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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/House, Edward Mandell

< 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica

HOUSE, EDWARD MANDELL (1858-), American politician, was born at Houston, Tex., July 26 1858. He was educated at the Hopkins grammar school, New Haven, Conn., and at Cornell University (A.B. 1877). He returned to Texas, where he became interested in politics. He never sought office, but as a trusted adviser he became influential in the Democratic party. He became a friend of President Wilson, with whose political ideals he sympathized, and after the outbreak of the World War in 1914 visited the belligerent countries as the President's personal representative, conferring with the leading diplomats informally and advising American ambassadors of the President's attitude on various questions. He himself repeatedly declared that he was not a peace envoy. In 1915 and in 1916 he was again in Europe observing conditions and from time to time making confidential reports to the President. This method of approaching foreign Governments through private personal contact instead of stereotyped diplomatic formality brought some criticism upon the President, many believing that the powers of the recognized head of the State Department were being infringed upon. In 1917 he was elected a director of the Fort Worth (Tex.) Record. After America's entrance into the World War in 1917 Col. House was appointed to gather information which the U.S. peace representatives would need when the terms of peace should ultimately be discussed. He represented the United States at the Inter-Allied Conference in Paris, Nov. 1917. In Dec. of the same year he represented the United States in the Supreme War Council at Versailles. In 1918 he was delegated by the President to act for the United States in negotiating the Armistice and was a member of the American Peace Commission. He took a prominent part in drafting the Peace Treaty in 1919. In 1920 he joined the staff of the Philadelphia Public Ledger, and visited Europe as a correspondent of that paper.