Kenneth Keating

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Person.png Kenneth Keating  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Senator Kenneth Keating.jpg
BornKenneth Barnard Keating
Lima, New York
Died1975-05-05 (Age 74)
New York City, New York
Alma materGenesee Wesleyan Seminary, University of Rochester, Harvard Law School
Us ambassador to India and Israel

Employment.png United States Ambassador to Israel

In office
August 28, 1973 - May 5, 1975

Employment.png United States Senator from New York

In office
January 3, 1959 - January 3, 1965
Succeeded byRFK

Kenneth Barnard Keating was an American attorney, politician, judge, and diplomat from Rochester, New York. A Republican, he is most notable for his service as a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, state appellate court judge, and a U.S. Ambassador, first to India (1969-1972), then to Israel (1973-1975).

A native of Lima, New York, Keating graduated from Genesee Wesleyan Seminary (1915), the University of Rochester (1919), and Harvard Law School (1923). Keating practiced law in Rochester and became active in Republican Party politics.

During World War I, Keating served with the Student Army Training Corps at the University of Rochester. He joined the United States Army for World War II, and was commissioned as a major. He served in India as head of the U.S. office that managed the Lend-Lease Program for the China Burma India Theater and was promoted to colonel before the end of the war. Keating remained in the Organized Reserve Corps after his wartime service, was promoted to brigadier general in 1948, and continued to serve until retiring in 1963.

In 1946, Keating ran successfully for a U.S. House seat from a Rochester-based district. He was reelected five times, and served from 1947 to 1959. During his House tenure, Keating developed a reputation as a moderate on many issues, which he combined with hard positions on Cold War anticommunism and the fight against organized crime. In 1958, he ran successfully for a U.S. Senate seat from New York, and he served from 1959 to 1965. Keating was an advocate of desegregation, and played a key role in breaking the filibuster that enabled passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Keating was one of many moderate to liberal Republicans who refused to endorse conservative Republican Barry Goldwater for president in 1964. Defeated for reelection by Robert F. Kennedy in 1964, Keating practiced law briefly, then won a seat on the New York Court of Appeals in the 1965 elections. He served until 1969, when he resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to India. He served in India until 1972, when he resigned and returned home to campaign for the reelection of President Richard Nixon. In 1973, Nixon appointed Keating Ambassador to Israel, and Keating remained in this position until his death.

Military service

During World War I, Keating served in the Student Army Training Corps at the University of Rochester, where he attained the rank of sergeant.[1] In April, 1942 Keating joined the Army for World War II and was commissioned as a major.[2] He served initially as chief of the assignments branch in the international division of the Army Service Forces headquarters, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in October, 1942.[2][3]

In 1943, Keating was assigned to India as head of the Army Service Forces international office that administered the Lend-Lease Program for the China Burma India Theater, part of the South East Asia Command commanded by Lord Louis Mountbatten.[4] He was promoted to colonel in February 1944[3] and in July 1944 he made an assessment tour of the theater's front lines with General Albert Coady Wedemeyer, Mountbatten's chief of staff, which took him to sixteen countries, including Ceylon, Burma, Indochina, and Java.[5] Keating later served as executive assistant to Mountbatten's U.S. deputy, Lieutenant General Raymond Albert Wheeler, and was the senior American officer at the South East Asia Command's rear headquarters in India.[5] In November 1945, Mountbatten dispatched Keating to London to provide Parliament information on the post-war rebuilding of India.[5] Keating closed out his wartime service as a liaison between the Army Services Forces and the British military office in Washington, DC, and was awarded the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Order of the British Empire.[5][6][7]

Keating remained in the Organized Reserve Corps after the war, and was promoted to brigadier general in 1948.[8] He continued to serve until retiring from the military in 1963.[9][10]

U.S. House

A Republican, Keating was a member of the New York delegation to every Republican National Convention from 1940 to 1964 with the exception of 1944, when he was overseas with the Army.[11] On returning to the United States after World War II, Keating ran successfully for a Rochester-area seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1946 election.[11] He was reelected five times.[11]

Keating was regarded as a liberal Republican on many issues, but adopted conservative positions on anticommunism during the Cold War and fighting organized crime.[12] He supported the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan and sponsored an early civil rights bill.[12] He opposed diplomatic recognition of "Red China" after the Chinese civil war, and supported allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use tactics including wiretaps on organized crime figures and suspected communist sympathizers ("traitors").[12] As a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, Keating was active in shepherding the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to passage.[13] Keating also enhanced his public profile by creating a semi-monthly Rochester-area television show in which he discussed current events with government officials including fellow members of Congress, which increased his personal popularity among his House colleagues, who appreciated the opportunity to publicize their activities.[12]

Keating opposed, on the one hand, what he called “socialistic” Federal spending while taking credit, on the other hand, for millions of dollars of defense contracts for his district.[12]

U.S. Senate

In 1958, Keating was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Irving Ives, and defeated Democrat Frank Hogan, the New York County District Attorney.[12] He served from January 3, 1959 to January 3, 1965 and was defeated for reelection in 1964 by Robert F. Kennedy.[14] During his Senate term, Keating served on the Judiciary and Rules committees.

He was a vigorous critic of President Kennedy's Cuban policies.[12] In 1962, before the Cuban Missile Crisis that began in October, Keating publicly cited a source who had informed him that the Soviet Union and Cuba had constructed intercontinental ballistic missile facilities in Cuba that could target the United States, and urged President John F. Kennedy to "take action".[11] After the crisis of 1962, he argued that the President had retreated from strong anti‐Castro attitude.[12]

During the 1964 Republican National Convention, Keating staged a walkout of the majority of the New York delegation after conservative Barry Goldwater won the presidential nomination.[11] In the general election campaign, Keating refused to endorse Goldwater, and did not campaign for him in New York. Keating outperformed Goldwater on election day, but was defeated for reelection by the Democratic nominee, Robert F. Kennedy, who had established residency in New York shortly before becoming a candidate.[11] Keating accused Kennedy of "carpetbagging", but Democratic strength in what proved to be a wave election nationwide was sufficient to propel Kennedy to victory.[14]

Ambassador to Israel

He was Ambassador to Israel from August 1973 until his death.[12] Keating's ambassadorship was high profile; he built a network of contacts and conducted one on one diplomacy by entertaining frequently at his home in the Tel Aviv suburbs.[12] Despite his efforts, members of the Israeli government were reportedly unhappy with his work, and expressed skepticism about the quality of the reports he sent to the State Department in Washington.[12] In one instance, Israel's government claimed Keating had misinformed U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the effects of public opinion in Israel on how much compromising its government could do in attempting to reach agreement with Egypt on the occupation of the Sinai.[12]

Keating suffered a heart attack on April 17, 1975 while visiting his daughter in New Jersey, and was admitted to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.[15] He died in the hospital on May 5.[12] Keating's funeral was held at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[16]

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