"That's the technical name," said Peter Devereaux. He leaned down, picked up a pebble, and tossed it into the lake.

"But there must be some cure for it," I said, watching the circle spread, wider and wider, not knowing what else to say, still stunned.

"Apparently not," he said, and threw another pebble.

We were sitting on a stone bench at the edge of the park beneath the statue of a naked goddess who was reclining on her side, one plump arm languidly supporting her chin, her stone eyes fixed upon the peak of the Untersberg. This corner was beyond the range of Aschauer's rehabilitation; the shrubbery was tangled into the ivy from the trees, the grass and weeds were waist-high and flowering. The lake was still. On the terrace of the Schloss, several people were reading. The sun was sinking behind the treetops.

"Do they give you anything for it?"

He shrugged. "They've played around with X rays and blood transfusions. I gather they think it'll make me feel better for a while, but it won't do much good in the long run."

" Do they know how long. . ."

"I looked myself up in a medical book. Average duration of life between two and a half to three and a half years after symptoms appear. Ten percent survive from five to ten years, in some instances as long as sixteen. Depends, they say, but they don't know on what." He paused, reached for his cane, and began to scratch patterns into the gravel.

"I don't usually like to talk about it, but I feel like talking now, so you're the victim. I've known about it for six months although at first they didn't want to tell me, these damn doctors, you know, they think you're going to collapse into hysterics or something, they'll tell you anything to keep your spirits up, but what the hell, you've got to plan your life, or what's left of it, don't you?" Another pause.

"The thing that bothers you most is when you realize you'll not only be gone, but gone without a trace." He got to his feet suddenly and began to limp down toward the water. "You're gone, and there's not one thing left to show that you've ever been on earth, that you've ever been alive. No children, no paintings, no statues, no books, no buildings -nothing." He stopped and stared across the lake. "A closet full of clothes, a shelf full of books, a typewritten honors thesis and a tombstone. . . . Well, knowing my old man, there'll probably be something like a Devereaux Prize -a thousand dollars for the senior achieving the highest grades in European History."

"Peter, I've never beard you talk this way before!"

"No, you haven't." He turned around, scuffing the gravel with his foot. "And you won't again, I hope. I apologize, Graham. It helps, once in a while, but that's no excuse for slobbering all over you. Let's talk about something else. You realize we're at the end of our second week in the Schloss? We're halfway through and I think we've got a success on our hands."

"I think you do."

"Graham, it's fantastic! These people came here, complete strangers, some of them enemies, stiff and hard and formal and suspicious, and now we've got them working together on projects -did you know that Eddie Onderdonk and Hans Schaumburg are writing a paper together, for Leffingwell? It's about the possibilities for a European confederation, whether there is any hope for such a thing. I don't know, we didn't really intend to deal with these problems, we just wanted to set up a place for Europeans to learn something about the United States, but all this other stuff just sort of crept in."

"You'll have to do it again," I said.

"God, I hope we can! Next summer. It's mainly a question of money. Where are we going to get the money? And the Schloss. What's Paola going to do with the Schloss after we leave?"

"I don't know, and I doubt that she does. I don't think she has any idea what to do with it. The main problem will be to keep the city government from filling it up with refugees. Now that you've got the roof repaired and the plumbing fixed, they're going to be all over Major French--"

Peter turned around to look at the Schloss. "You know why couldn't this thing become sort of a continuing thing, a permanent thing--"

"You mean like a college?"

"No . . . not like a college. I don't know exactly what I do mean, but something where people could come to learn about the United States, not just a one-shot camping trip like this, but an organized course for specialists. . . . I mean, let's say we have for example newspapermen, let's say we have American newspapermen and editors, you see, they would be the faculty, and then we would invite newspapermen from all these European countries, they'd come here and live in the Schloss for a month, and they would all have that in common, their work and their problems, God knows what they are, but they must all have approximately the same problems, and it would give them this common bond, wouldn't it?"

He began to limp up and down the graveled walk again, talking excitedly, waving his cane about.

"And the next month, you see, we could have a completely different bunch. Schoolteachers, maybe. Or writers. How about writers? And the month after that we might have business executives. We could get a couple of professors from the B. School (Business School) and some big shot from General Motors and somebody from Madison Avenue and somebody from Wall Street, and then we would invite business people from England and France and Holland and Scandinavia, and they would all live here in the Schloss, you see, and get to know each other and talk about their problems, and that's how you really get to know another country, isn't it?"

"It would take a hell of a lot of work," I said, standing up.

"And money. Where would we get the money? Let's go talk to Boswell Hyde about this."

