Bullitt, William C. (William Christian), 1891-1967Alternative names
William Christian Bullitt (b. Jan. 25, 1891, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-d. Feb. 1967), was Ambassador to the U.S.S.R. from 1933 to 1936, and to France from 1936 to 1941. He was ambassador at large in 1941 and 1942, and special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy in 1942 and 1943. He began his career at the State Department in 1917 where he also served as an attaché to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace at the end of World War I. In 1944 he joined the French Army and was a major in the infantry. He received both French and American decorations including the Croix de Guerre.
From the description of Bullitt, William C. (William Christian), 1891-1967 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10570284
American diplomat, journalist and novelist.
From the description of William C. Bullitt letter, 1939 Aug. 27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 435680981
American diplomat. Assistant in State Dept. 1917-18; U.S. ambassador to Russia (1933-36); and to France 1936-41), at large (1941-42) and special assistant to Secretary of Navy (1942).
From the description of William Christian Bullitt microfilm collection, 1916-1951 [microform]. (US Army, Mil Hist Institute). WorldCat record id: 22569006
William Christian Bullitt, Jr., was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 25, 1891. He graduated from Yale in 1913 and joined the staff of the Philadelphia Ledger in 1915. Starting in 1917, he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of State and attach ̌to the American Commission to Negotiate the Peace at the Paris Peace Conference. In 1919, Bullitt undertook a secret mission to Russia to investigate conditions there. After divorcing his first wife, Aimě Ernesta Drinker, he married Louise Bryant in 1923 and they had a daughter Anne in 1924. He returned to government service in 1933 again as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of State and helped to negotiate U.S. recognition of the Soviet Union. Bullitt served as ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1933 to 1936 and as ambassador to France from 1936 to 1940, during which he developed a close relationship with Franklin Roosevelt. After the war, Bullitt spent nine years as a journalist writing for Life, Reader's Digest, Time, and Look magazines, mainly about the threat of communism. During his life, Bullitt was also the author of It's Not Done (1926) and The Great Globe Itself (1946) and co-authored Thomas Woodrow Wilson: A Psychology Study (1966) with Sigmund Freud. He died in Neuilly, France, on February 15, 1967.
From the description of William C. Bullitt papers, 1813-1998 (inclusive), 1909-1967 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702153733
William Christian Bullitt, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 25, 1891. He was the first child of the wealthy lawyer William Christian Bullitt Sr. and his wife Louisa Horwitz Bullitt. Bullitt attended the DeLancy prepatory school before enrolling at Yale University. He joined the Class of 1912, but a year's absence due to illness delayed his graduation until 1913 (Phi Beta Kappa, Townsend Debating Prize, Scroll and Key Society, Dramatic Association, Yale Daily News . He attended Harvard Law School for less than a year and left after his father died in 1914. For the second half of 1914, he traveled extensively throughout Europe including Germany, Russia, France, and Great Britain. Returning to Philadelphia, he joined the staff of the Philadelphia Ledger where he rose to the positions of Washington correspondent, associate editor, and foreign correspondent. In 1915, he accompanied Henry Ford's peace expedition to Europe and gained recognition for his reporting on Ford's efforts to facilitate a peace settlement. The following year Bullitt married Aimée Ernesta Drinker of Philadelphia.
Bullitt began his career as a diplomat in December 1917 when he joined the State Department as a special assistant to the secretary. There he was appointed chief of the Bureau of Central European Information, which produced weekly intelligence reports on the European powers. In December 1918, he sailed to France to serve as an attaché to the American Commission to Negotiate the Peace and chief of the Division of Current Intelligence at the Paris Peace Conference. Under instructions from Secretary of State Robert Lansing, Bullitt undertook a secret mission to Russia in February 1919 to investigate conditions there, accompanied by the journalist Lincoln Steffens. After the mission, Bullitt grew critical of President Wilson's plans for a post-war peace settlement, resigned from the State Department, and testified against the Treaty of Versailles before the Senate.
