Open Library logo
New Feature: You can now embed Open Library books on your website!   Learn More
Last edited by Clean Up Bot
May 15, 2017 | History

Allen Dulles

7 April 1893 - 29 January 1969

Allen Welsh Dulles was born and raised in Watertown, New York, one of five children born to Presbyterian minister Allen Macy Dulles and his wife Edith. His maternal grandfather, John W. Foster, was Secretary of State for President Harrison. His uncle (by marriage), Robert Lansing, was also a Secretary of State. As a child, Dulles spent time with these men during the summers.

In 1916, he graduated from Princeton University and entered the diplomatic service. In 1920 he married Clover Todd. While working as a diplomat in Europe, he started gathering intelligence information, and he worked as an intelligence officer during World War I. After the war, he served five years as chief of the Near East Division of the State Department.

In 1926, he received a law degree from George Washington University Law School and took a job at the New York firm where his brother, John Foster Dulles, was a partner. In 1927 he became a director of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also served as legal adviser to the delegation at the League of Nations on arms limitation, which gave him the opportunity to meet with several world leaders, including Hitler, Mussolini, and Litvinov.

During World War II, Dulles was assigned to gather intelligence from Bern, Switzerland. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, he became the station chief for the newly-formed Office of Strategic Services in New York City.

Dulles helped write the 1947 National Security Act that established the Central Intelligence Agency, and in 1953 he became the Director of the CIA. He participated in the controversial operations to overthrow Iranian’s President Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, to overthrow Guatemala’s democratically-elected President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954, and to overthrow the Chile’s democratically-elected President Salvador Allende in 1973. His team called Operation 40 participated in anti-communist sabotage in Cuba, although assassination attempts against Castro failed, and in 1961 the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion was a dramatic failure.

Dulles is considered to have been one of the creators of the modern U.S. intelligence system. He worked to establish intelligence networks to monitor communist movements worldwide.

In 1963, President Baines appointed Dulles to the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy. He died in 1969 at the age of 75.

31 works Add another?

Sorting by Most Editions | First Published | Most Recent

Photo of Allen Dulles


Links (outside Open Library)

Alternative names


Download catalog record: RDF / JSON
May 15, 2017 Edited by Clean Up Bot merge authors
March 31, 2017 Edited by Clean Up Bot add VIAF and wikidata ID
May 19, 2011 Edited by caf21 Corrected bio
May 19, 2011 Edited by caf21 Added bio, added birth date, added death date, added alternate name, added Wikipedia link
April 29, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import