Bedell "Beetle" Smith (5 October 1895 9
August 1961) was a senior U.S. Army general who served as
General Dwight D. Eisenhower's chief- of-staff at Allied
Forces Headquarters during the Tunisia Campaign and the
Allied invasion of Italy in 1943. Beginning in the next
year, he was General Eisenhower's chief-of-staff at the
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF)
in Western Europe from 1944 through 1945.
enlisted as a private in the Indiana National Guard in
1911. During World War I he was commissioned as an officer
in 1917, and he was wounded in the Aisne-Marne Offensive
in 1918. After World War I, he was a staff officer and
an instructor at the U.S. Army Infantry School. In 1941,
he became the Secretary of the General Staff. Then in
1942, he became the Secretary to the Combined Chiefs of
Staff. His duties involved taking part in discussions
of war plans at the highest level, and Smith often briefed
President Franklin D. Roosevelt on strategic matters.
became chief of staff to Eisenhower at Allied Forces Headquarters
(AFHQ) in September 1942. He acquired a reputation as
Eisenhower's "hatchet man" for his brusque and
demanding manner. However, he was also capable of representing
Eisenhower in sensitive missions requiring diplomatic
skill. Smith was involved in negotiating the Armistice
between Italy and Allied armed forces, which he signed
on behalf of Eisenhower. In 1944, he became the Chief
of Staff of SHAEF, again under Eisenhower.
this position, Smith also negotiated successfully for
food and fuel aid to be sent through German lines for
the starving and cold Dutch civilian population, and he
opened discussions for the peaceful and complete German
capitulation to the Canadian Army in the Netherlands.
In May 1945, Smith met with the representatives of the
German High Command to negotiate the surrender of the
German Armed Forces, and he signed the surrender document
on behalf of General Eisenhower.
World War II, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the
Soviet Union from 1946 to 1948. Then in 1950, Smith became
the Director of Central Intelligence, the head of the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence
agencies in the U.S. Smith reorganized the CIA, redefined
its structure and its mission, and he gave it a new sense
of purpose. He made the CIA the arm of government primarily
responsible for covert operations. He left the CIA in
1953 to become the Under Secretary of State. After retiring
as the Under Secretary of State in 1954, Smith continued
to serve the Eisenhower Administration in various posts
for several years, until his retirement and his death
United States Ambassador to Soviet Union
Bedell Smith was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October
5, 1895, the eldest of two sons of William Long Smith,
a silk buyer for the Pettis Dry Goods Company, and his
wife, Ida Francis née Bedell, who worked for the
was called Bedell from his boyhood. From an early age
he was nicknamed "Beetle", or occasionally "Beedle"
or "Boodle". He was educated at St. Peter and
Paul School, public schools #10 and #29, Oliver Perry
Morton School, and Emmerich Manual High School, where
he studied to be a machinist. While still there, he took
a job at the National Motor Vehicle Company, and eventually
left high school without graduating. Smith enrolled at
Butler University, but his father developed serious health
problems, and Smith left university to return to his job
and support his family.
1911, at the age of 16, Smith enlisted as a private in
Company D of the 2nd Indiana Infantry of the Indiana National
Guard. The Indiana National Guard was called out twice
in 1913, for the Ohio River flood of 1913 and during a
streetcar strike. Smith was promoted to corporal and then
sergeant. During the Pancho Villa Expedition he served
on the staff of the Indiana National Guard.
1913, Smith met Mary Eleanor (Nory) Cline, and they were
married in a traditional Roman Catholic wedding ceremony
on July 1, 1917. Their marriage was of long duration but
the Smiths did not have any children.
work during the Ohio River flood of 1913 led to his nomination
for officer training in 1917, and he was sent to the Officer
Candidate Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.
Upon his graduation on November 27, 1917, he was commissioned
as a second lieutenant. He was then assigned to the newly
formed Company A, 1st Battalion, 39th Infantry, part of
the 4th Infantry Division at Camp Greene, North Carolina.
