Cordell Hull: Father of the United Nations

Cordell Hull

It’s strange how everyone knows President Woodrow Wilson was instrumental in the League of Nations that the U.S. never joined, but few recall the key person starting the United Nations.

Cordell Hull merits only a three-foot bronze bust outside the Organization of American States along Constitution Ave. between 17th and 18th Sts. — and it’s only a copy.

Hull was born in a log cabin in 1871 where he became a lawyer and then a captain in the Spanish-American War. Hull spent 22 years as a Congressman before elected to the Senate in 1931. Two years later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Hull to Secretary of State because of the latter’s open trade policies.

Hull openly courted Latin American countries, hence his memorial’s placement, but perhaps the most famous act was delivering an edict to the Japanese just days before Pearl Harbor’s bombing to stop military aggression.

For his role in founding the UN, Hull received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945.

Beneath his bust on the base, it reads: Let each American nation vie with the other in the practice of the policy of the good neighbor. Peace must be our passion.

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