Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
Opened November, 1989
Oral History Interview with
September 19, 1988
by Niel M. Johnson
Topics discussed include the building of airfields in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II; operations over the "Hump" to China; the Ledo road; the Flying Tigers; the bombing of Tokyo; the Marshall mission to China; Soviet dismantling in Manchuria; the Berlin airlift; postwar occupation of Austria and Germany; the issue of German unification; German rearmament; the Plevin Plan; the Schuman Plan; French-German relations; European economic integration; China and the Korea war; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; U.S.-German relations; Zionism; Arab-Israeli relations; U.S. policy toward the Middle East; U.S. policy toward Iran; oil nationalization in Iran; U.S.-Egyptian relations; Suez crisis; apartheid in South Africa; U.S.-Afghanistani relations; U.S.-Burmese relations; U.S.-Filippino relations; and U.S.-Pakistani relations.
Names mentioned include Generals Caleb V. Haynes, Raymond A. Wheeler, Edward Alexander, Albert C. Wedemeyer, Claire Chennault, Joseph W. Stilwell, Curtis LeMay, Ed Hull, George C. Marshall, Clayton Bissell, Thomas Timberman, Lucius Clay, William Draper, and Omar Bradley, Chou En-lai, Mao Tse-Tung, Walter Robertson, Chiang Kai-shek, John Davies, John J. McCloy, Til Durdin, Charles Bohlen, Kenneth Royall, Dean Acheson, Robert Murphy, Tom Connally, James Webb, Harry S. Truman, Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman, Douglas Mac Arthur II, Theodore Achilles, Alfred Gruenther, Kurt Schumacher, Perry Laukhuff, Edwin Locke, Edwin Wright, Nathan Goldman, Sam Kramer, Abe Finnan, Loy Henderson, John Foster Dulles, Ben-Gurion, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mohammed Mossadegh, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Herbert Hoover, Jr., Ali Bhutto, Gam al Abdul Nasser, Abba Eban, Mohammed Daud, Ne Win, Dean Rusk, Lyndon Johnson, Ferdinand Marcos, and Benigno Aquino.
Donor: Henry Byroade
JOHNSON: Would you begin by telling me when and where you were born, and what your parents' names are?
BYROADE: I was born in Maumee Township in Indiana in 1913, the son of Ernest C. and Carrie Byroade. We lived on a farm. It was Depression days. I couldn't afford to go to college. I tried for a scholarship at Yale and missed it by a tenth of one percent, which I've always been grateful for. Then I managed to get an appointment, competitive appointment, to West Point. I went there and graduated in the class of 1937.
JOHNSON: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
BYROADE: I had one brother, who unfortunately drowned in a boating accident when he was about 45 years old. My
sister died when she was about 55 years old, of cancer.
JOHNSON: You had one brother and one . . .
BYROADE: One brother and one sister, yes.
JOHNSON: Do you have any children?
BYROADE: I have three boys from a previous marriage.
JOHNSON: What are their names?
BYROADE: Alan, who lives here is in Washington and works for the GAO; John who is running his own environmental firm here in Washington; and Gene, the oldest, is in Jacksonville, Florida, where he's a civilian with the Naval Department. I have one daughter, from my present marriage, who is now 23. She just graduated from the University of Maryland and she's under management training at Garfinkel's here in Washington.
JOHNSON: And your wife's name?
BYROADE: My wife's name is Jitka, but pronounced Yitka, as though it were a Y. It's a Czech name; she was of Czech nationality.
JOHNSON: So you went to West Point in about '34?
BYROADE: In '33.
JOHNSON: And got your commission . . .
BYROADE: Second Lieutenant, and bachelor of science, from West Point in 1937. Then I went to the Hawaiian Islands as my first post. I was there from '37 to '39. Since I was in the Corps of Engineers, the Corps sent me--as they do all of their young officers--back here to engineering college. I got my master's degree in civil engineering at Cornell in 1940. I was then stationed at Langley Field, Virginia, helping to form the first aviation engineer regiment. I was there at the time of Pearl Harbor.
JOHNSON: After Pearl Harbor, what happened?
BYROADE: Although I was a very junior officer, I was in command of a battalion. The next morning, after Pearl Harbor, I was told to take my battalion to Mitchell-Field, Long Island, and help convert that into a wartime base. It was unbelievable, looking back on it; there was a great scare along the East Coast that something was
going to happen. We built revetments for the aircraft, slit trenches, and that sort of thing.
JOHNSON: They thought German submarines were going to launch commandos onto Long Island?
BYROADE: Apparently, that's what the brass thought. I was only there about three months. I was called to Washington in the middle of the night, and they said, "Come right now, tonight." I got there after midnight and was told to go wake up [Brigadier] General [Stuart C.] Godfrey; he told me that I was going to go on a very unusual mission to Asia. I could pick any thirteen men in the Army that didn't rank me-- I was only a captain--and they were going to give me $10 million to start with to do whatever I was supposed to do. I was to report to General [Caleb V.] Haynes in Washington, and that's all he knew. He didn't know where we were going.
The next morning I found General Haynes and it was being kept secret, but it was obvious in a few hours that we were on a bomb Tokyo mission. It explains really the degree of chaos there was in Washington right after Pearl Harbor. Now, we were supposed to take
seventeen B-17s and about thirty DC-3s, which right after Pearl Harbor was a sizeable force. We were going through South America, Natal, across to Roberts Field in Africa. Ascension Islands at that time had no airfield. It was a perilous flight. It was thirty-three hours in the DC-3s, non-stop, of course.
My first job was to take out the bucket seats in the DC-3s and lash ordinary 50 gallon gas drums in their place. We lost about eight or nine [of the DC-3s]. We lost three of our B-17s, but the rest of us made it across.
JOHNSON: You mean they were lost over the ocean, over the jungle, or . . .
BYROADE: Over the ocean.
Now, we went on through Africa and arrived in Karachi [India]. There was chaos and confusion; we were going to hit Tokyo from just south of Shanghai, but it took us about three months in Florida to get organized, and underway, and by the time we got to Karachi, the Japanese had that area. The second plan was to use the Northern Philippines, but that was gone too. I was left in Karachi. General Brereton came in from Java, and he
outranked our General. He took all the bombers away from us. We were left with the DC-3s and they said, "Go start a Hump run to China."
So I was on the first DC-3 that went up to Assam, India.
JOHNSON: Where were you stationed at this time?
BYROADE: Well, I was around Karachi, trying to decide now to get in the war. My orders were to report to the senior aviation engineer in the China-Burma-India theater. The people that wrote the order knew that I was it, that I was the only one. I was picked up by General Wheeler.
JOHNSON: What was his first name?
BYROADE: Raymond A. Wheeler; he was head of the Service of Supply Command in CBI; it then consisted of General Wheeler, an aide, and a secretary.
JOHNSON: What was your rank at this time?
BYROADE: Either a captain or a major, I'm not sure. I guess I had been promoted to major. We got up to
Assam, India; Dinjan had half of one runway. The job was to build however many airfields it took to transport lend-lease supplies to China. There were lots of river boats there, full of lend-lease for China that had been in Rangoon. They thought that was going to fall, so they sent it all to Calcutta, and they thought that was going to fall, so they just sent it up the Brahmaputra River, as far as they could go, up towards Assam, waiting for us to get airfields, and airplanes to fly it across the Hump [Himalaya Mountains].
Am I going into too much detail?
JOHNSON: No, that's fine.
BYROADE: Well, we had to work through the British, of course. I was the American in charge of not only supplying our own forces, but building airfields and handling the air freight. We used a lot of labor, Indian coolies, breaking rocks by hand. We were to build, I think, seven freight fields, and three or four fighter fields for protection. Well, when I got there, there were two Pan-Am planes running the Hump, and two pilots; one was in bed with malaria and the other one was in the hospital. They had had a fight over some girls.
At that time that was the Hump run to China. So we started from absolutely nothing, and none of us had any idea that that would build up to a couple hundred thousand tons a month.
JOHNSON: Do you recall about when that started, that operation?
BYROADE: Well, we left Florida, I think, in March. I was around Karachi a couple months. It would be the middle of the summer in '42, July or August.
JOHNSON: Now, the raid on Tokyo, I believe, came in the spring of '42.
BYROADE: You're talking about Doolittle.
BYROADE: Well, we had just passed the point of no return in the Atlantic. I remember the navigator on the loudspeaker said, "We have now passed the point of no return," which means it was more dangerous to go back than it was to go on. Then he also announced that Doolittle had hit Tokyo. And we were rather chagrined.
JOHNSON: That was April I think.
BYROADE: I think so. We were rather chagrined. We wanted to do that, but he beat us to it. To digress, it wasn't for almost three years, I think, that I got back to my original mission which was to build the fields to bomb Tokyo. I did that up at Chengtu for the B-29s, but we can get back to that.
JOHNSON: On the other side of the Hump in China.
BYROADE: Yes. The Hump run was a tremendous feat because, where the Japs were then, we had to go over the northern part of the Himalayas, which were quite high. Well, we had every problem in the book.. You didn't have good communications equipment; we didn't have enough spare parts; we didn't really have good enough airfields, but that wasn't the bottleneck.. The DC-3s won't carry very much. We finally got the C-46, which was a lot bigger, but it had just rolled off the production line, and it was all full of bugs and we lost dozens of them going across the Hump.
JOHNSON: That was still a two-engine plane?
BYROADE: A two-engine, yes. It got so bad we wouldn't allow any people, any passengers, to go on these freight runs. Finally, of course, they got the bugs out of the C-46.
JOHNSON: But there was no way to bail out of them, was there?
BYROADE: It was possible to bail out but we still lost a lot of people. And then we got C-54s, and the tonnage started to mount. By then we had not only the left-over China defense supplies that we'd picked up when we arrived, but streams of new material, which mostly came across India by rail, or again, by river from Calcutta.
JOHNSON: While I'm thinking about it, you got involved in the Berlin airlift too.
JOHNSON: Was there experience from the Hump that was used in the Berlin airlift, and were some of the same persons involved in that one?
BYROADE: Well, you asked for my favorite story in this world, and that's to point out that if we hadn't had the experience of the Hump run into China, I don't think we would have attempted to supply Berlin by air. If
we hadn't saved Berlin, my feeling is the whole map of Europe would be changed today. When we got into the Berlin situation, there were enough of us in Washington--now I still was only a colonel--but there were enough of us and some generals, who had gone through the Hump experience, that said, "Wait a minute, we'll supply Berlin by air." Everybody--almost everybody--said, "You're crazy; they need things like coal." We said, "So what, they need coal--we'll fly coal." From Frankfurt to Berlin was just a twenty-minute milk run compared to the hazardous Hump run.
JOHNSON: There were no mountains in between either. You flew coal over the Hump?
BYROADE: Yes, of course, we flew coal and all kinds of necessary consumer items. I think, I really think, we would have probably lost Berlin, except for supplying the city by air. So that may be the greatest contribution that came out of the whole thing, because keeping China in the war didn't in the end accomplish very much, on the Hump run.
JOHNSON: Who were some of the other persons that were involved that were closely involved with the Hump, the
airlift, besides yourself? Could you name maybe even just two or three of these individuals?
BYROADE: Well, General [Edward] Alexander was in charge of the aircraft. I had been transferred from the Air Corps; I was then commanding Advance Section No. 2 of the Services of Supply, which was from Calcutta to Darjeeling and across the Burma border. We were the only two commanders there in the beginning.
JOHNSON: But you're saying that some of the same personnel that were involved with that airlift became involved with the Berlin airlift too?
BYROADE: Well, General [Albert C.] Wedemeyer was on our side; he hadn't participated actually in the Hump run, but he was there and he knew all about it. Hap Arnold was another one.
JOHNSON: He had direct experience with the airlift over there too?
BYROADE: That's right, yes. I can't think of any more names.
JOHNSON: How long did that go on, that lifting supplies over the Himalayas?
BYROADE: Oh, about three years. We were trying to build a road, the Ledo road, at the same time, and run a pipeline along the road, which would have been a great project if the war had lasted another couple of years. But by the time we got the road, and the pipeline into China, it was only a matter of months until the war was over.
JOHNSON: That was used, and that still is used, that road and that pipeline?
BYROADE: It was used some, not enough really to make any big difference. The road is no longer there, most of it isn't, because even while we were building it, the jungle would start taking it over again.
JOHNSON: It was a lot harder to build than the Alcan Highway I suppose.
BYROADE: It was a real bitch, and our troops really struggled through that.
JOHNSON: What were your exact duties, or functions, there with that airlift during those three years?
BYROADE: I was in charge of building the airfields--in charge of supplies for our own troops and lend-lease in China.
JOHNSON: Where were you stationed, mainly, in India?
BYROADE: I moved up to Chabua in Assam. I built a little headquarters at Chabua and we started with elephants pulling out trees and built our first field at Chabua.
JOHNSON: So you're in Assam. When did you get into China? I mean you didn't fly yourself.
BYROADE: Well, not legally, but our Air Force friends let me get in lots of flying hours. I guess I could have got my service wings if I'd stayed one more week, but I couldn't do that.
I was in the India end of the Hump, I've forgotten, but I guess for maybe a year and a half. Then I was transferred to the Advance Section No. 4 of the Services of Supply, which was the eastern half of China, in support of the forward echelon of Chennault's 14th Air Force, and old AVG. It was a prewar outfit . . .
JOHNSON: The Flying Tigers?
BYROADE: The Flying Tigers had become the 14th Air Force, with General Claire Chennault in command. It was quite a show in Eastern China. I again was in charge of supplies and construction. I was a colonel, about thirty [years of age]. The head of the Air Force was Casey Vincent, who was a brigadier general at 29. They added an Air Service Command. I can't remember the Commander's name at the moment; he was an old guy about 35 years old. Bruce Holloway, a classmate of mine at West Point, was in command of the fighters. He was 29.
JOHNSON: So now you're stationed in China?
BYROADE: In Kweilin. I got there as one of the first Americans. It was supposed to be the Paris of China, but there wasn't a fork to eat with within a hundred miles.
JOHNSON: Where was that respective to Chungking?
BYROADE: Oh, several hundred miles southeast of Chungking. It's the southeastern-central part of China.
JOHNSON: How far was that from the Japanese occupied territory?
BYROADE: When I first got to Kweilin, I guess I was part of a cover plan; I didn't know it at the time. Along with a native, I took a jeep and went from Kweilin up to just outside of Shanghai; went down along the Jap lines from Shanghai to Canton. We were looking for bomber sites. Whether Washington had decided they weren't going to use the mainland of China for major forces, and we were merely a decoy, I never knew. We did our survey, and we were ready to go to build fields, but we never got the orders to build them. I stayed on in Kewilin. It was an exciting adventure in east China with Chennault's P-40s; their ratio was about 13 to 1 to the Japs.
JOHNSON: You mean in the Japanese favor?
BYROADE: No, in our favor.
JOHNSON: Thirteen to one.
BYROADE: Well, one reason was that Chennault was a tremendous man to command fighters. He had an intelligence net that was unbelievable, and he was smart enough to not have any American at all in that intelligence net. Normally, it might take three days to place a long-distance telephone call in China. But when the Japanese fighters started
their motors wherever they were, the Chinese took over the phone system, and it worked. We were, of course, short of gasoline; we were flying our gasoline across the Hump. So Chennault would sit there in his cave in Kweilin and watch the Chinese plot where the Japanese were. He wasn't going to waste any gas, and when the time came, Chennault would give the okay. Our fighters would go up and get on top of the Japs, and bingo.
JOHNSON: They had cave headquarters there?
BYROADE: Yes, natural caves. There were a lot of caves; it's a cave country. It was a beautiful country with upside-down ice cream cone mountains, with lots of caves. I built a headquarters there. There was a tremendous cave fifty feet behind my headquarters. We had desks in there and when the Japs came over, my secretary would just take her typewriter and we'd move into the cave.
JOHNSON: Did they bomb our airfields, the Japanese, or did they try to bomb them?
BYROADE: Oh, yes, a lot. Of course, eventually we lost many of those airfields. I had built about 30. When I say "I," of course, the Chinese did the labor. Some of
them were good fields; some of them were just fighter strips.
JOHNSON: When was this? When were you building these?
BYROADE: Well, this would have been '43 or '44. Eventually, of course, the Japanese came through and we had to abandon some of the fields. I'll never forget abandoning Sezchwan, which was in eastern China. We put bombs in the runway and ran the fuses to piles of oil barrels and waste. The last man off fired tracer bullets into the dump and up went the runway, but the trouble was that the Japanese would fill in the holes in three or four days. When I was building that field, [General Joseph W.] Stilwell came through, and he said, "What are you building a field here for?" I said, "Because General Chennault wants it."
Well, he said, "Who's going to protect it?" I said, "My job is to build airfields." That was the great dispute between Chennault and Stilwell. Chennault thought he could hold up the Japanese and really win the war by air power alone, and of course, it didn't work. Stilwell kept saying it would not work, and this was the big bone of contention between them--other than having personalities that just didn't jibe at all.
JOHNSON: Chennault--did he speak Chinese?
BYROADE: Oh yes.
