Dean Gooderham Acheson (pronounced /ˈætʃɪsən/; April 11, 1893 – October 12, 1971) was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War. Acheson helped design the Marshall Plan and was a key player in the development of the Truman Doctrine and creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Acheson's most famous decision was convincing President Truman to intervene in the Korean War in June 1950. He also persuaded Truman to dispatch aid and advisors to French forces in Indochina, though in 1968 he finally counseled President Lyndon B. Johnson to negotiate for peace with North Vietnam. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy called upon Acheson for advice, bringing him into the executive committee (ExComm), a strategic advisory group.
In the late 1940s Acheson came under heavy attack for his defense of State Department employees accused during the anti-gay Lavender and anti-Communist Red Scare investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy and others, and over Truman's policy toward China.
|51st United States Secretary of State|
January 21, 1949 – January 20, 1953
|President||Harry S. Truman|
|Preceded by||George Marshall|
|Succeeded by||John Foster Dulles|
|United States Under Secretary of State|
August 16, 1945 – June 30, 1947
|President||Harry S. Truman|
|Preceded by||Joseph Grew|
|Succeeded by||Robert A. Lovett|
|Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations and International Conferences|
December 20, 1944 – August 15, 1945
|President||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
Harry S. Truman
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Ernest A. Gross (Legislative Affairs)|
Dean Rusk (International Organization Affairs)
Dean Gooderham Acheson
April 11, 1893
Middletown, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||October 12, 1971 (aged 78)|
Sandy Spring, Maryland, U.S.
|Resting place||Oak Hill Cemetery|
Alice Stanley (m. 1917)
|Children||3, including David|
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
Harvard University (LLB)
|Branch/service||United States National Guard|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Dean Gooderham Acheson was born in Middletown, Connecticut on April 11, 1893. His father, Edward Campion Acheson, was an English-born Canadian (immigrated to Canada in 1881) who, after serving in The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada during the North-West Rebellion of 1885, became a Church of England priest after graduating from Wycliffe College and moved to the U.S. eventually becoming an Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut. His mother, Eleanor Gertrude (Gooderham), was a Canadian-born descendant of William Gooderham, Sr. (1790–1881), a founder of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery of Toronto. Like his father, Acheson was a staunch Democrat and opponent of prohibition.
Acheson attended Groton School and Yale College (1912–1915), where he joined Scroll and Key Society, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi chapter). At Groton and Yale he had the reputation of a partier and prankster; he was somewhat aloof but still popular with his classmates. Acheson's well-known, reputed arrogance—he disdained the curriculum at Yale as focusing on memorizing subjects already known or not worth knowing more about—was apparent early. At Harvard Law School from 1915 to 1918, however, he was swept away by the intellect of professor Felix Frankfurter and finished fifth in his class.
On May 15, 1917, while serving in the National Guard, Acheson married Alice Caroline Stanley (August 12, 1895 – January 20, 1996). She loved painting and politics and served as a stabilizing influence throughout their enduring marriage; they had three children: David Campion Acheson, Jane Acheson Brown and Mary Eleanor Acheson Bundy.
On July 25, 1918, Acheson was commissioned as an ensign in the Naval Reserve and served with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service until he was released from active duty on December 31 of the same year.
At that time, a new tradition of bright law students clerking for the U.S. Supreme Court had been begun by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, for whom Acheson clerked for two terms from 1919 to 1921. Frankfurter and Brandeis were close associates, and future Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter suggested that Brandeis take on Acheson.
Throughout his long career, Acheson displayed:
A lifelong Democrat, Acheson worked at a law firm in Washington D.C., Covington & Burling, often dealing with international legal issues before Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him Undersecretary of the Treasury in March 1933. When Secretary William H. Woodin fell ill, Acheson suddenly found himself acting secretary despite his ignorance of finance. Because of his opposition to FDR's plan to deflate the dollar by controlling gold prices (thus creating inflation), he was forced to resign in November 1933 and resumed his law practice. In 1939–1940 he headed a committee to study the operation of administrative bureaus in the federal government.
Brought back as assistant secretary of state on February 1, 1941, Acheson implemented much of United States economic policy aiding Great Britain and harming the Axis Powers. Acheson implemented the Lend-Lease policy that helped re-arm Great Britain and the American/British/Dutch oil embargo that cut off 95 percent of Japanese oil supplies and escalated the crisis with Japan in 1941. Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets merely to disconcert them. He did not intend the flow of oil to Japan to cease. The president then departed Washington for Newfoundland to meet with Churchill. While he was gone Acheson used those frozen assets to deny Japan oil. Upon the president's return, he decided it would appear weak and appeasing to reverse the de facto oil embargo.
