James Bryant Conant, the twenty-fifth President of Harvard University, resigned at noon today to become United States High Commissioner in Germany.
President for two decades, Conant tendered his resignation to the Board of Overseers. He will become President Emeritus of Harvard University.
Until the University Corporation finds a successor, Provost Paul Herman Buck will be chairman of an administrative committee which will assume the President's duties.
Announcement came from President-elect Eisenhower's headquarters in New York.
When informed of the announcement, Conant stated he expected to leave for Germany before the end of the month.
Since he will become 60 years old during the current academic year and hence may retire, the Corporation has elected him President Emeritus as of September 1, 1953.
President Conant will be on leave of absence from February 1 until September 1, 1953.
Until a new successor is chosen, the functions of the President will be executed by an administrative committee with Provost Buck as chairman.
The other members of the committee will be Dr. Roger I. Lee '03, senior Fellow of Harvard College; Paul C. Cabot '22. Treasurer of the College; Charles Coolidge '17, Fellow of Harvard College.
A leading American educator, Conant will become one of three High Commissioners in the Allied Zone. The other two are French and English. Chairmanship of the board of commissioners is rotating but the United States Commissioner has always assumed the leading role.
Under the statutes of occupation Conant will hold veto power over all decisions of the Bundestag, the Free Germany Parliament.
When the peace treaty between the United States and Germany is ratified. President Conant assumes the post of Ambassador to Germany.
Former High Commission of Germany John J. McCloy will deliver the first of a series of three Godkin Lectures at 8 a.m. to night at the New Lecture Hall. His topic. "Challenges to American Foreign Policy."
Normally Conant is presiding officer of the Corperation which has direct control over all matters of University policy.
Conant's resignation creates a vacancy there, and until the new president is chosen the presiding officer of the Corporation will be Dr. Roger I. Lee '02.
The announcements-a complete surprise to most of the University-ended several weeks of speculation. During Christmas vacation Conant visited President-elect Eisenhower in New York. Prior to the visit, he conferred several times with John J. McCloy, former German High Commissioner.
When he accepted the post could not be learned, but indications are the decision was made very recently. Just last week several Washington Correspondents reported rumors regarding the appointment but all stories said Conant would decline it.