Thursday, July 9, 2015


Another birthday...another year.
Gee, ain't it time slips away?
The people we love are the folks who have the greatest ability to distract us from our real purpose in life. But who's to say, really, which purpose is of more importance?
There is love, and then there's the mission, which, in my case is to discern how we--our country--got us into the mess we're all in together.

So for awhile at least the mission looms before me again, at least until the distractions intervene.

My husband has been reading Graham Greene's novels of late and happened upon one called The Quiet American. Having finished it a week or so ago, he agreed that we should watch the movie adaptation also called "The Quiet American" starring Michael Caine. I highly recommend it.

The novel first came out in 1955, long before the United States became too deeply mired in Indo-China to extricate ourselves. That was five years before John F. Kennedy won election as President, eight years before he was brutally and publicly murdered in Dallas. What if, like Alden Pyle, General Edward Lansdale had been murdered instead--just as Graham Greene had envisioned it in his 1955 book? Gives us something to think about--the futility of alternate universes, if nothing else.

Richard West's 1991 review of the Greene novel includes this paragraph:
The Quiet American, Alden Pyle, arrives in Vietnam full of the theories of an absurd pundit, York Harding, author of The Advance of Red China. The Englishman Fowler teases Pyle and derides his hope of building a third force between communism and French colonialism. Then Pyle falls in love with Fowler’s girl, Phuong, and wins her away with the promise of marriage and life in the United States. Fowler is told by the Communists that Pyle is a secret agent engaged in importing plastic for bombs to use in a terror campaign on behalf of a “third force” general, which culminates in a vast explosion in front of the Continental Hotel. The incident is based on an actual bombing outrage which killed dozens of people. Fowler agrees to set up Pyle to be killed by the Communists.
I keep wondering how much Greene knew about Lansdale, and of course when and how he knew it. Another reviewer, Andrew J. Bacevich, writing in World Affairs in 2009, adds more information, as he gives his description of Pyle:
...Alden Pyle, a young American newly assigned as an economic attaché with the U.S. mission. Pyle is polite, modest, and boyish. “With his gangly legs and his crew-cut and his wide campus gaze,” Greene writes, “he seemed incapable of harm.”

Yet appearance and manner are deceiving. Pyle’s nominal assignment is a tissue-thin cover; he is actually a CIA agent (although the agency is never identified as such). To stem the Communist tide threatening to inundate Southeast Asia, the agency wants to conjure up an indigenous democratic alternative to French colonialism. Pyle’s job is to devise this Third Way. As he undertakes this task, Pyle draws inspiration from a journalist named York Harding, a sort of proto–Thomas Friedman who parachutes into various trouble spots and then in best-selling books serves up glib recipes for advancing the cause of liberty. In Pyle’s estimation, the challenge he faces does not appear all that difficult. York Harding provides the answer: “you only had to find a leader and keep him safe from the old colonial powers.”

“Impregnably armored by his good intentions and his ignorance,” Pyle embodies all that Fowler (and Greene) can’t stand about Americans: too much money, too much confidence, and too little self-awareness. Cruising the streets of Saigon in oversized Buicks, air conditioning everything in sight (to Fowler’s dismay, even the U.S. legation’s lavatories), passing out cigarettes as if they exist in infinite supply, and quoting York Harding, zealots like Pyle proceed on the assumption that American know-how backed by American values can make short work of even the most perplexing difficulties. Born and raised a Unitarian, Pyle takes God’s existence as a given, his faith reinforcing his conviction that America’s purposes necessarily reflect God’s will.
What I kept remembering was all the information Kris Millegan once shared about his own father, Lloyd S. Millegan, who knew Edward G. Lansdale, the CIA psyops agent from whom the Alden Pyle character is said to have been adapted. In his presentation last November in Arlington, Kris began talking about a Dr. Joseph Ralston Hayden, his father's mentor, who had died in 1945 at the young age of 57. Hayden had been Vice-Governor of the Philippines, where Lloyd Millegan was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, in 1933-36. According to the bio located at the website for his papers:
Hayden was a recognized authority on the Philippine Islands. In this, Hayden was carrying on a tradition begun by Dean C. Worcester, who, like Hayden, was both on the faculty of the University of Michigan and called to public service in the Philippine Islands because of his expertise and experience. In 1922-23, Hayden was an exchange professor at the University of the Philippines; in 1930-31, he was the Carnegie Visiting Professor in the State University of the Philippines. In 1922-23, 1926, and 1930-31, Hayden was special correspondent in the Far East for the Christian Science Monitor. Hayden used each of these opportunities to travel in the islands, to study, and to make contacts with Philippine citizens, both government officials and private citizens.

