As the three-car private diesel train pulled out of suburban Mehlem, five miles south of Bonn, a mixed crowd of Germans and Americans cheered the ruddy-faced American waving from a coach window. John J. McCloy, 57, retiring U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, was on his way home after three long years as proconsul, diplomat and military adviser to the most battered, most divided and most important land in Europe.

In the nature of things, no occupier is beloved by the occupied, but John Jay McCloy, Wall Street lawyer and wartime Assistant Secretary of...

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