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George Pratt Shultz

In office
July 16, 1982 – January 20, 1989
President Ronald Reagan
Deputy Walter John Stoessel, Jr. (1982)
Kenneth W. Dam (1982-1985)
John C. Whitehead (1985-1989)
Preceded by Alexander Haig
Walter John Stoessel, Jr. (acting)
Succeeded by James Baker

In office
June 12, 1972 – May 8, 1974
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by John B. Connally
Succeeded by William E. Simon

In office
July 1, 1970 – June 11, 1972
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Robert Mayo
Succeeded by Caspar Weinberger

In office
January 22, 1969 – July 1, 1970
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by W. Willard Wirtz
Succeeded by James D. Hodgson

Born December 13, 1920 (1920-12-13) (age 89)
New York City,
New York, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Helena Maria O'Brien
Charlotte Mailliard Shultz
Alma mater Princeton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Profession Economist, Professor, Businessman, Public servant
Religion Episcopalian
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1942-1945
Rank Captain

George Pratt Shultz (born December 13, 1920) is an American economist, statesman, and businessman. He served as the United States Secretary of Labor from 1969 to 1970, as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1972 to 1974, and as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989. Before entering politics, he was professor of economics at MIT and the University of Chicago, serving as Dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business from 1962 to 1969. Between 1974 and 1982, Shultz was an executive at Bechtel, eventually becoming the firm's president. He is currently a distinguished fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.


Early life, education

George Shultz was born in New York City, the son of Birl Earl Shultz and Margaret Lennox Pratt.[1]

In 1938, Shultz graduated from the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut. He attended college at Princeton University, majoring in economics with a minor in public and international affairs. His senior thesis was an examination of the Tennessee Valley Authority's effect on local agriculture, for which he conducted on-site research. Shultz graduated with honors in 1942.[1]

Following his college graduation, Shultz joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served until 1945, attaining the rank of Captain. In 1949, Shultz earned a Ph.D. in industrial economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[2]

University professor

He taught in both the MIT Department of Economics and the MIT Sloan School of Management from 1948 to 1957, with a leave of absence in 1955 to serve on President Dwight Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisers as a senior staff economist. In 1957, Shultz joined the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business as professor of industrial relations. Later, he was named dean in 1962.[1]

Nixon Administration

Shultz served as President Richard Nixon's secretary of labor from 1969 to 1970, during which time he forced Pennsylvania construction unions which refused to accept black members to admit a certain number of blacks by an enforced deadline.[3] This marked the first use of racial quotas in the federal government.[3] He then became the first director of the Office of Management and Budget.[1]


Secretary of the Treasury

He was United States Secretary of the Treasury from May 1972 to May 1974. During his tenure, Shultz was concerned with two major issues: the continuing domestic administration of Nixon's "New Economic Policy," begun under Secretary John B. Connally, and a renewed dollar crisis that broke out in February 1973.[4]

Domestically Shultz enacted the next phase of the NEP, which involved a lifting of price controls begun in 1971. This phase was a failure, resulting in high inflation, and price freezes were reestablished five months later.[4]

Meanwhile Shultz's attention was increasingly diverted from the domestic economy to the international arena. He participated in an international monetary conference in Paris in 1973, which grew out of the 1971 decision to abolish the gold standard, a decision that Shultz and Paul Volcker had supported (see Nixon Shock). The conference formally abolished the Bretton Woods system, thereby causing all currencies to float. Shultz resigned shortly before Nixon to return to private life.[4]

Business executive

In 1974, he left government service to become president and director of Bechtel Group, a large engineering and services company.

Secretary of State for Reagan

On July 16, 1982, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the sixtieth U.S. secretary of state, replacing Alexander Haig, who had resigned. Shultz would serve for six and a half years - the longest tenure since Dean Rusk.[5]

Shultz relied primarily on the Foreign Service to formulate and implement Reagan’s foreign policy. By the summer of 1985, Shultz had personally selected most of the senior officials in the Department, emphasizing professional over political credentials in the process. The Foreign Service responded in kind by giving Shultz its “complete support,” making him one of the most popular Secretaries since Dean Acheson.[5]

Shultz with President Reagan outside the Oval Office, December 1986 (courtesy Ronald Reagan Library)

Relations with China

Shultz inherited negotiations with China over Taiwan from his predecessor. Under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States was obligated to assist in Taiwan's defense, which included the sale of arms. The Administration debate on Taiwan, especially over the sale of military aircraft, resulted in a crisis in relations with China, which was only alleviated in August 1982, when, after months of arduous negotiations, the United States and China issued a joint communiqué on Taiwan in which the United States agreed to limit arms sales and China agreed to seek a “peaceful solution.”[6]

