Amid Boston Overdose Crisis, a Pair of Harvard Students Are Bringing Narcan to the Red Line


At First Cambridge City Council Election Forum, Candidates Clash Over Building Emissions


Harvard’s Updated Sustainability Plan Garners Optimistic Responses from Student Climate Activists


‘Sunroof’ Singer Nicky Youre Lights Up Harvard Yard at Crimson Jam


‘The Architect of the Whole Plan’: Harvard Law Graduate Ken Chesebro’s Path to Jan. 6

Embryo Diplomats Pursue International Life, Studies at Small, Congenial Fletcher School

Harvard Assisted Tufts in Founding Foreign Affairs, Law Institute

By Jonathan O. Swan

Using training he received at Harvard and Tufts, a Foreign Service Officer a now "marrying off some 1,000 G.I.'s to Japanese girls in a marathon race against the expiration date of the so-called Oriental War Brides Act." So writes Nyles Bond, who is second in command at our embassy in Japan, about Jim Martin--both of whom are graduates of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Situated just off Tufts campus in Medford, the Fletcher School was founded jointly by Harvard and Tufts in 1933, to "offer a broad program of professional training in international affairs to a elect group of graduate students." Its birth, however, was difficult and uncertain. When Austin B. Fletcher, president of the Tufts Board of Trustees, left a bequest of $1,000,000 for a law school, many universities were interested.

But Dean Roscoe Pound of Harvard Law took the lead and drew up a plan with President Lowell and John Cousens, president of Tufts. The exact function of the proposed school provoked a controversy over the conditions of Fletcher's will and made it necessary to petition the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

In a short time, a favorable ruling was handed down, mainly because the plan called for teaching subjects prescribed by the State Department and foreign offices.

Tufts Takes Over

In 1935, the agreement of joint administration was altered to give Tufts the responsibility for administration with the "cooperation of Harvard." This cooperation took the form of a Joint Academic Council of seven men, which includes President Conant, Provost Buck, Dean Mason of the Public Administration School, and Dean Griswold of the Law School.

Although the council acts mainly in an advisory capacity, it also arranges part-time faculty exchanges. Recently, Griswold agreed to lend Louis B. Sohn, assistant professor at the Law School, for teaching at Fletcher.

Student Exchange

This arrangement also allows Harvard students to take courses at Fletcher, with reciprocal privileges for Fletcher students at Harvard graduate departments. At present, 11 Fletcher students and four Harvard graduate men are taking advantage of this plan. Furthermore, library privileges are interchangeable.

Another group which keeps close contact with the school in the Board of Advisers. Made up of leaders in the domestic and international scene, the board reports the latest developments in world affairs. "They contribute to the total program which," Dean Robert B. Stewart explains, "provides a broad background for careers in the State Department, diplomatic service. United Nations and in other international agencies."

Fletcher attempts to give its students "the tools of analysis" through contemporary and historical studies in international law, economics, and diplomacy.

In order to integrate this policy with the actual program of the school. Fletcher encourages government officers to enroll for advanced study. This year, three men in the U. S. diplomatic corps, two officers from the Japanese Foreign Office, and representatives from the governments of Australia. Thailand, Pakistan, and New Zealand are attending.

Visiting Diplomats

Stewart stresses the significance of having diplomats from various nations in a program of international study. He says it is "the most important development in the history of international educational exchange...We had German students in the days of Hitler. But at least these men...learned to understand one another--an important feature. I wish we could induce Russia to send a few men here for training."

The percentage of foreign students has increased over the last five years. During the school's first year, the 21 students attending all lived in the United States. In the fall of 1945, as Stewart took over the dean's office, six students arrived from foreign countries. A record of 22 students out of 50 come from abroad this year.

There has also been a noticeable change in faculty over the years. When the school began, the faculty was made up almost entirely of Harvard professors on a one-course basis. Harvard contributed William Y. Elliott. Arthur N. Holcombe, Carl J. Freidrich, Seymour Harris, William Langer, Joseph A. Schumpeter and President Conant.

Harvard Staff Out

But in the mid '30s, Harvard made a ruling which prevented its faculty from accepting extra teaching duties. This ruling, combined with Fletcher's desire for its own faculty, changed the staff rapidly. Pound, who is now on leave of absence, is the only professor who has remained on the faculty since 1933.

Today, the faculty consists of 14 men, many of whom have had experience in government and foreign affairs. Thus, the ratio of students to teachers is surprisingly small--approximately 4 to 1. "There's no magic in the number 50," Stewart comments, "but there is magic in keeping the school on a small basis."

