Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Ben Hill Brown

Oral History Interview
with
Ben Hill Brown

Assistant to legal adviser, Department of State, 1946-49; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, 1949-55; assigned National War College, 1955-56; Foreign Service officer, 1956---; director, U.S. Operations Mission to Iraq, 1956-58; U.S. Operations Mission to Libya, 1959-60; consul general Turkey, Istanbul, 1960-64; U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, 1964-69; retired, 1970; private consultant, 1971-- .

Attended the General Assembly, U.N., as advisor, 1947; member, survey mission to Germany, 1948; member, U.S. delegation to Intergovernmental Conference to draft agreement establishing International Authority for the Ruhr, 1948; vice chairman, U.S. delegation to U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, 1964.

Called to active duty as Reserve officer, 1941; served, military government Italy, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces, in England, France, and Germany; deputy chief, acting chief, legal branch, Office of Military Government (U.S. Zone), Germany, 1945-46; inactive duty as Lieutenant Colonel, Judge Advocate General's Department, 1946.

Alexandria, Virginia
May 24, 1975
by Richard D. McKinzie

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]


NOTICE
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened July, 1979
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]



Oral History Interview with
Ben Hill Brown

Alexandria, Virginia
May 24, 1975
by Richard D. McKinzie

 

[1]

MCKINZIE: Ambassador Brown, a lot of historians are interested to know why people go into Government service in the first place. You got a law degree, but did you expect at that time that you would have a career in Government?

BROWN: No, I did not. As a matter of fact, after I got my degree I took the South Carolina bar and

 

[2]

started practicing in South Carolina. I practiced until October 1 of 1941, when I was called to active duty, and I never got back to the private practice of law.

MCKINZIE: How did you get involved in the military government?

BROWN: I had a Reserve commission in the infantry and when I was called to active duty, I took three months training at Fort Benning; the Basic Rifle and Heavy Weapons Course. There was every indication that I was going to be an infantry officer for the duration of the war.

Then I was assigned to Camp Croft after leaving Benning, and Camp Croft happened to be in my own town. The Military policy detachment there was having a little trouble with troops in town and in getting along with the local police force. So, they found out that I was both a lawyer and a resident of Spartanburg and

 

[3]

shifted me into the Military Police to have charge of the patrolling in the town and also to act as liaison with the local police.

Then so many things just happened that changed the whole course of my life. The Occupation Police School at Fort Custer, Michigan, had a course to train people for occupational police work, and Camp Croft drew one slot to send someone there. It required a college degree and I was the only officer in the Military Police detachment with a college degree, so I was sent to the Occupational Police School at Fort Custer.

About six weeks after that course was over, I was ordered overseas for Occupational Police duty. I was sent to North Africa, where they were staging for the invasion of Sicily, and later Italy.

When I got there I talked my way out of the police and into the legal side, and I spent almost

 

[4]

a year in North Africa and Italy. Then, with a group of other officers, I was switched out of there and up into England to prepare for the Northern European invasion. I was assigned to the legal branch of G-5 SHAEF. [Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces] G-5 was the military government branch of SHAEF. From then on the future course of my life was pretty well laid out.

After the war I stayed on for almost a year, because I had no children and very few points for getting out. During that time I became deputy to Charles Fahy, who is now a justice on the Federal appellate court. He was asked by Secretary [James F.] Byrnes to come into the State Department as his legal adviser. I was getting out of the service about that time and he asked me to come in for one year, said he hated to go into a job like that with nobody whom he knew on his staff.

So, I went in for one year and about 25

 

[5]

years later I retired.

MCKINZIE: There have been a few people who said that military government suffered because everybody wanted to get out and go home and they got a lot of people who were not terribly qualified that came in right after the end of the war and stayed on during the occupation period. Is there any validity to that?

BROWN: Yes, to some extent there is validity in that. There was a tremendous rush to get out. I remember seeing a letter from Eisenhower to McNarney in which he said, "You cannot imagine what the sentiment is here in the United States for bringing troops back from Europe. We've got to cut down on the staff there just as far as we possibly can." Well, at that point I could have gotten out and come home, but I've gotten interested in it and decided I would stay on. Still, a lot of people did come home, and as a

 

[6]

result they shifted people in who had no experience whatsoever in military government. The ones who knew the most about it had served three to four years before they actually got into the operational side of it, and they went home. But we still had a fairly competent staff in most of the key positions. I think where it suffered most was out in the small areas, in the Kreis [roughly equivalent to a township] areas in Germany, for example. I was in Frankfort at the headquarters of USFET as it was then called, U.S. Forces, European Theater, and I headed the Government Affairs Branch of the Office of Military Government for the U.S. Zone. I was responsible for legal problems, public safety, and four or five other operations. The staffs we had at the headquarters, Munich, Stuttgart and Weisbaden, were pretty competent people. Those who were under them, out in the field, sometimes didn't really measure up, but I still think the military government did a first-class job on the whole.

 

[7]

MCKINZIE: Is it safe to say that everyone in those positions that you classify as competent clearly understood what they were supposed to do in military government?

BROWN: Yes.

MCKINZIE: How did you feel about the Morgenthau plan?

BROWN: There was always some question as to how far you would go, but we certainly had the feeling that the Morgenthau plan was definitely out at this point, after the end of the war. We were beginning to assist in building things back to normal within a month after the surrender. Then we set up various LAND [State] headquarters in Munich, Weisbaden, and Stuttgart, where we got German participation at a level higher than the Kreis level, which had been the original top level of German participation. The people who passed the denazification test and had experience in public

 

[8]

life were given a certain amount of authority and certainly were consulted. It wasn't very long before some Germans were coming into the picture, and I don't think anybody ever felt that we were going too fast in this. Later I think the sentiment was that we hadn't gone fast enough, but that would have been after I left. I left in May of 1946.

MCKINZIE: Did you hear, at the time you were involved in these legal matters, any criticism that the denazification program you had was depriving Germany of leaders which it required for the restructuring of the...

BROWN: There was some of that, but I think it was probably more than countered by the feeling that if we were going to rebuild Germany, we'd have to do it with people who were as clean as we could possibly get. We could not put the same people back in.

 

[9]

MCKINZIE: You recall now your own feelings about how Germany was going to be in the future? Did you have any feelings about the future?

BROWN: If you are asking whether I foresaw what finally happened in Germany, the answer is no. I had no idea that an economic miracle would take place, and that Germany would become such a staunch friend of the United States. I thought they'd come back as an industrial nation, rather than a pastoral one, as Morgenthau proposed, but I never foresaw the rate at which they would come back and the levels that they would achieve.

I began to see it later when I was in the State Department, because my first three years in State were spent in the legal adviser's office and I was responsible for legal matters in the occupied areas. That is Germany, Austria, Japan, and Korea.

 

[10]

MCKINZIE: In that capacity, did you have to deal at all with the questions of the reparations, the tax problems that came up, on the patents?

