Roosevelt House is the home of the Consulate’s Political and Economic Affairs Section. Roosevelt House is named after soldier, scholar, and intelligence officer Archibald “Archie” Bulloch Roosevelt, Jr. Born in 1918, he was the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and the cousin of President Franklin Roosevelt.
Roosevelt graduated from Harvard and entered the U.S. Army in 1942, serving in combat during the North African landings under General Patton. In 1944, he became the assistant military attaché in Baghdad. Roosevelt traveled extensively in Iraq, from Zakho to Basra, befriending Iraqis from many different communities. In 1945 he escorted Abd-al-Ilah, the Regent of Iraq, on his visit to the United States. From 1946-1947, he served as the assistant military attaché in Iran, where he was one of the only Americans to visit the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad and meet with Qazi Mohammad. He would publish one of the few English-language accounts of this period in the Middle East Journal in 1947. During this period in Iran he also witnessed the rise and fall of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, one of the first crises of the Cold War.
Leaving the Army as a captain, Roosevelt began a career with the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947. He took a sabbatical to work at the Voice of America where he began the Persian, Arabic and Turkish services and advocated for broadcasts in Caucasus and Central Asian languages. In 1951, he returned to the CIA, serving variously in Istanbul, Beirut, Madrid, London and Washington, retiring in 1974.
Following his government career, Roosevelt served as director of international relations for the Chase Manhattan Bank. In 1982, his wife Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt was named U.S. Chief of Protocol by President Reagan and served until 1989.
Roosevelt spoke nine languages – Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, Farsi, Turkish and some Kurdish – and understood seven more. Renowned for his sense of humor, he could joke in several of them. His skills as a raconteur and his passionate interest and deep affection for the region came through in his vivid 1988 autobiography For Lust of Knowing: Memoirs of an Intelligence Officer. In his integrity, scholarship and good humor, he provides a model for all who serve in this region.