Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert A. Martin
MARTIN: Indeed. And the reason that I was that was because in early days in the sixties, the State Department did not have much of a group with any particular background in the arms control, disarmament, national security scad of issues and the fact that I had spent three years involved in that with ACDA and then three years on the nuclear side within the Department in the European context, meant that I probably had more experience than most anybody else. So it would be a natural follow on until the Department got enough people with comparable relevant experience for me to continue doing that. And that is what I ended up doing the first half of my career almost entirely.
Q: What was Harlan Cleveland's mode of operation?
MARTIN: Well, Cleveland was a very, very shrewd, effective, bureaucrat. He had been brought into the Department initially as assistant secretary in the International Organizations Bureau because his prior experience in some measure had been related to the UN and some of the UN activity. Indeed, he had been involved in the Marshall Plan during the initial post-war period and setting that up in Paris, etc., so he was assistant secretary in the International Organizations Bureau. His deputies were Dick Gardner and Joe Sisco. In any event, something happened in the UN context and I can't recall precisely what that Lyndon Johnson, then President, found absolutely cutting across his bow and his instruction was to get rid of that man, Assistant Secretary Cleveland. Dean Rusk, thinking highly of Cleveland, and many others also, were able to get Johnson to agree that sending him to be our permanent representative at NATO would be far enough away and out of town so that Johnson could sleep more easily at night. That is how Cleveland got to NATO.
At that time, our ambassador in Paris was Chip Bohlen. I can remember both Cleveland and Mike Newlin, the fellow I mentioned earlier who was the deputy in the political section...one time when Newlin was in the car driving around Paris going to some meeting before we moved to Brussels, with Cleveland, they passed in traffic Chip Bohlen in his car and Cleveland made the comment that he felt so much more powerful and important than Bohlen because Bohlen only had one country to take care of and Cleveland had all of NATO. He was clearly the principal man in Paris at that time. Obviously Bohlen would have had a different view.