JOHNSON: Married a Chinese woman, didn't he?
BYROADE: He did after I left. Anna Chennault is now a very good friend of ours here in Washington, but I never met her in China. Chennault's family was in Louisiana. He was married and had several children, but after I left China in '44, he married Anna.
JOHNSON: You say Stilwell and Chennault had rather conflicting personalities?
BYROADE: Oh, very much so. On one of my first jobs in China, I received verbal orders from my commanding general, Raymond Wheeler. He said, "In spite of everything else you're supposed to do, see if you can't get Stilwell and Chennault talking to each other." Well, I got them together once, under the wing of an airplane on Kunming airfield, and I rather wished I hadn't because it didn't work.
JOHNSON: We're talking about 1944?
BYROADE: Probably late '43.
JOHNSON: You're in Chengtu?
BYROADE: I left Kweilin and eastern China very suddenly. The Air Force took over all construction in China and I was transferred back to the Air Force, a little chagrined at the idea, because I was building things for them and I still could, in my own mind, sort out what made sense and what didn't. Suddenly I was back in the Air Force and told to go to Chengtu, and build fields for our B-29s, which were just coming into being, to hit Tokyo. Chengtu was in northwestern China, too far from Tokyo really. You could use a slide rule and figure out that you couldn't carry very much weight in bombs at that distance. I took about fifteen people with me and we quite secretly designed and laid out four or five, I've forgotten, of the big fields, for the B-29s, and seven fighter fields for protection. I say secretly, because when we moved into an area in China and started construction, the prices of everything went sky high. Pipe was $1 a foot. Incidentally, we almost set our watches, and everybody went over the area and bought all the pipe all at once. But that was an unbelievable project.
The Generalissimo, of course, drafted the work
force, coolies. They would arrive there in groups, walking from as far as a hundred miles away, all organized in groups with their own cook, etc. We had 496,000 laborers on that job. We located the big fields along rivers, as a source of rock, and they would carry the rock on their shoulders and heads up to seven miles in each direction; break the rock by hand. We had no concrete, no cement, in China; we had no asphalt. We had to build these runways for the biggest planes any of us had ever seen; the runways were 24 inches thick, with crushed rock, and then clay and sand on top.
JOHNSON: This is limestone, this rock?
BYROADE: Yes, for the most part it was limestone. It was almost unbelievable what was accomplished. Ninety days after we started that project, the first B-29 came in. If we had had all the equipment America ever invented, I don't think we could have done it that fast. While I was originally an aviation engineer, we had designed all kinds of airborne engineering equipment--little bulldozers, little rollers, everything that could be airborne. I had a real row with Washington because
I didn't want it. We were making the rollers, as an example, out of concrete. Five-ton rollers took 500 people to pull; ten-ton rollers, for some reason or another, we pulled with 750 people. But as the B-29s came in, they brought little dollies to pull their airplanes around one of my young lieutenants got enthusiastic and he used one of these to pull a roller all night. The next day the Chinese wouldn't pull the big rollers. So, no more of that.
We finally finished the fields and General Curt LeMay came in to command the bombing raids on Tokyo. He was extremely disappointed with the airfields. And I couldn't blame him, because they were dusty. Curt LeMay had been running hundred-bomber missions over Europe, and of course, he wanted to run that kind of mission over Tokyo. But the dust was so bad that they couldn't take off that fast, and we had to fly in all the gasoline, so they couldn't circle waiting for all of them to get off the ground. He said, "Well, we've got to pave them." I said, "Well, there's nothing here to pave them with; we've tried tung oil and we've tried everything to solve the dust problem. The only way I can keep down the dust is salt, and that will wreck your airplanes." He
said, "Yes, we can't use that, because salt will cause aluminum to corrode." So in utter disgust he decided he had to fly single-mission B-29s over Tokyo.
JOHNSON: One at a time.
BYROADE: One at a time.
JOHNSON: And how much time between?
BYROADE: Oh, a minute or two.
It, of course, gave a psychological boost for our troops everywhere around the world; we were hitting Tokyo, and we did some damage, but not a great deal because the payload was not very great.
JOHNSON: This was before they started using Saipan wasn't it?
BYROADE: Yes. At that time we were the only force hitting Tokyo. But looking back on it all, it did something else that was very important; it got the bugs out of the B-29s. It was the first time they had been used. So later on when we could get close enough to really use them, the B-29 was a marvelous machine.
JOHNSON: There were accidents taking off, especially, I guess.
BYROADE: Well, not like the C-46, no; it was a good airplane, except any airplane new has got bugs in it. We were able to get those out. Once the operation was running smoothly, I was transferred back to Kunming, and placed in charge of all construction in China. I've just told you we had 496,000 laborers on the Chengtu project. In all of China we had about 950,000 laborers, on Chengtu and all of these other fields for Chennault. So it was a tremendous force. Our problems in Chengtu weren't normal engineering problems. Our biggest problems were rice and paper money. We paid all of these laborers as much as we could in rice, about half their salary, and the rest we paid with Chinese paper money. The inflation was such that it wasn't worth very much, and we needed small denominations. So a truckload a day of Chinese paper money would leave Chungking, the printing presses, straight to Chengtu, to pay the workers, and we just didn't have enough. Finally, we arranged, with Chinese Government approval, for the American Bank Note Company here in America to print Chinese money. We flew that out, straight to Chengtu, and
one of the airplanes over Kunming blew up in the air, literally blew up, and there was money floating over Kunming for a time.
JOHNSON: Did you ever meet Chaing Kai-shek personally?
BYROADE: I saw a lot of Chiang Kai-shek, and Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, but mostly it was after the war when I went back to China with General Marshall on his mission. I met him a time or two in the war, but nothing extensive.
JOHNSON: On April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died and Truman became President, I suppose you remember that day. Where were you and what did you think when you heard the news?
BYROADE: I was back in Washington.
JOHNSON: You got transferred back to Washington. When was that?
BYROADE: Somewhere near the end of '44.
JOHNSON: Where did they station you here then?
BYROADE: I was in the Pentagon, on the General Staff, in the Asiatic Theatre Section of OPD. That was Marshall's
sort of command post, Operations Division.
JOHNSON: So your immediate superior then was whom, in the Pentagon?
BYROADE: My immediate superior in the beginning was General Ed Hull.
JOHNSON: How long were you in that position?
BYROADE: I was in that position until I went back to China with General Marshall.
JOHNSON: Well, he was appointed in November of '45 by Truman to go on this special mission. In the meantime you were in the Pentagon, on April 12, 1945. What was your immediate reaction upon hearing that we had a new President, Harry Truman?
BYROADE: Well, my reaction was, I guess, like any other American when an American President dies; you know, being so close to things in Washington, it's a shock. I don't remember much more about that.
JOHNSON: But you had heard of Truman and his committee?
BYROADE: Well, I didn't, know much about Truman, about the
same, I guess, as any other American.
JOHNSON: It wasn't long before V-E Day.
JOHNSON: Which happened also to be Truman's birthday. It would have been a real day to celebrate. So you're still in the Pentagon now in the spring and summer of '45 after Truman takes over as President.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Did we get your title there and position?
BYROADE: I was head of the Asiatic Theater Division of the General Staff in the Operations Division in the Pentagon.
JOHNSON: Well, we have the Marshall mission that we need to deal with. It's apparent that you had experience over in China, but do you recall how and when you were selected to be part of that Marshall mission, and what kind of function you served?
BYROADE: Well, I remember when I was selected by General [George C.] Marshall to go with him to China, it was a
great shock. I didn't know General Marshall. I had briefed him a few times. I was having lunch in the Pentagon with some other officers and there was a newspaperman at the table; I couldn't remember his name. I didn't introduce myself. In the conversation he said to everybody at the table, "The deal on Byroade firmed up this morning." And I said, "I'm Byroade; what are you talking about?" He said, "Well, you're going to China with General Marshall." Well, I said, "No way, I just got back.." I went back to my desk and sat there thinking about this. I had been gone for forty months; left a family back here. Went on a bomb-Tokyo mission with one suitcase thinking I'd be home in a hurry and forty months later I got back; and here he was taking me back with him. I just sat there and looked out the window for a half an hour.
A man came running down the hall and said that General Marshall wanted to see me. I walked in and saluted. He said, "Do you want to go back to China?" I said, "No sir." And he said, "Why not?" Well, what do you say? So he said, "Well, I want you to go with me." "Yes sir," I said. "You have to have a title,"
he said. "I guess you had better be military attaché to China. You go tell General [Clayton] Bissell, who is head of G-2, you're military attaché to China."
I knew Bissell from the war, and I walked in and told him I was the new military attaché to China, and he just about went through the ceiling. He finally calmed down and said, "All right, we'll put you through a six-weeks school." And I said, "I'm sorry; we're leaving in three days."
Well, I was in the attaché office out there maybe an hour total, but it was a good cover.
JOHNSON: You say you had briefed Marshall prior to this?
BYROADE: Only once or twice. He didn't know me.
JOHNSON: That was on the China operation that you were involved in?
JOHNSON: Had he paid much attention to China, do you think, before he got appointed to this mission?
BYROADE: Well, in a way, of course, his primary concern and
working hours were on Europe and the Pacific up to that point. But, yes, he had been very much involved in the problems of Stilwell and the Generalissimo, and Lord Louis Mountbatten and so on.
JOHNSON: So you think he got feedback from these people, Mountbatten, Stilwell, maybe even Chennault?
BYROADE: As far as my selection's concerned, I think it was somewhat Stilwell, probably more Wedemeyer, at that point.
JOHNSON: Had you become pretty well acquainted with General Wedemeyer?
BYROADE: Yes, in the General Staff in the Pentagon.
JOHNSON: There would be a Wedemeyer mission in China in 1947.
BYROADE: Well, he was theatre commander at the latter stages of the war in China. He was in command of the China theatre. I'm not sure how I was picked. I know that Marshall wanted to take McCarthy, his Secretary of the General Staff in the Pentagon. He was very fond of Frank
McCarthy who then went out to Hollywood in the movie business.
JOHNSON: He was a military man?
BYROADE: That's right; he was Secretary of the General Staff.
JOHNSON: A colonel?
BYROADE: I think he was a colonel, but for some reason or other Frank couldn't go. I think maybe it was a matter of health.
JOHNSON: So you had to leave your family again.
BYROADE: I had to leave my family.
JOHNSON: Couldn't take your wife.
BYROADE: That's right. However, later on, when Marshall made a trip back to see Truman, he said, "I'll bring your family back with me." I had a wife and one son. I said, "I appreciate that General, but you can make me the most unpopular man in China, because nobody else has a wife out here." He said, "It doesn't matter; this is a special mission, and I'll do it." And he did.
Well, the Marshall mission to China was something that most Americans have misunderstood. I told Marshall in the beginning I didn't think he had more than a 2 percent chance. I felt sorry for him. Marshall was a winner, and Marshall had never tackled anything he didn't manage to do. I couldn't quite foresee his mission to China working out. Actually, we came a lot closer than I thought we ever would.
JOHNSON: Had you met Chou En-lai or Mao [Tse-Tung] while you were in China prior to this mission?
BYROADE: I never met Mao or Chou En-lai during the war. I saw a great deal of Chou En-lai, every day in the Marshall mission, for a while. I only saw Mao, I think, twice.
It took us thirteen days to get the truce agreement. Marshall was magnificent in the negotiations. Chou En-lai was the chief negotiator for the Communists; the negotiators for the Nationalist Government kept changing--they were usually lieutenant generals. We got the truce agreement finally, in 13 days. In the afternoon it was signed and Marshall turned to me and he said, "I want executive headquarters in Peking to be opened and working tomorrow." That is a long ways away.
Part of the truce agreement was that there would be a truce headquarters, which would be manned at the top by three high commissioners. Walter Robertson was the American High Commissioner; he was a banker from Richmond. Yeh Chien-ying, a great old man, who is about 90 now, if he's still alive, was the head Communist. And again the National Government rotated their people. I was made the executive director of the truce headquarters. I was chief of staff to all three of these: the Nationalist Government, the Communist side, and the American. That was in theory. Below me we had a tripartite staff--one section on transportation, one operations, one supply, and so on. Then there were field teams; we had 46 of them in the end. Each was tripartite; they had all three people who were supposed to go out in the field and supervise the cease fire.
There was no way to get this in operation that fast, except to call General Wedemeyer and take every plane he had, except his own. We moved the Chinese Communist staff, the Nationalist Government staff, all up to Peking. We took over two hotels; we couldn't put the Communists and the Nationalist Government in the
same hotel. We took over the Rockefeller Memorial Hospital complex, which was about 20 houses, and a beautiful hospital building that was empty. It wasn't being used. We literally had a team in the field the next day. It shocked the Communists; they weren't ready to move that fast. It was a little too fast, but that's what the General wanted.
In the beginning it accomplished a lot of good. The fighting did stop; food and medicine started moving. A lot of sieges were lifted. It looked like progress was being made, and then both sides, but particularly the Communist side, started violating the agreement. They even went so far as to sometimes put the truce team in jail while they took a place, and then after they had taken it they'd let the truce team out of jail. In one place they kept them confined for about a week while they did their military movements and ended up where they wanted to be.
JOHNSON: There are historians who think it was more the Nationalist right-wingers who refused a coalition with the Communists that helped break that truce. But you didn't see it that way?
BYROADE: Well, I want to answer that rather lengthily. The big problem in China was that a political party, the Communist Party, had their own army. Obviously, there wasn't going to be peace in China, as long as that prevailed. Somehow or other you had to get rid of the Chinese Communist army. Now Chou En-lai in every meeting, over and over again, said something to us that really didn't make any sense. He said, "We acknowledge the fact that the Generalissimo is in command of all military forces in China." As I say, it really didn't make any sense. So, finally, General Marshall's staff agreed to find out what he meant by this. I remember we didn't sleep for about three nights. We took all the Chinese Communist forces, called Eighth Foot Army then, the bulk of it, and split them up [on paper] and put them under Nationalist Government commanders in areas where it looked safe to do so, and presented this to Chou En-lai. Now in return for that, if they would do that, give up their army, Marshall was prepared to let Chinese Communist officials, a carefully selected number, into certain slots in the Chinese Government--but being careful not to put them where they really
had a veto over total power in the Government. This is why Marshall is accused to trying to set up a coalition government with the Communists.
Well, to what extent, he did, but the other part of that equation was it would have gotten rid of the Chinese Communist army. We felt that if that were possible, and if we gave even more support to the Generalissimo, and got him to put through the reforms that were absolutely vital to stop the trouble in China, reforms which would take the platform away from the Communists and their appeal to the people, that China might be able to swallow this up like they had everything else for thousands of years. That was the plan and I could not believe it when Chou En-lai agreed. He initialed the agreement. We set the signing for two days later. Marshall flew back to report to Truman. Two days went by and Chou En-lai refused to sign the agreement.
Now, at the time I thought they had had enough time to check it out with Moscow, and that's what the problem was; I had no evidence of that, but that's what I thought. And again, I have no evidence of this, but looking back on it I think it was Mao himself who probably vetoed the idea. That showed the difference
really between Chou En-lai and Mao Tse-tung. I was caught in a two-days flood with Chou En-lai--where we couldn't move in either direction, with the rivers on both sides, literally couldn't move--and we commandeered a little but for the first night. Then, after the rain stopped we slept the second night in a graveyard. That's really when I had my best talks with him.
He said, "Make no mistake about it, we want to communize China. Mao thinks we can do it almost over night. But," he said, "you know, we really can't. We've got less than 30 really well qualified people. We couldn't even run Shanghai at this moment if you wouldn't help us. As an example, where would we get fuel oil from?"
I said, "Well, you know damn well we will not help you." He said, "Mao has spent most of his life in caves and he doesn't know anything about finance; he doesn't know anything about economics; he doesn't know anything about world affairs; he doesn't know anything about world opinion, but he's a very dedicated Communist and he thinks we can just go right ahead and do it." And, of course, that's what they did in the end. I'm
sure Chou En-lai was just as surprised as I was how quickly they took over, and for the first time, really in Chinese history, they unified China.
JOHNSON: Well, what were Chiang Kai-shek's main obstacles or weaknesses, from your point of view at the time?
BYROADE: Well, Marshall thought he was a deplorable military commander. He did everything wrong in his military moves. But the fault was much, much deeper than that. Americans look at the map of China and say, "Well, that's China, and there's Chungking; that's the capital and there's the Generalissimo, and he's in command." This was not really true. The Generalissimo was in power by carefully balancing warlord against warlord. He literally did not have the power to put through the type of reform that would affect the common man and get rid of the Communist menace; I mean give them a better standard of living.
JOHNSON: He had warlords and absentee oppressive landlords to contend with?
BYROADE: That's right. And John Davies, a China expert,
said, "Well, the Generalissimo has lost his mandate from heaven. "I think that's a good way to put it. I've seen Chinese Nationalist troops just lay down their arms and walk away. They didn't know what they were fighting for.
JOHNSON: Who said he lost the mandate?
BYROADE: John Davies.
JOHNSON: Yes, I was going to ask you about these people, the "China hands."
