Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Oral History Interview with
Geoffrey W. Lewis

With Department of State, 1946-70, formerly Deputy Director of the Office of German Affairs, Political Counselor American Embassy, Karachi, Pakistan, political division, United States Relief Organization Paris, France, deputy chief mission American Embassy, Amman, Jordan, American Ambassador to Mauritania, 1965-67; American Ambassador to Central African Republic, 1967-70.

Cushing, Maine
July 15, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened October, 1978
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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

Oral History Interview with
Geoffrey W. Lewis

Cushing, Maine
July 15, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie


MCKINZIE:  Mr. Ambassador, perhaps the first question should be, why did you go into Government service in the first place?  You had, so it appears, begun a career as a teacher and as a college administrator.

LEWIS:  Well, it was somewhat of an accident.  I joined the Massachusetts National Guard in 1934, and we were called into active Federal service a year before Pearl Harbor.  I was in the artillery at that time, and I trained


with the 26th Division for a while and then was ordered to the School of Military Government in Charlottesville, which I attended as a pupil and later as a member of the staff.

From there I was sent overseas to England, presumably to be trained to go into France.  But after I had been there a few months, at the school at Shrivenham which was set up for this purpose, I was detailed to the European Advisory Commission, or rather, more accurately, to the staff of the American member of the European Advisory Commission.

The American member was our Ambassador to England at the time, John Winant.  There were an Army Adviser, a Naval Adviser, and an Army Air Adviser, because what is now the Air Force was then part of the Army.  I was detailed to the Army Adviser, who at first was General Cornelius Wickersham, who had previously


commanded the School of Military Government in Charlottesville, and later was General Henry J. Meyer, who was a veteran of Anzio.

MCKINZIE:  How did you happen to go to the School of Military Government?  You must have been about the youngest man there.

LEWIS:  Oh, no.  No, I don't believe so. Well, I don't know.  I just all of a sudden received orders.  As a matter of fact, I was sitting in class in the Artillery School in Ft. Sill, to which I had been sent, when they read my name out and they said, "Please report to the School of Military Government two days ago."  So, I just don't know.  Perhaps my division was called upon to furnish a quota, and mine was the name that came up.

MCKINZIE:  As you look back on it now, with all the


advantages of Monday morning quarterbacking and all that kind of thing, how well did that military government school serve you when you finally got to Germany?

LEWIS:  Well, I never did end up being a military government officer because of this job at the European Advisory Commission which I was with until somewhat after the end of the war.  Then I came home and served for a year as an Army officer in the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department, which at that time was responsible for the government of Germany, Japan, and other occupied areas.  I cannot say very much about the active military government people in the field, except from my observations, because this European Advisory Commission was a rather rarified staff job.  There was, incidentally, a Political Adviser also, who was


perhaps the most important of the four advisers.

I wasn't even an adviser; I was just on the staff of the Army Adviser.  We planned for the surrender of Germany, the surrender terms, and of course, it was pretty slow work, because there were the Russians represented by their Ambassador, the French represented by theirs, and a person of similar rank from the British Foreign Office.  Things moved fairly slowly, as anything does in circumstances of that sort, so that I can't answer much about it from firsthand experience.

MCKINZIE:  Did you anticipate, when you were involved in all the civil affairs and the military government school and all that, that the period of the military occupation would


last as long as it did?

LEWIS:  I didn't personally think so.  I was surprised at how long it did last.  Looking back, I don't think I was correct to be surprised; I think it was inevitable that it should.  And to answer part of your question about the School of Military Government and officers who did serve as active military government civil affairs officers, from my observation and my remembrance, I think the school did a very good job at training people in something that was almost a totally new concept for the American forces.  There had been a certain amount of military government going way back to the Civil War, I suppose, and also in a sort of a mild form for a while in Germany after World War I, but nothing of the magnitude of what happened after World War II.


MCKINZIE:  The military government puts the Army into politics inevitably, doesn't it?

LEWIS:  Well, yes, but I respect highly the commanders that I knew, particularly General John H. Hildring, for refusing to get involved in politics any more than they absolutely had to, certainly not in the domestic politics of the United States.  They were constantly crying for directives as to how to treat various governmental figures in the countries that they were supposed to be militarily governing, and, I'm sorry to say, didn't always get very clear directives on this, so they had to improvise pretty much.

For example, what to do with Charles de Gaulle and his followers?  This, of course, was a terrific problem for all our higher policymakers, and the British as well as ourselves.


But that's just an example; it can be repeated over and over again.

MCKINZIE:  There have been people in the Army who have said that they wanted to turn over military governments to the Department of State quite early.

LEWIS:  Oh, they did.

MCKINZIE:  But the Department of State took the position that it wasn't an operating agency and, therefore, sort of left it for the Army by default.

LEWIS:  Well, it was one of those things.  I don't think that it was quite as deliberate nor as clear-cut as that.  The Army felt that they had a responsibility, so long as their troops were there and there was no indigenous recognized


government in the areas that they were trying to govern, to protect their troops by operating a military government type organization.

So, the military were torn, it seems to me; they wanted to get rid of this responsibility, yes, because it got them too much into politics, both domestic and foreign, and yet they felt a responsibility to these troops.  But all in all I think that statement is correct that they wanted to turn it over to the State Department rather sooner than the State Department felt prepared to accept it.  And the way that this was hammered out was something in which I was involuntarily, I guess, involved.  When it was decided that the State Department would indeed take over, there was established in the State Department an Office of Occupied Areas, and the first director, or


rather, the first Assistant Secretary as he was called, was none other than my boss in the Pentagon, General Hildring.  He asked several of us who were not professional soldiers if we would like to come over with him and serve in the State Department.  And this goes back to your original question, "How did I get into the State Department?"  Well, that's how.  When we got over there we took off our uniforms and became civilians again.  There were several of us who did at the same time.

MCKINZIE:  Let me go back just a little bit and ask you about the work in the European Advisory Commission.  It never amounted to much, but at the time you were connected to it, on the staff of it, I take it that people thought that it was going to be the guiding force for what was going to happen.


LEWIS:  Yes, this was supposed to be a shining example of prior planning.  That is to say, all of us hoped, certainly, and believed, that eventually the Germans and the Japanese would surrender, which of course, they did.

Now, what then?  The European Advisory Commission was supposed to lay the policy for that event.  Well, we have found since, and we certainly found then, that dealing with the Russians on matters of that sort was pretty difficult, but I'm bound to say that dealing with our friends was pretty difficult, too; there were conflicting interests.

MCKINZIE:  You are talking about France?

LEWIS:  I'm talking about England too, because the British at one time were very keen on having complete control of the northern part of Germany.  We finally worked out a


compromise whereby the United States had the Port of Bremen and a corridor, largely to keep our troops supplied by sea.  That was very important and that was a sticky thing to work out, because of all those arrangements -- what the zones were to be into which each of the other country's troops would go; who was to govern what; what the authority of the joint military government to be established was going to be; what was going to happen to Berlin, which later on, it became quite clear, would probably be separated, as indeed it was, from the rest of West Germany, I shouldn't say the rest of West Germany, because it wasn't a part of West Germany, naturally.  It was the capital of the country, that was the point, and it was in the Russian zone. Naturally, the French, British, and ourselves were very reluctant to see the Russians in sole control


of the capital.  In fact, we were determined that that shouldn't happen.

