John Moors Cabot

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John Moors Cabot
United States Ambassador to Poland
In office
March 2, 1962 – September 24, 1965
Preceded byJacob D. Beam
Succeeded byJohn A. Gronouski
United States Ambassador to Brazil
In office
July 22, 1959 – August 17, 1961
Preceded byEllis O. Briggs
Succeeded byLincoln Gordon
United States Ambassador to Colombia
In office
July 12, 1957 – July 15, 1959
Preceded byPhilip Bonsal
Succeeded byDempster McIntosh
United States Ambassador to Sweden
In office
May 6, 1954 – May 14, 1957
Preceded byWilliam Walton Butterworth
Succeeded byFrancis White
Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
In office
March 3, 1953 – March 1, 1954
Preceded byEdward G. Miller Jr.
Succeeded byHenry F. Holland
United States Ambassador to Finland
In office
February 27, 1950 – September 20, 1952
Preceded byAvra M. Warren
Succeeded byJack K. McFall
Personal details
BornDecember 11, 1901
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedFebruary 24, 1981(1981-02-24) (aged 79)
Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth Lewis
(m. 1932; his death 1981)
ChildrenJohn Godfrey Lowell Cabot
Lewis Cabot
ParentsGodfrey Lowell Cabot
Maria Moors Cabot
EducationBuckingham Browne & Nichols
Alma materHarvard University (1923)
Oxford University
OccupationDiplomat, U.S. Ambassador

John Moors Cabot (December 11, 1901 – February 24, 1981) was an American diplomat and U.S. Ambassador to five nations during the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations. He also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.[1] He warned repeatedly of the dangers of Soviet communism toward American interests in Latin America.

Early life[edit]

Cabot was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[2] His father was Godfrey Lowell Cabot (1861–1962),[2] founder of Cabot Corporation[3] and a philanthropist. His mother was Maria Moors Cabot. Two of his siblings were Thomas Dudley Cabot[4] (b. 1897), businessman and philanthropist, and Eleanor Cabot of the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate.[5]

Cabot graduated from Buckingham Browne & Nichols in 1919.[6] He would go on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1923, and from Oxford University with a degree in Modern History.[2]


Cabot joined the US Foreign Service in 1926. Much of his early career was spent in Latin America. His first Foreign Service assignment was as a consul in Callao-Lima, Peru, in 1927. For the next eight years, he served in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Brazil. From 1935 to 1939, he served first in the Netherlands and then in Sweden. From 1939 to 1941, he was in Guatemala.[7]

During much of World War II, Cabot worked in the State Department as assistant chief of the division of American Republics and then as chief of the division of Caribbean and Central American affairs.[7]

Cabot (centre) in Shanghai in 1948 with Mayor K.C. Wu to his left

He was posted to Argentina after the war and, then, in 1947, he was appointed counsellor of the US Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He was then appointed US Consul General in Shanghai between 1948 and 1949 and was in post when the Communist troops took over the city in May, 1949.[7]

Cabot served a U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 1954 to 1957, Colombia from 1957 to 1959, Brazil from 1959 to 1961, and Poland from 1962 to 1965,[1][8] during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administration. He was also commissioned to Pakistan during a recess of the Senate, but did not serve under this appointment.[9] From 1953 to 1954, he also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.[1] There is a 27 page transcript from an interview of Cabot, discussing the Alliance for Progress, Bay of Pigs invasion, Cold War, foreign policy, and international relations during the Kennedy administration, archived in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.[10]

As ambassador to Brazil, 1959-61 his public relations campaigns on behalf of American business angered nationalist politicians and journalists. President Jânio Quadros of Brazil publicly rebuked Cabot for questioning Brazil's foreign policy and tolerance of the Cuban revolution. President John Kennedy recalled Cabot early in 1961.[11][12]

In December 1954, Cabot, in his role as U.S. ambassador to Sweden, attended the Nobel banquet and read the acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded that year to Ernest Hemingway who was not present due to ill health.[13]

Following his retirement from the U.S. Department of State, he taught at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.[2] In 1981, Tuft's John M. and Elizabeth L. Cabot Intercultural Center was named in honor of Cabot and his wife.[14]

