. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – NBC Radio Funeral for John Foster Dulles – May 27, 1959 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
The name John Foster Dulles probably doesn’t ring a lot of bells these days, aside from the name of an Airport in Washington D.C. – time and new players have clouded the world events of the past, to a certain degree. But for a time, during the majority of the Eisenhower Administration of the 1950s, John Foster Dulles was one of the most powerful people in the world; shaping U.S. Foreign policy, creating lasting results.
With John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, and his brother Allen Dulles as head of the CIA, many pivotal events took place which have come back to haunt over the years. Our involvement in Vietnam and Southeast Asia was largely at the maneuvering of the Dulles brothers. The overthrow of an elected government in Iran over the threat of Nationalizing Iran’s oil production (the famous Anglo-Iranian Oil dispute), the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq, paving the way for a Military takeover and eventual rule of Saddam Hussein. The series of overthrows in South America, including the infamous CIA-supported military coup in Guatemala. The list is long and the influence was substantial.
As a staunch anti-Communist, Dulles was the architect of many Foreign policy decisions during the Cold-War period and was a pioneer in the concept of massive retaliation and brinksmanship. He actively expressed the view that Communism was Godless Terrorism, and it was this view that kept the threat of World War 3 always within the realm of possibility.
So when John Foster Dulles stepped down, diagnosed with terminal Cancer of April of 1959, it created a hole of uncertainty in just where America was going to head in this post-Dulles era. Oddly enough, there was some thaw in East-West relations by the end of 1959, but the U-2 incident in May of 1960 put an end to the thaw.
When he died on May 24th of 1959, it was the beginning of considerable outpouring of sadness, particularly in the Eisenhower White House. On May 27th he was buried at Arlington Cemetery with full military honors and it was carried by all radio and television networks and broadcast throughout the world.
Here is the Funeral of John Foster Dulles, as it happened on May 27, 1959.