- Walter Bedell Smith
Infobox US Ambassador
name=Walter Bedell Smith
April 3, 1946
December 25, 1948
W. Averell Harriman
Alan G. Kirk
Harry S Truman
Director of Central Intelligence
October 7, 1950
February 9, 1953
Harry S Truman
Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter
Allen W. Dulles
Under Secretary of State
February 9, 1953
October 1, 1954
Dwight D. Eisenhower
David K. E. Bruce
Herbert Hoover, Jr.
October 5, 1895
death_date=Death date and age|1961|8|9|1895|10|5|df=yes
spouse=Mary Eleanor Smith
GeneralWalter Bedell "Beetle" Smith GBE KCB ( October 5, 1895– August 9, 1961) was Dwight D. Eisenhower's Chief of Staff during Eisenhower's tenure at SHAEFand Director of the CIAfrom 1950 to 1953. He also served as U.S. Ambassadorto the Soviet Unionfrom 1946 to 1948.
Smith at age 16 enlisted in as a private in the Indiana National Guard in 1911. In 1917, after graduating from Officer Candidate Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. Serving during
World War I, he was with the 4th Infantry Division (United States) while in France. In September 1918, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Regular Army.
Postings between the World Wars included the War Department's Bureau of Military Intelligence, intelligence officer and adjutant for the 37th Infantry Regiment. In 1922, he was adjutant for the 12th Infantry Brigade. From 1925 to 1929, he worked as an assistant in the White House Bureau of the Budget. Back in the army, he served with the 45th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines. He also attended the Infantry School, Command and General Staff School, and the Army War College.
World War II
George C. Marshallbecame the Army's Chief of Staff, he called in Smith (then a Major) to be Assistant to the Secretary of the General Staff. He became Secretary in September 1941 and in February 1942 was named U.S. Secretary of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Just before the invasion of North Africa, Marshall sent him to Englandto be Chief of Staff for the European Theater of Operations. In March 1944, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhowerappointed Smith Chief of Staff. He remained in that role until V-E Day, including making the arrangements for and accepting the surrender of German military forces on May 7, 1945. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/7/newsid_3578000/3578325.stm 1945: Germany signs unconditional surrender] website of the BBC] [Earl F. Ziemke " [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/other/us-army_germany_1944-46_index.htm#contents The U.S. Army in the occupation of Germany 1944-1946] " Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D. C., 1990, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 75-619027. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/other/us-army_germany_1944-46_ch15.htm#b3 CHAPTER XV:The Victory Sealed] ]
Smith had a reputation as a brusque manager, peppered with salty speech, and was often referred to as Eisenhower's "hatchet man". Such was the case when Gen.
George S. Pattonneeded to be disciplined, Smith was tasked with delivering the bad news. He was also known to be an avowed segregationist and was oft remarked in writings and private conversations to have doubts about the effectiveness of African-American soldiers in combat. It may be said that Smith was responsible for keeping African-Americans out of most combat roles during World War II while in his influential position as chief of staff to the Supreme Allied Commander, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Post-War Career and Retirement
Smith took leave from the Army to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1946 to 1949. Seeking to return to the United States, he resigned his ambassadorship and in March 1949, he was promoted to General and assumed command of
First United States Armyat Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York. In 1950, President Harry S Trumanselected him as Director of Central Intelligence(head of the Central Intelligence Agency) where he served until 1953. He retired from the Army upon leaving the DCI position on February 9, 1953. [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/directors-and-deputy-directors-of-central-intelligence/smith.html Walter Smith] CIA website] He also served as Under Secretary of Statefrom 1953 to 1954 and played a role in the creation of the National Security Agency.
He died from a heart attack on
August 9, 1961at Walter Reed Army Hospitalin Washington. He was subsequently buried in Section 7 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Mary Eleanor Smith (1893-1963), is buried with him.
Various writings by Second World War senior commanders, including, but not limited to
George S. Patton, Omar Bradley, and others, have tended to portray Smith unfavorably. An effective, ruthless administrator, he is best remembered as being an exceptional professional staff officer, but a man not well-admired by his peers or subordinates.
References and notes
* [http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/wbsmith.htm Arlington bio]
* [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/Last_Salute/Ch20.htm The Last Salute: Civil and Military Funeral, 1921-1969, CHAPTER XX, General Walter Bedell Smith, Special Full Honor Funeral, 9-14 August 1961] by B. C. Mossman and M. W. Stark
* [http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/listofholdingshtml/finding_aids_s.html Papers and World War II Documents of Walter Bedell Smith, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library]
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