Personal life[edit]

In 1932, he married Vassar College graduate Elizabeth Lewis (d. 1992).[15] Together, they were the parents of four children:[16][17]

  • John G.L. Cabot (b. 1934)
  • Lewis P. Cabot
  • Marjorie Cabot, who married Antonio Enríquez Savignac (1931–2007) in 1957.[18]
  • Elizabeth T. Cabot, who married Bogislav von Wentzel.[19]

Cabot died at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. on February 24, 1981.[20]

Published works[edit]

  • The Racial Conflict in Transylvania: A Discussion of the Conflicting Claims of Rumania and Hungary to Transylvania, the Banat, and the Eastern Section of the Hungarian Plain, 1926
  • Toward Our Common American Destiny: Speeches and Interviews on Latin American Problems, 1954
  • First line of defense: forty years' experiences of a career diplomat (Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, 1979).


  1. ^ a b c "The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Finding Aids: C". Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d "John Moore (sic) Cabot is dead at 79; U.S. Ambassador to 5 countries". New York Times. February 25, 1981. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  3. ^ "The History of Cabot Corporation". Cabot Corporation. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "Thomas Cabot, 98, Capitalist And Philanthropist, Is Dead". New York Times. June 10, 1995. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  5. ^ Town & Country, Volumes 75-76. Town & Country. February 20, 1919. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  6. ^ "Giving Programs: Endowment & Spendable Funds". Buckingham Browne & Nichols. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Washington Post, Obituary, 25 February 1981
  8. ^ "John Moors Cabot - People - Department History". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Department History People: JOHN MOORS CABOT(1901-1981)". Bureau of Public Affairs Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "John Moors Cabot Oral History Interview - JFK #1, 1/27/1971". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  11. ^ Bruce W. Jentleson and Thomas G. Paterson, eds. Encyclopedia of US foreign relations. (1997) 1:207.
  12. ^ Streeter, Stephen M. "Campaigning against Latin American Nationalism: US Ambassador John Moors Cabot in Brazil, 1959-1961." The Americas 51.2 (1994): 193-218.
  13. ^ "Ernest Hemingway's Banquet Speech". December 10, 1954. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  14. ^ Miller, Russell (1986). "Light on the Hill, Volume II". Tufts Digital Library. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  15. ^ Smith, J. Y. (27 December 1992). "E.L. CABOT, AMBASSADOR'S WIFE, DIES". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  16. ^ "A Guide to the John Moors Cabot papers, 1929-1980". Tufts Digital Library. 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  17. ^ Jensen, Michael C. (12 March 1972). "The Cabots of Boston". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  18. ^ "MARJORIE CABOT WILL BE MARRIED; Daughter of the U.S. Envoy to Colombia Is Fiancee of Antonio Enriquez". The New York Times. 28 July 1957. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  19. ^ "WEDDINGS; Severa von Wentzel, Adam Boswick". The New York Times. 25 July 1999. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  20. ^ Smith, J. Y. (25 February 1981). "Diplomat John Moors Cabot, 79, Dies". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 February 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Streeter, Stephen M. "Campaigning against Latin American Nationalism: US Ambassador John Moors Cabot in Brazil, 1959-1961." The Americas 51.2 (1994): 193-218.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Edward G. Miller Jr.
Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
March 3, 1953 – March 1, 1954
Succeeded by
Henry F. Holland
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Avra M. Warren
United States Ambassador to Finland
February 27, 1950 – September 20, 1952
Succeeded by
Jack K. McFall
Preceded by
W. Walton Butterworth
United States Ambassador to Sweden
May 6, 1954 – May 14, 1957
Succeeded by
Francis White
Preceded by
Philip Bonsal
United States Ambassador to Colombia
July 12, 1957 – July 15, 1959
Succeeded by
Dempster McIntosh
Preceded by
Ellis O. Briggs
United States Ambassador to Brazil
July 22, 1959 – August 17, 1961
Succeeded by
Lincoln Gordon
Preceded by
Jacob D. Beam
United States Ambassador to Poland
March 2, 1962 – September 24, 1965
Succeeded by
John A. Gronouski