Dirk Uipko Stikker

(b. 1897)

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(b. Winschoten, 5 Feb. 1897; d. Wassenaar, 24 Dec. 1979)

Netherlandish; Foreign Minister 1948–52, Secretary-General of NATO Having studied law in Groningen, Stikker occupied different functions in banking between 1922 and 1935. He then became a managing director of Heineken's Breweries in Amsterdam (1935–48). Engaged in international expansion, he was introduced to the word of international economical and political affairs. In that period he was also a member of the board of directors of the Nederlandse Bank and some other companies. From 1939 on he was chairman of the Netherlands Employer's Organization. During the war he was actively engaged in secret consultations with leaders of different employers' and workers' unions. This led to the establishment of the Netherlands Foundation of Labour under his presidency in 1945 which was to play a great role in improving labour relations and ensuring economic reconstruction in the Netherlands after 1945.

In 1945–6 he took the initiative for a reorganization of the pre-war Liberal Party into a new Partij van de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom). Two years later he led the merger of this party into the new Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). From 1945 till 1948 he was a member of the Upper House. In 1948 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first Drees government, one of the first non-diplomats to serve in this post. From 1950 to 1952 he was chairman of the OEEC. During his four-year term as Cabinet minister the internationally minded Stikker increasingly clashed with his party on policies relating to the Netherlands Indies, and later concerning New Guinea. In 1952 Stikker left national politics for an international career. He became Dutch ambassador in London until 1958 (also representing the Netherlands in Iceland from 1954). In 1955 he was Chairman of the Netherlands delegation to the Economic and Social Council of the UN. From 1958 to 1961 he was the Netherlands Permanent Representative on the North Atlantic Council and to the OEEC in Paris. His international reputation grew. Notwithstanding French opposition, he became Secretary-General of NATO in 1961, a post he had to resign for health reasons in 1964. Thereafter he lived as a private citizen in Italy for some years. He returned to the Netherlands in 1972.

Subjects: Politics.

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