Habib, Philip C. (1920-1992)
Collection of Correspondence, Documents, Papers, and Speeches of Pre-Eminent Career American Diplomat, Philip C. Habib, 1948-1984

29 letters, 38 pp., (no envelopes), dated 8 March 1851 to 26 July 1984, the bulk of the letters are incoming originals dated 1951-1957 (only one letter is post 1957); there are 3 outgoing copies of Habib’s letters, the rest are incoming; letters are mostly typed and signed, only two letters are handwritten.

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The 3 outgoing letters are retained copies, Habib wrote 1 letter in 1952 to O.T. Foster, secretary of the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand and provides Foster with a short biography of himself before officially meeting with him and his organization; and 2 letters in 1957 to Walter W. Orebaugh, Esq., American Consul General, Port of Spain, Trinidad; Habib’s 2 letters to Orebaugh concern Habib being assigned to work under Orebaugh at Port of Spain, asks help to find housing for himself and his family, forwards his travel plans.

       The 26 incoming letters to Habib were written by the following individuals:

- Henry J. Vaux, School of Forestry, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 2 letters, 1951; writes to Habib at the American Embassy, Ottawa, Canada; Vaux was on the committee overseeing Habib’s dissertation “Some Economic Aspects of the California Lumber Industry and Their Relation to Forest Use.” The first letter offers Vaux’s personal critique, the second letter offers the committee’s critique; a printed “Summary” of the dissertation is located in the miscellaneous folder of his collection.

- J.G. Taggart, Deputy Minister, Department of Agriculture, Canada, (copy), 1952; writes to Ambassador Stanley Woodward, American ambassador to Canada, with an appreciation of Habib’s work while stationed at the American Embassy at Ottawa, Canada.

- Frederick E. Farnsworth, First Secretary of Embassy, U.S. Embassy, Ottawa, Canada, 1952, includes second copy of Taggart letter stated above; writes to Habib, who is Second Secretary of the embassy; a copy of the above letter along with notice by Farnsworth of the letter of appreciation by Taggart.

- W.A. Whitlock, of The Hawk’s Bay Herald-Tribune, Hastings, New Zealand, 1952; writes to Habib at the American Embassy in Wellington, NZ; writes about coordinating for Habib to talk to either the Hasting’s Chamber of Commerce, or the Rotary Club of Hastings, upon Habib’s arrival.

- A. R. Entrican, Director of Forestry, Wellington, NZ, 1952; writes memorandum to Mr. D. Dunn, conservator of forests; sends this copy to Habib; Entrican writes to Dunn to help Habib tour the Rotorus forest areas, where Habib is gathering information as a newly appointed member of the American Embassy.

- Hugh A.A. Baird, Secretary, Hastings Chamber of Commerce, Hastings, NZ, 1952; writes to Habib at American Embassy, Wellington, NZ; Baird writes inviting Habib to give a talk to the Chamber of Commerce.

- O.T. Foster, Secretary, Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, Auckland, NZ, two letters, 1952; writes to Habib, at American Embassy, Wellington, NZ; Foster wants Habib to speak to his organization, the venue will be at Auckland University and Foster gives Habib an idea what they would like him to talk on, giving an informed opinion from America, that is “the present economic problems with a view to a wider understanding of the difficulties and in the hope of formulating some solution.” The second letter is a thank you note after the talk and feedback how the talk was received.

- [?], President, Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Auckland, NZ, 2 letters, 1952; writes to Habib, at American Embassy, Wellington, NZ; another talk is planned for Habib, this time to the Chamber of Commerce at Auckland, details of the talk are given; the second letter gives feedback, as well as a newspaper clipping of the talk, which apparently encourages New Zealand to increase meat production for export to America.

- Ian Wilson, Secretary, The Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, Wellington, NZ, 1953; writes to Habib at the American Embassy, Wellington, NZ; Wilson congratulates Habib’s election to the society.

