Collected Papers of Robert A. Fearey

1918 - 2004

Robert  Appleton Fearey was born on July 4, 1918 in Garden City, New York.  On graduating from Harvard University in 1941, he took a position as personal secretary to Ambassador Joseph Grew in Tokyo, Japan.  That experience led to a forty year career with the Foreign Service with tours in Japan, London, Paris, Hawaii, and Okinawa.  After retiring from the Foreign Service in 1976, Robert joined Population Action International and worked there for 18 years.  He retired for a second time in 1997 to concentrate on tennis, squash, travel, and grandchildren.  Robert passed away on February 28, 2004.

The following is a small collection of papers that Robert felt were the most important in his long career.

Tokyo 1941: Might the Pacific War Have Been Avoided?, 1991.  A first person account of how Ambassador Grew tried to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Konoye and President Franklin Roosevelt that might have prevented the start of the war with Japan in 1941.

My Year with Ambassador Joseph C. Grew, 1992.  A personal recounting of Robert's year as personal secretary to the ambassador as the war broke out, during internment at the Embassy, and the voyage to Africa for an exchange with the Japanese Embassy from Washington.  (This is a download of a 1.4 megabyte Word file that includes text and photographs.)

Land Reform in Post-War Japan, an edited interview with Robert A. Fearey in 1978.  Robert's 1945 paper on land reform was adopted by General Douglas MacArthur for the post-war occupation.  The policy advocated taking land from the landlords and giving it to the farmers, replacing an economic system that had survived for hundreds of years.  The interview also covers the debate about breaking up the industrial monopolies known as the zaibatsu.

International Terrorism, 1976.  Robert was the first special assistant to the Secretary of State (Henry Kissinger) for international terrorism.  This is the text of a speech he gave on several occasions on the nature of the problem, and policies for combating it. 

The Concept of Responsibility, 2003.  Robert first wrote on this subject in 1954 to share his concern that our criminal justice system needs to change in light of what we are learning about how hereditary and environmental factors shape behavior.  He updated the paper in 2003 and circulated it to friends and family.

Biographic Summary


For more information, please e-mail Seth Fearey at

May 8, 2004






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Last modified: December 31, 2004