John J. McCloy Papers
John J. McCloy (1895-1989) has been described as a "minister without portfolio" and "the most influential private citizen in America" (Harper's, Feb 1983). It was said that he held the record for the most Cabinet positions offered and refused. Among the positions that he did hold were: Assistant Secretary of War during World War II, High Commissioner of Germany after the war, President of the World Bank, Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, Chairman of the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. In addition, he served official or unofficial advisor to every US president from Roosevelt through Reagan; his advice and assistance were sought by political and business leaders in the US and around the world.
McCloy was known as a skilled mediator and facilitator. What has been debated is the extent of his role in making policy, as opposed to articulating it. During his career, he was involved in some of the biggest--and most controversial--American policy decisions of his day. Among the issues with which he was involved and which are represented in the papers are: the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; the shaping of Germany's post-war economy; civilian vs. military control of early atomic energy development; the Cuban missile crisis; numerous arms control and disarmament treaties; negotiations with OPEC on behalf of the major oil companies; and efforts to gain asylum in the US for the deposed Shah of Iran.
McCloy had strong ties to Amherst College; he graduated cum laude with the Class of 1916 and served on the Board of Trustees from 1947-1989. He thought of himself as a public servant and in his speeches often emphasized the importance of public service.
He died in 1989 at the age of 93.