Allen Welsh Dulles (; April 7, 1893 – January 29, 1969) was the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), and its longest-serving director to date. As head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the early Cold War, he oversaw the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, the Lockheed U-2 aircraft program, the Project MKUltra mind control program and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. He was fired by John F. Kennedy over the latter fiasco.
Dulles was one of the members of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Between his stints of government service, Dulles was a corporate lawyer and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell.
Dulles was born on April 7, 1893, in Watertown, New York, one of five children of Presbyterian minister Allen Macy Dulles, and his wife, Edith F. (Foster). He was five years younger than his brother John Foster Dulles, Dwight D. Eisenhower's Secretary of State and chairman and senior partner of Sullivan & Cromwell, and two years older than his sister, diplomat Eleanor Lansing Dulles. His maternal grandfather, John W. Foster, was Secretary of State under Benjamin Harrison, while his uncle by marriage, Robert Lansing was Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Dulles was uncle to Avery Dulles, a Jesuit priest and cardinal of the Catholic Church, who taught theology at Fordham University from 1988 to 2008.
Dulles graduated from Princeton University, where he participated in the American Whig–Cliosophic Society, and entered the diplomatic service in 1916. In 1920, he married Clover Todd (March 5, 1894 – April 15, 1974). They had three children; two daughters: Clover D. Jebsen, ("Toddy"), and Joan Buresch Dulles Molden, ("Joan Buresch"); and one son, Allen Macy Dulles Jr. (1930 - 2020), who was wounded and permanently disabled in the Korean War and spent the rest of his life in and out of medical care. According to his sister, Eleanor, Dulles had "at least a hundred" extramarital affairs, including some during his tenure with the CIA.
In 1921, while at the US Embassy in Istanbul, he helped expose the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery. Dulles unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the US State Department to publicly denounce the forgery.
Initially assigned to Vienna, he was transferred to Bern, Switzerland, along with the rest of the embassy personnel shortly before the U.S. entered the First World War. Later in life Dulles said he had been telephoned by Vladimir Lenin, seeking a meeting with the American embassy on April 8, 1917, the day before Lenin left Switzerland to travel to Saint Petersburg aboard a German train. After recovering from the Spanish flu he was assigned to the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, along with his elder brother Foster. From 1922 to 1926, he served five years as chief of the Near East division of the Department of State.
In 1926, he earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School and took a job at Sullivan & Cromwell, the New York firm where his brother, John Foster Dulles, was a partner. He became a director of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1927, the first new director since the Council's founding in 1921. He was the Council's secretary from 1933 to 1944.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, he served as legal adviser to the delegations on arms limitation at the League of Nations. There he had the opportunity to meet with Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, and the leaders of Britain and France. In 1935 Dulles returned from a business trip to Germany appalled by the Nazi treatment of German Jews and, despite his brother's objections, led a movement within the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell to close their Berlin office. As a result of Dulles' efforts, the Berlin office was closed and the firm ceased to conduct business in Nazi Germany.
As the Republican Party began to divide into isolationist and interventionist factions, Dulles became an outspoken interventionist, running unsuccessfully in 1938 for the Republican nomination in New York's Sixteenth Congressional District on a platform calling for the strengthening of U.S. defenses. Dulles collaborated with Hamilton Fish Armstrong, the editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, on two books, Can We Be Neutral? (1936), and Can America Stay Neutral? (1939). They concluded that diplomatic, military, and economic isolation, in a traditional sense, were no longer possible in an increasingly interdependent international system.[page needed] Dulles helped some German Jews, such as the banker Paul Kemper, escape to the United States from Nazi Germany.
Dulles was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services by William J. Donovan in October 1941, after the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, and on Nov. 12, 1942 he moved to Bern, Switzerland, where he lived at Herrengasse 23 for the duration of World War II. As Swiss Director of the OSS, Dulles worked on intelligence about German plans and activities, and established wide contacts with German émigrés, resistance figures, and anti-Nazi intelligence officers. He was assisted in intelligence-gathering activities by Gero von Schulze-Gaevernitz, a German emigrant. Dulles also received valuable information from Fritz Kolbe, a German diplomat, one whom he described as the best spy of the war. Kolbe supplied secret documents about active German spies and plans for the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.
Dulles was in contact with the Austrian resistance group around the priest Heinrich Maier, who collected information through many different contacts with scientists and the military. From 1943 onwards, he received very important information from this resistance group about V-1, V-2 rockets, Tiger tanks, Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and other aircraft and the related factories. Allied bombers were thus able to target war-decisive armaments factories. In particular, Dulles then had crucial information for Operation Crossbow and Operation Hydra. The group reported to him about the mass murder in Auschwitz. Through the Maier Group and Kurt Grimm, Dulles also received information about the economic situation in the Nazi sphere of influence. After the resistance group was uncovered by the Gestapo, Dulles sent American agents to Austria to contact any surviving members.
Although Washington barred Dulles from making firm commitments to the plotters of the 20 July 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler, the conspirators nonetheless gave him reports on developments in Germany, including sketchy but accurate warnings of plans for Hitler's V-1 and V-2 missiles.