From 1919 to 1933, William Bullitt withdrew from government service. In 1921, he was managing editor for the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation in New York City. He spent the rest of this period writing and traveling, splitting his time between his farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Paris, Turkey, and various tours through Europe. In addition to a number of unpublished plays, short stories, and a screenplay, Bullitt published a satirical novel It's Not Done (1926) about upperclass society in Philadelphia and wrote another novel "The Divine Wisdom" which was never published. Sometime after meeting Sigmund Freud in the mid-1920s, Bullitt began a collaboration with the doctor to write a psychological analysis of Woodrow Wilson. By 1932, the book manuscript was finished, but it would remain unpublished until 1966. After divorcing Aimée Ernesta Drinker, he married the journalist Louise Bryant in 1923 who gave birth to their daughter Anne Moen Bullitt the following year. In 1930, Bullitt divorced Bryant and won sole custody of Anne.
After the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bullitt returned to the State Department in 1933 as a special assistant to the secretary. He served as the executive officer for the American delegation to the London Monetary and Economic Conference of 1933 and assisted with negotiations for American diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union, meeting repeatedly with the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Maxim Litvinov. In November 1933, Roosevelt appointed Bullitt the first U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and he arrived in Moscow to a warm welcome by Soviet leaders. During his time in Moscow, Bullitt established the embassy and mentored a later generation of American Soviet experts including George F. Kennan and Loy W. Henderson, who served on the embassy staff. Relations with the Soviets cooled quickly and Bullitt found himself virtually ignored by Stalin's government. In August 1936, Bullitt became the ambassador to France and established extraordinarily close and cordial relations with French leaders. As tensions mounted in Europe in the late 1930s, Bullitt regularly reported directly to Roosevelt on developments in France and its neighbors. When the Germans invaded France and the government fled Paris for Bourdeaux, Bullitt remained behind and, because of his popularity with the French, was appointed provisional mayor of Paris until the Germans occupied the city. He returned to the United States in July 1940 to advocate American intervention in the war, giving a widely publicized speech at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.
Unsuccessful at securing a higher office in the Roosevelt administration, Bullitt held the position of ambassador-at-large in 1941. Early in 1942, Roosevelt sent him to North Africa and the Middle East on a fact-finding mission. In June 1942, he took the position of special assistant to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. There he wrote several long memoranda for Roosevelt advising the president on plans for the post-war peace settlement and warning of the threat the Soviet Union and international communism continued to pose. In the early 1940s, Bullitt was also urging Roosevelt to dismiss the Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles because of Welles's homosexuality. Welles resigned in 1943. In August 1943, Bullitt left the Roosevelt administration to run as the Democratic Party candidate for the mayor of Philadelphia, but lost in the general election. Frustrated in his attempts to join the American armed forces, Bullitt served as a commandant and aide to General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny in the Free French Armed Forces until the end of the war.
Bullitt spent the next nine years as a journalist and writer on current affairs. The major theme of his writing was the danger of communism. In his 1946 book The Great Globe Itself, he criticized Roosevelt's policies toward the Soviet Union which Bullitt viewed as surrendering large parts of the world including Eastern Europe to Stalin's communist dictatorship. Bullitt wrote articles for Life, Reader's Digest, Time, and Look magazines, most based on his visits to Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, India, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. He had especially close ties to Taiwan including a friendship with Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek and a house he maintained there in the early 1950s. In 1948, the Joint Congressional Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation requested his assistance as a consultant to write a report on the Economic Cooperation Agency and American aid to China. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Bullitt primarily concerned himself with his family and friends, his farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts, and his other private business interests. He died of leukemia in Neuilly, France, on February 15, 1967.
Will Brownell and Richard N. Billings, So Close to Greatness: A Biography of William C. Bullitt (New York: Macmillan, 1987).
From the guide to the William C. Bullitt papers, 1813-1998, 1909-1967, (Manuscripts and Archives)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|World War, 1939-1945|
|Diplomatic and consular service, American|
|World War, 1914-1918|
|World War, 1939-1945--Diplomatic history|
|World War, 1914-1918--Peace|