David Kirkparick Bruce was born in 1898 in Baltimore, Maryland in 1898. After graduating from Princeton University he entered the diplomatic service.
Bruce served in the United States Army during the Second World War. He was head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in London and in 1944 took part in the liberation of Paris. After the war he worked for the European Cooperation Administration.
President Harry Truman appointed Bruce as the US Ambassador to France (1949-52). According to Evan Thomas (The Very Best Men) Bruce discovered that the CIA was involved in a plot to overthrow the government of Guatemala in 1952. Bruce joined forces with the Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, to persuade Truman that "overthrowing the duly elected government of a Central American country would do more harm than good."
Bruce moved to Washington where he associated with a group of journalists, politicians and government officials that became known as the Georgetown Set. This included Frank Wisner, George Kennan, Dean Acheson, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Stewart Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Thomas Braden, Philip Graham, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen, Cord Meyer, James Angleton, William Averill Harriman, John McCloy, Felix Frankfurter, John Sherman Cooper, James Reston, Allen W. Dulles and Paul Nitze.
Most men brought their wives to these gatherings. Members of what was later called the Georgetown Ladies' Social Club included Katharine Graham, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Sally Reston, Polly Wisner, Joan Braden, Lorraine Cooper, Evangeline Bruce, Avis Bohlen, Janet Barnes, Tish Alsop, Cynthia Helms, Marietta FitzGerald, Phyllis Nitze and Annie Bissell.
In 1956 President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Bruce as a member of the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities (PBCFIA). Eisenhower asked Bruce to write a report on the CIA. It was presented to Eisenhower on 20th December, 1956. Bruce argued that the CIA's covert actions were "responsible in great measure for stirring up the turmoil and raising the doubts about us that exists in many countries in the world today." Bruce was also highly critical of Operation Mockingbird. He argued: "what right have we to go barging around in other countries buying newspapers and handling money to opposition parties or supporting a candidate for this, that, or the other office."
Eisenhower appointed Bruce as US Ambassador to West Germany (1957-59). He returned to office when President John F. Kennedy made him Ambassador to Great Britain in 1961. He held the post until the resignation of Lyndon B. Johnson.
David Kirkparick Bruce died in 1977.