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Chester Bowles papers

Call Number: MS 628
Scope and Contents

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 I. 1942 - 1946 July

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

Part VIII. Unprocessed

1969 June on

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 ofBlitz, 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

1. General Correspondence

2. U.S. Government Correspondence

II. Indian and Nepal Correspondence

1. General Correspondence

2. U.S. Mission to India and Nepal

III. Writings, Speeches, Statements and News Releases

IV. Clippings

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 onAmbassador'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) andIdeas, 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 -- 1969 June -

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 autobiographyPromises 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.

Conditions Governing Access

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.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for the oral history interview of Edward Logue on October 22, 1976 has been transferred to Yale University by Margaret DeVane Logue. Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Chester Bowles was transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Chester Bowles, 1971 and succeeding years; Samuel Bowles, 1990; HRH Prince Norodom Sihanouk, 1991; Sally Bowles, 1994; and Charles F. Johnson, 2007.


Arranged in nine parts and two additions: I. 1942-1946 July. II. 1946 July-1951 October. III. 1951 October-1953 March. IV. 1953 April-1958 December. V. 1959 January-1960 December. VI. 1961 January-1963 June. VII. 1963 July-1969 May. VIII. 1969 June- . IX. Various Files, 1924-1973. Accession 1987-M-016. Accession 1994-M-088.

  1. Part I, Series I. Correspondence, 1942 Jan - 1946 Jul 15
  2. Part I, Series II. Speeches, Statements and Writings, 1942 Jan - 1946 Jul 15
  3. Part I, Series III. OPA Reports and Printed Material, 1942 Jan - 1946 Jul 15
  4. Part I, Series IV. Appointment Calendars, Clippings and Scrapbooks, 1942 Jan - 1946 Jul 15
  5. Part II, Series I. General Correspondence, 1946 Jul 15 - 1951 Oct 20
  6. Part II, Series II. Correspondence on Political Appointments and Job Applications, 1946 Jul 15 - 1951 Oct 20
  7. Part II, Series III. Writings, Speeches, News Releases, 1946 Jul 15 - 1951 Oct 20
  8. Part II, Series IV. Special Subjects, 1946 Jul 15 - 1951 Oct 20
  9. Part II, Series V. Biographical Profiles, Lists, Appointments and Schedules, 1946 Jul 15 - 1951 Oct 20
  10. Part II, Series VI. Clippings, 1946 Jul 15 - 1951 Oct 20
  11. Part III, Series I. U.S. and International Correspondence, 1951 Oct 20 - 1953 Mar 22
  12. Part III Series II. India and Nepal Correspondence, 1951 Oct 20 - 1953 Mar 22
  13. Part III Series III. Writings, Speeches, Statements and News Releases, 1951 Oct 20 - 1953 Mar 22
  14. Part III Series IV. Clippings, 1951 Oct 20 - 1953 Mar 22
  15. Part IV, Series I. Correspondence, 1953 Apr - 1958 Dec
  16. Part IV, Series II. Speeches, Statements and Writings, 1953 Apr - 1958 Dec
  17. Part IV, Series III. Campaigns for Senatorial Nomination and for Congress, 1958, 1953 Apr - 1958 Dec
  18. Part IV, Series IV. Schedules, Itineraries, Appointment Books, 1953 Apr - 1958 Dec
  19. Part IV, Series V. Newspaper Clippings, 1953 Apr - 1958 Dec
  20. Part V, Series I. Correspondence, 1959 Jan - 1960 Dec
  21. Part V, Series II. Speeches, Statements and Writings, 1959 Jan - 1960 Dec
  22. Part V, Series III. Special Subjects, 1959 Jan - 1960 Dec
  23. Part V, Series IV. Clippings, 1959 Jan - 1960 Dec
  24. Part VI, Series I. Correspondence, 1961 Jan - 1963 Jun
  25. Part VI, Series II. Speeches, Statements and Writings, 1961 Jan - 1963 Jun
  26. Part VI, Series III. Clippings, 1961 Jan - 1963 Jun
  27. Part VII, Series I. Correspondence, 1963 Jul - 1969 May
  28. Part VII, Series II. Speeches, Statements and Writings, 1963 Jul - 1969 May
  29. Part VII, Series III. Special Subjects, 1963 Jul - 1969 May
  30. Part VII, Series IV. Clippings, 1963 Jul - 1969 May
  31. Part VIII, Series I. Unprocessed, 1969 Jun -
  32. Part IX, Series I. Photographs and Memorabilia, 1924-1973
  33. Part IX, Series II. Informational Files, 1924-1973
  34. Part IX, Series III. Diaries and Oral Histories, 1924-1973
  35. Part IX, Series IV. Personal and Financial Records
  36. Part IX, Series V. Audio Tapes, Video Tapes, Movies, Phonograph Records, 1924-1973
  37. Folios
  38. Accession 1987-M-016
  39. Accession 1994-M-088
187 Linear Feet
Related Names
Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986
Language of Materials