Bohlen, Charles E. (Charles Eustis), 1904-1974

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Charles "Chip" Eustis Bohlen (1904-1973), diplomat and Russian specialist, was born in Clayton, New York. After Bohlen took his B.A. at Harvard in 1927, he went on a world tour on a tramp ship. Although he had not intended to become a diplomat, his extensive world travels with his family as a child and his course work at Harvard caused him to enter the Foreign Service in Washington in 1929. He was assigned as vice-consul at Prague until 1931, when he became vice-consul at Paris. Here he began serious study of the Russian language. He attended Russian church services and perfected his language skills with Russian emigrees in street cafes. Assigned to study Russian language by the State Department (which anticipated recognition of the Bolshevik government), Bohlen spent one summer with a Russian family in Estonia. When the United States resumed diplomatic relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1933, Bohlen was named vice-consul under Ambassador William C. Bullitt. Later he served as third secretary at the American Embassy, during which time he travelled extensively throughout Russia. Bohlen returned to Washington in 1935 to join the Division of Eastern European Affairs. Although Bohlen treasured his experiences in Russia, he conceded that he always felt a breath of refreshing air when he crossed the border. Returning in 1938, he found Russia was in convulsion because of the political purge trials which he personally observed. He scored somewhat of a diplomatic coup when in 1939 he learned details of the Russo-German pact which led to the Nazi attack on Poland, starting World War II. The State Department reassigned Bohlen to Tokyo in 1940, and he was interned with other embassy personnel in 1941 after the Pearl Harbor attack. When Bohlen returned to Washington, he impressed presidential aide Harry Hopkins. As a result, he became President Franklin D. Roosevelt''s personal Russian interpreter. Bohlen continued his diplomatic travels in 1943 when he accompanied Secretary of State Cordell Hull to the Moscow Conference which set the diplomatic framework for the United Nations International Organization. He remained in Moscow as first secretary until summoned in 1944 to be Roosevelt''s interpreter at the Teheran Conference of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt. After serving at the Washington conference at Dumbarton Oaks on international organization, he became liaison between the secretary of state and the White House until Roosevelt took him to the Yalta Conference as his interpreter, a task he would later perform for Harry Hopkins on his mission to Moscow. He attended the United Nations conference at San Francisco and went to the Potsdam conference as President Harry S. Truman''s language expert. Increasingly he was not only serving as an interpreter but as an adviser to secretaries of state, including James F. Byrnes, George C. Marshall, and Dean Acheson. Controversy surrounded Bohlen''s appointment to Moscow as ambassador by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. Opposed by Wisconsin''s Joseph R. McCarthy, who attacked Bohlen for his role at the Yalta Conference, he eventually won Senate confirmation by a vote of 74 to 13. McCarthy''s performance so outraged Senate leaders Robert A. Taft and William Knowland that it marked the beginning of McCarthy''s demise. Political turmoil highlighted Bohlen''s five years in Moscow as ambassador, a period which saw the rise and fall of Georgi M. Malenkov, the execution of Lavrenti P. Beria, the emergence of Nikita S. Khruschev, de-Stalinization, the revolt in Hungary, and the Suez crisis. Although his tenure was characterized by highly charged exchanges with Soviet diplomats, the Russians were disappointed when he was moved to the Philippine Embassy, a transfer that resulted from long-standing differences with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Later he became special adviser on Soviet affairs for Secretary of State Christian Herter. He finished his diplomatic career with five years of service at the difficult Paris Embassy for President John F. Kennedy and one year as deputy under secretary of state for political affairs, concluding over 40 years of service with the State Department.

From the description of Bohlen, Charles E. (Charles Eustis), 1904-1973 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10679484

Diplomat.

From the description of Reminiscences of Charles Eustis Bohlen : oral history, 1970. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122481258

Diplomat, executive, and author. Nickname: Chip.

