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Robert R. Bowie
Robert R. Bowie Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
20 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-20


Robert R. Bowie was a foreign policy expert and legal scholar who served four U.S. administrations as policy planner, counselor, and deputy CIA director, while teaching at Harvard Law School and founding Harvard's Center for International Affairs. The Robert R. Bowie Papers reflect his government service under four administrations, as well as his position at Harvard University, his Army service and work in the postwar military government of Germany, research for books he wrote, and his later activities as a member of national and international policy and strategy organizations.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Robert R. Bowie Papers reflect Bowie's government service under four administrations, as well as his position at Harvard University, his Army service and work in the postwar military government of Germany, research for books he wrote, and his later activities as a member of national and international policy and strategy organizations.

The papers contain four series. The first represents Bowie's wartime service, when he worked on war contracts, as well as his work towards the reconstruction of Germany—first as Special Assistant to the Deputy Military Governor for Germany, General Lucius Clay (1945-1946), and second as General Counsel to John J. McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (1950-1951). The papers include correspondence from these periods, as well as memoranda, drafts of talks, papers, and legal material, and government publications.

The papers in the second series include material originated from both of Bowie's positions at the United States State Department—as Director of the Policy Planning Staff and Assistant Secretary of State (1953-1957) and as Counselor to the Secretary of State (1966-1968)—in particular, correspondence and memoranda from these periods.

From the period when Bowie served as Deputy Director for National Intelligence at the CIA (1977-1979), the papers contain talking points for presidential briefings, as well as personal correspondence, though agency memoranda and correspondence are absent. This material appears in Series 3 along with papers that relate to Bowie's activities earlier in the 1970s—as a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Overseas Development Council in particular. Series 3 also includes research files for Bowie's book Suez 1956 (1974).

Material relating to Bowie's long professional association with Harvard University appears throughout the papers. Bowie held a professorship there, with occasional periods of leave for government service, from 1946 to 1980, and correspondence with his Harvard colleagues appears in each series.

The final series contains papers derived primarily from the 1980s and 1990s, after Bowie's retirement from Harvard. Correspondence, notes, drafts, and printed material document his involvement with many national and international policy and strategy organizations. Series 4 also contains research and correspondence files for Bowie's work on Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy, co-authored with Richard Immerman.

Individual series descriptions include more detail.


The order in which these materials came to Princeton has been maintained, with some minor rearrangement.

Collection Creator Biography:

Robert R. Bowie

Robert R. Bowie was a foreign policy expert and legal scholar who served four U.S. administrations as policy planner, counselor, and deputy CIA director, while teaching at Harvard Law School and founding Harvard's Center for International Affairs. Throughout Bowie's wide-ranging career, he sustained interests in antitrust issues, European unity, and global arms control.

Robert Richardson Bowie was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1909. He attended Princeton University, graduating in 1931, and was graduated from Harvard Law School in 1934. He practiced law in Baltimore, Maryland between 1934 and 1942 with the firm Bowie and Burke (together with his father Clarence K. Bowie), and was Maryland's Assistant Attorney General from 1941 to 1942. He entered the U.S. Army in 1942.

Bowie's wartime work centered on the renegotiation and termination of war contracts. His Legion of Merit award cites Bowie's contribution to "an agreement under which the War Department was allowed great flexibility in procedure while retaining the benefits of price control."

As World War II ended, Bowie was relocated to occupied Berlin as Special Assistant to General Lucius Clay, the Deputy Military Governor of Germany. Bowie formulated policy for the military government in Germany, serving as executive secretary of the Denazification Policy Board. The Oak Leaf Cluster was added to his Legion of Merit award for services in Germany between 1945 and 1946.

Bowie joined the faculty of the Harvard Law School upon his return to the United States, and taught courses in corporate and antitrust law between 1946 and 1955. In 1949, Bowie served on the Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, studying federal regulatory agencies including the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Bowie went on leave from Harvard 1950-1951, returning to Germany to act as General Counsel and Special Adviser to John J. McCloy, then the U.S. High Commissioner of Germany. Bowie helped to draft McCloy's speeches, and himself gave a talk in Hamburg entitled "Economic Bases of a Democratic State." With McCloy, Bowie worked on crafting the agreement between the Allies and West Germany and making the transition from military to civilian government.

During this period, Bowie met Jean Monnet, who was to remain a friend and associate. McCloy and Bowie were among the advocates for the 1950 Schuman Plan (a focal effort of Monnet's), through which West Germany was integrated into the common market of the European Coal and Steel Community along with France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1952—a precursor to the European Union.

European unity, and Germany's position in Europe, remained a concern of Bowie's as the Cold War developed. In 1953, Bowie left Harvard once more to become the State Department's third Director of Policy Planning. In 1955 he was also named Assistant Secretary of State. During this time, Bowie worked with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and sat on the National Security Council's planning board, a new body appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Bowie's experience working with Dulles and Eisenhower led to his later participation in recording oral histories about the period, and provided a basis for his authorship with Richard Immerman of Waging Peace: Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy. In his reflections and in his writing, he made a case for Eisenhower as a policymaker in his own right.

Returning to Harvard in 1957, Bowie founded the Center for International Affairs (CFIA; now the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs), and was named Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs. With Henry Kissinger, Bowie wrote in 1958 in The Program of the Center for International Affairs: "Foreign affairs in our era pose unprecedented tasks.…Today no region is isolated; none can be ignored; actions and events even in remote places may have immediate worldwide impact…the old order has been shattered." Bowie served as the center's director from its founding until 1972.

In 1966, Bowie served again in Washington as Counselor to Secretary of State Dean Rusk. He returned to Harvard in 1968. He stepped down as director of the CFIA in 1972. During the mid-1970s he was a member of the Trilateral Commission (formed to create ties between industrialized Japan, Europe and North America) and the Overseas Development Council, among other activities.

In 1977, Bowie was appointed Deputy for National Intelligence under Director of the CIA, Admiral Stansfield Turner, and was responsible for regular briefings to President Carter. He left the CIA in 1979, and retired from Harvard in 1980.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Bowie remained active and engaged in the field of foreign policy. He published a monthly column in the Christian Science Monitor in the early 1980s, and chaired a task force of the Committee for Economic Development in 1982. Bowie was a member of the European Security Study (ESECS), a group of independent defense analysts who advocated bolstering NATO's conventional weaponry as an alternative to nuclear stockpiling. He was involved with the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Nuclear History Program (a collaboration between France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States), the Woodrow Wilson Center, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Brookings Institution, among other organizations.

Bowie was the author of Studies in Federalism with Carl J. Friedrich in 1954; Shaping the Future: Foreign Policy in an Age of Transition in 1963 [Radner Lectures at Columbia University]; Suez 1956 in 1974; Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy with Richard Immerman in 1998.

Bowie and the former Mary Theodosia Chapman, known as Teddy, married in 1944 and had two children, Robert R. Bowie, Jr. and William C. Bowie.

Robert Bowie died at age 104 in Maryland in November, 2013.


Weatherhead Center:

Collection History


This collection was donated by Robert R. Bowie, Jr. The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2016.029.


One box of personal files, framed certificates and some photographs was returned to the donor.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Phoebe Nobles in March, 2017.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to Princeton University and researchers are free to move forward with use of materials without anything further from Mudd Library. For materials not created by the donor, where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. In these instances, researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Robert R. Bowie Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-20