W. Averell Harriman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

W. Averell Harriman
William Averell Harriman.jpg
48th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1955 – December 31, 1958
LieutenantGeorge DeLuca
Preceded byThomas E. Dewey
Succeeded byNelson A. Rockefeller
11th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
October 7, 1946 – April 22, 1948
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byHenry A. Wallace
Succeeded byCharles Sawyer
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
April 30, 1946 – October 1, 1946
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byJohn G. Winant
Succeeded byLewis W. Douglas
United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union
In office
October 23, 1943 – January 24, 1946
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Preceded byWilliam H. Standley
Succeeded byWalter Bedell Smith
Personal details
BornWilliam Averell Harriman
(1891-11-15)November 15, 1891
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 26, 1986(1986-07-26) (aged 94)
Yorktown Heights, New York, U.S.
Resting placeArden Farm Graveyard in Arden, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (until 1928)
Democratic (1928–1986)
Spouse(s)Kitty Lanier Lawrance (m. 1915–1929, divorced)
Marie Norton Whitney (m. 1930–1970, her death)
Pamela Beryl Digby Churchill Hayward (m. 1971–1986, his death)
ChildrenMary Williamson Harriman
Kathleen Lanier Harriman Mortimer
Alma materYale University
Signature
 
Jump to: navigation, search
W. Averell Harriman
William Averell Harriman.jpg
48th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1955 – December 31, 1958
LieutenantGeorge DeLuca
Preceded byThomas E. Dewey
Succeeded byNelson A. Rockefeller
11th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
October 7, 1946 – April 22, 1948
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byHenry A. Wallace
Succeeded byCharles Sawyer
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
April 30, 1946 – October 1, 1946
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byJohn G. Winant
Succeeded byLewis W. Douglas
United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union
In office
October 23, 1943 – January 24, 1946
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Preceded byWilliam H. Standley
Succeeded byWalter Bedell Smith
Personal details
BornWilliam Averell Harriman
(1891-11-15)November 15, 1891
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 26, 1986(1986-07-26) (aged 94)
Yorktown Heights, New York, U.S.
Resting placeArden Farm Graveyard in Arden, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (until 1928)
Democratic (1928–1986)
Spouse(s)Kitty Lanier Lawrance (m. 1915–1929, divorced)
Marie Norton Whitney (m. 1930–1970, her death)
Pamela Beryl Digby Churchill Hayward (m. 1971–1986, his death)
ChildrenMary Williamson Harriman
Kathleen Lanier Harriman Mortimer
Alma materYale University
Signature

William Averell Harriman (November 15, 1891 – July 26, 1986) was an American Democratic Party politician, businessman, and diplomat. He was the son of railroad baron E. H. Harriman. He served as Secretary of Commerce under President Harry S. Truman and later as the 48th Governor of New York. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952, and again in 1956 when he was endorsed by President Truman but lost to Adlai Stevenson both times. Harriman served President Franklin D. Roosevelt as special envoy to Europe and served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and U.S. Ambassador to Britain. He served in numerous U.S. diplomatic assignments in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was a core member of the group of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men".

Early life[edit]

Better known as Averell Harriman, he was born in New York City, the son of railroad baron Edward Henry Harriman and the former Mary Williamson Averell, and the brother of E. Roland Harriman. Harriman was a close friend of Hall Roosevelt, the brother of Eleanor Roosevelt.

During the summer of 1899, Harriman's father organized the Harriman Alaska Expedition, a philanthropic-scientific survey of coastal Alaska and Russia that attracted 25 of the leading scientific, naturalist, and artist luminaries of the day, including John Muir, John Burroughs, George Bird Grinnell, C. Hart Merriam, Grove Karl Gilbert, and Edward Curtis, along with 100 family members and staff, aboard the steamship George Elder. Young Harriman would have his first introduction to Russia, a nation on which he would spend a significant amount of attention in his later life in public service.

