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Chester Bowles

Chester Bowles



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Chester Bowles, along with William Benton, established the Benton and Bowles Advertising Agency in 1929. Although The Great Depression had hit by the mid-1930s, their business was a multi-million dollar company, and he made more than $250,000 a year by 1941 as the chairman of its board. Although he was denied due to an ear problem, he took a job with the State of Connecticut in the Wartime Rationing Administration.With his experience in finances and the administration, he became the state director of the Office of Price Administration and was later appointed general manager of the Federal Price Administration in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Soon after his appointment to the post of Undersecretary of State in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, he was replaced by George Ball for his supposed leak of opposition to the Bay of Pigs Invasion in what amounted to a bureaucratic reshuffling that became known as the Thanksgiving Day Massacre. He died in 1986 at age 85 after suffering a stroke in Essex, Connecticut, and is buried in River View Cemetery.


Bowles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bowles reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Bowles family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bowles family lived in Lincolnshire. The name, however, is a reference to the family's former residence in Bouelles, near Neufchatel, in Normandy.

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Early Origins of the Bowles family

The surname Bowles was first found in Lincolnshire where they settled after the Norman Conquest. They were originally from Bouelles, near Neufchatel in Normandy where it was listed under the spellings Bowles or Buelles. [1]

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Early History of the Bowles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowles research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1613, 1662, 1619, 1663, 1661, 1663, 1669, 1714, 1690, 1702, 1722 and 1637 are included under the topic Early Bowles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Bowles Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Bowles, Bolles, Boles, Bowls, Boals and others.

Early Notables of the Bowles family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Edward Bowles (1613-1662), an English Presbyterian minister from Sutton, Bedfordshire Sir John Bolles, 1st Baronet of Scampton, Lincolnshire Sir Robert Bolles, 2nd Baronet (1619-1663), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1661 to 1663 Sir.
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Bowles family to Ireland

Some of the Bowles family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowles migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowles Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Bowles, who settled in New England in 1630
  • Thomas Bowles, who settled in Virginia in 1630
  • Geo Bowles, who landed in Virginia in 1636 [2]
  • Edward Bowles, who arrived in Maryland in 1650 [2]
  • Elizabeth Bowles, who arrived in Maryland in 1650 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowles Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne Bowles, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [2]
  • Pallister Bowles, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [2]
  • Isabella Bowles, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [2]
  • James Bowles, who arrived in Maryland in 1729 [2]
Bowles Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. H Bowles, who arrived in New York, NY in 1810 [2]
  • W A Bowles, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]

Bowles migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowles Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Bowles Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Bowles, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Lotus" departing 15th April 1847 from Liverpool, England the ship arrived on 24th June 1847 but he died on board [3]

Bowles migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bowles Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Bowles, English convict who was convicted in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • Mr. John Bowles, English convict who was convicted in Yarmouth, Norfolk, England for life, transported aboard the "Blenheim" on 11th March 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Mr. Thomas Bowles, British Convict who was convicted in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 26th May 1843, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Charlotte Bowles, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajah" in 1849 [7]
  • Charlotte Bowles, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Rajah" [7]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Bowles migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:


May 25: Chester Bowles: Connecticut’s Civil Rights-Era Governor

Chester Bliss Bowles was one of Connecticut’s most accomplished and ambitious politicians of the 20th century. Born in Massachusetts in 1901, he attended private school in Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1924. After college, he worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency in New York City before co-founding his own ad firm which, after years of success, allowed him to comfortably retire from the business at age 40 and turn his attention towards politics.

Chester Bowles with President John F. Kennedy, 1961.

Bowles devoted over three decades of his life to public service. Having been rejected from military service due to an ear injury, he instead served during World War II as Connecticut’s rationing administrator, quickly working his way up the ranks to State Director of Price Administration. In 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt selected Bowles to direct the federal Office of Price Administration — the first of several high-ranking executive appointments that Bowles would hold under the consecutive presidencies of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson.

In 1948, Bowles returned to Connecticut to campaign for governor and eked out an unlikely victory in what was then heavily a moderate Republican state. As governor, Bowles worked to implement an ambitious economic and social agenda, using FDR’s New Deal programs as a model, with mixed success. By executive fiat, he established Connecticut’s first Civil Rights Commission, officially desegregated the Connecticut National Guard, and was the first governor in state history to appoint a woman and an African-American to his personal military staff. However, Bowles’ New Deal-style legislative proposals concerning housing, welfare, and education reform were soundly rejected by a solidly Republican state legislature, and Bowles lost his re-election campaign to a rival who effectively painted him as an extreme left-wing liberal.

Bowles serving as U.S. Ambassador to India in 1951.

Having lost his reelection bid, in 1951 the indefatigable Bowles once again returned to Washington to serve in a number of administrative, legislative, and diplomatic posts over the next two decades. Bowles served for a short time as President John F. Kennedy’s Under Secretary of State, as a one-time congressional representative from Connecticut’s 2nd district, and as the U.S. Ambassador to India (twice).

On May 25, 1986, Chester Bowles died in his Essex home after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Today, several government buildings, parks, and roads throughout Connecticut — including the majority of Route 9, one of the state’s main thoroughfares — are named in his honor.


Chester B. Bowles

Chester Bowles (Class of 1924) was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and attended Choate before going to Yale. In 1924, as a senior, he was captain of the golf team that won the intercollegiate championship, although he was not one of the four players whose scores counted toward the win. In the opening match of that season, he had been paired with his teammate, Dexter Cummings, the 1923 individual intercollegiate champion, and they lost to a team from the Westchester Biltmore Country Club in Rye, New York. In 1923 Bowles had lost his match in the Apawamis Invitational. He did not play in the intercollegiate team competition at the end of the season, but he did compete in the individual championship, losing in the second round. Why was he elected team captain? It may well be that the qualities that made Bowles successful in advertising, politics, and diplomacy were evident even then to his constituents.

Bowles wrote later that “as a college senior, in 1924, I determined to spend my life in government,” observing that he was one of a few in class for whom a public career held any interest. First he went to New York and got a job as a $25 per week copywriter in an advertising agency. During the Great Depression of 1929 he started his own advertising firm with another Yale graduate, William Benton. It was highly successful, but Bowles was not satisfied by monetary rewards alone. The events of December 7, 1941 provided him the opportunity he had been seeking.

