John S. Dickey Oral History Interview


John S. Dickey

Oral History Interview with
John S. Dickey

Assistant to Assistant Secretary of State and assistant to legal adviser, U.S. Department of State,,1934-36; Special Assistant to Secretary of State, 1940; Special Assistant to Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, 1940-44, and detailed to U.S. Department of State as Chief, World Trade Intelligence Division, Director of Office of Public Affairs, Department of State, 1944-45; and Public Liaison Officer, U.S. delegation to U.N. Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, 1945.

Boston, Massachusetts
July 19, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie

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

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

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the 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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 March, 1980
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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

Oral History Interview with
John S. Dickey

Boston, Massachusetts
July 19, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie


MCKINZIE: Professor Dickey, could you begin by talking about your involvement with the State Department just prior to the Second World War?

DICKEY: Perhaps I should preface that by saying that I first went to the State Department in 1934, as an assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State, Francis Sayre. He had charge of the economic side of the Department and specifically had charge of the development of the reciprocal trade agreements program for Secretary [Cordell] Hull. That may be relevant to what I am going to talk about, because it established my familiarity


with that side of the State Department and with the personnel who were working on reciprocal trade agreements.

I went back to my Boston law connection from the State Department in the middle of 1936, and I then came back on leave of absence from the law office to the State Department every three years to help out on the renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act on the Hill. Actually, I was in Washington on such a leave of absence, as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of State, Mr. Hull, in 1940, when the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act was up for renewal. It came up at that time every three years; it passed first in 1934, then in 1937, and then it was up again for renewal in 1940. Since I had worked on the passage of the Act on the Hill and had been down for the renewal fight of 1937, I was invited to come down again in the winter of 1940 to help out on the problems, mainly


legal, legislative drafting and the like. This, incidentally, was a renewal of considerable importance to Secretary Hull, because there was a possibility that Mr. Hull would become the Democratic nominee for President in the event that Roosevelt decided not to go for a third term.

As I recall, it was while I was finishing up that assignment in the early spring of 1940 that my very close friend who was the Chief of the Division of Commercial Policy (the division in the State Department which had charge of the reciprocal trade agreements program) asked me if I would come over to his office one late afternoon to meet a man, whom he assumed I knew or at least knew of. This man was considering an invitation that had been extended to him by the President and Secretary Hull to become the next Assistant Secretary of State in Charge of Economic Affairs (succeeding Henry Grady, who


had succeeded my Chief; Francis Sayre, earlier). The man was Dean Acheson, and Harry Hawkins, who was an old State Department hand and a highly qualified expert on commercial policy, particularly trade agreement negotiations, thought it might be helpful to Mr. Acheson if he could talk with a young lawyer who might be able to respond to some of his questions about the nature of that assistant secretaryship. Since I had served for several years as the assistant to the particular office, this was the occasion of my meeting Dean Acheson. As I recall it, we had a pleasant discussion in which he asked me to describe my perception of the responsibilities he had been invited by Secretary Hull and, of course, by President Roosevelt to take on. It was something which Mr. Acheson obviously was glad to investigate, but by no means clear about. He had had a difficult policy disagreement with Mr. Roosevelt in the early months of the Roosevelt administration. He had left the Treasury under


dignified circumstances which led President Roosevelt, as I understand, to say that Dean Acheson was one of the few men who knew how to resign. However, he wasn't, as he put it to me, particularly anxious to go through another experience in which he found it necessary -- or at least the thing to do -- to resign out of disagreement and dissatisfaction. He also, I think, felt that he did not have a very good understanding of Mr. Hull personally or of Mr. Hull's devotion to the cause of reciprocal trade. He wasn't sure, therefore, that he was really the man for this job. So, by and large, my function in that very informal discussion, which took place in Hawkins' office, was to describe to him, as I saw it, the job of the Assistant Secretary of State in that area, and more especially to give him, if you will, a little of Mr. Hull's "religion" about reciprocal trade agreements. It's very fair and possibly of some interest to say that Mr. Acheson was far from


being a person who at that point regarded reciprocal trade as one of the great issues of American foreign policy. And this was one of the things that slowed him up a little bit about accepting the position since he gathered that Secretary Hull regarded it as the keystone of American foreign policy. He was hesitant about getting into a position of responsible obligation to the Secretary and to the President in a field where he might not be moved with the same conviction that was true with Mr. Hull. So, insofar as a young person was able to do it, part of my assignment from Hawkins, I guess, was to help Mr. Acheson see the potential significance of the reciprocal trade program in a somewhat larger context than I think at that point he saw it. I think it's fair to jump ahead a bit and to say that he never became, in my opinion, one who was just totally committed to the central importance of the trade agreements program.


