James H. Douglas Jr. Dead at 88; Served Presidents and the Military

February 28, 1988

James H. Douglas Jr., a lawyer, investment banker and former Secretary of the Air Force and Deputy Secretary of Defense, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Lake Forest, Ill. He was 88 years old.

James H. Douglas Jr., a lawyer, investment banker and former Secretary of the Air Force and Deputy Secretary of Defense, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Lake Forest, Ill. He was 88 years old.

In a career that combined strong interests in private business and public service, Mr. Douglas served briefly under two Presidents, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and throughout the eight-year Administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Mr. Douglas was Under Secretary of the Air Force from January 1953 to 1957, Secretary of the Air Force from May 1957 through 1959 and Deputy Secretary of Defense from January 1960 to the end of the Eisenhower Administration.

Mr. Douglas's earlier Government service began when Hoover's Secretary of the Treasury, Ogden L. Mills, brought him to Washington in February 1932 as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. Disenchantment and Challenge

Mr. Douglas kept the post under Roosevelt, but quickly grew disenchanted. He resigned in June 1933 and organized a Citizens Committee on Monetary Policy that publicly opposed the Roosevelt financial program.

Twenty years later, he returned to Washington and in a short time became one of Eisenhower's inner circle of advisers on military matters.

He counseled the President on such issues as accepting responsibility for the U-2 espionage flight over the Soviet Union in 1960 and early American involvement in Southeast Asia. As Secretary of the Air Force in 1958, he reaffirmed the 1925 court-martial verdict of guilty brought against the crusader for the use of air power, Brig. Gen. William (Billy) Mitchell.

Mr. Douglas said it was legally correct for General Mitchell to have been found guilty of violating military law for attacking his superiors because they would not accept his views on the military significance of the airplane. At the same time, Mr. Douglas noted that General Mitchell's faith in air power had been vindicated. He called attention to the posthumous Medal of Honor that Congress voted for the General in 1946. Family Founded Quaker Oats

James Henderson Douglas Jr. was a Republican from Iowa who grew up in the Chicago area, and his family founded the Quaker Oats Company. He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 11, 1899, and brought up in Lake Forest where his father was a vice president of the company.

He was an undergraduate of Princeton University when he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army in 1918. He did not go overseas and after World War I he returned to Princeton. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1920.

He spent a year of studies at Corpus Christi College of Cambridge University, followed by Harvard Law School, from which he earned a degree in 1924. He started out as a lawyer with the Chicago firm of Winston, Strawn & Shaw the next year, but switched to investment banking in 1929 with Field, Glore & Company.

After Mr. Douglas's service in the Hoover and Roosevelt Administrations, he returned to Chicago and became a partner of the law firm of Gardner, Carton & Douglas. He was a member of the firm at death. Service in World War II

In World War II, he served in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, rising from major to colonel and to chief of staff of the Air Transport Command. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and, in 1960, the Medal of Freedom for his Government service.

He was a trustee of the University of Chicago for 55 years and held honorary doctorates of law from Princeton and from Lake Forest and Grinnell Colleges. He was a past president of the Commercial Club, a director of American Airlines, March & McLennan, the Chicago Title and Trust Company and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Mr. Douglas had four sons by his first marriage to Grace Farwell McGann, who died in 1949. He married Elinor Thompson Donaldson in 1950. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his four sons, James Henderson Douglas 3d of Paris, John, of Arlington, Vt., and Robert and David, both of West Tisbury, Mass., and nine grandchildren.  


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