Today’s post was written by David Langbart, archivist in Research Services at the National Archives at College Park, MD.
Employees in a bureaucracy do not always receive recognition for their contributions to the success of their institutions. This is especially true in large agencies facing a constant barrage of activities such as the Department of State. There are occasional exceptions to that rule. One of those came about in early 1952 after the mid-January high-level talks between President Harry Truman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Washington, DC. The meetings took place after Churchill became the British Prime Minister for the second time in October 1951 and was planning on a trip to Canada. British officials proposed that he visit Washington to meet with Truman at that time.
The Department of State was responsible for coordinating preparations for the meeting of the President and the Prime Minister. In early December 1951, the Department established a Steering Group that included representatives of the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce, the White House, the Bureau of the Budget, the Mutual Security Agency, the Economic Cooperation Administration, the Office of Defense Mobilization, and the Psychological Strategy Board. The Steering Group assigned Drafting Officers to prepare and coordinate the position papers for the talks.
The meetings between the two leaders went well. In recognition of their work, Deputy Under Secretary of State for H. Freeman (“Doc”) Matthews sent the following memorandum of appreciation to the members of the Steering Group and to the Drafting Officers.
Source: Memorandum by Deputy Under Secretary H. Freeman Matthews, January 10, 1952, file 110.101/1-1052, 1950-54 Central Decimal File (NAID 302021), RG 59: General Records of the Department of State. For documentation on the Truman-Churchill Talks, see Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Western Europe and Canada, Volume VI, Part 1.