John Gilbert Winant at Geneva: the testimony of Sir Walter Crocker.(Sir Walter Crocker Sir Walter Russell Crocker (March 25, 1902 - November 14, 2002) was an Australian diplomat, writer and war veteran. He was born in Broken Hill, New South Wales. He served in World War II with the British Army, becoming a Lieutenant Colonel. , who died at the age of one hundred in November 2002, was born on a small farm in rural South Australia South Australia, state (1991 pop. 1,236,623), 380,070 sq mi (984,381 sq km), S central Australia. It is bounded on the S by the Indian Ocean. Kangaroo Island and many smaller islands off the south coast are included in the state. . He became a graduate of Adelaide, Oxford and Stanford Universities. He served in the British Colonial Service and then the International Labour Office (I.L.O.) in Geneva Geneva, canton and city, Switzerland
Geneva (jənē`və), Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva. , before volunteering at thirty-seven to join the British armed forces in 1939. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel, and decorated for bravery by the French and Belgian governments. After the war Crocker joined the United Nations Secretariat United Nations Secretariat
Administrative body that coordinates United Nations activities. Its staff, recruited on the basis of merit, is composed of several thousand permanent professional experts from member states, including translators, clerks, technicians, as first Chief of its Africa Section. In 1949 he returned to Australia to be Foundation Professor of International Relations international relations, study of the relations among states and other political and economic units in the international system. Particular areas of study within the field of international relations include diplomacy and diplomatic history, international law, at the new Australian New Australian
Austral an Australian name for a recent immigrant, esp. one from Europe National University in Canberra. He was soon invited to join the Australian diplomatic service diplomatic service, organized body of agents maintained by governments to communicate with one another. Origins
Until the 15th cent. any formal communication or negotiation among nations was conducted either by means of ambassadors specially , and became Australian Ambassador or High Commissioner in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Ethiopia. After retirement he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia.
Crocker wrote several influential books, the last, Looking Backwards, published in 1982, being autobiographical. (1) However, he wrote little about his experiences in the I.L.O. as Principal Private Secretary to John Gilbert Winant John Gilbert Winant (February 23, 1889–November 3, 1947) was an American teacher and Republican politician from Concord, New Hampshire. Born in New York City, Winant held positions in New Hampshire, national, and international politics. , later American Ambassador to London between 1941 and 1946, because he sought to save Winant's children from unnecessary pain. However, at one hundred Crocker decided to make available important information about a man once thought to be a strong candidate for the American presidency. Crocker provided to Dr. Partington much of the material below in a Memoir he wrote in recent years before his eyesight began to fail him. Only minor revisions have been made to that Memoir, but some additional comments have been included that he made during taped interviews with Dr. Partington in 2001 and 2002.)
In the mid-Thirties John Gilbert Winant was regarded in certain liberal quarters of the American Republican Party The American Republican Party was a minor nativist political organization that was launched in New York in June, 1843, largely as a protest against immigrant voters and officeholders. as its best hope for beating Roosevelt for the Presidency. (2) When Governor of New Hampshire New Hampshire, one of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (S), Vermont, with the Connecticut R. forming the boundary (W), the Canadian province of Quebec (NW), and Maine and a short strip of the Atlantic Ocean (E). , Winant had gained a reputation for his social legislation, though what he actually carried through now looks slight. His reputation was largely based on his manner and appearance. In appearance, and appearance is important in American politics even more than elsewhere, he bore some resemblance to Abraham Lincoln and was built up as the new "Honest Abe". He presented himself as a politician of ideals and integrity.
Winant was extremely handsome. His appearance was so striking that people would turn to look at him in the street. He was tall, powerfully built, with no fat; a shock of thick black hair, remaining thick and black to the end, crowned an unusual face, pallid pal·lid
1. Having an abnormally pale or wan complexion: the pallid face of the invalid.
2. Lacking intensity of color or luminousness.
3. , the pallor pallor /pal·lor/ (pal´er) paleness, as of the skin.
Paleness, as of the skin. heightened by the black hair, lean, almost hawk-like, and with dark eyes DARK EYES USN Electronic Warfare System which, without staring, never wavered. The first winning impressions were enhanced by the unexpectedness of his voice and manner--a soft low voice, words few and halting, and an utterance often so inarticulate inarticulate /in·ar·tic·u·late/ (in?ahr-tik´u-lat)
1. not having joints; disjointed.
