Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
Opened September, 1975
Oral History Interview with
March 15, 1973
by Richard D. McKinzie
SANDIFER: My interest in foreign affairs developed when I was a student in a small college in Illinois. There was nothing esoteric about it, I was just interested in history and I became interested in the possibility of taking some kind of operational part in foreign policy.
We were out in Illinois where, in those ancient days, 1920-24, there wasn't very much information about education in the field of foreign service, diplomatic service. I had a history professor who was very much interested in that area, and he recommended that I go to Columbia University to study with Parker Thomas Moon, who was an expert at that time in the field of what was called imperialism and world politics.
There was going to be established the Walter Hines School of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. It never was established. They have now a school of
Advanced International Studies. I went to Columbia University to study international law and then law. I didn't know anything about, for example, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service which was just beginning in 1922 and would have been ideal for that purpose.
I mention this because it illustrates the change in this country, now as compared with 50 years ago. Because now if you travel through that area, you find students who know what the score is on that kind of thing. They have from 10 to 20 thousand applications for the Foreign Service in spite of the fact that they only have 150 places in any one year -- 10 thousand, 15 thousand people applying for 150 places.
So, I went to Columbia University and studied international law and became very much interested in law itself as a tool of studying international law. I was influenced by Charles Cheney Hyde, who was the outstanding international lawyer in this country at that time. As a result of that, when I finished my work at Columbia University after teaching for a short period at Rutgers University, I came to the State Department in the office of the Legal Adviser. I spent 8 years there. I worked on Latin-American legal
problems and on nationality and immigration. Also I assisted the legal adviser, Green Hackworth, along with three or four other lawyers, in preparing his Digest of International Law, which was a successor to the Digest of International Law by John Bassett Moore.
I was very much interested, of course, in the international aspect of this and I wrote a book, a doctor's dissertation, while I was in the State Department, on the law of evidence in international arbitrations and adjudications.
After the war began, you may remember that [Cordell] Hull was very prompt in beginning the study of postwar problems in the State Department. Leo Pasvolsky, who is this man right here [identifying Pasvolsky in photograph], had been in the Trade Agreements Division in the Department. He was an economist from the Brookings Institution here in Washington. Within a month after the war began, Hull called Pasvolsky back to the State Department to head up a study of postwar problems -- economic, political, and international organization. Hull and Pasvolsky gradually developed, between 1939 and 1942, a staff and a program across the board in this field. By 1941 when the United
States entered the war they had it going full blast. I was transferred to that study at the request of Pasvolsky in the summer of 1942 and continued in that work from there on until the time I was first transferred into the general Foreign Service in 1954.
I concentrated primarily on the preparations for the participation of the United States in international organization -- in the United Nations. We developed the U. S. proposals for the Charter of the United Nations which were first considered at Dumbarton Oaks in August 1944 and then the San Francisco Conference.
Well, that's how I entered the field of international organization and international relations.
MRS. SANDIFER: I think that you should say that when we were in Eureka that you were very much interested in the League of Nations, and so was I, and so a part of your motivation was your interest in peace.
SANDIFER: Yes, I was very much interested in the League of Nations.
MRS. SANDIFER: We were very much interested in spite of the
fact that this history professor who influenced our lives did not have any faith in an international organization. So when you were transferred over to that, you were doing what you really wanted to do, that here at last was a chance to actually participate.
SANDIFER: Yes, I was motivated by an interest in history and law and international organization, from the beginning.
MRS. SANDIFER: You had spent a summer in Geneva while the League of Nations was still in existence.
SANDIFER: Yes, in 1929.
MCKINZIE: Do I understand correctly that the man who influenced your life a great deal did not himself believe in the efficacy of international law?
MRS. SANDIFER: That's right.
SANDIFER: He influenced my life a great deal because he himself did not know about the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. He knew about Parker Thomas Moon, who had become a distinguished scholar in that field, and he knew Columbia University. So, he sent me to Columbia University. And
this all unraveled as a result of that. If I had gone someplace else, my career would have turned out quite differently.
MCKINZIE: Did you ever discuss with him your own feelings about international law, international relations?
SANDIFER: Oh yes, I used to debate with him about the League of Nations and the role of the League of Nations and the importance of it, and so on. Of course, that was in 1920-24. That was in the early days of the League of Nations. He just was not a believer in that kind of international activity. He's like a good many people today, they don't think it's practical, they donít think it has the necessary worth or authority.
MCKINZIE: But you did.
SANDIFER: Yes. Yes, I did.
MCKINZIE: What kind of people did you work with? Was there a particular type of person that came into the State Department to work in these postwar planning sessions? You mentioned that you were called in by Pasvolsky and
I know Sumner Welles took a personal interest in this.
SANDIFER: By the time I entered that work Pasvolsky had a well-organized staff. You see, he began with an outfit called the Division of Special Research. It was called the Division of Special Research because they wanted to conceal what it was doing. This was confidential, the public was not supposed to know that the State Department was carrying on a thorough-going, far-reaching study of what the problems would be in the postwar world in economics, business, finance and international organizations.
MRS. SANDIFER: This was before we were in the war.
SANDIFER: So he had recruited a staff of about, oh, I suppose a hundred or so people by the time I entered the operation in July of 1942.
MRS. SANDIFER: I thought that was a small staff.
SANDIFER: Well, it was a small staff, but it had grown. I wouldn't be sure what the size of it was in July, but anyway it was a substantial staff, and those men were recruited primarily from the colleges and universities.
They were "academicians," so to speak, because there was a decrease in enrollment in colleges and universities which accelerated as we approached our entry into the war. So men came from colleges and universities from all around the country, which were having a decreasing need for their services at that particular time. That was the reason that they were available. Normally they would just not have been available. It doesn't mean that they weren't good men, or that they weren't outstanding scholars. But by and large they were not professional public servants. They were not professional diplomats; they were professional historians and political scientists, some international lawyers, a few. The bulk of the staff that I came to work with were men of that type. I had taught International Relations and International Law for six years. My background was both academic and legal, so it wasn't any problem for me to fit into that background.
MCKINZIE: How integrated was all of that work? There is some suggestion that the people who were interested in political cooperation after the war didn't have too much to say to the people who were interested in economic cooperation
after the war ended.
SANDIFER: That would not be my impression. While this was a sizeable staff it was really directed, inspired, by Pasvolsky who furnished the genius and the "think tank" operation for the direction of the operation. He was an economist by training. Welles was an international diplomat and Foreign Service operator. I think that the staff was quite well-integrated, with frequent staff meetings. They worked together on the preparation, for example, of the planning for the United Nations. All parts of the staff took part in the preparation of the Charter and background.
MCKINZIE: In those early discussions was there a kind of general agreement that, in fact, there should be something, a modified League?
SANDIFER: I don't think that on the part of Hull, Pasvolsky and the staff who worked on this, there ever was any doubt about it. We didn't even debate whether there should be an international organization. We only debated the form it should take.
Now there were career officers in the State Department, in the career service, who would have doubts and questions about that. A number of them were brought gradually into the operation, and they participated in it. But they had a more hesitant and pragmatic approach in the sense that they were not convinced, many of them, that the way to approach our handling of the basic problems of international cooperation and relations after the war would be through a United Nations organization.
But other antecedents: there was not only the United Nations, there was the Bretton Woods Conference for establishing the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. There were preparations for scientific and cultural organizations. That brought together people from all the disciplines in the Department, and in government. There were interdepartmental committees, committees that included people from public life, business, military, political -- a very wide spectrum -- and so this was all moved forward through a series of interlocking committees that covered all these areas -- political, economic, social, cultural, and legal.
MCKINZIE: What kind of evolution did the idea of an international
organization go through between 1942 and the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. Was there "field" for general discussion ideas about this structure or about what power this postwar organization might have?
SANDIFER: There was one basic question, I would say, on which not too much time was spent debating and analyzing. That was the question of whether we should have a universal and general organization or a regional organization with some kind of a superstructure over it. The man who chaired the committee which prepared the first draft charter, or constitution, of an international organization was Sumner Welles. He was interested in an international structure that would be partly regional in which the representation in the Security Council and in the General Assembly would be to some extent on a regional basis. But not even he would advocate a strictly regional structure.
Now, [Winston] Churchill, at this same time, was thinking in terms of a regional organization, an organization for Europe, an organization for the Far East, for Latin America, and so on. All this with a sort of a holding
company at the top. So, that was one of the basic questions that was discussed.
MCKINZIE: Would that then explain the inclusion of the provision in the final charter for regional organizations?
SANDIFER: The provision that was included in the Charter and prepared at Dumbarton Oaks was very general and did not provide for, or contemplate, a fully structured regional organization with decentralization of power to regional organizations like the Organization of American States, for example. It was the major organization in existence at that time. That was because Pasvolsky's thinking was in terms of a universal organization and he was afraid that if you fragmented it into regional organizations you would diffuse the authority of the organization and it would not work effectively because you had to draw upon the resources on a sort of a Federal basis -- at least for getting the necessary resources and authority for carrying it on. For that reason the regional provision was rather simply drawn in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.
The Latin-Americans were very disturbed by this. So
we had preliminary discussions with the Latin-American countries. Before the conference at San Francisco, after Dumbarton Oaks, a conference was held as you probably know at Chapultepec. The Latins put the United States under pressure to get them to expand and give fuller recognition to the regional organization and to their part in the operation.
They carried on that activity, that philosophy, at San Francisco and they converted Senator [Arthur H.] Vandenberg, and John Foster Dulles, who was an adviser to Vandenberg, principally, at that conference.
So, we had a confrontation within the American delegation and with the Latin-American countries, primarily, as to what extent the role of the regional organization should be spelled out -- the limitations on action without the consent or participation of the regional organizations. The result of that was the development of the regional chapter in its present form and of Article 51 on collective self-defense.
MRS. SANDIFER: Didn't you also have people like [Nelson] Rockefeller who were pushing for the Latins?
SANDIFER: One Latin-American leader who was especially effective in this was Lleras Camargo, of Colombia, who later became the Secretary General of the Organization of American States under the revised charter of the OAS, negotiated at Bogota in 1948. He led the Latin-American demand for an increased recognition of regional organizations. They had a real concern that with the veto the Security Council could be paralyzed by a Soviet veto and then no action would be possible.
The regional organization, as the Charter was originally written, would have difficulty in legalizing, or claiming that they were carrying out legal enforcement operations if they did it without the approval or consent of the Security Council. So, what they were looking for to a considerable extent, at least that's the emphasis in what they had to say, was to assure that their organization would be permitted, legally, to take enforcement action if the Security Council failed to act.
MCKINZIE: Let me ask if there was another motivation, apparent motivation of the Latins in this. If there were no regional organizations and they were just a part of the
general U. N. membership, then would they not have to take their chances with the rest of the world for whatever kinds of economic cooperation the United States might choose to involve itself in. I have the impression that many Latin-American nations at the end of the war believed that because of their sacrifice of the wartime years, they were now entitled to, or they now wanted, very much stronger trade relations and increased trade with the United States which would not be possible were there not some kind of regional organization.
SANDIFER: I would say that the Latin motivations were rather complex. In the first place they professed to resent and not like the OAS, not to be too enthusiastic about it, because they considered that it was dominated by the United States. Nevertheless, they found a very comfortable haven and an institution through which they could make their influence felt, even though the United States was the predominant member of the organization. So, that there was a certain element of pride in this, and a determination to see that they were given a maximum opportunity for participating in, and bringing their influence to bear,
in the general organizations through the influence of this regional organization. I think you're right, that they had other motives and these other factors that you name entered into their calculations.
MCKINZIE: You mentioned that at San Francisco the Latins convinced John Foster Dulles and Arthur Vandenberg of their position. By the time all of these things became open, how much was partisan politics involved in the position of the U. S. delegation. let's say by the time of San Francisco?
SANDIFER: In this particular case, I wouldn't think that Vandenberg was motivated primarily by partisan politics in the approach that he took. He had participated in the political, in the inter-departmental political committee, and he was well aware of the thinking that had gone into this. I believe his thinking had evolved gradually. In the earlier days he had been influenced more than he realized by Pasvolsky's thinking, since he prepared the agenda and sort of guided the discussions. Pasvolsky was a genius at manipulating people who were opposed to his point of view. I've seen him sit in committees
with high-ranking military leaders, who were in disagreement with him, but he was very subtle in his argumentation and his techniques for achieving his objectives. He would sort of move around them and have them surrounded before they realized what was happening, and they would agree with his views in some of these committees.
So, I think that Vandenberg's ideas on regional organization developed rather slowly and then were influenced by Dulles. Dulles may have been thinking primarily in terms of partisan politics because he was much more of a partisan than Vandenberg was. Vandenberg really had a sincere interest in international organization as such, and he believed in it. You know, he had a sort of a "conversion on the road to Damascus," so to speak. He began as an isolationist and somewhere along the line he saw the light, so he became a sincere and ardent advocate and gave his full support in San Francisco and in the Senate.
MCKINZIE: Nelson Rockefeller had been a director of the Institute for Inter-American Affairs, and he had a lot of personal investments in Latin America. Was he at all influential on these Latin-American positions?
SANDIFER: Yes, he undoubtedly influenced the Latin-American position, and he was a spokesman, so to speak, in the State Department for the Latin-American point of view. There was a stage at which he thought, and the Latin-American element in the State Department thought, that not enough consultation was taking place with the Latin-American governments in the preparation of the Charter.
Well, you had to get an agreement on a charter, and if you started by consulting with them you might never get off the ground. Hull was very receptive and very sensitive to the importance of the Latin-American areas. He had helped to develop the Good Neighbor Policy. There was no anti-inter-Americanism in the White House or in Hull's office in the question of emphasis here. Rockefeller brought Hull and the Department to the point of holding a series of consultations with the Latin-American states prior to San Francisco. Rockefeller was very much interested in it, but I would say again that his motivation was not partisan politics. I never saw any indication that it was.
MRS. SANDIFER: Speaking of partisan politics and getting off
the Latin-American subject a moment, just partisan politics in general on the United Nations, it seems to me that this development of the United Nations and the way in which Hull managed it in order to have it not be a partisan thing is a superb example of what can be done to create non-partisanship.
MCKINZIE: You mean bringing in Vandenberg?
