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Home|Liddell Hart Military Archives|The Collection|DULLES, JOHN FOSTER, AND HERTER, CHRISTIAN A, THE PAPERS OF, 1953-1961 

Download this summary catalogue (PDF) ›THE PAPERS OF JOHN FOSTER DULLES AND OF CHRISTIAN A HERTER, 1953-1961

Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA MF 565-608
1953-1961, 1980, 1986
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
44 reels


Name of creator(s)

John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State, Jan 1953-Apr 1959, and Christian Archibald Herter, US Under Secretary of State, 1957- 1959 and US Secretary of State, Apr 1959-Jan 1961.

Administrative / Biographical history

The Papers of John Foster Dulles and of Christian A Herter, 1953-1961 are microfilmed copies of telephone conversations, correspondence, memoranda, working papers, position papers and speeches of John Foster Dulles during his tenure as US Secretary of State, 1953-1959, and of Christian Archibald Herter during his tenure as US Under Secretary of State, 1953-1959 and Secretary of State, 1959-1961. Born in Washington, DC, on 25 Feb 1888, John Foster Dulles studied law and politics at Princeton University, the Sorbonne, Paris, the University of Pennsylvania, John's Hopkins University, and Harvard University. He served on the Counsel to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, Versailles, 1918-1919. In 1945 he was a member of the US Delegation to the San Francisco Conference on World Organization (later the United Nations), and became a permanent delegate to the UN, 1946-1950. After the 1952 election campaign, in which Dulles attacked Democratic foreign policy as ineffective, President-elect Dwight David Eisenhower named Dulles as his Secretary of State. Together, Eisenhower and Dulles pursued a policy of containment towards the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Their 'New Look' defence policy sought to project a credible deterrent against communism through a combination of fiscal moderation, heavy reliance on nuclear weapons and a foreign policy based on threats of 'massive retaliation' in the event of a Soviet first-strike. Christian Archibald Herter was born in Paris, France, 28 Mar 1895. He served as an attaché to the American Embassy in Berlin, 1916-1917 and Secretary of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, Versailles, 1918-1919. From 1929-1930 Herter was a lecturer in international politics at Harvard University. In 1957, he became Under Secretary of State and, on Dulles's death in 1959, became Secretary of State for the remainder of the Eisenhower administration.US State Department telephone conversations and correspondence, excluding those with the President, were routinely monitored by personal assistants who took shorthand notes on their content. Later, these personal assistants prepared memoranda based on the shorthand notes. Dulles's staff used these memoranda to ensure that any required action resulting from the telephone conversations and correspondence was taken. Thus, the purpose of these memoranda was purely operational. Consequently, while Dulles's personal assistants tried to be accurate and complete in their note- taking, they were not concerned about nuance or detail. The transcribers often were not familiar with the subject matter and were not trying to record history. After serving their operational purpose, the memoranda were filed and kept only as a convenient reference of the time and date of various messages. US State Department correspondence with the President, however, was rarely monitored. Therefore, the memoranda of this material originated in the Secretary of State himself. He usually dictated them, occasionally through his Special Assistants, Roderic O'Connor and John Hanes.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

University Publications of America, Inc., Bethesda, MD, with fully indexed guides edited by Paul Kesaris and Joan Gibson and co-ordinated by Robert E Lester.

