|2nd United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
January 14, 1947 - January 22, 1953
|President||Harry S. Truman|
Dwight D. Eisenhower
|Edward Stettinius Jr.|
|Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.|
|Senate Minority Leader|
January 3, 1940 - January 3, 1941
|Charles L. McNary|
|Charles L. McNary|
|United States Senator|
April 1, 1931 - August 2, 1946
|Frank C. Partridge|
|Mayor of St. Albans, Vermont|
March 3, 1909 - March 2, 1910
|Norman N. Atwood|
|Selden C. Greene|
|State's Attorney of Franklin County, Vermont|
December 1, 1904 - November 30, 1906
|Wallace B. Locklin|
|Frederick S. Tupper|
Warren Robinson Austin
November 12, 1877
Highgate, Vermont, U.S.
Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
|Resting place||Lakeview Cemetery,|
Mildred Lucas (m. 1901)
|Relations||Roswell M. Austin (brother)|
|Education||University of Vermont (Ph.B.)|
A native of Highgate Center, Vermont, Austin was educated in Highgate and Bakersfield, and also studied in Quebec to learn French. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1899, studied law with his father, was admitted to the bar in 1902, and practiced in partnership with his father.
Austin settled in St. Albans, became active in politics as a Republican, and served in several local offices, including Grand Juror, Chairman of the city Republican committee, and State's Attorney of Franklin County (1904-1906). In 1908, he was chairman of the state Republican convention, and he served as Mayor of St. Albans from 1909 to 1910. From 1907 to 1915, Austin was a Commissioner for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In 1917, he moved to Burlington, where he continued to practice law. Austin's prominence continued to grow, and he served as a University of Vermont trustee from 1914 to 1941, and an attorney practicing before the United States Court for China from 1916 to 1917. Austin served as a special counsel for the state of Vermont from 1925 to 1937 during the process of setting the official boundary between Vermont and New Hampshire.
In 1931, Austin was elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election, defeating Frank C. Partridge, who had been appointed to fill the vacancy after the death of Frank L. Greene. From 1939 to 1942, Austin was the Senate's Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip). In 1946 he resigned to accept resident Harry S. Truman's appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He took office in January, 1947, and was the first official holder of this post. Austin served until January 1953, when the Eisenhower administration took office. He resided in Burlington during his retirement, and died there in 1962. Austin was buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington.
Austin was born in Highgate, Vermont on November 12, 1877, one of six children born to Chauncey Goodrich Austin and Ann Mathilda Robinson. He attended local schools and Bakersfield's Brigham Academy and also studied in Quebec to obtain fluency in French. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1899. He then studied law with his father, attained admission to the bar, and entered practice in 1902 in partnership with his father.
A Republican, he held local offices in St. Albans, including Grand Juror and Chairman of the Republican committee. (In Vermont, Grand Jurors used to serve as city and town prosecutors. After revisions of the court system, it is now a vestige or legacy office.) In 1904 he was elected State's Attorney of Franklin County, a position he held for two years.
He served as a Commissioner for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1907 to 1915. In 1912, he served on the Assay Commission for the United States Mint, which reviewed Mint operations by examining and testing coins for weight and fineness.
He was elected to the Senate on March 31, 1931, defeating appointed Senator Frank C. Partridge in the special election to complete the term of the deceased Frank L. Greene. Austin took his seat the next day, and won re-election in 1934 and 1940.
In the Senate, Austin opposed the New Deal but championed internationalist causes, standing with President Franklin D. Roosevelt on issues such as Lend-Lease. He became Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip) in 1939, served until 1942, and acted as Minority Leader during incumbent Charles L. McNary's run for Vice President in 1940. In 1943 he became a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
In June 1946, President Harry S. Truman nominated Austin to be Ambassador to the United Nations. Because of the provision in the US Constitution prohibiting members of Congress from accepting an office created during their terms, he could not assume the post until January, 1947. As a result, Truman appointed Austin Special Representative to the President and advisor to UN Ambassador Herschel Johnson.
When he did take office in January, 1947 Austin was the first official U.S. Ambassador to the UN. (Edward Stettinius, Jr. and Johnson had been representatives to the United Nations Conference on International Organization, the body that established the full United Nations.)
He was a key figure at the start of the Cold War. During his term, the UN was involved in the creation of Israel and was also involved when India and Pakistan fought the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and were partitioned. In 1948, there was a Communist coup in Czechoslovakia, the Soviets blockaded Berlin and precipitated the Berlin Airlift, and Congress passed the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created, and Mao Tse-tung established the People's Republic of China. In 1950, China occupied Tibet and North Korea invaded South Korea. The UN debated, considered responses and took action on all of these issues, and Austin became known internationally for his advocacy of Western Bloc positions.
Austin's term at the UN is also remembered for a supposed quote that is likely not completely accurate. In discussing the conflict between the Muslim Palestinian people and the Jewish people of Israel at Israel's founding, Austin supposedly said, "I hope Arabs and Jews will settle their differences in a truly Christian spirit." According to his deputy, the language of that supposed quote was inexact when it was reported by the media, and Austin was attempting to communicate that as a Christian, he would not show partiality to either Muslims or Jews in the dispute over the creation of Israel.
He was a member of the American Bar Association,Vermont Bar Association (president, 1923-24),American Judicature Society, Loyal Legion,Sons of the American Revolution,Society of the Cincinnati (honorary),Freemasons,Shriners,Elks,Owls,Odd Fellows,Rotary Club, and the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
An amateur orchardist, Austin tended to his trees and pursued other hobbies while living in retirement in Burlington. In October, 1956 he suffered a stroke that caused him to curtail many of his activities. Austin died in Burlington on December 25, 1962. He is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington.
Austin received honorary degrees from Columbia University, Norwich University, Bates College, Princeton University, Lafayette College, the University of Vermont, Dartmouth College, Boston University, American University, the University of the State of New York, and the University of Santo Domingo.
In 1901 Austin married Mildred Marie Lucas (16 May 1874 - 16 February 1973). Their children included attorney Warren R. Austin, Jr. (1902-1979), and career United States Army officer Edward Lucas Austin (1910-1980).
|Party political offices|
Frank L. Greene
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Vermont
1931, 1934, 1940
Charles L. McNary
| Senate Republican Leader
Charles L. McNary
Frank C. Partridge
| United States Senator (Class 1) from Vermont
Served alongside: Porter H. Dale, Ernest Gibson (I),
Ernest Gibson (II), George Aiken
Charles L. McNary
| Senate Minority Leader
Charles L. McNary
| United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.