Oral History Interview with
Nicholas G. Thacher
Foreign Service Officer, 1947-73; third secretary American Embassy, Karachi, Pakistan, 1947-49; vice consul American consulate general Calcutta, India, 1950-51, consul, 1952; Indian affairs officer, Department of State, Washington, 1953-54, officer charge Afghanistan-Pakistan affairs, 1954-56; 1st secretary American embassy, Baghdad, Iraq, 1956-58; assigned National War College, 1958-59; deputy director, Office Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, 1955-62; Consular of embassy American embassy, Jidda, Saudi Arabia, 1962-65; Minister, counselor American embassy, Tehran, 1965-70; Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1970-73, retired 1973.
May 28, 1992
by Niel M. Johnson
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate
the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.
Opened September, 1994
Harry S. Truman Library
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
Oral History Interview with
Nicholas G. Thacher
May 28, 1992
by Niel M. Johnson
Topics discussed by Mr. Thacher include his father's relationship with
President Harry S. Truman as well as his own foreign service career; Rozelle
Court; the Mexican expedition of 1915; Truman's haberdashery; Battery
D; World War I; World War II; Pakistan; Kashmir; Iraq; Iran; China; India;
Afghanistan; Russia; Baghdad Pact; SEATO; Egypt; Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
Names mentioned include Frank Rozelle, Eddie Jacobson, Ted Marks, Harry
Vaughan, John Snyder, Mohammed Jimah, John Foster Dulles, Chester Bowles,
George C. Marshall, Henry F. Grady, William L.S. Williams, V.K. Krishna
Menon, Nuri Said, Clark Clifford, Adnan Menderes, the Shaw of Iran, Abdul
Karim Qassim, Loy Henderson, George Marshall, Dean Acheson.
JOHNSON: I'm going to start, as I usually do, by asking you to give us
your name, place of birth, date of birth and your parents names. Perhaps
you could add the names of your brothers and sisters to this too.
THACHER: Sure. I'm Nicholas G. Thacher, spelled without a t in the middle,
and I was born in Kansas City on August 20th, 1915. My brother is John
H. Thacher, Jr.; he was born November 19, 1908, and he has been deceased
since September 1990. My sister is Edith Thacher Hurd. She was born September
14, 1910, and she is still living.
JOHNSON: And your parents' names?
THACHER: My parents' names are John H. Thacher and Edith Gilman Thacher.
JOHNSON: Was your father born in Kansas City?
THACHER: He was born in Kansas City; my mother was born in Cambridge,
JOHNSON: How long did your father live in Kansas City?
THACHER: He lived there much of his life. He was a continuous resident
of Kansas City, until 1930. Then he moved away for a couple of years and
came back for maybe two years. Then in the fall of 1940, my mother's health
was quite poor and he wanted an easier climate so they moved to San Francisco.
Then, for a short time they lived down south of San Francisco; there my
mother died, and he continued to live in Los Gatos, California, between
Palo Alto and San Jose. He continued to live there until the time of his
death in 1960.
JOHNSON: I see. Was it your father's father who was a Civil War soldier?
THACHER: That's right.
JOHNSON: And fought in the Battle of Westport?
THACHER: He fought in the Battle of Westport. He was a major in a New
York cavalry regiment.
JOHNSON: Did he ever write letters about his Civil War experiences?
THACHER: Not that I'm aware of.
JOHNSON: There's no record at all.
THACHER: No, I've never heard of anything.
JOHNSON: We have a Westport Historical Society, and I'm sure they'd be
interested in anything that he had.
THACHER: No, I've never seen anything turn up.
JOHNSON: I notice in the papers you have brought with you that you wrote
a rather lengthy letter to Alonzo Hamby on October 20, 1988, describing
your father, his career, and his personality.
JOHNSON: So that will be useful information and I don't think we'll need
to duplicate it. Do you have any additions or amendments that you might
want to make to the information that you had in that letter? Is there
anything we'd need to add?
THACHER: Oh, I don't think so. I think it was a pretty comprehensive
JOHNSON: I see that you have reflected, too, on your father's literary
interests and the flavor of his writing. And I certainly noticed those
traits when I read those letters home from France. Were most of those
letters to his law partners?
THACHER: Yes, I think they were. I thumbed through them quickly, and
it's conceivable there was a letter to my mother in there. I know that
she kept those letters for a while, but I've been unable to find them.
I haven't seen them.
JOHNSON: Oh, you mean you have some letters in addition to what you have
THACHER: I know that he wrote her a lot of letters during the war, but
I have been unable to discover them. I don't know where they are now.
JOHNSON: So the letters that you are turning over to the Library are
primarily the letters that he wrote to his law partners?
THACHER: That's right.
JOHNSON: He calls them "Pards." "Dear Pards" -- meaning
THACHER: That's right. Yes.
JOHNSON: Of course, if you do find these other letters, we'll certainly
THACHER: One member of the firm was Rozelle, and Rozelle was the man
who worked very closely with Colonel Nelson in setting up the museum.
JOHNSON: There is a Rozelle Court, isn't there, in the middle of the
THACHER: Yes. That's right, there is Rozelle Court there which is in
memory of Frank Rozelle.
JOHNSON: So your father was a lawyer. In fact, he had a Harvard degree.
THACHER: Had a Harvard Law degree, that's right. He went to Harvard Law
JOHNSON: Apparently he never enjoyed the practice of law.
THACHER: He didn't enjoy it very much. He was an active individual and
[did not enjoy] sitting down and grinding through law books, looking up
precedents, and he didn't have much confidence in the laws of institutions.
He said, "It's a good way of settling
disputes, but, I don't think it's necessarily a perfect way of reaching
justice." I remember hearing him make that comment on several occasions.
JOHNSON: Was he a bit of an idealist?
THACHER: I really don't think that's quite the right description.
JOHNSON: A romantic?
THACHER: No. Well, he was a man who loved friendly, personal relations.
In his old age when he didn't have very much to do -- he lived to be 87
-- why he kept himself sort of going by writing letters to a lot of his
old friends. He kept up friendships going back many years with a wide
variety of people. He kept them alive with this letter writing, and he
had a great sense of the drama of things, you know.
He traveled in Morocco and he was fascinated by the different customs
and architecture. I guess he visited Morocco three times, because he had
a good friend who was a consul there. I guess this is in the letter to
Hamby, but one summer when he was at Harvard Law School, he went down
to Puerto Rico to write stories on the Black Hand, which was a terrorist
organization there. He went back up in the mountains
on a little mule to discover this; then he wrote a couple of articles
for Harpers Weekly, which were published. But in everyday things,
it always seemed to me he was quite down to earth, you know. He left little
maxims to us, "Not only avoid evil, but avoid the appearance of evil."
JOHNSON: He was kind of a moralist maybe too?
THACHER: And a practical man about personal relationships. He used to
talk to us about himself. He had a distaste for people who laughed too
loudly and he would say, "The loud laugh laughs the vacant mind."
[He had a distaste] for people who were too garrulous, and also for people
who were personally unresponsive. He used to talk about one friend who
was afflicted, he said, "With the ungrinned grin," who refused
to sort of respond to a spirit of good will and amiability. And there
were a lot of other things.
He worried about one cousin, a woman who had a very high rather nasal
voice, and he really wanted to send her to a voice specialist, because
he felt that was such a personal handicap. If you let your hands wander
up to your face too much when you were talking to anybody, he'd get after
you for that. Well, he also said, "In life, if you don't make a couple
enemies, you probably don't have any character. You've got to know how
to be vigorous in your attitude with other people and firm, and you'll
probably have some people that you don't get along with. You'll dislike
them and they'll dislike you."
JOHNSON: Did he do much public speaking?
THACHER: I don't know.
JOHNSON: He wasn't called on?
THACHER: No, I can't recall that he did much public speaking.
JOHNSON: I guess he was down in Mexico for that 1915 expedition.
THACHER: That's right. His unit was called up, and he went to the Mexican
border for -- I've forgotten how long -- several months.
JOHNSON: Now, was this mainly for adventure, or was this...
THACHER: Oh, no; he was part of the National Guard.
JOHNSON: So he was acquainted with Truman perhaps in the Guard, or did
he ever say anything about...
THACHER: No, he never mentioned that.
I had the impression that Truman went into the National Guard much later,
JOHNSON: Well, he went in in 1905, but then resigned in 1911, and then
came back in in '17.
THACHER: Yes, I see.
JOHNSON: So maybe in that gap there was when your father went in.
THACHER: That's right. He went to the Mexican border in 1915.
JOHNSON: And, of course, Truman was still farming at that time.
JOHNSON: Did your father ever talk to you about his impressions of Harry
Truman as a commander of Battery D?
JOHNSON: Harry Truman succeeded your father as commander of Battery D,
and your father never commented about him?
THACHER: He never uttered any criticism of any kind.
JOHNSON: Anything positive or negative, either one?
THACHER: Not as a commander. I don't know if it's in the thing I wrote
to Hamby or not, but I can remember comments made after one of those dinners
which they had, for several years. For several years in the '20s they
had a gathering of the officers at his house, and at our house, and after
the dinner I remember two specific comments in which he said, "Golly,
Harry was so charming last night. He played the piano and we all sang
the old songs and we had such a good time. He was a wonderful guy and
I just wish he could get started in something."
Then my mother would say, "And when is he going to pay you back
that $500 you put into the haberdashery store?"
