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Papers of Henry Lewis Stimson, 1867-1950

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Introduction: The Papers of Henry Lewis Stimson, 1867-1950

Introduction: The Papers of Henry Lewis Stimson, 1867-1950


The HenryLewis Stimson Papers hold a special place among the great manuscriptscollections that are the pride of the Yale University Library. Each year theStimson papers are used by approximately 100 scholars, representing theheaviest concentration of use of any of our manuscripts collections. Thepublication of a microfilm edition of the correspondence and certain relatedpapers of Henry Lewis Stimson (and, separately, of a microfilm edition of thediaries) is exceptionally noteworthy. The ready availability of a microfilmcopy of the papers will be an important aid to all scholars working intwentieth century history.


ThoughYale University has a long and honorable record in the field of documentarypublication, it is only within the past two years that microfilm has been usedas a medium of some of these publications. The increasing importance of therole of microfilm is, of course, the direct result of the steadily increasingsize of the collections of manuscripts now being deposited in libraries, andthere is no sign of a reversal of this trend. The Stimson papers comprise170,000 pages, which would have taken several lifetimes to issue in traditionalletterpress form, assuming that financial backing could have been found forsuch a project. Though it has certain shortcomings, microfilm will in more andmore instances serve to satisfy research needs in those cases where it isimpractical to hope for exhaustively and meticulously edited and indexedprinted editions of the papers of great men. Even in cases where printededitions are planned or already under way, microfilm can fill scholarly needsin the long interval between initiation and completion of such projects. TheStimson papers and diaries are our first major microfilm publications. Theywill not be the last.


Those whohave been involved in projects of this magnitude will know how large is thetotal number of persons who must, at various times, contribute their labor andknowledge if the work is to be brought to successful completion. One must firstexpress gratitude to Professor John Morton Blum, who, as Acting Director ofYale University Libraries, lent his encouragement and approval to theinitiation of this project, which in 1969 represented a sharp departure fromprevious policy. The necessary consent and approval of Mr. McGeorge Bundy,executor of the Stimson Literary Trust, was also quickly and graciously given.From the beginning the proposal had the support of Dr. Oliver W. Holmes, Jr.,then Executive Director of the National Historical Publications Commission. Thehelp and advice of Mr. Fred Shelley of the National Historical PublicationsCommission have been indispensable. Ms. Diane Kaplan, the general editor andmainstay of the project for two and one-half years bore the brunt of theenormous and complex job of arranging, annotating and preparing the materialsfor filming, of inspecting the film on completion, of preparing this guide, andof attending to innumerable vital details. In the last few months of theproject, when we were in sore need of additional editorial help, we had expertassistance from Ms. Ruth Gay. Mr. David Maslyn has given able assistance inmany aspects of carrying forward the project, and in developing workingarrangements with Yale Library Photographic Services, the staff of which hasbeen patient, careful, and industrious in the filming of these 169 reels.


Association Librarian for Manuscripts and Archives


Biographical Sketch


The deathof Henry Lewis Stimson on October 20, 1950 in his eighty-third year, marked theend of an unusually long career in public service. Condolence messages spokemostly of his later achievements, his service to the nation during World War IIand his term as President Hoovers secretary of state. He had outlived most ofthose who knew about his beginnings in public life nearly half a centuryearlier. Frequently mentioned in the tributes that followed his death were theideals that guided him all his life: justice, the rule of law, the duty ofpublic service, and personal integrity.


In writingabout his forebears, Stimson described them as sturdy, middle-class people,religious, thrifty, energetic, and long-lived.1 A Stimsonconnection could be traced back to King Philips War and Elias Boudinot,president of the Continental Congress was one of his ancestors. Henry L.Stimson was the first child of Candace Wheeler and Lewis Atterbury Stimson.Lewis Stimson, a graduate of Yale, served in the Union Army in the Civil Warand then joined his fathers banking firm in New York. He married CannieWheeler in Paris in 1866 and Henry, nicknamed Harry or Hal, was born onSeptember 21, 1867. Two years later a sister Candace, called Nan, was born.


In 1871Lewis A. Stimson moved his wife and young family to Berlin, Zurich, and then toParis where he commenced studying medicine. In Paris the family enjoyed thefriendships of James Russell Lowell and George Eliot. In 1873 the familyreturned to New York to allow Lewis to obtain a medical degree at the BellevueHospital Medical School.


In June,1876, Candace W. Stimson died. Overwhelmed by the loss of his wife LewisStimson absorbed himself in his surgical practice and teaching, leaving thechildren at the home of his parents in the care of his sister Mary Stimson,Aunt Minnie. The family was extremely close, and Stimson grew up surroundedby a wide circle of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and agreat-grandmother who told him stories of her childhood talks with George Washington.His uncle, Henry A. Stimson, was a well-known clergyman and founder of CarltonCollege in Minnesota and his grandmother, Candace Turber Wheeler, gainedrecognition as a poet, artist, and skilled craftswoman. Visits to GrandmotherWheeler were frequent and it was through her that young Harry developed hislove of nature and the wilderness.


