- About us
- GET INVOLVED
- Your Support
The following document is one of four that has been saved at the Mackinaw City archives of the Mackinac State Historic Parks. One of these is a typed document called “An Informal History”, created in 1973 by Frances Roots Hadden. The other three documents are transcripts of taped conversations with Phil Porter, Director of the Mackinac State Historic Parks. These conversations happened in 1992 and 1993 with, variously, Willard T. Hunter, Vern and Meryl Eriksson, Basil Entwistle, and James and Ellie Newton. These people were present when the events took place on Mackinac Island, and were often participants. As such they were able to speak with credibility. All except Phil Porter are now deceased.
The original source was an audio tape. A typed transcript was created from this tape by staff of the Mackinaw City Archives. In 2009 the hardcopy transcript was converted to computer-based files using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and was then edited by Susan McGregor using Microsoft Word. The editor corrected verifiable errors in wording, in spelling and in names, but made no changes that would affect the meaning of the original document. The transcript clearly reflects the oral nature of the conversation and no attempt has been made to alter this. The editor chooses to preserve the original source instead of editing for clarity or readability.
Mackinaw City Archives
Brian S. Jaeschke
Mackinac State Historic Parks
P.O. Box 873
Mackinaw City, Michigan 49701
(231) 436 - 4100 Ext. 107
(231) 436 - 4210 Fax
Susan R. McGregor
154 Brixham Crescent
London, Ontario, Canada
THIS ORAL HISTORY WAS TAPED ON AUGUST 3, 1993 IN THE OLD BOARD ROOM OF THE FORT MACKINAC SOLDIERS’ BARRACKS WITH BASIL ENTWISTLE, VERN ERIKSSON AND PHIL PORTER
This is Basil Entwistle. I have been very closely connected to Mackinac Island since, the first year was 1942, and the last year was when they closed down Mackinac College in 1970, '71, '72. The first of those years I was more frequently here with the conferences we had. I was back and forth in the years after that before we started the college, which was in 1965. Did quite a bit of bringing other people here. As I was thinking of that, there were three or four short points that stuck out in my mind. The first was Mackinac Island, and particularly of course for us the Island House and then the beginnings of the buildings up on what we call Cedar Point where we received some intensive training, which was a new development for those of us working in Moral Re-Armament and perhaps a new development on the Island. Until then we had a number of cultural??, shorter or longer, in different parts of the world, but in the summer of '42 in the war, through the help of people on the Island, we had been given the use of the Island House. We had long periods of intensive training to bring people here from management, labor, city government, and other areas to get the experience of others and work out together how to apply the basic theories that had been happening in our lives and that we had been hearing about. Those were a new development in our lives, and as a result of it things which happened, the training that people got here in those rather difficult years in the early years of the war, meant that the impact of Mackinac Island was such in places like Detroit, the west coast, the aircraft plants, places where there was a very determined effort being made through these people in MRA to make practical results in society, to prevent strikes and as early as before Hitler attacked the Soviets, the Communists over here were trying to keep people out of the war. Harry Bridges on the west coast, where I was working, was constantly starting up trouble in the shipyards and also lapped over into places like Lockheed, Boeing and so forth. Our work was a good deal in training to keep people in labor unions, people on the management side, whom we had brought to Mackinac and to them Mackinac represented the new way of ..... mediation, work on the theme of "It's not who's right, but what's right".
When Harry Truman came through on his war investigating committee, I had time with him and was able to tell him some very important and constructive things which happened at Lockheed and Boeing and the shipyards around San Francisco, The results of the kind of training which people had here on Mackinac Island during the two or three summers when those things were operating.
So that was one thing, and in 1950 or '51. In '51 MRA had a big training center here which actually spilled over into the Grand Hotel when it opened the beginning of the season, took up the Grand Hotel and other places. And brought plane loads of people particularly from Eastern Airlines, Pan American, and National Airlines, where we had gone into their places in Miami and prevented strikes and solved strikes. Saved the life of National Airlines, which was about to go bankrupt, and these planes flew into Pellston Airport. There were plane loads of 40, 5O, 60 people, brought them over to the Island and it was a marvelous setting for them to get together with people from the different unions, the pilots' union, the stewards, maintenance workers, and so on, to continue the training which was begun down there at their own places and I learned with surprise that Mr. Woodfill and others around the Island ... It was a pretty lively bunch of people that came up from Miami and he made a very big impact on them.
Porter: At the time of these very early conferences, was there a group that was here on the Island year-round yet to coordinate it?
Entwistle: Yes. Beginning to be. Yes, there was definitely.
Porter: And they took the bulk of responsibility of getting the facilities and setting things up and coordinating?
Porter: And would Mr. Buchman have been among that group that was staying here year around, or was he?
Entwistle: No, I don't think he ever stayed there. Winters were too cold for his health .... You are going to have to watch yourself. He used to go down to Miami, Tucson and other places during the winter when he was in this country.
Porter: But he came at the times of the main conferences. And when he was here, he was the leader, he was the focus.
Entwistle: Oh, yes. He was one of the pioneers. And actually, our daughter and son, we handed over to them, I think it was in 1950-51 when we were travelling so much. I know particularly my son ... Mackinac was the first week or so ... There was a very interesting development at Mackinac. There was a long summer session in both '42 and '43 to which I came as a GI in 1943. I was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco, and a dozen of us came up from that area. I was just a private first class. And two things happened. We were brought into the middle of, most of the people were civilians, the people who were involved with Moral Re-Armament, or interested in it, and we were called upon to do some speeches, and this was the time Pearl Harbor was December, 1941, this was in the summer after that. In a way the war hadn't really impacted this country. It was beginning to. There were a number of civilian defence organizations set up in different cities to try to prepare people for everything from hostile bombing attacks to how to support the armed forces. It was rather difficult because the war was something way over there, and we were here. It was the beginning of rationing, but it was sort of - I don't know if you were old enough to remember - but people were not involved the way the government hoped to get them involved. A wartime mentality beginning to be prepared to sacrifice. Mackinac Island was feeling the impact because with the beginning of rationing people could no longer get up here, and the main street down there was almost empty. There were not many carriages. But it did two things. One, it helped us express what we felt as people in the Army. We were about to be shipped over for D-Day and so on to get our connections, but also we were able to bring in people from the Armed forces from other countries, and I think particularly, too, people we helped to bring in. They were British officers, one was in the British Merchant Marine, he was bombed, torpedoed twice, his ship sunk under him, so he was very much in the war. And he came here, he met Frank Buchman, and he came here during one of his leaves, was in the Island House, and he told me after that, I just helped him write a book of his reminiscences, I was the ... and he emphasized how much that time in Mackinac did for him as a sailor in the Merchant Marine going through these very difficult ... dangerous ... the spirit of Moral Re-Armament he learned at Mackinac Island. His brother the same thing. His brother was an officer, I don't recal1, a senior officer in the Royal Air Force, in transport command, which he really started. But he was also joined in a very... he was stationed in Malta in charge of an international squadron there. It was the most heavily bombed place in the world at that time. Several air raids a day, and the morale of his own men, as well as the civilians there, was very low. And again he said what he experienced here on Mackinac Island was a very important ...in building morale and being honest with his men about his own fears and having to overcome them. And it really made an important impact. And again I helped him write a book about it which was published a couple of years ago.
