No. 546
Editorial Note

The nomination of Charles E. Bohlen to become Ambassador to the Soviet Union was sent to the Senate by President Eisenhower on February 27. Transmission of the nomination followed by several days receipt of the agrément from the Soviet Government to the designation of Bohlen as Ambassador. Hearings before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the Bohlen nomination were held on March 2 and March 18. The committee vote on March 18 was 15 to 0 to report favorably the nomination to the Senate. For the official record of the hearings, see Nomination of Charles E. Bohlen: Hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 83d Congress 1st Session. (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1953) The text of certain exclusions made in the official record of the meeting of the committee on March 2 are included in Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, volume V, pages 203–217. For an exchange between President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles on March 16, see Document 568.

The opposition by some Senators to the nomination of Bohlen as Ambassador to the Soviet Union and the doubts raised in some quarters regarding Bohlen’s loyalty became a matter of concern [Page 1083] within the government and a well publicized controversy in the news media. President Eisenhower voiced his support for the nomination during his regular press conferences on March 19 and March 26; see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, pages 109 and 130. Secretary Dulles responded to a wide range of questions on the nomination at his press conference on March 20. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee considered the Bohlen nomination again on March 23 and March 25; see Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, volume V, pages 268–278. The Senate debated the nomination on March 23, 25, and 27 before confirming the nomination by a vote of 74 to 13.

The most comprehensive and authoritative account of the Bohlen nomination process is presented in Bohlen, Witness to History, pages 309–336. The President’s briefer account of the process appears in Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, pages 212–213. Identifiable documentation in the files of the Department of State scarcely begins to cover all incidents attending the nomination of Bohlen described in the latter’s own published account. The single most important file in this respect is 123 Bohlen, Charles E. Secretary Dulles’ many telephone conversations between March 16 and March 27 on the nomination are included in the Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers. These records, however, only represent a small portion of the official exchanges which took place on the Bohlen nomination during this period. Only the record of one of the March 16 conversations (Document 568) has been included in this volume.