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John Foster Dulles Oral History Collection

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Introduction: The John Foster Dulles Oral History Collection

Introduction: The John Foster Dulles Oral History Collection




Consideringthe linear mileage of the words written and spoken about John Foster Dullesduring his lifetime and since, the public image of the late Secretary of Stateremains curiously distorted. As a man, he is widely believed to have beenponderous, humorless, puritanical, cold, forbidding, austere, and unbending.His foreign policy has been commonly characterized as doctrinaire, rigid,static, legalistic, moralistic, inflexible, and high-handed.


In somemeasure, Dulles himself contributed to his own caricature. If it helped toconvince the world, and especially the Communist part of it, that the UnitedStates meant business and that its announced policies had backbone and muscle,then Dulles was not averse to being pictured personally as hard-nosed andunyielding. Moreover, in an age of expanding bureaucracy characterized by therise of the faceless man, Dulles was strongly idiosyncratic; and nothingserves the purposes of caricature like idiosyncrasy. The lineaments of hisfeatures, his mind, and his character were strong - and they bred strongreactions. More than he intended, he satisfied the hunger of the American pressand public for stereotypes. And while Dulles himself was complex, hisstereotype perforce was simple. While he grew in his job as Secretary of State,while he changed, revised, modified, qualified, and even occasionally yielded,the stereotype remained fixed and static.


Whateverelse the interviews catalogued here accomplish, they should help to dissipatesome of the myths that sprang up in Secretary Dulless wake and to correct somepopular misapprehensions about him. He did not do, think, or say many of thethings commonly attributed to him; and conversely he did, thought, and said anumber of things seldom associated with his name. No thoughtful reader of anyconsiderable number of these transcripts could possibly persist in picturingMr. Dulles in the harsh outlines described above. Nor can the pat pejoratives ofdoctrinaire, rigid, static, etc., any longer be acceptable as aptdescriptions of his foreign policy.


As a noteof caution, however, the student of these transcripts should be reminded thatthis collection is itself somewhat lopsided. Most of the witnesses whosetestimony is here recorded were friendly. Many made an obvious effort to beobjective; some were critical, but very few could be called hostile. This isnot the fault of the Dulles Oral History Project, its directors, advisers, orinterviewers. Opinions of all sorts were solicited, but in most instanceswitnesses who presumably might have been unfriendly to Dulles simply refused totestify. If their refusals have produced an imbalance in this collection, theflaw, however regrettable, is hardly fatal. The case for the prosecution isdocumented elsewhere in detail, and anyone searching for unfavorable commentson Mr. Dulles will not have far to look.


The finaljudgment of history on John Foster Dulles will, of course, depend largely on whowrites the histories and when they are written. No serious history of the manor of his work can henceforth be undertaken without a thorough examination ofthese transcripts.


The threeblind men of ancient fable, after groping sightlessly around the body of anelephant, respectively identified the object under scrutiny as a tree trunk, aserpent, and a piece of rope. If the three had been three hundred, and if theirseparate findings had been collated by an intelligent naturalist, no doubt theelephant would have been fully identified and described. Without imputingblindness, or even myopia, to any of the witnesses whose testimony is collectedhere, I would urge the scholar who uses this collection to play the role of theintelligent naturalist. No single entry among these 282 transcripts affords acomplete and accurate picture of John Foster Dulles or even any one phase ofhis life. Put them together, and a reasonably authentic and three-dimensionallikeness will emerge.


Philip A.Crowl
Washington, DC
June 1967




Oralhistory - a term that has been applied to the research technique oftape-recording spoken reminiscences and transcribing them nearly verbatim intomanuscript form - is not a new idea. It was conceived by Allan Nevins, who establishedthe first oral history office at Columbia University in 1948 for the purpose ofrecording for posterity the recollections of living men and women who haveparticipated in important events or contributed significantly to the social andcultural life of twentieth-century America. During the past two decades thisnew research genre has gained almost worldwide acceptance, and every year newapplications are found for preserving spoken testimony which would otherwise belost to recorded history. It is estimated that over one hundred agenciesdevoted to oral history programs are now flourishing in the United States andabroad - ranging from the investigation of a single event to that of epicsocial movements, from the life of one man to the history of an entire nation.