In 1944, Acheson attended the Bretton Woods Conference as the head delegate from the State department. At this conference the post-war international economic structure was designed. The conference was the birthplace of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the last of which would evolve into the World Trade Organization.
Later, in 1945, Harry S. Truman selected Acheson as his Undersecretary of United States Department of State; he retained this position working under Secretaries of State Edward Stettinius, Jr., James F. Byrnes, and George Marshall. And, as late as 1945 or 1946 Acheson sought détente with the Soviet Union. In 1946, as chairman of a special committee to prepare a plan for the international control of atomic energy, he wrote the Acheson–Lilienthal report. At first Acheson was conciliatory towards Joseph Stalin.
The Soviet Union's attempts at regional hegemony in Eastern Europe and in Southwest Asia, however, changed Acheson's thinking. From this point forward, one historian writes, "Achezon was more than 'present at the creation' of the Cold War; he was a primary architect." Acheson often found himself acting Secretary during the Secretary's frequent overseas trips, and during this period he cemented a close relationship with President Truman. Acheson devised the policy and wrote Truman's 1947 request to Congress for aid to Greece and Turkey, a speech which stressed the dangers of totalitarianism rather than Soviet aggression and marked the fundamental change in American foreign policy that became known as the Truman Doctrine. Acheson designed the economic aid program to Europe that became known as the Marshall Plan. Acheson believed the best way to contain Stalin's Communism and prevent future European conflict was to restore economic prosperity to Western Europe, to encourage interstate cooperation there, and to help the U.S. economy by making its trading partners richer.
In 1949, Acheson was appointed Secretary of State. In this position he built a working framework for containment, first formulated by George Kennan, who served as the head of Acheson's Policy Planning Staff. Acheson was the main designer of the military alliance NATO, and signed the pact for the United States. The formation of NATO was a dramatic departure from historic American foreign policy goals of avoiding any "entangling alliances."
During the summer of 1949, after the unexpected Democratic victory in the 1948 elections did not quiet the question "Who Lost China?", Acheson had the State Department produce a study of recent Sino-American relations. The document known officially as United States Relations with China with Special Reference to the Period 1944–1949, which later was simply called the China White Paper, attempted to dismiss any misinterpretations of Chinese and American diplomacy toward each other. Published during the height of Mao Zedong's takeover, the 1,054 page document argued that American intervention in China was doomed to failure. Although Acheson and Truman had hoped that the study would dispel rumors and conjecture, the paper helped to convince many critics that the administration had indeed failed to check the spread of communism in China.
Acheson's speech on January 12, 1950, before the National Press Club did not mention the Korea Peninsula and Formosa (Taiwan) as part of the all-important "defense perimeter" of the United States. Since the war in Korea broke out on June 25, just a few months later, critics, especially in South Korea, took Acheson's statements to mean that the United States support for the new Syngman Rhee government in South Korea would be limited and that the speech provided Joseph Stalin and Kim Il-sung with a "green light" to believe the U.S. would not intervene if they invaded the South. As Soviet archives opened in the 1980s, however, research found that the speech had little if any impact on Communist deliberations.
With the Communist takeover of mainland China in 1949, that country switched from a close friend of the U.S. to a bitter enemy—the two powers were at war in Korea by 1950. Critics blamed Acheson for what they called the "loss of China" and launched several years of organized opposition to Acheson's tenure; Acheson ridiculed his opponents and called this period in his outspoken memoirs "The Attack of the Primitives". Although he maintained his role as a firm anti-communist, he was attacked by various anti-communists for not taking a more active role in attacking communism abroad and domestically, rather than hew to his policy of containment of communist expansion. Both he and Secretary of Defense George Marshall came under attack from men such as Joseph McCarthy; Acheson became a byword to some Americans, who tried to equate containment with appeasement. Congressman Richard Nixon, who later as president would call on Acheson for advice, ridiculed "Acheson's College of Cowardly Communist Containment". This criticism grew very loud after Acheson refused to "turn his back on Alger Hiss" when the latter was accused of being a Communist spy, and convicted of perjury for denying he was a spy.
