy. From Dulles’s first week on the job—when he gave a notorious speech in the parking lot of the new department building about “positive loyalty”—he offended and frightened the staff, which, along with a few European counterparts, came to mock him in ways unimaginable since the days of Ed Stettinius. “Even the good Lord only saved the world once,” went a well-known saying. “The trouble with Foster,” went another, a play on nuclear brinkmanship, “is that he has such a weak head—three brinks and he’s brunk.”41 Acheson had had his own managerial hatchet men—namely, Carlisle Humelsine and John Peurifoy—but neither provoked the kind of animosity raised by Dulles’s “domestic appeasement” and two notorious deputies: Scott McLeod and John Hanes. McLeod was especially offensive: a vengeful, “roly-poly,” former FBI agent and member of the staff of Senator Styles Bridges, he was assigned to terrorize the foreign service. Many of his attacks were nakedly political, such as lowering the efficiency rating of Willard Beaulac, Carlton Hayes’s former deputy in Madrid, because he had made a campaign contribution to Adlai Stevenson. Doc Matthews, who, amazingly, was interviewed by the FBI about Dulles’s own loyalty, regarded McLeod as the most “despised person” ever to be visited upon the department.42 He performed with gusto until nearly being fired after passing personnel files to Senator McCarthy. He was subsequently named ambassador to Ireland. Hanes—of the underwear dynasty—had a softer touch and reserved much of his passion for birds. Both he and his colleague Roderic O’Connor—who replaced McLeod—had served briefly in the CIA and might have been deemed necessary to protect the department against excessive congressional pressure.43

It is important to recall here that despite the steep drop in morale, the State Department’s main problem with the McCarthyites was more managerial than ethical; that is, it had to do with security, not with loyalty per se. Too often its enemies in Congress conflated the two. The security problem was a long-standing one: Cordell Hull’s State Department had been known especially for leaks, missing files, and disorderly procedures. The loyalty issue also predated McCarthy. President Truman’s Loyalty Order came in March 1947, and a little over two months later, Secretary Marshall established a Personnel Security Board. In the first five years of its operation, the board had 745 cases, of which it passed along only 77 to the FBI, and it made only 3 “adverse decisions” relating to loyalty. (There were 30 for security.) Of the 205 Communists appearing on Senator McCarthy’s imaginary list (which the senator eventually narrowed to 61 actual names from the State Department), only 2 ended up being rated as “ineligible” on security grounds—the celebrated cases of John Carter Vincent and John Service. Neither came from EUR.44

Yet the climate of persecution provoked and exploited by the Mc-Carthyites was another matter entirely. Some government workers committed suicide or disappeared to assume new identities after the mere hint of an investigation. Kennan once described McCarthyism as “a struggle of the industrial civilization—technocracy and semi-educated against old liberal educated civilization.” Acheson called it simply, “the attack of the primitives.”45 It hit the department hard. McCarthy’s campaign began as an assault for the “loss” of China; it decimated the Far Eastern Bureau, drove both it and the Latin American Bureau to the conservative fringes for nearly two decades, and scared away many of the more talented Wristonees who were likely to have had dubious, New Deal connections.

EUR as a whole, however, remained comparably unscathed. Hickerson and his NATO group were solidly anti-Communist, even though Hickerson himself had moved to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations—a favorite target—and had once even supervised Michael Straight, the owner of the New Republic who was later revealed to be a Soviet spy. The German hands similarly were too important to destroy en masse. Almost none of the Soviet hands could be regarded as pink—despite Roosevelt’s earlier attempts to cleanse EUR of the old Kelley network. In general, the department’s postwar succession of undersecretaries—particularly Grew, Acheson, Lovett, and Bruce as well as Doc Matthews, Bob Murphy, and Loy Henderson, who served as deputy undersecretaries—worked hard to defend the service as best they could against its domestic enemies. But they and other senior members of the department seemed to regard the direct attacks on their organization more as a nuisance than a threat, and appeared mostly concerned with the negative effects McCarthy and others had on America’s image, particularly in Europe.46

A few tragic sacrifices ensued nevertheless. Some, such as Julius Holmes, one of the most talented officers in the department and an old acquaintance of Eisenhower, fell victim to the terrible state of the relationship between the State Department and Congress. Accused (most likely falsely) of corruption, there was little he could do to salvage his nearly destroyed career, in spite of numerous appeals on his behalf.47 Similarly, Sam Reber, regarded as a brilliant, cultivated, and extremely conscientious officer, not only for his work in Italy (where he had served under Breckinridge Long and William Phillips), France, and North Africa during the war but also as deputy high commissioner in Germany, retired from the service mysteriously in June 1955. He was, by most accounts, “an inherently decent sort,” even if he was “occasionally made the goat for unpopular moves worked out by his superiors.” It was rumored that McLeod had hit on something incriminating about his private life (Reber was another confirmed bachelor), but if it ever existed, it never surfaced in public.48 Other, lesser-known figures took the same route out of government, either scared or threatened by the inquisition. A few tried their best to react less seriously than was otherwise advisable. Ben Bradlee, who left the U.S. Information Service post in Paris for Newsweek, recalled the infamous European tour of McCarthy’s lackeys, the lovers Roy Cohn and David Schine, during which they purged embassy-run libraries of books and provoked as many officers as they could. According to Bradlee, the trip provided great amusement to the embassy and press corps, which conspired to embarrass the duo at every turn.49 Another who seemed to take the terror in his stride was Walt Butterworth. One day when headed to Capitol Hill to testify, his assistant noticed he was wearing his usual homburg and advised him to think about removing “that symbol of a diplomacy McCarthy was trying to vilify.” “This hat has been loyal to me for many years,” Butterworth replied after a brief moment’s thought. “I am not going to leave it now.”50

