Henry E. Catto Jr.

Texas Charles H. Price II Raymond G. H. Seitz

Henry E. Catto Jr.
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
May 17, 1989 – March 13, 1991
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byCharles H. Price II
Succeeded byRaymond G. H. Seitz
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
In office
May 22, 1981 – September 16, 1983
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byThomas B. Ross
Succeeded byMichael I. Burch
Ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva
In office
July 1, 1976 – April 4, 1977
PresidentGerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Preceded byFrancis L. Dale
Succeeded byWilliam vanden Heuvel
Chief of Protocol of the United States
In office
April 3, 1974 – July 1, 1976
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byMarion H. Smoak
Succeeded byShirley Temple Black
United States Ambassador to El Salvador
In office
October 21, 1971 – September 2, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byWilliam G. Bowdler
Succeeded byJames F. Campbell
Personal details
Born(1930-12-06)December 6, 1930
Dallas, Texas, United States[1]
DiedDecember 18, 2011(2011-12-18) (aged 81)
San Antonio, Texas, United States

Henry Edward Catto Jr. (December 6, 1930 – December 18, 2011) was an American businessman and public servant.[2]

A native of San Antonio, Texas and son of a prominent insurance man, he was educated at T.M.I.—The Episcopal School of Texas, graduating in 1948, and at Williams College, graduating in 1952. In the early 1960s, Catto twice ran for the Texas Legislature as a Republican, losing both times. In his 1960 attempt, he lost to notorious San Antonio gambler V. E. "Red" Berry.[3]

Catto held several positions within the United States government. He was the Deputy Representative to the Organization of American States from 1969 to 1971, Ambassador to El Salvador from 1971 to 1973, the Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1974 to 1976, the Ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva from 1976 to 1977,[4] and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs from 1981 to 1983. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed him as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He held the position until 1991, when he became the director of the United States Information Agency.[5]

From 1955 to 2000, he was a partner in the insurance brokerage firm Catto & Catto in San Antonio. From 1983 to 1989, he was vice chairman and president of a broadcast group at H&C Communications, operator of network television stations (Houston, Des Moines, Tucson, Nashville, Orlando-Daytona Beach, San Antonio). In 1999, he was elected chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States, and in 2007, its chairman emeritus. He was a contributing editor of the American Journalism Review. At the time of his death, he was vice chairman of the Aspen Institute, where he and his wife, Jessica Hobby Catto, had established the Catto Fellowship for a Sustainable Future. He and his wife also supported the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

Catto was a member of the board of the National Public Radio Foundation, having served on the NPR Board from 1995 to 2001. He was also a member of the Smithsonian National Board, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Advisory Council of America Abroad Media. He was Diplomat-in-Residence at the University of Texas at San Antonio, held honorary LLD degrees from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and St. Mary's University in San Antonio, and was a member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London. He authored Ambassadors at Sea: The High and Low Adventures of a Diplomat (University of Texas Press, 1998).

Ambassador Catto was married to the late Jessica Hobby, daughter of William P. Hobby and Oveta Culp Hobby. Jessica Hobby Catto was a noted conservationist and journalist who wrote a blog for the Huffington Post on conservation, the media, and political issues right up until her death in 2009.[6] Together the Cattos had four children. Henry Catto died at his home in San Antonio, Texas, on December 18, 2011.[7]


  1. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (December 21, 2011). "Henry E. Catto Jr., Who Served 4 Presidents, Dies at 81". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Henry E. Catto Jr. 1930 — 2011" (obituary). Aspen Daily News Online. 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ Catto, Henry E. (1998). Ambassadors at Sea: The High and Low Adventures of a Diplomat. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-0-292-71212-6. OCLC 39045205. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  4. ^ "Representatives of the U.S.A. to the European Office of the United Nations (Geneva)". United States Department of State. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  5. ^ "Henry Catto". The Daily Telegraph. London. December 26, 2011.
  6. ^ "Jessica Hobby Catto" (obituary). The Austin American-Statesman. 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  7. ^ "Henry Edward Catto Jr" (obituary). The Austin American-Statesman. 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011.