Sumner Welles

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Sumner Welles in 1905

Benjamin Sumner Welles (October 14, 1892 – September 24, 1961) was an American government official and diplomat in the Foreign Service. He was a major foreign policy adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and served as Under Secretary of State from 1936 to 1943, during Roosevelt's presidency. He preferred to be called Sumner after his famous relative Charles Sumner, a leading Senator from Massachusetts during the Civil War and Reconstruction.


  • I think it would have been humanly impossible for two people, over a period of eight years, to agree more consistently and thoroughly than Mr. Hull and I have done. There has never been the slightest important difference of opinion between us, and so far as I am personally concerned I think it would be impossible for any man in my position, who has been so closely associated with the Secretary- who has had the opportunity of being associated wuth a man of his extraordinary moral courage and consistency, and I think an almost unique intellectual integrity- to have anything except very deep devotion for him.
    • 28 December 1940, in a response to rumors that he and Hull were at odds. Discord between the two and allegations of Welles (who was a closeted bisexual) being homosexual led to Welles being forced out of office by Hull in 1943, after which he returned to private life. As quoted by Harold B. Hinton, Cordell Hull (1942), London: Hurst & Blackett, Ltd., hardcover, p. 244

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