What if the United Nations Had Been Placed in Morristown, New Jersey?

As a native of Morris County, New Jersey I could not resist Charlene Mires‘s recent post at the blog promoting her latest book, Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations.

I had no idea that Morristown, NJ, the place where George Washington established his headquarters during the Revolutionary War winter of 1779-1780, and the destination of many of my childhood field trips, made a pitch to host the U.N.

I also love the fact that diplomats met at Atlantic City to discuss a possible site for the U.N.

Here is a taste of Mires’s post:

This weekend, The Press of Atlantic City highlighted the visit of United Nations diplomats who spent a weekend at the seaside resort in January 1946 as part of their search for a home for the UN. Their hosts were sure that they would see their honored guests again. Why? Because the leader of the mission allowed sand to be poured into his shoes. By local custom, this guaranteed a return visit.

While the diplomats visited the shore, communities in North Jersey towns within commuting distance of New York also scrambled to attract attention. Among the most vigorous of contenders was Morristown, located 30 miles west of New York City.

Morristown Mayor Clyde Potts was sure that he had the best possible argument for placing the United Nations in his town. Like world capital promoters in Philadelphia and Boston, Potts viewed his community’s connection to the world in terms of local and American history. In Morristown’s case, this meant the town’s connection to George Washington. While Commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, Washington had selected Morristown as one of his headquarters – so why shouldn’t the United Nations do the same? 

Potts had a long fascination with Morristown’s place in the American Revolution, and he had been a leader in designating the Continental Army’s winter camp site, Jockey Hollow, as a national historical park.  As powerful as these association were, the mayor also had an eye on a future that would include new connections between his town and the world beyond its boundaries. A civil engineer by training, he was leading Morristown toward construction of a new airport. And as a commuter with an office in Manhattan, he could make a convincing case for his town as just the right choice for diplomats who desired a site convenient to the city but out of its direct influence. The people of Morristown agreed in a Town Meeting, where they voted 500 to 18 in favor of their mayor’s proposal.

Read the entire post here.