He attended Groton School in Massachusetts before going on to Yale where he joined the Skull and Bones society.[1]:127,150–1 He graduated in 1913. After graduating, he inherited the largest fortune in America and became Yale's youngest Crew coach.

Marriages[edit]

His first marriage, some two years out of Yale, was to Kitty Lanier Lawrance, with whom he had two daughters, one of whom was Kathleen Lanier Harriman (1917–2011).[2] He divorced her in 1928, and about a year later he married Marie Norton Whitney, who had left her husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, to marry him. They remained married until her death in 1970. Kitty Lawrance Harriman died in 1936.

His third and final marriage was in 1971 to Pamela Beryl Digby Churchill Hayward, the former wife of Winston Churchill's son Randolph, and widow of Broadway producer Leland Hayward.

Business affairs[edit]

Using money from his father he established W.A. Harriman & Co banking business in 1922. In 1927 his brother Roland joined the business and the name was changed to Harriman Brothers & Company. In 1931, it merged with Brown Bros. & Co. to create the highly successful Wall Street firm Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. Notable employees included George Herbert Walker and his son-in-law Prescott Bush.

Harriman's main properties included Brown Brothers & Harriman & Co, Union Pacific Railroad, Merchant Shipping Corporation, and venture capital investments that included the Polaroid Corporation. Harriman's associated properties included the Southern Pacific Railroad (including the Central Pacific Railroad), Illinois Central Railroad, Wells Fargo & Co., the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., American Ship & Commerce, Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Aktiengesellschaft (HAPAG), the American Hawaiian Steamship Co., United American Lines, the Guaranty Trust Company, and the Union Banking Corporation.

He served as Chairman of The Business Council, then known as the Business Advisory Council for the United States Department of Commerce in 1937 and 1939.[3]

Thoroughbred racing[edit]

Following the death of August Belmont, Jr., in 1924, Harriman, George Walker, and Joseph E. Widener purchased much of Belmont's thoroughbred breeding stock. Harriman raced under the name of Arden Farms. Among his horses, Chance Play won the 1927 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He also raced in partnership with Walker under the name Log Cabin Stable before buying him out. U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee Louis Feustel, trainer of Man o' War, trained the Log Cabin horses until 1926.[4] Of the partnership's successful runners purchased from the August Belmont estate, Ladkin is best remembered for defeating the European star Epinard in the International Special.

War seizures controversy[edit]

Harriman served as Senior Partner of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. and Harriman Bank was the main Wall Street connection for German companies and the varied U.S. financial interests of Fritz Thyssen; the latter an early financial backer of the Nazi party until 1938 when in 1939 he had fled Germany and was bitterly denouncing Adolf Hitler. The Trading With the Enemy Act (enacted October 6, 1917)[5] classified any business transactions for profit with enemy nations illegal and subject to the seizure by the U.S. government. The declaration of war on the U.S. by Hitler led to the U.S. government order on October 20, 1942 to seize German interests in the U.S. which involved Harriman operations in New York City.

The Harriman business interests seized under the act in October and November 1942 included:[citation needed]

The assets were held by the government for the duration of the war, then returned afterward; UBC was dissolved in 1951.

World War II diplomacy[edit]

W. Averell Harriman (center) with Winston Churchill (right) and Vyacheslav Molotov (left)

Beginning in the spring of 1941, he served President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a special envoy to Europe and helped coordinate the Lend-Lease program. He was present at the meeting between FDR and Winston Churchill at Placentia Bay, in August 1941, which yielded the Atlantic Charter, a common declaration of principles of the United States and the UK. He was subsequently dispatched to Moscow to negotiate the terms of the Lend-Lease agreement with the Soviet Union. His promise of $1 billion in aid technically exceeded his brief. Determined to win over the doubtful American public, he used his own funds to purchase time on CBS radio to explain the program in terms of enlightened self-interest. This skepticism lifted with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.[6]