Porter: What's the name of that book?
Entwistle: The name of that book [Let's see. Pat Foster] Climbing Turns. He was a group captain.
Eriksson: We could probably get a copy of that.
Entwistle: Sure we can get you a copy of that. It's in the file. I think the next part was also during the war. Probably I mentioned this to you. Will Hunter, two friends of ours, he was a senior - he was a young man - had a significant role in his government and in the armed forces, which was of course neutral in the war. He came over here, he and his wife during the war, I think toward the end of it, I think it was '44, might have been '45.
Porter: This is...
Entwistle: No, this is Phillippe Motte, and his wife Helene. They were leaders in the work of Moral Re-Armament. He was here for some time during the conferences here. Got to know Mackinac quite well. It was at the time when Island House was the headquarters. He went back the end of the war when Buchman went back. ... working basically full time. Motte said to him, "Dr. Buchman, you had the Island House there which did so much for you during the war; we want to have the equivalent of Island House here in Europe. We are far more serious and promise to fix the ... than you had in America". This was right at the end of the war, and we want to develop an equivalent place to Island House, which they did. They bought a defunct hotel up above Montreaux, which happened to be a very fancy hotel. It was sort of like the Grand Hotel. Many people had come there, celebrities, but it had gone bankrupt and it had to close during the war. And it was used as a detention place for refugees in Switzerland. It had not been ... soup stains all over the kitchen, you name it, even worse, and so they had gotten together some money, had raised some money to buy it. It was about to be bought by a French bank. They bought it at a very reasonable rate and christened it "Mountain House," instead of Island House, and it held close to a thousand people. Beautiful big place. Outside it was fine, and they got people in just as ... did when I was here, Island House-wise, and all those business people came without any financial reward. They put Island House in shape, and they put Mountain House in shape very much the impact of what you had done here at Mackinac. Not the first year, but the second year after it opened, of course. Germany was occupied then and from the British occupation zone particularly, the authorities allowed Germans who had fought against the Nazis ... very difficult time, but they got free of that and allowed them to come to the Mountain House. They came very much in fear and trembling because these were Germans who were hated . . . and for the first time were going to meet French people and it was quite a moment when they came in there, and the same way with French people who had had terrible things done not only during the war, but also on the home front and it was an amazing reconciliation in that Mountain House. Matter of fact, people ... and it really reflected the surge of what had happened here on Mackinac there in the middle of Switzerland.
Porter: And is Mountain House still a part of MRA?
Entwistle: Yes, it is.
?: Ever since that first day it has been in full operation with conferences and training centers, and every summer, and it has played a big part in the eastern European countries, and now they are coming in flux from the eastern parts, the former Soviet Union and so on, where people from Moral Re-Armament have been working underground with them over the years, and now they are coming in the open, you see, and they are coming to Caux for training.
Porter: Do you recall the first year the Mountain House was opened? Was it right after the war?
Entwistle: Yes, it was '45. I was there with Buchman when the ... came saying, "O.K., this is the situation, shall we buy it?" "Yes".
Porter: You were there.
Entwistle: I was there when the Germans arrived. And then in '50 when I went over to Japan with a friend. We had four months over there because of our contacts there. Japan is a very closely knit country. If you know people in the top leadership role, you meet everybody. And we met the Prime Minister, the Bank of Japan, the leaders of Parliament, the labor unions, and people over there were trying to reconstruct their country. So they were asking, which way do we go? They were trying to put the past behind them. They had just, MacArthur had gone and just drafted out the most democratic constitution in the world. And they said to us, how the hell do we make it work? It's one thing to have it on paper, but which way do we go? Do we try and pattern ourselves on...is it Christianity, is it democracy, is it Marxism, is it American industrialism? You know, they peppered us with these questions, and they wanted to come, they said what they most wanted was to see what's going on in western Europe and in America but they weren't allowed to travel. This was before the peace treaty was signed. Very few people ... But we got this crazy idea of trying to round up a plane load and try to bring 50-60 over. It was a great idea, but there was only one person - It took six months to get a passport or a visa because there was no peace treaty. Finally we said there is only one person who can do anything, and that's MacArthur. O.K. how do we meet him? So we had about ... He was all for it. He said, "O.K. I'll help you. I'll get my staff to talk to the Prime Minister". The net was we loaded up a plane in June. It was the first group allowed to travel. And we had members of the Diet, leaders of the Conservatives, and we had a lot of people, the President of Toshiba, the heads of labor unions and so on. They had to meet officially, but they did not meet socially.
We took them over to Mountain House and they had a couple of weeks there, and I took them over to meet with Eisenhower, and we talked about Caux and Mountain House because Adenauer was there and Schumann of France had been there, and so it was regarded not only among ordinary people but among top government leaders who were very interested in what was being done to answer (?) these social problems in Europe, and so we took 7 members of the Diet and I sat in with them with Eisenhower, who was a great man, and we talked about Mackinac. We talked about particularly Mountain House, and then I took these men on to France, Britain, the United Nations, Washington. They were the first Japanese ever to speak to both houses of the Diet. They were very sincere and made quite an impact. Then we went up to Mackinac. And the only place in America they saw that wasn't big cities - New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle, Detroit - was Mackinac, and it gave them a totally different feel of the country.