It's probable that he would have achieved a deeper conviction about the importance of the program, if it had not been for the fact that the world was then moving into the war period. Other things very rapidly superseded trade agreements as the central concern of the Assistant Secretary in charge of economic affairs, and this would later lead to new significant relationships with Mr. Acheson.

MCKINZIE: Was there anything in particular that would make you think that he didn't develop this commitment?

DICKEY: Well, he was candid about this. He was explicit about it in his discussions with me. Occasionally later, when I would meet him in his office, he would sometimes jokingly refer back to our first meeting, and he would say, "I'm never going to get religion on trade agreements the way Harry Hawkins and Secretary Hull have it."


But he, at the same time, had a lawyer's ability to take on the cause of his client. The reciprocal trade agreements were the priority policy of Secretary Hull, and if he was going to be the Assistant Secretary of State, there was no being half loyal about reciprocal trade policies. It is simply that with the threat of war ahead and with his background he was not in a position to regard trade agreements as the most important thing he would be concerned with in the State Department; and it very quickly turned out that that was not the case. In other words, lend-lease and economic warfare projects quickly preempted the center of the stage. And the other thing to remember is that the fight to renew the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act had been won in the Congress before Mr. Acheson came in as Assistant Secretary.

That effort was over; Hull's policy had been reaffirmed at least for the next three years, and Acheson wasn't going to be involved in fighting


for it. They were not in a position to negotiate more such agreements; as I recall, I don't think they negotiated any significant new agreement after the summer of 1940, because of wartime conditions. From 1940 on this program was largely "on hold."

MCKINZIE: Perhaps before you go into the other relationships you had with Mr. Acheson, you would be good enough to talk about how you came to be affiliated with Nelson Rockefeller when he was Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs?

DICKEY: Yes. Well, that leads right into my next relationship with Mr. Acheson. In 1940 I was still with the Boston law firm that I had started off with back in 1932, Gaston, Snow, Saltonstall (the last name changed, but it's still known as the Gaston, Snow office). In the late summer and early fall of 1940, Mr. Rockefeller set up his Latin American agency in Washington. The first big problem, which remained a problem throughout


his years as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (they had a longer name for it to start with), was his relationship with the State Department. Quite aside from the fact that Mr. Hull did not appreciate people wandering into his particular pea patch, the State Department as a whole did not welcome having a Coordinator of Affairs in South America set up outside the State Department. But this was the way President Roosevelt and, I believe, Harry Hopkins (who was the principal intermediary with President Roosevelt) and Mr. Rockefeller wanted it set up: independent and outside of the State Department.

Well, this agency had just gotten started in the early fall of 1940, when they began to have difficulties with State. Sumner Welles was Under Secretary of State, and he regarded Latin America as his special area of interest and expertness. Mr. Rockefeller's difficulties reached the point where he felt he needed a liaison in his organization


who was persona grata in State and who, at the same time, would be a person he would have confidence in. He had known me as a result of our common Dartmouth connection although we were not close personal friends in college. Indeed, in college I only knew who he was. After college I had occasion to meet him on a number of occasions, but only in passing, so to speak. But we knew each other sufficiently that when this problem arose of finding somebody who could be in his organization and at the same time serve as a liaison between his organization and the State Department, apparently I was the person that both Secretary Hull and Mr. Rockefeller knew in a way that permitted them to decide that I was the best bet they could put their finger on at the moment to carry out that assignment. So, he asked me to come down, first on a part-time basis. I commuted from the Boston office during the fall of 1940 to help organize the so-called Axis agents removal program in South


