Henry P. Fletcher
Fletcher was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania in 1873 to Louis Henry Fletcher (1839–1927) and Martha Ellen (née Rowe) Fletcher (1840–1896). His siblings included James Gilmore Fletcher (1875–1960), David Watson Fletcher (1880–1957) and Florence Fletcher (1883–1957). He was the fourth cousin once removed of William McKinley.
Shortly after beginning to practice law, the Spanish–American War broke out and the United States declared war on Spain in 1898. Fletcher joined Theodore Roosevelt‘s Rough Riders as a private in Troop K. He served in the U.S. Army, both in Cuba and in the Philippines for two years.
After returning from the Philippines, he entered the diplomatic service under President Roosevelt’s administration as secondary secretary of the United States legation in Havana, Cuba. In 1903, he was transferred to Peiping and then, in 1905, as secretary to the legation in Lisbon, Portugal. In 1907, he returned to China and was negotiated an agreement whereby US capital was allowed to participate on equal terms with European capital for the first time.
As a reward, President William Howard Taft named him US Minister to Chile in 1909. He was in that position until 1914, by which time the mission had been raised to the status of an Embassy, making him the first United States Ambassador to Chile. He served in that role until March 9, 1916.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him United States Ambassador to Mexico, his term coinciding with the height of World War I. On January 19, 1917, the German Secretary of State, Arthur Zimmermann, sent a message to Mexico promising Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico if it entered the War on German’s side. The note was intercepted in Washington and made public and is considered one of the immediate causes for the United States entering the war six weeks later. He presented his credentials on March 3, 1917 and served as ambassador in Mexico until January 25, 1919, when he returned to the United States.
In 1920, after directing the State Department’s Latin American affairs for a year, he resigned and was appointed Under Secretary of State by President Warren G. Harding, serving from March 8, 1921 to March 6, 1922, under Secretary Charles Evans Hughes.
Thereafter, he served as Ambassador to Belgium from 1922 until 1924 under both Harding and his successor, Calvin Coolidge, who became President after Harding’s death in 1923. In 1923, he was sent to the Pan-American Conference in Santiago, taking the place of Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, who had declined to go. At that time, the United States Secretary of State was ex officio chair of the Pan-American Conference, although that changed in Santiago after Latin American criticism.
On April 22, 1930, President Hoover appointed him chairman of the United States Tariff Commission after the Tariff Act of 1930. He was said to have accomplished more work in one year than what had been done in the previous seven.
In 1917, he married Beatrice Bend (1874-1941), a daughter of George H. Bend, a member of the New York Stock Exchange who had gone bankrupt. Bend’s sister, Amy Bend (1870-1957), was married to Cortlandt F. Bishop in 1899. Henry and Beatrice did not have any children.
He died in 1959 at his home in Newport, Rhode Island, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He left an estate worth $3,000,000, and donated his personal papers to the Library of Congress. He also left a portrait of George Washington, by Edward Savage, to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C..
- 1929: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold.
- “Mrs. Henry Prather Fletcher (Beatrice Bend, 1874-1941)”. www.nyhistory.org. New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (11 July 1959). “HENRY FLETCHER, DIPLOMAT, 86, DIES; Envoy for Almost 30 Years Served Six Presidents * G.O.P. Chairman ’34-36”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Folly, Martin; Palmer, Niall (April 20, 2010). The A to Z of U.S. Diplomacy from World War I through World War II. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9781461672418. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
- “Mr. Fletcher’s Career”. The New York Times. 26 June 1929. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Bisher, Jamie (February 17, 2016). The Intelligence War in Latin America, 1914–1922. McFarland. ISBN 9781476620268. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
