As public servant, statesman, and leader of industry, William Averell Harriman has rendered a lifetime of distinguished service to the United States. In diverse positions of extraordinary responsibility, Governor Harriman has exemplified, through his accomplishments in the national interest and manner of achievement, the ideals of West Point expressed in the motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”
After 20 years of recognized and successful leadership in the nation’s transportation and finance industries Governor Harriman entered upon his long and dedicated career of public service. As member and Chairman of the U. S. Department of Commerce Business Advisory Council and as a principal assistant of the Administrator of the National Recovery Administration he made substantial and highly significant contributions to the development and execution of those national policies and programs which led to the nation’s economic recovery.
During World War II, first as the President’s Special Representative to Great Britain, and later as Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Governor Harriman brought to the service of the nation an extraordinary understanding of the interrelationship between its industry, government and military operations in times of war. His sensitive application of that understanding to the problems confronting the United States and its allies contributed in large measure to the successful achievement of United States goals in World War II.
As the world moved through its postwar recovery and the period of great power confrontations, Governor Harriman applied his unique experience and selfless dedication to the solution of the increasingly complex problems affecting the peace, security and welfare of his country. In a series of highly important positions, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and to Great Britain, United States Secretary of Commerce, Director of the Mutual Security Administration, Governor of the State of New York, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Ambassador at Large, he participated at the highest policy-making levels in those decisions and programs which led to the remarkable transition from war to peace, to a more secure and prosperous United States and to a renewed stability among the world’s great powers.
Through his lifetime of service to his country and to his fellow man, Governor Harriman has made a unique and lasting contribution to the welfare and security of the United States. His invariable response to the call of duty and his continuing willingness to serve his country wherever needed symbolize and reflect the values expressed in the West Point motto. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby awards the 1975 Sylvanus Thayer award to W. Averell Harriman.