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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Biographies

William P. Bundy

William Bundy was a member of the CIA and advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Biography

b. September 24, 1917 - d. October 6, 2000

William Bundy was a member of the CIA and advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He became the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, and played an important role in the Vietnam War. After leaving government service he became a historian.

Raised in Boston, Massachusetts he came from a family long involved in politics. His brother, McGeorge Bundy, was an integral part of the both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was married to Mary Acheson the daughter of Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

While McGeorge started in academia William went to work with the CIA. At the outbreak of World War II he had joined the Army Signal Corps and was eventually posted to Bletchley Park. After the war he attended law school and then joined the young intelligence service.

He moved to politics becoming the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, and thus played an important role in the Vietnam War. While at the time he supported the intervention, he later decided it was a tragic mistake.

He was somewhat to the left of his brother politically, and was a spirited opponent of Joseph McCarthy. He was also considered one of the administration’s more dovish members on Vietnam.

He left politics on 1969 to teach at MIT, he also became editor of Foreign Affairs. In 1972 he moved to Princeton University where he remained for the rest of his life. His most noted work is Tangled Web which explores the foreign policy of the Nixon administration.