The DullesOral History Project centers on the life of one man and the historical eventsin which he participated.


In 1959the Princeton University Library added to its holdings the State and PrivatePapers of John Foster Dulles, an unprecedented collection of approximately40,000 documents and 120,000 microfilm copies of material from the officialfiles of the State Department. The possibility of tape-recording therecollections of those who knew and worked with the late Secretary of Stateseemed to offer an especially appropriate opportunity to supplement thisunusual collection. For one thing, extensive and detailed as the Dulles Papersare, there still are gaps, especially concerning the Secretarys private lifeand early career. Also, the very size of the formal collection presentsproblems for the scholar who must sift through tens of thousands of pages ofdocumentation to uncover the significant factors which led to any givendecision. The historians task can be considerably simplified by thoseindividuals who actually took part in the transactions and are in a position tooffer firsthand explanations - or at least knowledgeable hypotheses -concerning the sequence of events and the reasoning that lay behind theultimate action.


The ideaof establishing an oral history collection as an adjunct to the Dulles Paperswas first explored in 1963 in conversations between William S. Dix, PrincetonUniversity Librarian, and John W. Hanes, Jr., and Roderic L. OConnor, formerassistants to Secretary Dulles, who had been active in the negotiations thatled to the presentation of the Papers to Princeton. The idea became a reality alittle less than a year later when the Rockefeller Foundation awarded thePrinceton University Library a grant (later supplemented by private donations)to launch the Dulles Oral History Project (a list of sponsors is found inAppendix A).


In January1964 a professional Advisory Committee of historians and former colleagues ofMr. Dulles was named by Princetons President Robert F. Goheen (see AppendixB). Chaired by Ambassador Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., the Committee offeredsuggestions concerning the topics that should be covered in the Projectsprogram and helped in drawing up a list of the individuals to be invited to participatein interviews.


At thesame time, the services of Philip A. Crowl were enlisted to organize andinitiate the program of interviews. Dr. Crowl, a former member of PrincetonsDepartment of History, who had supervised the selection of State Departmentdocuments to be included in the Dulles Papers, took a six-month leave from theState Department to accept appointment as the Projects Director. BetweenFebruary and August 1964 he drew up the procedures which became the basis forthe continuing operation of the Project; conducted the necessary preliminaryresearch, including a detailed chronology of the significant occurrences duringMr. Dulless tenure of office as Secretary of State; and launched theinterviewing program.


Two basicdecisions were reached at the first meeting of the Advisory Committee on March18, 1964. The first was that the list of individuals to be invited tocontribute interviews should encompass as broad a scope as possible, includingnot only the principal actors in the events in which Mr. Dulles participatedbut also anyone who might be able to offer significant information of either apersonal or professional nature. To be included were the top officials of theEisenhower administration, heads of state and foreign ministers, officers ofthe American and foreign diplomatic corps; members of the Dulles family andtheir close friends; Mr. Dulless earlier associates at the Versailles PeaceConference, on Wall Street, on the Federal Council of Churches, in the UnitedNations, and in Congress; members of the press, his secretaries and staffassistants, classmates, fishing companions, and miscellaneous others.


The seconddecision was that the number of interviewers should be kept as small aspossible. Because of the specialized nature of the Project, it was thought thatonly by keeping its activities within a small, close-knit working group couldcontinuity and depth be achieved in the content of interviews. It was realized,furthermore, that skill in the technique of interviewing would be acquired onlyby experience and that only by restricting the number of interviewers would anyof them develop the necessary skill. As a result nearly ninety percent of theinterviews were conducted by Dr. Crowl and Richard D. Challener, Professor ofHistory at Princeton and member of the Projects Advisory Committee (a completelist of project personnel is found in Appendix C).


Almostimmediately invitations to contribute interviews were issued to a preliminarylist of 143 men and women. The actual interviewing program was formallylaunched toward the end of April 1964. Through the spring and summer of thatyear, Dr. Crowl traveled in Europe and across the United States with his taperecorder. His interviews were primarily with Secretary Dulless associates inthe State Department, United States Ambassadors, foreign statesmen, and theDulles family and friends. After his six-month leave from the State Departmentexpired, he continued to conduct interviews in Washington, where a majority ofthe prospective interviewees resided.


