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First Name: Patrick

Last Name: Hurley

Birthplace: Choctaw Nation, OK, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Jay

Date of Birth: 08 January 1883

Date of Death: 30 July 1963

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Patrick Jay Hurley

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Patrick Jay Hurley
Major General, U.S. Army

Patrick Jay Hurley was born on 8 January 1883 in Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory.

Hurley started a law practice in Oklahoma in 1908 and served as a Colonel in the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. After the war, he attended George Washington University, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He became active in the Republican Party and was appointed Assistant Secretary of War by President Herbert Hoover in 1929. He was promoted to Secretary of War after the death of James W. Good and served in President Hoover's cabinet until 1933.

World War II

Hurley received a promotion to Brigadier General in 1941 when the United States entered World War II, and General George C. Marshall dispatched him to the Far East as a personal representative to examine the feasibility of relieving American troops besieged on the Island of Bataan. He was successful in delivering additional food and ammunition to the soldiers on three separate occasions, but could not evacuate them.

After the conclusion of this mission, he embarked on a series of assignments as a personal representative of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He served as Minister to New Zealand in 1942 and then flew to the Soviet Union, becoming the first foreigner to receive permission to visit the Eastern Front. Over the next two years, he visited the Near East, Middle East, China, Iran and Afghanistan on behalf of the President. In the course of his duties, he met with a number of local political leaders, including the nominal head of the Zionist movement in Palestine, David Ben-Gurion. The report that he sent to the president on Ben-Gurion and Zionism was quite negative. He was appointed U.S. Ambassador to China in 1944.


Hurley arrived in China in August 1944, as a personal envoy from President Roosevelt to Chiang Kai-shek. His written directive from the President was as follows:

"You are hereby designated as my personal representative with the Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, reporting directly to me. Your principal mission is to promote efficient and harmonious relations between the Generalissimo and General [Joseph] Stilwell to facilitate General Stilwell's exercise of command over the Chinese armies placed under his direction. You will be charged with additional missions."

Military operations in China against the Japanese had been severely hampered by a lack of cooperation, bordering upon personal enmity, between Stilwell and Chiang. The strongly anti-Communist Hurley eventually came down on the side of the Generalissimo, and he supported the replacement of Stilwell with General Albert C. Wedemeyer.

Throughout his tenure in China, Hurley felt that his efforts were being undermined by State Department officials, principally John Stewart Service and John Paton Davies in China, and John Carter Vincent in Washington, who he felt were unduly sympathetic to the Communist forces led by Mao Zedong.

In early November 1944, upon the resignation of Ambassador Clarence Gauss, Hurley was officially offered the ambassadorship to China, but initially declined "with a statement that the duties he had been called upon to perform in China had been the most disagreeable that he had ever performed--and further, he felt that his support of Chiang Kai-shek and the National Government of China had increased the opposition directed toward himself by the un-American elements in the State Department." Upon receiving a telegram from the President on 17 November, urging him to take the job because of the critical nature of the situation, he reluctantly accepted.

Hurley's dealings with the State Department did not improve. Moreover, President Roosevelt's February 1945 Yalta Conference with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin resulted in a secret agreement in which, among other things, the Soviet Union was granted concessions in China that Czarist Russia had lost in the Russo-Japanese War early in the century. This, Hurley believed, was the beginning of the end of a non-Communist China.

He held out hope that after President Roosevelt's death, President Harry Truman would recognize what he regarded as the errors of Yalta and would rectify the situation, but his efforts in that direction were in vain. On 26 November 1945, he submitted a scathing letter of resignation.

"I requested the relief of the career men," he wrote, "who were opposing the American policy in the Chinese Theater of war. These professional diplomats were returned to Washington and placed in the Chinese and Far Eastern Divisions of the State Department as my supervisors. Some of these same career men whom I relieved have been assigned as supervisors to the Supreme Commander in Asia. In such positions most of them have continued to side with the Communist armed party and at times with the imperialist bloc against American policy."

Besides Hoover himself, Hurley was the last living member of the Hoover administration.

Political candidacy

Hurley was the Republican candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate for the State of New Mexico in 1946, 1948, and 1952, but he lost all three attempts.


Hurley started the United Western Minerals Corporation of Santa Fe, NM. It was involved in the rush to start uranium mining in the Ambrosia Lake region of New Mexico in the 1950s.

Death and Burial

Major General Patrick Jay Hurley died on 30 July 1963 in Santa Fe, NM. He is buried at Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe.

Honoree ID: 2666   Created by: MHOH




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