3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2021 3:05 AM by Michelle Kinnucan

    Truman Library: Merriam memo & HST diary entry, July 21, 1947

    Michelle Kinnucan Adventurer

      Greetings,

       

      I am trying to locate an October 15, 1947 1946, "top-secret memorandum" authored by Gordon Merriam, Chief of the US State Department's Division of Near Eastern Affairs, concerning US foreign policy regarding the UN's proposal to partition Palestine. According to Evan M. Wilson in Decision on Palestine: How the U.S. Came to Recognize Israel (Hoover Inst. Pr. 1979) a copy of the memo was provided to the Truman Library (see p. 99ff and p. 209, note 9). I searched for the document in the most likely Truman Library online collection—"Recognition of the State of Israel"—but was unable to locate memo. A search of the entire site on "Gordon Merriam" yields no results. Would you please help me obtain this memo?

       

      While searching there I also noticed that no content loads when I click on "Harry S. Truman diary entry, July 21, 1947". I tried two different browsers but neither worked. Other content in that online collection does load for me.

       

      Best wishes,

       

      Michelle Kinnucan

       

      Message was edited by: Michelle Kinnucan on June 25, 2021, to correct year of memo.

        • Re: Truman Library: Merriam memo & HST diary entry, July 21, 1947
          Tammy Williams Adventurer

          Michelle,

           

          Thank you for your question. The diary entry you're looking for can be found here: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5859986. Our website underwent a major revision a while back, and we had some hiccups with the 1947 diary. We are working on getting that corrected, but in the meantime, you can find it in the National Archives Catalog.

           

          With regard to the Gordon Merriam memo, I am not familiar with that off hand. We are not fully back in the office every day, and we may or may not have this book in the Truman Library's collection. If you could send us the precise footnote from that book, we will do our best to track it down for you. Please send an email to truman.reference@nara.gov, and your question will be assigned to one of our archivists.

           

          Thank you again!

          Tammy Williams

          Archivist, Harry S. Truman Library

          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Truman Library: Merriam memo & HST diary entry, July 21, 1947
              Michelle Kinnucan Adventurer

              Hi Tammy,

               

              Thank you for the link to the diary entry. I've emailed excerpts from the Wilson book to the specified email address.

               

              Best wishes,

               

              Michelle

              • Re: Truman Library: Merriam memo & HST diary entry, July 21, 1947
                Michelle Kinnucan Adventurer

                Hi Tammy,

                 

                Today, I received a message from an archivist at the Truman Library. The gist of the message is as follows:

                I regret to say that I have not been able to find a copy of the October 15, 1946 memo by Gordon Merriam in our holdings. 


                Our administrative files indicate that Merriam sent a copy of the memo to the Library's Director in August 1972, and that the memo bore a "Top Secret" marking.  I do not know if the document was subsequently declassified, but I was unable to find it in the General Historical Documents Collection (GHDC) or the Miscellaneous Historical Documents Collection (MHDC).  Typically, historical documents of this kind that were received by the Library would have been filed in one of these two collections.

                This is a disappointing outcome. Of course, I do not blame the messenger.

                 

                It is bitterly ironic that the memo at issue was delivered to the Truman Library for safeguarding after, according to Evan M. Wilson's account, Dean Acheson "thought it so explosive" that he ordered all copies of this memo—except for Merriam's original—destroyed. As I cannot find any collection of Wilson's or Merriam's papers archived anywhere this memo is seemingly lost to posterity.

                 

                Best wishes,

                 

                Michelle