JOHNSON: You have said you have stock certificates, $500 worth, and he
never tried to cash these in or liquidate them.
THACHER: Oh, no, not so far as I know. You know, he was a shareholder;
he wasn't a creditor. I think he just chalked it up to goodwill, and ignored
my mother's comments.
JOHNSON: I wonder how many shareholders there were. You know, we hear
about the creditors, but we don't hear about the shareholders.
THACHER: There may well have been other people, other shareholders, who
had been in the battery.
JOHNSON: Was your father acquainted with Eddie Jacobson?
THACHER: I've heard him mention that name, yes.
JOHNSON: And their haberdashery. Did he patronize the haberdashery, do
you think after...
THACHER: I don't know. I know that he did go for his clothes, his suits,
to Ted Marks, who was also one of the officers.
JOHNSON: In some of the oral histories; for instance, in the Vere Leigh
interview, he mentions your father.
JOHNSON: McKinley Wooden mentions your father more, I think than any
of the others. When he was asked specifically about your father by Andrew
Dunar, who was one of the interviewers, as I recall, Wooden said your
father was a good man but he was too old -- that is, in 1917-18.
THACHER: Well, he was.
JOHNSON: I think Wooden, and perhaps others, felt it was time for a younger
man like Harry Truman to take over Battery D. Now, also, in one of these
letters, your father said that he was battery commander for five months,
which apparently was Battery D. He also commanded a battalion for three
months. Was there a second battalion? I saw that in there somewhere. Do
you know what battalion he was referring to?
JOHNSON: Then he was commander of a regiment for one week. Well, the
129th Field Artillery of course was a regiment. So, he maybe was in charge
of that for a week or so.
THACHER: He never mentioned anything except Battery D. I mean that's
where his heart was, with these boys he went in with from Kansas City.
JOHNSON: Did he ever tell you war stories, so to speak, when you were
THACHER: Well, yes, he did. I can remember things he talked about. Well,
let's see if I can remember
specific incidents. He used to mention the places, and I can't remember
too much detail.
JOHNSON: Where he served in France?
THACHER: In France. I know he told me some specific stories. Well, he
did mention, for example, one thing. This was nothing to do with a battle
but it was sort of a vivid thing. He took several hundred men down, on
some leave for a week, somewhere well behind the lines, fairly far south.
These kids were so rambunctious and were running around the place. The
train would stop and they'd get off and they'd run around the countryside,
get out and walk around and then he had to see that they all got back
on. He and the non-coms I guess, had to do this. I don't know how many
non-coms he had. That was quite a challenge.
He also mentioned, on another occasion, that he was gassed slightly and
knocked out and was then put in the hospital for about three or four days;
and then he returned to duty. But he said the great thing was he got a
chance to catch up on his sleep in the hospital.
The other thing he used to complain about was horses, oh how he hated
horses. I don't think he ever had any taste for them before he went into
the service, and he said they were so difficult to manage. He
thought the Army was so slow in mechanizing, and it presented lots of
Well, he mentioned being under fire, and I know they were in the Vosges
Mountains. That was mentioned. And he mentioned Verdun.
JOHNSON: Yes, in his letters.
THACHER: And Charpentry, he mentioned that.
JOHNSON: He was at Balny with the...
THACHER: No, I don't remember that name. It's too bad you couldn't have
talked to my brother, who passed away. In 1922 my father took my brother
and sister and my mother back to Europe and they went all over the battlefields.
They walked all over them and he showed them all the places they were.
But I was left at home. I was too young to appreciate it.
JOHNSON: Vere Leigh does refer to your father as an emotional type guy.
Does that seem accurate?
THACHER: I think that's not unfair. He did have kind of a sense of the
dramatic, and I guess sometimes that may have overtaken him a little bit.
JOHNSON: Well, if he could have been what he wanted to be,
would he have been a playwright for instance?
THACHER: He would have been a journalist.
JOHNSON: He was kind of a roving journalist to some extent. Did Hemingway
affect him at all? Ernest Hemingway?
THACHER: Well, he didn't like Hemingway because Hemingway was a little
too graphic. He put Hemingway and John Dos Passos in what he called the
"grunt and grovel school" of literature. He may have had some
tolerance for Hemingway, but my father came from a sort of more elegant
era. Richard Harding Davis was his favorite author.
JOHNSON: Was Davis a "Victorian" era author?
THACHER: Yes, very much. He wrote at the end of the nineties around the
turn of the century, and some of the stories were adventure stories, but
a lot of them were sort of stories about life around New York, like those
O'Henry wrote. He had a great respect for playwrights. He was interested
in playwriting. I don't think he ever attempted a full-length play himself.
So, he used to write little skits for his neighbors, and sometimes they'd
put on some sort of a comical Christmas play with music stolen from something
or other, from Gilbert and Sullivan, and they'd sing these words.
When he was in college, at Princeton, they had a thing called the Triangle
Club, which produced a musical show every year. He was the second president
of the Triangle Club. The first president was Booth Tarkington, a writer
whose novels in the early decades of this century gave a kind of benign
image of American life.
JOHNSON: Booth Tarkington?
THACHER: Yes. He succeeded Tarkington as president. He would have put
on the show one year, but his father died and then he had to take a month
out of college to come home, and he couldn't do it. But he liked that
kind of thing.
JOHNSON: To jump ahead a bit. I notice your father met with Truman three
times while Truman was President, according to our records.
THACHER: Is that right?
JOHNSON: He met with him at the Fairmount Hotel in San Francisco on June
26, 1945. That was during the U.N. Charter Conference.
THACHER: Oh, yes.
JOHNSON: And a Mr. Doucornau was with your father.
THACHER: That's right.
JOHNSON: Now do you know who this fellow was?
THACHER: I don't know too much about him. I know he was a vice-president
of the Wells Fargo Bank.
JOHNSON: At that time?
THACHER: Yes, at that time. There was a connection with Kansas City,
I'm sure I was told, or with Truman, but I can't recall it.
JOHNSON: So there was a Kansas City connection. Did your father ever
talk to you about that meeting at all, with Truman?
THACHER: Oh, just very briefly. I think it was a brief courtesy call,
and very typical of Truman.
JOHNSON: Well, he had only fifteen minutes because at 11:30 Chester Nimitz
was coming in to talk to him.
THACHER: Oh, I see. Truman was certainly kind, my goodness. It's just
amazing the times he responded to
letters and so on.
JOHNSON: Your father probably saw Admiral Nimitz on his way out then.
THACHER: He may have.
JOHNSON: On May 2nd, 1947 your father met with the President at 11:30
in the Oval Office. We don't have anything about that.
THACHER: Then I think they went to lunch together.
JOHNSON: No, that was later.
THACHER: That was later, was it.
JOHNSON: They went to lunch on November 8, 1949 at the Blair House. In
'47, he had an 11:30 appointment. We don't have a record of what they
THACHER: On May 2nd, 1947, I was still working in New York.
JOHNSON: I suppose it was just a social call.
THACHER: I guess so. I don't know.
JOHNSON: And then, thirdly, on November 8, 1949, your father was with
Harry Vaughan and a Colonel Condon. Do you know a Colonel Condon?
JOHNSON: And also with Secretary of the Treasury, John Snyder.
JOHNSON: Had lunch together at the Blair House.
THACHER: That's right, yes.
JOHNSON: I don't think we have any details on that either.
THACHER: No. He was very much struck by that. Truman was very friendly,
but I think these gentlemen had more important business than to entertain
an old friend from Kansas City. I think they got into business matters
right away, and father said, "Well, I really didn't know what the
hell they were talking about. But I could see the President thought it
was very important." Your files show I guess the exchanges of letters
with Truman and we have quite a few of those letters. Father was very
genuinely fond of Truman and admired him. Certainly Truman was very kind
in always responding to Father's letters. After Truman retired, he would
always ask Father to call on him whenever Truman passed through San Francisco
and they would
reminisce about people and places in their wartime experiences. In the
early forties, while Truman was still a Senator, he helped a great deal
in arranging the re-entry to this country of Father's sister who had married
a Canadian and had gone to live for 25 years or so in Canada. Father deeply
appreciated the Senator's assistance and mentioned it several times.
JOHNSON: How about the campaigns in '44 and '48? Did your father have
any involvement at all with those two campaigns.
THACHER: No, he was Republican.
JOHNSON: He remained Republican, a Republican loyalist all through the
THACHER: Oh, absolutely, yes.
JOHNSON: Born and bred?
THACHER: That's right, yes.
JOHNSON: Died a Republican.
THACHER: And always very critical of Roosevelt. He was a typical old-style
businessman, Republican, anti-Rooseveltian.
JOHNSON: I understand your father got into the oil business in Oklahoma.
THACHER: That's right. He went into the oil business down there. He became
really, well, a lease and a drilling promoter. He followed developments
all over Oklahoma.
JOHNSON: Did he ever strike it rich?
THACHER: He never struck it very rich. He made some very comfortable
deals which helped in my education, the education of my sister and brother,
but he never made, you know, a couple million. I'm sure he always hoped
he would. I remember he had one old friend who was a driller, who had
just drilled everywhere, all over Oklahoma and Texas, and he said, "You
know, Tex just never struck anything. He never did." So, I think
he felt that he made small deals, and two or three fairly good sized ones,
I don't know, perhaps around a hundred thousand dollars each.
JOHNSON: Hit a lot of dry holes I guess.