MRS. SANDIFER: Not only that, but he conferred all the time. You had all the time these leaders from Congress, the House and Senate, who came to these meetings even before the days that they were supposed to be public, that people were supposed to know what you were doing. Those people had been brought in. Also all of these prominent people from all over the country, both Democrats and Republicans...
SANDIFER: Yes, that's right.
MRS. SANDIFER: ...that came all the time to meet with you.
SANDIFER: Hull, under the direction of Roosevelt, made a superhuman effort to see that this was a bi-partisan
operation, because he was very much aware of what happened to the League of Nations. And he was determined from the beginning that this would not happen again. So, they went very far in the direction of bringing all of these elements into the picture. The leadership in the Senate and the Foreign Relations Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House were all included in the political committee which developed this thinking.
MCKINZIE: Do you recall whether when they were brought in there was much isolationist sentiment expressed to those planning committees...
SANDIFER: I didn't participate in the political committee. I was a participant in the international organization committee, and I participated in the subsequent committee. I might explain this by recalling that Welles, in 1943, succeeded in getting through this committee on international organization subcommittee of which he was the chairman, an agreement on a draft constitution.
This had elements and an emphasis that Pasvolsky didn't agree with. So, about that time, confrontation between Hull and Welles came to a peak, and Welles left
Then I participated in a committee with one of the peculiar names, the Political Agenda Committee, which was again intended to conceal what it was really doing. That was a committee of top experts in the Department: the legal adviser, the Director of Far Eastern Affairs, Pasvolsky, the Director of Economic Affairs, and so on -- about a dozen men. And we, in the Bureau, or in what was then still the Division of Special Research, served as expert staff for that. And, of course, there was no disagreement on this sort of thing. My impression is, from my association with the people who participated in the political committee, that there was no difference of opinion on the question of moving in the direction of creating a postwar organization. If there was, it was not major and not influential. A postwar organization was not opposed by people like Vandenberg, not even in the early phases that I know of.
MCKINZIE: Not to dwell unduly on this aspect of the thing, but I think it's very important. You mentioned some details about the Latin-American view of the way that the
Charter was structured. Do you recall any particular consultations with the British? Some historians would say that there was a "special relationship" with the British and that not very much was or could be done without British collaboration on that, even in the early stages.
SANDIFER: We had a meeting in the Department on the expert level with the British. I think it was prior to Dumbarton Oaks, which was, in a sense, a technical meeting for hammering out the technical details; the formulation of the principles and institutional arrangements that should be instituted in the Charter. There was a special arrangement with the British because they were also making a study of postwar organization. Prior to Dumbarton Oaks we didn't have any opportunity to meet with the Russians. We did have a conference at Moscow in which the basic proposition that there should be a postwar international organization, security organization, was agreed upon. So, the Russians had agreed to that. The French Government was sort of floating in upper-outer space somewhere. It wasn't in any position to participate in this. So
there wasn't anything especially significant in the fact that we did carry on special consultations with the British. It was that they were in agreement with our general objectives and they had, by the time of Dumbarton Oaks, if they had ever intended to espouse, they had abandoned Churchill's idea of a regional organization. They didn't bring it forward at Dumbarton Oaks.
MRS. SANDIFER: I think it's interesting that we were the only ones that had the whole thing, as we thought it should be, written out before we went to Dumbarton Oaks. The others never brought in a plan...
SANDIFER: We had a full fleshed out plan of organization at Dumbarton Oaks. The British had a limited plan, and the Russians didn't have any -- except that all that they wanted was a security organization. They weren't interested in bringing in economic and social matters.
That was another aspect of this which I didn't get to in getting off onto this other discussion. There was the discussion over regional organization and then there was a discussion, from the beginning, as to how, or to what extent, economic and social matters should be
made a part of a general organization. Some of the officers in the Department, particularly from the economic area, naturally, were inclined to feel that there should be separate specialized agencies which would not be integrated into the universal organization.
As a result of the discussion and debate over this you have the compromise that took place in the Charter. One draft of the Charter provided that these specialized organizations should be an integral part of the United Nations Organization.
The compromise was that there should be an economic and social council, and the specialized agencies should have relationship with the United Nations and receive certain policies and administrative guidance and direction; but they would be independent. That had already evolved to the point where that was inevitable, because Roosevelt arranged for the Food and Agriculture Organization conference in 1943. The constitution had already been agreed upon for that organization. UNESCO was under way, the development of the general charter for UNESCO. And there were other existing organizations like the aviation organization, which became the Civil Aviation Organization,
and the International Labor Organization.
Originally, I think, Pasvolsky was thinking in terms of the overall organization which would incorporate these agencies and make them a dependent part of the United Nations. It was just too complicated to bring that about with the existing organizations and the insistence on the part of influential departments and people that it would be better to have these economic and social agencies act as independent on the basis of independent charters and constitutions.
One of their arguments was that in that way you could draw upon a wider clientele for support of the international organization program generally. This is because you could enlist the support of all the people who were interested in agriculture, you could enlist those who were interested in labor, you could enlist all those interested in world health, and so on, and education and welfare. So, you would help develop a broader base for support for an international organization program.
MCKINZIE: Were there also those who simply feared the internationalization of their particular responsibilities?
SANDIFER: I think that they feared that there would be too much of a political element in the sense of political considerations being too influential in the determination of the policy of the overall organization. These people had the concept that world health should be treated as a technical problem, and that labor should be treated as technical problems, and not as a political problem.
MCKINZIE: That world trade is a technical matter?
SANDIFER: Well, not so much there, because Bretton Woods had already established, by 1944, the Monetary Fund and the Bank. They wanted to protect even those organizations from political influence in the invidious sense of that term -- being policy determined from the standpoint of national politics, or partisan politics.
MCKINZIE: Let me put you on the spot as one of the men most knowledgeable about the United Nations. Would it have been stronger, would it have worked better had that occurred?
SANDIFER: I would think that while the existing organization is extremely cumbersome, and difficult to manage, both
internationally and nationally, even the Government of the United States finds it extremely difficult to develop a consistent and coordinated policy for implementation through these organizations. We may find ourselves following one policy in the Food and Agriculture Organization, and another one in the economic and social areas of the United Nations. It would have helped to simplify, theoretically at least, the problem of developing unified policies, unified, uniform administrative policies, budgetary policies, personnel policies. But it's a little bit difficult to visualize a United Nations organization structurally and politically, we will say, that could have managed that. Because those are some very wild and difficult horses to ride. It would only have been feasible if the agencies in the nature of independent organizations had never been developed. It might have been feasible if you could have established in the beginning an organization that consisted of a department of health and a department of science and culture, and a department of labor, and a department of finance, not with a separate organization, but as an integral part of the general organization.
Too much development had taken place even before
Dumbarton Oaks, to make it work. This wasn't politically feasible. At the time that we were originally writing the Charter, I was inclined to the view that it was desirable to provide for the incorporation of these various organizations and activities within the United Nations. That is, they would be a part of the United Nations structure and subject to direction and control by an economic and social council of the organization. In other words, the policy would be determined by a United Nations body with these various component parts operating under that.
MCKINZIE: Am I correct, then, in inferring that your original vision of what the United States might achieve was somewhat broader than that which actually materialized?
SANDIFER: Yes, broader in the sense that it would have resulted in the establishment of a more far-reaching organization with stronger component parts within the organization itself. But in the end, it might have had the effect, and I am inclined to think it would have had the effect, of weakening -- real grass roots support of the organization as a whole. Because you would have had one
channel through which all support for international organization had to funnel. It's not an open and shut question either way. Just in the field of finance and organization of personnel, and efficiency of operation, and the problem of overlapping organization, there has been a serious problem in managing our participation in these organizations, and in the United Nations, in Congress. Congress has been very critical and resistant to appropriations they've had to make, because they felt that there was a duplication of effort and an overlapping of programs. In addition to that, of course, you have the regional organizations in Latin America.
MCKINZIE: It has its own overlapping programs.
SANDIFER: It has an economic and social council, it has a cultural council, it has the Council of the Organization of American States. There is the special Latin-American Economic and Social Commission. The problem of developing a viable and defensible line of demarkation between what the United Nations Organization does and what the Latin-American organization does, is extremely difficult. The reason this has been manageable is that there has not
been full-fledged organization in other areas. Of course, now we have an Organization of African Unity. We never have had one in the Middle East, except the Arab organizations which are incomplete and sort of nebulous, and none in the Far East up to the present time.
MCKINZIE: Let me go back a little bit, you mentioned earlier that Franklin Roosevelt was concerned about the weaknesses of the League that were built into it and, therefore, encouraged Secretary Hull and Under Secretary Welles to push on this planning for the postwar period.
SANDIFER: What I intended to say was that not enough attention was given in the preparations leading up to the drafting of the League of Nations Covenant and the presentation of it, to enlisting broad nonpartisan or bipartisan reports. I wasn't talking about the structure of the League, but the way in which it was presented.
MCKINZIE: What I was going to lead into was, what did you feel at the time Franklin Roosevelt suddenly died. You had passed through Dumbarton Oaks and here you had the San Francisco Conference coming up within a matter of
weeks and then here was this man Harry Truman.
SANDIFER: Roosevelt died on April the 12th, we were scheduled to leave for San Francisco on April the 17th. Special trains already arranged, everything arranged, people from other countries practically already on the way to this country. They had all their planning done and probably some of them were already on their way to Washington, because air travel wasn't so hot at that time -- sometimes it became hot when it hit the ground or fell in the ocean. Actually three or four of the delegates to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference were lost at sea on the return. The plane in which they left just disappeared, probably was shot down or had engine failure, and several of these people were killed, like this man here [referring to photo] who was a legal adviser to the British delegation at Dumbarton Oaks. They were just lost. So, travel was very difficult in those days. We went to San Francisco by special train.
I think that one of the immediate tests of Truman's capacity as a President, and a capacity that he demonstrated in many subsequent areas, was that he never had any doubt as to what his decision should be. So, he has
said himself, and that was the impression that we got at the time. He said, "The conference has to proceed." He made this decision without knowing anything about all of this background preparation. It's a good thing you brought out this preparation because on April the 12th, 1945, Truman had no idea what had been done, what the planning was, or anything. So, he was flying blind, so to speak. He was flying on the basis of his confidence in Roosevelt and Hull and their planning. He accepted it at face value. The delegation's instructions had been developed over a period of at least three years, and actually longer. The whole program had been developed, the instructions developed, we had specific problem papers, position papers with instructions on every detail of the thing. He had never seen any of that.
So, he said, "We proceed, we go ahead." That was because he had personal confidence in Roosevelt and also in Hull, and he had a sound sense, in my opinion, of political realities and the political necessities. If the conference had been postponed, it might never have been held. It's awfully hard to regain the momentum you lose by postponing it. How long do you postpone it? Do you
postpone it until after the end of hostilities? You see the aim of the President and Hull was to get this conference completed before the end of hostilities so these governments would all be committed to this before the end of the war.
MCKINZIE: Did you feel any apprehensiveness, though, on the very eve of the conference when Molotov came through Washington and got "chewed out" by Truman about the Soviet Union's failure to live up to its agreements at the Yalta Conference, and put Molotov in a rather bad frame of mind.
SANDIFER: We weren't aware enough of that for it to affect our activities. That was Truman's department.
I suppose he consulted with Stettinius about it. But the responsibility for the conduct of the conference and for seeing that it went forward successfully was in the hands of Secretary Stettinius and the people who were doing it. Truman had overall responsibility for telling Molotov where to get off on these international political questions, so they were really in separate compartments so to speak. I don't really recall that it affected our thinking or activity at all.
MCKINZIE: But the San Francisco Conference was the culmination of years of work and I suppose, even more, years of strong hopes on your part.
MRS. SANDIFER: I think that it should be mentioned when Mr. McKinzie asked about the people that came in to work on this and what kind of people they were, that that was a group that was dedicated. People came there because they believed in the United Nations; and all those young men you recruited later to work on United Nations...
SANDIFER: Well, they believed in the United Nations, but that group was broader than that, it was economic and cultural.
MRS. SANDIFER: I know, but they all had a sense that they were creating something.
SANDIFER: Yes. They were committed to the development of a postwar setup that would be different from the prewar setup That was what they were after. They were dedicated to it, and many of them stayed on in the Government and went into the Foreign Service. Some of them went back
to their colleges and universities, but a sizeable number stayed in the Government.
MRS. SANDIFER: Many of those young men you recruited into your department after the San Francisco, were men out of the military service, and they're still there.
MCKINZIE: Without belaboring that particular point about wanting to make a postwar world that was different from the prewar world, weren't there some differences in the views of people about the nature of that postwar world?
MCKINZIE: It gets into all those terrible questions about sovereignty and all that.
SANDIFER: There were no serious or influential advocates of a Clarence Streit form of organization.
MRS. SANDIFER: You had some people who had worked for the League that came into your department.
SANDIFER: Yes. But I don't think that there was any serious considerations given to going as far as the establishment of what Streit advocated, which would amount to an organization
with much greater sovereign authority in its own right. That was partly because of the diverse character of the participants in the policy planning committees. When you had men like Eaton and Bloom and Vandenberg and Connally and Austin, you didn't go sailing off into the blue. You had to keep your eye all the time on not putting too much limitations on American sovereignty. That's the reason the United States was just as ardent an advocate of the veto as the Russians were. We wanted to spell it out in terms of certain limitations on the areas in which it would apply. But the United States delegation all the way through, even in planning, was in favor of a veto because they didn't think that you could sell to the Congress of the United States, and to the people, anything that didn't leave the United States in a crunch, so to speak, with the right to stop action.
MCKINZIE: Could we go back to San Francisco, to the Conference there? Had the United States, to your knowledge, ever had a delegation which was as large as that one at San Francisco?
SANDIFER: No, I don't think so. I was Secretary General of the delegation and people kept appearing that I didn't
know where they came from. They were sent from Washington. There were 450 people at the peak on that delegation. It's like a lot of activities of that kind, conference activities. Down at the center of this 450 persons, this amorphous mass, was a corps of 25 or 30 people working under Pasvolsky who were doing all the work.
MCKINZIE: This I assume had been anticipated in advance.
