[Leslie Groves]

British Baron Reassures Leslie Groves on Qualifications of New British Ambassador

 

 



British Baron Reassures Leslie Groves on Qualifications of New British Ambassador

 

“I know him, and have a high regard for his talents and judgment.”

 

ROGER MAKINS, 1ST BARON SHERFIELD, Typed Letter Signed, to Leslie R. Groves Jr., November 26, 1968, London, England. 1 p., 8" x 10".  Very good.

 

Excerpts

“Thank you for your letter of November 21st about John Freeman’s appointment as Ambassador to Washington. It is perfectly true that he made his name as a television interviewer, that he was a left-wing socialist, and that he edited the left-wing periodical ‘The New Statesman’. But he was also a competent and successful Junior Minister in the Attlee Government. Since 1964, he has occupied the very demanding post of High Commissioner in India with ability and distinction. I know him, and have a high regard for his talents and judgment. He is also a very agreeable man, with a nice wife. I consider that he has the qualities to make a good British Ambassador in Washington.”

 

“There are very few people whose past sayings or writings will stand up to really close scrutiny, and this applies particularly to a journalist or editor. I am sure that the new President is a big enough man to understand this, and Freeman himself has made a correct and acceptable statement on the subject.”

 

Historical Background

As editor of the New Statesman from 1961 to 1965, John Freeman described Richard Nixon in 1964 as “a discredited and outmoded purveyor of the irrational and inactive” and declared Nixon’s defeat for the Republican nomination would be a “victory for decency.” Four years later, Prime Minister Harold Wilson appointed Freeman as Ambassador to the United States, a position he held from 1969 to 1971.

 

During his tenure in Washington, Freeman became friends with President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

 

 

Roger Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield (1904-1996) was born in Great Britain and educated at Christ Church, Oxford University. He was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1927. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1928, and in 1934, he married American Alice Brooks Davis. Makins served as Minister Plenipotentiary at the British Embassy in Washington from 1945 to 1947, Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office from 1947 to 1948, and Deputy Under-Secretary of State from 1948 to 1952. From 1953 to 1956, Makins served as British Ambassador to the United States. After returning to the United Kingdom, he served as Joint Permanent Secretary to The Treasury from 1956 to 1960 and as Chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority from 1960 to 1964. As part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours 1964, announced in mid-June, Makins was raised to the peerage as Baron Sherfield, of Sherfield-on-Loddon in the County of Southampton. He later served as Chancellor of the University of Reading from 1969 to 1992.

 

Leslie R. Groves Jr. (1896-1970) was a United States Army General with the Corps of Engineers who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. Born in New York to a Protestant pastor who became an army chaplain, Groves graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1918 in a course shortened because of World War I. He entered the Corps of Engineers and gained promotions to major by 1940. In 1941, he was charged with overseeing the construction of the Pentagon, the largest office building in the world, with more than five million square feet. Disappointed that he had not received a combat assignment, Groves instead took charge of the Manhattan Project, designed to develop an atomic bomb. He continued nominally to supervise the Pentagon project to avoid suspicion, gained promotion to brigadier general, and began his work in September 1942. The project headquarters was initially in the War Department building in Washington, but in August 1943, moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He and physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer selected the site in Los Alamos, New Mexico, for a laboratory, and Groves pushed successfully for Oppenheimer to be placed in charge. Groves was in charge of obtaining critical uranium ores internationally and collecting military intelligence on Axis atomic research. Promoted to major general in March 1944, Groves received the Distinguished Service Medal for his work on the Manhattan Project after the war. In 1947, Groves became chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. He received a promotion to lieutenant general in January 1948, just days before meeting with Army Chief of Staff Dwight D. Eisenhower, who reviewed a long list of complaints against Groves. Assured that he would not become Chief of Engineers, Groves retired in February 1948. From 1948 to 1961, he was a vice president of Sperry Rand, an equipment and electronics firm. After retirement, he served as president of the West Point alumni association and wrote a book on the Manhattan Project, published in 1962.

 

 



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[Leslie Groves][Leslie Groves]
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