THACHER: A lot of dry holes. I think his idea was to go out and find
properties that had a potential, you see, where developments might give
value to the lease and it would go up just because there were oil properties
adjoining it. He didn't necessarily aim to go through all the detail of
getting a drilling enterprise going, but to get hold of properties that
would tend to go up in value and could then be sold before there was actually
a drilling deal.
JOHNSON: Sort of on speculation.
THACHER: Yes. So, this meant that he got, you know, a modest, steady
income instead of just waiting, having to wait every time, until he hit
JOHNSON: So he wasn't a wildcatter.
THACHER: That's right. It was a very careful following of all the developments.
He and his partners had a huge map on the wall which went on rollers,
where they had all the activity in the whole state sketched out.
JOHNSON: And it gave him time to travel some. He apparently liked to
THACHER: Well he did. They went to Europe in 1922 and that's the last
time he ever felt he could go to Europe.
JOHNSON: Now, getting to your own career. You are a Princeton graduate.
THACHER: That's right.
JOHNSON: And you got your law degree from Fordham.
THACHER: That's right. I went to night law school, when I was working
in New York.
JOHNSON: What was your occupation there?
THACHER: Well, I was with Banker's Trust Company. I worked in what's
known as their corporate trust department which is where you handle corporate
mortgages, huge legal documents.
JOHNSON: This is in the late '30s, early '40s?
THACHER: That's right, late '30s, four years out for World War II in
the Navy, and then back to Bankers Trust for about a year and a half,
till I entered the Foreign Service.
JOHNSON: In New York City?
THACHER: In New York City, yes; 16 Wall Street.
JOHNSON: What was your service in the Navy? Where did you serve?
THACHER: Well, in the Navy I was on a heavy cruiser.
JOHNSON: What was the name of it.
THACHER: The U.S.S. Pensacola. I went to see the recruiting
officer in an old boat they had tied up in the East River, and I thought
maybe since I was studying law and I was in a banking profession, I could
get a job in Naval intelligence or even into the Naval air service. They
turned me down on the basis of my eyes and being underweight, for the
THACHER: Underweight, yes. Well, I weigh about 155 now and I weighed
about 131 then. So the guy said, "If you want to get in the Navy,
I suggest you take a vacation and go somewhere and eat bananas and cream
for a week." So I came back. They said, "What's your education?"
I said, "Well, my father thought I ought to be an engineer, so I
took some science the first two years in college. I took some calculus
and physics and chemistry and some other more basic engineering."
The guy looked at me and he said, "As far as the Navy is concerned,
you are an engineer." They were so desperate for people you
know, with any sort of scientific or engineering background, that I went
to Annapolis for four months and then off to sea on this
ship. I spent most of the war on that ship. At the end of the war I had
been designated for new construction, but it never got launched.
JOHNSON: The Pensacola served in the Pacific?
THACHER: Entirely, yes.
JOHNSON: You didn't face kamikazes did you, or did you?
THACHER: Oh yes, we had very serious battles. The ship had four engines
and four screws. At the end of 1942 three propellers were knocked out
of action by one of those highly accurate torpedoes from a Japanese submarine.
We had about 200 men killed. We limped back to Pearl Harbor, and it took
about six or seven months to patch us up.
JOHNSON: Was that around Guadalcanal?
THACHER: Yes, it was in the "slot," as they used to call it.
JOHNSON: They called it "iron bottom sound," so many ships
got sunk there.
THACHER: I guess that's right. It was not a terribly glamorous war for
me, but we did our jobs every day.
JOHNSON: How about the U.S.S. Missouri? Did you ever get to
THACHER: I never got aboard and I never saw it.
JOHNSON: When were you discharged?
THACHER: I was discharged in January '46.
JOHNSON: And back to your job.
THACHER: Back to Wall Street, while I took the Foreign Service examinations.
JOHNSON: What motivated you to take that exam?
THACHER: Well, I suppose that for a lot of people in my generation, the
war made us a bit restless, and I inherited some of the family interest
in travel. But before the war, the Foreign Service was very small, only
about 800 officers. To get into it, to take the exams, you really had
to go to a tutoring school in Washington, and learn international commercial
law, and a lot of technical stuff. When I got out of college in 1937 I
didn't have the money for tutoring school. Then after the war they needed
people in a hurry, so they changed the exam. If you had a good general
education you could pass it. They were taking in quite a lot of
people, and this looked like my opportunity. I thought it's more fun to
wander around the world than to take the 8:05 every morning from Westchester
down to Wall Street.
JOHNSON: I took that exam in '57, but didn't follow up with the oral.
That was one of the toughest exams I have ever taken.
THACHER: It was a tough exam. Now the exam is given to about 17,000 people
a year, and they accept between 150 and 200.
JOHNSON: Then your first assignment was 3rd Secretary in the American
Embassy in Karachi, Pakistan.
JOHNSON: From '47 to '49.
JOHNSON: And what were your duties there?
THACHER: I did both consular work and some political reporting.
JOHNSON: You got in on the ground floor, so to speak, because Pakistan
had just become an independent state.
THACHER: It was a new United States Embassy. Yes, we established an Embassy
in Pakistan on its independence day, which was August 14, 1947.
JOHNSON: There was quite a bit of turmoil yet with India wasn't there?
THACHER: In Pakistan too. There was the slaughter of Muslims in India
and of Hindus in Pakistan. There were a couple of bad instances in Karachi.
We had a very tight curfew for a week. We had a diplomatic pass and could
move around but the streets were almost empty.
JOHNSON: Were you supposed to kind of be an observer? Go out and observe
and report back?
THACHER: We did observe, yes. We did go and look around. My wife went
into the hospitals. She had been in the Red Cross and observed many, many
wounded individuals lying in the hospital in Karachi.
JOHNSON: What's your wife's name?
THACHER: Jean Louise.
THACHER: Naffziger. The Embassy was never attacked. We
had some parades outside of it because the Pakistanis were upset about
our policy in Palestine.
JOHNSON: But no Americans wounded, or casualties?
THACHER: No Americans were hurt in all those incidents.
JOHNSON: Did that mean a lot of Hindus, Pakistanis...
THACHER: Hindus were killed in Pakistan, and Muslims were killed in India.
JOHNSON: So, they had refugees both...
THACHER: There were trains carrying people back and forth, and when the
train carrying Hindus was going toward India from Pakistan then the Muslims
would turn out and stop the trains and kill a lot of them. The Hindus
were working the same way, in the same way with the trains coming in the
JOHNSON: But now Hindus, by reputation, are trained to be, I guess, gentle
THACHER: Well, yes, but communal antagonism between the two communities
was so intense that whoever started it, the violence quickly escalated
and frightful slaughter followed.
JOHNSON: That's universal; the desire for revenge.
THACHER: It was revenge yes, but minor incidents could trigger immediate
JOHNSON: The first leader of Pakistan was Mohammed Jinnah, I believe.
THACHER: He was the first. He had the title at the outset of Governor
General. In other words, they continued to be members of the British Commonwealth.
I don't know just when that terminated. Then they had a parliamentary
form of government with a Prime Minister.
JOHNSON: But could they have drawn any borders between the two new states
of India and Pakistan that would have been acceptable to both sides?
THACHER: I think it would have been very difficult. There were two little
enclaves not far away over on the Indian side which were Muslim, and there
was a lot of fussing from the Pakistanis about that. These were tiny little
states, ruled by princes, and they made a gesture to join Pakistan. The
Indians ignored that and overruled them. Of course, the place about which
there was the biggest argument was Kashmir. You had a Hindu Maharajah
who acceded Kashmir to India, and yet it was
a Muslim majority state.
JOHNSON: So the Maharajah had the final decision.
THACHER: Well, the way the whole thing was set up was that the existing
ruler could accede his state to whichever side he wanted.
JOHNSON: Now, what's your interpretation of the reasons that apparently
a U.N supervised plebiscite in Kashmir has never been held.
THACHER: Well, the Indians would never have allowed it, because they
know it would go for Pakistan. You see, Nehru was a Kashmiri Brahmin.
His family were Brahmins that came from Kashmir. Nehru was emotionally
attached to Kashmir.
JOHNSON: Didn't he stand up for the principle, though, of a plebescite?
Didn't he go on record as accepting the idea of a plebescite?
THACHER: Well, he may have accepted the idea.
JOHNSON: But not U.N. supervised. He wanted it to be Indian supervised.
THACHER: I don't remember the details of that.
JOHNSON: Was that much of a problem for the Embassy in Karachi, the Kashmir
dispute at the time that you were there? Was that one of your main issues?
THACHER: We didn't take any leading role in it. There was a U.N. commission
that came to Karachi, and I think it was probably the Charge' d 'Affaires
[that dealt with them]. The Ambassador came for a little while and was
ill and went home and subsequently died of cancer. I'm sure we talked
with the commission a certain amount, but the United States didn't play
a key role at all in trying to resolve the dispute at that time.
JOHNSON: Who was our Ambassador?
THACHER: Well, it was a man named Alling -- Paul Alling. He was a Foreign
Service officer with a distinguished career, and he had had some other
posts. His previous post had been, I think, as consul general in Casablanca,
or maybe it was Tangier. But he had had tours in the [State] Department
dealing with this part of the world. He was a very decent gentleman and
very much respected, and just had bad luck. I think he was in his middle
or late fifties.
JOHNSON: Who did he report to?
