Leland B. Harrison

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Leland B. Harrison
United States Minister to Switzerland
In office
September 10, 1937 – October 14, 1947
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Preceded byHugh R. Wilson
Succeeded byJohn Carter Vincent
United States Minister to Romania
In office
July 24, 1935 – September 3, 1937
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byAlvin M. Owsley
Succeeded byFranklin Mott Gunther
United States Minister to Uruguay
In office
April 11, 1930 – October 9, 1930
PresidentHerbert Hoover
Preceded byUlysses Grant-Smith
Succeeded byJ. Butler Wright
United States Minister to Sweden
In office
May 31, 1927 – November 11, 1929
PresidentCalvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Preceded byRobert Woods Bliss
Succeeded byJohn Motley Morehead III
United States Assistant Secretary of State
In office
March 31, 1922 – June 30, 1924
PresidentWarren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Preceded byFred Morris Dearing
Succeeded byWilbur J. Carr
Personal details
Born(1883-04-25)April 25, 1883
New York City
DiedJune 6, 1951(1951-06-06) (aged 68)
Washington, D.C., United States
Anne C. Coleman
(m. 1925)
EducationHarvard College
Harvard Law School

Leland B. Harrison (April 25, 1883 – June 6, 1951) was a United States diplomat. He held several high appointments in the foreign service, most notably as U.S. minister to Switzerland throughout World War II.

Family and education[edit]

The son of W. Henry Harrison and Helen (Skidmore) Harrison, he was educated at Eton College, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School.


After law school, Harrison became the private secretary of United States Ambassador to Japan Thomas J. O'Brien. He was appointed Third Secretary of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on June 10, 1908. He later filled posts in the United States embassies in Peking, London, and Bogotá. In 1918, he became diplomatic secretary of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. He later became counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson allowed Secretary of State Robert Lansing and Frank Polk quietly and informally to channel the flow of military and law enforcement material into the State Department's Bureau of Secret Intelligence (U-1), what is now known as the Diplomatic Security Service. The two men picked Leland Harrison "to take charge of the collection and examination of all information of a secret nature coming into the Department from various sources and also to direct the work of the agents specially employed for that purpose."[1][2]

In 1921, Harrison moved to Washington, D.C. to become assistant to the Conference on the Limitation on Armament. On March 21, 1922, Harrison was named United States Assistant Secretary of State and he held this office from March 31, 1922, to June 30, 1924. In 1927, Harrison was named Minister to Sweden, a post he held from May 31, 1927, to November 11, 1929. He also headed the U.S. delegation to the International Telegraph Conference in Brussels in 1928. In 1929, he became Minister to Uruguay, holding this post from April 11, 1930, to October 9, 1930. He then resigned temporarily from the United States Foreign Service. A short time later, however, he returned to government service as chief of the International Relations Division of the United States Tariff Commission. On May 15, 1935, he was named Minister to Romania, serving there from July 24, 1935, to September 3, 1937.

Ambassador to Switzerland[edit]

He was then Minister to Switzerland from September 10, 1937, to October 14, 1947.

As Ambassador to Switzerland, Harrison was sympathetic to Jewish rescue and relief operations and worked closely with Gerhardt Riegner, the representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva and sent several reports regarding the murder of the Jews of Europe to the United States Department of State in Washington D.C.

He endorsed many of these reports as being credible and recommended action be taken to assist in the relief and rescue of Jews in Nazi-controlled territories.[3][4]

Personal life, retirement and death[edit]

He married Anne C. Coleman on June 27, 1925.

Harrison retired on February 29, 1948. After his death in June 1951,[5] he was buried in the cemetery of the Church of St. James the Less in Philadelphia.


  1. ^ Book: Allen Dulles – Master of Spies by James Srodes 1999; Page 83
  2. ^ History of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the United States Department of State, Page 6
  3. ^ Feingold, Henry (1970). The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938–1944. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. pp. 180–181, 239–240.
  4. ^ Bauer, Yehuda (1981). American Jewry and the Holocaust. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 401, 404.
  5. ^ "LELAND HARRISON EX-DIPLOMAT, DIES; Former Assistant Secretary of State Dies at Capital-- Held Other Major Posts". The New York Times. June 8, 1951. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
Government offices
Preceded by United States Assistant Secretary of State
March 31, 1922 – June 30, 1924
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Sweden
May 31, 1927 – November 11, 1929
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Uruguay
April 11, 1930 – October 9, 1930
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Romania
July 24, 1935 – September 3, 1937
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
September 10, 1937 – October 14, 1947
Succeeded by