Smith, Walter Bedell, 1895-1961

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Director, Central Intelligence Agency.

From the description of Typed letter signed : Washington, D.C., to John Steinbeck, 1952 Feb. 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 775807446

From the description of Typed letter signed : Washington, D.C., to Bernard Baruch, 1951 Mar. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 775806212

Walter Bedell Smith (1895-1961), soldier and diplomat, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of William Long Smith and Ida Frances Bedell, both buyers for the Pettis Dry Goods Company. While still a student at Manual Training High School, Smith decided to enter military service, and in 1910 he enlisted as a private in the Indiana National Guard. He first went on active duty during the 1913 flood in Indianapolis and in 1916 served with the Mexican border expedition. He enrolled briefly at Butler University but had to withdraw because of his father''s illness. After working as a mechanic, he was ordered back to active duty during World War I. On July 1, 1917, he married Mary Eleanor (Norrie) Cline; they had no children. In November 1917, Smith completed the officers'' training camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Officers'' Reserve Corps. He was assigned to the Thirty-ninth Infantry, Fourth Division, at Camp Greene, N.C., and on Apr. 20, 1918, sailed with the division to France. He fought with the French at ChÏteau-Thierry and in the third Battle of the Marne. After being wounded by shrapnel, Smith returned to the United States. Although he was promoted to first lieutenant (as a reserve officer on temporary active duty) in September 1918 and received a commission as first lieutenant in the Regular Army in July 1920, advancement in rank came slowly between the world wars. He was made captain in September 1929 and had to wait nearly ten years before becoming a major. Smith''s assignments during the interwar period equipped him with organizing, administrative, and planning skills crucial to managing modern warfare. He served first in Washington, D.C., with the Bureau of Military Intelligence. From there he went to staff assignments in various posts. In April 1925 he became assistant to the chief coordinator of the Bureau of the Budget and later was deputy chief coordinator and vice-chairman of the Federal Liquidation Board. He was assigned to the Forty-fifth Infantry at Fort William McKinley, in the Philippines from 1929 to 1931. Smith graduated from the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, then completed the advanced course in 1932, and remained as an instructor in weapons until August 1933. In 1935 he graduated from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kans. After teaching at the Infantry School for a year, he attended the Army War College in Washington, D.C., graduating in June 1937. After graduation he again taught at the Infantry School. While at the Infantry School, Smith captured the attention of Omar N. Bradley and George C. Marshall. Both men put Smith''s name on their lists of future leaders. In October 1939, General Marshall called Smith to Washington to aid him in building up the army. Promotions now came rapidly. Smith became a lieutenant colonel in April 1941, a colonel in August 1941, a brigadier general in February 1942, a major general in December 1942, and a lieutenant general in January 1943. Marshall made Smith assistant secretary and then, in September 1941, secretary of the General Staff. In this job Smith coordinated the work of staff agencies. The Joint Chiefs of Staff--comprising the military heads of the army, air force, and navy, and a personal representative of the president--was established early in 1942. This group, with the British military leaders, formed the Combined Chiefs of Staff, which formulated the grand strategy of the war. In February 1942 Smith was named secretary of the Joint Chiefs and United States secretary to the Combined Chiefs, posts in which he played a key role in establishing the smooth functioning of the two groups. In September 1942, Smith joined General Dwight D. Eisenhower as his chief of staff. He served in London while Eisenhower gathered the forces for the cross-Channel invasion and then followed the general during Allied assaults on North Africa in November 1942, on Sicily in July 1943, on Italy in September 1943, and on France in June 1944. After the surrender of Germany in May 1945, Smith remained with Eisenhower until that December. During this period Smith established his reputation as one of the finest chiefs of staff in history. He often represented Eisenhower at conferences involving the Allied high command. Some of his important contributions involved his role as a diplomat--he handled the surrender negotiations of Italy, and he helped Eisenhower in the complex negotiations with France. Although Smith returned from Europe in January 1946 as chief of the Operations and Planning Division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Harry S. Truman appointed him ambassador to Russia (1946-1949) two months later. Smith was a negotiator during the crucial period when relations between the two countries deteriorated into the cold war. He believed that Russia had always been imperialist and that Soviet Russia would continue its expansionist efforts. But he felt that the Soviets wanted to avoid war and that the Communist world was not an impregnable monolith. He argued that the break between Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia and Premier Josef Stalin of Russia was real and that the United States should support Tito and encourage similar defections. In March 1949, Smith became commander of the First Army, with headquarters at Governors Island, N.Y. In 1951 he received the fourth star of a full general. In the wake of charges of inept intelligence contributing to the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, President Truman named him director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In this position Smith exercised the toughness and administrative skill for which he was noted. He discharged many employees and made structural changes that moved the intelligence community toward greater coordination and centralization. He eliminated outside controls from the covert operations section and merged it with the CIA''s covert intelligence-gathering section. He also established a support arm to provide personnel, logistics, and training. When Eisenhower became president, he moved Smith from the CIA to the State Department as undersecretary. Smith saw himself as "the policy chief of staff" for Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. In May 1954 he was the United States representative to the Geneva Far Eastern Conference, called to discuss the possible reunification of Korea and a settlement of the war in Indochina. He resigned as undersecretary in October 1954 to become vice-chairman of American Machine and Foundry Company, a position he held until his death in Washington, D.C.