2. uttered so as to be unintelligible; incapable of articulate speech. as to be unintelligible UNINTELLIGIBLE. That which cannot be understood.
2. When a law, a contract, or will, is unintelligible, it has no effect whatever. Vide Construction, and the authorities there referred to. . People felt that what this quiet American had to say must be too deep for words. When he spoke in public his speech was so incoherent, so incomprehensible, that the audience, looking at the splendid apparition apparition, spiritualistic manifestation of a person or object in which a form not actually present is seen with such intensity that belief in its reality is created. in front of them, drew only one conclusion: that here was a politician choked with the bigness of his meaning.
There were few women who did not find this combination of physical strength and apparent gentleness and helplessness, utterly beguiling. An early surprise over Winant was his fan mail, mostly, but not entirely, from American women. One American woman is recalled lamenting his fate: "He is going to get hurt". Politics, she meant, as many others also meant, were too coarse for so fine a man. Winant also made a favourable impression on some men of great experience and ability, including A.D. Lindsay, the Master of Balliol, who saw him as a kindred spirit A Kindred Spirit (真情) was a television drama series that was broadcast on TVB Jade in Hong Kong from May 15, 1995 to November 11, 1999. It is one of the longest running drama shows in Hong Kong television history (the longest being the sitcom Hong Kong 81 series). , Keynes, Menzies and Churchill, as well as Roosevelt. Winant's bearing was so unlike that of the ordinary American, or the ordinary politician, that, like the unexpected discrepancy between his physical strength and his gentle utterance, it unsettled the observer's judgment. It was only when men worked with him, when they had to help him carry through his responsibilities that they began to grasp his maniacal ma·ni·a·cal or ma·ni·ac
Suggestive of or afflicted with insanity. preoccupation with appearances. Their disillusionment Disillusionment
loses innocence through WWI experience. [Am. Lit.: “The Killers”]
Angry Young Men
disillusioned postwar writers of Britain, such as Osborne and Amis. [Br. Lit. was all the sharper because of exaggerated expectations.
Winant's tastes were more English than American; or, rather, they were American of an age in New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. when class structure and social standards were nearer to those in England than those of the American mass-man of later times. Rarely if ever did he eat in cafeterias or drug stores, or dress in American-type clothes. When visiting London before the War, he always stayed at quiet hotels little known except to county families, never at the fashionable or garish places. He sent his two sons to Oxford.
Winant's family was of old New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Dutch origin. Later in life his father and mother were separated but in his youth they took him on travels to England and the Continent and he met Europeans of the governing classes. His upbringing had been mildly Episcopalian (Anglican), though later he lost the Christian faith. He left Princeton before getting a degree. Winant sometimes made reference to himself as a Princeton alumnus ALUMNUS, civil law. A child which one has nursed; a foster child. Dig. 40, 2, 14. , but he was dropped at the end of his first year from the Civil Engineering Program and, despite considerable special support, failed the next year the entire Bachelor of Science Noun 1. Bachelor of Science - a bachelor's degree in science
bachelor's degree, baccalaureate - an academic degree conferred on someone who has successfully completed undergraduate studies degree. He went to the War and served for a while as a volunteer in the French forces. He was a Flying Officer when the War finished, but he was inept mechanically and lacked skill in driving a car, so that one doubted that he could ever have been a capable pilot. After the War he was a history teacher at St. Paul's
Winant married, at the age of 34, a girl of 17 who was a member of a well-off New York family. Two sons and a daughter were born of the marriage. Then, as a young liberal Republican, he was elected Governor of New Hampshire. He held the office of Governor for three terms of two years each and politics became his over-riding passion. Few men go into politics without succumbing to this passion, especially after having tasted power. Although he failed to gain the Republican nomination for a Senate seat, Winant became something of a national figure when his name came up as a possible Republican nominee for the presidency.
In 1934 politics in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. were predominantly isolationist i·so·la·tion·ism
A national policy of abstaining from political or economic relations with other countries.
i . Rumours of possible contact between the League of Nations and the U.S. Consulate-General in Geneva created near-hysteria in American isolationist circles. In 1934 Harold Butler
Harold Butler (b. 1921 - d. 1998) was an American entrepreneur. He founded the Denny's casual dining restaurant chain and helped develop numerous other chains, including Winchell's, , then Director of the I.L.O., pulled off what he and others thought was an outstanding coup: the United States joined the I.L.O. Butler was very able in many ways but not an outstanding judge of people. Butler's next step in his efforts to increase American interest in I.L.O. and, ultimately, the League, was to persuade Winant to become a third Assistant-Director. Butler indicated that Winant was a possible Presidential candidate, although Roosevelt supported Winant's appointment to the I.L.O. and did not seem to regard him as a challenge.