Eriksson: One of the big conferences was going on here.
Entwistle: Again, it made a big impact on them. They were here for I think about ten days and just talked with all kinds of people.
Porter: This is 1945?
Entwistle: No, this is 1951. No, 1950. It was July, 1950 at the Island House. Then when they went back, they took quite a bit of the ... of Mackinac with them. Because you had these conservative Diet members, socialist Diet members. We got the Prime Minister to help us pick the leaders of the different parties, and they normally had not associated ... they were asked to speak. So national labor leaders and people like the president of Toshiba, businessmen, and we had one man who was the head of...he was the police chief of Osaka, the biggest city, virulently anti-communist, and he was asked to speak with the heads of one of the labor unions. Well, this caused quite an uproar all around the country ... The mayor of Hiroshima was another one,... Nagasaki where the bomb was dropped. So again they had gotten enough from their trip, and especially that last conference near the end when they were here on the Island, which did a great deal for them. And they spoke ... They brought a whole new element into the country, which was searching which way to go.
Porter: Very interesting.
Entwistle: These were all pre-cottage?, but again...
Eriksson: Basil went back to Japan with these people and worked with them for several years, didn't you? And he's written a book called "Japan's Decisive Decade" which outlines this, and I think we have already a copy in the library down here.
Porter: As you look at the success of Japan today, especially in the industrial and economic area, do you see threads of that being traced back to this experience
Entwistle: Yes, very definitely. We did one other thing with Mackinac and Japan that relates, this was in 1945, this was four years later. And you know at that time Moral Re-Armament had been increasingly focusing on youth. I think I am wrong, it was not '45 it was '65. This was after I had left Japan. We came back in '58 and by that time its industrial production was double what it had been before the war. Fantastic. But we came here, my wife and I, and we had some Japanese with us. And this was the time when Moral Re-Armament was developing ... house, lovely people. This was the beginning of the riotous sixties, when youth was - the Beatles everything was hootenannies and so forth, so this way of hitting the interest of youth with music with popular songs. Colwell brothers, three brothers, very amusing, who wrote music and Peter Howard was then in charge. Buchman had died. We sent them out to Liverpool where the Beatles hotel was to get the flavor, and they wrote very catchy tunes with a real cult to them. And this was happening on the Island here. And I remember in the fields down there where the water is now the hotel we were building...
Eriksson: Mission Point.
Entwistle: Cedar Point as we called it then. We had the Colwell brothers and thousands of these youngsters learning these songs and then going out with local casts. But what happened in the following year was the first time they developed a show which was beginning to be of professional quality, they were invited by some of the people who came here to the island to go out and give the show first of all in Hartford, Connecticut. So we sent them off ... and they did extremely well, they did a show in Washington for Congress. And they came back and they said, my daughter was among the group, they said to us, "We've really got something here". And that was going to be it until the next summer. But they said, "Nope, we are going to go on the road with this thing". It so happened we had the buildings here, we had the theater, and it was already crowded, and a ... day which was the end of the conference, this chorus gave a performance and the daughter of one of the Los Angeles county supervisors came to see it. At the end of the show, he said "I want to say something". He said, "You have something here which we desperately need in Los Angeles". This was three weeks after the Watts riots. And he said ... Los Angeles is never going to be the same. If we could just get you here, I would get people to have the Hollywood Bowl. We said O.K. And we played out of Mackinac Island of this crowd ... it went into Watts. I remember I went with them. Then we had been invited to go to Japan and give shows there and we were on our way to Japan. We went into Watts; it was like going into a cold bath in winter. We rented one of these big central high schools and the kids ... black ... white ... just frozen with hatred really. In the cast we had mostly whites, we had blacks, we had Hispanics, we had American Indians, and we had people from overseas so they were largely white. Total silence. We gave the show and it absolutely broke the ice. We went around in Watts, gave all the shows, went off to Japan, came back a month and a half later...
Side 2 of tape:
Entwistle: ... Again it's not who's right but what's right and how do you personally begin to take some responsibility for things you feel need to change. Then we took them straight to Japan ... one thing in particular I think of again where Mackinac had its impact.
Eriksson: There were several that Jerry Nelson brought a number of selected youth from Watts here to Mackinac and they worked with us on the voluntary force. They were tough people. Some of them we had to send back. Just a few. But the rest of them got something new in their whole attitude and went back with that afterward.
Porter: About what year would that be, Vern?
Eriksson: When we were building...
Entwistle: The late '40s wouldn't it?
Eriksson: It would be in the 50s. I forget what year exactly. But we worked with those people, putting them in crews with others, you see, and they rubbed shoulders with people from other walks of life, and philosophies and it began to affect them, but their interest had been peaked out there in Watts, you see, when they saw the Sing-Out and met the people there, and then they worked with...
Entwistle: It must have been the college buildings when they came.
Vern Eriksson: Yes, I think it was the college buildings when they worked with us. So they spent the sixties here.
Porter: They're going to do that a couple more times. (Rifle firing)
Entwistle: One of the places which the Sing-Out crowd was invited was to Waseda University, which is the largest private college, and this is a very glorious time in Japan ... Again a lot of the youths were very, they were beginning to riot. They wanted to get rid of the American influence basically. Of course we were very deeply involved with Japan not only through the peace treaty but the defence pact which tied us to Japan and they wanted to - the communists and the left wing were trying to get them to - break this, and they were causing all these problems. Waseda was one of the hearts of what was going on, so some of the faculty and students invited them in to give a show in their big auditorium, and I got a call from the American ambassador who said, "I would like to see you. I've been concerned. I heard about this". And he said, "I had Bobby Kennedy out here a few months ago speaking at the place where you were supposed to give your show and there was a semi-riot, and we had to get him out of there off the back of the platform and scoot him off the campus, and you know I'm responsible for Americans who are in your cast, and I just strongly advise you not to do it ".