BYROADE: Yes, well that's a good way to put it, "He lost his mandate from heaven." Now, I thought at the time, even after we failed, that it was worthwhile supporting the Generalissimo even more in hopes that we could really give him the strength to carry out reforms. Looking back on it, I don't think it would have worked.
JOHNSON: It didn't have peasant support--popularity among the masses of peasants--most of whom were landless I suppose.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: The landless peasant was the base of Mao's support?
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: You were acquainted then with John Davies and John Service?
JOHNSON: How about John Melby, do you remember him?
BYROADE: No, I don't remember him.
JOHNSON: John Leighton Stuart?
BYROADE: Yes. He took over eventually from Walter Robertson as American High Commissioner. Then, later when Marshall left, he became Ambassador.
JOHNSON: Were you acquainted with Hurley, Patrick Hurley?
BYROADE: I never met Hurley; I've read a lot about him, but never met him.
JOHNSON: What's your opinion of the job that he did? I think he was Ambassador there toward the end of the war in China.
BYROADE: Well, I didn't think he knew much about China. I thought he was too vain a man, who thought he knew a lot more than he did. I thought he should have listened more to the real experts he had around him, the China experts.
JOHNSON: How about John Davies and John Service. Of course, they got into trouble for the kind of advice they were giving and their apparent sympathies . . .
BYROADE: Well, this, of course, ran into the McCarthy era.
JOHNSON: But did you feel that they had a better finger on the pulse of China at the time, or were you skeptical too about their loyalty to America's friends?
BYROADE: Well, I was skeptical in the beginning before I knew any better, but eventually I became very well acquainted with John Davies. I think the positions he took on China were absolutely right. I felt so bad about the trouble he was in--this was much later on when I was in charge of German affairs in Washington, and Jack McCloy, was our High Commissioner in Germany. I went to Jack and said, "Look, you've got to take
John Davies on your staff and get him out of Washington. We've got to save this man." McCloy said, "I don't want to do that." I said, "You've got to do it; he's really good. He'll be one of the best men you've got." Jack finally agreed and he took him. A month later I went on a trip to Germany. Davies was in Berlin, and I was amazed at John Davies' knowledge of that situation, just in a month. But the next week he was called back for more hearings and eventually he had to leave the Service.
JOHNSON: When the truce was broken, of course, war broke out again over there, and the Nationalists began losing ground. I guess you could say the Marshall mission eventually did fail.
BYROADE: Marshall stayed too long. As I explained before, he had never really known defeat; he couldn't quite give up, and a stream of elderly Chinese, very old people, would come to see him, begging him not to leave, that he was the only hope China had. He stayed on and on. I remember flying down from Peking to Nanking, the capital was then Nanking, and seeing Marshall and telling him that I thought we had to accept failure
in the mission. I said, "The important thing left is to explain to the American people why this didn't work. That's got to be done well." He said, "Who can do it?" I said, "I could do part of it, but I was in Peking; you could do part of it, but it's not fair that you have to do it in the beginning. I think we need help. We'll get Til Durdin of the New York Times, Art Steele of the Chicago Sun, or whatever it is, who really know more about China than we ever will, and let's get their newspapers and release them and put them on the job of writing the White Paper, about what happened to the mission." Marshall said, "All right." So I cabled the newspapers and I got them released, flew back to Peking, and came back a week later. They were sitting on a porch, their feet on a coffee table, and I said, "Why the hell aren't you guys working?" They said, "Well, the boss won't let us." So I went in to see Marshall and he said, "Look, if I get in your frame of mind, we have really failed, and I'm not willing to admit that." He said, "They can't start unless I sit down with them and go through it. During the war"--this is something to remember about Marshall--"everybody told me I should keep a diary." And he said, "I could have spent the last fifteen minutes
every day dictating what happened. I would have it, but that would have meant I ended every day looking backwards." He said, "When your responsibilities are so great, involving so many lives, you make the best decisions you can and you forget it, and you turn to the next problem, but you don't look backwards." That's what kept Marshall there really too long.
JOHNSON: The two gentlemen who were going to write, these were reporters that had been released to write a White Paper?
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: But they didn't have a job; once they got over with Marshall they found out they were not able to start it . . .
BYROADE: Well, eventually the State Department had to write it and they were a little too far away from it. I didn't think it was very well done.
JOHNSON: The State Department's report on the Marshall mission?
BYROADE: Yes. Later, back here in Washington, I started to
write a magazine article to put in different perspective what I thought the main points of the mission were, and why it failed. Marshall found out about it and asked me not to do it. He said, "I don't want anything written about me while I'm alive." That was the end of that.
JOHNSON: By the way, are you acquainted with Forrest Pogue who has done the biographies on Marshall?
BYROADE: Pogue wrote me letters for years, and we finally got together for one day here in Washington. I said, "Look, I never kept any papers about anything except the Marshall mission, but I've got them all. I've got every cable from Truman to Marshall, everything." He said, "My God, where are they?" I said, "They're in the Pentagon." He said, "Let's get them." I called the Pentagon the next day and they said, "Oh, for heaven sakes, we shredded all that stuff only last week." I was Ambassador to Burma at the time and I said, "What did you do that for; I gave them to you for safekeeping." "Well," he said, "you know, that was years and years ago, and we never heard from you, and we've got to keep things in manageable size. We called the Burma desk at the State Department and they said, 'Well, if he
hasn't asked for them for fifteen years, I guess he doesn't want them."'
JOHNSON: They should have given them to the National Archives
BYROADE: And they were all destroyed, which is too bad.
JOHNSON: That's kind of a tragedy, especially for an archivist, and of course, from your point of view too. So then you came back; I think it was in January '47.
BYROADE: What happened-then; I didn't stay with the Marshall mission until its end. In the meantime--this is a rather amusing story. I was a full colonel. My class, that had made temporary full colonel in the war, were about to be demoted to lieutenant colonels. This rather worried me, because I was chief of staff to everybody, and I didn't know what the Chinese would think of my demotion. So I already had a little speech made out for Marshall; I was going to go in when it happened and tell him it happened, and say, "of course, this is quite proper, and I should take the pay of lieutenant colonel, but I'm afraid the Chinese won 't understand this. You know, we're so far away from
home; I want your verbal authority just not to change insignia and nobody will ever know."
Well, about that time, the Chinese walked in my room and said, "You owe us a party." I said, "What for?" And they said, "You're a general." It had never crossed my mind; I was 32 years old.
JOHNSON: Instead of demotion, you found a promotion instead?
BYROADE: Yes. I said, "Where did you hear that?" They said, "San Francisco radio." Good heavens; then I found out there was a broadcast. And then I did a stupid thing; I went in to see Marshall and tell him he made a mistake. I said, "Look, the Chinese respect age, and they respect rank, the war is over, and we've got lieutenant generals running out of our ears. We should have got one of them over here."
This is a good story--he said, "Well, in the first place they're not here and you are. In the second place, they don't know anything about the problem and you do. In the third place, don't take it so seriously. It only costs the Government $25 a month and a piece of red cloth." I tell this story to every wife who's
got a BG husband who is brand new and so proud. Well, anyway, he finally did get [Lieutenant] General [Alvan C.] Gillem, three stars to come out, and we were so short of help that I wanted [Brigadier] General [Thomas] Timberman to come out also. I wanted Timmy very badly, a capable guy; still alive here in Washington. And he came out. You know, I was so busy I never thought about the fact that he was going to outrank me. I literally didn't. There was plenty of work for everybody.
I guess Timberman felt I might still think I should be the boss at the Truce Headquarters and he didn't like that very much. So, Marshall's way out of that was to send me to Manchuria, to start a new headquarters in Manchuria. On my way up to open a headquarters, I got typhoid, and I almost died in Manchuria. I needed medical attention but we were without radio equipment and the weather was lousy and we couldn't get out of there. I was in Mukden, and I drove through Mukden and only saw one person, a soldier behind a sandbag. The Russians had left two days before and the curfew was just absolute, absolute. There was a Canadian UNRRA nurse up there that figured out that I had typhoid. How she was there
I don't know. She made a homemade intravenous outfit, and kept me alive until we could fly. They got me back to Peking and decided to bring me to Walter Reed. Then they decided I wasn't going to make it, and they took me to an American hospital ship at Tsingtao in northern China; it was the Good Hope, which saved my life. But I wasn't able to work for several months after that.
JOHNSON: At least you missed going to Outer Mongolia.
BYROADE: I got there before it happened, on the trip. Yes, I've probably seen more of China than any living white man. You see, during the war we built about fifty airfields south of the Yangtze and I got to all those. Then we had forty-six truce teams, all north of the Yangtze, except one in Canton. I got to all of those.
JOHNSON: Were you up there at Yenan where the Communists had their headquarters, in the caves of Yenan?
BYROADE: I was there just once with Marshall. We went up there to call on Mao Tse-tung; he was still living in a cave with his actress wife.
JOHNSON: You did meet Mao in his cave headquarters in
Yenan, and you got to talk to him personally then?
BYROADE: Well, along with Marshall.
JOHNSON: What were your impressions of Mao the first time you met him?
BYROADE: I couldn't believe it; he didn't look like a leader at all. He was a blubberly, misshapen kind of man. He didn't look forceful. He had a very limp handshake.
JOHNSON: Seem to be quite different from Chou En-lai?
BYROADE: Well, Chou En-lai was a remarkable personality. You couldn't help but like Chou En-lai, personally like him. He was one of the smoothest liars in the world, but you couldn't help but like him as a person.
JOHNSON: You had respect for Chou En-lai all the time you were there?
BYROADE: Oh yes, indeed. So did Marshall. Marshall worked very well with Chou En-lai, probably trusted him a little too much. Chou En-lai was a very educated, articulate man. I don't know; he's the type of person
that an American would slap on the back and call "Joe," which happened to be the sound of his name. But Mao left you cold. It's hard to realize how he had the adulation of millions of people.
JOHNSON: Did you feel at the time that they were more under the thumb of the Kremlin, of Moscow, than they actually were, as it turned out?
BYROADE: Yes, I did at that time. That was to some extent true, but it was a natural assumption we made in the world at that time, that the Communist bloc was monolithic.
JOHNSON: Of course, the Soviet Government had already made an agreement with Chiang Kai-shek which more or less recognized him as the chief executive of the Government of China.
BYROADE: Right. Well, I was extremely worried about the long-range Russian intentions. When I went to Manchuria on the trip that I got sick on, I got to Changchun; it was sort of the Pittsburgh of Manchuria. I flew over it and there were all of these big smokestacks, and
factory buildings, absolutely impressive. Again, no people.
JOHNSON: Had the Russians gutted those factories, taken them . . .
BYROADE: Everything. Absolutely everything! They'd tear out the light switches. Those buildings were just shells, and it left me wondering because had I been given the job as an engineer to destroy that complex, I would have just toppled all those smokestacks. They had left them all standing, so it looked to me like they thought they were coming back someday.
JOHNSON: On the other hand, if they felt that Mao and Chou En-lai were going to get control of China, this would not be doing them a favor, would it. It would be taking their industrial equipment away from them. In fact, didn't that become a bone of contention between the Communist Government of China, and the Soviets?
BYROADE: I think it did. Looking back, it looks rather stupid. They moved even blast furnaces, things that are almost immovable. And I don't really know why.
JOHNSON: Especially since that essentially was Chinese property, more than it was Japanese. They were taking it, I suppose, as spoils of war, supposedly from the Japanese. But it would, of course, become part of Chinese property when the war was over.
Okay, then after your illness, after you recover, you come back, and by that time was the mission over?
BYROADE: No, I had to leave it, I would guess three or four months before Marshall came home. I came home on a slow Navy boat. I was going to San Diego but I kept hearing every night that General Stilwell was dying and I was determined to go see him, because I admired him so much. He was up in Carmel; but he died the day before the boat got in. I came back to Washington; my illness was such that most people back here thought I was going to die. General [Thomas T.] Handy was then deputy chief of staff, and he said, "Since you survived, you can have any job in the military within reason that you want." I wasn't up to working, and so I said, "I'll go down to the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk." That was the first class at Norfolk. As a general, I already had credit for the course. I went down there,
and got back to health, rebuilding a Chris Craft. I really didn't go to school much.
JOHNSON: I'm checking your Who's Who here. You were in the Armed Forces Staff College, and then you become Chief, International Affairs Section, General Staff, U.S. Army, and then went on loan to the State Department in 1949-52. I notice in the Clay Papers, the published papers of Lucius Clay, that you were involved with the Berlin airlift in '48. Where were you in '48, when this was going on? What was your position?
BYROADE: I was in charge of the military-political group in OPD, in the General Staff.
JOHNSON: And OPD stands for . . .
BYROADE: Operations Division. That was sort of Marshall's command post.
JOHNSON: So you were in familiar territory back in the Pentagon.
BYROADE: Right. I had desk officers for the various trouble spots of the world. Shortly after I took command
of that group, the Berlin blockade came along.
JOHNSON: So you're working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
BYROADE: Well, no, not really. We were working for the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army.
JOHNSON: Okay. But he's one of the Joint Chiefs.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Who was that at this time?
JOHNSON: Oh, General [Omar] Bradley. I think in January '47, Marshall became Secretary of State.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: I guess he and Bradley saw eye-to-eye on most things.
BYROADE: Oh yes.
Well, when the Berlin blockade came along, the Washington sort of command aspect of that, in the Pentagon, was transferred to my section. Although my section covered the whole world, it was such a tremendous
problem that I really didn't do anything else but the Berlin blockade, which affected my whole career after that. I'll tell you the story.
JOHNSON: Of course, one story is that when the Soviets blockaded Berlin, Lucius Clay suggested that we send an armed convoy to Berlin. There was discussion about this and other options. Were you in on those discussions?
BYROADE: Yes. I thought Clay's option might have worked if we had done it the first day, before, you know, the troops really got their orders. But I didn't favor it afterwards, because I wasn't sure we could get away with it. You know, it's just a single road there, and you're so vulnerable.
All they had to do is knock out some bridges and we're out of business. I thought that would happen, you know, after a few days. They wouldn't take this disgrace. So I was scared of that, and favored the air option of supplying Berlin.
JOHNSON: Were you the one that brought that up, initiated that idea of the airlift, or were there several of you that . . .
BYROADE: Oh, there were several of us; I can't take credit for it, but I jumped on it because I remembered my "Hump" experience and I thought we could do it.
JOHNSON: Were you the only one in that group that had that experience with the Hump?
BYROADE: Yes, as far as actual hands-on experience was concerned. But there were others, such as General Wedemeyer, who had overall knowledge of it.
JOHNSON: Are you cooperating here with the State Department? Is it the Defense Department and State Department people that are discussing this problem?
BYROADE: I'll bring that out. Let me go about it another way here. I became what I call a Pentagon "leg-man" on Berlin. Chip [Charles] Bohlen was the leg-man for the State Department. We had beds in both the Pentagon and the State Department. For eight months we almost didn't get into either one, because with the hour change and so on, it was nothing to be all night in teleconferences with Frankfurt, London, Berlin, and Moscow.
JOHNSON: Where were you located when you received these?
BYROADE: In the State Department.
JOHNSON: You were in the State Department. Whose office there?
BYROADE: Well, their teleconference room.
JOHNSON: In the teleconference room of the State Department.
BYROADE: Usually Chip and I were, of course, always there. Usually Bob [Robert] Lovett would head the State Department group.
JOHNSON: What building is this?
BYROADE: It's the new State Department Building.
JOHNSON: That was located where, this building?
BYROADE: Twenty-first and Virginia. There were usually ten or twelve people. I was the senior Pentagon man almost all the time, but State would be secretary, usually Bob Lovett. And there was [John D.] Hickerson, who was head of the European Division; and Jake Beam was always there.
JOHNSON: Jake Beam?
BYROADE: Ambassador Jake [Jacob] Beam. He went on to be the Ambassador to Moscow, and to Czechoslovakia. He's living here in town.
Well, see, the State Department there could make decisions because they had their bosses right there in the room, but I was the sole Pentagon man there. So very often after midnight, I would have to go around town to get the views of our senior military people. The trouble with teleconferences--it's a dangerous damn thing, because the people on the other end are sitting there waiting for an answer. It's not like a cable that you can work on, you know; they're sitting up waiting for answers, so you've got to get answers. So it was not unusual at all that I would have to wake up Bradley, or Kenneth Royall, who was Secretary of the Army, or very often Bill Draper, who was Under Secretary of the Army. Sometimes it would be [James] Forrestal. I got to know all the brass in town, intimately, and this is what changed the rest of my career.
JOHNSON: You're on duty about 18 hours a day.
BYROADE: Yes. I seldom saw my family. To begin this story--before the blockade started--you know we were in the process of trying to form a civil government in Germany, and the Pentagon was still running German affairs, no doubt about it. It was Kenneth Royall, Bill Draper, and Lucius Clay; and they were doing a hell of a good job, which they would do, Lucius Clay particularly. But Lucius Clay's problem was only Germany. They were making decisions that affected all of Europe. As I say, we were in the process of trying to form a civil government, and I thought that the Pentagon had to get out of this business and turn occupied areas back to the State Department. The war was over long enough; the Pentagon ought to get out of it.
