Nation: AVERELL HARRIMAN: The Toughest Test

AS head of the U.S. negotiating team in Paris, Averell Harriman faces the most delicate and grueling test of his 34-year career in Government service. President Kennedy once remarked that the lean, lantern-jawed New York millionaire had held "as many important jobs as any man in our history," with the possible exception of John Quincy Adams.* At 76, Harriman is hard of hearing, but his vigor of mind and body remain unimpaired—and perhaps a touch of deafness might even help in talks that are likely to drone on for months, perhaps years.

Harriman's public history is, with only a few gaps, parallel...