William Walton Butterworth

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William Walton Butterworth
Portrait of W. Walton Butterworth.jpg
8th United States Ambassador to Canada
In office
October 4, 1962 – September 10, 1968
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byLivingston T. Merchant
Succeeded byHarold F. Linder
1st United States Ambassador to the European Communities
In office
August 10, 1961 – October 25, 1962
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Succeeded byJohn W. Tuthill
United States Ambassador to Sweden
In office
July 5, 1950 – December 9, 1953
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byH. Freeman Matthews
Succeeded byJohn M. Cabot
1st Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs
In office
September 29, 1949 – July 4, 1950
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDean Rusk
Personal details
Born(1903-09-07)September 7, 1903
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana
DiedMarch 31, 1975(1975-03-31) (aged 71)
Manhattan, New York City, New York
Cause of deathCirrhosis of the liver
Resting placeNew Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana

William Walton Butterworth (September 7, 1903 – March 31, 1975) was an American diplomat. He was United States Ambassador to Canada.


Butterworth is best known for his work on Asian-American foreign relations, particularly during the clash of the communists and nationalists in post-war China. He was also instrumental in laying the groundwork for the European Union via his work with the European Coal and Steel Community and European Economic Community.


Butterworth was born in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, on September 7, 1903.[1] In Mercer County, New Jersey, he attended The Lawrenceville School where he graduated in 1921. He later attended New Jersey's Princeton University, graduating in 1925. He was also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England.

Foreign Service[edit]

Butterworth, Ambassador to Canada, meets with President Kennedy in the Oval Office on November 16, 1962.

He entered the foreign service and began a career that encompassed 40 years of service.

His career began with a one-year stint at the State Department in Washington. From 1929 to 1931, he was the vice consul to the Embassy in Singapore. Following brief posts in Washington and Ottawa, he was assigned to the American Embassy in London, where he served as second secretary until 1941. During World War II, Butterworth was first secretary of the American Embassy in Madrid from 1942-44. Concurrently, he was in charge of operations for the United States Commercial Co. for the Iberian Peninsula, a government entity that played war games by procuring strategic war materials, including tungsten. From 1944 to 1946 he was the U.S. Embassy counselor in Madrid. From 1946 to 1947, Mr. Butterworth served as the counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Nanking, China, where he held the rank of minister and was a political advisor to George Marshall. Following his assignment in China, Butterworth returned as director for Far Eastern Affairs. He was appointed by General Marshall to be the Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs in 1950. Butterworth later served as U.S. ambassador to Sweden, U.S. representative to the European Coal and Steel Community, U.S. representative to the European Economic Community and European Atomic Energy Community. He was named a 'Career Ambassador' on March 20, 1962, one of forty-six diplomats to hold the title.

In what would be his last posting, Butterworth was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to be the 8th U.S. Ambassador to Canada on October 4, 1962; on September 10 of 1968 he would leave this posting.[2]


After retirement in 1968, William Walton Butterworth died on March 31, 1975 of cirrhosis of the liver. While his last residence was in Mercer County, New Jersey, he was buried at Metairie Cemetery, City of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana.


  1. ^ Whitman, Alden (April 2, 1975). "W. Walton Butterworth Dies; Ex‐Ambassador to Canada, 71" – via NYTimes.com.
  2. ^ "William Walton Butterworth - People - Department History - Office of the Historian". history.state.gov.
Government offices
New title
Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs
September 29, 1949 – July 4, 1950
Succeeded by
Dean Rusk
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
H. Freeman Matthews
United States Ambassador to Sweden
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
July 5, 1950 – December 9, 1953
Succeeded by
John M. Cabot
New title United States Ambassador to the European Communities
August 10, 1961 – October 25, 1962
Succeeded by
John W. Tuthill
Preceded by
Livingston T. Merchant
United States Ambassador to Canada
October 4, 1962 – September 10, 1968
Succeeded by
Harold F. Linder