America for the Coordinator's office. This was one of the big initiatives that Mr. Rockefeller's agency took and if he had not taken it, I'm sure it would have been some time before it would have been undertaken elsewhere in the Government. The aim was to dry up Axis propaganda, etc. resources in South America, primarily by getting the voluntary cooperation of American business firms to drop their commercial agents in South America who were connected with or actively supporting or contributing to German and Italian activities in Latin America. We called it the Voluntary Program for Removal of Axis Agents in Latin America during that period, and it remained a voluntary program under the leadership of the Coordinator's office until July 1941 when -- the United States Government decided to establish an official "blacklist", under an executive order authorizing a public list of Certain Blocked Nationals. Rockefeller's office continued as one of the six agencies in charge of the program, and I was assigned


to the State Department in charge of the new division that was to have principal responsibility for carrying out this "blacklist" program. I also continued with the Rockefeller office acting in my liaison capacity with State as previously, but from July 1941 on Mr. Acheson as Assistant Secretary of State had over-all responsibility for the "blacklist" and I reported to him. At Acheson's request, I was "loaned" by Rockefeller to State to set up and direct the new division.

It was that experience as a division chief reporting to Acheson, as he took charge of State's part in the economic warfare activity of the Government, that brought me close to him and really began a gradual disengagement insofar as my relationships to the Rockefeller office were concerned. Since the Rockefeller office was designated to be one of the six Government agencies that were concerned cooperatively with getting out the blacklist I represented Rockefeller as well as


State in this effort, but gradually my responsibilities in charge of the Division of World Trade Intelligence in the State Department pretty well preempted all my time for the next several years.

MCKINZIE: It must have taken a great deal of effort to mobilize the voluntary cooperation of American businesses in those countries, because I gather that this program was very effective.

DICKEY: I think it was effective, and it did take a lot of effort on the part of many individuals. At the outset in early 1940 the Rockefeller office sent a mission to South America called the Douglas-Lockwood Mission. Percy Douglas, who was then with the Rockefeller office on leave of absence from Otis Elevator Company, was a leader of the mission. John Lockwood, who had been close to Rockefeller as a lawyer, was another member of it. A State Department Foreign Service Officer and an FBI man named Foxworth were also members of the mission. It toured Latin


America rather rapidly, consulting U.S. embassies and other sources for information about the extent of Axis activities and the commercial relationships with American business firms of Axis supporters. When that mission came back, the first thing we had to do was to sift out the evidence, set it up systematically, and evaluate it. Once we did that, we began carrying the message to the heads of the American business firms that were concerned, asking them if they would voluntarily replace those agents. I don't think this program would have been successful as a voluntary activity if it had not been for Mr. Rockefeller's sponsorship of it and his initiative, because his name carried a good bit of influence with the business executive. Even so, it was not entirely easy sailing. Perhaps I should be explicit about one instance, which was, I guess, probably the principal case during that period, namely the difficulties we had with General Motors about replacing a couple of their principal agents, one in Cuba and one in Bolivia.


These became causes celebres; these were good business agents and General Motors in general took a position which I think was quite understandable at the time. They felt they couldn't possibly -- a large American corporation doing business all over the world -- get into the internal political activities of their agents in the other countries. If the agent was behaving himself, and abiding by the laws of the local country, what could they do about it? Well, Mr. Rockefeller was committed, as Harry Hopkins was, to the proposition that they could do something about it. Namely, they were asked to cooperate by voluntarily replacing pro-Axis representatives in these countries. Even though we weren't yet at war, the United States Government was not by any means neutral in regard to this type of activity, particularly so far as the hemisphere was concerned. And there were some very straight forward exchanges down the line at General Motors, and between Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. [Alfred P., Jr.]


Sloan up the line. Ultimately, we had a meeting, I remember, in Mr. Welles' office, after a meeting at the White House with Harry Hopkins, Mr. Rockefeller, and myself. I don't remember whether anyone else was there or not. At the White House Hopkins, in effect, said to Rockefeller, "We want action, we want results, and I want you to make clear to General Motors that the United States Government cannot be indifferent to an American firm of that prestige having agents in Latin America that we believe are carrying on pro-Axis activities."

