Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Oral History Interview with
John F. Melby

U.S. Foreign Service Officer, 1937-55, with assignments in Juarez, Mexico, 1937; Caracas, 1939-41; Moscow, 1943-45; Chungking and Nanking, 1945-48; and office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs, 1949-55.

Ontario, Canada
November 21, 1986
by Robert Accinelli

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Melby Oral History Transcripts]

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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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, 1988
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Melby Oral History Transcripts]

Oral History Interview with
John F. Melby

Ontario, Canada
November 21, 1986
by Robert Accinelli


ACCINELLI: Professor Melby, can you tell me something about Dean Rusk, with whom you worked?

MELBY: Well, I first knew Rusk when he was named Assistant Secretary for the Far East. He replaced Walt Butterworth, who had the job when it was an office and not a Bureau. Walt had had a lot of trouble getting confirmed in the Senate, which offended him personally, so that he was determined he was going to get his confirmation. But he never liked the job. He didn't know anything about the Far East anyway. He stuck it out until he had a chance to become Minister to Sweden; then he left. At that point, that was when Rusk was brought in.

Well, Rusk never had any particular Far Eastern background, or East Asian background at all to speak of. He had worked on CBI when he was in the Army. There was one story that he was the man who literally had drawn the final parallel between North and South Korea, and did it just in a sort of haphazard fashion. It looked like the easiest place to defend; of course, it turned out to be the worst. Then later on when he was Assistant


Secretary, he had to live with the consequences of that decision, which was kind of ironic.

What he was doing in the Department before he became FE was [that] he had worked on the establishment of Israel as an independent state. It was obviously a very sensitive matter in the Truman Administration, and presumably, so the story went, all the files on how that was handled and why Acheson did what he did in deciding to recognize Israel and support its admission to the U.N., are all in the Rusk files. They presumably were kept in a safe that never anybody else, at that time, anyway, had admission to. What has happened to those files since then I have no idea. But he had done a good enough job on Israel, and the whole Middle East business, that the President, for reasons of his own, decided that he wanted Rusk to come in and take over the FE job. Of course, I got to know Dean very well in those days.

His reputation in the Department -- and this was prior to his becoming Secretary of State much later -- was [that] he was known as the man who never stood up and voted for anything or anyone. He was never on anybody's side; he kept his own counsel. You never knew what he was thinking. He was obviously a man of impeccable integrity, and nobody


ever questioned that. But he was not a man who voted. In fact, it was a reputation that followed him when, after he had been president of the Rockefeller Foundation in the Eisenhower Administration, Kennedy brought him back as Secretary of State. Well, his reputation still continued to be that of a man who never voted. It was not until the Johnson Administration that you began to know what he really thought about anything and that was when he came out completely in support of American policy on Vietnam, and he never deviated from that, to the shock of most of us.

I think we probably misjudged him in his pre-Vietnam days. As he once said himself, "I am a Southerner; I come from Georgia. In domestic matters I am a liberal. I'm all for civil rights, but when it comes to foreign policy, basically I am a conservative." And this is what he turned out to be. He also, as it turned out later, was one of those who was obsessed with the so-called Munich syndrome. You have got to stop aggression wherever it happens, or later on the cost of stopping it is going to be even greater. I think this accounts for a great deal of his attitude in the Korean war, where he certainly was on the side of American involvement in


stopping what was believed to be then, and probably was, North Korean aggression. This is where he had to live with the consequences, with his -- I forget what the number of the parallel is.


MELBY: 38th Parallel decision. I think he as much as anyone had influence with the President in what the President decided to do in committing American power to stopping North Korean aggression. I think Acheson also belonged to his tradition as it turned out: "You've got to stop it wherever it is." And Acheson was one of those to whom China was simply kind of a nuisance. His mind was entirely fixed on NATO and Europe and all that, but it would be in the end, Korea, that would in a sense do him in. I think that Acheson basically went along with American policy on Korea.

