SHEAFFER´S AND THE 1945 GERMAN SURRENDER

General Eisenhower had engaged with Kenneth Parker to use his Parker «51» fountain pens if some kind of document was signed with Germans.

1945 04 01 text letter from Eisenhower to Kenneth Parker. The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower: The War Years volume IV
1945 05 07 Eisenhower in Reims posing with two Parker 51 signing in "V" of Victory signal.

Eisenhower kept his promise and General posing with two Parkers «51» spread the idea that only these fountain pen were the signatories to the 1945 German surrender, but the manifestations by his assistant, Captain Butcher, indicate that this was not the case.

«…I had three pens, and Ike, if he chose, could now send the gold ones to the President and Prime Minister (Churchill), and mine to Mr. Parker. The only trouble was that mine is a Sheaffer.» (My Three Years With Eisenhower: The Personal Diary of Captain Harry C. Butcher. Eisenhower’s aide (to see complementary reading)

In 2019 I started the investigation about possible existence of a Sheaffer’S, signatory in the German surrender in Reims.

Rheims. The German delegation entering signing surrender room.

I had the possible track of this Sheaffer´S emanating from the Eisenhower’s assistant, Captain Butcher´s book. The next step would be to find some evidence of its physical existence. I looked for many historical photos. I could find and found this one where we can claim that the fountain pen is not a «51». This was no evidence but encouraged me to continue.

Generaloberst Alfred Jodl signing German surrender docs. May 7, 1945. 02:41 a.m. (AGE Fotostock)

Analyzing videos of that day I could see one, which I have extracted and to present here, where we can confirm the existence of the Sheaffer’S  and confirm Captain Butcher’s version.

From analysis of the signatures of the original documents provided to me by the National Archives and Records Administration to  which I thank  for their  kindness, the «Act of Military Surrender» and the «Undertaking  Given  by Certain Emissaries to the Allied High Command», we can note that the  first has a soft stroke typical of a «51», while the second signature has a more compatible stroke with a firm open nib of a Sheaffer’S. In any case confirms the disparity of line and scratches of the surface of the paper.

May 7, 1945. Act of Military Surrender.
May 7, 1945. Undertaking surrender.

Finally, in December 2019, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, confirmed current existence and location of this historic Sheaffer´S Valiant.

Taking advantage of 75th anniversary at the end of the WWII, the signatory Sheaffer’S Valiant in the German surrender documents has come to light!

My Three Years With Eisenhower: The Personal Diary of Captain Harry C. Butcher.

Reims (Francia) 6 de mayo de 1945.

 When the Chief of Staff arrived about 5, I went in and talked it out. The nap had improved his disposition; he was gracious, understanding, and cooperative. I told him it was the responsibility of the PRD to arrange for the world to know of the historic proceedings and that it was not just his show. He agreed but didn’t like the idea of so many microphones on the table. I compromised on this immediately, as I knew Brownie could get a reasonably good pickup with one microphone for radio and movies. Beetle agreed. I heaved a sigh of relief, told him of the sweat I had been in, and he said:

   “Your sweat? What do you think the rest of us are doing?”

 Beetle didn’t even seem to mind when I told him there were perhaps about twenty real live, ferocious correspondents lurking in a room just below his office. He merely said: “Now that they’re here, do the best you can for them.”

 Just as I was leaving the office, he said:

 “Ike asked me to make you superintendent of the fountain pens. Take these two and make sure they are used at the signing and that no one steals them.”

 “Aye, aye, sir,” I said, as I examined the pens, one of which Beetle said was pure gold and the other gold-plated. I knew they had been sent to General Ike by an old friend he met in the Philippines many years ago, Kenneth Parker, who months ago had requested that when and if the peace was signed, these pens be used. However, he had made the stipulation that one be sent to him.

