The Full Wiki

Roger Hilsman: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roger Hilsman is an author and political scientist. He served as an American soldier with the replacement to Merrill's Marauders in China-Burma-India Theater of World War II during World War II and as an aide and adviser to President John F. Kennedy. He left government in 1964 to teach at Columbia University.

Hilsman was the son of Roger Hilsman Sr., who was a career Army officer and was captured by the Japanese in the early stages of World War II on the island of Negros in the Philippines. The younger Hilsman attended the United States Military Academy and graduated in June 1943. He was chosen as a replacement for Merrill's Marauders, but was wounded in battle at Myitkyina in Burma within a week of his arrival. He then worked for the Office of Strategic Services, Detachment 101 and in August 1945, parachuted into Manchuria to find his father, who was held at the Hoten Prison Camp.

During the Kennedy administration Hilsman became director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), and in 1963 became the assistant secretary of state for Far Eastern affairs. He resigned under pressure from his colleagues in March 1964 and was replaced at the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs by William Bundy. Hilsman has been professor of government and international politics at Columbia University since 1964. Now retired, Hilsman serves as a professor emeritus.

Hilsman is cited (page 39) in "Dereliction of Duty: The Lies That Led to Vietnam" by H.R. McMaster. According to the author, in August 1963 "Hilsman teletyped a draft cable to President Kennedy's Cape Cod home that would instruct Ambassador [Henry Cabot] Lodge in South Vietnam to give 'direct support' to the opponents of President Diem. Because Hilsman sent the cable on a weekend during which the president's principal advisers were out of Washington, Kennedy approved its contents without considering fully its potential consequences." The book says Hilsman had a key role in encouraging President Diem's overthrow, which eventually resulted in a significant U.S. escalation in Vietnam.

He has since written at least 11 books about 20th Century American foreign policy. They include:

  • Foreign policy in the sixties: The issues and the instruments (1965)
  • To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (1967)
  • Politics Of Policy Making In Defense and Foreign Affairs: Conceptual Models and Bureaucratic Politics (1971)
  • The crouching future: International politics and U.S. foreign policy - a forecast (1975)
  • To Govern America (1979)
  • Strategic Intelligence and National Decisions (1981)
  • The Politics of Governing America (1985)
  • George Bush Vs. Saddam Hussein: Military Success! Political Failure? (1992)
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: The Struggle Over Policy (1996)
  • From Nuclear Military Strategy to a World Without War (1999)
  • American Guerrilla: My War Behind Japanese Lines (2005)

Hilsman is married to the former Eleanor Hoyt. They have four children: Hoyt, a writer and recent Congressional candidate, Amy, a law professor, Ashby, a bank executive, and Sarah, a university administrator. They also have six grandchildren: Joseph, Patrick, Michael, William, Christina and Sophia.

External links

Roger Hilsman has been interviewed as part of Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, a site at the Library of Congress.



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address