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"His Excellency
David K. E. Bruce
""David K. E. Bruce.jpg
Bruce in 1962
10th "United States Ambassador to NATO
In office
October 17, 1974 – February 12, 1976
Appointed by "Richard Nixon
"Gerald Ford
Preceded by "Donald Rumsfeld
Succeeded by "Robert Strausz-Hupé
"Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People's Republic of China
In office
May 14, 1973 – September 25, 1974
President "Richard Nixon
"Gerald Ford
Preceded by Diplomatic relations established
Succeeded by "George H. W. Bush
"United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
March 17, 1961 – March 20, 1969
President "John F. Kennedy
"Lyndon B. Johnson
"Richard Nixon
Preceded by "John Hay Whitney
Succeeded by "Walter Annenberg
"United States Ambassador to Germany
In office
April 17, 1957 – October 29, 1959
President "Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by "James B. Conant
Succeeded by "Walter C. Dowling
"United States Ambassador to France
In office
May 17, 1949 – March 10, 1952
President "Harry S. Truman
Preceded by "Jefferson Caffery
Succeeded by "James Clement Dunn
"Under Secretary of State
In office
April 1, 1952 – January 20, 1953
Preceded by "James E. Webb
Succeeded by "Walter B. Smith
Personal details
Born David Kirkpatrick Este Bruce
(1898-02-12)February 12, 1898
"Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died December 5, 1977(1977-12-05) (aged 79)
"Washington, D.C., U.S.
Spouse(s) Ailsa Mellon
(m. 1926; divorce 1945)

Evangeline Bell (1914-1995)
(m. 1945; his death 1977)
Education "University of Maryland Law School

David Kirkpatrick Este Bruce (February 12, 1898 – December 5, 1977) was an American diplomat, intelligence officer and politician. He served as Ambassador to France, the Republic of Germany, and the United Kingdom, the only American to be all three.



Bruce was born in "Baltimore, Maryland, to "William Cabell Bruce and Louise Este (Fisher) Bruce (1864–1945). One of his three brothers was "James Cabell Bruce. He studied for a year and a half at "Princeton University. He dropped out to serve in the "United States Army during "World War I. At parental insistence, he then attended the "University of Virginia School of Law (1919-1920) and the "University of Maryland School of Law (1920-1921) without taking a degree before being admitted to the Maryland bar in November 1921.[1]


State service[edit]

He served in the "Maryland House of Delegates (1924-1926) and the "Virginia House of Delegates (1939-1942).[2][3]

Federal service[edit]

During World War II, he headed the Europe branch of the "Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the "Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was based in London and coordinated espionage activities behind enemy lines for the United States Armed Forces branches. Other OSS functions included the use of propaganda, subversion, and post-war planning. He observed the "invasion of Normandy landing there the day after the initial invasion.[4]

After leaving the OSS at the end of World War Two, and before entering the diplomatic field, in 1948-1949 David Bruce was with the "Economic Cooperation Administration which administered the so-called "Marshall Plan. It was during this time that David Bruce and his new 2nd wife became an early member of the informal "Georgetown Set within D.C.

Bruce, as a member of the new "President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities, wrote a secret report on the CIA's covert operations for President "Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 that was highly critical of its operation under "Allen Dulles's leadership.[5]

Diplomatic service[edit]

He served as the "United States Ambassador to France from 1949 to 1952, "United States Ambassador to West Germany from 1957 to 1959, and "United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1961 to 1969. He was an American envoy at the Paris peace talks between the United States and "North Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. Bruce also served as the first United States emissary to the "People's Republic of China from 1973 to 1974.[6] He was the "ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from late 1974 to 1976.