As suggested above, one would have expected McCarthy to select the Soviet hands for the harshest treatment. He did not. Most had such a solid anti-Communist record that attacking any of them would have been difficult, even for him. But there was one notable exception: Chip Bohlen. When Eisenhower named Bohlen to be ambassador to Moscow, the McCarthyites on Capitol Hill and in the press geared for battle. Here was the man who had been Roosevelt’s interpreter at Tehran and Yalta, who had roomed with Alger Hiss, and who, for years, had urged a pragmatic and flexible policy toward the USSR. And there were other rumors: For some reason, Bohlen’s secretary had become convinced he was a homosexual; he was said to drink too much and have loose friends, and so forth. There was even an allegedly incriminating tape, which Senators Sparkman and Taft listened to surreptitiously while lying on the floor of Dulles’s office. The secretary took it all most seriously: “Now, it’s been said that this Bohlen case is an acid test. I think it’s an acid test of the orderly processes of our Government.”51 But Bohlen proved too smart and resourceful to be brought down. Dulles did not put up a great fight for him, but Eisenhower ultimately did, and the Senate confirmed his nomination. The “small group of ‘willful men'” was defeated; the “shame that must rest on all Americans who cherish the moral dignity and intellectual freedom for which their country stands” remained.52

Less fortunate than Bohlen was his brother-in-law and close friend, Charlie Thayer. Unlike Bohlen and Alger Hiss, Thayer was both “a little guilty and a little innocent.”53 To borrow from the conspiratorial thinking of the McCarthyites, one might say that Thayer became the necessary scapegoat for Bohlen. Thayer was, to be sure, an unusual diplomat, though he regarded himself an expert on the subject and even wrote a book about the profession modeled on Harold Nicolson’s.54 A graduate of West Point, where he excelled mainly in polo and in fastening pup tents, Thayer left the army and made his way to Moscow, where he was appointed to the staff of Ambassador Bullitt and where he met Bohlen, to whom he became so close as to introduce him to his sister and Bohlen’s future wife, Avis. Bullitt’s memoranda are full of complaints about the duo and their high jinks, most of which are described comically in Thayer’s two short memoirs—Bears in the Caviar and Hands over the Caviar.55 Slightly more irreverent and somewhat less brilliant than Bohlen, Thayer served in Russia and in Afghanistan, and then went to Yugoslavia as the U.S. military adviser to Tito and his partisans, eventually landing in Germany, where he became a first-rate political reporter and one of the first foreign service officers to socialize frequently with German politicians in Bonn during the earliest days of the High Commission when such contacts were still limited. There he married the daughter of Jimmy Dunn and began to work on advancing a more conventional career as, among other things, one of the founders of Radio Free Europe. But being the misfit that he was, Thayer not surprisingly had a raucous private life. McLeod and company alleged that he was homosexual, and strung together a good deal of rumor to that effect, without ever proving their case. Thayer had fathered an illegitimate child with a Russian woman. He was threatened with publicity unless he resigned, which he did, and went on to live quietly and, for the most part, unhappily as a part-time journalist and novelist in Mallorca and Bavaria.56

Thayer’s case angered many in the government, particularly his long list of close friends. One was Bob Joyce, a foreign service and OSS veteran who subsequently suffered what seemed to be a mental breakdown, deciding to leave government service for the warm Greek skies of Spetsai.57 He resembled Labouisse and others of that generation—well loved, well educated, and well networked, and included Hemingway and Cy Sulzberger among his friends and acquaintances, with a wife, Jane, who was one of the handful of women who reigned over Georgetown society. He spoke for many of his colleagues when he noted at the time that “if the present process continues we are certain to find that Gresham’s law of bad money driving out good will increasingly apply to the Foreign Service and that… we will acquire a Foreign Service designed to serve a hagridden totalitarian state rather than a liberal and self-confident democracy.”58 For his part, Charlie Thayer may well have consoled himself with the lines he copied from William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus”:

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance. My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.59

Apart from these unfortunate cases, the impact of the McCarthy tragedy upon the State Department and its ability to do its job in Europe mainly had to do with morale. The “poison blows across the Atlantic like some horrible prevailing wind,” recalled Susan Mary Patten; few could avoid breathing it.60 The excitement and drama of the immediate postwar years seemed to crash. Where the influx and competition of nondiplomats energized the ranks of Americans serving abroad, McCarthyism in its various manifestations made them more cautious, even afraid, to take risks, speak their mind, and cement relationships. With few exceptions, they began to look inward, became defensive of their country and eager for opportunities elsewhere. Others tried their best to toe the line, with varying degrees of plausibility. In one such example, an opportunistic Doug MacArthur advised Dulles to mention more often the numbers of war veterans in the foreign service in order to counteract the impression of “cookie-pushing panty-waisters.”61 Still, McCarthyism was not the only source of poor morale. Dean Acheson’s former assistant, Jeffrey Kitchen, griped, “Little Rock and Sputnik have cost all that we gained through the prestige of the Marshall Plan effort and the humanitarian implications of [the] Salk vaccine.”62 The postwar years were turning out to be less sunny than anticipated.

The disruptions leveled upon the foreign service by Wristonization and the political purges of the 1950s, one by addition, the other by subtraction, also meant that other aspects of professional advancement would remain stagnant. The department made only superficial progress in building a more representative officer corps, although it had professed the desire to do so, even hiring a special “consultant on minority problems.”63 Perhaps its worst showing was in recruiting women. The appointment in 1953 of Frances Willis as the first female foreign service officer to head the Swiss embassy was only small comfort. There were only a handful of them, never reaching more than 10 percent of any incoming class and given a career expectancy of six years.64 Although the wartime rule against marriage to foreigners had begun to be relaxed for men—gradually, and provided they were the right kind of foreigners—women were still not permitted to marry at all. This is not to say that women did not play an important diplomatic role. Wives certainly did. Efficiency reports included ratings for the quality of one’s wife, her social talent and alacrity. It was nearly impossible to become an ambassador if one did not have a wife. When Selden Chapin’s wife became ill and had to return to the United States from their post in The Hague, Chapin’s teenage daughter had to step in to help run the embassy and oversee all social events. Not doing so would have been unthinkable, especially when one’s father had been a scion of the foreign service, indeed its first director- general.65 The ambassador’s wife was nothing less than the deputy ambassador for all things social and cultural. It was a full-time job. Upon arriving at a new embassy, a foreign service officer’s wife would report immediately to the ambassador’s wife and be given her duties. She could not opt out. Some were truly notorious—”Wahwee” MacArthur, wife of Doug and daughter of Vice President Barkley, and Elise Henderson, Loy’s Latvian wife, for example. Many an officer found his diplomatic skills stretched to the fullest in avoiding assignments to their embassies, not only for his wife and family’s sake but also for his own.66

