Saturday, December 22, 2012

On My Diplomat-Poet Father, John L. Brown

From the just-appearedTaking off the Soft Power Lens. The United States Information Service in Cold War Belgium (1950-1958) - Frank Gerits, Journal of Belgian History XLII, 2012, 4, posted at
In 1954 John L. Brown became the [C]ultural Attaché [at the American Embassy in Brussels] and exercised the mandate of PAO [Public Affairs Officer] with Abram E. Manell. Brown was a charismatic figure who had connections with all layers of Belgian society. In 1942 he joined the OWI [Office of War Information], he became a press officer for the Marshall Plan [see] in Paris and, when posted in Mexico, a colleague threatened to punch him on the nose.

His academic view on cultural diplomacy -- he published Panorama de la littérature [contemporaine] américaine [see] -- was not always welcomed by others in the USIA [see], making him a kind of a legend. However John Clifford Folger [see], the American ambassador, praised him: “He fully lives up to everything I had heard and is truly an outstanding individual with amazing energy.”
Note: The papers of poet/diplomat John L. Brown are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. A very limited description of these papers (some 80 boxes of material, valuable to researchers interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations) is available online.

Dr. John Lackey Brown wrote, with his wonderful subtlety/irony, in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."

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