Lawrence Eagleburger: Wikis


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Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger

In office
December 8, 1992 – January 20, 1993
Acting Secretary from August 23, 1992 - December 8 1992
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by James Baker
Succeeded by Warren Christopher

In office
January 20, 1989 – August 23, 1992
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by John C. Whitehead
Succeeded by Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.

In office
February 11, 1982 – May 1, 1984
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Walter J. Stoessel, Jr.

Born August 1, 1930 (1930-08-01) (age 79)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marlene Ann Heinemann
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Profession political analyst
Religion Lutheran
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1952-1954
Rank First Lieutenant

Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger (born August 1, 1930) is an American statesman and former career diplomat, who served briefly as the United States Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush. Previously, he had served in lesser capacities under Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. He is a 1951 initiate of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity at the University of Wisconsin.


Education and personal life

Originally hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he graduated from high school in Stevens Point, then attended Stevens Point State College (now the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point), before earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. During his time at Wisconsin, he joined Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity. On May 6, 1995, he delivered the commencement address to the 1995 graduating class of James Madison University.[1]

He was formerly a member of the Board of Visitors at the College of William and Mary.

Eagleburger also served in the United States Army from 1952 to 1954, attaining the rank of First Lieutenant.

He has three sons, all of whom are named Lawrence Eagleburger, though they have different middle names.[2]

Governmental career

In 1957, he joined the US Foreign Service, and served in various posts in embassies, consulates, and the State Department. From 1961 to 1965 he served as a staffer at the US Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Starting in 1969, he served in the Nixon administration as an assistant to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. He stayed in this appointment until 1971; thereafter he took on several positions, including advisor to the US Mission to North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels, and, following Kissinger's appointment as Secretary of State, a number of additional posts in the State Department.

Following Nixon's resignation, he briefly left government service, but was soon appointed as ambassador to Yugoslavia by President Jimmy Carter, a post he held from 1977 to 1980.

In 1982, Reagan appointed him as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (the State Department's third-ranking position), a position he held for several years. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed him Deputy Secretary of State (the Department's second-ranking position); he also served as the President's primary advisor for affairs relating to the quickly disintegrating Yugoslavia. On August 23, 1992, James A. Baker resigned as Secretary of State (to head up Bush's unsuccessful re-election campaign), and Eagleburger served as Acting Secretary of State until Bush gave him a recess appointment for the remainder of his administration.

His period as advisor for Yugoslavian affairs from 1989 to 1992 was highly controversial. He gained a reputation for being a strong Serbian partisan, most controversially denying that Serbian paramilitaries and the Yugoslav National Army had committed atrocities in the breakway republic of Croatia. This perceived partisanship led the European press to dub him Lawrence of Serbia[3] (a reference to Lawrence of Arabia).

In 1991, President Bush awarded him the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Artist's rendering of "The 'Burg"

International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims

Eagleburger became chairman of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, or ICHEIC, which was set up in 1998. The purpose of the Commission was to resolve unpaid Nazi-era insurance claims for survivors of the Holocaust. In 2005, Eagleburger announced that the ICHEIC was offering approximately 16 million dollars to Holocaust victims and their heirs, noting as he did so the research ability of the ICHEIC staff which allowed them to evaluate claims from companies which no longer existed.[4] In the years prior to this there had been some controversy about the Commission, including reports that it was over-budgeted and too slow, and that insurance companies which had previously agreed to work with the ICHEIC had failed to disclose policyholder lists.[5] Eagleburger responded to these accusations by saying, among other things, that it was difficult to work quickly when many of the claimants lacked basic information such as the name of the insurance company involved.[6]

Stance on Middle Eastern conflict

After serving in the Foreign Service for 27 years, Eagleburger retains an interest in foreign policy and is a familiar figure on current events talk shows. He has caused some discussion with public comments about President George W. Bush's foreign policy. In August 2002, Eagleburger questioned the timing of possible military action in Iraq, saying, "I am not at all convinced now that this is something we have to do this very moment."[7] He did indicate he believed that Iraqi regime change could be a legitimate US endeavor at some point, but that at that time he did not believe the administration was fully prepared for such a conflict.[8] In April 2003, following warnings by the Bush administration to the government of Syria, Eagleburger condemned the possibility of military action in Syria or Iran, saying that public opinion would not support such a move and that "If President Bush were to try it now, even I would feel he should be skinned alive."[9]

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 November 10, 2006 it was announced that he would replace Secretary of Defense designate Robert Gates in the Iraq Study Group.[10]

After the election of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Eagleburger seemed to think that Iran was moving in a direction which may at some point call for military action, saying in an interview that while "we should try everything else we can first," at some point it would probably be necessary to use force to ensure that Iran did not obtain or use nuclear weapons.[11]

He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Forum for International Policy, and a member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Board of Advisors.

2008 Presidential election

Eagleburger early (before Republican primaries) endorsed John McCain for President.[12] In an NPR interview on October 30, 2008, he described McCain's running-mate Sarah Palin as "not-prepared" for top office.[13] He also stated that many Vice Presidents have not been ready. The next day, in an interview on Fox News, he retracted his comments about Palin.[1]

On October 30, 2008, on the Fox News Channel, Eagleburger referred to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as a, "charlatan," citing his fundraising methods and other aspects of his presidential campaign.[14]



External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John C. Whitehead
United States Deputy Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Clifton R. Wharton Jr.
Preceded by
James Baker
United States Secretary of State
Served under: George H.W. Bush

August 23, 1992-January 20, 1993

Acting until December 8, 1992

Succeeded by
Warren Christopher
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
James Baker
United States order of precedence
Former Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Warren Christopher


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Lawrence Eagleburger (born 1930) was U.S. Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush, 1992-1993


  • I think Scowcroft has done us all a great favor by his article saying don't do it. My own personal view is that basically General Scowcroft is correct. Unless the president can make a very compelling case that Saddam Hussein has his finger on a weapon of mass destruction and is about ready to use it, I do not think that now is the time to go to war against Saddam Hussein.

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