Roger Hilsman (born November 23, 1919)[1] is an author and political scientist. He served as an American soldier in Merrill's Marauders and then the Office of Strategic Services in China-Burma-India Theater of World War II during World War II and as an aide and adviser to President John F. Kennedy. He left government in 1964 to teach at Columbia University.

Hilsman attended the United States Military Academy and graduated in June 1943. He served with the Detachment 101 of the OSS and in August 1945, went on an OSS mission into Manchuria to liberate American prisoners of war held in a Mukden Japanese POW camp and there found his father.

During the Kennedy Administration Hilsman became director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), and in 1963 became the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. He resigned in March 1964 in a disagreement with President Johnson's Vietnam policy and was replaced at the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs by William Bundy. Hilsman has been professor of government and international politics at Columbia University since 1964. Now retired, Hilsman serves as a professor emeritus.

Main article: 1963 South Vietnamese coup

He has since written at least 11 books about 20th Century American foreign policy. They include:

  • Foreign policy in the sixties: The issues and the instruments (1965)
  • To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (1967)
  • Politics Of Policy Making In Defense and Foreign Affairs: Conceptual Models and Bureaucratic Politics (1971)
  • The crouching future: International politics and U.S. foreign policy - a forecast (1975)
  • To Govern America (1979)
  • Strategic Intelligence and National Decisions (1981)
  • The Politics of Governing America (1985)
  • George Bush Vs. Saddam Hussein: Military Success! Political Failure? (1992)
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: The Struggle Over Policy (1996)
  • From Nuclear Military Strategy to a World Without War (1999)
  • American Guerrilla: My War Behind Japanese Lines (2005)

Hilsman is married to the former Eleanor Hoyt.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Roger Hilsman has been interviewed as part of Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, a site at the Library of Congress.

Government offices
Preceded by
Hugh S. Cumming, Jr.
Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research
February 19, 1961 – April 25, 1963
Succeeded by
Thomas L. Hughes
Preceded by
W. Averell Harriman
Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs
May 9, 1963 – March 15, 1964
Succeeded by
William Bundy
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