William P. Rogers

William P. Rogers

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=William P. Rogers

title=United States Secretary of State
term_start=January 22, 1969
term_end=September 3, 1973
president=Richard Nixon
predecessor=Dean Rusk
successor=Henry Kissinger
birth_date=birth date|1913|6|23|mf=y
birth_place=Norfolk, New York
death_date=death date and age | 2001|1|2|1913|6|23
death_place=Bethesda, Maryland
title2=United States Attorney General
term_start2=October 23, 1957
term_end2=January 20, 1961
president2=Dwight D. Eisenhower
predecessor2=Herbert Brownell, Jr.
successor2=Robert F. Kennedy

William Pierce Rogers (June 23, 1913 – January 2, 2001) was an American politician, who served as a Cabinet officer in the administrations of two U.S. Presidents in the third quarter of the 20th century.


Rogers was born June 23, 1913, in Norfolk, New York. He was raised, from early in his teens, following the death of his mother, by his grandparents, in Canton, New York.

After education at Colgate University and Cornell University Law School, he passed the bar in 1937. Under Thomas E. Dewey he worked from 1938 to 1942 in the prosecution of organized crime in New York City. He entered the US Navy in 1942, serving on the USS "Intrepid", including her action in the Battle of Okinawa. His final rank in the Navy was lieutenant commander.

While serving as a Committee Counsel to a US Senate committee, he examined the documentation from the House Un-American Activities Committee's investigation of Alger Hiss at the request of then-Congressman Richard M. Nixon, and advised Nixon that Hiss had lied and that the case against him should be pursued.

In 1950, Rogers became a partner in a New York City law firm, Dwight, Royall, Harris, Koegel & Caskey. Thereafter he returned to this firm when not in government service. It was later renamed Rogers & Wells, and subsequently Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells. He worked in the firm's Washington, D.C. office until several months before his death.

Rogers joined the Administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a Deputy-Attorney-General position in 1953, and then served from 1957 to 1961, as Attorney General. He remained a close advisor to then-Vice-President Nixon, throughout the Eisenhower administration, especially in the slush fund scandal that led to Nixon's Checkers speech, and during Eisenhower's two medical crises.

As Deputy Attorney General, Rogers had some role in or insight into the process that led to the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Podcast: Spies and Secrecy |url=http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/26/podcast-spies-and-secrecy/#more-3235
quote= |publisher=New York Times |date=June 26, 2008 |accessdate=2008-06-27
By Sam Roberts

He also served as Secretary of State in the Nixon Cabinet, from 1969 January 22 through 1973 September 3, when he among other things initiated efforts at a lasting peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict through the so-called Rogers Plan. However, his influence was gradually usurped by Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1973.

Rogers is also notable for leading the investigation into the explosion of the space shuttle "Challenger". This panel, called the Rogers Commission, was the first to criticize NASA management for its role in negligence of safety in the Space Shuttle program. Among the more famous members of Rogers' panel were astronauts Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride, Air Force general Donald Kutyna, and physicist Richard Feynman.

Rogers died of congestive heart disease in January 2, 2001, in Bethesda, Maryland, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. At the time of his death, Rogers was the last surviving member of the Eisenhower Administration.

In 2001, the Rogers family generously donated to Cornell Law Library [http://library.lawschool.cornell.edu/WhatWeHave/SpecialCollections/Rogers.cfm materials] that reflect the lives of William and Adele Rogers, the majority of items from the years 1969-1973.

External links

* [http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/listofholdingshtml/finding_aids_r.html Papers of William P. Rogers, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library]


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