Professor Hyde, in shirt sleeves, opened the door to his spacious apartment. "Come on in and have a drink, boys. This isn't polite, all the Americans huddled around a bottle of Scotch, but we've got to keep Joe Kaufman in isolation while he's in this mood." Behind his back, an argument was going on. Gordon Leffingwell and Joseph Kaufman were sitting in wicker chairs beside the table, sipping whiskey and debating so earnestly that they barely acknowledged our presence. Boswell Hyde poured each of us a drink, and then we sat on the couch, outside the direct line of fire, trying to figure out what was going on.

"Why does it make me sick?" demanded Kaufman, his moustache bristling. 'Why does it make me sick? You tell me everybody knows it was written by the chief of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, every official in every country is going to assume it represents the thinking of the American government and what does it say? It says that the Soviet government is bent on conquest of the world and that it's our duty to 'contain' them, that we've got to run around the world and prop up every government that's in opposition to the Soviets, no matter how long it takes or what risks of war may be involved---"

"Now wait a minute, Joe," said Leffingwell.

"That's a gross oversimplification," said Boswell Hyde.

"Is it? I don't think so. I think he's condemning us and our children to generations of war, to endless bloody battles in Greece and in Germany and in China and God knows where else, and all this at a time when the Russian people are exhausted from the war we've just had, when half this continent is destroyed--"

"Will somebody tell us what you're talking about?" asked Peter.

Joseph Kaufman reached across the table and grabbed a fat gray magazine, Foreign Affairs, folding it back to an article and handed it to Peter. "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" was the title of the article. "By X."

"X?" asked Peter.

"George Kennan," said Leffingwell.

"What about MarshaIl's speech at Harvard, Joe?" asked Boswell Hyde. He poured himself another drink and resumed his place at the table. "We're going to rebuild Europe, we're going to get them all to cooperate and we're going to lend them money to rebuild their industry--"

Leffingwell broke in. "And what about Molotov, Joe? Why did he walk out of the conference at Paris, the conference that was called to plan this whole reconstruction program? You know as well as I do that means none of the eastern countries will be allowed to participate. Why are the Russians denying their own people and all the other exhausted people in their orbit an opportunity to rebuild--"

"To rebuild what?" snapped Joseph Kaufman. "You know the first thing Mr. Kennan and his friends are going to rebuild, don't you? The first thing is German industry. And the second thing is the German army!"

"Oh, Joe! . . . The German army? Nobody's going to rebuild the German army."

It was getting dark in the apartment. I sat on the sofa with my head against the wall, sipping my Scotch, listening to three brilliant men arguing about something I barely understood, not paying much attention. I was still thinking about Peter, who was sitting on the sofa beside me, leaning forward, completely involved in this debate. When you are nineteen, you don't think about death. To me, Paola's baby was a photograph. My parents died, but that was so long ago. Except for them, I had never known anybody who died. It isn't something people talk about. Sergeant Mastrangeli sometimes had, when he was drunk. . . .

"Don't you understand?" Joseph Kaufman put his hands on the table, facing the others. "Don't you understand the Soviet policy is motivated by fear? Is their fear justified? The Russians and the Poles and all the other eastern people have just been decimated -decimated- by the Germans. And look at history. Right after the Revolution, the Allies sent expeditions into Russia, supported all those White generals-"

"Joe, that was almost thirty years ago," interrupted Leffingwell.

"You think they've forgotten it? Now here's Truman sending guns and military advisers to a rightist regime in Greece--"

"But what about the Marshall Plan?" Boswell Hyde returned to Kaufman's weakest position. "Do you honestly think that's just a plot to restore German Junkers and steel barons to power?"

"No, I don't. I'm all for the Marshall Plan, I think the idea of reconstruction is great, I'm all for it, I want to rebuild Europe just as much as you do, as we all do, but I'm trying to explain why the Russians are suspicious of it, why they walked out at Paris, and now all our State Department and army people are sighing with relief, they can rebuild in the same old capitalist pattern, they can forget about the nationalization of basic industries. No, I don't claim there's any plot to restore the steel barons, but you know as well as I do that they're going to be restored, the very same people who ran those factories for Hitler are going to run them again."

"I don't think that necessarily follows," said Leffingwell.

"Then you're a lot more naive than I think you are."

"And you deny the basic thesis of Kennan's article?" asked Boswell Hyde.

"That the very nature of the Soviet system requires them to expand and to destroy all non-Communist systems? Yes, I deny it."

