TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 845
Funding, in part, for the arrangement and description of this collection was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Samuel David Berger was an American diplomat, who enjoyed the highest rank and the longest tenure of any Jewish Officer in the United States Foreign Service at the time. He was born in Gloversville, New York on December 6, 1911 to an Orthodox Jewish family that immigrated from Vilna at the turn of the century.
Following graduate studies in economics at the University of Wisconsin and the London School of Economics, Berger entered government service in 1940 as a labor and manpower specialist. In 1942, he joined the Lend-Lease Mission to Great Britain, working under Averill Harriman, until 1943. Berger's Foreign Service career continued when he was recruited from the army, in which he served as a captain from 1944-1945, to fill the newly created position of Labor Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in London. He served in London until 1950. From that time until 1961, Berger served in various positions in Washington, D.C., Tokyo, Japan, Wellington, New Zealand and Athens, Greece.
Following the military coup in the spring of 1961, Berger was assigned as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea by President John F. Kennedy. Upon completion of his assignment, Berger became Deputy Commandant of the National War College in 1964. From 1965 to 1968, Berger was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs. In 1968, he was sent to Saigon, Vietnam as Deputy Ambassador under Ellsworth Bunker and helped coordinate the United States’ withdrawal from Vietnam. Returning to the United States in 1972, Berger spent his last two years with the Foreign Service as coordinator of the Senior Seminar program and finally retired, after 34 years of service, in 1974.
Samuel David Berger died on February 12, 1980.
--Adapted from “The Samuel D. Berger Papers,” Georgetown University Libraries Special Collections (http://gulib.georgetown.edu/dept/speccoll/berger.htm). Accessed November 28, 2011.
This collection consists primarily of correspondence, both personal and professional. Included is correspondence with various government officials and diplomats, along with official reports and documents from the US State Department. Personal correspondence with family and friends shows the informal side of diplomatic life. There is significant material on Berger’s time in Korea (1961-1964) and Vietnam (1968-1972), arguably Berger’s most important, and most difficult, assignments.
Of interest are four files from the Federal Bureau of Investigation released to Berger’s brother, Graenum Berger, under the Freedom of Information-Privacy Acts. These detail his work for the State Department through memos, correspondence, official reports, and extensive governmental inquiries into his background and character. These documents are sometimes heavily censored.
Also included are research materials about Samuel David Berger, gathered by his brother, Graenum Berger, for his book, A Not So Silent Envoy: A Biography of Ambassador Samuel David Berger, along with correspondence pertaining to the publication and reactions to the book.
This collection is arranged in two (2) series:
Terms of Access and Use
This collection is open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the Barrows-Loebelson Reading Room of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.
Property and Literary Rights
Graenum Berger, by the act of donating this collection to the American Jewish Archives, assigned all property rights to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights are retained by Samuel David Berger or his heirs. Literary rights may also be retained by specific creators of some materials.
Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. For more information see the American Jewish Archives copyright information webpage.
Berger, Samuel D. Papers, 1937-1979. Georgetown University Libraries Special Collections. http://gulib.georgetown.edu/dept/speccoll/berger.htm
Newspaper clippings were separated into a Nearprint Biographies file for Samuel David Berger.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Samuel D. Berger Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-849. Samuel D. Berger Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Samuel David Berger Papers were received from Graenum Berger, New Rochelle, N.Y., in September, 1994 and March, 1997.
Processed by Michelle Wirth Detroit, November, 2011.
This collection was arranged and described according to minimal-processing standards. Funding, in part, for the arrangement and description of this collection was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the American Jewish Archives's online catalog.
Persons and Families
Berger, Samuel D. (Samuel David), 1911-
United States. Dept. of State
United States. National Historical Publications and Records Commission
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Wellington (New Zealand)
Genres and Forms