BROWN: No. The German's patent problem was handled more by the Department of Justice than by State. I did get involved in both reparations and the reparations in kind, which was the principal form of reparations at that time. I'm trying to remember what the program was called where they pulled the machinery out of the factories in Germany and turned it over to the Russians, the British, and the French. At that time pressure was beginning to build up in Congress to cut back on that program, and that gave us a great deal of trouble with the British and the French, who did not want to cut back, who wanted the machinery themselves by way of reparations. We even had, I think, riders to various and sundry aid bills that came along, about the time of the

 

[11]

beginning of the Marshall plan, which would require that we cut back on the program of moving machinery from Germany. So, reparations died out a lot more quickly then the British and the French wished. You could understand the theory of the people in Congress. We were voting money to go into Germany to help to build it up, and at the same time we were taking machinery out of Germany that would ultimately have to be replaced by American money. In effect we were paying reparations to France and England.

MCKINZIE: I understand that the French were particularly adamant about getting their...

BROWN: More so than the British, but the British were pretty strong on it too.

MCKINZIE: How did that work at the legal office for you? Did you feel that you had an input on the policy decisions that were made, or was it more

 

[12]

of an executed fact which was passed down?

BROWN: I think we had some input, but not a great deal. Mostly the policy was decided elsewhere, but frequently we would have to give a legal basis for the policy and give them the limits within which, as a legal proposition, they could make decisions. That did affect policy decisions to some extent, but more from a standpoint of saying, "You can do this and you can't do that."

MCKINZIE: When you got back to the State Department in 1946, what did you do which ultimately led you to become adviser to the U.S. delegation to the General Assembly at the U.N. the next year?

BROWN: Frankly, I don't know why I got that job; I really don't. They wanted somebody from the legal adviser's office, and somebody put the

 

[13]

finger on me. By that time, the German work had cut down a certain amount, but it was still fairly heavy. I think part of the reason was that John Hilldring was at the United Nations working on the Palestine question. I had known him when he was Assistant Secretary of State for Occupied Areas, since I was the legal adviser for Occupied Areas, and I've got a sneaking suspicion that John Hilldring asked for me. I've never known for sure whether that happened. All I know is that I was told to pack up and be up there on about two day's notice.

MCKINZIE: Did you happen to find a particular problem in...

BROWN: I was with the group that was working on the ad hoc committee on Palestine. That was the only assignment, but within that it was a pretty broad responsibility. General Hilldring headed it up, and there were three junior officers.

 

[14]

I was one; Fraser Wilkins, who later was Ambassador to Cyprus, was another; and Bill Cargo, who is now the Ambassador to Afghanistan, I believe, was the third. We pretty well divided up the duties among ourselves. I didn't do as much legal work there as I did just general policy on the question of Palestine. How were we going to get through a plan that would conform with United States policy and keep the Russians from sabotaging it?

MCKINZIE: Did you feel at that time there was clear U.S. policy on that question?

BROWN: Yes, I think there was. First [Thomas E.] Dewey came out with a statement supporting an independent nation, or a Jewish state in Palestine, and then Truman came out for it. Certainly there was a definite policy that there had to be a Jewish state; within that there was a lot of leeway as to how it would be brought about,

 

[15]

because we also felt that there should be an Arab state in Palestine.

So, there was top level agreement; there was a policy, but that doesn't mean that there weren't a lot of people in State Department who disagreed with that policy. They were mainly the Arabists, the Near Easterners, who had dealt with that area for years and who felt that it was a mistake to impose a Jewish state on the Arabs in Palestine. There was a certain amount of backbiting going on and undercutting, which you had to be careful about. When you got instructions from Washington to the delegation, you had to be sure one way or another that these had not just come out of the Near Eastern area, that they had also been considered in other areas of the Department.

MCKINZIE: What about people who were zealous for the creation of an Israeli state? Some people have

 

[16]

written that there were strong lobbyist groups who managed somehow to infiltrate their corridors and had easy access to the delegations at that time.

BROWN: There were a number of representatives of the Jewish Agency, which was, you might say, "accredited" to the U.N. The Agency had some kind of a status as observers at the U.N., and its representatives were all over the place. There were a lot of U.S. zealots there too, but at that time (and it seems rather strange today with Kissinger handling so much of the Middle Eastern problem), the Department was very careful that only Gentiles were working on this question in any public way, to avoid the public appearance of a Jewish lobby, or whatever you would call it at that time, running things in the State Department -- or in the administration more than just in the State Department.

MCKINZIE: Did you yourself have to deal with the British?

 

[17]

BROWN: Yes, I did. We had a committee of, I think, 13 nations which was drawing up the plan that was ultimately proposed. The British did not serve on that committee because they had said that they washed their hands of it; it was up to the U.N. Still, they had people sitting with us as advisers, and I'd say for the most part, except for the fact they wouldn't take any responsibility, they were helpful to us in furnishing information that we needed as we went along. On a personal basis I got along quite well with the Britishers who were working within that group.

MCKINZIE: So policy differences need not result in antagonistic feelings?

BROWN: No. If they did you would probably never get anything done. I've been to a number of conferences where we had strong policy differences with other nations, but it didn't mean that

 

[18]

we were at sword's point all the time or didn't speak to each other out of committee meetings in a very friendly way.

MCKINZIE: Did they have regular meetings of the delegation?

BROWN: Yes. We had a delegation meeting each morning under General Marshall when he was there in New York, and under Warren Austin, who was at the moment chairing the entire U.S. delegation. Every morning we'd have a delegation meeting, but I didn't go to all of them. I only went along with Hilldring to those where the Palestine question was to come up in one way or another. I was very thankful for not having to go, because I usually got to bed about 2 o'clock the previous evening. We had many, many night sessions in the Ad Hoc Committee where we would get back into New York from Lake Success at maybe 10, 11, or 12 o'clock at night. Then we had to go back to the office

 

[19]

and write up what happened during the day, send out telegrams to Washington, and come up with a report that Hilldring could make the next morning at the staff meeting. So, when I didn't have to go to that staff meeting I was just as happy.

MCKINZIE: Were there any unusual legal problems involved?

BROWN: There was one problem, which was the basic problem of whether the U.N. had any authority to set up a Jewish state in Palestine. I don't think there was any definitive answer to that. Of course, what the General Assembly did was to recommend the setting up of a state. I suppose they had authority to recommend anything, but it was hard to find any legal basis for the U.N. to set up a state in Palestine, either an Arab state or an Israeli state, or both.

MCKINZIE: In doing that kind of work were you looking

 

[20]

simply at the U.N. Charter or were you looking on other precedents?

BROWN: We were looking at the whole gamut of international law to try to find precedents. We came up with a long memorandum, but I did not participate in its preparation because it required more research than there were facilities for in New York and certainly more than there was time for. The legal adviser's office back in State, under the legal adviser for International Organization Affairs, prepared a brief on it, which I worked over and made into the form of a speech.

That was the biggest legal problem, and then there were other legal problems as to what form this state should take, and so forth. There was also the effort -- and this was recommended -- to have an economic union between the Jewish state and the Arab state. There were certain legal problems involved in that, but we never got

 

[21]

deeply enough into it for it to be a serious obstacle.