Mr. Ambassador, we'll talk with the cast and tell them this. So I talked with the cast, and they said, "Forget it. No way. We've been invited to talk and we're doing it". We drove up in several buses to the campus ... twelve hundred people. There were great big banners, red banners hanging down with “Go home, Yankees, go home! Sing-Out tour will be back in the State Department". A few of us got out for the cast. We went in - the place was jammed. There were seats for about fifty to a hundred; there must have been twice that number all in the aisles and filling every space. In those days, in the show the curtain would go up and the kids in the cast, more than a hundred, would come racing on singing ... There were already little groups of extreme leftists, communists, scattered throughout beginning to make noise and the curtains went up, the cast came racing out, and we had had one bright idea, someone had, to train them to sing the Waseda marching song, which was like an American college song. They came racing on singing this Japanese song. Total silence, and a roar of applause, and they were off. Every now and then one starts to yell, people would shut them up. They were there for about an hour, cast would come down and meet with..., we had as many interpreters as we could get. Each of them was surrounded by people asking them questions - "Is this the way America feels? Is this just the youth? Can others have a part in it? How did you get?" - things like this. And the men were asked to stay in the men's dormitory that night. And the ambassador called me a few days later and said, "I have had my spies out on campus and, you know, the whole atmosphere toward America has changed. It was always a minority that stirred things up, but now if the minority does things, other people say 'Shut up.' They have become pro-America" and he said, "My wife and I want you to come to the embassy, my house or whatever, and have a reception for you". So these kids came and sang for him, and he said, "You know, you have been... ambassadors, you have done things I could never do". So that impact of what they learned here on Mackinac had an immediate effect in Japan.
Porter: Very interesting.
Eriksson: The Seinendan also came to Mackinac.
Eriksson: They were invited to Russia for training.
Porter: Who was that?
Eriksson: This was a left-wing...
Entwistle: This was a national youth of Japan.
Eriksson: Russia invited them to come there for training in communism and then somebody had the thought to invite them to come here.
Entwistle: Some of the youth leaders whom we had been in touch with. Chairman of the committee was the head of the Bank of Japan, a close friend of ours. He was very concerned about this and he put us in touch with the cold war powers ... we sang for these groups. Some of the heads of the committees said, "We do not want to have our people, they are inviting hundreds of our key people over there to Moscow. Would you ask Dr. Buchman to invite a hundred to come over to Mackinac. We don't have the money to pay, but would it be possible?"
So ... of course they raised money for people. We invited not one hundred but two hundred, paid their way to Mackinac and back. And it had the same kind of impact. We had Americans, young Europeans. By that time we were occupying the college buildings. This was in 1957. Yes, we had the great hall, the theater. Mackinac again became a magic word for them. They wrote their own play.
Eriksson: While they were here.
Entwistle: Yeah, while they were here. It was a play about... They were farmers, some of them, 90 per cent of them came from villages, quite a different area from the cities, and they brought this play back. They gave it to an audience in Tokyo.... Their families agreed to let them go. They were all involved in farm work and so on. Most of those young people have gone back. They are mayors of their little towns; enough of them were elected to the Diet. And they have continued again in the spirit of it's not who's right, but what's right... They have caught the Mackinac spirit.... Yes, well I think those are basically my involvements with the impact of Mackinac overseas.
Porter: Your involvement comes because you lived in Japan for a while. Was this same kind of thing happening in other countries around the world?
Entwistle: Yes, indeed.
Porter: I know the Koreans were very much involved in the program at Mackinac. Were people coming over here from Korea and going back, having the same experience that you described in Japan?
Entwistle: Yes, probably not in such a big way because we brought large numbers. A number of Japanese from ? came and worked on the buildings here.
Porter: You see them in the photographs of the construction. You see them in front, people from all over the world.
Eriksson: Two of them are coming from Korea with their wives for the reunion. They are arriving on the fifth, Thursday.
Porter: So the Japan experience that you are familiar with is just one example of how Mackinac impacted the rest of the world.
Eriksson: People took it in different directions in different countries.
Entwistle: People came from Taiwan a number of times, from Korea, from India. They weren't usually in such great numbers, so maybe they were able to spread the influence. In this book which I wrote, I made quite a point of how the spirit of Mackinac was a decisive factor, the very decisive factor in heading Japan. Everybody thinks, people say to me, are you responsible for what happened to democracy in Japan? The development of a very effective labor/management team, how they produced moral, high quality goods, and we were there during the beginning of that time. Part of it was the impact of what we have got.
Porter: Do you think too that the direction of Japan moving democratic rather than communist was also to an extent an impact of MRA's involvement?
Entwistle: Yes, for example, Toshiba. When I went over there first in 1950 Toshiba had a big strike, and another one just before when the labor union, the national industrial electrical workers, took over the plant, imprisoned the top management. The managing director, he was a big, bald-headed guy, said, "You see these scars, that's where they stomped out their cigarettes on my hands". And my friend and I were invited to spend the day by the president, Ishizaka (?), who was really the number one businessman in Japan at that time. We sat in with the directors, with the top management; we sat in with the unions, and then next year in that first plane load we took the president of Toshiba and the president of the union, who were not on speaking terms, and they got to know each other. And the next year we had a larger group of management; we had the top man, the labor union liaison for management and head of the union. They spent a month here at Mackinac and they went back and for the first time they do their contract once or twice a year, and they go back and they talked about it's not who's right but what's right. Actually it became a key phrase at Toshiba, and I do think for many years they did not have any work stoppage or strike. One of their key manufacturing branches of Toshiba, because of all the troubles they had, they planned to close down that year. The union and management went to it, they got things going, and they upped their production, and the management decided not to close the branch at all. They kept it going. And the whole management/labor relations developed so well that production went up, their costs went up, and Fuji Electric, Mitsui Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, Sumitomi Electric, all had groups from Toshiba, management and labor went and spoke ... that was one of the key industries which was very important. It was a target of communist groups, because they were building the great big electric turbines which were needed by all heavy industry in Japan. So it spread. The national president of the shipyard workers came to Mackinac. So it did directly help the industry to head that way instead of going - it really could have gone - before we got there MacArthur said there will be labor unions. There had been labor unions before the war. The government had suppressed them and all the labor leaders were put in jail. They were all then out of jail and the early people then who had experience in how to run these unions were all former communists and left-wing socialists. So those labor union branches, and there were several thousands developed in the space of weeks in Japan, had that taste to them. And so these people at Toshiba and others had a real problem developing democratic unions. But it could very easily have gone the wrong way.
