W. Averell Harriman

William Averell Harriman ( * November 15, 1891 in New York City; † July 26, 1986 in Yorktown Heights, New York ) was an American politician of the Democratic Party, businessman and diplomat.


Family, education

Harriman was the son of railroad tycoon EH Harriman and Mary Williamson Averell; E. Roland Harriman was his brother. Averell was first married to Kitty Lanier Lawrence, who died in 1936. He later remarried, Marie Norton Whitney, who had left her husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, to marry Harriman. His third and final marriage was by Pamela Beryl Digby, the former wife of Winston Churchill's son Randolph and the Broadway producer Leland Hayward.

He was a successful student at Yale University, where he was appointed together with Prescott Bush in the Skull & Bones Society.

Political career

Harriman worked under President Franklin D. Roosevelt as special envoy to Europe and participated in the meeting between Winston Churchill and the President in Placentia Bay in part in August 1941. The output of this meeting lasting five days was known as the Atlantic Charter, a joint declaration of principles of the United States and Great Britain. He was 1943 and 1946 for the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1946 and ambassador to Great Britain. U.S. President Harry S. Truman appointed him Minister of Trade, where he took the place of Truman in foreign issues skeptical position on Henry A. Wallace.

In the race to succeed Republican Thomas E. Dewey on the governorship of New York in 1954, he defeated the funded Dewey Irving Ives. He was from 1 January 1955 a four-year term governor, until the Republican Nelson Rockefeller defeated him in 1958. Harriman competed in the years 1952 and 1956 to the Democratic presidential nomination, but lost both times Adlai Stevenson, who in turn lost the election to Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In the Kennedy administration, he was appointed Ambassador at Large, a position he held until November 1961. He was later assistive Secretary of State for Far Eastern Relations ( Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs ). By April 1963, he remained in that post until he became Secretary of State ( Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs ) for Political Affairs. He led this office under the Johnson administration until March 1965, until he was again appointed Ambassador at Large and occupy this position over the remaining term of Johnson. His attitude in the Vietnam War is very controversial because he refused the peace negotiations in Paris. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Harriman received the Presidential Medal of Freedom ( Medal of Freedom ) in 1969.

Entrepreneurial career

His father's wealth helped him, the investment bank WA Harriman & Co to ​​start in 1922. When his brother E. Roland Harriman joined the company in 1927, the name in Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. has been changed. In 1931 they merged with the investment bank Brown Bros. & Co. to the highly successful Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. to create. Known employees are George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush, who likewise employees of ER Harriman were so at the Union Banking Corporation (UBC ), which was closed in 1943 by the U.S. government because they did business with the enemy ( Germany ).

Harriman's estate includes: Brown Brothers Harriman & & Co; Union Pacific Railroad; Merchant Shipping Corporation and various capital investment companies (eg Polaroid ). With his possession affiliated companies are: Southern Pacific Railroad (including the Central Pacific Railroad ), Illinois Central Railroad; Wells Fargo & Co; Pacific Mail Steamship Co.; American Shipping & Commerce ( Hapag ), American Hawaiian Steamship Co., United American Lines Co; Guarantee Trust Company and the Union Banking Corporation.

Chronological Overview

  • Vice President, Union Pacific Railroad Co., 1915-1917
  • Director, Illinois Central Railroad Co., 1915-1946
  • Member of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, 1915-1954
  • Chairman, Merchant Shipbuilding Corp.. 0.1917-1925
  • Chairman, WA Harriman & Company, 1920-1931
  • Partners, Soviet Georgian Manganese Concessions, 1925-1928
  • Chairman, Executive Committee, Illinois Central Railroad, 1931-1942
  • Senior Partner, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., 1931-1946
  • Chairman, Union Pacific Railroad, 1932-1946
  • Co-founder of the weekly newspaper Today with Vincent Astor ( Astor (Family) ), 1935-1937 (merged with Newsweek 1937)
  • Administrator and Special Assistant, National Recovery Administration, 1934-1935
  • Founder, Sun Valley Ski Resort, Idaho, 1935-1936
  • Chairman, Business Advisory Council, 1937-1939
  • Chief, Materials Branch & Production Division, Office of Production Management, 1941
  • Ambassador to Great Britain and Special Envoy of the President of the British Prime Minister, 1941-1943
  • Chairman, Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President in the U.S. President's Special Mission to the USSR, 1941-1943
  • Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1943-1946
  • Ambassador to Great Britain, 1946
  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce, 1946-1948
  • United States Coordinator, European Recovery Program (Marshall Plan), 1948-1950
  • Special Assistant to the U.S. President, 1950-1952
  • U.S. Representative and Chairman, North Atlantic Commission on Defense Plans, 1951-1952
  • Director, Mutual Security Agency, 1951-1953
  • Candidate, Democratic nomination for U.S. President, 1952
  • Governor of New York, 1955-1959
  • Candidate, Democratic nomination for U.S. President, 1956
  • United States Deputy Representative, International Conference on the Settlement of the Laotian Question, 1961-1962
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, 1961-1963
  • Special Representative to the U.S. President, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 1963
  • Undersecretary of state for political affairs, 1963-1965
  • Chairman, President's Commission of the Observance of Human Rights Year, 1968
  • Personal Representative of the U.S. President, Peace Talks with North Vietnam, 1968-1969
  • Chairman, Foreign Policy Task Force, Democratic National Committee, 1976
  • Member, American Academy of Diplomacy Charter, Club of Rome, Council on Foreign Relations, Knights of Pythias, Skull & Bones Society, Psi Upsilon Fraternity and Jupiter Iceland club.