Winant did not arrive alone in Geneva. He brought with him as personal staff his American Private Secretary, Mary Healey, and three young American women graduates. The other three Assistant Directors managed with one or two personal staff. And then, only a few weeks after his arrival, he sailed back to the United States for "consultations". While he was there he suddenly resigned from the I.L.O. in order to take on the Chairmanship of the Social Security Board recently set up in Washington by Roosevelt's Government.
In 1936, during the Presidential election campaign, Winant resigned from the Social Security Board and stated that he would campaign for Roosevelt because the Republican candidate was attacking his social legislation. This move hit the headlines. Butler believed that Winant had a promise, or at least reasonable hopes, of something even better than head of the Social Security Board from Roosevelt after his resignation. But when Roosevelt failed to give him any post, Winant informed Butler that he was available for the I.L.O. again if wanted. Butler, though disappointed by his resignation so soon after his first appointment, secured his re-appointment as an Assistant Director.
So, in the summer of 1937, Winant came to Geneva once more, bringing with him again Mary Healey, together with several new young women in addition to some he had left behind in Geneva from his first appointment. Once again he brought no men as part of his personal staff. In February 1938, Winant asked Crocker to become his Personal Assistant. Butler, who had allowed Winant to be a law unto himself, was anxious that Crocker should take on the job as there was, he said, "apparently a bottle-neck in Mr. Winant's office". That appearance was rapidly confirmed by experience. Many matters put up to him for decision three or months earlier, and often re-submitted to him with deferential deferential /def·er·en·tial/ (-en´shal) pertaining to the ductus deferens.
Of or relating to the vas deferens.
pertaining to the ductus deferens. reminders from the officials concerned, had been left unanswered. Three of his young American women spent their time summarising, in a page or two, the contents of relevant files. There must have been 30 or 40 of these files stacked up in his office, but Winant had not yet got round to looking at the summaries, let alone the contents of the files. Moreover, various other papers were left in odd places, such as behind books. This did not disturb Winant, who told Crocker that he had "a space memory" and knew where everything was.
In 1938 Winant's office and the two attached to and adjoining it were a wonder of disorder and indecision and apparent irresponsibility. His office hours office hours,
n.pl See business hours. were unpredictably irregular. He rarely arrived before 10 or 11 a.m. and almost invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil spent the next two hours or so trying to get a telephone connection to the United States, and so was not available for official business.
He accepted invitations to write articles or give addresses almost automatically, but just as regularly failed to carry out his promise, so that excuses had to be concocted and telegraphed at the last moment to editors or committees he let down. He made promises of jobs, or half promises that were taken as promises, although he had no authority to engage them and there was no provision in the strictly controlled I.L.O. budget for the jobs envisaged. His office frequently had to deal with disappointed, sometimes outraged, aspirants. The bulk of the large volume of correspondence he received was left unanswered--put off until a tomorrow or next week, often permanently. Dealing with this accumulation was made the more difficult because he disliked, and could not understand, the I.L.O. system of filing and had his own system, if system it could be called. But the most difficult task of all was to get him to read any official papers, even a brief memorandum. To write a speech was an agonising affair for him. A ten-minute speech, even on the simplest theme, might take him ten hours to write, draft following draft. It was difficult to get his mind on to any official business. He never understood the Constitution of the I.L.O., its organisation or Budget, or even what his own powers or responsibilities were.
Even more worrying than Winant's administrative incapacity The absence of legal ability, competence, or qualifications.
An individual incapacitated by infancy, for example, does not have the legal ability to enter into certain types of agreements, such as marriage or contracts. were indications of financial unreliability. Winant claimed to have oil interests in Texas and on several occasions he used the failure of his oil prospects as an excuse for his debts. E. J. Phelan's judgment of Winant's oil was that, like his account of Voluntary Service in the French Air Force during the First World War, it was purely illusory or fake. In Geneva revelation followed revelation of the disorder of his financial affairs and the load and variety of his debts. In addition to tradesmen's debts and unpaid house rent, he borrowed money from his private secretary, from two other American members of his staff, one of whom, a journalist, was threatening exposure and caused Crocker much trouble, and even from a waitress in the I.L.O. restaurant. It was a mystery why he was in debt. His wife apparently had her own income; she was rarely in Geneva, or indeed in any one place for long. He certainly did not spend all his I.L.O. salary, which was high and tax-free, in Geneva.