Now, as to my relationship and my involvement with Rusk -- he wasn't involved in the White Paper at all. That was Butterworth. But he was involved with Philippine matters, when I, having finished the White Paper, went back on the Philippine desk. He stopped by my office one day and quoted to me a remark that Cowen had made to him


about the Philippines. He was obviously very disturbed by it; namely, Cowen had said something to the effect, on some problem, and I forget what it was, "Don't worry about it with the Filipinos, I can always handle these monkeys." This to Dean indicated, well, sort of a racial attitude that he was disturbed about and he wanted to know what my reaction was. By this time, I was beginning to get to know Myron pretty well, and so I said; "I don't think you need to worry about this; this is just his way of speaking things and I don't think this really reflects his attitude." As I got to know him better and better with the passage of time, I never found that it really did. But it was an unfortunate remark to have made. They were anything but monkeys.

Now, also since the problems with Korea were going to be preeminent and all powerful, and I was finally in charge of Philippine affairs, Dean called me in one day and said, "Look, we've got an awful lot of things we have to do. I'm going to turn the running of Philippine affairs over to you; let you decide what has to be done." This was at a time when our analysis of the situation in the Philippines was that the Huks had -- although


they didn't know it then and perhaps never did know it -- they literally had the military capability of taking over the Government. Our problem was, what do we do about it? How do we deny this to them?

Well, as Myron and I developed our ideas, it seemed to us that the number one problem was going to be Quirino. [It was] that he was just beyond hope, that he was in the clutches of those who were involved in all the corruption in the Philippines and it, was pretty bad at that time, that somehow he had to be replaced. At this time, Magsaysay, who was by now a Senator, was chairman of the Senate Committee on Internal Subversion, or Military Affairs or something, I've forgotten what, and he was showing all the evidence of being the kind of dynamic leader we were looking for. We decided that the time had come to build him up, put him in a place and position where he could in effect, through the electoral process, challenge Quirino and take over the Presidency. This is where we called in for some help from the CIA, who turned out to be one Ed Landsdale, who did a very excellent job on the thing. Also, since we didn't want to seem to be reasserting American control, or even influence, we were working with the Junior Chamber of Commerce. [The Chamber of Commerce]


in Manila was a group of young, dynamic men, terribly concerned about the situation in which the country found itself, but lacking in resources and lacking in even a certain amount of expertise.

So we decided to work through this group and provide them with whatever money they needed, and such advice as they might want. In the end, it was a group that managed to mobilize enough public sentiment and feeling that in the end they were able to win, first, the 1951 midterm election, in which the conservatives had a clean sweep of the Senate, and two years later, make Magsaysay -- who had switched parties -- President. As I say, this was pretty much left up to me, and to Myron, to do as we thought. Dean said, "For heavenís sake, let us know what's going on, and what you're deciding. The Secretary wants to be kept informed and so does the President." The President doesn't like to be kept in the dark on such matters, and obviously we knew it was a thing with him. Out of this came the Bell Mission, which had no economic justification, but it was for psychological and political and morale purposes, even though Danny Bell, who was the head of it, said he could write that report before he ever went out, if he decided to go. I said, "I know


you can, I know what's going to be in it, but go ahead anyway."

ACCINELLI: Had a decision already been made to grant to the Philippine Government large-scale economic assistance?

MELBY: No, not under Quirino.

ACCINELLI: Not under Quirino.

MELBY: No. Not at all. In fact, even the military aid we were giving was greatly curtailed. There was a point at which I had to go and talk to Quirino about Magsaysay and tell him that we would like to see Magsaysay named the Secretary of Defense. Quirino said, "Well, you know, of course, you're asking me to commit political suicide." I said, "Yes, I know that, but unless you do it there's no more American military aid forthcoming." You see, I could do that in the sense that I was on the desk in Washington. I wasn't involved in the kind of hassle that the Embassy was always involved in politically, Filipino politics being what they were. So I had kind of detached authority which in most situations even Myron didn't have.