MCKINZIE:  Robert Murphy has written a book in which he said that he thinks Ambassador Winant was a little soft in the sense that he didn't demand access routes into Berlin in this early period we have been talking about.  Is it a fair question to ask what you thought about Ambassador Winant's performance at the time?

LEWIS:  I think that most of us in the military side of the European Advisory Commission were unhappy that the agreement wasn't more ironclad with respect to our access to Berlin.  It seemed to us that was a really very vital thing, and we weren't, ourselves, very happy about leaving it in the rather vague way in which it eventually turned out.  On the other hand,


there were pressures to reach some agreement with the Russians, because after all, they had Berlin; their troops entered first.  Therefore, they had a pretty good trump card.  So, it's a little unfair, I think, to look back and say, "Well, why did we do this?"

One of the reasons we did was that they were there, and we weren't, at least not to the extent they were.  It was their troops who came into Berlin fighting and who overran it, which is natural because Berlin lies in the eastern part of Germany -- not in the western.

MCKINZIE:  The agreement that was finally worked out on governing Germany provided that it should be administered as a whole from the Allied Commission, but that if there were


disagreements each commander would have supreme authority within his own zone.  There's record of Lucius Clay having come back and saying, "Well, that is just a technicality.  It will be administered according to the policies laid down by the European Advisory Commission."  Did you think at the time you were there on the military staff, that it was going to be possible?  In short, were you optimistic about the devices that were worked out?

LEWIS:  Well, it depended, in my view then -- and looking back I would say the same thing now -- so much on what was then a pretty much unknown quantity to us all, namely the Russians. How would they behave?  Would they really live up to these agreements as we were sure, in general, the British and the French would, once they were hammered out?  It turned out


that we were all, probably in varying degrees, too optimistic.  But the question is, supposing no agreement at all had been reached -- ineffective as these turned out to be and based upon something that never really happened, namely cooperation at the top.  The question always is, what would have replaced it?  Because the Russians, after all, as I said, were sitting in Berlin and a good part of Germany.  What could be done short of going to war against the Russians, which I don't think any of us were prepared to do?  Well, of course, there were always the "drop the bomb" boys, but so far as I know, no serious person in the higher reaches of the governments of the French, the British, or ourselves ever seriously contemplated that.

For one thing, we: had the Japanese war on our hands in the early days, and nobody


knew how that was going to go.  People were very pessimistic at that time, not knowing about the atom bomb, that it might be a very long and extremely costly business.

MCKINZIE:  When did you come back to the United States?

LEWIS:  I came back in September of '45, and served in the pentagon for approximately a year.

MCK.INZIE:  Had you anticipated staying in the military service?

LEWIS:  No, I hadn't.  I thought at one time that I'd probably go back to schoolmastering when I got out of the Army, but I had always had, ever since I was very young, a kind of hankering after the State Department diplomatic


career, and so this was too good a chance to give up, in my view.  I never regretted it, not a bit.

MCKINZIE:  When General Hildring asked you to come, you said you entered with a number of other people with whom you had worked previously.

LEWIS:  That's right.  Well, some of them I had worked fairly closely with, others not so closely.  There were a couple of other Army officers, there were a couple of naval officers whom I hadn't seen before, but who had been involved with military government.  We all went over to form part of this coordinating staff which served under General Hildring.  He was succeeded by Charles Saltzman, a very nice fellow and an able fellow too. And of course, General Hildring


I admire tremendously, always have.  I think he died just a short time ago.

But it was decided, I think quite rightly, to disband this Office of Occupied Areas and eliminate the post of Assistant  Secretary because it had outlived its usefulness.  It was a coordinating function, sort of a holding operation, until the State Department's regular-line offices (at least those concerned with Germany and Japan) got used to the idea of being more of an operational group than they had in the past, and until things settled down in the countries involved and the situation became more one of peace than of war or the aftermath of war.

So, when this was dissolved, the personnel of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Occupied Areas was split up among the


various offices; of the Department which were going to handle relations with Germany and Japan.  Some of us went east to the Japanese office, and some of us went to the Bureau, as it was then, of German Affairs.  It was thought that the importance of Germany was such that a bureau, separate from the European Bureau, which already existed, should be organized and set up.  And I think that was a correct decision at the time.  But that too, in due course, was absorbed into the Bureau of European Affairs as the Office of German Affairs.

MCKINZIE:  When you went to work for General Hildring and went to Germany, do you have any impressions now of how you saw Germany at that time?  The country was prostrate, its industry was in the process of being dismantled, and the


population was pretty much dependent upon :the United States for food.  Yet at the same time the de-Nazification and all that was going on.  Did it seem to you a desperate situation?

LEWIS:  Yes, in the beginning it certainly did, but then reports began to trickle in, particularly to me, because I roomed for a while with another member of the European Advisory staff, an Army Air Force colonel, who happened to be a great friend and Harvard classmate of mine.  We just met by chance.  And he was later detailed to the Strategic Bombing Survey that was to go in and find out what really had been the extent of the damage caused by our bombing; had it been effective, had it not?  They came back with some very interesting, in a way disturbing,


information, the gist of which was that the bombing had not really been all that effective in knocking out Germany's industry.

So, then we began to wonder whether perhaps Germany wouldn't, get back on its feet rather more quickly than many of us at first had expected, and we kept thinking back to the industrial and economic miracles that they had performed during the war, cut off from outside supplies and all as they were.  Whatever one may think of the Germans character at that time, or of Hitler, the fact remains that they were then, and are now, a tremendously able people when it comes to making things and organizing production.  So as time went on, most of us, I think, became less and less concerned; we felt much more optimistic, if that's the word, that Germany would very shortly -- in


a much shorter time than many people expected -- be on its own feet, and that turned out to be true.  But at first I, for one; was very pessimistic indeed.  The turning point in my thinking was when I really began to find out what these strategic bombing surveys had shown.

MCKINZIE:  Well, there was in the first winter or two, 1946 and 1947, a rationing of food, a minimum of calories (about 1200 calories a day) and so forth.

LEWIS:  Also we had this tremendous problem with the refugees, not only the Jewish refugees, which is another question and which led to the whole Middle East difficulties, but also the problem of the refugees from East Germany.  That turned out to be, for West Germany, a great asset in the end, because many very able people came west. The West Germans got


the benefit of these brains and abilities and the East Germans lost them, and that was no small factor, I think, in the resurgence of West Germany.

MCKINZIE:  Were you at all involved in those tensions that existed between refugees in ‘46, '47 and '48 and the German population where they were in some cases having to...

LEWIS:  Not personally, because I wasn't there in Germany, but certainly that was one of the things that worried General Hildring's Civil Affairs office in the Pentagon, while the Army was still responsible for the governing of Germany.