Content & structure

Scope and content

The Papers of John Foster Dulles and of Christian A Herter, 1953-1961 are microfilmed copies of minutes of telephone conversations, memoranda, reports, and correspondence between Dulles and Herter as US Secretary of State and Under Secretary of State respectively (1953-1959), and Herter as US Secretary of State (1959-1961), and White House staff members, Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon, Central Intelligence Agency Director Allen Welsh Dulles, members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, US armed forces personnel and US political lobbyists. Material included in the collection relates to the International Information Agency re-organisation, 1953; the Panama Canal Treaty, 1953; the Republic of China Mutual Defense Treaty, 1953; Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy and his quest for communist infiltrators in the US, 1953; the cease-fire in Korea and Prisoner of War exchanges, 1953; the coronation of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, 1953; Far Eastern and Asian policy; the treason trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, 1953; the Federal Bureau of Investigation clearance of African-Americans for government posts; the depreciating civil situation on Indochina; atomic agreements with Great Britain; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); the India/Kashmir Crisis, 1954; deteriorating Arab-Israeli relations, 1954-56; the US intervention into Guatemala, 1954; the French defeat in Indochina, 1954; the European Common Market; visit of Rt Hon Sir Anthony Eden to the US; the Suez Crisis, 1956; the Soviet invasion of Hungary, 1956; NATO and nuclear weapons; US stance on French and British colonialism; the testing of US satellite 'Vanguard' and the subsequent space race with the Soviet Union, 1957; the Mutual Security Program; American troops in Lebanon as part of a UN force, 1958; Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon and the political defence of US foreign policy. Correspondents include President Dwight David Eisenhower; Gen Juan Domingo Peron, president of Argentina; Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy; Rt Hon Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill; Marshal Josip Broz (Tito), Prime Minister of Yugoslavia; Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India; Dr Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany; Gen Douglas MacArthur; Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr; Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of the Republic of Egypt; Special Assistant to the President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller; Gen Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle, President of France; Rt Hon (Maurice) Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of Great Britain; Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, President of the Republic of China; Hussein ibn Talal, King of Jordan; Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson; Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers; David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel; Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba.

System of arrangement

The Papers of John Foster Dulles and of Christian A Herter, 1953-1961 are arranged in three main sections. 'Minutes of Telephone Conversations of John Foster Dulles and of Christian Herter, 1953-61' includes microfilmed copies of the minutes of telephone conversations between Dulles and Herter as US Secretary of State and Under Secretary of State respectively (1953- 1959) and of Herter as US Secretary of State (1959-1961), and are arranged in reverse chronological order, 30 Dec 1952-16 Jan 1961. 'The White House Correspondence and Memoranda Series' includes microfilmed copies of correspondence and memoranda between Dulles and Herter, the President, the Central Intelligence Agency, and members of the White House staff, Jan 1953-Jan 1961, arranged in reverse chronological order. 'The Chronological Correspondence Series' includes microfilmed copies of correspondence from Dulles's tenure as Secretary of State, Dec 1952-Mar 1959; and, from Herter's tenure as Under Secretary of State and as Secretary of State, Feb 1957-Jan 1961, arranged in chronological order.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be provided for research use only. Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to University Publications of America, Inc., 4520 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD, 20814-3389, USA

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

This Summary Guide, and in hard copy in the Centre's reading room, Paul Kesaris and Joan Gibson (eds.), The Papers of John Foster Dulles and of Christian A Herter, 1953- 1961 (University Publications of America, Inc, Bethesda, MD, 1980, 1986).

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

Dwight D Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas, USA



Compiled Jun 1999

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

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  • Alliances
  • Central government
  • Colonial countries
  • Decolonization
  • Diplomacy
  • East West relations
  • Foreign policy
  • Foreign relations
  • Government
  • International conflicts
  • International relations
  • International tensions
  • Korean War (1950-1953)
  • Military equipment
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Political systems
  • Public administration
  • Suez Crisis (1956)
  • Vietnam War (1945-1975)
  • War
  • Wars (events)
  • Wars (events)
  • Wars (events)
  • Weapons

Personal names

  • Castro, Fidel, b 1927, President of Cuba
  • Chiang Kai-shek, 1887-1975, Nationalist Chinese general and statesman
  • Churchill, Sir, Winston Leonard Spencer, 1874-1965, Knight, statesman
  • Dulles, Allen Welsh, 1893-1969, US public official
  • Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959, US Secretary of State
  • Eisenhower, Dwight David, 1890-1969, US President and General
  • Herter, Christian Archibald, 1895-1966, US Secretary of State
  • Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeyevich, 1894-1971, Prime Minister of the USSR
  • MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964, US General
  • McCarthy, Joseph Raymond, 1909-1957, US Senator
  • Nixon, Richard Milhous, 1913-1994, US President
  • Peron, Juan Domingo, 1895-1974, General, President of Argentina

Corporate names

  • NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • US Government departments


  • Americas
  • China, East Asia
  • Cuba, Caribbean
  • Guatemala, Central America
  • Korea, East Asia
  • Middle East
  • Suez Canal, Egypt, North Africa
  • USA, North America
  • USSR, Eastern Europe
  • Viet Nam, South East Asia

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