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The Counselor of the United States Department of State is a position within the United States Department of State that serves the Secretary of State as a special advisor and consultant on major problems of foreign policy and who provides guidance to the appropriate bureaus with respect to such matters. The Counselor conducts special international negotiations and consultations, and also undertakes special assignments from time to time, as directed by the Secretary.[1]Currently, the Counselor holds under law a rank equivalent to that of Under Secretary of State.[2] The current Counselor is Eliot A. Cohen[3] The appointment was widely seen to lend intellectual legitimacy to the embattled Condoleezza Rice as Cohen has repeatedly been called "the most influential neocon in academe," and has in the past advocated military action against Iran and referred to the Bush administration's "War on Terror" as "World War IV".[4] .

The Secretary of State created the position of Counselor for the Department of State in 1909 as part of a general Department reorganization. In 1912, the position became a Presidential appointment. Between 1913 and 1919, the Counselor served as the Department's second-ranking officer, assuming the role previously exercised by the Assistant Secretary of State. In 1919, the newly-created position of Under Secretary of State subsumed the duties of the Counselor. An Act of Congress, May 18, 1937, re-established the position of Counselor of the Department of State. Between 1961 and 1965, the Counselor also served as the Chairman of the Policy Planning Council. On April 30, 1994 the title was changed to Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs when Counselor Timothy E. Wirth was appointed to that position, but another Counselor was appointed in 1997.[2]

List of Counselors of the United States Department of State

Name Assumed Office Left Office President served under
Chandler P. Anderson August 23, 1912 April 22, 1913 William Howard Taft
John Bassett Moore April 23, 1913 March 4, 1914 Woodrow Wilson
Robert Lansing April 1, 1914 June 23, 1915 Woodrow Wilson
Frank Polk September 16, 1915[5] June 30, 1919 Woodrow Wilson
R. Walton Moore May 21, 1937 February 8, 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Benjamin Victor Cohen September 14, 1945 July 31, 1947 Harry S. Truman
Charles E. Bohlen August 1, 1947 August 3, 1949 Harry S. Truman
George F. Kennan August 4, 1949 July 11, 1951 Harry S. Truman
Charles E. Bohlen July 12, 1951 March 29, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Douglas MacArthur II March 30, 1953 December 16, 1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower
G. Frederick Reinhardt March 17, 1957 February 3, 1960 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Theodore Achilles March 24, 1960 February 15, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
George C. McGhee February 16, 1961 December 3, 1961 John F. Kennedy
Walt Whitman Rostow December 4, 1961[6] March 31, 1966 John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
Robert R. Bowie September 21, 1966 April 1, 1968 Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard F. Pedersen January 24, 1969 July 26, 1973 Richard Nixon
Helmut Sonnefeldt January 7, 1974 February 21, 1977 Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford
Matthew Nimetz April 8, 1977 March 19, 1980 Jimmy Carter
Rozanne L. Ridgway March 20, 1980 February 24, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Robert McFarlane February 28, 1981 April 4, 1982 Ronald Reagan
James L. Buckley September 9, 1982 September 26, 1982 Ronald Reagan
Ed Derwinski March 23, 1983 March 24, 1987 Ronald Reagan
Max Kampelman July 15, 1987 January 20, 1989 Ronald Reagan
Robert Zoellick March 2, 1989 August 23, 1992 George H. W. Bush
Tim Wirth April 23, 1993 April 30, 1994 Bill Clinton
Wendy Sherman August 6, 1997 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
Philip D. Zelikow February 1, 2005[7] January 2, 2007 George W. Bush
Eliot A. Cohen April 30, 2007 George W. Bush


  1. ^ "Counselor of the Department". Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  2. ^ a b "Counselors". Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  3. ^ Kessler, Glenn. "Rice Names Critic Of Iraq Policy to Counselor's Post". Retrieved 2007-03-06.  
  4. ^ Cohen, Eliot A.. "World War IV". Retrieved 2007-03-06.  
  5. ^ Initially commissioned during a Senate recess; after confirmation, re-commissioned on December 17, 1915.
  6. ^ Initially commissioned during a Senate recess; after confirmation, re-commissioned on March 5, 1962.
  7. ^ Designated, not commissioned.


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