Dulles was involved in Operation Sunrise, secret negotiations in March 1945 to arrange a local surrender of German forces in northern Italy. His actions in Operation Sunrise have been criticized by historians for offering German SS General Karl Wolff protection from prosecution at the Nuremberg trial, and creating a diplomatic rift between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. After the war in Europe, Dulles served for six months as the OSS Berlin station chief and later as station chief in Bern. The Office of Strategic Services was dissolved in October 1945 and its functions transferred to the State and War Departments.
In the 1948 Presidential election, Dulles was, together with his brother, an advisor to Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey. The Dulles brothers and James Forrestal helped form the Office of Policy Coordination. During 1949 he co-authored the Dulles–Jackson–Correa Report, which was sharply critical of the Central Intelligence Agency, which had been established by the National Security Act of 1947. Partly as a result of the report, Truman named a new Director of Central Intelligence, Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith.
DCI Smith recruited Dulles to oversee the agency's covert operations as Deputy Director for Plans, a position he held from January 4, 1951. On August 23, 1951, Dulles was promoted to Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, second in the intelligence hierarchy. In this capacity, in 1952–53 he was one of five members of the during the last year of the Truman administration.
After the election of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, Bedell Smith shifted to the Department of State and Dulles became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence. Dulles played a role in convincing Eisenhower to follow one of the conclusions of the State Department Panel report, that the American public deserved to be informed of the perils of possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union, because even though America held numerical nuclear superiority, the Soviets would still have enough nuclear weapons to severely damage American society regardless of how many more such bombs the United States might possess or how badly those U.S. weapons could destroy the Soviets.
At Dulles' request, President Eisenhower demanded that Senator Joseph McCarthy discontinue issuing subpoenas against the CIA. In March 1950, McCarthy had initiated a series of investigations into potential communist subversion of the Agency. Although none of the investigations revealed any wrongdoing, the hearings were potentially damaging, not only to the CIA's reputation but also to the security of sensitive information. Documents made public in 2004 revealed that the CIA, under Dulles' orders, had broken into McCarthy's Senate office and fed disinformation to him in order to discredit him, in order to stop his investigation of communist infiltration of the CIA.
In the early 1950s, the United States Air Force conducted a competition for a new photo reconnaissance aircraft. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation's Skunk Works submitted a design number called the CL-282, which married sailplane-like wings to the body of a supersonic interceptor. This aircraft was rejected by the Air Force, but several of the civilians on the review board took notice, and Edwin Land presented a proposal for the aircraft to Dulles. The aircraft became what is known as the U-2 'spy plane', and it was initially operated by CIA pilots. Its introduction into operational service in 1957 greatly enhanced the CIA's ability to monitor Soviet activity through overhead photo surveillance. The aircraft eventually entered service with the Air Force. The Soviet Union shot down and captured a U-2 in 1960 during Dulles' term as CIA chief.
Dulles is considered one of the essential creators of the modern United States intelligence system and was an indispensable guide to clandestine operations during the Cold War. He established intelligence networks worldwide to check and counter Soviet and eastern European communist advances as well as international communist movements.[page needed]
In 1953, Dulles was involved, along with Frank Wisner,[page needed] in Operation Ajax, the covert operation that led to the removal of democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, and his replacement with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran. Rumors of a Soviet takeover of the country had surfaced due to the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
Eduardo Galeano described Dulles as a former member of the United Fruit Company's Board of Directors. However, in a detailed examination of the connections between the United Fruit Company and the Eisenhower Administration, Immerman makes no mention of Dulles being part of the United Fruit Company's Board, although he does note that Sullivan & Cromwell had represented the company.
Several failed assassination plots utilizing CIA-recruited operatives and anti-Castro Cubans directly against Castro undermined the CIA's credibility. The reputation of the agency and its director declined drastically after the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco of 1961. President Kennedy reportedly said he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds." However, following a "rigorous inquiry into the agency's affairs, methods, and problems ... [Kennedy] did not 'splinter' it after all and did not recommend Congressional supervision."
During the Kennedy Administration, Dulles faced increasing criticism. In autumn 1961, following the Bay of Pigs incident and Algiers putsch against Charles de Gaulle, Dulles and his entourage, including Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and Deputy Director Charles Cabell, were forced to resign. On November 28, 1961, Kennedy presented Dulles with the National Security Medal at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The next day, November 29, the White House released a resignation letter signed by Dulles. He was replaced by John McCone.
On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Dulles as one of seven commissioners of the Warren Commission to investigate the . The appointment was later criticized by some historians, who have noted that Kennedy had fired him, and he was therefore unlikely to be impartial in passing the judgments charged to the Warren Commission. In the view of journalist and author Stephen Kinzer, Johnson appointed Dulles primarily so that Dulles could "coach" the Commission on how to interview CIA witnesses and what questions to ask, because Johnson and Dulles were both anxious to ensure that the Commission did not discover Kennedy's secret involvement in the administration's illegal plans to assassinate Castro and other foreign leaders.
Dulles published the book The Craft of Intelligence in 1963 and edited Great True Spy Stories in 1968.