The 4th Infantry Division embarked for Europe, then embroiled
in World War I, from Hoboken, New Jersey, on 9 May 1918,
reaching Brest, France, on the 23rd of May.
training with the British and French Armies, the 4th Division
entered the front lines in June 1918, joining the Aisne-Marne
Offensive on 18 July 1918. Smith was wounded by shell
fragments during an attack two days later.
of his wounds, Smith was returned to the United States
for service with the U.S. Department of War's General
Staff, and he was assigned to the Military Intelligence
Division. In September 1918, he was commissioned as a
first lieutenant in the regular army of the United States.
was next sent to the newly formed 379th Infantry Regiment
as its intelligence officer. This regiment was part of
the 95th Infantry Division, based at Camp Sherman, Ohio.
The 95th Infantry Division was disbanded following the
signing of the Armistice with Germany on November 11,
in February 1919 Smith was assigned to Camp Dodge, Iowa,
where he was involved with the disposal of surplus equipment
and supplies. In March 1919 he was transferred to the
2nd Infantry Regiment, a regular unit based at Camp Dodge,
remaining there until November 1919, when it moved to
staff of the 2nd Infantry moved to Fort Sheridan, Illinois,
in 1921. In 1922, Smith became aide de camp to Brigadier
General George Van Horn Moseley, the commander of the
12th Infantry Brigade at Fort Sheridan. From 1925 to 1929
Smith worked as an assistant in the Bureau of the Budget.
He then served a two-year tour of duty overseas on the
staff of the 45th Infantry at Fort William McKinley in
the Philippines. After nine years as a first lieutenant,
he was promoted to captain in September 1929.
to the United States, Smith reported to the U.S. Army
Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in March 1931.
Upon graduation in June 1932, he stayed on as an instructor
in the Weapons Section, where he was responsible for demonstrating
weapons like the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. In 1933
he was sent to the Command and General Staff School at
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Afterward, he returned to the
Infantry School but was detached again to attend the U.S.
Army War College, from which he graduated in 1937. He
returned to the Infantry School once more, where he was
promoted to major on 1 January 1939 after nine years as
a captain. Such slow promotion was common in the Army
in the 1920s and 1930s. Officers like Smith who were commissioned
between November 1916 and November 1918 made up 55.6 percent
of the Army's officer corps in 1926. Promotions were usually
based on seniority, and the modest objective of promoting
officers to major after seventeen years of service could
not be met because a shortage of posts for them to fill.
General George C. Marshall became the Army's Chief of
Staff in September 1939, he brought Smith to Washington,
D.C., to be the Assistant to the Secretary of the General
Staff. The Secretary of the General Staff was primarily
concerned with records, paperwork, and the collection
of statistics, but he also performed a great deal of analysis,
liaison, and administration. One of Smith's duties was
liaison with Major General Edwin "Pa" Watson,
the Senior Military Aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Smith was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 4 May 1941,
and then to colonel on 30 August 1941. On 1 September,
the Secretary of the General Staff, Colonel Orlando Ward,
was given command of the 1st Armored Division, and Smith
became the Secretary of the General Staff.
Arcadia Conference, which was held in Washington, D.C.,
December 1941 and January 1942, mandated the creation
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a counterpart to the British
Chiefs of Staff Committee, and Smith was named as its
secretary on 23 January 1942. The same conference also
brought about the creation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff,
which consisted of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chiefs
of Staff Committee meeting as a single body. Brigadier
Vivian Dykes of the British Joint Staff Mission provided
the secretarial arrangements for the new organization
at first, but General Marshall thought that an American
secretariat was required. He appointed Smith as the secretary
of the Combined Chiefs-of-Staff as well as of the Joint
Chiefs-of-Staff. Since Dykes was senior in service time
to Smith, and Marshall wanted Smith to be in charge, Smith
was promoted to brigadier general on 2 February 1942.
