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Parker T. Hart Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS238

Scope and Contents

The Parker T. Hart Papers highlight the career of a long-time American foreign service officer who served as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1961-1965) and Turkey (1965-1968). The collection consists of 7 boxes (10.75 linear feet) of material. The bulk of the records date between 1950 and 1980. The correspondence files in the Hart Papers include letters to and from Hart while he was U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Turkey. One typed letter (carbon) from Hart to Saudi Arabian King Faisal, referring to that nation's entry into the United Nations and praising Faisal's leadership, is retained. Of special interest are wartime letters from Hart to family members about his secret trip in 1941 to the Upper Amazon to the Rio Branco to investigate rumored Nazi operations in Brazil. In addition to files maintained by Hart, a series of handwritten datebooks and journals dated 1968 to 1987 provides information on Hart's daily activities and personal views of world affairs. His thoughts on the Middle East are particularly evident in ample manuscript drafts dated 1969-1977 of a book he planned on U.S. policy in that region. His fascinating 1941 handwritten diary of his trip up the Amazon is valuable for both its detailed descriptions of that remote area and its historical significance. Many of Hart's speeches and essays are preserved. Thus, his record of service and his point of view is well documented in this collection. The Hart Papers also contain printed matter which he collected throughout his career, such as a short run of the periodicals "Neglected Arabia" (1945-1949) and "Oman News" (1969-1974). A wealth of photographs, most showing Hart in one capacity or another, are stored among the papers. About 25 photos date to his posting in Brazil (1940-1943), more than 20 depict his trips in Saudi Arabia (1961-1965), and approximately 250 document his experiences in Turkey (1965-1968). The Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division also holds the Foreign Affairs Oral History Program transcript of an interview with Ambassador Parker T. Hart conducted by William R. Crawford on January 27, 1989 (176 pages). In the interview, Hart reflects on his long career as a foreign service officer and describes his various posts. Other Foreign Affairs Oral History Program transcripts of officials mentioned in the Hart Papers or serving in Saudi Arabia or Turkey, for example, may be consulted in conjunction with the Hart Papers. Along with holdings on American diplomats in Turkey, such as the George C. McGhee Papers, the Special Collections Division curates collections relating to American policy in Saudi Arabia, such as the William Mulligan Papers and the Clarence McIntosh Papers.



SERIES 1 - Correspondence from Ambassador Parker T. Hart. Contains outgoing letters from Parker T. Hart to family, friends, and associates. Includes several letters describing Hart's 1941 journey to the Upper Amazon to investigate rumors of Nazi operations. Arranged alphabetically by last name of recipient. Arranged into 13 folders.

SERIES 2 - Correspondence to Ambassador Parker T. Hart. Contains letters sent to Hart from various colleagues, associates, and friends. Includes many carbons from Hart in reply to these correspondents. Arranged alphabetically by last name of correspondent. Arranged into more than 50 folders. A carbon of Hart's letter to Saudi Arabian King Faisal is in the last folder in this series.

SERIES 3 - Chronological Correspondence. Contains correspondence dated 1945-1980 to and from Parker T. Hart. Most of the letters date to Hart's terms as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1961-1965) and as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (1965-1968). Arranged chronologically into 13 folders.

SERIES 4 - Chronological Files. Contains files consisting of printed matter, notes, and some correspondence. The files were maintained by Parker T. Hart. The order and arrangement Hart imposed on the files has been preserved as much as possible. Most of the material deals with Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Arranged chronologically into 8 folders.

SERIES 5 - Subject Files. Contains files consisting of printed matter, notes, and some correspondence. The files were maintained by Parker T. Hart. An attempt has been made to preserve original order. This series relates mostly to the Middle East. Arranged chronologically into 16 folders.

SERIES 6 - Ambassador Hart's Datebooks/Diaries. Contains handwritten datebooks and diaries kept by Parker T. Hart from 1968 to 1987. Each separate datebook or diary has been placed into a separate folder and arranged chronologically.

SERIES 7 - Manuscripts. Contains manuscripts found among the Hart Papers. The first part of the series consists of typed and edited manuscript drafts of a book Hart was writing on U.S. policy in the Middle East. The next segment of the series contains manuscripts written by Hart and by others. Of note is a handwritten diary kept by Hart on his 1941 trip to the Upper Amazon to investigate rumored Nazi operations.

