Clifford, Clark McAdams

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Clifford, Clark McAdams

Clark McAdams Clifford, 1906–98, U.S. government official, b. Fort Scott, Kans. Admitted to the bar in 1928, he engaged in private practice before serving (1944–46) in the U.S. navy. As special adviser (1946–50) to President Harry S. Truman, Clifford was influential in foreign policy, defense, and labor matters; he helped to formulate the Truman Doctrine (1947) and the legislation that created (1949) the Department of Defense. He also planned Truman's successful 1948 campaign strategy. After another period of private law practice, Clifford served (1961–63) as a foreign policy adviser to President John F. Kennedy and then became (1963) chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. In this capacity he supervised all U.S. espionage operations and played a crucial role in determining U.S. policy in Vietnam. As Secretary of Defense (1968–69) in Lyndon B. Johnson's cabinet, Clifford came to oppose further American participation in the Vietnam War, concluding that it was unwinnable. He went on to become a wealthy corporate lawyer. Clifford was chairman (1982–91) of First American Bankshares, which was secretly and illegally owned by the foreign Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). In 1992 he was indicted on charges stemming from BCCI's secret ownership of First American, but the charges were dismissed (1993) for health reasons.

See his autobiography (1991); see also D. Frantz and D. McKean, Friends in High Places (1995).

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