John Foster Dulles

John Foster Dulles was born on February 25, 1888 in Washington D.C.1 Dulles Attended Princeton University from 1904-1908 and later attended the Sorbonne from 1908-1909. He received his JD from George Washington University Law school in 1911.2 Dulles served as a Captain during World War I with army intelligence. He retired from the military in 1918 and became more involved in government.3 In 1919, John Foster Dulles attended the Paris Peace Conference as a member of the Reparations Commissions and Economic Council.4 Dulles’ career also included many years with the law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, with his brother, Allen.. John Foster served Sullivan and Cromwell during the World War II era5. He and his brother were advisors to one of Sullivan and Cromwell’s most important clients, the United Fruit Company.6 As a lawyer during World War II, Dulles was a member of the War Trade Board.7

Through the years, Dulles held many different government roles and council roles. Following World War II, he was a spokesman for the Federal Council of Churches.8 In 1949, Dulles was appointed to the senate by Thomas E. Dewey.9 Dulles was appointed to the New York Senate in 1949, a role he served in for only a short period of time.10 He was the senior advisor during the San Francisco Conference of the United Nations.11 In the 1950’s, as an advisor to Truman, Dulles helped to negotiate a peace treaty between the United States and Japan.12

John Foster Dulles was appointed as Secretary of State under Eisenhower January 1953.13 During his time as Secretary of State, Dulles helped strengthen the connection between the CIA and the Department of State, in part due to his brother’s role as head of the CIA.14 With the help of the CIA, the United States government was able to overthrow the Guatemalan leader, Arbenz. Dulles and Eisenhower received information suggesting that Guatemala had received a large shipment of weapons from the Soviet Union. This information was interpreted as a Communist threat and immediate action was deemed necessary.15 As a result, the US helped orchestrate a coup to overthrow Arbenz and replace him with a US-friendly dictatorship. Not only did the new regime support the United States’ capitalist views but also helped to boost the success of the United Fruit Company, a long-time client of John Foster’s old law firm.16 His involvement in the Guatemalan coup reflects his view on foreign policy during his time in office. Dulles was the public face of Eisenhower’s Cold War foreign policy.17 He was steadfast in his objective to roll back Soviet influence anywhere in the world, retaliate with force if necessary, and to never back down.18 Dulles continued to be actively involved in foreign affairs until his resignation shortly before his death. Dulles died from cancer on April 15, 1959.19

1 “John Foster Dulles Major, US Army United States Senator- Secretary of State,” Arlington Cemetery, Accessed April 12, 2020.

2 “John Foster Dulles (1958-1959),” UVA Miller Center, Accessed April 11, 2020.

3 Ibid.

4 “John Foster Dulles,”, November 9, 2009.

5 “History,” Sullivan and Cromwell LLP, Accessed April 12, 2020.

6 Chapman, Peter. “Rotten Fruit,” Financial Times: Cuba. May 15, 2007.

7 “Biographies of the Secretaries of State: John Foster Dulles (1888-1959), Office of the Hisotrian, Accessed April 11, 2020.

8 “John Foster Dulles,”

9 “Biographies of the Secretaries of State,” Office of the Historian

10 Lindsay, James. “TWE Remembers: John Foster Dulles,” council on Foreign Relations, February 25, 2011.

11 “John Foster Dulles (1958-1959),” UVA Miller Center

12 “John Foster Dulles,”

13 “John Foster Dulles (1958-1959),” UVA Miller Center

14 “Biographies of the Secretaries of State,” Office of the Historian

15 “The CIA and Guatemala,” Digital History, 1994.

16 Malkin, Elisabeth. “An Apology for a Guatemalan Coup, 57 Years Later,” The New York Times. October 20, 2011.

17 Lindsay, James, “TWE Remembers: John Foster Dulles”

18 Ibid.

19 “John Foster Dulles,” Arlington Cemetery