Collection Creator: Ball, George W. (George Wildman), 1909-1994..
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 Brothers.
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 belonged.
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.