MCKINZIE:  The Army handling refugees seems incongruous to the traditions of the Army.

LEWIS:  Well, the American Army, whatever its faults


seems to me a flexible outfit; they seem to find ways of handling -- perhaps not in an ideal fashion but at least of handling -- a lot of things that one would think they could not cope with.  On the political side, no, but the political side to some extent depended on, what should I say, the social side; that is to say, were these people going to be fed, were they going to be housed, however poorly, but still housed?  To the extent that they were fed reasonably well and housed reasonably well, the steam was a little taken out of the situation, particularly since the Americans were at first footing the bill.

So, this is primarily an organizing job, and the Army is good at that sort of thing, organizing large masses of people, be they refugees or fighting troops.


MCKINZIE:  You seemed to be laudatory of the people who served then in Germany in 1946, 1947, the very time when the Army was being demobilized and a lot of officers, at least, were bailing out.

LEWIS:  How in the world the Army did as good a job as they did, under the conditions in which they were forced to operate, has always been, to me, a source of wonder.  It was a tremendously difficult time for the Army during that period of demobilization -- too rapid demobilization, I thought then and I still think, much too rapid.

MCKINZIE:  You mentioned that at first you saw a very desperate situation, but that after you saw some of these strategic bombing survey photos...


LEWIS:  I didn't actually see any of the reports or photos, but I had a pretty good briefing on them, that's all.

MCKINZIE:  Nonetheless, these indicated that the physical destruction wasn't perhaps as great as a lot of people thought, and that indeed Germany could bounce back.  But there were all sorts of impediments to that.  One was reparations, there was a level of industry agreement, and there was an agreement that the standard of living of the German people should not be any higher than any of the other liberated nations, or the victors.  At what point in your thinking were you willing to see Germany integrated into the economy of the rest of Western Europe?  The first plans, as I understand it, had been de-industrialization, de-Nazification, and all of that, and then at some


point in everybody's thinking had come this turnaround for increasing the level of industry. Now, looking back, can you sort of follow your own thoughts or how you evolved?

LEWIS:  Personally, I thought from the beginning that this plan to make Germany a pastoral nation and to reduce its living standard or keep its living standard low was a real political pipedream. I could see why this was very attractive to everybody in the rest of the European countries and to many people here in the United States, and I could see how the passions aroused by this terrible Nazi operation, headed by Hitler, could bring about that sort of thing.  But I think a lot of that thinking was done with somebody's stomach and not with their head, because it just seemed to me always to


be a pie in the sky, a pipedream.  I thought it was not only foolish to think that this could be done, but very unwise to try to do it.  What we were going to do, have a nation of refugees and paupers sitting on the United States Treasury for ever and ever, on and on?

Some people thought that would happen anyway.  Well, all right, that's one thing.  But to plan for it to happen seemed to me very, very unwise in the long run.  And of course, as it turned out, events and pressures of one sort or another worked things around so those plans were, if not formally given up, just forgotten.

MCKINZIE:  At what point did you despair of ever having a peace treaty with a unified Germany?

LEWIS:  Well, that's a much more difficult question,


because that involves, essentially, the Russians, and they still are, obviously, very much against having any unified Germany except under their terms; they would naturally be very happy to have a unified East German-type Germany.  But that's, of course, silly to think about.

Unifying Germany would have been the sensible thing to have done, I think, and there wasn't any one point, it seems to me at least, when I said, "Well, it's hopeless, we have got to give it up."  It just gradually became evident that the Russians really were not going to agree with this sort of thing, not ever, and it took a good many foreign ministers' conferences and a good many hagglings of one sort or another to make this pretty clear.


MCKINZIE:  At that time when you were much involved in German affairs, were you also following what was happening in the rest of Western Europe?  I'm thinking particularly about .the winter of 1946, '47 and early 1948.

LEWIS:  To an extent, particularly in France.

MCKINZIE:  Was there any talk in the military of having to do something, not only to make Germany something other than an economic liability, but at the same time do something for France?  In short, was there a military side of what eventually became the Marshall plan?  Will Clayton in the State Department and Dean Acheson, sort of in a parallel way, I gather, came to the conclusion that the whole thing was going to have to be dealt with.  To your knowledge, was there ever any parallel


thinking in the military?

LEWIS:  Yes.  Of course, I left the military in '46 when I went over to the State Department, but I'm sure that even before that there had been a number of them who recognized that what in fact happened was inevitable, that you couldn't just look at a map of Europe and say, "Well, there's Germany, that's a vacuum, we can't worry about that."  And they also, having dealt with the Russians, saw more clearly and more quickly that it was about time to think about protecting Europe from the Russian menace, which was, of course, the basis for the cold war.  And so I think that once you begin thinking in terms -- which many of them did very early, and so did many people in the State Department -- of building a shield for


Western Europe against the Russians, the Communists, well then, the question of Germany changes very much indeed.  Because Germany is obviously the key to both the economic strength and the military strength of Western Europe, particularly as the Americans pull out -- as inevitably I suppose we will someday.  Our direct economic assistance is gone now, no need for it.  The military should remain for a long time, in my view.  Eventually, I would hope that the evolution of the political affairs of Europe would allow us to withdraw many of our troops, but that's not in the cards, in my view, for a long time.  There will have to be a whole new rearrangement of our relations with the Russians, or of theirs with ours.

MCKINZIE:  When you were again working for General


Hildring what kind of monitoring of the re-educated Germans were you able to do, or did you do? I'm talking about the de-Nazification process.

LEWIS:  Well, there inevitably arose a series of conflicts.  Do you get the best German for a given job?  The aim was always to turn things back to the Germans as rapidly and as smoothly as possible without jeopardizing our own interests.  The Army was sincerely quite anxious to get out of the business of running military government, as was the State Department, but they also felt that they had to insure to the best of their ability that they wouldn't run risks unacceptable to us by pulling out too fast.

So, you had this constant tug-of-war; this


man is pretty pure from the de-Nazification point of view, but he really isn't terribly able as compared with this fellow who did play along with the Nazis.  It was always that kind of decision all along the line, and naturally, the people on the ground who had responsibility were perhaps more eager to see the able men get the job and overlook his political backsliding, if you like, than the people further away who didn't have to worry about the day-to-day operation of this or that, who still, quite rightly, were worried about the political views of the people whom they put in charge in Germany.  I think things emerged remarkably well on the whole.

MCKINZIE:  Was that an issue of tension at the time, between the people who were in the field and the people who weren't?


LEWIS:  Oh, yes, there used to be arguments, but I think it was very healthy.  If the people who were not in the field had had their way, some of them, we probably would have had a much less competent government in Germany.

Of course, Konrad Adenauer, with all his faults, was a key in all this, because nobody, to my knowledge, in his right mind ever accused Adenauer of being pro-Nazi, favorable to the Nazis, or even, to the best of his ability, willing to tolerate Nazis.  Naturally, he had to do so to some extent because the great mass of the Germans, most of the able ones, did have some connection with Nazism.  They were bound to have; the question was the degree.

