- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Yost, Charles Woodruff
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Charles W. Yost Papers
- Public Policy Papers
- Permanent URL:
- 1790-2015 (mostly 1930-1980)
- 25 boxes
- Storage Note:
- Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-25
Charles W. Yost (1907-1981) led a varied career as a diplomat, United Nations representative, writer, and scholar. He was a member of the foreign service intermittently between 1930 and 1971, after which time he devoted himself full-time to writing and teaching. Yost's papers document his professional life in the Foreign Service, as well as his time in academia, and include his correspondence, writings, and photographs.
Collection Description & Creator Information
Yost's papers document his professional life in the Foreign Service, as well as his time in academia, and include his correspondence, writings, and photographs. The papers document Yost's service as ambassador to the United Nations, as well as his work in Europe and Asia in several diplomatic posts, notably in Laos and the Middle East.
Please see the series descriptions in the contents list for additional information about individual series.
- Collection Creator Biography:
Charles W. Yost (1907-1981) led a varied career as a diplomat, United Nations representative, writer, and scholar. He was a member of the foreign service intermittently between 1930 and 1971, after which time he devoted himself full-time to writing and teaching. Yost served in Egypt, Poland, Thailand, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Greece, France, Laos, Syria, and Morocco.
Charles Woodruff Yost was born in Watertown, New York, on November 6, 1907. Prior to attending Princeton University, he traveled throughout Europe and was interviewed by his local newspaper, The Watertown Daily Times. After graduating from Princeton University in 1928, he traveled to Paris to complete post-graduate work.
Yost joined the Foreign Service in 1930, serving first in Alexandria, Egypt as a consular officer and then in Poland. He left the Foreign Service in 1933 to pursue a career as a freelance foreign correspondent in Europe. In 1935, he rejoined the State Department in Washington, D.C., becoming assistant chief of the Division of Arms and Munitions Control. In 1941, he represented the State Department on the Policy Committee of the Board of Economic Warfare. Yost was appointed Assistant Chief of Special Research in 1942 and assistant chief of the Division of Foreign Activity Correlation in 1943. In February 1944, he became executive secretary of the Department of State Policy Committee. He attended the Dumbarton Oaks Conference from August to October 1944, the United Nations Organization Conference in San Francisco in April 1945, and the Potsdam Conference in July 1945.
In late 1945, Yost was named chargè d'affaires to Thailand. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, he served in Czechoslovakia, Austria and Greece, all countries under political pressure from the Soviet Union. In 1954, he was named minister to Laos and became the first United States ambassador to that nation. In 1957, he was the minister counselor, or second-in-command, of the American Embassy in Paris. At the end of that year, he was named ambassador to Syria. Shortly after his appointment, Syria and Egypt formed the United Arab Republic. Yost was named ambassador to Morocco in 1958.
In 1961, he began his first assignment at the United Nations as the deputy to Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson. Following Stevenson's death in 1965, Yost stayed on as Arthur Goldberg's deputy. Yost obtained the rank of career ambassador, the highest professional Foreign Service rank, before resigning from the Foreign Service in 1966 to begin his career as a writer and teacher on foreign affairs.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon nominated Yost as the permanent United States Representative to the United Nations. He advised the President and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on relationships with the Middle East, the Soviet Union, Southern Africa, and arms control. He resigned in 1971 and returned to writing and teaching.
Yost set forth his views in a syndicated newspaper column and in four books: The Age Of Triumph And Frustration: Modern Dialogues (New York: R. Speller, 1964), The Insecurity of Nations (New York: Published for the Council on Foreign Relations [by] Praeger, 1968), The Conduct and Misconduct of Foreign Relations (New York: Random House, 1972), and History and Memory (New York: Norton, 1980). He also taught at the Columbia University School of International Affairs and Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He gave speeches throughout his career, offering his perspective on the Middle East, Southern Africa, China, and the Soviet Union.
In 1979, Yost was co-chairman of Americans for SALT II, a group that lobbied the Senate for passage of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. He was a trustee of the American University in Cairo, Egypt and director of the Aspen Institute for cultural exchanges with Iran. He also took part in several unofficial conferences between the United States and Soviet scholars. In 1973, he was named head of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and visited the People's Republic of China in 1973 and 1977.
Yost died of cancer in May 1981 at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
The collection was a gift from Yost's son, Nicholas C. Yost in 2002 (Accession ML2002-11). Additional gifts were received from Yost's daughter, Felicity Yost, from 2005 through 2015 (Accessions ML.2005.007, ML.2006.012, ML.2007.028, ML.2008.015, ML.2009.001, ML.2014.001, ML.2014.014, ML.2014.021, ML.2015.012, and ML.2018.021).
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No appraisal information is available.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Laura J. Szymanski in 2003. Finding aid written by Laura J. Szymanski in 2003. Material was arranged into series at this time. Additions were integrated into the collection, and finding aid revised, by Adriane Hanson in 2008. Subsequent accession was added to the collection and a file list added to the finding aid by Regine Heberlein in January 22, 2010. Series 6 and Series 7 were added by Rachel Van Unen in 2014-2015. Series 8 was added by Phoebe Nobles in 2018.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Collection is open for research use.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.
- Special Requirements for Access:
There are audiocassettes, CDs, DVDs, a VHS tape, and a film reel located throughout the collection. Access to this material follows the Mudd Manuscript Library policy for preservation and access to audiovisual materials.
- Credit this material:
Charles W. Yost Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Subject Terms:
- Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Austria.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Czechoslovakia.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Egypt.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- France.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Greece.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Laos.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Morocco.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Poland.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Siam.
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Syria.
Diplomatic and consular service, American.
- Genre Terms:
- United States. Foreign Service
Yost, Charles Woodruff
- United States -- Foreign relations -- China.
United States -- Foreign Relations -- Middle East.
United States -- Foreign relations -- Soviet Union.