In recognition of his learning and wide experience in Philippine matters, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Hayden to serve as vice governor of the Philippines and secretary of public instruction. His choice for governor general, Frank Murphy, though possessing administrative skills and political charm, was coming to the Philippines without any real knowledge of the actualities of Filipino life and custom, and thus Roosevelt's reasoning for pairing Hayden with the former Detroit mayor. Hayden responded admirably to his selection by the president, performing his duties efficiently, even serving as acting governor general when Murphy returned to the United States for a six-month period.

With the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935, Hayden returned to the University of Michigan, where he taught and worked on what would be his classic work, The Philippines: A study in national development (1941). Following his return, Hayden was named James Orin Murfin Professor of Political Science and chairman of the department.

Hayden returned to public service with the outbreak of World War II, where his knowledge of the Philippines proved invaluable. From 1941 to 1945, he worked with the U.S. Office of the Coordinator of Information and, after June 1942, with its successor organization, the Office of Strategic Services. From 1943 to 1945, Hayden was named civil adviser and consultant on Philippine affairs with the U.S. War Department, attached to the staff of General Douglas MacArthur. As part of this later activity, Hayden developed and headed up as chief a special staff section of the United States Armed Forces for the Far East -- the Philippine Research and Information Section. The role he envisioned for the Philippine Research and Information Section was three-fold: to prepare reports and studies about the Philippines; to distribute information about the Philippines as needed; and to collect books, magazines, newspapers, and printed and manuscript materials about the Philippines with a view to their "effectiveness in furthering the prosecution of the war."
The last part of the website lists the files maintained by Kris' father, Lloyd Millegan:
File maintained by Lloyd Millegan [series] Roll Mf611          
  • Sulu and North Borneo areas, report about written by Captain J.A. Hamner, Philippine Regional Section, Allied Intelligence Bureau,  1943-1944 (41-3)   Roll  Mf613
  • JRH's mission to China and Australia for the Office of Strategic Services, papers about  (41-5) Roll Mf613
  • Memorandum of conferences with MacArthur, Willoughby, and Merle-Smith regarding O.S.S. operations in the Southwest Pacific Area  (41-7)   Roll   Mf613
  • China and JRH's activities in Chungking, China in  1942 papers about,  1940-1944  (41-8)  Roll  Mf612
  • Co-ordinator of Information and the Office of Strategic Services, papers about,  1941-1942   (41-10)   Roll   Mf612 
  • Trip to China, reports and notes concerning,  1942-1943     (41-12)      Roll   Mf613
  • Memo from JRH relating to a memorandum to Colonel Donovan from Pearl Buck discussing the role of China in the war effort,  1942     (41-16)  Roll   Mf610
  • Statement of Edward M. Kuder written to JRH on events and conditions in Lanao immediately preceding the war and from  1941-1943, 1943  (includes appendices on the problems of government in predominately Moslem provinces)  (41-17) Roll Mf614
  • Preliminary report entitled "Philippine Civil Affairs: Policy and Organization"  April 16, 1945  (42-1)   Roll  Mf614
  • Notes of conversations with General Douglas MacArthur,  1944-1945 (42-2) Roll   Mf614
  • Notes of conversations with Manuel Quezon, including drafts of statement on conferences,  March 1944     (42-3)     Roll   Mf614
  • Miscellaneous notes and directives from Manuel Quezon,  1944     (42-4)  Roll   Mf614
  • Question of presidential succession in the Philippines, copies of correspondence between Quezon, Osmena, and Roosevelt,  1943     (42-5)     Roll   Mf614
  • Evolution of a civil affairs policy for the Philippines, papers concerning,  1943-1944     (42-6)     Roll   Mf614
  • Philippine collaboration, papers concerning,  1945     (42-7)     Roll   Mf614
  • Treatment of American POW's and civilian internees in the Philippines, papers concerning,  1945     (42-8)     Roll   Mf614
  • Status and duties of the Commonwealth Government, the Commander-in-Chief, and the High Commissioner upon reoccupation, papers concerning     (42-9)     Roll   Mf614
  • Report: "Principles governing arrangements for civil administration and jurisdiction in Netherlands Territory in the southwest Pacific area"     (42-10)     Roll   Mf614
  • Telegrams of condolence upon the death of Manuel Quezon,  August 1944     (42-11)     Roll   Mf614
  • Continuance of Quezon as Commonwealth President after  November 1943 papers concerning,  1943     (42-12)     Roll   Mf614
  • Constitutional status of the Philippines during the war, paper written by UM Law School dean Henry M. Bates, papers about,  1943     (42-13)     Roll   Mf614
  • Provincial government of Palawan, report concerning,  1944     (42-14)  Roll   Mf614
  • Report of the Philippine Research and Information Section,  April 1945  (42-15) Roll  Mf614
Here is the source information, which I would request anyone who is nearby with time on his or her hands to access and write about:
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page: