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UCI Libraries - The Quest for Peace Interviews: William E. Colby Biography
UCI Libraries: Quest for Peace

 

William E. Colby

William E. Colby is senior advisor for Political Assessment and Risk of International Business-Government Counsellors, Inc. of Washington, D.C. During a career notable for its diversity he has been active in military service, the practice of law, and government service ranging from serving as an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board to the directorship of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

During World War II, Mr. Colby was a member of the 462nd Parachute Artillery Battalion, as well as a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). For his efforts during the war he received the American Silver Star, the French Croix de Guerre, and Norway's St. Olaf's Medal

After joining the Central Intelligence Agency in 1950, he served in Sweden and Italy and then became the first secretary of the American Embassy in South Vietnam in 1959. In 1962, he became head of the Far East division of the clandestine services branch of the CIA. Upon his return to Washington in 1971, he held a series of key management positions with the CIA and in 1973, after nomination by President Nixon and confirmation by the United States Senate, became director of the CIA. For his government service, Mr. Colby received the National Security Medal in 1976, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal in 1973, and the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award in 1972.