The Papers of George Lister: "Mr Human Rights"

  The Papers of George Lister > Cold War Diplomacy Before the Bureau

Cold War Diplomacy

Before the Bureau


George Lister's anti-Communist credentials were solid and were connected to his diplomatic strategies during the Cold War. Lister began his career at the State Department in 1941, the same year the U.S. entered World War II and long before the institutionalization of human rights in U.S. foreign policy. Lister joined the State Department before both the formation of the United Nations (1945) and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

Lister's training and field experience were focused on fighting the Cold War and the Soviet threat, not on human rights. In 1945, after four years of serving as a relatively low-level bureaucrat in Colombia, Lister was selected for the Foreign Service. His first assignments were in Eastern Europe, where he became schooled in Russian, Polish, Soviet area studies, and Cold War diplomacy.


Selected Documents:

Lister's Photo ID, 9/26/1957
Lister's Photo ID, 9/26/1957

Video Clips:
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Cold War Diplomacy before the Bureau

William D. Rogers on the human rights issues of the 1960s and 70s
William D. Rogers Transcript (pdf)

Richard Schifter on the beginnings of the human rights movement
Richard Schifter Transcript (pdf)

John Shattuck on the Alliance for Progress
John Shattuck Transcript (pdf)

Diane La Voy on the institutionalization of human rights
Diane La Voy Transcript (pdf)

George Lister Conference Clip

Streaming Video of Cold War Politics and Diplomacy