Diplomat in Khaki

Major General Frank Ross McCoy and American Foreign Policy, 1898-1949

With a New Preface by the Author

A. J. Bacevich

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the best soldiers this country has produced,” Frank Ross McCoy was, throughout his distinguished career, much more than just a good soldier. As friend and confidant to such leaders as Theodore Roosevelt, Leonard Wood, and Henry Stimson, he disproves the standard view of the military before 1940 as having no role in American foreign policy. Instead, as A. J. Bacevich ably demonstrates, McCoy was intimately involved in the development of U.S. foreign relations from McKinley’s administration to Truman’s.

McCoy began his military career with Leonard Wood in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. After the war, he and Wood (who became military governor) worked together to establish democratic reforms in Cuba. There followed for McCoy a succession of difficult and sometimes dangerous assignments: The Philippines (during the Moro uprising), Mexico, France (as combat commander during World War I), Turkey and Armenia, the Philippines again, Nicaragua (during the Sandinos guerrilla campaign), Bolivia and Paraguay, and China (with the Lytton Commission investigating Japan’s invasion of Manchuria). Following a series of stateside appointments, McCoy served finally as chairman of the Far Eastern Commission, an international body created to determine the fate of postwar Japan.

“[Diplomat in Khaki is] superb diplomatic history on the one hand and an engaging portrait of the interwar Army on the other.


Diplomat in Khaki offers a new perspective on the Army as an institution in American society. Even though the subject of this study is the life of a career Army officer, this work should make its way into the literatures of American diplomacy and of Progressivism, as well as that of military biography.


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Based on exhaustive research in McCoy’s personal papers and official records, Bacevich shows that McCoy’s career provides a unique perspective both on American foreign policy and on civil-military relations.

About the Author

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University, a colonel in the U.S. Army (retired), and the co-founder and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He is the author of eleven books.

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series