He assumed the new post a week later, with Dykes as his
deputy. The two men worked in partnership to create and
organize the secretariat, and to build the organization
of the Combined Chiefs-of-Staff into one that could coordinate
the war efforts of the two allies, along with the Canadians,
Australians, French, etc. Smith's duties involved taking
part in discussions of strategy at the highest level,
and he often briefed President Roosevelt on strategic
matters. However Smith became frustrated as he watched
other officers receive the operational commands that he
desired. He later remarked: "That year I spent working
as secretary of the general staff for George Marshall
was one of the most rewarding of my entire career, and
the unhappiest year of my life."
Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed as the
commander of the European Theater of Operations in June
1942, he requested that Smith be sent from Washington
as his chief-of-staff. Smith's record as a staff officer,
and his proven ability to work harmoniously with the British,
made him a natural choice for the post. Reluctantly, Marshall
acceded to this request, and Smith took over as the chief-of-staff
at Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) on 15 September 1942.
Reporting to him were two deputy chiefs of staff, Brigadier
General Alfred Gruenther and Brigadier John Whiteley,
and also the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Major
General Humfrey Gale. AFHQ was a balanced binational organization,
in which the chief of each section was paired with a deputy
of the other nationality. Its structure was generally
American, but with some British aspects. For example,
Gale as CAO controlled both personnel and supply functions,
which under the American system would have reported directly
to Smith. Initially AFHQ was located in London, but it
was moved to Algiers during November and December 1942,
with Smith arriving on 11 December. Although AFHQ had
an authorized strength of only 700, Smith aggressively
expanded it. By January 1943, its American component alone
was 1,406 and its strength eventually topped 4,000 men
and women. As the chief-of-staff, Smith zealously guarded
access to Eisenhower. He acquired a reputation as a tough
and brusque manager, and he was often referred to as Eisenhower's
the organization of the North African Theater of Operations,
U.S. Army (NATOUSA), Smith also acted as its chief- of-staff
until 15 February, when Brigadier General Everett S. Hughes
became the Deputy Theater commander and the commanding
general of the Communications Zone. The relationship between
Smith and Hughes, an old friend of Eisenhower's, was tense,
with Smith accusing Hughes of "empire building",
and the two clashing over trivial issues.
Algiers Smith and Eisenhower seldom socialized together.
Smith conducted formal dinners at his villa, an estate
surrounded by gardens and terraces, with two large drawing
rooms decorated with mosaics, oriental rugs, and art treasures.
Like Eisenhower, Smith had a female companion, a nurse,
Captain Ethel Westerman.
the disastrous Battle of the Kasserine Pass, Eisenhower
sent Smith forward to report on the state of affairs at
the American II Corps. Smith recommended the relief of
its commander, Major General Lloyd Fredendall, as did
General Harold Alexander and Major Generals Omar Bradley
and Lucian Truscott. On their advice, Eisenhower replaced
Fredendall with Major General George S. Patton, Jr. Eisenhower
also relieved his Assistant Chief of Staff Intelligence
(G-2), Brigadier Eric Mockler-Ferryman, pinpointing faulty
intelligence at AFHQ as a contributing factor in the defeat
at Kasserine. Mockler-Ferryman was replaced by Brigadier
debacle at Kasserine Pass strained relations between the
Allies, and another crisis developed when II Corps reported
that enemy aviation was operating at will over its sector
because of an absence of Allied air cover. This elicited
a scathing response from British Air Marshal Arthur Coningham
on the competence of American troops.
Eisenhower drafted a letter to Marshall suggesting that
Coningham should be relieved of his command since he could
not control the acrimony between senior Allied commanders,
but General Smith persuaded him not to send it. Instead,
Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder, Major General Carl Spaatz,
and Brigadier General Laurence S. Kuter paid Patton a
visit at his headquarters. Their meeting was interrupted
by a German air raid that convinced the airmen that General
Patton had a point. Coningham withdrew his written criticisms
and he apologized.
Allied leaders in the Sicilian campaign. General Eisenhower
meets in North Africa with (foreground, left to right):
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, General Sir Harold
R.L.G. Alexander, Admiral Sir Andrew B. Cunningham,
and (top row): Mr. Harold Macmillan, Major General W.