SANDIFER: Yes, the others were window dressing and for public relations. They had a very extensive public relations program with private international organizations and there was a member of the delegation, Francis Russell, who directed relationships with these organizations. You had representation of various interest groups, and all of the agencies and departments in Government had to be represented. Perhaps 25 or 30 is an exaggeration, but the core group of principal technical officers (I was the principal technical officer and secretary general), certainly wasn't more than 50 all told.
MCKINZIE: And then you were responsible I take it for coordinating
the work of the various committees.
SANDIFER: Well, mine was a sort of divided organization. My function at San Francisco was more organizational and administrative than it was substantive. I participated in the substantive organization, and I knew what was going on. But Pasvolsky was the key man in the development and negotiations and conduct of the substantive program for the delegation in the various committees. The problem was that we had this large delegation, and what I did was to act as the executive secretary for carrying on an American conference. We had continuous delegation meetings which were equivalent to sort of conference meetings in the sense that we were hammering out adjustments and changes in the policy that we went to San Francisco with -- like the regional organization, and many other questions that came up, the veto and all of that. So, actually I had very little participation in the actual conference committees. I didn't have time for it. It took all of my time to manipulate the American delegation.
MRS. SANDIFER: But you were in the Big Four group. You sat as the secretary for the United States.
SANDIFER: The United States and France and Russia and China and Great Britain met in the penthouse of the Fairmont Hotel. Before the conference actually opened for business, as such, in preliminary meetings these delegations worked out their own modifications or proposals. So they entered the conference with a series of proposals for amendment to the Dumbarton Oaks proposal. They were hammered out in a long series of meetings at the Fairmont Hotel, the headquarters of the American delegation. And I served as the secretary for this group.
MCKINZIE: At that time was there any reason for undue concern about the nature of the proposed amendments?
SANDIFER: Well, there is where the crunch came in the negotiations with the Russians concerning the veto. Dependent areas was another area which was very difficult. There was concern. There was a stage when it wasn't at all clear that we were going to reach an agreement, particularly with the Russians, on these proposals. And if we went into the conference with them unresolved nobody could tell what would happen.
MCKINZIE: So, in that sense this preliminary meeting was
SANDIFER: Yes. At 2 o'clock in the morning after finishing a meeting, I said to one of the advisers on the Russian delegation, "Well, if we just had a little more time we could work this out."
He sort of held his head, "Look, it isn't a question of time." He said, "If you had all the time in the world I'm not sure that you could work this out." That was the American attitude, that you could work out or reach a compromise on any given subject. But the Russians didn't work that way. They had to take that up as you know in Moscow with Stalin. Harriman was able to sell it to Stalin and that's the reason Molotov finally caved in and agreed to certain basic principles under which the veto would operate.
MCKINZIE: Can you tell me about this continuing session for American delegates to the conference. Did that take up issues as they arose in the various committees?
SANDIFER: Well, we tried to anticipate the problems, but we'd take them up also as they arose. We had daily, at least
daily, delegation meetings in which all of the pending or anticipated problems were taken up one by one and debated in the American delegation. You had some independent minded people on that delegation. They were in agreement on overall concepts, but they were not in agreement on all the details of how you carry it out. We had some animated debates on regional organization, for example, and on Article 51, on collective defense, and on the veto. Also on some of the economic and social provisions like full employment and some of the economic provisions of the Charter in which there was a wide difference of opinion as to the form it should take. There was a difference between some of our delegates like Vandenberg and Connally and the opinion of the British or the Australians. The Australians were advocates of language that sought a guarantee of full employment. The United States wanted more limited language.
MCKINZIE: By the time the conference was underway, could you identify factions within the delegation? That is to say, a minority for which Vandenberg spoke and a minority for which...
SANDIFER: Well, the most articulate members of the delegation were Vandenberg and Connally and perhaps Bloom and Stassen and Dulles, sitting in as an adviser. Dean [Virginia C.] Gildersleeve, the woman member of the delegation from Barnard College, was never very aggressive in her role. So to some extent, it was frequently a bilateral debate between Pasvolsky on one side and these particular members of the delegation on the other, with Stassen coming in, in a different direction. Sometimes he agreed with them, and sometimes he agreed with Pasvolsky.
Rockefeller was there and he had a right to speak in the delegation.
MCKINZIE: In some book I noted the assertion that Harold Stassen made something of a, I think the word was, fool of himself in San Francisco. Is that right?
SANDIFER: That was not my impression. Stassen came to the delegation fresh from the Pacific. He was still in uniform at the time he arrived; he didn't wear a uniform while he was there. I don't think he had been discharged from the service. He had not participated in the preparatory
work. He, in my opinion, in his participation in the delegation was a constructive influence and he knew what he was talking about. He was extremely effective in committee work. I attended two or three sessions of the committee he sat in. While he was not chairman of the committee, he chaired it. From his chair he directed the debate and controlled the debate, while the chairman sort of sat on the sideline. He got what he wanted and what the U. S. delegation wanted. I don't know who said that, but that seems to me to be a gross distortion. He was also very effective in press conferences. He was articulate, smooth, suave; he was a good man. He didn't prove to be as outstanding later, and in his political life he didn't grow. But so far as his participation at San Francisco is concerned, I would think that anybody who was fair and objective would not make a statement of that kind. That would be my impression.
MRS. SANDIFER: Certainly those of us around the fringes had definitely the opinion, from what all the people said, that Stassen was an outstanding person.
SANDIFER: Well, he was a fresh voice. You knew pretty much
what the congressional members would say, you could anticipate that. So, here was a fresh voice, as a sort of a catalyst for helping to bring about the compromise. His was a very intelligent one, and articulate. So, I think he made a very definite contribution both within the delegation and in relations with the private international organizations in the United States, the non-governmental organizations in this country who were very active and energetic in San Francisco.
MCKINZIE: As executive secretary did you have any problem children in the delegation?
SANDIFER: Oh, I don't know. I had so many problems, I didn't think about the children. After the first two weeks of the conference I decided it was just a matter of time as to when I was going to collapse, and I would carry on to the best of my ability until I did and then somebody else would have to take over.
As frequently happens in a case like that, you reach a sort of plateau. But you had so many statistical problems. We had all of our very elaborate documentation arrangements set up. You see, we had a very elaborate
documentary in a floor of the hotel, in rooms. Some of the other delegations from other states were dissatisfied with the quarters that were supplied for them.
One night about 2 o'clock in the morning, the Secretary General, Alger Hiss, called me into his office and said to me, "You've got to evacuate these quarters and give them to these delegates." I had already thrashed this out with Ross, who was his deputy, and I had convinced Ross that it shouldn't be done. But Hiss was up against the wall. He had to take care of these people; and so we had to move all that stuff out and reorganize it while the conference was in full swing.
There were all kinds of things like that. But problem children, I don't know. We had some problem children who were sort of collateral participants in the organization like Francis Smith's boss, Charles Taussig, who was very much interested in the Caribbean commission and dependent area affairs. He was a very aggressive person and would push very hard in defending the interest of his clients, and you had some problems taking care of people like that along the side.
MRS. SANDIFER: Well, you had problems with simple little
things like tickets to sessions, and things that people would never think of.
SANDIFER: Yes. I wasn't sufficiently alert to this. I was preoccupied with other things and I didn't really take hold of the distribution of tickets to the American delegation for the opening session of the conference. What resulted was a lot of dissatisfaction on the part of people like [Sol] Bloom. He was the key person who had a lot of clients that he wanted to take care of and, being chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, he had a very considerable sense of pride and prestige. So, I got a lot of flak from various members of the delegation, because there was a great demand for those tickets. I made up my mind that when it came to the closing session that this was not going to happen.
One of my assistants and I spent hours and hours getting hold of a sufficient number of tickets in each category -- they were on the main floor and in the balcony and so on and so forth. The night before we distributed these tickets, he and I spent hours going through this and dividing them into groups, so many tickets in the
orchestra and so on. We had a large number of people to take care of in the delegation, all these congressional members, and Stassen and Dulles and Rockefeller and everybody.
I sent the tickets down to Bloom's office about 10 or 11 o'clock at night and within 15 minutes I got a telephone call, Bloom on the line himself. He said, "Mr. Sandifer, I want you to know how much I appreciate the way you treated us on these tickets." He said, "This is wonderful. If there is every anything you want from the Foreign Affairs Committee, or Sol Bloom, you just let me know, and you'll get it." And I did.
I didn't try to cash in on that too often, but he was very receptive and helpful from then on. Well, little things like that took hours of time when you should have been devoting it to substantive work.
MRS. SANDIFER: I think you should talk about Secretary Stettinius and how he managed the delegation. I've heard you say things about his method of presiding; you had an entirely different product than you would have had if you had a man like Sumner Welles, for example. I think
that probably people don't really know enough about Stettinius and what his good points were.
MCKINZIE: Well now, this, of course, was to be his last act.
SANDIFER: I think that he hoped that it would not happen, but he probably knew "down in his heart," as a certain American politician said, "In your heart, you know," in his heart he knew what was going to happen.
MRS. SANDIFER: But he was an excellent administrator and very keen on every detail of administration.
SANDIFER: He is a man who is not an intellectual giant, but he had determination that this conference was not going to fail. He had had enough experience in this kind of organization and the conduct of meetings and that sort of thing that he served as a sort of guiding influence and a safety valve. Pasvolsky carried on the guidance on the substantive side and Stettinius carried on the diplomatic and administrative conduct for the meeting. He was very skillful in balancing the conflicting views of somebody like Vandenberg,
for example, arguing with Rockefeller, or whoever it might be. My feeling was that his contribution in the procedural administrative, organizational sense has been greatly underrated by the general public. He is entitled to much more credit for manipulating the final agreement on programs and policies in the Department, because we had a series of meetings after Dumbarton Oaks, including the meetings with the Latin-Americans and the conference at Chapultepec. He chaired all of those meetings; he did not miss any of them. His contribution was not, generally, a substantive contribution. It was, you might say, a procedural contribution. But as Mrs. Sandifer said, if you had a hard-headed self-confident person like Sumner Welles, the thing could have come to grief because he would have antagonized people instead of bringing them together. Dulles, for example. I just can't visualize Dulles presiding over a meeting of that kind because he just was a different sort of person and he would have very rigid, fixed, preconceived views of his own as to what the answer was. So, you needed a man like Stettinius, who was a sort of safety valve so to speak. He had somewhat the quality of a Henry Clay, for example, and the ability to sort of
steer and keep the thing moving in the direction of agreement and compromise.
At the same time, he had a preoccupation with procedural arrangements. For example, President Truman came to the concluding session of the conference, and so one of the crises in the delegation was making the plans for the reception of President Truman.
Stettinius, with his lieutenants, had this all worked out. One morning in the delegation, he presented the delegation the ceremonial plans for the reception of the President.
MRS. SANDIFER: Out at the airport.
SANDIFER: And he sat there and gave all the detailed plans.
MRS. SANDIFER: Well, and the other delegates, it didn't include only us, our main delegate, Mr. Dulles, and the others.
SANDIFER: Yes, and the delegates were to be going and they would line up and then they would step forward, advance, shake hands with the President, move out and so forth. Vandenberg sat there (I was sitting across the table
from Vandenberg. I sat opposite the chairman). Vandenberg was sitting there with great interest and he was watching Stettinius when an increasingly quizzical smile appeared on his face, and finally he said, "Mr. Secretary, I've just been making some calculations here, and if this is carried out and performed in the form which you propose, I calculate it will take ten or twelve hours."
Well, that just broke up the meeting. They simplified the procedure, but we went out to meet the President successfully. But Vandenberg had a great sense of humor. He frequently would poke fun at Stettinius without Stettinius, I think, being aware what was happening. He frequently got what he wanted by being sort of facetious about it instead of a head-on collision.
MCKINZIE: You may know that Secretary Stettinius engineered even the color of the table upon which the document was signed.
SANDIFER: Yes. Thatís another thing I should say about President Truman. You see, the arrangement was that the delegates were to sign the document. So, the question was, what should President Truman do, when they had all this ceremony
for the signing. Stettinius engineered all these arrangements for the blue table. He had it all set up with cameras focused on it, and each delegation would come in one right after the other. So, the whole American delegation marched in; they had all been told where and when to arrive, exactly how to get there; then two or three of them got lost. I forget now which ones it was that got lost. It seems to me it was Connally and Bloom or somebody like that. Anyway they got lost; we finally found them in time for the signing.
They were given orders exactly by the minutes, they were to go to certain places.
MRS.SANDIFER: And some of them didn't go with Mr. Sandifer, and they were the ones he lost.
SANDIFER: Well, that would have been my fault if they didn't get there in time for the signing in spite of the fact that they didn't follow their instructions. So, President Truman stands at the end of the whole group like an observer while all the delegates signed. There he is, and there I am right there [referring to photo]. There is General Vaughan back there.
MRS. SANDIFER: The instructions say that President Truman will stand to the left of the chair. This is my private document: "President Truman will stand to the left of the chair and the first man will sign and he will get up then from his chair and turn around and shake hands. The Secretary will sign then and he will shake hands with President Truman and then he will stand beside President Truman and then the next person will sign and he will get up and shake hands with the Secretary and then with President Truman and then he will take his place."
SANDIFER: Those instructions were all written out.
MRS. SANDIFER: Even to the side of the chair they would sit on.
SANDIFER: People who saw this kind of planning, and his preoccupation with this, didn't think that he had any capacity, any political savvy about how to get things done. I think they underestimated him. Of course, if you had had a type like -- I don't want to hammer on the case of Welles, but he's a good type. If you had had a type like that as Secretary there, you would have a considerable possibility of a collision with Pasvolsky, for example, somewhere along
the line. Stettinius was just the type of man that was needed at San Francisco at that time, because all of the work that had been done was a matter of shepherding this through, and getting agreements. So he can smilingly meet and talk with, and compromise with, all of these members of the delegation, and all the rest of them.
MCKINZIE: Mrs. Sandifer, let me ask you for just a little local color of the place. That's one thing I don't have much about in an oral history interview.
MRS. SANDIFER: Well, I can tell you one thing, we were entertained one night by [Spyros] Skouras. You will remember at that time we were all eating liver and wieners and no butter (and I don't know whether you're old enough to remember), no sugar. We all had been on this spartan diet during the war. One night we got this invitation, sent by telegram, and Skouras was entertaining the American delegation. I don't know whether he entertained the whole 450, but a great many of us -- at least those who were in the center of the thing. It came and it said "informal."