There were, too, the comings and goings of his brother Clinton. Clinton Winant, unlike his brother, had a sharp intelligence and a sense of humour Noun 1. sense of humour - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humor, humor, humour and charm of a sort, but he had no inhibitions from conscience or traditional concepts of honesty. He had deserted his wife and children and was living in Paris, allegedly as a patent attorney. Every now and then he would visit his brother in Geneva and would be kept waiting a day or more before he was given an appointment, when he would make a plea for a loan. Mystery had become the stuff of Winant's own life. Nothing was ever straightforward. Crocker's room was on one side of his room, while his private secretary's room was on the other side of it. The combinations and permutations, the simulations and the dissimulations, played between the three rooms and the doors, in order to get rid of, or keep out, visitors became a fascinating game.
The next characteristic, which came as a revelation, for his European colleagues at least, because they thought of Americans as independent, nonconformist Nonconformist
Any English Protestant who does not conform to the doctrines or practices of the established Church of England. The term was first used after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 to describe congregations that had separated from the national church. utterly democratic people who placed value on a man as a man, was his attitude to staff. It was a ruthless attitude of hire and fire and complete dependence on the boss. He resented, and as far as possible, circumvented, the rules normal in organised Civil Services for protecting the tenure and other rights of employees. What he wanted was that the staff should feel that they owed their jobs to him.
Another marked characteristic was an obsession with public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most , especially with how his image was projected on American voters. It gave him an almost hysterical concern to conceal a private life that scarcely harmonised Adj. 1. harmonised - involving or characterized by harmony
consonant, harmonical, harmonized, harmonic
harmonious - musically pleasing with the Abraham Lincoln legend. Winant was always sure he was being spied on and that enemies were out to get him. In his autobiography, A Letter From Grosvenor Square Grosvenor Square (pronounced "Grove-nuh Square") is a large garden square in the exclusive Mayfair district of London, England. It is the centrepiece of the Mayfair property of the Dukes of Westminster, and takes its name from their surname, "Grosvenor". , Winant writes of the "planting of spies by the Axis Powers Axis Powers
Coalition headed by Germany, Italy, and Japan that opposed the Allied Powers in World War II. The alliance originated in a series of agreements between Germany and Italy, followed in 1936 by the Rome-Berlin Axis declaration and the German-Japanese Anti-Comintern " in his I.L.O. office, (3) but his main suspicions were not of German and Italian agents, but of Americans on the I.L.O. staff that he had not appointed. Some were edged into obscurity, others edged out entirely. Neither justice nor common sense counted. Nor did the I.L.O. rules. Amongst the victims were Lorwin, the Economic Adviser, James Wilson, Assistant President of the American Federation of Labor Noun 1. American Federation of Labor - a federation of North American labor unions that merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1955
federation - an organization formed by merging several groups or parties who had become Adviser on American Labour Affairs, Miss Cheyney, the daughter of a well known American historian, and Magnusson, Director of the Washington office of the I.L.O. All these were good people; all are now dead.
In their place he brought in a number of personal dependents. The most picturesque of them was Miss Johnson, known in the I.L.O. as Bird's Nest from her mass of white hair that she dressed in a bushy bush·y
adj. bush·i·er, bush·i·est
1. Overgrown with bushes.
2. Thick and shaggy: a bushy head of hair. fashion. Miss Johnson, who must have been in her fifties or sixties, was with Winant in his days as Governor and in Washington when he was Chairman of the Social Security Board. Rosy-cheeked and blue-eyed, with a subdued pious locution, lightened by a pious fluttery smile, you at once associated her with a New England apple orchard or the busy cares of a rural Sunday School Sunday school, institution for instruction in religion and morals, usually conducted in churches as part of the church organization but sometimes maintained by other religious or philanthropic bodies.
In England during the 18th cent. and fireside evenings with the Brownies. But if ever arsenic was mixed with old lace For the comicbook character, see Old Lace (comics)
Old Lace is a very pale yellowish orange that resembles the color of an old lace tablecloth.
It is one of the original X11 colors and is also used as a color of skin type for painting. it was in Miss Johnson. She was Winant's spy, local manager, and special messenger for anything untoward. When he got rid of the Director of the Washington office he installed Miss Johnson there. She gave her soul to him.
