C. Douglas Dillon

C. Douglas Dillon
57th United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
January 21, 1961  April 1, 1965
President John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Robert B. Anderson
Succeeded by Henry H. Fowler
21st Undersecretary of State
In office
June 12, 1959  January 4, 1961
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Christian A. Herter
Succeeded by Chester Bowles
Personal details
Born Clarence Douglass Dillon
(1909-08-21)August 21, 1909
Geneva, Switzerland
Died January 10, 2003(2003-01-10) (aged 93)
New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Phyllis Chess Ellsworth
(m. 1931; d. 1982)

Susan Sage
(m. 1983)
Children Phyllis Ellsworth Dillon Colins
Joan Douglas Dillon, Duchess of Mouchy
Parents Clarence Dillon
Anne McEldin Douglass Dillon
Education Harvard University
Profession Financier, Businessman, Diplomat
Religion Episcopalianism
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Battles/wars World War II

Clarence Douglas Dillon (born Clarence Douglass Dillon; August 21, 1909 – 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.

Life and career

Dillon was born in Geneva, Switzerland, the son of American parents, Anne McEldin (Douglass) and financier Clarence Dillon. Although Dillon grew up as a patrician, his paternal grandfather, Samuel Lapowski, was a poor Jewish immigrant from Poland. After leaving Poland, his grandfather settled in Texas after the American Civil War and married Dillon's Swedish-American grandmother. Dillon's father later changed his family name to Dillon, his grandmother's maiden name.[2] Dillon's mother was 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, John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, appointed Republican, Dillon Treasury Secretary. Dillon remained Treasury Secretary under President Lyndon B. Johnson until 1965.

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 be called the "Dillon Round" and led 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, which 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 John Rockefeller on the 1973 Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs, and under Nelson Rockefeller in the Rockefeller Commission to investigate CIA activities (along with Ronald Reagan). He had been 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 longtime trustee of the Metropolitan Museum, serving as its President (1970–1977) and then chairman.[2] He built up its Chinese galleries and served as a member of the Museum's Centennial committee.[5] He personally donated $20 million to the museum and led a fundraising campaign, which raised an additional $100 million.

He received the Medal of Freedom in 1989 and was also a member of the Society of Colonial Wars.

Dillon died of natural causes at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City at the age of 93.

Personal life

In Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on March 10, 1931, Dillon married his first wife, the former Phyllis Chess Ellsworth (South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, August 3, 1910 – New York City, New York, June 20, 1982), the daughter of John Chess Ellsworth (South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, 20 December 1874 – living 1957[6]) 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:

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

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "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. 1 2 3 4 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. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Fee. Via Fairfax County Public Library. Accessed 2009-03-27. Document Number: K2875000085
  4. "C. Douglas Dillon". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
  5. Finding aid for the George Trescher records related to The Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial, 1949, 1960-1971 (bulk 1967-1970). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  6. Timothy Edward Howard, History of St Joseph County, Indiana, vol II (1907), pp. 886–887

Further reading

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Clement Dunn
U.S. Ambassador to France
March 13, 1953 – January 28, 1957
Succeeded by
Amory Houghton
Government offices
Preceded by
William L. Clayton
Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
July 1, 1958 – June 11, 1959
Succeeded by
George Wildman Ball
Preceded by
Christian Herter
Under Secretary of State
June 12, 1959 – January 4, 1961
Succeeded by
Chester Bowles
Preceded by
Robert B. Anderson
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson

January 21, 1961 – April 1, 1965
Succeeded by
Henry H. Fowler
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Arthur Amory Houghton, Jr.

President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Succeeded by
William B. Macomber, Jr.
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