Hugh Robert Wilson Edit Profile
He attended Yale University and graduated in 1906. He worked in business for a few years and studied at the École Libre des Sciences Politiques, Paris in 1910.
He became Assistant Secretary of State in 1937 and served for several months in 1938 as U.S. Ambassador to Germany. He served briefly in the U.S. delegation in Lisbon until, upon passing examinations for the Diplomatic Service, he was appointed Secretary to the U.S. delegation in Guatemala. While in that post, Wilson married Katherine Boyle in London on April 25, 1914.
He later served in Buenos Aires, Berlin, Vienna, Tokyo, and Berne. From 1924 to 1927 he worked in Washington as Chief of the Division of Current Information of the U.S. Department of State. He held the position of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Switzerland from 1927 to 1937, and during those years represented the United States at many international conferences.
On August 23, 1937, he became Assistant Secretary of State. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Germany from March 3, 1938, to November 16, 1938. He attended the congress of the Nazi Party in Nuremberg in September 1938, breaking with the precedent established by his predecessor, William E. Dodd, who had refused to attend.
In Dodd's absence, the embassy's chargé d'affaires had attended the previous year. President Roosevelt called Wilson home for urgent consultations in November 1938 following the anti-Jewish attacks of Kristallnacht and he never returned to Germany. Wilson coined the phrase "pretty good club" while describing the foreign service.
When he was the ambassador to Germany he sought to emphasize the positive aspects of Nazi Germany. He accused the American press of being "Jewish controlled" and of singing a "hymn of hate while efforts are made over here to build a better future." He praised Hitler as the man who has pulled his people from moral and economic despair into the state of pride and evident prosperity they now enjoyed."
Yale awarded Wilson an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1939. Bryant College awarded him an honorary degree the same year.
Wilson held the title Advisor to Secretary of State until he retired from the Foreign Service on December 31, 1940. He returned to government service following the attack on Pearl Harbor and worked at the Office of Strategic Services from 1941 to 1945. He then accepted an appointment as chief of the foreign affairs section of the Republican National Committee.
With Pierre Cot, a French Cabinet Minister throughout the 1930s, Wilson taught a course at Yale in the spring of 1941. Wilson died on December 29, 1946, in Bennington, Vermont, following a long illness. He is buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery.
Clubs: Metropolitan, Burning Tree (Washington).
Spouse Katherine Bogle, April 25, 1914.