SERIES 8 - Printed Matter. Contains printed matter found among the papers of Parker T. Hart. Much of the material is about the Middle East. It includes some newspaper clippings about Hart. Printed matter is arranged chronologically in the first half of the series, and it is arranged alphabetically by subject in the second half of the series.

SERIES 9 - Photographs. Contains over 300 photographs, most showing Parker T. Hart. Some photos date to his service in Brazil, some to his time in Saudi Arabia, and most to his posting in Turkey. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 10 - Oversized Materials. Contains 5 folders holding oversized items. Includes two of Hart's commissions as a foreign service officer, both signed by President Harry S Truman.

ABBREVIATIONS: AL - Autograph Letter ALS - Autograph Letter Signed AM - Autograph Manuscript AMS - Autograph Manuscript Signed b/w - Black-and-white photograph TEL - Telegram TL - Typed Letter TLS - Typed Letter Signed


  • 1935 - 1996
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1980


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

A career foreign service officer, Ambassador Parker T. Hart was best known as an expert on U.S. policy in the Middle East. During his long foreign service tenure from 1938 to 1969, Hart served as U.S. Ambassador to three nations: Saudi Arabia (1961-1965), Kuwait (1962-1963), and Turkey (1965-1968).

He was born on September 28, 1910, in Medford, Massachusetts, the son of William Parker Hart and Ella Louisa (Thompson) Hart. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1933, Hart received a master's degree in diplomatic history from Harvard in 1935. A year later he earned a diploma from L'Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva, Switzerland. Later in life, Hart studied at Georgetown University's foreign service school. In addition, in 1952, he graduated from the National War College. On April 23, 1949, Hart married Jane Constance Smiley. They had two children. Hart first worked as a French translator for the State Department in 1937-1938. In 1938, Hart embarked on his lengthy foreign service career when he became vice consul in Vienna, Austria, where he witnessed the Nazi Anschluss and helped Jews fleeing to the U.S. and Palestine. From 1940 to 1943, as vice consul in Para, Brazil, he investigated possible Nazi operations. In 1944, Hart's career took him to the Middle East, and he soon became an authority on U.S. policy there. He served as vice consul in Cairo and Jidda in 1944. That same year he opened the first U.S. consulate in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. From 1947 to 1949, Hart worked in the Division of Planning of the State Department. In 1949, he returned to Dhahran as consul general. Between 1952 and 1955, he worked as director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs in the State Department. Next, he was deputy chief of mission in Cairo until 1958, when he was named Ambassador to Jordan. That appointment, however, was canceled because Jordan federated with Iraq. After a short stint as consul general in Damascus from March to September 1958, Hart held the position of deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs from 1958 to 1961, when he became minister to Yemen. Hart was U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1961 to 1965. He explored many of the more remote areas of Arabia and perhaps was one of the few American diplomats serving who had known Saudi Arabia for so long and had watched it grow from a collection of tribes to a modern state with enormous economic power. Hart was U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait from 1962-1963. He was also U.S. Ambassador to Turkey from 1965 to 1968 and was a leading participant in successful efforts to prevent war between Greece and Turkey, noth NATO members and U.S. allies, over the island of Cyprus. Hart was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs from 1968 to 1969 and director of the Foreign Service Institute in 1969. He retired from the foreign service in 1969. Hart served as president of the Middle East Institute from 1969 to 1973, a special representative for the Middle East and North Africa with the Bechtel Corporation in 1973, and a consultant with Bechtel Corporation from 1972 to 1990.

Hart published several books on the Middle East. He was special editor of the volume "America and the Middle East" (Philadelphia: Academy of Political and Social Science, 1972). He wrote "Saudi Arabia and the United States: Birth of a Security Partnership" (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998) and "Two NATO Allies at the Threshold of War: Cyprus, A Firsthand Account of Crisis Management, 1965-1968" (Durham: Duke University Press, 1990). Parker T. Hart died on October 15, 1997, at the age of 87.


10.75 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Parker T. Hart, circa 1999.

Parker T. Hart Papers
Scott S. Taylor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024-03: Edited for DACS compliance by John Zarrillo.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057