Because of an ear problem Bowles was rejected when he tried to enlist in the Navy. He accepted a position as director of the Office of Price Administration in Connecticut. In 1943, President Roosevelt appointed him general manager of the Federal Price Administration. He was the Director of Economic Stability, when he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Connecticut in 1946. He became governor in 1948. He was named US Ambassador to India in 1951 and again in 1961. Between those posts he served in the House of Representatives from Connecticut’s second district. Bowles wrote seven books setting forth his philosophy of domestic and foreign policy.


Chester Bowles papers

The Chester Bowles Papers, consisting of 186 feet of correspondence, speeches, writings, photographs, oral history interviews, and various other types of material, record Bowles' long career in public service. Though the papers do contain some photographs and memorabilia from Bowles' childhood, college years, and from the period of his association with the advertising firm of Benton and Bowles, there is no correspondence or other important documentation before 1942, when Bowles assumed the position of Connecticut State Tire Rationing Administrator. After that date, the papers illuminate Bowles' varied roles as state and federal administrator, politician, diplomat, publicist and as author and consultant. The papers shed much light on a wide range of subjects, including U.S. politics, economic policy, foreign policy, U.S. foreign aid and development policies, India, U.S. relations with India, Connecticut politics, and activities of American organizations and individuals in the field of liberal politics, civil rights and other causes. There is correspondence with six U.S. Presidents, Congressmen, federal and state government officials, Prime Ministers and other officials of foreign governments, press people, and leaders of liberal U.S. groups, as well as with constituents and admirers in the general public.

The papers have been divided into eight chronological parts, each of which includes several series. There is also one unprocessed part:

Part II. 1946 July - 1951 October

Part III. 1951 October - 1953 March

Part IV. 1953 April - 1958 December

Part V. 1959 January - 1960 December

Part VI. 1961 January - 1963 June

Part VII. 1963 July - 1969 May

The dates of each part are somewhat arbitrary, but are defined, more or less, by the specific position Bowles held at the time. For example, Part I ends on Bowles' resignation as director of the Office of Economic Stabilization and Part IV begins when Bowles returned from his first tour of duty as ambassador to India. The parts are clearly delineated in the chronology that follows (p.4). Each part includes correspondence, speeches, writings, and newspaper clippings and may also include memoranda and subject files. For each of these eight parts there is a separate register containing a more detailed description and a folder list. Since correspondence with a particular individual may appear in any or all of the eight parts, a cumulative name index has been prepared to facilitate the location of that person's correspondence.

Certain types of material overlap the chronological divisions or require special handling. For these reasons a Part IX has been created. This part, which includes photographs and memorabilia personal and financial papers information files and audio and video tapes, will prove valuable even to the researcher only interested in a particular time period. The special collection of oral history interviews are in this section, as are Bowles' personal diaries. For a more detailed description and folder list, see the register for Part IX.

The Chester Bowles Papers in the Yale University Library do not include all papers that ever passed through Bowles' hands. Researchers will undoubtedly find the National Archives a useful source for documentation of Bowles' roles in OPA files still at the State Department will, when available, prove invaluable for his years with the Kennedy Administration, as well as for his two periods as ambassador to India. Similarly, the Connecticut State Library in Hartford has important supplements to Yale's holdings on Bowles' term as Governor of Connecticut it also has some records relating to the Connecticut Office of Price Administration.

For related papers in Manuscripts and Archives, see the following collections: Dorothy Stebbins Bowles Papers Philip Hall Coombs Papers James G. Rogers, Jr. Papers Commission on State Government Organization, 1949-1950, in Connecticut Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection

The Chester Bowles Papers became the property of Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, in February 1973, through Bowles' instrument of gift. Up until that time the papers had been in Bowles' possession at the family home in Essex, Connecticut. The organization of the papers was completed in December 1974, at which time they became open for research. Only a limited number of items are restricted for the time being, and these almost entirely as sensitive personal material. Jean Joyce, a long-time associate of Mr. Bowles, served as consultant in reviewing the collection. Joyce also prepared the oral history interviews with Bowles' colleagues, which are being included in his papers. Any additional accessions of papers will be integrated into the existing organization.

PART I -- 1942 January - 1946 July 15

Chester Bowles began his career of public service as Connecticut State Tire Rationing Administrator (January 1942 - March 1942), Connecticut State Rationing Administrator and Director of the Connecticut State Office of Price Administration (March 1942 - July 1943). After serving as general manager to the Office of Price Administration (OPA) in Washington for several months, he became national OPA Administrator in October 1943. In early 1946 he was named director of the Office of Economic Stabilization (OES), February 1946 - July 1, 1946. He resigned after Congress, in June 1946, failed to pass the strong legislation he felt was necessary to maintain effective price controls.

The successful conduct of World War II on the home front hinged in significant part on control of war-induced inflation and the equitable rationing of scarce commodities. The determination of price and rationing policies served as a focus of controversy and negotiation among the several emergency war agencies, the older bureaucracies, the political representatives in Congress, and business, farm and labor groups.

The Chester Bowles Papers, Part I, though only a fragment of the correspondence that passed through Bowles' hands, reveal much of the story of the organization of the national OPA and of local price and rationing boards of the attempts to secure public understanding, acceptance and compliance with controls of the bureaucratic and political conflicts in Washington and of the recurring issue of securing Congressional support.

The papers are arranged in four series: Correspondence Speeches, Statements, and Writings OPA Reports and Printed Material Appointment Calendars, Clippings, Scrapbooks.

PART II -- July 15 - 1951 October 20

During this period Bowles participated in a vide variety of public activities. Although he did not secure his party's nomination in 1946, in 1948 he won the governorship in a race against Republican James C. Shannon. He lost, narrowly, his 1950 bid for reelection against John D. Lodge. His brief tenure as Governor featured several struggles to implement such liberal reforms as the reorganization of Connecticut's chaotic state government, reform of the state budget, initiation of a state-wide housing program, and enlarged state assistance to local communities for building new schools.

Throughout these years Bowles immersed himself in Democratic politics at the state and national level. His most notable excursion into national politics came in 1948, when he added his voice to the so-called "dump-Truman" movement of disaffected Democrats. At the same time Bowles' frequent service to the United Nations -- as UNESCO delegate, as consultant to Secretary-General Trygve Lie, and as international chairman of the UN Children's Appeal -- deepened his interest in foreign affairs.

