Clayton, William Lockhart

   Born in Mississippi, Will Clayton left school at the age of 13 and held a number of secretarial posts before joining the American Cotton Company in 1896. He later became manager of the Texas Cotton Products Company and in 1904 established his own brokerage company, which was eventually extremely successful. During World War I, he served on the War Industries Board. Clayton was an active supporter of U.S. intervention in World War II and from 1942 to 1944 was assistant secretary of commerce and member of the Office of War Mobilization. He was appointed special advisor on economic affairs in 1944 and attended the Potsdam Conference in 1945. Concerned by Soviet expansion, Clayton advocated U.S. economic aid to preserve liberal democracy in Western Europe after the war. He was a representative to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, helped negotiate loans to Great Britain, and drew up the plans to assist Greece and Turkey as laid out in the Truman Doctrine in 1947. Clayton also had considerable influence on the Marshall Plan and assisted with creating the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947 before retiring from public service.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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