Porter: One of the reasons some people have credited Japan for their success in industrial development in recent years has been the close working relationship between the unions and management, and that they work more as a team than sometimes companies in this country. Would you say that you can see the impact of the MRA training sessions as being partially responsible for that?
Entwistle: Exactly. They were sort of family unions in a sense before the war, but that was being disruptive. And this new thing came in... See they were throwing out the baby with the bath water. For one thing there is far less antipathy between unions and management in the Japanese tradition. For example, management does not have its own lunch restaurant places as they do over here. There is one restaurant and everybody goes there. There is much less of a hierarchy. Management people get down and see what's going on on work benches and so on. And they have a much better... They don't have suggestion boxes like they do here but they maybe have a couple of thousand suggestions put in by the workers on their own. They know what goes and what doesn't. And management takes these very seriously. And so we built into that I think with our people who have been at Mackinac.
Porter: That's very interesting because some people describe it as the Japanese work ethic as if it's something inherent in their culture.
Entwistle: There's real truth to that, but it could have gone down the drain. But it made it to the better footing. We organized unions. It never really had its voice. And then it wasn't only what we did - what's the name of the man, begins with a D, a labor/management expert over here, who spent a number of years during the same years when I was there who did very good work. If you have time, you might be interested to read that book I wrote about it, Japan's Decisive Decade, because it's...
Vern Eriksson: And some of the people who came over with the ... were industrial leaders like Sumitomo, heads of big industries, and other industrialists as well as political leaders, and they got the impact of both Caux and Mackinac.
Entwistle: Another facet of that, for example, the ... party which has been until now, ruled from that time on... the socialist party which was split in half and then got together. In Congress you have Democrats and Republicans who get together and are personal friends. None of that in Japan. It was a class division by and large. They did not trust each other. That's why we had both, we were democrats ..., and the socialist right-wing and left-wing socialists came over here to Mackinac for many years. Each year we brought small numbers and some of the younger guys came over and they went back and began to make friends. They made friends over here, and they began to build a bridge. And at our center we have a big house, it's like an embassy, we started every Tuesday morning we have a Tuesday morning breakfast for Diet members of both parties, and they came. They'd all been here at Mackinac and they said O.K. what's coming up this week and how can we begin to create this idea of what's right ... just total position. And that began to have its effect.
Porter: When the groups came here throughout the conventions of all these years, was that the time when Mr. Buchman would come as well?
Entwistle: He came every year until '61.
Porter: Which is the year he died.
Entwistle: Yes, he was here - Was he here? He was here briefly.
Eriksson: He was not well.
Entwistle: Did he come that year? I think he did. Then he went over to Switzerland and he was at Mountain House. That was his last year. He died that August.
Eriksson: But he kept a very close touch with all these operations in Japan and other places around the world.
Porter: Through correspondence?
Eriksson: Yes, and through the conferences and so on.
Entwistle: Peter Howard, this Englishman who succeeded him, became very close to Buchman. A lot of his communications went through Peter Howard.
Porter: Just to continue on the Peter Howard thing for a moment. It was Peter Howard's inspiration to do the college in many ways, among others?
Entwistle: Yes. This was in 1964. He spent a great deal of time in his last two years over here in training of Belk, particularly, who was the one young American who took over the work of Moral Re-Armament here.
Porter: What was his name?
Entwistle: Blanton Belk, a Virginian. I travelled with Howard and Belk through the universities and colleges of the country for several weeks. He lectured to the faculty and students of state universities, Ivy League colleges, and his last engagement was in early December of that year.
Porter: Which year?
Entwistle: 1964. And we arrived in Ames, Iowa, stayed at the Holiday Inn, having breakfast at the coffee bar and I was sitting here and Howard was sitting there, and he turned to me and said, "Basil, how would you like to start a college"? I didn't quite take in what he said. You know, he said, we have this marvelous center which we now use basically three or four months a year, particularly since this work with Sing-Out, nothing happens between the end of September and May, marvelous new place for a campus. Why don't we use it? ... I saw he was serious. He said, more important than that ... refresh my mind. This is what I tell the kids. I think I'm the only one who really knows the whole story of how this college got started...
So anyway... then he went on, there's a far more important reason. We've met thousands of students in these past weeks, and it has been bottled in on me the urgent need to demonstrate how to create a college education in which character is developed along with brain. Without that America, which has led the world magnificently since World War II with the Marshall Plan and all the rest of it, will contract out the moral leash ... the loss of liberty. This was the theme which he pursued all through these campuses. Every time he had a standing ovation at the end and he had been besieged by people who followed along with his ideas.
Porter: This was Peter Howard.
Entwistle: Yes, this was Peter Howard.
Vern Eriksson: You were with him on the tour.