From the description of Smith, Walter Bedell, 1895-1961 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10679499

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 5, 1895, Walter Bedell Smith graduated from various military schools before graduating from Army War College in 1937. He was an army officer from 1910-1945, becoming major general in 1945 and later, general. He served with General Staff Corps in 1940 and was secretary for the U.S. Combined Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1941 and 1942. He was Chief of Staff for the Allied Force Headquarters in North Africa between 1942 and 1944. Between 1946 and 1949, he served as U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R. He was director of the Central Intelligence Agency between 1950 and 1953, then becoming Undersecretary of State until 1954. He was also a member of the boards of several corporations. Smith died on August 9, 1961, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

From the description of Walter Bedell Smith papers, 1949-1950 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702166252

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 5, 1895, Walter Bedell Smith graduated from various military schools before graduating from Army War College in 1937. He was an army officer from 1910 to 1945, becoming major general in 1945 and later, general. He served with General Staff Corps in 1940 and was secretary for the U.S. Combined Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1941 and 1942. He was Chief of Staff for the Allied Force Headquarters in North Africa between 1942 and 1944. Between 1946 and 1949, he served as U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R. He was then director of the Central Intelligence Agency between 1950 and 1953, then becoming Undersecretary of State until 1954. He was also a member of the boards of several corporations. Smith died on August 9, 1961, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

