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Manuscripts by Subject - Family / Local History - #11142

Title: Floyd Boutrous

Dates: 1955-2003

Collection Number: 11142

Quantity: 1.5 feet

Abstract: Papers consist primarily of materials collected by Floyd Boutrous from the February 22, 1955 visit by General Alfred M. Gruenther, Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, Europe, to North Dakota to promote The Crusade for Freedom. General Gruenther spoke in front of the North Dakota House of Representatives and at a ND Crusade for Freedom event at the Apple Creek Country Club. Boutrous was the Chairman of the ND Crusade for Freedom, and was on the General Gruenther Committee. Papers also include miscellaneous items of Boutrous’. The Floyd Boutrous Papers (MSS 21040) were added to the collection in April 2013 and a 2003 oral interview was added in October 2013. 

Provenance: The papers were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Brandon Hartleid on January 17, 2013. Hartleid purchased the papers from the Gary Hier estate.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements are needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.   

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Related Collections:  
MSS 11035 Clarence Norman Brunsdale Papers, photograph 11035-07-10
31888 Governors’ Office, Edward T. Schafer Records
                               
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH, FLOYD BOUTROUS
From Boutrous’ obituary in the Bismarck Tribune, March 3, 2010

Floyd Nick Boutrous, 93, Bismarck, died March 2, 2010, at a Mandan nursing home. A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 4, at St. George Episcopal Church, Bismarck, with the Rev. Michael Horn officiating. Interment will be held at a later date in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bismarck.

Floyd was born Jan. 30, 1917, at Bismarck, to Attas and Della (Nassif) Boutrous both born in Syria and among the first from that country to settle in the Bismarck area. Not unlike many from his home country, Attas Boutrous began covering the territory as a peddler, moving from small town to small town, and from farm to farm, selling the wares of the day — food, pots and pans and medicines. Eventually, the family opened “The Corner Grocery” in Bismarck at the corner of Third Street and Avenue A — the same site in which Boutrous maintained his small office. The structure today is 20 feet wide and 60 feet long, much larger than the original size of grocery store — 16 feet by 30 feet. “It was all groceries — from bottom to top and it was business done a different way. Back then, it was neighborhood grocery stores. There weren’t any supermarkets and lots of credit was extended. The greatest lessons Boutrous ever learned came from that tiny family store. “His parents said the biggest honor you can ever have is to be an American citizen. That’s what Floyd always believed and that’s how he wanted to be remembered.” Floyd graduated from Bismarck High School in 1934. He married Dian Erickson on July 12, 1960, in Las Vegas. She died unexpectedly on Aug. 29, 1990, at the age of 50.

In addition to the family business background, there was another important element in Boutrous’ life — The Attiyeh Society — the extended Lebanese family organization whose motto is “God Bless America.”

It was in the early 1950s that Boutrous accepted the position of Chairman of the North Dakota Crusade for Freedom — an organization committed to “carry the truth behind the Iron Curtain and give new hope and faith to the 70 million enslaved people.” He accepted the post for three reasons, he thought it was a good cause; and he hadn’t served in the military during the WWII and with the background of his parents, he thought he should help his country.”

He also served on the board of Radio Free Europe, an independent American enterprise of private citizens. In 1959, Boutrous himself was honored as being part of an entourage of Radio Free Europe representatives who traveled to Munich, Germany. Boutrous was there when hundreds of helium-filled balloons containing “anti-communist leaflets” were launched to residents of Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania and other Iron Curtain countries. In Berlin, he delivered an address on Radio Free Europe—a moment he regarded as one of the “big honors of his life.” One of Boutrous’ prime projects recently has been the promotion of Constitution Week in North Dakota each September.

Floyd is survived by five sons and two daughters-in-law; Dr. Attas II (Maria), Bismarck, Allan, Berkeley, Calif., F. Nick, Bismarck, Steven (Stella), Berkeley, and Michael, Bismarck; six grandchildren; one brother, James, Fort Collins, Colo.; and two sisters, Lorna Michaelson, Minneapolis, and Sylvia, Trent, N.J. He was preceded in death by his parents, Attas and Della, who taught him that “the luckiest person in the world is an American Citizen,”; his beloved wife, Dian; three brothers, Thomas, George and Theodore; and one sister, Florence Nemer.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH, GENERAL ALFRED M. GRUENTHER
Allied Command Operations (ACO), 2012
Accessed online at http://www.aco.nato.int/page615131237.aspx

In July of 1953 the President of the United States appointed General Alfred Gruenther to become the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. General Gruenther had long experience in the Alliance, having begun with the early planning group and continued through the first two SACEURs. He had joined the organization before SHAPE existed, and was tasked, as the director of the Advanced Planning Group at the Hotel Astoria in Paris, to organize a headquarters and NATP military structure. Upon its activation by General Eisenhower on 2 April 1951, Gen. Gruenther was the logical choice to be the first Chief of Staff of SHAPE.

