George P. Shultz


George Pratt Shultz (born December 13, 1920) 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. Originally an economist, he has also served as a university professor and a business executive.

Early life, education

George Shultz was born in New York City, the son of Birl Earl Shultz and Margaret Lennox Pratt, the daughter of Rev. Edward Pratt of Shoshone, Idaho. In 1938, Shultz graduated from the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, after which he received an B.A. degree in economics from Princeton University in 1942. That same year he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served until 1945, attaining the rank of Captain. In 1949, Shultz earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His degree was in industrial economics.


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. 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.

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.

Joins Nixon's cabinet

Shultz served as President Richard Nixon's secretary of labor from 1969 to 1970, after which he was director of the Office of Management and Budget. He then became United States Secretary of the Treasury from May 1972 to May 1974. It was during this period that Shultz, along with Paul Volcker and Arthur Burns, supported the decision of the Nixon administration to end the gold standard and the Bretton Woods system.

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. Considered by some to be a dove on foreign policy within the Reagan administration, Shultz frequently clashed with the more hawkish members of the administration. In particular, he 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." 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" . However, this never materialized.

Comedians best know Shultz for State Department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley's response to a question about the Princeton tiger tattooed on Shultz's posterior: "I'm not in a position to know."

Later life

George Shultz left office on January 20, 1989, but continues to be a strategist for the Republican Party. He was an advisor for George W. Bush's presidential campaign during the 2000 election, and senior member of the so-called "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. He generally defends the Bush administration's foreign policy.

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". 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.

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.

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.

Honors and prizes

See also

International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament


Further reading

  • 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


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