 About this time there was much scurrying around the corridors. Jodl and his aide were arriving. He strode arrogantly from the car into the headquarters building, expressionless. An MP saluted and the German Chief of Staff returned the salute and, like  Friedeburg, did not give the Nazi gesture. He was taken to the same office previously used by Friedeburg, where the latter, with Colonel Poleck, was sitting. Pawley, who practically had his ear to the keyhole, reported that when the Admiral opened the door to admit Jodl, there was no salute, but Jodl exclaimed,    “Ah-ha.” The door closed, but soon the Admiral came out asked for coffee and a map of Europe. Jodl could be seen marching up and down.

 Shortly after 6, Jodl and Friedeburg were taken by Ken Strong into Beetle’s office, where again Strong was the interpreter. They stayed in nearly an hour and a half, when Beetle and Ken left and went to General Ike’s office. As he left, Beetle told Ruth Briggs to send for Susloparov. General de Gaulle had sent General Sevez, representing General Juin, the Chief of Staff, who was away from Paris.

 I had gone below to see the correspondents, found General Allen had the situation well in hand but was in a stew because other correspondents, particularly the “specials,” were clamoring to be present. I didn’t blame them for trying, but the seventeen selected by PRD in Paris were regarded as representative and would give world coverage. I felt it was an appropriate time for me to climb back into the ivory tower and again be a dignified aide to the Supreme Commander. I was ready to abdicate any PRD tasks to the director thereof. General Allen was ready to take over, but I didn’t envy him his job. I made the mistake of showing the General the pens to be used in signing the surrender and he asked me to display them to the correspondents and also to hold them for the photographs.

  Beetle and Ken were with General Ike about twenty minutes when Strong reappeared, but at the time I reached General Ike’s office. Beetle and Strong had finished the progress of negotiations with Jodl and Friedeburg. They had gone into a huddle with Susloparov, who, so far, had not been in contact with the Germans at all. Ken Strong had told me there would be at least three hours’ delay while Jodl, who brought a code, could make a signal to Doenitz.

 Strong was just going in to talk further with the Germans as I went into General Ike’s office to see if he wasn’t tired enough to go home. We were invited to a reception at the WAG House and General Ike was not inclined to attend until I told him Susloparov and Sevez had been invited and had accepted. He thought he would stop for a few minutes and then go home to dinner.

 General Ike told me to hang on to the fountain pens for dear life because he had promised to send one to his old friend Parker and had in mind giving the solid-gold one to the President. I asked him how he would take care of the Prime Minister (Churchill), for, after all, he is an Allied Commander.

 “Oh, Lord, I hadn’t thought of that.”

 Just then the phone rang. It was Ken Strong—the Germans again had insisted on forty-eight more hours. Without hesitation, Ike said:

 “You tell them that forty-eight hours from midnight tonight, I will close my lines on the Western Front so no more Germans can get through. Whether they sign or not—no matter how much time they take.”  The Germans, of course, were frightened of the Russians and were seeking to surrender to French, American, and British forces. General Ike went on to make clear that the forty-eight hours would start running at midnight.

With this ultimatum, he left the office.

Surrender!

Monday, May 7, 1945

 About 1:30 this morning I was called to the phone. It was Ruth Briggs. She said, “The big party is on,” that General Ike already had arrived, and that I, as custodian of the fountain pens, should hurry over to the headquarters.

 “How could the war be ended without the pens?’’ she gibed. I found Corporal Street, still in the kitchen, spinning yarns. He drove me to the schoolhouse in record time.

 At the front door there was a hornet’s nest of correspondents waiting to get into the school building. If I had good sense, or had seen them first, I would have driven around the schoolhouse into the courtyard and sneaked into the offices the back way. They had driven up from Paris on the chance that they would be permitted to cover the ceremony, despite the fact that a pool of seventeen already was on ‘hand for the job. I respected their enterprise, but from the standpoint of scores of correspondents who had stayed in Paris and not driven to Rheims on the understanding that they would not be allowed into the ceremony, there wasn’t much that could be done for them, despite my normal desire to be as helpful as possible. Standing on the steps, I hurriedly briefed them on events of the two days and told them I would immediately seek General Allen and get him to deal with them direct.

