Armour to Madrid – Monday, Dec. 18, 1944,9171,778233,00.html – A major U.S. diplomatic shift was in the works. Headed for Spain was astute, aristocratic Norman Armour. Slated for retirement was balding, professorial Carlton Joseph Huntley Hayes, after a short (30-month) career in Madrid.

The Spanish assignment for Armour was a neat answer to a double problem. It would: 1) provide an important post for an able career man unposted since his recall from Argentina in July; 2) give the U.S. a competent observer in an old trouble spot soon likely to become Europe’s last existing Fascist state.

Norman Armour (of the Princeton, not the meat-packing Armours) had spent a good part of his 29-year career in trouble spots. As a diplomatic fledgling, he went through the Red Revolution in Leningrad, where he met a Russian princess, Myra Koudacheff, got her safely out of the country, and later married her. In Argentina, from 1939 until his recall, he rode the ups & downs of U.S. prestige like a veteran gaucho. In the years between, he was in Tokyo at the time of the Nanking incident, helped get the U.S. Marines out of Haiti, survived Chile’s disastrous 1938 earthquake. His dispatches continued to be unruffled, incisive, informative.

As Ambassador to Spain, Armour will replace a diplomat of a different type. A Columbia University history scholar, known to U.S. college students for his four-volume History of Modern Europe, Carlton Hayes had no diplomatic experience until he went to Spain in 1942. A front-rank Catholic layman who got on well with Dictator Franco, he was often criticized, mostly by the left-wing press, as an “appeaser.” To avoid embarrassing President Roosevelt in an election year, he offered his resignation. Refused then, it is sure to be accepted now.

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