The decisive confrontation with General Motors in that case took place in Mr. Welles' office; Mr. Rockefeller got Mr. Welles to call in several high officials of General Motors, and Mr. Welles (I was there at the meeting) laid down the gospel according to Hopkins very sharply . And shortly General Motors decided to cooperate. So, it is fair to say the program was basically successful insofar as a cooperative program of that sort was concerned.


We began by collecting voluminous reports from the American embassies in Latin America on the activities of these agents and to set up systematic records in the Rockefeller office, which were subsequently turned over to the State Department Division of World Trade Intelligence when it was organized in July of '41. So, in addition to being successful as such, more importantly the voluntary program prepared the way for the official program and the official blacklist when that became necessary in the summer of 1941.

MCKINZIE: Now, when you became the Chief of the Division of World Trade Intelligence, this obviously brought you in contact with the governments of the Latin-American countries. And there is one question which is difficult to sift out of the documents, and that is whether or not countries with which you've had to deal expected something after the war in return for their cooperation?


DICKEY: This would be jumping into the period when after Pearl Harbor, and after the Latin-American countries, with two notable exceptions, especially Argentina, had come into the war. Perhaps I'd just say this much about it, that some of the countries, when war came and they were belligerents against Germany, Italy and Japan, became quite zealous about seizing some businesses owned by Axis nationals. At first, of course, the United States Government was anxious to have this take place. Later, I think, the United States Government was somewhat concerned about procedures and the extent of the seizures, particularly some of the problems of settlement for the properties that arose later.

Now, I did not have, in my division, responsibility for such activities. Our responsibility was maintaining the list. The enforcement of the Government's policies rested with the Treasury Department and with the division in the State


Department which was parallel to mine, called the Division of Financial Controls. The Chief of that division was Donald Hiss. We worked closely with him in providing information but the work of establishing policies and working with other governments in respect to this matter of seizing enemy properties, was carried on by other agencies such as the Treasury, the Justice Department, and the Division of Foreign Funds Control, called FF, in the State Department. So, I did not have very much direct personal experience with that . My responsibilities were primarily focused on the maintenance of the list, which involved gathering intelligence information in the various sections of the Government that had it, the FBI, the American embassies, the Army and Navy Intelligence. I got a pretty good introduction to the intelligence operations of the Government at that point, particularly as it related to overseas Axis activities of a propagandistic nature. And occasionally we would


get on the edges of espionage activities in South America, but our work was primarily in the field of commercial intelligence activity.

Well, I was almost totally preoccupied with the blacklist work from July 1941 until mid-1943 when I was asked to help out on a Trade Agreement renewal. During this period, I sat as a member of Mr. Acheson's Economic Policy Committee, I think he called it, or the Economic Warfare Committee. We met in his office, as I recall, at least several times a week. There would be Tom [Thomas K.] Finletter; Livy [Livingston] Merchant, as I recall; Joe Green; other division chiefs; Donald Hiss; myself and others working on economic warfare matters. And I can remember very vividly, a day or two after Pearl Harbor, a meeting of that group, when about the only agenda activity, so far as the Japanese were concerned, was our list of Japanese businesses operating in South America. We had been gathering the list for six months or so, and immediately after


Pearl Harbor we put out a special edition of the blacklist adding the Japanese names.

I remember Mr. Acheson saying, "Well, this is a small token of response to the Japanese attack, but all contributions are gratefully received."

That's just an indication of the fact that at the most troublesome times he had the ability to raise our spirits with a quip, a bit of humor. At the same time, I can remember that week as the reports began to come in of the extent of the damages at Pearl Harbor, and his deadly serious sharing it with us in a staff meeting.

He said, "This is a far more serious blow than we dare admit. It is truly a desperate moment."

So, the frightening truth was brought home to all of us, quietly and unmistakably.

In 1943 I was asked once again by Mr. Hull to come over and work upon the renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act -- the three year renewal. So, I took what I thought was going to be a leave of


absence from the job of Chief of the Division of World Trade Intelligence to go over and work as a Special Assistant to the Secretary and with Harry Hawkins on the renewal of the 1943 Trade Agreements Act.