Of course, what I think I mentioned before, what I


didn't know at the time, was that Quirino was by now a mortally ill man. He would be dead within a couple of years. He had obviously given up. He didn't care.

ACCINELLI: How closely did you work with Landsdale and the CIA? Did he keep you abreast of what he was doing?

MELBY: In very general terms, yes. What he was doing was giving advice to Magsaysay on getting the troops out of the barracks and out into the field, and restoring the credibility of the Philippine armed forces as the protectors of the people, and not their oppressors. This, he did a very good job on.

ACCINELLI: Was he involved in providing financial assistance to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce? Was the CIA assisting the Chamber of Commerce in its activities in any way?

MELBY: Well, I don't remember now whether he was doing that or whether Myron was doing it, or both of them.

ACCINELLI: So there would have been money in the State Department itself for that kind of activity?


MELBY: Not in the Department, but there would have been out of the CIA funds.

ACCINELLI: So it could have been channeled from CIA to Cowen directly?

MELBY: Yes. There was some of those things, details like that, that I just didn't want to know. It was better that I not be in a position of having to deny something that I knew.

ACCINELLI: Was it known at higher levels, with Rusk for example, or even higher, with Acheson or perhaps even Truman?

MELBY: Oh, yes. Sure.

ACCINELLI: Well, getting back to the Korean war, we haven't talked at all about your own reaction to the outbreak of the war, and then later to the move north of the 38th parallel, and the Chinese intervention.

MELBY: Well, I think I agreed with the general view held at the time that it was North Korean aggression, and that it probably had to be stopped. On the Chinese intervention, as I may have mentioned before, we were getting


reports in the fall of 1950 that the Chinese were beginning to infiltrate. I remember I was just back from Southeast Asia and I had been invited to a meeting of the Policy Planning Staff at which I was to present a report on Vietnam, Southeast Asia, which I did. They listened politely, and thank you, but I stayed on for the rest of the meeting which was devoted to the Chinese and Korea.

Our Chinese people from the China Desk were saying, "There can't be anything to this. The Chinese have so many problems, they simply are in no position to get involved in a war with the United States or with American troops at this point." I remember thinking at the time, "This somehow doesn't seem right to me; it doesn't feel right." I didn't have the evidence one way or the other. But after all, I had come out of China, and I just simply could not believe that whatever the cost, that if the Chinese felt that they were being threatened with the crossing of the Yalu, that they weren't going to do something about it. We had been warned by the Indian Ambassador in Peking that the Chinese were going to react to that, and we chose to ignore that. Well, of course, the Chinese did react to it, and they did cross the parallel. They did pin us down by the


38th parallel, and there we sat.

By this time I was no longer in a position, since my own problems were beginning to surface, to know the inner workings of why we let MacArthur go ahead and do what he did. I mean I just had to rely on secondary sources on that, on other people's account of it. My own suspicion in the matter is that MacArthur somehow had the kind of mystique with the Joint Chiefs, that anything he wanted to do, nobody dared say nay. Although the Chiefs were opposed to our involvement in a land war in Asia, and always had been, certainly up to that point, though they didn't believe in what MacArthur was doing, I'd say they just didn't have the guts to tell him, "Stop it!" I mean, you obviously can argue that in two areas; one, you shouldn't interfere with the field commander, which is a lesson that we didn't learn in Vietnam, or that they were just so bedazzled by the man's reputation.

ACCINELLI: Well, especially after the Inchon landing, which was such a spectacular success.

MELBY: That's right. You mean it was a spectacular fluke, and it worked. There was no stopping MacArthur after


that. I mean, after all, he was all prepared to go ahead and destroy China as such. But this was one of his big goofs.