Throughout the 1946-1951 period Bowles was a prolific writer and spoke frequently, aside from his activities as Governor. He participated in the organization and politics of liberal groups, and was an early supporter of the Americans for Democratic Action. In September 1951, he was appointed by President Truman as Ambassador to India and Nepal and reached India in October 1951 where Part III begins.

The papers are organized in six series: General Correspondence Correspondence on Political Appointments and Job Applications Writings, Speeches, and News Releases Special Subjects (in two subseries: 1948 and 1950 Gubernatorial Campaigns and Governor's Information Files) Biographical Profiles, Lists, and Appointments and Schedules Clippings.

In addition, see Part IX for any photographs or memorabilia, tapes (audio and video), discs, films, etc. from this period. Also, in Manuscripts and Archives, in the Connecticut Collection, see the Commission on State Government Organization, 1949-1950. The Connecticut State Library in Hartford contains some of Bowles' papers during his period as Governor the material consists mostly of the files of state agencies, boards and commissions. An appendix at the end of Part II lists these files. There are also records of some state agencies dating from this period in the Connecticut State Library.

PART III -- 1951 October 20 - 1953 March 22

In September 1951, Bowles was nominated ambassador to India and Nepal by President Truman. His appointment was confirmed in spite of strong opposition led by Senator Robert Taft. This register covers his term in India from his arrival with his family in New Delhi on October 20, 1951 until his departure in March 1953. Correspondence about Bowles' appointment and confirmation, letters of congratulation, and some correspondence about recruitment of personnel for India may be found in Part II (1946-1951).

As ambassador, Bowles was involved not only in the traditional diplomatic functions, but with the many new and growing activities of the U.S. Mission in New Delhi. Under his administration, the work of the Embassy, the Technical Cooperation Administration, and the United States Information Service was closely coordinated.

Part III indeed provides a rich record on the first major U.S. economic assistance program for underdeveloped nations. In Bowles' first few weeks as ambassador, India became the first underdeveloped nation to receive a significant grant or loan under the new "Point Four" program. A Technical Cooperation Administration (TCA) had rapidly to be set up and staffed. A top priority job to be done was planning the most effective use of U.S. aid funds in collaboration with Indian officials who were then preparing India's own first five-year development program.

Bowles' deep concern with, economic development for India as a basis for its future economic and political stability and his close working relationship with, high Indian officials in the selection of significant development programs to be funded by U.S. aid are well documented here. His correspondence with U.S. Government and Indian officials is extensive on the initiation and potential of these programs, and on the need for congressional and public support. Part 111 also documents Bowles' belief in the importance of the United States Information Service (USIS) and his efforts to expand its activities and staff in India and Nepal.

Bowles' informal and personal approach to diplomacy received wide publicity and he encouraged all mission personnel, including spouses and children, to learn Indian languages and customs. In his staffing of mission posts, he sought capable officers and made strenuous efforts to recruit black officers. He believed that the presence of black staff members would help counteract the negative impression Asians had of America's treatment of its racial minorities.

Bowles sometimes found himself in the anomalous position of being pressured and attacked both by conservatives in the U.S. and by Communists in India. As a liberal in the McCarthy era, Bowles was criticized at home for not taking a stronger stand against Communism and for his strong advocacy of foreign aid. In India, on the other hand, he was often attacked by the Communist press. One Indian Communist, R.K. Karanjia, the editor of Blitz , even attempted to discredit him by forging a letter in Bowles' name.

Bowles kept in close touch with Democratic politics at home during the 1952 political conventions and campaigns. When Brien McMahon, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, died in July 1952, there was pressure on Bowles to resign his post and seek the Democratic nomination for McMahon's seat, or at least return home and work for the party in the campaign, Bowles, however, believed his work in India was more important.

With Eisenhower's victory in 1952, Bowles was hopeful that American foreign policy would not change drastically and that he would be asked to stay on under the new administration. Eisenhower, however, appointed George V. Allen to replace him, and Bowles left India in March 1953. Bowles' book, Ambassador's Report , is a detailed account of his term in India.

The papers in Part III give a fairly complete record of Bowles' activities during this period. Much of the material relates to his post as Ambassador, such as his files of U.S. Mission memoranda and reports, and his correspondence with Indian and American policymakers on India and Asia. In addition, there is much on his personal and political interests in the U.S. for example, on national and Connecticut Democratic politics. The papers are arranged in four series:

I. U.S. and International Correspondence

2. U.S. Government Correspondence

II. Indian and Nepal Correspondence

2. U.S. Mission to India and Nepal

III. Writings, Speeches, Statements and News Releases

In addition to the material in this part, see Part IX for photographs, memorabilia, audio tapes, video tapes, and movie films from this period.

note on the Organization of the Correspondence in Part III

The arrangement of the correspondence files in two series follows the system used in Bowles' office in New Delhi one series for correspondence outside of India and the second for local (India and Nepal) correspondence whether with Indian or U.S. officials or other correspondents. In the U.S. Mission sub-series is Bowles' correspondence, in the form of memoranda and reports, with U.S. officials in India and Nepal, on USIS and TCA, as well as on Embassy matters.

note: Bowles' office staff had a complicated filing system which included the placing of duplicate carbon copies of outgoing letters in more than one file in an attempt to cross-reference by subject. The symbols "X" and "CR" indicate such duplicate copies. Occasionally there may be other notations, underlinings, notes, and circled numbers Which were probably made when research was done for Bowles' books and articles.

PART IV -- 1953 April - 1958 December

Bowles, after leaving India at the end of March, 1953, returned to his home in Essex, Connecticut, with no specific job responsibilities. Yet the years between 1953 and 1958, which are covered in Part IV, were particularly active. Bowles set himself the immediate task of helping the American public understand the problems of Asia, and in the months after his return he worked on Ambassador's Report , a personal account of the family's experiences in and impressions of India and Asia. Its success led to a demand for Bowles to lecture in countless appearances across the country.

Between 1955 and 1958, Bowles published four more books: The New Dimensions of Peace (1955), Africa's Challenge to America (1956), American Politics in a Revolutionary World (1956) and Ideas, People and Peace (1958). These books and his trips to Africa, Asia and Russia earned for Bowles a reputation as an expert in foreign affairs, as an advocate of foreign assistance programs (which he considered an "investment in the cause of peace"), and as a strong critic of the Eisenhower Administration's foreign policy.

