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Marjorie Millace Whiteman

Marjorie Millace Whiteman was a scholar and expert in INTERNATIONAL LAW who served in the U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT from 1929 to 1970. She participated in the drafting of the United Nations Charter and the 1948 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, and as a scholar published a fifteen-volume Digest of International Law between 1963 and 1972.

Whiteman was born on November 30, 1898, in Liberty Center, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1920 and received LL.B. and J.S.D. degrees from Yale Law School in 1927 and 1928, respectively. At Yale, Whiteman studied with Edwin M. Borchard, a leading international law scholar. After law school, Whiteman served as a research associate with the Columbia University Research Commission on Latin America. She joined the State Department in 1929 as special assistant to the department's legal advisor Green H. Hackworth, a position she held until Hackworth's election to the INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE in 1946.

In the State Department Whiteman became a specialist in international organizations. In 1945 she helped draft the United Nations Charter and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She served as legal counsel to ELEANOR ROOSEVELT when Roosevelt represented the United States on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Whiteman had a strong interest in, and knowledge of, inter-American affairs. She played a major role in many Pan-American conferences and proposed the idea of consultation for the inter-American system. In 1948 she took part in the conference at Bogotá, Colombia, which drafted the charter of the Organization of American States.

When the State Department was reorganized in 1949, Whiteman was named the first assistant legal advisor for American republic affairs, which involved relationships with Central and South America. In 1965 Whiteman became the first counselor for international law in the Office of Legal Advisor (an office in the State Department that advises the SECRETARY OF STATE on

all matters of international law arising in the conduct of U.S. foreign relations), a position she held until her retirement in 1970.

Despite her activities in the State Department, Whiteman found time for scholarly work in international law. She was a major contributor to Hackworth's eight-volume Digest of International Law (1937–1943), and established herself as a world expert with the publication of her Digest of International Law.

Whiteman died on July 6, 1986, in Liberty Center, Ohio.


Leich, Marian Nash. 1986. "Marjorie M. Whiteman (1898–1986)." American Journal of International Law 80.


United Nations.

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