Hickerson, Assistant Secretary John

John D. Hickerson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search biography John D. Hickersonbiography Hickerson during his time as United States Ambassador to Finland, pictured with President of Finland Juho Kusti Paasikivi (left) and Finnish foreign minister Johannes Virolainen (right).

John Dewey Hickerson (1898–1989) was a United States diplomat.


John D. Hickerson was born at Crawford, Texas on January 26, 1898. He was educated at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a B.A. in 1920.

After college, Hickerson joined the United States Foreign Service. He was a vice consul in Tampico, Tamaulipas from 1920 to 1922, then in Rio de Janeiro from 1922 to 1924. He was then promoted to consul and served in that capacity at Pará in 1924-25 and at Ottawa 1925-27. He moved to Washington, D.C. in 1928, becoming Assistant Chief of the United States Department of State's Division of West European Affairs, a position he held until 1940. He also sat on the State Department's Board of Appeals & Review from 1934 until 1941.

In 1940, Hickerson became secretary of the American section of the newly formed Permanent Joint Board on Defense. He held this position for the duration of World War II. He also served as Chief of the State Department's Division of British Commonwealth Affairs in 1944, and from 1944 to 1947 was Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs. In this capacity, he was an adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and to the United Nations Conference on International Organization. In 1947, he was promoted to Director of the Office of European Affairs.

In 1949, President of the United States Harry Truman nominated Hickerson as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and Hickerson held this office from June 24, 1949 until July 27, 1953. He then spent the next two years as a faculty adviser at the National War College.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower named Hickerson United States Ambassador to Finland in 1955; Hickerson presented his credentials on November 23, 1955 and left this post on November 3, 1959. Eisenhower then appointed Hickerson as United States Ambassador to the Philippines, and Hickerson held this post from January 13, 1960 until December 8, 1961.

In retirement, Hickerson lived in Washington, D.C. He died of cancer on January 18, 1989.


 June 26, 1950 0915


1915 Washington Time

Secretary of State Acheson was waiting for me at the airport as was Secretary of Defense Johnson. We hurried to Blair House where we were joined by Secretary of the Army Frank Pace. & Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews; Secretary of the Air Force Thomas Finletter General of the Army Omar N. Bradley; the Army Chief General Collins; the Air Force Chief General Vandenberg; and Admiral Forrest Sherman Chief of Naval Operations.

Dean Acheson was accompanied by Undersecretaries Webb and Rusk and Assistant Secretary John Hickerson and Ambassador- at-Large Philip Jessup. It was late and we went at once to the dining room for dinner. I asked that no discussion take place until dinner was ended and over and the Blair House staff had withdrawn.

Earlier that Sunday evening. Acheson reported, the Security Council of the United Nations had, by a vote of nine to nothing, approved a resolution declaring that a breach of the peace had been committed by the North Korean action and ordering the North Koreans to cease action and withdraw their forces.

I then called on Acheson to present the recommendations which the State and Defense Departments had prepared. He presented the following recommendations for immediate action:

 1) That MacArthur should evacuate the Americans from Korea --including the dependents of the military mission — and, in order to do so, should keep open the Kimp'o and other airports, repelling all hostile attacks thereon. In doing this, his air forces should stay south of the 38th Parallel.

2) MacArthur should be instructed to get ammunition and supplies to the Korean army by airdrop and otherwise.

3) That the Seventh Fleet should be ordered into the Formosa Strait to prevent the conflict from spreading to that area.  We should make a statement that the fleet would repel any attack on Formosa and that no attacks should be made from Formosa on the mainland.

At this point I interrupted to say that the Seventh Fleet should be ordered north at once, but that I wanted to withhold making any statement until the fleet was in position. After this report I asked each person in turn to state his agreement or disagreement and any views he might have in addition.

Two things stand out in this discussion.

One was the complete, almost unspoken acceptance on the part of everyone that whatever had to be done to meet this aggression had to be done. There was no suggestion from anyone that either the United Nations or the United States could back away from it.

The other point which stands out was the difference in view of what might be called for Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins said that if the Korean army was really broken, ground forces would be necessary.

I expressed the opinion that the Russians were trying to get Korea by default gambling that we would be afraid of starting a third world war and would offer no resistance. I thought that we were still holding the stronger hand, although how much stronger it was hard to tell.


At 1915 hours that [Saturday] night [1915+1400=3315-2400=0915] the President landed at Washington and drove directly to his temporary residence at Blair House. Here were assembled the key officers of the Departments of State and Defense, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff: General Omar Bradley (chairman), General J. Lawton Collins (Army), Admiral Forrest P Sherman (Navy), and General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (Air Force). Most of the talk over the dinner table reflected a hope that the South Koreans could hold with the help of American arms and equipment which General MacArthur was sending them. The main theme of conversation, however, was that the Communists appeared to be repeating patterns of aggression similar to those acts which had set off World War II.
After dinner President Truman opened the conference with the statement that he did not wish to make decisions that night, except such as were immediately necessary. Secretary Acheson then presented three recommendations which had been prepared by the State and Defense Departments:

1) that MacArthur would send arms and ammunition to Korea,

2) that MacArthur would furnish ships and planes to assist and protect the evacuation of American dependents from Korea, and

3) that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would be ordered northward from the Philippines to report to MacArthur.

 Truman asked for comments, and the discussion worked around to what the United States might have to do to save South Korea. Vandenberg and Sherman thought that air and naval aid might be enough. Collins stated that if the ROK Army was really broken, American ground forces would be needed. At the end of the meeting President Truman directed that orders be issued implementing the three recommendations made by the State and Defense Departments.#74