Hallowell Phillips, who served as the United States Ambassador to
Brunei from 1989 to 1991 and was the founding President of the
National Council for United States-China Trade, passed away
peacefully Thursday, January 10, 2008 at the Addison Gilbert
Hospital in Gloucester, MA. Mr. Phillips had been hospitalized for
a month, surrounded by friends and family. He was 87 years old and
lived with his wife Sydney Osborne Phillips in Ipswich, MA.
A member of a
family that helped to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony, he was
born in the Hague, Netherlands on December 6th, 1920, the
son of William and Caroline Drayton Phillips. His ancestors include
the first Mayor of Boston and an abolitionist orator as well as the
founders of Phillips Academy Andover and Exeter. His father was the
United States Ambassador to Italy at the outbreak of World War II
and served as Under Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt.
had a long career in public service, which began at the end of World
War II when he served on General Douglas MacArthur’s staff in Tokyo
during the first year of reconstruction. Upon returning to
Massachusetts, he completed his degree at Harvard University and,
after a brief stint working for the Beverly Evening Times,
successfully ran for the State Senate in 1948, becoming the youngest
Massachusetts State Senator elected up to that time. Mr. Phillips
was re-elected twice and as Chairman of the Public Commission on
Educational Television he led the effort to create the first
Educational Television station in the nation, WGBH, Channel 2, in
involved in the Eisenhower presidential campaign in 1952, Mr.
Phillips moved his young family to Washington DC where he spent four
years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International
Affairs, focusing on economic and social programs of the United
Nations. After a brief assignment as Vice Chairman of the US Civil
Service Commission in 1957, Mr. Phillips accepted an appointment as
United States Representative on the United Nations Economic and
Social Council in New York City.
left office, Mr. Phillips began an 8 year period in the private
sector gaining increasing appreciation of the impact of
international trade and finance on relations between nations. He
accepted a position working for David Rockefeller at Chase Manhattan
Bank as the bank’s representative for UN affairs and Manager of the
bank’s Canadian division from 1961-1965 and was President of the US
Council of the International Chamber of Commerce from 1965-1969.
In 1969, Mr.
Phillips returned to the United Nations where he served until 1973,
first as Deputy Representative on the Security Council then Deputy
Permanent Representative to the United Nations, with the rank of
Ambassador. As Chairman of the US delegation to the United Nations
Seabeds committee, he was instrumental in establishing the 1973 “Law
of the Sea” which established an International Seabed area,
beginning at 600 feet in depth, which is the common heritage of all
nations. He also served during the period in which the People’s
Republic of China was admitted to the United Nations. This combined
with his experience in the private sector led to his next and
In 1973, Mr.
Phillips was elected by the founding board as the first President of
the National Council for US-China trade (since renamed the US-China
Business Council), a joint undertaking between the US government and
the private sector to develop our trade and economic relations with
the People’s Republic of China. This non-governmental organization
was created before official relations existed between the US and the
People’s Republic China and served as a liaison between the two
countries. He led the first American business delegation to visit
the People’s Republic of China. The basic objective of the Council
was to educate American business about contemporary China and the
opportunities and pitfalls of the Chinese market. The Council also
played a significant role in helping to establish formal diplomatic
relations between the US and China.
retirement from the Council in 1986, President Bush asked him to
serve as the US Ambassador to Brunei, a wealthy oil-producing nation
in Southern Asia, a post he held from 1989-1991.
interest in outdoor activities included hiking, horseback riding,
and fishing and he was a supporter of many environmental causes and
organizations, including the Trustees of Reservations in
Massachusetts whose Appleton Farms property was a favorite
destination in his later years.
Mr. Phillips is
survived by his second wife, Sydney Osborne Phillips and his
children by his first wife Mabel Olsen Phillips, who died in 1995,
including Victoria P. Boyd of New York; Miriam O. Phillips of San
Francisco; and David W. Phillips of Mountain View, California; 2
stepchildren, 5 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
service will be held Wednesday at 11:00am in Ascension Memorial
Church, 31 County Street, Ipswich, MA. Arrangements by the
Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. In lieu of flowers,
contributions to the Trustees of Reservations, 572 Essex Street,
Beverly, MA 01915-1530, or the Essex County Greenbelt, 82 Eastern
Avenue, Essex, MA 01929 are encouraged to honor the memory of