On the one hand, you get fellows who ran the gas chambers, and, on the other hand, somebody who said, "Sure, sure, I don't approve of Nazism"


and then ignored it all and went about their own business, even perhaps actively undermining the Nazis, though still being connected with the Nazi movement in one way or another.

So, you had all kinds of gradations, and the problem was to consider both problems and try to arrive at a happy medium.  I think this -- I wouldn't call it tension exactly -- difference in the point of view among the Americans (and I suppose it happened in Britain too, though I'm not so familiar with that) was a useful tug-of-war which brought us out about where we should have been.  I don't mean to present a sort of Pollyanna view of all the things that went on in Germany; that would be ridiculous.  But I think, looking back on it, it was really remarkable that things turned out as well and as smoothly as they did.  And it was partly, of


course (we must be clear on this), the tremendous pressure from the east, from the Russians.

I've often wondered what would have happened if the Russians had said, "Sure, we'll cooperate with you.  Fine, we'll agree to jointly govern Germany as a whole," and sat down and ostensibly cooperated.  What would have happened if they had accepted the invitation, or allowed Czechoslovakia and some satellites to accept the invitation, to join the Marshall plan?  I think we'd have had a lot more problems under those circumstances than in fact we did.

MCKTNZTE:  Would it be fair to say that because the State Department, in the very early period, wasn't very strong -- Secretary [Edward R., Jr.] Stettinius and the problems that Secretary [James F.] Byrnes had with the President -- that even though the State Department was supposed


to make policy, it was pretty much an Army show, that General [Lucius D.] Clay was really fairly in charge?

LEWIS:  Oh, yes.  As long as General Clay was there, I think it is fair to say that he and the Army ran the show.  But that's not to say that the State Department didn't have a good deal of influence at the higher levels on certain specific policies.  The State Department was then, as it was before at times and has been since, under Presidents who are in effect their own Secretaries of State.  It doesn't have very much independent clout because the President has to worry about domestic policies, you see.  And so, although he tries to be, he's not the pure foreign minister type that a good Secretary of State or a British Foreign Minister


can be.  We have a government of advocacies.

But I think that in the last analysis, the Army, so long as they had the responsibility, could always say just that; "We've got the responsibility, and we refuse to do this that the State Department people say to do, because they don't understand the problem."

Now, it was only at the highest level and with the biggest subjects that the State Department really had very much ground upon which to contest these people.  Also, the State Department was well outnumbered; it was at that time a pretty small outfit, from the point of view of numbers.  Not that numbers necessarily make strength, but it does matter when you have to deal with an enormous bureaucracy like the Army.

MCKINZIE:  Pursuing that business of the U.S. Government


being a government of advocacies, did you think that General Hildring was able to change hats?

LEWIS:  Yes, I think he did.  General Hildring was really a man of enormous integrity, in my view, and I don't think he had any trouble at all.  In fact, I know of times when he, in effect, went back to his erstwhile companions and even bosses and told them, in effect, to go to hell.

So, he may have been outnumbered at times, as indeed he was, and possibly not supported at the highest level of the State Department, though I can't put my finger on any particular incident of that.  No, he didn't run a sort of a little army cabal in the State Department, not at all.  Once he changed over, he became the State Department man.

MCKINZIE:  The business of backstopping intrigues


a lot of people, particularly when they start writing books about things.  Who were, so far as you could tell in those first two or three years, General Clay's champions back in Washington?

LEWIS:  Well, I don't really know.  I'm sure that he always had the support of General George C. Marshall -- wherever General Marshall was, either in the State Department or in the Army -- and his respect.  After all, General Marshall chose him.  And I think General Clay, while at times he seemed ruthless to some people back here in the States, was a tremendously able man, and, like General Hildring, a man of considerable integrity.  He may have seen things differently from many people in the State Department and elsewhere, but I don't think he lowered himself


to partisan infighting any more than he had to in order to maintain what he thought was necessary authority in Germany.

MCKINZIE:  From where you were, was there any outside pressure that you were moving too fast?

LEWIS:  Oh yes, sure.  There were always groups of people who were genuinely upset by what they considered to be the failure of the de-Nazification program; who were convinced that the only good German was either a dead German or a shepherd of some sort; who, in other words were, many of them, genuinely afraid that we were creating another monster for ourselves that would one day start things all over again in the form of a third world war.

And I think that, of course with good reason, many of the Jewish organizations were,


from the start, very leery of any rebuilding of Germany.  I could understand that very clearly. After all, in the history of what went on and what happened to the Jews in Germany, there's every reason for them to feel as they did.  But there again, with the good old checks and balances of the American Government and American people, it took a while but it got all worked out, more or less, I think, on the right side.  There was a de-Nazification program; it was a serious one.  Many, if not all of the more dangerous Nazis were removed one way or another from any influence on the future.  Whether we could have done that without the active cooperation of Adenauer, I don't know; a lot depended on him.

Supposing you'd had somebody else in Adenauer's shoes in the beginning, the early days when he wasn't as powerful as he came to be when we put


him on his own.  I've often wondered what would have happened if we'd had a secret Nazi who managed to get his way into the position which Adenauer occupied.  Perhaps that couldn't have happened.  Anyway, it didn't, and it's lucky for us that it didn't.

MCKINZIE:  Was there concern in your office about keeping Adenauer, that is to say, not putting him in an embarrassing situation, because he was the best of the lot?

LEWIS:  Well, for a long time, until Germany really became truly independent, at which point I think most people said, "Well, that's the Germans' affair now," I think we were concerned at any serious threats to Adenauer's supremacy in Germany, to Adenauer's position.  And I think we were right, absolutely right; he was


undoubtedly the best man for the job at that time.

Now, that doesn't mean ten years later, six years later, or whenever -- when he got older for one thing; when the Germans had developed a democratic government; when internal peace had settled in Germany; when Germany had reconstituted its own political system -- that Adenauer necessarily should have stayed on and on; I don't think anybody ever thought that.  But we were worrying about pretty much day-to-day, certainly, month-to-month, year-to-year problems.

MCKINZIE:  Do you recall having to go light on some particular issue or to take a position that was not so harsh or so forceful, as it would have been in U.S. interest, let's say, not to make Adenauer appear to be a toady?


LEWIS:  Well, Adenauer being what he was, I don't think anybody worried too much about him being a toady.  As Mr. John J. McCloy can no doubt testify very fervently, Konrad Adenauer was no one's pushover right from the very beginning, and less so as time went along and he established his position.

No, I can't recall any particular instance.  I'm sure there were times (of course, I was then in the State Department) when we tried hard to defeat one measure or another that was being proposed -- partly, at least, because it would have undermined Adenauer's authority.  We always, of course, obviously tried to fight for the appropriations for the economic aid that he needed at the beginning, partly to be sure that he stayed in power because, after all, if he produced, that gave him a very much stronger


position than he might otherwise have had.  And there were other times when he would tell Mr. McCloy in no uncertain terms that he was against or for this or that measure.  And naturally, we would be inclined to support him even though some of us, on some issues, felt that perhaps this wasn't the ideal way of doing things.

