Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


George A. Brownell Papers

Dates: 1945-1957.

Minister and Personal Representative of the President of the United States to India, Mexico and the Middle East, 1946, 1948; Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, 1950; Consultant to the Department of State, 1946-1957.

The papers of George A. Brownell consist of correspondence, diary entries, reports, press releases, and printed materials relating to his assignments as Minister to India, the Middle East, and Mexico; and his involvement with the Air Coordinating Committee and civil aviation during his tenure as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force and Consultant to the State Department.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 10 linear inches (about 1600 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: George A. Brownell donated to the U.S. government his copyright interest in all unpublished writings in this collection. Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller (1982)
Updated by: Abigail R. Day (2009) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1898 (13 May)Born George Abbott Brownell, New York City
1918Served in the U.S. Army Field Artillery during World War I, rising in rank from Private to Second Lieutenant
1922LL.B., Harvard Law School
1922-1930Practiced with Davis, Polk & Wardwell and predecessor firms, New York
1930-1972Partner, Davis, Polk & Waldwell
1942-1945Lieutenant Colonel and Brigadier General, U.S. Army Air Forces
1946 (6 September)Appointed Personal Representative of President Harry S. Truman to India, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia with the rank of Minister
1946-1957Consultant to the State Department
1948 (16 July)Appointed Personal Representative of President Harry S. Truman to Mexico with the rank of Minister
1950Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force
1972-1979Counsel at Davis, Polk, & Wardwell
1984 (16 January)Died, New York City

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The George A. Brownell papers are comprised of correspondence, reports, press releases, and other items mostly chronicling his service as a Personal Representative of President Harry S. Truman and Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force. Included are materials relating to Brownell’s service as Minister to Mexico, India, and the Middle East; his involvement with the Air Coordinating Committee and various civil aviation projects; and his position as a Consultant to the State Department.

In 1946, President Truman appointed Brownell as his Personal Representative and Minister to India, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, hoping to secure bilateral airline agreements that would complete the world aviation routes. Efforts to negotiate a bilateral agreement with India were successful, culminating in an agreement that was signed on November 14, 1946. Drafts and copies of the agreement are included in the collection, along with related correspondence.

In 1948, Brownell was appointed by President Truman as Minister and Personal Representative to Mexico. His task was to obtain a bilateral air agreement between Mexico and the United States. The documents indicate that the Mexicans were not willing to sign any agreement unless many of their demands were met. Brownell’s trip to Mexico was not successful. Not until 1957 did the United States and Mexico sign an air transit agreement. The collection includes extensive documentation of Brownell’s mission to Mexico.

Also included in the collection are reports and correspondence from Brownell’s service as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force and Consultant to the State Department. These documents detail the findings of the Air Coordinating Committee and the President’s Air Policy Commission, emphasizing the importance of expanding American airlines to complete world routes.

Related collections at the Truman Library include the Harry S. Truman Papers (Official file 3-I and 249), the Russell B. Adams Papers, and the Records of the President’s Air Policy Commission.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-2 SUBJECT FILE, 1945-1957
Correspondence, reports, diary entries, press releases, printed materials, and other items. Arranged alphabetically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Air Coordinating Committee
  • Air Force and Civil Aviation, 1947-1956
  • Correspondence Relating to Mission to Mexico, 1948-1957
  • Diary (Mission to India), September 12-November 1, 1946
  • India-Middle East Correspondence, 1947-1956
  • Mexico (Diplomatic Mission), 1948
  • Mission to India-Middle East, 1946-1947
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
Box 2
  • "Mission to India and the Middle East, September-December 1946-Personal File of George A. Brownell"
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • "Mission to Mexico, August 1948-Personal File of George A. Brownell"
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • President's Air Policy Commission (Memoranda), 1947-1948

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