IN MAY 1959, one month after the tenth anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty, John Foster Dulles took ill and died. His funeral was probably the most momentous of its kind since Roosevelt’s and featured a well-rounded Cold War ensemble: In attendance were Adenauer, Andrei Gromyko, Joseph Luns, Dag Hammarskjöld, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Heinrich von Brentano, Selwyn Lloyd, Spaak, and Couve de Murville, in addition to most senior members of the Eisenhower administration, the cream of Wall Street, and several prominent clergymen. Among the honorary pallbearers, Jean Monnet was the only foreigner. The band played four ruffles and flourishes and a strain of “God of Our Fathers,” and then John Foster Dulles, as Dean Acheson supposedly said, was underground, thank God.67

Replacing him was his deputy, Christian Herter, the former Massachusetts governor and Congressman whose committee shepherded the Marshall Plan through Congress. Herter was known as the “high priest” of the Atlanticists and is an underrated secretary of state. His tenure was brief and his health was not good; his relationship with Eisenhower was not anywhere near as close as Dulles’s; he was perceived, not inaccurately, as a kind of caretaker. But he cut an impressive figure, not as intellectually formidable as either of his two predecessors, but nevertheless as “a man of impregnable honor, which is much rarer and more important than brilliancy.”68 He certainly was less controversial and far less devious than Dulles. Like Dulles, Herter had been at Versailles in 1919, and was for many years a member of the foreign policy establishment; but unlike Dulles, Herter seemed to get along well with most people, a talent he honed during his years in state politics. Moreover, he really looked and sounded the part: tall, borderline lanky, with a high forehead, angular jaw, a perpetually worn bow tie, and a deep, patrician voice. He was, according to his friend Christopher Emmet, the “ideal appointment”: “He had many friends and no enemies.”69 The bureaucracy, especially EUR, could not have been more delighted. Herter had been a quiet but popular undersecretary and was regarded as one of them: He had joined the diplomatic service in 1916 after having studied architecture. His grandfather was an 1848 refugee from Germany who became a successful muralist. Herter himself had been born in Paris. With the possible exception of Henry Kissinger, he was perhaps the most European of secretaries, and though the influence of the State Department probably declined under his watch, Herter proved to be a happy transitional figure. Bohlen noted that under him, as under Marshall, the department had never been in better shape.70

Herter’s disposition and his diplomacy—simple, quiet, straight-forward—delivered a dignified end to a dramatic decade and a half, in spite of the U-2 affair in 1960 that scuttled the Paris conference, for which both he and the president had prepared so carefully. By the end of Eisenhower’s second term, Europe and the transatlantic relationship had begun, as Dulles was heard to say, accompanied by a swoop of his hand, to “all come together.”71 The ground for an Atlantic Community had been tilled and planted, and partisans inside and outside the department had begun the weeding. Many of the loose ends from the war—too detailed to be described here, but including, among others, the settlement of the Trieste and Saar disputes and the rehabilitation of Spain—were resolved.72 The bipartisan consensus on foreign policy, damaged by McCarthyism and Dulles’s occasional, odd insistence that the Atlantic Alliance was just one of several such arrangements around the world, was resumed, with NATO moving again to the head of the pack. Europe and America started to resemble Eisenhower’s image of “an expanding spiral of strength and hope and confidence,” while the unraveling of America’s influence elsewhere in the world had yet to begin in earnest.73

A respite for EUR was long overdue. The Cold War had already begun to take a toll on many people, especially the German hands. German policy underwent reviews so constant that they seemed to last the whole of the 1950s. But Jimmie Riddleberger had departed for the embassy in Greece and then to head the International Cooperation Agency. Perry Laukhuff grew fed up, transferred to Vietnam, and later ran the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. Another lesser known but beloved German hand, Arch Calhoun, ended up in Chad. Elwood Williams, despite his worsening muscular dystrophy and chain smoking, continued to preside over an exhausted but still formidable German office, reserving what remarkable, remaining energies he still had for the meticulous nurturing of talented officers, more impressive in mind than in appearance, in contrast, say, to the department’s specialists on France.74

One member of the latter group who finally left the foreign service in 1962 was Doc Matthews: The father of the Vichy gamble, the State Department’s senior delegate to Yalta and Potsdam, interim undersecretary, and, along with Dunn, Murphy, and Henderson, among the first class of foreign service officers to earn the new rank of “career ambassador.”75 His final embassy was in Vienna, where he was on hand to observe John F. Kennedy’s disastrous meeting with Nikita Khrushchev. Soon afterward, he decided to retire. A younger colleague, William Harrop, recalled Matthews’s last day at the office:

I saw him in that second corridor on the “C” Street side, where the Personnel area, the Foreign Service Lounge, the Leave and Retirement Office, and Accounts are located. He was walking around all alone, a little dazed. I said, “Ambassador Matthews, how are you? What are you doing?” He answered, “Well, I’m trying to retire. I’m going around here. I’ve got to find a Mrs. So-and-so. What is ‘PT4L2’? I’ve got all these papers to sign, and I don’t know where to take them.” He was wandering about. No one was helping him, no one was advising him…. It is a poignant moment in a man’s life to end a 40-year career. You just feel completely isolated, alone, and rather forlorn, walking around and slipping away. You hand in your identity card and slip out the side door for the last time you’ll be in the Department. It’s a rather difficult experience, which everyone must go through…. It’s a very different style altogether in the armed forces.76

This was the paradox of America’s “heroic age,” as Louis Halle called it. It featured diplomatic giants, both inside and outside the foreign service, people who wrote the rules of the Cold War, who established structures and patterns for a half century of international affairs, who led “a remarkable record of involvement in getting us plugged into the world.” Yet, with only a few exceptions, they did so collectively and nearly anonymously, less as conquerors than as subtle missionaries, eager to muffle with so many institutions and committees the slightest hint of self-interest in their actions and prescriptions.77 It was their manner, or what Henry James once called a tone-standard—the combination of the Marshall Plan’s mantra of “self-help” and EUR’s cautious balance of multiple national and regional interests—that made it all work.78

To sum up, the record of the bureau during its golden years came down to three sets of components that would transform both it and American diplomacy for the remainder of the twentieth century. To borrow some terminology from the military, they were as follows:

Strategically, there was the solidarity of the Atlantic Alliance, with the ultimate aim of constructing an Atlantic Community.