But you get into this very tricky business.  Germany was getting to be an independent nation more and more, and to what extent do you interfere?  In other words, do you sit in Washington and say, "Well, I know a hell of a lot more about this than you do, Mr. Chancellor?"  It's a pretty risky business, particularly when you're dealing with a pretty wise and pretty tough old bird like Adenauer.

MCKINZIE:  Well, there must have been some difficult


early moments.  For example, when the Marshall plan was being worked out and the OEEC was being formed and all that, really there wasn't a German Government yet, but there was, I'm sure, some agitation for German representatives being in on that.

LEWIS:  Oh, yes, and that constantly came up.  It came up steadily with the United Nations, and of course, now finally they have got a form of representation.  There was a great struggle over whether, and to what extent, the Germans were to be admitted into NATO.  It was rather surprising to me, after the uproar caused by the first suggestion that that would be the thing to do, how rapidly that uproar diminished.  I think it diminished, largely again, because of our concern with the Russians.  If many


people hadn't been, rightly, in my opinion, so concerned about that menace, they probably would have fought harder to have kept Germany out of participation in NATO, or at least would have tried to limit their role.

Now, that's where Adenauer was pretty tough.  He said, I think quite rightly, "We're either in NATO or we're not; none of this second-class citizen business."  He held still for second-class -- in fact, no class -- citizenship in the United Nations because he realized that was the only way that the East Germans could be kept out.  There was no leg for him to stand on once he insisted on being represented in the United Nations -- no leg for him to stand on to combat the similar claims of the East Germans.

But in NATO it was different; there was no


question of the East Germans being admitted to NATO, so he fought very hard and won, I think rightly, for being a full member or not at all.

MCKINZIE:  There is a theory about NATO, that NATO is really more political than military, that when it was formed (those discussions went on in 1948, and of course, it wasn't signed until 1949) it was simply another device to bind a kind of crumbling continent together.

LEWIS:  Well, I've always thought -- and I don't know of any knowledgeable person who would disagree -- that there is a military side, and I don't think you should forget that.  It was perhaps over-emphasized, or perhaps it was emphasized more than the other side.  But fundamentally, it's a political-military organization -- always has


been and always has been said to be by all those who knew about it. It was a way of binding Europe together and giving it military "oomph" to combat what at that time was a very real danger that the Russians would move, not only politically (which they are still trying to do, of course, and will for a long time), but militarily as well. And it was a means of shoring up, not only the military defenses of Western Europe, but the political ones.  Later on I went to work in Paris for our representative on NATO, and for three years I was there, so that I got a good understanding of that.

MCKINZIE:  Could you talk about all of the fervent desire for an integrated Europe in that period?

LEWIS:  Well, of course, there are still men like


Jean Monet, who is pretty old now, people who followed his ideas.  Anyway, there still is this searching and, I think, very slow, almost imperceptible progress toward greater European unity. Again, you can see, it seems to me, that the more the Russian pressure increases the greater the progress towards European unity.

The Russians are playing it clean right now and have been since the present regime took over, playing it all down.  That's the quickest way, it seems to me, to cause problems in progress towards European unity.

MCKINZIE:  There was a European Payments Union which economic people pushed very hard, and I gather there was sympathy, at least, for the idea of political integration fairly soon.  In fact, one of my colleagues talked to some European


leaders in a project like this, one person told him that had the United States blackmailed, said, "integrate or else," and put a little more pressure on, there was a golden opportunity to bring about more European integration.

LEWIS:  Yes, but in the long run, if you take people and bang their heads together and force them to do something for which they are not ready, it's not very often that turns out to be an enduring arrangement.  Of course, you can point to where that has happened, where a little pressure here and there has brought about something that was enduring.  And also, this is one of those academic speculations on what might have been.  People are fond of doing that and it's a nice intellectual exercise, but could we have done it?  I suppose we could


have if we'd got pretty tough, but would not that have started a whole chain of nitpicking, undermining operations that would have defeated or weakened our basic position in Europe?  I don't know; I would have thought so.  But, of course, people make mistakes and it's entirely conceivable that a little tougher attitude would have brought about quicker and more effective unification in many lines.

MCKINZIE:  I guess the realistic question is, was that something that you thought desirable? How committed were the people in your office to the idea of some kind of European integration?

LEWIS:  I think we all were strongly in favor and did our very best to promote those measures which we thought would further that end.  But there again, after all, we were on the outside


dealing with the Europeans; it wasn't we who were going to be integrated, it was the Europeans. There's just so far you can go, and opinions differ as to how far you should go -- that's inevitable. And I think it's quite arguable that we perhaps should have pushed harder.  But personally, it's hard for me to see, looking back, whether that would have been in the long run of benefit.

Of course, always in this question of European union, if the French had not taken the rather reluctant attitude that they did, particularly under Charles de Gaulle, naturally European union would have gone much further by now.  And the French are still foot-dragging, though far less under the present administration -- far less under [Georges] Pompidou than under de Gaulle and far less, at least apparently


so, under [Valery] Giscard [d'Estaing] than Pompidou.  So, the French played a great part in that, but there again, do you ignore a nation?  How do you ride rough-shod over a country like France?  If we tried blackmailing de Gaulle too far, where would we have ended up?  He succeeded in throwing NATO out of France, and we seemed unable to stop that -- or, I think it is fair to say, we were wise enough not to bring this to a really head-on, all-out clash.

MCKINZIE:  What were your duties at the time of the Berlin blockade?

LEWIS:  I was in the economic section of the German office.  Jacques Reinstein was my boss.

MCKINZIE:  Do you remember what concerned you?  That upset a lot of things.


LEWIS:  Well, of course, the blockade itself was a real challenge (well, challenge is too weak a word;  it was a real crisis; obviously).  I think the Air Force did a magnificent job in what they did to supply Berlin.

Now, the big problem was what action does one take?  General Clay now is on record as having said that he thought a good stiff push would have toppled the Russians over.  Well, maybe so.

But we weren't ready ("we" being the Americans, French, and British Governments, as distinct from General Clay) to make the push.  Mr. Murphy thought we should have, and in hindsight, it's very likely that we should have.  But anyway, it was decided not to, and then matters settled down to a sort of stalemate.  Then the next set of problems arose over the


very tricky negotiations which ultimately ended in the lifting of the blockade.  That was tricky, because communicating the nuances of those negotiations to all the people concerned was a pretty difficult process.  There were times when the occupation authorities in Germany weren't sure what the people in Washington were really negotiating and what positions they had arrived at, and it was a little hairy for a while, because it was difficult to clue in all concerned on these very, of necessity, secret and very intricate negotiations which ultimately led to the end of the blockade.  But that's the warp and woof of diplomacy; only it was more serious because the problem was more serious than many.

MCKINZIE:  Was there, at the time of the blockade, any talk in your office about making West


Berlin a kind of economic showplace?