Until hewas thirteen Stimson attended New York schools and was tutored by his father.Then, dissatisfied with the conditions of life in the city, his father enteredhim in Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. In later years Stimson grew toappreciate fully the experience at Andover, noting in his autobiography, Itopened a new world of effort and completion. It also opened to me a new worldof democracy and of companionship with boys from all portions of the UnitedStates.2 In 1905 Stimson was elected a member of Andovers board oftrustees and subsequently served as the president of the board until 1947.


Stimsongraduated from Andover in 1883 at the age of fifteen, too young to be admittedto Yale. He did a years additional preparation at Andover and entered Yalesclass of 88 in the fall of 1884. Stimson later criticized Yales academicprogram, its system of rote learning, and the lack of opportunity for individualthinking, but praised the school for its potent democratic spirit. Thefriendships he formed there were lasting ones and included Amos Alonzo Stagg,Fred Solly, Irving Fisher, Morison Waite, and Gifford Pinchot. Stimson won manyprizes for oratory and literary work, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, was tappedfor Skull and Bones, and graduated third in his class of 124.


At onetime Stimson had seriously considered studying for the ministry but decided ona legal career instead. In the fall of 1888 he entered Harvard Law School. Thetraining received at Harvard with its stress on individual thinking and a broadphilosophical outlook offered a remarkable contrast to Yale. Harvard LawSchool, Stimson said, created a greater revolution in my power ofthinkingwhile the faith in mankind that I learned on the campus at New Havenwas greater and stronger than any such faith I achieved at Harvard.3


He leftHarvard in the spring of 1890 with a Master of Arts degree. In the fall hereturned to New York City to serve a clerkship in the office of Sherman Evarts,a prerequisite to taking the bar examination. After passing the examination inJune, 1891, Stimson was eager for challenging work. Through his fathers Yaleclassmates he was introduced to Elihu Root and was offered a clerkship in hisfirm. After a year with Root and Clarke, Stimson accepted a junior partnership.He was admitted to the firm on January 1, 1893, together with Bronson Winthropwho was to become his lifelong partner.


In 1893Stimson married Mabel Wellington White, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. CharlesWhite of New Haven and a direct descendant of Roger Sherman. Although Stimsonhad proposed to Miss White during his senior year at Yale, his father made thecouple promise to wait until Henry was established in his profession beforeannouncing the engagement. Five years after graduating from Yale Stimson wasearning $2,000 a year. The wedding on July 6, 1894, began fifty-seven years ofwhat he later called perfect companionship.


His experienceduring the decade of the 1890s was important for the future of Stimsonscareer. The most important influence was Elihu Root himself from whom Stimsonlearned politics as well as law. Stimson appeared in court with Root andlearned the evolving legal practices relating to the Sherman Anti-Trust Actfrom Americas leading corporation lawyer.


In themid-1890s Stimson, with other civic-minded citizens had joined in theformation of Good Government Clubs to arouse the public conscience to problemsof corruption in government. Though successful in increasing the publicawareness these groups found themselves powerless to change the entrenchedpolitical system. In 1892 Stimson had voted as a Cleveland Democratic though hehad no use for Tammany Hall. He thought the local Republican organization wasnot much better, but since change had to be effected through the existing partysystem, Stimson decided to follow Roots example and join the Republican party.Stimson worked first in his own assembly district to register Republicans andmake sure that they voted on election day. Stimsons efforts in the partybetween 1895 and 1901 brought him state prominence and notice from TheodoreRoosevelt.


TheSpanish-American War also changed Stimsons thinking. When war broke out inApril, 1989, Stimson, though without military training, enlisted in Squadron Aof the New York National Guard, but did not see service outside of the UnitedStates. The memory of Americas unpreparedness for this war in later years madeStimson an advocate of universal military training and an early supporter ofUnited States preparation for combat in World Wars I and II.


In 1899President McKinley made Elihu Root secretary of war in his new cabinet. WhenRoot went to Washington he left his lucrative law practice in the hands ofWinthrop and Stimson. By 1903 Stimson was able to afford a country residence,which he established in West Hills, Long Island, and called Highhold. By theend of 1905 Stimsons annual earnings from his law firm amounted to $20,000.