MCKINZIE: That response has been made that you feel that the United Nations really had clout to carry on something quite as full as this whole Palestine precedent was, the U.N. had evolved from 1945 in a way that was a little different than people thought it might evolve, and it didn't have much economic -- you mentioned economic -- didn't have much economic function.

BROWN: That's true. Maybe we deluded ourselves, but I think we felt that whatever the U.N. recommended would probably happen. We may have been too close to see all the other factors that would have an effect. I certainly developed doubts after it was all over, but at the time I think we all more or less felt that whatever the U.N. came up with would do it. The U.N. came up with partition, as it was then called, and I think we

 

[22]

expected it to take place. It didn't until a pretty bloody war had been fought.

MCKINZIE: When you were working in the Office of the Legal Adviser, how were assignments made? You went from this business in 1947 to the mission on Germany again in 1948. Was this kind of ad hoc as problems arose?

BROWN: No. The one at the U.N. was ad hoc, because I had had no connection with Palestine or with the United Nations, but the mission to Germany and the conference on the industrialization of the Ruhr were within my phase of responsibility as legal adviser for Occupied Areas. Another thing I did was that I went to London for about a month to serve as a substitute on the United Nations War Crimes Commission. There again, that was connected with occupied areas, because of the trials going on in Nuremberg.

 

[23]

MCKINZIE: Could I go back and ask you about this conference on creating the international authority for the Ruhr? Good idea quite aside from the policy decisions that were taken?

BROWN: Yes, I think it was a good idea and we had a great deal of hope. As a matter of fact, it really got the Ruhr started again, although it didn't last any great length of time under international control because of political developments in Europe. I think that what we came up with, the statute for the Ruhr, was a good document. It settled relationships between the British, the French, and the Germans on what was to be done on the Ruhr, whereas up to that time there was a great deal of controversy. You had General Clay wanting to develop the Ruhr because he was interested in building Germany back up economically. The French and the British were more strongly opposed to it than we were. I might

 

[24]

say more accurately that they were more lukewarm about the idea than we were; they had certain reservations. (Incidentally, just about this same time, that big question of the reparations by the removal of equipment was very hot.) I think that the conference we had on the Ruhr came up with something that was workable as long as the situation then existing from a political standpoint went on, but as the situation changed and Germany got more and more authority, there was no longer any need for the international authority.

My responsibility at that conference was the drafting of the agreement. We went over with a draft and then, of course, it was modified from time to time because there were six countries participating; England, France and the Benelux countries.

MCKINZIE: I keep coming across people who write

 

[25]

about the kind of attitude that existed in part of the State Department at that time. I guess its chief spokesman was then Will [William C.] Clayton, who had a strong commitment to the idea of European integration. Did that have influence in those discussions?

BROWN: Well, to some extent it did. Getting the Ruhr going again was certainly a prerequisite to any form of economic integration in Europe. Those who were in favor of that were certainly in favor of getting the Ruhr going again. We, from an occupation standpoint, were in favor of getting it going again in order to try to reduce the burden we were carrying under the GARIOA program, which was Government and Relief in Occupied Areas. That, incidentally, was a legal problem, because we didn't have any direct congressional authority for it. We were pouring money into Germany, and the only legal basis

 

[26]

we had was the Geneva Convention. Every time that appropriation came up it would have been subject to a point of order, and it would have been quite a discussion as to whether or not the Geneva Convention was sufficient authorization.

MCKINZIE: Do you think that GARIOA funds constituted General [Lucius D.] Clay's slush fund? There were some unusual expenditures made under the GARIOA program.

BROWN: Well, I guess there was probably less restriction placed on the use of GARIOA funds than on any fund that has been developed since for aid to other countries. There being no authorizing legislation wherein the restrictions are usually contained; it was just pretty much left up to the executives to spend it as was needed to -- in the words of the Geneva Convention -- "prevent disease and unrest."

It was sort of a nebulous authority. As a result

 

[27]

the restrictions on it were pretty much only those that the executive put on itself, although I think from time to time the appropriation bill would have certain riders. That was one of the bills on which they used to try to put on the rider about removal of equipment from German factories.

MCKINZIE: There was, as I understand it, a desire on the part of the military, in 1946 or so, to get out of Germany. The Army at first didn't appear to want to continue as the administrators of, particularly, Germany, but I got the impression from various documents that it was the State Department that dragged its feet, that it didn't feel that it should become an operating agency.

BROWN: I think that's true. For a long time we didn't feel we were equipped to do the job. The military had always had an operating function

 

[28]

where our function had not been operating. We were reluctant to take it over, but I think we all saw that ultimately it had to be done. We couldn't keep it in a military situation all the time and we couldn't, all of a sudden, swing it over from the military directly to the Germans. There had to be a period where there was civilian control and Germans were brought into it on a gradual basis, with the ultimate aim of our getting out altogether. That's when the question of a high commissioner came up.

MCKINZIE: How about the timing of that? Do you think that that was appropriate, or could it have occurred earlier?

BROWN: I think it probably should have occurred earlier than it did, but it was delayed considerably by the Berlin blockade. The mission to Germany which I went on was to prepare the way for a turnover to civilian control and a

 

[29]

high commissioner.

MCKINZIE: Can you talk about that mission?

BROWN: Yes. It was a mission of about 30 officers all from the State Department and the Bureau of the Budget; I think there were only about three from the Bureau of the Budget. Each of us had a field of responsibility to look into. Mine was the legal field, the court system. I remember that my report was to the effect that there shouldn't be any problem at all in that particular field. Most of the people who were at the operating level were already civilians. They had been in many cases military officers; in fact there were some who were still there who had served under me when I was in the headquarters in Frankfort. But almost all had converted from military status to civilian status. I didn't see any problem on that, and my report was to the effect that the transition could be made without

 

[30]

any difficulty whatsoever.

MCKINZIE: Were you aware at the time that there were Germans who were anxious for this to occur?

BROWN: Oh, yes. The Germans naturally wanted to get away from the stigma of a military government. Even though it would still be an occupation, they preferred it under civilian control. But immediately thereafter the Berlin blockade came up, which I think everybody agreed required that the final authority in Germany continue to be military as long as they were having to support Berlin by military airlift. So, it was delayed. I can't remember when the turnover finally took place. The mission to Germany, as I recall, was in '48. I guess the turnover was in 1950, maybe '49.

MCKINZIE: Were you in any position to observe the relationship between General Clay and Robert

 

[31]

Murphy? These people represented two powerful entities in Government and both had considerable responsibility for what was going on.

BROWN: I think the answer to that would have to be no. I know that when we were in London the previous December on the Ruhr Authority, we had a great deal of difficulty in trying to reconcile Clay's views with those of the British, the French, and the Benelux countries. Clay was a strong supporter of Germany, as I suppose anybody gets to be when in that type of a job; they are fighting for what they are trying to do. He caused considerable trouble to the State Department, because we had to smooth the ruffled feathers of the other countries that he was continually offending.