Well, I didn't quite believe that, but my husband checked and they said yes it was informal, afternoon dress
and business suits.
Well, we arrived at the hotel for this dinner. I happened to arrive just about the same time that Mrs. Vandenberg and Mrs. [Earl] Warren (he was then Governor of California), and Mrs. Stassen were arriving. Mrs. Stassen was in this little simple black suit, and we were all nice just in our afternoon dresses. On a table were big corsages, tremendous orchids, three for each of the ladies. As we arrived there, feeling very insecure and insignificant, I remember that Mrs. Warren said, "I should have known better, I should have known better than this when the movie people were entertaining." You know, you just felt it was a shame to put this beautiful orchid on an ordinary afternoon dress. Then we went into this dinner and we had what really at that time seemed practically an immoral thing to do, to have such marvelous food. We had these tremendous steaks, we had rolls, and we had butter. And oh, it was just the most tremendous dinner. Well, none of us had eaten in this fashion now for several years. I think we never did even afterwards, it was such a tremendous dinner.
You see, my daughter and I weren't allowed to go to
San Francisco, but when my husband got out there -- we had just lived with him through this for three or four years, and my daughter always said...
SANDIFER: The reason I said she got this by vicarious experience is that every night when I came home 10 or 11 or 12 o'clock, before I went to bed or at breakfast I had to give an account of everything that took place. And our daughter, who was then 12 or 13 years old, would say, "Mother, he's worn-down, he doesn't want to talk about it, why don't you let him alone."
MRS. SANDIFER: My daughter always said that her father did the work and I got the enjoyment out of it.
Well, anyhow, after he got out there he saw there were several extra women around who didn't belong on the delegation and some wives who had gone there, and so he sent for us.
We went on the train. This was the end of May 1945 when he sent for us thinking we would be there for the final signing. All the way out was a big sign staring us in the face saying, "Is this trip necessary?" And ever time I saw that I wasn't quite sure
it was necessary, but it really was necessary for me, you see.
SANDIFER: It was morally and spiritually necessary, but not physically.
MRS. SANDIFER: Yes. One of the nice things that happened in San Francisco was that they had an organization of the women of San Francisco. San Francisco was the most glorious place to have this, because the whole town of San Francisco turned out to be hospitable. It was the greatest display of hospitality you ever saw. And the first thing we heard of when we got there was this women's organization which was serving a buffet lunch in the downstairs, I think, of the opera house for, as I remember, $1.50.
SANDIFER: They served it every day.
MRS. SANDIFER: They had this large buffet, and you paid your dollar and a half, or some reasonable price like that, and you had whatever you wanted. They had sliced beef, they had sliced turkey, and they had salads, it was the talk of the whole conference, "Have you been over to have lunch
with...," over at this particular place.
So far as we were concerned we didn't have very much in the way of other parties. The Skouras one stood out as really outstanding. We had a magician that night who was one of the most outstanding magicians you ever saw. He had men up there. He had an FBI man and he stripped him of everything, his watch, money, everything, you know, even his belt.
SANDIFER: Took some of his clothes away from him.
MRS. SANDIFER: He really was outstanding and I would love to see him again.
We always went to dinner so late, because he [Mr. Sandifer] worked so late, that we had to take whatever was left and whatever restaurant was open. But one of the favorite things of all of the delegates there was to hunt up one of the eating places in San Francisco for dinner, you know. It really is filled with marvelous places to eat.
One thing we did get to do, we went to Carmel one Sunday, and we went to Yosemite one weekend for one weekend. One night when we were out having dinner with
Francis Russell and his wife, the Russells had some trick matches. We were out at this famous place, Trader Vic's. So, they had some trick matches that you strike and they explode.
Well, our daughter thought that was so funny that she and I went down to Chinatown and she got a package of these and stuck them in her daddy's pocket for the trip we were going to take to Yosemite. He rarely if ever smoked, but she thought this would be funny if he pulled these out of his pocket out at Yosemite and would light a cigarette and have an explosion with whomever we might happen to see.
Well, he didn't use them, he didn't know they were in his pocket even, and he didn't know anything about this and so he didn't smoke at Yosemite and he hadn't used these matches. The next day, in the evening, I got a call from one of the members of the delegation. "Irene, do you know what great fun happened in the Big Four meeting?" Gromyko had been making a speech and everything was very tense. We were discussing the enforcement provisions of the Security Council. Everything was very tense, and Gromyko was making a speech and all at once
there was this terrific bang coming from the end of the table.
SANDIFER: Sort of like a pistol. It really was a sharp crack.
MRS. SANDIFER: He [Mr. Sandifer] had gotten kind of nervous and tense there, lighted up a cigarette and his match exploded and Gromyko jumped and, for once, he smiled and said, "Oh, I thought we were here for peaceful means."
SANDIFER: Everything stopped and everybody became absolutely quiet. It could have been a pistol shot.
MRS. SANDIFER: You can imagine how Mr. Sandifer felt. Now here he was with Stettinius and Pasvolsky, and all these men from the other countries. The funny thing about it was that Bob Hartley, who was special assistant to Pasvolsky thought it was so funny to have this happen, and to have Sandy to be the man to do a thing like this.
SANDIFER: I was regarded as a very sober individual who would never get involved in anything of this kind.
Second Oral History Interview with Durward F. Sandifer, Washington, D. C., on May 29, 1973. By Richard D. McKinzie, Harry S. Truman Library.
MCKINZIE: Mr. Sandifer, in our last discussion we talked about the San Francisco Conference. I wonder if we might pick up with the aftermath of the San Francisco Conference? Could you say something about the work you did with the Preparatory Commission for the General Assembly in London in 1946?
SANDIFER: I had no participation in the Preparatory Commission except to stay at home and prepare the instructions for them, or to participate in the preparation of the instructions -- working with Mr. Pasvolsky and the Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs, Mr. Hiss. I was responsible for sending some people to London to the Preparatory Commission who subsequently became very famous for their participation in international organization affairs.
MCKINZIE: Such as?
SANDIFER: Andrew Cordier, had been an officer in the Division of Special Research, which later became the Office of
Special Political Affairs, and they needed some sort of a generalist to be at the session in London, so we sent him there for general work on the delegation. The upshot of it was that he was assigned to sort of assist in and administer the preparatory work for the upcoming General Assembly. As a result of this assignment, he became a liaison contact man with Gladwyn Jebb, later Lord Gladwyn Jebb, who was the Secretary General for the preparation of this upcoming assembly. He became first a special assistant working with Jebb, and as a result of that he was picked up as a special assistant by [Trygve] Lie who was elected Secretary General.
His whole career evolved after that, as a result of that appointment of his to London. I remember that Cordier had been an adviser at San Francisco to Senator Vandenberg. He was assigned, like all of the principal officers were assigned to be advisers to different delegates. He was assigned as an adviser to Senator Vandenberg, who as you know, was a very independent individual. He sat on the committee which was preparing the organization and powers of the General Assembly. Andy never had the privilege of sitting directly behind Vandenberg. Vandenberg
didn't want him there. He sat three or four tiers back and worked with Vandenberg in between times.
When we went to the General Assembly in London in January of 1946, one of the first sessions was given over to the election of Lie. When the session opened, as I recall, Jebb was on the platform with Cordier on his left. Lie was being elected, Vandenberg was sitting back with the U. S. delegation, and I was sitting with him. He looked up, saw Cordier up there, and said, "How in the hell did Andy Cordier get up there?" He couldn't believe his eyes. He didn't realize Andy was going to become such an important person.
My work was to continue general preparations for the Preparatory Commission -- instructions for them as to the procedure and all that sort of thing. We also had to carry on the policy preparations for the General Assembly, coming up in January. Because, you see, the San Francisco Conference adjourned in June and the Preparatory Commission, as I remember, began in September and it ran for a couple of months. It almost ran on into the General Assembly itself. We were very heavily involved in preparation of policy positions. This was to be the organizing session
of the General Assembly. It was all new. Nobody knew exactly what the procedures would be, or how they would develop; but we had to prepare policy positions for all the principal committees -- for the political, the economic, the social and cultural, the legal, and the administrative and budgetary committees. And quite a lot of that was carried on in my division in the office.
MCKINZIE: Did you recall any "Monday morning quarterbacking" after the San Francisco Conference, or did people seem to be fairly well-pleased with the way the general outline had gone there?
SANDIFER: No. I think there was general satisfaction with the outcome of the San Francisco Conference. I don't recall any particular backbiting or "Monday morning quarterbacking," as you call it. As the work of the United Nations evolved, the principal Monday morning quarterbacking was on the question of the veto. That didn't develop immediately; it developed gradually as the work of the United Nations evolved and the Soviets weren't long in vetoing some proposals in the Security Council. As a matter of fact, I think they cast a couple of vetoes on the case of Iran --
quite possibly on the Greek case. The principal case that came before the Security Council in London in January 1946 was the case of Iran. So there began to be criticism of the provisions concerning the veto. But generally I think a good deal of satisfaction with the general framework of the Charter and the kind of organizational setup provided there.
MCKINZIE: Could you tell me something about how you came to be appointed the principal adviser of Mrs. [Eleanor] Roosevelt, and what you did before you went to join her for the London meetings?
SANDIFER: In the light of the subsequent history, this probably should be kept in the background. I don't mind it myself, but the person who actually selected me to be a principal adviser to Mrs. Roosevelt was Alger Hiss. He was my chief. He was the Director of the Office. I participated in the planning of the delegation, selection of the delegation, the determination of what staff members would go to London, and in what capacities, and in the general selection and organization of the delegation.
In the course of considering what the responsibilities
of the several delegates would be, and of considering the best disposition of the staff in relation to these delegates, Alger said, in conversation with me and with Pasvolsky, that he felt that I was the logical person to serve as principal adviser to Mrs. Roosevelt. And that's the way it came about.
We decided in Washington that Mrs. Roosevelt could best make use of her talents in what was called Committee III, the Social and Humanitarian Committee. The Senators and Representatives had to be given the political assignments in Committee I. Provision was made for the other members of the delegation, Senator [John G.] Townsend, and Frank Walker, the former Postmaster General. They were assigned to the administrative and budgetary committees. But this is important, this particular item, because all of this was decided in Washington before the delegation ever assembled and before it left for London. The assignment of all the delegates was very carefully considered and agreed to by Mr. Pasvolsky and by the Secretary and then ultimately by the President.
Mrs. Roosevelt was approached by Senator Vandenberg on the boat. He told her that they had been considering
the assignment of delegates, and they thought the best place for her was on the Social and Humanitarian Committee. She resented this -- not that she objected to being on that committee, but she resented being told by Senator Vandenberg where she was going to operate. And also, she apparently overheard them discussing her assignment, at least that is what she reported later in something that she wrote.
MRS. SANDIFER: No, this is her imagination, she could "imagine" that. She wrote it in her book.
SANDIFER: Oh yes, this was her imagination. "There is this political work and there is this work, and Mrs. Roosevelt can't serve on the political committee, she isn't up to that; she doesn't know the economics, and she can't handle the administrative and budgetary details. The place for her is on the social committee." There was apparently a slip-up of some kind in informing her about what her assignment was expected to be. I don't know why that happened because it was all settled in Washington.
MCKINZIE: The other delegates knew in advance of getting on the boat?
SANDIFER: They were told -- I'm sure they were told. That was imaginary reasoning on her part, but it did color her reaction to her selection for that committee. And she talked about it and wrote about it in her book, On My Own.
MCKINZIE: What was your first meeting with her?
SANDIFER: I can't remember precisely the first meeting, but we had started by having some preliminary delegation meetings on the boat. It developed very quickly that she was a very active-minded delegate, and when she was told what her committee assignment was in the delegation, she immediately wanted to meet with her advisers to be briefed on the work of the Assembly and on the subjects that would be coming up.
So, we met with her several times on the boat, and supplied her with reading matter -- briefing papers which we had on all the subjects -- and gave her a general background. I'm sorry to say I can't remember my first session with her. I made no effort to contact her individually on the boat. I never had any direct individual contact with her until we arrived in London and
began the official sessions of the organization. Other people wanted to meet her. Some of my assistants wanted to meet her personally. There were half a dozen advisers in the delegation on the social and humanitarian subjects. I'm the sort of a person who doesn't push himself forward. I never made any effort. I'm not sure that she realized that I was her principal adviser until we began to meet in London. Our relationship picked up very rapidly, because I had charge of the advisory staff for that committee, and I went with her, advised with her, and worked with her. As soon as she discovered what the relationship was and she became acquainted with me, she started inviting me to dinner at her apartment in the Claridge Hotel. And as Alger Hiss later said, "It was a case with Sandy and Mrs. Roosevelt of love at first sight."
She adopted me as her confidential and personal adviser, and cultivated her relations with me herself during the course of the Assembly. We developed a friendly relationship in London before the end of the session.
MCKINZIE: Could you talk about Mrs. Roosevelt's relationship
with the rest of the delegation then, not only of the Social and Economic Advisory Group but the rest of the American delegation?
SANDIFER: We didn't have a normal situation in that delegation in London such as developed in subsequent delegations and assemblies. Alger Hiss was the principal executive officer in charge of the delegation. Secretary [James F.] Byrnes was a very private, self-reliant individual. I don't think it ever occurred to him to have a general delegation meeting. He had some small meetings with the delegates at his room in the hotel. I didn't know, and few of the other delegates knew, what was going on. So long as he was there he carried on that way without any delegation meetings. Mrs. Roosevelt, I think, with her personality, very quickly established herself with the other delegates, and certainly with the advisers. She was very popular with the advisory staff. She was very busy in London. This was not quite a year since the President's death. She was by far the most sought after and the most popular member of the delegation. Everywhere she went crowds followed her and wanted her autograph. She could hardly get from one place to another
on account of the crowds. She established herself very solidly with the other delegations. It developed, at the end of the session, that Senator Vandenberg and Mr. [John Foster] Dulles had gone to the President when he had announced her appointment and protested, in asking [the President] not to appoint her, because they didn't think that she was qualified to be a delegate -- they didn't trust her. They told her at the end of the session -- they actually apologized to her. They told her that they had gone to the President and protested her appointment, but that they wanted to tell her that they had enjoyed working with her very much and they had developed confidence in her capacity and her ability. So she even established herself with Senator Vandenberg and Mr. Dulles.
