Hugh R. Wilson
Hugh R. Wilson
|United States Ambassador to Germany|
March 3, 1938 – November 16, 1938
|President||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|Preceded by||William E. Dodd|
|Succeeded by||Alexander Comstock Kirk (Acting)|
|United States Assistant Secretary of State|
August 23, 1937 – January 17, 1938
|President||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|Preceded by||George S. Messersmith|
|Succeeded by||Adolf A. Berle|
|United States Minister to Switzerland|
June 11, 1927 – July 8, 1937
Franklin D. Roosevelt
|Preceded by||Hugh S. Gibson|
|Succeeded by||Leland B. Harrison|
Hugh Robert Wilson
January 29, 1885
|Died||December 29, 1946 (aged 61)|
École Libre des Sciences Politiques
Hugh Robert Wilson (January 29, 1885 – December 29, 1946) was a member of the United States Foreign Service who headed the United States mission to Switzerland for ten years beginning in 1927. He became Assistant Secretary of State in 1937 and served for several months in 1938 as Ambassador to Germany.
Wilson was born on January 29, 1885, in Evanston, Illinois, to Hugh Robert and Alice W. Wilson. He attended The Hill School for four years and graduated in 1902. He attended Yale University graduating in 1906. He worked in business for a few years and studied at the École Libre des Sciences Politiques, Paris in 1910. He served briefly in the delegation in Lisbon until, upon passing examinations for the Diplomatic Service, he was appointed Secretary to the delegation in Guatemala. While in that post, Wilson married Katherine Boyle in London on April 25, 1914. He later served in Buenos Aires, Berlin, Vienna, Tokyo, and Berne. From 1924 to 1927 he worked in Washington as Chief of the Division of Current Information of the Department of State.
He held the position of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Switzerland from 1927 to 1937, and during those years represented the United States at many international conferences. On August 23, 1937, he became Assistant Secretary of State. He served as Ambassador to Germany from March 3 to November 16, 1938.
He attended the congress of the Nazi Party in Nuremberg in September 1938 and broke with the precedent established by his predecessor, William E. Dodd, who had refused to attend. In Dodd's absence, the embassy's chargé d'affaires had attended the previous year. President Roosevelt called Wilson home for urgent consultations in November 1938 following the anti-Jewish attacks of Kristallnacht and he never returned to Germany.
Wilson coined the phrase "pretty good club" while describing the foreign service. When he was the ambassador to Germany he sought to emphasize the positive aspects of Nazi Germany. He accused the American press of being "Jewish controlled" and of singing a "hymn of hate while efforts are made over here to build a better future." He praised Hitler as "the man who has pulled his people from moral and economic despair into the state of pride and evident prosperity they now enjoyed."
Wilson held the title Advisor to Secretary of State until he retired from the Foreign Service on December 31, 1940. He returned to government service following the attack on Pearl Harbor and worked at the Office of Strategic Services from 1941 to 1945. He then accepted an appointment as chief of the foreign affairs section of the Republican National Committee.
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- Disarmament and the Cold War in the Thirties (NY: Vantage Press 1963)
- Descent into Violence - Spain, January–July 1936 (Ilfracombe, Stockwell, 1969)
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- In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson
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- New York Times: C. Hartley Grattan, "A Diplomat's Experience between Wars," March 30, 1941, accessed August 31, 2011