Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Edward R. Stettinius Jr. (1944–1945): Secretary of State

Edward Reilly Stettinius Jr. was born October 22, 1900, in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Virginia from 1919 to 1924 but never graduated.

Stettinius began his career as a laborer at General Motors but by 1931 had become vice president in charge of industrial and public relations. He left GM to serve as chairman of the board for U.S. Steel (1938) before Roosevelt appointed him chairman of the War Resources Board (to study possible allocation of scarce resources in the event of a European war) in 1939.

Stettinius also served as director of priorities in the Office of Production Management (1941), head of the Lend-Lease program with Great Britain (1942), and undersecretary of state (1943-1944). He then served as secretary of state for one year, from 1944 to 1945.

After Roosevelt's death, Stettinius was replaced by Senator James Byrnes and appointed U.S. representative to the United Nations (1945-1946) by President Truman. After resigning from government, Stettinius became elector rector of the University of Virginia (1946-1949). He died on October 31, 1949, in Greenwich, Connecticut.