He served as the chief of Staff for both General Eisenhower, an old World War II comrade and for General Ridgway, Ike's successor. He had actually been Ike's choice as his successor, but the President and NATO council had agreed upon Ridgway. Less well known than his two predecessors, Gruenther was highly talented and, working in conjunction with the first DSACEUR, Field Marshal Montgomery, did much to improve Allied Command Europe.

When appointed SACUER, General Gruenther was the youngest four star general in the US Army. He was known as an officer who could assimilate and organize masses of information, converting the whole into clear operational plans. His sense of informality inspired the SHAPE staff and was in great measure responsible for the harmony among SHAPE officers in carrying out their tasks.

He was famous for sending little notes, called “Grunnions,” that dealt with details to be looked into. He also occasionally “Gruetherized” the staff, which meant he queried someone intensely in order to refine something more clearly. He was also known to send “Gruenther-grams”, or short but detailed memos, to the staff to provide guidance.

He felt that NATO's defensive concept was one of U.S. nuclear weapons that formed a ‘sword' and a necessary conventional ‘shield' that would make that nuclear retaliation one of last resort. Another member joined the Alliance in 1955 – Germany. General Gruenther strongly promoted the addition of German forces into the military structure as an important element of the ‘shield'.

He campaigned vigorously for German integration into NATO's force structure against some significant opposition and reluctance by some of the allies. Gruenther succeeded and with the new German armed force integrated into Allied Command Europe, the conventional defense of the Alliance was significantly enhanced.

Some of General Gruenther's other achievements as SACUER were: a new approach that improved basic Allied planning; improved infrastructure planning and programming; the initiation of a coordinated air defense system in NATO Europe; and the introduction of improved communications systems into the Alliance's command and control environment.

General Gruenther had the same zeal as General Eisenhower in his desire to promote NATO and he continued a personal public information campaign throughout his tenure. In 1955, for example, Gruenther made numerous speeches outside the headquarters and spoke to hundreds of visitor groups. His message was always ‘Unity!' His speaking style was careful but casual and he never used a prepared speech.

By December of 1955 General Gruenther had decided to retire. He announced his retirement in April 1956.

General Gruenther was a native of Nebraska who graduated fourth in his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Pont in 1918. He served in numerous peacetime assignments through 1941. In August 1942 he was appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff for the new Allied Force Headquarters in London, where his boss was General Eisenhower. Later he served as Chief of Staff of the 15th Army Group in Italy. After the war, he served as Director of the Joint Staff of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Before assuming duties as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans for the US Army. It was from this position that he was sent to Paris as chief of the Advanced Planning Group in January 1951.

After SHAPE, General Gruenther went on to become the President of the American Red Cross.

BOX / FOLDER INVENTORY

Box 1:
1 Leather binder with an image of General Alfred M. Gruenther, Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, Europe

2 Materials removed from binder:
- Program from the ND Crusade for Freedom event at the Apple Creek Country Club, Feb. 22, 1955
- Gruenther’s place card and February 22, 1955 Journal of the ND House with text of presentation by Gruenther
- Telegram to Boutrous from Henry Ford and telegram to Governor Brunsdale from President Eisenhower relating to Gruenther’s ND visit, ca. Feb. 22, 1955
- Tickets to the reserved section, House Chamber Balcony for the Inaugural Ceremony, ca. February 22, 1955
- Letter to Boutrous from Al Gruenther, 1962
- Boutrous’ business card for Sunset Terrace Plaza, Inc. (Boutrous was President), n.d.
Items from former MSS collection 21040
- Pledge form for We the People of the United States Foundation during Constitution Week, ca. 1987
- “Support Constitution week” informational cards, ca. 1992-2000
- Informational brochure about Constitution week, ca. 1992-2000
- Constitution week programs, Bismarck (ND) events, 1993 and 2001
- “The Liberty Bell: An American Icon” brochure regarding the history of the Liberty Bell and the loan of the North Dakota bell to Century High School by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, n.d.
- Oral History interview of Boutrous conducted by Lotte Bailey on August 29, 2003.  Consists of two audio cassette tapes.