"On what basis, Joe?" asked Leffingwell.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean George Kennan is a guy who has spent his life studying the Russians and the Communists, he spent years in Moscow, he speaks and reads Russian, he knows these people personally, he's a brilliant well-informed guy- not a Fascist, not a reactionary, a specialist who really knows what he's talking about, and this is what he thinks. Now what is your basis for disagreeing with him?"

"I just think he's wrong. I don't think they're out to conquer the world. I think they want to be left alone. And after all this war, all this misery and starvation and concentration camps and burning cities, it makes me sick to read a recommendation that we run all over the world for the rest of our lives trying to 'contain' the Russians, trying to quarantine the concept of socialism, fighting wars to shore up little dictatorships who claim our support in the name of anti-Communism -at best it'll be one nasty civil war after another, at worst it'll blow up into an atomic war that will bum us all back to the Stone Age!"

They were all silent for a moment. The room was quite dark now, but nobody moved to turn on the lights. Gordon Leffingwell put a cigarette between his lips, and for an instant the flame from his match illuminated our faces.

"Joe. . ." Leffingwell paused, then began again. "I don't think that anything I say is going to change your mind, but just let me try to make two points. Point One: I think you've misread Kennan's article. I don't think he advocates running all around the world, as you put it, to quarantine the concept of socialism, fighting wars and so forth. I think he's trying to suggest a new middle ground for us. He knows that we've made one concession after another to the Russians in the last few years, always hoping that they would cooperate, that they wouldn't keep pressing, and he knows that it hasn't done a damn bit of good, they just keep pressing all the harder -No, now don't interrupt, just let me finish- and he fears that a lot of people at home, a lot of people in control positions, in the army and in Congress maybe, a lot of people are coming around to the idea that we might as well get set for a real full-scale war against them. Against the Russians. And so here he is suggesting a middle ground, which is to take a firm position -politically- in countries that are under pressure from the Russians, to support independent governments politically and economically and maybe also with military assistance, so that they'll be able to resist Communist subversion. And most of all he wants us to stand as an example for the rest of the world."

Cordon Leffingwell stood up, took the magazine from Peter's lap and walked over to the window, turning the pages. "All right now, just listen to this, in his conclusion."

But in actuality the possibilities for American policy are by no means limited to holding the line and hoping for the best. It is entirely possible for the United States to influence by its actions the internal developments, both within Russia and throughout the international Communist movement, by which Russian policy is largely determined. This is not only a question of the modest measure of informational activity which this government can conduct in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, although that, too, is important. It is rather a question of the degree to which the United States can create among the peoples of the world generally the impression of a country which knows what it wants, which is coping successfully with the problems of its internal life and with the responsibilities of a World Power, and which has a spiritual vitality capable of holding its own among the major ideological currents of the time. To the extent that such an impression can be created and maintained, the aims of Russian Communism must appear sterile and quixotic, the hopes and enthusiasm of Moscows supporters must wane, and added strain must be imposed on the Kremlin's foreign policies.
Gordon Leffingwell turned away from the window. "Can you quarrel with that, Joe?"

"You're picking one paragraph. I think the article, the whole thing, is a disaster."

"All right, that brings me to my second point." Gordon Leffingwell closed the magazine and dropped it on the windowsill. "The real thing that upsets you, Joe, is that this article and the Marshall Plan -which you say you favor- contemplate the reconstruction of the German economy, of the German industrial potential. That's what's really bothering you, isn't it?"

Joseph Kaufrnan said nothing. He rubbed his hand over his face, but he said nothing at all.

"Joe, there is simply no way in the world to avoid the fact that Germany is the key to the future of Europe. There is no way to avoid the fact that German industry is the key to the reconstruction of Europe. It is not physically possible to rebuild Europe without rebuilding German industry, and it has just got to be done, and it's going to be done!"

Joseph Kaufman said nothing.

"Of course it's unpalatable," Leffingwell went on. "Of course ifs unjust. Of course they murdered millions of people under the most unspeakable conditions. Of course they should be punished. Nobody with a grain of sense or compassion would argue with you about that. But you can't confuse abstractions of right and wrong, of guilt and innocence, with economic facts! If you concede that it's desirable for the United States to rebuild Europe, to keep the Europeans from all starving to death in the next couple of years, then you've got to allow us to rebuild the German economy too. It's as simple as that."

Nobody said a word. Somewhere in the Schloss the cowbell rang. It was dinnertime.

Finally Joseph Kaufrnan asked quietly, "And the German army? When are you going to rebuild that?"

"Cut it out, Joe," said Boswell Hyde. "Nobody's going to rebuild the German army. that's out of the question!"