Operationally, there were NATO and European integration within a wider, global program of economic liberalization.

Tactically, there was the continuous pursuit of political, economic, and military measures that harmonized the two operational aims, both with one another and with the overall, strategic aims stated above.

This was the system that EUR devised in 1950–1951 that would survive, albeit with ups and downs, to the end of the 1980s. It was not as self-conscious an approach as one may like to think. Indeed, there often appeared to be an inverse relationship between the success of an initiative, as shown by the case of the EDC, and the outward conviction with which it was advanced. EUR’s approach, then, was a good deal more complex in practice, alternately deistic and Panglossian, claiming both victory and defeat while continuously serving, as Roy Jenkins once put it with reference to himself and European unity, as more “buttress” than “pillar.”79 Along the way it also acquired the most durable institutional memory in the department; indeed, it became its center of gravity. One is tempted to view the decade and a half as a kind of apotheosis, even though, again, few people would have said so at the time, or later. But there can be little doubt that EUR became more sophisticated in the 1950s. Not only did it preserve America’s commitment to Europe, but it also took the wartime recasting of its bureaucratic self as primus inter pares to new levels. It was both the enforcer of its own, seemingly permanent, supremacy at home and the unchallenged guardian of the transatlantic relationship. It would, moreover, reinvent the contemporary practice of diplomacy, and do so globally, showing by example the benefits of institution building, collective security, and the mutual reinforcement of an alliance and a community. It also demonstrated, though less voluntarily, how diplomatic professionals, technocrats, and political appointees could collaborate by accentuating one another’s better talents. The people and the policies did not fit well all the time; but on balance the arrangement worked. Indeed, some promoters of Europe would get so carried away with success that they would nearly wreck the whole effort in the 1960s. This is the subject of the next two chapters.bluestar

1. Kirkpatrick to Makins, November 22, 1955, RM, Box 525, Official 9.

2. James Bonbright Oral History, ADST; interview with Antonia Stearns; Achilles, p. 150. A variation on this story was told by Nicholas Henderson, with O’Shaughnessy having been exiled to Chicago, resulting in “a great swathe of Chicago that really got to know Cézanne and Botticelli.” Interview with Nicholas Henderson; MacArthur to O’Shaughnessy, May 3, 1951, RG59 Lot UP- 253, NARA, Box 2, f.1; for his relations with Caffery, see Susan Mary Alsop, p. 98. Achilles’s version has him going to Texas to work in the oil fields.

3. Matthews to Gruenther, April 5, 1958, Alfred Gruenther papers, DDE, Box 3, f.54. MacArthur’s pleas were received with “what is commonly called ‘mixed feelings'”; cf. C. H. Bonesteel III, “NATO and the Underdeveloped Areas,” March 1953, EUR Office of Regional Affairs, Office Files of Leonard Unger 1951–56, RG59 Lot 57D321-4, NARA, Box 4, f.23.

4. Hickerson to Bonbright, February 4, 1947, MH, Box 2, Reel 8; “British Commonwealth: Colonial and Imperial Policy,” March 19, 1945 (notes a hardening of policy), MH, Box 2, Reel 11; Bonbright and Raymond Hare to Hickerson, June 30, 1950, RG59 Lot 53D246, NARA, Box 1, f.2; Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Memorandum No. 231, “Consequences of Communist Control of French Indochina,” October 7, 1949, SMOF: National Security Council Files, Box 1, f.4, HST; Matthews, p. 363 (on taking the side of the Dutch in Indonesia); Charles Yost Oral History, September 13, 1978, DDE; cf. Nolting Oral History, HST, pointing out differentiated policies stemming from domestic politics in Europe; McCloy to Bowie, January 19, 1952, JJM, HC5, f.28; Marjolin Oral History, July 2, 1971, HST; Dillon address to the diplomatic press, March 20, 1956, HCL II, Reel 4; Lodge to SecState, January 12, 1959, ibid., Reel 5 (on Cyprus and Algeria); David Raphaël Zivie, La Guerre d’Algérie vue par un diplomate américain: documents diplomatiques rédigés par Francis de Tarr (Paris: University de Paris X, 1998).

5. Dodds-Parker to Makins, “Co Co Colonialism,” June 18, 1956, RM, Box 525, Official 9. In reply, Makins urged patience and understanding: “We are more Machiavellian than you might suppose.” Makins to Dodds-Parker, n.d., ibid.

6. Kirkpatrick to Makins, May 25, 1954: “I think I should let you know that some of your telegrams and letters have been arousing some resentment here because they seem to be rooting for America and critical of H.M.G.” RM, Box 527, Official 11; Roger Makins Oral History, February 6, 1990, Suez Oral History Project, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College, London; see also Oral Histories of Archibald Ross and Denis Wright in the same collection; cf. Hood to Caccia, December 3, 1956 and enclosure, JE1422/295 1956 FO371/119058 PRO; interview with Michael Palliser; Brandon, pp. 125–126.

7. Susan Mary Alsop, p. 294.

8. Thayer Oral History, DDE; Hickerson to Bonbright, February 4, 1947, MH, Box 2, Reel 8; Brendan Bracken to Lewis Douglas, January 25, 1957, Brendan Bracken Papers, Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, UK, BBKN 4(1) and infra; Winthrop W. Aldrich, “The Suez Crisis: A Footnote to History,” Foreign Affairs, April 1967; see Acheson to Frank Altschul, October 4, 1956, DAY, Reel 1, Box 1, f.9; Ball, p. 331.