Winant had peculiar relationships with women. Some cases were amusing, such as that of the young woman we will call Miss Potter. Aged about 28, Miss Potter was introduced to him during one of his many visits to Washington, recommended by an executive of the American Federation of Labour who, it was rumoured later, did this in hopes of getting rid of her. She was a Research Assistant. Winant brought her with him on the ship and, as he had already exceeded the I.L.O. Budget allotments with several other personal appointments he had made on his own, he did not bring her to the office but kept her incommunicado in·com·mu·ni·ca·do
adv. & adj.
Without the means or right of communicating with others: a prisoner held incommunicado; incommunicado political detainees. in his house, La Fenetre. She was forbidden to leave the house and when news of her presence came to Crocker he was committed to secrecy. Winant's idea was to surmount sur·mount
tr.v. sur·mount·ed, sur·mount·ing, sur·mounts
1. To overcome (an obstacle, for example); conquer.
2. To ascend to the top of; climb.
a. To place something above; top. I.L.O. Budget rules by getting money from the Rockefeller or Carnegie Foundations--a device he had used before--and then to put her into the I.L.O. staff. He had no particular work in mind for her, just a place. As it happened, Miss Potter was eccentric and she ended up by causing embarrassment to him.
Most of the young women he brought over were normal and their function was to flutter around him and to give him devotion. They all adored him. In due course most of them got married or went home none the worse for it, but some, such as Mary Healey, did not go unscathed. Mary Healey was the daughter of Irish immigrants who had worked under Winant in New Hampshire, the father as a gardener and the mother as a cook at St. Paul's School. The story of her subjection to Winant from the age of sixteen onwards, her defection by running off with a lusty lust·y
adj. lust·i·er, lust·i·est
1. Full of vigor or vitality; robust.
2. Powerful; strong: a lusty cry.
4. Merry; joyous. young Irish American I´rish A`mer´i`can
1. A native of Ireland who has become an American citizen; also, a child or descendant of such a person. , Winant's efforts to retrieve her and then to prevent the marriage and, after failing in that, to get the marriage broken up, had elements of the sinister. Mary Healey was not the only example of a young woman who had been brought completely under his subjection and who, out of some psychological pressure or other, gave him the dog-like devotion he wanted. Whether the stories of two such women having committed suicide are true or not, there is one undoubted case of an attempted suicide. Winant's motivation in these subjugations was apparently not sexual but subjugation Subjugation
king to whom God sold Israelites. [O.T.: Judges 3:8]
consigned to servitude in retribution for trickery. [O.T.: Joshua 9:22–27]
curses him and progeny to servitude. [O. pure and simple. He did not seem interested in the physical side of sex nor to have had anything of the hedonist he·don·ism
1. Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses.
2. Philosophy The ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good. in him.
For a few months Butler still saw Winant as a prize appointment, but this feeling gave way to disillusionment within the year as it became apparent that Winant had no interest whatever in the I.L.O. He was there because he needed the salary and because for the time being it gave him some status. His interest lay wholly in American politics. As he, like his party, was out of office he concentrated on public relations while biding bide
v. bid·ed or bode , bid·ed, bid·ing, bides
1. To remain in a condition or state.
a. To wait; tarry.
b. his time. For this political game he was at a disadvantage in being on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Hence his constant telephone calls to the States, and frequent visits there, at the charge of the I.L.O.
Winant's general indifference to I.L.O. matters ended abruptly when in 1938 Butler suddenly announced his resignation in order to head Nuffield College in Oxford. This was a sensation in Geneva at the time and led to unpleasant talk about rats leaving the sinking ship sinking ship
A mutual fund that has a substantial outflow of funds because of its weak investment performance. . On merit the post should have gone to an Irishman, E. J. Phelan, who had been an energetic and capable Assistant Director for several years. Phelan lacked only one qualification: he was not an American. On the other hand the Governing Body Noun 1. governing body - the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something; "he claims that the present administration is corrupt"; "the governance of an association is responsible to its members"; "he of the I.L.O. had not been impressed by Winant and a sizeable group could be counted on to vote for Phelan, whatever the American Government might urge. Winant was jealous and suspicious. During the days before the appointment, he worked himself into such a state of tension that on deportment de·port·ment
A manner of personal conduct; behavior. See Synonyms at behavior.
the way in which a person moves and stands: alone he would have lost the contest. Butler pushed Winant's claims strongly, but Winant owed much to lobbying on his behalf by Roosevelt himself and two members of his administration, Cordell Hull and Frances Perkins.
