Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Bolen (David Benjamin) papers
No online items No online items       Request items ↗
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (121.28 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Alternative Form Available
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note

  • Title: David Benjamin Bolen papers
    Date (inclusive): 1944-2001
    Collection Number: 2003C94
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 41 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box (18.0 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Speeches and writings, correspondence, dispatches, memoranda, reports, clippings, and photographs, relating to American relations with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and East Germany.
    Creator: Bolen, David Benjamin, 1923-
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    Originals closed. Microfilm use only; materials must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. "


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information


    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], David Benjamin Bolen papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Alternative Form Available

    Also available on microfilm (32 reels).

    Biographical Note

    1923 Born, Heflin, Louisiana
    1948 Member of United States Olympic Team, participates in London games
    1950 M.S., University of Colorado
    1950-1952 Vice Consul, U.S. Embassy, Monrovia, Liberia
    1952-1954 Economic Assistant, U.S. Embassy, Karachi, Pakistan
    1955-1958 International Economist, U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C.
    1958-1959 Afghanistan Desk Officer, U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C.
    1960 M.P.A., Harvard University
    1960-1962 Chief of Economic Section, U.S. Embassy, Accra, Ghana
    1962-1964 Staff Assistant, Secretary of State for African Affairs, Washington, D.C.
    1965-1966 Officer-in-Charge, Nigerian Affairs, U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C.
    1967-1972 Economic Counselor, U.S. Embassy, Bonn, West Germany
    1972-1974 Economic/Commercial Counselor, U.S. Embassy, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
    1974-1976 U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland
    1976-1977 Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Washington, D.C.
    1977-1980 U.S. Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic, East Berlin
    1981-1989 Associate Director, International Affairs, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.
    1989-1994 International business consultant
    1997 Distinguished Business Service Award, University of Colorado, Boulder

    Scope and Content Note

    Acquired in 2003, the David B. Bolen collection in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives documents the long and distinguished career of an American diplomat whose service included ambassadorships in southern Africa and East Germany. The collection consists primarily of official correspondence and reports relating to these and other postings in Bolen's diplomatic career; it also includes materials pertaining to his subsequent work for the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.
    The collection has significant materials relating to bilateral diplomacy between the United States and the German Democratic Republic, and to East-West relations in general during the Carter administration, including tensions arising from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. There are reports and official correspondence concerning Bolen's conduct of negotiations leading to a consular agreement between the U.S. and GDR, and numerous documents regarding disputes and incidents stemming from the divided status of Berlin during the latter part of the Cold War. The collection also has extensive materials pertaining to internal developments within the GDR, including the East German government's treatment of dissident artists and writers.
    Expanding American exports to East Germany was a high priority of Bolen's ambassadorship, and economic issues figure prominently in the collection as a whole. In particular, there are accounts of American participation in trade fairs in Leipzig. There are also photographs and other materials relating to Bolen's meetings with East German leaders on such occasions, including the head of state, Erich Honecker.
    The Bolen collection is equally rich in documentation on political and economic affairs in southern Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. The collection includes correspondence and reports from Bolen's tenure as United States Ambassador to Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, and extensive materials relating to South Africa from Bolen's career with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. The collection has extensive correspondence and reports on the implementation of the Sullivan principles by foreign companies doing business in South Africa, and on opposition inside that country, and internationally, to the apartheid system.
    The collection also contains a selection of speeches and remarks made by Ambassador Bolen over the course of his diplomatic and business careers, most of which deal with African and East German issues. There are also biographical materials, including accounts of Bolen's early prominence as an Olympic athlete. Throughout the collection are interspersed documents that record Bolen's own thoughts on American foreign policy, as well as his views on civil rights and his experiences as a prominent African-American official in the diplomatic service of the United States.
    As far as possible, the original arrangement of the collection, as established by Ambassador Bolen, has been preserved.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Diplomats -- United States
    South Africa -- Foreign relations -- United States
    United States -- Foreign relations -- South Africa
    United States -- Foreign relations -- Botswana
    Botswana -- Foreign relations -- United States
    United States -- Foreign relations -- Lesotho
    Lesotho -- Foreign relations -- United States
    United States -- Foreign relations -- Swaziland
    Swaziland -- Foreign relations -- United States
    United States -- Foreign relations -- Germany (East)
    Germany (East) -- Foreign relations -- United States