This small number has its advantages in the lecture rooms at Goddard Hall. On the average, seminars hold eight to ten students. The largest lectures, basic courses in the Development of International Organization and International Economic Relations, enlist 28 to 30 students.

Stress on Economics

George N. Halm, professor of International Economic Relations, smiles when he talks about one of his advanced economics courses. "In my seminar with two State Department officials, I can devote more time to the particular problems brought up by them."

Stewart places emphasis on international trade and finances in the curriculum because, "foreign economic policy is a very important part of overall foreign policy." Last year, out of seven openings in the Economic Affairs section of the State Department, Fletcher graduates were chosen to fill three.

In the near future, the school expects to establish a new professorship of International Finances. "But," the dean comments, "we are not planning physical expansion of Fletcher because the present system has worked so well."

Courses at Fletcher often have a unique approach to the subject matter. In Middle East Affairs, given by James H. Keeley, former American Minister to Syria, the class divides into two groups to argue current diplomatic problems. A month ago, they posed as Britain vs. Iran and more recently as Britain vs. Egypt. Professor Dennet has his students in International Politics prepare surveys of the clashes in one geographic theatre that have occurred over the past five years, and make recommendations for the next two years.

Anna Pauker Tale

At times, a visiting lecturer will take over a course to talk on his personal experiences. A week ago, Donald C. Dunham, former U. S. public affairs officer in Bucharest, gave students an eye-witness account of the rise of Anna Pauker and the methodical obstruction of our educational program in Rumania. Last Monday, Henry Parkman, chief of the E.C.A. Mission to France, spoke of the problems and progress of E.C.A. in Europe and of his experiences at the Moscow Conference of 1947.

Stewart tries to arrange at least two conferences a week. "A man must know the firm he represents," he states, "and also recognize the very close relationship between domestic and foreign affairs."

John Crider, ex-editor of the Boston Herald, spoke Wednesday on the foreign policy issues of the coming Presidential election. Today, the Educational and Cultural Attache of the Pakistan Embassy in talking on "Pakistan in World Affairs." Although the students rarely leave campus, they are extremely well-informed.

Coffee in Class

In general, courses meet--as at most colleges--three hours a week, morning and afternoon. Some seminars are ball once a week and last for two hours; others three times a week, lasting one hour. In order to add spice to his two-hour session in Democracy and Dictatorship. Professor Sigmund Neumann calls for coffee at "half time," and cups and cauldron are passed around the table.

One student, who is working for his M.A. in Law and Diplomacy, said after a sip, "Neumann is a fascinating man, but if it wasn't for that coffee I'd be dozing now." Taking four courses in the three divisions of Law, Economics, and Diplomacy, writing a long thesis and preparing for written and oral exams left him little time, even for sleep.

"The courses here are very good, but we rarely get a chance to leave on weekends...Especially the foreign students. Many don't know English well and have trouble understanding the lectures and reading. So they live almost a monastic life and never really get a chance to see what American life is like. Their main impression is that we have big houses, flashy automobiles, and golf courses."

Student Tours

"We are well aware of this difficult problem," Stewart says. "At present, we are making plans for students to visit the United Nations and their embassies in Washington. The greatest need, though, is to get students into American homes...Many foreign students here don't carry a full load of courses in order to get around and come to know the country and people."

One Japanese student, who is working for his Ph.D. said, "Last year I spent my time going to burlesque shown with the idea that I could work this year. But I don't know. There's so much work that maybe I should see more burlesque shows."

Another student from Japan found that neither International House in Cambridge not social activity centers in Boston provided enough contact with Americans during the few hours he could spend at them. Many foreign students preferred to see movies in their precious leisure hours.

Broad Curriculum

From the faculty point of view, Halm asserted, "All the students here are well qualified. But you often get a high-grade student who has had little training in economics, for instance. Then I have to allow for these deficiencies and that slows down the class or puts a great load on some people."

But Fletcher students are quick to agree that their school is an excellent training ground. One man, who was sent to Fletcher by his government in Thailand, hopes to continue his studies for four or five years. "My government first wanted me to go to France for training", he explains," but I realized that the center of diplomacy has changed from Europe to the United States. I wanted to learn international diplomacy, so I finally advised them to send me here...

Foreignere Baffled

"When I arrived in this country I knew very little grammar. So I spent the three months of the fall of '49 learning English at Syracuse University. And when I came to Flether, I found that our methods of teaching are much different. I can read well now but I still have difficulty speaking to and understanding people.