At that point, getting the Act renewed was a holding action because we had no prospect of negotiating new agreements during the middle of the war. At the same time, it was an experience that I had had several times before and which I rather enjoyed.

As it turned out, I never went back to the blacklist work. Francis Russell took over as Acting Chief of it and succeeded me as Chief of the Division of World Trade Intelligence. He was a man that I had brought to Washington to work with me during the period of the voluntary replacement of agents back in 1940. He came from Boston where I'd known him as a lawyer. He subsequently went on to work with me in the Office of Public Affairs in the State Department, became a close friend of Dean Acheson and served in


the Foreign Service in Israel, as Ambassador to New Zealand, Tunisia, etc.; he is now retired from the Foreign Service.

Well, I don't think there is any need to go into the renewal of the trade agreements fight in '43.

MCKINZIE: There was really no major opposition.

DICKEY: There was none at that point -- the big fight had taken place in 1940. In 1943 they did not request any additional authority. It was to some extent a pro forma renewal. It may be worth noting that, at least nominally, I would have been reporting through Mr. Acheson, but he took very little active part in the renewal of the act at that point, because, as I said, it was then not a major thing. By that time he was really caught up in the hot issues of the economic warfare that he was responsible for in the Department.


MCKINZIE: By 1943 the economic responsibilities had been in a sense fragmented and segmented. They had at first the Bureau of Economic Warfare; then there was the FEA, Foreign Economics Administration…

DICKEY: Milo [Mahlon F.] Perkins' operation.

MCKINZIE: …the Treasury Department had its people; and so on. Did this concern you at all being tied up in this?

DICKEY: Oh. I was involved, I would say, in a peripheral way in the jurisdictional fights. The fighting that went on, inter-bureau, interdepartmental, jurisdictional fighting, was just incredible as I look back on it. I suppose it's a normal, natural condition in the Government, where everybody was trying to do something to help in the cause of winning the war. But to use the worn-out expression, "everybody was into everybody else's hair."


Milo Perkins was trying to coordinate economic warfare, and Nelson Rockefeller was trying to coordinate it in Latin America. This led to some very strained relationships between Rockefeller and Milo Perkins. Indeed, that led to the alienation of one of Rockefeller's right-hand men, who became one of Perkins' close friends, Carl Spaeth. There were all sorts of complicating problems with the State Department attempting to manage the whole menagerie, and Acheson having an ill-defined responsibility for "keeping the peace" with other departments, other governments and within the Department itself which split three or four different ways with respect to economic issues. You had [Leo] Pasvolsky, the Special Assistant to the Secretary; you had Herbert Feis, the Economic Adviser; you had Adolph Berle, an Assistant Secretary who moved "at large;" and Acheson's own divisions. It was really quite a business, not to speak of the fact that Secretary Hull and Under Secretary Welles were approaching a


showdown in their relationship. So, sometimes I look back and think that God Almighty must have been on the side of the United States. It often seemed that the major difficulty of the economic warfare program of the United States Government was that all the departments were either in the act or wanted to be: Perkins as Economic Warfare director was coordinating at large, Rockefeller was coordinating in Latin America, the State Department was trying to coordinate itself, and everybody else, and the Treasury, while assuming that it was "running the show", wondered what all these other people thought they were doing, anyway.

MCKINZIE: Well, in a sense was the Treasury running the show? Mr. [Henry, Jr.] Morgenthau was especially close to this.

DICKEY: Oh, and he had some very able, some very able, zealous fellows: John Paley, Bernie [Bernard] Bernstein, and two or three others I can name. They


were competent people and they didn't like having their work constantly screened through all these other bodies.