LEWIS:  Oh, yes, definitely, and a great deal of American aid was aimed at doing just that.  And of course, to this day the West Germans are subsidizing West Berlin for just that purpose.  In my opinion, that was a very successful policy and a very successful operation because, until comparatively recently the contrast between conditions in West Germany and those in East Germany was very startling.

MCKINZIE:  I want to make sure I expressed myself clearly there, that while the Berlin blockade was going on there was talk about building up…

LEWIS:  Well, I think most people who were concerned over the Berlin blockade were pretty well occupied


with just keeping West Berlin alive.  But it quickly became apparent, after the blockade ended, that one way of preventing a recurrence, or one way of working against a recurrence, and one way of scoring some diplomatic points was to do just that.  It makes it sound like a game, but one way of really trying to make clear to the rest of Europe the contrast between life under our democratic form of government and life under the Russians was to show what could be done under our way of life with a city, or part of a city, like West Berlin.

I think that was a very successful policy, not only from the point of view of making clear the differences between the two systems, but also in supporting a very difficult enclave within the Russian sphere of influence.  It's still a difficult nut for them to handle.  They


tried to crack it by the Berlin blockade.  That failed.  They tried again with the Berlin wall.  I don't think that's been an unqualified success from the long range point of view and from the psychological and political picture presented by the Russians.  It's a situation about which the West can always say, "Well, what country has to build a wall to keep their people in.  For heaven's sake; what Western country has to do that sort of thing?"

MCKINZIE:  When General Clay was replaced by John McCloy as High Commissioner, lots of things were going on at the same time.  Was that transition smooth or were there, as far as you know, rough spots for the High Commissioner in his first days?

LEWIS:  Oh, I don't think any more rough spots than


you'd expect when you have a changeover, not only from one person to another, but from one department to another and from one set of circumstances to another.  McCloy heralded the beginning of a restoration of true diplomatic relations with a truly independent West Germany. And naturally, the transition was pretty rough in spots, but never at the highest level, I think.

The problem for the German office lay mainly in suddenly assuming many more operational responsibilities, to the extent that Washington has to handle operational responsibilities in a situation like that.  The problems weren't of friction so much as they were just adjusting to a new load and different kinds of duties.  Of course,  we had a lot of help because the German office, as I remember was considerably beefed up at that time.  That was when General, later Ambassador Henry A. Byroade was in charge.  He


had Army experience and had many connections in the Army over in the Pentagon.  At the time when the State Department was taking over from the Army responsibility for Germany it was very helpful to have a respected Army officer first as Deputy Director of the German Bureau under Murphy and then Director.  But that was the sort of problem, rather than friction, with the departing army, although in Germany I'm sure there were lots of problems.  But I thought at the time and I think so now, that it went remarkably smoothly, considering the problems that were involved.  We had our arguments.

MCKINZIE:  I'm sure.

Do you recall the discussions about the European coal and steel community in 1950-51?

LEWIS:  I certainly do.


MCKINZIE:  Your own part in that?

LEWIS:  I didn't have very much to do with that.  By that time, if I remember rightly, I was acting as Byroade's deputy.  To that extent, of course, I was involved, but I was also involved in a lot of other things, because I was supposed to be helping out with all the problems of the German Office and that was only one of them.  Jacques Reinstein, as I remember, really latched onto that one, and very ably.

MCKINZIE:  That was obviously something the United States found desirable.

LEWIS:  Oh yes.  That was one way of trying to handle this economic antagonism between the British and the French over just those very items, coal and steel, which, of course, are tremendously


important.  And naturally, we felt it was important to work out some way by which these rivalries that had led to so much trouble in World War I and between the wars could be turned to the benefit of all of Europe.  Because of the revival of Europe as a whole, as well as France and Germany, depended upon the revival of the coal and steel industry.  We were very anxious to lessen, to the degree we possibly could, the difficulties, the rivalries, and the problems that these industries had caused before.

MCKINZIE:  Did you really think at the time that an agreement could be reached which would be acceptable to France and which wouldn't be humiliating to Germany?

LEWIS:  Well, yes, I thought so.  In fact, that turned out to be the case, that an agreement


with which both could live (let's put it that way), was in fact ironed out, partly because it made, at that time, pretty good economic sense for all concerned (the Belgians came into that as well).

MCKINZIE:  There are people who say that that whole '45 to '53 period was an era of "Europe first" foreign policy, and maybe it oughtn't to have been.

LEWIS:  Shades of General [Douglas] MacArthur!

MCKINZIE:  Did you have a sense that you were sort of center stage at the time?

LEWIS:  It was awfully hard in those days when you were working so constantly in the European scene, to stand off and say, "Well, are we getting more support?  Are we really bigger frogs in the State Department puddle or in the


U.S. Government puddle than those who are handling Japan?"

I sort of took it for granted, I think, that this was the policy that the United States, at that time, ought to follow.  Maybe I was wrong; General MacArthur certainly thought so.

MCKINZIE:  Were you aware of parallels or lack thereof when you were dealing with Germany, parallels or lack thereof with the policies toward Japan and other major occupied defeated countries?

LEWIS:  Well, yes, I was aware of them, but I was so unfamiliar with the situation in Japan that I really didn't bother about that.  I figured that the situation was definitely different.  The Japanese were different people from the Germans and the situation was different.  We, for one thing, were top dog in Japan as far as the


occupation powers were concerned, which was not the case in Europe.  The Russians were not participants there.  The whole situation was different.

Now, I surely admire the work that General MacArthur did and the foundation he laid when he was running things in Japan.  Whatever other things I perhaps don't admire in General MacArthur, I think that was a very fine job he and his people did under the circumstances.  Now, I think it would have been a great mistake to have bound ourselves to doing the same thing in Japan that we did in Germany, or vice versa, because the situations were quite different.  The only resemblance was that both countries had been thoroughly defeated; there the resemblance pretty well ended.


MCKINZIE:  To what extent did you have anything to do with what they call the contractual agreements that came?

LEWIS:  Well, of course, as part of the German Office, we had a lot to do with them.

MCKINZIE:  Did you have, yourself, any particular principles that you wanted championed or that you did champion?

LEWIS:  I think most of us, certainly I, favored making the contractual agreements the sort of agreement that independent states would draw -- treaties in other words -- as far as we could; in other words, treating Germany as much like a truly independent state as we possibly could.

MCKINZIE:  There was no proprietary attitude so far


as you were concerned?

LEWIS:  Well, naturally, the realities of the American, British, and French politics being what they were, in the end it didn't matter very much what I thought.  But, I think that in general the Americans felt that in the long run, once you're going to turn the Germans loose, you had better do it and not keep little niggling strings.  If you were so unsure as to whether or not you want to do it, then perhaps it was better not to advance even as far as the early versions of the contractual agreement, before Mr. Adenauer knocked them about.  Once having decided to do it, then it was, in the long run, not in our interest, or the interest of the Allies, to haggle.

MCKINZIE:  Do you think Mr. McCloy believed that?


LEWIS:  I'm sure he did.

MCKINZIE:  Mr. Acheson?

LEWIS:  I'm sure he did.