Entwistle: Yes, I was. So I sort of mumbled I have no training. I was at Oxford, and took a first class honors degree there. And I spent the first graduate year there on education. I never taught. So it was almost a ludicrous idea. But I saw that Howard meant business and there was a lot to what he said. Well, next day I joined him for lunch at the New York Athletic Club before we sent him on his way to Europe, and he sent me a note. I said to him, O.K. Peter, I'll take it on. I don't know how I can do it, but I'll take it on. He said, great, you're the man for it. And he sent me a note written on the airplane which I got a few days later saying you're the man, it's great, and so on and so forth. Well, I was sitting there, how the heck do you start a college? And I figured the first thing to do was to go see half a dozen heads of colleges and universities and try to get some good ideas. So during the next week, I picked the brains of half a dozen accomplished educators. I went first of all to Long Island University, which was growing very successfully. And its chancellor was Dr. Gordon Huxley, who had been up here the year before and seen what was going on here and was very impressed with it. And I went to Dr. Perry Gresh(?), the president of Bethany College of West Virginia, which is a small liberal arts college. I went to see Dr. Lewis Cox, retired from ... the heads of very different kinds of universities and colleges. I went on to see Dr. Frank Hutchinson, the president of Berea College. It's in Kentucky. It is poor kids from the hills and they ... by training them in cooking and household management and hotel management and so on. Finally to retired Dr. McCracken of Vassar whose daughter was the librarian out there later on. These men, their responses were very different as their institutions in a sense. They were all very responsive to the idea of training character as well as brains. This was a time when in a sense the academic world was a little bit frozen in their tracks. There had been so much emphasis on ... Their faculty had to spend so much time writing a thesis, training for their doctorate, so much time on the university curriculum. A lot of it was totally unrelated to what was bobbing up in the minds and hearts ... and there wasn't rioting, but the beginnings of what went on in a couple of years time all over the country. And so they responded very much, as I say, but they knew what we were talking about. Different ones stressed different things, but they all stressed that o.k. you will need probably ten million dollars in the kitty before you get going. Because I described the Mackinac campus, I think Hutchinson said well you've got about three million dollars in that baby. I thought they were overestimating. I thought we'd raise it as we went along. Hutchinson (?) insisted that by the end of ten years you need a 100 thousand volume library at our college. Brechel (?) said you've got to have a board of trustees, especially good fund raisers. Compton said you've got to have a first class academic curriculum. All agreed an outstanding faculty was essential. I went back to L.A. sobered by all this. The next thing I did, we had touch with Cassius Street, who was Moral Re-Armament's lawyer in Lansing. We'd had a few battles with your Park Commission about the tidelands down there and getting that property and a few other things. Cassius Street had also helped us handling college and university work. So we asked him, starting a college, what does it involve legally with the State of Michigan. He set me down, he said, all right, first of all you've got to obtain, basically there are six steps. I won't go into the details of it, but you've got to be knowledgeable about the requirements by the State of Michigan for filing articles of incorporation for obtaining your charter. Without it you can't even operate. You have no legal existence. Then he said in essence there are six steps in getting ready to write and submit articles of incorporation to the State's Board of Education, the State's educational authority for their study. Then they would send their detailed requirements based on those to you. Then you would have to prepare a lengthy proposal to meet those requirements, which turned out-- I had written, I think, seven books, and that was a book length thing, the most difficult book I have ever written. Then there will be a visit from Lansing to the committee of college experts, two or three college heads and college people, department heads, who are versed in finances, different things. They will come down to the college, they will study your actual set-up ... who your college president is, whom we didn't have... Then they will support a report to the education department, and their board will make a decision to approve or disapprove a charter. It will take months to do. I was overwhelmed by it all.... I had counsel, of course, with MRA to pitch in with me and do a lot of these things. This was a time of major expansion especially with Up With People. They were all very basically involved. I really got no help from them, they still expected me to go help them in various things, and that year, twice I went to Japan, once with Dr. ??? prime minister of Japan, and once to go with that first cast of Sing-Out '65 to Japan and Korea. So I travelled between that time when Peter asked me to start up and the time when the college doors opened in the fall, it was really about a half year, I travelled I think about 80,000 miles. I was a busy boy. Anyway, the first thing of real help I got was from a retired doctor, professor, from the University of Calgary, University of Alberta. He had recently retired. He had been, he had headed up, he had been dean of the campus, and he had been all kinds of things. He knew how a college operated, and he ... came out to Detroit to rent a house there, and a secretary and he and I worked basically from New Years until March preparing that proposal. And we got the help of a number of educational authorities in Michigan. We spent time in and out of Lansing. So we got the proposals lined up and that early summer, the board came to Mackinac and there they were impacted not only by Dr. Douglas Cornell, who had come from the National Academy of Sciences, where he was the senior administrative man, had given up that job to do it, but it was 1965. Several thousand of the Up With People/Sing-Out kids, and they were impacted by that spirit of Mackinac. They were bowled over by it. They put on a show for one evening, and I don't know whether it helped. We said, this has nothing to do with academics, but in a sense this is the spirit we want to create for the development of responsibility and up-beat qualities of character we would like to build into our students along with a first class academic education.
Porter: Dr. Cornell was to be the first president of the college?
Entwistle: Right. The other thing was... this was... O.k. we've got to pick a faculty, which is crucial, and a board of trustees. Basically the first members of the board were people whom I had met through Mackinac and other places who were basically gung ho about what Moral Re-Armament was all about, what the college would be about. I got hold of - one of the editors of the Royal Oak newspaper. I got the head of a bank, the head of one of the big national auditing companies, a senior person from the State Department, people like that who represented many walks of life - business, professions, and so on, education. All of them agreed to serve, to come to Mackinac and help to get the college started and be the board of trustees, of which I was made the first chairman. I culled my memories for people who could be this kind of a faculty and staff, especially faculty to start with.... I decided the ideal person would be Dr. Cornell, Dr. Douglas Cornell. He had become a fairly good friend of mine. I invited him to.... He said thanks a lot, I am all for what you are doing, but I have no experience in education. He had already transformed the administration of the National Academy of Sciences and was the key man there.... research. He himself was a first class ... He said that's my number one job, my life job. I noticed though that he was a little bit bored with some things. You know, it was going very well and it didn't take all his total genius, I think. So I kept after him, and finally he said, all right I will. He said I can't actually resign for basically the best part of a year until the early summer of 65. Six months. This was still early spring, but he finally did agree so he was on hand when we got these ... in.
Porter: This was 1965.
Entwistle: 1965. This was probably July, 1965. And his and my ideas jibed, we found, and he, far more than I, had the brain that it took to be a college president, as well as the standing nationally. He was regarded by educators, by senior people, as a very responsible man. But also he began to devise a basic educational program which would - See he had been involved with the National Academy when the space program developed. And so Sputnik developed. I saw the first Sputnik here on Mackinac Island one evening when we came out of the theater.
Porter: Isn't that something!
Entwistle: But the impact on him had been - who was the president at that time? Was it Kennedy?