In 1906President Roosevelt offered Stimson the position of United States attorney forthe Southern District of New York. Roosevelt was out to make war on corporatetransgressions and bust the trusts. The New York Southern Judicial District asthe seat of much corporate activity needed a competent, intelligent, loyal manfor the job. Even though it meant a 50 percent loss in income Stimson was readyto serve. In reorganizing his office so as to try all important cases himself,he drafted young talent and numbered Felix Frankfurter, Thomas D. Thacher,Henry A. Wise, and Goldthwaite Dorr among his protgs. In his term of servicefrom 1906-1909 he prosecuted the New York Central Railroad for rebating, theAmerican Sugar Refining Company for weighing frauds, Charles W. Morse formisappropriating funds from the Bank of North America, and James Gordon Bennettof the Herald for indecency in his personal columns. He had tried toindict Joseph Pulitzer for criminal libel at Roosevelts request, and haddefended the presidents action in connection with the dishonorable dischargeof black soldiers after the Brownsville incident. Speaking extemporaneously ata Yale reunion in 1908 Stimson said of this work, The profession of the lawhad never been thoroughly satisfactory to me, simply because the life of anordinary New York lawyer is primarily one essentially devoted to making money.Referring specifically to the job of a United States attorney he continued,There has been an ethical side of it which has been more of an interest to me,and I have felt that I could get a good deal closer to the problems of lifethan I ever did before, and felt that the work was a good deal more worthwhile. After resigning from the United States attorneys office in 1909Stimson returned to his law practice. In 1909 he was given seriousconsideration as a possible candidate on the fusion ticket for mayor of NewYork. At this same time, as a friend of Gifford Pinchot, Stimson was drawn intothe Ballinger-Pinchot controversy, a dispute dividing progressives from TaftRepublicans.


In 1910,as the choice of Theodore Roosevelt and the progressive element of theRepublican party, Stimson ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York againstJohn A. Dix. Stimson did not have a politicians zest for campaigning, and thepress referred to him as a human icicle. The importance of the 1910 campaignfor Stimsons career was that he did not win. He never ran for a major electiveoffice again, but the campaign marked him as Roosevelts man.


In thespring of 1911 when President Taft was searching for a new secretary of warHenry Stimson made a promising candidate. In order to unify the Republicanparty, Taft wanted an appointee who would be acceptable to Roosevelt. Stimsonfitted the description and was, in fact, encouraged by Roosevelt to accept thepost. On entering office Stimson found himself in the midst of a power strugglebetween Chief of Staff Leonard Wood and Adjutant General Fred Ainsworth.Stimson was eventually compelled to defend the prestige of the chief of staffagainst the adjutant generals insubordination. In February, 1912, he forcedthe resignation of the politically powerful Ainsworth. Subsequent Congressionalbacklash against Wood and Stimsons support for him cemented a lasting bond offriendship between the two. As secretary of war, Stimson also accomplished areorganization of the nations small military force, oversaw the constructionof the Panama Canal, and familiarized himself with the administration of colonialpossessions, including the Philippines.


Unfortunately,in the election of 1912 Stimson was caught in the middle of the rift betweenRoosevelt and Taft. Balancing his friendship and debt to Roosevelt againstloyalty to Taft and the Republican party, Stimson chose to support Taft.Roosevelt did not soon forgive him, and it was not until the United States wasthreatened by war in Europe that the two men spoke to each other again.


Afterleaving the cabinet in March, 1913, Stimson returned to New York and Winthropand Stimson. He remained active in the New York Republican party, trying tokeep progressive ideals alive and at the same time engineer a partialreconciliation between Bull Moosers and Taft-Root Republicans. In 1914 he waselected as a delegate-at-large to the New York Constitutional Convention of1915 and again left his law practice in April of 1915 to participate in theproceedings at Albany. Stimsons plan for reorganization of the stategovernment revealed his own brand of progressivism which called for a powerful,efficient, centralized system headed by a strong executive. His program showedless concern for social reform. One can see in his support for such measures asthe shortened slate of elective offices and the lengthened list of gubernatorialappointees his belief in a strong executive and, perhaps, too, his distrust ofthe mass of voters. Root, as president of the convention, had appointed Stimsonto chair the Committee on State Finances and serve on the Committees on StateOfficers and on Judiciary. Proposals from these three committees embraced manyof Stimsons ideas on responsible government and included an amendmentoutlining an executive budget plan. Though the new constitution was rejected bythe voters of New York, many of Stimsons ideas were implemented later.


Allthrough 1915 Stimson had stressed preparedness in speeches for the NationalSecurity League, convinced that the United States would soon be forced to enterthe war in Europe. Following his own advice, in the fall of 1916, he enrolledfor training under Leonard Wood at Plattsburgh Training Camp and was pronouncedfit for service. After the United States declaration of war Stimson accepted acommission in the Reserve as a judge advocate, but in September, 1917, was appointeda lieutenant colonel in the 305th Regiment, Field Artillery, of which he wassecond in command. In December he went overseas, spending nine months inFrance, most of it at the American General Staff College in Langres. Hereturned to the United States in August, 1918, and was discharged in December.The title Colonel continued to be used by his friends.


Althoughhis law practice was his primary concern between 1918 and 1926, Stimsonretained his interest in public affairs. He was vocal in his objections to somefeatures of Wilsons peace plan and the League of Nations, but urged Republicansenators to vote for the treaty. He supported Leonard Wood for the Republicanpresidential nomination in 1920. He continued to lobby for the executivebudget, opposed the veterans bonus, protested when the New York Assemblyrefused to seat duly elected socialist members, and served with Charles EvansHughes in 1925 on a commission to advise Governor Alfred Smith on thereorganization of state departments.


