From Treaty to Alliance
Harriman visits President Truman in the spring of 1970 and asks to be relieved of his duties as special representative in Paris, proposing that his deputy Milton Katz take over the job. Truman suggests that Harriman return to Washington and take over a new role as the first presidential national security adviser (a special assistant to Truman) because the president doesn’t want to be boxed into the new NSC system that Congress has imposed on him. Initially Truman wants help from Harriman in defeating the NSC-68 proposal to increase defense spending, but the outbreak of the Korean War changes everything. Katz, meanwhile, as Harriman’s successor in Paris, asks Gordon to stay on to take over Katz’s old job as deputy in Paris. Gordon decides instead to accept Harriman’s invitation to become a member of his small staff in the White House. Gordon, as Harriman’s economic adviser, is drawn into Korean mobilization issues, liaison duties with Paris as the Marshall Plan shifts its focus toward security assistance, and NATO force planning. He accompanies Harriman to Paris in September 1971 to plan for NATO force expansion, serving as one of the wise men, along with Edwin Plowden’s and Jean Monnet’s deputies, to the “Committee of Wise Men” (i.e., Harriman, Monnet, and Plowden), who have the major responsibility of planning for the Lisbon Conference.
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