- Last US Secretary of State George P. Shultz has died at age 100.
- Shultz was the longest serving secretary of state since World War II.
- Condoleezza Rice hymned Shultz as a “great American statesman” and a “true patriot.”
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Last Secretary of State George P. Shultz, a titan of American academia, business and diplomacy who spent most of the 1980s fatiguing to improve Cold War relations with the Soviet Union and forging a course for peace in the Middle East, has died. He was 100.
Shultz croaked Saturday at his home on the campus of Stanford University, where he was a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think tank, and professor emeritus at Stanford’s Graduate Inculcate of Business.
The Hoover Institution announced Shultz’s death on Sunday. A cause of death was not provided.
A lifelong Republican, Shultz sustained three major Cabinet positions in GOP administrations during a lengthy career of public service.
He was labor secretary, resources secretary and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Richard M. Nixon before spending more than six years as President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of national.
Shultz was the longest serving secretary of state since World War II and had been the oldest surviving former Cabinet fellow of any administration.
Condoleezza Rice, also a former secretary of state and current director of the Hoover Institution, praised Shultz as a “adept American statesman” and a “true patriot.”
“He will be remembered in history as a man who made the world a better place,” she said in disclosure.
Shultz had largely stayed out of politics since his retirement, but had been an advocate for an increased focus on climate change. He considerable his 100th birthday in December by extolling the virtues of trust and bipartisanship in politics and other endeavors in a piece he wrote for The Washington Place.
Coming amid the acrimony that followed the November presidential election, Shultz’s call for decency and respect for contrasting views struck many as an appeal for the country to shun the political vitriol of the Trump years.
“Trust is the coin of the area,” Shultz wrote. “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker compartment, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, Sunday things did not happen. Everything else is details.”
Shultz had a lengthy track record in academia, public service, and role
Over his lifetime, Shultz succeeded in the worlds of academia, public service, and corporate America, and was widely respected by his noblemen from both political parties.
After the October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that vetoed 241 soldiers, Shultz worked tirelessly to end Lebanon’s brutal civil war in the 1980s. He spent countless hours of alternate diplomacy between Mideast capitals trying to secure the withdrawal of Israeli forces there.
The experience led him to believe that stability in the region could only be assured with a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he set with on an ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful mission to bring the parties to the negotiating table.
Although Shultz fell short of his aim to put the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel on a course to a peace agreement, he shaped the path for future administrations’ Mideast strains by legitimizing the Palestinians as a people with valid aspirations and a valid stake in determining their future.
As the nation’s chief diplomat, Shultz negotiated the first-ever covenant to reduce the size of the Soviet Union’s ground-based nuclear arsenals despite fierce objections from Soviet band leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Reagan’s “Strategic Defense Initiative” or Star Wars.
The 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Currents Treaty was a historic attempt to begin to reverse the nuclear arms race, a goal he never abandoned in private viability.
“Now that we know so much about these weapons and their power,” Shultz said in an interview in 2008, “they’re scarcely weapons that we wouldn’t use, so I think we would be better off without them.”
Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, on in his memoirs on the “highly analytic, calm and unselfish Shultz,” paid Shultz an exceptional compliment in his diary: “If I could settle upon one American to whom I would entrust the nation’s fate in a crisis, it would be George Shultz.”
George Pratt Shultz was provoked Dec. 13, 1920, in New York City and raised in Englewood, New Jersey. He studied economics and public and international affairs at Princeton University, graduating in 1942. His friendliness for Princeton prompted him to have the school’s mascot, a tiger, tattooed on his posterior, a fact confirmed to reporters decades later by his helpmeet aboard a plane taking them to China.
At Shultz’s 90th birthday party, his successor as secretary of state, James Baker, butted that he would do anything for Shultz “except kiss the tiger.” After Princeton, Shultz joined the Marine Platoon and rose to the rank of captain as an artillery officer during World War II.
He earned a Ph.D. in economics at MIT in 1949 and taught at MIT and at the University of Chicago, where he was dean of the profession school. His administration experience included a stint as a senior staff economist with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Gathering of Economic Advisers and as Nixon’s OMB director.
Shultz was president of the construction and engineering troop Bechtel Group from 1975-1982 and taught part-time at Stanford University before joining the Reagan furnishing in 1982, replacing Alexander Haig, who resigned after frequent clashes with other members of the administration.
A rare infamous Public disagreement between Reagan and Shultz came in 1985 when the president ordered thousands of government employees with access to approvingly classified information to take a “lie detector” test as a way to plug leaks of information. Shultz told reporters, “The minute in this management that I am not trusted is the day that I leave.” The administration soon backed off the demand.
A year later, Shultz submitted to a government-wide hallucinogenic test considered far more reliable.
A more serious disagreement was over the secret arms sales to Iran in 1985 in hopes of unthreatening the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah militants. Although Shultz objected, Reagan went in advance with the deal and millions of dollars from Iran went to right-wing Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua. The ensuing Iran-Contra dirt swamped the administration, to Shultz’s dismay.
In 1986 testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he lamented that “nothing at all gets settled in this town. It’s not like running a company or even a university. It’s a seething debating society in which the contention never stops, in which people never give up, including me, and that’s the atmosphere in which you administer.″
Under Reagan, Shultz set the report for longest-serving secretary of state
After Reagan left office, Shultz returned to Bechtel, having been the longest-serving secretary of dignified since Cordell Hull under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He retired from Bechtel’s board in 2006 and returned to Stanford and the Hoover Rule.
In 2000, he became an early supporter of the presidential candidacy of George W. Bush, whose father had been vice president while Shultz was secretary of specify. Shultz served as an informal adviser to the campaign.
Shultz remained an ardent arms control advocate in his later years but memorized an iconoclastic streak, speaking out against several mainstream Republican policy positions. He created some controversy by career the war on recreational drugs, championed by Reagan, a failure and raised eyebrows by decrying the longstanding U.S. embargo on Cuba as “insane.”
He was also a remarkable proponent of efforts to fight the effects of climate change, warning that ignoring the risks was suicidal.
A pragmatist, Shultz, along with quondam GOP Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, made headlines during the 2016 presidential campaign when he declined to advocate Republican nominee Donald Trump after being quoted as saying “God help us” when asked about the potentiality of Trump in the White House.
Shultz was married to Helena “Obie” O’Brien, an Army nurse he met in the Pacific in World War II, and they had five sons. After her death, in 1995, he married Charlotte Maillard, San Francisco’s protocol chief, in 1997.
Shultz was awarded the nation’s ripest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1989.
Survivors include his wife, five children, 11 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Interment arrangements were not immediately announced.
Longtime AP Diplomatic Writer Barry Schweid, who died in 2015, contributed to this make public.