Bedell Smith, and several unidentified British officers.
the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Combined Chiefs of
Staff designated Eisenhower as the overall commander but
they ordered the three component commanders, Alexander,
Tedder, and Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham of the Royal
Navy, to "cooperate". To Eisenhower, this command
arrangement meant a reversion to the old British "committee
system". He drafted a cable to the Combined Chiefs-of-Staff
demanding a unified command structure, but Smith persuaded
him to tear it up.
arose between Allied commanders over the operational plan,
which called for a series of dispersed landings, based
on the desire of the air, naval, and logistical planners
concerning the early capture of ports and airfields. General
Bernard Montgomery, the commander of the British Eighth
Army, objected to this aspect of the plan, since it exposed
the Allied forces to defeat in detail.
put forward an alternate plan that involved the American
and British forces landing side by side. He convinced
Smith that his alternate plan was sound, and the two men
then persuaded most of the other Allied commanders. Montgomery's
plan provided for the early seizure of airfields, which
satisfied Tedder and Cunningham. The fears of logisticians
like Major General Thomas B. Larkin that supply would
not be practical without a port were resolved by the use
of amphibious trucks.
August 1943, Smith and Strong flew to Lisbon via Gibraltar
in civilian clothes, where they met with Generale di Brigata
Giuseppe Castellano at the British embassy. While Castellano
had hoped to arrange terms for Italy to join the United
Nations against Nazi Germany, Smith was empowered to draw
up an armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces,
but he was unable to negotiate political matters. On September
3, Smith and Castellano signed the agreed-upon text on
behalf of Eisenhower and Pietro Badoglio, respectively,
in a simple ceremony beneath an olive tree at Cassibile,
Secret Emissaries to Lisbon (left to right) Brigadier
Kenneth W. D. Strong, Generale di Brigata
Giuseppe Castellano, Smith, and Consul Franco Montanari,
an official from the Italian Foreign Office.
in October, Smith traveled to Washington for two weeks
to represent Eisenhower in a series of meetings, including
one with President Roosevelt at Hyde Park, New York, on
December 1943, Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Allied
Commander for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.
Eisenhower wished to take Smith and other key members
of his AFHQ staff with him to his new assignment, but
Prime Minister Winston Churchill wanted to retain Smith
at AFHQ as Deputy Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean.
Churchill reluctantly gave way at Eisenhower's insistence.
New Year's Eve, Smith met with General Sir Alan Brooke
to discuss the transfer of key British staff members from
AFHQ to Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force
(SHAEF). Brooke released Gale only after a strong appeal
from Smith, and he refused to transfer Strong. A heated
exchange resulted, and Brooke later complained to Eisenhower
about Smith's behavior. This was the only time that a
senior British officer ever complained openly about Smith.
became Chief of Intelligence (G-2) at SHAEF instead of
Strong, but Eisenhower and Smith had their way in the
long run, and Strong assumed the post on 25 May 1944,
with Brigadier General Thomas J. Betts as his deputy.
was promoted to lieutenant general and also made a Knight
Commander of the Order of the Bath in January 1944. On
18 January, he set out for London with two and a half
tons of personal baggage loaded onto a pair of B-17s.
The staff of the Chief-of-Staff to the Supreme Allied
Commander (COSSAC) was already active, and he had been
planning the Overlord operation for some time.
Smith and his wartime secretary, Ruth Briggs, who was
also Smith's executive
assistant when he was Ambassador to the Soviet Union after
staff was absorbed into SHAEF, with COSSAC, with Major
General Frederick Morgan, becoming Smith's Deputy Chief
of Staff at SHAEF. Gale also held the title of Deputy
Chief of Staff, as well as being Chief Administrative
Officer, and there was also a Deputy Chief of Staff (Air),
Air Vice Marshal James Robb. The heads of the other staff
divisions were Major General Ray W. Barker (G-1), Major
General Harold R. Bull (G-3), Major General Robert W.