MCKINZIE: How did she perform in Committee III? I understand a lot of papers have to be read and it involved a lot of time-consuming and sometimes not too exciting work. Did she bend to that task?
SANDIFER: From the beginning she was a very business-like, and a very eager, and prompt participant in the work of the
delegation and of the Committee. She was always on time regardless of what other people did. If the meeting was for 10 she was there.
I think perhaps the thing that illustrates her performance and contribution best is the development of what became the principal political subject at that session of the General Assembly. That was the question of what should be done about the refugees who had fled from Russia and other Communist countries and who were in Germany and other parts of Europe. This came up early in the Assembly and it was one of the most time-consuming questions in Committee III.
The Russians, of course, demanded the return of these people, and said they were traitors and quislings and they had to be sent back. The position of the United States and the Western Powers was that they should not be sent back, that they should only go if they volunteered to go. If there was a prospect that they would be punished, or executed, or whatever might happen to them, they should not be required to go back.
So, we had the question of the policy on the treatment of refugees and later the development of an organization
for handling the refugees in question. I had the responsibility, with the assistance of Ben Cohen, who was on the delegation and another man -- an adviser who was expert on refugee work named George Warren who was in all the refugee work and in that area. He had worked for many years on the subject and knew more about refugees than anybody in the country. So we had to work out a policy because that subject on the agenda turned out to be more important than had been anticipated in Washington.
One of the problems that we had, and that Mrs. Roosevelt had, was to get instructions from Secretary Byrnes. One problem we had was to try to find out what the policy of the British Government was. We didn't know.
MCKINZIE: Excuse me. Policy toward the return of these people or the further settlement of the people?
SANDIFER: Well, mainly on the policy first at this session, the main thing disposed of was the policy with respect to their return. The question of the kind of an organizational setup that would be established for those that
did not return was left to the Economic and Social Council, which met right after the meeting of the General Assembly. We didn't really have to work on that in this committee. We asked Byrnes to find out what the British thought and after some delay he didn't get an answer.
So he finally wrote a note to Mrs. Roosevelt and said that he had not been able to get from Mr. Bevin a statement of what the British policy was. He said, "You'll just have to go on your own and do what you think best in the circumstances."
So she and I were left with both authority and responsibility for determining the policy. As I said above, we weren't having regular delegation meetings after Secretary Byrnes returned to Washington, as we did later. If we had had, it would have been hashed out in the delegation; but we didn't have any delegation meetings. So she, and I, and George Warren, and Ben Cohen, and some other advisers worked out the policy, the refugee position, spelled it out. Then as the work in Committee III progressed, they finally came to a vote and approved the resolution that we had developed. We had drafted it in our delegation, and had negotiated
it with the British and some of the other delegations. It was adopted in the Committee by a vote of everybody except the Russians, as I remember, and their satellites.
From the Committee the question was to be taken up in the Plenary Session of the General Assembly. There began to be some discussion in the delegation as to who should present the American position in the debate in the General Assembly. Of course, it was well-known that [Andrei Y.] Vishinsky would present the Russian position. We had enough contact with him already to know that he was a pretty skillful operator -- very fluent with words, an orator, ruthless.
So, they began to feel around -- Vandenberg and Dulles -- and some of the other members of the delegation -- then talked to me about it. I told Mrs. Roosevelt, "You just sit tight. You just ignore any approaches that are made to you on this subject, because our policy in the Department is that a person who sits on a committee is to present whatever action is taken to the Plenary Session. It's the general practice which we intend to follow in all the committees." She followed my suggestions, and they didn't try to take it to someone else.
I worked with Mrs. Roosevelt, and briefed her carefully and we discussed how this would be presented, in going to and coming from meetings. The normal practice would have been for the adviser and his staff to write a speech for Mrs. Roosevelt, and she would deliver the speech. I concluded, as a result of my contact with her, that the most effective presentation of this subject would be made if she made it herself in her own words, on her own, because I knew she had the convictions and the understanding of the subject matter, and she felt very strongly about the matter. This was a matter of freedom, of personal human rights, of personal choice, a humanitarian question of the first order. So, we went to the Plenary Session. She didn't even have a note. But I'm sure that the other delegates thought I was crazy.
It turned out that this was the most spectacular and the most important statement made during the course of that General Assembly, because Vishinsky did make a speech, and she was put in the position of having a direct head-on debate with him in the Plenary Session. It was picked up in the newspapers in this country; the New
York Times magazine section put out a feature story on it with her picture and her argument, and Vishinsky and his argument, and so on.
That was just an illustration of how effective she was. She had great adaptability and great skill, far more than she would have ever admitted. She didn't regard herself as a great speaker, but she had the capacity for assimilating and absorbing a thing, and taking the suggestions that were given to her, and of projecting them in organized effective form. It was a first-class performance, and it established her reputation in the United Nations and generally among the delegates from other countries. From then on she was regarded as a person with great capacity in her own right. Up to that time she had been more or less regarded only as the wife of President Roosevelt.
MCKINZIE: I was going to ask if she received well the position papers generated by the Department?
SANDIFER: Oh, she was very receptive to them. Yes. She had her own ideas. If she had questions she raised them. But I never experienced any difficulty with her in her
acceptance, or her development of the Department provisions. The only case in which she was not receptive to the Department's position is one that you can very well guess, which came later. That was the case of Palestine and Israel. She had very strong feelings about that. She was very strongly committed to the Jewish position, had many friends who were prominent among the Jews.
When it came to the General Assembly in 1947 she had a good deal of difficulty with the Departmental position. Of course, at that time I was the overall executive officer, and not a personal adviser to her. So, she didn't consult me a great deal, particularly about that question. But she didn't agree with some of the positions that were put forward. Ultimately, of course, President Truman declared what the position would be and it ended with the recognition of Israel..
MCKINZIE: To what extent at those early sessions of the General Assembly did the political issues overshadow the work, let's say, of the social and economic committees? For example, the business of Iran?
SANDIFER: I would find it a little bit difficult to be certain on that question. I would say that there was a great deal of attention to the question of Iran, which was going on in the Security Council. In the Assembly itself there were no outstandingly important or difficult political questions at that time. It was mainly a question of organization, of getting the operation underway.
One question I remember that was debated a good deal was the question of non-governmental organizations (like the American Bar Association), and whether or not they should be recognized as a non-governmental organization with the right of liaison with the Economic and Social Council. This included the question whether the World Federation of Trade Unions, a Communist organization, should be recognized. This was debated in Committee I. I think so far as this session is concerned, since the refugee question was in the Social and Humanitarian Committee, the political questions did not overshadow the work in the General Assembly. I think probably the general public was more interested in Iran than anything else at that time.
MCKINZIE: Could you say something about how you began to
develop working relationships with members of other national delegations?
SANDIFER: So far as I was concerned at that time, Mrs. Roosevelt was a natural for that sort of thing, and very anxious to work with those delegations. She did it through personal meetings with me, of course, in attendance with her; through luncheons, and that sort of thing with the key delegates. She knew a good many of them like Peter Fraser who was the delegate of New Zealand, and was the Chairman of Committee III. She knew him from her past association with the Government of the United States and the President. She knew some of the other delegates also. It was a matter of personal conversations and social meetings for discussion of general positions and particular positions.
I remember we had several meetings with a British adviser, who was handling the refugee question for them. Mrs. Roosevelt, and George Warren, and I met with him in developing the resolutions which we were going to present. She followed that same technique in all of her work in the United Nations.
MRS. SANDIFER: She developed it more as time went on -- so she did much more of it.
SANDIFER: She did much more. In 1948, for example, in Paris she carried a very active social program of developing contacts with all delegates. She aimed, in the end, to have personal conversations, and luncheons, and that sort of thing with practically all the delegates who had anything to do with her work. We had numerous social contacts with these people. She would invite them in groups, Latin-American group, some of the European states or others, to explore problems and positions, and technical questions. She did a great deal of that, all through her work in the United Nations.
MCKINZIE: From your point of view was the London meeting somewhat less hectic than the San Francisco meeting?
SANDIFER: Oh yes. For me it was, definitely. Because I was only responsible for the work of Committee III and my sole responsibility was to work with Mrs. Roosevelt. The other questions on Committee III were not too complicated, not too difficult. I don't remember now they were. So, my life was a sinecure as compared with
the San Francisco life.
As I told you in our first session, in San Francisco I reached the point, after I had been there a couple of weeks, of deciding that it was just a question of time as to when I would crack-up, and so I would just carry on until that point came and then somebody else would take over. I had responsibility for the whole delegation, for the organization procedures and operation. Of course, Pasvolsky was the primary person carrying on the substantive preparations, though I participated in them, but he had primary responsibility, under Stettinius, for the actual development of the policy. San Francisco was unbelievably hectic. We had over four hundred fifty persons on the American delegation at one time, and to coordinate their activities was a tremendous organizational problem. In effect we carried on a conference of our own in the American delegation.
MCKINZIE: You mentioned Secretary Byrnes had a very few meetings of the delegation and practically none with the advisory staff.
SANDIFER: So far as I know he never did have one with the
advisory staff. He just didn't operate that way. His technique in the Department, too, was to operate out of his hat, so to speak. He operated with a very small number of advisers and didn't believe in committee meetings or delegation meetings. Mrs. Roosevelt, I might say, found this to be a very considerable source of dissatisfaction for her.
When she was asked by President Truman to serve on the delegation she professed to have been surprised, and I'm sure she was. She had no notion that any such thing would ever come to her. I think she had some doubts about accepting it, but he pressed the matter and she did accept it. She volunteered to come to Washington to consult with him about the policies of the United States. He said, "That will not be necessary." He was busy, and so she didn't come.
In London, and later on in other meetings, she was in a rather difficult position because she had constant and daily contacts with the delegations and officials at all levels of the British Government and other governments, and naturally they wanted to talk to her about what the position of the United States was on various subjects.
She felt handicapped in not knowing. She was well-informed on the subjects for which she was responsible, because I saw to it that she was. But at the overall level, the overall policy, and the general policy, she didn't know, because she had not had any personal conversation with the President. And Secretary Byrnes more or less ignored all the delegates as well as her. So she didn't have any success in getting any information from him, not even on the subject on which she needed to know what the position was. She knew what our position was which we had developed, but the British position was a key position in the situation. Mrs. Roosevelt said, toward the end, or after that first session, that she would never again serve without having an opportunity to explore with the Secretary and the President the position of the United States. She felt this especially keenly, because she had known the inner working of the Roosevelt administration from the beginning and had an intimate knowledge of policies. Her habits and her previous experience was that of working at the center and knowing what the thinking was that went into the development of the policy. So she felt more keenly than the average delegate would. I'm
sure there were some members of that delegation who didn't care "two hoots in Hades" what the general position was. Frank Walker, for example, I'm sure was glad to take whatever was handed to him, Senator Townsend too. But she felt very strongly about this, and so she tried to make sure that in subsequent times that she did have a clear idea what it was all about.
In subsequent delegations it wasn't difficult so far as the general policy was concerned. Because, for example, when [General George] Marshall became Secretary of State, his policy was to hold open delegation meetings with all of the advisers present. And the principal questions on the agenda were taken up one by one in the delegation meetings.
Marshall spent the whole session in 1947 in New York. We had a delegation meeting every day. I was the principal executive officer of that delegation, and my responsibility was to present each subject, substantively, to the delegation when it came up. I made a summary presentation, and then it was discussed. Then I had the responsibility for summarizing that position for the records of the delegation, and the Department, and for
I remember, for example, when we discussed some aspect of the Israeli questions there being a very complicated discussion. Secretary Marshall had a masterly facility for sitting and listening, and synthesizing the discussion. Until he became Secretary of State he hadn't had any experience with political affairs as such, except to the extent that the military depended on the political. But he very quickly caught on. He would sit there and listen to the most complicated political debate and presentation, and then he would summarize it. If you were fast enough to get his summary, all you had to do was to get down in writing what he said, and that was it. Most of the time I didn't even take my summaries to him, but on this particular occasion I wanted to be absolutely certain that I got what he said. He said, "This is what we will do 1, 2, 3, 4. And on this question of Palestine our criteria is to do what is right." Who is going to determine what was right? I don't know. But he and Mrs. Roosevelt were in agreement on what was "right" in that particular case. So the problem of having advance consultation with the President
or the Secretary wasn't so important, although she had ample opportunity for consultation with Marshall -- and with the President. As matters developed, she saw to it in later years that she had a consultation with him in advance of the sessions. She knew she'd never have any trouble with the policies on the Committee III on which she served. After her experience in London, she realized that she would have adequate and informed policy advice from her advisers.
When Mrs. Roosevelt came to the delegation she told us she came to that boat to go to London "scared to death." She said, "I was really frightened." Because, she said, "I knew what people thought of Franklin, and what they thought of me, and what they expected of me, and I knew that I didn't know what to do or how to do it." I discovered that she had no inkling, no idea that she would have well-qualified experts to sit at her elbow and tell her what the problems were, what the questions were, what the issues were, and what the policy was. So that was the reason I was a welcome surprise to her, along with her other advisers and she received adequate service and advice, and she was very appreciative
of it; so we were friends until the end of her life.
This background affected her reaction to President Truman's method of operation. I didn't have any direct contact with President Truman, but I was in close contact with the method of action that he followed. The first decision that he had to make after he became President was whether the United Nations Conference should continue. It was all set up. The President died on April the 12th, and we were scheduled to leave for San Francisco a week later on April the 19th, and the Conference was scheduled to open on April the 26th. President Truman never had any hesitation. This was a very important decision. Actually, he did not know the content of the American position for the United Nations, but he was the sort of man who had complete confidence in the President [Roosevelt], and in what had been done. So he said, "Of course, it should go on." He decided, and there was never any question about it. That was characteristic of him as far as any relations we had with him was concerned. He made prompt decisions. He had the kind of confidence in the men who worked with him that he showed in accepting the preparation of Roosevelt and Stettinius for the San Francisco Conference.
