WILLIAM AVERELL HARRIMAN (November 15, 1891 – July 26, 1986) was an
American Democratic politician, businessman, and diplomat. The son of
E. H. Harriman
After attending Groton School and Yale University , where he joined Skulp and Bones, where he made contacts that let to creation of a banking firm that eventually merged into Brown Brothers Harriman ">:127,150–1 He graduated in 1913. After graduating, he inherited the largest fortune in America and became Yale's youngest Crew coach.
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
Brown Bros. & Co.
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 ),
The Harriman business interests seized under the act in October and November 1942 included:
* Union Banking Corporation (UBC) (from Thyssen and Brown Brothers Harriman ) * Holland-American Trading Corporation (from Harriman) * Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation (from Harriman) * Silesian-American Corporation (this company was partially owned by a German entity; during the war the Germans tried to take full control of Silesian-American. In response to that, the American government seized German-owned minority shares in the company, leaving the U.S. partners to carry on the portion of the business in the United States.)
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
Beginning in the spring of 1941, Harriman 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
On November 25, 1941 (twelve days before the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor ), he noted that "The
United States Navy
In the summer of 1942, Harriman accompanied Churchill to the Moscow
Conference to explain to Stalin why the western allies were carrying
out operations in North Africa instead of opening the promised second
front in France. Harriman was appointed as United States Ambassador to
At the Tehran Conference in late 1943 Harriman was tasked with placating a suspicious Churchill while Roosevelt attempted to gain the confidence of Stalin. The conference highlighted the divisions between the United States and Britain about the postwar world. Churchill was intent on maintaining Britain's empire and carving the postwar world into spheres of influence while the United States upheld the principles of self-determination as laid out in the Atlantic Charter. Harriman mistrusted the Soviet leader's motives and intentions and opposed the spheres approach as it would give Stalin a free hand in eastern Europe.
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 Harriman's anti-Soviet hard line advice, the new secretary of state, James Byrnes , managed to sideline him. While in Berlin, he noted the tight security imposed by Soviet military authorities and the beginnings of a program of reparations by which the Soviets were stripping out German industry.
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 .
STATESMAN OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC AFFAIRS
1963 South Vietnamese coup
Harriman served as ambassador to the
From April to October 1946, he was ambassador to Britain , but he was
soon appointed to become
United States Secretary of Commerce under
Harry S. Truman to replace
Henry A. Wallace , a critic of
Truman's foreign policies. In 1948, he was put in charge of the
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
Despite the failure of his presidential ambitions, 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. During this period he advocated U.S.
support of a neutral government in
VIETNAMESE COUP D\'éTAT
President-elect Kennedy appointed Harriman as ambassador-at-large, to operate "with the full confidence of the president and an intimate knowledge of all aspects of United States policy." But by 1963, Kennedy had come to suspect the loyalty of certain members on his national security team. According to Colonel William Corson, USMC, by 1963 Harriman was running "Vietnam without consulting the president or the attorney general.". 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. Corson also claimed that O'Donnell was particularly concerned about Michael Forrestal , a young White House staffer who handled liaison on Vietnam with Harriman.
Harriman certainly supported the coup against the South Vietnam
Ngo Dinh Diem
Harriman received the
Presidential Medal of Freedom
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
Harriman was appointed senior member of the US Delegation to the
United Nations General Assembly's
His first marriage, two years after graduating from Yale, was to Kitty Lanier Lawrence. Lawrence was the great-granddaughter of James Lanier , a co-founder of Winslow, Lanier & Co. , and the granddaughter of Charles D. Lanier (1837-1926), a close friend of Pierpont Morgan Before their divorce in 1928, and her death in 1936, Harriman and Lawrence had two daughters together:
* Mary Averell Harriman (1917-1996), who married Dr. Shirley C. Fisk
* Kathleen Lanier Harriman (1917–2011), who married Stanley Grafton Mortimer Jr. (1913–1999), who had previously been married to socialite Babe Paley (1915-1978)
About a year after his divorce from Lawrence, he married Marie Norton
Whitney (1903–1970), who had left her husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt
Whitney , to marry him. On their honeymoon in Europe, they purchased
oil paintings by
In 1971, he married for the third and final time to Pamela Beryl Digby Churchill Hayward (1920–1997), the former wife of Winston Churchill 's son Randolph , and widow of Broadway producer Leland Hayward . In 1993, she became the 58th United States Ambassador to France .
Harriman died on July 26, 1986 in
Yorktown Heights, New York
LEGACY AND HONORS
External video Forum on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Harriman, hosted by the Library of Congress, November 14, 1991. Participants include James H. Billington, McGeorge Bundy, Richard C. Holbrooke, Marshall Shulman, and Cyrus Vance.
* The Harriman Hall at
Stony Brook University was named in his
W. Averell Harriman State Office Building Campus
For the state park in New York named after his parents, see Harriman
State Park (New York) . Harriman State Park is a state park in eastern
Idaho, United States. It is located on an 11,000-acre (45 km2)
wildlife refuge in the
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and is home to an
abundance of elk , moose , sandhill cranes , trumpeter swans , and the
occasional black or grizzly bear . Two-thirds of the trumpeter swans
that winter in the contiguous United States spend the season in
Harriman State Park. The land was deeded to
SUMMARY OF CAREER
* Vice President,
Union Pacific Railroad Co., 1915–17
Illinois Central Railroad Co., 1915–46
Palisades Interstate Park Commission
* ^ 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 .
* ^ The Business Council, Official website, Background Archived
March 3, 2016, at the
Wayback Machine .
Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917
* ^ A B C D E Cathal J. Nolan, Notable U.S. ambassadors since 1775:
a biographical dictionary, 137-143.
* ^ Flynn, John . The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor (October 1945)
* ^ "National Cryptologic Museum - NSA/CSS". nsa.gov.
* ^ "Congressional Record - 101st Congress (1989-1990) - THOMAS
(Library of Congress)". loc.gov. (INTRODUCTION TO 'EMBASSY MOSCOW:
ATTITUDES AND ERRORS' – (BY HENRY J. HYDE, REPUBLICAN OF ILLINOIS)
(Extension of Remarks - October 26, 1988) page )
* ^ Harry Kelber, "AFL-CIO\'s Dark Past", 22 November 2004, on
* ^ Frédéric Charpier , La