- “Denial by Minister Fletcher”. The New York Times. 5 March 1913. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “CARRANZA PARTY NOW RECOGNIZED; Colombia and Nicaragua Act with Seven States of Pan-American Conference. FLETCHER FOR AMBASSADOR Envoy, Now In Chile, Practically Decided Upon ;- Arredondo to Represent Carranza”. The New York Times. 20 October 1915. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “CHILEANS HONOR FLETCHER.; Retiring Ambassador, Who Is Banquet Guest, Will Leave on March 8”. The New York Times. 5 March 1916. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “Names Shea for Chilean Post”. The New York Times. 4 March 1916. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “ENVOY FLETCHER GOES TO MEXICAN CAPITAL; Increasing Bandit Activities May Interrupt Trip of the American Ambassador”. The New York Times. 11 February 1917. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “MEXICO REASSURED BY ENVOY FLETCHER; Issues a Cordial Statement to People to Counteract Reports of Our Suspicions. ONLY FOES CAN CAUSE RIFT He Urges Americans in the Country to Take Care to Maintain a Proper Attitude”. The New York Times. 25 April 1917. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “FLETCHER COMING HOME.; Ambassador to Mexico Will Not Discuss Purpose of His Visit”. The New York Times. 4 July 1917. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (16 August 1921). “BRIAND COMING HERE FOR POWERS’ MEETING; French Premier’s Decision, Believed, Means Lloyd George Will Attend Also. SENDS WORD BY HERRICK Harding Backs Request for $200,000 Congress Appropriation for Parley”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (12 April 1921). “HUGHES HAS EXPERT ON RUSSIAN AFFAIRS; He Appoints Montgomery Schuyler of New York as Chiefof That Division.ALSO GETS TREATY EXPERTLeland Harrison, Who Was With Peace Negotiators, Is MadeAid to Fletcher”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (4 March 1921). “HUGHES GETS FACTS ON FOREIGN POLICY; He and Fletcher Have a Three Hour Conference With Colby and Davis. DISCUSS PRESENT STATUS New Administration Must Fact Issues Involving All Great Powers and the League”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Schoultz, Lars (1998). Beneath the United States: a history of U.S. policy toward Latin America ([Fourth printing]. ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University: Harvard University Press. pp. 285–286. ISBN 0-674-92276-X.
- Times, Special To The New York (26 June 1929). “FLETCHER RESIGNS AS ENVOY TO ITALY; Hoover in Acceptance Praises His Services as a Diplomat, as Does Stimson. FAREWELL SAID TO KING Fletcher Credited With Hopes of Higher Posts–May Enter Pennsylvania Politics”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “HENRY P. FLETCHER HOME.; Former Ambassador to Italy Says He Is Out of Public Life”. The New York Times. 14 August 1929. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “Fletcher Sees Mussolini”. The New York Times. 31 August 1926. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Times, Arnaldo Cortesi Wireless To The New York (19 July 1929). “MUSSOLINI HAILS FLETCHER AS FRIEND; Premier, in Letter Stressing His Amity, Regrets Ambassador’s Plan to Retire. THANKS HIM FOR ITALY II Duce Recalls Our Envoy’s Work in Strengthening the Ties Between the Nations”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Auld, George P. (14 April 1936). “MR. FLETCHER’S SCIENTISTS; Republican Quest for Knowledge Evokes Observations”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “USE OF THE HATCH ACT”. The New York Times. 8 August 1940. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Fletcher, Henry P. (4 August 1935). “NEW DEAL AND THE CONSTITUTION.; Chairman of the Republican National Committee, in a Radio Speech From Washington”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (10 September 1941). “MRS. HENRY B. FLETCHER; Wife of Ex-U. S. Ambassador Dies in Greencastle, Pa”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “HENRY P. FLETCHER, AMBASSADOR, WEDS; American Envoy to Mexico Marries Miss Beatrice Bend in Old Westbury, L.I. ROMANCE BEGAN IN CHINA Bridegroom’s Father and Four Brothers at Ceremony in W.D. Straight’s Country Home”. The New York Times. 26 July 1917. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- “AN ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCED”. The New York Times. 11 September 1899. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (12 September 1899). “Bishop-Bend Engagement Confirmed”. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
- “Ex libris: Amy Bend Bishop”. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (12 July 1959). “Obituary 2 — FLETCHER”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (2 August 1959). “$3,000,000 Left by Fletcher”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (17 July 1959). “LEGACY TO U. S. LIBRARY; H. P. Fletcher, Former Envoy, Wills His Personal Papers”. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Marvin, George (February 1916). “Henry P. Fletcher: Our First Ambassador To Reconstituted Mexico”. The World’s Work: A History of Our Time. XXXI: 442–450. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
Norman H. Davis
| Under Secretary of State
Thomas C. Dawson
| United States Minister to Chile
9 September 1910–19 November 1914
| United States diplomatic mission
upgraded to Embassy
| United States diplomatic mission
upgraded from Legation
| United States Ambassador to Chile
19 November 1914–9 March 1916
Joseph Hooker Shea
Henry Lane Wilson
| United States Ambassador to Mexico
Charles B. Warren
Richard Washburn Child
| United States Ambassador to Italy
John W. Garrett
|Party political offices|
| Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1934 – 1936