MCKINZIE: Do you think he pushed too hard?

BROWN: No, I think he probably was right. I think

 

[32]

he pushed too soon, shall we say, but not necessarily too hard.

MCKINZIE: When the Marshall plan was announced in June, 1947, it immediately created a problem for occupied areas because in planning for that European recovery program they expected that Germany would become economically integrated into the Western European economy and that changed dramatically, very quickly, did that create waves in the legal...

BROWN: By that time I had had a shift of responsibility. I was one of the four lawyers from the legal adviser's office who were assigned to work on the legislation for the Marshall plan. My relationship with it was purely one of getting the statutory authority and not wondering how it would affect the legal situation with respect to Germany. Shortly after that I left the legal adviser's office altogether and went to Congressional

 

[33]

Relations. So, I didn't really get in on that part of it.

MCKINZIE: When you were working on this legislation for the Marshall plan at that early stage of it, was there any contact with the Hill?

BROWN: Oh, yes, there was a great deal. Actually, the Herter Committee was appointed on the Hill to go over to Europe and make a study of the situation, the requirements, and to make recommendations as to how to go about it. They came up with a recommendation which was unacceptable to the administration, and that was to have a Government corporation do the job. They wanted to take it away from any existing agency, particularly the State Department, which they didn't really trust at that point.

MCKINZIE: Did you have any contacts with those people?

 

[34]

BROWN: Some. Mostly our contact was with the Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs Committees and, more than with the committees themselves, with their staffs. We were not in the policy side of this. We had to come up with the drafts for everything proposed and try to get agreement with the Hill on the legal technicalities.

MCKINZIE: Did you anticipate, in doing that drafting, that there would be considerable pressure from various economic groups in this country regarding the implementation of this aid program? I'm thinking particularly about wheat and the Senators from the wheat area, use of U.S. wheat, shipped in U.S. boxcars.

BROWN: I think we saw all along that that was a problem. One of the particular problems that came up again and again was fuel oil. By fuel oil I mean industrial fuel oil, heating oil, and so forth. New England at that time was having

 

[35]

very cold weather and was short on oil. The question would come up as to whether or not, by financing oil for Europe, we were going to deprive ourselves when we were already having shortages. I suppose that same thing happened in a number of fields. I think steel was something of a problem then too.

MCKINZIE: What prompted you to move from the Office of the Legal Adviser into positions -- did you go directly to deputy director...

BROWN: Yes. That was purely personalities. The legal adviser became the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, and he asked me to go with him. I had had a lot of legislative experience at that time. I had worked on the Marshall plan legislation; the pre-Marshall plan legislation, interim aid; and the Displaced Persons Bill, which came under my responsibilities on Occupied Areas. I had enough legislative experience along with my

 

[36]

legal background that he decided he could use me, and that's where I stayed for the next six years.

MCKINZIE: I take it you had some good contacts then with the staff of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?

BROWN: Yes. I had contacts with Francis Wilcox, who was then the Chief of Staff of Foreign Relations; Boyd Crawford of Foreign Affairs; and a number of others.

MCKINZIE: Did your particular duties deal directly with members of those committees?

BROWN: Yes. I dealt with the members as well as with the staff, and more with the members in that job than I had done on the Marshall plan legislation, where the drafting part of it was my responsibility. In the Congressional Relations part the whole idea of selling the legislation

 

[37]

became my responsibility, and my contacts with the members themselves increased considerably.

MCKINZIE: You went in at various -- twice in 1949. And what I'm wondering is, did it take long to learn where your friends were and where they weren't? And I also want to ask you something about bi-partisanship. Dean Acheson said some strange things about bi-partisanship a couple of years before he died.

BROWN: Well, I always felt very strongly on the subject of bi-partisanship; that it was the only way to operate. You can change your domestic policy from year to year, but you can't change your foreign policy from year to year. Your relations with other nations must have a continuity. In a democratic society where the political party in power is going to change, I think they've got to work together or else you're going to have chaos when you have a change. Now, you have a

 

[38]

certain amount sometimes anyway, but bi-partisanship and consultation with both sides of the Congress, I thought at that time, was an absolute necessity. Since that time it certainly has not worked as well as it did then, and maybe it wasn't as much of a necessity as I thought it was. Still, I think we got more done between the executives and the Congress then, despite the problems of McCarthyism and the charges that the administration was soft on communism.

On that we didn't have a great deal of bi-partisanship, but on the Marshall plan; on foreign aid; and on the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed about three days after I went into the Office of Congressional Relations and became a real problem in getting the advice and consent of the Senate, we had bipartisan support from Vandenberg in the Senate and Doctor Eaton, the ranking Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

[39]

MCKINZIE: Did you have to deal at all with Tom Connally and Arthur Vandenberg in explaining the Department positions, or did that fall to someone else?

BROWN: Usually the contacts with the chairman were made by the Assistant Secretary or the Secretary himself. I dealt much more with other members of the committee, although I did deal some with Connally. Vandenberg about that time was pretty much out of the picture. I think he was not completely down with cancer, but affected enough so that he wasn't as active as he had been. I think Wiley was the ranking active Republican. Vandenberg was still in the Senate, but he was at home most of the time.

MCKINZIE: Some State Department programs had tough-going in 1949 and I'm thinking particularly of Truman's inaugural address, the existence of four points and technical assistance. That didn't

 

[40]

really get out of Congress until June 1950, over a year after it was supposed to be done. Is that simply due to the fact that it didn't have high priority in the State Department or what?

BROWN: I think the first problem that the State Department had to solve was what in the hell the man was talking about. As I recall it, the first guy who was tapped to see what he could find out about it was Paul Nitze, and I don't remember what Paul's spot was in the Department at that time; maybe he was already with the Policy Planning Staff.

We had to set up a task force to decide what Point IV was, and it more or less developed from there. It wasn't a problem that had been worked on way ahead of time like the Marshall plan, which by the time it was announced had already had a great deal of fundamental work done on it.

 

[41]

To the best of our knowledge there had been no work done on the fourth point in the inaugural address, not at least in State, so we had to start out from scratch in developing the program. You canít do that overnight and then sell it to Congress.

MCKINZIE: Do you remember whether there was much discussion about the real meaning and the validity of the idea that you could take technical assistance and technical assistance alone at that time?

BROWN: There was considerable debate as to whether or not it would work and whether it alone would be enough. People would say, "Look what we had to do in Europe. We had to pour in millions of dollars to get that going." But at the same time there were two different situations. In one case we were working with an area that had had a thriving industry and had lost it due to the war; that had trained people who, given the

 

[42]

material things, were able to do the job pretty much on their own. That didn't mean that we didn't give them a lot of technical advice, because, as a result of having built up our economy so much during the war, we had more recent experience than they had. Point IV was to deal with areas that had never had a large industrial complex, so it seemed logical that the first steps would be to build up abilities among the people. Then it was sort of left open as to whether or not this was later going to require, as it actually did, the input of raw materials, finished factory products, and so forth. It was hard to convince Congress that this was going to do the job, but we finally got a bill through. Of course, at that time, the first bill was separated completely from the Foreign Aid Bill. It was a bill all of its own, which was called the Act for International Development. It was later that

 

[43]

it, the Marshall plan, and military assistance were all joined together in one bill, and that became the Mutual Security Program. As a matter of fact, I think I contributed that name, Mutual Security Program, when we were deciding what to call it as we put them all together. I was in the Congressional Relations office at that time.

