Eli Whitney Debevoise

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Eli Whitney Debevoise, a prominent New York lawyer who served in numerous government posts, died in 1990.

"Mr. Debevoise (pronounced DEH-beh-voyse), who was a co-founder of the law firm now known as Debevoise & Plimpton, handled both litigation and corporate law...

"Mr. Debevoise served as Deputy United States High Commissioner for Germany from 1951 to 1953, one of the top positions with the Allied Commission that administered Germany's affairs in the years immediately following World War II.

"In 1959, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller named Mr. Debevoise chairman of the New York State Task Force on Youth and Juvenile Delinquency, which was mandated to carry out a six-point program that included developing work camps for troubled youngsters...

"Born in Manhattan on Dec. 14, 1899, and named after his great-great grandfather, Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, Mr. Debevoise graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., in 1917. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the Army and eventually attained the rank of second lieutenant...

"Later, Mr. Debevoise would play a leading role in the firm's representation of Alger Hiss during the former State Department official's two trials for perjury in the post-war hunt for Communists in government. In the early 1950's, Mr. Debevoise served as legal adviser for the Ford Motor Company as it became a public corporation.

"During World War II, Mr. Debevoise was chairman of the Alien Enemy Hearing Board in New York, which ruled on the eligibility of resident aliens to remain in the United States. From 1951 to 1953, besides serving as Deputy High Commissioner for Germany, he was general counsel to the Commission.

"Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Debevoise rejoined his firm and served in a variety of public and human rights posts. He was a member of the New York State Special Legislative Committee on Integrity and Ethical Standards in Government, chairman of the executive committee of Radio Free Europe, chairman of Governor Rockefeller's Committee to Review New York Laws and Procedures on Human Rights, vice president and chairman of the International Commission of Jurists and a member of the New York Citizens Committee on Reaportionment.

"He was also active in many charities, serving as president of the New York Association for the Blind, chairman of the Russell Sage Foundation, as a trustee of Rockefeller University and a trustee of the American Geographical Society." [1]

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