My Century And My Many Lives, by Frank Munk
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
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© 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.
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.
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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