Thomas K. Finletter
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|United States Ambassador to NATO|
March 2, 1961 – September 2, 1965
|President||John F. Kennedy|
Lyndon B. Johnson
|Preceded by||William Draper|
|Succeeded by||Harlan Cleveland|
|United States Secretary of the Air Force|
April 24, 1950 – January 20, 1953
|President||Harry S. Truman|
|Preceded by||Stuart Symington|
|Succeeded by||Harold E. Talbott|
Thomas Knight Finletter
November 11, 1893
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||April 24, 1980 (aged 86)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||University of Pennsylvania (BA, LLB)|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
Thomas Knight Finletter (November 11, 1893 – April 24, 1980), was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman.
Finletter was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Dickson Finletter and Helen Grill Finletter. He was the grandson of Thomas K. Finletter, for whom the Thomas K. Finletter School in Philadelphia is named after.
He took his early education at The Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with both Bachelor of Arts degree in 1915 and bachelor of laws in 1920. He also served as editor-in-chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
Finletter practiced law in New York until he began his government service in 1941, as a special assistant to Secretary of State Cordell Hull on international economic affairs. In 1943, he was appointed executive director and later deputy director of the Office of Foreign Economic Coordinator (OFEC). In this post, he was in charge of planning economic activities related to liberated areas and was in control of matters of foreign exchange and matters relating to the operations of the Alien Property Custodian. Finletter resigned his post in 1944, when the functions of OFEC were absorbed by the newly created Foreign Economic Administration.
In the same year he was a cosigner of the "Declaration of the Dublin, N.H., Conference", a declaration on world peace issued by the Dublin Conference on World Peace. The declaration stated that the United Nations was inadequate to maintain world peace, and advocated a world federal government.
He returned to public service July 18, 1947, when President Harry S. Truman established a temporary, five-man commission that inquired into all phases of aviation and drafted the national air policy report. This commission was sometimes known as "The Finletter Commission". Finletter served as chairman of the Air Policy Commission which, on January 1, 1948, sent to the president the report entitled "Survival in the Air Age."
Secretary of the Air Force
In 1958, Finletter was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate from New York. He won the support of some liberal reformers, prominently including Eleanor Roosevelt, and was chosen as the Liberal Party's candidate, but the Democratic Convention preferred Frank Hogan. Finletter then withdrew from the Liberal ticket, endorsing Hogan.
In 1965, following his term as Ambassador to NATO, he retired from government service and returned to his law practice with the firm of Coudert Brothers, in New York City, where he died on April 24, 1980.
- Interim Report on the U.S. Search for a Substitute for Isolation, W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., New York: 1968
Political and Professional Affiliations
- U.S. Air Force official biography at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2004)
- The Truman Library
- The Political Graveyard
- U.S. Air Force, The Air and Space Power Journal
- Declaration of the Dublin, N.H., Conference
- Television News Archive, Vanderbilt University
- Newspaper clippings about Thomas K. Finletter in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)
| United States Secretary of the Air Force
Harold E. Talbott
| United States Ambassador to NATO