Cordell Hull


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(b. 2 Oct. 1871, d. 23 July 1955).

US Secretary of State 1933–44 Born in Overton County, Tennessee, he studied at the National Normal University, Lebanon, Ohio, and Cumberland University Law School, and became a lawyer. He entered state politics as a Democrat in 1892. He was elected to Congress in 1906, lost his seat in 1920, but returned to the House in 1923 until he became a Senator in 1931. He resigned to become Secretary of State for F. D. Roosevelt.

Hull established the Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America and sought to revive world trade by getting Congress to pass the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (March 1934), a forerunner of GATT. His efforts markedly improved relations with Latin America in the run‐up to World War II. Hull was a staunch supporter of China in its war against Japan. As soon as war was declared, he began work on creating a postwar peacekeeping body, initiating a Moscow Conference for Foreign Ministers in 1943 from which was to develop the plan for a United Nations. He was never actively involved in the day‐to‐day planning and decision‐making of the war, as President Roosevelt allegedly considered him ‘too cautious’. He retired in 1944 in ill health. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — History.

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