John Foster Dulles

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Person.png John Foster Dulles   Powerbase SpartacusRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(deep politician, spook, diplomat)
Washington DC, U.S.
Died1959-05-24 (Age 71)
Walter Reed Hospital, Washington DC, U.S.
Alma materPrinceton University, George Washington University
Children • Avery Dulles
• John W. F. Dulles
• Lillias Dulles Hinshaw
SpouseJanet Pomeroy Avery
Member ofAlibi Club, Council on Foreign Relations/Historical Members, Phi Beta Kappa, The Pilgrims Society
Relatives • Allen Welsh Dulles
• Eleanor Lansing Dulles
US lawyer turned deep politician, brother of Allen Dulles

Employment.png US/Secretary of State Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
January 21, 1953 - April 22, 1959
Preceded byDean AchesonH. Freeman Matthews
Succeeded byChristian Herter

Employment.png United States Senator from New York

In office
July 7, 1949 - November 8, 1949

John Foster Dulles was a lawyer for big business and United States Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. Together with his brother Allen Welsh Dulles, who led the CIA, he was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world.

Family Background

His grandfather was John Watson Foster, Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison. His uncle, Robert Lansing, was Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Woodrow Wilson.

Early Career

After attending Princeton University and George Washington University he joined the New York law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, where he specialized in international law. He tried to join the United States Army during the First World War but was rejected because of poor eyesight.

In 1918 Woodrow Wilson appointed Dulles as legal counsel to the United States delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. Afterwards he was a member of the War Reparations Committee. Dulles, a deeply religious man, attended numerous international conferences of churchmen during the 1920s and 1930s. He also became a partner in the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm.

As a partner in Sullivan & Cromwell, Dulles expanded upon his late grandfather Foster's expertise, specializing in international finance. He played a major role in designing the Dawes Plan, which reduced German reparations payments and temporarily resolved the reparations issue by having American firms lend money to German states and private companies. Under that compromise, the money was invested and the profits sent as reparations to Britain and France, which used the funds to repay their own war loans from the U.S. In the 1920s Dulles was involved in setting up a billion dollars' worth of these loans.

Dulles was a close associate of Thomas E. Dewey who became the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 1944. During the election Dulles served as Dewey's foreign policy adviser. In 1945 Dulles participated in the San Francisco Conference and worked as adviser to Arthur H. Vandenberg and helped draft the preamble to the United Nations Charter. He subsequently attended the General Assembly of the United Nations as a United States delegate in 1946, 1947 and 1950.

Secretary of State

Dulles criticized the foreign policy of the Harry S. Truman. He argued that the policy of "containment" should be replaced by a policy of a more aggressive "liberation" or "rollback", through political warfare, psychological pressure, and propaganda. When Dwight Eisenhower became president in January, 1953, he appointed Dulles as his Secretary of State.

He spent considerable time building up NATO as part of his strategy of controlling Soviet expansion by threatening massive retaliation in event of a war. In an article written for Life Magazine Dulles defined his policy of brinkmanship: "The ability to get to the verge without getting into the war is the necessary art."

On December 1958, Dulles and Dr. Milton Eisenhower attended Mexico's new president Adolfo Lopez Mateos' inauguration, where Dulles made the candid quote, "The United States of America does not have friends; it has interests"

Dulles upset non-aligned countries when on 9th June, 1955, he spelled out the US foreign policy that no independence would be allowed, that "neutrality has increasingly become an obsolete and except under very exceptional circumstances, it is an immoral and shortsighted conception."

One of his first major policy shifts towards a more aggressive position occurred in March 1953, when Dulles supported Eisenhower's decision to direct the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), then headed by his brother Allen Dulles, to draft plans to overthrow the Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran. This led directly to the coup d'état via Operation Ajax in support of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who became the Shah of Iran.

The same year Dulles participated in the instigation of a military coup by the Guatemalan army through the CIA on behalf of United Fruit Company, claiming that the democratically-elected President Jacobo Árbenz's government was veering toward communism. Dulles had previously represented the United Fruit Company as a lawyer, while his brother, CIA Director Allen Dulles, was on the company's board of directors. Thomas Dudley Cabot, former CEO of United Fruit, held positions of director of International Security Affairs in the State Department. John Moore Cabot, a brother of Thomas Dudley Cabot, was secretary of Inter-American Affairs during much of the coup planning in 1953 and 1954.

In 1956 Dulles strongly opposed the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt (October-November). However, by 1958 he was an outspoken opponent of President Gamal Abdel Nasser and stopped him from receiving weapons from the United States, favoring Israeli interests instead. This policy backfired and enabled the Soviet Union to gain influence in the Middle East.

Dulles, suffering from cancer, was forced to resign from office in April, 1959. John Foster Dulles died in Washington on 24th May, 1959.


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