MCKINZIE: How did the emphasis of your work change after June 1950?

BROWN: It made quite a bit of difference with us. In the beginning there wasn't any great problem, because the idea of our going to the assistance of Korea was pretty well accepted. There were a few who didn't accept it, but on the whole it was accepted. In fact, I remember that several people on the Hill from both parties wanted to come up with a resolution supporting the President's action and giving him the authority to implement

 

[44]

it.

There was a reluctance in the State Department, and I suppose in the White House, too, to go up for something like this. It puts in question whether the President had the authority to take the action in the first place, which he considered that he did and we thought that he did. Anyway, something was drafted up which was in the nature of a resolution of support of the action taken by the President, declaring that Congress supported him on it.

That finally died by the wayside. It wasn't enough to satisfy those people in Congress who wanted to do something, because they really wanted to raise the question of authority. They thought he should have done it, but they didn't really think he had the authority to do it, and they were willing to give him the authority afterwards, after the fact. The President and the State Department did not want that. They

 

[45]

would have been happy enough to have the other one, the resolution of support. At the same time they were apprehensive that if that were taken up, it would still bring up the question of authority, and it undoubtedly would have. It finally died on the vine. I don't know exactly how; I guess that people just stopped talking about it. No action was ever taken to try to get it through Congress.

Then later on as things didn't go so well and all the McCarthy problems came up, it became very difficult with the Congress. The McCarthy hearings were a real ordeal that the State Department was put through.

MCKINZIE: When it came around to the loyalty-security business, were you involved at all in trying to calm people?

BROWN: Yes, although it was handled in the State Department mainly by the Assistant Secretary for

 

[46]

Administration. We were certainly on the fringes of it all the time, trying to convince the Congress that we were doing everything that was needed to be done to insure that we did not have security risks, and fighting off the efforts that McCarthy was making to demoralize the State Department so thoroughly that it would be most difficult for it to operate.

MCKINZIE: Was it demoralized?

BROWN: It was terribly demoralized, but not so much in our office. We were not jumped on by McCarthy and his supporters, but the Far Eastern Bureau, for example, caught the worst of it. All the other substantive areas were demoralized; there was no question but that it hurt the Department for a number of years. For example, if nothing else, it raised the question in many people's minds of whether or not they should report something that nobody wanted to hear. People who had

 

[47]

reported like that from China were being crucified for it, and I think it affected the integrity of the Foreign Service reporting. On the substantive side, a guy, before he proposed something that he thought was a good idea, might say, "I wonder what they're going to think of me if I propose this. Am I going to be considered a Communist, soft on communism, or disloyal?"

MCKINZIE: It must have been hard for those substantive areas of the Department then to come up with the policy without...

BROWN: I say there was this tendency; I don't say that it cut out all honest reporting. It affected it some, and also it caused things like this: we had a Foreign Service officer as Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs. It became necessary to move him out and put in a political officer into that position. That's when Dean Rusk took over as Assistant Secretary.

 

[48]

He had been Deputy Under Secretary up until that point, and Wally [William Walton, Jr.] Butterworth was the Foreign Service officer who had been Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs. Butterworth was put out, assigned to John Foster Dulles to negotiate the Japanese peace treaty, and for a time had nothing to do with the substantive operations of the Department except within this one field.

MCKINZIE: Aside from the McCarthy hearings, was there an identifiable China bloc?

BROWN: I don't think there's any question about it. One of the strongest proponents in the Congress was Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, but it had an awful lot of others too. Walter Judd, for example, was a fanatic on the subject, and I think he was absolutely honest in his promotion of support for Chiang Kai-shek. I'm not that generous in my thoughts about some of the other

 

[49]

people who participated in the China Lobby.

MCKINZIE: It's one of the mysteries of that period for a lot of people. They don't understand why the China bloc existed, and why there would be this depth of feeling about China when you didn't really find the equivalent in other countries.

BROWN: There was a difference in that you didn't need it in Europe. The Communists were threatening Europe, and I would think we had a pretty strong feeling of a need to support the free countries of Europe, which led to the Marshall plan, the North Atlantic Treaty, and the Military Assistance Act. But China and India, I think maybe because of missionary works in those areas, always had a lot of support in the United States. I can remember that a cousin of mine was a missionary in China, and many families had connections of that sort. Of course, you didn't have

 

[50]

that in Europe, you didn't have that in the same extent in Africa, except in maybe in one or two countries like Liberia. I think there was a basic feeling that China and India were close to us because we had for years been trying to convert them to Christianity. Of course, in the case of Chiang Kai-shek, he had been converted to Christianity. So there was something to build on by the people who had economic and political interest in doing something for China. There was an importer in New York by the name of Kroneberg, or something like that, who was sort of the father of the China Lobby. His interests were largely economic. Then, I think Bridges was motivated as much as anything else by partisan politics. There was a case against the Democrats for having lost China; not only the Democrats, but the career diplomats who had worked in the China area.

MCKINZIE: There was one place where Republicans could

 

[51]

say, "We're bipartisan in Europe, but we're not Democrats."

BROWN: That's right. "We'll support you when you're right, but when you sell China down the river we're not going to keep quiet about it."

MCKINZIE: What position would you have taken with a man like Wiley or...

BROWN: You just tried to convince them that there was nothing in the world that could have been done to save Chiang Kai-shek and his government, in view of their refusal to take necessary action to clean their own house and build up support among the people of China. You weren't very successful, because they didn't have an open mind on it. I think what you tried to do more than anything else was to accept the fact that you've had a disagreement on your hands on that segment of foreign policy. You did do

 

[52]

what you could to get along with all concerned on the rest of your foreign policy and just fought that one out. The effort to help in Korea in some ways helped the situation, because it showed that we weren't completely uninterested in the Far East -- by "we" I mean the administration. At the same time it hurt the situation because it gave the China people an opportunity to say, "Well now, here's the chance for us to support Chiang Kai-shek's effort to get back onto the Continent."

You may have heard since that there was a great effort to use Chiang Kai-shek's troops in Korea, which most people thought would have brought the Chinese Communists in a lot quicker than they were finally brought in.

Now, we did try to combat it with the China paper. We set out to say in great detail what had happened in China; what had been tried and what had failed.

 

[53]

MCKINZIE: Do you think that China white paper is as good a document as could have been put together at that time?

BROWN: At that time, given the pressure to get something out, I think it probably was. I'm sure that historians since then can do a great deal better in putting together the story, but they can do it in the absence of pressure and with a lot of hindsight.

