- William P. Rogers
Infobox US Cabinet official
name=William P. Rogers
United States Secretary of State
January 22, 1969
September 3, 1973
death_date=death date and age | 2001|1|2|1913|6|23
United States Attorney General
October 23, 1957
January 20, 1961
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Herbert Brownell, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy
William Pierce Rogers (
June 23, 1913– January 2, 2001) was an American politician, who served as a Cabinetofficer in the administrations of two U.S. Presidents in the third quarter of the 20th century.
Rogers was born
June 23, 1913, in Norfolk, New York. He was raised, from early in his teens, following the death of his mother, by his grandparents, in Canton, New York.
After education at
Colgate Universityand Cornell University Law School, he passed the bar in 1937. Under Thomas E. Deweyhe worked from 1938 to 1942 in the prosecution of organized crimein New York City. He entered the US Navyin 1942, serving on the USS "Intrepid", including her action in the Battle of Okinawa. His final rank in the Navy was lieutenant commander.
While serving as a
Committee Counselto a US Senate committee, he examined the documentation from the House Un-American Activities Committee's investigation of Alger Hissat the request of then-Congressman Richard M. Nixon, and advised Nixon that Hiss had lied and that the case against him should be pursued.
In 1950, Rogers became a partner in a New York City law firm, Dwight, Royall, Harris, Koegel & Caskey. Thereafter he returned to this firm when not in government service. It was later renamed
Rogers & Wells, and subsequently Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells. He worked in the firm's Washington, D.C.office until several months before his death.
Rogers joined the Administration of President
Dwight D. Eisenhowerin a Deputy-Attorney-General position in 1953, and then served from 1957 to 1961, as Attorney General. He remained a close advisor to then-Vice-President Nixon, throughout the Eisenhower administration, especially in the slush fundscandal that led to Nixon's Checkers speech, and during Eisenhower's two medical crises.
As Deputy Attorney General, Rogers had some role in or insight into the process that led to the execution of
Julius and Ethel Rosenbergfor espionage. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Podcast: Spies and Secrecy |url=http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/26/podcast-spies-and-secrecy/#more-3235
New York Times|date= June 26, 2008|accessdate=2008-06-27 By Sam Roberts]
He also served as
Secretary of Statein the Nixon Cabinet, from 1969 January 22through 1973 September 3, when he among other things initiated efforts at a lasting peace in the Arab-Israeli conflictthrough the so-called Rogers Plan. However, his influence was gradually usurped by Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedomin 1973.
Rogers is also notable for leading the investigation into the explosion of the space shuttle "Challenger". This panel, called the
Rogers Commission, was the first to criticize NASAmanagement for its role in negligence of safety in the Space Shuttleprogram. Among the more famous members of Rogers' panel were astronauts Neil Armstrongand Sally Ride, Air Force general Donald Kutyna, and physicist Richard Feynman.
Rogers died of congestive heart disease in
January 2, 2001, in Bethesda, Maryland, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. At the time of his death, Rogers was the last surviving member of the Eisenhower Administration.
In 2001, the Rogers family generously donated to Cornell Law Library [http://library.lawschool.cornell.edu/WhatWeHave/SpecialCollections/Rogers.cfm materials] that reflect the lives of William and Adele Rogers, the majority of items from the years 1969-1973.
* [http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/listofholdingshtml/finding_aids_r.html Papers of William P. Rogers, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library]
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