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Ambassador Charles "Chip" Bohlen

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Thought that Charles "Chip" Bohlen deserves his own thread. He was much more of a JFK fan than an enemy by all means, but he was very familiar with

those who wanted JFK dead and gone.

1) He was targeted by McCarthyism and this attack by McCarthy was the beginning of the end for "Tailgunner Joe"

2) Obtained a copy of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement between Hitler and Stalin and circulated it among diplomatic circles the week before the attack on Poland

3) When my uncle, Ambassador Charles Yost, heard this news he used his diplomatic connections to rescue my mother and her two sisters from Poland before the onslaught

4) His father, also Charles Bohlen, attended the Taft-Draper wedding in Hopedale, MA in 1917 which might account for Senator Robert A. Taft coming to his rescue against McCarthy

5) Was not particularly liked by John Foster Dulles who lobbied successfully to replace him as Ambassador to the Soviet Union

6) Jumped ship during the Cuban Missile Crisis and hopped a steamer to Europe where his next diplomatic assignment was set to start (Not sure why)

7) Was very close to pivotal anti-Communist Russian families due to his extensive travel and studies inside the Soviet Union. Attended U.S. Russian church services often

8) Appointed by JFK as Ambassador to France, as I recall

9) Was part of The Wise Men with Dean Acheson, George Kennan, John McCloy, early Eugenicist Averill Harriman, and Robert Lovett

10) He was a born into privilege, his father was a gentleman of leisure, but he disdained leisure to work hard to maintain US-Soviet relations and certainly was a specialist in Soviet Affairs

Charles (Chip) Bohlen (1904-1973) was a Russian specialist who served in various government positions, including U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and interpreter and advisor to various presidents on Russian affairs. Charles Eustis Bohlen was born on August 30, 1904, the son of Charles and Celestine (Eustis) Bohlen in Clayton, New York. One of three children, Bohlen grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, where his father, who had inherited a small fortune, was a banker and sportsman. At age 12 Charles moved with his family to Ipswich, Massachusetts. He graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and matriculated at Harvard College, where he majored in modern European history (with one course in Russian history), gained admission to the exclusive Porcellian Club, and played scrub football. His friends dubbed him "Chipper," later reduced to Chip, his nickname.

After Bohlen took his B.A. at Harvard in 1927, he went on a world tour on a tramp ship. Although he had not intended to become a diplomat, his extensive world travels with his family as a child and his course work at Harvard caused him to enter the Foreign Service in Washington in 1929. He was assigned as vice-consul at Prague until 1931, when he became vice-consul at Paris. Here he began serious study of the Russian language. He attended Russian church services and perfected his language skills with Russian emigrees in street cafes. Assigned to study Russian language by the State Department (which anticipated recognition of the Bolshevik government), Bohlen spent one summer with a Russian family in Estonia.

When the United States resumed diplomatic relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1933, Bohlen was named vice-consul under Ambassador William C. Bullitt. Later he served as third secretary at the American Embassy, during which time he travelled extensively throughout Russia. Bohlen returned to Washington in 1935 to join the Division of Eastern European Affairs. Although Bohlen treasured his experiences in Russia, he conceded that he always felt a breath of refreshing air when he crossed the border. Returning in 1938, he found Russia was in convulsion because of the political purge trials which he personally observed. He scored somewhat of a diplomatic coup when in 1939 he learned details of the Russo-German pact which led to the Nazi attack on Poland, starting World War II.

The State Department reassigned Bohlen to Tokyo in 1940, and he was interned with other embassy personnel in 1941 after the Pearl Harbor attack. When Bohlen returned to Washington, he impressed presidential aide Harry Hopkins. As a result, he became President Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal Russian interpreter. Bohlen continued his diplomatic travels in 1943 when he accompanied Secretary of State Cordell Hull to the Moscow Conference which set the diplomatic framework for the United Nations International Organization. He remained in Moscow as first secretary until summoned in 1944 to be Roosevelt's interpreter at the Teheran Conference of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt. After serving at the Washington conference at Dumbarton Oaks on international organization, he became liaison between the secretary of state and the White House until Roosevelt took him to the Yalta Conference as his interpreter, a task he would later perform for Harry Hopkins on his mission to Moscow. He attended the United Nations conference at San Francisco and went to the Potsdam conference as President Harry S. Truman's language expert. Increasingly he was not only serving as an interpreter but as an adviser to secretaries of state, including James F. Byrnes, George C. Marshall, and Dean Acheson.

Controversy surrounded Bohlen's appointment to Moscow as ambassador by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. Opposed by Wisconsin's Joseph R. McCarthy, who attacked Bohlen for his role at the Yalta Conference, he eventually won Senate confirmation by a vote of 74 to 13. McCarthy's performance so outraged Senate leaders Robert A. Taft and William Knowland that it marked the beginning of McCarthy's demise.