9. Makins to Eden, April 3, 1953, RM, Box 525, Official 9. N.b.: The American ambassador in Cairo then was none other than Jefferson Caffery. He would be replaced presently by Hank Byroade.

10. Bob Murphy, for example, sent his deputy, Bob Blake, back to Murphy’s old stomping ground in North Africa to liaison with the National Liberation Front (FLN). Interview with Robert O. Blake; Blake Oral History, ADST; Martin Herz report on Algeria, MFH, Box 1, f.1, pp. 18ff. Dulles to Julius Holmes, July 13, 1955, John Foster Dulles Papers 1951–59, Subject Series, Box 6, f.12, DDE; Matthew Connelly, A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post–Cold War Era (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 162–163; Achilles to Joe Satterthwaite, September 4, 1953, Records of Joseph C. Satterthwaite 19530û72, RG59 Lot 72D232, NARA, Box 1; and Tuthill, pp. 103–104 for dissent within the Paris embassy.

11. Brandon diary, January 27, 1957, HB, Box 4, f.3; Yost to Achilles, December 19, 1949, RG59 Lot 53D246, NARA, Box 3, f.1; Robert A. Lovett Oral History, June 17, 1964, George Marshall Foundation, Lexington, VA; an exception was in Congo.

12. Robert Bowie and Pierre Gallois, September 24 and 17, 1990, Oral Histories, Nuclear Age Collection, King’s College, London.

13. Andrew J. Goodpaster Oral History, September 21, 1990, ibid.; interview with Arthur Hartman.

14. They included the American Committee on United Europe, the American Council on NATO, the Atlantic Union Committee, the Bilderberg Group, and several others (see the next chapter).

15. William R. Tyler to George Ball, February 3, 1964, National Security File, Country File, Europe, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, TX (hereinafter LBJL), Box 169, f.7; cf. Couve de Murville, pp. 33–34. See also Couve’s speech to the French National Assembly, April 14, 1966, for the lasting effects, in Maurice Couve de Murville Papers, Sciences Po, Paris (hereinafter CM), CM2.

16. Robert Kleiman, Atlantic Crisis: American Diplomacy Confronts a Resurgent Europe (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1964), p. 38. Relations with de Gaulle were already difficult, not only because of Roosevelt’s earlier treatment of him but also because of more recent snubs, including one at the hands of Jefferson Caffery. By the time Dillon arrived as ambassador in 1953, no American ambassador had met de Gaulle in seven years. The meeting was difficult to arrange, with Dillon finally resorting to the CIA and its colleagues in the French government to set it up at a private location. Dillon Oral History, EU; interview with Charles Cogan.

17. Murphy to Dunn, March 19, 1954, RDM, Box 88, f.19. Acheson’s views on Wriston and his predecessors (Hoover and Rowe) are in Present at the Creation, pp. 244–245.

18. Paul Mendelsohn, “Foreign Service Examinations (1948–1950) and Foreign Service Personnel Policies,” unpublished paper, Princeton University, January 1976, p. 3, JCG, Box 39.

19. Eugene H. Dooman to Joseph Grew, January 25, 1954, Eugene H. Dooman Papers, Hoover Institution for War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, Box 2, f.18; interview with Fisher Howe; Battle Oral History, HST; “F.S.O.” (anonymous letter) January 9 (1955?), MFH, Box 1, f.26; Joseph C. Green to Selden Chapin, June 29, 1948, Examination file 1925– 52 RG59 Lot 52D337, NARA, Box 15, f.3; “Preliminary Comments on Those Portions of the Report of the Hoover Commission Which Relate to the Foreign Service,” February 25, 1949, ibid., Box 16, f.5; A. Montague to Humelsine, January 26, 1953, Personnel Policy Files, RG59 Lot 56D286, NARA, Box 1, f.15.

20. Cf. J. Carmey Howell to John Peurifoy, n.d. (August 1950), Melbourne L. Spector Papers, HST, Box 2, f.1. Between 1945 and 1946 the size of the department nearly doubled, then again in 1950. By 1953, 32,000 out of 42,000 State Department employees were posted overseas. Statement by Donold B. Lourie before the House Committee on Government Operations, June 22, 1953, JFD, Reel 29.

21. Kennan to Henderson, January 24, 1955, LH, Box 2, f.11; cf. Kennan to Elim O’Shaughnessy, October 29, 1952, GK, Box 29, f.6; Howe Oral History, HST. The reform was part of a government-wide effort under the auspices of the two Hoover Commissions, the second of which was called “Little Hoo.” It was based initially on a suggestion by Joe Alsop to Henry Cabot Lodge. William Pemberton to Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., March 3, 1975, and infra, HCL, Reel 1; Andrew J. Goodpaster et al., Oral History, June 11, 1980, DDE; James L. McCamy, The Administration of American Foreign Affairs (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1950), pp. 68–73. Joseph Green, introduced earlier as the longtime head of examinations (until he was driven out of the department by Dulles) suspected that Wriston’s hostility to the existing system stemmed at least in part from “an unfortunate experience of one of his sons” who had applied to the foreign service. Green to Kennan, June 29, 1955, GK, Box 38, f.10. Green, incidentally, once taught Kennan, Merchant, and several other future officers at Princeton. Peurifoy, whose career in the department began as an elevator operator, had once been his clerk. For details on Green’s reaction to Wristonization, see Mendelsohn in JCG. A summary of the various reform efforts after 1949 (the Rowe, Wriston, and two Hoover Committees) is in Plitschke, pp. 453–456.

22. Nitze to Linc Gordon, January 4, 1956, DAY, Reel 15, Box 23, f.295. The Kennan-Wriston exchange (Kennan’s portion appearing initially in Foreign Affairs and Wriston’s in the Providence Evening Bulletin) was reprinted in the Foreign Service Journal (September 1955): 22–23, 45–56. Bohlen also considered it “a great mistake.” Bohlen Oral History, November 20, 1968, LBJL. Kennan depicted the decline as having been the product of a long-standing anti–foreign service bias on the part of Acheson and others: “a tragic thing because they had many good officers and they could have made a great service out of it.” See his Oral History, February 17, 1959, George Marshall Foundation, Lexington, VA.

