Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt, Jr.

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Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt, Jr. (February 18, 1918 – May 31, 1990), the first child of Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt and grandson of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, was a soldier, scholar, polyglot, authority on the Middle East, and career CIA officer. He served as chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's stations in Istanbul, Madrid and London. Roosevelt had a speaking or reading knowledge of at least twenty languages.

Early life[edit]

Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 18, 1918. He graduated from Groton School and then went to Harvard University, where he graduated in the class of 1940. While an undergraduate, he was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar but was not able to accept because of the outbreak of World War II in Europe. His first job was working for a newspaper in Seattle, Washington.

World War II[edit]

During the war, he became an Army intelligence officer. He accompanied U.S. troops in their landing in North Africa in 1942 and soon began to form views on the French colonial administration and the beginnings of Arab nationalism. Later in the war he was a military attaché in Iraq and Iran.

Post-war work in the CIA[edit]

In 1947, Roosevelt joined the Central Intelligence Group, the immediate forerunner of the CIA. From 1947 to 1949, he served in Beirut. On that and on all of his subsequent assignments abroad, he was listed in official registers as a State Department official.

From 1949 to 1951, he was in New York as head of the Near East section of the Voice of America. From 1951 to 1953, he was station chief in Istanbul. From 1953 to 1958, he had several jobs at CIA headquarters in Washington, D.C. In 1958, he was made CIA station chief in Spain. From 1962 to 1966 he held the same job in London. He finished his CIA career in Washington, D.C., where he retired in 1974.

Post-CIA retirement[edit]

After retiring from the CIA in 1974, Roosevelt became a vice president of Chase Manhattan Bank, and a director of international relations in its Washington office. In this position he became an associate of the bank's chairman, David Rockefeller and accompanied him as an adviser on his regular travels to middle-eastern countries.

Well known in Washington social circles in his own right, he was particularly active on the diplomatic circuit during the Reagan administration, when his wife, Selwa Showker `Lucky' Roosevelt, was the Chief of Protocol with the rank of Ambassador from 1982 to 1989.

In 1988, Roosevelt published a memoir called For Lust of Knowing: Memoirs of an Intelligence Officer, where he mentions his wartime service as an Army intelligence officer in Morocco, Iraq and Iran. He is much more circumspect in describing his time with the CIA, adhering so strictly to his oath to keep the CIA's secrets that he did not even identify the countries where he had served. And although he was happy to tell interviewers that they could figure it out from his entry in Who's Who in America, he also was quick to explain that some Americans have forgotten what an oath is and that he would not break his even if the government told him to.

Throughout Roosevelt's life, he pursued an interest in languages. A Latin and Greek scholar when he was a boy, he had a speaking or reading knowledge of perhaps 20 languages, including French, Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Swahili and Uzbek.

Marriage and family[edit]

Roosevelt married the former Katharine W. Tweed (the daughter of Harrison Tweed) in 1940 and they had one son, Tweed Roosevelt born in 1942. That marriage ended in divorce in 1950. Roosevelt later married Selwa "Lucky" Showker Roosevelt, who was the Chief of Protocol with the rank of Ambassador from 1982 to 1989. They were married for 40 years.

Death and burial[edit]

Roosevelt died on May 31, 1990, of congestive heart failure. He is buried in the Roosevelt family plot at Young Memorial Cemetery, Oyster Bay, New York.

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