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Warren Robinson Austin (November 12, 1877 – December 25, 1962) was an American politician and diplomat who served as United States Senator from Vermont and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Warren Austin
Austin Warren Robinson.jpg
2nd United States Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
January 14, 1947 – January 22, 1953
President Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Edward Stettinius Jr.
Succeeded by Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
Senate Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 1940 – January 3, 1941
Preceded by Charles L. McNary
Succeeded by Charles L. McNary
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
April 1, 1931 – August 2, 1946
Preceded by Frank C. Partridge
Succeeded by Ralph Flanders
Mayor of St. Albans, Vermont
In office
March 3, 1909 – March 2, 1910
Preceded by Norman N. Atwood
Succeeded by Selden C. Greene
Personal details
Born Warren Robinson Austin
(1877-11-12)November 12, 1877
Highgate, Vermont, U.S.
Died December 25, 1962(1962-12-25) (aged 85)
Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mildred Lucas (1901–1962)
Education University of Vermont (BA)


Early lifeEdit

Born in Highgate Center on November 12, 1877,[1] he attended local schools and Bakersfield's Brigham Academy and also studied in Quebec to obtain fluency in French.[2] He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1899.[3] He then studied law with his father, attained admission to the bar, and in 1902 entered practice in partnership with his father.[4][5]

Early careerEdit

A Republican, he held local offices in St. Albans, including Grand Juror and Chairman of the Republican committee. (In Vermont, Grand Jurors used to serve as city and town prosecutors. After revisions of the court system, it is now a vestige or legacy office.) In 1904 he was elected State's Attorney of Franklin County, a position he held for two years.[6][7]

Austin was chairman of the Vermont Republican State Convention in 1908, and Mayor of St. Albans from 1909 to 1910.[8]

He served as a Commissioner for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1907 to 1915.[9] In 1912, he served on the Assay Commission for the United States Mint, which reviewed Mint operations by examining and testing coins for weight and fineness.[10]

In 1914 he was appointed a trustee of the University of Vermont in 1914, a position that he retained until 1941.[11]

From 1916 to 1917, he practiced before the United States Court for China as the representative of the American International Corporation and the Siems-Carey Railway & Canal Company.[12][13]

In 1917 Austin moved to Burlington, where he continued to practice law.[14]

From 1925 to 1937, Austin served as a special counsel for Vermont during the process of setting the official boundary between Vermont and New Hampshire, working with John G. Sargent.[15]

In the early 1930s, Austin employed Harold J. Arthur as a stenographer. Arthur studied law with Austin, attained admission to the bar, and later served as Governor of Vermont.[16]

United States SenatorEdit

He was elected to the Senate on March 31, 1931, defeating appointed Senator Frank C. Partridge in the special election to complete the term of the deceased Frank L. Greene.[17] Austin took his seat the next day, and won re-election in 1934 and 1940.[18]

In the Senate, Austin opposed the New Deal but championed internationalist causes, standing with President Franklin D. Roosevelt on issues such as Lend-Lease.[19] He became Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip) in 1939, served until 1942, and acted as Minority Leader during incumbent Charles L. McNary's run for Vice President in 1940.[20] In 1943 he became a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.[21]

Austin resigned his Senate seat on August 2, 1946 to become the US Ambassador to the United Nations. In November, he was succeeded by Ralph E. Flanders.[22][23]

United Nations AmbassadorEdit

Austin demonstrates a Soviet-made submachine gun to the United Nations Security Council during the Korean War.