  I found General Allen with General Bull, trying to work out details of tire procedure for complying with the order of the Combined Chief of Staff that announcement of the end of the campaign was to be made simultaneously at a later date by the governments at Washington, Moscow, and London. I gave General Allen the message, but the harassed General could do little about it.

 I was about to miss the big show myself, so hurried around to the war room, where I found the Russian officers. General Spaatz, General Morgan, Admiral Burrough, Air Marshal Robb, and General Sevez already gathered and waiting. General Bull followed me in.

 Beetle arrived, looked over the seating arrangements, spoke briefly as to procedure. He didn’t seem to notice the one lonely microphone upon which the whole world was dependent. He blinked in the floodlights, but I felt that now with the proper pool of seventeen correspondents assembled quietly but attentively in the rear, he would not call off the proceedings.

 General Jodl, Admiral Friedeburg, the two principals, arrived, escorted by General Strong and Brigadier Foord. General Strong placed the documents for signature in front of General Smith, before whom I laid the solid-gold fountain pen. Beetle spoke briefly to the Germans, which was interpreted for them by Strong. It was merely that the surrender documents awaited signature. Were they ready and prepared to sign? Jodl indicated assent with a slight nod. I already had before him the gold plated pen. Jodl had two documents to sign, so when he finished the first, I retrieved the gold-plated pen and substituted my own—one given me by Charlie Daly in Algiers.  With this he signed the second document.

  Generals Smith, Susloparov, and Sevez then signed both documents. At the conclusion of the signing. General Jodl stood at attention, addressed General Smith, and said, in English:

  “I want to say a word.”

 Then he lapsed into German, later interpreted as:

 “General! With this signature the German people and German armed forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the victor’s hands. In this war, which has lasted more than five years, both have achieved and suffered more than perhaps any other people in the world. In this hour I can only express the hope that the victor will treat them with generosity.”

‘The official time of the signature on the surrender document was 2:41 A.M. British double summer time.

 I had three pens, and Ike, if he chose, could now send the gold ones to the President and Prime Minister, and mine to Mr. Parker. The only trouble was that mine is a Sheaffer.

EISENHOWER PARKER "51" SET DESK

Eisenhower Parker "51" pen set desk.

In January 1955, Parker executives, Bruce Jeffris and Daniel Parker, president and vice president of the company, respectively, presented and showed Eisenhower the excellent properties of his new liquid graphite pencil that had been presented the day before more than 70 media at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The President showed considerable interest in the product.

Among other things, President Eisenhower told them that he knew Daniel Parker’s father, Kenneth, and told them that, in 1937 in the Philippines, with Kenneth Parker on a business tour and Ike Eisenhower being Lieutenant Colonel, the Parker Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kenneth Parker, gave him some flying lessons in a US Stinson(1) Army.

At that same reception in January ’55, Eisenhower showed them a set of fountain pens on his table in the Oval Office that had been given to him by Parker Pen Co. a few years earlier when he was President of Columbia University and NATO Supreme Commander, before being elected President of the executive.

The base of the desk, according to Ike, was very particular; it had been made with different stones from important places in Eisenhower’s life; a pebble from the city where he was born, another from the Philippines, another from France, another from England, etc. Parker was foreboding because one of the stones was from the White House that Eisenhower would later inhabit.

Eisenhower Parker "51" pen set desk. Left side detail.
Eisenhower Parker "51" pen set desk. Right side detail.
Eisenhower Parker "51" pens desk.

Ike and Kenneth maintained a good friendship and would see each other on several occasions. In May of that same year of 1955, Kenneth was invited to the White House along with other businessmen in what was described as «dinner of old friends».

The Oval Office of the White House with Eisenhower's Parker "51" Double Desk Set

(1) Kenneth Parker had flown his own Stinson SM-8A in 1931.

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