No. 463

Italian Desk files, lot 68D436, Vatican Relations with U.S.

Memorandum by Joseph N. Greene of the Office of Western European Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) 1


Subject: Conversation with General Clark Regarding Administrative Problems in Connection with Establishment of an Embassy at the Vatican

1. Army Status

General Clark told me about his talk with the President when the President asked him to take the job as Ambassador to the Vatican. He said that he had told the President that he would like to remain on the active list of the Army and the President had said that it was his intention that General Clark should do so.

2. Pay and Allowances

The other matter the General raised with the President was his understanding that being an Ambassador was an expensive proposition and he could, accordingly, only take it if adequate compensation [Page 1005] were given him. He said that the President had told him that he, the President, would take care of this.

I explained that our administrative people had been caught by surprise by the nomination and had not yet finished their work of figuring out budget problems; I was advised, however, that an answer would be ready for the General by the end of this week.

General Clark said that that would be satisfactory and asked who in the Department would make the decisions, and specifically whether the Secretary of State would. I said that it was my understanding that the Secretary and his Deputy, Mr. Humelsine, would be the responsible officers.2 General Clark said that if adequate provision were not to be made, he would have to tell the President that he could not take the job

3. Recess Appointment

General Clark said that he had sent word to the President that his preference Would be not to take up the assignment under recess appointment, as he considers that the whole question should be settled in the democratic way through Senate consideration of the nomination. In this connection the General said that he had heard that the President had asked the Attorney General for an opinion whether he could take a recess appointment without retiring from the Army.

The General asked what the law would be on his tenure in Rome if he should go on a recess appointment and if the Senate should refuse to confirm his nomination. I said I would ask the Department’s Legal Adviser to cover this point.

4. Personnel

I told the General that our thinking had been that an official staff might comprise two Foreign Service officers, one of upper-middle rank and one of junior rank, and appropriate clerical personnel to the number of three or four. This seemed to be satisfactory to him.

General Clark said that during his career he had come to expect uncompromising loyalty to himself on the part of members of his staff. I said that the Foreign Service prides itself on its observance of this principle and that, while there may have occasionally been [Page 1006] regrettable exceptions, I felt sure that General Clark’s staff at the Vatican would be completely loyal to him.

General Clark recalled that he had known well and favorably FSO Ware Adams as the sort of man with whom he had worked harmoniously.

I suggested that it might be better to avoid having on the staff officers who are Catholics or who served with Mr. Taylor and thus are connected with the personal representation which is now ended. General Clark expressed no objection to these thoughts.

The General said that he desires to take with him to Rome his personal secretary, who has been with him since Vienna, having transferred to War Department from the State Department on January 1, 1947. Her name is Dorothy Davis. Her present classification is GS–9. I said that I was certain that this could be arranged and that Miss Davis would have to return to the Foreign Service; she and the General understood this.

General Clark also said that Mr. Taylor had commended to him Miss Regina Bushwaller who had been Mr. Taylor’s secretary (Mr. Taylor later mentioned this to me as well). I said that I would look into this idea, having in mind that it might be better not to have a connection with the past. General Clark did not seem taken by this suggestion and said that he assumed that if he wanted her and Miss Bushwaller was willing it could be arranged.

5. Administrative Arrangements

I explained that it had been our thought that, although General Clark’s office and residence should be quite separate from the Embassy to the Italian Republic, the latter could provide administrative support in disbursing, communications, services, et cetera. The General agreed. Regarding communications, he said he thought it would be desirable to have some means of communicating to the Department, if need should arise, in private so that the contents of his communication would not be known to the Embassy. I explained the machine coding operations in the Embassy and said that I thought it could probably be arranged that the General could have for his own office manual codes so that when he felt the need he could deliver to the Embassy for transmission a communication already encoded.

The General asked about housing and I said that the Government would either rent or buy him a house, or pay him a rental allowance, probably one of the first two, and would provide maintenance personnel but not personal servants. He asked for a further definition of this distinction (e.g., does the Government pay for a cook?) and I said I would find out. I confirmed the General’s assumption [Page 1007] that the Government would provide him with an official automobile and chauffeur.

  1. Also addressed to Bonbright and Pollack in EUR and to Humelsine in A.
  2. In a memorandum of October 24 to Humelsine, Perkins said that he understood that no action would be taken on Clark’s appointment until the Congress had acted on his personal status and the Senate had approved his nomination, which meant that the mission could not be established until the following February or March at the earliest. Perkins discussed the staffing of the mission and Clark’s salary, noting that EUR would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to finance the mission within its existing allotment. (Italian Desk files, lot 68D436, Vatican Relations with U.S.) No reply by Humelsine was found in Department of State files.