Well, perhaps this is the point at which to say that after the renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements, the question arose as to whether I should go back to running the blacklist work in the latter part of '43. By that time the postwar planning work had begun to take on real significance in the State Department, under Pasvolsky, and the various intra-governmental committees under Sumner Welles. I believe Harry Hawkins was responsible for saying to Pasvolsky at one point (they were pretty close), "You're going to need some public support for these postwar plans one of these days; you're going to need liaison with private groups, business organizations, labor organizations, church groups, educational groups, and so on. Why don't you see if you can get the Secretary to assign John Dickey to that work in the Department, rather than having him go back to the


blacklist work? That job has more or less been done, and he has done this sort of thing now for almost ten years for the Secretary in the renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, four times, working with these various organizations. Maybe you could get him to come in and take over that side of the postwar planning activity."

Well, Pasvolsky, I guess, decided this would be a good idea and, in any event, propositioned me on behalf of the Secretary. Would I be willing to come over as Special Consultant -- which was the title they proposed to Secretary Hull -- to help on establishing a two-way liaison with the State Department and private American organizations interested in peace planning? And I did.

I was set up in what we called the Office of Public Liaison, Special Consultant to the Secretary of State. I have written a little of the story in the book entitled, The Secretary of State, edited by Don Price, in the chapter on “The


Secretary and the Public." A positive, two-way relationship of the State Department and the American public first grew out of the trade agreements program and then out of the public liaison work in the postwar planning. From these beginnings come the public affairs activities of today's State Department. This is a matter of really very considerable significance. It's been written up by another man, who did a book, as part of his Ph.D. thesis at Johns Hopkins, on the press and the State Department.

MCKINZIE: As you do point out, that was very important work that was going on in the Department, and it was important that the public have some idea of what was going to happen after the war. No one expected the war to simply make the world like it had been in 1939; it was going to be a different kind economically, if Dean Acheson and Will [William] Clayton had anything to do with it.

You had dealings, I'm aware, with CED, which


was set up for the specific purpose of making business people aware of what postwar economic responsibilities and realities were going to be like. To what extent did you believe that the plans which Pasvolsky's people were generating were going to see reality, were going to be actualities in the future? Was there any reason to believe, given the kind of weak nature of some of Mr. Hull's recommendations, that these things were going to be put into effect?

DICKEY: Well, this is a question that could take us into many different byways, and would require mostly speculative answers. We had certain specific things that we were doing in our relationship with these groups, sending speakers out to them, having meetings with them to get their ideas to feed back into the postwar planning. The Central principle that I had tried to introduce into the whole information activity of the Department that went back to the trade. agreements


work was that this must be a two-way relationship. I was simply not interested in trying to sell these organizations on just the State Department point of view. You couldn't do it. They would resist this. They wanted to have an opportunity to make an input. What the State Department had to say, they wanted to hear that they wanted to consider it; but they also wanted an opportunity to make some input. So, the essential thing was to try to create something of a two-way relationship. And part of our activities during this period was not just selling a plan from the State Department to these groups but to get these groups into touch with the people who were making the plans in the State Department; bringing them in, arranging group meetings or individual meetings, seeing that their literature got serious consideration, and things like that. For example, I think the Food and Agriculture, FAO, was the first international postwar organization


that we went for. And Acheson did the principal work in selling that, in a way, at Congress and elsewhere and in working on the negotiation of it. We didn't have really an awful lot to do with that in the liaison office. We had something to do with it, but this was mainly handled by Mr. Acheson.

When the proposals for a U.N. came along, the British, the French, the Russians and the Americans got together at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, in the fall of '44. This was the "big four" critical meeting where the first draft of the U.N. charter was agreed on. Only at that point did we have something tangible, and even then that draft was secret and caused one heck of a lot of trouble because of the secrecy preoccupation of, I'd have to say quite frankly, the people such as Pasvolsky and a few others who were just scared to death that their ideas were going to get prematurely exposed and get shot down before they had reached


international agreement on them with the Russians and the British.

I'm jumping ahead a little bit here now, but [Edward R., Jr.] Stettinius did come in in '44 after the elections, as Secretary -- earlier he had come in as Under Secretary, where he succeeded Welles. Welles went out at the end of '43, as I recall, and Harry Hopkins got Stettinius in to beef up the State Department. Stettinius was the one who really put the fire under the development of our public liaison work.

One day I was at home, one Sunday morning, working down in the basement, and my wife called me -- this was while Stettinius was Acting Secretary in November or December of '44 -- and she said, "Under Secretary Stettinius wants to speak to you."

