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George P. Shultz

Walter and Leonore Annenberg Award Winner



Born and raised in New York City, Shultz completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton University in 1942. His first experience in government came in 1969 when President Richard Nixon appointed him Secretary of Labor (1969–70), then Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1970–72), and then Secretary of the Treasury (1972–1974).

George Shultz was named as Secretary of State by President Ronald Reagan on June 25, 1982. In this role, he played a crucial role in guiding U.S. diplomacy during his tenure in office. Upon his confirmation, he inherited a number of foreign policy challenges, including war in Lebanon, delicate negotiations with the People’s Republic of China and the Government on Taiwan, and a ratcheting up of Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union. Over the next several years, Shultz focused U.S. diplomatic efforts on resolving the conflict in the Middle East, defusing trade disputes with Japan, managing increasingly tense relationships with several Latin American nations, and crafting U.S. responses to the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev and the new Soviet policies of perestroika and opening to the West.

His crowning achievements came in regards to U.S.-Soviet relations. Through positive responses to the overtures of Gorbachev and his Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, and through his own initiatives, Shultz helped to draft and sign landmark arms control treaties and other agreements that helped to diminish U.S.-Soviet antagonism.

As a result, under Shultz’s leadership, U.S. diplomacy helped to pave the way for the ending of the Cold War during 1989.

– Adapted from US Dept of State Office of the Historian Biography

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