Norman Davis (diplomat)

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Davis in 1920

Norman H. Davis (9 August 1878 - 2 July 1944), was a U.S. diplomat. He served as President Wilson's Assistant Secretary of Treasury and later as Undersecretary of State.

He was born in Normandy, Bedford County, Tennessee[1] to successful businessman and distiller McClin H. Davis, who is credited with perfecting the recipe for Cascade Whisky, which is now known as George Dickel. Norman Davis was prepared at the prestigious Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN, and studied at both Stanford and Vanderbilt. Davis briefly ran the Cascade Distillery following his father's death in 1898, but was forced to sell his share of the distillery to the operation's majority owners.[2][3] Norman made millions of dollars from his financial dealings in Cuba from 1902 to 1917, where he was the President of the Trust Company of Cuba. While working in the financial industry, he built close friendships with Henry Pomeroy Davison, an influential partner with J.P. Morgan & Co. and Chairman of the American Red Cross, and Richard M. Bissell, president of Hartford Fire Insurance and a member of the National Defense Commission. Through these connections, he was able to get appointed as a financial adviser to the Secretary of Treasury on foreign loans during World War I.[4]

Davis headed a commission of the League of Nations that negotiated the Klaipėda Convention in 1924. He was a delegate to a General Disarmament Conference in Geneva in 1931. He was chairman of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from 1938 to 1944 and president of the Council on Foreign Relations 1936–1944. He was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1940 to 1942.[5]

In 1939, following the outbreak of war in Europe, Davis chaired the steering committee of the Council on Foreign Relations' War and Peace Studies project, created to advise the U.S. Government on wartime policy. He would also join the State Department's committee on overseas war measures, the fifteen-member Advisory Committee on Problems of Foreign Relations.


  1. ^ The Public Life of Norman H. Davis - jstor Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  2. ^ Kay Baker Gaston, "George Dickel Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey: The Story Behind the Label," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Fall 1998), pp. 51-64.
  3. ^ Hale, Will Thomas & Merritt, Dixon Lanier (1913). A History of Tennessee and Tennesseans: The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities, Volume 6. Lewis Publishing Company. p. 1603.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Domhoff, G. William (1990). The Power Elite and the State: How Policy Is Made in America. Transaction Publishers. pp. 115–116. ISBN 9780202369877.
  5. ^

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Cary T. Grayson
Chairman of the
International League of
Red Cross Societies

Succeeded by
Jean de Muralt