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Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Office of the Historian > Principal Officers of the Department and U.S. Chiefs of Mission > Principal Officers 

Legal Advisers

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Green H. Hackworth
State of Residency: Kentucky
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jul 1, 1931
Entry on Duty: Jul 1, 1931
Termination of Appointment: Mar 1, 1946
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1931.

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Charles Fahy
State of Residency: New Mexico
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jun 14, 1946
Entry on Duty: Jun 19, 1946
Termination of Appointment: Aug 15, 1947

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Ernest A. Gross
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jul 21, 1947
Entry on Duty: Aug 16, 1947
Termination of Appointment: Mar 3, 1949

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Adrian S. Fisher
State of Residency: Tennessee
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jun 24, 1949
Entry on Duty: Jun 28, 1949
Termination of Appointment: Jan 27, 1953

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Herman Phleger
State of Residency: California
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jan 30, 1953
Entry on Duty: Feb 2, 1953
Termination of Appointment: Apr 1, 1957

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Loftus E. Becker
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jun 13, 1957
Entry on Duty: Jun 13, 1957
Termination of Appointment: Aug 15, 1959

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Eric H. Hager
State of Residency: Connecticut
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Aug 26, 1959
Entry on Duty: Sep 9, 1959
Termination of Appointment: Jan 20, 1961

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Abram Chayes
State of Residency: Massachusetts
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Feb 6, 1961
Entry on Duty: Feb 6, 1961
Termination of Appointment: Jun 27, 1964

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Leonard C. Meeker
State of Residency: New Jersey
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 18, 1965
Entry on Duty: May 18, 1965
Termination of Appointment: Jul 13, 1969

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: John R. Stevenson
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jul 8, 1969
Entry on Duty: Jul 14, 1969
Termination of Appointment: Jan 1, 1973

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Carlyle E. Maw
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 23, 1973
Entry on Duty: Nov 27, 1973
Termination of Appointment: Jul 9, 1974

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Monroe Leigh
State of Residency: Maryland
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Dec 20, 1974
Entry on Duty: Jan 21, 1975
Termination of Appointment: Jan 20, 1977

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Herbert J. Hansell
State of Residency: Ohio
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Mar 30, 1977
Entry on Duty: Apr 8, 1977
Termination of Appointment: Sep 20, 1979

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Roberts Bishop Owen
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Sep 2, 1979
Entry on Duty: Oct 4, 1979
Termination of Appointment: Feb 16, 1981

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Davis Rowland Robinson
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jul 27, 1981
Entry on Duty: Jul 30, 1981
Termination of Appointment: Feb 27, 1985

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Abraham D. Sofaer
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jun 10, 1985
Entry on Duty: Jun 10, 1985
Termination of Appointment: Jun 15, 1990

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Edwin D. Williamson
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Sep 20, 1990
Entry on Duty: Sep 20, 1990
Termination of Appointment: Jan. 20, 1993

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: Conrad Kenneth Harper
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 12, 1993
Entry on Duty: May 24, 1993
Termination of Appointment: Jun 30, 1996

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: David Andrews
State of Residency: California
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Aug 1, 1997
Entry on Duty: Sep 2, 1997
Termination of Appointment: Apr 25, 2000

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: William Howard Taft , IV
State of Residency: Virginia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Apr 9, 2001
Entry on Duty: Apr 16, 2001
Termination of Appointment: Mar. 2005

Title: Legal Adviser
Name: John B. Bellinger, III
State of Residency: Virginia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Feb. 11, 2005
Entry on Duty: Apr. 6,  2005  
Termination of Appointment:


Creation of Position: An Act of Congress of Feb 23, 1931 (P.L. 71-715; 46 Stat. 1214), created the position of Legal Adviser of the Department of State, with rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary. The Legal Adviser replaced the Solicitor, a Department of Justice employee who had functioned as the Department of State's chief legal officer since 1891. Between 1870 and 1891, the Examiner of Claims had been the chief legal officer of the Department. The Legal Adviser provides legal advice on all problems (domestic and international) arising in the course of the Department's activities. Solicitors and Examiners of Claims were by statute officials of the Department of Justice and as such are outside the scope of this publication.

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