Thursday, May 31, 2007

James G. McCargar

James McCargar accepting the
Col. Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom
from the American Hungarian Federation

We regret to inform you of the death of James G. McCargar, a long time member of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO. Mr. McCargar died on the afternoon of May 30, 2007.

A graduate of Stanford University, James McCargar, briefly a reporter on the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, was commissioned a Foreign Service Officer in 1942. He was Vice Consul at Vladivostok 1942-43, and Secretary of Embassy, Moscow, 1943. Assigned to the Dominican Republic in 1943, he was commissioned in the Naval Reserve in 1944, and served as Foreign Liaison Officer with the Soviet Navy and Merchant Marine at Akutan and Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Appointed Secretary of Legation, Budapest, in 1946, he was Chief of the Political Section and, under State Department authorization and orders, established an escape network in then-Russian-occupied territory which saved more than sixty democratic Hungarian and Romanian political leaders and pro-Western figures and their families in danger of arrest, deportation and/or death.

At Genoa during the Italian elections of 1948, McCargar was then detailed to the Office of Policy Coordination, in the CIA, where he served until 1950 as Chief, Division of Southeastern European Affairs. He served at the Paris Embassy as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Allied Coordinating Committee, 1950-53. In 1955 he joined the Free Europe Committee in New York, as liaison with the United Nations and the Assembly of Captive European Nations. European Director at Paris of political, social and cultural programs for the Committee, 1956-58, he continued at Paris as a Consultant to the President of the Committee until 1960. That year he was co-founder and Secretary, Americans Abroad for Kennedy.

As Special Assistant to the Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1978-1982, McCargar was the Coordinator, Executive Branch, on cultural policy for the U. S. National Commission on UNESCO. He attended two UNESCO General Conferences as an expert, and in 1982 was a member of the U. S. Delegation to the Second UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policy. At the invitation of the Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO, he was the U. S. Observer at the 1991 UNESCO European Regional Conference on Cultural Development at Oslo. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Americans for the Universality of UNESCO from 1985, and continues as a member of the Board of Americans for UNESCO.

From 1940 to the present McCargar published articles, fiction, and book reviews under his own name and as "Christopher Felix" in a dozen publications, and from 1960 on authored or co-authored four books. He was also ghostwriter for Men of Responsibility, the 1965 memoirs of Dirk U. Stikker, former Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, and Secretary-General of NATO.

Read this long letter by James McCargar published in Commentary magazine refuting an article on the U.S. departure from UNESCO.

1 comment:

Bryan Dawson said...

On behalf of The American Hungarian Federation and all those grateful for the work and sacrifices of this great man during those fateful days of Soviet agression in 1956 Hungary and beyond, we express our condolences to Mr. McCargar's family and friends and mourn his loss.

Mr. McCargar was awarded the Fedderation's highest honor, the Col. Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom, for lifetime achievements at its October 19, 2005 Congressional Reception honoring the 49th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Posted as Second Secretary to the US Legation in Budapest in 1946, he ran escape routes to help key non-communist figures to flee the country, including General Béla Király, military leader of the Hungarian Freedom Fighters.