Bruce served as the Honorary Chair on the Board of Trustees of the "American School in London during his diplomatic career in the United Kingdom.[7]

Personal and death[edit]

On May 29, 1926, Bruce married "Ailsa Mellon, the daughter of the "banker and "diplomat "Andrew W. Mellon.[8] They divorced on April 20, 1945. Their only daughter, Audrey, and her husband, "Stephen Currier, were presumed dead when a plane in which they were flying in the Caribbean disappeared on January 17, 1967, after requesting permission to fly over Culebra, a U. S. Navy installation. No trace of the plane, pilot, or passengers was ever found. Audrey and Stephen Currier left three children: Andrea, Lavinia, and Michael.

He married Evangeline Bell (1914–1995) on April 23, 1945, three days after his divorce.[8] They had two sons and one daughter, Alexandra (called Sasha). Alexandra died under mysterious circumstances (possibly murder or suicide) in 1975 at age 29 at the Bruce family home in Virginia.[9][10]

Bruce purchased and restored Staunton Hill, his family's former estate in "Charlotte County, Virginia.

He died on December 5, 1977 of a "heart attack at "Georgetown University Medical Center.[11]


Bruce received the "Presidential Medal of Freedom, with Distinction, in 1976.


The David K.E. Bruce Award was established in 2007 at the American School in London.[7]


Bruce wrote a book of biographical essays on the American presidents originally published as Seven Pillars of the Republic (1936). He later expanded it as Revolution to Reconstruction (1939) and again revised it as Sixteen American Presidents (1962).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bruce-david-kirkpatrick-este
  2. ^ Harry S. Truman Library-Oral History of David K.E. Bruce
  3. ^ Bio data
  4. ^ David Kirkpatrick Este Bruce; Nelson D. Lankford (January 1991). OSS Against the Reich: The World War II Diaries of Colonel David K.E. Bruce. Kent State University Press. p. 35. "ISBN "978-0-87338-427-8. 
  5. ^ Tim Weiner, The Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (London: Allen Lane, 2007), p. 133.
  6. ^ "David Bruce, 75, Selected To Head Office in Peking". "New York Times. March 16, 1973. Retrieved 2009-12-08. President Nixon announced today that he had recalled Ambassador David K. E. Bruce from retirement to head a United States liaison office in Peking. 
  7. ^ a b School Web site Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  8. ^ a b Pitz, Marylynne (November 15, 2009). "Ailsa Mellon Bruce's artworks part of Carnegie collection". "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-12-08. In 1926, the beautiful, reserved and stubborn young woman married David K. E. Bruce, a talented lawyer and the son of Maryland Sen. William C. Bruce. For wedding presents, A.W. Mellon gave his daughter a pearl necklace valued at $100,000 and a 200-acre estate in Syosset, Long Island. 
  9. ^ Nation: A Gothic Romance in Old Virginia
  10. ^ Public Service and Private Pain
  11. ^ "U.S. envoy David Bruce is dead at 79". "Chicago Tribune. December 6, 1977. Retrieved 2009-12-08. David K. E. Bruce, a veteran American diplomat who served in a variety of posts including mainland China, died of a heart attack Monday at Georgetown University Medical Center. He was 79. 

Further reading[edit]

External video
Presentation by Nelson Lankford on The Last American Aristocrat, August 23, 1996, "C-SPAN

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
"Jefferson Caffery
"U.S. Ambassador to France
May 17, 1949 – March 10, 1952
Succeeded by
"James Clement Dunn
Preceded by
"James E. Webb
"Under Secretary of State
April 1, 1952 – January 20, 1953
Succeeded by
"Walter B. Smith
Preceded by
"James B. Conant
"U.S. Ambassador to Germany
April 17, 1957 – October 29, 1959
Succeeded by
"Walter C. Dowling
Preceded by
"John Hay Whitney
"U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
March 17, 1961 – March 20, 1969
Succeeded by
"Walter H. Annenberg
Preceded by
"Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing
May 14, 1973 – September 25, 1974
Succeeded by
"George H. W. Bush
Preceded by
"Donald Rumsfeld
"U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO
October 17, 1974 – February 12, 1976
Succeeded by
"Robert Strausz-Hupe
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