I'm sorry to make this long, but it's rather a crucial thing. I went to General Marshall, who was then Secretary of State. Obviously, I shouldn't have. I was about seventeen generals from the top, but I said, "Look, this thing isn't working well." He was Army too, and he'd understand. "We're going to get into real trouble, because we're making decisions on political things that we should not be in. And the State Department has got to take over." And he said, "We can't do
it." He said, "You people in the Pentagon can go out to Detroit, tap a bright guy on the shoulder, sign him up and put him in an airplane, take him to Germany and give him a house; the State Department can't do that stuff." I said, "Well, it's a different world; you've got to learn how to do it." Just as I thought I had Marshall almost convinced--I was sort of fanatic about this; I wanted the Pentagon to get out of this thing--the Berlin blockade came along.
Well, obviously with the Berlin blockade on, you don't make yourself popular going around town saying, "Let's turn it back to the civilians." So the eight months of the Berlin blockade went by and we finally won that one. Dean Acheson was then Secretary of State, and so I went to Dean Acheson and said, "Hey, you've got to take this stuff over. The Pentagon shouldn't be making all these decisions." Dean Acheson said the same thing, "We can't do it." I said, "You've got to do it. I mean how many more years are we going to be running Germany out of the Pentagon?" Well finally, he said, "All right." I heaved a big sigh of relief. I mean, really I thought we were headed for trouble, not because anybody was willfully doing
anything wrong, but the Pentagon was in the wrong business. I then found out on a Tuesday morning that I had been given away at a cocktail party by the Secretary of Army Royall, to the Secretary of State Acheson, to go to the State Department and run German affairs.
JOHNSON: On loan to the State Department.
BYROADE: Yes, and I was very upset about it. And I went up to see General Bradley. I said, "Look, I'm a West Pointer and I can be ordered anywhere in the world, anytime, but I've just been ordered out of the Army. I just heard about it, and nobody talked to me about it." I told him what had happened, and he said, "Well, I agree with you." He said, "Stay right here." He went in to see Royall, the Secretary of the Army, and he stayed there about an hour. He came back and he said, "it's all been worked out at the White House, and I can't do anything about it." But he said, "What I can do, is order you to the National War College a year from now, and we'll get you back, if that helps." I said, "Thank you very much.
But I refused. I refused to go there in charge of
German affairs, but I did agree I'd be deputy. So they brought Bob [Robert] Murphy back, who was then Ambassador to Belgium, to be my boss. Bob knew all about this background. I've forgotten what Bob was doing. He was with Lucius Clay in Germany, yes, and Bob got out of it very quickly by becoming Ambassador to Belgium, which left me for about a year trying to recruit a new boss.
JOHNSON: So you're acting director then?
BYROADE: Yes. You know, you can't do that; it takes the President or Secretary of State to call somebody and say, "We want you." So after about a year I gave up, and by that time I was so deeply involved. You know, this was the beginning of NATO, and the Schuman plan; I had really begun to believe that in peacetime I could do more in what I was doing than I could in uniform. So when Bradley's orders came after a year to go to the War College, State asked me to defer it for a year, and I said, "Okay." The second year I got orders to the War College and they asked me again; I stayed on another year, and then I was going back to the Pentagon. I had in mind that I was going to the War College after the third year.
Then, Acheson said the President wanted me to resign from the Army and become Assistant Secretary of State. I didn't really want to do it. It's good for a Regular Army man to have to face up to it; you know, you suddenly realize for the first time you belong to a world-wide club. Everyplace you go you know people. You're all making the same salary. In the State Department I would be relieving a millionaire; I had no fortune at all. But how do you say "no"? I, finally, on a train between Frankfurt and Bonn, wrote Dean Acheson a note and said, "I think you're picking the wrong man, but if that's what you want, I will do it."
I asked him later; I said, "Why me, I'm supposed to be a Far Eastern expert temporarily working on Europe and you're talking about the rest of the world." And he said, "Well, I'll tell you why the President wants you. Anybody that knows anything about the Middle East at all, and is any good, won't take the job because of the Arab-Israeli problem and that's why we want you!"
JOHNSON: When you were studying at the Armed Forces Staff College, were you studying international affairs at all?
JOHNSON: You did become chief of the International Affairs Section of General Staff, so you had studied world affairs, and you had gotten into the European area, to a great extent, I suppose, in that study.
BYROADE: Oh, of course. And just serving in the Pentagon on the General Staff; half or two-thirds of what you'd hear every morning in the briefings would be Europe.
JOHNSON: You outlasted the Soviets there in Berlin, and the blockade was then lifted. I notice in Clay's papers, he was worried apparently that we were going to make too many concessions to the Soviets. Well, we're getting more toward the establishments of the government for West Germany and Clay was still involved with this. In May of '49 there was talk about a central police director for Germany, and the withdrawal of occupation troops to garrison areas. Clay said that was too close to what the Cominform wanted. I guess we were still planning, in early '49, for unification. We still had that as a . . .
BYROADE: Still talking about it . . .
JOHNSON: . . . as a realistic hope in '49, to unify Germany. This would mean, of course, changing the occupation status, and now we are talking about garrison areas. Did this ever get very far? Was it taken all that seriously, on this end?
BYROADE: Yes, I shared Clay's concern. Just before I went to the State Department permanently, I went along with General Marshall--well, some months before--to a meeting with the Russians in London, with Molotov, on Germany.
JOHNSON: This was a four-power meeting?
BYROADE: Yes. Marshall was then Secretary of State, and I was the Pentagon advisor. I had spent a lot of time studying up on the German problem. I was sort of horrified. We had made concession after concession. I thought if they came to that meeting and said, "We agree," that we would be in very bad shape. Now, I've forgotten the details, but I still feel that way. If they had said, "Yes, we agree," there wouldn't have been a NATO. It would have been a whole different world. And I think the Russians made a mistake. I think we had
made enough concession; they should have just said, "Okay."
JOHNSON: This is the London conference we're talking about?
BYROADE: Yes, 1947.
JOHNSON: Oh, back in '47. So you think it was fortunate then that we got a "Nyet" from the Soviets?
BYROADE: I do.
JOHNSON: How about the dismantling of German industry? Were you supporting this? To what extent were you supporting the breakup of the cartels and the Krupp empire and so on? Did that policy change?
BYROADE: Well, it was a very, very frustrating problem--this dismantling in Germany. On the one hand, we had the French who wanted every brick, every place, torn down and powdered into dust. The British were sort of lukewarm about it. We were for it in principle, but when you got down to it, you know, you could destroy the munitions factories, but when you got into things that affected the civilian economy, or could, then we were not so enthusiastic. The problem really was in trying to bring the French along into
something that seemed reasonable. That proved impossible many times. We didn't have any veto power in this, so you couldn't just overrule the French. They got their way for more destruction than we would have thought wise.
JOHNSON: Of course, the Morganthau plan was discarded early.
BYROADE: But it was a whole different situation. I got in a hell of a row with [Senator] Tom Connally on the Hill about German debts. Remember after World War I--was it the Dawes Plan--anyway it got an awful lot of publicity about making the Germans pay for the war. This time when the war was over, you know it became pretty obvious that it was a completely different world. It didn't take very long to decide what we really should try to do is how do we get German strength safely on the side of the West. Nobody gave a damn about a German debt settlement after the war. It was never heard of.
JOHNSON: The Soviets were really the only ones to get much in the way of reparations, I suppose.
Apparently, in 1949 there was an agreement in which the Soviets and the Western powers agreed to gradually end the occupation of Austria on condition it would be a neutral
country. Do you think that they agreed on this plan to leave Austria--one of the few instances I suppose where their troops actually left the territory they were occupying--in hopes that that then would be followed up by a similar agreement for Germany?
BYROADE: No, I don't think the Russians ever thought for one minute of leaving East Germany. I was rather surprised at the Austrian agreement. Incidentally, that's the first time I met President Truman. When I first went to the State Department, I was in charge of German and Austrian affairs. I thought they didn't really belong in the same category, and it took me several months, but I managed to transfer Austria to the European Division, so that I just had Germany. While I still had Austria, there was a four-power meeting in, I think, Vienna with the Russians. What was under discussion at the time, and I've forgotten the details, was what was going to happen to the oil well properties in Austria, a very complex problem. We got a cable about 8 o'clock at night from Dean Acheson giving his proposal for the next day to give to the Russians. He wanted an answer and he wanted Truman's approval before he went in the meeting the next
day. Well, I worked all night; I never went home. I tried to put the background of all this, because it was complex, into about a page and a half paper for the President. I called Jim Webb who was then Under Secretary of State for Acheson, and said, "We've got to see the President very early in the morning, maybe at breakfast, because Dean Acheson needs an answer early." He said, "All right;" so we went over and had breakfast. Truman read Acheson's cable.
JOHNSON: You're having breakfast with Truman?
BYROADE: Yes. And with Webb. That's the first time I met the President, and Truman read Acheson's cable. He said, "Dean is absolutely right; tell him to go ahead." Well, this was the answer that we wanted, but I couldn't believe that the President understood the problem. I didn't have the respect for him then that I got soon afterwards. I kicked Webb under the table, you know, suggesting "Show him my memo." The President read my memo and he said, "Well, that's good State Department gobbledygook, but I understood Dean's cable all right." So we started to leave, and I still didn't think he understood the problem.
JOHNSON: But he still had the memo?
BYROADE: He still had the memo, and he walked over to the globe, which he did often, and he started talking about the problem. I just couldn't believe it; it was then obvious that he had read personally every cable from Dean Acheson. He understood the problem completely.
JOHNSON: This was in the Oval Office where he had that globe?
BYROADE: The Oval Office, yes. I remember thinking at the time, "My God, I wonder if FDR ever read a cable." It dawned on me; my thinking at the time was, "Here's a little guy, that knows he's not a genius and he's got to work at it, and by God he does." My respect for the President started at that moment.
JOHNSON: He did his homework in other words.
BYROADE: Yes, that's right.
JOHNSON: That's something. So he kept the memo, and I presume that ended up in our White House files. You don't have a copy of it?
BYROADE: No, I don't have a copy of anything. Well, I'm not sure that he kept the memo. I assume he did.
JOHNSON: It's probably in either the President's Secretary's Files, or the White House Central Files. Do you have your name on it?
BYROADE: I would be on there as a drafter, yes.
JOHNSON: I don't want to keep you much longer, but I did want to get half of our session, at least, done here. In just a few more minutes we can end this up.
I think that this German problem is certainly very important, and we aren't going to finish it today. I might just bring up a couple more questions. Free elections, of course, was one of the sticking points, our insistence on free elections for all of Germany, apparently at the same time and under international inspection. Was that the idea at the time, that the United Nations would oversee free elections in Germany?
BYROADE: All I remember is internationally supervised, but I don't remember the mechanics, as to whether it was supposed to be U.N.-supervised.
JOHNSON: But this was not acceptable to the Soviets?
JOHNSON: Were you at the time, or later, pleased that they didn't accept this because it could have led then to a unified but neutralized Germany? Did you really feel that a neutral Germany was possible?
BYROADE: No, I didn't feel a neutralized Germany was possible. In the beginning, of course, we all talked about unification and it was a worthwhile goal.
JOHNSON: Wasn't that part of the Potsdam accords, in fact, the demilitarization and unification of Germany?
BYROADE: Yes . I think so. It wasn't more than a year until my main focus was how do we safely add German strength to the West? You know, West Germany.
JOHNSON: In '49 we have the Basic Law. Did you have input into the Basic Law, the constitution really of West Germany?
BYROADE: Well, the first thing that I remember is tremendous work on the occupation statutes; that was before that. The Basic Law; now I'm fuzzy on that.
JOHNSON: Well, it was supposed to be temporary as a way of readmitting some civilian rule in West Germany. Of course, [Konrad] Adenauer became the first chancellor under this law, and we began dealing with Adenauer, I guess, as well as [John J.] McCloy. I think McCloy remained as High Commissioner.
BYROADE: Yes, I had gotten involved in that; obviously, I did quite a bit. I had a rather fundamental disagreement with McCloy; I accused him of wanting to legislate democracy, which wouldn't really work. I've forgotten what the specific point was.
JOHNSON: But you were trying to get the military out, and get some civilian rule into Germany, before the others were pushing for that.
BYROADE: That's right, I was.
JOHNSON: You apparently had quite a bit of confidence in the Germans having rid themselves of the Nazi philosophy and Nazi ideas.
BYROADE: I'll tell you what I really had confidence in. I think it really is a remarkable stroke of luck in
history when you think about it. In Adenauer, the Germans had a leader who really wanted to see unification of Europe move forward to the point where there would be a framework in Europe before the Germans got their last percentage of full, independent sovereignty. When you look at history, this is a remarkable thing. That was Adenauer's position, and so I was a very strong Adenauer man. That's why, you know, we got German support on a European defense force concept. That's what Adenauer was thinking; he was willing to go along with that concept, thinking it will be a better Europe than it will if it were just Germany alone again. That was great.
JOHNSON: He submitted his nationalism to an international frame of mind.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: It's an interesting comment that you apparently made in early '50, in March of '50, when Acheson gathered a group of advisors around, including you, and asked for ideas about how to revitalize Western diplomatic initiatives. Of course, we had ERP--the Marshall Plan, NATO, and the establishment, the beginnings of the
Federal Republic, which are important steps. But he says it seemed now to have lost momentum, and so he's asking for new ideas. I think McCloy suggested moves toward a political arrangement like our Articles of Confederation for Europe, but Ambassador [Lewis] Douglas and Paul Nitze said that Europe was not ready for that, for this Articles of Confederation. One of the things that you mentioned--you got Britain into it--you said that Britain needed to recognize that it no longer had its old power status, and for better U.S.-British relations, she should face up to this. You also mention that the unification question would come up again and we needed to have a position, because this kept coming up, but apparently we weren't as clear as maybe we could have been about our position on unification. At any rate, on this business of Britain, and not wanting to give up its old status as a world power, was Britain an obstacle, was Britain a problem, as far as we were concerned in our relations with Germany?
BYROADE: Not at all. No, the British were very good about Germany; almost always we and the British were in agreement. Seldom were we in agreement with France. So
we would both work on the French. You didn't feel, in the meetings we had with Anthony Eden and others on Germany; we didn't feel that Britain was one that was losing their power status. It's only when you got into what was happening in India, and then the Middle East, and you saw their empire begin to fold up, that you really ran into that sort of thing. But while we were working on Germany, the relations between Anthony Eden and Dean Acheson were just great. We were almost always in agreement. The British were not a problem on Germany.
JOHNSON: In other words, when we first brought up the idea of rearming West Germany, or at least involving Germany in their own defense, military defense, Britain went along with this as you recall? They also agreed with us right at the outset that some movement should be made toward rearming Germany?
BYROADE: Well, we didn't go abruptly into the question of German rearmament. Even I felt rather strongly against that. What we were hoping could happen, and in a way my outfit was quite a bit responsible for this, this pushing to the utmost the idea of a European defense force, so that Germany could make a contribution.
JOHNSON: In other words, not under NATO at this point, not as a part of NATO, but as a part of this European Defense Community, which apparently was a French idea, or at least it became known as the Pleven Plan?
BYROADE: Yes, but before the Pleven Plan, Doug MacArthur [ No relation
to General of the Army Douglas
Now, if the French would propose this, this would really be something, and we could all jump in and support it. We had this proposition all worked out before a NATO meeting in New York at the Waldorf. We wanted to get it to Schuman before he left France, you know, so he could think about it. We missed it by about 24 hours. He left France early, and went someplace else. So it really didn't start out first as a French idea; it started as our idea, and we were trying to figure out some acceptable way. We just didn't want to say there should be a German Air Force, and there should be thirteen divisions, etc.
We didn't want that; we wanted something else. Of course, the French did buy the concept later on, but they went too far. You can't split units up like the French wanted to; they practically had different nationalities in a squad of eight men. You know, you've got to have units with a flag; you can't just have everybody all mixed together.
JOHNSON: One language.
BYROADE: The French wouldn't go that far, and I was so upset with the French. They finally vetoed the whole concept because we wanted to make it more practical, and they wanted to make it more diffuse.
JOHNSON: Apparently in September 1950, Dean Acheson, at a three-power meeting, first brought up this idea that we've got to do something about involving West Germany in military defense of Europe.
BYROADE: I was sitting right beside him.
JOHNSON: Okay. I think it was kind of general at this time--no details--but this was a major point to be made. Did you do the preliminary work on the statements that Acheson made at that meeting?
BYROADE: I certainly worked on them. There came a time in this when I was very leary about German rearmament as such. I wanted to find some safe way to do this. But things reached the point in Washington, at one stage, where it was pretty obvious--you know, after Korea and so on--it was pretty obvious that there was going to be German rearmament whether I liked it or not. I remember calling McCloy on the telephone and in gobbledygook, saying, you know, "This is going to happen whether we want it or not." McCloy felt about like I did--whether we want it or not. So what we had to work out, right away, and we've got to hurry, is to get some acceptable way to do this. Then I went into the European concept, of a European defense force. I would say that McCloy and I were the first two who ever really worked on that. Then Pleven came along.
