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William Dawson (diplomat)

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Wiliam Dawson Jr. (August 11, 1885 – July 3, 1972) was a career United States diplomat. He was U.S. ambassador to multiple countries, including being the first ambassador to the Organization of American States.

William Dawson Jr.
1st United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States
In office
May 18, 1948 – July 20, 1948
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byDiplomatic relations established
Succeeded byPaul C. Daniels
United States Ambassador to Uruguay
In office
July 12, 1941 – August 6, 1946
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Preceded byEdwin C. Wilson
Succeeded byJoseph F. McGurk
United States Ambassador to Panama
In office
July 14, 1939 – April 21, 1941
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byFrank P. Corrigan
Succeeded byEdwin C. Wilson
Personal details
Born(1885-08-11)August 11, 1885
Saint Paul, Minnesota
DiedJuly 3, 1972(1972-07-03) (aged 86)
Blue Hill, Maine
Resting placeWashington, D.C.
Spouse(s)Agnes Balloch Bready
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota
Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques

He was born at Saint Paul, Minnesota, on 11 August 1885, the son of William Dawson and Maria Rice. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1906, he attended the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris and soon after entered the United States Foreign Service.

His first posting was to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1908. He served as vice and deputy consul-general to Barcelona, Spain, and Frankfurt, Germany; and consul at Rosario, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; Danzig, Poland; and Munich, Germany.

Dawson was consul-general at large from 1922 to 1924 and served as chief instructor at the Department of State's Foreign Service School from 1925 to 1928. He married Agnes Balloch Bready on 8 June 1926.

He served in Mexico as consul-general; was U.S. Minister to Ecuador, Colombia and Uruguay; and U.S. ambassador to Panama and Uruguay during his long career.

After retiring in 1946 he served as advisor on Latin American affairs to the U.S. delegation during the formation of the United Nations, went to Brazil on a special mission with General George Marshall and became the first U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States.

He died on 3 July 1972 at the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, in Blue Hill, Maine. Following a private funeral service he was buried later at Washington, D.C.


  • This article incorporates facts obtained from: Lawrence Kestenbaum, The Political Graveyard
  • "Ecuador" (List of Ambassadors to Ecuador). United States Department of State. 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  • "Uruguay" (List of Chiefs of Mission to Uruguay). United States Department of State. 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  • "Panama" (List of Ambassadors to Panama). United States Department of State. 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Gerhard A. Bading
United States Minister to Ecuador
9 August 1930 – 27 February 1935
Succeeded by
Antonio C. Gonzalez
Preceded by
Julius G. Lay
United States Minister to Uruguay
10 February 1938 – 6 June 1939
Succeeded by
Edwin C. Wilson
Preceded by
Frank P. Corrigan
United States Ambassador to Panama
July 14, 1939 – April 21, 1941
Succeeded by
Edwin C. Wilson
New title
Mission in Montevideo
upgraded to Embassy
United States Ambassador to Uruguay
12 July 1941 – 6 August 1946
Succeeded by
Joseph F. McGurk