ACCINELLI: I think it was about in the mid part of 1951 that Rusk gave a speech in which he used that famous phrase, "China has become a Slavic Manchukuo. China is subservient to the Soviet Union." Is it your impression that he really believed that or that that was the view within the Department?

MELBY: Oh, I don't remember particularly any of that speech. Of course, I do remember Acheson's speech when he said, "Korea is not within the American defense perimeter," and the letter of transmittal on the White Paper that spoke of China as Communist China, as not being an independent country any longer. I think, yes, I think Rusk probably believed it. I say I don't think he really knew. He had worked in CBI, as I say, but until he took over FE he had no China background. There was no reason to think that his judgment on China was any better than that of anyone else. I don't think it was the feeling of say, the China officers on the China Desk, but by this time, of course, they were being weeded out one after


another, and you are getting other people coming in, who also didn't know anything about China. Sure, the Washington attitude generally was [that] China is just another Russian satellite, you know.

ACCINELLI: What about the Huks? Were they thought to be subservient to Moscow, or to Peking? Is that the way they were regarded, or were they looked upon as an indigenous Communist movement?

MELBY: There was never any evidence that I ever saw that suggested that the Huks were beholden to anyone. They were so isolated there in Central Luzon; they thought they were Marxists and so, in a kind of a way, they were. But they had no contacts with Communist groups outside the Philippines and no way of having any. It was an indigenous radical movement in the Philippines, which came out of the rice situation in Luzon. This is one thing that made it so easy in a sense for Magsaysay to simply go out and destroy them, not militarily really, as to take away their power base. They were guerrillas and guerrillas live on, as Mao knew, live on the peasantry. Without an ability to live with the peasants for food, support, shelter, protection, intelligence and so on,


the guerrilla is lost. Magsaysay, by demonstrating that the Army was going to protect the peasants, deprived the Huks of their only source of power. And they simply faded away. Finally, Luis Taruc himself surrendered to Magsaysay. As I recall, he was sentenced to prison. At some point, after I sort of lost really intimate contact with Philippine affairs, he was finally pardoned. I don't know what's happened to him since. It really was an agrarian rebellion -- if you want to call it -- with Marxist overtones, sure. Most agrarian rebellions do have that.

ACCINELLI: For a time you worked with William Lacy, in the office of Philippine Affairs.

MELBY: He was my immediate superior. The only thing you can say about him is he was a character. He was entirely Europe-oriented. He was not a Foreign Service officer; he was a civil servant. He was a very flamboyant kind of character. He decided to simplify his life so he always dressed in black. He had flaming red hair. He had a guard's mustache that he curled. He was a great poseur. He must have been at one time a pretty good


actor. He fancied himself as sort of a pseudo-Virginia gentleman. He never forgave his father for having been Lieutenant Governor of Colorado at a time when William was born, so that William technically wasn't even a Virginian. He was a Coloradan, and that was a great humiliation to him. He was not a conservative; he wasn't even a reactionary. He was sort of a Louis XIV reactionary type. He desperately wanted to find for himself some sort of connection with British nobility, which he never succeeded in doing.

At one point I remember my then-wife, Hilda Hordern, who had been Dr. Stuart's secretary; her father was an English remittance man. So she had inherited from him Burke's Gentry, a very big book about the size of Burke's Peerage. William learned that she had it, and he very much wanted to borrow it. She was glad to loan it to him, and he kept it for weeks. He was trying to find some connection that would make him British gentry. There was something in the name Lacy that intrigued him; there had to be a Lacy someplace that was British gentry. But I'm afraid he never did find it. He kept that book on the radiator in his office. I don't know how many


hours he spent pouring over that, trying to look for some genealogical connection for himself.

