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Series 2: Diaries and Communication Logs, 1941-1963


Scope and Contents

Series 2: Diaries and Communication Logs - includes eight sub-series:

Sub-series A: War Department Diaries, 1941-1945 - Originally housed in five volumes, the material is now housed chronologically in folders. The war diaries document JJM's activities as Assistant Secretary of War. This material includes: records of JJM's appointments, meetings, telephone calls, and activities; itineraries and accounts of official travel; reports of selected meetings, encounters, and conversations; and JJM's personal impressions of individuals and events. The diaries also contain copies of some material written by other people, as well as a few copies of memos, reports, and other official documents produced by JJM.

These diaries reflect JJM's changing and developing role in the War Department. They also provide a behind-the-scenes view of wartime Washington and first-hand impressions of the conduct and aftermath of the war.

Some topics of particular interest covered by the war diaries include:

First discussions of Japanese-American "problem" (1942 Nov)
Conference with David Ben Gurion re Palestine (1942 Jul)
Conferences re governing of Hawaii (1942 Jul)
Fall of Bataan and Corregidor (1942 Apr-May)
Race relations (local reactions to black troops, etc.)
JJM's flying lessons (1942 Apr-May)
Japanese-American relocation program (ongoing)
Tour of North Africa (1943 Feb-Mar): record of activities; impressions of and discussions with leaders (including local officials and leaders of Free French in Africa); assessments of military and civilian conditions, supply needs, etc. (account indexed by names and places). Note: Some of this material was not written by JJM and may have special restrictions.
Trip to Italy (1943 Dec): record of activities; assessments of conditions
Cairo Conference (1943 Nov-Dec): record of activities and meetings; side trips to Jerusalem and Luxor (Valley of the Kings)
Meetings about Lend-Lease (ongoing)
U.S. dealings with Charles DeGaulle, including reactions to his "tricks" with French currency (ongoing)
General Marshall: report on post-Normandy operations; transcript of a lengthy conversation between Marshall and Henry Stimson, mostly about DeGaulle (1944 June)
The Normandy invasion (1944 Apr-Jun): JJM's review of the preparations and assessments of the commanders (Montgomery, Patton, et al.); a first-hand account by a military observer present at the invasion
Plans for post-war Germany, including debates about destroying Germany's industries and partitioning the country (ongoing; also in 1945)
Big Three Conference in Berlin (1945 Jul): issues discussed; description of Berlin (physical conditions, atmosphere, tour of Hitler's bunker, etc.); conferences with leaders
The atomic bomb: discussions about use against Japan (1945 May); reaction to news of successful tests (1945 Jul); warning to Japanese government (1945 Jul); summary of Strategic Air Operations against Japan (copy of report of 1945 Aug 26, included in account of world tour for 1945 Oct 29-Nov 3); reaction to news that bomb had been dropped (1945 Aug); issues of future control, especially with regard to Soviet Union (1945 Sep)
Plans for war crimes trials (1945 Apr)
Death of President Roosevelt (1945 Apr)
Tour of the front (1945 Apr): record of activities; personal impressions of leaders (Montgomery, Patton, DeGaulle, and others), operations, battlefields, etc.; assessments of conditions and problems (destruction, displaced persons, etc.); speculations about Germany's future
Plans for postwar Germany (ongoing; also in 1944)
World tour (1945 Sep-Nov): record of activities; impressions of people (e.g., General and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, General and Mrs. MacArthur, Tokyo Rose) and places (major stops: England, France, Germany, Austria, Egypt, India, China, Japan (incl. Hiroshima), Pacific islands (incl. Iwo Jima)). Note: Much of this material was not written by JJM and may have special restrictions.
Japanese surrender and the end of the war (1945 Aug)

Note: Much of this material was not written by JJM and may have special restrictions.

Sub-series B: World Bank Appointment and Telephone Record, 1949 Jan-Jun, 1 set of loose pages - The appointment and telephone record for the first half of 1949 documents JJM's activities at the end of his tenure as President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank). The diary contains very little prose, although it does include an account of the meeting with President Truman on April 30, 1949, at which the President asked JJM to take on the job of High Commissioner of Germany.

This record appears to have been kept together in a notebook with the HICOG diary from the second half of the year (see below).

Sub-series C: High Commissioner of Germany (HICOG) Appointment and Telephone Record, 1949 Jul-Dec, 1 set of loose pages - The appointment and telephone record for the second half of 1949 documents JJM's activities at the beginning of his years as High Commissioner of Germany. It is intermixed with memos, press releases, and other documents. The diary itself contains very little prose.

Note that the World Bank diary in sub-series B (see above) includes some HICOG-related material, including an account of the meeting with President Truman on April 30, 1949, at which the President asked JJM to take on the job of High Commissioner. In fact, this record appears to have been kept together in a notebook with the World Bank diary.

Sub-series D: Disarmament Appointment Records, 1961 Jan-Aug (with gaps), 1 set of loose pages - The 1961 appointment record documents some of JJM's activities and contacts as President Kennedy's advisor on disarmament. It contains very little prose, onsisting mostly of names and meeting schedules.

Sub-series E: Marie Wilson Briefing Memos, 1961-1963, 1 folder - As JJM's secretary for over 25 years, Marie F. Wilson monitored and advised JJM about his schedule, commitments, correspondence, and even his finances. Her memos to JJM are quite detailed, and demonstrate the breadth of Wilson's and McCloy's responsibilities and activities at various points in time. These memos can also be found throughout the papers. Those focusing on a particular topic, such as arrangements for an upcoming trip or meeting, were placed in the series to which they pertained. Only those dealing with a range of topics were removed to the Diaries series.

Sub-series F: Chase Manhattan Bank Appointment Records, 1953-1958, 6 volumes - The appointment and telephone logs from 1953-58 record JJM's contacts as Chairman of the Board of the Chase National (later Chase Manhattan) Bank. The information consists mostly of names; the records contain very little prose and almost no notations about subject matter. However, they do show the wide range of JJM's contacts, activities, and influences. They also provide a glimpse of JM's family and personal life, something that is not generally revealed in the papers.

Sub-series G: Chase Manhattan Bank Telephone Logs, 1956-1958, 3 volumes - (prior to 1956, telephone records were kept in the back of the appointment record books).

Sub-series H through L: Diaries, 1941-1945 - were kept by JJM as Assistant Secretary of War. They are arranged first by year and then by topic. The material held by Amherst College consists only of photocopies. The originals are held by the National Archives.

Note: In some cases, to protect the privacy of individuals discussed in diary entries, names or other details have been removed. Such cases are clearly marked in the diaries. In addition, there are a few places where information was removed from the original by an unknown party prior to the diaries' transfer to Amherst College.


  • Creation: 1941-1963


Conditions Governing Access

In general, there is no restriction on access to the John J. McCloy Papers for research use. Selected items may be restricted to protect the privacy rights of individuals or for other legal reasons. Particularly fragile items may have been replaced with copies. Material from other collections, which may be found in the McCloy Papers, cannot be duplicated.


From the Collection: 59.5 Linear feet (52 records cartons, 28 flat boxes, 1 scroll box, 2 map case drawers)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Series 8: War Department, Series 10: World Bank, Series 13A and 13B: HICOG, Series 20: International Oil, Series 21: Disarmament


Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299