On November 25, 1941 (twelve days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), he noted that "The United States Navy is shooting the Germans—German submarines and aircraft at sea".[7]

In the summer of 1942, Harriman accompanied Churchill to Moscow for a second meeting with Stalin. His able assistance in explaining why the western allies were opening a second front in North Africa instead of France earned him the post of U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1943.[6]

At the Tehran Conference in late 1943 Harriman was tasked with placating a suspicious Churchill while Roosevelt attempted to gain the confidence of Stalin. This conference made the divisions between the United States and Britain about the postwar world clearer. Churchill was intent on carving the postwar world into spheres of influence while the United States upheld the principles of self-determination laid out in the Atlantic Charter. Harriman delivered the news that the spheres approach was unsatisfactory to the United States for this reason. Furthermore, if this was the driving concept behind the peace, it would give Stalin a free hand in eastern Europe.[6]

Harriman also attended the Yalta Conference where he encouraged taking a stronger line with the Soviet Union—especially on questions of Poland. After Roosevelt's death, he attended the final "Big Three" conference at Potsdam. Although the new president, Harry Truman, was receptive to his increasingly hard stance against the Soviets, the new secretary of state, James Byrnes, sidelined him. While in Berlin, he noted the tight security imposed by Soviet military authorities and the quick beginnings of a program of reparations by which the Soviets were stripping out German industry.[6]

In 1945, while Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Harriman was presented with a Trojan Horse gift. In 1952, the gift, a carved wood Great Seal of the United States, which had adorned "the ambassador's Moscow residential office" in Spaso House, was found to be bugged.[8][9]

Statesman of foreign and domestic affairs[edit]

Harriman served as ambassador to the Soviet Union until January 1946. When he returned to the United States, he worked hard to get George Kennan's Long Telegram into wide distribution.[6] Kennan's analysis, which generally lined up with Harriman's, became the cornerstone of Truman's Cold War strategy of containment.

W. Averell Harriman, American businessman

Later in 1946, he became ambassador to Britain, but he was soon appointed to become United States Secretary of Commerce under President Harry S. Truman to replace Henry A. Wallace, a critic of Truman's foreign policies. Harriman served between 1946 and 1948. He was then in Paris, where he was put in charge of the Marshall Plan, and had friendly relations with Irving Brown, a CIA agent charged of the international relations of the AFL-CIO.[10][11] Harriman was then sent to Tehran in July 1951 to mediate between Iran and Britain in the wake of the Iranian nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.[12]

In the 1954 race to succeed Republican Thomas E. Dewey as Governor of New York, Harriman defeated Dewey's protege, U.S. Senator Irving M. Ives, by a tiny margin. He served as governor for one term until Republican Nelson Rockefeller unseated him in 1958. As governor, he increased personal taxes by 11% but his tenure was dominated by his presidential ambitions. Harriman was a candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 1952, and again in 1956 when he was endorsed by Truman but lost (both times) to Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson. Harriman was generally considered to be on the left or liberal wing of the Democratic party, hence his losing out to the more moderate Stevenson.

His presidential ambitions defeated, Harriman became a widely respected elder statesman of the party. In January 1961, he was appointed Ambassador at Large in the Kennedy administration, a position he held until November, when he became Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. In December 1961, Anatoliy Golitsyn defected from the Soviet Union and accused Harriman of being a Soviet spy, but his claims were dismissed by the CIA and Harriman remained in his position until April 1963, when he became Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. He retained that position during the transition to the Johnson administration until March 1965 when he again became Ambassador at Large. He held that position for the remainder of Johnson's presidency. Harriman was the chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris peace talks on Vietnam.