THACHER: Well, he would have been reporting at that time, I think, to
the Assistant Secretary of State for that part of the world who was Loy
JOHNSON: In your opinion, was Henderson the one who was the most influential
on our policy in that part of the world?
THACHER: Yes, there was no doubt Henderson was a very able man and very
influential. India and Pakistan didn't present as many problems to the
United States at that time. We had taken, you see, in the years leading
up to Indian and Pakistani independence, a position favorable to Indian
independence, somewhat to the annoyance of the British. We didn't meddle
in British affairs, and I can't quote you the specific instances, but
I think there was no doubt that the United States had made clear to the
British that we thought that the time had come when India had to be given
its freedom and British rule had to come to an end in India.
I think probably it happened more quickly than we expected. But when
Mountbatten got out in early 1947 he looked around and said, "This
situation is uncontrollable; we just have to get out of here as fast as
we can." So, within a space of about five months, you know, they
set up a new government in Pakistan.
This whole thing was rushed to a conclusion. I think we viewed that satisfactorily,
but as the years went by we followed a policy under [John Foster] Dulles
of trying to get everybody to stand up and be counted on the side of the
free world. It was Henderson's job when he was Ambassador to India to
try to persuade Nehru, who wanted to be non-aligned in the cold war, to
stand with the U.S.
JOHNSON: Did we follow Britain's lead as far as policy toward Pakistan
and India was concerned?
THACHER: Not particularly, no. The British had a natural and certainly
observable inclination to be pro-Pakistan. The British officers, who had
been in the old British-Indian Government, would tell you that they felt
more at home with Muslims than they did with Hindus. So there was a good
deal of sympathy for Pakistan among the British officers, who had been
in the old Indian Government. A number of them went to work for the Pakistani
Government at very high levels, extraordinarily high levels. The head
secretary, the sort of chief civil service figure in the Pakistani Foreign
Ministry, was British, and other Britishers, scattered around, were kept
on for quite a while. But they helped Pakistan to get things going. Whereas
don't think the Indians kept any British. They were glad to have them
go on home.
JOHNSON: Did both the Pakistani and the Indian civil service, so to speak,
adopt English, or use English, as their official language?
THACHER: Well, English is still an official language in India. It's still
very, very widely spoken in Pakistan. I don't believe it's still an official
language in Pakistan though.
JOHNSON: Was it, then, when you were there?
THACHER: Well, you see, it was de facto. Whether it was official or not.
JOHNSON: The Government reports were all in English?
THACHER: Oh, yes. We could walk into any office of any seniority and
talk English, and with anybody in the military; they always spoke English.
And anybody with any experience in the old regime spoke English. I think,
today, it's pretty much the same thing, that you can walk into a lot of
offices in Pakistan -- not all of them now and not to the degree we used
to be able to -- and you will find English spoken.
JOHNSON: Then, you went to Calcutta. In 1950 to '52 you were Vice Consul
and then Consul of the American Consulate General in Calcutta.
JOHNSON: Then you went back to the State Department.
And so you gained another perspective, I suppose, a perspective from
the Indian side.
JOHNSON: What are your impressions of that service there, that experience
that you had in Calcutta? What kind of duties did you have?
THACHER: I had general supervision of the consular section. There was
a young woman who ran most of it. I had occasionally to do assistance
cases, to help Americans in trouble. Then I did political reporting. Some
six months or so before we arrived, along in the spring of 1950, there
were anti-Muslim riots in Calcutta. I can't remember what set them off,
but Muslims were killed and there was communal tension. But when we were
there, there were no more incidents of that kind during our stay in Calcutta.
There were still some Muslims in Bengal and around
Calcutta, but largely they had migrated eastward into what was then East
Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh. We were particularly concerned with
the very active Communist party that was in Bengal, West Bengal they called
it. We tried to follow the activities of these parties and other parties.
We stayed in touch with some of the Socialists. We talked to senior party
officials in the Congress Party and we had contact with government officials
and I knew a couple of the Communists. But the ironic thing is that the
Communists did get into power in the state of West Bengal, and they gave
it one of the best governments of any state. And Jaoti Basu, the Communist
leader who was on the scene when I was there, that was 40 years ago, up
until about four or five years ago, he was still on the scene. The government
had gone Communist, I guess, sometime along in the 1960s. They were reputed
to run a tight and honest ship, giving consideration to business interests
and to farmers and to trying to improve life in the villages.
There was a Chinese Communist party, a Maoist party, and it's hard to
realize now, but in the middle fifties there was intense international
competition between the Russians and the Chinese. This was played out
by the existence of a couple of different elements
in the Communist Party in Bengal. There was one that was Chinese Marxist,
and the other was a Russian Marxist party.
JOHNSON: So there were two factions of the one party.
THACHER: Two factions, and a third faction, which claimed to be Indian,
you know, purely an Indian communist activity. Money was passed out, and
so on, by all these people at the time, to get adherents.
JOHNSON: That weakened the movement, I suppose.
THACHER: It did. Yes, it weakened the movement, but the West Bengal Communist
Party, led by the Indians themselves, was by far the strongest.
JOHNSON: You did political reporting, and these political reports were
then forwarded on to the Embassy in New Delhi?
THACHER: We sent copies to the Embassy but we also sent them directly
JOHNSON: Directly to the State Department.
JOHNSON: So they should be in the National Archives, these
THACHER: They should be, yes.
JOHNSON: In late '48, Loy Henderson replaced [Henry F.] Grady as U.S.
Ambassador in India, and then Henderson was replaced by Chester Bowles.
He became Ambassador in October of '51.
THACHER: That sounds about right.
JOHNSON: Yes, October of '51 and then he was succeeded, I believe, by
THACHER: That's right.
JOHNSON: Dennis Merrill, who by the way is teaching at UMKC as sort of
the Truman scholar over there, has a dissertation on U.S.-Indian relations
during the Truman years and after. In fact, we might as well mention the
title of it: Bread and the Ballot: United States and India's Economic
Development 1947-61. He says on page 46, "No evidence exists
that this practical Missouri politician," -- that is, President Truman
-- "ever reserved time for penetrating thought on India."
What impression did you have regarding Truman's attitude and policies
toward India at that time?
THACHER: Well, I can't recall what was the basis of the personal relationship
between Bowles and Truman. I guess it went back to the days when Bowles
was in Washington in the Office of Price Administration, the OPA. That
may have brought them into contact. But he went to India with the view
that he would have direct access to the President and we were aware that
he wrote long personal letters directly to the President. I can remember
somebody saying, "Well, we really doubt that the President has read
those things very closely." I think that he was just interested in
too many other things. I can't think of anything where we felt, you know,
the White House had really moved in on this or that and changed the policy.
Henderson was very strongly anti-Communist. I guess you might call him
a "cold warrior". He had served in Russia; his wife came from
one of the Baltic states. So he would talk to Nehru to influence him to
guide India's foreign policy toward support of the free world and the
West. Henderson would point out the dangers of India's policies of neutralism
and of close ties with the USSR. In fact, of course, India did become
very close to the Russians. When I was in India in 1980, we went to the
Foreign Office for a briefing with a group from San Francisco. The man
who gave us
the briefing, one of the senior Under Secretaries, said, "Well, you
know, really, whenever we have a problem and we need some help, we can
always count on the Russians. They're always there when we need them."
Despite this, we had very large aid programs for India. Though a lot
of it was simply food grains. But Bowles had a lot of imagination. He
was fascinated with the aid programs and what we might be able to do with
them. That suited his very activist nature, whereas the sort of watchful
waiting and talking that went on in more traditional diplomacy, he regarded
as less interesting and less important.
An important problem in our relations with India was our close relationship
with Pakistan. The Pakistanis, up until a certain time, always thought
that this relationship was going to help defend them against India. But
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had in mind having relationships
that would protect Pakistan from the Russians. So, in '61 there was war
between India and Pakistan, and the Pakistanis had a brutal awakening
when we issued an order which cut off military supplies from both India
and Pakistan. The Pakistanis had hoped, you know, that we were going to
go to war with them, and protect them from the Indians on the ground.
Of course, we never had any
such intention at all.
JOHNSON: Well, Merrill also says that Secretary Marshall, Secretary of
State George C. Marshall, did not take a "deep interest in India,"
either. "Consequently," according to Merrill, "responsibility
for policy tended to fall upon lower echelon officials such as regional
experts in the Department of State, and officials in the American Embassy
in New Delhi headed by Ambassador Henry F. Grady," I wonder if you're
in that category here -- one of these lower echelon officials. Did you
ever feel that you had much input into our policy, U.S. policy toward
India, by the time you were in Calcutta? and then later you had moved
into the State Department itself, and so I suppose that meant you had
more influence on policy, I would imagine.
THACHER: Yes. Well, when I was on the India desk I was still pretty junior.
I was low man on the totem pole. This question of the Indians drifting
off over into the Soviet orbit was of concern to all of us. I favored
material aid, economic assistance to India, and we did begin to come forth
with a good deal of it in spite of our critical attitude towards Nehru's
neutralist or non-aligned policies. Frequently there was quite vocal opposition
in Congress to aid programs for India but we
got them approved.
Sometimes I felt that under the policies of Eisenhower and Dulles in
pursuit of countries that would "stand up and be counted" on
our side in the cold war contest, we failed to give enough weight to the
desires of the newly independent countries to assert their nationalism
and their independent spirit. However, despite our disagreements with
Nehru we always maintained many strong ties with India, recognizing our
many strong common institutions such as prevalence of the use of English
language, common judicial and democratic principles.
