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Walter Judd (politician)

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Walter Judd
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1963
Preceded byOscar Youngdahl
Succeeded byDonald M. Fraser
Personal details
Walter Henry Judd

(1898-09-25)September 25, 1898
Rising City, Nebraska, U.S.
DiedFebruary 13, 1994(1994-02-13) (aged 95)
Mitchellville, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Nebraska, Lincoln (BS, MD)

Walter Henry Judd (September 25, 1898 – February 13, 1994), also known as I-te Chou (Chinese: 周以德), was an American politician and physician, best known for his battle in Congress (1943–63) to define the conservative position on China as all-out support for the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek and opposition to the Communists under Mao Zedong. After the Nationalists fled to Formosa (Taiwan) in 1949, Judd redoubled his support.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Judd was born in Rising City, Nebraska, the son of Mary Elizabeth (Greenslit) and Horace Hunter Judd.[2] After training with the ROTC for the United States Army near the end of World War I, he earned his M.D. degree from the University of Nebraska in 1923.


After earning his medical degree from the University of Nebraska, Judd became the traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement. From 1925 through 1931, Judd was a medical missionary in China, sent to assist Edward Bliss. He worked first in small clinic a backwater town, then became head of a large hospital in a sizable city.

From 1931 to 1934, he worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Then, in 1934, he returned to China as a missionary physician until 1938, when he returned to Minnesota.

Upon his return the United States, he did not urge Americans to be isolationists. Instead, Judd encouraged support of China against Japanese aggression.

U.S. Congress[edit]

In 1942, Judd was elected to the U.S. Congress from Minnesota, where he became a powerful voice in support of China. He served for 20 years from 1943 until 1963 in the 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 84th, 85th, 86th, and 87th congresses. Judd voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960,[3][4] as well as the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[5]

Judd was known for his eloquent oratory and expertise in U.S. foreign policy. He spoke at civic and political gatherings around the nation. He was a good friend of Senator Harry S. Truman, and together they spent two weeks in 1943 making speeches in support of the United Nations, doubling up in hotel rooms at night. In Congress, Judd supported liberal international program such as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and NATO. He called for removal of ethnic and racial restrictions in the immigration laws. He was an outspoken anti-communist and critic of U.S. rapprochement with China at the expense of the Republic of China on Taiwan. In the early 1950s, Judd helped organize the Committee of One Million, a citizens' group dedicated to keeping the People's Republic of China out of the United Nations.[6]

Judd gave the keynote address at the 1960 Republican National Convention, which met in Chicago to nominate the Nixon-Lodge ticket.

In 1962, Judd was defeated for reelection by liberal Democrat Donald M. Fraser. The District had been redrawn after the 1960 census, making it heavily Democratic.[7] Judd's defeat worked to increase Passman's power on the foreign aid subcommittee. He was the last person to attempt to run for president on a major party ticket to have been born in the 19th century, though he did not make it past the primaries. In 1964, Judd's name was placed in nomination at the Republican National Convention for President and he received a smattering of votes.

According to biographer Yanli Gao:[8]

Judd was both a Wilsonian moralist and a Jacksonian protectionist, whose efforts were driven by a general Christian understanding of human beings, as well as a missionary complex. As he appealed simultaneously to American national interests and a popular Christian moral conscience, the Judd experience demonstrated that determined courageous advocacy by missionaries did in fact help to shape an American foreign policy needing to be awakened from its isolationist slumbers.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Presidential Medal of Freedom[edit]

In 1981, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he was actively involved in the Council Against Communist Aggression in Washington, D.C.

Walter Judd Freedom Award[edit]

The Fund for American Studies, an educational and internship program that works in partnership with George Mason University, annually presents the Walter Judd Freedom Award in cooperation with the Center for International Relations to recognize individuals who have advanced the cause of freedom in the United States and abroad. Past recipients have included former United States President Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and George J. Viksnins, a professor emeritus at Georgetown University.


On February 13, 1994, Judd died of cancer in Mitchellville, Maryland, aged 95.[9] He is interred with his wife, Miriam, at Blue Valley Cemetery in Surprise, Nebraska.


  1. ^ Bruce Frohnen. ed. American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia (2006) pp. 459–60
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "HR 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957". GovTrack.us.
  4. ^ "HR 8601. PASSAGE".
  6. ^ Edwards, 1990
  7. ^ After Judd's defeat the District has been represented exclusively by Democrats: Donald M. Fraser (from 1963 to 1979), Martin Olav Sabo (from 1979 to 2007), and Keith Ellison (since 2007).
  8. ^ Yanli Gao and Robert Osburn Jr. "Walter Judd and the Sino-Japanese War: Christian Missionary cum Foreign Policy Activist." Journal of Church and State 58.4 (2016): 615-632.
  9. ^ "Walter H. Judd, 95, Missionary To China and U.S. Representative (Published 1994)". The New York Times. 1994-02-15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-15.

Further reading[edit]

External videos
video icon Booknotes interview with Lee Edwards on Missionary for Freedom, September 2, 1990, C-SPAN
  • Frohnen, Bruce, ed. American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia (2006) pp. 459–60.
  • Edwards, Lee (1990). Missionary for Freedom: The Life and Times of Walter Judd. New York: Paragon House. ISBN 978-1-610-83060-7.
  • Goodno, Floyd Russell. "Walter H. Judd: Spokesman for China in the United States House of Representatives." (MA thesis. Oklahoma State University, 1970.) online
  • Ladd, Tony. "Mission to Capitol Hill: A Study of the Impact of Missionary Idealism on the Congressional Career of Walter H. Judd." in United States Attitudes and Policies Toward China: The Impact of American Missionaries (1990): 263-283. online
  • Yanli, Gao. "Judd's China: a missionary congressman and US-China policy," Journal of Modern Chinese History, December 2008, Vol. 2 Issue 2, pp. 197–219
  • Yanli, Gao, and Robert Osburn Jr. "Walter Judd and the Sino-Japanese War: Christian Missionary cum Foreign Policy Activist." Journal of Church and State 58.4 (2015): 615-632.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Keynote Speaker of the Republican National Convention
Succeeded by