As I.L.O. Director, Winant rarely took an important decision without consulting Washington. Phelan was consoled with a newly created post of Deputy Director, in which he took most of the burdens of executive leadership. Almost as soon as he took the oath of office An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations. as I.L.O. Director, Winant sailed for the States.
The autumn meeting of the Governing Body was held in London in 1938 as guests of the British Government. Winant should have been there, but he put off his departure from the States until the last possible moment, arriving in England only a day or two before the end of the meeting. In order to get him up to London in time for the presentation of the Governing Body to the King and Queen, his ship had to make a detour to put him ashore at Plymouth, whence he was flown to London by a special charter flight at much expense and trouble (this was a very rare mode of travel before World War II). When at last he arrived his main concern was a radio speech to the States.
Winant knew very little of the history or geography involved in current international crises: he mixed up Czechoslovakia with Jugoslavia and had only the vaguest notion of the whereabouts of Danzig. He read very little. He had some knowledge of American history, more particularly of the Civil War period, but hardly any of Europe and even less of Asia and Africa. He had no inkling of political life in France or the rest of Europe; and from his advice to his Government in 1945 that Labour would not win the elections in England he could have acquired little understanding of politics in England. He not only knew little literature and nothing about the Arts, but the technicalities of governing the modern state--finance, budgets, administration, planning--were beyond his grasp.
He was as irresponsible with people as places. A call on the British Foreign Minister, Lord Halifax, was arranged for him, with considerable difficulty. He failed to turn up for it. When, a few days later, he left for Paris where, also with difficulty, a call had been arranged for him on Bonnet, the French Foreign Minister, once more he failed to keep the appointment. It was November when he returned to Geneva. The next month he left for the States again and he stayed away all that winter, though international tension was becoming more and more dangerous. He returned to Geneva only in March 1939 for the normal quarterly meeting of the Governing Body. During the four or five months he was in the United States, no decisions could be got out of him, though some of them were urgently required. He soon went off to the States once more; and he returned to Geneva only in time for the annual I.L.O. Conference, held in June. The next month, July, he left again for the States though it was clear by then that the Second World War could break out any day. Even then he did not stay in Geneva long but returned to the States again a few weeks later, in November, and stayed there into the New Year. Before he came back to Geneva war had broken out on 3 September 1939. In the summer of 1940, in response to war conditions, the I.L.O. staff was reduced to a skeleton of about 40, normal work was suspended, and before long the small rump was transferred to Canada, where McGill University McGill University, at Montreal, Que., Canada; coeducational; chartered 1821, opened 1829. It was named for James McGill, who left a bequest to establish it. Its real development dates from 1855 when John W. Dawson became principal. gave it temporary lodging in Montreal. Winant, who continued to draw his salary as Director, rarely went to Montreal. He left the I.L.O. to Phelan and concentrated on his American political career.
He succeeded to the extent that in 1941 President Roosevelt appointed him to succeed Joseph Kennedy as Ambassador to Great Britain Great Britain, officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 60,441,000), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain. . In the pre-war months Winant was an "appeaser" and extolled "peaceful cooperation" with the Axis powers. As Bellush confirmed, he urged old American contacts, such as Chester H. Rowell, a Republican leader, to press Roosevelt and the British and French governments to concede to Germany its "legitimate economic rights and needs", as defined by Hitler. (4) However, Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax thought then in similar terms and Winant proved a success in the early months of his London embassy. He liked Great Britain and presented to the American public a sympathetic picture of a beleaguered be·lea·guer
tr.v. be·lea·guered, be·lea·guer·ing, be·lea·guers
1. To harass; beset: We are beleaguered by problems.
2. To surround with troops; besiege. London and British people See :
British Overseas Territories . When the United States at length entered the war, other men were posted to do the more demanding work required, but by then Winant had shown courage in the blitz and established particularly cordial relationships with several of the Labour leaders
Winant kept his post as American Ambassador until Truman became President. Winant stone-walled against submitting his resignation to the new President as is required by American practice, and in the end he had to be forced out. On returning to the United States he lobbied unsuccessfully for Washington to propose him as Secretary General of the United nations. In the end he was offered the post of U.S. representative on the Economic and Social Council. This was a wounding anti-climax but he accepted it. He seemed to need the money. He contracted to write a book about his life and times, but made slow progress and became increasingly depressed. His feeling of being lonely and neglected partly arose from the belief of his family and friends that he wanted time to himself to finish his book. Although a teetotaller tee·to·tal·er or tee·to·tal·ler also tee·to·tal·ist
One who abstains completely from alcoholic beverages.
