John Foster Dulles

John Foster Dulles

United States Secretary of State

John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world. He advocated support of the French in their war against the Viet Minh in Indochina and it is widely believed that he refused to shake the hand of Zhou Enlai at the Geneva Conference in 1954.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of John Foster Dulles.


1888 Birth Born on February 25, 1888.


1908 20 Years Old Dulles attended Princeton University and graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1908. … Read More
1912 24 Years Old On June 26, 1912, Dulles married Janet Pomeroy Avery (1891–1969), with whom he had two sons and a daughter. … Read More


1918 30 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson appointed Dulles as legal counsel to the United States delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference where he served under his uncle, Secretary of State Robert Lansing. … Read More
1924 36 Years Old In 1924, he was the defense counsel in the church trial of Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick, who had been charged with heresy by opponents in his denomination (the event which sparked the continuing Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy in the international Christian Churches over the literal interpretation of Scripture versus the newly developed "Historical-Critical" method including recent scientific and archeological discoveries). … Read More


1929 41 Years Old After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Dulles' previous practice brokering and documenting international loans ended. … Read More
1934 46 Years Old In 1934 Germany unilaterally stopped payments on private debts of the sort that Dulles was handling.
1935 47 Years Old In 1935, with the Nazis in power, Sullivan & Cromwell's junior partners forced Dulles to cut all business ties with Germany. … Read More


1944 56 Years Old 1 More Event
Dulles was a prominent Republican and a close associate of Thomas E. Dewey, who became the Republican presidential nominee in the elections of 1944 and 1948. … Read More
1945 57 Years Old In 1945, Dulles participated in the San Francisco Conference as an adviser to Arthur H. Vandenberg and helped draft the preamble to the United Nations Charter.
1946 58 Years Old He attended the United Nations General Assembly as a United States delegate in 1946, 1947 and 1950. … Read More


1949 61 Years Old 1 More Event
Governor Dewey appointed Dulles to the United States Senate from New York on July 7, 1949, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Democrat Robert F. Wagner.
1950 62 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1950, Dulles published War or Peace, a critical analysis of the American policy of containment, which at the time the foreign policy elite in Washington favored, particularly in the Democratic administration of President Harry S. Truman, whose foreign policy Dulles criticized. … Read More
1951 63 Years Old As Secretary of State, Dulles still carried out the “containment” policy of neutralizing the Taiwan Strait during the Korean War, which had been established by President Truman in the Treaty of Peace with Japan of 1951.
1953 65 Years Old 1 More Event
When Dwight Eisenhower became U.S. President in January, 1953, Dulles was appointed and confirmed as his Secretary of State.
In 1954, Dulles became the architect of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). … Read More
1955 67 Years Old Dulles' hard line alienated many leaders of nonaligned countries when on June 9, 1955, he argued in a speech that "neutrality has increasingly become obsolete and, except under very exceptional circumstances, it is an immoral and shortsighted conception." … Read More
1956 68 Years Old 1 More Event
In November 1956, Dulles strongly opposed the Anglo-French invasion of the Suez Canal zone in response to the Suez Crisis. … Read More
1958 70 Years Old 1 More Event
However, by 1958 Dulles had become an outspoken opponent of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and prevented him from receiving arms from the United States. … Read More
In January 1959, Dulles returned to work, but with more pain and declining health underwent abdominal surgery in February at Walter Reed Hospital when the cancer's recurrence became evident. … Read More
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