Paris Peace Conf. 184.1 Berle, Adolf A.

Lieutenant A. A. Berle, Jr., to the American Commissioners Plenipotentiary50

Memorandum No. 376

Subject: Relief from duty with the Commission.

[Page 592]

I take the liberty of requesting reconsideration of the Commission’s decision not to approve of my release.

I have the honor to submit the following considerations which, trusting that release might be approved in mere formal course, were not dwelt on in the original suggestion.

Now that the American policy towards Russia has been defined by the correspondence with Admiral Kolchak, Russian affairs become peculiarly the province of the State Department and of men whose profession is the diplomatic service. This staff must shoulder the task of effectuating the outlined policy and the responsibility for the measures taken. Observers brought into the work during the emergency merely complicate matters. Further, I find myself in the peculiar difficulty of whole-heartedly disagreeing with the proposed line of action, and completely unable to secure its alteration, yet as the American Delegation stands committed to it, under military order to further it. Under the circumstances I feel that my own usefulness is largely ended.
Either of two men now on duty with the Commission could easily perform my present duties without the above difficulty. Capt. Stuart Montgomery, formerly chief of the Russian Division, or Mr. Sheldon Whitehouse, now actually handling Russian affairs for the State Department, are both far more capable than myself of interpreting the incoming information.
The fact that my assignment here is by military order instead of civilian appointment I submit should make no real difference. As the task is really political, it is not unreasonable to ask that no distinction be made between civilian and military appointees.

While renewing my request for release, I have to thank the Commission for its many courtesies, not the least of which is its kindness in this matter.

A. A. B[erle] Jr.
  1. This memorandum bears the following notation: “18th June, 1919. The above memorandum was read at the Commissioners’ meeting this morning. The Commissioners discussed this matter at some length but felt that they could not approve of Lieutenant Berle’s release at the present time, unless he could not be persuaded to stay. They requested Mr. Herter to speak to Lieutenant Berle and explain to him the reasons for which they desired to continue his services with the Commission and report the result of this interview. C. A. H[erter].”

    The Commissioners at their meeting of June 23, 1919, approved of the release of Lieutenant Berle in accordance with a previous request submitted by Dr. Lord. See the minutes of the meeting of June 23, 1919, p. 243.