In 1926the perennial dispute between Chile and Peru over the provinces of Tacna andArica re-emerged. In an attempt to resolve the dispute Secretary of StateKellogg sought out Stimson as someone with a detached mind to provide ananalysis of the situation. Stimsons actual contribution to the settlement ofthis issue was minor but his advisory brief brought him recognition from theCoolidge administration.


Later in1926 Stimson traveled as a semiofficial representative of the president to thePhilippines where he was the guest of his old friends Governor General and Mrs.Leonard Wood. Wood had aroused antagonism among the Filipino leaders and hisadministration had been experiencing difficulties. During his stay Stimsontalked with Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmea and culminated his visit bypresenting a memorandum of a plan to achieve better relations between branchesof the Philippine government. The plan recognized the need for effectiveexecutive authority but combined it with responsible cabinet government. On hisreturn he reported directly to President Coolidge.


In thespring of 1927 Coolidge appointed Stimson a special emissary to Nicaragua andgranted him power to act for the government in seeking a solution to the civilwar in that country between liberals and conservatives. In April Stimson sailedfor Managua. He conducted talks with President Diaz and other conservatives andwith General Moncada, the liberal leader. Eventually a settlement providing fora national election under American supervision was agreed to, known as thePeace of Tipitapa. By the time he left Nicaragua in May Stimson had succeededin restoring a general peace. Stimson believed that a major lesson had beenlearned from these negotiations, that friendly, frank discussions and an attitudeof impartiality toward all participants could achieve constructive results inLatin American relations. He recorded his impressions of his work later in 1927in American Policy in Nicaragua.


WhenGovernor General Leonard Wood died in the summer of 1927, Quezon and Osmeaurged President Coolidge to appoint Stimson in his place. Guaranteed thesupport of these two leaders, Stimson accepted and sailed for Manila inFebruary, 1928, for his last short adventure before old age. Stimsonsprogram included the clarification of the position of governor general in theexecutive department, establishment of a working relationship with thelegislature, and progress in industrial and economic development by attractingforeign capital. These policies, especially the last, were not unanimouslysupported by all Filipinos. Stimson asserted that individual freedom andself-government would come more quickly to the Philippines if they had a morehighly developed commerce and industry. Filipino leaders continued to fear thatindependence would not be granted and the extensive foreign investment wouldlead to economic dependence and exploitation.


TheStimsons found life agreeable in the Philippines - living in the MalacaanPalace, traveling through the islands, and enjoying the viceregal privileges ofthe office of governor general. But, Hoover, on being elected president,offered Stimson a cabinet post, and Stimson agreed to accept the portfolio ofthe State Department. The Stimsons returned to Washington, and Stimson took theoath of office on March 28, 1929.


One ofStimsons first tasks was finding a place to live in Washington. In midsummerthe Stimsons finally settled on a large and lavish Southern colonial stylemansion in the heart of northwest Washington called Woodley. The grounds wereextensive and in later years Cordell Hull found them to be ideal for hiscroquet matches.


Stimsonentered his new office as a recognized believer in international cooperation.In October, 1929, British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald met with Hoover andStimson at Rapidan in the Virginia mountains, a meeting which opened the way toa general conference of major naval powers on limiting fleet strengths.Representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, France, Italy, and Japanmet in London in January, 1930, with Stimson as head of the United Statesdelegation. The final results of this conference were disappointing and thebuild-up of naval armaments continued.


The Hooveradministration also made new overtures of good will toward Latin Americannations and raised once again the hopes for American participation in the WorldCourt. In 1929 a serious conflict between the Soviet Union and China wasaverted. Stimson later looked back at his first two years in office as a periodof peace and trust.


Almostovernight, however, the weaknesses of the post-World War I economic andpolitical arrangements became startlingly apparent. By the spring of 1931 aninternational economic depression had produced a major political crisis. In Maythe Credit Anstalt, the largest bank in Austria, collapsed and financial panicswept Europe. Continuing monetary chaos in Central Europe meant that apolitical upheaval was certain along with the repudiation of all foreign debts.To meet this crisis Hoover proposed a one-year moratorium on allintergovernmental debts, including German reparations payments to the Alliedpowers and all war debts owed by the Allies to the United States. After themoratorium was announced Stimson departed for Europe to meet with leaders andattend the conference on intergovernmental debts.


InSeptember, 1931, when Stemson was still deeply concerned over the worldfinancial crisis, cables from the Far East indicated that Japan had invadedManchuria in flagrant violation of the Kellogg Pact, the Nine Power Treaty, andthe covenant of the League of Nations. For three months Stimson continued tocommunicate with Kijuro Shidehara, Japans foreign secretary. He hoped that theJapanese government could control the leaders of its armed forces, but Japaneseaggression continued. By January 3, 1932, all of Manchuria was in Japanesehands. In reaction, Stimson decided to use moral sanctions. In a note to bothChina and Japan on January 7 he invoked the nonrecognition doctrine which wasdesigned to reinforce the Kellogg Pact. If the fruits of aggression wererecognized, Stimson believed, war would again be sanctioned as a legitimateinstrument of national policy.


