Biography and History

Allen W. Dulles (1893-1969), though a diplomat and lawyer, was renowned for his role in shaping United States intelligence operations, including the longest service as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Born in Watertown, New York, and a Princeton University graduate (BA, Class of 1914; MA 1916), Dulles was the nephew of Robert Lansing, Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State, and attended the peace negotiations to end the First World War as a member of the American Commission. During his stint in the diplomatic corps, he served in Vienna (1916), Berne (1917), Berlin (1919) and Constantinople (1920) before becoming Division Chief for Near Eastern Affairs (1922). While serving in Washington, D.C., Dulles studied law at night at George Washington University. In 1925, he served as an American delegate to the International Conference on Arms Traffic in Geneva. After earning his LL.D in1926, Dulles joined the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, where his brother John Foster was a managing partner. But Dulles did not practice law so much as utilize his knowledge of government processes and officials to assist the firm's corporate clients conduct business. (In fact, Dulles would not pass the bar until 1928.) However, diplomacy would always be Dulles's primary interest and in 1927, he spent six months in Geneva as legal adviser to the Naval Armament Conference.

In New York, Dulles joined the Council on Foreign Relations, eventually was named a director and enjoyed the friendship of fellow Princetonian Hamilton Fish Armstrong ‘16, the editor of the Council's journal, Foreign Affairs. Together they authored two books ( Can We Be Neutral? (1936) and Can America Stay Neutral? (1939)). He also continued to serve the United States government in diplomatic capacities, including representing the United States at a League of Nations arms conference in 1932-1933.

During the Second World War, Dulles took a step that changed his life and ultimately American history. He joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the intelligence service, serving as chief of the Bern, Switzerland office. From there he established himself as a highly successful intelligence gatherer and operator, penetrating the German Foreign Ministry Office as well as the “July 1944” anti-Hitler conspirators. He also played a role in the events that led to the surrender of the German Army in northern Italy.

In 1948, Dulles's reputation led to his being named chairman of an intelligence review committee that faulted the organization of the then fledgling Central Intelligence Agency. In 1950, he was named Deputy Director of Plans of the CIA, the covert operations arm of the agency; in 1951 he became the number two person in the organization. After Eisenhower's election in Nov 1952, Dulles was appointed to the CIA's directorship. His brother, John Foster Dulles, served as Eisenhower's Secretary of State, and the two men would work closely during their joint service.

The CIA under Dulles's leadership established the dual policy of collecting intelligence through a wide variety of means, as well as taking direct action against perceived threats. In the former category fell such notable achievements as the U-2 spy plane program, the cooptation of Soviet Lieutenant General Pyotr Popov, and the tapping of a sensitive East Berlin phone junction by tunneling under the Berlin Wall.

The CIA's efforts in the area of direct action during Dulles tenure were notable for both their successes and failures. CIA operatives orchestrated the overthrow of the government of Iran in 1953 and Jacob Arbenz's regime in Guatemala in 1954. However, efforts to oust Castro from Cuba following his rise to power consisted of a serious of failures culminating in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. Though John F. Kennedy had asked Dulles to remain at CIA, after the invasion and the political fallout, Dulles, already past retirement age, resigned.

In retirement, Allen Dulles wrote books (including two autobiographical works) about his career in intelligence and appeared on numerous television programs to discuss foreign policy. He was called to public service once again, in 1963, when he was named to the Warren Commission. His connection to the CIA and its activities in Cuba would fuel later speculation about possible government complicity in Kennedy's assassination.

Dulles married Martha Clover Todd (known as Clover) of Baltimore, Maryland in 1920. She died in 1974. They had three children, Clover Todd (known as Toddy), Joan, and Allen Macy. Dulles's son sustained a near-fatal head wound while serving with the Marines in Korea, relegating him to supervised care for life.

Source: From the finding aid for MC019

Biography and History

Allen W. Dulles (1893-1969), though a diplomat and lawyer, was renowned for his role in shaping United States intelligence operations, including the longest service as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Born in Watertown, New York, and a Princeton University graduate (BA, Class of 1914; MA 1916), Dulles was the nephew of Robert Lansing, Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State, and attended the peace negotiations to end the First World War as a member of the American Commission. During his stint in the diplomatic corps, he served in Vienna (1916), Berne (1917), Berlin (1919) and Constantinople (1920) before becoming Division Chief for Near Eastern Affairs (1922). While serving in Washington, D.C., Dulles studied law at night at George Washington University. In 1925, he served as an American delegate to the International Conference on Arms Traffic in Geneva. After earning his LL.D in 1926, Dulles joined the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, where his brother John Foster was a managing partner. But Dulles did not practice law so much as utilize his knowledge of government processes and officials to assist the firm's corporate clients conduct business. (In fact, Dulles would not pass the bar until 1928.) However, diplomacy would always be Dulles's primary interest and in 1927, he spent six months in Geneva as legal adviser to the Naval Armament Conference.

In New York, Dulles joined the Council on Foreign Relations, eventually was named a director and enjoyed the friendship of fellow Princetonian Hamilton Fish Armstrong ‘16, the editor of the Council's journal, Foreign Affairs. Together they authored two books ( Can We Be Neutral? (1936) and Can America Stay Neutral? (1939)). He also continued to serve the United States government in diplomatic capacities, including representing the United States at a League of Nations arms conference in 1932-1933.

