Edmund A. Walsh

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Father Walsh with General Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo, 1948

Fr. Edmund Aloysius Walsh, S.J. (October 10, 1885 – October 31, 1956)[1] was an American Jesuit Catholic priest, author, professor of geopolitics and founder of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, the first school for international affairs in the United States. He founded the school in 1919–six years before the U.S. Foreign Service itself existed–and served as its first regent.


Georgetown University School of Foreign Service[edit]

In the aftermath of World War I, Georgetown University established a School of Foreign Service and tapped Walsh to lead it. The school, which was the first of its kind, was intended to advance international peace by training diplomats, businesspersons, bankers, and traders with an education focused on international relations.[2] University president John B. Creeden employed Walsh as the school's first Regent. Classes began in October 1919[3] and the first class graduated in 1921.[4] After founding the school, Walsh continued to lead the school for several decades.[5]

International affairs[edit]

Walsh directed the Papal Famine Relief Mission to Russia in 1922, which also succeeded in securing for the Vatican the Holy Relics of St. Andrew Bobola (they were actually transported to Rome by the Walsh's Assistant Director, Louis J. Gallagher, who later wrote books both about Walsh and about Bobola).[6][7]

Later, Walsh worked on behalf of the Vatican to resolve the long-standing issues between Church and State in Mexico in 1929, and negotiated with the Iraqi government to establish an American High School in Baghdad in 1931, Baghdad College.

After the Allies' victory in World War II, Walsh served as Consultant to the U.S. Chief of Counsel at the Nuremberg Trials. One of his duties was to interrogate the German geopolitician General Karl Haushofer to determine whether he should be tried for war crimes. Haushofer's theory of international politics were said to have helped justify the Holocaust.

Walsh was strongly anti-Communist, informed in part by his famine relief work in 1922. Walsh became widely known as an anti-Communist author and rhetorician, so much so that he was rumored, falsely, to have been the man who first convinced Senator McCarthy that Communists had infiltrated the U.S. government and entertainment industry, and that he should use the anti-Communist issue in order to gain political prominence. [8] Walsh vigorously promoted anti-Communist thought throughout his career.[9]

Walsh was the author of The Fall of the Russian Empire: The story of the last of the Romanovs and the coming of the Bolsheviki. (1928).[10]


Walsh's most enduring legacy is the school he founded, which has become an incubator of leadership in the United States and internationally. Graduates of the School have included U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, U.S. President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community (George Tenet), the American labor movement (AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland), and the American Catholic Church (New York Cardinal Archbishop John Joseph O'Connor). Heads of state educated at the School have included King Abdullah of Jordan, King Felipe VI of Spain, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines.

The School has also been home to prominent faculty members including the historians Carroll Quigley, and Jules Davids, the political scientist, and World War II hero Jan Karski, and the first woman Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. On May 29, 2012, both Karski (posthumously) and Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent a letter to Georgetown University when Father Walsh died in 1956, which read in part:

The death of Father Walsh is a grievous loss to the Society in which he served so many years, to the educational and religious life of the United States and to the free people of the Western world. For four decades, he was a vigorous and inspiring champion of freedom for mankind and independence for nations... at every call to duty, all his energy of leadership and wisdom of counsel were devoted to the service of the United States.

After his death in 1956, a new academic building constructed to house the school was named the Edmund A. Walsh Memorial Building in his memory.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Fr. Edmund Walsh Archived 2008-06-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ https://www.library.georgetown.edu/exhibition/house-walsh-built-century-georgetowns-school-foreign-service The House That Walsh Built
  3. ^ https://www.library.georgetown.edu/exhibition/house-walsh-built-century-georgetowns-school-foreign-service The House That Walsh Built: Speeches from the Formal Commemoration of the Founding of the School of Foreign Service, November 25, 1919
  4. ^ https://www.library.georgetown.edu/exhibition/house-walsh-built-century-georgetowns-school-foreign-service The House That Walsh Built: Program from Dinner for the First Graduating Class, 1921
  5. ^ https://www.library.georgetown.edu/exhibition/house-walsh-built-century-georgetowns-school-foreign-service The House That Walsh Built: Fr. Frank L. Fadner, SFS Professor and Regent
  6. ^ The Catholic Diplomat: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J.
  7. ^ The biographic note about Louis J. Gallagher in the back of: China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Matteo Ricci (1942; reprint 1953) - an English translation, by Gallagher, of Matteo Ricci and Nicolas Trigault's De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu
  8. ^ O'Neill, Paul R. and Paul K. Williams, "Georgetown University"
  9. ^ "The House That Walsh Built: A Century of Georgetown's School of Foreign Service | Georgetown University Library".
  10. ^ Walsh, Edmond A., ‘’ The Fall of the Russian Empire: The story of the last of the Romanovs and the coming of the Bolsheviki’’, Little, Brown, & Company, Boston 1928


  • McNamara, Patrick. A Catholic Cold War: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism New York: Fordham University Press, 2005
  • Walsh, Edmund A. Total Power: A Footnote to History. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1949.

External links[edit]