End of the Line – Monday, Dec. 31, 1945

www.time.com… – Lean, greying Norman Armour stepped off a plane in Washington, with Madrid behind him and retirement ahead. Thus a distinguished diplomatic career neared its close.

For 30 years, Norman Armour had steered a steady, able course through troubled diplomatic waters: the Red Revolution in Leningrad, The Hague in 1920-21, Rome in the mid-’20s, Tokyo, Paris in the worst years of the depression, Canada, Argentina in the troubled times of 1939-44, then Francisco Franco’s Madrid.

He had everything a career diplomat should have: he was wealthy, studious, shrewd, affable, full of both principle and humor. Colleagues in the State Department regarded him with awe. One of them once said: “You can’t compare Armour to anyone else in the service; he’s one of a species, like Lincoln.”

Now, at 58, Armour was ready to step down. Like the good diplomat he was, he gave no reasons other than fatigue and a sense of duty done. But it was clear that he had found few satisfactions in Madrid; he told newsmen that he had observed no effective opposition to Franco inside Spain, no signs of reform.

Perhaps by giving two thankless jobs in a row to Norman Armour (who was said to have been eager for the Paris assignment), the State Department had used poor diplomacy toward one of its ablest diplomats. At a time when the foreign service desperately needed good men, it could have used him longer.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.