Allen Welsh Dulles

Allen Welsh Dulles

Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, USA
Death 29 Jan 1969 (aged 75)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Memorial ID 305 · View Source
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US Diplomat, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director. He was the first civilian Director of the CIA and served in that position from February 1953 until November 1961, its longest-serving director as of 2014. He is considered one of the essential creators of the modern US intelligence system and was an indispensable guide to clandestine operations during the Cold War. Born one of five children in Watertown, New York where his father was a Presbyterian minister. After graduating from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey he entered the diplomatic service in 1916 and was assigned to Vienna in Austria-Hungary. Shortly before the US entered World War I in April 1917 he was transferred along with the rest of the embassy staff to Berne, Switzerland. After the end of the war, he was assigned to the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference. From 1922 until 1926, he served five years as chief of the Near East division of the Department of State. In 1926 he earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School in Washington DC and took a job at Sullivan and Cromwell, the New York City, New York firm where his brother, John Foster Dulles (who would later become President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Secretary of State), was a partner. In 1927 he became a director of the Council on Foreign Relations and was the Council's secretary from 1933 to 1944. Throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s he served as legal adviser to the delegations on arms limitation at the League of Nations. There he had the opportunity to meet with Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Maxim Litvinov, and the leaders of Britain and France. In 1935 he returned from a business trip to Germany appalled by the Nazi treatment of German Jews and, despite his brother's objections, led a movement within the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell to close their Berlin office and the firm ceased to conduct business in Nazi Germany. In 1938 he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in New York's 16th congressional district on a platform calling for the strengthening of US defenses. He collaborated with Hamilton Fish Armstrong, the editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, on two books, "Can We Be Neutral?" (1936), and "Can America Stay Neutral?" (1939). During this time he helped a number of German Jews, such as the banker Paul Kemper, escape to the US from Nazi Germany. After the US entered World War II in December 1941, he was recruited to work at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the predecessor of the CIA) and moved to Bern, Switzerland, where he remained for the duration of the war. As Swiss Director of the OSS, he worked on intelligence regarding German plans and activities, and established wide contacts with German émigrés, resistance figures, and anti-Nazi intelligence officers. He received valuable information from Fritz Kolbe, a German diplomat, who supplied secret documents regarding active German spies and plans regarding the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. While prohibited from making commitments to the plotters of the July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler, the conspirators nonetheless gave him reports on developments in Germany, including sketchy but accurate warnings of plans for Hitler's V-1 and V-2 missiles. In March 1945 he was involved in Operation Sunrise, the secret negotiations to arrange a local surrender of German forces in northern Italy. After the end of World War II in Europe, he served for six months as the OSS Berlin station chief. He then returned to the US and during the 1948 Presidential election he along with his brother, became advisors to Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey and also helped form the Office of Policy Coordination with US Secretary of Defense James Forrestal. In 1949 he co-authored the "Dulles–Jackson–Correa Report," which was sharply critical of the CIA, which had been established by the National Security Act of 1947. In 1950 CIA Director Lieutenant General Bedell Smith recruited him to oversee the agency's covert operations as Deputy Director for Plans. The same year he was promoted to Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, second in the intelligence hierarchy and following the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower as President in 1952, Smith transferred to the Department of State and he became the first civilian Director of the CIA. Under his leadership, he oversaw MK-Ultra (a top secret mind control research project managed by Sidney Gottlieb), Operation Ajax (the removal of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq), Operation PBSUCCESS (the removal of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman), Operation Mockingbird (a secret campaign by the CIA to influence media), the Lockheed U-2 "spy plane" Program, Operation 40 (an undercover operation to seize political control of Cuba), and the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco in Cuba. During the Kennedy Administration he faced increasing criticism for the CIA's involvement in overthrowing the governments of Iran and Guatemala and replacing them with brutal and corrupt regimes. Following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, he and the rest of the CIA leadership were forced to resign. In 1963 he published his book, "The Craft of Intelligence." After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as one of the members of the Warren Commission that was formed to investigate Kennedy's assassination. In 1966 Princeton University's American Whig-Cliosophic Society awarded him the James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service. He died of influenza, complicated by pneumonia, in Georgetown, Washington DC at the age of 75. He was portrayed by actor Jack Betts in the fictional film "The Commission" (2003) about the Warren Commission's investigation into the Kennedy assassination. In the film "The Good Shepherd" (2006), actor William Hurt portrays the fictional head of the CIA, Phillip Allen, who appears to be based on Dulles.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 305
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Allen Welsh Dulles (7 Apr 1893–29 Jan 1969), Find a Grave Memorial no. 305, citing Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .