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Geoffrey W. Lewis Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
Geoffrey W. Lewis

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

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

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


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

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

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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

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

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



Oral History Interview with
Geoffrey W. Lewis

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

[1]

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

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

[2]

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

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

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

[3]

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

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

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

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

[4]

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

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

[5]

perhaps the most important of the four advisers.

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

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

[6]

last as long as it did?

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

[7]

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

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

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

[8]

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

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

LEWIS:  Oh, they did.

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

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

[9]

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

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

[10]

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

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

[11]

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

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

MCKINZIE:  You are talking about France?

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

[12]

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

[13]

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

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

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

[14]

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

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

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

[15]

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

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

[16]

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

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

[17]

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

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

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

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

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

[18]

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

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

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

[19]

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

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

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

[20]

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

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

[21]

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

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

[22]

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

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

[23]

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

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

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

[24]

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

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

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

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

LEWIS:  Well, the American Army, whatever its faults

[25]

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

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

[26]

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

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

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

[27]

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

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

[28]

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

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

[29]

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

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

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

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

[30]

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

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

[31]

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

LEWIS:  To an extent, particularly in France.

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

[32]

thinking in the military?

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

[33]

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

MCKINZIE:  When you were again working for General

[34]

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

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

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

[35]

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

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

[36]

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

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

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

[37]

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

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

[38]

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

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

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

[39]

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

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

[40]

can be.  We have a government of advocacies.

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

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

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

[41]

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

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

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

MCKINZIE:  The business of backstopping intrigues

[42]

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

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

[43]

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

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

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

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

[44]

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

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

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

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

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

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undoubtedly the best man for the job at that time.

Now, that doesn't mean ten years later, six years later, or whenever -- when he got older for one thing; when the Germans had developed a democratic government; when internal peace had settled in Germany; when Germany had reconstituted its own political system -- that Adenauer