During this period he became increasingly involved in state and national politics. In 1954 Bowles was pressed by friends to run for governor of Connecticut against the man who had defeated him in 1950, John Lodge. John Bailey and other Connecticut Democratic leaders were convinced that Bowles could win, and Bowles himself was eager to run. At this same time Adlai Stevenson had held out the possibility of Bowles joining his administration, perhaps in the State Department, if Stevenson ran successfully for the presidency in 1956. Bowles decided to take his chances with Stevenson - a decision he later realized had been a mistake.

From 1954 to the 1956 election Bowles worked actively to help Stevenson, and Part IV has considerable documentation on this association. Bowles was part of an informal, liberal brain trust for Stevenson, organized by Thomas Finletter. The group, which included Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Averell Harriman, sought to feed Stevenson position papers on important issues. Later Bowles attempted to get Douglas MacArthur, who was disgruntled with Eisenhower and his administration, to vocally support Stevenson. During the campaign itself, Bowles submitted memoranda on campaign strategy and foreign policy, wrote draft speeches for Stevenson, and did some campaigning himself.

With Stevenson's defeat, Bowles once again turned his thoughts to Connecticut politics. Since Connecticut already had a popular Democratic governor, Abraham Ribicoff, Bowles decided to seek the party nomination for the Senate seat held by William A. Purtell. It was an ill-fated race. William Benton, Bowles' former business partner whom he had appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat in 1949, also wanted to run and felt that he had a better chance than Bowles to win the support of John Bailey and Ribicoff. In mid-September a third candidate appeared when Thomas Dodd made a formal declaration of his intention to seek the nomination. Bowles viewed Dodd, a conservative Democrat and a Catholic, as the real challenge some behind Dodd thought he might stand a better chance against the Catholic Purtell.

Bowles, on the basis of a private Harris Poll which showed Benton running a poor third, was certain Benton posed no threat and he remained convinced that Bailey and Ribicoff could not support Dodd. Yet the Democratic state convention in June found close associates of Bailey's campaigning vigorously for Dodd and Bowles' emissaries could not convince Benton to withdraw from the race.

Dodd won the nomination on the first ballot. To bind up party wounds the Democratic leadership asked Bowles to run for the Second District Congressional seat. Though tempted to refuse, Bowles felt that he had been out of public life too long, and that he could use the Congressional seat as a platform to speak out on national issues. He launched an ambitious campaign devoting one week to each of the state senatorial districts. In a series of coffee parties, rallies, and weekly newspaper columns, he discussed the issues important to the district, unemployment, new industry, housing and government spending. The Bowles campaign was effective and Bowles was sent to Congress by a healthy majority. With Bowles' move to Washington, Part IV ends and Part V begins.

The papers of Part IV are divided into five series: Correspondence Speeches, Statements, and Writings Campaigns for Senatorial Nomination and for Congress Schedules, Itineraries, Appointment Books Newspaper Clippings.

PART V -- 1959 January - 1960 December

Bowles spent two years (1959-1960) in Washington not only as a Congressman representing Connecticut's Second District, but as an ever more active and involved supporter of John F. Kennedy for President. These are the years that are covered in Part V.

Congressman Bowles was especially fortunate in drawing a competent staff composed of Thomas L. Hughes, James C. Thomson, Jr., Patricia Durand, and Robert Downer into his Washington office. Bowles hoped for and received assignments to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he worked hard on foreign policy issues giving special attention to the Mutual Security Act. Among the issues of more direct concern to his District, Bowles sponsored the Area Redevelopment Act to alleviate conditions of unemployment and underemployment in economically depressed areas, and introduced legislation on housing and social security. He used the Congress as a podium to speak out on racial discrimination, national priorities, and inflation. He joined the Democratic Study Group, an organization of key liberal Democratic Congressmen.

In the summer of 1959 Bowles published a book, The Coming Political Breakthrough , in which he discussed the approaching election and the issues of critical importance to America's future. Bowles' strong opinions in the book, in Congress, and in numerous public appearances throughout the country brought him increasing prominence.

In October, 1959, John F. Kennedy met with Bowles to discuss the Senator's presidential candidacy and his desire to have Bowles serve as his foreign policy advisor. After consulting first with Adlai Stevenson and learning that Stevenson had no intention of seeking the presidential nomination a third time, Bowles accepted Kennedy's offer. His only condition was that he not be asked to campaign directly against Stevenson or Humphrey. Announcement of Bowles' appointment by Kennedy was made in February, 1960, roughly a month after Kennedy had declared his candidacy. Though Bowles' designation was foreign policy advisor, in fact his most important function was to help Kennedy win the support of the liberal wing of the party, which had so far withheld its endorsement of Kennedy.

Late in February, Bowles was asked by Paul Butler, head of the Democratic National Committee, to chair the Democratic platform committee for the coming presidential convention. After a series of preliminary regional hearings to allow citizens a chance to propose their ideas, Bowles was able to put together a specific, forthright platform, which included a strong civil rights plank, and push it through the committee with surprisingly little difficulty. In addition, he convinced the Democratic National Committee to forego the usual word-for-word reading of the platform in favor of a documentary film, geared to the T.V. audience, on the party's accomplishments, coupled with a reading of a shortened form of the platform.

Kennedy's nomination at the convention was a disappointment to several of Bowles' supporters who believed the "grass roots were rooting for Bowles," and had organized Bowles-for-President Clubs, chiefly in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Bowles had discouraged these groups, asserting that Kennedy was the strongest candidate.

With Kennedy nominated, Bowles had to decide about his own seat in the Congress. If Kennedy won, Bowles was virtually assured of an important role in the new administration. After debating the possibilities, including his prospects if Kennedy were defeated, Bowles withdrew from the Connecticut race.

In the months between the convention and the election, Bowles kept up a heavy schedule of campaign speeches for the national ticket. He also met with Secretary of State Christian Herter for the briefings on critical foreign policy situations, traditionally held for presidential candidates, and submitted speech material to the Kennedy campaign staff.

With Kennedy's election, Washington was flooded with rumors of possible Kennedy appointees. Bowles, along with Senator William J. Fulbright and Adlai Stevenson, were frequently mentioned as choices for the post of Secretary of State. Dean Rusk, however, was the eventual appointee. Bowles was selected as his Under Secretary for Political Affairs. With Bowles' move into the State Department at the end of 1960, Part V ends.

Part V is organized in four series: Correspondence Speeches, Statements and Writings Special Subjects Clippings.

