Laurence Steinhardt
2nd United States Ambassador to Canada
In office
November 1, 1948 – March 28, 1950
PresidentHarry Truman
Preceded byRay Atherton
Succeeded byStanley Woodward
United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
In office
July 20, 1945 – September 19, 1948
PresidentHarry Truman
Preceded byAnthony Joseph Drexel Biddle Jr.
Succeeded byJoseph E. Jacobs
10th United States Ambassador to Turkey
In office
March 10, 1942 – April 2, 1945
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byJohn Van Antwerp MacMurray
Succeeded byEdwin C. Wilson
United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union
In office
August 11, 1939 – November 12, 1941
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byJoseph E. Davies
Succeeded byWilliam H. Standley
United States Ambassador to Peru
In office
September 13, 1937 – April 10, 1939
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byFred Morris Dearing
Succeeded byRaymond Henry Norweb
United States Minister to Sweden
In office
August 28, 1933 – June 26, 1937
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byJohn Motley Morehead III
Succeeded byFred Morris Dearing
Personal details
Laurence Adolph Steinhardt

October 6, 1892
New York City, US
DiedMarch 28, 1950(1950-03-28) (aged 57)
near Ramsayville, Ontario, Canada
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Spouse(s)Dulcie Hofmann Steinhardt Beau
Alma materColumbia University (BA, MA, LLB)
Professiondiplomat, lawyer

Laurence Adolph Steinhardt (October 6, 1892 – March 28, 1950), American economist, lawyer, and senior United States Department of State diplomat, U.S. Ambassador to six countries. He served as U.S. First Minister to Sweden (1933–1937), U.S. Ambassador to Peru (1937–1939), U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1939–1941), U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (1942–1945), U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1945–1948) and United States Ambassador to Canada (1948–1950). He was killed in a U.S. embassy plane crash on March 28, 1950, in Ramsayville, Ontario, Canada, while serving as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. He was the first United States Ambassador to be killed in the line of duty.


Laurence A. Steinhardt was born October 6, 1892 at his family home (23 East 92nd Street) in New York City. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. As a native New Yorker, he was educated at the Franklin School for Boys and graduated from Columbia University with an A.B in 1913, an M.A. in 1915 and an LL.B. in 1915 from Columbia Law School. He became a member of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity (New York) in 1909, National President in 1915, and Supreme Rex for life 1939–1950. Permanent treasurer class of 1913 and class of 1915 Columbia Law School.

Son of Adolph Maximillian Steinhardt (one of the founders and executive heads of National Enameling and Stamping Co.) and Addie Untermyer Steinhardt (a sister to noted lawyer Samuel Untermyer). Nephew of Samuel Untermyer.

Marriage to Dulcie Yates Hofmann, daughter of Henry Hofmann (banker) and Ina Maitland Yates Hofmann, January 15, 1923. One daughter, Dulcie-Ann Steinhardt (1925–2001)

He practiced accountancy with Deloitte, Plender and Griffiths, was admitted to the NY bar in October 1915, enlisted in the U.S Army 60th Field Artillery in 1916 as a private/sharpshooter, honorably discharged in 1918 as a sergeant Quartermaster Corp after serving as associate counsel on the Provost Marshal General Staff, counsel for Housing and Health Division of the War Department in 1919, member of the law firm Guggenheimer, Untermyer and Marshall from 1920 to 1933. Other notable jurists and family members of Guggenheimer, Untermyer and Marshall were Samuel Untermyer, Louis Marshall, Charles S. Guggenheimer, Alvin Untermyer and Irwin Untermyer.

In 1932, in active support of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pre-convention presidential campaign, he joined the inner campaign circle committee, composed of political notables Louis Howe, Jimmy Farley, Frank Walker, and Ed Flynn. Specifically, with his economic background on FDR’s finance committee, he wrote campaign speeches on the economics of the time for FDR.

He entered the U.S diplomatic service at ambassadorial rank in 1933 at the behest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as First Minister to Sweden (1933–1937), U.S. Ambassador to Peru (1937–1939), U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1939–1941), U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (1942–1945), U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1945–1948), United States Ambassador to Canada (1948–1950).

Awarded the Order of the Polar Star in 1936 by King Gustav V of Sweden. Inscribed in The Golden Book, Jewish National Fund, Jewish Agency for Palestine, 1944. Awarded the United States Typhus Commission Medal in 1945 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Awarded the Medal for Merit in 1946 by President Harry S. Truman. Awarded posthumously the Honorary Doctor of Laws, Hamilton College, 1950.

Author of numerous publications: Legal Status of the Trade Union, June 1915

Medical Jurisprudence: The Rules of Law Governing the Liability of Physicians and Surgeons for Malpractice, Journal of the American Medical Association, March 2, 1918, vol. 70, pp. 585-587.

Medical Jurisprudence: The General Rules of Law Governing the Compensation of Physician and Surgeons, July 9, 1921, vol. 77, pp. 98-100.

The Regulation and Control of Physicians and Surgeons by Public Authority, Journal of the American Medical Association, June 4, 1927, vol, 88, pp. 1833–1835.

The truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth, 1931

Directorships: Fruit & Produce Acceptance Corp., Lessing’s Inc., Louis Phillipe Inc., Leopold Stern and Sons Inc., Affiliated Products Inc., United Steel and Tube Inc., Neet Inc., G.R. Kinney & Co., Jean Patou Inc., Immac Inc., Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.,

Member of numerous organizations: American Bar Association/ Atlantic Beach Club/ Bankers Club of New York/ Bar Association of the City of New York/ Columbia University Club/ Columbia Varsity Club/ Democratic National Finance Committee/ Executive Finance Committee of the Democratic National Campaign Committee/ Federation of American Zionists and the American Zion Commonwealth/ National Democratic club/ Member, President Roosevelt’s pre-convention campaign committee/ Pi Lambda Phi

In 1941, immediately prior to Germany's bombing assault on Moscow and with only six hours notice, Steinhardt sent his wife, daughter and her governess, each carrying only one suitcase, out to Stockholm on one of the last planes departing with families of diplomats to any safer destinations within Europe. Steinhardt then returned his attentions to the ongoing preparations to evacuate and accompany the remaining U.S. embassy staff to Kuybyshev taking seven days by train to go some 400 miles east of Moscow to this destination designated by the Kremlin for remaining diplomats. Once the staff was situated in spartan housing with the entire stock of embassy foodstuffs brought along and sufficient to feed the greater diplomatic corp in addition to the staff, he returned to the U.S. embassy residence in Moscow during the bombings to secure the embassy with a skeleton staff of six. He was known within family circles to say he took great pride in working alongside his amazing staffs in his embassy postings. In July of this period, the famed photographer, Margaret Bourke-White, managed to get into Moscow to the embassy residence so as to document the German bombings. On the nights of July 23 and July 26 she and Steinhardt lay on their backs on the roof of Spaso House while she photographed German bombs, Nazi parachute flares, tracer bullets, and anti-aircraft gunshots streaking across the nighttime sky overhead. Her portfolio assignment produced startling visual imagery to the American public in the issue of Life Magazine Vol 11, No 9., pp. 15-21. dated September 1, 1941. Kuybyshev.[1]

On January 12, 1942, Steinhardt was appointed Ambassador to Turkey. His mission directives included buying up all the available sources of chrome the Nazis needed for the manufacture of steel for their war machine. More importantly and much more challenging was the deep rooted presence in Istanbul of the highest flange of German diplomats led by German Ambassador Franz von Papen whose objective was to bring Turkey into the German side of the war. Steinhardt's mission directive was to bring Turkey into the allied side of the war. Each was crafty, intense, and possessed with the access to vast intelligence gathering network sources. Turkey was THE battleground during this critical period of 1942–1945 as so much hung in the balance not the least of which was Turkey's important geographic location, then and now. By 1944, Turkey had turned west to the Allies, an historical orientation originally seeded by Gamal Ataturk in 1923 to turn Turkey into a modern secular nation while still keeping its foundational character.

While Ambassador to Turkey, Steinhardt, in part due of his Jewish heritage, played a significant but not openly known role (due to his public diplomatic position) in numerous Jewish related refugee transit evacuations: the rescue of Hungarian Jews from Bergen Belsen, Jewish children from Romania, and many eminent intellectuals fleeing Europe to find refuge in Turkey, Palestine and the United States. In personal subterranean concert with the Vatican's representative to Turkey, Papal Nuncio Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (1881–1963), they devised false visas schemes to facilitate the documents needed for transit through Turkey for fleeing refugees. Steinhardt and Ira Hirschmann of The War Refugee Board secured leaky boats wherever possible with no assurance of the safety of such vessels but the hope that anything might succeed if tried. While there were successes, sadly there were also tragedies and losses.

Cardinal Roncalli was elected in 1958 by the Vatican conclave to become His Holiness Pope John XXIII and subsequently is known today as His Holiness Pope Saint John XXIII. Highest note of his papacy was Vatican II, also known as the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).

On August 1, 1943, Operation Tidal Wave, the air attack by US Army Air Forces based in Libya and Southern Italy, began their daring strategic bombing mission over the Ploiesti refineries and oilfields in Romania in order to deny the German war machine of needed fuel. This was aided by the uses of the Norden bombsight for pinpoint accuracy. This is now considered by many WWII military historians as one of the costliest and bloodiest missions of WWII. Of the 53 aircraft and 660 crew members lost, many had little or no fuel to return to their bases, so they were instructed to ditch in neutral Turkey where there was a substantial American presence to assist and fall back on. Many a dark unlit night following the bombing raid, Steinhardt and his daughter, in a jeep with a small convoy of his embassy military personnel, sortied out into the wilds and desserts attempting to locate and return wounded American pilots, destroy the bombsights so the Germans would not know of their existence, return with the wounded, secretly patching them up by the embassy medical team and moving them quietly through channels back to their points of origin. Some were slipped out to the coast at Izmir and quietly put on sailboats bound for Lebanon or Palestine. Two flyers were smuggled out when Mrs. Steinhardt and her daughter suddenly announced their "shopping trip" to Beirut. Hidden under the sleeper bunks of Mrs. Steinhardt's train compartment, they remain unknown to all until arrival at the border when they wiggled out and off.

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[2][3]


He married the former Dulcie Yates Hofmann (1895–1974) on January 15, 1923; One daughter, Dulcie-Ann Steinhardt (1925–2001).

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Burial Detail: Steinhardt, Laurence A (Section 30, Grave 728) – ANC Explorer
  3. ^ Carbone, Nick (September 12, 2012). "Before Libya: US Ambassadors Who Have Died in the Line of Duty". Time.


Diplomatic posts Preceded byFred Morris Dearing United States Ambassador to Peru1937–1939 Succeeded byRaymond Henry Norweb Preceded byJoseph E. Davies United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union1939–1941 Succeeded byWilliam H. Standley Preceded byJohn Van Antwerp MacMurray United States Ambassador to Turkey1941–1945 Succeeded byEdwin C. Wilson Preceded byAnthony J. Biddle, Jr. United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia1944–1948 Succeeded byJoseph E. Jacobs Preceded byRay Atherton United States Ambassador to Canada1948–1950 Succeeded byStanley Woodward