Political turmoil highlighted Bohlen's five years in Moscow as ambassador, a period which saw the rise and fall of Georgi M. Malenkov, the execution of Lavrenti P. Beria, the emergence of Nikita S. Khruschev, de-Stalinization, the revolt in Hungary, and the Suez crisis. Although his tenure was characterized by highly charged exchanges with Soviet diplomats, the Russians were disappointed when he was moved to the Philippine Embassy, a transfer that resulted from long-standing differences with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Later he became special adviser on Soviet affairs for Secretary of State Christian Herter. He finished his diplomatic career with five years of service at the difficult Paris Embassy for President John F. Kennedy and one year as deputy under secretary of state for political affairs, concluding over 40 years of service with the State Department. At age 69, Bohlen died of cancer in Washington, D.C., on December 31, 1973.

Further Reading

Bohlen's obituary appeared in the New York Times on January 2, 1974. Other references may be found in the New York Times Index and the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. His diplomatic correspondence may be found in the annual volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States published by the State Department.

Bohlen wrote a superb autobiography just before his death, entitled Witness to History, 1929-1969 (1973) and background materials can be consulted in Alexander DeConde, A History of American Foreign Policy (1978) and Paul Y. Hammond, The Cold War Years: American Foreign Policy Since 1945 (1969).

Additional Sources

Ruddy, T. Michael, The cautious diplomat: Charles E. Bohlen and the Soviet Union, 1929-1969, Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1986.

Edited by John Bevilaqua
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Not to be confused with The Three Wise Men.

The Wise Men were a group of government officials who, during the Truman administration, developed the containment policy of dealing with the Communist bloc and crafted institutions and initiatives such as NATO, the World Bank, and the Marshall Plan. They came to personify an ideal of statesmanship that was marked by non-partisanship, pragmatic internationalism, and aversion to ideological fervor. They were chronicled in a book by that title written by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, published in 1986. The principal men featured in the book were:

Dean Acheson

Charles E. Bohlen

W. Averell Harriman

George F. Kennan

Robert A. Lovett

John J. McCloy

These six friends—two lawyers, two bankers, two diplomats—came together when Harry Truman became President of the United States in 1945 and helped create a bipartisan foreign policy based on the resistance of the expansion of Soviet power. They were exemplars of the American foreign policy establishment, and as such tended to be practical, realistic, and non-ideological. They had generally known each other since their days at prep school or college, and on Wall Street. After they had retired, they and a group of like-minded establishment elders were dubbed The Wise Men and summoned back by President Lyndon Johnson. At first they supported the Vietnam War, but in a pivotal meeting in March 1968 they expressed the conviction that the war could not be won and American troops should be withdrawn.

Contents [hide]

1 Vietnam war era

1.1 First meeting

1.2 Second meeting

2 Origins and present-day "wise men"

3 References

4 Links

[edit]Vietnam war era

[edit]First meeting

On November 1 and 2 1967 President Johnson brought together: Dean Acheson, George Ball, General Omar Bradley, McGeorge Bundy, Clark Clifford, Arthur Dean, Douglas Dillon, Justice Abe Fortas, Averill Harriman, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., Robert Murphy and General Maxwell Taylor. They were briefed by General Wheeler and George Carver on Vietnam. Carver and Wheeler reported that great progress was being made in Vietnam. As a group they were unanimous in opposing the United States departure from Vietnam. They did however recognize that that battlefield casualties were eroding support and recommend that Gen. William Westmoreland and Bunker should emphasize the idea that "the light at the end of the tunnel" was in sight. Bundy reported to the President that "public discontent with the war is now wide and deep" but that Johnson should "stay the course".

[edit]Second meeting

On March 25, 1968 the same group that had met in November with the addition of General Matthew Ridgway and Cyrus Vance They were briefed by The State Department, the CIA and the Department of Defense on William Westmoreland request for additional troops for Vietnam in the wake of the Tet Offensive. With the exception of Robert Murphy, General Taylor and Abe Fortas the group's recommendations, summed up by Dean Acheson were "we can no longer do the job we set out to do in the time we have left and we must begin to take steps to disengage" (The Tet Offensive David F. Schmitz)

[edit]Origins and present-day "wise men"

The phenomenon of the "wise man" - an individual who divides his time between business, legal and/or corporate life and government service - is almost uniquely American. While there have been similar instances in other democracies, notably Lord Beaverbrook in the United Kingdom in the 1940s, these tend to be isolated examples. Its prevalence in the United States is probably a function in part of the structure of the U.S. government, whereby the holders of important executive offices are not required, and in fact are constitutionally forbidden from being elected members of Congress. It also reflects the central place of commerce in the life of the American republic.

