March 13, 2007

Thomas Stone's role in the North Atlantic Treaty

Stone -> Howell

Thomas Archibald Stone

In June of 2006 I received an interesting email from Michael Manulak, a student at the University of Toronto. Mr. Manulak said he saw this web site and was developing a detailed research paper on the negotiation of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1948-1949, in which our Thomas Archibald Stone "played an integral role in Washington from July- September 1948." Mr. Manulak asked if I would put him in contact with family members who knew Mr. Stone which I was happy to do.

In December he forwarded a copy of his completed paper titled The Gentle Nudge: The Canadian Department of External Affairs and the North Atlantic Treaty, 1948-1949, with the following note:

You will note that there are several references to Thomas Stone throughout the paper describing his role within the context of the negotiations. You will also note that there is a small section describing him personally on pgs. 11-12. For this I relied extensively on your (Mr. Spencer Howell & Ellen Devine's interviews) as well as some additional research. Although brief, I do believe it is the most extensive research on him to date. I am very grateful for your help with this.

I encourage you to read the entire paper (download a copy here), but here are two excerpts - the first from p.9:

The most active Canadians at the NAT talks were: Lester B. Pearson, Hume Wrong, Thomas A. Stone and Escott Reid.

Then from p.11

Thomas A. Stone, the Canadian Minister in Washington, served more extensively than any Canadian during the NAT negotiations. Having grown up in Chatham, ON, Stone was a close personal friend of Pearson's from their childhood. In terms of his personality, Henderson describes Stone as having a "great good nature" and being "particularly benign". Stone's opinions were essentially internationalist, however, with a greater hint of pragmatism than Reid or Pearson. In Washington, Stone was particularly well-connected having started his career there as a Third Secretary in 1927. In the embassy in Washington, Stone was seen as indispensable to the point that Wrong sought to delay Stone's departure from Washington in the summer of 1949 (for an Ambassadorship in Sweden). Stone, a great entertainer, played musically and, according to Pearson his parties were "famous on two continents". These parties were a known forum for high level diplomacy. Stone maintained close personal relations with Acheson, Hickerson and Theodore Achilles and "very often saw them socially". He had an especially close personal friendship with Achilles and, as a result, one can observe that nearly all conversations with Achilles are made through Stone.

Thanks to Mr. Manulak's paper we now have a better understanding of Thomas Stone's significant role in developing the agreement which forms the basis for the existence of NATO today.

Posted by jhowell at March 13, 2007 9:57 PM