From the description of Charles E. Bohlen papers, 1862-1978 (bulk 1940-1973). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79455603

Biographical Note

  • 1904, Aug. 30: Born, Clayton, N.Y.
  • 1927: A.B., Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1929: Entered the Foreign Service, Washington, D.C.
  • 1929 - 1931 : Vice consul, Prague, Czechoslovakia
  • 1934: Third secretary, Department of State, Moscow, Soviet Union
  • 1935: Married Avis Thayer (died 1981)
  • 1935 - 1938 : Assigned to Division of Eastern European Affairs, Department of State
  • 1938 - 1939 : Consul, Moscow, Soviet Union
  • 1940 - 1941 : Second secretary, Department of State, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1943: Attended Moscow Conference, Moscow, Soviet Union
  • 1943 - 1944 : First secretary, Department of State, Moscow, Soviet Union
  • 1944: Interpreter for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Tehran Conference, Tehran, Iran
  • 1945: Interpreter for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Yalta Conference, Yalta, Crimea Interpreter for Harry S. Truman, Potsdam Conference, Potsdam, Germany Political and liaison officer, United Nations Delegation, San Francisco, Calif.
  • 1946: Special assistant to secretary of state
  • 1947: Counselor, Department of State
  • 1948: Minister, Paris, France
  • 1953 - 1957 : Ambassador to the Soviet Union
  • 1957 - 1959 : Ambassador to the Philippines
  • 1959 - 1961 : Special assistant to secretary of state for Soviet affairs
  • 1961: Published The Foreign Service and the Panorama of Change. Washington, D.C.: Department of State
  • 1962 - 1969 : Ambassador to France
  • 1969: President, Italamerica, S.A. Published The Transformation of American Foreign Policy. New York: Norton
  • 1969 - 1973 : Member of international council, Morgan Guaranty & Trust Co.
  • 1973: Published Witness to History, 1929-1969. New York: Norton
  • 1974, Jan. 1: Died, Washington, D.C.