He retired on January 20, 1953, the last day of the Truman administration, and served on the Yale Board of Trustees along with Senator Robert A. Taft, one of his sharpest critics. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1955.
Acheson returned to his private law practice. Although his official governmental career was over, his influence was not. He was ignored by the Eisenhower administration but headed up Democratic Policy Groups in the late 1950s. Much of President John F. Kennedy's flexible response policies came from the position papers drawn up by this group.
Acheson's law offices were strategically located a few blocks from the White House and he accomplished much out of office. He became an unofficial advisor to the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, he was dispatched by Kennedy to France to brief French President Charles de Gaulle and gain his support for the United States blockade. Acheson so strongly opposed the final decision merely to blockade that he resigned from the Executive Committee.
During the 1960s, he was a leading member of a bipartisan group of establishment elders known as The Wise Men, who initially supported the Vietnam War. A Secretary of State, Acheson supported the French efforts to control Indochina as the necessary priced for French support for NATO, and to contain communism. By 1968, however, his viewpoint a change. President Johnson asked Atchison to reassess American military policy, and he decided that military victory was impossible. He advised Johnson to pull out as quickly as possible, to avoid a deepening division inside the Democratic Party. Johnson took Atchison's advice, in terms of de-escalating the war, and deciding not to run for reelection. Atchison distrusted Hubert Humphrey, and supported Richard Nixon for president in 1968. He provided advice to the Nixon administration through Henry Kissinger, focusing on NATO and on African affairs. He broke with Nixon in 1970 with the incursion into Cambodia.
In 1964, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with Distinction. In 1970, he won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his memoirs of his tenure in the State Department, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department. The Modern Library placed the book at #47 on its top 100 non-fiction books of the 20th century.
At 6:00 p.m. on October 12, 1971, Acheson died of a massive stroke, at his farm home in Sandy Spring, Maryland, at the age of 78. His body was found slumped over his desk in his study. Acheson was interred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, Washington, DC.
|Presentation by James Chace on Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World, September 16, 1998, C-SPAN|
|New office|| Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations and International Conferences
Ernest A. Gross
as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
| United States Under Secretary of State
Robert A. Lovett
| United States Secretary of State
John Foster Dulles
Acheson may refer to:
Acheson, Alberta, a locality and industrial area in Alberta, Canada
Acheson (surname), people with the surname Acheson
Acheson Irvine (1837-1916), Canadian policeman
Dean Acheson (1893–1971), American statesman
Edward Goodrich Acheson (1856-1931), American chemist
Acheson Industries Inc., US companyAcheson–Lilienthal Report
The Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy was written by a committee chaired by Dean Acheson and David Lilienthal in 1946 and is generally known as the Acheson–Lilienthal Report or Plan. The report was an important American document that appeared just before the start of the early Cold War. It proposed the international control of nuclear weapons and the avoidance of future nuclear warfare. As American distrust of Stalin grew, the Report was simply ignored. A version was vetoed by the USSR at the UN.Adrian S. Fisher
Adrian Sanford Fisher (January 21, 1914 – March 18, 1983) was an American lawyer and federal public servant, who served from the late 1930s through the early 1980s. He was associated with the Department of War and Department of State throughout his professional career. He participated in the U.S. government's decision to carry out Japanese-American internment and the international (1945–46) Nuremberg trial, and in State Department Cold War activities during the Harry S. Truman administration. He was the State Department Legal Adviser under Secretary of State Dean Acheson. During the John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter administrations, Fisher was directly involved in the negotiations of international nuclear testing and non-proliferation agreements.Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy
The Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy was a secretive committee created on February 12, 1942, to prepare recommendations for President Franklin D. Roosevelt on post World War II foreign policy. Predecessors included the similar Advisory Committee on Problems of Foreign Relations and the Division of Special Research. It was created by Secretary of State Cordell Hull at the suggestion of his assistant Leo Pasvolsky and Norman Davis of the Council on Foreign Relations. The committee appointed subcommittees on political problems, economic reconstruction, territorial matters, legal questions and the creation of an international organization, all under the direction of Pasvolsky. After four sessions, the main committee disbanded, Hull preferring to rely on the smaller subcommittees.
Chairman of the committee was Secretary of State Cordell Hull; vice chairman, Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, Dr. Leo Pasvolsky (director of the Division of Special Research) was appointed Executive Officer. The committee included Dean Acheson, Esther C. Brunauer, Lauchlin Currie, Laurence Duggan, Herbert Feis, Alger Hiss, Harry Hawkins, Philip Jessup, Archibald MacLeish, Charles W. Yost, George C. Marshall, Henry Wadleigh, Henry Agard Wallace, and Harry Dexter White.