JOHNSON: Well, now, you didn't say anything or do anything about this until after the invasion of South Korea. Is that what precipitated it, or had you already begun to at least jot down ideas?
BYROADE: I think it was after Korea, but I'm not sure.
JOHNSON: In other words, this idea about a neutral, unified Germany may have still had some validity until the Korean invasion?
BYROADE: Well, I don't know. We were getting pretty tense, fed-up, and leery of the Russians even before that. You know we had been through the Berlin blockade.
JOHNSON: But at least that was settled for the time being.
BYROADE: Yes, it was settled but Berlin was still sticking out there absolutely indefensible. I'm not sure when this happened.
JOHNSON: Well, why don't we stop here?
Second Oral History Interview with Henry Byroade, Potomac, Maryland, September 21, 1988. By Niel M. Johnson, Harry S. Truman Library.
JOHNSON: We were talking about rearmament of Germany and the French attitude, and the British. At one point Adenauer was asking for an increased police force like they had in East Germany. That possibly was an option to creating an army. In fact, I suppose they did increase the police force in West Germany long before they created an army for NATO. They tried to match the East Germans, the "Volpos" [Volkspolizei] I guess they called them.
BYROADE: Well, that seemed like a reasonable request to us at the time. It wasn't significant really in the conventional military sort of way.
JOHNSON: Did they have a mined line at that time between East and West Germany--the Iron Curtain as we would call it--do you remember?
BYROADE: No, I don't know if they did or not.
JOHNSON: Theodore Achilles, in an oral history interview, says that in 1950, as the North Atlantic Council was being organized, that the Pentagon was promoting German
rearmament because NATO forces were inferior to the Soviet. He says, "The Office of German Affairs in the State Department," this would be yours, "sided with the Pentagon on this, but most of the rest of the State Department was dubious and most of our allies, especially the French, were strongly opposed." Did you consult with the JCS, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and what was your position on German rearmament in 1950, that is, the German Bureau's in the State Department?
BYROADE: I think Ted's emphasis is a bit wrong. Yes, of course, we were in constant consultation with the Pentagon, sometimes the Joint Chiefs. It was rather normal for them to want more strength on our side of the line, because in a conventional way we were vastly inferior to the Soviet forces. But in 1950 my own Bureau had not taken any position that we were in any hurry about rearming Germany; that came a little bit later on. Then we wanted to do it in some European context. We didn't like the word "German Rearmament;" we liked "European Defense Concept." It's a fine point, but not entirely. It's a question of, you know, whose ultimate sovereignty is this military force under.
JOHNSON: In September of 1949 we were first told about the Soviets setting off their first atomic bomb. Do you remember that starting or precipitating a new strategy for Germany, a new concern about arming her?
BYROADE: No. I don't remember it specifically but I'm sure it must have added to the Pentagon's point of view, that we should go on adding to German strength.
JOHNSON: The Soviet military strength, the conventional strength, we were not so worried about because we did have a monopoly on the atomic bomb up until the fall of 1949; isn't that true?
BYROADE: Well, true, except it was certainly obvious that it was just a matter of time until the Russians got a useable bomb. I can't pinpoint any date, or any conference, that this came to a head.
JOHNSON: That was a concern, no doubt. Achilles goes on to say that a group, including you, Harriman, General Gruenther, Douglas MacArthur II, Ambassador [Charles] Spofford, as well as Achilles, met in Achilles' home, and you "concocted a simple scheme," to obtain allied support for rearming Germany. Harriman was to draft a
letter for Truman's signature to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking whether the Joint Chiefs considered German rearmament essential. Gruenther would reply for the JCS that it was. Truman would then direct the State and Defense Departments to seek Allied support on rearming Germany. Achilles concludes, "It worked out but neither quickly nor easily."
BYROADE: Well, Ted's memory must be better than mine. I remember meeting a smaller group than that in Harriman's house, but that was really on whether we should put an American commander in Europe. I don't remember such a meeting on German rearmament.
JOHNSON: But you do remember a meeting in Harriman's home, about naming a commander of the NATO forces in Europe?
BYROADE: Yes, that's right. I don't want to be misunderstood here in an egotistical sort of way, but it's rather amusing how these things happen. A group of us felt that Europe wasn't progressing well enough towards unification in an economic way, and there was sort of a let-down in spirit. We came to the conclusion that one of the problems was security. The Europeans hadn't really accepted the fact the United States would fight
for Europe, and the obvious answer to that was to put an American commander over here, and then we're hooked, as it were. We couldn't be in command over there and take any other position than we had to defend Europe. We got around to the idea that there was only one possible name for us, and that was Eisenhower, because of his reputation.
JOHNSON: Do you remember who else was in this meeting?
BYROADE: Just MacArthur and I. Doug and I went to Dean Acheson and he rather grasped at the idea. He said, "You go see Harriman and Gruenther," talking to the two of us, "and I'll go see the President." Doug MacArthur and I had that meeting in Harriman's house, and they both agreed. Gruenther went back to the Pentagon to get the Pentagon's position. Why Acheson went to see Truman before he really got our position, I don't know, but he was rather enthused about it. He came back--and it's an interesting comment--and he said, "The President bought the idea." He said, "You know, that little guy is truly amazing. I think he was conscious of the fact, that maybe by making this decision, he was creating a future President of the United States, who
might be a Republican." But, he said, "He didn't bat an eye." He said, "If that's what we need, that's what we need." Which was rather characteristic of Truman.
JOHNSON: Yes. I wonder when this meeting might have taken place. Are we talking about early 1950, before the Korean war, do you believe?
BYROADE: I'm not sure of that. It would have been three or four months before Ike went to Europe.
JOHNSON: By the way, Douglas MacArthur II, is he related to the General?
BYROADE: Not at all, no. He was married to Barkley's--Vice President [Albin] Barkley's--daughter, but they are no relation to Douglas MacArthur.
JOHNSON: Achilles, by the way, describes Douglas MacArthur II, who was political advisor to Eisenhower in 1950-51, as a "hard-boiled realist, and rather a political opportunist." How do you remember him?
BYROADE: Well, Doug was in charge of regional affairs for the State Department in European Affairs, and we were thrown
so closely together because I was in charge of German Affairs, and I couldn't see any good answers to the German problem except in the regional context. So we worked together on everything that had to do with the regional advancement of Europe. Doug and I were extremely close at that time. He was a very capable operator. We drifted apart a bit later on; I didn't like too well the way I thought Doug ran his embassies.
JOHNSON: He was Ambassador later on?
BYROADE: He was Ambassador to Japan, and somewhere else, I think.
JOHNSON: That must have confused the Japanese a little bit didn't it? Perhaps he was a hard-boiled realist. I get the impression he was rather strongly in favor of getting West Germany into NATO, or into some kind of rearmament.
BYROADE: That's true, but he wanted to do it in the European context as much as I did.
JOHNSON: So he was favoring EDC?
BYROADE: Yes, very much.
JOHNSON: Apparently [Rene] Pleven brought this idea out in October 1950; suggested the EDC approach, European Defense Community, and this was kicked around for about four years.
BYROADE: You see, the normal way to go about this, talking about European integration, would be first on the political level, then on the economic level, things like the Schuman plan and so on, and the Coal and Steel Community. And then eventually and last, you would turn to the military field and try to get a unified defense command in Europe. But we didn't think we had time for all that. So what we were really trying to do was to start out with the military first, which is very, very difficult. If you already had the political and economic, the military would have flowed along much easier.
JOHNSON: In fact the French really wanted all this political and economic unity before they got into the military.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: And you could see the logic of that, but you also were in a rush now.
BYROADE: That's right. I always saw the logic of the French position, but it didn't quite fit in the world that we had inherited.
JOHNSON: Eisenhower came out for rapid rearmament, and yet he apparently was very patient about it. Was your impression of Eisenhower that he did handle the French problem very astutely, diplomatically?
BYROADE: He did, yes. I thought he did, yes.
JOHNSON: Probably during World War II, he had learned quite a bit about how to deal with the French.
BYROADE: That's one of the reasons why he was the ideal commander for us in Europe.
JOHNSON: Of course, the Soviet Union feared German rearmament, and they proposed another four-power conference in 1951 to unify and demilitarize Germany. There was a meeting in Paris from March to June of '51, and there was no agreement that came out of that. They did appear to have made some concessions, but Adenauer and the other Western leaders were now intent on a pro-West Germany. In the meantime, the Western powers had decided to end the
state of war with Germany. I suppose that this was really the first step toward doing anything . . .
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: . . . in the military sphere. Do you think it was true that by 1951 the Western powers no longer had realistic hopes of unifying Germany, or keeping her demilitarized?
BYROADE: Yes, I think that's true. There was still talk of a German reunification, but everyone knew it wasn't a realizable goal, not in the near future.
JOHNSON: And yet you didn't, apparently, eliminate the possibility entirely.
BYROADE: We didn't think that would be wise. Public-opinionwise, it would not have been a good idea to say it could never work.
JOHNSON: In fact, didn't a majority of the German people, West and East, including West Germany, still think that unification was very important? Was that what you had to keep in mind?
BYROADE: That's right. I think that's true. It's rather obvious there would be a yearning for unification of their country. From the propaganda point of view, it wasn't good to say "no, it can never happen."
JOHNSON: But Adenauer, you feel, by this time had really given up?
BYROADE: I think he had in the foreseeable future.
JOHNSON: In fact, McGeehan in his book [ Robert McGeehan, The German Rearmament Question: American Diplomacy and European Defence After World War II (University of Illinois Press, 1971) ], says that Adenauer favored German rearmament as a way, first, to regain sovereignty, secondly, to achieve security against the Soviet bloc, and then thirdly, to advance Western European integration. Did that fit in with American thinking on the subject?
BYROADE: It did. It did, indeed. Adenauer didn't oppose German rearmament in a European Defense Concept, except for the rather unrealistic plans of the French, which would diffuse the forces.
JOHNSON: Do you recall any changes in our diplomatic tactics, or strategy, like in 1951-52 when, you know, EDC was being debated rather strongly and the European Coal and
Steel Community apparently had already been established? It was apparent that West Germany would become more and more a part of the Western bloc, and I think the documentation indicates that the Americans, including Acheson, and probably yourself, were coming out for a more aggressive counter-propaganda to the Soviet Union. Do you recall that we decided to become more aggressive in our efforts to counter Soviet propaganda and be "less diplomatic" about our approach to them?
BYROADE: Oh, there's no doubt about that at all. When I left German Affairs in 1952, we were only thinking really about adding German strength safely to the West, and, you know, to make it as viable a country as we could. [It was] a truncated country, but we wanted our side to be a showcase compared to the other side.
JOHNSON: The Oder-Neisse, the boundary line that had been drawn up as a temporary kind of border at earlier conferences, this issue seemingly was kept alive. That is, the Western side would not agree that this was a permanent border for East Germany. Yet, didn't we see that issue as probably a lost cause?
BYROADE: As a practical matter, we would not publicly say that is a permanent border. We just wouldn't say that, but as a practical matter, we recognized that that was going to be the border for a long time.
JOHNSON: So we were still kind of maintaining a fiction in a sense that that would not be settled until there was a unified Germany and a peace treaty?
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: With a unified Germany, and that was what was apparently spelled out at the Potsdam Conference.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Do you think that was wise policy to hold out on that? Did that help the Russians keep the East Germans perhaps more antagonistic toward the West than they would have been otherwise by not agreeing to that Oder-Neisse line?
BYROADE: No, I don't really think so. We felt as long as West Germany was clearly progressing more than East Germany, in almost every way, that that was a lure to the East Germans. It was, you know, "why can't we be a part
of that?" That would have, of course, gone out the window. had we said, "There is the line and it is forever; you're separate."
JOHNSON: Was it the Helsinki Accords of 1970 that finally settled that?
BYROADE: Not specifically, but practically, yes.
JOHNSON: That's no longer a problem or a question is it?
BYROADE: No, not that I know of.
JOHNSON: Kurt Schumacher--did you ever deal with him directly, the head of the SPD [Social Democrat Party]?
BYROADE: Once. I made a trip to Germany to see Jack McCloy who was our High Commissioner. I said, "Jack, we should go see Kurt Schumacher." McCloy was pretty dubious about this; he was thinking about his relationship with Adenauer. I said, "Come on, it's an American tradition; of course, we talk to the opposition." Reluctantly, he went. I thought, you know, it would be a 30-40 minute courtesy call, but we got into a very long and fundamental talk with Schumacher. He was quite an impressive man. He was led into the room by his nurse; he wasn't a well
man, of course. We got into a terrific argument with him about German rearmament. He didn't favor any European concept at all. He had a much more nationalistic approach and didn't want to discuss the military at all except under the concept of German sovereignty, German flag, etc. It was the first time that we had ever talked to Schumacher. I had a letter from him later about how much he appreciated the talk. We had a chance to really spell out how we felt about policy in Germany. I think we made some impression on him. He wouldn't change his mind in our presence, but I think it did some good.
JOHNSON: He was apparently afraid that France was actually trying to get hegemony.
BYROADE: He was a real nationalist, Schumacher.
JOHNSON: He did feel that France was trying to get domination over Germany?
BYROADE: I think he probably did.
JOHNSON: Did Chancellor Adenauer have the domino theory, too, that if we were to sign a neutralization treaty on Germany, that this would be the beginning of a Soviet push that
would tend to neutralize the rest of Western Europe, that it might have a domino effect?
BYROADE: I don't really know; I don't recall that subject ever came up when I was around him.
JOHNSON: The Pleven plan, the EDC, did it specifically exclude Germany as a member of NATO, or German forces as part of the NATO force? Was this a substitute in a sense for NATO, or do you recall how this was to be related to NATO?
BYROADE: I don't really recall, but it wasn't to be separate from NATO. The only thing I really recall about the Pleven plan is that the military units themselves were to be international, down to the point where, you know, there would be no single unit that you could call a German unit.
JOHNSON: At least at division level. I think the big argument centered on what they call combat teams, which, in a sense, were regiments.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: And the idea of German divisions. We Americans,
and the British, too, were holding out for divisions, German divisions.
BYROADE: We were thinking of the effect of military support; if you don't have a unit at least the size of a division, with its own flag and its own commander, you know, you get into the point of soldiers' morale. There's got to be esprit de corps for your outfit. The French plan was so diffused that . . .
JOHNSON: I think we finally did get them to agree not to change the name so much but to change the numbers. There was talk about combat teams as having maybe even up to 10,000 men, which would be getting toward division level.
BYROADE: I don't really remember that.
JOHNSON: Perry Laukhuff, Director of the Office of German Political Affairs, wrote you a series of letters.
BYROADE: He was one of the best drafters in the Foreign Service, great.
JOHNSON: Some of it has been published in the Foreign Relations series. Laukhuff in one of his letters,
concerning the exploratory talks in March and April of '51, said he noticed a change in Soviet emphasis, even away from German remilitarization to the arms race, and on reducing armaments in general. This was because the Soviet Union now had become very concerned about American rearmament in the wake of the Korean war, and about the fact we were going to send divisions to Europe. There was a controversy about sending American divisions to Europe.
JOHNSON: Laukhuff at this point was saying that he felt that Davies, who was a British delegate to the North Atlantic Council, or maybe to the three-power conferences, that he was too eager to reach agreement with the Russians. He felt the British were a little too eager at this point to come to an agreement with the Russians. My question is, do you think that Stalin himself really miscalculated in apparently giving the green light to Kim I1-Sung who ordered the North Koreans to invade the south, not realizing what kind of backlash there would be not just in regard to Asia, but in regard to the rearming of Western Europe?
BYROADE: Well, yes, I think it was a mistake on Russia's part. That seemed to be sort of a habit. Every time it looked like we might make some concession that was really important, they seemed to do something stupid, and I think that was one of them. Chou En-lai later on said that the biggest mistake China ever made was getting into the Korean war.
JOHNSON: He thought that was kind of pulling Russia's irons out of the fire?
BYROADE: That's right; and they shouldn't have gotten involved.
JOHNSON: Laukhuff also said the State Department seemed to be giving in on a matter of making the demilitarization of Germany a separate agenda item for these Council of Foreign Ministers meetings. There seemed to be a lot of back and forth correspondence going on just on this matter of a separate agenda item for demilitarization of Germany. We did not want that as a separate item; we wanted that to be part of a larger picture. Yet, he thought the British were going too far in accepting the idea of demilitarization as a separate item on these agenda. Yet, I think you have already said that the British did side with us on these issues.
BYROADE: Most of them.
JOHNSON: Apparently there was a Big Four meeting of deputy Foreign Ministers that broke up in June of 1951 without agreement on an agenda. The Soviets at this point were demanding discussions of NATO, U.S. bases abroad, and disarmament. They refused to discuss armaments of satellite states, and Acheson said, "Well, the Soviet preconditions would end up requiring Western disarmament." Was there any logical reason why they would try to exclude the satellite states in talking about, you know, European disarmament?
BYROADE: I just can't remember now.
