National Affairs: Undiplomatic Appointment

Harry Truman is famous for 1) shrewd practical politics and 2) crashing errors of judgment. Was it the shrewd Truman or the blundering Truman who last week nominated General Mark Clark as the first full-fledged U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican? Or was this the act of the third Harry Truman, the one who on rare occasions disregards petty politics and shows glimmerings of the statesmanship that his office has thrust upon him? Whichever way it was interpreted, Truman had kicked up the hot ashes of a long-smoldering controversy.

The first formal relations between the U.S. and the Vatican were established in 1848,...

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