He was fascinated with a man like Marshal De Lattre de Tasigny, when he was commanding in Vietnam. De Lattre came to Washington at one point, speaking the usual atrocious English that Frenchmen like to put on, because Americans so love that accent. Actually, he spoke very good English. William's name, incidentally, was William Sterling Byrd Lacy. He never tried to find any Byrd connection. He knew better than that because there are Byrds all over the lot in Virginia. And De Lattre turned to him and said something like, "Well, you'll have to ask my red-headed Norman friend here." William literally had tears in his eyes -- "my red-headed Norman friend." Here was a real Frenchman in Normandy who would think he was a Norman.

He also had poor health. He'd had three-fourths of his stomach removed, and he lived for years after that, God knows how, because he ate anything and everything and drank everything that was in sight. He complained once that he had been to the French Embassy and he said, "What did they serve? Fish and white wine. Me,"


he said, "I'm a beef and burgundy wine man," that kind of chitter-chatter. Well, William was very entertaining, let's face it.

ACCINELLI: How did he become involved in Philippine and Southeast Asian affairs?

MELBY: We used to get some strange people on that desk. William was given that job; I don't know how it happened, frankly. I've forgotten now; I guess I did know at one time. His so-called Vietnam desk people all had French backgrounds. Bill Gibson was in charge of it. His father had been a well-known Parisian Boulevardier back in the old days. Bill had never been in the Far East. A couple of other people had been with the OSS in France. Their interests were not Vietnamese at all in any sense. When Lacy finally managed to get out of that job, he was succeeded in it by Philip Bonsal, who was a Latin American hand. This was after I was out. Phil Bonsal was of Latino background. He had been chief of the old Latin American Division at one point. Before that he had been with AT&T in Cuba for many years. He was very well thought of by Latinos. I have no idea why he got the job, because as I say,


he knew nothing about it, nothing about the area. What happened after Phil Bonsal, I don't know. Of course, Phil eventually would go back to Cuba as Ambassador. He was the first Ambassador to go back after Castro took over, and attempted to make peace with Castro, and find a working arrangement for him which, in the end, would end his career.

There were others in the Department, or in the Congress, who thought this was appeasement of communism. If there was one thing in this world that Phil Bonsal was not, it was pro-Communist, believe me, far from it. It was just, here is this man who has taken over; he has the support of the Cuban people. Are we going to fight him, or are we going to try to get along with him? As far as I know, Phil still may be alive. His father was Stephen Bonsal, a well-known Far Eastern correspondent around the world back in the days when foreign correspondents wore trench coats. Back in Spanish-American War days, he'd covered that as a young man. He covered the Philippines; he covered Dewey at Manila Bay. He had been there at that time too. So Phil had a lot of general credentials, certainly.


ACCINELLI: Did you have much to do with Vietnam, apart from the Erskine-Melby mission?


ACCINELLI: That was pretty much outside your territory.

MELBY: I was in charge of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malayia. Well, of course, there were the pro-French people on the Vietnam desk; Ken Landon had Thailand and there was his wife, Margaret Landon, who was "The King and I." She had published the original Anna Lowenthal's diary, and she was the first one to cash in on that. That was made into the musical eventually. But Ken and Margaret had been missionaries in Thailand as very young people. They were always Thai people. I mean Ken knew everything that there was to know about Thailand. So, obviously nobody was going to challenge him on anything there. I forget who was on the Burmese desk at the time. It just comes in as a part of the British satrapy, and attached to India anyway.

ACCINELLI: Was it easy to work with Lacy? Did your views more or less coincide? Can you remember whether there were any clashes?


MELBY: No. It was so understood that I was running Philippine affairs that he never attempted to learn anything about it. He wasn't interested; he didn't want to know. The people that I had on Indonesia knew a lot more about Indonesia than I did, so he didn't bother them at all, although he had been marginally involved in getting Indonesian independence. But that was merely a matter of bringing pressure to bear on the Dutch to get out. He didn't bother me on Singapore either.

