Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


J. Graham Parsons Papers

Dates: 1947-1984. Bulk Dates: June 1947-November 1948.

Assistant to the Personal Representative of the President of the United States to the Vatican

The papers of J. Graham Parsons consist almost completely of documents created during or related to the time he spent working as an assistant to Myron C. Taylor (June 1947-July 1948). Taylor was the Personal Representative of the President of the United States to the Vatican. Most of the documents are letters that describe Parsons' work regarding U.S. foreign policy, his defense of the legitimacy of Taylor's office, and his reaction to being given an unexpected new assignment after only a year in his position.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than 100 pages.
Access: Open.
Copyright: Copyright in J. Graham Parsons' writings in these papers has been donated to the United States government. Documents created by U.S. government officials during the course of their official duties are in the public domain. The copyright in all other written documents in this collection is presumed to remain with the authors of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Orlando Williams as part of the Internship Program at the Truman Library
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and Amy Williams

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1907, October 28 Born, New York City, New York.

1929 Bachelor of Arts, Yale University.

1932-1936 Private Secretary, U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

1936-1943 Vice Consul, American Embassy, Cuba, then Manchuria, then Canada.

1943-1947 Department of State, Washington, British Commonwealth Affairs Section.

1947-1948 Assistant to the Personal Representative of the President of the United States to the Vatican.

1948-1950 Consul, American Embassy, New Delhi, India and Kathmandu, Nepal.

1950-1951 Assigned to the National War College.

1951-1953 Deputy Director, Office of European Regional Affairs, Department of State.

1953-1956 Deputy Chief Mission Minister, American Embassy, Tokyo.

1956-1958 Ambassador to Kingdom of Laos, Vientiane.

1961-1967 Ambassador to Sweden, Stockholm.

1991, October 20 Died, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of J. Graham Parsons consist mostly of correspondence and miscellaneous documents created during his service as an assistant to the Personal Representative of the President of the United States to the Vatican and the months immediately thereafter (mid-1947 to late 1948). Most of the documents are correspondence between Parsons and officials of the Department of State, particularly Walter C. "Red" Dowling of the Division of Southern European Affairs, touching on various issues. In a message early in the collection, Parsons expresses the United States' desire to see Spain operate as a republic rather than as a monarchy. Parsons' later letters indicate that Pope Pius XII agreed with U.S. foreign policy.

Other letters document contacts between Parsons and a Protestant research group. The group questioned the need for relief in Italy, as well as the legitimacy of Myron Taylor's office, on the grounds that this office represented a violation of the separation between church and state.

The letters written after Parsons was given his new assignment in India in July of 1948 are generally more personal in nature. In these letters, Parsons shares his feelings about leaving Rome. He professes to have enjoyed Rome and he defends his former secretary against rumors of poor work habits.

Finally, the papers include a letter from Parsons describing what he calls "my small package of Vatican material," Italian language propaganda of the Christian Democratic Party from 1948, and a report describing Parsons' personal views on President Truman's relationship with Dean Acheson. Only one letter in this collection of papers is to Myron Taylor. According to Parsons, Taylor "instigated" the removal of Parsons from his position at the Vatican.

More information concerning relations between the U.S. government and the Vatican during the Truman administration can be found in other collections at the Truman Library, most notably in the Myron C. Taylor Papers and in the Harry S. Truman Papers: White House Central Files: Confidential File.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1 Subject File, 1947-1984, (Bulk Dates 1947-1948)
Parsons' diplomatic identity card, letters between Parsons and Department of State officials, memoranda, personal letters, Parsons' letter to the Truman Library describing his papers, miscellaneous material, written report, and a Who's Who in America biographical entry. Arranged alphabetically. Letters are in chronological order.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Correspondence, 1947-1948
  • Miscellaneous Materials Regarding J. Graham Parsons

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