Entwistle: Got going the scientific development to do the scientific research to match what the Russians were doing, and Dr. Cornell got to be deeply involved with how to develop not only the commitment, not only to scientific schools, but a significant determination to work together to put our space ... in line. He felt the same kind of renown about what was beginning to happen in the world because at this time the cold war was going on, and it's hard to develop the kind of unity in the free world which would not only build the economy but make the UN really work, and how could the young generation... He and I were particularly thinking about the kind of academic thing which I had had at Oxford, which was a major in philosophy, politics, and economics, to prepare these young Mackinac students for public life, leadership in their communities, and leadership in the media. You see we have this marvelous media, TV equipment which we could use; we had all the set-up for training. How could we particularly develop students for that kind of commitment to whatever their academic training... prepared their minds and spirits to lead in that kind of work in the nation and prepared foreign students, too. So, as I was working with him I tried to figure people whom I had known, educators, and I got hold of six or eight -- one had been a friend of mine in school since 1924 in London, had gone on to be a very brilliant doctor of philosophy at Oxford and then to my amazement, when I came back from two years in China working with MRA, Harry Watterson's secretary personal aide to Frank Buchman. I had run into him earlier at Oxford. He'd run into at ... He was a very brilliant doctor of philosophy, he was working over in England, working on a book at the time, and I invited him. I said to Morris, you would be a perfect academic dean working with Cornell. I got the same response from him. Sorry, I am very busy; I am in the middle of a book. I kept after him.... he came up to Mackinac. Meantime I had gotten hold of... Fortunately, I had the thought not to limit faculty wholly to established university persons. One man whom I knew very well was... who studied philosophy, had a good degree, but he was from Taiwan, he was the Taiwanese ambassador to New Zealand. So I wrote to him, and fortunately he said O.K... Another person was actually a very fine teacher of English at a number one girls' school in New England, Miss Fortes School. ... on a college level. And she agreed. Another was a friend of mine who was working full time ... to Mackinac, David Blair, who had been a history teacher. I got it wrong; it was the other way around. He was an English teacher, she was a... So and then several of us, it was a nucleus.
Porter: Were Fran and Dick Hadden on the faculty?
Entwistle: Fran and Dick Hadden agreed to come and teach music.
Porter: Where did they·come from at that time?
Entwistle: What were they doing? Dick was in Japan. It was before they started their lecture tour. What were they doing?
Porter: They weren't teaching before, though?
Entwistle: No. Again I think they thought ... musicians, yes, but teaching? Anyway, we got ... After we got all the papers in; several months went by, no word from Lansing. Began to get rather ... finally in early August got a cable from Doug Cornell, "Charter granted", and we were in business. So - another one, I invaded business/industry to get Dr. Franklin Chance, who was a top man ... it wasn't DuPont. I think he was on the point of retirement.
Eriksson: He had invented penicillin, I think, or he had a part in developing it.
Entwistle: He was a very able man. Anyway, he was looking forward to his retirement and taking things easy, but he rose to it and said o.k. I'll teach chemistry. As Dr. Cornell said, you haven't got adequate science. Anyway, I think looking back on it on this I do agree, one thing that happened, we had to spend a lot more money than I anticipated. Fortunately, we got going, we got no gifts or endowments from foundations and so on. If you ever try to raise money for a new college I'll... mostly came from individuals, just like Moral Re-Armament. Two people particularly. One was Mrs. Constance Ely, she bought that beautiful house, a 90-year-old man lives in it. It's up for sale.
Eriksson: Just below where we live.
Entwistle: Almost next door to the Catholic Church.
Porter: Oh, yeah. What's her name again?
Entwistle: Ely, Constance Ely. It was her son-in-law, Jerry Nelson, who headed up.
Eriksson: He headed up the development of the college buildings.
Porter: And the house which she owned was the one in front of you which is the old LaFramboise house.
Entwistle: She gave us a million, which built the studio buildings. Another couple was Mr. And Mrs. Van Allan Clark. He was the head of a famous cosmetics company. Anyway, they gave a million for the classroom building, the Clark center.
Eriksson: Put his name on it.
Entwistle: A lot of people gave, you know, $10,000. I think those first two years we probably raised four million, four and a half. I wasn't even sure we had to build a bigger library than I had anticipated. We had to build a bigger classroom building than I anticipated ... This is speculation, but when I had to apply for charter and it seemed to me that we needed more than two years, I felt the only alternative was a regular four year...
Porter: Four year liberal arts college?
Entwistle: Yes, I am told since then that we might have had a more focus, perhaps more focused on public relations, media and so on and so forth. I'm not sure. If so, it might have cost us less. Anyway, so we got no money from Moral Re-Armament. They deeded us a small percentage of the properties, and they loaned us without interest, I think it was for 20 years or 10 years, the whole properties. So we had to payout nothing on those.
Porter: In the midst of all this, Peter Howard dies, doesn't he?
Entwistle: He died within two months of having said to me, "Basil, how about starting a college"? Yes, he died in his prime.
Porter: Who then replaced him to follow the line from Mr. Buchman to Mr. Howard?
Entwistle: The work divided.
Porter: By countries, then?
Entwistle: Well, basically, London. In a sense we had never had a world headquarters. This was part of our world headquarters, another was in Caux, Switzerland, and another was in London. And there were small ones around different countries. The one in London regarded this as the world headquarters.... but the nature of Moral Re-Armament changed with the development of Up With People. There was a real division of basic ideas. I think, this is not for publication, but in a sense the people in London who were very good friends of mine ... felt that it did not give enough emphasis to the basic moral standards, the basic Christian fundamentals, which of course Buchman used as the basis of his work and which we did and Moral Re-Armament, but I think Moral Re-Armament felt that at times we were still using the same language. Buchman would say to us, if you are using the same language you used two or three years ago, forget it. For example, Moral Re-Armament was called the Oxford Group because when a team of people was travelling in South Africa, a porter chalked on their reserved compartment, Oxford Group, and this... Buchman's work involved a great deal of... However, at the time when Hitler was re-arming, one of those workers, we had the sort of work, military re-armament was one thing, but we also need moral and spiritual re-armament. Buchman, this phrase absolutely... that's it, moral re-armament. We've got to re-arm. He was all for military re-armament in the free countries, but that alone, he said, Hitler has an ideology. When I was over there, I saw what he was doing in redirecting the youth. There were a lot of things we felt at the time were... I mean, he got work crews building the roads; he got people giving up their big Sunday dinners and giving the meals for free to the unemployed. You know all that constitutes giving them national pride; an ideology which... bad things, but Buchman's thought was we have got to have a democratic ideology. Otherwise, just to renew the military we may win a war, but we're not going to...we need the rest of it. So he said o.k. And then the newspapers picked up the phrase moral re-armament he used, and then he said, moral re-armament's too long, let's call it MRA. But you know a lot of the good old Oxford Groups that talked to Buchman did not. Oxford was the name, and they left. When the outburst, particularly in America with the youth, with the Sing-Out stuff and all the rest of it, Blanton Belk and all of us said, Moral Re-Armament, kids in America in the beginning of the Vietnam War and so on, Moral Re-Armament? Bah! And you had to work...
