Leland B. Morris

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Leland B. Morris
Leleand B. Morris.jpg
1st United States Ambassador to Iran
In office
August 21, 1944 – May 20, 1945
Succeeded byWallace Murray
2nd United States Ambassador to Iceland
In office
October 7, 1942 – May 10, 1944
Preceded byLincoln MacVeagh
Succeeded byLouis Goethe Dreyfus, Jr.
Personal details
Leland Burnette Morris

Fort Clark, Texas
Died(1950-07-02)July 2, 1950 (age 64)
Washington, D.C.

Leland Burnette Morris (1886-1950) was an American diplomat. He was born in Fort Clark, Texas. His father was Louis Thompson Morris, a colonel in the United States Army, and his mother was Susan Frances (née Reece) Morris.

Morris was the first United States Ambassador to Iran, serving that post from 1944 to 1945. Earlier he was the United States Ambassador to Iceland. Morris served many other diplomatic posts including American Consul General in Jerusalem in 1936, American Consul General in Vienna from 1938 to 1940 after the German annexation of Austria and the American Chargé d'affaires in Germany during the outbreak of official American involvement in World War II.

During his post in Vienna, Morris is credited by the Jewish-Austrian author Felix Salten for ensuring his and his family's protection from persecution by Nazi authorities.[1] Salten and his wife Ottilie Metzl were able to emigrate to Switzerland due to their daughter Anna-Katharina having married a Swiss man.

Service in Germany during World War II[edit]

Morris became the American Chargé d'affaires in Germany in October 1940. Prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was officially neutral and retained a diplomatic corps in Berlin. This included diplomat George Kennan. Morris, serving as Chargé d'Affaires, was the highest ranking American diplomat in Germany at the time (the last United States Ambassador, Hugh R. Wilson, was recalled in 1938 in protest of Kristallnacht). After the Pearl Harbor attack, on December 11, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop summoned Morris to his office and read to Morris Germany's formal declaration of war and addressed him by accusing the United States of violations of neutrality and other acts of war.[2] Upon handing Morris the declaration, Ribbentrop said, "Your President has wanted this war, now he has it."[3] Official diplomatic relations between the United States and Germany thus ended.

On December 14, most of the American diplomatic corps still in Germany, including Morris, Kennan and Associated Press journalist Louis P. Lochner were detained by German authorities and held at a former resort near Bad Nauheim.[4] In February 1942, through Swiss diplomats, Morris reported conditions of the detainment to his superiors in Washington. While there was relative freedom of movement around the resort grounds, he wrote of food shortages and weight-loss amongst the group.[4] In May, Morris and the other Americans were transferred to Lisbon, Portugal where they departed for New York aboard the SS Drottningholm and exchanged for German prisoners being held in the United States.[4]

He died on July 2, 1950, at the age of 64, in Washington, D.C.[5]


  1. ^ Salten, Felix (2006). Felix Salten: Schriftsteller, Journalist, Exilant. Holzhausen Verlag. p. 67. ISBN 385493128X.
  2. ^ Read, Anthony (2004). The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 783. ISBN 978-0-393-04800-1.
  3. ^ Toughill, Thomas (2004). A world to gain: the battle for global domination and why America entered WWII. Clairview Books. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-902636-51-1.
  4. ^ a b c Dowling, Timothy C. (2004). Personal perspectives:World War II. ABC-CLIO. p. 276. ISBN 978-1-85109-575-9.
  5. ^ "Leland B. Morris, 64, U.S. Ex-Envoy to Iran". The New York Times. 1950-07-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-07.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Alexander C. Kirk
United States Chargé d'affaires to Germany
Succeeded by
James Bryant Conant
Preceded by
Lincoln MacVeagh
United States Ambassador to Iceland
Succeeded by
Louis Goethe Dreyfus, Jr.
Preceded by
post created
United States Ambassador to Iran
Succeeded by
Wal Murray