John J. McCloy

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For other people named John McCloy, see John McCloy (disambiguation).
John J. McCloy
John J. McCloy - Project Gutenberg etext 20587.jpg
2nd President of the World Bank Group
In office
March 1947 – June 1949
Preceded by Eugene Meyer
Succeeded by Eugene R. Black, Sr.
Personal details
Born John Jay McCloy
(1895-03-31)31 March 1895
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died 11 March 1989(1989-03-11) (aged 93)
Stamford, Connecticut
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Ellen Zinsser
Alma mater Amherst College, Harvard Law School

John Jay McCloy (March 31, 1895 – March 11, 1989), was a Wall Street lawyer and banker who served as Assistant Secretary of War during World War II, where he made many major decisions. After the war he served as president of the World Bank, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, and chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. He later became a prominent United States presidential adviser, served on the Warren Commission, and was a member of the foreign policy establishment group of elders called "The Wise Men."

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

McCloy's father was a successful insurance man who died when the son was five. His mother was a hairdresser in Philadelphia with many high society clients. McCloy was educated at Peddie School, New Jersey, and Amherst College. He was an average student who excelled at tennis and moved smoothly among the sons of the nation's elite.[1]

He enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1916, where he was an average student. He was profoundly influenced by his experience at the Plattsburg Preparedness camps. When the U.S. entered the war in 1917 he joined as a Second Lieutenant. He served as the aide to a general in the American Expeditionary Force in France in 1918, and saw combat service in the last weeks of the war as commander of an artillery battery. He received his LL.B. from Harvard in 1921.[2]

Wall Street lawyer[edit]

McCloy went to New York to become an associate in the firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham, and Taft, which was one of the nation's most prestigious law firms. He moved to Cravath, Henderson, & de Gersdorff in 1924, where he worked with many wealthy clients, such as the St. Paul railroad. In 1934 McCloy found new evidence allowing him to re-open an action for damages against Germany for the destruction caused by the 1916 Black Tom explosion.[3] He did a great deal of work for corporations in Nazi Germany and was a legal counselor to the major German chemical combine I. G. Farben. By the time he left for government service in 1940, McCloy earned about $45,000 a year and had savings of $106,000. His involvement in litigation over a World War I sabotage case gave him a strong interest in intelligence issues and in German affairs.[4]

World War II[edit]

The then 54th U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson hired John Jay McCloy as a consultant in September 1940, and he became immersed in war planning, even though he was a Republican Party supporter and voted against Franklin D. Roosevelt in the upcoming November 1940 presidential election.[5] On April 22nd of 1941, he was moved from consultant and was made Assistant Secretary of War, reporting to Secretary of War Henry Stimson. He had only civilian responsibilities, especially the purchase of war materials for the Army, Lend Lease, the draft, and issues of intelligence and sabotage.[6]

During World War II, as Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy was a crucial voice in setting U.S. military priorities. In February of 1942, John Jay McCloy was heavily involved in the decision to move Japanese ancestry Americans from their homes on the U.S.A. west coast inland into internment camps; indeed, Kai Bird wrote in his biography on John Jay McCloy:

"More than any individual, McCloy was responsible for the decision, since the (U.S.) President had delegated the matter to him through (U.S. Secretary of War) Stimson."

The War Department was petitioned throughout late 1944 to help save Nazi held prisoners by ordering the bombing of the railroad lines leading to Auschwitz and the gas chambers in the camp. John Jay McCloy responded that only heavy bombers would be able to reach the sites from England, and that those bombers would be too vulnerable and were needed elsewhere. McCloy had no authority over the Air Force and could not overrule its choice of targets; the Air Force was adamantly opposed to any outside civilian group choosing its targets. Franklin D. Roosevelt himself rejected any such proposals.[7] Air Force historians point out a bombing campaign against the camp would have taken months of planning by which time it would be too late to save many Jews.[8]

In his role in fighting sabotage, McCloy became largely responsible for Roosevelt's decision to intern Japanese-American citizens in relocation camps in 1942 - an historical and constitutional blunder that would forever tarnish the legacies of both men. The generals on the scene had insisted on mass relocation to prevent sabotage, and the Army's G-2 (intelligence division) concluded that it was needed. A key document was a Magic-decrypted interception of a Japanese diplomat in Los Angeles who reported, "We also have connections with our second generations working in airplane plants for intelligence purposes."[9] The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), however, disagreed with the Army; in a concurrent report prepared by Cdr. Kenneth Ringle, ONI had argued against mass internment based on the fact that most of the Japanese-American citizens suspected of espionage or sabotage were already under surveillance or in FBI custody.[10] McCloy was responsible for supervising the evacuations to the camps, but the camps were run by a civilian agency.[11]