So it was this very strong reaction from many of our MRA friends. They felt that you couldn't...by that time MRA was incorporated around the world in different countries because otherwise, unless it was a non-profit corporation, it couldn't receive gifts without being taxed.
Porter: But in many ways the move from the name Moral Re-Armament to Sing-Out and Up With People was consistent with Mr. Buchman's philosophy to keep things moving and changing and being flexible with the times.
Entwistle: Exactly. For a time there, it was partly, of course, a question of personalities... Britain... I have just been reading a book by one of my tutors at Oxford, Oliver Franks, who became ambassador. It was a time when there was a great deal of tension between Britain and the United States over the Marshall Plan and how much money, and whether Britain should be treated differently from the other ... there was a real feeling and there still is in some ways between Britain and America ... That shouldn't have happened. It did have an impact on us, and it became in a sense a number of places went with Up With People, some countries didn't, and some countries were divided.
Eriksson: Up With People was incorporated as a separate entity...
Porter: And there is still an MRA in this country.
Entwistle: Oh, yes, and they do some work.
Porter: In the cities, quite a bit.
Eriksson: MRA became more like a team leadership, I mean the leadership in the different countries. With a sort of leadership in each country and the team worked together between them. Before it was more directed around Frank Buchman or around Peter Howard, and then it sort of spread out, but it is continuing.
Entwistle: I think another element in this - you see, Frank Buchman was a Christian, very basic Christian, but he never talked in Christian terms, in theological terms. Some of his best friends were Buddhists. You have seen the pictures of the Buddhist monks who came to Mackinac, in the yellow robes walked down your main street. Mackinac was a marvelous introduction to America for them. But the Arab world, the Muslims, some of his best friends said, "Frank Buchman, Dr. Buchman, you have more of a surge of Mohammed and Muslim than many of our people". He gave the heart of relation, I think, and I think basically spoke from the basic convictions of the God. People have different ideas, and I think a lot of that was always in Buchman's, and if we-- When I went to Japan there were many good Christian missionaries there. Japanese Christians were between one and two per cent of the population. When the Japanese started looking, o.k. what do we do, they went by millions of people into the little Japanese churches. They were just small ones. And unfortunately some of the missionaries, maybe the Japanese pastors, preached their good Christian services, and the Christian services, of course, were holy Christian, and the Japanese are very pragmatic people, theological and all. They were officially Buddhists, many of them. They didn't know what people were talking about. They wanted out and they never came back, and it was very much impacted on me by Buchman, living in countries like Japan, do not go in and preach the gospel in gospel terms. Go out and give the heart of the Sermon on the Mount, but in ways which make sense to a Buddhist or a Shinto or a Muslim.
Porter: And that has a universal language.
Entwistle: Exactly. They responded wholeheartedly. This is what we believe. Some of them became Christians, some did not. But with many of our good MRA friends, whatever they may have done or said, they felt you had to make a person Christian, they had to be baptized. I always took the line that, if they wanted to be baptized, a person could become members of the church, great; we would help them and encourage them. We had a growing body of Japanese fulltime workers, some very fine people, some of them became Christians, and some did not. In my mind there was no differentiation in how they worked in dealing with people. But I think there is much less in MRA now ... and that was one thing some of our people in Up With People threw the baby out with the bathwater. They were not happy with any mention of God - don't bring MRA into things - and so it was interesting at one point when all these, each year oh probably ten thousand Europeans would apply to travel with Up With People, now about 1500 were accepted. Yeah, there were five or six casts, each with 150 in them. And they hear from some of the people about--, what is MRA, they are fascinated, and some of the senior people thought this was ... And now they are very open about it and tell what MRA was.
Porter: May I ask one other question about the college? In terms of the preservation of its history. There must have been reams and reams of paperwork associated with it, from the articles of incorporation through the charter, what you described as a book length description, to all the transcripts of the students. Where is all the paper? Where is all the stuff?
Entwistle: I think it is in the files of the university at Sault Ste. Marie.
Porter: Oh, good.
Entwistle: What's it called?
Porter: Lake Superior State University.
Entwistle: I'll check... David Blair, who was my friend on the joint faculty when the college finished, he was invited to... he became an American citizen, he was invited to join the faculty and he taught... before he died.
Porter: And did he take the responsibility?
Entwistle: I'm pretty sure we worked out - Cornell I think worked out with him - now, if it is not there, it will be preserved and I'll find...
Porter: If it is not being preserved by a public agency like that and you need a source to preserve them, you know, we could do that, too, we could provide that. It needs to be preserved.
Entwistle: I have a lot of the key papers, many of which were in the meetings of the board of trustees, over which I presided. I have those in my files ... just the other day married at my daughter's home. I'm a newlywed moved to California.
Entwistle: My first wife died. I can ask my daughter to send them to me. I was planning on doing that. There is no reason why I shouldn't. I could have them copied or you could have them copied and you would have a copy of them.
Porter: That would be wonderful. We could copy whatever and send you back your originals. I just think it is very important to preserve those, which would be the formal papers of the college, sort of the administrative history of it. I'm glad to hear it's up at Lake Superior.
Speaking of Lake Superior, did Dr. John McCabe also come to Mackinac College and then go to Lake Superior? And was he part of your original faculty?
Entwistle: Early on, I think Martin recruited him the first year for the dramatic arts.
Porter: And he also went to Lake Superior. Yes, he has a house here.
You know, he and the Haddens are now off the Island. They are sort of the-- and Vern and Merle, who are now back, are the remnant, and it is nice to know who was connected and that there are still some people here.
Entwistle: He would have-- Others could give much better than I could those years in the college.
Porter: From the campus perspective.
Entwistle: When the doors opened until it closed. I was involved, naturally, in the closing of it. But Dr. Cornell, Morris Martin, McCabe, and others can give you much more the story of the operation of the college.
Porter: Well, it's noon, and I won't keep you any longer because I know you have other things to do.
Who we are: Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own.
Purpose: We work to inspire, equip and connect people to address world needs, starting with themselves, in the areas of trustbuilding, ethical leadership and sustainable living.