Relations with Europe and the Soviet Union

By the summer of 1982, relations were strained not only between Washington and Moscow but also between Washington and key capitals in Western Europe. In response to the imposition of martial law in Poland the previous December, the Reagan administration had imposed sanctions on a pipeline between West Germany and the Soviet Union. European leaders vigorously protested sanctions that damaged their interests but not U.S. interests in grain sales to the Soviet Union. Shultz resolved this “poisonous problem” in December 1982, when the United States agreed to abandon sanctions against the pipeline, and the Europeans agreed to adopt stricter controls on strategic trade with the Soviets.[7]

A more controversial issue was the NATO Ministers’ 1979 “dual track” decision: if the Soviets refused to remove their SS-20 medium range ballistic missiles within four years, then the Allies would deploy a countervailing force of cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe. When negotiations on these intermediate nuclear forces (INF) stalled, 1983 became a year of the protest. Shultz and other Western leaders worked hard to maintain allied unity amidst popular anti-nuclear demonstrations in Europe and United States. In spite of Western protests and Soviet propaganda, the allies began deployment of the missiles as scheduled in November 1983.[7]

US-Soviet tensions were raised by the announcement in March 1983 of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and exacerbated by the Soviet shoot-down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1. Tensions reached a height with the Able Archer 83 exercises in November 1983, during which the Soviets feared a pre-emptive American attack.[8]

Following the missile deployment and the exercises, both Shultz and Reagan resolved to seek further dialogue with the Soviets.[7][9]

When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, Shultz advocated that Reagan pursue a personal dialogue with him. This relationship produced its most practical result in December 1987, when the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The treaty, which eliminated an entire class of missiles in Europe, was a milestone in the history of the Cold War. Although Gorbachev took the initiative, Reagan was well prepared by the State Department to adopt a policy of negotiations.[10]

Middle East diplomacy

In response to the escalating violence of the Lebanese civil war, Reagan sent a Marine contingent to protect the Palestinian refugee camps and support the Lebanese Government. The October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut killed 241 U.S. servicemen, after which the deployment came to an ignominious end.[5] Shultz subsequently negotiated an agreement between Israel and Lebanon and convinced Israel to begin a partial withdrawal of its troops in January 1985 despite Lebanon’s contravention of the settlement.[11]

During the First Intifada (see Arab-Israeli conflict), Shultz "proposed ... an international convention in April 1988 ... on an interim autonomy agreement for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to be implemented as of October for a three-year period" [12]. By December 1988, following six months of shuttle diplomacy, Shultz had established a diplomatic dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was picked up by the next Administration.[5]

Latin America

Shultz was well known for outspoken opposition to the "arms for hostages" scandal that would eventually become the Iran Contra situation. In a 1983 testimony before the U.S. Congress, he said that the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was "a cancer in our own land mass", that must be "cut out". He was also opposed to any negotiation with the government of Daniel Ortega: "Negotiations are a euphemism for capitulation if the shadow of power is not cast across the bargaining table."

Later life

Shultz (far left) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library July 17, 2007, with the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński and Mrs. Kaczyński as well as former First Lady Nancy Reagan (center, wearing tan suit)

George Shultz left office on January 20, 1989, but continues to be a strategist for the Republican Party.[citation needed] He was an advisor for George W. Bush's presidential campaign during the 2000 election, and senior member of the so-called "The Vulcans", a group of policy mentors for Bush which also included among its members Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice. One of his most senior advisors and confidants is former ambassador Charles Hill, who holds dual positions at the Hoover Institution and Yale University. Shultz has been called the father of the "Bush Doctrine", because of his advocacy of preventive war.[13] He generally defends the Bush administration's foreign policy.[13]

After leaving public office in 1989, Shultz became the first prominent Republican to call for the legalization of recreational drugs. He went on to add his signature to an advertisement, published in The New York Times on June 8, 1998, entitled "We believe the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself."

He also has spoken against the Cuban embargo, going as far as calling the US policy towards Cuba "insane".[14] He has argued that free trade would help bring down Fidel Castro's regime and that the embargo only helps justify the continued repression in the island.

Shultz's signature, as used on American currency during his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury

In August 2003, Shultz was named co-chair (along with Warren Buffett) of California's Economic Recovery Council, an advisory group to the campaign of California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On January 5, 2006, he participated in a meeting at the White House of former Secretaries of Defense and State, to discuss United States foreign policy with Bush administration officials.

