Sunday, 5 June 2011

Lawrence Eagleburger, former US secretary of state, dies aged 80

Headed the state department from August 1992 to January 1993, capping a diplomatic career that spanned eight presidents
    Lawrence Eagleburger, George H. Bush
    Lawrence Eagleburger, left, with George Bush Sr in 1992.
    Former US secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger, who served under George Bush Sr in the early 1990s, died on Saturday at the age of 80, a spokeswoman for his family said. He died in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a short illness, the spokeswoman said. Eagleburger headed the state department from August 1992 to January 1993, capping a diplomatic career that spanned eight presidents, both Democrats and Republicans. Barack Obama said Eagleburger had "helped our nation navigate the pivotal days during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War". Eagleburger entered the foreign service in 1957, but his career took off when he became an assistant to Richard Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, in 1969. Self-described as a moderate Republican, Eagleburger was widely regarded as a tough pragmatist in foreign affairs. After Republicans lost the White House to Jimmy Carter in 1976, Eagleburger was asked to stay on and served as ambassador to Yugoslavia in the Democratic administration. He also served in the state department during the Reagan administration, leaving in 1984 to become president of Kissinger Associates, a consulting firm founded by Kissinger. Bush brought him back to government in 1989 as deputy secretary of state, even though he had not been a member of Bush's inner circle of advisers. Eagleburger became acting secretary when Baker left to run Bush's re-election campaign in August 1992 and was sworn in officially on 8 December 1992 for the last month-and-a-half of Bush's presidential term. In 2006 Eagleburger was a late addition to the Iraq Study Group, that gave a report on the Iraq war to George W Bush. An avuncular, cane-carrying figure who suffered from chronic asthma and a muscle disorder, Eagleburger was a heavy smoker, and known as crusty, charming and wisecracking. He named each of his three sons Lawrence – but all with different middle names. Asked to explain that move he reportedly said: "First of all, it was ego. And secondly, I wanted to screw up the social security system."

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