23. Interview with Margaret Beam; Dulles to Eisenhower, October 26, 1954, John Foster Dulles Papers, Personnel Series 1951– 59, DDE, Box 1, f.9; John J. Harter, “Mr. Foreign Service on Mossadegh and Wristonization,” Foreign Service Journal (November 1980): 19.

24. WPG (?) to Henry Luce, December 2, 1954, C. D. Jackson Papers, DDE, Box 46, f.19.

25. Acheson Oral History, October 2, 1957, George Marshall Foundation, Lexington, VA. Lovett was another pillar of the foreign policy establishment. He helped to create the postwar air force, was the person who sold the North Atlantic Treaty to the Joint Chiefs (after having been converted to it himself), and for years thereafter made regular trips to Europe to survey conditions, report back to old friends and former deputies, and watch over policies. A lifelong hypochondriac, he died in 1986 at age 90. Interview with David Acheson; Walter Issacson and Evan Thomas, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (New York: Touchstone Books, 1988).

26. Often overlooked is Acheson’s background as the department’s former head of congressional affairs and international conferences under Secretary Stettinius—an experience that proved very useful given the number of multilateral and other matters on the horizon. Interview with David Acheson. See also Acheson, p. 89.

27. Oliver Franks Oral History, June 27, 1964, HST; Michael F. Hopkins, Oliver Franks and the Truman Administration (London: Frank Cass, 2003), p. 106.

28. Cf. Alsop: “His staff is so bad that both the Under Secretary and the Asst. Sec. in charge of West European Affairs (an incredibly dim man called Perkins) begin all conversations with the statement—’Of course, I know nothing about foreign policy’— which led Chip to say ‘At least they’re honest.’ And partly because Dean depends on these dubious creatures and has let Chip, George and the other professionals go, but mainly because he is always trying now to appease Congress and protect himself…” Alsop to Berlin, n.d. (1951), IB, Box 239, f.54. Perkins had been with the Marshall Plan in Paris and then went on, after his tenure as Assistant Secretary, to become ambassador to NATO. Cf. Alsop to Acheson, November 30, 1949, JA, Box 5, f.2; Alsop to Felix Frankfurter, January 6, 1950, ibid., f.4; Alsop to Robert Cutler, February 12, 1953, ibid., Box 8, f.8; Llewellyn Thompson to Board of Governors, Chevy Chase Club, September 23, 1949, RG59 Lot 59D233, NARA, Box 22, f.2; “FW” (probably Francis Williamson) to Jeff Parsons, “[D]on’t ever tell Draper that Perkins is a Republican,” ibid., Box 25, f.9 his emphasis.

29. Interviews with Roger Kirk and Fisher Howe; Hickerson Oral History, HST.

30. Couve interview with Philip A. Crowl for Dulles Papers, Princeton, June 19, 1964, in CM, CM1, emphasis in the original.

31. Debating points, n.d., JFD, Box 279.

32. Kidd to Merchant, January 13, 1956, JFD, Reel 40.

33. Alsop, p. 347; for Dulles’s roles during the Truman administration, see Memorandum of Conversation, Dulles, Truman, March 16, 1945, JFD, Reel 6; Hillenbrand Oral History, EU.

34. Not including his periodic service as an official envoy, representative, and negotiator.

35. J. F. Dulles to Allen Dulles, January 19, 1950, JFD, Reel 15, on why he “strongly favor[s] European Union” but not “Atlantic Union”; Achilles, p. 537, who advised him in this vein, “You could promote a lot more unity if you would pull rather than push”; Monnet to Dulles, November 11, 1958, JFD, Reel 52. Dulles and Monnet had known each other since World War I and worked closely together during the 1920s. See Bowie Oral History, EU.

36. “Memo of Conferences Had in Germany,” July 1923, and “The Young Plan in Relation to World Economy,” record of a discussion between Dulles and Hjalmar Schacht, October 20, 1930, at the Foreign Policy Association, JFD, Reel 2; telegram from Dulles to Henri Bonnet, November 26, 1952, JFD, Reel 20. The standard account of these years is in Leonard Mosely, Dulles: A Biography of Eleanor, Allen, and John Foster Dulles and Their Family Network (New York: Dial Press/James Wade, 1978). See also Max Warburg, Aus meinen Aufzeichnungen (Glückstadt: J. J. Agustin, 1952); Thomas W. Lamont, Across World Frontiers (Privately printed, 1950), p. 174.

37. The two were not close, although Bruce was a longtime friend and OSS colleague of Dulles’s brother, Allen. Monnet and General Gruenther prevailed upon Eisenhower (who needed some persuading, but only for political reasons) and Dulles to make use of Bruce. He had also been the department’s chief liaison during the transition period. Lodge to Bruce, February 14, 1974, Bruce Papers, Mss. B8303b, f.233, VHS; Eisenhower to Gruenther, December 24, 1952, Alfred Gruenther Papers, Eisenhower Correspondence Series, DDE, Box 1, f.2; Winand, Eisenhower, Kennedy and the United States of Europe, pp. 38–40.

38. The Thursday lunch group was a regular table at Washington’s Metropolitan Club, usually presided over by Nitze, which had met since about 1947 to work through the complexities of European policy. Edwin M. Martin, Oral History, July 6, 1970, HST.

39. Merchant to Dulles, February 9, 1953, JFD, Reel 27; Memorandum of Conversation: Dulles, McLeod, Tappin, O’Connor, Hanes, Leonard Hall, Chauncey Robbins (Republican National Committee), January 18, 1954, John Foster Dulles Papers, Personnel Series 1951-59, DDE, Box 2, f.11; Hanes to Sec-State, March 18, 1953, ibid., f.10; Dulles to Eisenhower, January 27, 1953, John Foster Dulles Papers, 1951–59, Subject Series, DDE, Box 6, f.14.

40. MacArthur to Merchant, January 22, 1959, LM, Box 5, f.11. More on “MacMerBo” is in MacArthur’s Oral History, ADST. Another person whom Dulles reportedly respected and listened to seriously on the subject of Europe was Bill Tyler. Interview with Roger Kirk.