The actions were initially upheld by a unanimous Supreme Court,.[12] By 1945, the judicial consensus had eroded considerably. Three justices dissented in a similar internment challenge brought by Fred Korematsu. The dissenters were led by Justice Frank Murphy's reversal of his reluctant concurrence in the earlier Hirabayashi case.[13] Historian Roger Daniels says McCloy was strongly opposed to reopening the judicial verdicts on the constitutionality of the internment,.[14] But the dissent eventually led to judicial reversal of the criminal convictions of Hirabayashi, Korematsu, and others on the basis of government misconduct including the deliberate suppression of the ONI's Ringle report during the Supreme Court's deliberations in 1943.[15] McCloy's opposition is understandable in light of the fact that Edward Ennis, a former colleague and Justice Department lawyer tasked with the preparation of the government's briefs to the Supreme Court in the Hirabayashi case, would directly accuse McCloy of personal deception in testimony before the Seattle Federal Court's 1985 coram nobis review.[16] This led directly to the final resolution, in 1987, of the World War II internment cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which fully exonerated Gordon Hirabayashi and other Japanese-American citizens who fought the wartime curfews and forced relocations resulting from Army orders which the three-judge panel unanimously held were "based upon racism rather than military necessity."[17]

An indefatigable committee member, McCloy during the war served on the government task forces that built the Pentagon, created the Office of Strategic Services (it eventually became the Central Intelligence Agency), and proposed the United Nations, and the war crimes tribunals. He chaired the predecessor to the National Security Council. As chairman of the Army's Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policy, he at first opposed the civil rights spokesman who wanted the Army to end segregation. However, he changed his mind and in late 1945, just before leaving the government to return to Wall Street, he proposed ending segregation in the military. In 1945, he and Stimson convinced President Truman to reject the Morgenthau Plan and not strip Germany of its industrial capacity.[18]

President of the World Bank and US High Commissioner in Germany[edit]

From March 1947 to June 1949, John Jay McCloy served as president of the World Bank.

Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung - HfG Ulm) 1953-68

On March 17, 1949, McCloy and General Alvan Cullom Gillem, Jr. testified before the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services.

On September 2nd of 1949, John Jay McCloy replaced the previous five successive military governors for the U.S. Zone in Germany as the 1st U.S. High Commissioner for Germany and held this position until August 1st of 1952, during which time he oversaw the further creation of the Federal Republic of Germany after May 23rd of 1949. At the strong urging of the German government, he approved recommendations for pardoning and commutation of sentences of Nazi criminals, including those of the prominent industrialists Friedrich Flick, Alfried Krupp, and Martin Sandberger.[19] McCloy also granted the restitution of Krupp's and Flick's entire property. McCloy also pardoned Ernst von Weizsäcker as well as Josef Dietrich and Joachim Peiper, convicted of mass murder for their roles in the Malmedy massacre.[19] Some of the less notable figures were retried and convicted by the government of the newly independent West Germany.

McCloy supported the initiative of Inge Aicher-Scholl (the sister of Sophie Scholl), Otl Aicher and Max Bill to found the Ulm School of Design.[20] HfG Ulm is considered to be the most influential design school in the world after the Bauhaus. The founders sought and received support in the USA(via Walter Gropius) and within the American High Command in Germany. McCloy saw the endeavor as Project No. 1 and supported a college and campus combination along US examples. In 1952 Scholl received from McCloy a cheque for one million Deutschmarks.[21]

McCloy had served as the 1st U.S. High Commissioner. His final successor as commissioner was the 4th U.S. High Commissioner, James B. Conant; the office was terminated on May 5th of 1955 (See Wikipedia entry).

Corporate leadership[edit]

Following this, he served as chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank from 1953 to 1960, and as chairman of the Ford Foundation from 1958 to 1965; he was also a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1946 to 1949, and then again from 1953 to 1958, before he took up the position at Ford.

From 1954 to 1970, he was chairman of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations in New York, to be succeeded by David Rockefeller, who had worked closely with him at the Chase Bank. McCloy had a long association with the Rockefeller family, going back to his early Harvard days when he taught the young Rockefeller brothers how to sail. He was also a member of the Draper Committee, formed in 1958 by Eisenhower.

He later served as adviser to John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and was the primary negotiator on the Presidential Disarmament Committee. In 1963, he was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy for his service to the country.

