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John J. McCloy

John J. McCloy was born on March 31, 1895 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1921 and practiced law on Wall Street. Perhaps his most important case, "Black Tom" was also the catalyst for his political career. In the "Black Tom" case, McCloy proved that German agents sabotaged a US munitions factory in New Jersey in 1916. After winning the law suit, he served as an advisor to every president from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Regean.

He was appointed Assistant Secretary of War on April 22, 1941. By 1945, McCloy was spending most of his time working on issues involving postwar Germany. With the Secretary of War Henry Stimson's health failing, McCloy became increasingly involved in the War Department.

McCloy was a key player in deciding whether or not to drop the bomb. He was one of the few

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civilians to know about the project. During a meeting on June 18, 1945, Truman approved the invasion of mainland Japan. McCloy pushed for an alternative diplomatic approach to achieve a Japanese surrender. He wrote, "everyone was so intent on winning the war by military means that the introduction of political consideration was almost accidental." On the advice of President Truman, McCloy took his ideas to Secretary of State James Byrnes, who rejected them.

The Committee of Three, composed of Henry Stimson, James Forrestal, and Joseph Grew, was assigned by President Truman to explore alternatives to make Japan surrender. McCloy wrote a proposed surrender demand that was incorporated into Article 12 of the Potsdam Proclamation. The original draft of the Proclamation included language that would have allowed Japan to keep its emperor, a condition that would have greatly increased the chances of Japan's acceptance of surrender. After the atomic bombings, McCloy believed for the rest of his life that "we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping bombs."

Between 1947 and 1949 McCloy served as president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). From 1949 to 1952 he served as US military governor and high commissioner for Germany and helped rebuild the country. In 1961, McCloy became President Kennedy's principal disarmament advisor. He negotiated terms for the resumption of East-West disarmament talks and drafted a bill that led to the establishment of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

McCloy died on March 11, 1989 in Stamford, Conneticut.