Tuesday, October 18, 2011

John Paton Davies and Peter Van Buren

The State Department hates it when you tell the truth.

"the timidity still lived..."
Peter van Buren
We Meant Well

"Thus began the long ordeal of John Paton Davies and other China experts. Starting in 1948 and continuing through 1954, he underwent nine security investigations. Again and again he was cleared, but the experience itself was debilitating and destructive, poisonous, always leaving doubts. Besides newspaper charges, guilt by association, the failure of friends to stand by, even the very questioning seemed to imply his guilt. (Typically, U.S. News and World Report, December 1953: 'The Strange Case of John Paton Davies. Investigated since 1945, He's Still a Diplomat'....
[strangely, not available on the web]

"Finally, in mid-1968, fourteen years after he had been fired, John Davies was cleared. He was cleared in the last months of the Johnson Administration, when it was too late and all the damage both to a man and to a policy had been done. But even then the State Department did not have the courage to admit that it had corrected an old injustice. Instead of issuing an honest and candid statement, it leaked the news of the reinstatement to a reporter for the New York Times; the timidity still lived."

David Halberstam
The Best and The Brightest