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Leland B. Morris Papers

Identifier: GTM-150928

Scope and contents note

The Leland B. Morris Papers include correspondence, a State Department questionnaire, a receipt dating from 1941-1942, and a letter to Leland B. Morris' wife, Marie, dated 1952. Morris' correspondence primarily concerns Germany in 1941. Highlights include Morris' account of Joachim von Ribbentrop declaring a state of war between Germany and the United States on December 11th, 1941, and a copy of Ribbentrop's declaration. The collection also includes a long, completed questionnaire concerning the state of German War Efforts, ca. 1942 (from Morris' perspective after six months of detainment). The collection includes letters written to and from Morris during his period of detainment at Bad Nauheim (December 1941- May 1942). Additionally, the collection contains a letter from Robert H. Best, an American broadcaster detained at Bad Nauheim who was eventually convicted of treason against the United States for broadcasting Nazi propaganda; a signed letter from John Flournoy Montgomery (U.S. Minister to Hungary from 1933-1941); and a signed letter from diplomat George F. Kennan, with whom Morris was detained at Bad Nauheim.


  • 1941 - 1952
  • Majority of material found within 1941 - 1942

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.

Biographical Note

Leland Burnette Morris (1886-1950) was an American diplomat. In the early 1920s, Morris served in the American Consular service in Saloniki, Greece. (See the George Horton Papers, which includes correspondence from Morris to Horton in 1923.)

Most notably, Morris served as the American Charge d’Affaires in Germany, and was stationed there at the outbreak of American involvement in World War II. Morris became the Charge d’Affaires in 1940, and was the highest ranking American diplomat in Germany at the time. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop summoned Morris to his office, where he read Morris Germany’s official declaration of war against America. Morris, along with other members of the American diplomatic corp, were then held at the former German resort of Bad Nauheim from December, 1941 until April, 1942. Through Swiss diplomats, Morris was able to communicate the conditions of his detainment to Washington. In the spring of 1942, Morris and the other members of the diplomatic corps were transferred to Lisbon, Portugal, where they were exchanged for German prisoners being held in the United States. Upon his return to Washington, Morris took a brief respite, then accepted the position of Ambassador to Iran from 1944-1945.

By the time of the 1920 census, Morris was married to Marie (or Marika) de Jaba Morris (b. 1895). Marie was born in Turkey to a Polish-speaking father and an Italian-speaking mother. Morris and his wife had one son, Kenneth A. Morris, born in 1919.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The Leland B. Morris Papers were found within papers donated by Nancy Horton, 2013. They were processed in August and September, 2015.

Related Archival Materials note

A letter from Leland B. Morris to George Horton, written in June, 1923, is found in the George Horton Papers.

Leland B. Morris Papers
Abigail Fine
October 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

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