ProfessorChallener was responsible largely for Mr. Dulless Wall Street colleagues,churchmen, members of Congress, the military and other government officials,and members of the press. Most of his interviewing activities centered in NewYork City, but while on leave during the academic year 1965-66, he was able tomake frequent trips to Washington and several longer excursions to Canada, NewEngland, the South and Midwest, and Texas. It was apparent from the start,however, that it would be a physical, if not financial, impossibility for Dr.Crowl and Professor Challener to reach all of Mr. Dulless associates,scattered as they were from Algeria to New Zealand. Fortunately, severalopportunities presented themselves.


Spencer Davis,of United Press International, a specialist in Asian affairs, was preparing anextensive tour of the Far East and agreed to conduct interviews in that areafor the Project. When he returned to the United States in October 1964, hebrought with him the recorded testimony of twenty-one leading statesmen.Professor Gordon A. Craig, of Stanford University, who spent the summers of1964 and 1966 in Europe, taped eight interviews with European and Americandiplomats while abroad, as well as three in California. Louis L. Gerson,Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, also agreed toconduct four interviews for the Project during his travels in Israel and India;Bayly Winder, then Professor of Oriental Studies at Princeton, added two moreinterviews during a trip to Lebanon; Loftus Becker, former Legal Adviser in theState Department, interviewed one French statesman in Paris; and Gerard C.Smith, of the Atlantic Council, substituted for Dr. Crowl in Washington whilethe latter was overseas. All in all, at the conclusion of the Project, theinterviewers had traveled to seventeen foreign countries and sixteen statesacross the nation, including the District of Columbia, and taped 315 hours oftestimony from 285 men and women.


After Dr. Crowlsreturn to the State Department in September 1964, he served as SpecialConsultant and remained in close touch with the Projects offices by telephoneand periodic trips to Princeton. The day-to-day activities of the Projectsoffices were turned over to an Executive Secretary, Mrs. Bertie Miller. To herfell the multitudinous administrative and logistical arrangements so essentialto the success of the enterprise - scheduling and rescheduling interviews,supervising the transcription of the oral testimony from tape to typescript,recording the changes in the transcripts requested by the interviewees,negotiating with the interviewees on final terms of access, and conducting alloffice correspondence. Regular transcribers were also added to the staff, andthe long process of putting the taped testimony into written form began in fullforce. The first transcript was approved and formally entered into thecollection in November 1964. By the close of the Project, the collectionconsisted of 11,800 typed pages of testimony with individual transcriptsvarying in length from 7 to 249 pages.


As thework of the Project progressed, the list of possible contributors continued togrow. Before the Project closed, almost 450 men and women were invited tocontribute interviews. There were, of course, disappointments - conflictingschedules, ill health, inaccessibility - which made it impossible to completeall the interviews planned. There were also those who declined to beinterviewed, although the majority of these did so because they believed thattheir recollections were too vague or too peripheral to be of any real value tothe Project. The taping of such interviews was not pressed, for naturally theinterest of the Project was in quality, not quantity.


For the mostpart there was very encouraging interest on the part of Mr. Dulless associatesto contribute what information they could. Over eighty-five percent of thosecontacted expressed immediate willingness to be interviewed, and not a fewdiplomats and statesmen from overseas, whom it would otherwise have beenimpossible to interview, made special arrangements to meet with either Dr.Crowl or Professor Challener while on brief visits to the United States. Inaddition, at least two score of the interviewees supplemented their transcriptswith personal records, correspondence, and even photographs.


Researcherswill be pleased to learn (as the list of transcripts beginning on page 1indicates) that almost all the participants in the Project have been veryliberal concerning the use to be made of their transcripts. Only about twentyof the transcripts are temporarily closed or require special permission toread. Most transcripts have no restrictions whatever, and the remainder may beconsulted immediately, with varying restrictions concerning citation andreproduction of texts.


Finally,special mention should be made of the Projects Sponsors. Without the interestand support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Mr. Herbert Hoover, Jr., Mr. John W.Hanes, Jr., and the many other men, women and organizations who gave sogenerously to the Princeton University Library, the Dulles Oral HistoryCollection would never have become a reality.