Well, I'd never been called at home by the Acting Secretary of State before, so I wondered what had happened.

And he said, "I've just gotten this memorandum


that you wrote six weeks ago about what the State Department might be doing to get itself organized for a more effective relationship with the public and these American organizations. I like it. Could you come into the office first thing in the morning and see what we can do about it?"

Well, he was that kind of a do-it-now guy. There were many things Mr. Stettinius didn't understand about the State Department or American diplomacy, but he was certainly a fellow who believed in getting things done. So, he was the one that really launched the public liaison work into being taken seriously around the Department. This is all apropos of the fact that when the Dumbarton Oaks Conference came along a little later there was a big hassle in the American press about the secrecy of Dumbarton Oaks. They had troops patrolling outside, so the press couldn't get near the discussions and so forth, and this almost blew the thing out of water. Mr. Stettinius never


liked troubles with the press. So, when there was a lot of trouble with the press -- and, of course, this also propagated out into these private organizations that we were looking to for support -- he called up Pasvolsky and Hiss, both of whom were out at Dumbarton Oaks, and said, "Let's get John Dickey to get hold of these church groups" (it was a church group that was causing the particular objection at this point) "and get them back on the track." So, Alger Hiss called me up from Dumbarton Oaks and said, "The Secretary wants you to get the support of the church groups." Well, by this time I was already in a slow burn about the fact that the public liaison people were just absolutely cut out of knowing themselves what was going on at Dumbarton Oaks, the thing was held so secret.

So, I said to Hiss, "Well, it's fine that you should relay the message of the Secretary to me that I should get the church groups on the track, but I wish you would in turn relay the message to him that


until we here in the Public Liaison Office have some notion of what's going on out there at Dumbarton Oaks, we're in no position to get anybody on the track, let alone ourselves."

I was really pretty burned up about the whole thing, and this to some extent set Hiss back on his heels. Within twenty minutes I had a call from the Under Secretary's office, saying that he wanted me, Pasvolsky, Hiss, and Mr. Wilson, who was head of one of the post-war planning groups, to come to his office immediately. Well, we went down to his office and we had it out, and I repeated to him what I'd said to Hiss.

I said, "God knows we want to work with these organizations and get their help, but we can't do it unless we know what's going on out there."

Well, Mr. Stettinius blew his top, and he turned to Hiss and said, "I want John Dickey out at Dumbarton tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock." Well, this is one of the highlights of the internal problems, and just a


little insight into the way Stettinius operated when he felt he was in, if you will, trouble with the public and the press.

MCKINZIE: What were you subsequently able to do with those groups?

DICKEY: Well, we were able to do a lot with them. Indeed, I think just to carry this side of the story to a conclusion, at least for present purposes, shortly thereafter, when Mr. Stettinius became Secretary with Mr. Hull's retirement because of illness, he created in December of '44 what he called his "team" (this is one of the first uses in the Department that I remember of that overworked term). And at that point he moved Acheson to be in charge of the congressional relationship -- Assistant Secretary in Charge of Congressional Relations. And at that point they also created a new organizational setup. There were twelve new main line offices in the State Department under the Stettinius


reorganization, and I was made Director of one of these new twelve main line offices, first called the office of Public Information, but very quickly changed, at our suggestion, to the office of Public Affairs. So, I was the career man in charge of the public affairs and cultural relations activity that Mr. Archibald MacLeish, as the new Assistant Secretary -- indeed, the first Assistant Secretary in charge of this area -- had responsibility for. And it was during this period -- when MacLeish came in December of 1944 on into the summer of '45 -- that we really cranked up what for that time was a very high-powered public affairs operation. We were working with American organizations -- Kiwanis, Rotary, veterans, church, education, business, labor, almost any civic group you can name -- providing material about the proposed organization that would become the United Nations. And, of course, certain drafts were made public in the spring that we could use. From this very important activity, as part of the United Nations Charter


Conference at San Francisco, came invitations from the State Department to each one of the 42 organizations that we were working with to provide a consultant to the American delegation. This was always regarded as one of the most important moves