From the guide to the Charles E. Bohlen Papers, 1862-1978, (bulk 1940-1973), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Robert Manning papers, 1938-1993. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Robert E. Sherwood papers, 1917-1968 (inclusive), 1934-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Barnes, Joseph, 1907-1970. Joseph Barnes papers, 1907-1970, 1923-1970. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. Subject Files from the Official Papers of Charles E. Bohlen
referencedIn Nicolas Nabokov Papers TXRC98-A21., 1907, 1950-1978 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Audiovisual Collection. 1957 - 2006. Photographs Relating to the Administration, Family, and Personal Life of Harry S. Truman. 1957 - 2004. President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at Potsdam
referencedIn Loy W. Henderson Papers, 1918-1984, (bulk 1938-1957) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn Papers, 1929-1981 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf National Security Files. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. Files of McGeorge Bundy
creatorOf General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. General Correspondence of Charles E. Bohlen
referencedIn Alsop, Joseph, 1910-1989. Papers of Joseph and Stewart Alsop, 1699-1989 (bulk 1937-1989). Library of Congress
referencedIn Bohlen, Avis Howard Thayer, 1912-1981. Papers, 1929-1981 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997. Papers, 1923-1978. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. 1860 - 1964. Correspondence with Harry S. Truman. 1945 - 1962. Harry S. Truman, June 1947-1948. 1945 - 1962. Letter from Harry S. Truman to Eleanor Roosevelt
creatorOf Bohlen, Charles E. (Charles Eustis), 1904-1974. Charles E. Bohlen papers, 1862-1978 (bulk 1940-1973). Library of Congress
referencedIn Henderson, Loy W. (Loy Wesley), 1892-1986. Papers, 1918-1978 (bulk 1938-1957). Library of Congress
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn William Harlan Stoneman papers, 1928-1974 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn John Foster Dulles Papers. 1950 - 1959. White House Memoranda Files
referencedIn Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986. Chester Bowles papers, 1924-1982 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Bohlen, Charles E. (Charles Eustis), 1904-1974. Reminiscences of Charles Eustis Bohlen : oral history, 1970. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn John Foster Dulles oral history collection, 1964-1967 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Public Policy Papers.
referencedIn Lane, Arthur Bliss, 1894-1956. Arthur Bliss Lane papers, 1904-1957 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Joseph Barnes Papers, 1923-1970 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Arthur Bliss Lane papers, 1904-1957 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Charles E. Bohlen Papers, 1862-1978, (bulk 1940-1973) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn Kirk, Alan Goodrich, 1888-1963. Papers of Alan Goodrich Kirk, 1919-1961. Library of Congress
referencedIn Chester Bowles papers, 1924-1982 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Ruth Fischer papers, 1925-1961 (inclusive) 1940-1961 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Wisner, Frank Gardiner, 1909-1965. Frank Gardiner Wisner papers [manuscript], 1931-1971. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Stoneman, William Harlan, 1904-. William Harlan Stoneman papers, 1928-1974. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986. William Averell Harriman papers on Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, 1941-1946, 1941-1974. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Arthur H. Vandenberg papers, 1884-1974, 1915-1951 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. Records Relating to Soviet and American Leadership and Diplomatic Personnel
referencedIn Henderson, Loy W. (Loy Wesley), 1892-1986. Papers of Loy W. Henderson, 1918-1984 (bulk 1938-1957). Library of Congress
creatorOf General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. Records of Ambassador Charles E. Bohlen
referencedIn Robert E. Sherwood papers, 1917-1968 (inclusive), 1934-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Portraits, ca. 1852-ca. 2004 Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1960-1972 Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Nabokov, Nicolas, 1903-1978. Nicolas Nabokov Papers, 1907, 1950-1978. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Joseph Alsop and Stewart Alsop Papers, 1699-1989, (bulk 1937-1989) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration). 1945 - 1960. Personal Files. 1945 - 1953. Roosevelt, Eleanor: General [2 of 3]. 1945 - 1953. Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry S. Truman
creatorOf General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. Memorandums from the Official Papers of Charles E. Bohlen
creatorOf Bohlen, Charles E. (Charles Eustis), 1904-1974. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1957. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Dorothy Norman Papers, 1923-1978 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971. person
associatedWith Alsop, Joseph, 1910-1989. person
associatedWith Alsop, Joseph W. (Joseph Wright), 1876-1953 person
associatedWith Alsop, Stewart. Joseph Alsop and Stewart Alsop papers. 1699-1989 person
associatedWith Avis Howard (Thayer) Bohlen person
associatedWith Barnes, Joseph, 1907-1970. person
associatedWith Bohlen, Avis Howard Thayer, 1912-1981. person
associatedWith Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986. person
associatedWith Bunting, Mary Ingraham, 1910- person
associatedWith Eustis, James B. (James Biddle), 1834-1899. person
correspondedWith Fischer, Ruth, 1895- person
associatedWith Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986. person
associatedWith Henderson, Loy W. (Loy Wesley), 1892-1986. person
associatedWith Kirk, Alan Goodrich, 1888-1963. person
associatedWith Lane, Arthur Bliss, 1894-1956. person
associatedWith Manning, Robert, 1919- person
associatedWith Nabokov, Nicolas, 1903-1978 person
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
associatedWith Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997. person
associatedWith North, Don, person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945. person
associatedWith Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Sherwood, Robert E. (Robert Emmet), 1896-1955 person
associatedWith Stoneman, William Harlan, 1904- person
associatedWith Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972. person
associatedWith Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951 person
associatedWith Wisner, Frank Gardiner, 1909-1965. person
associatedWith Yalta Conference (1945) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
South Korea
France
Soviet Union
Japan
Philippines
United States
Philippines
Berlin (Germany)
United States
Berlin (Germany)
Korea (South)
Soviet Union
Soviet Union
Japan
France
United States
Subject
Diplomatic and consular service, American--France
World War, 1939-1945--Peace
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Philippines
Diplomats--Interviews
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Soviet Union
World War, 1939-1945--Diplomatic history
Diplomatic and consular service, American
Occupation
Authors
Executives
Diplomats
Function

Person

Birth 1904-08-30

Death 1974-12-30

English

Information

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