There was a period of strain in our relations with Pakistan. The Pakistanis
tried to compensate for this by strengthening their relations with China
and they were partially successful. But eventually things got better and
in recent years our ties with Pakistan have gotten stronger as we worked
with them to help the Afghans fight against the Russians.
But the Indians were particularly incensed by our policy of giving and
selling substantial quantities of military equipment to Pakistan. When
our first sizeable program of military assistance to Pakistan was announced
in 1954, I well remember the bitter comments of the Charge' d' Affaires
at the Indian Embassy in
Washington. He asked us why we thought we had a right to interfere in
the affairs of the South Asian countries in a manner to change the balance
of power between the countries there.
JOHNSON: Now, if you were the number 2 man, who was the number one?
THACHER: A man named Williams, William L. S. Williams was my immediate
superior. He passed away a number of years ago. The top policy maker on
South Asian Affairs was Henry Byroade, Assistant Secretary of State for
the Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs. Byroade was
a protege of General Marshall. Byroade was a brilliant West Point graduate,
a Brigadier at about 34. Byroade had come to Marshall's attention when
Byroade was on duty in postwar Germany. Byroade was later Ambassador to
Egypt, to South Africa, to Burma, the Philippines and Afghanistan. His
deputy for the whole Bureau was John Jernegan, a career Foreign Service
Officer who later became first, Ambassador to Iraq (about 1959) and later
to Algeria. Under him was the director of South Asian Affairs, Donald
Kennedy and his deputy Henry Smith. Then came Williams, Officer-in-Charge,
India, Ceylon, Nepal. I later on became Officer-in-Charge, Pakistan and
JOHNSON: You were on the same "wave length" with them.
THACHER: Oh, yes, yes. We had no serious disagreements with general department
policies. I think that in general we went along with the company line,
that we should be warning the Indians about Soviet aggression, and about
coming under too much Soviet influence, and that it would be a good thing
for Nehru to take a position which was favorable to the West in the East-West
antagonism. Well, I don't think we were terribly concerned about the possibility
of direct Communist aggression, but the evolution of the Indian Communist
party was something that we always followed very closely, to see if it
was getting or increasing its leverage to the point where it could be
JOHNSON: In other words, you were never consistently critical of so-called
non-alignment, the non-alignment policy of Nehru?
THACHER: Well, we were. In the official relationship with Nehru, this
was brought to his attention by a series of Ambassadors. Over the years,
in dealing with those parts of the world, I'd always had sort of an undertow
feeling that we could go too far in encouraging these countries to snuggle
up in our embrace, and that was proven in the case of a country I later
served in, which was Iraq. There, I think the fact that the Iraqis were
so closely allied with us was a very important factor in bringing about
the July 1958 revolution in Iraq which led to the death of the Prime Minister
and the King and his family.
So, I guess that was my personal reservation, but I never got to the
point of sitting down and saying, "Oh, I think this is where we should
say to the Iraqis or the Indians that we're perfectly prepared to see
them stay neutral." I never felt that; I just wished that somehow
we could pursue a policy of close relations without emphasizing this necessity
for having India publicly take a position that was favorable to the West,
and that was contrary to the Communists.
And I think that policy of trying to get that kind of relationship was
one of the things that caused the first revolution in Iraq. The fact that
Iraq was allied in a treaty, the Baghdad Pact, with the Western powers
was a major factor used by cliques and enemies of the Royalist regime
to bring it down.
So I guess to sum it up, I never had, you know, a feeling of really sharp
disappointment, so I'd set down
and wanted to really argue with anybody about our policy.
JOHNSON: Did you ever consult with, or talk to, your counterparts in
the British Foreign Office?
THACHER: Oh, we used to see them a great deal. The British had a man
in their Embassy in Washington assigned to deal with South Asian Affairs
and to deal with Middle Eastern Affairs.
JOHNSON: What was his name, do you remember?
THACHER: Mr. Belcher was assigned to deal with South Asian matters and
Willie Morris for the Middle East. I think it was more an exchange of
information than any particular discussion of policy. On the whole, we
were pleased with British policy in India and Pakistan because they really
picked up and got out promptly after World War II. By August 15 
the British were marching down the gangplank and really getting out of
JOHNSON: Did they want India in a military alliance? Of course, later
on Pakistan became part an alliance.
THACHER: We would have liked to have seen India as a part of that. I
don't think we ever assumed that Nehru
would even listen to such a proposal. We may have talked about it.
JOHNSON: So you never would have broached it?
THACHER: No, I don't think so. The whole idea of a Middle Eastern Pact
was something that stewed and steamed and fussed along from about 1951
to 1955 before anything really materialized.
JOHNSON: In other words, does this idea and the effort start in the Truman
THACHER: Yes, indeed. George McGhee [Assistant Secretary of State for
Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs, 1949-51] focused much less
on India and Pakistan (South Asia) than he did on the Middle East. We
focused on Egypt in particular since we felt if the Egyptians would take
the lead in a Middle East defense arrangement, then several Arab countries
might follow. McGhee made a trip when he was Assistant Secretary and discussed
this and found the Egyptians very cold on the whole idea. Dulles tried
it again, when he went around on a trip to the Middle East, in the spring
of '53, and he found no support in Egypt, which was the most important
Arab country. There was very tepid interest in Jordan, and almost no interest
in Saudi Arabia. The
only people who were susceptible was the Iraqi monarchy. And that's how
it came about.
JOHNSON: Did the Korean war trigger this effort to get the military alliances
there in Southeast Asia, or was it maybe NATO?
THACHER: It was a series of events. The Korean war, as naked Communist
aggression, was certainly a very important event, but the Berlin blockade,
the conquest of China by Mao Tse-tung, expansion of Communist control
in Eastern Europe and Southeast Europe and other events contributed to
our sense that something must be done to strengthen Middle East defenses
against possible Communist encroachment.
JOHNSON: Did NATO serve as a pattern, or as a possible prototype for
the later alliances in Asia?
THACHER: Yes, that's right. NATO did. The idea was that we would provide
a NATO-type barrier, you see, what they called the "northern tier."
The northern tier which would be Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and then Iraq.
We tried very hard to get other people to come into it. We tried to get
Jordan. I think it would have been fatal to Jordan if Jordan had come
in. I'm sure we told India about it, and probably expressed hope. I
can imagine that it got hardly to first base, or anywhere with Nehru.
This would have been completely contrary to his view of things, to have
his country laced into an agreement with the Western powers. In fact,
of course, you had in 1955 the first Bandung conference, at which many
of the newly independent countries reaffirmed their independence and their
commitment to neutrality in the non-alignment in the East-West conflict.
JOHNSON: During the Korean war you were in Calcutta, I believe, in '53.
THACHER: Yes. Well, I came back while it was still going on. I came back
in the beginning of '53, and we didn't get the peace until about the fall
of '53, in Korea.
JOHNSON: Did you have any communications with [V.K.] Krishna Menon?
THACHER: No, not personally. Well, at that time, you know, Krishna Menon
was the great propagator of the Panch Shila, and the Five Principals.
This was the basis on which the Indians and the Chinese were getting along.
The Indian-Chinese relationship was a very happy one until the Indo-Chinese
war over differences over the location of a common border in 1962.
Evolution of the Middle East defense effort got into the hands of one
man who was terribly eager to bring this about, make it materialize, and
that was the Prime Minister of Turkey, Adnan Menderes. He was on the front
line, you see, in the cold war. And he wanted to get some more support.
Also they all, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Iraq, joined in hoping that
this would lead to greater U.S. military assistance for them.
JOHNSON: A Middle East Treaty Organization?
THACHER: Yes. But it was called the Baghdad Pact. However, a Middle East
treaty organization was given active consideration in '51. Truman was
still in office.
JOHNSON: There was an effort in '51?
THACHER: Yes. Assistant Secretary for the Middle East George McGhee came
back saying, "This is a no-go as far as the Arabs are concerned."
Dulles came back saying the same thing in '53 that the only way we could
do it was to have an agreement among the northern tier countries Turkey,
Iran and Pakistan supported by the U.S. and Britain. He was somewhat doubtful
about having Iraq get into it. But then the Iraqis heard
about it and wanted to come in, and then the Turks began to push the Iraqis.
Menderes came to Baghdad and talked with them, and so then Iraq came in.
That was the undoing of the whole thing. That was the mistake. We could
have worked out much more tentative and less public defense relations
with Iraq, which would have given them just as much protection as they
needed and would have avoided putting Iraq in a posture of close ties
with Britain and the U.S. but which was disliked by most of the rest of
the Arab world.
JOHNSON: What is your opinion of the emphasis on alliances under President
Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles?
THACHER: You know, as they said about John Foster Dulles, he had "pactomania."
JOHNSON: So you would agree with that.
THACHER: Well, I'll tell you what my own feeling about it was: that this
ran risks of running into nationalist feeling. That anti-Western feeling
ran high; still we were just out of the age of colonialism, and the distinctive
thing for these governments to do was what Nehru did, to say, "I'm
non-aligned. I'm not about to join up with my former colonial masters
in some sort of
treaty organization against the Soviet Union. I see a lack of merit in
both the Western and the Russian positions."
So when we pressed these countries into big ballyhood treaty arrangements
we stirred up -- and this was particularly true of Iraq -- we stirred
up anti-government nationalist feeling. In thinking about it years later,
and I say, "We could have had close relationships with these countries,
if we'd done it quietly." This is what we did with Saudi Arabia and
JOHNSON: Without formal alliances.
