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My Century And My Many Lives, by Frank Munk
Memoirs, 1993
Postscript, 1994

Frank Munk, my grandfather, wrote this autobiography to record his memories from 1901 onwards. This history and its postscript are available on our family website in his memory as they tell a complete story of the 20th century. These memoirs may be referenced as long as proper attribution is made; our family retains ownership and copyright. We have one request: if you reference this material in any way, please send us email at and a copy of the paper, if possible, as we would like to know when this material is of interest and we are curious as to how it is being used. We'd like to hear from you.
Copyright 1993, 1994, The Munk/Ragen Families


Much as I liked and enjoyed teaching, I liked "doing" even more -- at least at times. On my return from Radio Free Europe, I stayed at Reed College for a year. In 1961, I was again on leave in order to serve with the Atlantic Institute, which I had helped to found in the previous year. It was a period pregnant with impending crises: the Berlin Wall in August 1961 and the threatening Cuban Crisis in October 1962, which could easily have ended in nuclear war.

This mission began very pleasantly when Nadia and I boarded a freighter of the Holland-American line, the S.S. Dinteldijk in Oakland in September. There were only about fifteen passengers on board and it took a month to deliver us to Antwerp, Belgium, by way of the Panama Canal.

Before taking up my assignment in Paris, I had to perform another task. I was appointed a University Lecturer by the U.S. Information Service, the information arm of the State Department, to make a tour of French and German universities. We first picked up a new Mercedes (my second) in Stuttgart and headed for France. I delivered the lectures, naturally, in French, the theme being the ground breaking nature of the presidency of John F. Kennedy.

It was an exciting time for France: Charles de Gaulle, the man with the symbolic name and the leader of the Free French during WWII, had just made a deal with the Algerian revolutionists leading to Algerian independence. This deal was violently opposed not only by the "pieds noirs" (the French settlers), but also by a substantial element of the French army, led by General Salan. It was generally believed that the army would stage a coup against de Gaulle. There was widespread unrest throughout France. Each night, as we traveled from one French university town to another, we were awakened by the sound of plastic bombs going off in the middle of the night.

From France, we motored to Germany and I repeated the performance, except that the subject of my lectures was the changing and maturing relationship of Europe to the United States and, of course, the language was German.

We finally arrived in Paris early in December and I went to work at the Atlantic Institute, which found a home right in the center of Paris in the historic Hotel de Crillon on the Place de la Concorde. We rented an apartment at 10, rue de Villiers in Levallois-Perret, located in what was then known as "la ceinture rouge" (the red belt) because of prevalent Communist control of those parts of the capital.

The Atlantic Institute was headed by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., son of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, onetime leading isolationist and opponent of Woodrow Wilson. Mr. Lodge, with whom I worked in Paris, had been himself a U.S. Senator and was the Republican candidate for Vice President on the unsuccessful ticket headed by Richard Nixon in 1960. He was later to become U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam and West Germany and was U.S. chief representative at the Paris peace talks with Vietnam. The real business of the Institute was in the hands of my old friend Jim Huntley, its Executive Secretary. My own title was Senior Research Fellow.

My main task was to write a report on the future of the Atlantic Community. I did so while in Paris and it was published as "The Atlantic Dilemma" by Oceana Publications in 1964. A Spanish version also was published. It dealt with the history, problems, variations, and outlook of the communitary cooperation of the nations of Europe and the United States after the Second World War. It advocated common institutions across the Atlantic of the kind that we now know as the European Community. It stressed the necessity of including the United States because it might otherwise result in an adversarial relationship. By now (1992) we have plenty of evidence that this is not just a theoretical possibility, but a real danger. The protracted negotiations about trade matters under GATT auspices are a good example of the fractious relationship I had warned against. My main point was that there existed then, and possibly only then, a window of opportunity to make a transient community relationship permanent.

While working on my book, I was also active in promoting the ideas of the Institute by participating in conferences all over Europe, this time including the Scandinavian countries. In these countries, and especially in Sweden, there was a historic reticence about getting too closely involved with continental politics and it is only now, in the early nineties, that they either are, or like Sweden, would wish to be, members of the EC.

I also renewed my connection with the College of Europe in Bruges and continued teaching there as a visiting professor. The college has by now become an important adjunct to the EC and is a training ground for the growing number of "Eurocrats," the staff of the seat of the EC in Brussels.

The year was a most stimulating one. Not only could Nadia and I explore the charming countryside of La Belle France, but it brought me in constant contact with extremely interesting people, like Raymond Aron, the French political analyst, or Denis de Rougemont, head of the Centre Europeen de la Culture in Geneva, Jacques Freymont at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in the same city, or Sir Isaiah Berlin or Max Beloff in England. I was particularly attached to Hugh Seton-Watson, perhaps the world's best expert on Eastern Europe and son of Professor Seton-Watson, who was one of the chief supporters of President Masaryk in the foundation of Czechoslovakia. I also liked Pierre Uri, who at that time was number two at the Institute.

We left Paris in the fall of 1962 to return to Reed. However, my interest in the Atlantic Community did not end then and there. I was invited to become a Research Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. As a matter of fact, they wanted me to join them on a full-time basis. I decided against it, but we worked out an arrangement whereby I would come to Philadelphia regularly, while doing the bulk of my work in Portland. I continued this contact for a number of years, in effect commuting between the two cities. Even after resigning as research associate of the University of Pennsylvania, I continued as a member of the Atlantic Studies Committee, which met regularly at the Institute, until 1971.

Incidentally, this Institute seemed to be a breeding ground for United States Ambassadors under the Nixon administration. Not only the Institute's Director, Professor Robert Strausz-Hupe, and his Deputy, William Kintner, were named Ambassadors, but my colleague, Professor Robert Neuman, became, in succession, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. I have a suspicion that I, too, might have been considered had I been a Republican and a hardliner in world affairs.


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