Several experts were brought in from outside the State Department, mostly members of the Council on Foreign Relations such as Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Isaiah Bowman, Benjamin V. Cohen, Norman H. Davis, Anne O'Hare McCormick, James T. Shotwell and Myron Taylor. The international organizations subcommittee, the Special Subcommittee on International Organization included Welles, Bowman, Pasvolsky, Cohen, Shotwell, Notter, Green Hackworth, the State Department legal adviser and later Clark Eichelberger of the League of Nations Association, and eventually produced a draft charter of a new international organization. The economic policy subcommittee was led by Dean Acheson, and the economic reconstruction subcommittee by Adolph Berle.
From March 1942, the committee was supplied with research secretaries by the Council on Foreign Relations' War and Peace Studies project, with each subcommittee being served by the secretary of a corresponding Council study group. Meetings were scheduled to allow secretaries to carry out Council work during the first half of each week with the remainder of the week spent at the State Department.In early 1943, as the committee declined in importance, much of its work was taken over by the Informal Political Agenda Group composed of Hull, Welles, Taylor, Davis, Bowman and Pasvolsky.Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
The Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs is the head of the Bureau of Legislative Affairs within the United States Department of State.Baruch Plan
The Baruch Plan was a proposal by the United States government, written largely by Bernard Baruch but based on the Acheson–Lilienthal Report, to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) during its first meeting in June 1946. The United States, Great Britain and Canada called for an international organization to regulate atomic energy and President Truman responded by asking Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson and David E. Lilienthal to draw up a plan. Baruch's version of the proposal was rejected by the Soviet Union, who feared the plan would preserve the American nuclear monopoly. Its collapse led to the beginning of the Cold War arms race.Bruce Russett
Bruce Martin Russett (born 1935) is Dean Acheson Professor of Political Science and Professor in International and Area Studies, MacMillan Center, Yale University, and edited the Journal of Conflict Resolution from 1972 to 2009.Carlisle H. Humelsine
Carlisle Hubbard Humelsine (1915–1989) graduated from the University of Maryland in 1937. During World War II, he reached the rank of full colonel at 29, earning the Distinguished Service Medal and the Bronze Star. Following the war, he spent six years at the State Department, serving four secretaries of state including Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles. In 1958, he began a 27-year tenure as president, then chairman, of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Under his leadership, Williamsburg became one of America’s most popular historical attractions. Humelsine was chairman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and a trustee for the National Geographic Society, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution.
In 2004, Virginia Route 199, in Williamsburg, Virginia was renamed the "Humelsine Parkway" in honor of Carlisle Humelsine.China White Paper
The China White Paper is the common name for United States Relations with China, with Special Reference to the Period 1944-1949, published in August 1949 by the United States Department of State in response to public concern about the impending victory of Chinese Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War. Secretary of State Dean Acheson directed his staff to prepare it in order to answer critics of American policy who blamed the adminstration for the "Loss of China".The volume was reprinted in 1968 by Stanford University Press as The China White Paper, with an Introduction by Lyman P. Van Slyke. This edition corrects some sixty typographical errors and adds an index. Volume I is available online at the Internet Archive.David Acheson
David Acheson may refer to:
David Acheson (mathematician) (born 1946), British applied mathematician
David Campion Acheson (1921−2018), American attorney, lawyer and son of former United States Secretary of State Dean AchesonDavid Campion Acheson
David Campion Acheson (November 4, 1921 – August 16, 2018) was an American attorney. Son of onetime United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson, he worked for the United States Atomic Energy Commission and served as an assistant to former Treasury Secretary Henry H. Fowler.Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley (born December 14, 1960) is an American author, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and professor of history at Rice University. Brinkley is the history commentator for CNN, and a contributing editor to the magazine Vanity Fair. He is a public spokesperson on conservation issues. He joined the faculty of Rice University as a professor of history in 2007.Eleanor D. Acheson
Eleanor "Eldie" Dean Acheson (born 1947) is an American lawyer who served as Assistant Attorney General of the United States for the Office of Policy Development as part of the Clinton Administration.John S. Service
John Stewart Service (3 August 1909 – 3 February 1999) was an American diplomat who served in the Foreign Service in China prior to and during World War II. Considered one of the State Department's "China Hands," he was an important member of the Dixie Mission to Yan'an. Service correctly predicted that the Communists would defeat the Nationalists in a civil war: he and other diplomats were blamed for the "loss" of China in the domestic political turmoil following the 1949 Communist triumph in China. In June 1945, Service was arrested in the Amerasia Affair in 1945. The prosecution sought an indictment for espionage, but a federal grand jury unanimously declined to indict him. In 1950 U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy launched an attack against Service, which led to investigations of the reports Service wrote while stationed in China. Secretary of State Dean Acheson fired Service. In 1957 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement in a unanimous decision, finding that Acheson's action had been illegal because "it violated Regulations of the Department of State which were binding on the Secretary." Service was cleared by numerous loyalty boards. Only a final one suggested there was "reasonable doubt" as to his loyalty. It was this opinion that forced Dean Acheson to dismiss him.Marshall D. Shulman
Marshall Darrow Shulman(b. 1916 - died June 21, 2007), born in Jersey City, NJ, was a scholar of Soviet studies and the founding director of W. Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union at Columbia University.
