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John William Middendorf II

John William Middendorf II (born September 22, 1924 in Baltimore, Maryland) was a Republican United States diplomat.

Middendorf received a Bachelor of Naval Science from College of the Holy Cross in 1945. He served in the Navy just at the end of World War II as engineer officer and navigator of USS LCS(L) 53, being mustered out in 1946. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in 1947, where he was a member of the Owl Club. He also graduated from New York University's Graduate School of Business Administration, receiving an M.B.A. in 1954. He became an investment banker and in 1963 in partnership with Austen Colgate formed his own company, Middendorf, Colgate and Company (with a seat on the New York Stock Exchange). An early member of Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign, he served as treasurer of that campaign, and continued to have the same duties with the Republican National Committee from 1965-1969, when Richard Nixon appointed him ambassador to the Netherlands, where he served until 1973. After returning to the U.S., he became Under Secretary, then Secretary of the Navy from 1974-1977, and was President and Chief Executive Officer of Financial General Bankshares from 1977-1981. In 1981 he was named Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador. During his time as the Secretary of the Navy, he oversaw the creation of the Marine Corps Marathon, and the trophy for the winner is named in his honor. He was one of the architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Middendorf recently published a book describing his work with the Goldwater campaign. "Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's Presidential Campaign And the Origins of the Conservative Movement" details how Goldwater's campaign became the foundation of the modern Conservative movement. He is a member of the board of trustees for the Heritage Foundation, an influential Washington, D.C.-based public policy research institute.[1]

He is a prolific composer of symphonies (including "Holland Symphony," presented to Dutch Queen Juliana on the 25th anniversary of her acension) and some fifty marches. He has received the "Edwin Franko Goldman Award" from the American Bandmasters Association and is a member of the American Society of Composers and Performers (ASCAP)



  • J. William Middendorf II (October 23, 2006). A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465045730.  
Government offices
Preceded by
Frank P. Sanders
Under Secretary of the Navy
August 3, 1973 – June 20, 1974
Succeeded by
David S. Potter
Preceded by
John Warner
United States Secretary of the Navy
April 8, 1974 – January 20, 1977
Succeeded by
W. Graham Claytor, Jr.


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