But thismessage did not deter the Japanese, who proceeded to attack Shanghai. Stimson,voicing United States policy, insisted on the maintenance of Chinasindependence and territorial integrity. The Japanese refused to concur in thedefinition of China as an organized people and continued their advance.Stimson saw a sharp difference between the views of the East and West on thesematters and predicted that if the friction between them continued it would bealmost impossible to prevent an armed clash.


In thespring of 1932 Stimson attended the disarmament conference held in Geneva. Inthe summer he campaigned for the re-election of Hoover. After Hoovers defeatStimson met with President-elect Roosevelt and Cordell Hull to discuss problemsin foreign affairs, meanwhile preparing the way for conversations which hehoped to arrange between Roosevelt and the bitter Herbert Hoover, a plan whichwas never consummated.


In theinterval between 1933 and 1940 Stimson divided his time between Washington andNew York. Almost every summer he vacationed in Scotland. In 1936 he published abook about Japanese aggression titled The Far Eastern Crisis. In 1937 hewas elected to serve a two-year term as president of the New York City BarAssociation. He supported Roosevelts basic views of foreign policy but wasdeeply skeptical of New Deal domestic legislation and vigorously denounced theadministrations attempt to reorganize the Supreme Court. Stimson kept awatchful eye on the developing drama in foreign affairs. He wrote letters tothe New York Times demanding action against Mussolinis invasion ofEthiopia, deploring the Ludlow amendment, and favoring an embargo on arms toSpain and Japan. Stimson made himself a champion of Chinas cause and favored aget tough policy toward the Japanese. When the American Committee forNon-Participation in Japanese Aggression was formed in the summer of 1938Stimson agreed to serve as its honorarychairman.


Stimsonhad continued to visit Roosevelt at the White House through October, 1934.Then, a misunderstanding occurred and though they corresponded occasionallyStimsons direct access to the president was gone. Stimson was greatlysurprised, therefore, when Roosevelt offered him the post of Secretary of Warin June, 1940. Stimson accepted, seeing the invitation as a call to duty.Stimsons frequent outspoken remarks about the need for United States aid tohelp Europe fight fascism had no doubt impressed the president. But, theappointment was also a political stroke. Roosevelt on the eve of his campaignfor a third term had hoped to confound his critics by creating a cabinet ofnational unity. When the announcement was made at the Republican NationalConvention then meeting in Philadelphia, Stimson and the new Secretary of theNavy Frank Knox, another Republican, were both read out of the party. Hisnomination confirmed by the Senate, Stimson was sworn in on July 10.


At firstStimson had doubts as to the permanence of his position in the Rooseveltcabinet. He thought he might be cast out after the November election. At most,he foresaw eighteen months preparing the War Department to cope with itsincreasing responsibilities. One of Stimsons first urgent tasks was theenlarging of the Army. From two hundred thousand in 1940 it eventually reacheda peak of eight million. Stimson supported enactment of selective servicelegislation. When the lottery was begun Stimson was the blindfolded man whodrew the first capsule. Stimson also advocated support for Britain and workedfor the passage of Lend-Lease. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December,1941, came almost as a relief to Stimson. The uneasy wait between peace and warwas over. Mobilization began in earnest and Stimson took part in strategysessions between the United States and Britain. He always believed that theEuropean front should take precedence over the Pacific theater and he urged anearly cross channel invasion of Europe instead of campaigns in theMediterranean and Middle East.


During theprogress of war Stimson had to fight continual battles over mobilization ofindustry and the procurement of supplies and manpower, deal with questionsaffecting black troops, justify the relocation of West Coast Japanese-Americancitizens, and develop plans for the postwar government of Germany. He madeseveral inspection tours of army bases in the United States, visited Britain in1943, and joined Omar Bradley and George Patton in France after the invasion ofNormandy. His devotion to his work won him the deep friendship with GeneralGeorge Marshall.


The workwas rigorous for a man Stimsons age and he continued to amaze the nation withhis stamina. His regime called for him to rise at 6:30 for work at thedepartment. After a full days work he would return to Woodley for a vigorousgame of deck tennis. He continued also to enjoy the pleasures of horseback riding.Social engagements were cut to a minimum; he and Mrs. Stimson would spend quietevenings at home. Almost every weekend they would escape to Highhold toconfront the more enjoyable problems of running that household and farm.


As the warin Europe was coming to a conclusion in the spring of 1945 Stimson wasbeginning to suffer from coronary heart disease. But when President Rooseveltdied suddenly in April and an inexperienced Harry Truman came into officeStimson promised Truman that he would remain on the job until the end of warwith Japan was in sight.