Crawford (G-4) and Major General Sir Roger Lumley (G-5).
had located his COSSAC headquarters in Norfolk House at
31 St. James's Square, London, but Smith moved it to Bushy
Park on the outskirts of London. This was according to
Eisenhower's expressed desire not to have his headquarters
inside of a major city. A hutted camp was built with 130,000
square feet (12,000 m2) of floor space. By the time Overlord
began, accommodations had been provided for 750 officers
and 6,000 enlisted men and women.
and Smith's offices were in a subterranean complex. Smith's
office was spartan, dominated by a large portrait of Marshall.
An advanced command post codenamed Sharpener was established
near Portsmouth, where Montgomery's 21st Army Group and
Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay's Allied Naval Expeditionary
Force headquarters were located.
operations in Normandy were controlled by Montgomery at
first, but SHAEF Forward headquarters moved to Jullouville
in August, and on 1 September Eisenhower assumed control
of Bradley's 12th Army Group and Montgomery's 21st Army
Group. Smith soon realized that he had made a mistake.
The forward headquarters was remote and inaccessible,
and it lacked the necessary communications equipment.
6 September, Eisenhower ordered both SHAEF Forward and
SHAEF Main to move to Versailles, France, as soon as possible.
SHAEF Forward began its move on 15 September and it opened
in Versailles on 20 September. SHAEF Main followed, moving
from Bushy Park by air. This move was completed by October,
and SHAEF remained there until 17 February 1945, when
SHAEF Forward moved to Reims. By this time, SHAEF had
grown in size to 16,000 officers and enlisted men, of
whom 10,000 were American and 6,000 British.
of the Allied Supreme Command in February 1944. Left to
right: Lieutenant General Omar Bradley,
Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur
Tedder, General Dwight Eisenhower, General Sir
Bernard Montgomery, Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory
and Lieutenant General Bedell Smith.
November 1944, Strong was reporting that there was a possibility
of a German counteroffensive in the Ardennes or the Vosges.
Smith sent Strong to personally warn Bradley, who was
preparing an offensive of his own. The magnitude and ferocity
of the German Ardennes Offensive came as a shock, and
Smith had to defend Strong against criticism for failing
to sound the alarm. He felt that Strong had given ample
warning, which had been discounted or disregarded by himself
battle was joined, Eisenhower acted decisively, committing
the two armored divisions in the 12th Army Group's reserve
over Bradley's objection, along with his own meager reserves,
two airborne divisions. Whiteley and Betts visited the
U.S. First Army headquarters and they were unimpressed
with the way its commanders were handling the situation.
Whiteley, and Betts recommended that command of the armies
north of the Ardennes be transferred from Bradley to Montgomery.
Smith's immediate reaction was to dismiss the suggestion
out of hand. He told Strong and Whiteley that they were
fired and should pack their bags and return to the United
Kingdom. On the next morning, Smith apologized. He had
had second thoughts, and he informed them that he would
present their recommendation to Eisenhower as his own.
He realized the military and political implications of
this, and knew that such a recommendation had to come
from an American officer. On 20 December, he recommended
it to Eisenhower, who telephoned both General Bradley
and Montgomery, and Eisenhower ordered it.
decision was greatly resented by many Americans, particularly
in 12th Army Group, who felt that the action discredited
the U.S. Army's command structure.
casualties since the start of Operation Overlord resulted
in a critical shortage of infantry replacements even before
the crisis situation created by the Ardennes Offensive.
