PX-78-44 (crop): Deputy Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, c. 1961.

Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach, Deputy Attorney General under President Kennedy, spent much of his governmental career at the center of the most volatile events of the 1960s. As an Assistant Attorney General in the Kennedy Justice Department, Mr. Katzenbach played a role in drafting bills to establish the Communications Satellite Corporation, to support the Kennedy Administration’s foreign-trade program, and to create new wire-tapping and conflict of interest legislation. In October of 1962, President Kennedy asked him to draw up a legal brief in support of the President’s decision to blockade Cuba. Two months later, Mr. Katzenbach was part of the group that negotiated the release of Cuban-exile prisoners captured by Castro's forces during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Mr. Katzenbach played a key role in the desegregation of southern universities and was present during the 1962 riots at the University of Mississippi following the enrollment of James Meredith. He was appointed Deputy Attorney General in 1963 and personally escorted James Hood and Vivian Malone onto the campus of the University of Alabama. During the Johnson Administration, Mr. Katzenbach worked closely with the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy. He concluded his career in public service as Undersecretary of State in 1969.

1922 January 17, Born, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1939 Graduated, Phillips Exeter Academy

1941–1945 Served to First Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force

1943–1945 Prisoner of war, Italy

1945 B.A., Princeton University

1946 June 8, Married Lydia King Phelps Stokes

1947 LL.B., Yale University; Editor-in-chief, Yale Law Journal

1947–1949 Rhodes scholar, Balliol College, Oxford University

1950 Admitted to the New Jersey Bar; Attorney with Katzenbach, Gildea, and Rudner, Trenton, New Jersey

1950–1952 Office of General Counsel, U.S. Air Force

1952–1956 Associate Professor of Law, Yale University

1956–1960 Professor of Law, University of Chicago

1961–1962 Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice

1962–1964 Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice

1964 Acting Attorney General, Department of Justice

1965–1966 Attorney General of the United States

1966–1969 Undersecretary of State, Department of State

1969– 1986 Corporate attorney, IBM

1986-1991 Partner, Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perrette law firm

2012 May 8, Died


The Political Foundation of International Law (with Morton A. Kaplan), 1961.


"Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach." Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 1999.
Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, 2004.