In thefall of 1941 Stimson had been named by Roosevelt to a committee along withVannevar Bush and James B. Conant to advise him on nuclear fission policy. WhenTruman became president, it was Stimson, as senior advisor on the militaryemployment of atomic energy, who first informed him of the existence of theManhattan project. News of the successful detonation of an atomic bomb wasrelayed to Stimson at Potsdam on July 16, 1945, where plans for postwar Europewere being discussed. Stimson conveyed the information to Truman and adecision, since the subject of much debate, was made to use the bomb if Japanrefused surrender terms. Stimson selected the targets of Hiroshima andNagasaki.


Stimsonslast cabinet debate was on the future uses of atomic energy. He insisted thatthe United States and the Soviets be brought into equal partnership on thissubject, in an effort to confine the use of atomic energy to peaceful purposes.He felt that for the United States to negotiate with the Soviets with the bombon our hip would irretrievably embitter future relations with Russia. Hewas voicing once again his faith that the best way to make a person or nationtrustworthy was to trust them.


The warofficially ended on September 2, and Stimson, then 78, weakened by his heartcondition, retired from the War Department three weeks later. The yearsfollowing retirement were not active ones. Stimson returned to Highhold torecuperate, but was plagued by painful attacks of arthritis. Much of his timewas occupied in writing. He wrote articles defending the decision to drop thebomb, justifying the legality of the Nuremburg war crimes trials, andsupporting the Marshall plan. In 1948 he completed his autobiography, writtenwith McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War. His lastletter to the New York Times was written on March 27, 1950, and decriedthe attacks by Senator Joseph McCarthy on the State Department. Six monthslater he died at Highhold.




1 Henry Lewis Stimson andMcGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 1947,1948), xii.


2 On Active Service,xiii.


3 On Active Service,xv-xvi.



Provenance,Nature, and Organization of the Papers


TheStimson Trust was established by Henry Lewis Stimson in the fall of 1948 topreserve Stimsons correspondence, speeches, writings, diaries, and variousother collected documents, and ultimately to make these materials available forresearch purposes to scholars and the public. Under the terms of the trust thefirst segment of the Henry L. Stimson papers were deposited in YaleUniversitys Sterling Memorial Library in the spring of 1949. This shipment wascomposed of papers from Highhold, the Stimson law office in New York City, and materialsthat had been stored in a warehouse in Brooklyn. It consisted of almost all ofStimsons personal papers prior to March 4, 1933. Not included were paperscreated by Stimson as a practicing attorney, which remained in the files ofWinthrop, Stimson, Putnam, and Roberts. The trustees expressed their intentionto make additional gifts to the library of the remaining Stimson papers and thediary. At the time of Stimsons death in 1950 the papers which had arrived atYale in 1949 had still not been formally donated, and it was not until 1952that these papers (for the period prior to 1933) became the property of theuniversity. By this time a portion of the papers from the post-1933 period hadalso arrived at the Yale Library.


In 1949 aninventory of the newly-arrived material was made and an elaborate system forarranging and cataloging was begun. Each item was to be numbered and recordedon slips in triplicate so that a card catalog by author, date, and subjectcould be developed. The papers were arranged in chronological order excludingprinted material, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, and boundvolumes of miscellaneous materials. Thus much correspondence that hadpreviously been arranged by subject was now incorporated into a single chronologicalseries.


The workof arrangement and cataloging proceeded slowly. The Stimson Trust hadcommissioned Elting E. Morison to write a biography of Stimson and had givenhim permission to use the papers in his own quarters in Cambridge,Massachusetts. In addition, Morison had taken for his use a quantity ofadditional papers that were still at Highhold at the time of Mrs. Stimsonsdeath in 1955. As these papers began to trickle back to New Haven, it wasdecided to simplify the cataloging process. Items were no longer numbered, andcatalog cards were made only for the more important letters. When, in July,1959, the trustees authorized the library to make all papers including thediaries available to scholars without restriction, the cataloging and arrangementprocess was still going on. This work was completed in the early sixties and atthat time the papers were estimated to contain 115,000 items. Stimson familycorrespondence in the possession of Morison was given to the Library in 1960with the stipulation that these papers be kept under seal for twenty-fiveyears.


Since thattime there have been two substantial contributions to the collection. In 1965Sherman Kent donated two more volumes of printed speeches which had been givento him by Stimson for the purpose of editing a volume of significant publicstatements. The other addition came from Dr. Philip Stimson in 1969 andconsisted of family correspondence, history, and memorabilia.


The userof this material should be aware that the Yale University Library has made noattempt to obtain copies of Stimson papers and letters existing elsewhere, ofwhich there may be no copy in Yales collection. For instance, the library ofPhillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, has material which relates to Stimsonsservice as a member of the board of trustees. The official records of the WarDepartment and the State Department for the periods of Stimsons governmentservice are in the National Archives, and must be used by any serious studentof Stimsons career.