MCKINZIE: In that period there were four Secretaries of State, when you count Stettinius, who was in before you came in. Did these frequent shifts make a difference?

BROWN: Yes, I think they made some difference. I didn't have a long period under Byrnes. I came in in August and he went out in December, if I recall correctly, of '46. At that time I was concerned more with getting acquainted with the

 

[54]

State Department than anything else, and was working primarily on Occupied Areas problems. This didn't throw me in contact with anybody anywhere near the Secretary level except the Legal Adviser and the Assistant Secretary for Occupied Areas.

Then in Marshall's time, almost a military staff setup came into the State Department. All matters that would go to the Secretary for decision had to be in the form of staff studies which could only be one page long. You could attach as many attachments as you wanted, but you were supposed to put on one page enough information so that he could decide a question, and that got to be very difficult to do. At least it did get the State Department back to where the policy was starting below and coming up, rather than the Byrnes years, where, you could say, he was operating the Department out of his pocket (Dulles was later said to be operating it out of his hat). I think the most satisfactory time

 

[55]

was the Acheson year, where you had a combination of both. You still had a Secretariat setup which brought a little order into things, but at the same time, if you had to, you could go around that and get immediate access to the Secretary, Under Secretary, or what have you. I think you've got to have that immediate access, because you do have crisis situations coming up where there's no time to go through the prescribed procedures that you normally would use to face up to a problem and make recommendations for its solution. It would mean that certain people would have quicker access than other people, but then I think that Acheson, even if that were the case, had enough knowledge that he would see that somebody else ought to have an input into the matter. He would not act precipitantly. With someone else it might work out entirely different.

MCKINZIE: What was your life like during the MacArthur-Truman

 

[56]

controversy? This must have created difficult problems?

BROWN: It did, of course. The fact that Congress invited him to speak was a direct slap at the President, the Secretary of State, and the whole State Department. It raised a question in our minds as to whether or not there was any point in just going on with it at all. Have you got a prayer of trying to do what we really want to do? As is usually the case that's a temporary question in anybody's mind, and most people who are dedicated -- and I feel that most of these people in the State Department were dedicated -- know that they've got to go on even though the odds against them look insurmountable. Then came the MacArthur hearings which followed his speech, and that was a very rough time, too. The committee insisted that the hearings be published almost immediately with certain

 

[57]

deletions. It meant that you had to have a man up there going over the transcript as fast as it was reproduced and saying what could be published and what could not. Many times he had to make a snap decision without time to consult with other people in the Department.

MCKINZIE: Were you involved in that process?

BROWN: No, the legal adviser of the Department, Adrian (Butch) Fischer, was doing that with a colleague from the Defense Department. I think on the whole they did a pretty good job of it. They probably took out some things that they didn't need to take out and undoubtedly left some things in that they shouldn't have, but it was a crash operation. The whole thing did clarify the atmosphere a bit. I think that MacArthur, as he was wont to do, just faded away, though he was still a political force. In the next Republican convention he was the keynote speaker

 

[58]

as I recall it, or at least one of the principal speakers, but he was at his height the day he addressed Congress. I think from then on it was downhill for MacArthur, because the administration was able to get out its side of it. As people got over the emotional response to MacArthur's firing, they took a more rational view of it and began to accept the fact that you can't have a general in the field making policy for the nation, particularly making policy that he knows is not consistent with the policy of the President.

MCKINZIE: You spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill in dealings with people whose job it was to improve or generate some foreign policy. Did you come away with any of the cynicism that characterized Dean Acheson about the ability of the representatives of common folks to understand diplomatic principles?

BROWN: I wouldn't say I was cynical about it. I

 

[59]

think I recognized the fact that the average Congressman had very little background that would qualify him for his job, but also I knew that there were certain people in Congress who did have the ability to make good judgments. Of course, our effort was always to work with those people and help them in every way to put their point across to their colleagues.

MCKINZIE: Dean Acheson questioned whether or not some of them were "educable."

BROWN: Some of them undoubtedly were not, but I saw a lot of them being educated. We made a major effort in this field I think, in 1949; maybe it was a little later. We decided that the only way to get through to the Foreign Relations and the Foreign Affairs Committees was to educate them as best we could. We also realized that you couldn't educate everybody on every subject. What we did was propose to the chairmen of the

 

[60]

Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs Committees that they set up area subcommittees. We sold Connally on this idea, so he proposed it as his own idea, of course; it was the only way it would have gone over. We had worked on this very hard with the staff so that the staff was ready to move as soon as the chairmen said, "Let's do something like that." So they each set up area committees and a couple of functional committees to conform to the organization of the Department. For instance, they had a European subcommittee; a Near East and South Asian subcommittee, which at that time also included Africa; a Far Eastern subcommittee; and then they had a functional committee on economics, because we had an economic bureau in the Department. I don't remember how many of them there were altogether or exactly what they were all called. Then we set up a relationship between that subcommittee and the equivalent Assistant Secretary in the Department

 

[61]

and we established, not regular, but frequent consultations where the Assistant Secretary would go up and meet with that subcommittee; to talk to them about what was going on within that area of the world, what problems there were, what proposals we had, and what things we might propose at some later time.

MCKINZIE: Did that seem to work?

BROWN: That seemed to work extremely well, yes. I think a lot of people did get educated that way, and I know that that consultation saved us from a lot of headaches we might otherwise have had.

I remember one particular consultation with the Far Eastern subcommittee of the Senate, well after the Truman period. One of the members of that committee was going to get up and make a speech blasting the Department for having agreed to something, and after this consultation

 

[62]

he pulled this speech out of his pocket -- we didn't even know that he was considering giving it. He said to the Assistant Secretary, "Well, here is what I was going to say, but in view of what you've told me I don't think I'll say it."

Nobody can ever tell how many things like that were avoided, but certainly I think as a result of these subcommittees we felt that we had a few clients on the Hill whom we would not otherwise have had; people who would work with us in accomplishing things in the foreign affairs field.

MCKINZIE: I don't mean to belabor Dean Acheson's view on all this, because he obviously had a very strong view about it. His experiences with Congress and walking the corridors, however, were preceded by years of experience.

BROWN: Yes. He was responsible for congressional relations at an earlier period.

 

[63]

MCKINZIE: He once said, "The House Foreign Affairs Committee isn't worth a damn; never has been, never will be. Everybody knows that the important committees have been the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Appropriations and Finance Committees. Foreign policy depends on getting to those committees that have recognized interest in matters of foreign affairs."

BROWN: Frankly, I think he was wrong. I think we did a better job of it when he was Secretary and not directly responsible for congressional relations than he did in the earlier days, when he was in charge of congressional relations.

MCKINZIE: Certainly the job was harder in your period.

BROWN: Oh, yes, certainly it was.

MCKINZIE: What changes occurred?