PART VI -- 1961 January - 1963 June

Followers were disappointed when Kennedy chose Dean Rusk to be Secretary of State, but Bowles saw great potential for shaping a more forward-looking U.S. foreign policy in the offered post of Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He had no reason to doubt that he could work well with Rusk whom he had known as president of the Rockefeller Foundation while Bowles was a trustee.

Bowles and Rusk moved into the State Department at the end of December, 1960, which is when Part VI begins. Bowles felt the first requirement for an enlightened new foreign policy was to find high-level talent to head up the embassies abroad and State Department bureaus in Washington. Bowles succeeded in enlisting a distinguished group of people to serve in U.S. Missions, particularly in the developing nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Bowles was especially proud of securing, among others, Edwin O. Reischauer to serve in Japan and George Kennan to become ambassador to Yugoslavia. Bowles also helped promote an important redefinition of the role of a U.S. ambassador as overseer and coordinator of all U.S. government activities in his country of assignment.

Several crises occurred in the first months of the new administration: the Bay of Pigs, Laos, Soviet resumption of nuclear testing, and civil strife in the Dominican Republic. On the question of the Bay of Pigs, Bowles opposed the invasion and similarly opposed any retaliatory measures after its stunning failure. The press learned of Bowles' opposition, to the sharp annoyance of the Kennedys.

The Bowles-Rusk relationship never successfully worked out, and many detailed letters and memoranda from Bowles to Rusk (see State Department correspondence) bear witness to this deteriorating situation. By July 1961, rumors were circulating in Washington that Bowles would resign or be reassigned. Rusk did in fact offer Bowles an ambassadorial post in Latin America, an offer which Bowles declined. Kennedy, however, affirmed his desire to keep Bowles in the Administration and the rumors were temporarily quieted. Returning to "work as usual" he left for Africa, the Middle East and Asia to conduct regional conferences of U.S. Ambassadors in those areas, the first of a series of such conferences initiated by Bowles.

On the weekend of Thanksgiving, Bowles was suddenly called back from his home in Connecticut to Washington where Rusk informed him that the State Department was being reorganized. George Ball was to replace Bowles as Under Secretary and Bowles was asked to replace Averell Harriman as a roving ambassador. Bowles' new title would be President's Special Representative and Advisor on Asian, African, and Latin American Affairs. The announcement to the press emphasized Bowles' new office in the White House complex and the raise in salary and rank. But Bowles was dubious about the new position and his ability to get the President's attention.

During the next year Bowles traveled widely in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, meeting with the Shah of Iran, Nasser, Haile Selassie, Nehru, Ayub Khan, and Prince Sihanouk, among others. He inspected rural and community development projects and AID-sponsored programs, visited with Peace Corps volunteers, and saw the results of the African independence movement. Often he sent suggestions back to the President in detailed memoranda.

But, in December 1962, Bowles transmitted to Kennedy a letter of resignation. He felt strongly that his position had placed him outside the policy-making structure and he was exasperated with the lack of progress on or even high level attention to a positive policy geared to the developing nations. Kennedy asked Bowles to withhold his resignation until they could meet again. In early January, Kennedy met with Bowles with a new proposal John Kenneth Galbraith was about to leave as ambassador to India and Kennedy hoped Bowles would agree to replace him. Before accepting the offer, Bowles sent Kennedy a memo outlining his thoughts on policies toward India and its relations with the rest of Asia. With Kennedy's concurrence on these policies, he felt able to accept the offer.

With Bowles' departure for India in July of 1963, this part of the Papers ends and Part VII begins.

Part VI consists of three series: Correspondence Speeches, Statements and Writings Clippings.

Note: The researcher should also consult Part IX for additional materials related to this period, including photographs, diaries, and oral histories. The researcher might also be interested in a Yale senior essay (Spring, 1974) on Bowles during this period. See: Stephen Heintz, Frustrations at Foggy Bottom: Chester Bowles as Under Secretary of State, January - November 1961 , in Miscellaneous Mss., No. 170.

PART VII -- 1963 Jul - 1969 May

Bowles' second term as Ambassador to India began in July, 1963. This is the beginning date for Part VII. Bowles thought that he would be in India no more than two years, but his tour lasted until the spring of 1969. On arrival, the Bowles' moved into the recently-built ambassadorial residence, Roosevelt House, but found this highly stylized architecture ill-suited to their more informal mode of life. As during Bowles' first ambassadorship, they moved into the pleasant home-like bungalow at Ratendon Road. They used Roovevelt House as a place for official entertaining and hospitality functions for members of the Mission and the Indian people.

During his tenure in New Delhi, Bowles brought all programs of the U.S. Mission in India under his direction. He oversaw the functioning not only of the Embassy and consulates, but also of the U.S. Information Service, the Peace Corps, the Agency for International Development, and the military and intelligence missions. Bowles again made numerous attempts to get Senators and Congressmen to come to India to see firsthand what had been and what needed to be done in developing nations like India. When he first arrived, a top priority was negotiations between the U.S. and India to develop an agreement for substantial U.S. military assistance to India. Kennedy's death in November 1963, followed by that of Prime Minister Nehru only six months later, plus resistance in U.S. State and Defense Departments, delayed this agreement.

Learning to adjust to India's changing leadership was a special aspect of this period. Jawaharlal Nehru, aging and ill on Bowles' arrival, died in May 1964. Lal Bahadur Shastri, Nehru's successor, had been in office less than two years when he too died in 1966. His death brought yet another new Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter. Similarly the assassination of Kennedy and the subsequent efforts to ascertain the Johnson Administration's views and assure Johnson's positive stance on India were critical issues during Bowles' second ambassadorship.

In addition to continuing problems of economic development, India was confronted in this period with major problems which demanded immediate U.S. attention. In September 1965, Pakistan launched an attack in Kashmir using tanks and other war material supplied by the U.S. In 1965 and 1966 two successive droughts brought severe food shortages. The U.S., with its then abundant food surpluses, was able to help, but President Johnson attempted to use U.S., grain for political leverage. Despite repeated pleas by Bowles and U.S. friends of India, food shipments were delayed until there was a virtual "ship-to-mouth" schedule of deliveries.

Two other events brought diplomatic and Indo-U.S. relations problems to the U.S. Mission. One was the 1967 public exposure in the U.S. of C.I.A. funding of U.S. educational and scholarly activities in India and elsewhere. The second was the sudden appearance of Svetlana Allilueva, Joseph Stalin's daughter, at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in March 1967, where she sought U.S. assistance to remain in India or at least to prevent her return to the Soviet Union. Bowles' efforts to aid Svetlana prevent her return to the Soviet Union. Bowles' efforts to aid Svetlana ended with her eventual settlement in the U.S.