THACHER: Yes, exactly. Correspondence between the Saudi Government and
the United States Government is full of affirmations by the President,
Presidential letters, statements made during royal visits. "We are
deeply concerned with the security of Saudi Arabia. We will always feel
this close friendship and an important interest in the safety and security
of Saudi Arabia." And that was enough for the Saudis.
But in the case of Iraq, they established a Baghdad Pact headquarters
in Iraq with big signs all over it, and lots of people had misgivings
about this, including John Foster Dulles, I found out.
JOHNSON: You were the First Secretary there in the American Embassy from
1956 to 1958.
THACHER: That's right.
JOHNSON: But this alliance policy, which you say Dulles had a lot to
do with, was based kind of on the domino theory, wasn't it?
THACHER: Well, not so much the domino theory. As somebody said, Mr. Dulles
got off the plane in Karachi, Pakistan with a "tear in his eye,"
a "northern tier." This was the idea of having a tier, a barrier
of these states to protect the Middle East from Soviet aggression. It
was an intervention kind of diplomacy.
JOHNSON: "Real politik" [policy of realism and power].
THACHER: Exactly. "Real politik."
But what we did didn't take into account was the latent, popular anti-Western
feeling, particularly at the time when Gamal Nasser, president of Egypt,
was leading the world in strongly anti-Western posture. So it was not
so much that the policy of assisting these countries with their defenses
was wrong, it was how we did it.
JOHNSON: Well, of course, we got more and more into military aid, versus
economic aid. Did you feel that when you were on the India desk that we
were doing enough to provide economic aid, say for India, which took this
neutralist position. Did you feel that we had done enough under Point
4, or whatever program?
THACHER: Yes. I think we had a very estimable record with regard to economic
aid to India, particularly in things like the Green Revolution.
JOHNSON: Well, that comes later, of course.
THACHER: But the beginnings of it were when Bowles was Ambassador. He
was intensely interested.
JOHNSON: He wanted more money though, didn't he?
THACHER: Well, he wanted more money, but on the other hand, he had a
very imaginative approach to these things. He had all kinds of ideas.
JOHNSON: Community development.
THACHER: Community development programs in India were very imaginative.
JOHNSON: He had to scale it down though somewhat because our assistance
under Point Four wasn't as much as many
THACHER: Well, I'm sure that's true, but then the Ford Foundation came
in and did some very imaginative things. We sold enormous amounts of wheat
for counterpart funds in India, funds which we largely gave away to them
or canceled in later years. We did a lot of good things in a lot of those
countries, in Iran, and India and no doubt they could have used more money.
No doubt, some serious mistakes were made, but then, of course, the trouble
with the Baghdad pact was that we were worried about the Russians, but
what the Pakistanis were worried about was the Indians. They thought that
they, through the Baghdad Pact, if they joined the Baghdad Pact, then
they'd get military aid from the United States which would help to protect
them against the Indians. Our Mr. Dulles, of course, was thinking the
other way. He just wanted to build the Pakistanis up so they'd be a strong
barrier, or at least a deterrent against the Russians.
JOHNSON: Are you concluding that the two alliances -- SEATO and the Baghdad
Pack -- were probably counterproductive?
THACHER: I won't give an opinion on SEATO. I know the Pakistanis were
drawn into it; they were miles away you
know. SEATO had only one significance for them; they were doing what Uncle
Sam wanted them to to make this SEATO alliance look as though it had more
genuine indigenous roots, but what the Pakistanis really wanted was more
When I was on the Pakistan desk we did come through with quite a lot
of military aid.
JOHNSON: You were the Pakistan-Afghanistan officer. So were these two
countries sort of dealt with as a unit?
THACHER: They were. That's right, you see, there was the Office of South
Asian Affairs and within that there was a principal desk officer for India,
Ceylon and Nepal, and then there was another principal desk officer, an
officer in charge of Pakistan-Afghanistan.
JOHNSON: Of course, bad things have happened in both Afghanistan and
Iraq, and also in Iran. Did you serve in Iran at any time?
THACHER: Yes, I served later as the number two in Iran. From '65 to '70
I was Minister-Counselor.
JOHNSON: In Tehran. So unfortunately in these states where we had what
we thought were good relations at the time -- in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
and in Iraq -- all
those governments were overthrown later. In the case of Iran, of course,
the overthrow was by Islamic fundamentalism.
THACHER: Well, that came years later. But it's true, I think our policy
certainly in Iran, the fact that Iran and the Shah were so close to the
United States offered very significant ammunition for Khomeini and the
anti-Shah people to use against the Shah's government.
JOHNSON: How about Afghanistan? Was there anything that we could have
THACHER: We never got into such a close relationship with Afghanistan.
The Afghans made it quite clear that they had to give a great deal more
consideration to their relations with the Soviet Union right along their
north border, and that they had to work out a modus vivendi with the Russians.
In 1954, about 1954, they began to accept large amounts of Soviet aid.
JOHNSON: But it was kind of a feudal monarchy.
THACHER: Yes it was. That's right.
JOHNSON: Which made it vulnerable to some of these more modern movements
THACHER: Yes, that's right.
JOHNSON: Marxism, for instance.
THACHER: There wasn't much Marxism, but there were pro-Russian elements
in Afghanistan. Of course, it culminated with the Russian invasion of
the country in September or October of 1979.
JOHNSON: When you were in Iraq was that a kind of a feudal monarchy too?
THACHER: Yes, it was a kind of an oligarchy, with the royal family and
a kind of a mixed government. The parliament was a blend of Sheiks, landed
people, business people, and professional bureaucrats. It was patterned
a bit on the old Ottoman model and the Ottomans termed it "government
by the notables." The notables ran the government in these places.
The Ottomans gave a good deal of leeway in government matters to the dominant
JOHNSON: But there was not any local self-government, isn't that true?
THACHER: The British and the French left behind them the forms and procedures
of democracy. There were parliaments, there were political parties that
There was a controlling figure in Iraq, a guy named Nuri Said, who was
a very shrewd politician, very pro-West in his outlook. Officially, the
United States liked Nuri very much, because he saw things our way, and
he supported the Royal family, which the British had put in power in Iraq.
So the Iraqi regime was quite strongly pro-Western, pro-British, and in
that sense very vulnerable to nationalist sentiment, and anti-Western
JOHNSON: So the royal family of Iraq didn't go back centuries or generations.
THACHER: No, the royal family in Iraq was created out of the Hashemite
family who claimed to be descendants of the Prophet Mohammed and they
had been rulers or Sherifs of Mecca under the Turks. One of the sons of
the Sherif was Prince Faisal and the British made him King of Iraq.
JOHNSON: The Baathist party in Iraq gained power, did it not?
THACHER: Well, not for some time. There was a military coup in 1958.
JOHNSON: So it was a military group that overthrew the
royal family with the assassination...
THACHER: They pulled a surprise attack and one early morning they marched
a division of the army into Baghdad and killed all the royal family in
the palace. They killed Nuri Said and dragged him through the streets
of the city. That was on July 14, 1958.
JOHNSON: So there was a military dictatorship.
THACHER: A military governor, a military dictator, a man named Abdul
Karim Qassim. It was a very unruly and difficult country, and there were
a whole lot of cross currents. The Baath got control in about 1961, I
guess, or '63. In '63 I guess it was the Baath got control, and then lost
it. Then they got it back again about '68 and have ruled ever since.
JOHNSON: So our influence pretty much ended in Iraq with that coup?
THACHER: The revolution in '58 yes. That was when Iraq immediately recognized
Communist China, brought in Russian technicians, enacted a very stringent
form of land reform, taking land ownership away from the Sheiks. Many
of the Iraqis of the old regime got out of Iraq to save themselves.
JOHNSON: Point IV was in place, though.
THACHER: It was in place with the Iraqis. The Iraqi ruler Abdul Karim
Qassim said he wanted to maintain reasonably good relations with the United
States. His subordinates down the line, many of them, were so consumed
with nationalist feeling and dislike of the West that they were not very
enthusiastic about cooperating with the United States. The Iraqis, left
all the Point IV people in their offices and never spoke to them. They
didn't send the Americans home they just didn't do anything with them.
So, after awhile we folded up.
JOHNSON: In other words, were we blinded to the threat of nationalism,
by an obsession about communism?
THACHER: That's right. We were so concerned with the Communist threat
to the world that we were prepared to accept anybody as allies, often
not realizing the extent to which this might be a threat to the ally who
was rushing into our arms.
JOHNSON: Of course, hindsight's easier than foresight.
What were your recommendations at that time?
THACHER: I would say, so far as the Baghdad Pact was
concerned, I thought it was artificial. I felt there were risks to it,
that it was pulling Iraq in a way against Arab nationalist sentiment.
JOHNSON: Did you bring this to the attention of...
THACHER: It was too late. These things were all decided up on the seventh
floor. No, we just got the instructions to go ahead. And we were never
JOHNSON: Did you ever have a chance to express your views, what might
be skeptical views?