After classes, students often congregate in a green-cushioned lounge on the basement floor of Gordon Hall. Bull sessions there cover the usual subjects, but women and wild parties are rarely mentioned. Since 14 of the students are married and most are well over 20 years old, they tend to discuss individual problems and current affairs.

An American brought up the "ludicrous and embarassing" pictures of Truman in Palm Beach sport shirts which were appearing currently in newspapers and magazines. "It certainly must make a poor impression on people in other countries," he said. But the foreign students present were inclined to disagree. A Pakistani commented." Well, the British would sneer, the French might chuckle, but after all--he's a family man and a human being and entitled to some relaxation."

Vital Discussions

Similar discussion have started over the Japanese peace treaty, the British disputes with Iran and Egypt, and the Indian-Pakistan problem. Since there are representatives from 15 countries at Fletcher, nations are often defended and criticized by citizens of the particular country.

One woman, sitting next to the coke machine in the lounge, was filling in a scholarship application. To her, as to almost all the students at Fletcher, this is an important topic.

A large source of aid is the Institute of International Education, which offers scholarships. The G.I. bill, which has been a great help in the past, is terminating. But many students who are either officers or trainees are sponsored by their embassies. Furthermore, Fletcher awards three scholarships to women, one to men, and several fellowships each year.

Well-Stocked Library

A Belgian, who is sponsored by The Belgian-American Foundation, is writing a Ph.D. thesis on treaties in the United Nations. He finds an up up-to-date collection of U.N. documents in the Edwin Ginn Library, situated in the basement of Gordon Hall. The collection of 50,000 volumes and pamphlets, including League of Nations publications and Pan-American Union information, was obtained from the World Peace Foundation.

Another part of the library holds the George Grafton Wilson collection on international law, treaty series, and documents on international relations. Wilson, who was professor of International Law at Harvard, taught at Fletcher from its founding until his retirement in 1945, when he gave his personal library to the school.

Fletcher Family

"I call the students 'the Fletcher family'," says Stewart, who marvels at their intimate school spirit. This spirit does not take the form of organized activity, however. Rather, the spirit lies in each student's enthusiasm and respect for everyone's ideas and opinions.

As one girl put it, "we carry a double-edged sword; one edge is sharp, the other dull." When asked if he thought that the smattering of nationalities represented at the school was a good idea, one student answered, "Yes, except the smattering could be a little thinner in some places."

Native social customs, which are observed at Fletcher, add to the color of life in Wilson House. All the Japanese, for instance, pay particular respects and courtesy to one of their countrymen because he is a cousin of the Emperor.

One of the most interesting phenomenons occurs when the students hold their rare but raucous parties. Several one-man committees are elected to supervise the entertainment. Almost all the students turn out and even the faculty is invited.

Flowing Brew

On one occasion last spring, the students purged the memory of long working hours and expressed their native sentiments. As the beer was flowing, a Swiss boy jumped on top of a piano waving the French flag and singing the Marseillaise. The brawls that follow such festivities often bring the police to the scene. Yet there have never been any personal fights.

The Wilson House dining hall is the center of relaxation. All the students who live on campus (about 40), including the women, chat over "real home-cooked" food. Last week at lunch, every-joined in on a chorus of "For he's a jolly good fellow" to congratulate a Pakistani on being a father of a baby boy, born 11,000 miles away. Birthdays also demand a big celebration with cake and all the fixings.

Some students have been doing interesting work outside of their studies. A Tokyo journalist has been writing her autobiography, "A Daughter of the Pacific", and plans to have it published soon. An Indonesian man is working in the National Students Association and also teaches his language to two Ph.D. students at Harvard.

"In future years," Steward notes "these young men and women who are now friends and fellow students will meet across the diplomatic table as spokesmen for their nations. When that time comes, we can be sure that their negociations with one another will be conducted with friendliness and understanding."

Fletcher graduates are now occupying positions of top responsibility. More than 100 are now serving in the State Department and other government agencies in Washington. Out of last year's class, 17 entered government departments, four received Foreign Service assignments, seven accepted teaching poets, 12 applied for graduate work, 16 continued, and seven went into business.

Last year, five Fletcher graduates performed a very useful function for the School. When six Japanese foreign officers applied for admission, Stewart was able to set up the five Fletcher graduates in the U.S. Embassy at Japan as an admissions committee. The two officers who were chosen expressed "surprise that it is virtually Fletcher, not the United States, which is negotiating with Japan."A small seminar group discusses American Diplomacy. Many student projects are emphasized and often, guest speakers prominent in world affairs take over a class to discuss their personal experiences and current events. Foreign students take up their country's problems in class and frequently, the seminar turns into a realistic diplomatic conference.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.