The papers for this period are an important source of information on the changing aspects of Indo-U.S. relations on Bowles' guidance of the U.S. Mission in New Delhi and also on the change of administration in the U.S. following the assassination of John Kennedy, the 1964 U.S. presidential election, the ever-widening war in Vietnam, Bowles' mission to Prince Sihanouk in Cambodia in 1968 to discuss North Vietnamese military violations of the Cambodia border, and the 1968 U.S. presidential election. The papers also record the onset of Bowles' affliction with Parkinson's disease and his efforts to control it.

The papers in this Part (VII) are smaller in quantity than one would expect for a six-year period. It is possible that a large quantity of correspondence and other documentation that passed through the Ambassador's hands was left in the Embassy files in New Delhi on Bowles' departure.

Part VII is arranged in four series: Correspondence Speeches, Statements and Writings Special Subjects including U.S. Mission in India, India, Other Countries and Areas and Clippings.

Part VIII is composed of papers dating from Bowles' return from India in the spring of 1969. While most of Bowles' public correspondence for 1969 and 1970 is included here, this part is incomplete and unprocessed and will remain so until Bowles' death when any additional papers can be processed with what is already in Manuscripts and Archives.

Although Bowles had left India and throughout most of 1969 and 1970 was almost totally occupied with preparing his autobiography Promises to Keep , he kept in close touch with India and U.S. foreign policy, particularly in regard to South and Southeast Asia. See especially his correspondence with President Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State William Rogers, General William C. Westmoreland, Dean Rusk and Lucius Battle.

The papers in this section contain drafts, and correspondence and critiques of various stages of the manuscripts for the autobiography, Promises to Keep. Also included are drafts, correspondence and the final manuscript of Bowles' book, "Mission to India," published in India in 1974. Copies of both books, as published, have been incorporated with these files.

Part IX is arranged in five series as follows: Photographs and Memorabilia Informational Files Diaries and Oral Histories Personal and Financial Papers and Audio Tapes, Video Tapes, Movies, Phonograph Records.

Boxes 220-223, which contain constituent correspondence, are restricted until 2035 Jan 1.

The transcript of the oral history interview with Douglas Bennet, Jr. in Box 399b is closed until the deed of gift is secured from Bennet.

Box 408, which contains restricted personal and financial papers is closed until 2025 Jan 1.

Box 409, which contains audio tapes of oral history interviews with Bowles's associates, is not open to researchers.

Original audiotapes, videotapes, and motion picture films, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or pay for the creation of a use copy, retained by the repository, if none exist.


INTERVIEW

ESSEX AT THE end of the narrow road that winds through a thick, dark forest, a rambling white house sits on a bluff overlooking Essex Harbor at the mouth of the Connecticut River. In the back of the 15room house, through a long living room where a dozing spaniel takes a momentarily interested peek at a visitor, there is a small study crammed with books on politics, history and economics.

Over the fireplace, which smells faintly of charred wood, are autographed pictures with “warmest regards” messages from the four Presidents who played dominant roles in the life of the man who has used the study as a hideaway during his 29 years of remarkable public service, a career of success and failure that has coincided with some of the finest and darkest hours in the nation's recent history.

The pictures are signed in variously expansive scrawls by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and addressed to Chester Bowles, a principal economic and foreign policy expert in the Administrations of the four Democratic Presidents.

The house, designed for the Bowleses by James Gamble Rogers, the architect of some Yale University buildings, is, as it has been for decades, a gathering place for local and state Democratic candidates. Several times a year, the Bowleses play host to the parties that are usually held around the swimming pool.

“They are marvellous events,” said Mrs. Bowles, “Chet doesn't have to speak, but his presence means a great deal.”

Mrs. Bowles, the former Dorothy Stebbins, who is known as “Steb,” said the family moved into the house in 1939, “a memorable year—the Germans in. vaded Poland and our son, Sam, was born.”

Mr. Bowles first gained attention as administrator of price controls in World War II and then as director of economic stabilization in the post‐war years. He went on to foreign‐policy assignments as Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to India. He represented the United States on diplomatic missions to Asia. In between those duties, he served as a Congressman from Connecticut and as its Governor.

Mr. Bowles is now 76 years old and suffering from Parkinson's Disease. The degenerative nerve disorder was diagnosed in 1969 when he was serving his second term as Ambassador to India, a post he retired from in 1969 to return to his home overlooking the river.

His voice is all but inaudible now and his arms and legs are stiff from the disease. But he still has a fervent desire to talk and to explain the moral and practical reasons for past national policies.

As he talked, Peggy Stanton, a young, barefoot registered nurse wearing denim skirt, knelt beside Mr. Bowles, who was seated in an overstuffed chair. She tried to catch his words in a makeshift, stethescope‐like tube.

During the latter part of his Government service, “Chet” Bowles was prominent advocate of a liberal foreign policy and later a victim of a policy shift when the United States expanded its military role in Vietnam and mounted the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

In 1961, he was moved out of the second spot in the State Department under former Secretary of State Dean Rusk in what John Kenneth Galbraith, the economist and historian, said in retrospect signified the decline of liberal in fluence on foreign policy in the Kennedy Administration.

“If the Department couldn't abide Bowles, we weren't likely to accomplish much,” Mr. Galbraith, also a liberal, wrote in a 1971 review of Mr. Bowles's autobiography, “Promises to Keep.”

In his review, Mr. Galbraith, whose own career coincided with that of Mr. Bowles as head of the Office of Price Administration and Ambassador to India, wrote that “the truth is that Bowles's liberal friends failed him in moments of crisis.” The economist included himself in that criticism.

Mr. Bowles said that he agreed with Mr. Galbraith's assessment.

He said that the definitive account of the United States role in Indochina has not yet been written, but he characterized that policy as one created by intractable men who settled on an anti‐Communist stand as the safest means of preserving their jobs.

“It will be up to the younger historians to write the story of that time and the relationships of the men who made policy,” he said.

And if he had his autobiography to write over, it would contain some harsher comments about Dean Rusk, among others, he said.

When asked if he had ultimately been disappointed by President Kennedy, who chose Mr. Bowles as his chief for eign policy adviser before he selected Dean Rusk as Secretary of State, Mr. Bowles looked away. It was clearly not subject that could be dealt with in a few questions and answers.

