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George Wadsworth II (April 3, 1893–March 5, 1958) was a United States diplomat, specializing in the Middle East.

Wadsworth was born in Buffalo, New York and received a degree in chemical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York. He became interested in teaching abroad and moved to Beirut, Lebanon and joined the staff of the American University of Beirut as a professor (he served there from 1914 to 1917). To supplement his income, he took a part-time job working as a clerk in the United States consulate in Beirut. In 1917, he entered the Foreign Service full-time and served in positions at embassies in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

In 1941, Wadsworth was serving in the United States embassy in Rome, Italy under Ambassador William Phillips who had been tasked with persuading Benito Mussolini to not enter World War II on the side of the Axis Powers. Unfortunately, his efforts failed and he fled Italy five days before the declaration of war. During those five days, Wadsworth served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim there. When war was declared by Italy on December 11, 1941, Wadsworth was informed personally by Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano. He then worked with Italian authorities to secure the safe passage of the embassy staff home, and was one of the three final staff members to leave in May 1942. He arrived back in New York by ocean liner in June. This was Wadsworth's first duty as Chief of Mission.

On returning to the US, Wadsworth was nearly immediately assigned to be the first Ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, a political move that strengthened those countries against claims by Vichy France. After the war, he was made the first Ambassador to Iraq, previously served only by a lower-ranking Minister Plenipotentiary. He was subsequently in his career made ambassador to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Czechoslovakia, and Yemen.

Starting during his time in Turkey, Wadsworth began a practice that would be one of the hallmarks of his diplomatic career. He raised money to establish a golf course in Ankara, which became a "social center" for diplomatic circles. Throughout the remainder of his career, he raised funds to set up nine other golf courses in the Middle East.

He died of cancer in 1958, aged 64, less than a month before he was scheduled to retire on his 65th birthday.

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Phillips
United States ambassador to Italy
1941
Chargé d'Affaires ad interim
Succeeded by
Alexander C. Kirk
After World War II
Preceded by
None
United States ambassador to Syria
1942 – 1947
Consul General, promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Succeeded by
James Hugh Keeley, Jr.
Preceded by
None
United States ambassador to Lebanon
1942 – 1947
First Ambassador
Succeeded by
Lowell C. Pinkerton
Preceded by
James S. Moose, Jr.
Chargé d'Affaires ad interim
United States ambassador to Iraq
1947 – 1948
First Ambassador
Succeeded by
Edward S. Crocker
Preceded by
Edwin C. Wilson
United States Ambassador to Turkey
1948 – 1952
Succeeded by
George C. McGhee
Preceded by
Ellis O. Briggs
United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
1952 – 1953
Succeeded by
U. Alexis Johnson
Preceded by
Raymond A. Hare
United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia
1954 – 1958
Succeeded by
Donald R. Heath
Preceded by
Raymond A. Hare
United States ambassador to Yemen
1954 – 1958
Succeeded by
Donald R. Heath

References

  • Hull Very Frigid to Visiting Envoys. Bertram D. Hulen. The New York Times. New York, N.Y.: Dec 12, 1941. pg. 3, 1 pgs
  • Gets Diplomatic Post. The New York Times. New York, N.Y.: Oct 3, 1942. pg. 6, 1 pgs
  • Obituaries. Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, Ill.: Mar 7, 1958. pg. A11A, 1 pgs
  • Wadsworth, Ex-Envoy, Dies. The Washington Post and Times Herald. Washington, D.C.: Mar 6, 1958. pg. B2, 1 pgs
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