The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 25 us, but nobody woke up. … We took the books out and closed the safe very carefully. … We had to break the Kempeitai seal, of course, to get in. Then we went upstairs and spent the rest of the night burning the two code books. We finished between five and six in the morning. … About an hour later, someone knocked on my door: one of the subordinates of the guard detachment. He said, “The major wants to see you downstairs right away.” … The major took us into the consul general’s office, pointed to the broken seal on the safe, and asked if we knew anything about it. When we nodded, the major ordered us to open the safe. … He saw the empty space where the code books had been [and] demanded that the books be returned to him at once. My colleague replied that they had already been destroyed and offered to show the major the ashes. The major, in a rage probably fueled as much by fear for his own head as anything, drew his sword and demanded an explanation. Recalling a discussion we had had the night before while burning the code books, Goetzman and I, in an inelegant mixture of English and Japanese, endeavored to explain the destruction of the codes in terms of bushido, the traditional samurai code of loyalty and honor. We pointed out that Americans, too, had such a code of conduct and tradition of loyalty, which demanded that we risk our lives to protect our country, in this case by protecting its codes. My colleague then asked the major what he would have done in the same situation. The major slowly sheathed his sword, drew himself to attention, and then quietly began to weep as he left the room. From that moment on, nothing more was heard from the Japanese about the incident—or about the major, whom we never saw again. But the books were burned, and I was told when I got back to Washington that they were still uncompromised at the time we destroyed them. 1949 Creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization As chief of the State Department’s Division of Western European Affairs, FSO Theodore Achilles describes negotiating the NATO treaty and how he helped coax a reluctant Portugal into the Alliance that would bring decades of peace to a Europe devastated by World War II. It would still be several months before we would admit out loud that we were negotiating a treaty. The acting secretary and the ambassadors met once in a while, but the treaty was actually President Harry S Truman signs the Washington Treaty forming NATO on April 4, 1949, in Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Dean Acheson stands to his left with the document folder. ABBIE ROWE / NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION