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Clarence Douglas Dillon

In office
January 21, 1961 – April 1, 1965
President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1965)
Preceded by Robert Bernard Anderson
Succeeded by Henry H. Fowler

In office
June 12, 1959 – January 4, 1961
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Christian Herter
Succeeded by Chester Bowles

Born August 21, 1909(1909-08-21)
Died January 10, 2003 (aged 93)
New York-Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Phyllis Chess Ellsworth, 1931–1982 (widowed)
Susan Sage, 1983
Children 2
Profession Financier, Businessman, Diplomat
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Battles/wars World War II

Clarence Douglas Dillon (born Clarence Douglass Dillon in Geneva, August 21, 1909 – New York City, New York, 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.



Dillon grew up as a patrician. But his paternal grandfather, Samuel Lapowski, was a poor Jewish immigrant to Texas from Poland who settled in Texas after the American Civil War. Dillon's father Clarence later changed his family name to Dillon, after his grandmother's maiden name.[2] Dillon's mother, Anne Douglass, is descended from Grahams Lairds of Tamrawer Castle at Kilsyth, Stirling, Scotland.

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

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]

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.[4]

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, appointed Republican, Dillon Treasury Secretary. Dillon remained under President Lyndon B. Johnson until 1965. The Fifth Round of tariff negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which lasted from 1960 to 1962, was known as the "Dillon Round", after Dillon, who proposed its inception. 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 called the "Dillon Round", and left 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 that 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 Rockefeller on the 1973 Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs. He had abeen president of Harvard Board of Overseers, chairman of the Brookings Institution, and vice chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.[2]

With his first wife, Dillon collected impressionist art. He was a long time trustee of the Metropolitan Museum, its President 1970–1977, and then chairman.[2] He built up its Chinese galleries. He personally donated $20 million to the museum and led a fundraising campaign that raised an additional $100 million.

He received the Medal of Freedom in 1989.

First marriage and issue

In Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on 10 March 1931, Dillon married his first wife, the former Phyllis Chess Ellsworth (South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, 3 August 1910 – New York City, New York, 20 June 1982), daughter of John Chess Ellsworth (South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, 20 December 1874 – living 1957[5]) and wife (m. Lowell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 14 October 1903) Alice Frances Chalifoux (Lowell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 9 August 1881 – New York City, New York, 27 January 1957), who bore him two daughters:

Second marriage

In 1983 Dillon married his second wife, the former Susan Sage (born 1917).

See also


  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 2009-03-27.  
  2. ^ a b c d Eric Pace (January 12, 2003). "C. Douglas Dillon Dies at 93; Was in Kennedy Cabinet". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-27.  
  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. Fee. Via Fairfax County Public Library. Accessed 2009-03-27. Document Number: K2875000085
  4. ^ "C. Douglas Dillon". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.  
  5. ^ Timothy Edward Howard, History of St Joseph County, Indiana, vol II (1907), pp. 886-887

Further reading

  • Nelson Lichtenstein, ed., Political Profiles: The Johnson Years (1976)
  • Eleanora W. Schoenebaum, ed., Political Profiles: The Eisenhower Years (1977)
  • Bernard S. Katz and C. Daniel Vencill, Biographical Dictionary of the United States Secretaries of the Treasury, 1789–1995 (1996)
  • Joseph M. Siracusa, ed., Presidential Profiles: The Kennedy Years (2004)
  • Deane F. Heller, The Kennedy Cabinet: America’s Men of Destiny (1961)
  • Robert Sobel, The Life and Times of Dillon Read (1991), a study of the investment bank
  • Robert C. Perez and Edward F. Willett, Clarence Dillon: A Wall Street Enigma (1995), a biography of Dillon’s father.

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Clement Dunn
U.S. Ambassador to France
Succeeded by
Amory Houghton
Political offices
Preceded by
Christian Herter
Under Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Chester Bowles
Preceded by
Robert B. Anderson
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson

Succeeded by
Henry H. Fowler


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