Thank you to Elyse Graham ’07 for a fascinating article on Princeton’s rich history with the U.S. intelligence community. It reminded me of another distinguished (yet often overlooked) Princeton alum who escapes mention Graham’s article — Col. William A. Eddy, Class of 1917.
Col. Eddy served as a U.S. Marine in WWI and WWII, was an academic and president of Hobart College and, as a central member of Donovan’s OSS, helped plan the Allied invasion of North Africa. Eddy later served as U.S. minister to Saudi Arabia and was essential in furthering inchoate U.S.-Saudi relations as documented in the well-known photos of President Roosevelt’s meeting with Saudi King Abdulaziz (Ibn Saud) aboard the USS Quincy in 1945. (Eddy is the uniformed man kneeling next to Abdulaziz, translating.)
Eddy went on to serve a crucial role in the formation of what is today’s intelligence community when he was tasked to oversee the transition of the Research and Analysis Branch from the OSS to the Department of State. Eddy is the father of what became today’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) — the country’s oldest civilian all-source intelligence agency and celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Readers can learn more about Eddy from “The Many Lived of William Alfred Eddy,” by C. A. Prettiman published in The Princeton University Library Chronicle (Winter 1992) and Arabian Knight, by Thomas W. Lippman (2008, Selwa Press).