Throughouthis full and productive life John Foster Dulles was a devoted student ofhistory. He saw in the success and failures of the past a continuing relevancein meeting the problems of the present and in preparing for the contingenciesof the future. The ill-fated League of Nations had its aspirations and failuresto offer as a guide to those who participated (as he did) in the creation ofthe United Nations a quarter of a century later. When President Harry S. Trumanassigned to Mr. Dulles the monumental task of drafting a workable peace treatywith Japan after World War II, the lessons learned at Versailles became in avery real sense an integral part of the settlements he successfully negotiated.


Consideringhis interest in and dependence upon historical reference, it is not surprisingthat Mr. Dulles should feel an obligation to share his many and variedexperiences with future historians and statesmen. Early in his tenure asSecretary of State, Mr. Dulles began thinking about the disposition of his ownpapers and the records he had meticulously kept during his long and eventfulcareer. Plans were initiated in 1956 for the eventual transfer of his personaland state papers to his alma mater, Princeton University.


From thebeginning Mr. Dulles actively took part in the arrangements. Largely through hisinfluence government regulations were liberalized to permit the deposit ofclassified documents under security-controlled conditions in libraries outsidethe Federal government. He also selected the historian responsible forassembling his papers. The assignment was given to Dr. Philip A. Crowl, aformer Professor of History at Princeton University, then a member of theHistorical Division of the Department of the Army. After a number ofconferences with Dr. Crowl, Mr. Dulles approved the basic list of majorheadings, covering what he considered the most significant subjects about whichthe collection should be built. It proved to be a considerable undertaking, onethat upon completion in 1959 included approximately 40,000 documents and120,000 microfilm copies of relevant material from the official files of theState Department.


The Papersof John Foster Dulles, now housed in Princeton Universitys Mudd Library, aredivided into four major categories:


I. The John Foster Dulles Papers (1888-1959)


This portionof the Dulles Papers, covering his entire lifetime, includes letters from andto Mr. Dulles, memoranda of conversations, personal notes and records, draftsof speeches and articles, newspaper clippings, photographs, mementos andmemorabilia, and letters from and to Mrs. John Foster Dulles. Thecorrespondence, writings, and diaries series in this collection are availablein a microform publication.


Thepersonal papers of John Foster Dulles may be read by researchers but the readerwill not publish, quote, cite, or refer to any part of the papers withoutwritten permission from the curator of the Public Policy Papers at MuddLibrary.


II. John Foster Dulles Papers, Eisenhower Library(1951-1959)


Mr. Dulles arranged for the official papers from his time asSecretary of State to be deposited at the Eisenhower presidential Library inAbilene, Kansas, with the understanding that these papers would be copied andmade available at Princeton while they were opened for research. Most of thesepapers are now available for research at the Mudd Library, and the EisenhowerLibrary continues to transfer newly declassified documents on a regular basis.


III. Dulles-Herter Series, Ann Whitman File, EisenhowerLibrary (1952-1959)


Dwight D. Eisenhowers personal secretary, Ann Whitman,maintained this series for all documents passing between the White House andDulles. The Eisenhower Presidential Library has supplied copies for the Dullesyears which are supplemented by newly declassified records from time to time.


IV. Selected Official Papers of John Foster Dulles(1953-1959)


Thisportion of the Dulles papers consists of microfilm copies of original documentsin the Department of State, many of which carry a United States Governmentsecurity classification. These documents include selected telegrams, memorandaof conversations, minutes of meetings, briefing papers, and other materialsfrom the official files of the Department of State covering the period of Mr.Dulless tenure as Secretary of State.


Untilsuch time as the original files in the State Department become generallyaccessible, applications for access to them should be made through the MuddLibrary to the Historical Office of the Department of State. It should be notedthat these papers are available only on the same terms as the original files inthe Department of State and with the specific approval of the Department ineach instance.


