George C. McGhee
McGhee was born on March 10, 1912 in Waco, Texas, the son of a Waco banker. He studied at the University of Oklahoma, graduating with a degree in geology in 1933. He was initiated into the Oklahoma Kappa chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at OU. For a time McGhee worked for Conoco, working on a crew that made the first oil discovery on the Gulf Coast through reflection seismology. He was awarded a Rhodes scholarship, gaining a doctorate in physical sciences from Oxford University in 1937. Back in the United States he became vice president of the National Geophysical Company, where he managed reflection seismology surveys in Cuba. On his return to Texas, McGhee found employment with Everette Lee DeGolyer's oil services company DeGolyer and MacNaughton, scouting oilfields and marrying DeGolyer's daughter Cecilia. McGhee described Cecilia as "the most beautiful and richest girl in Texas." In 1940 McGhee established his own company, the McGhee Production Company, and soon discovered a major oil field at Lake Charles, Louisiana, which made his fortune.
At the beginning of World War II McGhee was a member of the staff of the Office of Production Management and a member of the War Production Board. Commissioned into the U.S. Navy, McGhee served as a naval air intelligence officer on the staff of Army Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay, for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
Following the war he was recruited to the U.S. State Department by then-Undersecretary of State William L. Clayton, joining in 1946. McGhee initially traveled on behalf of the State Department to disburse a fund of $400 million in economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey, as well as other economic aid in Africa and the Middle East. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey in 1952–1953, where he supported their successful bid for NATO membership. While in Turkey, the McGhees lived in Alanya in an Ottoman-era villa they named "Turkish Delight."
McGhee was instrumental in dealings with the Republic of the Congo and the Dominican Republic in the early 1960s. From November 1961 to April 1963, he served as the third ever Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, during the Kennedy Administration (later to be replaced by W. Averell Harriman). President Kennedy had left this office vacant since January 1961 until McGhee was persuaded to take the position. Following that position, he was again named Ambassador to West Germany from 1963 to 1968.
In retirement McGhee wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, entitled The Dance of the Billions: A Novel About Texas, Houston, and Oil (1990), whose lack of success was attributed by his family to its puritanical tone. His 2001 memoir was entitled I Did It This Way.
In 1989, McGhee donated his villa in Alanya, Turkey to Georgetown University. Today it is known as the McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, and welcomes students each spring. His estate, Farmer's Delight in Loudoun County, Virginia, is operated by the McGhee Foundation as a museum, research center and meeting facility. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Clark, Dean. "George C. McGhee". Virtual Geoscience Center. Missouri Southern University. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Ambassador George Crews McGhee". McGhee Foundation. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- Bernstein, Adam (July 6, 2005). "George C. McGhee Dies; Oilman, Diplomat". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Federal City Council Elected". The Washington Post. September 30, 1970. p. D9.
- "Farmer's Delight Plantation". McGhee Foundation. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission (May 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Farmer's Delight" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- McGhee biography at the McGhee Foundation
- Washington Post Obituary
- Interview with Ambassador McGhee
- George C. McGhee papers at the Truman Library
- George C. McGhee papers at Georgetown University
- The George C. McGhee Collection at the University of Oklahoma
- Oral History Interview with George C. McGhee, from the Truman Library
- Appearances on C-SPAN
| Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs
June 28, 1949 – December 19, 1951
Henry A. Byroade
Gerard C. Smith
| Director of Policy Planning
1961 – November 1961
Walt Whitman Rostow
Livingston T. Merchant
| Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
November 1961 – April 1963
W. Averell Harriman
| U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Avra M. Warren
Walter C. Dowling
| U.S. Ambassador to West Germany
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.