Dulles, Allen (1893–1969)

views updated

Dulles, Allen (1893–1969)

Allen Welsh Dulles was director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1953 to 1961, during some of the principal covert operations of the Cold War. Born in Watertown, New York, Dulles earned his M.A. from Princeton University in 1916 and served in the State Department until 1926, when he joined the law firm of his older brother, John Foster Dulles, a future secretary of state. Allen Dulles spent World War II in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). With other OSS veterans he helped establish the CIA in 1951, becoming its director in 1953. Under his leadership the agency overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammed Mosaddeq (1882–1967), in 1953, and the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jácobo Árbenz Guzmán, in 1954. The United Fruit Company, angered by Guatemala's expropriation of some of its unused lands for agrarian reform, used its close links to the Dulles brothers to argue that the Árbenz government was subservient to Moscow. Dulles drew on the Guatemalan experience to shape the plan for the ill-fated 1961 invasion by U.S.-trained Cuban exiles at Playa Girón in Cuba, known as the Bay of Pigs, approved by President John F. Kennedy. Dulles took responsibility for the failure and resigned the same year.

See alsoBay of Pigs Invasion; Arbenz Guzmán, Jacobo; Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); Dulles, John Foster; United Fruit Company.


Dulles, Allen W. The Craft of Intelligence. [1973]. New York: Lyons Press, 2006.

Grose, Peter. Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996.

Kornbluh, Peter, ed. Bay of Pigs Declassified. New York: New Press, 1998.

                                   Max Paul Friedman