On January 15, 2008, Shultz co-authored an opinion paper published in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Toward a Nuclear-Free World". His co-authors were William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn.[15]

Shultz is the chairman of the JP Morgan Chase bank's International Advisory Council and an honorary director of the Institute for International Economics. He is a member of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Board of Advisors, the New Atlantic Initiative, the prestigious Mandalay Camp at the Bohemian Grove, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and the Committee on the Present Danger. He is honorary chairman of The Israel Democracy Institute ( Shultz formerly served on the board of directors for the Bechtel Corporation, Charles Schwab Corporation, and was a member of the board of directors of Gilead Sciences from January 1996 to December 2005. He is currently a co-chairman of the North American Forum and also serves on the board for Accretive Health.


While serving with the Marines in Hawaii, he met his future wife, nurse lieutenant Helena Maria "Obie" O'Brien (1915–1995). They had five children.[1] In 1997, after the death of Helena, he married Charlotte Mailliard Swig, a prominent San Francisco socialite. Their marriage was called the "Bay Area Wedding of the Year" and they remain a power couple in San Francisco.[16]

Honors and prizes

Honorary degrees

Honorary degrees have been conferred from the universities of Columbia, Notre Dame, Loyola, Pennsylvania, Rochester, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, City University of New York, Yeshiva, Northwestern, Technion, Tel Aviv, Weizmann Institute of Science, Baruch College of New York, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia, and Keio University in Tokyo.[17]

Selected works

  • Shultz, George P. and Shoven, John B. Putting Our House in Order: A Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008
  • Shultz, George P. "Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State", New York: Scribner's 1993.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Katz, Bernard S.; C. Daniel Vencill (1996). Biographical Dictionary of the United States Secretaries of the Treasury, 1789-1995. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 320–332. ISBN 0313280126, 9780313280122. 
  2. ^ project editor, Tracie Ratiner. (2006). Encyclopedia of World Biography (2nd ed.). Detroit, Michigan: Thomson Gale. ISBN 1414410417. OCLC 1414410417. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  3. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 243. ISBN 0465041957. 
  4. ^ a b c "History of the Treasury: George P. Shultz". United States Department of the Treasury, Office of the Curator. 2001. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Secretary Shultz Takes Charge". Short History of the Department of State. United States Department of State, Office of the Historian. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  6. ^ "Reagan's Foreign Policy". Short History of the Department of State. United States Department of State, Office of the Historian. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  7. ^ a b c "The United States in Europe". Short History of the Department of State. United States Department of State, Office of the Historian. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  8. ^ Andrew, Christopher and Gordievsky, Oleg (1992). KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev. Harpercollins. p. 600. 
  9. ^ Reagan, Ronald (1990). An American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 585,588–589. 
  10. ^ "Gorbachev and Perestroika". Short History of the Department of State. United States Department of State, Office of the Historian. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  11. ^ "George P. Shultz". United States Department of State, Office of the Historian. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  12. ^ Oded, 135
  13. ^ a b Henniger, Daniel (2006-04-29). "Father of the Bush Doctrine". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  14. ^ George Shultz, Charlie Rose. (December 22, 2005). Charlie Rose interview with George Shultz. Charlie Rose Inc.. 
  15. ^ Toward a Nuclear-Free World January 15, 2008
  16. ^ Donnally, Trish (1997-08-16). "Swig Tames Her Tiger". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hoover Foundation: Fellow, bio notes.
  18. ^ a b c Sleeman, Elizabeth. (2003). The International Who's Who 2004, p. 1547.


  • Shultz, George P. and Shoven, John B. Putting Our House in Order: A Guide to Social Security and Health Care Reform. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008
  • Oded, Eran. "Arab-Israel Peacemaking." The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East. Ed. Avraham Sela. New York: Continuum, 2002.
  • Shultz, George Pratt. "Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State", New York: Scribner's 1993.

External links


Academic offices
Preceded by
W. Allen Wallis
Dean of the University of Chicago School of Business
Succeeded by
Sidney Davidson
Political offices
Preceded by
W. Willard Wirtz
United States Secretary of Labor
Served under: Richard Nixon

Succeeded by
James D. Hodgson
Preceded by
Robert Mayo
Director of the United States Office of Management and Budget
Succeeded by
Caspar Weinberger
Preceded by
John B. Connally
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: Richard Nixon

Succeeded by
William E. Simon
Preceded by
Alexander Haig
United States Secretary of State
Served under: Ronald Reagan

Succeeded by
James Baker


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