41. Makins to Kirkpatrick, January 23, 1956, RM, Box 527, Official 11.

42. Matthews, p. 354; Charles E. Bohlen Oral History, December 17, 1970, DDE; Francis Wilcox Oral History, February–June, 1984, DDE; Thurston B. Morton to SecState, September 20, 1954 and enclosure, John Foster Dulles Papers, Personnel Series, DDE, Box 1, f.1; Blake Oral History, ADST; “appeasement” is from U. Alexis Johnson diary, Tape 9, U.A. Johnson Papers, LBJL, Box 1, f.1.

43. Handwritten notes on birds at Luna Plantation, March 27–31, n.d., John W. Hanes Jr. Papers, DDE, Box 4, f.23; interview with Jonathan Dean.

44. Data from Conrad E. Snow Oral History, July 2, 1973, HST. This does not include the eighty-one mainly junior clerks and typists dismissed for suspected homosexuality. By the 1960s, some 1,000 people lost their jobs in the so-called Lavender Scare. David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), pp. 76, 130. See also Robert D. Dean, Imperial Brotherhood: Gender and the Making of Cold War Foreign Policy (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), chaps. 4–6. Chapter 5 treats the Thayer and Bohlen cases extensively; see below.

45. Acheson, p. 354; Brandon diary, April 8, 1953, HB, Box 3, f.2.

46. They might have expressed themselves differently if they had not still been in official service. Cf. “Backing Our Diplomats,” letter to the editor of the New York Times, January 17, 1954, from Norman Armour, Robert Woods Bliss, Joseph Grew, William Phillips, and G. Howland Shaw.

47. Holmes to Murphy, September 6, 1945, RDM, Box 58, f.19; phone conversations with Winthrop Aldrich and Dulles, April 6, 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower Papers, Ann Whitman File, Administration Series, DDE, Box 2, f.1; Memoranda of Conversation, August 22, 1958, January 12, 1959, John Foster Dulles Papers, General Correspondence and Memoranda Series, DDE, Box 1, f.7; Memorandum of Conversation, May 18, 1956, ibid., Personnel Series, DDE, Box 1, f.10.

48. Hints appear in Reber’s file in Murphy’s papers (RDM, Box 90, f.15), most of which remain classified. Additional background on Reber from interviews with Margaret Beam and Jonathan Dean; Joseph Harsch to Dulles, September 4, 1956, John Foster Dulles Papers, General Correspondence and Memoranda Series, DDE, Box 2, f.9; Robert Dean; Reber to Walter Hallstein, August 6, 1953, Nachlass Walter Hallstein, Band 18, AA; Bonnet to Min., No.800 EU April 9, 1947, Série B, Amérique 1944–1952, États-Unis 101 MAE; and Mosely, pp. 313–314. Reber served in Brussels under Hugh Gibson and went on to join the delegation to the Geneva Disarmament Conference in the early 1930s, then served in North Africa during the war. His brother, Miles, incidentally, was a major general who was chief of congressional liaison during the Army-McCarthy hearings. The quotation is from Robert Bendiner, The Riddle of the State Department (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1942), p. 195; Matthews to Acheson, February 6, 1947, MH, Box 2, Reel 10. Another German hand who was threatened was Perry Laukhuff. Riddleberger’s daughter, Antonia Stearns, recalled many long visits to their house in the early 1950s accompanied by many tears. Interview with Stearns.

49. Bradlee interview and memoir, pp. 140–142; Thayer and Yost Oral Histories, DDE; Bruce diary, March 7 and 22, 1954, DB, Box 2, f.18.

50. Labouisse tribute to Butterworth, May 3, 1975, HL. Yet another was Miriam Camp, who convinced Dulles to sign a series of letters telling McCarthy to stop pestering her colleagues, namely Leddy, who defended the department’s refusal to punish the British for trading with China, one of McCarthy’s many pet issues. Leddy in “Miriamiana,” MC; for a less flattering view of Butterworth, see Achilles, pp. 253, 294, 892, and Kohnstamm Oral History, Jan–July 1986, EU, noting his “nationalistic fits.” Butterworth had once been a favorite of Pierrepont Moffat. Moffat to Atherton, May 11, 1935, JPM, Vol. 8.

51. Press Statement, March 20, 1953, JFD, Reel 24; John W. Ford, “The McCarthy Years Inside the Department of State,” Foreign Service Journal (November 1980): 12; Drew Pearson also had been accused of having a hand in spreading the rumors. Pearson Diaries, p. 314.

52. Louis Halle, “The Davies Case,” February 4, 1955, WL, Reel 65; A. R. Forest to Bohlen, March 28, 1953, CB, Box 29, f.1; Grew to H. Alexander Smith, March 26, 1953, ibid., Box 30, f.9 (re. his defenders—Grew, Armour, and Gibson); interview with Henry Owen; Bohlen to Eisenhower, July 29, 1959, Dwight D. Eisenhower Papers, Ann Whitman File, Administration Series, DDE, Box 7, f.11; for Dulles’s stance, John W. Hanes Jr. to W. W. Rostow, February 20, 1981, Eleanor Dulles Papers, DDE, Box 20, f.14, and for Eisenhower’s see Bohlen Oral History, DDE. Bohlen’s memoir (pp. 313ff.) barely mentions the substance behind the attacks on him or on Thayer.

53. Alice Longworth quoted by Marion Frankfurter, Frankfurter to Berlin, (July ?) 2, 1950, IB, Box 122, f.123.

54. Charles W. Thayer, Diplomat (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1959).

55. E.g., efficiency report for Thayer, August 1, 1936, WB, Box 40, f. 945; interviews with Frank and Margot Lindsay.

56. Thayer to John Paton Davies, November 5, 1954; Thayer to Nicolas Nabokov, March 27, 1953; Thayer diary, March 23, 1953, and infra, Thayer Papers, HST, Box 2, f.6, Box 4, f.6, Box 7, f.6; See also Dean’s Imperial Brotherhood, a reconstruction based largely on Thayer’s unpublished novel, “An Officer and a Gentleman”; E. Allen Lightner Jr. Oral History, October 26, 1973, HST.

