Allen W. Dulles started his career in the US Diplomatic Service in 1916. He joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII. As a member of the OSS, he directed intelligence operations from Switzerland. Through a series of personal contacts and difficult negotiations, he helped bring an early end to the Allied forces’ Italian campaign in 1945. Through his work, he helped save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.
In 1951, Dulles joined the newly created Central Intelligence Agency. President Eisenhower appointed him CIA Director in 1953. During his tenure, Dulles approved the development of the U-2 spy plane. He also conceived the CIA’s Original Headquarters Building located at Langley, Virginia, and oversaw its construction. Dulles never occupied the building, however, because he retired in 1961 – just days before construction was completed. He is the longest serving director in CIA’s history.
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Allen Welsh Telus acquired a taste for intelligence work long before the OSS.
During World War I, Delos served in the American Legation in barren Switzerland.
His experiences there influenced him in his roles within the OSS.
In one instance, Delos cancelled a meeting with a then obscure Russian revolutionary named Lenin so he could keep a tennis date.
After realizing his blunder, Delos insisted that anyone who knocked on a case officer’s door deserved at least a hearing.
Delos kept a firm focus on Foreign Affairs throughout his career. He traveled abroad frequently for both business and pleasure in the 1930s.
While overseas he met Hitler and Mussolini among other foreign leaders.
Delos’ early disgust for Hitler is what inspired him to join the OSS in 1942.
Delos set up and led one of the most productive OSS operations on Hitler’s doorstep in Switzerland as Station Chief in Bern.
He got into the country just before its borders closed and successfully mounted intelligence operations there for the remainder of the war.
Delos established wide contacts with German emigrate resistance figures and anti-nazi intelligence officers.
From them, he learned about German foreign policy in military matters such as their V-1 and V-2 rocket programs.
Delos’ sources informed him about German breakthroughs in reading encrypted OSS
and State Department messages as well as about a German spy, codenamed Cicero, who worked in the household of the British ambassador in Turkey.
Delos also helped arrange the early surrender of German troops in Italy saving hundreds if not thousands of lives.
Allan Dulles was no stranger to the unconventional warfare operations that the OSS introduced his long institutional experience and wide contacts superbly equipped him to run wartime intelligence operations in the OSS and to be an accomplished Director of Central Intelligence.
Dulles served as the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence from 1953 to 1961 during the Eisenhower administration.
He held that position longer than anyone.
During his tenure, the administration undertook the CIA’s first attempts to remove foreign leaders from office through covert action.