JOHNSON: The satellite states had armies of their own.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Didn't they tend to react in a sense? We came up with NATO, and then they came up with the Warsaw Pact; we come up with a government for Western Germany, and then they come up for one for East Germany.
BYROADE: That is a little backwards, in a way. We reacted
to them behaving the way they did in Germany, and refusing to unify Germany in any sensible sort of way. All the other positions they took every day of the week, on Berlin, the Allied High Commission and all of that, and we began to see more what kind of an adversary we had. So our first reaction was to them, and then they reacted to us, of course.
JOHNSON: Okay. Then these contractual agreements come about in May of '52, which was very important in that they began the steps toward German independence, or independence for West Germany. These ended the Allied occupation statutes, but we still maintained forces. Apparently, part of that was that we would maintain American forces in West Germany, and I think the British had troops there.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Did the French still have occupation troops too?
BYROADE: I think so, but I'm not sure.
JOHNSON: Which troops were the closest to East Germany that were on the line? Was it both American and British?
BYROADE: I think the American and British were about equally
on the line, but I don't remember.
JOHNSON: They'd be the first ones to take the brunt of an invasion. Even though North Korea had invaded South Korea in 1950, did we really feel that a similar occurrence could happen in Germany, another divided state? Was there any chance that Russia would try to invade West Germany?
BYROADE: We felt that the temptation would be very great for them, unless they would obviously run into significant force that would cause a real battle. Yes, we did.
JOHNSON: I think there were only two divisions, American divisions, that are sent to Europe after the Korean invasion.
BYROADE: But they were very symbolic. If you've got to hit an American division, you're at war with the United States.
JOHNSON: Of course, the NATO treaty provided that any attack against any members of its members would be an attack against all of them.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: So it would have been precipitating a world war in Europe. And even though we didn't have a monopoly on the atomic bomb, we certainly had many more at this point, than the Soviet Union had.
BYROADE: I think we felt, you know, if Russia could pick off one at a time, like Hitler did for a while, without causing World War III, they'd probably do it. But with the NATO framework, and our forces there on the ground, that couldn't happen.
JOHNSON: That was to prevent the kind of piecemeal aggression that Hitler had tried out?
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Another question, why were you more optimistic than McCloy about retaining emergency power to intervene in West Germany? Apparently McCloy felt we needed to retain this emergency power to intervene even after the contractual agreements, and you were saying, "No, we really don't need that."
BYROADE: Well, we had a great argument on that one. We ended up pleading our case before Dean Acheson. McCloy,
of course, was a very, very competent lawyer and he did a lot better than I did in that presentation. I lost my own case. Jack finally said, "Hank, you just gave away your case.." I said, "Damn it, I didn't mean to but I guess I did."
JOHNSON: But you did retain that emergency power to intervene until some years later?
BYROADE: That's right. I didn't think we should.
JOHNSON: Why was that? What was the source of your optimism?
BYROADE: I felt very strongly about it, that in a way it still continued the occupation.
JOHNSON: You had been in West Germany several times by this time?
BYROADE: Oh, I practically commuted to London and Germany for three years. I never lived there, but I made a lot of trips.
JOHNSON: To Bonn mainly?
BYROADE: Well, first it was Frankfurt, of course; and then later on, to Bonn.
JOHNSON: In other words, you had seen the Germans at the grassroots level to some extent.
BYROADE: Well, not really; you go to visit a headquarters and you see the top brass. I didn't get out much in the countryside; I didn't get to know many of the German people.
JOHNSON: Did you feel that they had been really denazified, and democratized?
BYROADE: Well, I don't know; I had mixed feelings about the Germans. I felt we needed their strength in the West, and I thought the way we were trying to do it was safe enough. I held out for a long time that they shouldn't have, for instance, their own air force. I shared the French feelings a little bit.
JOHNSON: And also about a German general staff?
BYROADE: Well, I didn't certainly want to see them have the type of general staff they had before. I don't remember ever getting into trying to work out what kind of a general staff they should have.
JOHNSON: I think that when we agreed to the EDC concept
that there would be no German general staff in charge of German forces. It would still have to be a part of an integrated command?
BYROADE: I think that's right, but I've forgotten the details.
JOHNSON: In September '51 you and Jacques Reinstein Represented the United States at preliminary meetings for a Foreign ministers conference. In a draft on September 10, 1951, the Western Foreign Ministers agreed to fuller equality and sovereignty for West Germany. Apparently they were even envisioning West German membership in NATO at this time. Another agreement was to allow West German trade and diplomatic relations with Eastern Europe. So you were not trying to block them from trade relationships with Eastern Europe, or whatever they could arrange?
BYROADE: I don't remember it specifically, but I would think that would be right.
JOHNSON: You weren't concerned about trade in non-strategic materials with Eastern Europe?
BYROADE: Well, I think we had to prohibit trade in strategic materials.
JOHNSON: But you felt that whatever would help the West European economies would be advisable to do?
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: There's something about a Catholic question; maybe this is in regard to naming our first Ambassador to West Germany. There is a memo of conversation in the Acheson papers, in which there apparently is a note from you to Acheson in which you say that you thought that McCloy was placing too much emphasis on the Catholic question. I'm not sure what this meant, unless it meant that perhaps our first ambassador to West Germany should be Roman Catholic. Do you remember anything about that?
BYROADE: I don't remember the Catholic question. I do remember the logical man for that job would have been Bob Murphy. He was our greatest expert on Germany. I didn't favor that, and Bob never forgave me for it. From his point of view, I don't blame him. The reason I didn't favor Bob Murphy was that he was a brilliant political strategist and probably the world's worst administrator. We had the job in the State Department of inheriting HICOG, this tremendous military establishment,
and breaking that down and getting rid of it, and setting up a U.S. Embassy there for normal relations. This was indeed quite a task. I wasn't sure Bob was the guy to run the administrative end of all that.
JOHNSON: All these administrative details . . .
BYROADE: I may have been wrong, and I know Bob was disappointed. I suppose my voice counted as something; I'm not sure. In some ways it should have been Bob Murphy.
JOHNSON: Did you have a role in the Psychological Strategy Board plan for Germany in 1952, aiming Western propaganda at Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union? Did you have any input into Radio Free Europe, or Voice of America, or in the Psychological Strategy Board?
BYROADE: I suppose we must have had, but I don't recall any of the details. Henry Kellerman was my public relations man, and I suppose he worked with these people. I don't remember anything specific.
JOHNSON: In May of '52 you resigned from the Army to accept entry into the Foreign Service. You had an appointment as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South
Asian and African Affairs, from '52 to '55. I'm going to bring up this comment of Edwin Locke, made in one of the interviews with Edwin Locke. Of course, now we're getting away from Western Europe. When you left in '52 I guess the course had already been set; except for continued discussion of EDC, NATO was well established?
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: And our policy on Western Europe, would you say, was pretty firm?
BYROADE: Yes, I would.
JOHNSON: Of course, in 1954 the French did finally disapprove EDC, which then kind of threw it back into NATO's lap.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Edwin Locke was special representative to the Near East, and was with the U.N. Commission of Palestine refugees in '51-53. He was appointed in '51 as Truman's personal representative, with the rank of Ambassador to get action on technical and economic aid programs for the Near East. Locke says, "The State Department is
not really very well equipped to handle operational programs." Then he says he found himself "less and less in harmony with the State Department" and he said that most of the feedback to the State Department from the Middle East came from the upper crust, and that he was the one who got around to the ordinary people, had his hands on the pulse of the ordinary people. So he apparently became somewhat at odds with the State Department on their policy toward the Middle East. He wrote a series of articles for newspapers during the fall of '52 and I'm quoting him. He said, "I came back on consultation at this time and agreed with Henry Byroade, who was then Assistant Secretary, to disagree with the State Department and to part company amicably." Do you remember Edwin Locke and his relations with the State Department and any conflict in policies that came about as a result of that?
BYROADE: I don't remember it at all; I'm sorry.
JOHNSON: Then there was Edwin Wright; I think you remember him.
BYROADE: Ed Wright, yes.
JOHNSON: He served in the Bureau for the Near East, South Asian, African Affairs. He relates in an interview his problems with the pro-Zionist policymakers.
Wright describes the campaign by Zionists and the State Department and White House staff, I think David Niles in particular, to have him fired as an anti-Semite because of his criticism of Zionism. He claims the Zionists labeled as pro-Arab anyone who did not support their position. He said, "You had to be pro-Zionist or keep quiet in order to stay in the State Department, and the net result was a whole generation of officers who are simply 'Uncle Toms.' They don't dare to speak or publish things." Later on, he says that Henry Byroade was "one of these men" threatened because he spoke out. He cited your speeches in Dayton and Philadelphia in April 1954. He says that he and Parker "Pete" Hart, head of the Near Eastern Section, worked on this speech. Your speech included these sentences, "To the Israelis I say that you should come to truly look upon yourselves as a Middle Eastern State and see your own future in that context rather than as a headquarter, or nucleus so to speak, of worldwide groupings of peoples of a particular religious faith who must have special rights within
and obligations to the state. You should drop the attitude of the conqueror and the conviction that force and a policy of retaliatory killings is the only policy that your neighbors will understand. The Arabs must cease to think of themselves as wanting to destroy Israel and should come to terms with Israel itself" [ These sentences were drawn from Ambassador Byroade's copy of the speech, and not from Edwin Wright's recollections ]. Then he says that Nahum Goldmann called you the next morning and asked if you had made the speech, and you said that you had [ Nahum Goldmann's name is sometimes incorrectly spelled "Nathan Goldman" ]. Goldmann then said he would see to it that you never held another good position. What did happen as a result of that episode with Mr. Goldmann?
BYROADE: Well, Ed Wright is absolutely right. The only thing wrong about it is that Goldmann didn't ask who made the speech; he knew I'd made the speech. The sentence you quoted, the Zionists will never forgive me for. I struggled personally with that sentence for a long, long time. I knew it would upset them. I really believed in the truth of that statement. I do today, and I think events have shown that that wasn't bad advice for Israel really, although I'm sure that diehard Zionists wouldn't agree with that statement; they'd say that sentence is very bad. I also attacked their
immigration policy in which they opened their arms and pleaded for every person of Jewish faith anywhere in the world to come to Israel, when they didn't have space, without expanding, to take them in.
Ed Wright was a wonderful old man. He was our historian; he really knew the history of the Middle East. He died last year. I was sorry not to go to his funeral. It is true that when you speak out, with the American Government trying to go down the middle on the Arab-Israeli issue, to be fair to both sides, it doesn't sit well with the American Zionist leaders who in some ways seem to feel more strongly about it than the leaders of Israel.
JOHNSON: I think you had mentioned in some conversation that Harry Truman had called you into the oval office to talk to you. Would you want to tell us that story?
BYROADE: You don't want that whole story in detail.
JOHNSON: Oh yes, especially if it involves Truman.
BYROADE: Well, when I was given the job of Assistant Secretary for NEA, which is the Middle East, Africa
and South Asia, it was a part of the world that I didn't know too much about. The first thing I did was to go to the area, before I ever made any decisions at all. I made stops from Morocco to India, and of course, in the Arab states and Israel itself. I think I visited thirteen to fifteen countries in about twenty days.
I was very upset after listening to both the Arab leaders and the Israeli leaders about the Arab-Israeli problem. Some time after I got back, my secretary buzzed me and said, "President Truman is on the phone." I could hardly believe it, because that was well before the days of Jack Kennedy when that type of thing happened. Sure enough it was, and he said, "I'd like to talk to you sometime; do you have time to come over?" I said, "Yes, sir." I went over and saw on his calendar I had 30 minutes. I asked Dean Acheson before I went over if he knew what it was all about, and he said he didn't know, but "Go on over and find out."
When I got there I thought Truman acted like he wasn't quite sure why I was there. I decided he must want to know about what I found on my trip. So in some detail I went through the problems of North Africa and the Middle East and India-Pakistan, primarily, and
Kashmir at that time--and the troubles in Morocco, all kinds of problems. About two-thirds of the way through this, I stopped and said, "Thereís one problem thatís so significant to the United States, I think I should only talk about that for the time Iíve got left." I went into considerable detail about my concern at the position of the United States in the Arab states, because of our almost all-out support for Israel. I didnít know what would happen, because Harry Truman had recognized Israel immediately, the first nation to do so in the word. I knew he felt very strongly about it, but I did too. I felt that I might get fired, but I was going into an important job and itís better we find out right away. So I was very frank with him, and in the process was critical of both the policies of Israel and our policy towards Israel.
When I ended, he said, "Well, let me tell you what Iíve been telling Zionist leaders here in America for the past several months." Now, it is true in our system, even though a President may come into power knowing really nothing about the Middle East, itís such an all pervasive problem that by the time they leave office,
they're very knowledgeable. This was shortly before Truman was leaving office. And he outlined his view for me, which really were very surprisingly similar my own. I left there extremely encouraged that would get White House backing for what I called an even-handed, balanced policy position between both Arabs and Israel.
Months went by, maybe a year, and I was having with Sam Kramer whom I had known previously when he the Jewish advisor to Jack McCloy in Germany. He was very good friend of mine. He asked me if I remember Truman's telephone call and my talk with him shortly after I made my trip to the Middle East. I said, "Yes, I did." He said, "Do you know what was behind that? I said, "No, I never did know." He said, "Well, when you were appointed Assistant Secretary for the area, Zionist leaders in New York, under the chairmanship Abe Feinberg, [ Although Ambassador Byroade recalls hearing the name "Finnan" in this conversation, he acknowledges that in all probability the person was Abraham Feinberg ] had a meeting and decided that you we absolute disaster for their interests." I said, "Say why do they feel that way? I'm a farm boy from Indiana, I have no religious or racial prejudices whatsoever. He said, "They know all that, but you're also a man who doesn't have any political ambitions, and you'll
say what you think, and they really don't want that." He said, "After that meeting Abe Feinberg called the President and said they considered my appointment extremely bad, and thought it would be better for the United States if I were never allowed to really assume the functions of that position." In other words, I'd be transferred before I really got started because all I had done up to that point was to make the trip to the area. Harry Truman's response to Abe Feinberg was, "Well, I don't know about Byroade; let me have a talk with him." So, not knowing the background of any of this, I go in there and was extremely frank with him about my views on the Arab-Israeli situation, as well as my feeling that our policy was too pro-Israel! What is so amazing is that, according to Sam Kramer, right after I left Truman's office he (Truman) called Abe Feinberg in New York and said, "I've had a good talk with young Byroade and I think you're wrong about him. I think he's going to be just fine in that job." So I didn't really know how close I was to being in real trouble except for the nature of Truman himself!
JOHNSON: Was this after Loy Henderson had left the State Department?
BYROADE: Loy was still there, but he was no longer in charge of Middle East Affairs. Loy had moved up to be head of administration for the State Department.
JOHNSON: Had you ever consulted with him on this?
BYROADE: Oh, Loy Henderson was one of the best friends I had in the Department; we felt very similar about the Middle East. Of course, I got to know him even better when he was Ambassador to Iran during the Mossadegh time, when the oil problem was such a problem for us.
JOHNSON: Did Goldmann follow up on the threat that we just noted, the threat to make life a little hard for you?
BYROADE: Oh yes, I had all kinds of problems. There was a lot of pressure put on the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, to get me out of the Service. I know; he talked to me frankly about it. He said to me once that a part of these problems were rumors about my sexual life. John Foster Dulles said, "The President and I know exactly what's behind all this." He said, "Do you realize when I ran for the Senate in New York, they tried to pin a sex rap on me?" I said, "No, Foster, I can't really believe that!"
JOHNSON: For John Foster Dulles that would be something.
BYROADE: Well, you know, Israel's a small country and it's worried about its security. This would all be understandable to me, except for the extent they go to, to try to discredit the people that they feel might endanger it. There was a difference of opinion. I felt Israel would be far wiser to make the kind of peace that I still think they could have made in the '50s. I remember telling Ben-Gurion, "If you go ahead and do it, your people are so capable, they'll be running every bank in the Middle East in 50 years. And isn't that better than sitting here behind barbed wire?" He said, "No."
JOHNSON: This is in the early fifties.
BYROADE: It would be '53, that discussion.
JOHNSON: So you were kind of in the middle of a certain amount of controversy then on the Palestinian or Israeli policy?
BYROADE: I became quite controversial, which is not good, and it's really left me very sad. I was played as
pro-Arab and anti-Semitic. I don't consider that any of that is fair. Even today, I don't think I ever did anything except try to go down the middle on a very tough problem.
JOHNSON: If President Truman had really felt you were anti-Semitic, you would not have had the job, isn't that correct?
BYROADE: I'm sure that President Truman didn't think I was anti-Semitic. What I said to him was in no way anti-Israel. It was trying to get the United States to have respect on both sides of the line and be more helpful in getting a peace settlement in the Middle East.
JOHNSON: But you did feel that there should be limits for instance on immigration into Israel?
BYROADE: I did.
JOHNSON: Let's take a look at some major issues in regard to the Middle East before you left in 1955. So you were there through the early years of the Eisenhower Administration as well.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Was there any noticeable change between the Truman and the Eisenhower policies in regard to the Middle East?