Mr. Bowles repeatedly returned to what he regards as one of his major accomplishments, his role as head of the Office of Price Administration, regarded as one of the biggest bureaucratic headaches in Washington during World War II.

When he was summoned by President Roosevelt to head the agency, Mr. Bowles said that he was stunned by the size of the organization, but equally impressed by “the extraordinary sense of unity” among officials and the American people.

After he took over, he said, a Gallup Poll indicated that 85 percent of the people approved of the control measures, and Mr. Bowles gained a reputation as one of the first consumer advocates.

But when the war ended and he moved to the Office of. Economic Stability, he said he was unable to continue price controls for another year.

Faced with opposition from apowerful coalition of business and union leaders, Congress largely overrode his recommendations, he said.

Six years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Bowles gave 99 acres of their 110‐acre grounds to a nature conservancy. The house itself bustles. The five dogs are in and out, the youngest child of an Indian couple who came back from India with the couple is stringing rope from two trees and there are the nurses, a secretary and others.

Mr. Bowles spends much of his day reading, “trying to keep up,” he said. On a small table next to his chair, were copies of several news magazines along with the Hindustan Times and India Abroad as well as local newspapers.

When asked how she spent her days, Mr. Bowles answered laughingly that her response would involve a lengthy job description.

She travels to visit friends, she said, and manages the household that includes frequent visits from five children and 14 grandchildren.


BOWLES, Chester Bliss ("Chet")

(b. 5 April 1901 in Springfield, Massachusetts d. 25 May 1986 in Essex, Connecticut), liberal Democratic politician who served as under-secretary of state, Kennedy's special representative and adviser for Asian, African, and Latin-American affairs, and U.S. ambassador to India during the 1960s.

Bowles was born into a prominent New England family in Springfield, Massachusetts, the third child and second son of Charles Allen Bowles, a paper manufacturer, and Nellie Harris Bowles, a homemaker. He was educated at two Connecticut private schools, Choate and Roxbury, and graduated from Yale University's Sheffield Scientific School with a B.S. in 1924. In 1925 he married a Springfield debutante, Julia Fisk, with whom he had two children, Chester, Jr., and Barbara. From 1925 Bowles worked in New York City in advertising, and in 1929 with William Benton he established the agency of Benton and Bowles, serving as its chief executive from 1936 to 1941. Bowles's first marriage ended in 1932, and in 1934 he remarried, to Dorothy ("Steb") Stebbins, a Smith College graduate in social work who was often credited with awakening his social conscience, and with whom he had three children, Cynthia, Sally, and Sam. During World War II Bowles joined the government, heading the federal Office of Price Administration (1943–1946) he later became a Democratic governor of Connecticut (1949–1951), ambassador to India and Nepal (1951–1953), and a congressional representative (1959–1961).

In 1960 Bowles supported John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, hoping in return to become secretary of state. Kennedy shared Bowles's interest in gaining third world loyalties but not his New Dealer's preference for economic aid over military coercion, nor the low priority Bowles accorded relations with the Soviet Union and Europe and his lack of interest in nuclear policy. Six feet four, lanky in youth, hulking in middle age, Bowles lacked the sense of humor and social sophistication needed to survive in the highly polished, intellectually rarefied, and sometimes cruelly competitive Kennedy administration circles—the milieu Jacqueline Kennedy, the president's widow, subsequently termed "Camelot." He accepted the lesser position of undersecretary of state but lacked rapport with Secretary Dean Rusk and swiftly became known as a poor administrator—in one colleague's words, "a pleasant idealistic fellow, naive and wordy." Bowles's opposition to the bungled March 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and, worse still, widely circulated press reports of his dissent soon alienated the influential attorney general, the president's brother Robert.

A staunchly anticolonial Wilsonian, Bowles urged American support for emerging nations in Africa, even when such states adopted cold war nonalignment. In 1961 he deplored European backing for the secessionist regime of Moise Tshombe in the Katanga province in the former Belgian Congo, and he welcomed its collapse when assailed by United Nations forces. From the early 1950s Bowles urged that the United States move toward improving relations with China, with the ultimate objective of recognizing both China and Taiwan. As undersecretary he unsuccessfully suggested the relaxation of trade and travel controls against China and the extension of food aid, ideas Kennedy and Rusk quickly squelched. Bowles opposed the growing U.S. troop commitment to Laos and Vietnam, arguing that this might provoke Chinese intervention—almost certainly exaggerating, as he had since the 1950s, the potential Chinese military threat. He recommended instead that all Indochina be neutralized under international guarantees, a suggestion probably unworkable given North Vietnamese determination to destabilize the South.

Fired in November 1961, Bowles took the vague, essentially honorific post of special presidential representative to Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He continued to advocate a "Peace Charter for Southeast Asia," effectively his earlier neutralization scheme, and massive economic aid for that region. He resigned in January 1963, but later that year Kennedy, recognizing Bowles's genuine talent for handling third world countries, appointed him ambassador to India, a post he held until 1969.

Bowles hoped to repeat the triumphs of his first ambassadorial assignment, when his efforts eventually facilitated substantial long-run increases in American economic aid to India, but found his second mission more difficult. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, with whom his relationship had been close, was ill when Bowles arrived, and he died in 1964. Nehru's successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, served less than two years, a period dominated by the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, before dying in office. Nehru's daughter and Shastri's successor, Indira Gandhi, was cool toward Bowles, greatly resenting his unsolicited avuncular advice. Bowles strongly admired President Lyndon Johnson's domestic civil rights stance and War on Poverty programs, but unlike Kennedy, who appreciated Bowles's empathy with developing countries, Johnson and many of his officials found his identification with India irritating and often ignored him. Even so, Bowles's rejection of the ambassadorial mansion in favor of a modest bungalow, his obvious distaste for diplomatic socializing, and the warm respect he and his wife, who frequently wore saris, showed ordinary Indians were long remembered in his host country.

Bowles always deplored the 1954 U.S. military alliance with India's neighbor Pakistan, and before Kennedy's assassination in November 1963 submitted to him a scheme whereby the United States would give both nations limited military assistance, provided they observed ceilings on defense spending and sought no additional weaponry from other countries. When India and Pakistan went to war in 1965, both employing American weapons, the United States initially halted all further military aid to both nations and later drastically cut all military programs. More fruitfully, Bowles backed major agricultural reforms that brought about the "Green Revolution," which ultimately made India self-sufficient in food grains. Johnson's policy of deliberately doling out food aid in small installments, which appalled Bowles, may well have been one incentive impelling India to implement such measures.