(oversize)           
Bismarck Tribune "Liberty for All" constitution week issue, September 2003
Publishers' Quarterly, North Dakota Newspaper Association, vol. VI, no. 1, February 2000
"To the People of North Dakota on the 200th Anniversary of the Constitution of the USA," presented by the Masonic Bodies of North Dakota
Program for Constitution Week and presentation by Floyd Boutrous, September 2000 (from the Bismarck Tribune)

3 Photographs removed from binder:
11142-001            Portrait of General Alfred M. Gruenther, ca. 1955 (U.S. Army photograph)
11142-002            Governor Brunsdale, General Gruenther and Floyd Boutrous upon Gruenther’s arrival to ND, ca. Feb. 22, 1955
11142-003            Governor Brunsdale and Floyd Boutrous greeting General Gruenther upon his arrival to ND, ca. Feb. 22, 1955 (KFYR-TV photograph)
11142-004            Norman Brunsdale with General Alfred M. Gruenther in the North Dakota House Chamber, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-005            General Gruenther and General Edwards in the ND House Chamber, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-006            Major Meile, General Gruenther, Colonel T. H. Sills, Mayor Evan Lipps, Warren Whitson, Colonel Hille, and Harold Schafer at event to promote the ND Crusade for Freedom, Apple Creek Country Club, Bismarck (ND), Feb. 22, 1955
11142-007            General Gruenther, ? Rungon, Floyd Boutrous, Colonel T. H. Sills at event to promote the ND Crusade for Freedom, Apple Creek Country Club, Bismarck (ND), Feb. 22, 1955
11142-008            General Gruenther’s airplane, ca. Feb. 22, 1955
11142-009            Governor Brunsdale, General Gruenther, Floyd Boutrous, and ? Rungon by General Gruenther’s airplane, ca. Feb. 22, 1955
11142-010            General Gruenther, General Edwards (with pipe given by Frank Zahn), Floyd Boutrous, and Governor Brunsdale in the ND House Chamber, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-011            General Gruenther with Della (Nassif) Boutrous, Floyd’s mother, ca. Feb. 22, 1955          
11142-012            ND House chamber before presentation by General Gruenther about the ND Crusade for Freedom, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-013            General Gruenther giving presentation about the ND Crusade for Freedom to the ND House, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-014            General Gruenther giving presentation about the ND Crusade for Freedom to the ND House, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-015            General Gruenther, General Edwards (with pipe given by Frank Zahn), Floyd Boutrous, and Governor Brunsdale in the ND House Chamber, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-016            Jack Swenson with General Gruenther on KFYR-TV speaking about the ND Crusade for Freedom, ca. Feb. 22, 1955 (KFYR-TV photograph)
11142-017            Judge Burke, General Gruenther, Floyd Boutrous and Governor Brunsdale at event to promote the ND Crusade for Freedom, Apple Creek Country Club, Bismarck (ND), Feb. 22, 1955
11142-018            General Gruenther giving presentation about the ND Crusade for Freedom to the ND House, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-019            Governor Brunsdale, General Gruenther, Floyd Boutrous, and ? Rungon  by General Gruenther’s airplane, ca. Feb. 22, 1955
11142-020            Unidentified at General Gruenther at event to promote the ND Crusade for Freedom, Apple Creek Country Club, Bismarck (ND), Feb. 22, 1955
11142-021            Bishop Leo F. Dworschak, General Gruenther and General H. L. Edwards at event to promote the ND Crusade for Freedom, Apple Creek Country Club, Bismarck (ND), Feb. 22, 1955 (Warren Whitson in background)
11142-022            Bishop Leo F. Dworschak, Governor Brunsdale, General Gruenther, Pamela and Harold Schafer at event to promote the ND Crusade for Freedom, Apple Creek Country Club, Bismarck (ND), February 22, 1955
11142-023            General Gruenther exiting airplane upon arrival to ND, ca. Feb. 22, 1955
11142-024            General Gruenther and General Edwards in the ND House Chamber (Floyd Boutrous in background), Feb. 22, 1955
11142-025            Frank Zahn presenting pipe to General Gruenther in the ND House Chamber, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-026            General Gruenther (with pipe given to him by Frank Zahn), General Edwards, Floyd Boutrous, and Governor Brunsdale in the ND House Chamber, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-027            Frank Zahn presenting pipe to General Gruenther in the ND House Chamber, Feb. 22, 1955
11142-028            Floyd Boutrous, General H. L. Edwards, Bishop Leo F. Dworschak, Governor Brunsdale, General Gruenther, and Harold Schafer at event to promote the ND Crusade for Freedom, Apple Creek Country Club, Bismarck (ND), Feb. 22, 1955

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