ABSTRACT

IN JANUARY 1949 Dean G. Acheson succeeded George C.Marshall as US Secretary of State and served until the end of Truman’s term in January 1953. They formed a remarkably close and loyal relationship. The President chose him because he valued his loyalty, displayed after the Democratic Congressional defeats in 1946, respected his intelligence and competence, shared the same general belief in the need for a firm response to the communist threat, and knew that they would be able to work well together because they had done so when Acheson was Under-Secretary of State between 1945 and 1947. His experience in the State Department meant that he had a sound grasp of the main issues of the day. Acheson realised that Truman did not want to make foreign policy from the White House; rather, he wanted close consultation and the right to veto final decisions. They held daily meetings or, if away, the Secretary of State sent the President a report at the close of each day. While very different in experience and talents, Acheson ‘possessed a temperament so similar to that of his chief that he easily functioned as an alter ego in charge of foreign policy’.1