Bonds of Loyalty
Historians have studied the relationship between President Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, in some depth. 1. In comparison, historians have given much less attention to the parallel relationship between President Truman and Dean Acheson. This neglect has limited the value of studies of Truman-era foreign policy, especially between 1949 and 1952, when Acheson was secretary of state. Acheson's influence over foreign policy in those years was extraordinary because of his success in “managing” Truman's decision making. Unlike Dulles, Acheson was more responsible for the foreign policy of the United States during his tenure in office than was the president he served, and it is to Acheson more than to Truman that the historian must look to understand the substance of that policy.
Acheson's influence explains the overriding concern in American policy to protect British imperialinterests in the colonial world during his years in office. Historians have ignored, indeed failed to recognize, this elementalaspect of Acheson's stewardship of U.S. foreign policy, for practical as well as ideological reasons. Acheson's determination to obscure his purposes on key policy matters left little in the way of a “paper trail” documenting some of his most pressing intentions. In fact, the “trail” that remains hides some of the most basic of those intentions under a deceptive rhetoric of cold war realism. Among the reasons for Acheson's success in this deception, none has been more important than the shield provided him by McCarthyite charges that he was “soft” on communism and that the “softness” was part and parcel of a larger Anglophilia that____________________