Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert A. Martin
As the day wore on we got word that Humphrey wasn't going to come that day. He was going to be delayed and come the next day. So we stayed at the Tubbys and Mr. Tubby took up a long dreary afternoon recalling stories when he was Harry Truman's press secretary in years past. One of the stories he told was about the decision to yank General MacArthur out of the Korean War after he had crossed the Yalu and exceed his civil direction. Truman made that decision and it was a very difficult time, clearly. Roger Tubby, who was very much a, “you have to keep fit” person, after the long day when the decision was made and publicly aired and there was all this heat about how could you do this to this great American icon, etc., the next morning about 6 AM was in the White House gym in the basement punching the bag and all of a sudden he heard a voice from behind him saying, “Give him one for me Roger.” He turned around and it was President Truman standing in the doorway. He obviously hadn't slept very well either.
And another story that Ambassador Tubby told about Truman was the visit that Winston Churchill paid just before he finally left office for the last time. One evening during that visit, the party which included President Truman, Prime Minister Churchill, Tubby and a few others, went out on the Potomac in the Presidential yacht and cruised down the river. I guess after dinner and many glasses of wine and many glasses of brandy, they were sitting on the after deck watching the nice scenery go by and certainly to all appearances Churchill was totally asleep. In the increasing darkness, he turned, according to Tubby's story, to President Truman at one point and said, “Mr. President, before I leave office I just want you to know that you were the principal person because of your activities and actions to save Western civilization.” Just incredible.
I am a friend of David McCullough from my Yale days, and he came to the Yale Club in town here a little over a year ago when his book, “Truman” came out and I asked him about several of these stories in and around the edges of his talk. And answering questions later at dinner...I can't recall if he put the story about Churchill saying to Truman that he was actually the one who saved Western civilization in his, Churchill's, judgment in the book or not. If not, he told it that evening in the process of his remarks. So obviously he had gotten to Roger Tubby and gotten all those stories. That was quite an unforgettable moment to hear Tubby recounting this story. Excuse me for the interruption.
Q: Well, to move on, in 1967 you left EUR and where did you go?
MARTIN: I left EUR to go to our mission to NATO to replace a fellow by the name of David Aaron, who for a variety of reasons did not want to move with NATO from Paris to Brussels and wanted to come back to Washington to get into things more at this end of the line. He had proposed to Ambassador Cleveland that Cleveland might be interested in getting me to replace him, Aaron, and as it turned out, that is what happened. Cleveland did get me to replace Aaron and I arrived in Paris before the move in the latter part of September and spent almost a month there before we actually made the move to Brussels.