- [?], Cambridge, 1953; written on letterhead of A.A. Lockett, B.D.S., Surgeon Dentist, Power Board Buildings, Cambridge, [NZ] 1953; (unable to identify signature, but likely a nickname for Lockett); writes to Habib, calling him Philip; Lockett very much enjoyed Habib’s talk and company, and writes for a copy of the talk.

- E.J. Littler, Secretary, Rotary Club of Cambridge, Cambridge, NZ, 1953; writes to Habib, serving as Second Secretary, American Embassy, Wellington, NZ; letter of appreciation for the talk Habib gave to the Ladies Night function.

- Brigadier H.B. Norma, D.S.O., M.C., Administrator, Government House, Norfolk Island, Australia, 1954; writes to Habib at American Embassy, Wellington, NZ; Habib had written the General, asking for a copy of a report he was preparing, which the General had not finished, but will send once polished up, concerns imports into New Zealand from Norfolk Island.

- R.H. Rowntree, economist, Export-Import Bank of Washington, DC, 1953; writes to Habib, serving as Second Secretary, American Embassy at Wellington, NZ; thanks Habib for help while members of the bank were visiting New Zealand about Murnpara pulp and paper and the general condition of NZ economy; promises to make sure a letter of appreciation is submitted to the State Department to put in his jacket, and discusses other reports and committee work going on in Washington.

- Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, DC, 1954; writes to Habib, at American Embassy, Wellington, NZ; congratulates Habib on his promotion.

- Francis G. Jarvis, of PSA, no place, 1956; writes to Edward Doherty, of DFI, concerning appreciation of Habib’s report on Soviet rice politics.

- Brigadier General F.E. Calhoun, USAF, Deputy Commandant, no place, 1956; writes to Habib, who is now with the Office of Intelligence Research, Department of State, Washington, D.C.; writes of the appreciation of the students and faculty who participated in a seminar he gave on the Economy of Canada at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

- Doris S. Whitnack, of DFI, no place, 1957; writes to Edward W. Doherty, of DFI, concerning Habib’s commendation on work on problems of Soviet Economic Diplomacy; in 1957, Whitnack is found as chairman, of the Working Group on Sino-Soviet Bloc Economic Activities in Underdeveloped Areas, Economic Intelligence Committee, CIA; again, an appreciation of Habib’s work on this area of study.

- Robert Newbegin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Personnel, Department of State, Washington, DC, 1957; writes to Habib, at the Department of State, Washington, DC; congratulates Habib on receiving another promotion from the President.

- W. Park Armstrong, Jr., no place, 1957; written to Mrs. Whitnack, of DFI, concerns thanks for the work of Whitnack and Habib on Sino-Soviet Bloc Economic Activities in Underdeveloped Areas; another letter of appreciation for the work of Habib on the Sino-Soviet Bloc Economic Activities in Underdeveloped Areas.

- Allan Evans, Office Memorandum, United States Government, 1957; writes to Habib, thanking him for work that he did for Evans for the Council on Foreign Economic Policy.

- Tom Miller, no place, 1984; writes to Habib concerning his attempt to nominate Habib for Nobel Peace Prize; Miller was able to get Baker, Byrd, and Michel, to sign on to the project, and Tip O’Neil was supposed to be in favor, however the prize went to Lech Walesa; unclear just who Tom Miller is, but he is obviously an insider in Washington, DC, either with the State Department, or a politician.

15 speeches and draft copies of speeches, 144 manuscript and typed pages., dated c1948-1954; with 1 speech post 1970s; as written and delivered by Habib, or others who he wrote for, during his years as an agricultural agent of the American Embassies at Ottawa, Canada and Wellington, New Zealand; most have been slightly hand edited ink, or pencil. The speeches are as follows:

1. Farming Over the Boundary. Speech delivered by Francis A. Flood, U.S. Agricultural Attaché at the Annual Banquet of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture at Brockville, Tuesday, January 27, 1948, at 8 P.M., 7 mimeograph pp.