From the guide to the Walter Bedell Smith papers, 1949-1950, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 1921 - 2008. Audio Recordings. 1945 - 1965. GENERAL GEORGE C. MARSHALL
referencedIn Thomas G. Corcoran Papers, 1792-1982, (bulk 1965-1980) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. THE YEAR 1945
creatorOf Smith, Walter Bedell, 1895-1961. Records collected by General Walter B. Smith [microform]. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [OCT. 6]
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Documentary Films. 1914 - 1944. THE YALTA CONFERENCE
referencedIn Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945. George S. Patton papers, 1807-1979 (bulk 1904-1945). Library of Congress
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [MAR. 30]
creatorOf Smith, Walter Bedell, 1895-1961. Typed letter signed : Washington, D.C., to Bernard Baruch, 1951 Mar. 22. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Moses, Raymond G. Raymond G. Moses memorandums, 1943-1945. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn Papers, 1870-1983 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Corcoran, Thomas G. Thomas G. Corcoran papers, 1792-1982 (bulk 1965-1980). Library of Congress
creatorOf Walter Bedell Smith papers, 1949-1950 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [MAY 19]
referencedIn ELLIOT, ACM Sir William (1896-1971), [1914]-1971 King's College London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. U.S. TURNS TO JAPAN AFTER GERMAN DEFEAT [ETC.]
referencedIn Arthur Bliss Lane papers, 1904-1957 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration). 1945 - 1960. Personal Files. 1945 - 1953. Roosevelt, Eleanor: General [3 of 3]. 1945 - 1953. Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry S. Truman accompanied by a copy of a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to George C. Marshall
creatorOf Harry C. Butcher Papers. 1910 - 1959. Correspondence Files
referencedIn Dwight D. Eisenhower Library Oral History Collection. 1962 - 1998. Oral History Transcripts. 1962 - 1998. Oral History Interview with Carter L. Burgess
referencedIn Papers, ca.1905-1989 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Special Film Reports. 1944 - 1945. ACTIVITIES IN EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (BREMEN) [ETC.]
referencedIn George S. Patton Papers, 1807-1979, (bulk 1904-1945) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of the American National Red Cross. 1881 - 2008. Historical Personnel Files
referencedIn Robert B. Anderson Papers. 1933 - 1989. Photographs
creatorOf Smith, Walter Bedell, 1895-1961. Organization of U.S. Forces on the Continent by Command of General Eisenhower, 1944. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn Nash, Ruth Cowan, 1901-. Papers: Series V-VII, 1935-1979 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
Walter Bedell Smith Papers
referencedIn Thor M. Smith Papers. 1934 - 1980. Photographs
referencedIn Hoffman, Anna Rosenberg, 1902-1983. Papers, 1870-1983 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
Walter Bedell Smith Collection of World War II Documents
referencedIn Alfred M. Gruenther Papers. 1941 - 1978. Photographs
referencedIn George Van Horn Moseley Papers, 1855-1960, (bulk 1916-1959) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Ruth M. Briggs Papers. 1942 - 1945. Photographs
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. FREE VOTE FOR FRANCE [ETC.]
creatorOf Smith, Walter Bedell, 1895-1961. Typed letter signed : Washington, D.C., to John Steinbeck, 1952 Feb. 6. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Lane, Arthur Bliss, 1894-1956. Arthur Bliss Lane papers, 1904-1957 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. 1941 - 1977. Instruments of German Surrender. 5/4/1945 - 5/10/1945. Act of Military Surrender
referencedIn National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized. 1675 - 1958. National Broadcasting Company/Soviet Television Newsreels. 1945 - 1947. SOVIET NEWSREEL
referencedIn Back, Gunnar, 1907-1983. Papers, 1931-1965. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Walter Bedell Smith Papers. 1942 - 1961. Personal Files
referencedIn Papers of Drew Pearson. 1915 - 1969. Files from the Merry-Go-Round Farm
referencedIn Kellum, Robert W. (Robert Wesley), 1901-1986. Papers, 1945-1961. Indiana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Records, 1975-1991 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [APR. 26]
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Motion Picture Films from the "Combat Bulletin" Program Series. 1944 - 1951. ACTIVITIES IN EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (BREMEN), ETC
referencedIn Rosengren, Roswell P., 1902-1988. Papers, 1921-1966. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Walter Bedell Smith Collection of World War II Documents. 1941 - 1945. World War II Files
referencedIn Moseley, George Van Horn, 1874-1960. George Van Horn Moseley papers, 1855-1960 (bulk 1916-1959). Library of Congress
referencedIn David Goldin Collection. 1932 - 1952. Audio Recordings of Radio Broadcasts of Speeches, Interviews, Combat Reports, Special Events, Public Affairs, and Entertainment for U.S. Troops. 1932 - 1952. MESSAGES FROM SOME OF THE LEADERS OF THE ALLIED FORCES
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [JUNE 28]
creatorOf Smith, Walter Bedell, 1895-1961. Walter Bedell Smith papers, 1949-1950 (inclusive). Yale University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith ANNA ROSENBERG HOFFMAN, 1902-1983 person
associatedWith Back, Gunnar, 1907-1983. person
associatedWith Baruch, Bernard M. (Bernard Mannes), 1870-1965, person
associatedWith Bradley, Omar Nelson, 1893-1981. person
correspondedWith Corcoran, Thomas G. person
associatedWith Hoffman, Anna Rosenberg, 1902-1983. person
associatedWith Kellum, Robert W. (Robert Wesley), 1901-1986. person
associatedWith Lane, Arthur Bliss, 1894-1956. person
correspondedWith Moseley, George Van Horn, 1874-1960. person
correspondedWith Moses, Raymond G. person
associatedWith Nash, Ruth Cowan, 1901- person
correspondedWith Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945. person
associatedWith Rose, Billy, 1899-1966. person
associatedWith Rosengren, Roswell P., 1902-1988. person
associatedWith RUTH BALDWIN (COWAN) NASH, 1901-1993 person
associatedWith Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968, person
associatedWith Transition House corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army. Army, 1st. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept of State. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Archives and Records Service. World War II Records Division. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Europe
Soviet Union
United States
Italy
Africa, North
Western Front
Subject
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945--Sources
Occupation
Diplomats
Function

Person

Birth 1895-10-05

Death 1961-08-09

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6p84xw4

SNAC ID: 6031838