John Sutter, a longtime advocate for world federation, died on March 16 at age 93.
Sutter played a key role in the capture of the Remagen Bridge over the Rhine in Germany in the final days of World War II, and received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with “V” for valor for a shrapnel injury. He served in the post-war military government in Germany before returning home to complete his college education.
After graduating, Sutter joined the U.S. Foreign Service, serving in China during the Communist takeover in 1949. Sutter helped shut down the U.S. consulate in Shanghai and went on to serve as a foreign service officer in several Asian nations. He later joined the Asia Foundation, a nonprofit international development organization.
He devoted the latter part of his life to the cause of world federation. Sutter joined the World Federalist Association in the 1980s and became editor of the Northern California World Federalist. He served as president of the World Federalist Association of Northern California and spearheaded the creation of Democratic World Federalists.
Sutter helped organize the San Francisco Hearing of the U.S. Commission on Improving the Effectiveness of the UN in 1993, and organized the World Federalist Movement’s World Congress in San Francisco two years later. That event included the “Campaign for a New UN Charter/Youth95 Conclave,” which brought together more than 200 teenagers and young adults for conferences and demonstrations.
These actions focused on activating Article 109, the provision the 1945 framers of the UN Charter included to allow future generations to review, revise, and renew the charter for the challenges of a future age. This has remained a central goal of Democratic World Federalists.
John and his wife Doris, who died in 2016, were passionate travelers. By the end of his life, John Sutter had visited approximately 65 countries around the world he hoped to one day see united as one federation.
Photo credit: Democratic World Federalists