Collection Creator: Ball, George W. (George Wildman),
Extent: 100 boxes (1 partial)
Collection is open for research use.
Series 1, Subseries 1, Subject Files, 1916-1994, contains incoming and outgoing
correspondence, memoranda, reports, clippings, manuscripts, speeches, press
releases and publications, and is filed alphabetically by author or subject.
The subject files mainly document Ball's life prior to his appointment as under
secretary of state for economic affairs and after his resignation as ambassador
to the United Nations. These files contain information on a myriad of subjects
in which Ball was involved or interested. His careers are well documented in
this subseries, including his work on the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, which
included the interrogation of Albert Speer, his years spent at Cleary,
Gottlieb, and his international banking experience gained at Lehman
While his career accomplishments were vast and varied, Ball considered his work
with Jean Monnet on the “perestroika” of Western Europe the most interesting
and more productive than his “rearguard” action against the Vietnam War. Ball's
work with Monnet on European integration is detailed throughout numerous
folders in this subseries. The seventeen memoranda Ball wrote outlining his
opposition to the Vietnam War are included in this subseries as well.
Researchers should note that copies have been made of the original memoranda
for preservation purposes and are located at the front of the folders. The
originals can be found at the rear of the folder and should only be consulted
if the copy is illegible.
The relationships Ball developed with various colleagues are documented here as
well. One of his earliest ties born from an employment association was with
Adlai Stevenson. Ball and Stevenson's correspondence reveals a close
relationship that started in 1939 while both were employed with the law firm of
Sidley, McPherson, Austin & Harper, and continued until Stevenson's death.
The various Stevenson campaigns also brought about life-long friendships with
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Wilson Wyatt, while wartime work brought about a
close friendship with John Kenneth Galbraith and Eugene Rostow. Ball also
corresponded somewhat regularly with fellow members of Cleary, Gottlieb, and
Ball often contacted them, after he had severed his ties, to enlist their
services on matters. More often than not, the correspondence between Ball and
members of the firm are found in the Cleary, Gottlieb files.
The relationships he developed while undersecretary of state are also well
documented. Despite some disagreements over U.S. involvement in Vietnam, Ball
developed a close relationship with Secretary of State Dean Rusk that continued
until Ball's death. Their respect and mutual admiration for each other is
evident in their correspondence. Another secretary of state whom Ball respected
and admired was Dean Acheson. The two became close during Ball's tenure at the
Farm Credit Administration. Other State Department colleagues with whom Ball
corresponded after his retirement included W. Michael Blumenthal, William P.
Bundy, Nicholas de B. Katzenbach, J. Robert Schaetzel and George S.
Springsteen. Ball's latter years at Lehman Brothers were also characterized by
several friendships, including a close one with Chairman Peter G. Peterson.
Ball was involved in numerous membership organizations, including the Council
on Foreign Relations, the Century Association, the International Chamber of
Commerce, and the highly secretive Bilderberg Group. The group took its name
from a hotel in the Netherlands where the group first met in 1954. It was
established to foster frank, confidential discussions between Europeans and
North Americans on current issues affecting foreign affairs and the
international economy. The group meets once a year in various locations
throughout Western Europe and North America. Men and women of notable
achievement are invited by members of a permanent steering committee on each
occasion to attend. Ball was one of the first North American members of the
Bilderberg Group and attended every meeting except for one before his death.
Ball considered Bilderberg to be the most useful organization to which he
Series 1, Subseries 1, Subject Files; 1916-1994; George W. Ball Papers, Public Policy Papers, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.