THACHER: We used to talk about it at our level. But we were there, you
know, to implement this whole thing. The United States assumed a kind
of odd position vis-a-vis the Baghdad Pact. We participated in it, but
we were never formally a treaty signer. The reason that we took that position
was that we felt that if we signed a treaty with the four powers, the
four on-site powers, that then we would come under pressure from other
countries, particularly Israel, to sign a treaty with them, a defense
treaty, and we didn't want to that. We knew that that would upset the
Arabs a lot. So, we avoided doing that. But as Dulles himself put it one
time, "You know, we're members of the House Committee, the Admissions
Committee, and the Finance
Committee, but we don't belong to the club." And that was really
it. We had a special delegation in Baghdad which worked with Baghdad Pact
officials. One or two officers in the Embassy were assigned to do nothing
but work with the Baghdad Pact people.
JOHNSON: But the United States was kind of the power behind the throne?
THACHER: We had Americans in the Baghdad Pact organization, and we had
a military coordinating committee, the chairman of which was an American
Air Force brigadier general who lived there. You know, it had our finger
marks all over it, the Baghdad Pact did, but there was always this plea
from the other powers, particularly the Turks for us to formally and fully
adhere to the Pact. The Turks were really gung-ho for this. The Turks
were perpetually saying, "Why don't you join the pact, join the pact."
And our Ambassador Wally Gallman, a wonderful guy, I was very fond of
him, constantly urged this also.
JOHNSON: Who was that?
THACHER: His name was Waldemar Gallman. I hate to say anything even faintly
in criticism of him, because he was such a fine man. Gallman would get
off a telegram
every so often saying, "We ought to join the Baghdad Pact."
I guess I just didn't feel I was qualified to disagree with him since
I was entirely new to the Arab world and he'd been there for several years.
In Washington, they paid no attention to these suggestions that we formally
adhere to and become signatories to the treaty.
I looked into this a couple of years ago and really, it was surprising
how many misgivings Dulles had about having Iraq in the Pact. Dulles did
however very much want a Middle East defense agreement and one can guess
that he felt raising objections about Iraq's membership could derail the
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, Gallman. What was his title?
THACHER: He was the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad.
JOHNSON: What was his first name?
THACHER: Waldemar. Anybody who is interested in his role should see his
book. He wrote a book of personal reminiscences which is quite interesting
JOHNSON: But you're saying that he was more of a "pactomaniac"
THACHER: Than Dulles, yes.
JOHNSON: And Turkey was the most fanatic of all?
THACHER: Turkey was the most fanatic, I think. I thought [Prime Minister]
Menderes was just -- well, you see the Turks were on the front lines with
the USSR. They really felt the Russian threat. Of course, there was a
long history of Turkish-Russian battles and wars, you know.
JOHNSON: Were the Soviets still claiming land in Turkey? Still claiming
a part of Turkey?
THACHER: Yes. And of course, what they wanted were greatly increased
rights through the Straits.
JOHNSON: Okay, the Straits.
THACHER: The Soviets wanted to revise the treaty that had to do with
the Straits. That's why the Turks were so eager to join NATO, and they
thought, "If we could get some of our neighbors in the developing
countries to join the Pact, this will give us additional strength, and,
of course, additional claims on the United States."
JOHNSON: Yes, a lot of military aid.
THACHER: Menderes was a terribly activist guy; he was a man
with a huge ego and enormous energy.
JOHNSON: They got a lot of aid, didn't they, beginning with the Truman
THACHER: Oh, yes, they got a lot of aid, and then of course, they performed
heroically in Korea. Turkish troops went to Korea and performed extremely
well. The Turks were very high on our favorite lists. So, Menderes had
a lot of influence.
JOHNSON: Did you notice any difference that you could tell between the
foreign policy of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower? Was there any change
that you could detect?
THACHER: I would say that the Truman administration generally was more
sympathetic to Israel. I wasn't involved actively. I was off working in
South Asia in India and Pakistan in the early years of Israel's existence.
I came back to Washington just at the beginning of the Eisenhower administration.
But Dulles was more inclined to see things in terms of what were our interests
and what was in Israel's interest. The Israelis weren't shut out all together
at all, but it was a position, I think, of keeping the Israelis somewhat
more at arm's length. But of course, the
Truman administration had been very actively involved in the creation
of Israel and continued to show interest in it.
JOHNSON: Loy Henderson, Henry Byroade, and Edwin Wright, for instance;
all three of these important diplomats were critical of a policy that
seemed to be too pro-Israel and too anti-Arab.
THACHER: That's right, they were. And they were in the Truman administration.
JOHNSON: So their view got more of a hearing under Eisenhower.
JOHNSON: And Dulles. Was Dulles really...
THACHER: They got quite a hearing under Truman also, because those were
pretty much the views of Acheson and Acheson carried tremendous influence
with Truman even before he was Secretary of State. Marshall, Henderson,
Acheson -- they were a very powerful trio as far as Truman was concerned.
All had a lot of misgivings about it, and I don't know how much you've
read the details, but they switched the U.S. position at the United Nations
right at the last minute and went back
to the idea of trying to have a unified state, unified Arab-Jewish state
instead of the partition plan. There was a misunderstanding there, and
Truman was furious.
JOHNSON: I think Clark Clifford was...
THACHER: Clark Clifford persuaded Truman to accept the partition of Palestine
into a Jewish and an Arab state, and in retrospect I respect Henderson,
Marshall and Acheson for their views and could see their point of view.
But it just looked to me as though they changed the policy at the last
minute, when nobody was prepared for policy change. In other words, we
had accepted the idea of partition three or four months earlier. Everybody
expected us to do that, but they had gone -- you may be familiar with
this -- they had gone to Truman with a stand-by plan saying, "If
we think it's going to be unworkable, that partition's going to be unworkable,
are we authorized to go back to the idea of a unitary state, under U.N.
supervision, or implementation?" Truman gave kind of a tentative
okay to that, and then when they saw the situation changing, without notifying
Truman they changed the policy, and Truman was furious at this. Even though
they felt that they had been authorized to do it on their own, still he
was very angry with them and we stuck finally to the partition
As to trying to enforce the unitary state -- the British had been trying
to do that for ever since the war, and all they had had was bloodshed
and terrorism -- the British couldn't do it. It wouldn't have worked unless
somebody was prepared to put military forces into Palestine. The United
States would not have been willing to in that era, so soon after we had
finished World War II. So a lot of us who understood a good deal of the
Arab point of view were always very sympathetic to the ideas of Henderson
and Acheson and Marshall. But in retrospect I think probably it was wrong
to try to reverse course, you know, when the whole Palestine thing had
been going in the direction of partition for so long.
If a year earlier they had stuck to the idea of a unitary state year
earlier and had gone about exploring carefully all the possibilities of
making it work carefully, and the mechanics of it, perhaps that would
have been possible.
JOHNSON: If Truman had been elected, or decided to run, and had been
elected President in 1952, do you think there would have been a SEATO
and a Middle East Treaty Organization? Do you think that regardless of
President, whether it was Republican or Democratic, there would have been
these alliances, these two alliances in Asia and the Middle East?
THACHER: I think we would have done something. I think because of these
factors I've mentioned two or three times. The collective impact of those
factors, that there would undoubtedly have been some sort of effort to
establish a Middle East defense organization under either a Democratic
or a Republican administration. Perhaps it might have been just an understanding
among the Western powers that this was a problem and we must plan for
it or it could have been was the kind of thing we had with Jordan and
Saudi Arabia and Morocco. These were quiet understandings that we were
on their side, if they might need our help. We gave them military assistance.
People don't know it, but during the Yemen civil war the Egyptians were
attacking Yemen and overflying Saudi Arabia in 1964 and we sent a squadron
of 12 U.S. Air Force F-100 aircraft to Saudi Arabia. We put six of them
in Dhahran, the Persian Gulf side and we put six over on the Red Sea side
at Jidda. When I was Charge' d 'Affaires at Jidda I had my own air force,
you might say, of six planes.
JOHNSON: Who was that under?
THACHER: President Kennedy. It was along in the spring of '64, and the
Saudis were deathly afraid of Nasser and deathly afraid of having him
establish a strong foothold in Yemen to the south of them. They said,
"Come on, do something for us."
We had a destroyer visit Jidda every month, and then we had these six
planes come in. They [Saudi Arabian officials] came to me one day, and
said, "They're overflying us, and they've dropped bombs along our
border with Yemen, the Egyptians have. What will you do for us? Send some
of your planes down there."
So, I sent a message to Washington concerning the limits that we had
set as to where the F-100s would go. I got no answer, and the Minister
of Defense kept calling me up and saying, "When are you going to
do something?" So, finally I got together with the Navy commander.
They were Air Force planes, but they were under the charge of a Naval
Air Officer. I said, "Well, what can we do?" He said, "Well,
let's just put them in the air and send them down in that direction without
letting them get very close to the Yemen-Saudi border."
Then I informed Washington, and I never got any answer; I never got any
criticism. So, this military
maneuver was successful and it satisfied the Saudis. You know, they were
looking for some gesture of support by the United States, and putting
these planes in the air and having them go down and fly around no closer
than 150 miles to the Yemen border and come back seemed to be adequate.
I never had any confirmation that the Egyptians noticed the flight of
our planes or were deterred by it.
JOHNSON: Was that the most important policy decision that you ever made?
THACHER: Well, I don't know.
JOHNSON: It sounds like it was.
As a final question, or two, when you were in Teheran, did the American
Embassy, or the State Department people who were supposed to be keeping
tabs on that part of the world, did they see the potential for this Islamic
fundamentalism that eventually, of course, produced a revolution in Iran?
Did they see a threat there at all? The political threat of the Mullahs
and the Islamic establishment?