Use of the Collection


On the following pages are listed in alphabetical order thenames of those individuals who have contributed to the Dulles Oral HistoryProject their taped recollections of John Foster Dulles and the events in whichhe participated. Each individual is identified in terms of that personsrelationship to Mr. Dulles. In an attempt to make this catalogue as useful aspossible, brief descriptions are also given of the main subjects covered ineach interview. The descriptions are intended to serve simply as generaloutlines of the principal topics discussed. We warn the reader that gaps areinevitable in a listing of this sort, and we hope that no evaluative sense willbe ascribed to the wording used, which is that of the compiler of thiscatalogue and not necessarily that of the author of the transcript.


Every transcript in the collection, with the exception ofthose designated in process, has been reviewed and approved either by theauthor or a legal representative. With few exceptions, the only textual changesmade in the transcripts have been to improve clarity of meaning. In otherwords, these transcripts represent the nearly verbatim record of informal andunrehearsed conversations and should not be considered literary statements.


The information contained in this catalogue is subject tochange. All listings are current as of March 1994.


The Dulles Oral History Collection is housed with the PublicPolicy Papers in Princetons Mudd Library, a unit of the Department of RareBooks and Special Collections of the Princeton University Libraries. Exclusiveof national holidays, the collection may be consulted throughout the year onweekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (8:45 a.m. to 4:30 the summer).


The collection consists of 282 individual transcripts oftape-recorded interviews. The terms governing the use of each transcript havebeen set by the author or a legal representative. In most cases therestrictions are effective only during the authors lifetime. With notedexceptions, the terms of the restrictions fall into the following categories:


Transcripts designed as Open may be read,quoted from, and cited by researchers upon presentation of appropriateidentification.


Permission required to quote or cite
A transcript in this category may be read byqualified researchers, but permission to quote from or cite the text in apublication must be obtained from the author or literary heir. Pertinentpassages should be accurately identified and the purpose for which they are tobe used should be fully described. In general, the Library has no informationabout current addresses of authors or heirs.


Written permission required to read during lifetime
In order to obtain access to a transcript inthis category a researcher is required to request written permission directlyfrom the author and include a brief description of the purpose for which thetranscript is needed. After the death of the author, the record may be read,quoted from, and cited without special permission. In the few instances inwhich the term during lifetime is not included in the restrictions, writtenpermission must be obtained from the author and thereafter from the authorsliterary executor.


A transcript designed as Closed may not beexamined under any circumstances at present. In several instances, a transcriptmay be closed for the duration of a specified time period.



Inquiries concerning the Dulles Oral History Collectionshould be addressed to:


Reference Archivist
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, New Jersey 08544
(609) 258-6345
Fax: (609) 258-3385





Security treaty signed by Australia, New Zealand, and the United States

Bank for International Settlements

Central Treaty Organization

Central Intelligence Agency

European Defense Community

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

International Atomic Energy Agency

International Cooperation Administration

International Information Administration

International Labor Organization

International Nickel Company

Intelligence and Research

oint Chiefs of Staff

John Foster Dulles

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

National Security Council

Organization of American States

Operations Coordinating Board

Reduction in Force

Strategic Air Command

Suez Canal Users Association

Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

Securities and Exchange Commission

Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers in Europe

United Kingdom

United Nations

United States

United States Information Agency

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Western European Union



APPENDIX A: Sponsors of the Dulles Oral History Project


The Rockefeller Foundation


Winthrop W. Aldrich
Loftus Becker
David K.E. Bruce
Percival F. Brundage
John M. Budinger
W. Randolph Burgess
The Coe Foundation
Winthrop M. Crane, Jr.
Jarvis Cromwell
Philip K. Crowe
Robert Cutler
Thomas E. Dewey
Hunt T. Dickinson
Clarence Dillon
C. Douglas Dillon
Cleveland E. Dodge
Goldthwaite H. Dorr
Mrs. John Foster Dulles
Mrs. John Elliott, Jr.
Henry Ford, II
DeWitt Forward
George S. Franklin, Jr.
Mrs. George S. Franklin, Jr.
Gordon Gray
Sinclair Hamilton
John W. Hanes, Jr.
David R. Hawkins
John S. Hilson
Herbert Hoover, Jr.
John C. Jaqua, Jr.
Alfred Jaretzki, Jr.
Robert A. Lovett
Clare Boothe Luce
Baldwin Maull
Neil McElroy
Paul McQuillen
Paul Mellon
Henry D. Mercer
Livingston T. Merchant
Oliver B. Merrill
Andre Meyer
Jeremiah Milbank
William H. Moore
George Murnane
The Nabama Foundation
Richard M. Nixon
Roderic L. OConnor
Old Colony Charitable Foundation
John M. Olin Foundation
Herman Phleger
William Piel, Jr.
John R. Raben
Philip D. Reed
Ogden R. Reid
George Roberts
Walter S. Robertson
William Jay Schieffelin, Jr.
Eustace Seligman
George C. Sharp
John L. Simpson
H. Alexander Smith
Maurice H. Stans
Stoddard M. Stevens
Robert G. Stone
Jacob Wallenberg
Marcus Wallenberg, Sr.
J. Spencer Weed
Sinclair Weeks