On December 6, 1963, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with Special Distinction, by President Lyndon B. Johnson

Warren Commission[edit]

He was selected by LBJ to serve on the Warren Commission in 1963. Notably, he was initially skeptical of the lone gunman theory, but a trip to Dallas with CIA veteran Allen Dulles, an old friend also serving on the Commission, convinced him of the case against Oswald. McCloy brokered the final consensus — avoiding a minority dissenting report — and the crucial wording of the primary conclusion of the final report. He stated that any possible evidence of a conspiracy was "beyond the reach" of all of America's investigatory agencies — principally the FBI and the CIA — as well as the Commission itself.

From 1966 to 1968 he was Honorary Chairman of the Paris-based Atlantic Institute.[22]

Law firm background[edit]

Originally a partner of the Cravath firm in New York City, New York, in 1924-1940, after the war, when he left his job as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of War at approximately November-December of 1945, John Jay McCloy became a name partner in the Rockefeller-associated prominent New York law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. In this capacity he acted for the "Seven Sisters", the leading multinational oil companies, including Exxon, in their initial confrontations with the nationalization movement in Libya—as well as negotiations with Saudi Arabia and OPEC. Because of his stature in the legal world and his long association with the Rockefellers, and as a presidential adviser, he was sometimes referred to as the "Chairman of the American Establishment".

Awards[edit]

McCloy is a recipient of the Association Medal of the New York City Bar Association in recognition of exceptional contributions to the honor and standing of the Bar in the community.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wilmington College (Ohio) in 1963.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bird (1992) pp 24-41
  2. ^ Bird (1992) pp 41-53
  3. ^ New York Observer article, July 2006
  4. ^ Kai Bird, The Chairman (1992) ch 5-6
  5. ^ Bird. The Chairman (1992) p 113
  6. ^ Bird. The Chairman (1992) pp 117-268
  7. ^ Beschloss, Michael R. (2003). The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945. Simon and Schuster. p. 66. 
  8. ^ Miller, Donald L. (2007). Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. Simon and Schuster. p. 324. 
  9. ^ Bird. The Chairman (1992) p 155-56
  10. ^ Irons. The Courage of Their Convictions (1988) p 44
  11. ^ Bird. The Chairman (1992) pp 147-74
  12. ^ Gordon Hirabayashi v. United States 320 U.S. 81 (1943)
  13. ^ Irons. The Courage of Their Convictions (1988) pp 45-46
  14. ^ Roger Daniels, Unfinished Business: The Japanese-American Internment Cases (1986)[1]
  15. ^ Irons. The Courage of Their Convictions (1988) pp 44; 47-48
  16. ^ Irons. The Courage of Their Convictions (1988) p 48
  17. ^ Irons. The Courage of Their Convictions (1988) p 49; quoting 46 F. Supp. 657 (9th Cir. 1987) (per Schroeder, J.)
  18. ^ Wolf, 2000
  19. ^ a b Martin A. Lee (23 October 2013). The Beast Reawakens: Fascism's Resurgence from Hitler's Spymasters to Today's Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremists. Routledge. pp. 69–71. ISBN 978-1-135-28124-3. 
  20. ^ See Ulm School of Design HfG Ulm: Archive
  21. ^ Background of HFG (in German)
  22. ^ Who Was Who. A&C Black. 2007. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bird, Kai. The Chairman: John J. McCloy - The Making of the American Establishment, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992)
  • Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made: Acheson, Bohlen, Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, and McCloy, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986)
  • Roberts, Priscilla. "‘All the Right People’: The Historiography of the American Foreign Policy Establishment." Journal of American Studies (1992) 26#3 pp 409-434.
  • Rockefeller, David. Memoirs, New York: Random House, 2002.
  • Schwartz, Thomas Alan. America's Germany: John J. McCloy and the Federal Republic of Germany (Harvard University Press, 1991)
  • Wilson, John Donald. The Chase: The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., 1945-85, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1986.
  • Wolf, Thomas P. "McCloy, John Jay, Jr."; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000 Access Date: Jan 29, 2014
  • Irons, Peter. The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court, (New York: The Free Press, 1988)

Additional sources[edit]

External links[edit]


Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Eugene Meyer
President of the World Bank
1947 – 1949
Succeeded by
Eugene R. Black, Sr.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Lucius D. Clay
American High Commissioner for Occupied Germany
1949 - 1952
Succeeded by
James B. Conant
Business positions
Preceded by
Winthrop Aldrich
Chase CEO
1953-1960
Succeeded by
George Champion
Awards
Preceded by
Douglas MacArthur
Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient
1963
Succeeded by
Robert A. Lovett