In June 1946, President Harry S. Truman nominated Austin to be Ambassador to the United Nations. Because of the provision in the US Constitution prohibiting members of Congress from accepting an office created during their terms, he could not assume the post until January, 1947. As a result, Truman appointed Austin Special Representative to the President and advisor to UN Ambassador Herschel Johnson.[24][25]

When he did take office in January, 1947 Austin was the first official U.S. Ambassador to the UN. (Edward Stettinius, Jr. and Johnson had been representatives to the United Nations Conference on International Organization, the body that established the full United Nations.)[26]

He was a key figure at the start of the Cold War. During his term, the UN was involved in the creation of Israel and was also involved when India and Pakistan fought the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and were partitioned. In 1948, there was a Communist coup in Czechoslovakia, the Soviets blockaded Berlin and precipitated the Berlin Airlift, and Congress passed the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created, and Mao Tse-tung established the People's Republic of China. In 1950, China occupied Tibet and North Korea invaded South Korea. The UN debated, considered responses and took action on all of these issues, and Austin became known internationally for his advocacy of Western Bloc positions.[27]

Austin's term at the UN is also remembered for a supposed quote that is likely not completely accurate. In discussing the conflict between the Muslim Palestinian people and the Jewish people of Israel at Israel's founding, Austin supposedly said, "I hope Arabs and Jews will settle their differences in a truly Christian spirit."[28] According to his deputy, the language of that supposed quote was inexact when it was reported by the media, and Austin was attempting to communicate that as a Christian, he would not show partiality to either Muslims or Jews in the dispute over the creation of Israel.[29]

He retired after being succeeded by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., in January 1953, at the start of the Eisenhower administration.[30]


Later lifeEdit

An amateur orchardist, Austin tended to his trees and pursued other hobbies while living in retirement in Burlington.[43] In October, 1956 he suffered a stroke that caused him to curtail many of his activities.[44] Austin died in Burlington on December 25, 1962. He is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington.[45]



In 1901 Austin married Mildred Marie Lucas (16 May 1874 – 16 February 1973).[49][50][51] Their children included attorney Warren R. Austin, Jr. (1902–1979),[52][53] and career United States Army officer Edward Lucas Austin (1910–1980).[54][55]

Warren Austin's brother Roswell M. Austin served as Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1925 to 1927.[56][57]


