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Macomber, William (Butts, Jr.) 1921-2003

MACOMBER, William (Butts, Jr.) 1921-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born March 28, 1921, in Rochester, NY; died of complications from Parkinson's disease, November 19, 2003, in Nantucket, MA. Diplomat and author. Macomber held diplomatic and administrative posts through five presidential administrations—from Dwight D. Eisenhower through Gerald R. Ford—and helped pass important reforms in the State Department regarding fair employment practices. After receiving a B.A. from Yale University in 1943, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a lieutenant in the Office of Strategic Services, where he worked with the French underground and also saw action in Burma. Returning home, he completed a master's degree in government from Yale, a law degree from Harvard in 1949, and a master's in social science at the University of Chicago in 1951. With this impressive educational and military background, Macomber was hired by the C.I.A. in 1951 before moving on to the State Department in 1953. During the 1950s, he held various assistant positions to Senator John Sherman, Under-Secretary of State Herbert Hoover, Jr., and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. From 1957 to 1962, Macomber was Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, and he served as ambassador to Jordan from 1961 to 1964. Other jobs during the 1960s included assistant administrator for the Agency for International Development and assistant secretary for Congressional Relations. After serving for four years as deputy under-secretary of state for administration, Macomber became an ambassador again, this time working in Turkey until his retirement from government in 1977. While under-secretary, Macomber was instrumental in improving the way government treated its employees. For instance, he made gender equity a mandate, allowed employees to see their job evaluation forms, and put an end to the practice of having the wives of Foreign Service officers host parties without financial compensation. He also instituted fair practices for job bids on government contracts. After leaving government work behind him, Macomber became involved in various nonprofit projects, including serving as president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1978 to 1986 and trustee emeritus of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; too, he was on the board of overseers for the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, and he was founder of the American Academy of Diplomacy. Macomber spent many of his final years teaching high school social science and coaching football in Nantucket. He was the author of The Angels' Game: A Handbook of Modern Diplomacy (1975).



Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2003, p. B25.

New York Times, November 22, 2003, p. B7.

Washington Post, November 21, 2003, p. B7.

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