Informationfor Users of the Microfilm


Themicrofilm publication of the Henry Lewis Stimson papers consists of 169 reelsof film, each reel approximately 1000 frames long. The papers have been filmedin the IB or IIB format, and unless otherwise indicated have beenfilmed at 12 1/2:1 reduction ratio. The papers have been filmed in the order inwhich they are now maintained in the Manuscripts and Archives at the SterlingMemorial Library. They are in the following six series: I. GeneralCorrespondence; II. Memoranda, Minutes of Meetings, Notes on Conversations andInterviews, and Miscellaneous Papers, 1929-1933, 1940-1945; III. Speeches,Writings, and Other Public Statements; IV. Special Subjects; V. FamilyCorrespondence; and VI. Selected Documents of the State Department, 1929-1933.There are three additional reels of film at the very end which do not fit intoany of these series.


Adescription of each series and an explanatory note for each of the 169 reelshave been printed in this guide. The notes offer a general survey of each reelin the context of Stimsons life, but are not an exhaustive analysis or catalogof the reels contents.


Personswho have previously used the papers at the library may notice that there hasbeen some rearrangement of series. This has been done to facilitate thelocation of material. A collection of newspaper clippings, routine business,financial, and legal papers, and photographs have not been filmed.


Adviceon Property Rights and Citation


The paperscopied on the microfilm edition of the Henry Lewis Stimson Papers are theproperty of the Yale University Library. This edition has been issued by theYale University Library primarily for the purpose of making these valuablematerials more easily accessible to scholars. Researchers who make use of themicrofilm edition must conform to the fair use principles and the literaryproperty right laws that govern the research use of all original manuscriptmaterials. This means that unauthorized publication or photographic reproductionof any material in the microfilm edition is expressly forbidden.


TheStimson Papers, of course, contain vast quantities of letters and othermaterial not written by Henry Lewis Stimson, but sent by others to him. Usersof the microfilm are reminded that under the common law doctrine governingliterary property rights, the right to publish a personal letter or amanuscript belongs to the writer or his heirs, unless they have specificallydivested themselves of this right. This right is independent of and separatefrom the ownership of the letter or manuscript itself. This means that the YaleUniversity Library, although it is the owner of the Stimson Papers, is not ableto authorize the publication of all the materials they contain.


Allpersons wishing to publish any part or excerpt from the microfilmed materialsshould request authorization from the Associate Librarian for Manuscripts andArchives, Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut 06520.


In citingdocuments in the microfilm edition the researcher should credit Manuscripts andArchives, Yale University Library, as custodian of the original papers. Thefollowing is a suggested form for citations: Henry Lewis Stimson to WoodrowWilson, 1913 March 4, Henry Lewis Stimson Papers (Microfilm edition, reel 10),Manuscript and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut.




SeriesI: General Correspondence
Reels 1 - 125


Thegeneral correspondence series comprises 125 reels of the microfilm publicationand is the largest series on the film. It spans Stimsons entire career from1884 to his death in 1950.


The firsteleven reels are composed of twenty-four volumes of letterpress copies ofoutgoing letters for the period 1891-1913. Each of these volumes containsapproximately 500 letters. The books have been filmed in the following order:personal letters; official letters as secretary of war; official letters asUnited States attorney. Each volume except the first has its own index to theaddressee of every letter. In addition, the volumes created in the office ofthe secretary of war on reels 7-10 contain a subject index. In these indicesaddressees are listed on the top half of the page, and subjects on the bottomhalf. The letters in all of the volumes are usually arranged in chronologicalorder.


Everyletter in these letterbooks has been filmed, but blank numbered pages have notbeen filmed. In certain instances the thin tissue copies in these volumes arealmost illegible owing to the blurred or poorly made copy, fading, or tears andwrinkles in the page. In such cases a target indicating the illegibility of theoriginal document has been filmed with the letter.


Theremainder of the correspondence has been placed in a single chronologicalsequence. In cases of undated items, dates have been supplied in brackets,where possible, to the closest day, month or year. Items with only year dateswere filmed at the beginning of each year; items with year and month dates werefilmed at the beginning of the month. Items that could not be dated at all wereplaced in alphabetical order and filmed at the end of the series. Where thereis more than one letter bearing a single date the letters have beenalphabetized by name of writer. Copies of Stimsons outgoing letters have been chronologicallyinterfiled with the other correspondence. Enclosures have been filmed followingthe letter of transmittal. Non-Stimson correspondence that is unexplainably inthe files has been filmed on reel 168 as Correspondence of Others. Mostfamily correspondence will be found in the family correspondence series, butfamily letters that contain discussions of public issues or of Stimsons publiccareer will be found in the general correspondence. Mabel White Stimsonsnon-family correspondence has been arranged in chronological order and filmedon reel 124. Condolence letters received by Mrs. Stimson on the death of herhusband have been filmed on reel 125.