 

[64]

BROWN: Well, when the Eisenhower administration came in the big change was what I mentioned a little earlier; within the Department of State too much policy was being handed down from the top to be implemented and not enough of it was coming up. Fortunately by that time we had built up the subcommittee system. There was a Republican Congress, but just barely, and we still dealt with both sides. We had a change in the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations when Thruston Morton came in, but the rest of the Office of Congressional Relations stayed almost as it had been. I stayed on, and with one exception (there was a vacancy in one job) all the others stayed on until normal attrition would take them on to some other job. The transition was a lot easier than it might have been had we had a complete change in our staff along with the change in the party in power in Congress.

MCKINZIE: You did see then some useful continuity

 

[65]

that existed.

BROWN: Absolutely. During that two years I think we depended on the Democrats probably even more than on the Republicans, because the foreign policy didn't change that much. There was some change in emphasis, but on the whole the Marshall plan continued; support for the Atlantic Pact continued; Point IV continued, amalgamated; the military aid continued; and the trade agreements efforts continued.

MCKINZIE: You mentioned earlier that you believe you might have some claim of authorship to the title "Mutual Security Act" or "Mutual Security Administration," which was set up as a kind of conglomeration of the...

BROWN: The Mutual Security Program was what we called it. There was a committee set up in the State Department preparing for the following

 

[66]

year's presentation, and it was that committee that came up with the recommendation that all the aid programs be put together. That was under the chairmanship of Willard Thorp, who was Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs at that time. I was representing Congressional Relations, and we had participation from the Pentagon and from whoever was running the aid program at that time -- they've changed the name of it so often that I don't remember. We were deciding what to call it. We figured that we ought to get the word "aid" modified a little bit, because from time to time people would say, "Aid, what the hell! Assistance? No, let's get rid of it!"

I said, "I think what we really ought to emphasize in this is security, rather than assistance." Somebody else said, "Well, we've got to have assistance in this." So, I said, "What about Mutual Security Assistance Program?"

That was tentatively agreed upon and then

 

[67]

somebody came up with the idea that those initials formed "MSAP," which had a psychological disadvantage. It sounds like Swahili, and many people on the Hill thought it was a sappy program anyway. We decided to drop the "Assistance" out of it altogether, and it ended up the Mutual Security Program.

MCKINZIE: Were you aware, or was there a study in those kinds of things about organizational sensitivity? Mutual Security brought together the Military Assistance Program, the economic program for Europe, and also the Technical Assistance Program. And Averell Harriman, on one hand, the father in the Senate of Point IV and on down the line -- they had their own prerogatives.

BROWN: They had their own coterie, but by the time of the Republican administration, the Eisenhower administration, a lot of the people who had been

 

[68]

in on the buildup of these programs were out of Government completely. Harriman was out of Government, and I'm not sure but that Dr. Bennett had already died at that time. Also, there was never any one particular man that you thought of as the head of the military assistance part (that was more institutionalized than personalized) as Hoffman had been in the original ECA days and Dr. Bennett had been in the beginning of Point IV. So, the personality problem didn't exist to the same extent that it would have existed had we tried to do that three or four years earlier.

MCKINZIE: Did the State Department, looking back on it, use the threat of Communist expansion as a scare tactic on the Hill to a degree which reality did not merit?

BROWN: Well, let me put it this way. We felt that certain programs were essential in the interest

 

[69]

of the United States, and I suppose we used any device available to us to sell that program to Congress. Without being absolutely dishonest, we may well have exaggerated certain things. I don't think that there was any exaggeration in the original Marshall plan presentation to the Congress, because I think there was an active threat. Had the European economy stayed at the low level it was at at that time, the internal Communist movement would have been able to make great inroads into governments in some of those countries. France, for example, had a very strong Communist Party; Italy had a strong Communist Party; to a lesser extent the Benelux countries did. I think there was a threat, not by armed aggression so much as by infiltration and working through sympathizing parties in the other countries, of the Soviets taking over Western Europe. After the atomic bomb was exploded by the Soviets and we had weakened our

 

[70]

own military strength to such an extent, I think there was a danger, possibly not as great as we thought at the time, of a military effort to take over. But, be that as it may, we used every weapon to our disposal that we could honestly and conscientiously use, and we undoubtedly exaggerated sometimes.

MCKINZIE: In those years, '49 to '53, did you happen to work vigorously on any policies with which you personally strongly disagreed?

BROWN: No, I can't think of anything.

MCKINZIE: The reason I asked this question was that the answer to it would imply that the Departmentís analysis of the state of the world was your own.

BROWN: Yes. I never had any real argument with either the analysis or the steps proposed to meet the problems. I have, at times, thought that we had gone a little too all out on support

 

[71]

of Israel against the Arab states, but I recognize that there is a large factor of domestic politics in that.

MCKINZIE: Did you recognize that at the time?

BROWN: Oh, yes, I think I did. But except for that time at the United Nations, I never really got involved in the problem, because there was no aid for Israel bill or anything like that that would have involved me in my congressional side. Assistance went to Israel, but largely through Point IV and private efforts in America to sell bonds and obtain contributions.

MCKINZIE: Every Ambassador, as you well know, has to some time deal with junketing Congressmen. Where did that fit into your work and did you encourage that?

BROWN: We encouraged it, but it got out of hand. We encouraged people who had responsibilities

 

[72]

for foreign programs to try to educate themelves by going to the countries they were dealing with, but, as I say, it got out of hand. We came up with a proposal that I was very much concerned about at the time. That was the proposal to use counterpart funds to finance congressional travel. That, I think, probably increased the potential for congressional travel, and travel by people who had no business traveling, more than anything else. If they had had to do that through appropriation of funds, Congress would not have been willing to appropriate that much money. They were able to do it by simply calling on the State Department, out of its large stock of foreign currencies, to pay for the travel.

Before the Foreign Aid Bill went up one year we proposed a trip to Europe by both the Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs Committees. I think that was successful, but a lot of others

 

[73]

went over, didn't do any work, and caused untold problems for our people in the field. I was in Istanbul for almost five years as Consul General, and everybody who did any traveling in our Congress came to Istanbul. I sometimes used to think that I was spending over 50 percent of my time with members of Congress.

MCKINZIE: You said the idea was to educate people. Did it tend to make any instant experts who were more difficult to deal with than before?

BROWN: Yes, it did in some cases. Still, I think more people learned and saw things our way than went over there and picked up things they could use against us. I think, on the whole, it was advantageous, until it just got completely out of hand later on. By that time I was no longer handling congressional relations. I was suffering at the other end of it.

In order to try to make that congressional

 

[74]

travel as helpful as possible, we did, while Jack McFall was Assistant Secretary during the Truman years, publish a handbook on congressional travel. It was sent out to every post to tell them how to handle congressional visitors, what plans to make, what could be expected of the post, what they could expect of the Congressman involved and so forth, within limits. You couldn't say, "You'll get drunks out there," or "You'll get guys who want nothing but a girl or a night in a night club." You had to be discrete in the way you said it, because it would be read by members of Congress. I think that helped considerably in letting the post know what was expected of them in handling congressional travel, to keep down criticism of the Department and the posts. It helped the way the Congressmen were treated when they were overseas by making people understand the way to handle them. Otherwise, in some instances you had people going over and the post paying no

 

[75]

attention to them. Nothing makes a Congressman madder than not to be paid attention to.