During the Second World War, Dulles took a step that changed his life and ultimately American history. He joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the intelligence service, serving as chief of the Bern, Switzerland office. From there he established himself as a highly successful intelligence gatherer and operator, penetrating the German Foreign Ministry Office as well as the “July 1944” anti-Hitler conspirators. He also played a role in the events that led to the surrender of the German Army in northern Italy.

In 1948, Dulles's reputation led to his being named chairman of an intelligence review committee that faulted the organization of the then fledgling Central Intelligence Agency. In 1950, he was named Deputy Director of Plans of the CIA, the covert operations arm of the agency; in 1951 he became the number two person in the organization. After Eisenhower's election in Nov 1952, Dulles was appointed to the CIA's directorship. His brother, John Foster Dulles, served as Eisenhower's Secretary of State, and the two men would work closely during their joint service.

The CIA under Dulles's leadership established the dual policy of collecting intelligence through a wide variety of means, as well as taking direct action against perceived threats. In the former category fell such notable achievements as the U-2 spy plane program, the cooptation of Soviet Lieutenant General Pyotr Popov, and the tapping of a sensitive East Berlin phone junction by tunneling under the Berlin Wall.

The CIA's efforts in the area of direct action during Dulles tenure were notable for both their successes and failures. CIA operatives orchestrated the overthrow of the government of Iran in 1953 and Jacob Arbenz's regime in Guatemala in 1954. However, efforts to oust Castro from Cuba following his rise to power consisted of a serious of failures culminating in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. Though John F. Kennedy had asked Dulles to remain at CIA, after the invasion and the political fallout, Dulles, already past retirement age, resigned.

In retirement, Allen Dulles wrote books (including two autobiographical works) about his career in intelligence and appeared on numerous television programs to discuss foreign policy. He was called to public service once again, in 1963, when he was named to the Warren Commission. His connection to the CIA and its activities in Cuba would fuel later speculation about possible government complicity in Kennedy's assassination.

Dulles married Martha Clover Todd (known as Clover) of Baltimore, Maryland in 1920. She died in 1974. They had three children, Clover Todd (known as Toddy), Joan, and Allen Macy. Dulles's son sustained a near-fatal head wound while serving with the Marines in Korea, relegating him to supervised care for life.

Source: From the finding aid for MC019.09

Occupations

  • Intelligence officers -- United States -- 20th century..
  • Hamilton Fish Armstrong Papers. 1893-1973 (inclusive), 1916-1973 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC002

    The Hamilton Fish Armstrong Papers consist of correspondence, notebooks, memoranda, material from 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization, writings especially in relation to Peace and Counterpeace and Tito and Goliath, diaries, scrapbooks, and photographs. The papers document Armstrong's career as editor of Foreign Affairs, his participation in the activities of the Council on Foreign Relations, and his professional involvement and interest in foreign policy from World War I through the 1970s. Included is correspondence with many well known political and literary figures of the time period. Some materials of a personal nature are included but the bulk of the papers relates to Armstrong's professional life. The papers also document Armstrong's participation in many philanthropic activities associated with Yugoslavia.

  • Allen W. Dulles Papers. 1845-1971 (inclusive), 1918-1969 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC019

    The Allen W. Dulles Papers contains correspondence, speeches, writings, and photographs documenting the life of this lawyer, diplomat, businessman, and spy. One of the longest-serving directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (1953-1961), he also served in a key intelligence post in Bern, Switzerland during World War II, as well as on the Warren Commission.

  • Allen W. Dulles Papers. 1845-1971 (inclusive), 1918-1969 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC019

    The Allen W. Dulles Papers contains correspondence, speeches, writings, and photographs documenting the life of this lawyer, diplomat, businessman, and spy. One of the longest-serving directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (1953-1961), he also served in a key intelligence post in Bern, Switzerland during World War II, as well as on the Warren Commission.

  • Allen W. Dulles Papers: Digital Files Series. 1939-1977 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC019.09

    Allen W. Dulles (1893-1969), though a diplomat and lawyer, was renowned for his role in shaping United States intelligence operations, including the longest service as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The Allen W. Dulles Digital Files contain scanned images of professional correspondence, reports, lectures, and administrative papers, declassified and released by the CIA in 2007. The collection spans Dulles's time as Chief of the Office of Strategic Services office in Bern, Switzerland during World War II, his work at the Central Intelligence Agency, and his retirement.

  • Philip G. Strong Collection on Espionage. 1776-1970 (inclusive), 1930-1965 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC129

    Consists mainly of printed matter collected by Strong (Princeton Class of 1922) relating to the field of strategic and scientific intelligence and espionage.

  • Lyman B. Kirkpatrick Papers. circa 1933-2000 (inclusive), 1942-1982 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC209

    Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr. served with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from its inception in 1947 until 1965. The papers document Kirkpatrick's career at the CIA, including his role as inspector general during the Bay of Pigs invasion, as well as his service in the U.S. Army and Office of Strategic Services during World War II, and his time as a professor of political science at Brown University.

  • Peter Grose Papers. 1942-1999 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC227

    Peter Grose is an editor and specialist on the history of intelligence. The Peter Grose Papers document Grose's research on Allen Dulles and the Soviet Union.

  • Allen Macy Dulles Papers. 1940-2008 (inclusive), 1946-1961 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC232

    Allen Macy Dulles, son of Clover Todd and Allen Welsh Dulles, was a student of history and politics with plans for a career in public service until he sustained a serious injury in the Korean War. The collection consists of correspondence between family members prior to and following Allen Macy Dulles' injury as a Marine lieutenant in the Korean War.