C. Douglas Dillon
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C. Douglas Dillon
C. Douglas Dillon
C Douglas Dillon (cropped).jpg
Dillon in 1955
57th United States Secretary of the Treasury

January 21, 1961 - April 1, 1965
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Robert B. Anderson
Henry H. Fowler
United States Under Secretary of State

June 12, 1959 - January 4, 1961
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Christian Herter
Chester Bowles
Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

July 1, 1958 - June 11, 1959
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
William L. Clayton
George Ball
United States Ambassador to France

March 13, 1953 - January 28, 1957
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
James C. Dunn
Amory Houghton
Personal details
Clarence Douglass Dillon

(1909-08-21)August 21, 1909
Geneva, Switzerland
DiedJanuary 10, 2003(2003-01-10) (aged 93)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Phyllis Chess Ellsworth
(m. 1931; her death 1982)

Susan Sage
(m. 1983; his death 2003)
Children2, including Joan
RelativesClarence Dillon (Father)
EducationGroton School
Alma materHarvard University (BA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Battles/warsWorld War II

Clarence Douglas Dillon (born Clarence Douglass Dillon; August 21, 1909 – January 10, 2003) was an American diplomat and politician, who served as U.S. Ambassador to France (1953-1957) and as the 57th Secretary of the Treasury (1961-1965). He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm) during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Early life

Dillon was born on August 21, 1909 in Geneva, Switzerland, the son of American parents, Anne McEldin (née Douglass) and financier Clarence Dillon. Although Dillon grew up as a patrician, his paternal grandfather, Samuel Lapowski, was a poor Jewish emigrant from Poland.[2] After leaving Poland, his grandfather settled in Texas after the American Civil War and married Dillon's Swedish-American grandmother. Dillon's father later changed his family name to Dillon, his grandmother's maiden name.[2] Dillon's mother was descended from the Graham family, Lairds of Tamrawer Castle at Kilsyth, Stirling, Scotland.[]

Dillon began his education at Pine Lodge School in Lakehurst, New Jersey which he attended at the same time as three of the Rockefeller brothers, Nelson, Laurance, and John. He continued at Groton School in Massachusetts, then at Harvard University, A.B. magna cum laude 1931 in American history and literature.[2][3] Dillon earned a varsity letter for football his senior year.[4]


In 1938, be became Vice-President and Director of Dillon, Read & Co., a firm that bore his father's name (Clarence Dillon). After his World War II service on Guam, on Saipan, and in the Philippines, he left the United States Navy as Lieutenant Commander decorated with the Legion of Merit and Air Medal. In 1946 he became chairman of Dillon, Read; by 1952 he had doubled the firm's investments.[1]

Political career

Dillon had been active in Republican politics since 1934. He worked for John Foster Dulles in Thomas E. Dewey's 1948 presidential campaign. In 1951 he organized the New Jersey effort to secure the 1952 Republican nomination for Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was also a major contributor to Eisenhower's general election campaign in 1952.[1]

President Eisenhower appointed him United States Ambassador to France in 1953. Following that appointment he became Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in 1958 before becoming Under Secretary of State the following year.[5]

Dillon and Kennedy in August 1961. Dillon had just returned from the conference in Uruguay in which the Alliance for Progress was formalized, and where Dillon did battle with Che Guevara.[6]

In 1961, John F. Kennedy, appointed Republican Dillon Treasury Secretary. Dillon remained Treasury Secretary under President Lyndon B. Johnson until 1965.

Dillon proposed the fifth round of tariff negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), conducted in Geneva 1960-1962; it came to be called the "Dillon Round" and led to substantial tariff reduction. Dillon was important in securing presidential power for reciprocal tariff reductions under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. He also played a role in crafting the Revenue Act of 1962, which established a 7 percent investment credit to spur industrial growth. He supervised revision of depreciation rules to benefit corporate investment.


A close friend of John D. Rockefeller III, he was chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1972 to 1975. He also served alongside John Rockefeller on the 1973 Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs, and under Nelson Rockefeller in the Rockefeller Commission to investigate CIA activities (along with Ronald Reagan). He had been president of Harvard Board of Overseers, chairman of the Brookings Institution, and vice chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.[2]

Metropolitan Museum of Art

With his first wife, Dillon collected impressionist art. He was a longtime trustee of the Metropolitan Museum, serving as its President (1970-1977) and then chairman.[2] He built up its Chinese galleries and served as a member of the Museum's Centennial committee.[7] He personally donated $20 million to the museum and led a fundraising campaign, which raised an additional $100 million.[8]

He received the Medal of Freedom in 1989 and was also a member of the Society of Colonial Wars.[8]

Personal life

On March 10, 1931, Dillon married his first wife, the former Phyllis Chess Ellsworth (1910-1982)[a] in Boston, Massachusetts. Phyllis was the daughter of John Chess Ellsworth[9] and Alice Frances Chalifoux. Together, Douglas and Phyllis were the parents of two daughters:

In 1983, Dillon married his second wife, the former Susan "Suzzie" Slater (1917-2018). She was first married to Theodore "Ted" Sheldon Bassett (1911-1983) in 1939 (div.). From 1949 to 1957 (his death) she had been married to British entertainer Jack Buchanan (1891-1957). Her third husband was DeWitt Linn Sage (1905-1982) who she married in 1961 (until his death). Dillon was her forth marriage.

Dillon died of natural causes at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City at the age of 93.[8]


Through his daughter Joan, he was the grandfather of Joan Dillon Moseley (born February 6, 1954), Princess Charlotte (born September 15, 1967) and Prince Robert (born August 14, 1968).

See also


  1. ^ Phyllis was born in South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana on August 3, 1910 and died in New York City, New York on June 20, 1982.
  2. ^ The wedding took place in Paris on August 1, 1953. They were divorced in Washoe County, Nevada, on December 12, 1955 and annulled in Rome on June 22, 1963.
  1. ^ a b c "C. Douglas Dillon, former Treasury secretary and Harvard overseer, dies at 93". Harvard Gazette. Harvard University news office. January 16, 2003. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c d e Eric Pace (January 12, 2003). "C. Douglas Dillon Dies at 93; Was in Kennedy Cabinet". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Dillon, C(larence) Douglas. Priscilla Roberts.The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. Arnold Markoe, Karen Markoe, and Kenneth T. Jackson (editors). Vol. 7: 2003-2005. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2009. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Via Fairfax County Public Library. Accessed 2009-03-27. Document Number: K2875000085
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "C. Douglas Dillon". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
  6. ^ Rabe, Stephen G. (1999). The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina press. pp. 30-32. ISBN 080784764X.
  7. ^ Finding aid for the George Trescher records related to The Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial, 1949, 1960-1971 (bulk 1967-1970). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Jackson, Harold (24 January 2003). "Douglas Dillon | The Republican behind JFK's economic boom". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ Timothy Edward Howard, History of St Joseph County, Indiana, vol II (1907), pp. 886-887

Further reading

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Clement Dunn
U.S. Ambassador to France
March 13, 1953 - January 28, 1957
Succeeded by
Amory Houghton
Government offices
Preceded by
William L. Clayton
Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
July 1, 1958 - June 11, 1959
Succeeded by
George Wildman Ball
Preceded by
Christian Herter
Under Secretary of State
June 12, 1959 - January 4, 1961
Succeeded by
Chester Bowles
Preceded by
Robert B. Anderson
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson

January 21, 1961 - April 1, 1965
Succeeded by
Henry H. Fowler
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Arthur Amory Houghton Jr.
Metropolitam Museum of Art by Simon Fieldhouse.jpg
President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Succeeded by
William B. Macomber, Jr.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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