  1. ^ James G. Ryan, Leonard Schlup, Historical Dictionary of the 1940s, 2006, page 34
  2. ^ The Rotarian, Austin: That Man from Vermont, September 1950, page 11
  3. ^ George Derby, James Terry White, The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 60, 1981, page 319
  4. ^ William Hartley Jeffrey, Successful Vermonters: A Modern Gazetteer of Lamoille, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vermont, 1907, page 325
  5. ^ The Rotarian magazine, Austin: That Man from Vermont, September 1950, page 11
  6. ^ William Richard Cutter, New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Volume 2, 1914, page 913
  7. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Who’s Who in Local Government, October, 2008
  8. ^ The Republican, Warren Austin, Volumes 9-13, 1944, page 4
  9. ^ United States Department of Justice, Register of the Department of Justice and the Courts of the United States, 1918, page 191
  10. ^ Director, United States Mint, Annual report, 1913, page 59
  11. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1943, page 585
  12. ^ University of Vermont, Warren R. Austin Collection: China period; description, retrieved February 18, 2014
  13. ^ H. W. Wilson Co., Current Biography Yearbook, Volume 5, 1945, page 18
  14. ^ James G. Ryan, Leonard Schlup, Historical Dictionary of the 1940s, 2006, page 34
  15. ^ Cornell University Law School, State of Vermont v. State of New Hampshire, 1933, retrieved February 18, 2014
  16. ^ James Terry White, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 57, 1977, page 135
  17. ^ Associated Press, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Austin Picked for Vermont's Senator, March 4, 1931
  18. ^ Vermont State Archives, United States Senators, Terms of Service, 2013, pages 3, 5
  19. ^ Lysohir, John W., "Warren R. Austin and the Republican Embrace of Internationalism, senior thesis, Middlebury College, April, 2008.
  20. ^ Richard E. Darilek, A Loyal Opposition in Time of War: The Republican Party and the Politics of Foreign Policy from Pearl Harbor to Yalta, 1976, pages 19, 61
  21. ^ U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Millennium Edition, 1816–2000, 2000, page 81
  22. ^ United Press, Altoona Mirror, Primaries Held in Four States, August 14, 1946
  23. ^ Associated Press, Suggest Novel Way to Avert Strikes: Invite Union Plan; Four GOP Senators Urge New' Methods to Halt Crippling Strikes, December 11, 1946
  24. ^ Associated Press, Atchison Daily Globe, Names Vermont Senator to United Nations Post], June 5, 1947
  25. ^ Associated Press, Troy Record, Senator Austin Named to Succeed Slettinius, June 6, 1946
  26. ^ Paul M. Edwards, Korean War Almanac, 2006, page 456
  27. ^ Peter Gilbert, Vermont Public Radio, Warren Austin, September 7, 2005
  28. ^ Robert Beisner, Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War, 2009
  29. ^ A. F. K. Organski, The $36 Billion Bargain: Strategy and Politics in U.S. Assistance to Israel, 1991, page 263
  30. ^ Harper & Row, Celebrity Register: An Irreverent Compendium of American Quotable Notables, 1960, page 447
  31. ^ American Bar Association (President 1923), Annual Report, 1918, page 202
  32. ^ Vermont Bar Association, Annual report, 1963, page 23
  33. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1943, page 585
  34. ^ Sons of the American Revolution, The Sons of the American Revolution Magazine, Volumes 57-59, 1962, page 34
  35. ^ University of Vermont, Warren R. Austin Collection: Chronological Biography, retrieved February 18, 2014
  36. ^ Grand Lodge of Vermont, Free and Accepted Masons, Well-Known Vermont Masons: James H. Douglas, Inaugurated Governor State of Vermont January 9, 2003, retrieved February 18, 2014
  37. ^ The New Age Magazine, Warren R. Austin Is 33rd Degree Mason, Volume 54, 1946, page 504
  38. ^ George T. Mazuzan, Warren R. Austin at the U. N., 1946-1953, 1977, page 9
  39. ^ A. N. Marquis, Who's Who in New England, Volume 1, 1909, page 50
  40. ^ H. W. Wilson Co., Current Biography Yearbook, Volume 5, 1945, page 21
  41. ^ The Rotarian magazine, Rotary Club Activities, April 1923, page 226
  42. ^ Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Caduceus of Kappa Sigma, Volume 11, 1896, page 549
  43. ^ Vermont Historical Society, News and Notes, Volumes 11-15, 1959, page 42
  44. ^ Associated Press, Plattsburgh Press-Republican, Austin Suffers Stroke; Condition Listed as 'Serious', October 13, 1956
  45. ^ United Press International, Pittsburgh Press, Warren Austin Dies, December 26, 1962
  46. ^ Christian E. Burckel, Who's Who in the United Nations, Volume 1, 1951, page 26
  47. ^ University of Vermont, Warren R. Austin Collection: Timeline, retrieved February 18, 2014
  48. ^ George T. Mazuzan, Warren R. Austin at the U. N., 1946-1953, 1977, page ii
  49. ^
  50. ^ A. N. Marquis, Who's Who in New England, 1909, page 50
  51. ^ Vermont Vital Records, 1720-1908, marriage record for Warren Robinson Austin and Mildred May Lucas, retrieved February 14, 2014
  52. ^ Vermont Vital Records, 1720-1908, birth entry for Warren Robinson Austin, retrieved February 18, 2014
  53. ^ Florida Death Index, 1877-1998, entry for Warren Robinson Austin, retrieved February 18, 2014
  54. ^ Vermont Birth Records, 1909-2008, entry for Edward Lucas Austin, retrieved February 18, 2014
  55. ^ U.S. Social Security Death Index, entry for Edward Lucas Austin, retrieved February 18, 2014
  56. ^ James Roger Sharp, Nancy Weatherly Sharp, American Legislative Leaders in the Northeast, 1911-1994, 2000, page 50
  57. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1981, page 140

Further readingEdit

  • George T. Mazuzan. Warren R. Austin at the U. N., 1946-1953 (Kent State UP, 1977).

External linksEdit