APPENDIXB: Advisory Committee


Hugh S.Cumming, Jr., Chairman, US Ambassador to Indonesia and Director of theState Departments Bureau of Intelligence and Research under Secretary Dulles.


JeromeBlum, professor of History, Princeton University.


RichardD. Challener, Professor of History, Princeton University.


ArthurH. Dean, Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell.


WilliamS. Dix, Librarian, Princeton University.


LouisL. Gerson, Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut.


John W.Hanes, Jr., Special Assistant to Secretary Dulles and later DeputyAssistant Secretary of State for International Organizations and Administratorof the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs.


JosephE. Johnson, President of theCarnegie Endowment for International Peace.


ErnestR. May, Professor of History, Harvard University.


LivingstonT. Merchant, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs underSecretary Dulles and later Ambassador to Canada.


RodericL. OConnor, Special Assistant to Secretary Dulles and later AssistantSecretary of State for Congressional Relations and Administrator of the Bureauof Security and Consular Affairs.


HermanPhleger, Legal Adviser to the Secretary of State.


ArthurW. Radford, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff during most of Mr.Dulless tenure as Secretary of State.


WalterS. Robertson, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs underSecretary Dulles.


GerardC. Smith, Special Assistant on Atomic Energy Matters and later AssistantSecretary of State for Policy Planning under Secretary Dulles.


JosephR. Strayer, Professor of History, Princeton University.


HenryP. Van Dusen, President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary and memberof the general board of the National Council of Churches in which Mr. Dulleswas active.


ArnoldWolfers, Director, The Johns Hopkins Center of Foreign Policy Research.



APPENDIXC: Personnel of the Dulles Oral History Project


Initialsof interviewers appear in brackets at the end of each entry.




Richard D.Challener, Professor of History, Princeton University
124 interviews (125 hours)


Philip A.Crowl, Bureau of Intelligence, State Department
115 interviews (150 hours)




LoftusBecker, former Legal Adviser, State Department
1 interview (25 minutes)


Gordon A.Craig, Professor of History, Stanford University
11 interviews (11 hours)


SpencerDavis, Correspondent, United Press International
21 interviews (18 hours)


Louis L.Gerson, Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut
4 interviews (5 hours)


Gerard C.Smith, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State
1 interview (40 minutes)


BaylyWinder, Professor of Oriental Studies, Princeton University
2 interviews (3 hours)




Philip A.Crowl
Director, 1964
Special Consultant, 1964-1967


Executive Secretary, 1964-1967


Assistantsand Transcribers


Marcy Keegan
Maureen OBrian
Pearl Hixon
Linda Schlitt
Martha Thayer
Rosemary Wolf




Effie Chen
Frances Chen
Suzanne Fisher
Soowon Kim
Lucy Loh
Lisa Scheil
Monika Sutter
Michiyo Yoshino


The DullesOral History Project owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Alexander Clark, Curatorof Manuscripts at the Princeton University Library, for his imaginative help inestablishing the procedures governing access to and use of the transcripts andto Mrs. Nancy Bressler, Assistant Curator, for carrying out so conscientiouslythe procedures. The staff of the Project also wishes to express special appreciationto Mr. James Shih Kang Tung, Curator of the Far Eastern Collection, for hisgenerous assistance in the preparation of transcripts in East Asian languages.