William Henry Draper Jr.

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William Draper
William Henry Draper Jr.jpg
United States Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
In office
April 8, 1953 – June 13, 1953
PresidentDwight Eisenhower
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJohn Chambers Hughes
Personal details
Born(1894-08-10)August 10, 1894
DiedDecember 26, 1974(1974-12-26) (aged 80)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Katherine Baum
EducationNew York University (BA, MA)
Military service
Branch/service United States Army
Years of serviceWorld War I
1918-1940 (Reserves)
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg General

William Henry Draper Jr. (1894– 1974) was a 20th-century American army officer, banker, government official, and diplomat.

Early life[edit]

William Henry Draper Jr., was born on August 10, 1894 in Harlem, New York City. His parents were Mary Emma (née Carey; 1872–1960) and William Henry Draper (1859–1929). He received a B.A. and M.A. in economics at New York University.


Draper joined the US Army soon after finishing college and served during World War I as a major in the infantry. After the war, he stayed in the Army Reserves and worked his way up to chief of staff of the 77th Division (1936–1940).

Starting in 1919, he worked in New York City for National City Bank (1919–1921), Bankers Trust Company (1923–1927), and then Dillon, Read & Co. (1927–1953).

In 1937, he was made a vice president of Dillon Read. Dillon Read promoted bonds of the Soviet Union after its recognition by the US government in 1933. Dillon Read also underwrote millions of dollars worth of German industrial bonds in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s.[1]

At the invitation of George Marshall, he moved to Washington, D.C., to serve on the President's Advisory Committee for Selective Service, and he was promoted to colonel in 1940. At the start of World War II, he took command of the 136th Infantry, 33rd Division, National Guard.[1]

At the end of the war, he was promoted to brigadier-general and was posted to Berlin to serve as chief of the Economics Division, Allied Control Council for Germany from 1945 to 1947. He opposed the Morgenthau Plan, which was designed to prevent a resurgence of German economic and military power by deindustrializing it and turning into a pastoral country. Instead, he strongly supported measures to expedite Germany's economic recovery along liberal free-market and democratic lines followed by Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard. There was some criticism of him by the Chief of the Decartelization Branch for Military Government in Germany after World War II, James Stewart Martin for leaving some former Nazis in their positions in industry.[2]

After a promotion to major-general, Draper was asked by the new Secretary of War Kenneth C. Royall to become his Under Secretary of War. With the transition of the Department of War to the Department of the Army, Draper became the first under secretary of the Army from September 18, 1947, to February 28, 1949.[1]

After leaving the army in 1949, he served as Long Island Rail Road trustee from 1950 to 1951. He served as the first US Ambassador to NATO in Paris.

After retiring from public service a second time, he traveled to Mexico to serve as chairman of the Mexican Light and Power Company. Returning to the US in 1959, he formed the first West Coast venture capital firm Draper, Gaither and Anderson in California. In 1967, he retired from Draper Gaither, moved to Washington, D.C. and joined Combustion Engineering in New York as chairman, retiring a few years later to become the US delegate to the United Nations Population Commission (1969–1971). He also cofounded the Population Crisis Committee in 1965 and chaired the Draper Committee.

Hiss Case involvement[edit]

Alger Hiss, ca. 1950

On August 7, 1948, Draper, then Undersecretary of War, requested that William L. Marbury Jr. fly to Geneva, Switzerland, and spend a month there to help the U.S. negotiate the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Marbury was a close friend of Alger Hiss. Draper's request came days after Whittaker Chambers had included Hiss's name among those of government spies in the Ware Group during Chambers' testimony under subpoena before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In effect, the request prevented Marbury from helping during Hiss's further HUAC testimony in August and into September, when Hiss was considering a libel suit against Chambers for statements made August 27 on NBC Radio's nationwide Meet the Press broadcast.[3][4]

Personal life and death[edit]

Draper died on December 26, 1974.

Descendants include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c White, Theodore H (21 December 1952). "No. 1 American in Europe". New York Times Magazine. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ Martin, James Stewart (1950). All Honorable Men: The Story of the Men on Both Sides of the Atlantic Who Successfully Thwarted Plans to Dismantle the Nazi Cartel System. [Little, Brown & Co. ASIN B0000EEKBR. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  3. ^ Marbury, Jr., William L. (1981). "The Hiss-Chambers Libel Suit". Maryland Historical Magazine. 70 ("Donie") (1). Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  4. ^ Marbury, Jr., William L. (1988). In the Catbird Seat. Maryland Historic Society. Retrieved 30 September 2017.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
New Office
United States Under Secretary of the Army
18 September 1947 – 28 February 1949
Succeeded by
Gordon Gray
Preceded by
Kenneth Royall
United States Under Secretary of War
29 August 1947 – 17 September 1947
Succeeded by
as United States Under Secretary of the Army
Business positions
Preceded by
David E. Smucker and H.L. Delatour
President of Long Island Rail Road
Succeeded by
William Wyer