H. Freeman Matthews

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H. Freeman Matthews
H. Freeman Matthews 1956.jpg
H. Freeman Matthews in the Netherlands in 1956
United States Ambassador to Austria
In office
September 4, 1957 – May 25, 1962
Preceded byLlewellyn Thompson
Succeeded byJames Williams Riddleberger
United States Ambassador to the Netherlands
In office
November 25, 1953 – June 11, 1957
Preceded bySelden Chapin
Succeeded byPhilip Young
United States Ambassador to Sweden
In office
December 5, 1947 – May 24, 1950
Preceded byLouis G. Dreyfus, Jr.
Succeeded byW. Walton Butterworth
Personal details
Born(1899-05-26)May 26, 1899
Baltimore, Maryland
DiedOctober 19, 1986(1986-10-19) (aged 87)
Washington, D.C.

Harrison Freeman Matthews (May 26, 1899 – October 19, 1986) was a career American diplomat who served as Ambassador to three European countries.

Life and career[edit]

H. Freeman "Doc" Matthews was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 26, 1899. He served in the United States Navy during World War I, and received bachelor's (1921) and master's (1922) degrees from Princeton University. From 1922 to 1923 he studied at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, in Paris, France.[1]

Matthews became a career employee of the United States Department of State, and his assignments included secretary positions in Budapest (1924 to 1926)[2] and Bogotá (1926 to 1929).[3] From 1930 to 1933 he served at the State Department as Deputy Chief of the Latin American Affairs Division.[4] In 1933, Matthews moved to a secretary position in Havana, Cuba, where he served until 1937.[5] He occupied a similar position in Paris, France from 1937 to 1940, and was the consul there from 1938 to 1940. During 1939 he was acting Ambassador to Spain.[6][7]

From 1940 to 1941 he was First Secretary in the U.S. embassy to France during the Vichy French government.[8][9] From 1941 to 1943 he was counselor at the American embassy in London, England.[10]

From 1943 to 1947, he served again at the State Department, assigned as Chief of the European Affairs Division and Director of the Office of European Affairs.[11][12] Matthews was Ambassador to Sweden from 1947 to 1950.[13][14] From 1950 to 1953, he served as Deputy Undersecretary of State.[15] He was acting Secretary of State for the one day between the departure of Dean Acheson and the swearing in of John Foster Dulles.[16]

In 1953, Matthews was appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands, and he remained in this post until 1957.[17] He was Ambassador to Austria from 1957 until his 1962 retirement.[18]

Matthews died in Washington, D.C. on October 19, 1986.[19] He is buried at Friends Cemetery in Baltimore.[20]

His son, H. Freeman Matthews, Jr. (December 31, 1927 – July 26, 2006) was also a career diplomat.[21]


  1. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office, The Biographic Register, 1958, page 468
  2. ^ Baltimore Sun, An Engagement Of Interest: Miss Elizabeth R. Luke Will Wed Mr. H. Freeman Matthews September 15 At Tarrytown, N.Y., August 30, 1925
  3. ^ New York Times, American Envoy Flies to Take Bogota Post, January 23, 1930
  4. ^ Bernard J. Reis, False Security: The Betrayal of the American Investor, 1937, page 106
  5. ^ J.D. Phillips, New York Times, Cuban Terrorists Warn U.S. Envoy, May 29, 1934
  6. ^ New York Times, Matthews Visits Madrid: U.S. Charge d'Affaires Praises Condition of Embassy, April 30, 1939
  7. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Who's Who in Government, Volume 1, 1958, page 326
  8. ^ New York Times, Petain Entertains Matthews, November 12, 1941
  9. ^ Chicago Tribune, U.S. Ambassador Confers With Petain, Darlan, July 20, 1941
  10. ^ Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Man to Become U.S. Counselor in Britain, December 6, 1941
  11. ^ Christian Science Monitor, Matthews to Head European Division, July 14, 1943
  12. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office, Biographic Register, 1951, page 1
  13. ^ Christian Science Monitor, Envoy Nominee Backed, July 19, 1947
  14. ^ New York Times, New Matthews Post Seen: Envoy to Sweden Expected to Get High Position in Washington, April 29, 1950
  15. ^ https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1952-54v08/persons
  16. ^ New York Times, Interim Secretary of State May Serve for Few Hours, January 17, 1953
  17. ^ Baltimore Sun, H. F. Matthews, Of Baltimore, Made Ambassador To Holland, October 2, 1953
  18. ^ New York Times, Envoys to Austria, Ivory Coast And Trinidad Are Designated, October 4, 1962
  19. ^ New York Times, H. Freeman Matthews, Diplomat Since 1920s, October 21, 1986
  20. ^ Emil Erick Hoopes, Christina Hoopes, A Record of Interments at the Friends Burial Ground, Baltimore, Maryland, 1996, page 38
  21. ^ Dennis Hevesi, New York Times, H. Freeman Matthews Jr., 78, Who Worked on Camp David Accords, Dies, July 26, 2006

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr.
United States Ambassador to Sweden
September 20, 1947 – May 24, 1950
Succeeded by
W. Walton Butterworth
Preceded by
Selden Chapin
United States Ambassador to the Netherlands
November 25, 1953 – June 11, 1957
Succeeded by
Philip Young
Preceded by
Llewellyn Thompson
United States Ambassador to Austria
August 5, 1957 – May 25, 1962
Succeeded by
James W. Riddleberger