|Wartime American Plans for a New Hungary|
1. The Composition of the Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee first met on February 12, 1942. Unlike the Inquiry, the committee charged with working out United States peace proposals in the course of the First World War, the Advisory Committee included not just scholars and university professors, but also leading associates of the Department of State. Another difference was that it was responsible to the Secretary of State, not to the President. The chairman of the Committee, accordingly, was Secretary of State Cordell Hull, its deputy-chaiman was Undersecretary of State Summer Welles, while the person who actually ran the day-to-day workings of the Committee was Leo Pasvolsky (1893-1953), an economist of Russian descent, and one of Hull's advisers. The Advisory Committee spent its first meeting setting up six subcommittees, the most important of which were the Political Subcommittee and the Territorial Subcommittee. The former, whose sessions were generally chaired by either Hull or Welles, dealt with global and regional political issues, thus, for instance, with what kind of collective security organization should be set up in place of the League of Nations, with inter-state relations throughout the world, and specifically, with Soviet-American relations. The latter, the Territorial Subcommittee, was charged with mapping the regions of the world made most unstable by potential territorial and ethnic disputes, and suggesting border revisions that might eliminate or at least minimize these tensions.
The chairman of the Territorial Subcommittee, and one of the key figures of the Advisory Committee as a whole, was Isiah Bowman (1878-1950), a veteran of the Inquiry, and a professor of geography. As president of the National Geographic Society from 1915 to 1935, Bowman had travelled the world over, his interest in geopolitics making him an avid student of international relations, his specialty at Johns Hopkins University after 1935.
The other key figure of the Advisory Committee was Hamilton Fish Armstrong (1893-1973), the member of the above two subcommittees most versed in European affairs, and the editor of Foreign Affairs, the semi-official quarterly of the Department of State. Armstrong, whose job as editor since 1922 had gained him an extraordinary range of contacts, was particularly knowledgeable about Eastern Europe. His first experience of the region was between 1918 and 1922, as military attaché to the United States embassy in Belgrade. Though after that Foreign Affairs kept him in New York for most of the year, he still travelled extensively in Europe, and counted Józef Pisudski, Eduard Bene, Toma Masaryk, Albert Apponyi, Pál Teleki, István Bethlen, Iuliu Maniu, Nicolae Titulescu and Nikola Pai among his personal acquaintances. He spent the summer of 1931 in Yugoslavia, mostly Dubrovnik. His good will toward these countries was recognized in the form of medals of honor by the Yugoslav state in 1919, and by the Romanian in 1924.
Of the high-ranking Committee members associated with the Department of State, Sumner Welles (1892-1961) was particularly interested in Europe, as was Adolf A. Berle (1895-1971). Berle had majored in history and law at Harvard, and, as one of the youngest members of the 1919 peace delegation, had been consulted on Russian and Northeastern European affairs. His having joined with those members of the Inquiry who protested that the American delegations' "permissiveness" had allowed a number of unjust measures to pass seemed, for a while, to have put an end to his diplomatic career. During the 1920's, he ran a law practice, and also taught at Harvard and Columbia. After 1932, he was an adviser to Roosevelt, and was appointed Deputy Secretary of State in 1938. He had the job of preparing for peace, and thus, of keeping in touch with émigré politicians and governments-in-exile. This was how he came to know Tibor Eckhardt, a leader of the opposition forces in Hungary, sent abroad in 1940, and János Pelényi, the Hungarian ambassador to Washington, who had resigned over Hungary's declaration of war on the United States in 1941. He not only came to know them, but--unlike Armstrong, whose contacts were mostly the politicians of the former Little Entente and within the democratic branch of the Hungarian exiles--Berle sympathized with the views Eckhardt and Pelényi expressed in connection with the postwar future of Eastern Europe.
Other names that we come across in reading the minutes of the various subcommittee sessions are those of Anne O'Hare McCormick (1882-1954), foreign policy analyst of the New York Times and the first woman journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize; Herbert Feis (1893-1972), economist, economic consultant to the Department of State at the time, and later one of the best-known historians of the war and cold war years, and Cavendish W. Cannon (1895-1962), a career diplomat, and head of the State Department's Southeast European Section in 1944-1945.
The Advisory Committee and its various subcommittees had a research staff to help them in their work. Initially, this staff consisted of junior members of the Department of State. By the summer of 1942, however, thirty graduate students who had just received their Ph.D. degrees or were just about to--historians, political scientists, econo- mists, librarians, cartographers, and so on--were recruited specifically for this job. The research staff, or, as it was offficially known, the Division of Special Research, consisted of fifty-five people at the end of 1942, of ninety-six in mid-1943, and of seventy-seven when it was terminated in 1944. The de facto head of the research staff was a youngish career diplomat, Harley Notter (1903-1950); he was also secretary to the Advisory Committee. His lieutenant, and also the head of the group of research staffers working on territorial issues, was Philip E. Mosely (1905-1972), a Harvard graduate, and a specialist in East European history. In the early 1930's, Mosely, then a young teaching assistant, spent two years in the Soviet Union; the years 1935-36 saw him spend a number of months in the Balkans. It was at that time that he also visited Transylvania. Except for Armstrong, Mosely was the member of the Advisory Committee most familiar with the Danube region. Other members of the research staff working on Eastern Europe, and thus on Hungary, were Harry N. Howard (1902-1987), John C. Campbell (1911-), Cyril E. Black (1915-1969), and Thomas F. Power (1916-1988). All of them young historians at the start of their careers, in the postwar years they were to follow their boss, Philip E. Mosely, in making a name for themselves in the postwar decades as the chief East- European experts, Balkan experts and Kremlinologists of the United States.
|Wartime American Plans for a New Hungary|