57. Joseph Alsop to Evangeline Bruce, March 5, 1959, JA, Box 14, f.2; Alsop to Chip Bohlen, September 6, 1958, ibid., Box 14, f.4; for the role of Frank Wisner and Allen Dulles in the Thayer case, see Hersh, pp. 305–306.

58. Joyce to Charles Saltzman, November 26, 1954, HCL II, Reel 3; for similar thoughts, see Bill Tyler to Thayer, May 3, 1953; Jake Beam to Thayer, April 2, 1953, Thayer Papers, HST, Box 1, f.7; Box 4, f.16; interview with Wendy Hazard.

59. Above it, in the margin, he noted, “und wie!” Ibid., Box 2, f.4 (appears to have been misfiled among Thayer’s papers from interwar Germany).

60. Susan Mary Alsop, p. 204.

61. MacArthur to Dulles, August 28, 1953, JFD, Reel 32. To top it off, he gave the secretary a Yale fish to join the Harvard and Princeton fishes in his aquarium. Ibid., February 27, 1956, Reel 41.

62. Kitchen to Acheson, October 18, (1957?), DAY, Reel 11, Box 17, f.227; telephone conversation, Dulles and Herbert Brownell, June 12, 1953, John Foster Dulles Papers, Telephone Series, DDE, Box 1, f.6; Bruce diary, June 17, 1953, DB, Box 2, f.7; White, pp. 376–377; cf. Jonathan Dean memorandum, “Establishment of a Channel for Submitting New Ideas and Projects to the Department,” September 8, 1959, MH, Box 2, f.13.

63. A. E. Weatherbee to Scott McLeod, June 9, 1953, RG59, Lot 56D286, NARA, Box 1, f.7.

64. Max V. Krebs to Mrs. Anne Schenck Huxley, October 9, 1958, Christian A. Herter Papers, 1957–61, DDE, Box 6, f.1.

65. Interviews with James Lowenstein and Roger Kirk; Raymond Hare Oral History, June 15, 1972, DDE; Frederick Flott Oral History, ADST.

66. E.g., Nancy Matthews (the daughter-in-law of Doc), “Foreign Service Wife: A Study in Motion,” Foreign Service Journal.

(January 1981): 41ff. The formal practice lasted until 1972. Kopp and Gillespie, p. 21. An interesting British parallel, noting that the Diplomatic Service Wives Association was the “Foreign Office’s secret weapon,” is in Jane Ewart-Biggs, Pay, Pack and Follow: Memoirs (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984), pp. 102ff. I am grateful to Toni Stearns for this reference.

67. Details of Dulles funeral from memoranda, May 27, 1959, JFD, Reel 55. Acheson’s undocumented statement is part of Washington lore.

68. Bruce diary, January 5, 1967, DB, Box 5, f.25; Schaetzel Oral History, May 18, 1987, EU.

69. Except, perhaps, for Maurice Couve de Murville, with whom his correspondence in mid-1959 is extremely tense, e.g., Herter to Couve, May 2, 1959, and Alphand to Couve, November 27, 1959, quotes Herter, “Nous en avons assez de M. de Gaulle,” CM7, CM. Emmet profile from Die Zeit, January 10, 1957, his translation, Christian A. Herter Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University (hereinafter CAH), AM 1829, Series I, f.19; interview with Fisher Howe.

70. Bohlen, p. 259; Jeff Parsons to D. K. Adams, n.d., JGP, Box 9, f.18; Hillenbrand, p. 135.

71. Interview with Richard Mayne.

72. Notable troubleshooters in the Trieste dispute were Llewellyn Thompson, James C. Dunn, Elbridge Durbrow, and Robert Joyce as well as Robert Low, the Time correspondent in Italy. Joyce to Dillon, October 23, 1953, RG59 Lot UP253, NARA, Box 2, f.6; Joyce excerpts from draft memoir, Robert Joyce Papers, private collection; Matthews, p. 304; Philip E. Mosely, “The Treaty with Austria,” International Organization 4, no. 2 (May 1950): 219–235; Durbrow draft memoir, ED, chap. 41. Durbrow was serving as deputy to Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce, who claimed a good deal of the credit for herself: e.g., Luce Oral History, January 11, 1968, DDE. The officers charged with paving the way for normalizing relations with Spain were Outerbridge Horsey and Jack Morgan. Interview with George Vest. A summary of the Saar negotiations is in Schwartz, pp. 87–89.

73. Andrew J. Goodpaster Oral History, October 11, 1977, DDE; Francis Deak to Merchant, January 21, 1953, RG59 Lot 57D321-4, NARA, Box 4, f.28.

74. Bruce diary, April 24, 1958, February 20, 1959, DB, Box 3, f.7, f.20; Laukhuff to Hillenbrand, May 5, 1953, Bernard Gufler to SecState, August 3, 1959, MJH, Box 6, f.11, and Box 4, f.5 for photos. I am grateful to David Klein for identifications.

75. Merchant had also been on the list but his promotion was postponed for reasons of seniority, which reportedly upset Eisenhower so much he refused to sanction another class. Briggs, p. 383.

76. Harrop Oral History, ADST.

77. Louis J. Halle Jr. to Acheson, October 7, 1953, DAY, Reel 10, Box 15, f.189. Cf. Bob Joyce: “I think that historians in the future will agree that this short period of 1947–49 represents, at least in international affairs, ‘our finest hour’… The decay started in 1950.” Robert Joyce Papers, private collection; interview with Arthur Hartman; Merchant, “Summary of Remarks at Conference on U.S. Foreign Policy, June 4 and 5, 1953,” JFD, Reel 27.

78. See Henry James, “The Question of Our Speech” (1905), reprinted in Pierre A. Walker, ed., Henry James on Culture: Collected Essays on Politics and the American Social Scene (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), pp. 42–57.

79. Jenkins, p. 2.


Ken Weisbrode is Assistant Professor of History at Bilkent University.


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