Steps were taken to divert men from Communications Zone
units. The commander of the Communication Zone, Lieutenant
General John C. H. Lee, persuaded Eisenhower to allow
soldiers to volunteer for service "without regard
to color or race to the units where assistance is most
needed, and give you the opportunity of fighting shoulder
to shoulder to bring about victory". Smith immediately
grasped the political implications of this. He put his
position to Eisenhower in writing:
I am now somewhat out of touch with the War Department's
Negro policy, I did, as you know, handle this during the
time I was with General Marshall. Unless there has been
a radical change, the sentence which I have marked in
the attached circular letter will place the War Department
in very grave difficulties. It is inevitable that this
statement will get out, and equally inevitable that the
result will be that every Negro organization, pressure
group and newspaper will take the attitude that, while
the War Department segregates colored troops into organizations
of their own against the desires and pleas of all the
Negro race, the Army is perfectly willing to put them
in the front lines mixed in units with white soldiers,
and have them do battle when an emergency arises. Two
years ago, I would have considered the marked statement
the most dangerous thing that I had ever seen in regard
to Negro relations. I have talked with Lee about it, and
he can't see this at all. He believes that it is right
that colored and white soldiers should be mixed in the
same company. With this belief I do not argue, but the
War Department policy is different. Since I am convinced
that this circular letter will have the most serious repercussions
in the United States, I believe that it is our duty to
draw the War Department's attention to the fact that this
statement has been made, to give them warning as to what
may happen and any facts which they may use to counter
the pressure which will undoubtedly be placed on them.
policy was revised, with Negro soldiers serving in provisional
platoons. In the 12th Army Group, these were attached
to regiments, while in the 6th Army Group, the platoons
were grouped into whole companies attached to the division.
The former arrangement were generally better rated by
the units they were attached to, because the Negro platoons
had no company-level unit training.
15 April 1945, the Nazi governor (Reichskommissar) of
the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, offered to open
up Amsterdam to food and coal shipments to ease the suffering
of the civilian population. Smith and Strong, representing
SHAEF, along with Major General Ivan Susloparov representing
the Soviet Union, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
representing the Dutch government, and Major General Sir
Francis de Guingand from 21st Army Group, met with Seyss-Inquart
in the Dutch village of Achterveld on 30 April. After
threatening Seyss-Inquart with prosecution for war crimes,
Smith successfully negotiated for the provision of food
to the suffering Dutch civilian population in the cities
in the west of the country, and he opened discussions
for the peaceful and complete German capitulation in the
Netherlands, to the Canadian Army, that did follow on
the 5th of May.
had to conduct another set of surrender negotiations,
that of the German armed forces, in May 1945. Smith met
with the representatives of the German High Command (the
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Colonel General Alfred Jodl
and General-Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg. Once again,
Strong acted as an interpretor. Smith took a hard line,
threatening that unless terms were accepted, the Allies
would seal the front, thus forcing the remaining Germans
into the hands of the Red Army, but he made some concessions
regarding a ceasefire before the surrender came into effect.
On May 7, Smith signed the surrender document, along with
the French representative, Major General François
Sevez, and the Soviet Susloparov.
Allied commanders at Rheims shortly after the German surrender.
Present are (left to right): Major General
Ivan Susloparov, Lieutenant General Frederick Morgan,
Lieutenant General Bedell Smith, Captain Kay Summersby
(obscured), Captain Harry C. Butcher, General of the Army
Dwight Eisenhower, Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder.
to the Soviet Union
briefly returned to the United States in June 1945. In
August, Eisenhower nominated Smith as his successor as
commander of "U.S. Forces, European Theater",
as ETOUSA was redesignated on July 1, 1945. Smith was
passed over in favor of General Lucius D. Clay. When Eisenhower
took over as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in November
1945, he summoned Smith to become his Assistant Chief
of Staff for Operations and Planning. However, soon after
his arrival back in Washington he was asked by President
Harry S. Truman and U.S Secretary of State James F. Byrnes
to become the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union. In
putting Smith's nomination for the post before the U.S.
Congress, Truman asked for and received special legislation
permitting Smith to retain his permanent military rank
of major general.
as the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 194648
service as the American ambassador was not a success.
Although no fault of Smith's, during his tenure the relationship
between the U.S. and the Soviet Union deteriorated rapidly
as the Cold War set in. Smith's tenacity of purpose came
across as a lack of flexibility, and it did nothing to
allay Soviet fears about American intentions. He became
thoroughly disillusioned and turned into a hardened cold
warrior who saw the Soviet Union as a secretive, totalitarian
and antagonistic state. In My Three Years in Moscow (1950),
Smith's account of his time as ambassador, he wrote:
... we are forced into a continuing struggle for a free
way of life that may extend over a period of many years.