Bowles had only limited success in winning Indian support for American policies in Vietnam, one major reason for Johnson's disenchantment with Indira Gandhi. Privately Bowles continued to advocate a major economic aid program for Southeast Asia and to support a halt to bombing and the opening of peace negotiations publicly he remained silent as the Johnson administration ignored his dissenting advice. In January 1968 Bowles represented the United States in talks with Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, his objectives being to reach an understanding with Cambodia over American pursuit of Viet Cong forces, limit U.S. military incursions into Cambodia, and so preserve the country's neutrality and integrity. Though initially successful, these talks failed to prevent a subsequent full-scale American invasion of Cambodia. Bowles also helped orchestrate the 1967 defection from India to the United States of Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of the Russian dictator Josef Stalin.

Retiring in 1969, Bowles published somewhat anodyne memoirs. In 1971, the year they were published, he welcomed the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. In 1986 Bowles died of Parkinson's disease, which had been diagnosed in 1965, and was buried in Essex, Connecticut. His considerable abilities notwithstanding, Bowles's liberal, noninterventionist, and non-Europeanist outlook, decidedly at odds with the prevailing post-1945 foreign policy consensus, and his fondness for lofty, idealistic, and rhetorical generalities precluded his wielding greater influence within the administrations he served.

Bowles left his personal papers to Yale University Library. Many of his official papers are among the records of the Department of State in the National Archives II, College Park, Maryland the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, Massachusetts and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Boston, Massachusetts. Some documents from his official career have been published in the series Foreign Relations of the United States. In retirement Bowles published his rather unrevealing memoirs, Promises to Keep: My Years in Public Life 1941–1969 (1971). Although written by a diplomatic protégé and associate, his only biography, Howard B. Schaffer's Chester Bowles: New Dealer in the Cold War (1993), is a balanced and fair assessment of his public career. Brief accounts of Bowles's service under Kennedy and Johnson are given in Nelson Lichtenstein, ed., Political Profiles: The Kennedy Years (1976), and Political Profiles: The Johnson Years (1976). Obituaries are in the New York Times and Washington Post (both 26 May 1986). Bowles recorded oral histories for Columbia University, the Kennedy Presidential Library, the Johnson Presidential Library, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi, India.


Bowles Collection - Highlights


BOX 381, FOLDER 65: Ephemera, including absentee voting information Parliament of India Diplomatic Gallery Card and DNC and USIS cards.


BOX 375, FOLDER 38: Photographs of a Sikh wedding.


BOX 375, FOLDER 43: Photographs of Kalimpong.


BOX 375, FOLDER 43: Photograph of diya vendor, before Divali.


Chester Bowles

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the &ldquoe-ditions&rdquo program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (&ldquoprint-on-demand&rdquo) editions via the &ldquoAvailable from De Gruyter&rdquo link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press&rsquos catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

When Harry Truman named him ambassador to India in 1951, Chester Bowles was already a prominent figure in American public life a onetime advertising mogul, wartime administrator, governor of Connecticut and yet his past hardly presaged the turn his path would take in Asia. Over the next two decades, at home and abroad, Bowles would become one of the leading liberal lights in American foreign policy, a New Dealer destined to be at odds with the stiffening cold war conservatism of his time. His biography is also the story of America finding its place in a changing world, a story of remarkable relevance to our own post-cold war era.

Howard Schaffer, a former ambassador and seasoned Foreign Service officer, worked closely with Bowles in India and Washington and is able to offer a colorful firsthand portrayal of the man, as well as an insider&rsquos view of American foreign policy in the making. Bowles&rsquos indefatigable energy, inspired idealism, and humanitarian instincts leave their mark on these pages&mdashas do his stubbornness, his cultural blinders, and his failure to master the game of bureaucratic politics. We see him in his sometimes exhilarating and ultimately frustrating struggle to influence the leaders and policymakers of his day&mdashas twice ambassador to India, Democratic party foreign policy spokesman, congressman from Connecticut, foreign policy adviser to John F. Kennedy, undersecretary to Dean Rusk at the State Department, and President Kennedy&rsquos special adviser on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Drawing on a wealth of documents and interviews with some of the nation&rsquos top foreign policy makers in the post&ndashWorld War II years, Schaffer shows us Bowles in his tireless attempt to advance an alternative approach to international relations during those decades, an approach defined less in military than in economic terms, focused less on the struggle for power with the Soviet Union in Europe than on the contest with China over the fate of Third World countries.

&ldquoOnly the historians can determine who was right and who was wrong,&rdquo Dean Rusk once said of Bowles&rsquos ideas and convictions&mdashand today history itself is writing the last word.

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Chester B. Bowles

Chester Bowles (Class of 1924) was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and attended Choate before going to Yale. In 1924, as a senior, he was captain of the golf team that won the intercollegiate championship, although he was not one of the four players whose scores counted toward the win. In the opening match of that season, he had been paired with his teammate, Dexter Cummings, the 1923 individual intercollegiate champion, and they lost to a team from the Westchester Biltmore Country Club in Rye, New York. In 1923 Bowles had lost his match in the Apawamis Invitational. He did not play in the intercollegiate team competition at the end of the season, but he did compete in the individual championship, losing in the second round. Why was he elected team captain? It may well be that the qualities that made Bowles successful in advertising, politics, and diplomacy were evident even then to his constituents.

Bowles wrote later that “as a college senior, in 1924, I determined to spend my life in government,” observing that he was one of a few in class for whom a public career held any interest. First he went to New York and got a job as a $25 per week copywriter in an advertising agency. During the Great Depression of 1929 he started his own advertising firm with another Yale graduate, William Benton. It was highly successful, but Bowles was not satisfied by monetary rewards alone. The events of December 7, 1941 provided him the opportunity he had been seeking.

Because of an ear problem Bowles was rejected when he tried to enlist in the Navy. He accepted a position as director of the Office of Price Administration in Connecticut. In 1943, President Roosevelt appointed him general manager of the Federal Price Administration. He was the Director of Economic Stability, when he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Connecticut in 1946. He became governor in 1948. He was named US Ambassador to India in 1951 and again in 1961. Between those posts he served in the House of Representatives from Connecticut’s second district. Bowles wrote seven books setting forth his philosophy of domestic and foreign policy.


Watch the video: Chester Bennington Vocals (August 2022).