tee·to for most of his life, Winant started to drink heavily during the war years and took seriously to the bottle after his ambassadorship ended. He was awarded the Order of Merit Order of Merit
Brit an order awarded for outstanding achievement in any field by George VI George VI, king of Great Britain and Ireland
George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George), 1895–1952, king of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1936–52), second son of George V; successor of his elder brother, Edward VIII. on New Year's Day New Year's Day, among ancient peoples the first day of the year frequently corresponded to the vernal or autumnal equinox, or to the summer or winter solstice. In the Middle Ages it was celebrated among Christians usually on Mar. 25. 1947 and managed during the next few months to complete the first volume of his manuscript. Published as Letter from Grosvenor Square, the first copy was in the post to him when he shot himself dead in November 1947.
The better one came to know Winant, the more one became convinced that his intellectual side was very inadequate, while on the moral side he was deceitful and tortuous. In the end some even felt that there was something satanic in him. Almost certainly he started off with some ideals and wanted to give good and honest government and to see done what could be done to make life a little easier for the average man and woman by a more rational ordering of the laws, first in his own state and then more widely. But two things happened. First, his public relations image was fabricated on a scale that he could not sustain without deceit. And, secondly, ambition grew on him and, wearing away the disinterestedness, encouraged the deceit. Deceit thus became an important, and latterly the main, element in his make-up. Examples of deceit or fake were legion. For instance, we read in Harry Hopkins' White House Papers, that Winant told Hopkins, at the time when Wingate had become a legend: "I knew General Wingate well and had something to do with his assignment to the Far East." This is pure Winant--use of the fashionable big name and magnification of his own role. There were similar bizarre experiences in Geneva. For instance, when on a train journey a French journalist came up and introduced himself, Winant assured him that the first newspaper column he read each morning was his, but Winant, who could not read or speak French, did not know until that moment that the journalist existed.
The strain of trying to live up to his appearance, or his reputation, became too much for him. His life became an endless concern to cover up his tracks. He felt safe only with the dog-like devotion of impressionable im·pres·sion·a·ble
1. Readily or easily influenced; suggestible: impressionable young people.
2. women, or of a few simpleton sim·ple·ton
A person who is felt to be deficient in judgment, good sense, or intelligence; a fool.
[simple + -ton (as in surnames such as Chesterton, Singleton). men. He had no men friends though in an Englishman, Penrose, a Professor of Economics who became a naturalised Adj. 1. naturalised - planted so as to give an effect of wild growth; "drifts of naturalized daffodils"
planted - set in the soil for growth American, he could count on the devotion of at least one man with ability. The trigger for his disintegration was his insomnia. During Crocker's first journey with him they were booking in at a Paris hotel and Crocker asked the receptionist for two single rooms. Winant, standing at his side, interfered to ask for a large double room with single beds. Crocker was astonished a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. but said nothing. During the night he found out why Winant had done this. He could not sleep and was afraid of the night and being alone with his thoughts. During most nights he could sleep only a couple of hours. After less than a year with him it could be concluded that there was only one cure, one solution, and that was to renounce public life: to withdraw from the world and cultivate his own garden. Otherwise the end was likely to be disaster. But this is a cure which few politicians can bend themselves to, politics being as hard to renounce as drugs.
It is important for Americans and those in other democracies who support the American alliance to understand some of the weaknesses in the American political system that can permit the rise to influence, even to consideration as presidential candidate of one of the two great parties, of a man of such little genuine ability as Winant.
