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Henry Lewis Stimson

Stimson, Henry Lewis, 1867–1950, American statesman, b. New York City. A graduate of Yale and of Harvard, he became associated with Elihu Root in law practice in New York City. Stimson was (1906–9) U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York state, and in 1910 he ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York on the Republican ticket. He was (1911–13) Secretary of War under President Taft and in World War I served as colonel of the 31st Field Artillery. In 1927, President Coolidge sent him to Nicaragua to negotiate an end to the civil strife in that country. His success in that mission led to his appointment (1927) as governor-general of the Philippines, where, although he opposed Philippine independence, he softened the harsh policies of his predecessor, Gen. Leonard Wood. As Secretary of State (1929–33) in President Hoover's administration, Stimson was chairman of the American delegation to the London Naval Conference (1930–31) and of the delegation to the Geneva Disarmament Conference (1932). After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, he issued (1932) a declaration that the United States would not recognize any situation or treaty that might impair U.S. treaty rights or that was brought about by means contrary to the Kellogg-Briand Pact (i.e., by aggression); this policy came to be known as the Stimson Doctrine. In 1933, Stimson resumed law practice, but he retained his interest in international affairs, advocating a firm attitude toward the Axis Powers. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him Secretary of War in 1940, Stimson was read out of the Republican party. Despite his age, he served with energy throughout World War II, retiring in Sept., 1945. He wrote American Policy in Nicaragua (1927) and The Far Eastern Crisis (1936).

See his autobiography, On Active Service in Peace and War (1948, repr. 1971); biographies by R. N. Current (1954, repr. 1970) and E. E. Morrison (1960, repr. 1964).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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