From the late 1940s through the 1970s, John Sherman Cooper, a quiet lawyer from Kentucky, ascended to become one of America's leading statesmen. Cooper's embodiment of the values of his rural upbringing, his understanding of people and their problems, and his openness and integrity were the qualities that Schulman believes, paradoxically won him success in dealing with the most powerful and sophisticated of the world's leaders. They are the qualities elicited in this warm memoir.
Cooper's political career began in his native Pulaski County, where he served two terms as county judge during the Depression. But its climax came in the United States Senate. Upon his retirement in 1972, he was hailed as one of the most influential in the history of that body. First elected to the Senate in 1947, Cooper worked for internationalism from the beginning of his career, later led the fight against the ABM, and with Frank Church sponsored crucial amendments that ushered in the withdrawal from Vietnam
Balanced against this senate career are his contributions in diplomacy -- representative to the UN, the establishment of NATO, ambassador to India, a confidential mission to India and Russia, and appointment as the first American ambassador to the German Democratic Republic. In these positions he won the respect, even the admiration, of leaders as diverse as Willy Brandt, Anastas Mikoyan, and Jawaharlal Nehru.
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It was one of those times of high, historic drama in the chamber of the Senate of the United States. The war in Vietnam had dragged on for eight years. They were years which had seen an ever-increasing commitment of United States forces to the conflict until more than a half-million Americans were fighting on the Asian mainland. They were years which had seen the employment of the vast resources of the world’s most powerful technological society against half of a small Asian nation; years which had seen, in the face of overwhelming force, little or no abatement of the...
It has become more difficult for people to find their growing hopes and aspirations expressed in an industrializing world, so in impatience they turn to the totality of the state—at the expense of freedom,” John Sherman Cooper told an interviewer in 1974. “They turn unhappily and wrongly to power, force and coercion.”
He added, “Diplomacy is the process of trying to avoid that loss of freedom by finding common, mutual ground between your own interests and the other fellow’s. It is often a slow process. But we Kentuckians and other Americans who know what our families and our fathers...
John Cooper’s wife, Lorraine, said the family does not think that the notoriously unpunctual Cooper ever wore a wristwatch until he was with Patton’s Third Army in its spectacular World War II dash across Europe. “It was either a watch or be left behind,” Mrs. Cooper said her husband sadly acknowledged.
Ofhis combat role Cooper has been reticent. “I was too old to be in combat, but in Patton’s army you were always close,” he says. He does recall that frequently he served as a messenger between Third Army field headquarters and divisional commands, traveling through the fluid battle zones...
Although later years have shown Cooper’s effectiveness in defending United States policies at the United Nations and in furthering the firm establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, at the time there were questions of his ability to deal with the incessant pressures brought to bear by the Soviet Union.
Cooper himself has readily acknowledged that dealing with the perils to peace and accommodating the essential needs ofmankind are far more complex in the world ofthe 1970s than they were in 1950. The tension and strife engendered in the proliferating smaller nations have radically altered the problems which Soviet aggression...
When cooper took to the hustings in 1952 seeking Chapman’s unexpired senate seat, he found himself pinched by an awkward political dilemma in his Kentucky, nominally three to one Democratic.
He had been serving the nation with distinction in the United Nations and in Europe. But he had been doing this as an agent of a Democratic president and a Democratic secretary of state. Now, as a Republican, Cooper was running on the ticket with Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon who were hitting hard at the Truman administration for a corrupting cronyism and a failure to win or end the...
From the beginning ofIndia’s independence in 1947, it was in America’s interest to see that this largest of Asian democracies should survive and, as a country with acute economic problems, not be driven into communist embrace.
But by 1955 relations between the two nations were sorely strained. Many influential U.S. politicians and some press voices were calling the neutralist policies of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru a charade favoring the communist cause. Considering the $200 million in U.S. aid already granted India, some demanded, what was Nehru up to visiting Chou En-Lai in Peking? Where was the gratitude?
Even Chester Bowles,...
Heritage, experience, and his approach to human relations shaped John Sherman Cooper for a key foreign affairs role during the nation’s harrowing decade and a half between 1956 and 1972.
The period needed someone in the United States Senate bound in support ofthe country’s military strength but grittily dedicated to espousing the use of negotiations whenever risk allowed it. The period needed someone to stand up to presidents and foreign adversaries while continuing to retain their respect and trust. There was a demand for a man hanging tough on constitutional principles even while many constituents and political colleagues would temporarily...
Covington & Burling in downtown Washington exudes the hushed, carpeted atmosphere ofinfluence and certainty found only rarely even at the highest level of offices involved in the hurly-burly of the Congress of the United States.
For John Sherman Cooper, taking over the law firm’s prestigious “Dean Acheson chair” in January 1973 appeared to be an ideal way to serve out the remainder ofhis working career. He accepted those foreign clients whose interests he could represent without using high-echelon friendships or compromising his well-known foreign policy principles. Even in his new job, he continued to track through the labyrinth of bureaucracy...