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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 83–97 | Cite as

Archibald Clark Kerr, Averell Harriman, and the fate of the wartime alliance

  • Frank CostigliolaEmail author
Article

Abstract

This essay examines how the divergent personalities, emotional thinking, and cultural assumptions of British ambassador to Moscow Archibald Clark Kerr and US ambassador W. Averell Harriman coloured their respective perceptions of political problems and recommendations for dealing with the growing tensions in the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union.

Key words

emotions cultural difference diplomacy Clark Kerr Harriman Stalin Moscow embassy alcohol intimacy homosocial 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Alexander Werth, Russia at War 1941–1945 (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1984), 753.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Werth, Russia at War, 751–2.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Clark Kerr, ‘Stalin, an Obituary Appreciation’, 26 September 1949, Clark Kerr papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK. Clark Kerr wrote a number of such ‘obituaries’ for the BBC. Ironically he would die two years before Stalin.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kathleen Harriman to Mary, 9 November 1943, box 170, W. Averell Harriman papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC [henceforth Harriman papers].Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kathleen Harriman to Mary, 9 November 1943, box 170, Harriman papers. Molotov had reason to ask. Also at the party was Charles E. ‘Chip’ Bohlen, who found the uniforms ‘ridiculous’ and the Soviets ‘inordinately proud’ of them. The matter of the uniforms suggests how the Soviet quest for respect could backfire in ridicule. (Charles E. Bohlen, Witness to History 1929–1969 (New York: W W Norton & Co., 1973), 130.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kathleen Harriman to Mary, 9 November 1943, box 170, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Clark Kerr to Eden, 16 July 1944, Foreign Office (FO) 800/302/111, National Archives, Kew.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Geoffrey C. Ward, ed., Closest Companion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995), 253 (emphasis in original).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Quoted in Lord Moran, Churchill at War 1940–45 (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2002), 162.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Robert P. Meiklejohn diary, 4 October 1945, box 211, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Minute by Geoffrey Wilson, 4 August 1944, FO 371/43305.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Clark Kerr to Eden, 18 November 1943, FO 800/301/250, PRO.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kathleen Harriman to Mary, 9 November 1943, box 170, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Clark Kerr to Eden, 18 November 1943, FO 800/301/250, PRO.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Clark Kerr to Eden, 18 November 1943, FO 800/301/250, PRO.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Werth, Russia at War, 753–4.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kathleen Harriman to Mary, 9 November 1943, box 170, Harriman papers. British naval officers at the party loyally recorded that Molotov had made ‘a concerted effort … to make our Ambassador drunk. Molotov himself did not come off best’. ‘War Diary of the British Naval Mission, Moscow’, 7 November 1943, enclosed in Richard D. Wyant to Warner, 29 December 1943, FO 371/43288.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    My thinking on homosociality has been influenced by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985) andGoogle Scholar
  19. 118a.
    Hazel V. Carby, Race Men (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
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    Thomas Brimelow to Donald Gillies, 23 November 1989, Donald Gillies collection, Bodleian library, Oxford University, England.Google Scholar
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    For an excellent biography, see Donald Gillies, Radical Diplomat: The Life and Times of Archibald Clark Kerr Lord Inverchapel, 1882–1951 (London: LB. Tauris, 1999).Google Scholar
  22. 21.
    The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940–45, ed. Ben Pimlott (London: Jonathan Cape, 1986), 567–8.Google Scholar
  23. 22.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Ibid.Google Scholar
  24. 23.
    Clark Kerr to Anthony Eden, 31 August 1944, N5598/183/38, FO 371/43336.Google Scholar
  25. 24.
    Clark Kerr to Anthony Eden, 27 March 1945, N3934/545/38, FO 371/47941. For approving minutes, see ibid., 18, 19 April 1945.Google Scholar
  26. 25.
    See William M. Reddy, The Navigation of Feelings (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 26.
    Walter Bell to Gillies, 25 July 1991, Gillies collection, Bodleian, Oxford (henceforth Gillies collection).Google Scholar
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    John Tosh, A Man’s Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 188–94.Google Scholar
  29. 28.
    John Hersey to Patch Hersey, 19 November 1944, box 7, John Hersey papers, Beinecke Library, Yale.Google Scholar
  30. 29.
    Quoted in James Bertram, The Shadow of a War (London: Victor Gollancz, 1947), 87.Google Scholar
  31. 30.
    Meiklejohn diary, 19 February 1944, box 211, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  32. 31.
    John Hersey to Donald Gillies, 11 November 1991, Gillies collection.Google Scholar
  33. 32.
    Clark Kerr to Warner, 30 July 1943, F.O. 800/301/92, PRO; Gillies, Radical Diplomat, 125.Google Scholar
  34. 33.
    This and the preceding quotes are from Clark Kerr to Christopher F.A. Warner, 11 June 1942, FO 800/300/24.Google Scholar
  35. 34.
    Clark Kerr to Eden, 27 April 1942, FO 800/300/-.Google Scholar
  36. 35.
    Gillies, Radical Diplomat, 156.Google Scholar
  37. 36.
    Frank Giles, ‘From Russia with Love’, London Sunday Times, 6 March 1980, 33.Google Scholar