2. Ladies and Gentlemen from Indiana, 13 typed pp., handwritten date Sept ‘50; top margin of first page is inscribed “Delivered by Ambassador Woodward – written by PCH [Philip C. Habib] for Indiana Farm Bureau Tour…”; includes outline of day’s activities, etc.


3. Not to be released until 1.00 P.M. December 4. United States Embassy, Ottawa, December 2, 1950. Press Release, 8 mimeograph pp.; deals with American Ambassador to Canada, Stanley Woodward, addressing a joint luncheon of the Canadian & Empire Clubs at Toronto, on December 4th. Includes full text of Woodward’s speech “The Challenge of Our Day,” concerns China’s attack on Korea.


4. Foreign Economic Policy of the United States (to be delivered to Hastings Chamber of Commerce – May 12, 1952), 6 typed pp., ink editing.


5. U.S. Trade Policy, delivered at Whanganui Chamber of Commerce [New Zealand], Sept 10, 1952, 12 typed pp., heavily edited in pencil.


6. Address before the Auckland Chamber of Commerce on September 25, 1952, by Habib when serving as Second Secretary, American Embassy, Wellington, 17 typed pp., pencil and ink edits; address deals with United States Foreign Trade Policy.


7. United States Foreign Trade Policy and Agricultural Policies and Trade, 4 typed pp., dated 1 Sept 1953; with pencil edits; a discussion, which took place at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, includes outline and brief essay.


8. Speech Delivered at Opening of Whangarei Fair – June 29, 1954, 6 typed pp., minor ink edits; discusses New Zealand trade.


9. A Day at the Embassy, 7 typed pp., not dated; appears to be a one act, or one scene play; several edits in ink/pencil.


10. Agriculture Surpluses & Their Management, 4 manuscript pp., presumably an outline for the talk Habib was to give.


11. Canada – U.S. Agricultural Relations, 2 typed pp., edited in ink and pencil; probably an outline for a talk.


12. Characteristics of the American People, 13 typed pp., not dated; includes some editing in pencil; appears to be a talk given at Cambridge, NZ, quotes writer Thomas Wolfe extensively; second copy, 18 typed pp., minor ink editing; presumably this is an expanded and perhaps finished copy.


13. Welcoming Remarks by Philip C. Habib, 4 typed pp., with pencil edits; Habib gave introductory remarks to open the American Foreign Service Association’s conference; not dated, but post 1970s.


14. Not titled; 18 typed pp., some editing in pencil; appears to be a talk given in New Zealand on American Presidential elections, process, system, the Electoral College, etc.


15. Not titled, 5 manuscript pp., not dated; an opening statement for a meeting of sorts, where the topic was an analysis of New Zealand’s balance of payments problem from the viewpoint of consumption, savings, and investment, factors contributing to economic development.


31 partially printed documents, includes official U.S. State Department personnel actions, such as appointments, transfers, change in titles, pay increases, promotions, periodic step increases, authorizations for travel, job performance descriptions, salary reviews, biographical reports, travel vouchers, and other official paperwork concerning Habib’s rise in the U.S. State Department’s importance, dated 1949-1958. Some forms are written out by Habib, others are typed.

10 pieces of miscellaneous ephemera, includes 2 newspaper clippings; 4 miscellaneous manuscript notes, or memoranda; printed list of adjectives describing Americans; 2 pp. typed “Visit of Mr. P.C. Habib to Hastings, May 12-13, 1952,” printed 4 pp. pamphlet summarizing Habib’s dissertation, January 1952, University of California; and 5 typed pp. “Special Release,” by the United States Information Services, concerning the diversion of 3600 tons of New Zealand lamb from New York to England.

1 black leather portfolio bearing the stamp of “Bilderburg Meetings.” Habib died while attending this gathering in 1992. Comes complete with the original pen.

             2 blank cards bearing the great seal of the United States as used to create VIP menus.