Now, of course, you get into semantics there; what do you mean by going as far as you can, etcetera?  But I think, in general, as far as I can remember, certainly Mr. McCloy and, I'm quite sure, Mr. Acheson were much more inclined to be liberal with the Germans, certainly, than the French, for very sensible reasons, and I think even than the British.

MCKINZIE:  By this time you were willing to see something other than the Christian Democrats come into power?

LEWIS:  I think that we would have felt that it was


too early for that kind of rather advanced, political organization.  I think that most of us felt that in that day and age Adenauer, as I said before, was the fellow (which, of course, meant the Christian Democrats) who would be most likely to pull Germany through what would inevitably be a very difficult time.  The Socialists, perhaps, would have been less able to hold Germany together than he.  And I think we were right.  I think even I had a few qualms when Willy Brandt won the election later.  I think perhaps we were too nervous about it, because by that time Germany had advanced further along the road to democracy.  I think that had Willy (or it wouldn't have been Willy then probably, but the Socialists) taken over, say, five years earlier, things might not have been so smooth.  There might have been


more difficulty with unrest in Germany, pressing for policies which would have injured European unity and would have given the Russians much more of a chance to influence Europe than in fact they had.

MCKINZIE:  You didn't happen to be a part of the talks in 1951 at the Palais Rose in Paris?

LEWIS:  No, Jacques Reinstein was there, if I remember correctly.  I was in Washington.

MCKINZIE:  Acheson was always anxious to prevent another foreign ministers' conference on this.  Did you agree with that idea?

LEWIS:  Yes, because I think the minute you have a foreign ministers' conference everybody expects something earthshaking to emerge, and that wasn't the time for earthshaking pronouncements; it was a time for a slow, steady, rather quiet


progress.  And I think Mr. Acheson was quite right in feeling that to get everybody's hopes up, particularly the unsophisticated portions of all our populations, and then have the inevitable failure to agree was not doing us any good.  And while he obviously couldn't avoid them -- and perhaps didn't wish to, always -- I think he thought in general the few quadripartite foreign ministers' conferences, the better.  It had become clear by then that all the Russians wanted to do was a propaganda job.  By that, I mean they were not ready to come to any really solid agreements which they were prepared to back up.  What they wanted, of course, first of all, was their own way.

MCKINZIE:  To come and say, "We're for unification?"

LEWIS:  "Under our terms," yes.  Failing that, then


they wanted to have high sounding, meaningless declarations which might sometime give them a club with which to beat the other countries.

MCKINZIE:  One final thing I'd like to ask is, do you think that the Communist scare in the United States, the [Joseph R.] McCarthy movement, caused the United States to take stances regarding Germany which were deliberately anti-Soviet, in order to curtail some of the criticism at home?  Is there any evidence of that in your experience?

LEWIS:  I never thought of it that way, particularly. It seemed to me that the impact of the anti-Communist hysteria, if that's what you want to call it, lay in other fields.  It affected the operations in Germany, just as it did the operations of the State Department everywhere,


because those guys Schine and [Roy] Cohn were running around accusing one and all of being pro-Communist or anti-American or whatever, and it tremendously disrupted morale among our people in Germany, just as it did in the State Department.  To that extent it may have led to the end of overreacting, that is to say, being a little more rigidly anti-Communist than we might otherwise have been.

But I can't remember any particular instance, and I think it was more an attitude of mind rather than any specific acts that we did or did not take.  And, of course, the Germans looked on, as the Europeans did, rather mystified by all this uproar and rather frightened, too; it was a frightening time.  It was a frightening time for the United States Government, because I think Cohn, Schine, and the rest of McCarthy's gang did


a tremendous amount of damage to our morale and to the operations of America and of the Americans in Germany, which were pretty important at that time.

MCKINZIE:  When did you leave the German Office?

LEWIS:  Well, when I went over to the State Department from the Army there were a number, many more than there are now in the State Department, who were civil servants, not Foreign Service officers.  I decided to apply to join the Foreign Service in 1955.

I was sent from the German Office, where I'd been too long already, to the National War College in the autumn of 1955, as a kind of transition.  During the period while I was in the National War College, I was admitted to the Foreign Service.  After the War College I


went to Pakistan.

MCKINZIE:  Do you think that the idea of rotation is a good idea?

LEWIS:  Yes, within reason.  I think you have to balance off the advantages of giving people new, broader outlooks against the disadvantages, for the United States, of taking a very trained fellow who knows, let us say, the Arab countries very well and speaks Arabic, and saying, "Well, you ought to be rotated," and sending him to South America.  I think for the younger officers it is probably a pretty good idea to rotate them fairly rapidly.  You do have a problem there that if you're going to be a specialist in Arabic affairs, for example, the mere learning of the language, to say nothing of getting thoroughly familiar with the intricate Arab


problems, is difficult and time consuming.  Then all of a sudden to find yourselves in Buenos Aires or someplace like that is upsetting.  But I do think that a certain amount of rotation is probably a good idea.  I think that for Ambassadors, it's an excellent idea.  To have career Ambassadors like Jake [Jacob D.] Beam or Byroade -- you could name quite a few -- shifted around from time to time, is probably a very good idea.  It's not generally a good idea to have an Ambassador stay too long in one place.  The same goes for the second man down, DCM [Deputy Chief of Mission].

MCKINZIE:  The reason I ask is that in China, of course, you had old China hands in the State Department, who...

LEWIS:  That's right.  Well, Mr. McCarthy and various


others took after them, I think unjustifiably in most cases.  But it's perfectly true that people who have served in a country or an area for years and years and really know a lot about it have a tendency to become more and more detached from the United States angle.  On the other hand if they were so anti-Communist let's say, that they wanted out all the time, then they wouldn't immerse themselves sufficiently to spend the time necessary to become an expert.

There's that tendency in all of us; it's only very able people, like Charles (Chip) Bohlen, [George F.] Kennan and others, who are Soviet experts, who can keep their perspective.  Many others are perhaps unable to do so.

So there's always this conflict, in administering the personnel of the State Department, between running the risk of having too many people who


become too involved in the situation in the particular country in which they're stationed, and the other side of the coin which is losing a real expert, taking somebody who is good in the Arabic language, which is difficult, and knows the Arab problems, and all of a sudden saying, "Now, you had better go over to Buenos Aires."  That seems to me, in many cases, to be a great waste of talent and of expertise, because although the popular thought is that you put on a pair of striped pants, drink cocktails elegantly and you're a diplomat, it's a little more complicated than that.  To be a good one, you really have to know something about the people with whom you are dealing and be sympathetic with them, too.  But at the same time there is always (and I've seen it) this tendency for people to become rather parochial.


MCKINZIE:  Was this ever a tendency, you think, in the German Office?

LEWIS:  Oh, sure, to some extent.  It's a tendency that all of us had, I'm sure.  I think, in general, the people I dealt with had managed to keep themselves relatively free from all of this, but there were always exceptions.  However, I do think it would be unfortunate to say, "Well, people mustn't stay in any one post, any one country, more than a certain set years or something," and off you go to some place in which maybe you're not very interested and in which you've had no chance to get any background.

