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James Prioleau Richards
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1957
Preceded by William F. Stevenson
Succeeded by Robert W. Hemphill
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

In office
January 3, 1951 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by John Kee
Succeeded by Robert B. Chiperfield

In office
January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1957
Preceded by Robert B. Chiperfield
Succeeded by Thomas S. Gordon
Personal details
Born (1894-08-31)August 31, 1894
Liberty Hill, South Carolina
Died February 21, 1979(1979-02-21) (aged 84)
Lancaster, South Carolina
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Clemson College
University of South Carolina
Occupation lawyer
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1917 – 1919
Rank Second Lieutenant
Unit 118th Regiment, 30th Division
Battles/wars First World War

James Prioleau "Dick" Richards (August 31, 1894 – February 21, 1979) was a lawyer, judge, and Democrat U.S. Representative from South Carolina between 1933 and 1957.[1] He later served as a special ambassador under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Early life and World War One[]

Born in Liberty Hill, South Carolina, Richards attended in-state county schools and Clemson College, in Clemson. During the First World War, Richards served overseas as a private, corporal, sergeant, and second lieutenant in the Trench Mortar Battery, Headquarters Company, 118th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division from 1917 to 1919.

Lawyer and judge[]

Richards graduated from the law department of the University of South Carolina at Columbia in 1921 and was admitted to the bar the same year, commencing practice in Lancaster, South Carolina. He served as judge of the probate court of Lancaster County, South Carolina from 1923 to 1933.


Richards was elected as a Democrat to the seventy-third Congress and reelected to the eleven succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1957).

A confidential 1943 analysis of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Isaiah Berlin for the British Foreign Office described Richards as having "supported the Administration on foreign policy before and after Pearl Harbour all the way with the single exception of the vote on lifting belligerent zones for American ships three weeks before Pearl Harbour ... Probably internationalist rather than nationalist in outlook."[2] During the Eighty-second and Eighty-fourth Congresses he served as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In 1953 Richards served as delegate to the Japanese Peace Conference and United States delegate to the United Nations. Hoping to retire from Congress, he was not a candidate for reelection in 1956 to the Eighty-fifth Congress.

He was a signatory to the 1956 Southern Manifesto that opposed the desegregation of public schools ordered by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education.

Later life[]

He served as special assistant to President Eisenhower, January 1957-January 1958, for the Middle East, following announcement of the Eisenhower Doctrine.[3] With this position, Richards held rank of ambassador. Following this, he resided in Lancaster, South Carolina and resumed the practice of law. Richards died there on February 21, 1979 and was interred in Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Liberty Hill, S. C.


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William F. Stevenson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Robert W. Hemphill
Political offices
Preceded by
John Kee
Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee
1951 – 1953
Succeeded by
Robert B. Chiperfield
Preceded by
Robert B. Chiperfield
Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee
1955 – 1957
Succeeded by
Thomas S. Gordon

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