             Philip Charles Habib (1920-1992)

Philip Charles Habib was an American career diplomat. Called one of the "pre-eminent career diplomats in American post-war history," he was best known for his work as Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East 1981–83. In that role he averted an Israel-Syria war and an Israel-PLO war in 1981, then negotiated a peaceful end to Israel's 1982 siege of Beirut. In 1986 he was instrumental in ending Ferdinand Marcos's attempt to steal the 1986 presidential election in the Philippines. As U.S. special envoy to Central America in 1986–87, he helped Costa Rican president Oscar Arias shape and sell the peace plan that led to the end of the region's civil wars. He had come out of retirement to take each of those assignments. During his 30-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, he had mostly specialized in Asia. In 1968, he was instrumental in halting the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. After his death, The New York Times described him as "the outstanding professional diplomat of his generation in the United States”.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on 25 February 1920, Habib was raised in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood of its Bensonhurst section by Lebanese Maronite Catholic parents. His father ran a grocery store. Habib graduated from New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn and worked as a shipping clerk before starting his undergraduate study in forestry at the University of Idaho in Moscow. After graduating in 1942 from the UI's College of Forestry, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II and attained the rank of captain. Discharged from the service in 1946, Habib continued his education via the G.I. Bill in a doctoral program in agricultural economics at the University of California in Berkeley, and earned a Ph.D. in 1952.

In 1947, recruiters for the United States Foreign Service visited the Berkeley campus. They were particularly interested in candidates who did not fit the then-current mold of Ivy League blueblood WASPs. Habib took the Foreign Service exam and scored in the top 10% nationally.

Beginning in 1949, his foreign service career took him to Canada, New Zealand, South Korea (twice), and South Vietnam. He held the State Department position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1967–1969 and was chief of staff for the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Talks from 1968 to 1971. Habib acquired increasingly important posts, serving as Ambassador to South Korea (1971–1974), Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (1974–1976), and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1976–1978). When South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae-jung was kidnapped in 1973 while Habib was U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Habib's discreet but firm intervention saved Kim's life. Kim later became the first opposition leader in South Korea to become president and also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.

A massive heart attack forced Habib to resign as Under Secretary in 1978. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan called him out of retirement to serve as special envoy to the Middle East. Habib negotiated a peace that allowed the PLO to evacuate from the besieged city of Beirut. In 1982, for his efforts he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Senator Charles H. Percy, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Early in 1986, Reagan sent Habib to the Philippines to convince President Ferdinand Marcos to step down. In March 1986, Reagan appointed him as a special envoy to Central America with the intention of furthering U.S. interests in the conflict in Nicaragua. Administration hard-liners intended to use his fame and stature to advance a military solution, namely further funding of the Contras.

Deciding that the Contadora Plan had run its course, Óscar Arias, the newly elected president of Costa Rica, drew up a plan that focused on democratization. While he viewed the Arias plan as riddled with loopholes, Habib worked to help revise it.

On August 7, 1987, the five Central American presidents, much to the shock of the rest of the world, agreed in principle to the Arias plan. Because further negotiating would require Habib to meet directly with Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, President Reagan forbade him to travel. Believing he no longer had the confidence of the president, Habib resigned.

While on vacation in France, Habib suffered a cardiac arrhythmia in Puligny-Montrachet and died on 25 May 1992, at age 72. He was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California. At the time of his death, Habib was one of the University of Idaho's most famous and respected graduates; he co-chaired the university's centennial fund-raising campaign several years earlier, as well as several class reunions. He moderated its Borah Symposium, an annual foreign affairs conference, in 1986, and received the university's highest honors for alumni in 1969, 1974, and 1983.

The bulk of the collection offered here is from the early days of Habib’s career, mainly the 1950s, when he worked in the American Embassies at Ottawa, Canada and Wellington, New Zealand, and when he returned from New Zealand and worked for the U.S. State Department’s Office of Intelligence Research. The materials offered here are said to have descended from Habib’s family. As there is no full-length biography of Habib, this material contains information for his life and career. It is said that Habib was known to be not much of a record keeper, this material was from his personal files.