When it comes to the mission, well, it wasn't so much a clash of views, because I went out as head of the mission without any preconceived notions of what I was going to get into. I had my instructions generally to implement, to recommend implementation of, the President's decision to help the French. My divergent views on this would come later on, which I reported back. Usually I reported to Rusk and Lacy "Eyes Only" on things I was changing views. When I got back, it wasn't really that there was a clash of views; William by now was thinking more of other things and getting out himself. We recognized that we didn't agree on what I was recommending, but he respected my opinion. In fact, he


had very high regard for it. He just disagreed. Well, in those days we just did that.

I think he wanted terribly much to be an Ambassador, but he mostly wanted to be Ambassador to Norway. He had had some contact with the King of Norway: His wife, his current wife, was Norwegian too, which was part of it. He never did get that, but he was sent out finally as Minister-Counselor to South Korea, where he proceeded at once to tangle with Syngman Rhee. His attitude toward Syngman Rhee was -- he was the one who really believed in the monkey theory about that. He so antagonized Syngman Rhee, which of course, was not really hard to do, but so antagonized him that Syngman Rhee finally declared him persona non grata and threw him out of the country.

The last I saw him after he just got back from that particular caper, and he was telling me in his rather lecherous way, that he had had a hard time because he had come back through Europe. He said, "You know, I was out there in Asia and I wanted a woman in the worst kind of way, but," he said, "all those niggers out there, you just couldn't put your prick in one of those. I had to wait until I got to London so I could get me a proper whore." I guess he must have had a hard time waiting.


ACCINELLI: He must have. How long was he out there?

MELBY: He wasn't there very long.

ACCINELLI: I wonder whether that contributed to his ill temper.

MELBY: It didn't help matters any I'm sure.

The only other really direct indication I had of his political and social views was when he said to me at one point, "You just wait, John, there is going to come a time when we're really going to get after all these old Commies." Mind you, he was very supportive of me in my hearings. He couldn't have been better on that. He just didn't believe any of this; he thought it was a frame-up, as far as I was concerned. They were railroading me and there wasn't any excuse for it. So I had no quarrel with William on any of that, but he once said to me, "There will come a time when we are going to get all these Commies; we're going to get them all out." Shades of Ronald Reagan, which of course, I didn't anticipate in those days. But, he said, "Once we've done that, then by God, we're going to have to go after the goddamn liberals."


ACCINELLI: Was he serious?

MELBY: He was just as serious as anybody could have been. That was why, as I say, he was really pre-Louis XIV in his political and social views.

William never bothered me or tangled with me, and I enjoyed his company. I decided since we didn't conflict, I was just going to get along with him, which I did.

Well, eventually his second, third, or fourth stepmother -- he had a series of stepmothers, most of whom he loathed -- but there was one whom he adored. His own mother had died in childbirth, so he never knew his mother. But the one stepmother he adored was Lucy Lind, who was a cousin of one Colonel McCormick of Chicago Tribune infamy. They got along fabulously. He adored her. Lucy finally died, but then his father married, again, a woman he did not like. His father then having died, she was living on his father's piece of property in Leesburg, Virginia. He finally quit the Service when she died. He inherited the family place in Leesburg and he told me in his inimitable fashion about the coroner or somebody who came out there to see him one


day who said, "I regret" -- and William is very good as a mimic -- "I regret this imposition upon you in the moment of your serious distress." William said, "of course, all I wanted to do was to go out there on that grave and dance on it." He lived there. Finally, he divorced Kristen who was his Norwegian wife. I think he married again, but I'm not sure, and eventually he died. He died out there, living his last few years as his version of a Virginia gentleman.

ACCINELLI: A marvelous character.

MELBY: I'm sure he would have been enchanted with LaRouche.

ACCINELLI: Yes, no doubt.

MELBY: They would have been soulmates. LaRouche lives in Leesburg too; he's got his headquarters there.

ACCINELLI: Does he? I didn't know that.