The area in the State Department that's been most accused of this parochial tendency is, I think, the South American people.  And


it is true, they do seem kind of cliquey.  But on the other hand it would be a shame, I think, to just take some people who knew all the intricacies of Chile, let us say, what lay back of [Salvador] Allende [Gossens], all the developments that led to the overthrow of Allende, and say, "Well, you've been there too long, you know too much, so off you go to Pakistan."

But inevitably you've got to have shifting.  The Foreign Service officers are used to it; they know that's coming.  But I think that lately people have been riding that particular hobby horse of diversification a little too hard.

MCKINZIE:  What about the bringing in for special purposes, of outsiders, the mission type, the sending of a special mission for this or that purpose?


LEWIS:  Well, there's always been a need for that sort of thing, but now, with increased communications and the tendency of Washington to more and more control everything, embassies are not nearly as independent as they used to be.

MCKINZIE:  Well, let me ask you about that in this period we've been talking about.

LEWIS:  Oh, I think it's become true to a much higher degree since then.

MCKINZIE:  People have told me that the Army and the State Department had a very different view of the man in the field, that the Army always gave the man in the field prerogative, the State Department always kept him on a kind of tighter chain, and sometimes this made a little difficulty.


LEWIS:  That's certainly true.  I was an Army officer long enough to know what the Army's theory was, and you can see why, because the missions are so different.  An Army officer often has to react quickly.  I'm talking about the fellow directing a battery or running a division, or something like that. The Army's motto always was, "When in doubt, do something; it may turn out to be the wrong thing, but do it."  And along with that was, "We'll take General Jones, and we think he's the best man for the job.  If we think that, we're not going to keep telling him when to eat his breakfast and when to brush his teeth and how many guns he's to have and so on."

And the State Department is normally dealing with things that can stew on the stove for a little while.  After all, you don't often have to make an instant decision, as you do in the Army


when somebody's coming over the hill at you.  Usually, at least up till a few years ago (I think it's becoming less so) the matters which came before the State Department could be kind of ruminated.  That led to a tendency in Washington to keep its people on much closer reins, and I think this is still true.

Communications have played a part in that.  That brings me back to where I was before.  In the old days, of course, to take an extreme example, Washington didn't know that the treaty of Ghent had been signed until quite a long while after the event.  That would be inconceivable now.

MCKINZIE:  Were there, so far as you're concerned, any major errors in German policy in this period from 1946 to 1953?  Do you think that there were, from the point of view of subsequent


events and in your own philosophy about how Europe should relate to the United States, any important decisions which should have been otherwise?

LEWIS:  Well, I'm trying to think of the major ones.  I think that the admission of Germany to NATO was delayed too long; I think it would have been better to have done that more quickly.

MCKINZIE:  Could they have gotten anything done more quickly?

LEWIS:  Well, now that's another thing.  I don't know whether they could have or not.  That brings us back to the question: did we use the clout that we allegedly had in as effective and prompt a manner as we should have?  Maybe ideally it should have been done, but I have doubts as to whether it could have, under the


circumstances.  I can't think of anything, bearing in mind the practicalities of a given situation, that went far amiss.  I think we hung onto the so-called [Henry] Morgenthau plan longer than we should have, the pastoralization of Germany.  We wasted a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of money, and a lot of political support from the rest of Europe by fiddling around so long with that. The British were wiser than we; they had much more reason to be suspicious and fearful of Germany than we ever had, but they were practical enough to see that this was a totally crazy policy.  And I think we should have abandoned it sooner.  But that brings you back to the question, given the internal politics of the United States -- who was running things, and who was exerting influence -- could we have?  I don't know whether we could


have or not, but I wish we could have.  I think it cost us a lot in terms of prestige and financial support.

MCKINZIE:  Well, Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much.

LEWIS:  You're very welcome.

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

List of Subjects Discussed
    Acheson, Dean, 31, 72, 74-75
    Adenauer, Konrad, 36, 44-48, 50-51, 71, 73
    Allende, Salvador, 84

    Berlin blockade, 57-59
    Berlin corridor, 12-14
    Bohlen, Charles E., 81
    Brandt, Willy, 73
    Byrnes, James F., 38
    Byroade, Henry A., 63-64, 65, 80

    Christian Democratic Party, Germany, 72-73
    Clay, Lucius D., 15, 39, 42-43, 58, 62
    Clayton, Will, 31
    Cohn, Roy, 77

    DeGaulle, Charles, 7, 56, 57

    England, German military occupation policy, 11-12
    Europe, Western, integration of, 52-56
    European Advisory Commission, 2, 4-5, 10-13, 15, 21
    European Coal and Steel Community, 64-67
    European Payments Union, 53

    Federal Republic, Germany, establishment of, 70-73
    Foreign Service, U.S.:

      rotation of assignments in, 79-84
      special missions, 84-85
    Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 3
    France, opposition to European integration, 56-57


      Adenauer, Konrad, political influence, Federal Republic, 44-48, 50-51
      Berlin, access to by Western powers, 12-14
      Berlin blockdade, 57-59
      de Nazification program in, 34-37, 43-44
      economic reconstruction of, post World War II, 22-29
      Federal Republic, establishment of, 70-73
      High Commissioner for, 62-64
      military government under Allied occupation, 5-16, 20-40
      NATO, question of membership in, 49-51, 88
      refugee problem in, post World War II, 22-25
      Soviet Union, threat to, 11, 12-15, 16, 30, 32, 33, 38, 75
      unification of, 29-30, 75
      zones of Allied military occupation, 11-12

    High Commission for Germany, U.S., 62-64
    Hildring, John H., 7, 18-19, 20, 24, 34, 41

    Japan, U.S. military occupation of, 68-69

    Kennan, George F., 81

    Lewis, Geoffrey W., background, 1-4

    MacArthur, Douglas, 68, 69
    McCarthy, Joseph R., 76-77
    McCloy, John J., 47, 48, 62, 63, 71-72
    Marshall, George C., 42
    Massachusetts National Guard, 1
    Monnet, Jean, 53
    Morgenthau Plan, 89
    Murphy, Robert D., 13, 58

    National War College, 78
    North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 49-52, 57, 88

    Office of German Affairs, U.S. State Department, 20

    Reinstein, Jacques, 57, 65, 74

    Saltzman, Charles, 18
    Schine, David, 77
    School of Military Government, U.S., 2, 3, 6
    Social Democratic Party, Germany, 73
    Soviet Union, German military occupation policy, 11, 12-15, 30, 32, 33, 38, 75
    State Department, U.S.:

      field officers, policy toward contrasted with the Army, 85-87
      military government in Germany, and, 8-9, 38-40
      Office of German Affairs, establishment of, 20
      Office of Occupied Areas, 9-10, 19
    Strategic Bombing Survey, 1946, 21-22, 26-37

    War Department, U.S., Civil Affairs Division of, 4
    West Berlin, 57-62
    Wickersham, Cornelius, 2-3
    Winant, John G., 2, 13

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