We dare not allow ourselves any false sense of security.
We must anticipate that the Soviet tactic will be to wear
us down, to exasperate us, and to keep probing for weak
spots, and we must cultivate firmness and patience to
a degree we have never before required.
returned to the U.S. in March 1949. Truman offered him
the post of Assistant Secretary of State for European
Affairs but General Smith declined the appointment, preferring
to return to military duty. He was appointed as the commander
of U.S. First Army at Fort Jay, New York City. This position,
his first command since 1918, was an easy job for a generous
the war, Smith had been troubled by a recurring stomach
ulcer. It became acute in 1949. He was no longer able
eat a normal diet, and he was suffering from malnutrition.
Smith was admitted to the Walter Reed Army Hospital, where
the surgeons decided to remove most of his stomach. This
did cure his ulcer, but Smith remained malnourished and
of Central Intelligence
1950, Truman selected Smith as Director of Central Intelligence
(DCI), the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Since the post had been established in 1946, there had
been three directors, none of whom had wanted the job.
1949 Intelligence Survey Group had produced the Dulles-Jackson-Correa
Report, which found that the CIA had failed in its responsibilities
in both the coordination and production of intelligence.
In response, the U.S. National Security Council accepted
the conclusions and recommendations of the report. It
remained to implement them. In May 1950, President Truman
decided that Smith was the man he needed for the CIA.
Before Smith could assume the post on 7 October, there
was a major intelligence failure. The North Korean invasion
of South Korea in June 1950, which started the Korean
War, took the administration entirely by surprise, and
it raised fears of a third world war.
Smith knew little about the Agency, he asked for a deputy
who did. Sidney Souers, the Executive Secretary of the
National Security Council, recommended William Harding
Jackson, one of the authors of the Dulles-Jackson-Correa
Report, to Smith. Jackson accepted the post of Deputy
Director on three conditions, one of which was "no
Smith (center) with top Agency leaders, including outgoing
Hillenkoetter (to Smiths left, in light suit), 7
and Jackson moved to reorganize the agency in line with
the recommendations of the Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report.
They streamlined procedures for gathering and disseminating
intelligence. On 10 October, Smith was asked to prepare
estimates for the Wake Island Conference between the President
and General Douglas MacArthur. Smith insisted that the
estimates be simple, readable, conclusive, and useful
rather that mere background. They reflected the best information
available, but unfortunately, one estimate concluded that
the Chinese would not intervene in Korea, another major
months after the outbreak of the Korean War, the Agency
had produced no coordinated estimate of the situation
in Korea. Smith created a new Office of National Estimates
(ONE) under the direction of William L. Langer, the Harvard
historian who had led the Research and Analysis branch
of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Langer's
staff created procedures that were followed for the next
two decades. Smith stepped up efforts to obtain economic,
psychological, and photographic intelligence. By December
1, Smith had formed a Directorate for Administration.
The Agency would ultimately be divided by function into
three directorates: Administration, Plans, and Intelligence.
Smith briefing President Truman
is remembered in the CIA as its first successful Director
of Central Intelligence, and one of its most effective,
who redefined its structure and mission. The CIA's expansive
covert action program remained the responsibility of Frank
Wisner's quasi-independent Office of Policy Coordination
(OPC), but Smith began to bring OPC under the DCI's control.
In early January 1951 he made Allen Dulles the first Deputy
Director for Plans (DDP), to supervise both OPC and the
CIA's separate espionage organization, the Office of Special
Operations (OSO). Not until January 1952 were all intelligence
functions consolidated under a Deputy Director for Intelligence
(DDI). Wisner succeeded Dulles as DDP in August 1951,
and it took until August 1952 to merge the OSO and the
OPC, each of which had its own culture, methods, and pay
scales, into an effective, single directorate.
consolidating responsibility for covert operations, Smith
made the CIA the arm of government primarily responsible
for them. Smith wanted the CIA to become a career service.
