Charles Burke Elbrick
|Charles Burke Elbrick|
|Career Ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick|
|53rd United States Ambassador to Portugal|
January 13, 1959 – August 31, 1963
|Preceded by||James C. H. Bonbright|
|Succeeded by||George W. Anderson, Jr.|
|14th United States Ambassador to Yugoslavia|
March 17, 1964 – April 28, 1969
|Preceded by||George F. Kennan|
|Succeeded by||William Leonhart|
|37th United States Ambassador to Brazil|
July 14, 1969 – May 7, 1970
|Preceded by||John W. Tuthill|
|Succeeded by||William M. Rountree|
|Born||March 25, 1908
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
|Died||April 12, 1983
Charles Burke Elbrick, (March 25, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky – April 12, 1983 in Washington, D.C.), was a United States diplomat and career foreign service officer. During his career, he served three ambassadorships in various parts of the world, in addition to many other minor postings.
Elbrick was the son of Charles Elbrick and his Irish wife, Lillian Burke. He graduated with a leading Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in 1929, and narrowly missed selection for a Rhodes Scholarship.
Having joined the United States Foreign Service in 1931, Elbrick was initially appointed Vice Consul in Panama. He continued on to Haiti and then acted as Third Secretary in Warsaw, Poland. In 1939, Elbrick had followed the Polish Government into exile. While leaving Warsaw in convoy, he was strafed by German planes. Elbrick returned to Poland in June 1945 to reopen the US Embassy. He was Chargé d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 1951.
He was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in 1957. Thereafter, Ambassador Elbrick was variously the representative of the United States to Portugal (1958), Yugoslavia (1964), and Brazil (1969).
In August 1968, when Soviet-led forces invaded Czechoslovakia, Elbrick, then Ambassador in Belgrade, was summoned by Marshal Tito to be asked what United States policy was toward Yugoslavia in such a moment. “The same as always,” Elbrick said. “To support Yugoslav independence and integrity. Do you need any help?“ ”Not now,” said Tito, thanking Ambassador Elbrick for inquiring.
A year later, while stationed in Brazil, Charles Burke Elbrick was kidnapped for 78 hours by the Revolutionary Movement 8th October (MR-8) in Rio de Janeiro, on September 4, 1969. The incident formed the basis of the 1997 film Four Days in September by Bruno Barreto, starring Alan Arkin, Pedro Cardoso and Fisher Stevens. The storyline was adapted from the 1979 memoirs of Fernando Gabeira, former member of revolutionary cell MR-8 and later a journalist and congressman in Brazil's Green Party. After his release in exchange for 15 imprisoned leftists, Ambassador Elbrick coolly remarked, “Being an ambassador is not always a bed of roses.”
He married Elvira Lindsay Johnson (1910–1990) at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington DC, on July 27, 1932. Elbrick's mother-in-law was Caroline Gilbert Johnson (a direct descendant of the founder of Gilbertsville, New York (1787) Abijah Gilbert, and his grandson, also Abijah Gilbert, United States Senator for Florida immediately following its return to the Union after the Civil War). Elbrick's father-in-law was Vice Admiral Alfred Wilkinson Johnson, who was the son of Rear Admiral Philip Carrigan Johnson, a commander of the USS Constitution, and the nephew of celebrated artist Eastman Johnson.
Elbrick had two children: Alfred Johnson Elbrick and Valerie Burke Elbrick. He was survived by two grandchildren by his daughter Valerie: Charles Burke Hanlon and Nicholas Hanlon, and by four by his son Alfred (married to Fern Evelyn Bendall): Tristan, Sophie, Alexia, and Tony-nominated actress Xanthe.
Ambassador Elbrick was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry. He was knighted in the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Sovereign Military Order of Malta)] by the Prince and Grand Master, Fra’ Angelo de Mojana di Cologna. He was also knighted in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre (Order of the Holy Sepulchre) by the Grand Master Maximilian, Cardinal de Furstenberg.
Elbrick died April 15, 1983, aged 75, at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. His funeral was held at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington D.C. His obituary in The New York Times described him as "a tall, slender man of suave demeanor in exquisite suits...[who]...showed dash and bravery in moments of crisis".
Livingston T. Merchant
|Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
February 14, 1957 – November 16, 1958
Livingston T. Merchant