Dillon, C. Douglas (Clarence Douglas), 1909-2003

Alternative names
Birth 1909-08-21
Death 2003-01-10

Biographical notes:

Clarence Douglas Dillon, born while his parents were traveling in Geneva, Switzerland on August 21, 1909, pursued a varied career of investment banking, public service and diplomacy, including service in three presidential administrations. Educated at Groton school in Groton, Massachusetts, Dillon graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1931. After briefly joining his father''s Wall Street investment firm, Dillon, Read and Co., Dillon joined the New York Stock exchange. Dillon left the stock exchange in 1936, becoming a director of the United States and Foreign Security Corporation and the International Security Corporation. He later returned to his father''s firm as a vice-president and director in 1938. Dillon served in the United States Navy during World War II; commissioned as an ensign in the Naval Reserve in 1941, he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander, earning the air medal and the Legion of Merit for his work as a naval air officer in Guam, Saipan and the Philippines. After being discharged in 1946, Dillon returned to his position of director at the United States and Foreign Security Operation and became chairman of the board at Dillon, Read and Co. It was at this time that Dillon, a life-long republican, first became active in politics. After supporting Thomas Dewey in the failed 1948 bid for the presidency, Dillon was an early supporter of Dwight Eisenhower in his successful 1952 presidential campaign. In 1953, Eisenhower appointed Dillon ambassador to France, a position he held until 1957. Upon his return to the United States, Dillon served in the State Department as Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs from 1958 to 1959 and as Undersecretary of State from 1959 to 1961. While in the State Department, Dillon coordinated both the economic and security aspects of the Mutual Security Program, fostering the military and nonmilitary strength of U.S. allies. Despite Dillon''s support for Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy disregarded party lines and asked Dillon to serve as Secretary of the Treasury in 1961. While Secretary of the Treasury, Dillon worked closely with the Bureau of the Budget and the Council of Economic advisors and sought to foster economic growth through domestic tax cuts and international free trade. One of Kennedy''s most influential economic advisors, Dillon was also involved in the creation of the Alliance for Progress and helped promote the anti-tariff Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Dillon remained as Secretary of the Treasury for the first sixteen months of the Johnson administration and left government service in 1965, returning to his position as president and director of the United States and Foreign Securities Corporation and the United States and International Securities Corporation. Throughout the remainder of his life, Dillon held leadership positions in a range of organizations, including president of the Board of Overseers at Harvard College from 1968 to 1982, chairman of the Brookings Institution from 1970 to 1976, chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1972 to 1975 and chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from 1978 to 1983. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush presented Dillon with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, noting that "the brilliant achievements of Douglas Dillon raise the nobility of public service to new heights" and praising him for his commitment "to promote social development" and "his fellow man." Dillon passed away at the age of ninety-three on January 10, 2003.

From the description of Dillon, C. Douglas (Clarence Douglas), 1909-2003 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10679489

Investment company executive, museum trustee; New York, N.Y. Born 1909, Geneva, Switzerland. Full name Clarence Douglas Dillon, but for most of his career known as Douglas Dillon.

From the description of Oral history interview with Douglas Dillon, 1993 June 23-Nov. 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78529772

Government official, financier.

From the description of Reminiscences of Clarence Douglas Dillon : oral history, 1972. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122513165


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  • Museums--Trustees--interviews
  • Government executives--Interviews
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  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)