Jonathan Brewster Bingham

Jonathan Brewster Bingham

Jonathan Brewster Bingham (24 April 1914, New Haven, Connecticut - 3 July 1986, New York City) was an American politician and diplomat. He was the US delegate to the United Nations General Assemblies and was elected to Congress.

His father, Hiram Bingham III, was a Senator and explorer and his great grandfather, Hiram Bingham II, was a missionary, who helped translate the Bible into Hawaiian.


Bingham attended Groton School and graduated from Yale University in 1936 with a BA and again in 1939 with a law degree. He was a member of Skull and Bones, class of 1936. [Alexandra Robbins, "Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power", Little, Brown and Company, 2002, page 165] In 1940 he was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of law in New York City. His practice was interrupted in August 1941, when he joined the Machinery Branch of the newly created Office of Price Administration (OPA) as a legal advisor. He was not at the OPA for long, for in 1942 he joined the Military Intelligence Service. In April of the following year he was enlisted as a private in the United States Army and was discharged a captain in October 1945 with a War Department citation.

Foreign service

On his return he was appointed chief of the newly created Alien Enemy Control Section of the State Department. The Alien Enemy Control Section was unpopular and short-lived. Bingham got of the boat before it sank, resuming the practice of law in New York City in 1946. He left the practice of law again in 1951 to become assistant director of the Office of International Security Affairs. Bingham left in the same year to become deputy administrator of the Technical Cooperation Administration. He left the administration in 1953, and again resumed the practice of law. In 1955 he became secretary to fellow Bonesman, W. Averell Harriman, while he was Governor of New York. When Harriman was defeated in the 1958 election by Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, Bingham joined the law firm Goldwater & Flynn.

In 1961 Bingham entered the world of diplomacy, as a United States representative on the United Nations Trusteeship Council with rank of Minister in 1961 and 1962, serving as President in 1962. During this period he was also principal adviser to the U.S. ambassador to U.N. on colonial and trusteeship questions. From 1963 to 1964 he was a United States representative on the United Nations Economic and Social Council with rank of Ambassador. He was also alternate representative to the 15th and 18th United Nations General Assemblies.


In 1964 he was elected to the House of Representatives from the 23rd District of New York. He served in this capacity until 1972, when he was elected to the House from the 22nd District of New York. Bingham didn't pursue re-election in 1982. While in the House, he served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and chaired the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade.

On leaving congress he took up the practice of law as special counsel with Pryor, Cashman, Sherman & Flynn. He also lectured at Columbia University School of Law.

During his life time Bingham contributed articles to various publications. He also authored of Shirt Sleeve Diplomacy-Point 4 in Action (1954) and Violence and Democracy (1970).

He was a fellow of the Yale Corporation from 1949 to 1951, and served on its executive committee from 1951 to 1953. Bingham served on the board of directors of the People for the American Way, the United Nations Development Corporation, U.S. Committee for UNICEF and the Population Crisis Committee.

He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Century Association.


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