Before the war, the so-called "Manchu Law" limited
the duration of an officer's temporary assignments, which
effectively prevented anyone from making a career as a
general staff officer. There were no schools for intelligence
training, and the staffs had little to do in peacetime.
Career officers therefore tended to avoid such work unless
they aspired to be military attachés. Smith consolidated
training under a Director of Training and developed a
career service program.
Eisenhower was appointed as the Supreme Allied Commander
Europe in 1951, he asked for Smith to serve as his chief
of staff again. Truman turned down the request, stating
that the DCI was a more important post. Eisenhower therefore
took Lieutenant General Alfred Gruenther with him as his
chief of staff. When Eisenhower later recommended Gruenther's
elevation to four-star rank, Truman decided that General
Smith should be promoted also.
Smith's name was omitted from the promotion list. Truman
then announced that no one would be promoted until Smith
was, which occurred on 1 August 1951. Smith retired from
the Army upon leaving the CIA on 9 February 1953.
Secretary of State
11 January 1953, Eisenhower, now president-elect, announced
that Smith would become Under Secretary of State. Smith's
appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on 6 February
and he resigned as the DCI three days later. In May 1954,
Smith traveled to Europe in an attempt to convince the
British to participate in an intervention to avert French
defeat in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. When this failed,
he reached an agreement with the Soviet Foreign Minister,
Vyacheslav Molotov, to partition Vietnam into two separate
states. In 1953, the President of Guatemala, Jacobo Árbenz
Guzmán, threatened to nationalize land belonging
to the United Fruit Company. Smith ordered the American
ambassador in Guatemala to put a CIA plan for a Guatemalan
coup into effect, which was accomplished by the following
year. Smith left the State Department on 1 October 1954
and took up a position with the United Fruit Company.
He also served as President and Chairman of the Board
of the Associated Missile Products Company and AMF Atomics
Incorporated, Vice Chairman of American Machine and Foundry
(AMF) and a director of RCA and Corning Incorporated.
retiring as Under Secretary of State in 1954, Smith continued
to serve the Eisenhower administration in various posts.
He was a member of the National Security Training Commission
from 1955 to 1957, the National War College board of consultants
from 1956 to 1959, the Office of Defense Mobilization
Special Stockpile Advisory Committee from 1957 to 1958,
the President's Citizen Advisors on the Mutual Security
Program from 1956 to 1957, and the President's Committee
on Disarmament in 1958. Smith was a consultant at the
Special Projects Office (Disarmament) in the Executive
Office of the President from 1955 to 1956. He also served
as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the President's
Committee on Fund Raising, and as a member-at-large from
1958 to 1961. In recognition of his other former boss,
he was a member of the George C. Marshall Foundation Advisory
Committee from 1960 to 1961.
1955, Smith was approached to perform the voice-over and
opening scene for the movie To Hell And Back (1955), which
was based on the autobiography of Audie Murphy. He accepted,
and had small parts in the movie, most notably in the
beginning, where he was dressed in his old service uniform.
He narrated several parts of the movie, referring constantly
to "the foot soldier". Smith was portrayed on
screen by Alexander Knox in The Longest Day (1962), Edward
Binns in Patton (1970) and Timothy Bottoms in Ike: Countdown
to D-Day (2004). On television he has been portrayed by
John Guerrasio in Cambridge Spies (2003), Charles Napier
in War and Remembrance (1989), Don Fellows in The Last
Days of Patton (1986) and J.D. Cannon in Ike: The War
suffered a heart attack on August 9, 1961, at his home
in Washington, D.C., and he died in the ambulance on the
way to Walter Reed Army Hospital. Although entitled to
a Special Full Honor Funeral, at the request of his widow,
Mary Eleanor Smith, a simple joint service funeral was
held, patterned after the one given to General Marshall
in 1959. She selected a grave site for her husband in
Section 7 of Arlington National Cemetery close to Marshall's
grave. Mrs. Smith was buried next to him after her death
in 1963. Smith's papers are in the Eisenhower Presidential
Center in Abilene, Kansas.