Ellsworth Bunker

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Ellsworth Bunker
Ellsworth Bunker.jpg
United States Ambassador to Argentina
In office
March 13, 1951 – March 12, 1952
President Harry S. Truman
Preceded by Stanton Griffis
Succeeded by Albert F. Nufer
United States Ambassador to Italy
In office
May 7, 1952 – April 3, 1953
President Harry S. Truman
Preceded by James Clement Dunn
Succeeded by Clare Boothe Luce
United States Ambassador to India
In office
Nov 28, 1956 – Mar 23, 1961
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by John Sherman Cooper
Succeeded by John Kenneth Galbraith
United States Ambassador to South Vietnam
In office
April 5, 1967 – May 11, 1973
President Lyndon Johnson
Preceded by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Succeeded by Graham Martin
Personal details
Born (1894-05-11)May 11, 1894
Yonkers, New York
Died September 27, 1984(1984-09-27) (aged 90)
Wheatland, Wyoming
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Harriet Allen Butler;
Carol Laise
Alma mater Yale University
Profession Businessman, Diplomat
Military service
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction (twice)

Ellsworth F. Bunker (May 11, 1894[1] – September 27, 1984[2]) was an American businessman and diplomat (including being the ambassador to Argentina, Italy, India, Nepal and South Vietnam). He is perhaps best known for being a hawk on the war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Biography[edit]

Born the eldest of three children of Jeanie Polhemus (née Cobb) and George Raymond Bunker in Yonkers, New York.[1][3][4] His father was one of the founders and chairman of the board of National Sugar Refining Company. His younger brother, Arthur Hugh Bunker (July 29, 1895 – May 19, 1964), was also a noted businessman, chairman of the executive committee of the War Production Board (1941–1945) during World War II, and president and then board chairman of American Metal Climax (AMAX).[3][5]

Ellsworth Bunker studied to be a lawyer, and graduated from Yale University with the class of 1916.[1] During World War II he served as chairman of the War Production Board's cane sugar advisory committee.[6]

Bunker first worked in his father's company, National Sugar Refining Company,[1] eventually becoming the company's president, succeeding Horace Havemeyer, Sr., in 1942. He retired as an active executive in 1951 and purchased a 600-acre dairy farm in Putney, Vermont.[7] He remained a member of the board of National Sugar until 1966.[8]

He then moved to government during the Harry S. Truman administration, when Truman appointed him ambassador to Argentina in April 1951.[9] Next he was ambassador to Italy in February 1952.[10] From November 1953 until November 1956 he was president of the American Red Cross.[11][12] In November 1956 he was appointed ambassador to India and Nepal by Dwight D. Eisenhower,[13][14][15] and sworn in December 1956,[16] where he played a crucial role in the covert alliance between the two powers against China. He was replaced by John Kenneth Galbraith in 1961. During 1962 he acted as U.S. mediator in the New York Agreement over Western New Guinea.

After a period back in Washington, D.C., he was made U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States, 1964–1966. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, 1967–1973.[17] Once in Saigon, he strongly supported the war efforts of Presidents Johnson and Richard Nixon, and applauded US incursions into Laos and Cambodia.[18] Following the conclusion of the Vietnam War, Bunker headed the US team involved in the drawing up of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction twice—the first time by John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the second time by Lyndon Johnson in 1967.

Family life[edit]

He married a neighbor Harriet Allen Butler, daughter of Ellen Mudge and George Prentiss Butler, in Yonkers, New York on April 24, 1920.[19] Harriet had made friends with Bunkers' sister Katherine when the two girls attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut.[20] They had three children, John Birkbeck, Samuel Emmet and Ellen Mudge.[21] She died in 1964.[22]

On January 3, 1967 he married fellow ambassador Caroline Clendening "Carol" Laise in Katmandu, Nepal.[23][24] She died in 1991. Ambassador Laise was a friend of the first Mrs. Bunker.[25]

Bunker died on his dairy farm in Putney, Vermont.[26] The funeral was attended by his good friend and neighbor former senator George Aiken and former president Richard M. Nixon, Aiken died two months later.[27]

His middle child, John Birkbeck Bunker (March 8, 1926 – May 26, 2005), a first lieutenant in World War II, died of cancer at his home in Wheatland, Wyoming at age 79.[28][29][30]

