The Forrestal Diaries

The Forrestal Diaries

The Forrestal Diaries

The Forrestal Diaries

Excerpt

In many ways James Forrestal was an exceptional figure among the high officers of government during the war and immediate postwar years. He coupled outstanding administrative abilities with an unusually reflective and philosophic bent of mind; he combined a tireless and aggressive energy with a complex, sensitive and often introspective personality; he cloaked an essential shyness under an air of pugnacity, and a method that relied heavily on patience and persuasion under a manner that could at times seem brusque to the point of grimness. Even in outward appearance he was unusual among the general run of Washington administrators and political leaders. In almost any group photograph that includes him, his rather small, athletic figure--with the neat, iron-gray hair, the thin and tightly compressed lips, the intent, gray-blue eyes set in a combative Irish face, made even more combative by the broken and flattened nose--presents a striking contrast to the more conventional features of his colleagues.

His public career was no less unusual. It was one of the few on the higher levels that bridged the war years under Franklin Roosevelt, the postwar demobilization under Truman and the critical opening phases of the "cold war" which followed. For some time before his resignation in March 1949, he was the sole survivor of the Roosevelt Cabinet still serving in that of Mr. Truman. He was a Roosevelt appointee who was not and never had been a New Dealer; he was one of the wartime "businessmen in government," who had come into it well before the war and was to remain long after most of the other . . .

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