"Is it?" Joseph Kaufrnan turned. "Is it out of the question, Gordon?"

"It's out of the question now, sure. There would have to be a peace treaty, or something to set up a German state of some kind--"

"Now really, Gordon," said Boswell Hyde. "You know we're never going to rebuild . . . a German army?"

"Never is a long time," said Leffingwell. "My old uncle used to tell me 'Don't never say never.' Oh hell, let's not get carried away here, fellas, I'm the last one to express fondness for the Krauts, I'm just suggesting that we avoid emotional thinking, which means no thinking at all. Are we going to sit over here with an army occupying central Europe forever? Someday some kind of a country, an independent country, will have to be organized here, and presumably they'll have to have some kind of defense force. Hell, even the Swiss have an army. And if the Russians keep pressing . . . Well, we may have to organize some kind of alliance, the French and the British and the Dutch--"

"--and the Germans," said Joseph Kaufman.

"Well, I'd rather have them on our side, wouldn't you?"

"No," said Joseph Kaufrnan. "I think I can honestly say that I wouldn't. In fact, to tell you the truth, you're coming around to the very proposition that the Nazis were making to us in the spring of '45, Himmler and Goering and Goebbels, why don't we all get together and turn on the Russians, knock 'em out of Europe and finish Communism in one glorious crusade! Think of all the problems that would have avoided! No Russians in Berlin, a good strong German army to secure central Europe." He stood up. We all stood up. "My God, what an opportunity we missed!

"There you go again," said Leffingwell, smiling and shaking his head. "Emotionalism. Dramatic oratory. It just ain't so. We are not going to restore the Nazis and turn on the Russians. We are going to build a new Germany, a democratic state--"

"All right, you guys, enough's enough." Boswell Hyde walked over to the bedroom door. "It's time to eat. Anybody want to use the John?" He switched on the light, transforming the room. "Are you going to join us for dinner, Sergeant?" and Joseph Kaufman turned and looked at me as if he had not seen me before, as if he did not know I had been sitting there.

previous chapter, next chapter



1961 - A Point of View
[1] The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Boatwright Corporation
[2] What are you going to do about Boatwright and what are you going to do about yourself?
[3] Have we learned anything this evening, Doctor?
[4] Producing results?
[5] Alexander's Feast
[6] How'd you like to go over to Salzburg for a month with me?

1947 - An Island
[7] You're not going to Berlin. You're staying here.
[8] All right, we're the Military Government.
[9] The Americans are teaching us to be democratic instead of fascistic.
[10] Well, this is Fasching.
[11] Letters after Ash Wednesday
[12] Say Boris is at Schloss Fyrmian.
[13] THE AMERICAN ACADEMY IN EUROPE - Prospectus for the First Session
[14] Learn to think of people as individuals.
[15] Parlez-moi d'amour, redites-moi des choses tendres.
>[16] Not one thing left to show that you've ever been on earth? -"Sources of Soviet Conduct"
[17] A Countess, a Prussian Officer and a Ländler
[18] Now this part of your life is over and I'm sending you home.
[19] A father who's too busy to watch his son die. - The Spring of 1961
[20] I cannot sell Schloss Fyrmian to the Academy.

1961 - A Change of Air
[21] The first thing I saw was the Festung Hohensalzburg far in the distance, silhouetted against the shadowy curtain of the high mountains.
[22] Next day at the Academy we got to work - Graham, you know what Fleischer did?
[23] Im weißen Rößl am Wolfgangsee
[24] Brockaw writing a thesis on Austrian baroque architecture? - Boatwright Corporation and Boris Fleischer, plaintiffs
[25] You know there a Mr. Devereaux? Mr. Armistead Devereaux?
[26] I think always of Peter Devereaux.
[27] It sounds like an act of desperation, and it won't hold up in court.
[28] In those Oklahoma Hills WHERE AH WAS BOW-AHHHN!
[29] ... that we should meet again like this . . . I think perhaps there is a reason.
[30] "Is there here an American by name of Brockaw?"
[31] This is Boris Fleischer!
[32] "Does Hans work for Gehlen?" Paola shook her head. "More the other way around."
[33] Won't you please come home? Everybody needs you, I most of all.
[34] With this Waffenstillstand you have time now.
[35] You're going to regret this for the rest of your life!
[36] We Europeans would not do it. None of us. - People think you need medical attention.
[37] Will they trust you?
[38] Some things about the U.S.A. are perhaps rather important, and to us impressive.
[39] You're going to need a good lawyer.

version: March 2, 2004
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Arthur R.G. Solmssen, Joachim Gruber