Some have called John Jay the first "wise man." In the modern sense, however, Elihu Root has a better claim to the title. Edward M. House, who worked with Woodrow Wilson, and Henry L. Stimson, who was Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover and Secretary of War under Franklin Roosevelt, were prominent examples of the "wise men" archetype.

While the original "wise men" fell out of favor after the Vietnam War, the concept of the public/private man has not, though it has undergone some significant changes. Dramatically tightened government ethics and disclosure rules now make such once-seamless transitions between public and private life vastly more complex and difficult. The reorientation of the American economy toward the Sun Belt also means that such men now tend to be drawn from places other than New York. Former Secretaries of State George Shultz of California and James A. Baker of Texas, as well as Robert Strauss, also of Texas, are modern-day examples of "wise men." The "club" of wise men has even been integrated to some extent, with Vernon Jordan serving as a wise man-type counsellor to former President Bill Clinton.


Isaacson, Walter & Thomas, Evan (1986). The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made: Acheson, Bohlen, Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, and McCloy. Simon & Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-68-483771-4

Jenkins, Roy (1989). Gallery of 20th Century Portraits and Oxford Papers. David & Charles. ISBN 0-71-539299-9

Isaacson, Walter, "Is Baker a 'Wise Man' or a wannabe?", http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/o...0,2704602.story


Foreign Affairs book review

Categories: Cold War

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Chip Bohlen's father attended the wedding of Helen Draper and Walbridge Taft, the former President's nephew and Chip Bohlen, Jr. became Ambassador to Russia under Ike and to France under JFK. He was quite the ambassador but the right wingers did not like him because during his tenure he failed to recommend military aid during the Hungarian Revolution, and seemed to coddle Khrushchev too much for their liking. Even Joe McCarthy attacked him in 1952-53 and Senator Taft from Ohio plus Senator Knowland "the Senator from Formosa" jumped to his defense and that led to the end of McCarthy and McCarthyism. Even when the bombing of Quemoy and Matsu happened Bohlen was considered too timid to spank the Rooskies, either. John Foster Dulles

and all the other aggressive rollbackers just did not like him and eventually C. D. Jackson and Ike fired him only to be rehired by JFK. Plus many of the North Korean advances occurred during his watch under the auspices of Dean Rusk and Dean Acheson. When JFK hired both Rusk, Acheson and Bohlen the right wing was convinced that more of the same Detetne and Rollback strategies would continue. They were right. Far Right. So they snuffed JFK.

Now I am conflicted because my paternal grandfather died from injuries he received fighting during the Hungarian Revolution

partly because Bohlen, Ike and Acheson did not want to intervene with military assistance. Yet Bohlen obviously saved both my

Mother's life and the lives of her 2 sisters by giving an advance warning to a young Charge d'Affaires in Paris, Charles W. Yost,

who later married my mother's sister, Helena, who was also guided to an early escape from Poland just as the fighting began.

My Mother and her sisters related stories of being strafed and nearly killed by German fighters while escaping on foot and even watched as various German checkpoints along the road as they made the young male escapees strip down naked. If you were circumcised, that meant you were Jewish and were shot on the spot along with the rest of your family otherwise you were allowed to proceed to the next checkpoint. Needless to say it made a great impression on her.

Now I am more convinced than ever that when JFK re-hired Acheson, Rusk and Bohlen to positions of importance in his cabinet and as Ambassadors, the right wing, including Willoughby, MacArthur, Morris, Angleton, and all the rest, including John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were certain that this meant more of the same old negotiation and detente clambakes once again. They

wanted blood and they wanted to Kill Commies for Christ or they wanted to Kill the Commies because the Commies killed their

Nazi buddies. Regnery Press even published books and articles not only denying the Holocaust but demanding reprieves for convicted Nazi war criminals. They maintained that we fought the war on the wrong side (WITH the Rooskies) and AGAINST the

wrong enemy: The White Christian Master Race which was favored and supported by Draper and the Eugenicists.

This has to be written so that future generations will not repeat the same mistakes again by allowing a few dozen pro-Nazis

with vast experience in Psychological Warfare, Military Warfare, Eugenics and Mind Control to have their way with the world and to silently overthrow a Democracy by killing JFK to get rid of Rusk, Acheson, Bohlen and those of their ilk in order to allow the

MIC to make hundreds of millions of dollars in Viet Nam. With that war chest, Iran-Contra was the next stop. Then Desert Storm, Iraq, Kuwait, then Iran and so on. Whatever they could not get through Congress, they funneled through Boston Metals,

Baldt Anchor and Chain and other CIA proprietaries in order to fund Nicaragua and other operations throughout the World Anti-Communist League. And then there was Blackwater. And there is nothing you or Congress or the President can do about it either. Shut down Boston Metals? Good luck. Expose those behind Baldt Anchor and Chain at the Bank of Maryland? Never happen. Go after the Blackwater operations? How and where and with what citing what laws or rules or regulations?

Have a nice Century.

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