President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him assistant secretary of state in 1933 and in the same year sent him as ambassador to Cuba. There he was unable to bring about successful mediation between the opposing groups in the revolution against Gerardo Machado in 1933, and in the midst of political turmoil he was recalled and resumed his duties as assistant secretary of state. He later (1937–42) was undersecretary of state and served as U.S. delegate to several Pan-American conferences. In 1940 he went on a confidential fact-finding mission to Europe, and he took part in the meeting at sea between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill that produced the Atlantic Charter (1941). He resigned from public service in 1943. Some of his speeches were collected in The World of the Four Freedoms (1943) his other writings include The Time of Decision (1944), The Intelligent American's Guide to Peace (1945), Where Are We Heading? (1946), and Seven Decisions That Shaped History (1950).
See biography by his son B. Welles (1997).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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