Reel notesfor this series have been written in a narrative style to describe major eventsand issues of the time. These notes enlarge on details missing in thebiographical sketch and provide a sampling of the more important or mostfrequent correspondents and subjects in the reel. The reader is cautionedagainst assuming that all persons or subjects that appear in the reel arementioned in the reel note. A reader interested in a specific person isencouraged to consult Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, forinformation that may be available in catalogs kept in the department. In general,speeches and articles mentioned in these reel notes will be found in theSpeeches, Writings, and Other Public Statements series on reels 129-136.


SeriesII: Memoranda, Minutes of Meetings, Notes on Conversations and Interviews, andMiscellaneous Papers
Reels 126 - 128


Thoughcomprising only three reels, this series is one of the most valuable for theperiods 1929-1933 and 1940-1945. Copied on these reels are such materials asnotes preparatory to cabinet meetings, minutes and notes of cabinet meetings,memoranda of engagements, aides-memoire, summaries of problems and proposalsfor their solution, and various types of research material. These materialswere all produced during Stimsons periods in the cabinet. The series isarranged in chronological order.


SeriesII: Speeches, Writings, and other Public Statements
Reels 129 - 136


Thematerial in this series is divided into three subseries, by type, i.e.speeches, writings, and other public statements. Within each subseries thematerial is arranged chronologically. The papers for any particularpronouncement will always contain notes, a draft, or a printed copy, but mayalso include outlines, research memoranda, working drafts, and extensiveresearch material. In some cases mailing lists are also present, but these havenot been filmed.


Speechesincludes radio talks, commencement addresses, classroom lectures, and somespeeches which were prepared but never delivered.


Writingsincludes all works intended for publication: articles, letters to the editor,memorial tributes, books and introductions to works of others. The papersproduced in connection with the writing of Stimsons three books have beenremoved from their chronological position in the Writings subseries. Thematerial for The Far Eastern Crisis contains a reference file useful forresearch on the conflict between China and Japan in the early thirties. For theconvenience of the researcher interested only in the period 1929-1933 thismaterial has been placed after the Memoranda, Minutes of Meetings series onreel 126. The material for On Active Service and My Vacations hasbeen filmed on reel 136.


Thesubseries Other Public Statements includes press releases, testimony beforecongressional hearings, preparatory notes and transcripts of interviews, notesused at press conferences, and transcripts of press conferences.


SeriesIV: Special Subjects
Reels 137 - 146


TheSpecial Subjects series contains ten reels. Each reel is composed of one ormore segments, each segment representing a separate subject unit. Each segmentmay contain any of several different kinds of material, but none of themcontains any correspondence of Henry L. Stimson. Each segment has its owninternal organization; in most cases it is chronological. The beginning of asegment has been indicated by the triple filming of a target giving the segmenttitle.


SeriesV: Family Correspondence and Other Family Papers
Reels 147 - 159


The familypapers are divided into two subseries. The first, General Stimson Family Papers,is composed of all correspondence between Stimson family members that is notaddressed to or written by Henry Lewis Stimson. Such Stimson family membersinclude Mabel White Stimson and her relatives, as well as Henry L. Stimsonsrelations. Correspondence in this subseries dates back to the 1840s. Thecorrespondence is arranged alphabetically by the name of the recipient, andthen chronologically under each name. The husbands surname has been used inalphabetizing the names of married women. In a few cases, copies of letterssent to nonfamily members have been placed with the writers incomingcorrespondence. Speeches, diaries, poems, or other personal material has beenfilmed with each persons letters.


Thesubseries, Family Correspondence of Henry L. Stimson, is composed of lettersboth to and from family members. Letters by Stimsons law partners andsecretaries which discuss family matters are also found here. The subseries isarranged in chronological order and spans the years from 1874-1950. Thesubseries does not contain any correspondence which refers to Stimsons publiccareer. Letters which contain discussions of politics, current events, meetingswith public figures or the like have been placed in the general correspondenceseries.


The lastreel in the Family series contains documents relating to family history andgenealogy, and items of Stimsons personal memorabilia.


Inaccordance with a stipulation of the donors, the thirteen reels containing theFamily correspondence will not be available for purchase and use until 1985.The series contains the bulk of material from the recent donation by PhilipStimson. It should be stressed again, however, that all letters relating toStimsons public career are available on the reels in the generalcorrespondence series.


SeriesVI: Selected Documents of the State Department
Reels 160 - 166


Thisseries consists of copies of official State Department records created in orfor the office of the secretary of state between 1929 and 1933. The seriescomprises seven reels of film. The major portion of this series consists ofreports from the various divisions of the State Department, memoranda ofconversations with diplomatic representatives and of transatlantic phoneconversations, and departmental administrative records. Most of the documentsare carbon copies of original State Department records now in the NationalArchives. The originals are not yet available in a National Archivespublication.


Kept withthis series are several folders of mimeographed State Department press releasesissued between 1929 and 1933. These press releases are duplicated in PressReleases, a publication of the State Department, also kept with the series.Neither set of press releases has been filmed. Two printed volumes of theRegisters of the Department of State (January, 1930 and January, 1932) are alsokept with this series, but have not been filmed.