MELBY: Leesburg is quite a hang-out for people who want to overthrow the Government -- nuts and kooks. You hear about them occasionally. My ex-wife's cousin, Nancy Hatch, she and her husband, have a dairy farm out there. I


don't know what Nancy thinks of it all, because she's a very liberal lady, even though her husband was in naval intelligence.

ACCINELLI: We haven't spoken much at all about Dean Acheson. Now, I don't know whether you had much contact with him in the course of your work.

MELBY: Well, not much contact, no. There wasn't any need for it. Well, I can almost name the number of times and the incidents involved. I thought he was the great Secretary of State really of the 20th Century. I used to see him occasionally when we were working on the White Paper. We would go out to his farm in Maryland, and he would work with us on it there.

I remember one other incident, when I had brought to his attention the dirty deals that one John Foster Dulles was making about the Japanese peace treaty. You see, Mr. Truman had given Dulles this job to do on his own. He was not under the control and the direction of the Secretary at all, or of the Department. He was doing it on behalf of the President, and that's the way he operated it. But he had made these various


deals which were getting complaints from everybody, from the British, from the Australians, from the Filipinos, even from the Japanese. The one that came to my attention came from Romulo, who was outraged that Dulles had made some arrangement with the Japanese, saying to the Japanese, "Don't worry, there's no mention of reparations in the treaty. On reparations, I'll take care of it so you don't have to pay any." Then he turned around to the Filipinos and said, "I know there's no mention of it here in the treaty, but I'll see to it that you get reparations."

ACCINELLI: How was he going to manage that? Do you know?

MELBY: He never said. He had no intention of doing any of these things. The Filipinos were furious. The aftermath of this a little bit, I think, has been partly involved, in Mrs. Aquino's recent trip to Japan, trying to soften things down because there were years when no Japanese really dared set foot in the Philippines. I brought this to Acheson's attention once. He said, "Well, let's call Foster down from New York and ask him." And he said, "When he comes in, you come in and you and I'll talk to him about this."


Dulles came down, and Acheson confronted him with it, and Dulles just sat there and didn't say anything. He was doodling; he was always doodling anyway. Finally, just having said, "No, no," kind of grumping and grousing around, and giving out no information at all, finally he just looked at his watch and said, "Well, I've got to get the next shuttle back to New York." He got up and left. Acheson just sort of laughed and said, "Well, so much for that." Dulles had left his doodles on the desk, there on the table, and Acheson handed them to me and said, "Keep that in your file. Someday, see what they are." I don't know where they are. I still have them someplace. I think they must be in Independence in my papers.

After the Southeast Asian mission, he was getting complaints from Bedell Smith about my report on the quality of intelligence, which unhappily had been circulated all over the lot. Smith was furious. So Acheson called me in one day and said, "You better go over and talk to Bedell and make your peace with him, quiet him down. You're not all this serious about it." So I did and that was the time when Bedell ended the


conversation, with Allan Dulles sitting in the corner, saying, "Young man, you'll either grow up to be either a brilliant success or you will be fired."

ACCINELLI: I take it, Acheson wasn't directly involved in your Loyalty Board hearings? We're going to get into that.

MELBY: Yes, he was. Actually when the Board found against me, Acheson sent word to me through Brad Connors, who was then Public Affairs officer in FE, saying, "Don't worry about it. You take it on appeal to the Appeal Board, and I'll reverse it."

Well, of course, then there was an election and he was no longer Secretary of State, so nothing ever came of that one. He knew about it, but otherwise, I mean I hadn't called on him as a witness or anything like that. Working for him, in a sense, you don't call on the boss man to give you that sort of thing.

ACCINELLI: Otherwise there were no words of support, or encouragement?

MELBY: No. Well, Dean Rusk did. He came down. He was


president of the Rockefeller Foundation at that time. I went to New York to see him, and he said, "Sure, I'll come down any time you want me to." And he did, and it was a waste of time, because the Board wasn't even listening. But Dean was very good about it; everybody was except the Board.

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