  38. 37.
    Clark Kerr to Christopher Warner, 11 June 1942, file 800/300/24; Clark Kerr to Eden, 27 April 1942, 800/300/-.Google Scholar
  39. 38.
    Clark Kerr to Eden, 27 April 1942, F.O. 800/300/-.Google Scholar
  40. 39.
    Clark Kerr to Eden, 27 April 1942, F.O. 800/300/-.Google Scholar
  41. 40.
    This and the preceding quotes are from Clark Kerr to Christopher Warner, 3 October 1942, FO 800/300/198.Google Scholar
  42. 41.
    This and the preceding quotes are from Harriman diary, 21 October 1943, box 170, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  43. 42.
    [Foreign Ministry of the USSR], Sovetsko-Amerikanskie otnosheniia vo vremia velikoi otechestvennoi voiny 1941–1945 (Moscow, 1984), 386. My thanks to Olga Baeva for translating this document.Google Scholar
  44. 43.
    Harriman, unaddressed letter, 1 November 1943, box 170, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  45. 44.
    ‘W.A. Harriman — Notes regarding meeting with Mr. Molotov at the Kremlin October 21, 1943’, box 170, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  46. 45.
    John R. Deane, The Strange Alliance (New York, 1947), 25.Google Scholar
  47. 46.
    John Balfour to Christopher Warner, 1 November 1943, F.O. 800/300/235, PRO.Google Scholar
  48. 47.
    Harriman to the President and Acting Secretary of State, 30 October 1943, box 170, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  49. 48.
    Deane, The Strange Alliance, 3.Google Scholar
  50. 49.
    Kemp Tolley, Caviar and Commissars: The Experiences of a US Naval Officer in Stalin’s Russia (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1983), 180.Google Scholar
  51. 50.
    British Documents on Foreign Affairs (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1988), part III, series A, vol. 6, p. 305.Google Scholar
  52. 51.
    WA. Harriman to the Secretary, 1 November 1943, box 170, Harriman papers.Google Scholar
  53. 52.
    David Mayers, The Ambassadors (New York: Oxford University Press), 149.Google Scholar
  54. 53.
    George F Kennan, Memoirs 1925-1950 (Boston: Little Brown, 1967), 211.Google Scholar
  55. 54.
    Mark J. Conversino, Fighting with the Soviets (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1997), 67.Google Scholar
  56. 55.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Frank Costigliola, ‘“I Had Come as a Friend”: Emotion, Culture, and Ambiguity in the Formation of the Cold War, 1943–45’, Cold War History 1 (August 2000): 116–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 56.
    SOE memorandum, Answers to Questions’, [no date but 1945], HS4/211, National Archives, Kew.Google Scholar
  58. 57.
    Lt. Col. James D. Wilmeth, ‘Report on a Visit to Lublin, Poland February 27–March 28 1945’, box 22, entry 319, RG 334, National Archives, Washington.Google Scholar
  59. 58.
    Harriman to the President, 8 March 1945, box 34, Map Room files (hereafter MR), Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library (hereafter FDRL).Google Scholar
  60. 59.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Harriman to Secretary of State [unsent], 10 April 1945, box 178, Harriman papers. Pentagon generals, however, examined a list of similar complaints from Deane and judged them ‘irritating’ but ‘of relatively minor moment’. Diane Shaver Clemens, ‘Averell Harriman, John Deane, the Joint Chief of Staff, and the “Reversal of Cooperation” with the Soviet Union in 1945’, International History Review, 14 (May 1992), 280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 60.
    Clark Kerr to Warner, 21 June 1945, FO 371/47862, National Archives, Kew.Google Scholar
  62. 61.
    For Truman’s concerns about assuming the presidency and about the connection between height and presidential greatness, see Robert H. Ferrell, ed., Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), 16Google Scholar
  63. 61a.
    Margaret Truman, ed., Where the Buck Stops (New York: Warner Books, 1989), 77–79. On the activities of Harriman and Deane in Washington, see Clemens, ‘Reversal of Co-operation’, 293–303.Google Scholar
  64. 62.
    Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States 1945, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1969), 5:232.Google Scholar
  65. 63.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Clark Kerr to Warner, 21 June 1945, FO 371/ 47862, National Archives, Kew.Google Scholar
  66. 64.
    Lippmann to Hans Kohn, 30 May 1945, box 82, Walter Lippmann papers, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.Google Scholar
  67. 65.
    Frank K. Roberts to Christopher FA. Warner, 14 March 1945, FO 371/47934.Google Scholar
  68. 66.
    Joseph E. Davies diary, 6 June 1945, box 17, Joseph E. Davies papers, Library of Congress. Though Davies was of course a sympathiser with the Soviets, historians have not questioned the veracity of his diary. Moreover the entry cited here is original, not one of the reworked passages that Davies did in the early 1950s.Google Scholar
  69. 67.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Clark Kerr, Discussion between the Prime Minister and the Soviet Ambassador at No. 10 Downing Street, 18 May 1945, PREM3/ 396.Google Scholar
  70. 68.
    This and the preceding quotation are from Giles, ‘From Russia with Love’, 35; Inverchapel to Foreign Office, 11 March 1950, Clark Kerr papers, Bodleian, Oxford.Google Scholar
  71. 69.
    Roberts to Warner, 25 April 1945, FO 371/47882, National Archives, Kew.Google Scholar
  72. 70.
    John Hersey to Patch Hersey, 19 November 1944, box 7, Hersey papers.Google Scholar
  73. 71.
    Clark Kerr speech to the American Society of International Law, 24 April 1948, box 71, Felix Frankfurter papers, Library of Congress.Google Scholar
  74. 72.
    Lamar Trotti and Dudley Nicholas, ‘One World’, 28 January 1944, Darryl Zanuck to Trotti, 4 January 1944, box 24, Irita van Doren papers, Library of Congress.Google Scholar
  75. 73.
    Andrew Schlesinger and Stephen Schlesinger, eds., Journals 1952–2000 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (New York: Penguin, 2007), 335–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutUSA

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