He expected that there would be a solid, well-developed position for the United States. He learned that afterwards before he went to San Francisco to make a speech at the closing session. But he didn't know at the time that he made the decision.
President Truman's method of operation was to have a man that he had confidence in and then to give him responsibility for the preparation of the policies. Both Marshall and Acheson were the kind of men who consulted him fully, freely really. Byrnes lost his confidence by failing to report and keep him informed.
Acheson said he was on the telephone with the President several times a week and sometimes several times a day. He reported to the President every question of any importance that came up. I think that was very helpful to us, because from the beginning he exhibited absolute confidence in the work that had been done for him, in preparation for the Conferences. The one thing on which he intervened personally, in the 1947 General Assembly I have already mentioned. This was in the development of the Palestine case, because he regarded it as of the highest political importance. But, for example, when
the Korean case broke in 1950, there had to be a decision immediately. The North Koreans attacked. A meeting of the Security Council was called within twenty-four hours in New York. The United States had to decide what policy it was going to pursue, and it had to decide also on its military dispositions in the Pacific. I wasn't here, unfortunately, for those meetings. That was the one chance I would have had to sit in when these things were discussed, because John D. Hickerson was Assistant Secretary of State, and one of my assistants, David Wainhouse, was working with him and I was on vacation.
I talked to the men who worked with Truman on this occasion. He showed a capacity for very rapid decisions. He was able to do that in this case because there was a complete mutuality between him and Acheson and the other men who were responsible for the preparation and presentation of the recommended positions. He could make decisions because he had confidence in the men that he had to work with.
MCKINZIE: Is it fair to say that morale in the Department of State was somewhat low when Secretary Byrnes headed it?
SANDIFER: Well, yes, I think that morale was low, but morale gets low in the State Department every now and then. There was a feeling of insecurity and uneasiness. A department like that is prone to be unhappy, and, we'll say, "resentful" when their chiefs are not taken into the confidence of the Secretary, when there is no feeling that the bureau, or whatever it is, is able to have its say and present its position and have it considered. So there was a decline of morale, because the morale had been high up to the time that Byrnes came in.
Hull, while a special kind of man, was, in a sense, popular. He worked with his staff very closely, too closely perhaps, he wore them all out. He had them in his office every Sunday morning for twelve years.
While people didn't have high regard for Stettinius' substantive ability, he was a team man and he developed, really, a high morale in the Department -- at least the part that I was working with. He worked with the men; he gave them full opportunity to carry on under his direction. And so, when Byrnes came in with a completely different method, his administrative, personnel, and political operations did not inspire confidence and loyalty.
MCKINZIE: Would you relate your participation in the first sessions of the Economic and Social Council which followed the 1946 General Assembly in London?
SANDIFER: I attended this session of the Economic and Social Council in London, Ambassador Winant, the United States representative, was one of the advisers, too. I was not a principal adviser there except on the subject matter that I had worked on. I sat in on the consideration of the refugee question and the establishment of the Human Rights Commission. A resolution adopted by the General Assembly to establish a preparatory committee for the Human Rights Commission. This preparatory commission met in New York. The preparatory commission met within a couple of months in the spring. And subsequent to that my responsibilities were general in character and not primarily economic and social, although I had a close hand in parts of it. I didn't attend the subsequent meetings of the Council.
MRS. SANDIFER: I think you should say you were at that one in London long enough to get a very favorable impression of Mr. Winant. What I mean is, you wrote me that you had
the "cream of the crop" in having Mrs. Roosevelt and Winant -- the two people that you had to work with.
MCKINZIE: His method of operations I think were somewhat different than Mrs. Roosevelt's, but I understand he was very effective.
SANDIFER: He was very effective in that situation, because he was highly respected in London and known to many of the delegates. He was a man of high ideals and convictions, and while not too effective as a public speaker, he was effective in that kind of a meeting because he understood what he was after and he pushed it skillfully.
MCKINZIE: Is it fair to ask for impressions of postwar London? Were you cold all the time you were there?
SANDIFER: What you would see as you walked down the streets of London at that time were false facades with the building behind gone -- demolished. Food was scarce, generally, for people. But we didn't suffer from the scarcity. We were told to bring warm clothes. My wife bought new flannel pajamas or something of that kind
for me -- long underwear, which I never wore. I never opened them up. We were put in a hotel in London called the Hotel Cumberland, which was a sort of a commercial travelers' hotel we were told. All the delegates were over at the Claridge. One of Mrs. Roosevelt's concerns was that the other delegates wouldn't have any idea how London was really suffering, because at the Claridge they had everything, all the best food. Wherever they went, they were wined and dined. But she went around. She knew, and she even supplied eggs and food to some of her old friends in London, because they didn't have enough to eat. These were not poor people, they were people that just couldn't get anything.
Well, your impression was of a city that was badly damaged, badly hit. And I don't know whether this was unusual or not, the meetings, the places where we met were cold and drafty, but so was St. Paul's Cathedral. I don't think it had ever been warm since it was built by Sir Christopher Wren. The Cumberland was comfortable. You had powdered eggs and that sort of thing, but you had plenty of food. The Cumberland was warm, plenty of hot water and a bath towel that you could wrap around yourself several times, all that sort of thing. It was very
comfortable and a very reasonably priced hotel.
MCKINZIE: But no feeling at that time that Europe was headed for some kind of reconstruction crisis?
SANDIFER: You wouldn't be aware of that, particularly in London at that time. Partly because I wasn't closely in contact enough with the things that were developing economically and financially to be keenly aware of it. We were more keenly aware of the problems, political, economic, and so on I think in 1948, because there was some fear and perhaps the possibility of Communist takeover in Italy and in France at that time. France was in serious economic difficulties, although the Marshall plan by then was beginning to take effect. But there was still a good deal of uneasiness and sensitivity about that. I felt that more, I must say, in 1948 than I did in 1946.
MCKINZIE: Related to that, I wonder if you might talk a little bit about the 1947 session of the General Assembly and your role. Were you conscious, at all, of plans being made to rebuild Europe, which were to be undertaken outside of the UN?
SANDIFER: I was very conscious of it in the Department itself, and in the development of it. I had nothing to do with the Marshall plan, but it was one of the outstanding, spectacular things that were going on. Of course, everyone in the Department, in a position such as I had, was very keenly aware of that.
In 1947 in New York we were involved with an acrimonious struggle with the Russians on various subjects. Vishinsky made his debut in the fall of 1946 at the first session of the General Assembly which was continued in the fall of 1946, and then the second session was in 1947. So there was a continued session in 1946, and in '47 we were having disagreement and debate with the Russians and the Communists on the Greek case, and the very early development in the Korean peace, and the Palestine case -- that was uppermost. I would say that the organization was so preoccupied with all of these problems that they were wrestling with; I don't remember that there was any particular resentment or concern for the fact that the Marshall plan was being carried on outside the United Nations. I don't think there was any feeling at that time that the United Nations was capable of running or
operating such a plan. The idea that sort of thing should be done within the United Nations system was a later development -- when the organization had matured and the specialized agencies had developed. The World Health Organization, UNESCO, and the Civil Aviation Organization, all of those were still in the early stages, and I don't think that anyone would have given serious concern to the possibility of such a thing being done through the United Nations.
MCKINZIE: When you say "anyone" you are speaking of the U. S. advisers to the delegation and the delegation itself.
SANDIFER: Certainly it was not considered in our delegation and I wasn't aware of any of them having any feeling to that effect.
Vishinsky made a vitriolic attack on the United States. He attacked Dulles personally. Dulles was on the delegation.
MRS. SANDIFER: He was sitting with the U. S. delegation.
SANDIFER: He wanted to respond immediately -- go to the platform and challenge Vishinsky's statements.
Mrs. Roosevelt was sitting next to Marshall, Dulles was on the other side of Mrs. Roosevelt. The Secretary said to Mrs. Roosevelt, "Tell Foster to keep his shirt on." We had a rough time with that and that meeting. I remember hearing Senator [Tom] Connally say, "You know, what I would like, after listening to this speech or another speech of Vishinsky's? I would like to get that s.o.b. in here and have somebody run him around the hall, as he came by, I would cut him down with my black snake." Oh, you know, he would have been quite capable of doing it.
MCKINZIE: How did that kind of thing -- I guess what you'd call "the heating up of the cold war" -- affect the work of the committees?
SANDIFER: Oh, it was a continuing problem in all the committees. The general attitude of the Russians was to take diametrically opposite position to that of the United States. An illustration of how this might develop in practice, was what happened in the General Assembly in Paris in 1948.
MCKINZIE: I was thinking in terms of the social questions,
they tended to get overshadowed fairly quickly, it seems to me, behind political concerns.
SANDIFER: They were not overshadowed. Of course, political matters took the public attention, and the newspapers, and media attention, and public reaction was to the political aspects of the cold war. But, for example, as an illustration of the ongoing business in the General Assembly in Paris in 1948, the principal item of business on the agenda in Committee III was the preparation of a declaration of human rights. One of the principal directives to the Commission on Human Rights when it was established was to prepare a bill of rights. Mrs. Roosevelt was elected president of the Commission on Human Rights at its preparatory session and then later the regular session. In two years time she drove that commission hard enough to have completed, between April of 1946 and September of 1948, a draft of a declaration on human rights, and approved by the Human Rights Commission. That was on the agenda when we met in Paris.
In that session I was not scheduled to go, but Mrs. Roosevelt asked that I go; and I went as her principal adviser again -- practically her sole adviser in this
instance. I had a couple of technicians -- lawyers -- working with me. We spent three months in the Third Committee, meeting twice a day, and sometimes at night, debating every sentence, word, phrase in that Human Rights Declaration. It was a constant head-on collision between the United States and the Western Powers, on the one side, and the Russians on the other. Sometimes, the Russians had support from some of the Latin-American countries on various parts of the declaration. So, I would think that on your original question on the cold war that the cold war did color the nature of the debate that took place. But the Russians did have an opposing, different view of what should go into this declaration, as to what would we think should go into it.
MCKINZIE: Speaking now of ideological differences?
SANDIFER: Yes, ideological. They wanted it ideologically compatible with their concepts. From their point of view, human rights were only being observed in Russia, and in the United States they were being flagrantly violated -- racial discrimination, economic maltreatment
of the population, and all that sort of thing. So, one of the principal achievements of the General Assembly of 1948 was often regarded by everyone as being the adoption of that declaration. There were very important political questions going on; the Berlin blockade for example, was in the Security Council and to some extent in the General Assembly that year. There were debates going on on disarmament resolutions and that sort of thing. The continuing problems with respect to refugees -- that was in Committee III. At that time we had to develop a further plan for the handling of the refugees in Palestine. How the organization would be set up for handling the refugees, and the refugee camps, and what the financing would be and so on. But even with all of these important political questions going on, I think at that session there was general agreement that the approval of a Declaration of Human Rights was the great achievement of that session. Of course, the Berlin blockade was also unraveled in the course of that period.
MCKINZIE: Did you have anything to do with the proposed convention on genocide?
SANDIFER: I didn't take any very active part in that. It was my division and in the Legal Adviser's Office (I'm a lawyer myself), but I didn't take an active part in the development of that convention. I was well aware of the pressure for the adoption of the genocide convention.
MCKINZIE: Was that of particular interest to Mrs. Roosevelt?
SANDIFER: I think she would have felt a little bit like I did that the genocide convention was something that received more notoriety and publicity than it was likely to produce in human results. I mean, it's a nice thing to condemn genocide and all that, but where do you come out in the end? I suppose I was partly influenced by the position of the United States. The Southern Senators were afraid of it, and some of the lawyers were afraid of it, so that it never has been approved by the United States.
I must say I don't remember of ever having any special or particular discussion with Mrs. Roosevelt about the genocide convention.
MCKINZIE: How did you happen to become attached to the first World Health Assembly, which met in 1948 also in
SANDIFER: The actions leading to establishment of the World Health Organization originated in the San Francisco Conference. You see, at that time, I was the Chief of the Division of International Organization Affairs, and, as a result of that, the development of questions like this on specialized agencies was the responsibility of my division -- organizationally.
At that time there was in the Department, a Division of International Labor, Health and Social Affairs, whose chief was a very close friend of mine, Otis Mulliken. Mulliken, in collaboration with Thomas Parran, the Surgeon General of the United States, and a couple of his assistants, were very anxious to promote developments that would lead to the establishment of a World Health Organization. So I worked very closely with Mulliken and Parran and two of his principal assistants, Dr. Van Hyde and Dr. Louis Williams. They were very great men, really, in their field. They had the general concept and the kind of organization that they wanted clearly in mind. I participated in the development of the resolution that was adopted at San Francisco calling for the establishment of a World Health
They proceeded then, in negotiations with other governments to develop the groundwork for the calling of a conference to establish a World Health Organization. I had a collateral part in that, but I continued to work with Mulliken and the Surgeon General's office on the preparation of plans for the conference. When the time came for the holding of the conference in New York in 1946, Mulliken proposed that I should be a delegate to the conference. I told him I would be very happy to be a delegate, but I didn't think that they would appoint a person like me as a delegate to that conference.
He said, "You leave it to me."
So, through Parran, who really controlled the U. S. position on this, I was made a delegate to this conference in 1946, and participated in the World Health Assembly in New York, which developed the constitution of the World Health Organization.
Then, later, I attended the first World Health Assembly in Geneva in 1948, as a result of that background. I was regarded as a constitutional expert.
I'm an international constitutional lawyer by original training. My work at Columbia was in law and international law. I was originally in the Legal Advisers Office in the State Department. So, my participation was strictly that of a technical, constitutional legal expert in helping to draft the constitution.
MCKINZIE: Could you explain the legal problems in connection with setting up the World Health Organization?
SANDIFER: Yes, it was a very intricate negotiation. One of the most intricate parts of it was the development of satisfactory provisions with respect to the relationship of the prospective new World Health Organization with the Pan American Sanitary Bureau. There was a man in charge of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Dr. Hugh Cummings, who was the Surgeon General -- had been for many years -- and was very defensive in relation to the Pan American Sanitary Bureau. Actually, it came out with a formula for the establishment of regional organizations, and a definition of relationship of regional organizations. The Pan American Sanitary Bureau became the Pan American Health Organization, as the regional organization of the
World Health Organization. This was formulated in such a way that it recognized the continued existence of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (or the Pan American Health Organization), in this hemisphere as an independent agency with its own jurisdiction, which it still has.
