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Adapted from "Honorable Paul Henry Nitze, Secretary of the Navy" [biography, dated 27 March 1964] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

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Paul Henry Nitze

16 January 1907 - 19 October 2004


The Portuguese Ambassador Vasco V. Garin and Secretary of Navy Paul H. Nitze (left)

Paul Henry Nitze became the 57th Secretary of the Navy (1963-1967) on 29 November 1963. A veteran of more than 15 years of public service, he was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs when nominated on 14 October 1963 by President Kennedy to succeed the Honorable Fred Korth, who resigned 1 November 1963. 

Graduated "cum laude" in 1928 from Harvard University, Mr. Nitze subsequently joined the New York investment banking firm of Dillon, Read & Company. In 1941, he left his position as vice-president of that firm to become financial director of the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.

In 1942, he was Chief of the Metals and Minerals Branch of the Board of Economic Warfare, until named, in 1943, Director, Foreign Procurement and Development Branch of the Foreign Economic Administration.

During the period 1944-1946, Mr. Nitze was Vice Chairman of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. He was awarded the Medal of Merit by President Truman for service to the Nation in this capacity.

For the next Seven years, he served with the Department of State, beginning in the position of Deputy Director of the Office of International Trade Policy. In 1948, he was named Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. In August 1949, he became Deputy Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, and Director the following year.

Mr. Nitze left the Federal Government in 1953 to become President of the Foreign Service Educational Foundation in Washington, DC, a position he held until January 1961, concurrently with that of Associate of the Washington Center of Foreign Policy Research of the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. His publications during this period include "U. S. Foreign Policy: 1945-1955."

Mr. Nitze was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs by President Kennedy, taking his oath of office on 29 January 1961. Later he served as Secretary of Defense (1967-1969).

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts on 16 January 1907, Mr. Nitze was married to the former Phyllis Pratt. The first U.S. Navy ship named to honor Paul Henry Nitze,  Nitze (DDG-94) was commissioned in 2005 at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

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Published: Thu Mar 16 14:07:29 EDT 2017