BYROADE: Yes, there was. I was the only Truman appointee left in the State Department after they had cleaned house, so to speak. One reason I was glad to stay is that I thought we could have a more sensible policy on the Middle East, as far as the White House is concerned. Eisenhower, of course, knew more about the Middle East problem and its strategic significance and all that, which Truman really hadn't the background, when Israel was created in 1948, to fully appreciate.
In the first year, we made a lot of progress. I knew all the Arab leaders very well, and they would say, "Well, it's not fast enough, but the United States is getting around to be more of an honest guy in the Middle East." All this was, you know, really very encouraging.
It stayed that way really until the great blow-up on the Aswan Dam, which led to the Suez Crisis. We did move in, and Foster Dulles told me later, it was the toughest decision he ever had to make. We did move in to try to stop the British and Israeli attack on Egypt, after Suez. Of course, I wasn't there anymore;
I was Ambassador to Egypt [in 1954-56] but by that time I was in South Africa [as Ambassador]. Later on, it seemed to me our policy began to drift. But the first year under Eisenhower I thought we made a lot of progress.
JOHNSON: Well, on this oil crisis in Iran, the nationalization of the oil and Mossadegh replacing the Shah, it is well-known that the CIA helped stage street demonstrations to get Mossadegh out and get the Shah [Mohammed Reza Pahlavi] back in. Did you feel that the situation there was kind of out of control, or did the Americans have any firm control on what was going on in Iran? I guess we're talking here about 1952.
BYROADE: Well, in a way, we had no control at all. The oil fields, of course, were under the British. Our concern was the supply of oil, and to try to keep a dangerous situation from flaring up. The Communist Tudeh party was rather strong in Iran. And, of course, Iran was right on the border of Russia. We wanted to do everything we could to dampen this threat as we saw it, so we worked very hard with the British in trying to find a solution of the Iranian oil problem. We had it,
I would say, 80 to 90 percent worked out, when the Administration changed. Then we lost months, really, because when Eisenhower came in, he put Herbert Hoover, Jr. in charge of the Iranian oil problem. Herb, you know, was a good oil engineer and a nice fellow, but was rather a disaster in foreign affairs, in my opinion. He wouldn't even look at what we had done. All the work had done with the Justice Department through Dean Acheson, and so forth, went out the window. It started all over again, and as I say we lost six to nine months until they got back to trying to form a consortium like we almost had worked out under Acheson. Eventually, of course, it got solved. In the meantime, the Shah came back and you know the history.
JOHNSON: Did you meet the Shah in this period?
BYROADE: Oh yes, I met the Shah many times in this period, and I met Mossadegh.
JOHNSON: What was your impression of these two?
BYROADE: Well, Mossadegh--I only saw him once really.
JOHNSON: Was that when he came over here?
BYROADE: No, in Tehran. I went there on this problem and I wanted to see Mossadegh, and he received me in his bedroom. He was in pajamas in bed. The interpreter got lost and my French wasn't good enough to talk to him in French, and we had a tough time for a while. I told him how good he looked, which he didn't like, because he was in bed. He didn't seem too sick to me, although he was rather feeble. And I got absolutely nowhere. I was trying to sell him on the proposition of leaving enough British technicians in there to make sure things worked, and the world gets access to the oil. He said, "Well, if you're a Moslem and you're against drinking alcohol, one drop is as bad as a gallon, so not even one Britisher can stay." I got absolutely nowhere.
JOHNSON: In other words, you were willing to accept nationalization as a principle?
BYROADE: With compensation, providing there was continued access to the oil. It was a very complicated problem. We couldn't even get our own oil companies together on the problem because of our anti-trust laws. They couldn't meet together except in the presence of Dean Acheson or
myself. Then we would go and try to sell the proposition to the Justice Department. What we were trying to do really is to set up a big cartel which is contrary to American domestic economic policies, but that's what we thought the foreign affairs of the United States required. So it was very cumbersome.
JOHNSON: In other words, something like OPEC, but American style?
JOHNSON: What were your impressions of the Shah?
BYROADE: The Shah was quite young when I first met him. I liked the Shah; I was impressed with the Shah. I saw him mature throughout the years. I watched him grow up. Among the last few times, I saw him one time on a very close basis. Prime Minister Ali Bhutto of Pakistan asked my wife and I to go with the Shah and Farah Diba down to his country home in Sind Province of Pakistan for a weekend. The Shah had become much more regal; I felt he might be getting a bit out of touch with his people. Yet, in some ways he was a joy. He was a very strong advocate of strength against
Communists, which was a good thing. I was in Iran shortly before he fell; actually, I went on a skiing trip.
JOHNSON: You're talking about '78 or '79?
BYROADE: Yes, probably '78. I wouldn't have guessed that Iran would go so quickly the way it went. I think that had I been American Ambassador there, I doubt if I would have sensed that we were that close to tragedy.
JOHNSON: You didn't realize he was that unpopular with the masses?
BYROADE: No. Well, it's hard for a visitor. But, no, I didn't think so.
JOHNSON: The Point IV program was going to Iran. Did you have much contact with the Point IV personnel, for instance with William Warne, who was head of the Point IV in Iran, in the early fifties?
BYROADE: On some of my trips, I'd go to Point IV headquarters. I remember going out to some projects, maybe one or two like a visitor does, but on a daily or weekly basis, no, I wasn't that close.
JOHNSON: Well, there was a problem, of course, with the land tenure system. There were a lot of absentee landlords, huge estates with absentee landlords, and neglectful landlords, landlords who apparently took their rents and didn't do anything to help the tenants. There was a certain amount of resentment building up among the poor and even landless peasantry, and the Shah was supposed to do something about this, institute some land reforms.
BYROADE: He gave some of his own land away.
JOHNSON: Did you ever feel that land reform, or that social economic reform was even close to adequate in Iran?
BYROADE: No. But you run into a very difficult problem, and I don't know the answer to it. Of course, I was no longer there. I was Ambassador to Pakistan. I didn't realize the feeling had grown to the point that it had, but even so, what has to happen before you walk into the Shah and say, "Look, you're not running Iran properly; you've got to do this differently and we'll tell you how to do it." That is not easily done, because we were in many ways dependent on the Shah. In the Middle East, we saw Turkey on the one hand, and Pakistan on the other,
and each was fairly stable and with some strength, and Iran was in the middle. That was our picture of the Middle East; so Iran was very important to us. It was the soft underbelly of Russia.
JOHNSON: Did you realize at the time the importance of the Mullahs, the local Mullahs, and their influence on the attitudes of the masses of Iranians?
BYROADE: Well, you've got to realize that I stopped being Assistant Secretary responsible for that area in 1956, and up to that time, no, I did not. I did not have any knowledge to be worried about the Mullah situation.
JOHNSON: In Egypt. Farouk was out by the time you got there. Did you help him leave the country?
BYROADE: No. That all happened before I got there.
JOHNSON: You were Ambassador to Egypt in '55-56 and that's when the Suez crisis emerged.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: You did manage to find the hot spots.
BYROADE: Well, the hot spots started before Suez. When I got to Egypt, [Gamal Abdul] Nasser wanted to see me the first night. I hadn't presented my credentials. This went on for about three or four nights until after midnight. The Baghdad Pact had just come into being and he was terribly upset that it was all our idea, which it wasn't. He thought that we were determined to split the Middle East, you know, with the historic differences between Egypt and Iraq, and that we had chosen Nuri es-Said of Iraq as our chosen instrument, whom he looked upon as being a British stooge. He was terribly upset. Then the day after I got to Egypt, Israel came across the border, which had been fairly quiet since '48. Nasser had a headquarters there, but not military troops. Israel wiped them all out. This really set up the demand for arms in Egypt, and I felt so badly about it. Later I said to Abba Eban, a good friend of mine, Israeli Ambassador to Washington, "Damn it, I told you I'd do what I could do out there, but you didn't give me 24 hours before you come charging across the border."
Now, the Egyptians felt, and I agreed with them, that that was a very decisive move. The Israelis looked upon Nasser as a possible unifying force in the Arab
world, which to some extent he became, and they didn't want to see that happen. I think they were trying to weaken him before he really assumed that position. This set up a demand. The Egyptian military had been left with sawed-off British parade-ground pieces, and they didn't really have anything. It set up a request on us for arms which we never took seriously and led to Nasser getting weapons from the Soviet Union.
JOHNSON: You had had some conversations with Ben-Gurion; you mentioned that when you were in the Truman White House . Did you have a number of meetings with Ben-Gurion, or were you just talking about once or twice?
BYROADE: That was May of '52, May of '53, and back there again in '54. I would guess three or four times.
JOHNSON: Did you see eye-to-eye with Ben-Gurion on anything? Was there a meeting of minds on at least some policies?
BYROADE: Well, of course. Ben-Gurion was an admirable leader, and he was doing a lot for Israel. Where I disagreed with him was the basic philosophy of trying to live with their neighbors in the Middle East.
JOHNSON: Who would he have had to deal with? Now we have the PLO which they don't want to deal with. There wasn't a PLO at that time, was there?
BYROADE: No, there was not.
JOHNSON: In other words, you were recommending that he deal directly with the governments of, what, Jordan, Syria ...?
BYROADE: Well, this was after I got to Egypt. Nasser was the most sensible Arab leader on the subject of Israel; this is in the beginning before Suez and our later troubles with Nasser. In the beginning Nasser was trying to rebuild a different kind of Egypt; he thought a better Egypt. Later on he got involved in Yemen and all over the Arab world and so on. But in the beginning we weren't really having any trouble with Nasser. I talked to him hundreds of hours on the Arab-Israeli problem. In a way he was more reasonable than any Arab leader at the time. Now, there's a reason for this. Until that attack, which happened the day after I got there, Egypt and Israel had never had any border problems really. They were a little farther away, and we didn't have that kind of public opinion problem.
The "Fellahin," the Egyptian farmer--he didn't have any feelings about this at all. He didn't even know he was an Arab, until Nasser came along and made a big point of saying that he was. So, Nasser was fairly free as far as public opinion is concerned, and he made good sense on things like the refugees being able to go back to Israel. He said he knew that as a practical matter, it didn't make much sense. But he said, "As an Arab leader, I can't say they can't go back ever. But if you work out a program, and they go back over ten, fifteen years, piecemeal," he said, "pretty soon the ones going in will meet the ones coming out; they won't like it any more." And he said, "Israel will only end up with a few thousand people after it's all over." He said, "I see nothing wrong with that." I really thought at one time--not the Nasser of a couple of years later, but in the beginning--I thought there was a chance of a major breakthrough in Middle East peace.
JOHNSON: With the Suez invasion in '56, did that set that whole scenario back?
BYROADE: That set that whole thing back.
JOHNSON: I suppose the Egyptians were impressed by the fact that John Foster Dulles did intervene to get the French and British out.
BYROADE: Our position in Egypt really improved for a little while, but not for very long. We sided with the British very often, in their problems with Egypt. We blocked their accounts on behest of the British.
JOHNSON: Did we help clear the Suez waterway?
BYROADE: Yes, we did; General Raymond Wheeler, my boss in World War II, was in charge of clearing the canal.
JOHNSON: Then you went to South Africa.
JOHNSON: They're all in the news nowadays.
BYROADE: Every place I've ever served in is having real troubles, I guess.
JOHNSON: Was apartheid a real problem when you were there, or did that emerge more later on?
BYROADE: Yes, it was a problem. If you read the press
there you were very well aware of the problem, because South Africans--the Afrikaaners--in a way are their own worst enemies. They get up in Parliament every day and tell the whole world how terrible this is, and what they're doing. If you lived there, this is in '46-'58, you never saw the problem in the streets. It was a wonderful place to live. But it was a country where the American Ambassador could do very little. The Afrikaaners were quite willing to talk about the problem; they'd talk about it all night long, any time you wanted to. But we had very little influence on what they did.
The American people look upon this like the American Black problem, and in a way it isn't. I would say the average American feels that the white man came along and took over the black man's country, and it's not true. The white men were there first. Their history is amazingly similar to ours--the same type of covered wagon, almost the same decade; they left Capetown to resettle South Africa as we were going west. They came up finally with a policy of apartheid. Now in itself, the word has become, to the average person, a white man with a black-snake whip on the black man.
The word "apartheid" means separateness, and that's
all it means. Now, had they really been able to do that, it might not have been so bad. When I was there, South Africans, for instance, were spending more than any other African country on the education of the blacks. Nobody knows that. The problem came when the white man needed the black man's labor to build the economy and run the gold mines and all that. The economy got so meshed together that separateness didn't mean anything anymore. I think the policy of South Africa is wrong, but I'm not sure that if there were that many American people in that position, I'm not sure what our position would be.
JOHNSON: Did we advise any kind of gradual integration of them into the political system?
BYROADE: Always, we took that position. Occasionally, at say 2 o'clock in the morning, the Afrikaaner would say, "All right, so it is a holding operation. If we do it our way, it may still be all right for our children, and maybe our grandchildren. If we do it your wayóone-man, one-vote--we're out of here tomorrow.
JOHNSON: Were we advising something in between apartheid
and one-man, one-vote?
BYROADE: Yes, of course we were. But they have not been willing to take our advice, and we end up doing a lot of things wrong. Sanctions sounds great, and it gets voted on in the U.S. Congress, but actually it makes the life of the black man worse. And it isn't changing the policy one bit.
JOHNSON: What do you think would change the policy?
BYROADE: Time. I'm not sure outsiders can do a great deal about it.
JOHNSON: Well, I presume they do listen to public opinion in other countries, and I suppose some kind of pressure is necessary to make . . .
BYROADE: Well, they have made progress. Sometimes I think that Botha is going as fast as he can go, but it's not all that simple for a white political leader in South Africa because there's a far-right bloc of voters he's got to think about who want no compromise whatsoever on this. Sometimes, I think the Government is a little bit ahead of the white population; but it isn't working very well, I'll admit.
JOHNSON: In '59 you went to Afghanistan.
BYROADE: "Kabul." Most Americans say "Kabul." When Eisenhower came out there, he was only out there for two hours on a trip. His advance man came through to take a look at the place, and when he left I said, "What can I do for you?" He said, "I want a stone." I said, "My God, we've got millions of them." I reached down in the driveway and gave him a stone. The next time we went back to the White House it was mounted on his desk and said, "A genuine Kabulstone." A great country. No American that's served there will ever forget it.
We have a reunion once a year; we had forty, about five years ago, with everybody that had served there. Last year we had 400. There's something about the place you just love. I had better morale in the Embassy there than they have in places like Paris, London, or Rome. Nothing much to do socially, but beautiful outdoor country, and you do your own things. We had the world's best amateur dramatic society. We did
"My Fair Lady," "Guys and Dolls," built our own ski lift, etc. We didn't have many visitors.
JOHNSON: No major issues to deal with?
BYROADE: Well, yes, we did. The Russians were making inroads when we were there, and we were sort of in competition with the Russians. They were building grain silos and we were building roads, and then they got into roads. To an extent, it was all right with me if the Russians spent their rubles doing things that the Afghans really needed, such as roads, as long as we built the best roads. We had trouble really staying with much of a presence in Afghanistan; we almost pulled our aid program out. But we did stay. I don't think the king would have ever faced up to getting rid of [President Mohammad] Daud, but for the fact that we were there.
JOHNSON: Daud was, you say, removed?
BYROADE: Yes, he was removed, and then he came back, and of course, was killed.
JOHNSON: Was he pro-Communist?
BYROADE: No, not as far as adopting a Communist philosophy, an economic thing, and so on. But, in my opinion, he cooperated a little too readily with the Russians. Of course, they were right on the Russian border and all we wanted was an honestly neutral country. We didn't want any bases or anything like that. We would like to have it neutral a little bit on our side, but nothing to get too excited about, as long as it was neutral. We felt Daud was a little too pro-Russian, but he wasn't Communist.
JOHNSON: But you never foresaw Soviet intervention, military intervention, which came in the late 1970s?
BYROADE: No, I left there in about 1960. I didn't foresee actual Soviet military intervention. There were a lot of destructive issues. Daud was for Pushtunistan, a very vague concept concerning the Pushtan tribes, which involved a part of what is now Pakistan, and there had been trouble with the border closings.
JOHNSON: In '62 you came back as Arms Control Adviser. Did you have anything to do with the treaty to ban atmospheric tests, hydrogen bomb tests?
BYROADE: No, I did not. I was there a little less than a year, and it was the very beginning of our arms control agency. It was a formative year. We were building an arms control agency; Bill Foster was in charge. It was a very educational year, but an unhappy year for me because while I thought it was important and I wanted to see good people working on it, I didn't want to be working myself on something that might come into being ten or twenty years down the road--or maybe never.
JOHNSON: It was very preliminary.
BYROADE: Yes, I wanted to get back in the field.
JOHNSON: Well, you got your wish I guess. You went to Burma in 1963; was it Ne Win who was in charge?
BYROADE: Ne Win was in power when I got there.
JOHNSON: Did you notice any undercurrents of opposition, which, of course, now has erupted into terrible street riots and so on?