Vietnamese coup d'état[edit]

Harriman is noted[according to whom?] for supporting, on behalf of the State Department, the coup against Vietnam president Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. Johnson's confession in the assassination of Diem indicated complicity on Harriman's part. The orders that ended in the deaths of Diem and his brother originated with Harriman and were carried out by Henry Cabot Lodge's military assistant.[13][14]

Harriman had a long public career and in 1960, President-elect Kennedy nominated him ambassador-at-large, to operate "with the full confidence of the president and an intimate knowledge of all aspects of United States policy." By 1963, according to Colonel William Corson, USMC, Harriman was running "Vietnam without consulting the president or the attorney general.".[15]

Kennedy suspected the loyalty of the members on his national security team. Corson said Kenny O'Donnell, JFK's appointments secretary, was convinced that the National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy, followed the orders of Harriman rather than the president. Also that O'Donnell was particularly concerned about Michael Forrestal, a young White House staffer who handled liaison on Vietnam with Harriman..[15]

The fundamental question about the murders was the sudden and unusual recall of Saigon Station Chief Jocko Richardson by an unknown authority.[citation needed] Special Operations Army officer, John Michael Dunn, was sent to Vietnam in his stead. He followed the orders of Harriman and Forrestal rather than the CIA.[15]

According to Corson, Dunn's role in the incident has never been made public but he was assigned to Ambassador Lodge for "special operations" with the authority to act without hindrance; and he was known to be have access to the coup plotters. Corson speculated that with Richardson recalled the way was clear for Dunn to freely act.[15]

Harriman died on July 26, 1986 in Yorktown Heights, New York, at the age of 94. Averell and Pamela Harriman are buried at the Arden Farm Graveyard in Arden, New York.

Awards[edit]

Harriman received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 and West Point's Sylvanus Thayer Award in 1975.

In 1973 he was interviewed in the now famous TV documentary series, The World at War, where he gives a recollection of his experiences as Roosevelt's Personal Representative in Britain along with his views on Cold War politics; in particular Poland and the Warsaw Pact; along with the exchanges he witnessed between Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin.

Summary of career[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robbins, Alexandra (2002). Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-72091-7.
  2. ^ Kathleen Mortimer, Rich and Adventurous, Dies at 93
  3. ^ The Business Council, Official website, Background
  4. ^ http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70F11FF34591B7A93C7A8178CD85F428285F9
  5. ^ Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917
  6. ^ a b c d e Cathal J. Nolan, Notable U.S. ambassadors since 1775: a biographical dictionary, 137-143.
  7. ^ Flynn, John. The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor (October 1945)
  8. ^ The Great Seal
  9. ^ http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r101:FLD001:E53490,E53490 INTRODUCTION TO 'EMBASSY MOSCOW: ATTITUDES AND ERRORS' – (BY HENRY J. HYDE, REPUBLICAN OF ILLINOIS) (Extension of Remarks - October 26, 1988) page [E3490]
  10. ^ Harry Kelber, "AFL-CIO's Dark Past", 22 November 2004, on laboreducator.org
  11. ^ Frédéric Charpier, La CIA en France. 60 ans d'ingérence dans les affaires françaises, Seuil, 2008, p. 40–43. See also Les belles aventures de la CIA en France, 8 January 2008, Bakchich.
  12. ^ http://www.bibliothecapersica.com/articles/v12f1/v12f1011.html
  13. ^ http://www.whitehousetapes.org/clips/1963_1104_jfk_vietnam_memoir.html
  14. ^ http://www.whitehousetapes.org/clips/1966_0201_lbj_mccarthy_vietnam.html
  15. ^ a b c d "The Secret History of the CIA." Joseph Trento. 2001, Prima Publishing. pp. 334–335.

Primary sources[edit]

External links[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas E. Dewey
Governor of New York
1955 – 1958
Succeeded by
Nelson Rockefeller
Government offices
Preceded by
Walter P. McConaughy
Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs
December 4, 1961 – April 3, 1963
Succeeded by
Roger Hilsman
Awards
Preceded by
Robert Daniel Murphy
Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient
1975
Succeeded by
Gordon Gray