MCKINZIE: Was there any discussion at that time, or subsequently, that such a compromise on such an organization impinged in any way upon the efficiency of the work of the World Health Organization?
SANDIFER: There was a good deal of resentment on the part of a good many of the delegations over the necessity for making this kind of a compromise. It was resented partly because one of the most difficult debates in the conference in San Francisco was over the formulation of the regional provisions of the United Nations Charter. That was also precipitated by the Latin-Americans. So there finally was this agreement on the provisions of the regional chapter on the United Nations Charter, and that had to be carried out mainly to satisfy the Latin-Americans and to protect the continued existence and independence of the Organization of American States. So, some of the feeling
that was generated during that period carried over into this conference. But in the end I think that the formula that was worked out -- while it took several years to actually complete the negotiations for defining the details of the relationship and working out these inter-jurisdictions from the operations of the two -- I think, satisfactorily, and actually probably, in the end, strengthened the organization by giving a more solid foundation in the various regions. There are other regional set-ups -- none as fully developed as the Pan American Health Organization. Actually it strengthened the relationship with the World Health Organization. It has grown since then in budget and in influence in a way I don't think would have ever happened if it hadn't been for this relationship. It has a big home here in Washington now -- a new building -- on a site given by the Government of the United States. It's an imposing building down near the Watergate complex. They have a far larger budget than they could have ever hoped to have. You see, they have sort of risen "under the umbrella" of the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization has a very substantial budget. So much so that the budget officers of the Department scream all the time about the cost of it. And so they get resources
from the World Health Organization budget as well as a substantial increase in their own resources.
MCKINZIE: To go back, if we could, to 1947 and 1948 to these very rapid successions of meetings you attended. Could you tell me something about the "working out" of positions when things were happening so rapidly? The Marshall plan was being formulated and implemented; the Berlin crisis was on.
SANDIFER: Those were handled by a different side of the Department, the one I operated in. I think to understand how this multiplicity of positions and problems were handled and developed in the field of international organization, you really have to go back to the beginning of the planning for the U. S. position for participation in a postwar organization. This special division and organization was set up in the Department beginning as early as the fall of 1939. Hull called Leo Pasvolsky back to the Department and directed him to set up a staff to develop postwar plans -- international organization, political, economic, and social. That evolved into a very substantial organizational setup which made the plan to
develop the U. S. position, over a long period of time, in meticulous detail -- the development of planned policies. By the time of the San Francisco Conference there was a full-fledged office of Special Political Affairs with special divisions and units in all areas: political, economic, social, administrative, budget, regional. That, then, became the operational arm of the Department after the San Francisco Conference for the development and formulation of planning of U. S. policy. By that time a technique had been developed of isolating particular parts of problems and preparation of problem papers: statements of a particular problem, analysis of a problem, analysis of the consideration of the problem to come, statement of alternative positions, and the recommendation of a policy position. That paper then was submitted for approval by the Director or Assistant Secretary, whatever it may be, to the Secretary of State. We just continued to follow that.
We had a small State Department of our own for the subject of international organization affairs. We had a well-developed technique and procedural program for identifying problems and for formulating policies. We
had a system of liaison with all other parts of the Department. We had liaison officers with the political bureau, the economic bureau, the budget section of the Department. We had liaison officers with the other Government agencies: the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture, the Treasury Department, Surgeon General's Office, everybody who had anything to do with international organization -- we had continuous day-to-day operations. Then, we developed interdepartmental committees. There was an interdepartmental committee on health, and social welfare, an interdepartmental committee on labor, and so on. That was a year round operation. When one assembly would adjourn we would immediately start working on the implementation of the decisions that had been taken in that conference, and the preparation of a position for the problems that were expected to come up in the next session. They had all been identified. There was a continuing agenda, you see. Korea would be on the agenda, the question of the Indians in South Africa would be on the agenda, and all these other problems as they came up, such as budgetary problems. We had the Human
Rights Section within one division, and it was responsible for the formulation of our position on human rights and for representing the United States in an advisory capacity in the meetings of the Commission on Human Rights. The actual substance of economic policies was moved over to the Bureau of Economic Affairs, and our participation was then a procedural and parliamentary one. We had continuous responsibilities for the formulation of provisions and policies, but the substantive content of the policy on a subject like economic problems would come from that bureau.
On the social side we had action responsibility, as well as procedural responsibility. We were sort of the honest brokers, so to speak, responsible for seeing that the United States was prepared to speak through a representative delegate at any meeting that might come up: Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the Security Council, and so on. It was manageable because you had this whole procedure or technique developed for taking care of it -- preparing for it. The United States has had by far the most highly developed system for the formulation and implementation
of its policy in international organization of any government in the world. I suppose perhaps the British would be the next.
MCKINZIE: When you say this, does this imply that some delegations arrived without worked out positions?
SANDIFER: The smaller the delegation the less prepared they are. They have certain axes they want to grind in a given meeting. But some of these countries only have three or four members of the delegation and there are six committees. They can choose where they go. They would always go to the political committee, and from time to time send somebody to the other committees. Some of these countries are very skillful at this sort of thing. The Canadians, for example, always had a very able delegation. The Australians, very able. Some of the European countries like Sweden and Norway. The French weren't as well prepared as you might expect them to be, but they gradually improved as time passed.
MCKINZIE: What kind of relationships did you have in 1947 and 1948 with advisers to other national delegations?
SANDIFER: In our organizational setup in the delegation in New York, in addition to the substantive advisers, we had regional advisers. We had Foreign Service officers from the various bureaus, from Latin America, from Europe, from the Far East, from Middle East, Near Eastern Affairs, later from Africa. In addition to the contacts that would be cultivated by the substantive officers responsible for the substance of the position, we had continuing day-to-day contact, through these officers, with the other delegations.
In most cases they knew a good many of the delegates and advisers. They would guide our officers to the proper persons in the other delegations. As the thing developed many of these liaison officers were ambassadors.
MCKINZIE: Could you speak of your experience at the meeting in Paris in 1948? It seems to have been a dramatic session of the General Assembly.
SANDIFER: It was dramatic for me in the sense that I spent all of my time with Mrs. Roosevelt, and this development, preparation, revision, drafting of this Declaration of Human Rights was of very great importance. My participation in that delegation was devoted almost entirely to this Declaration, and the Palestine refugees question,
maybe one or two other things. I had no responsibility for any other part of the meeting at that time. Dean Rusk, Director of the Office of United Nations Affairs, was there; he was in charge. He later became Secretary in 1961 under President [John F.] Kennedy.
MCKINZIE: A number of questions arose about the handling of Palestine refugees, after the fact, some having to do with, as I recall, with the number of calories allotted for each refugee, and the duration of the existence of the program. Can you shed some light upon the very early planning for that?
SANDIFER: The early planning, as far as my participation in it was concerned, was worked out with the United States delegation as one of the principal interested countries. The United States was concerned with social stability in the area, and with political stability. President Truman had taken a primary interest in the Palestine case from the beginning -- ending with his recognition of Israel immediately after its independence. I was working in collaboration with the Secretariat of the United Nations, with Ralph Bunche, who had the responsibility
for the refugee question at that time, and with responsible delegates and advisers in other delegations. The problem in 1948 was to get agreement on a basic organization and procedure that would have some assurances of enough financial support to carry on.
If you want to make a long story short, the Palestine Refugee Organization has been a hand-to-mouth operation from the beginning, because the United States has carried the principal financial burden for this, with increasing resistance in the Congress to continuing the U. S. contributions, and with other countries, very grudgingly, giving financial support.
So, it is true that there were inadequate resources available for getting what is regarded in some quarters as the necessary caloric content for the maintenance of a person in reasonable health and strength.
One thing you should keep in mind is that a lot of people, if they had been at home, wouldn't have had as much as they received in these refugee camps.
The most controversial and viciously contested political question in the history of the General Assembly, I think, is the Arab-Palestine problem. My wife can testify
to the character of the debate that went on, and has gone on through the years since 1947. These countries refuse to accept the refugees and they refuse to contribute to their support. The ones that are host countries to them have given some support. It's been a constant struggle to get budgets prepared, contributions paid that have been pledged. Contributions to the refugee organization have always been in arrears. The organization has threatened practically every year since it was established, to go out of business because of lack of money to carry on. The whole thing would never have gotten underway except for the initiative taken by the United States and the financial support given by the United States. And up to now the Congress has continued to come through with the money.
MCKINZIE: Can you tell me how you happened to get this new title, Assistant Secretary of United Nations Affairs?
SANDIFER: Well, the original setup was by offices. There was a European Office, a Latin-American Office, and so on. What was originally the Special Political Affairs Office was changed to United Nations Affairs. Then, reorganization took place in the Department, I think, at the time that Acheson became Secretary.
Anyway, they converted these offices into bureaus, and created a series of Assistant Secretaries; Assistant Secretaries for European Affairs, Latin-American Affairs, etc., and United Nations Affairs. I had been the Deputy Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs, under Rusk. They created the Bureau of United Nations Affairs and of which John D. Hickerson became the Assistant Secretary. He asked me to continue as Deputy. That was how I became to be Deputy Assistant Secretary. The same job with a new name.
MCKINZIE: Didn't substantively change your way of operating?
SANDIFER: Substantively, no. It was supposed to raise the level of operations both at the departmental and interdepartmental level, so that the officer as Assistant Secretary had more direct access to the Secretary and more influence in other agencies in the direction and coordination of U. S. policy. As Assistant Secretary he presumably carried more prestige and respect. It was part of the same process that converted ministers into ambassadors.
MCKINZIE: I asked earlier if the provisions of economic
assistance to Western Europe outside the United Nations disturbed you at all, and you indicated that that would seem to be a perfectly logical way for this to come about. What about, though, the commitment of American troops into Korea before U. N. sanction? Did you feel that the way the United States entered the Korean war in any way weakened the potential and the influence of the United Nations.? Was your office concerned?
SANDIFER: I would say myself, that the criticism on that score has been more fictitious and factitious than legitimate in the sense that the steps were so nearly simultaneous. There was a good deal of criticism of the fact that President Truman committed American forces before the resolution of the Security Council was actually passed, and that therefore, the United Nations was in the position in effect of approving a policy that had already been launched.
The President had already committed the United States to action there to protect South Korea, and to protect the interests of the United States. It would not, under normal circumstances, have been a foregone conclusion that the United States would submit itself
to the procedures of the United Nations, and to the theoretical control of the United Nations in the conduct of a major military operation in which, normally, the United States would have insisted on complete freedom of action. In a sense it got it, in that the United Nations appointed General [Douglas] MacArthur as the commander of the United Nations Forces. The United Nations Forces continued to operated under the command of a United States general. I didn't attach as much significance to this question of timing, though, as a lot of people did. Of course, from my point of view the major question was the United States' willingness to support this as a United Nations operation, to supply its forces and resources, and to operate through a United Nations command. That was the important thing from my point of view in the development of the United Nations. There was criticism, especially from the Indians. They were one of the most vociferous critics of the U.S. policy at that time, as I remember, of the fact that the United States had taken prior action and left the United Nations with no real freedom of choice as to what they would do.
MCKINZIE: I don't mean to be belaboring this kind of point but there was one other U. S. initiative outside the United Nations that did generate some criticism at home, and that was the provision of technical assistance through the Point IV program, beginning in 1950. There were people who said that if that were not a particularly political program, if it weren't designed for some specific political interest, that it could well have been administered through the U.N,
SANDIFER: Yes, but the Point IV program and the technical assistance program as it exists in the United Nations today had its origin in President Truman's inaugural speech in 1949. If it hadn't been for the initiative taken by the United States, and the very aggressive leadership that the United States gave in the United Nations to the development of a United Nations technical assistance program, there never would have been any such organization, at least not for a long time.
MCKINZIE: Were you keeping your finger on that?
SANDIFER: Oh yes. I had a primary contact with that, with the development of that. That work was developed in
the Bureau of United Nations Affairs and the Bureau of Economic Affairs, primarily, that is, the follow-up work. The President called for a Point IV program of technical assistance. At the time that he made that declaration, no work had been done on it in the State Department. It is one of those cases in which the policy was laid down first and the underpinning of the policy was pushed under the top afterwards. The State Department had to develop a whole scheme of operations for a United Nations technical assistance program after the President had made his speech. We developed a so-called Gray Book for presentation to the Economic and Social Council. I think that was presented at the spring meeting in 1949. They had a summer meeting of the Economic Council in 1949, and it all evolved from there on.
There was increasing criticism of the United States for carrying on a far-reaching technical assistance program outside the United Nations -- that it should all have been brought within the United Nations. There has been an increasing tendency and sentiment in Congress to extend all of our technical assistance through the
United Nations. At the time that that program was launched in 1949, the United Nations was then, we will say, three years old. It wasn't really equipped personnel-wise, staff-wise, to handle technical assistance of the scope that the United States proposed to use. It didn't have the resources, and you certainly couldn't at that time have sold the Congress of the United States on the proposition of spending that much money through the United Nations. They would have been wholly unsympathetic to it.
A good many of the leaders in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as an example, (Fulbright) came to believe in increasing implementation of U.S. policy in these fields through the United Nations system.
MCKINZIE: But at that time?
SANDIFER: At that time, it was not true. I don't think it's a question of either/or -- at that time. I think it was a bold move by President Truman, similar to other moves that he took. He was wholly sympathetic to the idea of it being carried out through the United Nations; his speech proposed that. But I don't think it would have
ever occurred to him to propose that it should be done solely through the United Nations, at the time that he made the proposal. There was increasingly widespread criticism of the United States bilateral technical assistance program on the grounds that it was politically oriented -- politically motivated. Of course it was! The Congress of the United States doesn't spend money that way for things that don't produce political results for the United States. They are authorized to carry out taxation for the promotion of that phrase in the Constitution -- "Promote the general welfare."
They propose to promote national security, national defense, social welfare, and so on -- national welfare. In other words, they are not authorized to tax the American people for promoting the general welfare of the "hottentots" except to the extent that that contributes to the general welfare of the United States.