BYROADE: There wasn't opposition then noticeably on the part of the Burmese people. There was opposition in the
ethnic minorities; the Shans, the Kachins, and Karens never quite accepted Rangoon--they felt separatist.
JOHNSON: This was a one-party state, but you were used to being Ambassador to one-party states, weren't you?
BYROADE: Yes, I preferred rather out-of-the-way places; it's fascinating. You get to work out in the field and accomplish some practical things.
JOHNSON: In other words, you preferred being in the Third World, or underdeveloped countries, in order to see more progress possibly being made?
BYROADE: Well, if you go to Europe, you know, you're running a normal Embassy. You're reporting on what the Parliament does and all this and that, but you're not really running anything. I'd rather be where we're building dams, trying to put in a new strain of wheat seed, etc.--where you are really doing things that affect the life of people.
JOHNSON: Point IV. Was Point IV working in Burma?
BYROADE: Yes, we had a rather small aid program there. It wasn't Point IV, anymore. I thought Point IV was a
great concept; that and Jack Kennedy's Peace Corps, I felt were great.
JOHNSON: What were American relations with Burma like?
BYROADE: When I first got there, it was in a state of complete distrust, on the part of Ne Win for the United States. I think all I really accomplished in four or five years was to get rid of that distrust. It all stemmed from the fact that during the Korean war somebody got the bright idea of helping transport forces into Northern Burma to cause concern and disruption in the southern part of China. It was a very ill-conceived sort of thing, and we stopped it almost as soon as we started it. But Ne Win knew that our CIA had helped in that, and our Ambassadors, up to me, had denied it. One time in talking to our Ambassador on the subject at a public reception, Ne Win said, "Why don't you just go home?" and just walked away from our Ambassador. I told Dean Rusk, when I went out there, that I wasn't going to lie to him. He brought it up first when I presented my credentials, and I said, "I'm not going to deny that. I just ask you to look at the world as we saw it then." Then, I told him of
our concern over Korea and the overall world situation at that time. I said it may have been stupid but we had done it, and we were now trying to help Burma get rid of them as best we could.
He never brought up the subject again. He had no use for foreign Ambassadors, but he came here on a State visit with Lyndon Johnson, which went very well. After the visit here in Washington, Ne Win said, "Look, I don't want to look at any factories or anything like that. Let's go to Maui and play golf." So I took him out there for a week and we got to know him and his delightful wife Kitty very well. After that, we were in the palace a lot; never told the Diplomatic Corps--it was none of their business. He never saw other Ambassadors. But as well as I knew him, I couldn't get him to make sense at all on the economic situation in Burma. He would say things like, "Well, as long as you leave the iron ore in the ground, it won't rust." That's hard to argue against. Burma was moving backwards. When I left, it was moving backwards. By moving backwards, I mean the old plants, which the British had put in there, were wearing out and there was nothing to replace them.
JOHNSON: And he wasn't willing to introduce private enterprise?
BYROADE: No, he was not. And he admitted that he didn't know anything about economics. He said every economist he talked to told him something different, and he didn't know what to do.
JOHNSON: He was just going to have the Government run everything as best it could?
BYROADE: That's right. In a way, this is interesting--Ne Win was caught in a box that Burma still is in today. The one love that Ne Win had was his military. He knew things weren't going well, but he knew if he took them out of power, there'd be a great reaction of the Burmese people against the Burmese military. He wasn't willing to face up to that, and he had a tiger by by the tail all these years. Now I don't know what's going to happen today. I'm afraid they're headed for a lot of bloodshed, which is very regrettable. Burmese people are lovely people, and it's a nice country.
JOHNSON: Of course, this was also the time when we became
involved in Vietnam, militarily.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Did Ne Win take a strong interest in our policy in Vietnam, and did this bother him that we were intervening on behalf of South Vietnam or did he have any strong feelings?
BYROADE: No, it never was a bone of contention with Ne Win. He didn't talk about it very much. He wasn't a world statesman.
JOHNSON: Pretty much isolated?
BYROADE: Pretty isolated.
JOHNSON: They didn't feel any particular kinship with either Communist regimes or anti-Communist regimes that were in that part of the world?
BYROADE: Only with China. He made trips to China; he knew the Chinese leaders better than anyone we were speaking to in those days. I told Lyndon Johnson that and Johnson got him into a very interesting talk on what was going on in China. That was at a time when our sources of information were very few.
JOHNSON: Then from Burma you went to the Philippines in '69?
JOHNSON: Under the Marcoses. I see you have an autographed picture here from Imelda Marcos.
BYROADE: Yes. Marcos had been in power about four years; was President when I got there. He was reelected just a month before I got there. Then, during my tenure things got very much worse in the Philippines, daily demonstrations, riots, which turned into violence. The Government almost fell apart. Senior politicians had their own private armies; everybody had a gun. It was a lawless society, and boom, along came martial law. I worked very hard on Marcos to keep him from doing that.
JOHNSON: From doing it, or doing it?
BYROADE: From doing it. He never used the word "martial law" but he talked about the possible necessity of taking "extraordinary measures." It was clear he was talking about some kind of curtailment of civil liberties.
I felt pretty strongly about the democracy that we put there, our background in the Philippines, and I thought there would be a terrific uproar in Washington if he did. I told him that. But eventually he did it, and I was wrong. I predicted a grudging acceptance on the part of the Philippine people, because democracy at the very village level was really perking along in great fashion. The national past time was politics in the Philippines, and they took it seriously. Everybody was running for sheriff or the president of the school board, or something. I was surprised; the Philippine people--I'd say 85 percent of them--thought that things had reached the stage where martial law was a good idea. They banned things like private armies, and everybody cheered; and they picked up all the loose--not all--but they picked up thousands, hundreds of thousands, of guns that everybody had.
I remember in the Bagiuo Country Club, at the reception desk, there was a sign that said, "Check Your Gun Before Entering the Dining Room."
JOHNSON: Sounds like the "Wild West."
BYROADE: Yes, it was. People liked the first moves under
martial law. Marcos brought in a group of bright, young, fairly honest, very well-educated--mostly in our universities--technocrats, and gave them the ministries. The economy went forward, and the business community had new confidence. I would say the first year of martial law was the best government the Philippines ever had. And it then, of course, went on to deteriorate into corruption. We know now the extent of it, which hadn't started all that much when I was there, I think. But it certainly became a great hindrance to the Philippines later on. The fortune that the Marcoses . . .
JOHNSON: Did you see evidence of that when you were there, that they were, let us say, expropriating funds, or misappropriating?
BYROADE: Not much. I think, looking back, I think some of it had started. Of course, we were foreign diplomats; we don't have access to their bank accounts. You hear rumors. But I would say, considering Philippine politics, as a general rule, by the time I left it hadn't gotten out of hand. Power corrupts, you know, and it eventually went to the point where the Marcoses owned a share of almost everything in the Philippines.
JOHNSON: Was there an issue over the American bases there, with Subic Bay?
BYROADE: Not in my day. There are always problems; there are problems around the bases, an accidental death or something, and there's a demonstration about it. We had good relations in general on the bases; we had a great problem with criminal jurisdiction. Philippine lawyers wanted to try all our cases. In most countries around the world they surrender that right to us, and we court martial our own people. The Philippines are very touchy about that, but there's a lot of graft connected with the courts, and so on. But they weren't big problems. The bases were able to operate very efficiently, and as a matter of fact, they still are today.
JOHNSON: If there was, let's say, an opposition party, or leadership of opposition as there was perhaps in Germany with Schumacher and Adenauer, did the Ambassador feel free to have direct contacts with the head of opposition parties?
BYROADE: In my first week in Manila, I met secretly once for about four hours with [Benigno] Aquino, who was the
head of the opposition. We talked from about 10 o'clock until 2 o'clock in the morning. I was impressed with him in the beginning, but not later on. I don't think Aquino would have been the answer for the Philippines.
BYROADE: Yes. I'm talking about her husband, not Corazon.
JOHNSON: Her husband, okay, he's the one that you talked to.
BYROADE: She was there for the whole discussion. She didn't say anything.
JOHNSON: What was your impression of him?
BYROADE: I was extremely impressed with Aquino for the first couple of hours, a very articulate man. He said a lot of nice things about what he wanted to do for the Philippine people and so forth. Towards the end he said things like, "Byroade, don't make any mistake about me; I want power in the Philippines, and I'm willing to kill to get it, and I've done so a lot of times."
JOHNSON: He actually said he was willing to kill?
BYROADE: He did. You know, it really turned me off on him. Now, the story is that Aquino, during his years in jail and his stay in the United States, turned religious, and became quite a different man. I never saw him after I left the Philippines; I don't know. People say he wouldn't have made such a statement later on, but I don't know.
JOHNSON: Do you think that Marcos was willing to kill to prevent him from coming back into power?
BYROADE: No, I do not think so. Marcos was a very smart politician, and was far too smart to pull such a stupid thing. My guess is supporters of Marcos killed him deliberately, but I don't think Marcos did that. It's Marcos personally now I'm talking about; I'm not talking about the family or anyone else, I'm talking about Marcos as a man. I think he was too smart to have a hand in that.
JOHNSON: So you left there in '73 and went to Pakistan.
BYROADE: That's right. I planned to retire, and Henry Kissinger talked me into going to Pakistan. I went there for one specific purpose, and I planned to stay about 18 months.
We'd had an arms embargo on Pakistan for about ten years, growing out of the India-Pakistan war. This had worked out in the long term to be, I thought, very unfair to Pakistan, because India turned to the Soviet Union for their armament needs, primarily, but also to a lot of other countries. Pakistan was left with sort of Korean-vintage U.S. equipment which was worn out. They needed help, but under the embargo we couldn't do it. Kissinger said, "This is unfair, and we've got to lift that embargo, but it's not easy with the India lobby and all of that." So he said, "You go out there and stay long enough to be credible, and come back and talk to people on the Hill about it, and see if we can lift that thing."
Well, I did. I stayed over a year and I came back before a visit by Bhutto here. I spent about three weeks on the Hill talking to everybody that I thought was interested, and then gave Kissinger a report of who I thought would raise hell and who I thought wouldn't cause any trouble over lifting the embargo. It looked to me like we could safely go ahead and get away with lifting the embargo. You know, it's very easy to
impose these things; India and Pakistan get into a war, our weapons are involved, so "bingo, embargo!" It was very proper, but when it came around to lifting it, it's something else. But we did during Bhutto's visit, and we did get a little flak from the Hill but not very much. So we lifted that, and were able for the first time to start replenishing some of their equipment. I was then ready to come home, but Pakistan got involved in the nuclear business, which upset me no end. I stayed and struggled, trying to keep that from being a problem between us for two more years. I was there about four years.
JOHNSON: Four years, and Bhutto was still in power?
BYROADE: Bhutto was in trouble, deep trouble when I left, but he was still in power.
JOHNSON: General Zia, was he the one that was . . .
BYROADE: When I left, he was chief of staff, with, I think, no idea of taking over at that point.
JOHNSON: You say Bhutto was in trouble?
BYROADE: Well, yes, there were lots of riots in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, etc. But still the whole thing started, as it did later on in the Philippines, with the question of cheating on elections. I told Marcos the whole story on a trip to Manila a few weeks before he was deposed. I said, "You know, you've got somehow or other, to control your supporters. The world's watching you, and you've got to have a fairly clean election, as clean as it can be by Philippine standards." I said to Marcos, "Look, I may not have been, but I should have "been Washington's expert on strongman rule . I've been accredited to Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, to Daud of Afghanistan, to Ne Win of Burma, Marcos of the Philippines, and Bhutto of Pakistan, and all these governments have got something in common; they go into power with a group of supporters that grow and grow and become a force unto themselves. They begin to do things to please the boss or to protect their own position, things that they think will please the boss, but he doesn't know about, but he's got to take the blame because he's the boss." I said, "In Bhutto's case, the election returns came in very fast; he had lost in Karachi; he had lost
in Peshawar, but on the whole in the three provinces, he was in by about 70 percent, which was a fair, honest, correct vote. Then the returns of the Punjab, which was politically the most important province, started to come in, and Bhutto was winning by 98-99 percent, and everyone knew that this was phony." I said, "I saw him the next morning and he wasn't himself; he had been on the telephone all night calling Lehore. He was asking his lieutenants there, 'What the hell have you done?'" I said [to Marcos], "Bhutto wasn't above cheating on elections, if he had to, to stay in power, but if he had done this himself, it wouldn't have been so ham-handed. You know, he not only lost power, but he lost his life." And I said, "The problem in the Philippines is gaining control of your supporters." He said, "You've put your finger right on the problem," and he hit the desk and he said, "I will!" I said, "Well, if Bhutto had admitted the vote in the Punjab was phony and had scheduled reelections in three weeks, he'd have won by 70 percent and he would be alive today." He said, "Oh, I would even do that if I have to."
JOHNSON: This is what Marcos said before he was deposed?
BYROADE: Yes. I said, "Now, look, you've got to remember when the chips are really down, the Governor out there, the Chief of Police, the township trustee and every other official, are no longer cheating for you; they are cheating for themselves, because if you go down, they go down. They lost their job and in the Philippines they might lose their life." So I said, "I don't know whether you can control these people, or not." "Well," he said, "by God, I will."
JOHNSON: So Marcos said he would.
BYROADE: That was about seven weeks before Marcos fell. I told him that I wasn't a messenger from Washington; I just wanted to talk to him as a friend because I thought he was in trouble. Although Marcos said all the right things, I left there, of course, not knowing how much he would try to control the elections. But I left with the feeling that he didn't have the power any longer to control them; he couldn't control his supporters anymore. That leads to this kind of conclusion: any system of that type government, and that type of people, that gets entrenched through fifteen
or twenty years, that reaches a point where, you know-it's not too unlike Mayor Daley's Chicago--where it can no longer be removed by honest, democratic means; it either has to go on as it is, or it has to be overthrown. That's what I think happened in the Philippines.
JOHNSON: Well, maybe in Iran, too.
BYROADE: Yes, to an extent in Iran, too. And now in Burma.
JOHNSON: Burma is hardly ever in the news; I think that most Americans would say, "Gee, what's happened, what suddenly blew up?" Well, when you finished the Pakistan job, what year was that?
JOHNSON: Anything after that?
BYROADE: I left the Government when Carter came into office, and probably would have been replaced anyway. I'd been around a long time; I'd been Ambassador to six countries. Even in the State Department we have a young trade union that says we have to do something about the old guys who are holding up promotions. I became vice-president of
the Northrop Corporation and went to Rhiyad. I was vice-president for Saudi Arabia; we had a large program with the Saudi Air Force, on bases and training the Air Force, and supplying them with airplanes. I stayed there two years. I had a good job, but one day I came home and realized that I had been overseas 25 years. We had a fifteen, year old American daughter that had never been to American schools, and I said, "To hell with it, let's go home." So we've been here in Potomac ever since.
JOHNSON: So your daughter got to try out American schools, too, then. What's your daughter's name?
BYROADE: My daughter is Linda, 23 now, born in Burma.
JOHNSON: She lives here in Washington, D.C.?
BYROADE: She lives with us. She's in management training at Garfinkels; she just graduated from the University of Maryland, last year.
JOHNSON: Well, I appreciate the time you've given us, and all this information. Thank you.
Adenauer, Konrad, 74-75
Alexander, Edward, 12
Aquino, Benigno, 150-152
Arnold, Henry (Hap), 12
Austria, neutrality agreement in 1949, 68-69
Israeli lobby, controversy with, 112-114, 117-118, 120-121
and MacArthur, Douglas, II, 87-88
in Manchuria, 48-49, 51-53
Mao Tse-tung, first meeting with, 49-50
and Marshall, George C., 28-29, 41-44
Marshall mission to China, selected for, 27, 28
Ne Win, relationship with, 144
and Shah of Iran, 126-127
State Department, U.S., transfer to, 62, 64
and Truman, Harry S., first meeting with, 69-71
Chou En-lai, 32, 35, 36-38 68 88-90, 92, 97-98, 110
European Defense Concept, as preferred phrase to "German rearmament," 83
Feinberg, Abraham, 117-118
free elections, proposal for, 72-73
and London Conference of 1947, 67
rearming of, 79-86, 90-91, 92, 93, 106-107
Godfrey, Stuart C., 4
Goldman, Nathan, 113, 119
Great Britain. and Germany, policy toward, 76-77
Handy, Thomas T., 53
Iran, land reform in, 128-129
Johnson, Lyndon Baines, and Ne Win, 146
Marcos, Ferdinand, 147-149
Mossadegh, Mohammed, 124-125
Murphy, Robert, 63
Oder-Neisse boundary, 93-95
and Manchuria, dismantling in, 51-53
West Germany, threat against, 103-104
Stilwell, Joseph W., 18, 19, 30
Stuart, John Leighton, 40
Suez crisis, 122, 130-131, 132-134
Byroade, discussion of Israeli policy with, 115-118
Eisenhower, Dwight D., position on his appointment as NATO military commander, 86-87
Israel, policy toward, 115-119
Vincent, Casey, 15
Yeh Chien-ying, 33