John Gilbert Winant largely retains a respectable reputation. Bernard Bellush wrote the only biography to date in 1968 and his treatment of Winant comes close to panegyric panegyric
Eulogistic oration or laudatory discourse. The panegyric originally was a speech delivered at an ancient Greek general assembly (panegyris), such as the Olympic and Panathenaic festivals. . In a Foreword to that biography, the historian Allan Nevins claimed that it had been "always more than a pleasure to work under [Winant's] gentle sway, it was an inspiration'. (5) Nevins described Winant as "one of the great idealists" of his time, a man with "half-hidden qualities of spiritual leadership". Nevins conceded that Winant's written works were "never polished, original or forceful" and that he was often "too shyly unassuming and tongue-tied to explain" himself, but he lauded his "devotion to great aims--a larger and kindlier democracy at home in America, and a stronger spirit of international concord in the world ...". Crocker was very conscious of Winant's defects as a speaker, but found little evidence of any devotion to great aims.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Bellush, Winant proved courageous and resourceful in actions in which a high proportion of the airmen were killed, was promoted to captain and received a honourable discharge. Bellush confirmed that Winant's financial affairs were often irregular. Winant made extravagant public outlays, such as a $5,000 personal contribution to the Hoover Presidential Campaign Fund in 1928, and was lavish in domestic spending. He instructed the Concord police to place to his account the cost of food and shelter for penniless pen·ni·less
1. Entirely without money.
2. Very poor. See Synonyms at poor.
penni·less·ly adv. transients, and gave dollar bills to people who presented themselves to him as poor and unemployed. He gave one unemployed friend $50 weekly and paid the college expenses of children of three other impoverished friends. Yet he borrowed money from other friends to pay rail fares. His philanthropy became much more difficult after the 1929 Crash and the loss of most of his real or supposed assets in oil. Although he plunged into bankruptcy, he could not change his basic habits. He even borrowed money from women themselves in poor circumstances, although the amount he gained from them could have made very little difference to his finances. He borrowed the life savings of an English maid to pay house rent, whilst also persuading insurance companies to lend him ever-larger sums against his life policies and making charitable donations. Bellush knew more about Winant's oil interests than did Crocker, but he leaves them in some obscurity. According to Bellush, the company of a wartime friend, Arthur Coyle, in which Winant had invested such money as he could raise, struck oil, and his financial worries seemed to be over. Thus he felt he could resign, rather than seek leave of absence, from St. Paul's. But Crocker did not share Bellush's confidence that Winant gained great wealth even temporarily from oil. Bellush revealed that in 1937, when Winant first joined the I.L.O., his financial worries were graver than ever and he was forced to cancel his payment of bills of students he had sponsored in the University of New Hampshire, although he still cabled flowers to friends on birthdays and other festive occasions.
Bellush added little to Crocker's account about Winant in Geneva. However, Bellush noted that Arthur J. Altmeyer Arthur J. Altmeyer (born May 8, 1891 in DePere, Wisconsin – October 16, 1972. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in 1914. In 1918, he re-entered the University as a graduate student, working with John R. Commons. did most of the hard work of the Social Security Board, whilst "utopian John", as Roosevelt termed him, engaged in lengthy conversations with those who sought his personal advice. In like manner in Geneva, Phelan and Crocker did most of the work for which Winant was nominally responsible. Bellush knew that Winant rarely spoke at the daily cabinet meetings of I.L.O., but believed that Phelan thought that Winant contributed through "his silences'. (6) Cocker dismissed that notion.
A failure to provide an account of Winant at Geneva caused a major gap in Bellush's biography. Winant's achievement of important offices, despite his serious defects of character, suggests there were serious inadequacies in modes of political and diplomatic advancement in the Roosevelt era. The ineffectiveness of, first, the I.L.O. and the League of Nations, and, later, of the United Nations Organisation, also deserve our attention at a time when some place great trust in the ability of international institutions to bring peace to the world.
(1.) For his early life see Crocker, W., Travelling Back: The Memoirs of Sir Walter Crocker, 1981, South Melbourne This is a disambiguation page. South Melbourne may refer to
(2.) This account is contained in a bound volume under the title of Memoirs: 1902-75 by W. R. Crocker,
(3.) Winant, John G., A Letter from Grosvenor Square: An Account of a Stewardship, 1947, London: Hodder and Stoughton, page 10.
(4.) Bellush, B., He Walked Alone: A Biography of John Gilbert Winant, 1968, The Hague: Mouton mouton
lamb pelt made to resemble seal or beaver. , pages 144-5.
(5.) Bellush, 1968, page vii.
(6.) Bellush, page 134.
DR. GEOFFREY PARTINGTON is a Visiting Scholar A visiting scholar, in the world of academia, is a scholar from an institution who visits a receiving university that hosts him where he or she is projected to teach (visiting professor), lecture (visiting lecturer), or perform research (visiting researcher at Flinders University The university has established a reputation as a leading research institution with a devotion to innovation. It is a member of Innovative Research Universities Australia and ranks among the leading universities in Australia. and a commentator on social and political issues.