Mr. Shulman earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, a graduate degree in English Literature from Harvard University, and a master's degree from Columbia University's Russian Institute. He served as an information officer for the U.S. mission to the U.N., as special assistant to Dean Acheson, and as special advisor on Soviet affairs to Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance. He was also an associate director of the Russian Research Center at Harvard University.Occupation statute
The Occupation Statute of Germany (German: Besatzungsstatut) of April 10, 1949 specified the roles and responsibilities of the newly created German government and the Allied High Commission in West Germany. It was drawn up by American, British, and French representatives and was in force until the Treaties of Paris (1954) came into force on May 5, 1955.
The statute's authors were United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Ernest Bevin, and the French Prime Minister Robert Schuman, who deliberated for eight days in intensive conferences in Washington, DC. It gave Germany conditional sovereignty and admitted it into the Marshall Plan organization as an equal partner. The Allies retained the right to keep occupational forces in the country and complete control over disarmament, demilitarization, related fields of scientific research, war reparations, the Ruhr, decartelization, displaced persons and refugees, protection, prestige and security of the occupying forces, foreign affairs, and foreign trade and exchange.The Allies' representatives asked the Parliamentary council drafting a constitution to accept the statute. Although it met resistance from the SPD, the council accepted the Occupation Statute.Present at the Creation
Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department is a memoir by US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, published by W. W. Norton in 1969, which won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for History.Project FF
Project FF or Fat Fucker was a Central Intelligence Agency project in Egypt, aimed at pressuring King Farouk into political reforms. The project was masterminded by CIA Director Allen Dulles, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, CIA operative Kermit "Kim" Roosevelt Jr., and CIA Station Chief in Cairo Miles Copeland, Jr.Historian Matthew F. Holland wrote: "Kim's idea was to orchestrate 'peaceful revolution' in Egypt to replace the corrupt political system in Egypt with a progressive dictatorship under the king that would be more amenable to American control. Copeland had unofficially named the operation 'Project FF', the 'FF' unflattering standing for 'fat Fucker'."
However, due to the unwillingness of Farouk to change, the project moved to support his overthrow, and Roosevelt secretly met with the Free Officers Movement, which overthrew Farouk in a coup d'état led by General Mohammed Naguib and Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser on 23 July 1952.United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
The Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, in the United States government, advises and assists the Secretary of the Treasury in the supervision and direction of the Department of the Treasury and its activities, and succeeds the secretary in his absence, sickness, or unavailability. The deputy secretary plays a primary role in the formulation and execution of Treasury policies and programs in all aspects of the department's activities.
In addition, the deputy secretary is the only official other than the secretary who can sign a Treasury Order, which is a document that delegates authority residing in the secretary or deputy secretary to another Treasury official, establishes Treasury policy, and establishes the reporting relationships and supervision of officials. Former Deputy Secretaries include Roger Altman, Lawrence Summers, Stuart E. Eizenstat, Kenneth W. Dam, and Samuel W. Bodman.The office of deputy secretary is the successor of the "Under Secretary of the Treasury", the former chief deputy to the secretary. Today, several officials hold the title of "Under Secretary" of the Treasury. Among those who served as under secretary when it was the number-two position in the department include Dean Acheson, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., John W. Hanes II, and O. Max Gardner (1946–47).The current Deputy Secretary is Justin Muzinich. President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Muzinich on March 13, 2018. The nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 55-44.
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