O n September 25, 1943, Leo Crowley reached what would be the pinnacle of his public career. For almost a decade he had worked effectively but on the periphery of the Roosevelt administration. Now foreign economic administrator, he would be a major player, a member of the president's cabinet. British representatives found him worth reporting on to their home offices. And newspaper features reflected his new status. Previously they had focused on his personal habits; now they stressed the lights shining nightly in his National Press Building office, his search for more space in an already overburdened Capital, and the potential he brought to the complexities of his new task.
Early commentaries, as in Time, glowed over his appointment. Crowley had a superb reputation as a savvy politician and administrator. He was, one commentator wrote, the president's "manager par excellence." He would reorganize American agencies operating in the economic field abroad and coordinate their work with State Department policy. Supposedly Crowley's new task was temporary -- organizational: when the president's # 1 pinch hitter completed it, he could return to the bench.1
This last was not the president's intent. True, by mid-fall Crowley had devised a flow chart for the Foreign Economic Administration. It appeared, in brief, in the New York Times, November 7, 1943, at the end of John McCormac feature article, Diplomat of Global Economics. Crowley was proposing a complete reorganization of the agencies he controlled and those still technically, and probably effectively, run by Jesse Jones. OEW and OLLA would cease to exist. A geographically organized bureau of areas would be responsible for distribution abroad, and a bureau of supplies for purchases at home and abroad, and the directors of both would report to Crowley. So would various other