Cultural References[edit]

In a 1977 Doonesbury cartoon, one of the supposed terms of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties was that "we get to keep Ellsworth Bunker."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Nolan, Cathal J. (1997). Notable U.S. Ambassadors Since 1775: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-313-29195-1. 
  2. ^ "Ellsworth Bunker Is Buried Near His Home in Vermont". The New York Times. October 4, 1984. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  3. ^ a b Roberts, Harry, Jr.; and Nelson Sutro Greensfelder (1949). The Explosives Engineer: Volumes 27-29. Hercules Powder Co. p. 4. 
  4. ^ Institute for Research in Biography (1957). Who's Who in Commerce and Industry, Volume 10. New York, N.Y.: Marquis Who's Who. p. 167. 
  5. ^ "Arthur H. Bunker Dead at 68". The New York Times. May 20, 1964. 
  6. ^ "WPB Official Testifies Sugar Imports Are Cut 50 Per Cent". Chicago Tribune. March 24, 1942. 
  7. ^ "Determined Diplomat". The New York Times. August 1, 1962. 
  8. ^ International Publications Service (1983). International Who's Who, 1983-84: Volume 47. Europa Publications. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-905118-86-4. 
  9. ^ "Ambassador Bunker Sails". The New York Times. April 6, 1951. 
  10. ^ "Two Ambassadors Named By Truman". The New York Times. February 22, 1952. 
  11. ^ "New President Is Named By American Red Cross". The New York Times. November 17, 1953. 
  12. ^ "Gruenther Named Head Of Red Cross". Eugene Register-Guard. November 13, 1956. 
  13. ^ "U.S.Ambassadors to India - U.S. Embassy New Delhi, India". Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  14. ^ "Nehru Backs Links to Commonwealth". The New York Times. December 8, 1956. 
  15. ^ "A New Envoy to India". The New York Times. November 17, 1956. 
  16. ^ "A New Ambassador". The Baltimore Sun. December 8, 1956. 
  17. ^ Gillette, Michael L. (December 9, 1980). "Transcript, Ellsworth Bunker Oral History Interview I, 12/9/80" (pdf). LBJ Library. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  18. ^ Sorley, Lewis (1999). A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam. Harcourt. pp. 265–266. ISBN 978-0-15-100266-5. 
  19. ^ "Marriage Announcement: Bunker-Butler" (PDF). The New York Times. April 26, 1920. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  20. ^ Schaffer, Howard B. (2003). Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk. University of North Carolina Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8078-2825-0. 
  21. ^ Schaffer. - p.16.
  22. ^ "New Envoy to Saigon; Ellsworth Bunker" (fee). The New York Times. March 16, 1967. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  23. ^ Associated Press (January 4, 1967). "In Brief". Lewiston Evening Journal. 
  24. ^ "U.S. Ambassadors Wed in Nepal; Carol C. Laise, Envoy in Katmandu, and Bunker Married: Two U.S. Envoys Are Wed In Nepal" (fee). The New York Times (Reuters). January 4, 1967. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  25. ^ Cook, Joan (July 26, 1991). "Carol Laise, 73, Ex-Ambassador and High State Dept. Aide, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  26. ^ "Ellsworth Bunker, Longtime Diplomat". Chicago Tribune. September 28, 1984. 
  27. ^ "George Aiken, Former Senator Dies". Record-Journal (United Press International). November 20, 1984. 
  28. ^ "Obituaries", Brattleboro Reformer, June 4, 2005 
  29. ^ "Death Notice", The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 5, 2005 
  30. ^ Culver, Virginia (June 7, 2005), "A Colorado Life: Sugar exec let others get in on his sweet life", The Denver Post: C-13 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Stanton Griffis
United States Ambassador to Argentina
1951 – 1952
Succeeded by
Albert F. Nufer
Preceded by
James Clement Dunn
U. S. Ambassador to Italy
1952 – 1953
Succeeded by
Clare Boothe Luce
Preceded by
John Sherman Cooper
U.S. Ambassador to India
1956 – 1961
Succeeded by
John Kenneth Galbraith
Preceded by
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam
1967 – 1973
Succeeded by
Graham Martin
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dean Rusk
Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient
1970
Succeeded by
Neil Armstrong