THACHER: Well, you know, I left in 1970 when the Shah was still riding
pretty high. There was criticism and dislike of him in many circles. The
empress, I think,
was popular. She's a marvelous, bright woman, with great charm and savvy.
He was doing a lot of benign things, building things. The country was
quite prosperous; business was booming. The land reform program had some
popular, favorable popular impact; not an enormous amount, but some. People
who were professional people -- business men, engineers, doctors -- in
general saw the Shah's regime as beneficial. Iran was stable. It had a
lot of money. They were building universities and roads; and industrial
plants were being developed. New things sprung up. We had had some good
economic aid programs in Iran that were working well, but there was still
a lot of nationalist feeling against the Shah, and against us among the
nationalists, because we had aided in the overthrow of Mossadegh.
As regards the religious people, you see in 1963 there was an outburst
of riots and demonstrations against the regime, instigated out of the
mosques. The Shah applied very repressive measures against the students
who participated in it, and against the religious figures and he had a
lot of them locked up for awhile. So we had the feeling that, regarding
the religious elements, the Shah had kind of driven them back into the
Mosques, and that they would not be very
actively engaged in political activity.
Politics, for the religious element, was a tradition in Iran, much more
so than in any of the Arab countries. But it was my feeling that the Iranian
authorities had gotten the religious people pretty well suppressed. By
that time, of course, Khomeini had been driven out of the country; he
had gone to Iraq, but and he was beginning to circulate those incendiary
religious tapes. There were people in the religious community who came
to us and said, "You don't realize quite what's going on. There's
more political activity in the religious community than you recognize."
I know some religious people came to the Agency representatives and told
Personally I accepted the view that the religious element and the Communists,
of course, had been really destroyed as a political force. The Tudeh (Communist)
Party had been deprived of its power and had gone underground. There was
no terrorism. We lived in the Embassy compound, and we'd come back in
our car at night; the big gates would open and we 'd drive in. No security
checks, nothing. We could have been anybody's car that came in the gate.
You know, we felt perfectly secure in 1970.
JOHNSON: You did have a feudal society there still, didn't you, with landlords
actually owning whole villages, and so on.
THACHER: But you have to look at the Shah in the light of what we thought.
He was progressive, and he had an organization, a Plan Organization, to
direct spending the oil money in good ways for the development of Iran.
He was strongly anti-Communist, and right along that border [with the
Soviet Union]. He allowed us some important communications intercept facilities
in northern Iran. I know the ambassador that we had there then was concerned
about his military appetite. He found occasions to let the Shah know that
he didn't think that he needed another dozen or so 100 F-104s or whatever
it was he wanted. The Shah said, "Okay, if you don't want to sell
them to me, I'll get them from somebody else." And of course, he
had the money to do it.
JOHNSON: He wasn't spending it on the villages, I don't think.
THACHER: Yes, yes he was. The villages had improvements. There were little
village health clinics, there were village schools being spread. He had
a literacy corps,
and he would take kids into the Army who were not very literate themselves
and train them for a while and then send them out into the villages to
teach reading, writing or good health habits.
My wife used to go out and see these people working and she was very
impressed by the devotion of these youngsters, who really felt they had
a worthwhile mission in health and literacy classes for the peasants.
And there was a bank. Bank Saderat. There were almost as many little Bank
Saderat offices around the country as there were post offices. They were
all over the place, one-man banks. Roads were improved and there was some
agricultural extension service, and universities were founded. They were
inadequate in many respects, but at least these were steps in the right
direction. It was the kind of thing that appealed to Americans, and we
thought so much in economic terms those days, you know. We thought get
out the economic aid, get the economic machine going and that's the best
barrier against discontent. We loved to see these tangible accomplishments,
the new dam that our aid helped build and created the water supply for
Teheran. Here was a modern monarch who wanted these things, who tried
to develop his country, trying to raise up his people.
JOHNSON: But wasn't he democratizing the government?
THACHER: Well, he used to fool around with this. He would create different
kinds of parties in the parliament, but the trouble was that he didn't
really understand that he had to give up some power himself to make democracy
work. He was a superb world statesman, and a very poor domestic politician
in understanding his own country.
JOHNSON: Well, it must have been a terrific shock for you to see what
happened in the American compound in 1980.
THACHER: Our house was right there. We lived right in that compound,
right behind where the hostages were held, and some of them were held
in our house.
JOHNSON: They were held in your house, some of the hostages?
THACHER: Yes, and so many of these Iranians that we knew came to this
country and they said to me, "If we'd had 15 more years of the Shah
we'd have been all right." That's the way they felt about it. They
were doing big business, building things. But not everything was a success.
There was inadequate follow-up to their land reform program. They had
programs which were mostly failures. Planless urbanization was getting
out of hand.
JOHNSON: There were students in this country when I was in Washington,
D.C., in '78, and they were having this noisy demonstration against the
THACHER: The Shah always said, "They're all communists, just communists,
so don't pay any attention to them." Whenever the Shah came to this
country he was greeted with hostile demonstrations by Iranian students.
Once Bobby Kennedy invited some of these demonstrators to come up to his
office for a chat. The Shah was furious and forever after distrusted the
JOHNSON: So you ended your career, at least your diplomatic career, in
Saudi Arabia, during the years 1970 to '73 as Ambassador there. Were those
fairly tranquil years?
THACHER: Compared to what came after, yes, they were. Saudi Arabia was
just a little off stage, until the '73 war came and the price of oil went
up, and the Saudis joined in the embargo. Of course, when they began to
get such enormous amounts of money, then they were perceived as one of
the big players in the Middle East scene.
JOHNSON: Was that a real watershed, the year 1973?
THACHER: '73 was a real watershed and I would attribute it to the fact
that the price of oil went from $4 to $14 a barrel, plus the fact that
the Saudis were very resolute in observing the oil embargo, which, of
course, was not really terribly effective. Oil was so fungible that you
could get it somewhere else.
JOHNSON: This was an Israeli attack?
THACHER: No, no, it was an Egyptian attack on Israel in '73. They crossed
the Suez Canal, which was a great achievement for the Egyptian military.
JOHNSON: But then there was the counterattack, and Egypt was thrown back.
THACHER: The counterattack, and then [Henry] Kissinger decided he didn't
want to let the Israelis win too much. He wanted the Egyptians to go away
from that war feeling that they had made a major accomplishment, which
they did. Because of the crossing [of the Suez Canal] there was a slogan
in Cairo. "The crossing, the crossing, we got across and defeated
the Israelis." But that was only true for a while.
JOHNSON: Well, I appreciate the time you have given me, and
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
List of Subjects Discussed
Acheson, Dean, 68-70
Allen, George, 39
Alling, Paul, 32
Baathist Party, 60-61
Baghdad Pact, 46-54, 56-57, 62-70
Basu, Jaoti, 37
Battery D, 9, 11-12
Battle of Westport, 2
Bowles, Chester, 39, 40-41, 55
Byroade, Henry, 44, 68
Clifford, Clark, 69
Communist Parties - India, 37-38
Condon, Colonel, 18
Dulles, John Foster, 34, 41, 43, 48, 51-54, 56, 63, 65, 68
Dunar, Andrew, 11
Eisenhower, President Dwight, 43, 52, 67-68
Foreign Service Exam, 26-27
Gallman, Waldemar, 64-65
Grady, Henry F., 39, 42
Hamby, Alonzo, 3, 5, 10
Henderson, Loy, 33-34, 39-40, 68-70
Hurd, Edith Thacher, 1
India, 36-45, 47-48
Iran, 57-58, 73-79
Islamic Fundamentalism, 73
Israel, 67-70, 80
Jacobson, Eddie, 11
Jernigan, John, 44
Jinnah, Mohammed, 30
Kennedy, Bobby, 79
Kennedy, Donald, 44
Kennedy, President J. F., 72
Kissinger, Henry, 80
Leigh, Vere, 14
Marks, Ted, 11
Marshall, George C., 42, 44, 68-70
McGhee, George, 48, 51
Menderes, Adnan, 51-52, 65-67
Menon, V. K. Krishna:
Mexican Expedition – 1915, 8
Middle East Treaty Organization, 70
Morris, Willie, 47
Mountbatten, Lord, 33
Naffziger, jean Louise, 18
Nassar, Gamal, 54
Nehru, 31-34, 40, 42-43, 45, 47-48, 50
Non-alignment policy, 45-46
Nelson, Colonel, 5
Nimitz, Chester, 17-18
Pakistan, 27-36, 41, 43, 47, 56
Pensacola U.S.S., 24-25
Point IV, 62
Qassim, Abdul Karim, 61-62
Rozelle Court, 5
Rozelle, Frank, 5
Said, Nuri, 60-61
Saudi Arabia, 71-73, 79-80
Shah of Iran, 73-74, 76-79
Seato, 56-57, 70
Smith, Henry, 44
Snyder, John, 19
Tarkington, Booth, 16
Thacher, Edith Gilman, 1
Thacher, Jean Louise Naffziger, 28
Thacher, John H., 1, 4-23
Thacher, John H., Jr., 1
Truman haberdashery, 10, 11
Truman, Harry S., 8, 9-10, 12, 16, 17-20, 39-40, 48, 51, 67-69
U.S.S. Pensacola, 24-25
Vaughan, Harry, 18
Williams, William L. S., 44
Wooden, McKinley, 11, 12
Wright, Edwin, 68
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]