MRS. SANDIFER: I wanted to say that I felt that I had an indication when we were in Chile (when I went with you to the Inter-American Human Rights meeting), from the women in Chile I had an indication of what the Point IV program meant to them, and probably that would indicate
what it meant to other people.
MCKINZIE: Excuse me. When did you go to Chile?
MRS. SANDIFER: It was in '63 I think, and at that time, you see, the Point IV program had gone through a number of different names, but to the women in Chile it was still the Point IV -- what's the Spanish for this?
SANDIFER: Punto cuatro.
MRS. SANDIFER: Punto cuatro, and they would point out to me some of the women with whom I was visiting different projects that they had. "This is a Punto cuatro," you know, and, "The ladies of Punto cuatro helped us do this." It doesn't make any difference what it was called then; it was the aid program and before that it had been the International Cooperation Administration, but for them it was still Punto cuatro. I think it made its real impact under Truman at that time.
You remember that little town that we went to on a Sunday, when we went out for a little expedition up toward the mountains? There is a park in the middle of this town.
SANDIFER: Well, the sewage and water system had been built with Punto cuatro funds, and they had a plaque to President Truman.
MRS. SANDIFER: It was not a plaque, it was a little statue there, a little monument, and then it had a testimonial to President Truman for giving them a sanitary system in that town.
MCKINZIE: At this time, though, there was something called the United Nations Technical Assistance Administration.
SANDIFER: Oh, yes, sir, there was a very small technical assistance program. I think it was based on a resolution presented by the representative of Lebanon, Charles Malik. One of the early programs was the FAO, a fisheries program in Haiti. You know a lot of technical assistance money has been poured into Haiti since then.
MCKINZIE: You must have spent a very great deal of your time then in New York.
SANDIFER: Well, I spent quite a bit of time in New York between 1946 and 1949 or '50, but from that time on I was tabbed most of the time to stay in Washington and
keep the home fires burning. I didn't take an active part in the delegations after 1950 except sporadically. I never was in permanent residence in New York during the General Assembly meetings, for example. In 1954 I transferred to the Foreign Service and went to Buenos Aires. I never returned to the United Nations program after that. My most active period in that was from 1942 to the spring of '54. But so far as New York was concerned I had a decreasing activity in New York. The tendency was to have Hickerson go, and other people go, and for me to stay here and do the "dirty" work at home.
MCKINZIE: Make sure all the papers were appropriately assembled for them.
SANDIFER: That's right, and to tell them what to do up there.
MCKINZIE: I wish you would say something about heads of U.S. delegations in the United Nations and how they influenced the work, ex-Secretary Stettinius, the first U.S. delegate, and then you had service under Warren Austin.
SANDIFER: Ernie [Ernest A.] Gross succeeded Austin as representative to the United Nations, and when he left
[Henry Cabot, Jr.] Lodge came on. I never had any business with Lodge to amount to anything. I left for Buenos Aires in March, 1954.
MCKINZIE: To what extent do those people personally set the tone of the U. S. presentations?
SANDIFER: Well, I would say that they would set the tone. I'd say while Senator Austin was the head of the U.S. delegation he did a great deal to set the tone of the delegation. He was a highly respected man for honesty, and integrity, and telling the truth, and a very able man. He definitely set the tone for the atmosphere in the operations of the delegation. I would say that from the time of the establishment of the United Nations until the advent of the Republican administration in 1953 that the predominant control in the direction of policy, and the action of the delegations was controlled from Washington. The core of the delegations to the General Assembly came from the State Department, mostly from our bureau. We sent the principal executive officer and the executive officer for the various committees, and that continued up to the time of the appointment
of Lodge. From that point on, the tendency increased to have an independent operation in New York. Lodge's general position was that he took instruction from the President of the United States. He was a member of the Cabinet, he came to Washington for Cabinet meetings. He didn't take any instructions from any Assistant Secretary of State; and the Assistant Secretaries led a difficult life trying to give him instructions if he didn't agree with them. There hadn't been any problem of disagreement prior to that particularly, because the policies of the Democratic administrations from the beginning of Roosevelt's administration right up to 1953, the men who participated in the Government and in the development of those policies, were generally in sympathy with the overall objectives. We never had any particular difficulty with fractious delegates who didn't want to carry out their instructions. We went to great lengths to consult them and bring them into the preparations. We brought them to Washington before the meeting started and had briefing sessions and consultations. They had a complete opportunity to express their views. They could make representations to the Secretary of State
directly if they wanted to.
Austin was the head of our mission in New York. That was not only the delegation but the whole participation of the United States up there. He was there until 1951. He collapsed in the General Assembly in Paris in 1951; had a small cerebral hemorrhage. Then, Gross became U. S. representative, and he stayed until Lodge.
The Bureau of International Organization Affairs and the State Department never had close-handed control of the problems and operations after that.
MCKINZIE: After Lodge?
SANDIFER: After Lodge came in. Of course, then there was a return -- the Kennedy administration. I didn't have close contact with that. I think that Harlan Cleveland, who was the Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs under Kennedy, a man of very great self-confidence and ability, articulate, and he worked very closely with [Adlai E.] Stevenson. So, perhaps you'd say it was mutual -- not that the influence of the Department was brought to bear.
MCKINZIE: Could you say something about Stevenson's relationship
with the Department during the '50s?
SANDIFER: You mean while he was a delegate, before he became Governor?
SANDIFER: We had completely mutual confidence in our relations. He was a delegate on Committee II for two assemblies '46 and '47. He was a personal friend of all the members of the delegation, and carried on just like any member of the delegation. There was no problem with him at all.
MCKINZIE: He did not impress you at the time, however, as a Democratic presidential candidate?
SANDIFER: No, he did not. I was surprised when he blossomed out. Of course, his activities were somewhat restricted. The congressional "political" members like Vandenberg, Connally, Bloom and Eaton, pre-empted the political questions. So "poor" Adlai Stevenson had to take an "economic" assignment. Mrs. Roosevelt had the social ones. There were trusteeship and legal committees -- he took the economic, like a good soldier. He was an
eloquent speaker, but I never myself had any idea that he had the capacities which he later exhibited. Sorry to say, I didn't anticipate his presidential caliber. One of my friends did I think.
Porter McKeever became a very good friend of Adlai's. He was Assistant Public Affairs Officer for Austin in the Mission in New York, and stayed as a public affairs officer until Gross came in; he left when Gross became Ambassador. He actually participated in his presidential campaign. He moved to Chicago when Adlai became a candidate in '52. And I think he anticipated Stevenson's capacities some time in advance of their revelation to the public in the presidential campaign of '52.
MCKINZIE: Can I shift a bit and ask you to talk about the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N, and how you found yourself entwined with them?
SANDIFER: My connection with the Food and Agriculture Organization was not as close as with some of the other organizations. I served as an alternate delegate in one session, alternate delegate to the session here in Washington at the time that they decided to move the
headquarters to Rome, so that didn't improve my standing a bit.
MCKINZIE: Again, this was as a constitutional adviser?
SANIDFER: Yes, I was supposed to give advice on administrative, budget, and legal questions. I wasn't intended to be an expert on agricultural matters. You see, this bureau had close liaison relations with all the agencies that had responsibility for international organizations like ICAO (Civil Aviation), UNESCO, FAO, and WHO, and so on. The development of the Department's policy with respect to these organizations was the responsibility of a unit within the Bureau of United Nations Affairs. I was responsible for the supervision of this unit, because all the time that I was there the director was more preoccupied with political affairs. So, the tendency was for my responsibility to tend more to other affairs, economic, social, humanitarian, budgetary, personnel, administrative, trusteeships, legal. This was just because I had more familiarity with this work, and the director was always preoccupied with political affairs.
I worked very closely with our people who participated
in the interdepartmental committee on agricultural affairs, an interdepartmental committee for the formulation and development of a U.S. position and policy on agriculture -- part of the FAO. Of course, we consulted also with the economic side of the Department, because many of those agricultural problems were from the point of view of the Department primarily an economic problem. But there was no expertise in the Department in that area aside from general economics, except in our bureau. We were very fortunate to have a woman of very great ability, and energy, and initiative who knew more about Food and Agriculture Organization policy than anybody in the Government. She was very aggressive and articlate, Ursula Duffus, who had a very great influence in her departmental committee. She was on the international staff of the Preparatory Committee for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and from that she came to the State Department.
MCKINZIE: I had a question I wrote down months ago when we talked the first time about organizations like the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization,
and some of the social-economic activities of the U. N. The question was whether or not the dialogue, at that time, was somewhat more important for the purposes of the United States than the actual achievement of those agencies. I mean, at the time they weren't doing very much, but they were promising a great deal. There was, in some ways, some considerable enthusiasm and hope about what they might do in the future.
SANDIFER: I would say that those specialized agencies have developed beyond the fondest hopes of most of the people who launched them, sometimes to the sorrow of the United States, especially the budget people.
Some of the policy programs that have been carried on, for example, in UNESCO, have been anathema to some parts of the Government in this country. I wouldn't underestimate what these organizations have developed into. They have been quite successful and the United Nations system -- its influence has increased because of the success as a general result of the development of the economic and social, and financial programs of the United Nations as a whole. Part of that development is due to the existence of these specialized agencies.
On your question: I would say that the influence of the United States -- you might almost say its interests -- but the "influence" of the United States was greater, and therefore, the dialogue was more significant to the United States in the formative years of these organizations than it was later, because, for example, the extent of the influence of the United States in these organizations has been diluted as their membership increased. This is somewhat similar to the dilution of the influence of the United States in the United Nations itself.
Now, that varies. I think the influence of the United States in the World Health Organization has continued to be very substantial. The influence of the United States in the Food and Agriculture Organization has continued to be substantial, there is but less tendency to look to the United States for leadership in the later stages than in the earlier stages of the organization.
In the International Labor Organization there has always been a problem resulting from the participation of employers and laborers. The United States has come increasingly to drag its feet in the ILO, and now there
has been almost a virtual break because of the appointment of a Soviet as Deputy to the Director General of the ILO. So Congress has been refusing to appropriate money. But there was a long period of time when the United States had an active part. David Morris was the Director General and during that period the United States' voice was listened to.
Well, those are just illustrations of it. The concern and interest of the United States continues, I think they'll be very great in all of these organizations. The Civil Aviation Organization, the telecommunications union -- all of them.
MCKINZIE: Was the United States, at that time, doing all that it could reasonably do to bring about performance by the organizations and not have them just talk about principles?
SANDIFER: Yes, I think the United States was exerting all the influence it had to get performance. When you are dealing with any international organization you have to listen to a lot of talk. The tendency of representatives of some of these countries is not to distinguish
between talk and performance.
That's not entirely peculiar to international organizations. An awful lot of talk goes on in the Congress without performance. I think there's a tendency to over-emphasize the extent of a problem of performance -- of the difference between passing the resolutions and actually doing things. We started with 51 members in the United Nations and now we have 137 or some such number. You are bound to have increasing difficulties of actual implementation of resolutions in terms of intergovernmental actions. I don't excuse it; I just want to call attention to the fact that it is a sort of an integral part of the whole problem of conducting intergovernmental business through international organizations -- something you just have to live with.
MCKINZIE: You have alluded two or three times now to the dilution of the U.S. influence as the organization has grown. Were you personally concerned about this problem of growth and its manageability at this early phase?
SANDIFER: No. Most of that growth took place after my time. There was a blockade to increasing the membership of the
United Nations from the beginning until about 1954. Then there was a compromise under which a group of ten or twelve countries came in. The big growth came in the beginning of 1959 and 1960 with the admission of the African states, and the establishment of the independence of the African states. The growth has exploded geometrically since that time, as the result of the end of colonialism and the establishment of independent states. It wasn't a particular problem for us. Our problem was to get some of the states that were waiting in the wings admitted in the early days. The Russians were holding it up. We couldn't get agreement on a formula for admitting new members.
MCKINZIE: Maybe a good way to ask a last question here, is to ask you to say what that work in the State Department during the Truman years did for your career?
SANDIFER: You can't know what kind of a question you've asked me. It was the peak of my career as far as I was concerned. I mean it was an exciting and adventurous time. I enjoyed all of it from the time I first began it in 1942, until I left it in 1954 to join the Foreign Service.
In a sense, what came after -- while I have continued to have satisfying and worthwhile work -- has been a sort of an anti-climax in the sense that it never had the zest, the excitement, the stimulation that that work had, because you felt that you were present -- to quote a man [Acheson] who is not too popular with us in relation to United Nations matters -- "Present at the Creation." (The problem with him was he wasn't present at the creation of the United Nations and he never quite adjusted to the fact that he wasn't there. He never put much confidence in the United Nations. I think he must have been reluctant to have to endorse United States and United Nations action in Korea in 1950. He did, principally because he had President Truman above him and Jack Hickerson, Assistant Secretary for U. N. Affairs, below him. So he was sort of caught between the hammer and the anvil.) But you felt like you were "present at the creation," present at the launching and operation of a unique, important and innovative institution, at a time when it offered great promise. It has achieved enough to make you feel that what you did was a worth-while endeavor.
MCKINZIE: Thank you both.
and State Department, morale of, 90-91
Jebb, Gladwyn, 62
Korean war, and United Nations' reaction to United States intervention in, 118-119120-125
at London meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, 65-77, 80, 83-85, 87, 94
and the UN Commission on Human Rights, 99-100, 113
Russell, Francis, 59
Sandifer, Durward V.:54-58
Soviet Union, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, 99-101
Stassen, Harold, and the UN Charter Conference, 42-44
Stevenson, Adlai, and the United Nations, 130-131
Stettinius, Edward, 91 35
Taussig, Charles, 45
as decision-maker, 88-90
and Roosevelt, Eleanor, appointment to UN delegation, 83-84
United Nations Charter Conference, 31-33, 88-89
Charter Conference of, 31-60
Commission on Human Rights, 99
Economic and Social Council, first sessions of, 92
Food and Agriculture Organization, 131-133
genocide convention, 101-102
International Labor Organization, 136
London meeting in 1946, 65-77
Preparatory Commission for General Assembly in London, 1946, 61-64
specialized agencies, 134-136
United States' delegations, 111-113
and U.S. State Department, 108-112
and Vandenberg, Arthur, 36, 42
World Health Organization, 103-108