MCKINZIE: Did you at any time ever go with any Congressmen?

BROWN: Yes, I made one trip. I never got to make the nice trips I wanted to make, because either my boss would take them or they'd come up at a time when for some reason I couldn't get away. I did take a group of House members down to Central America. I got that trip only during my last few months in the office; up to that time I hadn't been able to manage any.

MCKINZIE: Being in the Office of Congressional Relations puts you in a position of having to have a grasp of a very wide variety of the foreign policy questions. How did you get your information? Did you always feel, when you were dealing with Congress, that you yourself had an adequate backstop?

 

[76]

BROWN: I had adequate backstopping, yes; but I didn't always have adequate instant knowledge at the time I needed it. You couldn't. You could have a good general overall knowledge, which you got by being briefed by the various operating areas of the Department, by reading position papers, by reading intelligence reports, and by reading cables on day-to-day operations. All of us in that office tried to keep as well-informed as we possibly could. There would come instances where you didn't have the answer immediately to what somebody who ran into you in the corridor or who phoned you asked, but I think we had a system for getting that information within a reasonable time. On congressional correspondence, for example, we developed a procedure. We didn't answer all these letters, although the Assistant Secretary, or I in his absence, would sign the letters. They were drafted in the substantive areas of the Department responsible, but we reviewed the

 

[77]

letters and in many cases suggested changes or made changes ourselves to make them more effective in answering the question or in satisfying the beef that had come from the Hill. That was done orally, too. It was another learning experience on our part. When these letters would come back for review, we learned quite a bit about what was going on in specific areas that we hadn't necessarily been involved in before.

MCKINZIE: Do you recall any time when Secretary Acheson ordered your office to support, or push things?

BROWN: No, I can't recall any specific case of that. I know there were a number of things that he was greatly interested in, but I don't think we ever needed to be pushed into doing anything. I just can't recall.

MCKINZIE: It sounds like a smooth operating unit then.

 

[78]

BROWN: Well, we hoped that we were; we tried to be. There are probably a lot of things that I realized at the time in which we were deficient, but one always tends to forget the unpleasant things and remember the more pleasant things.

MCKINZIE: Before we started talking, you mentioned that you had read Margaret Truman's biography of her father, and that in a couple of instances she attributed things to him, which, in your recollection at least, she should not have. I wonder if I could ask what a few of these were?

BROWN: She attributes to him ideas that developed into programs. Now, I give him full credit for approving such programs as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall plan, and Point IV, but particularly the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall plan came up to him for approval. In the book, the State Department, working on an idea that "my father had given them" or "carrying out the instructions

 

[79]

of my father," developed a program of assistance to Europe.

I think that's the cart before the horse.

MCKINZIE: Okay.

Well, .Ambassador Brown, thank you very much.

BROWN: Well, not at all, I must say I enjoyed the recollection session

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]


Appendix

Appendix I: Brown, Ben H. Jr., "Congress and the Department of State," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, edited by Thorsten Sellin, Volume 289, pp. 100-07, Philadelphia, PA, September, 1953 (material subject to copyright, not reproduced herein).

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]


List of Subjects Discussed

    Acheson, Dean, 37, 55, 58, 59, 62, 77
    Act for International Development, 42
    Austin, Warren R., 18

    Bennett, Henry G., 68
    Berlin blockade, 28, 30
    Bridges, Styles, 48, 50
    Brown, Ben Hill, background of, 1-4
    Butterworth, W. Walton, 48
    Byrnes, James F., 4, 53, 54

    Camp Craft, South Carolina, 2
    Cargo, William, 14
    Chiang Kai-shek, 48, 50, 51, 52
    China Lobby, 48-52
    Clay, Lucius D., 23, 26, 30-31
    Clayton, Will, 25
    Congress, U.S.:

      committees, liaison with the State Department, 63-65
      Congressional junkets, evaluation of, 71-75
      foreign policy issues, knowledge of members concerning, 58-62
    Connally, Tom, 39, 60
    Crawford, Boyd, 36

    Dewey, Thomas E., 14
    Dulles, John Foster, 48, 54

    Eisenhower, Dwight D., 5
    Europe, Western, integration of, 24-25

    Fahy, Charles, 4
    Fisher, Adrian, 57
    Foreign policy, U.S., bi-partisanship in, 37-38
    Fort Benning, Georgia, 2
    Fort Custer, Michigan, 3

    GARIOA program, 25, 26
    Geneva Convention, 26
    Germany:

      Military Government, U.S., competence of personnel in, 5-7
      Military Government, U.S., transition from, to civilian rule, 28-30
      reconstruction of, post World War II, 7-9
      reparations, post Wold War II, 10-11, 24
      Ruhr, International Conference on the, 1948, 22-25

    Harriman, Averell, 67, 68
    Herter Committee, Mission to Europe, 33
    Hilldring, John H., 13, 18, 19
    Hoffman, Paul G., 68

    Israel as a State, establishment of, 14-22, 71

    Jewish Agency for Palestine, 16
    Judd, Walter, 48

    Korea, U.S. intervention in, 1950, 43-45

    MacArthur, General Douglas, hearings before Congress, 1951, 56-58
    McCarthy, Joseph R., 45-46
    McFall, Jack, 74
    McNarney, Joseph T., 5
    Marshall, George C., 18
    Marshall Plan, drafting of, 32-35, 69
    Morgenthau Plan, 7, 9
    Mutual Security Program, 43, 65-67

    Nitze, Paul H., 40

    Occupied Areas, U.S. State Department Legal Advisor for, 22
    Office of Congressional Relations, U.S. State Department, 35-37
    Office of Military Government, U.S. Zone, Germany, 6

    Palestine:

      Arabs in, 15, 20
      Jewish State in, creation of, 14-22
      UN ad hoc Committee on, 1947, 13, 17-22
    Point IV program, enactment of, 39-42

    Ruhr, International Conference on, 1948, 22-25
    Rusk, Dean, 47-48

    S.H.A.F., 4
    State Department, U.S.:

      Congressional liaison, 35-77
      Germany, supercedes Army in administration of, 27-30
      Jewish State, policy regarding creation of, 15-16
      McCarthy, Joseph R., demoralizing attacks on, 45-47
      secretaries of, evaluated, 53-55

    Thorp, Willard L., 66
    Truman, Harry S., Korean intervention, Congressional support for, 43-45
    Truman, Margaret, 78

    UN General Assembly, U.S. delegation to, 1947, 12-22
    UN War Crimes Commission, 22
    U.S. Forces in European Theatre, 6

    Vandenberg, Arthur H., 38-39

    Western Europe, Soviet threat to, 68-70
    White Paper on China, 1949, 52-53
    Wilcox, Francis O., 36
    Wilkins, Fraser, 14

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